Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An' if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go.
(Lyrics by The Clash)
“Live…all the way from Mars Vegas, it’s the Zapp Brannigan Show.”
“What does this mean, ‘to play us out?’ I can’t read the teleprompter. We’ll do it live. We’ll do it live! Oh, hello...my name is Rear Admiral Zapp Brannigan with another thrilling adventure of mine. But first, when it comes to champagin, I only settle for the best. Thunderbird. What's the word? Thunderbird. What's the reason? Martian mango season. The best champagin you can buy for under three Nixon Funbucks. You could buy cheaper, but I'd advise against it. And now, my wild adventure about how I tamed the savage Planet of Women. Hey, what's with all those wavy lines on the monitor?"
“Look at this,” said Zapp Brannigan as he read the electronic message, “I’ve been invited by the Supreme Assembly of Mindora to visit the planet. Isn’t that cute – a planet completely controlled by women. Normally I wouldn’t think of going to such a place, as I find the idea of women being in control of anything disturbing; hell, I wouldn't even let them have the TV remote, but they want me to give a speech on my many adventures.”
Kif sighed. “They’re letting you run around on a planet ruled entirely by women?”
“Why yes – it’s good to see that my reputation still opens doors for me.”
“Yes, but won’t you have to behave? Even a little bit? Letting you loose on that planet would be like letting a Bengal Tiger loose on a chicken farm.”
“Nonsense, Kif old boy. They just want me to share my wisdom and wit in a speech; there’s sure to be a free bar, and then maybe I’ll snag a party or two afterword."
"Sir, I don't think that this is such a good idea..."
"Cabin Boy, prepare my launch for a landing - we're off to the Planet of Women.”
Kif gave another sigh. “I’ve given up asking who the Cabin Boy is…I'll just do it.”
It was the end of a long holiday weekend for Police Chief Lani Koska, and as much as she would hate to admit it, she was looking forward to starting the work week. She was still tired...she'd slept with a young man the night before, and had already kicked him to the curb before sunrise. She couldn't even remember the guy's name.
Lani was a ginger with short cut fire-red hair, and she wore a spotless police uniform with military-shined boots. Most women on the planet Mindora were slightly taller than their male counterparts, but this woman was truly a giant; she stood a full two meters tall in bare feet, and even taller in her boots. As she walked into the police headquarters of the Municipal Building, she started the week off in typical fashion by chewing on her male subordinates. They were used to this, and paid it little heed. "Carth, why is there no spice coffee made?"
"Coming right up with that, ma'am." The underlings in the office always hoped that she would get bogged down with affairs in her office, but she usually did her work out among them.
"You know I need my spice coffee. And bring me one of those Martian pearapple pastries while you're at it."
The retina scanner made her computer terminal come to life. She picked up the terminal, which was little more than a flat square of light, and began to see what had taken place over the weekend. The usual stuff. A few minor thefts. Pimps. Pimps, she thought, all they do is take advantage of powerless males. And there were always the Janes that kept the business going. Will it ever stop?
The one item that stood out on the terminal was a visit by the DOOP ship Nimbus. Police Chief Lani Koska looked at the screen with skepticism; the tall redhead wasn't accustomed to letting suspicious visitors enter her homeworld. She turned to the technician standing next to her. "The Nimbus," she said, "that's Zapp Brannigan's ship. I've heard far too many bad things about him. Turn him away - I'm not permitting a landing."
The young woman gave her a worried look. "But, ma'am - the Police Commissioner has already approved it."
Koska knew she had been out-ranked; she bit her finger in anger. In all the years that she'd been a commissioned police officer, she'd barely had any problems with the opposite sex; on Mindora, men knew their place, and didn't often get out of bounds. The only real crime problems came from women in the tougher parts of the city. But bringing the infamous Zapp Brannigan into the city was like letting a lion roam the streets freely. There was a men's section of the city’s prison, but it wasn't very crowded; Koska was sure that Brannigan would somehow end up there by day's end.
Koska scowled. “Very well, then…let his barge land.” She then turned to address her officers. "Girls, I want a close eye kept on him the whole time he's here. I do not want him living up to his famous reputation while he's on our soil. If he makes one false move I want you to land on him like a sand tiger on a nest of flying scorpions." She then turned to a young man in uniform standing next her. "You - make yourself useful and bring me another pastry...on the double." He tipped his head, and quickly went jogging to the coffee service.
Behind Koska a woman in a lab coat with thick round glasses cleared her throat.
Koska turned. "Is there something you care to add Dr. Azitek?"
"I don't want Mr. Brannigan harmed, if at all possible."
"Is this about your experiments again? I thought your specialty was forensic pathology."
"My specialty is the brain; this time I’m going to need a live specimen. I don't want your officers to damage him - I need him very much alive when I insert the wires into his brain. I can't use a dead patient."
She chuckled sarcastically. "Oh, yes...and when you're through, he'll actually be tamed."
"This is the chance of a lifetime...there's no one here that I can work with." The men in the room looked around nervously. "No offense to you guys here - all of you are well-behaved, well-mannered men. But Zapp is the legendary beast man...the wild, untamable male."
"Sister, I once saw a show with tame sand tigers from Mars; there isn't a person alive that can possibly tame Zapp Brannigan." Koska looked around the room. “Well, what are you guys gawking at? Get back to work.”
Azitek smiled. "He'll be the perfect gentleman, you'll see. I'll remove that part of his brain that makes him such a human beast, and he'll be as tame as a housecat.”
Koska squeezed her eyes. "I don't know - my cat vomits all over my living room floor..."
"I developed this procedure in med school, but never had a use for it. Just give me a chance at this - that's all I'm asking."
"I make no promises; if he endangers my officers, they'll shoot first and ask questions later." Azitek then turned and left the room. "Sub-Commander Drax - I have a feeling I know where Brannigan will go when he gets here..."
"But ma'am...it's not on any tourist map - how would he find his way there?"
"He's a veteran combat officer," Koska said, "I wouldn't put anything past him."
The taxi driver dropped Zapp off in the heart of the business district of Calladoria. "Where you off to?" asked the young male driver.
"I need to meet with your police commissioner later on, but for now I just want to take in the sights. Right now I'm parched...I could use a good glass of champagin."
"Champagin. Champagin. Don't you people speak Galactic Standard English here?"
"Whatever. I can see you've got one of our standard electronic tourist maps..." The driver put the car up into a ground hover and the door opened.
"This is one that was sent to me by the Police Commissioner.” He then noticed several businesswomen chuckling at him. “People sure are cheerful around here," Zapp noted.
"They're not laughing with you, they’re laughing at you - you're a real oddball here on our world. They find a man like you amusing, especially if they can see you screw up. The locals here are already laying bets on how soon you can land in jail."
"A man like me? I'm just a man. I'm a man's man. And it's a man's universe."
The driver chuckled. "Not on Mindora, pal...you got a lot to learn. Don't get into any local trouble here, Admiral – there isn’t a lawyer in the city that will touch you." The door slid closed and the air-taxi went on its way.
"How much trouble could I get into?
Zapp thumbed his electronic map to life, and a 3D holo image of the city appeared on the glasteel plate. "Hmmm...museum of art? Hah. Symphony hall? Balderdash. Hey...what's this? The Baths of Vespa...I’ve heard of that somewhere…"
By the mid-day meal Chief Koska was already back on her wrist-thingee; she'd forgone any decent meal and pulled out an insta-meal in her office. "Gone? What do you mean, gone? You know frack well where he is and where he's going...get the girls up on the property and find that man. He's got to be up in the trees somewhere." She looked back at her insta-meal with disgust. "Navy Meal Sirloin Steak 5839/B All-Weather. How appetizing." She activated the flat heating element, and slid it back into the box to warm her lunch.
Zapp Brannigan sat silently on the hillside with a pair of binoculars, watching the Baths of Vespa. He was really starting to like the idea of visiting a planet ruled by women. He took a sip of black mushroom brandy from a small flask and continued his observation.
Zapp had truly stumbled onto something. Natural baths with warm healing waters and huge crystals everywhere. And women. Hundreds of them, enjoying the waters and the open air. The entire place was very well hidden among a thick copse of trees that circled the property, so it was very private. Why hadn’t he ever seen this in the travel brochures?
Kif that wimp, he thought, he doesn't know what he's missing. "I would highly advise against this," Zapp said mockingly as he puckered his lips and shook his head back and forth, imitating Kif's voice. "I would highly advise against this. What a wuss." He went back to looking through his binoculars. "Ooh, baby. Ooh..."
Zapp was suddenly aware that he was being tapped by something. He turned and looked up to see two women police officers with neural tapsticks. "Why, hello ladies."
One of the women asked him a question. "Are you Rear Admiral Zapp Brannigan?"
"Why, yes. I can see that my reputation has preceded me. Thanks for asking."
"Oh, don't thank me just yet." She then jabbed him with the lighted end of the stick. He convulsed, and passed out. She got on her wrist radio. "This is radio 22; we'll need the van brought around. We've got one to transport downtown."
As the officers wrestled to get Zapp into the van, the younger woman swore. "By the Goddess...he's all dead weight. It's like lifting a walrus."
The older of the two scolded the younger one. "I told you not to blaspheme around me," she told her.
When Zapp awoke, he found himself in a holding cell. He looked around. "Pink," he noted, "why is this place pink?" As he started to move around, he noticed something heavy on his neck like a metal dog collar.
Zapp peeked out of the bars of the cell into the hallway. "Where am I?" he asked.
"Palace of Justice, here in Calladoria." The voice was female, tough and burly.
"I'm doing much better now...you can let me out. I'm not drunk...at least not too drunk."
He heard laughter, again from the same woman. "You're not going anywhere, chubby."
"Uh, you don't understand...I'm a DOOP officer."
Two female eyes peered in through the cell opening. "You are a pervert and a hooligan; you're staying in there until your hearing comes up, which should be at the beginning of next week."
"I am not a hooligan; I was only watching a few of you bathe."
"How would you like us to watch you bathe?"
Again, the angry eyes peered in. "Don't answer that...pervert."
"But if you could just take this thing off of my neck..."
"That is a Collar of Discipline - all of you criminal thugs get one." She hovered her finger above a button on her wrist thingee. "Don't make me test it."
"Listen, Miss - if I could only get in touch with my ship..."
"Your ship has already been notified. Someone named Kif is on his way."
“Good…then we can get this whole thing cleared up. Surely all I have to do is pay a fine.”
The two female eyes peered into the cell again. “I don’t think you quite understand; the Baths of Vespa are sacred to us women. The penalty for catching a man there is…death.”
Kif arrived at the Palace of Justice dressed in his white class 'A' uniform. When the woman asked who he had come to see, he merely replied, "The pompous ass."
"Oh, you want Rear Admiral Brannigan. Deala, take Mr. Kif here to visit his valiant commander."
"Kif - thank God you're here."
"Well, are they treating you inhumanely?"
"I'm about to lose my mind. They've fed me nothing but healthy food...lots of Greek yogurt. The holocube is filled with their talk shows where they actually communicate about their feelings, instead of talking about beer, sports and fishing."
"Yes, but are they treating you inhumanely? If they were, I could protest to the DOOP high command."
"Do you know how much diet soda they've given me? They still drink Tab here."
"That is not inhumane treatment; you're going to rot in there until your hearing comes up." He turned to the guard. “Just don’t treat him inhumanely – I’ll be back to pick him up…whenever.”
Zapp’s voice began to get desperate. “Forget the soda, Kif – they want to execute me.”
He spun around with large eyes. “You’re kidding me…”
Finally, after several hours of watching holocube, the cell door opened up. A thin young woman in a suit and sensible shoes stood there. "So this is the famous Zapp Brannigan," she said.
"Yes...that would be me.”
“My name is Randa Madiruda from the Police Commissioner's office; I wanted to make sure your civil liberties weren't violated in any way. You seem to be treated well...you look like you’re comfortable watching your holo programs.”
“Actually, I’m confused by something. On all of these programs, the male is depicted as the weak character who continually sprains his ankle and has to be rescued by the intelligent, valiant and resourceful female. Like your show ‘MacGuire,’ where the woman comes up with those clever gadgets out of bits of nothing and saves some man…”
The woman got a confused look on her face. “Uh, isn’t that how it is in real life? Except for the gadgets, of course. Every last one of you is terrified of a little spider...honestly, they're more scared of you then you are of them.”
"And, is it me, or are all the women here a bit taller than the men?"
"The result of breeding over the years. Well, you are the weaker sex...someone has got to protect you. Mr. Brannigan, you are, if anything, a curiosity to us here on Mindora. Men here are taught to know their place; the women here find a man like you interesting to say the least, because you just don't fit in to their world view. They see you as some sort of beast raised in the wilderness. You're quite the conversation piece around the water cooler. They're really curious to see if you'll be executed for your crime, or if you'll get out of it somehow."
“Hopefully I won't be..I mean executed, that is. Tell me that I'm free to go. Tell me that you’re not going to…uh…zap me."
"Not quite. Police Commissioner Bav Sheratoth would like to have a word with you at her residence."
Zapp stood up and straightened his uniform. "Finally - a meeting with a high official. I'm glad to see that my higher rank still stands for something here on Mindora."
The young woman sighed. "Oh, you’re not nearly so high as you’d expect; here you're sort of a midget, really. By the way, she wants you to wear this."
He looked puzzled. "Uh, okay. This must be your custom. If so, I'll be happy to oblige."
The woman stood and waited while Zapp changed.
"This toga seems a bit skimpy; shows a lot of chest for an official uniform. I feel like I’m going to a frat party."
The woman rolled her eyes. "You'll see the reasoning for it when we arrive."
The woman's wrist communicator chimed; an image filled the screen. "Randa, is Mr. Brannigan on his way?"
"Yes, Commissioner. He's on his way now. In the outfit."
"Splendid. I'll be waiting."
Randa quickly escorted Zapp up to an air-car that was waiting on the roof of the Palace of Justice, and they lifted off into the afternoon skies.
Police Chief Koska stomped into the cell block with several of her officers. When she finally found the officer of the watch, Deala, she confronted her; at her height she was intimidating, even to another Mindoran woman. “What’s this I hear about Zapp Brannigan being transferred? Where was he taken?”
“Ma’am, I thought you knew…he was transferred to the Police Commissioner’s residence.”
She bit her knuckle again in frustration, and then addressed her officers. “Ladies, if this man somehow gets loose, I want him hunted down. I want him taken…dead or alive. Sub-Lieutenant, take the women to the armory and have them draw their pulsar carbines.”
One of the officers spoke up. "The carbines? But ma'am, we haven't drawn those in years."
“He’s the Man-Beast,” Koska said, “we don’t know how violent he could be.”
Randa took Zapp to a private back entrance of the Commissioner's residence. She placed her eye up to an optical reader, and the thick heavy door slid open. Before she could restrain him, Zapp went marching in like an enthusiastic child. "Commissioner Sheratoth - so good to meet you. I was wondering if we could begin by..."
His words evaporated away as he looked around at his surroundings. The entire chamber was mostly lit by dozens of candles, and electronic saxophone music drifted through the room. He looked up to find that the roof was a huge set of glass panels; he felt like a bird in a glass cage.
The Commissioner floated up to him on a huge pink bed. She was stocky, but very attractive. Bouncy fire red hair fell around a set of pink satin pajamas. Crystal blue eyes examined Zapp as she smiled. She playfully sipped on a mixed drink. "Rear Admiral Zapp Brannigan - we meet at last. I've followed your military conquests with great interest."
"Oh...I'm sorry - I was expecting the Police Commissioner in her chambers..."
"These are my chambers, you silly little man." She waved her hand with pride at her surroundings. "Welcome to my Love-arium."
Zapp looked around in horror; all the sculptures and paintings that decorated the room centered around the art of love-making. He twisted his head as focused in on one particular sculpture which featured two figures in an erotic position. “Oh my dear God…I didn’t know people's bodies could do that…”
"That came all the way from Eroticon 6. That's a number 23 from the Pan-Galactic Book of Sex; I can show you how it's done if you'd like. Of course, it works much better if you have tentacles."
“You mean test…”
“No, I mean tentacles…the creatures from Drollim 5 have them. With little suckers for gripping. They have such a good time.” Bav gently waved her hand, and a tiny robot floated up with a drink. "Have some - it's a slow gin. I find that it leaves all my prey very open to suggestion."
"Your prey?" Zapp looked over in panic at Bav's handler.
Randa gave Zapp a look of indifference as she waved her hand. "Oh no, fella...you're on your own. Miss Bav, I'll be back at the Palace of Justice if you need me."
“Miss Randa…you aren’t going to leave me here alone, are you?”
"I've done my job, Mr. Brannigan - I've delivered you."
As the huge door closed, Zapp turned back to the Commissioner.
Bav smiled as she tapped some buttons on a remote control. "Why do you look so shocked? Your sexual exploits and conquests are the stuff of legend, Mister Brannigan. The entire galaxy has heard about how you tamed the wild Amazonians; you had snu-snu, and lived to tell the tale. I am rather surprised at how simple it was to pull you in. The Baths of Vespa...that was something even I wasn't expecting. I must say that you didn't disappoint.”
“Pull me in? I thought I was here on a diplomatic mission…”
“Who do you think invited you here? The Supreme Assembly? I merely wanted to find out if you could tame one of us." She opened up her arms and smiled. "Come and tame me..."
"But I thought this was...an official meeting..."
"Oh, bother. On our world, a woman takes whatever she wants, Zapp. We don't beg, we don't wait around; we just reach out and grab whatever we desire. That's why most men who arrive here never leave. We take very good care of our men." She playfully ran her hand across the sheets of her bed; her long red nails and her golden rings glistened in the candlelight. "You really ought to feel this - it's satin, Mr. Brannigan...real saaatinnn..."
Zapp fumbled for what to say. "I personally prefer velour..."
"Velour would be nice." Bav's expression then changed to one of slight anger, as if she were addressing an ill-behaved child. "Come now, Rear Admiral; you can only stand over there so long, acting like I'm a plague victim. Come over here and sit with me - we can enjoy some horsey-dervies. I've got some lovely porno on a 3D vid screen if that's your thing."
Zapp still had an odd look on his face. “But you’d be using me…just like an object for sex…like a chess piece on a board...”
She squinted her eyes. “I don't think you've gotten it yet - men are just chess pieces here and they all know this…and they’re just fine with it. We just move them wherever we want them. But you…you're a real prize of a piece. Now get your butt over here and sit on the bed.”
Zapp surrendered and sat on the bed. “Well, I guess I wouldn’t mind it for a few days…and then I can be on my way.”
Bav laughed. “A few days? I hope to have you for at least a few years…or until I get tired of you. Then again I can turn you over to Dr. Azitek for her experiments if you're not happy here.”
“A few years?” Zapp looked around, knowing that he must attempt an escape. As he moved toward the door, he received a shock on his neck collar.
The Police Commissioner gave him an evil smile. “Oh, I forgot to tell you; I have invisible fencing. You’re mine now.” She then pulled out a hardcover book and a ball point pen. "And one more thing, Mr. Brannigan - could you please, please, please sign your autobiography for me?"
He coughed as he picked up the pen and book. "Do you want this signed 'To Bav?'"
As the Planet Express ship plied its way through the cosmos, the image of Kif Kroker appeared on the video screen. "Kiffy!" Amy said.
Leela looked up from her instrument panel. "How can we help you, Kif?"
"Leela, Amy, I really hate to pester you like this, but Zapp is in trouble."
Leela's eyelid curled down in annoyance. "Zapp, in trouble? What did he do, get caught spying in the showers on the Planet of Women?" She then chuckled as if she'd been really witty. She then noticed that Kif wasn't laughing. "He really did get caught in the showers there, didn't he?"
"Well, uh..as a matter of fact, yes."
"Figures. Go on."
“You’ve got to understand that he’s in serious trouble – they want to execute him. The news media here is promising a show trial, and he’s to be put to death by electrolaser.” Kif looked worried. "He sent me this secret dispatch on his decoder ring. It reads;
"Help, help, help, I am being held against my will in the Police Commissioner's residence. Unable to leave...being held captive. Send a rescue to me, if you can..."
"And we're supposed to rescue him? Zapp can surely hold his own on a planet full of women, being the space hero that he is..."
"He is being held prisoner...the DOOP can back you up if you conduct a rescue mission. They can even compensate you monetarily."
Amy joined in. "Please, Leela? That way I can see my Kiffy. Please?"
Leela looked back at Kif. "You're really worried about him, aren't you?
"I'm just not sure what they're doing to him is all...they could have resorted to torture."
Leela thought hard. "This is a planet completely run by women." She heard Fry chuckle, and quickly spun around. "Do you have something to add to that? Did something tickle your funny-bone?"
Fry coughed. "Uh, no ma'am."
"We'll do it. We'll conduct a rescue mission." Fry chuckled again. "Will you shut up? I can reach back there and hit you."
This time Bender chuckled. "You're whipped, Fry - you're whipped."
An angry Leela turned. "I don't need a bending unit for this mission; I can throw you into space..."
"Amy...set a course for Beta Virginis."
Fry chuckled again; this time Amy got annoyed. "It's the beta star in the Virgo system, you twit; gah..."
The Planet Express crew stepped off the gangway and gazed out at the sparkling city of Calladoria. Giant gleaming white towers stood in the distance. The sky of the planet held several moons that glistened like diamonds in the light of the F9 magnitude star Zavijava. Everywhere they looked was beauty; lush green grass, date palms and imported tie palm trees were scattered throughout the city. The locals were dressed in comfortable cotton outfits; the girls quickly noticed that the men were dressed in brighter colors than the women. Both sexes seemed to be happy and content.
Leela looked around like a child filled with wonder. "This place is beautiful."
"Kiffy!" The two quickly embraced.
"Amy...I'm so glad you guys came on such short notice. I have no idea what they're going to do with him. They're making a big deal about this in the local news media." Kif turned on a wrist thingee sewn into his dress uniform. A group of men in a talk show were discussing Zapp. "He's a barbarian and a savage," one of them said, "the women are right - he deserves to die. Every man knows that it's death to go there..."
While the crew waited, a tall tanned Asian bureaucrat scurried over to them with an electronic clipboard She adjusted her round glasses.
"I'm Ji-woo, your bureaucracy caseworker. So, you're the package delivery service..."
Leela addressed her. "Yes, ma'am."
"And this is a care package for Zapp Brannigan? He's currently being incarcerated, so I'll have to examine the contents."
Leela surrendered the box.
"Hmmm." She pulled out a small bottle, and looked incredulously at the group. "You realize that 'champagin' is a misspelling..."
Leela grinned. "You just have to know him. He gets this from a private stock. Thunderbird Wineries on Mars."
She then pulled out a small jar. "What in the world are 'horsey-dervies'?"
"No one knows. Probably parts of real horse."
Bender threw his two cents in. "Yeah...it got third place at Pimlico. I lost money on it. Tasty, though..."
"Is everything in here misspelled?"
"Well, it passes muster. He's such a barbarian of a man; thankfully they've got him locked up. It'll be tomorrow before you can see him, so you might as well see our city. Here are your temporary visas."
As the crew began to walk toward the taxi stand, Fry could hear the bureaucrat say something behind him. He turned and looked at her with a confused expression. "Uh...did you just say that I had a 'nice ass?' Not that I object..."
"Oh, I'm sorry," said the bureaucrat. "You belong to one of them, don't you?"
Leela let out a laugh. "Ha...he doesn't belong to either of us. If you want him, he's all yours."
The bureaucrat smiled. "Still, I didn't mean to be politically incorrect; I know a lot of men object to that kind of thing nowadays. I do think you look cute...would you like to see some sights with me?"
Fry looked back at Leela. "But she's trying to pick me up..."
"You've got to remember where you are," Leela told him. "You've got to understand their customs. Go on and talk with her - we'll be fine."
Amy joined in, pushing her hand along. "Go on..."
Fry looked lost as he was led away by the woman.
Bender puffed his cigar. "Our little boy is all grown up...he'll never be the same after we get him back. You know that we'll never live this down."
Leela chuckled. "He's got to grow up sometime. Some of this paperwork she handed me says something about the Landmark Hotel and Casino...let's head over that way. It'll give us time to plan out what we're going to do."
"This place is really advanced," added Amy, "they have anti-gravity walkways."
The three stood on a brightly-painted orange spot and began drifting up to the platform where the air-taxis were, about 9 meters above ground level. As they landed on the platform, Bender, awkward with his foot cups, lost his footing and had to drift up again - he always had trouble with these devices. "Aw, crap."
Fry was genuinely interested in the sights Ji-woo took him to around the city. He even had some intelligent questions. "What's that building over there? The one shaped like a creamy whip ice cream cone?"
"That? That's the government building of the Supreme Council. We just call it the 'Hornet's Nest' because of its shape...and because of the political battles that go on in there."
Fry pointed to a monument. “Who is this T’rae person that I see all over the place?”
They stood looking up at the monument named in her honor. “She is the Great Mother, the founder of the colony here on Mindora. When her ship crashed here many years ago, there were many more women on board than men. Knowing that a rescue wasn’t forthcoming, T’rae organized the survivors into a breeding program. Everyone seemed to be happy with it, so our society continued on that same course even after rescue ships finally arrived. To this day, the women run everything, and the men are utilized more for…uh…their specialties.”
“Specialties?” he asked.
“Well, for procreation...and for their entertainment value.”
Fry looked confused. "Do you find me entertaining?"
She gently grabbed his hand. "I think we can find some things to keep ourselves entertained.”
As they walked away from the monument, a couple caught Fry's attention. "Boy, he's dressed fancy...they must be rich."
Ji-woo crinkled up her nose. "He's nothing but a trophy husband."
Leela and her crew were shown up to their hotel room by a young man while Kif briefly went back to the Nimbus. Amy pestered him with questions all the way up to the room. He even had to explain why the men were typically shorter than the women on Mindora. “You don’t think I’m too short, do you miss?”
“I think you’re just right…you’re my same height.”
He looked at the two women. “Will you need anything else?”
“Oh, I don’t know…” Amy said coyly as she kicked the carpet with her boot. “Maybe later.”
Leela grabbed her shoulder like a misbehaved child. “No, she won’t be needing anything…thank you.” She gave the young man several Nixon Funbucks and sent him on his way.
“Leela…he was a hunk – everything you’d want in a compact package. I could have moved his little arms and legs like he was an action figure. What’s the fun of visiting the Planet of Women if we act like old maids? Fry's having his fun...”
“Kif would have a stroke if you did something like that. You brat." Leela pondered. "He was cute, though.”
Bender shook his head. “Oh, I dunno…I could have used a racing forum as long as he was out.”
In the dark of the evening, Dr. Azitek peeked into the bedroom window of the Police Commissioner's Love-arium. As luck would have it, she could see the Commissioner fast asleep on her floating bed. In the shadows of the candles a bored-looking Zap Brannigan sat naked at the edge of the bed with his face resting on his fist.
Azitek tapped on the window with her fingernail. Surprised, he looked up. She motioned him over, and he quickly got dressed in his toga. Again, she motioned for him to leave with her. He responded by pointing to his collar. She pointed to the remote control where the invisible fence control was. He gave the "okay" sign to her and quickly found the remote.
Zapp opened the window and slid out, slapping to the ground like a fat sea lion. The woman beckoned him to come with her.
"Uh, who are you anyway?"
"I'm your rescue. I'm Dr. Herley Azitek, from over at the University. You must come with me...the police will soon be after you. First, let me get that collar off of you."
"Thank God someone is here to rescue me...you're an absolute lifesaver."
"I'm going to introduce you to a whole new life, Mr. Brannigan."
"I never knew you had a screen in here," Leela told Bender in the hotel room as she looked inside of his door.
"There's a lot you don't know about me."
"Good grief...is this a pacemaker in here?"
"The guy was dead anyway - I figured I could hock it sometime."
"Whatever. So you can actually hack into the police mainframe? That's incredible."
"Hey, there ain't a computer made that I can't hack into." He pulled out the small wireless screen for a demonstration. "There is just no end to the things I can find out about our man. For example..." Bender got quiet as he looked at the screen. "Uh oh..."
"What do you mean, 'uh oh'?" asked Leela.
"Uh...you're mighty admiral is now a fugitive on the run. You might want to cancel that rescue mission."
"No, it just changes our plans a bit. They'll kill him if they find him."
Bender threw his metal arm up in the air. "How did I know she was going to say that?"
The police air-car with its flashing lights landed in the exclusive Onyx Hills neighborhood, and its door swung open. An angry Police Chief Koska quickly stepped out of the car to address her officers.
"Listen up, ladies...our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 6.4 kilometers per hour. That gives us a radius of nine and one half clicks. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard target search of every outhouse, henhouse, pleasure station, bar, suicide booth, organ donation stand and android repair facility in the area. Your fugitive's name is Rear Admiral Zapp Brannigan. Checkpoints go up at 24 kilometers. Now go out there and get him." Koska then turned to her second in command. "Where is that little irritating pathologist that shadows me all day long?"
"I don't know ma'am...I haven't seen her all afternoon."
A young blonde officer brought up Zapp's neck collar to show Koska.
"Well, well, well...what do we have here? It's always a surprise to see one of these without a neck in it." Koska held the collar aloft. "They can tear Onyx Hills apart, but I bet they won't find him. Sub-Lieutenant, you and I are going over to the University; I have a feeling Mr. Brannigan had some help escaping."
Philip Fry sat at the edge of the bed, looking out the window into the night sky.
"What are you looking at?" asked his partner Ji-woo in a sleepy voice.
"A lot of cop cars have flown by...I thought you guys didn't have much crime here. I've usually found that a bunch of cops means that my friends are involved some kind of trouble."
"C'mon, baby...come back to bed. We'll find out about it on the holocube tomorrow morning."
Back at the hotel room, Bender kept searching the Mindoran World Network for traces of Zapp Brannigan. "Well?" asked Leela. "Anything?"
"Robot parts are cheap here..."
Leela gave him a swat against the side of his head.
"Dummy...what are you finding on Zapp?"
"Is he a Man of Letters?"
"Well, I've found him mentioned over at T'Rae University on the southeast edge of the city."
"Give me that," Amy said as she took the screen away from him. "Jeesher-spleesher..."
"What?" asked Leela.
She looked up with her mouth open. "They're not going to give him an honorary degree...they're going to do experiments on him. Something called 'male behavioral pacification'. They've going to do brain surgery on him."
Leela chuckled, and then contained herself. “Sorry. Just the thought of his name and the word 'pacification' in the same sentence..."
Bender pulled a Mars University sweater and eyeglasses out of his suitcase. "Well kids, it's back to school we go. Yay rah team!"
Leela looked at Amy. "Baby sister, we're going to need your PhD more than ever."
At sunrise Koska and her officers converged on an air-car in a university parking lot. "You girls did good work," she told one of the younger officers, "this is Dr. Azitek's car - a blue Nakajima Star Chief. It's a good bet that our poindexter and her pet are up in that medical building there."
"Maybe we'll get lucky and she'll give him a lobotomy." added Sub-Lieutenant Drax.
Koska snorted a chuckle. "We could be so lucky."
"So what's our next move, Chief?"
"I want this building surrounded; he's not to go anywhere. I may have to get a warrant to go in and get him...just leave that to me. The only person who would interfere is our beloved Commissioner. I expect her to come down here with a leash at any minute." Something then caught her eye. "Hey - those cheerleaders and the robot. Bring them here."
The girls, Kif and Bender were brought over to speak with Koska. At her height she looked down on Leela.
"Where do you think you bunch are going?"
"Like guh, cheerleader tryouts," answered Amy, trying to make her voice sound younger.
"In the Science Quad?"
Amy tried to act like a cheerleader, practicing waving her pom-poms around. "Like we're totally supposed to drop this 'droid off with our professor."
Bender spoke up. "Yeah, my Stutz Bearcat is parked off campus."
"You girls are full of it - you are not students."
Amy went into a cheerleading routine. "Do you want to know what your atmosphere is composed of?" Amy began describing all of the various biochemical elements of the Mindoran atmosphere while doing cheerleading moves. “Nitrogen…Oxygen…Argon…” She then ended the routine with the splits. "And that's all the gases you have...in the strat-os-phere."
Koska eyeballed them closely. "Okay, you sold me. But about one-eye here? You look old enough to be a student's parent."
Leela clenched her teeth and forced a fake smile. "I've worked hard as a star pilot; now I'm going back on a student loan. You gotta do what you gotta do."
Koska chuckled down at her. "Right. Let these oddballs go. Honey, you've got about as much chance of becoming a cheerleader as I have finding an ice machine in hell. Let me know if you make the squad."
Leela gritted her teeth and Amy pulled her along.
As Kif passed by, Koska stopped him. "What's your program?"
Kif sighed. "Cabin Boy."
"Figures." Koska then looked at Drax. "There’s still something funny about them…"
Zapp sat patiently as Dr. Azitek positioned electrodes on his forehead. "Uh, miss...I can't help but notice that this is a medical research lab. Are those mice over there in the cages?"
"Just relax, Mr. Brannigan. You'll be right as rain in no time. This is just a simple medical check-up." She looked at a woman assistant. "I'm going to need a 7 millimeter drill bit."
"Well, there was that dancer on Elekira 17, but I can tell you for certain that I'm not infected with anything. I don't think the Commissioner had any diseases either."
"Of course not, Mr. Brannigan. We do have a nice, thick cranium, don't we?"
"Why thank you doctor." Azitek pulled a lever under the exam table, and stainless steel shackles quickly latched over Zapp's wrists and ankles with a loud clank. "Uh, doctor - I'm sort of stuck here..."
"Relax Mr. Brannigan, you are right where you are supposed to be."
Zapp's eyes grew large as he heard the sound of a power drill start up. Azitek's thick glasses and large eyeballs came into view. "You're a fascinating specimen, Admiral. You're going to make some woman very happy when we're done with you. Welcome to your new life."
A groggy Fry woke up. "What's this?" he asked.
"I am serving you breakfast in bed," Ji-woo told him.
"Wow...hey, we've got to turn on the cube and see what all the police action was about last night."
As soon as he turned on the cube, a female green alien named Morbina appeared. "International criminal Zapp Brannigan has been cornered inside of the Science Quad at the University. May he die a thousand terrible deaths!!"
His slightly build blonde male co-anchor just chuckled.
Before Azitek could begin drilling, she heard a commotion outside of the exam room. Police Commissioner Sheratoth came bounding into the room, followed by the Police Chief and the Planet Express crew.
"You've got to stop this very instant," Bav shouted, "you can't operate on him. He isn't meant to be tamed - he's a wild savage brute, and he's destined to be mine...all mine."
Then it was the Police Chief's turn. "Savage brute? He's a fugitive and he's meant to be executed for what he did. I demand that you turn him over at once to be terminated."
Then it was Leela's turn. "Savage? Executed? Long before you women knew him, he was mine. Bumps and warts and all, he's our savage brute. We'll take him far away from here so that he can't cause you any more harm. He was never meant to be here on the Planet of Women in the first place. Like a caged bird, he needs to be set free from this place."
The Police Chief butted back in. "Listen Shorty, this bird is all mine – I’m getting ready to cook him. In an hour I can have him in an electrolaser booth for termination. That will be the end of Zapp Brannigan. We can broadcast it on pay-per-view."
“Surely you wouldn’t actually use that booth,” said Leela.
Lani Koska used her wrist-thingee to make a holo image in front of everyone. “Deala, give everyone here a test of the electrolaser booth.” The stocky woman placed an ordinary plasti-luminum soda can inside the booth and slid up a lever. After a bright flash and a terrific static discharge noise, the can was gone. “As you can see,” Koska added, “it works quite well.”
“Wow,” Bender said, “now that’s what I call recycling. We're gonna light him up like the Fourth of July.”
Zapp finally spoke up. "Ladies...can I add something?"
"No, shut up," said Leela. "Chief, I want to ask you a question."
"What's that, Shrimp?"
"Exactly how many men have you executed for sneaking into the Baths of Vespa?"
"How many? Several? Dozens? Hundreds?"
She hesitated. "None, actually. The men are too terrified to sneak in there for fear of being executed. It's just proof positive that the law works. All the more reason to execute - this will be the precedent case." Her angry eyes burned into Zapp's. "You're going to be the first person to die in Little Sparky."
"I thought as much."
Chief Koska shot back angrily. "Listen Missy, I'm not going to argue law here in a medical clinic...he deserves death."
"I'm the Police Commissioner," Bav added, "Do you realize that he does have diplomatic immunity? We'll have all of DOOP in an uproar if I hand him over to you to be killed. We'd be at war..."
Koska pointed to the police commissioner. "You...you planned this whole thing. You set this whole thing up so that he would end up as your play toy. How else would he have known about the Baths of Vespa? He didn't just accidentally find his way over there. I could just as easily charge you with collusion; he's got diplomatic immunity, but you do not." She then turned to Azitek. "And you...when you found out about her little plan, you couldn't wait to get your hands on him - he was going to be your little guinea pig for experiments."
"Please just let me work on him - he'll never break another of our laws again."
"I'm not letting you drill into his brain," Bav announced. She then looked over at Koska. "Lani, I admit that I did lure him here…I knew it was the only way I could get him here. But I did not guide him to the baths - he found that place on his own. I had only planned to..."
Bender put up his hand. "I think ‘seduce’ is the word."
"But I did not send him to the baths."
"I don't believe you."
Bav continued. "Surely you must have a scanner here...we can find out the truth right here. I know you always have one with you."
"I do, as a matter of fact. Drax..."
Sub-Lieutenant Drax walked over to Bav and held her palm near the side of her head. "Just relax, Miss Sheratoth." Both women closed their eyes for a few seconds. Bav knew what she was going to do, and what she was capable of - she was sifting her mind for information. There was no way that she could conceal the truth from her. Espers weren't too uncommon on Mindora, but they preferred to keep a low profile for their own safety; there was always the threat of being sent off to the Mutant Planet. Drax was a Class B Esper, capable of digging into the thoughts of the human mind. She then walked over to Zapp Brannigan and scanned his mind. She looked up at Koska. "She's telling the truth - this man found the baths on his own without any help. The city map he was given wasn’t the standard tourist map; it was from our office."
Disappointed, Koska let out a sigh. "Take him into custody."
Bav had a question. "Why did you want to kill him so bad?"
"An example has to be made." Koska's eyes squinted in anger. "You're going to squirm him out of this, aren't you?"
"Lani, we've worked well together over the years...I want to continue that relationship. But you can't accuse me of sending him to Vespa. And you can't execute him."
Lani Koska gritted her teeth. "Fine. You win. We'll take Mister Brannigan here to a holding cell until we can figure out what to do with him. He'll at least need to be held somewhere for a while until all of this flap-up settles down."
Leela looked at Zapp. “Bav, you know what you need to do with him.”
Zapp’s brow furled. “Surely you aren’t going to surrender me to these wild women…”
Bender lit up a cigar. "I'd hate to think of what nightmarish things she saw in Zapp's mind...spiders and cobwebs and stuff...articles from dirty magazines…"
In the afternoon the whole group had gone to a starport bar. Amy's eyes darted all over the place in amazement. "I could get used to this," she told everyone, "just look at the way these serving men are dressed...woof." A young athletic man dressed in little more than flowing cotton cloths around his midsection handed Amy a drink.
Kif cleared his throat. "Amy, I'm still here...I didn't disappear or anything."
Ji-woo then brought Fry over. "Hey guys," he asked, "did I miss anything?"
Bender said, "We're about to watch the terrible punishment of Zapp..."
Police Chief Lani Koska still had that grumpy look on her face as she stirred her drink with a swizzle stick. "I still think that Zapp should have been punished more severely. Community service, hah..."
"I think this is pretty severe for him," said Leela. "This is probably worse than beating him with a bamboo pole."
The Commissioner smiled. "Then I get him..."
"For six months," Leela added. "DOOP was able to write it off of his leave time as sort of a jail sentence to placate the local population. He's all yours - to do with as you wish. Just make sure he can't find the remote to the invisible fence when you go to work."
"Goody!" she rubbed her hands in satisfaction. "He gets the taste of sweet candy..."
Finally it was Dr. Azitek's turn as she activated a computer tablet. "His punishment will be interesting to study...I can use the notes in an upcoming paper."
Leela tried to shush everyone. "He's coming on the holocube."
Zapp Brannigan squirmed around in his seat on the set of the holo show "The Man's Point of View." The host introduced his guests.
"Here's the moment you've been waiting for - here on our show today we have that world famous pariah, Rear Admiral Zapp Brannigan." The audience applauded.
Koska curled up her face. "Do we really have to sit through a bunch of men cackling like hens? This stuff is so boring..."
"Hush," Leela told her.
Zapp squirmed around in his seat. "Do I really have to wear one of these togas? I thought I was done with this..."
"Zapp," the host continued, "could you share with us some of the feelings you've had these last few days..."
"Feelings? I have to talk about feelings? I'm a man, for frack sake. I don't talk about feelings - I talk about manly things...like beer, hunting wild animals on distant planets, enormous fish that I never caught, that sort of thing. Then I lie about my various sexual exploits..."
Zapp suddenly felt a poke in his shoulder; he glanced back over to see a female gendarme holding a stun-stick.
"Oh, feelings..." He suddenly broke into tears. "Oh, God...I'm pathetic! I mean, I try as a male, but I just have such a hard time expressing the way I really feel..." The enthusiastic crowd burst into applause as they rose to their feet.
The host applauded with them. "That's it, Zapp; let all those feelings just flow..."
Koska leaned over to Leela and whispered. "Is it possible that he really is a sensitive man? Maybe I misjudged him..."
She groaned. "Horse hockey - don't believe a word of it. He's pulled this sort of thing before."
"Oh well, I still think that he got off lightly. Leela, can I pitch you before you leave? You'd make a darned fine police officer on our force..."
"I appreciate the offer, but I've got my own life back home."
Koska continued. "I'm still curious, though. We women have always been told that Earth is such a savage place. What's it like living on a planet where something like that is considered the ruling sex? We've done studies that show that a man just can't do what a woman is capable of."
Amy grinned and leaned over. "I'll let you in on a little secret; we only let them think they're in charge."
Koska shook her head in agreement. "Ohh..."
Puzzled, Fry scratched his head.
Six Months Later...
Zapp Brannigan finally got to discard one of his many togas for his dress uniform; he'd been a toy long enough in the Love-arium. He looked at the Police Commissioner with a satisfied smile on his face as he kissed her hand. "My good woman, I take my leave of you as I prepare to ply the stars again."
"It's been a good six months, Zapp."
Police Chief Koska, who stood in the doorway, rolled her eyes in disgust.
"You realize, Miss Bav, that I won't get far before the craving will set in, and then you'll want some..."
"Sweet, sweet candy...Bam! You magnificent bastard, I read your book." She brushed his face with the fingers of her hand. "I wish you could stay..."
"I can't; I was destined to explore the universe. I was what you might call, 'Born Free.' No woman controls my destiny...I'm the captain of my own ship. Women just have to realize that they need to know their place and wait for me..."
Zapp suddenly felt the large hand of Lani Koska grab him by his neck collar like a child. "My place is dropping you off at the spaceport like a piece of luggage. I haven't got all day, Mr. Born Free. Your friend Kif is waiting for you."
"Uh, yes ma'am...I'm going...I'm going..."
“And don’t come back here…”
"...and that was just one of the many times that I cheated death in the outer cosmos. My Cabin Boy Kif and I wish you a happy week until I return again. And don't forget my latest book, 'Seven Ways to Sex a Woman,' now available at your local Borders and Nobles bookstores. That's it Kif, hold the book up higher so we all can see it."
Kif sighed as he held the book up.
"Are we through? I think that went well. Kif - come here for a second...I've got this thing on my shoulder blade that I want you to look at. And quit sighing for God's sake..."