The Dark Side of the DOOP, Part 3
Leela inches closer and closer to the Fry's tattered Face. Fry feels the pain lurking somewhere deep in his lungs like a dark gooey poison , but it seems unimportant now. His leg is unimportant, his lungs are unimportant. He has entered the stage where he doesn't even feel any pain anymore.
Leela looks deep into his eyes and looks for confirmation, and finds it.
Mere millimetres apart, they are interrupted strong floodlights beaming onto them. Leela looks up, expecting the professor and Bender to return, when a known booming voice thunders: "This is the doop. Lay down your weapons and surrender".
Fry manages to tilt his head to see the tattered and dented doop hovercraft, obviously victorious in its fight with the "bird" (but not by a large margin), descend onto them.
Fry: "Oh no...." and passes out.
Leela looks at his helpless figure and dams her foolishness for putting on the beacon - looks like Farnsworth is not the only one who can pick up a standard emergency signal. The hovercraft touches down and two medics escorted by 4 armed guards jump out of the ship to arrest Leela and Fry. Leela does not resist.
About three hours later...
Fry opens his eyes and stares at the cracked concrete ceiling of his cell. What is going on? He tries to sit up but is paralysed by the pain. In the neighbouring cell, seperated by a force field, Leela looks up and sees him awake.
Leela: "Fry! How are you feeling?"
Fry sucks in air because of the pain when he tries to move, but he manages to sit up.
Fry: "Better. I can sorta breath ok now, but not move much. And look." Fry points at the plaster covering his leg. The healing process on the bone is almost complete. Leela nods. "What happened?"
Leela: "We are back in the compound. Remember?"
Everything came back to Fry. They were scooped up by that hoverthing. He was put into sickbay and is now recovering in his half of the cell. He lifts his shirt to find his chest covered in bandages and a little something that probably pumps drugs into his system at a constant rate. Fry tries to stand up but falls back onto his bed. Leela coughs again.
Fry: "Are you alright? Did you catch a cold?"
Leela: *sniff* "Maybe. I dunno. Not important. They said you'll be alright but we are held prisoners nontheless. But still, its probably to our best that we were scooped up by the doop. You might have died if not for them."
Fry: "That wouldn't be good"
Fry looks at Leela who seems to have developed a strong interest in the appearance of her boots. She coughs again, this time harder, and holds her stomach.
Fry: "You don't sound too good. Maybe we should call the medics?"
In that moment a guard enters and deactivates the forcefields: "Stand up you! The Captain wants to see you!"
The guard leads them to the very same conferenceroom where it started, Leela supporting Fry who limps as good as he can, but Leela is also puffing and coughs twice on the short walk.
The door opens and they find a large seat turned back to them. They are seated at the opposite end of the table and the guard leaves. The seat turns arround to reveal Zapp sitting in it. "Well Well Well...."
Leela: "Zapp!.. What is going on?"
Zapp: "As if you don't already now you filthy thiefs!"
Fry: "What do you mean?"
Zapp: "You stole some important material from this very lab. You know what I'm talking about.
Leela and Fry understand - that's the stuff that Bender pocketed, probably without even noticing. They send hopeful looks at each other - they have something after all, and its safe with the professor!!
Leela: "We don't know what you're talking about! But what we DO know is that you're murdering a planet!"
Zapp: "It's not murder! They tried to distroy US twice and killed many millions doing so!"
Leela: "Yea, because of YOUR foolish military tactics!"
Fry and Leela again find themselves in their seperate prison cells. Leela rests on her matress and breathes hard.
Fry: "You REALLY should call the medic!"
Leela: "No, YOU should have some rest. I'll be fine. It's just a cold, what else could it be?"
Fry is worried but obeys and they try to get some sleep, but Fry is repeatedly woken up by Leela's coughing. The next morning Fry feels a lot better and Leela feels a lot worse.
Leela stands up with visible effort and stumbles towards their seperating forcefield. Fry also stands up and walks towards her, still limping.
Fry: "You look terrible."
Leela leans at the wall and looks at him with a tired eye, shivering.
Leela: "Its... so... cold..." and collapses.
Fry: "That's it. I'll call the medics!...... HELP!! WE NEED A MEDIC.."
All the lights go out, and red emergency lighting kicks in.
The professor and Bender arrive at the crashsite with Leela and Fry are long gone.
Bender: "Hey, where'd they go?"
The army of little omicronians swarms out and into the ship searching for them, but find nothing.
Jrrr: "They aren't here. Maybe they left on themselves?"
Bender: "I doubt it. Fry was pretty badly hurt"
Professor: "Who could have taken them? What happened on the Planet surface anyway? Did you find out anything?"
Bender: "You bet. We found an underground doop compound and..." and gets an idea. He opens his door and pulls out the stack of disks and material he stole from the lab and gives them to the professor. "These should do"
Back at the Caves the Professor is having an assembly. The main hall is filleld with chattering little green bodies, and Jrrr, Farnsworth and Bender are standing in the middle.
Bender plugs a micro into his torso and holds it to Jrrr.
The chatter dies down.
Jrrr: "We now know what caused our suffering. The desease was brought upon us by the doop. They have an underground base in the mountains. But there is hope"
The crowd cheers.
Jrrr: "The Professor studied the disks that Bender stole from their lab."
Bender lifts his arms and makes the peace sign, the crowd cheers and whistles. The professor gets the micro.
Professor: "From the disks, I extracted information on how to create a vaccine, and I can have more then enough produced in short time to vaccinate all of Omicron Persei."
The crowd cheers again - little omicronians are hurled into the air by their compagnions, the whole hall looks like a bowl of cooking pop(pler)corn.
Professor: "But it won't be any use if the doop continues to release new strings of the desease. That's why we have to distroy their base. According to the data, the new strings might even be able to penetrate your protecting membranes!"
The gasps in angry surprise.
Jrrr: "We have decided upon the following plan of action. We will tell Lrrr and Ndndn, who still are capable of action, to send out to distroy the base. From there on, it is a simple matter to hand out vaccine to every omicronian in the system."
Bender whispers to the Professor: "What about Leela and Fry?"
Professor: "Ach, Fluf, they will be fine"
Back at the compound, every available officer is sent outside to defend what's left of the power generators, but even the automated mini-saucers make a meal of anything the doop sends in their line of fire.
Fry: "The power is off! Yay!!"
The Forcefields are down and Fry walks over to Leela shivering on the ground. Fry turns her arround and feels her forehead - she has strong fiever and is hot all over. He lies her down and inspects his surroundings - all force fields are down and he can leave, so he takes a look at the corridor outside - deserted. He limps back to Leela and looks for something to carry her with. Finding nothing he tries to wake her.
Fry: "Leela... Leela?!" and shakes her gently. No reaction. She just lies there with that terrible desease wrecking havoc in her body. He puts her arm arround his neck and drags her like that out onto the corridor, limping himself, he has to rest every 10 meters. His old wounds in his chest have started to hurt again. Progress is slowly, and Leela is murmering senseless fragments of sentences in her dilirium. He can't continue like this for longer.
After a short time they pass another door. Fry looks in it as usual, hoping to find something helpful, when he hits the jackpot - he made it straight to sickbay!
Fry: "FINALLY! Some luck. I'll be right back."
Fry gently sits Leela against the wall and goes inside. Everything looks alien in the emergency lighting's red glow.
"Aha!" He finds a hovertray and puts Leela onto it. Being released of the baggage they make it to the hangar relativly undisturbed. Once they ran into a little troop of officers marching to whatever is raging outside, but they were to busy to notice.
In the Hangar every available vessel is out except a little hovercraft, obviously in for repairs. Fry doesn't think and opens the door - it swings half open, sparks fly, then stops in the middle of the movement. A little worried, he pushes Leela inside and sits down. So many buttons.
Fry: "Damnit. I should have listened to her instructions more often.... emwwewewmm..." and presses one at random. The vessel moves irregulearly but is still attached to the repair dock and rips of, leaving some vital parts behind and crashing into the hangar floor. Fry emerges annoyed from the wreckage, pushing Leela's Tray in front of him. He checks himself and Leela for injuries and is lucky to find none. Leela stirrs.
Fry: "Leela?... Can you hear me?"
Leela opens her eye and wearily stares directly into his face.
Leela can only whisper. "Where are we?"
Fry: "The Power's out, something is happening outside. We have to get out but I just wrecked the only ship... wrecked it some more."
Leela is too tired to make a cross face.
Fry: "I'll have to get you out somehow. You cought what the other omicronians have"
Leela: "Impossible, it's harmless... to .... humans.." when the realisation dawns that she is not technically human. "Oh no.." and is interrupted by a violent coughing fit.
Fry: "Just be glad you just grew weak and not violent. You are a lot easier to handle that way"
Leela smiles at him and slips back into unconciousness with that expression, still hot with fiever.
Fry pushes on, criss crossing the compound, having no idea where he is, when he finally makes it to an exit, or more precisely, a 3-meter hole in the ceiling with a pile of rocks leading up - the ceiling collapsed, blocking the corridor and providing a path outside instead.
Fry: "Yess!" and starts to limp up the rocky pile, pulling the hovertray behind him. He sticks a head out onto the surface and sees a smoldering battlefield. Everything is in ruins, smoking craters and crashed ships everywhere.
Fry: "Oh my god. What happened here?"
He pushes Leela arround on the surface looking for anything to give him a clue as to what happened. He finds one crashed mini-saucer. "The omicronians distroyed the base?"
Leela stirrs again, blinking at the sunlight.
Leela: "Fry... where are we?"
Fry: "On the surface."
Leela tries to sit up but falls back, exhausted. She tilts her head both ways to get a view of the battlefield.
Leela whispers "We have to find shelter. They might come back and think we are doop officers!"
Fry: "We can go back to the woods..."
Leela: "Just be careful that we don't run into any more man-eating trees."
Fry pushes Leela into the woods on the lookout for a fitting camping place. There is a tiny clearing nearby, and Fry lowers the tray. It almost ran out of power anyway. Leela sits up with Fry's help and he sits her down leaning to a tree. She is still fieverish and shivering.
Fry: "We will need blankets.. and a fire. You want me to get some stuff from the base?
Leela: "just... be .... careful..."
Fry: "I'll try."
Fry returns after almost one hour with a backup battery for the dolly, a lasergun, some rations and a few blankets. His plaster is starting to crack but he doesn't mind - his leg is almost healed it seems, but his lungs start to hurt again from the exhaustion. Leela is fast asleep leaning back to the tree. Fry feels worried for leaving her alone for so long.. everything could have happened, and thinks back to that freaky bird. He feels for her fiever and finds it unchanged. He is very worried about her and starts collecting firewood in a gloomy mood. What if she dies like so many omicronians did? What would he do? The answer was cruel and simple. He just hoped they could get to the professor... somehow. And that he had a cure by now, or else he wouldn't know what would become of him without her.
With the laser he soon has a nice fire going and sits down, puffing hard and holding his chest. This isn't good for him either, he thinks. He lifts his shirt and finds small red circles on his bandages. The old wounds have started to bleed again, not bad yet but any more work would be a bad idea. He has enough wood for the night and sits himself next to Leela who started mumbling in delirium again. He covers her with a blanket to keep her warm and sits at the fire, holding watch for three hours, keeping Leela's forehead cool, when she awakens.
Fry is incredebly glad to see her awake again and almost jumps up, but flinches at the sudden movement and just bends over her.
Fry: "Leela! You alright?" Stupid Question of course, nothing was alright, but he had to ask anyway.
Leela nods and clicks in her throat... "..thirsty.."
Fry: "Sure" and, supporting the back of her head, flows a little water at a time from a doop cup into her mouth. She lies back and rests for a few minutes, and Fry assumed she passed out again when she opens her eye and looks directly into his.
Leela is still weak and he has to lean over to hear her speaking: "Thank you for doing this for me Fry."
Fry: "You did the same for me on the moon"
Leela: "It's so cold..."
Fry: "Here. You can have my blanket."
Leela: "No, Fry, you.."
Fry: "Just take it"
Leela looks at him, exhausted and fiever striken: "I have a better idea. We'll cuddle together. That will keep us both warm."
Leela nods and Fry gains confidence. He sits down closer, helping her into an upright position next to him. She collapses against the tree again and he puts an arm arround her shoulder, holding her. They cover themselves in the two blankets, Leela leans onto Fry's shoulder, careful to avoid pressure onto his chest, and they fall to sleep against the other's comforting warmth.
To be continued...