Fan Fiction

Dissillusionment, part 1
By soylentorange

Part One: 200 feet above the Hudson River, April 26th, 3002

Fry stared out the bridge’s forward window as the sparkling lights of New New York glided by below him. Over and over again he replayed the past few days in his head, trying to figure out what he could have done differently. There had to be something that he’d missed; something that would have kept Michelle from leaving. Maybe if he’d built her a better shelter out in the desert, or if he’d been less visibly shaken by the weird mixture of civilization and post-apocalyptic wasteland that was Los Angeles… There had to be something. But there wasn’t.

Fry’s self-pity abruptly turned to frustration. “That's it. I've had it with women.” He declared aloud. “From now on, I'm concentrating on my career.” Fry turned to face Professor Farnsworth, who was sitting next to Bender on the bridge couch. “Can I have my old job back?” He pleaded.

Farnsworth scratched his chin. “Why, I've forgotten why I even fired you.” He said at last

That’s when Bender cut in. “'Cause he destroyed your business, your home and all your possessions.” He said, matter-of-factly.

“Oh, that's right.” The Professor said amicably. He paused for a moment. Suddenly anger flashed in the old scientist’s eyes. He reached for a lever next to the couch. “Get lost!” he growled.

The professor pulled back on the lever and the deck under Fry’s feet dropped out from under him. Suddenly he was engulfed in roaring darkness, lit only by the glaring blue fire of the PE ship’s hastily retreating dark-matter engines and the soft yellow glow of the distant buildings. The turbulence from the Planet Express Ship’s passing tossed him around like a rag doll. He began to tumble, and the lights of New New York’s skyscrapers spun crazily with the blue flare of the receding spaceship. There was the whoosh of air as the ground rushed up to meet him.

“Oh God, my head.”

Fry moaned and sat up. Wave upon wave of nausea washed through him and he quickly lay down again.

“W- where am I?” He mumbled, rolling onto his side. Wherever he was, it was dark. All he could make out were a few lumpy, anonymous shapes nearby. In the distance there were a few skyscrapers, which Fry recognized by their tiny lights. As he watched, the lights moved slowly by from left to right.

Fry forced himself to sit up again. His head swam and he almost passed out, but by gritting his teeth he was able to hold on until his head cleared.

For a few minutes Fry just sat still, letting the pounding in his skull dissipate a little. When he was relatively sure that he wasn’t going to fall over, he cautiously forced himself to stand. Again he looked around. In the few minutes that he had been conscious his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and from his new vantage point he could see enough to bring his surroundings into focus. He was standing on some kind of elastic fabric, almost like rubber. The fabric was covering a pile of some anonymous material with the consistency of foam, which Fry had landed on top of. Beyond the pile was a short drop-off with water at the bottom. The water glowed faintly silver where starlight and the dim illumination from the distant buildings reflected off its surface, and seemed to be flowing.

Curious, Fry clambered down the small elastic-covered mountain that he had landed on. It was hard work, as his feet kept sinking into whatever it was that he was climbing on, as though he were walking on a giant cotton ball. He soon reached the base of the pile and found himself on a riveted metal floor.

“No, not a floor.” He realized. “A deck.” Now he remembered that The Planet Express Ship had been flying over the Hudson River when it had dropped him. Somehow he’d been lucky enough to land on a barge that was making its way downriver.

Fry walked the couple of paces to the handrail that girdled the huge watercraft and looked down into the water. Farnsworth had ejected him from high enough up in the air that the river would have been as soft and yielding as asphalt.

“What the heck was the Professor thinking?” Fry asked himself as the anger built inside him. “That coulda killed me! Even though I pretty much blew up the Planet Express building, he had no reason to drop me out of the ship!”

And then there was Bender.

“That traitor.” Fry growled, knowing that Farnsworth would have given him his job back if the robot hadn’t spoken up. “With a best friend like that, who needs enemies? And anyway, it’s not like I blew up Planet Express all by myself.”

Actually, now that he thought about it, he had taken a lot more of the punishment than was really fair. The whole thing had been Bender’s idea. The robot had been the one to suggest they steal the ship’s keys, and he’d also been the one to actually do the physical stealing of the ship. Fry had just gone along for the ride, and had gotten caught up in things. “Bender should have been the one that the Professor dumped overboard, not me.” Fry muttered. I’ll bet that jerk even gets his job back at Planet Express. The thought made him furious.

For a full five minutes Fry just stood and fumed at the silent cityscape as it slowly slid by. The whole life that he had been constructing for himself in the future had unraveled in less than a week. He had lost his job, his girlfriend had deserted him, and his best friend had sold him out. Abruptly he came to a decision.

“Well, screw them.” Fry said aloud, his voice full of emotion. “When I came to the future I got a second chance. I promised myself that this time I wouldn’t be a total loser. Well now’s the time for me to prove it.”

Fry propelled himself over the railing, and after somehow getting a shoelace tangled up in it, dropped into the frigid waters of the Hudson with a splash. When his head emerged he turned himself to face the dark bulk of the barge. For a few seconds he treaded water, watching the silent hulk fade into the distance while the Hudson’s Spring chill steadily drained the heat from his body. When the barge had disappeared into the blackness, Fry rolled onto his stomach and began to swim, moving his arms and legs in the rhythm that Leela had taught him after he’d nearly drowned at the Wormulon Slurm Factory.

The shore was a lot farther away than Fry had thought. By the time his feet touched the bottom he was exhausted. His lungs heaving, he climbed a low barrier wall and collapsed on a nearby bench. He sat there shivering silently for a full ten minutes, thoroughly exhausted. Finally, having regained his wind and his resolve, Fry stood and began to walk confidently in the direction of his apartment.

By the time Fry made it back to the Robot Arms apartments, his clothes had mostly dried except for his shoes, which made soft, squishing noises as his feet moved inside them.

Bender wasn’t home, as Fry had expected. He had no way to know how long he’d lain unconscious on the barge, but, if Fry had been asked to guess, he would have said less than an hour. He thought that he’d been dropped out of the Planet Express Ship around nine o’clock, and it had taken him just under an hour to swim to shore, hike to the nearest transport tube, and tube home. That made the time just slightly before eleven. By now Fry’s robotic roommate would have had plenty of time to leave Planet Express, come home to pick up some beer and some cash, and head out again for a night on the town.

“Hopefully he only took his money this time.” Fry muttered darkly. No matter how well he hid it, the bending robot managed to find any cash that Fry kept in the apartment. Normally it didn’t matter all that much to him. Ever since his brush with wealth a few months after he’d been defrosted, Fry hadn’t been too concerned with money. He’d witnessed firsthand what wealth could do to a person. What it had done to him. Since then the meager salary he made at Planet Express, and more recently at Applied Cryogenics, had been more than enough for him to be content. But if Fry was going to pull off the plan that was slowly unfolding in his mind he was going to need every spare penny that he could salvage.

Fry stepped through the small space that was Bender’s half of the apartment into the giant walk-in closet that served as his home. Turning on the light he gave it a long, silent look, remembering the good times that he had had there. Then, starting at the corner into which his bed had been shoved and working his way clockwise around the room, the ex-delivery boy began to sort through the piles of trash and half-eaten food for things that he wanted to take with him, placing everything to be salvaged on top of his unkempt bed. When he was finished he had built up a small pile: a few pairs of rarely-worn extra clothes, the holophoner he’d recently purchased on a whim (and as yet been unable to play even remotely well), a few miscellaneous items for hygiene, cooking, cleaning, and such, and a single framed picture of himself posing with Leela and Bender in front of the Planet Express Building. Fry picked up the picture and gazed at it. He felt a sharp pang of regret. As angry and frustrated as he was at the moment with Bender, Farnsworth, and the whole future in general, he was going to miss the life he was leaving behind.

Besides, he thought, if I do this, I’ll be leaving behind all the people who didn’t turn their backs on me too. Like Leela.

If there was one person who had really been treated unfairly recently, it had been Leela. Farnsworth had held her just as responsible for the destruction of the Planet Express building as her two shipmates, since she’d inadvertently left the keys in the starship’s ignition. Even after the stupid comments that he and Bender had made to her, when Hermes had made it clear that she was also being dismissed, Leela had been more than gracious. She’d helped Fry get a job, and even managed to stay civil after the career chips had gotten mixed up and she’d had to settle for a menial pizza delivery job while Fry had gotten her old job at Applied Cryogenics. She’d even organized a search when Fry and his girlfriend Michelle had gone missing.

Fry carefully put the picture down. Leaving Leela was going to be hard. She’d been there for him when no one else was, and he’d come to cherish her company. Fry walked over to his closet and dragged out his small suitcase. In a few moments everything that he owned was stashed inside the bag. Taking one last look around the apartment, Fry turned off the light, walked through his roommate’s tiny living space, and set off down the hallway. As he was about to press the elevator call button he hesitated, thinking that maybe he should have left his roommate a note.

“Nah.” He told himself at length. “Bender’ll get the message.”

When Fry finally made it to work in the morning he was thoroughly drenched. A large storm system had worked its way out of the Ohio River Valley and blanketed New New York in a cold, driving rain. He’d stayed in a cheap hotel for the night, and he’d gotten what he’d paid for. At about 4:00 in the morning a rivulet of water sprang from the ceiling and hit him square in the face. In hindsight, maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to choose a hotel claiming to have the oldest colony of mildew within five parsecs.

Applied Cryogenics was even quieter than usual for a Thursday morning. Fry walked to the elevator and hit the button for the 64th floor. The elevator climbed twenty-five stories (the other thirty-nine floors were now under ground level, having become the basement when the streets of New New York had been constructed over the ruins of the old city) and stopped abruptly. Fry left the elevator car and headed toward his office, carefully tiptoeing his way past the open office door of his boss, Ipgee, who was busily typing away at his computer. The last thing Fry wanted was for Ipgee to discover that he was fifteen minutes late for work. Using every bit of criminal sneaking he ever learned from watching Bender, Fry stealthily crept past the door to his boss’s offi-

“Ah, Fry. There you are.”

Fry cringed. Resigning himself to the inevitable lecture, he turned and walked into his boss’s office. Ipgee motioned for him to close the door behind him, which made Fry gulp involuntarily.

Ipgee clasped his hands and leaned back in his office chair. “Come over here, Fry. We have something which we need to discuss.”

Nervously, Fry approached his boss. “Uhh, Mr. Ipgee, Sir, about where I’ve been the past two days-”

Ipgee interrupted with a wave of the hand. “It is no problem. You’re friend Leela called yesterday to tell me what happened. These things happen all the time. You’re lucky you were only frozen for two days. Why. just last month we found a summer intern who had accidentally fallen into one of the tubes while she was cleaning it. She was stuck in there for thirty-two years. Sometimes people get frozen and wake up in a whole different century, but you already know that.”

Fry nodded grimly. When he’d woken up after falling into the freezer tube in 1999, ten centuries had passed.

Ipgee sat forward in his chair. “But I did not call you in here to ask about where you have been since Monday afternoon. I just got a call from Prime Minister Bender. It seems he has been called back to his country to deal with some kind of big crisis, so he will not be able to continue working here.”

More like Professor Farnsworth gave him his old job back and he couldn’t resist playing his Prime Minister of Norway routine one last time. Fry thought. Still, that was good news. It meant that Fry wouldn’t have to deal with his ex-roommate at work. Avoiding the bending robot, who was no doubt still oblivious to the harm he’d caused his best friend, would have been all but impossible in the confines of Applied Cryogenics.

“Anyway, like I was saying,” Ipgee continued. “Bender will no longer be here, and that will make you the only employee we have to council defrostees. You will have to run the whole department.”

Fry stared at his boss, mouth agape. “Wait, are you saying that I’m being promoted?!”

There was a moment’s hesitation before Ipgee replied. “Yes, I suppose in a way it is a promotion, but really it is more of-”

Fry threw his hands up over his head. “Wahoo! I’m being promot- Hey wait a minute.” He said, interrupting himself. “If I’m being promoted now that Bender’s gone, does that mean that Bender used to outrank me?”

“Well, yes of course. Technically the Prime Minister of Norway even outranks me. But again, ‘promotion’ probably isn’t the best word to use-”

“That jerk even outranks me here.” Fry muttered darkly. Then he had a sudden thought and his face brightened. “Wait. If I’m getting promoted, does that mean I’m getting a raise?” He asked hopefully. A bit of extra cash would definitely come in handy now that he was looking for a new apartment.

Ipgee sat deeper into his chair. “No, absolutely not.”

“Oh. Then what about a new office?”

Ipgee sighed. “No.”

“Do I get anything?”

Ipgee just shook his head.

It took a few seconds for Fry to mull this over. “So,” he finally began, “now I have to do all the work that I usually do, plus everything that Bender had to do, and I don’t get a raise or a bigger office or anything?”

“That is correct.”

There was a moment of silence. Then Fry flung his hands over his head again.

“Wahoo! I’m being promoted!”

There had been two people on the defrosting list. The first had been an old man from the late 23rd century who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He had frozen himself in the hope that a cure would be found during the long time he was in hibernation. It was a common theme. The man- Fry had forgotten his name- had been rude and impatient to leave. Fry wasn’t sure what the guy’s problem had been, although in retrospect he admitted, it might have had something to do with the fact that, upon awakening, he had been confronted by Fry, clothes askew and tongue lolling, claiming to be a brain-hungry space zombie.

The other defrostee had been a young Asian woman about Fry’s age from the early 21st century. Upon walking out of her tube, her eyes had immediately fixed on the futuristic scene outside the room’s large window. At the sight of the hovercars whizzing by the window, the color had drained from her face and she had turned to Fry, eyes wide.

“W-who are you?” She had demanded.

“My name’s Fry.” He had responded, the ‘space plague’ prank he had been planning evaporating at the sight of the girl’s distress. “I’m a Cryogenics Councilor. Welc-“

On cue, Terry ducked his head in the doorway. “Welcome to the world of Tomorrow!” He announced dramatically, cutting Fry off mid-sentence. His job finished, Terry leaned back into the hall, the door closing behind him.

“So this is the future?” She’d asked when Terry had been gone for a few moments.. “It really worked?”

“Yep. It’s April 27th, 3002. What year are you from?”

“2012- Wait, what?!” She looked at Fry as though he’d hit her. “Did you say 3002?!” I was only supposed to be frozen for five years!”

Fry froze. His mouth worked, but nothing intelligible came out. Finally he managed to force out a simple, “Huh?”

“Five years. I thought the war would be over by then. They said I’d be frozen for five years!” There was panic in the young woman’s voice. Tears started to well in the corners of her eyes as she began to realize the full implications of her displacement in time.

Not knowing what else to do, Fry put an arm around the distraught woman and gently guided her to the desk that sat in the far corner of the room. The woman sagged into the wooden chair facing Fry’s desk. As Fry took his place in the leather chair on the other side of the desk, he realized that he didn’t even know her name yet.

Fry fumbled for something to say, but couldn’t come up with anything. He was suddenly intensely angry at himself. Here he was, probably the single most qualified person in the universe to help a person in her situation and he was too tongue-tied to say anything intelligible.

“What’s your name?” He asked at length, having come up with nothing else.

“W-what?” She asked between sobs.

“What’s your name?” Fry repeated gently.

“C-Chelsea.” Her eyes rose to meet his.

“Well Chelsea, it’s not as bad as you think. I’m from the 20th century. I was a delivery boy for a pizza place in the city and on New Years Eve of 1999 I got sent on a delivery to Applied Cryogenics…” For the next ten minutes Fry narrated the series of events that had catapulted him into the future. Chelsea seemed bewildered, and a little frightened, by Fry’s description of robots and aliens. Her eyes went wide when he told her of his discovery of the decaying ruins of the old city that lay beneath the streets.

“When I saw the place I used to take my girlfriend skating, it really hit me that everyone and everything I knew was gone forever.” Fry remembered the overwhelming feeling of loss that had fallen on him like a cloud. He shuddered. “The only two people I knew were a drunk robot and a crazy cyclops that kept trying to jab me.” Fry fell silent.

Chelsea spoke up a few moments later. “What did you do?” She asked, softly.

“I accepted it.” Fry said. “I realized that Leela was only trying to help me and I let her stick me. Only she didn’t stick me…” He explained how Leela had been unable to go through with the chip implantation and how the two of them, along with Bender, had ended up getting jobs at Planet Express.

“But what about your friends and family from the 20th century?”

Fry shrugged, a little sadly. “I miss them. I always will.”

When Fry didn’t say anything else, Chelsea’s shoulders slumped. She’d been hoping for something more encouraging, but Fry wasn’t about to lie to her. He still missed his old life, and even though the pain was less every day, it never went completely away.

Neither of them said anything for a full minute. Finally it was Chelsea who broke the silence. “So what do I do now?” She asked.

Fry smiled. “Well, remember those career chips I told you about?”

“This heres is out cheapest unit.” The landlord said, leading Fry into a tiny, one-room apartment. It was smaller than Bender’s closet, but, as Fry immediately noticed, it was furnished. His interest was immediately piqued.

Hoping to give the impression that he actually knew what he was doing, Fry gave the apartment a close inspection. “Uh. Does this building have an owl problem?” He asked, having noticed a small hole at the base of a wall.

“The owls come withs the apartment. Free ofs charge.” After a moment’s hesitation, the landlord, whose name Fry had already forgotten, added “Owl poison will costs yous extra.”

Fry tried to make himself stop for a moment. Alright, Fry. Think this through. He commanded himself. This is your chance to show that you’re not a screw-up. Now think. What questions would Leela ask if she was here? “Uhh, why is the apartment furnished already?” He hoped it was a smart question.

“The guy who lived heres left one day and never came back.” The landlord shrugged. “He left alls of his stuff.”

“And nobody knows what happened to him?” Fry asked, curious.

“Hells if I knows.” The landlord replied, dismissively. “Probably nobody knows he’s gone.”

Fry was incredulous. “You didn’t file a police report?”

“What do I looks like, a guy who’s not lazy?” The landlord replied, somewhat irritated. “Now do yous want this apartment, or nots?”

Fry gave his surrounding one last look and came do a decision. “Yes.” He said. “I do.”

Dropping his belongings in a corner, Fry sank into the soft cushions of his new couch. For the first time in as long as he could recall, he was actually fairly pleased with himself. After he’d left work, Fry had gone to a nearby cybercafé to look for an apartment on the Internet. It hadn’t been long before he had come across an ad for the Quantum Estates apartment building. The ad’s proclamation that Quantum Estates was designed for people ‘who know where they are in life, but not where they are going, or how fast they will get there.’ had resonated with his own situation, and so he had decided to investigate. Just two hours later, he signed a lease.

The apartment was small, just one room, but it was better than living in a closet. And besides, it was his. Smiling at the thought, Fry lay back on the couch and closed his eyes. In a matter of minutes the gentle patter of rain on the apartment’s window had lulled him into a deep sleep.

Hours later, Fry woke with a start. Someone was pounding on his door. Grumbling to himself and only half awake, Fry forced himself to stand up and shuffle to the door. Stifling a yawn, he turned the doorknob and pushed open the door, revealing an extremely disgruntled cyclops.

“Fry!” Leela exclaimed and then burst into the room. “Why didn’t you tell me you were OK?!” She demanded. “I thought you were dead!”

Fry, startled to suddenly find Leela’s face only a few inches from his own, took an involuntary step backward. “Umm, wha?” He managed, his brain not having had time to fully decipher what was going on.

Leela crossed her arms and glared at him. “After the Professor dumped you out of the ship you never bothered to let anybody know you were ok. I only found out that you were even alive when I called Ipgee to tell him what had happened and he said you’d just left work fifteen minutes earlier!”

Fry started to respond, then sighed. “Maybe we should sit down.” He said, gesturing to the couch. Leela, having expected some stupid excuse, was caught off guard. Unnerved, she walked over to the worn sofa and sat down.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call or anything.” Fry said at length. “I didn’t mean to scare you… It’s just, well, I was angry.”

“At me?” Leela asked, surprised.

Fry’s eyes went wide. “No, not at you!” He blurted. “At Bender, and the Professor. Bender for once again stabbing me in the back, and the Professor for dropping me out of a spaceship.”

“Ah. Speaking of which, how did you manage to survive the fall?”

“Well, first of all, I landed on a barge loaded with some kind of weird foam…” Fry filled Leela in on the last 24 hours. Leela listened intently, and when Fry had finished she sat quietly for a few moments, and asked one simple question:

“So when’re you coming back?”

Fry blinked a couple of times, confused. “What do you mean?”

“You know,” Leela said, “When are you coming back to Planet Express?”

Fry regarded her for a moment, wondering how much of his story she’d actually listened to. “But Leela” He said softly. “That’s the point. I’m not coming back.” It took a little more effort to get the words out than Fry had been expecting. Somehow, it felt like telling Leela goodbye.

Leela didn’t notice the strain in the redhead’s voice. She just stared at him. “I don’t understand. All you have to do is wait a few days and the Professor will forget why he fired you all over again.”

Fry sighed again. “Leela.” He hesitated for a moment, not quite sure how to put his thoughts into words. “Do you remember what I said to you the day I was unfrozen? You know, right before your computer told us that my permanent career assignment was going to be ‘delivery boy’?”

Leela thought for a moment. “You told me that you had been given another chance, and that this time you weren’t going to be a total loser.” She frowned. “But I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

“It has everything to do with anything!” Fry said, jumping up from his seat, agitated. He began to pace back and forth in front of the couch. “When I got to the future I told myself that I was going to turn my life around. Back in the 20th century I was miserable. My life was going nowhere. Then I got a chance to start all over again, and do you know what I realized yesterday, after I landed on that barge? My life still isn’t going anywhere! I’ve been here for more than a year and what have I done for myself? I’ve been living in a robot’s closet, working a dead end job, and women still either ignore me or treat me like dirt.” Leela stirred a little, as if to interrupt his tirade, but thought better of it. “Well not anymore!” Fry continued. “I’ve got a job that I’m good at, I have my own apartment, and I can finally say that my life isn’t pointless!”

Fry’s words stung. Hadn’t their friendship been worth something to him? “But what about your friends?” Leela asked quietly.

Fry stopped his pacing. “Friends?” He echoed, and then laughed. “What friends? Bender sells me up the river any chance he gets, and everybody else I know either doesn’t like me or just wants to take advantage of me.”

“Well, I like you. And I don’t take advantage of you.”

Fry caught the hurt look in Leela’s eye and stopped waving his arms. “I didn’t mean you, Leela.” He said gently, sitting down beside her. “You’ve always been there for me. Even after Bender and I got you fired you tried to help, and you didn’t sell me out to get your job back from the Professor like Bender did.”

Leela cringed, remembering guiltily how she’d done just that. The thought that she’d so casually taken her friend for granted left an unpleasant taste in her mouth. Fry continued to speak, unaware of the turmoil in Leela’s mind.

“I just hope that jerk robot feels bad about what he did to me.” Fry paused, having thought of something. “Hey, how did you find me anyway? I didn’t tell anybody I was moving in here.”

“It wasn’t easy.” Leela admitted. “It took me a few moments to realize that the Professor had thrown you overboard. There wasn’t much I could do; there weren’t any places to land the ship nearby, and I couldn’t see well enough in the dark to search for you from the air. As soon as I got back to Planet Express I went looking for you, but I had no idea where you’d fallen. A few hours ago I called Ipgee to tell him that you were missing again and he told me that, not only had you been in to work today, but that you were out searching for an apartment. I knew you’d probably get pressured into agreeing to the first contract you came across, so I asked Hermes to access the Central Bureaucracy’s database. He looked through all of the leases that were signed today, and your name finally came up.” A moment later she added “And give Bender a break. Sure, he’s a jerk, but he’s your best friend. He doesn’t mean to be such a pain in the ass, he just is. Besides, he’ll be really shook up when I tell him that you’re not coming back.”

Fry nodded. “I know he doesn’t mean it. I just can’t take it anymore. I mean, come on. We both know it was really his idea to steal the ship, and then instead of taking responsibility for what he did, he let us all take the fall. And then, when he was sure the Professor had forgotten why he’d fired us he asked for his old job back, and got it! But instead of helping me out when I asked for my job back, he told the Professor that I was responsible for destroying his business and all of his possessions. As if Bender wasn’t just as responsible as I was!”

“Oh come on, Fry. Bender couldn’t exactly have helped you get your job back. The Professor only gave us our jobs back after you disappeared. The first time we asked him for our jobs back he didn’t even- oh shatner.” Leela clamped her mouth shut before she could say any more, but it was too late.

“And then, when we were flying back-” He hesitated. Something that Leela had just said was important. A glimmer of a thought appeared. “What do you mean, ‘the first time?’” Fry asked, more confused than suspicious.

“Umm, never mind. I meant- uhh- nothing. Yeah, that’s it, nothing.” Leela smiled weakly.

The rusting gears in Fry’s head, creaking in protest against the unfamiliar strain, finally ground into motion. Fry’s eyes narrowed. “You asked Farnsworth for your job back before I disappeared, didn’t you?” He correctly interpreted Leela’s uncomfortable silence as a yes. “Why didn’t you want to tell me?” He asked, confused.

Leela fumbled for an answer. “Well, you know. I thought you liked your job at Applied Cryogenics, and I didn’t want you to think you had to leave and come back to Planet Express just because Bender and I did.”

Fry crossed his arms. “If you thought I enjoyed Applied Cryogenics so much, then why did you just ask me when I was coming back to Planet Express?”

Leela’s mouth worked, but no sound came out. Pieces slowly began to click into place in Fry’s brain.

“You tried to do it behind my back, didn’t you? You didn’t want me to know that you were working for the Professor again.” Fry stood, walked a few paces and whirled around. Pointing accusingly, he said “You and Bender tried to secretly get your jobs back without telling me. And now you come looking for me, trying to convince me to come back to Planet Express. Why? Do you need a scapegoat again? Is that it?!”

Leela stared at her friend, mouth agape. She had never seen him this angry before, especially at her. Slowly the cyclops got to her feet. “That’s not how it was.” She said coolly. “Bender and I went to the Professor and asked him to give us our jobs back. He told us that he had a new crew and that, with you fired, he didn’t have to worry about his jigsaw puzzles getting eaten. We figured that he’d still rehire us without you, but when he didn’t, I decided not to tell you about it so that what we’d done wouldn’t hurt your feelings.”

“Uh-huh. I’ll bet my feelings were the first thing on your mind.” Fry said, his voice dripping sarcasm. “Some friend you are.”

“Hey, now hold on a min-.” Leela started

Fry made a slashing motion with his hand, cutting Leela off. “Get out.” He said.


“Get out.” Fry repeated, pointing to the door.

“Fry, please…” Leela begged, but the hard look in Fry’s eyes told her that it was pointless.

“I said leave!”

“Alright, fine.” Leela snapped suddenly, surprising herself. “If you want things to be this way, then that’s ok with me. Just don’t come crying to me when you finally realize that you’ve screwed up and lost all of your friends!” With that she turned and stomped out of the apartment. Fry, who had his back to her, didn’t even turn to watch her leave.