From Here To In Country
I do not own Futurama in any legal sense. This work is done as a homage and for entertainment purposes only.
This work sparks from two things: A love of Futurama and reading way too many History books. As a result, some of the references may be hard to catch without a decent knowledge of the Vietnam War. Anyway, this is my first fan fiction of any sort, so if it seems rambling or odd at any point, blame it on inexperience. Or Fox Network (I’m still mad about the whole ‘cancellation’ thing). Now, please enjoy, and long live Futurama!
“Good news everyone!”
Fry sighed, tossing his Slurm can over his shoulder in the general direction of the trash can. This earned him a glare from Leela, so, feeling embarrassed, he trudged over and threw it away.
“So what is it Professor?” he asked as he reached his seat. Throwing an arm around the seat back and propping his feet up on the table, he cracked open a new Slurm can and began to sip it. “’nother delivery?”
“Eh, whaa?” The Professor pushed up his glasses and squinted. “Who are you? You can’t prove anything without the body!”
Leela sighed and brushed a purple lock of hair from in front of her eye, ignoring Fry’s daydreaming stare. “Come on Professor. ‘Good news everyone I’ve…’”
Farnsworth straightened up. “Your news will have to wait Leela! For in my quest for a race of atomic supermen, I have devised an excellent invention! Mmmmm….. Oh, yes….”
Hermes pulled his collection of insurance increase request forms from under Amy’s head, causing her dozing form to hit the conference table.
“Ow! <Unprintable Cantonese expression> - Gweilo!”
Unruffled, Hermes shot back. “Go find another pillow, ya rich klutz!”
At this, Fry gave Leela a flash of his crooked grin, and despite herself, she smiled amusedly back at him.
Hermes had finally found the right form and clicked out his pen. “Now professor, what is dis invention?”
Noticing Leela’s now bored gaze wander over to him, Fry grinned and stretched both his neck and hands out, adopting his nephew’s blank expression, mouthing “This whaaat?”
Seeing this, Leela quickly turned and covered her mouth with her hand. Oh, no Fry! You’re not going to get me to crack up that easily! Composing herself, she turned back and focused on the Professor, trying to keep a straight face and avoiding letting Fry’s infectious grin get to her.
“Oh yes! I have created a time portal using an old door and some fungus from my back…”
Everyone screwed up their faces in revulsion. Fry, who was tilted back chugging his Slurm, gagged and sprayed his drink all over the can and himself before falling to the floor. Poor Fry! thought Leela with a chuckle, sympathetically ignoring his sputtering as he clawed at the table to regain his seat.
“Ah, yes! I have discovered the fungus on my back has the ability to empower this door to open a time portal to the exact moment and place that it randomly happens on!”
Recovered, Fry raised an eyebrow. “Sounds kinda pointless.”
“Shut up you! You’re not paid to think!”
At this, Leela couldn’t suppress a snort of laughter. Fry looked at her with a startled and hurt expression. “Sorry,” she mumbled, resting her elbow on the table and once again covering her mouth. Looking at him sitting there, dejected, she felt pity for him. Poor guy. Bender’s on vacation, no one hangs around with him, and I keep rejecting him…. Wait, WHAT? Leela involuntarily straightened up from her thoughts, bringing the Professor and everyone back into focus. They were all staring at her. Farnsworth pushed up his glasses.
“I said you and Fry will be taking my Time Door from my lab and dropping it off on Vergon 2, where those pesky search and seizures by police are illegal.”
Oh Lord, was I thinking out loud?!?! How much did they hear? Leela quickly stood up and said “Okay Fry, let’s get this over with. I don’t want to miss the blernsball game tonight.”
“Um, okay...” Fry said as he pushed himself up, making sure that she saw him throwing away his Slurm can. “I’ll go get the door.”
As he wandered off, Professor Farnsworth shouted after him “Remember, don’t let my Time Door stick to any fixed surface! It might open!”
“I know, I heard you the first time.”
“Hmmm…” Farnsworth turned around. “Smart aleck. ….Where am I?”
Hermes sighed. “At work, Professor. Come on, let’s go make Zoidberg miserable.”
“Oh yes! I think I’ll eat a sandwich in front of him. Ahhh, good times….”
Leela watched them as they walked away. She turned to talk to Amy, but found her passed out again, mumbling about some midterm that was due. Sighing, she began to head off towards the ship when she heard the familiar noises of Fry about to suffer bodily harm.
“Whoa! This is heavy! Op, op, op op! Ha! Thought you had me there, didn’t you! Well, I- OH CRAP!”
With that, Leela sprinted towards Fry’s voice, a sense of fear and urgency building alongside her anger at his clumsiness. As she rounded the corner, she gasped when she saw what was going on. Zoidberg had run away from the Professor and Hermes’ bullying, and had upset some drums of dark matter on the level above Fry as he ran to his dumpster. Fry was staggering with the door to get away from the tumbling barrels, but it didn’t look like he would make it.
Fry’s head snapped around at the sound, a look of hope on his face.
The impact of Leela’s tackle knocked the wind out of Fry. It also knocked the door out of his hands, allowing it to seal to the floor and open just before they landed. The Professor scurried over in time to see Leela’s boots disappear through the door before it was buried under the much larger dark matter containers.
“What is-… Oh, my… that’s not good.”
ELSEWHERE IN TIME
They where falling. In the split second before they hit the ground, Leela realized two things. One, that they must have fallen through the time door, and two, that she was going to crush Fry. With that thought, she closed her eye. They hit. Leela heard roots and wooden beams snap around her, breaking the fall. Still, the impact was hard, and she was too dazed to move for several seconds. Slowly, she raised her aching head and looked around, coughing at the dust. We’re underground… this must be a tunnel network. I wonder where it leads- FRY!
Quickly, she pushed herself up and off of him, completely focused on making sure he was alive. Leela bit her lip as she gazed at him, running a hand along his side. “Boy, that fall really did a number on you! At least you’re breathing…”
With that thought, she leaned over and gently began to shake him. “Fry? Fry? Wake up!”
Getting no response, she began to shake harder and with increasing desperation. “Fry? Fry! Wake up! Wake up! WAKE UP YOU LAZY BUM AND THAT’S AN ORDER!”
Without realizing it, she backhanded Fry’s face. She dropped him and covered her mouth in realization of what she had done, and, as if on cue, Fry began hacking and coughing, his eyes rolling about out of focus. “…Leela?”
“Fry!” She shouted, hugging him, not noticing his wince of pain.
“What hit me?”
“I did.” Feeling him stiffen from shock, she quickly added “After we impacted this tunnel.”
“Tunnel? You mean we fell through the door? Ah, man! Why does this-”
Leela pulled back and looked at his face. There was a look on it she had only seen before when Fry saw her in trouble. One of complete fear and horror.
“What is it Fry?”
His gaze remained transfixed on a point behind her. He dragged himself back, and reached blindly for her. Grabbing a strap of her tank top, he pulled her close.
“FRY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE-“
His fearful eyes rolled in his sockets to stare at her. The pure terror in his face made her stop. She felt an uneasiness growing within her now too.
Fry spoke again, barley audible. “I know where we are, and when we are. We have to get out of here now!”
Taken aback by this assertiveness, Leela gave him a confused look.
In desperation, Fry swung his hand up towards the point where his gaze was fixed. Leela squinted, and through the dust made out the shape of a flag. It had an upper blue stripe and a lower read stripe, with the center dominated by a large yellow star. Around it was a small radio and what looked like books and an old projectile weapon lying on a poorly made table.
Fry cut her off. “If there’s on thing I remember from my time, it was my Dad’s war stories. The man hated communists, and told us every gruesome detail of his combat tours. We, Leela,” his gaze turned back to her, causing a chill to run up her spine, “have fallen into a North Vietnamese tunnel network. If we are found in here, alive and speaking English…” His voice trailed off.
Comprehending his urgency, Leela Stood and pulled him up. “Okay, let’s get the-“
Fry’s eyes widened at something behind her. Leela spun around to attack whatever was there, but immediately spun back, spraying a horrified Fry with blood from the vicious uppercut with the butt of an AK-47. She saw him reaching out for her, screaming her name before snapping back from a similar smash to the head. Fry… Then blackness.
Leela slowly came to. She heard voices, cries of pain, and fleshy impact sounds. With considerable difficulty, she raised her head and opened her eye. Hair obstructed her view. She tried to raise a hand to brush it out of the way, but found that she was tied spread eagle to the wall. Leaning forward and squinting, she could make out two short men in uniforms beating something curled up on the floor. Something in a red jacket….
At the sound of her voice, she saw the men snap up and wheel around towards her. Fry was on all fours, and coughed up some blood before shouting “Leela, don’t tell-“
One soldier deftly hit him with this weapon and shouted something at him, spitting on Fry as he lay writhing in pain. Seeing this turned Leela’s fear in to anger. She snapped forward on her restraints, screaming at Fry’s tormentors.
“DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH HIM! I’LL KILL YOU FOR WHAT YOU”VE DONE TO MY PHILLIP!”
MY PHILLIP!?!? Both the guards and Fry were momentarily stunned by this outburst, abet for different reasons. Despite his injuries, Fry was smiling like a fool until he received another blow from a rifle. He curled up again, and Leela could hear him weakly say “She called me ‘her Phillip’…”
The soldiers once again began to advance on her, but suddenly stopped and snapped to attention. Confused, Leela looked to her left and saw another man striding up. From the different cut of his uniform, she guessed he must be the men’s officer. He returned the soldiers’ salutes and waved them back. Appearing to not notice Leela, he strode over to where Fry lay, blocking him from her sight. The man put his hands on his hips and said in heavily accented English “So! Another American pig caught trying to blow up our tunnels! And where is your partner?”
The voice of one of the other soldiers caused him to look over his shoulder to Leela. Shock etched on his face, replaced quickly by a bone chilling smile.
“Ah ha! You all are so desperate that you now send a team with a womanin to kill us! HA! American swine!”
As he took a step towards Leela, Fry, clutching his stomach with one hand, pushed himself up and growled “Don’t you touch her...”
At this the man spun around and brought his fist crashing into the left side of Fry’s head, driving him to the ground. NO! THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING! Leela began to cry, but hardened to anger at the sound of this evil creature’s laughter.
“I’ll do as I like, pig. You capitalists think you own the world, but down here, I am supreme! Now my pretty,” he said, strolling over to Leela with a wicked smile, “let’s brush that strange colored hair out of the way and see that pretty face.”
His smile froze and became mixed with shock and horror. “What is this? This is no woman!”
He took an involuntary step back, reaching for his pistol. Leela’s narrowed lone eye focused on him, animalistic rage etched deep in her face. The shaken man spat something out in his native language and raised his Tokarev. “Prepare to die, monster!”
Desperate to save the love of his life, Fry thought fast. Come on, what was it he used to say!?!? ‘When the commies were holed up in them holes, we’d egg ‘em out by shouting…. by shouting…..’
The officer steadied his aim. The shock had been replaced with revulsion. Leela squeezed her eye and turned away just as she heard Fry scream something that sounded like the babble that was yelled at him by the soldiers. Her eye snapped open and she heard the soldiers gasp in shock at the American’s audacity. The officer spun around, pistol at the ready, barely able to contain his rage. “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
With a twisted smile and a glance at the panic stricken Leela, he pushed himself up to his feet, spitting a glob of blood on the man’s polished boot. “You heard me right, you lousy Commie piece of -”
The sound of the pistol shot startled Leela, making her recoil back against the wall.
“NO! PHILLIP! NO!”
Fry lay crumpled on the ground, clutching his shattered left leg. He hissed in pain as the officer dragged him into the kneeling position, glaring back with equal hatred as the man placed his pistol to Fry’s temple. “And now, swine, prepare to die. No one says that sort of thing to me and survives! Say goodbye to your monster now...” he leaned up to Fry’s ear, pressing the pistol harder. “If she’s lucky, I might let her share your fate!”
The man stood back, flipping the safety off his weapon, a determined, sickeningly enjoyed look on his face. Fry spat out another glob of blood, and looked straight into Leela’s tear swollen eye and calmly said “Don’t watch Leela. Don’t remember me like this. Look away, now. Close that beautiful eye and look away.”
Sniffing, Leela felt her lower lip quiver and she began sobbing. “THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING! NO! I WON’T BELIEVE IT!”
The officer angrily rolled his eyes and turned his full attention back to executing the pig. “Now you-”
He was cut short by Fry’s quick raising of a hand and the look he gave the officer. The man felt a chill run down his back. The swine looks so… calm. Accepted. Peaceful. What Kind of a man IS this?!?!
Fry turned back to Leela. In a clear, even voice, he spoke.
Startled, Leela brought her head up quickly from her chest and stared at Fry. HOW CAN HE LOOK SO CALM? HE’S GOING TO DIE!
“Leela, I want you to turn your head away and close your eye. Don’t watch this. No matter what, don’t watch. Can you do that for me?”
Still in a state of shock, she sniffed and nodded.
Fry turned and gave the still recovering officer a wave to carry on. Quickly, the man tried to regain his tough look and placed the shaking barrel of his gun to this strange man’s head. Fry’s gaze remained peacefully fixed on Leela, who slowly turned her head, squeezed her eye shut, and began to heave from dry sobs. Fry smiled his now unearthly smile.
“That’s a good girl.”
Leela whimpered. “Fry, no...”
“Hush now. Don’t watch. Just think of me as I was. I love you, Turanga Leela, and I always will.”
Leela sobbed. “I lov-“
The loud retort of a pistol cut her off. Leela was splattered with a warm liquid. She could hear shouts and the sound of something heavy hitting the floor.
She spun her head back, screaming, but was thrown back against the wall from a heavy impact. Then darkness.
“I got a live one Mikey! And he ain’t no VC!”
Leela stirred at the sound of a voice. She felt a severe pain arch through her body and began to moan.
“Phillip… no…. Phillip….”
The tunnel rats straightened up and looked up from the kid they were pulling out from underneath the now headless body of an NVA officer. One picked up a flashlight and shined it on the wall. Strapped to it was a woman, covered in blood and cuts from their charges’ detonations. Her face rolled reflexively away from the light source, and she dully mumbled “Phillip?”
The two looked at each other.
“Proof enough for me she’s American. Go cut her down Hank.”
“You got it Mikey.”
The dusty solder picked his way over the debris and began cutting the woman loose. She must have been captured with the guy that SOB was gonna blow away. Good thing Mikey’s a crack shot. Squinting in the dull light, he shined a flashlight in her face again, while supporting her with his other arm. He could see the part of her face that was visible scrunch up, and a hand lazily rose to swat away the disturbance.
“Stop it Phillip…”
The soldier looked up. “Hey Mikey! The chick’s got purple hair!”
Grunting from the strain of digging the boy in the red jacket out, Mikey merely responded with a “Hmmph.”
Undeterred, Hank continued. “I’m guessing he’s Phillip, ‘cause that’s the name she keeps mumbling and- hang on, I think she’s coming to!”
Leela’s blurred vision slowly began to focus. Her hair blocked some of her sight, but she could make out a circle of light above her. As she laconically raised her hand to brush it out of the way she murmured “Am I… in heaven?”
Hank smiled and leaned forward to get a look at her as she pulled back her hair.
“No, honey, you’re in- HOLY CRAP MIKEY! THE CHICK’S GOT ONLY ONE EYE!”
Leela had time for an indignant “Hey!” before she was unceremoniously dropped as Hank backpedaled over to his partner. Busy patching the kid up, Mikey said “You need a bandage for the lost eye?”
Hank grabbed him and shook him violently. “No, man, she’s a freaking Cyclops! Take a look!”
He threw his arm in Leela’s direction, where she was backed up against the wall squinting into the beams of their flashlights. She could make out two unfamiliar faces staring slack jawed at her, but was more interested in the lump in between them. It looked familiar… She squinted harder. It looked like…
The soldiers threw themselves back and away as the crazed looking Cyclops flung herself at them. Quickly, she grabbed the mumbling boy in the red jacket and hauled him up to her level. Fumbling, Mikey finally managed to get his .45 clear of his holster when the kid rolled his head and blinked.
With that, she pulled Fry close and kissed him.
The trip out of the collapsed tunnels was rough. The wary soldiers led their ‘guests’ back toward the entrance tunnel they had secured before launching their attack. The one called Mikey had made a rough splint for Fry’s shattered leg, and helped him to his feet so Leela could support him on their way out.
“Mind you, it’s gonna get pretty…comfy the closer we get to the exit, so...”
Leela stopped paying attention, merely staring with a mixture of love and concern at the head resting on her shoulder. Noticing this, Mikey had shrugged and indicated to Hank for him to lead the way out, while he would trail to place the final charges. As they trudged forward in the ever darkening, ever shrinking tunnels, Leela remained solely focused on what became carrying Fry’s limp, bleeding body.
He told me to look away…He told me he loved me… I thought I lost him before I could tell him the same…. Looking down at Fry and his wounds, she suddenly stopped and wrapped him in a tight hug, causing his eyes to snap open from the pain.
“Ow! Leela, that-“
Pulling back, she placed one arm behind his head and pulled him forward into a long kiss. She felt him stiffen, them relax and shakily place his arms around her. Breaking away, Leela took his head in both hands and held his face in front of her tear filled eye.
“I love you, Phillip J. Fry. And I never want to loose you again.”
At this, despite his injuries and massive loss of blood, Fry beamed back at her. She started to pull him in for another kiss when the rough impact of someone into her and the resulting curses from Mikey brought her back to reality.
“Hey! This ain’t no ice cream social! Get moving!”
Holding up a hand and grimacing at the bright light shined in Fry and her faces, Leela sighed and said “Okay, okay! Let’s get out of this place already!”
A beam of light further up indicated Hank’s discovery of the trio’s disappearance.
“Where are y’all? The exit’s the crawl space up here! Come on!”
Leela quickly brought Fry up to where Hank was crouching. Leaning forward, she saw a small shaft of light some distance up a tunnel barely three feet high. Turning back to face Hank, she posed a question. “How is Phillip going to get out? He can’t crawl on that leg.”
“Well...” Hank said stroking his chin, trying his best to look everywhere except at Leela’s now narrowing eye, “What we do to get a rat out whose been hit is lie him on top of another person so he can hold on to their neck and be pulled out with them. It’s kinda our only option down here.”
Taking a second to look at Fry, Leela turned back and nodded.
“Okay, I can do that.” She raised her arm toward the tunnel. “Lead the way.”
Hank gave her a curt nod and, still avoiding looking at her face, said “I’ll tell the boys we’ve rescued two hostages and need a medic.”
With that, he clicked off his flashlight and began to crawl up the shaft towards his squad. Watching his outline against the circle of light emanating from the exit for a few seconds, Leela turned and bent down in front of Fry, who had propped himself up against the tunnel wall. Concern showed on her features as she spoke.
Fry’s head rolled up. His face looked a pale white in the darkness, with perspiration dripping down his face from the pain.
“… I heard him. Just lie down and I’ll roll over so we can get out of here.”
Leela smiled and gently brushed his right arm. “That’s my man.”
Fry smiled, then winced and coughed. Furrowing her brow, Leela quickly dropped down in front of the shaft and reached out, getting a hold of Fry’s arm to guide his roll. “Nice and easy…”
Suddenly, someone grabbed her foot. Leela’s head snapped down for a visual, and she tried to kick her attacker.
“Oh, no you don’t! You can’t go out looking like that! Put these on.”
Leela stopped, recognizing Mikey’s voice. She could make out an outline of something he was holding, and reached back to take them. The items turned out to be a worn army hat with a floppy, all-around brim and a pair of beat up dust goggles. Leela turned back and opened her mouth to speak, but the now impatient tunnel rat cut her off.
“Look, I don’t want the boys to get hit all at once with you two, okay? Two civilians in a combat zone is bad enough, but when one’s a purple haired Cyclops?... Just put ‘em on so we can break it to ‘em easy, okay?”
Hearing Fry moan, Leela quickly nodded, stuffing as much of her hair under the cap and putting the dust goggles over her eye, squinting to avoid having the edges scratch her eye itself. Turning back, she reached out for Fry.
“Okay, they’re on.”
“Good. I’ll help you get him on you back. Just clear that entrance fast, though, okay? I’ve been trailing theses detonation wires for a while and would hate to have Charlie pull them before I get to barbeque him.”
With surprising gentleness, Mikey lowered Fry onto Leela’s back, wrapping his arms around her neck and checking that the pair would clear the ceiling. Satisfied that they would, he tapped Leela on the shoulder.
“All set. Get going.”
“Thanks,” Leela said, and slowly pulled forward into the long, dark crawlway, hoping that Hank had found a medic for Fry. Leela stopped to catch her breath and rested her head on Fry’s arms wrapped around her neck. The only sound audible in the darkness was that of his ragged breathing.
“Hang in there Phil,” She said strongly, patting his arm with her right hand before turning determinately back toward the distant sunlight.
“I won’t lose you again.”
The medics were waiting when they reached the mouth of the tunnel. As she pulled forward, Leela could vaguely hear the other tunnel rat named Hank about to spill her ‘secret.’
“Naw, Danny! This ain’t no ordinary woman we found! She’s a-”
Thinking fast, Leela cupped her hands and shouted “Hank!”
Quickly, a head poked into the tunnel, looking around until he spotted her about fifteen feet from the surface.
“What? You two stuck?”
“No, but Mikey wants you to shut your big mouth!”
Hank drew back, indignant, when he realized that the Cyclops was glaring at him through Mikey’s tinted dust goggles and wearing his boonie hat. It suddenly dawned on him what a riot he would have when she came out of the tunnel, and Mikey must have wanted to ease the men into her…uniqueness. Turning bright red from embarrassment, he leaned back in and shouted “Roger that! We’ve got the stretcher ready and waiting!”
Leela gave a sigh of relief, and was answered by a moan from Fry. She quickly began crawling forward again, increasing her speed as she neared the end of their entrapment belowground.
“Hang on just a little longer Fry. We’re almost there.”
Suddenly, she felt her arms, now bleeding from pulling the weight of two people forward, grabbed by two different sets of hands. She felt herself being pulled forward at what seemed like an astonishing rate. The brightness of the sun, tinted slightly by the goggles, was never the less blinding to her. Leela shielded her eye with one hand and began coughing from the stirred up dust. Suddenly, she felt Fry’s arms being pried off her neck. She started to trash around but stopped when a hand was paced on her shoulder and a calm voice said “Easy, ma’am, we’ve got to get him on the stretcher.”
Instantly, Leela stopped moving, allowing the relieved medics to lift the dirt covered and badly bleeding civilian off her back. Feeling light after Fry was removed, Leela shakily pushed herself up and began to dust herself off when she realized that she was now the center of everyone’s attention. Her head snapped up, almost dislodging the boonie cap covering most of her dirt stained purple hair. There were about fourteen men standing around, and judging from their outfits, Leela guessed that they were soldiers with the same occupation as Hank and Mikey. They carried very little gear, clutched black, archaic projectile weapons, and had massive stains on their olive drab shirts and trousers. And every single one of them was staring at her, mouth wide open.
Leela took a step back, feeling the outcropping that the tunnel had been dug into press up against her back. Hesitantly, she held up a hand and gave a slight, cautious wave.
The soldiers kept starting. Leela ducked her head. Oh, no, did they notice my eye? What are Fry and me in for?
Her fears were momentarily laid to rest when one of the soldiers found his voice.
“I don’t believe it. A real women in a combat zone.”
That opened the floodgate.
“How did you get here?”
“How’s life back in the States?”
“What did you see in the tunnels?”
“Why are you wearing Mikey’s hat and goggles?”
At this last question, all other voices stopped and all the men except for the two busily working on Fry looked at Leela expectantly. Filled with uneasiness, her eye darted back and forth as she pressed herself harder against the embankment.
“Because she’s not as used to the flash and debris caused by blowing up a tunnel as I am.”
Leela’s head snapped around and she was filled with relief at the sight of Mikey pulling himself out of the tunnel entrance, looking filthy, annoyed, and holding a roll of detonation wires.
“Now quit lollygagging and set me up a detonator!”
Quickly, the men bustled into action, their fascination with Leela momentarily superseded by the job at hand. Happy at not being discovered, she jogged over to where the medics were with Fry and knelt down to check on him, uncaring of the actions of those around her. The medics paid little attention to her, continuing to dig around in his leg in search of any fragments of the bullet and sealing up the most dire bleeds. Leela quickly turned away from the sight and looked at his face, biting her lip with worry. She reached out a hand and stoked his face, causing his eyes to twitch and slowly open.
“Are we out, Leela?”
She smiled down at him and said “Yes Phil, we are.”
Fry smiled back up at her, but then shut his eyes hard and jammed his fingers in his ears at something one of the men working by the tunnel shouted. Leela, confused, shook him and asked “Phil, what’s-”
The end of her question was lost as the tunnel rats blew their charges. The bright flash and loud noise behind her caused Leela to throw herself down on top of Fry, making a grimace of pain cross his face before he opened his eyes and looked down at Leela, whose head was rolling slightly from the ringing in her ears. He gently shook her.
“Leela? Are you all right?”
“I guess so. I was just start-”
Suddenly, the irony of the situation struck Leela. Here Fry is, bleeding on a stretcher from a wound he got trying to save me, and he wants to know if I’M alright?
She pulled up and turned to face him. Concern showed in his face. “Well, are you?”
Leela smiled, murmuring “Yes I am,” as she bent down and kissed him. A shake of her arm caused her to turn, and a slightly embarrassed medic said “Sorry to break the moment, but the demo boys are done and we have to get him to the chopper fast before Charlie decides that he’s mad about loosing his tunnel network.”
Leela turned red from embarrassment and quickly stood up, taking a step back so the medics could lift the stretcher. She noticed that Fry’s leg now had a fresh splint on it, and the wound itself was wrapped in bandages. As the men formed up and began to move out, she took hold of Fry’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“We’re heading out Phil.”
Fry squeezed her hand back and looked back at her with that lopsided grin that sent tingles of joy down her spine. Up front, Mikey had retrieved his weapon from another soldier and turned around.
“Alright men! The job’s done! Now let’s huff it to the LZ and see if we still can catch dinner!”
The soldiers chuckled, but soon had grim looks of determination form on their faces. Leela could see the grip on their weapons tightening. Several muted clicks were heard as the safety switches were flipped off. Slowly, the group began to move into the underbrush, heading for the spot where the sound of rotor blades would signal their freedom.
The unit moved out in a loose tactical formation. Two soldiers led point, creeping slowly forward and snapping their weapons up at the slightest noise. Mikey, who Leela now believed was the group’s leader, had his men spread out in a defensive ring around the medics bearing Fry. Leela hung back just behind the rear stretcher bearer, keeping her head low and squinting through the cursed goggles to make sure she didn’t hit the man in front of her. Without realizing it, Leela slowed down, nearly bumping into one of the soldiers trailing the medics. Her hair stood up on end, and her old combat instincts took over.
“Something’s not right…”
This murmured statement caused the nearby soldier to look at her questioningly, surprised to find her shock still, slowly rotating her shoulders so her left arm was slightly behind her and beginning to sink into a crouch to lower her center of gravity. He opened his mouth to ask what she was doing when the snap of a twig behind him caused him to spin around. He snapped up his rifle and felt fear grip his stomach at the sight of a large squad of NVA regulars materializing in front of him. One had his AK-47 up and aimed at the soldier’s head. He began to pull the trigger, and the American squeezed shut his eyes, sensing the end was near. A gust of air and the feeling of cloth smacking into him made the soldier’s eyes snap open again. It was the woman…
Leela heard the twig break, and instantly threw herself into action. She quickly threw her now perfectly positioned arms into a clockwise spin, increasing her momentum as she pushed against the ground for a roundhouse kick. Vaguely, she felt the boonie hat fly off and her long ponytail flutter back out to its natural length, but she didn’t care anymore. This was about survival.
The heel of her right boot caught the NVA soldier in the left side of the jaw, knocking his aim off of the American he had been creeping up on. The bone shattered, and he let out a cry, buckling in excruciating pain. At the sound of his voice, the Americans snapped into action.
The stretcher bearers quickly set Fry down and drew their .45s, while the squad hit the dirt and began to train their weapons on the attackers poring in to their right. Leela ripped off the dust goggles to allow her to see clearly, smashing them down with her fist into the belly of the incapacitated NVA regular, causing him to vomit and loose hold of the weapon he was trying to retrieve. Hearing people open fire to her left, Leela spun around and began running at the nearest group of enemy soldiers. The American whose life she had just saved was wavering on his feet and clutching his chest, so as she passed, Leela shook him by his right shoulder and asked briskly, “Are you hit?”
The soldier, still looking dazed, said “N-n-no, you got him just as he-”
The rest of his sentence was lost as he finally brought his head up to look into the face of the person talking to him. THIS was the civilian?!?! He gaped openly in shock at Leela’s rippling purple hair and her massive eye, focused and filled with a look of determination andanger. He tried to get his words back, but only ended up opening and closing his mouth repeatedly without making a sound. The Cyclops rolled her eye angrily and rammed his M-16 back into the soldier’s chest, his hands grabbing it instinctively.
“Well, then quit staring, dang it, and FIRE!”
With that, Leela turned and took a flying leap over the stretcher bearing a now armed and alert Fry into a group of NVAs who, like the dumbfounded American now fumbling to fire his weapon, froze momentarily at the sight of her.
Then she struck.
Leela’s left fist rammed into the throat of the soldier to her right, crushing his windpipe. His eyes bulged as he fell, fingers tearing at his neck, mouth gurgling out blood and spit. The soldier to her left cursed and snapped the magazine into place on his rifle. Leela’s ears pricked at the noise, and she wind-milled her arms from their current position towards the man, her right hand finding purchase on the butt stock of his weapon. He looked up in surprise as she let loose a loud, almost animalistic battle cry, throwing her legs up in a pin wheeling jump. The soldier felt his weapon being pulled, and realized that this crazed woman had jerked it up and around as she leapt, tightening the sling around his arms so that the gun became a temporarily stable poll. He snapped his head up to follow her as she leapt, watching with horror as her right leg arched over his left shoulder just before the impact of the left leg was felt.
Leela felt her leg connect with the man’s shoulder, knocking him off balance. Still clutching the skyward pointing AK now fixed to his hands, she used it as a pivot point to use her momentum to get her right leg over the other shoulder before the soldier fell. In position, she clamped her thighs hard against the side of the man’s head. Now knowing what was coming, she could feel the muscles in his neck tighten in terror, and his bound hands reached upward in a pitiful attempt to dislodge her.
The instant the top heavy mass of people tripped earthward, Leela twisted her torso as far to the right as it would go. The now freefalling man writhed in terror as she snapped her bent legs straight and threw her whole body to the left. Leela could felt the man’s muscles and bones straining in vain against the sudden shift in her position. They quickly reached the limit of their flexibility, and caved under the exterior forces.
Leela felt and heard the neck snap as she spun towards the ground. The now lifeless body jerked and went limp. She quickly released her thighs’ grip on it and threw her left hand out, feeling its hard impact with the ground. She let it buckle somewhat, then pushed with all her might the instant she felt her right foot gain purchase on the ground. This maneuver catapulted her into the standing position amid the now terrified NVA men. Her ponytail whipped over her right shoulder, and her bloodshot eye glared hungrily at them, a demented, tooth filled smile etched on her face. The nearest man gave a high pitch scream and blindly threw his fully loaded weapon at the monster before him and the two surviving members of his squad. The Cyclops deftly caught the spinning AK’s forward grip with her left hand, abruptly yanking it across her body, vaguely aware that her finger was already depressing the trigger.
The rattling sound of the rounds’ detonations barely reached her ears as she swept the fleeing soldiers with a continuous burst of fire. One by one, they crumbled under a hail of their own lead. It took Leela several seconds to become aware of the fact that the magazine was empty. She looked down curiously at the weapon before turning around and tossing it away in contempt.
“Worthless Stupid Age projectile weap-”
Suddenly, Leela realized that all of the American soldiers were staring at her. Looking left and right, she counted seven enemy dead in front their position. She dimly recalled hearing no firing during her short attack on the four soldiers near Fry, and suddenly realized that she had wiped out over one third of the enemy forces single handed in less than one minute. Then she realized that they could all see her eye. Leela quickly brought a hand up to her face and ducked her head, but the damage was done. Leela cringed, waiting for the outbursts of curses and exclamations, but they didn’t come. She slowly uncovered her face and brought her head back up to look at the men. They were all wearing various expressions of shock and amazement. Leela, now puzzled and a bit annoyed, furrowed her brow.
“What? No questions about the eye?”
A soldier to her left spoke up.
“Lady, after seeing what you did to those Commies, I’m just happy you’re on our side.”
A few of the soldiers managed to nod in agreement before everyone’s attention was drawn to the carefree chuckle coming from the stretcher. Fry pulled himself into sitting position and shook his head, grinning and never taking his eyes off his love.
“Typical Leela,” he sighed, leaning back as she began to smile back at him.
“No matter what you do, you always think it’s the eye.”
Leela couldn’t help a giggle at this oh-so-true observation. She strode over to Fry and ran her fingers lovingly through his hair.
“Oh, what would I do without you?”
The men, slightly disturbed by this carefree display of affection after a bloodbath, exchanged somewhat worried glances. The sound of Mikey clearing his throat caused them to get up and begin to fall back into their marching positions.
“Okay,” Mikey said, trying to appear calm for his men’s sake, “now that that’s all out of the way, lets move out. The choppers’ are waiting.”
Hearing this, the men quickly straightened and began to move forward. The medics eased Fry back down onto the stretcher and picked it up, allowing Leela to walk beside and hold Fry’s hand. The men, more anxious then ever to get back to base, double timed it towards the LZ. The vegetation quickly thinned, and Leela began to hear an odd thumping and whining sound. The noise turned out to be the beat of two Huey helicopters on approach to the field. Leela shielded her eye from the sun as she looked up at the approaching craft. Their dark green paint stood out against the clear sky, and Leela could make out two men strapped to seats on the sides aiming weapons into the undergrowth. Mikey ran forward a ways, waving his arms over his head and indicating where the pilots should set their birds down.
As the helicopters slowed just above the earth, Leela had to brace herself and duck to counter the backwash of the rotors. She felt something nudge her side and turned to see the medic behind her leaning forward and shouting to be heard.
“That’s our bird to the left! The one with the red cross in between the glass panels on the nose!”
Leela nodded in recognition of his words and began moving with the medics toward the waiting Huey, with everyone running doubled over to avoid being blown backwards. When they reached the open sides of the chopper, the medics quickly slid Fry in on the stretcher and strapped him down. Leela hopped in after them, ignoring the gaping stare of the door gunner. Looking over her shoulder, she could see that Mikey and his men were already taking off in their helicopter. Noticing Leela watching them as they took off, Hank the tunnel rat grabbed a hold of the bar on the edge of the Huey and leaned out, giving Leela a lighthearted two finger salute.
“See ya on the other side!”
Leela couldn’t make out what was shouted over the rotor blades, but she got the gist of his meaning and gave the soldiers a friendly wave as their chopper pulled up and back.
By this time the medics had finished conferring with the pilot on calling in Fry’s situation and had strapped themselves in. One leaned over, tugged on the back of Leela’s tank top and shouted “Buckle up, miss! We’re getting out of here!”
Leela quickly sat down and pulled on a beat up safety harness, taking one last look at the deceptively peaceful looking jungle, now growing smaller as they pulled up and away. Sighing, Leela turned her attention back to Fry, who had fallen asleep on his stretcher. She leaned forward and smiled, stroking his cheek. A hint of a smile played across his lips and he mumbled something unintelligible.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Phillip,” she whispered, looking into his shut eyes, “We’ll get you patched up and then find a way back to our own time. I promise.”
With that, she leaned back, sighed, and gave Fry one last smile before closing her eye and drifting off to sleep.
MEANWHILE, AT PLANET EXPRESS –
“Blast it, Amy! Be CAREFUL!”
Professor Farnsworth angrily shook his fist at the klutzy intern after nearly being squished by an errant drum of dark matter. Involuntarily ducking from the sound of the drum’s impact, Amy sheepishly straightened up from behind the winch controls and gave the professor an embarrassed grin.
“Sorry, that one got away from me.”
Farnsworth merely squinted and dusted off his head.
“Sorry for what?”
Amy began to snicker when she heard a door open behind her and a familiar obnoxious voice ring out.
“Evening, meatbags! What planet am I stealing from today?”
Amy whirled around at the same time that Hermes’ head shot up from his replacement crew request forms.
“Sweet Artichoke of the Barbados! YOU came back from vacation early?” Hermes shot to his feet, “RUN FOR YA LIVES! IT’S THE SIGN OF DA APOCALYPSE!”
“Ah, can it coffin stuffer!” Bender snapped, “I came back because of that e-mail Amy sent me about Fry hittin’ it rich again and giving millions to his friends and- What? Why are you looking at me like that? Wait a minute…” His expression turned dark, and he thrust a finger accusingly at the now laughing pair. “You tricked me, you worthless bimbo! I’ll get you for this!”
Hermes straightened and cleared his throat.
“Well, mon, now dat ya here, ya can help Amy clear those drums off of da professor’s time door so we can rescue Fry and Leela.”
“Fry and Leela fell through some sort of time portal?”
Amy and Hermes grimly nodded. Bender balled up a fist and rammed it into his other hand.
“That rat! I knew he’d try and duck out on paying me my fifty two dollars!”
He quickly stormed towards the pile of dark matter containers and began moving them at a speed that astounded his coworkers.
“I’m comin’ for you, Fry! And after I rescue you and Big Boots, you’ll owe me two hundred and fifty dollars!”
In no time, Bender had completely cleared the time door, which had remained opened yet sealed underneath the massive barrels. Dusting his hands off, he pivoted around with a whistle and reached into his chest cavity.
“This calls for a celebration!”
Bender pulled his hand back out, revealing three opened beers. Hermes and Amy laughed appreciatively, but their slight happiness was cut short when Bender guzzled all three beers at the same time.
“What?” He asked, tossing the bottles over his shoulder with a crash. “You didn’t think you chumps were getting any of that, did you?”
Before the miffed pair could reply, the professor paddled up carrying what resembled a fishing pole with a containment flask for a hook.
“Good news, everyone! Fry and Leela’s predicament gives me the opportunity to test out my other latest invention.”
Proudly, he held up the stick. The crew stood silent. Amy finally spoke up.
“Well, what is it.”
“Eh? What is what?”
Amy rolled her eyes. “Guh! That stupid fishing pole you’re holding!”
Farnsworth looked at it, momentarily startled.
“Whaaa- Oh, my yes! This, everyone, is my When-Is machine! It collects and analyzes an air sample to tell you when in time it was taken! Observe!”
With that, the professor cast the line into the time door, mumbling to himself and pressing some buttons hidden under the fly wheel. The rod gave a jerk emitted a ping.
“AIR SAMPLE COLLECTED. ANALYZING.”
Everyone crowded around the professor. The rod gave another beep, and a small sheet of paper spurted out of a hidden slot.
“Here we are,” said the professor, ripping off the sheet of paper and letting go of the machine. Amy and Hermes dived forward quick enough to grab the rod before it fell though, although each were rewarded with a sharp headache from running into each other.
“Hmm…” The professor pushed his glasses further up and squinted at the printout. “Oh, my!”
“What is it, Professor?” Amy asked, winching slightly as she poked the spot on her head where she and Hermes collided.
“I’m afraid Fry and Leela couldn’t have picked a worse spot to fall into.”
Looking up, he turned around the paper so all could see.
DISPUTED TERRITORY, VIETNAM
JANUARY 30, 1968
EVE OF TET OFFENSIVE
“What’s a ‘Tet Offensive’ Professor?” Amy asked quizzically.
“Whaaaa? Oh! AH! Yes! The Tet Offensive was a monstrous assault on American forces during the Vietnam War of the Stupid Ages. Terrible bloodbath…” The professor hung his head, making a tisk-tisk sound.
“Those poor, helpless sons of-“
“We’ve got to save them!” Amy shouted, horrified.
“Yeah!” Bender exclaimed, raising eyebrows. “Fry still owes me money, and I’ll be crushed into cans if he’s gonna get out of the deal by dying in some Stupid Ages war!”
“Well, I suppose we could try…” Farnsworth rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
“I know! We can send in a security hover-bot equipped with a DNA tracker to locate where they are! We’ll be able to see them through its camera system and can communicate via comm. interface!”
Amy instantly brightened up “Great! I’ll go snag one from a friend at the mall.”
Farnsworth held up a hand as she turned. “Ah, wait, wait. We’d need access to a substantial amount of one of the two’s DNA, and I’m afraid I only have small samples.”
Bender, who had been standing to the side smoking a cigar, popped his chest cavity and said “No problem.”
Everyone stared at him curiously, then drew back in disgust as he withdrew several patched up bags containing large amounts of blood. Noticing their expressions, he became indignant.
“What? Don’t tell me you’ve never harvested blood from your sleeping roommate to make a little extra cash on the side!” Receiving blank stares all around, he rolled his eyes.
“Ah, forget it! Here ya go skintube!” He shouted, tossing the now leaking bags at a shrieking Amy. “Load ‘em up so I can find Fry and my money!”
The professor smiled airily.
“Well, come on everyone! We have work to do!.....”
Leela awoke as the chopper began to make its approach to the American forward base. Still groggy, she started to lean forward, but found her hair was being lightly pulled back.
“Sorry about this, ma’am, but it’s just a precaution.”
Leela whirled her head sharply towards the voice, now fully awake. The medic seated next to her had his hands up in a placating manner, holding a can in one had, with the other covered in a dark, gooey material. The medic looked embarrassed.
“Lieutenant Harris contacted the pilot and told us to try to make you and the patient as inconspicuous as possible. We got some old shirts and helmets for you both to put on, and as for your hair…”
The medic sheepishly spread the fingers on his goo covered hand.
“Well, aviation grease is the only thing they got on this thing.”
Leela had a sudden urge to grab her ponytail. It felt slick, so she pulled it over her shoulder. The medic had given her hair a thick coating of grease, making it appear darker from a distance. Leela felt a flash of indignation, but reason kicked in and she nodded her assent towards his action. Relieved, the medic lowered his hands and smiled.
“For a second there I thought I would be the one needing medical treatment! Now,” he turned towards his partner, who held out a bundle, “do you want to put these on him, or should I?”
“I’ll do it,” Leela said, and the medic nodded, holding out the bundle.
“Just one thing…”
The medic froze, apprehensive.
“Who’s Lieutenant Harris?”
The medic started, and gave a short bark of laughter.
“I forgot, you don’t- He’s Mikey, the one who gave you his goggles and hat.”
“Oh,” Leela said, taking the clothes from the medic’s outstretched hands. Eyeing the open doors of the Huey, she turned back to him.
“Is it safe to unbuckle?”
“Sure, sure. Just get those uniforms on you and him quickly. We’re due in within ten minutes.”
Leela nodded and snapped off her harness. Carefully, she slid off her seat and sat down next to Fry, who was also beginning to wake up. Smiling slightly, she rocked his shoulder and whispered “Wake up Phil, you’ve got to put this on-”
Leela stopped when she looked at the shirt the she had pulled out of the pile. I looked just like the ones she had seen on the platoon members, except for one key difference. This shirt had jagged, random holes in the shoulder and center of the chest, and the surrounding cloth was blackened from blood stains. Noticing Leela’s rigid pose, the medic leaned forward and softly said “This is a Medivac chopper, ma’am. The only spare clothes we got here are the ones we pulled off the wounded.”
Leela shook her head wordlessly to clear her mind, and set back to work on putting the shirt onto Fry. Feeling himself being shifted around, Fry’s eyes fluttered open and he asked “Are we down yet?”
Leela leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.
“Not yet, Phil. I’m just putting an army shirt on you so we won’t draw as much attention when we land.”
Satisfied that she had gotten Fry suitably wrapped up in the bloody uniform, Leela picked up another shirt. This one had slightly less damage, mainly a wide, stained tear through the middle of the left sleeve. Taking a breath, Leela quickly pulled the shirt on and buttoned it, exhaling only when she was finished. Seeing that she was done, the medic seated next to her held out a camouflaged helmet that had two flaps pulled out of the liner and hanging off the back.
“You might want to put this on for….ummm…well, you know…”
Leela rolled her eye and took the helmet from the medic, strapping it on. The grease on her hair made it feel funny, but when she tucked her ponytail into the back of the tattered shirt and let the flaps fall over the rest, she admitted to herself that it did help conceal her true identity.
At least our pants are filthy, she thought as she looked down at Fry again. That way they sort of look like the ones from the platoon.
Leela continued to sit next to Fry and smile gently at him, watching as he rubbed his eyes and reached for her hand. After a while she felt a tap on her shoulder and heard the medic say “Better strap in, ma’am. We’re on approach.”
Leela nodded and turned to Fry.
“I’ve got to sit down now Phil. I’ll be right back.”
She quickly pulled herself back into her seat and slid the harness back on. Looking out the door, she could see a dark grey ring around a cleared space of jungle. Inside it were numerous dark green tents and vehicles, spread out and somewhat camouflaged. Near the center was a large, more permanent looking building with an open are lot next to it filled with various vehicles and what looked to Leela like most of one of the helicopters she and Fry were currently in. Off to the building’s left was a slightly smaller one sporting a red cross on the battered tin roof.
“That’s where we’re taking him,” the medic said, pointing a finger at the structure. Leela gave a nod and suddenly felt herself jarred as the Huey set down. The medics quickly threw off their harnesses and unbuckled Fry’s stretcher, already on the move for the building by the time Leela jumped out of the now powering down chopper. Leela experienced momentary panic at the sight of all the soldiers and vehicles around her, but quickly ran over to Fry, keeping her head held low to avoid revealing her eye. She could hear some of the men stop and turn towards her, but the medics, who she had now reached, said, “Don’t worry. They’re only looking ‘cause they realized you’re a woman. Most probably figure you’re a nurse. It’s all right.”
Leela gave a sigh of relief and took hold of Fry’s hand. Up to that point he had been staring with utmost fascination at a roving vehicle that had a turret covered in rocket launchers, but at her slight touch his head instantly turned to her, his electrifying grin filling his face.
Leela smiled and opened her mouth to speak, but a large explosion ripped through the air. The medics and the couple spun around to see the Ontos tank destroyer Fry had been watching lurch heavily under the impact of an RPG. Suddenly, the surrounding jungle lit up with gun and rocket fire. Soldiers scrambled, bringing as many weapons to bear as possible on the virtual sea of enemy troops.
“Good God!” one of the medics screamed, “It’s a full scale offensive!”
Leela’s eye’s darted around for shelter when she suddenly felt Fry’s hand pull violently away from hers. She spun back around to the stretcher, only to find it empty and the medics staring at it in disbelief.
Before she could scream, Leela saw an orange and green blur flash in front of her. The medics nearly dropped the stretcher in shock at the sight of not their earlier charge, but the badly burned Ontos gunner lying on the stretcher. The man snapped around suddenly, looked up at the medics, and shouted “What happened?!? Why ain’t I burning?!?!”
Before any of the dumbstruck trio could respond, the blur returned, depositing the Ontos’ other two injured crewmen by the now scared medics. Leela felt something kiss her as it flashed by, and it suddenly dawned on her what the blur was.
Back at the Ontos, Fry had managed to stop the fires and get the turret loaded. Thank you, hundred cup coffee spree! Got to love that super speed adrenaline gland! He thought to himself as he jumped into the gunner’s chair. Fry brought the main barrels to bear with remarkable speed, targeting the center of the mass of North Vietnamese troops. A smile flickered onto his face.
“Just like good ol’ ‘Beachhead,’” he breathed as he let loose a volley at the onrushing enemy.
The ground exploded around the wildly firing troops. Soldiers were thrown screaming into the air, while others disintegrated in a hail of shrapnel. A cheer went up from the embattled Americans as Fry used the rod he had hastily jammed near the gas pedal to launch his smoking war machine into the fray. He clumsily snapped new rounds into the launchers and charged the thirty caliber machine gun. Wheeling towards the wall of brown clothed infantrymen, a hardened smile fixed itself on his face.
“This is for Leela.”
Leela found herself running wildly after the smoking vehicle, ducking at the sound of bullets zipping past her. My God, what is he doing?!?! He’s going to get killed! He can’t do this to me!
Leela could see a stream of tracers coming from the turret of the vehicle, and could see small figures writhing in the distance as the glowing rounds reached them. This she only vaguely paid attention to. Her main focus was the tuft of orange hair she could see behind the guns.
At the sound of her voice, Fry turned and looked over his shoulder, rising up out of his seat slightly to see around the smoke billowing out of the Ontos’ damaged engine. What is she doing?!?! He thought, and started to shout for her to get to safety when the burning impact of a bullet to his exposed shoulder knocked him back down to his seat. Grunting in pain, he angrily grabbed the trigger with his still functioning hand and emptied all six rockets in a wide arm before beginning to pull back. He was dimly aware that Leela was screaming something, but pushed that out of his mind.
Got to get back… Got to defend Leela…
Spurred on by this thought, Fry commenced spraying the troops in front of his wounded vehicle. A battle cry rose in his throat, and above the hammering bursts of the now smoking machine gun a dull roar was heard. Before long, the ammo was depleted, but Fry didn’t bother taking his hand off the trigger.
“Come on!” he screamed angrily through gripped teeth, “Is that all you got?!?”
A thumping noise both beside and behind him caused him to make a sweeping glance. He was horrified by what he saw. To his left, a now hysterical Leela had dragged herself up the side of the Ontos and was leaning forward to unbuckle him. Directly below her, a hand grenade rolled around the gun tub. Fry reacted instinctively. Must save Leela.
Leela nearly feel back when Fry literarily ripped himself out of the harness and grabbed her by the shoulders. He pulled he into him, kissed her passionately, and shouted “I love you!” as he threw her off the back of the Ontos. Then, he threw himself down into the gun tub. There was a bright flash, and Fry felt a blinding pain before sinking into blissful unconsciousness. Leela….
Leela screamed at the sound of the explosion, clawing her way desperately onto the now stationary wreck. She found Fry curled up under where she had been, bleeding badly from his chest. He had a relaxed, almost peaceful expression on his face, as though he was sleeping. Good Lord, he threw himself on a grenade to save ME! With complete abandon for the firing going on around her, she threw her helmet aside and dived at the tub, grabbing hold of Fry’s limp body and hoisting it out. Before she realized what she was doing, Leela was already halfway to the building the medic had pointed out to her before, with Fry slung over her shoulder. The slight movement of his body told her that he was still breathing.
“Hold on, Phil!” she half sobbed, half screamed and she ran to the building.
“Don’t leave me!”
BACK AT PLANET EXPRESS
“Spleesh, Bender, you didn’t have to shoplift for one of these hover-bots to show up,” Amy said, inspecting the weld joints on the DNA interface she had just installed, “I was just going to ask my friend to loan it to me.”
“Who said I wasn’t just shoplifting for the fun of it?” Bender shot back while downing another bottle of beer, “So is it ready or not?”
Satisfied with the welds, Amy sat it down on the table.
“Yup! Now all we need is the DNA.”
“Well, I already gave you Fry’s blood...”
Amy cringed and shuddered. Opening the port on the hover-bot’s side, she poured the blood sample into one of the containment vials and input Fry’s name.
“Okay, Fry’s in, but what about Leela?”
“Here ya go,” Bender replied, reaching once again into his chest cavity and withdrawing a bra and two scrunchies. Seeing Amy’s face, he got indignant.
“What? I stole these from Fry and was blackmailing him with it! I’m not about to seek the wrath of Big Boots!”
Feeling slightly less dirty, Amy carefully took the garments and selected several purple hairs wrapped around the scrunchies. The hover-bot was able to gain a definite DNA sample from the strands, and Amy quickly entered Leela’s information.
“Good!” Bender leaned forward and scooped Leela’s clothes back into his chest, retrieving a cigar.
“Go get the professor so I can beat Fry senseless for my money.”
Amy walked away, muttering Cantonese curses as Bender puffed away on his cheap cigar. Amy found Farnsworth passed out in front of the television, and after waking him up and taking ten minutes to remind him what was going on, managed to convince the old man that he should come and release the hover-bot.
Soon they were all gathered around the time door, with a grumbling Bender lugging the hover-bot into position.
“Now, Bender, once you have lowered the hover-bot into the time portal, just flick your right hand upward and that should activate it,” the professor said, for once completely focused on what he was doing.
“I’ll activate the local area cloak!” Amy piped up from her makeshift control center, and the hover-bot suddenly shimmered and disappeared from view.
“Well,” Bender sighed, “let’s get this over with. I want my money, but all this work is really starting to annoy me.”
“Relax, Bender,” the professor said airily as the robot extended his arms and lowered the invisible hover-bot through the door, “Now we just sit back and enjoy the ride.”
“Visual’s online,” Amy said from her console.
“The scanner shows that they were here, but have moved off.”
“Well, what are you waiting for, ya dumb bimbo?” Bender exclaimed, hitting the back of Amy’s head, “Have the stupid thing do find them!”
With a muttered curse and a brief rub of her hurting head, Amy reached out and tapped a button marked SCOUT MODE. The hover-bot received and acknowledged the command, quickly gaining altitude before darting off after the DNA signals it was assigned to find.
Bender pulled up a chair and sat down by the view screen, lighting up yet another cigar. Amy’s face wrinkled at the smell.
“What?” he said, reaching into his chest compartment. Before she could respond, he shocked her by withdrawing two beers and tossing her one.
“It’s like the old man said, bimbo,” Bender commented, thrusting a finger back at Farnsworth while clinking his glass with Amy’s.
“Let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.”
Leela burst into the operation room, half crazed, her eye rolling frantically to take in the scene.
“I NEED A DOCTOR RIGHT NOW!”
A few faces looked up in annoyance from the people that they were working on, with their owners stiffening in shock at the sight of a demented purple haired Cyclops standing in the doorway, wearing tattered and bloody fatigues and cradling a body that was spurting blood from what was left of its chest.
One of the medics from earlier took a step forward, putting a hand to his mouth as he looked at Fry.
Focusing in on the voice, Leela rushed the man, grabbing him with one arm and screaming, “FIX HIM! SAVE HIM! OR SO HELP ME GOD I’LL SLAUGHTER EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU FOR DOING THIS TO HIM!”
At this threat the ward got quiet. The sounds of fighting outside still persisted, but were fading and ignored by all. Wordlessly, two orderlies cleared a table and set up a light. The petrified medic motioned toward it, and Leela tore down the row of operating tables, oblivious to the stares and exclamations of the medical personnel and their charges. Reaching her destination, Leela gently laid Fry out on the table, crying silently as she looked down on his blood covered face. Someone bumped her from behind, clearly trying to get her to move.
“You’re gonna have to let he touch him if you want the boy to live.”
Leela, startled, shifted towards the head of the table so the surgeon could have a look at Fry. Now subdued, she sat down in the chair one of the orderlies had brought and cried into her hands.
“Grenade fragments all over… poor fool must’ve thrown himself on one… dang…. Bullet in the shoulder, not the major concern... shattered leg, also shot… my God, he was runningon this?” a sigh was heard, “Crazy SOB… Well, let’s save him so he can get his shiny medal. Clamps…”
Leela wasn’t sure how long it went on. The sounds outside eventually stopped, more people came and went, people were saved, people died…. But she was focused only on Fry. She had long since stopped crying, and her bloodshot eye stared hopelessly at the top of Fry’s head. She winched and bit her lip each time she saw a spray of blood, leaning in anxiously and then slumping back in disappointment each time the doctor stopped to wipe the sweat out of his eyes. The men in the ward had overcome their initial terror of her, now all they felt was pity. Eventually, Leela became aware that several of the wounded were talking excitedly with some of the soldiers who had entered the building, and at the sound of the phrase “That red haired kid down there,” she stiffed and listened intently.
“…Broke the back of the whole attack, he did…”
“I saw him save the crew! Never seen anything move that fast…”
“…..owe my life to that crazy, wonderful…”
“..Saw him get hit….Kept on goin’….”
“...heard he threw himself on a grenade…”
This last comment made Leela’s eye well up and a fresh wave of despair hit her. Once again, her body was racked with sobs. The soldiers looked curiously at her, and one of the wounded pulled a newcomer close, whispering into his ear. The man’s eyes grew wide with astonishment, and he looked disbelievingly back at the wounded man, who nodded to back up his statement. Quickly, the man straightened up and signaled for his compatriots to follow him.
Leela was still sobbing when she felt someone place a hand on her shoulder and say something. She sniffed and looked up, her bangs messy and matted down in front of her bleary, bloodshot eye. She saw the man pull back slightly at initially seeing her face, but he quickly regained his composure.
“Are you with that young man?” he asked, pointing to where Fry lay on the table. Leela’s gaze followed his hand and she broke into fresh sobs, nodding her head.
Leela looked back up, confused by the man’s tone. She noticed the two glinting bars on his collar had gotten wet from tears.
“Ma’am,” he said again, trying to hold in his emotions, “That boy saved every one of our lives.”
With that, he bent down and hugged Leela, who was too over come with shock to move. The man straightened up and blinked to clear his eyes and watched as each of his men walked reverently up to where Fry lay and murmured their thanks.
“I don’t know if you saw what he did before you pulled him out of that wreck,” the man said, talking softly to the now alert, albeit confused Leela, “But he did more than just save the lives of three of my men. He got the only heavy defensive vehicle we had out up and running, and single handedly took on the center section of the largest attack I have ever seen in my time in ‘Nam. He hit their heavy weapons platoons before they could move up, and held off the NVA’s long enough for us to man the pill boxes. Then, when he got hit…” Leela saw the man’s eye glisten now, “He kept on fighting. Right down to the last round. We knew that he was too badly wounded to reload the big guns, yet he kept it up. Once he was out, he used the bulk as a shield for us, blocking and absorbing all the incoming fire. Then we saw you climb up, and the grenade go in…”
Leela gave a whimper as the man stopped. Thinking for a second, he turned back to her and continued.
“I’m pretty sure that you don’t know much about an Ontos, and that you didn’t get a good view of the inside of where he was when he threw you off. Ma’am,” she slowed, making sure Leela was looking at him.”
“That tub had enough high explosive rounds stored in it to blow almost half this base away. If he hadn’t thrown himself on that grenade…”
Leela’s eye by this point had grown so wide that it was beginning to hurt. Her mouth moved up and down noiselessly, and she turned to look back at Fry’s head again. She felt the man’s hand rest on her shoulder and felt something being pressed into her hands.
“If he makes it, this is for him.”
Leela looked down and opened her hand as the sound of the man’s boots receded. On her palm lay a crude handmade medal. A strip of born blue cloth formed a neckband for the wreathed star. Turning it over, she saw that someone had scratched a message into the back.
To the Red Head in the Ontos.
If Congress won’t give you it, we already did.
Leela heard a throat clear. Looking up, she saw the exhausted surgeon taking off his gloves, a look of tired triumph on his face. Leela stood up, not noticing that her grip on the medal was digging it into her skin. Her face filled with hope.
“Is he…” Leela’s voice petered off.
“Yes,” the surgeon smiled, patting her on the side of her arm.
Fry awoke to the sound of insects buzzing and vehicles moving in the distance. Still keeping his eyes shut, he rolled his head slightly and frowned at the taste of blood.
What happened to me? I think I remember an Ontos, just like those old ID cards Dad drilled me on…Then…then I got shot, and Leela-
OH MY GOD! LEE-
Fry shot straight up from where he had been lying on the army cot, knocking a dozing Leela off his chest and onto the floor. Fry began to feel jolts of pain from his wounds, but was too panicked to notice. His head darted around the room, not seeing Leela picking herself up beside him.
“LEELA! LEELA! WHERE ARE YOU? OH, G-“
“I’m right here Fry.”
Fry twisted around, a look of pure joy and relief on his face. Leela smiled faintly back at him. Her hair was dirty and unkempt, and she had rings around her eye from lack of sleep.
Fry opened his mouth to speak, but stopped when Leela put a finger over his lips and eased him back down.
“Easy, hotshot. You’ve been out for two days and you don’t was to burst those stitches!”
Leela gave a wistful smile, “Yup. The doctor didn’t think you would pull through. You were on the table for over seven hours.”
Fry stared back in shock and disbelief. Leela smiled and leaned forward.
“And now that you’re awake, I can give you something that that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Fry’s eyes widened as he pushed himself back up, a ridiculous smile plastered on his face.
At that moment Leela’s hand cracked into the back of his skull. Fry’s body rocked forward from the slap. Dazed, he fell backwards, watching as the stars that filled his gaze were replaced by the wavy image of a very angry Leela.
“DON’T YOU EVER DO SOMETHING THAT STUPID AND RECKLESS AGAIN! DO YOU HEAR ME, PHILLIP?”
Downtrodden, Fry hung his head and rubbed the spot where her palm had impacted. He avoided looking into her eye, instead talking to his chest.
“Good,” Leela said, taking his chin with her hand and turning his face to look at her.
“Because if you survive the next time you try to get yourself killed to save me, I might just not let you live with me.”
Fry started, blinking at Leela’s now playful smile. His brain couldn’t comprehend what she had just said.
Leela sighed and rolled her eye.
“Just shut up and kiss me already.”
Fry burst into that grin that made Leela feel a tingling warmth grow inside her.
“Have you found ‘em yet, meatbag? I’m getting sick of waiting!”
Amy swiveled around in her chair and glared at Bender.
“I’ve been sitting here for over two days making sure this thing goes undetected! What have you done, huh?” She stood up menacingly, reaching for something in her back pocket. “Do you really want to end up on the wrong side of a magnet?”
Bender backed up nervously, his calculations telling him that unless he calmed the intern down, he had a ninety six percent chance of belting out folk music for the rest of the week.
“Uh, easy now Amy! I was just, um, getting sick of all the close calls with those missiles! Uh, yeah, that’s it! All those near misses really screwed with my processor! That kind of stress isn’t good for any robot to take!”
Amy opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it, her anger subsiding. Bender lowered his hands and edged back to his seat. Amy wearily drooped back into her own seat and rubbed her bloodshot eyes.
“I’m sorry, Bender. I guess I’m just as frustrated as you are. I could have found them days ago if those Stupid Ages missiles hadn’t kept locking onto the hover-bot and not their initial targets,” she sighed, looking at the ceiling, “Invisible to the eye, but not to a primitive heat sensor.”
Bender felt that he was now safe, and even began to feel sorry for the Chinese girl. The lack of sleep and decent food had really done a number on her. Making up his mind, Bender stood up.
“Look, skintube… How ‘bout I go get us some beers? I need to recharge anyway and you look like you could use some booze yourself.”
Amy blinked, surprised by Bender’s generosity.
“Sure, but since when do you care about others?”
Bender was already part-way out the door when he replied.
“A good loan shark always makes sure that the people owing money are alive to pay it! Now find Fry so we can get wasted!”
Amy chuckled and turned back towards the screen.
“Fry, you better have his money or he’s gonna-”
Amy abruptly stopped. The hover-bot registered that it was within half a mile of the DNA signatures. On the view screen, Amy could clearly see smoke and debris near the estimated location of Fry and Leela. Filled with an increasing sense of dread, she hit the button to call Hermes and Professor Farnsworth over to her station. They arrived as Amy carefully maneuvered the hover-bot towards the signal.
Hermes walked up behind her first.
“Well, girl, have ya found them, yet? Because-….”
The Professor straightened his glasses and squinted at the screen.
Amy felt her throat go dry as she piloted the hover-bot over the battlefield. There was carnage everywhere. Hundreds of men in brown uniforms lay strewn about amid craters and pillboxes. Others were lined up and covered by tarps, with their black boots uncovered and pointing skyward. Wreckage strewn the area. The three gathered at the screen were silent as they took in the scene. Eventually, Amy spoke, her voice made raspy and broken by fear.
“It says they’re over in that little building.”
Amy pointed to a small, half submerged one room structure just inside the ring of pillboxes, away from most of the other similar buildings. All were quiet as she guided the still invisible hover-bot around the occasional green-clad soldier pulling some bit of equipment from the piles of rubble. Getting close to the building, Amy slid the hover-bot past the blacked hulk of what she guessed had been a tracked rocket launcher and brought it toward the shelter’s door. They could now see that the building was made of an old, massive shipping crate that had been cut down and had a roof fashioned out of old tin. Hermes leaned forward.
“Crank up de audio feed, girl. See if you can hear anything inside.”
Farnsworth looked at him curiously and loudly asked, “Why do you think dead bodies would make any noises?”
Amy bit her lip and cranked up the dial. She and Hermes leaned toward the speaker, while the Professor, alone again in his own little world, stared idly at the wall behind him. Amy held her breath, blocking out all other disturbances. Straining, she listened intently and was rewarded with an odd rustling sound. She shot back excitedly.
“I heard something! They’re still alive!” She spun over to the hover-bot’s controls and input the correct instructions to have it open the crude door.
“I’m taking us in!”
The hover-bot deftly slid the latch and glided in, using its own weight pressing up against the door to close it, leaving the outside of the hut looking untouched incase any of the soldiers outside wandered over. Working quickly, Amy cut off the cloaking device, allowing the hover-bot to ripple back into existence. Pivoting it in place, she brought it to the center of the room and turned it toward the DNA lock. She spun back to the screen, a smile on her face.
Her jaw dropped and her eyes bulged out of their sockets to the point of being painful. Hermes stared at the screen before his eyes rolled back into his head and he fainted. Farnsworth, hearing the noise of Hermes’ body impacting the ground, turned around and adjusted his glasses.
“Eh, what was…..Sweet zombie Jesus.”
Amy was vaguely aware of the sound of the door opening behind her and that of heavy footsteps approaching.
“Hello, flesh piles! I come bearing booze and- OH, YOUR GOD!”
Bender dropped the bottles he was carrying, for once not caring as they lay broken around him. Wordlessly, he reached into his chest compartment and pulled out a camera. The sound of it clicking caused the Professor to turn and look at the dumbstruck robot.
“Bender! Don’t take pictures!” Farnsworth pointed to a blinking light near the image, “I’m recording this for posterity’s sake.”
Amy wasn’t paying attention. The sight of her self-righteous, I’m-to-good-for-Fry Captain kneeling over Fry and smothering him in non-stop kisses was too much for her brain to handle. She watched as Fry ran his hands up and down her back and as Leela ran her own hands through his hair. Mouth still agape, Amy’s hand slid forward and accidentally hit a button. Before she could stop it, the hover-bot beeped loudly and said “DNA SIGNATURES LOCATED. CONTACT MADE.”
Amy winched as Fry’s eyes bulged open. She could see him break away from Leela to look behind them, a horrified look on his face. Leela sat straight up, unconsciously smoothing her tank top out before glancing over her shoulder.
Amy hesitantly pushed the microphone button.
Fry turned bright red and gave an odd little wave to the hover-bot. Leela looked back down at him, a wicked smile on her face.
“It’s not polite for them to stare at us, is it Phil?”
Fry stared back up at her, a confused look on his face.
Still having that smile on her face, Leela leaned forward and slowly grabbed the edge of her battered tank top.
“I guess I’d better cover that camera.”
The last thing Amy could make out before the dense fabric was tossed over the hover-bot’s lens was the sight of a bug-eye, euphoric Fry.
Fry stared at the ceiling, one arm looped around Leela’s sleeping form. Her tank top still covered the hover-bot by the foot of the cot, so she had pulled on his favorite red jacket.
She loves me. She made out with me. She said she’d move in with me- no, wait, me move in with her. Yeah… that’s better anyway. I’m the luckiest guy in existence.
Beside him, he felt Leela stir. They’d made sloppy kissing sounds for a while to try to give their “rescuers” a heart attack, and then peacefully drifted off to sleep in each others arms.
He heard Leela mumble something and smiled, gently stroking her hair.
Ever since I was unfrozen, I’ve been in love with you. I’ve moved the stars, saved you from creeps, nearly sacrificed my life for you… and finally, we’re together. Fry smiled and kissed the top of Leela’s head.
“Nothing could ruin this moment,” he whispered.
No sooner had the words left his mouth when there was a loud knock and the makeshift door was pushed open. Before Fry could react, the tunnel rat named Hank popped in, holding a mess tray and a canteen.
“Hey, Purple! I got your breakfast! Is he-”
At this point Hank realized that Fry was staring back at him, a half-angry, half-embarrassed look on his face. Leela, feeling Fry shift beside her, yawned and sleepily pushed herself up.
“Hi,” she murmured, smiling at Fry, “Did you enj-“
Noticing his expression and the direction of his gaze, Leela suddenly spun around, knocking herself off the narrow cot in the process. By this point, Hank’s face had turned beet red. He turned and began to examine the floor with great interest.
“I, um, hope I wasn’t…ah…interrupting anything…”
Fry and Leela quickly turned as red as Hank.
“No,” Fry said, “We were just cuddling. Nothing more.”
“Ah,” Hank replied, some of his embarrassment receding. He sheepishly held forward the tray of food and canteen.
“Well, here’s some food. I only got enough for one, so if you’ll give me a minute I can go get some more–”
“No,” Leela said, standing up and taking the outstretched meal, “This is fine, thank you. Besides, we’ll be heading back to where we belong soon.”
Hank looked confused.
“You’re leaving? How? And to where?”
Leela paused to hand Fry the food before turning back and continuing.
“Our friends managed to contact us, and if you can get one of those helicopters to drop us off where you found us, we can get back to our own time.”
Hank, if anything, looked more confused. But, he did understand the request for a Huey, and the need for it to be quiet. Slowly, he nodded.
“Yeah, Mikey can pull that off. The commander already said that we’d all be court-martialed if we ever breathed a word about you two, so he should be more than happy for us to give you a short ride home.”
Leela smiled and kissed him on the cheek.
“Thanks Hank. You’ve been a good friend these past few days.”
Hank smiled slightly and began to walk out. Part way through the door he stopped and turned around.
“Oh, yeah, I almost forgot! Corporal Fry wanted to know if the kid got his medal. Did you give it to him?”
Behind them, Fry started and gagged on the biscuit he was eating. CORPORAL FRY?
Leela quickly dug into the pocket of Fry’s jacket.
“No, I hadn’t given it to him yet. Here, Philip, the men made this for you.”
Recovered from his biscuit, Fry reached out a shaking hand and took hold of the rough hewn medal. Leela watched curiously as he stared at it with an almost reverent gaze. He slowly ran his fingers over the front before gently rolling it over on the back to read the inscription. His mouth moved wordlessly as he read the back to himself, a tear forming in his eyes. Leela sat on the cot beside him and put her arms comfortingly around him. Fry turned his head toward her and smiled before looking back down at the object in his grasp.
“The Medal of Honor…” he whispered. Leela took his free hand in her own and looked silently down at the medal with him. Slowly, he closed his fingers around the wreathed star and brought it up to his chest. Blinking back tears, Fry looked up at the ceiling.
Hank was right. The commander of the outpost cleared the use of a single Huey to make a speed run towards the position where the tunnel rats had first found Leela and Fry. They would be accompanied only by the pilot and Mikey, with excess weapons and equipment left behind to lighten the load and increase the chopper’s speed for the dash across hostile territory.
Leela and Hank carried Fry to the waiting helicopter at the fist signs of dusk, using what Hank said was called a “fireman’s carry.” After one of the medics made sure that none of his wounds had opened up, Leela strapped him in and waited for Mikey to receive the go ahead. Some noises to her left caught her attention. Turning, she saw a small group of soldiers standing next to the idling Huey. Leela quickly recognized some of them as the tunnel rats, others being in the group that had visited Fry in the operating room, and, Leela judged from the gear and burns, the crew Fry had saved from the Ontos. One of the Ontos crewmen stepped forward and softly asked, “Is he awake?”
Leela looked over at Fry, who was leaning against his harness to view the group. Turning back, she nodded.
The man placed his hands behind his back and absently ground the toe of his right boot into the ground.
“Can we say goodbye?”
Leela bit her lip and glanced at Mikey, who had been listening in. Catching he eye, he shrugged and said “Your call. We still need another minute up here to get this bird running.”
Leela gave another nod and undid her harness to kneel in front of Fry. He was busy staring at the gathered men and only realized her presence when she brushed a hand against the side of his face.
Fry turned his head and looked at her.
“These men want to say goodbye.”
Fry slowly looked back at the expectant group and nodded. Leela pushed herself up and motioned them forward. For the next five minutes she leaded against the back of Mikey’s copilot seat, fighting back tears as the rows of somber men entered the aircraft. Most spoke quietly to Fry, and all shook his hand. A few gave him a light hug, careful to mind his bandages. Leela and Fry were both moved as the soldiers shuffled out the other side of the Huey and back to their work. Fry seemed to be holding up pretty well in front of them until the last man in the line stood before him. Leela could see Fry straighten up, and recognition was clearly visible on his face. The young man was of a somewhat stocky build, with brown hair and a two chevron patch sewn onto his sleeve. The man spoke softy to Fry, clearly asking about something. Fry gave a slow nod and pulled out the handmade medal. Leela saw the man smile and ask a different question. Fry’s eyes began to water as he nodded again. The soldier smiled and extended his hand. Fry stared at it, then grabbed and pulled the man into a tight hug, ignoring the pain from his injuries. The confused soldier let out a surprised yelp, and awkwardly patted Fry on the back before pulling himself away. He said something else to Fry, who nodded and threw him a salute. The surprised man straightened and returned it before turning to head out of the chopper. As he passed, Leela caught sight to the name on his jacket. She became aware that something was poking her in the back, so she turned to see Mikey looking at her.
“We’re all ready to go. Better strap yourself in.”
Leela gave an affirmative and began to step forward when she felt Mikey tap her again. Getting her attention, he pointed to the slightly shaking form of Fry and quietly asked, “What was that all about?”
Leela looked at Fry again before responding.
“That last man was his father.”
Paying no attention to Mikey’s surprised expression, Leela sat down and strapped herself in next to Fry. Once she was secured, she put her arms around him and gave him a kiss on the head. Fry looked up at her and smiled wistfully before setting his head down on her shoulder. Shaking his head, Mikey looked back to the pilot.
“Well, we’re burning darkness. Let’s get this bird in the air and out of there as fast as possible.”
“Yes, sir,” the pilot responded, gently taking the Huey off the ground before angling if towards the coordinates Leela had provided. Once they were in the air Mikey turned around to talk, but stopped himself. Fry had fallen asleep on Leela’s shoulder, a peaceful, contented smile on his face. Leela was looking at him lovingly, gently stroking his head and murmuring into his ear. Mikey turned back to the pilot and smiled.
“Well, I don’t want to ruin their moment. Let’s just wait until we’re at the drop point.”
“Yes, sir!” The pilot replied, banking the Huey slightly for a course correction. After a few minutes he pointed towards a slight glow near the ground.
“That’s it, sir. Right where they said it would be.”
“Alright,” Mikey said, sweeping the nearby terrain with his eyes. “Set us down right next to it and kill the rotors. The can use the maintenance ladder to reach it from there.”
“Roger that. Taking us down.”
Mikey turned around in his seat and tapped the back, waking Leela and Fry.
“Sorry to disturb you both, but we’re here. Time to go home.”
Thanks to Bender’s extendable arms, Leela and Fry were able to be pulled through the time door quite easily, with Fry using the hover-bot as a seat to avoid straining his stitches. Once the both of them were out, the professor carefully pulled the door back shut, and inserted a key into the lock. When he turned it, there was the sound of escaping air, and the door popped off the floor before settling back down again.
“Amazing!” he stated, straightening up and scratching his head, “When Ilock the time door, it is locked out of making a connection! Why didn’t I think of that before?”
Leela was about to go off at the professor when she felt Fry tugging at her arm, making nervous noises. The rest of the PE crew was gathered around them, staring at the pair. Leela suddenly remembered the hover-bot and blushed bright red. Fry winched and then gave a weak smile.
“Heh, heh…so…about what you saw…”
Amy spoke up first.
“I thought you to loved each other, but Leela! Before you even went on a date? That’s so….me!”
Leela, indignant, opened her mouth to correct her, but was cut off by Bender.
“Screw that, where’s my money?” He advanced on Fry, eyes narrowing, “Are you gonna pay up skintube, or am I gonna have to siphon some more blood while you’re sleeping tonight?”
“Oh, no you don’t!”
Bender was taken back by Leela’s look of fury.
“He’s lost too much blood already, and there’s no way I’m letting him go home with you! Now, just tell me how much he owes you so we can go pack up his things.”
In his head, Bender felt a fuze blow. His central processor was being overloaded by what he heard.
“Big…Big Boots is bailing Fry? I-I-I-”
Leela shot back again.
“That’s right, I am!” Not bothering to hear an amount, she pulled a wad of cash out of her left boot and thrust it into a shocked Bender’s hands.
“Now shut up and help me move his stuff over to my place!”
All those present finally caught on to what she was saying. Farnsworth was literally shocked out of senility, and the others were barely able to keep their eyes in their heads. Bender’s actually fell out. Hermes tried to speak, but ended up choking on the froth that was forming in his mouth. Amy looked slack-jawed, but Leela didn’t care. She was only looking at the expression of wonder and hope on Fry’s face.
“You-you mean you were serious?”
“Of course I was. I love you.”
At this, Fry burst into a smile unlike any Leela or those others gathered had ever seen before. Forgetting his pain, Fry gave a joyous shout and jumped into Leela’s arms.
“SHE LOVES ME!”
Leela staggered a little from his surprising action, but as soon as she was stable, she pulled his head forward and kissed him.
They stayed like his for a while, even while the paramedics where resuscitating the Professor and Hermes. Eventually, they broke the kiss and Leela let Fry down, both staring dreamily into each other’s face. Leela slid her arm around Fry and steered him towards the door.
“Come on, boyfriend. Let’s go start our life together.”
The echoing response filled the air. In a nearby apartment, a small black alien opened its third eye and smiled.
“So it begins.”