As Fry puts the crystal inside his jacket he sees the rest of the crew gathering around Al-negator's still form. Bucky lifts up one of the motionless arms to feel for a pulse.
"Is he dead?" asked Deadeye.
"No," said Bucky dropping the arm. "He's just unconscious. By the time he comes to we'll be long gone."
"I doubt he'll forget this encounter," said Deadeye. "But we'll be ready for him when he comes looking for vengeance!"
"Deadeye we don't kill our enemies. Remember?" said Jenny.
"Which is exactly why they keep coming back!" said Deadeye rolling his one good eye in its socket. "What's the point of our motto 'Let's croak toads' if we don't actually do any of it?"
"It's just a saying Deadeye," said Bucky.
Fry laughs. "Croak toads! That's a good one!"
"It never gets old with you does it?" asked Deadeye.
"That's okay," said Fry with a snicker. "It's still funny!" He suddenly claps his hands delightfuly. "Oh wait! This reminds me a funny story from my life!"
"Spare me..." Dead slaps himself in the forehead.
"One time," said Fry, "when I was five years old I said to my grandpa, 'grandpa can you make a sound like a frog?' And he said 'sure I can. But why?'" Fry starts to chortle as he continues his story. "And I said, 'because dad says as soon as you croak we can go to Disneyland!" He roars back in laugher when he finishes. For a while minute he laughs out loud, hard enough for tears to flow down his cheeks. Hard enough that he loses his balance and falls to the floor with a crash.
When finally he rises to his feet in silence, he grins and says, "don't you get it?"
The rest of the crew stare at him puzzled. Bruiser scratches his head. "Um...what?"
Fry whistles. "Tough crowd!"
"Get serious Fry," said Deadeye.
"You have no sense of humour, do you Cyclops?
"Enough!" said Bucky.
"Sorry captain," said Deadeye. He glares in annoyance at Fry.
"Captain, look over here!" said Blinky. The little robot is standing in front of what looks like a giant flat screen monitor on the wall above some computer panels. "I believe this is what the science team used to send the distress signal. We can use this to contact the UAC and make our report."
"Does it still work?" asked Bucky.
"The mainframes have suffered some external structural damage," said Blinky. "And I believe the satellite array can still be adjusted."
"Hey!" said Fry as he rushes up to the computer. "Maybe I can use this to contact my friends back home!"
"Fry," Bucky starts to protest, "I really don't think - "
"Captain," Deadeye interrupts him. "It's no use. He lives in his own little world and his mind is still wandering out there."
"But he should know better," said Bucky. "You can't contact another dimension through the radio."
Blinky has already activated the computer by now. "Calamity and woe!" he cries in despair as words flash on the screen. They read "Galactic Map Data Offline"
"What's wrong Blinky?" asked Bucky.
"The damage the computer suffered is far greater than I could have known," said Blinky. "Internal components must have been damaged in that solar explosion. The component on which the galactic map is stored has been damaged beyond repair. Using this computer to contact the UAC will be more difficult without the map. Since it has been several days since the distress signal was sent, we will have to readjust the satellite array to align it with planet Genus. But without the map..."
Fry scoffs as he stands before the computer panel beneath the screen. "Please! Who needs a map? Men like me don't ask for directions when we're lost. I'll just press this button and let my voice do the talking."
He pushes a button and speaks into the microphone. "Hello? Can anyone hear me? Is there anyone out there? Leela? Amy? Bender? Hermes? Zoidberg?"
Suddenly the screen flickers to life as a picture appears. The picture reveals one of the ugliest faces Fry had ever seen. The face is green and covered with wars. The mysterious creature is wearing a blue uniform.
"Toad Empire. Air Marshall speaking."
Behind him Fry hears the crew of the Righteous Indignation gasp. Fry's heart skips a beat as he realizes that he has just made contact with a representative of the toads they are at war with.
"Why isn't your video feed working?"
Whatever shock and fear Fry has felt is gone at the realization that the toad has no idea who just contacted them. He turns to face the others to see them shaking their heads and frantically waving their arms in front of them as if to say "Don't do anything more! Shut it off!" But Fry is barely able to control a smile from spreading over his face as he has gotten another one of his stupid ideas.
He turns to face the screen once more. "There's nothing wrong with the video feed on my side. I can see you just fine over here."
The Toad Air Marshal looks confused. "Who the heck is this?"
"My name is Phillip J. Fry. I'm a space hero in training?"
"Space hero?" After a brief moment the Air Marshal smiles. "Well if you're in training Fry, we have nothing to fear from the likes of you. Then again we have nothing to fear from Bucky o Hare and his crew either, not with our new secret weapon!"
Fry turns to face the others and give them a thumbs up. They look surprised at the revelation they just heard. Fry snickers and tries to hide his chuckles with one hand clapped over his mouth.
"Hey, wait a minute," said the Air Marshal, "this can't be right! I'm picking up your signal off the Divorderum moon!"
"No, I'm sorry, but we aren't selling any rum," said Fry with a slight laugh. "You shouldn't be drinking on the job wart-face."
"What did you call me?" shouts the Air Marshal angrily.
"Seriously," said Fry, "have you ever thought about Calamine Lotion? You look almost as bad as I did when I was fifteen!"
The Air Marshal's face contorts with livid anger. "Oh you're a wiseguy huh? Look you had better now cross paths with the Toad Empire if you know what is good for you Phillip J. Fry!"
"Or else what?" asked Fry. "What's the worst a bunch of toads are going to do to me?" He snickers. "Hop all over the place and catch flies on your tongues?"
"You are either very stupid or you are making fun of the Toads," said the Air Marshal. "Either way I will not waste anymore of my time!" With those final words the screen goes blank as the signal is cut off.
Fry starts to laugh as if he has played the greatest April Fool's Day prank in his life. "Oh boy, I haven't had that much fun since I put maple syrup in my Yancey's shampoo!"
"Oh brother," said Deadeye. "You are without a doubt Fry the stupidest - "
"Deadeye," Jenny glares at him.
Deadeye only ignores her, "fool I ever had the misfortune to meet!"
"Calm down Deadeye," said Bucky. "You may not have realized it but Fry has actually succeeded in tricking our enemies into revealing vital information."
"Beginners luck!" said Deadeye.
Suddenly another picture appears on the screen. This one shows the face of a beautiful vixen fox wearing a blue officer's cap and pilot's uniform. "This is Mimi Lefleur of the Screaming Mimi. I picked up your signal."
"Whoa!" said Fry. "I've heard the term 'one foxy lady' but I never thought it would be taken so literally!"
"What the? Who the heck are you?" asked the vixen.
Bucky quickly shoves Fry aside. "Pay no attention to him Mimi."
The vixen's face smiles. "Hello Bucky," she said in a seductive flirtacious manner.
Fry senses movement at his side. He turns to see Jenny glaring towards the screen, her arms folded over her chest. "Hmmph!" she snorts.
"What's wrong with you?" he asked.
"I'll give you one guess," said Jenny without taking her eyes off Bucky talking to the onscreen vixen.
"Ohhhhh," said Fry. She's jealous, he thinks to himself. "But what are you so upset about? Why would you care when you have Willy?"
Jenny groans as she clutches her head and shakes it in frustration. "Fry how many times do I have to say it, Willy is just a friend."
"It's a long story Mimi," Bucky says to Mimi. "I'll explain it all later. Meet us at the usual rendevous point. I have a feeling that we'll need all the help we can get on our next mission."
"A chance to work alongside Captain Bucky o Hare," Mimi says with a seductive wink. "See you soon captain." The screen goes blank.
"Who was that?" asked Fry.
"That was Mimi Lefleur," said Bucky, "one of our most valuable allies alongside Commander Dogstar."
"Dogstar?" asked Fry.
"Yes," said Bucky. "Dogstar. You can probably guess what king of animal he is."
"Captain, we have completed our mission," said Blinky. "We must leave at once to prepare our report. We'll just have to do it on board the Righteous Indignation."
"I wonder if we can leave him behind," Deadeye points back over his shoulder at Fry.
"I heard that!" said Fry. "And I for one am getting sick of your put-downs and insults! It won't kill you to be nice to me once in a while!"
"Hey 'genius'," Deadeye said with sarcasm, "in case you hadn't noticed, you've caused nothing but trouble for us during this mission so far! If not for your meddling, we would be working with Willy instead of you! If not for luck, you and Jenny would have died in that fall! And may I remind you who nearly lost the crystal to one of our enemies? And think of what could have happened if the video feed - "
"That's enough Deadeye!" said Bucky. Deadeye growls in reply.
Fry turns away from Deadeye with his arms crossed. "Hmmph!"
"In one way I agree with Deadeye," said Jenny. She addresses Fry, "Fry, you need to be more careful. I know some of us might not think too much of you but I still think you are a very important member of the team. And I wouldn't want anything to happen to you."
What the? Fry thinks to himself as he uncrosses his arms and turns to her. "Are you?"
"Yes I am," said Jenny with a smile. "You are - "
Fry however has completely misunderstood. "ARE YOU COMING ON TO ME?!" he yells in shock and horror.
Jenny is taken aback by his accusation. "No that's what I - "
"Holy crap!" Fry shouts. "I don't even have the words for how wrong that is!" Many others would have said the same thing for his relationship with Leela or Amy's marriage with Kif since they were of different species. He is a human while she is a mutant who lookes very much like a human. But a human with a cat? How does Willy cope? "Please, tell me you're not that perverse towards Willy!" He shudders with a groan of disgust. "I think we have a problem. As for you and I, seriously it's not going to work. I already have a girlfriend. And besides you're a cat! Human society does not look too kindly on beasiality!"
"Fry, you misunderstand," said Jenny. "You're a very important member of the team. It was you who helped us destroy that last security bot. And you were the one who found the crystal and helped defeat Al-negator. I have come to value you as much as I do Willy."
"Ohhhhh," said Fry finally understanding. "But seriously, you should keep your distance if you go into heat."
"The more I talk about Willy, the more worried I am about him," said Jenny. "I wonder how he is coping where he is now?"
"Is there any way to find out?" asked Fry.
"Actually there is," said Jenny with a smile. "Now that we have taken a break in the action and our mission is complete, I can make contact with Willy the same way I summoned him."
She closes her eyes and puts her hands to her face.
What is she doing? Fry thinks to himself. In front of all her comrades? Is this one of her spells? It shouldn't be otherwise she wouldn't do it in front of her comrades.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Do not disturb me," said Jenny without opening her eyes as the jewel within her helmet begins to shine and glow. "I need to focus."
To Be Continued ...