Fan Fiction

Rush Moon, part 18
By JustNibblin'

A month and a half seemed to fly by before the teller spoke again.

“I’m sorry, sir, what did you say?” she asked, with the resigned tone of someone who knew they were about to lose their coffee break.


“By a bomb, do you mean an explosive device?”

“No, I mean the other kind of bomb. Yes, an explosive device, you bimbo!”

The teller smiled politely.

“I’m afraid company policy prohibits us from accepting explosives for storage in safety deposit boxes. Safety reasons. The bomb could explode, you know.”

“Um, yeah, that’s kind of the point. Wait, wait,” the robot said. “I don’t want to deposit a bomb-“

“But you said-“

From within his chest cavity Bender yanked out the best selling MomCorp-published “Does Not Compute” reference guide for robots (“Explains all facets of human behavior, from Angst through Zealotry!”). He quickly thumbed through the “Poetry” chapter—a fairly impressive feat, since he had no thumbs.

“I was making what you wetware call a ‘rhetorical flourish’ and all that.”

“Um, so if you don’t want to deposit a bomb, why are you here?”

Bender’s hit his forehead with the book. The metallic sound rang through the room like a 20th-century gunshot, startling the guards, who for the first time glanced over at the fuming robot.

“OK. Start over. I have a bomb. I am going to blow it up unless those guys let that guy go. Is that easier to understand?”

“That’s it?”

“Well, they also gotta let us walk outta here.”

“Oh, for a moment I thought you were going to try and rob us, since we’ve just had a big cash delivery this morning,” she smiled, nodding her head back toward a pile of large cash bags lying on the floor behind her.

In a sealed room elsewhere in the bank, a manager watching the scene over holosurveillance banged his head on the desk.

“Oh yeah, that too. Put all the money you got into those bags. This is a stickup. Without a gun, though, so not really a stickup. But I’ve got a bomb. We’re good, now?”

The teller nodded, pale, and turned to stuff the bags.

Bender sensed that the room had fallen silent. He swiveled around to survey how every robot, life form, and security camera was now focused on him. It didn’t unnerve him. He was used to being the center of attention.

“Get off my partner, or I’ll blow up this building. Because that’s what a bomb does. And I have a bomb. And not in the metaphorical sense. That means I really have a bomb. Is this starting to make any sense to anybody?”

The guards mulled, uncertain, but then a voice piped out of a speaker grille on the robot holding the syringe.

“Code 238 confirmed. Repeat, code 238 confirmed, plus 235.”

“A human head as well?” muttered a guard, pressing his neural transmitter against his skull. “In his chest?”

Bender opened his chest and pulled out Lucy Liu’s head.

“Sorry baby, but I’m going to have to make room in there for a bit o cash. Nothing personal, but the money is worth more to me than you are.”

“But Bender, I love you,” bleated the actress’s head, but the jar was already rolling away across the floor, and Bender had already turned back toward the guards.

“What part of ‘move’ don’t you compute?”

“Code 238 confirmed,” the human replied into his transmitter. “Evacuate premises. Everyone, move back.” He spoke this last to the dogpile on the floor, and the guards reluctantly started to sort themselves out.

Bender scanned the hall. The guards were drifting to every visible exit, grimly standing aside the locked doors. The customers were milling around, a little confused, but Bender could almost time how quickly the information about the bomb threat whipped through the crowd like an actual bomb blast, because everyone suddenly froze in place. For a moment the hall fell completely silent. Then, almost as if a starting pistol had gone off, the customers whipped out their comlinks and rapidly snapped holoshots of Bender. The noise level jutted up to a dull roar.

“Shut up!” shouted Bender. “This is a robbery, so I want everyone to take out their wallet, purse, or transport sac and lie it on the ground. That means you too!” he shouted toward the bald man, who was also snapping pictures. Unlike the others, however, the man was not taking a picture of Bender, but of himself, standing in front of a wall prominently displaying a large digital clock/calendar, under a sign that stated ‘Big Apple Bank: we don’t take a (big) bite out of you.”

The other bank customers dropped their valuables to the ground, most of them still staring at their comm devices, transmitting details of this exciting robbery to their social networks, hoping to increase the advertising value of their blogs. Their networking software helpfully appended gun and disintegrator advertisements to the outgoing transmission.

One by one, the human and robotic guards reluctantly stood aside, revealing Fry lying prone on the ground, with only his foot moving, twitching feebly.

“Cuffs off. Now.” Bender snapped, before pivoting his head. “I mean it! Drop it!” he roared, marching up to the bald man, while rotating his head to check on Fry, whose eyes were starting to flutter open.

“Just a sec,” the man said, carefully focusing his device on himself in front of the clock. He pressed a button and a small pellet dropped to the ground, which inflated and unfolded into a picture.

A strong odor wafted from the teller’s window. Bender swiveled his head away from the bald man.

“Hey! No Wormulon currency! Nixonbucks only!”

“What’s going on?” Fry gasped.

Bender swiveled his head back toward Fry, and while preoccupied the bald man pulled two wallets out of his pocket. One was a sleek, expensive-looking model with a digital readout, which revealed itself to be empty when he opened it. The other was an identical model, but much older, and heavily frayed around the edges. The bald man pulled some photos out of the old wallet, dropped it onto the ground, then joined the crowd migrating to the walls of the hall.

“Com’on Fry, we’re making our withdrawal and gettin’ out of here.”

“Really? You believe me? For a moment there I thought they had gotten to you too…”

And Fry’s gaunt face suddenly broke into a smile, and for a moment he remained sitting, almost disbelieving, watching Bender sweep up assorted wallets, purses, and purple pulsing storage sacs among the crowd, most of whom were now standing against the wall. The guards were also now all along the wall, watching balefully. Beyond the glass doors the windows across the street reflected all kinds of flashing lights as additional police vehicles skidded to a stop in front of the building.

Fry hoisted himself up, still a bit shaken, and frowned at the noisy crowd.

“What’s going on?”

“Here you go, sir,” the teller quavered, sliding several bags of currency through a slot underneath her window.

“Wow, Bender, I didn’t know you had that much tucked away.”

“Uh yeah, I used my special ID.”


“It’s da bomb.”

“Bomb? What bomb?”

“UtShay Pupsay. ryFray.”


Bender activated his vocal attenuator and tried to whisper.

“Remember those loser brain ball things on Spheron we fought when we were in the DOOP army? The trip where for some reason I threw myself on a bomb to save your sorry ass?”


“Remember that bomb the meatbag who slept with Leela put in me for those delicate negotiations?”

Fry wrinkled up his forehead, concentrating, and then his brow smoothed out.

“Oh yeah! The one that would blow up half the planet if you said the word-“

“Yeah that one.”


The voice boomed inside the hall, projected from the outside world by a time-reversed megaphone.


Both the robot and the human turned to look toward the door, then Fry turned back to Bender. “But Bender, I thought the Professor disabled-“

SMACK. Fry fell to the floor in a daze, smarting from Bender’s slap. His face, having gotten a lot of practice in being hit lately, efficiently began to blossom another bruise. Something clattered to the floor. The holophoner had managed to stay in Fry’s pocket, even during the twelve-guard pile-up, but the sudden jolt from Bender’s slap had been the tipping point, and now it lay motionless on the pale white square tiles of the large hall, looking a little like the scattered customers who had fainted on the bank hall floor, especially the tourist from Oboe Flatte.

“Attention, human meatbags!” shouted Bender to the world. “I’ve got a bomb inside me that I’m not afraid to use. Even now, my partner is so scared of what I can do he has dropped terrified to the -- Hey you!”

The bald man had been trying to stuff his photos into the new wallet, using his back to shield his activities from the newly-minted fugitives. But the sudden appearance of the holophoner brought an odd expression to his face, almost one of shock, and he had unconsciously turned around to get a better look, his new wallet catching the attention of the larcenous robot.

“Gimme that!”

“My wallet’s already on the floor,” the man said, jerking his goatee toward the floor. “There it is there.”

“Com’mon Fry, grab those bags and let’s get moving,” growled Bender as he marched up to the man and snatched the wallet.


“What’s that you’re trying to hide?”

“I’m not-“

“Pictures? On paper? Who does that? And—hey!! I know that place! I had a great time there!”

Bender stared down at three photos. The man was present in all three. In the first he was standing in front of HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots, using a laser welder to weaken part of the wall, where someone had scrawled the date “July 31, 2002”. In the second photo he was standing in the lobby of a hotel in front of a sign labeled “Cryogenic Support Group,” attaching a sign with the date printed on it and the words “Free Food”. The last picture simply showed the man pouring a bucket of water onto a street curb, creating a puddle, with the day visible on a clock tower in the distance.

“Uh Bender, I can’t move all these sacks,” Fry said. And it was true. Fry had managed to hoist one sack on his back, but his legs were trembling and he was weaving around the floor like the losing end of an ape fight. “Can’t we just get out of here? They’re coming. They know I’m here.”

Bender swiveled his head toward Fry. “I know.”

Fry, stared, surprised, at Bender’s simple agreement, disbelieving that he was getting no arguments from his friend. Taking advantage of the distraction, the man with the photos slipped them out of Bender’s hands and into the new billfold. Shoving the wallet quickly into his pocket, he looked up and found himself staring into Bender’s suspicious eyes.

“Tell you what, Fry. We’re gonna use this guy to help us carry this stuff outta here. So here-“ Bender lifted a sack and threw it into the bald man’s arms, “let’s get moving. Today’s gonna be a busy day.”

The bald man staggered back under the unexpected weight of the bag, and the thousands of Nixonbucks inside erupted into a chorus of growls of “I am not a crook, but you are!”

Fry managed to get a hold on his bag, and glanced over at their new partner in crime, who had managed to sling the bag over his right shoulder and grasp the bottom with his left arm slid behind his back. Fry didn’t notice that he had slung his bag in exactly the same manner, or that both he and the man tilted their heads the same way as they looked toward Bender.

“OK, where too?” they both spoke in unison.

Bender crammed several handfuls of cash into his chest, then pointed to the main entrance and began marching off, humming the first line of his personal theme song, “Bender is great”, to himself.

“Hey, you’re forgetting your jar,” the man said. “And you sure you want to do that? I mean, there is a back way out through that door over there.”

Fry looked at the man closely for the first time.

“Why are you helping us? “

“Yeah, I can only deal with one stupid human at a time,” Bender growled. “And leave the head in a jar. I got no more room.”

“But that seal isn’t designed to hold laying on its side like that. It’ll leak and kill her.”

“Who made you a jar expert?” Fry said.

“Oh I’ve learned a few things here and there,” the man grinned. “You might say I’m a bit of a jarhead.”

Bender and Fry stared at him blankly. The man stared at Fry, sighed, and shook his head. “Geez, you really are—never mind, I’ve got her.” And as he swept Lucy off the floor into the bag, he watched with intense curiosity as Fry scooped the holophoner off the floor back into his jacket.

“Com’mon, stay behind me and we’ll walk right outta here,” Bender said.

“Wouldn’t do that,” the man said.

“Why? And why do you care?”

“I want to live. If you march out there and those cops decide to shoot, I’m gonna get caught in between. Look, the side entrance goes into a side alleyway, I saw it when walking here this morning. And they had an armored hovertruck out there.”

“If I had a nose, I would smell undercover cop right now,” Bender said. “Have bomb, will go where we want. I’m not going to slink out of this bank like we’re a bunch of thieves.”

“Well, actually-“

“Shut up Fry-“

“-he kinda makes sense. There are a lot of guns out there now.”

Fry tilted his head toward the main entrance. The street outside was now crammed with police hovercars, a fire engine, and even what seemed to be two floating gun platforms. Behind each vehicle a jumble of nasty-looking weapons jutted out every which way, making the hovercars look like mobile suicide booths. Otherwise, it was a lovely morning.

“I think they must have been loading a lot of cash into that hovertruck,” said the man innocently, almost winking at Bender.

“On second thought, we’ll take the safer route, to keep you safe, Fry. But you,” the robot turned to the man, “you’re going first in front.”

“Sure,” the man whispered, “but maybe your friend should take a gun from one of these guys.”

Nervously, Fry extracted a rifle from a guard standing nearby, who made no motion to resist. Bender glared at the teller and pointed to the side door in question. It clicked open, and within a few moments the trio were marching through a cubicle farm.

“That holophoner, that’s a neat instrument,” the man said. “Kinda hard to play, isn’t it?”

Fry stared at the man again. Before Bender’s bomb threat, Fry had been too distracted to pay much attention to this man, but now he felt disquieted as he looked at his companion’s shaggy goatee .

“You know something, don’t you? About what’s going on.”

And to his own surprise Fry felt his face twist in sudden anger, causing the man to step away, shocked.

“Who are you? Who’s after me? Why can’t I remember what happened? Why does Leela hate me?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the man. “Who’s Leelu? Your girlfriend?”

“You’re lying,” Bender said, “so you get to go through those doors.”

They had emerged from the cubicle farm and had reached a plain ordinary sliding door. Fry eyed the door warily. Doors in this century tended not to like him, and he had developed an instinct about whether a particular door was going to be trouble, just as a man gets a sense about whether an approaching dog will lick or bite. This door seemed to be a biter.

The door slid open and the group moved through into a narrow corridor.


The two fugitives and their hostage stopped short as they spotted a large line of guards transferring bags of cash down toward an open door, the view outside half-blocked by a large hovertruck. The guards were whipping the bags into the truck as fast as they could.

“Hurry! Or my dear mother is going to find another bank!”

The words were coming from a dark-haired man, standing with his back toward the new arrivals. He shot a glance behind him, and froze—along with the guards, the bald man, Bender (who bumped into the man from behind), and Fry, who brought up the rear and halted standing inside the door frame. The door, sensing weakness, slid sideways, smashing him against into the wall.

Walt, Mom’s eldest son, glared at the three intruders.

“Looks like they started to unload the truck-“ mused the bald man, ”-and now they’re trying to put it back in. His eyes flickered over the bag labels. “Mom Corp. Wow, this must be their payroll.”

“What kind of idiots are you?” Walt said, his words oily with malice. “Do you know who you’re dealing with?”

“Yep, don’t let us slow you down,” Bender chuckled, waving Fry’s rifle toward Walt. Fry looked down at his hands. How had Bender nicked that from him? “Keep it moving,” the bending unit glared at his hostage, who had started to put down his own bag. “Who told you to drop it? Let’s go.”

The three walked single file past the guards, who nearly filled the hallway. Fry eyed all the laser pistols in the room, gulped, felt Walter’s stare boring into the back of his head, and forced his eyes toward the hovertruck, which brought the bald man back into his field of view. Which reminded him-

“Who are you? What’s going on? You seem to know something.”

The man sighed as he wormed past a particularly bulky robot. “OK, I admit, I’ve seen you before. You played an opera about a year ago, didn’t you?”

“You saw me?”

The man nodded. “Yes, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world”. He caught himself. “I mean it was very good, at least until the end. When you walked into the bank this morning, I thought you looked familiar, but couldn’t place you. But once I saw that instrument I remembered. I swear, I have no idea what else is going on. Who’s after you?” He glanced back, face curious. “A stalker? Do you still play that thing?”

“Yeah I do. I’m getting better too.”

They emerged from the doorway into an alleyway. A flying police mini-drone leapt up off the hovertruck’s hood and buzzed away down the alley.

The man looked surprised by Fry’s answer.

“You still played after that disaster? I remember—I mean, I would have thought you stopped playing it soon after that?”

“Well you know what they say about the word assume, “ Bender said, “they say you’re a moron.” Both he and Fry looked into the hovertruck cab, and then at each other. It definitely looked much safer in there than out here. Bender turned only to spot Walter loitering outside the door, fingers twitching. “You. Go back inside and lock the door. Otherwise, BOOM!”

“Dear Mother will be using your torso as a garbage can,” muttered the second largest stockholder in the company, as he slammed the door.

“Can you really drive this thing?” Fry whispered.

“Yeah, but it’s a lot better if you drive.”


“If they shoot, the cops are gonna take out the driver first.” And with that Bender hopped into the cab and slid to the passenger side. “Drop your loot in here.”

While both were preoccupied, the third man dropped his bag, whipped out his camera, and snapped another photo of Fry next to the hovertruck. He scooped the expanding photo off the ground and in a quick motion swept that photo and the three others into the new billfold. He typed a few buttons on the surface of the billfold, and the pocket containing the photos snapped shut, and hissed as it pumped all air out of the cavity.

Fry, clambering up the steps into the cab, looked over his shoulder at the bald man.

“I think he knows something.”

“We’re out of time,” said Bender. “You, put the bag in here.”

“No problemo,” the man said, slinging the bag into the front seat, after removing Lucy Liu’s head from the sack. “I figure you won’t mind if I keep her. And don’t forget to disable the remote control on the driver’s stick—you guys probably don’t want your ride cut short. But you were probably already gonna do that.”

“Pfft! Um, yeah, right, I was just starting to do that,” grumbled Bender as he hastily started ripping circuitry out of the dashboard.

“Why are you helping us?” Fry said.

“Like the Space Pope says, the higher or possibly lower power helps those who help themselves,” chuckled the man, as if recalling some private joke.

Policemen started to peek around the corner.

“Common meatbag! Time to move!”

Fry and the man stared directly into the man’s face. The man held his gaze, a slight wrinkling of his forehead betraying a hint of nervousness.

“Do I know you?”

“Apparently not. Look, the bank just raised my ATM fees again,” the man said, “so I don’t mind sticking it to them a little. Now get going before someone shoots me.”

“You’re coming with us.”

“No I’m not. I admit, I’m kinda curious about this, because I actually don’t recall---anyway, not important. I can’t help you. Can’t risk dying, not now.” He walked up to Fry and patted him on his jacket. “Good luck with your problem, whatever it is. Hope they don’t get you, whoever they are.” He was silent for a moment, seemed to fight some internal struggle, then burst out, “ What did you say they were trying to do to you?”

“Dammit you chattering sausages, move it!” And a laser beam emerged from the cab, grazing the man’s bald head.

Giving one last glance, Fry jumped into the cab and shut the door. Then jumped up, as he had just sat on the pointy end of a circuit board. “Sheez, Bender,” he cried, looking over the mess in the cab, “what’d you do?”

“Found this,” Bender said, pulling a chip the size of a nickel out of the mangled dashboard and crushing it in his fingers. “Truck’s ours now, like I always planned to do. Move.”

Fry realized he really hadn’t driven one of these hover thingies before. “What turns it on? How do I drive?”

Suddenly the several ton truck gently rose a couple of feet into the air, listing side to side for a moment until it suddenly stabilized.

“I hotwired it for you. And the stick moves it. Nothing to it. Even someone with as few brain cells as you can drive this thing.”

“Good,” Fry sighed as he pushed the stick forward. The truck lurched backwards a few feet, and he heard something crush. Fry glanced at the side mirrors and then the camera screens above the windshield. He hoped he hadn’t just killed anyone. Nope—the bald guy was fine—he was walking, hands up toward the cops visible at the end of the alley behind the truck.

“You idiot! Pushing forward moves you backwards! Isn’t that obvious? Where’d you learn to drive?”

“A thousand years ago, on things that actually had wheels,” Fry squeaked, as he jerked back on the stick, and the truck sprang forward. He gingerly pushed the stick to the right and his left mirror vanished as the truck scraped against the left wall. The stick was very sensitive and the truck surprisingly responsive, so Fry and Bender bounced around the cab a few times until Fry managed to keep the truck moving forward in a straight line. They were almost out of the alley.

Fry struggled to get comfortable and with his free hand tried to sweep away the wires and broken electronics poking him underneath his butt. While doing so he felt a lump in his rear pocket and for a moment froze in fear.

“What’s this?” he stammered, reaching his hand into his pocket, and tossing a brand new wallet at Bender, who cringed before he saw what it was.

“Ooohh, a wallet. Only good things come out of these. Fancy model too,” he appraised, “too good for you. When’d you get this?”

“My wallet’s gone, remember?” Fry said, eyes locked on the entrance. “I woke up without one in the dumpster.”

“This is really a top end model. Look it even has a safe pocket inside, with lock.”


“Yeah, put something in there and it will survive heat, water, space, even a nuclear blast. Look, its been closed. And the timer’s on.”

Fry glanced over and saw a small display on the wallet’s inside pocket:

TIME TO OPEN: 1003:6:2:15:04:54.7

“Thousand what?”

“Thousand and three years,” Bender said. “I tell you, great battery in this thing. But what did you want to keep sealed for 1000 years?”

“I told you, it’s not mine. Open it.”

“Can’t,” Bender said sadly, tossing the billfold back. And Fry raised an eyebrow.

“You’re saying that there’s something you can’t-“

And then they exited the alley and found themselves in a war zone.

All civilian vehicles were gone-vanished. Instead, to Fry’s left as he entered the street, a phalanx of police vehicles squatted in the center of what would normally be one of the busiest streets of NNY. The two floating gun platforms, which bristled with so much weaponry that they looked like porcupines (if porcupines could fly), held position about thirty feet above the ground, facing them. The tube system was shut down and pedestrians had been cleared away, so nothing remained to distract the hundred or so carbon- and silicon-based cops from training their weapons on the armored hovertruck. Glancing right, Fry saw a similar coalition rapidly coalescing a block away down the street. He tried to look at his left mirror before remembering that it was gone, and looked past Bender at the right mirror, and saw that the alley behind him was now filled with headlights and barriers. He couldn’t see the bald man anymore.

“What do they think they’re gonna to do?” sneered the bending unit. “I can set this thing off before any missile gets within 300 feet of me.”

Fry felt nowhere near as confident. He had so many things he wanted to ask Bender, but he couldn’t stop thinking of all the kinetic and electromagnetic weapons probably trained on him right now. He rolled up the windows.

In the silence of the cab, Fry thought he heard a faint voice. Bender pointed toward the wreck of the dashboard, then leaned forward and pulled out a small speaker.

“All units hold position—suspect currently stationary at corner of 21st and Broadway, sitting in a Harley Fargo armored transport.”

Silence for a moment. Then a bright and cheerful female voice said “This secure law enforcement communications channel is brought to you by Billy’s Batons—guaranteed to be a smash—literally!”

“Common’, let’s get moving.”

“Where too?”

“South Street Spaceport, or some place with a rocket ship. We gotta get off this planet, fast.”


A tinny voice cut him off. “This is Unit 271. Columbia Pictures University reports a massive power surge in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Multiple reports of damaged memory circuitry among robotic studentry.”

“Two-seven-one, please keep channel clear. A situation Double-O twelve is in progress.”

“Geez, Fry, someone must really want you.”

“Huh?-“ Fry was slowly inching the truck around so that they were facing one of the phalanxes.

Just then they heard a familiar voice state, “Standby for direct connection to Mayor’s office. Made by the Mayor’s aide. Me. Because it’s important.”

There was the sound of a ringtone, and then an even more familiar voice said, “Whaaa-yess?”

“Professor Farnsworth, this is Mayor Pooenmayer. I’m the mayor?”

“I told you telemarketers where you could put that infernal Torgo’s Executive Powder, or whatever name you’ve given that junk. Good d-“

“THE MAYOR. I’M THE MAYOR, PROFESSOR!” shouted the Mayor.

“The Mayor? Oh my, yes. Well I didn’t vote for you before, and I won’t vote for you again. In fact, I’m in the process of building my own candidate. I just need to find the right pander processor.”

“Professor, we’ve got a question about one of your employees?”

“Employees? But I have no-“

“Robot. Bending Unit named Bender Rodriguez.”

“-Oh, the expendable employees! Why yes, I seem to remember a rather stupid robot-“

Bender fidgeted angrily, but in uncharacteristic silence.

“Professor, he claims to have a bomb inside of him.”

“A doomsday device?”

“No, a bomb. Records show that the DOOP installed one during a conflict a couple years ago—“

“Those asinine fools. Those DOOP monkeys couldn’t build a doomsday device to shock a baby, much less blow up a planet-“

“Uh, yes. Anyway records also show that you reported neutralizing it, but they weren’t clear about exactly what you did.”

“Ah yes, I remember. Well, the trigger was so poorly designed that at first I couldn’t figure out how to shut it off, so I rerouted the trigger to explode only if Bender said a very unlikely word.”

Fry could see the police line nervously start to lower their weapons toward the ground.

“But then Bender said that word. Fortunately the device short-circuited and only caused a little mayhem and destruction. The bomb is worthless now-“

Fry wasn’t even able to finish gulping in fear before the first salvo hit their windshield. Ducking behind the dashboard, Fry and Bender huddled as wave after wave of bullets, lasers, and explosives pounded their vehicle. The momentum of the explosions knocked the heavy vehicle back down the street, back toward the other phalanx.

It seemed to go on forever, but finally, after one of the floating porcupines got off a last round, there was a pause. Ears ringing, Fry peeked over the dash.

To his amazement the windshield had held, even though it had fractured into a web of intricate cracks. Viewed through the cracks, the image of the two floating porcupines split into thirty smaller images, creating the impression of an entire alien invasion force floating over the street.

“That,” said Bender, “is one hell of a windshield.”

“An armored truck, right?” Fry said, dazed. “I guess they make them pretty tough-“

Bender had already grabbed the secure link’s transmit button from the tangle of loose wires in front of him, and had leapt onto his seat.

“Is that all ya got, you losers!” He laughed. “I’ve seen blernsball games that were scarier than that. You want a piece of me? Well here.”

He span around and shook his rear end at the crowd of officers.

“Go ahead. Bit my shiny metal a-“

And then the windshield collapsed.