Futurama

Fan Fiction

The How of Fry
By Allen Tanner

"Greetings, my fellow Nibblonians," Nibbler said. "I'm pleased to announce our plan to rid the Universe of the Brainspawn has succeeded."

"What of the Mighty One, Lord Nibbler?" a Nibblonian elder questioned.

"I had to erase his memory. He threatened exposure of us."

"Ah. Yes, we can't go public. The Mighty One is still needed."

Another elder spoke up. "The Mighty One's brain pattern is different than that of normal humans. What if your memory blank is only temporary?"

"I see no threat even then. No one will believe him, just as when the Brainspawn first attacked," Nibbler replied. The group of elders nodded. Suddenly, alarms were heard throughout the complex and beyond.

"Security breach in sector 5," the security alarm's voice droned. "All guards report to sector 5."

The Nibblonians in the Elder Hall widened their eyes in shock. Very few species even knew of their existence; who in the Universe would make an unauthorized visit to sector 5? Nibbler ran to meet the guards outside of the cordoned off section. He approached the lead guard who saluted as Lord Nibbler came closer.

"Sir!" the lead guard exclaimed. "The area's been cordoned off and the vicinity is being searched for the intruder."

"Very good, Node," Nibbler replied. "What has been stolen?"

"The files of cabinet 1 have been reported missing, sir."

Nibbler's hands slapped his face. "The intruder certainly knew what he was looking for. We were fools to think this was over. Dear god! I can only imagine what will happen if those files fall into the wrong hands."

"Sir! Permission to ask a question?"

"Permission granted, and stop calling me sir. We're not in the military."

"S- uh, Lord Nibbler, what was in cabinet 1?"

Nibbler turned and stared off into the distance at a setting Eternium sun. His eyes were half closed in anger as he scanned the horizon. He turned and said, "The Fry Files."

 

Planet: Earth
Location: Robot Arms Apartment building

Fry ran for his life. He didn't look behind him. He knew death was there, coming for him. A horrifying sight was before him: the Brainspawn had returned. This time, however, their stupification ray had the touch of death. He watched helplessly as his friends were felled by the rays. He cried out as he saw that Leela was among the body count. He couldn't stop to mourn, though; he was being hunted. He knew they desired revenge against him. He begrudgingly ignored the odd sensation that he was now alone. Everyone in the Universe was somehow gone, and only he remained. He didn't understand how he knew, he just did. He looked up to see a Brain hovering above him. He waited for death to come. He felt the ray strike him-

"Hey meatbag! You alright?"

Fry awoke with a start. It had just been another dream. He saw Bender looking at him a bit nervously. "Sorry Bender. What'd you say?"

"I asked if you were alright. You looked like you were having the time of your life. You were screaming, 'NO! Stop killing them!' Were you having a dream about your old pal Bender killing all humans?" Bender chuckled to himself, satisfied that he gave Fry nightmares.

Fry smiled a little. "Nope, not this time. Sorry, Bender."

"Aww!" Bender trudged away.

"Don't be sad! I'll let you chase me with a broken bottle on the way to work."

"Nah, It's no fun if you let me."

"Then how about this?" Fry quickly got dressed, walked over to Bender, opened his compartment, and took his last beer. He started chugging down the malt liquor and smiled to himself.

"You bastard! I'll kill you! He snatched the bottle from Fry's hand and smashed it against himself. Then, for the second time that morning, Fry ran for his life. He leapt out the door and ran down the hallway. He hopped the railing and slid down it, landing on his feet. He shoved his way out the door and onto the streets of New New York. He checked behind him to see if Bender was following him and saw that he was. He ran faster and tried to lose him in the crowd. He saw a transport tube dead ahead. He hurriedly stood under it and shouted out his destination breathlessly.

"Planet Express!" He was whisked away just seconds before Bender reached him and caught a glimpse of his best friend waving the broken bottle angrily. He stretched his arms out and pretended to fly, if only for an instant. He saw his chute opening ahead and prepared to land. He was shocked to fall into the waiting arms of Bender.

"I've got you now!" Fry cowered in fear at the impending pain. "Wow, buddy! Almost made it here before me. You're getting good at this!" Bender put his friend down.

"Hey, thanks Bender."

"Hey, in no time at all, we'll have you running like a machine. Let's go get ready for another hard day of doing nothing at all."

They high-fived each other and walked inside. They both got drinks from the vending machine and sat down at the table.

"So, what dangerous mission do you think the Professor will send us on this time?" Fry asked

"I'm trying really hard not to think about it," Bender replied. "You know it'll probably be something that makes us miss 'All My Circuits.'"

"Well, that goes without saying," Fry nodded.

The other crew members walked in and stared in shock.

"Guys, you're here early!" Leela stammered.

"Sweet Marley's ghost. It must be April Fools Day!" Hermes exclaimed.

"Wha? There's good news already? I haven't said anything yet," the professor mumbled.

Bender and Fry looked at each other.

"Aww, damn it! I must have forgotten to set my inner clock back two hours," Bender said.

"I knew the fact that the sun was just rising looked suspicious," Fry mourned. Their perfect tardiness record was ruined.

"Oh, cheer up, fellas," the professor said, "there's still my good news. It turns out our delivery boy, Fry, is the most important one here.

Fry's head perked up. That sounded so familiar. "What was that, Professor?"

The professor adjusted his glasses. "Oh I misread. Fry's actually the second least important one here. Zoidberg is the first. He handed a medal to Zoidberg, which read 'Loser #1.'

"Hooray! Zoidberg is the best! In your face, hypochondriac!" Zoidberg taunted.

Fry just sighed. He wasn't even the least important person. Somehow, this thinking sounded wrong, but he shrugged it off.

"What's this? There appears to be more good news! You'll be making a delivery to the planet Eternium."

Alarm bells rang in Fry's head. It hurt so much, he nearly blacked out. "Oh my mistake, it's actually Beternium, the gambling planet." A thud was heard as Fry's head smacked against the table. The others rushed to see if he was ok. Fry was, but he was unconscious.

Fry looked around and found himself surrounded by Nibbler look-a-likes. He noticed they were in a fancy hall. He was surprised to see himself there, speaking to the creatures. It was like watching a show with the sound muted. Walking around, he found he had no effect on his surroundings. No one could see or hear him. The creature spoke back to the Fry in front of him. He noticed an unfazed reaction on his face. It was like he was used to talking to them. He saw a screen appear with the Brains flying on it. He watched himself react to it. Then, all of a sudden, the sound came on.

"Your immunity is due to the fact that you lack the delta brainwave," he heard the Nibbler-like creature say. Then, the scene faded out. Fry's eyes fluttered open. He found himself in Dr. Zoidberg's office. The others noticed he was awake and rushed over to see him.

"Fry, you're ok. I'm so glad!" Leela hugged Fry tightly. A little too tightly for Fry.

"Leela-choking-me!" Fry managed to spit out.

Leela quickly released him and stepped back.

"I'm sorry Fry. I was really worried."

"What happened?"

"You passed out! It was so cool. Your head made this really cool cracking sound. I had dibs on your wallet if you died," Bender said.

"Good ol' Bender! It's great to know you care."

"Oh, my dear uncle!" the professor exclaimed. "I didn't know I would kill him with my words! Say, that gives me an idea! The world will tremble at my words!"

"Professor!" Leela exclaimed. "Look! Fry's alive!"

"He is? Oh, drat! Now the world will laugh at this speech of doom I made up just now."

"So Fry, what did you dream about? Was it all weird and crazy like my coma?" Leela asked, ignoring the professor as he rambled on.

"Well, it was definitely weird, but honestly I don't think you'd believe me if I told you. Where's the dumb poop machine, just out of mild curiosity?"

"You mean Nibbler? He's sleeping on the couch."

"Ok, thanks. Are we ready for the mission?"

Leela's face fell. "Fry, you've been unconscious for two days. Bender and I already completed the mission."

"Yeah, about that. I lost all the money in your wallet gambling," Bender said as he handed Fry his wallet back. "I hope you don't mind."

"Yeah, sure. I'll just add it to the amount of money you owe me," Fry said.

"Aw, you're a prince among robots, pal." Bender hugged him and walked away.

"Well, I guess I'm gonna go watch TV." Fry sighed to himself and trudged toward the lounge. Leela watched him walk off.

"Fry, wait." Fry turned around and gazed at her. He looked strange to Leela, almost lost. "You want to go for a quick ride?" She twirled the ship's keys around her finger.

Fry's face brightened up instantly. "You mean we can go on an unscheduled space drive? Wahoo!" Fry ran in the direction of the ship, shouting excitedly all the way.

Leela smiled. It didn't take much to make Fry happy. Maybe there was a lesson in that. She hurried after Fry and entered the ship, only to smile again at a buckled up Fry.

"Ready for takeoff, Captain!" He saluted her. She sat down in the captain's chair and started the ignition.

"Want to do the countdown, Fry?"

Fry looked absolutely ecstatic. "10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Blast off!"

On that cue, Leela floored the pedal and the ship zoomed into the sky. She looked over at Fry, who was having the time of his life.

Once the ship was level, Fry got up and ran to the window. "Now this is cool! We're so focused on the missions that we hardly ever notice what a wonder it is to travel through space." Fry's face became focused, determined, as if lost in thought. "Leela, you ever hear of a planet called Eternium?"

"That doesn't sound familiar. Why do you ask?"

"I dunno. It's just when the professor messed up and said Eternium, an alarm went off in my head."

"Well, you can check the holomaps and see if such a planet exists," Leela suggested.

"Good idea. Uh, where are they?"

"It's right over there, Fry." Leela pointed to a console with a big red button. "Just say the name of the planet you're looking for and it'll tell you where it is."

Fry walked over to the console. He looked at it for a moment, then pressed the button. "Please say aloud the name of the planet you wish to visit," a computer voice stated.

"Eternium," Fry said as clear as he could.

"Searching for planet 'Eternium,' please hold. 'Eternium' not found."

"Well, I guess it was just a weird occurrence, Fry. It happens."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. I shouldn't let a silly little thing like that ruin my day. I'm traveling through space and there's no one I'd rather see it with." He smiled at Leela, and she smiled back. Both could swear their hearts felt warmer, but they quickly dismissed it.

Eventually, Leela looked at the time and decided it was time to head back. "I'm sorry Fry, but it's getting late. We should head home." Fry hung his head, but nodded to show he understood. "Hey chin up! Why don't you take the helm? I'll watch and make sure you don't get into trouble."

Fry ran over and sat down in the captain's chair and Leela sat herself next to him. "This is so cool! I'm flying the ship!"

"Very well, I might add. You've gotten better at it."

"Thanks, Leela. That means a lot."

Suddenly, an alarm sounded. They were being hailed. Zapp's face appeared onscreen, and Leela's face soured. She started to speak, but Fry stopped her. "I'm the captain for now."

"Greetings, I wish to speak with your captain," Zapp said.

"You're looking at him. What do you want, Zapp?"

"Why, the fair and sensuous Leela, of course. I must speak with her."

"About what?"

"I don't think I have to explain myself to you."

"I'm sitting in the captain's chair. Therefore, I'm temporary Captain. You have to explain yourself to me regarding my crew members. Fry winked at Leela. He was only having fun.

"Well, I think you as a fellow man can understand his 'needs' and that only a woman can satisfy them."

"Needs? Hmm, I know what I 'need.' I 'need' you to shut up and I 'need' you to go away! I think you'll satisfy those 'needs' just fine."

Leela laughed at this and Zapp turned beet red. The communication was ended and the Nimbus pulled away. Fry and Leela laughed it up. "Man, that book you gave me really paid off."

"I'm surprised you read it," Leela said in between laughs.

"Well, I mostly looked at the pictures, but a few lines caught my eye."

Leela shook her head. Typical Fry.

The rest of the journey was made in relative silence. Leela even went to sleep. Her head rested on Fry's lap. Fry smiled to himself. They had their differences, but this was one of those times where that didn't matter. Fry landed the ship and gently shook Leela awake.

"We're home," he whispered. Leela groggily sat up and steadied herself. "Would you like me to walk you home?"

"Thanks Fry, but I'll just catch a tube home."

"Ok. goodnight, Leela."

"'Night, Fry."

Fry took a tube home himself and arrived at the apartment in no time at all. His mind worked out the recent events over and over again. He figured things might be clearer with a good night's sleep. He knocked on the apartment door and Bender let him in.

"You got some mail, skintube. I left it on the bed for you."

"You didn't open it?"

"Nah, didn't feel like it."

Fry headed into his room and saw a manila envelope lying on his bed. It was addressed to him. Fry wondered what could be inside. There was only one way to find out, and that was to open it. Maybe tomorrow. Right now, he needed sleep.

 

Planet: Eternium
Location: Hall of Elders

There was a still silence in the room as the Elders gathered. Once they were seated, a screen appeared with Nibbler's face on it.

"Lord Nibbler, there is grave news to report. We discovered the identity of the thief. Sadly, it is as we feared," a female Elder said.

"Noob?" Nibbler whispered.

"Correct. It is the rouge one."

"This doesn't make sense. Noob knows everything about the Mighty One. What will he gain from stealing the various data we collected on him?"

"The sages reveal that Noob no longer holds the files. They are now within his Mightiness' care."

"Dear god! If Fry reads those files-"

"Exposure of our struggles with the Brains and Fry's importance will be at hand."

"The fool! He's going to wreck everything!"

"Which is exactly why you must steal the files from Fry before he reads them."

"I understand. Nibbler out." Nibbler sighed to himself. Noob had never understood their ways. Noob questioned everything that Nibblonians had ever done. Once the sages saw the Mighty One, Noob snapped. Nibbler would never forget that day or the events that followed.

 

1974

All the Nibblonians were quiet as they waited for the sages to make a prediction of their future, as they did every Friday. Sometimes, the sages would see what was for lunch tomorrow, but other times they would see matters of great importance. This felt like one of those times. The leaders of the sages, one male and one female, rose to speak.

The male spoke first: "We have seen the Mighty One who will defeat the terrible Brainspawn."

The female spoke next: "He is a child of destiny who is immune to the Brain Spawn's mental attack."

Murmurs arose from the crowd, but the male called for silence.

"He lacks the delta brainwave, but will still have a working mind, thanks to the mix of other brainwaves he has."

"Unfortunately, this man is cursed with the limited lifespan typical of his species. He is a human."

"That's preposterous! Humans don't live long enough to sneeze," a young Noob shouted. "He can't live long enough to help us in 1,025 years."

"Quiet, Noob!" Nibbler snapped back. "You show disrespect for the sages."

The male sage asked for silence once more. "Noob is correct, but we have foreseen that humans will perfect the technology of cryogenics in 25 of their years. We can seal the Mighty One inside one of these chambers and wait 1,000 years for the human to awaken. During that time, the tube will be under heavy guard. Once awakened, he will meet the Other. We have foreseen that a union between the two will be most beneficial. This area remains cloudy, though, as we can't predict emotions. This is why the Mighty One must be pushed into the tube since, we can't predict his reaction."

"This plan is ridiculous!" Noob exclaimed. He turned around to face the crowd. "We know what the Brainspawn will do and when. We could launch a pre-emptive attack now and end the threat before it begins!"

"Have you forgotten that we're not immune to their attack?" a Nibblonian in the audience questioned.

"No, but this human can't be so important. He'll need our help. A man without the delta brainwave is an idiot! We'll basically be attacking the Brainspawn ourselves! We don't need him."

There were murmurs of agreement.

"Noob, please control yourself. It is true that the Mighty One will be a simple man, but that doesn't mean he won't be crucial to our plans," the female sage said.

"So, you still want to precede with this plan?"

"Yes, Noob. The plan will be set in motion."

"Then I'm leaving! Anyone who agrees with me can come with me." He walked out of the Gathering Hall, and a few Nibblonians followed. Nibbler and the others shook their heads. It was a sad day for them all.

 

2008

"It's been 8 years since the foolish ones enacted their equally foolish plan. Their so-called 'Mighty One' is now frozen solid and will rejoin society in 992 years. We must not allow this to happen. We must launch an attack on the building he's being held in. The life support systems of the tube must be cut. This will kill the Mighty One. Once this has been accomplished, I will show the foolish ones the folly of their ways by single-handily defeating the Brain Spawn. I will save the Universe!" Cheers erupted from the crowd. Noob raised his hands for silence. "Tonight, the future will be decided by us, not some foolish man!" More cheers are heard throughout the crowd.

 

Location: Applied Cryogenics

All was quiet here. No one could have guessed that one of the most important battles in history would be fought at this seemingly deserted building. The Nibblonians had gone all out to protect their savior. The building was surrounded by a Nibblonian forcefield that protected the building from destruction. There were Nibblonians stationed all over to prevent the removal of Fry's tube. There was also round the clock surveillance on the life support systems.

The Noobellion landed on the roof of the building. They were all dressed in cute ninja outfits. Noob tied a red bandanna on his forehead. He then directed some of his minions to cover the exits, and the others would pull the plug on the life support system of tube 40. He lowered himself into the room where Fry's tube was held. He looked up at the tube containing the 'Mighty One.' "Ha! Not so mighty now, are you? Pity you have no idea what's about to happen to you. My followers will soon link your life support to this remote control I hold. Once that's done, your life will be in my hands."

"I think not," a voice stated.

"I'd know that voice anywhere. Nice to see you again, Nibbler." Noob turned to face his adversary.

"I got promoted. It's Lord Nibbler now. Drop the remote."

"Now, now. Some of the others might feel different."

The rest of the Noobellion stood behind Noob.

"Your pathetic army can't help you here Noob. Stand down."

"I don't see an army behind you. I think I'm free to press this button."

"I hoped to avoid a bloodbath."

"You know better than to expect less."

Nibbler sighed. "As you wish. Nibblonians, attack!"

Nibblonians revealed themselves all over the lab. Noob knew now that he was outnumbered, but he couldn't back down now.

"Show no mercy, my Noobellion!"

The two sides drew their weapons. The Nibblonians pulled out water pistols and the Noobellion whipped out nunchucks and bo staffs. The Nibblonians fired first, unleashing lasers of death upon their foes. A few were hit and blood splattered as the bodies fell. Most of the Noobellion with laser-proof nunchucks directed the rays back at the Nibblonians. Most ducked, but a few were caught by surprise and blasted to hell. The Noobellion members armed with staffs lurched forward and began smacking the weapons out of Nibblonian hands. They laughed, thinking they had the upper hand. They were surprised by hand to hand combat and quickly disarmed. The bo staff wave lost most of its members to surrender. The nunchuck wave was proving more difficult. They deflected lasers and when close enough, beat their attackers to death. The Nibblonians caught a break when the last of the bo staff had surrendered to their mercy. They could now concentrate in the nunchuck wave and got several in the back. The remaining Noobellion members realized their defeat was at hand and fled, leaving Noob to deal with matters on his own. "Cowards!" he cried.

"Noob, do you surrender?" Nibbler retorted.

"Never!"

"Then I propose a duel between you and I. The others will stay back while you and I have it out with old fashioned laser swords." He held two objects that looked like glow sticks. "Are we agreed?"

"Well, I never could turn down a duel. We're agreed. We fight for control of Fry's life support."

Nibbler tossed Noob a laser sword and they both assumed battle stances. They began to circle each other, looking for weaknesses. Noob rushed at Nibbler point blank, and his attack was blocked. Noob was obviously trying for the quick kill, which gave him the disadvantage, and they locked blades several times. Nibbler defended against all of Noob's slashes, all the while backing him into a corner. Noob saw this and ducked out, twisting behind Nibbler. Nibbler sensed the attack and whirled around to block the blow. Nibbler made a quick slash at Noob's legs. Noob hollered and pain and backed off, a move that proved his undoing. Nibbler trapped him against the wall.

"I win the duel. Now, adhere to whatever honor you have left and leave. Don't let me catch you near here again." Nibbler proclaimed.

"Very well, Lord Nibbler. I'll keep my word. Beware, though, this is far from over!" Noob climbed up the rope and Nibbler hadn't seen him since.

 

3003

Location: Leela's Apartment

Nibbler sighed again. He'd never expected to hear from Noob again. Unfortunately, now was not the time for regrets. He had a mission to complete. He had get the files away from Fry, or they were all doomed.

He snuck away from Leela's apartment and ran through the streets, until he eventually got to the Robot Arms Apartment building where the Mighty One dwelled with his metallic friend. He looked up and decided that the best way to enter was through the closet window. He could be in and out in no time, and the whole thing would look like a robbery. He took out a cute little grappling hook and watched it climb to the roof. When he felt it tug, he climbed up. Along the way, he wondered why the Mighty One couldn't live on the first floor instead. Finally, he reached his destination. His target was on a bedside table, unopened. Luck appeared to be on his side this day. He got out a glass cutter and silently made a hole in the window. He slipped through and scurried along the floor until he reached what appeared to be the files. He checked the envelope to be sure. Success! The files were in safe hands again. He made a dash for the window to climb out.

"Nibbler?"

The sound surprised him and he did the worst that could happen. He dropped the envelope. Nibbler watched it fall through the air and onto a nearby news van. To his horror, the person inside got out and took the envelope. His keen eyesight observed Linda looking at the envelope closely before getting into the van once more and driving off.

"What's going on here? Why were you stealing my mail?"

Nibbler babbled at him, but a strange look in Fry's eyes told him Fry wasn't buying it.

"I'll bet you know why I've been having these weird dreams. You're always in them along with the Brains killing everyone I know and love."

"Are you alone at the end?" Nibbler asked.

Fry didn't really seem surprised that Nibbler was talking. "Yeah." Then he grabbed his head as memories came flooding back. Memories of Nibbler talking, his importance, sealing the Brains away in an alternate dimension, him telling Nibbler he didn't like being used, him telling Nibbler that he only had to ask, and then the flash. "Why?"

Nibbler looked him curiously. "I'm afraid I don't understand."

"Why did you blank my memory? I told you I didn't like being used. What made you decide I'd like my memory blanked?" Fry shouted angrily.

"Ok, I admit it wasn't the best move, but I panicked when you started talking about telling the others. We'll discuss that later. Right now, we have bigger problems. We'll start with your dreams. They may reveal something important."

"In my dream, the brain thingies are back. This time is different, though - their rays kill people. Soon, I'm the only one left alive in the whole Universe."

"Oh no. The Kateg virus!"

"The what virus?"

"The Kateg virus. It's a biological weapon the Brains created to rain devastation upon the Universe."

"How can a virus destroy the Universe? I thought they wanted it to go kaboom with the explosions and fiery deaths."

Nibbler smiled briefly at Fry's childlike behavior, but this was no laughing matter. "The Kateg virus attacks the delta brainwave, just like the Brains's stupid making ray. However, this virus kills the brainwave instead of reducing it, essentially making the infected infinitely. Every known species in the Universe has weapons of mass destruction and without some semblance of intelligence, the Universe will very much go boom."

"I'm the only one immune to the virus, aren't I?"

Nibbler sadly glanced down. "Yes."

"Good thing I sealed the Brains away in that dimension thingy."

"Yes. Which brings us to our 'bigger problems.' Fry, you understand that not all beings in a species are good, correct?"

"Of course. I'm not a complete idiot."

Nibbler burst out laughing. "Anyway, I'm sad to say that even our mighty race has its bad apples." He took out a small device and pressed a button. A hologram of a Nibblonian in a red uniform similar to Nibbler's blue uniform appeared. "This is Noob. He is the leader of a group he calls the Noobellion. It's a faction of Nibblonians who believe that you have no business saving the Universe. Noob is responsible for an attack on your tube during the early years of your cryo-statis. Defeated, he and his group retreated to their hideout. Recently, Noob has resurfaced. He's stolen top secret documents that pertain to you. Apparently, he sent them to you. I can only guess it would have served as a diversion tactic. Perhaps he assumed you would spill the beans about us."

"So that's what you were taking? Where is it now?"

"In the hands of New New York's second favorite news anchor, Linda."

"Good. Now maybe people will believe me about the Brains."

Nibbler sighed. "That's not a good thing."

"Maybe for you, but I might actually get some respect and maybe Leela will be impressed."

"Fry! Please use whatever mental abilities you do have and think! You're the only one who functions without the delta wave. You'll be locked up and studied. You won't be human anymore. Humanity has a difficult time accepting people who are different. They don't even have a category for someone like you. You'll be alone."

"No, I saved them. They'll be grateful. They have to be."

"So did the mutants, and look what happened to them."

"What?"

"A good while back, an alien race decided to use Earth to get rid of their toxic waste. The waste proved mutagenic to humans. A huge cleanup crew was sent in to deal with the waste and the aliens who chose to dump it here. The mission was a success. The goo was cleaned up and an understanding was reached with the aliens. The heroes returned home, only to realize that any contact with the waste was fatal to their appearance. The people were repulsed by them and they were ordered into the sewers. A hero's welcome indeed."

"Man, that's harsh."

"My race would suffer from the revelation as well. Being an ancient race, we know things that everyone else is just beginning to realize. We would be pumped for info and used as producers of dark matter. Do you have any idea what it would be like to be a mere poop factory? After our knowledge is shared, that's all we would be."

"Ok, I get your point! I just really wanted Leela to like me."

"Fry, Leela isn't going to like you just because you're important, although it certainly won't hurt. I think you'd want her to like you because of who you are, not what you are." Fry sighed and Nibbler crawled into his lap to give a comforting snuggle. Fry started to pet him. "It will be all right, provided we get the files and stop whatever Noob has planned."

"Do you have any ideas what he might do?"

"Noob believes himself to be the true savior of the Universe. I believe he may try to release the Brains and save the Universe himself."

"I thought they couldn't escape."

"There is a way. We didn't tell you because only my race knows how to reopen it. The problem with my theory is that you're still here."

"What do I have to do with it?

"Your brain is the key. Only your brain wave pattern can open the dimension." Noticing Fry's shocked reaction he added, "It doesn't have to be removed, but Noob will want to anyway. He hates your guts."

"Oh, thanks so much for the reassurance!" Fry said sarcastically.

"Oh, did the image of me taking out your brain frighten you, oh Mighty One?" a new voice spoke. Both Fry and Nibbler turned to see Noob staring at them. "Hello brother, it's been a while since we last saw each other."

"Well, if I'd known where you were I would've had you arrested," Nibbler said.

"Ooh, you'd see your brother tossed in prison, eh? That hurts."

"You know the rules, a Nibblonian that becomes an outcast is no longer considered family." He turned to Fry. "According to our law, we are assigned families. Noob and I were chosen to be brothers, but the instant he left our society, he absolved the bond."

"That's Nibbler. Always a stickler for the rules. That's a stupid name by the way. Unfortunately, I can't speak your real name in the presence of the human."

"Why can't you?" Fry asked.

"Nibblonians are natural translators. We speak the language of any particular planet we're on or any beings with us. Noob seems to forget that just being near a planet activates the gimmick. If we were back on Eternium, we would speak our language and use our real names," Nibbler said.

"Always talking, too. Don't you ever shut up? You've broken several of your precious laws telling this boob as much as you have," Noob shot back.

"Fry's a special case, although you refuse to admit that."

"No, I'll admit it. I need his brain after all."

"The brain stays in the head," Fry said, "unless you'd like to try and take it." Fry stood up and tried to appear intimidating, but only served to make Noob laugh.

"I've no interest in a fight. Instead, I've come to offer a dilemma." He took out a dart gun and shot Nibbler. Nibbler plucked the dart out and fell over. Noob promptly picked him up. "The dilemma is this: give up your brain and save Nibbler or stay here and watch the news ruin your life. You could snatch the files, but you'd be too late to save Nibbler. Your friend Leela might be very upset over the loss, and I have no problem with providing a target for her emotions. If you save Nibbler, you'll of course die and I'll save the Universe. Either way, I win. You can't be in two places at once. Good luck." Noob then disappeared out the window with Nibbler.

"He's right. I can't be in two places at once, but maybe my friends can help. Let's see: two places plus six friends equals, uh, more friends than places. Oh, but they didn't believe me last time, why would they believe me now? Ooh, migraine with pictures!"

 

Location: Planet Express Meeting Room

"Fry, it's 6:30 in the morning. While I'm impressed by your new attitude regarding work, I'm mad that you dragged us all out of bed so early, so this better be good," Leela said.

"Nibbler's been whatever-napped."

"What?! Are you sure? That person's going regret that!"

"I know where he's being held. Start the ship, I'll be right there."

Leela ran for the ship and Fry watched her go. He noticed the others held angry expressions on their faces.

"Guys, that was a cover story. I didn't want her to know I saw a news crew spying on her. I think they know she's a mutant."

The crew now wore worried looks on their faces. Leela was a friend; they couldn't let her be deported to the sewers. Bender was the only one who still looked unimpressed.

"I don't see why I should care," he said. Fry whispered something to him. Bender's eyes grew wide. "Well, don't just stand there, meatbags, we've got a gambling record- I mean, a mutant's reputation to save."

The rest of the crew ran after him. Zoidberg scuttled after.

"Hooray, I'm sabotaging the news-with friends!" Fry smiled, satisfied that something he thought of was working. He ran to join Leela. Time to be the Universe's hero once more.

Leela looked out at the seemingly empty void of space. "Fry, are you sure this is where Nibbler's being held?"

Fry sighed. "I'm sure. Leela, I need you to stay here. You're not going to believe me, but I've got a job to do. He reached out and gently touched her face. He put on a space suit, and before Leela could respond, was out the airlock.

"Fry? What do you mean stay here? Nibbler's my pet!" She saw a ship appear out of nowhere. Fry floated to it and went inside. Leela wasn't about to be left in the dark. She found the ship's hailing frequency and set it for a silent transmission. She sat back uneasily and watched the unfolding events.

"All right Noob, I'm here! Release Nibbler."

"Fair enough, Fry. He's free to go. You sit down over there." He gestured to a chair that closely resembled an electric chair. Fry sat down and Noob locked his arms and feet in place. He lowered the metal cap onto Fry's head. "This machine will suck your brainwave pattern out of your head. You'll be rendered dead and the Brains will be free."

"Why are you doing this? I'm the only one who can fight the Brains."

"That's where you're wrong. While the machine is sucking you dry, I'll be altering my brainwaves with a synthetic delta wave the Brains will have no effect on.."

"That's so crazy it just might work."

"Thanks. Here we go!" Noob flicked the switch and Fry began to feel massive pain tear through his skull. Then he felt nothing. Thinking himself dead, he opened his eyes to see what must be an angel. He noticed that this angel looked very similar to Leela.

"Fry, are you alright?" he heard the angel ask.

"You stopped the process in time, he should be fine," he heard another voice say.

He felt himself being released from the chair. He finally realized that he was still alive. "What happened?" he asked.

"I saw what was happening and snuck aboard to stop the machine before it killed you," Leela replied.

"Yes, and while you were saved, Noob received the full treatment of his machine," Nibbler added. "I doubt he survived."

"You are wrong, Nibblonian. We live." Noob's body had spoken, but it seemed like a thousand voices were speaking in unison. "This is strange. We were not designed as a single organism, but as many. We have one purpose, and that is to infect all beings. Yet we also have consciousness. We understand that we are single minded. We understand we are a virus. The creators called us Kateg. Therefore we are no longer the life form Noob. We are Kateg."

"My God. I believe the virus melded with the Brains and Noob. The split second that you spent in the machine must have allowed that to happen," Nibbler said in awe. "Noob's new brain pattern didn't protect him; it made him a host."

"You are correct. It is a pity, though. This life form is no longer connected to his race. We could have filtered into the race, made them our minions. Now we are forced to spread using only this vessel. We are contagious, though. We will serve our purpose." Kateg used a stupification ray on Fry. It, of course, had no effect. "The fabled one appears once more. No matter, he cannot stop us. He will be the sole witness to an idiotic Universe and will watch as all beings destroy themselves."

"I think now would a very good time to leave," Fry said.

"That is most wise," Nibbler replied.

"You don't have to tell me twice," Leela said.

They all ran, just narrowly escaping another ray blast. They boarded the ship and took off at high speed.

 

Location: TV Station

The others arrived at the TV station with an hour to air time. They'd showed up in burglar outfits and lots of tools to break in. The professor took a torch to the door, when a voice suddenly came from behind it. "Hey! You must be the burglar experts Morbo will be interviewing for the evening show. Here, let me get the door for you." He opened it and let the others inside. The professor moaned about not being able to use the torch. Amy and Bender shoved him through.

"Bender mon. Did Fry tell you what to look for?" Hermes asked.

"He said the files were in a manila envelope."

They stopped in front of a door that read "File Room," opened the door and gasped in shock at what they saw. All the files were in manila envelopes.

"Aww, this'll take forever." Zoidy sighed, perked up and said "At least I'm with friends." He looked around to see the others had already gone into the file room. He scuttled after, whooping.

"Start searching for anything that says mutants or something icky like that," Amy said. The others stared at her. "Oops."

Hermes pushed everyone aside and cracked his knuckles. "Everyone stand back. I'm a professional filer." He looked at no one in particular and said "Kids, don't try this at home." There was a flurry of paper and envelopes in the next few minutes while the others looked on.

"If you find a record on illegal gambling, shred it will you?" Bender said. Feeling the others look at him, he added "I don't want the bastards to use it against Leela." The others shook their heads and went back to watching Hermes who had finished sorting.

"I didn't find any files on Leela. There is this envelope addressed to Fry though."

"That's his mail. What's it doing here?" Bender asked.

"I don't know. Does anyone think this is what Fry really sent us here for?" Amy asked.

"It would appear so," the professor replied, "though I can't understand why Fry would need all of us to fetch his mail and why he would lie,"

"Everybody shut up! Someone's coming!" Hermes yelled. They closed the door and listened to the approaching voices.

"It's the story of the century, Morbo! A man who lacks the delta brainwave. He's a miraculous freak of nature. Think of the things scientists could learn from him. I'll win an Anarchie for this story."

"Morbo doesn't understand your fascination with the Anarchie and your other worthless awards. Morbo desires only the domination of your puny planet."

Linda laughed. "Anyway, the guy's name is Philip J. Fry. After I show the world the tapes and files, I'll offer a reward for his capture."

"Now that's something Morbo enjoys." The both shared a good laugh and walked off.

The crew fell out of the room after they all leaned against the door to hear the anchors.

"The poor boy. He really should take better care of his mail," the Professor commented aimlessly.

"You senile old coot. They're gonna put a price on Fry's head if dat crazy lady shows what's in dis envelope."

"What's so special about him? I've never heard of this 'brain' and I'm an incompetent doctor," Zoidberg said. The others ignored him. "Aww!"

"Well, Fry's safe as long as we have the files. Let's head home." Amy didn't notice the line of string being pulled tight as she crossed the floor. Her foot hit the string, causing her to fall down, and the envelope fell out of her hands.

"Oh ya clumsy woman!" Hermes smacked his forehead. "Never send a Martian to do a bureaucrat's job." He moved to pick up the files, but felt pressure put on his hand. He looked up to see a creature similar to Nibbler holding a squirt gun on his hand. "Why hello dere. What a cute little gun." He heard it cock and knew its ammo was far from cute.

"Move away or lose the hand," the creature said. Hermes looked shocked, but continued to move towards the envelope. The creature fired and blasted Hermes's hand. Hermes screamed in agony as he looked at his now mutilated hand.

"NO! My stamping hand! I'll never stamp a form again!"

The creature made no apologies. "You were warned." He motioned to another creature. "Get this to the news lady's desk. The underling nodded and ran off. He looked coldly at the crew. "My leader told me to pass a message onto your friend. He said to tell him 'Nice try, but he can't have both.' We were instructed to stop anyone who tried to remove the files, save for Fry. Now you will all bear witness to the rise of the Noobellion. Move!" A bunch of Nibbler clones forced the crew to the newsroom and put them in a closet. "I'm sure you have questions, but in 15 minutes they will most likely be answered," the lead creature said. He laughed and the others joined in.

The crew listened in horror to the creature's sinister laughing. Hermes sobbed over his lost hand. Amy reassured him he could get a new one which calmed him down a little.

"In 14 minutes, life as we know it will never be the same," Bender cried.

The others sadly agreed. Fry would be hunted like an animal. If he were caught, he'd be little more than an experiment.

 

Location: Planet Express ship

Leela hadn't really said anything, but both Fry and Nibbler could tell she was still trying to understand what the Nibblonian had finished explaining 45 minutes ago. "So let me see if I have this straight," she finally spoke. "Fry's coming to the future wasn't an accident, but an attempt by Nibbler to see a 1,025 year old prophecy come true?"

"Indeed. Of course, the plan was a success. Fry defeated the Brains by using our quantum interface bomb. He also saved us when he defeated the Giant Brain and disabled the first wave. He has also proved useful in other situations as well." Nibbler said looking at Fry.

"So he defeated the Brains. Isn't his job over?"

"Sadly, no. While our sages are accurate, predicting the future is hard. We had no idea that Noob's outcast from our society would become a part of the prophecy. That's why I got worried when Fry told me of his dreams. Our sages had predicted a possible outcome like the one Fry saw. They foretold that the virus would take the form of a lost one, that death would sweep the Universe, and the Mighty One would be alone."

"So I can tell the future?" Fry asked.

"To an extent," Nibbler replied. "Your missing delta brainwave enables you to use other brainwaves that most people seldom use. Your visions are symbolic and must be interpreted. The ones had by our sages are a little more clear."

"Is there a cure for Kateg?" Leela asked.

"We were never able to take a sample to develop a cure. Now, we have a slight chance. Kateg beamed the virus into Fry, the only being who can withstand the virus. It's quite possible that we could get a specimen from Fry's blood and study it. So far, all we know about the virus is that it attacks in stages. The first stage is a raging fever which affects the inhibitions. A being in this stage will have no worries or cares. Next, comes the sneezing. In this stage, the afflicted will reveal their darkest secrets after each sneeze. Finally, brain draining. In this final stages, the afflicted will lose ALL intelligence. The delta brainwave is destroyed and they are rendered a blathering idiot with a burning curiosity. They are particularly attracted to buttons and weapons."

"One thing bothers me. Why do you know so much about it?"

"It pains me to say that Nibblonians were the test subjects. While those that remained on Eternium were safe, the ones in field study or planet research were not. Our only choice in those situations was to run like hell. We managed to find the infected in various stages. That is how we also found out the virus is VERY contagious."

"Should we even head for Earth? You said it yourself: Eternium is safe from the Brains," Fry said.

"From the Brains, yes. Unfortunately, our technology won't keep out a Nibblonian that is now the host for the virus. I can feel him approaching my planet. Fortunately for me, as Kateg said, becoming Noob means it can't filter through us. It must infect us."

Fry looked at his watch. "Leela, it's 6:00 p.m.! Turn on a TV!" Fry shouted. Leela did so, and just in time to see the faces of Morbo and Linda.

"Good evening," Linda said. "Tonight, we have an groundbreaking story. Is he the next step in human evolution? Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I give you proof of a man that walks among us with no delta brainwave. Yes, you heard me. This man functions with no delta brainwave."

"Morbo is uninterested in science fiction. I will destroy you!" The crew watching the screen stared in shock. The secret was about to be revealed.

"Hey, everybody! It's me, Bender!" Bender walked onscreen. "Thanks for finding my movie script and early takes. Now give it back!"

Linda held the envelope away from him. "Who are you?"

"I'm the soon to be famous movie director, Bender Bending Rodriguez. Those are my notes and early film takes you have."

"The files in here are awfully descriptive. They even describe what he does in the bathroom."

Fry glared at Nibbler upon hearing this.

He grinned sheepishly. "Nibblonians are driven to be very descriptive."

They both turned back to the TV.

"So? Is there a law against wanting the character to be just right? Besides, I paid for the advertisement hoping to emulate Blair Witch 400," Bender said.

"I-but you,-I mean," Linda stammered.

"Hey! Great acting! You really should audition for a part." Bender grabbed the manila envelope from Linda. "Anyway folks, come see MY movie coming out sometime in-never! Cheese it!" he yelled to a group off stage. Then he too ran off.

"Morbo thinks that was most weird. This is Morbo saying good night pathetic humans!" Then he reached and got a flower and sniffed it. "Ah, such a pretty flower! Hello, pretty flower. I will not destroy you." Morbo looked up at the camera. "What do you mean there's still 45 minutes left? I will destroy YOU!" Morbo screamed.

Leela turned off the TV and everybody on the ship gave a loud cheer.

"Well, it appear your friends have averted a disastrous exposure for us both. This is a most unexpected feat from them, particularly the metallic one. He constantly shows disdain for human life."

"Eh, that's just a cover-up. He may claim to hate humans and maybe he's been convicted for attempted murder, but he'd never allow anyone to hurt me unless he's doing it himself," Fry fondly said.

"Well, that's one problem solved, but we still have Kateg to deal with," Leela mused. "Nibbler, how long does the virus take to destroy the brainwave?"

"3 days. Each stage takes 24 hours to run its course."

"That's only 72 hours! We gotta move on that cure!" Fry said.

"Yes, perhaps the psychotic ape you call 'The Professor' can be of help."

Leela landed the ship and they all got off the ship to see the others hadn't returned.

"Fry, something's bothering me. How did the guys know not to let those files get aired?"

"He was sneaky and manipulative, that's how. I'm so proud!" Bender said. "He knew we'd never fall for his story about Brains attacking Earth. So he told the skintubes you'd been exposed and told me they had proof of my secret casino."

"I'm glad you're all here. We require your help in a most dire situation," Nibbler said. The others stared in shock. Nibbler sighed. "You didn't read the files did you?" They shook their heads, except for Bender.

"I just wanted to be popular," he said. "How ya doing you stupid rat?"

"I'm fine, and your race knows me as a Nibblonian. That's not what we call ourselves, but since it makes more sense to your race, that's what we must use."

"Blah, blah. Did I ask for a creature feature lesson? No, I asked you to get busy explaining what's going on."

Nibbler sighed and filled them in as quickly as possible.

"We'll need to examine Fry's blood," said the Professor after hearing Nibbler's explanation. "I have just the thing." He pulled out a needle that seemed capable of draining Fry of all his blood. Fry screamed. "No, wait. This is for blood transfusions, not sampling." He got out a smaller needle. "Now hold still. This won't hurt a bit!" Fry's scream echoed through the halls. Scruffy looked up, put on earmuffs, and went back to reading his porno mag.

"That hurt like hell!" Fry screamed.

"Oh yes, for you, but I barely felt a thing," the Professor said.

"Hey Nibbler, I don't feel so good," Fry commented.

"Well, Kateg IS a virus, your Mightiness. Have no fear, it can't do much more than give you the sniffles without a delta wave to attack. Your immune system just needs to adjust," Nibbler explained.

"Wait, if Fry's sick, isn't he contagious?" Leela asked.

"No. Most of what Fry is experiencing is his body's reaction to the virus. Any viruses that come from him are essentially harmless. Might I suggest a lie down while your body adjusts? You've done enough for now." Fry nodded and headed toward the lounge. Nibbler turned toward the Professor. "Shall we get started?" The Professor nodded and he and Nibbler left the room.

The others stood around, apparently in deep thought. They had been told everything. Nibbler actually seemed relieved to be telling someone other than Fry the secrets his race had hidden for so long. Fry told them the strange dilemma Noob presented him with and explained to Leela how he managed to solve the problem. This both touched and scared Leela. What hell would Fry have endured from her if he'd chosen to just grab the files? She now knew Noob hadn't intended to let him do both, as the rest of her co-workers described the measures Noob had taken to make sure of it.

"Does anyone else feel lousy about the way they treated Fry after hearing this?" Leela said, breaking the silence. Everyone nodded.

"He's got such a thankless job mon. Let's face it, we don't help matters," Hermes said. He made a fist with his new hand, trying to break it in.

"I'm gonna go talk to him. You guys let us know if the Professor and Nibbler make any progress." The others nodded their consent and Leela walked to the lounge. She found Fry shivering and sweating profusely. She ran over and felt his forehead. He was burning up. She fetched a washcloth, soaked it in cool water, and returned to place it on his forehead. Fry seemed to stop shivering and opened his eyes. He smiled.

"I did it for you, I definitely did it for you," Fry said. He coughed and sat up.

"Did what, Fry?"

"The night I blasted the Brains into another dimension, I didn't make it out in time. The Brains offered me a chance to go back and stop Nibbler from freezing me. I accepted. After all, everybody won if I did that. I went back and captured Nibbler. I was going to have my life back! Then, Nibbler reminded me that the fate of the Universe depended on me. He asked if there was nothing in the future worth saving. I thought of you. I froze myself to save you." He looked up at Leela. "I think I made the right choice." Leela grabbed Fry's hands and squeezed them gently, gazing into Fry's eyes.

"Thank you," she whispered. "I want you to know that you have friends who care, friends who know what you've done for them, for the Universe. You are important. Don't forget that."

Bender ran into the room, interrupting yet another romantic moment. "Big news guys. The DOOP's gone nuts! They're declaring war on anything and everything that can literally kick their ass."

Fry and Leela stared in confusion and disbelief. Bender hit the remote in time to catch a speech being made by the DOOP president.

"The time for fear is over. We're going to take the fight to our intimidating enemies. Thousands may die, but who cares? Our more powerful foes will soon learn they can't make the DOOP cower in fear for more than a few hundred years!" She turned to a large computer labeled "Insta-Chooser and pushed a few buttons. "Omicronians" popped up on the screen. "The machine has decided. The Omicronians will be first to feel our tiny wrath." Cheers, jeers, and mumbles of confusion filled the air.

"It appears Kateg has wasted no time in infecting the DOOP. The suicidal war started as a result of the first stage will serve his purpose of mass infection. Fortunately, Omicron Persei 8 is a full day's trip. The effects of Stage 1 should wear off before any real harm is done," Nibbler explained. The others turned around in surprise. They never heard him come in. "We must attempt to stop further infection."

"We could blow its host up with one of my doomsday devices. That would take care of it, among other things," the Professor said.

Nibbler shook his head. "Kateg will simply infect another host, or worse, become airborne. Our only chance lies in destroying the virus while it is contained within the body of Noob. That means creating a vaccine that will kill Kateg and injecting it into the host."

"Who's gonna do the injection?" Fry asked. All eyes turned to him. "Oh yeah. Heh, sorry."

"No apologies are necessary, Mighty One. You aren't the sharpest tool in the box after all."

"There you go with the 'Mighty' stuff again. Why the hell do you call me that?"

"You don't know? You're the equivalent of a god on my world. My people worship you! We even had a temple erected in your honor."

Fry held a blank expression on his face as he said, "Heh. Cool."

"A reaction one could only expect from the likes of the fabled one. How foolish that an entire society of the Nibblonians' vast intelligence should worship a mere mortal and a defective one at that. Our host realized this when he first heard the prophecy. It is unfortunate that he allowed himself to think he could beat our creators. The fabled one's victory over our creators drove him mad. He couldn't bear to be wrong. His refusal to accept the truth led him to believe his own words more so than his followers," a unified voice explained. The others turned to face Kateg in its Nibblonian shell.

"Have you already finished with Eternium?" Nibbler cautiously asked.

"Yes, we have spread in your home world. Now we come here, for you are the only other beings who could stop us." Kateg zapped all who were present in the room, except for Fry. It turned to him. "Soon, we will have the Universe to ourselves. If you do manage to survive Stupidity Armageddon, we have plans for you." Kateg then leapt out the window.

"NO! You guys are infected! Are you morons already?" Fry said.

"Kateg has not affected us yet, Mighty One. We might still be able to make that vaccine before the virus overtakes us." Nibbler began coughing. "Then again, it could be fast acting."

Bender walked in whistling. "Hey losers, I was just in the uh, bathroom-" Bender got a good look at everybody. "What happened to you guys?"

"Kateg got them. You and I are the only ones not infected," Fry sadly replied.

"Guh, what am I? Chopped Buggalo?" Amy peeked out from behind the corner. "Kateg didn't get me."

"Fry, you've got to get us into quarantine before the first stage hits. It's the one that does the most damage to social structure," Nibbler said.

Fry nodded and herded everyone to Zoidberg's office. Dr. Zoidberg was only looking busy, so he was pleasantly surprised when the crew walked in.

"Hooray! My friends come to visit me!" he said.

"Uh, yeah. They all need checkups too. Why don't you start with Leela?"

"I would, but she isn't here."

Fry looked around. Zoidberg was right. Leela was gone. Fry groaned in anguish and slapped his forehead. He ran off and locked the door.

Zoidberg looked up. "Fry? Awww!"

 

Location: Bender B. Rodriguez Orphanarium

Fry had searched all of Leela's favorite places and hadn't found her yet. Then it hit him, literally. The blind and deaf man that had teased Leela in her youth ran straight into Fry. He yelled, "You gotta help me, she's gone nuts!"

"Who? Cher?" Fry asked.

"No, crazier than her. It's One-Eye. She's trying to kill us! I just barely got away by falling down into the laundry chute which leads to the incinerator. Luckily, it wasn't laundry da- Hey!"

Fry was already headed towards the Orphanarium. He got there just in time to duck out of the way of a flying dresser. He walked inside and stared in shock. Leela looked as if she had been in a fight with a monster truck. He noticed a mangled lawnmower with purple hairs around it. It had to be bad if someone was willing to use a lawnmower on her.

"Nobody makes fun of me anymore. I'm tired of your crap, Vogel!" Leela exclaimed.

"Yeah? What are you gonna do about it, you freak?" Vogel shot back.

Leela's eye narrowed in rage. "THIS!" She raised a laser saw above her head and brought it down on Vogel, realizing too late that Fry had pushed him out of harm's way. The laser saw struck ground, just inches from Fry's feet. He turned his body to see Leela's face contorted in undeterred anguish. Fry scrambled to his feet and jumped in front of the leering Vogel. He panicked as she raised the saw again. He'd hoped that she would be reluctant to kill Vogel if she had to kill him This didn't appear to be the case.

"Come on, Leela," Fry nervously said. "I know you're not thinking clearly right now. Don't do something you'll regret!"

"I won't regret this. This is the first clearheaded decision I've made in a long time." She coughed, and her clothes were soaked with sweat from her raging fever.

"Just think about all the good times you had here."

"She had no good times here! I made her miserable all the time. I'd do it all over again if I had the chance," Vogel yelled.

Fry clamped a hand over the guy's mouth. "Don't do it Leela! He's crazy! I heard if you kill crazy people, you become a crazy person. Also, you smell bad and I know how important hygiene is to you. You force me into the tub every other week."

"Oh that whole clean thing is overrated. Fry, I'll make you a deal. Let me kill the man who made my childhood miserable and I promise I'll make tonight something you won't forget." Leela smiled sexily and her face conveyed a look of lust.

Fry looked lost. Here was another dilemma; this one harder than the last. He could have the one woman he'd always wanted for the life of a man who constantly proclaimed things that would get the Orphanarium closed in a nanosecond. On the other hand, wouldn't that make him like all the others she'd slept with? He rarely ever thought about tomorrow, but circumstances like these made it all too clear how little time they really had.

"Sure." Fry stepped aside and Leela squealed with delight. She ran over and rewarded Fry's decision with a slow, passionate kiss. She felt a small prick as she pulled away and then sagged against Fry in deep slumber. "I'm sorry, Leela." He picked her up and carried her back to Planet Express. Bender caught up with him along the way.

"Wasn't that a great shot? I still don't understand why you wouldn't let me use poison. If you had, we'd have one less problem." Bender laughed. Fry laughed a little before staring the robot down.

"We're doomed you know. I just lost everybody who could work on that vaccine. For being the most important person, I sure don't do anything useful," Fry said glumly.

"Normally, I'd agree with you and laugh, but these are desperate times. My life, err, I mean the Universe is depending on you now. Sure, you don't have your more intelligent friends with you, but you got me, Amy, and Zoidberg. Personally, I'd dump the two losers and go with the greatness that is Bender."

"Does this have a point?"

"My point is you're the only one that can function properly without a delta brainwave. That means you have to be somewhat intelligent. Also, I'm great. Together, we can make a vaccine against this virus."

They finally reached the PE building. Bender distracted the infected while Fry gently placed Leela inside the room. He smiled as he ran his hand through her hair. After shutting and bolting the door, the two friends headed to the lab with purpose in their eyes. Kateg was going down.

 

Location: The Professor's 'secret' laboratory

Fry threw up his hands in despair. "I give up! I've been looking for hours and I'm not any closer to creating the cure for Kateg."

"Well, actually you're looking at a comic upside down, and it's also only been five minutes. Can I see that? It looks like a good issue," Bender said. He wasn't really doing any work either, unless robot pornography contained the cure for Kateg.

Fry sighed and handed the comic to Bender. He looked around for anything that the Professor and Nibbler might have left as a clue. He found a notebook and started to read. Most of it was stuff he already knew. The three day deadline, the stages, the initial mode of infection, and how contagious it was in normal beings. This last bit caught his eye.

"It's contagious in normal beings. Well, I know I'm not normal. Mutants are definitely not normal. I wonder if there's a connection. Hey, Bender. What do you know about mutants?"

"I know they stink. Also, they seem to have weird reactions to certain diseases. If One-Eye isn't having a weird reaction, it's a safe bet that they're not immune to Kateg. You owe me five bucks."

Fry groaned and handed him five bucks. "That reminds me. I better check and see how our patients are doing." Fry walked to Zoidberg's office and saw Amy guarding the door. "How are they?"

"Well, Leela keeps screaming your name. The others are just kinda giggling. It's the quietest they've been for a while now." Leela's moans and grunts could be heard through the door.

"I hope she's all right. She must really need me if she keeps screaming my name. I better go see what's wrong." Amy blocked the door.

"NO! I mean uh, she's uninhibited. She's without fear or remorse. I think whatever she's doing is private."

"Everyone else is in there. How private can it be?" Fry's expression remained clueless.

"Look, you're not getting it. She doesn't care that everyone can see her doing her private thing."

"Oh good, then she won't mind if I come in." Amy gave up and moved aside. Fry peeked inside and was treated to a naked Leela punching the heck out of a dummy fashioned into a horrible rendering of Fry.

Leela pulled back her fist and yelled "Fry!" She sent her fist into the dummy's head full force, knocking it off from the body. The others laughed. They, too, were naked.

"Uh, I'd turn on the air conditioner," Fry said to Amy. "They might be a little hot from the fever."

"Ok, I'll do that." Amy stared at him confused. She'd expected a better reaction from him seeing a naked Leela. She watched Fry walk off. Unbeknownst to her, Fry sported a huge grin on his face.

The accidental Peeping Tom had done wonders for Fry's mind. It reminded him of something he'd always known: Leela had no other visible defects on her body other than the eye. He'd seen tons of mutants who looked so horrible they'd turn Medusa to stone, but Leela was an exception. His brain started to get a-what had Leela called it? An idea. He had an idea! He ran back to the lab where Bender was busy reading his comic.

"Bender! You gotta help get Leela down here. I wanna do some, oh what do you call them? You use pencils and they're really hard."

"Tests?" Bender suggested.

"Bingo! We gotta find something to hold her in. I think she's mad at me."

"That's crazy! There's nothing here that will hold a humanoid mutant. All that's here is that device the Professor invented in case one of you went crazy and had to be restrained and tested."

"Aww!" Suddenly Fry's head jerked up. "Can't we use that?" he asked, pointing to the machine Bender just mentioned.

"Hey, yeah! Chalk up another great idea for Bender!" Fry turned to the chalkboard and put a mark under Bender's name. He noticed that Bender was currently the reigning champ of good ideas.

"I wish I had great ideas," Fry said.

"Hey, cheer up buddy. Some of us were made for thinking. Let's face it though, I was doing all the reading. You were the lazy one that kept looking for notes and stuff."

Fry shrugged as he walked out to get Leela. Bender followed him, and together they grabbed hold of the struggling Leela. "Geez, it's times like these I wish I were human," Bender said sadly. They brought her back to the lab and placed her into a container that resembled a cryo-tube laid sideways, like a glass coffin.

"Let me out of here, Fry!" Leela screamed. Fry looked at the clock. Only a few hours left until stage 2 hit. Then she'd be spilling her guts, but at least she'd be more cooperative.

"Well, we've got lots of instruments here. Which one do you wanna try first?" Bender asked. Fry looked at the sharp medical tools the Professor had. He saw one that reminded him of a bar code scanner appropriately labeled 'DNA Scanner.'

"Let's try that one," he said.

The device took two hours to work and beeped when it was done. Bender took the device and downloaded Leela's DNA info into his mind. He logged onto a scientific website that allowed him access to the Universal DNA Database. He then began matching Leela's profile with those in the database. This process took about an hour.

"According to this, Leela's 95% meatbag. The other 5% is unknown, but has properties that are generally found in your puny immune system."

Fry took a look at the scan of the unknown gene that Bender brought up. "Wait, I'm getting an idea. In lots of sci-fi shows I watched, some people had genes that were human and alien. Can you get the computer to check for a mixture of mutant and human DNA in the 5%?

"I can try, but I have to smooth talk the computer," Bender said. He went motionless and his eyes became windows of an apparent conversation between the two. The results of the scan came through. The unknown 5% was 50% human and 50% mutant. Bender came back to life. "I hope this is worth the cybersex I promised," he muttered.

"Fry, where are you? Why am I in this thing?" Leela called out. Fry ran to her side and looked up at the clock. 24 hours had passed.

"Leela, do you remember anything that happened 24 hours?" Fry asked.

Leela sneezed and answered in a monotone voice," The last thing I remember is Kateg blasting me with his virus info. Then I was in this thing."

Fry nodded. Something had told him that people in Stage 2 wouldn't remember Stage 1. He had the feeling the same was true of Stage 3. Why was Leela speaking in monotone? Yet another idea dawned on him and he tried something.

"Leela, why did you flush the letter I wrote you down the toilet?"

Leela looked confused as she sneezed and said, "I flushed it because it was a badly written letter and I just didn't feel the same way." Leela looked shocked. "Why did I say that?"

"It's Stage 2 of the Kateg virus. I guess people literally sneeze out the truth to any questions they're asked," Fry replied. He turned to look at Bender. "Stay here and look after her. I'm gonna use this to my advantage." Fry ran out of the lab.

Bender smiled as he looked at Leela. "It's confession time, eyeball!" he laughed as he set himself to record. Leela looked horrified.

"NOOO!"

Fry ran down to Zoidberg's office. When he got there, he found everyone dressed and interrogating each other. A sneezing fest ensued.

"What did you do wrong last month, ya filthy crab?" Hermes asked.

Zoidberg answered in a monotone voice, "I ate the surplus supplies." He snapped out of his trance state. "Hey! No fair! Where do you keep the surplus now?"

Hermes sneezed violently and said, "In my office closet." He shook his head. "You stay out of that closet!"

Zoidberg whooped and scuttled away. Hermes ran after him.

Fry grabbed Nibbler and brought him to the lounge.

"Mighty One, I've failed you. Judging from my complete loss of 24 hours, we've entered Stage 2. At least in this stage we can function normally until someone asks a question." Nibbler sighed in relief. "I can only imagine what I did in Stage 1."

"You did some pretty crazy stuff." He had really just eaten all the food in the room, including some stuff that couldn't be classified as food. "Sorry about this, but what can you tell me about Leela?"

"She is the one we have classified as 'The Other.' The sages foresaw that a relationship between the two of you would be beneficial. So far, the sages have been correct. Leela has saved your life on more than one occasion. We know that she is the least mutated mutant ever born, but we haven't figured out how this could be beneficial if you were to mate."

"Bender and I found that Leela was 95% human and 5% something else. I figured out that the 5% was some kind of mixture between the two. Bender also said that had stuff found in the system that protects you from germs and stuff like that."

Nibbler almost slapped himself. "Leela's unique immune system might be the cure for Kateg! It makes sense. Kateg made you sick for a short time because your immune system isn't used to it. Since you don't have a delta wave, Kateg couldn't affect you more than that. Leela has something the Brains didn't prepare Kateg for and had she been exposed earlier, she would have been immune today. Since she wasn't, her system is getting used to it. It seems we were right to call her 'The Other.' She's the only being besides you that can survive Kateg. Sorry, I babble when I'm excited."

"So all we have to do is find out what Leela's gene is made of and we have a cure for Kateg?" Fry mused.

"Yes, it's a little like gene therapy. We give the infected a shot filled with the modified gene and Kateg is cleansed from the system. If we give the gene to someone unaffected, Kateg will be rendered useless. We must go to the lab quickly!" Fry picked up Nibbler and ran back to the lab, just in time to hear Bender finish his list of questions.

"Just out of interest, what flavor ice cream do you like?" he asked.

"Chocolate," Leela answered.

"Well, I think that covers everything. I'll make copies of this so I can blackmail you 'till I get bored, and given my love for extortion, that's not likely to be soon."

"Leela, good news! You're not going to become permanently stupid!" Fry yelled.

"Really?"

"Yeah, turns out you're immune to Kateg."

"Your immune system just needed to adjust," Nibbler said. "It probably already has."

Fry ran over to the chamber and released Leela. They embraced each other for what felt like an eternity.

"You guys make me sick! Just because Leela isn't going to be affected doesn't mean everything's OK." Bender groaned. "You still gotta take care of the virus and his rat host."

"The metallic one is correct!" Nibbler said. Fry and Leela looked shocked. "Yes, I'm as shocked as you are. Leela, if you give me a blood sample, I can create the antidote."

"Well, don't just stand there! Load up! We have a universe to save." Leela sat down and stuck out her arm. Nibbler approached with a cute little syringe and drew the blood sample. He then set to work on isolating the gene. Bender stood beside Nibbler and watched him work.

"Hey Nibbler. I've been wondering, this gene thing is great for the meatbags of the Universe, but what about us robots? We can't support a gene."

"No, but once I learn the secrets of the gene, I'll be able to upgrade your antivirus software with a program to combat Kateg. It'll tell your software what to do if Kateg should ever breach your systems."

"Ah, very nice. You think of everything. Well, I'm off to find some hookerbots."

"Bender, wait. We might need you. You can't just run off," Leela said.

"I have recordings that say otherwise. Perhaps I'll select an interesting one and play it. Ah, the perfect one for our current audience-" Bender found himself being pushed out the door.

"OK, go. Have fun!" Leela said with forced cheer.

The Professor ran into the room. "Good news everyone! The war against Omicron Persei 8 has been called off!" Cheers erupted from everyone. "The bad news is the Nimbus has been stolen."

"Is Zapp accounted for?" Leela asked.

"Oh my yes. He's a featured speaker on the news today. He's giving away lots of military secrets and tips for bedding one-eyed girls." Leela looked cross, but said nothing.

"I suspect Kateg has taken the warship. If modified correctly, the Universe will feel its might in a matter of hours." Nibbler said gravely. "Although I think I've cracked the gene." He looked amazed. "The components of the gene are simple. I'll be able to make a cure in no time." The others smiled. Maybe there was hope for the Universe after all.

 

Location: Planet Express Ship, several hours later

"Ok, so we're clear on the plan?" Leela asked.

"Plan? What plan? I thought we were just gonna pick up the host and feed him that gene thingy," Fry replied.

"It's so simple. The plan is that you two fleshpods go in and lovable Bender stays out here."

Leela groaned and shook her head. "Nibbler said that Kateg has the Brainspawn's ability to suppress the delta wave as well as the ability to transmit his viral code to other beings. Fry will have to distract it while I inject the countervirus into Noob's body. While we're taking care of Kateg, Nibbler and the others will be curing the infected."

"Oh yeah! Great plan!" Fry exclaimed. "According to this tracker Bender stole from the DOOP, the Nimbus is dead ahead. We should see it when this green dot gets closer to that red dot."

Sure enough, the Nimbus came into full view and the crew gasped in shock. Kateg had done a major overhaul on the ship. It now looked like a massive giant brain with a huge satellite dish attached to the top.

"That virus does some fast remodeling. I wonder if it'll consider redecorating my room," Bender mused.

The PE ship moved in closer to the Nimbus and stopped a few feet short of the docking bay.

"We can't dock with it. Kateg will know we're here and we'll lose our element of surprise," Leela whispered. "Fry and I will suit up and try to sneak aboard. Bender, keep radio silence, but be prepared to pick us up if we call."

"Roger that! You know, an advance payment might convince me to stick around." Bender held out his hand suggestively. Leela groaned and put 50 bucks in. Sometimes Bender could be a real pain. She and Fry suited up and went inside the airlock. They squeezed hands for reassurance as Leela pushed the button to open the door. They let go as they were sucked out and fired up their jet packs. They reached the Nimbus within a few minutes. Leela hacked the docking door using her wrist computer so it opened without alerting Kateg.

"I'm going to hide here while you confront Kateg. You'll tell me when you've found him using this walkie-talkie." Leela handed him a child's walkie-talkie, one Nibbler had given her. Fry started off in search of the target, but Leela called after him. "Oh, and Fry? Be careful." He nodded and continued down the corridor that led to the bridge. The door opened and Fry quietly crept inside.

"We've been expecting you, fabled one. We knew that you would come to stop us. Rest assured that you will fail." Kateg's unified voice was eerie to Fry, but he kept his calm. He raised the walkie-talkie and spoke into it.

"He's on the bridge." He put the talkie away without waiting for acknowledgement and headed for Kateg.

"Foolish human! Your friends can't help you. We've locked the doors to this room and it takes a while for lasers to cut through the reinforced doors. We are alone." Fry gasped, but still held a determined gaze. "How do you like our remodeling job on the ship, human? We call it the Nimbrain."

"Oh God, what a bad pun!"

"Laugh while you can human! This warship is now one huge transmitter of our code. The transmitting ray will blast an area twice the size of your planet. In a matter of hours, we will spread."

"Not if I stop you!"

"A challenge? Very well. We will accept. We will now scan your body and link your mind to ours. You win if you destroy all of us, but when you lose, we will take your body as our new host. With you out of our way, we can easily accomplish our goal. The battle begins now." A ray shot out of Noob's third eye and engulfed Fry.

Fry saw his surroundings change, and it looked as if he was inside what passed for Noob's mind. He saw a bluish light form in front of him. It quickly took on Noob's form with a brain too big for the skull. "Welcome to the host mind," it said.

"So where are the weapons?" Fry asked.

"Simple human! You don't even realize you are your weapon!" Kateg shot a red beam at Fry, who just barely dodged it. "You are a representation of your mind. Fortunately for us, you are unskilled in using it. We will be merging soon."

"NOO!" Fry screamed. At this show of fury, a golden light shot out of Fry's hands and struck Kateg. He was knocked backwards, but got up quickly.

"Very impressive, human. Unfortunately for you, your mind is undeveloped. You'll never win."

Fry formed a yellow bat in his hands. Kateg shot another ray blast. Fry deflected it with the bat and hit it out of their brain-like arena. Kateg growled as it lunged toward Fry, a mace forming in it's hand. Fry panicked and dodged the attack. He tried to think of something to throw and a pizza appeared in his hand. Fry shrugged and threw the pie at his foe. It hit the virus and turned the image it projected into a gooey mess. Fry laughed while Kateg roared.

"Enough!" It turned into blue rope which quickly surrounded Fry's body. As it's grip grew tighter, Fry found it difficult to breathe. "Give up! We want our new host!"

"NEVER!" Fry yelled. He found himself changing and Kateg's grip became loosened. He slipped out of the virus's grasp and reformed himself, or tried to anyway. He was pretty sure that he'd screwed something up, if Kateg's laughing fit were any indication.

"Fry? Are you okay?" It was Leela. Fry could hear her. She must have gotten through the door."

"I'm in here!" he shouted.

Kateg laughed. "I think you forget who's in control of this body. She can't hear you. She can only hear us. Oh, Leela when we're done, would you like to go on a date? After we get my new body, we're sure you'll agree we have a great personality!"

"Sorry Kateg, but I have to decline your invitation. I don't date dead viruses. Fry? Get out of there! I'm about to inject the countervirus!"

Fry started to run, but found his feet restrained by Kateg.

"Oh no you don't! Leela, We have your boyfriend and you can't be sure he'll survive that cure in this state. We'd drop the syringe if we were you!"

"OK, just don't hurt Fry. Please."

Fry was touched by the concern in her voice, but he had a mission to complete and he aimed to finish it one way or another. He frantically searched for a way to speak to her, and got an idea. He relaxed into Kateg. He could feel the merge starting.

"Leela, it's Fry! If you can hear me, do it. Do it now!" Then he pushed himself away from Kateg before the merge started to take control.

Leela voice rang through the air once more. "OK, Fry. I don't like it, but I understand. I just hope you know that you're my best friend."

"I know," Fry whispered.

He and Kateg both felt the syringe enter the skin. A green fluid came rushing toward them. Kateg screamed and released Fry, who wasted no time running off. He heard the wails of anguish behind him, but refused to look back. He reached the end of the brain and finally turned around to see a tidal wave of green fluid looming over him.

"Ok, we could sever that link anytime now and I'd be really happy." Nothing happened, and he shielded himself with his arms. "Goodbye Leela!" he said tearfully.

"Goodbye nothing! You're back!" Fry felt the cyclops throw her arms around him and gratefully returned the hug. A sexy female computer voice interrupted them.

"Kateg viral code will be released in three minutes."

"Oh man! I should have seen it coming. Kateg must have rigged the ship to release his infection, should he die," Fry said. "It happens all the time on TV."

"We'll have to blow up the Nimbus. I'll activate the self destruct. You get to the ship," Leela said, pushing Fry away.

"No way! As temporary captain, I refuse to leave a crew member behind." Leela smiled and walked over to the control panel. A few seconds later, the same computer voice spoke again.

"Ship will self destruct in 60 seconds." Fry and Leela looked at each other and then ran like hell. Leela took out the walkie-talkie.

"Bender! Pick us up! This ship is gonna blow in 58 seconds!"

"Can do!" the robot answered. As they got closer to the docking bay doors, they sighed with relief when they heard the familiar docking sound of a ship. The computer kept counting the seconds until explosion.

"40 seconds 'till self destruct."

The two friends dived into the waiting ship. A frantic Leela pushed Bender out of the way and took command of the ship. They were all jolted as Leela pushed the stick to full power.

"Ya know, an 'excuse me' does wonders," Bender complained.

Fry ran to a window and watched as the newly named Nimbrain exploded, unleashing a fiery ring of death just inches away from them and expanding. Fry feared they would still get caught in the resulting explosion.

"Dive!" he yelled.

He was thrown back as Leela did as he suggested. He was filled with relief as he saw his plan was working. The explosion continued on above them and died away. Everyone in the ship gave a loud cheer and Leela dialed the Professor to tell the others of the mission's success. Soon, there was even more cheering as it was learned that the Kateg cure was working. The infected didn't remember anything that had happened while they were infected, so it seemed once more that most of the Universe remained unaware of how close it came to destruction.

 

Planet: Eternium
Location: Hall of Elders

The room was deathly quiet as Nibbler walked into the Hall and greeted the Elders. The Elders did not return the greeting.

"Lord Nibbler, you stand before the Nibblonian Council of Elders, accused of revealing sensitive information to lower beings of the planet Earth. How do you plead?" a male Elder asked.

"While it is true that I revealed information to the Mighty One's friends, I dispute that a wrong has been committed. These loyal friends of the Mighty One risked their own lives to keep the secret and were of great help in defeating both Noob and the Kateg virus," Nibbler argued.

"While this is true, it is too dangerous to allow them to remember any of this. The humans and robot will have their memory blanked."

"The Mighty One wishes to speak!" Fry's voice rang out. He ran into the Hall, followed by his friends. The Elders gasped. Muttering ensued.

"Your Mightiness, this Council would not dare deny your voice. Speak as you desire," the astonished male Elder said.

"I'm done with you creatures making all my decisions! You decided to push me in the freezer. You decided to blank my memory. Well, now I'm making a decision. I don't care what the rest of the Universe believes, but I like knowing I did something good with my life. I like my friends knowing what we've done. I'll probably screw up tomorrow and it'll be just like old times, but at least they'll know I was important. That's all I ask of you. Just let them remember."

The Elders looked touched at this speech and debated on it. The male Elder spoke once more. "It is the decision of this Council that the Mighty One's coworkers may retain their memory of the recent events. They are hereby sworn to secrecy about said events. If the events or Fry's importance are ever revealed, they will be stripped of those memories and all operations will return to normal. Are you all agreed to this?" Fry's friends nodded their heads, even Bender. "Very well, we acquit Lord Nibbler of all charges and you may all return home."

Everyone cheered and shared a hug with Fry. The Nibblonians even worked out a deal with Planet Express to deliver their food supplies. This deal would make the first long-term contract for Planet Express, and the Professor was glad to accept.

After a great feast and celebration of the victory over Kateg, the crew returned home. Nibbler stayed behind to finish some business, but he would return.

Leela caught Fry looking out the window as they approached Earth and joined him. "Penny for your thoughts?" she asked.

Fry smiled. "I just wish my parents could see me now. They'd be so amazed."

Leela put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure they're very proud of you. I know I am."

"Leela, do you think there's a chance that maybe someday you'll feel the same way about me that I do about you?"

"Maybe someday. Heck, maybe I'll ask you out myself one day. Just don't give up. If you don't, maybe it'll turn my head. For now, you're my very best friend and I wouldn't have it any other way." She gave him a kiss on the cheek and walked away.

"Well, at least she didn't give me that 'we're too different' talk." He thought over what she'd just said and what Nibbler had said when he went back in time. He smiled and said, "Soon. She'll see soon enough."

Then he went to buckle himself back in for the landing. As he went, he was patted on the back and congratulated by his friends. He took a seat by Leela and saw her smile at him as they descended. He couldn't wait to get back and get some much needed sleep. Tomorrow was a whole new day, and he didn't want to miss a second of it.

 

The End

Buddies