Fan Fiction

Stranger In A Strange Land, part 6
By La Belle Leela

(Robot Arms Apartments, 08/04/3008, 0845 NNY time)

Two months have passed since Dave arrived into the 31st century. New New York was a very strange, and exciting place, Dave hadn't even been to Old New York since 1991. Fry, and Bender had invited Dave to stay with them, until Prof Farnsworth could fix the matter transporter, and return Dave to his life in the 21st century. Farnsworth was having no luck repairing the matter transporter. He couldn't re-create what Bender had done to open the rift in the space-time continuum. His latest series of tests only managed to bring people, or things from the current period through the portal, the latest test resulted in bringing a very large, and very annoyed Amazonian woman through the portal! Bender wasn't much help either. He couldn't re-create what he did to the machine, due to his memory bank getting corrupted, when he mistakenly wandered into a factory that made magnets, in his neverending quest for free alcohol! Dave was having the time of his life! He enjoyed many of the strange new discoveries out, and around New New York. Space travel, Blernsball, traveling by tube, and today they were going to show Dave the Head Museum! Dave, Fry, and Bender left The Robot Arms Apts shortly before 9am. They walked a few blocks over to a small sidewalk cafe`, where they planned to meet up with Leela, and Amy. The trio found Leela & Amy sitting at one of the tables, where they both were waving, having spotted the three crossing the street in their direction.

The discussion over coffee that morning was ordinary, everyone catching up on each other's activities. Dave seemed to be paying more attention to Leela than the others. Dave had only known Leela for two months, but she was already like no other woman he'd ever known.(Large single eye & purple hair excluded) Fry had mentioned to Dave in about how Leela was abandoned at an orphanarium as a baby, how she had to endure years, and years of loneliness, and exclusion, due to her physical appearance. Dave looked up from his coffee, his eyes made brief contact with Leela's, they both managed to give each other a little smile. Dave spoke, "So how've you been Leela?", "Okay" she replied. Leela had been away from Planet Express for a few days, tending to her mother, Munda, who'd been suffering a terrible head cold. "Mom's doing much better, she's up & around, & getting on Dad's case about fixing the roof again!" she said with a little giggle. Everyone nodded in appreciation of the good news. Leela had begun to warm up to Dave in the time since the altercation with Brannigan two months ago. Other than Fry, no man had ever stood up for, and defended Leela like Dave had done. In the time since, Captain Brannigan kept his command ship at a considerable distance whenever the Planet Express Ship was in the vicinity. Leela enjoyed being able to complete a mission, without being hassled by the big, fat jerk. She even started to relax a little more during deliveries.

Today, the Planet Express employees were going to enjoy a well deserved day off. A trip to the Head Museum was always fun. They walked the short 6 blocks to the large stone ediface of the museum. Two huge banners hung by the entrance, indicating the museum was celebrating the golden age of 24th century TV stars. The NNY Head Museum was the biggest collection of historic, and famous people's heads in all of Earth. Dave was awestruck by the seemingly endless rows of shelves with large cylindrical jars containing the living heads of people. "Man, the things science can do!" thought Dave. They walked into the main hall, "Let's show Dave the Hall of Presidents" said Fry. "I never thought I'd ever speak to one US President, there must be at least 50 of them here!" exclaimed Dave. Bender was off in conversation with George Washington's head, asking about what kind of things he'd hocked for booze money. "Ohhh lord!" muttered Leela while looking away, they were next to Bill Clinton's head. "Bill Clinton! last time I saw you was 2007, you still had a body, and I got to meet you as you were boarding your private aircraft at the FBO I was working at." said Dave. Leela scurried past the group, Bill Clinton, even as just a head, still made inappropriate remarks at women, if they got too close. Further down the shelf were 3 jars, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Jeb Bush. "Wow! I didn't know you were president." Dave said to the head of Jeb Bush. "Yeahhhh, it was an easy landslide victory in the 2012 election, especially after that video of Hillary Clinton eating a live puppy leaked out over the internet." said Jeb Bush.

Fry was over in the World Leaders section, making the head of Francois Mitterand laugh by doing his Jerry Lewis impression. Dave left the Main Hall, he saw the Hall of Sports Legends to his right. Dave walked past the rows of Baseball, Football, and Basketball stars, pausing to say hello to the 20th, and 21st century athletes he recognized. A table on the left held the heads of famous sportscasters. The heads of John Madden, and Pat Sumerall were engaged in a heated debate over why Brett Farve was still the best quarterback ever. Dave rolled his eyes "Ah geez, they're still going at it, even after 1,000 years!" Dave walked a little more. "Ahhh, here we go!" said Dave as he found a small alcove at the back of the hall with the heads of Motorsports legends. Dave noticed several head jars, these were some of guys he'd spent many a Sunday afternoon watching race hundreds of miles, and speeds over 200 mph! An enormous checkered flag hung on the alcove wall, behind a dais which displayed the head jars of the most famous drivers. Dave spent nearly an hour talking with several driver's heads, when Amy & Leela found him. "C'mon Dave, let's grab Fry, & go get some lunch." said Amy. They walked around the museum for another hour, until they found Fry, challenging the head of Ozzy Osbourne to "bite the heads off stuff", Fry so eloquently said.

After lunch, Dave & the crew returned to the Planet Express building, Professor Farnsworth had called Leela on her computerized assistant she always wore on her wrist, informing them he had something to show them. "Good news everyone!" Farnsworth shouted as he walked into the break room, where everyone was watching Morbo deliver the afternoon news. Farnsworth walked over to Dave, placed his hand on his shoulder, grinned, and said "I have something I think you'll be happy to see!", and he started walking back towards the hangar. Everyone followed the Professor out to the hangar bay. A large object, covered by a canvas sheet sat next to the big two-tone green Planet Express delivery ship. Farnsworth grabbed a corner of the sheet, tugging in vain to remove it. Bender stepped up next to him, "One side gimpy!" he said, as he shoved Farnsworth out of the way. Bender pulled the sheet free in one swift motion, Everyone watchng gasped in amazement! Farnsworth had made good on his promise to repair Dave's shattered Dodge Ram truck. Dave was in absolute awe, the Professor had done such a good job, the truck didn't even look like it had slammed into a concrete wall at 60 MPH! Not only was Dave shocked by the excellent repair work, but he was simply awestruck by what Farnsworth had also done to his truck. The Professor had given Dave's 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, a Hover-conversion!

Farnsworth explained, "The damage from the crash, uhh, combined with the antiquated propulsion, & drivetrain components, made restoring the truck to it's original configuration quite impossible." Farnsworth smiled at his work, not one of his typical smiles of madness, but Dave could tell he was genuinly happy to see how much he appreciated his work. Even the Professor's clone, Cubert, and Hermes's son Dwight had helped in the project. "Well, you guys make one helluva good build team!" beamed Dave. Dave was still speechless, he hadn't taken his eyes off the sleek, wheel-less truck since it was unveiled. It was sitting much lower to the ground now, it now rested on 6-inch thick rubber pads, instead of the 20-inch chrome-steel wheels it was originally equipped with. The truck's open cargo bed was now covered by a sleek titanium-alloy fairing, painted to match the Dodge's Patriot Blue exterior. Dave had walked around the vehicle several times, inspecting every centimeter of his re-born pride & joy. Dave opened the driver's side door, and examined the interior. With the exception of the new dashboard, the interior still looked the same as it did before. Dave climbed in behind the new steering wheel, which like most of the new components installed on the big Dodge, came from a salvaged Delta Romeo sedan, the larger, more powerful stablemate of the popular Beta Romeo hovercar. The passenger side door opened, Leela hopped into the seat, leaving the door open, so the others could get a look. "Professor, I, I don't know what to say,,,thank you! This is absolutely incredible!" exclaimed Dave. "Ohhhh you!" said Farnsworth, with a sheepish grin. "It was the least I could do, what with my invention being the cause of your accident." Dave responded, "So how do I start it?", "Guh!" shouted Amy, "Just turn the key silly!" Dave gripped the key in the ignition lock, "Well, here goes!" Dave gave the key a clockwise turn, expecting to hear the Hemi V8's throaty rumble, he was surprised by the high-pitched turbine engine-like whine of the electro-magnetic emitters powering up underneath the truck. The new indicator gauges clustered on the dash began to flutter to life. "It handles just like a normal wheeled vehicle in ground mode." said Farnsworth. Dave noticed the gearshift lever indicator under the speedometer now read "GROUND", "FLIGHT", and "PARK" instead of "P,R,D,2,1". "I'd be happy to show you how to operate it in flight mode." said Leela with an eager grin. For bureaucratic purposes, Farnsworth had given Dave's truck the Delta Romeo's HIN number plate, and tags, calling it a "Body kit modification", so not to arouse suspicion.

Dave, Leela, Fry & Bender spent the rest of the afternoon driving around New New York, as well as a few laps around Manhattan, & Long Island, to get Dave familiar with the city's roads & airspace. Dave noticed Leela was an excellent pilot, she noted several times how the big Dodge's frame, combined with the Delta Romeo's powerful hover drive unit, made the truck very enjoyable to drive. When the truck's flight mode was engaged, the steering wheel worked very similar to an airplane's yoke, except no rudder pedals were needed. The new fairing over the truck's bed concealed an experimental fuel cell of Farnsworth's own invention. Two thrust augmentors extended over the bed & tailgate of the truck, these made Dave laugh a little, since they looked like they were stright off of Doc Brown's Delorean! Leela landed the truck, relinquishing control over to Dave. He hadn't flown anything since 1998, he wasn't scared, but cautious about what to do. Dave buckled in behind the wheel, the new 4-point harness felt strange compared to the normal lap/shoulder belt he was used to. "Be careful Dave, it's a powerful machine. It's going to accelerate much faster than before, watch for the cross traffic too." instructed Leela. Dave drove around the block a few times to get a feel for the new controls. As they pulled up to a red light, Leela said "Okay Dave, Flight Mode! Let's hit it!" Dave pulled down on the shift lever, a yellow "FLIGHT" icon illuminated on the dash, the steering wheel chirped twice as it telescoped a few inches outward into Dave's hands. Dave moved the wheel back & forth, turned it left, then right, to make sure it was free, and not binding - like Leela had showed him to do. Dave checked the mirrors, looked both ways, and as soon as the cross traffic stopped, he accelerated smoothly, while pulling back gently on the wheel. In seconds, they were zooming upward at an incredible rate of speed, passing the New New York skyline.

The truck's new digital speedometer had changed to display airspeed knots, Dave gasped, "My god, are we really going 450 knots?", "Yeah, you better speed up, or we're gonna get rear-ended." said Leela. They spent the afternoon flying around Manhattan, up the Long Island Sound, Coney Island, and down the Jersey coastline to Atlantic City. The sun was setting as Dave, Leela, Fry, and Bender flew towards the southern tip of Manhattan. The sunset was magnificent from the air! As evening drew near, tall shadows from the skyscrapers interrupted the fading sunlight, as they approached the small street from which they took off from hours earlier. Dave turned the truck left, followed the East River for a bit, then lined up to land on the small road beside the Planet Express building. The big Dodge landed with a little jolt, "Not bad for a first-timer." Leela said non-chalantly. The amber "GROUND" icon lit up on the dash, indicating it was safe to shift back to ground mode. Bender spoke, "Wooo, that was fun, mind-numbingly fun! well, let's go get hammered!" Professor Farnsworth was waiting for the foursome, as they pulled into the hangar bay through an old rusty roll-up door in the back. "Ohhh good lord, they survived! Hermes, cancel that help wanted ad!" he shouted. Farnsworth walked behind the hovertruck, depressed two latches on both sides of the fairing, and raised it to reveal the sophisticated array of conduit & wiring snaking out of the fuel cell. "Damn! The fusion-core extrapolators are heat damaged!" cursed Farnsworth as he typed information down onto a computerized tablet. "Leela, I'll need you to go pick up the new extrapolators I've just ordered-eeeughh, but the only shop with them in stock is on Neptune.", "Not a problem, c'mon Fry." Leela shouted. Dave was going to remain behind, The Professor was going to give him a detailed explanation of all the new systems on his hovertruck, in the event of a problem, he could be competent enough to fix them.

(Space, near Saturn, 1900 NNY time)

The Planet Express ship hurtled through the vast emptyness of space, as they drew nearer to Saturn's moon Titan. Leela broke the silence, "So Fry, what do you think about Dave, is he ok staying with you & Bender?" Fry answered "Yeah, he's cool, kinda quiet most of the time, OH, but he hates Slurm! I think he's a Communist!" Fry said, as he spat on the floor, giving a hint of some of the indoctrination by his father, Yancy. "Fry, don't be stupid! You know perfectly well that the last Communist died in 2885!" retorted Leela. "Well, what do you think about him Leela?" asked Fry. Leela let out a sigh "I dunno, he's a really nice guy, nicer than Shawn, and yeah, he is a bit quiet, and that could mean he's either really intellectual, really shy, or he's a psychopath!", "Nahhhh, I don't think he's a psycho, if he was, Bender would be a lot more friendlier towards him." answered Fry. An awkward silence fell over the flight deck for a few moments before Fry spoke again. "Dave seems to showing alot more interest towards you in the last 2 months, I saw how he was looking at you this morning over coffee." Fry said with a little bitterness in his voice. "Yeahhhh, ok, so he's paying more attention to me, it doesn't mean anything, at least i don't think it does. I really did like how he stood up for me in front of Zapp Brannigan." Leela said with a small smile spreading across her face. A few more minutes of silence passed, Fry spoke again. "Soooo, you think he's gonna ask you out on a date, or what?" Leela rolled her eye & sighed loudly "Fryyyy, just let it go ok? I really don't wanna talk about it now! Let's just concentrate on the mission, get the stupid parts & go home, please Fry?", "Okay, you're right, sorry Leela." Fry said apologetically. "It's ok Fry, your a good friend, and you're just looking out for me." said Leela. It was after midnight when Fry & Leela returned from Neptune. Professor Farnsworth was the only one in the building, fast asleep in his rocket-lounger. "Waiiiit, it's Thursday, Bender must be at O'Zorgnax's for Ladies Nite, Dave might have gone with him." said Fry. "Well, guess I'll see you tomorrow Leela, g'nite." "Goodnight Fry, thanks for going with me." said Leela, as she gave him a little wink. Fry & Leela shut the lights off as they left, locking the door, they turned to hear raucous singing from someone coming up the sidewalk.