“You know Leela, you really should dump Alphonse and go out with me. I mean, we’ve got so much in common.”
He’d been at this for hours and she was running out of patience and non-committal responses. She’d asked him to knock it off, which he did. But then, ten minutes later, he’d start right back up. Most of the time she didn’t enjoy hitting him, but at this point, if he didn’t shut up, she was going to walk over there and beat him senseless. “And what, exactly, do you and I have in common, Fry?”
“Well,” he said, pausing, trying to think. “Uh, I mean, we, well….um, we work together?”
“I, uh, like Nibbler?”
“Enough, Fry. Please. Just stop. You’re my friend and I really don’t want to hurt you, but if you don’t stop, and I mean it this time, I’m going to walk over there and-.” She was cut off as the ship ground to a halt and stood up on its nose. They both screamed as they saw a blue-white striped vortex open in front of them and suck them in.
But almost as soon as it started, it was over. The Planet Express ship drifted for a few minutes before power came back on-line. Reeling in her chair, Leela started to immediately check the ship systems. Doing a quick check, she found that they’d suffered only minor damage to the Slurpee machine, but all other systems were reading green.
“Everyone alright?,” she asked over the ship’s internal com.
Fry said he was, and Amy, from engineering, said the same. But Bender, despondently, said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play the xylophone again.”
“You don’t play the xylophone, Bender,” Fry said.
“Yep. You’re not allowed to after the…unpleasantness at the Met.”
“Oh, yeah. Well, in that case I’m fine.”
“What’d we hit, Leela? Space cow? Space hobo?”
“I’m not sure, Fry. But, looking at the instruments and the swirling blue-white vortex, I’d say we were sucked into a wormhole.”
Nodding sagely, Fry said, “Wormhole, eh? Just like on Star Trek.”
“Yes, Fry,” she replied, sighing. “Just like Star Trek.”
“Cool. Where are we? The Delta Quadrant?”
“Ugh. The Delta Quadrant is a dump. There’s nothing there by EZ Credit stores, Church’s Fried Hamster restaurants, no-tell motels and Howard Johnsons’. Based off of these readings… we’re about one hundred feet from where we started.”
“That’s not a very impressive wormhole.”
“Huh. This is odd,” she said, ignoring Fry completely. “I’m not reading any other signals in this part of space.”
“What? The radio’s dead? But we have satellite. How can I listen to thousand year old episodes of Mancow in the Morning if we don’t have satellite?”
“I’m not getting any regular DOOP propaganda updates, either. We should be getting a steady stream of news, sports, and traffic and weather on the 8’s, but we’re getting nothing but static and gibberish. That weak-ass wormhole must have shorted out our receiver.”
“I demand to know who I have to bend to get the laws of physic to obey me,” Bender said as he continued to angrily push random buttons on the dead radio. “I finally had the presets the way I wanted them, and now I’m going to have to break in a new one. This is an outrage that someone will pay for!”
“Let’s just go, Leela,” Fry said. “I’ve got some music to listen to for the ride home, but if I have to go through the entire day tomorrow listening to nothing but Hermes going ‘Mon, mon, mon’ and Bender going ‘Bend, bend, bend’ and you going ‘Nag, nag, nag,’ I’ll go crazy.”
Grinding her teeth, Leela accelerated and turned the wheel hard, throwing Fry out of his chair and across the bridge.
“Guys, if my readings are correct, we may have a really big problem.”
“What do you mean, Leela,” Amy asked as she walked onto the bridge.
“Fry, do you remember when we went back in time and ended up in Roswell?”
“When I did the nasty in the-.”
“Yes, Fry. We all know, and were disgusted by, what you did and who you did it with. Anyway, do you remember how there was that ozone layer and no satellites?”
“Of course I remember. I mean, I sort of remember. Well, not really, no. What happened then?”
Sighing, she replied, “There was an ozone layer around the Earth that none of us had ever seen before, and there were no satellites. Just like now.” Looking out the front viewport, they saw large patches of the northern and southern hemispheres of the planet below them covered with ice. “The navigation computer says that this is Earth,” she continued, “but I distinctly remember that it wasn’t covered in ice when we left this morning.”
“Leela,” Fry asked, “are you sure, 100% positive, that this is Earth?”
“No,” she said. “The computer says we’re right where we’re supposed to be, but this obviously isn’t right.”
“It can’t be right. Where is everything? Where is everybody,” Amy asked.
“The real question,” Leela asked as she stared out the window, “is what are we going to do about it?”
“Wait,” Bender said from his station at the back of the bridge. “I remember the last time we went back in time. How come we’re not crashing?”
“Amy and I adjusted the computer. When we don’t receive any satellite data, we can still fly by manual. I didn’t want to crash again if we ever ran into the same situation.”
“That’s a bit farfetched, if remarkably coincidental, thinking, Leela.”
“Yeah, well, I like to be prepared.”
“What are we going to do,” Fry asked.
“Well, I’m not going to waste fuel sitting up here. We’ll land and take a look around. Hopefully, we’ll find some answers.” Looking at the gauge, she added, “We’re going to need a refill anyway. Fry, go check the box to see if Nibbler left us anything.”
“Nibbler. Heh, yeah. Funny thing about that, Leela…”
He sat on the outcrop leaning up against a tree and wondered if his friends were going to come back for him. Or if they were still even his friends.
“What do you mean, you forgot Nibbler? You had two things to remember, Fry, and you forgot one of them. What the hell is wrong with you?
“Come on, Leela, yelling at me now about it isn’t going to solve the problem. Nibbler’s not here and there’s nothing that we can do about it. Let’s just get home, OK?”
“You idiot! We’ve got less than a quarter of a tank of fuel and who knows how far we’ll have to go to get home. What were you thinking, Fry? No, don’t answer that because it was obvious that you weren’t. This is as bad as that time you… no. No, I think that this is the worst thing you’ve done since I’ve known you. You’ve killed us all, idiot.”
“No buts, Fry. We’re landing, and I want you off of my ship and out of my sight.”
When they had gotten close enough to the ground, Leela dragged him down the boarding ramp and tossed him off the ship. Amy and Bender hadn’t been happy about what he did, either. That was three hours ago and he hadn’t seen or heard the ship since. This weird planet, and his forgetting to bring Nibbler, had her on edge, that was all. She wasn’t really going to let him freeze out here tonight, was she? He wrapped his coat around himself tight and drifted off to sleep.
“Give me one good reason to go get him,” Leela said as she paced the bridge.
“Cut the little guy a break, Leela,” Bender said. “Sure, he’s stranded us here on an unknown and deserted planet, and he’s sentenced you both to a horrible death after I go mad when the booze runs out.”
“Is there a ‘but’ in that sentence, Bender,” Amy asked.
“No. That was pretty much it. We’re stranded and I’ll kill you two when I go crazy.”
“Way to help Fry’s case there, Bender. But he’s right, Leela. You can’t leave him out there alone. Who knows what kind of animals live on this planet.”
“He deserves this. That, that, that…idiot. He’s killed us all.”
“You don’t know that, Leela.”
“Yes she does. I’ve already told you how I’m going to kill the both of you. No one ever listens to me. And by me, I mean Bender.”
“Leela, please? He’s going to freeze out there tonight. Make him sleep in the cargo bay, or lock him up in the laundry room, or whatever. Just don’t leave him out there all alone. Please?”
“Fine. I’ll go up and bring him back down here. I’m taking these, though,” she said as she pulled the keys out of the ignition. “Put on a sweatshirt or drink some of the stuff from the still if you get uncomfortable. We’ll be back in an hour or so.”
“Well that does it,” Bender said as Leela left the bridge. “I can’t properly relax without music and a cold drink, and I ain’t running my own batteries down. I think I’ll just kill you now, Amy, and get it over with.”
“Uh-hem,” she replied, pulling the spare set of keys out of the top of her shirt.
“You keep the spare keys in your bra?”
“I don’t have pockets in this sweat suit, Bender. I’ve got to put them somewhere. “
“You’re wardrobe deficiencies disgust me. If you were a robot, you’d have a proper casing to store things. If you didn’t have those keys and weren’t going to turn the power back on, I’d bend you… You are turning the power back on, right?”
“Yes,” she said as she put the keys in and turned.
“Ah, well. No murder. Yet.”
“I asked if you wanted a brown mumbler.”
She found him right where they had left him, half a mile away from where she had parked the ship. If he had bothered to move to the other side of the cliff face, he would have seen the trail that led down to the clearing she had landed in. But, being Fry, he curled up and fell asleep against a tree instead. She stood there watching him for a while. He was infuriating, but as she stood there, she found her irritation melting away. He was just so….
But, he was also so…. If he would only straighten himself out some and just grow up, she might just give him the shot he’d been begging for for so long. He was cute, and funny, and the nicest person she’d ever met. He had never treated her any differently for as long as they’d known each other. Even after he had told her she was a mutant, he was just happy that she finally found her parents. But, for every selfless thing he had done, there was something like this. One step forward, two steps back.
Sighing, she walked over and knelt down beside him. Shaking him gently, she said softly, “Wake up, Fry.” When he didn’t move, she shook him harder, and said his name more loudly.
“Huh, wha, who,” he sputtered as he rolled onto his back. Looking up, he saw her hovering above and flinched. “What,” he asked timidly.
“Come on, idiot,” she said, making it sound like a term of endearment. “Let’s get back to the ship. It’s getting pretty cold out here, and I don’t want you to freeze.”
“Are you sure, Leela? I mean, after what I did and what you said…”
Taking hold of his arm, she pulled him to his feet. “No, I’m not sure, Fry. What you did was monumentally stupid. We’re going to have to go looking for something that we can use to power the ship. But that’s tomorrow. You’re going to have to work to get back on my good side.”
“Leela, every side is your good side.”
“That’s sweet, Fry, but don’t push your luck.”
As they walked back down the trail, Leela started to feel good. Really good. It was the oddest thing. When she had left the ship, she was furious with Fry. He had forgotten to refill the tank that morning and then forgotten to bring Nibbler along with them. It really wouldn’t have bothered her too much if they had seen any sign of civilization between the worm hole and the alleged Earth, but there was nothing in this entire sector of space. She remembered that that had really bothered her. But, now, none of that mattered for some reason, and she couldn’t think of why she had even been worried about it in the first place. Looking over at Fry, she just grinned.
“What,” he asked nervously.
“What what,” she replied, the same stupid grin on her face.
“Why are you staring at me like that, Leela?”
“Like what, Fry?”
“Like that,” he said as he moved as far to the other side of the path as he could.
“What, I can’t look at you? There’s a law about looking at your friends? Such a handsome friend, too.”
“Stop it, Leela. You’re really weirding me.”
“Fine,” she said with a pout as she reached over and ran her hand down his arm. “I’m just not sure how long I can resist, though.”
Fry was scared as they walked back to the ship. During the trip, Leela had kept giving him looks that confused him. She had never given him looks like this before, at least never in real life anyway. She usually looked at him like he was a toddler that had to be constantly watched or else he could set the house on fire. But this, this was something all together different. This was a look that only one sober woman had ever given him before: lust. Leela wanted him and wanted him badly. At another time and in another place, he would have loved it. But right here, right now, it scared the pants off of him.
Three hours ago, she was ready to kill him. Even twenty minutes ago, she wasn’t much more than lukewarm to his coming back onto the ship. Now, she wanted him back on the ship alright. Back on the ship and locked in her cabin. He just couldn’t figure out why. Was it his animal magnetism? Was it his boyish charms and good looks? Was she just crazy? Unsure what exactly was going on, Fry decided to wait and see, and then ask Bender what he should do when they got back to the ship.
It was dark when they finally reached the ship. The path had narrowed and Leela walked infront of him to lead the way back. Just before they stepped into the clearing, Leela stopped, causing Fry to come up short and walk into her. The collision caused him to have his arms wrapped around her and bend her over a little at the waist. Smiling, she pressed back into him and gyrated some. “Naughty, naughty, Fry,” she said. “You shouldn’t do that unless a woman asks.”
His eyes wide in shock, he stammered, “Leela, I wouldn’t, I mean, I’m, uh.”
Giggling, Leela said, “That’s okay, Fry. I don’t mind. You can do it again. Do it as often as you like…”
She giggling, he thought. She never giggles. “You’re weirding me out again, Leela. Stop it. Something’s going on here that’s got you all goofy. You’re acting all un-Leela-like.”
Still pressed against him, she stood up and arched her back. Laying the back of her head on his shoulder she moved his hand up along her stomach and chest before letting it fall to his side. Turning her head, she said, “Fry, this is most Leela-like I’ve ever felt. I’ve never felt so…alive.” Turning around, she reached up and caressed his cheek. “And I owe it all to you,” she said as she leaned in and kissed him.
After several very long seconds, she broke the contact and said, “Come on. Let’s go see if they’ve trashed the ship while I was gone. We have a busy day tomorrow. It’s just going to be you and me. All alone, on this big empty planet.”
As she turned and headed out into the clearing, Fry stood still, blinking, and breathing, for the first time since she kissed him.
The ship was quiet as they climbed the boarding ramp. It was eerie, and Fry said so.
“You’re just letting your imagination get the best of you, Fry.” After a few seconds, she added, “It might be better if you let MY imagination get the best of you.”
Ignoring her, he said, “Something’s wrong, Leela. Let’s just get to the bridge and see if Bender and Amy are okay.”
They just stared at each other for a few seconds before she said, “Fine,” and slapped her hand down onto the control panel. Bender was sitting at his station in stand-by mode. Fry shook him and pushed his antenna a few times. Slowly, Bender came back to life.
“Oh, hey guys. Good to see you’re back, Fry. If you don’t mind, Captain, I’m going to shut down for a while. We’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow, and I need to conserve my power until we can find some mineral spirits or other synthetic oils.”
“Sure, go ahead Bender.”
“Where’s Amy,” Fry asked. He wasn’t looking at Leela, so he missed the angry glare she shot his way.
“Shortly after Captain Leela left she went down to engineering to see if she could do something to make the ship more fuel efficient. We have to make every piece of dark matter stretch as far as we can, you know. If there’s nothing else, Captain?”
“No. You go ahead and shut down, Bender. I’ll wake you up in the morning.” As his eye plate closed, she turned to Fry. “Happy now? You know where everyone is.”
“Didn’t you notice how odd Bender was acting, Leela? All helpful and stuff? And he called you ‘Captain Leela’. He’s never done that.”
“Meh,” she said, dismissing it. “Maybe it’s just his survival programming finally kicking in.”
“I’m going to go check on Amy and then go to bed.” Over his shoulder he said, “I’ll see you in the morning, Leela.” Again, he was turned away from her and missed her murderous glare.
When he opened the door to the engineering bay, the smell of the various fluids made his eyes sting and start to water. He started to cough as he took a deep, startled breath. The engine had been dismantled and there were parts everywhere. They couldn’t leave now if they tried. Hearing him, Amy, wearing a protective respirator, pulled herself out of the access hatch. She walked over to him and helped him back outside.
“Careful, Fry,” she said as she took the mask off. “The fumes can be pretty bad if you’re not wearing the proper personal protective equipment. It’s nice to see you back. I didn’t think Leela would really go out and get you.”
“Good to be back,” he said hoarsely. “After a few more seconds of breathing clean air, he said, Amy, what’s going on?”
“What do you mean, Fry?”
“I mean Bender and Leela are acting all weird.”
“I don’t know about Leela, but it didn’t strike me as odd the way Bender was acting. It was just Bender being Bender.”
“Leela’s all coming on to me, and Bender’s being all helpful and subservient. How is that normal Bender?”
“I still don’t know what you’re talking about Fry. He just stared at her, his mouth hanging open. “Will this be taking much longer, Fry? I’ve got to the engine rebuilt tonight. I think that if I can clean the Coke syrup lines and by-pass the fluxitronic intake manifold, I can increase fuel efficiency eight percent.”
Stunned by the precise technical jargon that Amy just threw at him, he just stared at her. “Ah, yeah, um, you do that thing you said, Amy. I think I need to go lie down for a while.”
Putting her hand on his forehead to check for a fever, Amy stared worriedly at him. “Yeah, you should rest Fry. You don’t look too good.”
Fry woke with a start from a sound sleep. What a weird dream, he thought. Respectful and helpful Bender, technically competent Amy, and a slutty Leela that wanted me. Not that I wouldn’t mind some more of that, but… Looking around their cabin, he saw that there was no Bender and then it hit him: he was on the ship and there were none of the normal ship sounds. The engines weren’t running and neither was the ventilation system. There has to be a logical reason I’m here and not at home, he thought nervously. And then he saw the port hole; there was bright sunlight coming in from behind the curtain. Much brighter light than if the ship had been parked in the hangar in the Planet Express building. Looking outside, he saw trees and what looked like a rock face nearby. Groaning, he realized that it wasn’t a dream. Everything that had happened was real, and his friends were going crazy. “Meh,” he said as he got dressed. “Maybe today they’ll be normal again. It was just stress getting to them. Yeah, that’s it, stress.”
As he climbed down into the kitchen, all thoughts of his friends being normal again went out the window. Bender was making breakfast, and from the smell of it, it was not only going to edible, but really good, too. Amy had an untouched cup of coffee sitting on the table next to her, along with several open engineering books, as she read the ship’s schematics, tracing various routes from the fuel tank to the dark matter reactor. And then there was Leela. She was wearing something that Amy, the old Amy, he guessed, would consider hiking apparel. She was wearing short shorts, ankle-high boots, and a red and green flannel shirt (which looked suspiciously like the one that he owned), buttoned, rolled and tied so that it barely covered her, and left very little to the imagination.
He could at least argue that Amy reading the engine’s schematics would make sense, since she was going to try and squeeze every bit of power she could out of the engines. And as for Bender, every so often he could make something edible, and once he had even made something good. But Leela? That was something all together different. As soon as she saw him, she turned and smiled. She was so beautiful, he nearly fell over.
“Good morning, sunshine. Are you ready for today, Fry,” she asked with an obvious double meaning. Amy looked up, confused for a second then, with a shrug, went back to her books.
“Leela, I, uh, I mean you’re dressed so, um…”
“What’s wrong with the way I’m dressed, Fry? Don’t you like it?”
“Who wants pancakes,” Bender asked cheerfully. When no one replied, he said, “Oh, I’m sorry Captian. Am I interrupting something?”
“What the hell is going on with you people,” Fry asked. “Bender, why are you being so helpful? Amy, why are you so nerdy? And you, Leela. Why, and I can’t believe that I’m even going to be asking this, are you acting so….uh, sexifully?”
“What, I can’t be helpful and polite to you? I’m only some sort of crude, drinking, whoring, stealing, bending machine? I can’t have a sensitive side? I can’t be nice?”
“Yeah! I can’t be concerned about the lives of my friends and co-workers? You stranded us here, Fry, and I’m the only one who can get us back if we don’t find some sort of alternate fuel source or some hidden cache of dark matter!”
Leela didn’t even say anything. She started to cry and ran up the ladder.
“She did that for you, Fry,” Amy said. “She’s trying to be nice to you, and you’re treating her badly. After what you did, you shouldn’t be acting this way.”
Fry’s mouth hung open as he listened to what Amy said. Leela was doing this, acting so slutty, for him? “I’ve got to talk to her,” he said, running up the ladder. As soon as he was out the hatch, Amy collected her books and coffee and started for the ladder, too.
“So, nobody wants pancakes then?”
He found her leaning up against a tree, sobbing. “Leela, I,” he began, but she cut him off.
“Leave me alone, you jerk.”
“I’m sorry, Leela. I didn’t know what to do. I was confused, that’s all.”
“I just wanted to do something nice for you. Something that I thought you’d appreciate, after how I treated you, and this is the thanks that I get.”
He was stunned. She actually did do this for him. “Why did you think you had to do anything, Leela? I was the one that got us stuck on this rock. I should be doing stuff for you.”
“Oh, Fry,” she said wiping her eye. “That’s just like you, always thinking of me first. That’s what I love about you,” she said, turning to face him. They just stared at each other for a few seconds. "Fry," she said finally. "What did you mean about the three of us acting weird?"
“It’s just that, well, Bender is usually just like he says, and Amy’s usually all clumsy and not nerdy, and you’re not usually so, uh…this.”
“That’s a shame. I really like…this. But what about you? I don’t really remember you acting different than this. You seem to be your normal, everyday, sexy self,” she said reaching out and groping him.
“Hands, Leela,” Fry yelped as he jumped back. “I have no idea why I’m not acting all differenty. I mean, I don’t all feel all different. What about you? How do you feel?”
“I feel find,” she said. With a grin, she took his hands and put it on her bare stomach. “How do you think I feel?”
She was warm and soft, but he could feel her solid stomach muscles. It took him a few seconds to realize that this was, in Leela’s current state, wrong. He jerked back and said, “Hands, Leela. We should try and keep this professional for now.”
“You’re no fun,” she said, pouting.
“Let’s get back to the ship. Maybe we can drag Amy out of the engines and make her do some science. She’s smart. She can figure this out.”
Leela made a face and let out an angry breath. “Fry, I’m going to give you a heads up, just because I really, really like you, and I think you’re completely snuu-snuu-able. When you’ve got a woman in front of you that really, really likes you and wants you to snuu-snuu her until she can’t walk straight for a week, you shouldn’t compliment another woman. It’s a quick road to getting your ass kicked.”
Swallowing, he said nervously, “Yeah. Thanks, Leela.”