Fan Fiction

Death Clock Countdown, part 5
By JustNibblin'


                      ...and then we ate some solyent-green at
                      a 24-hour stall, 'cause playing that
                      instrument made me really hungry..

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      Uh huh...

                      ..and then we just walked around.  We
                      walked for hours!  By the water, by the
                      ice rink, through the park.  We saw the
                      stars, and we talked, and walked, and
                      talked.  I was really happy.  I remember
                      wishing the morning would never come.
                      And the funny thing is... I can't really
                      remember what we talked about!  I just
                      remember a feeling like lying on your
                      back on a summer field on a warm day and
                      watching the clouds float by, and
                      everything just seemed right.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      And then you got a room?

                          (absently, lost in memories)
                      Oh no, nothing like that.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                          (incredulous and delighted)
                      You mean nothing happened?

                      Well, a lot happened!  But we didn't end
                      up kissing and ... that stuff.  I guess
                      maybe we felt that had we kissed it would
                      have been more like an ending, a curtain
                      on things.  And somehow we both wanted it
                      to be a beginning, a new start...
                      ...at least we thought there would be
                      time for a new start...

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      So you mean nothing happened?

                      As the sun rose I made a promise to her,
                      and in return she made a promise to me.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                          (leaning even further forward)

                      I promised I would not keep asking her
                      out.  Oh yes, and I also promised I would
                      create something else musical for her.

               ZAPP stares at FRY for a moment, then throws his head back
               and roars with laughter until tears form at the corner of
               his eyes.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      You wrote an entire opera for that
                      flower, and in the end that's all she
                      gives you, and you're happy with that! 
                      Oh, what a woman!  What a sorceress! 
                      What an elegant brush-off!  And what a
                      way to get you off her back, leaving the
                      way clear for me!  And what did this
                      angel of chest-tity promise you in

                      Well, you can ask her herself.  Here she

               As LEELA, AMY, and KIF arrive, FRY grabs his knife and fork
               and starts cutting his appetizer into smaller pieces.  He
               looks at LEELA and sees she has a small smile on her face. 
               Relieved to see her that way, he breaks open into a grin. 
               She grins back, but the way he is holding his hands catches
               her eye.

                      Are you still trying to use that same
                      knife?  I mean, it's nearly bent into a
                      right angle!  You can barely hold it
                      correctly to cut it!

                      I've had a lot of trouble cutting this,
                      but I'm not switching around.  Meat
                      smells great, though.

               He lifts a piece to his mouth, but LEELA's hand falls
               gently, yet firmly, onto his arm.


               She grabs the camera and views FRY, whose mouth is still
               open, lips stretching to taste the morsel a few inches

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                      Drop it. Now.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      Do you really think now is the time to
                      take pictures, right before we eat--

               FRY drops the fork and knife, and LEELA pulls the plate

                      None of you eat this.

               She gestures to ELZAR, who swings over to the table.

                      How'd you like my dish.  Enough BAM! for

                      Actually, too much.  I think something in
                      here is toxic.

                      No, that just the new flavor my new
                      specially-bred spice weasel is making.

                      Well test it.  If any of us eats it we'll
                      be dead within seconds.

               ELZAR begins to argue, but one look at her face convinces
               him to simply nod and walk to the kitchen.  LEELA's face is
               pale and her lips are trembling.

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                      I forget to watch the camera for just a
                      couple minutes and this almost happens.
                          (gathering purse)
                      I'm sorry, but we need to leave.  Fry,
                      take your Slurm with you.

                      Hey Leela, it's no big deal, and we
                      haven't had dinner yet...

                      Three seconds from death.  Three seconds
                      and all our efforts would have been for

                      Wow! Shattered the old record!

               LEELA looks extremely tired all of the sudden.

                      I'm sorry Kif, Amy, .... Zapp ...., We
                      have to go.

                                KIF KROKER
                      We understand, Leela.

               ELZAR walks back, a little shaken.

                      Apparently our new spice weasel has a
                      stomach flu that put a little more BAM!
                      In the spice than I wanted.  I feel
                      really, really terrible about this.  Tell
                      you what, I'll give it to you half price.

                      Half price!  We thought that was a gift
                      on the house!  

                      A gift?  For a failed opera?  Guy's gotta
                      make a living here.  But I do feel bad
                      about almost killing ya--so again, I'll
                      cut the price in half and we'll call it

               LEELA turns to the others around the table.

                      Would you excuse me for a moment?

               LEELA leaves with ELZAR. 

                      Fry, Leela is going to have you stay at
                      Planet Express tonight, where everyone is
                      going to keep an eye on you.


                      With Robot Santa and riots arriving, we
                      all decided you needed to be in a more
                      secure place overnight.  Then tomorrow
                      Leela will escort you to her apartment.

                      Really? Her apartment?

                      She also said something like "Don't let
                      him get any ideas."

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      From what I've learned tonight, I
                      wouldn't have any worries about that. 
                      This has been most eddie-frying, but...
                          (buzzer beeps)
                      ...interesting.  Kif, three small ships
                      of unidentified origin have entered the
                      atmosphere.  No known origin or
                      recognizable characteristics.  You've got
                      work to do tonight.

                                KIF KROKER
                      Yes sir, I really do.
                          (to AMY)
                      Please say goodbye to Leela, and tell her
                      not to worry.

                                ZAPP BRANNIGAN
                      It's good to see she's so into
                      photography right now.  I'll have Kif
                      send some good shots of me--ah nature-el
                      if you know what I mean?

               KIF and ZAPP leave just before LEELA enters with a slightly
               disheveled ELZAR.  

                      Er, on behalf of the house, the house
                      would like you to have the dish on the

               Standing behind him LEELA's eye shines with righteous fury. 
               Despite her exhaustion and simple dress, FRY can't help but
               look at her and feel his spirits lift a bit.  A glance from
               her reminds him...he looks around and polishes off his

                                                                SCENE 20


               FRY and BENDER are watching ALL MY CIRCUITS on TV, lounging
               on the couch.

                                ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
                      Calculon has only 24 hours left to live! 
                      Will he survive?  Can Monique save him?

                      Meh, it's been done before.

               He shuts off the TV, and looks at BENDER, who is thumbing
               some cash.

                                FRY (CONT'D)
                      The pool?

                      Yep, and its still growing.  But now I've
                      scrambled your identity further, seeing
                      what happened this afternoon.  I also
                      tried to remove assassination as a valid
                      option, but that apparently takes twelve
                      hours to go through.

                      I'm happy you did that for me, Bender. 
                      Yeah, that would be pretty sad, although
                      kind of funny, if your bet ended up
                      killing me.  But if they killed Leela I
                      would be pretty mad.  Did you take her
                      off like I asked you?

                      Yeah, she was easier to remove--I'm just
                      keeping her in the local in-house pool. 
                      And don't keep mentioning your death. 
                      I'm still in step 1.6 of my grieving
                      process algorithm, and right now I'm
                      running the denial subroutine.

                      OK. Well, I'm thinking of hitting the
                      sack.  Nothing interesting left on TV,
                      except stupid warnings to stay inside due
                      to dumb death and destruction tomorrow.

               He stops talking, and silence drifts over the building.

                                FRY (CONT'D)
                      What's Leela up to anyway?

                                                                SCENE 21


               LEELA, still in her evening outfit, is sitting in front of
               a bunch of computer monitors.  Videocamera stills of a
               crowd at a tube station appear on one screen, mug shots on
               another, and death certificates on a third.  LEELA's head
               lies on the keyboard.

               FRY and BENDER wander in.

                      Leela?  Leela!  Are you OK?

               LEELA awakes and looks around, uncertain where she is for a
               moment, before everything snaps into place.  Suddenly fully
               awake, she jumps off the stool.

                      What?  What's wrong?  I left you in front
                      of the TV for just a few moments!  Did I
                      oversleep?  Is it morning yet?

                      This is some setup you have here!

                      Yeah, what are you doing?  Making movies?

                          (shutting off displays)

                      Hmmm..crowd scenes, face recognition
                      software, police morgue reports, death
                      certificates...sheez, I said you should
                      have tested the camera this way earlier,
                      but no, it was "Oh, let's go buy lizards
                      because we can't test humans".

                      You mean she's testing the camera again?

                      Yep, checking them against police
                      records.  It's just a matter of matching
                      the faces to a database.  A few hours of
                      video in front of a tube station should
                      pick up thousands of people, and the odds
                      are that a few will shuffle off this
                      mortal coil in the near future.  And the
                      time between death and death certificate
                      is just a matter of minutes.

                      You mean...

                      Yep, before your body is cold, people
                      already know you're dead and are checking
                      out your apartment.

                      But Leela, we know the camera works!  And
                      didn't you think, didn't we agree --other
                      than Bender that is-- that this was a
                      bit, what's the word---

                      Ghoulish?  Yes.  But I finished preparing
                      for tomorrow a while ago, Amy's just
                      dropped off all the equipment at my
                      apartment, and I just thought I'd place
                      the camera at the nearby tube station and
                      check it out one more time.  Maybe it's
                      not always perfect, and we're worrying
                      ourselves over nothing.

                      So, has it missed any?

                      So far tonight five people on the camera
                      had predicted death times a few hours
                      into the future.  The last of the five
                      death certificates came online just
                      twenty minutes ago.  By next morning
                      another six should be dead. 
                          (to BENDER)
                      Bender, would you mind picking the camera
                      up down the street?  It's disguised in a
                      garbage-bot standing back from the tube
                      entrance.  I don't want to expose Fry any
                      more than we have to.

                      I'll add it to my bill.

               As BENDER exits FRY keeps looking at LEELA, who has trouble
               meeting his eyes.

                      Leela, this can't be good for you.

                      Yeah, yeah, you've already said this a
                      bunch of times.

                      But just because I keep saying it doesn't
                      make it less true.  I'm worried about
                      you, Leela.  You're really tired, really
                      stressed out, and this camera is worrying
                      you sick.  And now you're doing creepy
                      things like this.  I haven't seen you
                      this stressed out since-- well, since
                      yesterday, and the day before that--and
                      actually since every mission we've been

                      As if you aren't stressed out, either? 
                      You aren't, aren't you?  What's wrong
                      with you?
                          (puts face in hands)
                      One of the dead was a little girl.  She
                      was an orphan.  I didn't know until I saw
                      the autopsy report.  She had been
                      abandoned, and she was alone.  She died
                      from the cold.  I saw her face on the
                      camera, but I didn't know...

                      You're going home right now, and I'm
                      taking the camera from you.

                      No!  I've got to keep on it, monitor both
                      of us.

                      Look, Leela.  We both know only you have
                      any chance of figuring this thing out. 
                      But if you're tired, you're no good to
                      me, and you're no good to yourself.  If I
                      ask Bender for the camera, he'll give it
                      to me.  Now, we're going downstairs, and
                      you're going to your apartment.

                      You need to stay here---

                      And I will.  But you are going to get
                      some rest, and we've got a lot to live up
                      to tomorrow. Come on.

                                                                SCENE 22


               LEELA and FRY emerge onto the street, and hang around
               waiting for BENDER.  LEELA has her coat on.

                      Look!  The stars are coming out!  There's
                      Venus! and Xan IV!  How shiny they are!

                      Oh yes, in the Ship constellation...
                      You and your stars.  Even after flying
                      among them, you still love to look at
                      them from the ground, don't you?

                      I really do.  It reminds me of my old
                      life.  So many things are different in
                      the future, but the night sky is still
                      the same as it was when I was little.  I
                      remember Yancy and I looking at them
                      while camping out behind the house.

                      I suppose the stars are beautiful, if you
                      don't think too closely about how that
                      star there is a tourist trap, how that
                      one is going through a civil war, and how
                      that one started the current unfortunate
                      finger amputation fashion craze.

                      The night sky also brings me back to the
                      night we walked, after the opera,

                      ..yes, we walked everywhere, didn't we? 
                      Past Madison Cube Gardens..

                      ..and along the old dockyards..

                      ..and past the malls and ice rink...

                      ..and through Central Central Park...

                      ...and we ate the worst solyent-green
                      ever on the corner of 42nd and 5th...

                      ...although the solyent-orange wasn't too

                      ..and you know what?  I can't clearly
                      remember what we talked about!

                      Neither can I.  But I do remember the
                      stars starting to fade away from the

                      ...and the streetlamps switching off...

                      ...and the mist over the bay..

                      ...with the water calm...

                      ..and the sky red...

                      ...and the dawn bringing a new

               She bows her head.

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                      ...at least that is what I'd hoped all of
                      us would have.

               Silence reigns.  FRY shuffles his feet and pulls something
               out of his jacket.

                      I don't know when else I can do this. 
                      Just in case things don't turn out well
                      for me tomorrow, I wanted to make sure
                      you had this.

               LEELA takes the wooden case, and opens it, revealing a

                      Fry, I can't take this...

               Her hands start shaking.

                                LEELA (CONT'D)
                      You really are aware, aren't you?  You
                      really don't think we're going to make
                      it.  That's too bad.  Even though the
                      rational part of me feels the same way,
                      part of me was taking such comfort in
                      your calm, your faith...

                      No, no, no.  This is just cleaning up
                      before the big thing starts.  You know,
                      like Asteroids.


                      There's a video game I used to play
                      called Asteroids.  You shot big rocks
                      floating in space toward you.  They were
                      called, geez I forget--


                      Yeah!  And the thing was that if you shot
                      a big one, it broke into littler ones. 
                      So if you shot all the big ones at once,
                      there would be so many little ones that
                      you couldn't handle them all and you'd
                      get hit, right?


                      So the thing to do is you pick one big
                      asteroid, shoot it, and then shoot all
                      the little pieces.  And once you are done
                      with one rock, you can move on to the
                      others.  Get it?

                      Sure, it's what we do all the time in the
                      Kupier belt.

                      Well, tomorrow a big rock is coming, and
                      before the shooting starts, I want to
                      make sure all the other rocks are out of
                      the way.  All the worries about what to
                      give who, all the things you want to say
                      to people you care about, they are like
                      other rocks.  So Leela, you are a big
                      rock and I'm trying to shoot you into
                      little bits so I don't have to worry
                      about it, tomorrow.  Do you understand?

               In spite of herself, LEELA smiles.

                      You know, I think I do.  And the strange
                      thing is, I told my parents something
                      very similar just this morning.  Funny.

                      So this isn't giving up on you, because I
                      know for sure that you're going to be
                      just fine.  That's why I want you to have
                      this.  I want you to play it in the years
                      ahead.  I think you would play so
                      beautifully.  I would like to hear it.

                      Fry, I don't know the first thing about
                      this.  I've only played drums, and not

                      The thing I'm learning about the
                      holophoner, is that you don't play it. 
                      You let it find what is inside you, and
                      let it bring it out.  And you have
                      amazing things inside you Leela, wondrous
                      things.  I'm just sorry I may not be able
                      to keep my promise to make music for you.

               LEELA stares at the holophoner, softly rubbing the case.

                      Fry--I know we really haven't had a
                      chance to talk since that night, and I
                      know I've come across as harsh lately-
                      but I want you to know I've thought a lot
                      about my promise to you.
                          (she looks up shyly)
                      A lot.  And the greatest regret I would
                      have if this thing happens tomorrow...

               Something tugs at LEELA's coat.  Instinctively sliding the
               case into her coat, LEELA looks down and sees the robot
               TINNY TIM.

                                TINNY TIM
                      Excuse me, good sirs, ma'am?  Might I
                      enquire whether one of you is Philip J

                      Why are you asking---

                      Hi Tim.  I'm me.  What's up?

                                TINNY TIM
                      Yonder gentlebots wanted me to check. 
                      They gave me an excellent sum to ask.  I
                      don't know why.

               He raises his crutch and waves it. A red dot appears on
               FRY's forehead, but before the dot can even center LEELA is
               in motion, tackling FRY and slamming both of them into the
               ground.  A flurry of laser beams flash through where their
               bodies were an instant before, scarring the PE building
               facade and entry door.

               LEELA hugs FRY to her closely, and as one they both roll on
               the ground towards the door.  LEELA kicks up her leg and
               hits the entry keypad with her toe, as jets of melted
               plastic and vaporizing metal burst around the keypad.  The
               door slides open, and they roll through.  

                                                                SCENE 23


               LEELA crawls out of the direct line of fire, slaps the
               interior door panel, and the door slams shut, as does the
               rest of the access points to the building.

               Both humans crawl away from the door, and lie panting on
               the floor.

               The door suddenly slides open again and BENDER strides in
               with the camera, whistling cheerfully as a few more beams
               shoot past his head.  He shuts the door and looks down at
               FRY and LEELA lying next to each other.

                      Hey you two.  Should I go into the other

                      What the $&#@ is going on with the robots
                      today?  And why can't I help but think
                      that you're responsible?

                      Tell her, Bender.

                      I've got a betting pool registered for
                      both of your death dates.


                      Don't worry.  The profits are going to
                      charity.  Actually, I'm lying, but I
                      thought maybe that'd make you feel

                          (to FRY)
                      And you knew about this!

                      Yeah, Bender told me.  It's his way of
                      dealing with things, and I figured you
                      had enough on your mind.

                      Enough on my mind?  Something that may
                      directly cause our deaths and you decide
                      not to say anything for my peace of mind? 
                      What were you thinking --oh, who am I
                      kidding? Why am I even surprised?  But
                      why the robots?
                          (comprehension dawning)
                      Oh, the online gambling emporium!

                      Yep!  Over ten thousand robots have
                      signed up!  Two thousand have already
                      lost their bets because you've survived
                      up to now!  

                          (to FRY)
                      Ten thousand robots with a vested
                      interest in our deaths didn't seem
                      harmful to you?

               For the second time today, FRY looks at LEELA's expression
               and knows he has let her down.  He stares at the floor.

                      Well things got a little out of hand--
                      who would've thought?  But I told Bender
                      to take you off the betting pool right
                      away, so you should be safe.  The robots
                      are only after me now.

                      Of course.  How silly of me. I should
                      have noticed the name tags on those laser
                      beams that would have sliced me in half.
                          (to herself)
                      So that explains the attack in the
                      internet, and the robots after us right
                      now.  Just great.  After all this time
                      looking for enemies, it'll be my friends
                      that kill me...

               LEELA seems to be staring somewhere far away, and her
               shoulders slump slightly.

                      Come on, Leela.  We've got to get some
                      sleep.  And we should get away from this

               As if on cue, the muffled thuds of mechanical arms beating
               on the PE door float across the room.

                      They probably can't break through the
                      Xmas defenses, but yeah, I guess we
                      should find the most secure location in
                      the building.