Fan Fiction

The Punishress, Part 5
By Dwayne Anderson

The next morning, Leela was the first person to arrive at Planet Express. In the locker room, she unlockers her locker. Just as she is about to open it, the door bursts open.

"Freeze!" a voice booms out.

Leela turns around, only to see a dozen police officers enter the room. Mayor Poopenmeyer and a familiar man enter with them. Leela recognizes him as the man who attempted to rob her last night.

"That's her!" he said. "She's the Punishress!"

The next thing Leela knows, she's surrounded by twelve police officers holding their weapons on her.

"What's going on?" she asked. "I am innocent of any wrong-doing!"

"What's going on in here?!" said Fry as he and the others entered.

Smitty blocks his path. "Don't interfere!" he said.

"Innocent of any wrong-doing eh?" said Poopenmeyer. He throws open Leela's locker and pulls out her costume. "How do you explain this?!"

Leela doesn't reply.

"Away with her men!" said Poopenmeyer.

The police cuff Leela and lead her away.

"Good work young man," said Poopenmeyer. "The reward money is as good as yours."

"Hey!" said Fry. "That's the same guy who stole my camera!"

"We interupt your program to bring you this shocking story," said Linda. "Mayor Poopenmeyer and the police have captured Turanga Leela aka 'The Punishress'. The reward money has been paid to the man who assisted the police in her arrest. Due to his successful capture of this mutant vigilante, Poopenmeyer's popularity has soared. Back to you Morbo."

"Thank you Linda," said Morbo. "Bitch," he mutters under his breathe.

He faces the camera. "In other news, the trial of the century is to begin this afternoon. It's the people of New New York against Turanga Leela. She's charged with defending the rights of mutants and being a mutant living on the street. We go now to the Courthouse."

That afternoon, at the courthouse, a large crowd is gathered inside and outside. Leela is seated at a table with Fry. No lawyer wanted to defend her.

"Turanga Leela," said the judge, "you are charged with the worst crimes anyone in New New York can commit: defending mutants and being one yourself. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"This is insane!" Leela said. "All I was trying to do was get justice for my people! We deserve the same rights and priviledges normal people have! We used to be people ourselves, until a meeting with radioactive toxins, but that does not change the fact that we are living creatures!"

"Yeah, living freaks!" said Poopenmeyer!"

The crowd cheers.

"What's wrong with you people?!" Leela said. "Why do you hate and fear us so much?! What did we ever do to you?!"

"You were born!" said Poopenmeyer.

"Order in the court!" said the judge.

"I'll have a burger and fries!" said Fry. Everyone laughed.

"Order in the court! One more remark and you'll be in contempt!"

Fry gulped. "Yes mame."

Fry was called to the stand.

"Your honor, members of the court, when I first met Leela, I assumed she was a humanoid alien. But when I found out that she was a mutant, that didn't change anything between us. As Abraham Lincoln said in his famous Gettysburg speech, 'All men are created equal'."

"Does anybody care what this guy is saying?!" said Poopenmeyer.

"NO!" said the crowd.

"You may step down," said Poopenmeyer.

"I'm not finished yet!" said Fry.

"Yes you are!" said Poopenmeyer.

"Mayor Poopenmeyer, my parents were robbed and the police refused to help. What was I supposed to do, nothing?!"

"Yes," said Poopenmeyer.

"Since when is it a crime to defend mutants?!"

"Since now! Besides, there's no law against persecuting them, so it certainly must be legal."

"That's not fair!"

"Does anybody care what this freak is saying?!"

"NO!" said the crowd.

"Due to the overwhelming evidence," said the judge, "I see no reason to use a jury. I find the defendant guilty of all charges."

The crowd cheers.

"This is not fair!" Leela said. "My people are being abused! Why am I the one being convicted?!"

"However," said the judge, "due to the fact that you're a registered citizen of New New York, you won't be banished to the sewer, so you're free to go. But you are hereby ordered to turn in your costume and stop defending mutants as the Punishress or anybody else! Refusal to co-operate and you will be banished to the sewer! Understood?!"

Leela didn't agree, but she knew that it was futile to argue.

She sighed. "Yes mame."

"Citizens of New New York!" said Poopenmeyer, "I declare the Punishress' reign of terror over!"

The crowd cheers.

As Leela trudges out of the courthouse, she's greeted by an angry mob, jeering and shaking their fists at her. Some even throw vegetables.

"Go back to the sewer where you belong freak!" a woman shouts.

Leela has her face lowered. The fight for equality among mutants is over.

And Leela knew that she had lost.

News of Leela's forced retirement as the Punishress reached the sewers. The mutants all felt depressed, knowing that once again, they were alone. Now they had no one.

That night, Leela sadly sits on a chair in Hermes' office. She picks up the comic Fry gave for her birthday and looks at it. Then she places it into the paper shredder and pushes the button.

Leela sat on the couch watching the evening news.

"Thanks to his role in ending the Punishress' reign," said Linda, "Poopenmeyer has won enough votes to continue his reign as mayor."

With a sigh, Leela turns off the television.

She walks into Farnsworth's lab and looks out the window. On the streets below, she sees a small group of young men and women beating a mutant on the street.

"Where's the Punishress when you need her now?" a man said mockingly.

The others laugh as they continue to beat the mutant.

Leela feels terrible knowing she's let her people down.

Fry comes up behind her. "If it's any consolation Leela," he said, "you did your best."

Leela sighed. "All of my work has been in vain," she said. "My people continue to suffer, and there's nothing more I can do."

"I know you feel bad Leela," said Fry. "The courts may have taken your costume and your secret identity, but they didn't take your heritage. You'll feel better tomorrow morning."

Leela turns and glares at Fry. "I am not waking up tomorrow!" Her angry look changes into a look of sorrow. "In fact, there's not going to be a tomorrow for me!"

She runs off to the balcony. Fry realizes with horror what Leela plans to do.

On the balcony, Leela begins to climb onto the railing.

"What's the point of living?" she said to herself. "I've let my people down. We'll never be treated equally to humans."

"Leela stop!" said Fry as he runs onto the balcony.

"Don't try to stop me, Fry," said Leela. "My mind is made up!"

"Be reasonable Leela," said Fry. "If you jump off the balcony to kill yourself, you'll be throwing your life away."

"So?!" said Leela. "Nobody cares about the mutants anyway!"

"Leela, if you do jump off the balcony, the worst thing that could happen at the moment when you feel your life slipping from you, would be that the last thought you'd have would be 'Oh god if I'd only done this, if I'd only done that!'"

"What?" asked Leela.

"Sure you may not have made an impact on the citizens of New New York, but have you thought about the mutants?"

Leela hesitated.

"Come with me Leela," said Fry, "there's something you should know about."

Fry leads Leela into the sewers.

"Ok everyone!" he calls out loud. "I give you your hero!"

A large crowd of mutants are gathered. When they see Leela, they cheer.

"What's going on?" asked Leela.

"You've become a hero to the mutants, Leela," said Fry.

"And through your actions," said Dwayne, "you've shown that there are people who care about us."

"And inspired us that we can never give up hope," said Moose.

"I have?" asked Leela.

"Yes," said Fry.

"Leela," said Mundy. "Me and your father are so proud to have you as our daughter."

"You can say that again" said Morris.

"Thanks Fry," Leela said when she and Fry returned to Planet Express. "I feel better now."

"Oh I almost forgot!" said Fry. He gave a small parcel to Leela. "Zoidberg told me to give this to you. It's the birthday present you still haven't opened."

Leela opens it. Inside is a small card that reads, "Sometimes there's no shame in being different. Trust me, I know!"

"You know what?" asked Leela. "He's right."

"Yeah," said Fry. "Leela, just because someone looks different from everybody else doesn't give people to right to treat him or her differently.

Leela nodded. Then she stopped. "My god, is that what we've been putting Zoidberg through?!"

Fry realized that Leela was right. "Yeah. Maybe you and I should start going easy on him from now on."

"Yeah," said Leela. "The same goes for everyone else."

Later, at her apartment, Leela is writing in her diary.

"I may have failed to achieve equality for my people, but through my actions, I've inspired the mutants there maybe there is hope for a better future for them. Will we ever be treated equally among humans? Maybe only the future knows the answer for sure."

Leela sets down her pen and closes the book. Deep down, she knows that the fight for equality among mutants hasn't ended.

It's only just begun.


The End