Doctor Malcolm Fillian woke with a start. Any other man might have thought it was just a dream, but there was no such thing as ‘just a dream’ to him. The screaming was real. Somewhere nearby, someone with some strong mental powers was very, very angry.
He crawled out of the improvised tent where he slept under the right wing of the wreck of the Planet Express ship and looked into the jungle. “Harriet,” he whispered, “is that you out there?”
Everything was black. Opening his eyes didn’t help matters much. Reaching out, he felt only cold, damp rock. That was a good thing, as it meant he was still on Tasia. Hopefully. Thinking back, Philip Fry tried to piece together what happened last night.
The Harvest Dance had been the culmination of a nearly week-long party. Everyone in the village was there. It was one of the few nights during the year that the children were allowed to run free, and they enjoyed every moment of it, and so did he. He danced with lots of women, but they all turned out to be his friends’ wives, the very young girls, or older women. He avoided the girls of “marrying age,” since he didn’t really feel comfortable around any of them, except Jadzia. When he was finally her alone, they talked awkwardly for a few minutes before he asked her to dance. She pounced on the invitation and dragged him out into the clearing, where she kept him most of the night.
He had to admit, holding her felt wonderful. And the way she smelled… Then one thing led to another, and he kissed her. It reminded him of that dream, or whatever it was, that had happened on the Nimbus the day they met. But, since that first day, nothing much had happened between them. The occasional hug or an affectionate look or touch was all that happened. He knew that she had some very strong feelings for him, maybe she even loved him, and he had some very strong feelings for her, too. But she wasn’t Leela. There would never be another Leela. But, Leela had rejected him. It wouldn’t be settling to have Jadzia, who obviously liked him, would it?
With all of these thoughts running thought his head, they stumbled home, arm in arm in the pre-dawn light. Jadzia put him into his bed and playfully kissed his nose. “I’ll be right back, Fry,” she said. “We need to talk to about a few things, but I want to clean myself up first.”
‘We need to talk about a few things.’ In the history of male-female relations, no single phrase had ever filled a man with more dread. Swallowing his fear, he said instead, “Uh, wha-what about me,” he said. “Don’t I get to clean myself up, too?”
“There’ll be plenty of time for that later,” she said heading to her room. She stuck her head into his room on her way out the door and said with a big smile on her face, “Now, don’t you go anywhere, mister.” The look on her face as she looked at him banished whatever fear he felt at their coming conversation. Even with his learning disability, he knew what she was wanted to talk about.
“Don’t worry,” he said returning her smile. “I’ll be right here waiting for you.”
He gave her a few minutes to get down the path toward the lake before he got out of bed to clean himself up. He had been thinking about taking a nap, but that could wait. If he read the signs she was showing correctly, there’d be snu-snu coming soon. It had been a really long time since his last bit of snu-snu, and the thought of it made him feel completely refreshed.
Heading out the back door to where they kept the rain barrel, he took off his shirt. He looked and felt better than he had in years. These eight months of hard work and real, unprocessed food had forced him into shape. Fry dunked his head in the cool water, partly to wash it and partly to clear his head from the partying last night. Flinging his long red hair out of his eyes, he looked around. Something didn’t feel right. During the last eight months, Fry had grown accustomed to the sounds of the rain forest, all the little noises that the bugs and animals made. Now, he heard nothing.
Reaching for the shovel that was leaning up against the fence, Fry started to creep around toward the front of the house. That’s when he saw them. There were four of them, all taller than your average human, standing around seven feet, with blue, almost scaly skin, and with three tentacles coming off the sides of their heads. Each of them was carrying a laser rifle of some sort, in addition to other dangerous looking weapons.
Ducking back quickly behind the corner, Fry thought about what to do next. He had to get to the village and warn them. But, there was Jadzia to consider. She was alone at the lake. Gotta protect her, he thought. There are plenty of strong young men in the village. Fry ran as quietly as he could toward the tree line. He got about halfway there before they noticed him and started shooting.
Ducking behind the log that they used as a bench, Fry tried to come up with something to do next. He heard some branches breaking and turned just in time to see one of them, this one with green skin, bringing the butt-end of his rifle down toward his skull. Fry rolled just in time as the rifle slammed into the log with enough force to put a large crack in it. Hoping that alien physiology was the same as human, Fry kicked the creature between the legs.
Laughing and barking something in a guttural language, the monster turned his rifle around to shoot Fry. Hoping to force a glancing blow, Fry jabbed at the creature’s left knee. The monster went down in a heap, the shot firing wildly into the house, causing the others to take cover. Fry picked up the rifle and whacked the alien in the other knee, just for good measure. He stuck the rifle out over his cover and started to fire wildly, emptying the energy clip. The shots apparently did nothing to the other aliens, as they responded with a flood of lasers. Wondering what he could do to get out of this, Fry looked at the writhing alien in front of him. Shrugging his shoulders, Fry grabbed a grenade off its belt.
Risking a peek, Fry noticed where most of them had concentrated themselves. I’m sorry, Jadzia, he thought as he thumbed the activator and tossed the grenade. There was a rush of air as the concussion grenade exploded in his front yard. Sticking his head up over the log, he saw that the blast had dropped the aliens, along with most of their house. He smiled sadly as he watched the rest of the house fall apart. As he started down the trail toward the lake, he didn’t see the red-skinned alien creeping up behind him. He felt something hit him on the back of the head and then nothing.
The present came crashing back with blinding light. Shielding his eyes, Fry noticed a few other people in the hole with him. They were all village children. Seeing him, the kids started to cluster around him as Fry slid protectively in front of them. Taking a quick look around them as his eyes adjusted, Fry saw that this hole was bigger and deeper than he thought. They were in a ten foot wide circular depression blasted into the bedrock. The ceiling was twenty feet above them, and there was a balcony with a barely visible stairway leading up. There was no way for him to tell how far below ground they were.
The light was coming from two creatures carrying flashlights. They were trying to blind the prisoners. “Who the hell are you and what the hell do you want?,” Fry yelled up at them. “I demand-.”
“You are in a position to demand nothing,” a harsh voice said. “And I am in a position to grant nothing.” Because of the lights in his eyes, and the distance they were separated, Fry could barely make out some tentacles coming off the sides of the figure’s head. “I am Rav,” the harsh voice said. “And you are my prisoners. For now, at any rate. Soon, you’ll all be someone else’s problem, and I’ll be that much richer.”
“What are you talking about? Let us out of here right now, or so help me-.” Fry was cut off by a blast from a laser pistol that one of the guards had pulled. This caused all of the children to grab at Fry more, and some of the younger ones started to cry.
“That will be enough, Grom,” Rav said. “We don’t want to hurt our little assets, do we? You’re a little bit older than we usually like to take, but after what you did to my men when they tried to capture you, I think I’ll still be able to find a buyer for you.”
The children stayed clustered to Fry as the door shut at the top of the stairs, plunging them all back into darkness.
The world was grey. Even the people, what he assumed were people at any rate, were just lumps of featureless grey. Only two of them had any features: a young girl, six or seven years old, straddling and pummeling a young boy of about nine or ten. The only color in this place was her bright purple hair and his bright red blood. The grey lumpy people stood around the two, apparently cheering them on.
“What did he do,” he asked watching the scene play out.
“I don’t remember. Probably made fun on my eye or nose. The saddest thing is that I don’t even remember his name.”
The phantom six-year old stopped and looked at them. “Jimmy Dawson,” she said in a voice that, despite being twenty-five or so years younger, still sounded like her own. Then she went back to beating up the boy. After another five or ten minutes, Leela saw a phantom Mr. Vogel come into the yard and pull the phantom Leela off of the battered boy.
“Can we go somewhere else,” she said, almost pleading. “Somewhere… happier?”
“Of course,” Malcolm said. “This is your brain. You just have to think about it and we can go there.”
The scene shifted suddenly to the interior of the Applied Cryogenics offices. A phantom Lou was arguing with a phantom Terry about something. Since she wasn’t in the room yet, she guessed that it was their usual argument about Terry’s dramatic welcomes for the defrostees. Walking over toward the tubes, Leela stopped in front of Fry. Reaching up, she stopped her hand just over the glass. “Hello, handsome,” she said.
“Where are we, Leela?”
“The Applied Cryogenics offices. It’s December 31, 2999, the first day of the rest of my life.” Looking over at the clock on the wall, she continued, “I’ll be walking through that door in about ten minutes for my daily check of the tubes. I’ll have four defrostees today, with this stupid, wonderful man here as my last one. He’ll pop out around 3:30 and change my life forever. Until today, I was miserable, but would never admit it. I needed this job to pay the rent, but I hated coming here. I’d been trying to quit for a long time, but I had no other prospects on the horizon. Then, along came Philip J. Fry. Tomorrow, I’ll be the pilot for the Planet Express delivery company, making a lot less money than I did here, but having more fun than I could possibly imagine. And it’s all because of him.
“Thank you, Fry,” she said, tears running down her face as she reached through the tube and tried to touch his face. “I love you, Fry. You don’t know how sorry I am that I never told you.” Wiping her eye, she said, “Can we stop now, Doctor? I, I don’t think I can take much more of this today.”
“Of course Leela,” he said. Taking her hand he said, “I told you we’re going to take this slowly. Now, I’m going to count backwards from five. When I reach one, you’ll wake up. Are you ready?” When she nodded, he said, “Five, four, three, two…”
“One,” he said as she opened her eye. They were back on the beach on Tasia, not far from where the ship had crashed last night. The warm tropical breezes would have been heaven under almost any other circumstance. “That’s all for today, then. We’ll try more tomorrow. I think we’re making some progress, Leela.”
“At least its progress on one front,” she said, cracking her neck. “So far, we’re one for three or four. How long were we at it?”
“Oh, maybe half an hour.”
“What? It felt like at least six hours.”
“Your mind plays tricks on you, Leela. Trust me, it was only half an hour.”
“Trust you? How do you know?”
Holding up his watch, Leela saw that it was only 10:30. She knew they started just after 10. “Fine,” she said sullenly. “If you’ll excuse me, Doctor, I’ve got a ship to fix and a mission or three to complete.”
Leela stood up from where she and the Doctor had been sitting in the sand and walked toward the ship. All things considered, it was a decent enough landing. Any landing you can walk away from was a good landing, her flight instructor had told her after her poor depth perception had caused more than one crash landing. They had come down hard on the ship’s belly, cutting a long scar across the perfect beach. But, other than all of the engines and the power plant being off-line, the ship had stayed in decent shape. She and Amy had conducted a thorough search of the interior and exterior of the ship last night after they landed, and found the hull was still intact. Now, if they could just get the power plant back on-line, they’d be in good shape. Until the dark matter ran out, that was. As it was, they had to turn Bender off to conserve his power cells. The only alcohol they had was what he was carrying with him, and that wouldn’t last long.
That night, Leela was sitting on one of the back wings, resting. She had been waist deep in the engines all afternoon changing the power couplings, and desperately needed the fresh air. She and Amy had gotten the power plant back on-line around mid-day, and they had scrounged enough parts from the other two engines to get engines 1 and 2 repaired. But, after a promising test start, the power couplings blew, and they had to be shut down. After changing the couplings, the women had had enough and they called it a day. Amy was down the beach, trying to relax in private. Leela wanted to go with her, since a swim would feel great after being buried in dark matter engine all day, but Leela knew that Amy wanted to be alone right now. Kif and Zapp had left after lunch to find the escape pod and they hadn’t come back yet.
Kif had done a good job with locating the pod during their frenzied crash landing. The beach that they had crashed on was less than three miles from the signal beacon’s location. She had to kick Zapp out, physically, after he kept trying to ‘help’ her fix the power plant. So, he decided, and dragged Kif along, to go find the escape pod. Leela thought he was really trying to find some women that he hadn’t infected with some disease.
It had just gotten dark when Amy came back into camp. Leela watched her go and notice the defeated slump of her shoulders. I’m going to have to talk to her, she thought. HA! Who am I to talk about giving advice about patience when someone you love may be in danger? If I didn’t have the ship to fix and everyone else to worry about, I’d have been on that trip to look for Fry at first light. Oh, Phil, where are you? Are you even still alive? Do you still love me?
Looking over her shoulder, Leela saw that Malcolm had gotten a fire started and he was cooking dinner. Fish of some sort, she thought as the smell started to drift her way. She jumped the fifteen feet off the wing to the ground, landing lightly in the sand and started to walk toward the fire. She had gotten just within the circle of light when she heard a rustling in the brush. Sprinting out of the jungle, crashing through like an elephant, was Zapp. Trailing him, and getting hit with every branch Zapp moved, was Kif. Both of their uniforms were torn and muddy, and there was some red and green splashes on them.
“Run for you lives,” Zapp panted as he reached the fire. “There are savages here. They’re cannibals. Leela, save me!”
“Do I have to?”
“No,” Kif panted as he finally reached their camp. “Admiral Jackass here started a fight with some of the locals. Apparently, when he tried to tell them ‘I come in peace,’ he said something about wanting to have intimate relations with the chief’s dead mother. When he tried to correct himself, he said he wanted to eat the chief’s daughters for dinner. They started to call him a cannibal and started to chase us.”
“Why didn’t you try and talk to them in Basic first, idiot?,” Leela asked, her hand over her eye as she shook her head. This is the last thing we needed.
“Leela, they’re savages. They don’t talk like us educated peoples. They’re all simple minded. I mean, who in their right mind would choose to live in a jungle and wear animal skins and paint your body when you could live out there and wear velour?”
“They weren’t wearing animal skins, idiot,” Kif said. “If you bothered to look, you could have seen that the body paint was tattoos. And that they were all carrying laser rifles.”
“What about that one with the blue eyes? It was green and had tattoos all over its face. If that one wasn’t a savage, I don’t know what is.”
“Which one?,” Leela and Malcolm asked at the same time.
“There was one that had green skin, black hair, and tattoos on its face,” Kif said, edging back from the pair. He didn’t like the way they were looking at him.
“What did the tattoos look like?,” Malcolm said.
“The bottom lip was black, and there were symbols like figure eights on their sides on its chin,” Leela said blankly.
“Yes,” Kif replied. “How did you know?”
Leela didn’t answer. Instead she walked into the ship. A few minutes later, she came out, armed with her laser pistol and started to walk the way Zapp and Kif had come.
“Don’t Leela,” Malcolm said, putting his hand on her arm.
“Remove your hand,” she said tersely, “or I’ll remove your arm.”
His eyes flashed bright blue and he said, “You won’t do this in anger, or alone, Leela. I’m coming with you. If that is Harriet out there, then killing her won’t bring us closer to Fry. Think about why you’re here, Leela. We’re trying to find Fry.”
“I’m trying to find Fry. I’m not sure why you’re here. Now, I’m going.”
“At least wait until morning, Leela. You’ve got bad enough eyesight during the day. Can you see in the dark?”
She just stared at him before pulling her arm away and walking back to the ship. “Fine,” she said over her shoulder. “At first light, I’m going out there. Just try and keep up and stay out of my way.”
The pod shook as the fighters strafed them. Checking the instruments, Fry saw that almost every system was losing power. He started pushing buttons, hoping that something good would happen. Damn it, Leela, why didn’t you show me how to do this? Opening a menu by accident, he was able to transfer all available power to the shields.
Looking over his shoulder, he said, “Hang on, Sister Jadzia. This is going to be a really rough landing.”
“I am prepared, Philip Fry”, she replied calmly as she strapped herself in. Her blue eyes were the only real light inside the darkened escape pod. They were mesmerizing. He found it very hard to turn away and think straight.
“Just hang on, Fry,” Leela said over the open radio channel. “I’m coming.”
Her voice snapped him out of whatever trance he felt himself falling into. Shaking his head, he pushed the call button and said, “Leela, I’m sorry.” Then the ship started to spin out of control as two explosions flared outside the canopy. Trying not to vomit as the escape pod tumbled end over end, Fry checked the instruments to see what was still on-line. Shields were at 10%, but the power plant was still functioning at 75%, meaning they had lots of power with no place to go.
A bright blue light flashed behind him, and suddenly, his fingers were dancing across the instrument panel, diverting the available power back to shields and propulsion. He quickly got the pod back under control just as they entered Tasia’s atmosphere. Slowing their decent, Fry started the landing cycle. Eying the available options, he set course for a small island in the tropical region with a small indigenous population and a relatively lower level of technology than the rest of the moon.
Looking over his shoulder, he saw Jadzia praying. Her face was beautiful and serene. Her eyes were closed, but he could see blue light creeping out between her eyelids, and the Lemniscate in her hands was faintly glowing blue. Satisfied, Fry relaxed.
Then he started to sway in his chair. If he hadn’t been strapped in, he would have fallen over. His head was swimming. He had no idea what had just happened or how they were still alive. It was almost as if he hadn’t been in control of his own body for a while. Checking the instruments, he said, “We’re coming in for a landing, Sister. It’s a small island, and we should easily make the coast.
“Thank you, Philip Fry,” she said smiling and easing her grip in her holy symbol. The blue glow had faded. “I knew that you -.”
There was an explosion. The whole pod started to shake as the engines started to fall apart and the pod started to drop. They hit the water like it was concrete. They had enough forward momentum, though, to almost make it to the island. Inertia threw Fry forward and he slammed his head on the instrument panel, opening a gash above his right eye. It was dark in the pod as the water started to rush in. Unstrapping himself, Fry waded back to where Jadzia’s couch lay. She was still strapped in and laying face first in the water. Checking, he found that she wasn’t breathing.
Panicking, and with strength fueled by fear and adrenaline, Fry righted the couch and unstrapped her. Throwing her over his shoulder, Fry grabbed the DOOP emergency kit and hit the hatch release. Sliding down the side of the pod, he saw that it was night, they had crashed not far from the island, and the water was pretty shallow. Unable to relax, Fry swam to shore, carefully holding her face above the water.
Fry dragged Jadzia to the beach and tried to remember the water safety training that Hermes had made them to go to last year. “Uh…,” he said, “don’t swim for half an hour after eating? No, that’s not it. Uh….don’t try to breathe water unless you have gills? No, that’s not it, either. Come on, stupid, think,” he said, accidentally pounding his hand down onto her stomach, causing her to spit out some water. “That’s it!” After hitting her several more times, Fry started to blow air into her lungs. After a few false starts, she began to cough and spit water.
“Easy, Sister,” he said. “We’re safe here. I think. We’re alive and on dry land, at least, so that’s a start.”
“Thank you,” she said, looking up at him, confusion plainly evident on her face. “Who are you? Who am I, for that matter?”
Fry blinked a few times as she looked at him. Even in this light, he could tell that something wasn’t right. “Jadzia”, he said, “what, what’s wrong with your eyes?”
“What are you talking about? Who’s Jadzia and why did you call me ‘Sister’? Is that my name? Are we related? Who are you, anyway? And what’s wrong with my eyes?”
“They’re not blue anymore. They’re black…”
Fry woke with a start. He hadn’t thought about their landing in months. Why was he thinking about it now? He decided that it was probably because of his impending space flight after almost a year grounded on Tasia. Rav had come down to mock them earlier. They’d found buyers for all of them. Fry was going to be sold to someone on Gammu, to be used for who knew what, although Rav insinuated that it wouldn’t be good. The children would be going to Kaitain to work in the black market peat mines. Rav had told them that they would be moved in the morning, but down in this pit that meant nothing. Not certain how much time he had, Fry knew he had to come up with something, and fast, or else he and the children were going to be in a lot of trouble.
She was sprinting through the jungle with a pistol in each hand. She knew that this had to be a dream, but she didn’t care. If she ran fast enough, she could reach him and tell him that she loved him. Everything would be alright after that.
She was just rounding the final bend in the road when it happened. Fantastic creatures out of her worst nightmares rose up on each side of her until they were a nearly impenetrable wall. Unthinking, the pistols rose and she began to fire. She’d clear a path to the house, only to have more and more of the monsters close in. After what seemed like an eternity, she was able to clear a path that stayed open and began to charge into the clearing.
He walked out of the house, looking just like she knew he would. He turned slowly in her direction, smiling broadly, as if he didn’t even see the monsters that were swarming around him. Her heart was breaking at how beautiful he looked to her at that moment. He opened his arms, welcoming her to their home. She was going to make it! She could tell him that she loved him. Even if they were killed by these monsters, they’d be together.
Then she saw a red-skinned giant, with three tentacles on each side of its face rise up behind him, a large axe in its hands. The pistols went up on their own, but her hands were shaking. Screaming his name, she fired. But her aim was off. The laser blasts that were supposed to hit the beast hit him squarely between the eyes instead. Shock and betrayal were on his face as he fell. She fired again, blowing the monster back. Sobbing, she slid to a stop as he died in her arms. Wailing in misery, she didn’t see the red monster rising back up, or the axe that was descending toward her neck.
She woke with a start, reaching up a shaking hand to touch her neck. She was soaked with sweat, and she knew it wasn’t just from sleeping outside in the rain forest. Looking around, she saw two of the hunters that had accompanied her, with the third one out on watch. They’d chased the two idiots in velour for about half a mile before the darkness reined them in. The trio joked about the fat one, and wondered what kind of creature the little green one was. She knew, or at least she thought she should know.
Something about the way they were dressed tickled at her mind. She should know, she decided. It probably had something to do with the life she lived, and now couldn’t remember, from before they crashed here eight months ago. If only Fry was here, he could tell her what it meant. But if he were here, there’d be no hunters around, and they’d be in bed together, arms and legs intertwined around each other… Shaking the pleasant, yet heartbreaking, fantasy away, she started packing up her bedroll. It was just before dawn, and she knew it would be useless to try and anymore sleep.
It was an odd nightmare, she decided. She had never seen that type of alien before, and she had no idea why she had those two pistols. She hated guns. She didn’t even like Fry keeping the one from the survival kit in the house.
When she asked, the hunter on watch said there was about 2 hours until dawn, and they could set out then, if she could guide them like yesterday. She told him she would try and then walked away. When he was certain she couldn’t see him, he made a warding against the evil eye. When her eyes started glowing blue the morning of the raid, they started to worry that she was possessed by an evil spirit, or something.
They had liked her well enough, for an obvious alien. In the beginning, she had stayed away from them, thinking that they would try and burn her at the stake or something for being an alien. Slowly though, mostly thanks to Fry’s prompting and taking her into the village, everyone got to know each other and they finally accepted her.
She was a bit disappointed, though, to find out that she and Fry had known each other for less than a day when they crashed and he knew almost nothing about her. He did say she used to carry a holy symbol of some kind, but a thorough search of their belongings that survived the crash revealed nothing. Whatever it was, it was at the bottom of the ocean now. But, not being one to be put off by a small thing like logic, Fry enthusiastically started to help her reconstruct her life all over again.
One afternoon, she helped a man burned at the village restaurant. Unconsciously, she treated the man more skillfully than the island’s only healer. He covered three villages all over the island, and was seriously overworked. Seeing a perfect assistant, the doctor all but begged her to join him. Feeling good, like she was rediscovering something important about herself, she accepted. She soon discovered that she knew a lot about medicine. But she couldn’t understand how or why a nun would know so much about being a doctor, and Fry was no help.
Two months ago, the man died, leaving her and his barely trained assistant on the far side of the island, nearly a day’s hike away, as the island’s only healers. Jadzia took to the full time job right away. She traveled all over the island healing the sick while Fry stayed home and tended to their small garden and doing whatever odd jobs that needed doing. Not being very skilled at anything, Fry found he enjoyed helping the farmers. Having been born a city boy, Fry was amazed at how much work farming required. Fry had always hated work of any kind, but was amazed at how much he liked farm work. It was grueling, to be sure, but satisfying in its own way.
They had been steadily growing closer. It had started out with a look here or there, then a casual touch, but she started to feel something inside of her every time he was around. Talking to the other women all over the island, she figured out what it was: she loved him. Being a priestess of some kind, she guessed that she had no mental “muscle memory” to go on when it came to love. She was terrified and exhilarated at the same time. All the women she asked about this said that that reaction was completely natural.
But every time he looked at her, until the dance the other night that is, she felt like something was holding him back. He only talked about his past in general terms, so she couldn’t figure out what was bothering him. Once, when he had a strong fever, he cried out for someone called Leela. He had never mentioned the name before. When he recovered, she didn’t bring it up, thinking it might upset him. Whoever this Leela was, she was long gone now. All they had was each other. She didn’t know how he really felt about her, but she knew that she loved him completely, and she had to find him.
Closing her eyes, she thought about him. His smell, his touch, the feel of his lips on hers, everything that was him. Slowly, unconsciously, she started to turn. When she stopped, she opened her eyes and pointed, saying, “He’s that way.”
Turning to pick up her things, she didn’t see the anxious looks that the hunters passed between themselves or the warding against the evil eye they made. When she pointed to where he was, her eyes were glowing bright blue.
Two hours before dawn, Leela was still awake. She was too worked up about Sister Jadzia being here on the island to even think about sleeping. So, after failing miserably for a few hours, she began to play with her wrist-a-majigger. Its power cell had a nearly a ten year shelf life, so she had no worries about it dying out on her. The dark matter would run out long before that.
Going through the new programs that were installed after the last automatic update two weeks before, she noticed something different: BioScan. Thinking it was some sort of game, she decided to give it a try. What the hell, she thought. I’ve got a few hours to kill. Clicking the start button, she was irritated when nothing happened. After a few seconds, a mini-hologram projector popped out and an image of the Professor was standing there.
“Good news, Leela,” he said. “Because you’re so boring and responsible, you’ve been selected as the guinea pig for my new biological scanning and tracking system. I mean, I trust you to take care of my multi-billion dollar space ship. I know you’d never let anything bad happen to that, so I think I can trust you with this. This computer program, BioScan, has been invented to track biological organisms. I intend to use this program to allow me to keep track of Zoidberg, so I know when to stay the hell out of the office. I’m sure that it has other uses, too. Who said it doesn’t? Anyway, I’ve submitted some DNA samples of you and the rest of the crew. Try it out and report the results back to me. Bye.” The Professor’s image faded, but the projector stayed extended.
“BioScan,” she said. “Our DNA samples?” A light turned on in her head and her eye went wide. “No, it can’t be this easy, can it?”
“Of course it can, you purple-haired dope!,” the Professor said, reappearing. “Now, quit screwing around and push the buttons, damn it. Holographic recording technology isn’t cheap and this projection is using up a ton of space on your hard drive. Incidentally, I had to overwrite half of the crummy movies that you had stored on this thing just to fit this on here. Honestly, Leela, The Happy Little Jackalopes? How old are you?”
“I admire their spirit and how they overcame the hunters, using only their powerful legs and razor sharp antlers. Say, uh, Professor, you, um, didn’t happen to delete that other stuff that I have on here, did you?” Blinking, she shook her head and sighed as she realized she was talking to an image that had been implanted on her wrist-a-majigger weeks ago. Opening the menu, she went down the list until she reached his name. Her finger shaking, she pushed the button to begin the search.
It was dark. And then it wasn’t. As his eyes focused, he saw Chesty McNag-nag standing in front of him, and, based off of what his voyeur and facial recognition software were telling him, she’d been crying. “Ugh, just the face I didn’t want to wake up to. What do you want?” Leela didn’t say anything. She just raised her wrist-a-majigger up so that he could see it. “What? What am I looking at?”
“Just read, Bender,” she said, grinning from ear to ear.
“Ugh. You know how I feel about reading, Leela. And I don’t have enough booze left to power myself through an argument with you. Why are you smiling? Did Zapp get killed while I was powered down? Aww, you should have woken me up for that,” he whined.
“Just read it, Bender,” she replied.
“Fine. If you’re going to be like that. Uh…BioScan… subject Fry, Philip J….distance 10 miles…status: unknown, presumed living … Leela, what the hell is this?”
“The Professor installed a computer program on my wrist-a-majigger that tracks living creatures. And if Fry is coming up on the scanner…”
“That means he’s still alive! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
“SHHHHHHHH!,” she hissed, putting her hand over his mouth. “Keep this under your head, will you? I don’t want to wake anyone else up. I want this to be just you and me. That headshrinker wants to wait until morning, so we don’t kill his precious Harriet or Jadzia, or whatever she’s calling herself now. Personally, she can rot here for all I care. All I want is Fry. So, what do ya say, Bender? Up for a little trip through the jungle to rescue Fry?”
“I’ll get my martini shaker.”
She’s very careful, I’ll give her that much, Malcolm thought as he watched Leela and Bender slink away into the jungle in the pre-dawn gloom. Just wish she’d listen a little better.
He had carefully packed up a few things into the bag he had used to catch last night’s dinner. He knew that Leela couldn’t wait, and when she and Bender headed down the coast instead of inland, it didn’t bother him. Harriet was camped inland, away from where Leela and Bender were heading.
Last night, after everyone else went to bed, he sought out Harriet using his mental powers. He found her almost immediately. Being an eight level adept, she was a flaming beacon in the darkness. It was like she wasn’t even trying to hide herself. That was a skill that many had mastered even before coming to the temple, and most certainly by the time they reached the first level. Her lack of control confused and disturbed him a little at the same time. It was almost as if she didn’t know she how to use her powers, or that she had them at all.
He waited a few minutes in the quiet, but heard no other sounds. Taking it for a good sign, he snuck out of camp and slide quietly into the jungle.
She lay under the bushes on the rise, watching the slavers move the village children onto their transport. The three hunters had taken up positions around the valley. They had already ambushed and killed half a dozen of the slavers. She nearly fainted when she saw them. Big monsters, with green, blue or red skin, and three tentacles on each side of their heads, just like in her nightmare. There were another dozen or so down there, each heavily armed and in position to do a lot of harm to the children that were being led out of some hole in the ground. Although she felt empathy for the hunters about the children, they weren’t her main concern. He was here, somewhere. She could feel it in her soul. She just had to wait.
“I don’t see him,” Bender whispered as he scanned the valley again with his eye.
“He’s here somewhere,” Leela replied. “Here,” she said showing him the terrain display on her wrist-a-majigger. “Anything look like this?”
“Yeah. The whole damn thing. Leela, we’re in the middle of the jungle. All of this crap looks the same.”
“Just keep looking, Bender,” she snapped. We better have beaten her here, she thought.
“Got him,” Bender said. “Coming up out of a hole, under heavy guard. Damn, he looks good. Not that Bender bends that way, that is.”
“I’m going to try and sneak down there. Keep an eye on things, and if it looks like I need some help, do something.”
“I make no promises.”
Malcolm had to distract one of the locals when he came too close in his stalking of the salvers. Shrugging his shoulders, he hoped that he hadn’t thrown off their ambush too much. He knew where all of them were: Harriet and her three hunters, the children, the slavers, Leela and Bender, and Fry. He knew that he should care about all of them, especially the children and his patient, but they were all secondary to her. Harriet was hiding in the bushes on the other side of the small valley, glowing brightly to his eyes. This situation could explode at any second. All it really needs is a push…, he thought, his eyes glowing blue.
Fry was squinting in the early morning light. After a couple of days in the blackness of that hole, even the morning half-light hurt his eyes. He felt terrible. He hadn’t been able to think up any plan, and now he and the children were going to be sold into slavery. Having been a slave twice already, it wasn’t anything he was looking forward to.
“Move along, human,” one of the guards, a green-skinned one, he thought, growled as he hit Fry in the back with his rifle butt.
“These don’t help,” Fry said, gesturing toward the ropes tied around his hands and feet.
“Get up, worm,” a blue-skinned one said, kicking Fry in the side. He hissed in pain, as it felt like the kick had broken a rib or two.
Suddenly, two large explosions hit the blue-skinned guard in the back, killing him. “Idiot,” Rav yelled as he walked over and he reloaded charges into his weapon, which Fry thought looked like a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun. The guard fell right next to him, and Fry got an up-close and personal look at what that thing could do.
“How many times,” Rav yelled, “have I told you idiots about damaging the merchandise? Now I’m going to have to take less for this one because Jamis broke something. You all know what those women wanted him for. It’s a good thing that those Mishakites are good healers. Now get him on the ship-.” A laser blast hit Rav in the chest, knocking him back and the valley burst into chaos.
“You all know what those women wanted him for. It’s a good thing that those Mishakites are good healers.”
That stopped Leela dead. What the hell is a Mishakite? What did they want with slaves? And why Fry? A laser blast to the chest of Red snapped her back to reality. Lasers began to fly into the valley from two other locations around the valley. Seeing her chance, Leela started running toward Fry.
“You all know what those women wanted him for. It’s a good thing that those Mishakites are good healers.”
Malcolm was confused. Mishakites were a heretical sect of the Myslaxan Order that had been wiped out by centuries ago. They had been trying to breed a higher quality of animal, but none of the breakthroughs they had made worked well with humans. So, they started using humans as breeding stock. The DOOP, in one of their early successes, and with Myslaxan permission, broke the Mishakites. Malcolm had thought that they bombed their temples to dust. Then he stopped, suddenly remembering where one of their temples had been: Hyperion.
“Oh no,” he whispered, cursing himself for not realizing it earlier. “Harriet, what have they done to you?” Mentally, he ordered the closest hunter to fire on the big red alien.
“You all know what those women wanted him for. It’s a good thing that those Mishakites are good healers.”
Mishakite. The word meant something to her. Fry had said that she used to be a priestess of some kind, but he forgot the name of her religion. He said the tattoos meant something, too, but she hadn’t explained it before she got amnesia and none of the local wise men, or even the village elders who had travelled off Tasia, had any idea what they meant. But that one word, Mishakite, had triggered something.
She hadn’t been feeling like herself in the weeks since she had passed the tests allowing her to reach the eight level. The Mother Superior of the convent on Ossus had suggested that she go on a retreat, to let Myslaxa talk to her more clearly. The Mother Superior suggested Hyperion. Particularly, she suggested the ruins on the southern continent. She had heard that they had once housed a Myslaxan Chapter House, but it had been destroyed by heretics. Interested, Sister Harriet packed a few things and took one of the small shuttles to Hyperion.
She refueled and took on extra supplies at an orbital station, since she didn’t detect any major areas of technology on the planet during her initial scans. What she did find, though, were areas on the southern continent that had been heavily damaged by orbital weaponry of some kind. After loading her new supplies, she found a folded piece of paper in her cockpit. Opening it, she found that it was a hand drawn map of the southern continent, dating back nearly 300 years. Written in a beautiful flowing script on the bottom of the page was a personalized note, addressed to her, but using the formal version of her name, Jadzia. No one ever called her that outside of official ceremonies. She hated it.
Come to Me, My Chosen One, and I shall show you the true path.
It was unsigned, but the implication was that Myslaxa Herself had delivered it. Not one to take an omen from the Goddess lightly, Harriet immediately set course for the portion of the southern continent indicated on the map.
Her fly-over of the proposed landing zone didn’t indicate anything hospitable. She was about to leave, thinking it was no more than a flight of fancy, when she saw a bright blue light coming out of a nearly hidden crevice. Her heart racing, she landed the shuttle nearby and ran to the opening. Praising Myslaxa, she plunged into the hole
The pathway was long and winding. There was burn damage everywhere. Whoever had destroyed the temple had done a thorough job of it. She could feel the tears running down her face as she thought of the people who had lived, work here, and then died so savagely. As she rounded a bend, she could make out a faint blue glow in a large room ahead. Her heart racing, she saw the glow grow brighter as she came closer. She was lucky that she was so small in stature because if she were any bigger, she would have gotten trapped in the every shrinking width of the passageway. She stretched as high as she could and exhaled every bit of air in her lungs so she could to slip past the outcroppings. Falling to the floor to catch her breath, she looked around and was speechless.
A thick grey fog covered the room to knee height. What she could see of the room was decorated in green marble, laced with veins of red and white. There were eight pillars in the middle surrounding a life-sized statue of Myslaxa. It was so realistic, Harriet thought She might come to life any second and speak to her. Harriet crawled forward and started to pray at Her feet. As she bowed her head down, Harriet repeatedly deeply inhaled the thick grey mist. Her head began to swim, and soon the whole room, the whole planet, and the whole outside universe ceased to exist or matter to her as she worshipped at her Goddesses feet. She was so intent on her prayers, she didn’t notice the six heavily robbed figures filing in from across the room from where she entered, or the way the statue smiled wickedly and her eyes followed the other six and then nodded at their leader as they took their places. The figures were covered from head to toe, except for a small oval that exposed their faces. When they were all in position, the statue’s eyes started to glow blue.
“Rise, my child,” She said in a commanding voice.
Harriet, still not noticing the others, sat back on her heels and stared up at the statue of the Goddess come to life. She bowed again in supplication. “What is your will, Mother?”
“Jadzia, you are My Chosen. You have done well to this point, but if you wish to prove yourself truly worthy of Me, you must restore this temple. The priests here were reviled for working against nature. They were called heretics for their practices and rites. The Orthodox Church called their work and worship unnatural. They were developing a new and greater strain of human life, and the Church condemned them because of it. THEY were the true followers of My Vision, though. Non-believers within the Order brought this place low. You must, as My Chosen, restore its proper place. WE WILL RISE AGAIN! The sect that raised this temple was once powerful, but now we are scattered, leaderless. When once there were thousands here, now there are but seven. You would be the eighth, and you know the power of that number. It is My symbol.”
“Yes, Mother,” she murmured. Something was wrong here, but part of her was slowly starting to not care about that anymore.
“You, My Chosen One, will lead us back to prominence. We shall once again lead the flock. Through you, we shall make the human race, all races, pure again and purge the mutant and half-breed scum, the mistakes of Nature. Will you accept this task, My Chosen?” Harriet didn’t see the other priests pull wicked-looking daggers out of the sleeves of their robes, just in case she said no.
Her head was muddled and seemingly starting to divide. Part of her mind was screaming that something was definitely wrong here and she had to get out NOW! This temple had been home to heretics and was rightfully destroyed. The other part, the one that was quickly starting to dominate thanks to the fog and the powers of the statue and the other six priests, saw the logic in it. They were just trying to make the human species, and any other species that they deemed to be lacking, better. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, after all. “I accept,” she heard herself saying.
“Excellent,” the statue replied. “From now on, you shall be called Sister Jadzia. That is your true name, and you shall answer to no other name.” Its eyes, and the eyes of the other six, began to glow brightly. It almost seemed as if they were joining their powers together to get past the last of Harriet’s defenses. She struggled, but the seven of them quickly overcame her and the part of her mind that was still Harriet was shunted into a mental closet, forced to watch as the thing that was Jadzia took over her body.
“You shall carry this with you at all times,” the statue continued, removing its Lemecite and hanging it around her neck. “It is a symbol of my trust in you. After the pact is sealed Jadzia, you shall be marked with our symbols. They will act as identification for our agents that are hidden within the Order that you are now one of us. To all others, they shall just be another mark of your eccentricity upon reaching the eighth level. You shall also discard those scandalous robes. We shall provide you with clothing more modest and appropriate for station.”
“Yes, Mother,” Jadzia said as Harriet screamed in impotent fury. Her eyes glowing bright blue, Jadzia said, “It shall be so.”
“One last thing remains, Sister Jadzia,” the statue said. The fog cleared in front of her, revealing a young mutant child, no more than a few months old, and a razor sharp knife. “You must make the sacrifice,” the statue said, “to seal the pact.”
“Yes, Mother,” Jadzia said, picking up the knife.
Harriet, she refused to think of herself as Jadzia anymore, threw up in the underbrush as everything that she had done came crashing down into her. All of the murders, the domination of others wills to serve her, all in the name of medical science and purity. And then there was Fry. Poor, stupid, wonderful Fry. Jadzia had dominated him into loving her. He didn’t really love her, he didn’t even really love that monster, either.
Her head still spinning with the realization of everything she had done, Harriet stood swaying. Blinking a few times, she knew what she had to do. Even if he didn’t really love her, she loved him. She had to save him.
As many as there were, the slavers were quickly being cut to ribbons. Malcolm did his best to confuse them while the hunters, moving quickly and quietly through the brush, surprised them by firing from a different location and killing a slaver with almost every shot. As soon as the shooting started, most of the children scattered. Less than a handful of the dozen were on the shuttle, and they were still under guard.
Growling, Rav sat up and fingered the smoking hole in his shirt. It was lucky for him that he didn’t trust any of his underlings or else he wouldn’t have bought the body armor he was wearing. Grabbing his communicator off his belt, he told the shuttle pilot to call the corvette and prepare for take-off. He was getting off this backwater rock, but first they were going to pay for this. Carefully, he walked forward and picked up Fry by the back of the neck. “You’re comin’ with me, human. I’ve got to make something off of all of this.”
Using her powers, she reached out and easily found him. Then she blinked and turned to her right. Crouched in the bush was another Pure Bred. Her senses magnified by her powers, she saw the look of surprise and relief on his face when she turned his way. Malcolm, she thought. Sweet, nobody Malcolm. His face practically lit up when their eyes met. She couldn’t help but smile at him. They had met a few times, but she knew him by name and reputation as a brilliant psychotherapist, just as he knew her as Myslaxa’s Chosen One. Of course he was overjoyed. She was a living symbol of the Goddesses’ power. She hated that. It always kept people at arm’s length. Everyone but Fry…
Sighing, she thought about having a lot to redeem herself for. Motioning toward where Fry was laying, she saw him nod. It was time to end this and start making things right.
Leela saw Red picking up Fry and started to sprint. As best she could, she judged the distance and thought she wasn’t going to make it. Not again, she thought and ran harder.
His ribs burned and he was pretty sure that hanging over Rav’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes wasn’t doing him any good. After one jarring bump, Fry looked up and had to blink, not sure if the pain was causing his eyes to play tricks on him. Streaking across the jungle, leaping shrubs, logs, and slavers alike was something out of a dream that he had almost given up on. It was HER.
“Leela,” he said, almost reverently. “Leela,” he screamed as Rav dumped him onto the cargo bay of the shuttle. “Get back.” Then everything went black as Rav slammed the butt end of his weapon into Fry’s face.
“Leela,” he screamed. “Get back!”
Looking to her right, Harriet saw her. Captain Turanga Leela, the cyclops leader of the Planet Express crew and, from the emotion that was plain in his voice, even this far away, the one thing that had kept Fry from her for these last eight months. No matter what she remembered them saying aboard the ship on that long ago trip to Rori, he obviously still loved her. And from the look on her face, she loved him. If they were ever reunited, Harriet wouldn’t stand a chance. As long as Leela lived, Fry would never be hers.
An evil thought, some remnant of Jadzia perhaps, crossed her mind. We have the power to remedy that situation. Kill Leela, and Fry would be all ours. Forever. No one will ever know… No. No, she couldn’t do that to him. She loved him too much to hurt him like that. Even if he never found out what happened, she’d know. She’d never be able to look him in the eye again. Her heart breaking, she reached out with her mind and threw Leela into the air toward the pirate’s shuttle.
She was running as fast as she could, but it still wasn’t going to be enough. Bordering on tears from grief and frustration, Leela felt the jungle drop away from her. She was flying through the air, heading straight for the shuttle, the cargo bay doors closing in front of her. Closing her eye, Leela stretched out and felt the door scrape the bottom of her boots as she arced down to the deck. Whatever, or whoever, had propelled her had thrown her couldn’t help her anymore. She was going to have to rescue Fry on her own.
Something felt wrong, and acting on instinct, Leela rolled to her left just as a laser blast tore into the deck where she had landed. Looking up, she saw Red standing there, pointing the business end of his rifle at her.
“Stand still,” he snarled and fired the other barrel. Rolling to her right, Leela felt a burn as the blast graze her leg. Leela winced as she rolled behind some cover. He started to reload and walk around the bay looking for her. “You know that this isn’t going to end well for you. You’re irritating me, and I’m already very angry. It’s not a healthy thing to irritate me if you want to live a long life. I was going to just sell you into slavery with your friend here. The Mishakites would have loved to get their hands on a freak like you. But, since you’ve really gone out of your way to bug me with this little rescue mission, I’m going to have to kill you and your friend.
“Or,” he said as he walked toward the door leading out of the cargo bay, “maybe I’ll just leave you both be and open the hatch. We’ve already taken off, so you’re both going to fall a long way before you slam into either the ground or the ocean. Yeah,” he said as he walked through the door into the ship. “That’s a much better idea.”
Leela scrambled across the floor where Fry was laying. “Fry,” she said, shaking him. When she got no response, she yelled as she slapped him, “Fry, wake up. We’ve got to get out of here and fast.” When neither of those tactics worked, Leela wiped his long hair out of his face and said quietly, “Philip, I’m sorry I’ve gotten you killed. Again. I love you.” Leaning down, she kissed him softly on the lips.
Any response he would have made was drowned out by the roar of air as the bay doors opened and they were sucked out of the ship.
“Sister Jadzia,” he shouted as he ran over to her. She spun his way as he approached, a look of disgust on her face.
“Don’t ever call me that,” she snarled. “My name is Harriet. The next person who calls me that is going to get it.”
“Whatever you like, Harriet,” he said, smiling.
“What are you smiling at, Malcolm Fillian?”
“So, you remember me then?”
“Of course I do. You’re Doctor Malcolm Fillian, Seventh Circle Mentalist, and third youngest to ever reach the Second Circle. You’ve had a crush on me since I was 11 years old.”
He just stared at her, his mouth refusing to work until his face started to turn various shades of red and he looked away. “I didn’t think it was that obvious,” he said quietly.
“Mal, I’ve known for years,” she said, smiling. “For a Mentalist of the Seventh Circle, you don’t do a very good job of controlling your feelings.”
“What about you?,” he asked. “I’ve been tracking you all morning. Until about 10 minutes ago, you were blazing like a thousand suns.”
“I haven’t been myself lately.”
“That’s an understatement,” he muttered.
Making a face at him, she continued, “But what that alien said cleared my head. It was like a thick fog was lifted. It was covering who I really am,” she said. And then added softly, “And the horrible things I’ve done.”
“What happened to you, Harriet?,” he asked, putting his hand on the side of her face.
She just looked at him. She knew that look on his face. It was the same way that Fry had looked at Leela when she had first met them, and then, she remembered, how Fry had looked at Jadzia while he was under her control. And, she knew, it was the same way she looked at Fry. Malcolm’s emotions were filling him, and she couldn’t help but sense them. Heartbreak and concern for her, for all of the things she had done. And, love, for her. Malcolm was truly and completely in love with her. She knew it, had known for years, but to have it shown so directly to her, she was taken aback by it.
Without warning, he reached forward and kissed her. She was surprised at how natural it felt. As good as Fry, she thought. Would it be settling to have a man love you like this, even if he wasn’t who you thought he would be, she thought as she gave herself to him.
They were falling. From the looks of it, they would hit the ocean. At least it’ll be quick, she thought. She’d been clinging to Fry ever since they flew out of the back of the shuttle. We’ll be together until the end, she thought as she watched the water rising up to meet them. Just like you always wanted. She wrapped her arms around him tighter and waited for the end.
Suddenly, they stopped falling. It wasn’t the hard, jarring, sudden stop of impact, but a sort of gentle catch. Looking around, she found that they were bathed in a soft green light. Then she saw it: a DOOP Logan fighter-bomber, with its tractor beam holding them safely, half a mile over the ocean. It’s wingman was hovering nearby, while two Alpha-class fighters were beginning to engage the shuttle.
Leela just smiled and held Fry as the Logans quickly brought them back down to the island.
Everything was black. Opening his eyes a slit, everything was grey and fuzzy. He slowly opened his eyes, but shut them immediately. Everything was bright and white. His head was throbbing, and if he kept them open in that bright white glare, he’d probably throw up. He was laying on something soft, but warm and kind of grainy. Sand, he thought. I’m lying on a beach somewhere. Then he started hearing voices.
“Captain Kroker, sir,” a kind of familiar voice hissed from somewhere. “The Relentless is bearing down on the pirate corvette. We should have them momentarily.”
“Excellent, Lt. Commander. And thank you for arriving so quickly. I’ll be adding a commendation to the files of the fighter crews, as well. Without them, Captain Leela and Mr. Fry would have certainly died.”
Leela? Fry? Why did those names sound so familiar? Wait… wasn’t he Fry? That would mean…
“Leela?,” he croaked. “Jadzia?”
“I’m here, Fry,” he heard a voice say that he hadn’t heard in a long time.
“So am I, Philip,” another, more recently familiar voice said. “But, please call me Harriet. I don’t want to be reminded of that… other person.”
“Huh? What…what happened?”
“How far back?,” Leela asked.
“Uh, I don’t know. The last two or three days, maybe.”
“You were kidnapped,” Harriet said. “The Feeorin Pirates attacked the island, looking for slaves. You and a bunch of the village children were taken.”
“And I,” Leela said, but then paused. “We,” she continued, “saved you, with a little help from the DOOP. The DOOP heavy cruiser Relentless took out the corvette and rescued the rest of the children and some of the other slaves.”
“Somebody help me up,” Fry said, trying to sit up.
“Oh, no you don’t,” Harriet said. “You’re not going anywhere. You’ve got a severe concussion and possibly a fractured skull. You’re going to be on bed rest for the next few days, mister.”
“Awww…come on, Jad-, uh, Harriet. I’m fine. I’ve had worse shots to the dome before.”
“And you were let out of bed too early then. Philip, I’m not going to let you kill yourself just to show Leela how tough you are.”
“I don’t need…wait. What did you say?”
“Fry,” she said sadly, “we need to talk.”
A few hours later, Leela was tucked into the engine access way, still trying to get the repulsors back on-line. The ship could limp along fine with engines 1 and 2, but unless she could repair the repulsors, they weren’t going to be going anywhere. Oh sure, she could ask Relentless for help, but she declined when she found out who was now stationed aboard her: Morgan Grolsh, now male and demoted to Lt. Commander.
When she questioned how a female Captain could now be a male Lt. Commander, Kif told her the secret: she, or more accurately it, was part of a species called Kath. Generally, the species was asexual, taking on whatever outward characteristics that they individual desired to express at the time. Apparently, Morgan Grolsh had taken male characteristics to get into the DOOP, and then started expressing female characteristics, just to stick it to Brannigan and his stupid Law, and show that not all females were the stupid playthings that he envisioned. Still a stupid limey bitch that got what she deserved, she thought as she slammed closed the last cover.
She pulled herself out of the access way and turned around to find him standing there. Her breath caught as she just looked at him. She really had never expected to see him again. He was dead. For eight long months, he had been dead and she had killed him. But now…
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” she replied.
They just stood there, staring at each other awkwardly for a few seconds before he blurted out, “She dumped me.”
“I know,” Leela replied turning to put her tools away. “She and I had a long talk while you were unconscious. I misjudged her. Or, I guess I judged Jadzia right and Harriet wrong. Either way, while I don’t think we’re going to go out for drinks, I don’t want to kill her anymore.”
“So, you decided things for me,” he snapped. “That’s just like you, Leela.”
“She had already made up her mind, Fry. She said she knew that there couldn’t be anything between the two of you as long as I was in the picture.”
“Why the hell would you matter? You told me you didn’t care anymore.”
Still standing with her back to him, she said simply, “I love you.”
“Leela, did you just say what it sounded like you just said?”
Turning, she said, “I love you, Philip J. Fry. I didn’t realize it until you were in that escape pod and I was trying to save you. And then when the pod exploded…I thought you were dead, Fry. I thought I had killed you. For eight months I tortured myself. I had killed my best friend and the only man I would ever love.”
He didn’t know what to say. She had broken his heart so many times, all he could think was that this was some sort of trick. He just stared at her, trying to read the look on her face. He’d never been able to do it before, which had been part of his problem, now that he thought about it. Still, he tried. She said she loved him, and she sounded sincere, but…
“Is this your idea of a joke, Leela? You’ve broken my heart so many times before…”
“I know,” she said softly. “And I am so ashamed and sorry for that. Thinking back on it, you don’t know how much it hurts me to have done that to you. It really hit me when we went to that other universe and we, uh, they, whatever, were happily married. You don’t know how sorry I am for hurting you all these years, Fry. Look, it’s not like this is easy for me. You’ve loved me for years, and I guess I’ve loved you for years, too, but I just couldn’t admit it. I’m just so damn stubborn sometimes. You know that. I like my life to be nice, neat and easily categorized. I don’t like it when things get shifted out of my routine. And you…
“You’re life has no structure. Nothing is planned. Your entire life is so random. It’s taken me a long time to wrap my head around it, Fry. I didn’t think that I could live that way,” she paused, starting to cry. “But, if there’s one thing the last eight months have taught me, it’s that I can’t live without it. I need you, Fry. I can’t live without you anymore. I don’t want to.”
He walked over to her and wiped a tear from her face. “It’ll take time,” he said. “You’ve hurt me so many times.”
“I can be patient,” she said, wiping her nose. “But, you know how insistent I can be when I want my way.”