Fry's Departure, Part 3
Fry was crouched and getting up what nerve he had
left to sprint across the floor, when a maintenance panel opened next to him.
He turned around. Nibbler?? The cute little alien bounced up and down making
sounds he couldn’t hear above the general battle. He got the point fast enough,
though, when Nibbler turned and ran down the small tunnel. Fry crawled in,
and slithered as fast as he could behind the scrambling creature. Soon enough,
it opened to the outside near some machinery. Nibbler danced and jumped, making
noises and pointing off to what Fry saw was the PE ship parked atop some cars
in the Loading only zone. He reached down and picked up the fuzzy creature,
holding it against him despite its wriggling. He made a line for the public
“I don’t know how you did that, little fella, but
thanks.” He said, scratching Nibbler between the eyes. “I don’t have a ham
right now, but I promise to send you one.” He couldn’t take him back to the
ship. Why would Leela be here? What more could she do to me? Why doesn’t
everyone just leave me ALONE? He walked up to the closest tube, and held
Nibbler in the portal. “I wish you could tell them all I’ll miss them. Well,
this’ll get you to the corner.” He addressed the microphone; “Planet Express
building, please.” and released Nibbler as the airflow started up. There was
the Whoosh, and he was gone. Fry turned and left the Spaceport, away
from the ship, his friends, and the last woman he could ever Love.
Leela stood there, hands on hips, completely at a
loss. The part of her brain that noticed That’s not Fry was stuck in
a loop. Finally she activated a few more brain cells to notice Bender was damaged.
“Where’s Fry?” She asked the robot. A peculiar déjà
vu feeling came over her.
“He got away from me.” Bender tried to explain.
“All these meatbags showed up and started shooting and Fry sneaked out while
noone was looking. I almost had him!”
“Bender”, Leela scratched her head, “You don’t show
any concern for anyone unless they have your beer money. They didn’t install
a humanitarian circuit, did they?”
Bender began counting off his digits. “Look, one-eye;
I give you Fry, you quit crying and yelling, you give me lots of money, everything
goes back to normal, and I get to goof off as usual. What do you expect?”
Bender explained his own simulated feelings in a manner the skintube would accept.
Still thinking there was more, Leela turned to the
Police Sergeant; “Okay, officer, what’s the charge?” The Sergeant looked around
and said, “He was trying to get the kid. We want to question him.” A robot
faced them. “He tried to cut us out of the reward. The Boss wants to talk
to him.” An Investigator piped up, “He’s the only link we have to the primary
Leela looked at the whole crowd, looking like they
were ready to start another fight for possession of Bender, when She finally
yelled, “All right, everyone!! Nobody knows where he is, and if he wasn’t hiding
he is now. So LOOK for him!! My God, he’s not a criminal, he just ran away!
I am hungry and tired, so give me back my robot or am I gonna have to kick ALL
your ass??!” Everyone looked away from her. The two Police looked at each
other, shrugged, and released Bender. “Thanks.” Was all Leela said, heading
for the exit, with bender clumping along behind her.
“You showed them.” Bender smugly said, turning his
head around to make sure there was no one about to shoot him in the back. Leela
spun so quickly into his face, bender slipped and fell onto his back. Leela
crouched over him. “Look, you reject from a recycling machine. You knew where
Fry was and you DIDN’T tell me! ME!! Don’t you dare hold out on me or, Fry’s
friend or not, I’ll turn you into a lamp! Nobody slacks off until I find him!!!”
Vented momentarily, Leela turned and stormed to the ship, not caring if Bender
followed or not.
The flight back was a blur. Her mind was trying to
piece everything together and figure out what he would do next. Why does
he have to pick NOW to be smart? I didn’t see the spaceport coming. I never
thought he would want to escape me so badly he would leave his family, friends,
even his PLANET! Did I hurt him that much? She remembered the tape, her
rejection after he had gotten rid of the Worms, and all the little things to
put him off over the years. How could he stand the sight of me now? How
can I change his mind after all that? But we’ve had our good moments, too.
He has to stand still long enough for me to… beg?… him back. Eyes. The
look in his face when they turned towards her. She was so hooked on being a
Cyclops she could never accept that there was someone it never really mattered
As she walked down the ramp, she saw Nibbler standing
at the bottom, jumping and squealing. She picked him up. “Sorry, little fella.”
She apologized, “I forgot all about you today. How about a nice can of snouts?”
She nuzzled the creature against her neck, scratching its back as she walked
toward the kitchen. Nibbler calmed down for the moment. His best effort had
failed. Like everyone else, he now had to wait.
Fry walked through the outskirts of Newark. Well,
space travel was out. Why was everyone after him? It had to be something Leela
did. But guns? Had he finally made her so mad she had everyone on the planet
trying to kill him? Wouldn’t just leaving make her happy enough? Or would
she only be satisfied after looking at his dismembered body, just like the…
He shivered, unable to believe that he could create such hatred and loathing
in any living thing.
He passed in front of a local 7-11. He stood there
looking at the door for a while. Finally he stood straighter, and with a determined
look on his face, walked inside. He walked up to the counter, looked the clerk
straight in the eyes, and said in a voice cold as Death; “I would like a stick
of your strongest deodorant.” The clerk returned the gaze, and then reached
under the counter. Pulling on a lead-lined glove, he opened a metal container
and pulled out a bottle marked with the radiation hazard symbol. He placed
it on the counter between them, the faint green glow making them both look pale.
“There you are, sir. Three dollars. Be sure to read the warning pamphlet.”
Fry paid his money and left.
Walking down the street he read the instructions.
Not for extended use. Not for transport aboard anything less than a class
3 dreadnaught. Do not use near fire, flame, water, wood, pets, children, vehicles,
or in crowded areas. This deodorant guaranteed to remove even the worst odors
or your next of kin gets double your money back! If not satisfied, tough.
Do not dispose of near any inhabited planet. Fry looked at the faintly
glowing green bottle. The front said: U-238. “Cool!”, Fry said, “They named
it after a German submarine.” He put it in his bag and walked on down the street.
The Nimbus floated in space. It was the largest,
most powerful ship in the entire DOOP fleet, and personal command of twenty-five
star Captain Zapp Brannigan. He stood looking out the main window at the Earth
below. His adjutant, Kif, stood behind him, awaiting the next imbecilic instructions
from his commander.
“Well, Kif.” Zapp struck a pose. “My plan fulfills
the requirements for success.” He held up his fingers. “One; it gets rid of
my enemies, and two; I can do it from a position of complete safety.” He folded
his hands behind his back as he strutted across the bridge. “Since the invention
of the HyperMegaBomb, I’ve tried to figure out how to get rid of Earth’s biggest
threat; Omicron Persei 8.”
Kif was amazed! Zapp Brannigan? The Coward of
Arcturis 3? The Wuss of Denebola 5? The Pantswetter of Proximus 2? Brannigan??
Thinking about an enemy that can fight back? He cleared his throat. “Sir,
the Omicronian defense grid is the strongest in the Universe. It has hundreds
of ships, defense stations, and sensors that can pick up a firefly glowing.
The area around them is filled with the wreckage of ships that have tried.
It’s suicide, sir.”
“Exactly!” Zapp pounded his hand with his other fist.
Ouch! My plan now only needs one extremely brave man, willing to die
for the safety of Earth forever. Either that, or some poor sap who doesn’t
know what’s going on.” He looked to a crewman sitting near. “Put the word
out. Recruit me the worlds’ bravest man… or possibly the worlds’ most hopeless
slime.” He stood in front of the door leading to the corridor, and faced Kif.
“By the way, Kif, get the preparation H. I have a problem that needs you to
Oh Geeze, not again!!! “Yes sir.” As Kif
left resignedly to his task, he wished he had a spine. Someday I’ll find
the courage to… Blast! I don’t even have the courage to think about if I had
the courage! Head lowered, he left the bridge. Some day, ohhhh, some
The next morning, Leela woke from a fitful semblance
of sleep. She stumbled to the kitchen to get coffee. She felt sick and probably
looked worse. The good dreams were the worst. She would be talking with Fry,
holding him, walking on the beach with him, and then wake up remembering that
he was gone. Maybe forever. “NO!.” She said more to try to convince
herself than anything else. Not forever. A forever without him now couldn’t
happen. Leela sat down in a chair and began crying. I can’t be mad
anymore. I’ve got no more mad left. He stole it. He took those eyes with
him. And my clouds… he… he took everything nice with him. She cried until,
exhausted, she dozed off in the chair. Nibbler sat nearby, quietly waiting.
The phone buzzed, jarring her awake. She instantly
pressed the button. Fry!?!? The screen came on to show Hermes concerned
face. He cringed when he saw her. “You might want to get down here.” He said.
“De Professor tinks we can track Fry.” What? Another invention? Leela
pushed her face close to the screen and yelled; “Look, the last INVENTION took
everything away from me! If I can’t have him, I was better off not knowing
ANYthing! And what good did it do HIM?” She took a deep breath. Calm. “It
doesn’t matter, Hermes. I’m desperate enough that you don’t have to convince
me. I’ll be down soon as I dress.” She cut the screen and walked to the bathroom.
One look in the mirror told her why Hermes looked at her so funny. Her eye
was bloodshot, the area around it swollen, her cheeks sunken, and her complexion
pale. Don’t even look at the hair. Oh yeah, Toronga. Fry would just LOVE
to see you like this, wouldn’t he? She showered and attempted to repair
the physical, if not the emotional damage.
Stepping out of the apartment, she noticed it was
getting dark. Where had today gone? Where have I been? She might have
to face the fact that Fry was gone forever, but not today. Or tomorrow.
Fry had stayed last night in a nice, but small hotel.
He didn’t sleep, he just sort of zoned out, thinking. If he tried for any job,
they would check his chip. Fry didn’t want to be a delivery boy any more, but
modern society dictated it. At least back home I could dream about doing
something else, but not here. His nephew, Leela, Bender and the rest had
given him the power to cope with the 31st century. He stumbled into
the bathroom. Wow, that must have been some party. Wish I had been there.
Two nights without sleep were starting to take their toll. He showered
and started to dress when he remembered. I promised myself I would try…
for her. He took the bottle of U-238 deodorant and stood there with it
in his right hand, left hand raised skyward. You can do this… It can’t be
that bad, others have done it. He closed his eyes and rubbed it into his
armpit. The smell in the room instantly got a little fresher. A plant in the
windowsill perked up a bit. He opened his eyes in amazement; Hey, this
isn’t so bad! You mean THAT’S all the kind of stuff she wanted?
Later, as he walked out onto the sidewalk, he stood
there contemplating his next move. Let’s see. I can only be a delivery
boy, I can’t leave the area, the woman I Love wants me dead, and my money won’t
last forever. Think. Think! You outsmarted a Giant Brain! You saved the
whole Earth!! Or had he? The fact nobody else believed a word he said
made him wonder if it was all some wild fantasy he had created to justify his
existence. Everyone thought he was stupid and useless. He reckoned it was
time to believe them.
He dropped his bag into a trashcan as he walked down
the block. What he was looking for was a few streets away.
“Let me get this straight.” Leela stood in the lab
with the Professor, Hermes and Amy. “You built a Fry detector?”
“Of course, child.” Professor Farnsworth adjusted
his glasses and looked at her. “Using my own DNA, of which I can’t spare a
lot of anymore, I devised a machine that can detect at fairly good distances
any pre-set pattern of skin, hair, blood, and so forth. I even used some of
the Smell-o-scope technology. Fry should be easy to find.” Farnsworth glanced
around. “The ship is useless, though. We’ll need something closer to the ground.
I think the car we took to Atlantic City for a conference some years ago is
still in the back garage.”
They walked to the rear of the storage area and opened
the door. There, dusty but looking serviceable, was a 2960 Urban Commuter Mark
5. It’s huge bulk, armor plating, and protruding weapons marked it as a Special
Bronx Edition. Leela cycled the heavy airlock-type door and went in. She ran
to the forward drivers area and settled into the control seat. The Professor
and Hermes moved into the couches along the sides, Hermes holding the Fry detector.
Leela opened the outer garage door as the car powered up. Basically a ground
spaceship, It was heavily shielded and atmospherically sealed. Various noises
accompanied the preparation.
CLIMATE CONTROL: on
PRIMARY DEFENSE SYSTEMS: on
SECONDARY DEFENSE SYSTEMS: on
FUEL PUMPS: on
TERTIARY DEFENSE SYSTEMS: on
SELF DESTRUCT SEQUENCE: OOPS!
The heavy car rolled out as Leela punched it for the
Jersey state line. Maybe I WILL get one more chance…
Fry ambled down the street. As he passed a young
DOOP officer, the velour-uniformed man held out a sheet of paper and smiled.
Fry took it, hardly even registering the event. He was on automatic, and his
mind was racing so fast there wasn’t anything left for the real world. There
it was. With only a slight pause, he went into the suicide booth and the door
closed behind him.
“Turn left up dere!” Hermes was watching a glowing
needle on the instrument and guiding Leela. He held onto a strap with his other
hand because she was slinging the heavy car around turns like a slalom skier.
“Up dere! Dat hotel!” The car squealed to a stop and slung everyone forward
as Leela slammed the brakes so hard the floor buckled. They piled out of the
car. Hermes made to go for the hotel’s main door, and then with a puzzled look,
he stopped. He slowly turned around several times, before running instead down
the block, Leela fast on his heel, and the Professor shuffling along slowly.
As Hermes passed a trashcan he skidded to a stop, causing Leela to bounce off
his shoulder. “What? What is it?” Leela’s eye wildly tracked the area around
them. “Which way? Where’s Fry?” She had this feeling, a terrible feeling,
that something was wrong.
Hermes finished turning, then pointed the meter straight
at the trashcan. Seeing this, Leela dove into the trash. She pushed the mess
around until she pulled out a stained, torn, and worn Slurm shoulder bag. The
instrument in Hermes’ hand beeped. “Dat’s it!” Looking around, Leela accused
Hermes; “That’s it? His bag? Where is HE? Why is his bag here?
Leela sat down on the curb, the bag between her legs,
looking for something to aid them. An unopened package of Lightspeed briefs;
several most obviously opened pair of Lightspeed briefs; Eeuuugghhh! socks;
t-shirts; and one… My God! Fry??? Leela held up the deodorant container
in front of her face. Hermes looked puzzled. “Dat can’t be Fry’s.” he exclaimed.
Leela held the bottle in both hands in front of her heaving chest. It had even
been USED! She was starting to cry again. “He did THAT for me!!” She looked
up at Hermes with tears running out both sides of her eye. She stomped her
feet on the ground like an angry child. The frustration was starting to get
to her. “Find him. Find him findhimfindhimfindhim FINDHIM!!!” It was a while
before she was back in control enough to stand up.
There were only the small traces to the hotel and
the Slurm rack at a 7-11, and no clear path in any direction. They were finally
forced to catch the Professor on the way back to the car and return to the PE
building. Leela took the bag and the contents. It was the only thing she would
have from him THIS time. Surely there’s more somebody can do. They just had
to figure out what.
Fry stood in the enclosed booth. He placed a quarter
into the slot, and heard it hit the pile inside the panel. It was so quiet;
he heard the blood in his ears. Bye, Leela.
A pleasant feminine voice came on; “Please select
method of Death; quick and painless or slow and horrible.”
Fry swallowed. “Uh, could I have a few moments?”
The voice paused. “There is no one waiting. Take
Fry was going for the quick and painless this time.
He already knew what the other would be like. He noticed a piece of paper in
his hand. He looked down at it as he opened his mouth to say…
BE A HERO!!!
DOOP Special Projects is
Looking for YOU!
Test our latest, High Tech Equipment
NO experience necessary.
Save the Earth!
Excellent Survivor Benefits!
Food! Pay! Fancy Velour Uniforms!
Be a Hero?!? Would Leela look at me again
if I could actually do something worthwhile? He stared at it a while.
Fry WOULD try. The only alternative was… He turned around but the door was
locked. “Uh… sorry, but I’ve changed my mind.” He told the panel. “Please
let me out.”
“Sorry, but no refunds, sir.” The disembodied voice
spoke from the front of the booth. “It is Stop-‘n-Drop’s policy to deliver
quality service for the money. Please select method of Death; quick and painless
or slow and horrible.”
“Please!” Fry turned and addressed the panel speaker
directly. “Can’t you just not kill me and say you did? There’s this girl,
and… well, I really screwed up somehow, and I might have the chance to make
it right! Or at least let her know I’m good for SOMETHING!” He looked around.
“Look. My best friend’s a robot. I know you have feelings, sort of, or programs
of feelings, or feelings about programs. Haven’t you ever cared if someone…
uh, thing liked you?”
The panel was silent for a full minute. “There was
a delivery robot that came by every day. He always had a kind word for me,
and my generator output increased every time he was here.” Was there a catch
to the voice? It continued; “One day he was hit by a truck and carried off,
and I have not experienced that power level since.”
Fry stood quietly. After a few moments there was
a snick as the door unlocked. Fry opened the door, and started to step
out. He turned for a last glance at the panel. “Thanks.” He said. “Don’t
give up hope. There’s gotta be something nice for everybody. Even me?
“If happiness was just in the Root Directory for everyone
to access;” The panel reflected; “Neither you or I would be here now.”
Fry walked to find the nearest DOOP office. A voice
from his world told him; You must face your destiny.
There was a BZZZTT! Sound
from the booth behind him.
The next morning; at the PE building conference room,
everyone was present. Well, almost. Leela kept staring at the chair near her
where Fry had his coffee during the meeting. She was still tired, but the thought
of somehow finding him again kept her spirits, if not happy, at least hopeful.
There was a noise, someone calling her name, and she looked up.
“Well, t’anks for joining us again. As I was saying;
da deliveries have been piling up and we HAVE to do some real work, or everybody
be out on the street. Here’s da list and Leela, try to stay with us now.”
He was interrupted by a Clunk! As a message canister fell into the tube
behind him. Hermes pulled it out and started to read; “I’ve never seen this
before, it’s a Form 46…” His voice trailed off. He looked up sharply at Leela,
then the Professor, then Leela again, around the table, and back to Leela.
“It’s a form 4684B-14.” He said quietly.
“So?” Leela started getting that feeling in the pit
of her empty stomach again. “What is that?”
“It’s to the Professor, but maybe you better read
it.” Hermes handed the paper to Amy. She read it and her face froze. She
looked back at Hermes, meeting his drawn face with her own, then slowly turned
and handed the paper to Leela.
Leela took the note. This can’t be good. They
look like… She looked down.
FORM: NOTIFICATION: NEXT-OF-KIN: OF
TO: Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth
Planet Express Building, NNYC
This is to inform you that your relative;
Phillip J. Fry; PCC # 54W987BRDGTF;
Has been processed by Suicide Booth # 96514 On 14 November 3001
Stop-‘n-Drop includes their condolences at no extra charge.