“Why do we have to take inventory?” asked Fry in a whiney tone.
“Because dat is what we do in a business, mon. I want dis done by dis afternoon, Fry,” snapped Hermes.
Fry continued prowling through the little known regions of the Planet Express building looking for anything that he could write down in his paperwork. He just wanted to be done with the whole mess so that he could spend the rest of the day in front of the tv set. As he dug through some stuff in a long forgotten storage room, his lucky rock that he’d picked up on one of his deliveries fell out of his pocket; he watched it land into one of the boxes lined up along the wall. He thought it would be simple just to reach in and pick it up, but the box seemed to have no bottom. As he reached even deeper, he suddenly fell into the box. He landed with a crash in what he thought was the same room, but he knew something was different. He looked around at his surroundings. “Oh, crap,” he said, “this wasn’t another of the Professor’s silly paraboxes? I thought he got rid of those stupid things.” He then spotted his lucky rock on the floor and put it back in his pocket. “Maybe it’ll bring me luck now…I sure do need it.”
Fry turned to see that he had destroyed the box when he came through. “Oh, nuts…how am I going to get back? Hey…maybe this Professor will have an answer.”
Fry decided to wait in the employee lounge, which looked amazingly close to what he had at home, except for a group of framed pictures hanging on the wall. They were all superheroes of some sort. “These guys really like their comic books…Megaman? Gigantowoman? Electroman? These sure don’t sound like Marvel or DC guys.”
Soon Amy Wong came walking in. He couldn’t help but notice that her clothing was different…she rather looked like the superhero pictures up on the wall, but still wore her signature pink. She pulled a Slurm can out of a paper sack. “Here ya go, you bum…you owe me one.” With that, she tossed the can to Fry.
The can struck him in the chest like a shot put, knocking the wind out of him. “Oooof!” he cried. “Amy, this weighs a ton! What’s it made out of?”
Amy chuckled at him. “You and your jokes…it’s more like about 14 pounds, you wuss.”
“Fourteen pounds?!” He held up the can, which had some real weight to it. “Why is this thing so dang heavy?”
“Like you don’t know…it’s an inch thick titanialuminum - you know that. You’ve been living with us long enough to know how tough things need to be built for us. If it were made of some flimsy metal like aluminum, we’d crush it the instant we picked it up. Surely they made stuff like that extra strong back in your day…Spluh!”
After several attempts to open the can, he gave up and put it on the coffee table. “I’ve really got to be going anyway…I just wanted to see the Professor.”
“And miss your favorite show? ‘Ordinary People’ is on in 5 minutes!”
“Ordinary People?” Fry got a puzzled look on his face. “The old 80’s movie?”
“You know…that silly show about a family of weakies with no superpowers. It’s dorky, but the gags are funny. I like that episode where the uncle gets run over by a train. Can you imagine someone unable to stop a freight train?”
“Uh…is no an acceptable answer?”
“You are a nut today. Toss me the remote.”
Fry instinctively grabbed the remote, only to find it immensely heavy like the Slurm can. It felt like a thick block of granite to him. He made a feeble attempt to throw it to Amy, only to have it hit the floor with a loud thud.
Amy shot a concerned look at Fry. “Fry, are you feeling well? I know it’s none of my business, but have you been tested for Krypton Syndrome? I know it usually strikes the very old, but young people have had it too. My uncle had it. Just the thought of all those poor people in the hospital wards without any superpowers…some of those old guys could only bench 300 pounds…”
“Uh…I think I’ll take a walk and come back later…”
“I hope you feel better later…”
Fry stepped out the front door and into the street. “What kind of a crazy world did I end up in?” he asked himself.
When Leela showed up at the building, Amy stopped her in the hallway. “Leela, I’m worried about Fry…he doesn’t feel well or something.”
“Fry? He’s delivering frozen pizzas to the Canary Islands. He decided to run instead of fly. Even at his superfast speeds, he should still be gone another two hours. How could he have been here?”
“He just stepped out the front door – he can’t be far down the street, as sick as he is. You’d better find him”
What Fry witness as he walked down the street amazed and scared him at the same time. People were flying, just like Superman, and many of them had capes. He looked up at the buildings, and saw that most of the doors were high up in the air. People went to apartments and offices just like birds going into the trees.
As he walked along further, he noticed a petite woman getting ready to sneeze. Wanting to be a gentleman, he pulled a clean handkerchief out of his pocket. The woman let go with a huge sneeze, and Fry was suddenly caught up in what seemed like hurricane-force winds. He grabbed a small maple tree and held on as his legs went airborne behind him. When he got his feet back on the ground, the woman apologized to him. “I am so sorry about that…it’s my allergies. Are you not feeling well?”
“No problem…I’m fine…” He wasted no time in getting away from her.
As Fry walked further, he heard the sound of a newspaper boy hawking his papers. “Extra, extra, read all about it,” he yelled, “Der BeeMeister and Frau Hornisse escape from jail…extra!”
Finally…Fry had found some familiarity in the promise of a paper, even though he had no idea who those two characters were. “I’ll take one…”
“Here ya go, guy…50 cents.” Before Fry could grab some change from his pocket, the rolled up newspaper struck him across the forehead. He blacked out as if he had been whacked with a baseball bat.
When Fry’s eyes opened, he saw a blurry image above him. At first he didn’t recognize the face, but the voice belonged to Leela. “Wake the hell up, you…” was all she said.
“Leela,” Fry said weakly, “am I glad to see you…I need your help.”
She, like just about everyone else that he’d met in this crazy world, had some sort of crime fighting suit on. It was black and yellow, and her eye had some sort of device in front of it with a red lens. The newspaper boy soon came into view. “Lady,” he said worriedly, “I swear to God I didn’t mean to hurt him…”
“Don’t worry about it…I’ll take care of him.” With that she hoisted Fry up like a rag doll and stared into his eyes. “I don’t know who you are, but you are not my husband.”
“Well, not husband yet – the wedding is this weekend.”
She grabbed Fry by the shirt and jacket, and was soon airborne. Fry began to scream as he dangled from her grasp, watching buildings and streets go by beneath him. An occasional person would go flying by them. “Quit screaming,” she yelled, “you’re embarrassing me!” He grabbed onto her hand with both of his, hoping that she didn’t loosen her grip.
Leela came in for a landing in the hangar bay of the Planet Express headquarters, dropping Fry like a sack of laundry. Amy was standing there. “Amy,” Leela said, “get the Professor and bring him here.”
Fry stood there motionless as Leela held onto his face with the fingers of one hand; it was like having his jaw in a vise. He couldn’t believe how incredibly strong her hand and fingers were. With a distorted voice from his squeezed face, Fry said, “Leela, will you let me explain…”
“Will you quit calling me Leela,” she growled in a low voice, “I’m Cyclops-Woman to you. I don’t know who you are, but you are not the man I’m engaged to.”
“But I’m Fry…I…am…Fry…”
She moved his face to one side; when she did, the quick motion brought a searing pain through his neck. “You don’t have that scar from your battle with MoleMan in his secret lair.” She then moved his face back to its forward position.
“Scar? Hey…why does everything here hurt?”
“If you are Fry, where did you propose to me?”
“See! That’s what I’m talking about…you’re an imposter! You were sent to infiltrate our secret headquarters!”
Finally the Professor showed up with the remnants of the box. Fry looked over to him, still unable to turn his head. “Professor,” he pleaded, “could you tell this madwoman to let go of my face?”
“Let him go, Leela…I think I know where our little strength-challenged friend comes from.”
Leela let him go, and Fry rubbed his jaw; he was certain that he was going to be bruised. “I still say you’re an imposter, sent by Der BeeMeister or someone like him,” growled Leela. “I’m not done with you by any stretch, little man. If I find out you’re a spy, I’ll smash you like a cockroach.”
“Calm down, Cyclops-Woman. It seems that our friend here is from another dimension,” the Professor continued. “Remember those ridiculous paraboxes I used to fool with? This was one of them. Even though they’re made of a steel weave and nearly indestructible, dimensional travel practically pulls them inside out. At least for now, he’s trapped among us.”
“You mean he’s not from the Consortium of Evil? The Evil Alliance? The Society for Creative Anarchy?” asked Leela.
“No,” he replied, “and it’s doubtful that he even knows who those people are.” He looked with concern at Leela and Amy. “I must tell you that we have to be very careful with our charge here, as he is from a universe completely devoid of any superpowers. If we’re careless with him, we could crush him like a bug.”
“A whole universe of weakies?” asked Amy curiously.
“That’s such an ugly, derogatory term, Amy. I like to call them ‘ability-challenged.’”
“No superpowers,” lamented Amy. “It’ll be like taking care of a baby. I’ve always wanted a baby. I’ll take good care of you, Fry.” With that, she pinched his cheek. “You’re just so cute!” He let out another “Ouch!”
“Quit calling him that – he is not my fiancée,” Leela shot back in. “And where is Phil…he hasn’t checked in yet.”
“The only thing that still bothers me,” interjected Farnsworth, “is that I picked up traces of Zalgorite in this building earlier.” Farnsworth looked sternly at Fry. “My boy, did you bring any foreign objects with you when you arrived?”
Innocently, Fry removed his rock from his pocket…it was a pretty thing that emitted a dull green glow. “Just my good luck rock…I picked it up on a delivery…”
The three lunged back in horror as if Fry had just pulled out a cobra. Amy let out a shriek of fear. “For the love of God and all that’s good boy, put that cursed thing away!” shouted the Professor.
Furious, Leela picked him up like a toy by his shirt; she hoisted him high into the air. “You saw that…he’s trying to kill us! I’m all for crushing his bones!! Who’s with me?”
“Leela…put him down this instant…he doesn’t even know what that rock is.”
Leela casually dropped him, and Fry sped off to a dark corner. “Damn it! Damn it! Ever since I got here I’ve been beaten up, knocked down, picked up…I just want to go back home! Stay the hell away from me!! All of you!! I don’t even want to be here!!”
Amy went over and began to rub him on his back. “Look, guys, we took an oath to protect the defenseless…Fry here is about as defenseless as anyone can get.” She gently scratched his hair like he was a new puppy. “I’ll take care of you, little guy. You can be like my pet.” Her words were cut short by a loud beeping noise. A face filled an LCD screen on the wall. The man on the screen had white hair and a thick mustache. He wore a German alpine hat with a feather, and bees could be seen buzzing around him.
“Guten tag, meinen good superheroes,” the little man on the screen chortled, “I belief I have somesing of yours.” The camera rotated around to reveal Fry’s counterpart, trapped in a stasis field. “I sink he makes a good addition to my collection, no? I sink maybe I put his head on the wall next to Mineral Man and Steel Titan, no? I could use another trophy up dere.”
“Curse you, you spawn of Satan!” yelled Leela.
“Oh, it’s my old friend Cyclops-Woman…taking care of that eye, I hope. Did you get that extra large bottle of eyedrops I sent after our last battle? I always liked that eye…meine Frau wants to make that eye into part of her jewelry collection, and I promised it to her.”
Fry’s counterpart, Java-Man, struggled against the stasis field. “Don’t listen to him, Leela! He’s trying to trap you guys!” The harder he struggled against it, the slower his body movements became.
The Professor pulled out a set of tongs from his lab coat. “Fry,” he said, “I’m going to need that nifty little rock of yours.”
Fry emerged from the Professor’s lab more than a little embarrassed at his new superhero outfit, a suit that was obviously cobbled together from other costumes. He was a little disappointed that he didn’t have a name sewn on his outfit. Even though he looked like hell, he still had an important job – he was the Bearer of the Ring. That silly good luck chunk of Zalgorite literally held the power of life and death over any super character standing in its path; all Fry had to do was activate a switch that the Professor had installed on the ring, and the victim would find all of their power drained from them. He decided to go out on the balcony to get a breath of fresh air. Soon Leela joined him. He instinctively shrank back in fear.
“You’re not going to crush my bones or anything, are you?”
“No…I think we got that straightened out. So your name is Philip Fry too, huh?”
“Yeah.” Fry looked over at her eye appliance. “Tell me about your fiancée.”
Leela got a smile on her face. “He’s the frozen refugee from the 20th century, and he knew and worked with all the classic superheroes like Metaman and Cat-Girl. He was tossed into a hypersleep chamber in 1999 in a fight with Dr. Piranha and his thugs. Java-Man is the fastest human alive, and is very strong. He ran all the way to Antwerp to buy my engagement ring; the wedding is to be held in Paris.” She turned to Fry. “I guess you get to be the only one I know who is being sent out to save himself.” She no sooner finished that last word as a rumble of thunder could be heard echoing across the city. Fry got a weird look on his face. “Phil, are you nervous?” she asked.
“Where did this thunderstorm come from? It was a clear evening a few minutes ago.”
“Oh, that? It happens all the time here…it makes for a dramatic effect.”
“Oh,” responded Fry. Just then more thunder could be heard.
“Everyone,” the Professor called out, “to the Crisis-torium.” Farnsworth walked up to a bust of J. Robert Oppenheimer and pulled back its head to reveal a knob. He twisted the knob and a nearby book case swung around to reveal an opening with two fire poles leading to a sub-basement. “Okay, everyone…down the poles!”
“Poles?” asked Fry. “I thought you people flew everywhere.”
“Just indulge an old man, will you?” he said, pointing downstairs.
Fry joined the others in sliding down the pole, and were soon joined by Bender and Zoidberg. Bender, being metal and unable to get any grip on the pole, hit the ground with a loud crash. “Gramps, when are you going to put in a set of stairs?”
“Quiet, you…we’ve got important business to attend to.” Once they were seated at the Crisis Table, Farnsworth explained to the group about Fry, and how his counterpart was being held captive in the secret hideout of Der BeeMeister and his evil mate Frau Hornisse. He also explained Fry’s new ring with the chunk of Zalgorite, and that he was trained to use it.
“They call me the Ring Bearer,” added Fry, “I guess that kind of makes me the Lord of the Rings.” Fry looked around the table, and no one got the joke. He made a lifting gesture with his hands. “You know…Lord of the Rings….” Still, nothing but blank looks “Aw, forget it.”
“He better keep his day job,” added Bender, “’cause he sucks as a comedian.”
“But how are we going to find Java-man?” asked Amy. “He could be anywhere in the universe.”
“I’ll just have to use my Mind-Search Thingee,” said the Professor. “To the Mind-Search Thingee Room!”
Soon the Professor was sitting in a chair in a bubble-shaped chamber with an electrical device on his head. Wires and cables stretched from the device to a nearby computer. “Let’s start with guys with fire-red hair…” Millions of images of red-headed men filled the walls of the bubble until it became a blur.
“That’s not much of a search parameter Professor,” quipped Leela. “Why not lower the IQ rating a bit.” Thousands of people disappeared from the walls, but hundreds of thousands of images were still floating around. Most of them were doing stupid things like dropping bowling balls on their feet or slamming their fingers in doors.
“Hey, I know,” interjected Fry. “How about all the guys thinking about Slurm and anchovy pizza…” Suddenly all the images floating around vanished, except for two – they could clearly see Java-Man in his stasis field struggling to get out, and an image of Fry himself. The whole crew looked in amazement at Fry after this bit of brilliance. Fry pointed to his own image and smiled saying, “That’s me up there…”
“Eureka!” said the Professor. “He’s right here on Earth, even. Just as I suspected – Mount Insidious on the secret Island of the Damned. We’ve no time to lose!”
“But Professor,” Leela asked, “shouldn’t we contact the World Justice Federation? Or maybe just contact the British Justice League?”
“No time, woman, no time!”
The Planet Express crew assembled in the ship’s landing bay. Zoidberg snapped his claws as a show of power. “Hey,” asked Fry, “I never did ask you what your superhero name was…”
“I am Lobster-Man,” said Zoidy with pride. Suddenly his shoulders slumped as he looked back at Fry. “It is rather lame, isn’t it?”
Leela stepped up to Fry. “Philip,” she asked him, “are you up for a little flying?”
Fry squinted his eyes. “We’re not taking the ship?”
“No, silly…we’re superheroes. Why wouldn’t we fly?” She grabbed him by the back of the belt with that iron grip. “Get ready,” she told him, “we’re going to be climbing really, really fast.” Fry closed his eyes tightly and then suddenly felt his stomach drop out as the ground fell from under him. He felt cool air rushing by. When he finally mustered the courage to open one of his eyes, he saw the lights of Central City zipping by beneath him. He began screaming again. “Will you stop that,” Leela barked, “I’m not going to drop you!!”
The Planet Express heroes turned and soared out over the Atlantic Ocean in the darkness. “Hey, everybody,” yelled the Professor, “if we save the day in time, I know this really good restaurant in the Azores.”
“Is that the one with the really good lobster tails?” asked Amy cheerfully.
“Oy! Enough with the talk of eating lobster already,” interjected Zoidberg.
“Sorry,” said Amy.
Leela hadn’t heard Fry in a while, or felt any movement from him. She looked down and discovered that he had passed out somewhere along the journey; his body hung limp from his belt. “Oh, brother…”
“We’re getting closer,” announced the Professor, “we need to descend to about 200 feet above the water.” A groggy Fry slowly opened his eyes just in time as the gang went soaring over a fishing boat. He clenched his teeth, and then let out another scream.
“What’s wrong with him?” asked the Professor.
“Oh, I think the ‘frequent flyer’ just passed out…again.”
“What a wiss-ant,” remarked Farnsworth. “Steady, now…we’re getting close.”
As the seven soared around the island, Professor Farnsworth began to flash hand signals to the group. “Why don’t you just speak,” Leela complained, “I have no idea what all that stuff means.”
“Okay…we’ll land on the south side of the island and make our way through the village.” The heroes picked a landing spot in the little village near a small market. Leela made a special effort to do a soft landing so she could put Fry on his feet.
Fry’s stomach was still twisted up in knots. “Good grief,” he mumbled, “how far did we fly?”
“Oh, about 3,500 miles,” said Leela, as if it were nothing. “You’ve just earned a ton of mileage points, kiddo.”
“Great,” he replied, “I think I’ll just lay down and die.” Fry took a look at his surroundings in the village. “This place looks pleasant enough…how did it get such a horrible name like Island of the Damned?”
“This is where people are sent who are born without superpowers, Fry,” said Leela, “it’s a sad place to be. They’re sent here for their own protection; they’d be like ants on the sidewalk in our world.”
As they began to walk through the village, Fry thought it looked pretty normal. There was even a newspaper vendor. “Extra, extra,” he yelled, “read all about it…Der BeeMeister builds his hideout on the island. Extra.”
Without thinking, Fry said, “Hey, I’ll take one of those.” As he threw the paper Fry quickly ducked; he was a little surprised when the paper hit him and he wasn’t injured by it.
“Let me see that,” said the Professor.
The Professor twiddled his fingers in the air and smiled. “You’re going to have to hold it for me, boy….superpowers, you know. Our papers are made with a titanium weave.”
“Oh…forgot.” He held the paper open so Farnsworth could read it.
“Curse him…it’s bad enough that he is an evil mastermind, but he’s a media hog as well! Look – he even posed for the newspaper photographer!” He read on. “Evil mastermind builds new 35,000 square foot hideout on island, complete with torture rooms and evil conference areas. Plans to build a huge laser cannon are already in the works.”
As they walked along, Amy had wandered out into the street. They all spun around as a speeding sports car turned the corner and headed straight for them. Before she could react, Amy was struck by the car.
“Amy,” shouted Fry, “are you okay?”
Amy stood there with an angry look on her face; the front end of the little car was wrapped around her legs, and steam was coming from the remnants of the radiator. “Da se nei!! I just bought these boots you moron, and you’ve scuffed them! Grrrr!” Amy reached down and picked up the car, lifting it high into the air above her head. The panic-stricken young driver looked down, trying to find a way out of the car…he couldn’t open the door because of the damage. Amy angrily shouted, “I am very mad at you!!”
“Amy,” Farnsworth growled, “remember the oath – we all swore to protect the defenseless. Put the man down.”
“Oh, alright.” She tipped the car sideways, tossing the man to the ground; he quickly scrambled away and ran down the street. “I ought to charge you for a new pair of boots, jerk!” With that she carelessly tossed the car over into some bushes as if it were made of balsawood. She then wiped the dust off of her hands. Leela shook her head and chuckled. Amy shot back an angry look. “Well, they were expensive boots, okay?”
“We’ve got to get out of the ‘Land of the Weak’,” said Leela. “No offence, Fry.”
“None taken, I guess. Hey, where’s Zoidberg?”
The crew soon found him at a taco stand, feeding his face. “Zoidberg,” said the Professor gruffly, “get over here you overgrown hermit crab! We’ve got a comrade to save!”
“But I was so hungry!”
Der BeeMeister gazed joyously at the camera monitor. “Ach du liebe, dis is great! Ganz Prima, even! Your dorky friends came right to the village!”
Java-Man, still struggling in the stasis field, got a mean look on his face. “My friends are going to tear your heart out and eat it in front of you!”
“Oh, I am so scared! I’d better just give up right now!” said BeeMeister in a mocking tone. “When your friends encounter my batch of killer superbees, they’ll wish they’d never made the journey! They’re Neptunized, you know! And they’re always very angry!” He proudly displayed a huge jar filled with the furious blue killer bees. “I got 20 jars of dese bad boys, ready to take on your superhero friends. It’s something about the Neptunizing that makes dem so darned angry…I don’t know what it is…” Beemeister took them to a small window, and opened the jar. Immediately the mass of bees made their way outside the window. “Fly, my little dumplinks, Fly! Fly!!”
Amy stopped dead in her tracks and got a serious look on her face. “What is she doing?” asked Fry.
“She has ultra-sensitive hearing, boy,” whispered Farnsworth. “She once heard an ex-boyfriend talking smack about her from nearly a mile away…it wasn’t pretty what happened next.”
“Well, what’ya hearin’, Little Boots?” asked Bender.
Her eyes got huge. “Fḕng?,” she said. “Fḕng! Fḕng!!!”
“What the hell is a feng?” asked Leela.
She looked at Leela in fright. “It’s…bees!! Gobs of them!!”
Fry let out a scream as the blue skies suddenly became dark with swarms of angry bees. Leela pushed the others aside and let loose with a mighty laser blast from her eyepiece; bunches of the dreaded beasts were vaporized in a cloud of smoke, but the swarm kept coming. Amy let out a scream of “Aiya!!!!!” which knocked even more of the incoming swarm out; the Fry cried out in pain as the sound pierced his eardrums. Bender took a swig from a bottle of liquor, and a mighty ball of flame came rolling out of his mouth which scorched even more of the oncoming swarm; the bees sounded like bullets as they bounced off of his metal skin. “Ahhh…mighty tasty,” he said. Zoidberg was happily eating any bee he could grab with his pinchers.
In spite of their efforts, the heroes soon found themselves surrounded by clouds of the angry bees. A quick thinking Professor activated a force field around them, but he knew it wouldn’t last long. “Boy,” he yelled, “it’s up to you…use the ring! Use the ring!!”
Fry held up the ring like it was Excalibur and he mashed the small button on it. As the bees flew through the bright green glow, they began dropping to the ground. Soon the sky was clear of them; they lay in heaps all around, struggling for life. Amy jumped up and down for joy. “You did it, Fry! You did it!” Without thinking she innocently slapped him on the back; the impact sent him flying up into the air, and he landed in the brush near a palm tree. She quickly ran over to help him. “Oh my God Fry, I am so sorry!”
“Ouch!” yelled Fry.
“Ach du meine gute! Did you see dat? He killed my bees…He killed my stinkin’ bees!!”
“So, Planet Express has a secret weapon,” said Java-Man.
“Aw, dat’s a bunch of stinkin’ bolongna…yer just bluffin’”
“Gee…sorry to hear about those bees…by day’s end I’m going to be cuddled up with Leela by the fireside in a resort somewhere.”
“Oh yeah?” retorted BeeMeister. “I got a secret weapon of my own. I just happen to have one of my buddies from the Consortium of Evil right here on the island. Hey, Armadillo-Man…come up here.”
A big hulking mass of a guy covered with armadillo-like body armor came in from another chamber, stuffing his face with food. BeeMeister looked annoyed.
“What the hell are you doin’ stuffin’ yer pie hole? You’ve got work to do.”
“This crapped-up cave is the entrance to the bad guy’s lair?” asked Fry.
“What did you expect,” replied Leela, “a mansion?”
“Keep your eyes peeled, people…we could run into about anything here,” said Farnsworth. He reached up to the wall of the cave. “It’s beeswax.”
“I think that’s telling us that we found the hideout, right?” asked Fry.
Soon the hulking figure of Armadillo-Man came lumbering up to them. “Who the hell is this,” asked Fry, “Pill Bug-Man?”
“That’s Armadillo-Man to you, girly man,” he growled in a gravelly thick Texas accent.
“Sorry…you kind of looked like a pill bug there in the dark…”
“Shut up, you. I’m gonna open up a can of whoop-ass on you and your pals!”
“You’d better have a six-pack,” said Leela as she entered a fighting stance. As Leela went into her familiar flying kick, Armadillo-Man quickly rolled up into a ball to protect himself. He was unhurt from the mighty kick. She then shot him with a bright laser beam from her eyepiece, but it reflected off of the thick armor plating.
“Haw,” he laughed as he unrolled from his ball form, “which one of you pansies is in line for an ass-beating?”
“I am,” said Fry proudly. “I am the Ring Bearer!” Armadillo-Man just stood there and laughed when Fry hit him with the beam of green light; the rest of the Planet Express team backed out of the way. When it was done, Leela walked up to him again. He threw a punch into her mid-section, and it fell like a thud as if he had just hit a tree. She didn’t budge an inch.
“Gawd-damn,” he gasped, “what did you do to me? Mah powers is gone!!”
“Well,” said the Professor, “at least you’re in the right place.”
“Yeah,” added Bender, “step aside, Roach Man.” The Planet Express team left him standing there as they walked on by, and there was nothing he could do to stop them.
“You let zem in?” yelled BeeMeister. You ver supposed to stop dem!”
Armadillo-Man’s face came closer to the monitor. “It’s that little whimpy guy with the ring…he hit me with some sort of beam…mah powers is completely drained!”
BeeMeister got a concerned look on his face. “The Consortium of Evil will take care of you, no?”
“Oh, yeah…we pay union dues for just such a thing, you know. My Uncle Lester once…”
“Just shut up and go do whatever people without superpowers do; cut a lawn or trim hedges or something.” With that he shut off the monitor screen. He then turned to his lovely wife Frau Hornisse. “My sweet little torte cake,” he said, “dis is where you come in. You gotta kill da little guy.”
“I don’t vant to kill him,” she responded. “I have other plans for him.”
“I don’t care if you spank his butt and call him ‘Sally’ – just get dat ring!”
“Natürlich, mein herr…”
As the Planet Express team made their way through the goopy, waxy tunnels, Fry suddenly lost his footing and fell into a hole in the floor; before Leela could rescue him, a set of trap doors closed shut on the opening. He was gone. She pounded the doors with her fist, but to no effect. “I couldn’t get him…” said Leela in a sad tone. These doors are made of dark star alloy mixed with bits of Urim and Thummim…I can’t penetrate them even with my beam.”
“We’ll just have to rescue him,” responded the Professor. “I can easily track the ring…even through these walls. There must be a back way in.”
Leela put her head down. “I just hope they don’t start torturing him; the poor little guy won’t last long…”
Fry fell onto a large round yellow bed. He popped up to examine his surroundings. Candles were everywhere in the room. Strains of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” wafted through the air. Emerging through the shadows was Frau Hornisse.
“Guten abend, Herr Fry,” she said seductively, “I was so hoping that you’d drop in.” She was a big tall blonde woman, with a thin wasp waist. She was dressed from head to toe in yellows and blacks. Her bust line was low, and Fry couldn’t help but to find her very arousing. She sat down next to him on the bed, and began to rub his back and shoulders. “You are a nice looking man, Herr Fry.”
“Hey…wait a minute. I fell through a trap door and ended up in the honeymoon suite in Bee Heaven. How the hell did that happen?”
“Don’t ask how, mein Herz, just relax and let whatever is going to happen… happen.”
Fry, like a housecat being scratched, wanted to run away, but didn’t know whether to flee or not. What he had no way of knowing was that the Frau had just sprayed a healthy dose of pheromone into the air from one of her glands. “But I haven’t got much time,” he said in a slurred speech pattern. “My friends will be looking for me.”
“Master Fry, we have all the time in the world.” He started to melt as she gently scratched his neck with her long nails. “You are a special man, Herr Fry. I have very special plans for you. I want you to help me build up my colony here on the island…you could be my chief drone. You know what that means,” her voice lowered to a whisper as she leaned closer to his ear, “lots of breeding.”
Fry found her horrifying; she was a hybrid between a human female and a hornet. Even her eyes filled him with dread; the pupils were black with multiple lenses. As terrifying as she was, the pheromone had already turned his brain into silly putty for her to mold as she liked. What Fry didn’t know was that she had a long, black stinger concealed above her beltline. If she stung him, death would be swift but excruciatingly painful. As she rubbed his ear, a loud boom echoed across the chamber as a huge metal door flew in. It landed with a loud bang. Bender popped his head in.
“Hey kiddo,” he blurted out, “I ain’t interrupting anything, am I?”
“Who the hell are you?” the Frau angrily said. “How did you get in?”
“This door was nuthin’ but cheap carboluminum. I know my metals babe.”
Frau Hornisse was preparing to use her stinger and grab the ring. The Professor, with lightning speed, ran in to grab Fry and pull him out of the room. “Who are you?” shouted the Frau.
“Stand back, you harpy from the shores of hell! I’m rescuing him!” shouted Farnsworth.
“Rescuing me? I don’t need rescuing!” blurted Fry. “Must be drone…colonize hive!”
Farnsworth cast a concerned look at Fry. “Look Fry, didn’t you ever listen to your music heroes in high school? Didn’t you listen to Led Zeppelin when they warned you that a ‘bee-legged woman ain’t got no soul?’ Robert Plant was right, you know…you should have listened to him.”
“Need to build colony,” said Fry in a daze, “need to colonize hive.”
“Cracky!- you are here in a superhero universe. What is a hickey to us would be like a terrible vampire bite to you. A nice huggy squeeze would have broken your back. And a night of romance would have left you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, eating your dinner through a straw, if you’d even survived!”
“Bye-bye, bee,” said Fry in a child-like voice as he waved. “Bye…”
“Let’s get going,” he told Fry. Leela chuckled as Farnsworth led him down the hallway by his shirt collar.
Frau Hornisse slammed the bed with her fist. “Scheiss!” she said.
Der BeeMeister pulled out his cell phone, which of course was yellow and black, and placed a call. After the dial-tone, he had to sit through a recording.
“Welcome to the Consortium of Evil. We have many HR opportunities for the up and coming criminal. If you know your party’s name, please say the name now.”
“I believe you said, ‘Cthoolicus.’”
“Stoopid damn technology,” grumbled BeeMeister.
The line rang, and then was answered. “This is the middle of my power nap, so this had better be important.”
“Hey! It’s da bee man. I wanted to let you know that Operation Big Blast is moving along just swell. I got some problems wid some pesky superhero-types, but I’m about ready to take care of dat myself. Remember – at zero hour, get yer people into da safety shelters, or they’ll lose all der superpowers…everything.”
“Excellent,” said Cthoolicus.
“Hey, are you still gonna have that company barbeque? Are we still doin’ that?”
“Just watch your e-mails…” Click.
“What do you mean, I have to stay behind?” asked Fry, his voice still a little slurry from the pheromone...he sounded a little like he had just come from the dentist. “I come all this way as a superhero, and I have to stay out of the way?”
“Fry, it’s nothing personal,” said Leela. “This is the bad guy’s lair – it’s just too dangerous for somebody without superpowers.”
“We know you mean well,” said Amy. “We’ll be out in a jiffy.”
“Right,” added the Professor. “Saddle up, everybody. My instruments tell me that his lab is just beyond this tunnel.” He placed a transmitter into Fry’s hand. “If we’re not out in 20 minutes, just press this button. Commander Britain and the entire World Justice Federation will be on their way. Wish us luck, son.”
As the heroes made their way into the tunnel entrance, Fry just stood there. “I guess I’ll just stay here, then.”
Cyclops-Woman was the first into the lab; she gasped when she saw the enormous beam weapon. A huge cable ran from the rear of the gun to a huge glowing rock – it was Zalgorite.
“What in da gawd-dang hell are ya doin’ in my lab?”
“Are you crazy? This could rob everyone in this hemisphere of their super-abilities!”
“Correction, Cyclops-Woman, everyone in da world…dis ting is gonna broadcast through a series of satellites all around the globe. Da evil characters is gonna be in special shelters. When it’s all over, we is gonna inherit da world.”
“And I’m shutting it down, Bee Boy…”
“Like hell you are, sister…I had to blow half of my yearly budget on this ting.”
Leela then spotted Java-Man in the stasis field. “Get out of here, Leela – the whole thing is a trap!”
“BeeMeister, all I have to do is grab you and I can smash you just like the bee that you are.”
“Dis is true,” he chortled, “but meine Frau will have something to say about dat.”
She spun around to see Frau Hornisse with a large, strange-looking weapon. She fired. Leela was suddenly encased in a goopy, yellow substance. She tried hard to break free, but the stuff was starting to solidify. Java-Man looked on in horror as she was now paralyzed, only able to move her eye around. The only part of her not trapped in the substance was her index finger.
“Oh, dis is great!” said BeeMeister like an happy child, clapping his hands. “I got da Cyclops-Woman trapped in amber! Just like a wasp of ancient times! Say hello to my little honey-gun…that goop is based on the atomic structure of honey. The harder you struggle, the more it solidifies. You ain’t goin’ nowhere for a while, chicky-poo.” He gave Frau Hornisse a peck on the cheek. “You is da greatest, mein schatz.”
“She’s got company, you know,” announced the Professor.
BeeMeister merely pulled out a remote control and showed it to the Professor. “Say hello to my other little friend…all I gotta do is press dis button, and none of you has anymore super-abilities!”
“That would be like suicide for you, fool!” yelled Amy.
“What do ya think dese yellow suits is for, idiots? They’s lined with pure anti-zalgomorphite crystals. I press dis and we is gonna be da only ones with any superpowers. You’ll spend the rest of yer lives working in a fast food joint serving burgers to these weakies here in the village.”
“I resent the term ‘weakies,’” said a voice from the cave entrance.
“Who da hell is you?”
“I’m Philip J. Fry, the Bearer of the Ring!”
“Maybe you missed the staff meeting…maybe I recap. You come any closer, and you lose yer superpowers. Got it?”
“I never had any to begin with, Chubby!”
“Oh, you is really in da soup now. Sweetie, blast him wid da honey.” Frau Hornisse held up the honey weapon and pressed the trigger. All that they heard was a loud bang. The muzzle to the gun had been blocked by a ball bearing, and Frau Hornisse found herself stuck to the wall with the honey goop.
“You see, I don’t have any super-abilities, but my counterpart does. Look over to the stasis field.” They were all shocked to find that the field was deactivated, and Java-Man was gone. “While you were threatening my friends, I let him out with my pocket knife. He moves darn fast, doesn’t he? He got a lot done in a short time!”
“Fry!” shouted Amy. “Help Leela…she can’t breathe!”
“I shall help her!” said Zoidberg. He ran up to the honey casing and began ripping at it with his claws. As he tore into it, he discovered that the substance was quite tasty. As Leela began to get free, Zoidy was enjoying a sumptuous meal of the honey goop.
BeeMeister mashed the button on his remote. Nothing happened. “Crap-nuts!!”
“I told you he worked fast,” said Fry. Java-Man suddenly appeared and saluted.
“The beam weapon is on automatic mode,” BeeMeister angrily retorted, “you can’t stop it now!”
Bender emerged from the group of superheroes. “Step back, meatbags, and let the master operate. By the way, you folks might want to dab on a little sunscreen.” Bender devoured nearly a full bottle of malt liquor, threw on a pair of sunglasses and let out an enormous blast of fire at the central control panel for the beam weapon. Everyone in the lab could feel the heat as the controls disintegrated in the flames. The blackened beam weapon was now dead.
While all this was going on, BeeMeister ran off to his secret escape pod; he pulled the activation lever, only to find that it had been de-activated as well. “Nuts!!” he yelled. “Is dere anything that Java-Man didn’t get to?”
BeeMeister suddenly found himself hoisted up in the air by Leela and Amy. The Professor then stared into his eyes. “You are going straight to the evil prison ward on Devil’s Island, Honey Boy,” he said.
“Yeah, dat’s fair…the meatloaf ain’t too bad dere on Tuesdays.”
Frau Hornisse was still stuck to the wall with a pile of honey goop; Zoidberg was starting to lick her arm. “Stop that,” she protested. “Stop licking me…” Zoidberg worked his way up to her shoulder. “Hey,” she asked, “are you married?”
When it was all over, Leela and Java-Man flew into each other’s arms. “Fry,” she said, “I’m sorry I’m so sticky…now I’ve got that stuff all over you.” She looked at him with concern. “You look exhausted, sweetie…”
“Leels, I need coffee…lots and lots of piping hot black coffee. I’ll need to stop by Starbugs on the way home.” He then turned to Fry. “You did something truly heroic, my man. You may not have any super-abilities, but you really are a hero today.” He shook Fry’s hand.
“Ouch!” said Fry, as he cringed in pain.
“Sorry,” said Java-Man.
“Why do we have to do more flying?” complained Fry. As the Planet Express heroes landed on the veranda of a beautiful white palace in Switzerland, Leela gently put Fry back on his feet. He looked around in amazement at what must have been a hundred superheroes from every corner of the globe. Commander Britain strode up to him. “So, this is the famous Fry we’ve heard so much about.” He prepared to shake his hand, and Fry backed away. “Oh, sorry,” he said, and waved to Fry. Fry waved back in response as a strong breeze blew back his hair. “Welcome, Fry, to the World Justice Federation.”
Fry looked around at all the heroes in awe. “This is amazing,” he blurted out. “This is just like my comic books back home.”
The Silver Samurai from Japan got a funny look on his face. “Comic book? What’s a comic book?”
“The reason why we’ve brought you here,” Commander Britain continued, “is because from this day forward, you will now have a superhero name. You are Philip J. Fry, Bearer of the Ring.” He handed Fry an elegant folded superhero outfit, and the other heroes began to applaud. Fry thought he would melt into a pile of goo right there in front of everybody. “I’d like to introduce our newest superhero.” Amy trotted over to give him a hug as the clapping got louder.
“Gently Amy,” warned the Professor, “gently. We don’t want to bring him this far just to squash him.” She gave him a gentle little squeeze and rubbed his hair. Leela gently brushed his chin with her fist.
Leela looked down at her wrist thingee. “Oh, Phil,” she said, “we’ve got to get to Paris for the wedding.” She and Java-Man both grabbed Fry’s belt. He got a concerned look on his face.
“Hey,” Fry complained, “where am I going? Why the belt thing?”
“You’re going to the wedding,” smiled Java-Man. After all, you are the ‘Bearer of the Ring’. You’re gonna be my best man – who better than myself?”
He looked at the Professor. “But I gotta get back home.”
“Oh, piffle-paffle,” he replied, “it’ll take a couple of days to get that sorted out anyway. Go have some fun in Paris…we’ll get you back home.”
The superheroes chuckled as Fry went airborne and began that now familiar high-pitched scream.
Fry was so happy to be back in his own universe. He found his familiar spot in the lounge, and sat watching tv with his superhero outfit in its giftbox. Leela soon came walking in. “Hey, Leela,” Fry said, “are we still on for the movies tomorrow night?”
“Oh, yeah…you know it,” she responded.
She pulled a Slurm can out of a paper bag. “And here is your Slurm before I forget…you owe me one, you bum.” As she tossed the can at him, he lurched away as if she had thrown a live snake. The can landed harmlessly onto the couch. He picked it up, and found that it had its normal weight. He then happily opened it. Leela looked at him strangely. “Are you okay?”
Fry smiled. “It’s a long story, Leela. Hey, look – Superman is just getting started.”
“Yes, it’s Superman…strange visitor from another planet with powers far beyond those of mortal men…”
In another dimension, a dimension filled with superheroes, Der BeeMeister waited on a telephone in a maximum security prison. He waited. He waited, and waited and waited. An angry Black Scorpion stood behind him, anxiously whipping his tail around. “Come on dude,” the Black Scorpion bellowed, “other people want to use the phone, you know.”
BeeMeister shot back an angry look. “Hey pal, da regulations say I get one phone call…now I’m gonna get my phone call.” He turned his attention back to the phone receiver.
“Welcome to the Consortium of Evil. Your business is important to us. Please stay on the line until the next available customer service representative can assist you.” When the recording was done, AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” began playing on the line again.