"Good news everyone," the Professor chortled. “I’m glad to see you all up here in the lab.”
"What have you cooked up now?" asked an incredulous Leela. "Or should I even ask."
He frowned. "It's something that will make you money, sister. That should interest you."
Leela's eyebrow curled down in anger. "Okay, you mad scientist...who has to die to test your theory?"
"No one has to die, Leela. In fact, I think it's a very enjoyable sensation, not to mention a very profitable one." Professor Farnsworth pulled out two helmets and placed them on the heads of Fry and Amy. The helmets were dark blue, and had several knobs on them. After they had put them on, he hooked up a coax cable between the helmets. He then hooked up a cable from Amy's helmet to his machine.
"What's with the crazy wire?" asked Fry.
"You want to be able to share your experience, don't you? This way you'll all be in the same dream together." He tweaked a few knobs on the helmets. “Amy here is directly connected to my dream machine, so it'll be her dream. Now Amy, where have you always dreamed of going?”
She thought about it. “The Greek Isles sound nice; so much history there.”
“Good…think about that for a minute.” Farnsworth then pulled out cups of liquid and handed them to the two. "I want you to drink all of what's in your cups."
Bender chuckled. "Oh, this isn't good - I once heard about a Greek guy named Socrates..."
"Hush, you." Fry and Amy complied with Farnsworth's request, and drank the cups. "Isaac Asimov wrote about dreams being used as entertainment as far back as 1955; now his science fiction vision will be realized. If this works, I can open entertainment centers and market the lot of it."
Fry and Amy suddenly became very weary, and slumped in their chairs to sleep. Leela kept Fry from slipping to the floor. "What did you do to these guys?"
"They'll sleep like babies."
Again, Leela was angry. "Why don't you warn us before you do these stupid things?"
Farnsworth turned on a TV screen near the table. "Just watch..."
"Oh, this is just plain unethical. I won't have a part of it," Leela protested. "You don't really even know how this thing of yours really works, do you?"
The Professor just smiled like the devil as he turned the TV screen toward Leela. "Actually no. Aren't you just a bit curious?"
Leela's eyeball went from him to the TV set, and back to him. "Well, we're this far along...let's just go with it. Besides, I've always wanted to know what goes on in these guys' skulls."
"Now you're gonna find out."
The two intently watched the screen...
"Here, Leela...you get your own helmet. And now here’s your cup."
As Leela put her helmet on and drank the formula, she began to get very drowsy and quickly fell asleep. The Professor watched the dark screen begin to develop fuzzy images.
Bender raised his metal hand. “Don’t I get a cup and a helmet?”
“You’re a robot, dumb-dumb.”
“Oh, I forgot about that. I'll just watch the re-cap on TV here.”
"You've got the best seat in the house," bragged Farnsworth.
Unbeknownst to anyone at Planet Express, a cockroach with an antenna and a camera crawled along the wall. Back at MomCorp headquarters, Mom and her eldest son Walt watched the video feed from the animal. Mom cocked her head to one side to make up for the insect's angle.
"Can't you get this thing to turn the camera straight?" asked Mom. "I'm going to get a crick in my neck."
"Mother, it's an insect...this is the best the technology can offer us."
"Where in the hell is it going now? They were just turning the dream-thingee on..."
Walt cocked his head. "I think it's going toward the kitchen; it must be hungry."
"Well, get it back - I need to know what's going on in there. If I can steal that idea, I might be able to make some money with it."
Walt fumbled with a remote. "I don't think I can, Mother - it's hungry..."
"I told you this was a stupid idea." She lit up a cigarette. "I've got to find some way to really get in there. With a human."
"Of course," said Walt, "I'd be more than happy to volunteer for a mission - "
"Not you, numb-brain...I can still remember the job you boys did as owl exterminators. I have a niece that might owe me a favor..." She dialed her eye-phone.
"You want me to what?" asked Vesta.
Mom scowled. "I promised your mother that I'd help you out of that little financial bind of yours; that comes with a price, dearie. For now, I own you. Now hop on that expensive air-bike of yours and do what I told you - you know where that Planet Express building is."
Vesta squeezed her eyes. "This isn't going to involve hurting anyone is it? You can be such a sleaze, Auntie Carol."
"What I do with people is my business...just va-moose your little butt over there and become my eyes and ears. I'm not wasting any more time on your cousin's roaches or water bugs, or whatever they are."
"Oh, so it's like that."
"Yeah...it's like that."
As what looked like a dense fog parted before their eyes, Amy and Fry found themselves on a sandy beach on an island. They looked at each other, observing that they had primitive clothing on. "What are we wearing?" asked Fry.
"I don't know," Amy answered, "but it looks like something ancient that I would have studied in college. Look – you’ve even got a small sword and a wooden flute in your sash belt."
“I do have a flute; I guess that’s because I play a holophoner.” Fry looked up at a large group of rocks from the shoreline. "Hey...those are caves – big ones. Let's check those out."
"Are you sure they're safe?" asked Amy.
"Well, if this is a dream, what difference does it make?"
"Maybe a lot, if what they say about dying in a dream is true. They say that if you die in your dream, you’ll die in real life."
"C'mon...let's go see what's in that cave; maybe there’s treasure in there." As the two walked along, they found the ground bumpy and uneven.
"I think I've got enough treasure in real life," grumbled Amy. "Wait up, Fry - look at what you're standing in."
"What? This pit?"
"It doesn't look like a pit - it looks like a footprint."
"What, a yard long? It can't be. They don't make feet that long. Anyway, we're almost there."
As the two entered the gigantic cave, they found sheep that came and went from the entrance. "Hey, there's food in here," Fry announced.
Amy looked back at the entrance, and noted a huge 20 foot tall flat round stone next to it. “Could this be the door? There’s no way. Fry, this is making me nervous - I'm thinking this is something I studied in literature back in college; maybe my mind went back to it..."
"Aw, nonsense. They’ve even left a fire going for us – they must have expected visitors.”
As the two began exploring the large cave, Amy got Fry’s attention again. “Fry, you need to come see this.” She held up a wooden dinner plate the size of a manhole cover and a metal fork at least two feet long. “Whoever lives here is really, really big. Do you think we should hang around in here?”
“Hey, look at this – Leela would have loved this.” He held up a huge package of Toblerones; each of the chocolate candies was easily the size of a hockey puck. “Speaking of her, where is she anyway?”
Amid the sound of bleating sheep, the two suddenly heard a loud thumping sound outside of the cave. The entrance to the cave got dark, and the giant frame of a human came into view. Amy and Fry gasped as a giant-sized version of Leela entered the cave; they only came up to her knee. She was dressed in animal skins and sandals, and carried a huge wooden staff. That hideous eyeball of hers examined the two strangers in her midst. “You guys?” she asked. “Why are you eating my Toblerones? Do you know how hard those things are to get in that size?”
“Leela,” Fry awkwardly said, “we wondered when you were going to show up.”
“Well, I’m here…and I’m really hungry. I’ve been sheep herding all day.” She turned and moved the gigantic stone in front of the cave entrance with little effort. She turned back around and stared down at her two trapped visitors with that hideously huge eye. “So…which one gets eaten first?”
“Eaten?” asked Fry.
Amy began to swear in Chinese. “Nuts…I knew this was all familiar – this is Homer’s Odyssey.”
“Homer’s what?” asked Fry.
“The Odyssey, chump! Didn’t you have to read that in middle school?”
“I didn’t retain much from school…”
Leela interrupted. “Come on, come on…which one am I going to kill and eat first? I don’t have all evening, and I’m starving.”
Amy looked up at the giant. “Why do you have to eat us? You can have some lamb…we can make you a jumbo-sized gyro.”
“You picked the theme of the dream, sister - I wanted to enjoy a vacation in Las Venus." She twiddled her index finger in the air. "The Greek Isles…woo-hoo!”
“But,” Fry added, “why do you have to eat us?”
"I don't know," Leela said, "it's a cyclops thing I guess. Now decide who gets eaten first."
"Neither of us want to die at all," Amy told her. "Can't we just negotiate this out?"
Before Amy could move away, Leela reached down her huge hand and wrapped her fingers around her waist; she was lifted up into the air where the monstrous eyeball examined her up close. “No more stalling, and no negotiating…I’m eating you first.” Amy shrieked as the massive mouth opened up to reveal fist-sized teeth, and her head was maneuvered into position for a bite.
“Hey,” Fry shouted, “how about I play some music for you on my flute?”
Leela paused and looked down. “That’s not a bad idea. I could turn in early and enjoy the both of you in the morning for breakfast.” She leisurely dumped Amy off to the side like a toy. She then grabbed a huge wineskin and a cup, and settled down on a large bed of animal skin pillows. “Start playing, short stuff; if it’s a bad performance, I’ll enjoy you as a midnight snack.”
As Fry played, Amy did a dance on the floor of the cave. Leela drained a couple of cups of wine, and started to become drowsy. As soon as she fell asleep, Amy stopped dancing. She popped Fry on the side of his head with her fingers. “You can stop playing now, idiot.”
“What…that was a good performance.”
Amy jogged over to Leela's enormous staff that was once a slender tree. “Help me to pick this up.”
“We’re going to ram it into her eye and blind her, dummy – hurry up.”
“Blind her? Why?”
“Didn’t you ever read literature? She’s going to eat us. If we do this, she may just end up with a huge headache. If she eats us, the Professor will have two dead bodies in his lab to explain. Help me with this – we’re going to have to work together.”
"But what if she wakes up blind?"
"Grab the stupid stick!"
Fry cringed, but he felt that she was right. As he helped her hold up the stick from the top, Amy held the end near her closed eye and got ready to ram it down. “One…two…”
They awoke to Professor Farnsworth shaking them. “I thought that this was a good juncture to end the experiment. I’m happy to say that it was a total success.”
Bender chuckled. “Except for Fry’s flute performance; I wouldn’t quit your day job.”
"Success?" added Leela. "You call that a success? I could have been blinded!"
“Total success?” asked Amy. “She was gonna eat me!”
“I wouldn’t have liked it,” Leela said, “you’re nothing but baby fat around the middle. Besides, you were going to blind me.”
“I didn’t want to end up as breakfast; I'm allergic to having my head bitten off.”
“Ladies,” the Professor interrupted, “are we through? Anyway, I just want to thank you all for a successful experiment. If all goes well, I’ll have a Dream Palace in every town and hamlet. It'll be the biggest thing since going to the picture show in the 20th century, and orgasmo-pills in the 21st."
Leela got up out of her chair. “I think I’ve had enough fun for today. Professor, you’re idea is a dangerous one at best.” As she walked out, she leaned over Amy’s shoulder and whispered. “You suck as a dancer.”
“Hey! I should have poked out that eye when I had the chance.”
Farnsworth shook his head. “Women. Just because one of them was going to get eaten.” His eye-phone rang. “Hello?”
“Hubert, this is Carol. I want you to do me a favor.”
“Why would I do you a favor?”
“Because I still own a big part of that crappy little company of yours, that’s why.”
“I guess that’s a good reason. What do you want?”
“My niece is coming over there tomorrow; I want you to train her as an intern.”
"Why would I want to do that?"
"Because I'll find some way to close you down if you don't, you old moldy bag of bones."
"Fine, send her over. But no tricks, you mean old viper."
Fry was really tired in the evening, and crawled into bed early. Not long after he fell asleep, he found himself in a dream. He was back in the streets of old New York on a summer evening, and it was 1980. He found his favorite video arcade, and walked in. A Yes song from their Drama album was playing loudly as he stepped in through the door.
“Could this be true?Does it ever happen to you?And can you proveThat wheels go round in reason…"
He got a smile on his face. “My favorite Asteroids machine is still here. But this can’t be when I think it is.” Fry spotted a newspaper on a counter, and he glanced at the headline: “President Carter to Boycott Summer Olympics in Moscow. This really is 1980.”
As if he needed further proof, he reached into his pocket for a quarter; it was dated 1977. He then eyeballed the Asteroids machine. He smiled, and leaned up against a brick wall in the arcade. To his surprise, it moved. He turned, and decided to put more pressure on it. The wall moved open and revealed another room.
As Fry stepped into the other room, he was shocked by what he saw. In a darkened hotel room, a naked Amy Wong lay underneath a blanket with two Globetrotters. Her eyes opened up, and she let out a shriek as she grabbed her blanket. "Fry - what are you doing here?"
"I don't know...I was dreaming, and pushed on this wall..."
"But how can you be here at all? I wouldn't have dreamed you...not here, not now. Are you really in my dream? How could you do that?"
"I don't know..."
"It must have been something that happened today during that experiment. Could we enter someone else's dream? Like Leela's?"
"I don't know; I'm really confused right now. What would be so special about me?"
Amy quickly threw her nighty back on. "Fry, we've got to find out how you did this." She put on some fuzzy slippers. "Oh, where are my manners...this is Ethan 'Bubblegum' Tate, and this is 'Sweet' Clyde Dixon."
They both waved. "Hi Fry," Bubblegum told him.
Fry winced. "Amy...two of them?"
Amy got angry. "Listen, buster...it's my dream, okay? It's none of your business what I do in my own dream. And not a darn word of this to anybody..."
"Sorry. You know, I once had this dream about Pat Benatar..."
"I don't want to hear it. Now get moving through that wall."
Sweet Clyde looked over. "Amy...should we expect you back anytime soon?"
"Uh, yeah...order up some more champagne from room service; we'll pick this up on another night."
"See ya, Amy."
Fry led Amy up to the hotel wall. “Put your hands here, and push.” As she pushed, the brick wall gave way to a bright light; the two found themselves on a beach near an inland ocean on Venus. Leela, who was tanning on a towel on the sand, reached up her hand without looking.
Amy looked at Fry in shock. "We actually did it...we're in her dream..."
"Servant boy," Leela said, "I'm going to need another one of those yummy drinks; just put it on my tab."
Amy giggled. “I didn’t bring any drinks with me, but if I were you I'd put on some more tanning oil before you end up as red as Zoidberg.”
A surprised Leela looked up. “What are you two doing here? I can't even escape you in my dream?”
"Fry here has something he wants to share with you..."
Leela, Fry and Amy wandered in to the Professor’s staff meeting late; they were all tired from their dream-jumping activities the night before.
“I’m glad you guys could make it,” Farnsworth told them. "You'd be late to your own funerals."
“Professor,” Leela said, “we need to talk with you about some side-effects of that machine of yours…”
"In a minute."
"But this is kind of important..."
“Later. The whole purpose of this meeting is to introduce you to our newest intern. Say hello to Miss Vesta Buell. She’s Mom’s niece.”
Bender burst into laughter.
Vesta, a slender woman with ivory skin and jet black hair, turned to the robot. “What’s so funny, Tin Man?”
“Just the name…you know. Sounds like someone going into a vestibule. You know…like bunches of people have been in there...and no one else thinks it’s funny…and no one else is sharing my little moment of levity…”
Leela shook her head. “Bender, you sure have a way of breaking the ice…”
Vesta finally responded. “It’s not like I haven’t heard that little piece of humor before. I put up with it all the way through school. My parents were belters, and they named me after the asteroid Vesta. They own property there. Any other funny bits you’d like to get out of the way?”
Leela found the knob on the back of his head; she turned it and the robot slumped over.
“Thanks,” said Amy, “I was about ready to do that.”
The Professor cleared his throat. “Moving right along; Leela, I’d like you to give Miss Vesta a tour of the ship.”
Vesta spied one of the dream helmets on a workbench. “Will we have to wear one of those as we travel into space?”
“That?” said the Professor. “Good Lord no. That’s uh…just a little pet project of mine. By the way, you all are dismissed.”
As the gang walked out to the hangar, Fry spoke with Leela. “You want to meet again on Venus?” he asked her.
“Actually tonight I thought about kayaking the canals of Mars. I’ll see you two there.”
Vesta heard every word of their conversation.
The Professor turned Bender back on; he looked around, confused. “Hey, where did everyone go?”
Farnsworth shook his head. “Idiot.”
As Vesta walked with Leela out toward the hangar, she got an eye-phone call. “Leela, I’ve got to take this call; I’ll be right with you.”
“That’s okay; just come right out when you’re finished.”
Vesta was visibly annoyed at the call. “What is it, Walt? I told you never to call me here, idiot.”
“Is Ervin nearby?”
“Yes…the cockroach with the spy gear on it; you can’t miss it.”
She saw the bug. “Ew…yes I see it. It’s crawling over to some red guy with tentacles on his face.”
“Could you retrieve it please? That’s a sophisticated piece of spy equipment.”
"Retrieve it? I'm not picking up a stinking roach. Anyway, it may be too late…”
Zoidberg spotted the insect crawling across the floor. “Ma’am,” he said, “allow me.”
He quickly gobbled down the cockroach, machinery and all, and stood there with a happy look on his face.
"Uh, cancel that," Vesta told Walt.
Back at the office in Momcorp, Walt just stared at the TV monitor. “I can’t believe what I just saw. Ervin took 6 months to train. That was the most horrifying video I've ever witnessed.”
“Told you it was a stupid idea,” Mom added. "You never have listened. This is the thanks I get for letting you have that ant farm in the 6th grade."
After a morning of Leela showing Vesta around the ship, the crew went out to a nearby Fishy Joe's for lunch; this gave the gang a bit of time to get to know their new intern.
"If you don't mind me saying so," Leela said, "you don't seem at all like Mom."
Vesta chuckled. "Oh, God - I hope I'm nothing like Auntie Carol. I mean, I love her and all, she is family, but I don't really want to be anything like her."
"So, what brings you to our doorstep?"
"I just got so sick of my desk job; I really miss being out there among the asteroids. I figured that this was a quick way out there." Vesta then spied Fry getting the food. "Is he really from the 20th century? Did I hear that right?"
Amy chuckled. "Yeah, the late 20th century...somewhere past the horse and buggy and the atomic bomb, but nowhere near the Insta-sex parlors..."
"Amy - " Leela gave her a stern look.
"I just was interested because I studied the 20th century at the University of Neptune." Vesta looked on. "He's really kind of cute; why don't you reel him in?"
Leela coughed and quickly changed the subject. "Oh, I wanted to tell you that the old man will have a ton of paperwork to fill out when we get back, so be ready."
In the afternoon, the Planet Express crew were summoned back up to the Professor's lab; he was as excited as a little child.
"I wanted to take this opportunity to get started on the second phase of my dream research while Vesta is still filling out forms; I gave her even more so that we could pick up where we left off yesterday."
Leela tried to interrupt. "Uh, Professor..."
"Not now, Leela - science can't wait. If I can get the research done quick enough, I can start opening up my dream palaces in a few months." He held up one of the helmets with pride.
"Yes, what is it, Leela?"
Leela discreetly pointed to the doorway where Vesta was standing, and he turned around. "Waaa? How long have you been standing there?"
"I'm not in trouble, am I? I just wanted to turn in my paperwork is all." She looked over at the dark blue helmets. "If it's research that you're doing, I could help with the paperwork you'll need."
Leela sighed. "She heard everything; you might as well invite her in."
Leela got up. "I'm sitting this one out; she can have my chair while I watch."
Amy joined the conversation. "Yeah, maybe we need to get a new person involved. Besides, I've got a dentist appointment in an hour. Ciao."
Farnsworth watched Amy leave, and then addressed Vesta. "Okay, I'll allow it. But I don't want you to breath a word of this to your aunt. This is strictly a private experiment I'm running."
"Since when to I share anything with my aunt?" she said with a wicked smile. "Give me the helmet and show me what this is about."
She sat down, and donned a helmet with Fry; Farnsworth hooked up the cables. The two of them then downed their sleeping potion and quickly closed their eyes. "Vesta, it's your dream, so just start thinking of a setting."
...Fry found himself in an apartment back in old New York; he peeked out the window and saw the evening skyline of the Big Apple that he knew. He could hear car horns beeping on the street below...it was a warm summer night with a thunderstorm approaching. He could see the Empire State Building as he looked down toward the Battery, but he didn't understand why he couldn't see the World Trade Center; it had been so familiar to him as he delivered his pizzas. In the background, he could hear John Coltrane's "Naima" playing from a record player. He then glanced at a table and saw a bottle of Rheingold beer.
"I'm back home," he said to himself, "but this isn't my house."
"No, it's an apartment," said Vesta. "A nice fancy one in old New York."
He turned and saw her dressed in a pink nightgown reclining on a queen-sized bed. "Is this part of your dream?" he asked her.
Vesta giggled. "I think this is all fairly correct, according to what I've seen on historical tapes."
A confused Fry looked around the room, and saw Lyndon Johnson on an old Philco television set. He stooped down and turned up the volume. "Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."
Again he looked around the room. "It's fairly correct, but a little before my time."
"I know...Dick Nixon becomes president; some things never change."
"This is all your creation?"
Vesta got off of the bed and came up to embrace him from behind; she gently rubbed his chin with her finger. "Yep; it's a construct. Judging by the TV there it should be about March of 1968 - I had to study this speech in college. Isn't it just cherry? I think that's how the ancients would have said it."
He broke free of her embrace. "This is crazy...this is nuts..."
"You don't like the year? It can be any year. Or any place. Look out the window now."
Fry peeked out the window, and saw the modern skyline of Hong Kong with air cars floating through the morning sky. "It's all so real..."
Vesta looked at him with her brown eyes. "Everything in dreams always seems real. Come on, Fry - don't you want to make love to me? I can make that as real as you can imagine."
His mouth popped open. "Make...love? That's it - I'm out of here." He walked up to a door in the apartment and pushed it open.
Vesta peeked into the door. What in the devil is this? I didn't create this..."
"It's my Mom's kitchen; I'm going over into my dream. I'll be eating some cookie dough if you need me."
"But...but...how did you do this?"
Fry looked around the kitchen, recognizing Leela's voice. He saw her standing there, with an apron on. "Want some cookies?" she asked him.
Fry awoke to see Leela standing over him. He blinked his eyes. "Did you just...bake me cookies?"
Leela pulled off her helmet, and turned to the Professor who was waking Vesta up. "You old bastard," she spat, and then looked at Vesta. "And you...you..."
"What?" she said. "He isn't your property. He worships the ground you walk on, and you will barely give him the time of day. Alright, you might as well know it - all I wanted was a little taste of his love. It was just a dream. Haven't you ever dreamed of someone?"
Leela was speechless; she couldn't give her an honest answer. She then turned an angry eye toward the Professor. "You...don't you see the can of worms you've opened up here? And you want to sell this as an entertainment form? You pimp..."
Farnsworth made a pleading gesture with his hands. "Give it a chance...I haven't perfected it. Don't you realize that you're part of the greatest experiment in the history of human kind? Think of what we can to with this." As she stomped out of the lab, he went after her.
Fry just sat there with a sad look on his face.
"Fry," Vesta said, "you'd better go out there and talk with her; I'm afraid I really botched things up for you. I'm so sorry about that."
As Fry left the lab, Vesta held up the helmet and started an eye-phone call. "Auntie Carol? It's Vesta. I think I just made a lot more progress than Walt's cockroach did..."
Mom was in a foul mood when Vesta came walking in. As she had always seen her, she had a cigarette in her mouth. "Will you lose that stupid thing?" Vesta asked. "You're going to get throat cancer someday. Or worse, you'll fall asleep and burn the place down."
"This had better be important - I had to stay up half the night waiting for you."
"It is; I had to wait until the old man fell asleep in his chair. Now look at this."
Vesta handed Mom a helmet. "What in the crap is this?"
"Don't argue, put it on."
"But my hair..."
"Quit griping, and put it on. I'll explain how it works."
Mom placed the helmet on her head, which made her look like a ridiculous space ranger in pajamas. "What do I do now?"
"Get in that lounger over there and get ready to fall asleep; I'll explain as we go along." Vesta then put her helmet on, and jacked in the cable.
"And then what?"
"Just start thinking of something."
"Oh, that's easy for me - making money..."
Wherever it was, it was hot and dry. Saguaro and prickly pear cacti indicated that it was central to southern Arizona. Vesta Buell looked down at her costume, and then looked over at her aunt in disgust. "Really, Aunt Carol. A Madame in the Old West?"
"Well, they made money, didn't they?"
"What - off of me?!"
"Oh, pipe down kid. Show me what this is dream-thingee is all about."
The two walked down the old wooden steps of the saloon and looked down the dry, dusty street. A lone tumbleweed made its way by them.
"So, what now?" asked Mom.
"There, down that road - it looks like an old mine entrance."
A cowboy walked up to Mom to ask her a question. "How much for the young lady, miss?"
"She's not on the menu; get lost, you bum."
Shaking his head, the man went into the saloon. Mom and Vesta walked down to the mine, and found what looked like a thick sheet of glass covering the entrance.
"What are we looking for?" complained Mom.
"Look..." What they saw beyond the glass was Philip J. Fry in a meadowland happily chatting with a group of Smurfs. "We can see into his dream."
"This is his dream?" she asked. "Who are those blue people?"
"Those are some of his childhood friends," Vesta told her, "from a thing called a cartoon. It was childhood entertainment on television before the alien wars."
Mom looked at her niece in disgust. "This little history lesson of yours is fascinating, but it's getting us nowhere. What does this all mean to me, and why is this chunk of glass here? And more importantly, when does the money start rolling in?"
"That's the whole point, Auntie - Red Head here is somehow able to jump from his dream into other people's dreams...and take whoever he wants with him."
"You mean someone who isn't hooked up to his helmet?"
"Now you're getting the idea."
"Well, let's get to him. I've got an idea. Step back a bit. I once saw this in an ancient Star Trek episode that my crazy ex-husband made me watch." She then looked incredulously at her niece. "You mean I can really do anything in my dream?"
"Oh yes...as long as it's your dream. Amaze me, Auntie Carol."
Mom held out her hand, and an old Star Trek communicator from the original series appeared in her palm.
"Shhh....just watch. Never do anything small, when you can do it big." She flipped the instrument open. "Enterprise, this is Mom...hit this mine with the ship's phasers - give it everything you've got."
The two turned their heads as a bright red phaser beam struck the glass at the mine entry, making it glow with energy. After an extended blast, the beam disappeared.
A distinctive Scottish accent came over the communicator. "We had to stop, Mom - that's all the power I can give ye...not an ounce more..."
Mom and Vesta walked up to the glass panel, which appeared to be untouched by the blast; the heat had already dissipated, and it was cool enough to touch. "Crap-spackle," Mom said, "they used up a whole dilithium crystal on that thing."
"That's what I was trying to tell you, Aunt Carol; he's got to open the door."
"Then my little money-making scheme is over. Imagine what I could have done with that; I could have controlled people through their dreams...they would have been my puppets on a string. All that power...gone..."
"We're not through yet, Aunt Carol; I've still got one idea left. He can still be lured into one of our dreams; all I have to do is get him back to my apartment, and he's ours."
"What, like a child with a piece of candy?"
"Yeah, something like that. We'll plan it out better tomorrow."
"Fine; let's go back to the saloon and have a shot of whiskey. I think I know just the candy we can lure our plump little kid in with."
The next morning it was no surprise that Leela wouldn't talk to Vesta or the Professor. Vesta didn't try any communication, other than what was needed for the job. Still, Farnsworth tried to talk with her.
"I only wanted to ask you if you borrowed some of the helmets and my machine; it's no big deal, as I've got several more helmets to tinker with. Three of them were missing from last night, along with the box and cables."
"I have nothing to say to you, so you'd better give me a wide berth." Leela walked off toward the hangar, and left the Professor standing there.
"She'll get over it," Amy told him. "She'll be sore for a while, but she'll get over it."
Professor Farnsworth just stood there alone in the hallway, mumbling to himself. "Maybe none of this is worth it," he remarked, "if I alienate all of my friends."
Zoidberg then came through the hall, in a surprisingly good mood.
"What are you so happy about?"
"Hubert - it was that nice snack you left me yesterday. I wanted to thank you for it."
"Snack? What snack?"
"Why, the German Cockroach you let run loose here the other day. It was delicious."
"German Cockroach? How can you be sure it was a German one?"
"Why, the definite taste of schnitzel in it. The metal detracted a bit from it, but the flavor was distinctive. I could almost taste a hint of bock beer in it as well."
He put his hand on Zoidberg's shoulder. "Metal? What do you mean, metal?"
"It had some sort of device attached to its back; I just assumed that you were running an experiment is all. It still was delicious..."
As Zoidy wandered down the hall, Farnsworth pondered to himself. "Metal? On a cockroach? The last time I saw something like that was...oh dear..."
As Fry sat watching television with Bender in the lounge, his eye-phone rang. "Hello?"
"Vesta? I thought you were here..."
"I'm back at my apartment nearby. I've found something that I think you'd really get a kick out of. Could you come over? I'll give you the address."
"Uh, I dunno...Leela would kill me."
"Oh, come on Fry - I'm not going to maul you when you get here. Listen - I found an ancient artifact from the 20th century that I want you to help identify for my university classes. It's a can of something...have you heard of Angry Norwegian Anchovies? I found several cans in an archeological dig near here."
Fry looked at Bender. "I've got to go somewhere..."
"Fry, don't do anything I wouldn't do..."
"I wouldn't do anything you would do..."
Bender chuckled. "You'll do fine, kid."
Leela turned in anger to Farnsworth. "What do you want, you old letch?"
"Leela, I know you're mad at me, but I need to know how Fry could enter back into his own dream..."
Leela explained to the Professor how Fry was able to jump into other people's dreams at random, and how he could take the others with him. "What makes him so special that he can do this?" she asked him.
"Well, the only thing I can think of is that he doesn't have that delta brain wave. Let me fish out my data tapes from the first experiment. Where is he, by the way?"
"I don't know."
"And, where is Vesta?"
"I'll bet any amount of money that Mom and Vesta have him stashed away somewhere. I think it's time we paid our new intern a little visit. What's her address?"
"Waaa? Hermes doesn't let me look at those records..."
"Get me that address before I go all Brooklyn on you."
"I don't want that, not at my age. Follow me."
Leela turned to Amy. "Grab some extra helmets and cables - I have a feeling we'll need 'em if she's got the device."
Fry was genuinely curious. "You really found a can of sardines? I was told that they were long gone."
"And some other things. Family Guy DVD's. A Led Zeppelin I CD. And here - it's a bottle of chardonnay dated before the alien-pocalypse. Have some...I'll put on the music."
He sipped the wine and winced. "It tastes like some of the Professor's medicine..."
"Oh, I'm sure it aged well."
Fry got groggy. "I really feel tired...you don't mind if I sit down, do you?"
"No, not a bit...I'll bring some more stuff out."
Fry's head swam as he listened to the lyrics of the song.
I’ve been dazed and confused for so long it’s not true…
As the song went on, he felt himself start to black out; the thumping bass seemed to pull him deeper into a trance.
"You hurt and abuse, tellin' all of your lies.Run around sweet baby, lord how you hypnotize..."
By the time Mom came out from the kitchen wearing her helmet, Fry was fast asleep. "What a putz," she said. She then handed Vesta one of the helmets, and placed one on Fry. "You're on, baby girl. I'll tie him up."
Fry found himself inside of a snowy forest. "Hello? Someone? Anyone? I think I'm lost."
"You're not lost," said a woman's voice behind him, "I'll show you the way to go."
"Vesta?" He looked at her white robes, and the icicles in her hair.
"Come with me, son of Adam," she told him.
"Son of who?" He shivered. "It's cold here..."
"Would you like a hot chocolate?"
"I sure would."
Vesta poured a vile of liquid into the snow, and a goblet of hot chocolate appeared. He gladly picked it up and took a drink.
"Would you like something else...maybe some pizza with anchovies?"
"Walk down here...it's just down this passageway."
Fry looked deep down into a dark cave. "Where does this lead?"
"Inside is all the pizza that you'd ever want, son of Adam."
As Fry walked into the cave, he was unaware that his appearance had changed. "Is the pizza down here?"
"Keep going," Vesta told him, "you're almost near the pizza."
Fry realized that he was now holding a small sword. "What do I need this for? To cut my pizza?"
As Fry took a step, he quickly found out that he was barefoot. He held up his foot and saw thick hair on the top of it. "Ew...who has feet like this? Now, wait a minute...hairy feet...hairy feet. I've heard of someone who has hairy feet, but who?"
Fry wandered into the dark cave with his sword, and suddenly realized that he was surrounded by thick spider webs. He looked down as his sword began to glow a bright blue. "It's glowing," he remarked to himself, "What does that mean? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
From behind him he could hear the familiar voice of Mom. "It's a decidedly bad thing. For you, I mean." She lit a cigarette and puffed smoke from it. "Didn't you watch the 'Lord of the Rings' movies?"
He looked down. "I heard about those...we only had those Rankin Bass cartoon thingees when I was in school. I was frozen before the films came out, and I never read the books."
"Hmm...sucks to be you. You really should have gone to the video store while you had the chance."
Fry turned around as Mom got closer; a chill ran down his spine as she came into view. From the waistline on up she was the same Mom that he always knew...from there on down she inhabited the body of a massive black spider. "Oh my God - what happened to you?"
"Oh, this? It's amazingly easy to walk like this. Do you like it? I always thought I looked good in black." She turned and raised her abdomen slightly. "And I also like the ultra-attractive red logo back there."
"I've got to get the hell out of here..." Fry quickly found his feet mired in the sticky spider's webbing; he couldn't break free.
"Oh, I forgot to mention...you're in my dream now. I write the script, and I plan the scenes. You won't be able to go anywhere...that is, unless you help me to do that thing that you do. You will help me to dream travel, won't you dear boy?"
"But... you're evil; I won't help you. You'll use it to do bad things."
"I was afraid you'd say that." Mom maneuvered her enormous spider abdomen into position, and began shooting web at the struggling Fry; it was like thick yarn covered in superglue. Her rear legs quickly and efficiently took the webbing and tied it around him like a rope. "Now," she said, "to wrap things up around here..."
Leela, Amy and Farnsworth stood outside of Vesta's apartment. "Well?" asked Leela.
"It's kind of like breaking and entering," said the Professor.
Amy bristled. "It is breaking and entering, you old dolt."
"Spineless jellyfish," spat Leela as she grabbed the door handle. "Look - the door isn't even locked.
The three weren't prepared for what they saw. Mom, Fry and Vesta were fast asleep, helmets connected. Mom's helmet was connected to the dream box.
"Okay, Old Man...we're going in."
"We've got to save Fry - who knows what they're doing to him. You'll have to monitor Amy and I while we go in. And don't let anything bad happen to us - you're the keeper of the gate."
"What do we do for a dream theme?" asked Amy.
"Sister, let's do it superhero style." The two of them fist-bumped each other.
"My friends will come in here to rescue me," Fry said.
"Oh, God...you've got me quaking in my boots."
Finally Fry saw his two friends enter the cave entrance. Mom puffed on her cigarette. "Ahh...if it isn't the Dynamic Duo. Invite your friends in; I wouldn't mind some extra company."
"We're here to rescue our friend Fry," announced Leela. She wore a black and yellow superhero outfit, with a laser unit housed in front of her eye. She grabbed the webbing around Fry, but couldn't budge it.
"They say it has the tensile strength of steel," Mom bragged. "I only took up knitting recently. It's certainly holding him here. "
She tried to cut it with her eye-laser, but it wouldn't operate.
Amy, who was dressed as a Chinese sorceress, put her hands out to create a spell. She swore in Mandarin as nothing happened. "Why won't our powers work?" she asked.
"They won't work, little missy, because you are in my dream; I make the rules here. Mr. Fry and I were just discussing a business deal of sorts. If he helps me with some dream jumping, then I let all of you go about your happy ways."
"What kind of a freak are you? asked Amy as she gazed at the spider body.
"Oh, this...a black widow. Thought it kind of fit me. Look at you - the Chinese sorceress. And One-Eye over there must be Cyclops Woman. We'd be a hoot at a Halloween party."
"We're not helping you with your plans," Leela spat.
Mom opened her mouth to reveal two long white fangs; she tapped them with a fingernail. "See these, kids? I can put enough neurotoxin into Fry here to kill him within minutes. And you know what they say about dying in your dream...do you want me to put that theory to the test? Just give me what I want and we can all go back to being who we really are in the light of day. Refuse, and you'll all end up as my food supply for the next week. I drive a hard bargain, but it's the only deal going."
The Professor nibbled on his fingernails as he watched the screen. "Oh, my...what have I gotten them into? I've got to do something..." He reached for Mom's helmet. "I could just shut her off, but no...I know just the thing to do."
Amy and Leela watched helplessly as Mom prepared to bite Fry. Vesta stepped down into the cave to intervene.
"No, Auntie Carol, this isn't right...I didn't steal this stuff to have you hurt him..."
"Stay out of this Vesta...it's time for me to conduct a little business..." She opened her mouth, and exposed the long cobra-like fangs.
Everyone's eyes got big as they watched Mom disappear.
"What happened to her?" asked Amy.
One by one they all disappeared from the cave.
Wherever they ended up, it was a sunny summer day. Fry had lost his Hobbit apparel and hairy feet, and everyone else was dressed normally. They were on a large grassy yard next to a big house, and Mom wasn't with them. An excited teenager with fire red hair walked up to them. He wore blue jeans, Keds tennis shoes, and an AC/DC t-shirt.
"Professor," Leela said, "but you're a little younger."
"Duh - ya think? Got sick of being old - it's for losers, babe. In my dream, my bowels actually work...bitchin', huh?"
"Professor," Leela said, "that's really fascinating. But, am I to assume that this is now you're dream?"
He looked at the others. "She's a fast learner, ain't she? I just did the old switcheroo."
"Where are we?" asked Amy.
"This is my uncle's house in Connecticut. Hey, let me show you my toy!"
The young Professor took the group around to the garage to show them a candy apple red Mercedes-Hyundai floating in the air, purring like a contented kitten. "What do you think, duders? Let's hop in and go to Old Lyme - there's this discount liquor store there..."
"Wait up," said Leela, "if we're still in a dream, where is Mom?"
"Let me show ya." He pointed to a corner of the garage where a large spider web bounced in the breeze. "She's right here."
A fascinated Amy came in closer to investigate. "Wow guys, it's really her!" She tapped the web with the tip of her index finger, making the Mom-spider bounce around.
"Amy," the Professor warned, "she's still very venomous, even at that size. You'll end up in the emergency room, and those bites are painful."
"You're not going to hurt my aunt, are you?" asked a worried Vesta.
"Well, she was going to bite Fry and kill him. No, I'm not going to hurt her, but she's going to cool her heels in that web for a while. And I'm taking my sweet time in town. You can stay here and make sure no harm comes to her."
When Mom finally spoke, it came out as a ridiculously high chirping noise. "Get me the hell out of here!"
"No," said the Professor. "I was just going to unplug you, but I decided that you needed to be taught a lesson. And you liked being a spider so well...there are plenty of flies around here if you get hungry."
"You old sack of crap - I'll fix your little red wagon for this."
Vesta addressed Farnsworth. "I guess this means I'll have to turn in my employee badge..."
"Like, chah...I would say so. I don't see that there is any way any of us can trust you now. What you and the old buzzard did was really redneck." He looked at the others. "Come on, losers...let's get going. Oh, and Fry, I'm going to need you to buy the liquor - I'm not old enough."
As the hot rod peeled away from the house, the sound of Foghat's Slow Ride drifted from the car. Mom raged in the web. "I could kill him for this!"
"You did start all this mess with your meddling, Auntie Carol. Serves you right, you know."
"That's okay, I'm tougher than him. I'll just wait this out." As she reached her hand down to a pocket that no longer existed, she felt her spider exoskeleton. "Oh, no...no cigarettes. No cigarettes! Nooooo!"
Several days later, Professor Farnsworth couldn't figure out why no one was around in the Planet Express headquarters. "Nuts," he chafed, "I bet I know where they are."
He walked into the lounge, and found Fry, Leela, Amy and Zoidberg all hooked up to the dream box with their helmets. "This is just wrong," he told himself. "These people are on the clock. They have no respect for me as an employer..."
He then noticed an extra helmet with a note on it. "Come join us," the note read, "the party is still going on."
"This is rubbish," he said, "these people are still on the clock." He then chuckled. "Aw, what the hell; you only live once." He popped on the helmet, attached the cable, and drank his sleeping formula.
A young, teenage Farnsworth looked around at the fancy ski lodge on Neptune; he then spotted his employees. "Dudes!" He got pelted by a snowball in the chest, and quickly lobbed one back. The bunch of them laughed like happy children as they joined in the snowball fight.
"Get him," shouted a joyful Amy.
Everyone joined in the snowball fight, except for Zoidberg; he was inside the lodge.
Zoidberg just shook his head as he gazed upon a gigantic table full of food. "An all-you-can-eat buffet...and all of it free. What's not to like about this dream box, I ask you?"