“The Court Martial of Zapp Brannigan, Part One.”
(D.O.O.P. Central Administration Facility, 09/15/3008 - 0800 NNY time)
day for Zapp Brannigan’s court-martial had arrived. Leela, Fry,
Dave, Bender, and Amy were scheduled to testify that morning. The
case against Brannigan was strong, no chance he’d get away with
his usual slap on the hand punishment. He’d crossed the line
with the Zuban-5 incident, and there would be serious repercussions
he‘d have to pay for.
Planet Express employees assembled at the curb, as Dave secured his
truck. Leela and Amy, both looked sharp as always in their business
suit/miniskirt attire. Both Dave and Fry wore suits, everyone
nervously anticipating the pre-trial procedures.
spotted Kif across the courtyard, whispered something to Leela, and
went to his side. The remaining foursome stood around, making small
conversation. Dave smiling, and complimenting Leela on her
appearance, as usual. Fry and Bender checking the “Space Vegas”
odds on the trial’s outcome.
had done something similar to this before. He’d testified at a
USN Judge Advocate General inquiry for the defense of the crew of one
of his squadron’s F-14s, when they ejected after the aircraft
suffered catastrophic engine failure.
(Courtroom 6-A, 09/15/3008 - 0915 NNY time)
Riiiiise, Military Judge, Adm. Robert T. Johnson presiding, This
General Court-Martial will come to order!” A
large, barrel-chested MP barked. A tall, wiry man, with a sharp
looking crew cut climbed into his seat behind the bench.
Judge cleared his throat. “This trial is to hear testimony
today, under Article 32 of the DOOP Uniform Code of Justice. The
accused stands charged with violations of Articles 81, 85, 88, 89,
and most seriously, Articles 92, 93, AND Article 94!” The
Judge said venomously, as his stare burned into where Zapp Brannigan
was seated. “Further charges of violating Article 104,
aiding a known enemy may be imposed at a later date, pending the
outcome of this Court-Martial.”
and The Planet Express employees sat still, as they listened to the
growing list of Zapp’s charges. Bender satisfied himself with
his boredom simulator, and checking the Vegas odds again, but upping
the ante, by betting on him getting the death penalty.
lead prosecutor began by addressing the jury, and presenting the
memory card that contained Bender’s downloaded testimony from
the Zuban-5 delivery.
large plasma-screen monitor unfolded at the front of the Judge’s
bench. The prosecutor inserted the memory card into the side of the
screen, where it began to play immediately.
footage of Bender’s memory started as the Planet Express ship
descended towards the huge landing pad. The prosecutor paused the
video, as he pointed out to the jury how Bender’s optical
sensor showed Brannigan’s large, white DOOP shuttlecraft parked
on the pad in front of New Robot Hell.
then forwarded the recording to the mountain opening up, and the
Robot Devil’s minions assaulting, and then imprisoning the
crew. Several members of the jury gasped in horror. One woman juror
nearly fainted after hearing the language Bender used, upon being
struck with the electrostatic weapon.
recording fast-forwarded to the part where they were standing on the
rocky alcove, about the time Brannigan walked out to greet them.
“Looks like that Article 104 charge will come in handy!”
Dave whispered to Leela.
finished with the robot’s video evidence, the prosecutor called
David K. Murphy to the witness stand. Dave stood up, stared nervously
at his co-workers, but Leela smiled at him, giving his hand a
squeeze, and whispered “Good luck!” as he shuffled
up to the bench.
being sworn in, Dave was asked to give his testimony in great detail,
to which he didn’t disappoint. Brannigan’s face grew
tight, getting a shade more red, as Dave gave riveting details
describing the battle which ensued.
this point, I’d like to show the jury Mr. Bender’s memory
footage of that escalation.”
attorney, a slick, 1980s cliché of a lawyer. “This
is irrelevant, He’s stalling!”
I’ll allow it. Prosecution, you better be going somewhere with
this.” The judge spat.
video display showed the hellacious fire-fight, as Bender, Dave, Fry,
and Leela were fighting their way towards the exit. Everyone in the
courtroom gasped when the Planet Express ship came crashing through
the mountain, to aid the DOOP Marines, and their co-workers.
video continued for a few minutes. The jury watched as they could see
Dave and Leela carrying Fry towards the exit. Just as they reached
the exit, they could see two lasers hit Dave, dropping him to the
ground. The camera in Bender’s eye focused on three
individuals, as his head whipped around to see who fired the shots.
of anger, and outrage began to pepper the courtroom, as the Judge
furiously slammed his gavel down repeatedly, calling for order.
eye-camera focused closer on the three figures. Two DOOP Marines were
bringing Zapp Brannigan up the path towards the exit. Brannigan
managed to break free of their grip, snatching a plasma pistol from
one Marine’s holster, his face screwed up in pain & anger,
as he took aim, firing the two shots that seriously wounded Dave.
courtroom fell silent. “No further questions your honor.”
said the prosecutor.
your witness.” The Judge said, as the video continued to
roll, showing Zapp being tackled by the two Marines. “Ooof!
You men tackle good! A bit too much Greco-Roman style, but I like
it!” the audio played, as Brannigan’s voice trailed
attorney whispered something in his ear before approaching the
witness stand. “Counsel! Your witness! We haven’t got
all day!” The Judge roared.
Murphy, tell me, what do you do for a living?”
the career chip that irritated his flesh under the skin of his left
hand, Dave felt slightly relieved. “I’m an
interim maintenance man, I do odd jobs for Professor Farnsworth.”
attorney flinched a little, not expecting to hear that from Dave.
Brannigan had assured him that Dave was an ‘Unknown’,
someone with no background, no career chip, nothing.
seeeee. Would you mind holding out your hand please?” The
attorney stammered, as he pulled a scanner from his briefcase.
mind reeled. Luckily, Leela remembered to remove the ersatz career
little device beeped, then spit out a paper ticket. “Hmmm,
Strange. It seems you‘re either dead, or you have NO permanent
career chip!” He said, becoming increasingly hostile.
courtroom was filled with gasps and whispering. Eyes of complete
strangers bored into Dave’s face, he felt like he was a bug
under a microscope.
Murphy, please tell the court how you came to be employed at Planet
Express?” Dave was in a corner now. He had to think of
something quick. He quickly glanced at his friends in the crowd.
Leela and Amy were grimacing, teeth clenched, with fingers crossed
looked the attorney in the eyes, exhaled slowly, and gave him the
all very strange. I came here from the 21st
century three months ago.” Louder gasps erupted from the
crowd of people before him. “Here, I’ll show you your
honor.” Dave said, as he extricated his Florida driver’s
license from his black leather wallet, then handing it to the nearest
, , see. Well now, Just how in Cheech’s Ghost did you manage to
travel across one thousand years time, and sit before court today?”
Judge Johnson asked tersely.
Honor, as my license says, I was born in the year 1978. I am a
30-year old male resident of the State of Florida. I was driving home
late one night after work, when my truck was swallowed by this weird
blue light. Next thing I know, I slam into a brick wall going 70
miles per hour, and get knocked unconscious by the airbag, and two
tons of stone wall!”
Judge looked at Dave in awe, as did nearly everybody in the
courtroom. “Please, continue sir.” The
that night, I found out I was in a place called Planet Express. The
employees you see seated here today, they were kind and gracious
enough to give me medical attention, repair my truck, and provide me
with a place to stay. I found out the next day, I was brought here by
a machine of Professor Farnsworth’s invention, that had
attorney replied “That’s all well and good, but
are you aware that we still have laws in the future? You have to be
implanted with a chip in order to have a job, have a home, have a
life in general!”
jumped out of his seat yelling, “And you also can’t
viciously attack an innocent, 25-star General either!”
Johnson slammed his gavel twice, “One more outburst, and the
defendant will be held in contempt! Control your client counsel, I’m
not gonna remind you again!”
attorney continued to cross-examine Dave for most of the morning.
you arrived at Planet Express, do you regularly fly on deliveries?”
at first. After a few weeks, I recovered enough, and got curious
enough about The Professor’s space ship. His crew invited me to
ride along, to experience space travel for the first time. Had I
known it would be illegal for me to go, I wouldn’t have flown.”
see, and tell the court about your alleged striking of General
Brannigan on June 4 of this year.”
in self-defense. Mr. Brannigan put his hands on me in a manner I
deemed to be hostile.” Dave
didn’t assault him due to comments he made towards your
Captain, a Miss Turanga Leela?”
His comments upset me very much. Captain Leela is good woman, and an
excellent pilot. She didn’t deserve to harassed like that, but
I did not attack him for his vulgarity.” Dave
Murphy, may I remind you you’re under oath. You’re
certain you did not fly into a violent rage, and strike General
Brannigan, a decorated war hero, with a blunt metallic object, all
because of some minor, off-color comment?”
The prosecutor yelled, “Defense
is badgering the witness!”
knock it off counselor!” barked
breathed a heavy sigh before giving his answer.
memory is still hazy from the collision. The only people I remember
are those that I work with. I admit that even though we’re
co-workers, Miss Turanga and I have become close in the past few
months. General Brannigan’s comments that day, however lewd,
and inappropriate they may have been, did not anger me to the point
of attacking him. He put his hands on me in a way I felt was hostile,
and I defended myself.”
did General Brannigan try to arrest you for Mr. Murphy?”
Brannigan was convinced that I was a stowaway.” Dave
sir, as is compliant with DOOP law, stowing away is considered
unlawful, , , under most circumstances. Did you, or your Captain
explain to General Brannigan why you were not listed on the
sir. To which Mr. Brannigan began to accuse Ms. Turanga of sneaking
around on him with another man. They began to argue, and he decided
to arrest me out of spite.”
Dave’s testimony was finished, Judge Johnson ordered that
court-martial be adjourned until 9am the following morning.
evening, Dave and the others all sat around a corner booth at
O’Zorgnax’s. Only small talk was exchanged. Everyone sat
back in their seats, trying to forget about the day as best as they
fate was now in question. Would they imprison him? Would equally
harsh penalties befall his friends at Planet Express, or could they
force Farnsworth to return him to 2008, possible putting the entire
known universe in peril from the Nibblonian Prophecy.
(D.O.O.P. Central Administration Facility, 09/15/3008 - 0900 NNY time)
large MP called the court’s attention with his booming “ALL
RIIISE”. It seemed strange, as both the prosecution, and
defense personnel were absent. Judge Johnson began the day’s
proceedings, he announced that he had a special matter to attend to
before the court-martial resumed.
Judge looked over at the mostly empty section where the Planet
Express employees were seated.
like to ask if Mr. David K. Murphy would please stand before the
was shocked, Fry, Leela, Amy, and Bender all looked at him in horror
as he stood up. A million thoughts raced through his head. Was this
where they would drag him away? Incarceration? Or worse, tear him
away from his new friends.
instinctively stood at attention in front of the bench. The Judge
looked deep in thought as he studied Dave’s posture for a
moment, noticing his hands were at his sides, thumbs along the seams
of his trousers, and he stared straight ahead into nothing.
Murphy, I have a question. Would you happen to be former military?”
your Honor, I proudly served with the United States Navy, 2000 to
2001.” he proudly
so short son?”
Honor, I was severely injured in a training accident during a
pre-deployment work-up before my first cruise, and was medically
discharged at 100%.”
that’s a damn shame son! I come from a long line of Navy men &
women in my family as well.” The
Judge replied, in a little calmer voice, as he leaned back in his
chair a bit.
also like to express my gratitude for your testimony yesterday. I
understand you’re in a little bit of a situation. Your actions
on Zuban-5 were remarkable! Any normal civilian would have
high-tailed it outta there, if they managed to escaped. Yet, you
stayed, at great personal risk to rescue your co-workers, and your
captain! Can you tell me what made you do that?”
braced his stance even tighter, as he replied. “HONOR!,
, , Sir, I am a Navy man, and I always will be. My friends needed
help, and I was prepared, if necessary, to give my life that day,
just to save theirs.”
Johnson nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, I recall
you pulling Mr. Fry to safety when he was initially wounded.”
Murphy, at this time, I would like to make it known to you, and the
court that as a Judiciary Official, and an Admiral, It is within my
authority, and with my gratitude, that I would like to grant you full
citizenship, with all the rights and privileges that go with it!”
held his stance, trying hard, but failing to hide the grin spreading
across his face. He heard Leela and Amy whispering excitedly at the
back of the courtroom.
Judge had officially swore Dave in a official, living, breathing
Earthican citizen shortly after 9:30 that morning!
he finished, he thanked everyone for doing their part in giving their
testimony, assuring them that justice would be served. Judge Johnson
rapped his gavel twice, as he dismissed the Planet Express crew.
all rushed to Dave’s side, furiously congratulating him.
“WOOOOO! BEER PARTY AT THE OFFICE! EHHEHEH HEH!”
Bender loudly exclaimed.
exited the busy court house, amongst the throngs of people coming and
going. Everyone stopped next to the large pole mounted in the
concrete in front of the DOOP complex. An enormous Earthican flag
waved in the morning breeze. Dave looked up at it, thirteen stripes,
and the planet Earth on a blue background. He felt a little strange,
but exhilarated none the less. He let his gaze fall back down, his
eyes laid upon Leela’s face, smiling at him as usual, as she
placed an arm around his waist, pulling them together. “This
is for you *kiss* I’m happy for you!” She said, as
they kissed again.
meat bags, let’s go! We got beer to consume! Chop-chop!”
Bender shouted, as he climbed into the backseat of the
Bender, the liquor store isn’t open yet.” Fry
it will be when we get there, It will be!” Bender said, as
he thumped his chest triumphantly.
(Planet Express building, 09/16/3008 - 1300 hours NNY time)
by one, the hung over Planet Express trudged into the office through
the front door. Fry, Dave, Amy, and Leela all slumped on, or around
the couch the TV lounge, as they tried to shake off the after effects
of yesterdays booze-soaked party celebrating Dave’s receipt of
entered the lounge. He gave his presentation while moving around the
room, trying to avoid the empty bottles being launched at him, a vain
effort to shut him up.
no way am I flying with this migraine!” Leela moaned, as
she repositioned a cold hand towel across her closed eyelid, after
firing an half-empty bottle of Jeremiah Weed XIV whiskey in his
people. ‘dere’s no mission today. Da professor’s
buyin’ some property across da street, and as da bureaucrat
assigned to Planet Express, ‘dat means a whole tonna paperwork
will ‘ave to be done mon. I’m so excited, I jus’
had to tell da lot of yeh!” Hermes said, with his voice
going an octave higher, right along with his enthusiasm for
door from the hangar swished open, as Professor Farnsworth shuffled
into the lounge.
my intrepid crew! I see Hermes has broken the good news!”
others just groaned listlessly, as Farnsworth paused.
I’ve purchased the abandoned vacant lot across the street! All
these years in the same building has left me short of free space to
build the many, many experiments my cavernous brain still has
careening madly around inside it. So, I’m having a storage
facility built to house my numerous scientific creations!”
with those words, a tremendous explosion rang out, followed by sharp,
staccato vibrations they all felt through the floor.
they all ran out the front door, and around the corner, they could
see a team of robot laborers pounding steel girders into the bare
earth. Other robots welded I-beams, mixed concrete, and laid
pre-formed steel re-bar into the foundation, now rapidly taking
Let me show you!” Farnsworth said, as he began crossing the
street full of busy, rush hour traffic.
and trucks careened wildly to avoid The Professor, as he marched
straight across from the Planet Express building, to his new
warehouse under construction. An angry cab driver shouted his
discontent. “GET HOME BASTARD MAN!” as he laid on
warehouse’s concrete floor had already set, and three of it’s
four walls were standing when the Planet Express crew walked in to
marveled at the speed of the building’s progress. Amazed that
the robots could do in one afternoon, what would take a vast army of
human contractors at least a month to do in his time.
Dave, and Bender spent the better part of an hour goofing around, and
getting in the way of the worker robots, prompting the foreman to
yell angrily in their general direction every few minutes. The
building now had a completed sliding roof, just like the Planet
Express building, except there was an identical door in the floor,
right below it that led to a cavernous underground laboratory, and
heavy equipment storage deck.
Farnsworth strolled around the nearly completed building with Leela,
and Amy in tow. They paused as Farnsworth led them to a darkened area
at the rear of the warehouse.
this room for?” Amy said, as she snapped on a flashlight’s
power switch. Farnsworth stumbled around for a minute, before finding
the wall switch.
there we go!” He said, as the overhead lights revealed a
spacious, split-level 2 room apartment. “This will be the
living quarters for the building’s caretaker, eughh, of course,
I have to find a caretaker first.” Farnsworth mumbled.
about that guy with the funny smell and the weird mustache, isn’t
he your caretaker?” said Amy.
yes! Scruffy I think he’s called. Yes, he does a fine job for
me, but I can’t have him running both buildings, he’s
overworked enough as is!”
the quick thinker, Leela spoke up. “What about Dave?”
know, the new guy you hired, the guy who’s been hanging around
for the last three months, *sigh*, THE GUY WHO’S TRUCK YOU
BROKE!” She yelled into his hearing aid, as Farnsworth kept
giving her the deer in the headlights look.
interesting. As my Captain, I should be valuing your opinion, but to
hell with that! I choose ZOIDBERG!” He gleefully yelled,
with both arms raised. “Now, where is that Decapodian
could only sigh heavily, and lay her face in the palm of her hand in
disgust. “I’ll be out in the hangar bay, before I put
somebody through a wall!” Leela said, as she left the room.
face was illuminated by the newly installed overhead lighting in the
hangar, now being tuned on for the very first time. A worker droid
finished spot welding the last seam on a ventilator duct, as Sal, the
construction foreman handed her the invoice paperwork, and gave his
standard, droll thank-you speech. “Thank youse for choosing
Hoffa Constructo-matic. We realize youse have a choice of “3
hours, or it’s free” building services, and hope youse
chooses us for future building needs.”
NEWS EVERYONE!” came the
Professor’s voice echoing through the cavernous, empty
need somebody to look after my new storage facility.” He
said, as he shuffled over to where Fry, Bender, Amy, Leela and Dave
were standing. He very gingerly put his outstretched right hand up on
was trying to think of somebody responsible to look after my research
warehouse. Why Zoidberg’s name popped into my head I have no
idea why, but I was hoping you’d help a doddering, old mad
scientist take care of his many inventions.”
was awestruck. Until today, he’d only been asked to be a temp,
a fill-in, if Fry wasn’t able to deliver a package.
I wanted to ask if you’d like the job of keeping the place in
order, killing owls, help in plotting against Wernstrom, eugh-so on &
“Well, , , I do have a permanent career chip now, that means I’d have
a regular job, and I can find a place to live also!” Dave
interrupted, “You won’t have to. There’s
a complete two-bedroom suite build into the back of this place!”
she said, with a smile.
didn’t have to think long. He strolled around the empty hangar
bay, lost in thought for a few seconds. “Okay!
Professor, , , I’ll do it! Only on one condition, if I can
still be the back up delivery guy & go on missions every now &
don’t see why not! Okay, you’ve got a deal!”
Farnsworth said, as he glanced
down at his watch. “Ohhh myyy, it’s nearly six.
I have somewhere to be!”
Ohh lord! I totally forgot!” said
Leela, as she smacked her hand against her forehead. Turning her
attention to Dave, she sheepishly asked him, “Uhhhh,
you aren’t by any chance doing something tonight are you?”
He shook his head a steady “no”.
“Well, I kinda told my parents we’d come down
for dinner tonight. Sorry.” she
said, giggling nervously a little.
just stared back. Of course he had nothing to do that night, nor any
other night for the last three months, but he couldn’t resist
having some fun with her dilemma.
I don’t knowww, it’s kinda short notice and alllll.”
he said, glancing at his wrist-thingy, trying his best not to
crack a smile.
made it look like he was searching his wrist-thingy’s date
book, dragging the scene out a little longer, before long he could
tell she was waiting on his answer, on pins & needles!
face drooped, “Oh, you know,,,,” Leela couldn’t
stand it anymore. She playfully back hand slapped his arm. “OW!
Okay okay! Yes, I’d love to go with you & see your folks!”
Leela’s face brightened up immediately. “Oh, you
snake! You like joke around huh? Okay, I owe ya one now bub!”
She said, as she looked in his eyes, smiling.