Fan Fiction

Fry's Departure, Part 4
By Slick

A Ham From the Past

Fry was quiet and thoughtful on the shuttle to the Nimbus. There were several other passengers with him. Looking about, Fry noticed they were all from the same situation. Everybody had a defeated look. Yep, just like I must have. Could he do something brave? He had fought with the ship several times, and could even be a passable gunner.

The shuttle bonked against a landing area inside the carrier and the door opened. Fry shuffled along with the others into a small room with a podium. There they were told by a crewman to wait for a few minutes.

Down the hall, Zapp Brannigan was approaching with Kif. “How many heroic type volunteers showed up in this bunch, Kif?” He looked down at his diminutive adjutant. “None, Sir.” Came the reply. “Only the other kind.”

“Well.” Zapp rubbed his chin. “It would be nice to have a hero, but the plan works just as well with a fool.One of these lucky men will soon have the supreme honor of being turned into a gas cloud for the glory of DOOP. The headlines should have women barging down my doors.” Zapp wrung his hands together, imagining what popularity must be like.

Kif opened the door and they went in the waiting room. Zapp looked at the group of about a dozen “volunteers” and walked up to the podium. Kif stood off to one side. Wasn’t one of those men familiar? From Amazonia, perhaps, or the Titanic. A friend of Amy’s.

“Good morning, men!” Zapp gave his best publicity smile. “You have been specially selected for a secret mission to protect Earth.” He leaned over farther. “ONE of you gets to prove that no man, however smelly, is totally useless to the DOOP. Even the wretched scum of humanity like you can find something useful to do with your pathetic, worthless little…” He stared out into the group, blank faces looking back at him. Zapp turned to Kif, covering the microphone. “Say, lieutenant, isn’t the orange-haired guy the one Leela calls her fiancé?” Kif recognized him. He nodded to Brannigan. “Say;” Zapp began rubbing his hands together again, which proved difficult with one hand on the microphone. “If HE gets selected, the lovely Leela would need some consoling… some sensuous consoling. And nobody can take advantage of a distressed female better than the Zapper.” He chuckled to himself. Kif frowned. He didn’t have much time off, but Kif and Amy had, according to her, a thing going on. She would be upset, and Fry was almost a friend, or at least an acquaintance, and Kif had few of either.

Zapp turned to the group. He pointed at Fry as if accusing him of something. “You!” Fry looked up. Zapp waved to the rearward door; “You’re the only one that has passed the extensive requirements for this task. Go through there and we can start your training.” He started to leave. “Kif, get things started. I’ve got to make sure my velour robe is back from the cleaners. I’m going to have a date with the hottest Captain in the galaxy.” He walked off humming to himself as Kif started after Fry, a more worried look than usual on his face. Usually the Jackass’ decisions were only humiliating or dangerous to Kif. This time; however, it was someone he knew. Someone Amy knew. The REALLY stupid part is the fact that even Kif thought the plan could possibly work. Earth could be safe. There was the possibility that the completely asinine idiot would actually succeed once. He started towards the induction center to get Fry started on his journey to the afterlife.

Leela stared at the paper in one of those timeless moments, where everything, and yet nothing was going through her mind. Drops of water from somewhere were falling on the paper, and it was getting blurry to read. She was shaking, and about to scream when she felt a pain in her arm. She turned in seeming slow motion to see the Professor with a needlegun beside her. She had been frozen in time long enough for everyone else to absorb the news. She opened her mouth, but the room darkened…

“Hmmm, she’ll be out for some time.” The Professor observed as Leela sank back into the chair. “Someone get her home and in bed while we sort this out.”

“What’s to sort out, you senile old ape?” Bender piped up. “The moron’s gotten himself disintegrated. You don’t even get to put his head in a jar to laugh at!” Bender pulled a drink from his compartment. Not a beer, but the hard stuff. The fatalistic robot brain had already absorbed the fact Fry was dead, and adjusted itself accordingly. He would drink to the memory, and then carry on. He was having a problem with one small part of his mechanical mind that kept telling him that this was the ONE human he had ever known to call him a friend.

Amy stood up. “Well,” She faced Bender. “At least let’s carry her home and I’ll watch her a while. You pick her up, and I’ll get the door.”

As everyone went their way, Hermes scowled and looked at the paperwork in front of him. “It looks like dere’s no work goin’ down today, neither.”

Some of the old Fry started to surface as he walked from his compartment on the Nimbus. He didn’t look like the old Fry, though. He wore an officers’ red velour jacket now.Sub-minor-junior lieutenant Fry! He was unused to any form of respect in his life at all, and was constantly amazed at soldiers saluting or standing at attention as he passed.It’s a bit breezy in this thing though. How come they don’t have pants with this getup? He had time for lunch, then tests at the medical section. Kif had run him through the papers and issuing of military stuff with a most depressed look on his face, and spent a great deal of time watching Fry. Poor guy doesn’t look too happy. Fry thought; I hope him and Amy are getting along okay. There’s no sense everyone in the Universe being lonely.

He was eating lunch in the Galley when he suddenly remembered some things he had to do. He turned to the officer next to him and got directions to the ship’s store. He had to pick up a few things for the folks back home.

Leela’s mind drifted aimlessly about. She was looking for something. What?? It’s around here somewhere. She was drifting through space, through crowds of people. She was wearing a beautiful gown, but nobody was even noticing her. She was looking everywhere, trying to find one particular face. Fry’s not gone. I just misplaced him. He’s just around that corner. He’s over there, behind those happy people. He’s on the ship waiting for me. He’s watching video with Bender. He’s at the local bar… He failed to appear.

She slowly opened her eye to a dimly lit room. Her bedroom. Amy sat in the chair reading a fashion magazine. The movement made her look up.

“Hi.” Amy got up to come next to the bed. “I’ve got a tray of snacks and some tea here; you really should have something.”

Leela sat up. Her last conscious memory started to flood her brain again. She looked up at Amy; “Tell me I was dreaming.” She begged. “Tell me Fry’s not… not…”

“He’s really gone, Leela.” Amy pounded the truth home. “Here, let me help.” She started to stack the pillows behind Leela. Leela leaned back with a vacant look in her face. Maybe I’ll really wake up soon. Her pillows were streaked with a pattern of mascara and lipstick made wet with her crying. Amy put a cup out in front of her and she took it, sipping by reflex. She felt exhausted but not tired.

“You’ve been asleep for a whole day.” Amy said. “LaBarbra was here last night.”

A whole day. An entire day for her mind to absorb the horrible news. Leela looked over to where Amy was sitting again. “Look.” She tried to logic out; “Fry wouldn’t do that. That’s not like him. He wasn’t the type to…” She fought her emotions under control. It was easier now, since her mind started accepting the fact that no amount of yelling or crying was going to change anything now. It was the Orphanarium all over again. Wishes just didn’t come true. This was just one disappointment in a life of them. She started to get out of bed. Amy started up; “You shouldn’t be… “ Leela waved her off. “I need a bathroom and some clean clothes. I’m, well… sort of stable right now. Okay?” She slowly stood and shakily walked to the door. Amy was one step behind her. “Fine, but I’m coming too.”

Leela stood in the shower under the hot spray. I’ve lost him for really and good, haven’t I? The dream said he couldn’t live without me. I never took him seriously. I didn’t think he knew how to BE serious. He just never made me think it went that deep. I have to do something! But… I had two years to do something, and dead is a little hard to do something about. This doesn’t feel like everything else that went wrong in my life, though. Something unfinished, like there’s more. In a low voice she spoke to the ceiling. “I know what went wrong now. I’d follow you anywhere if I just knew where you were.”

“You okay?” Amy’s voice came from outside. “You’ve been in there an hour. Leela?”

“All right.” Leela shut off the shower and dried, putting on a clean outfit. She couldn’t be angry with Amy anymore. Amy and Fry took a chance, which is more than she did with him. Part of her kept saying; Maybe later after he grows up. She walked out and headed for the front door. “Let’s get some air and go by headquarters.” Fry had proven his feelings for her beyond any argument. There was just no way to reciprocate. Not in this life.

As they walked down the street, Leela’s mind wandered so far that Amy was holding one arm, guiding her down the street. Leela looked down at the brunette; “Amy, I’m not mad at you anymore.”

“Ahh, you weren’t really mad anyway, at least not then.” Amy countered.

“Yes, I was.” Leela stopped and faced Amy. “I didn’t even know why then, but I hated you every time you were with him. Last Valentine’s Day and ESPECIALLY on the Titanic!” Amy looked concerned, but Leela wasn’t losing control. She continued; “But he’s gone, and you spent time with him doing fun things, and talked, and… and… uh… stuff, and I never did. Maybe now I’m worried that everyone else will die hating me before I can make things right. Fry could be such an idiot sometimes, but he didn’t have an evil part in his body.” Leela looked off into the distance. There was a suicide booth at the end of the block. I can be with him, wherever he is now. “I can’t imagine how mean someone would have to be to make… make him…” She started tearing up again.

Amy started leading her down the street again. “Let’s get you inside and a nice cup of coffee, then we’ll talk some more.” Sheesh, this is bad! It doesn’t even sound like Leela anymore. And her mascara needs to be a lot stronger.

Fry lay on the couch. An attractive female doctor walked in and started putting electrodes on him, the wires going to a bench loaded with equipment. Some of that looks familiar. “Hang on. I’ll put that one on.” He said, as she started to attach one in a VERY private area. She finished and sat down in a chair next to the couch. She read through the information gathered so far from his files and applications. Finally finished, she pushed a button, and a low, barely audible hum from the equipment started. Fry drifted off into not-quite-sleep.

“Fry, can you hear me?” The doctor asked. Fry’s head moved in a short nod. “I’m Doctor Blake, and I’m going to ask you some things. All you have to do is answer truthfully so we can find out about your feelings. Okay?” Fry nodded slowly. “How do you feel about the Earth being destroyed?” A shrug. She looked perplexed; the indicators hardly registered. She pushed harder; “BOOM!! The Earth is GONE!!! Everybody DEAD!!” So what? She looked to the meters. Nothing. Now she was getting worried. The Plan wouldn’t work without being able to condition the subject. She went back to the paperwork. “Your beneficiary is your nephew Hubert Farnsworth.” I’ll miss him, the old coot. A quick glance showed that the meters moved, but not enough. There must be something! “Fry, you’re kind of cute. Do you have a girlfriend?” A higher reading. AHA! “What’s her name, Fry?” I’ve got you now! “Leela, but… was...” Came the low answer. The meters began wobbling higher.

“You wait here and calm down. I’ll be back in a moment.” Blake left the room, and was soon standing in Captain Brannigan’s office. Kif was, for the moment, elsewhere.

“This subject is almost impossible to condition.” The Doctor began explaining; “Since the outlawing of mind control, we have to find an emotional response to work on. This Fry seems oblivious to anything except someone named Leela.”

“Leela, huh?” Zapp pressed his fingers together. “Then the sensual Leela is exactly how we’ll fix him.” He eyed the Doctor. “Might I add that you’re wearing a very sexy smock, even if it’s cotton? Maybe we can discuss psychology after work in my quarters.”

The Doctor flinched inwardly. She would rather date something from her cat’s litter pan, and that included a goodnight kiss. “Sorry, Captain.” She thought quickly. “But this week I’m having my toenails rotated.”

Zapp got up and headed for the lab. “Keep it in mind. I have a decorator that works exclusively in velour.” He said almost by reflex. He was trying to get the edge on Fry, and his mind was almost working at a human level. “Meanwhile, let ME show you how to make this man the most patriotic kamikaze in the DOOP.”

Amy and Hermes watched Leela going over the delivery list. “I’ll have these done first thing in the morning.” She said; putting down the clipboard. “I’ll catch up on all my work,”

“Mebey you should take a few more days off, girl.” Hermes suggested; “Bender and Amy actually made some deliveries last night.”

“Please let me do SOMEthing or I’ll go crazy.” Leela asked. Crazier. I don’t want to think. “I’ll take it slow for a while but going back up is the only positive thing I can do.” She walked off into the hanger to check the ship's readouts. Hermes and Amy just exchanged glances and shrugged.

Fry was still lying down in a kind of daze. Zapp leaned over him, the Doctor watching the panel. “The Omicronians are going to eat Leela!” He stated. The Doctor gasped; the needles had jumped dramatically, but then calmed. Fry answered from his dreamlike state; “No, they changed their minds. We fixed that.” Zapp leaned in closer, “Oh, but they changed their minds about changing their minds. They’re coming soon!” The meters began wobbling all over the scale. “Yes!” Zapp continued. “They’re going to cut her up. And have Leela and ham sandwiches. With maybe a watercress salad… and one of those light red wines.” The needles were bent over, and the panel began vibrating. “Uh, Captain, maybe that’s enough!” Blake was getting worried.

Zapp was more beyond reason than usual. He was going to make sure this sap would do his part and die like a brainwashed hamster. “They’ll be here soon!” He continued; “The only way to stop them is to strike first! You can’t let them eat Leela! YOU can stop them.” Zapp hammered it in; “ONLY YOU can stop them from having Leela ravioli! You, Fry. You can blow them all up and Leela will be safe forever!”

Fry’s hands twitched and balled into fists. “Leela… must stop… kill… Leela… keep safe…” His voice drifted off. There was a determined look to his vacant face.

Zapp stood up smiling, and looked at the Doctor. “That ought to do it, doc. When he wakes up send him to the training crew and our worries will soon be over!” My only puny competition for the sexy Leela will be over. He walked ramrod straight from the office singing to himself.

Doctor Blake was worried. This was NO volunteer! Fry no longer had a choice in the matter of what he would do. He would be worse than a robot. But… everyone thinks this plan will really work. But is it worth the life of one cute boy? We wouldn’t have to worry ever again. But he’s nice, and this Leela must be something for him to go off and die like that with such dedication. Maybe there’s a way to give him a chance. In conflict between her own sense of duty and morals, she began disconnecting the instruments, after one small adjustment.

Kif sat looking at his terminal, thinking. What he was contemplating was treason by DOOP standards. On the good side, he would have the luxury of a DOOP prison rather than the eternal hell of working for HIM. Resolved, he pressed the transmit button.

Next morning in the conference room. Everyone’s there, but more subdued than usual. There’s a heavy air hanging in the room, as if Leela’s unhappiness had become tangible. Hermes came in with a medium size box.

“Now Dat’s unusual.” He sat the box down on the table. “Dis one’s for us to deliver but it’s addressed to Nibbler.”

Leela stood up to look at the box. “Who knows him besides us? Might as well find out.” She pulled the box to her and opened the top. Inside was a very large ham, fresh in the wrapping. “A ham? For Nibbler?” Leela was confused. She shrugged and called out; “NIBBLER, come get the ham!” A black and red streak flashed by her into the open box. There were several seconds of chomping and gulping noises combined with a sight that made everyone avert their eyes, or eye. After a hearty belch came from the box, Leela reached in and plucked the plump and happy Nibbler out.

There was still why. Sitting down while scratching the purring creature, Leela tried to figure out how many people would do that. Hermes made to move the empty box away, and reached in pull out a plain envelope.

“Hmm, mebey dis explains it. It’s addressed to Leela.” He handed the envelope around the table. Leela opened it. Inside was a single sheet of paper.


Whatever I’ve done to make you feel angry at me, but I want you to know that I’m doing something that will always remind you of how much I care about you. I only want you to think of me without throwing up.

Love, Phillip

Fry? Alive? Love? Please don’t let this be some kind of horrible joke! It felt like it took a week to turn to look at Hermes. “When was that sent?” she demanded, bouncing out of the chair and waving the note around like a flag. Her heart was racing, and everything had a blur over it.

Hermes worried about the crazy woman. He checked the box. “First thing dis morning. The 16th.”

Leela spun around aiming the note in front of everyone like a gun. “He’s alive! ALIVE!! I KNEW it! He knew better than to die on me! He’s not THAT stupid!” She began panting; talking so fast nobody could follow. The Professor considered giving her another shot, except that her face, while tear streaked, had the biggest smile he had ever seen on it. He raised a hand for calm; “Child, why don’t you let someone else see this evidence you put such great faith in.” Hermes held out his hand and barely caught the crumpled piece of paper as it fell from Leela’s shaking hand.

In fact, her whole body was shaking, giving her a blurry appearance as she walked around the table, slinging her arms, and talking non-stop at high speed while appearing to see nothing. Nobody was very worried though, because whatever her attitude, her grin stretched from ear to ear. One just had to duck the occasional swing.

“That bastard!” She was shaking her fists at the air. “I’m gonna make him regret the day he was BORN! I’ll rip out his liver and feed it to Nibbler!” He’s alive! This is it! You can’t give up this time! You just had a taste of without him and it really sucks!! She swirled around to face the table. “Where’s that box from? What’s the address? What planet? Well, I haven’t got all day!”

Hermes backed up under the hard stare. “Dat’s why we didn’t know who sent it. Dere’s no return address. It was delivered and paid in cash.”

Leela stopped, quivering in place. The smile started easing from her face. “You mean there’s no way to find him?” That’s not fair!! I’ve got to find him! A part of her mind forced her to calm down and think. Okay. He’s alive. Maybe not for long after I find him, but he’s not dead anymore… uh… still. She sat down again, shaking so hard the chair rattled. Her hands shook on the table. Her head snapped from one face to another and back so fast she was getting dizzy. “You don’t understand! We HAVE to find him! We… I mean I… well… really… like him. A lot.”

“Yes, Captain;” the Professor remarked. “Your hormones are displaying your feelings much better than your words are. I fear our previous methods will work no better now than they did then. However, where my uncle is concerned, it seems like we only have to watch out for the fates to speak to us.”

Leela faced him with a perplexed stare, having taken a towel from Amy to rub the streaks from her face. “What’s that in plain language?”

Bender interjected; “It means that the stupid meatbag is going to screw up so royally that we’ll all hear about it soon enough.”

The Professor adjusted his glasses as if before a lecture. “It seems the phenomena referred to as luck can be described as a physical force that can be measured. Some particular people have more of this than others. Fry has proven to be one of those people. I feel confident that somehow the desire of you two to be together will simply cause it to happen. I also attribute this theory for the reason that you as a crew have remained alive so much longer than the others. Fry’s unique ancient knowledge has several times proved useful. He is not totally without mental capacity.”

Leela looked unconvinced, but calmed slightly. “Is that what Fry always means when he says May the Force be with you?” The Professor shrugged.

Amy took her arm; “Let’s get you cleaned up. You look like hell.” Amy drug her off to the bathroom.

Hermes cocked his head at the Professor as he got up. “How much of dat is true, old man?”

The Professor sadly smiled as he walked off. “Not a bit of it, Hermes. But look at her. Hope is for the young. She will function now.”