“Come on, Amy,” Bender yelled as he dragged himself along the hallway outside her cabin. “You think a locked door is going to stop me? I’m a bending robot. I bend things like girders and doors and people all the time. A lock will just make me angrier. Come on out and I’ll make it quick.”
Amy sat huddled in the back of her room, Leela’s lightsaber in hand. She hadn’t come up with anything to use against Bender, and in her weakened state, she didn’t think she could fight the robot very long before he killed her. She had been unable to move her bed in front of the door. All she could manage was the nightstand, and she didn’t think that that would offer much protection from a rampaging robot. Her only consolation came from the fact that Bender appeared to be partially incapacitated by the radiation in the air and his contradictory programming.
She jumped when she heard him punch the door. Activating the lightsaber, she rose up to her feet unsteadily. Grasping the weapon with both hands, she tried to get into a stance she hoped would be helpful. The blue-white blade waved through the air in front of her as she tried to remain standing. The punches continued until Bender had torn through the door and was starting to bend it open.
“And now…here is…Conan O’Briiiiiiiiiiiiiian,” he shouted as he stuck his head in. Amy closed the gap to the door as quickly as she could and slammed the blade down onto his head. “Careful, Ms. Wong,” Bender said as he switched personalities. “My internal circuitry has already suffered extensive damage. Additional blows to my head could cause catastrophic damage or even total failure of my systems.”
Amy looked down at Bender for less than a second before she began slamming the blade down onto his head repeatedly. After nearly a dozen strikes, his head popped free and rolled into the cabin. His body, already damaged, flailed a few time before going still.
“Oh, my,” Bender said as his head finally rolled to a stop. “That was unpleasant.” Switching personalities again, Bender yelled, “Now, you’ve done it, organ sack. If I ever get hands again and get them on you, I’ll bend you until you can’t see…” His voice modulated out as Amy picked him up and tripped the emergency breaker inside his neck.
Tossing the head into the corner, Amy deactivated Leels’a lightsaber and fell onto her bed, exhausted. She was asleep before her head hit the mattress.
Several hours later, she awoke feeling better, but still fairly weak. Looking over in the corner, she saw Bender’s head still sitting there. Not really sure where she expected it to go, she emptied her hamper onto the floor and turned it upside-down over the head anyway. Walking over toward the door, she turned her attention to moving his body. Bender had punched a hole in the center of the door and partially tore it open, so she’d never be able to actually open it again. So, if she wanted out, she needed to move his body. Bracing herself as best as she could, Amy put a foot on Bender’s shoulders and pushed.
Nothing happened. Putting both feet on his shoulders, she pushed again. Still nothing happened. Cursing in Mandarin, she went to her closet to try and find any tools that she could use to start disassembling the body.
When she got to her closet, Amy paused. Before he attacked her, Bender had said that Fry was right. In a split second, it all caught up to her. Everything that they had believed was real for the last two days was a lie. She really was not the fantastic engineer that she believed herself to be. Those clothes and shoes were who she was. The books and coveralls were clean because they had never been used. The tears came on their own as she fell to her knees. She curled into the fetal position as the sobs started to wrack her body.
“So, this isn’t going to hurt, is it,” Leela asked as Fry stood naked in the chamber.
“I assure you miss, this will not hurt,” Nurse said as it switched on the energy field. Fry started to float into the air as the orange energy field started to descend from the ceiling. His skin tingled and hair stuck out a little as the beam passed over and through him. The beam made four passes through him before the machine deactivated and he settled gently down on the floor again.
“So, what’s the verdict,” Fry asked as he walked into the booth putting his jacket back on.
“Extraordinary,” Nurse said as it continued to push buttons. “Did you know that you have no delta brain wave?”
“No Delta Force? What does that mean?”
“No, you have no delta brain wave. It’s one of the critical wave lengths that allow a brain to function properly. Without one, well, my circuits can barely comprehend such a thing. You’re a medical miracle.”
“Meh, it happens sometimes.”
“No, sir, you don’t understand. It doesn’t happen, ever. I can’t even begin to comprehend on how something like this could happen. Have you ever experienced anything strange or unusual in your life?”
“Well, let’s see, I was frozen for one thousand years, umm, I’ve fallen into the mildly radioactive waters of the sewers of New New York, I handle highly potent dark matter on a daily basis, oh, and my roommate shot me in the groin with an F-Ray.”
“I understand the words, sir, but I do not understand the context or even this New New York you speak of. At any rate, these events probably would not explain a genetic change of this magnitude. Did anything odd happen to your parents or grandparents?”
“Well, other than being paranoid and delusional, there was nothing different about my dad. Mom was a degenerate gambler and a drunk, so nothing odd about that, either. Oh, my grandfather died in a nuclear test and I ended up knocking up my grandmother, technically making me my own grandfather.”
“You did what,” Leela asked. “When did this happen?”
“Oh, I don’t know, two or three years ago. We were going to watch a supernova blow up, and I decided to make some popcorn. The stove was taking too long, so I stuck it in the microwave, and then BOOM, wormhole. We flew through, went back to Earth in 1947, interacted with the locals, Bender’s head got buried, I killed my grandfather trying to keep him safe, and then got lucky with my grandmother.”
“What were you thinking?”
“Take it easy, Leela. After my grandfather died, I thought I was going to cease to exist. But, then I figured that since I still existed, she couldn’t really be my grandmother since my grandfather was dead. So, I walked her home from the diner and she showed me her sugar cookies, one thing led to another and we were doing the horizontal mambo. It wasn’t until the next morning when you, the Professor and Bender’s head found me that it became clear.”
“Did the nasty in the pasty? Yep. I’m my own grandfather. Neat, huh?”
“Gross more like it,” Leela said.
“And scientifically nearly impossible. Extraordinary, too.”
“Enough of Fry’s disgusting family history,” Leela said. “Was there anything else wrong with him?”
“Some dead brain cells, bad heart, and an elevated worm mucus count, but nothing fatal. All of it was taken care of during the third and fourth passes. But you, on the other hand, had better get up there right away. Based upon the data sent to me from the retrieval robot, I’m surprised you’re still standing, much less walking around. You’ve got toxic levels of bronzillium poisoning.”
Taking off her clothes, Leela asked, “How did that happen?”
“Most likely through particulate contamination from the planet’s surface. Bronzillium is a highly toxic airborne poison known to affect the central nervous system and the brain. However, due to the variety of symptoms, it is very difficult to diagnose without blood work.”
“Well, how would I even know if I had it?”
“As I stated, there are many symptoms, and not all carriers express all symptoms. In certain individuals, it is expressed as being flu-like, with vomiting, fever, body aches, and etcetera. Others, show with changes in personality and mannerisms. And, data also indicates that in one case, no one knew that the carrier had been exposed until he dropped dead.”
“If I’ve got such a toxic level, why didn’t Fry have even a trace of it?”
“Unknown. Additional research will be required. My hypothesis is that his lack of a delta brainwave somehow protected him. After your scan and decontamination, I will be in a better position to theorize.”
“Don’t worry Leela,” Fry said as Nurse retreated behind the scanner. “It tickles some, but you get used to it.”
They stood in awkward silence for a few seconds before Leela asked, “So, are there any other secrets that you’ve forgotten to tell me about?”
“What do you mean?”
“Fry, you forgot to tell me that I’m a mutant and that you’re your own grandfather. Those are kind of important things, don’t you think?”
“Not really. They don’t change who we are, do they? You’re still you and I’m still me. I still love you and…”
“I still love you,” she sighed. She pulled him close and kissed him. “I guess all of those other things don’t really matter much, do they? I’ll see you in a little bit.”
Fry watched her walk up the steps to the platform, and added another thing to the list of things that he loved about her. He just stared at her, standing there completely naked, for a while. Nurse, over the speaker, told him to get behind the scanner or else. When he didn’t move, she sent out a mild electric shock that caused him to jump. Glaring at the robot, Fry made it behind the scanner just as Nurse turned the power on.
“Did you have to do that,” he asked, rubbing the sting in his back side.
“Yes, Mr. Fry. The danger to Ms. Leela is quite severe, I assure you. I needed to get her onto the machine as soon as possible. But, you decided to go first, and I had to wait to scan her. Has she been acting oddly, lately?”
“Yeah. She’s been coming on to me and she’s pretty much forgotten everything from before we got here. Usually, she’s just barely nice to me. Could this bronze medal poison thingy do that?”
“Bronzillium poisoning, and yes. As I said, it affects the brain and central nervous system. Theoretically, it causes alterations to humans and near-human aliens behavior as well as minor amnesia. Correction. Let me restate. The memories are theoretically supplanted with other, more desire-centric memories.”
“Like a bimbo heiress thinking she’s actually a competent engineer or a repressed lonely mutant looking for love, and her type of man being the guy she works with but won’t date, then all of a sudden she’s all ready to go?”
“Yes, hypothetically. Of course, I have never seen bronzillium poisoning in humans before. In fact, you are the first humans that I have seen in over six hundred years.”
“What? Nurse, what happened on the surface?”
“What happened on the surface, in general, since 2044?”
“Accessing database.... Access denied. I do not have proper clearance for that information. The Central Computer has stated that this line of questioning will be terminated for the time being. I have been instructed to continue with my pre-preprogrammed duties.”
A frustrated Amy yelled a curse in Mandarin as the hydro-spanner slipped off of Bender’s shoulder joint and into the hallway.
She had cried herself out an hour before, deciding that whether she was an engineer or some clothes horse bimbo, she had to get out of this little room. She had a limited selection of tools here in her room, but she tried to make the best out of what she had. The hydro-spanner was the only thing that she had that could be adjusted small enough to fit Bender’s fittings, though. After several attempts, she was able to get it attached to his shoulder joint, but it wouldn’t turn. After cursing at it, she kicked it, turning it slightly. Readjusting it, she used her feet to push it several times until it turned almost one revolution. The last time she adjusted it, she kicked it into the hall.
Letting out a frustrated breath, Amy took stock of her tools again. Nothing would adjust to the correct size for Bender’s fittings. She was stuck. Falling back onto her bed, she screamed in frustration. When she flopped back, she felt her head hit something hard and metallic. Rubbing her scalp, she picked up Leela’s lightsaber. It was mostly a physical weapon, but it would leave burns if it was touching something long enough. Then it occurred to her: it was a physical weapon. With enough reach and leverage, she could pry Bender’s body out of the way and get out. Cursing herself for not thinking of it earlier, Amy went to work trying to move the body.
Half an hour later, Amy was in the ship’s makeshift infirmary bandaging the burns on her hands. She was feeling fairly light headed and in shock due to the burns and the poisoned brownies. She knew from what the blood work had said that she had a severe case of bronzillium poisoning, but she had no idea what Bender had put into the brownies. She thought she had learned once that bronzillium poisoning wasn’t usually fatal, but then again, the last known case was six hundred years ago, and she knew that it had messed with her memory already.
Staggering to the bridge, she decided that she had to risk climbing down the ladder into the kitchen. Her identity crisis was much less important to her at the moment than finding out if she was going to die. Once she got there, she wasn’t so sure it was a good idea, though. It was only about eight feet from the deck of the bridge to the floor of the kitchen, but it was eight feet up, too. As hard as the climb down looked, the climb might prove to be even more difficult. When her stomach gurgled threateningly, she decided to risk it.
Lying down on the floor, she inched her way backward to the hole and dropped her legs down. As soon as she settled her weight on them, they started to buckle. Her right leg slipped off the rung and she started to slide down. Her left leg bent painfully as her butt cleared the hole and the rest of her body started to fall. She leaned back as far as she could and barely stopped herself from falling down to the deck below by bracing herself with her aching left leg and her now scraped and sore back and by throwing her arms as wide open as she could. Her bandaged hands throbbed as she slowly put her right leg back onto the ladder. Sliding her hands forward, she managed to gently grab the ladder and hold on as she straightened herself out. When she got the deck, she collapsed onto a pile of bricks, her legs feeling like jelly and her heart hammering wildly.
After several minutes, she was finally able to pull herself to her feet and make her way to the counter. Scattered across it were the brownie ingredients, but nothing that looked like a poison. After moving several containers, however, she found the box of L-Con wombat poison. Opening it, she saw that it was an odorless white powder that looked suspiciously like sugar. Sighing, she turned the box around to find the accidental ingestion information. She grew more and more alarmed as she read it. Doing some quick math, she realized that without treatment, she had less than twenty-four hours to live, and her end wasn’t going to be pleasant. Luckily, the poisoning could be overcome by two doses of penicillin.
Somehow, she managed to pull herself up the ladder, only slipping once as she did. She staggered back down to the infirmary to get the penicillin that she knew had to be kept there. Opening the medkit, she was very disappointed to find a small pile of notes, each in her handwriting, and dating back almost a year. Pulling them out, she found a total of six IOU’s, each saying she would replace the penicillin that she had to use to deal with “a stubborn rash” that she had picked up on six different planets. Crushed, with her real past coming back to haunt her, Amy sank to the floor to weight her limited options.
“Mr. Fry, we have a problem.”
“What is it, Nurse,” he asked, coming over to stand by the medical robot. He had just been staring at Leela the whole time. He’d seen her naked before, but that felt different than this. Before he snuck quick looks at her, trying to check her out without her noticing, and since they were all in the shower together, without making it too obvious that he was trying to check her out. But Nurse had put Leela under so she could be treated for the bronzillium poisoning, and that meant that Fry could ogle her all he wanted, and he did. Using one of the other scanners, one that didn’t actually do anything but give the operator different views of the patient, he was able to rotate her image and look at her from all angles. After staring at her for a long time, Fry came to the conclusion that she was absolutely perfect.
“Ms. Leela’s vital signs are experiencing wild fluxuations. There is the distinct possibility of her death.”
“Do something,” he said anxiously, pressing against the glass by the scanner, wishing he could go out and pull her out of the machine.
“I am decreasing the speed and intensity of her treatment. As a precaution, however, I am extracting a sample of her DNA to begin the cloning process. We can manipulate the clone’s DNA. We will be able to treat and cure the clone of the poisoning and the genetic mutations much easier than correcting Ms. Leela’s.”
“But, what will happen to Leela?”
“Unknown. However, I shall continue to treat her. The clone is only temporary safety measure, in case the treatment is fatal. After the treatment is complete, we shall merge the clone’s memories back into Ms. Leela’s.”
“Then do it already.”
“Patience, Mr. Fry. Events are proceeding.”
Panic was starting to set in as he watched the green light slowly start to shine on her. Things were moving too quickly and too slowly for his liking at the same time. “I don’t want to lose her, Nurse.”
“I understand your concern, Mr. Fry, but it is unneeded. I have been programmed to conduct these activities with the greatest of skill. Ms. Leela is in excellent hands.”
A second bank of scanners came up as the green light started to trace Leela all over. Fry looked over Nurse’s shoulder and watched the scanner as a new Leela began to take shape. After what seemed like an eternity, the body was finished, and Fry got a look at the clone. It was Leela alright, but with one difference: she had two eyes. A single beam of white light bore down from the ceiling into the real Leela, and soon, a matching beam was shining down on the clone.
“Nurse, what’s that?”
“That’s the brain scan, Mr. Fry. The clone will know everything that the original Leela knows.”
“Which original Leela, Nurse? This one or the real original Leela?”
“Will she know what the poisoned Leela did or what Leela knew before we came here? How she felt?”
“Unknown. The affects of bronzillium poisoning vary too greatly to provide an accurate response.”
“That’s very helpful, Nurse,” Fry said sarcastically as he tried to keep his eyes on both Leelas.
The ship flew easily through the empty atmosphere as Amy set course for the entrance of the wormhole. It had taken her less than an hour to determine that this was her only chance for survival. To save power, she put on one of the emergency space suits and turned off everything but the engines. Before she left, she quickly recorded a message and left a probe on the surface to play for Fry and Leela when, and if, they ever returned to the landing site. With any luck, she’d be able to get to the wormhole and get help before she died. At worst, she’d make sure she got a message to someone to come back for Fry and Leela.
Everything was black. She knew that she had been sick, remembering something about bronzillium poisoning and getting treatment and Fry. What about Fry? She opened her eyes, and then blinked in confusion and the blinding light. Eyes? Shouldn’t there only be one…
She sat up suddenly and slitting her eyes until they were used to the light, she found herself in a hospital room. Everything was bright white and gray, except for the red and orange flash of color to her left. Sleeping in the chair was Fry, the sweet and wonderful man who had gotten her into this mess in the first place. “Fry,” she said, but it came out as more like a croak.
“I’m awake, Yancy. Don’t get the water bucket,” he blurted out suddenly as he sat up in the chair. Blinking for a second in confusion, he looked over at her and visibly relaxed. “Leela! You don’t know how glad I am to see you awake.”
“Fry, where are we? What’s going on? Why do I have two eyes?”
“What’s the last thing you remember,” he asked. He looked excited and nervous to her.
“We were stuck on a planet, Terra I think that robot said. I watched you in the scanner thing, and then I went in. Fry, why do I have two eyes?”
“Nurse removed your mutations. It was part of the decontamination process. Don’t you remember?”
“I remember someone saying it was possible, but I don’t remember agreeing to it.”
“Come on, Leela, you’ve always talked about being normal. Nurse offered, so, I kind of accepted for you.”
Leela just watched him for a while. “Is this what you wanted, Fry? Is that why you had Nurse correct my mutations and make me really human?”
“No. I did it because you wanted it, Leela. I did it because you always said you wanted to be normal. A few years ago, you got involved with a plastic surgeon that you lived with when you were kids. He offered to give you another eye, and you accepted. I was the only one who argued against it, but you were so happy.”
“If I was so happy, why didn’t I keep the other eye and the plastic surgeon?”
“The guy was a jerk, like I told you by the way, and you made him change you back.”
“So, what made you think I wanted two eyes now?”
“Other than the guy being a jerk, you were so happy about having two eyes and being normal. So, when Nurse offered, I said yes. Tell me you’re happy. Tell me you’re not mad at me.”
Sighing, she said, “I am a little mad at you. This is something you really should have asked me about first, Fry.”
“I didn’t have a chance,” he said, looking dejected. “Nurse couldn’t ask you while you were in the scanner, so I just did what I thought you wanted. If it’s not, I’m sorry. I’m sure with all the fancy science stuff they’ve got down here she can change you back.”
Leela watched him for a few minutes. They were both quiet, Fry because his gesture had failed to get the results he obviously expected, and Leela because she didn’t really know if she was that mad at him or not. He said he did it for her, because it was what he thought she wanted, not what he wanted. Getting out of bed, she lurched to the bathroom to get a look at herself in the mirror. The stereo vision took a little getting used to. Everything had a new depth that she never had noticed before. When she got to the bathroom, she just stared at herself, or at least the woman who was looking back at her from the mirror.
She didn’t remember most of her past before coming to Terra. There were a few things she knew to be true, and a lot more that she just felt were true. She knew thanks to what Fry had said on the surface that she was a mutant, and that she had never had an easy life. She didn’t know for certain, but had a strong sense that her crew was the only real friends that she had. Fry had revealed a few small details about her life when they sat around the campfire…whenever that was. He hadn’t mentioned how long she’d been out or what happened during the scan and decontamination. All she knew was that she went into the machine with one eye and came out with two. It was the thought that counted, right? He said he loved her as a one-eyed mutant and she had believed him. Who was to say that he really hadn’t done this for her? Blinking and seeing how nice her new eyes looked on her face, she sighed and smiled a little.
Still weak, she swayed some as she walked out of the bathroom. “Fry, I love my,” she began, but he was gone. She took two steps toward the door and fell to her knees. “Must have been out longer than I thought,” she said as she crawled over to the bed and pulled herself up. Looking around, she said, “Now, where did he run off to?” Looking around, she found a wheelchair just outside her door. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she staggered across the room, grabbing what furniture she could for support and flopped down into the chair just as her legs felt like they were going to give out. Picking a direction, she wheeled off down the hall, looking for Fry.
Her vision was starting to go. She couldn’t see out the front viewport of the ship anymore, instead flying only using the instrument panel in front of her. She’d been blacking out every few minutes for the last hour, sometimes for just a second, others for up to two minutes. For the last few light years, her eyes had barely left the instrument panel, looking away twice just to double check the fuel status. The ‘Low Fuel’ light had just come on, meaning that there was less than five percent of the tank’s capacity left. It’ll be enough, she thought weakly as the ship neared the wormhole location. The periods of blackness started to increase in both frequency and length as she closed in on the wormhole. Thinking that she didn’t have much time left, Amy activated the ship’s emergency distress beacon and set the auto pilot. She thought she saw the blue-white swirl of the wormhole’s aperture just as the blackness closed in on her again.
As she rolled through the complex, Leela didn’t see any other people. She did pass a large number of empty rooms and an almost equal number of deactivated Nurse robots as she rolled through the halls, though. She stared at it all through new eyes, marveling at the depth that everything seemed to have.
As she turned down another hallway, she saw her first sign of activity. A cleaning robot was rolling down the hallway, clearing the dust off the floor. Leela watched as the robot went up one side and then back down the other, evading the chairs and other obstructions effortlessly. It occurred to her that even if the robot hadn’t been programmed to avoid them, after cleaning this complex where nothing had changed in at least six hundred years, the robot probably knew every square centimeter of these halls. Turning away, Leela wheeled away to keep looking for Fry.
After a little while though, all of the empty halls started to look the same. In confusion, she rolled back the way she thought she came, only to find herself stopped by a large closed door. Never one to be stopped in achieving her goals by a simple thing like a door, Leela rolled over to the wall console and pushed the ‘Open’ button. When nothing happened, she hit it again. When it still refused to open, she got irritated. She opened the diagnostic menu on the control pad and started pushing buttons. After navigating her way through several menus, she found what she was looking for. The door had power and it should be open, but for some reason, it stayed closed and nothing she could do would force it to open.
“Well this gleams the cube,” she said. “There’s got to be another way into this room.” Turning around, she wheeled back down the hallway and around the corner.
As soon as she was out of sight of the door, a smaller rectangle of a door opened out of the larger door. Stepping out was a small old man in a battered straw hat, a light brown suit and a dark brown over coat. The man watched the hall silently for a few minutes until he was sure that she wasn’t coming back.
“Humans,” he said sadly. “They’re always around when and where you don’t want them and causing no end of trouble. Oh, well. I’ll just have to get rid of them. I always used to like the species,” the man said as he walked back through the door.
Fry walked through the complex, trying not to think about Leela. He’d really hoped that she would like her new eyes. She had seemed so happy about having two and looking normal when Adlai gave her the surgery a few years back. Fry hadn’t really wanted to do it, but it was done now and there was nothing he could do about it. The plus side, in his opinion, was that she didn’t remember anything from before they had arrived here on Terra, or Earth, or wherever they were.
“Fry,” he heard her yelling. “Fry, wait.”
He really wanted to keep walking. She was going to yell at him, and he really didn’t want to hear it. But, no matter how hard he tried, and no matter how hard she had tried to make it for him in the past, he’d never walk away from her. His shoulders fell as he turned to face her. “Listen, Leela,”” he began, but she cut him off.
“Come here,” she said as she rolled to a stop in front of him. She reached up and grabbed the front of his shirt. Pulling him down, she kissed him. After several long minutes, she finally broke it and took a deep breath. “I love my eyes, Fry. Thank you.”
“Any time,” he said in a daze.
“Fry, don’t you think that there’s something odd going on here?”
“What do you mean,” he said, still not all there.
“I mean, we’re the only people here, but there are locked doors.”
“So, if the people are all gone, why did they lock up behind them?”
“I dun know. Maybe they didn’t want people coming by and stealing their stuff?”
“Who, Fry? If all of the people were gone, why did they lock the doors?”
“Does it matter, Leela?”
“It does to me. If we’ve got nothing to do until I fully recover, I want to explore this place.”
“Nurse said you shouldn’t exert yourself too much. You’re just recovering from a major genetic procedure.”
“Fry, I’m sitting in a chair. You can push me around for a change. We’ll only go as far as you want,” she said with a smile. “For now.”
Fry, his eyes wide, quickly got behind her and started to push her off down the hall.
“What did they use this area for?”
“No clue,” Leela said as they entered a darkened hallway. She started to sway a little in the chair and gripped the armrests hard.
“You Ok,” Fry asked, coming around and kneeling down in front of her. “You don’t look good.”
“I’m fine,” she said as Fry twinned and then snapped back into place. “I’m must still be getting used to having stereo vision.”
“Yeah,” he replied, patting her on the hand. “Must be something like that. Other than that, how are you feeling?”
“Okay,” she said. “I’m a little dizzy and I’ve got a headache, but I’m fine.”
“Maybe we should head back,” he said, trying to remember the way.
“I said I’m fine, Fry. Let’s keep going.”
“I don’t know, Leela…”
“Please? Just a little while longer, Fry. Then you can take me to bed.”
“And let you get some rest,” Fry said.
“Or whatever,” she said with a wink. “Oh,” she sighed. “You don’t know how much I enjoy doing that now.”
They walked down the dark hallway a little before they saw a blue T-shaped light. The light shook a little and they heard the clumping of metal. A matte black robot with the blue T-shaped light on its face suddenly appeared in front of them. “THIS IS A RESTRICTED AREA,” it said. “THE HUMANS WILL RETURN TO THE PERMITTED AREA IMMEDIATELY.” There was an implied “or else” in the robot’s tone.
“We were just looking around,” Leela said. “We weren’t hurting anything.”
“THE HUMANS WILL LEAVE IMMEDATELY,” it repeated, swinging it’s arm up to reveal a cannon of some sort where it’s right hand should be. The “or else” wasn’t implied anymore. “THE HUMANS HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY.”
“Fine,” Fry said turning Leela around as quickly as he could. “We were just leaving.” After they turned a few corners, he said, “Some people are just touchy, I guess.”
“You know how robots can be, Fry. I just wonder what’s down that hall way. Come on. Let’s head back so you can take me to bed.” She laughed, practically hearing Fry turning red.
The world came back to her with an annoying beeping sound. It was a slight, regular beeping at first, but gradually, as she started to wake up, it came louder and more frequently. The beeping’s regular rhythm reminded her of a heart beat. She listened to it for several minutes before she realized that her heart was beating in the same rhythm. Spluh. It’s probably your heart beat, she thought to herself. I must be in a hospital. But, what am I doing in a hospital? Was it that wormhole we went into? What happened on that planet? How do my clothes and hair look? Oh, I hope I didn’t break a nail. I just had them done the other day and it took me hours to get that appointment. Well, let’s see the damage. Slowly, she opened her eyes.
She had to blink a few times before her vision cleared. She was in a hospital or ship’s medical bay of sorts. Looking around, she saw machines of all sorts, including Bender. She shrank back from him for a few seconds without knowing why. For his part, he didn’t notice. The strange thing was his face and the upper part of his chest looked like they had been burned by something.
“Hey Bender,” she croaked. “What happened?”
“No idea. The last thing I remember was you going to start the ship up after Leela left to go find Fry. I woke up on the ship about an hour ago when these guys picked us up. For some reason, my head was stuck in your hamper and my body was trying to rip open your bedroom door. You were passed out on the bridge.”
“But, what happened? And where are we?”
“Very good questions,” a man said as he walked into the room. “You’re on board the freighter Grey Lady. We picked up your distress signal not too far from here. You and Bender here were the only two people on the ship. You had both bronzillium and chromeotitius. Your robot was decapitated and turned off. Beyond that, we don’t know anything.”
“Bronzer poisoning? I don’t use bronzer. Pale is in this season.”
“Not bronzer, bronzillium. It’s a drug that causes amnesia and personality disorders, among other things. It hasn’t been seen in this part of the Universe in centuries. The chromeotitius seems to be caused by your ingestion of some F-Con that you had in your ship’s kitchen. Do you remember that?”
“F-Con,” Bender said. “I use that to keep the wombats off the ship. I have to keep it in my casing because if I don’t keep an eye on it, Fry will put it on his cereal.”
“Bender, we’ve never had a wombat problem on the ship.”
“Anyway,” the man said. “Do you two have any idea what happened to you? You were practically dead and the ‘bot was in pieces and it looked like he’d been set on fire.”
“No idea,” Amy said. “We made a delivery but then we went through this wormhole. We traveled to what we thought was Earth, and then landed. I don’t remember anything else before waking up here.”
“What she said,” Bender said reaching into his chest. He rooted around in there for a few minutes before he said, “It must have been a Hell of a party, though. I’m cleaned out.”
“Did you find anyone else,” Amy asked. “A female cyclops with purple hair or a male human with red hair?”
“No, I’m sorry. Like I said, you two were the only ones on the ship. Who are they?”
“Our Captain and delivery boy. I need to find them. When can we leave?”
Shaking his head, the man said, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s smart. You need to uh, repay your debt, as it were. All of this stuff isn’t cheap, you know.”
It had taken over an hour for them to find their way back to Leela’s room. After helping her to the bath room and carrying her to her bed, both of which Fry was sure she could have done on her own, Fry sat beside her until she fell asleep. He kissed her on the forehead and sighed regretfully. He headed through the halls to a food storeroom and instructed the robot there to have a meal ready for Leela in a few hours. After programming into the robot a few things that he knew that she liked, he picked up another couple of meals and left, heading back to where they had first come into the complex a few days ago.
Twenty minutes later, he was pushing a cart with two of the reconstituted meals on it. “Here you go,” he said as he walked into the room. “It’s six hundred years old, but still mostly edible. I hope you like…uh, whatever this is.”
“What does the tag say, Fry,” Leela asked sleepily.
“Uh… it looks like chicken something. The tag’s pretty faded.”
“Whatever it is,” she said, rubbing her eye, “I’m sure it’ll be great. That machine wore me out. How long was I out anyway?”
“Three days. Sorry Nurse couldn’t do anything about your mutations.”
“That’s ok, Fry. At least the bonzillium poisoning is gone. Nurse said I should be up and around in a day or so.” He swung the bedside table up and over her and helped her to sit up to eat. She rubbed his hand and said, “Thanks for staying and taking care of me, Fry.”
“Don’t mention it, Leela.”