Fan Fiction

Death Clock Countdown, part 4
By JustNibblin'


               LEELA, BENDER, and FRY are donning their net-surfing
               helmets, as AMY and ZOIDBERG watch.

                      Leela, can I ask a favor?

                      Sure. Wait, what?

                      It's about Kif.  I've told you how he's
                      been blaming himself about the shuttle
                      explosion.  And Zapp is riding him on
                      that too.

                      Yeah, I feel badly for him too.

                      Well, the Nimbus is in Earth orbit this
                      evening, and Kiffie and I are going out
                      to dinner at Elzar's.  I think it would
                      mean a lot to him if he knew about the
                      camera, and if you could tell him it's
                      not his fault.  And... it may be the last
                      chance for him--us--to talk with the DNA
                      donor to his children--to our children.

               This has been hard for AMY to say, and LEELA knows it.

                      I'd really like to, but there's so little
                      time remaining for everything...

                      I've already got together everything
                      you've asked for.  And you could use a
                      little break tonight before worrying
                      about tomorrow again.

                      Oh, all right.  Let me know the time. 
                      But I want to bring Fry along too.  I
                      don't trust him and Bender alone right

                      That would be fun, as long as Bender
                      promises not to tease Elzar.  I wouldn't
                      mind a quiet dinner there for once.

                      Let me ask you a favor in return--will
                      you train the camera on Fry while we're
                      online?  We should only be about twenty

                                                                SCENE 15


               LEELA, BENDER, and FRY are walking down the the internet
               highway.  They approach the Taco Bellvue website portal,
               which is sitting next to a tall brick firewall, beyond
               which various sex shops and MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE's GAMBLING
               EMPORIUM can be glimpsed.

                      You two wait here.  I'll go in and pick
                      up the medical results.

               As she enters the portal, BENDER turns to FRY.

                      And I'm going to go to the gambling
                      center for, umm, the All My Circuits
                      betting thread... I'll be back in a few.

               He then takes out an encryption key, waves it at the
               firewall, and walks through.

                                BENDER (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                      Oh by the way, I borrowed your wallet.

                          (feeling pockets)
                      Oh man, I can't even hang on to it in
                      virtual reality.  Actually, how did he
                      even do that?

                                MAYOR POOENMEYER (O.S.)
                      ...due to the upcoming strike, we are
                      asking all non-essential workers to
                      remain at home tomorrow.

               FRY turns and sees an image of the MAYOR standing inside a
               shop display.  FRY walks up to him.

                      What was that?

                                MAYOR POOENMEYER
                      The Neptunians are staging a strike and a
                      march tomorrow, in protest of the recent
                      events on their planet.  We are asking
                      all non-essential-

                      What happened on Neptune?

                                MAYOR POOENMEYER
                      Sorry, don't know.  I'm a blog, and I
                      just copied and pasted from that blog
                      over there.

               FRY turns around.  Running down the street are countless
               identical booths, all of which are running identical copies
               of the MAYOR's image.

                                                                SCENE 16


               BENDER walks into the emporium, a shady smoke-filled den
               filled with screens, couches, and tellers behind barred
               windows.  BENDER walks up to one of the windows.

                      I'd like to open up a new bet thread.

               He does a double take as he sees that the teller is

                      Well, hello Bender!

                      I expected to see you behind bars, but
                      not these kinds of bars!

                      My robo-therapist said that I should stay
                      away from banks and large sums of cash to
                      help me adjust to society.  So I thought
                      a gambling joint would be a safe place to
                      be.  Anyway, animal, vegetable, mineral,
                      alien, robot, mutant, or other?

                      Animal.  Humans.


                      Death time.

                      Really?  Haven't had one of those for a
                      while.  Probably because they're
                      technically illegal.

                      Oh, is that all?  Why would they be
                      worried about that?

                      I guess the humans are a little worried
                      that these types of bets get real popular

                      Did I just pick up the wonderfully
                      decadent suggestion of a bet on a human's
                      death?  How intriguing!

               BENDER turns around and sees HEDONISMBOT strolling up to
               the window, along with about ten other robots.

                                HEDONISMBOT (CONT'D)
                      Just like the ancient bread and circuses
                      of the Romans--a fight to the death!

                      Actually, no fight, just an open bet on
                      the time at which two humans die, to
                      within fifty milliseconds.  Plenty of
                      slots available.

                      And whom might this lucky fellow be?

                      Can't tell you...

                      But for us to take the bet, we need an
                      ID, to verify both the existence and the
                      eventual death of the entity.

               BENDER jacks up to an input terminal.  A sequence of ID
               codes scrolls across the screen.

                      Thrillingly intriguing --at least one
                      human has a defective career chip, making
                      him difficult to locate easily...

                      Any restrictions on type of death...

                      I don't see how I can rule out any
                      category--he's already nearly been killed
                      so many ways.


                      Sure, that's already been tried before. 
                      Someone's already tried to drink Fry...

                      Fry?  The Phillip J Fry that wrote the
                      most amusing opera for me?

               BENDER realizes that he may have let too much out.

                      Eh, no.  His twin brother.  His evil twin

                      A most interesting and unpredictable
                      human--my erogenous simulator is charging
                      rapidly!  I'll place a bet, spread over a
                      Gaussian distribution of mean 12.1 hours
                      from now, standard distribution 2.6

               Robots start to crowd toward the window, just as LEELA and
               FRY enter.

                      Don't you have any backbone to hold back
                      a virtual BENDER from his virtual
                      schemes?  We don't have time for this! 
                      If your lab tests are correct...

               They both stop as about every robot in the room swivels
               their eyes to look at them.

                      Err...I wonder who those strange humans

                      Easy enough to find out.

               He presses a button labeled "ping" on the wall.  Suddenly
               two IP addresses flash in mid-air next to the two humans,
               which then resolve into TURUNGA LEELA and PHILIP J FRY?.

               The robots turn in unison to the betting window.

                                CLAMP BOT
                      Hundred bucks, Poisson distribution, mean
                      5 minutes, deviation one minute.

                      Idiot--the mean and variance of the
                      Poisson distribution are the same. 
                      Where'd you get your programming?  I want
                      $200, Lorentzian, two minutes, 30 second
                      standard deviation!

                      One minute, Rayleigh, ten second

                      One thousand bucks each minute for the
                      next ten minutes, uniform distribution. 
                      A gladiator contest!  Ah, and to think I
                      had scheduled time to be bored today!

               FRY and LEELA are instinctively backing toward the door. 
               FRY has his arm in front of LEELA, but she whacks it away
               and starts to move in front of him.

               The betting is swamping the teller windows.  MALFUNCTIONING
               EDDIE's head appears in mid-air in front of BENDER and

                                MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE
                      Anomalous betting activity reported. 
                      What's going on here?

                      New betting thread, five thousand, three
                      hundred and sixty-two bets placed, three
                      million dollar pot.  Humans, death time. 
                      Permission to activate thread.

                                MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE
                      But, but, that's not permit...two million

                      Yep. And subjects are online now.

                                MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE
                      Add me in the usual amount.  And go ahead
                      and activate.

               The entire room turns and begins to rush the humans.  LEELA
               launches into the air and in a spectacular series of Matrix
               like moves sends seven robots flying across the room.

                      Fry, deactivate! Log out, now!  Amy, can
                      you hear us?

               FRY has his back against the door, ready to exit, but he
               hesitates, looking at LEELA.

               LEELA performs a judo move on CLAMPBOT, who flies through
               the image of CRAZZIE EDDIE's head, which is beginning to
               spark slightly.

                                MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE
                      Stop! My domain name does not allow
                      combat at this URL!  I'm gonna get shut
                      down if this keeps up!

               Suddenly FRY is spinning through the air, and two robots go

                      Cool! I forgot life's a video game here!

                      Fry, stop it!  You're going to get
                      virtually killed!

               FRY backflips next to BENDER, and both stand back to back
               against the crowd surrounding them.

                      Can you actually die online?

               LEELA runs up the wall and ceiling and lands next to the

                      Installing kill switches into online
                      surfing helmets was voted worst tech idea
                      in 2945, next to belching tatoos.

                                MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE
                      Stop them!  Get them out of here!  Double
                      my bet on times less than two minutes
                      from now!

                      Oh yeah!  Well I bet your head is going
                      to explode any second now, they way it's

               The crowd pauses, and turns to look at EDDIE's head, which
               is indeed sparking alarmingly.

                      Is that a formal bet?

                      Uh, you mean--

                      Yes, yes!  Five bucks on the next ten

                      Standard deviation five seconds!  And ten
                      bucks on twenty seconds!

               Suddenly the whole room is shouting as the robots in the
               room place their side bets.

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                      Amy! Pull us out!

               EDDIE's head explodes as the three Planet Express crew
               glow, then vanish.

                                                                SCENE 17


               LEELA, AMY, BENDER, and FRY rush into the restaurant, the
               ladies in nice casual wear, FRY in his usual jacket, and
               BENDER in his usual BENDER-ness.  LEELA, as is now her
               habit, is carrying the death clock camera.

                      On top of everything, now this strike
                      tomorrow!  Right in the middle of our
                      death day!  No wonder the gambling robots
                      were going crazy in there!  Everything's
                      now up in the air!  I keep trying to
                      simplify our death day, and it just gets
                      more complicated!

                      Yeah, those robots were sure crazed about
                      some stupid strike.  Yessiree.  Good
                      thing I got us the tank taxi over here.

               The host seats the group around their usual table.

                      Kif's late.  It's not like him.  I guess
                      we didn't have to rush like this.

                      Well, it gives us a few minutes.  Amy,
                      take a look at Fry's blood and nervous
                      system results that I printed out.

                      I'm an engineer, not some dang-doa
                      biological assembler.  But... looks like
                      he has low dopamine levels...

                      ..and "his entire nervous and digestive
                      system is slightly stressed"...

                      ..it says here he is suffering classic
                      withdrawal symptoms-like he's recovering
                      from some sort of addiction.

                      The blood report here, contrasted with a
                      sample from last year, look.  A whole
                      host of chemicals are reduced or missing
                      from today's sample.  

                      Let's see.  "Identification of substance
                      impossible due to complexity of
                      composition".  Wait, there's some fine
                      print on the back of this one...

                      Oh, I missed that!  "Certain substances
                      analogous to proteins found in the feces
                      of annelids on Earth..."


                      Accessing database.

               He pulls a dictionary out of his chest and thumbs through

                                BENDER (CONT'D)
                      "A large phylum that comprises the
                      segmented worms, including earthworms,
                      lugworms, and leeches."

               LEELA's eye widens in recognition.

                      Fry, when was the last time you drank

               KIF enters and moves to the table.  

                                KIF KROKER
                      Sorry I'm late, everybody.  The Neptunian
                      crisis is causing all sorts of headaches. 
                      Now that it's public news, I can tell you
                      that's why the Nimbus is in the Earthian
                      solar system in the first place.  And
                      that's not the worst of it.

                      What's the matter Kiffie?

                                KIF KROKER
                      Apparently had the Nimbus arrived on
                      Neptune two hours earlier, we might have
                      prevented the crisis.  But since we were
                      delayed by the Plushtonian incident...

               LEELA puts her hand over her mouth, while FRY, being FRY,
               looks confused.

                      Oh no.  A domino effect.  All because of

                                KIF KROKER
                      What do you mean?  Had I been on that
                      shuttle, it wouldn't have crashed, and
                      the Nimbus wouldn't have been delayed.

                      Kif, there's something we need to tell
                      you, but one thing first.
                          (turns to FRY)
                      You didn't answer my question about the

                      Well, yeah, I've been trying to cut a

                      For how long?

                      For a few weeks...

                      Since when?  Did you stop gradually, or
                      stop on a certain date?  Fry, if we're
                      going to help you, you need to be
                      absolutely honest with us, right?

               FRY pauses a long time before answering.

                      I'm been trying to cut back since the
                      night of my opera.  And since Plushton I
                      haven't been drinking any at all.

               LEELA stares at FRY, while KIF brightens up.  AMY, looking
               at the restaurant entrance, suddenly pales.


                                KIF KROKER
                      Oh, I'm so sorry I had to miss your
                      opera.  I had to cover for Zapp so he
                      could go see it.  Apparently it started
                      really well, but neither he or Amy have
                      told me what happened later...

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN (O.S.)
                      Yes, I've been a bit curious about the de
                      knoi-ment of that little mystery myself.

               Everyone turns around to see ZAPP BRANNIGAN smiling,
               approaching the table.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN (CONT'D)
                      I was told that Kif would be here, but I
                      must say I feel like the cat who has
                      uncovered a very sexy purple canary.

               ELZAR hurries out of the kitchen at the sound of Zapp's
               voice, and the other restaurateurs are looking up furtively
               and whispering to each other in impressed, hushed tones.  

                      Good evening, Captain Brannigan, what a
                      pleasure to have three celebrities here

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                          (looking around)

                          (clamping two hands down on
                      Yeah, opera guy here.  People are still
                      talking about that night.  And blernsball
                      lady there--worst player in history.  All

                      Don't forget the iron chef champion.

               ELZAR refuses to acknowledge BENDER.

                      But I never finished the opera.  Everyone
                      walked out.

                      Hey, a big failure is sometimes what it
                      takes to succeed in this town.  So tell
                      you what, just for this table, I'll bring
                      out my new appetizer.  Since I'm closing
                      tomorrow, you'll be the first to try it
                      for days!  I'll give it some extra BAM!
                      For ya' guys!

                      One moment.  Two Slurms for our celebrity

               ELZAR nods and departs, and LEELA glares across the table
               at FRY and ZAPP.

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                          (to FRY)
                      You, we'll deal with your situation
                      later, but now is not the time for you to
                      try anything new or change your routine,
                          (to ZAPP)
                      And why do we have the misfortune of
                      seeing you here?

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      Ah, Leela, the more thou protest-aith the
                      more you expose your longing to me.  But
                      sadly, I'm here for Kif.
                          (to Kif)
                      I've just gotten an update on the
                      Neptunian situation.  The velour loss hit
                      their industries hard, setting off the
                      initial riots and systemwide strike.  But
                      now we have a new problem.  Xmas is
                      coming early this year. 

               The restaurant falls silent, but ZAPP does not notice and
               continues on.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN (CONT'D)
                      I guess no one knew that Robot Santa
                      likes velour in his suits as well, and
                      he's coming to see who's been naughty
                      enough to cut off his supply.  He should
                      be breaking into our local airspace early
                      tomorrow morning.  The DOOP will be
                      issuing an alert shortly, and we'll
                      distract him as much as we can.

               KIF looks absolutely miserable, and LEELA looks at him.

                      Could you excuse us three for a minute?
                      Fry, Bender, would you mind sitting with
                      Zapp for a minute?  I'll be right over
                      there with my camera.  Remember, Fry,
                      Slurm! Drink!

               LEELA and AMY drag KIF toward one corner of the room.  ZAPP
               looks at them idly for a moment, then turns toward FRY.  

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      This works out perfectly.  I've been
                      looking of a chance to talk ameno on
                      ameno with the only other man who has
                      managed to voyage into the lush world
                      known as Leela. 

               FRY stares at ZAPP blankly, who leans forward.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN (CONT'D)
                      Leela.  Snu-Snu.

                      Yeah, I know you did.  You never let
                      anyone forget.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      And then you, that night of the opera. 
                      Something must have happened that night. 
                      I bet some field was plowed.  And I
                      respect a man who is able to drop his
                      plow into that particular garden.

               ELZAR walks in with the appetizers and plops them in front
               of the men and robot.

                      Here ya' go.  Eat up!

               He leaves and FRY and the other spoon the grey-looking
               strips of meat onto their plates.

               All this talk about gardening has confused FRY for a
               moment, but the male mind, even FRY's, is designed to
               understand certain things very quickly.

                      Oh, you mean that you think that Leela
                      and I....

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      Well, of course.  Art is just a big word
                      for seduction, and I wish to learn
                      exactly how it went.  Compare notes.  For
                      example, what did you think of the mole
                      on her...

                      Wait a second, wait a second.

               FRY pauses for a moment, dangling a a strip of meat from
               his fork, and looks at a clock on the wall, watching the
               seconds fall away.  Never in his life would he have
               imagined ZAPP to be the first person he would talk with
               about that evening.  Finally, he comes to a decision and
               lowers his knife and fork.  BENDER pretends to be bored,
               but as the starship captain leans forward, the robot also
               leans in slightly as FRY begins to speak.

                                                                SCENE 18


               LEELA is showing the camera to KIF, neither of them looking
               through it.

                                KIF KROKER
                      And that's the camera?
                          (Amy and Leela nod)
                      And you and Fry are supposed to die

                      There, doesn't that make you feel better? 
                      None of this is your fault!

                                KIF KROKER
                      No, I feel terrible!  To have to face the
                      fact of your own end so starkly-that's a
                      burden I wouldn't wish on anyone!  What
                      are you going to do?

                      The only strategy I can think of is to
                      remove as many distractions as possible,
                      and try to have as normal a routine as
                      possible, so any oddity about that day
                      will be flagged.  Of course, tomorrow
                      isn't looking so typical...

                                KIF KROKER
                      Where are you planning to stay?

                      Fry's apartment has Death written all
                      over it--I don't think even he knows
                      what's lurking in the corners of that
                      room.  Planet Express is also a
                      deathtrap.  I was thinking of putting him
                      in my apartment.  It's a little...
                      spartan ...but that also means that there
                      are fewer complications, fewer
                      opportunities to get caught off guard.

                                KIF KROKER
                      Well, I owe you a great debt that I can
                      never repay.  And you are the DNA donator
                      to our children.  By the traditions of my
                      ancestors I am honor-bound to help you in
                      any way possible.

                      Oh Kiffie, that is so noble of you--

                      Thanks, but I can't really see..

                                KIF KROKER
                      I'll be in charge of a large contingent
                      of men assisting the police in locking
                      down the streets tomorrow against Santa's
                      assault and preventing civil unrest due
                      to the strike.  We're going to martial
                      law tomorrow.  I'll have your apartment
                      building evacuated and post sentries a
                      block in each direction.  Nothing will
                      get in or out.  If you want to make your
                      life simple, then why should we fool

               For the first time in a long time, LEELA's face brightens
               with hope.

                      Is that really possible?

                                KIF KROKER
                      Not just possible, it's already done. 
                      Around 14:00 local time tomorrow,

               He places a small wireless tablet back in his pocket.

                      Yes, that's Fry's time, and mine is about
                      45 minutes later.

               Across the room ZAPP lets out a roar of laughter that
               distracts everyone for a moment.  Then LEELA looks at Kif
               with a smile.

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                          (to AMY)
                      What a lucky gal you are...

                      Aren't I?  Sometimes it takes a crisis to
                      really see someone's true colors...

                                                                SCENE 19