Futurama

Fan Fiction

The New Captain
By Mitch

Summary: Leela is dimensionally replaced by another tough female space pilot…Galaxy Police Detective First Class Kiyone Makabi. The viewpoint switches between Kiyone (first person) and Fry (third person).

Futurama created by Matt Groening. Developed by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Owned by 20th Century Fox. Used without permission.

Kiyone Makabi was created by Naoko Hasegawa and owned by AIC and Pioneer LDC, inc. Used without permission.


I can’t remember the “swapping” itself too well. I remember a brief moment of darkness, some flashing lights, and not feeling my body. What I remember the most is how it ended. I found myself in some sort of laboratory and wearing a very uncomfortable outfit. A skintight white tank-top? Stretch pants? Boots? A hair scrungie? I’m not always known for my modesty, but this was more like something my partner would wear. At least there was a bra under the tank top. I think I would at least try something like this in private, but privacy was the last thing I had at this moment.

In this lab with me were these six people. Humans apparently, except for the silver guy and the lobster in the doctor coat. I quickly reached across my chest to get my gun, only to be reminded that I didn’t have it right now. With my usual resolve, although I’m used to being armed at this point, I made my questions clear.

“Who are all you people and what have you done to me?”

One of the people, an elderly man wearing a lab coat that covered his pajamas, spoke, seemingly not intimidated by my tone of voice.

“To answer your second question, you have been switched with our friend Leela by my latest invention, the omniversal swapper.”

I never thought much of the names for things, but, for once, I thought to myself that was a silly name for such a serious invention.

“It was an accident!” insisted a guy with orange hair and a red jacket. “Honest! We were arguing over…you know, switching people an’ stuff an’ the Professor got mad and…”

“We were arguing about the ethics of switching people between unrelated universes,” interrupted a Chinese-looking girl in a pink sweat suit. “The Professor hit the control panel in rage, the beam hit Leela, and here you are.”

I turned around and saw a large, cannon like device that was above my head. Smoke was coming out of its nozzle. Something came to mind. A moment ago, my friends and I were invited to see my own mad scientist friend, who was showing off her own similar device to us all, the dimensional switcher. My partner wanted to try it, right when I happened to be in front of it. I remember the discharge…and being here.

“Another multiverse…” I muttered. That’s where I was. I wasn’t anywhere close to home. Shock must have been on my face as it sunk in. The way my friend described it, I would be switched with my closest counterpart from another grouping of universes. It wouldn’t necessarily be another “me”, but someone I had a lot in common with.

“So, this…‘Leela’ was my closest counterpart?”

“Apparently, yes!” answered the elderly Professor. “Although you probably have a good number of differences between you, but still close enough for the swap.”

“One thing for sure,” I said looking at my new clothes, “we have different tastes in clothing.”

“It looks good on you,” insisted the red-haired guy.

“Uh, thanks,” I said, feeling a little nervous. I’ve always been a little proud of my shape, but I always felt a little uncomfortable showing more than I wanted.

“Well,” I muttered, still feeling uneasy and upset with what I would call an accidental kidnapping, “my friend was working on a similar device, and an accident occurred with that. So, I believe you. So, who are you people and where exactly am I?”

“You’re at Planet Express, New New York City.”

“New New York? What year is it?”

“3004. Why?”

“So,” I said, the realization really sinking in now, “I’m in some distant future? Ohhh!”

I hung my head, feeling very, very far from home now.

“’The future’? Wait,” said the redhead again, “what year were you from?”

“1996. At least, that’s what they called it on Earth.”

“No way! I’m from 1999! I was accidentally frozen!”

Frozen? That works for some humanoid species I know, but I didn’t think it could work for Earthlings. That would mean… he really lost his world.

“Oh! I’m so sorry!”

“It’s okay; my old life was nothing to speak of.”

There was a bit of silence. I hoped I didn’t bring up any bad memories for him. I wanted to change the subject; I didn’t want to put pity on him.

“Well, may I please borrow something to wear? I feel exposed in this tank top and the people in my profession usually wear a skirt if we’re wearing stretch pants.”

“You can get Leela’s coat. It’s usually in her locker right over there. It’s marked.”

“Thanks,” I said, while bowing slightly. “I don’t know about her, but this hairstyle doesn’t quite work for me.” I took out the scrungy from my hair, letting my long mane down to my behind. As I turned around to find the lockers, I saw the strangest site I had ever seen: a totally impractically designed spaceship!

“Question: Does that actually fly?”

“Yes! Why not?”

“The design: a body and wings. It doesn’t make sense. The shape is so…simple. I’ve seen shuttlecrafts more complicated.”

“Oh, I think the rules for space travel are different here than in your universe. By the way, the machine will take a week to recharge.”

“A week? Well, better than longer, I suppose.”

I found the locker and put on the green jacket, helping me feel a little less exposed. I spent a minute to wonder what I had gotten into.

I was upset. Pretty upset. But I believe them that this was an accident. Past experience had taught me that unlikely accidents can happen, especially with my partner involved, as she partial was in this case. I tried to calm down; these people should have been more careful, but this was an accident after all. It’s just that I hate missing work, even when I had a sick day. However, the repetitive nature and dull moments of it were getting to me lately. I might have needed a change of scenery and I always wanted to see New York.

I finally figured that I had been given a kind of sabbatical.

Fry spent a minute to observe this female stranger among them. She was 5 foot and 9 inches tall, a little younger than himself, and, although lacking Leela’s muscle tone, was in good shape. Her hair was teal and mostly long, the back of it going to her rear while also going down the right side of her face. Her eyes were aqua-blue and her skin was pasty-white. So far, he had run into some very striking women, including Leela. And although he would trade anything to see Leela right now, there was something about this woman…Fry snapped out of it, suddenly worried about Leela, and an important question entered his mind and exited his mouth.

“About your friends, will Leela be okay with them?”

“Hmmm, well, she shouldn’t have anything to fear. My friends are the nicest people on Earth. I don’t know how she would react to them, though.”

“I think she’d be suspicious,” said Fry. “By the way, the name’s Philip Fry.”

“Detective First-Class Kiyone Makabi,” she returned, “of the Galaxy Police.”

“’Galaxy Police’? So, you’re a cop where you come from?”

“Yeah, but I’ve spent most of my time patrolling remote regions, like Earth’s system, thanks to my partner.”

“But, you have a gun and fight crime and fly a ship, right?”

“That’s the gist of it and what I signed up for,” answered Kiyone, “but the thing is, not a lot happens in my Earth’s solar system, except for speeders and the occasional villain who threatens my friends for one reason or another.”

“Cool!”

“Uh, I said ‘threatening villians’.”

“Like I said, cool!”

That sounded like a job Leela was born for. What she did primarily was save him and Bender when a delivery went horribly wrong.

“So, I bet you signed up from it so you could get off Earth, huh?”

“Actually, I’m what you would call an alien.”

“Wow. You do have some things in common with Leela.”

“What do you mean? She’s not from Earth either?”

“Actually, she’s a mutant, but she thought she was from space for most of her life. Wait a minute.”

Fry went to his locker, opened it, and removed the picture of Leela he kept there.

“Here she is!”

Kiyone took a long look at her.

“Well, I can see why she would think that; I may have seen a couple of cyclopian species around. So,” she said this quietly, “she felt like a stranger on her own planet?”

“Pretty much, yeah. The Professor and I found her parents later. She calls them every week.”

“I’ll get her back before then,” Kiyone said with a small smile. “My own looks made me stand out a bit in Japan, but I guess I’m really an outcast now.”

He looked at Kiyone with sympathy. He was once trapped in a time and place not his own until he got his friends and his job here…this gave him an idea.

“Kiyone, you want to fly a ship while you’re here?”

“I suppose so. It would be nice to have to have a familiar feeling job. Why?”`

“Want a job?”

I later found myself at what they called their meeting table. That lobster-like being, Dr. John Zoidberg, was serving tea to myself and the only other woman there, a girl named Amy. The others were discussing Fry’s job offer for me. I didn’t like having others decide what I should do, but with not knowing what to expect out there and not minding a job offered to me right now, it seemed the safest thing for me at the moment.

“So,” said Amy, sounding a little unsurely, “you’re from another Earth?”

“Another Earth’s Japan,” I answered while sipping my tea. “But originally I’m not. I’m from another solar system. But I can see what throws you; my friends are a little more obviously extraterrestrial and I’ve done okay passing as human. Where I come from, some races are closer to Earthlings than others.”

“Oh, good!” said Amy, sounding relieved, “because I scared a visitor from Fry’s time once by saying where I’m from!”

“But you look human. In fact, you seem to be Asian.”

“I’m Chinese-Martian!”

Now I was surprised.

“You mean…Mars is colonized here?” Earth really had opened up.

“Yeah, that’s sort of how Fry reacted when he found out. I can’t relate since my family has been on Mars for so long. So, want a night out while you’re here? We can go anywhere; I’m rich!”

“Well, that would be nice, but I would rather work first.”

“What? Are you a workaholic or something?”

“No,” I sound, a little annoyed, “I like to think I’m responsible. I like doing a job to my ability, even if it’s something I think is below me. I’d rather celebrate after I get some stress in my system to work out.”

“Whatever,” Amy shrugged, “but my offer stands. Maybe I can help you get lucky.” She said that last part teasingly.

“I’ll forget I heard that,” I said flatly.

“Uh,” said Amy nervously, ”I didn’t mean it quite like that…”

“I know, but it still bothers me. I’m not looking for anyone. But, thanks anyway.”

“You want us to hire her?” the Professor asked Fry after he, Bender, and Hermes met him in the lounge.

“Well, she needs a job and we need a new captain.”

“Waddya mean?” asked Bender. “Everyone is this room has learned to fly the ship! And I’m good at bein’ bossy! You know that!”

“But she has the experience. Well, for what we go through. And I had nowhere to go until I got my job here!”

“What about your pre-determined job from your career chip?” asked Hermes.

The others looked at him funny. Then back to Fry.

“Well,” said the Professor, “I was going to use Leela’s pay this week for food to help sedate my man-eating anteaters before I donate them to the zoo, but I’m sure the staff knows what they like. We’ll axe her about it.”

“A captain? Me?”

Back home, I never expected to be a captain. I really wanted to be a detective; being a captain sounded too cushy for me. But maybe the new experience would be good for me.

“Okay, I accept. Where is my crew?”

Fry and the silver being lifted their hands.

“Just them? Which one is the pilot?”

“That’s you. Didn’t you know that?”

“I’m both the pilot and the captain? Well, I’ll take it. When do you want me?”

“After Zoidberg gives you an exam.”

“Hello,” said Zoidberg, enthusiastically snapping his pincers, “don’t worry, I’m gentle.”

Now, I felt disturbed by these people.

“Relax,” said Fry, “we all had to go through with it, except Bender since he’s a robot.”

“A robot?” I looked at Bender for a minute in amazement.

“Take a picture,” he retorted, “it’ll last longer!”

“Oh! Sorry,” I apologized. “I thought you were some silicon based life form at first.”

“And that’s when you weren’t starin’? You must have some weirdoes where you come from, lady!”

“I’ll forget I heard that.”

I followed Dr. Zoidberg to his office and he showed me to his adjoining examination table. I never did like physical exams. I usually felt a little more comfortable if I was examined by someone of the same sex and that’s what usually happened with me at my police physicals. Unfortunately, I was unlucky on two counts this time. One was that a male doctor was examining me. The second was that he wasn’t humanoid and not the expert he claimed to be. “Now, just relax and open your ink sack…”

“I don’t have an ink sack.”

“Now, dear, don’t be shy. I assure you, you have nothing I haven’t seen before.”

But do you even know what you’ve looked at? I thought to myself.

“Fine! We’ll cut to the chase! Are you having trouble breathing on land?”

“No.”

“You're fine! Now take your new uniform.”

 

“Say, Fry, you seem okay considerin’ the love of your life is gone for a week.”

“I think it’s because I know Leela’s safe and that she’ll be back.”

“Whatever. So, thinkin’ of putting the moves on the new captain, skintube?”

“What? Of course not! I wouldn’t do that! Well, while I’m sober at least…”

“You might have thought of it back when you were keepin’ your disgusting feelings secret from ol’ Eyeball. ‘Sides, you haven’t seen the new girl in a Planet Express suit yet.”

“That’s pretty shallow thinking, Bender…”

“How do I look?”

Fry turned in the direction of the voice and nearly chocked in delight. Kiyone had arrived and was wearing Leela’s old PE uniform. It had flattering effect on her, being form fitting, but not too tight. Fry was a bit distracted and didn’t respond right away.

“Um, it’s, uh…,” Fry sputtered, wanting to flatter her without sounding perverse.

“He says you look hot and I say you organisms look th’ same ta me,” answered Bender, right before taking a swig of Old Fortran malt liquor.

“Um, okay,” said Kiyone, unsurely. She bowed, reminding Fry that she was from some other Earth’s Japan.

“Thanks for giving me a job while I’m here,” she continued, sounding a little nervous. “I just want to do as good a job as you expect from me.”

“Whatever,” said Bender in an uncaring tone of voice. “By the way, Hermes and the Professor arranged it for you to have Leela’s apartment. Maybe Fry can take you there…”

Fry spit out the coffee he was drinking. Realizing how he must have looked, he wiped off his mouth and grinned nervously.

“Er, um, nothing happened that night!”

“I’ll say,” said Bender, “you struck out louder than my great-uncle grandfather clock!”

“Uh, I think this is more than I need to know…” started Kiyone, sounding uncomfortable.

“Actually, there’s not much to tell,” started Bender. “It’s just that for the past four years, Fry’s had the hots for…”

Fry clasped a hand over his friend’s mouth. He turned and saw Kiyone resting her head in her hand, looking embarrassed. This reminded Fry of Leela and hoped that he hadn’t again given a bad impression of himself.

 

“Here we are, apartment 1-I,” announced Fry as we entered the apartment. The main room had nothing but a chair and a TV.

“Not much here,” I thought aloud, “but I’ve lived with little before.”

“I thought you could adjust,” said Fry.

What he didn’t know is that, although I liked having my own space, this place felt empty without my partner.

Just then, a little creature with fangs and a third eye attached to the top of his head ran up to us. He stopped and sniffed me.

“Oh, yeah,” said Fry, “that’s Leela’s pet, Nibbler.”

“A pet? Well, he is cute,” I petted him as I said this, “and I guess I would be lonely having this place to myself. Anything I need to know about him?”

“He has three yaks for breakfast. Don’t worry, they’re in the freezer. Oh, and you’ll need this when you walk him.”

Fry pulled from his jacket a thin robotic arm with a handle on the end. On the handle, there was a button. When Fry pressed it, the arm closed.

“It’s too heavy to lift on your own. And save the stuff; our ship is powered by it.”

“Uh, thanks,” I said, accepting the arm, but wondering again what I had gotten into.

After he left, I decided to try out the TV. It wasn’t too unlike the programming in my universe, which I always thought was pretty corny. I could now see how I offended Bender; robots seemed to be a demographic. Artificial intelligence was a rarity where I came from, and was primarily used for servants, but they were treated fairly, sometimes as equal partners. I was open-minded. I had to be in my work, even if some of the races in my universe weren’t very accepting of others. I could see Bender as an individual. However, he didn’t strike me as very pleasing person.

I took a hot bath. The warm water helped sooth me. Nibbler came to the edge of the tub. I stroked him and forgot my troubles for a while.

After I got out and dried off, I changed into one of Leela’s pajama shirts. It was a little big on me. I went to bed wondering if I would find this all a weird dream or if I really would be flying a delivery ship the next day.

 

As usual, I felt better after I started working. What helped was that this job was fairly comfortable to me. Flying a ship, commanding people, it all felt natural to me. I felt naked without my weapons. They had Leela’s guns, back at the office, but Hermes said I couldn’t take one since I didn’t have a permit in this universe. I finally figured that I wouldn’t need one; we couldn’t get into any serious trouble.

The controls of the Planet Express ship were a bit simpler in design than what I was used to, but they worked in almost the same way. What bothered me was that I was dealing with two male partners. I was used to male contemporaries but not crewmates. I was glad that I was the captain, however, and that basically made me the boss. I could keep them in line if needed. And just because they were lazy at the office, I thought it didn’t necessarily mean that they would be lazy on a delivery.

“I’m gonna take a nap,” said Fry, heading to his quarters, “wake me when we get there.”

Then again…

As I prepared for take off, I turned around and saw Bender leaning back in his chair.

“Shouldn’t you be checking the Dark Matter reserves or something?”

“Ah, I’m sure it’s okay,” said Bender, taking a swig of Old Fortran.

“And why are you drinking on duty?”

“Alcohol fuels my circuits. An’ it’s cheaper than motor oil.”

“In any case,” I said, “you should work harder.”

“’Work harder’? You are rocket skating on dangerous ice, lady!”

I groaned, used to laziness, but not to insubordination.

“I’ll let it pass, this time, but I may report you next time, Bender.”

“Ah, you haven’t seen me disrespectful yet!”

As we headed back to Earth after the delivery, my mind was full of thoughts. First, I had never flown a ship that went so potentially fast, and yet was irregular with its speed. Also, it amazed me that there were inhabitants on Neptune…who ate slugs no less.

Fry seemed rather distant. I figured that it meant that he missed his friend. Bender, on the other hand, was really starting to annoy me. I once has a overachieving contemporary that annoyed me for constantly reminding me how far I needed to go.

I began to miss my partner and other friends back home. They could be annoying in their own right, but they had treated me better than anyone else in her life. I hoped that they were not causing trouble, even by accident, for Leela, or vice-versa.

It had only been a couple of days, but I figured I was adjusting, to a point. When I first adjusted to life on Earth, I called on my undercover skills and past experience of spending time on other planets for both pleasure and business. This felt like a challenge: an Earth that had opened up to the universe, but it was a different than the universe I knew.

Oh sure, they had the same galaxy, stars, and even the same solar system for Earth, but everything else was different. None of my friends’ planets or races existed here. This universe had it’s own civilizations off Earth, such as the Omicronians. I understood this was a universe unrelated to my own, but I still wondered about the limited similarity of planets.

Ironically, it was this Earth that reminded me of how things were in my universe. The Red Light District of New New York reminded me of the seedier sides of the milky way I know, unfortunately. Bender invited me to spend a night with him there, but I now think it was so people would get the wrong idea about me around places with topless alien dancers.

Bender was keeping himself occupied at the Chip Strip, by the way. This was one of the things that particularly puzzled me about this universe. Naked female robots? Part of that statement sounds redundant and another part just confuses me.

Fry had been avoiding me when he could. He was friendly enough and even offered me a can of that soft drink “Slurm”. I passed, feeling uncertain what that might do to me. I later learned that it was addictive and figured I should stay away from it. Later still, I learned what it was made from. Now I wondered why it was addictive. Amy had been nice, or intended to be. She took me to places like the nearby pub and a single’s bar called “the Hip Joint”. She was trying to make me happy, although it usually involved drinking or introducing me to guys. I later found out why she was introducing them to me and I flately told her that I wasn’t that kind of girl. Eventually, we went to a movie with her boyfriend. I felt more comfortable then, except that it was a romantic film and I was a “dateless wonder”.

I was pondering all this while watching some holograms on the conference room table after hours. I was thinking of my friends and how they had been “written out” here. I sighed, feeling very lonely.

Fry entered the conference room, feeling that he should at least say “goodnight” to Kiyone. The only other time he thought of reaching out to her was offering a can of Slurm. He was surprised she turned that down. Now, he was more surprised to see her staring at a holographic star map and sighing.

“Kiyone, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. It’s just that…well, my planet doesn’t exist. I checked your records and it’s not there. And not only that, but all my friends’ worlds don’t exist. Same galaxy, same sol system, but everything else is different here. I know this is a different universe, I shouldn’t expect the same planets here, but…with such a precise selection, it’s scary.”

“Count your blessings,” said Fry, sitting down, “you still have a world to come back to.”

“Oh! I’m sorry, Fry. I…forget sometimes.”

“It’s okay. I miss my family and I can’t help wondering how my life would have turned out if I was still in my own time, but I like how things are in this time better.”

“At least this world works for you. This Earth reminds me too much of how my universe is like, except Earth is out of the cosmic picture there. It’s pretty much avoided and considered “backwater”. As for the universe, some places are nice, but most societies are either too system based or sleazy. Here, most of that stuff seems to be on Earth and other planets catch it. At least things are relatively peaceful where I’m from. I guess that’s why I became a cop, to help keep the status quo. But here, you have the Democratic Order of Planets, and I’m not too fond of the idea of attacking defenseless planets to keep peace.”

“Hey, I just live here!”

“I know. I’m just saying that things feel familiar but backward for me here.”

There was silence for a while. Fry realized that, as he sometimes did, he had be preoccupied with his own worries rather that thinking of how things were for others. With Leela, she had long been worse off than him, and he did not always realize it. And sometimes, he was insensitive to even Bender. Now, there was another lost person among them from another time and place. And he was thinking about how he missed Leela…he decided to ask a question that would put his mind at ease.

“You’re friends, you sure they would be good to Leela?”

“Oh, absolutely. Well, two of them might think of her as a potential romantic rival for a male friend of mine, but he’s way too young for her anyway. Otherwise, they wouldn’t intentionally do her wrong. However, they can be, well, eccentric.”

“This guy, what’s he like?” asked Fry, suddenly afraid of potential competition for Leela.

“Well, he’s in high school, fantastically nice, bold when times call for it, and understandably nervous around the opposite sex.”

“Well, that’s good, I guess. And Leela can take care of herself. Look, I’m sorry if I’ve been a jerk. It’s that, well, part of me blames you for losing Leela and I lo..miss her.”

There was silence between us. I looked in his eyes and I saw something, something familiar. It was the same thing I saw in my friends’ eyes when I could tell they were thinking about that guy, even if he couldn’t.

Fry honestly loved Leela. But did she return those feelings. Not wanting to pry, I changed the subject.

“Actually, this situation is making me realize something. I think I take my own friends for granted. And,…you and your co-workers are reminding of that.”

“Really? Thanks! So, since Amy and Bender have been showing you around, how about I give it a try?”

“Well, do you know any karaoke bars?”

 

“I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Woah-oh! I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Woah-oh! I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Woah-oh! An’ don’t it feel good!”

I kept taking short breaths during my singing. This song was Fry’s favorite and it’s quick beat was just what I needed! I sang karaoke at home to get the pressure off and it was working great now.

“I say it, I say it, I say it again, yeah…!”

But this was a hard song to keep up with! After my turn, I was sweating all over, but I heard some applause and vocal accolades for my performance. I looked at my score. Better than usual. I guess I was trying harder than usual.

Fry walked Kiyone home, amazed for her performance of his favorite song. Kiyone had a lot of good qualities. She had brains, a soft voice when she was calm, and incredible looks…

But she was no Leela.

Leela had a lot of Kiyone’s qualities, but she also had something else. Fry couldn’t label it.

Then it hit him. Leela was Leela. It was just that simple. Leela may have had similar qualities as some other people, but she made them her own and handled them as only she would.

And Fry loved what she did with those traits: she had them shape her into who she was.

And who she was, Fry loved.

“You okay, Fry?”

Fry snapped out of his thoughts. He saw Kiyone looking at him with concern.

“Nothing. Well, goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” Kiyone returned as she entered the building.

Fry stood there for a minute. He decided on something. He would tell Leela how he felt. He would tell her that everything about her, inside and out, was what he loved. Everything she was happened to be exactly what he wanted in a life partner. He loved Leela simply for being Leela.

 

Once again, I was amazed with the speed of the ship. My own ship would have reached the Omicron system in a few weeks, but this ship got us there in a few hours. I was also a bit overtaken by the fact that there was an inhabited planet in the system, Omicron Persei 8. I was now on guard, reminding myself of how the Planet Express team told me that these beings were usually hostile to Earthlings. I called upon all my hard-earned training to observe my surroundings as we were cautiously led by the guards into the main throne room.

“Your majesties,” announced a guard opening the door, “the representatives of Planet Express have arrived.”

“Ah, good,” said Lrrr, the ruler. “Send the pathetic humans in.”

We entered and Lrrr looked at me with understandable confusion.

“Captain Leela? What are you doing with your hair?”

I saluted, silently wondering why they didn’t catch other differences, like the different face.

“Actually, I’m Captain Kiyone Makabi, your majesty. I’m sort of filling in for her.”

“Very well. Now, what of the DVD set of ‘Earth Idol 2010’?”

Fry presented the package. The guards took it, opened it, chose the first disk, inserted it into the king and queen’s DVD player…and set the VCR to the correct channel. After the FBI warnings, the picture was of poor quality; everything was jumbled.

“What is this? Do you dare mock the ruler of Omicron Percei 8?”

“No, sir,” said Fry, ”it’s just that your getting the signal through your VCR. All you need is a cable.”

“This set cost us 40 Earth dollars! And you say we need to pay more to watch it?”

“Actually, sir, they don’t cost much…”

“Guards! Seize them!”

Next thing I knew, we were surrounded by Omicronian guards with their weapons at the ready.

“Wait! Why don’t you complain to the manufacture?”

“Not good enough! Have them held to be eaten!”

Eaten? I didn’t want to cause an interplanetary incident, but I didn’t want us to die right now, either.

I quickly knocked the guns out of the hands of two of the guards. The other two were knocked out by Bender. We ran to the palace entrance, ducked past the guards there, and head to our ship.

Once we were in space, we were followed by the Omicronian armada. It was a persistent chase; I didn’t like that. What bothered me more, however, was that the PE ship couldn’t handle a lot of damage. My old ship had slightly better defenses and I was used to opponents with worse aim.

What I was always feared was a situation that my training didn’t cover. To me, though, that happened a lot.

“We can shoot back…” Fry began to suggest.

“No!” I protested. “They’re only doing their jobs! I don’t want this to turn into a war! Not if we can help it.”

“Okay,” said Bender, “but do you think you can get us out of here before they toast us?”

“Just let me concentrate. Fry, navigate! Bender, calculate our current distance from the armada!”

“I don’t know! I’m not good at calculatin’!”

“Just look out the window!” I ordered, feeling my strength of command back after a while.

I heard Bender grumble as he head to the window.

“If they were snakes, they could bite us, I guess.”

”Perfect,” I muttered. “At least the small size and fast speed of this ship almost compensates for the limited defenses. We’re a small moving target…” A small hit interrupted me.

“But we’re still a target,” finished Bender.

“Bender, Fry, put all the dark matter we have into the afterburner! I’m going to try something.”

“What are we going to do?”

“It’ll take too long to explain. Now move!”

“Okay, you’re the boss-lady.”

The armada seemed impossible to shake off. I hated to gamble like this, but it was the only idea in my mind at the moment. At top speed, I went ahead of the other ships and lowered from their line of fire. Before the other ships realized, I stopped altogether. As the went past “above” us, I fired a few low powered missiles. They generated a series of bursts which temporary paralyzed the engines of the other ships. I then quickly ignited my own engine and flew straight to Earth before the Omicron ships would realize what had happened.

I laughed inanely for a minute until I realized that I had risked everything on something I wasn’t sure would work, something my own mad scientist friend would try. I now felt guilty and responsible.

Fry and Bender returned from the engine room, realizing that we had all escaped.

“Yahoo! We did it!”

“Barely,” I said as they high-fived each other. “I normally wouldn’t have tried such a risky maneuver, but from how you explained how this ship works, and how risky moves have helped me before, I figured it was worth it. I guess now we head back home and explain things to the Professor and hope he’ll go easy on us, especially me.”

“You? What did you do wrong?”

“I blew it! I got us shot at and the ship got damaged. I’m used to blaming things on my partner, but taking responsibility anyway. But in this case, I think it was just me.”

“Kiyone, it’s okay! Things like this happen to us all the time!”

“Yeah! And we’ve had worse! Especially Fry!”

“But…” I insisted, “we still need to report to our superiors…”

“Superiors? We all know I could bend the Professor into a pretzel if I wanted to go easy on ‘im!”

“Look, I don’t know about you two, but I always file a report. I’m going to send it and we’ll take the consequences.”

 

“Okay,” said Hermes, looking at my report. At my insistence, Fry, Bender, and I were all facing Hermes. I expected the worst. All I wanted to do while I was here was a good job. At least to prove to others what I could do without my partner…whom, ironically, I was know missing and for the right reasons. I didn’t want to be jobless before I left, although I had no immediate need of money. The machine was expected to be recharged soon.

“So, what’s your excuse?”

“None, sir,” I said, bowing apologetically.

“None. Not even an explanation.”

“I believe everything’s in my report, sir.”

“Wow. So, where do Bender and Fry mess up.”

“Nowhere, sir. It’s like I said: the Omicronians were dissatisfied with our delivery. We escaped and came back with a busted ship.”

“Oh. Well, okay. I’ll let it slide…”

I felt relief.

“If you three fix the ship tomorrow.”

The relief subsided.

I never liked ship repair, but it felt easier with four more capable hands. Bender was bending the ship into shape. Fry was cleaning it. I was inside, working on the engines. They were a lot simpler than the engines of ships from my own universe. Also, my training in engine repair made the job my easiest yet. In no time, I was out. I decided to visit the Professor to see if the swapper was ready.

I still thought that was a silly name for it.

“Well, off you go, Miss Kiyone.”

“Thanks, Professor,” I said with a bow.

I turned to her new friends.

“Thanks, everyone. I still don’t like being brought here against my will and all, but it was a interesting new experience.”

She looked at Bender.

“Try more oil and less alcohol in the future, okay?”

“Ah, your not the boss of me…anymore.”

I turned to Fry.

“Fry, I can’t interfere one way or another, but I think you and Leela just need some time alone.”

“Wow. Thanks.”

“Farewell,” I said as I bowed one more time.

The Professor activated the beam. She vanished, leaving her uniform empty for a split second. Suddenly, the form of Turanga Leela appeared in the uniform. When the beam subsided, the woman looked around, blinking.

“Guys?”

“Leela! You’re back!”

Fry ran up to hug her, but caught himself, figuring that she did not want to be muddled by his advances, so he instead offered his hand, which she accepted.

“Good to see you too, Fry.”

The others crowded around, anxious to hear what adventures she had the past two weeks.

“What was it like?”

“Any trouble with Kiyone’s friends?’

“One question at a time. It was interesting, though. I liked the little girl and the rabbit-looking animal. But first, I want to hear what happened with this ‘Kiyone’ lady.”

“She was great. About as good as you.”

“She was? Um, did she and Fry…?”

“No. Wait, you don’t suspect…?”

“Well, he…no. I shouldn’t have asked. Not my business in the first place.”

“Leela,” assured Fry, “your job’s secure and nothing happened between us. But… you’re not jealous are you?”

“Uh, let’s just drop it. Let’s get back to comparing notes.”

And they did. But Leela was now curious of why she was feeling jealousy earlier. She pondered asking her parents about it later.

 

END?

Buddies