Death Clock Countdown, part 4
INT-FARNSWORTH'S LAB-A FEW MINUTES LATER
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
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
INT-THE INTERNET-A FEW MINUTES LATER
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.
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?
The Neptunians are staging a strike and a
march tomorrow, in protest of the recent
events on their planet. We are asking
What happened on Neptune?
Sorry, don't know. I'm a blog, and I
just copied and pasted from that blog
FRY turns around. Running down the street are countless
identical booths, all of which are running identical copies
of the MAYOR's image.
INT-MALFUNCTIONING EDDIE'S GAMBLING EMPORIUM- - MOMENTS
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?
Really? Haven't had one of those for a
while. Probably because they're
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
But, but, that's not permit...two million
Yep. And subjects are online now.
Add me in the usual amount. And go ahead
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
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
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.
Stop them! Get them out of here! Double
my bet on times less than two minutes
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.
Amy! Pull us out!
EDDIE's head explodes as the three Planet Express crew
glow, then vanish.
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
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..."
He pulls a dictionary out of his chest and thumbs through
"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.
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?
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,
Oh no. A domino effect. All because of
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.
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
(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
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.
You, we'll deal with your situation
later, but now is not the time for you to
try anything new or change your routine,
And why do we have the misfortune of
seeing you here?
Ah, Leela, the more thou protest-aith the
more you expose your longing to me. But
sadly, I'm here for 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
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,
LEELA and AMY drag KIF toward one corner of the room. ZAPP
looks at them idly for a moment, then turns toward FRY.
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)
Yeah, I know you did. You never let
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
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
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.
LEELA is showing the camera to KIF, neither of them looking
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!
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...
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.
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..
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
Is that really possible?
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.
What a lucky gal you are...
Aren't I? Sometimes it takes a crisis to
really see someone's true colors...