Futurama

Fan Fiction

Whatever Happened to Aurora Fry?
By Fatso Huuskonen

Standard disclaimer everything is copyright their respective owner yada yada yada...

I really like Futurama. One of the greatest reasons was that the relationship with Fry and Leela reminds myself of my past times. Yeah, I screwed things up too...;D Well, no worries about the past.

I know some people will hate the way I left some 'critical' parts of the story out, but hey, it's my fanfic... Honestly there are reasons, one of the biggest of them being the simple fact that English is not my native language, and my vocabulary only goes so far.

This didn't turn the way I planned. The end was supposed to be something... Let's just say that Aurora and Leela originally swapped places. I just didn't have the heart to keep it that way. ;D

Enough with the bla-bla. Read the story and forgive my bad spelling.


Prologue

The two figures walked along the path, away from the Orbiting Meadows landing pad.
The smaller, younger one asked: "Dad, who's this Aurora woman I've heard you sometimes talk about? You've never mentioned about her to mom."

The old man went speechless and became a little uneasy. "Well.. Uhh.. She's a painful memory... It'd be a long story."

"We've got all the time we need."

"You sure you wanna hear it?"

She smiled at the old man and said, "No problem, Dad. We're not in a hurry, and I bet no one around us is either."

"Well, we were both about about your age when we first met, your mother and I. Back then, she looked quite like you do now, except for the obvious characteristics."

The two figures sat down onto a bench.

"It all started after a display of infinite stupidity."

"Stupidity?"

"Yeah. The kind of stupidity only Philip J. Fry is capable of."

 

Chapter one: Another Day To Fade Away

The Hip Joint was crowded that day. There was a big party for a reason no one cared for.

The head of some forgotten celebrity was on a pedestal on the stage, talking to a microphone. No one listened to him, as they just waited for him to stop talking so they could get dancing.

Well, not exactly everyone. Leela was at the bar, having second thoughts about coming there in the first place. She took another sip from her straw.

"Damn, this tastes awful. I can't understand how anyone can drink something like this!"

The bartender heard her thinking aloud and replied: "Honey, that's because you let that B-52 burn your straw. You've been drinking molten plastic."

Amy sat beside her. "Enjoying yourself?"

"Hardly."

"Huh?"

"I just don't feel like partying."

"Awww, come on! Lighten up!"

"If I could, I would. But recently I haven't been too cheerful."

"Hmm?"

"Ah. Never mind. Don't let me spoil your party."

"No, it's okay. I'm not in too good spirits either."

"How come?"

"Kif was supposed to get a week off service, but the windbag decided it was time to attack some planet."

"Oh."

"Yeah, and we were supposed to.. Oh.. never mind. Think I'll go call him."

Leela looked over her shoulder, seeing Fry standing by himself in a corner, partially behind a column.

"Hmm. Think I'll go talk to Fry. I bet he wouldn't mind company."

"Ok, whateva."

They parted the bar, Leela walking towards Fry, and Amy towards the ladies' room. As she walked on, the column moved to the side in her field of view, gradually revealing a beautiful blonde standing next to him, talking. She stopped, sighed heavily, and turned back to the bar. "This is definitely not my night," she muttered, walking back to the bar.


Fry didn't really like this girl. He'd use any excuse to get away from her. Disappearing without a trace is easy. The detaching is the hard part. Possible plans and escape routes went through his head while the other half of his mind was keeping the girl company.

"So that's basically how I got here."

"But who is this Leela girl you talked about earlier? You seem to like her."

"Oh, umm... She's.. no one important."

"Way to go, Fry! Now she definitely won't suspect a thing!"

"I kind of count on her to get the impression..."

"Damn you, Fry! That's clever! You outsmarted even yourself!"

He notices Leela sitting at the bar, obviously not enjoying her stay. He made sure the girl noticed him staring at her (Leela).

"Tell you what. I'll go get something at the bar, and then we'll talk about you."

"OK."

"Yess!" Fry thought, as he started walking towards the bar. He hated doing this, but he really thought he'd be better keeping Leela company than trying to pick up that airhead. Not that he was any smarter than her, but he felt he liked his women a little smarter than that one.

Fry walks to the bar, and sits down next to Leela.

"Hi."

"Oh, hi, Fry!"

"What up?"

"Oh. Nothing."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

"You don't look too happy."

"Never mind, Fry."

"But I do mind."

"Uhh... Aren't you supposed to be picking up that girl over there?"

She points at the place Fry and the babe were, now empty. He sees she's gone, sighs heavily, trying to hide his smile, and turns back to Leela.

"Not really. I like smarter women. Now, tell me. Let the weigh off your heart."

"Uhh... Aummm... hmm... ehh... I bet you have better things to do than listening to me whining about my misery. You know, why don't you go check out the other girls here?"

"Done that already."

"Wow! that was fast."

"I know. I got this knack. Judging by the looks, you can tell if she's beautiful, smart, or does she at least have big... Uhh.. Anyway, done that already."

"You know, one could say you're shallow."

"Heh. I know. But I'm too dumb to afford getting any more platonic."

"You know, Plato himself said that he is wise who knows that he really isn't."

"You lost me there."

"Oh, never mind. Tell me, what does your knack say about me?"

"Well, it says that sitting before me is a very beautiful and smart woman who's obviously hiding something that's making her feel more and more miserable."

She couldn't help but let out a small smile. She thought to herself: "The first part is a matter of opinion, but the last one was pretty to the point." She felt amused by him constantly trying to impress her with everything. "You're not giving up easy, now are you?"

"Not with you I'm not."

"Umm.. Know what? I think I'm not in the mood to party."

"Yeah, me neither, actually. Hasn't been my day really. Wanna share a cab?"

"Sure."

 

Chapter two: Occasionally Two Shoulders aren't Enough

They took the cab to Leela's apartment, where they both stepped out and just stood there on the sidewalk, looking in opposite directions, but hesitating to part.

Fry felt he had to say something. Anything. Anything at all.

"It's kinda chilly in here."

"Yeah, the winter's making it's way over here, too. Say what, wanna come in for something hot?"

Fry turned to her with a devilish grin. Leela immediately realized her bad wording. She blushed in a fraction of a microsecond and turned towards him. "That's not what I meant, instinct driven caveman! Now would you please.. *giggle* wipe that grin off your face! *giggle* I meant coffee, you fool! *giggle*"

"Yeah, I kinda knew that."

His grin was replaced with a warm smile. She opened the door and they stepped into the hallway.

"Then what's with the grin?"

"I just wanted to see your reaction to an evil grin placed after an misunderstandable sentence."

"That didn't sound like him," she thought.

"Uhh.. what did you just say?"

"I meant grinning there would be really funny."

"Oh. I knew that."

They made their way to the door of apartment 1I. To Leela's astonishment, Fry had no trouble in keeping a straight face. She felt something's not right. "Damn right!" part of her mind exclaimed. "He's changed so much so fast, that either he has latent acting talent or he's been acting dumb all the time since he was unfrozen."

"He is kinda cute, though."

"Yeah, but his change gives me the creeps."

"But that is just a turn for the better, eh?"

"Maybe, but in his case, it'll probably have some weird side effects."

"You're too hard on him. Give the poor fella a chance. You'd be surprised..."

"Your point is..."

"You don't see the good side of him when you focus on the bad one."

"Well, the bad side makes him..."

"Unbearable?"

"Yeah."

"And you haven't noticed that he's beeen showing that side very rarely as of late?"

"Now would you... I just shut up?!"

"Aww come on, you have a soft spot for him. You know it, but you try to hide it from him and yourself. And, by the way, try the other key, you'll be surprised how much better doors work when you have the right key."

She opened the door, and they went in. Leela headed straight to the kitchen, proceeding to make the coffe. As Fry entered the apartment, he sat down on the couch.

"Uhh.. Leela?"

She almost jumped as she heard him saying her name. knowing him and that tone in his voice, she made a mental bet for ten bucks on him turning serious now. And she knew what was on his mind. He was worried about her.

"Have a seat."

She sat down next to him, trying to keep a nonchalant face. [that's a tough word when you don't know how it is really spelt. Then you realize you have a dictionary on the table before your eyes. Oh, well. :) ]

"You haven't been exactly yourself lately."

"Who, me? Well, I have! Just the old Leela. Nothing changed. Yep. Not a bit. The same old routine-driven Leela who never changes and doesn't want to become a..."

"Way to go! You sure know how to distract!"

"Oops.."

Fry could see she was nervous. Hell, a dead neptunian slug could have seen that. "You don't believe that yourself. Don't expect me or anyone else to buy that, either."

She got even more nervous. "Look, don't worry, I'll take care of myself. I don't need your help."

A voice in her head had a different opinion: "But you do. Who would be better than him?"

"But I want to help."

She was silent for a moment. "You sure you wanna hear this?"

"Positive. Tell me. Let it all out. You'll feel a lot better afterwards."

She considered the options. Could she tell him? Although if he's the old Fry who could just blurt it out to anyone, he definitely seems a lot smarter than he used to. Would he understand? "Damn right he'd understand it. He'd understand it too well, and get all wild."

"No he wouldn't. The old him could have, maybe, but I believe he has changed somehow."

"First you have to promise me one thing."

"Shoot."

"I will do exactly that, if you tell anyone about what I'm going to tell you. Plus, I'll break every bone in your body, crush your every limb and uhh... You get the general idea."

"Fair enough. Just go ahead."

Awkward silence.

"Fry, for a while I have wanted to...to have a...a..."

She stopped. She couldn't just say it. She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her head against his chest. She closed her eye and started sobbing. "I...I..."

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong! *sob* I just...*sob* want...*sob*"

She raised her head, put her hands in his and looked him in the eyes. She smiled. Fry worked out this had to be the first time in two weeks he had seen her smiling.

"Umm.. Fry... You know... You have changed."

"I know. I hoped you'd notice."

"Why, all of a sudden, if I may aks?"

"Yeah well... heh... The professor.."

"A new gadget?"

"Yeah. It was, or at least he said it was a 'maturing ray'. And this time it works without ripping the galaxy apart."

She started seeing the big picture.

"The prof wanted to use it on Cubert, in case he'd died too early, to carry on his work and so on. But he wanted a test subject."

"Why didn't he use rats or rabbits or something?"

"Well... Uhhh... The last rat exploded when he tried the ray on it."

 

Chapter three: A Turn Is Not Always for the Worse

Earlier that day, they had made a delivery to a planet that shall remain nameless. Surprising Leela again, Fry didn't screw up anything, and before they knew it, they were on their way home.

Fry was listening to some of the records he had scavenged from his old home in the ruins of old New York. No one knows where he had gotten the LP deck, though.

He tried to get himself occupied with other things, to keep his mind off Leela, and how she freaked out on him. He shouldn't have pulled that stunt. She must be about as upset as anyone can possibly ever get. "Not again?!" He caught himself thinking of her and forced himself to stop. He couldn't. He was just obsessed with this woman, who was beautiful, smart, strong, kind and warm, and obviously in emotional turmoil. He kept thinking about how she always had pushed him away, but now she had obviously changed her attitude, but still couldn't just... "In your dreams, boy. She'll never."


Bender didn't enjoy his situation. Leela had switched the ship to autopilot and given a strict order NOT to start drinking with the autopilot. She went to "talk with Fry". Puh-lease! Like he didn't know what was going on.

Surprisingly, he didn't.


Leela and Fry were in the captain's quarters, just talking. Or actually, Leela did most of the talking and Fry just looked her in the eye. He thought about what she told him, about the loneliness, the men who had just used her, the idiot who could have gotten himself killed by volunteering as a test subject for the professor's latest gadget...OH SHIT! She's gonna bitch his brains out! Again?!

"What were you thinking! You could have gotten yourself spread evenly across the walls of the laboratory."

"I was thinking of you."

"Me?"

"I know this sounds stupid and really immature, but bear with me. I thought it over like this: if it works, I might actually understand you and look better in your eye, be nicer to you, more thoughtful. Maybe even..."

"What if it hadn't worked?!"

"I couldn't have cared less."

"What?!"

"It wouldn't have mattered if I had died. The only reason that kept me sane and struggling to stay alive was you. If I couldn't have had you, which would have been the case, what had there been to live for? Nothing."

He was surprised he could speak out his mind this easy.

"Fry, you didn't think maybe we could have missed you?... Maybe... I... could have missed you?"

He saw a tear running down her cheek. Just then he realized just what he had done. "I...I didn't. Come to think of it, it scares the hell out of me."

The intercom crackles.

"You might wanna get some garment on yourselves and get to the bridge, 'cos you're in trouble, meatbags."

"Bender, what is it?"

"Well, let's just say that for a reason that's got nothing to do with good ole Bender here, the autopilot got drunk and is now on crash course towards a particular ship."

"But wouldn't that mean you were in trouble, too?"

"Oh, you're right. But I'm built more sturdy than you guys, so you're in bigger trouble."


Leela rushed out of her quarters, Fry following her.

When she got to the bridge, she saw the trouble. The ship was on a crash course towards nothing less but the Nimbus itself. As if on queue, the videophone 'rings'.

Bender never misses a chance to gamble.

"Ok, we already know who it'll be. Now taking bets on what he'll say first."

Leela shot a furious look at Bender. "Bender!"

"Ten bucks on 'Well, if it isn't the lovely lady Leela.'"

"FRY! Umm.. On second thoughts, I'm in with ten myself."


She pressed the button to accept the call, and the face of Zapp Brannigan appeared on the screen.

"Well, if it isn't the lovely lady Leela, on a crash course towards my beautiful Nimbus. Piloting a craft clearly in an attempt to ram a military vessel is a punishable offense. You are all under arrest."

Behind her back, twenty bucks changed ownership. Bender was grumbling something apparently very mean. She quietly grabbed the bill and pocketed it.

"No one was going to ram anyone! The autopilot got drunk!"

Bender whistled nonchalantly.

"Oh yeah, that's a cheap excuse. Even cheaper when told by you. You are hiding something."

Bender slapped Fry's back: "Yeah, she's hiding the fact that she was fooling around with skintube over here, heh heh."

Murderous looks were pointed at Bender.

"Is that...*gulp*..True, Leela?"

"Ummm..."

She looked at Bender, then Fry.

"This is the chance you've been waiting for. Getting away from Zapp and closer to Fry."

She smiled. The evil kind of smile. She faced the videophone and said, "Yes. That's true."

Zapp tried to gather the last shreds of dignity he had left, after Leela had them scattered around the galaxy by those three carefully picked words.

"Normally, such negligence as leaving a certified autopilot to fly the ship would qualify as a felony, but there's no mention about DRUNK certified autopilot, so I have no choice but to let you go. But keep these words of advice in mind: fooling around on duty can get you in a lot of trouble, but fooling around with the Zapper can get you out of a lot of trouble."

"What was that supposed to mean?"

"Absolutely nothing. I just felt like saying something smart... -ish. Whatever. Say, would that be a good pickup phrase?"

The force the PE ship blasted off with would suggest that Amy had installed NOS.

He put his face in his hands. "Zapp! ZAPP! Take it like a man!" The macho in his head tried to stop what was about to follow, but it was no good.

"Leela with that...*sob*...*sob* Awwww...BWAAAAAAAAH!"

Kif decided this was a good time to get a mop and some industrial strength hankies.

"Well, *sob* have I got a surprise for you..."

Kif was surprised how much liquid a human could cry out. Then he remembered who the human was and was less surprised.


On board the PE ship people weren't so downcast.

Fry hugged Leela, exclaiming: "Woo hoo! Leela, you did it! I tell you, that was a kick in the emotional crotch of Zapp Brannigan!"

Leela gave him a puzzled look before understanding what he meant.

Bender saw his opportunity coming.

"Yeah, and it's all thanks to ole' Bender. For saving your asses, I'll charge you ten bucks each."

Fry looked Leela in the eye and said, smiling, "Guess that's fair." He gave the bill he just won back to Bender.

Leela saw the look in Fry's eyes. "If it gets rid of you." She gave the ten dollars to Bender, who walked away.

"Well, see ya 'round, meatbags."

They just stood there, staring each other. Eventually she snapped out of it. "Umm... I have to fly this thing."

"Yeah. Maybe you should, 'cos we're getting awfully close to that star that looks like it's gonna... GOTCHA!"

 

Chapter four: Scenery of the Mind

As they were again returning to Earth, Fry sat on the couch looking out the window. He looked at the stars, pondering. As he looked out to the void, he wondered where was the place all his loved ones had gone long ago. "If it wasn't for her I'd be there myself, already."

Leela was really tired for piloting the ship for hours through nothing. She kept her mind busy by playing with various thoughts. She wondered what was going around in Fry's head. Wasn't too big a challenge, she could guess with great accuracy what he was thinking. She figured he'd be missing his past life in the 20th century again, his family and friends. Who could blame him? Being separated from everything you hold dear and thrown into this odd world. "And you aren't making it too easy on him fitting in, either." She startled, shaking her head. "Did you ever come to think, that unlike you, he had left behind loved ones and precious memories. You've never had those, so it's a lot easier for you to be alone. You've always been alone, but he hasn't." She couldn't believe she was bitching to herself! She did have a point, though. "He doesn't have anything except for his memories. The only thing he has here is you. Look. He's dreaming of you again."

She just sat there, not believing her own thoughts. "You mean everything to him. He has no one else. Why do you keep pushing him away?"

"What if he hurts me like all the other men?"

"Would he?"

She tilted her head and looked at him. She whispered to herself, "No, he wouldn't."

She thought about everything he had done to her. She thought about the devoting Philip J. Fry who had almost died for her. She thought about the supporting Philip J. Fry who had always been there for her. She thought about the caring Philip J. Fry who reunited her with her parents.
She couldn't think of that sweet man ever hurting her feelings. Well, not intentionally.

"OK, The autopilot's sober enough to fly now," she muttered. She switched on the autopilot, stood up from her chair and hesitantly walked to the couch in the front of the bridge. "That's right, do it like the woman you are."

She sat down next to Fry.

"I don't really think about it much these days, but they sure are beautiful."

"They're not as beautiful as someone I know."

She put her head against his shoulder and sighed deeply. First he felt surprised, but it didn't take him too long to get comfortable with her there. He put his left arm around her.

"Fry, you are something really special, did you know that?"

They just sat there all the way to Earth. Fry kept thinking. He couldn't believe what had happened. He'd just almost lost his life in an experiment doomed to fail, that, against all odds, didn't. That had to be the most stupid thing he ever had done. Was it worth it?

He looked at her, fallen asleep, smiling against his shoulder. "Yes, it was."

He closed his eyes and stroked her hair. "Yes, it was."

 

Chapter five: Two Circular Golden Objects

In the past few months, their relationship advanced. She started seeing new characteristics in him that she thought never had been there before. He found out he loved her deeper than he thought he never could love anyone. Time passed, and they grew more attached to each other.

Life was good.

One day, they came to work a little late. It didn't matter, because there was no packages to deliver. Even Bender was at work earlier than they were. Just as Hermes was concluding the daily meeting, they entered the conference room.

"Well, de happy couple decided to show up for werk afterall. If dere had been packages to deliver, I'd smack you both into orbit to tell the Jah I said 'hi!'"

Leela couldn't help keep but let out a huge smile.

Fry grinned. "Sorry, Hermes. We were... umm... Shopping."

Bender's antenna suddenly started flashing.

"Hmm.. My metal detector says there's suddenly a little more stuff worth stealing in this room. Yep. Two rings. Gold."

He put his feet on the table and lit a cigar.

"OMIGODOMIGODOMIGODOMIGOD! YOU GOT ENGAGED!"

"Yes, Amy, we did."

Amy jumped up from her chair and ran over to hug them both, speaking rapidly in cantonese. Really fast. "I'm so happy for you! This is great news! I just have to call Kif!"


A phone rang somewhere on board the Nimbus.

"Oh, hi Amy! ... Really? ... Do they want me to tell him? ... Alright.

"You want me to come? Sure, I'd love to.

"Us? Do you think it's a good idea? ... Have you asked them? ... I hope it works like you planned ... Allright, I'll tell him.

"I love you, too... Bye."

Kif knew there was no easy way to break the news to the captain. As he walked towards the bridge, he contemplated the ways to tell his commanding officer that Leela had gotten engaged and he'd been invited to celebrate it, as if to rub it in his face.

As he entered the bridge, he saw Captain Brannigan standing there, confident.

"Ahh, Kif. I want you to witness my new plan to win the lovely Leela's heart."

"Sir, I think you're a bit late for that now."

"Excuse me, Lieteunant? I've already jettisoned the first twenty soldiers."

"Spare me the details, sir. You see, I just came from the the phone, I was talking to Amy. Miss Leela and Philip Fry have gotten engaged, and Amy is throwing them a party, and asked us to come too."

What happened next was not a pretty sight. Being a fast-witted soldier, unlike his captain, Kif had expected Zapp's reaction, and immediately pulled out a family pack of industrial strength hankies.

 

Chapter six: Confession of Affection

As Fry looked at the beautiful woman sleeping next to him, he couldn't help but think he was the happiest man in the world. He's never seen her this confident and hopeful. With her, for the first time in over a thousand years, he felt like he belonged here. He'd never leave her. And he knew she would always stay by his side.

He couldn't sleep. He went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. He kind of liked this place. He didn't mind, even though the place had no furniture.

The full moon lit the sky. He remembered how he wanted to be an astronaut as a kid, and how things had changed during the time he was frozen.

He walked to the kitchen, and as he drank down the glass of water, he heard a voice, "Do you really love her?"

He had heard that voice before. He could see a familiar face in an air vent as the moonlight hit it directly.

"Morris?"

"That's right, now answer the question."

"I do! I do!"

"You do understand that nothing good comes your way if you hurt my little girl's feelings?"

"I assure you, I'd never do such a thing!"

"I'm quite confident you wouldn't, Philip. You love her too much."

Awkward silence.

"Morris?"

"Yes?"

"You have a wonderful daughter, did you know that?"

"*sigh* Yes. She's truely something, isn't she?"

"Definitely."

"Philip? Promise me something."

"Anything at all."

"She has suffered enough already. Losing you would definitely be the last straw. I'm afraid she couldn't take it. Stick by her side. That's all I ask."

"I will." He moved closer to the air vent, moving his left hand nearer so that the old man could see the ring glittering in the moonlight.

"Till death do us part."

 

Chapter seven: Awful Wonderful

Saturday.

That morning, Fry woke up early for some odd reason. He decided to make breakfast (yes, among other things, he had learnt how to cook) for himself and his loved one. As he walked to the kitchen, he saw Nibbler walking towards him, yawning. "Good morning, little fella!" He picked up the little guy into his arms and scratched his head. "I better fix you up with something, too."

Leela woke up to the sound of caffeinated bacon and eggs frying and coffee brewing. She moved herself to a sitting position, yawned, streched, wrapped a bathrobe around her and proceeded to the kitchen.

"You know, I can't still understand why you want your coffee the ancient way."

He smiled. "Your dad dropped by to say hello last night. We had a nice talk about things."

"Mmm... What did you talk about?"

"You." He put his left hand in front of her face and wiggled the ring with his thumb. "Us."

He cut a little piece of bacon and flipped it into the air with the spatula. Nibbler jumped up and took the bacon between his teeth in mid-air, landed, and ate the treat.

"Men," she said with amusement in her voice.

They sat down to the table to have their breakfast.

"Mmm.. You're getting pretty good at this."

"Well, thank you."

Suddenly she stormed to the bathroom. Some... ehh... noises were heard through the door. He walked behind the door.

"Aww, come on, it wasn't THAT bad!"

"No, it was actually quite good. I just.. Oh no..."

More of the same noises.

"I think I feel better now."

A few moments later, she joined her husband-to-be at the kitchen table.

She opened the conversation with a tender voice, "I think... We're going to a doctor."

"You don't think..."

She nodded.


A visit to the hospital later that day verified what they had suspected. They walked home, the noon sun shining upon the three of them.

 

Chapter eight: The Half-Dramatic Entry

The entire Hip Joint was reserved for the celebration. Two particular women in the club waited for two particular men to appear. The other waited for the other with dread, and the other for her one with longing.

Their waiting ended as a shuttle from the Nimbus landed on the Hip Joint's parking lot. Two sighs were heard, the other more enthusiastic than the other.

Surprisingly, Kif came alone. As he entered the club, Amy immediately greeted him with a hug and a kiss. She soon noticed that something was missing.

"Where's Zapp?"

"Umm... Yeah... I should see Leela."

"But where is the windbag?"

"Yes, you see, that's why I should find her."

"Alright, I'll take you to her."

"Oh, hi, Kif. Wasn't Zapp supposed to be here?"

"Uhm... Well, yes. But he... He told me to tell you that there was an emergency onboard that required his presence, but the fact is he simply lacked the nerve to come." He leaned into whispering distance. "But he sent you this." He took an envelope from his pocket, titled 'To Leela'. "He also told me that you should read it in private. He told me to especially stress that it means him, too." He nodded in Fry's general direction.

"Allright, thanks." She took the letter, and decided she'd read it later. "I think we should go address the public now that everyone's here. Catch you later."

She grabbed Fry's hand. They walked to the stage and held a little speech. Thank you for coming here and so on. After the speech, she disappeared while Fry remained to keep the guests company.

She found a dressing room at the backstage and found the door unlocked. She stepped in and locked the door behind her. She sat down, put the letter on a table, hesitating.

She mustered up the courage to open the envelope and read the letter she found inside.

 

Chapter nine: Stains On Paper

She stormed out from the party with tears in her eye. Outside she hailed a cab and left.

Fry became immediately worried. He had a sneaking suspicion about the reason of his loved one's sudden departure.

He went into the room she was reading the letter. He found the envelope, but couldn't find the letter. Suddenly a familiar voice came from the door: "Looking for this, maybe?" He saw Amy, with a crumpled piece of paper in her hand.

"Yeah, I was kinda curious."

"You know, you aren't supposed to be allowed to read this, but seeing what this caused in her, I think you should know."

She gave the letter to him.

"Did... Did you read it?"

She shook her head sideways.

"Ok. Thanks."

"No problem. See ya around."

"Yeah... See ya..."

She turned around and left, closing the door after her.


After reading the letter, he didn't know which one he despised more, brain slugs or Zapp Brannigan. He stormed to the nearest videophone and called the person he'd least expect himself ever calling.

"Well hello, Mr Fry, how can I be of service to you?"

"You could start by explaining this." He showed the letter to the videophone.

"You.. You weren't supposed to see that!"

"Well, I got curious when Leela stormed out from OUR party after reading it."

"She did? Thruth hurts, it seems."

"Your truth is a very one-sided one. It seems to lack everyone else's perspective. Do you understand that sending these types of letters is not considered very appropriate for a decorated DOOP captain?"

"Well, what can you do, go to court? Hah!"

"A restraining order wouldn't be very beneficial for the career of a decorated DOOP captain, and I know one captain who she'd be more than willing to crush. Especially now she would."

"Are you trying to blackmail me?"

"No, dear friend. Not at all. I am just reminding you that if you ever approach her, talk to her, write to her, call her, look at her or if you are anywhere in the vicinity, I will see to it that you will get a restraining order."

"How would a restraining order crush me? I already have dozens!"

"It's a start. Consider your case filed."

 

Chapter ten: Always Somewhere, Never Nowhere

Leela walked around the New New York streets, thinking. She thought about her life. All this time she had been looking for the man of her dreams, yet for the last five years he'd been right there before her eyes. But now one of the mistakes she'd made along the way had came back to haunt her. Her, and her family. She still felt strange about them being soon a family.

She suddenly noticed she had strayed to the Bender B Rodriguez orphanarium. She thought about her childhood and how happy she was now. She sat down to the steps and started crying.

An elderly man opened the door. "Oh, don't cry little one...Leela?"

"Mr. Vogel?!"

"What brings you to this place, at this hour?"

"I was just walking by..."

"So how are things with you these days?"

"Oh, wonderful! I got engaged and just today heard that i'm having a baby."

"That's so good for you."

They talked there for a while about the 'good' old days.

A cab pulled over in front of them and Fry stepped out.

"Fry! How did you guess I was here?"

"I'm not saying you're predictable, but... This was the first place that came to mind when I saw you weren't at home. Oh, hi, Mr Vogel."

"How do you do, Mr..."

"Philip J. Fry."

"Oh, you must be her fiancée."

"That's right. Leela, whaddaya say, let's go home."

"Yeah, maybe we should. Well, nice seeing you Mr Vogel."

They walked for some time before they spoke again.

"I saw the letter. I called him."

"You... What did you say to him?"

"I made a point. About a restraining order."

She smiled.

She had heard him and her father talking last night. She could stop worrying about Zapp. Although she didn't enjoy the idea of her fiancée threatening the most decorated DOOP captain of all time, it showed her he really cared for her.

 

Chapter eleven: Enter Aurora

The doctor turned the monitor facing them, and left the couple for a few minutes.

"So, what we're going to call her?" She looked at the screen in front of them. It displayed their daughter. He looked at his soon-to-be-wife, who was radiating with joy, like the Sun radiates light.

"One of the very few things I remember from school was a history class. The teacher once spoke about some roman gods. There was this one goddess, who would fly across the sky every morning, brining the dawn with her."

"So uhh... What has that to do with her name?"

"I dunno. It was a good story, though."


Later that day, she was piloting the PE ship for the last time. That day, her maternity leave would start. It was a plain vanilla delivery job with no unusual features.

They were supposed to deliver a package for a planet that was, unknown to them, and because Zapp Brannigan just felt like it, under siege by the Nimbus.


On the Nimbus' bridge, things were heating up.

The radar operator spoke out, "Sir, I have a bogie."

"Where?"

"Approaching the planet, on the far side. Touching down in T minus two minutes."

"Have you identified it?"

"No, sir, we can't at this range."

"Helm, proceed to intercept. Weapons, Prepare to fire. Can we get a lock?"

"Yes, we can, but shouldn't we wait for the IFF status before we fire?"

"In normal circumstances, yes. But since we don't have the time, we should just fire as soon as they're in range."

"But what if it's a friendly ship?"

"They wouln't be attempting to break the blockade, would they?"

"Sir, this blockade is your own, no one knows about it except our crew."

"Are you disobeying my orders, officer?"
"Yes I am. I refuse to fire upon an unidentified craft."

"Then I will fire myself."

Zapp brannigan issued the lock command from his own console and after he heard the lock tone he pressed the fire button.

Silence landed to the bridge of the Nimbus. Kif was the first to speak out. "Sir, do you want me to iron your spare unform?"

"Why is that, Kif?"

"Sir, because we're getting court-martialed. That ship..."

"So the IFF status finally came, eh?"

"Yes. Just as you pressed the firing button. You just shot down a civilian craft."

"I do that all the time. Why should we get court-martialed now?"

"That was the Planet Express ship."

"And..."

"That ship was piloted by miss Turanga Leela, and by shooting down her ship you violated your restraining order."

"But why do you use the word 'we'?"

"Because I suppose you'll be making me take partial responsibility."

"Not at all, Kif."

He was surprised to find his commanding officer's nobility.

"I'm making you take ALL responsibility. I hereby make you the captain of the Nimbus. Effective ten minutes ago. So, what shall we do, captain?"

Kif knew right away.

"Captain Zapp Brannigan, you are under arrest for violating a restraining order. Guards, put him in custody."

He turned to the helmsman. "Take us to the crash site. I want a recovery team there yesterday!"

"OK, now i'm again the capt... HEY! GET OFF ME! Kif, what are you doing?!"

"Saving whom and what I can."

As the guards took Zapp away, the Nimbus descended nearer the planet's surface. A grim sight greeted them. A groove several miles long on a desert planet's surface. A green, roundish ship at the other end.

Kif never would have guessed the thoughts going through his head. He hoped he wouldn't be seeing Amy soon.


As soon as the Nimbus got low enough a recovery team was sent down on a shuttle. As they got inside the ship, the mess was even more terrible. Fire. glass fragments. Sparks from failing electrical devices.

A purple-haired woman in a blood-stained white tank top lying unconcious in the arms of one, a little-less injured, person in a bloody t-shirt and torn jeans.

 

Chapter eleven: The Wicked Life-span

Fry kept pacing back and forth before the sickbay's door. His head was bandaged and his right arm had broken in several places. The doctors were busy and didn't allow him to see his loved one.

Kif arrived at the sickbay.

"I came here as fast as I could. How is she?"

"She's going to be fine... Physically. The other scars take a longer to heal though. I assume you know why we were fired upon?"

"Yes... The planet you were heading for was placed under siege, because of violating Bran...ugh... Because Zapp felt like it. As the radar picked up your ship en route to that planet he fired at you. I ordered him arrested right after. I hope you can forgive me, mr Fry."

"I can forgive you, Kif, if what you said is true. But for the windbag, I'm not so sure. Where is he?"

"He's in custody for violating a restraining order."

"How do you know he had a restraining order?"

"He has several dozens of them, and everyone of the highest ranking officers serving under him, basically everyone on the bridge, is instructed to detain him in case he violates any of them. Which he did, and I put him into custody."

"Kif, this is not the best time to tell you this, and you're actually the first one to know... She was pregnant."

"Oh dear...This is going to be serious... Follow me."

They walked along the ship's corridors to the ship's library. As they entered, Kif locked the door and took a thick tome that was labeled 'DOOP Law - Part 5/254'.

"Serving under him makes sure you really get to know these books. There's not a single DOOP law he hasn't violated, plus the laws of different planets."

He started browsing the book. Finally he found what he was looking for.

"Oh dear... This... Mr Fry.. He's..."

"What?"

"You see, as he fired, he pushed the button personally after the weapons officer refused to fire without a friend-or-foe identification. The identification came, but on the very moment he fired. The ship logs show the ID was obtained two milliseconds before firing the weapons, so technically he knew whose ship it was and who were on board with what cargo. Him firing 'knowingly' upon a ship that carried a person that he had a restraining order against qualifies for an attempt of murder one. He'll be dismissed from the DOOP... He can kiss his military career goodbye..."

Silence landed in the library.

After a while Fry spoke out, "Doesn't this mean also that you're..."

"The captain of the Nimbus, yes. I wish my promotion would have happened under better circumstances."


They walked out of the library and proceeded to the sickbay. Kif left for the bridge, as his attention was required there.

The doctor approached him. He really hated this part of the job. "Mr Fry, I hate to tell you this, but I have good news and bad news."

"Not good news and good news?"

"No. I'm sorry. The little one didn't make it."

 

Epilogue

Tears were running down on his face.

"I'm sorry we never told you about your sister. We... It hurts to even think of her. It was especially tough for your mother. That's why we never talk about it. It hurts her. It's none too easy for me either."

They walked to a rocket-shaped tombstone.

"Oh, by the way..." The old man grinned. "Meet your cousin, Philip J. Fry, the first man on Mars."

She read the inscription on the tombstone. "THE Philip J. Fry is my cousin?!"

The old man snickered. "If you only knew..."

They started walking towards the landing-pad. Near the gate, they walked past a gardener.

"Mr Brannigan."

"Mr Fry."

The two figures resumed their walking. The other man turned around to see them leave, leaning on his rake.

"Dad, was that...?"

"Yes, Zapp Brannigan."

"I'll be right back."

The girl ran to the gardener, slapped his face with all her might.

"What was that for?" the ex-captain asked in amazement.

"For my big sister!"

Fry looked at her daughter amused, rubbing his chin. "Just like her mother."

 

The End

Buddies