Captain Turanga Leela's cyclops eye opened to the sound of Peter Frampton music blaring in the room. The lyrics made her think about the night before.
"Woke up this mornin’, with a wineglass in my hand;
Who’s wine, white wine, where the hell did I dine?”
She slowly struggled to get up out of bed. Dressed in her underwear, she gazed around the room. What had happened here last night? she thought. All around her scattered on the floor were little empty wine bottles and Toblerone packages. Must have been one hell of a party. What the hell planet am I on? I can't even remember...
Leela made her way over to the window and glanced out at the city through the venetian blind. Three suns...shit. I'm still dirtside on Trisol. That cruddy little desert planet with the water people. She watched the odd residents of this strange planet as they carried on their daily lives. Merchants in the plaza sold glass containers that they use to sleep in at night. Other merchants peddled posters and buttons of the current emperor of their weird little world, who might only be alive another three weeks. Or less. A Cheyenne hovercopter with DOOP insignia roared over the city. A knock came at the door.
Leela opened the door, and saw two MP's with a Trisolian bellboy. The Trisolian pointed to Leela. "That's the one," he blurted out, "that's the Earth woman that drank our hotel manager!"
"Is this true?" asked one of the MP's.
Leela looked down at her bare belly and could faintly see that blue humanoid face looking back up at her. "Crap...now I remember doing it. I'll just go down to the gym later on and sweat him out...or watch a sad movie and cry him out."
The face smiled up at her. "No problem, young lady...take your time. I enjoyed you drinking me down."
The MP's dismissed the bellboy, and then entered the room. One of them produced paperwork.
"What are the charges?" Leela asked, still hung over.
"Yeah...what did I do?"
"No charges, ma'am. You've been requested to report to INTELCOMSATPAC on Spheron I for a briefing."
Still exhausted from last night's party, Leela flopped back onto the bed. The Trisolian in her belly looked up at the men. "I don't think she's getting up, fellas..."
The one MP looked at the other. "We got a dead one here, Charlie." The MP's grabbed Leela's large six-foot frame and carried her off to the steam room down the hall. She shouted as soon as the heat hit her body. As Leela began to sweat profusely, the hotel manager reconstituted next to her. He looked over at his host. "Thank you for a pleasant evening, young lady." He looked back over to the MP's as he stood up. "I'm assuming that DOOP is going to pay for the wine and the Toblerones." Leela just simpered and cried as she lay there covered in sweat...
Captain Leela climbed out of the spaceship after touching down on Spheron I; not far from the landing tarmac she watched as several of the younger ball creatures played a game of hide and seek amid the rubble of their village. I wanted a mission, Leela thought, and for my sins they gave me one. When it was over, I'd never want another one.
She was directed to a trailer in the compound. She walked inside, and found it surprisingly posh for a one-star general’s trailer. But, in typical trailer fashion, a large Elvis oil painting with an ornate frame hung on the wall. George Jones could be heard singing "Bartender's Blues" in the background, intermingled with the sound of hovercopters roaring overhead and the sound of soldiers drilling around the compound. Leela faced three people in the trailer. The young Chinese lieutenant in fatigues saluted Leela and extended her hand.
"I don't believe we've met, I’m Lieutenant Amy Wong. This is General Wernstom, and this is Bureaucrat Morgan Proctor. At ease, Captain.”
Leela was offered a seat, but preferred to stand.
“You have worked a lot on your own, haven’t you Captain Leela?” Amy asked.
“Yes, ma’am, I have.”
“Your report specifies intelligence/counter-intelligence for DOOP.”
“I am not presently disposed to discuss those operations, ma’am.”
Wong opened a file folder. “Did you not do secret operations for the Bureaucracy?”
“Did you not assassinate a top Omicronian official?”
“Ma’am, I am unaware of any such activity or operation, nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist.”
General Wernstrom stood up address Leela. “I thought we'd start off with a bite to eat while we talked; I hope you brought a good appetite, Captain." He gestured to the table in the dining room, and everyone settled in for a meal. "Now the roast dolphin isn't too bad," the General continued, "but I can't vouch for these popplers...if you try them, you won't have to prove your courage in any other way." Leela passed the popplers along.
After the meal Lieutenant Wong held up a photograph. “Are you familiar with Rear Admiral Zapp Brannigan?”
Leela cleared her throat. “I’ve met him before.”
“Amy,” the General asked, “could you play that hologram.”
Lieutenant Wong picked up a hologram cube, activated it, and set it on a counter. The three-dimensional image of Zapp Brannigan appeared in front of them. He had shaved his head bald, and was wearing civilian clothing. He was reading from a piece of paper.
“Picture yourself in a boat on a river,” Brannigan said, “with plasticine porters, with looking glass ties…” A groaning sigh could be heard in the background.
"Oh my God," Leela said, "that groaning is from a tortured prisoner?"
"No...that's his junior officer Kif reacting to his music."
“Does he ever actually try to sing this?” asked Leela.
“No,” answered Amy, “he just drones on and on like this for hours. He does most of the Beatles catalog before he finally shuts up. It’s dreadful.” She shut the cube off.
The General then addressed her. “Zapp Brannigan was one of the most outstanding officers that Planet Earth has ever produced…he was brilliant in every way. He was a good man, a humanitarian man. He joined the DOOP Special Forces…after that, his ideas, his methods became unsound.”
Lieutenant Wong continued. “Now he’s taken up camp in a jungle on Omicron Persei 8 with a group of local natives that worship the man like a god, and follow every order, however ridiculous.”
“You see, Miss Turanga," the General said, "in this war things get a bit confused out there. On a planet with these native aliens, it must be a temptation for men to play God. We all have our breaking point, and Zapp Brannigan has reached his. The man has quite obviously gone insane.”
“Yes sir, very much so, sir – obviously insane.” Leela shook her head in agreement.
Amy continued again. “Your mission is to proceed to Omicron Persei 8 in a small amphibious patrol ship. When you find the Admiral, infiltrate his team by whatever means available, and terminate the Admiral’s command.”
Leela felt over the words. “Terminate the Admiral…”
The General stepped back in. “He’s out there operating without any decent restraint, far beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops.”
Morgan Proctor cut in. “Terminate…with extreme prejudice.” She walked over to Leela with a small pile of paperwork. “When you finish the mission, this needs to be filled out. This is a 309/5b Termination of Command form. Sign here, here and here. This needs to be in my office no later than Monday at 7:00 AM. And this is a standard Military Insanity Form...try to get him to sign this before you chop his head off...or use his hand to sign it - either way will do fine.”
Amy said: “You understand, Captain, that this mission never did exist, nor will it ever exist…”
Leela had time to think as the shuttle dropped her off with the crew of the small freight ship at a local airfield. How many men had I killed? There were those six weird aliens that I knew about for sure…close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time it was an Earthican…a DOOP officer. It wasn’t supposed to make any difference to me, but it did. I took the mission…what the hell else was I going to do? But I really didn’t know what I’d do when I found him.
I was being ferried by a small patrol vessel to my next stop on Turantulon 6, where I was to meet up with a Lieutenant Colonel Farnsworth of the Chemical Cavalry. That was fine, but I had to put up with the crew. The crew was okay…mainly rock n’ roll kids with a foot in the grave. The machinist was a robot, a bending unit from Earth who was wrapped a little too tight for his own good. Philip Fry on the turret guns was a famous video gamer who had been frozen in the 20th century…he was from some Brooklyn rat hole…the light and the space of the 30th century put the zap on his brain. Dr. John Zoidberg was the ship’s doctor…he was a Decapodian who did little more than beg for food and whine about how he had no money. Then there was Hermes the chief…it might have been my mission, but it sure as shit was the Chief’s ship.
“There are a couple of points on Turantulon 6 that I can get you into,” said Chief Hermes in his thick island accent as he piloted the ship, “but they’re both hot…they belong to the Spiderians. Wherever you're going, I know it's going to be bad.”
“You just let me worry about that,” replied Leela.
“I took a man up this way on a similar mission about six months ago…DOOP regular army like yourself. I heard he shot himself in the head with a laser pistol.”
Leela grabbed a leather seat and opened her dossier on Zapp Brannigan. She started sorting through the paperwork and photographs as the tiny ship chugged through space.
At first I thought they handed me the wrong dossier, Leela thought. I couldn’t believe they wanted this man dead. A third generation officer, spaceborne, Spheron I, Turantulon…about a thousand decorations. Leela pulled out a picture of Zapp having a medal pinned on his chest by the headless body of Spiro Agnew. Three years ago he returned to Earth as part of an advisory committee to Omicron Persei 8 when things started to slip. His report to Richard Nixon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff was restricted…I guess they didn’t dig what he had to tell them. During the next few months he made three requests for spaceborne infantry training, and was finally accepted. Spaceborne…he was 38 years old - the next oldest guy was half his age. It damn near wasted me at 18. Why would he do that?
Soon the patrol ship made a rough landing on Turantulon 6, amid smoke and swirling Cheyenne gunships, while large tarantula-like spiders scurried around. Explosion craters were everywhere, and there were many of the large spiders laying dead on the ground. The crew of the patrol ship cringed as they walked around the dead Spiderians. What they were mopping up here hadn’t happen an hour ago. Before long the CO of the 1st Chemical Cavalry came over in his Cheyenne hovercopter. The mechanical beast had a large Atari logo painted on its nose, with the words “Born To Game” written around it. Leela was more than a little surprised when Lieutenant Colonel Farnsworth stepped off the ship. He was old. Really old and wrinkled. He wore a bright yellow kerchief around his neck, dark sunglasses, and his head was adorned with a large cavalry hat. Leela walked over to him and saluted, producing her paperwork. She had to speak loudly above the sound of the copters.
“I’m Captain Turanga Leela – I understand that INTELCOMSATPAC had briefed you on the requirements of my mission.”
“What mission?” he asked. “I haven’t heard from Spheron I.”
“Your unit is supposed to escort us to Omicron Persei 8.”
“Well, we’ll see what we can do about that.” He turned to one of his troops. “Where are my cards? I need my cards.” Another soldier handed him a pack, and he began to toss cards onto the bodies of the huge spiders.
“Are those playing cards?” asked Fry.
Leela picked up one to show him. On the front was an element from the periodic table, and on the back was the Chemical Cavalry unit crest. “These are chemical flashcards…lets the enemy know who did this.”
Farnsworth gleefully went about tossing the cards on the dead spiders, calling out the elements as he went. “Magnesium, Vanadium, Cobalt. Neptunium…” After finishing this gruesome task, he turned his attention to Fry. “You’re Philip J. Fry aren’t you? The video gamer.”
“Yes sir, I am.”
Farnsworth shook his hand. “It’s an honor to meet you, Philip; I’ve admired your style for years. We do a lot of video gaming ourselves…but we’re nowhere near the caliber that you are. You were Donkey-Kong champion in old New York for two years straight!”
“And I’ve still got the thumb calluses to prove it,” Fry said proudly.
After the sun had gone down, Lt. Colonel Farnsworth had a regular beach party going. Leela just sat there with a beer. Ice cold Old Fortran and Slurm, she thought. Fishy Joe’s seafood flown in from Earth. The more Farnsworth tried to make things seem like home, the more everyone missed it. But I guess he wasn’t a bad commander. Farnsworth felt safe with his boys. He just had that weird light around him – you just knew he wasn’t going to get so much as a scratch on this planet.
Leela went over to Farnsworth with a map. “We’re going to need an escort into this river valley on Omicron Persei 8, past the old ruins. The ship can float…the only problem is how heavy the rain forest is.”
Farnsworth listened without much interest in Leela’s mission. “Hey Mike…do you know anything about this area?”
“Yeah, they have a video arcade there that has both Asteroids and Space Invaders. And they do make change if you forget your quarters.”
Farnsworth looked over at him. “Asteroids? Why didn’t you tell me about this place? There aren’t any Asteroid machines in this whole cruddy sector. You’re lucky if you can find an old Pong game hooked up to a tv…or maybe a first-generation Mortal Kombat.”
“But sir, that point is hairy…that’s where we lost Johnson – they shot us to pieces in there.”
Farnsworth looked back over to Leela. “We can get your ship anywhere up that river delta that suits you, young lady…we are chemical mobile, Chemical Cav. Asteroids – hey hey!”
“But it’s hairy, sir.”
Farnsworth looked over at the young soldier. “Omicronians don’t play videogames!”
All too soon the sun had come up at the hastily-formed camp of the Chemical Cavalry. Men got their Cheyenne copters ready as Farnsworth chatted with them. He stopped to talk with one young soldier preparing his laser gun out of the doorway of one of the copters.
"How do you feel, son?" he asked him.
"Like a mean mother, sir."
"Are you ready to move out of your parents' basement?"
The soldier hesitated. "Uh, working on that, sir."
"Good man. Did you remember extra batteries for your game controller?"
"Oh, yes sir."
"Good, son...because you either fight, or play video games."
A bugler blew his horn, and the copters rose into the air for their mission to Omicron Persei 8. An excited Fry pointed. "Hey, they're picking up the ship." Sure enough, their ship was being hauled underneath one of the Cheyennes for the mission. Leela's crew got to ride in Farnsworth's copter. Zoidberg raised up his claw for a question.
"Lieutenant Colonel," he asked, "will there be food on this flight?"
"We've got plenty of c-rations for you, young sir. I find the chicken cacciatore especially good." Farnsworth sealed the doors, and they left the atmosphere of Turantulon 6.
As the copters neared their target on Omicron Persei 8, the crews were free to open the doors back up. Farnsworth talked with Fry about videogames for most of the journey as he intently studied a flat-screen monitor.
“This is the part where the samurai guy comes flying out at you,” he told Fry as he worked the game controls. "Hey, do you young kids still play SimCity? I never could get the hang of it - as mayor I kept going bankrupt." Farnsworth got an incoming transmission telling him that they were nearing the target. "Hey Fry, you're going to love this. We're coming out of the rising sun, and at about a mile out we'll switch on the music."
"Yeah...we play Wagner."
"Why Wagner?" asked Fry.
"For dramatic effect. You've got to have that drama. We tried Madama Butterfly, but it just didn't work as well. The theme song to ‘Shaft’ doesn’t work too badly. One day some idiot put on an Air Supply CD; it killed all the drama and the men quickly lost morale. You've got to have that drama. Can you imagine trying to shoot at giant spiders with a laser gun while listening to 'All out of Love?' It's just not the same."
The force of Cheyennes wildly tore over an Omicronian village, shooting laser bolts and dropping chemical bombs everywhere. An Omicronian family, preparing to eat a hippie at a picnic, went running into the jungle for their lives. Farnsworth’s copter went roaring after them. “Stinking savages,” he spat, “don’t they ever give up?”
“There’s the arcade sir,” said Farnsworth’s pilot, “right next to that check cashing place.”
The copter forgot about its intended victims and made a smooth landing near the arcade. The hippie jumped up and down at his new-found freedom, but was quickly snatched up in the arms of the Omicronian father and dragged back into the woods.
Farnsworth joyfully bounded out of his Cheyenne, and peeked in through the arcade windows. “Hey…they do have Asteroids. And Centipede. And Frogger. And Tron…they’ve got Tron!” While he stood in front of the store, a small mortar went off nearby. Leela and her crew crouched down while Farnsworth stood his ground. Leela angrily addressed him.
“Sir, don’t you think it’s a little risky for R and R?”
Farnsworth looked in disappointment at a sign on the door. “What? The place doesn’t open until noon on Wednesdays!”
“We’ve got to get going with our mission,” insisted Leela.
He looked down at his wristwatch. “But it’s 11:40…can’t you wait just 20 minutes?”
“We’re not waiting long,” she told him. They watched as a Cheyenne dropped their amphibious ship onto the river, which began to float like a large child’s toy in a bathtub.
Another close explosion went off, and Leela and her crew ducked for cover. Farnsworth, who had taken off his shirt, was walking around like a proud warrior. “That smell,” he told them, “that chemical smell. Smells like…victory.”
Fry plugged his nose. “Smells more like bug spray to me.”
Leela felt her anger level rising as Farnsworth wasted time with an Omicronian teenager trying to open the store. “We are leaving!” she told him.
“Can’t you wait a little longer?” Farnsworth pleaded. “This kid is going to get the key from the manager. His mother is going to drive it over right now.”
“No…we are going.” As the crew made their way over to their floating ship, Leela turned to Fry. “Would you like to have his game controller, son?”
“I sure would, Captain Leela.”
“Bender - go get it!”
Bender grabbed the controller from inside the copter, and they all ran laughing to their patrol ship. By the time Farnsworth found out what had happened, they were long gone down the river.
Leela read more of Zapp Brannigan’s dossier as the patrol ship chugged down the river. She noticed that when Hermes addressed Bender, he called him “Chef.”
“Why do they call you ‘Chef?’” she asked him.
“Cause I’m the chef of the boat. I’m a saucier.”
“What’s a saucier?”
“I make sauces…I was programmed in cook school in New Orleans.” He stirred something in a pot. “You humans can eat motor oil, right?”
Zoidberg smiled at him. “No, but I can…it smells wonderful…”
Fry walked over to Bender with an evil grin on his face. He pulled a condiment packet out of his fatigue pocket. “Hey Bender…remember that space honey that I scored from that diner on Mars?”
“The honey from those space bees?”
“Yeah man…I’m about to drop it.”
“You’re a freak, man!” Bender said with glee.
As Fry opened the package and poured the honey on his tongue, an angry Hermes shot a disapproving look back at the two. “Great Milk of Magnesia from Indonesia! You need to lay off dat stuff Fry! And you, Bender – I know you’ve been at the current again…I can see here that you’ve drained our batteries down.”
“Hooray,” said Zoidberg, “we’re having fun. Let me turn on the radio.”
“Hey all you soldiers out there on Omicron Persei 8, this is DOOP Armed Forces Radio. Here’s a special request going out to a Philip Fry who’s on a secret mission to kill Zapp Brannigan. It’s called ‘Walking on Sunshine.’”
Enraged, Leela’s singular eye popped up from the paperwork she was reading.
“Guess it ain’t a secret mission anymore,” Bender blurted out.
As Leela continued her reading, Bender interrupted her. “Could you help me?”
“I’m going to look for space turnips in that bunch of rainforest there.”
“Why do you need my help to do that?”
“Well, space turnips are usually about 500 pounds each, and they’re the size of a medicine ball.”
“Can’t you get Fry to help you?” Bender pointed to Fry, who had painted his face up in camouflage and was making animal sounds. “Oh...I see your point. Let’s get this over with quick. You know, we really shouldn’t leave the ship.”
As the ship pulled over to the shore, Bender and Leela hopped out. Bender carried a large hook to drag the turnip back to the ship, and Leela carried a laser carbine in case they ran across the enemy. Leela rolled her eye as the robot droned on about his life.
“Cook school,” he told her, “that’s what did it. The DOOP navy had us out there with these slabs of horse meat. Beautiful slabs of meat…the horse had won a Kentucky Derby at one time…” Bender quit talking as he noticed that Leela was watching something through the trees. “What are you seeing?” he whispered.
Turanga Leela brought her carbine up into firing position as a strong breeze blew back her hair; she signaled for Bender to stay back. Suddenly a blast of wind that felt like a hurricane knocked the two of them off of their feet.
Back on the patrol boat Hermes realized that something was wrong when he heard Bender screaming. The two of them hopped back into the ship and Hermes began to maneuver the vehicle away from the shore. He ordered Fry to start shooting from the laser turret, and told Zoidberg to prepare for casualties. Fry shot laser bolts in all directions.
“Windy shrimp!!” Bender shrieked.
“What?” called out Hermes.
“Windy shrimp!! Windy shrimp!! You’re right man, never get off the ship! I didn’t want this stuff man…I didn’t leave the third grade for this stuff! All I wanted to do was cook.!! These people can kiss my shiny metal butt in the county courtyard!!” As the ship sped away, Bender could still be heard screaming. “Bye bye, shrimp!! Bye bye!!”
Never get off the ship, Leela thought as she picked up her dossier again, absolutely freaking right. Zapp Brannigan got off the ship…he split from the whole stinkin’ program.
It was evening as their journey into darkness continued. As Leela went on reading her dossier by flashlight, a copter could be heard overhead. From the copter a voice from a bullhorn echoed around the river delta.
“Just give us back the Nintendo game controller,” the voice told them, “we won’t prosecute you.”
Bender wrote a letter home. “My dearest Angleyne,” he wrote, “you’re never gonna believe what I saw today…I saw a freaking windy shrimp.”
In the darkness Leela pulled herself away from her studies and peeked out the porthole. She saw light...a lot of light. She walked up through the hatch on the top of the ship and couldn't believe what she saw - it was a large shopping mall in the middle of the jungle. She turned back to Hermes who was still piloting the ship. "Did you know that there was a shopping mall here?"
"There's a lot of strange things on this river," he told her. "It don't pay for a man to tempt fate by going shopping out here."
Leela gave him a serious look. "It's a shopping mall...what's the worst that could happen here?"
"Cougars?" she asked. "In here?"
"I had a friend come into this very mall to buy some running shoes...cougar got him."
Leela's eye got huge. "Was he clawed to death? Did it tear him limb from limb?"
"Nope. He lives in a beach house now. She makes him clean the pool, and he can't even leave the house without telling her where he's going. He's little more than just a sexual toy for her pleasures...not much of a life if you ask me..."
Leela got a mean look on her face. "Well, we're not stopping here...I'm not delaying my mission any longer."
"But I want a puppy!" moaned Fry like a child.
"You're not getting one," Leela told him. "I don't have time for this."
Hermes gave her a stern look. "Are you going to deny the boy a puppy? Has the war made you that heartless, that mean? Let Fry buy a puppy - he knows that it's a big responsibility."
"I promise I'll take care of it," Fry added.
She groaned. "Oh, okay...you can go in and get a puppy. One that doesn't bite and isn't a barker. But we're to be back at the ship in an hour. If you get lost, we'll meet by the information desk in the center of the mall."
"Could you bring us some cinnamon buns?" asked Zoidberg.
"Some robot porn?" asked Bender.
Fry, with his face still covered in greasepaint, tagged along behind Leela as she stepped off the ship and made her way over to the mall. As she neared the entrance, a man handed her a coupon.
"This is good for 25% off anything in the sports store. Good for a harpoon if you're going to kill a top military officer on a secret mission."
Leela got an angry look on her face. "Holy crap nuggets - this is supposed to be a top secret mission. How many people know about this?"
The man shrugged his shoulders. "Well, uh...I found out on Twitter..."
The next day found Hermes in a rare moment of levity. He let Bender pilot the ship while he practiced limbo maneuvers on the top deck. Fry sat at the bow and noticed something fly overhead. He tried to communicate this to Hermes, but his words were little more than garbled nonsense. Again, another object flew over the ship, whistling through the air.
Hermes stood up after a productive limbo practice. "Tree foot one," he commented, "I'm gettin' back to me old self after all these months of war." As he stood there, he watched in horror as an enormous spear flew up to him and cut him in half. He screamed as his two halves tumbled to the deck. "Zoidberg!! Get up here!! I've got a medical emergency!!"
"What, what's with the screaming?" Zoidberg gasped as he saw Hermes cut into two pieces. "Hermes, my old friend...what terrible fate has befallen you?"
"What does it look like, you stupid sandcrab! We've been attacked by Amazonians! Help me get put back together, you greensnake!"
Leela's quick thinking saved the day...she had a medical copter from Farnsworth's unit fly up the river and take Hermes to a field hospital. As attending physician, Zoidberg went with him. The crew of the copter would only transport him on one condition - that they return the stolen Nintendo game controller. Some additional arcade game tokens helped to sweeten the deal.
"You take care of my ship, missy," the top half of Hermes demanded, "I'd better not find a scratch on her when you're done with your mission." He shook his head. "How am I going to explain this to LaBarbara?"
Leela gave him a quick salute, and she got the ship underway.
It was afternoon when the patrol ship finally reached that strange hidden city inhabited by Zapp Brannigan and his followers. Nearly a hundred Omicronians stood on either shore, wearing primitive grass tutus and brandishing crude spears. They stood amid the ruins of a centuries old stone temple, and quietly watched as the patrol ship entered their midst. As they reached the steps of the ancient temple, a strange green alien with a bulbous head and nearly half a dozen cameras around his neck jogged down to meet them. A huge vein thumped on his forehead.
"I'm an Earthican, just like you," the alien blurted out in a gravelly voice. He eagerly hopped on board the vessel without being invited. He walked up to Fry, who was enjoying Pez candy out of a dispenser. "Oh, you've got Pez...that's what I've been dreamin' about, brother..." Fry offered him the dispenser, and he downed several of the candies. He smiled at the dispenser as he handed it back. "Batman...that's a good collectable one."
"Who are you?" asked Leela.
"Who are you?" asked the alien with a weird chuckle. "I'm Morbo, the photojournalist. I've covered the war on this planet for several years."
"Who are all these people?" she asked.
"These are his children, man. As far as the eye can see...these are his children. And they think you've come to take him away...I hope that isn't true."
"Take who away?"
"Him! Him man." Morbo gestured up to the top of the temple ruins.
Leela stepped off the ship, and gestured for Bender to follow. "I just want to talk to him."
"You don't just talk to him, man...you listen to him." Morbo began gesturing with his hands. "The man's enlarged my mind...he's the poet-warrior in the classic sense. Sometimes you'll say hello and he'll just walk right by you...then he'll grab you and tell you, 'do you realize that the words 'you are' are in the middle of Slurm?' The other day he told me that he would destroy me if I took his picture again...and he meant it, man..."
As they got closer to the actual temple, Bender gasped as he saw omicronian heads scattered about on posts. Morbo tried to explain this. "Oh, the heads man...you're shook up about the heads. Sometimes he goes too far...he's the first to admit it."
"Where is he?" Leela asked Morbo.
"He's gone away...he's gone into the jungles with his children. He feels safe with his children."
"Fine...Bender, let's go back to the ship and wait."
When they got back to the ship, they talked about what happened. Fry was still stoned out of his mind on space honey, playing with his new puppy.
"That guy Brannigan is a freaking nutbag!" blurted out Bender. "This is just pagan idolatry, I tell you!"
"So you're with me..." said Leela.
"Yeah! I'll go kill him myself with a pipe wrench right now."
"No...I need you guys to stay on the ship and call in the airstrike."
"Airstrike?" Bender asked.
"Yes - DOOP is ready to drop a nuke in here as soon as we call in for it." She picked up the field radio and handed it to him. "If I'm not back here by 2200 hours, call in the strike - our call sign is 'PBR sixpack' and our coordinates are 09264712. Just be out of range when the bomb comes in."
"Far out," said Fry as he scratched his dog's ear, "big stick go boom!"
Leela hadn't gotten very far in the darkness when she realized that she was surrounded by Omicronians. They gathered around her and pushed her to the ground. As she tried to lift herself up from the mud, she was then knocked unconscious. Her primordial captors dragged her off into the night, her face covered in mud...
Leela awoke in a prison cell inside of the old temple ruins. The cell was tiny and cramped, and her hands were tied behind her. It smelled like slow death in there. Soon Zapp Brannigan himself showed up to visit her. "Leela, you curvaceous creature...they sent you; we heard all about your secret mission on CNN. I can't say that it isn't good to see you, although I'm a little worried that you'll stick a pickaxe in my skull."
She looked up into the eyes of the madman, not saying a word.
"Oh, and one more thing," he told her, "your robot sucks as a night watchman." He tossed the lifeless head of Bender into her lap, with wires and cables dangling from his neck. Leela just screamed and cried as the sound of thunder boomed in the night sky...
It was late that next day when Leela awoke again. This time it was Morbo the photographer, and he at least brought her some water. "He's got plans for you, man...he likes you. You're the one who's going to tell his story after he's gone." Leela didn't speak, but was grateful for the water.
Later in the afternoon, Kif Kroker unlocked the cell door. He was pathetic looking, standing there in his grass skirt...he looked rather like a green salamander at a luau. He sighed, and then addressed Leela as he untied her. "The psychopath wants to see you."
It was a short walk to the office that was set up for Zapp Brannigan. He was in the middle of one of his holograph taping sessions when he noticed the two of them enter. It was eerie seeing him sitting in the shadows, rubbing his bald head. Leela sat down in a folding chair. Zapp addressed Kif. "Bring me a bottle of chilled champagin..."
Again, a sigh. "I've told you a million times, sir...it's champagne!"
"And round up some horsey-dervies while you're at it."
Kif sighed again, and left to fulfill the request. Zapp remained in the shadow, only parts of his face visible to the light. He rubbed his head again. "Leela, they tell me that my methods are unsound...do you think that my methods are unsound?"
"I don't see a method, Zapp. Why did you kill my robot?"
"I think it had something to do with dramatic effect."
"So tell me, when did you cut off your hair and lose your freaking mind?"
Zapp appeared in the light. "It happened suddenly...I was committing war atrocities on the omicronians when I heard a weird voice from behind me..."
"Good grief...you really are stark raving mad - but do go on."
"At that point I realized that I was so much more than just a military genius...I was also a mighty orator, and a good enough singer to have been a fifth Beatle. I'm a mental giant...and I now know it. And, if I put my mind to it, I might just be able to solve the universe's problems. Not only that, but I'm swave and de-boner with the ladies as well. And my teeth sparkle."
Leela stood up and grabbed a wooden spear leaning on a stone wall. "Okay, Mr. Superbrain, Wondermind, I think I've heard all I need to hear. I wanna get this over with quick so I can catch up on my shows on tivo. Stick your chest out so I can run you through...I promise to be quick." She suddenly heard Kif return with the champagne and finger food on a tray. He looked over at her.
"What," Kif told her, "you're expecting me to stop you? You’d be doing me a favor. I'll just tell the rest of the bunch out there that he cut himself shaving...they're not very bright."
"Leela," Zapp continued, "you can't judge me. You can kill me, but you can't judge me. Actually, I'd rather that you not kill me. Oh, hell...I'm pathetic - you might as well run me through." Zapp began to weep like a sad child. Leela's jaw dropped open as she saw something move behind Zapp in the shadows. "Well, what are you waiting for? Get it over with..."
Emerging from the shadows was an enormous pink brain. It hovered over Zapp and moved toward Leela. "We meet again, Leela. Now you will become as stupid as all the rest here in the temple! Muhahaha!"
Leela wanted to stab the huge brain with her spear, but she could no longer figure out why she wanted to do such a thing in the first place; all she could think about now was how good Hostess Twinkies tasted with milk, and how touching a hot stove was a bad thing. She just stood there with her spear in her hands as her IQ melted away. "Big...thing...must kill brain...no can think..."
"You thought you defeated me all those years ago...now I am the one defeating you! When I take over your planet's military minds, then I will take over your lowly planet. You will all bow down to the mighty Big Brain!
"This...not...good," Leela mumbled as drool rolled down her chin. "Not...know...what...do..."
"Tell me again what a genius you are," Kif asked Brannigan, "you inspire me..." Zapp couldn't answer; he was again in the dark trying to sing a song - this time it was "Penny Lane."
"I am mighty! I have again brought the puny human animal to its knees! I have..." The brain stopped its monologue, and screamed out in pain. It turned around in horror to see a still-stoned Philip J. Fry with a huge fire axe in his hands.
"Heeeeere's Johnny!" Fry said, as he laughed like a maniac. he took another swing at the defenseless brain, the axe making a horrible splattering sound as it struck the fleshy mass. "I'm the Duke of New York, and I'm A-Number One!"
"Oh no! He's the One-Who-Has-No-Delta Wave!! My stupification beam has no effect!!"
Fry continued chopping the poor alien with his axe as parts of brain went flying across the room. Leela looked on as her IQ levels returned to normal. What was left of the big brain now lay in pieces on the stone floor. Zapp was still trying to sing. "This is the end, my only friend the end..."
Leela took Fry by the hand. Fry put the axe down, and gathered up his puppy. "Brain bad," he told her, "bye bye brain!"
As she stepped over Zapp on the floor, he spoke to her. "Hey, Leela...now that I'm in my right mind, does this mean we can have a date? Nothing formal, mind you...maybe just a picnic in the park...a little romance..."
She picked up Bender's severed head on the way out, and she left the temple with Fry, who was still holding his puppy. The Omicronians stepped out of her way in respect as she walked through the crowd back down to the ship.
Zapp began to weep as he lay on the floor. "The horror," he said, "the horror..."
Kif stared down at him. "Do you still want your 'champagin,' sir?" he said sarcastically.
As the patrol ship left the temple, Leela's command continued to try and reach her. "PBR sixpack...PBR sixpack, this is Liquor Store...do you read? PBR sixpack...come in..." Leela reached over and switched off the radio. She then popped Bender's head back on to his body. His eyes lit up and he looked around.
"Hey," Bender said, "who the heck turned out the lights?"
As Leela drove the patrol ship back down the river, she reached into her duffel bag and found one more package of Toblerones. Fry just smiled as he fed treats to his puppy...