Over the course of his life, Fry had been on numerous adventures with Planet Express, yet that all seemed like mere childs-play compared to what lay before him: a real mission with an actual space hero and his crew.
The front doors of the research station would not open automatically as they approached. Luckily, they could not stand before the power of Bruiser's strength. In fact, as he forced the doors open by pushing them away from each other, slipping his hands in the slight gap between them, a horrible screeching sound pierced their ears before the doors finally collapsed to the floor. That was the first clue to the crew of the Rightous Indignation that something big had happened here recently.
The second came as they entered. "Calamity and woe!" shrieked Blinky.
Inside the research station, they saw what looked like a massive round hole cut into the ceiling and the floor below. Through the hole in the ceiling, they could see that the floor above had another large round hole in the ceiling, showing the sky above. It was like three giant spools in the shapes of donuts piled on top of each other. There was very poor illumination within the station. They could see nothing but darkness all around them in a ten meter radius.
But what truly caught them by surprise was the temperature. Even though the sun was hidden behind another moon, preventing the suns rays from reaching Divorderum, the heat inside the research station was above far above normal, as if the air conditioning system had malfunctioned. It was just as bad as a hot summer day.
"Captain, is it my sensors or is it very hot in here despite the moon undergoing a solar eclipse?" asked Blinky.
"You think this is hot?" asked Fry. "This is nothing! Back home on Earth, one day it was so hot I had to open a window and turn on every fan along with the air conditioner. I even had to strip down to my underwear! But still that only helped slightly. That's how hot it was! You'd have to splash hot coffee on me to cool me off. Ice cream would melt right away."
"Fry, confine your comments on the situation at hand here," said Bucky. "None of that information will help us. If you've got nothing intelligent to say or that which will aid the mission, keep quiet."
"In other words, shut up until this mission is over," said Deadeye.
"Whatever you say Cyclops," said Fry with a shrug.
"Deadeye! Why is that so difficult?"
"That's enough you two," said Bucky. "The first thing we need to do is search for the power generator to improve the lighting to get anywhere."
"Sounds like a better and quicker idea than waiting for the solar eclipse to end," said Blinky.
"We'll divide up into pairs and search, one group for each floor," said Bucky.
"Look captain," said Deadeye, "if you're thinking of pairing me up with the human dolt here," he motioned towards Fry, "think again!"
"Won't be necessary Deadeye," said Bucky.
"Let me guess," said Fry, "you're going to pair me off with my assigned feline babysitter over here?" he motioned to Jenny.
"I did put her in charge of you while you're here," said Bucky.
"Why am I not surprised?" asked Fry.
"Alright then," said Bucky, "you and Jenny search the second floor. Deadeye, you and Bruiser search this floor. Blinky and I will search the lower level."
"How are we going to get to the higher floor?" asked Fry.
"He has a point captain," said Jenny, "with the power generator offline, the elevators will be non-functional."
"You'll have to take the stairs," said Bucky. "We'll all have to take the stairs. Also, some of the doors may be locked and required a passkey or keycard. See if you can find any, but be prepared to deal with any security measures the research team developed."
"This just keeps getting better and better," Fry says.
"I can't believe that creep!" said Leela. "To refuse to aid a rescue mission!" She is still fuming over Zapp Brannigan's glee over Fry's disappearance.
"Spleesh Leela," said Amy, "I've never seen you so angry before."
"I never did like Zapp Brannigan," said Leela, "and I've got plenty of reasons to hate him. And another reason added to that list! If he was here right now, I've a good mind to blow a hole through his chest with a laser!"
"Leela, not in front of the kid," said Amy gesturing to Willy.
Leela regains her senses. "Oh, sorry. I guess I got a little carried away."
Willy is seated on the couch playing a game of checkers with Zoidberg. "King me!" he said triumphantly after jumping over three of Zoidberg's pieces in one move.
Zoidberg groans. "I'll never win now!"
Amy and Leela laugh at Zoidberg's misfortune. "You're pathetic Zoidberg," said Amy, "Willy's only a boy and he's displays much more intelligence than you and Fry put together! Not that Fry ever had much - " But she is quickly silenced by Leela's glare.
"Hey leave him alone!" said Willy. "He hasn't done anything to deserve this treatment!"
"Hooray!" Zoidberg cheers once the shock of human kindness has passed, "Zoidberg has a friend. I like this kid! I wish there were more like him in the world!"
Suddenly, Zapp Brannigan's smiling face appears on the vid-phone's screen again. "Leela, where are you? Don't keep me waiting much longer?"
"Shut up Zapp!" Leela's shouts, angry once more in spite of Willy's presence. "Dammit, when will you take a hint and leave me alone!"
"I like a girl who plays hard to get," said Zapp. "How about I put on my sexy underwear and meet you in the bedroom when you come?"
"Are you not listening to me Zapp? No means no! No!"
"What's the matter?" asked Zapp. "I'm more of a man than that pathetic excuse for a delivery boy boyfriend of yours. You're better of without him."
Then something happened that no one expected, not even Zapp. Willy suddenly rises from his game with such force that the checker board flies off the table, spilling the game pieces everywhere. "Does this mean I win by default?" asked Zoidberg.
Willy storms over to the vid-phone and glares at Zapp's picture. "Now look here 'Mister So-called Space Hero', right now their friend is trapped in an alternate universe in need of rescue and you won't even help rescue him? You give Space Heroes everywhere a bad name!"
Zapp's face darkens with blazing anger. "How dare you speak to me like that! I am the famous Zapp Brannigan, captain of the Nimbus and one of the most famous heroes of DOOP! You will give me the proper respect I deserve!"
"But I am giving you the respect you deserve!" Willy shouts. "None!"
"You tell him Willy!" Amy cheers.
"Some space hero!" Willy shouts in anger. "I know someone who's an even bigger and more famous space hero and he's a green rabbit! I also know heroes just as well known as him: a cat, a robot, a babboon, and a one-eyed four-armed duck!"
Willy fumes as Zapp begins to laugh and jeer. "Are you for real?"
Leela presses a button, disconnecting the call. "Way to tell him off Willy!" he says with a smile.
"Yeah, it's about time someone gave Zapp a mouthful like that!" said Amy.
"Too bad it wasn't me," said Leela.
Zoidberg by now has finished picking up all the pieces of the checkers game and the board that were thrown to the floor by Willy's sudden rise earlier from the chair he had sat upon. "Hooray, Zoidberg finally wins a game of checkers."
Suddenly, the vid-phone comes to life again. This time, the picture on the other end is of Kif Kroker. "Psst! Amy!"
"Kif?" Amy rises from the sofa. "Is that you?"
"I've heard the news," said Kif. "About what happened to Fry."
"I know," said Amy. "Isn't it awful? To be sucked into an alternate universe?"
"Zapp Brannigan may have refused to help, but unlike my captain, I am willing to offer my assistance!"
"Thanks Kif!" said Amy. "I knew I could count on a true space hero like you! Considering how you stopped the Nimbus from a supernova."
Kif sighs. "Somehow, I can't help but feel responsible for all this," he said.
"Sweetie, don't go beating yourself over this," Amy consoles him.
"But if I hadn't made him feel so self-conscious at the award ceremony, this wouldn't have happened."
"No," said Leela, "I blame it all on Space Ace Valkyrie, the new arcade game that's sucking up people's quarters faster than Fry drink's slug feces."
"Ugh!" everyone else gags.
"Anyway," said Kif, "I'll smuggle some weapons from the Nimbus to help us. Who is all going to join this mission?"
"Well I know for certain Willy is going to join us," said Leela. "He needs to hook up with his friends and go home when this is all over. And I for one intend on searching for Fry myself."
"Sounds like fun to me," said Amy. "I'll go too so I can be with my Kiffy on a real mission!"
"Zoidberg will go!" said Zoidberg. "Zoidberg wants to go on a real mission for a change!"
Amy and Leela share a look. "Should we allow him to come along?" asked Amy.
"Eh, why not?" asked Leela with a shrug. "Considering that the Anniverse is populated by animals, he'll fit right in!"
"I wonder if we can leave him there?" Amy whispers a suggestion.
At that point, Bender walks in carrying a beer.
"How about you Bender?" asked Leela. "Are you in on rescuing Fry?"
"Count me in too!" said Bender. "I miss that meatbag!"
"What about Hermes?" asked Amy.
"Nah!" said Bender. "He'd rather do paperwork."
"Figures," said Leela. "Okay, including Kif, that makes a total of six!"
"Alright," said Kif. "I'll bring six laser pistols because they're easier to carry. See you soon!"
As the call disconnects, Willy asked, "who was that?"
"That was my husband," said Amy.
"Wha - ? You're married to an amphibian?"
"And who is the expert here on inter-species relationships? Amy snickers. "After all, you and a cat named Jenny - "
"For the last time Amy, shut up!" said Leela.