June 3, 3002 – Venice, Italy, Earth, 1245 local time
“Sonofabitch,” she said, after surfacing. “Stupid Cubert,” she muttered as she swam for the closest dock. “Set’s the target for Venice but didn’t remember the stupid canals. If I hadn’t just killed him, I’d go back and kill him. Stupid genius. Good thing I’m already mutant,” she said as she climbed out of the water. “Who the hell knows what’s in there.”
Sitting on the dock, she started to unbraid her hair so that it would dry and took stock of her assets: the sonic screwdriver, the EE-3 carbine rifle, a couple of grenades, some basic survival gear, the slicer box, a couple of useless passkeys, a few computer discs with contents unknown (Cubert had them out for a reason, so they might have be useful), and her knowledge of the future. Not the worst, but her old Eta-2 would have been more helpful.
She shoved her EE-3 into her bag quickly. DOOP uniform or not, walking around the streets openly with a weapon was asking for trouble. She looked at Cubert’s sonic screwdriver and shook her head. It was really the dumbest thing that she had ever seen. Her father had asked Cubert once how he ever looked at a screwdriver and decided it could be made better by being sonic. Her cousin just stared at him evenly, almost contemptuously, and walked away. Annoying little runt, she thought.
It was the size of a large pen, with an emerald on the end that emitted a beam of sonic energy, overriding any little bit of electronics that it encountered. Theoretically, it could do almost anything, but she had no idea how to make that happen. The only thing she knew how to use it for was to override automatic teller machines to dispense money without an account, card, or code. Her father had ‘borrowed’ it once from Cubert and accidentally hit the button near one of the machines on the promenade of the Axis Space Station, spraying currency across the deck. After the riot, the Daughters ended up being banned from the station for five years, and her father for the rest of his life. But it was fun, she thought smiling.
And petty larceny was exactly what she needed it for right now. She had no cash on her (not that money from 3027 would have done her any good here, anyway), and she had to travel across the planet to get to New New York. Plus, she needed some clothes from this time period. A DOOP Special Forces uniform and layered body armor may fly in 3027, but walking around in it in 3002, especially since the armor wouldn’t be developed for another 15 years, wasn’t a good idea. Shaking her hair out some, she headed up the steps, leaving a trail of water behind her as she headed for Venice’s retail shopping district.
June 3, 3002 – New New York City, Earth, 0545 local time
Something was very, very wrong.
Nibbler woke, and carefully extracted himself from Leela’s arms. He ran to the kitchen and climbed up to the countertop by the sink. Standing on the faucet, he leveraged the window open and stepped out onto the fire escape. He carefully sniffed the air.
“Nothing but the overpowering odor of these stupid, overgrown primates,” he said. “I must have been mistaken… No, wait. What’s that?” He sniffed quickly, and then inhaled deeply. “No. It can’t be. It’s impossible!” But it was. It was the unmistakable scent of the time vortex. Somewhere on this backwards little rock, someone had just arrived after travelling through time.
June 3, 3002 – on the blimp Funship over western Spain, Earth, 1830 local time
She didn’t think she had been more embarrassed in her life. She was a professional soldier, and had been since she was 6 years old. She faced certain death dozens of times in her life and come out unscathed. She was a decorated war hero and was now gladly facing the certainty that if her mission succeeded, she could potentially cease to exist. She had almost never known fear and had almost never been intimidated by anything or anyone. Until today. One little Italian shop owner, someone’s grandmother probably, had reduced her to a quivering little girl, afraid to say no to something she didn’t really want, but was now stuck with: girly clothes.
She had gotten the money and made a priority of getting a flight west. The Funship Blimp Lines was the only thing that she could get. It would take forever, but as long as you paid and weren’t checking luggage, they didn’t care who you were. One problem down, she decided to find some more appropriate clothes.
She never had been into clothes much after the war, unlike some of the other Daughters, especially Eva and Ava. Most of her wardrobe was DOOP issued, and everything she wore off-duty was simple and practical. She could count on one hand the number of times she could remember wearing a dress, and she didn’t even remember ever actually owning one after the war. And, like her mother before her, she bought her underwear in bulk. Simple and plain, it wasn’t very flattering, but it held everything up and was comfortable. And, in her line of work, that was one of the most important things.
As soon as she stepped foot in the shop, though, she knew she was out of her element. She tried to retreat, but the shopkeeper wouldn’t be denied. Before she knew what was going on, Kyrie had been stripped completely naked by the old woman, her wet clothes in a pile in the corner, and she was being measured by her. The woman muttered the whole time in heavily accented Earthican, and all Kyrie could make out was something about beautiful young women and their very sad lack of style.
Soon, the woman was strapping her into some corset-like contraption that pushed things in directions Kyrie didn’t think, or know, that they could go. The rest of the underwear that the woman had given her to cover herself with was smaller than anything she had ever seen. Looking at herself in the mirrors, she turned shades of red that she was sure didn’t exist in nature. She NEVER had worn anything close this exotic, but there didn’t appear to be any other choice in this shop, and with her only other choice currently soaked from her unintentional swim in the canal, and with her blimp departing soon, she decided that she could tough it out.
The skirt and blouse the woman picked out were expensive, but simply cut. The loose, knee-length black skirt, slit a little too far up the leg for her tastes, and white blouse, which showed a bit more cleavage than she felt was decent, fit like they had been made for her. Even the knee-high boots that the woman had picked out felt like they had been made to fit her exactly. Walking in their three inch heels, however, proved to be a bit more of a challenge. She had never been very comfortable in high heels. Like her mother, she generally wore boots. Being as tall as she was, on the rare occasions that boots weren’t practical, she’d borrow flats from one of the other Daughters. In a group that big, someone always had something that could fit her. So, with few options, she bought the clothes, barely-there underwear and all, and wobbled to the aerodrome to catch her blimp.
As she wobbled, using the occasional nearby building to hold herself steady, she started to notice people staring at her. It wasn’t the clothes, she noticed. There were many young women exposing much more flesh than she was. When she stopped at a street vendor, he started, and then shakily gave her her order. As she walked away, she started hearing the same words over and over: ciclope and capriccio della natura. She wasn’t sure what the words were, but she had a sick feeling that, because of her eye, she was being made the butt of some joke.
She wasn’t used to this happening. She vaguely remembered the anti-mutant feelings that many people had when she was younger, but, since she and her mom both looked so human, it never occurred to her after her grandparents died in 3010. She pulled herself together, stood tall, and tried to stride confidently through the plaza and into the aerodrome. Halfway across, she tripped on a loose cobblestone and fell right onto her face. The bystanders laughing, she quickly picked herself up and ran as best as she could inside to hide in the blimp until it left, trying not to cry in shame.
Oh, daddy, she thought, nursing her pride, her sore left wrist, and a glass of some local wine, what have I gotten myself into?
June 4, 3002 – Al Sharpton Memorial Aerodrome, New New York, 0845 local time
She staggered down the steps and out into the street, marveling at the city of her birth. She had just let it yesterday, but this was totally different from the world she grew up in. The city was crowded, with people, vehicles, and billboards everywhere. When she was here yesterday (There, she corrected herself), the city looked to be deserted compared to this. And the noise and the smell…, she thought, shuddering. She sat down, trying to catch her breath and remember where she was. As people passed, very few would meet her eye, but every one that did recoiled in shock, and some horror, scurrying faster on their way.
This again, she thought bitterly. She had no idea how her mom dealt with it all those years before her dad showed up. She said he asked her about the eye once, thought it was cool she was an alien, and that was it. He just accepted her for what she was. Even when they found out she was a mutant, he still loved and accepted her as Leela. He turned out to be her only true friend during those years before the war. She was going to have to think about telling her about being a mutant. It would probably upset her, but it had to be done. It would avoid a lot of inconvenient questions. It helped that she didn’t know where Grandma and Grandpa lived at this time. She hoped. Sighing, she got up and started looking for a tube that would take her where she wanted to go.
“Slow down, you stupid poop machine,” he said, tugging back at Nibbler’s leash. They didn’t have any deliveries until that afternoon, and Leela asked him to take Nibbler for a walk before they left, just in case there was some extra fuel to be had. Ever since the incident with Michelle, Fry had been working harder to make Hermes and the Professor forget what happened. He was still a little mad at Leela and Bender for trying to get their jobs back and not bothering to tell him, but he was willing to let it go. They were his friends, and Bender kept his mouth shut when Fry asked the Professor again.
There was something that his renewed relationship with Michelle had showed him something about himself: he hated bossy, manipulative women. He wanted Leela. Sure, she could be bossy and manipulative, but that was different. There wasn’t anything in it for her being bossy. She was genuinely looking out for him. She made everyone else go 1,000 years into the future and get him away from Michelle. He still wasn’t sure how they got back, but, meh. Things worked like that in the future sometimes. Michelle tried to kick him out of their hole. Leela would never do that to him. If there was just some way he could show her how he felt…
Nibbler started dragging him hard into the street, barking and yipping at something. He slapped him on the nose and start dragging him back down the street when he saw who he was barking at. He just saw her profile, but she almost stopped his heart. She was tall, red headed, had, from what he could see of it, a smoking hot body, and, best of all, she was wearing a skirt and knee-high boots. He had always loved that look. He was in love. All thoughts of Leela went out the window as he watched her go past, heading toward Planet Express. Nibbler saw where she was going and started to follow, pulling Fry in the same direction.
“I’m with you, buddy,” he said as they turned back to the building.
She walked down the street, trying to be confident to the point of arrogance. That was the only way she was going to be able to get over the looks that these idiots were giving her without killing them. About two blocks from the Planet Express building, she thought she heard a familiar voice, but that was stupid, since no one would know her here, so she kept going. Glancing over her shoulder out of the corner of her eye, she saw some guy in a red coat yelling at his dog. That must have been it, she thought. Stupid dog.
She was following the map that she downloaded onto her wrist-a-majigger. The throbbing in her left wrist had lessened, but it still hurt like hell when she had to move it. Maybe the Professor would be able to do something. It was going to be so odd seeing all of them again. Cubert as a teenager (and not an amoral middle-aged crackpot), Bender, Zoidberg, Amy, and the Professor still alive, Nibbler as…, well Nibbler, and, of course, mom and dad. That was going to be wonderful.
“You have reached your destination,” her wrist-a-majigger said as she stood outside the Planet Express building.
She stood for a few seconds outside the building, her eye closed as she tried to get the courage to go inside. She had committed herself to destroying the manipulator a few days ago when she sat at her camp site while Nibbler told her about the potential end of the Universe. And she committed herself to this course of action yesterday when Cubert decided to actually destroy the Universe, forcing her to go back in time and save everything. Still, it was a bit frightening to actually face ceasing to exist. Taking a deep breath, she turned and reached out to push the door open.
He ran as best as he could, but the Mighty One was slowing him down. The time anomaly was turning the corner up ahead. She looked and smelled familiar, but he couldn’t figure out why. He hadn’t gotten a good look at her face, and because of the time smell on her, he couldn’t get a good sniff of her. As she turned the corner, he had had enough. Turning around and biting down hard, he split the leash and took off at a run, leaving Fry cursing at him. The Mighty One can deal with the Other when he gets back to the office, he thought. It’s not like I’m going to be gone long, I hope. Besides, a quick memory wipe will patch everything up. This is too important. He ran around the corner and found her standing in front of the Planet Express building. She turned to face him. She had her eye closed, so she didn’t see him.
Eye, he thought, a sickening sensation spreading in his stomach. Red hair, single eye… “No, it can’t be,” he said. He looked quickly over his shoulder as Fry was starting to run, then sprinted across the street, thinking about how disastrous the next few minutes were going to be.
She had just touched the door when she felt something leap onto her back. She spun and slammed her back into the building, hoping to dislodge it. She heard an exhalation of breath as something hit the ground hard. She turned quickly and just as quickly turned away as she saw a familiar face. There was a bright flash, followed by Nibbler cursing as he missed blanking her mind.
“Damn it, Nibbler, please don’t do that again,” she said, not looking at him. “This is very important.”
“I don’t know who you are,” he said, “or how you know me, but, if you are who I think you are, this could be disastrous. You are their child and from the future, correct?”
“Yes. I won’t even be born for four more years,” she said turning back to face him.
“Then why are you here? Why would I let you come here?”
“You don’t know I’m here, Nibbler. You sent me to pretty much stop what I’m doing here.”
“What?,” he shouted.
“What what?,” Fry asked as he came up on them. “Hi there,” he said to Kyrie as seductively as he could manage. “Is there something I could help you…” He stopped as she turned to face him, and he saw a very familiar face staring back at him. It was Leela, but a few years younger and with red hair. There was something about her eye and hair that looked familiar too, but he wasn’t sure what. He opened his mouth a few times, but no sound came out.
Suddenly, the door opened. Leela was standing there, looking very annoyed. “Damn it, Fry. What the hell is going on out here?” Seeing the back of a young woman's head, with Fry gaping like a fish at her, and Nibbler off of his leash, she got angry. “Fry,” she said with an icy cold tone in her voice. “Why isn’t Nibbler on his leash?”
“Uh, uh, uh, Leela…come over here please.”
“Why, you nimrod? So I can see the tramp you’re staring at this week? I’m busy,” she said, hiding the hurt she was feeling, and started to turn away.
“Just, please,” he said. Leela just growled and turned back to the door.
“Damn it, mom,” the girl said, turning around and forcing Leela to face her. “Just do it and let’s get out of here. We’re making a scene.”
Leela’s eye went wide. The girl was a younger version of her. Wait, what did she say? “What did you call me?,” Leela asked, her voice unsteady.
Taking a deep breath, she said, “My name is Kyrie Turunga Fry. I was born to Leela and Philip Fry in the year 3006 and I need your help.” There, that wasn’t so bad.
Leela gasped, her hand covering her mouth and her eye wide. Nibbler covered his eyes, shaking his head, muttering about the universe being doomed. Fry had passed out cold.
Reaching past Leela, Kyrie opened the door and yelled into the building, “Bender,get down here. Da-, Fry’s hurt.”
"So," the robot replied. "Calculon’s on."
She ground her teeth and then shouted, “01101111 01110110 01100101 01110010 01110010 01101001 01100100 01100101.”
Bender’s eyes started rolling in their sockets and he ran down the stairs and out into the street. “What do you need?,” he asked.
“Wake him up.”
“Yes ma’am,” Bender said, opening his casing, causing a few gallons of water come out and hit Fry full in the face. “Wake up, coffin-stuffer.”
“What? Who? Where?,” Fry sputtered, spitting the water as he did. “Wha’ happen?”
“You passed out,” Kyrie said, kneeling down next to him.
“Leela, what did you do to your hair?,” he said squinting at her, still confused. “And that outfit. Rrrrrrrrrrrr!”
Sighing, she said, “Can we talk about this inside, please?”
“Yes, before this gets any worse,” Nibbler said.
“Nibbler,” Leela said, shock in her voice. “You can talk?”
“I can do more than talk,” he said proudly. “I can yell and scream at a certain person about destroying the time-space continuum,” he said pointedly looking at Kyrie. “But this isn’t the place for it.”
“I remember what you told me a few days ago, Nibbler,” Kyrie said, getting agitated. “But this was really the only way to prevent something much, much worse. Now, mom, get the door. Bender, get over her and help me with dad.”
“Mom and dad,” Bender exclaimed, a brick dropping out under him.
“Dad,” Fry said, his eyes rolling back into his head as he passed out again.
Sighing, Kyrie looked at Leela, “Mom, get over here and help me. Dad is a lot heavier than he looks.”
Reflex stepped in as Leela came over and picked up Fry’s other arm as they dragged him inside. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, Kyrie was it? But, I think we need to do a little testing before I believe you. I’ve seen too much in the last few minutes to believe everything.”
“Sweet turkey of Albuquerque,” Hermes yelled as the women dragged Fry into the office. “What in Babylon is going on here?” He shook his head and rubbed his eyes at apparently seeing two Leelas: one looking like she normally did and another with red hair that looked younger, but was dressed like she had just come back from going clubbing with Amy. “What in Jah’s name is going on here?”
“Hermes,” the regular one said, “go get the Professor. We need science.”
“Oooo-kay,” he said slowly, looking back and forth at the two of them. “Am I going to have to fill out some forms because of all of this?”
“Yes,” the redhead said. “Now move it, Rasta! This is a Situation 443/9!”
“What?,” he said alarmed. “Not a 443/9! I’ll get him and meet you in the lab.”
“What’s a 443/9?,” Leela asked as she dropped Fry’s arm.
“Temporal paradox,” she said, gently putting Fry down. “Daddy,” she said gently stroking the side of his face. “Wake up, dad. It’s time to go to work.” He used to say that to her when she was being a stubborn and didn’t want to get out of bed.
He moaned a little and took her hand. “Leela,” he said, “what happened?”
“I’m not Leela, dad,” she said patiently. “I’m Kyrie. Remember?”
“I don’t not remember,” he said slowly, squinting at her. “Leela, did you dye your hair?”
“Daddy, that doesn’t even make sense,” she said, blinking in confusion. “Now get up. We’ve got to go to the lab.” She stood up and walked toward the lab, the rest of them standing there and staring at her. When she noticed they weren’t following her, she turned and said, with a very Leela-ish look of impatience on her face, “Let’s go, people. It’s a wonder you guys saved the Universe the first time.”
Leela, Fry, and Bender looked at each other and shrugged. They turned to look at Nibbler, an obvious question on their faces.
“Don’t look at me,” he said. “I haven’t met her yet. I am as confused as the rest of you.”
They all started for the door when they heard the young woman yell “YOU,” followed by someone grunting and gasping in pain. Rushing into the room, they saw Cubert on the ground, clutching desperately at his groin, while Kyrie stood over him, looking ready to give him another kick.
“What the hell was that for?,” Leela asked. “What did he do?”
“You have no idea, mom. If I could go back to the future, I’d kill him again.”
“I killed him yesterday. One shot right in the chest. And it was much too quick for what he did. What he was going to do.”
“What did he do?,” Fry asked cautiously.
“You don’t want to know,” she said. “Let’s just say that if I show up at your door, you’ve done something pretty bad and deserve what you get. Look, I don’t want to talk about it, OK? I’ve had a lot happen to me in the last few days, and I just can’t talk about it yet. Please,” she said, looking at Fry.
“Sure, Kyrie,” he said, feeling good about it for some reason. “Whatever you want is fine.” Was she really his and Leela’s daughter? What year did she say? 3006. That means in the next four years, he would win Leela’s heart. He smiled, knowing that at least once, things would go his way.
They were interrupted by a huffing and puffing Hermes carrying the Professor on his back. Kyrie looked at the Professor and then back to Cubert, still writhing on the floor. She didn’t see any family resemblance between the two of them, clone or not. The Cubert she knew looked a little bit like the Professor, but not that much. Still, she thought, looking at Fry. Stranger things have happened.
“Now what’s all this business about there being two Leela’s?,” he said angrily. “I was in the middle of a fine nap when my trusty steed Hermes here,” he said, patting Hermes on the shoulder and shoving a sugar cube that he pulled out of a pocket of his lab coat into his mouth, “brought me down stairs. Leela,” he said, squinting at Kyrie, “have you been out girling it up again and dying your hair? That’s women for you.” Turning around, he saw Leela, fuming in impatience. “Ah, that’s better. Good old dull as dishwater Leela. Well, off I go,” then, he said, turning to shuffle back upstairs.
“Professor,” Leela said, “we need your DNA machine.”
“Your DNA machine,” she repeated with barely restrained impatience. “That thing you tested you and Fry with when he first got here. Remember?”
“I don’t have anything like that, Leela. Shut up! I used my DNA machine to test Fry and myself.”
“Yes, Professor,” Kyrie said. “Where is it? We need it for science.”
“Science, you say,” he said turning toward her. “Leela, there you go with the hair dying again. Damn it woman, that‘ll come out of your pay for wasting company time. Like I said, I don’t have the DNA machine anymore. I scrapped it to make something else.” When they all groaned in disappointment, he said, “I have something new that’ll determine the relation of people. I’ve just been waiting to try it out. Oh my, yes.”
He shuffled over to a shelf by his work bench and pulled down a sheet covered item. Walking back to the table, he set down and looked around the room dramatically. “I give to you, the DNA machine,” he shouted as he pulled the cover off. It looked exactly like the old machine, but had a green light instead of a red one and a small display screen. All of them groaned.
“I cannot believe I’m related to him,” Kyrie muttered under her breath as she covered her eye and shook her head. She heard Cubert start to rise behind her and jabbed her heel into his groin, causing him to fall and wail some more.
“Now,” the Professor said ominously, “who’s to be tested?”
Leela sighed and walked over to the machine, sticking her finger into the hole. Kyrie walked over and did the same on the other side. The Professor pushed the button and the machine whirled to life. After several seconds, a bell rang and the green light lit up. “Remarkable,” he said, adjusting his glasses to look at the screen. Looking back and forth between Leela and Kyrie, he said, “Apparently Leela, you’re your own mother. Remarkable.”
“Me next,” Fry said, as he walked over and took Leela’s place and the machine took another scan.
“This is truly remarkable,” the Professor said. “Fry, apparently you’re Leela’s father. There you go, Leela,” he said looking at her. “You’re partially human and… whatever else you are. AGHHHHHHHHHHH,” he said, looking at her eye. He looked at Kyrie’s eye and said, “AGHHHHHHHHHH.
“Oh,” he said suddenly, patting Kyrie on the forearm. “That means we’re related. What’s your blood type, Leela?”
“Are you happy now?,” Kyrie said to Leela, ignoring her cousin.
“No,” Nibbler said suddenly. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“Sweet electric eel of Huddersfield,” Hermes yelled. “It can talk! You know what this means, don’t you? More paperwork! Stamp-y, file-y,” he sang joyously as he walked toward his office. “Send it overnight.”
“Who are you people?,” the Professor demanded. Squinting at Kyrie, he said, “Damn it, Leela. That red hair makes your monstrous eye stand out even more. And that outfit makes you look like a cheap harlot. Now, quit whoring it up and get back to work.”
“Right,” Leela said, grinding her teeth. “We’ve got a delivery to do. All of you on the ship. I want to get to the bottom of all of this.”
“Mom,” Kyrie said. “You still have extra clothes on the ship? This is getting pretty uncomfortable,” she said, adjusting the corset as best she could.
“You know where my cabin is,” she asked. When the girl nodded, Leela said, “Knock yourself out. Right, everyone, let’s go. Fry, you wait for a minute.”
When Kyrie, Nibbler, and Bender were on the ship, Leela grabbed Fry by the collar of his shirt and pulled him to within an inch of her face. “I have no idea what you’re going to do Fry, but this changes nothing. You and I will never happen, and nothing is going to change that,” she said, letting him go.
“Something obviously does change it, Leela.” He stared her straight in the eye and didn’t flinch. “She’s our daughter, Leela. You and I fall in love, get married, and have a beautiful daughter. How can this not change everything?”
“Just remember Fry,” she said over her shoulder as she walked away. “Whatever he did, you’ll get no chance. Now let’s go.”
He watched her climb the ramp into the ship, and followed, his head hung low.
“We’re all doomed,” Nibbler said from his place on Leela’s bed.
“You’ve been saying that for years, Nibbler,” Kyrie replied as she rifled through her mom’s underwear drawer looking for a bra that would fit. “And we’re all still here. Well, I am anyway,” she whispered under her breath. She pulled out a small black and red one that looked like it wouldn’t cover much and quickly threw it back into the drawer. She knew that her parents had had sex, but they were still her parents and she didn’t like to think of them that way. She grabbed a sports bra and closed the drawer.
She opened her bag and pulled out her old clothes, piling the pieces of body armor in the corner, hanging the combat suit in the closet, and throwing her own underwear in the hamper. Taking out the manipulator, she threw it at Nibbler and sat on the bed to clean her boots. “Here. I hope it was worth all the trouble that it’s caused.”
“What is it?,” he said, investigating the device.
“Time-vortex manipulator. It’s why you sent me after Cubert. Well, one of the reasons anyway.”
“What happened Kyrie?,” he asked as he started his investigation of the device
“A couple of months ago, Nibblonian High Command detected some signals indicating that multiple someones had been time travelling. You guys were able to take out one of them and a few days ago, you came to me to deal with the other.”
“Why you? That sounds like a mission that I would do myself, of at the least send Fry or Leela on, and then wipe their memory after.”
“You never told me why you couldn’t go. And mom and dad were dead. Mom in 3016 and dad six months ago. I was the child of the Mighty One and the Other. You sent me to do their job, because Cubert was, is I guess, my cousin.”
“I’m sorry,” he said thoughtfully.
“Yeah, well, there we are,” she said, putting one boot down and picking up the other. She grimly continued her work while Nibbler just watched her.
“Kyrie,” he said slowly. “What did Cubert do?” She set the other boot down and looked at him. She looks so tired, he thought. Keeping up the brave front like Leela does most of the time. It exhausts her, too.
“He activated a space-rotation bomb,” she said flatly. “I had to use the manipulator to escape, and even then I was going on Cubert’s best guess theory about time travel and Universal destruction.”
“A space-rotation bomb,” Nibbler whispered. “I thought something like that was some story from a nightmare. Who built such a thing?”
She got up and pulled her boots on, saying, “Why don’t we go and let everybody in on this. I don’t want to tell it more than once.”
“So, let me get this straight,” Bender was saying. “Even though the Professor’s who’s-a-majigger says it’s true, even though she looks almost exactly like you, and even the way she hurt Cubert, you don’t believe her. You don’t think that you and Fry will interface and spawn, and she’ll happen.”
“There’s something about her that I don’t like about her,” she said.
“What?,” Fry asked, acid in his voice. “That’s she’s mine and not the daughter of a Senator or something? That I tricked you into marrying me after I somehow got you pregnant? Ooo, maybe I drugged you or hypnotized you or something Leela. That was probably it. No way I could do it on my own.” He crossed his arms and sulked at his station. He had been bothered by her reaction to the test results. She was refusing to believe her own eye, and it was starting to irritate him. Kyrie was their daughter, no question, but Leela still denied it, and denied him. The more he thought about it, that’s what hurt him the most. He loved her completely, but she barely tolerated him as a friend and co-worker.
Leela winced, but her reply was cut off by the door opening. Kyrie was wearing that lime-green tank top she had just bought and a pair of her black pants and her own boots. Looks a lot like me, she thought. Still, she stood by what she told Bender. The girl was hiding something, and she wanted to know what. Smiling much more warmly than she felt, she said, “Feeling better?”
Kyrie looked at Leela, then to Fry, and back to her mother with a frown. She walked over to her father and started to rub his neck and shoulders with her good hand, trying to work out the tension. Fry resisted at first, but eventually gave in. Jealousy spiked in Leela for some reason as their daughter eased Fry’s shoulder and neck muscles. Fear replaced it for some reason as the girl grabbed and twisted his neck in a way which gave off a series of sickening cracks and pops. She quickly did it in the other direction, followed again by the cracks and pops.
“Thanks, Kyrie,” he said, standing up and rolling his neck, the tension no longer visible in his posture. “That was great. Where did you learn to do that?”
“A friend of mine showed me. She was our doctor,” she said quietly. She hung her head and tried to hold it in. Seconds later, she was clinging to Fry, crying. Fry wrapped his arms around her and tried to comfort her. Looking over her shoulder at Leela, he motioned with his eyes and a shake of his head that she should come, too. She reluctantly set the auto-pilot and came over. The shocking thing was Fry glaring at her while she did. He seemed to be taking the whole father thing seriously, she reasoned.
“Later,” he mouthed at her angrily. Him, angry with her. What the hell is going on here?, she thought as she tried to comfort the girl.
Eventually, she calmed down. Fry sat her down in his chair and put his hands on her shoulders, hovering over her protectively. “Thanks,” she said, wiping her eye. “I’m sorry you had to see that. It’s been a really rough few days for me. After killing Cubert, everyone else was gone. I’m all alone now.”
Kneeling down next to her, Leela wiped a tear away and asked, “What happened, Kyrie?”
“That is a story for all of us,” Nibbler said from his position on the console. “She can tell it before we get to Rabina for the delivery.”
Leela did a double-take. She had forgotten that Nibbler could talk. How the hell do you forget something like that?, she wondered to herself. “Right,” she said getting up. “Part now, the rest later.”
“Just tell us what you can, K,” Fry said, patting her shoulder. She stiffened as soon as he said it. He moved around to face her, and her eye was wide and her face was white. “What? What did I say?”
“You used to call me K all the time. It’s just, I hadn’t heard it in a while and it was a little…”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know. I won’t do it again.”
“It’s ok, dad. You wouldn’t know. I, I’d like you to keep doing it, if you don’t mind,” she said, smiling weakly. She took a deep breath and got up. She walked to the main window at the end of the bridge and watched the universe pass. “I’m going to tell you the history of the future,” she said without turning.
“Wait a minute,” Fry said. “That sounds familiar. Didn’t I hear that in some sort of copywrited movie, or something?” Leela quickly smacked him on the back of the head. “Ouch.”
“Daddy,” Kyrie said patiently, turning to face them, “please don’t talk. This is hard enough for me. I don’t need running commentary.”
“Sorry,” he said rubbing the back of his head.
“Anyway, in a few months, a man named Dangrid Ohm will be elected President of the planet Praxis. A few days later, Praxis and two dozen other planets will withdraw from the DOOP and start calling themselves the Confederacy of United Planets, or just the Confederacy for short. The Confeds and the DOOP will be at war by the year’s end, but no one will care until the spring of 3008 when they blow up the Neutral Planet.”
They all gasped at hearing this. She waited until they were quiet again and continued. “The first major turning point is in 3010 when the Confeds take the Earth. Many people escape, but some stay and fight the darkness,” she said, smiling as she looked at Fry. “The DOOP regroups in the Polith system, and that’s when things begin to change.”
Pride evident in her voice, she continued, still smiling and looking at her parents. “A private army was formed out of the female orphans of the war since the DOOP wouldn’t let them serve. We were called the Daughters of the Revolution, or just the Daughters for short. We started small, with less than 20, but by 3012 there were over 200 of us. We had girls from all different species and backgrounds, but we were essentially spies and saboteurs. By late 3014, the DOOP was forced to acknowledge us because of our success. We were brought into the DOOP military, but we kept our own command structure, and were essentially free agents within the military. In late 3015, with all the DOOPs resources at our disposal, we were assigned the hardest and greatest task of anyone: retake the Earth. On August 24, 3016, we succeeded. Sort of.”
She turned away from her parents and walked back to the window. She stood rubbing her lower abdominals and started to cry again. Fry started to rise and console her again, but Leela put her hand on his leg and shook her head no. Nodding, Fry sat back down and waited for her to continue. She wiped her eye and turned to face them. Or, more accurately, she faced Leela.
“Only eight of us survived. Sixty-one of us went in, but only eight of us came back. The Confeds set a trap for us. There were 5,000 battle-tested troopers there, against sixty-one of us. They destroyed almost all of our air cover, but we still accomplished our mission. Or so we thought. I found out a few days ago that we’d been set up by our own government. They had us plant a nuclear device in a hardened bunker. It would flood the area with radiation, killing countless civilians and all of the surviving Daughters, but end up doing very little damage to the actual target. When the eight of us survived, the other fifty-three became martyrs, bringing in women from across the DOOP. All it did was delay their plans. A few days ago, they finished the job. We were blamed for a military coup that killed the Earth President and the DOOP Security Council. As far as I know, when I traveled here, I was the only one left,” she said, turning back again to the window. “All of my friends and family are dead. I’m all alone.”
They sat in silence for a long time. Fry got up and walked over to her. “You’re not alone, baby,” he said, very fatherly and much more maturely than Leela had ever heard him. Putting his arm around her waist, he said, “You’ve got us.” She rested her head on his shoulder and wrapped her left arm across his back, as they stood there watching the universe go by. Leela just watched them and it really started to hit her how much this girl was her. Woman, she corrected herself. No one who when through that could be called a girl anymore. Maybe Fry… no, not yet. She couldn’t accept it yet. Fry?
He was the slacker of all slackers. He was an immature, childish moron that never thought more than one step ahead. There was the whole thing with the Omicronian children, Xmas, his relationship with Amy, he never listened to her, especially when she was trying to help and she was right, that mutiny with Zapp, and that disastrous fling with his old girlfriend Michelle.
But, for all of that, there he was, comforting a daughter that wouldn’t be born for four more years. He had a good heart, he had never lied to her, and she knew he would never do anything to intentionally hurt her. He had gone out on Xmas Eve to get her something, even though he knew Santa was coming and spent every penny he had on her. He helped her learn the truth about Al, he never said anything beyond their first meeting about her eye, and he said that he had a thing for her (ME! And not Amy, she thought with more than a little jealous pride) when they were together in the DOOP over Spheron 1. And then there was that almost moment on Titanic.
Deciding something, she got up and walked over to them. “You’re father’s right, honey,” she said, standing on the other side. “We’re here for you.” She looked at Fry over her head and smiled at him.
“Ugh. Gageth upon me with a spoon,” Bender said from the other side of the bridge. “I only want to know one thing,” he said, chugging down the rest of his beer. “What happens to me, Bender? Am I destined for the greatness that I know is due me, or do I get the shaft like I get during this crummy time?”
“Don’t ask such questions, robot,” Nibbler said. “It’s not good to know too much about your future. And with her here now, it could be disastrous to know anything about it.”
“No, I think it’ll be OK, Nibbler,” she said, disengaging herself from her parents and walking over to him. “You’re a tyrant, Bender, enslaving humans to your will. And you saved my life by killing humans.” She hugged him and kissed him on the side of his head. “Thanks, Uncle Bender.”
“Aww,” he said, embarrassed. Clearing his throat, he said, “Enslaving and killing humans is nice and all, but who plays me in the movie?”
“Claculon,” she said, lying. “He won you an Oscar of your own for ‘Bender: A Calculon Story.’”
“YES! In your face Tom Hanks. This calls for a celebration,” he said, pulling out three beers and walking off the bridge, pouring all of them into his mouth at the same time.
Kyrie watched him go and sadly hung her head. She walked over to the couch and sat down. “He doesn’t really win, you know. He was overthrown and died before the movie could be made. He did save my life, though,” she said smiling weakly. “He gave his life to protect me so I could get Cubert. You made him promise he would on your deathbed,” she said looking at Fry, tears in her eye.
“Enough,” Nibbler said. “Stop talking about the future. The less we know the better. It’s bad enough that you’re here. We don’t need more information, or what you’re trying to prevent could come to pass anyway.”
“Why are you here, anyway?,” Leela asked. “I mean, you’re just not here to see us, I hope.”
“No,” she said. “I’m actually here to deal with a bigger threat than universal war.”
There was a voice coming from the pilot’s station. “We have arrived at Rabina,” the auto-pilot announced.
Kyrie stood looking out the front window as Leela piloted them through the atmosphere. She always loved to see a new planet from the air for the first time. It was a hold-over from her childhood, such that it was, when she would be the gunner for the air cover on some of the Daughter’s missions. She would sit in the belly turret of the drop ship and watch as the countryside flew by. It would sometimes make her forget for a little while why they were there.
The view of Rabina was not at all pretty. The majority of the planet appeared to be a polluted industrial wasteland. There were some visible cities, always around the factory complexes that they supported. There were no visible farms or forests. The water, or what she thought was the water, was a sick neon green color.
“My,” she said sarcastically, “what a paradise. You know,” she said, walking back to the command area and sitting down in Bender’s chair, “it’s 25 years in the past, and you two still take me to all the galaxy’s garden spots.”
“Only the best for our girl,” he said smiling. “Isn’t that right Leela?”
“Yep,” she said noncommittally. There were still things that bothered her about this whole situation. Fry being the father of her child was just one of them. She’d try and be nice to him for her, since she had finally accepted that Kyrie was her daughter. But, her and Fry? No, that was stupid. The girl was probably just the result of a one-night stand. But, she was awfully nice to Fry and not to her. Wonder why that is, she thought. I’m going to have to grill this girl at some point.
He eyed her in annoyance and wondered what the hell was wrong with her. She had been showing signs of coming around a few minutes ago, but now she was back to her usually suspicious nature. They were going to have to have a talk soon, and he intended to do most of the talking for a change.
“Dad,” Kyrie said from where she was watching the approaching landing platform on Bender's screen. “Can you scan the area for me?”
“Do I have to?,” he whined.
“Yes,” Leela said, looking at her daughter’s stone-like face from the corner of her eye. The same feeling of being watched must be running down her back, too, she thought.
“Fine,” he said irritably. He pushed a few buttons and the scanner beeped a few times as it searched the area and updated the view. “Nothing,” he said finally. “Are you two happy?”
“No,” they said simultaneously.
“It’s a trap,” Kyrie said.
“For what,” Leela replied. “We’re carrying spare parts for pumps at a water treatment plant. It’s not exactly hard to get materials.”
Kyrie growled and got up. “Mom, get Bender up onto the guns, just in case. I’m going to go with dad on the delivery.”
“Now wait just a minute, young lady,” she said, her patience with the woman eroding rapidly. “This is my ship. I’m in command here, not you. We’ll do it the way I say.”
Straightening up, Kyrie looked at her with a look that she wasn’t used to seeing: open defiance. “Fine, mom, we’ll do this your way. You got any magic tricks to pull us out of the fire without dad getting killed?
Kyrie was right. Leela had no good idea about how to handle this without Fry getting hurt. The woman was a fully trained combat soldier who had years of experience with things like this, and she had nothing. It still galled her to have take orders on her own ship from her daughter. Through gritted teeth, she said, “Fine. We’ll do it your way.” Irritably, she jammed the call button. “Bender, get up here. I need you to shoot things.”
“Can do,” came the reply.
“Trust me, mom. I’m a professional,” Kyrie said as she walked to the back of the bridge.
“How much time do you need,” Leela asked without turning around.
“Ten minutes. Dad, I’ll meet you in the cargo bay,” she said, patting him on the shoulder before she left at a run for Leela’s cabin, Nibbler at her heels.
“What are you planning to do?,” Nibbler panted after he got to the cabin. Kyrie had already pulled off her boots and was stripping off Leela’s clothes near the closet where she hung her suit.
“Even the odds,” she said putting on the body armor.
“You better not get captured with that equipment. It could be disastrous.”
“The only thing that I’ve got that isn’t available now is the body armor,” she said. “The EE-3 I’m carrying started its production run two years ago. And why is everything I do disastrous? Did it ever occur to you that losing the Mighty One now might be disastrous? I know a thing or two about the future, Nibbler. From what you yourself told me once, he still has at least two very important missions to take care of. I’d think that you, more than anyone, would want him to be alive."
“And you have no selfish motivations in this, with him being your father and all?”
She zipped up the front of the suit and put her bag on the bed. “You told me a few days ago that everyone has a destiny. He’s not destined to die for a long time.”
“But you being here now changes everything,” Nibbler said excitedly. “The history that you know could be flung out the airlock.”
She pulled out her carbine and hoped the dip into the canal hadn’t done too much damage. Going to need to clean this when we’re done, she thought. I should have done it already, really. Shaking her head, she thought, Can’t be helped now. “Well,” she said, “I’m damned sure not going to sit back and watch my father die again. Not this time. Not when I might be able to do something about it,” she said, slamming the power pack into her EE-3 and hoping for the best. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go to work.”
“What the hell is wrong with you,” Fry asked when they were alone on the bridge.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about Fry,” she said tensely as she landed the ship on the platform.
“That’s a total load, Leela, and you know it,” he said standing up. “I want to know what your problem is with our daughter.”
“Oh, so she’s our daughter again, is she? For a while there, it looked like she was your daughter, and I was just that other person that she looks like.”
“You aren’t even giving her a chance,” Fry said walking next to her. “What are you afraid of, Leela?”
“Excuse me?,” she said standing up. “What am I afraid of? What are you so hopeful for? Wait, don’t answer that. I already know what you want. How do you know that she’s the result of some happy fantasy union? Maybe she was a one-night mistake.”
Fry slapped her as hard as he could across the left side of her face. They both stared at each other in shock for a few seconds. Then Leela swung back, hitting him with a right to the jaw that knocked him down. Fry rubbed his jaw as he stood back up, while Leela stood there shaking a little, a mixture of shock and rage on her face. They just stared at each other for a couple of seconds, both wary of the other’s next move. Suddenly, Fry smirked. He grabbed the sides of her head with his hands, pulling her toward him quickly and kissed her. It was fast and hard, but full of passion.
When they finished, they stepped back from each other, staring again. “Who the hell do you think you are?,” she asked as she slapped him. Then she surprised them both by grabbing the sides of his head, pulling him forward, and kissing him, just as fast, just as hard, but just as passionate as Fry had just kissed her. When they stepped back this time, she straightened his jacket and said, “We’ll talk about this later, Fry. Now go make the delivery. And please don’t get killed.”
“Hey,” he said with a grin as he walked backwards toward the door. “It’s meeeeee,” he said as he tripped over the door frame and fell into the hall. He smiled sheepishly as the door shut in front of him.
Leela covered her eye with her hand and shook her head, wondering what had just happened.
Kyrie was pacing the cargo bay as Fry walked in, rubbing his jaw. There was a fist-shaped black and blue mark just starting to appear on the left side of his face. “What happened?”
Laughing quietly, he said, “Your mother and I were just having a friendly little chat.”
“Yeah, I bet,” she said, huffing out a breath. She stood on the lift as he brought the crate over on the hover-dolly. “I know this whole thing is awkward, dad, but…”
“Don’t worry about me, K. I’m fine,” he said, settling the hover-dolly next to the control panel. “It’s your mother who’s kind of weird about it. I mean, look at me,” he said, holding up his hand and ticking off his fingers. “My best friend is a robot, and I live in his closet. I work for my nephew who is over 150 years old. I’m standing on another planet and travel through space on a daily basis. I was born over 1,000 years ago, and everything I ever knew is long gone. And, thanks to you, I know that one day I’ll get the woman of my dreams, who just happens to be an alien. How cool is all that? How can having a daughter walk into my life from sometime in the future make that any weirder?” He smiled as he hit the button and they started to descend.
She just smiled at him, and shook her head. “You know what I’ve missed most about you, dad?,” she said as they walked onto the landing platform. “You always had a great outlook on your life. I've really missed you these last few months, dad," she said, kissing him on his right cheek.
“K, maybe you shouldn’t be telling me stuff about the future. You heard what Nibbler said. Ha,” he exclaimed. “That’s another thing. My would-be girlfriend has a talking guinea pig as a pet that craps starship fuel.”
“Dad,” she said her tone becoming serious as the lift touched down on the landing platform. “I think you should let me go out there.” There was a solid thunk as she tapped her chest. “I’m a bit more prepared than you are,” she said, poking him in the same spot on his chest. “You’re a bit squishy.”
“K, I’ve done this dozens of times. It’ll be fine.” Eyeing her rifle, he said, “You just keep me covered, and everything will be perfect. Trust me,” he said, smiling. “All I have to do is get our customer, uh,” looking down at the invoice, “Mr. Phil McCrackin, to sign the release and we can get out of here.”
She groaned. “Dad, this is such an obvious trap. I cannot believe that you’re falling for it. I thought you were smarter than this.”
“Bah,” he said. “You’re just like your mother. You worry too much.” Kissing her on the cheek, he smiled and said, “Be right back honey.”
He walked out onto the empty platform and waited. Kyrie began scanning the area for any movement. She heard the grating of the steel door opening before she saw the bright white light coming out from inside the building. Snapping the rifle up, she looked through the scope and made the unfortunate discovery that either the fall in the elevator or the one into the canal had cracked a lens in the sight, rendering it useless. “Damn it,” she swore quietly, and quickly tired to remove it.
A large grey shape stomped out onto the landing pad. It was humanoid in shape, but obviously not human. As her eye adjusted to the light, she could see that it was a robot. There was a square of a different shade of grey right in the center of its chest, and an old-style golden computer mouse dangling from a thick gold chain around its neck. She also saw the long black shape of a repeating blaster rifle in its hand.
Fry shielded his eyes and watched the approaching figure. “Uh, are you Phil McCrackin?”
“The boss says yer comin’ with us, coffin stuffer,” the robot said, raising his gun.
“Is he Phil McCrackin? Hey, don't I know you? You’re with the Robot Mafia, aren’t you? You guys robbed us a few months ago? You took some Zuban cigars, I think.”
He stepped forward and hit Fry with the barrel of the gun, dropping him in a heap. “What part of ‘You’re coming with us’ didn’t you understand, skintube?”
“Damn it,” Kyrie said. She hadn’t been able to get the sight off, and now dad was down. Hope for the best, she thought, raising the rifle and pulling the trigger.
Letting loose a long string of Neptunian curses, she dropped the gun to the floor of the lift and sprinting to where her father had fallen. The robot was starting to drag him toward the open door. She judged her distance as best as she could with her poor depth perception, and leapt at the robot’s back, landing a boot right to the back of his head, knocking the robot back and forcing it to drop Fry as he fell.
“Hey,” he said, getting up at raising the rifle. “Dis don’t compute. Da boss said dat der’d be no resisting.”
“Yeah, well your boss didn’t figure on me, did he?,” she said, leaping again. She hit him square in the chest with several kicks, knocking him back again toward the door.
“I’ve had enough of you, organ sack,” he said hitting the firing stud on his rifle. She cart-wheeled across the platform as the robot fired, tracking her as best as he could. She flipped behind the crate, wondering what was keeping Bender.
“Where the hell have you been, Bender?,” Leela yelled as he walked onto the bridge.
“What’s it to you?”
“I told you to get into the turret and cover Fry and Kyrie, remember?”
“No. I cannot recall that conversation,” he said, coughing and holding out his hand.
Sighing in irritation, Leela put $20 into his hand.
“Each,” Bender said, coughing. Growling, Leela added another $20. Bender stuffed the cash into his casing. "Pleasure doing business with you, Big Boots," he said as he climbed the ladder to the guns.
“No one screws wit Joey Mousepad or da Robot Mafia, eyeball,” he said as he started walking toward where she was hiding. “All you had to do was let us take the skin tube. Now I’m gonna have ta death kill you. ” she sprinted away from the crate as he resumed firing and quickly reduced the crate to burning splinters.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, she thought as she dodged for all she was worth, wishing Bender would start shooting already.
Suddenly, green light lit the platform as the cannons finally roared to life. Ask and answered, she thought as Bender stitched the landing pad with lasers. Surprised by the attack, Joey ran, looking for cover. Seeing her opening, Kyrie ran forward and dragged Fry as fast as she could to the ship. Dragging him onto the lift, she hit the ‘Up’ button.
She sat, watching him sleep. Well, watching him lay unconscious, at any rate. When Kyrie called over the com that he was hurt, her heart dropped and her stomach tied itself into knots. She was afraid for him, that was all. He was her friend, and she was worried about him. That was all it was. Wasn’t it?
But the more she tried to rationalize it away, the more she started to realize what her body was telling her after what had happened on the bridge before the delivery. They fought, but they did that all the time. Then he hit her. That had never happened before, no matter how hard she rode him about things. Being a father was changing him. There was a core of something strong inside him. But, no matter how much she liked him showing strength and some backbone (and she had to admit to herself that she really liked it), she had to respond. She hit him. She’d done it before, but his reaction this time was so different, so unexpected.
He kissed her. That was it. That’s what changed it. She slapped him, of course, just for his presumption of thinking that he could do that. But then she surprised them both by kissing him back. And that was that. He’d changed their relationship, and within seconds, she’d accepted it and it was done. And she liked it.
But what to do with it now, she thought, watching him breathing. I have to talk to her. She has answers I need. Getting up, she brushed his hair out of his face and kissed his cheek, and left the small closet heading for the bridge.
She sat on the floor at the front of the bridge, tool kit and her EE-3 disassembled in front of her, burning with shame and regret. This was all her fault. She had been so impatient to get to Planet Express that she broke one of the Daughter’s cardinal rules. Her rifle had failed her because she had failed it. And now her father lay unconscious in what passed for this ships sick bay. And it was all her fault. I’m an officer, damn it, she thought. I should have known better than this. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t notice her mother walking behind her until Leela touched her shoulder, causing her to jump.
“Want to talk about it?,” Leela said as she sat down on the couch behind her.
“Nothing to say, mom. It was my fault. Dad would be fine and we’d have one less Robot Mafia goon looking for us if I hadn’t broken one of your rules.” She made a face, realizing what she had said. Oh well, she thought. Nibbler would have had to wipe their minds, anyway.
“My rules?,” she asked, looking at her strangely. Then the pieces fit. “Oh,” she said. “I see. I guess it would make sense that I would do something like that.”
“Dad too,” she said. In for a penny, in for a pound, she thought. “You were their parents, their Mother and Father. After that night in South Dakota, the remaining Originals were loyal to you two until the day they died. My best friend, River, was the only one of us to get married. She had dad give her away, and named her daughter after you,” she said, concentrating on the task at hand, and trying very hard not to cry.
They sat in silence as Kyrie worked, trying hard to avoid thinking of her friends. Leela fought hard with herself. She wanted these answers, she needed them. But did she dare ask the questions? Did it really matter what happened to her? Yes, she finally decided. She had to know. She had to deal with Fry, and this little mother-daughter rivalry had to stop. And to do that, she needed answers.
“I didn’t make it out of South Dakota, did I?,” Leela asked.
Kyrie stopped and sat still. She didn’t need to say anything for Leela to figure out the answer. She’d live, at least eight more years and at most fourteen. Things were fitting in place a little better now. Just a few more questions and she could stop.
“When did you leave the future?”
Swallowing, she turned to face her mother. “February 17, 3027.”
“How old are you, Kyrie?”
“I turned twenty last November.”
That settled a few more things. Kyrie hadn’t seen her mother in over ten years. “When did Fry,” this was, for some reason, the hardest one for her to ask. “When did your father die?”
She held Leela’s gaze, even as both of their eyes started to water. “Six months ago” she said, turning away.
And that was that. Leela understood it now. She hadn’t seen her mother in ten years, but her father, the one who raised her alone for half her life, had just died. She was attaching herself to him so strongly because she missed him and the wound was still fresh. But the scar that was her mother’s death had healed somewhat better.
“I’m sorry to do that to you, baby,” she said, putting her hand on Kyrie’s shoulders. “I just needed to know some things before I talk to your father again.”
Kyrie stiffened. “You wanted to know whether I was legitimate or not, didn’t you? Whether I was an accident or not.”
Leela sat back. “It had crossed my mind,” she said, sighing. “You’ve known your father longer than I have, but I know him better. The man unconscious in the sick bay isn’t your father. Not yet, anyway. And I’m not your mother, either. The people that we are now aren’t the people who will raise an army and free the Earth. Philip J. Fry is still an immature idiot from the stupid ages. I’m still an insecure alien, looking for her home. Hell, I don’t even know what species I am or what planet I’m from.” They sat in an uneasy silence for a few seconds, just staring at each other. Finally, Leela said, “But you know, don’t you?”
The fight was taken out of her immediately. “Mom,” she said, almost begging, “please don’t ask me that. Don’t ask questions you don’t really want the answer to.”
“Kyrie, you’ve always known who you were. I’ve been looking for an answer to that question for longer than you’ve been alive.” Leela dropped to her knees in front of Kyrie. “Tell me. Please. I need to know.”
Her shoulders slumped in defeat, her voice small and weak, Kyrie said, “Mom, you were born on Earth.” Raising her head, she looked Leela straight in the eye and said, “We’re not aliens, mom. We’re mutants.”
“That’s not… I can’t be…,” she stammered.
Leela was stunned. Of all the species and planet names that she had made up in her childhood fantasies, never once had she considered ‘mutant’ and ‘Earth.’ She couldn’t be a mutant. Mutants were filthy things that weren’t allowed up on the surface for a reason. They had three arms, or looked like frogs, or like that one guy who was just a leg. They were mutants. She couldn’t be one of them, could she?
“I’m sorry, mom. But it’s true. You, dad, and Bender have each told me the story a few times. But don’t ask me where you were born or where Grandma and Grandpa are now, because I don’t remember where they used to live. They died before we left Earth.”
She still couldn’t believe it. She stared into space, not sure how to continue this conversation. She had asked for it, though. She took a few deep, trembling breaths and let them out slowly, trying to calm down her racing heart. Mutant. Fry would never accept her now, despite the evidence to the contrary that was sitting on the floor in front of her. An alien was one thing, but a mutant? He must have left me when he found out, she thought.
“Kyrie, do your dad and I get… I mean, do we stay… He doesn’t… I mean…”
“Does he stay with you when you when you find out that you’re a mutant? Mom, he’s the one who tells you who and what Grandma and Grandpa are. You don’t get married for almost two years after that. I do end up coming along a few months before you’re married nine months, though,” she said, smiling slyly.
“He knows and he doesn’t care,” she said, her eye wide, a smile slowly spreading on her face. “He accepts me for who and what I am.” But that was her father, she thought suddenly. He had more time to be around me and fall in love with me before they found out. What about this Fry?
Leela knelt down behind Kyrie and hugged her tight. “Thank you for telling me this, Kyrie. I’ve got a lot to think about now,” she said, kissing her cheek. “And don’t tell your father, Nibbler, or Bender about any of this. We’ll keep it between us girls for now.”
“Shouldn’t they know?”
“Your dad, for sure, and maybe Nibbler. But definitely not Bender.”
“You want me to tell dad?”
“No. I’ll tell him when he wakes up,” Leela said, sitting back on the couch.
“Tell who what when who wakes up?,” came Fry’s voice from behind them.
Fry lay on her bed as Leela paced the room. His head throbbed, and she was making him dizzy with all of this pacing. He closed his eyes and relaxed. She’d tell him when she was ready.
“Wake up, Fry,” she said, hitting his foot as she walked past again. “This is a serious discussion. There’s no time for sleeping.”
“I wasn’t sleeping, Leela. I closed my eyes because you’re pacing is making me dizzy and making my headache worse. Besides, if you don’t stop and tell me what you need to tell me so I can actually go back to sleep, Hermes is going to charge you to replace the carpeting.”
Noticing the barely visible wear pattern she was making, she sat down on the end of the bed. “I thought you wanted to talk to me about something,” she said.
“It could have waited until we landed, but since you dragged me up here, I want to talk to you about Kyrie. You’ve got to stop this stupid competition thing that you’re having. You’re her mother, not her older sister, no matter how it looks. She’s from the future, so you’ve probably already found out about who and what you are and where you come from. If you’re nice to her, she might tell you.”
Leela smirked and giggled a little as she looked at him.
“What?,” he asked.
“Nothing,” she stammered. She looked at him again, and then she started laughing harder.
She laughed a few more minutes before finally calming down. “Sorry. It’s just that Kyrie and I had a nice long talk about things while you were out, and everything is OK between us now.”
“Really,” he said with a raised eyebrow. “You were very anti-daughter and anti-relationship a few hours ago, and now you’re pro- both? I believe there’s an old robot saying that goes something like, ‘What you talkin’ about, Willis?’.”
“You were right,” she said. “I’ve accepted that she’s our daughter, and that you and I will, eventually,” she paused and took a deep breath, not believing she was actually going to say this, “fall in love and get married.”
“I’m sorry. Would you mind repeating that? That wang to my head must have jarred my hearing a little. It sounded like you said I was right.”
“Don’t gloat, Fry. It’s not very attractive.”
“I’m sorry,” he said smiling, headache apparently forgotten. “It’s just I’m a little excited about a few things right now. And you telling me that I was right is just one of them.” He slid forward and put his hand on her back. “Where does that leave us now?”
It felt good. Almost like she felt complete, but she hadn’t realized she’d been missing anything until now. “It leaves us nowhere for right now,” she said, standing up regretfully. His touch was warm and soft, gentle even, not like so many of the jerks that she had dated. “I have to tell you something first. It didn’t matter to Kyrie’s father, but you don’t become that man for a few more years, so I’m not sure how you’re going to react.” She might be breaking his heart, and that felt horrible. This morning, it would have been nothing, maybe only slightly regretful, but not now. Now it was something different entirely. The Fry that was Kyrie’s father had come to love her over a few years. She didn’t know about this Fry, though.
“What?,” he said, sitting on the bed in front of her. “It can’t be all that bad.”
“Fry, Kyrie told me where I’m from and what I am.”
“Really,” he said cheerfully, unaware of the emotional axe she saw hanging above his neck.
“Fry,” she said, kneeling down in between his legs and taking his hands in hers. I won’t cry, damn it, she thought, taking a deep breath and closing her eye. She couldn’t bear to see the disappointment and disgust on his face. “I was born on Earth. I’m not an alien. I’m a mutant.”
Fry stared at her for a few seconds, not saying a word. She risked opening her eye and saw the same smiling face that she did before she told him. “And,” he said. “What’s your point, Leela?”
“Didn’t you just hear what I said? I’m a mutant. I’m not some perfect alien goddess. I’m just some filthy freak of nature.” A tear slowly started to fall down her cheek.
“No you aren’t,” he said, softly caressing her cheek, wiping the tear away. “You’re just Leela. No different from before.” She smiled at him and turned her head, trapping his hand between her head and her shoulder.
He looked at her strangely, like he really wanted to tell her something. After a couple of false starts, he finally said, “I need to tell you something, Leela. It’s hard for me to find words sometimes, though.”
“It can’t be as hard as what I just told you, Fry,” she said.
“Oh, you’d be surprised,” he said, giggling nervously. He took a few deep breathes to steady himself and turned her head so that he could look her in the eye. “Leela,” he said slowly, “I, I, I love you.” The end came out in a rush, but she still heard every word. She just didn’t believe them.
“What did you say, Fry?,” she whispered.
“I, I, I,” he stammered. “I said, I , uh, I …never mind,” he whispered, turning his head away, tears in his eyes.
She knelt up and put her hands on the sides of his face, wiping his tears away. “I heard you, Fry,” she said softly. “I just didn’t really believe you. I mean, I’m a monster, Fry. How could you love a monster?”
“You’re not a monster, Leela,” he said, smiling at her. “I love you, Leela. I’ve loved you since we first met. I just didn’t realize it until lately. Besides, how could you ever believe that I could think you were a monster?”
“It’s just, the whole mutant thing,” she said, not actually believing that this was happening. He leaned his head toward her and kissed her softly on the lips. He pulled her close and hugged her tight. They were both crying now, but tears of joy.
They sat together, just holding each other for a long time. Leela pulled away and wiped her eye. “Fry,” she said, “I think we need to talk about how we’re going to go from here.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I think we should take this slowly. I, we, I mean, we aren’t supposed to get married for another four years. Kyrie’s being here is already changing history. Or the future. Whatever. You know what I mean. We have to be very careful from here on out. It could be a disaster.”
Nodding his head, Fry said, “I see what you mean. You want to go out for dinner tonight?”
“Fry, what did I just tell you? We need to go slowly.”
“Leela, it’s only dinner. We’ve been out to eat before. This will just be a little fancier and a little more private than how we usually do it.”
“Alright. Just dinner. Nothing afterward but a kiss on the cheek. Sex will have to wait a while,” she said with a smile. He was disappointed, though he was comforted a little bit by what he thought sounded like disappointment in her voice, too.
“Agreed,” he said, kissing her on the cheek. “I’ll see you when we land. I’m going to go lay down for a while.”
“Fry,” she said as he reached the door. “For the love of Oprah, don’t tell Bender or Nibbler about this. Bender will tell everyone and Nibbler will just yell at us. They’ll find out soon enough, anyway.”
“Sure thing, Leela. I love you.”
“I, I love you, too, Fry,” she said, smiling. She did, she realized. She really loved him. Sighing contentedly, she checked her wrist-a-majigger. They’d be landing soon. She needed to get back to the bridge. She walked back to the bridge, whistling “Walkin’ on Sunshine.’”
Leela, as always, slid the ship easily into the hanger despite all of her emotional turmoil. It had been a momentous afternoon to say the least. She left home that morning with nothing more on her mind than making sure Fry and Bender didn’t screw up and get her fired again. Now, she was a mutant, her pet could talk, eventually she’d save the Earth, and the person she considered her closest friend was going to be her loving husband and the father of her child in a few years. And she’d be dead by the end of August 3016. So yeah, it was a bit busy.
She started shutting things down as Fry walked onto the bridge to stand behind her. He smiled at her and started rubbing some of the tension out of her neck and shoulders. She sighed contentedly as he worked out a few of the bigger knots. Patting his hands, she stood up to look at him. Him, she thought smiling. This man loves me. All those years, he was right under my nose. Of course he was still frozen for most of that time, but who cares about little details? She had been searching for love and acceptance for a long time, and he had been there all along.
She and Fry agreed to go slowly, but she knew that was going to be hard. According to Kyrie, she wasn’t even supposed to start falling in love with him for another two years. But, Kyrie had told Leela what Nibbler had told her: Kyrie was a temporal paradox and causing the future to no longer be as rock solid as she remembered it to be. If they were careful, nothing major would change. But if not, Kyrie might be born a few years early.
The door to the bridge opened and Kyrie walked in, Nibbler on her shoulder. “Ugh, get a room you two,” she said, a look of mock disgust on her face.
“Indeed,” Nibbler said. “This carrying on in public is most unseemly….wait a minute. What’s happened? You two were not this friendly earlier.” He looked accusingly at the three of them in turn, finally looking Kyrie in the eye. “You told them, didn’t you? Farznat, girl! What did I tell you about changing the future? Have I let you down so much in the future that you don’t listen to my warnings anymore? This could be catastrophic! You’re playing fast and loose with powers beyond your comprehension!”
“Calm down,” Nibbler, she said walking off the bridge. “You and the other Niblonians can always clean up later. Right now, I need them to help me. This was the easiest way.”
“How? Making their hormones rage constantly? If you had my nose, the scent from that room would sicken you. All those hormones and pheromones raging uncontrolled. The only thing that’s keeping them from mating right now is fear.”
“Guh,” Nibbler. “I didn’t need that thought in my head. It’s bad enough that I know that they do it. I don’t need to be reminded about it.”
“If that’s the only way to keep you from destroying the universe, so be it.”
“I’m trying to prevent universal destruction, Nibbler, Remember? I’ve got to stop the war or at the very least that bomb. It’s the only way.”
“Wait,” he said. “This really wasn’t just some pleasure trip, then? Something you did just to spite me?”
“We’re you listening to me before when I told you about this being the only way to escape the destruction of the universe? Honestly, your memory must be slipping after a few thousand years.” Sighing, she said “Let’s get everyone together and I’ll explain why I’m here and what I need.”
She stepped off the ship into the hanger and ran right into Amy.
“Buh, Leela. I know you’ve got bad depth perception, but…,” she stopped and stared at Kyrie. “Hey! You’re not Leela.”
“Finally, someone figured that out,” Kyrie said smirking. “It’s good to see you again Aunt Amy.” She hadn’t seen her since she was 8 when the Nimbus went down over Trimble 2. She was always nice to her when she and Captain Kroker visited. She had to work hard to remember not to call him Uncle Kif when she had seen him, since he was technically her superior.
“I’m sorry, what did you call me?,” Amy asked, looking stunned.
“Time travel,” she said smiling. “You’re my Aunt Amy. Not really my aunt, since you’re not related to my mom or dad, but still, you wanted me to call you Aunt Amy.”
"Ummmm, who are you again?"
“Kyrie Fry,” she said smiling, holding out her hand. “Phil and Leela’s daughter.”
“Da-, da-, wha?,” Amy stuttered.
“You must stop doing this, Kyrie,” Nibbler said, sounding annoyed. “You’re making an awfully big mess that I’m going to have to clean up later.”
“Nibibibib-,” Amy said, looking at Nibbler in astonishment. “You can talk.”
“You get used to it,” Kyrie said, smiling. “It’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick. Amy, could you go get Hermes and the Professor and meet us all in the….”
“The Accusing Room,” Nibbler said.
“Yeah. The Accusing Room. Thanks, Nibbler.”
“Uh…,” Amy said, staring, looking back and forth between the two of them.
“Go on, Amy,” she said, shooing her toward the lab. “We’ve got to save the Universe. I’ve slacked at this long enough.” She pushed her along, turning around long enough to yell over her shoulder toward the ship, “MOM, DAD, GO TO THE ACCUSING ROOM WHEN YOU’RE DONE IN THERE.”
“You don’t have to yell,” Fry said from behind her as he and Leela walked down the ramp.
“Oh, sorry. Where is this Accusing Room, anyway?”
“I’ll show you the way,” Nibbler said. “We need to stop in the kitchen first, though. I haven’t eaten since this morning and I really need a ham.”
“No more ham for you today, mister,” Leela yelled as they headed for the elevator. “It’s too salty. Eat the zebra instead.”
“But I wanted that ham,” he whined as the doors shut.
She paced across the Accusing Room, everyone staring at her. Other than her parents, Bender, and Cubert, she hadn’t seen these people in years. That Decopodian crab-thing, Dr. Zoidberg she thought her dad said, had died in a rocket train accident in 3007, so she didn’t remember him at all. The Professor had died in early 3011 when he accidentally blew up the DSD Revenant while testing the revised propulsion system that he had installed. He was remembered as a hero, though, because he took out three Confed cruisers, too. Hermes died in 3010 when the Confederates invaded. Scruffy, the janitor, she hadn’t seen since 3024 when he disappeared somewhere between Bermuda 7 and its two moons.
This was going to be big, she knew. She was committing her whole family to this, knowing that she held their lives, and the future, in her hands. She’d conducted briefings before, so it wasn’t the fear of public speaking that was stopping her. Taking a deep breath to steady her rising nerves, she committed herself again. She told them who she was and recapped the story that she had told on the ship. Then, she got to the real reason why she was there.
“Sometime during the next decade, a weapon of unimaginable and obscene destructive capability will be built. It’s called a space-rotation bomb.” The Professor gasped and swore when he heard that. He knows what that is, she thought. Good. “As I understand it, a space-rotation bomb is capable of ripping a hole in the fabric of reality and destroying the entire universe, killing everything everywhere. The Confeds will try and use it to force a settlement with the DOOP. Thanks to the Daughters, it never got used in my timeline. However, it was captured by the DOOP and sent to an experimental weapons base for study.
“About two days ago, I killed Professor Cubert J. Farnsworth.” This statement brought a shriek of fear from Cubert, but no one else reacted. “But, he armed the bomb first, and there is no way to disarm it after that happens. After killing him, I escaped using a time machine, just like he planned to. I came back to the past for two reasons. The first is that in a few more minutes, the Universe would have ceased to exist. But the second became obvious once the bomb was activated. I had to stop the war from happening, or at the very least, stop the bomb from being built, and thus change the future. To do that, I’m going to have to blow up a few installations and kill quite a few people.”
She took a deep breath and looked at them all. “There’s an old saying. ‘Kill one to save one thousand.’ Well, I’m planning on killing a lot more than one, but it’ll save the lives of countless trillions.” She turned and looked at them, smiling. “I’m going to save the universe. And I need your help.”
They all stared at her in silence for a long time, absorbing what she had said. Then, her father said, “I’m in.” He walked over to stand with her from where he was standing behind Leela. They smiled at each other and she looked genuinely relieved to have him at her side.
“We’re in,” Leela corrected, walking over to stand with them, taking Fry’s hand. That brought funny looks from Amy and Hermes, but eventually they both shrugged at each other.
“Well, I’m all for killing humans,” Bender said. “And for you, Little Boots, for the good news you gave me, I’m in.” He walked over and stood in front of her, coughing a few times, his hand out. Kyrie looked at him funny for a few seconds before she understood what he was looking for. She smiled and slid a $30 into his hand.
He quickly flipped the bill over a few times, wondering when they had made $30 bill. “Hey, this ain’t legal tender.”
“Look at the front, Bender," she said.
Angrily, he turned the bill over and gasped. It was printed in 3026, and right in the center was a picture of him. “Hey!,” the bill said, “I am so legal tender, jerkwad. Bite my shiny metal ass. Go out and spend me. There’s hooker-bots, and booze, and gambling you could be using me for.”
Bender and the bill stared at each other for a few seconds, and then Bender started crying. “I’m so happy,” he said hugging Kyrie and sobbing on her shoulder. “I’ll be legal tender.” Suddenly, he stopped, though. “But you’ll still have to give me real money for me to help you out.” Fry slipped him $20, which Bender happily slid into his casing. “Right. Now I’m in.”
“A doomsday device might come in handy in a situation like this,” Fry said, looking hopefully at his nephew.
“A doomsday device, you say,” he replied thoughtfully. “I may have one or two I could part with. But I want something in return.”
Kyrie and Nibbler eyed him warily. “Yes,” she said slowly.
“I want to use your time travel machine.” Their eyes widened in shock.
“I’m afraid that’s not possible, Professor,” Kyrie said. “I have no idea how it works. Cubert set the machine. I just took it off of him after I killed him.”
“Damn it. I’ve got bills that are late and library books that are overdue. I’m not made of money. How the hell am I to pay for those things? I’m on a fixed income!”
“How about if we take care of them and the fines, Professor,” Nibbler said. “Will that work?”
“Wha? Leela,” the Professor said, adjusting his glasses, “did you know that you have a Nibbler shaped growth on your shoulder and it talks?”
“Yes, Professor,” Kyrie said, smiling patiently. “I have Talking Hump Syndrome.”
“Oh, my. Sad condition, that. You poor son of a…,” he stopped mid-sentence. They all stared at him as he started snoring. Hermes poked him, startling him. “Sweet Zombie Jesus,” he said, reaching for the left side of his chest. “Who are you people?,” he said, looking around confused. Seeing two Leelas, he said, “AGHHHHHHHHHH,” pointing at their eyes.
“I think that means he’s in,” Fry said.
“I was ‘In’ once,” the professor said, wandering over by the Frys and Leela. “But then they changed what ‘In’ was, and what I was was ‘Out,’ and what was ‘In’ was weird and scary. It’ll happen to you one day,” he said, pointing at the clock.
“Anyway, what about the rest of you?,” Kyrie asked, looking at Hermes, Amy, Zoidberg, and Scruffy. Amy, Hermes, and Zoidberg all agreed, but Scruffy turned away.
“Let me know how it turns out,” Scruffy said.
“Who’s he.” Fry asked.
“He’s Scruffy,” Kyrie said, as if it was something that everyone knew. “The janitor.”
“Oh. I’ve never seen him before.”
“I’ve never seen you before, neither,” Scruffy said as he opened the door and left.
“That settles it, then,” Kyrie said. “Starting tonight, we save the Universe.”
“Uh,” Leela said. “Can Fry and I start tomorrow? We have plans for tonight.”
“Fine, mom. You and dad can start tomorrow.”
“Good,” Fry said, smiling and putting his arm around Leela’s shoulders. “Just don’t expect us too early. It might be a really late night.”
“Sweet Zombie Jesus, dad,” Kyrie said, covering her eye and shaking her head. “I really didn’t need that image in my brain.”