It was cold.
Not bitterly so, but cold none the less. The sky was gray, and a drizzle descended upon the small party gathered around the headstone of noted scientist Hubert J. Farnsworth.
Amy glanced around at her friends. Bender was there, thankfully refraining from being his usual obnoxious self. Maybe she was crazy, but she could have sworn there was something akin to grief in his posture. Perhaps he truly did care about them. Or maybe it was an act. She didn't know.
Next to him was Scruffy. He maintained that same apathetic expression he always wore, but she knew he was feeling the loss of his employer.
Zoidberg was silently weeping, the death of a friend he had maintained for so long cutting him to the core. She didn't know what he would do now. The professor had let Zoidberg live on the PE premises during his employment, but now that Planet Express no longer exists...
Hermes and Barbra where there, Hermes looking downcast as Barbra wrapped her arms around him. Their son couldn't make it. He was currently serving a tour of duty as part of the Marine contingent on board the DSS Vengeance in the Corillius Sector. Why Dwight had joined the military instead of following his fathers footsteps she didn't know, but she prayed he was safe. Her sources (Kiff) told her that a Dregna incursion had begun, and the fighting in the system was fierce. She did not want to attend another funeral for a good long while.
She herself was feeling devastated. The man who had taught her so much, the man who had given her a chance when so many others had scoffed and written her off as just a ditz, the man who had shown her so much of the world of science...was gone. Just gone. Passed in his sleep. No experiment gone awry, no crazy lab monkeys getting loose, or getting sucked out of the PE Ships front windshield because a meteor the size of an ant traveling at three times the speed of sound pierced it. Nothing he used to joke about when they had first met. Just a peaceful death.
Kiff had attended. Although he didn't know the Professor very well, he knew that Amy would need him there, and for that she was grateful. He stood next to her, dressed in his Class A Naval Uniform, the whiteness from it looking out of place among everyone in black, but the respectful gesture was appreciated.
A black limousine sat some distance away, a women in a black dress with a dark veil in front of it. She had not approached, hadn't spoken or identified herself, but they all had guessed who she was. But, for now, they were content to allow her to maintain her anonymity.
Directly in front of the headstone stood Fry, Leela, and Cubert. Cubert's head hung low, quiet tears streaming down his face. Leela held a stony look as she stared down at the small piece of granite, her hand on Fry's shoulder.
Fry simple stared, a sad look in his eyes. He shed no tears. Amy knew he had sought out the graves of his family in the ruins of old New York, and she suspected he had shed all the tears he could for death, and he would shed no more.
They were on a small plot of land in up state New York, the professors old homestead. He hadn't wanted to be buried in Orbiting Meadow. There was no real explanation as to why. It was a request the professor had made in his last moment where he was somewhat coherent. He had vaguely made the request and had murmured something about home. Then he had slipped back into the hallucinogenic dementia that had affected him for weeks. He had passed four days later.
The proceedings had been over for an hour. The smell of the freshly dug dirt still wafted around them.
Fry finally moved, reaching up to grasp Leela's hand before turning and returning to the little group a few paces behind. Leela followed. Cubert continued to stare at the tombstone. He looked around at them.
"Hey guys. I just..." he paused. "Thanks for being here."
"Fry mon, we all loved the professor. Of course we'd come."
Fry gave him a sad smile. "Yea. I know. I just..."
Amy knew. He was trying to keep a brave face for them. She decided to change the subject. "So, what happens now?"
Fry shook his head. "Dunno. Cubert's dissolved Planet Express so we're all out of a job. But we each get a percentage of the profit from its liquidation. So he didn't screw us. I think he just couldn't deal with running a company. I mean none of us have any experience with it."
Fry glanced at the man now kneeling in front of the grave speaking to it quietly. "I guess now we find new jobs. I know Leela already has an interview on Titan Station. Probably see if I can find one there."
Amy glanced at Leela, somewhat surprised her speed and resourcefulness. "Really? What is it?"
"It's a piloting job for MomCorp. They've recently expanded into deep space mining operations, and they're looking for skilled pilots for their X-class FMVs. Its small and compacted, but the pays good. They use them to work on the huge star cruisers that are going to be moving in and out of the system. The DOOP has started an exploration beyond the Rigel System." No one noticed Kiffs sudden unease at these words. "Apparently its going to be a whole new frontier."
"Think they'll hire you?"
"They will." The voice startled Amy, as the rest of the little group turned to look at the newcomer. The women in black had lifted her veil to reveal the aged face of Carol Miller, the CEO of the very company they were discussing.
"I personally went over your application and resume, and I can say that you're as good as hired." the old matriarch said. "With this new frontier opening up, and the DOOPs request to produce a new type of mining vessel, we'll be needing skilled pilots."
Leela' s eye held surprise. "Uh...thank you ma'am. I didn't expect..."
"Look, I know we've had our differences. Lord knows I'm no saint. But Hue..." Mom paused. "But Farnsworth always was a good judge of character. Anything that happened between us wasn't personal, least ways not on my side. I bear no grudge against you. I know you're an outstanding pilot, and when these new ships get out there, we'll need people like you. Right now the Nimbus is being outfitted with gravity tethers. If these prove successful in what they've been designed to do, then we plan to have at least three new ships in need of crews."
Amy's head twisted toward Kiff. The Nimbus? He hadn't mentioned anything new being done to her. Did that mean...
Kiff shifted uncomfortably. "I was gonna tell you. The Nimbus has been assigned to be the front runner for this operation. I just didn't want to mention it while we buried the professor."
"How long will you be gone?" Amy almost whispered.
Kiff looked at her sadly. "It's a four year mission into uncharted space."
Tears welled in Amy's eyes and Kiff hastily continued. "But we can still talk. The Nimbus has a new deep space communications array, so messaging won't be a problem." He reached forward and pulled the tearful women into a hug. "It'll be alright."
"If you'd like a job too..." the voice of Mom interrupted.
Amy quickly whipped her eyes as she pulled away from Kiff, before turning to the old women among them. "Hmm? A job?"
"We need engineers to, not just pilots, we're expanding into a whole new business venture." The surprise must have shown on her face because the old CEO let out a small chuckle. "You don't have to decide right now. Think it over and get back to me. But I should let you know, all employees of MomCorp with loved ones in the armed forces get personal tablets that allow for private communication anytime. One of the perks of working for us, I guess."
"Anything I might be able to do?" Fry finally spoke.
Mom turned an appraising eye towards him. She was quiet for a moment. "Farnsworth's records indicate you were quite proficient with that Remington DX3 Laser Battery he had mounted on his ship. So much so that you were able to knock down two Omicronian HrBr torpedoes fired at close range and moving towards you at mach 4. Is this true?"
Fry blinked. "Oh uh..yes ma'am. We had accidentally ventured too far into-"
"I don't care why you had to do it." Mom interrupted. "Simply that you did."
She considered another moment.
"We might have something. Come to MomCorps New New York main office and we'll discuss it."
Leela narrowed her eye a little. "Why are you being so nice to us? Especially since we've been at odds before?"
Mom looked the other women over. "All of you are a good team. That's valuable. Experienced crews like you guys are hard to come by."
"Not me lady."
All looked over as Bender spoke. "I've had my fill of space travel and all that crap. You skin tubes wanna work for her and die in space? Fine. I'm done. I ain't going to no station orbiting any danm planet. I'm staying here."
Hermes nodded. "I'm afraid I'm gonna half to stay too mon. I'm not getting younger, an I'd like to live out the rest of my days in the sun."
Mom nodded accepting their answers. "And what about you John? Your old jobs still open, if you want it."
Zoidberg looked up, surprised he was being considered too. "Oh...ummm...well..."
Mom raised an eyebrow. "Do you have another job lined up?"
Zoidbergs shoulders fell. "No. No I don't." he sighed. "I'll take it."
"Good. Good." Mom cast a sad glance at the tomb Cubert still knelt in front of. "Well, I should be getting back. Leela, like I said that jobs as good as yours. Of course you'll start in the FMVs, but stick around a year or two and you'll be flying something bigger. Maybe even captaining." With that, the old woman turned and headed back for her limousine.
For the first time since the Professors passing, Amy and the others felt like things might be okay. A thought occurred to her and she called out. "Ma'am? What are these new ships called?"
Mom glanced back. "They're a whole new class of mining vessel. We call 'em planet crackers."
A/N: So this is a re-write of The Nimbus Incident that I've had for a while. I've been mostly gone from the scene cause I haven't had program to write on for a while, and my internet isn't the greatest or most reliable. But with any luck I should be able to occasionally update. Anyway i hope you enjoyed it.