Fry looked in both directions before crossing the street, something he normally didn’t do. Clutched under his arm was a package wrapped in plain brown paper. Partially concealed by his jacket, it was tied with brown packing thread. Beads of sweat were visible on his face as he sprinted across the street and into the foyer of the Planet Express building.
Somewhat winded, he paused for a moment before ascending into the lounge. It was filled with a variety of people, creatures, and robots. Lrr, Ndnd, Hedonismbot, and Calculon were the outsiders. The usual suspects – Leela, Amy, LaBarbara, Scruffy, Hermes, Bender, and the Professor made up the remainder of the crowd.
Fry pulled the package from under his jacket with a flourish, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. “I’ve got them!” he announced triumphantly. “Come on, Leela. Want to watch?”
“No way.” Leela shook her head. With her arms crossed across her chest and her right foot tapping, “We’re not going to stay to watch that junk. It stereotypes women.”
“Right,” LaBarbara chimed in, “and those tapes are illegal.”
Calculon replied with a dramatic flourish, “But they have great artistic value! Such acting…”
“Spleesh!” Amy cut him off, “Every one I have seen is always overacted and looks like it was shot on cardboard sets!”
Bender took a cigar from his chest cavity, lit it, and took a long drag before blowing a dense, bluish plume of smoke in Amy’s direction. “So what if they were, fleshwad?”
Amy hacked and coughed before spitting out some curses in Cantonese.
Scruffy observed as he leaned on his mop, “Great art is always underappreciated. Uh huh.”
Amy turned to Leela, the disgust registering clearly in her voice and on her face, “Why don’t we girls go to the Spa Planet, Rubdown Five, while the boys wallow in this trash?”
Leela thought for a moment. “Sure, I’ve got a coupon for half off which I’ve been dying to use.”
“I could use some pampering”. Ndnd grinned ferociously, “All lard butt here wants to do is sit and watch TV anyway.”
“Hey!” Lrr growled, “I’ve lost five pounds and my sex drive since you put me on that low-fat diet.”
“Let’s go, girls,” LaBarbara said. “Let dem enjoy da trash film festival.”
“It’s a respected art form, woman!” Hermes shot back.
The ladies filed out of the lounge without a further word. The men and manbots watched them leave in silence. Within moments, the sound of the Planet Express Ship lifting off filled the lounge. Soon all was quiet again.
“Let the binge watching begin!” Hedonismbot intoned.
“Set SantaCon One!” Hermes said officiously.
The Professor seemed startled, “Wha? Is it Xmas already?”
“No, dingus,” Bender replied. “It’s time to watch the tapes.”
“Oh my, yes.” The professor reached into the pocket of his lab coat and pulled out a small rectangular box with an antenna on one end plus a red and a green button on the face. Pressing the red button the Professor said, “Here goes.”
The metallic clang of shutters encasing the Planet Express building was deafening. Then…silence. A small robotic arm emerged from a hatch near the main entrance to hang a sign which read, “Gone Fission.”
The Professor placed the remote control on a side table before sitting down. Everyone else arrayed themselves around the television as Fry tore open the package. He selected a cassette whose cover read, “My Little Ponies Episodes 1 – 5.” With shaking hands, he pushed the cassette into the tape player. Then he quickly took a seat.
The screen became a black canvas filled with distant stars. An ancient starship whisked across too fast to see its details. Then a bass voice intoned, “Space...the final frontier…”
A shimmering cloud appeared suddenly between those on the couch and the television. “Hey! I thought you weren’t going to start without me!”
“Out of the way, Melllvar!” Bender shouted. “I can’t see.”
“Oh, sorry.” Melllvar moved to the side and settled in next to the Professor.
96 Hours later….
The last episode came to an end. There was a moment of reverent silence broken by Calculon, “Such superb ACTING! If only William Shatner were alive today!’ His arm shot up, “Such a drama coach!”
Hedonismbot sighed, “If only I could have Mr. Sulu. He would rub me with the finest oils and creams while putting batteries into things!”
Fry stroked the four-day stubble on his chin, “Kirk certainly knew how to teach alien women to love.”
Bender took a puff on the 312th cigar he had smoked since the beginning of the binge. “Not enough robots for my taste. Although…Spock could have been a robot.”
“Dat Spock would make a fine bureaucrat.” Hermes said approvingly, “Everyting by da book. He could quote Starfleet Regulations like nobody’s business”
“As Star Trek’s greatest fan,” Melllvar said, “I still think there weren’t enough episodes featuring gaseous clouds.”
Lrr spoke up, “I’m glad this is only fiction. With a leader like Kirk, DOOP would be unbeatable.”
Fry nodded in agreement, “Yeah, we’re stuck with that moron Zapp Brannigan. Him and his stupid red velour uniform.”
The Professor started, as if from a trance, “Did someone mention red uniforms?” Without waiting for an answer, the Professor rose and shuffled off to his laboratory, muttering to himself.
“Speaking of red,” Lrr asked, “Is a red shirt the uniform of the suicide squad?”
“No,” Fry replied. “That is for security personnel.”
“Some security,” Bender responded. “They seemed to specialize in wandering off and getting killed by some random monster or alien.”
Calculon spoke up, “Such magnificent SCREAMING!”
“But such a waste of handsome, virile young men!” Hedonismbot observed sadly.
“I wouldn’t want to beam down to a planet with Kirk wearing a red shirt.” Fry admitted, “Especially if I had a Hispanic surname.”
Melllvar spoke up, “That was only in the early episodes. They later used other ethnic surnames.”
“Whatever.” Fry replied.
Bender lit up his 313th cigar, “Watching a landing party in Star Trek is like watching you skin tubes in a horror movie. ‘Let’s split up. We can cover more ground that way.’ Stupid meatbags.” He said disparagingly.
Scruffy wiped a tear from his eye, “Those red shirts were the janitors of Star Trek.”
“Well,” Hermes observed, “At least Dr. McCoy always followed medical procedure. He never failed to tell da Captain, ‘He’s dead, Jim.’”
Lrr stood up and surveyed the litter and carnage of four days of binge watching 79 episodes of Star Trek. With only short bio breaks and naps, they had simply let cigar butts, pizza boxes, LoBrau bottles and Slurm cans rest where they fell. “Speaking of dead, if we don’t clean up…our wives will kill us.”
It took a little more than an hour, but they got the place back into a reasonably clean state. However, the funk of unwashed male bodies and stale cigar smoke still formed a thick noxious miasma in the lounge area.
Hermes picked up the remote and pressed the green button. The external shutters clanged back into their storage slots. “Let’s open da’ windows and blow da’ funk outta here.”
Hedonismbot sighed, “Ah…but such a manly funk.”
“Anybody want some more pizza?” Fry asked.
“Nah,” Bender replied. “Let’s do Chinese takeout.”
After ordering, they sat around discussing the merits of the various alien races in Star Trek.
“The Gorn were the best,” Lrr offered. “Uncompromisingly warlike.”
Melllvar shimmered, “Gaseous clouds…hands down.”
“You don’t have any hands,” Bender observed as he puffed on his 314th cigar.
Hedonismbot sighed, “Humans. That Sulu fencing without a shirt…so manly.”
Fry grinned, “I want to go to the planet of the green women in Orion.” He immediately added for Bender’s sake, “Don’t be a tattle-tale!”
Bender laughed, “Should I tell Leela to buy some green body paint?”
“No.” Fry said emphatically.
Just then, the Chinese food arrived. They dug in like hungry Targs, gobbling it down quickly. As they were finishing, they heard the sound of the Planet Express Ship landing in the hangar bay.
“Da ladies are back,” Hermes observed.
No sooner had Hermes spoken than the four ladies trooped back into the Lounge. Leela wrinkled her nose, “It smells like a fox farm in here!”
“Gluck!” Amy exclaimed, “More like a frat house during rush season.” She quickly added, “Not that I would know what that smells like.”
Ndnd poked Lrr in his midriff, “I see you went off your diet.”
“Yeah, but I got my sex drive back.” Lrr replied. “Kirk showed me the way.”
The Professor shuffled into the room and announced, “Good news everyone!”
“Another near-death experience disguised as a delivery?” Bender shot back.
“Oh my no,” the Professor replied. “I’ve designed new uniforms for the crew.”
“So where are they?” Leela asked.
“Here is yours, Leela.” The professor proudly held up a perfect facsimile of a Star Trek security officer’s uniform, complete down to the Star Fleet insignia.
Bender laughed as he lit up his 315th cigar, “We’re dead, Jim.”