"Time is fluid ... like a river with currents, eddies, backwash."
-Spock. Star Trek: The Original Series, 'The City on the Edge of Forever'.
"They're leaving, Sir!" she said, looking alarmed. "The smuggler vessel is lifting off!"
"What the hell?!" Zapp leaned forward. "What happened to my strike team?"
"I called them off, sir," Kif said calmly.
Zapp turned on him, his face red. "You WHAT!?"
Kif returned his glare serenely and said nothing.
"You traitorous little reptile!" Zapp spat. "I should tear that smug look off your damn face – how dare you defy me!?" He dismissed the alien with a wave of his hand and turned to the helmsman. "Take off – pursue them!" he said.
"No!" Kif shouted, and Zapp looked at him in amazement. "We're not chasing them."
The helmsman looked confused, glancing back and fourth between Zapp and Kif.
"I said take off and pursue!" Zapp all-but screamed, without taking his eyes off Kif. "I'm the Captain – you do as I command!"
The helmsman complied, and a deep reverberation filled the giant warship as it lifted slowly off the planet surface.
"Energize weapons!" Zapp shouted. "Blast them out of the sky! If I can't have her, then she can burn!"
"But… you can't do that!" Kif cried. The crew watched the battle of wills in breathless anticipation.
"I can do whatever I want! I'm a Starship Captain!
"Open fire!" Zapp yelled, pointing at the little green ship on the forward viewscreen.
"Belay-that-order!" Kif countered, shouting louder than he'd ever shouted before. The bridge crew didn't know what to do.
Zapp surged forward with insane eyes and slammed his fist into Kif's stomach, causing him to double over with an explosion of expelled air.
"Don't listen to this traitor!" Zapp snarled, spittle flying from his mouth. "Shoot them down – now! I'm in charge!"
"Not… anymore!" Kif wheezed, straightening with difficulty. "Captain… Zapp Brannigan – for attempting to destroy a civilian spacecraft… without warning or proper provocation… I am hereby relieving you of command."
"You can't do that!"
"I can… and am," Kif said. "Like I should have a long time ago." Kif pointed at the two soldiers stationed at the door. "Airmen, escort the Captain to the brig," he said. The two soldiers happily complied, hurrying forward and placing the shocked Zapp in restraints.
"You filthy little worm…" Zapp said, incredulous, as he was led away. "I'll see you hanged for this. YOU HEAR ME, KIF? HANGED!!"
Kif ignored the continued shouts as the soldiers pulled Zapp out of the bridge and away. He breathed out a long breath and rubbed his belly where the fist imprint was slowly fading.
"Break off pursuit," he told the crew finally. "Weapons safe. Log the smuggling vessel as unidentified."
The female ensign glanced at Kif questioningly. "But sir," she said, "we have the ship's registration code. We know who they are."
Kif looked at her tiredly. "How would you like to become my new Officer in Charge of Shutting-the-Hell-Up?" he asked. The ensign took his meaning and nodded, registering the vessel as an unknown.
With some reluctance, Kif lowered himself into the command chair, wondering how long he would remain there. On the forward screen he watched the Planet Express ship continue off into orbit and then further into deep space. He sighed in relief.
Futurama: A River with Currents.
Caption: 'Back by unpopular demand'.
An unfamiliar ceiling greeted him when he woke. It wasn't the ceiling he normally saw upon waking – this was a clean ceiling, free of pancakes and syrup stains. A clinical ceiling to match the antiseptic smell and crisp sheets.
Sticking bandages covered one side of his face, and when he tried to lift his right arm to probe the area he found that the arm was missing, nothing left but a nub of bandages at the shoulder.
Recollection unfolded like the blossoming of some putrescent black flower, and he let out a long gasp of horror. A door opened and a robot walked in. Fry glanced up at Bender, noting that the robot had a number of replacement parts looking shiny against the rest of his chassis.
"So, you're awake," Bender said unnecessarily. "You were starting to worry me."
"What happened?" Fry rasped, eyes wide.
Bender paused meaningfully. "…Just… take it easy for a bit, okay meatbag?"
"Tell me!" Fry tried to sit up, and pain lanced through his battered body, culminating at the stump where his right arm had been. He gasped and gritted his teeth.
"Hey, calm down," Bender ordered, planting a metal hand on Fry's chest. "You been through a rough patch, and you skintubes ain't as easy to fix as robots."
"Bender…" Fry whispered desperately. "Where is she?"
Bender stared down at his friend for a long moment. When he responded it was with a voice full of sorrow that seemed almost impossible from a robot.
"She's gone, buddy," he said. "I'm sorry."
Fry squeezed his eyes shut and wept.