Fan Fiction

The Leelazarus Effect, part 1
By SoylentOrange

Futurama is brought to you by Grork’s wholesale probulators. Grork, the number one name in probulators and probulator accessories since 2862.

“Good news everyone!”

It always amazed Leela how these three simple words could drive such a stake of pure unremitting terror through her heart. Over the years she had faced more than her fair share of alien monsters, rampaging killbots, and bloody space battles, but as yet nothing had ever come close to having the effect of that horrific phrase.

The entire PE crew, sans Amy and Zoidberg, were sitting around the conference table waiting for the morning briefing when Farnsworth came shuffling in. Hermes was busy alphabetizing a stack of anonymous forms. He finished his task as Leela watched, and then proceeded to shuffle the stack and start over. A clang followed by a string of barely audible Cantonese curses drifted over from the direction of the Planet Express Ship.

At the sound of Farnsworth’s words Fry and Bender threw each other a nervous glance. Leela tried to assure herself that, no matter where the professor was about to send them, it couldn’t possibly be worse than Cannibalon, and she’d managed to survive that fiasco relatively unscathed; physically anyway.

“Today you will be delivering a crate of drink parasols to Staruba 6, the Paradise Planet.”

“Alright!” Fry gave his robot friend a high-five “Did you hear that Leela?”, he asked excitedly, “We’re going to The Paradise Planet! We’ll live to see another day!”

Leela just sat with her arms crossed. Long experience told her that if it seemed too good to be true, it probably was.

“Of course, ever since the Necrons took over last February, it’s more like the Death and Despair planet, but that’s not important. Anyway, off you go!”

Fry’s paused in mid celebration. “Wait, wha?”, he stammered. Farnsworth just shooed him in the direction of the waiting rocket ship. Leela waited for her colleagues to disperse and then stood up. As she reluctantly began to follow Fry and Bender to the ship, a wrinkly old hand descended upon her shoulder.

“Where are you going?”, asked Farnsworth.

“Uhh, to the ship?”

“There’s no time for that. You have to get going if you want to get there in time.”

Leela gave the old man a funny look. “But it’s a shipment of little umbrellas. It’s not like it really matters when we get them there.”

“No you ninny. Not the delivery. The flight exam.”

Now it was Leela’s turn to stammer confusedly “Wait, Wha?”

“The flight exam you one-eyed dope! I just told you about it five minutes ago! Every space captain has to take a test at the DMV each year to renew his or her license, doy!”

Leela was incredulous. “Now hold on professor. First of all, you weren’t even in the same room with me five minutes ago. You were in the lounge talking to a lamp. Get yourself new glasses. Second of all, if space captains are supposed to take a license renewal test every year, why have I never heard of it before?”

Hermes looked up from his stack of forms. “I think I can answer dat”, he said. “Planet Express has to pay the DMV a substantial fee every time they administer the test and we can’t afford it”

“But then why are you making me do it now?”, the cyclops asked, quickly adding: “Not that I mind missing out on the mission.” Leela stepped aside as Amy tried get around her. The grease-covered intern headed for the bathroom, ostensibly to clean herself off before the mission.

“Sorry Leela, but da DMV started getting suspicious after I filed a death report for the same person three years in a row, and den hired the same person back at the start of da next fiscal year.” Leela gave the Jamaican a questioning look. “It was the only way I could get around da rule,” he explained sheepishly.

A low hum filled the room as The Planet Express Ship started to power up. The professor gestured for Leela to get moving. “Now off you go, or you’ll be late.”

“Wait…” Leela began.

The professor cut her off. “Oh don’t worry about how we’re going to afford this. We’ll just take it out of Zoidberg’s salary, like we always do when there’s an emergency, or any other time for that matter.”

Zoidberg came scuttling into the room just in time to catch this last remark. “Aww…”, he groaned as he turned and headed back the way he had come.

The Planet Express captain shook her head. “No, that’s not what I was going to ask. Professor, who…”

The ship’s low hum became a dull roar. Once again Farnsworth interrupted. “Now now, there’s no time for more stalling. Now get going.”

“Listen to me! If we’re here and Amy’s in the bathroom, then who’s powering up the ship?”

As if on queue, the Planet Express ship began to levitate off the hangar floor.

Leela was frantic. “Oh no, Fry’s piloting the ship! I haven’t taught him how to take off yet!”

Farnsworth’s eyes grew wide with terror. “Dear God, he’ll kill us all!”

The giant green rocket floated to a height of a couple of feet and then stopped. Leela, Farnsworth, and Hermes were suddenly face to face with the fusion fires of the ship’s main dark matter engines. The hangar door started to open. The ship stayed steady and level. “Wow,” thought Leela, “Fry’s doing a pretty good job. He might actually make it out of the building without…”

Fry put the ship in gear, and the vessel rocketed forward. Suddenly the Planet Express building was minus a rear wall.

Zoidberg came rushing in at the noise. Hermes glared at the lobster angrily. “You’re payin’ for dat too!”

Leela soon found herself at the front door of the NNY Department of motor vehicles, but hesitated before entering. She had no love of poorly run government bureaucracies, this one in particular. The last time she had been here was in the aftermath of the first Omocronian invasion of Earth. Her car had been demolished by one of the aliens’ anti-monument lasers. It had taken months of time and reams of paper to get her to the point where she could legally drive the car she bought as a replacement.

The cyclops had spent the whole 15 minute drive from Planet Express inventing ways to avoid the pain and suffering she was sure was ahead, but hadn’t come up with any options that didn’t involve landing someone in the hospital. With a sigh Leela shifted the bag she was carrying to her other shoulder, and opened the door.

The building consisted of a large open waiting room and a row of two dozen service desks. All but one of them were closed. As always, the waiting room was filled with an assortment of the sleaziest, dirtiest denizens of New New York. A few steps from the front door was a customer service desk A bureaucrat grade 82 lounged behind the counter as though he were taking a nap. Leela walked over to him.

“Excuse me, can you tell me wh…”

The man shoved a small slip of paper into her hand, pointed at an empty seat in the waiting room with a grunt, and closed his eyes. Leela decided he wasn’t worthy of an ass kicking and took a seat. A large electronic sign mounted on the wall in front of her read “now serving number: 17”. Leela glanced at the piece of paper she had been handed. “Twenty-three. Well that’s not too bad. I’ll be out of here in no time.” Then she moved her thumb and noticed the six that came after the three. “Aww crap.”


“Umm, I’m here for the pilot exam.”

The woman behind the counter threw the cyclops standing before her a disdainful look. “Why do these customers always ask me to DO things?” muttered the woman. “Do you have three forms of ID?”

“How about retinal scan, fingerprint, and colonic map?”

“You can use your retinal scan or colonic map, not both.”

Leela’s eye narrowed in annoyance, but she didn’t argue. “Alright, then use my aural signature.”

“Sorry, but that’s from the same list as fingerprints.”

“Then take a sample of my DNA.”


“Driver’s license?”



“Cant do it.”

At this point Leela was about ready to scream. “The only other ID I brought is my social security card.”

The clerk looked at her console. “Uhh, alright. That’ll work. Let me see it.” Then she paused for a moment. “Wait, no I’m sorry. Today’s Tuesday. We can’t accept social security cards on tuesd…” But she didn’t finish, for suddenly there came the distinct impression that to utter another word would lead to sever bodily harm to herself, her coworkers, and anyone else who happened to have the bad sense to be within a five block radius of the DMV at this particular moment. “Umm, you know what? Never mind. Let me just see that social security card.

“Good idea,” remarked the cyclops. The comment was said calmly and without malice, but the clerk still felt a cold shiver crawl up her spine.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but I can’t pass you.”

“What?! But I’m an excellent pilot!”

“Lady, you crashed through three billboards, rear-ended an ambulance, and while we were flying over The Moon you sent a 4th grade class running for their lives. That’ll be one recess that they never forget.”

“Oh come on, I stayed in my lane. And look, my hands were at ten and two the whole time!”

But the instructor wouldn’t hear any of it. Seeing that there was nothing left for her to say, Leela sighed and took the paper from the man’s outstretched hand. It read ‘revocation of commercial vehicle license’. Evidently they weren’t taking her private driver’s license too. Thank god. Without saying another word, Leela turned and walked toward the door. The instructor called after her: “Please lady, don’t drive home! I’ve got children out there!”

Leela drove straight back to Planet Express. To her own satisfaction, she didn’t hit a single billboard along the way. Truth be told she had increased her following distance just to be safe, but that couldn’t have made that much of a difference. After all, she only added another half a car length. Or maybe it was five car lengths. It was always so hard to tell… Once back at work, Leela parked her car and snuck in the front door. With any luck the professor would be asleep and Hermes would be locked away in his cubicle. If she played her cards right, no one would know she was back until Fry and Bender returned from the delivery. “Time now for some much needed down time,” Leela said to herself under her breath. The cyclops flopped down on the couch and turned the tv on low volume. Some cooking show was on. Evidently Bender had been watching the tube recently. Leela flipped the channels for awhile and settled on Everybody Loves Hypnotoad, which had regained much of it’s luster since it’s low point in season three. She had just gotten comfortable, indeed her wrostolojackomator’s comftometer was at 89%, when Amy walked into the room.

“Oh Hi Leela, I didn’t know you were back. I’ll go tell the professor.” The intern turned and walked over to lean out into the hangar.

“Wait Amy! Don’t.”

But Amy wasn’t paying attention to her. “Professor! Hermes! Leela’s Back!”

Leela collapsed into the sofa. “Aww crud.” She said it as though it were the most profound statement she had made all morning.

“You wha?!”

“I said, I failed the test.”

“You what?!” Farnsworth tapped at his hearing aid.

Leela rolled her eye. Hermes, who was standing next to the professor with his arms crossed, took the liberty of screaming Leela’s words into the old man’s ear. “She said she failed da test you deaf geeza!!”

Looking slightly offended, the professor backed away from the bureaucrat and crossed his arms. “Now, now Hermes, there’s no need for yelling. Use your inside voice. Oh, and how did the driving test go?”

Only through sheer willpower was Leela able to keep from throttling the old man. Not for the first time the cyclops realized how dangerous a place the world would be if she was a little more impulsive. Dangerous for the world that is.

“For the last time, “ said the PE captain through clenched teeth. “I took the exam, but the DMV didn’t pass me. I mean geez, you hit a billboard or two or mentally scar a bunch of kids for life and suddenly you’re a ‘hazard to humanity’.”

“Oh fuff, they called me the same thing after I unleashed those atomic powered, flesh-eating gerbils on the city last fall. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Then you’ll still let me be captain?”

The old man waddled over to Leela’s side and wrapped a wrinkly arm around the depressed woman’s shoulder. “There there,” he said, “I’d never fire you over something like this. That’s Hermes’ job.”

Hermes walked up and handed Leela a pink piece of paper. “Your fired,” he said.

“… So anyway, that’s why I need my old job back.”

The early-evening sunlight streamed in through the 64th floor windows of Applied Cryogenics. Leela had to squint to distinguish the figure sitting behind the large mahogany desk from the glare that surrounded him like a halo.

“Oh, Leela, I would most certainly love to give you a job.” Ipgee’s patent Indian accent made Leela think about smiling. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder how out of all of the people she’d come across in her time as starship captain, his had been the only such accent she’d heard.

“But, “ continued Ipgee, “I’m afraid I don’t have a position for a delivery boy.”

Leela sighed. “For the last time sir, that was my friend’s career chip. They got mixed up somehow while I was implanting them.”

“Ah, the pointy haired idiot that was always saying ‘what up?’, yes I remember him. He was the best cryogenics councilor we ever had, until he mysteriously vanished.”

“He didn’t mysteriously vanish, he and his girlfriend froze themselves in one of your tubes; well at least until someone dumped them in a ditch and the tube woke them up again… Hey, wait a minute… Fry was a better cryogenics councilor that I was?”

“Shiva yes, even better than you. He was so good that most of the defrostees he counseled decided to freeze themselves again right away. We’ve never had so many repeat customers. Now let me see your hand so I can verify that you really have the right chip”

Leela held out her palm while Ipgee scanned it with a small handheld device. The hoverscreen over the man’s desk uttered a muffled beep, and the words ‘Cryogenics Councilor’ flashed into existence in green print.

“Ah yes, very good. How someone in a society that fires people into the sun for not doing the job the government assigned them managed to have so many different careers, I do not know, but as long as that screen says ‘cryogenics councilor’ it does not matter to me.”

Leela relaxed noticeably. “thanks Ipgee. I really appreciate it.” That was a bit of an understatement really. If Ipgee had turned her down, her next stop would have been the horrible pizza place down the street; after she illegally swapped career chips again of course.

The full moon was directly overhead when Leela finally made it back to her apartment building. The cyclops had gone from her interview with Ipgee straight to her old office to restore it to the way she liked it. That had been a mistake. Some screwball from the 21st century had thawed out around 9 o’clock, and Leela was forced to deal with him. The people from the stupid ages were the worst They invariably did something to warrant their epoch’s less than illustrious title. Some stared slack jawed at Leela’s eye; others ran away from the career chip implanter. A few of the geekier ones had even been known to give lectures on how various things from the 31st century defied the laws of physics. Of course, they were too ignorant to know that the real laws of physics hadn’t been discovered until 2216.

Leela paused as her room came into view. A familiar red, blue, and pink shape was sitting hunched over against her door.

“Fry?”, she asked. The only response was the sound of steady breathing. Leela walked over to her sleeping friend. “Fry, ” she called again, but the delivery boy just mumbled something incoherent and started to snore. “Come on Fry, wake up. I need to get into my apartment.” Leela bent down and placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder. The effect was explosive.

“Bender no! I need that to breathe!”, screamed the delivery boy as he bolted to his feet. He stood pressed against the wall with his arms protecting his chest for a long moment before his brain began to process the information that his eyes were sending it.

Finally he relaxed. “Oh Leela, it’s you! I was dreaming about that time when Bender stole my lungs. Thanks for waking me up.”

“Uhh, don’t mention it.” Leela stood up. “But Fry, why on Earth were you sleeping in front of my door?”

It took a second for Fry’s mind to switch gears. “What? Oh right… Umm, well when I got back from the delivery I was hoping that you’d take me up in the ship for more flying lessons, but when I asked the professor where you were he told me that Hermes fired you. I came here right after work to see how you were doing, but I guess I fell asleep. Heh, running from those Necrons must have taken more out of me than I thought.”

Leela smiled at her friend. “That was very sweet of you Fry.” The cyclops opened the door. “Want to come in for some coffee?” she asked.

The delivery boy’s eyes grew wide.

“Don’t get any funny ideas Fry. By coffee I mean coffee… nothing else.”

“Oh don’t worry Leela, “ snickered the red head, “there wasn’t anything funny about the ideas I was getting.”

The cyclops narrowed her eye just long enough to make Fry wonder if she was going to slam the door in his face, and then walked into her apartment. Fry waited until Leela’s hands were no longer in range of the doorknob before he followed her inside.

“I really need to furnish this place.” It didn’t matter how many times she said this to herself, for some reason Leela never actually went through with it. Other than a single armchair, a television, and a digital clock the main room was basically empty. Fry had been at a loss as to where to sit when Leela plopped herself down in the chair. Eventually he’d just settled on leaning against the TV.

“… And that’s how Bender and I fought off the entire Necronian death legion with nothing more than a pool cue and one of Bender’s empty beer bottles.”

“Uh-huh. I’m sure that MacGyver guy you’re always talking about would have been proud. Anyway, So who’s the new captain?“

Fry’s face brightened. Consequently, Leela felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“The professor hasn’t decided yet,” Fry admitted, “but until we can find someone crazy or desperate enough to want the job, he’s letting me fly the ship!”

Leela was incredulous. “No way! He’s letting you pilot his ship? After you crashed it through the wall not 24 hours ago?!”

“Well Amy can’t do it because her classes start up in a couple of weeks, Hermes is too busy handling the paperwork, everybody hates Zoidberg for some reason, and you remember what happened the last time we let Bender drive the ship.”

Oh yes, Leela remembered. How could she not? It had taken more than a day of digging with picks and shovels to dislodge the ship from that neutron star. Worst of all, she was still finding bits of degenerate matter on her clothing. No matter what she tried, she just couldn’t get rid of the stuff. Of course, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that a tablespoon of the stuff weighed more than four trillion pounds on Earth… But no, Bender could not be allowed near the pilot’s seat under any circumstances.

“Yeah, I guess you’re the best choice for the job,” Leela grudgingly agreed “I guess you’ll need my old career chip then.” The cyclops slipped a hand into her hip pocket and pulled out the tiny slab of silicon, but Fry stopped her before she could rummage through her handbag for the career chip gun.

“No, that’s alright Leela. No one who cares knows that I don’t have the right chip. You hold on to it for awhile. It might help you remember the good old days when you’re job didn’t suck and you got to work with all of your friends.”

“Uhh, thanks. I think.”

“Hey, making you feel better is what I’m for.” Fry happened to glance at the clock. “Wow, it’s already 2:30. Sorry Leela, but I need to get going. If I don’t get home before Bender does, he’ll steal all my stuff again.”

Leela sighed and stood up. “Yeah, I guess I should probably get some rest too. I have to be at Applied Cryogenics at 7:30 to defrost some guy named Walt Disney.”

Fry followed his friend to the door and waited for her to open it. As the door swung open, Leela turned to look at him. Fry smiled at her.

Leela smiled back. Fry really was so awfully sweet, and he always meant well. She had always known that someday there would be more between them than simple friendship, but now that they didn’t work together anymore that might never happen. “Maybe I should say something,” she thought. It would be so easy to just tell him how she felt, it would just take a sentence or two. He was a good person. Leela knew that he wouldn’t hurt her like all of those other men had. Why then was it so impossible for her to speak?

While Leela fought through a turmoil of uncertainty, Fry had plenty of time to wish her a good night, wave, and walk calmly away.

“Fry wait!” Leela called after him, but the elevator doors had already closed.

The next morning was warm and bright. The many spindly skyscrapers blocked most of the orange-tinted sunlight, but every once in awhile a stray beam would make its way to the stirring city streets. Leela took a moment to bask in a pool of light that was being reflected and concentrated by a mirrored building across the street. She let the warmth soak through her for a few seconds and continued on her way, whistling contentedly to herself.

In the back of her mind a voice was commenting that she was in a far better mood than any woman who had just been fired had any right to be, but she pushed the rogue thought away before it could have any affect on her. “I’m allowed a few minutes of complete happiness” she assured herself, “after all, I made a big decision last night.”

Complete happiness, now there was a state of mind with which Leela had almost no familiarity. Every time she’d come close to it something devastating happened. Over the years Leela had built a veritable mental fortress around herself to keep herself safe during the times that people she let close decided to hurt her. “Like Shawn,” she muttered. A young Neptunian who happened to be walking by turned at the sound of the cyclops’ voice, but Leela ignored him. The purple creature shrugged and continued on his way.

“This time it will be different, “ Leela assured herself, this time silently. “He won’t get bored and leave me for another woman at the first opportunity. I’ve known him for years. He’s not that kind of man.” For the first time in her life, Leela knew she wasn’t just trying to convince herself of it, she knew it with a conviction she had never had about a man before.

“But when to ask him out?” If she waited too long, she’d just end up chickening out. “This Friday then, after work?” Leela thought for a moment. No, she’d been down that road before. If she waited that long she’d end up convincing herself to wait even longer. Eventually she’d just put it off indefinitely. No. If she was going to do this thing it would have to be right now. It was the only way.

A wave of anxiety washed over her as she prepared to activate her wristlojackomator. She swallowed the feeling with some effort and dialed in the phone number from memory.

“Planet Express, this is Amy speaking.” The intern’s bored face came into view on Leela’s tiny screen, framed by the Planet Express conference room. A pang of loss crept up unbidden at the sight of the familiar scene, but Leela forced that feeling away as well. There’d be time to feel sorry for herself later.

“Hi Amy, can I talk to Fry?”

“Oh, hi Leela. Sorry, Fry’s out on a delivery already.”

“Shoot, I was afraid he’d be gone already… Ok, could you do me a favor then? Tell him to call me as soon as he gets back.”

Leela sighed and idly tapped her fingers on her desk. The last thing she had expected was to get to work and find that there was no work to be done. No one was scheduled for defrosting until the following day, and since it was Leela’s first full day back, she didn’t have any recent defrostees to counsel. Of course, Ipgee wasn’t about to let her go home early on a non-holiday. No, if she wanted to get paid for the day then she would be there for every last excruciating minute of her shift, even if all she did was stare at the clock the whole time. That’s exactly what she had been doing for the last 15 minutes.

“If only I could get my mind to stop thinking about this evening…” Leela sighed again and stood up. For a few minutes she wandered about her office, straightening a stack of papers here, rearranging a few objects there, keeping herself occupied with pointless tasks. Eventually Leela ran out of objects to fiddle with, and wandered out of the room. While her mind raced, her legs worked on autopilot. For no particular reason, the distracted woman ended up in the freezer room. She strolled idly from tube to tube, inspecting the contents of each. The first contained an old man in 25nd century garb. The next tube contained a very young girl, probably no older than 14 or 15. What she was doing frozen in a tube at her age, the ex PE captain couldn’t even begin to guess. The next several tubes were empty, but the second to last contained a young man, maybe 19 or 20, dressed in the garb of the early 21st century. A vaguely sad expression was frozen on his face. Leela looked at him for a moment and then turned to the last tube, which was not only empty, but open. “Of course”, she said. “That’s the tube that held the guy from last night.”

Finished with her boredom-induced inspection, Leela wandered the few steps to the room’s sole chair and sat down. Putting her legs up on the nearby desk, Leela leaned back and stretched, letting the chair tilt back on two legs. Unfortunately, her distracted mind failed to balance her weight properly. Leela realized what was going to happen a fraction of a second too late to do anything about it.

The chair’s center of mass drifted too far backward, and gravity seized its opportunity. Leela found herself rolling backward and downward. Suddenly she was rolling across the floor. Her momentum carried her head over heels into the open freezer tube. With a snick, the cryogenic chamber’s door closed behind her. A dial on the machine began to spin. Leela banged on the glass, trying desperately to escape what was about to happen. The spinning stopped, and a tiny LED screen flashed on. The screen read ‘1000 years”. The frantic woman screamed and thrashed about, but it was no use and she knew it. “No! Let me out! I…” There was a flash.