The Full Circle, part 4
Turanga Leela, captain of the Planet Express ship, was having the time of her life.
She was so stressed out lately, so much that she even thought she was about to work on the engines before she remembered that she was free of that responsibility.
She was finally having a quiet date with Fry.
With Kim and Ron looking after "their" children and having nothing else to do, Joan had let them have the dining room to themselves and they happily ate a meal prepared for them by Joan and Ron.
The toned down lighting helped and being alone for once was nice. However, they were down to the food from Joan's ship, which, although plentiful, was rather.archaic to Leela.
"So this is.cow burger?"
"But.it's made from beef, not ham."
"That's what people called it."
It was for reasons like this that people called Fry's time-period "the stupid ages", but over the past few years, Leela was seeing the other side of some of the issues of her own time.
"So," asked Leela, "what do you think of the.twins?"
"Uh, they're great," stammered Fry, "I'm.trying to deal with this by seeing them as 'distant relatives' or something."
"Same here," said Leela. Uh, let's not talk about the kids. Let's try to enjoy each other's company."
So, they ate and sat for a while, looking at one another. Fry didn't seem to mind the view, but Leela was wishing for conversation.
Of course, she was having trouble thinking of something to talk about herself.
"Uh, Leela," confessed Fry, "I'm.having trouble thinking of something. Look, I know you like conversation, but if you want to call this date short."
"What? No! I mean.it's okay, Fry. I'm having trouble thinking of something myself. I guess it comes from working so close for so long."
In the past, when Leela and her date were done with conversation, she would hope for.intimacy later (which was a rare occurrence; the conversation was usually cut short as well).
With Fry, however, he was a friend first and she wanted a blossoming romance this time around.
"Think we'll have more visitors?" asked Fry.
"I hope not," said Leela, "more visitors means a less stable time-space continuum. It would be interesting to meet another 'us', but it would also be disturbing."
"Hey," said Fry, as if hit by inspiration, "suppose it's 'us' from one of those 'what-if' simulations back home? That would be neat!"
"Fry," explained Leela, "those are just simulations, I think. The Professor said that they were alternate realities once; that would mean that they really happened somewhere."
The thought chilled her. Some of those 'what-if' stories were interesting but some were disturbing.
Turanga Leela, deputy leader of the Future Foursome, was trying to get her bearings. Moments ago, she and her friends were on a float in a parade in their honor for saving the city from Dr. Mom when they felt as if they were being "sucked" into.wherever "here" was. She saw Fry, or "Flaming Fry" as the public called him, rubbing his eyes, the Bend rubbing his rear, Bender in the doorway.
Wait a minute, something was wrong.
"Woah," said the other Bender, "is this a fan club or something'? And do you serve free liquor?"
"Hey!" said the Bend, "whatcha doin' with my old look? Wait a nano-sec, this must be a trap. I should know with my super hero experience.two to three months!"
"Oh, I get it," said the other Bender, "I remember seeing you guys on the What-if."
Before he finished, the Bend tackled him.
"Should we stop them?" asked the Flaming Fry.
"You want to come between two Benders?" asked Leela, "let's let them sort it out between themselves."
In the pool room, the twins were playing with each other while Kim and Ron had a moment together.
"Brings back memories, huh?" asked Ron.
"You mean when we baby sat together or when our families went to the beach back when we were kids?" asked Kim.
"Both, now that you mention it," said Ron, "so, enjoying this impromptu vacation so far? You don't usually have nothing to do."
"That's true," said Kim, "I've been using some of the time to write and practice some new cheer routines for the next season."
"Oh, yeah. Say, should I be jealous if someone eyes at a game?"
"Not really," said Kim, "I never paid a lot of attention to that!"
"Good," said Ron, "because they're the ones who should be jealous."
Kim pulled Ron close to her and kissed him. They kept locking lips until they heard a voice.
The broke the kiss and turned around. Fry jr. was rushing off.
"Stay with L.J." commanded Kim as she hurried after the red-haired toddler. She shouldn't have underestimated his speed; he was soon at the exit and kept going!
Kim picked up her speed, but by the time she reached the hallway, he was already gone.
"Great," said Kim bitterly, "I've been keeping in shape, but I guess I'm out of practice. I mean, I can outrun fleeing criminals!"
"It happens," said a voice behind her, "but it happened on my watch as well a yours'."
Kim turned and saw Kiyone holding a towel.
"Here," said Kiyone, tossing her the towel, "it'll help you feel less naked as we search."
Kim nodded and wrapped the towel around her waist.
"I'm just glad this hallways starts in one direction from here," said Kim, "let's motor."
Rufus ran through the air shaft as fast as he could, keeping in mind the diagram he saw earlier, which, although it didn't actually show the air shafts, they did give him a good idea of where they would lead. He finally figured that he and Bender going off on their own on a strange ship was an uncool idea. Rufus didn't want to leave the metal dude behind, but figured that Bender wouldn't return just yet. Rufus was now looking for someone to lead to Bender: hopefully Ron or Kim or one of their friends.
Eventually, he found an opening to an air vent of one of the hallways. He decided to go through it and hope for the best.
Sally was walking through the hallway, hoping to find Bender. Although this wouldn't be the same Bender she was married to, her concern extended to him and she wanted to be sure he was safe. Joan had said that the ship was perfectly safe and Sally believed her, but accidents happen.
As she walked, she heard something in the air vents. Her hearing was better than bending units. Deciding to check it out, she approached it and the casing of the vent flew open.
A pink hairless creature with uneven buck teeth, flew out and landed in her hands. They looked at each other in mutual curiosity.
"Hey," said the metal woman, "I bet you're Rufus. Your pals were worried about you."
"I'm Sally, ex-con and modestly hot fembot. Anyway, have you seen a hunka hunk of bending love around here?"
"[Uh-huh! Uh-huh! Yep!]"
"All right. Led me to him, little guy."
Rufus, his instincts telling him to trust this being, headed off in the general direction of where Bender would be.
Sally heard the commotion and found a small room where Fry and Leela, wearing strange white and blue uniforms with "FF" symbols on their left breasts, were watching a battle between.two Benders?
"Bender?" she asked.
They both turned to her. A familiar infatuated look was seen in the optics of both of them.
"Hello, mama!" they both exclaimed.
Sally suddenly felt as if she was in hot oil and not in a good way.
As they both came at her, Sally stretched her arms to the top of the room's entrance and pulled herself away from those two charging Don Juanbots.
She lowered herself to face Leela and Fry.
"I bet she's attacking," said Fry, "FRY UP!"
Fry burst into flames, but didn't seem harmed. Sally didn't know what that was about, but she changed one of her arms into its hose function and doused him, quenching the flame.
"Aaah! My flame's out! I'm helpless!"
"Chill," said Sally, changing her other arm into a hairdryer, "I'm not attacking."
She blew hot air on Fry, paying most attention to his hair, until it was it's usual spiky form.
"Don't mention it," said Sally, "let me guess, you're not from around here?"
"No," said Leela, "where are we?"
"The ship New Frontier and.wait a moment."
Sally turned to the two Benders, who were now looking at her with expectation.
"Take it off!"
"I'm a robot," she explained, "I'm wearing torso plates!"
"That's what we mean! Woo!"
"At least they've calmed down, in a way," said Leela, "but I still want answers."
"Are you familiar with alternate realities?" asked Sally.
"Actually," said Fry, "it's been a while since I've needed to look for housing."
"Not 'realtors', Fry, 'realities'," explained Leela, "and the Professor has been researching them."
"Okay," begain Sally, "you're in one and."
"Hey, Sal," interrupted a familiar voice behind them, "who do you have there?"
Sally turned and saw Joan with this world's Leela.
"Ah, good," said Sally, "I'm saved from explaining things. By the way, I think I found your Bender and an extra one as well."
"Got that right, baby," said one Bender in a smooth voice.
"Hey," said the other one, "she's mine!"
Sally now felt very uncomfortable, partly because she was fighting the urge to strip off their torso plates herself. She then thought of a simple solution: the truth. Well, partially the truth.
"Sorry, boys," she said while showing her nut ring, "but yours truly is taken."
"I won't talk if you won't."
Sally cringed. She had heard that her Bender had looser morals before she entered his life, but to see it for herself.
"Benders," announced the Leela in the funny outfit, "quit it or I'll pull out your hard drives!"
"Awwww," they both moaned.
"Nice," said the other Leela to her counterpart, "wanna split a cheesecake three ways with Officer Kiyone?"
"Wait a second," called the extra Bender, "you guys tracked me down 'cause you wanna use me as a power source!"
Everyone was silent.
"That's what this was about?" asked Leela, "that's why you ran away?"
"Yeah," said Bender, "Joan wanted 'every available power source on hand' and I'm a power source!"
"Bender," explained Joan, I never meant to use you. If I was going to use crew members as a power source, I'd be attaching our own human bodies to the engines."
"Oh. Say, can I be in charge of that?" asked Bender.
"My point is that we're not resorting to that."
Just then, they all heard frantic footsteps heading toward them. They braced themselves for anything. What they saw coming from the shadows was Ron carrying Leela jr. Suddenly, he tripped and fell face forward. He lifted Leela jr. over his head as his chin skidded to a halt.
"Ouch," squeaked the boy.
There was another awkward pause.
"Again!" squealed Leela jr. with her eyes closed.
"Armor up," whispered Captain Leela to her double.
"How do you know about."
"What-if machine. Just do it."
The costumed Leela activated her collapsible armor right before the toddler saw them together.
"Mama," she cried as she raised her arms, "up!"
Captain Leela, smiling, took the toddler while Sally helped Ron up. Rufus jumped into his hands.
"Rufus! Y'know, I should be mad at you for running off, but I'm too glad to see you okay."
"Speaking of which, Ron, you were supposed to at the pool with Kim and Kiyone," said Joan as he and Rufus bonded.
"Well," explained Ron, "I was, but Fry jr. wandered off."
"Kim and Kiyone went after him. They told me to watch Leela jr. They didn't tell me to stay, so I went for help."
"Should I ask?" whispered the Armored Leela to the non-armored Leela.
"Ron and Kim are friends of ours," explained Leela in a hushed tone, "the toddlers belong to some other Fry and Leela that Sally knows."
"Ah," said the Armored Leela, "I was wondering if you had gone far with Fry."
Joan looked at the others, looking serious.
"This is my ship," she said, sounding professional, "I'll go find them. You guys go back to fixing the engines. With these three arriving, I'd say we're running out of time."
"We'll come," said the Armored Leela, "we try to help people and I feel like doing something right now."
"Well," said Joan, "okay. The rest of you, take L.J. to the twins' quarters. We'll call you when we find the others."
"But can you find them in time?" asked Sally.
"I work fast and I know this ship," said Joan, "besides the ship is safe."
"Fry Jr.," called the heroic babysitter, "it's me, Kim. Look, you don't want to get lost in here."
"Miz Possible?" squeaked a young voice.
Kim and Kiyone looked up and saw Fry jr. sitting on a large and phallic piece of machinery.
"Fry jr.," called Kim, "what are you doing?"
"Looking' 'round. Big ship."
"Just stay there," said Kiyone, "we'll come to you."
"I could get him myself if I had some leverage," explained Kim.
"Yourself? Are you a cheerleader or something?" asked Kiyone.
"Yes," said Kim with some pride in her answer, "just let me on your shoulders."
Kiyone felt unsure of this, but she had taken much larger risks before.
"Okay," she said as she bent with her knees.
Kim leaped on her shoulders and, from there, leaped to Fry jr.
"So," said Kim gently to the toddler, "why did you wander off?"
"'Sploring," said Fry jr., "like mommy an' daddy."
"Your parents are delivery people," explained Kim, "it comes with the job."
"But I wanna see places!"
"I'm sure you will," said Kim, "but you need to tell them. They would be sad if they couldn't find you."
"They miss me?"
"I'm sure they would."
They hugged and Kiyone felt touched by the scene.
"Okay, kids," said the officer, "let's come down from there."
She helped Kim and Fry jr. come down and they began to make there way back to the pool when they heard a voice.
"Well, well," said an alluring but somehow sinister female voice, "my old foe and her new friend."
A small green light appeared in the direction of the voice. It seemed to be.a glowing female hand? Next to the hand, partially lit, was a female face of a pale green skin tone. Her face carried a kind of twisted beauty with narrowed green eyes and a humorless smile.
"Shego," Kim identified, almost like a curse.
"How sweet," said the woman, almost mockingly, "you remember me! It's been a long time."
"It's only been a few months," said Kim, "and I'm still pretty darn mad about you and Drakken trying to break up Ron and I."
"Break you up? We were only trying to distract you! Drakken couldn't care less if you were still with that loser."
"Okay," said Kim, "now I'm really mad! Wish there was a light switch here."
"It's over here," said Shego, as she switched it on, letting light fill the room, "I'd hit you know, but I was you to see you good health one more time."
Springing from a small space between the room's machinery was a very fit woman with long black, but graying, hair. She wore a green and black outfit with a cape. She smiled playfully while her eyes suggested something sinister. Her hands glowed a crackling green.
"There's.something different about you," observed Kim.
"About me? Look at you! Have you been trying those new age-reversing pills? Even I wouldn't try those."
"Who is this woman?" asked Kiyone, already in a defensive position.
"She's a criminal," explained Kim, "and probably my most constant headache."
"Got that right!" confirmed Shego, sounding proud, "and the feeling is mutual."
"That's enough for me," announced Kiyone, launching herself at the super villain.
"Kiyone, no!" warned Kim, right before Kiyone was hit by what looked like green energy and felt like a brick wall.
She fell on the floor and felt more anger than pain. In fact, it was like having the wind being knocked out of her, but it was still painful. Kim helped her up and Kiyone privately cursed herself for being a target.
As she started to get up, she noticed Shego facing Kim, who was shielding Fry jr. She wanted to help. She got up and also shielded Fry jr.
"One of us should take the kid," explained Kiyone, "the other should stop Shego. I'm a cop, I'll do it."
"You're a cop in your universe," said Kim, "this is out of your jurisdiction and she's my enemy. I'll take her."
"Now, look, I admit this is probably a matter of honor, but."
Kim looked at her and stuck out her upper lip, raised her shoulders, and made her eyes look sad. Kiyone found herself picking up Fry jr. and running.
How did that happen? Kiyone thought to herself.
As she ran, she encountered Joan.
"Officer Kiyone, what's going on?"
"Kim's fighting someone named 'Shego'."
"Wait a sec. Shego's here?"
"You know her?"
"We met," Joan said bitterly.
"I was going to stay, but Kim did.something to me. Something about her expression."
"The puppy-dog pout," said Joan, "I can't think of a time it hadn't worked. You take Fry jr. to 'our' Leela and Fry. Tell Ron about this."
"What will you do?"
"I'll help Kim," said Joan as hurried to the scene of the battle.
As her battle with Possible continued, Shego was reminded of how past encounters went. It would usually take a while until they actually made contact with each other, if at all, and this was no exception. It was almost more of a "dance" than a fight.
"I'll save you for later, Kimmie," declared Shego as she leaped to Joan and downed her with a spin kick. She then pinned Joan to the ground.
"Don't worry," said Shego in a mockingly sweet tone, "I'll tell your parents you went down fighting."
"Only if her new friends don't help her," said a somewhat familiar, but muffled voice.
Shego turned around and saw a woman covered in armor, a bulky robot, and a guy on fire.
"You have some funky friends," said Shego to Joan just as she was tackled from behind.
Shego mentally kicked herself for forgetting about Kim, which she made up to herself by throwing the teen hero off her with push of her leg.
"You've gotten rusty, Possible!" Shego declared when she saw the robot charging at her.
"Watch what you say about 'rust', lady," he said, "that's a serious medical condition!"
Shego stopped the charging robot with a force blast.
"Believe me," said Shego, "I can give you a 'medical condition' all right!"
Suddenly, a wall of flame erupted in front of her and her quarry.
"Hey," said a young voice above her, "that's my friend!"
Shego looked up and saw that fire guy. She smiled at herself, partially wishing that it wasn't so easy.
She fired a force blast that he tried to counter with a fire blast, but the force blast went through and knocked him out.
"Like rock, scissors, and paper," Shego said out loud when she was suddenly grabbed by behind and tossed toward a wall.
Was that Kimmie? she wondered as she regained her balance and landed safely, she's not usually that rough.
She saw that armored woman in front of her in a fighting stance.
Ah, thought Shego, a challenge.
Shego jumped at her opponent with a flying kick The woman grabbed it and tossed her again.
Okay, thought Shego as she landed, time to play dirty.
Shego focused her force-blast power into she hands and rushed toward her enemy.
The armored woman blocked the energy covered blow, but she still strained to do so. She gave a punch, that Shego blocked, followed by a roundhouse kick, which hit it's target.
A mad Shego then tried a sliding kick, which did knock her opponent off balance. Shego was about to deliver a final blow with a point-blank force blast, when the mystery woman used a leg sweep to knock her over.
"Bend!" shouted the armored woman to the robot, "throw Philip into the air."
"Huh? Well, okay."
He did so, which woke the previously unconscious fire guy up.
"Woah! Fry up!"
The guy was on fire again and seemed suspended in the air.
"Make a wall around her!" ordered the armored woman.
Flames shot from the young guy which surrounded Shego.for a moment. She blasted through the flames and approached the three heroes with her hands blazing with power.
"You guys are crazier than my brothers," she scowled, "and for that, I'll make this slow."
Joan took out a small disk from her belt and threw it to Kim.
"Kim," she shouted, "push the button and stand back."
Kim did as Joan instructed. Rays shot out of the disk, creating a force field around Shego.
"Well," said Kim, "that's handy."
Joan and Kim tended to the heroes. The Flaming Fry had burnt out and landed in the Armored Leela's arms. The Bend was rubbing his sore spots. Sighing relief, Joan turned to Shego.
"Hey, Shego," said Joan to the criminal, "should I ask what you're doing on my ship?"
"I needed a vacation and a chance for revenge," Shego explained, "two for me."
"I don't tolerate stowaways unless they're lost travelers."
"You were always such a bleeding heart!"
"I was raised well."
"You know each other?" asked a confused Kim.
"We've had some run-ins," explained Joan flatly, "and none of them were good."
"I always had fun."
"You were trying to kill me."
"Yeah," said Shego, "but at least Kimmie tries to be a challenge. Hey, how come I don't feel weak?"
Kim gave Joan a confused look.
"I used to use a device to drain her power," explained Joan, "but I later found out that it really weakened her body. I recently threw it out, it wasn't humane."
"You're so soft hearted it hurts," said Shego, "it's always sickened me."
"If you're an enemy of Shego," asked Kim, "does that mean you're a crime-stopper like me in your time?"
"I'm a scientist but I sort of moonlight as a crime fighter," explained Joan to Kim, "I became her new headache after you retired."
"Wait," said Kim, "why did I retire?"
"Well, 'semi-retired' would be more accurate. Let's just say you've been busy."
"Makes sense. One more question: what's with her new outfit?"
"You know how she was once part of a hero team with her brothers?" reminded Joan.
"They finally slapped her with a lawsuit."
They heard footsteps. They turned to see Ron and Leela arriving.
"I thought it would be good to bring more backup," explained Ron, "and Leela's dealt with Shego before."
"Wait a sec," said Shego, having her first good look at Leela, "she only has one eye! Wow, talk about a botched plastic surgery job!"
"I was born like this!"
"Whew, what were your parents taking?"
"I got it from them!"
In the New Frontier's gym, Bender and Leela were pacing around the imprisoned Shego. They had carried her there, still in the force field, over a half hour ago. Leela still felt like having revenge on her for what Shego almost did to Ron last time, but Kim and Joan told her that letting her out of the field at all would be dangerous, especially now.
In Bender's case, this was his punishment for leaving earlier. Leela thought it was letting him off the hook too easily; he enjoyed seeing someone suffer.
"How long am I stuck here?" complained Shego.
"The engines are almost fixed," explained Leela, "we need to use the New Frontier's power source to send the 'visitors' of other times and places back home before the time stream collapses. Then, we leave in our respective ships. You'll be a prisoner on Joan's ship until she takes you to the authorities of your time."
"So," said Shego, "no final battle, huh?"
"No epic conclusion?"
"I guess not."
"Chicken! Hey, you have the legs for it!"
"I bet you played the giant Cyclops in your school play of the Odyssey. You're masculine enough for it!"
"And they say you're with that delivery boy with the gut? Boy, and I thought Possible was desperate!"
"You're taunting me to let you go so you can beat me, escape, and get at Joan and Kim, aren't you?"
"Pretty much," said Shego, sounding defeated.
"I'm giving you one round with me. No energy blasts. Bender's the referee."
Leela turned off the field and faced Shego.
"Let's rock, lady!" declared Shego, taking a fighting stance.
"Oh, we will," declared a confident Leela.
They fought furiously for a while. Fists and feet were flying as were the whole bodies of Shego and Leela at times. Soon, Shego started firing her force blasts.
"Woah!" called Bender, "foul! No energy blasts!"
"I lied!" shouted Shego, "I'm a villain!"
Now Leela wished that she hadn't made this agreement. She dodged Shego's blasts. Fortunately, the equipment was being missed so far and the gym itself seemed to be reinforced.
"I don't get it," said Leela as she dodged, "they say that you and your brothers were heroes. Why did you leave them? They were your family!"
"I didn't like them," said Shego, "and I'm better at being a criminal. I don't miss them and I feel better using my skills for myself. What about you?"
"I built myself up so I could survive in Manhattan," said Leela, "and as for family.you don't know what you're missing."
Leela had to think fast. If she hurried, she could finish this before Joan found out, but how? She leaped at Shego and pinned her to the floor. Shego's hands were at her sides, where she couldn't seem blast Leela.
"If I could just point my finger.," said Shego, giving Leela some worry."
"So," said Bender's voice behind them, you two gonna make out now?"
The turned and saw Bender with a video camera.
"I know some people who'll pay good money for this," he said, "you wanna have gross or net? Either way, I hafta warn ya that it'll be small."
A blast from Shego's finger fired.at Bender's camera and wreaked it. Leela used the distraction to reactive the force field.
"This didn't happen," she told Bender.
"My busted camera says otherwise," he complained.
"I'll pay for it if you keep your mouth shut."
"Wow," said Bender, "the best blackmail deal I ever had and it wasn't my idea!"
Joan then entered the gym.
"Everything okay in here?" she asked.
"Peachy," mumbled the prisoner.
"Good," said Joan, "we're almost ready, but we don't need another interruption."
In the control room of the New Frontier, the terminals were suddenly rebooted.
"Initiating virus," said a robotic, female voice with a Swedish accent.
To be continued.