Outside Planet Express
It was the silent warmth of the waning sun that first told Fry he needed to move. He had been sitting with Leela’s body by the river long enough. It would soon be dark and he needed to explain to everyone else what had happened. Carefully the delivery boy collected himself up enough to stand. He then reached down to lift—no he couldn’t bring himself to touch her. I’ll have to tell someone . . . Weakly Fry heaved himself toward Planet Express. So absorbed was the redhead in reaching the door that he walked to or, more often than not, ran to because he was almost always late, every day when he came to work that he didn’t notice the warship on the street or the two tall malicious aliens who were quickly coming up behind him.
“Who is this I wonder?” Julian came up behind Fry and put his hand on the delivery boy’s shoulder. “Not the Mighty One?” His voice was full of mockery.
“This is the Mighty One?” Barrett laughed. “Julian, has solitude on Callania 7 taken your wits? This is no more than a flabby human.”
Fry turned “What do you want?” His voice was empty and his eyes were distant and dull.
“Are you the Mighty One?”
“ . . .” Fry hesitated, and something clicked in his brain “Yes . . .”
“Then you can tell us where the Other is.” Barrett informed Fry.
“The Cyclops.” He sighed.
Fry started to say something, but then broke down in sobs. He fell down to his knees and held his head in hands. On the horizon, the sun finally disappeared and darkness erupted into night. The two Callanians shared a confused look, before Julian squatted down next to Fry.
“Are you ok?” There was a forced gentleness to the Callanian Lord’s voice that had never been there before. The Callanian’s weak attempt to sound genuinely concerned might have registered with Fry normally, but he was so distraught at that moment and he didn’t notice.
Fry didn’t reply, but salty tears continued down the sides of his face.
“How about you tell me what’s bothering you so much.” Julian lifted Fry’s chin so their eyes met. “Maybe it will make you feel better.”
“Julian!” Barrett hissed, “What the heck are you doing?”
Jerome turned to his companion and whispered, “Something has happened to the Other and he knows something about it. He could tell us if we use a gentle touch.”
“Then why not just take him back to Callania 7? We’re too exposed here.” Barrett snapped.
“Very well . . . I’ll take him in the warship. But we’ve been spotted” Julian nodded up to the lit window of the Planet Express tower where an indistinguishable figure stepped out of view. “Go inside and take care of it and any others that might be around. There’s a hangar, so there’ll be a ship you can use to return to Callania 7 once you’re done.”
The ambassador of Callania 5 looked as if he was going to refuse for a moment, before thinking better of it and entered Planet Express.
Julian turned back to Fry “Listen, I know a place. Its quiet there and we can talk. I can take you there and you can tell me what’s wrong.”
Fry looked at the Callanian Lord and nodded. A small voice in his head yelled at him to get away from this strange extraterrestrial, but he ignored it and followed his newfound friend into the warship. A few moments later the warship took off.
Inside Planet Express
Barrett sniffed. Humans have the most indecent ways of keeping their dwellings. He walked over to the elevator and studied it for a moment. I wonder what this could be. (Stairs are used on all the Callanian planets that house life. Elevators haven’t been invented in the Callanian star system). After a couple minutes Barrett finally pushed in the button by the elevator, causing the doors to open. The Callanian eyed the small chamber he found in front of him, cocked a laser pistol he’d had hidden, and stepped into the elevator, then slowly he ascended into Planet Express.
“Who was at the door, Fry?” The professor was sitting on the couch with Amy, Bender, Zoidberg, and Hermes. The bounty hunter stood off to the side, trying not to draw notice to himself. Farnsworth didn’t look away from the news on the TV as Barrett entered. The bounty hunter was coming in from the hangar, the last to leave the meeting he’d interrupted. “Fry?” The professor turned. “You’re not Fry. Fry has red hair.”
Fry . . . must’ve been the human Julian took back to Callania 7. “No. I am not this Fry. Fry isn’t here.” Barrett paused. “I—“
“Barrett!” Horror engulfed the bounty hunter’s face. Why is a Civ-Callanian on Earth?
The ambassador to Callania 5 raised an eyebrow at the hunter. “Well, well, what are you, my favorite hunter, doing here?”
“You know him?” Amy looked towards the bounty hunter.
“What, you didn’t tell them?” Barrett smirked at the bounty hunter. You let them believe in you—“
“I never believed in him.” Bender crossed his arms. “For all I know he could be here to con to old fart out this crummy building like those scammers and I did.”
“Yeah. All he ever did for us was give us this mysterious blue vial and stand in the shadows” Amy picked up the small vial from its place of little honor on the coffee table.
Barrett’s eyes bore into the innocent-looking object. Liquid Destructomite? But—but we destroyed all of it. He’d recognize the liquid native to only Callania 7 anywhere. Nevermind that now, what’s important is getting back to the Empire . . . and taking care of any witnesses. “You didn’t tell them?” He manipulated his words carefully toward the bounty hunter. “That’s rich, after how you’ve helped orchestrated all their problems.” The Callanian smiled devilishly at the hunter’s distress. “Oh yes my friend, Julian filled me in on everything.”
The bounty hunter stood for a second before bowing his head. “Very well. Do you want to tell them or should I?”
“What?!” Barrett jerked his head back “You’re going to tell them?”
“Tell us what?” Bender asked.
“Your friend the Cyclops tried to kill your friend, Fry three weeks ago.” The bounty hunter didn’t take his eyes from Barrett. “I was the one who brought her to the one who sent her to do that.”
The RCS-7/5 Imperial
Barrett was right. We couldn’t work in the open. But bringing the Mighty One to Callania 7? Why? Not that it was that hard of a task. Julian shook his head. What was Barrett thinking? The Callanian Lord turned to the window and stared out into the vastness of space.
“My lord” the lieutenant of the warship bowed deeply. “We have done as you requested and have given the human a room. He is resting there now. What are your orders?”
Jerome turned “Very good my servant. Change our course for Callania 7. I will meet with the human myself.”
“As you wish, but if I may be so bold? The human, though he is alive and in good health, is devoid of any energy. It is as if he has lost the will of life and without it I don’t see why he is of use.”
“Let me worry about that.” Leaving his lieutenant to change the ship’s course Julian went to see Fry.
The delivery boy was broken. He stared blankly at the wall. For a second the Callanian Lord just studied him. What could’ve torn him apart like this? Moving to sit by Fry, Julian spoke softly to the redhead “Can you tell me what happened?”
“She’s dead. She’s really dead this time.” Fry mumbled.
“Come with me.” Julian commanded, standing up. “You need to see something.”
Fry nodded and slumped as he followed the Callanian Lord out of the small room he’d been given. The two made their way across the moving warship without being challenged. Julian was the Last Lord of Callania 7 and in power of the ship after all. Fry nearly ran into Julian when the Callanian abruptly stopped. Without turning around to face his companion the Callanian spoke “What you are about to see is something few before you have ever seen. Be warned Mighty One.”
Fry gulped. The Callanian Lord put his hand against a hand recognition panel to the side of a door, causing the door to open. Then he led the delivery boy into a world of solitude and secrets.
The RCS-7/5 Imperial
At first it was quiet. Quieter than a Tuesday morning at McPluto. Fry looked around him for the strange alien man who’d brought him there, but the mysterious lord had slipped away somewhere. Looking around, Fry was surprised to find himself alone in the bridge, the way the alien man talked he made it sound as if he was showing Fry something special. The redhead shrugged and turned to leave.
“Get this ship going!” Two women ran into the bridge. One ran to the wheel and started the ship. The other—the one, who’d, yelled took-command of the navigational controls. Within moments Fry felt the ship beneath purr into life.
“Hey! What’s going on?” Fry yelled, but both women ignored him. Then they took off, or at least it felt like they took off. But we’re already in space . . .
Bam! The bridge shook.
“They’re giving chase!” Leela yelled, dropping her boot on the pedal.
Leela? Fry thought bewildered. But Leela’s dead. Nevertheless the purple-haired Cyclops sat at the wheel, concentrating solely on steering the ship.
“Leela!” Fry yelled, stumbling over to her. “Leela! You’re alive!”
The Cyclops steered her ship in a series of complicated evasion maneuvers and didn’t acknowledge Fry’s presence.
“That is quite enough.” Julian appeared out of nowhere grabbed Fry’s shoulder and dragged him out of the room.
Confused because the ship didn’t seem to be moving anymore and he felt as though he was now on a completely different ship from the one in the room, Fry rose against the Callanian Lord. “Leela was in there!”
“I see.” Julian mused. “Interesting. Come.” The Callanian dragged Fry back to his room, shoved the delivery boy inside, and locked the door. The Mighty One’s reaction to the Hologram Room was intriguing. The room had been programmed to read the brainwaves of whoever entered its domain, it would use these to read its user’s thoughts and emotions and decipher from them what held the most importance in the mind of the user, before finding where the important thing or person was in the universe and stimulate what that thing or person was doing at the time. It had been one of many of the great inventions of Callania 7 and Julian’s was probably the last in existence.
Left alone, Fry’s mind was spinning with half-thought out ideas. He’d seen Leela breathing, alive, and guiding a starship. He didn’t know how she’d survived. But she had. And she was on this ship.
Fry began to pace his small room, electricity running through his veins. Leela had died, then come alive, then die again, and now she was living, again. But was it real? Fry stopped. Leela couldn’t be alive; she’d had no heartbeat by the river, none that he could feel . . .
“You kidnapped Leela . . . sent her to . . . who . . . make her try to kill Fry?” Hermes jumped up in a somewhat confused manner.
“Yes. I did.” The bounty hunter sighed. “Though in my defense I was under order—”
“That’s quite enough.” Barrett cut the bounty hunter off. He turned to the Planet Express crew. “He has manipulated you, all of you, for his own gain. Everything that he’s told you has been a lie. At this moment he had your friend, the redhead, taken hostage back to his homeworld.”
“What are you talking about, Barrett?” The bounty hunter snapped.
Barrett smirked “See even now he’s pretending to be your friend, but he’s not.”
“But he’s been so kind to us. He let me make an ant farm out of these little gray things.” Zoidberg lifted up a pyramid-ish blob of goop.”
“Those are highly toxic Embritian earwigs, you idiot! I was disposing them!” The bounty hunter roared.
“Hmph. We’ll see about that after I eat them.” Zoidberg huffed. “Take him away good sir.” He turned to Barrett.
“In good time my good lobster.” Barrett turned to the rest of the Planet Express crew. “See? He’s been lying to you. He’s had your friend taken away. He’s been using you for his own gain.”
“So what you’re saying is black suit here had Fry kidnapped.” Bender waved his beer at Barrett. “And that everything he’s told us about Leela is a lie?
“Yes.” Barrett nodded. If they keep falling for my lies, this will be a lot easier than I expected.
Amy crossed her arms “Why should we trust you?”
“Because I know where took the redhead and I can take you there.”
“Wait just a moment. When Fry left to get the doorbell you came in, you must’ve seen Fry! How do we know that it wasn’t you who had him kidnapped?! Or that he’s been kidnapped at all! If you ask me it all sounds mighty suspicious.” Hermes glared at Barrett.
“I swear on the lives of my comrades on the planet, Embrita that every word I’ve spoken to you is truth.”
“All the Embritians died during their Nuclear War!” The bounty hunter spat. “I have been with you this entire time. When did I have a chance to kidnap Fry? He is the one who’s manipulating you all.”
Tom sighed and put his head in his hands. Why? Why me? Why must I be cursed like this?
“Sir, we don’t have anyone to fly the ship to Urectum. What should we do?” Mackenzie, yet another Falcon employee, broke Tom’s thoughts.
“Can’t Josh or any of the other captains take the flight?” Tom groaned.
“No. Apparently they’re questioning the original captain of the Io trip that Lemon saved.” Mackenzie answered. “Jean and I haven’t seen them all day.”
Why did I ever hire those idiots? They’ll cost me more flights than they make. “What about Lemon? They couldn’t possibly let her help with their interrogation.” And she probably will fly the ship to its destination without any of the usual screw-ups my other captains can’t seem to avoid. Tom stood and walked over to the broad bay window in his office that overlooked New New York City. That’s why I chose her . . . and the other two.
“No. They sent her out on her Initiation some time ago and she hasn’t returned yet.” Mackenzie answered.
“What! What did they send her to do?!”
“They sent her to have a box of catnip delivered using the Planet Express Delivery Company.”
Tom roared “What!” Planet Express! If she—if they—it’ll be the ruin of me! “They sent her there! Those fools! Don’t they know what’ll happen? Don’t they understand the danger?!”
“Yes. I think that’s why they sent her. It’s a fairly dangerous task.” Mackenzie replied calmly.
Tom sighed and opened a drawer in his desk. He took out a gray cylinder that had rested there for exactly three weeks. “No, they don’t understand just how dangerous it was to send Lemon to Planet Express Mackenzie, nor do you.”
Mackenzie looked confused “I don’t understand. What is so appalling about sending Lemon to Planet Express other than the fact she might be mistaken for a lab monkey like Louie was?”
“Do you know what this is?” Tom ignored Mackenzie’s question and held up the gray cylinder he’d taken out.
“A wristlojackimator, and it looks like a decent one.”
“Not just any wristlojackimator, this one belonged to the captain of the Planet Express crew.” Tom told Mackenzie.
“Then why do you have it?”
“You don’t see many Cyclops walking around on the streets and none of them have purple hair. A man would remember someone like that.” Tom seemed to be speaking more to himself than to Mackenzie.
“What are you getting at?” Mackenzie slowly began to edge toward the door. “Why do you have that wristlojackimator?”
Tom cocked his head curiously at Mackenzie; doesn’t she get it? “Don’t you find it odd that Lemon is a purple-haired Cyclops? That no one has recognized her yet? That she has career chip but the doctors at the hospital couldn’t match her fingerprint to any in their database?”
“Yes . . .”
“Lemon is a purple-haired Cyclops. It should’ve been easy for the doctors at the hospital to discover who she was. Yet they didn’t.”
“I guess . . .”
Tom sighed and set the wristlojackimator down. “Mackenzie, is your mind this clouded? As my sole heir and only niece didn’t I teach you better? Do you not see what I have had done?” He paused “Those asinine physicians at the hospital would’ve recognized Leela within five minutes of running a DNA test. The only reason they didn’t is because I bribed an intern to delete all standing medical information they had on her and had him steel the one item they could use to identify her.” Lifted the wristlojackimator “Then I had the intern bring her here when she went searching for work.”
Mackenzie stopped subtly moving herself closer to the door. “Wait, you’ve known who Lemon is this entire time? And you never told her!” Waning sunlight washed over Mackenzie’s face, illuminating her features as outside the sun began to go down. The heir of Falcon Enterprise blinked and shielded her face with her hand. “Why?”
“Many reasons” Tom sat back down in his chair. “One of them being I needed a starship captain who could get her ship and crew out of a tight spot instead of putting them in one like every other captain who works for me. Turanga Leela, known to you, as Lee Lemon is one such captain. Three weeks ago she worked for the Planet Express Delivery Company and was the only victim of an explosion outside the Planet Express headquarters. I found her washed up on the bank of the Hudson opposite of the delivery company. The good person I am I took her to the hospital where they immediately identified her. Later I found myself with a golden business opportunity as when she woke up it was clear that she had amnesia.” Tom paused to study Mackenzie. “We both know that Falcon Enterprise’s current crews aren't worth the gold I pay them in. I realized if Leela were to work for Falcon Enterprise I would gain a good captain and her crew, as the rest of the Planet Express crew, starting with the delivery boy she has of a boyfriend, would probably follow her here when it is revealed that I had her sign this.” Tom lifted up a document. “This is the contract that Leela signed when she first came to work for me after her accident.”
“You are one sick man.” Mackenzie folded her arms and glared at Tom. “Josh, Jean, the others, and I do our best and it still isn’t good enough for you. You have to have some other crew that apparently is better than we are.”
“Mackenzie-you’re not as bad as the others, you’re my niece, my flesh and blood—”
“Yeah, and that’s all you cared about when you hired me isn’t it?”
“No—no that’s not it at all—”
“Shut up!” Quicker than lightning itself; Mackenzie drew a small stun gun–one that had been issued by Falcon Enterprise –and shot Tom straight in the chest with it. Then she picked up the contract he held. Using a lighter she had in her pocket she burned it, then took out her own contract with her uncle and burned it too. Well old man, if Jean and the others aren’t good enough for you, than neither is Lemon and neither am I. Putting her gun away she turned to leave, then noticed the gray cylinder in Tom’s hand. She picked up the wrist device, Lemon- or whatever her name was- needs to be warned about Tom.
Outside night had fallen on the world. Mackenzie shivered and drew her coat closer around herself, the lump inside her pocket that was Leela’s wristlojackimator pressed against her body. Shoving the device into a more comfortable position she walked over to an entrance to the Tube Transport.
The tube entrance sucked her up and Mackenzie began her journey across town.
20 Minutes Later
“This is Planet Express?” Mackenzie stood before an unlit scarlet building. Her first impression of the place was that it looked like it would better be a front for a mafia scheme than a package delivery company. “But who am I to judge?” She mumbled to herself before approaching the door.
“Urrrgh” a low groan echoed somewhere by the river. Mackenzie stopped. What was that? Am I imagining things? She was about to ring the doorbell of Planet Express when the groan echoed again. What is that? The old manager’s assistant of Falcon Enterprise started carefully advanced on the dark bank of the river, above her a half moon shone ominously.
Thump. . Thump. . Thump. . Thump. . .
There was something lying by the river. Mackenzie couldn’t make out at first what it was in the shadows of the night. As she moved closer, Mackenzie realized that the shape was slowly moving, heaving up and down in rasping breathes. It’s a person!
It was dark. That was the first thing she knew. Everything around her was wet and she was cold. Those were the first things she felt. Her heartbeat coming and going was the first thing she heard. Then there were the near silent footfalls coming closer and closer. She struggled to get up for a moment but found herself paralyzed from doing so. The Cyclops clenched one of her fists, the only movement she was capable of doing. She had never felt this helpless before and it was driving her into madness. The footfalls stopped and the Cyclops felt the gaze of a stranger looking down on her. She struggled to move again to no avail.
I will kick your ass. She had been picked up by the stranger and now was being carried. A blast of warmth told the Cyclops she’d been carried into a building. Then after a short pause that the Cyclops guessed was being lifted by an elevator, she was laid down on something soft, squishy, and familiar. . .
Mackenzie laid Leela down on the couch she’d found in the lounge of Planet Express. After finding the Cyclops lying by the river, she hadn’t hesitated in taking her inside to warmth. Now what do I do? Mackenzie surveyed the lounge. It was a typical lounge; housing a TV, couch, and coffee table on one side of the doorway, and on the other a table surrounded by a few chairs. What was on the table surprised the intruding woman the most; a small vial filled with bluish liquid.
Curious, Mackenzie walked over to the table and lifted up the vial, the bluish liquid inside sloshed up against the sides. What the heck is this? She tried to uncork the vial but found it stuck. The ex-Falcon employee cursed and put the vial down again.
“Some sort of alien tincture, I’d reckon.”
In an instant Mackenzie had spun around, before her stood a man wearing a red cap, some sort of blue janitorial clothing, and a rather large grey mustache. He leaned nonchalantly against an old-fashioned mop.
“Scruffy.” There was a pause. “The janitor.”
Mack hesitated and looked down at the vial, unsure of her next move. “Err . . . is there anyone else here?”
“No.” Scruffy took off his cap and slicked back his hair. “Scruffy works alone.”
“Ok . . . Is there first aid somewhere? Lee Lem—Leela is hurt and needs medical attention.” The Ex-Falcon employee motioned behind her to where Leela lay on the lounge couch.
They were fuzzy. Like listening to a radio with an overload of white noise. She was somewhat sure they were voices, both sounded vaguely familiar, but they were impossible to place. The Cyclops tested every inch of her body for something she could move, something that would break her paralysis. Once again her fist clenching and unclenching was the only movement she was capable of. That needed to change.
The one and only janitorial member of the PE crew led the tall, hazel-eyed, brunette through the delivery company building until they reached a door with the words
Dr. John Zoidberg “M”D.
Written on its one window. The duo entered the office, rifled through the medical and the nonmedical contents inside its walls, and returned to the lounge empty-handed but for a few bandages. And they didn’t help much.
The warmth was a wet surprise. It ran over her face and sent shivers running up her spine. Hadn’t there been enough water in her life for a day? it slightly disturbed her that something, something that could be a dog’s tongue, was being gently passed over her face. The Cyclops clenched her fist again. The voices were back . . . and less hazy this time.
Yes they had cleaned off Leela’s face with a dampened bandage and the Cyclops looked somewhat better, at least there was more color to her face . . . but now what the heck did Mackenzie and Scruffy do? Was there any more they could do?
The bluish vial sparkled invitingly from where it sat, once again abandoned, on the coffee table. Both sets of conscious eyes fell on it as the most interesting object in the room.
“Some sort of alien tincture, I’d reckon.” Scruffy repeated his earlier words when Mackenzie once again picked up the vial and held it up against the light. “Scruffy thinks it might be something a called Destructomite in its liquid form.”
The janitor reached down and removed a loose tile in the floor. From the hollow space beneath he retrieved a small box and took a disk with the words ‘Ancient Alien Contrabands Class and Lectures’. Scruffy then placed this disk in the TV.
“Oxygen, why it can be used as a fatal toxic . . .”
Scruffy removed the disk from the TV, flipped it over, and shoved it back it.
“Destructomite. The valuable element no one’s ever heard of because it technically doesn’t exist. But today you’ll learn that even though something doesn’t exist it still can be harmful . . .
Scruffy fast-forwarded the video for about five minutes.
Destructomite is theorized to be the core element of most of the planets in the little known about Clandestine Galaxy. It is said to be a highly explosive material that could be triggered to explode by even a slight disturbance, making most of the planets in the Clandestine Galaxy with Destructomite as their core incredibly unstable. Consequently because of this only one of the star systems of the galaxy was inhabited, the Callanian Star System. No one knows who the Callanians were or why they had decided to settle there after their original star system had been sucked into a growing black hole, but they had and were highly successful in restarting their civilization.
Most of the Callanian planets are reclusive and do not associate themselves with the outside world. The only Callanian planet known to have any contact with anyone outside the Callanian Star System at any time was Callania 7. The Sevs, the inhabitants of Callania 7, managed to operate a Destructomite weaponry business for about a half century, selling weapons based on the explosive element to all those who would buy. This ended when the Callanians of the other planets of the star system grew tired of the people of Callania 7’s ways and, led by Callania 5, attacked the planet causing a genocide that left only one Callanian in control of the entire planet.
But before the demise Callania 7’s people, they created the ultimate remedy and poison, Liquid Destructomite. Unlike solid Destructomite, Liquid Destructomite wasn’t explosive. It could be used in two ways, as an instant poison or an instant curative. For it to take effect, the Liquid Destructomite must be ingested. If the drinker were perfectly healthy, the liquid element would act as a poison, but if they were sick or wounded in any way it would act the instant curative. But all Liquid Destructomite had been lost with the downfall of Callania 7.
This has been Roseanne with Ancient Alien Contrabands . . .
The video clicked off. Scruffy took it out of the TV and placed it back in its original hiding spot under the floor tile. Then without any ceremony the janitor left Mack alone in the lounge.
Mackenzie looked down at the Destructomite in her hand, then over at Leela. This stuff can probably help her. She uncorked the vial and carefully carried it back to the motionless Cyclops and poured it down her throat.
It took a moment for her to realize that she could move. She opened her eye and jumped up. Huh? I’m in Planet Express. Then Leela saw Mackenzie and she flew at the other woman in a jump kick. Who is she and what is she doing here?!
Mackenzie jumped out of Leela’s path and retaliated against the Cyclops with a quick jab. Leela landed and flew back up in an instant. The Cyclops took a defensive stance and waited for Mackenzie to make the next move. Mackenzie scrutinized Leela. We never worked together during her time at Falcon Enterprise so she doesn’t know who I am. Most likely she sees me as an unwelcome intruder who needs to be taken care of and she seems to know how to fight well.
“Who are you? Someone Bender blackmailed?” Leela inquired.
“No . . . What?”
“Nothing.” Leela relaxed slightly “What are you doing here?”
“What, you aren’t going to attack me anymore?”
Leela sighed and rolled her eye “Not at this moment.” Though I might if she keeps asking questions.
“My name is Mackenzie. I work—used to work for Falcon Enterprise. I came to warn you that Tom, the owner of Falcon Enterprise has known who you are since before you worked at Falcon. He tried to deceive you into permanently working for him.”
Leela was silent for a moment. She appeared to be in deep thought. Then without a word she left the lounge and went into the Conference Room. Mackenzie shifted her weight between feet and waited, agonizing over whether to follow Leela or not. In the end she decided to stay put.
“Does Tom have anything to do with where my coworkers have gone?” Leela returned.
“No.” Well, he might. A sharp pain in her side reminded her of the package Mackenzie carried. “Oh yeah, Tom had this.” She tossed the wristlojackimator at Leela. Leela caught the device and placed it on her right wrist, it hummed as it turned on.
“That’s strange, the ship isn’t appearing anywhere on my radar.” Leela toyed with her wrist thing.
“It must be in the Clandestine Galaxy” Mackenzie spoke without thinking.
“Clandestine Galaxy? Where’s that?” Leela turned away from the device she always wore on her wrist “Also what?”
"It's a dwarf spiral galaxy in one of the voids bordering the Virgo galaxy cluster."
Leela crossed her arms. "There aren't any galaxies in the voids. Everyone knows that."
"Yeah, and how would you know? Have you actually been to any of the voids?"
"Well, not exactly-".
"That's what I thought. There are a couple of galaxies in the voids, but they're small and hard to find, and they're surrounded by megaparsecs of dead space."
"And why would the ship be there?" Leela asked.
Mackenzie held up the now-empty vial that she'd used to revive Leela for the Cyclops to see. "See this? I found this vial sitting here when I got here. I used it to wake you up. The blue stuff that was in the vial is insanely rare and only found on planets in the Clandestine Galaxy. There's no way it's a coincidence that it just happened to be here."
“And how exactly did you know all this?” Leela asked suspiciously as she reached for her absent gun.
“Falcon Enterprise was doomed the minute it went into business. Tom started the business and, by our first voyage, we were already in debt.” Mackenzie sighed. “Tom wasn’t going to do anything, everyone knew it. So some of the captains and I started a smuggling business on the side, our biggest business partner was Callania 7 in the Clandestine Galaxy before its genocide. I learned a great deal about the galaxy before Callania 7’s demise.”
“Why would Fry and the others go to the Clandestine Galaxy? It doesn’t make any sense.” Leela shook her head. “What could possibly be there?”
“The Callanian Star System is the only known inhabited part of the Clandestine Galaxy. If your friends indeed went to Clandestine, that’s most likely where they are.” Mackenzie told Leela “Why they would go there is a mystery to me. No one goes to the Callanian Star System anymore. Not after Callania 7.”
Leela walked over to the window and looked out into the sleeping night. Where did they go? When no answer met her thoughts, the Cyclops turned back to Mackenzie. There was only one option in her mind. She would go to the Clandestine Galaxy.
The Streets of New New York
“I can’t believe this is the best idea you came up with.” Mackenzie shook her head.
“You didn’t have to come.” Leela finished tying a knot in the rope of the grappling hook she’d brought with her. “Why did you come anyway?”
“You don’t have the access code you need to open the hangar or the clearance to take out a ship in the middle of the night and you don’t know much about the Clandestine Galaxy or the Callanians. Face it, you need help.” Mackenzie answered. “The eastern wall would be the best to climb, it faces an empty alley.”
“I’m stealing a starship. I don’t think access codes will be much help.” Leela moved around the side of Falcon Enterprise.
“Even so, don’t you think stealing a ship would be easier if no alarms were set off?” Mackenzie replied. “Also I would’ve wanted to see Tom’s face when one of his ships has been stolen without any of his excessive alarms going off.”
Leela threw the grappling hook up the side of the Falcon Enterprise building. “You do realize that if we get caught, we’re both going straight to prison.” She sighed; stealing a starship hadn’t been her first idea. But with the Planet Express ship gone and no way of finding Fry, Bender, Amy, Hermes, the professor, and . . . Zoidberg without going into space there weren’t many options to choose from. It wasn’t like she could walk into Falcon Enterprise in the middle of the night without raising any suspicion.
“I realize it and truly accept it.” Mackenzie walked over and stood directly next to Leela. “Tom called me and all my friends and coworkers a bunch of brainless apes. He deserves being stolen from.”
Leela nodded silently and began to scale the side of the building. A brief thought brought her to another time and place where she’d broken into a much different place for a much different reason. If only Bender hadn’t pawned his body and Nixon hadn’t bought it… It was a simple task to reach a window high on the Falcon Enterprise wall. Then it was a simple matter of using a lockpick she’d confiscated from Bender when she found him trying to open her locker with it, to pry the window open. Then together, the two women entered the business they both had once worked for.
It was eerily quiet. Not daring to speak let alone breath, Leela and Mackenzie walked to the door of the office they’d climbed into. Leela pushed the door open a crack, seeing no one on the other side she signaled to Mackenzie before exiting the office.
“We need to reach Terminal 5c.” Mackenzie whispered. “Regular ships won’t make it to the Clandestine Galaxy. That’s why when my smuggling business was started a Callanian starship was requisitioned from Callania 7. When the planet’s people met their demise the starship was put into storage. We keep it in Terminal 5c.”
Leela started to nod before stopping herself “But there isn’t a terminal after 5b. There never was.”
“You didn’t work here long enough.” Mackenzie sighed “The whole Callania 7 smuggling operation was done under Tom’s nose. We couldn’t exactly keep a 45 ton starship in the hangar without drawing some attention.” She began to lead Leela away from their entry point. “Part of this building caved it some time back when Earth was taken over by the Decapodians. Terminal 5c was demolished and since they couldn’t find a way to excavate that part of the building without bringing the rest of the place down they sealed the terminal off and built a new wall. It’s great for telling ghost stories.” The rogue Falcon employee paused “Though it’s not true, Terminal 5c was demolished, but after some months of tediously slow work in the dark of night, my smuggler friends and I managed to repair it completely.
The two had reached the end of the hangar and were faced with the cold, gray wall that marked its ending. Without hesitation, Mackenzie walked over to the left side of the wall, and slid her hand over it until she reached a small spot that was painted darker than the rest of the wall. Within moments a nearly inaudible click opened a hidden door. Moving through the shadowy portal Leela gasped. “That thing is a Callanian starship?”
“Beautiful isn’t she?” Mackenzie followed Leela into the hidden terminal.
The Callanian starship was sleek and roughly the size and length of the Planet Express ship. Unlike the Planet Express ship it was deep navy blue in color and carried a great deal of the cannons mostly found on the ships of space pirates. But the most striking feature about the alien spacecraft was the markings painted in copper along its side.
“It’s a Callanian blessing of pleasant travels and mostly fair trade.” Mackenzie commented when she caught Leela studying the copper markings. “Or at least that’s what we were told when we bought it. The dealer did have a good laugh with some of his chumps afterwards though . . .”
We need to get going.” Leela glanced behind her at the doorway that led into the rest of Falcon Enterprise. She strode closer to the Callanian ship, after scrutinizing it for a minute she made her way over to the controls that opened the hangar’s overhead doors. Long since being used the doors squeaked and whined piteously as they gradually broke away from each other. It was when the doors had opened entirely to reveal the night sky and Leela and Mackenzie were climbing aboard that as if on cue, the alarms went off.
“Where do you think you’re going?” And then there was Tom.
“How---but---what?” Leela stumbled through her words. Tom’s security guards began to file into the terminal.
“Surprised to see me? Didn’t either of you remember to think that I occasionally sleep in my office due to problems . . . erm difficulties in my apartment.” Tom coughed. “And you Mackenzie, you just tazed me. Did you really think you could do that get away with it that easily?
“Face the facts you blundering fool, you’re broke and you were kicked out of your apartment.” Mack snapped.
“That’s not the point here . . . err . . however true what you say may be.” Tom raised his gun. “This is the point, you two aren’t going anywhere.”
“I don’t think so.” Leela retorted. “You may have found us and this apparently hidden but easily found starship but that doesn’t mean you can stop us from leaving.”
“I can’t, but my men with their positron rifles can.” Tom stepped to the side to let his guards come forward, each holding a rifle, a smug expression resting on his face. “Face it. You’re outgunned and outmatched.”
Leela bent her head so Tom couldn’t see her face. “You have us outgunned. Yes. Outmatched? No.”
“What are you----?” Tom was cut off by a black boot connecting to his face.
“Get their guns!” Leela yelled to Mackenzie after successfully pummeling the owner and manager of Falcon Enterprise to the ground.
Mackenzie nodded and started toward the guards Tom had brought. They raised their charged positron rifles. The brunette smirked “I smuggled for Callanians with weapons twice the size of those child’s toys. You really think you can defeat me with them?”
“Yes we do.” One guard answered. A low hum emitted from his rifle as he prepared to fire.
When the shot came Mackenzie was prepared. She deftly thrust herself to the right, shifted her weight and launched herself in a kick that brought down the guard who had fired the shot. Before any of his companions could react, she’d grabbed the rifle from the one she’d brought down and leveled it at the remaining guards. “Now who’s outgunned?” Mackenzie grinned.
Leela joined Mackenzie after securing Tom. Cocking a small teleblaster pistol she’d confiscated from the manager of Falcon Enterprise, she studied the guards. “We need to go.”
“You aren’t going anywhere.” One of the guards stepped over the unconscious body of Tom.
“Yes. We. Are.” Without hesitation Leela fired at the guard. He stood as if surprised for a second, before his eyes rolled back in his head and the guard collapsed. Seeing their chance in the guards’ hesitation, Leela and Mackenzie ran for the ship.
“Get this ship going!” Mackenzie yelled, as she and Leela ran into the ship’s bridge.
How the heck do I do that? This thing’s Callanian! How do I fly Callanian? “You’re the smuggler!” Leela yelled at Mackenzie “You should know how to fly this thing!”
“You’re the captain! I’ve only done navigation!”
Great. This is—what the heck? The gearshift Leela had assumed controlled the ship started to morph beneath her fingertips until they duplicated the wheel of the Planet Express ship. Is this some kind of weird technology or something? Leela didn’t have time to think after that. In an instant she’d powered up the ship and started to fly from the hangar.
“They’re giving chase!”