Married With Children, part 3
Apartment 1I, June 26, 3004, 0630 (6:30 a.m.)
The sound of the coffee maker combined with the
aroma of coffee wafting through the bedroom to bring Leela out of her
deep slumber. Without opening her eye, she reached over to the side
of the bed where Fry had slept, only to find he was already up.
Blinking, she sat up, irrationally fearful for a second that Fry was
The sound of
movement and the smell of cooking coming from the kitchen confirmed
that he was still in the apartment. She relaxed inside, pulling on
her robe as she walked into the kitchen. Fry although barefoot was
wearing his jeans and his tee shirt.
Fry had his back
to her as she entered, engrossed in scrambling some egg beaters. She
had an urge to sneak up and hug him, but she realized that could
result in a ruined breakfast…or worse. Instead, she simply
said, “Good morning, Fry. Did you sleep well?”
Fry looked over his shoulder, “Morning!
Yeah, I slept great!”
As she stepped
past him to sit down, she kissed him lightly on the cheek. She
scooted the chair to a position where they could talk while Fry
“Leela, are we still going apartment hunting
“We may not
have to look far, Fry. Apartment 5 on this floor is open, it’s
rent controlled, and it has two bedrooms, one and a half bath rooms,
plus a windows and a patio.”
“Wow! Sounds great!” He paused a
second before asking a bit hesitantly, “What’s the
“The cost is less than the combined costs of
our two separate apartments.”
know, I bet Nibbler would like a patio.”
At the sound of his name, Nibbler sat up in his
bed. He made one of his high pitched muttering noises that indicated
he was hungry and headed into the kitchen. Once there, he jumped
into Leela’s lap.
She stroked him affectionately, “Aw…poor
baby. Fry, he’s hungry.”
Fry turned down the stove to keep from burning the
egg beaters. He opened the pantry door, hefting a can of ‘Kibbles
and Snouts’ off the floor. Straining mightily, he got the can
onto the can opener.
Once the can opener began to whir, Nibbler went
into his usual pre-feeding antics. He ran in circles around Fry’s
feet, jabbering excitedly. True to form, as the gelatinous pink mess
was sliding from the upended can headed for his dish, Nibbler
positioned himself directly under the pink avalanche.
temporarily disappeared in the gelatinous mass. The sounds of his
gobbling large chunks of the stuff rang through the kitchen. Within
seconds, he reappeared to finish off the entire contents of the can.
Then he gave a resounding belch.
Both Fry and Leela laughed because they both found
Nibbler’s twice daily feeding time show amusing.
Stomach bulging, Nibbler hopped back into Leela’s
lap. As she stroked his fur she smiled. “You know Fry,
Nibbler likes you. I can tell.”
Right then, the toast popped from the toaster.
Prone to malfunctions, the toaster occasionally sent the toast
crunching into the ceiling. This time, it only forced Fry to do a
juggling act to keep the toast off the floor.
“Darned toaster! I’m going to get
Bender to give it a talking to!” Fry said in an exasperated
Leela sat up in her chair, nearly sending Nibbler
onto the floor. “Bender! Fry, we have to pick him up this
morning at eight. I’d almost forgotten.”
He handed her a plate full of breakfast, “We’ve
got plenty of time. Let’s eat. Then we can pick up Bender,
check out the apartment, and stop by Planet Express later.”
“My, my, but
you are becoming quite forceful!” she said playfully, “Yes,
my lord and master, we’ll do just as you say.”
Fry laughed, “Well, I was an Emperor once!”
Then he said with mock gravity, “I’m glad you are coming
around to my point of view.”
James Martindale’s Apartment, 1202 East
49th Street, Apartment 404, June 26, 3004, 0645 (6:45 a.m.)
The insistent ringing of an alarm roused Sarah
from her sleep. Opening her eyes, she was momentarily confused.
I?” she thought. The sight of James standing in the doorway
smiling at her brought back the memory of last night.
She returned his
morning, Sarah. I’m sorry the alarm woke you, but I’ve
got an appointment with a client at eight. Want to clean up and go
get some breakfast?”
Just point me to the dunny.”
James grinned at her Australian slang, “I
haven’t heard it called that in a long time. I’ve set
out some fresh towels. If you throw your clothes out the door,
Zoidman will have in clean in less than 20 minutes. There’s an
unused toothbrush and a robe in there for you as well.”
“Thanks Jimbo,” she replied as she
rose. She brushed against him as she walked past on her way to a
long shower. “Yes!” she thought as she watched James’
reaction, “The spark is still there.”
James watched her as she walked across the living
room, feeling emotions that he thought were long dead. With an
effort, he turned his mind back to the present. As he walked into
the kitchen, he arrived just in time to experience Zoidberg noisily
devouring a raw squid.
became aware of James’ presence, he turned to him, “So,
Sarah is doing well?”
“You could say that Zoidman. Would you mind
laundering her stuff?” He looked toward the bathroom door,
which was now closed. A pile of laundry lay outside. “She left
it right outside the door.”
“Certainly, my friend, it is no problem at
all.” Zoidberg rose from the chair and scuttled off. He picked
up the laundry, piled into the sonic washer, which began to emit a
low hum after he punched a series of buttons.
Zoidberg waddled back into the kitchen, “So
James, some work you have today?”
“I’m going to be busy in my room for
several hours and may have to go out. It’s important that I be
able to say that I was at home all day working.”
Zoidberg nodded his head, “Of course you
were home all day, why not, I tell you!”
James patted Zoidberg on the shoulder, “Zoidman,
you are my Doctor Watson.”
Zoidberg gave a start, “So who is this
James grinned, “Just read some Sherlock
Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
The sound of the door to the bathroom caused them
to look up from their conversation as Sarah emerged. She was wrapped
in a white terry cloth bathrobe. Her hair had been toweled dry and
Zoidberg stole a
look at James’ face. He saw the hunger there, the same hunger
he had seen in Fry’s face as he looked at Leela. It was
obvious to him that Sarah felt a need for James as well. Without
speaking, he went to the sonic cleaner to get Sarah’s clothes.
“So Jimbo, what’s on the agenda?”
she said in a casual tone that she did not feel.
James bit back a suggestive answer, saying
instead, “As soon as you get dressed, we can get some
breakfast. Then I have to get to work.”
“Just what sort of work do you do?”
“I do security consulting and a bit of
private investigation, mostly.”
“Mostly. Hmmm. That sounds interesting.”
Not liking the way
the conversation was going, he shrugged, “It’s dry as
dust.” Before he had to think of anything else to say, Zoidberg
scuttled up with Sarah’s clothes.
“So here are your clothes, Sarah,”
Zoidberg said in a friendly tone.
“Thanks Doctor Zoidberg, I appreciate it.”
She turned to James, “I’ll be out in a moment.”
After she vanished into the bedroom, James gave a
low whistle, “That is some woman.” He knew in his heart
that feelings were growing…feelings he hoped were mutual.
She emerged from the room, “Come on Jimbo, I
could use some breakfast.”
James took her by the arm, feeling the warmth of
her touch. He looked into her shimmering green eyes, “I know
the very place. You’ll love it.”
“I’m sure I will,” she replied
Without another word, they left the apartment,
Cedars Sine Wave Hospital, June 26, 0800 (8
Leela and Fry sat
holding hands in the waiting room, watching the door for a glimpse of
Bender. Doctors, nurses, and patients flowed past in the corridor,
maintaining a continual background of sight and sound. Not that they
paid much attention because for both Leela and Fry the warm pressure
of their palms pressed together was the focus of their world.
Within a few moments, Bender’s voice –
coming from just out of sight down the corridor – intruded on
their consciousness as he bellowed, “Kiss my shiny metal ass!”
Startled, they both stood up and stepped into the
corridor, still holding hands. At a glance they could see that the
object of Bender’s wrath was a robot doctor. “Mr.
Bender, if you don’t return for tests, we can’t be sure
if the treatment is working.”
“You just want my money. I’m fine.”
“No, you are
not. You have Robot-turrets’ syndrome or RTS.”
Bender went suddenly rigid. Then he shouted
“FUNDERFUL!” at full volume. No sooner had he shouted
than he relaxed. Shaking his head he said, “That RTS is a lot
of baloney. I’d know if I was shouting random stuff.”
The doctor said in an exasperated tone, “You
just shouted ‘funderful’, Mr. Bender.”
“Nonsense! I never use that word.”
Fry spoke up, “Bender buddy, you did just
Bender turned to face Fry, “What is this…a
conspiracy? I do not have RTS!”
Leela chimed in gently, “Bender, you did
shout. Please listen to us.”
This seemed to convince Bender. He said
grudgingly, “Okay, so I suffer from RTS. Now what do I do?”
The doctor placed his hand on Bender’s
shoulder, “Mr. Bender, RTS is the result of a dysfunctional
interface between your speech processor and your cognition board.
With treatment, I am sure we can eliminate it.”
but,” he bellowed ‘COMPASSIONATE’ and almost
instantly resumed normal speech, “how long will it take?”
“Two to three weeks of treatments is normal
for a complete cure.”
Leela suddenly got
a horrified look on her face, “We’re getting married this
weekend. Bender is our best man. Is there any way to control the
The doctor placed his hand under his chin, “No.
Not in so short a time. That is, unless you shut off his speech
Bender shook his head, “Hell, no! I’m
not shutting anything off!”
Leela felt an urge to belt him, but instead she
took a deep breath. She adopted an almost pleading tone, “Come
on Bender, it would only be for the ceremony. It would mean so much
to Fry and I…wouldn’t it Fry?”
Fry nodded vigorously in agreement, “Come
on, old buddy. Please?”
“Well, all right, I’ll do it, but
don’t expect me to…FINLAND...be happy about it.”
Fry patted him on the back, “Thanks old
buddy, I owe you one.”
“Darn straight, you owe me. You can start
by buying me a couple of beers. All these jokers would give me was
Leela covered her mouth to stifle a laugh, “Let’s
go to the apartment. We have a six pack with your name on it.”
Fry added, “Yeah, and I need you to talk to
All three turned and left the doctor standing in
the waiting room, shaking his head. When they were out of sight, the
doctor headed back into the ward already processing the treatment for
a dozen other patients.
James Martindale’s Apartment, 1202 East
49th Street, Apartment 404, June 26, 3004, 0945 (9:45 a.m.)
James shut his computer down, having finished his
review of the dozen addresses that he was going to visit as, ‘Big
Red’ that day. He had looked at every webcam in the area, read
every police report on the area, and reviewed every approach…both
above and below ground…to every address. He was ready.
He opened the door to his bedroom. Zoidberg was
seated on the couch, engrossed in reading “The Complete
Sherlock Holmes.” He heard James’ door slide open and
Smiling, James said in a mock British accent, “The
game’s afoot, Watson!”
Surprisingly, Zoidberg replied, “Of course,
my dear Holmes. Do carry on!”
Both he and James laughed. James looked directly
in Zoidberg’s face, “If anyone asks…”
Zoidberg finished, “You are in conference
and not to be disturbed.”
James flashed a thumbs up sign, closed the bedroom
door, and strode into his closet.
Standing inside his tesseract, James began the
ritual of donning his Big Red ‘uniform.’ He strapped on
his body armor first. It was first class stuff, light, flexible, and
resistant to any bullet or energy discharge up to and including 100
Next he strapped on his Mobile Tesseract Generator
(MTG). It was flexible circuitry that was powered by his body’s
electrical current. It allowed him to appear and disappear at will,
moving between three dimensional and four dimensional space.
Next he put on his
dark shirt and trousers. He pulled on his special, low gravity boots
that allowed him to leap up to 20 feet straight up in the air. He
smiled as he strapped on his twin .45 caliber pistols while thinking,
“All this high tech gear and I use a pair of Stupid Ages
He buttoned on his cloak, wound his scarf around
his neck, and pulled on his hat. To complete the ensemble, he
snapped a Wristamajigy in place, and then pulled on his gloves. Of
course, his gloves were no ordinary pieces of leather. They had
sensitivity amplifiers that allowed James to feel extremely small
changes in surface textures or temperatures.
He was ready.
He stepped into his room, turned on his MTG, and
began his hunt for the one man who could provide him the answers he
needed – James Willis.
New-New York Police Department Headquarters’,
Commissioner’s Office Conference Room June 26, 1230 (12:30
Ramon slouched in
the high backed leather chair at the head of the long, mahogany
conference table, surveying those seated at it. He gave a brief
smile at Captain “Froggy” LeBlanc, seated to his right.
At her side were Detective Sergeants Sanchez and Lipford. Across the
table were Mike Wigglesworth and Duncan Kriebel. All were looking at
him, waiting for him to open the meeting.
ado, he began, “I’ve got a one o’clock meeting with
the press. They are clamoring for facts. What can I tell them
without jeopardizing the investigation?”
Froggy cleared her throat, “Well Commish,
we’ve conducted several hundred interviews. They all point to
someone other than a mutant, in my opinion.”
Ramon nodded, gesturing for her to go on.
and Duncan may have come up with a clue as to the identity of whoever
set the bomb off.”
Ramon sat straight up in his chair, “What?”
Mike spoke up, “Sir, it was Duncan who had
the idea, so I’ll let him explain.”
Duncan stood up, “Sir, as a result of my
investigation, I determined that the bomb was set off by a cell
phone. I’ve managed to get a list of all calls placed through
the Times Square cell tower at the time of the explosion.”
Ramon looked doubtful, “That could be
thousands of calls.”
Duncan shook his
head, “Not really. I only had to find those made at the exact
moment of detonation. I fixed the time of detonation by the time
stamp from the Times Square webcams. I was able to narrow it down to
a list of six calls.”
Ramon smiled, “Well done. Of course, I
can’t tell this to the press.” He turned to Froggy, “Get
the leads and work them hard. We want this wrapped up…quickly…before
somebody decides to stir up anti-mutant hysteria.”
“Commish, is Big Red on this case?”
you call him off? We don’t need him muddying the waters.”
eyebrows raised, “Froggy, are you suggesting that I somehow
control him…that the Commissioner of the New-New York Police
Department is in cahoots with a vigilante?”
Having said that, I want to tell you keep your eyes on your target.
Big Red is not the target of any investigation, nor has he committed
any crime. So…keep it focused…okay mi
She nodded, “Okay, Commish.”
“Okay, let’s hit the street. Keep the
pressure on until we get a break. These bastards…whoever they
are…are already responsible for close to a hundred deaths.
Let’s cuff ‘em and stuff ‘em.”
Everyone rose without a word, heading out to
resume the hunt for the man behind the bombers.
Planet Express Building, Hangar Bay, June 26
1500 (3 p.m.)
finishing a few routine maintenance procedures on the Pathfinder when
she heard someone enter the cockpit. She glanced up, expecting to
see Fry or Amy. Instead, an obviously nervous Sarah was standing
framed by the hatchway.
“Good afternoon, Sarah. Finished with your
maintenance checks already?”
XT, Melissa, and CosmicF are still across the street in that
converted strip club we call a hangar working on the communications
panel. But we’ll have her shipshape in no time.”
“Well, I’m about done here. Do you
need anything in particular?”
Sarah shifted nervously, “Well…I
could use a bit of advice on Jimbo.”
Leela looked puzzled for a second, then she
realized that Jimbo was James, “Oh…right…Jimbo.
She smiled, “Is there something going on?”
Sarah smiled wistfully, “No…nothing
serious…well, I don’t really know.”
Leela straightened up, “Let’s go
across the street to the Café. We can talk privately without
having someone else barge in.”
The left the ship,
walking across the hangar bay to the exit. Without speaking, they
crossed the street to the café, picked a secluded table, and
Within seconds of
their sitting down, a waiter came up, “May I take your orders,
ladies? Or do you want a moment to consider the menu?”
Leela spoke up, “I’ll have some Earl
Greyer, hot. How about you, Sarah?”
The waiter smiled approvingly and left.
Leela broke the ice, “So. We were going to
talk about Jimbo?”
“Leela, I think I’m in love with him.”
“Really? He’s good looking, that’s
for sure. But what do you really know about him?”
“I know that
I go weak in the knees when we get close to each other. He’s
kind and considerate. Crikey,
he didn’t even try to take advantage of me when I got
thoroughly pissed at his flat last night.”
“Oh, you went to see him?”
enough. I wound up drinking like a bloody fish, passed out, and
wound up getting breakfast out of the deal.”
Both women laughed. Then Leela asked, “Do
you think he cares about you?”
Sarah actually wrung her hands, “I wish I
knew for sure. Most of the blokes that I know would have a go at you
if they find you interesting.”
that rarest of blokes” she paused before continuing, “…a
“Maybe so, Leela. Maybe so.”
At that moment the waiter arrived with their tea.
They whiled away another half hour, discussing every possible facet
of James’ suitability as a boyfriend.
Their tea done and the bill paid, the two women
Sarah gave Leela a quick hug, “Thanks.
You’re a real mate.”
mention it.” She glanced at her Wristamajigy, “Well it’s
almost time for me to meet Fry. We’re going to the Orphanarium
to pick up our flower girl and ring bearer. We’re taking them
to get their outfits.”
“Do you want to meet later tonight for
furrowed as she thought, “Can I call you? I’m not sure
how long the fitting will take.”
“That suits me. I’ll ring you up around seven…provided
I can get in touch with Jimbo.”
“Great! I’ll wait for your call.”
Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium, June
26, 1700 (5 p.m.)
came to rest just outside the main entrance to the Orphanarium. Fry
had persuaded the Professor to let them use it by saying that they
needed to perform a maintenance check flight.
Fry’s craftiness had both surprised and
pleased Leela. She had dreaded the thought of an hour long tube ride
in rush hour traffic. And a cab! It would have been just too
Leela smiled at
Fry, “You know Fry, these kids are going to love getting a ride
in a real spaceship.” A sad smile flickered across her face, “I
never even saw one until I was thirteen.”
Fry returned her
smile, “I just know I would have killed to ride in a real
spaceship. Let’s take them on a trip around the Moon just for
fun before we go shopping. What do you say?”
“Well. I don’t know…”
“Oh come on, Leela. It will give the
traffic downtown time to clear up.”
“I guess you’re right.” She
reached out and touched his cheek gently, “Let’s go pick
walked up to the front door of the Orphanarium. Fry knocked on the
door, which swung open immediately. Mr. Vogel was standing there,
smiling. On his left stood Albert and on his right stood Sally.
“Mr. Vogel,” Leela said happily as she
hugged him, “how are you?”
“I’m fine. I’m also glad you are
here.” His voice raised slightly, “These two have been
almost impossible to live with. They’ve been like Thuvian
Sally burst out, “Oh Miss Leela! Thank you
for coming to get us. I can’t wait to ride in your spaceship.
Are we really going shopping?”
Albert jumped up and down, “I’m so
excited! Can we go to the moon?”
“See what I mean?” Mr. Vogel asked.
Fry reached out and took Albert and Sally by the
hand, “Come on kids, I’ll show you the ship.”
Both shouted, “Yay!” as they headed
for the gangway.
Mr. Vogel waved to them as they all headed toward
the Pathfinder. Then he turned and walked back into the Orphanarium.
Once aboard, the children ooh’ed and aah’ed
over everything they saw. Albert wanted to fire the turret gun,
while Sally was more interested in piloting the ship.
The trip around the moon gave Fry and Leela as
much pleasure as it did to Albert and Sally. The sheer excitement
and wonder the children showed at everything brought back feelings
and memories for both Leela and Fry.
By the time they
returned to the Planet Express Building’s hangar bay, a bond
was forming between them. Albert had already begun to imitate Fry’s
way of speaking. Sally stayed very close to Leela’s side,
studying her every movement.
They left the Planet Express Building soon after
landing. After a short tube ride the four found themselves in front
of Alien Overlord and Taylor.
Leela turned to Fry, “Fry, would you mind
taking Albert to the boy’s section? I’ll take Sally to
the girl’s section. We can meet back here in an hour, okay?”
Fry nodded, “Can do, Captain.” Then he
flashed her a grin, “Don’t worry, I remember what color
his suit needs to be.”
Leela just shook her head, “I’ll see
you in an hour.” She gave Fry an affectionate peck on the
cheek. Then she steamed off for the third floor, with Sally in tow.
Once they arrived,
Leela showed her usual efficiency. She had already been to the store
three times, picking just the right dress for her flower girl. So
they came straight to the right clothes racks.
bewildered by all of the sights and sounds of the store. She had
never seen such abundance, such hustle and bustle, and it frightened
her. Sally gripped Leela’s hand tightly, like a non-swimmer
clutching a lifeline.
Leela pulled several dresses off the rack, “We’ll
try these on, okay?”
trembling voice was almost a whisper, “Okay.”
Memories of her childhood flooded into her mind
and Leela suddenly realized how Sally felt. She knelt down and
hugged her, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here. It will
Sally returned Leela’s hug fiercely. “Okay,”
was all that she said.
Once in the dressing room, Leela helped Sally out
of her much patched dress. Even her underwear was patched, which
obviously embarrassed Sally.
Leela remembered how she had felt shame at wearing
tattered second-hand clothing. A flicker of anger ran through her,
“Sally, we’re going to get you some new undies to go with
“Thank you,” Sally said as she burst
Leela held Sally
and stroked her hair for several minutes while murmuring, “It’s
okay. You’ll be fine.”
Sally finally stopped crying, “I’m
sorry I cried, Miss Leela. Nobody’s ever been nice to me
before…except Mr. Vogel. Everybody makes fun of me because I
have three ears. If they knew I had a tail, they’d really pick
“Really…you have a tail?”
“Yes. You wanna see?”
Slowly, Sally extended her tail from a spot at
waist level on her spine. Leela was astonished to see it apparently
come from nowhere. She was even more astonished when Sally picked up
a hangar with it!
“Wow,” Leela said with genuine
admiration in her voice, “I could really use one of those!”
Sally smiled broadly, “Really?”
“Yes, really. Now let’s pick a dress
and a few other things for you. We’ve only got a half hour
before we have to meet Fry and Albert.”
Sally threw her arms around Leela and gave her a
hug, “Thank you Miss Leela. Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome,” Leela
said as she gave her an affectionate kiss on the forehead just above
her third ear.
settled on a simple white dress, with matching shoes, frilly socks,
and very stylish (for a six year old) Q.T. McWhiskers underwear.
Their shopping done, they drifted downstairs where they met Fry and
Albert. Albert was smiling and hopping from foot to foot. He was
When Leela and Sally got within speaking distance,
Albert began to relate their entire experience in the boy’s
department in a rapid, staccato manner. Once he was done, Fry looked
at Leela, “Well, I guess you know it all now. What do you say
we go get a MacZargnald’s burger?”
Albert shouted, “Oh boy!”
Sally managed a more dignified, “Please!”
Leela smiled, “Well, I guess one burger
“Then MacZargnald’s it is!”
The Flaming Slug, Little Neptune, June 26 1830
Brad paced nervously up and down the sidewalk in
front of the restaurant, scanning the street for Katrina. Like a
true military man, he had arrived fifteen minutes early. He glanced
at his watch…1830 hours! Where was she?
He looked up to
see her rounding a corner. The sudden sight of her caused his heart
to beat faster. “Steady, man!” he muttered to himself.
She wore a flawlessly accessorized violet dress. Her dark hair was
tied with a matching ribbon that gave her an innocent, almost
She smiled as she approached, “Hello Brad,
have you been waiting long?”
He shook his head, “No. Not at all, I’ve
just been stretching my legs a bit.”
For a moment, they
stood there on the sidewalk, simply looking at each other. Brad felt
as though he was falling into her dark, slightly almond shaped eyes.
“Shall we go in,” she finally asked?
Brad found himself
slightly startled by her voice, but he answered, “Absolutely!
They have the best slug fritters in New-New York.”
He held the door open for her, catching a whiff of
her jasmine scented perfume as she brushed past. The maitre de led
them to a table at the back of the restaurant, where Brad pulled
Katrina’s chair out for her.
“A gentleman,” she said with obvious
pleasure in her voice, “thank you, Brad.”
Unable to think of anything else, he simply
replied, “You’re welcome,” and sat down.
They sat in silence for a few moments. Brad
cudgeled his brain for something to say, but it seemed like all of
his circuits were jammed. All he could do was gaze at Katrina’s
showing a row of perfect teeth. She reached out and touched Brad’s
left hand, “You said over the phone that you wanted to ask me a
question. If we don’t have some conversation, I’m afraid
we’ll never get to that question.”
At the touch of
her hand, Brad felt a sudden peaceful feeling come over him. He felt
as though he could tell her anything…ask her anything. He
cleared his throat, “Sorry. I’m just not a chatterbox.
Right, here it is, would you be so kind as to accompany me to a
wedding this Saturday?”
Her eyebrows raised slightly, “A wedding…for
your friend Fry?”
Brad nodded, “I asked him and his Fiancée,
Leela. They said they’d be delighted for you to come.”
Her lips pursed in a sardonic smile, “Will
there be dancing?”
Brad felt a brief
touch of panic, before he realized she was teasing him. In spite of
that, his tongue felt as if it were too large for his suddenly dry
mouth. He managed to say, “Yes. I don’t think they are
merrily, “You are worried that I might refuse to socialize with
“You must be a mind reader!” Brad said
in a tone of wonder.
“No, but I
am a Class 5 Empath.”
“Class 5 Empath, what is that exactly?”
Her face became
serious, “I am one of very few such persons on this planet. I
can sense emotions at a distance. In close contact, I can soothe
emotional pains...even remove them…but always at a cost to
“What kind of cost?”
She forced a smile onto her face, “Please,
let’s talk about something pleasant. Let us just say that it
is exquisitely painful.”
The waiter arrived and took their order. As he
departed, Katrina squeezed Brad’s left hand gently, “Brad,
I know you bear much pain…much loss. Let me be so bold as to
say that I find you very attractive. Does that displease you?”
Brad found himself
blushing; something he hadn’t done in many years. Before he
spoke, he took a sip of water to ease his dry mouth. A thought went
though his mind, “What is wrong with me? She’s just a
beautiful woman.” Then he said in as level a voice as he could
muster, “Lord, no! It pleases me greatly.”
Katrina continued to gently stroke the back of his
left hand, “Then let us speak no more of me. I want to know
all about you.”
Over dinner, Brad
told Katrina much about his life. He ranged over the horrors of the
Second English Civil War, the loss of his right arm, the terrible
effects of the plague, being frozen, his life as a mercenary…almost
everything. His eyes almost glowed when he told her about dog
fighting in space in his fighter. What he withheld was any discussion
of covert operations and Katrina did not press him. On the contrary,
she was the perfect sympathetic listener.
Once Brad had talked himself out, the waiter was
obviously becoming impatient with their tying up a table. Brad
glanced at his Wristamajigy. It was 9 o’clock!
Katrina sensed his surprise, “Would you like
to go to my apartment for a cup of Russian style tea? I have a
thousand year old Samovar…a family heirloom. I would be
honored to fix you some.”
Brad nodded as he dropped money on the table to
pay the bill, “That would be lovely.”
Katrina from her chair, being rewarded for his gentlemanly behavior
with a seductive smile and the scent of her jasmine perfume. As they
left the restaurant, she entwined her right arm with his left, “Let
me show you the way.”
They walked the rest of the way to Katrina’s
apartment in silence, mutually enjoying each other’s presence.
202 West 124th
Street, Apartment 102, June 26th 1900 (7 p.m.)
James stood at the door of Sarah’s
apartment, holding a bouquet of Altarian blue roses in his left hand.
As he stood waiting for Sarah to answer the bell, he reflected with
some satisfaction on the events of the day.
had been almost too easy. At the fifth location he visited, a
warehouse on the Lower East Side, he had found Willis snoring loudly
on a moth eaten couch. He grinned as Willis’ look of surprise
being replaced by one of sheer terror when he awoke to find a .45
pistol jammed against his head flashed in his memory.
Even though Willis was terrified of Big Red, he
refused to ‘rat’ on his ‘boss.’ Of course,
the mere fact that he admitted to having a ‘boss’ was a
lead in and of itself. Using his Wristamajigy, Big Red downloaded
the call memory of the cell phone he had found in Willis’
warehouse after he had secured Willis to a support column, James
found the materials to manufacture several suicide bomb vests, as
well as the plans to construct a car bomb. In all, there were twenty
cases of T-4 explosive secured beneath a tarp. That meant the
equivalent of 20,000 pounds of TNT had been squirreled away, ready to
kill and maim innocent people.
Using the call
diversion technology he had access to from his days as a Galactic
Intelligence Agency operative to route his Wristamajigy call, he
placed a call to the NNYPD Precinct telling them where to ‘pick
up the trash.’ Within three minutes, the warehouse was
He was still
grinning over his triumph when Sarah answered the door. She smiled
Don’t we look pleased with ourselves?”
James smiled back at her, “Yes I am.
Snagging a date with you is a real triumph in my book.”
Sarah’s eyes flashed as she laughed, “You
make me sound like the bloody Queen of Sheba! Oh, you are a smooth
one, Mister James Martindale.”
chagrined, James decided to change the subject, “Are we still
meeting Fry and Leela for coffee at the Two Moons Café?”
“Right you are, Jimbo.”
“Well, let’s get cracking.”
They left the
apartment arm-in-arm. After a quick tube ride, they entered the
cafe. Fry and Leela were already seated at a table, along with two
children Sarah recognized as Albert and Sally from the wedding
Fry and Leela were seated next to each other.
Sally was on Leela’s right and Albert was on Fry’s left.
She nudged James, “Isn’t that little
pudgy bloke just the cutest thing?”
For a split second, James was at a loss for words.
He finally managed to say, “Sure. He looks like a little
James hand affectionately, “Well, let’s join them.”
They approached the table, with Sarah waving to Leela. Sarah sat
next to Sally and James sat next to Albert.
After a short
round of greetings, a short dark-blue Neptunian waiter came up and
took their drink order. Albert and Sally, although still stuffed
from MacZargnald’s, both had hot chocolate. All the adults had
the special, Neptunian roast blue moon coffee.
As the waiter
bustled away, Sarah asked Leela, “So, are you excited about the
Leela nodded, “We’ve been so busy that
I only get excited when we slow down. It’s kind of hard to
“I’d be all sixes and sevens in your
Startled, Leela said, “What?”
“You know…sixes and
sevens…bonkers…off your nut.”
“Oh. I see what you mean.”
Sally sat quietly, listening to what both women
were saying. She decided she really liked Sarah, even if she
couldn’t understand some of what Sarah said.
On the other side
of the table, Albert was plying James with questions. What surprised
James was how intelligently the questions were framed and directed.
Fry felt slightly relieved that Albert had found someone else to
James smiled as
Albert asked another probing question, “You’d make a good
“Really? Do you know many cops?”
“I know quite a few, as a matter of fact.”
Albert sat for a moment, seemingly lost in
thought, and then he smiled, “Could you get me a ride in a real
James laughed, “Sure. Do you want that with
or without handcuffs?”
It took Albert a second to get the joke, then he
laughed, “Without, please.”
The waiter arrived with their drinks, setting them
down deftly before silently departing.
Leela looked at Sally, then at Albert, “Be
careful with that, it’s hot.”
Both replied, “Yes, Ma’am.”
“You’ll have them square bashing soon, Leela!”
“You know, close order drill. My word, but
you’ve got a way with children.”
Leela was pleased,
“Well, Mr. Vogel has to claim a lot of the credit.”
Fry took a sip of his coffee before asking James,
“Who do you think was behind the bombings?”
James shrugged his shoulders as nonchalantly as he
could manage, “I just know what I read in the papers, but it
seems like someone is trying awfully hard to make it look like a
mutant did it.”
“I saw on the telly
that the cops just arrested some bloke with quite a lot of T-4
explosives in some warehouse on the Lower East Side.”
James feigned surprise, “Really? Was he a
“Not bloody likely! He was former DOOP Navy
with a bad conduct discharge…bad seed…you know the
type. Apparently the vigilante, Big Red left him trussed up for the
coppers to bag.”
After that, the conversation focused on Big Red
for a moment before drifting pleasantly to the subject of wedding
Leela glanced at her Wristamajigy. She touched
Fry’s shoulder, “It’s 8:30. We need to get these
two back to the Orphanarium.”
Both of the children’s faces became suddenly
sober. Leela smiled kindly at them, “Don’t worry, we’ve
enjoyed this so much that we’ll have to do it again.
Both children shouted “Hooray!” in
After a series of goodbyes, Fry and Leela left
with Albert, Sally, and the packages in tow.
Sarah turned to James, “So what now?”
James felt his mouth go slightly dry, “Late
dinner and some dancing, perhaps?”
Sarah took him by the arm, “That just suits
me down to the ground.”
Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium, June
26, 2130 (9:30 p.m.)
Albert and Sally stood next to Mr. Vogel on the
front porch of the Orphanarium, waving to Leela and Fry as they
walked back to the Pathfinder. Fry and Leela returned their waves
until they reached the top of the landing gear ladder.
Fry had noticed a change come over Leela when they
had brought the children back to the Orphanarium. She had seemed to
withdraw into herself.
When they reached the bridge, she had said to Fry,
“Would you mind piloting the ship back to the hangar? I have a
headache.” Before he could answer, she had turned on her heel
and left the bridge.
Once he had lifted
off, Fry programmed the autopilot to return to the hangar by the
slowest route possible. Then he headed for Leela’s cabin.
When he reached the door, he knocked. At first,
there was no response. He knocked again and the door swished open.
Leela stood there with a handful of tissues, her eye red from crying.
embraced her, “What’s wrong, Leela? Have I done
something to upset you?”
In response she
shook her head while bursting into tears. Fry held her, murmuring
comforting words as her body shook with sobs. He guided her over to
the foot of her bed, where they sat down.
After five minutes of crying, Leela finally
managed to say, “I’m sorry Fry. It’s just…”
then she dissolved into a shower of tears again.
Suddenly, Fry realized what was wrong. He slapped
his forehead, “It’s leaving the kids at the Orphanarium,
isn’t it? That’s what has you so upset!”
In response, Leela could only nod.
Fry held her closely and stroked her long, thick
ponytail, “I guess it brought back a lot of memories, huh?”
Leela whispered, “Yes.”
A thought struck Fry…a real headache with
pictures. After a moment’s deliberation, he asked, “What
do you think about adopting one of them?” Before he could
continue, Leela’s back straightened as she looked Fry straight
in the face, “Could we? Oh, Phil, you don’t know what
that would mean to me!”
Grinning his best
grin, Fry shrugged, “Sure we could. You pick which one.”
In a wistful tone he added, “You know, I always wanted to be a
His grin worked its usual magic on Leela. She
gave Fry a long and passionate kiss. When the kiss ended, Leela
breathed in a shaky voice, “Let’s get off this bed or I
won’t be responsible for my actions.”
Taking her hand, Fry stood. Leela got to her feet
also…quite reluctantly. She hugged him, “Phil, I love
you so much.”
“I love you too, Leels.”
202 West 124th
Street, Apartment 102, June 27th 0100 (1 a.m.)
like to come in for a nightcap?” Sarah asked. “It’s
been such a lovely evening. I don’t want it to end.”
James felt his
heart race at the promise implicit in Sarah’s voice. He knew
that he had a lot of work yet to do on the bombing case, but his
tongue was leading a life of its own. So instead of declining
politely, he responded, “I’d be delighted.”
apartment with his eyes, James quickly assessed it as having a single
bedroom, a kitchen with a breakfast nook, a fair sized living room,
and a large bathroom. In the living room were a leather couch, two
end tables, a coffee table, an arm chair, and an entertainment
center. One of the end tables had an ornate Rigellian Vase
containing the Altarian blue roses he had brought earlier.
“Very nice,” he murmured
“Right, I’m no interior decorator, but
I do like to be comfortable.” She gestured toward the couch,
“Park yourself on the sofa, Jimbo.” As James sat down,
Sarah went into the kitchen, “What’s your pleasure…beer,
wine, or some scotch?”
me a small glass of wine. I still have to find my way to the tube
He followed her with hungry eyes as she took a
bottle down from atop the refrigerator, opened it, and began to pour
out the wine. “She is so graceful!” he thought. Then he
admonished himself, “Whoa there James! What have you ever been
to women but trouble? She’s a hell of a woman…one who
could do better than you by a long shot.”
Sarah noticed the
change come over him, a brooding stillness like the ocean covered in
dark clouds before a storm. Rather than let him sit silently, she
called out, “Jimbo, can you give me a hand please?”
His face cleared instantly as he stood up, “What
do you need?”
She grinned, “For you to stop brooding and
enjoy a glass of this fine Shiraz from Oz, that’s what I need.
Wrap your paw around this glass, you mankey Canadian git.”
His laughter dispelled the gloom that had begun to
settle over him. For a moment, their eyes met. Never had he seen
such lovely green eyes…the color of the waters off Maui. He
stood there, momentarily at a loss of words. “Damn it!”
he thought, “I’m falling in love!”
“Well?” Sarah finally asked after they
had stood facing each other for several silent minutes.
“Oh,” James mumbled, “How about
“Yes…umm…I know a good toast.
A friend of mine taught it to me, it’s in Spanish.”
“How does it go?”
pesetas, y el tiempo para gozar las!”
“Health, money, and the time to enjoy them!”
They both tilted their wine glasses, sipping the
fruity, slightly sweet wine. They finished their glasses in silence.
Then James thought, “Come on James! Faint heart ne’er
won fair lady!”
He stepped closer
to her, embracing her in his arms. She pressed close to him,
rejoicing in the feel of his strong arms encircling her slender waist
as her head tilted back to look him in the face.
“Sarah, I have so much to tell you. I…I
love you…but I’m afraid.”
She smiled seductively, “Still a virgin, are
He laughed as he shook his head, “No…not
by a long shot. But I’m no good for any woman. Every woman
close to me has always died. I feel as though I’m cursed.”
Sarah ran her hands up his strong, muscular back,
finally entwining her fingers in his hair, “Rot! You’re
no curse to me, Mister James Martindale! I love you too. So give us
a kiss, before I lose my patience!”
James breathed in reply just before their lips met in a loving,
Chekova’s Apartment 200 East 123rd Street, Apartment
207, June 27, 0200 (2 a.m.)
For the first time in his memory, Brad’s
dreams were sweet and untroubled. He awoke from them, brought out of
dreamland by an unfamiliar sound.
He sat up on the couch, glancing around as he
disentangled himself from a blanket that he had wrapped himself in.
At first, he was unsure of his surroundings, but there was enough
light for him to quickly realize that he was in Katrina’s
The memories of the evening quickly came back to
him. They had strolled arm-in-arm to her apartment from the nearby
tube station. There had been no need to speak, for the warmth of her
hand in his spoke volumes.
When they entered
the apartment, Brad had been surprised to see that Katrina had a
roommate…and a robot roommate at that. At first glance, she
had hardly seemed to be a robot, having long blonde hair, blue eyes,
and an outer coating of flesh like material.
As Brad stared at Rebecca in semi-bewilderment,
Katrina spoke, “Brad, please let me introduce you to my friend
and roommate, Rebecca Robotowitz.”
Brad extended his hand and Rebecca took it,
“Charmed, I’m sure, Rebecca.”
Rebecca flashed a
distinctly unrobotic smile, “Thank you. I have heard so much
about you, Brad.”
Noticing that Brad seemed puzzled by her
appearance, Rebecca asked, “Do you know what a nannybot is,
“I’ve not a clue.”
“We are specially designed robots whose
purpose is to care for human children. As such, we are designed to
appear as human as possible.”
“Oh, I see.”
Katrina sensed Brad’s discomfort, “Please,
have a seat on the sofa Brad. I will make us some tea.”
Good as her word,
Katrina had brewed some tea in an ancient brass Samovar. Brad had
seen one before he was frozen, but had never actually tasted tea from
one. He decided that he liked it a great deal. As he sat drinking
his second cup, Katrina took down a balalaika that hung on the wall
above the sofa.
Katrina strummed a few chords experimentally,
“Would you like to hear me play? The only songs I know are not
in English, unfortunately.”
“I’d love to hear you play and sing,
Katrina. By all means, please do.”
playing had caused him to relax. The last thing he remembered before
falling asleep was the sound of her voice, singing in a language he
did not know.
Now he heard her voice again, coming from her
bedroom. It alarmed him, as it had none of the soft, lilting quality
of earlier in the evening. Instead, it sounded raspy and harsh.
Her bedroom door was open, so he stepped quietly
across the room to satisfy his curiosity. What could have brought
such a change to Katrina’s voice?
His first sight of
her was as she knelt before an altar, her hands raised in prayer.
Unwilling to interrupt her, Brad stood watching her with some
curiosity. Lowering her arms, Katrina got unsteadily to her feet.
The sight of her face as she turned around both shocked and alarmed
Katrina’s skin had taken on a grayish tone,
her eyes seemed sunken into her head and her lips were pale. She
seemed utterly exhausted.
When their eyes met, Brad stepped forward,
“Katrina, what is wrong?”
“Nothing, Brad, I just need some rest.”
“Tell me what’s happening, damn it!”
Brad said with fierce conviction, “Either that or you’re
on the way to hospital right now!”
“Help me to lie down,” she said
wearily, “Then I will tell you.”
Brad helped her onto the bed, finding his worry
increasing by the moment. Once he had her under the blanket, he
looked her in the eyes, “Well?”
“Brad, you know that I am a Class V Empath.
When we met, I sensed in you emotional forces that would lead to your
destruction…you were in constant pain. To tell you truth, I
liked you from that very moment.”
Brad reached out and took her hand.
“So, I decided to draw the stinger from your
terrible memories. Tonight I drew them as you slept on the sofa. You
still remember them, but they can no longer hurt you.”
Brad felt concern, “But what about you? Now
you are stuck with them! I don’t want you hurt!”
Brad’s cheek, “I have given them to God in my prayers.
Now, I must rest to regain my strength.
Pajalsta…Please, stay and hold me
till I fall asleep. I am so cold.”
“I’ll protect you. I’ll protect you against all
the hosts of hell.” Then he lay next to her, wrapping his arms
in a circle of protection for her as she slept.
Planet Express Conference Room 27 June 3004,
0800 (8 a.m.).
Hermes stood impatiently waiting to start his
precious morning meeting. Everyone was there except Bender, XT,
CosmicF and Brad. He knew where Brad was, as he had called in sick.
Where the other three were was anyone’s guess.
Except for Hermes, everyone was glancing at Sarah.
She sat leaning back in her usual chair, absentmindedly tapping her
teeth with the stylus to her electronic writing tablet. Her eyes
bore a far away look that announced to all around the table that
something had happened the night before. The half-smile on her lips
was a dead give-away that it had been pleasant, whatever it was.
Leela finally asked, “How was your date last
Sarah nearly fell
out of the chair, she was so startled by the question. She mustered
a smile, “Sorry, I was somewhere in the Back of Bourke. Yeah,
no worries. Jimbo and I had a grand time.”
The gleam in Sarah’s eyes told Leela
volumes. It made Amy sit up and take notice as well.
Amy asked, “Where is the Back of Bourke? Is
that a new restaurant?”
Sarah laughed, “It’s not a place
exactly Amy. It just means someplace far away.”
At that moment Bender, XT and CosmicF entered the
room. As usual, they were arguing.
CosmicF was speaking as they entered, “I
don’t care how much you deny it, Bender. One day you’ll
find the right fembot and BAM that will be it!”
voice dripped with derision, “Look skin tube, the fembot wasn’t
made ‘EXCELSIOR!’ that can tie me down. I’m not a
one fembot guy.”
XT simply shook his head as he walked to his seat.
Hermes interrupted, “Both of you clam up.
You’re all late for da’ meetin’. I ought to dock
“It wasn’t my fault! Bender shouted ‘Turbidium’
at the top of his lungs when we were ready to enter the tube station.
That got all three of us jacked up by the cops. Otherwise we would
have been early.”
XT nodded, “My friend is telling the truth.
It was quite an experience, having my face slammed into a wall.
Everyone is so jumpy these days.”
Bender laughed, “You all are such
Hermes sighed, “Just shut up. Now, we know
that after the wedding we have a contract to haul turbidium again.
The Resilient will take this one. Sarah, how are the upgrades
“No worries, Hermes. We’re ready to
Hermes turned to Leela, “When will the
Pathfinder be ready to work again?”
“We’re ready to go any time after Fry
and I finish our honeymoon.”
“When is dat?”
Leela took a
breath to keep her temper from flaring up. She had told him
half-a-dozen times! Fry could see Leela’s jaw muscles tensing,
so he reached out and took her hand.
In a level tone,
she replied, “We’ll be back on the ninth of July.”
‘SUPERSTRING’ Bender bellowed
suddenly, causing everyone to jump.
Chelsea glared at Bender, “Why don’t
you turn off your speech center and let us get on with the meeting?
Or do I need to put another nail through your head?”
Bender glared back, “I can’t help it!
‘WOMBAT’ But I’m only shutting my speech center off
for the wedding.”
Hermes intervened wearily, “Okay people.
We’re still on routine maintenance until after ‘da
wedding. Let’s go to work.”
Bridge, Planet Express Hangar, 27 June 3004, 1050 (10:50 a.m.).
The sound of the
door to the bridge swishing open caused Leela to look up from her
calibration checks on the engineering console. She smiled as she saw
Fry framed in the doorway. He was lugging the tool kit she had asked
for, a bulky black Mylar bag full of electronic test equipment.
He staggered over to where she stood, gently
placing the bag at her feet. He grinned as he wiped his brow, “Whew!
I’d forgotten how heavy that darned thing was!”
As a reward, Leela kissed him on the cheek.
special grin as he looked into her eye Fry said, “I need to do
that more often.”
“That grin again!” Leela thought, “He
knows what that does to me, the devil!”
quickly to make sure that no one else was on the bridge Leela
embraced Fry in a bear hug. Then, she gently took his right earlobe
between her teeth.
Although he was startled by Leela’s reaction
to his grin, he was astounded by what she said next.
going to eat you alive on our wedding night!” she breathed
huskily into his ear.
Fry felt as though his bones had melted.
Leela released him from her embrace, returning
nonchalantly to calibrating the engineering console.
“Is that all?” Fry almost whined.
“Serves you right, you devil. That grin of
yours drives me crazy…and you know it. So now you know how I
feel. Let’s get to back to work.” Although she kept a
straight face, Leela was grinning on the inside.
They spent another twenty minutes working on the
console until Leela was absolutely satisfied with the readouts. As
she made adjustments, she explained them to Fry. For a change, he
was the perfect student.
Leela stood up, followed by Fry.
“Well, that’s it. We just have to
check on Amy and Bender in the engine room. Hopefully, they’re
done. Then we can go out to the Orphanarium this afternoon to start
the adoption paperwork.”
Fry started to
grin, but quickly smothered it. Instead, he gave a self-conscious
smile as he asked, “Have you decided which one to pick?”
A moment passed before Leela responded in a
serious tone, “Fry, I know you left it up to me, but who do you
want to adopt?”
Fry’s answer surprised her, mainly because
it was delivered so quickly. “Sally,” was all he said.
“Because she needs us most. Also, she’s
unique like you. Besides, I always wanted a little girl to spoil.”
Leela bit her lower lip to keep from crying. She
hugged Fry for several minutes before she could master her emotions.
When she was finally able to speak she whispered, “Forgive me
for all that wasted time, Phil. I almost threw away happiness with
both hands. Thank you for hanging on.”
“No problem at all, Leels. No problem at
Headquarters Crime Lab, 27 June 3004, 1130 (1130 a.m.).
“Hey Mike, look at this.”
Mike Wigglesworth looked up from his computer
screen, “What is it Duncan?”
“Come look. I think it may be a pattern.”
Mike stood up,
stretching as he did do. He looked at the clock on the wall, “Darn
it Duncan, do you always have to make your earth shaking discoveries
just before mealtime?”
Duncan grinned, “Quit whining, you big wuss.
This is important stuff.”
Mike ambled over
to where he could get a look at Duncan’s computer screen. He
leaned forward as he scanned the data that Duncan had laid out. He
instantly realized this was a real find. He gave a low whistle,
“Who’d a thunk it? “
“Something about this whole case seemed too easy. Each box of
turbidium we recovered is from a different lot of explosives. This
means that the theft has been systematic. Not only that, most of
this stuff was never reported stolen. It was listed as ‘expended’
during training or missions.”
up, “Holy crud! That means we have no assurance that there
isn’t a huge stockpile still in criminal hands.”
Duncan nodded grimly, “We may have only
gotten the tip of the iceberg.”
Mike hurried over to the communications panel, “We
need to call Froggy on this…like right now!”
1202 East 49th
Street, Apartment 404, 27 June 3004, 1135 (11:35 a.m.).
“The game’s afoot!” James
muttered excitedly. He had just arrived at the same conclusion as
Mike and Duncan. His mind raced as he decided which databases he
would have to draw from to look for links to others in this terror
James knew DOOP
military procedures. Somebody had to have certified that those
explosives were expended. That meant that someone was on the blame
line. All he had to do was to crack the DOOP Navy Automated
Logistics System to get at the records.
Within 30 minutes, he was in. He copied
everything that might be remotely of interest, because each intrusion
into a DOOP Department of Defense system had its own perils. Once
that was done, he settled in to analyze the massive amount of data.
Four hours of intensive analysis later, he had
several possible leads. The most promising seemed to be an officer
in the DOOP Navy, an officer with a distinguished record at that. He
was currently serving on the Nimbus, which was at the South Port
Naval Yards undergoing a refit. His name was Lieutenant Commander
Orphanarium, Mr. Vogel’s Office, June 27, 3004, 1400, (2 p.m.).
Leela and Fry sat in front of Mr. Vogel’s
desk as he rummaged through the file cabinets. He was muttering, “I
know it’s in here. We get so few adoptions…I always
seem to be misplacing the darned forms. Ah! Here they are!”
He brandished a
folder above his head, like a gladiator would his sword after a
victory in the arena. He sat down behind the desk, smiling broadly.
Leela felt memories come rushing in on her
conscious mind. She thought of how almost the only kindness she had
known while growing up had been from Mr. Vogel. His face was lined
from many years of battling the bureaucracy for his wards, but he had
never slackened in his devotion.
Mr. Vogel cleared his throat, “Well, Leela!
You and Fry want to adopt a child right after you get married?”
Fry spoke up, “That’s right Mr. Vogel.
We want to pick her up right after our wedding night.”
“What? No honeymoon?”
Fry grinned, “Every day for the rest of our
lives is going to be a honeymoon.”
Mr. Vogel shook his head, “Don’t you
think you are being a bit hasty?”
“No.” Leela responded with
determination in her voice, “We’ve talked this over and
we are sure.”
Holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender,
Mr. Vogel asked, “So who’s the lucky orphan?”
Leela pursed her lips slightly before answering,
“We’ve decided on our flower girl, Sally.”
Mr. Vogel actually seemed relieved, “That’s
good.” Then he said in a distracted voice, “Now maybe we
can get those funds they’ve been holding back.”
Fry leaned forward, “Funds? Holding back?
What are you talking about?”
Mr. Vogel actually seemed startled, not realizing
he had spoken aloud. For a moment he hesitated. Then he plunged into
an explanation, “Because I have always taken in orphans from
any source…including obviously mutant children…the
Orphanarium has always been in violation of the Mutant Edicts.
Therefore, the Central Bureaucracy has withheld a portion of the
budget every year.”
Fry’s face flushed with anger, “What?
Those lousy bastards!”
Mr. Vogel held his hand up, gesturing for Fry to
be quiet. With some difficulty, Fry held his rising temper in check.
“As I was saying, they hold back a portion
of the budget as well as denying me promotion. But I’ve always
refused to turn the mutant orphans out.”
Leela sounded puzzled, “Turn them out? What
does that mean?”
“It means to leave them on the streets on
their own, or sell them in Little Neptune for body parts.”
Fry felt the gorge rising in his throat. His face
began to turn a deep red, causing both Leela and Mr. Vogel some
Leela took Fry’s hand in hers. She could
feel that he was trembling with anger. “Hey,” she said
gently, “It’s okay.”
Fry rose to his feet, “The whole rotten
Mutant Edicts are nothing but a bunch of weapons grade balonium. It
will never be okay until they are gotten rid of. As God is my
witness, I’m going to fight until they are abolished. I don’t
know how…but they have to go.”
“Please sit down Fry, darling. We can solve
that problem later. Right now we are here to adopt Sally.”
Slumping slightly as the anger drained from him,
Fry sat down. His face returned to its normal color and he ceased
After a few moments of silence, Mr. Vogel selected
a paper from the folder on his desk. Handing it to Leela he said,
“This is the Standard Form 2020 that you must fill out prior to
adoption. If you want to, you can take it home and fill it out. Or
you can fill it in here and I’ll approve it.”
approve it?” Leela asked with a touch of doubt in her voice.
“That is the one of two things the Central
Bureaucracy lets me do without their approval.”
“What’s the other thing?”
“I get to bring any orphan into the
Orphanarium that I choose.”
“Well,” Fry said with conviction,
“Let’s get this done…now.”
Without any further discussion, Leela and Fry
settled down to filling in the form.
Slug, Little Neptune, June 27, 3004, 1800 (6:00).
A warm breeze gently ruffled the awning in front
of the restaurant where Katrina and Brad sat at a sidewalk table.
They had just finished a light dinner and were sipping iced coffee as
they sat watching the traffic pass by.
Brad was watching Katrina closely, marveling at
how completely she had recovered. She still looked a bit tired, he
thought, but the rest had done her good.
It was odd how
long they could sit in total silence without speaking but yet still
be in communication. She turned to face him, her almond shaped, deep
brown eyes almost boring into his soul. She smiled, flashing two
rows of perfect teeth.
Brad smiled back, “A penny for your
surprised, “Only a penny?” Then she pretended to pout,
“Mine are worth a nickel at least!”
Brad reached into his pocket, fished out a
quarter, and plopped it onto the table with a chuckle, “Okay.
“Brad, I know something about you that you do not know.”
“Yes, I know
why you have hurt so badly in the past.”
Suddenly alert, he
leaned forward in his seat, “Why is that?”
Their eyes met,
“You may not realize it, but you are at least a Level 3
That’s not possible.”
but it takes one to know one. You were so full of emotional toxins
because you have the talent but do not know how to control it.”
Her face became serious, “You were like an emotional…how
do you say it…sponge. You absorbed so much negative emotion
without knowing how to vent it.” Suddenly she smiled, “But
I can teach you how to live with your…talent.”
Brad thought back over the many times in his life
he had known what people were really feeling, how he had seemed to
suffer with others, and how he had come to trust his emotional ‘sixth
sense’ as much as his other five.
“Katrina, does that mean that I am just a
‘pity project’ for you?”
“No,” she said with a shake of her
head, “I love you.” There was a brief silence as she
waited, hoping, that Brad would say those same words back. He
appeared stunned into silence, so she continued, “It may
seem…what is the word…uncultured to speak those words
to someone you hardly know, but I must say what is in my heart.”
was beating rapidly, his mouth felt dry, and his hands had begun to
sweat. He managed to say in a barely audible voice, “Katrina,
I…I love you too.”
She reached out and took his left hand in hers.
He squeezed her hand gently, noticing that in spite of her outwardly
cool demeanor, her palms were moist as well.
Looking deeply into her eyes, Brad asked, “So
where do we go from here?”
“Wherever you wish,” she replied with
an excited sparkle in her eyes.
Officer’s Quarters, Room 120, South Port Naval Yard, June 27,
3004 1830 (6:30 p.m.).
Kif entered his
room after a hard day at the Naval Yard. Like most Visiting Officers
Quarters (VOQ) it consisted of a central sitting area with an
official computer terminal, an entertainment center, couch, and
chair, a bedroom, a bath, and a small kitchenette. “Nicer than
my quarters on the Nimbus,” Kif thought as he entered.
As the executive officer for the Nimbus, he was in
charge when the ship was undergoing repairs or refitting. Captain
Brannigan hadn’t shown his face onboard since they went into
dry dock, which was a bit odd. He usually liked to come around at
least once a week to reverse at least one of Kif’s decisions,
create havoc, and then leave Kif to clean up the mess.
“Still,” Kif reflected, “I’d
be glad if he never came back.”
Kif sat down at
the computer terminal. Even though he’d been in New-New York
for a month, he had only seen Amy three times. They’d been
keeping in touch through email and phone calls, but it was
frustrating not to see her more when they were so close.
Once the computer booted up, Kif accessed his
email account. Sure enough, there were three emails from Amy. The
other 22 emails were mostly official correspondence. He settled in
to read Amy’s email when he noticed the screen was flickering.
“Power fluctuations?” he wondered.
Commander Kif Kroker?” a deep male voice he didn’t
recognize asked from behind him.
spun his chair around. His eyes opened wide as saw a figure dressed
in black, with a red lined cape, a red scarf, and a hat pulled low
over his eyes. His eyes nearly popped from his head when he saw the
large pistol in the figure’s hand. It was held loosely by his
side, ready for action.
“Who are you? How did you get in here?”
The figure responded, “They call me a
variety of names, the Red Shadow, the Crimson Vigilante, or just Big
Red. How I got here is my business. “
do you want from me?”
Lieutenant Commander, just some answers to some knotty questions.”
Kif thought briefly of hitting the panic button
installed in all VOQ rooms to alert the Shore Patrol. “No,”
he thought, “I’ve done nothing wrong. No sense in
Big Red saw Kif eye the panic button, then relax.
“Smart move,” he thought.
His voice showing his nervousness, Kif replied, “I
don’t normally hold conversations at gunpoint. Fifteen years
ago, as a young ensign fresh out of the Academy, I was taken prisoner
by the Xoran.”
His voice hardened, “I endured two years as
a POW without breaking. I’ve heard of you, I believe you are
on the side of justice…even if you are a bit unorthodox in
your methods. But I’ll answer no questions at gunpoint.”
Big Red holstered his pistol, “Fair enough.”
Kif looked Big Red straight in the eyes, “Ask
“What do you know about turbidium based
puzzled, “Turbidium based explosives? I know they are the
basis for most naval ordinance, our Marines and Special Operations
use quite a lot of it in their training, other than that, not much.”
“How do you keep track of what you expend?”
“Well,” Kif’s brow knotted in
thought, “The officer in charge of the weapons system or unit
that expends the explosives provides me with a report on how much was
expended. Then I enter them into the data base as expended.”
“Do you ever check on those figures?”
month I do a physical inventory.” He looked concerned, “Where
is this leading?”
Commander, all of the T-4 we got in that haul on the Lower East Side
was from lots supposedly expended by the Nimbus. Your name was on
the blame line.”
momentarily transparent, “Good God!” his voice crackled
with emotion, “that means someone was skimming explosives!”
“Exactly. If I figured it out, the cops
will figure it out too. Do you have any idea who could have
coordinated this? The name Willis keeps coming up in my
Shocked, Kif took a moment to answer, “Willis
was certainly a ringleader, that’s why he was discharged. He
had several close shipmates who were aboard the Nimbus.” He
turned to the computer terminal and in a few clicks pulled up a
highlighting the personnel that Willis worked with, as well as his
friends. Willis was part of the Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD)
Detachment on the Nimbus. All but one person from that unit has left
the service. The one left is the former Officer in Charge, a
Lieutenant Zeke Adams...he’s no longer on the Nimbus.”
“Where is he working?”
Kif did a few
quick keystrokes, “He’s currently the Officer-in-Charge
of the Syria Planitia Naval Yards EOD unit.”
“Do you have any information on the people
who left the service?”
Kif took a disk, inserted it in the computer, and
performed a few more keystrokes. He withdrew the disk and handed it
to Big Red, “Here are the complete Service Records…including
their last known address…for all of those who worked with
Big Red smiled, “You’ve been a big
help Lieutenant Commander. If you don’t mind turning around, I
prefer to depart without being observed.”
Kif shrugged, “Just as you like.” He
faced the computer screen, which flickered briefly. When he turned
around, Big Red was gone.
100 East 123rd
Street, Apartment 5I, June 27, 3004, 1900 (7 p.m.)
Everyone was sitting on the floor as they finished
the last of the pizza. XT, CosmicF, Sarah, and Bender had come over
to help Fry and Leela prepare their new apartment for their future
covered the floor and any furniture that was already in place. All
of the paraphernalia for painting, wallpapering, and minor repairs
was assembled in the living room. Once they had finished preparing
the rooms, the pizza had arrived, so they had taken a break. Now it
was time to get to work.
“Nice of the super to let us get started
early,” CosmicF noted.
Leela smiled, “Well, the old renter vacated
suddenly. So why not let us fix the place up?”
Sarah took a final swig from a bottle of beer that
was sitting next to her. With a contented look on her face, she
threw it into the trash. Standing up, she announced, “Well,
we’ll never get to heaven if we don’t die.”
XT looked puzzled, “What?”
Sarah shook her head, “It just means that
nothing will happen unless we get to work.”
A look of comprehension spread across XT’s
face, “Ah! I see what you meant. Very good…I have much
to learn before I master your language.”
CosmicF laughed, “She doesn’t speak
our language. She speaks Australian.”
Before Sarah could reply, Bender bellowed
Everyone winced. Fry put his hand on Bender’s
shoulder, “Old buddy, could you please turn your volume down a
“Sure,” Bender replied, “Would
you mind biting my shiny metal ass? It’s the only way to turn
my volume down.”
Leela said angrily, “Fry asked you nicely.” She assumed a
fighting stance, “You’re carrying that ‘in-your-face’
interface too far.”
Bender saw that
she was ready to fight and decided he didn’t want to irritate
Leela too much. “CRYPTOSPORIDIUM!” Bender reached inside
his body, adjusting his volume. His voice was barely a whisper,
Leela relaxed, “Thanks Bender. Now let’s
get to work.”
Sarah picked up a paint sprayer and went into the
kitchen. XT and CosmicF each picked up a sprayer and went to work on
Fry and Leela went into the bedroom that would be
Sally’s to put up some wallpaper. Bender simply stood
Sarah looked at
Bender over the kitchen counter, “Hey you mug, lend a hand.”
She pointed at a sprayer sitting unused on the floor, “There’s
a paint sprayer with your name on it.”
Bender reached into his chest cavity and turned
the volume up, “I’m supervising BENDIX this crew.”
Rather than waste time, Sarah simply went back to
work while shaking her head.
XT was covering his section of the living room
without any problem. CosmicF was doing well, but he was a little
annoyed that it took so long to spray a coat of pain. Then he had an
inspiration, “What if I turned the spray setting to maximum?”
He soon found out.
He set the sprayer
on maximum pressure, stood a few inches from the wall, and pressed
the trigger. The entire contents of the five gallon can emptied in
less than a second, providing sufficient thrust to shoot CosmicF
backwards across the room.
“Ahhhh!” CosmicF managed to shout just
before he collided with XT. Taken completely by surprise, it was
amazing that XT held onto the sprayer as he rotated almost 180
Unfortunately, he kept the trigger depressed.
Bender, who had been facing them, received a full coating of white
paint before he could step out of the way.
“Stupid jerks, watch what you’re
Sarah, who had seen what was coming, managed to
duck behind the kitchen counter to avoid the spray.
Horrified, XT took
his finger off the trigger. Bender was sputtering and wiping paint
from his eyes. XT asked, “Bender, my friend, is everything
“Sure, nothing’s wrong that a little
lawsuit won’t cure.”
CosmicF stood up,
shaking his head, “Hey guys, don’t mess with the pressure
dial. It’s very sensitive.”
Leela came into the room and surveyed the scene,
“Will somebody tell me what is going on?”
around the counter, “No worries, just a minor cock up. I’ll
sort this mob out, Leela.”
Leela glanced over her shoulder to see Fry waiting
patiently to continue wallpapering. She smiled, “Thanks Sarah,
I appreciate it.”
Leela turned and reentered the bedroom as Sarah
took charge, barking out a series of orders that soon restored order.
“Okay Fry, let’s get back to work.”
“Sure Leela, I enjoy putting the paste on
the wall, but lining the paper up is just beyond me.”
She touched his face lightly, “We all have
He smiled at the
gentle touch of her hand, “You know, I thought that home repair
would be different in the 31st Century.”
Leela looked puzzled, “How so?”
“Well, you still use a flour based paste to
put up wallpaper.”
“Fry, the paste isn’t based on flour
across Fry’s face, “It isn’t? It sure tastes like
Voice cracking as
she responded, Leela replied, “Fry, it’s based on bat
Fry began to spit and hack like a cat coughing up
Leela collapsed on the floor, howling with
laughter. “You ate bat guano. Oh Fry, you sure will be easy
to cook for!”
In spite of himself, Fry began to laugh too.
“Laugh at me, will you?” Fry said in a
voice full of mock menace. He pounced on her, “Take this!”
He then began to tickle her unmercifully.
In a flash they were rolling around the floor,
with Leela laughing as she tried…but not too hard…to
break free. This went on for several minutes.
Only when they heard Bender bellow
“RUMPLESTILSKIN” did Fry and Leela realize that everyone
else was standing in the doorway, watching.
Fry stopped tickling the red faced Leela, helping
her to her feet as he stood. There was a moment of uncomfortable
silence before Sarah said dryly, “I wasn’t sure if you
were planning to do the nasty. Should we come back later?”
Fry responded, “No, we’re done.”
Sarah turned to the rest of the crew, “Right
then, back to work. We’re almost done so let’s shake a
Fry by hugging him. He’d half expected to get a kick in the
shins. Instead, she said sweetly, “I intend to find out where
you are ticklish…on our wedding night. Now let’s get
back to work.”
Fry straightened up and saluted, “Aye aye,
Chapter One, “The Legend of the Red Shadow” by Dr. John
Zoidberg, MO, QBS, RDE, 32nd Century Press, New-New York,
association with the famous “Red Shadow” began a little
over a century ago. We first met at the Planet Express, where I
worked as the staff physician. At the time, I did not know him as
the “Red Shadow,” but only as James Martindale, a
consultant and private eye.
We became fast
friends after he invited me to share his apartment with him. I was
grateful for the offer, as I was living under cardboard at the time.
It was typical of his kind and generous nature, as I later found out.
When I first
arrived at the now famous 1202 East 49th Street, Apartment
404, it seemed a very cozy sort of place. James laid down a few
rules, which I was only too happy to respect. I was to stay out of
his room, to get permission before anyone entered the apartment, and
to answer the videophone when he was otherwise occupied.
These were very light burdens to me and I
shouldered them gladly. Later, after I learned his identity and
helped him with some of his cases, I understood why he was so
One incident I
shall never forget. It led to my improving my writing style and
developing my skills as a sleuth. The love of his life, Sarah Foster
was visiting the apartment in the wake of the Terrorist Attack on
Times Square. I had helped James with a few minor things when he
suddenly patted me on the shoulder and said, “Zoidman, you are
my Doctor Watson.”
It startled me, so
I asked, “So who is this Doctor Watson?”
James grinned, “Just read some Sherlock
Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
So I did and my life was never the same. But I
digress, for the subject of this tale is the legendary “Red
Shadow” and not his humble assistant and sidekick.
Let us begin at
NNYPD Headquarters Crime Lab, 27 June 3004,
2230 (1130 p.m.)
you have a life outside of this stinking lab?”
Mike looked up from his computer screen, “What?
Outside this? Why would I need to?”
Duncan shook his
head, “You need to get one, because these marathon crime
solving sessions are a pain. I’m not crazy about snatching a
few hours sleep on the couch instead of sleeping in my own bed for a
Mike made a pouty face, “Is da poor baby got
a diaper rash?”
Duncan flipped Mike the bird, “Here’s
to you and the horse you rode in on, pal.”
laughing, “Come on Duncan, you know we need to get this
analysis done for Froggy before she has her morning briefing with the
Commissioner. Her sense of humor hasn’t been really great
Duncan looked over to Mike quizzically "Uh,
so why do they call her Froggy anyway?”
Mike turned to Duncan with the most serious and
stern expression Duncan had ever seen and replied in a grave
tone."Cause no one ever crosses her without croaking
Both men roared with laughter before getting back
to work without any further conversation.
A half-hour later Duncan said, “I’ve
got the signal that detonated the bomb.”
Mike sat up alertly, “Are you certain?”
Duncan shook his
head, “Absolutely. It came from a military Wristamajigy and
went to a cell phone purchased in the Bronx by James Willis.”
“Do we have a make on the military
Duncan shook his head, “No, It was a pretty
advanced model, at least a Mark XXI. It had an emergency override
feature that just co-opted the network. Still, there are only so
“Did you ever know mutants to use this kind
of high tech stuff, Duncan?”
he said as the speaker to his computer began to chirp. Duncan looked
at his screen and said, “Well! The DOOP Navy Criminal
Investigative Service (NCIS) has given us the paper trail on these
explosives.” Duncan paused.
“And?” Mike asked impatiently.
“It all leads back to the DNS Nimbus,
currently undergoing refit at the South Port Naval Yards.”
Mike snatched up the videophone handset, “Put
that into a report. I’ll call Froggy with the news.”
“Do you know what time it is?”
Mike looked at the clock on the wall. It read
well past midnight. His face took on a look of determination, “She
said to call when we got a break. I think this is it.”
100 East 123rd Street, June 28, 3004, 0700 (7 a.m.).
over and gave Fry a kiss on the cheek as he sat at the computer
monitor. Glancing down, she noticed he was on the ECLU (Earthican
Civil Liberties Union) website.
Curious, she asked, “Fry darling, what are
you doing on the ECLU website?”
“I’m looking for a lawyer. I’m
not going to rest until those Mutant Edicts are wiped off the books.”
She leaned over and hugged him from behind. He
reveled in the scent of her hair and the warmth of her touch. He
reached up and crossed his arms over hers, “I love you Leela.
I don’t want us to live our lives under the shadow of such an
She kissed his
cheek, “I love you, too. Do you really think we can beat the
A grim look
settled on his face as he twisted slightly in his chair to look at
Leela’s face, “As far as I can tell, it’s never
been challenged legally. I don’t know why. But I intend to
“Well, good luck. I’m off to meet Amy
and check the fit of my wedding dress, as well as pick up a few
things for Sally.” She gave him a quick kiss on his lips,
straightened up, and headed for the door.
She paused for a second, turning to see that Fry
had returned to intently scanning the computer. Then she headed out
to the street.
A quick tube ride later, she was in the mall near
Alien Overlord and Taylor. She ran her eye over the crowd, soon
picking our Amy in the familiar pink jogging suit. “Ugh!”
Leela thought, “Why does she like pink so much?”
When she closed to speaking distance, Amy said
cheerfully, “Only a few more days to go! Oh, I am so excited!”
cheerful excitement caused Leela to laugh, “You’d think
it was you getting married!” She hugged Amy, “I’m
so glad you’re along to help me.”
Amy returned her hug. As they parted, Amy asked,
“What do you want to do first, the wedding gown or the clothes
“Let’s get the gown in order first.”
Amy nodded, “Okay, have you decided if you
want a veil or not?”
“I think I
will get one, just as you suggested. You are right; it will
definitely heighten Fry’s anticipation.”
Amy grinned from ear-to-ear, “That’s
The two women
linked arms and headed down the street to shop ‘till they
100 East 123rd Street, June 28, 3004, 1100 (11 a.m.).
Leela entered the
apartment, hidden behind a monster pile of packages. Before she
could call for help, she heard Fry’s voice, “Hold still
and I’ll take some of those off of you.”
grabbed several packages that were in danger of falling, removing
them from the stack, “How in the world did you get through the
tube with these?”
“I paid a porter.”
Fry returned to
remove the next layer of packages. When he got them, Leela could see
finally see him. She could also see someone sitting in their
armchair, a man she didn’t know.
He rose when she
looked at him and bowed slightly to acknowledge her presence. While
Fry was busy relieving her of the last packages, Leela formed a good
picture of the stranger in her mind.
He was an older
gentleman, with thick, wavy white hair that had once been a deep
purple color. Over six feet tall, he didn’t appear to have a
lot of fat on him. His eyes were large and his nose was neither too
large nor too small. Firm but not fleshy lips gave his face a
determined look. Overall, he had a look that was oddly familiar.
His clothing was a dark suit of conservative cut.
His shirt was plain, though dazzlingly white while his tie was a
simple red bowtie. In his right hand he carried a cane, although
Leela had seen no reason for him to do so.
Fry relieved her
of the last packages and the stranger stepped forward. He deftly
switched his cane to his left hand as he extended his right. His
voice was a soft southern drawl, “I have the advantage of you,
so permit me to introduce myself, Miss Leela. I am Joseph Barnwell
Kershaw, attorney at law. Your fiancé, Mr. Fry asked me to
consider taking your case against the Mutant Acts.”
It was at the
moment they shook hands that Leela decided she really liked Kershaw.
She wasn’t sure why, but there was something about him that
almost compelled trust. She replied, “Won’t you have a
seat, Mr. Kershaw?” She gestured toward the armchair, “We
can discuss this over a cup of coffee.”
“You are most kind,” he said with a
smile. “I do believe I’ll take a cup.”
Fry sprang to his feet, “Have a seat on the
couch, Leela. I’ll make coffee. You’ve been on your
feet all morning.” He headed into the kitchenette, where he
soon got the coffee started.
“How do you take your coffee, Mr. Kershaw?”
“Cream and sugar, if you please, sir.”
Kershaw and Leela their mugs of coffee, then returned with his own.
Once he settled on the couch next to Leela, he turned to her, “Leela,
Mr. Kershaw explained some stuff to me…but I’m not sure
I’d explain it right to you. So, Mr. Kershaw…”
“First, let me say that I admire your
courage in breaking Mutant tradition.”
Leela looked puzzled, “What tradition?”
Kershaw looked a bit surprised, “Why, the
tradition of never making waves. The Mutant Acts of 2207, as
amended, clearly contradict the Earthican Constitution. However,
since there has never been a complainant, there has never been a
Leela that is the long and the short of it.”
Leela’s thrifty side suddenly showed itself
when she asked, “Is this process expensive?”
Kershaw gave a
short laugh, “Not at all. I will do this pro bono publico.”
“That’s the part I knew I wouldn’t
remember,” Fry chimed in, “It means free in lawyer talk.”
“If you will sign this Bill of Complaint that I have drawn up,
then I will file it immediately. We should be able to get a hearing
before the Earthican District Court soon after Freedom Day, perhaps
as early as the 4th of July.”
Leela picked the document up and read it through.
Then, without a word, she took a pen from her purse and signed. She
handed it to Kershaw, “What’s next?”
He smiled, “I have lots of legal footwork to
do. Since you are my client, I ask that you put this matter from
your mind. Also, I ask that you call me Joseph. All my clients and
friends call me that. We can save the “Mr. Kershaw” for
Having said that, Kershaw stood, “Please
excuse my haste, but I want to get this filed immediately. Philip,
that coffee was excellent. Thank you both for your hospitality.
Please don’t get up, I’ll find my own way out.”
He strode to the door, it slid open, and he turned
and bowed slightly as he exited.
Once the door had slid shut, Leela turned to Fry
and hugged him, “Fry! I never thought you had it in you!”
Fry returned her
hug, “I never did either, until I realized…really
realized…that we’re going to have a family together.”
His voice became almost steely, “And nothing…I mean
nothing…is ever going to threaten our happiness if I can help
200 East 123rd
Street, Apartment 207, June 28, 3004, 1300 (1 p.m.).
“So Amy told you about this robot nanny?”
Fry asked as they stopped in front of the apartment door.
“Amy knew we’d need some kind of
nanny. She mentioned it to Brad, who told her about Katrina’s
roommate. Her name is Rebecca Robotowitz.”
Fry pressed the doorbell, “Well, let’s
see if she fits the bill.”
The door opened
just a few seconds later to reveal a tall, very human looking robot.
Her blonde hair and blue eyes were most startlingly human. She wore
a very unrobotic emerald green dress which complemented her flesh
tone chassis covering. Both Fry and Leela couldn’t help gaping
at her a bit, although Leela recovered first, “Rebecca
“Yes, I am she.” In a very friendly tone she added, “You
must be Brad’s friends, Leela and Fry. Won’t you please
Leela stepped in, followed closely by Fry. Leela
was impressed by how orderly and clean the apartment was, “I’m
sorry we came barging in on such short notice.”
“It is no
problem. Rebecca motioned to the couch, “Please sit down.
Would you care for some tea?”
Leela answered, “No thank you, we just have
a few minutes before we have to meet my parents for a late lunch.”
so it is down to business? I understand that you are adopting the day
after your marriage?”
right. We plan to return to work on the 9th of July.”
Leela looked thoughtful, “If we were to come to an agreement,
would you be able to come to work then?”
Rebecca nodded, “Most certainly.”
For the next ten
minutes Leela and Rebecca engaged in the delicate matter of
negotiating an employment agreement. At the end, both were satisfied
with the results. Both had developed a respect for the other as
well. Fry had sat quietly, marveling at how deftly Leela had come to
the point without being pushy and how Rebecca had remained
unfailingly polite while maintaining her position.
As they were at the door, Leela had a sudden
inspiration. Turning to Rebecca she asked, “Would you like to
meet Sally informally before you begin work?”
“Yes, of course.”
to our wedding and reception on Saturday with Katrina.” Leela
touched Rebecca’s arm, “Sally doesn’t know we are
adopting her. We plan to pick her up Sunday afternoon.”
Rebecca smiled, “Those are both wonderful
ideas. I see we shall get along very well.”
Leela smiled back, “I think so too. See you
“Yes, I will be there.”
Mutant Boy, Mutant Village, New-New York, June 28, 3004, 1400 (2
Sergeants “Sal” Sanchez and “Lip” Lipford
stood outside the restaurant, having a heated discussion. Sal was
punctuating his speech with gestures while Lip stood cross armed,
glowering at his friend.
“Lip, you are out of your freakin’
mind. Do you know that? You’re crossing the line, buddy.”
“What line?” Lip asked defiantly.
“Oh Jeez, Lip, this is Sal you’re
talkin’ to. “ He adopted an almost pleading tone, “Think
this over some more.”
“I’ve already thought it over. I
thought you of all people would understand.”
and face softened, “Look buddy, we went to the Academy
together. We came up through the ranks together. You’re like
me brother.” His voice became urgent, “I mean, cripes,
you’ve never even sampled the goods!”
Lip burst into laughter, “Sal, you hot
blooded dago, is that all?”
Sal laughed too,
“Ain’t it enough, you dumb Kraut?” Then he
continued in a more serious tone, “Look, I just don’t
want to see you do something you’ll regret.”
“I won’t regret it Sal. If I do, I
give you permission to kick my butt.” He placed his hand
gently on Sal’s shoulder, “Come on. Let’s go
Inside, Judy was as busy as she had ever been. It
seemed like everyone she knew had come in for a late lunch. Even
Leela and Fry had come in from the surface to eat with Munda and
Morris. To make matters worse, Carla had gone on break right at two
“I wish I
had a few extra arms, like Carla,” Judy muttered to herself as
she came out of the kitchen carrying a tray in each hand.
Lenny, the manager helped her by setting out two
tray holders. She was so busy serving her tables that she didn’t
initially notice Lip as he entered, trailed by Sal.
By the time she
noticed Lip, he was only a few feet away. In spite of being
pressured, she smiled, “Hi Lip! Hey Sal! Can you wait a few
minutes for a seat? We kinda got a late lunch crowd.”
Lip replied with a very official sounding, “I’m
sorry Judy, but this is official business. We need you to identify
Judy’s confusion was obvious as she
answered, “Okay. Property? I don’t lose anything.”
Lip reached into his pocket and he fished out a
small, velvet covered box which he placed in her hands, “Could
you open this Ma’am?”
Confused by being
called Ma’am, Judy opened the box. It contained a white gold
band embedded with six small diamonds that flanked a single karat
pear shaped diamond. She gasped at the sight.
“Would you please put it on?”
Like someone mesmerized, Judy slid the ring onto
her right hand.
“Wrong hand,” Lip said. He sank to
one knee. “Judy, will you allow me to put that ring on your
“What?” was all she could manage in
“Will you take this as an engagement ring?”
He paused, “What I mean is will you marry me?”
She began to tremble, but she was able to answer
with an enthusiastic, “Yes. Oh, yes.”
Lip took the ring from her right hand and moved it
to her left. When he rose to his feet, the entire restaurant erupted
in a cheer. Even Sal joined in.
Investigation Service (NCIS) Office, Syria Planitia Naval Yard, Mars,
June 28, 3004, 1800 (6 p.m.).
“Lieutenant Zeke Adams, this is Captain
LeBlanc of the New-New York Police Department.” Captain
Omohundro, the commander of the Mars NCIS District intoned sternly,
“She would like to ask you a few questions.”
“Sir, what is this about? Am I under
Froggy shook her head, “No Lieutenant, you
are not under investigation. But some former members of your unit
are suspects in the recent terror attacks back in New-New York.”
Adams looked grim, “Let’s see.”
He paused briefly, “Let me guess, two of them have to Brownlee
and Willis, am I right?”
“We’ve got Willis in custody. Brownlee is still at large.
What can you tell me about them?”
“If you look through their service records,
you can see that I had them both court martialed for gross negligence
in accounting for explosives.” His voice took on an angry tone,
“If it weren’t for that buffoon Brannigan, they’d
be serving time at the Portsmouth Naval Disciplinary Command.”
Froggy interjected, “Brannigan? Do your
mean Captain Zapp Brannigan?”
“The same. His gross mismanagement of the
whole proceedings got the conviction thrown out. He’s so dumb!
He didn’t seem to realize that he sabotaged the case.”
“Interesting,” Froggy half murmured
with narrowed eyes. Then she looked Adams full in the face, “Besides
Willis and Brownlee, was there anyone else involved?”
Adams nodded, “You bet. But they all got
off with reprimands and a return to duty. None of them are still in
the service.” He smiled, “The word got out. After that,
nobody wanted them around.”
“So they were blacklisted?”
“Call it what you like, Ma’am. But
all I know is we haven’t had any ‘unaccountable’
losses of explosives since they’ve been gone.”
Froggy looked a bit puzzled, “Who would have
let such a group of no-goods get together in the first place?”
“Don’t blame me, Captain. I wanted to
get rid of Willis the day after he showed up. Instead, all of my
good people were transferred and I wound up with a den of thieves on
“So who do you blame?”
“I blame Captain Zapp Brannigan.”
“Why do you blame him?”
“Ma’am, were you ever in the Navy?”
Froggy was a bit startled by the question, “No,
I’ve been a cop since I got out of college.”
“Well, nobody came on the Nimbus that Zapp
Brannigan didn’t personally approve.” A look of disgust
settled in on his face, “There were only a few of us officers
who were on board before Brannigan took over. Once I got rid of
Brownlee and Willis, I was a marked man. Brannigan transferred me
out within a week.”
The questioning continued for another thirty
minutes. During that time, Froggy got an unassailable conviction
that somehow, Zapp Brannigan was mixed up in this whole mess.
“He’s obviously made a career by
shifting blame to others,” she thought, “but he didn’t
have me to deal with.”
Once the session concluded, Froggy shook
Lieutenant Adam’s hand. “Lieutenant, I think we’ve
covered everything. If you should think of anything that might be
useful, you can reach me at this number.”
Adams took the card she offered, “Thanks,
Captain I will.” He saluted Captain Omohundro, “Good
evening sir.” When Omohundro returned the salute, Adams
pivoted on his heel and left the office.
“Well Captain Omohundro, what do you think?”
“I’m not one to tell anyone how to do
their business. But if I were you, I’d be all over Zapp
Nodding, Froggy replied, “I’ll be on
him like a cheap suit.”
100 East 123rd Street, June 28, 3004, 2100 (9 p.m.)
Leela was carefully packing the last of the dishes
as Fry came into the kitchenette. Her back was to Fry and she was so
focused on her task that she didn’t hear him enter.
Fry paused for a
moment, watching her work. He marveled at how meticulous she was,
wrapping each plate carefully before placing it in the carton with
the others. Standing there silently, he watched her complete her
task. When she was done, he said softly, “Is there anything I
can do to help?”
She turned while
still kneeling on the floor, “Oh Fry, I didn’t know you
were there. No, I don’t need any help, thanks.” She
looked him in the face, “Have you been standing there long?”
He shook his head, “Nope. I just didn’t
want to startle you.” He chuckled before continuing in a
playful tone, “I didn’t want to stir up the wrath of
She smiled, “Am I that bad?”
He kneeled on the floor beside her, “Bad?
No, not at all.” Then he smiled, “But I would not want to
piss you off.”
thing,” she said as she gave him a playful shove.
Fry stuck his lip out in a mock pout as he whined,
“You big baby,” she said in a playful
me,” he said cheerfully. He looked at the neatly stacked pile
of carefully marked boxes in the middle of the floor, “Is
around the kitchenette, “No. But we’ve packed everything
that can be packed.” She paused, “Sarah, Amy and the
crew will come around and move the rest of this stuff into our new
place tomorrow. All they will leave is the bed. They’ll move
that Saturday morning.”
Fry shifted from a kneeling position to a sitting
position, “They’re taking the sofa too?”
“What else would you sleep on tomorrow
night?” Leela’s voice carried a hint of promise, “Have
you reconsidered not seeing each other for the day before the
Fry shook his head vigorously, “Nope. I’ll
stay at our new place, move in the last of my stuff, and set up
Sally’s room…just like we agreed.”
She gave an
exaggerated sigh, “Well, you can’t blame a girl for
“Want to watch some TV? There’s a
Scary Door marathon tonight.”
she said with a lot more enthusiasm than she really felt. She was so
tired she was barely able to keep her eye open.
offering his hand to help Leela from the floor. She smiled as she
took it, appreciating his helpful gesture.
They settled in on
the couch. Fry sat at the end nearest the door, while Leela nestled
in next to him. Within a few minutes, Leela’s head began to
nod. Soon it rested on Fry’s shoulder. Within a few moments,
she was snoring gently.
remember falling asleep, but when he looked at the clock he realized
it was almost midnight. Leela’s head was still on his shoulder,
so he caressed her face gently, “Leela, you ready for bed?”
She sat up slowly,
rubbing her eye. She smacked her lips a couple of times before she
spoke in a sleepy voice, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Standing, she did a catlike stretch before heading
into the bedroom. Fry waited for her to change into her jams before
he came in and changed.
As they settled
into the bed together, Leela nestled in Fry’s arms. She gently
placed her right hand on his chest, “Fry, can I axe you a
“As long as it’s not about my eye. Is
it about my eye?” he said in a joking tone.
Her response was to pull one of his chest hairs,
“Be serious Fry!”
He said in a hurt tone, “Sorry, I’ll answer any questions
you want.” He pretended to be fearful, “Just don’t
hurt me anymore.”
Leela leaned over and kissed the spot where she
had pulled his hair, “Is it all better now?”
“Oh yeah! It
feels fine now.”
she continued in a serious tone, “Fry, I have two questions.
The first is do you really want to marry me?”
Fry came to a
sitting position immediately, “What? There is nothing more that
I’ve ever wanted in my whole life. You mean everything to me.
I can’t imagine life without you.” He got a sinking
feeling in his stomach, “You still want to marry me…don’t
lightened his heart, “Of course I want to marry you. I just
wanted to be sure.”
Fry gave a sigh of relief, “Well, what’s
the next question?”
“Do you really want to adopt?”
Fry’s answer was instant and sincere, “Yes.
I know this may sound crazy, but something about Sally reminds me of
you.” He paused briefly before continuing, “Besides, I
just can’t stand by and see anyone going through what you did
at the Orphanarium without helping them.”
Leela’s response was to kiss Fry
passionately. He returned her kiss, embracing her gently. When they
finally came up for air, Fry spoke first in a voice quivering with
passion, “I’m…I’m sure glad there’s
only one more night until our wedding night.”
“Me too,” was all Leela was able to
say. She feared to say anything else. Instead she settled in beside
Fry, gently stroking his cheek with the back of her hand. Within a
few moments, Fry was sound asleep.
Leela fell asleep as well, thinking how fortunate
she was to have the love of a good man.
Chapter One, “The Legend of the Red Shadow” by Dr. John
Zoidberg, MO, QBS, RDE, 32nd Century Press, New-New York,
continue my narrative, I must emphasize that some of it is based upon
hearsay. Some of the players are long gone, while others had no
desire to be interviewed. The terrible attempt by Zapp Brannigan to
wipe out the mutant population of New-New York is a matter of public
record, but the deeds of my friend, the Red Shadow, have never been
fully revealed until now.
My unwitting connection with the case began during
the early morning of 29 June 3004. I was up watching an all night
‘Scary Door’ marathon when James emerged from his room.
It was obvious
that he required my assistance, as he seemed barely able to stand. I
jumped from the couch and rushed to his side. Even with my (shameful
to say) limited knowledge at the time of human anatomy, I could tell
that he was severely bruised.
“So James, what gives with the bruises?”
All he would say was, “An accident. I’m
going to need a lot of ice as well as some painkillers. Can you get
them for me?”
gazelle, I’m running!” I responded. Well, in spite of my
picturesque reply, I never have run like a gazelle. But I did a good
imitation of a speedy land crab as I went out to the 711
to buy four bags of ice.
When I returned, I
was able to ice James down as he lay on his bed. Even my unpracticed
eye could tell he had bruises over 90% of his body. He also gave off
a strong smell of something, which I later learned was the explosive
residue from T-4.
Once I gave him the painkillers, he laughed and
said, “Now I know how a fish in the market feels.”
Ignorant as I was, I still knew that something was
going on. I looked him full in the face and asked, “James my
friend, what happened?”
It was at that moment he decided to trust me with
his secret identity. He knew that the explosion would be all over
the news. Rather than have me think of him as a terrorist, he wanted
me to know who he really was…the Red Shadow.
“The Red Shadow…what an honor!”
My mind was reeling, “I give my word that I will never reveal
your identity to anyone, even if they boil me in salt water!”
It was then that
James told me of the events of the past night. He tracked down one
of the terrorists, a Kermit Brownlee, to a warehouse in the Bronx.
He had already disarmed and secured him when several other terrorists
A gunfight ensued in which James used his ancient
pistols and the none-too-bright terrorists used their lasers. A
stray shot struck a stockpile of T-4, which blew up with a tremendous
roar. According to press reports, windows were rattled a half-mile
Only James marvelous suit of body armor saved him
from death. Unfortunately for the investigation, all of the
terrorists died in the explosion. As we will see later, this delay
in the investigation was to have dire consequences.
But I anticipate.
James was seriously injured and needed constant care. I realized
that someone else would have to help me. The only person that I
could think of was Sarah.
“James my friend, I believe we need to have
someone else help me nurse you for a while.”
“Whom do you have in mind?”
He shook his head,
“Zoidman, you have to do this alone. It’s dangerous to
know my identity…I’ll not risk anyone else…especially
“My friend,” I continued in my most
reasonable tone, “human females are very…inquisitive.
They are also good at hiding secrets. Sarah will not be satisfied
with any story I can make up. She will come looking for you. If I
know my young ladies, she won’t stop until she finds out the
James remained silent for a full five minutes,
lost in thought. Finally he spoke in a slow deliberate tone, “All
right Zoidman. Axe her to come over in the morning. I’ll tell
her what happened.”
Satisfied with his
answer, I said, “You need rest. So sleep already! I’ll
answer any calls.”
He smiled wearily and closed his eyes. Soon I
could tell from his deep regular breathing that he was asleep. I
settled into the chair in his room, keeping watch as he slept.
1202 East 49th
Street, Apartment 404, 29 June 3004, 0700 (7:00 a.m.).
outside James’ apartment, pressing the buzzer impatiently. The
bags of ice she was carrying were both puzzling and awkward at the
same time. Zoidberg had been very odd acting over the videophone and
she was determined to get to the bottom of it.
In what seemed an eternity, but was in fact only a
few seconds, the door slid open. Zoidberg stood there on the other
side, “So come in, already.”
“G’day, Dr. Zoidberg. What’s
all this about James, then?” Sarah asked as she stepped inside
“He had an
accident last night and…”
“Bloody hell!” she exploded, “Where
resting in his room. I’ve kept him iced down since he came in
Sarah brushed past Zoidberg and entered James’
room. She gasped when she saw that he was literally covered with
bruises from head to foot. James turned his head toward her, smiling
weakly, “Hi Sarah. You should have seen the other guy.”
She crossed her
arms, “I’m no stickybeak,
but you need to tell me what’s going on.”
Zoidberg, who was standing directly behind Sarah
said in a wondering voice, “Beaks? Humans have beaks?”
Sarah spun around,
It’s just an expression for a nosy person. Now rack off unless
you’ve got something to contribute!”
The fierce look in
her eyes and her clenched fists caused Zoidberg to take a step back.
When she saw the look on his face, she thought, “Calm down,
he’s not the enemy.”
She lowered her fists, “Sorry Dr. Zoidberg,
I’m just a bit tense. No worries.”
“I’m sorry to ask such stupid
Without commenting, Sarah turned and walked to the
bedside. She leaned over to examine James more closely. She smiled
sardonically, “Jimbo, can’t you stay out of bloody
“Well, I try.”
“It seems to me that this is a bit more
serious than your boxing match with the furniture.” Her tone
turned serious, “Any broken bones?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
She proceeded to
give him a through examination, one which occasionally caused him to
wince with pain. Once finished, she straightened up, “Well,
other than your bruising, you’re as fit as a Mallee
“Hooray for me!”
“Right. Dr. Zoidberg, can you get me some
Vitamin K Cream, a normal saline IV and about 30 milligrams of
He nodded vigorously, “In a flash I can get
“On your way, then,” she said as she
tossed him a wad of money. “That should cover it.”
Zoidberg caught the cash, turned, and headed
straight out the door.
James cleared his throat, “You seem to know
a lot about medicine, at least more than the good Doctor.”
revealing a row of perfect teeth, “I was trained as a medic for
Besides, back home in the Outback, doctors are scarce.”
“I didn’t know you were in the
“Everyone serves down under. I just did my
bit and got out.” She looked him in the eyes, “Jimbo,
there’s something going on here. I’ve seen injuries like
yours before. They were all either related to horse breaking or
explosives. Since there are so few horses around here, I’m
inclined to think you were somewhere around an explosion.”
There was an uncomfortable silence before James
spoke, “Sarah, what I am about to tell you is very dangerous
information. It is information that you must keep secret…both
for your safety and mine.”
“No drama, Jimbo. I’ll never peach on
He smiled, “The news calls me the ‘Red
“Pull the other one!”
He laughed weakly, “Not in my present
Until Zoidberg returned ten minutes later, he
explained what had happened at the warehouse and why he chose to
fight crime as he did.
When Zoidberg returned, he saw Sarah leaning over
to kiss James lightly on the lips. He deliberately made some noise;
not wanting to disturb what he was certain was a mating ritual.
Sarah straightened up and waved him into the room,
“Watch and learn, Doctor.” She set up the IV in a few
moments. Then she took the hepalistatin syringe and injected it into
the IV bag.
hepalistatin along with the Vitamin K Cream should clear up all of
these bruises within eight hours. It’s very important that we
keep Jimbo iced down and resting during that time, got it?”
“Such a mastery of medicine!” Zoidberg
exclaimed. Then he began to sob, “Such a failure I am!”
Sarah found herself feeling sorry for the sobbing
Decapodian, “Here now, you did the right thing initially.
We’ll have him on his feet in time for the wedding, no
“But I know so little about humans!
Decapodians, Arcturans, Neptunians, and Altarians I know, but
yourself and learn! I saw you reading books, you’re not
stupid! So study up on humans. Crikey!
Just stop blubbering like a baby! It gives me the willies.”
“All right already, I’ll stop…and
“That’s all any of us can do, Dr
Zoidberg. That’s all any of us can do.”
100 East 123rd Street, June 29, 3004, 0900 (9 a.m.)
Leela headed to the door in response to the
insistent ringing of buzzer. “Fry used to ring like that,”
she thought. As it kept ringing she shouted, “It’s not a
toy! I’ll be there in a second.”
The ringing stopped.
When she opened
the door, she was surprised to see Bender, CosmicF, and XT standing
there. She quickly recovered and said with a smile, “You’re
XT sounded apologetic, “Yes, we just wanted
to get here on time since Sarah won’t be here.” He
glanced at CosmicF “I’m sorry about the buzzer.”
Leela shrugged, “It’s Okay. Come on
in and have a seat. I’m waiting for Brad and his crew to get
here to help move.’
“FAHRFEGNUGEN!” Bender bellowed,
causing everyone to jump.
CosmicF shook his head, “You know buddy, no
matter how I try, I just can’t get used to that!”
Bender replied in a voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Well coffin stuffer, I just love it. There’s nothing
like being unable to control your POSITRON voice.”
XT intervened, “My friends, let us sit down
Surprisingly, the trio made their way to the couch
without any further argument. Bender sat nearest the door with
CosmicF next to him followed by XT. Leela sat in the armchair.
XT asked, “Leela, where is Fry?”
Leela smiled, “He’s following an old
custom that the groom must not see the bride for a day prior to the
wedding. He’s down in our new apartment.” She sighed,
“Dumb as it sounds, I miss him.”
CosmicF chimed in, “It’s not dumb.
You’re in love.”
Bender shook his head, “She’ll be sick
of him in a month.”
All three exclaimed “Bender” at the
“What? I’m just giving my opinion.”
Before anyone could speak, the buzzer rang again.
Leela gave Bender a withering look as she stood, “If you
weren’t Fry’s friend I’d hammer an empathy chip and
a few assorted nails into that bucket head of yours.”
CosmicF and XT howled with laughter.
When the door slid
open, it revealed Amy, Kif and a young woman who looked very much
like Amy. Leela looked at her Wristamajigy, “Right on time.
Amy you’ll never cease to amaze me. Come in, I’m almost
ready to go.”
When they entered
the apartment, Kif said in his usual soft voice, “Um…Leela,
I’m sorry to barge in like this, but I got a few unexpected
hours off and…”
Leela held up her hand, “Say no more Kif.
I’m glad to see you.”
Amy spoke up,
“Leela, this is my cousin Chenxi Wong. She’s just in
Leela extended her
hand, “Pleased to meet you, Chenxi.”
“I’m very pleased to meet you as
well,” Chenxi responded in a lilting voice with just a trace of
“BEUCEPHALUS!” Bender shouted.
Bender’s outburst, Leela found the family resemblance
remarkable. Chenxi had, if anything, a slightly more exotic look,
with shoulder length, glossy black hair. She was of slightly fuller
build than Amy.
Turning toward the
couch, Leela said, “Chenxi, let me introduce you to my friends,
Bender, CosmicF and XT.”
CosmicF was first
to rise, almost leaping to his feet as he stuck out his hand, “Hi
Chenxi! I’m CosmicF!” When their hands touched, CosmicF
felt as though electricity had just shot up his arm. Or was it
Chenxi’s smile that did that?
XT stood shaking hands with her as he regarded his
friend, who had an almost dazed look on his face. “I’m
pleased to meet you.”
Bender remained seated on the couch. “Hey
skin tube,” was all he said.
Glaring at Bender,
Leela passed the couch on her way to the bedroom. She said, “Excuse
me guys, but I have to go out with Amy for some last minute
XT replied, “No problem Leela. We’ll
wait for Brad and the rest of the crew. We’ll make sure
everything gets done.”
Chenxi spoke up
suddenly, “If you do not mind, cousin, I will stay and help
with the move. I am not much at shopping.”
Amy stared at her
cousin in shock, as she knew Chenxi was a marathon shopper. Then it
dawned on her, Chenxi liked CosmicF! Amy replied, “Sure, I’m
certain they could use the extra help.”
CosmicF piped up immediately, “And how!”
100 East 123rd Street, June 29, 3004, 1000 (10 a.m.)
Fry had been busy
assembling Sally’s bed when the doorbell rang. He called out,
“Be there in a second!” Carefully putting the
screwdriver he held in his hands onto the floor next to the
half-assembled bed, he rose and headed for the door.
When he opened the
door, he was glad to see his friends Bender, XT, and CosmicF, each
with an armload of boxes. As he glanced down the hall, he could see
Brad, Chelsea, Caitlyn and a girl that looked like a long haired
version of Amy. They were all carting boxes as well.
“Come on in,” Fry said.
“About time, skin tube,” Bender said
peevishly, “I thought my arms were going to fall off.”
Fry laughed, “Good old Bender. I’m
glad to see some things don’t change.”
As everyone entered, they placed their boxes in
the appropriate room. It was easy, because Leela had carefully
marked each box.
CosmicF came up to Fry, leading Chenxi by the
hand, “Fry this is Chenxi. She’s Amy’s cousin.”
“Hey Chenxi, pleased to meet you.”
“I am pleased to meet you as well. My
cousin has told me much about you.”
Fry held his hands up, “Don’t believe
everything she told you.”
Chenxi laughed, “Do not worry. It was all
Brad came over,
“Hello, Fry. Sorry to interrupt, but we’ve got work to
do. Katrina and Rebecca will be here with lunch in a bit. We need
to be done with the moving, because Caitlyn and Chelsea have a band
rehearsal. I’ve got some 1000 hour checks to run on the
fighters and Katrina has an afternoon class.”
“PYROCLASTIC,” Bender shouted, causing
everyone to wince.
Chelsea looked at Brad as she ground her teeth,
“Just let me gag him or something. The last time he shouted, I
almost dropped a load of dishes.”
Brad merely shook his head.
For the next hour and a half they shuttled
back-and-forth between the two apartments like an ant colony on the
move. The last item of furniture was moved and in place when Katrina
and Rebecca arrived.
The door was open, having been left that way to
ease the movement of the larger items of furniture. Brad, Bender,
CosmicF, and Fry were in the master bedroom, putting the dresser in
Caitlyn spotted them first when they entered, “Hi
Katrina! I’m glad you’re here. Is this your friend
Katrina smiled, “Hello, Caitlyn. Yes, this
is my good friend Rebecca Robotowitz.”
Chelsea, Chenxi and XT came up and exchanged
greetings. XT said, “Katrina, let me take that basket. It
looks very heavy.”
Katrina handed it to him, “Thank you, XT.
Yes, it is quite heavy.”
In the master bedroom, Brad heard Katrina’s
voice. He looked at Fry, “Well, lunch is here. I think we’re
Fry nodded, “Yeah. Everything looks great.
I can handle the unpacking.”
Brad pointed toward the living room with his
thumb, “Let’s go eat, then.”
Brad, Fry and CosmicF entered the living room
almost in single file as all three men were hungry.
Bender came out last. He took one look at
Rebecca, walked straight up to her and said, “Hey sexy momma,
want to try a little 62 degree action?”
response was instantaneous. She slapped Bender so hard that his head
spun several times, unscrewed from his body, and fell to the floor.
Everyone stood stock still, stunned by what had
could move, Rebecca snatched Bender’s head by the antenna,
lifting it level with her face. Because of her human features, it
was easy to see that the fury in her face matched the angry tone of
her voice, “How dare you address me in such a manner? I’m
a nanny, not a hooker. If you ever speak to me like that again, I’ll
turn you into metal shavings!”
Katrina was the
first to recover her voice. She placed her hand on Rebecca’s
Rebecca! Bender has a problem with RTS. He is also Fry and Leela’s
good friend. ”
features softened slightly. She looked Katrina in the eyes, “RTS
sufferers shout single words at random. “ She looked at Bender,
“But for the sake of my new employers - Leela and Fry – I
will forgo reducing this dupa
That said she put Bender’s head back into
What Bender said next surprised everyone, “I’m
sorry. Please forgive me. Can we try an introduction again?”
Rebecca looked dubious, “Very well.”
Bender extended his hand, “Hi. I’m
Bender B. Rodriguez.”
Rebecca took his hand, “I’m Rebecca M.
Bender bowed in a courtly manner, “I’m
so sorry for what I said earlier. Is there any way that I can make
it up to you?”
dryly, “I’ll let you know. But we are holding up
Brad seized the moment to assume control of
events, “Right! Let’s all dig into this splendid lunch
that Katrina and Rebecca brought us.”
Lunch was uneventful. After everyone else had
left, Bender asked Fry, “Is Rebecca the nanny for the kid
you’re going to adopt?”
“Yup, old buddy,” Fry smiled, “She
seems to have had an effect on you.”
Bender nodded, “True that.”
Village beneath New-New York, the Turanga Residence, June 29, 1330
Leela, Amy and Kif arrived outside the front door
of the Morris and Munda’s house. They were all laden with
packages, but Leela managed to ring the doorbell with her elbow. The
door opened almost instantly to reveal the smiling form of Munda.
sweetie!” She gave Leela a hug, smiling over Leela’s
shoulder at Kif and Amy, “Kif and Amy, it’s so good to
see you. Come in, come in!”
Leela entered first followed by Amy and Kif.
Munda motioned to
the coffee table, “Set that stuff down anywhere near the
couch.” She reached out and took a long suit bag from Leela,
“This has to be the wedding dress.”
Leela smiled at her mother’s obvious
excitement, “Yes mom. It’s my wedding dress.”
Munda smiled back, “You just have to try it
on! I’ll make sure it fits just right.”
Rather than argue, Leela said, “Okay mom.
I’ll go try it on upstairs. I just don’t want too many
people to see me in it before the big day.” She added
playfully, “Especially any men!”
Kif turned transparent in embarrassment, “Um…I
don’t want to cause any problem.”
“Leela, stop teasing Kif,” Amy said in
a mock serious voice.
At that moment, Morris ambled into the room from
the kitchen, “Hey! There’s my little girl.” He
came up and gave Leela a hug and a kiss.
“Hi dad, I thought you would be out
“No, I figured I’d take Kif down to
Bob’s Mutant Boy for a cup of coffee while you all do girl
Amy whispered something in Kif’s ear. He
nodded and stood up, “I’d love to go have a cup of
Morris gestured toward the door. As they exited,
the last thing the ladies heard was Morris asking Kif, “So
what’s it like being in the DOOP Navy? Do you really have
women at every port of call?”
Leela, Amy and
Munda all laughed when they heard Kif sputtering and choking in
response. Then they went upstairs, where Leela changed into her
It was a stunningly white fabric, with shoulder
straps, and a modest neckline. It was done up in the back with a
pair of silken ribbons. The train was of moderate length, allowing
Leela to manage the dress without assistance. Elbow length gloves,
a tiara and veil completed the ensemble.
Amy murmured in admiration, “You’re
going to knock Fry dead.”
Leela giggled, “I hope not. We’ve
still got the wedding night to enjoy.”
All three women laughed together at Leela’s
sally of wit. The Amy said, “Speaking of wedding nights, I got
you something that will drive Fry wild.”
Amy grinned, “That stuff I bought in
Viktoria’s Secret wasn’t for me.”
Munda and Amy laughed to see Leela actually blush
crimson as she stammered, “I…I couldn’t possibly
Amy shook her
head, “You’ve got plenty of time for Bulk Underpants
Outlet lingerie when you’re in a rocking chair. You asked for
me to advise you, so I’m advising. Try it on and make sure it
fits. I’ll guarantee results.”
Leela went into
the bathroom and hurriedly tried everything on without even looking
at herself in the mirror. It all fit, so she carefully folded it up
as she replaced it in the bag. When she emerged she said, “Can
we go look at Sally’s stuff now, Mom?”
“Sure sweetie, by the way would you girls
like some tea?”
Both answered, “Sure.”
Once Munda had made the tea, they settled in to
look at all the clothes that Amy and Leela had bought for Sally.
Dresses, shoes, underwear, and every other item a little girl needed
came out of the bags and underwent scrutiny.
later, they were almost talked out when Kif and Morris returned. To
be more accurate, Morris returned carrying Kif, who seemed higher
than a kite…singing a sea shanty in a slurred voice.
Munda glared at Morris, “Morris, did you get
that poor boy drunk?”
Morris put Kif into the empty armchair before
turning to answer, “We haven’t had a drop of booze.
Apparently Kif can’t tolerate coffee. It must act like alcohol
on him…kind of like it does on cousin Ralph.”
“Poor Kiffie,” Amy said as she hovered
over him. Leela went into the kitchen and got a towel which she
soaked in cold water. She handed it to Amy, who put it on Kif’s
“How do you feel now, my poor Kiffie?”
“Better get me to the head, because I’m
going to throw up.”
Morris rushed Kif upstairs, making it just in
Amy turned to Leela, “Fluid filled bladders
for bones, reproduction through touch, what’s next I wonder?”
Leela grinned at
her in reply, “Ask on your wedding night.”
Now it was Amy’s turn to blush.
the Personal Log of Lord Nibbler, Eternium Date Second Month, Third
day, Year 1043.
Lord Snigglesnoosh was correct. The quickening
has begun for both the Mighty One and the Other. The power of love
has begun to accomplish what even the worms could not. This means
that the universe is safe…will be safe…might be saved.
So I must continue in my role as playing the furry
moron while secretly watching over them both. For the past month,
they have been so wrapped up in each other that I have not had to put
on many displays of stupidity. In fact, most of my activities have
taken place at feeding time.
prediction that the Mighty One and the Other would adopt the one
called Sally. It is interesting to watch the flow of destiny. What
would they do if they knew the import of their decisions? Would they
flee from the trials they are about to face? I do not know.
The storm is about to break. May the Eternal One
grant them the strength they need to weather it. I will do all I
can, as I have grown fond of them both.
Police Department Headquarters’, Commissioner’s Office
Conference Room June 29, 1430 (2:30 p.m.)
got an hour and a half before I brief the Mayor. He’s talking
about imposing martial law under the Mutant Edicts of 2207. Let’s
cover our progress,” Ramon said in his most serious tone.
“Froggy, why don’t you lead off?”
Froggy glanced around the table before speaking.
Detective Sergeants “Sal” Sanchez and “Lip”
Lipford sat on her left. Across the table sat Mike Wigglesworth and
Duncan Kriebel. She began, “Well, my investigation on Mars has
tended to center on the crew of the Nimbus. My gut tells me that
Captain Zapp Brannigan is involved in this mess somehow.”
Ramon’s brow furrowed, “Brannigan, the
great DOOP hero?”
“Yes Commish, he’s the kind of
character who doesn’t stand up to close inspection.”
gotten where he is on the backs of his subordinates. The nicest thing
I could get one of his men to say about him is ‘he
A ripple of
laughter ran around the table. Ramon waited for the laughter to
subside before he said, “Okay mi
hija, he’s unpopular. So am I.
Does that make me a bad guy?”
“No Commish, but you haven’t appointed
a bunch of thieves to handle explosives and other sensitive items
Ramon nodded thoughtfully, “Go on.”
“All of the dead human terrorists have had
some connection…either direct or indirect…with
Brannigan. I don’t have a smoking gun, but I’ve got
enough leads to pursue.”
“Okay, who’s next?”
Sal cleared his throat, “Sir, we’ve
combed the Mutant Village. Lip and I have interviewed dozens of
people. We’ve believe that the mutants were abducted, drugged,
and used as bomb carriers.”
“Okay Detective Sergeant, how do you back
Sal held up his hand and ticked off the points on
his fingers, “One, mutants are not violent types…just
look at the crime statistics for the past two hundred years. Two,
look at the massive amounts of theflazine that we found in their
tissues after the explosions. Three, look at their observed behavior
prior to the explosions. It all adds up, sir.”
Ramon nodded, “Okay Sal, I believe you.”
He turned to his left, “So where does CSI stand on this
Mike spoke first,
“Sir, CSI agrees with our detectives. First, the explosives
were stolen from lots consigned to the Nimbus over a period of years.
After doing some exhaustive research, Duncan and I found that
explosives from lots assigned to the Nimbus have turned up in
criminal hands on planets other than Earth for the past five years!”
“Yes, sir. As near as we can determine, the
thefts were always written off by the local cops because they never
connected the dots. After all, Captain Brannigan was above
“And he was, up until now. We’ve done
some checking with the Federal Bureaucracy. He’s got an awful
lot of property and stocks that he couldn’t have bought on a
“Sir, it’s just not feasible. We’re
convinced he was skimming money from the sale of contraband weapons
and explosives for at least five years.”
“Does that make him a terrorist?”
“No sir, but it gives us a good reason to
Froggy interjected, “I agree.”
Mike turned to Duncan, “How about the
Duncan said, “the blast in Times Square was triggered by a
Military Wristamajigy…a Mark XXI.” He paused briefly,
“Sir, the Mark XXI is the latest and greatest. It has stealth
features that make it hard to track, but easy to identify.
Fortunately only a handful of devices have gone missing.”
“Let me guess…”
“Yes sir, two were stolen from the Nimbus in
the past year.”
He shook his head, “Our boy leaves a trail,
“Yes sir, but none of it points directly to
him. Somebody else has always taken the fall.”
Ramon sat silently for a moment, “Well, I
know what I’m going to recommend to our esteemed Mayor. But
I’m not sure he’ll listen.”
Froggy spoke up, “He has to, Commish.”
hija,” he said with a bitter
laugh, “he’ll do whatever he thinks will woo the voters.
These attacks have the people scared. Scared people have always been
prone to give up their rights to feel safe again.” He paused,
“And there are always politicians like Poopenmeyer who are
ready to give the people what they want in return for power.”
Ramon rose from his seat, “Keep after your
leads. We have to solve this case. Dismissed.”
Everyone stood as Ramon pivoted on his heel and
headed for the Mayor’s office.
Office, New-New York, 29 June 3004, 1700 (5:00 p.m.).
C. Randall Poopenmeyer sat with his feet propped
up on his desk. He knew that the Police Commissioner, Ramon Hidalgo
had been sitting in his waiting room for the past fifteen minutes,
but he intentionally kept him waiting. Like most politicians, he was
addicted to all the trappings of power. Making people wait was one
of his favorites.
“Still,” the Mayor thought, “It
doesn’t pay to aggravate the cops too much.”
He leaned forward and flicked the intercom switch,
“Miss Smith, please have Commissioner Hidalgo come in now.”
“Yes sir,” a voice answered from the
intercom on his desk. At the same moment, the door slid open and
Ramon stepped through the doorway.
“Have a seat Commissioner,” the Mayor
said while indicating a chair in front of his desk.
Ramon took a seat and waited for Poopenmeyer to
speak. He didn’t have long to wait.
“So, Commissioner, what are you doing about
the mutant terrorists?”
“Your Honor, we do not believe that the
terrorists are mutants.”
frowned, “Not this again! The press is convinced it’s
mutants.” He grabbed a copy of the New-New York Times that was
sitting on his desk, raised it to eye level and shook it vigorously,
“Have you read the papers?”
“Yes, sir. But our investigations have…”
Poopenmeyer cut him off, “I don’t care
about your investigations! I want to know who you’ve
Ramon bristled at the insult. His voice shook
with rage, “Listen to me, MR MAYOR. We had a good
investigation going until your wishy-washy DA released our prime
suspect. Now we’ve got a lot of corpse fragments, a couple of
smoking craters and some solid leads.” He began to regain
control, “I know you’re under pressure. But we can’t
rush this or we could let the guilty escape and wind up looking like
his head, “You’ve got five more days. Then I’m
going to have to take some kind of action.” His tone indicated
that the meeting was over, “Good evening, Commissioner.”
Ramon rose, “Good evening, Mr. Mayor.”
Then he turned and left the office.
New-New York, 29 June 3004, 1700 (5 p.m.).
Zapp Brannigan sat
in a velour covered chair reviewing a document on an electronic
writing tablet. He smiled as he came to the end.
Standing in the room were two thuggish looking men
of medium height and average build. They were obviously waiting for
Third is the day, gentlemen. Until then, I want you to cease all
operations. We will follow this operations plan to the letter, do
Both men answered, “Aye-Aye Sir!”
Brannigan frowned, “Knock off that Navy
crap! I’m sure even the New-New York cops will figure things
our eventually. But I still have a card or two up my sleeve.”
Zapp threw back his head and began to laugh, a
deep, wicked laugh. The other men joined in.
1202 East 49th
Street, Apartment 404, 29 June 3004, 1700 (5:00 p.m.).
Sarah glanced at her watch. “Five o’clock,”
she thought, “time to check on the patient.” Looking
over, she smiled at the sight of Dr. Zoidberg sleeping soundly in the
armchair with a copy of Gray’s Anatomy laying open on his
chest. She rose, walked to James room, and entered.
The room was only dimly illuminated by a small
lamp on the computer desk, where James was seated. She was surprised
to see him hunched over the desk, tinkering with something that
looked like a vest of some sort.
To avoid startling
him, she cleared her throat before speaking, “Crikey
Jimbo, can’t you listen to your nurse and stay in bed?”
James pivoted in his seat to look at her, “Sorry.
I just couldn’t lie there any longer.”
She noticed the IV bag lay unhooked. Her lip
tightened into a thin line as she bit back an old fashioned butt
chewing. Instead, she mentally counted three before saying, “Right
then, back on the bed so I can have a look at you.”
Looking somewhat sheepish, James rose from his
seat and stretched out on the bed. Sarah turned her back on him as
she turned on the light.
When she turned around she gasped, “Oh
Lord!” Then she asked, “How long have you been up?”
James looked concerned, “Only a couple of
Sarah was biting into her lip to control herself,
“Look at your hands!”
James gasped in
surprise when he looked at his hands, “They’re orange! I
look like a doggone piece of fruit!”
No longer able to control herself, Sarah began to
howl with laughter. She doubled over, managing to gasp out, “You
didn’t let the IV flush you out! The hepalistatin…”
She succumbed to another convulsion of laughter.
James crossed his arms and tried to look angry,
but found it impossible to achieve. Sarah’s peals of laughter
just made it impossible. He began to laugh as well.
Before either could speak, Zoidberg came into the
room. He looked quizzically at Sarah, then James. Noting James new
orange coloration, Zoidberg said, “Nice look, James. I have a
cousin who colored his shell like that. Oy! Did he get the girls!”
This caused fresh gales of laughter to erupt from
them both, with Zoidberg looking on in puzzlement.
It was five minutes later before Sarah was able to
explain the situation to Zoidberg without bursting into laughter,
“You see Doctor Zoidberg, the Hepalistatin needs to be
thoroughly flushed from the system. If you come off the IV too
early, you retain residual blood just under the skin.”
James opened his mouth to speak, but closed it
when he caught a “don’t even think about it” look
“So James came off to early, he did?”
“He did. So now it will take two to three
days before he will be back to his normal color.”
“Why change? It’s an improvement.”
“Not to an earth female, doctor.”
Zoidberg slapped his forehead, “Oh right!
“Could you leave James and I alone for a
“Certainly,” he said before scuttling
from the room.
James opened his mouth to speak but Sarah held her
right index finger up to her lips to silence him. Curious, he
Sarah came up to the bed and sat down next to him.
She gazed into his eyes, “You bloody magnificent fool,”
she said in a husky voice, “you must have some kangaroos loose
in your top paddock.”
“Not that I know of…”
“You need to take better care of yourself.
Your like a Brumby, you are. You have no fear of anything. Well,
that’s all right. But I want you to know that if we’re
going to get along, we have to trust each other’s competence.”
“I do trust your competence.”
“Really,” she said dryly, “then
why did you act like a bloody dill and come off the meds before you
were supposed to?”
James realized that he was in a no-win situation,
“You’re right. I screwed up. Do you forgive me?”
In response Sarah threw her arms around his neck
and gave him a passionate kiss. When they separated she almost
growled, “I forgive you. And stop grinning like a shot fox!”
“I can’t help smiling with you in my
“Oh you are the smooth one Mister James
Martindale. Now give us another kiss.”
“Yes nurse! Right away!”
Apartment 1I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 29, 3004, 2200 (10 p.m.)
EXTRACT FROM LEELA’S DIARY for June 29, 3004
Tonight is my last night as a single girl. I
was going to have some friends over, but decided at the last minute
to spend the time alone. So much of my life has been spent alone. I
find myself wondering how I will adjust to having another person in
Fry…my husband! When I was a little
girl in the Orphanarium, I had so many dreams of what my husband
would be. Funny, but they were not at all like Fry. It just goes to
show how foolish I was, foolish and inexperienced.
He is so kind to me. How could he put up with
me being so mean to him for four years? I blush with shame to think
how many times I hurt him. Well, that is certainly over.
When did I begin to love him? That’s a hard question to answer, for it
came on so gradually. Certainly I felt a connection with him not
long after we met. Down in the ruins of Old New York, I saw that Fry
was the only person that I ever met who was alone as I. Yet he
trusted me to make a decision about his future life, inspiring me to
make a change in mine instead.
But I think I felt love in an almost irresistible way when he took a space bee
stinger for me. His incredible devotion, sitting by my bed for
day-after-day while I was in a coma, still warms my heart whenever I
think of it. After he wrote that wonderful opera, the ice around my
heart began to rapidly melt away. The final seal on our love was his
courage in saving my life in Normandy. It showed me that I could
search the universe and not find a man better suited for me.
Oh God! What if I had lost him? Life is so fragile. One small piece of metal can
end it like switching off a light. Thankfully, we are both alive and well.
Fry has changed over the past few weeks. I
can’t explain it, but he has changed in a positive way. He is
so much more self-assured. It’s almost like the worms are
back. No…that isn’t the case. Maybe he just needed me
to accept him.
But to accept
Fry I first had to accept myself. For so long, in my heart of
hearts, I believed that no man could really love me. I was so alone.
In my loneliness and confusion, I took up with men like Adlai and
Sean. None of them ever left me with more than a temporary glow.
Then Fry showed
up, with his easy manner and boyish grin. At first, I fled from his
love. He threatened my presumptions about both the world and myself.
Isn’t it sad how we can cling to an illusion that hurts us,
because we are comfortable with it?
Now, that pain
is gone. I know that I am loved by a good man, a man who accepts me
for who I am. Tomorrow I gladly give up my status as a single girl
to become Mrs. Leela Fry. I can hardly wait.
Diary, I need to get to bed. I will need all of my strength for both
our wedding day and our wedding night!