Earth-44 Stories, Part Two

Continued from Part One

Chapter 16: Goromand, Newektiland, The Present Day

The rest was clean-up. Bender had not killed Doom, though not for lack of trying. Even as Bender had throttled her into unconsciousness, her emergency teleport system had kicked in. Scully tracked her teleport trail back to Earth before it faded. Scully knew she would have to track her down after she got home. For now, Newektiland had to be restored to order. Using her ring, Scully determined that there were no Shempclones left in Newektiland.

"Dr. Unpleasant must've taken them back as well", she said.

"Either that, or he had them self-destruct", said Saegusa. "There are reports that they all vanished in a flash of light."

"In either case", said Scully, "that man's a good deal more dangerous than I gave him credit for. I'll have to pay him a visit when I get back."

Eventually, High King Eadward returned to the palace, to thank the liberators of Newektiland personally. He feasted them liberally, and insisted upon paying Bender three times his weight in gold, as Wario had offered him. The others refused reward, but Eadward insisted upon dubbing them Knights of the Order of the Five, a chivalric order he created in their honor. In return Scully promised to send someone back to see to the people Willow had transformed, and at Popeye's request, promised to send the Newektis some spinach seeds as well. Scully had fetched Aelfric to Goromand, and he, too, was honored. The next day, Aelfric traveled with them back to Kailokel, where he used the stones of Arubel to send them back to Red Deer.

Carolyn Faith had been in her hotel room for about an hour when she heard a knock at the door. When she opened it, she saw the five adventurers standing there.

"You're back already?" she said, "You've only been gone for an hour!"

"So we noticed", said Scully. "Time must flow differently over there."

They told Faith of their adventures.

"Do you think it's true", Faith asked Scully, "what Doom said about the merger and the multiple timelines?"

"Who knows?" said Dana. "All I know is, I'm perfectly content with our world, convoluted though it may be."

Link had decided to stay on present day Earth. He was confident that he could use the Ocarina to travel home whensoever he chose. Faith offered to put him up until he got oriented to Twenty-First Century life.

Scully returned Popeye to 1938 Santa Monica and then took Bender back to New New York in 3003. She returned to Red Deer and then contacted Dr. Strangefate through the JLX. As it happened, he was familiar with Newektiland, and agreed to travel there to restore the doll-people.

She then flew Faith, Saegusa and Link back to Calgary. While Link and Saegusa slept, she and Faith spoke.

"Listen", she said, "We've got to work out what I'm going to tell my bosses at the Bureau about all of this."

"I'll take the hit", said Faith. "Tell them that that my premonition turned out to be an "alternity' shadow. That's what we call it when a precog has a premonition of what might be rather than what will be. It happens to the best of us, and when it does, it seems quite real. I'll make sure Miki and Link don't say anything to contradict it."

"Thanks", said Scully.

Scully flew back up to the Watchtower. Flash was still on monitor duty.

"Hey, GL, what's up?"

Scully told her friend about her adventure and then filed a formal report for the League. She then spent some time researching Dr. Unpleasant and Sailor Doom, and then did a quick workout in the gym. When she was done, the Flash was off monitor duty, so the two women had dinner together in the restaurant in Scully's hotel in Calgary.

Scully unburdened herself to her friend.

"I have to tell you, Iris, I'm thinking of quitting the Bureau."

"Really? What brings this on?"

"It's just that - well, between, the League, the Corps and the Bureau, I hardly have a life anymore. Plus, I'm tired of having to think up cover stories for the Bureau all the time. At least with the League and the Corps, I don't have to be thinking up explanations all the time."

"What would you do for money?"

"You know I'm an M.D. I could open up a small practice, just take on a few patients. I don't know, I'm going to think about it."

"Well, do what you think best", said Iris. "That's the advantage of super-speed, I guess, I always have time to get things done."

The next day, Scully flew back to Washington and filed her report with Skinner and Mulder. They were disappointed that it was a false alarm, but neither seemed to question her story. She decided not to resign from the Bureau right away. She didn't want them to think that something had happened in Calgary to make her quit.

That might she went to bed early. She had the next day off from the Bureau, but she had monitor duty early the next morning. Tomorrow was still going to be a busy day.



Epilogue: New New York,3003

Twenty-five years had passed for Scully since she had dropped Bender off in the Thirty-First Century, although by local time it was only a month later. As she approached the Planet Express offices, she looked in a mirror. She had never been one to use the ring to keep herself young, but she had used it to help keep herself fit and disease-free. As a consequence, she still looked pretty good for sixty, although there were some lines on her face that hadn't been there when she saw Bender last, and the auburn in her hair was now supplemented from a bottle. She was dressed in Twenty-First Century civilian clothes, but as she looked around and saw the various styles worn by the civilians of the time, she didn't feel that she stood out. This was good, as the Earth government of the time was having some sort of dispute with the Corps, and it would be a bad idea for her to appear in uniform on Earth right now.

She knocked on the door of the Planet Express building, and Bender answered.

"Hello, Bender", she said, "remember me?"

"Of course I do, Dana" came the reply, "c'mon in."

"How did you - oh, of course. I suppose my secret ID is a matter of public record by now?" she asked.

"Yeah", Bender said, "I dug it out of an encyclopedia when I got back."

The Planet Express offices were deserted.

"It's kind of a slow period, right now. Let's go in the TV room and talk," said Bender. The two did just that.

"So, what brings you here now?" the robot asked.

"Well, I'm going to be retiring from the Corps soon, and I decided to pay one last visit to all of my friends off Earth and in other times while I still can."

"I see", said Bender. "And did you see all of the others?"

"Yes. I saw Miki Saegusa last week. We got to be pretty good friends. She retired from the UNGCC and works training young psychics now. Oh, and it turned out that Popeye was still alive in 2003 . He showed up to visit me a month after I got back from Calgary. As a matter of fact, he's still alive even in my present. A hundred and thirty years old and still pretty spry. Wonderful stuff, that spinach."

"And Link?"

"Link stayed on Twenty-First Century Earth for about five years before going back to Hyrule. I went there to see him last month and ended up helping him fight an evil wizard. He said to say 'Hello'. They all said to say 'Hello', for that matter."

Bender and Scully talked for a while longer, and then Scully stood up.

"It's been great seeing you, again, Bender, but I really have to be going." With that, she hugged and kissed the robot.

"Goodbye, Dana", said Bender in an embarrassed voice. Scully smiled, and vanished into the timestream.

Bender stared at the spot where she'd been for a full five minutes, and then spoke:

"Alright, the coast is clear. You can come out now."

At that, Dana Scully walked into the TV room. She was dressed in Thirty-First Century fashions. She looked quite youthful. In fact, nothing about her physical appearance would've convinced an observer that she was a day over twenty-one, save perhaps her eyes, which had a timeless quality to them.

"You didn't tell her anything?" she asked.

"No", said Bender. "I behaved myself."

"Good", said Scully. "I'd hate to spoil the surprises my younger self has in front of her."

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