A/N: What up peeps. I'm just making you waste time reading the author note. You may now read the story...
Part One: Communication
Date Interviewed: June 7, 3011
Subject: Fry, Phillip J.
Age: 36 (See Notes)
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New New York
Occupation: Delivery Boy
The subject in question was born in the year 1974, and was subsequently cryogenically frozen on New Years Eve 1999, and thawed out on New Years Eve 2999. Since then, the subject has been employed at the Planet Express delivery company, and has gone through numerous "adventures" as he calls them, which for the most part, are questionable at best, and seem more along the lines of imaginative stories. One of the examples that he gave to us was when he used a time machine which only was able to go forward in time. This resulted in him (along with two others, one of which is being used as a subject as well) reaching the end of time, which resulted in the universe resetting itself with another big bang. According to the subject, he had to go through this twice due to circumstances outside of his control, which could technically make him trillions upon trillions upon trillions of years old. Further background checks will be needed, but from what we can gather, the subject also appears to have a deep affection for one of the female subjects. We learned this when we found a crudely drawn picture of the two at what he called "their dream house". We'll try and dig deeper into this when we talk to him later.
Question One: Was communication different back in the 20th century than now in the 31st?
"Uhh, back in the 90's, we normally talked to others on the telephone or just talked to them in person. The internet was just starting to get popular, but I never picked up on the whole email thing until I got here. I just went on it to see that dancing baby. Oh man, that baby was a trooper, he just never stopped dancing! I'd spend hours watching it just to see if he'd stop or change his routine, but it never happened. Then my girlfriend would yell at me for wasting five hours when I was supposed to be doing some dumb crap like doing the laundry or something. But nowadays, we have the EyePhone thing that lets us video chat with someone from the safety of pretty much anywhere. But, with all these new things that come out year after year, we end up forgetting how people like me used to communicate. It's like we've lost the ability to get up, go outside, and actually talk to someone...not that I really care, I mean now I can watch that dancing baby anywhere! By the way, who's talking to me?"
(It should be noted that we ended up clearing up the question he asked. He did not remark about the irony of the situation afterward)
Question Two: How does it feel knowing that everyone you knew back in 1999, including your family, are gone? Do you ever miss them?
"Back in 99', I was living in a crappy flat with my girlfriend who just happened to dump me on New Years Eve, and a dead end job at Panucci's which got me nowhere. When I got here, I didn't care about my family. I thought, if they cared about me enough, they would have tried to track me down when I was frozen. Then I ran away from my planned job as a delivery boy, and realized that I wouldn't fit into this world, and there was no one who could help me. I can honestly say that the worst feeling you can ever have is when you are alone. It's like in that old movie with the people in that cube thing with the deathtraps and stuff, and they all died...or something..."
(We asked the subject to how this pertained to being alone.)
"Oh, uh...well I'm not really sure, I guess my mind drifted off, people say I do that alot. But, people need other people to talk to. I mean, not always, you can go a few hours or even a day without speaking to anyone, but try a week, or a month, or even a year! I'd go insane if I even tried to do that. I love talking to people, even if all I hear out of them is "blah blah blah Nibbler, blah blah blah starving, blah blah blah peed out of the box.". When that realization came to me, everything changed. I wanted to see Mom and Dad; I wanted to see Seymour and Yancy, I didn't care who, just as long as it was someone I knew. I'm glad that I found friends soon after, cause I probably would have died out there in New New York without them. No literally, I nearly killed myself in a suicide booth if not for one of them. But yeah, I miss them...every day...
(The subject asked for a minute to regain composure before we continued.)
Question Three: How do you feel about your co-workers? How do they effect your life?
"Well, Bender was the first friend I ever made when I arrived here. He helped set me up with a home and has even gotten me out of a few jams before. I mean, I know he's a robot, but I like to think that the feelings he's programmed with are voluntary and not just because he's forced to. We've been best buds since day one...of my new life...could you cut that last part out?"
(The subject continued to name off and describe some the other co-workers, however, this question was specifically asked in order to find out more about this other subject he fancies. For the sake of time, this part of the interview will be omitted)
"-and even though he smells bad, he's our doctor, so I guess I have to deal with him. And then, there's Leela..."
(The subject went silent for a few moments. He appeared a bit nervous. We asked him if there was something wrong, but he insisted he was just trying to figure out what he wanted to say. After about a minute, he continued.)
"Leela was one of the first people I met when I got here. We kind of got off on the wrong foot, but it changed when we ended up finding a common bond-well at least at the time we thought so, it was that we were alone in the world. I had no family or friends left, and she was the only Cyclops of her kind. Since then, we've learned that we are in fact, not quite as alone as we previously thought, and we've been pretty close friends, but I've wanted more than friendship for a long time, and she knows it. No matter what I do to try and woo her, I just can't seem to get it done. I've tried poems, flowers, hell I even wrote an opera for her once, but every time I get close to her, I somehow find a way to mess it all up. Maybe it's all my fault...but that doesn't mean I'm giving up any time soon. I love her too much to. One of these days, we'll be together...I just know it..."
(We asked the subject to further elaborate on why he thinks he would end up with Leela.)
"You know all those action movies where the guy always ends up getting the girl at the end? That's why...except this isn't a movie...and I'm not buff...and I have this fear of things that hurt me, and-"
Question Four: Do you believe that it is important to have a vivid imagination?
"That's an easy one, of course it is! It's the one place I can be whatever I want, doing whatever I want, whenever I want. I could be a rock star and be all "ARE YOU READY TO ROCK LA!", and I'd break into an epic jam... like "2112", or I could be a god who smites those policemen for giving me a ticket for public urination! On one of his...better days, the professor once told me, "Anything is possible, as long as you can imagine it." and I've kind of taken that to heart since then. I've always got so much going on in my mind, but I never seem to be able to put it in detail before I move onto something else. If I had to sum it up in a short little blurb, it'd probably be something like...Let me see where this takes me."
Question Five: What does the word "Love" mean to you?
"It's not really a feeling, like some other people would probably say, but more like a...way of life...I found it many years ago, I just hope it can find me back soon."
While the subject can be quite immature for his age, he does show moments of sheer brilliance. He appears to have a strong yearning for companionship, and despite his shortcomings, he remains dedicated in his pursuits. Further evaluation will be needed to identify the validity of his "adventures", however, they remain questionable at best.
The Missing Piece
January 1, 3000
"Oh, can't you leave me alone? I'm miserable enough already."
"Look, I know it's not much consolation but I understand how you feel."
"No, you don't! I've got no home, no family...my whole world is gone. You can't possibly understand what it feels like to be so alone."
"I understand...I'm the only one-eyed alien on this whole planet. My parents abandoned me here as a baby, and I don't even know what galaxy they were from...I know how it feels to be alone..."
As hard as he tried, Fry was unable to fall asleep on the conference table in the Planet Express building. Perhaps it was the presence of the gigantic spaceship looming over him, or the shock of actually flying in it earlier in an attempt to evade the police, but no matter the reason, there he laid, alone to his own devices, and all he could think of was that lone conversation that he had in the ruins of his New York with the purple haired cyclops-woman, Leela. Somehow, he still felt empty, he couldn't seem to understand why. He had found family and friends, and a temporary home, yet he still couldn't shake the feeling that there was still something else missing.
Fry sighed and turned on his side, opening his eyes briefly to see the time on the clock that now stared straight at him. 3:47AM, by now he knew that he wasn't getting any sleep and decided to abandon his feeble attempts. He got up and sat on the edge of the table, cracking his back as he did so, and hopped off. Fry had partially familiarized himself with the building when he first arrived, so he at least knew where all the main facilities were, he decided to head upstairs to the employee lounge and watch some television, in an attempt to get his mind off of the current situation. On the screen was a bag with the words GLAGNAR'S HUMAN RINDS (Now With More Fat!) on it.
"Psh, at least some things haven't changed..." Fry thought aloud as he sat down on the couch, taking a moment to let himself sink in, laying on the table had really done a number on his body, so while the couch itself wasn't necessarily comfortable, it was miles ahead of his previous digs.
"And now, back to paid programming, brought to you by...Glagnar's Human Rinds. It's a buncha muncha cruncha humans!" The voice over said, before immediately cutting away to a well dressed man behind a table filled with assorted products.
"BUY MY PRODUCT! BUY IT!" The man said at a deafening volume, making Fry jump from his seat and causing the entire room to vibrate. The man began to shove products towards the camera, not really taking any time to let the viewer see what they were. "IT'S THE FINEST PRODUCT YOU'LL EVER FIND! JUST TAKE IT AND GIVE ME YOUR MON-" Fry turned the television off in a panic, hoping he hadn't awoken the professor. He sat on the floor, ears perked to hear for any movement or voices. As the silence and the beating of his heart grew louder, the empty feeling inside of him did as well.
"You can't possibly understand what it feels like to be so alone."
The words kept echoing in his mind, it was almost as if they were taunting him. As the seconds continued to pass by, he felt the need to call out, in a vain hope that someone would respond. All he needed was a voice, any voice, as long as he knew that he wasn't alone. Seconds changed to minutes, while he knew by now that nobody in the building was disturbed, he was too rattled to move, paralyzed in fear.
Thinking wasn't normally something Fry did on a day-to-day basis, however in those four and a half hours that he sat on the floor, he did a lot of it. At first the thoughts were scattered, one minute, he'd have one thought, and the next, another one would come. They kept coming at him from every direction, smothering him. Eventually, time slowed his mind down, allowing him to concentrate on a handful of thoughts. Something told him these thoughts were all connected in a way, he just couldn't quite put a finger on how.
And so, morning had arrived, the light from the slowly rising sun bothered him. He squinted his eyes until they were practically closed, refusing to let any of the light in, but something caught his ears, and his eyes opened back up. They were loud footsteps coming from something heavy...boots...
"Leela?" Fry turned around and indeed found the cyclops-woman he had spoken to the day before, already in her work attire, consisting of long black boots, pants, a white tank top, and a weird thing on her wrist to complete the uniform. For a moment, Fry wondered whether or not she even changed since they last met. He felt slightly vulnerable at the moment, being curled up in a ball on the floor, so he unclasped his hands and freed his legs, allowing them to move freely.
"What are you doing here so early?"
"I wasn't sure when I was supposed to come in for work, the professor never gave us a time, so I thought I'd just show up early," Leela replied, "What about you?"
"Well I kind of live here for now."
"Yeah, but I came in here and you looked a little tense," she said, inspecting his crusted eyes, "Rough night?" Fry nodded his head in approval. "Do you want to talk about it?"
It's exactly what he wanted to do. Fry nodded approvingly, Leela offered her hand to him, and pulled him up, straining his muscles as he did so. Leela led the way down to the conference area, overlooking the massive Planet Express ship. As they did so, his loneliness began to fade, and was replaced with a warm, content feeling of ease.
"Before you start, I'd appreciate it if you put on some pants..." Leela said, motioning towards a chair at the conference table overlooking the hangar, a pair of wrinkled jeans and a bright red jacket hung on them. Fry chuckled nervously, and grabbed the pants, swiftly putting them on.
"You know, it is New Years, shouldn't we have today off?" Fry questioned as he sat down and put on his jacket.
"Ugh, tell it to the other planets who don't have a new year for another couple thousand." Leela uttered back.
"Really? What about other holidays?"
"We've only got two days off, Easter by order of the Space Pope, and Xmas...and maybe weekends. I really like how the professor gave us no information on scheduling."
"Yeah, well he is old. Maybe he forgot." Leela failed to respond back, there was an awkward moment of silence that followed. As the two waited for the other to say something, Fry took a moment to eye the kitchen that was connected to the conference room. He had an urge to get a drink, but at the same time, he was unsure if he should just take food that wasn't his. Then again, he lived here now, and he was in the company of family, so he thought it wouldn't hurt to get a piece of toast or the futuristic equivalent.
"So, you said you wanted to talk about last night?"
"So what happened?"
Fry gave her a quick rundown of what preceded their return to the building. As he explained, he couldn't help but feel like he wasn't even there. Words were coming out of his mouth, but he didn't hear them, his mind was wandering off, back to the thoughts he kept trying to connect.
"For someone who pulled an all-nighter, I have to say that you seem to be quite alert to your surroundings."
"That's what you get with ten years worth of night-long videogame marathons." Fry chuckled. "But yeah, I had a lot of time to think about some things last night; my new life, you and Bender, and uh, my family."
Leela seemed to understand where this was going. With her previous history of working at the Cryo-Lab, she knew that most of the subjects that were frozen would suffer from some form of wistfulness. However, Fry was a special case. Unlike all the other subjects, he didn't do this voluntarily. Subjects had given themselves time to say goodbye to their loved ones, but Fry had, without warning, left behind family and friends who's efforts to find him were fruitless. He would obviously end up taking this a lot harder than others.
"I thought about them the most. At first, it was about how much I missed them, but the longer I thought about it, I couldn't stop thinking that they never even tried to find me..." He continued, bowing his head down. He didn't want to believe in such a thing, but as the words came out, they only felt more real.
Leela gently laid a hand on his shoulder. "Come on, Fry. You know that's not true. I don't know how you and your family got along, but I know that no matter what you've done, or said to your family, they'll always care about you; they'll always love you. I'm sure they tried to find you."
"Like your family," He uttered coldly, "They loved you so much that they left you the moment you were born !"
That hand she had put on his shoulder suddenly began to dig into him, while her free hand started to ball up into a fist, but after a moment, she decided to hold her rage back, and relaxed it. Had it been any other person saying that to her, Leela would have sent her boot straight down Fry's throat. But it had to be him, and it only made it hurt more. Not because the remark was just hurtful, but it was the truth. Twenty five years, and she still didn't know what had happened to her parents. But she did have something that could potentially tell her. She unclasped the thing on her wrist and took out a folded slip of paper, placing it on the table.
"What's this?" He asked as he took the paper and unfolded it. Written on it was a series of symbols he was unfamiliar with . Some had dots and slashes; some were similar to the alphabet he was used to, but he couldn't tell if they stood for the same things.
"It's a note that was left with me when I was abandoned at the Orphanage. I've never been able to find someone who could translate it. This little slip of paper holds the answer to my family's fate. If they didn't care about me, they wouldn't have left this for me." She replied bitterly, a single tear dropping from her eye. "A bit of optimism wouldn't hurt you..." She got up and walked down the steps towards the hangar, never looking back.
"Leela, wait!" He said, arm outstretched, but it was no use. A wave of guilt swept over Fry. He spoke before he thought, and in turn, it ended up hurting one of the few people he knew in this new world. He was about to go over and apologize, but he was stopped by another figure entering the room. A bald-old man wearing thick coke-bottle glasses and some pajamas. For a moment, Professor Farnsworth just stood in the room, staring directly at him, but then he went to the kitchen that was connected to the conference room, as if he wasn't even there.
"Uhh, Professor?" He uttered. Farnsworth seemed surprised to hear someone, and quickly turned around.
"Who the hell are you?"
Fry was dumbfounded. "What? I-I'm Phillip!" The professor continued to give him a blank expression. "You know...the guy you hired yesterday..." Fry still saw no signs of approval. "I'm your great Uncle many times over..."
"I'm sure I would have remembered such a thing...now get out of here you hooligan! My new employees will be here any minute! I don't need some slacker low-life trying to mooch off of this company!"
"Ugh, whatever you say gramps."
He walked down the stairs into the hangar, the sense of scale was lost in Fry as he approached the ship. Leela was on the other side, sitting against the rear landing gear, staring blankly at the wall, in deep thought. Fry knelt down and dropped the paper she gave him in her lap.
"Leela, I'm really sor-"
"Stop..." She uttered. "I forgive you." She took the paper and put it back underneath the device on her wrist. "Remember, I know how you feel..."
Fry was relieved to hear the words. "Thanks, Leela. You caught me at a bad time. I'm just trying to make sense of it all still, and negativity got the worst of me last night. I know my family tried to find me, and I know they loved me. I-" He paused again, this time he didn't seem to want to come out of his stupor.
"Fry?" Leela stood up, watching Fry, still knelt down on the cold floor.
"I know they loved me..."
He had figured it out; he had figured out what the missing piece to the puzzle was. Unfortunately, it was something you couldn't just ask for. For many, it was an excuse, or an over exaggeration; but for others, it was a feeling so powerful, that it transcended life itself. However, for Phillip J. Fry, it was something he had for people long gone, and could never return the feeling, Love. All he needed was a little push from a Cyclops to realize it.
"Are you okay?"
He looked up at Leela, and gave her a smile. "Yeah, I'm fine now."
"Look, if you need someone to talk to, I'll be there, alright?"
"Yeah, thanks, Leela." With the risk of being a bit too forward, Fry gave Leela a friendly embrace, it wasn't the love he was missing, but it was connection, understanding, and for now, that was good enough for him.
"What tell you! Get the hell out of my building!"
"Oh yeah, by the way, Leela, we've got a little problem with the professor..."