The remainder of the crew are waiting patiently as Fry and Jenny step down the ladder. Fry is sweating with excitement at the prospect of what lies before him in the near future. Soon, he would give even Kif Kroker a run for his money.
"I am so excited!" said Fry. "To think that I am going on a real space mission! And I'm not talking about deliveries! Seriously, when was the last time I got to explore another planet?"
"Settle down Fry," said Bucky. "The sooner you get quiet, the sooner I can debrief everyone."
"Sure thing Bucky," said Fry, although he is still as excited as a child on Christmas morning.
"Ahem," Bucky clears his throat before proceeding. "Intelligence on planet Genus has received word of a disaster on the research moon of Divorderum."
"Div what?" asked Fry.
"Divorderum," said Bucky.
"I don't think it matters if you have ordered rum," said Fry. "You shouldn't drink and fly."
Bucky shoots him an annoyed glare as if to say, 'Can it!'
"Sorry," Fry said with a snicker. "Just couldn't resist cracking a joke."
"As I was saying," Bucky shakes his head as he continues briefing his comrades. "The United Animals Coalition has received word from intelligence about a disaster on the research station located upon Divorderum. They received a call of distress before losing communications."
"Question!" Fry raises his hand. "What kind of research?"
"According to the UAC, development of new technology and weapons," said Bucky.
"UAC?" asked Fry.
"United Animals Coalition," said Bucky. "Our mission is to investigate what happened, rescue any survivors, and salvage whatever is intact."
"What exactly happened?" asked Fry.
"That's what we've been assigned to find out," said Bucky. "I only hope that this is not the work of the Toads."
"The what?" asked Fry.
"The Toads," said Bucky. "The Anniverse is at war with the Toad Empire. And unless we stop them, they will enslave the entire - "
"Hold on a minute," Fry interrupts him. "Back up! You mean to tell me that you're all fighting an army of toads?"
"That's right," said Bucky.
Fry has heard a lot of crazy, stupid, and ridiculous things in his life, but this one really took the cake. He puffs his cheeks taking this into consideration before spewing and bursting into uncontrollable laughter, even harder than he had laughed on Alderbaran or any other time in his life. He feels safe laughing because Jenny wouldn't dare use a mind control spell on him in front of her comrades.
The crew of the Righteous Indignation all stare at him as his hysterical fit of amusement goes on for an entire minute before he finally becomes quiet, a big smile on his lips. "Are you for real?"
"This is no laughing matter Fry," said Bucky. "The toads are the greatest threat to freedom that the Anniverse has ever faced. Even the most notorious space pirates are saints compared to the Toads and their leader, one who goes by the name KOMPLEX. Don't say anything."
Fry snickers. He's heard a lot of funny names in his life, but KOMPLEX? He's barely able to hold back a grin. "I still think it's pretty crazy. I've heard a lot of ridiculous things in my life but this really takes the cake! Where I come from, toads are nothing but warty amphibians, though I can't really tell them and frogs apart."
"Do you know anything else about toads?" asked Bucky.
"Well," said Fry smiling as his brain goes down a one way memory lane, "I did dissect a few in high school science class."
Bucky, Jenny, Deadeye, Blinky, and Bruiser all stare at him wide-eyed. "Bisect?" asked Bruiser.
"Yeah," said Fry. "All you do is just take a small scalpel, make a little incision, and then you can pull out its - "
But he is interrupted by the Righteous Indignation crew all gagging in disgust.
"I don't want to hear any of this!" Jenny claps her paws over her ears in horror.
"That's disgusting!" said Deadeye.
"Well reading about toads in books isn't as quick or fun as in cutting one open and - "
"Stop it!" Bucky shouts. "We don't need to hear! Our motto may be 'Let's croak toads' but we don't believe in killing our enemies."
Fry starts to laugh again. "Croak toads? That's funny!"
"Can it Fry!" snarls Deadeye. Fry silences himself.
"Captain, are you sure this is a good idea to allow this imbecile to join us?" Deadeye asks.
"We have no choice Deadeye," said Bucky. "With Willy still gone, we'll need whatever help we can get. And we're going to need Fry's help as much I regret saying it. Whether he'll be more of a hindrance is yet to be discovered."
"I certainly hope Fry's friends come and get him," said Deadeye. "And the sooner the better."
"Well if they do," said Fry, "They'll certainly bring Jenny's boyfriend."
"What the?" Jenny sputters. "Boyfriend? No, no, Willy is just a friend."
"Oh yeah, sure he is," said Fry. "That's what they all say."
"Stuff it Fry!" said Deadeye in anger and frustration.
"Whatever awaits us inside that research station, we must be prepared," said Bucky. "We must arm ourselves to guard against whatever danger we may face."
Fry follows the crew into the weapons chamber where the others, save Bruiser, take a laser gun. "Really strong primates like me don't need weapons!" said Bruisder.
Deadeye takes four laser pistols, one for each of his arms. Jenny takes two and hands one to Fry. "Do you know how to use one of these?" she asks.
Fry stares at the laser gun in his hand and scratches his head. "Maybe. Can't remember."
"Oh brother!" Deadeye groans.
Leela returns to the Planet Express building after having taken Willy out for lunch. The location she had chosen for their lunch was at the pizzeria. After learning the shock and horror of what the most addicted soft drink of the future was nothing more than slug feces, Willy was grateful to learn that future cuisine hadn't changed much in the thirty-first century.
"I haven't had pizza that good for a long time," he said as they enter the PE building.
"So you see that food in the future is still the same as it was in the stupid-ages," said Leela. "Well there are some foods that you probably wouldn't want to try just once in the thirty-first century."
"Such as?" asked Willy.
"Buggalo ribs," said Leela.
"What's a buggalo?" asked Willy.
"It's what you get when you cross a beetle and a cow."
"Oh gross!" said Willy. "I miss the twentieth century more than ever now."
"Hey Leela," asked Amy from the living room couch, "where did you go?"
"Out to the pizzeria with Willy," said Leela.
"How was it?" asked Amy.
"Well," said Leela, other than all the stares I got, it was okay. You would think a lot of those people actually believed I was his mother."
Amy laughed. "Come on, that's ridiculous. You're a mutant, he's a human!" She stops with a look of perplexion on her face. "Hey wait a minute, you're involved with Fry." She laughs. "Boy, I'd hate to see what your children would look like!"
Suddenly, the vid-phone comes to life as Zapp Brannigan's smiling face appears on the screen. "Leela, are you there?"
Leela groans. "Zapp, this is not a good time." She crosses her arms over her chest. "In fact, there will never be a good time!"
Zapp is about to say something when he sees Willy. "What the? Leela, what on Earth is going on? Who the heck is he?"
"Zapp, this is Willy Duwitt from the twentieth century. I had just taken him out for lunch."
"Leela! I didn't think you would stoop to this! Pedophilia!"
"What?" asked Leela. "Zapp, you don't understand. We had an unfortunate incident with the professor's Photon Accelerator. Fry disappeared into an alternate dimension and this boy..."
"Say what?" asked Zapp. "Did you say Fry is missing?"
"Yes!" said Leela, obviously distraught.
A big smile spreads across Zapp's face. "What that's the best news I've ever heard in a long time!"
"Zapp! This is serious!" said Leela, furious with his flippant attitude. "Once the professor fixes the Photon Accelerator, we're going to enter the Anniverse. And I know I'm going to regret saying this, but we may need your help."
"My help? Ha!" Zapp scoffs. "Why would I help you bring back your imbecilic boyfriend. With him out of the picture, you're now single. But if you feel the need to be consoled, come on up to the Nimbus and I'll really take care of --"
But before he could finish, Leela disgustedly disconnects the call.
"Who was that?" asked Willy.
"That was Zapp Brannigan," said Leela, "an alleged galactic hero here in the future. How I hate his guts!"
"He doesn't seem like a very good hero if he won't help us," said Willy. "Why do you hate him?"
"You don't need to know," said Leela.
"It's because he tricked her into sleeping with him out of pity," said Amy.
"Amy!" Leela shouts in anger. "Don't bring it up in front of the boy! You're almost as bad as Bender's vulgar mouth."
"Hey take it easy Leela," said Amy with a smile. "What harm is there in discussing these kinds of things with Willy. He'll be reaching puberty soon."
"Amy, this is not the kind of topic to be discussing here with Willy. He should not be exposed to such a thing so young."
"Sure thing," said Amy. "He'll have the schoolyard and the shopping mall for that in the future."
Leela groans and rolls her eye.
Willy walks up to the floor-length window in the living room and places his temple up against it. "I sure hope my friends are alright."
To Be Continued ...