Futurama: Universe of Malice, Part 12
By Kenneth White
Chapter 12 - Reunion
There was a long and awkward silence. Then, Glab spoke to confirm what she had heard.
There was a laborious sigh from Admiral Gordon at the other end.
"Two thousand, four hundred and twenty six lives, Ma'am."
Another long silence.
Glab broke it again, "Where are all the remaining ships now then?"
"We've retreated to a safe distance, out of its sensor range. Or at least far enough away for it to not care about us. It's still in visual range and moving along its old course."
"Admiral, I want you to pull out immediately!" Glab ordered.
"Sorry, but we're currently working on another plan," Gordon said. "One that may have a shot at getting rid of it without putting anybody in danger."
"What is this plan, Admiral? If I don't like it, you're ordered to retreat back to Earth Orbital Base immediately!"
"We're rigging up one of our star ships with an atomic device. We're planning to fly it, unmanned, straight into the beast and set it off inside it."
Glab thought for a while.
"Very well," she said. "Proceed. But if it fails, you are ordered to return to base."
"Understood," Admiral Gordon nodded.
Then, the signal cut off. As Glab's face disappeared from the view screen aboard the Nebula, Gordon sat down with a heavy sigh.
"I don't think she would have approved the plan if she knew the entire fleet was going to be simultaneously distracting it, sir," noted Ensign Teral.
"She didn't need to know that," Gordon stated. "Let's just hope there are minimal casualties when we do this thing."
At the edge of the city, hiding amongst the thick jungle vegetation, Leela and the rest of the crew watched, and waited. As strange vehicles and ghastly looking monsters walked by, Leela turned to the others behind her.
"Okay, those must be the Seilarch," she said. "And we want to avoid them as much as possible. So I suggest sticking to secluded alleyways."
"You can't actually expect us to wander around this place?!" Amy said. "We can't avoid those things forever!!"
"We have to do it!" Leela said. "I'm sick of all this crap too, but we're stuck in a corner!"
"How do we even know where we're supposed to be going?!" asked Bender. "We have no idea where this palace even is! I say, we take our chances fighting that Baron guy, get Scruffy to repair the engines, and get outta here!"
"Scruffy can't fix the ship without his schematics," the lazy janitor said.
"We'll take an elevator or something to get up higher," Leela answered. "We should be able to see any large palaces from there for sure."
"I don't like this?!" said Zoidberg nervously. "It's suicide, it is! We could all die, we could!"
"I have an idea," said Leela pointing. "Look. There are various robots around the place, and those creatures don't seem to care. If Bender brings over that large trash can near that building, two of us could fit inside it, while another one of us is inside Bender. It would be cramped, but safe."
"But what about Zoidberg?" the Decapodian doctor asked. "That only accounts for three of us, but there are four. and I just KNOW it will be Zoidberg who is left out!"
"No problem," said Leela. "I have a role for you too."
A couple of minutes later, several Seilarch turned their heads to see a strange sight. A loud, obnoxious robot was walking down the street, carrying a large can and telling a strange, lobster-like creature what to do.
"Keep picking up that crap, lobster slave!!" he ordered.
Zoidberg ran around obediently, picking up rubbish from the ground and dropping it on the garbage can. Bender and Zoidberg suddenly stopped, as a tall, mean-looking Seilarch walked up to them.
"What the hell are you?!!" it asked.
"I'm the new garbage robot," Bender replied, as calm as he could. "I'm programmed to just go around and collect the garbage on the ground and bark orders to this alien slave."
He suddenly looked at Zoidberg meanly.
"I didn't say you could stop, lowly slave!!!"
He reached into the garbage can and pulled out an empty glass bottle, then threw it at Zoidberg. It hit the crustacean on the head, making a hollow thunk sound and making Zoidberg yelp.
"Now pick up that bottle, and keep going!!"
The Seilarch regarded Bender and Zoidberg suspiciously.
"Where is your slave's control chip?!" it asked Bender.
"Uhhhhh..... you can't see it," explained Bender, it being the best he could come up with. He didn't know what else to say.
"Why not?!!" the Seilarch hissed. "It should be implanted in his head, visible for all to see!!"
"Because he's from Decapod 10!" answered Bender. "Decapodian brains are in their asses, so that's where a chip is the most effective."
"I see....." the Seilarch said, looking at Zoidberg continue to pick up trash. "Carry on then!"
The Seilarch left and Bender breathed a sigh of relief, then began to make his way to a nearby elevator attached to a glass tubing system.
"To the elevator, lowly slave monster!!" he barked at Zoidberg. With his usual
whooping sound, Zoidberg ran to the elevator and stood on it. Bender joined him
and pressed a button to go up. As the elevator began to ascend, Bender spoke quietly
towards his torso.
"How high do you want to go up?" he queried.
From inside him, very squished up, Leela answered.
"Go up as high as you can. The higher we are, the better the view."
"Gotcha," replied Bender.
"And hurry up!" she suggested. "It's very cramped in here!"
"Hey, I don't hear Scruffy and Amy complaining."
Inside the can, Amy and Scruffy were squished together, covered in various bits of rubbish.
"Hey! Get your hand off my butt!" Amy said angrily.
"Sorry," said Scruffy. "Accident."
"That's what you said the last eleven times since we've been in here!" she retorted. "Now I'm starting to think it's intentional!"
The elevator stopped, and Bender and Zoidberg stepped out. Bender pointed to another one that looked like it went up even higher.
"Go to that lift now, lowly slave!!" he ordered.
Zoidberg, whooping again, ran over to the next elevator and Bender joined him. The doors closed, sending them even higher.
"Oh my!" Alesia exclaimed.
"What is it?" said Fry, turning to face her as she looked at her wrist computer.
"According to this, the PTV is only just around the corner," she exclaimed.
Fry gasped, then grinned from ear to ear. They were in a secluded alleyway where there weren't any Seilarch. Though they had wandered past many to get there, which had been a very scary experience. Most of them gave no attention to them, which was lucky. A few had stared at them suspiciously, but then let them be. Fry was happy that they would hopefully soon be finish with that facade.
"Let's go then," Fry said happily.
Alesia looked less than enthusiastic, but gave Fry a reassuring smile. They both put on their slave-faces and walked expressionlessly out into the open. As they strode around the corner, there was the place it had to be. A building and yard near a main road with a bunch of many different space vehicles sitting outside of it. Fry had to keep the urge to smile and run towards the area down, as he and Alesia slowly walked towards the place.
"Do you have any idea what this PTV looks like?" Fry whispered to Alesia, as they wandered through the various vehicles.
"Yes, the hologram showed us before, remember?" she responded. "But I don't see it anywhere."
"We might have to try inside," Fry suggested.
They walked through the sliding doors of the building, and inside were a few more vehicles and spacecraft. But none of them looked like the craft from the hologram, and there was also a large Seilarch present. It approached them.
"What are you doing here?!! This isn't a place for alien slaves!!!"
"W-w-we're here to pick up a Personal Transport Vehicle for our master," Fry ad-libbed nervously.
"Your master is a fool!" the Seilarch said. "He should know alien slaves may not retrieve craft that could allow them to escape!!"
"H-h-he's busy, and ordered us to get them," Fry responded. He was prepared to reach for the gun at any moment. The Seilarch growled.
"No! Who is your master?! I have no records of anybody ordering a Personal Transport Vehicle!! And besides, I only have one, and it only arrived a few hours ago! How could he have known about it?!!"
All Fry could do was mumble something incoherent nervously.
"Fools!" the Seilarch yelled. "You're obviously escapees who are trying to escape!!"
The monster pointed a strange looking device at them. It kind of looked like a television or stereo remote control.
"You'll pay for your insolence!!" he said, then pressed the large red button
on the device. Nothing happened.
"What?!!" the Seilarch exclaimed in shock. "Your obedience chips aren't working!!"
"That's because they're fake!" said Fry confidently, ripping off the circuit board stuck to his forehead. He laughed as the Seilarch gasped in shock, then suddenly rubbed his head and grimaced.
"Ow!! That putty hurt!"
"That's nothing compared to what I'LL do to you two!!" the monster screeched.
"I don't think so!" said Fry, whipping out the pistol he had picked up earlier and pointing it at the beast. The Seilarch halted, just sneering at them.
"Clever slaves!" he said. "But do you really think escape is that easy?!"
"Only one way to find out," Fry noted. He then pulled the trigger and the beast was sent hurling across the room. It slid across the ground until it hit the back wall, then lay still. Alesia was shocked, then slapped the gun out of Fry's hand.
"How could you do that?!" she said, clearly disappointed in what he did. "After what we saw a few minutes ago, I can't believe you'd DO that!!"
"Hey, relax! The gun was set to stun," Fry argued back, retrieving the pistol from the ground. Alesia's anger suddenly faded.
"That's okay," Fry smiled. "Now he said that he only just got the PTV, so we'd better look around for it. Out back seems like a good choice."
Fry opened the door that lead to a back room. There didn't appear to be much in there apart from a lot of small boxes, shelves and file cabinets. But there was another door at the back of that room too. Fry opened it too, then poked his head out. He smiled widely and stepped out. Alesia followed, then gasped.
They were standing in a small alleyway, with one end of the secluded passageway blocked off and the other leading to the main road the place was located on. But there, at the blocked off end, sitting right out in the open near a large, empty crate, was the Personal Transport Vehicle.
"Yahoo!" Fry exclaimed, leaping into the air. "We got it! We can finally restore our minds to what they are supposed to be!"
As Fry began to run towards the PTV, he suddenly noticed Alesia wasn't following him. He stopped and turned to see her still standing where she was. Unmoved, but looking very timid and scared. Fry's face showed concern as he slowly walked back to her.
"What's the matter?" he asked. "Surely you've decided by now what to do?"
Alesia's scared eyes suited her response.
"I thought I had," she whimpered. "But..... now..... I don't know!"
She let out a loud sniffle.
"I just don't know what to do?!"
She ran towards Fry and embraced him. Fry flinched a little. It seems Alesia had forgotten about his gash. He didn't bring it to attention, but instead just held her and stroked her hair lovingly. After a while she looked up at him, teary-eyed and woeful.
"I know our pasts are in shadow. I know that I don't really know you, and you don't really know me, and we both really don't know ourselves. But, over the time we've spent together lately, we've both shared so much."
She placed one of his hands in hers, then looked straight through his eyes and into his heart.
"You've become a very important part of me. You've been the strength I don't have."
"Don't have?" Fry asked in doubt. "What do you mean? You're the one who's past is in the most shadow and doubt. You're the one who has had the difficult choices to make. You're the one--"
"Which is why I need you!" she interrupted, a series of tears welling up in her large, blue eyes and coursing down her cheeks. "Without you, I would have just curled up into a ball and faded away! I needed you to help me through this! YOU are the reason this decision hasn't driven me insane!"
She turned away.
"And.... you're the reason this decision HAS driven me insane...."
"Why?" Fry asked after a while.
"Because!" she sniffed. "Every moment we spend together makes the decision harder! The more I'm with you, the more I want to stay with you and be with you!"
Alesia pulled his hands to her heart and looked into his eyes again.
"When I'm with you.... it's just..... you make me so happy. And.... and I don't want to go back to a past of pain and hurt after having this wonderful experience with you."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, and Fry found himself again stroking her hair gently.
"Perhaps the hologram is right. Perhaps this is my chance to start a new life. With you."
Alesia closed her eyes and smiled for a while, but then suddenly pulled away and looked at Fry's face.
"But that would mean that YOU would have to do the same," she said. "You would have to give up your past as well."
Fry looked conflicted. And, to be honest, he was. He sighed deeply.
"Look, you probably already know that I actually want to know about my past. I want to know about myself, and what's going on. I don't think I could live a life of doubt. Do you understand?"
"Yes, but you don't have an ominous past," Alesia said. "You heard what the hologram said about her life. About MY life. That it is filled with hurt and loneliness. Sadness and pain. Why should I give up a chance to spend a life of happiness with a person I love for a life of misery and hurt?!"
Fry's heart was aching for her, for by this moment she was almost pleading for him to agree with her and support her, tears running down her face like a waterfall.
"I love you, Fry," she said. "And I want to be with you, and put this hurt behind me!"
"Listen to me, Alesia," Fry said, trying not to let her emotion get to him
and take a firm stance. "You can't run away from your past. You have to face it,
trust me here!"
"But I'm so scared, Fry!" she whimpered. "I'm scared of what I am!"
"Alesia, running away from your fear isn't going to solve it," Fry said. "I'm not going to force you to do anything. This is a decision you have to make for yourself. But don't you see, Alesia?! The pain in your past won't go away unless you make it. Look at you now! You don't even know what it is, yet you fear it! And unless you regain your memories and face that past, it won't escape from you. It'll always be there."
"I don't know if I can," Alesia said, hugging Fry closely. "I don't know if I'm strong enough."
"Then let me help you," Fry consoled. "Have you ever thought about how a single decision can affect the universe in ways nobody can imagine? How even the simplest little choice could perhaps, in some way or form, be a focal point that decides whether the universe could come to an end? How a small choice could decide whether somebody lives or dies?"
Alesia sniffed, breaking their embrace.
"I don't think so? But what does it have to do with anything?"
"It doesn't matter," Fry said. "It was just something I was thinking about when we were on the beach."
"That's the thing I fear the most," said Alesia sadly.
"What is?" asked Fry. "The beach?!"
"No. You," she said. "I fear that I will lose you."
"I'll still be here," smiled Fry. "And, I'm going to help make things easier for you.
"How?" she asked.
"By restoring my memory first," he said. "That way, I'll learn about my past, and will hopefully be able to tell you about yours."
"Oh Fry!" Alesia said ecstatically. "Thank you so much!"
She leapt at him, hugging him in a warm embrace, unaware that several eyes
were watching not too far away.
"OH MY GOD!!!" said Bender suddenly, running into the alley where he couldn't be seen and dropping the garbage can. "IT'S FRY!!!"
Everybody gasped, popped out of where they were, and looked in the direction Bender pointed. Everybody spoke at once with expression of disbelief.
"I can't believe it!!" said Leela, almost breathless as she crawled out of Bender's chest cavity. "It's really him!!"
She was about to yell out his name, but found herself gasping even more. There, before her eyes, Fry was suddenly given a very passionate kiss by a long-haired woman.
"'Ello 'ello 'ello!" said Bender like an English bobby. "What do we have 'ere
Leela's expression soon went from shocked to angry quite quickly, and she began to storm off towards Fry. The others followed, wondering what she was going to do.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!!" Fry and Alesia heard an enraged female voice say. They broke the kiss and looked across at the purple-haired, one-eyed woman glaring at them.
"Hey!" said Fry. "I know you! I have a phot--"
"Enough stupidity, Fry!" Leela said. "What are you doing kissing this woman?!!"
"What?!" exclaimed Fry. "Why can't Alesia and I kiss? Wait a minute..... Are
you jealous or something?"
"Perhaps!" said Leela.
"Oh," said Fry simply. "Well..... would it smooth things over if you got a kiss too?"
"It might!" Leela fumed.
"Well......" said Fry, before looking towards Alesia. "If it's okay with you, Alesia?"
"Well..... it would make me feel a little uncomfortable, but...... if it sorts this out, I'm okay with it. I guess....."
"Good!" Leela said gruffly. "But I don't understand why you're making such a deal out of it?! It's not like we haven't seen each other in ov--"
Leela's words were cut off part the way through her speaking as her lips were
softly kissed. Her eye bugged out in surprise, not so much at the kiss itself,
but more at who the person kissing her really was. It wasn't Fry at all, it was
The other's reactions were just as shocked. Amy's jaw dropped, as did Fry's, and Scruffy's tongue hung out.
Zoidberg leaned over to Scruffy and asked "Uhhhhh.... I'm confused. Female to female kissing in humans: normal or not normal?"
Bender whipped out his purple fun-camera and took a picture.
"Neat!" he exclaimed.
All the while this was happening, Leela had no idea how to react. If it had been an over anxious male kissing her, she would have kicked his ass, no question. But this was something completely different and strange to her. Plus, she secretly didn't exactly think it was unpleasant either. Luckily, after what was less than ten seconds, Alesia broke off the kiss for her, and stood back, looking a little shy and nervous. Leela just looked around, her mouth still open in surprise.
"So how was it for you?" Bender asked her cheekily.
Leela shook her head, and her expression changed back to her less-than-friendly one she wore earlier.
"Alright!" she said. "I'm going to pretend that wasn't disturbingly pleasant,
and ask you: WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING?!!"
Alesia recoiled, clearly intimidated by Leela.
"But I thought..."
"Uh, Alesia," Fry said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Not that I'm complaining, but.... I think she wanted ME to kiss her. Not you."
"Oh," Alesia exclaimed, going red in the face. "I didn't realise! I'm so sorry! I thought you--"
"Liked women?!" asked Leela angrily.
"Well...... yeah," she shrugged. "Besides, it's not like I WANTED to do it, I was just confused!"
"Okay!" said Leela. "Forget the kiss!"
"Scruffy can't," noted the lazy janitor. "It's embedded on Scruffy's mind."
"I want to know what's going on, Fry!" Leela yelled. "Right now!"
Fry sighed heavily.
"Okay. Now I assume that you, and these other guys, know me somehow. But the truth of the matter is, I don't know you."
The crew all looked at each other in dismay.
"What are you talking about?" Leela asked.
"Well..... we both lost our memories some time ago, and we were just about to get them back when you guys arrived. Or at least I was. I do recognise you and the robot though, from this photo."
He took out his wallet and showed them the photograph of them.
"So, I don't suppose it'd do any good to ask you how you got from the robot mafia to here?" Amy asked.
"Nope," said Fry. "I don't even know what you're talking about! I don't know anything! Only my name, and that you two are in this photo. Oh, and is one of you named......"
He looked at the shredded piece of paper.
"Hooray!" said Zoidberg. "You remembered by name! I'm Zoidberg!!"
"You owe me ten bucks," said Fry dryly.
"What?!!" said Zoidberg. Then the lobster began to cry loudly.
"WHY?!!! Of all the things you had to remember about me, it had to be to do with money debts!!!"
Zoidberg continued to cry. Leela placed a hand on Fry's shoulder.
"So, you seriously know NOTHING about your past? About your friends? About us?"
"Nope. Nothing. I was about to restore my mind right now, actually. Then help out Alesia with her past too. She's having a difficult decision about it."
"How long have you known this woman?" Leela asked, looking a little miffed again as she gave Alesia a less-than-friendly glance.
"As far back as I can remember. We were..... hey, wait! Are you saying that you DON'T know her?!"
"G'uh!" said Amy. "We don't know her at all. That's why we were so surprised to see you two kissing like that!"
"I guess it makes sense," said Alesia sadly. "The hologram did say that there was loneliness in my past. So why would I have any friends?"
She looked directly at Fry, tears beginning to form in her eyes again.
"It looks like I don't even really know you."
Fry hugged her again, making Leela growl as he did.
"We don't know that for sure," he said. "And besides, like you said before,
we've shared so much together just over the past couple of days."
He let her go and glanced towards the PTV.
"But it's time for me to find out for sure," he said with determination.
He walked towards the vehicle and looked inside. After some examination, he turned to Alesia again.
"Can you activate the memory restore from your wrist thingy?"
"I'll try," Alesia said, then she fiddled around with her arm computer. Fry's head whirled towards the displays on the dashboard of the PTV as it flickered to life. One of the largest monitors had 'Memory Restoration: Please place your hand on the panel' written on it in green letters. Fry sighed, and slowly outstretched his hand to the panel indicated.
"Here goes..." he said.
As his palm made contact with the panel, it began to glow, and an electrical charge travelled up around his arm and zapped him between the eyes. The display on the computer changed.
'Confirming brain wave scan verification for data entry 001' it said. After a while it changed to 'Brain wave pattern does not match. Attempting next record', then 'Confirming brain wave scan verification for data entry 002' and finally 'Brain wave pattern match successful. Please wait...'
The experience Fry went through next felt really, really strange to him. For a start, it was like his mind was being fed a whole bunch of new information at an alarming rate, all the while the inside of his skull tingling. Then, after some time, all that new info suddenly started to reveal itself and become old information. When the process had finished, this whole perspective had completely reversed. All his old life was old news, while what he had done since he had lost his mind, seemed like the new information now. As the words 'Mind Transfer Complete' flashed on the display, Fry turned towards the others, a fixed expression of astonishment on his face. Without changing his visage, he sat on the edge of the PTV, and grabbed his forehead with both hands, whining slightly.
"Fry?!" said Leela with some concern, as she took a few steps forward. "Are you okay?!"
"Give me a minute!" Fry said exhaustedly, motioning her to stay where she was with one hand, yet not looking at her.
"Okay," she said quietly.
Fry breathed heavily, staring widely at nothing in particular. He hadn't blinked at all since the transfer.
"Okay..... okay..... I think I'm okay now," he said after a good thirty seconds or so. "That mind transfer thingy is really heavy!"
He turned towards his friends, then a big smile came across his face.
"Guys! I'm back!"
As soon as he got off the PTV, he was crowded by Leela, Bender, Amy and Zoidberg, all saying various things at once really fast. Leela gave him a big hug, causing Fry to wince.
"It's so good to see you as you again, Fry!" she said.
Alesia just stood back, observing what was happening near Scruffy. She let out a sad sigh.
As Leela let go, Fry lifted up his shirt.
"Uh, do you think you could do something about this, Zoidberg?" he asked, removing the bandage and showing his gash. Everybody cringed, making noises of disgust.
"What happened to you?!" asked Leela.
"Yeah," said Bender. "We were all wondering what the Mafioso did with you?"
"Mafioso?" questioned Fry, as Zoidberg examined the wound closely. "Wasn't he the big lion in The Lion King?"
"Fry's back to his old self," noted Amy. "That's for sure!"
"Hold still, Fry," instructed Zoidberg. "This may sting a little."
The crustacean doctor suddenly spurted a jet of water against the wound. Fry yelped a bit.
"Sorry, but I need to clean the wound before I can heal it," Zoidberg said when he was done. Sure enough, all the infected puss was gone. Zoidberg then took a small pen-like device from his pocket. He aimed it at the cut, and as a thin beam hit Fry's skin, Zoidberg sealed up the wound.
"Thanks, Zoidberg," Fry smiled.
"No problem," Zoidberg said back. "You were lucky though. If that cut was any deeper, you would have suffered brain damage, you would!"
"So are you going to tell us what happened, or not?!" Bender questioned impatiently.
"Oh, right," said Fry. "Well, basically I got sold as a slave to this fat pink dude, then I escaped and met Alesia over there. Then I--"
Fry suddenly cut himself off.
"Uh-oh!" he said. "Alesia....."
Fry walked past the others, off towards the long-haired woman who had been his only real company over the last few days.
"I'll just be a few minutes guys?" he called back to the crew.
When he got to her, he gave her a weak smile. Alesia's heart sank. She was dreading his response, yet at the same time, just had to hear it.
"Alesia....." he started. "I don't really know how to put this..... but..... whatever decision you make, I.... can't stay with you...."
Alesia wasn't totally surprised by this, yet she still jumped a little. Probably more-so from the fact it was like a bullet had been shot into her heart, rather than it being unexpected.
"W-w-why?" she asked.
"Because..... I need to stay with my friends..." Fry said. "And besides, I barely know you."
"What?" said Alesia, her eyes now dampening noticeably.
"We only met about a day before we lost our memories, Alesia" Fry explained. "And the truth is, I have no idea what haunts you in your past, any more than you do. I can only fill you in on a few hours of your life at most, I can't help you with the rest."
Alesia sniffed. Fry put his hands gently on her shoulders.
"Only you can do that," Fry told her, indicating the PTV behind him. "But.... it-it's up to you...."
"What about us?" she whispered with heartache. "What about what we shared?"
"That's another thing," he said. "I know you probably don't want to know, but it's best you do. The fact is..... there's another...."
As if there weren't enough of them already, another bullet hit Alesia's heart.
"What?!!" she said, the tiniest hint of anger in her voice along with the sorrow. "You mean what we had..... it... it meant nothing?!"
"No," said Fry defensively. "What we had was real. It's just that..... well... there's no way it would have happened if my mind was intact. Don't you understand, Alesia? I loved you. I still love you, but.... it shouldn't have happened. It wasn't meant to be, because I've reserved by love for another. And..... that's why I have to let you go, and you have to do the same."
There was a long silence.
"I'm sorry," Fry said sadly. "But, that's just the way it is."
Alesia looked past up at Fry, then glanced past him.
"It's her isn't it," she said simply.
Fry looked back at the group of his friends, who were all just standing there looking in their direction.
"The one-eyed one with the purple hair," Alesia elaborated. "She's the one you've given your heart to."
"Yeah, the one you kissed," said Fry, reddening as he suddenly realised just how eye-pleasing that earlier mix-up was.
Alesia sighed and looked down.
"I hope she realises what a lucky woman she is," she said, looking back at Fry. It appeared she had finally accepted the truth. The truth was, that was only a facade. Inside, it still hurt deeply.
Well......" she continued. "Knowing that, I may as well restore my mind. Now that there's nothing left for me here anymore."
She slowly wandered past Fry and towards the PTV. As she moved past the crew, she gave Leela a sideways glace, then continued on.
"So, you guys had something together then, huh?" Leela asked Fry as he walked over and stopped beside her.
"Yeah," sighed Fry. "But, it's over now."
Alesia used her wrist computer, then placed her hand on the same panel Fry did. Then, she began to go through the same process Fry did earlier. The others just watched as information returned to Alesia's mind, and after a while, she knew her past again.
For a while afterwards, she just stood there, with the same awestruck glance Fry had on his face, and her back to the others. Fry took a few tentative steps towards her.
"Are.... are you okay?" he asked.
Alesia slowly turned around, and Fry could see wet streams of liquid running down from her eyes.
"I... I shouldn't have done it," she said. "I shouldn't have restored my mind..."
Fry opened his arms and she instinctively dove into them. Fry held her and stroked her long hair again, cradling her. She seemed so fragile.
"There, there...." he consoled. "At least now you'll know what to do the next time it happens...."
Alesia just wailed, breaking the embrace, and disappeared through the door they had come from earlier, closing it behind her.
"What was that all about?!" Amy asked. Fry just sighed.
"I don't know exactly, but she has a troubled past. She didn't exactly want to know what it was."
"How do you know that?" asked Leela.
"Her hologram told us," Fry answered. "It's a long story, and I'll tell you later. But I think she needs somebody to talk to right now."
As Fry was about to open the door, Leela spoke.
"Maybe what she needs, is some time alone?" she suggested.
"I don't think so," said Fry. "Besides, I want to know about her past. I want to see if I can help her."
Fry disappeared into the room too, also closing the door behind him, and leaving the others standing around outside.
"What are we going to do now then?" Bender asked Leela.
"The same as we were going to do before, but this time with Fry. But for now, we're going to wait."
"What about those monsters?" asked Zoidberg. "I'm surprised we haven't been found by any already!"
"It probably helped that Scruffy closed the gate that lead to this alleyway behind us," noted the janitor.
"There was a gate there?!" asked Amy in surprise.
"Yep," said Scruffy, indicating the thick, metal door-like gate behind him. "Scruffy's observant."
"We, that explains that," said Leela, matter-of-factly. The others nodded in agreement.
Inside the small storage room, Fry found Alesia sitting woefully on a crate, crying quietly to herself in the darkness. He sat beside her and put an arm around her shoulders.
"I'm sorry," she said, wiping her eyes. "I don't usually cry like this..."
"Well.... no offence, but from that I've observed, you cry quite a lot," said Fry.
"Oh, that was when I had no recollection of who I was, or what had happened in my life," Alesia said. "Usually I just let my loneliness and pain fester inside me, and I tend not to show emotion. I guess my personality altered a little as soon as my big troubles went away?"
"Yeah," said Fry. "Come to think of it, I wasn't quite as stupid and selfish as I normally am when my mind was gone too."
He chuckled a little bit.
"Perhaps it did both of us some good," he added.
"Perhaps," smiled Alesia weakly. Her look of sadness soon returned. "And perhaps it added more pain to my life...."
"Look," said Fry after a short pause. "I don't want to bring up old wounds for you, but.... I want to know what's wrong. Perhaps I can help, because I want to."
Alesia just looked at Fry. She couldn't say "no" to that honest and kind face.
Okay, then," she sighed. "I don't know how you can help, but I'll tell you anyway. I suppose it all started way back when I was a child. My mother, father and I all lived on the Vangar Asteroid System for as long as I can remember, though not in the same place I live in now. They had travelled there from Earth before I was born. It used to be a nice place, and my father was an important man. A senator in fact. The people liked him, and so did the system's ruler, King Harper."
"Let me guess," Fry said. "Then things suddenly went wrong?"
Alesia closed her eyes and nodded sadly.
"It started when I was ten-years-old. The king died, and with no heir to the
system, the galaxy fell into the hands of Lord Gorse. He was the leader of the
political party in opposition to my father's. Things slowly began to get worse
and worse under Gorse's rule, as crime and corruption rose with the system's taxes.
Many residents started to leave the place, while more criminals and outlaws came
in. Soon it became one of those systems where they could hide without any problems
"Why didn't your family go then?" Fry asked.
"We almost did. But then the leader of my father's political party mysteriously disappeared. Father took over the role as the party leader, and was determined not to let the place turn into a den for scoundrels! But unfortunately, he made a lot more enemies than friends in the process."
Alesia sighed again, a fresh tear running down her cheek.
"Two years after it all started, I returned home from my school and came across the worst thing I have ever experienced and seen in my life. I found my pet dog, one my father had got me as a puppy when I was an infant, had been brutally beaten to death on the doorstep of my home. I went inside and also found the place was almost completely destroyed and robbed. To make things worse, my father was missing. I never saw or heard from him again."
As Alesia wept, Fry found tears coming to his eyes too.
"My God.......!!! I'm so sorry," he said.
"That wasn't the worst of it," she sniffed, her voice choked with sorrow. "When I walked into the kitchen, I found my mother on the floor. She had been stabbed repeatedly and left for dead. She was still alive and I didn't know what to do, I was just a child! I tried my best to do what I could, but in the end all I could do was watch my mother bleed to death in my arms, in her own home!"
Fry didn't know what to say, or even how to react. It had to be the saddest story he'd ever heard in his life. He decided it was probably best not to say anything and just listen. Alesia composed herself a little, then put her hand down her top and pulled out the necklace with the crescent moon pendant on it.
"This," she said, showing it to Fry, "is all I have left to remember her by. It used to belong to her. After the tragedy, my life was never the same. I became bitter and emotionless. A husk or my former self. The loss hit me hard, so I decided to get rid of everything that reminded me of it, including the house. With the small amount of money I got from selling it, I sent my mother to be buried on Earth in the spot she and father and wished to be laid to rest, and bought a new place. This necklace and my father's PTV were the only exceptions."
"Why didn't you get away from that place and head to Earth too?" asked Fry.
"I had nothing on Earth. No other family there. Just my parents, and they were gone. But I didn't want to go there, despite the bad memories. I bought the heavily armoured place I have now, and I've spent the last ten years of my life living alone and trying to make sure people who come to that system don't have to stay. I don't want anybody else to have to go through what I did. There are so many slaves sent there now, and I decided to stop that as much as I could."
"Well, you've got to have some willpower to take on a task like that," Fry said.
"It's lonely and emotionally draining," Alesia said, shaking her head. "Every day I'm there is a cruel reminder of what happened."
"Maybe," said Fry. "But at least you were brave enough to stay and not just run away from there. You mightn't think it, but you're one of the bravest people I've met."
He hugged her with one arm. She managed a small smile.
"Thanks," she said. "It wouldn't be so bad if I had somebody to help me. Somebody to share the burden. Or just somebody to love me....."
She began to cry again.
"Why must everybody I've ever cared about and loved be taken away from me?!" she asked. "Be it by disappearance, death or just a choice of heart?!"
"Don't cry," said Fry, holding her closely. "I'm sorry I can't stay with you, but I have another life. I can't just walk away from that. You just have to accept it. We've all had to put up with unrequited love at some point."
"You're right," she sighed. "But.... it just hurts so much.... knowing that I can't be with you...."
"You'll find somebody else at some point," Fry said. "You're bound to."
"Maybe," she replied. "But, it won't be the same...."
"Let's stop being so down," suggested Fry. "You should look on the bright side."
"I have no bright side," said Alesia. "But thanks for trying anyway. But, what are you going to do now?"
"I'll join my friends, and do whatever it is they are doing here. Searching for that green gem no doubt."
"Well.... I guess, I'll just head off home then," Alesia said.
"Tell you what," said Fry. "After this ordeal with the baron and the gems is over, I'll come visit you and give you a free trip to Earth. You can even visit your mother's gravesite."
"Thank you," she said. "I am so going to miss you..."
She embraced Fry. All he could do is smile.
"Let's go. After I've sorted out what's happening, I'll say goodbye properly."
Alesia nodded and the two stepped outside again.
"What took you so long?!" asked Leela impatiently.
"Betcha five bucks they were making out!" said Bender.
"Scruffy bets ten that they did more than just make out," the janitor added.
"We were just talking," said Fry. "So, what's going on then? Fill me in on the details!"
"Well," said Leela "The gist of it is, we've been sent here to find the green gem. That jerk Steinmann thinks it's located in a black palace in the centre of the city."
"Yeah, where is Herr Baron?" Fry asked, almost sarcastically.
"He's with the ship and the orange gem in the jungle about half a mile back that way," she said pointing in the general direction. Unaware that she was being observed from a nearby rooftop by a mysterious stranger. Lurking in the shadow made my an even taller building, the unknown figure chuckled sinisterly, then, quick as a flash, shot off into the direction Leela had indicated.
"So that's about it then?" Fry asked.
"Yeah, pretty much," said Amy.
"Okay then. We'd better get going then, huh?" Fry queried.
"You're not going anywhere!!!" a menacing voice growled.
Everybody turned towards in the direction of it, which was near the door to the storeroom. There, with a large black gun in hand, was a Seilarch. Most likely the one Fry had shot earlier. It was hard to tell since to the others, all Seilarch looked alike.
"I've alerted the authorities!" it said. "You won't be escaping any time soon. And in case you manage to get past me...."
It turned the gun towards Alesia's PTV and blasted it. The machine crackled with electricity, then exploded slightly in a few places and just sat there, smoke rising from it.
"What's going to happen to us then?! Why aren't you just going to kill us?!" asked Leela.
"I could do, because you'll probably die anyway," said the Seilarch. "But the public prefer to see aliens die in style. That's why you're all going into the Black Tournament!"
"It's turning now, sir," Lieutenant Berts said.
"Very good," Admiral Gordon replied. "We want to get close to it when a second beam fires. Take us in fast."
"Thank you for giving up your ship, Captain Heston," Gordon said, turning to face the jar-head that sat beside him on a pedestal.
"No problem," smiled Heston. "It's an honour that my ship gets to be the one that will explode in a violent hell storm that will destroy that monster!"
"Sir, the monster is preparing to fire!" Berts informed.
"Targets, Lieutenant?!" Gordon ordered.
"The Decapodian group, sir."
The Admiral pressed a button on his chair's armrest.
"Decapodian ships, prepare for incoming!"
He let the button go.
"Ensign Teral, as soon as that shot is fired, I want the Nova taken in towards the mouth as fast as you can. When the machine finishes and moves again, stop the Nova."
"Understood, sir," Teral nodded.
Lieutenant Berts spoke: "Shot firing, sir!"
Aboard the Decapodian Command Warship, Captain Zork gave orders.
"All warships, prepare for evasive manoeuvres..... NOW!!!"
On his mark, all the lobster-like ships split up, spinning away in random directions from where they were, then blasting away from the area. The large purple energy streak tore through the space they had previously occupied.
"Damage report, Lieutenant!" the Admiral barked.
Negative, sir. No damaged received. All Decapodian ships present and accounted for."
"Sir, it's preparing to attack again!"
"The Omicronians, sir."
Gordon pressed a button on his chair's armrest again.
"Prepare for incoming blast, Omicronians!"
The button was released.
"Teral, take the ship in as fast as you can. I want that ship inside it as soon as the laser disappears, before it can close up again."
"Firing now, sir!" piped in Berts.
"Omicronians! Scramble!!" ordered Lrrr from his ship. "The sooner we finish, the sooner we can return home and watch Earth's latest pathetic show produced by the Fox network!!"
"It will hard for them to be any worse than The Pitts," noted Ndnd as all the ships shot away from the area, avoiding the purple streak of energy.
"Tell me about it!" added Lrrr with a sigh.
As soon as the beam had ceased, Teral guided the ship right into the mouth of it.
"The Nova is in, sir!!" Teral exclaimed.
"Very good! Detonate it...... NOW!!!"
"Aye, sir," smiled Teral. Then, the large red button on the ensign's control panel was pressed.
In the distance, where the machine's mouth was, a bright, pale glow could be seen, growing large and larger. Then, there was a burst of white light, and a massive brown cloud of explosions slowly covered up the machine. Admiral Gordon smiled at the sight.
"That had to have got it?!" he said, clenching his fist. "Target damage, Ensign Hayes?!"
"There's no debris, but the explosions and radiation are screwing up the readings. We'll have to wait for visual signs, sir."
"I know what's going to happen," said Lieutenant Berts dryly. "The cloud will slowly clear away, and then we'll see we haven't even dented it."
"Aw, you're just being negative, Lieutenant," said Gordon.
But then it happened. The cloud began to clear away, and as it did, the machine could still be seen there, no visible damage whatsoever.
"Told ya," said Berts.
"Impossible!!!!" said Gordon. "Even on the INSIDE, it's as strong as.... well....!"
"Nothing," said Heston. "Nothing is THAT strong! Except for IT!"
Admiral Gordon growled, slamming his fist on his armrest.
"Retreat!!!" he said reluctantly, but in pure defeat. "All ships, RETREAT!!!"
"Thanks," said Leela, as Amy zipped up the back of her new clothing. Clothing that Leela didn't really want to wear, but was forced to for the occasion.
"No problem," said Amy, and she sat on a bench and prepared to put on a pair of black, knee-high boots.
Both of them were in a small, dimly lit dressing room, and they were both wearing armoured, yet revealing, clothing. Both had different suit variations, but both were red and black.
Leela had thick, metal boots, which almost resembled robots feet. He had tight, bright red pants, which had leg parts that only covered the front of them. The side and back of her legs had skin showing mostly, with the red front parts clipped on tight via two black straps that wrapped around them. She had a thick, silver coloured belt, which had a small holster in it, as well as two silver arm guards that covered the area below the elbows. The suit around her body was also tight, and was a mix of black and red material, and had a high neck. There were a few holes that revealed skin on it around the stomach region, as well as around her breasts, though thankfully it didn't reveal too much.
Amy had a slightly different variation. She had the long black boots with metal knee-caps, and while she wore no pants, the outside of her legs were protected by thick red padding, held on by two black straps on each leg and clipped together, along with some black, criss-crossed netting on the inside of her thighs. She had black gloves on, as well as elbow pads and other black straps around her arms. Aside from the thick shoulder pads, her body was covered in what was almost like a thick, but tight, red one-piece swimsuit. There was a single hole where her stomach was, to show her navel and some skin, and she also wore a black belt with a silver clip. The neck on hers was high too, but not as much as Leela's.
"Who designs these clothes anyway?!" asked Leela. "They seem to be more concerned with showing skin than practicality!"
"I think they're kinda cute!" said Amy.
"You would," mumbled Leela under her breath. "Well, at least yours has some padding. All I've got is big metal boots and these arm guards!"
"Big boots," chuckled Amy. "Yeah, you got the right clothing, that's for sure!"
Alesia walked through from another room, also wearing a red, battle suit equivalent. She looked nervous and had her arms covering her body in a protective manner.
"This doesn't feel right," she said. "This suit's a little too.... revealing for my tastes."
Alesia's variant was similar to Amy's in some ways. They both had thick shoulder pads, black gloves and elbow pads, a black belt and swimsuit-style body clothing. But Alesia's was more exposing on the cleavage side of things, and her costume was more metallic. She shared the same skin-showing stomach holes as the others, but her boots were a red, thigh-high thick pair, made in sections that were joined together with pivots, so as not to restrict her movement. Her leg armour was part of the them, with most of the boots above the knee made of a thin, but strong, metal.
"Oh, don't worry," said Leela moodily. "I'm sure FRY will like it!"
"Leela!" said Amy, surprised by Leela's comment. "That was mean!"
"You're right," sighed Leela. "I'm sorry. I suppose I should be concentrating on whoever we have to fight."
"Let's go then," said Amy. "We might as well get this over with."
The three women walked out the room, entering a gloomy hallway with several Seilarch guarding the area. Two of them with large guns approached and spoke, indicating towards the right.
"This way!" it said. "Move! The others are waiting for you!"
Leela, Amy and Alesia were lead to another strange room. It was divided in half by a thick, transparent wall, and at the other end of it were two strange, glowing energy clouds, beside which stood two Seilarch. On one side of the divider was Bender, Zoidberg, Scruffy and Fry. On the other side were a group of ten small creatures. They had pale blue skin and messy white hair. All of them must have been about waist high to the average human, and they all had the same style blue, thickly padded battle uniforms. The girls stopped when they got to their male friends, who turned to greet them.
"Hello," said Zoidberg.
"Wow!" said Fry with a nervous smile. "I like your uniforms!"
"Second!" noted Scruffy.
Each of the guys had a different red uniform too, save for Bender who had just been painted red in a few places here and there.
"I love my one," said Fry. "It makes it look like I have six-pack abs!"
Fry was right. His uniform had a thick chest and stomach padding, which had grooves that resembles abdominal muscles mainly for free movement. He also had thick shoulder pads, leg pads, and wore heavy, lace-up brown boots and long, black pants.
"Check out this crotch padding too!" said Fry. "Hey Bender!"
"Yo!" said the robot, walking over.
"Kick me in the groin as hard as you can. Betcha I won't feel a thing!"
Bender did as Fry said, but the delivery boy keeled over instantly, squealing in pain with quite a high-pitch and lying on the ground.
"Are you alright?!" asked Leela.
"Sure!!!" he said, his voice sounding like he was choking. "Didn't feel a thing!!!"
Zoidberg wandered over and held out his arms.
"They made me cover up my claws with these gloves!" he whined.
Zoidberg's outfit was similar to Fry's, but he had metal boots and thicker shoulder pads, wore bright red pants and, as he pointed out, had gloves too. Scruffy had massively thick gloves and boots, as well as extra thick paddy on his upper legs. He had golden stripes and a golden belt on too.
"Fancy suit, Scruffy!" said Amy.
"This suit was the best fit for Scruffy," he replied. "Plus it belonged to some winning champion called Gubbins."
The group's attention was suddenly focussed on a raucous on the other side of the clear wall. One of the small blue creatures was trying to escape, but was grabbed by a Seilarch.
"No!!" it said, squealing and pleading. "I don't want to fight! Our people are peaceful, our ship crashed on your planet by mistake!!!"
"Stay where you are, alien parasite!!!" the Seilarch said. He then dropped the little creature roughly on the ground.
"No!!" the creature said. "I don't want to!!!"
The little blue man made a run for it, but another Seilarch swing its tail towards him. The swift, sharp appendage hit the little man and sent him flying into the glass-like wall, right beside where the crew were standing. Then, he fell to the floor and lay motionless. The crew all looked at him, expressions of sympathy and shock.
"That's horrible!" said Amy.
"I know how THAT feels!" noted Fry.
"Attention, all alien prisoners!!" called a sadistic voice from the front of the room. Everybody turned towards it, and there stood a Seilarch holding a small gun. It continued.
"In a few moments, you will all be released through these portals into a maze battle arena. The concept is simple: This is a fight to the death between two teams. The blue team, and the red team. The last team standing, wins! And winners, get to stay alive! There are ten blue team members, verses seven red team ones. This may seem unfair, but keep in mind, the red team is made up or larger members, and they DO have a robot!"
A panel opened up beside the Seilarch, revealing various different weapons. He continued.
"Now to run you through the weapons you will be able to utilise in this arena.
They will spawn at different points on the map, and after being taken will respawn
again after a few minutes, always at the same point. Whichever team can control
the best weapon points will probably do the best. First of all, this little gun.
He held up the small pistol he had in his hands.
"Simple to use, and most basic weapon. You will ALL be issued one of these as standard. Fires small, medium range bullets at a slow speed. Non-automatic, so you will not be able to fire rapidly by holding the trigger down."
He picked up another gun from the ones mounted on the wall where the panel was. It was short and fat, but clearly a two-handed weapon.
"This is the Sludge Gun," he said. "It contains green, toxic and very lethal sludge. You can either fire rapid shots, or charge it up for a big one. Limited range, as it lobs, rather than shoots. Sticks to walls and floors before exploding into a toxic burst, so handy for covering passages that you don't want enemies to enter."
He picked up another gun. This one was the long, black rifle held by many Seilarch. The very same one that had been used in at battle against pirates Angela Zool and her friend Allan.
"This is the Seismic Rifle. It has two modes of fire. Primary, shoots a fast, long-range beam of plasma. Secondary, fires slow, but large, energy orbs. Shoot a secondary orb with a primary blast, and you'll create a nasty energy explosion!"
He took another gun. This one looked a little like a crossbow, but instead of quarrels, it had a sharp looking circular disc.
"This is the Razor. A favourite for a quick decapitation if aimed at the neck, this can do enormous damage. Fires lethal discs at an amazing speed that can ricochet off wall, floors and ceilings. Handy for the enemy around the corner, but be careful you don't decapitate yourselves with it. It happens more often than you'd think in these tournaments!"
He took another. A bulky green gun.
"This is the Gamma Gun, and also has two modes of fire. One, small, but quick, blasts of green energy plasma. Secondary, a constant stream of the stuff, but it has a limited range."
He picked up a fat, mustard coloured gun with a thick barrel.
"Here's a favourite, the Flak-Blaster. Fires tiny, molten hot shards of metal. Nasty!"
He picked up a huge, tubular weapon.
"And, of course, the Rocket Launcher. Can shoot up to six rockets at once. Two triggers, either fire straight, or lob rocket grenades that explode after three seconds. The longer you hold the triggers, the more rockets you can fire."
He picked up a final weapon, which looked like a standard sniper rifle.
"And finally, the standard Sniper Rifle. Simply to use, just point and click. Fire a deadly, long-range bullet. Not automatic, but this gun has the benefit of a scope too, for zooming in."
He put the gun back with the others, and the panel closed again.
"Well, that's about it. You will now all be sent though the portals into the arena. You will all receive a Supporter and communications headset so you can talk to your team-mates."
Bender, who was at the front, was given his items and send through the portal, as was the front-most member of the blue team. Then Scruffy, then Zoidberg, then Amy, then Alesia, then Leela, and finally, Fry.
"Here goes," said Fry to himself nervously as he looked at the swirling energy in front of him. "All you have to do is survive, and you'll be fine."
With that thought, Fry stepped into the misty portal.