Stranger In A Strange Land, part 8
By La Belle Leela
(Planet Express Building, 08/12/3008, 1030 NNY time)
A week had passed since Leela's
near-demise at the hands of a knife-wielding assailant, as she
traversed a dim back alley on her way home one rainy August night.
Life had seemed to return to normal for the beautiful, headstrong
Spaceship Captain. This morning, Leela came to work late, something
she rarely did. Her eye was a little red & puffy, a side effect
from waking up crying in her sleep three times! She did her best to
conceal it, but it was inevitable, her co-workers were going to
notice sooner or later. The images of the thug with the knife, the
fight, the pain from her injured ankle, kept running through her mind
long after she got home. Leela awoke that morning with one thought on
her mind, she was glad to be alive.
Leela walked into the TV room, Fry,
Bender, Zoidberg, and Amy were lounging about, watching "Good
Morning Earth". Fry bolted upright, he noticed Leela's puffy,
red eye immediately. "Leela! you okay?" he asked, very
concerned. "You've never been this late to work, we were about
to call you."
"I know guys, sorry." Leela
said, trying to avoid looking directly at Fry, or anyone else in the
room. She hated it when her eye was the center of attention, and her
attitude was quickly becoming as irritated as her eye was. Leela
quickly fixed her coffee, and headed towards the boarding steps of
the Planet Express delivery ship. Out in the hangar, the morning rays
of sunlight streamed through the windows, illuminating the big, green
starship, and a patch of the floor where a pair of blue denim covered
legs stuck out from under a hover truck. Dave was on a mechanic's
creeper underneath his Dodge. There was a sharp, metallic clang
followed by "OW! Dammit!" Dave slid out from under the
truck, examining his bloody knuckles, and searching for the Arclight
spanner wrench he just dropped. The wrench had skittered across the
hangar floor, and came to rest against Leela's left boot. Standing up
from the creeper, Dave saw Leela bend down, and pick up the wayward
tool. "Uh, hey Leela,,,guess I scared it off eh?" Dave said
Leela gave a little smile, and laughed
under her breath. She walked over to Dave, as he was cleaning the
blood from his knuckles off with a shop rag. "I see you're busy,
I've got some software upgrades to install on the ship's computers.
You & the Professor get the bugs worked out of your truck yet?"
"Yeah, we finally got that fuel
cell to work at maximum efficiency during all modes of travel."
Leela handed Dave his wrench, "Well,
see ya around" Leela said as she turned around towards the ship.
"Leela,,,hey," Dave began,
she stopped, and turned around facing him again.
"You,,,you look really beautiful
today!" He said with a sincere grin, and face turning a little
Leela had expected him to ask what
everyone else was making a fuss over, but after the sleep interrupted
night she had, and feeling the way she was, that was exactly what she
needed to hear. Leela walked back over to Dave, placed her hands on
his biceps, leaned in, and gave him a little peck on the cheek.
"Awwww, thanks Dave." she said quietly.
The two of them stood looking at each
other for a moment, "Oh, my,,,I better get started on those
upgrades." Leela said as she walked away.
Dave turned his attention back to his
work. Being classified an "Unknown" by the Earthican
Government, Dave couldn't be implanted with a career chip, so he was
ineligible for any kind of employment, he couldn't secure a residence
either. To make him look more like a regular, average citizen, his
truck was outfitted with large "Planet Express" logo decals
on the doors, and tail fin, so not to arouse suspicion.
Up on the ship's flight deck, Leela
busied herself with the software installation. She rolled her chair
back & forth between several consoles, "PC Load Letter?, the
hell does that mean?" she yelled as she tapped rapidly on a
keyboard. Amy appeared in the doorway.
"I'm a little busy at the moment
Amy" Leela said, as she took a swig of coffee between rolling
from one computer to the next.
"Uhhh, sorry Leela, just wanted to
see how you were doing."
Leela gave a breathy sigh, and looked
up at Amy, with a weary look on her face. "I'm okay Amy, I just
didn't get a lot of sleep last night." said Leela, as she went
back to tapping on a keyboard.
"Ohh,,,is it about Dave?"
Leela nearly bit her tongue when Amy
uttered that sentence.
"*sigh!* no,,,well, yes, and no."
"You wanna talk about it? said
Leela was at a split decision, part of
her wanted to, and part of her didn't. She had wanted to tell
somebody about her harrowing ordeal last week. "Alright Amy,
close the door. This conversation doesn't leave the ship, it's just
between you & me, comprende?"
Normally, Leela would have immediately
told her parents whenever something happened in her life, but because
of the seriousness of last week's incident, Leela knew her sweet
mother, Munda, wouldn't have taken it well. Leela knew she would have
been worried to death about her only daughter living on the surface.
About an hour later, Dave finished
bolting the access covers back onto the underside of his truck. He
stopped by the small kitchen area, grabbed some coffee, and joined
Fry, Bender, and Dr Zoidberg in Farnsworth's lab.
"Bad news everybody!" said
Farnsworth. ”It seems Bender's jackassery with my matter
transporter has done such irreparable damage, I still can't figure
out how the hell it managed to bring someone here from a thousand
Fry spoke up "Irreparable huh?
that means you can fix it right?"
"Ohhh my no Fry!" said
Farnsworth, looking dejected.
"But if you can create parallel
universes, and genetically mutated, nuclear super-athletes, there has
to be a way for you to fix the matter transporter!" retorted
"BAH! of course there's a way to
fix it you idiot! AUGHHH!, I'll be in the Angry Dome if anyone needs
me!" With that outburst, Farnsworth shuffled out of the lab as
angrily as a 160-year old could.
The side door to the lab flew open, Amy
walked in, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
She saw Dave, and ran towards him, she
flung herself at Dave, who's coffee cup smashed to the floor as he
caught Amy. She was trying to say something, nobody could quite
understand, it was a mixture of English, Cantonese, and crying.
"Amy, Amy, calm down! What's
wrong?" a surprised Dave said. Amy stood back, managing to
compose herself, while wiping tears off her face.
"I knew you were a good person
Dave, I knew it!" she said while breaking out a big smile, still
wiping tears off.
"What the hell was that about?"
He and Fry were standing against the
lab wall, still as statues, but with eyes wide in shock.
"It's a long story guys, I kinda
promised Leela I wouldn't talk about it, unless she was cool with
it." said Dave.
Bender chuckled, nudged Fry in the ribs
while making the "whpshhhh" whip-crack sound with his
mouth. "Guys, I'm serious! The last thing I wanna do is anger a
woman, who nearly took a man's head off with a sock full of party
snaps!" replied Dave.
Fry, Bender, and Dave walked out to the
hangar, just about the time Leela was walking down the ship's
“Leela, what's going on? Amy's
acting all crazy, not the Professor Farnsworth crazy, but that
girly-girl crazy, you know." asked Fry.
Leela rolled her eye, "(sigh!)
Okay guys, over here." said Leela, as she motioned towards the
round conference table. Leela spent most of the hour re-telling Fry
& Bender what she told Amy. How if it hadn't been for Dave, Leela
might not be alive right now. Fry sat back in his chair, sulking a
bit. Leela asked Dave and Bender if she could talk to Fry alone for a
"Fine! We know what we're not
wanted! C'mon Dave, let's hit the bar!"
Dave answered "At one in the
afternoon? Geez, what is it with you & booze Bender?" said
Dave, as they left the room.
Leela waited until they were gone.
"Fry, I want you to know nothing happened after the hospital, he
just took me home, and it was just pure coincidence that he was
"Yeah, good ol' Dave to the
rescue, again!" Fry said bitterly.
"Now, just what's that supposed to
mean Fry?" said Leela, looking a little cross.
Fry lowered his head, and sighed with
his eyes closed. "Sorry Leela, I guess I'm still holding on to
the really small chance that you & I could still be together."
Leela sat beside Fry, she placed her
hand on his arm. "Fry, that's really sweet. You and I do have
something very special between us. I love you as a dear, dear friend,
I always will. Please try to understand, I know it still hurts, but
that's how my feelings are. I just don't feel the same way about you,
as you feel about me."
Fry got up, he started to walk away,
but turned around, facing Leela. "Leela, the bottom line, I want
you to be happy. I know I can't make you love me, so whether it's
gonna be Dave, or any other guy, It's more important to me to see you
Leela smiled a little, walked over to
Fry, gave him a small kiss on the cheek, "Thank you Fry, that
sounded really hard to admit. You're gonna meet the right girl for
you soon, don't ever give up!"
Fry smiled, but said nothing. Leela
went back to finishing the upgrades to the ship. Fry walked back to
the TV room, Dave and Bender were
playing "Keep Away" by tossing a large, moldy sandwich back
& forth, while Dr. Zoidberg grabbed frantically every time it
sailed through the air past his head.
"Everything ok Fry?" said
Dave, as he flung the sandwich back to Bender. By now, Zoidberg had
He wedged Bender's head in one of his
claws. Bender choked out "Woahhhhhh, easy there stinky! don't
pull on that, HEY, OWWW! Ahh geez, that's gonna take hours to buff
out!" Bender dropped the sandwich, Zoidberg happily threw
himself to the floor, devouring the sandwich whole.
Hermes walked into the room carrying a
large box, "'dis got dropped thru 'deh slot during lunch break."
Fry examined the package label, "Hmmm,
Bender's eyes snapped wide open upon
hearing that. Zuban-5 was where the most popular cigars in the
universe were manufactured.
“You ok Bender?" Fry asked.
"Yeahh, no problemo, 'da hell we
waitin' for? Let's get goin' already!", the agitated robot
"Geez, take it easy Bender! Let's
find Leela, and go." said Fry. The three of them walked out to
the ship, about the same time as Leela was completing the software
"Fry, could you & Dave
disconnect the ground power cables?"
Fry & Dave walked around the belly
of the large, green spacecraft. Dave examined the hull, much the same
way he'd examined the airframes of his squadron's Grumman F-14Ds
during his days with the US Navy as an Aviation Machinist's Mate back
in the 20th Century. Dave and Fry had gotten along great since his
arrival, but Fry seemed really angered over something, something from
his private discussion he'd had with Leela earlier. The ground power
umbilicals disconnected, Fry and Dave headed for the ship's
stairwell, Fry suddenly spoke.
"Look, Dave, it's just,,,I've
loved Leela ever since I came here eight years ago. She, however
doesn't feel the same way towards me, no matter what I've done to
try, and win her."
Dave felt a little uneasy, "Sorry
Fry, I didn't know you two had history, other than just working
together. I do understand how ya feel, getting your heart broken just
plain sucks! My last girlfriend, we were engaged, and she just up,
and left me one day, no explanation, nothing! I nearly took my own
life over her, It hurt that bad!"
Fry looked down at the floor, "God,
that's awful!" he exclaimed.
Dave continued "But that's all in
the past now, one of the hardest things I ever did was to find the
strength to pick myself back up, and move on. I know I'll find the
woman that's right for me,,,someday."
Fry moped on back toward the stairs
"Yeahhh, guess you're right."
Leela poked her head out the side
window "Are you two done with the emotional dribble yet? or are
we gonna pull an all-nighter?"
Dave & Fry hurried up the ship's
stairs, each found an empty seat on the flight deck, and strapped in.
They noticed Amy was joining the
mission too. "Were dropping Amy off at The Nimbus so she can
visit Kif." Leela said.
Bender chimed in, "Whaaat, The
Nimbus you say? Woooooooo, Leela goin' on a bootay call! ehhh
Leela said nothing, she waited until
Bender turned around, then she slapped the back of his head! Hard
enough that both of his eyes flew out, striking the cabin wall, and
clattering to the floor. Bender began to wander about aimlessly, arms
feeling around for his eye bulbs. The Planet Express ship was fast
approaching the Omicronian system, where Amy's boyfriend, Lt. Kif
Kroker was stationed aboard a DOOP command vessel. Dave, and Fry were
having an animated discussion about the best movies of the 1980s,
while Bender amused himself with his boredom repression simulator.
Leela had no idea who "Maverick", "Iceman", and
"Goose" were, as Dave gave his diatribe on why "Top
Gun" was the best film of the 1980s. Leela engaged the
autopilot, and headed for her quarters. Before she left the flight
deck, she stood in the doorway, looking at Fry & Dave.
Leela thought to herself & smiled,
"Hmph! guys & action movies,,,some things never change!"