A Past With No Future, Part 2
By Kenneth White
Chapter 2: Father of the Tried
As she stepped forward carefully, a wave of heat hit her like a desert storm devoid of sand. After that initial blast, it became a relief, having spent much of her recent time in the bitter outside air, to now be some place warm. Almost a week of just travelling, wondering where she would be led, and also what she was leaving behind. Now, as she followed the one-eyed woman with the purple locks who had greeted her, she could sense that she was very close.
In the main room of the Planet Express office the others waited, though none of them were really waiting as such. Fry, Bender and Scruffy just sat watching the television, an advertisement of a new flavour of Bachelor Chow the current feature on the screen. Hermes scratched at his scalp between brown dreadlocks and tapped at his calculator, still surrounded by scraps of somewhat organised paper as his tongue poked out the side of his mouth in thought. The Professor had taken his rather common position of resting in his comfy looking armchair, his head thrown back as he snored and made gurgling noises, the odd whispered curse of Wernstrom's name being uttered. That was the scene as Leela walked in, the visitor behind her.
"Guys," Leela announced, her voice in a calm urgency that suggested they pay attention but without making it sound too critical. "We have a guest."
Heads turned away from the TV, one rose from the conference table, and one turned towards the Professor. The latter of them was Leela's.
"Professor," she said, but all he did was snore. "Professor!"
The second was a far more authorative bark from the cyclops captain, causing the Professor to startle awake, looking around in every direction but the right one and making a sound not unalike an asthmatic pig probably would had it just discovered it was blind. Eventually his eyes found the right target and he smiled.
"Oh, it's you," he said, adjusting the thick lenses that hid his eyes. "Who's that with you? If she's here about any of those third-planet kids that need sponsoring, then make sure she's comfortable. I'm running out of guinea pigs to test my inventions on."
"She's not, Professor," came Leela's straightforward answer, and then she glanced towards Fry. "I'm not even sure if she really is who she claims she is."
Fry and the others regarded the young woman before them. She looked nervous or unsure, signs that she was still cold from being outside evident in her stance, and her attire likely didn't provide enough warmth. She wore long brown boots that came up to just below her knees, tightly clasped around thin legs. On her hips sat a pair of khaki pants, probably ex-military or something. They were tight on the hips but baggy on the legs, bunched into folds where her boots started and with more pockets that were probably ever going to be needed. She appeared to have a slim figure, though the puffy jacket hid exactly how curvaceous she was, as did the fact her arms were crossed over her chest.
"So, why is she here?" asked Bender. "And who does she claim to be?"
"She's apparently here to see Fry," Leela stated, looking at the delivery boy.
"Really?" Fry answered, smiling slightly as he looked at the newcomer with suggestive eyes.
"She claims to be your daughter," Leela finished, narrowing her glance at Fry and with more than a dribble of disapproval in her voice. Everybody else gasped in response, save for Fry who sounded and acted like he was about to bring up his lunch. In a corner of the room, Nibbler's head perked up.
"My God, man!" Bender said with disgust. "It's bad enough you're your own grandfather, let alone this! That's like two robots from the same assembly machine interfacing with each other!"
"Okay," Fry said, sounding less than healthy. "Before I take a shower, wash my eyes with iodine and scrub my brain with a wire brush, I'm going to have to ask, 'WHAAA?!'"
The young, burgundy-haired woman began to walk over to Fry, her eyes scanning him carefully as she did. She finally stopped just a few feet from him and looked at his face, her own expressionless.
"Yes, you're him alright," she stated frigidly. "And you've barely aged at all."
Fry gave her a nervous smile as she looked at his face again, then outstretched his right hand to suggest a friendly shake. She slowly uncrossed her arms, removing her still cold hands from under her arms carefully, and extended her own right arm.
It came with lightning speed in the form of a clenched fist, and Fry bought it right on the chin, stumbling backwards before the back of his legs met the left arm of the couch and he fell onto the cushions. The witnesses all just gasped, while the attacker wandered closer to her victim aggressively, looking more than a little ticked off.
"You bastard!" she yelled. "You did this to me! You made my life a living hell and abandoned Mom! You abandoned us all!"
By this point she was looming over Fry, as he cowered on the couch, scared and confused. She was about to attack again, but suddenly felt something wrap around her throat and waist and pull her back. Looking over her right shoulder as she struggled she saw a single angry eye and a fringe of purple hair.
"Hold it right there, missy!" Leela said into the other woman's right ear menacingly. "We didn't let you in here to beat Fry up!"
"Yeah, you have to be an employee of Planet Express to get that privilege," Bender noted.
"Let me go!" the woman yelled, and she stabbed her right elbow back into Leela's gut, taking the mutant captain with surprise and making her let go. The newcomer about faced and stood as if ready to fight some more, while Leela glowered up at her from a bent over position as she held her stomach, her pride hurt more than her abdomen. However, any further action was stemmed as the Professor walked between them, neither woman wanting to start flailing fists and feet while an elderly man was there.
"Now, now ladies," the old scientist said diplomatically. "No fighting until we can determine whether there's a need for violence or not. For one thing, some proof that this young lady is who she claims to be is in order."
"Yeah," said Hermes, wandering over from his desk. "How can you be Fry's daughter? He's not even thirty, and how old are you?"
"I'm twenty," she answered gruffly.
"Exactly!" Hermes said. "No amount of bureaucratic logic and mathematics is going to account for variables like dat!"
"That can't be right," she answered with a sneer, flicking her head behind her to look at Fry, who was now sitting up and rubbing his chin. She paused as she regarded him then turned back to Hermes.
"He'd have to be in his late forties. Surely."
Her grimace suddenly morphed into surprised realisation.
She trailed off and looked back at Fry. He just sat there, a saddened look on his face.
"Unless you froze yourself again?"
"Again?" he repeated with confusion. "I only froze myself once, back in two thousand."
"Yes," she nodded, turning now to face him completely. "And you woke up in twenty-nine eighty three, where you met my mother, then disappeared in twenty-nine eighty four."
"What?!" Fry answered with shock. "I didn't wake up until twenty-nine ninety nine!"
"Okay, this is weird!" Leela interjected. "Are you saying that Fry really woke up twenty years ago, ended up hooking up with some bim--"
Leela cut herself off quickly, then went on again.
"...with your mother, thus conceiving you, and then he left you and got frozen again?"
"That's what it looks like," the woman answered with a huff. "And I want to know why?!"
"Is there something you're not telling us, Fry?" Leela asked the delivery boy in all seriousness.
"Hell no!" Fry answered angrily, standing up from the couch. "This is the first I've heard of it! And I don't believe a word of it, since I don't remember being there and all!"
"We must do a test!" the Professor announced loudly, raising one arm into the air dramatically. "To the laboratory!"
Everybody walked into the Professor's lab, Fry making sure to keep a good distance from the new girl. She seemed too wily and violent for him, and couldn't help but be reminded a bit of Leela with her actions and thus seen personality. That's why he made sure he had Leela between him and this so-called daughter of his. When they were all inside, the Professor indicated a clear white, raised panel upon one of his lab tables and spoke.
"Please place one of your index fingers down upon this panel, Miss... uh... what is your name?"
"Athena," she answered. "Athena Alexander."
She gave Fry a sour glance as she put her finger down as instructed.
"I decided to adopt my mother's last name, rather than my father's."
Fry hung his head. He was feeling instantly guilty, even though he had no idea what this girl was on about. Did he really do that to her in the past?
"So what is this, Professor?" asked Leela as the Professor went around the desk to shuffle in a drawer. "Some kind of finger DNA scanner or something?"
"No, that doesn't get used until later," the elderly scientist answered, still shuffling around. "That's just a broad, flat, hard surface."
"Why do you need that?" Leela shrugged.
"Why, to collect the sample of course!" Farnsworth answered, turning around with a big grin on his face and a large, and not very clean looking, meat cleaver in his right hand. "Now hold still."
"Professor!" Leela growled, snatching the weapon off him. "Can't you test her without taking off her finger?!"
"That depends if she's going to come willingly," he replied, then turned to Athena. "Are you going to come willingly?"
"Of course I am," she grunted.
"Awww... you're no fun!" Farnsworth grunted. "Very well then, just put your finger in this device..."
He removed a sheet from a nearby object. It was grey with a light bulb on the top, five orange buttons on one side and two finger-sized holes, one on either side.
"Fry, put your finger onto one of these holes," Farnsworth directed.
"Isn't this the same device you used to determine I was related to you?" Fry answered simply, sitting down and jamming his index finger into the machine.
"You're related to me?" the Professor asked with confusion and shock. "We'll just see about that!"
He put his finger in the other end and it flashed and bleeped, the light bulb on the top lighting up with a ringing sound.
"By gum, you're right!" Farnsworth gasped.
"Professor..." Leela stated impatiently.
"Wha?" he answered, before suddenly realising. "Oh, sorry. I guess the young Athena should be using this instead of me."
Removing his finger from the device, the Professor shuffled aside and Athena put hers in instead. The machine whirred into life, again beeping and blinking before finally making a ringing sound as the bulb lit up.
"Sweet Zombie Jesus!" the Professor exclaimed. "You really are his daughter! Or at least related to him to some extent."
They all wandered back into the employee lounge again.
"Well, now that it's confirmed," Leela stated. "Maybe you should tell us what happened, and what brought you here. If you don't mind that is?"
"Well... okay, if you're interested?" Athena answered reluctantly, sounding somewhat calmer now.
"I know I am," said Leela, and she then glanced at Fry. "And there's at least somebody else here who should be."
"But... can I tell you it on your ship?" Athena asked, suddenly sounding urgent. The others all looked at each other then back at her.
"Our ship?" Leela asked. "Why?"
"And how do you even know we have a ship?" Fry added, sounding suspicious of his newfound offspring.
"You're a delivery company," Athena answered dryly. "I'd doubt you would be such without a ship. Plus, I saw it in a newspaper ad. That's how I found you."
"Why the ship then?" Leela enquired. "You're not expecting us to take you somewhere, are you?"
She just nodded
"You've only just arrived," said Leela. "Why do you want to leave again?"
"I need to get back to where I came from," came her answer. "And I need you..."
She paused and pointed at Fry.
"...to come with me."
"Why?" Fry asked.
"Because you apparently hold the key to not only saving the galaxy, but to rescuing my brother too," she answered. "My twin brother."
There were more looks of shock around the room, not least of all from Fry.
"Twin brother?!" he exclaimed after a high-pitched squeal, his face almost seeming to age to that which Athena claimed he should be. "But that would make him..."
"Your son," Athena finished, noticing her father had trailed off before he could say it.
"I think I need to sit down for a while," Fry said, plonking back down on the chair behind him. Leela turned back to Athena.
"So, where do you need us to take you then?"
"Far, far away," Athena answered. "I'll show you the coordinates once we're on the ship, but... can we please hurry? It already took me nearly a week to get here, and I don't want to waste any more time than needed. They could be torturing him."
"Who could?" Leela asked.
"The Brain Spawn."
Fry suddenly jumped a little in his chair.
"Brain Spawn?" he repeated. "That sounds familiar..."
"You're not going to start going on about those stupid floating brains that you thought attacked us and made us all stupid again, are you?"
"Those are the ones," Athena nodded. Everybody gasped, while a superior smirk crossed Fry's lips.
"I knew I wasn't crazy!" he stated. "I hope you believe me about the marching hammers now too."
"So those brain things were real?" Bender asked. "Fry's not an idiot?"
"I don't know about my father being an idiot," Athena answered, showing more than a mite of contempt as she did. "But, yes, the Brain Spawn do exist, and it makes sense that none of you would recall them, except for him."
"You'll have to excuse your father sometimes," Farnsworth stated as an aside. "He comes from the early ages of the cell phone text messaging boom, that ended up almost killing the English language in the late twenty-first century."
"Yeah, and you're a senile old fool, but we don't hold that against you," Bender noted, before whispering "often."
"I'm still below George Lucas' Head on the top ten senility list in MAD Magazine!" came the Professor's defense.
"Look, I'll tell you all about me on the ship once we're on our way," Athena sighed impatiently. "Please, can we go now?"
"Okay then," Leela nodded before turning to Fry and Bender. "Let's go guys..."
"Hold it just a corn-farmed minute there!" the Professor yelled, his whithery arms flailing up into the air. "Since when has my ship become a tool to help aide my crewmembers with any personal issues they may have afar?!"
Fry, Leela and Bender just silently exchanged glances between themselves, completely expressionless. The Professor groaned and continued angrily, his face a mass of wrinkles that converged around his nose.
"This is a delivery ship, not a vehicle for helping people who need things! If you want to take it somewhere, you'll do it on your own time and pay the fuel costs yourselves!"
"Funny, I recall you just giving us a day off today," said Leela assuredly, crossing her arms. "And you're forgetting the fact that it's Nibbler who supplies the fuel of this ship, and he's owned by me."
"Might I add," started a hand-raising Hermes from the conference table, "dat it's de only reason we keep de ugly little rat around."
"Where is he?" Leela suddenly asked with concern, glancing at the small beanbag bed in the corner that Nibbler occupied just a few minutes earlier. "It's not like him to want to go outside in such cold weather. He could get the sniffles."
"Maybe he's in one of those modes some of you male mammals get in sometimes where you suddenly want to have sex all the time and have problems controlling it," Bender said dryly. "Like Zoidberg was that time."
"Man, I wish us human males got into those kind of mating season modes," said Fry with a dreamy smile.
"You do," answered Leela simply with a hint of bitterness. "It lasts from January first to the last day of December."
Fry's face squeezed into confusion, but she ignored it and turned back to face the Professor.
"In either case, we're taking the ship to go and rescue Fry's son. We can't just leave him in the clutches of these Brain Spawn."
"Oooooh! All right!" the Professor groaned, shaking his fists in frustration. "But don't expect your jobs to be still here when you get back!"
"Then don't expect us to get back with your ship," Leela answered.
"You win this round!" Farnsworth sneered. "And the next two as well. But you just wait until round four! By that time I'll have a mutant atomic superman on my side! And I'll even make him immune to certain glowing green rocks to be on the safe side!"
While those inside the building prepared to depart, outside in a nearby alleyway, a certain little black-furred, rodent-like creature carefully wheeled a small blue, saucer-shaped spacecraft out of a cardboard box. Taking a remote control from one of the pockets in the little blue spacesuit he now donned, he pressed a button on it, which in turn made the mostly transparent dome on the top open up. Checking his surroundings, he leapt into the seat within, then closed the dome over his head again, the eye upon the stalk on his crown popping neatly into a smaller dome atop the main one. Buttons upon the console of his ship were pressed, another of his species appearing on the screen within moments.
"This is Ambassador Nibbler of Earth," he said into the console urgently. "I must speak with Elder Ken immediately!"
"I'm afraid he is busy at the moment, Lord Nibbler," the other Nibblonian answered. "A newborn one is about to partake in his initiation feast."
"It is most urgent," Nibbler answered. "It relates to The Mighty One."
There was a pause from the correspondent, a sigh finally escaping his mouth along with "I'll see what I can do."
'Why are important delegates always busy when you need them most, but always free when you never need them?' Nibbler's mind pondered as the screen went blank. It wasn't a minute before visuals returned again, this time a hooded figure in a brown cloak appearing.
"Greetings Lord Nibbler," the figure said in a deep and serious voice. "I trust this news is of upmost importance?"
"It is, Ken," Nibbler nodded, equally as serious. "I'm afraid links we have previously tried to keep dead have regained some life. One of The Mighty One's offspring has arrived and gained contact with him."
Ken gasped from the other end, but the shock left him fast and he soon hung his head and sighed laboriously.
"We should have known that we could not have kept them away from him forever. Which is it?"
"The one known as Athena, his daughter," Nibbler answered. "His son has apparently been captured by The Brain Spawn."
"Something must have happened to Ambassador Wuffy," Ken said with concern, his right hand disappearing into the darkness of his hood where his chin would be. "He was supposed to make sure that their galaxy was cut off from everywhere else. The second faction of the Brain Spawn must have somehow reached and found them both, and their activities opened them up."
"I am not sure," Nibbler said. "I thought the second faction has been taken care of though?"
"They are trickier than the ones The Mighty One helped us get rid of during the Infosphere incident," Ken sighed. "The second faction are more concerned about enslaving the universe rather than destroying it, and every time we think we've got rid of them all, more come. They've been spreading out on the far edges of the universe, and it looks like they've opened up pathways we wanted to keep hidden. We suspect they too have a central brain, but we somehow can't locate it."
"What am I to do?" Nibbler asked. "Contact has already been made, and it shall be hard to undo it."
"Be patient and calm," Ken said. "This could work to our advantage. She will likely lead The Mighty One to the second Brain Spawn faction. Or even the Ancient Ones. Keep an eye on her, but try to remain hidden. She may likely recognise you and probably blow your cover."
"I just wish we hadn't made that awful mistake twenty years ago."
"It can't be avoided now," Ken said. "Even the wisest of us make errors. Let's not dwell on the past, but concentrate on the present to give us hope for the future. And keeping an eye on her is a good start."
"Agreed. I shall not let her leave my proximity."
No sooner has Nibbler finished his sentence when a loud creak sounded from his left. There was a loud bursting sound, and Nibbler turned in time to see the large, green Planet Express ship departing the hangar base and ascending swiftly into the sky.
"Cushfloffle!" he cursed.
"Keep me informed," Ken's voice said from the console. Nibbler simply nodded, switching it off before starting up his own craft and making chase.
Her face awash in doubt, Leela walked into the ship's dining room, where Bender and Athena waited at the long table.
"I've entered the co-ordinates you requested," the captain said before taking a seat at the end of the table. "But due to their distance, it'll take a few days travel to get there, even at top speed. The autopilot can handle it for now while you tell us about yourself."
"Yeah," said Bender, jamming a thick Zuban into his metal teeth and preparing to light it. "As soon as your chump father gets here, you can regale us with what will no doubt have been another of his past sexcapades. That's how you humans are born, right?"
Athena sneered at the robot, and just as he had almost got his cigar lit, she flicked her wrist past his metal face and dismissed the item. Right then, Fry walked in with a six pack of Slurm in one hand and glass in the other, into which the cigar neatly clinked. He blinked in surprise
"Hey!" Bender retorted towards she who had robbed him of his smoke. She narrowed her glance and responded.
"I can tell you right away that I don't like smoking. There's enough things to kill you, you don't need to give them a hand."
The last half of her sentence came out as a disgusted pout, and Fry spoke as he plonked the cans down on the table.
"But Bender's a robot. These things," he took the cigar from the glass and waved it slightly, "don't harm him any more than a magnet harms us humans."
"What about the second hand smoke?" she huffed. Fry looked shocked.
"You mean they take the smoke from new, pre-smoked cigars and put it into recycled ones?" he asked. Athena rolled her eyes, but decided not to dignify his comment with response.
"Just keep them away from me," she grunted.
The main door opened again and in walked the ship's physician, Doctor John Zoidberg, and engineering student intern, Amy Wong. They both looked a little surprised, and Amy was wearing a white towel like a cocktail dress and rubbing her hair with another.
"What's going on here?" she asked. "Are we going somewhere?"
"Yeah, a long trip actually," Leela stated. Amy groaned.
"Typical! I go to use the ship's shower for only two hours because the bathroom aboard doesn't smell like Leela's cheap shampoo, and I find myself on a large trip across the universe!"
"We didn't know you guys were aboard," Leela shrugged. "Sorry."
"Who's the strange human female?" Zoidberg asked, pointing a claw towards Athena. "Is she a slave?"
"She looks like a slave," Amy added carelessly. "With hair and clothes like that."
"No," Leela frowned. "She's Fry's long-lost daughter. And she's about to tell us about her past."
Amy just stared for a while, not sound and no expression.
"I think I need to wash out my ears again," she finally stated simply. "Because I thought you said Fry's daughter just then."
"She did," Bender stated, leaning back casually as if the concept was as normal as an everyday interstellar delivery. "So either put a line of floss in one ear and out the other, or sit down and hear the story of how Fry somehow scored with another chick we didn't know about to make her."
"I like stories," Zoidberg noted, taking a seat with a large grin on his face. "Especially if it involves human mating."
"Go on, Athena," Leela encouraged as Fry opened a Slurm can and began to pour it into the glass. "Don't mind Amy and Zoidberg, they're just more of our judgmental employees."
Athena sat there in the middle of them all, her arms crossed across her chest in a submissive, but aggressive, way that suggested she was a little uncomfortable with all the sudden attention from these strangers. She seemed so sink away into the chair and hide in her own jacket, but eventually leant forward with a sigh as Fry finished pouring the thick, green liquid into her glass and pushed it closer to her. She gave the drink a strange glance, then sent one Fry's way as well, before finally speaking.
"Okay... I suppose. I can only tell you what I know from the stories I was told myself for starters. After all, I wasn't around before I was born..."
"Really?" said Zoidberg with great interest, pulling a pad of paper and a pencil from his left breast coat pocket. "I'll make a note of that... human babies not around until after birth"
Ignoring the doctor's scribbling, Athena went on.
"It was the year twenty-nine eighty-three. My mother, Sibella Alexander, was an artist who lived in New New York, and worked at the art museum as well."
Athena paused, reaching into the highest pocket on her left thigh. She took out what looked like an old black leather wallet and opened it. There was something on the front Fry caught a glimpse of, a symbol or something formed by raised leather, but she had covered it with her hand before he could get a decent look. She pulled out a square of glossy paper and threw it down upon table.
"That's a photo of her, for those of you who haven't seen her," she stated, giving Fry a glance that suggested that she was excluding him from that group. She took a tentative first drink of the Slurm as everybody else leaned over to examine the picture, trying not to look surprised that she found herself enjoying the taste of it.
"She's very pretty," Leela said, picking up the picture and looking at it more closely. "How'd she meet Fry?"
"Yeah, he does seem to mysteriously get the attractive ones," said Bender casually before taking a swig of beer. "Must be something to do with being a five-star loser... human chicks must love it?"
The smiling woman in the photo had light olive skin, dark eyes and a slim nose. Her medium length hair was slightly curly and very dark, appearing black, but brown highlights could be seen where the sun had apparently touched it. Athena carried on.
"That's where she apparently met you," and that was directed at Fry, "who claimed to be a man from the twentieth-century, frozen in cryogenic stasis for almost a thousand years. He had been assigned the task of a delivery boy and didn't like it, and had apparently tried to escape and come to the museum, claiming that an eerie force had led him there."
As Athena paused to take another drink, Fry thought about how close it was to how he remembered waking up from the freezing tube. He had also done a similar act then. But he couldn't recall this one, nor an eerie presence leading him anywhere.
"For some reason, she found you charming," Athena almost seemed to spit, which hurt Fry's feelings. "Something to do with the fact that you were from the ancient past, as if she considered you to be a piece of art yourself. Anyway, she hid you in a box of priceless art, which got rid of the authorities when they came looking."
"What happened after that?" Leela queried curiously.
"I only know vague details," Athena shrugged. "Maybe my father should tell you, since he was there after all?"
Fry felt the acid bite of another sour glance hit him, but he didn't become submissive, since he knew that he had facts to defend.
"Look, you may be my daughter by DNA evidence, but that doesn't mean that I know what you're talking about. I seriously have absolutely no idea about any of this!"
"That's just the kind of thing you would deny," Athena accused. "You may be able to fool your friends, but you can't fool me!"
"Why would I want to do that?" Fry asked.
"Because I'm an embarrassing freak!!" she yelled, something in each eye glistening as she stood up from her chair to tower above him.
There was an awkward silence, only glances being exchanged. Feeling weak, Athena sat down again, her face seeming to shift between anger and sadness.
"How?" Leela asked from her right side. "You don't seem like a freak to me."
"Not on the outside," she growled from between gnashed teeth. "But on the inside, in my mind, I am."
More glances were exchanged between crewmembers, while Athena's head slowly turned to face Fry. If looks could kill, the one on her face would fell armies.
"You see, my father here wasn't really in love with my mother at all," she began. "He was on a mission, one to sow his demonic seed in the soil that was my mother's womb. He didn't say why exactly, except for the fact that his mind was special."
"Finally!" Bender interjected. "Something that we actually know about Fry!"
"My mother didn't find out until after it was too late, but she took it well. It wasn't until she told us the story and after several years that I saw things myself, things my mother either didn't or didn't want to. My father here is apparently some universal saviour from the past, brought to the future to save it from the Brain Spawn because of an immunity to them. Not only that, but he was to also create offspring who shared that immunity to continue the task for him once he had passed on."
"You and your brother," Leela noted. But Athena shook her head.
"No, not us. Not us at all."
"But you are his daughter, right?" Amy asked.
"Yes, but not how it was supposed to be," Athena said. "My mother was supposed to be his designated mate, called 'The Other' apparently, but somehow he discovered that she wasn't this fabled woman after all. It was right after the birth of my brother and I actually. We must have had our brains scanned, and then, the truth discovered, he took off, leaving my mother to take care of us because we were half-minded freaks!"
At this point she was glaring at Fry with even more venom than before, breathing heavily. Fry had to admit, he was scared.
"Didn't you, you bastard?!" she hissed, rising from her chair again slowly. "You abandoned us because we were genetic anomalies! You tossed us all aside like a used tissue because your plan didn't succeed, all of us nothing more than worthless waste to you!"
She was now leaning across at him, no part of her touching her seat at all.
"And worst of all, you cursed us with these... these... agonising minds from hell!"
There wasn't much warning as Athena lunged across the table at Fry, her hands instantly grabbing as his throat as her body hit the surface previously between them, a now empty glass rattling across it too. The rest all acted by gasping, save for Leela who acted, as usual, with action. She wrapped her arms around the other woman's waist and began to pull, while Fry just choked from the fingers wrapping around and digging into his neck.
"Somebody help me here!" Leela growled, noticing that despite her strength, Athena's grip wasn't loosing much if at all. Bender answered the call by trotting over to Fry's end and grasping the girl's wrists.
"Let me go!" she hissed at the robot. "He needs to suffer too for what he did! He needs to..."
The sentence wasn't finished, as she suddenly loosened her grip on Fry completely and sagged. Bender let go too, which sent an clueless Leela flying backwards and stumbling onto her feet, suddenly finding he was holding the younger girl in her arms, limp as a giant rag doll and heavier than she appeared. Leela grunted as she struggled not to drop Athena, getting better hold of the girl while Fry gasped new air back into his lungs.
"What'd you do to her, Bender?" she asked, sounding a little shocked, as well as hinting perhaps that Bender had done something too extreme.
"Nothing!" the robot defended. "I just grabbed her wrists and she let go!"
"Is she okay?" Amy asked her captain. Zoidberg stepped forward, holding out a strange hand-held, or perhaps claw-held, device.
"If I may interject..."
He wandered over to Athena and Leela, then scanned the device up and down the seemingly lifeless body several times.
"Well?" Leela asked, a strain in her voice suggesting holding Athena like that was now less than comfortable. Zoidberg stopped scanning and looked at the readings on it.
"She's alive," he announced. "But she appears to be suffering from extreme exhaustion, malnutrition, dehydration and her gills have closed up."
"She doesn't have gills," Leela growled.
"Of course she doesn't," Zoidberg answered with annoyance. "I just told you, they closed up. What, are you deaf?"
Leela sighed, then stooped to pick Athena up properly, holding her shoulders and back in her left arm and back of the knees on her right.
"Let's get her to the medical bay then," she announced. "We'll hook her up to an IV and pump some nutrients into her until she's stable. In the meantime we'll stick to this course."
Leela looked at Amy.
"Amy, check that everything is fine on the bridge."
A turn towards Bender as Amy left the room.
"Bender, you come with Zoidberg and I. I want you to take one of the guns from the weapons locker and keep an eye on Athena while she's asleep. She could still be dangerous."
"What about me?" Fry asked, noticing that the other three were making their way towards the medical bay. Leela continued to walk, but gave Fry a swift glance over her shoulder.
"You stay here," she said simply. "I want to talk with you soon."
Fry sighed as the door slid behind the others, leaving him alone in the room. At the moment, he was just as confused as anyone, but there was also a sinking in his gut he didn't like. He didn't like the idea that there had been stuff he had done in the past and he didn't even know about it. Not just that, but he had apparently hurt people in the process. That felt the worst of all.