Futurama

Fan Fiction

Futurama: Universe of Malice, Part 20
By Kenneth White

Chapter 20 - The Monsters Within

Alone. Despite all her years as an orphan, Leela had never felt so completely alone as she did now. She never thought Fry could have been so cold and harsh. He had been a dear friend for so long, and within the space of a few minutes, she felt they had suddenly drifted apart so far. She told herself it was bound to happen someday. That at some point, Fry would just have to accept their relationship for what it was: a friendship and nothing more. And that when he did, he'd finally stop trying to make it otherwise. Still, she had no idea he'd distance himself so much from her. She felt that she hadn't lost only lost his love, but his friendship as well. His words were like a hanging icicle, cold and sharp at the tip. And that made her feel alone. But she wasn't alone. A scary, ominous feeling hit her as she sensed something. Then, a voice confirmed it.

"You should not have interfered!"

A jolt. A strange sensation in the upper back. A flash out the corner of her eye.

Leela's pupil darted to the right to see what it was. Long, thin and glinting, it was a long blade. It would have been a flawless silver, if not for the thin red film that coated it. It took Leela a while, but still before the pain hit her, before she realised it was sticking out of her skin.

"AAARGH!!"

Leela's cry left her lips as Fry wandered in on the scene from the kitchen, a chocolate bar in his hand. Time seemed to slow for him as he gazed upon the scene: a creature with pale blue skin and spiky green hair stood behind Leela, his teeth gritted as he looked at her. His hands gripped the handle of a sword, which was stabbed through the back of Leela's chair and into the back of her shoulder blades, the rest of it sticking out the upper right of her chest, only just below the shoulder. Fry didn't gasp, he didn't say anything. His mind was telling him that to stop this menace, he had to surprise him. He almost dropped the chocolate bar, gripping it again quickly and secretly wishing it was a gun.

A gun!

The gun from the ambush at the Professor's place was still in his pocket. As Fry reached for it, time began to speed up. In a flash he had retrieved the gun, and trained it on his enemy. It was not set to stun.

"DIE!" he yelled, and his trigger was squeezed.

Fry saw the attacker's shocked face, though he didn't see it turn. One second it was looking at Leela, the next it was looking at him with surprise. The look didn't last, as the creature was hit by the shot in the back, and sent sliding across the floor until the front wall halted him.

Fry breathed a sigh of relief, then rushed to Leela's side with a call of her name, dropping his snack on the floor but shoving the gun back in his pocket. He gasped as he saw the wound up close, while she had her eye closed and teeth clenched in pain. She slowly turned her head towards him.

"Fry!" she struggled to say. Then, her eye closed, and her head drooped.

"Leela! NO!" Fry called. For a moment he just stared at her, his mouth open and his eyes filled with fear. He made a desperate noise and grasped his red hair tightly between cold fingers.

"Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Whadda-Ido?! Whadda-Ido?!" he said between clenched teeth.

He didn't know whether to remove the blade or not. I might make Leela bleed even more, which would be bad. On the other hand, it's not really supposed to be there. Just when he thought his mind was beginning to clear... movement. But not from Leela. From the stranger he had just shot.

"Impossible!" he breathed angrily. Fry was flabbergasted how it could have survived the shot. Even a stun blast should have had the thing out cold for a good five minutes minimum. Fry whipped the gun out of his pocket again and trained it on the intruder, who had slowly crawled up on two arms now, a hole in the back of his blue jacket smoking slightly where the shot had hit him.

"Oh My God!" Fry heard. He spun his head around quickly, then turned back to the unwanted guest. He didn't want to take his eyes off him for long.

"Bender!" Fry said desperately. "Grab a rope and tie him up."

It came across as an order, which Bender usually didn't like. Especially from Fry, whom he didn't really respect as being superior. But these circumstances weren't normal, and Bender happily tapped his metal forehead in a salute.

"I'm on it," he called, opening his door to fetch a tope out of it instantly as he ran towards the stranger.

"Zoidberg!" Fry called loudly as he looked back at the chair with the sword handle sticking out of it. "Get in here quickly!"

Fry let out a shuddering breath and sagged a bit, his gun still trained as he watched Bender prop the green-haired invader on a chair and began wrapping the rope around him. The alien's face was downcast, so green spiky hair was all that could be seen. Fry heard footsteps and the door slid across. Fry heard three gasps, but didn't turn to look at them.

"My God... Leela!" Amy's voice was heard to say. Zoidberg rushed to the wounded captain, and Fry looked across at him with worry, now that Bender had finally secured the enemy.

"She lost consciousness soon after the stab. She's still alive, isn't she?!" he asked desperately.

"Amy! Check her pulse!" Zoidberg snapped quickly. "These claws of mine end up usually stopping them if they are still going..."

Amy obeyed and pressed her fingers to Leela's neck. She nodded firmly.

"She's fine. I think it's just shock."

"Excuse me... I think I'm the doctor," said Zoidberg. "Now kindly remove this nasty sword from her while I hold her still."

Amy gave nod and quickly swivelled around to behind the chair. Zoidberg held Leela firmly, then nodded. She grasped the handle and slowly began to slide the object from the chair and Leela. It came out rather smoothly, though Fry had to look away. Amy finally dislodged the whole thing, the sword dropping to the floor with its weight and splattering some dots of blood on the floor. Amy dropped it completely soon after though, rushing to Leela again. She grabbed a rag from her pocket and pressed it down on the exit wound firmly, while Zoidberg looked at Bender sharply.

"Robit!" he barked. "Help me carry Leela to the medical bay."

Bender obeyed, again without hesitation, and he, Zoidberg and Amy began to leave with with Leela. Fry quickly began to follow them, but Amy turned to him.

"Sorry Fry, but you'll need to stay here and guard Stabby over there," she told him. He made a noise of protest.

"Buh... But Leela..."

"She'll be fine, don't worry," Amy said soothingly. "We'll let you know... but you need to guard that guy."

Fry nodded simply, as the other three left with Leela, sighing as his gaze left the door, then sitting down upon another chair himself. Something lightly rested on his shoulder, and he gazed up to see Alesia giving him a supportive smile.

"Don't worry," she told him softly. "She's tough... she'll be fine."

"I hope so," Fry whispered. He looked across at their new captive, looking rather angry all of a sudden.

"So what's your story then?! Why did you come here, and why did you attack Leela?!"

No response or movement.

"ANSWER ME!!!" Fry yelled. He then shot off a laser bolt right past the creatures head, making Alesia scream and creating a scorch mark on the wall behind him. Still no answer. Fry growled again and brought the gun across his face with a nasty crack.

"Speak, you bastard! SPEAK!!"

Fry jumped as green hair swished back and a blue face stared, a cold expression filled with negative emotions. But it wasn't the expression that made Fry jump as such, it was the creature's eyes. They were thin, white portals that seemed to be filled with hate and bitterness. They almost glowed with billions of years of angst, and looking into them felt like every piece of that angst was being transported straight into your mind. Fry looked away from them, instead focussing on the creature's mouth as it eventually answered.

"I think you know why I am here," it hissed.

"You want the gem too?!" Fry asked, though it was really a poor question. Fry was ninety percent sure that was the case.

"Yes," came a simple reply.

Fry's eyes bulged, then moved to the crimson blade upon the floor.

"Wait a minute!" Fry gasped, suddenly putting two and two together. "You were the one that killed the Baron and his men!"

"Yes," another response came.

"Then you must have our other gem, and the staff piece!" Fry accused. That wasn't a question.

"Yes."

"Why did you kill them so brutally?!" Fry yelled angrily.

"They resisted giving me the items after I gave them a chance. They paid the price for it with their lives, like all that resist me do."

"Then why did you stab Leela?!!" an angrier yell came. "She didn't resist... she couldn't have! There wasn't time and I would have heard it from next door! You just stabbed her!"

"You were company of the Baron's," he answered. "His warning spread to you all as well! If you'd had stayed out of it and given up, then nothing would have happened. But you persisted!"

"We were not company of the Baron's!" Fry yelled, almost as if saying so was the foulest insult. "He captured us all and forced us to find them! He wanted to find them all and use them to control the monster."

"The Machine," their captive said as a correction.

"Whatever?! The point is, we didn't want to do it and were forced to! We were enemies of the Baron, not friends! In some ways, you did us a favour!"

"Yet you are still here... looking," the intruder said. "If you're against what he was doing, why are you still searching for the pieces to this puzzle?"

"Because we want to save the universe," answered Fry simply, his anger almost seeming to disappear. "We figured that if the Baron is looking for them, so are others. And we wanted to find the items and destroy this... Machine before they fell into evil hands. And we know there are other evils looking for them. Pirates for one!"

The creature's eyes narrowed, as if to study Fry. Fry suddenly found that he could look into them again without feeling that burning, penetrating hate.

"I sense you are telling the truth," he told Fry. His previous hiss now sounded more normal. Even slightly soft, but there was a deep bitterness still behind it all.

"What do you care?!" Fry grunted. "You're just in it for--"

"The same reason," it interrupted.

Fry just stared at him, and he gave a simple nod.

"Yes, I seek to destroy The Machine as well."

Fry paused and regarded him. As he stared closely into those eyes again, he sensed something: that despite the vindictive nature and what this creature had done to Leela, there was truth in there.

"Who are you?" Fry asked simply.

The creature managed a small smile. It was almost like a smirk, but one more of sad realisation rather than of hate or malice.

"The last of a dead breed."

Fry was about to speak again, but the door opened and Bender walked in. He wiped a red smear off his chest plate and threw the rag inside his door as he approached Fry.

"Zoidberg wants to talk with you," he stated simply.

Fry didn't like Bender's tone. Not because it was sad or unsure, but because it simply wasn't there. It was, in every sense of the work, robotic. Fry stood up and held the pistol towards his robot friend.

"Take this and keep an eye on him," he said, flicking his head in the direction of the captive. "I'll be back later."

Bender took the gun and Fry wandered past him and out the door. The robot looked at a worried Alesia, and she quickly stood up and ran after Fry. He soon reached the med lab, but when he stepped in he couldn't help but be a bit shocked. Leela was lying on a bed, strapped to a heart monitor that bleeped away on a large screen, thankfully stable. There was something clamped to the wound on her chest area too, probably another on her back. This was kind of a shock to Fry, as modern science in these times usually meant that unless something was really serious, things could be reattached or sealed up with no problems in a flash. Hell, there were even quick ways around the more fatal things, as a car accident about five years ago had had shown Fry. But this didn't look right, and things didn't seem much better when Zoidberg and Amy wandered over with sad looks.

"What's going on?" Fry asked worriedly, just as Alesia wandered in behind him.

Zoidberg sighed. "The honest truth is Fry... I'm not really sure..."

"What? Wh-why not?"

"To put it bluntly, my portable medical kit was lost some time between when I fixed up Leela on Delphine and now. I suspect that it fell out of my pocket when I was on that stupid dragon. That contained my most important and effective medical tools, and the stuff I have on the ship is very limited. If we were back on Earth we'd be fine, but... in either case, we don't know how critical the damage is. I'll have to continue to investigate, but with the primitive and limited tools I have... it's not going to be easy."

"Oh no!" Fry gasped.

"Don't worry, Fry," Amy said as sweetly and gently as she could. "I'm sure Leela will be fine. There's no vital organs I can think of in that general area. Though with internal bleeding sometimes... who knows..."

Amy's naturally cute voice was somewhat soothing, but not enough. Especially with that last addition. Fry turned away.

"Where are you going?" Amy asked quickly. "Don't you want to stay here with Leela?"

"I just need to be alone for a while," Fry answered. He brushed past Alesia, not even looking at her, and left the room.

Alesia looked across at Amy, the Chinese Martian girl just returning a shrug. Zoidberg approached Amy.

"Amy, could you please assist me with having a closer look at this wound?" he asked. She turned and reluctantly nodded, but looked back to see an empty spot where Alesia stood before.


If somebody is praying to their gods and something unusual falls down from the sky, there's a good chance they'll find the two acts related. And when the fallen object upon discovery looks like it may be related to the gods in some form, then the chances of that are even greater.

And in the Earth year of 1228, this was no exception for one of the religious leaders on the planet of Glaciatus. Short with grass-green skin and a big nose, he wore a bright blue robe and shoes and had no hair. It happened while he was praying in the graveyard outside after conducting a funeral service, and saw a bolt of light from the sky streak down to the land.

He followed the light with his eyes, and decided to follow it with his legs as well. For days he trekked across the tundra of his planet, until he finally came to the spot where it lay. In the centre of a small crater, sat a short golden object, with three strange cup-shaped pieces at one end, and strange claws within the cups. At first it seemed confusing, but after thinking about it, the religious leader made sense of things. Their religion had three gods after all: a god of wisdom, a god of strength, and a god of heart. Therefore, it made sense that these three cups and claws were made to represent each deity.

He returned to the village with the object, and mounted it upon the front wall of his temple. Many citizens asked him about it and he told them, but everybody else seemed to think there was more to it. Then, while giving a religious speech, it hit him. The burning of candles was always used by the people of Glaciatus to honour things, so it made sense to put candles in the object, and have them burn during any religious gatherings there. The people became strong in their beliefs, and the candleholder was considered their most sacred object. So much so, that when one tried to steal the object once, he was sentenced to death.


SPLOSH!

The water was cool against Fry's face, but far from relieving. He stared into the bathroom mirror and sighed, then saw Alesia's figure standing in the doorway behind him. He swirled around, his face looking rather angry.

"I thought I told you I wanted to be alone?" he snorted.

Alesia just stood there, looking sympathetic.

"I thought you might want a shoulder," she answered.

"Wha?" Fry exclaimed with confusion. "Why... I already have two?"

"I meant to cry on."

"Oh... well... I'm a guy. Guys don't cry..."

He turned back to the mirror and turned off the tap. Alesia walked closer.

"Everybody cries at some point," she exclaimed.

Fry breathed out heavily, making Alesia feel like she was a bother.

"Not in company," he uttered.

"Look, you're hurting inside... I want to help."

"You can't, okay!"

An uneasy silence.

"This has something to do with what you said to Leela just before it happened, doesn't it?" Alesia asked.

"Leave me alone," Fry sighed, looking into the sink.

Alesia noticed a tear in his eye just before his head had drooped.

"I'm not going until you tell me what's up."

"Fine!" Fry said, his gaze training on her like steel to a magnet. "You want to know what's wrong with me then? What's wrong with me, is that Leela could be dying, and I don't want my third last words to her to be 'I don't even think I love you any more!' Happy?!"

Alesia gasped.

"I know it's usually the last words that are the ones to worry about, but that's just me calling her name before she lost consciousness. And my second last words were talking about getting a snack from the kitchen..."

"You... you said that to her?!" Alesia asked.

Fry nodded slowly. Alesia rushed forward with a smile, grasping Fry's arms.

"Then... You've decided!"

"Eh... wha?"

"You've chosen me over Leela! We can be together now!"

Fry's eyes widened with shock, and then his jaw dropped with realisation as she hugged him. Rage etched itself into his face and he pushed her away roughly.

"What the hell is your problem?!"

Alesia backed off a bit, now shocked herself. Fry pointed to his left angrily.

"Leela's lying there, possibly dying, and all you're concerned about, is whether we're getting together or not?!"

"T-T-The medical b-b-bay is t-that way," Alesia said nervously, pointing to her left.

Fry switched to his right arm, still looking rather ticked off.

"Thanks!" he said, then paused for a while. "You've changed, Alesia," he added.

"Wh-wh-wha..." Alesia stuttered, not even forming a proper word.

"You've become possessive, conniving, cruel and insensitive! But worst of all... you've just become selfish!"

Alesia was a statue. A statue that cried though.

"I can't believe I didn't see it before! You've become so obsessed with me and trying to get me away from Leela, you've become insensitive to everybody and everything else around you. It's been happening ever since that moment you almost kept quiet about Leela being taken by those Delphiniums..."

"D-D-Delphinians," she corrected in a whimper.

"Whatever! In either case, it's been getting worse. You're not the kind, caring, sweet, helpful girl I fell in love with on Verrone Five. She would never have put herself before an injured being. Never!"

She just stood in front of him, her eyes in sad disbelief and her bottom lip quivering. Fry grunted and turned towards the mirror again, leaning on the bench.

"How could I be so blind and stupid!" he growled. "It was slowly unfolding right before me... and I didn't even see it properly until now!"

"S-So now... you no longer love either of us?" Alesia managed to ask.

Fry sighed and turned to her. His expression had softened, but not completely.

"I still love you, Alesia," he told her gently, but firmly. "What I hate, is what you've become."

Another sigh.

"And I still love Leela too..."

"You do?" she asked with sad surprise.

He nodded.

"I didn't mean it when I told her that," he breathed. "Well, not fully. I just wanted to tell her that because I was sick of all the crap from her. My heart can push aside what I feel for her... but it can't erase it."

"So... does that mean you've chosen or n--"

"Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!" Fry yelled to cut Alesia off. "Stop being so God damned concerned about what I've chosen and look at the big picture!"

Alesia was frozen again. Fry looked behind him, got an idea, then grabbed Alesia's arm. He pulled the frightened girl and shoved her towards the mirror.

"Look at yourself!" he growled. "Really look at yourself! Is that person staring at you the same person who helped me to the Ellipse World?! The same woman who treated my wound on Verrone Five?! Who told me not to be mad at Carver and let it go?! Who helped that injured Seilarch?!"

Alesia looked at herself and listened to Fry's words. He was right, and she knew it. Deep down, she always knew it. It was like she had two personalities inside her, fighting for domination. One was the kind, selfless and helpful girl she was before, while the other was forceful, self-centered and jealous. And they were both linked by a common enmity: bitterness. The former personality bitter because of a life of hurt, loneliness and pain, while the latter was fuelled by her jealousy of Leela. She had been so lonely in the past and lost everybody she cared for, and she didn't want that to happen to Fry. She wanted to keep him at all costs. But that was wrong. Wrong because she had sacrificed her real self to do it. Finally, she turned back to Fry sadly.

"Help me," she whispered submissively.

"Huh?" Fry asked.

"You're right," she sniffed. "I've become a monster. I've become everything I hate in fact."

There was a long pause from Fry as he studied her.

"Are you really asking for my help? Or is this just another trick?"

"Wha-What?"

"Those Alesia puppy dog eye things you do have gotten me before... How do I know this isn't some ploy to make me sympathise with you and let my guard down? Well I'm not falling for it. You need to sort it out for yourself."

As he turned away she grabbed his arm.

"No!" she pleaded. "Please don't leave me like this, Fry! I really want your help! I want to be a better person again... I want to be like I was before!"

He looked down at her, down on her knees and pretty much begging him, wet streams running down her cheeks from her large eyes. And those eyes were actually filled with genuine pain and honesty. Fry's expression soften just a small bit.

"Please..." she said again, as if she felt this plea was her last chance. "Destroy the monster I've become..."

She woefully pressed her forehead into his arm and began sobbing quietly, her head down. Fry yielded and he turned and kneeled to her level. She looked up and he brushed some hair away from her face.

"Hey... Hey... that's not completely true," he consoled. "You're not a monster. Most of the old Alesia is still there."

"Yeah, but she's been poisoned," Alesia argued. "You're right, and I need you to help me. You have to help me become who I was before, and get rid of this hate and selfishness!"

"Well, admitting it is the second step," Fry smiled.

"What's the first step?"

"Having the problem in the first place so that you can fix it."

Alesia managed a small chuckle. It was kind of stupid, but it was typical of Fry.

"Just don't worry about who I'm choosing or not, okay?" Fry told her, patting her shoulder. "I'll figure that out for myself... like you said in the Sheridan. What do you say?"

Alesia nodded and smiled.

"I say we should go and check on Leela," she answered. "She might need your support."

"I'll be fine," said a familiar voice from behind Fry. He whirled his head around with a gasp to see Leela standing there in the doorway. She had some thick padded stuff around her right shoulder and a weary look. Behind her stood Zoidberg and Amy.

"Leela!" Fry exclaimed, and he wrapped his arms around her.

"Ow!"

"Whoops, sorry!" he exclaimed letting her go. "It's good to see you're okay! How long were you standing there?"

"I just arrived," she answered. "It was nothing really... anyway. Amy and Zoidberg fixed me up pretty quickly."

"Yes, the sword didn't do much damage," nodded Zoidberg. "It only punctured Leela's... uh.... What was that organ called, Amy?"

"Her lung," Amy answered simply.

"Ah, yes. Punctured her lung," nodded Zoidberg. "That and some minor muscle damage. It wasn't too hard to fix up."

"Well, I'm just happy that you're okay," Fry smiled.

"Yes," Leela nodded simply. "This co-worker is just fine."

Fry sensed something slightly bitter in that sentence, even though it didn't show on her expressionless face. But before he could say any thing, Leela spoke again.

"Now! Let's go pay the bastard who did this to me a visit!"

"No, Leela!" Amy called. "You need to rest up!"

But Leela stormed off towards the cockpit, red in the face and not paying any attention.

"Wow!" Fry exclaimed. "I haven't seen her that mad since that guy collecting money for the Association of Purse Snatchers outside the office stole her purse when she wouldn't give him any change!"

"You mean Bender?" Amy asked.

"Yeah, that's the guy," Fry nodded.

And in the cockpit, that 'guy' was surprised as Leela burst through the door.

"Hey, Captain Meatbag is alright!" he smiled, keeping the gun on the prisoner. Without much thought, Leela smacked the captive in the face with her clenched fist.

"Whoa!" Bender exclaimed. "Somebody's angry!"

"Damn right I am!" Leela said, then turned back to the captive again, giving him a left with her fist too.

"You bastard!" she yelled. "You literally, back-stabbing bastard!!"

Bender just watched with glee as Leela gave him another right, the others walking in too and gasping.

"Leela!" called Amy, but Leela just gave another punch, forcing Amy to call to Bender.

"Stop her, Bender!" she called. "You're the only one strong enough to hold her back!"

Bender grabbed hold of Leela after she dispensed one last punch. She began to struggle.

"Bender! Let go of me!"

"Not until you calm down, lady!" Bender answered. He had Leela's arms behind her back firmly.

"Yeah, Leela!" Amy snorted angrily. "Beating the crap out of him isn't going to get us any where!"

Leela stopped struggling and squirming, settling down.

"Okay... Okay, I'm calm now," she breathed. Bender slowly let go, and she rubbed her arms where he had grabbed her and slowly walked back to the prisoner.

"Okay... Now who the hell are you, why did you try to kill me, how did you get aboard, and what do you want?!"

"So many questions," he answered with a wince, the skin around his left eye starting to darken. "But before I do, let me apologise for stabbing you. I thought you were one of the Baron's cronies."

"Huh?" Leela exclaimed. "Wait, you were the one that killed him, weren't you?"

"Yes."

"I've been over this with him already, Leela," Fry butted in. "He has the other pieces too and apparently wants to destroy The Machine, just as we do."

"Well then, where are these parts?" Leela asked. "The bits you stole from us, the orange gem and the staff piece?"

"They are on my ship," he answered. "Along with the red gem."

Everybody gasped.

"You have the red gem too?!" Fry asked. "Where's your ship then?"

"On the bottom of your ship," he answered simply. "I'm surprised you didn't notice a small jolt as the ship attached itself."

Everybody thought.

"Wait, I remember," said Leela angrily. "But I thought it was Fry slamming his fist down."

"We thought it was one of you punching the other," said Amy, waving a pointed finger back and forth between Leela and Fry.

"Okay, now who are you then?!" Leela growled at him. "And why do you want to destroy the monster as well?!"

"I am the last of the Rabbish," he answered.

"What's that?" asked Fry. "A cross between a rabbit and a radish?"

"No. The species that created the staff in the first place and were destroyed for it. All but me."

"That's impossible!" said Bender sternly. "That happened billions upon billions of years ago!"

"Our race was immortal, but not invincible. When the blast occurred, I was light years away and survived the ordeal. Nobody else did. I thought I was at least rid of The Machine... that the very destruction of my people was a revenge at the same time, thanks only to the fact that one of us survived. But I was horrified to find it was not. So now, I search the universe for these items. I thought I had two final objects to find, until I discovered that green gem was a fake."

He looked across at Fry, as if to regard him as the leader of the crew.

"Since we both seek the same thing, despite my preferring to work alone... I suggest an alliance."

"Out of the question!" blurted Leela. "We're not allying with you after you tried to kill me!"

"It was a mistake," he answered. "I apologise."

Leela growled, Amy stepped forward.

"What's your name then?" the Chinese girl asked.

"Name?" the Rabbish repeated. "I have no name."

"Come on, you must have a name?!" Amy said in disbelief.

"Having a name would indicate that there were others I associated with by which to call be by a name. There are not."

"You mean you've been alone for billions of years by yourself with nobody around you, all the while being completely alone?" Fry asked.

"Yes," he nodded.

"Well, we're going to have to call you something if you're going to be going around with us," said Amy with a shrug.

Leela growled again, clenching her teeth. She didn't like this at all.

"Well, I suppose we could ally with him... since we're both looking for the gems for the same reason," nodded Fry. Leela looked angrier again. She curled her fists into a firm ball as Fry turned to the prisoner.

"How do we know we can trust him though?"

"NO!" Leela blurted out. "We can't trust him at all!"

She picked up the blood-coated sword quickly and stood before him. Everybody gasped.

"Nobody stabs me, you bastard!!" she yelled. Her eye was filled with rage.

"Zoidberg!" Amy said quickly. "Now!"

Zoidberg pulled a hypodermic needle from his pocket and approached Leela. She was alert though, and spun her foot around to kick it from Zoidberg's claw. She faced the entire crew, sword ready.

"Stay back!" Leela warned. "I know you all think I'm just angry, violent and murderous! I know you all hate me because I've been mean to Alesia, and you all think I want to kill her! I saved her God damned life with that stunt, and you bastards all hate me for it!!"

Tears welled up in her angry eye. Amy stepped forward slightly, her arms making a calming motion.

"We don't hate you, Leela," she said softly. "We never thought that you would have killed Alesia."

"LIAR!" Leela accused, now pointing the sword at Amy directly. "You all said so on the planet! You all thought I shot her in cold-blooded murder before I told the truth!"

"No we didn't," said Amy as calmly as she could. "We know that you would never do that... We just thought that the pressure had finally got to you. We thought that the monster inside you, the one that's inside all of us sometimes, had been unleashed and you'd lost all rationality and composure. We thought it had driven the real Leela away and taken control. We thought it was what shot Alesia, not you. It wasn't until afterwards we saw the truth... that you really were in control still, and you actually saved her life."

Leela's expression softened a bit, and the sword lowered slightly. Amy stepped forward some more.

"Leela, we're not angry with you. We're worried about you. You said yourself you enjoyed only stunning her because you vented some rage... That means your mental health is in danger, Leela."

"No it's not!" Leela said back, her sword raising again a little.

"Yes it is, Leela," Amy corrected. "What with the Baron, the tournament, being kidnapped by those big gorilla things, having you back torn through, all this crap with you and Alesia, not to mention being shot a few times and seeing a lot of death lately... And on top of that you have to be captain and haven't been cut any slack or had any thanks. Your sanity must be hanging on by a thread?!"

Leela lowered the sword a bit more, again her face softening. Amy motioned Zoidberg over.

"You need to sort it out before you really end up doing something really bad or hurting somebody, and Zoidberg and I discussed this while you were unconscious..."

Leela looked puzzled as Zoidberg approached her.

"As the Doctor of this ship, I deem you mentally unfit to perform your captaining duties, and relieve you of command."

"What?!" Leela exclaimed.

"Sorry, Leela," said Amy. "But you need to rest up."

"You bastards! You mutinnnnnooooo..."

CLAA-AANG-kla-ting-k!

The sword fell from Leela's grasp, as Zoidberg quickly stabbed her arm with another hypo. He smiled as she looked at him with angry and groggy astonishment.

"Zoidberg always carries a second injection," the doctor quipped.

Amy quickly rushed forward and grabbed Leela as her body went limp. She made a noise as if being squashed by a boulder.

"Argh! She's heavier that I thought!" Amy exclaimed. "Can somebody give me a hand?"

Zoidberg answered the request, and the two began to carry Leela away.

"Where are you taking her?" asked Fry.

"We'll put her in her bed," Amy stated. "She really just needs a good rest and time to think about things. We'll pamper her a bit too, and try to make her feel appreciated."

"Can I help?" Alesia asked.

Amy did a double take.

"You want to help her?!"

"Yes," Alesia nodded. "It'll be a good way of thanking her for saving me before, and making up for all the selfish things I've done lately."

"Well... Okay then... Sure..."

Alesia gave Fry a smile and followed the others, leaving just him, Bender and the Rabbish.

"So... about this alliance?" the Rabbish asked the other two. "Are you going to accept and untie me. I swear, I'll be loyal and help you out."

"I don't know if we can trust you?" Fry said sceptically.

The Rabbish nodded simply.

"Okay then."

To the surprise of both Fry and Bender, the Rabbish stood up from the chair, pulling his arms free from the rope effortlessly. He threw the rope aside and then just stood there.

"I had that knot untied when the robot was here with me by himself more than five minutes ago," he said simply. "If I had wanted to attack or escape, I would have done it long ago."

"Even with this gun on you?!" Bender asked angrily.

The Rabbish nodded and sat back down. "Oh, yes. I would have just done this..."

He kicked his left leg swiftly, knocking the gun from Bender's hand into the air, then stood up and caught it. He pointed it at a gasping Bender and paused offensively. Then, his stance became neutral again, he spun the pistol on his finger so that the handle faced Bender, letting the robot take it tentatively.

"But I don't see the point in fighting when it's for the same cause," he stated.

Bender and Fry looked at each other, then back at him.

"Yeah... Yeah, okay," Fry nodded.


"Captain!" Lieutenant Sheana said from out of the blue urgently.

"What is it, Lieutenant?" Captain Ditte queried from his chair.

"There's an urgent transmission from Hewson, sir."

"On screen, please," he nodded. Within seconds Hewson's amphibian face appeared. He didn't look happy, so Ditte tried to appear cheerful.

"Hello there. What news from Hydros, Hewson?"

"The news is that we've already got back the numbers regarding your evacuation, Captain," he answered. "Do you want to know how many... how many out of twenty million have decided to leave?"

"Yes. I'm very interested," Ditte said seriously.

"Only nine thousand, three hundred and two, Captain. Out of twenty million!"

"They do fully realise the consequences don't they?"

"They do, but we are dedicated and refuse to leave. Even if it means death."

"It will mean death," Ditte sighed.

"I know," Hewson nodded. "We know..."

"How many can the Nimbus hold?" Ditte asked Kif, who was sitting beside him.

He checked a console in his armrest. "We have five hundred personnel aboard already," he told the Captain. "And with a maximum capacity of ten thousand if need be... we could fit them all in."

Ditte uttered a groan.

"Hewson... There is enough room on the Nimbus alone for these people," the Captain stated. "We don't need to wait on further ships after all."

"Are you trying to hurry us up?" Hewson queried.

"Not at all," Ditte answered sadly. "But if you didn't want this to drag on... we could do it whenever you're ready."

"I shall inform the people and see what they think," Hewson nodded. "Perhaps getting this out the way and over with would be good. Yet... it would be nice to have some time to enjoy the last moments of life here..."

"Take as much time as you need," Ditte nodded. "We'll be here."

Then, Hewson's face disappeared. Ditte groaned and pressed a button on his armrest.

"Councillor Troy?" he said into it, his voice sounding like it was choking up or resisting rage. Perhaps both.

"Yes?" her voice rang out in response from the chair.

"I'd like to see you ASAP, if that's all right?" he answered.

"Well... Lieutenant Commander Kroker has a--"

"Cancel it, Miss Troy," Kif leaned over to tell her. "I think the Captain is more important."

"Very well, Lieutenant Commander," she answered. "Come and see me now then, Captain."

Ditte turned and gave Kif a smile that simply said 'thanks' before turning and leaving through the rear bridge doors, saying one final thing before leaving.

"You have the bridge, Kroker."


"Rrrrrrrgh..."

Leela groaned as she slowly opened her eye. A figure was there before her, but blurry. Her vision slowly cleared.

"Hello," Alesia said.

"Aaaah!" Leela jumped. Alesia flinched as well.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Leela asked grouchily. "And where am... Wait, I'm in my room on the ship?"

"I'm helping Amy and Zoidberg take care of you," Alesia smiled.

"I don't need taken care of," Leela snorted. "I can look after myself."

"Yes, but you need rest," said Amy, walking in with a glass of water. She handed it to Leela, but the cyclops just crossed her arms while dispensing a glower. Amy shrugged and placed it on the nightstand beside her.

"I'm fine! Stop fussing over me, dammit!"

"Ah, see what I mean?" said Amy firmly. "You've still got lots of pent-up anger."

"I do not!" she yelled. "Now I'm out of here and back to the cockpit to fly the ship like I'm supposed to!"

She made some strange noises of resistance, her upper body moving, but her lower half remaining completely still.

"I can't move!" she growled. "My legs aren't working!"

"Yeah, we figured you'd try to run off, so Zoidberg jabbed you with a paralysis shot," Amy smiled.

Leela just growled again, flinging her arms up.

"I thought this was supposed to calm me down?! It's just making me madder!"

"Spluh! Only because you're fighting against it!" Amy snorted. "Just sit back and relax."

Leela was about to protest, but knew that the irony of getting too mad would just make Amy make more comments. Alesia spoke up, the cyclops giving her the usual frown of dislike as she did.

"Leela, there's something I was us to do."

"What's that?!" Leela grunted, not really comfortable with what Alesia had said.

"I want us to make peace," Alesia stated forwardly.

Leela's frown disappeared for a second as her eye flared with mild astonishment.

"Huh?"

"Fry made me realise how much of a selfish..." she trailed off a bit, looking into Leela's again frowning eye, as if to try and find the right word in there, "...bitch I've been," she finished.

Leela's eye flared again. She found the right word all right.

"So... I'm sorry for being so nasty and self-centered around you, trying to judge you, and being so possessive of Fry."

She extended a hand. "Friends?"

Leela looked at it, then back at Alesia, who wore a hopeful grin. Amy was looking at her and waiting.

"No," she said simply.

Alesia's face saddened, but she was startled as Leela ended up taking her hand anyway.

"But I will accept your apology," the cyclops added as they shook hands. Alesia managed a smile, even if Leela was still looking at her sceptically. Leela broke the handshake.

"Sorry, but it will take more than an apology for us to be friends," Leela stated. "A lot more.... But I'll try not to treat you like complete garbage any more."

"Well..." Alesia said with a shrug. "It's a start, I guess..."

Leela wanted to change the subject and turned to Amy.

"So... now that I've been relieved of duty, who's the captain?"

She looked across at Alesia.

"Knowing my luck lately, in a cruel twist of fate it'll be you."

"I thought you just said you weren't going to treat me like complete garbage any more?" Alesia asked simply, showing no signs of being hurt by the comment emotionally, nor of any hostility.

Leela sighed. "You're right... Sorry. I'm just ticked off still! So, who's captain then?"

"The new guy," Amy answered.

"New guy?" Leela asked with a frown. "Who's th... Oh no! You don't mean..."

"Yep, the Rabbish guy you were about to gut before we stopped you," Amy nodded. "He's in charge now."

"Oh, lord..." Leela groaned. "How did that come about?"

"Fry and Bender agreed it was the best idea seeing as he knew more about the gems than any of us."

"So we're heading to Glaciatus now I suppose?"

"Yeah," Amy answered. "Don't worry, he seems really nice now. Really. Plus, we're only one gem and one staff piece away from having everything. And soon, it'll just be the blue one to go!"

"I still don't trust him," Leela snorted.

"Don't worry about it and relax," Amy said soothingly. "Alesia, Zoidberg and I are going to pamper you on the way there."

"I thought the goal of this treatment was to reduce my stress?" Leela said after giving Amy a stare.

Amy giggled just as there was a knock at the door.

"You girls all decent in there?" Fry's muffled voice asked.

Amy answered, "Yes..."

"Damn!" Fry was heard to remark, then he opened the door and peered in. "There's a message for you on the video phone, Amy. It's Kif."

Amy gasped with delight. "My Kiffy?!"

"No," said Fry. "Not Kiffy, just Kif."

He suddenly frowned.

"Does Kif know about this 'Kiffy' guy?"

Amy leapt up and ran out the door, ignoring Fry's stupid question. He shrugged and was about to close it when Zoidberg walked in smiling. He was holding another syringe.

"Hello Leela, good to see you awake. Time for your barium enema!"

"WHAT?!" she yelled.

Zoidberg laughed.

"I kid... I kid... A little medical humour," he chuckled. "This is just something to help you relax..."

"Can the jokes, Zoidberg," Leela fumed. "Or I'll release all my anger on kicking your ass."

Meanwhile, Amy sat in the captain's chair and Kif's face appeared on the screen. Bender wasn't there, Fry just looked at the three gems they had sitting on the table, and the Rabbish sat near a window wiping his sword blade with a rag.

"Hi Kiffy!" said Amy with glee.

"Amy!" smiled Kif. "It's so good to see you! I missed you so much."

"I miss you too," she cooed. "What are you up to?"

"Well... where to start? I'm calling you now because I have some free time now that my counselling session is off. We're trying to evacuate a planet to get something, but I'm afraid we're going to be killing millions of people. It's awful. Also, I recently lost a good friend of mine, so things haven't been easy."

"Awww... I'm so sorry. What is it you're trying to get?" Amy asked him.

"Oh, nothing really," Kif smiled nervously. "Just something the DOOP are after. I can't really sa--"

"Kif," Amy interrupted, reaching over to the table Fry sat at and grasping one of the jewels and then holding it up so Kif could see. The red one.

"Oh my!" Kif exclaimed with shock. "Wh-where did you get that?"

"Our new ally gave it to us," she answered. "Plus we have two more, a green and an orange one. And a piece of the staff. We're on our way to Glaciatus now to get the last piece."

Kif went pale.

"O-o-o-o-o-oh my!" he managed to say. "Th-th-that jewel was the one taken from us!"

"Huh?"

"That red gem... It was stolen from us by this creature... A-A-And then he killed Raker!"

The Rabbish wandered over, hearing the conversation.

Kif screamed as he saw him.

"Run, Amy! He's right behind you!!"

"I remember you," the Rabbish said simply. "From Graz."

"You killed his friend?" Amy asked, looking up at the Rabbish sadly.

"Yes," he nodded. "I'm sorry, but I had to. The DOOP can't be trusted with the jewels. They're just another power-mad galactic federation!"

"No we're not," Kif answered timidly but forcefully. "We're trying to further intergalactic peace."

"Yeah, by force. Didn't I just hear you say you're going to be killing millions to get something?"

"Who are you to speak?" Kif argued back, rather angrily for his usual timid self. "You're taking the gems by force as well! You've... killed to take them."

"I've given everybody a chance to give up the items first," he argued. "They refuse, they die."

"But you killed Raker!"

"Raker killed himself," the Rabbish stated as if it were a fact in cement. "He had a chance to give it up... he didn't."

"No reason to kill him," Kif said. He was starting to break down a bit now. "He didn't need to pay with his life."

"I've lived long enough to learn that if you don't dispose of those that oppose... they come back to oppose again."

Kif just sneered at the Rabbish. Amy stood up between them, thankful they were really billions of light years apart.

"Settle down, both of you," she said. "Spleesh! And you say us women bitch and moan at each other! Look, we're globviously all fighting for the same thing... so let's forget about it and just work together. The sooner we have these things, the sooner we can destroy this monster planet thing."

Kif sighed from his end.

"You're right, Amy."

"Look... Kif," said the Rabbish. "I'm sorry your friend was killed, but it was nothing personal. It wouldn't have happened if he had just given it up."

"He was too loyal to the DOOP to give it up," said Kif sadly.

"So... what exactly are you trying to secure then?" Amy asked him.

"The blue gem," Kif answered. "It's here on the planet Hydros."

Gasps from Amy, Fry and the Rabbish.

"The problem is though, the entire planet is powered with it. If we take it, they'll die when nightfall comes and the temperatures drop. Very few have agreed to leave. We're just waiting for the people of Hydros to be ready."

"Awwwww... that's awful," said Amy sadly.

Kif nodded. "Yes... My new captain, Captain Ditte, has taken it rather harshly. The DOOP say it's for the greater good. That we must sacrifice these lives to save unlimited more."

"Sometimes it has to be that way," nodded the Rabbish.

"Yes, I'm sure you know all about it?" Kif sneered. This was followed by a groan.

"Look, I'll tell the Captain you have almost all the other pieces and we'll rendezvous with you at Glaciatus and bring the blue gem."

"That would be awesome, honey!" she beamed.

He nodded. "Yes, then we'll have all the pieces to the puzzle. But be careful, Amy. I don't trust him, and neither should you."

He pointed at the Rabbish.

A voice rang from behind Amy and the Rabbish. "Good call, Kif!" Bender said, having just wandered in from the kitchen holding a bowl of something with steam rising from it and wearing his 'Fool of a Cook' apron and his chef hat. "You can't trust anybody these days. Well... except for Trust-tor of course..."

"What do you have there, Bender?" Fry asked cheerily.

"Some chicken soup Amy told me to get Leela," he answered happily. "Hopefully it'll make her feel better."

"Well... I'd better go then, dearest," Kif said from the screen. "See you on Glaciatus."

"Awwwww... Bye, Kiffy," Amy waved. "See you then! Kisses!"

The screen switched off and Bender left. He wandered to Leela's door, singing some random scat along the way, then rapping on it with his free metal hand.

"Come in," said Zoidberg's voice.

Bender opened the door and walked in. Leela was still in bed, while Alesia sat on one side of her and Zoidberg on the other. Leela rolled her eye.

"Oh no, now what is it?" she said.

"Amy told me to make you some chicken soup," smiled Bender. "So here you go! Enjoy!"

He put the bowl in Leela's hands. She looked into it and her nose reflexively turned up. It was a strange sorrel colour, with several small elusive things floating around two rather uncomfortably recognisable things: a chicken foot and head, the latter complete with beak and eyes.

"Uh... Thanks Bender," she smiled forcibly. "I'll eat it later though..."

Bender frowned as she tried to put it on the floor at the foot of her bed.

"But it'll go cold," he whined.

Leela wobbled a bit, so Zoidberg helped her ease it to the ground without it spilling.

"Actually, that's probably a good idea," he announced. "The relaxation drug is starting to kick in. We don't want her to spill it and burn herself."

"Thank you, Zoidbergth," she said. Her speech was beginning to slur.

Bender shrugged. "Okay then, I'll go and start making that pie then. Though I don't know if I'll have enough ingredients... there aren't as many rats here as there are back in the office on Earth."

Bender disappeared out the door, and Zoidberg turned to Leela instantly.

"You don't want that soup, do you?"

"Nop'th," she answered simply, shaking her head wonkily.

"Good," Zoidberg answered. He then grabbed the bowl and slurped it down quickly, a satisfied grin on his face when he was done.

"Aaaaah! Well, I'll go and get that story I was going to read you," he announced standing up. "The Red Crab of Courage. A more classic tale there was not!"

He wandered away, and Leela turned to Alesia.

"You're noth doing mutcsh," she told her simply.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Alesia said. "What can I do?"

"Acthually, for onc'th you're theh leashth annoying perthson around," Leela managed to say.

Alesia smiled and Leela did a rather woozy double take.

"Man! Th'hat thtuff isth working wellth! she slurred wearily, realising it had calmed her enough to actually give Alesia a half compliment. She turned to Alesia, suddenly looking sad about something.

"Acthually, there isth thumthing you may beth-able to helpth me width? I might asth well athk now while I can thstand to thalk width you."

"Uh... thanks," Alesia said unsurely. "I think? What is it?"

"When you were thalking width Fry in the baththroom... Didth he stheem like he hatedth me?"

Alesia paused for a while, a look of thought on her face.

"How do you mean?" she asked.

"Wellth... When we thalked in the cockpith bethore... I goth thish feeling that he hated me. I thuppose he thold you whath he thaid to me?"

Alesia simply nodded.

"Well... Athter he thaid it... I goth the theeling that I altho lostht hiss friendshipth. Tho... I need to know..."

She looked directly at Alesia, pleading for an honest answer.

"Did I loosth Fry's frindshipth?"

Alesia stared back at her and paused. Part of her was telling her to say "Yes" right there and then. But that was the evil part. The part she wanted rid of. So she pushed it aside, and decided this was a perfect way to start her back on the path to being her old self again. She kicked the demon away.

"No, you haven't," she answered. "Fry still cares about you a lot. You haven't lost him as a friend."

"Thankth youth," Leela smiled, her large eye half-closed and her speech near unrecognisable now. "I thinksth I'll go thoo thleep now..."

She slid down into her covers and closed her eye, a satisfied smile on her face. Alesia smiled back, not at the sight, but more at the fact that she was proud of herself for putting Leela's feelings before her own, and being honest and helpful when she could have easily just been selfish. She still had a long way to go, after all, she still needed a conscience wrestle then, but it was a step on the right track. The door opened and Amy walked in smiling and holding several small containers with different coloured labels and a small brush.

"Hey, Leela," she called. "I'm going to do your nails..."

She trailed off as she saw Leela sleeping there and smiled.

"Wow! She's finally resting up, huh?" Amy remarked.

"Yeah, Doctor Zoidberg gave her something," Alesia smiled.

"Good," said Amy, putting the containers and brush on Leela's dresser quietly. "It's a long trip to Glaciatus... Let's hope she's feeling better by the time we get there."


In the year of 2352, two people stood upon the deck of a small boat looking at a strange device. It looked like a robot of some kind, but it was not. One was a brash-looking young man with a cigarette hanging from his mouth, the other an elderly man with a thick white moustache. They were somewhere in on Mediterranean, testing this new piece of equipment.

"I hope this works, Professor," the younger one said with a gruff voice. "I don't want any leaks."

"It will work, my friend," the other replied in a Greek accent. "And it will be able to take you very deep and be more manoeuvrable than any underwater craft in history. It is, after all, basically an underwater exo-suit."

"Well, we won't make the history books just looking at her," the younger one replied, pressing a button to open the entire front of the device, revealing a seat and several strange devices. "Let's get me in that water."

He flicked his cigarette into the water and climbed into the strange machine, putting his arms through two holes in either side and into the machine's ones.

"Close me up, Professor," he said.

The Professor nodded and pulled the hatch closed. As soon as he had, the machine rose to its two feet, walked over to the edge of the boat, and leapt into the water. Using the boosters on its back, the strange new craft swam around. They performed some routine checks, tested out how deep it could go amongst other things. After an hour or so, the Professor got a transmission from his machine's pilot that would change his life forever.

"I'm going to check out a cave in the rocks here, Professor," he said. "It looks small, but I think I can fit this thing in."

"Sure, navigating places where nobody has gone before is the main purpose of this thing. But proceed with caution."

"Roger," came a reply. Less than a minute later the Professor heard a gasp and his friend's voice again.

"Oh my God! Professor... I think I've discovered something that man has been searching for, for centuries!"

"What is it?"

"You're not going to believe this, but there's a whole city under here," he answered. "I think we may have stumbled across a legend and made it a definite fact."

"Atlantis!" the Professor breathed.


Amy wandered into the cockpit and approached the controls. The ship had been on autopilot so far, but Amy switched to manual control and took over.

"How's Leela going?" Fry asked.

"She's fine," Amy smiled. "She's sleeping."

"Good," Fry said with a satisfied grin. He turned to their new comrade, who was once again rubbing the blade of his sword.

"We still need to find a name for you," he said. "We can't just call you the 'New Guy' or 'The Radish.'"

"Rabbish," he corrected.

"Whatever," Fry dismissed. "Surely you had a name waaay back when you were with your people? You weren't just Rabbish Number Four Hundred and Forty Twelve, surely?"

"No. That would have been impractical considering we are immortal and there were many of us."

"Then what were you called?"

The Rabbish groaned loudly and stopped cleaning the sword. He flicked it over his head and into the sheath on his back.

"Okay then," he nodded. "I haven't been called this for billions of years, but... back home I was known as Elod."

"Elod?" Fry said, almost snorting it.

"That's right," he nodded. "So you may call me Elod if you so wish?"

"Sure," Fry shrugged. "Better than calling you 'The Rabbit.'"

"Rabbish," he corrected again.

"So... tell us about your world," Amy asked him. "Before the disaster."

"There's not much to tell. It would just bore you."

"No, I have a good attention span," Fry said, dismissing his claim. "And al... Ooh! My chocolate bar is under that seat!"

Fry picked it up. Elod continued.

"Well, basically... we lived with these other reptilian creatures called the Merak, and we ended up going to war with them. They ended up building these invincible robots made of the same strong metal The Machine is made from. Our scientists developed the staff with the gems, which was somehow supposed to be the only thing that could destroy the metal once it was forged. I don't know what happened as I was away, but the entire universe shook and the bits were sent scattering."

"Why weren't you there?" Fry asked him with a mouthful of chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanuts.

"Well... when I was the young age of seven hundred and twenty two..."

"GHAK!!" Fry choked, a peanut getting lodged in his throat. He coughed it up and breathed normally soon enough, and Elod continued.

"... I was sent by my father to take some animals to take them to another world for colonisation. Something we did to help spread life amongst the universe. Well, I was there helping them get adjusted when it happened. The planet I was only barely survived the attack... the same went for me. When I returned I found my planet was gone. I searched the universe for it, but to no avail. Of course, after that day, the whole dimensions of existence had changed."

Elod's eye caught something under Amy's chair. A toolbox. He eyed it off, but did nothing more. It was not the time.


"...and that's why you'll never make captain, Baldur," Zapp finished off with.

"How the hell could I be captain anyway?!" Baldur growled. "I don't belong to any organisation, federation or military unit, let alone one with the rank of captain in it!" He snorted. "Besides... It seems like they'll just give the rank to any idiot these days!"

The two of them were still wandering through a long and dull passageway. Too dull for Zapp.

"Man, wandering around in here is boring..." Zapp noted. "All we do is walk and talk."

"Just say so, and I'll fix it so you won't be able to do either ever again!"

"Eh... sorry," Zapp said with defence. "But it's just kind of monotonous, y'know... Like most people, I'm more interested in situations like big battles, violent wars, car chases, catfights between sexy babes, animated cartoons, and complicated love triangles. Being in here has none of those things."

Baldur just replied with a grunt of contempt, but then a second grunt of interest and a look of surprise.

"What is it?" Zapp asked.

"A breeze," Baldur breathed. "I felt a strange breeze."

"Maybe we're close to a way out?" Zapp beamed.

"Don't be stupid!" Baldur ordered, but then the wind rustled his hair even stronger.

"There it is again! I wonder what haaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa..."

"WAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..."

Both Baldur and Zapp yelled out in confused fear as a air flow off hurricane proportions hit them from behind and shot them through the passageway, taking them further towards wherever they were going at a fantastic speed. Unknown to them, it wasn't taking them closer to a way out. In fact, quite the opposite.


Ditte smiled wearily as he sat at his desk, his mouth smiling but his eyes showing fatigue and worry.

"Thanks for the news, Kif," he told the short green officer who stood before him. "It's good to finally get some good news about this all. Tell Trotter to plot in a course for Glaciatus, but hold it until we're ready to leave. Let's just hope that Hewson decides to do this quickly, it's killing me to wait here!"

A triple bleep sounded from Ditte's desk computer.

"That could be it now," Kif noted solemnly. Ditte gave him a glance and turned to his computer.

"Yes... What is it, Lieutenant?"

"Sir," Sheana's voice rang from the speaker. "You have another transmission from Mister Hewson. Shall I transmit it through to you there?"

"Yes, please do that," Ditte nodded wearily. He looked really stressed out to Kif.

"Captain Ditte," a bubbly and sad voice uttered through the speaker. "Those who have chosen to will be ready to evacuate in half an hour's time, starting with Nebulus. We are sending your bridge co-ordinates now for the docking bays your Nimbus can pick them up from at all the floating cities."

"Thank you, Hewson."

"I'm not doing this for you. It is for those who chose to leave. They may be cowards, unpatriotic or whatever they are, but ensuring their survival is important."

"I understand," Ditte nodded. "When would the removal of the gem be the most convenient for you all?"

"The sun will go down again in just under six hours time," Hewson answered. "Any time before then would be fine. We would all like to see the last sunset if possible. You're taking our lives, the least you can give us is that..."

"Very well," Ditte nodded slowly, trying to sound as diplomatic as he could. "My deepest sympathies for you and your people. Ditte out."

He turned off the screen, his face being instantly buried in his hands afterwards. Kif looked on.

"Can we really go through with this, Captain?" he asked.

Ditte looked up, his eyes almost to tears. "We have to, Kif," he stated. "The fate of the universe depends on it."

"But it's wrong!" he argued back, then he suddenly remembered himself. "Uh... sir."

"Nobody said otherwise," Ditte sighed. "You're right... it is wrong. Very wrong. It hurts to think about, I know. But we have face a simple fact: That the alternative... The alternative would be unthinkable!"


Nibbler nodded in the darkness, a smile on his face.

"Yes, so hopefully when we reach Glaciatus, all the puzzle pieces will be complete," he said into his communications device.

"I will meet you there," a deep voice said from the other end. "Remember, the Mighty One will be needed for Operation Playtime to work."

"Indeed," Nibbler nodded. "I will ensure his safety."

"Also, we want any data you can collect on the objects sent home," the deep voice said. "We must know as much information as possible."

"That should be simple," Nibbler said. "The Professor will likely be taken the objects when they have been gathered for assembly purposes. He'll no doubt analyse them himself."

"Good," the deep voice answered. "But be weary of the one known as The Rabbish, my friend. He has the right idea, but his loyalty is not to be trusted! Especially when he can move as fast as he does."

"I shall watch him vigilantly."

CREAK!

"I must depart!" Nibbler whispered quietly. "Lord Nibbler out!"

He pressed the button on the device, threw it in the hole, and replaced the panel. Then, he carefully opened the locker door a crack, and peered out at the figure in the darkness.

CLATTER!

A toolbox was thrown roughly on the bench, and muttering was heard. The tall figure of Elod stood there.

"They took long enough to leave the cockpit," he said. "If I hadn't had tripped that robot with the pie, they wouldn't have left at all..."

He unclipped something from his waist and threw it beside the tools. Nibbler squinted to see what it was. It looked like a second belt, or at least a strap. Attached to it was a strange box that looked like something electronic. There was a large melted hole in the front of the box though, something having damaged it. Elod grabbed a screwdriver from the toolbox and flicked off the panel with the hole in it, then peer inside the device.

"Damn!" he cursed. "That stupid laser blast fried it... This will take a while to fix! And that orange-haired kid... why couldn't I sense him?"

"Elod!" a muffled female voice said from somewhere. "Where are you?"

Elod quickly threw the toolbox under the bench and then looked around frantically.

"Where to put this? Where to put this?" he chanted quietly to himself.

'Not the locker! Not the locker!' Nibbler thought.

Elod's gaze froze upon something, a smirk coming to his face.

"The locker!" he whispered with realisation.

'No!' Nibbler thought, and he backed up against the back of the compartment he was in as the Rabbish approached the locker... and threw the object on top of it amongst some other random junk. Nibbler breathed a sigh of relief, and Elod dashed out the door and back into the cockpit.

"There you are," smiled Amy. "Where were you? We've cleaned up the pie now."

"I was just washing up in the bathroom," he said. "I got some pie on me when your robot friend tripped over."

"Oh," Amy said. "Well, sit down and tell us more about your planet."

"Okay," he shrugged.

As he told Fry and Amy more, Nibbler crawled back into the locker from above, and swiftly grabbed his communications device. He held the strange object that Elod had thrown up there in his other hand.

"Hello, Ken?" he said into it. "I have something here which may be of interest to you..."

Buddies