Epilogue: New New York, August 2nd, 3002
Fry stood in the doorway of his Quantum Estates apartment and took one last look around. Somehow, it already didn’t feel like home. With a sigh, Fry turned off the light switch and closed the door. His key turned in the lock, and there was an air of finality to the soft click that the deadbolt made as it entered its socket. He was going to miss the place, he knew, but he just couldn’t bring himself to stay. There were just too many sad memories that came with it.
Slowly Fry worked his way through the bustling city streets toward Robot Arms. Bender had been eager to have his old roommate back, though he’d made a big show of being hurt that Fry had left in the first place.
It was a bright, clear morning- one of the best so far of the summer- but Fry didn’t notice the sunlight glinting off of the skyscrapers or the flurry of air traffic that sped by overhead. His mind was far away. He hadn’t taken Chelsea’s death well. When the smoke of the nearby fire had finally gotten to the point that they could no longer stay, Leela had had to forcibly drag him away. He didn’t remember how they’d finally gotten out of the building, or even that Leela had gone back inside to drag Amy and then Walt to safety.
Later, when they’d had some time to themselves, Leela had told him what they’d found once they were outside. Chelsea hadn’t been kidding when she’d said the whole building was surrounded. Hundreds- if not thousands- of New New York’s assimilated citizens lay sprawled on the ground in a ring that girdled the warehouse. When, hours later, Professor Farnsworth- who had apparently been overlooked by the cyborg army as he slept through the entire invasion in an armchair at Planet Express- inspected the technology that had been used to control them, he could find no reason for the sudden deactivation of the cyborgs. He could only theorize that Chelsea’s death had somehow caused the execution of an automatic shutdown command. Fry, however, sometimes wondered if, during her last moments, she had realized something that had made her consciously shut them down.
A few hours after their escape from the burning building, A DOOP helicopter had flown in to investigate the cause of the still-raging fire. The squad of soldiers that had been onboard was absolutely dumbfounded to find Leela, bruised, battered, and covered with ash, waving to them as they disembarked.
As was the case with most alien invasions and the like, the city was back to normal so quickly that it left Fry wondering if everything had just been a very bizarre, very bad dream. Chelsea’s unique way of taking over the city had had the unintended side effect of keeping the casualties to a minimum. There were an unfortunate number of alien deaths, but all of the human and robot civilians that had died in the tragedy had been cyborgs killed by the DOOP or by Leela as the PE crew had been trying to flee the city. Leela would eventually confide to Fry that she’d had some troubling thoughts about the sewer mutants back when Chelsea had confronted the two of them in the construction site, and that she had been immensely relieved to learn that, as far as it could be determined, the sewer mutants had been left alone.
A special court was convened to determine whether the civilian deaths should be ruled homicides, but public support for Zapp Brannigan’s ‘heroic defeat of the cyborg scourge’, as he termed it, was high enough that even the idiot hyperchicken lawyer wasn’t able to bungle a self-defense ruling for Fry and Leela, who Zapp Brannigan claimed had ‘helped a little’.
As for the New New Yorkers that had been captured by Chelsea and then assimilated, they started to wake up one by one right about the time that Fry, Leela, Walt, and Amy were being medivacced. Some minor surgery- or some time under the welding torch, whichever the situation dictated- was enough to remove the metal components that had been connected to their brains and central processors. Some people would have a few scars and some robots would have a blemish or two, but that was about the worst of it. In fact, a new fashion trend swept through the city as the hip and trendy started shoving fake cyborg implants into their bodies, giving them bragging rights about “being right in the middle of it all.”
Amy had been different. The stun ray Fry had used on her had shut down her body, but left the circuitry that was connected to her intact. Apparently the circuits had become confused, and they overloaded. When Amy hadn’t regained consciousness in twenty four hours, Leela had insisted that they take her to the hospital. There, Fry and Leela had waited anxiously for the doctors to run some tests. When Fry asked one of the M.D.s to explain what had happened to the intern, one of the doctors- a Dr. Clayton, he remembered- told him that, before she had blacked out, Amy had felt more pain than she was ever likely to experience again, and that he’d given her severe brain damage. Leela had been furious with the doctor for being so blunt that she’d followed him out of the room when he’d left- to talk with him, she’d assured. A few moments later there’d been some kind of loud noise and a muffled “hee-ya!”, and Fry didn’t see that doctor anymore.
Luckily, Amy had the kind of brain that seemed to be little affected by brain damage. It was only a week before the intern was released from the hospital, cheerful and clumsy as ever. She had no memory of being shot.
No one really knew what had happened when Mom- who had not been on Earth while it was being taken over- discovered that her main distribution center had been one of only three buildings to be destroyed, and that Walt had been there at the time. Fry was sure that he’d come up with some nice story to cover his ass. Walt wouldn’t have to worry about the destruction of all of the Moss on Cardenia either, since all of the silos that would have stored it had been razed to the ground. He’d just have a new crop planted and, by the time the storage facility was operational again, there’d be a whole new harvest ready. It wasn’t likely that he’d bother the PE crew anymore, either. Not after Leela had carried him out of the burning warehouse when she could have easily just left him there to die. Not that he was grateful for Leela’s saving his life. Rather, Leela had taken the precaution of recording her conversations with Walt, and dropping that little fact to Walt on the medivac.
So, all in all, it seemed like everyone had come out of the disaster unscathed. Everyone, Fry knew, except for him. He understood, deep down, that he’d had no choice but to shoot Chelsea; Leela would be dead, otherwise. But, try as he might, he just couldn’t bring himself to think of Chelsea as an evil person that had deserved death. Neither could he forget what a true friend she had been when they’d first met. But, worst of all, he couldn’t get the image of Chelsea’s last few moments out of his head. He kept seeing her looking up at him, her hand clasped in his as the light left her eyes. Late at night he’d tried to figure out what it had been that had so terrified her. Was it fear of death, or had she realized in her final seconds that maybe, just maybe, she’d been wrong? Farnsworth had said there was no evidence that Chelsea intentionally disabled the cyborgs, but then then there had been her final words to him: I’m so sorry, Fry. The words repeated again and again in his head. He couldn’t get it to stop. It hurt that he could never know what had really happened.
Bender was busily brushing his eyes with a toothbrush when Fry opened the door to his apartment. The robot had been in a jolly mood ever since the disaster. With the whole city to himself and all of the security systems disabled, he’d managed to score more loot than he’d otherwise have been able to steal in a year. Fry waited for the robot to finish and then coughed to let him know that he was there. Bender spun around. “Yo, meatsack! There you are!” The robot punched Fry lightly in the shoulder. “You ready?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Fry said, doubtfully. “Just promise you won’t say anything to the Professor to get me in trouble this time.”
“No sweat.” The robot grabbed a handful of bills out of his chest cabinet. “Big Purple already bribed me to keep my mouth shut.”
Fry noticed that there couldn’t have been more than a hundred dollars there. It didn’t take much of a bribe the redhead realized. Aww, I knew he missed me. “Well, we’d better get going, or we’ll be late.”
“So? We’re always late.” Bender retorted, but he followed Fry from the apartment.
Planet Express was a fair distance away, but Bender kept Fry busy with his latest tales of derring-do. Fry listened intently; it kept his mind off of other things.
The inside of Planet Express was dark and cool. Fry had missed its scuffed floors, its dingy corridors, and that distinct smell of asbestos, owl droppings, and singed lab animal that could be found nowhere else.
Professor Farnsworth was sleeping in his usual spot at the conference table when Fry entered the hangar, and Zoidberg was rummaging through a trash can on the hangar’s lower level. No one knew- or cared- what had happened to the lobster alien during the invasion, though he’d almost certainly spent the entire time hiding in a hole somewhere.
Leela was in the kitchenette, pouring herself what promised to be an incredibly strong cup of coffee. When she saw him enter she reached for a second coffee mug.
“Morning, Fry.” She called as she brought him his cup.
He took the mug and chose a seat at the conference table. “Hi, Leela.” He replied. “Thanks.”
Leela sat down next to him and smiled. “Don’t mention it. Do you know where everybody is? The meeting was supposed to start five minutes ago.”
Fry shrugged. “I dunno. I think Bender’s here; at least, he went running off in this direction. I haven’t seen anybody else yet except for you and the Professor.”
“Oh well.” Leela said with a dismissive wave of the hand. “The only people that really need to be here are Hermes and the Professor.” Leela stood and turned to Fry. “You’re sure you want to do this?” Her eye scanned his face; Fry thought she looked a bit tense.
Fry looked at her and nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, I’m sure.”
The tension went out of Leela’s face, and one side of her mouth twitched upward. “Alright. I’ll go knock on Hermes’ door. He’s probably in there filing paperwork again.” Then she was gone.
A few minutes later the cyclops returned with Hermes tailing behind in her wake. The bureaucrat muttered something about forms not filing themselves as he lowered himself into one of the conference chairs. Bender showed up a moment later. He took a seat between Hermes and the Professor and pulled out a cigar.
Hermes cleared his throat. “Now den,” he said as he shuffled the stack of papers that he’d brought with him. “What’s dis all about? ”
Fry gulped. Well, here goes. “Uh, well you see… That is, I…” He felt Leela’s hand on his arm and fell silent.
Leela leaned over and whispered in his ear. “Let me.” She straightened and addressed Hermes. “Fry wants his job back.” She said.
“Yeah, dat’s what-” He was interrupted when the lounge door whooshed open and Amy skidded into the room. Panting loudly, the intern slid into one of the few remaining seats.
“Sorry I’m late.” She said apologetically. “My bra wouldn’t charge this morning. Bad D-cells.”
Hermes grimaced, though whether it was from being interrupted or from what Amy had just decided to reveal to everyone, Fry couldn’t be sure. “Anyway, like I was saying” he continued. “dat’s what I figured.” He looked from Leela to Fry, and then back to Leela. “But why are you campaignin’ for him? Last I heard, you were madder at ‘im than a green snake in a…” He paused. “Well, actually, I don’t have an analogy for dat.”
Leela folded her arms before speaking again. “Yeah, well, we patched things up.” Her tone clearly carried the message none of your business.
“Hmm…” Hermes absently scratched his chin. “I dunno.” He said at length. “With Planet Express just getting back on its feet, I can’t think of a worse business decision than to rehire the mon who is responsible for seventy-three-point-four-two percent of da company’s financial losses.”
“Hey sweet, my fraction’s lower than it was last ye- Ow!” Leela dug her nails into Fry’s arm to shut him up. The cyclops was still deciding on what to say next when Amy spoke up.
“But Hermes, there’d probably be a lot more paperwork and junk to fill out if Fry worked here again.”
Hermes blinked in surprise. “You want him back too?”
“Well, he did save our lives.” Leela said dryly.
“And the city.” Amy added.
Hermes pursed his lips and frowned. “Bender mon.” He said. “What do you think?”
Bender reached into his chest cabinet and pulled out his wad. “According to this bribe, I think Fry should work here again, and as soon as possible.” The robot chuckled and the cash disappeared.
After staring at Fry and tapping on the table for half a minute Hermes finally came to a decision. “Well… Alright. I guess I can always use da extra paperwork.”
The group cheered, and Hermes offered a rare smile. Abruptly, the Professor, who everyone had sorta forgotten about by this point, woke up from his post-shower, pre-breakfast nap.
“Eh wha? What’s all the shilly-shallying about?”
“Hermes just gave Fry his job back, Professor.” Amy explained happily.
“Wha? Oh right, Fry! Good, and I was just running out of lab animals to experiment on.” The scientist began to doze off again, but Hermes prodded him awake. “I’m awake, I’m awake!” Farnsworth feebly tried to push Hermes’ hand away. “Now, Fry is back you say? Why, where did he go?”
Everyone else at the table exchanged glances. “Uhh, you fired him so he went and got a new job, found a new girlfriend who turned out to be some nutcake bent on taking over the universe, and then had to kill her to keep her from turning everyone into mindless zombies.” Bender offered.
“Hmm… I seem to remember something about Fry finding my spaceship.” Farnsworth brightened suddenly. “Say, has anyone seen Leela? The ship said she might be injured!”
“I’m right here, Professor.” Leela said. “But thanks for caring.” Fry decided not to correct her.
“Eh wha? You are?” Farnsworth squinted and adjusted his glasses. “Oh yes, of course you are. Healthy and as full of organs as ever.”
“Fry?” The delivery boy turned his head to find Leela standing in the doorway to the smelloscope room. He’d come up to the balcony that ringed the tower to be alone, but he decided that he shouldn’t hurt Leela’s feelings. He gestured for her to join him at the railing.
Leela stood beside him and put both hands on the rail. Fry did the same. “Are you okay?” She asked.
Fry didn’t say anything for a long time; he just stared off into the West, where the sun was just starting to sink under the horizon. Leela waited patiently. “I shouldn’t miss her like this, Leela,” the delivery boy said at last. “Not after all the bad things she did.”
Leela put her hand on top of his, and Fry, startled, turned to face her. “Sure you should.” the cyclops assured him. “From what you told me, Chelsea was a good friend to you.”
“But she tried to kill you.” He argued, shaking his head. “And me. And she hurt a lot of other people too.”
“No.” The assertiveness in Leela’s voice was enough to make Fry pause. “That wasn’t Chelsea. That was… somebody else. They shared the same body, but they were not the same person.”
“But which person was the real her?” Fry asked.
Leela sighed. “I’m afraid that that’s up to you.”
The two of them stood in silence then and watched the sun as it slowly disappeared. A few stars came out, and the city’s streetlights began to flicker on one by one. A light breeze began to blow in from over the Hudson.
“Fry,” Leela said, squeezing his hand. “It’s good to have you back.” And, after a long time, the delivery boy turned to her. He smiled.