Catastrophe, Part 2
Chapter 2: Cat on a Cold Linoleum Floor
Okay, don't panic. Maybe this is all a dream, and when I wake up I'll be...
She opened her eyes.
Nope. Still a cat.
Okay, okay... obviously, my current condition is the result of the teleporter experiment. My genes must've combined with Miss Kitty's, and transformed me into...
I guess the official term is "freak".
She took a quick inventory. Obviously, she was still intelligent and capable of higher reasoning. She could still walk erect, and still had opposable thumbs. So it wasn't hopeless...
...unless I de-evolve further...
No. Don't even think that. Professor Farnsworth did this to you, so he can probably undo this somehow. You won't be a freak for long.
So... I need to get back to the office. But first things first.
Amy pulled on a pair of sweats, taking care to cut a hole for her tail. There. It would probably be hot and uncomfortable, but wearing clothing made her feel more human. Shoes were out of the question, though... they wouldn't fit on her new feet.
She checked the mirror. Hmmm... not too bad. She could probably pass for a Fellurian (like her downstairs neighbor, Fluffers). Hell... once she went downstairs, she wouldn't be even CLOSE to the strangest thing on the street.
Yeah, just a quick tube ride to PE, and everything would be fixed, and she could get on with her life.
The tube ride to PE was uneventful. She popped out about a block from PE. It was still early, and it looked as if she'd have a clear run towards the building.
She put her hood up and broke into a run. Moments later (wow, I'm pretty fast), and she was at the door fumbling for her keys. Which, she now remembered, were on a hook in the kitchen back home.
She muttered a Chinese curse to herself. Of course. Why would something go right for me?
She spend the next twenty minutes looking for an alternate way in. Finally, she located an open window on the second floor. Now, the question was how to get up there...
Ah, what the hell. She jumped for it.
And made it.
She wriggled through the window and dropped down on all fours, surprised at how comfortable it felt.
Don't get used to it. You'll be back to normal before you know it.
She got to her feet again and tiptoed downstairs, not noticing the shadow behind her...
...until the shadow's owner pounced on her.
Amy ducked instinctively as the small creature sailed over her and smacked into the wall. It turned and advanced on her, salivating.
"Nibbler, wait! It's me, Amy! See? Who else has hair like this?" Ugh, it sounds like I have a bad case of laryngitis.
Nibbler sniffed... then came at her again. Amy leapt out of the way, landing clear across the room. Again, wow. I'm actually landing on my feet instead of my face. She whirled and faced Nibbler, unsheathing her claws.
"Okay, that's how you wanna do this? Well, I'm not on the menu. So if you want me... you're gonna have to fight me!"
That's when Nibbler leapt up and clamped on to her forearm with his jaw.
"OW! Hey, I was kidding! Leggo!" She tried to pry the little monster off, stumbling over the couch and landing on her back on the coffee table. "Get off, you little..."
"Nibbler! What is it? Did you catch a burglar?"
Oh, fudd. Leela came early today.
"Well, don't eat him, I have enough forms to fill out as i-"
Amy looked up. Leela was staring down at her, her jaw somewhere on the way to the floor.
"Um... hi, Leela. Could you, like, tell Nibbler I'm not food?"
Okay, this is exactly what I didn't want to happen.
Amy sat on the examination table as Zoidberg ran a variety of medical-looking devices over her body. The rest of the Planet Express crew, minus Fry and Bender who were late as usual, stood around, staring.
"Well, it seems you're in perfect health, at least according to this electric toothbrush."
"Hey, don't drag ME into this!" the toothbrush retorted. "All I said was, she looks okay. It's not, like, a professional opinion or anything. I mean, I'm a freakin' toothbrush."
"So, in conclusion, nothing is wrong with you, you crazy hypochondriac. Now stop wasting my t-Aw, who am I kidding. I have no LIFE!!" he sobbed.
"Look again," Amy said. "Haven't you noticed that I'm... oh, I don't know... entirely covered in fur?"
"Oh, that's normal in humans. But it seems that... I'm sorry, I didn't want to embarrass everyone... all the rest of you have a horrible case of mange. And it seems you've all lost your tails in freak revolving door accidents."
"That'll be enough from you, my stupid friend. Allow me." The Professor hobbled over to the examining table. "Now, it seems that Amy has fallen victim to the Cronenberg effect."
"What's that?" asked Leela.
"It's quite simple, really. You see, any time two different life forms are sent through a teleporter at the same time, they will wind up fusing to form a disgusting monstrous freak. Eh, no offense."
"Is there a cure, Professor?"
"Oh, my, of course, by which I mean I have no idea. But rest assured I will work day and night to find a cure for incontinence!"
"What about a cure for my turning into a cat-thing?"
"Eh, wha? You're a cat?"
"Sek si lun tao..."
Just then, Fry and Bender finally showed up.
"Sorry we're late, but I couldn't find my list of excus-" Fry trailed off, staring.
"Neat!" Bender said, snapping a picture.
"I'd say 'Take a picture, it'll last longer', but you just did."
Fry scratched his head. "What happened to you, Amy? Did you get kidnapped by evil monks from another galaxy who worship kittens and wanted a new vessel for their fiendish goddess? 'Cause that explanation doesn't make any sense at all!"
"No, Fry. I got my DNA crossed with my pet kitten's."
"Oh. Well, yeah, that happens all the time, right, Zoidberg?"
"Sure, I see it all the time. For example, look at that human over there. He's obviously been crossed with some sort of horrible combination of a crab and a squid."
Leela smirked. "That's your reflection."
"So it is. Oh, I'm so UGLY!" Zoidberg sobbed.
Hermes cleared his throat.
"Sweet kitty of Oklahoma City!"
Leela sighed. "Your exclamation's about an hour late, Hermes."
"I know. It took me dat long to t'ink it up. I started tryin' to find rhymes for 'cat', but it just didn't have de right rhythm, den I tried 'feline', but dere aren't any places dat rhyme wit' it, den..."
"Scruffy ain't interested in the creative process." The janitor went back to his copy of "Exotic Hooters".
"Anyway... ya still got your thumbs, woman, so get you n' you back ta work!"
After several hours of work on the ship, Amy had to admit something to herself: there were definite advantages to her new form.
For one, she was now much less clumsy. Whereas before, Amy had had all the grace of a drunk water buffalo, now she literally had catlike reflexes and the kind of agility that would make an Olympic gymnast jealous.
And the tail....
How did I ever get by without one of these?
It had so many uses... she could use it to hold spare tools, hit buttons and switches that she couldn't reach otherwise, and flying a stick-shift would never be a problem again.
They should issue these things to engineers. They're too useful NOT to have.
But then again... it could get caught in a revolving door or something. And that wouldn't be fun.
Still... when the Professor cured her, if she missed anything about being a cat, it'd be the tail.
Eventually, quitting time rolled around. Amy hopped down from the gun turret, where she'd been working, landing lightly on her feet. "And Wong nails the dismount! And the crowd goes wild!"
Leela smirked. "You're having fun."
"Well, g'uh... I might as well. I mean, I'll be normal again soon, so why mope about it?"
"I know I wouldn't mind being another species. Unless it's a lobster." said Fry
"Oy. Again with the Zoidberg-bashing. "
"Ya make it easy, crabmeat," Bender said, leaning into the conversation.
Just then, the Professor entered.
"Good news, whoever you are! I've found a cure!"
"Great! What's the cure?"
"Oh, there's no cure."
"But you just said..."
"You see, you don't have human DNA or feline DNA.... rather, the teleport chamber has actually constructed a completely new genome that combines traits of both species! You, Amy, are the first and only member of a species I call homo felis, or 'The Farnsworth Cat-Monster.'"
"I'm a new species?"
"Yes, dammit, now leave me alone! I'm late for my anger-management class!"
As he hobbled off, Amy took it in. No cure. I'm going to be stuck this way for the rest of my life. And I'll be the only one of my kind.
I wonder if this is what it was like for her, she thought, glancing up at Leela.
Hermes put a hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry, Amy. You take all de time y' need t' adjust. And 'can use dat time t'fill out dese forms." With that, he dropped a pile of papers in her lap. "Dis be ya' standard Application for Recognition as an Intelligent Life Form. Fill it out in septuplicate and submit it t'the Central Beaurocracy. Once it's processed, you'll be recognized as a sentient being with all the rights and privileges of any other Earthican citizen or legal resident."
"But... what happens until then?"
"Until then, you have the status of... 'pet.'"
"And, as a pet, you need to get all de right shots, wear a collar, and you won't be permitted to live on your own. You'll need to move in with a human, robot, or other recognized intelligent being." A beat. "I t'ink we can waive de mandatory spaying."
"I hope so!" Amy growled indignantly. "How long is this gonna take, anyway?"
"Let me put it dis way... I'd be lookin' inta long-term kennel rental."
Question #17: Complete the following phrase: "I think, therefore I _____"
D. Flint, Michigan
"This is absolutely ridiculous! Shouldn't the fact that I can read and fill out this form PROVE that I'm intelligent?"
"Nah," retorted Bender. "Lotsa unintelligent creatures know how t'read an' write. Like Fry."
"Yeah, like m- Hey! I'm intelligent! I passed the same test Amy's taking! And it only took me eight tries!"
Question #22: You see food located in a place you can't reach. What do you do?
A. Starve to death
B. Ram your head into the wall in an attempt to knock it loose
C. Form a crude tool out of sticks
D. Order a pizza
She sighed. Only 178 more questions to go...
3 days later
"It was really nice of you guys to wait on line with me."
They were just leaving the Central Beaurocracy now, having waited in line for 66 hours to drop off Amy's papers.
"Hey, that's what friends are for, right?" said Fry.
"So, I'll get my papers back soon, right?
"Oh, I don' t'ink so, woman. You n' you'll be lucky if it's only a month."
"I'll be a pet for a month? What am I gonna do? I can't crash at Planet Express forever..."
"Hey, I got a great idea!" said Fry. "You could move in with me!"
Leela frowned. "I don't think that's such a good idea, Fry. Maybe she'd be better off at my place."
"You barely have enough room for yourself and Nibbler. There's plenty of space in my apartment."
"Thanks, Fry! You're terrific!" she purred, hugging him tightly.
"My pleasure, really," he replied, trying to resist the urge to scratch her behind the ears, but finally giving in. She didn't seem to mind... the action made her purr even louder..
Neither of them saw the dirty look Leela gave them...