Fan Fiction

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 jokingly.

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?" Leela asked.

"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 flushed.

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." replied Leela.

"You wanna talk about it? said Amy.

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 years ago!"

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 Fry.

"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?" said Bender.

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 stairwell.

“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 while.

"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 there."

"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 be happy!"

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 had enough.

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, Zuban-5".

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 yelled.

"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 upgrades.

"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 heheheh!"

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!"