Fan Fiction

Fry's Departure
By Slick

Open to conference room.  Everyone present except the Professor; Hermes stands up to start the meeting...

"Well, since dere's no deliveries this morning it's about time we cleaned dis place up."  Hermes checks his clipboard; "Fry, you and Bender take de lounge, and dis time t'row the trash away instead of putting it in the storeroom!  Amy, you got the storeroom, Leela; the kitchen, and Zoidberg; the medlab.  Dis afternoon we all work on the hanger and the ship."  He checks off another box, stamps the form, and walks whistling from the room.

"Damn", mutters Fry.  "This the second day this week we've had to work and it's only Thursday!"  He and Bender walk off, and as they pass by the kitchen, Fry hurls his almost empty Bachelor Chow bowl at the sink, bouncing it off the wall, and scattering pieces around the room.  Unnoticed, Leela looks up from where she is kneeling on the floor with a sponge, scowling as a piece of Chow rolls off her forehead.  As they enter the lounge, they pass a door marked "Storeroom", standing open to an enormous pile of Slurm cans, Old Fortran beer bottles, pizza boxes, cigar butts, and oil cans.  From beneath the pile sticks a pink-sweatsuit-clad leg.

"Blast him!!!", Leela mumbles, returning to scrubbing an unidentified and not quite still layer of something off the tile.

Suddenly she sits back on her heels, the stain forgotten as it slowly oozes towards a crack in the wall.  She knew without a doubt how he felt about her.  She just couldn't accept that without some physical manifestation of it.  "If he would try... just ONCE..."  she thought. "...I'd show him..."

Professor Farnsworth appeared in the doorway; "Ah, there you are, Captain.  I need your help with an experiment, if you please."

Jolted, Leela looked down at the now spotless floor, glanced around and replied; "Well, I guess I'm done here."

As she followed the Professor to his private lab, she couldn't resist asking; "This isn't dangerous, is it?  I mean, after last week, when..."

Farnsworth waved his hand.  "Not in the least, girl.  And besides, the Earth Army has most of the turnips eliminated by now, they say."  He stopped, looked around, and lowered his voice.  "That's part of why I'm doing this experiment; to help pay the bill for that.  It's an intelligence gathering and recording machine for determining the truth."

"But Professor", Leela smiled inwardly, "Truth detectors have existed since the Stupid Ages, and they haven't worked any better since then, and even less on aliens."

"Yes, but this is different", the Professor started again towards the lab.  "This started out as a mind control machine, but I reversed the process and removed most of the amplification circuit.  This records images of the persons' feelings and thoughts, directly from that deep uncontrollable part of the brain that can't be fooled.  Not even the best-trained diplomat can hide their true goals!  Lying will be eliminated."  He looked down.  "Stupid mind control laws."

He led Leela to a regular chair, and put a helmet-shaped headset on her.  Several fiber-optic cables ran from it to a console with a viewing screen on the table.  "Think of something, anything." He said. "When you've decided, just push the button."

Leela looked down and saw a panel on the chair.  A red button marked "Record", and a green one marked "Play".  So simple even Fry could figure it out.  Leela sighed, tried to clear her mind, and pushed the red one.  She had a sudden light-headed feeling.  She was still aware of her surroundings, but more as background chatter.  For some reason she couldn't understand or control, Fry's face came to mind.  A cute face, like a puppy going for a walk.  A desire to help, even when he knew he was in over his head.  An almost suicidal optimism about jumping into any situation when he thought she or Bender was in trouble.  Loyal.  She could help him...

The professor turned to his panel, which was covered in pizza boxes and Slurm cans.  "Damn you, Fry!!!" He exclaimed as he shoved the mess out of the way.

"Damn you, Fry..."       "Damn You, FRY!..."     "DAMN YOU, FRY!!!!..."

Leela's vision blurred.  "Cute?  Try Vacant, Stupid!  Help?  Yeah, and every time something blows up!!  Brave??  That's just all that brain-rotting video!!!  Loyal???  Then why has he bedded down every woman he meets if he's so LOYAL?????"

Smoke came out of the console, followed by a pop, and the screen blanked out.   "Oh my", the Professor remarked.  "You go on, now." he told Leela as she stood up.  "I'll have it fixed tonight for another test.  Yes."

Completely forgotten by the Professor as he began working on the panel, Leela walked back towards the kitchen for a drink.  She was confused, very confused.  Did she really feel that way about Fry?  She could not explain why she was upset every time he was with any other woman, she just was.  As she passed the door to the lounge, she could hear them.

"Come on, Bender.  We really do need to do something!"

"Hey, give me a break.  I'm doing my part.  I've picked up 20 beer bottles!"

"Yeah, so what?  You drank 30!"

Leela stood in the doorway, Bender and Fry sat on the couch, the floor so deep in trash you couldn't tell the color of the carpet.  All My Circuits was on the video, and they were riveted to the screen.

[ Back in the lab, Professor Farnsworth gazes at a panel, rubs his chin, and pulls out a part.  "Hmmmmm.  I'd better fix that."  He glances at the door to the hallway.  "Oh well, no harm done, and the effects should wear off in a few minutes." ]

"YOU GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASSES NOW!!!!"  Fry and Bender jump to their feet, dropping their drinks.  Fry's eyes bug out as he sees Leela with a face of absolute rage, hands on hips, standing in the doorway.  Leela surveyed the scene, her eye closed to a venomous slit.  "If this isn't finished in an hour, I'll make you both wish you hadn't come from whatever methods created you!"  She then stomped off down the hall.

"Geeze, what got into her?" Bender asked. 

"It must be mating season on her home planet, just like Star Trek.", Fry guessed.  He glanced around.  "Maybe she'd feel better if we picked up a few things."  He bent down to dig a can out of the pile.  She was really mad.

Leela was balancing the ship engines.  Routine work, and her brain was 92% free for other things.  "I can't be THAT mad at him.  It's just that he gets along with everyone he meets, and I have to try so hard... But that's not his fault, he has two eyes..."

Eyes.  Leela froze, bringing that other 8% of her brain to bear on target.  Eye.  The only one who Loves her and because of her eye, or maybe what it had made her.  She must do something about that.  Another 12% of brain came from somewhere hidden to help out.  Fry stared at her a lot, and she would bet it wasn't because she had cooties.  The other women... a little encouragement would stop that too.  "Damn it!, she was a woman, and better than any man she knew deserved."

"Whoa, girl", she admonished herself, "There's the problem."  Her friends and dates had constantly failed to measure up to her standards of self-discipline and control, and that made her list them in that part of her mind that says "Not Good Enough".  Did she ever determine what would make them good enough?  Who was she to judge, anyway?  She had slept with Zapp.  Zapp!!  That meant she could be as stupid and low as anyone else.  Maybe she and Fry could do something normal, off duty, like a picnic.  No Bender.  No Amy.  Just them.  Talk.  Begin.  She finished one last adjustment, closed the panel, and walked off towards the lounge to tell Fry they had plans this afternoon.

In the lounge, Bender was standing with his chest panel open, drinking a beer.  Fry had a shovel, and was loading trash into Bender's cavity.  When it was full, Bender threw the bottle in, closed the panel, and pushed his antenna down.  There was a whirring, grinding noise, and when it finished, the panel popped open and there was only a disc at the bottom.  Fry took the disc out and sailed it to the recycle bin against the wall.  "Wow, nice carpet!", Fry said.  "I never saw that before."  Bender was pounding on the couch cushions.  "Hey Fry", He remarked, "These won't flatten out."  Embedded in the cushions for all eternity was one large round and two smaller buttprints.  "Yeah", Fry observed, "My family was always griping about the same thing back home.  We can fix that, though."  He pulled the cushions out and flipped them over.  Unfortunately, the reverse side had a set of identical, but deeper, buttprints.  "Just like home." Fry sighed.  "I forgot we did that last year when we cleaned up."

They heard loud footsteps coming down the hall.  They stopped in front of the storeroom.  "My God!!", Leela yelled, "What happened here??"  Assorted crashing, rattling, and banging noises ensued from the storeroom.  Bender turned his head completely around looking for a place to hide, gave up, and looked at Fry.  "Time for a recharge cycle." He decided, as his body went into shutdown mode and his eye cover closed.  Fry knew it was shutdown mode, because it was the only time he didn't have a drink or a cigar in his hand.  Fry peeked around the door.  Leela was dragging something pink from beneath a clattering pile of trash.  He saw a chance for escape, and ducked across the hall into the lab.  Closing the door, he looked for another route around his angrier than usual Captain.  His nephew was apparently elsewhere at the moment.

He passed the chair in the center of the room, and noticed the console.  "Wow, a TV and stereo in one."  He picked up a tape labeled "Leela - Emotion Test 1".  Putting it in the player, he sat in the chair, putting the bowl-shaped headset on.  He looked around, feeling slightly guilty about this, but maybe it had something to do with her unusual mood today. It only took him a moment to figure out the controls, and he pressed "Play".

Mist.  Light.  Fry's own face, staring innocently out into space.  A feeling of affection.  Images from the Holophoner.  "Whhoooo, yyesssss!!!  She thinks I'm cute!!"

Shift:     Fry.  Crippling the ship, mistaking the fuel dump switch for an ice dispenser.  Fry, cross wiring the navigation panel because he wanted to go to the nudist planet.  Fry, ignoring her when she was lonely and in real need of comfort, or even just a kind word.  Fry, with Amy, pictured through a red haze of pain and anger.  Fry, denying her...

Shift:     Fry.  The odors.  A drunk careening off walls and falling down steps.  A festering, pus-covered, stinking body hypnotized by a video unit, only distinguishable from a corpse because a corpse looks better.  Fry...

"God!  Please!!  NOO!!!"  Fry ripped off the helmet.  He sat there, lead lowered between his knees, gasping for air.  Choking, sick to his stomach, and barely able to see through water-filled eyes, he fought to his feet and ran through the far door.  Outside the building, he collapsed onto the curb, his legs unable to keep him upright.  After an eternity and a half, Fry was finally able to breathe.  Images, lights, and feelings flashed back and forth between his eyes.  "You finally believe how worthless you really are now."  Part of his brain broke off from the mess of his thoughts to laugh at him.  "You really thought a woman like that could Love a wretched pile of rat puke like YOU!!  Ha ha HA HAAA, that's rich!" 

Finally, Fry had control over himself again.  He stood up, took a look around, and walked off.  He finally reached Bender's apartment and collapsed on the bed.  Sometime later he woke.  Maybe he even had slept.  Had there been any calls?  Time?  Who cares?  He sorted out what few personal small items he had accumulated in the time he'd been awake into a Slurm shoulder bag (FREE! With 12,000 proofs of purchase).  A few last details, and soon enough he found himself on the street again.  It was dark.  He started walking at random.  Where?  Why? 

He wanted to say goodbye to his friends, but didn't want a scene.  Leela would gladly drop him into the sun, but he owed his nephew a note at least.  He went back to the Planet Express building.  The side door he left through was unlocked, and he found himself back in the lab.  It was dark, but various indicators in machinery added together for a dim glow of white, red, and green background lighting.  He wrote a note to the Professor, apologizing for any trouble he had caused and explained that he had an opportunity elsewhere he simply had to pursue.  He would call as soon as possible.  It just kind of ended.  He felt too drained of emotion to go any farther.

"Emotion!"  Fry whipped around, his eyes on the hateful Chair.  "Two can play that game!  She thinks she's miss perfect!  Follow me!  Listen to ME!"  He found a tape, pushed it into the player, and jammed the helmet onto his head.  Eyes clouded in hatred, his brain reduced to that bare survival level necessary to sustain life, his shaking finger pushed the "Record" button.

Later, as Fry walked back onto the street, he looked up at the sky.  His head felt strangely calm.  He felt purged of all emotions, as if the machine had erased them.  How much of the real Fry was left?  "Well, loser?  What now?  I have to go somewhere so out of reach, so primitive, they could never find me."  He suddenly knew the perfect hiding place to start over from.  They would never consider even him to be that stupid.  He turned left at the corner, adjusted his bag, took a deep breath, and began walking towards the New Jersey border.

Leela finished the last item of ship checks and walked towards the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel.  Nobody had seen Fry, not even Bender once she knocked him awake.  Maybe it wouldn't work.  She looked around, thinking that she heard a door slam in the Professor's lab.  No one else was here.  She opened the door and walked into the center of the room, her eye adjusting to the dim light. 

"Hello??"  Leela scanned the room.  No movement, no sound, just an occasional blinking light.  As she turned, she saw a note on the table.  It was just TO LEELA and the paper was stuck to one of the professor's new tapes.  Fry?  She placed the tape in the input slot, sat down, and adjusted the headset.  Closing her eyes, she pressed "Play".

Mist:     Light.  Leela.  Standing tall, arms crossed, her face a mask of rage, screaming at everyone.  Leela; judge, jury, executioner of peoples hopes and dreams.  Leela...

Shift:     Leela.  A fixed look of determination as she flies the ship through a maze of exploding cannon fire, missles, planets and ships.  Leela, pistols in both hands, blazing away at attacking hoards of slobbering aliens.  Leela...

Shift:     Mixed images from Fry's world.  Leela sat at a table in a casino.  She looked down at her dress; a form-fitting burgundy creation that showed off quite a bit of... Blushing, Leela looked up to see Fry across the table.  Fry?  Wearing an immaculate tuxedo, he reached out, took her hand in his, and smiled.  "The names' Fry." He said.  "Phillip Fry."

Shift:     There was noise.  She was leaning against a stone.  Her clothing had changed to some green, mottled pattern.  Fry knelt by her side, concern foremost in his face.  He was now wearing black pants and vest with a white shirt.  Men in strange white armor suits were firing wildly all around.  Several pointed their lasers at them.  It was curtains.  Under her tunic she felt an odd but comfortable laser pistol.  She pulled it out between herself and Fry.  He looked down, then into her eye and smiled.  "I Love you."  was all he said.  She gazed back at his adoring face.  "I know.”...

Shift:     She was standing on a cloud.  She was wearing a gown of the finest white silk.  The gown and gloves were set with every imaginable precious gem in the universe.  The glimmer was brighter than the noonday sun.  Her head was crowned with a tiara that it hurt to look at.  Somehow, all of this was not as bright as the shine in her eye.  Fry, dressed in everyday clothes, walked up to her and placed a banner around her shoulder, with a cape spun from the purest starry space to flow behind her, and knelt at her feet.  She looked down.  The banner read Miss Everything.  She looked at his face.  It was strangely calm.  His eyes were fixed upon her, so wide she could see her own reflection in them.  Deep as infinity, she shone in them larger than life.  It was THE look, and a woman would crawl over broken glass to find it.

There were other images intermingled, one after the other, as if Fry couldn't focus any longer.  Leela in some wispy purple filmy thing no decent woman would wear...  She felt her face burning... And through it all, the cloud image.  The clouds... His eyes...

"Leela?"  A voice from across the void.  The real world pulled at her.  An itch.  "No!  Go away!"

Fry reached up and took the band from her ponytail.  Her hair floated in all directions from some stray breeze.  He cupped a hand on either side of her head and pulled her face towards him.  He stared at her, tears running down his face.  "Toronga, I've never heard you laugh."

"Leela!"  The images began to fade.  "Please!" she begged, "Real sucks!  I want THIS... Him..."

The dreams of all her life were in those eyes, and she had to find him... To say...

"Leela, Wake up, woman!"

The images disappeared.  Reality returned with an almost audible Snap.  Leela gasped, looked around, tried to focus.  "Where are my clouds?"  Slowly she returned to now.  Daylight shone through the windows.  How long had she been gone?  She looked around.  Hermes stood in front of her, holding the headset.  Her hand twitched of its own accord.  "I want that BACK!!"  went through her mind.  She shook her head clear.  There was Bender, and Amy with several bandages and a torn sweatsuit; the Professor was staring at the console, and Zoidberg rooting through the trash.

Leela's head snapped around so fast it hurt.  She leapt straight up and spun, so quickly that Hermes stepped back.  "Where's Fry??"  She said with a small edge of panic pushing into her voice.

Professor Farnsworth turned and looked towards Leela.  "Ahh, well, there's been a slight problem.  It appears that I needed to make a few adjustments, and... well..."

Hermes screwed up his courage.  "Fry's gone."