Futurama created by Matt Groening. Developed by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Owned by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Used without Permission.
It was a cool and pleasant night in the fall of 3004 as four friends left the Elzar's restaurant in downtown Manhattan. They just had a double date that went well for all involved. As the others were laughing and joking, one of the two women, Turanga Leela, thought back at the last few months.
Leela had finally started to date her co-worker Philip Fry several months ago. Not only had things been more steady between them than she would have previously thought, but those months had been rather quiet. With their interplanetary delivery job and Earth's frequent invasions, they had much adventure in their lives the past few years. However, things had been uneventful of late. She knew it was for the best, but her more adventurous side was missing the challenges they once regularly faced.
She looked at the couple of Amy and Kif and figured they would have no such complaints. Kif was a lieutenant in the Democratic Order of Planets. However, the expediency obsessed peace keeping organization had been inactive lately. With fewer unfriendly (or otherwise) planets to invade, there was little for Kif to do except to see Amy. Amy had once said that she preferred Kif not being in danger. The four of them had some fun during this peaceful time and this night was no exception.
"Anyone want coffee?" asked Fry, heading to a nearby vendor.
"I do," said Kif.
"I'll have some," said Leela, impressed with how generous Fry was becoming lately.
"No thanks," said Amy with a wave of her hand, "I'm spoken for."
Everyone looked at her.
"Oh! Sorry, I still think of coffee as a code-word for sex."
Fry, probably in part to forget his past relations with Amy, turned his attention back to the vendor.
"Three cups black, please."
"I'm afraid we only have enough for one cup, sir," explained the vendor, "haven't you heard? Coffee rations are disappearing around the world!"
"What?" asked Fry with great alarm in his voice, "that's insane! That's the worst thing I've ever heard!"
"What about the last time we had an invasion from space?"
"This is worse! It's personal!"
"Um, okay. Do you want a cup or not?"
"Oh, yeah. Sure."
Fry bought a cup and went to his friends. He looked at his cup and back at them.
"Leela, would you and Kif want to split a cup?"
"Oh, Leela can have it," said Kif, "with less work for me these days, I don't need it that much."
Leela took the cup, feeling a little surprised. If there was anything Fry wouldn't share, let alone give away, it was coffee, until now.
"Thanks. I'll have to pay you back…"
"It's okay," said Fry, "think of it as a gift."
"But it's only coffee…oh, never mind."
The following morning found the city in New New York in a kind of sleepy panic. People were lagging to work, driving carelessly, but, thankfully, slowly. Some people passed out on the streets and the human-half of the police were too tired to arrest loiterers.
At Planet Express, Leela was repairing the ship while she noticed Fry wandering between the kitchen and the lounge by habit. She had long seen him as lazy, but she was realizing how dependent he was on coffee. She was feeling a little down herself. If fact, she was feeling a bit woozy as she leaned over to weld that last crack…
She almost didn't notice that she had fallen off her hover-dolly when she felt herself fall into someone's arms. They were familiar metal arms. Her robotic co-worker and Fry's roommate, Bender, quickly placed her on her feet and cleared his simulated throat.
"You wanna blackmail me for this?" he asked.
"For selflessly saving me?"
"No, for havin' a human in my arms!"
"I'd be in trouble, too," said Leela jokingly, "but thanks for saving me."
"What's the dillio? Yer usually more careful when fixin' the ship."
"It's the lack of coffee," said Leela with a yawn, "but I think it's bothering Fry more."
"You got that right! This morning had him trying to drink the baking soda! But, I don't get it. I thought you organisms needed food."
"Yeah, but, well, we sort of need coffee, some of us anyway…and I'm one of them."
"Yeah, you slept through the meeting this morning, but you usually sleep through our meetings anyway. So, what is coffee? Is it an aphrodisiac?"
"No! Where did you hear that?"
"From the coffee machine, but even he can't tell why you guys need it. He keeps saying how it helps with the reproduction act."
"Well, it sort of does, but not the way you think."
Just then, Fry wandered by.
"Ben-der…Lee-la…I canna boost my adren-a-line…"
He collapsed in Leela's arms.
"I'd suggest filling him with Slurm," said Leela, "but it would take a lot now to get him going again."
"Oh I got a lot of cash from the drink machines," explained Bender, "I didn't think I'd be giving it back, but my buddy needs it."
As Bender carried his unconscious friend off, Leela went off to the office of Hermes, the manager, to request a sick day. She would usually not admit to her health hampering her work, but she had never been without coffee before! When she arrived, she found Hermes asleep on his desk. The morning meeting took a lot out of him. She was becoming more worried now.
Leela went back to the meeting table, thinking about checking the news to see how things had progressed.
"Collect call to Leela," said the mechanical voice from the room's view screen, "from," the voice changed here to a familiar tone, "Kif Kroker."
That was surprising. Usually, it was Zapp Brainigan, Kif's highly overrated commanding officer, that would call her. Kif would normally be calling Amy.
"I accept," said Leela, hiding the worry in her voice.
Kif appeared on the screen and Leela could tell that he was one the bridge of the Nimbus. Behind him, in the Captain's chair, was a sleeping and unshaven Zapp Brainnigan.
"Kif, what happened to Zapp?"
"He has had too much withdraw from coffee. Also, he spent last night sobbing. The lack of coffee means he misses it's…other use."
"An excuse for sex?"
"Yes, Amy told me about that once. Anyway, the DOOP has given us orders to track down whatever is responsible for the lack of coffee. With Zapp indisposed, I have been made captain for this emergency."
"Congratulations, I guess. I don't think you're calling me just on your promotion, though."
"Actually, I called because I mean to…deputize you."
Leela expected what Kif had to say was big, but she didn't expect it to be that big.
"What? But, why me? Don't you know anyone else more capable of…?"
"Zapp is considered the best that the DOOP has," said Kif with some bitterness in his voice.
"I see," said Leela, "all right. I don't think I'll have trouble asking for a sabbatical. I have one request, though. About the uniforms…"
"Done. Whatever it is, I'm for it. I'll take it up at headquarters if I have to."
"Good, but there's still one thing to settle, though. We have to tell…"
"Our significant others," finished Kif, "I know. They won't like us taking on such a dangerous mission."
"We're going with you!"
This statement from Amy surprised Leela. The stern look on Fry's face was not so surprising. Leela had called them both to the lounge and explained the situation. Amy's response after the explanation was very quick and direct.
"But it's a dangerous mission and Kif only wants me for it," Leela explained again.
"Leela." said Fry, "I don't want anything to happen to you, so I 'm going."
"I sort of expected that," said Leela, "and I guess I can't change your mind. But I'm still not sure if Amy should come…"
"If it's that's dangerous, I'm going with Kif," she proclaimed.
"Okay," said Leela, "but you'll have to convince him, not me."
Leela was quite surprised how well Kif took the news. At one time, he told Leela how he could never win an argument with Amy. Leela only hoped they could keep Amy and Fry out of danger. It felt odd for her to take Kif's place as lieutenant She pondered that as she walked the bridge of the Nimbus in her modified uniform.
"Hey," said Fry, walking by, "nice shorts, Leela."
"Look who's talking," responded Leela, partially annoyed.
The negotiation was that they would wear shorts instead of the usual extremely short skirts which were standard of the DOOP uniform. Leela preferred pants, but this was the best Kif could do.
"It's funny," said Fry, "I know where they got the idea for the lower part of this uniform, but even that guy wore underwear!"
"Let's concentrate on the mission," said Leela, resisting the urge to chuckle at that statement.
Earlier, they received a signal to where the signs of the remaining coffee in the universe were leading. The Nimbus had been following it for a while now, but the trail was incredibly long.
Professor Farnsworth found himself busy in his lab on Earth. He was trying to create an synthetic substitute for coffee, but was having no success so far.
"Blasted coffee beans!" he screamed after his 87th try, "why couldn't coffee be made from Ultrasweet or something?"
"Nothing worthwhile is easy," said an unfamiliar voice behind him.
Farnsworth turned around, looked down, and saw Nibbler, Leela's pet and member of an unknown species, standing behind him.
"Nibbler! What are you doing here?"
"I've come to help, Professor Farnsworth,"
"Wait, who said that?" asked Farnsworth as he looked around the room.
"It's me, Professor. I can talk."
"Oh! Well, that would explain what I'm hearing. So, should I be in shock or do you want to explain something?"
"The second thing. I guess I should let this out first: I got in trouble for keeping it a secret before. I was the one who…"
"Who ate my prunes?"
"No, that was Zoidberg. I froze Fry in 1999."
"What? That's an outrage! That's unforgivable!"
"I know, I'm sorry. We were desperate and it seemed a good idea at the time…"
"You're the reason I have to remember an extra name each Xmas!" declared an angry Farnsworth.
"Um, okay. What about the fact that, by doing so, I've saved you a pair of kidneys?"
"Oh! Well, I suppose I forgive you, then. So, what's this about a 'we'? There's more of you?"
"Yes," explained Nibbler, "and, ages ago, the ancestors of my people predicted three major disasters in the future. One of which was the Brain Spawn, who struck twice and were stopped by Fry. I recall you disbelieved him when he told you of the first attack."
"Actually," corrected Farnsworth, "I just didn't want to listen. But how did Fry stop them?"
"Due to his trip in time where he conceived his own father, he lacks the delta brain wave."
"But…he told me about the brains before we went back in time. So…"
"I said it was foretold."
"So, I guess his being frozen was meant to happen."
"I suppose. I am only a link in the chain, myself. But now we face the third disaster, the lack of coffee. We don't know all the details, but we do know that you are among the few that can save humankind!"
"All right, but why tell me?"
"I am not the only one who has ever drafted Fry for a dangerous mission."
"Oh, I see Well, I guess we should get to work."
The Nimbus eventually reached a distant, lonely world. It was of medium size and looked yellow from a distance. It was the only planet that circled it's large, yellow star.
After several unsuccessful attempts of hailing the people, the crew of the Nimbus decided to land and talk to the locals directly.
Kif, Leela, Fry, and Amy wandered and found a city made of sand with citizens of human-like form, but with blue skin and noses that resembled bicycle horns. These people paid little attention to them as they went about their daily routines.
"So," asked Amy, "who do we talk to?"
Leela, while shielding her single eye from the sun's rays, noticed a jewel-encrusted castle made of sand.
"I think that's a good place to start," she declared.
Surprisingly, the guards let them in. Sitting on a throne of sand was a female of the species wearing loose blue robes. She had an air of authority around her.
"I am the queen of Sandworld," she proclaimed, "state your business!"
"'Sandworld"?" asked Fry, "that's not too original."
"'Dune' was taken," explained the queen, "now, who is your commanding officer?"
"I am," said Kif, "we are here on a mission. We're investigating the absence of coffee beans on planet Earth."
"Ah," said the queen, "'coffee beans'. That must be what you call the deliverer."
"'Deliverer'?" Kif asked, "I don't quite understand…"
"Ages ago," began the queen, "the necessary substances to make the deliverer were plentiful…"
"This is going to take a while," Fry whispered to Leela. Leela chuckled some.
"We always had enough of the deliverer for our people," the queen continued, "but as our population grew, the substances waned. We needed a new source. We combined our latent telekinetic and telepathic abilities and found a natural supply on the world you call 'Earth'. We sensed that the people had no immediate need for it, so we used our collective power to obtain it."
"So," said Leela, "you took our coffee!"
"We need it more," explained the queen, "in your case, it is mainly used as an excuse for performing the reproduction act."
"What do you need it for?" asked Kif.
"Our own reproduction," explained the queen, "our expecting females need it to give birth. Otherwise, the child stays in the womb. The child is fine and does not age, but it still needs support from the mother."
Leela and Amy cringed at that thought.
"We, particularly the species of my comrades, have more need for the deliverer than you may suspect. Perhaps we can settle this peacefully," said Kif, "perhaps we can negotiate tomorrow?"
The queen looked thoughtful of the proposal.
"Very well," she said after a moment, "but you will not have much special treatment. You will spend the night in your ship. We shall speak in the early afternoon."
It was a pleasant night on that part of the planet. It was warm, the twin moons were both full, and there were some night clouds that gave things an eerie, but somehow romantic, feel. Amy had talked Kif into "making the most" of their time before getting back to the mission. He was now in the ship's bathroom in his underpants, freshening up, and about to take a precaution.
"Kif, I need some deodorant…"
Amy had entered through the open door behind him, wearing a girdle and underpants. Her attention turned to a device that resembled an Earth dentist's water pick.
"Hey, my mouth could probably use a rinsing,," she said.
Before he could stop her, she quickly took the instrument and squirted something in her mouth. Then, she started gagging uncontrollably.
"Amy! That was our 'protection'! It's my species' answer to 'the pill'! It suppresses my membrane to prevent reproduction. I don't know what it does to humans!"
During this explanation, Kif had taken her to the bed, where she was finishing gagging. "It's…okay. I'll…survive," said Amy, after catching up with her voice, "my mouth feels dry, though."
She smiled at that last statement. Kif, although still worried, smiled as well. She had a habit of making him feel better, and his life and career were otherwise too hard to smile about.
"We could, well, postpone it…," he began to suggest.
"No," said Amy," "I'm good." She looked in his eyes. "Kif, do you…not want to go with it…?"
"Well," said Kif, "I want to, but, well, after dealing with Zapp and his obsession of the matter for years, it just doesn't seem…professional."
"Kiffy, you, of all people, shouldn't compare yourself with Zapp! To do that, you'd have to see me as a sexual conquest."
"Well," said Kif, "I certainly see you as much more than that! So, if you want to…"
He was answered by her lips pressed to his beak.
Leela was looking out of the window, trying to avoid the noise from Kif's room. As much as she tried to think of a way around the roadblock of this mission, she ended up thinking about Fry and herself. So far, they hadn't been intimate, but they have had fun. She enjoyed every moment so far. Fry hadn't asked for anything more from her. She began to wonder if he was repressing himself for her benefit. Should she be flattered or worried by that?
"Hey, purple hair."
Recognizing the voice, Leela turned and saw Fry. He was smiling, but seemed to be rather somber. He must have had things on his mind as well.
"Hey, red head," she returned, "a $20 for your thoughts?"
"Can we talk?" he asked, "then it will be even."
She smiled at that. She rarely appreciated his sense of humor until this year. Of course, it was hard to tell if he was joking most of the time.
"Okay," agreed Leela, "is it about us or the mission?"
"Can it be about us?" asked Fry a bit timidly, "I don't know if I can concentrate on the mission unless we get some stuff out of the way."
"Fry," said Leela, "it's unprofessional for us, especially now, to have our relationship issues be in the way of our duty."
Fry looked sad.
"So," finished Leela, "let's get some stuff off both of our minds."
She took his arm and they went to find a place to sit down.
"Feeling jealous of the other couple?" she asked him.
"Some, yeah," answered Fry, "Leela, I have to ask you something. It's probably not important or pleasant to think about, but it's driving me crazy."
"What is it?"
"During those time slips, when we were married for a minute, what did you do with your ring? You know, out of curiosity?"
Leela could tell it was more than curiosity that was prompting Fry to ask that.
"I still have it, if that's what's bothering you. It's in this box under my bed at home."
"A box? You're serious?"
"Very serious," said Leela, referring to a box that contained souvenirs of her favorite moments with Fry. Although she once thought that Fry had tricked her into marriage, she kept the ring, thinking it more meaningful than some other experiences she had with the opposite sex.
"So, out of my own curiosity," asked Leela, "what did you do with yours?"
"Actually," said Fry, a bit sheepishly, "I don't remember. I think I took it off during the time skip, so I don't even remember what I did with it."
Leela felt her heart breaking.
"I was hoping whatever you did with yours would give me a clue," Fry continued, "I don't think I would have thrown it out, unless I was really angry….no, even if I was that angry, I couldn't stand losing it. It means too much to me, even if our marriage was so brief. I must have it somewhere at home."
"It's…been a couple of years since then, Fry."
"Well, I've been busy trying to win you over since then, you know," he answered sheepishly.
Leela's heart mended. After all, she also didn't remember what she did with her ring until she looked under her bed one day. She walked over to him and kissed his cheek.
"I'll help you look when we get home," she said.
"Back on planet Eternium," explained Nibbler as he tired another mix of chemicals, "I contributed to the most successful mixing of snuggle dust and fluffy seeds. I racked my brain for two nights to calculate the correct dosage."
"Your point?" asked a frustrated Farnsworth, looking at his notes, which were still a jumbled mess, even after Nibbler's input.
"This is still harder," Nibbler replied as the chemicals began to resemble the black liquid of coffee, but it then became a disappointing brown, and then orange.
"I only wish I knew how much time we had," said Nibbler, "how often does your species engage in procreation, anyway?"
"Last I looked, quite often," answered Farnsworth as he adjusted some calculations, "fortunately, my captain, intern, and delivery boy have been deputized to find the cause of all this."
"I know," said Nibbler, "and they have proven themselves many times in the past. I fear, however, that the situation may be more delicate then what they usually encounter."
"Oh," replied Farnsworth, "they can blast their way through anything. They do it all the time."
"And yet," argued Nibbler, "their actual victories are the ones in which they use their hearts and minds."
After a quick breakfast, the new crew of the Nimbus returned to the Sandcastle. An impatient queen and her advisors led them to an outside table. Soon, the queen was seated at one side with her advisors standing around her while Kif was on the other side with Leela, standing beside him. Leela felt a bit odd not being the one in charge, but she did her best to be professional about the situation, something she prided on.
"Your highness," Kif explained in his most professional manner, "Your obtaining of Earth's coffee beans is a violation of DOOP charter 15-B."
"Those are your laws," stated the queen, "not ours. As I stated before, we scanned the minds of the planet's population and considered the needs for 'coffee' for these 'humans', as they call themselves, are of little consequence. It is used primary to help awaken them and enhance concentration. Some good living would do the same for them. Also, it is used as an excuse to perform the reproduction act simply for pleasure. Birthing our young is, we believe, more direct and vital."
"That may be so," said Kif, "but you could have told the humans of your situation Perhaps they would have shared it with you."
"We also learned that 'sharing' is a difficult practice for most humans to grasp," she explained, "and as I said, we needed the deliverer more."
"So," said Kif, "you are like a parent, teaching the spoiled child a lesson."
"That may be one way to put it," explained the queen, "but like a parent listening to a child, you have yet to convinced me that what I have done is a crime. Unless you provide me of evidence of any serious harm we have caused, I will ask you all to leave."
Leela groaned and hoped that Fry and Amy were having fun.
Fry and Amy walked through the marketplace. It may have felt like a vacation if it weren't for the armed guards by their sides. They were larger then most of the other inhabitants they had met so far and were armed with sabers.
"So," asked Fry, trying to break the ice, "some mess, huh?"
"I guess," said Amy, sounding down, "I just worry sometimes, having a boyfriend in such a dangerous occupation. At least you and Leela are together all day."
"Yeah," said Fry, "but I don't know how well she enjoys it."
"What do you mean? You're closer than ever these days."
"Yeah, and I know she cares about me, but I don't think she feels for me quite the way I do. She's been wonderful and she even once told me she likes me, but I don't know if she really, you know…"
"You wonder if she loves you."
"Yeah," said Fry, "I'm pretty envious of you and Kif. If you don't count Kif taking Zapp's advice, you two pretty much hit it off from the start."
"I don't know," said Amy, "we both like each other, but I keep thinking that I was the one who was really won over. Even now, after about three years, I think I'm relatively new to the serious side of this 'love' business. But how it worked for me, well, I just sort of took the chance and Kif sort of grew on me."
"Well," said Fry, "Leela finally took the chance with me, but I don't know if I'm growing on her or not."
"Maybe you just need some time alone," Amy suggested "you've been with Kif and I on most of your dates."
"Hmmm. I guess so. Thanks."
"Anytime. Well, maybe when we're not covered by guards."
That afternoon had Leela and Kif back on the Nimbus reading and examining various articles and regulations concerning the policies for "harvesting" a planet.
"I'm afraid it looks hopeless, Leela," said Kif, "after all, there was no essential need for coffee on Earth."
"It did for me," said Leela, "I've been running on vitamins alone lately. Anyway, they took it without asking. Doesn't that count as thief?"
"It's perfectly legal to harvest a material another planet finds useless," Kif explained as he read, "…as long as they're DOOP affiliated!"
"You mean, we have something on them?"
"Yes," said Kif, "but there's still the matter of their young. I don't want these people to suffer, either. Perhaps we can still compromise."
It was the 323rd test. The previous test by Farnsworth and Lord Nibbler had resulted in a poor-tasting cola. They felt more certain with this next one.
"Alright," said Farnsworth as he poured the synthetic coffee beans in the machine, "here we go…"
Nibbler now looked as hopeful as the Professor, also realizing that there would not be much more time.
"And I was so certain that they would agree to share if we dropped the charges!" The four DOOP officers were now being chased by the planet's royal guard. The negotiations had failed; the queen had accused them of twisting the situation into the DOOP's favor. Fortunately, the guards were only armed with metal staffs, but it would not be a blessing if they caught up with them.
"We still have a chance," declared Kif as he pressed a hidden button on his belt. A moment later, a hover-dolly from the Nimbus arrived. Kif jumped aboard, as did Amy. Fry and Leela, unfortunately, lagged behind. They were soon overcome by a flurry of guards. Leela wanted to fight back, but this was a delicate diplomatic situation…that just went bust.
It was funny. She didn't want to be a hero while Fry always wanted to be one. And yet, she usually did all the work while he seemed less impressive. However, he had saved her and Earth a few times in the past.
Soon, they were totally surrounded by armed troopers. There were too many to fight even if they had tried. They held each other one last time.
Leela found herself looking in Fry's eyes. He was tearing up and she felt her eye doing the same. Then, she realized something. It was something that she should have noticed years ago. She always wanted to get over her loneliness with a man who was heroic, strong, etc., but that was just a romantic fantasy due to her loneliness. All she really wanted was…someone that would make her happy.
And here was a man who wanted nothing more than to make her happy.
And she had been ignoring that until this year.
She felt like slapping herself, thinking of all the things they could have done together, the future they may have had. They might even have had a family by now if they had started this relationship when they met. Instead, he had to be nervous…and she had to be selective.
He began to reach for her shoulder. She did the same to his. The look in his eyes spoke volumes for her.
What they had was brief, but it was great.
They went toward each other for one last kiss. Their eyes were closed as they attempted to block out the violence of their predicament. This was their moment; their final moment.
"We have to save them!" exclaimed Amy.
Kif sighed, probably his deepest sigh ever.
"Amy, dear, saving the fallen from overwhelming numbers during a retreat would violate DOOP article 20-Z…"
Amy was shocked.
"…And I never liked that rule," he said as they turned around.
Amy was now overjoyed.
"Kiffy, I…I thought…"
"It's okay. I just usually go around rules I don't like. I've never directly broken one…until now," he explained as he turned the hover dolly right above their comrades. He started to go over the railing. Realizing what he needed, Amy took his feet. Kif was lowered and grabbed his friends. However, their weight and his boneless form almost pulled him down with them.
Amy pulled on Kif's legs for dear life. She thought about the two of them, their times together. She thought of Fry and Leela and the future they were meant to have together. It was something that Amy simply did not want to lose, and she figured no one else wanted to either.
Amy didn't know how she did it, she pulled up Kif and the excess weight of Fry and Leela. Soon, they were all in the hover dolly. With the natives still restless, Amy quickly turned the hover dolly back to the Nimbus. The door was shut behind them. Amy quickly took her friends to the sick bay while Kif headed to the bridge.
Leela awoke with a pounding headache. She expected to feel worse, though. She had trouble opening her eye. She tried to remember the last thing that happened to her. It had to do with Fry and a mob…
She sprang up, wanting to find him. She had trouble recognizing this place. It seemed a little familiar…Of course, she was in the sick bay of the Nimbus. On the bench across the room from her was Fry.
She wanted to go to him, but she was still sore. She tried to speak to him.
"Fry…it's me, Leela."
For a moment, it seemed that he didn't hear her. She was about to try again when she saw him move.
"Leela? Are we…okay?"
"Pretty much. I'd say we blew it, though," she responded as she painfully walked to him.
"I guess. Are we gonna try again?"
"I'm afraid," answered Leela, sadly, "that it's out of our hands."
Fry slowly took her hand. She looked down. She didn't feel happier, but she felt the burden ease a little. She was rarely reminded that there would be times where their feelings for each other wouldn't erase pain, but instead share it between them.
Still, it seemed better for her than having to deal with it alone.
"We did it!" exclaimed Farnsworth, looking at the familiar brown concoction in the flask, "we did it! We have a coffee substitute!"
"Yes," said Nibbler, "but we don't have enough ingredients for the planet."
"Oh, we'll found some us for it! Now, how about you let me dissect your brain…"
"Er, let's not," said Nibbler as he sent a mental block in Farnsworth's brain.
He felt more like this was in self defense than usual.
"I guess we failed," said Amy as she and Kif paced on the bridge.
"Yes," said Kif, "by orders, I'll have to report this to the DOOP, but…"
"What?" asked Amy with fear in her voice again.
"Well, the policy is that we'll 'harvest' the planet, just as they did with Earth in the first place. Plus, there would be even less coffee by now anyway."
"But…do you have to report?"
"I don't want to. Maybe…"
Just then, the astro-phone lowered from the ceiling.
"Incoming message," announced a computerized voice.
Professor Farnsworth's face appeared on the screen.
"Hello! Are Fry and Leela around?"
"No, sir," explained Kif, "they're in the sick bay."
"Oh, dear," said the Professor, "they'll probably sue me for letting them go on this mission as well. Anyway, I have a substitute for coffee, but it's in short supply. There's not enough for the billions of Earth. I don't remember how I made it, but I don't remember half of the inventions I find around here."
"Professor," Kif asked, "is there enough to help a planet of, say, a million or so?"
"I suppose. Also, the new transport tube could send it there quickly. Why?"
"Here's my suggestion…"
The forces of Sandworld were lying in wait for the visitors to leave their strange craft or leave their world altogether. By tradition, the citizens were present while the army was at work; they had a planetary pride in their victories. Their patience was limited and their tolerance for strangers in general and the DOOP in particular was even more finite. They stood their ground, waiting to challenge those that questioned their judgment.
Just then, something was seen in the sky. It looked like a star, but it was too early for that. It started coming closer. The people wondered if it was a sky-rock, what the humans called a "meteor".
Suddenly, the object exploded in the atmosphere. Tiny sparkles were scattered across the sky. They rained down on the planet.
At first, the people were frightened, thinking that it may be a rock fall, or "meteor shower". However, they soon realized that it was more like a liquid fall, but without the need of clouds. The "sparkles" were actually liquid, descending like rain. The people thought that the strangers may have tried to poison them, but they had no time to escape. The liquid covered the land and all the people. There were no apparent effects, at first.
"Due to past experience," said Kif, "I think we should take off now."
The Nimbus lifted and went steadily into space.
Amy, Leela, and Fry waited impatiently outside the door where the hearing of Kif Kroker was taking place. It had been about a month since the incident on Sandworld. The coffee substitute had done it's work; the females were able to give birth moments after the Nimbus had left. After communication with the DOOP had been established, the grateful people had returned what was left of the coffee in exchange for the formula for the substitute. Earth still had a seriously depleted supply, but humankind was now concentrating on serious relationships without as much dependence on sex or excuses for it. This had become the silver lining of the tragedy.
However, Kif's conscience had forced him to admit his violation of DOOP regulations. He was ordered to be tried at the new DOOP headquarters. It was a more expansive building than the first one, but located on Earth. Amy was doing her best to keep her rage from poring out. If it weren't for Kif's actions, her friends wouldn't have survived.
Speaking of which. Leela and Fry were doing better. They had been healing and, for some reason, spending a lot more time together. She envied them; it would be a miracle if Kif's superiors didn't have him shot for misconduct.
The door opened and Amy gulped. Kif entered the hallway where his friends were; his head was lowered.
But, somehow, there was a small smile on his lips.
"Well?" asked Amy, with fear in her heart.
He turned to her and looked into her eyes.
"An honorable discharge…and I couldn't be happier."
"You…you don't mind?"
"The methods of the DOOP were starting to bother me," Kif explained, "and there was less to deal with, anyway. I was thinking of starting a quiet life."
She was now looking at him with more intent.
"Want to shop for some rings?" she asked, hoping that it sounded right.
He nodded, took her hand, and they walked off.
"Do you think we should just give them our old ones?" asked Fry after Kif and Amy left.
"I don't know," said Leela, "we might need them someday."
Leela patted his shoulder and smiled.
"You know, just in case."
That night, Fry and Leela relaxed on the couch at Fry's apartment. They had spent the evening looking for Fry's wedding ring. Leela found it where Fry didn't think to look: the pocket of his old tuxedo. They had spent the rest of the evening snuggling on the couch while watching TV. Eventually, they switched the TV off.
"Fry," said Leela, "is there something on your mind?"
"Yeah, but I'm afraid of asking since it's probably too much."
"I don't know," said Leela, "I'm starting to wonder what 'too much' is for us, since I love you and all…"
Fry looked shocked and Leela felt shocked after realizing what she had said.
She sighed. Perhaps it was best that it slipped out.
"I've been meaning to tell you that, Fry. I, well, I think I do love you. And I pretty much wasted those first three years by avoiding you. We, well, we're lucky to even be alive right now…"
"Leela," interrupted Fry, "it's okay. We needed the time. It helps with what I'm about to ask."
"What is it?"
"Look, you just think about it as long as you want to. You can even say 'no'. I just want you to hear it…"
"Fry, I'm getting impatient…"
"Okay. Leela, would you…move in with me?"
Leela was stunned. She quickly realized that she shouldn't have been. She long expected Fry would ask for sex first, but he had been quite cordial lately.
"Okay," she said, "next year."
"Next year? Why?"
"For starters," said Leela in a teasing tone, "I'm sure you haven't told Bender yet."
"What…what makes you say that?" stammered Fry as he loosened his collar.
"You don't tell him about your plans about us; it grosses him out. Anyway, I'll need some time to get organized."
"Oh, yeah. Well…wait. You said 'yes'?"
"And…you love me?"
Fry went up to her and held her. They gazed into each other's eyes and had a long passionate kiss.
"Ah, get a room!" said a familiar voice
They broke the kiss and looked at Bender, who had just wandered in.
"Okay," said Leela "how about Fry's room?"
"What? You two are gonna…?"
"No, but I'll move in after a couple of months."
"Another mouth to feed? Ah, well,." said Bender as he stood there and shrugged.
He landed on the couch and his friends joined him. Their future together would be challenging, but interesting.