“But paper covers rock. And scissors cut paper. Kif, we have a conundrum. Search them for paper. And bring me a rock.”
The Callanian Lord sat in a tall, ebony chair. He slowly thrummed his fingers against the arm of his chair; his men should have been back by now. How hard is it to carry out one simple mission? I set it up perfectly for them and yet they are still incompetent in completing the task given. A snap of his fingers brought a slave forward with a glass full of dark wine. Julian smiled into the drink before downing half of it in one gulp. He closed his eyes and waited for the liquid to seep into his veins. It was potent and worked quickly; the adrenaline rush came earlier than usual. The Callanian Lord took another sip of the wine, and then carrying his now nearly empty goblet with him he stood and slowly crossed the room to where a small, flat board not unlike a chessboard sat. With a smirk on his face, Julian moved the pieces on the board around, until they fit into a pattern that suited him. A flip of a switch brought the pieces to life and the Callanian Lord sipped his wine as the piece equivalent to the white queen stole a knight’s sword and hacked away at a black bishop before turning on the black king and the rest of the pieces on the board.
Julian smiled devilishly.
“My lord.” A servant entered the chamber and bowed deeply. “I am sorry to disturb you, but Ambassador Petra Barrett of Callania 5 is here and requests a meeting with you.”
The Callanian Lord swirled the remaining wine around in its glass before gulping it down. This is almost too easy. “Send him in.”
The servant bowed and left. A minute passed and he returned with a tall, muscular, golden-skinned Callanian.
“Lord Julian Jerome . . .etc.”
“Ambassador Petra Barrett. For what reason am I gifted with this unexpected visit?”
Barrett opened his arms to Julian “Are you not happy to see a brother from a neighboring planet? Have our planets not lived side by side for years in peace?”
“We have different ideas of what ‘peace’ means, Barrett.”
Barrett’s false cheer vanished instantly. “So we do. But do not think your actions have gone unnoticed by my homeworld. We have not been blind to your actions outside of our empire. We know you caused a little ‘incident’ on Earth.”
Julian smirked. Perfect. “What if I did? Callania 7 has already lost all it can lose at your hands. What do my planet and I have left to fear?”
“Callania 5 does not wish to threaten you or your planet. My planet and its people wish to join you in your conquest to . . .” Barrett paused “Take over the known universe is it?”
Julian could barely suppress his laughter. Everything was falling into his lap. “And why should I—after what your planet did to mine twenty years ago, let you in on my plans? Why should I even think to trust you?”
Now it was Barrett’s turn to smile. He had prepared for this. “What if I told you the Mighty One is not the only one in Nibblonian prophecy that you have to be prepared to face.” The ambassador paused. “Are you interested?”
Julian’s face was blank. He slowly raised an eyebrow. “You’re proposing information for a partnership in my plans?”
“Very well. Tell me, when you speak of this other of Nibblonian prophecy, who are you speaking of?”
“So you agree to opening a partnership between Callania 5 and Callania 7?”
Julian pursed his lips and sipped his wine. “I’ll consider it if I find your information valuable enough.”
Barrett notably grimaced. If he gave the Lord of Callania 7 the information his superiors had given him as a trump card without any promise of a partnership, than he would risk failing the mission, as Julian would then see no reason to open relations with Callania 5. But if he refused to give Julian the information, he would still go back to Callania 5 empty-handed. And his superiors had made it clear that if he failed, returning home would be extremely unwise.
The ambassador made his decision a minute later.
“In Nibblonian prophecy there is someone called the Other. And I think you will be very interested in her.”
Passages of Eternity
The Nibblonian entered the familiar passages for the first time in three weeks and his face immediately fell, he didn’t expect it to be this bad. The underground passageways that led to and from the Hall of Eternity were in utter chaos. Usually filled with lighted torches at regular intervals and different framed Nibblonian art or textual masterpieces, they were near bare. Most of the torches had burned out and the decorations were all either lying in misshaped piles on the floor or gone completely.
What could have I done? Could it have ended differently?
The Nibblonian walked in silence, almost afraid to reach the Hall of Eternity, where the Nibblonian Council used to meet regularly to discuss the state of the universe. The last Nibblonian sighed deeply, those were the good times, before he came along and ruined everything.
I could have prevented all of this, if I had only listened to my head and not my heart.
Now . . . now the Other was dead and Planet Eternium was a thing of the past. The Nibblonians had left their ancient homeworld behind.
His name was Ken.
He was the last Nibblonian.
And it was because of what he had done why the others had left.
Three weeks ago Ken had altered what the Nibblonians knew as the correct flow of time. A fellow member of the Nibblonian Council had been kidnapped by the ruler of Callania 7 and held at ransom. Ken had paid the ransom, one scroll telling of the existence, name, and location of the Mighty One. Then the world as he knew it began to fall apart.
It began with the death of the Other. It had shocked the Nibblonians as a whole when she tried to kill the Mighty One and died in the attempt. But it had shocked Nibbler most of all, and it had hurt him. He did, after all live with the Other on earth and was with her every day and cared about her. While the other Nibblonians mourned then tried to figure out how her death had happened, Nibbler closed contact with Eternium and went completely off the grid. Closing all Nibblonian connections with Earth. With the Mighty One.
Then the sages had begun to fret. They had foreseen the coming of the Mighty One and the Other. They had declared the Mighty One was the guardian of the universe, they still hadn’t figured out what the purpose of the Other was. Now that she was dead what would happen? What was she supposed to do? And did she do it?
The unease of the sages had seeped down into the Council, where Ken and Fiona had barely managed to keep chaos out, then it went down into the general Nibblonian population and the ancient race found its careful hold on peace slipping . . .
Ken sighed; he was almost at the Hall of Eternity. Who knew what he would find there? Riots had destroyed most of the underground passages, if they reached the sacred hall he did not know. He had been on Earth, trying to contact Nibbler, when the unease had turned to chaos and the Nibblonian public rioted and abandoned Eternium.
The last Nibblonian finally came to the last turn in the passageway and entered the Hall of Eternity.
“C’mon babe, why not?”
“I’m tired Jak and we both have to work tomorrow. Plus there’s that redheaded guy in that booth over there—and the barkeep.”
“The redhead’s passed out, Midge and the bartender won’t care.”
“I care, Jak. That’s all that matters here.”
A blonde woman shoved past her date and left the pub. A few minutes later when he’d realized what had happened, her date followed.
The barkeep sighed as he watched Jaquamo leave. Young love these days. No one just goes out for a meal anymore. They always want more and then end up drunk when they lose. His eyes turned on the slumped figure with a shock of red hair sleeping in one of his booths. He’s an example of that. The barkeep sighed and walked around the bar and to the booth of the slumped figure.
“Hey you. You’ve been here all day.” the barkeep shook the slumped redhead into wakefulness. “Clear out.”
Fry looked up groggily at the unshaven face looming menacingly over him. “Errr . .?” he groaned. His body felt as though it weighed a thousand pounds and his head pounded. Where was he? What was going on? Why did he somehow always find it necessary to need an answer to those same two questions?
“Clear out, unless you want to pay for that booth your sitting in.” The barkeep growled a bit louder at the delivery boy.
“Leela. She’s a purple-haired Cyclups . . .”
“The barkeep grabbed Fry’s arm and pulled him up. “If you’re talking about that chick who was with you, she left some time ago. Didn’t leave a note or nothing, just left. Pretty sure she had two eyes though.”
“One eye. Leela has one eye.”
“Listen pal, I don’t care if she has five eyes. You gotta go.” The barkeep harshly dragged Fry across the pub. When he reached the door he used one arm to open it and the other to shove Fry out of the bar. I’m sorry for the guy but if I’m going to work Happy Hour in 70 minutes I need to rest and that means no one in here.
Fry stood dazed outside O’Zorgnax’s Pub for a minute, slightly dazed. Vaguely aware of what had just transpired, he started off to the closest entry point to the tube transport system. Leela had obviously gone to Planet Express to show the others that she was alive and well and that her dive into the Hudson River three weeks before had just been a demented illusion. They would laugh and then Leela would come back for him . . . but he would come to her at Planet Express first. This was the only possible explanation Fry could muster to why the Cyclops had abandoned him.
“Planet Express Delivery Company.” Fry spoke softly to the tube surrounding him. Its only reply was sucking Fry up and flying him up above the streets of New New York City.
The rush of being pulled up and away woke Fry up almost instantaneously. Adrenaline pumped heavily into the delivery boy’s veins and the rush of once stagnant air zoomed past his face. He was flying. And it was fantastic. And Leela was alive. Again fantastic. And everything would be back to normal when he reached Planet Express. Fantastic.
In orbit around Earth
“Settling reentry position and landing coordinates.”
We made it! We’re alive!
Lemon smiled to herself and thrummed her fingers against the wheel. She felt cocky and dangerous. She had succeeded in not only getting the passenger ship to Io, but also back to earth.
Burn on that old crew! The only things they did better than us were suck and die!
Also she had crazy voices and visions running through her head at random moments. But no one had to know that.
—We got luck this time but you should be more careful. I don’t want anything to happen to you.
Or could they be something different? The amnesiac shook her head and eased the passenger ship closer to the earth’s surface. The growing blue sphere was a more pressing matter than the voices that were . . . could be . . . her memories.
As if on cue, her mind yielded to not only the voices that had been plaguing her, but something new. A scene cast with people dressed in military uniforms. And standing on a platform above the majority of the soldiers was a fat, blond man.
“Men, you’re lucky men. Soon you’ll all be out fighting for your planet. Many of you will be dying for your planet. A few of you will be forced through a fine mesh screen for your planet. They well be the luckiest of all.” Lemon felt a deep repulsion toward the blond as he talked.
“Great we’re gonna die.” A silver robot standing a few feet away from Lemon spoke. She glanced toward him and took a couple steps back. Would he recognize her if he saw her?
“And this ham gum is all bones.” The redhead next to the robot spat his gum out on the floor. Lemon took another step back at the sight of him.
“Now to present the logistics of our mission, the Commander-in-Chief . . . ”
And then it was over and Lemon returned to the passenger ship. She sat for a moment, staring at the Earth. Are these my memories . . .? There was nothing else the voices and scene could be. Unless I’m going crazy . . .
A second later, Lemon gently eased the starship into Falcon Enterprise’s hangar. After powering down the ship, the amnesiac wiped her brow and disembarked. She sighed a sigh of relief when she felt the ground beneath her feet. At least nothing could go wrong on Earth like it did in space. Ships did sink and planes did crash, but she wasn’t piloting any of them and for the most part didn’t have to worry about them.
Lemon yawned as she walked down the long walk to the main building of Falcon Enterprise from the hangar. She was hungry and in desperate need of a nap.
The Cyclops turned around and groaned inwardly. Tom.
“Maybe you can clear up this story Luc has just been telling me.”
Hall of Eternity
The interior of the Hall of Eternity was usually dark with a few overhead lights beaming down the chairs of the council members. The hall that Ken entered was completely dark . . . and that was it. No extreme damage had come to the hallowed seat of Nibblonian rule. It was sad. Ken felt like laughing. Everything around him seemed impossible; the destruction of the Passages of Eternity, the emptiness of the Hall of Eternity . . . it made his task all the harder.
How did one go about recreating a civilization that was millennia old?
It wouldn’t be easy. Ken sighed. It was hopeless, he had, in one action caused a domino effect that destroyed the peace and order of Planet Eternium and replaced it with chaos and anarchy. The Nibblonian kicked at the dust that veiled the floor.
Where to begin?
Staying on the Nibblonian home planet would accomplish nothing, everyone smart enough had left when the public rioted, and everyone else lived in the shadows, waiting for the day that the sages and council would return and restore the Nibblonian government. Ken saw one other option; he had to find Fiona and the council. Maybe then, together they could rebuild the head of the Nibblonian Empire.
The Nibblonian made to leave the Hall of Eternity when a faint glimmer caught his eye. He turned; something shiny lay in waiting in the far corner of the hall. Curious, Ken walked toward it and found . . . a piece of scrap metal? What’s this doing here? The Nibblonian picked up the small silver shard and turned it over in his paws. It looked nothing like the purplish-pink or bluish-silver material the Nibblonans used to built their starships, nor did it look a part to any of their laser guns or other various Nibblonian weapons. A complete letter that looked something like an Alienese “R” was written in copper ink on one side of the metal piece along with half of another letter that was completely foreign to Ken.
Ken had been Earth when he had received a short, quick message from Fiona via videophone. In it she hurriedly stated that the public had rioted and any and all Nibblonians, that were smart enough, had abandoned their home planet to get away from the chaos. At the time it had horrified Ken, but then as he flew toward the planet, it began to not make sense. No self respecting Nibblonian would just abandon his home planet. He could rebel against the government and cause panic, but would not leave. And what about the Nibblonian outposts situated on nearby planets? Why did they do nothing?
Ken clenched the piece of scrap metal in his fist. It was proof, proof that his suspicions were true. Planet Eternium had not been abandoned. It had been attacked.
“You singlehandedly saved my ship from crashing and managed to pilot the return journey.” Tom’s voice pounded into Lemon’s ears. Whether he was reprimanding her or praising her she was too exhausted to care. “You ignored the chain of command and took over when it wasn’t required of you—“
That, Lemon decided, sounded more like reprimanding that praising. “Sir.” She began to quarrel. “I can explain! I was—“
“There is nothing to explain. You saved many lives, my ship, my business and you’ve proved yourself an able starship captain.” Tom smirked at Lemon. “Good job. It was wrong of some people.” He glared pointedly at Luc and Jean, standing a little distance away. “To doubt your capabilities as a starship captain. From now on you will serve from that rank and that rank only. Now maybe we won’t have to worry about ships crashing into planets with you at their helm.”
I’ll find Fry’s coffin, get his corpse, and keep it under my mattress to remind me that he’s really dead. That’ll prove I’m not insane!
“What!” Lemon squawked.
If everyone is done being stupid . . .
I had more, but go ahead.
“Who’s being stupid?” Involuntarily, Lemon questioned out loud.
Tom scrutinized his newest employee. “What are you talking about?”
Lemon ignored him and instead focused on the voices and flashing images juggling themselves through her brain. Whenever she tried to concentrate on one it would slip through her grasp. No! Come back! But the memories were gone with the wind.
“Are you ok?” Deep, hazel eyes searched Lemon’s one. Luc had grabbed the starship captain’s shoulders to keep her from falling.
“I’m fine.” Lemon carefully removed her coworker’s hands from her shoulders. “I’m . . . extremely tired . . . from piloting the starship . . . I should probably go rest.” She started away from Tom and Luc and to the hangar exit.
“Of course you’re tired.” Tom slapped Lemon on the back. “Go rest, you have the beginning of a great career ahead of you.”
“I’ll walk home with you.” Luc kept pace with Lemon as she left the hangar. “I don’t want anything happening to you.”
Is he coming onto me? “Why? We just met.”
“You seem like the type to get into danger without trying.” The Falcon employee smiled sheepishly. “And I have to tell you at some point or another.”
“Tell me what?”
Luc gulped, giving him a moment’s hesitation. “No matter what Tom has said or done, you can’t fully be a starship captain at Falcon Enterprise until you pass the Captain’s Initiation.
“Initiation? What Initiation?” Lemon stopped as she walked out of Falcon Enterprise to look over at the lieutenant.
“Veteran captains like to initiate newbies in their own way. I’m not a captain, so I don’t know what they do.” Luc smiled sheepishly.
“So . . . I’m going to be hazed?”
“Not in those exact words. But yes. I don’t think it hurts though.”
“If you can find Fry, you can tell him, damn it!” An ancient, wrinkled . . . professor Lemon decided because of his long, white lab coat, adorned with the thickest of glasses passed Lee Lemon and Luc without a glance.
“Spleesh, sphill out. I just thought we should tell him.” One of his companions, a Chinese girl in a pink sweat suit crossed her arms.
After passing by them, Lemon paused and looked back. There was something about the old man in the lab coat and his odd group consisting of the Chinese girl and a silver robot. They’d been too caught up in their conversation to even glance in her direction when she’d passed them, but that hadn’t stopped her from noticing them. And something inside yearned for her to do something. Say something! Yell! Anything! But the second she opened her mouth it was too late, the group got on a bus and was gone.
“Lemon? What’s going on?” Luc had finally noticed the Cyclops had stopped walking.
“Who were they?” Lemon spun on her coworker, her eye flashing. “That group who just got on the bus, who were they?!”
“I—I don’t know . . . Why?”
Lemon stared after the bus. Something had just happened, and she’d missed it. “Nothing.” She shook her head and started walking toward her motel again. I need sleep.
The Taco Bellevue Hospital
“Leela you say?”
“Correct. Turanga Leela.”
“Nope. No one by that name has checked in or out of the hospital in the past two weeks.” The nurse glanced at her computer screen.
“She err—disappeared three weeks ago, there was an explosion and . . .” Hermes scratched the back of his neck. “Are you sure that she couldn’t have been here three weeks ago?”
The nurse leaned back in her chair “Listen pal, a couple of Fridays ago there was a huge storm, maybe you remember it? Anyway it knocked out our computers and we lost a huge chunk of data, the tech team is still working on it, so unless this ‘Leela’ has any attribute that makes her stand out, I have no way of knowing if she was here or not.”
“She’s a purple-haired Cyclops.”
The nurse looked dumbfounded for a moment before she turned and called over her shoulder. “Hey Charlie! Wasn’t one of your amnesia patients three weeks ago a Cyclops?”
“Yeah” the doctor named Charlie replied. “She was a strange one, what of it?”
“Someone who knows her is here.” The nurse jerked her head in Hermes’s direction. “Looking for her and whatnot. She still here?”
“No. Left a couple of days ago to get a job as a waitress or something.” Charlie scratched the back of his head.
The nurse turned back to Hermes. “As my imprudent coworker yelled, your friend Leila isn’t here.”
“Her name’s Leela. Did you just say dat she had amnesia while she was here?”
Hermes crossed his arms. “Then why would you let her leave?”
“Not my problem.” The nurse turned to her computer. “She was perfectly healthy, she needed to leave. If she stayed here she might have caught something. Anyway, I think Whitney or someone helped her find a place to stay, or maybe that was a different amnesiac.”
“Can I speak to Whitney?”
“Sure, he’s around here somewhere.”
“Any luck yet?” The young, girlish voice sounded from behind Hermes. Amy, Bender, and the professor had arrived. Unlike Hermes who’d gone straight to the hospital, the place Leela would most likely turn up if she’d lived through the explosion, the trio had detoured to The Cyclops’s apartment to see if she or anyone else had been there in the past three weeks.
“She was here.” The bounty hunter, who’d accompanied Hermes and up to this point had remained in the shadows, didn’t give the bureaucrat a chance to answer. “But not now.”
“There was nothing at her apartment either.” Nothing but the fifty bucks under her couch pillow. Bender laughed quietly to himself.
“Hey Whitney!” The nurse’s yell across the lobby cut through the PE crew’s conversation. “These people want to talk to you about that amnesiac patient you helped.”
The PE crew and the bounty hunter stopped talking and turned to see a tall, blond intern wearing light blue scrubs walk over. Whitney. The annoying character that had nothing to do with the story but always seemed to pop up in it anyway. Didn’t it have enough OC’s already?
One of the characters that actually belonged in the universe, the bending robot that drank, smoked, and cussed. Bender looked Whitney up and down.
“So that’s why ‘Whitney’ is a unisex name.”
The intern raised an eyebrow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You helped Leela find a place to stay, right?” Amy cut in before Bender could insult the intern more. Which wouldn’t be that bad, the guy did kinda look like a girl. But if they were going to find Leela . . .
“Maybe.” Whitney crossed his arms. “If I did, she didn’t go by the name ‘Leela’. What does she look like?”
“A purple-haired Cyclops.”
“Hmm.” The intern rubbed his chin. “I don’t think I helped a woman who looked like that . . .” His lie wasn’t fooling anyone. Whitney sighed and let his arm fall back to his side. “But you’d have better luck accidentally running into her on the streets than finding her.” He smirked.
“What are you getting at?”
“He’s not going to help us because of you, you dolt.” Professor Farnsworth hit Bender over the head.
“Then we have no more business here.” The bounty hunter began pushing the PE crew out to the doors, purposefully leaving Amy behind.
Amy leaned against the front desk next to Whitney. “Are you sure you can’t tell me where Leela is?” She batted her eyelashes and ran her hand across the intern’s chest. “Me and Leela are really close after all.”
Whitney studied the Chinese Martian physicist for a moment before opening his mouth. “If I were to look for her anywhere I’d go to a place called Falcon Enterprise first.”
“Thanks.” Amy jumped up and rejoined the rest of Planet Express.
“Yeah whatever, give the security guard a tip on your way out”
Hovering Squid World 97A
Two aliens sit at a dining table, each possessing a goblet brimming with dark wine. The alien on the left has an indigo-blue complexion that contrasted greatly with his greasy, golden dreadlocks and acid green eyes. Other than that his features were quiet; his face, after years of careful practice, was without emotion, and he was muscular and wore only a simple long kimono-like robe. His companion took a sip from his goblet; he was golden-skinned, well toned, and his eyes were an unusual shade of scarlet. An interesting difference between him and the indigo-skinned alien was their hands; the golden-skinned alien’s were smooth, used to handling weapons, but smooth. The indigo-skinned alien’s were callused and rough, scarred and beaten after long years of labor.
“What you are proposing is that you managed to figure out what not even the Nibblonians who first spoke of what you speak of could not figure out.” The indigo-skinned alien—Julian watched his companion’s face for any hints on what the ambassador was thinking.
Barrett smirked. “Yes. The Nibblonians aren’t as smart as we previously thought. They may be the oldest race in the universe, but there are some things that even they are blind to.”
“Just get to the point. I don’t have all day.” Julian was beginning to lose his patience. Why should he care about the Nibblonians?
“The Nibblonians believe that the Mighty One is the guardian and protector of the universe. The only one who can save it from perilous doom. Their sages have foreseen this for millennia and once or twice, with the coming of the brainspawn, it has been proven true.” Barrett paused and waited for a reaction out of the Lord of Callania 7. When none came he continued, hesitantly. “The Nibblonian sages have also foretold the existence of another, the Other, who according to their myths has no known purpose past her existence.”
“Why does this person matter, then? Why should I care about this person above all the other hundreds of thousands of beings in the known universe?” The Lord of Callania 7 stood, his eyes flashed angrily.
Barrett looked up at the other Callanian smugly, “Because Callania 5 has figured out the purpose of the Other.”
“Ex—excuse me?” Julian’s chief of staff interrupted the discussion of ruler and ambassador. When acid and scarlet eyes turned to glare at him, he bowed deeply, showing respect and avoiding looking into two menacing pairs of eyes at once. When he stood back up he spoke to the table. “The crew my lord sent on the mission to—“
‘I thought I told you not to disturb us.” Julian growled, rising to his feet. “I gave you specific instructions and you could not even follow the simplest of them?!”
“B—but sir, you told me to inform you immediately when the crew returned and—“
“Give me a moment, would you?” The Lord of Callania 7 turned to Barrett. “Something has just come up that requires my attention.” Without waiting for a reply, he dragged his chief of staff out of the room.
Julian returned a few minutes later with a grimace etched across his stony face.
“Good news I hope?” Barrett studied Julian’s face, wondering what mission had the Callanian Lord had set into course.
“Good enough.” Julian replied coldly. “Now what is the purpose of the Other?”
‘To destroy the universe.” Barrett couldn’t help smirking when he saw Julian’s face distort in surprise.
“Interesting.” Julian clasped his hands. “But unbelievable.”
Barrett swallowed hard. “What do you find unbelievable about it?” He spat.
“I see no proof in front of me that verifies your theory.”
“I can get your proof . . . but to get it, you need to take me to Earth.”
Old Sally’s 24hr Motel
The bright noon sun illuminated the small group of men desperately trying not to stand out, but failing miserably because of their dark colored clothing.
“We really should have just done this at night.”
“No kidding, doofus.”
“Shut up you two.”
They moved in silence to back of the building and with care, picked the lock on the backdoor. Then with a few, barely audible creaks and curses they moved up the staircase they found there until they reached the second floor, where one of the last members of the group experienced his foot falling through the floor. It took fifteen minutes to get the foot out.
By the time the burglars reached the fourth floor they had been through three of the group’s one foot or the other falling through the floor and a dislocated shoulder. And by the time they reached the door bearing the number 417 they were growing irritable.
“What kind of person lives in a place like this?”
“Shut up. Let’s just get this over with.”
After some trouble opening the door of Room 417, the first man of the group stepped into the motel room . . . and instantly fell to the floor, unconscious. The same fate met the second. The third was more cautious upon entry, and took enough time to sweep the motel room with his eyes. The faint glimmer of metal, a bedpost most likely, shone from the shadows of a corner.
Lemon woke to the faint sound of her doorknob jingling. She rolled over and willed herself to go back to sleep before she realized that someone was trying to get into her room. Who would want to do that? I’m nobody.
Nobody or not, the Cyclops’s instinct broke in and she grabbed the first useable weapon she saw. The bedpost. It wasn’t any more than a piece of cheap metal the owner of Old Sally’s probably picked up from a construction sight, but if someone were to be hit on the head with it, it would hurt. It would hurt a lot.
As so the first two intruders found out when they entered Lemon’s room.
The third however got to taste her kick.
But this didn’t knock the imbecile out. He was experienced and had been in one too many fights for that to happen. After Lemon’s kick had receded he had stepped back and braced himself to fight. Ok, he’d been told this job would be easy, but apparently not that easy.
“Who the heck are you? And what do you want?”
The third intruder replied with a punch . . . that missed as Lemon had lunged down and to the left. The Cyclops rolled; jumped up, then thrust her knee between the intruder’s legs, and with a sick thud bashed her head against his. The intruder fell and didn’t get back up.
“I asked you who you were.” Lemon snarled at the two remaining men as she grabbed her bedpost from where it had fallen on the floor and held it menacingly. Rage at the intruders, at the memories she could barely grasp, at the world rolled off Lemon in waves. She had had enough. “Either answer me or meet the same fate as your companions.”
“It—it was just supposed to be a prank.” Fear filled one of the two remaining burglars voices. “We were just supposed to pretend to kidnap you and make you do something stupid.”
“We’re the captains of Falcon Enterprise . . . this was supposed to be your Initiation.” The second remaining spoke up.
Lemon lowered her bedpost an inch. These guys can’t be serious. Luc had told her that she would be hazed, but this was just insane. How dumb were her fellow captains? Did they actually think she’d let someone break into where she was staying? Then again, she didn’t even know that she had the abilities to knock them out. The amnesiac cursed softly. Who am I?
“Um . . . Lemon, do you think we can come in?”
Sometime in the Not-So-Distant Future
“Lemon.” The captain the amnesiac had kneed in the balls held a bag of not-so-frozen peas he’d muscled from the person staying in the room two doors down the hall from Lemon, to his head. “Beside the fact you knocked three of us out, you still have to pass your Initiation.”
The purple-haired woman gaped at him but remained silent. How long was he going to be digging this hole? You’d think he’d learn to quit by now.
“To pass your Initiation, you must do one thing so dangerously outrageous that none of us ever will dare do it.”
“Like beating you up?”
This remark’s only reply was a stony frown. “You must take . . .” the captain with the peas looked around him. “Crap, did anyone actually bring it?”
A small, nonchalant crate was pushed forward by one of the pea captain’s companions.
“Ah, here it is.” Pea captain picked up the crate. “You must have this crate of catnip delivered to Thuban 9 via Planet Express Delivery Company.”
“Well that doesn’t sound so dangerous.” Lemon smirked. “You could’ve just asked instead of starting this mess.”
“Believe me when I say it is, our fellow coworker, Louie, was orange for a week after an encounter where the old man who runs the company mistaken him for a lab monkey.”
Lemon raised her eyebrow. “Fine, I’ll take your crate. Then will you leave me alone?”
Why does Planet Express sound familiar?
Falcon Enterprise HQ
The Planet Express headquarters was situated on the Hudson River in more rundown part of town. Its building was small with a hangar that could only house one starship and a bad owl infestation. There was barely anything business-like about it. In comparison, Falcon Enterprise was huge, housing many starships at the same time, no owls, and everyone working in a business-like manner. There was no TV watching here.
Even if they had a better work ethic, the group that just had walked in the building would still look out of place. There was, firstly, the old man. Bald with thick glasses and a lab coat he was easily the oldest person there. Then there was the robot smoking a cigar. First of all, the owner and manager of Falcon Enterprise reserved the right of smoking for himself and secondly, there weren’t that many robots in the building. The Chinese girl could have fit in at Falcon if she wasn’t with the rest of the group, same as the Jamaican. The last member of the group with his height, broad shoulders, and obviously alien hunter-type clothing didn’t look as though he belonged in the group he was traveling with, let alone the FE employees.
“Can I help you?” Oy vey. Jean, for the second time in the past couple of days greeted newcomers into Falcon Enterprise.
“We’re with the Planet Express Delivery Company and—“
“Let me guess.” Jean crossed his arms. “There was an accident and Lemon was turned orange or grew an extra arm. We didn’t sue when Louie was turned orange and we don’t have the money to go to court now. But if you want any business, stop accidently mistaking people for lab monkeys.” This last part was spoken directly at Farnsworth.
“What’s this guy talking about?” Bender removed his second, or was it the third? Cigar from his mouth.
Jean gave the robot a quizzical look. “Nothing’s happened to Lemon then?”
“Who’s Lemon and why is something supposed to happen to her?”
“Lemon, one of our employees, was sent to deliver a package via your company about a half hour ago. She should’ve been back by now. But if you’re here . . .” the flight manager trailed off. “Why are you here again?”
“We’re looking for our friend, Leela. We heard she got a job here.” Amy told Jean.
“There’s no one here who goes by the name Leela. Our newest employee is Lemon and she has amnesia, so she might be your Leela. If your Leela is a purple-haired Cyclops who can save a starship from crashing.”
“Does she wear were giant black boots?”
“I think she has a pair of black boots, I don’t know if I would describe them as giant though.” Jean shrugged. “She also wears a red jacket.”
“Yup. That’s her. Though Fry’s the one with the red jacket.”
“She said it reminded her of something, but she never knew what. And ironically enough Lemon should be at your headquarters with a package that needs delivering.”
A ride on the tube transport across town later, the Planet Express crew arrived back at the scarlet building situated on the Hudson River. There was no one outside the building so they made their way into the interior.
“Zoidberg, I told you I don’t need a brain transplant. I’m not crazy. I saw Leela. I came here after her.” Fry crossed his arms. “And I wasn’t hallucinating this time.”
“Yes, yes.” Zoidberg crept over to the fridge in the mini kitchen, not listening closely to Fry. “But if you get a brain transplant the hallucinations will stop.”
Fry walked over to and leaned against the railing separating the conference room and the hangar. He had seen Leela hadn’t he? They’d gone to O’zorgnax’s together, he’d fallen asleep, and she’d left . . . to come back to Planet Express right? Where else could she have gone? She had amnesia so there wasn’t that many places she could go.
“Hey meatbag!” A cold metal arm grabbed Fry in a headlock. Bender. “You’re back.”
The bounty hunter stepped back farther into the shadows. He had been careful aboard the Planet Express ship when he’d kidnapped Leela, he was sure Fry hadn’t seen him. But one could never be too careful. And he needed to remain unsuspected until he found what he was looking for.
Before anyone could say anything else, the doorbell rang.
The RCS-7/5 Imperial
“Curiosity strikes me.” Barrett traced some of the ship’s controls with a long, bony finger. “You tried to have the Mighty One killed but he survived and your assassin supposedly died. That was three weeks ago and since then you’ve done nothing. Why?”
Julian smirked, his stony face barely moving to create an amused expression. “Why would I? There is an old expression you might know; a bird with one wing cannot fly. A cursory glance at the Mighty One after his failed assassination would prove that the Cyclops was the best choice for the job, she may have failed in actually killing the human, but her death brought about nearly the same result. The Mighty One broke. It was reported that he spent his days drinking himself into a stupor. Utterly useless.”
“You really are ruthless, Julian. One would think you would have more mercy on those so like you.”
“I am not a one-winged bird, ambassador. The Mighty One had to be pushed out of my way. I did what was necessary.” He paused. “And if you’re lying about this proof of the Other.” Julian spat the last word like it was poison. “Remember that you hold just the amount of power your boss gives you, whereas I answer to only—“
Prickles ran up the back of Julian’s neck and he spun around to face his videophone. “My lord.” The Sev-Lord bowed. “I was simply-“
“I don’t care, Julian. But remember it was I who gave you your power and I can take it away just as quickly if I wished.” The being on the videophone crossed his long, spiderlike, plum-colored fingers, his onyx black eyes bore into Julian. “I have honored you with the proposal of partnership in the conquest to take control of the Known Universe. Have you found Ambassador Barrett’s information satisfactory?”
Julian nodded. “Yes, but-”
“Then why hasn’t the ambassador returned to me?”
“I am taking Sev-Lord Julian Jerome Antony III to Earth to prove the existence of the Other.” Barrett bowed and stepped forward.
The ruler of Callania 5 visibly grimaced. “Very well. But next time, report a change of plan before going through with it, ambassador. You will find yourself out of a post if it happens again.”
“As you wish, my lord-“
“Silence. Considering you are already going to Earth, I would suggest kidnapping the Other” he paused. “And any other pawn the Sev-lord finds necessary.” The ruler of Callania 5 cut off the transmission.
Julian walked over to the viewport and stared out at the blue-green sphere that was Earth. The call from Callania 5 had been expected; he would have preferred it at a different time, at time at which he would have been ready. But he now knew that Callania 5 was completely serious about the Other. And the Sev-Lord was sure, by the way the Civ-Lord and Barrett talked, that he knew who the Other was.
Interesting. But not unforeseen. The cards are still in my favor.
Planet Express Delivery Company
Lemon felt strangely cheery as she traveled across New New York. Given that she was going to a place where an old guy may turn her orange, one would think she would be a little more nervous, cautious even.
I can wire anything directly into anything. I’m the professor!
Lemon left the entrance to the tube transport and started walking down toward the giant, towered, red building.
Sweet coincidence of Port-au-Prince, we’re back at Earth!
The Cyclops stopped for a moment to readjust her grip on the crate of catnip going to Thuban 9. I really hated those cute kitties . . . What cute kitties?
My doctorate is in art history.
Lemon stopped. The voices in her head had come back.
Are you off your rocket? Your parents are mutants. It’s illegal for them to come above ground ‘cause they’re inferior genetic scum. Uh, present company excluded, of course.
Anger pressed Lemon’s fingers into the wooden planks of the crate she carried. Being a mutant did not make one genetic scum.
I know not of this Bender. I am Titanius Anglesmith, fancy man of Cornwood.
The door of Planet Express was getting closer and which each step Lemon felt that she had been there before.
Well, this is the end. There was so many things I wanted to say to you.
Like this is not the end. But mostly just, I love you—
Lemon had reached the door of Planet Express and rung the doorbell and a redhead with a hair horn had answered it. The Cyclops forgot everything at the sight of the delivery boy, the package, Falcon Enterprise . . . which in its own small way was rather ironic because she already had amnesia.
Fry had arrived at Planet Express with high hopes that had slowly simmered down when he found Leela was not at the delivery company. Had he just imagined everything that had happened in the alleyway and O’Zorgnax’s? It was possible.
Now with the woman of his affections standing before him, Fry couldn’t help feeling relieved. Everything would get back to normal soon enough.
“Leela! You’re here! Why did you leave me at the bar?”
“What? Who’s Leela?” Lemon stepped back away and dropped her box of catnip. Something about the name seemed familiar . . . almost as familiar as the redhead speaking before her. But for all her memories had been bombarding her earlier, they were silent now. “What are you talking about?”
“You’re Leela!” Fry stared at Lemon and her long purple hair, a goofy smile plastered on his face.
“I’m sorry, I know no Leela.” Something flickered at the back of Lemon’s head, but it was gone before she could grasp it. “My name is Lee Lemon and I need to have this box of catnip delivered to Thuban 9.”
Fry was confused. Where did Leela get the box of catnip? And why wasn’t she acknowledging that they’d just been O’Zorganx’s together? She didn’t remember anything of her past, she’d told him earlier. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t make new memories. Didn’t it?
“Look.” Lemon sighed. “Can you just deliver this package to Thuban 9?” She reached out to hand Fry the crate, the delivery boy refused to take it.
“Don’t you recognize me, Leela?” Desperation entered Fry’s voice. “It’s me, Fry, your loveable goofbag.”
“I’m sorry, Fry or whoever you are. I think you have me confused with someone else; I’m not your Leela. My name is Lee Lemon and . . . I don’t even know who I am. Lemon stopped. How could she be so sure she wasn’t this Leela? She had no idea who she was.
PEEEWHOOOSH! A long darkly colored shuttle shattered the peace of the cloudless blue sky above Planet Express as it nosedived toward the Hudson River and . . . barely made it to the bank of the river.
The Callanians had arrived on Earth.
Something struck Lemon at that moment. Puzzle pieces that before made no sense began coming together. It had started on the Falcon Enterprise ship; she had felt a sense of rightness at the helm. Then it had continued on to her fight with the other captains; her body remembered how to fight when she had no recollection of ever fighting. Now, seeing the alien spacecraft, she knew she had been in one before. And the Hudson River . . . being cold and scared and the last bits of oxygen leaving her lungs.
A giant explosion.
“Good hustle, soldier.”
At the touch of someone patting her bum, Lemon whirled around and slapped him on the face.
“Uh, sorry, sir. I was still in attack mode. You know how testosterone is.” Crap. Maybe he won’t recognize me.
“As a bubbling Crock-pot of male hormones, I sure do. What’s your name, private?”
“Lee—“ Crud. Why didn’t I think of an alias earlier? La . . . man. La Man . . . Lemon! Phew. Lee Lemon, sir.
Leela took a step back toward the Hudson River. It was all making sense now. Her name wasn’t Lee Lemon; it was Leela, Turanga Leela. She had once gone by Lee Lemon, but that was only to get into the DOOP army to save Bender and Fry. Fry! The Cyclops spun on the redhead. Fry.
I know who I am. Leela stumbled backward and was only stopped from falling backward in the Hudson by the convenient placement of a low brick wall.
“Leela. Are you ok?” Fry met the starship captain’s gaze. Something was wrong. He reached out an arm to steady the Cyclops. Was she hurt? Why wasn’t she answering him? . . . And who were those two aliens walking toward them?
Leela followed Fry’s gaze to the Callanians.
“Your mission is a simple one. I have an enemy on the planet, Earth and my enemy is yours. Do you understand? A nod will suffice as an answer.”
“Good. This enemy is called the Mighty One and it is your job to put an end to his life.”
The Cyclops tried to take another step back, but found herself unable because of the brick wall and thus fell back into the Hudson River with an innocent splash.
“This is a destromite grenade, it is very powerful. Do not use it unless it is absolutely necessary to kill the Mighty One.
Leela desperately tried to clear the memory from her head, she needed to get to the surface, but the images wouldn’t leave her alone and the current tugged her farther downriver.
No! Not again! Fry watched with horror as for the second time in three weeks he lost Leela to the river. This time I am not going to lose you! He jumped and his lungs made him instantly regret not taking a breath first. There wasn’t much oxygen in the river. He also regretted not knowing how to swim.
“There has been a change in the plan. I have received word that the Mighty One is on a DOOP space station orbiting Earth. Instead of going to the planet, you will intercept your target there.”
Leela struggled to no avail. It was no use, her oxygen was quickly running out and dizziness clouded her brain. She was fading and her sense of direction was lost. There was no telling which way it was to the surface.
Fry slowly sank lower into the river. He let the river carry him with the current, he couldn’t swim and trying would waste precious oxygen. It was a better idea to let the river take him to Leela . . . and not think of how he would get back up to the surface.
She infiltrated the DOOP space station with stealth. Its crew was lazy and easy to defeat. Now all that was left was to find the target.
Leela found herself in a shadowy place. She looked around, if anything curious. How did I come to be here? And where was I? Her eye caught a twinkling star in the distance; she turned toward it, her body felt as though it was moving through jelly. The Cyclops shivered. Why is it so cold? Involuntarily she moved toward the light and began to feel warmer.
There! A dark distorted shape finally came into Fry’s range of vision. Leela. Why hasn’t she tried to return to the surface? Could she have hit her head or something? What if . . . No! He half swam half was carried by the current to the unconscious Cyclops. Huh, normally she’s the one who dives underwater to save me. Fry thought as he wrapped his arms around Leela and in the murk of the Hudson, attempted to push her and himself back up to the surface.
She didn’t find him . . . he found her . . . the surprised look on his face when he saw her knock the Amphibiosan out . . . she knew him . . . but from where?
Leela’s lungs retract searching for nonexistent oxygen; the space around her was as heavy and thick as syrup. There was nothing . . . nothing but a terrible weight dragging her somewhere. Let me go! I want to go! Her heart ached, her lungs gave up, and her brain entered darkness.
Fry heaved; his oxygen almost out. Why didn’t I listen when Leela nagged me about getting into better condition? Now we’re both going to die! He continued attempting to haul himself and Leela upwards but made very little progress. Hugging the Cyclops he loved close to his body, he felt her heartbeat against his. Leela was still alive! He needed to keep moving.
I won’t give up Leela. I’ll save us. Somehow . . . Come on stupid leg…s pump! Fry saw the surface coming closer and closer. Almost there . . . just a few more feet . . . His heart throbbed and his head becomes dizzy from a lack of oxygen. Leela’s heartbeat slows and becomes fainter . . . fainter . . . No! I will not let you die Leela! You’ve saved me so many times! Let me save you just this once! I don’t care if you don’t remember me! I don’t care if you don’t love me! I don’t want to live without you!
“Yes!” Cool delicious air filled Fry’s lungs. It was a miracle! Somehow he had managed to swim to the surface of the river, then to the shore where he gently lied Leela down. There was no air coming out of her mouth.
“No!” Salty tears drip noiselessly from Fry’s face. “No! Leela you can’t be dead! I just found you! You were always the strong one. You can’t be dead, Leela! You were already dead! But then you were alive somehow! You can’t be dead! I can’t lose you again. I can’t . . . . Why didn’t you try to swim to the surface Leela? Why didn’t you try to save yourself? Leela! Why?!” Fry began to sob.
Thump . . . Thump . . . Thump . . .
What had been taken from her, the river gave back. But at what price did memories come?