Star Fox Time line;
Great Fox constructed under
original name Silver Dodora: 3916
General Pepper Born: 3933
Peppy Hare, Pigma Dengar Born: 3940
Andross Oikonny Born: 3941
Wolf O'Donnel Born: 3948
James McCloud Born &
First Known Aparoid Contact &
Andross Joins Academy After Parents Death: 3951
Vixy Rienard Born: 3952
Falco Lombardi Born James McCloud
Purchases Great Fox: 3968
Fara Pheonix Born &
James McCloud and Vixy Rienard Marry: 3971
Katt Monroe Born: 3972
Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Bill Grey Born,
Rob 64 Activated: 3973
Arwing Version MK I created: 3980
Vixy Rienard Dies: 3981
Andross' Gravity Bomb
Experiment that creates Sector X ,
Andross attempts to take over, Later Exiled: 3982
Fox Joins the Academy: 3285
James McCloud Dies: 3986
Great Fox Impounded: 3987
Fox, Falco, Slippy: Graduate the Academy: 3989
Peppy, Falco, Slippy, Fox exiledto Papetoon: Late 3989
Arwing Version Mk II Created: 3990
Current Time of Story: 3991
A week had past since the climatic Sector Y battle.
The Lylat system was now effectively divided in half. Zoness, Mac Beth, Titania were still controlled by Andross' forces. However Corneria had managed to maintain its hold on the inner worlds. In the aftermath of the battle in sector Y several of the Venomian lizards acted as if they had woken up from some dream. Many of them pilots, soldiers, ships crews couldn't even remember why or how they had gotten away from their planet.
They numbered in the hundreds of thousands; every sort of type of Lizard was now stranded on Corneria. They were disenfranchised and unwanted. After several extensive tests, Cornerian scientists determined that whatever hold Andross had on them, it was now broken.
The lizards were not welcome however and they had to be contained in the ruins of the former Cornerian City Lapris. It was all the Cornerian government could do to protect the lizards from any retribution by the populace. A few had been given some civilian jobs, if they showed interest in wanting to help. The rest were kept confined at Lapris by the government.
There was an enormous public outcry about this unwanted invasion by the former enemies of Corneria but it was mostly kept down. Andross' fleets were still out there and the war was yet to be over.
Bill entered his quarters and heard someone snoring on the couch. He quietly came in and looked over the back of it and saw Katt sprawled across it sleeping quietly. He sighed, he was really regretting helping her out of that jam a month back. Before they war broke out she'd been a scavenger known for being a general nuisance to the Cornerian military in general.
Bill had crossed Katt's path when he had caught her trying to steal supplies from the base. He arrested her of course but General Pepper had other idea's for her. In exchange for not spending several years in prison, she was offered the job to be a reconnaissance operative for they Cornerian space force.
Since Bill was the one who caught her, she had the nasty habit of using his quarters as a safe house. No matter how many times he'd locked the door, bolted the window, had guards wait outside she always found a way in.
"You know you have to stop doing this." Bill grumbled.
"Doing what?" Katt murmured smacking her lips and yawning.
"Why are you here?" Bill asked. "Need fuel, need food? Got any reports?"
"Yes I do." Katt said sitting up and stretching. "I do need to lay low for a bit."
"Bite off more then you can chew?" Bill asked.
"No." Katt said. "Andross sent some one after me. I don't know how they found me. I ain't going to leave here for awhile though." She then smirked. "I did get the virus into Andross' computer on that base before I was captured, I heard Sector X is now a floating scrap pile. Got anything to eat?" She smiled.
Bill rolled his eyes at least she'd earned it. "Yeah, I'll get you some food. Where's your ship?"
"It's stashed in a cave about three miles from here." Katt said. "I stole it from there too, I didn't think flying up to this place in an enemy ship would be the best of ideas. I noticed there was some damage when I snuck in over the gate, did you guys have some big battle?"
"You could say that." Bill replied. "Don't you watch the vids?"
"No I don't exactly have such things out on Zoness." Katt muttered. "Not to mention being tortured for nearly a week I was A LITTLE BUSY." She said with such weight on the words the floor should have creaked.
Bill reached over to a table and grabbed a remote and tossed it to her. "Why don't you get caught up on what's going on while I go down to the mess and round something up for you. Have you seen yourself, you're a mess why don't you use my shower while you're at it, if your going to work for us for goddess sakes at least try to be somewhat respectable."
"Yeah, Yeah." Katt muttered sticking her tongue out at him as he left the room.
Katt leaned back on the couch and clicked on the video monitor.
"….believe that any attack on MacBeth is unwise. In other news, Andross fleet that has been in building in Sector Y was destroyed by a daring attack led by Captain La'Corsse of the seventh Conerian space fleet. It is also believed that Andross' himself was destroyed in the Armor Core Base. La'Crosse declined and interview and said the success of the battle should be credited to the Star Fox team." The female fox reported, she had red colored fur and wore a pair of glasses and had long brown hair. Katt wished she had that Fox's job, it must be nice to get a nice makeover and then read from a prompter every day and be paid fairly well for it. It would beat running around in the sticks risking life and limb just to take a few pictures. She got bored with the news and switched it over to the entertainment networks.
It was only by an act of fate that if she had left the channel on a bit longer that she would have heard something that would have been of great interest to her.
Outside the base.
"She's in there all right." Leon said cloaking out of the back ground. "The place is pretty heavily guarded but I think can get in. Sneaking you in would be near impossible. Are you sure you want to go to this trouble?" Leon asked rubbing his shoulder, which still hurt from where Katt had shot him.
"Yes I'm sure." Wolf replied. "It beats doing whatever stupid thing Andross would have us be doing doesn't it?"
Leon shrugged indifferently.
Wolf put down his binoculars and shook his head. "You really don't see the big picture do you."
"I've read this one's personality profile." Wolf said. "She used to be an ex gang member of the Space Hot Rodders and a former cohort of a pilot I'm sure you would like to meet again without that idiot Pigma being around."
"Heh heh." Leon cackled. "Yes I would like to fight that bird again."
"This Monroe, she has an obsession about him." Wolf said. "A bit unusual for someone her age but she has her sights set clearly on Falco Lombardi. If we scare her enough, she'll run for him."
"Ah I see now." Leon smirked. "Very ingenious, I am sorry I doubted you." He said rubbing his hands together.
"That's why I'm the leader." Wolf smiled. "If we bag her and Fox, we'll be so freaking rich we can retire!"
With the Venomian Fleets keeping their distance a few brave merchantmen attempted to return to their trade routes among the inner worlds. The Cornerian government had insisted that the inner world trade routes be reestablished to try to get the systems economy going again. Soon freighters began to line the tried and true courses between Katina, Fortuna, Corneria once more.
One such ship was passing through Sector Y at this moment. It resembled some sort of bloated waterfowl. Ironically enough these ships were wildly in use and were designed by the same mad designer who had built the Great Fox in his twilight years. The Cornerian military hired someone else to design their ships the last thing they wanted to do when engaging the enemy was to be laughed at, although sometimes it does help.
Captain Bradford was a rather amicable avian. He always paid his dock fees, always kept a good set of books and ran his business legitimately. Due to the war help had been short and seeing as the Lizard's that were being held on Corneria weren't doing anything he hired a few to help him. The rest of his crew had joined the service and he still had a business to run, so taking this little risk was worth it. The old owl adjusted his captain's hat and relaxed a little as they drew closer to Corneria.
The lizard's had performed well, often times they needed help understanding new things but once they got the hang of whatever it was you taught them they picked it up rather fast.
"Captain we are approaching Sssector Y." the lizard sitting at the sensor console reported.
"Hmm, very well, If we're lucky perhaps we'll see some of the space borne life forms out here." He turned to his operations tech witch was another lizard wearing an orange tech vest. "Open the forward hatch, maybe we can get a good look at one of them."
"These lizards have sure changed a lot since Andross' was defeated." His first mate a middle aged rat commented, quietly as the lizards went dutifully about their assignments.
Bradford thought it over a moment. "Agreed it almost seems at times as if they are too reformed." He replied as the forward hatch slid open.
Sector Y was alive again with it's native inhabitants. The strange squid, anemones, jelly fish and sting rays were swarming about once again, feeding on the fodder from the battle of weeks past.
"Beautiful aren't they." Bradford said his eyes suddenly spotting on a rather large stingray that was hurtling its self rather rapidly towards his ship. "What's happening?!" Bradford ask as something struck his vessel.
"Something's upset the stingray's they're attacking the ship!" His first made replied as more of the beasts struck the hull.
"Evasive maneuvers!" Bradford ordered but suddenly the ship shuddered violently and consoles all over the bridge shorted out. Outside the vessel the creatures struck the vessel again and again with their massive tails.
"It's no good sir!" His mate replied over the klaxons. "We're fish food!"
It was a beautiful day on Corneria, the spring season had arrived and life was blooming everywhere even among the destruction. Fox and Fara had found a nice tree with some shade and were sitting underneath it chatting away and enjoying each other's company.
Faclo, Peppy and Slippy were walking along the outside of the base enjoying the weather. Space was nice but the Great Fox tended to get a little cramped after awhile. As they walked they could see the ship sitting off in the distance on the landing strip the sunlight glistening off it's eggshell white hull.
Peppy seemed rather pleased enjoying the stroll in the sun they, had come out of the base out of boredom hoping they'd spot their friend but Fox and Fara had managed to evade them somehow. Despite the beautiful day something else seemed to be putting him at ease. Falco couldn't put his finger on it but decided to pry any way.
"So Peppy you've been gone a few days what have you been up to?" Falco said.
"Personal business." Peppy simply said.
"What you?" Falco said mockingly.
"Yes me you daft feather duster." Peppy blurted slugging Falco in the shoulder. "s'Personal so mind your own damn business."
"Think we'll find him?" Falco asked rubbing his arm and trying to change the subject.
"Dunno, probably not." Peppy said. "Do you blame him though?"
"Well yeah, I was hoping on hitting a few of the clubs around here but he's busy." Falco groused.
Slippy said nothing and was turning over a small digital print that was attached to an letter of some sorts, in his hands as he trod along beside them.
"I miss the old days, back when me and Fox would raise hell with imperial ships with a rusty laser cannon and an modified moon buggy." Falco mused. "Then we'd go tear up the town afterwards with the spoils."
"Yeah but you weren't eating nearly as well as you are now." Peppy reminded him. "Plus we didn't have money for feather conditioner either."
"Hey I have to preen it's in my nature." Falco said hoping the hare didn't notice he did over do it a little the night before and his feathers were almost too clean looking.
"Besides what do you care, you feeling a little jealous?" Peppy said. "Fox has never been this happy and all you can do is mope around because your buddy doesn't have time for you."
"Whatever ." Falco said rolling his eyes "What's that, that's got you so preoccupied Slippy." Falco said trying to change the subject.
"Nothing." Slippy said distractedly.
"Come on what is it?" Falco asked making a grab for it. Slippy hopped away and croaked. "Fine if you must know." He blushed. "It's a letter from my girlfriend Croakella."
This caused Peppy and Falco to both stopped in their tracks. Guys like Slippy tend to exist through out the mutli-verse, they're usually not good at much but possess a hidden technical skill no one can understand. They prefer fruit flavored drinks to alcohol and are often fairly quiet, the thought of them having a girlfriend of any sort is usually a shock that nearly causes paralysis to anyone who knows them.
Then again before they had left, Slippy was often found not being in his lab at all hours of the night. They figured he went out for parts but with town being a few minuets away, even with Slippy's contacts, getting parts didn't take seven hours.
"She gave me my first wart." Slippy said offhandedly, still blushing and showing the picture to the other two. Falco looked at the picture, frogs were the oddest of the Cornerians. Males and Females really did not look that much different from each other except for coloring. It was often joked that frog courtships were very slow, often times they were trying to figure out what sex the other one was. Falco, was anything but a spiciest, but he figured if he had been born a frog he might find her attractive, but he wasn't a frog.
"That's beautiful Slipster." Falco said knowing that with frogs the first wart was a very big deal.
"Thanks!" Slippy replied.
Further away Fox and Fara were secluded away underneath a tree on a hill over looking the city. The view was spectacular with the ocean fading off into the horizon.
Fara nuzzled her head into Fox's shoulder and wrapped her arms around him. "It'd be nice if we could do this all the time."
"Yes it would." Fox nodded. "It's a great day, kind of makes you forget there is a war going on."
Fara nodded in agreement.
"We'll probably have to go back out there again." He sighed.
"I know." Fara said nodding. "But let's hope not too soon."
Fox had been a bit pensive lately. Something seemed to be bothering him but she could never get him to talk about it. She often caught him out of bed late at night just looking up at the stars with a grim expression. It was almost as if he was privy to information no one else was
"If we do have to leave, are you still going to come along?" Fox said. "Or have we scared you off yet."
"Of course." Fara said kissing him "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Besides someone has to keep you boys in line."
Fox laughed being with Fara made his life a bit less painful he loved being with her and they had grown very close since they're first intimate encounter and many more had happened in the time that had passed.
"Fara?" Fox said quietly looking into her eyes.
"Yes Fox?" She said looking back at him but suddenly his head twitched up. "What's that?" He said looking around.
Fara looked at him oddly but then her ears picked up on the sound too.
SPluuuuTTT SPLuuuuuuuuuuut Splut
Suddenly every muscle went tense. "That doesn't sound good." Fox said looking up into the sky."
Slippy, Peppy and Falco exchanged glances and then turned their heads to the sound that was coming from above.
"What the hell is that?" Peppy said shading his eyes and scanning the skies.
"It sounds like a freighter with busted induction coils." Falco said spotting the source of the sound breaking through the clouds.
"What's going on?" She asked spotting the merchant ship heading for the landing strip billowing smoke.
Fox had already bolted up and was making his way out through the secluded exit and back out into the street. Fara quickly joined him in looking up at the sky
"I don't know." Fox said trying to spot the source of the sounds. "I do know a crash about to happen when I hear one. " Fox quickly scrabbled up the wreckage of one of the buildings to get a better look. Fara followed him. Once on top of the rubble pile Fox could see the airfield in the distance. Sure enough he found the source of the noise. What appeared to be a Corneria Cargo ship was coming in on a slow plunge, it's engines leaking plasma its hull severely damaged.
"It's going down!" Fox suddenly said and then groaning seeing where it was heading for.
The merchant ship plowed straight into the Great Fox, knocking it off it's landing pylons and shearing off two of its wings. The ship was still stuck into the Great Fox's side as it rolled off its landing gear and crashed into the tarmac the other vessels plasma drives erupted and the ship was covered in burning plasma.
Emergency crews were on the scenes and began to put out the fire's as quickly as they could from the wreckage a lone lizard emerged. His flesh so badly burned he was barely recognizable as he emerged from the sheared off control section. He coughed for help as he stumbled forward slowly dying from his injuries.
"Beware!" He screamed as he slumped to the tarmac. "Beware the Ssstingray…." He slumped forward and stopped moving.
General Pepper had called an urgent meeting.
The Great Fox was down for the moment, it had suffered significant damage and take some time to get up and running again. Rob had sustained some damage as well and now had a bowling ball shaped sized crater in his head. It would be at least a week or two before the ship could be space worthy again.
Star Frox team had arrived on time and was taking their seats. Fara was sitting beside Fox and patting him on the back as he put his elbows on the table and buried his face in his hands.
"Bugger, me." He kept grousing.
"Fox they'll fix her up good as new." Peppy said reassuringly.
"Or at least better then it was." Falco said helpfully.
"You guys." Fox said dragging his hands over his eyes, rubbing them and then smacking his forehead. "Are NOT helping. My ship damn it! A whole damn planet to land on and they had to hit MY SHIP!"
"At least the Arwings are ok." Slippy said helpfully, then feeling Fox's glare burning into the side of his head and going quiet.
General Pepper entered the room with his usual accessories, his sunglasses, lollipop and beleaguered looking cheetah assistant scurrying behind him with a whole pile of data pads and assorted papers cradled in his arms.
"Thank you all for coming so quickly." Pepper said taking the lollipop out of his mouth as his assistant scurried about trying to get a wall panel to activate. "I have some disturbing news. Fox is there something wrong?" Pepper said seeing fox looking a little distraught.
"Oh just the usual, everything." Fox muttered.
"Well then, since our impressive victory in Sector Y we've been acting as life is back to being as sweet and enjoyable as this Lolly." He said twirling it about his fingers. His assistant has gotten the wall panel to open and pictures from the crashed ships sensor logs flashed on the screen. "We have evidence that once again something is afoot in Sector Y. The freighter that crashed this morning was brutally attacked by the life forms in that region. This is highly unusual because these creatures are usually docile by nature. Until now they've always been fairly peaceful to vessels in that area."
"They could have been just toying with the ship." Falco said. "They've been known to bump the occasional cruiser every once in awhile. Or they could have been hungry."
Fox looked at the monitor, something wasn't right. He straightened up putting aside his aggravation for the moment. "Someone should teach them not to play with their food."
"You?" General Pepper nodded.
Falco's mood began to perk up, more action, just what he had been missing. "Wait you mean you want us to…"
"Check it out yes." Pepper said finishing his sentence.
"Hmm.. I don't know the Great Fox is trashed, we don't have a means to get there." Fox said.
"You don't need the Great Fox." Pepper replied. "Sector Y is well within the flight range of your Arwings. I really don't have any other ships to spare at the moment so you will just have to work with what you got." Pepper said sternly. "We'll get her patched up, fortunately the ship was insured and I've already contacted the proper people to make sure the Great Fox's repairs are paid for."
It was a relief but a small one, Fox wasn't too thrilled about leaving his ship behind but Pepper was right they'd just have to make due.
A few hours had past.
Five Arwings cruised through space away from Corneria
"It feels good to get out and fly again!" Falco said happily.
"I agree." Fara said in her own black and gold Arwing. "I think I was getting a bit rusty."
"How's the new Arwing holding up Slippy?" Peppy asked.
"It's got all the modifications I wanted in it." Slippy croaked happily. "And it's better then riding in your saddlebag Peppy."
Fox said nothing he was not in the best of moods, and heading to Sector Y without support was not helping matters either.
"You know." Peppy suggested, Fox's silence was an indication at how peeved he actually was.. "Come to think of it we've never gotten around to running a diagnostic on that Arwing of Fara's. It was fresh off the assembly line when Rob "acquired" it. Could be a whole slew of things wrong with it." He said nonchalantly.
Fara raised a brow but figured out what Peppy was doing. "I don't see any problems but it might be a good idea. I'll run a full diagnostic."
"Fortuna should be pretty close about now." Peppy said. "They still have that place in the tropical center, be a nice spot for a break, and it's not that far from Sector Y. They've got some good beer, and the best food in the whole system!"
"Shouldn't we just head straight there?" Falco whined.
"No." Fox finally said speaking up. "Slippy I'd like you to give Fara's Arwing the once over once we land, think you can manage that. The way our luck has been we probably should have it checked out."
"Sure." Slippy replied.
Fox looked out his canopy at the blue world sitting off in the horizon. The two planets had cleared the Meteo belts in orbit and it was a straight line shot for the planet. "Yeah, lets go for it I could use a break."
The Arwings were landed in the large open hanger at Greebo's Space Center. The place was pretty packed and several civilian zip craft and hover cars were parked along it as well. Fox actually liked the other planets in the system, rules were a bit lax and they were still very ruff and tumble places to go.
They all gathered in front of Fox's Arwing. "Ok we're going to grab a bite to eat Slippy. Catch up with us when you can."
The frog had already broken his tools out of the storage compartment on the Arwing and was getting ready to go to work. "Just leave some for me ok?" He said walking over to Fara's Arwing and checking the G-Diffusers out.
"Do you need any help Slippy?" Fara said feeling a bit guilty that Slippy obviously didn't realize this was a ploy.
"Naw." The frog smiled. "You go ahead I'll handle it." He motioned over to the lizard dressed in an orange jump suit that was hurriedly running a equipment cart over to the Arwing. "Besides I've got all the help I'll need."
Fox nodded and turned to leave. "It's amazing how the lizards have become so helpful." He heard Falco mused. "That device we destroyed must have really had a hold on them."
"Yeah." Fox replied. "Since then all of the Imperial soldiers have been disbanded, the governments doing the best they can to integrate them into society." Fox replied. "They've even managed to deactivate the cerebral bores that Andross was using to control them."
Fara caught up with them and tugged on Falco's flight jacket.
"Yeah?" Falco asked.
"Is Slippy, always like that?" She asked.
Falco chuckled. "He's only happy when he's neck deep in muck or electrical parts, it's a toss up which he likes better."
"Oh." Fara said. "I kind of feel like a heel leaving him like that." She said quietly.
"Bah, what matters is we get Fox perked up, Slippy will be just fine."
Despite the odd name Greebo's Space port was a fairly reputable stop. It had vast bay windows that looked out into Fortuna's jungles and the architecture was a little dated but maintained. Fara had never been to a place like it before, it was surprisingly clean and the people who ran it were quite amicable. The hall way they traveled down lead to a well-lit open-air restaurant. They grabbed a table out on the balcony and ordered some food. Fox ordered Fortuna Ale and kicked his feet up onto the table.
"You know Peppy maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to stop here." He said taking a sip. "Maybe we should have a little fun."
"Too quiet for my taste." Falco muttered sitting between Fara and Peppy.
Peppy had gotten into an argument about getting extra carrots on his meal and was currently out of the conversation.
"Hey Falco quiet's not so bad every once in awhile." Fara said.
'If you say so." Falco sighed.
"Da da da daDa da da. Da da da doo de da…" Slippy hummed to himself fine tuning the G-Diffusers oblivious to everything that was going on around him. So far the check up was going well. The Arwing was in tiptop shape, it needed a little fine-tuning but nothing Slippy couldn't handle.
The lizard didn't respond as he was quietly lowered to the ground by gloved hands. A pig's shadow was seen moving across the floor.
Pigma Dengar stood quietly over the frog as he worked on the Arwing. The little twit was too busy to even notice what was going on around him. Behind him Andrew drug the unconscious lizard aside.
"Hey buddy could you hand me the socket driver?" Slippy asked, holding out his hand.
"Rha ha ha I'll give it to you alright." Pigma cackled drawing the wrench back.
Slippy suddenly felt some ancient instinct to hop in any direction except where he was, he spun around and before he could say anything the tool belted him squarely over the head felling him to the ground.
Pigma tossed the tool aside and picked up the unconscious frog. "I'll be damned if I let Wolf have that reward. Splitting it with you will be preferable."
"But this isn't Fox." Andrew spat. "It's just the stupid frog."
"Hey Andross wanted an Arwing and an Arwing he'll have, we can still collect for this one now can't we."
"I suppose so." Andrew said helping toss the unconscious frog into the Arwings cockpit.
"I'll fly, now help me get the other Arwing's fuel cells drained." Pigma grunted. "You take my Wolfen and we'll meet back on Titanina."
Andrew nodded and they quickly went to work.
"No I don't want any meat for the last blasted time! I want Carrots! My goddess do I have to spell it out for you, you daft bugger!" Peppy shouted getting rather irritated much to the amusement of his teammates. Peppy didn't like carrots simply by the literary conventions that suggest that simply because he is a rabbit he will like carrots. Most rabbits he knew hated them, Peppy actually liked the taste of them. They were also a specialty food and since he had the money he was going to get them come hell or high water.
His ears perked up as heard the whine of an Arwings engine. He turned his head and focused his eyes on the cockpit. It was definitely Fara's Arwing but something didn't look right.
Falco put down his plate and watched the Arwing begin to climb. "Maybe Slippy's taking it out for a post maintenance test flight."
"Since when do you fly an Arwing passed out in the rumble seat. With Pigma piloting it." Peppy muttered his brain still on carrots, until the mental connection finally clicked. "PIGMA!"
"Damn those eyes of yours, are you sure Peppy!" Fox said slamming his gas down.
"I'm sure of it!"
"ARRGH I knew this was too good to be true!" Fox said bolting upright as the others did as well. "SLIPPY!" Shouted Fox bolting out the door as the others followed close behind.
"HEY!" Shouted the waiter. "You forgot to pay your bill!"
They arrived in the hanger bay and Fox did a quick eye count of the hanger.
"What the hell happened?" Falco shouted spotting the unconscious lizard and a red ball cap laying forlornly on the floor. He swallowed hard and picked it up wringing it in his hands.
"There's only one Arwing gone." Fox said.
"Fox." Falco muttered holding up Slippy's cap. Fox snatched it from Falco and held it shaking visibly. "Slippy…." He muttered.
Peppy had managed to get the lizard to come around. "What happened?" he asked. "Where's Slippy?"
"Sssomeone hit me from behind." The lizard groaned his head throbbing. "They mussst of took your friend."
"DAMNIT, Pigma lets get him guys!" Fox shouted running for his Arwing. "Slippy's one of us, if you mess with him you mess with rest of us right!" Fox said stuffing the cap into his flight jacket.
"Right!" Peppy, Fara and Falco shouted at once.
"Rha ha ha ha!" Pigma laughed gunning the Arwings hyper engines and setting a course for Sector Y. He checked behind him and Slippy was still blissfully conscious shoved behind the pilots seat. "Andrew hurry up."
"I'm coming." Andrew groused his Wolfen pulling up beside Fara's stolen Arwing. "Uncle Andross will be very pleased getting his hands on this!"
"What's even better is bucket head." Pigma cackled. "If they follow us they'll fall right into Andross' trap and we'll be rid of them for good! " The two vessels activated their hyper drives and blasted towards Sector Y.
Four Arwings soon arrived on the scene.
"DAG NABBIT." Peppy swore. "He activated the Hyper Drive we won't catch them now!"
"Where are they going Fara." Fox asked.
"Looks like Sector Y, Fox." Fara said switching to long-range sensors and getting a lock on her Arwing and it's accompanying Wolfen.
"Sector Y?!" Fox said. "Why are they going there if the creatures are acting up they'll tear them apart."
"Well Fox, if we were being chased by some imperials what did we always do." Falco said reminding him.
"Oh yeah, good point. Kick in the hyper drives we're not letting Pigma get away with this!"
The Four Arwing's dropped out of space warp outside of Sector Y and boosted ahead.
"Where is he Fara?"
"They aren't that far ahead of us Fox," Fara began when suddenly the two blips on her screen disappeared. "What the, Fox I just lost both of them."
"Um Fox I got a problem." Falco suddenly report. "My Arwing's reading it's almost out of go go juice."
"What the, no way we just got refueled." Fox muttered.
"It's worse then that Fox." Peppy said as his own energy meter began to flash. "Damn Pigma, of course he'd think of everything!" he said smacking his forehead.
Fox looked down at his own gauge that began to flash in the dangerously low regions. "Fara tell me you got some fuel."
"I'm just as bad as you guys are." She said quietly. "I hate to be the bringer of more bad news, but we got a lot of stingrays heading this way, and they don't look to friendly."
Fox looked over at Peppy through his canopy and over to Falco who shrugged uncertainly.
"We've been had!" Fox snarled.
The small camp had been set up for awhile now. If Katt was playing the waiting game she was good at it. Leon would make periodic trips inside the base to see if Katt was still there and steal some food every once in awhile. He had to admit the camping out in the desert wasn't too bad, Wolf had experience with such things and had brought appropriate supplies. An atmospheric condenser kept water supply ample and solar collectors were set up to keep the Wolfen's fuel cells charged.
Leon was getting itchy but tried to keep his complaints to hisself. Wolf was smart, and had never led Leon astray yet. Wolf was prodding the small campfire they had set up in the cave. He was looking a bit distracted as well as drunk. A bottle of whiskey was on the ground beside him.
"Did you get anything good this time."
"Yes heh heh meat." Leon replied. "I was getting sick of rations."
"What did you do?"
"I hit the head cook in the head with a wine bottle before he closed up." Leon snickered. "Then poured a lot of it down his gullet and made it look like he did it to himself."
"Very inventive, I hope you didn't kill him." Wolf complemented.
"No no, too much of a mess. " Leon said grabbing a large skillet off it's rock that it was stuck on and extracting the large pieces of meat. "Our quarry is unusually stubborn for a feline."
"That she is." Wolf said taking another swig. He liked the outdoors when he was a pup he had been in the Cornerian Cub Scouts. He often felt he was born several hundred years too late, he liked the out doors and being out on the frontier. It was a hidden wish that he could have been an outlaw back in the old expansion days when Conerians didn't have a city on every continent. Knocking over steam transports, robbing banks, sleeping under the stars, it appealed to him. That was so long ago, he thought back before all that trouble in the academy before James, before Vixy. Wolf took another swig.
"You will make yourself sick on that stuff in this heat." Leon said as he cooked.
"Bah." Wolf said. "Since when do you care."
"Suit yourself." Leon said grabbing the bottle and taking a swing himself. "Being a reptile I can handle it a little better, just looking out for the best interests of the team and all that heh heh."
Wolf smirked. "You know Leon, all these years we've been killing and tearing things up and being total bastards in general. We never really done anything else you know. Least like this before."
"Yes that is true." Leon said taking a swing.
"You ever wonder if like we could have done something else? Not that what we've been doing is a waste of time. Hell being a mercenary is very exciting especially if you're good at it." Wolf said leaning for the bottle to be passed back.
Leon complied handing it back. "Heh heeh heh."
"What's so fucking funny?" Wolf asked.
"If we hadn't gotten thrown in the slammer, Andross would be having a hell of a time with us." Leon snickered making his hand look like a mock airplane and going "peyoo peyoo" opening his palm to simulate an explosion. "We'd be bloddy hero's, parades and all that and women throwing themselves at us heh heh."
Wolf had to laugh at that. "Ah well that's not what was intended for us I suppose."
Leon paused to think. "Why didn't we just finish off Fox earlier?"
Wolf thought it over taking another swig the smell of the meat was making his stomach rumble despite being drowned in liquor. "You ever fly against his dad?"
"No." Leon replied. "I heard stories."
Wolf looked into the fire remembering back into the past. "The man we killed on Venom was not him. I mean in body it was James McCloud, but what we fought was a broken, shell of a man." He paused staring into the fire. "James fought with every essence of his being when we dueled in the academy, a true warrior of the sky through and through."
Leon nodded turning the meat.
"I want to fight Fox one on one like that again, on even terms." Wolf said. "When he went after Pigma I saw that spark his father once had. That's what I want to fight." Wolf said taking another swig. "I'm sure you can understand that."
Leon had removed his piece of meat and was chowing down on it. "Yes I can." He said between ravished mouthfuls. "that bird of theirs provides me with a challenge I have not had in awhile."
"Exactly." Wolf said. "You can only truly be alive when locked in mortal combat with an challenging adversary." He paused to grab his own piece of food and chow down on it as well.
"Your not so bad for a murdering bastard you know that." Wolf smirked.
"Now I know you had to much to drink." Leon said grabbing the bottle and taking it away. "Heh thanks for the complement though. I suppose, birds of a feather as they say."
"Anytime." Wolf said finishing off his meal and grabbing his bedroll, leaning his head on it and crossing his fingers on his chest.
"Tomorrow night we make our move." Wolf said. "I spotted her, she's been walking along the perimeter wall walkway at about oh ten hundred hours every night. She's getting restless."
"Really?" Leon asked.
Wolf nodded. "Take the binoculars and take a look for yourself."
Leon wiped off his hands grabbed the binoculars and stepped out of the cave and looked. He panned over the fortress walls at high resolution until he spotted a pink blur. He zoomed in and sure enough, Katt was out on the wall watching the sun go down.
"I'll be damned." He muttered. "Heh, Wolf you were right."
"Good things come to those who wait my friend." Wolf said drowsily. "Good things."
Katt usually didn't wander outside the base for fear of being spotted. After being on Katina base for two weeks she'd learned of what had happened during that battle.
Falco had been here.
She had been so close once again he'd gotten away from her.
She sighed pulling her Jacket around her as Katina's evening breeze blew in from the north. She had the nagging feeling that she was being watched, but maybe it was in her mind. She was safe here at least, Bill had finally managed to evict her from his quarters and she had spacious ones herself. She was getting edgy; no new assignments were coming in. Perhaps she could take off and try to find Falco and no one would bother with trying to find her. The problem was if he was in the Lylat again, where was he? She'd inquired as to where he may be but no one would offer any answers.
"I'm going to catch up to you one of these days Lombardi." She said looking up the stars.
Falco was jarred as two stingrays took turns slamming his ship. "Fox, I know you don't want to hear this at the OOF moment but we are OMMPF totally boned!"
"I wonder what's got them so stirred up!" Fox muttered as one slapped his Arwing with it's tail. "These things used to be pussycats."
"Yeah but now their tigers." Fara said gritting her teeth as Slippy's borrowed Arwing was being bashed about.
"Yarrrg Fox we can't take much more of this!" Falco growled.
"We're sitting ducks like this!" Peppy growled his own ship being furiously hammered by the stingrays. "It's been nice knowing you guys!"
Fox saw something odd on one of the stingrays attacking his ship and tried to catch it again. Could it be?
"Listen up guys, I spotted something are your targeting systems online?"
"OH that tears it." Falco said as his Arwing was struck again. "Fox I'm launching a Nova bomb I'm not going to be some fish's entrée!"
"That might not be wise Falco." Peppy said between tail strikes on his own Arwing.
"WAIT!" Fox shouted. "Look carefully at their tails!"
Everyone did in between strikes.
"See the transmitters?"
Fara looked focusing her eyes. "Yes I see them."
"Destroy the transmitters on the big ones, don't hit the body. I bet if we destroy the transmitters the little ones will break off their attack as well!"
The Arwings spun around with their depleted energy reserves they had to use the light laser battery. One by one they spun the craft about using thrusters and took out the transmitters on the larger stingrays. No sooner had the transmitters been obliterated then the creatures stopped their attack. It took only a few moments more of firing before all of the creatures wandered off in search of something better to do.
"It works those transmitters must have been controlling them." Fara said. Seeing the stingrays fly off suddenly loosing interest.
"That means someone must have been controlling them." Falco muttered.
"Who would be so cruel and devious?"
"Pigma's cunning but he's not that industrious." Peppy said. "That only leaves one person I can think of."
Fox grumbled. "That makes sense, if Andross is behind it why they bother kidnapping Slippy knowing we would follow." Fox thought about it. "I destroyed him though I was sure of it."
Peppy scratched his head. "Andross had to have survived somehow. Slippy and I noticed that ship was unusually vacant. Herbert was the only one there but we destroyed him."
"Yes but can Slippy survive if that's the case?" Fara said.
"Can we survive." Fox said miserably. "We're out of juice, we're stranded. That bastard even took out my long range transmitter, we can't even call for help."
The reality of the situation began to sink in.
"We're still stranded." Peppy muttered. "That little skirmish used up the last of our fuel cells, now we can sit waiting for our batteries to die out and then they can eat us after we die!" Peppy said pounding his dashboard.
There was an eerie silence. "Sorry." Peppy sighed.
"It's my fault." Fox said. "I'm the team leader we should have checked the ships before we left."
"Oh Fox.." Fara sighed.
"Poor Slippy." Falco muttered.
It was quiet again as the four Arwings drifted in space.
No one wanted to blame him, they all should have checked. It was pointless fighting about it and blaming people at this point. They were all concerned about their friend and let their emotions get ahead of their rationality. The Arwing's power systems began trying to conserve every ounce of power to maintain life support. Even their running lights had shut down and the cockpits were illuminating only the most critical of systems.
"It's been nice knowing you guys." Peppy finally said. "I couldn't have been with a finer crew."
"NO!" Fox suddenly said. "I wont' accept it, there has to be a way." He said. "Fara they were on your scopes for awhile and they just disappeared, you can't just disappear you have to have somewhere to go. Right?"
"Even if they had some way to mask it the Arwing's engines would still leave a trail right?" Fox said.
"Of course it would." Fara said. "I'll get on it."
"What's on your mind Fox?" Peppy asked.
"Well it's obvious they had to have gone somewhere. Sector Y is lousy with strange gravimetric fields and all that stuff that's why it's not the best place to go flying. Maybe they found a short cut I don't know." Fox said something was nagging at him and he couldn't put his finger on it.
His memory had been mulling something over that didn't make sense. A sense of lost time during the battle with Andross, a sense of being somewhere else, strange sights and strange people. It didn't make sense though; his mind had pushed the notion of such a thing happening out of it, because it was ludicrous.
"Fox I got it." Fara finally said. "Their ion trails end about three kilometers away from here. My sensors also indicate there is some very strange instabilities in that region."
"Like what?" Falco asked.
"I don't know I've never seen anything like it before." Fara said shaking her head. "I'm a engineer not a bloody astrophysicist."
"I used to hear rumors.." Peppy said. "Something about a "Black Hole" or a gateway that used to be out here, even before Andorss' meddling. The government never really looked into it."
"I doubt that." Fara said. "I do know black holes put off a lot of deadly radiation and I'm not reading anything like that out here. I think maybe the proper term would be a Worm hole."
"A whatsis?" Falco asked.
"A worm hole, they're basically a subspace tunnel between too points in space." Fara rattled off. "At least that's the extent to how I understand it."
"Shoot me those coordinates Fara." Fox said. "We're going to go where they went."
The Four Arwings fired their thrusters and glided through space. The clock was ticking down every bit of energy expended was shortening their life support little by little.
"We're here." Fara said as the Arwings came to a stop.
The four of them looked around unsure what to do.
"Well it was worth a try." Falco said.
Fox pushed his Arwing on.
"Fox it was a worthy try." Peppy said. "Stop wasting your fuel cell."
"It has to be here." Fox muttered it has to be here somewhere."
"Wait a minuet." Fara spoke up. "Something strange is going on."
Whum whum whum whum
The Arwings were shook as something was coming to life all around them.
"Fox what is going on!" Falco stammered.
Suddenly in front of Fox's Arwing a swirling whirlpool of light appeared all around his Arwing. It grew larger and larger until it opened like a horrible cosmic flower and Fox's Arwing vanished from sight.
Katt had come back inside and was walking into the hanger bay where she saw Bill in his flight suit prepping his ship along with two other pilots.
"What's going on?" She asked.
"The Higher ups want us to check out what went down at Sector X." Bill said simply. "Their worried that what ever destroyed that base may try to come after Corneria. So of course they ask me to do it since it's only next door."
"That sounds like they're just being a little to paranoid." Katt said offhandedly.
"Could be, we've already lost one ship doing it, but they want us to check it out. No one else to do it."
"Oh well have fun then, I'm thinking about leaving again."
"Aw, so soon?" Bill said with mock interest.
"Yes." Katt said a bit miffed.
"We could use a photographer to get a picture of this thing that's supposedly out there." Bill said climbing up into his cockpit. "Whatever it is, there'd probably be a good amount of pay for it. For all we known it could be a bio weapon."
"Yuck, no thanks." Katt said. "If it's all the same to you until you guys get more area's opened up for me to do some spying in, I don't think I want to risk my neck anymore then I have too."
"Suit yourself." Bill replied. "Feel free to drop by anytime."
"Ha ha." Katt said turning and waving. "You know I will." She said sauntering off to grab her gear.
Slippy's head hurt. His eyes tried to focus as they opened and strange shapes loomed around him. He groaned and noticed that his hands were shackled to something.
"So the little froggy's finally awake." Andrew's nasally voice echoed throughout his throbbing head.
Slippy's vision cleared and he realized he was chained in the air to an X shaped contraption. His wrists were firmly cuffed and so were his ankles.
"The Emperor." Pigma said with a little sarcasm. "Wishes to see you now." Pigma stepped out of Slippy's line of sight and another form loomed behind him in some sort of throne.
"The Emperor?" He muttered still trying to clear the fog in his mind when he finally recognized the other person in the room. "Andross!" He gulped.
Andross was seated in a chair scratching his chin thoughtfully as Herbert was off to the side staring at nothing in particular.
"You two may leave." Andross said to Pigma and Andrew. The two nodded and left out through a side door.
"But, but how? We defeated you!"
Andross cackled rather loudly. "I am not so easily beaten you foolish amphibian. In fact my power is still growing while your foolish Cornerian Defense Force has believed me to be vanquished." Andross paused for a bit. "Although destroying my Psionic Resonator has caused me a great deal of aggravation. Those lizards in my fleet will not easily be replaced, but no matter. My telekinetic amplifier is nearing completion and you will all soon be on your knees begging for my mercy!"
"You're mad!" Slippy spat. "Fox and the others will stop you!" Slippy said suddenly feeling like a heel but at the moment it seemed like the right thing to say. There wasn't a lot he could do at the moment strapped as he was.
"SHUT UP!" Andross snarled. "Fox is a fool and he will pay a fool's price." He said getting out of his chair his features growing dark. "I will not rest till that little twit and all the others who have humiliated me have reaped their just rewards."
"OINK." Herbert nodded in agreement.
Slippy rolled his eyes, this guy was off his rocker. "What is your problem anyway? You started all this! I mean what is your major malfunction did your parents not love you enough when you were a child!?" Slippy realized this was a mistake to say when he was suddenly backhanded.
"SILENCE you whelp." Andross growled. "You don't know anything."
Slippy winced as he felt his face swelling; he'd obviously touched a nerve.
"Of course." Andross paused reflectively. "Few do." He spun around, finally a captive audience.
"Very well I shall tell you my torrid tale since you asked." Andross smirked.
Andross was originally born Andross Oikonny, for reason's unknown he was abandoned by his parents to an orphanage on Corneria shortly after his birth.
He was spared the harshness of growing up in one by being quickly adopted by a well off, swine couple, Herbert and Joliene Avris. They both worked at one time for Arspace Dynamics at a time when the space industry was still something that was fought for by many companies. The young Andross was quite happy, he was cared for greatly by his adoptive parents.
Things were going well, Andross turned out to be a very bright and intuitive child and he spent many hours with his adoptive father learning all he could about technology and the sciences from his mother. Andross' mind was like a famished animal devouring every piece of information that he could get his diminutive hands on. He flew through primary school and excelled in all his classes so much that it there was talk that he could enter the academy at the age of nine years old.
His life was going well, he loved using his mind to create things and soon was even helping his father on a few projects.
Until that one day, over twenty years ago.
The Cornerian Military had brought a strange creature to the lab.
It was dead, and looked strangely artificial.
Andross had been in with his father when it had happened and was reluctantly allowed to stay as they examined it.
He remembered the strange creature it was nearly forty feet long and covered with a strange gray silicate material. He remembered being reminded of a butterfly but this was something far more sinister then a butterfly. Its wings were gone and only strange crystalline stems remained.
A hushed word was passed among the scientists and military people.
It was beautiful was what he could remember, a synthetic life form, the perfect symbiosis of flesh and metal. Such a dream of every scientific mind and now it lay brutally slaughtered on a lab table to be picked apart by lesser beings.
He remembered watching his mother remove something from the head of the dead creature from an observation window. It was a throbbing glowing synthetic construct.
"What is it?" an officer asked.
"It's the core." His adopted mother said almost in a trance. "It is it's life force, it's mind it's very essence."
His father waved some sort of scanner of it. "Incredible, despite the body being dead this thing is still alive and functioning."
"Be careful with that damn thing!" A young canine colonel, with a cardboard stick off to one side of his mouth, snapped at the scientists. "It nearly destroyed an entire fleet! We lost a lot of good men trying to bring that thing down!"
"I wouldn't worry about it colonel." His father said. "It's simply amazing."
The strange construct suddenly emitted a flash of light.
Andross' shielded his eyes, only to uncover them hearing his mother begin to scream.
The strange device had began to melt into her flesh. Bizzare tendrils were going up her arms and changing her skin to a dark grey. Her mate tried to free it from her hands but a tendril shout out from his mothers arm and struck him in his chest.
"MOM, DAD!" The young Andross' screamed beating on the glass on the observation window. The soldiers stood and watched in the horror as the two Cornerian swine were transformed into hideous versions of themselves, as they finally stopped twitching they stared at the soldiers with pupiless eyes that glowed a sickly red. They stood looking at the other people in the room.
"humanoid carbon based life forms." His former stepmother said.
"assimilation is compatible began restoration."
"Stop it right there." The colonel said. "What have you done to them."
The two pigs said nothing and walked over to the downed creature and placed their hands upon it. Strange tendrils began to merge with the dead creature and a spark of life began to fill its body again.
"STOP THAT RIGHT NOW OR WE WILL FIRE." The canine ordered as his men raised their blasters.
The two swine looked at him with their dead eyes and went back to what they were doing.
SKRRREEE ONK! The dead creature on the platform shrieked as life surged through it's body once again.
"SHOOT THEM, SHOOT THEM NOW!" The canine said out of desperation. "Don't let it get loose!"
"NO!" Andross screamed beating against the glass but there was nothing he could do.
The soldiers opened fire and the high-energy rounds pierced their bodies and Andross watched in horror as they jerked and screeched as the bolts tore their bodies to pieces. After a hail of fire both pigs fell to the ground scorched and shot full of holes. Their blood was splattered everywhere tinted black from whatever the strange alien device had did to them.
The canine looked up and saw Andross pressed against the glass.
"GET HIM OUT OF HERE." He ordered to another soldier who saluted and ran to grab Andross. Andross fought the soldiers as they drug him away.
The lab was soon destroyed by a nova bomb detonation; nothing remained of it but a crater. The Cornerian government had ordered that no trace of the alien life form remain.
Andorss was furious.
His parents were gone, and he was alone.
The Cornerian Government had took them away from him by playing with something they didn't understand.
He vowed revenge that day.
"I entered the Academy a few years later." Andross said. "To be able to destroy my enemy effectively I had to learn their ways. Perfect my talents, and use them to avenge my parents death." He snarled. "It's always brought me a great joy to know that every dime they sunk into my research was another nail in their coffin. Rha ha ha!"
"Yeah and it got you exiled." Slippy croaked.
Andross returned to his chair and sat down. "A minor set back, fate as it seems is strange. When I arrived on Venom I found it inhabited by dull lizards living amongst the decaying ruins of an ancient civilization."
Slippy gave a confused look, he's never heard of this before, maybe if he was lucky Andross' would give him his whole plan, then he could tell it to Fox.
"The lizards were not capable of such things, they were simple, primitive and dull." Andorss grinned. "They thought I was a god and took me to an archive full of the ancient civilizations technologies. Amongst this crumbling ruins I found the tools I needed to begin again. I learned secrets of the Lylat System none had ever known before, once the time had come, I started making a few contacts. I began work on my masterpiece the telekinetic amplifier which has yet to reach fruition but will very, very soon."
"Everything was going to plan." Andross muttered. "Until Star Fox arrived and started mucking up my plans." He paused. "Ah yes, your friends. I have led them into a trap in Sector Y. The stingray's there, are under my control you see. I'm afraid your friends will be very dead very soon."
Slippy's eye's widened, that's why he was here. "FOX!" He yelled.
"Ah no not again!" Fox yelled.
Suddenly he could remember where he was. The guardians or whoever they were must have carpooled him again. He did notice despite the white light that was surrounding him he seemed to be standing on solid ground.
He could hear footsteps drawing closer.
He spun around and out of the blinding light in the distance two figures emerged; one was walking the other seemed to be floating above the ground.
"Now what do you want, I don't have time to screw with you guys now!"
"That's not a very polite way to treat your hosts, Junior." He heard a voice say uncertainly from the walking figure.
Fox's jaw dropped as his eyes focused on the mysterious voice. "Father?" He said.
James McCloud stepped out of the glare; he was wearing a green flight suit and his sunglasses. He looked at Fox with an expression of odd curiosity. "Of course, who else would it be? Elvis?"
Something had emerged from the black hole. Fara, Peppy and Falco were too shocked by it to even notice Fox had disappeared.
"What is that thing some sort of Space Blimp!" Falco spluttered.
"It looks like some sort of whale!" Peppy gasped. "Wow this is just getting weirder by the moment!
The strange creature twisted itself over the worm hole and strange long canisters began to appear flying out of it's mouth.
"Are those fuel canisters?!" Fara said.
"Sure enough looks like them to me, quick latch up with them before they drift to far away.
"Do not fear us." A chorus of voices said over their headsets. "We have come to assist you."
Suddenly the canisters latched onto the appropriate ports on the Arwings and the ships began to power back up as their fuel cells were recharged.
"Where's Fox?" Peppy demanded.
"Your friend will be returned to you shortly." The voices replied. "This vessel is appearing in this shape because it does not solely exist in your dimension."
"Ok, so why the interest in us?" Falco asked.
"Andross' has not been vanquished, you are his destroyers. However, he is using technologies you cannot begin to understand. You are not meant to die out here, we are here to undo his tampering."
"Well…" Falco gulped. "that's a comforting thought."
Fox hugged his dad tight. "You're alive."
"Hey easy there, Junior I might need that rib. You sure got tall." He said. "What do you mean alive? Of course I am."
The shade of Fox's mother was observing them; she had arrived with James and was looking on with interest. "You mustn't say a word of what has happened, you can not change history." The shade says in his mind. "Your father believes it is several years ago by your understanding of time. He is here for his own reasons, do not interfere."
"Then how come he's here now?" Fox asked much to James' confusion.
"It was decided before you were born. Do not interfere."
"So.." James said. "You sure shot up, a fine strapping Fox at that." James said. "Last I saw you, you were gangly and well about this tall." James said lowering his hand to about mid chest level. "Glad to see you grew out of it."
"You aren't the only one dad." Fox smiled.
"These buggers tell me you are eighteen now. What's the future like?"
"Oh, not much different." Fox said snapping his fingers recognizing his dads uniform. "Hey that's the uniform you won before… er…"
"Yeah it's already happened, that damn gravity bomb went off, I about bought it until whatever these things are pulled me out of it. I guess by their reckoning I'm from the past or whatever, they said something about temporary spacious locations or some other daft nonsense."
"Yeah they accused me of carpooling with beans." Fox said shooting the shade a look. "Do you mind?"
The shade nodded and moved off.
"What do you know about this?" Fox asked.
For some reason which he never understood, when in the presence of these beings fear, doubt and distrust were just obliterated. It was almost as if being in this bizarre zone made one open to about anything. If the guardians had told him he could beat the empire with a paper hat and a spoon he would have believed them.
"I don't really know, Junior." James said. "I've ran into them a few times myself. They annoy me for a bit and put me back, I don't know why, they keep saying I'm important and all that."
"Sounds familiar." Fox grumbled.
James paused for a moment. "Did you graduate?"
"Top of my class." Fox said proudly.
"That's my boy." James smiled proudly. "I can't wait to see that, your mom would have been so proud."
"Speaking of." Fox said trying to fight the urge to catch up on old times with his dad. "What about her?" He said moving his eyes in the direction of Vixy's shade who was standing off to the side looking on.
"Oh her?" James said looking at the shade of his late wife. "She's called the Architect, kind of ironic huh?"
"Is Peppy still around?" James asked. "Hah I bet he's got a few grey hairs by now."
"Yeah Peppy's still around." Fox said. "He keeps us in line."
"Us? You got a team now?"
"Yeah." Fox smiled.
"Hot damn following in my footsteps aren't you." James said smiling. "I hope I can see that some day."
Fox swallowed hard, he wanted to tell his dad not to go to Venom, not to trust Pigma, anything to keep him alive.
Do not interfere, you can not change what has already happened.
"You… will." Fox said choking up a little.
"You ok son?" James asked concerned.
"Yeah, it's just…" Fox stammered. "Dad, come back with me."
"Back? Don't you mean forward?" James said. "No I can't do that, besides as far as I know, there's another you that needs me back where I am." James paused reflectively. "If he's going to grow up to be you some day, he's going to need me around." James said suddenly turning from Fox. "Which means, I have to stop taking these damn fool missions. What was I thinking?"
"Dad.." Fox said.
"No don't say a word, Junior." James said. "I had a responsibility to you and I was dodging it, you just don't know what I'm going though."
"I'm going through it too dad." Fox said solemnly.
James turned to the shade. "Take me back please."
The shade nodded and extended an arm in a direction. James started to walk away but then stopped. "Junior… Take care of yourself, ok?"
"I will… Father." Fox said wiping a forming tear out of his eye. "Watch your six."
"You too." James started to walk away.
"Dad!" Fox shouted as his father began to disappear again into the light.
"I love you dad!" Fox shouted.
James smiled it was odd, he'd never seen Fox so emotional before. He had the sinking feeling that something had happened but the guardians would not let him know about it. He could see it in his son's eyes though, and in his face.
"I love you too son." James replied before waving and disappearing into the light. "Take care of yourself."
The Architect stepped over to him.
"That's why he stopped isn't it." Fox said. "That's why he came back and took me off Corneria and we were a family again."
The Architect nodded in confirmation. "Your mission is not over, you must travel through the wormhole Fox." She paused. "You will find Andross, and Slippy on Titania."
"What about my friends."
"Their needs have been seen too."
Fox sniffed and wiped the tears out of his eyes. "Then what are we waiting for?"
Fox's Arwing appeared beside the others in the blink of an eye.
"Fox what's going on?" Peppy asked.
"It's, complicated." Fox replied. "We got to go through that wormhole Slippy's on the other side and so is Andross."
"Star Fox team, hear us." The Chorus said as the whale began to turn and dive slowly into the worm hole. "We will no longer be able to assist you from this point on, you are on your own. We have expended our energy and we must return, remember only you can save the Lylat system."
"No time for explanations guys." Fox said. "Just trust me on this, Let's rock and roll!" He said gunning his Arwings booster and following the whale into the worm hole. Fara, Falco and Peppy sat in their cockpits aghast for a moment.
"Well gods damn it what are you waiting for lets move people." Peppy said accelerating after Fox.
"Sure why not, it's not like this day can get any worse or more screwed up." Fara acknowledged blasting after Peppy.
Falco was so dumbfounded at the moment that he was molting, he didn't like it when things got so damn bizarre and he didn't get an explanation. "If I live thorough this I don't think there's enough alcohol in the galaxy to make me forget this." He groused following after his team and plunging into the maw of the wormhole.
Fox's Arwing plunged through the vortex of light and energy surges. The others were close behind him. The ride was very bumpy and he adjusted the G-Diffusers accordingly to smooth it out.
He looked around as the Arwing plunged onward through the tunnel everything around him started to blur and distort
"Weeeeiiirrrddddd." Fox said wondering why his voice seemed to be trailing behind him. Suddenly the energy vortex broke and the Arwings were in a calmer section as they zipped along.
"Foooooxxxx loooook!" He heard Falco say.
Fox looked up and saw a menagerie of about every ship the Lylat system had ever constructed floating around them.
"Aaaaaa graaaaveeeeyarrrdd." Peppy said. "Allllll looooook deaaaaaaaaaaddddd."
"Theeee crews?" Fara asked seeing the twisted and battered wrecks floating about.
"Caaaaan't looooooooooooook." Fox replied. "Loooooosst." He said, suddenly the tunnel appeared again and the Arwings were jostled about until they saw the end.
"Thaaat's the way, ffffollllowww meeeeee!" Fox said gunning his engines wanting to get as far from this nightmare as possible.
The wormhole opened up and spit out it the four Arwings.
"Wow I can't believe we're still breathing." Fara sighed relieved. "Everyone ok?"
"Yeah just a little dizzy." Peppy said.
"I can do with out having to go through that again." Falco muttered. "Where are we Fox."
As they all regained their bearings they noticed large pieces of wreckage floating past them. "I don't know Falco you tell me." He said pointing with his finger.
Falco looked over at Fox's cockpit then where his finger was pointing.
In the distance lie the results of one of Andross' most infamous experiments. In the distance an ominous X shaped radiation cloud loomed.
"Sector X, oh great Fox." Falco snapped. "Your alien buddies took us out of the pan and dropped us into the fire."
"That wreckage must be the base." Fara said pointing to the large pieces of twisted metal and deck plating floating further on in front of them. "I wonder what happened."
"There were rumors that Andross was screwing around with some sort of Artificial intelligence out here." Peppy muttered as they passed through the wreckage. "It went haywire and destroyed the base."
Falco laughed. "Sounds like this area of space just doesn't like him to well everything he does backfires."
"Titania should be close by." Fox said. "I hope Slippy can hold out for that long." Fox said suddenly seeing something move among the wreckage in his peripheral vision. "Did anyone else just see that?"
"What now, a giant sock puppet is going to fly out of a cargo container and try to eat us." Falco said less then thrilled at having any more surprises today.
Peppy was about to tell Falco to shut up when suddenly he saw something rather large pass between two pieces of large wreckage. "Hold up I just saw it too!"
"Um, I got something big on the sensors." Fara said. "I can't tell what it is the wreckage is causing too much interference. Whatever it is it's big."
"Stay alert guys." Fox said. "Maybe we can get past this wreckage without any problems."
As if on cue a monstrous hand burst through the wreckage and tried to grab Fox's Arwing. Fox yelped and rolled it away just as the metal shod hand nearly closed around his ship.
"What the hell is that thing?!" Fox said trying to get his wits back about him.
"WHERE IS THE CREATOR!" A synthetic voice said over their headsets. The metal shod hand flailed around and then pulled back through the hole it made in the wreckage. Suddenly another hand gripped the sides and a pair of hands tore the wreckage in half and pushed through it.
The Spyborg looked at them from two red glowing eyes mounted on it's body. "YOU ARE ENEMY YOU WILL BE DESTROYED." The two hands grabbed some wreckage and tossed them at the Arwings.
Fara hit her thrusters and quickly spun her Arwing out of the way as a piece of wreckage nearly struck it. She gunned her Arwings engines and strafed the Spyborg with fire and rolled away from its grasping hands that threatened to crush her ship. She yelped seeing the other one closing on her.
"Hey back off." She heard Fox say over the com as his own weapons slammed into the monsters head distracting it.
"Thanks Fox." Fara panted.
"Anytime, you ok."
"Hey watch what your doing pal someone might get hurt." Falco snapped flipping up his trigger guard and lining up the bots eyes in his sights. "Namely you!" He said firing his blasters.
The Spyborg quickly shielded it's eyes and Falco cursed in discust as he flew by. "How are we supposed to damage this thing?"
"Try to keep it busy, it's only got two hands it can't stop all of us." Peppy said trying to blast at one of the arm's hinges.
The four Arwing buzzed about the Spyborg like enraged hornets blasting away but it was extremely fast and maneuverable. "ENEMY IS HOSTILE UPGRADING TO SECOND STAGE."
"Wow this one's really bright." Falco muttered.
Suddenly two large plasma cannons flipped out of its torso. "THE ENEMY MUST BE TERMINATED! DESTROY DESTROY."
It began to spin around firing rapid blasts at the Arwings.
"UNGH" Falco grunted as his ship was hit. "Great I'm taking damage, if only we can hit that things head!"
"Sounds like you guys could use some help!" Bill's voice said.
"Bill? You mutt what are you doing out here?!" Fox said seeing the three green-tented Cornerian space fighters flying towards them.
"I could ask you that Fox, but seeing as you're here I can pay you back for your help." Bill replied.
"Try to shoot its eyes." Fox said. "Maybe if there's enough of us we can get a clean hit.
"No problemo." Bill said. "Ok guys you heard him lets take that thing down.
The Spyborg became more frustrated and desperate now that it had three more attackers trying to shoot it's main sensors. Fara had managed to get a shot through at last and the Spybog's sensor exploded.
"WOO HOO I GOT IT!" She cheered.
"Nice shooting Fara." Peppy said.
The Spyborg grabbed at it's missing eye. "YOU WILL ALL BE DESTROYED!" It shrieked hurtling itself at the small ships that were vexing it. An arm detached from the spyborg and short toward Bills ship. Bill saw it coming and juked his ship out of the way and landed another hit on the Spyborgs undamaged eye sensor.
This sent the mechanoid into a blind rage.
"That did it nice going guys!" Fox said. "Poor it on and don't let up.
The Spyborg swung its hands wildly at the ships as they landed hit after hit on it's damaged head section, hit after hit struck home and the bot began shoot sparks from it's head unit until finally it exploded.
"Yes we did it!" Fara cheered.
The Spyborg shuddered and then went limp.
"I MUST BE COMPLETE!" The Bot shrieked.
"Ah no! It's STILL ALIVE!" Falco said.
"Hit it with the nova bombs!" Fox said. "Everyone fire!"
Each of the ships locked on a nova bomb and fired it at the damaged spyborg. A gigantic explosion enveloped the Spyborg and once the plasma fires had cleared all that remained we're debris.
"Well Fox I think we're even now." Bill said.
"No kidding, thanks for the help." Fox said gladly.
"So what are you doing out here?"
"It's a bit complicated, but one of those Starr Wolf creeps kidnapped Slippy and stole Fara's Arwing, we think Andross is behind it."
"Surely not." Bill said.
"It looks that way, he's got way to many lives then I care for." Fox grumbled.
"Well where do you think he's at?" Bill asked.
"Titania, we were heading there when that thing attacked us." Fox replied.
"Hmm that's a bit far for us." Bill said. "We won't have enough juice left to get back, but since our job is done here we'd probably better head back to Katina. Good luck Fox."
"Thanks take care of yourself Bill." Fox replied. "Is everyone ok?"
"No problems." Fara said. "Not even a scratch."
"Let's stop screwing around and go get Slippy!" Falco said.
"I concur we're getting short on time if we're all good lets go Fox!" Peppy said.
"Right lets go get our friend back." Fox replied moving his Arwing so the distant Titania was in his sights. "Hold on Slippy' we're coming for you!"
In a cave in one of the many towering sandstone formations around Katina Katt was working on her ship.
"Why do I do this to myself?" Katt muttered tossing her gear into the Catspaw's storage compartment. Perhaps she should just give up. Bill seemed a nice enough fellow and she could tell he was attracted to her despite his annoyance.
No, she had to resolve how she felt.
She was older now, she could fight her own battles, she didn't need to be rescued anymore.
"Corneria, I'll go there first." Katt said. "No that doesn't make sense, he may be closer to where the rest of the fighting is." She brushed a white strand of hair out of her eyes and continued looking over her ship. She suddenly turned around hearing some strange noise.
She drew her blaster and spun around but didn't see anything. She stood still trying to hear or smell anything but she didn't sense anything. "It was probably just the wind." She said aloud holstering her weapon. She turned back to check on her ship. "OH SHI!" she said realizing her error. After thinking about it the sound came from inside the cave not outside of it.
A blaster shot rang out in the darkness and struck her in her belly. Katt yelped and fell back onto the ground. She felt herself loosing control of her body nothing would obey her mental commands.
She grunted and tried to move but couldn't.
"Well, well ,well." Wolf said stepping into her vision. "Look what the cat dropped in. Is she stunned."
"Yes heh heh." Leon said coming into her vision as well. "She's so passive you could do her in with a rock."
Katt hissed not being able to get her vocal cords to relax.
Wolf held out his hand and Leon gave him the blaster.
"Now now none of that." Wolf said kneeling down over her. "Since you neglected to take up my offer, I'm afraied you no longer have a choice in the matter." Wolf said sneering. "We have ways to make you change your mind."
Katt glared at him.
"Don't worry about your ship, we'll take care of it. Just don't worry that pretty little head of yours about it." Wolf said standing back up and cocking the stun blaster again. "You just take will be taking a little nap." With that he fired the blaster again directly at Katt's chest , her body convulsed and then went limp.
"Bind her and toss her in that ship. We'll take her to Sargasso." Wolf ordered.
"We we're supposed to kill her." Leon said despondently.
"Blow what Andross says." Wolf snarled. "I call the shots around here right?"
"Then what's the bloody problem." Wolf sighed.
Leon scratched his head. "I guess there isn't one."
Meanwhile, on Titania.
Andross was giving some orders quietly to Andrew and Pigma. Andross had his back to Slippy and was keeping his voice down so Slippy could not hear. Their discussion was interrupted when a lizard came bolting through the door.
"Your highness!" A lizard said running into the thrown room.
Slippy watched as the lizard whispered something into Andross' ear..
Andross' brow furrowed and he dismissed the lizard. "Your friends are a little more cunning then I expected, they managed to slip past my trap." Andross grumbled at Slippy. "They are on their way here now to rescue you." Andross said pacing. "No matter I have one more surprise in store for them. My pet the Goras will take care of them." Andross cackled. Andrew, Pigma! Take him away, he may prove useful later. Herbert!" Andross said leaving through a door.
Herbert oinked and followed after its master.
Andrew sighed and did as told. "You get one wrist I'll get the other."
Pigma grunted. "Don't you try anything or we're going to be having frog legs for dinner."
"Wouldn't dream of it." Slippy croaked.
"Don't see why Andross wants this bugger intact." Pigma grunted.
"We got paid for it." Andrew smirked.
"Yes but still, you get paid to kill someone it's not the same." They lowered Slippy off the strange construct and Andrew held his arms behind his back and Slippy began to cough badly.
"Now what's yer damn problem." Pigma snorted.
"It's this choker I wear." Slippy whined. "It's been cutting off my air for hours now, I'd appreciate it if you'd loosen it."
Andrew and Pigma exchanged glances.
"You damn frogs and your jewelry." Pigma snorted.
"Uncle Andross said we'd better keep him intact." Andrew shrugged.
"Fine you undo it." Pigma snarled.
"Someone has got to hold his arms." Andrew snapped.
"Damn it, fine I'll do it." Pigma reached up and found the latch for the strange beaded necklace Slippy wore about his neck. "You stupid git, you are a victim of your own fashion." Pigma said fumbling at the latch. There was a click.
"Thanks." Slippy said.
Suddenly two of the beads exploded. A purple gas issued forth from it and Pigma's eyes rolled up into his head and he fell over. Andrew coming up in the last lap managed to beat him to the floor.
"Nope, you're a victim of my sleeping gas." Slippy cackled removing the choker. "Now to help Fox!" He said grabbing Pigma's blaster and making a dash for the door.
Slippy pounded down the hall way and past a control room with its door open.
"The Goras grows impatient." Slippy head one of the lizards say. Slippy skidded to a halt and slid up to the doors edge.
"Arwingssss detected. Engage defenses." Another lizard said sitting at another computer terminal.
Slippy grasped his choker and then stepped around the edge and tossed it into the room. "Engage this Lizards!" He shouted.
Before the lizards could react the beads on the choker exploded in a giant plume of gas. They both flailed around for a bit but eventually succumbed to its effects and were quietly dozing on the floor.
Slippy ran over to the terminal and quickly typed away. He soon spotted Fara's Arwing on one of the security monitors. It wasn't that far from the control room and it looked intact. He checked the charge on his captured blaster and then took off for the Arwing.
Andross was down in the Goras' holding area. The creature roared in rage and thrashed against the walls of its cell. It was a creature that stood as tall as a high-rise and looked like some sort of reptilian plant. It was bipedal and had four clawed arms that thrashed about against its bars. It's enormous eyes glared in hatred at Andross
"Andross' to control engage the transmitter." He ordered.
Nothing but static.
"BLAST!" Andross cursed slamming his console. He looked over at the Goras that was flailing wildly at it the bars of its prison. "Those bungling lizards don't have a brain between them."
Andross grumbled and walked over to a strange green wheel shaped contraption. It was a modified gyroscope speeder pod. A device, which was mainly used for competitive low g racing but surprisingly, worked very well in Titania's rough terrain. Andross hefted himself up into the open cockpit and strapped himself in and began to type in commands.
The Goras' thrashing suddenly stopped and it stood ridgidly still.
"No matter. I'll have to operate it manually from the speeder pod with Herbert."
Herbert looked up at it's master and oinked happily.
"Wake up my pet." Andross smiled. "It's feeding time." He said typing in a few more commands. The Goras suddenly snapped to attention and snarled as the doors of the installation began to open.
"You've meddled in my affairs once to often Fox McCloud." Andross said gripping the control stick of the pod and placing his feet on the petals. "Your meddling will end today."
Slippy had gotten to the Arwing rather easily; all the lizards seemed to be concerned with matters elsewhere. Andross hadn't even bothered to call an alert, which was very strange. Slippy powered up the Arwing and flew out of the hanger bay but as he did he noticed a large shadow pass over him.
"What the?" He said when suddenly a clawed appendage on a long arm snatched the Arwing from the air and crunched it in it's claw.
Slippy winced as the Arwings systems screamed alarms at him and Andross' laughter came in through his com.
"Sorry little frog." Andross cackled. "You won't be escaping today."
The Goras made a happy sound and raised the Arwing up to its mouth and bit off one of it's wings. Slippy screamed terrified seeing the millions of sharp pointy teeth in its mouth.
"Don't worry frog." Andross said looking at his radar. "Your friends will soon be joining you. AHAHAHAHA" He said gunning the speeder pod's engine and zipping it forward. The Goras lumbered after it toward the Arwings with Herbert activating his back boosters and flying after Andross.
The large crab like desert crawlers lumbered along on their four legs under Titania's blood red sky. They lumbered along slowly unbothered by the goings on of the Lylat system. They stopped to munch on the bizarre giant cacti when they suddenly looked up as four strange birds zipped overhead.
They were too high to get and to fast to catch, and not worth eating. They went back to munching on the cacti.
"We're finally here." Fara cheered. "I even got a lock on some installation which I'm sure is not part of the ruins."
"Great job Fara." Fox said passing looking at the strange crablike creatures below him. "How far?"
"We got a good thirty kilometers." Fara replied.
"Good enough." Fox said peering through the dusty haze of Titania's atmosphere.
"It's a good thing we got sensors." Falco said. "It's be hard to see through this dust, probably be better if we had the Landmaster. If we hope to find him."
"No thanks." Fox muttered. "I'd rather be flying blind, then in one of those tin cans."
"Whoa what the?" Fara suddenly said.
"What is it Fara?" Peppy asked.
"I don't know something huge and coming this way and fast!"
"How close!" Falco asked.
Suddenly the Goras claw burst through the mist and slammed into Peppy's Arwing. "UNGH! Blast it!" Peppy growled.
Below them Andross' speeder pod burst through the mists and the Goras emerged stamping along behind it.
"Peppy are you ok!?" Fox asked.
"I'm fine fox but my Arwing is toast I gotta land or I'm going to crash." Peppy said struggling to keep the Arwing alight. Smoke poured out of it's G-Diffusers. "Take that thing out guys I got to sit this one out."
Peppy flew off into the distance his Arwing rapidly loosing altitude.
The Goras screamed and shot a stream of high-pressure acid at the Arwings. Fox dodged the shot but then looked at the tip of one of his wings, it was quickly dissolving away.
"Yuck, don't get hit by that things breath." He said thanking his luck.
"Fox check out one of its claws." Falco said.
"Hey that's my Arwing!" Fara said.
"That must mean Slippy's in it." Fox guessed.
"My question is who's the clown in the land speeder zipping around down there!" Falco grumbled. "I've got him!"
Falco dove his Arwing towards the speeder pod and deftly evaded the Goras' lazy swipe.
"I got you know pal!" Falco smirked.
Herbert however spotted Falco bearing down on Andross' pod and quickly spun around in mid air and fired a volley of highly powered plasma shots at Falco's Arwing.
"Holy cow that little piggie's packing some fire power." Falco said breaking off his attack and rolling to deflect Herbert's fire.
Fara and Fox were trying to take down the Goras but whatever Andross had done to it had made it's hide highly resistant to energy weapons.
"Slippy can you hear me I see you in there pal." Fox said firing at the Goras face making it shriek and avoid chomping Fara's Arwing in half. Fara swung her Arwing back and around and blasted the back of the monsters head still having no effect.
Slippy shook his head and woke up a bit groggily hearing Fox's voice. His Arwing was being flung around badly and he could have swore he just saw Fox pass underneath him.
"SLIP ….. you. Wake….. p!" He heard Fox's voice over the com.
"Fara he's in there help me blast him free!" Fox said trying to shoot the Goras' Arms.
"Fox I'm not having much luck with the joker in the speeder pod. If I didn't know better I'd think the big ape himself is in it the way that robot pig is protecting it."
"What?!" Fox suddenly said his momentary break in concentration caused the Goars to land a solid swat on his Arwing.
"BWA HAHAH Turn and burn Fox!" Andross cheered not fearing Falco as his powered upgrades to Herbert were making the Android fairly formidable against the Arwings weapons.
"Falco stop screwing around with him." Fox said getting control of his ship again. "We got to get Slippy loose then worry about him."
"Yeah yeah right." Falco said. "But our weapons aren't doing much good, if we can score the big ape war's over Fox!"
"First things first!" Fox said.
"Fox listen up." They all heard Slippy say a bit groggily. "I bet he has, a transmitter on that pod. Take it out and he'll lose control of the Goras."
"What about you Slippy?" Fara asked.
"I should be able to get away once you break Andross' hold on it." Slippy replied. "I'm pretty damaged but I should be able to put down somewhere."
"Heh good luck hitting that transmitter." Falco muttered.
"I'm sure you and I can take that little piggy out." Fox smirked quickly looping his Arwing over a blast of deadly acid breath from the creature.
"Sure no problem."
"Fara you think you can keep ugly off of us."
"I can try." Fara replied blasting the Goras' mouth and infuriating it even more.
Fox and Falco dove their Arwing's towards Andross' speeder pod. Andross had just passed under the Goras again and saw the two Arwing heading straight for him. Herbert zipped ahead and activated his energy shield and fired his plasma cannon at the two Arwings.
Falco and Fox returned fire as well bearing down on Andross' pod. Fox tried to line up a shot on the transmitter antenna sitting on the backside of the pod but Herbert's shots were hammering his Arwing pretty hard. Falco fired his engines and charged Herbert. "I'll take care of him you take out that transmitter Fox."
"RRRAAAGH!" Falco snarled slamming his Arwing directly into Herbert gunning his Arwings afterburners and plowing the pig into a nearby dune with his Arwing. Fox could see the shock in Andross' face as he bore down on him. Fox locked onto the transmitter and fired his blasters.
"Your going down this time, Andross!" Fox spat.
Andross' winced seeing the blue bolts zip past his canopy and felt his speeder pod shudder. He quickly checked his systems but there was no damage that compromised the pods operations.
"Impertinent weasel! You should have took your shot when you had your chance!" Andross snarled as Fox zipped past. "Now I'll have my Goras destroy you once and for all." He said hitting a set of buttons and only getting a non-responsive beep. "What it's not responding!"
The Goras stopped swiping at the Arwings and then shook its head letting go of Slippy's Arwing. "I'm free Fox!" Slippy shouted limping the damaged Arwing away.
"I've lost contact!" Andross sputtered. "Herbert respond!" Nothing answered his call
The Goras stopped clearing its head and it's large eyes focused on the Speeder pod containing the one who had tormented it so much. It roared in sheer bloodlust and raised its foot.
"RESPOND DAMNIT! YOU ARE MINE TO CONTROL!" Andross shrieked and then he suddenly gasped in terror seeing the Goras' foot coming down straight on top of his pod. There was nowhere to go, he couldn't move fast enough.
Fox, Slippy, Fara, Falco and Herbert all heard Andross' shriek of terror and watched as the large cloven hoof of the Goras crushed the pod underneath the beasts weight.
"NO! NOT MEeeeeeeeee!" Andross shrieked before his com cut out.
The pod exploded as the creature crushed it flat into the ground sending shrapnel and flaming wreckage in all directions.
"Flat as an ape crepe!" Fox said feeling a bit glad that he wasn't in Andross' place flying his Arwing around the creature and watching debris from the destroyed pod rain down around it.
"Woo hoo Papetoon pancakes." Falco cheered.
The Goras leaned down and sniffed satisfactorily at the wreckage and then stomped off and disappeared in the mist.
"Sheesh what a way to go." Fara said.
"You ok Slippy?" Falco asked.
"Yeah but this Arwings going to need some work." Slippy replied.
Fox passed over the crater that used to be Andross a few times. "You think he's dead for good this time?"
"I hope so anyone who could walk away from that I wouldn't want to meet." Fara shuddered.
"Well, I guess that's it." Fox said finally. "Come on lets round up Peppy and get out of here."
Herbert had crawled out the sand dune Falco had buried him in and scowled up at the Arwings, or at least he would have if his face could do such a thing. It then panned it's eyes over to the crater. Herbert walked over to the crater despondently and dropped to its knees.
"What about the mecha pig." Falco said. "He's still functioning."
"WEEP WEEP." Herbert sobbed as it picked it's metal shod fingers through he wreckage of Andross' speeder pod.
"Leave him." Fox said. "Andorss is toast."
Peppy's Arwing had buried itself in a dune. It was pretty damaged and he was currently cursing at it and hitting it with a large tool. The others arrived and landed beside him Peppy immediately regained his composure.
"Hey guys!" he said waving the wrench as the four Arwings landed about his ship.
"Hi Peppy you look like you could use a lift." Fara said popping open her canopy and climbing out of it.
"Bah she's still space worthy but I'm going to need a tow." Peppy replied. "G-Diffusers busted to hell."
Fox had hopped out of his cockpit as well and he and Fara ran towards each other. He picked her up and twirled around. "We did it! Andorss is history!" He kissed Fara and then gave Falco a high five.
"We did it Peppy, Andross got squashed by his own creation." Fox said.
"Well done lad!" Peppy cheered. "Did you get Slippy back?"
"The little guy rescued himself." Falco said happily giving Slippy a noogie with the frog's head in a headlock.
"Well I was getting tired on waiting on you guys." Slippy replied squirming away from Falco..
Fox suddenly snapped his fingers. "Oh yeah you forgot something Slippy." Fox said releasing Fara and digging into his flight jacket. "I believe this is yours." He said walking over to Slippy and unfolding the red cap and placing it on the frogs head.
"My cap! Thanks Fox!" Slippy said hopping. "I thought I'd lost it."
"So what are we going to do now Fox." Falco said. "We got three good Arwings and two beat to hell ones."
"Fara's Arwing is salvageable, but to many seals are broke, it's no good for space travel." Slippy said thumbing in its direction.
Fox scratched his head. "Well someone will have to double up."
"No no no! Not me not again! I still have a mild irritation from the last time he rode with me!" Peppy fussed. "No offence Slippy."
"Well two people could ride in the pilots seat." Fara said winking at Fox. "If they're very friendly."
"Hey I like the little bugger and all but I'm not going for." Falco suddenly stopped realizing that everyone was staring at him. "Er.. anyway lets get out of here, this sand is playing hell on my feathers."
Three Arwings left the surface of Titania. Falco towed Fara's and Slippy towed Peppy along behind him.
"The General's going to be very surprised when we get back," Falco said. "we took out the big man himself. That alone has got to pay off the Great Fox in itself."
"I'd hope so." Fox chuckled. Fara was seated carefully on his lap, he had to admit, it was comfortable.
"Andross cronies will still put up a fight." Peppy muttered.
"Bah who cares, that will be nothing the Cornerian Space Force can't handle." Falco said. "We've done our job."
"I don't know…" Slippy muttered. "Something bothers me."
"What's that Slip?" Peppy asked.
"I don't know." Slippy replied. "I can't put my finger on it."
"It's going to be a bit before we get to Corneria." Fox said reaching over and turning on his autopilot. "It looks like It'll be smooth sailing all the way back why don't you take the lead Falco." Fox said looking over at Fara and nuzzling her and activating the canopy tinter.
"Ok?" Falco said raising a brow. "Any particular reason?"
"I don't think I have to give one." Fox said putting his headset on standby.
"Oh." Falco said finally glancing over at Fox's canopy that was now opaque. "Well great, again he ditches us." Falco chuckled.
"My family used to sing the porcupine song when we were on long trips." Slippy said.
"NO!" Falco and Peppy said at the same time but Falco chuckled. "It's good to have you back again Slippy."
As the Arwings faded into the distance a lone Wolfen fighter followed slowly behind them. Pigma Dengar was at the controls and he glared at the Arwings as he slowly pursued them.
Andross was gone.
He was finally free.
He still owed Fox some payback.
Andrew rubbed his head, that sleeping gas had really knocked him out.
He looked around in a daze and noticed Pigma was nowhere to be found.
He sat up and rubbed his head and then suddenly yelped seeing a pair of yellow optics glowing down at him in the dimly lit corridor.
"What do you want!?" Andrew shrieked scrambling to get to his feet and backing into a wall.
"OINK." Herbert simply said reaching a metal shod hand down to grasp Andrew.
"Yarrrg." Katt said feeling slightly nauseated as she woke up. Her vision was still blurred and she fumbled around trying to find something she might recognize.
She noticed she wasn't bound either, which was very surprising indeed. She tried to ask if anyone was out but it came out a strangled howl. Her vision was getting a little better and she tried to stand up. She could see shapes but no details, it looked as if she was in someone's home. Her bare feet felt a soft vibration on the floor, she concluded that she had to be on a ship or a station.
"Oh great now where am I." She thought. She did a quick body check and found she was at least clothed this time but only down to and undershirt and her raggedy cargo pants. After feeling around a bit she discovered nothing of use in any of the pockets. The quarters were lousy with a scent she knew but couldn't put her finger on it. She smacked the side of her head out of frustration trying to get her eyes to figure out exactly what their purpose was. Finally they focused and she got a good look around for the first time.
They were rather extravagant; there was a mini bar, expensive leather furniture and an collection of antique Cornerian fire arms along the wall. She wandered around them and checked the doors, which seemed to be locked as well. The display cases were also thoroughly secured as well. She ran over to the kitchen and tried to dig around in the doors but had no luck pulling them open either. She cursed and punched them out of frustration. Everything she could use was secured. Katt got another idea and scrambled over to one of the couches, if she could get a spring then maybe she'd have something to short circuit the door. She knelt down over it and took a swipe out the cushion and only succeeded in jamming her fingers. Nerve endings that had previously been asleep suddenly woke up screaming and she yelped falling back on her haunches holding her hand and trying not to bite her tongue as she cursed in agony. Someone had de clawed her while she was unconscious. She suddenly heard the door open.
"You are finally up I see." Wolf said stepping in stun pistol unclipped in his holster.. "Sorry about your claws but, I can't have you tearing up my stuff."
Katt glared at him.
"Now you can behave or I can zap you again and have your fangs pulled too." Wolf said. "So don't try me." He stretched and walked over to the little kitchenette and opened the refrigerator. "By the way, everything in here is coded to only open as per my prints so don't get any ideas."
"So why am I here, I thought I was wanted dead."
"You were." Wolf said pulling a beer out of the fridge. "However, Andross has done a rather stupid stunt and gotten himself killed." Wolf said popping off the top and taking a swig. "You'd think someone with that much intelligence wouldn't be so Daft." He said shaking the bottle as he talked. "Thinking he was capable of running around a speeder pod trying to control a Goras. Ah well, I was thoroughly paid for your capture, so think of it as a second chance."
"Oh I'm really flattered." Katt mumbled wishing she had her multi-tool which hopefully was somewhere still in the Catspaw, wherever that was.
"Want one?" Wolf offered.
Katt sighed it looked like she was going to be the victim of her captors hospitality. "Sure."
Wolf pulled out another bottle and tossed it to her, in Sargasso's relatively low gravity it spun directly towards her and she caught it. She quickly grasped it by the neck and brought the bottle down as hard as she could on a tabletop only to have it bounce back out of her hand and strike her in the middle of the face. She yelped in surprise and stumbled backwards holding her nose and cursing.
Wolf burst out in raucous laughter watching the bottle slowly descend back to the deck plating. "Now miss Monroe, come now, I'm not that dumb." He said still laughing.
"Transparent aluminum bottles," He said tapping his with a claw. "tamper and shatter proof as you are learning."
Katt snarled and twisted the top off of the bottle; she was stuck for the moment so she may as well enjoy it.
"So what do you plan on doing with me." Katt said.
"As I said before, you are very useful." Wolf mused.
"I'm still not going to join your little team." Katt snarled.
"Why are you afraid? Tell me something." Wolf said setting his bottle on the glass table. "When you killed that officer. What did you feel."
"Anger! What do you think I felt, I wasn't going to be some damn breeder for the imperials." Katt glowered. "I've seen what the people you work for to do prisoners so don't try to bloody sugar coat it."
"I assure you my men do no such thing." Wolf said. "What Andross' forces do is what they do, we take no part in it. Back to my question, did it feel good to take that lizards life."
"He was scum he deserved to die." Katt said still not seeing Wolf as being that much higher on the scumbag food chain.
"Yet you killed the other one too."
Katt grew quiet. She wasn't proud of the fact that she had to kill those two, but to her the alternative was not one she wanted to live with. She had put the moral complications of the incident out of her mind. The other one hadn't actually attacked her, but he didn't bother to stop up to prevent his commander from attempting to rape her either.
"Did it feel good?"
Katt said nothing.
"That's what I thought." Wolf said smirking.
"Of course it did." She finally sneered. "I don't think you would have taken it to kindly if they tried the same to you."
Wolf nodded. "Killing is all the same, after awhile. In this system of ours it simply comes down to those who have, and those who have not. You like myself fell into the latter." Wolf said sloshing his bottle. "Abandoned at age of six, left to fend for herself on the streets of Papetoon City, not the nicest of places to grow up. Never sleeping the same place every night, eating out of dumpsters looking for somewhere, anywhere to belong."
Katt narrowed her eyes at Wolf who was staring at her sincerely with his good eye. "Why are you bringing this up?"
"Because I've been there myself." Wolf said. "If anyone can understand that about you I can. The scum I kill are the ones who feed off others who toil beneath them. Your precious Cornerian Armed Forces are simply an over budgeted testing ground for the Space Magnates. They exist simply because it is profitable to exist, spitting out technology that was all brought to us by the late Andross."
"Ha that's just all propaganda." Katt snipped.
"Is it?" Wolf said chuckling. "Look it up in your history books kiddo, it's there just not written in the proper context. Andross' forces are tough, and many in number it will be many, many years before Corneria can ever hope to be rid of them."
"I know what you are trying to do." Katt said.
"Oh, do you now." Wolf said setting his bottle down on table. "Maybe I'm just making polite conversation."
Katt furrowed her brow at him.
"I have some things that need attended to, you are free to roam the station but don't bother trying to escape."
Wolf got up and left the room and Katt shuddered.
She felt as if anything she was going to do had been plotted out. She felt completely at his mercy for the moment. Then she smiled, if he was daft enough to let her roam about free then maybe just maybe he just tipped his hand.
The bottle cap in her hand was made of aluminum.
It could prove useful.
"Reckless damage to Cornerian Military Property, an unscheduled stop without filing a proper flight plan, neglect to pay a bill of eighty seven dollars for food not to mention services rendered. I should have each and every one of you court marshaled." Pepper said suddenly taking off his shades. "In stead I will have to give you all medals." He looked over back to the footage from the Arwings of Andorss' pod being crushed by the Goras. "Somehow you managed to avoid all this by taking out Andross', saving us months of trying to find him ourselves. Well done Star Fox Team."
Fox, Fara, Slippy, Falco and Peppy all exchanged relieved glances.
"So that's that then General." Fox said. "Well just be taking our pay and on our way then."
"Ha if only it were so easy." Pepper chuckled. "We still need you, the disturbing news about the stingrays, and Andross' tampering with the Goras shows that he was back to tampering with his bio weapons." Pepper said pausing a bit to get a fresh lollipop. "Even though that ape may be gone for good his evil bio mechanisms could still live on, until we are sure they are destroyed we will still need you."
"Hey we did what you wanted us to do." Fox said. "Surely you guys can handle a few mutant psychotic monsters."
Pepper shot Fox a stern look. "Last I checked the Great Fox's repairs have come out to a total of eight hundred thousand five hundred and twenty six credits." Pepper said. "By my count you haven't even cleared that yet, if you wish to stop now I'm sure we could send you the bill."
There was a mutter amongst the four pilots and Fara rolled her eyes. She had offered just to give it to them, a number like that was nothing compared to the wealth she had, Fox however refused to take the charity.
Fara didn't understand what was the big deal. She had no problem giving the ship over to them, Fox and his bunch were a descent lot in their own rights but a bit stubborn about some things.
She sometimes wondered how things would go if the war was over, Fox being so eager to leave was a bit disconcerting.
"Ok what's the deal?" Fox finally said as the four broke their huddle.
"For that I will call in our resident expert." Pepper said hitting a button and telling whoever was listening on the end of it to send someone into the room.
An older Frog with oversized glasses and oversized tie, yet perfectly fitting lab coat came scrambling into the room carrying various items.
"Oh no." Slippy sighed trying to pull his cap over his eyes.
The frog set his pile of books and data pads onto the table causing them to spill everywhere. "Well hello everyone!" He said straightening his glasses.
"Gentlemen this is Beltino Toad, he will inform you of your next missions objective."
"Psst Slippy why are you trying to hide in your chair?" Falco whispered.
"That's my dad." Slippy said rather embarrassed.
"Hello Slippy how are you doing? Been well?" Beltino asked cheerfully recognizing his son.
"Yes, dad." Slippy said sheepishly.
"Capital! Are you married yet?"
"No, dad." Slippy said wishing he could burrow further into his chair.
"AHEM." Pepper said politely.
"Ah yes, anyways I need to talk to you about Andross' bio weapons." Beltino said rifling through his pile. "Ah here we go. As you all know Andross' typical bio weapons are creatures that are genetically enhanced to perform specific violent attacks on well us. Anyways after looking into your reports about the Goras and the strange device Andross created in Sector X I believe that these were only a significant stage in the next evolution of monster he hoped to create." He brought up a picture of the Goras and the Giant Stingrays and several 3D models of the creatures spun around on the display as miles of sensor data scrolled past. "I did notice after picking through your Arwings sensor data that these bio weapons seem to emit a specific energy signature that is unique only to them. I believe it is from the bio transmitters he uses to control the creatures."
"So how do we play into all this, cut to the chase Doc." Fox said leaning back in his chair.
"The chase is this, young man." Beltino said a bit perturbed switching the image on the display. "I did a system wide scan for similar signature and this is what I found."
The map suddenly began to light up. The worlds of Aquas, Titania, Zoness, the star Solar and most importantly Venom lit up.
"The strongest Bio Weapon energy signals are coming from Aquas and surprisingly Solar."
Peppy, Fox, Fara and Slippy could remember the bio-weapon attacks, it was not comforting thought that there were more of those things still out there.
"It is not known weather or not Andross has improved his bio-weapon technology. We need a sample from one of the creatures. I believe the least dangerous of these will be located on the water world of Aquas. Our satellites have detected an enormous bio weapon signature deep beneath the depths."
"How?" Fox asked. "A Landmaster would sink, an Arwing would be useless underwater. You'd need something other then your standard submarine to tangle with an bio weapon."
"Ah ha, so you say." Beltino smirked. "I have just the thing. Young Slippy there was want to send me various designs for vehicles when he was in the academy. Granted not all of them would be considered for development but this one was." Beltino said with a touch of pride.
Slippy sat up a little suddenly feeling as if he should be paying attention. "Are you talking about the Blue Marine."
"Of course Slippy." Beltino beamed. "You designed it so well that all we had to do was just manufacture it."
Slippy seemed in a near daze at this point and Falco waved a hand in front of his face. "So what is this Blue Marine?" He asked.
"It is a single person submersible that uses the G-Diffuser technology for deep underwater exploratory missions." Beltino replied. "However with circumstances as is we've had to make it an attack vessel for this mission. It uses a water jet propulsion system and is very fast for a submersible vessel, undoubtedly the G-Diffuser helps this."
"Fox using the Blue Marine we need you to find the bio weapon and get the sample from it. Once you do have Slippy run an analyses on it and send us the results. If you can at least destroy the most dangerous ones, we can handle the rest." Pepper said. "I would prefer you get to moving as soon as possible, our forces are keeping the Venomian fleet at bay and Aquas isn't exactly free of their influence."
"Excuse me General." Fox suddenly said speaking up. "I know things are urgent but we've been running like mad men since day one since we joined this fight. We need some time to get rested up sir."
Pepper sighed audibly and sucked on his lollipop for a moment. "The Great Fox is fully repaired and our teams are just working out the preflight checks at the moment. I suppose it would not hurt if they did them again a full diagnostic check. It should take about eighteen hours to complete them."
"Thank you General." Fox said feeling a bit relieved.
"You just better damn well make sure you leave before 1200 tomorrow is that understood." Pepper said sternly, this was answered by several relived nods.
They all were walking away from the briefing room with one thing on their minds. The encounter with the bizarre aliens in Sector Y seemed to only have happened to them and as far as their Arwings flight recorders were concerned it never happened at all. Falco seemed to be the only one concerned about it as they walked in total silence.
"So, how come no one talked about what happened?" He said.
"Are you crazy?" Fara said. "They'd call us stark raving mad!"
"I find it odd they were perfectly ok with the fact that we just happened to stumble into that worm hole." Peppy muttered. "Damn peculiar at that."
They stopped talking for a moment as a couple of officers passed them in the corridor.
"It's spooky Peppy." Fox said. "Whatever those things are they don't want to be very widely known about."
"You've never told us what happened when you disappeared." Slippy said looking up from a data device displaying the Blue Marines technical data.
"I can't really explain it guys." Fox muttered. "They just put me somewhere else talk to me funny and they are quite bothersome, albeit helpful."
"What did you see?" Peppy asked.
"They don't have any forms, they borrow forms from my memories." Fox replied. "That wasn't the only time they've bugged me."
"What are you talking about Fox?" Fara asked.
"I met them during the Sector Y battle, at the time I just thought I was just delirious from hitting my head." Fox said a bit uncertainly. "I just never mentioned it."
"Well Fox don't feel silly about it." Peppy said. "After that whole mess you could tell me I was a six winged jellyfish and I'd probably believe you."
Fara nodded grasping Fox's hand and squeezing it reassuringly. "I'd have to agree with Peppy on that one."
Falco and Slippy both nodded in agreement.
Fox looked into Fara's eyes and then at each of his friends. "Thanks guys, at least I'm not alone in this. It was spooky when I was."
"So what really happened?" Peppy asked sincerely.
"I saw my Father." Fox said.
Peppy looked as if someone had just goosed him. "Really?"
"Yes, but it's complicated." Fox said. "He really wasn't in there, I tried to get him to come with me but the aliens told me that was a bad idea in general."
"No wonder you were shook up." Falco said. "Anything else?"
Fox wrinkled his brow suddenly the memory was fading there was more he was sure of it, but something was clouding it. "I don't remember anything."
"What's happening Fox." Fara asked.
"Er… I don't know, this happened before too, its like when you wake up from a dream and can't recall anything a minute or two later. Blast it now it's gone.
"It's probably best we keep this to ourselves." Peppy said quietly. "What happened, happened to us and I won't deny that. However it stays here among us. Got it?" Peppy said in a hushed tone as a few more pilots and officers walked passed them. "We don't need to be carted off to the bloody pysch-ward if you catch my drift."
Fara, Fox, Falco and Slippy each nodded in agreement.
"Mad apes, aliens what's next bloody sock puppets." Peppy said holding his head. "Let's get the Great Fox out of here and bugger off before something else happens."
"Sounds like a plan to me." Falco said. "I'll go round up a few "provisions."." Falco said with a wink. "I know a few things that might make the journey to Aquas a little more enjoyable."
Fox smirked. "A bit friendly with a supply officer or two."
"You know it." Falco said walking off.
"Slippy what are you up too?"
"Aww I don't know I'm still pretty shook up from that little ordeal back on Titania, I think I'm going to have a mud bath and let you guys worry about the Arwings for once." Slippy said. "I'll look them over before we take off though, I just need a time out ok, Fox?"
"Sure it's no problem." Fox said. "You work hard enough as it is Slippy."
"I'll have my people look them over." Fara said to slippy. "You've been a big help and we appreciated just take some time off."
"Thanks." Slippy croaked. "I'll see you guys later."
"So what about you?" Fox asked.
"Well since we have some time off I figured we could spend it somewhere away from everyone else for once?" Fara said hooking her arm around Fox's and grabbing his paw. "Maybe talk about a few things, I don't know."
"Sure." Fox smiled back. "I'd be up for that."
Lightning raced across the dark and hazy Venomiam sky. Overhead Solar's red light barely shown through the overcast sky's coloring the world in a sickly greens and orange. Andross' central lab was located in the center of the largest of the Venomian lizard's cities. A blocky shuttle, and a Wolfen fighter landed at a landing area outside of the lab that was thronged by thousands of lizards awaiting it's arrival. The non-enhanced lizards saw Andross as some god who brought them out of the dark ages and away from the former primitive stage of life. They almost had a mysticism built up around their simian leader.
Usually they would meet Emperor Andross' shuttle bearing offerings and much celebration would be had at his arrival. Yet now they stood silently and somber the lightning overhead echoing far above and the only sound being the shrill sound of the wind kicked up by a distant storm.
Today was a day of mourning.
Andross was dead.
The lizards watched as Andrew climbed out of the cockpit of the Wolfen and walked over to the hatch opening in the shuttle.
Herbert stepped out carrying a jar full of a few bits of what was left of Andross and wairily looked over the lizards. He motioned for Andrew to follow him as they walked towards the lab. Andrew looked worried, it was not known how the native populace would react if their god had suddenly died and their quiet was unnerving to him. However talking to Herbert about his worries was a bit less productive then having a conversation with a brick. The lizards followed them as they approached the large double doors to Andross' central lair.
Herbert entered a few codes into a touch pad and the doors slid back into the wall revealing a lift. He quickly stepped inside the lift and Andrew followed quickly into as the lizards stepped forward peering at the contents hanging in the stasis container in Herbert's hand.
"Tell ussss." Said a yellowish lizard who appeared to be one of the venerable elders the lizards held in such esteem. He was quite old and wore many beads and a strange spade shaped hat. He was shaking at the knees his reptillian face revealing that he had been stressing about something as of late and it seemed the staff he held in one clawed hand was helping to keep him standing. "We heard Androssss hassss died how is this possssssible?"
"Um… I I I " Andrew began to sputter.
"There Emperor has died." Herbert said in a strange and slightly intellectual voice startling Andrew. "Killed while in combat with those who wish to destroy you. Yet he is powerful and will live again to bring vengeance upon his enemies and glory to the venomian people."
This caused an uproarious cheer to erupt from the lizards who were closest and as word spread soon the whole throng was exhuberant of joy.
Andrew stood with his jaw agape staring exasperatedly at Herbert as the doors suddenly shut and the lift began it's rapid descent downward. "I didn't know you could talk!"
"OINK." Herbert grunted his eyes glowing a dull red at Andrew, which he had learn was the Androids way of telling him to shut up.
"Ok whatever fine!" Andrew said pouting.
The lift continued even further downward before it slowed and the doors parted again. As they did Andrew saw an Lizard with spikes about his head and beady red eyes run up to them. "The equipment isss ready Herbert." The lizard said to the Android. Herbert handed the lizard the jar and then tapped a compartment on his chest. The compartment slid open and Herbert reached inside himself and pulled out a strange rectangular cartridge with a massive crystalline data chip mounted on the outside of it. Andrew stood off to the side and looked on as the lizard took the container full of Andross' worldly remains and set about placing them inside and even larger container. Herbert took the cartridge and inserted it into a console.
An overhead screen flickered to life and Andross' visage stared down from it.
"Herbert, as you know this recording contains my final commands as well as a copy of my most recent brain wave patterns. If you are watching this, then apparently I am, temporarily deceased." Andross paused for a moment. "Take the samples I ordered you to bring and follow the instructions on this chip to the letter."
Herbert and the lizard soon set about activating a myriad of consoles and getting to work. Andrew grabbed a lab chair and put his feed up on a console as he watched the android and lizard work. The chamber the lizard had put the bits of Andross into began to fill with a strange yellow fluid and bubble.
"So now what do we do?" Andrew asked impatiently.
"Activating amino acid sequencer beginning genetic restructuring." The lizard said to Herbert who was working just a furiously at a nearby console. "Now what we do issss, wait." The lizard said glaring at Andrew
Fara and Fox walked arm in arm along a sidewalk that lead through the still recovering downtown district of Corneria city. Fox wasn't as talkative as Fara would hoped he would be he seemed a bit annoyed having still finding himself under Pepper's beck and call. There was also something else bothering him she couldn't quite place her finger on as they stopped as a passing convoy of flatbed hover trucks passed by. Each of them was carrying wreckage of fighters and battle mecha from the previous battle and wrecks from the previous orbital battles as well.
"Are you ok Fox?" she asked.
"Yeah.. Something doesn't feel right." He muttered.
Fara's eyes scanned along the convoy of wreckage passing by. "Well looking at that probably isn't helping.."
"No it's not that." Fox said nodding his head. "I don't know I can't really describe it I just feel like something is wrong that's all."
Fara furrowed her brow and quickly tugged at Fox's arm dragging him down a side street. Fox didn't resist and still seemed to be off in his own little world. The alley way led down past deserted shops and into what had once been a beautiful park. Many of the trees had been set ablaze or destroyed in the battle a week ago and large chunks of masonry dotted the large area with weeds growing up were the still functioning maintenance druids could not get close enough to trim them down. Off to once side in the distance an dead enemy technodroid leaned against a building its central compartment blown open and one of it's missile pods sheered off at its shoulder. A few birds were singing from the few remaining trees as Fara led Fox over to a bench beside a crumbling fountain.
Fox sat down and slumped forward staring off at nothing in particular.
"Come on Fox snap out of it." Fara said nuzzling him and rubbing his shoulders. "We got some time off and here you are moping about."
"I'm not moping." Fox said raising a brow.
Fara gave up exasperated at him. "Fine, you're not moping." She said tossing her hands up in the air and settling back in the bench.
There was a pause.
"What did you want to talk about?" Fox asked.
Fara sighed and took her finger and proceeded to round a claw down on the bench's concrete arm. "It's nothing it's not important.." She muttered.
"Fara.." Fox said trying not to sound to impatient.
Fara sighed and looked up. "I'm not the best at talking about this stuff Fox." She said looking away from him.
Fox sat up strait and cocked his head picking up on some vibe she was suppressing. "What are you worried about Fara."
"The Future." Fara sulked. "Our future."
"Oh.." Fox nodded.
"When this is over what next?" Fara asked. "We come from two entirely different worlds Fox. It was just chance that we happened to cross paths. I'm afraid of what will happen when things get back to normal."
Fox was quiet for a moment. "We'll work it out, Fara we'll find a way."
Fara felt a little soothed by this but her ears folded back betraying her real feelings. "I hope so lover.." She sighed. "I hope so."
It was late.
The others hadn't come back yet and Peppy had nothing else to do but skulk around the corridors of the Great Fox. He pestered a few techs that were overlooking the ships systems. They ran him off and he was getting edgy, he understood the others wanted a break but he wanted to get moving again. He found himself in the hanger and looking over the Arwings again. Each of their Arwings had been fully repaired or replaced. He looked over his own Arwing. He hadn't notice till recently but his Arwings serial number was 001. He found this a little amusing because that meant that his was the original prototype. He had wondered in a few scarce off moments he had had while in the cockpit why the console layout didn't seem as complex as the others. It was amusing to him that he had picked that particular Arwing on coincidence. He patted the vessel absentmindedly, feeling a kinship with it. It was the oldest and it was a little battered from the past month of Action but it was still going.
He suddenly didn't feel alone in the hold of the Great Fox and looked around the hold swearing he had felt someone watching him.
"Anyone here?" He called out perking his ears up and straining to hear any other sounds of movement. Not hearing anything he furrowed his brow and noticed something on Falco's Arwing.
It appeared that an access panel on one of the G-Diffusers had not been closed properly. Peppy muttered to himself and shut the panel and then turned his head as he heard the holds door open seeing Rob64 walk in.
"Rob has there been anyone in here recently?"
"Only the maintenance crew." Rob64 replied. "Would you like me to re check."
"No." Peppy said despite his wariness. "I think I'm just being paranoid. Maybe I need to get some rest."
"You are suffering from signs of fatigue." Rob64 droned. "It could cause you to misread your perceptions."
"Yeah, yeah." Peppy sighed patting the robot on the shoulder plating as he walked past. "I'll be turning in keep an eye on things."
Rob nodded and then followed Peppy out of the hold.
When the doors closed and sigh of relief came from beneath the launch platform. Pigma Dengar crawled out from beneath it and brushed himself off. He was dressed in a repair tech's hazard suit and fished his helmet out from underneath the platform as well. He didn't expect Peppy to come snooping around down in this part of the ship. He slipped his helmet back on over his head and cursed Peppy's name as he walked for the exit on the other side of the launch bay.
The bombs had been placed in the Arwings G-Diffusers, one for each ship. All that was needed now was the appropriate time. He tossed the triggering device in the air and caught it before securing it in a pocket on the suit. Pigma had listened in on the General's Plans to have Star Fox team investigate the Bio weapons, ha! Were they in for a big surprise! Pigma walked towards one of the Great Fox's airlocks and quietly exited the ship. The hanger was empty except for a few maintenance bots zipping about cleaning up.
Revenge was always sweet with Pigma, but sometimes it was much sweeter when it was properly timed. He quickly exited the ship through the main hanger still dressed as a maintenance tech. The security around the place was quite laughable, Pigma had no trouble blending in. A few moments later he was outside the hanger quickly loosing his disguise and checking the wrist remote to see that his Wolfen was in pre flight start up. The ship was parked out in the main city near a small cluster of buildings that used to be a trade pavilion before the war. It was only a short walk and Pigma made his way quickly away from the military base via the surrounding woods.
Some cursing and a few snapped branches, passing long dead security camera's and sensors he came to the spot. He scrabbled up the rubble of the collapsed building and made he wis way up to the top only to spot two figures down in the garden area. Pigma quickly dived behind an disloged piece of permacrete and looked down on the two trespassers.
He quickly pulled out a small pair of binoculars and looked down into the garden.
"Well well well, what do we have here." Pigma said zooming down to the two people on the bench who appeared to be quite cozy and apparently very asleep. Pigma thumbed the resolution and instantly recognized Fox.
Oh what splendid fortune!
Fox was down there with his vixen and completely unawares.
How so easy it would be to cave his head in with a rock and collect on that fat bounty.
An sinister smile crossed Pigma's snout as his free hand grabbed a nice head sized piece of concrete.
Even a well placed blow would render the Vixen harmless, Pigma knew Andross still had plans for her.
He stepped up with his weapon in his hand and murder in his heart.
He started to make his way down the slope when suddenly he had the horrible feeling that he was being watched. A sudden chill went up his spine causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up.
He spun around quickly dropping the rock and grabbing his holstered blaster.
That was a mistake, the rock clattered down the wrong side of the building and the rebounding echoes from each bounce sounded like a bowling ball being bounced down a concrete stair case.
Fox was instantly awake he un-holstered his own blaster, woke Fara and took cover behind the bench.
"What's wrong?!" Fara asked startled from her comfortable slumber.
"I heard something." Fox said his eyes scanning the area Pigma had been standing mere seconds before. Fara had managed to pull out her own personal weapon and was looking around. "I don't see anything Fox."
A cool breeze suddenly blew through the garden.
"Well, lets just go back to the Great Fox." Fox suggested. "there shouldn't be anyone else around. It'd be safer."
Fara looked a little disappointed but agreed. "Yeah I have kind of a bad feeling, it was nice while it lasted though."
Fox nodded and smiled standing up and offered is hand to help her up.
Pigma cursed panting, battered and bruised.
He had to practically dive down the side of the rubble pile to avoid being spotted by Fox and his body was protesting the results of that descision. Although whatever had happened, had his nerves on pins and needles. He quickly decided that it would be best to make tracks before he was spotted.
"There'll be other times Fox." Pigma grunted angrily catching his breath and stomping towards his hidden Wolfen.
Andrew sat passively watching Herbert and the android pig at work. The bits and pieces that were what were left of Andross floated in a giant clear tank filled with a strange yellow tank. Inside, Andrew was informed, was a complex mix of nano-machines and amino acids among other things in the tank.
"So what is going on now." Andrew yawned.
"If the DNA ssssequence is fully scanned, then the cloning processss will begin." The brown lizard croaked watching a monitor displaying a double helix forming on a monitor.
"Cloning?" Andrew said raising a brow.
"Oink." Herbert nodded.
"After that Andross' psycho print will be imprinted onto the clone and he will live again."
"That's ridiculous, you can't just come back from the dead." Andrew muttered. "Can you?"
"You are foolish to doubt our massster." The lizard sneered.
The lab was illuminated in an eerie light emanating from the inside of the tank. Andrew was now interested in the cloning process but averted his eyes from the tank whenever a fingertip or crushed eyeball floated by. Andross had never been one to share more then a few scarce secrets of the ancient technologies, and it was possible that Andross could have found a way to cheat even death. His thoughts were interrupted as the lizards console began to beep.
"The DNA sequencing is complete. The cloning process has initiated."
The bits and pieces of Andross floating around in the thank suddenly dissolved and the tank began to bubble furiously. Whole computer banks hummed to life as massive amounts of data began to be processed, Andrew sat back in his chair and steeped his fingers mulling over the implications of the new knowledge and watching the strange brew bubble away in the tank.
Katt Monroe had wandered around Sargasso enough that she could probably do it blindfolded by now. Everywhere she went though she could tell Wolf was watching her from afar. She was currently standing a large open causeway located at the top of the station that looked out onto the stars pondering her escape. She felt that since nothing had happened to her during her captivity that she was being used in some sort of trap. She had tried to nose her way into the Wolfen hanger but two large, muscular and short-tempered lizards blocked her path with their heavy blasters that were nearly as big as she was.
The Catspaw however was in exemplary shape. It sat in it's own docking bay which wasn't even guarded. It had been patched up, refueled and seemingly unguarded.
They were letting her go, or at least waiting for her to leave.
Katt began to pace, she was sure that the ship would be rigged with a tracking device. She didn't like being toyed around like this. Earlier in the week she had tried shorting out the lock in Wolf's quarters but only managed to get a nasty jolt by a secondary system. Her paw was still bandaged from that and it might be a while before all the fur grew back.
"DAMNIT." She shouted at no one in particular kicking the Catspaw's landing strut."
"When do you think she'll leave?" Leon asked chuckling watching Katt hop around cursing her toe for hurting on a screen elsewhere on board.
Wolf sat in a nearby chair and traced the scar that ran over his covered left eye. "She'll leave when she's good and ready too."
"Why are we even bothering with this anymore." Leon snarled. "The reward is no good now with Andross dead. Do you think that moron Andrew will pay us if he's going to take over?!" Leon snarled and flicked his tongue about agitatedly
"The reward is not a problem Leon." Wolf snapped harshly. "We have plenty of money as it is, it's more personal now. Andross or not it always has and always will be."
"It's your vendetta not mine." Leon snapped.
"As I've understood it." Wolf said slipping his hand over to his hip where his blaster was holstered. "Our partnership has always been more then fair." Wolf sneered thumbing the charger. "Why would you desire the reward money, so badly?"
Leon tensed up hearing the weapon power up. Wolf was never one to be argued with, even on a good day. "No reason, it would just be nice to have for later. However.." Leon trailed off remembering the last time he crossed hyper lasers with Falco Lombardi. "I suppose it would be worth our time to finish what we started."
"Yes it would." Wolf smirked sensing Leon coming down off his little fit. "It is always important to finish what you have started.
"OK That's it I've had it!" Shouted Katt looking rather perturbed on the video monitor.
"Do you hear me you flea bitten lupine!" Katt snarled. "I'm tired of playing whatever game it is you have planned for me!" She screamed at the video camera mounted in the corner of the bay.
"If it makes you feel any better." Wolf's voice said coolly over an unseen speaker. "You are free to go anytime you wish."
Katt's eye's narrowed. "Yeah and then what my ship explodes on my way out? Good one."
"I assure you nothing detrimental has been done to your ship." Wolf replied. "As far as I'm concerned you can leave now if you wish."
Katt scowled up at the camera. It was obviously a ploy if anything but she was being let go. Something had happened that she wasn't aware of.
She turned her head hearing a force-field flare up and the bay door began to groan and open. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth she quickly climbed up into the Catspaw's cockpit fired it up and made a run for it.
Wolf watched the small ship fly off and then activated the tracking beacon secretly hidden beneath the seat of her flier. He smiled as her tracking beacon appeared on a monitor as her ship made the jump to warp speed.
She was scared now. She would seek out somebody she would feel safe with.
Wolf grinned looking over a data pad of an old picture with a younger looking Falco and Katt sitting on a hover cycle. A picture that had taken some deep digging to locate butt once he knew Katt's weakness she would be their unwilling accomplice.
Sooner or later she would find Fox McCloud.
So would Starwolf.
The ocean planet of Aquas is inhabited with over seven million different aquatic life forms. Beneath it's murky waters lay a civilization long lost to time. No one was sure why the entire planet was underwater but the answers lie, for now beyond Corneria's reach. Enormous creatures swam along the dark depths intertwining themselves around ancient coulombs of a long dead city.
Meanwhile the Great Fox sat bobbing up and down in the waves.
Falco stood leering wanly at the water held back by the Great Fox's force fields as Fox was strapped into the Blue Marine. "Rob I hope you have everything in working order, it would be really bad if that force field collapsed." Falco said trying not to sound concerned.
The Robot looked over at Falco from an open compartment in the supped up submarine. If his face could have conveyed any emotion it would have been annoyance. "EVERYTHING ON GREATFOX IS FUNCTIONING TO DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS THERE IS NO CHANCE OF FAILURE."
"Whatever." Falco muttered. "The sooner we get this over with the better."
"You know Falco you could get prepped for flight." Fox shouted from the cockpit of the blue marine. "Slippy is going to be tracking me from above and I don't want him out there by himself, especially with Bio Weapons skulking about."
"Everything should be fine Fox." Fara smiled tightening his restraints and checking the read outs on the life support systems.
Slippy appared on the ladder. "Now fox this thing is loaded down with several plasma micro torpedoes and your standard hyper blasters, Just like your Arwing." The frog croaked happily. "I've also did the usual tweaks to help you out in a pinch."
Fox looked a bit warily at the controls. "And you are sure this thing will handle like an Arwing?"
Slippy thought for a moment. "An Arwing under water, you won't be as maneuverable but it should be enough."
"I hope so! I don't want to be fish food down there."
"Spam in a can." Falco muttered to himself.
"Har Har." Fox said putting on his com-set and giving Fara a thumbs up. "Let's get this over with the sooner the better.
"Good luck Fox." Fara said kissing him on the cheek before she exited the canopy and closed the hatch.
Fox watched as rob and the other's exited the bay as he powered up the Blue Marine. The vessel shuddered a bit as its drives came to full power and the array of display and controls lit the small cabin space.
Rob 64 triggered the forcefields and the Great Fox's launch bay began to fill with water. Fox felt a bit uneasy watching the water slosh over the canopy. It was an almost primal fear he never thought he'd encounter as the water filled the bay and submersed the vessel.
"MAGNETIC LOCK RELEASED. BLUE MARINE IS READY TO LAUNCH." Rob's voice came over the com.
"You ok down there Fox." Peppy asked as the vessel began to bob beneath Aquas' waters.
"Yeah I think so." Fox said uneasily. "Let's get to it." He shoved the Sub's hotas forward and gunned the throttle.
Much to Fox's amazement the Blue Marine had quite a lot of get up and go. The small submersible blasted out of the Great Fox's launch bay and tore into the primal waters of Aquas.
Fox was a bit shocked at first but quickly got the submersible back under control before it plowed itself in to the murky guck that lined the ocean floor. Slippy wasn't kidding about the Blue Marine handling like an Arwing, he kicked himself for being a bit overzealous with the throttle. He quickly turned on the external lights so he could see along with the ships sensor displays.
He put the Sub through a few quick little maneuvers. "Well this isn't so bad." He said aloud. "It's actually kinda… fun."
As the darkness pulled back fox could see giant rocky outcroppings. Types of bizarre aquatic plants eerily bobbing along with the currents and among them strange fish the likes he had never seen before. He quickly turned on the Bio weapon tracker and got a lock on its signal. The sensor display lit up and the bio weapons location was displayed.
"Fox to Great Fox. I've got a lock on the Bio Weapon. It's about thirty kilometers straight ahead do you copy."
"Roger Fox." Slippy replied. "Remember we're up here if you need us.'
"Phfft." Falco snorted with his feet propped up on his console. "You'd never catch me dead in that thing."
"Geez Falco show a little faith." Slippy frowned obviously hurt.
Fara scowled and slugged Falco in the arm. "Fox could you give the Weapons system a test, just fire a torpedo and a volley of the primary blasters."
"Right on." Fox said adjusting his headset and activating the weapons systems. He gave the trigger a quick squeeze and bolts of plasma leapt from the sub and streamed off into the abyss sending trailing lines of bubbles rising in their wake. Fox flipped the safety cover and fired a volley of the torpedoes. The sub bucked a little but the small arsenal of yellow plasma torpedoes streamed off into the distance.
"They work. Ok let's roll out." Fox said easing the sub forward.
As the Blue Marine plowed through the depths it's spot lights panned the area in front of the sub. Fox could see large organic objects looming in the distance and kept his finger at the ready.
"Fox I'm not liking this but I'm picking up some serious bio activity all around you."
"Be Careful Fox." Peppy chimed in. "Remember what happened in Sector X those depths could be crawling with bogies."
Something large and slimy shot towards the Blue Marine really quickly and fox yelped at seeing something with about twice as many eyes as it did tentacles slink past the cockpit.
"I think COULD is and understatement Peppy." Fox shuddered looking over his shoulder. "Remind me never to eat calamari again." Suddenly the ships proximity alarm went off and Fox looked up to see down the gullet of a large serpent bursting from the glom to swallow him and the Blue Marine whole. Fox yelped in surprise and blew the things skull in half with plasma shots. The water was filled with the creature's inky blood as it sunk to the floor.
"You ok down there?" Peppy asked.
"I'm fine." Fox said shaking off his surprise. "Somehow I don't think this will be very easy at all."
Andrew tapped the glass of the cloning chamber. They had been down in the subterranean lab for hours. "Why is this taking so long." He whined.
Dark shapes began to contort and move within the mass of bubbles, amino acids and nutrient fluids
Herbert made and annoyed sound and returned to watching the computer readouts. "We have a whole system to conquer, we should be focusing on not this stupid attempt to bring my Uncle back."
"Oink!" Herbert grunted in a tone that basically meant "shut up.".
"The proecesss is working." The Lizard grunted. "Once the cloning ssssequence is done the psycho-print will initiate."
"Its probably going to fail like all my Uncle's other imbecilic endeavors." Andrew snorted folding his arms over his chest and leaning against the cloning chamber. "We should just shut the whole thing down and…."
Just then a huge ape like fist struck the side of the tube by Andrew's head cracking the glass. Andrew shrieked in terror and dove for cover.
The fist stayed for a moment. It wasn't even fully formed the skin was mostly transparent and the bones underneath were visible. It suddenly withdrew back into the murk.
"PSYCHO PRINT PROCESS INITIATED." A computer generated voice droned.
"Perhapss you ssspoke to ssssoon." The Lizard chided Andrew who was still shaking with panic on the floor. "The Massster will be among usss again!" The Lizard began to chuckle manically and Herbert chortled joyfully along with him.
"GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Fox said screaming at the waves of sea creatures that were trying to crush and mangle his submersible as he blasted away zipping the small sub between ruins of ancient long submerged cities.
"Fox you are almost on top of that thing." Slippy said on his HUD. "Things going alright for you?"
Fox unleashed two torpedoes which turned a few of the larger squids into sushi and blasted several crab/shark hybrids that were trying to ram his ship with his plasma blasts. "Yeah everything is just going swimmingly Slippy." He performed a few more quick maneuvers and finally wounded and destroyed enough of the creatures they finally broke off their attack deciding a less volatile lunch would be better for their health. "Finally!" Fox said breathing a sigh of relief. "So far so good Slip the Blue Marine's really holding it's own down here."
"Maybe Slippy isn't such a screw up after all." Falco muttered in the background.
"Gee thanks, Falco." Slippy huffed.
"Break it up you guys according to my scanners." Fox said checking his readouts. "I am almost on top of the bio weapon."
The Blue Marine passed over a ruin covered ridge and it's search lights peered into a valley of pitch blackness.
"What's the deal?" Fox asked aloud to no one in particular. "I should be right on top of it?!"
"Fox look below you!" Peppy shouted.
Fox quickly tilted the Blue Marine's bow down as it's search lights panned over a massive clam shell.
"Holly SHIT!" Fox said slamming in the reverse retros as the massive beast began to stir. A tremendous howl echoed through the water and buffeted the small sub as the clam shell began to open and a massive eye glowing within glared balefully at fox. The giant glam shell stood open held by enormous fleshy membranes. The creature slammed it's lid shut in an attempt to crush the sub but missed sending the sub careening away from the force of the waves.
Fox got the sub under control. "I have had just about enough of this nonsense." He said activating the nova bombs and priming his lasers. He fired a burst at the shell but they bounced harmlessly off. "Ah damnit not again."
"Wait till it's open Fox." Slippy chided over his headset.
"Yeah,yeah,yeah!" Fox said watching the massive shell open again and the bio weapon spew what seemed to be pearls the size of Arwings at him. Fox weaved the Blue Marine around the debris and tried to line up a shot as the bio weapon launched two skeletal serpents from some sort of orifice near it's eye.
Fox exclaimed something in disgust and quickly blasting the creatures to pieces before they could do any damage. "You are just full of surprises aren't you. Well I've got one for you." He said activating his targeting system and lining up a shot. "This one's a special delivery!" He squeezed the trigger and the two nova bomb torpedoes shot forth from the sub's torpedo tubes. The bombs soared towards their target and struck the creature right in its enormous eye before detonating.
The creature roared in pain as the explosive force ripped it to pieces sending shockwave's throughout its burrow. It's shell came unhinged and flew
away into the murk pieces of the beast's flesh still clinging to it. The creature gave one final screech before what ever twisted technologies had created and fueled it detonated rending it to nothingness washing the area with shockwave's of explosive force.
The Blue Marine sitting right in their path.
The Great Fox hovered just above the water with it's crew standing on it's landing bay looking for the Blue Marine.
"He's gotta be ok right?" Slippy asked Peppy.
"Anything could have happened." Peppy said. "Maybe his radio just got knocked out of commission. "Any thing Rob." Peppy said hitting an intercom switch.
"UNIT BLUE MARINE IS NOT REPORTING BACK." Rob reported. "IT COULD BE DAMAGED." It added helpfully.
Fara tried to suppress a worried look but couldn't keep her ears from drooping a little. "I don't know. Whatever Fox destroyed, it didn't go peacefully."
"Hey, what's that." Falco said pointing to some ripples in the water just Forward of the ship.
On the surface several bubbles appeared and the water turned a disgusting red as a few bloody chunks of what remained of the weapon floated to the top along with untold scores of dead fish and other creatures of the deep accompanied them.
"Oh,no." Peppy suddenly sighed.
The others turned to look at him and then what he was looking at.
Peppy simply pointed at a few pieces of blue hull. One of them was the fin from the Blue Marine with the newly painted Star Fox emblem still on it.
"Junior…." Peppy muttered sadly.
"No…" Fara gasped.
The pieces bobbed for a little bit and then sunk slowly down back into the depths as even more things could be hear bobbing up underneath of them
"Fox." Slippy gulped. "He's gone isn't he?"
"He was a great pilot." Peppy said. "A great friend as well, I'll miss him." Peppy said almost so distant it concerned the others.
"He was the best buddy you could ever have." Slippy croaked.
"Hmmph. He was a giant pain in the ass, stubborn and wreckless." Falco said quietly. "Still I wouldn't want to fly with anyone else."
Fara was so choked up she couldn't manage to say anything as tears started to run down her face.
"Oh, Boo hoo hoo hoo." They heard someone say in a joking manner. "Boo hoo, don't stop now!" They heard an all to familiar chuckle from down below them as a very battered blue marine floated into view from under the Great Fox. He padded at one of his eyes with his shirt sleeve. Fox said looking a little banged up, somewhat soaked, and an ornery smile but no worse for wear. "You guy's are killing me."
"Well I'll be!" Peppy said somewhat angered and relieved at the same time. "You little punk!"
Fara shrieked happily and then furrowed her brow at him. "You dumb jerk that wasn't funny!" She said looking for something to throw at him but only finding Slippy being the only thing readily available.
"Trust me Fara I wasn't sure I'd make it back, I just surfaced a right before your eulogies." Fox said smiling glad to be above the water.
"Hah you had them Fox!" Falco said trying to hide his relief. "But you didn't have me fooled for one second."
"I'm sure." Fox said rolling his eyes hearing Slippy cheer excitedly above him. "Now would you kindly GET ME OFF THIS THING!"
Above the underground lab the sky's rolled in turmoil as massive bolts of lightning streaked across the sky. The lizards had long ago retreated to their homes and shelters knowing the worst a Venom storm could dish out. A few began chanting believing it to be a sign from the gods that Andross would be returned to them as promised. Their chant's were drowned out by the loud thunderclaps but they were every present over the barren landscape.
"Yesss yess increase power!" The lizard shouted at Herbert.
Herbert nodded and began furiously increasing the power.
"What's going on what's happening!" Andrew screamed.
"Their has been an unforeseen circumstance!" The lizard spat. "The Embryo split early in the process and the computer did not report it."
"What the hell does that mean!?" Andrew spat.
"OINK." Herbert muttered.
"There are not one!" The lizard gulped. "But two."
"PHSYCHO PRINT SUCCESSFUL." The computer reported. "CLONING PROCESS COMPLETE!"
"We live again." An strange chorus of two voices echoed from the chamber as it began to drain. Machinery groaned and the chaber began to life spilling an eerie smoke forth from it.
Andrew's eyes grew wide as he saw not one but two Andross' stepping down from the chamber. He became so overcome with terror he didn't even get out a shriek and instead made a strangled sound and fainted to the floor.
"Excellent work Herbert." One of the Andross' smiled giddily. "I feel young again, alive." He stopped. "I feel so good I could ravage a planet."
"And now." The other one said smirking. "That there are two of me.."
"Nothing can stop us." The first finished.
"There is much work to be done, first." The second rumbled.
"Of course but what of revenge?" The first groused.
"That mongrel can wait. We have bigger and far better things to bring to fruition first." The second Andross grumbled. "And then, we shall.. have revenge."
"ARGH Fox could you have at least brought it back in one piece!" Slippy wailed seeing the busted blue marine being hoisted up to a ceiling storage bay in the Great Fox.
"You seemed happy that I was in one piece." Fox said wringing out his jacket. He was a bit annoyed he had spent the last ten minuets arguing with Falco and Fara over how to properly get the Blue Marine secured.
"Yeah but Dad is going to kill me!"
Fox steadied the hoists control box. "I'll try not to bang it up to much." He said casting a glance over at Falco.
Fara and Falco sat over on a cargo crate drinking a couple of the beers they had smuggled from Katina several weeks ago and hoarding them in a fridge on a cargo bay. Falco had meant to keep them for Fox and himself but he was currently a being an ass.
"They're going to totally trash that thing you know."
"Yup." Falco smirked.
"Dumby." Fara huffed taking a drink.
"What do you see in him anyway?" Falco smirked. "I mean a chick like you, usually has a thing for well… something more like me ya know."
"Not much at the moment." Fara said taking another drink.
"Still mad at him for his little stunt?"
"Still?" Fara huffed rolling her eyes.
Falco laughed. "Well if you get fed up with him." Falco said stretching a wing over her shoulders.
"Mr. Smooth aren't you." Fara smirked then elbowing Falco in his ribs.
"Fox what are you doing!" Slippy hollered. "Run!"
At that moment the Blue Marine slipped in it's hoist and crashed back to the ground sending various pieces of it flying across the bay causing Slippy and Fox to dive for cover.
"Well…" Fox said looking at the vessel now bent in a pathetic looking V shape and lying on it's side. "At least he'll have a good reason to be mad."
"Bravo." Falco said applauding from his vantage point on top of some crates with Fara where he was polishing off a beer. "You two sure know how to put on a show."
Fara rolled her eyes. She'd suggested they use the Anti gravity mounts but Fox insisted on using the hoist for the damn submarine. "Well if we need spare parts we've got them now." She said shooting Fox an effective "I told you so." look.
"If your Dad's sore from this." Fox said tryig to be consoling. "I'll help pay for it with my share of the bounty when this is all over. I'll even take the blame it was after all my idea." Fox said trailing off.
Slippy shook his head and pulled his cap down low. "No… don't worry about it. Dad will get over it."
"Are you guys done yet? We got more bio weapons to trash." Peppy said over the P.A. "We're taking off soon so quit screwing around and get up to the bridge.
"Ugh forget it." Slippy pouted. "Just leave it lie. I need a muck bath." He sighed leaving the bay.
Falco stretched and ran a feathered hand over his head to slick back his head feathers. "Oh goody, lets just hope the next one goes a bit better the this one." Falco sneered. "Right, Fox?" Falco said brushing past him rather close.
"Right." Fox said with a sneer. "What was that about." He said casting a gesture over his shoulder.
"What was what?" Fara said innocently. "Oh, that."
"Yeah that, I saw you two cozying it up over there."
Fara folded her ears back. "Yeah you just keep thinking you saw what you think you did." She huffed. "And when you get back to reality let the rest of us know you jerk."
She stormed out of the bay heading for the bridge.
Fox sighed. Perhaps he did over react a little bit. He knew Falco wasn't happy with being the General's errand boys, with Andross now gone, and had been looking for any chink in Fox's armor to get under his skin. Fox almost wished Andross was back, it made things simpler.
Muttering to himself and wishing his damp flight suit didn't reek of dead fish he headed to his quarters to shower and change.
"Husky one this his husky four reporting nothing on our sensors we should head back."
Bill Grey checked his own displays and yawned feeling rather bored. "Negative Husky four we've got to complete our run, orders from the top."
The fighters had been patrolling the Area of Sector X for the past week. Not much of anything occupied the area anymore except large chunks of space debris.
Land chuckled over his com. "He's right boss I've been to graveyards that have more action then this place."
"That' enough guys." Bill sighed. "I know it's boring but." Suddenly a sensor went off.
"Ah that's more like it." Bill hear Jack say eagerly.
"Looks like something's coming out of warp space. It has an enemy signature. Prepare to go to attack formation but who knows who it could be."
"Roger!" His wing mates replied.
Suddenly an modified invader two painted bright pink dropped out of warp space.
"Ah damnit." Bill said. "Hold your fire it's one of ours."
There were other disgruntled complaints over the tac net.
"Bill! Is that you?" Katt's asked over the com channel.
"Yes, Monroe. What are you doing out here?"
"I'm in big trouble I've got Starwolf on my Ass." Katt said nearly hysterically.
"What'd you do to piss them off?" Bill asked.
"Well I did trash one of their ships, but I need to bugger off somewhere before they find me again. I'm not even sure they aren't tailing me now!"
"Well you can hide out with us." Bill said rather reluctantly.
"NO! They found me there already. I want to know where StarFox is."
"That's currently classified missy." Bill said furrowing his brow.
"BILL I DON'T GIVE A RATS ASS IF IT IS OR NOT JUST TELL ME." Katt practically snarled baring her fangs causing even Bill to wince although there was quite a bit of vacuum between the two of them. "Cough it up!"
"I can't do that!" Bill spat back.
A volley of lasers narrowly missed his fighter causing his wing mates to break formation.
"Catspaw if you do not cease we will return fire." Bill said reluctantly and rather annoyed at getting shot out. "You are committing an act of treason."
"Bill please.." Katt said regaining some of her composure. "Just tell me."
"Should we cool this kitty off." Land said in Bill's ear.
Bill was pissed. He liked Katt a bit more then he wanted to admit and she was a good pilot and loyal to the cause. Deep down he wanted to help her but it was his career on the line.
"Husky leader to squadron continue search pattern. I'll catch up with you later." Bill finally sighed breaking the tense silence.
His wingman acknowledged and took off reluctantly. Bill brought his fighter above Katt's and rolled it so he could look up into her cock pit.
"Katt, you are a good soldier and I can't deny that." Bill said over the com wanting to say something else but his obligations to his duty made him keep it to the point. Katt looked up at him imploringly and he sighed. He blue a puff of air on his canopy fogging it up.
Katt watched as he slowly sketched a message.
Aquas - Solar
Bills hand wiped away the message. "Did you get that?"
"Yeap." Katt said. "Thank you."
"Good luck Katt." Bill said jetting off. "Try not to get into to much trouble."
"You too Bill." Katt said appreciatively typing in the coordinates in her ships navigational computer. "You too."
Beltino was more then pleased with the scan analysis of the Bio weapon chunks the Great Fox had retrieved.
Fox sat in the command chair feeling angry glares from everyone but Peppy. He was hardly paying attention to anything General Pepper was raving on about. Fox was mad at Fara and Falco and felt terrible about busting up Slippy's ship. He had gotten cleaned up but his mood was steadily getting darker by the minuet. Sure he and his friends had gotten into more then a few rows back in the old burrow but this one was different. With Fara involved, it was nothing that a good fist to the jaw and a beer afterward would fix. He felt doubly betrayed even though he was arguing with himself that perhaps what he saw was just nothing. They were all tired of the fighting and the strain on the team was beginning to show. If it weren't for Peppy's presence there would probably be blood on the deck by now although he wasn't sure of whose.
Fara looked over at Fox who was currently glaring at Falco. She felt bad about what she had said earlier but the stupid fight earlier made her still feel vindicated despite the tinge of guilt. "Thruster brain." She muttered.
"Right General we'll be heading for Solar Shortly." Peppy concluded.
"Is everything Ok Peppy?" Pepper said a with some concern. "Things don't seem right."
"It's nothing just stress sir." Peppy said. "Nothing a good nights sleep won't fix."
Pepper slowly sucked on his lowly and then lowered his visor. "Very well, Pepper out."
"Ok gawds damnit that's enough!" Peppy snarled slamming his fists down on the console as the viewscreen went blank. "I don't know what the hell is going on but whatever it is END IT."
"Hey chill out pops it's not your concern." Falco sneered.
Peppy quickly stormed over to Falco's chair and surprisingly lifted him out of it and held him up by the neck and surprisingly dangling his feet above the floor. "I am in a bad mood… BOY… got it!" Peppy said with a hiss that caused everyone to shudder.
Falco gulped for breath and managed a weak nod. Peppy let Falco go and he crashed to the deck on his hindquarters sending a few wayward feathers wafting through the air.
"The hell it isn't my problem!" Peppy shouted frustrated as Falco tried to gingerly crawl away, the wind pulled from his sails. "We are a team damn it and more importantly we are a family. Even those of us who haven't been here for the whole haul." He took a deep breath and calmed himself. "Whatever happened down there, I know you caused it." He said pointing at Fox. "And you made it worse." He said glaring at Falco. "And Slippy and Fara are casualties of it. I've seen it a million times.." Fox began to speak up but Peppy held up a hand. "..and so help me if any of you lip off I'm going to kick your tails so hard you are going to need a week to recuperate so just shut up and listen."
Fox glared but sat back. Fara, Slippy and Falco were too frightened to not disobey.
"We're all tired. We've been stuck on this ship for a while; we get on each other's nerves. I suggest all of you get some R&R go to your own quarters and work out whatever it is you need to work out. Get away from each other. We have at least 10 hours to Solar and I need three of you to be space worthy for the next mission. Fara if you want you can bunk in mine, I won't need them I'll crash out up here." He waited but no one had budged. "Now go on GIT."
With that the rest of them scurried off the bridge.
Peppy locked the bridge door the last thing he needed was them getting into a fight on in the control center. He wearily slapped a control panel that lowered the bridges temporary bunk housing and settled down on it. "Rob." Peppy yawned.
"Can you see to it they stay away from each other, I need some shut eye." "PEPPY?" Rob 64 asked.
"I HAVE OBSERVED FOX FOR MANY YEARS AND HIS BEHAVIOR PATTERS DO NOT SEEM TO VARY MUCH." The Android paused. "DO YOU EVER IMPROVE YOUR PROGRAMMING AT ALL?"
"Rob." Peppy said fluffing the small pillow and trying to get comfortable. "People don't chage… they just get older. Good Night. Lights out."
"GOOD NIGHT PEPPY."
"So what do we do first brother?" Andross I asked.
"First we gather the fold." Andross II said now dressed in a variant of his old attire yet his was green colored his brothers red. He stepped up to a massive communications console and typed in a few commands.
"Attention all of my loyal followers."
All across the Lylat system.
Behind the moons of Zoness starships were alerted.
In secret warrens of still loyal lizards on Corneria their silent vigil around a subspace transceiver snapped on.
Genetic's labs on Titania lizard tech's still minding the birthing farms, and their Cornerian cohorts snapped to attention.
Wolf and Leon exchanged glances from the Canopy's of their Woflen Fighters.
Pigma, following the Great Fox from afar, cowered in terror in the seat of his own as his transmitter snapped on.
"I am well aware that news of my demise as spread throughout my empire. I assure you however that that little inconvenience has been dealt with. I have risen from the dead to bring us to our glorious victory over the whole of the Lylat system. How will I do this you may ask." He motioned to something off camera revealing his twin. "Through providence I have been granted a brother one of equal intellect and cunning and now that the task of running things will now be shared with someone with my own unique vision. Nothing will stop us now."
"Oh bugger." Leon muttered. "Two of them…. That's all we needed."
Wolf couldn't help but nod in agreement and hmph.
" I want all my active military forces to gather themselves at Venom. We all have much to accomplish before the final blow is delivered." Andross I stated. "Vengence and Victory will soon be ours. Andross out."
"Well done brother." Andross II said.
"Couldn't have said it better Myself. Bwa ha ha." Andross I rumbled.
"BWA HA HA HA HA HA!" Andross II clearly amused.
Andross I continued to laugh and they kept it up getting more and more into their evil maniacal laughter.
Andrew stood at the chamber listening to his Uncle's amuse themselves and shook his head miserably.
Things were definitely going to be a lot weirder.
Slippy sat in his quarters. He still was mad at Fox, but he wanted to get over it. He was never one to hold a major grudge. The Blue Marine was something he was hoping to have used more then once. It had all sorts of upgrades that made it so tough it could dive to the bottom of the deepest ocean trench. Sighing loudly he waked over to his computer console and decided to tune his mind into a more urgent problem.
He typed in several commands and began scanning his eyes over the screens of data as the Great Fox's computer generated their previous encounters with them as he had for the last several months. He was sure they would be a problem that would be dealt with and that the last time they had been fortunate.
Piloting skill amounted to a lot in aerial and space combat but more importantly, Slippy ardently believed; it was the machines that made the difference.
The Wolfen fighters seemed superior to the Arwings. In many ways, according to his scans, they were perverse corruptions of the same design. The power distribution had to be tremendous. The way they could out turn and twist an Arwing suggested that they had to have a G-Diffuser field that was tweaked just a bit higher than that of an Arwing. They also seemed to be more heavily armed as evidenced by the collision between two of them in the Fortuna battle.
Arwing's themselves were tough but even they had limitations. There had to be someway to even the playing field. His weapons upgrade had given them a significant fire power boost but the ships Armor left much to be desired. Something that would be a problem if something happened while they were at solar.
He furrowed his brow and croaked concernedly. The Solar mission was going to be very risky and the Arwing would be put through severe gravitational forces that would perhaps rip even the best G-Diffuser systems apart.
He called up his scans on the Wolfens recognizing a familiar signature.
"I'll be damned." He muttered typing in more commands rapidly and taking a grape soda out of the little mini fridge under his computer desk.
As Slippy got one terminal running his theories over the Wolfen's systems he got an idea over something he noticed while upgrading the Arwing's on Katina. On the lower half of the G-Diffuser there seemed to be an empty slot for an stabilizer matrix.
Slippy sat back nimbly typing with webbed fingers and scratched his head. He wondered if he could place additional ones in the G-Diffusers if it wouldn't give the Arwings a bit added protection. He quickly called up the Arwing schematics and discovered that the way the system was designed that was it's original purpose. Due to Andross' sudden attack it seems the system had been forgotten in the rush.
If the G-Diffuser matrices from the Blue Marine successfully patched into an Arwing it may boost their power considerably. Now if only he had enough parts to pull of the job. Slippy scratched his head in thought and realized that the Blue Marines system included not one but four pairs of the units. Just enough for their Arwings to be properly outfitted.
Slippy quickly grabbed his tools and headed for the hanger bay.
Music was blaring loudly from Fox's quarters as Fara approached it. It was loud enough that it was reverberating along the deck plating. She scowled she had come to maybe try to make amends but Fox was ardently demonstrating he was in no mood to be disturbed.
"At least he hasn't chucked my stuff out." She sighed to herself. As she stalked down the Hall she passed Falco's door which also rattling on its hinges as well.
"Idiots." Fara sighed and stalked off towards the landing bay. She was getting gradually more furious at Fox. She knew whatever he had thought he saw had obviously hurt him and wanted to set the record straight. However, she was gradually learning that sometimes Fox preferred to be an idiot when he assumed everyone was out to make him miserable.
Stepping into the Great Fox's repair bay she heard the clanging of tools bouncing off the floor followed by a few swears she didn't even know Slippy was aware of.
"Hey Slippy." She said watching him hop down off his Arwing. "Do you need some help?"
"I think I found a way to give the Arwing another boost." Slippy said off handedly. "I'm just having a little trouble getting started."
Fara walked over and helped pick up the tools that had scattered everywhere. "What do you have in mind."
"I'm going to integrate the special G-Diffusers from the Blue Marine into the Arwings, or at least most of them. I only got enough for four."
"The Arwings should handle the tidal forces from Solar." Fara mentioned off handedly. "It may be a little hot though and it'd have to be a quick mission." Very quick she thought to herself.
"I know that." Slippy said looking up at her. "This will fix that. Plus give us an edge on Star Wolf next time we run into them." Slippy said tossing the last of his tools into the box. "Especially that lousy ape Andrew."
"Sounds like a plan would you mind some help?" Fara asked.
"Sure." Slippy beamed. "It beats sitting around you can start by getting the diffusers off the Blue Marine just open.
"Where is Star Wolf?" Two muttered aloud watching the projected situation screen showing the Venomian fleet reconnoitering around their home world. Andross two stood with his arms folded across his massive chest and impatiently tapping his fingers on his arm.
"They have been summoned yet they have not responded." One replied working on a new project they had both started.
"I do not like their tardiness I will hail them again and demand a response." Two snarled.
"Patience brother there is no need to rush them." One said more engrossed on his work and more apt to let the clone handle the counter strike.
"It's impudence!" Two snarled. "Herbert open a channel to Wolf's ships at once. Use protocol 66 this time, I will not be ignored!"
Herbert nodded and tapped in some commands on a nearby console. Soon Wolf's image flickered onto the vast screen. "What do you want I am busy." Wolf said coldly trying not to sound as infuriated as he felt.
"You have been ordered to report back here at once." Andross Two demanded thrusting his finger towards the screen. "What is the meaning of this insubordination!"
"If you must know Lord Andross," Wolf said with a daggers in his voice. "Star Wolf excluding Pigma and that idiot nephew of yours," Wolf said glaring at Andrew who was currently trying to stay out of the view. "are currently in the process of tracking Fox McCloud down and collecting on that reward."
Andross Two deflated a little.
With all the plans for the second invasion and his other projects the two of them had nearly forgotten about that nuisance.
He exchanged looks with his brother both remembering their last incarnations grisly demise beneath the enormous feet of the Goras.
"What is Star Fox's current location?" Andross One asked.
"Our best bet is Solar." Wolf said quickly. "It looks like they're going around picking off your bio weapons. Word is they've already destroyed something nasty on Aquas."
"How soon will they be disposed of." Andross One asked.
"As soon as the opportunity presents itself." Wolf smirked.
"Very well upon completion you will be paid, if by some trick of fate they do manage to survive return to Venom immediately."
"Understood." Wolf nodded.
Andross two made a cutting motion with his hand and Herbert closed the channel. "Brother.." he said looking around. "Where is Andrew?"
"I'll show him to call me an idiot!" Andrew screamed at a few lizards storming off towards the hanger. "I'll beat all of them to Solar and collect that reward for myself!" Upon entering the hanger he ran up to his Wolfen fighter hanging in it's mag lock. He climbed up into it and quickly pulled his flight helmet on. "I'll show them all once and for all that ANDREW OIKONNOY is a force to be reckoned with! AH Ha ha ha hahaha!"
Two lizards who were quietly enjoying a cigarette leaning against some maintenance equipment watched ambivalently from afar.
"What'sss hisss problem?" One of them asked.
Another volley of Andrew's high pitched cackling rang through the hanger assaulting anyone with auditory senses.
"I think that buggersss finally lossst it." The other said lazily.
The Wolfen had been finally powered up and it blasted out of the hanger bay and tore rapidly up into Venom's over cast skies before disappearing in a cloud bank.
He would make all them rue they day they had ever mocked him.
Even his Unlce, when the time was right.
First however, he needed allies.
Fortunately he knew where to find them.
"Okay Fox." Andrew snarled plugging in the coordinates for a hyper jump. "Let's see what you got."
The Great Fox arrived at Solar without delay.
The Arwings were prepped and launched with out too much ceremony. In fact any words outside of the mission weren't even spoken.
Fara sat on the bridge of the Great Fox watching the four Arwing's shields flare up as they approached the surface of the star. Fox hadn't even bothered to say a word to her. As mad as she was at him she still hoped he would return. The conversions of the Blue Marines G-Diffuers into the Arwings went smoothly but they were a bit tochy.
She sighed and flicked the transmitter switch. "Great Fox to Star Fox team the Bio weapon is close to one of the hot spots. Transmitting coordinates now, So keep your heads up."
"Roger that." Peppy replied huffing a little and beginning to pat. He had the air conditioner going at full bore in the Arwing and he still felt like a stewed hare.
Below the Arwings the surface of Solar churned and billowed super heated gasses made the Arwing buck erratically. Each of them found them self struggling to keep their fighters from crashing into the surface of the star. The G-Diffusers were horribly over taxed fighting the gravitational forces generated by the star. Peppy looked warily at his gauges, each flashing red.
"Everyone stay close and don't get to close to the surface or you'll be broiled alive."
"Keep your shields up too guys." Slippy said panting. "The Arwing can only take up to 9000 degrees Kelvin, the surface temperature outside is about 40.000."
"So what exactly does that mean." Falco said glaring at a few feathers that had decided suddenly that it was molting season.
"It means if your shields drop POOF you are dead got it?" Peppy said.
"Sheesh you didn't have to be so trite about it."
"Shut up all of you eyes forward." Fox growled. "I'm getting strange blips on my sensor what about you Slippy."
"A few anomalies but I can't make any sense out of it. It could just be interference."
"It wasn't interference last time." Fox muttered banking his Arwing as a arch of fire erupted from the surface of Solar shooting up into the air causing the Arwings to break formation. "Damn it Slippy are you asleep you are supposed to be watching those."
"I am Fox but that one wasn't caused by anything natural." Slippy announced noticing suddenly everyone of his sensors screaming for attention. "Heads up I am now getting some bizarre readings."
"What kind?" Falco asked.
"I don't know but I think… I think something down there is alive and its very angry."
"That's nonsense Slip!" Peppy shouted. "There can't be anything else here."
The surface of the sun ahead of them began to swell and rise up and from it burst forth dreadful phoenix's slightly larger then Arwings burst from the deadly bath of plasma and rushed the Arwing.
"Holy Hell!" Falco shouted.
"Slip what in the world.." Fox said watching the impossible birds dive towards his ship
"EVASIVES NOW." Peppy screamed snapping everyone out of their fugue. "Stop gawking, Slip stick with me Fox, Falco cover yourselves."
Fox blinked something was pushing past his since of duty to his friends and he suddenly recalled what had happened hours before. He was suddenly overwhelmed with feelings of betrayal and abandonment and he suddenly began to scowl as he looked over at Falco's Arwing as a group of the strange avians attacked his ship.
"Blow that,." Fox snapped quickly banking his Arwing and gunning the afterburners as a group of three of the impossible creatures came after his ship. "Falco can take care of himself."
"Thanks a load fearless leader I'll, remember that hairball." Falco sneered
"Godsdamnit both of you stop it!" Peppy snapped out of frustration as one of the crazed creatures tried to ram his ship and bounced off his shields.
Falco quickly did a loop the loop to drop behind four of his pursuers and blasted their wings off each of them sending spiraling back into inferno from which they came. He glanced over at Fox who had done some fancy flying despite his vessels protests and managed to cause three of the creatures to crash into eachother and fall back into the star. "Looking a little tired there old buddy." He snapped coldly. "Sure you don't want to make up."
"Bite me bird breath." Fox snarled getting three more to chase them and then making a b line at Falco. "I've got some company for you."
Fox's Awrwing buzzed Falco's and one of the birds bounced off Falco's shields before he could react. The Arwing faltered a little and the gauges dimmed.
"No thanks I've got my own dance partners." Falco sneered blasting a few more of the creatures.
"What in the world are they doing!" Slippy protested as Peppy blasted another fire bird off his tail.
"I don't know they won't answer." Peppy said dropping on Slippy's reading. "I guess what they are best at being thick headed idiots!"
"What should we do?!"
"I don't know let them sort it out and We'll take care of the Bio weapon. Besides," Peppy said watching most of the birds converge on Fox and Falco's suicidal Arial pissing contest. "we have a job to do. Let's get moving."
"Do you still have a lock on the bio weapon."
"An indeterminate one it doesn't seem to be all there."
"That's good enough lets go." Peppy said blasting forward.
Below the surface of the star something fearful lurked.
It was enjoying feeding on the anger of two of the intruders. Such pain it hadn't experienced before. A little pull here, push there and they would try more and more to destroy themselves for it's glee. It pushed the Gores it had possessed to attack the two more aggressively to try to wear them down. Two of the interlopers had escaped but they would soon be dealt with.
It wouldn't be much longer.
Vulcain's massive face smiled.
A Wolfen dropped out of warp space outside of Solar startling the pilot of another one that had been sitting in wait..
"Ah, ha! There you are!" Andrew said triumphantly.
"BLASTED ape where the hell did you come from." Pigma snarled. "I hope you are using an encoded channel."
"Don't worry Andrew Oikonny doesn't make childish mistakes. I am here to discuss business."
"How did you find me." Pigma snarled.
"Uncle Andross puts emergency tracking units on all of his vessels, it wasn't that hard."
Pigma grunted, great now he had to share the reward. Although, it was a little impressive that Andrew had showed a little initiative, for once.
"So what do you want."
In between the gaps of his bucket like flight helmet Andrew flashed a smile that could sell a used car. "I come to propose a little business deal. If you comply you can keep all the reward for yourself."
Pigma raised a brow. Now this he liked.
"Ok," He grunted. "Let's hear it."
Fara watched above in the Great Fox watching with mild horror at what was going on down below.
"Idiots!" She muttered watching Fox and Falco trying to tear each other to pieces, while Slippy and Peppy tried to keep the mission going.
"Have you tried all the frequencies." She said to Rob.
"AFFERMATIVE I CAN NOT ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH ANY TEAM MEMBER. ALL FREQUENCIES ARE BEING JAMMED BY AN OUTSIDE SOURCE." The Android replied. "HOWEVER DUE TO OUR PROXIMITY TO SOLAR I CAN NOT LOCATE THE SOURCE."
"RRGH bugger." Fara muttered. "Maybe if we fire the main gun at them do you think that would get their attention.
Rob stood actually thinking about it for a moment. "NEGATIVE." He finally said.
"We'll keep trying to hail them then." Fara said exasperated. "There has to be some way to bust through that interference. Keep trying."
Down below score's of the Gores were slain as Falco and Fox had began to try to cut each other down with their own weapons.
"You stinking chicken I'll tear you apart piece by piece." Fox snarled nailing a few direct hits on Falco's shields before he could break way.
"HAH that will be the day." Falco said breaking hard into his bank and allowing Fox to pass by him before opening up with his own volley of plasma blasts that tore into Fox's shields. They wavered for a second and a piece of Fox's wing sparked as the gravitational pressures, no longer held back, crushed it sending sparks flying.
"Ha ha ha!" Falco bellowed mockingly. He was going to become team leader and be rid of Fox once and for all. With Fox out of the way he could take the team to places it could only dream of being. He was tired of being second string to such and inferior pilot. He locked on a nova bomb to finish the job but at the last second disabled it. Something wasn't right. For a moment he felt as though he was watching himself from afar. The moment quickly passed and was drowned out in blind rage. "You're history Fox." Falco said chasing after the damaged Arwing.
Deep below the surface of Venom.
A pair of giant lab doors opened into a vast cavern. Andross' clones stepped through it onto a balcony. Andross one turned on a light and the cavern became alight and things stirred in the darkness. Strange enormous forms stirred quietly in their restraining fields.
"Ah, our pets are awake and alert." Andross One said proudly. "These are our crowning achievements."
"Indeed brother." Andross Two smirked. "The finest bio tech creations ever made." Andross Two beamed walking along to the enterance to an enclosed catwalk with a moving floor.
They both stepped onto it and were hurriedly carried along to the other side. "However not as great as our ultimate goal."
They reached the end of the catwalk and Andross two entered a key code at another sealed door. It opened and they entered another large lab. It glowed with an errie green light and many containers bubbled ominously.
"Unlike our failure at Sector X this, will make it all worthwhile." Andross Two paused.
"It will be our ultimate ascension." Andross One smiled. "We shall become gods."
"All in due time brother." Andross two nodded smiling at the large form in the tank. "First things first, we must make those whom abandoned us suffer." He stepped up to the central tank and looked at the pulsating mass of flesh and metal that twisted in the murk. "It has become quite apparent that despite our troops bloody minded loyalty, we can not win this war conventionally.
"Agreed." Andross One nodded.
"We shall begin operation Endgame." Andross gloated. "Corneria will fall and they will bow before their new gods."
In the darkness the Bio Weapons squirmed with anticipation. The darkness boomed with their shrieks.
Slippy and Peppy's Arwings had managed to dodge more thermal flares and sudden waves rising up from the surface which seemed to grow in intensity the closer they got to the target. Slippy had stuck to Peppy like glue and had managed to avoid a lot of near misses. However now they were circling a rather calm spot in the sun's surface. The attacks had suddenly stopped for no reason whatsoever.
"Where is it Slippy?" Peppy asked.
All he could hear was the Amphibian gulp.
"What is it?"
"Um you don't want to know." Slippy said sounding very small.
"Out with it Slip!"
"It's all around us!"
Suddenly the surface of Solar heaved up at them and a horrible pointed face emerged from the depths. It was terrifyingly enormous as it rose from the depths two enormous pincher arms reached up and swatted at the surprised Arwings.
"FOX!" Peppy and Slippy both screamed simultaneously realizing they were in very big trouble.
Fox suddenly was snapped out of his rage.
"FOX HELP!" Slippy screamed over the com.
"FOX, FALCO IF YOU TWO DON'T GET YOUR BUTTS IN GEAR I SWEAR I WILL HAUNT YOU TILL THE DAY YOU BOTH DIE!" Peppy screamed exasperated.
"What the heck?!" Fox said suddenly holding his head. Things were blurred and confusing he suddenly felt like something had let go of him and now he had been thrust back into the driver seat. He shook his head the anger suddenly dispersing as he focused on what was going on. He noticed he had his Nova bombs locked onto Falco's Arwing that was trying to get away.
"Falco, Peppy, Slippy!?" Fox said. "Falco what's going on."
Falco in his own Arwing was coming out of his trance as well somehow his friend's cries for help had snapped him back as well. "Fox what are we doing?"
"I don't know." Fox said still bewildered. "But we've got more important things to deal with stick close." Fox said dumping as much power as he could into the engines. "We've got to get back to work."
"I hear that." Falco said doing the same.
Both Arwings blazed off towards the horizon.
Vulcain loomed ominously above the boiling surface of Solar like a Demon from the very depths of hell itself. Instead of hands it had two large pinchers that looked as if they could snap a star cruiser in two.
It's massive yellow eyes focused on Slippy and Peppy's Arwings balefully as they launched their volleys of plasma energy at them. It took a swat with one massive claw and nearly cleaved Peppy's Arwing in two. The momentum of the swipe plunged Vulcain back into the surface of the star but it quickly emerged again.
It roared in frustration as Slippy looped back around and hammered it in the back with more laser shots. Vulcain focused its thoughts and forced a solar flare to erupt over it that sprayed Slippy's Arwing with hot gasses causing his shields to waver and break off the attack.
"Holy geeze this guy is one tough cookie." Slippy said wiping his brow. That little plasma geyser made the interior of his cockpit heat up considerably. "Any idea's Peppy?"
"I haven't got a clue." The old hare spat. "Just try not to get killed!"
Suddenly a double volley of Plasma blasts struck Vulcain in the face as Falco and Fox blazed back onto the scene. The Bio Weapon roared in frustration.
"Pathetic insects." A voice boomed over each of their insects. "I do not know how you escaped but you will be destroyed." Vulcain sunk back inot the depths and soon the surface of the star began to surge in at them in giant tsunami's of plasma came crashing towards the Arwings. Each of them boosted upwards their engines protesting the tremendous strains they were being put under.
"About damn time Fox." Peppy shouted. "Just what kind of insane…"
"Stow it pops." Falco said. "Fox and I are cool now."
"It's the bio weapon Peppy." Fox said. "It somehow tapped into our minds and made us attack each other."
"Hmmph. I wonder why it didn't effect us."
"Probably because you were focused on the mission." Falco muttered reluctantly.
"HAH, how many times have I told you two block heads to keep your heads in the thick of it." Peppy shouted.
Fox and Falco muttered reluctant agreements.
"So now what do we do?" Slippy said making the most of the pause in the conversation as Vulcain emerged from the star and tossed hot gobs of plasma at the Arwings above.
The Arwings dodged and weaved through the volleys of projectiles and the geysers that the bio weapon shot up at them.
"We're going to put this thing away once and for all, that's what we're going to do." Fox said. "Form up. Slippy get a Fix on that things power source."
"I'm on it." Slippy chirped.
"Falco how are your shields?"
"They've been better what do you have in mind?" Falco asked.
Fox looked at the data Slippy had sent him and patched it through to Falco. "We're going to take our Arwings and give that thing a serious case of indigestion."
"What do you got in mind junior?" Peppy asked a little confused.
"That thing is apparently mostly energy." Fox stated. "All bio weapons have a power core of some sort. Andross may have been a twisted genius but he lacked a little imagination in the improvement department. Slippy if I am right that thing is mostly some giant tractor field generator using the star's plasma to protect itself right?"
"That's a pretty good guess." Slippy said a bit surprised. "But yes essentially from what I can tell."
"Makes sense that must be why our weapons seem to piss it off more then do it harm." Peppy said.
"You got it. I think if one or both of us can ram it's power core that Bio weapon is history." Fox smirked as they did a over head fly by. "Peppy, Slippy run cover fire. Falco dump as much juice as you can into your forward shields as you can and lock onto it's core."
"You got it Fox." Falco said.
The four Arwings dove towards the Bio Weapons. Peppy and Slippy opened up fire and Vulcain roared in defiance and their barrage struck it's eyes and mouth. The bio weapon leaned back and raised it's pinches to launch another attack.
"NOW'S OUR CHANCE!" Fox said zeroing in on the Bio Weapons power core. "FALCO, POWER STRIKE!" He ordered shifting his shields power and gunning the afterburners diving at the Bio Weapon's chest. As he was pushed back into his seat he saw Falco's Arwing also rocketing straight towards the beast.
Both Arwings plunged straight into the creature and it lurched forward crossing it's Pinchers over the entry wounds. Both Arwings burst out through it's back and blasted off and away.
The bio weapon roared in fury as it started to collapse inside itself. Vast amounts of energy suddenly were unleashed as it's core was ruptured and burst out of it's eyes and mouth. It shuddered finally and burst apart in a tremendous explosion.
"That thing is history lets head home boys." Fox smirked smugly as they four Arwings blasted away from Solar's surface and climbed back into the cold embrace of space.
"We got it!" Slippy cheered as he caught back up to Fox and Falco.
"Slick thinking, Fox." Peppy cheered. "Bout time too I'm getting to old for heat like this.
"I concur any more of this and I'll molt myself bald."
"Easy as pie." Fox said. "Nothing can stop us."
Then in the great annoying tradition of irony, something happened.
Pigma's explosives that had been hidden the G-Diffuser unit, triggered by remote, exploded.
Fox's Arwing bucked to the side and suddenly began a slow plunge back downward.
"What the… I'm hit!" Fox said as his instruments started screaming at him. The Arwings G-Diffusers were suddenly offline and the shields, no longer enhanced began to flare as his Arwing began a slow plunge back down to the sun's surface. "HELLP!" He shouted.
"Fox I don't see who…" Peppy said and then suddenly an Explosion wracked his Arwing and sent it spiriling down. Before Slippy and Falco could react they were suddenly disabled as well.
"ARGH Gravitational controls are off line I'm going down!" Falco sputtered.
"Me too!" Slippy yelped.
The Arwings armor began to super heat and parts of them began to ignite as the four plunged slowly toward their oblivion. Console's over loaded, fires erupted in each cockpit and life support systems failed.
"Bwa ha ha ha ha!" Pigma and Andrew's laughter boomed in through their com channels. Their two Wolfen's swung into view above them.
"Your G Diffusers were all to easy to sabotage fox!" Pigma chuckled triumphantly. "Enjoy your fall." Pigma oinked happily. "Peppy say hello to James when you see him BWA HA HA HA HA HA!"
"Nice knowing you losers!" Andrew chimed in.
"PIGMA, DAMN YOU." Fox screamed fully infuriated now. He felt so helpless all that lay ahead of him was a quick and hopefully painless incineration. The cockpit was becoming do hot that his sweat was soaking the seat and it was getting hard to breath. All he could see out the cockpit was flames.
"YAH HA Ha ha The Lylat Wars are over for you Fox." Andrew taunted on the verge of madness. "You loose!"
"This is it guys." He said forlornly. "I hope I see you on the other side."
The surface of the star was growing larger through the flames as each Arwing was drug slowly and surely to its fiery death. He could hear his friends frightened screams over the intercom. He swallowed hard and accepted his fate.
"Just what in the world is going on!" General Pepper said running into the com room.
"It the lizards sir." His aide Cheera said scratching his spotted head rather nervously. "Something has really got them stirred up, they are demanding to speak to you."
"I am sure they are." Pepper said wairly. "Is there any chance that they could bust loose."
"Troops have been moved into the area to maintain the peace but, they've rioted." Cheera sighed. "Their leader a trooper named Vorsh has sent a message to us directly addressed to you. He seems intent to speak with you."
"Hmph." Pepper said filing it away for later.
General Pepper watched a display screen as the lizards were being held back by armored troops and tear gas grenades. "I don't want anyone to get killed tell our guys to keep their heads or there will be hell to pay." He said grabbing a fresh lolly and sticking it in his mouth. "I wonder what's got them in such a bother."
"One can only wonder sir."
Pepper paused for a moment. "Any word from Star Fox."
"No. They are way past over due."
Pepper took a long thoughtful suck on his lollypop. "Call me senile. But I have a very, very bad feeling about all this."
"Just what the hell is going on out there?!" Fara groused worriedly. The team had been gone way to long. Something had to been going wrong.
Rob the Android pilot of the Great Fox worked quietly also showing some unnatural concern for the missing team members.
"That's it we are going after them." Fara said impatiently.
"THAT IS UNWISE, THE GREAT FOX WOULD NOT SURVIVE PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO SOLAR'S GRAVITATIONAL FIELD. GREAT FOX IS UNDER TREMENDOUS STRAIN EVEN AT THIS DISTANCE."
Fara flattened her ears back against her head. Sure Fox had been a jerk but she still cared about him. "Then I'm going after them."
"YOUR ARWING WOULD NOT SURVIVE EITHER."
Fara was about a second from verbally giving Rob a new access port when suddenly a proximity alarm sounded. "Now what?!" She said frustrated running to the sensor station.
"A VESSEL IS DROPPING OUT OF WARP NEAR BY."
Outside space flashed as a small diamond shaped fighter buzzed past the bridge of the Great Fox.
Fara stared blankly at the pink blur that had just buzzed them. "Rob am I crazy or did we just get buzzed by some sort of brazen fashion statement?" She said watching the pink vessel swing a wide circle then dive straight down to the star.
Before the Android could answer the proximity alarm sounded again.
"TWO MORE VESSELS HAVE DROPPED OUT OF WARP."
Fara looked at the window and saw two Wolfen Fighters buzz the bridge.
"Star Wolf!?" Fara gasped. "Good grief Fox." Fara said watching the Wolfens trail the pink vessel downward. "What have you got yourself into?"
"What do we do now Wolf?" Leon asked. "It looks like Pigma and Andrew are already down in that inferno with them and our little kitty is getting away."
"No she isn't Leon." Wolf said peering at his sensor display. "It looks like Pigma and Andrew are just screwing around." He thought for a moment. "It doesn't look like they've engaged Star Fox Directly either."
"So we wait and strike when I say so."
"OMPF." Fox grunted as the Arwing suddenly seemed to have stopped in mid fall. His shoulder straps pulled him tight against his pilots seat. Groggily he looked out to see the surface of the star rolling not to far below him.
"Emergency Systems online. Shields Restored." The ships computer reported.
Fox coughed at the smoke that was still coming from his burning controls and wondered why he was still in one piece.
"Are we dead yet!?" Slippy asked a little bewildered over the com.
"Something's grabbed us." Peppy's voice crackled.
"Can't be anyone we know." Falco muttered. "Even Great Fox couldn't make it down here."
"It's a tractor beam!" Slippy said exstatic. "We're saved!"
"Ha ha!" Fox laughed almost relieved watching the surface grow further away. "Someone's come to save our buts it might be a good idea to start putting out these fires!" He said grabbing the portable extinguisher and quickly spraying out every little glob of flame on his console.
"Looks like you boys could use a little help." A female voice came in over their speakers.
Falco peered up at the strange fighter that had the three Arwings locked on with its tractor beam. "I think I know who our savior might be…" He said recognizing the voice.
"Now Falco darling, is that any way to address a dear old friend such as me." Katt said cheerfully gunning the Catspaw's engines and pulling the Arwings away from Solar's fiery surface.
"Katt…" Falco said a bit shocked. "How the… what are you doing here?"
"I just had a feeling you might of need me." She said adding with a litte annoyance. "I've missed you too."
Solar's deadly embrace was now several thousand kilometers below them as the Catspaw towed the damaged Arwings to safety.
"Hey Falco don't be pissing off our rescuer, just who is she anyways?"
Falco had no reply.
"Is she a friend of yours?" Slippy snickered.
"Er it's a long story alright. Bugger off." Falco muttered.
"Hi and Hi." Katt said cheerfully to Fox and Slippy.
"Miss you better watch your six." Peppy suddenly cut in. "Trouble's coming."
Katt looked up as suddenly the Catspaw was hammered by weapons fire.
"GET HER GET HER SHE'LL RUIN EVERYTHING." Andrew screamed over the com.
"You don't have to tell me target her engines we'll take all five of them out." Pigma snarled thumbing his weapons trigger again and making a few more direct hits on the Catspaw as the swooped by.
"Blast there are more of those assholes!" Katt snarled. "Don't worry I'll get you to safety then I'll take care of them. ACK!"
Pigma and Andrew swung around and strafed her ship again.
"Crap!" Katt snarled watching her power levels drop and damage control board light up. "We'll I'll try at least."
"Katt let us go." Falco said calmly. "You'll get blown to bits dragging us with you."
"Never!" Katt said firing her own barrage of weapons at the approaching Wolfens causing Pigma and Adrew to dodge. Her ship was dying the power core was becoming unstable it wasn't meant to take this much punishment under thes conditions. Her engine display was nothing but a see of red.
"I won't abandon you." She said mentally screaming at her poor ship to hold on just a little bit longer. "I'd rather die!"
"Give it up missy if we get another hit on you your core is going to go critical." Pigma taunted over the intercom. "However if you want to die so bad we'll be glad to send you on your way. Right Andrew?"
"Let's grease her and finish this!" Andrew said gleefully. "I have much bigger fish to ACK!"
Pigma looked over to his side as the moved into the kill and watched Andrew's Wolfen spin wildly out of control plasma billowing it from it's engine.
Pigma was frantically trying to find out who had shot Andrew when suddenly his own vessel was hammered by fire from something. He struggled witth his own wolfen as it lost control as well. "Who the heck shot us!?" He screamed angrily.
"OH BUGGER." He suddenly heard Andrew scream. "It's Wolf and Leon!"
"Pigma you piece of space drek I made it more then clear to you not to get in my way ever again!" Wolf snarled over the com. "I'm ordering both of you to return to Venom right now or I will destroy you both myself.
"No!" Pigma spat back over the com. "McCloud was mine. That reward is mine I did all the work. Besides there are two of us right Andrew. We can take you!"
"Heh heh." Leon's annoying voice rattled over the con. "Not in your current position you both had better consider following orders."
Wolf primed every forward battery on his Wolfen and targeted Pigma and Andrew's ships.
"You'd better start running Pigma." Wolf snarled.
"SOD YOU." Pigma snarled. "Let's take him Andrew…. Andrew?"
"RUN! FAT BOY RUN!" Andrew screamed in terror. Pigma turned to see Andrew's Wolfen fade into the distance it's afterburners blazing.
Now being out numbered, cowardice seemed a virtue.
Pigma's ship soon blasted away towards Venom.
"McCloud. You there."
Fox perked his ear up at the voice and glared out at Wolf's Wolfen fighter. The last several minuets had been pretty harrowing and now that Katt was no longer being shot to pieces she had managed to tow them to safety.
"We'll finish our battle another time. Now is nor the time nor place."
Fox was stunned he had no excuse.
"Ours is one that is personal and will happen when the time is right." He paused to signal Leon they were going to heard their rogue team members back home. "Your life is mine now and I will come calling."
"Fat chance!" Fox snapped back over the com.
Wolf's reply was only a quiet amused sneer. "Try not to get yourself killed before hand. Adios."
Fox watched with disdain and some relief as Wolf and his partner disappeared after Pigma and Andrew.
"Fox, Falco, Peppy, Slippy what the heck is going on!" He heard Fara say over the com.
He looked up relieved to see the Great Fox barreling down on them.
"We're ok Fara. I'll tell you all about it when we get back. Appearently we have a guest as well."
"Got you Fox." Fara said sounding relieved. "Everyone ok?"
"Yeah we're fine," Fox smiled. "and glad to be coming home."
"You know Falco this little rescue is going to cost you dinner."
Falco grunted. "Is that so?"
"Hey you know I didn't just fly half was across this solar system for nothing did you." Katt smirked.
"Well not to much out here I'm afraid."
"Well Falco I can put you back where I found you." Katt said with a bit of malice. "I know you probably are holding out something."
"Er… No..yeah I'm sure I can find something." Falco said not wanting to be particularly being dropped back onto the star.
"That's a good boy." Katt purred appreciatively.
"Sheesh, nothings changed." Falco groused. "She still has to have the last word."
"Yeah Leon." Wolf said wearily.
"Why did we just let them go." Leon complained. "They were ripe for the plundering."
"Because Leon." Wolf muttered. "There was no honor in it, that's why."
Leon fidgeted impatiently. He didn't understand this little game and it was getting to him. Wolf however, had never led him astray so far and perhaps there was some reason behind it.
"Very well." Leon said. "Just checking."
Three figures hunched over the main computer console. Much work still needed to be done. Andross one and two sat opposite of each other. If some one were to walk into the room they might have thought it was some sort of mirror image. Herbert perpendicular to them also hammering away at the computer.
The queit sounds of work being done were interrupted by a strange noise.
Andross two looked up, his concentration broken.
"Herbert." Two said. "What is that noise."
It seemed to be almost musical in nature. Some long forgotten tune that he had heard before. "Brother.. is that you?"
"What?" One said looking up. "I'm sorry? Do you need something."
"That song you were humming." Two said. "Most curious. I remember it from somewhere."
"That you do?" One said still typing away. "You should. How could you forget? It was her song."
Two furrowed his brow deep in thought. "I remember a student of ours, long ago."
"A mind the likes we had never seen or see again."
"OINK?" Herbert asked a bit confused.
"Quiet!" One and Two said to the Polo pig.
"Ironic, that so much of this." Andross Two mused. "Is because of her."
"Vixy." One said.
"Yes that was her name. Vixy Reinard." Two growled showing concern. "What about it?"
"Oh, I don't know… she just came to mind."
"She is dead." Two snarled. "A witless female to the last, despite her intellectual capacities. We have more serious matters to attend to brother we must not loose our focus brother."
"No.." One said a bit reluctantly. "I suppose we shouldn't."
One didn't want to forget her.
"Good." Two said smiling. "No more humming then lets get back to work."
A tense pause passed.
"Right." One said nodding.
However he didn't want to forget.
27 Years Ago
It was just another semester at the Academy.
Doctor Andross was gloomily looking over the exams for the first quarter with much disgust. The Pilots were only required to pass his Warp Physics course with the minor understanding that not properly caculating a jump could make them the permanent part of some planets landscape.
He shuddered with the thought that a lot of Pilot's out there were tooling around with a technology they barely had a grasp of. There was one however who had done his homework and received an a on the test. He couldn't remember the name and it had been put in the stack. An O'Donnely or Donald or O'Donnel or something like that. Some of the scientists however were receiving bad marks. It was very infuriating to think some of these youngsters who seemed to not know a Heiselseif Compesator from a small dog were hoping to be the Lylats top minds someday.
If he could be allowed to continue his to do his experiments in piece and not keep up this farce that would change very quickly.
Andross chuckled to himself, amused as he looked at yet another test.
"My word?!" He exclaimed.
Every answer was detailed and exact.
Every formula was correct down to the last permutations.
Andross baulked and looked at his own notes.
It was bizarre, the answers were right. Even better then right, they were exact.
He suspected at once a cheater but upon looking it over again whom ever had done this work had done it to their own thought processes and it was too far from his own notes to be a copy. Andross was amazed this person whomever he or she was had even simplified a few of the formulas in a way that Andross hadn't even of thought of.
"My, my, my." Andross mused. "Whom is this."
The name on the paper written in a very unique signature said.
The last name he was very familiar with.
The Reinard's we're the oldest and most powerful family on Corneria. There was scarcely a business or organization they didn't have a piece of. He knew a few of them personally through contacts they had made with his former parents. He was aware of a son who was about his age but never of a daughter.
The Reinard's had even provided his sponsorship into the Academy after the accident. They were the major funders of all his projects and were in charge of distributing the fruits of his genius to the world. Through him they had become almost a dominating force that even the government had to acknowledge.
Needless to say they always expected results and would harass him when he experienced delay.
If this Vixy was indeed another child with such and inexplicable genius. She would be key in removing the Reinard's when the time had come.
The next day Andross dismissed class early and called this mystery student to his desk to stay after class. He kept his eyes out for her as the auditorium emptied and spotted a female fennic speaking to a Wolf dressed in a pilots jumpsuit.
Andross watched from afar as there was a brief exchange, a kiss and the fennic approached the podium carefully.
"Doctor… You wanted to see me after class?" She said rather nervously trying to balance several notebooks and a shoulder bag rather precariously.
"Ah yes Ms. Reinard is it."
Andross looked into the most piercing blue eyes he had ever seen. He felt lost in them and in the presence of something equal to him.
"I want to speak to you about your test, do sit down." Andross said suddenly snapping out of his entrancement.
Vixy nodded and sat down at an accompanying table.
"I want to talk to you about your test." Andross said.
Vixy sighed. "I knew I forgot to account for gravimetric distortions in question 19, but the test only specified that..'
"No no." Andross said rather taken aback. "It's not that. You passed it. Not only that you passed it flawlessly."
"I did?" Vixy said blushing a little. "Then why this?" she asked curiously.
"Ms. Reinard no one has ever done that well on any test of mine, ever." Andross said. "I at first suspected that you had some how heated but I spent the better part of last night working through your equations and I could not find any fault."
"Oh." Vixy said. "Why thank you, I guess."
"Ms. Reinard you have a mind that only comes around once in a great while." Andross said trying to be as flattering as a large ape could. "You obviously have gifts many of your peers would kill for." He paused. "You obviously have a passion for the works of science, no one puts that much effort into answering a test question except you."
"I've always like math, physics and even quantum physics." Vixy admitted embarrassed. "Even engineering principles, I have a whole library of books at home that I've been reading since I was a little pup."
"Admirable." Andross mused. "Reinard, aren't they the big energy barons. I haven't heard of too many of them being admitted to the academy. Mostly private schools I assume."
"One and the same." Vixy said a bit regrettably. "I've never cared to much for the business, it never changes."
"If I offered you a position to come work for me." Andross said soothingly, changing the subject. "To work as an intern, would you accept." Andross smiled. "I could show you things that you have only dreamed of."
"Yes!" Vixy said rather flattered. "I've always wanted to work for the great Andross, you've been this planets greatest scientific genius for years. I'm more then honored that you asked me."
"The honor is all mine." Andross mused.
Time had passed.
Vixy had in a few weeks shown more then promise. She showed progress.
In the time they had spent working side by side on his own personal projects Vixy had found answers to problems that had slowed him up for years. It seemed every week there was another breakthrough.
Vixy had an unnatural talent for absorbing knowledge with Andross backing she also began taking classes in the Bio Scinceses and Engineering.
Andross' lab had almost become her second home. When she wasn't working for him she was studying for another class just as diligently as she did his.
As Andross would work on his own projects he would help her study as well. They spent many hours discussing the many sciences working side by side.
This didn't go unnoticed.
One day as Andross was going to the auditorium he over heard the grey Wolf snarling at Vixy.
"You never spend an hour apart from him. You are with him aren't you."
"It's not like that." Vixy said red with rage and betrayal under her fur. "He is a great and kind man and he's been a great teacher and a friend to me."
Andross was flattered but none the less stepped into an alcove to listen intently.
The wolf stopped. "Vix come on now I didn't mean it, I love you but, you never have any time for me anymore. Come on take the night off just once babe." The wolf said grasping her arm tighly. "For old times?"
"No!" Vixy said tearing away from him. "I am supposed to work in the lab tonight Wolf, I told you that. If you can't respect what I am doing." She said darkly folding her ears back. "Then perhaps we shouldn't be together anymore."
"I knew it." Wolf snarled. "Fine be that way, spend your time in some lab with some stinking simian wasting away until no one will want you."
This fight had obviously happened before. Andross suddenly felt giddy with anticipation he had never felt before.
"Wolf the only thing you've ever been good at is manipulating people." Vixy spat back. "I'm trying to make Corneria better for everyone. You are a cruel, vile person. So why don't you just bugger off sod for brains."
That seemed to have hurt.
"Vixy…" Wolf pleaded.
"Piss off!" She said storming off into the lecture hall.
Wolf snarled at her as she walked away and punched a display case shattering the glass.
Later that night he came in to hear Vixy sobbing quietly. A sole burner was illuminating the whole room.
"My dear are you ok?" Andross said approaching her carefully.
"Why does it hurt so much?" She sobbed openly.
"Oh." Andross said placing a massive paw on her small shoulder. "It's something that comes to us with the compulsion to create."
"I don't want to be alone." Vixy sniffed.
"You aren't, you have friends don't you." Andross said a bit amased that it was coming from him. He had to stop himself for a moment. For some reason this female had stirred feeling in him that he had never felt. "I've always considered myself a friend, and I care for you. My darling Vixy you have never been alone."
"I know." Vixy sobbed. "It's just…"
"He was the first one I thought loved me." Vixy said. "I never felt that before."
"What nonsense child." Andross said. "Don't you have a family?"
Vixy snorted disgustedly. "They wanted another son, not some bookworm daughter, they've never wanted me."
Andross paused. He remembered his parents. They had been gone a long time but he still remembered there kindness. The love they had given him.
How one day they were suddenly taken away.
"Sometimes it's harder." He said a small tear forming up, the rage forgotten. "When they do care for you. It only hurts more when they are taken away."
Vixy sniffed. "Are you ok, Andross?" She said concerned. "You are crying."
'It's nothing." Andross said trying to regain his composure. He felt strange. For once something other then anger and hatred was filling his heart. It was strange and confusing. "Perhaps you should call it a night child. You've had a rough day." He said absent mindedly squeezing her paw.
Vixy smiled. "Yeah. Besides we've got to test the G-Diffuser prototype tomorrow. It'll be a big day, looking forward to it."
"I am as well." Andross smiled.
"Good night Doctor." Vixy said gathering up her things. She quickly walked up to him and kissed him on the cheek.
"What was that for?!" Andross said nearly startled.
"That was for being a friend when I needed one." Vixy said.
"Thank you?" Andross said still a little flustered. "See you tomorrow." He said with what he hopped wasn't to goofy a smile.
Vixy nodded and smiled back and headed for the door. "Later Doc."
That summer the Academy had put Vixy on a forced academic leave, despite Andross' protests.
Vixy had nearly completed four degrees with high marks and they university was afraid that she might be loosing her insanity taking nearly fifty credit hours a semester.
With this new found time Andross had taken to having her accompany him on social events. It was seldom not seen that Vixy wasn't hanging off Andross arm at any social event decked out in a long red evening dress assailing blue bloods with her vast knowledge along with the good doctor.
A change was however noticed by the elite of corneria and even his students.
He was smiling more, laughing more.
A year had passed
Vixy had begun to haunt him at night.
He found himself unable to concentrate and drifting off to thoughts of her when he was trying to bury himself in his work but every time she would distract him.
He would wake up in cold sweats to visions that only his waking imagination could dream of.
Andross was enchanted with her.
He was falling in love.
He had been in love once before but things had fallen apart once he began his research. It was long ago and ended in such sorrow, something he cared not to remember. This woman how ever shared the same passion for science he did and was not distracted by anything else.
It finally hit him one day while she was giving the lecture in class. He had been sitting in the front row and they had exchanged brief smiles and he had flet a rush of warmth through him. Vixy had stopped momentarily and given him a friendly smile before continuing.
Andross was hardly an old man by Cornerian terms, and Vixy was hardly a child by the same, but he was almost twice her age.
He wondered if someday it could work.
His hopes however were one day dashed.
"MR. MCLOUD!" Andross roared one day throwing an eraser and striking the fox right between the eyes.
The fox fell out of his chair which he had back on two legs, enjoying a quiet nap and crashed to the ground. Laughter erupted through out the class room as there was a loud crash.
"Let that be a reminder to the rest of you to not dose off in my class." Andross hmmphed.
The truant fox climbed back up and righted his seat. "Chill doc, I'm just checking my eyelids." He said fumbling around for a pair of sunglasses.
"I'm sure of that." Andross rumbled. "I'm sure the rest of the students who are here of their own merits would appreciate if you at least made the effort Mr. Mcloud. In fact, Ms. Reinard."
"Yes Doctor?" Vixy said pleasantly.
"Give him ten demerits for today." He turned back to the Fox. "I suggest you pay attention from now on or you will not recover that on your next test do you understand."
James McLoud looked at andross then to Vixy. He seemed to be noodling something out and then he slid on his shades and gave a million dollar smile. "Whatever you say doc."
A few days later.
Vixy had arrived rather late one night and she seemed to be quite destraugt. She was holding a paw to her face.
"What happened?!" Andross said seeing her. "Are you hurt?"
"It's nothing…" Vixy said shyly.
"Nothing? You are injured who did it, I swear I'll…"
"No don't … he got his." Vixy said putting a calming hand on Andross' shoulder. "It's ok really."
"At least what tell me what happened dear…" Andross said resignedly.
"I went out." Vixy said. "I know not like me but I'm so close to being done. I took your advise and got out of the lab for once."
"Well.." Vixy smiled a little. "I started talking to someone and Wolf came over and made a big deal about it. He was drunk and started threatening me, then he hit me.."
"That brute I'll have him thrown out of her so fast…" Andross rumbled.
"No need." Vixy said waving a dismissive hand. "My, er, friend stopped him. Wolf drew a knife. There was a scuffle and Wolf ended up loosing his eye. The police came and hauled him off." She said in a far away tone.
"Oh.." Andross said. Loosing an eye was a lot worse then expulsion. "What was this young fellows name."
Vixy looked at the window at something that seemed beyond his sight.
"James." She said.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Andross Two slamming his fist down into the keyboard.
"Blast it all." Andross Two rumbled. "That idiot Hanger has totally screwed up the main operation algorithms for the Telekinetic Amplifier. At this rate it will be at least a week before we can fix it."
"It was our project. We could complete the project ourselves in half that time." Andross One said coolly.
"Yes." Andross Two nodded. "The device must be perfected before we can even complete our masterpiece."
"It will be complete brother." Andross One said coolly.
Andross had watched the thing he desired the most slowly being taken from him. James and Vixy's love had grown from that fateful night and soon she was no longer devoted to his work. She was still contributing, but she had become distracted.
Andross had grown bitterer as time had passed all she could talk about was James and some crazy idea of being some sort of bounty hunters using some garbage scowl they had pulled out of a god-forsaken scrap yard.
Their time had become less and less together she was soon involved in helping McCloud with whatever projects he had in mind.
Andross buried himself in his work. He was not going to win Vixy back.
One night he had enough and had retreated to a posh establishment for Corneria's social elite. He had managed to gather up quite a few bottles around him. Andross didn't care about how he looked he just wanted to stop feeling anything, anymore.
Vixy was gone.
In the breast pocket of his jacket was a letter she had left for him.
It confused him and only made his anger grow.
He had made all the effort to avoid seeing her that day only to return to the lab to find the accursed handwritten letter now resting in his breast pocket.
He stumbled through an alley outside a bar that was close to the academy's grounds. He was drunk and heartbroken. In a fit of rage he picked up a construction barrel and tossed it out into the street.
"CURSE YOU MCLOUD!" He screamed enraged at a few passers by who had barely managed to avoid being hit by the projectile.
He then turned and punched the wall over and over again until he finally placed his hands on his huge bloody fists and slid down to his knees sobbing quietly to himself.
He suddenly became very dizzy and finally fell over passing out.
"Leave me alone."
Andross, you are better then this.
No, I will not
"You are just a voice in my head go way."
I will not be silenced any longer. I let you have your fun and see what you have done. You have lost sight of our goal.
"Vixy was the only thing I ever wanted."
"I don't want to hurt anyone anymore I just want to…"
I tire of this you have wasted our time long enough.
"No stop! You…"
Are no longer in portent to my plan.
"I won't let you I'll…."
Fail, you will always fail against me. You are in pain I am from your pain.
No more mercy will be given, vengeance has been delayed long enough.
She cared nothing for you, the only one who has ever given a damn about you, kept you safe, pushed you forward is me.
"I'll stop you from ever ruining….. ruining my plans ever again." Andross muttered opening his eyes and looking around.
"Hey buddy are you ok?" A feline cop said leaning over him.
"I am fine." Andross growled pushing his massive frame back up to its feet. "I was merely cutting through and slipped. It is no concern of yours."
"Are you sure? You've been out for quite awhile."
Andross' frame tightened a little bit but a wave of icy calm suddenly passed over him. "I assure you officer." He suddenly burst out laughing joyfully as a small voice only he could hear died slowly away. "I am more then fine."
"Brother.." Andross Two said placing a hand on One's shoulder. "Let us take a pause. I believe you are becoming unfocused."
"Yes." One said shaking his head coming out of the fog of his memories. "Lets take a break."
"I know just the place." Andross Two grinned widely.
On the surface of Venom the humongous temple that was above Andross' underground lair stretched into the air with it's ominous spires looking like the maw of some petrified beast. A small elevator shaft opened in the base of one of the towers and the Andross' stepped out of it and walked over to one of the pillars.
Andross Two beckoned for his brother to follow.
"It is common at times for great men to become disheartened during times of difficulty." Andross Two rumbled. "Hanger's bungling of the TKA is a major one at that. Greatness however dictates that one should overcome the incompetence of ones subordinates. It is also important that one should never loose their focus."
"What are you implying?" Andross one grumbled.
"I believe for some reason you ambition is being dampened." Andross Two said concerned. "I think a little reminder of why we are here."
The cool venom wind whipped their campaign cloaks about them and the everlasting thunderstorm rumbled threateningly above them.
As they approached one of the towers lightning flashed above illuminating the burnt out shell of a wrecked fighter.
"Ah yes." Andross One smirked. "I remember this place."
"This is one of our greatest triumphs." Andross Two. "Smiting one of our most hated enemies. Luring him into a trap without no escape and crushing him."
"Bwa ha. Yes that was a good one." Andross One smirked.
"And here he shall stay rotting under our watchful gaze, never to be interred and never to be honored. Our personal trophy." Two smirked.
"The son still lives." Andross One groused. "He will come."
"Let him." Andross Two snarled. "That brat shall be crushed under our boot. Perhaps we'll skin him and hang it in the lab for a decoration." Andross Two turned to him. "Although, I think we shall personally deal with Mcloud when the time comes."
"That shall be something I will eagerly anticipate. " Andross One smirked feeling somewhat better. "When shall we do that?"
"I think we shall lure McCloud into a false sense of security." Andross Two mused stroking his beard. "Let him stay in the delusion that we are still quite dead and not about ready to strike the final deadly blow."
"I like that plan." One smirked. "Show up when he least expects it.
"Spot on brother, I'm sure we will have no trouble tracking him." Andross two cheered.
"Once we've crushed McCloud, no one will have the fortitude to stop us." One said eagerly.
"There is nothing out there that will stand in our way brother. Soon very soon it will all be washed away:" Andross Two said with a broad jesture. "All of them will meet the same fate. Death."
The storm rumbled over head and a breeze scattered some loose debris that wafted around the wreckage.
"The weather is getting rather wretched." Andross One said as a lightning bolt struck one of the towers. "We should return to safety."
The other clone nodded and they tramped back to the lift.
After returning to the Great Fox, making the best of a spare moment, Falco and Katt had managed to dodge the debriefing on the bridge with General Pepper.
Falco had told Katt where to meet him while he slipped off to change out of his slightly molted flight suit. Since they were very old friends and Falco had decided to at least surprise her by dressing up a little. Donning a tuxedo he had found on Corneria he had decided to keep on hand in case their were in ensuing banquets in his honor, he had made his way to the Great Fox's lounge.
He was quite surprised to find Katt had the same thing in mind.
Katt had arrived dressed in a low cut, one piece form clinging outfit with purple narrow heeled boots. Her outfit clung to every little curve leaving nothing to the imagination. It could inspire thoughts that would cause a writer to go take a cold shower and have a lie down for a bit and come up with some strange thoughts about felines.
Falco stood for a moment starring in amazement. Katt was no longer the wirey pink girl he had seen all those moments again.
"Surprised?" Katt purred.
"You know a dress like that," Falco stuttered trying to maintain some sort of self control. "Should be registered as a deadly weapon."
Katt blushed a little. "Same could be said about the wearer." She said stepping up to him and hooking an arm around his wing. "You don't look to bad yourself Falco. Drinks?"
"Yeah." Falco said as they headed through the double doors and into the lounge.
A few drinks later.
"So, how have you been?" Falco finally asked pouring her another glass of Papetoon Wine.
"After all this time that's all you can say to me?" Katt sighed, taking a slow sip of her champagne.
"Well, I'm not sure what to say." Falco said. "We didn't really part on good terms." He said hurriedly pouring himself his own glass. The one thing he hated the most about Katt was how she always seemed to set him off kilter every time he was around her. He felt like he was in an Arwing spiraling towards the ground with none of the indicator lights flashing. Helplessly plowing towards total oblivion. "It's not like I've really had the chance to keep in touch either." Falco said taking a drink. "Or the money for that matter."
Katt nodded and an uncomfortable silence passed. "Yes, so busy being the dashing rouge."
"Hey that's not funny." Falco smirked. "I'm definitely dashing but certainly not a rouge."
"You know when you left." Katt said quietly. "Everything went straight to hell."
Falco stopped in mid pour.
"Drake was never a substitute for you." Katt said coldly leaning back in her chair. "No sooner then you leave Diego and the rest of the Skulls over ran all of Bes Polaris. The Hot Rodders we're mostly wiped out, a few of us managed to escape to other cities but for the most part we're gone."
"Why are you here then?" Falco asked.
"Because I knew Drake could never stand up to those psychopaths by himself. Do you have any idea how many of our friends are gone? How many lives have been ruined because you left. We we're the only thing holding Bes Polaris together, when you left it all fell apart."
Falco stared at the far wall his face waxed of any emotion as he set the bottle slowly down. "I'm sorry Katt, is that what you want me to hear?"
"You are always sorry." Katt sulked. "Same Falco, even now years later you haven't changed."
"I was given a chance to do the one thing I had always dreamed of, Flying." Falco said. "Fox turned me to it and I could not turn him down."
"You had an obligation to us Falco." Katt spat. "A huge responsibility, people counted on you."
"Katt you'll never understand this." Falco said. "But all my involvement in the gang was, was nothing more then a hobby." Falco said his voice cracking a little betraying his real feelings. "It was only something to do because I could."
This was an old battle.
"You just keep telling yourself that." Katt sighed.
She really did miss Falco and she wanted so much to do something other then fight with him over the same things.
They sat in silence a moment as the Great Fox's triple engines resonated softly through the lounge.
"…The research is coming along nicely, we believe that we may be able to find a way to neutralize the bio weapons so that they no longer pose a threat to us." Pepper said proudly from the Great Fox's main viewer. "I suppose in reward for your great work some time ashore would be appreciated. Goddess knows you have earned it."
Fox nodded. "We do need some time to heal up."
"I'll grant you a week of leave, with Andross gone, all that's left is clean up." Pepper said. "However I will expect you back when we prepare our final assault on Venom. I personally plan to make sure that nothing will ever cause a war like this again."
"You can count on us General." Fox said. "Thank you."
"It's the least I could do. Get healed up, do something besides putting your tails on the line." Pepper said pulling out his lolly. "Fox?"
"For crying out loud take a shower, you look like something on the side of the road. I'll be seeing you in a week, Pepper out."
The screen winked out.
"Did ya hear that?!" Slippy said. "Does that mean we can go home?"
"Looks that way Slippy." Fox said feeling relieved. He missed the old burrow, missed their friends back on Papetoon. "Rob set a course for Papetoon and send the word that we're coming home."
"They'll get quite the kick seeing us roll up in this thing." Peppy said affectionately patting the main control console.
Fox looked over at Fara who smiled back at him. Before reporting in they had seemed to somehow patched things up without actually saying a word. After hearing about what happened on Solar the tiff earlier seemed a bit meaningless. "Would you mind coming to Papetoon with us?" Fox asked. "The Burrow isn't the best but it is home."
"Fox haven't you figured out I'd follow you anywhere?" Fara said sarcastically.
"I figured as much, anyone up for a little party?" Fox said to the others.
"Don't see why not." Peppy muttered.
"Woo hoo we're going home!" Slippy cheered hopping up and down. "Grape Soda's are on me!"
Fox offered his arm to Fara and she took it. "Sounds like fun, I could use a cool down after all that excitement."
"Anyways." Katt said breaking the silence. "To answer your question, I've been kicking it around as a recon op for the Cornerian government for the last couple of years. I got captured once, escaped, got a ship. Tooled around a little bit and eventually ran back into you."
"Well you couldn't have picked a better time." Falco said gratefully. "You really saved our butts."
"You're welcome Falco." Katt smiled. "This is quite the setup for a pirate ship." Katt said motioning around the place.
"Fox's dad had this put in." Falco said. "He wanted a place where you could go and at least try to forget you're on a spaceship for a little bit. The rest of it isn't this nice believe me."
Just then the double doors of the lounge parted and Kat sat her drink down. "It looks like your friends are here." She said seeing Fox and Fara, who had patched things up, followed by Slippy and Peppy suddenly flooding into the room. "Let's all celebrate our reunion together."
"Go home people there is nothing to see here." Falco said getting a bit annoyed that somehow they'd managed to ruin the get together worse then he possibly could. "Just a casual meeting between two old acquaintances."
Fox who was too busy carrying on a conversation with Falco suddenly snapped his head up in attention and stopped in his path causing Slippy and Peppy to crash into the two of them. Falco could almost see the gears turning as Fox surveyed the situation.
"Hey if you wanted some time alone you should have asked bud." Fox smirked. "I mean I can't really blame you for.. OW." He stopped rubbing his side and shooting a glance at Fara, who suddenly seemed very interested in the claws in her free hand, a smirk of feigned innocence crossed her muzzle.
"It's not like that at all Fox." Falco growled now realizing that any hope of recovering the evening had the same chance as a snowball in a blast furnace. "We're just talking about old times, I've known her since she was practically a kitten."
Slippy not resisting the urge waddled over towards Katt. "So tell us has Falco always been annoying or has he just gotten worse? Even better just tell us everything!"
Falco shot the toad a predatory glare.
"It's safe to say that Falco is just the same then as he is now." Katt said shooting Falco a glare.
Falco groaned and tried to take cover behind the bar.
"I'll give him this." Peppy said flatteringly looking Katt up and down. "He's got great taste."
Fara pulled Fox along to the quieter side of the Lounge. She wanted to put a little distance between Fox and the testosterone fest at the other side of the room. She was glad to have Fox back even though he was in need of a shower and looked a bit well done from the previous adventure.
"So that was the last of the Bio Weapons." Fara said sitting in one of the cushioned chairs and looking out the window at Solar that now spun burning hot in the vacuum. "It's finally over isn't it."
"I hope so…." Fox said also staring out at the star.
"So what do we do after it's all said and done?"
"Well as far as Starfox is concerned. I'll start up bounty hunting again. I'm sure there will be plenty of scum that's stirred up after the smoke clears. Continue my fathers business, it's what he would have wanted. What about you?"
"Oh I don't know…" Fara trailed off.
"We could always use another pilot." Fox said reassuringly. "And dame good engineers are hard to come by." Fox looked over at the others. "Slippy's could get up at any minute if he was offered the chance and Peppy isn't getting any younger."
"I don't think you need to worry about me leaving Fox." Fara said. "I hate to admit it but I think I'm starting to like this lifestyle. Flying test flights was one thing but out here, out here it's real and not controlled. You never know what is coming next. I actually feel free for once and not confined it's actually kind of nice."
Fox smirked. "It's not always this easy. Eventually work dries up. Then you have to do other things.
Fara smirked. "Fox I'm sure dad would be more then willing to help, he's never been one to let his only daughter go wanting."
"I don't' want hand outs."
"Fox that's just stubborn pride." Fara said suddenly trailing off feeling a gaze upon her.
"It's just my way ok." Fox said. "I've never had anything handed to me, until recently. I've worked hard and scrapped for everything I've ever had. I hoped maybe you could understand that…"
Fara stood up and walked over to him embracing him. "Fox, if it bothers you that much I'm sure we'll make it through anything, hell it might even be an adventure at that too." She kissed his muzzle softly. "I'm willing to do anything, go anywhere with you, you are my center." She said wrapping her arms around him and holding him tight feeling him return the embrace. "Even when you are being a stubborn juvenile butthead, I still love you Fox, nothing, and no one, will ever change that."
Fox sighed and nuzzled the side of her face holding her tight. "I love you too Fara." He said softly. "I don't know if I can ever put it to words."
"Someday you will." Fara said nuzzling back. "I know it's hard."
Fox nodded relived and smiled. "You don't know how hard kiddo."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Well take it on, You and Me , I feel like we could make it through anything as long as we have each other."
"To think I worried about that." Fox said gesturing over to Falco who was currently giving Slippy a rather fierce noogie while Peppy casually chatted with Katt.
"Him? Pfft." Fara scoffed. "Faclo's smooth but he's not someone you can really expect to be there for you. No competition with you handsome." Fara said patting him affectionately on the muzzle. "Besides you missed the part where I elbowed him, I might have bruised a rib."
Fox sighed watching Slippy kick Falco in the knee and make a speedy get away.
"You know." Fox sighed. "I'm probably never going to get rid of them."
"Why would I want that?" Fara chuckled. "It's free entertainment."
"The Aparoid was the most perfect fusion of Flesh and Technology." Andross Two mused. "Years of hard work have finally coalesced into our latest model of bio weapons."
"Vulcain, Bacoon, Goras and Spyborg were all failures, this brother will be our finest hour." Andross One said calling up computer read outs.
Three diagrams of bizarre creatures appeared on the giant holographic display. Three names appeared beside the monstrosities.
Plasma Hydra: A creature that resembled a enormous wingless techno organic bird with long whip like tentacles that could rip a cruiser to sunder.
Gorgon a night mare that disappeared and reappeared as it wished resembling a large pill bug that could open up and unleash a horrible plasma weapon.
Phantron a twisted creation as deadly as the others with the ability to be three places at once.
"It would be a waste to use them on McCloud." Andross One mused.
"Oh I wouldn't dream of it. They shall be used on Corneria. A target far more fitting. " Two groused. "We shall deal with McCloud personally when he least expects it. Once he is out of our way, nothing is going to stop us."
The door to the lab suddenly opened and one of the bulky lizard guards stepped in and saluted. "Emperors! Wolf O'Donnel has returned with Pigma and Andrew."
Andross Two sighed heavily. "Very well I suppose business should be dealt with before pleasure."
"I have the suspicion that Pigma has managed to fail us yet once again." One grumbled.
"Very well you deal with it then." Two snarled haughtily. "I have more pressing matters to attend too."
Andross One balked a little bit. His brother had suddenly snapped at him as if he were no more then an underling. Another dumb lizard to push around.
"Excuse me brother?" He said angrily.
"Pardon my tone." Andross Two said not looking up. "I no longer have the penchant for keeping that incompetent oaf among my midst. Deal with him as you see fit." He said continuing to work with the computer.
"What about Andrew?"
"Andrew is a failure, a louse, a coward." Andross Two said. "Yet he is a survivor. He is untapped potential that, properly trained." He paused to sigh. "with adequate time to do so, could become a valuable asset."
"Agreed. " One said still a bit infuriated. "I'll go see what it is they want."
"Take Herbert with you as well. I do not trust Wolf." Two said eagerly. "He is a rather unstable element in our plans."
Pigma and Andrew hit the ground face first both bound from behind.
"Leon I'm going to frag you for this!" Pigma snarled angrily.
"Tut tut little piggy." Leon smirked pushing in Pigma's bruised snout with the muzzle of his blaster.
"Oh god please, please, please don't kill us!" Andrew whined. "We were only doing what Andross told us too!"
"Oh would you just shut up!" Pigma snarled.
"Yeah and I'm getting mighty sick of that too." Wolf growled. "Where is our benevolent Emperors"
"Heh heh this is fun!" Leon smirked stepping on Andrew's head. "Squeal like Pigma monkey boy!"
Andrew let out a terrified scream as Leon pressed the muzzle to his eye and he could see the emitter crystal charging.
Andross entered the room with two large lizard guards and Herbert. "Stop that immediately. Wolf get your man under control." He bellowed.
Wolf shot Leon a glance, Leon sighed and reluctantly holstered his weapon stepping off of Andrew.
"All right now that we're all cozy here." Wolf said calmly. "Might I ask JUST WHAT THE FRIG YOU ARE DOING UNDERMINING ME WITH THESE TWO IDIOTS!" He snarled.
Andross waited for a moment. "Are you done?" He finally said calmly.
"The hell I am! What you are paying me is no compensation for all the aggravation I have had to deal with." Wolf snarled. "If not for the both of them McCloud and his loser patrol would be history!"
"Hmph. I think not." Andross smirked.
"Blast you Andross you have pushed me too far!" Wolf snarled wanting to draw his weapon. He was sure that if he did, Leon might be able to take out the gaurds before all hell broke loose. Herbert however, one could never know what that Polo pig was going to be toting at any given moment.
"If it wasn't for Pigma and Andrew you wouldn't have even come close."
"What are you talking about!?" Wolf snapped.
"Your stake in this McCloud thing is all but too personal for you." Andross said. "I have been watching you for a long time and your own personal motives are what is behind your failures." Andross smiled watching Wolf flinch a little. "What is it like to be someone whose life revolves around such a senseless rivalry from so long ago."
"Stop it." Wolf spat quietly.
"We were all in love with the same woman, this is what it all boils down to isn't it. I sent you to do a job a long time ago and you failed me. If not for your blundering incompetence the name McCloud would have faded into memory a long time ago. If Pigma and Andrew were allowed to succeed Fox McCloud and his gang of ruffians would have been killed before they wrecked my armada at Sector Y!" Andross huffed seeing his point made. He glanced over and noticed both Andrew and Pigma had managed to wriggle into seated positions. "Your illogical sense of honor is what is undermining your combat ability Wolf. I think it would be in your best interest to remove yourself from the situation."
"What?!" Wolf spat.
"You are no longer to be in pursuit of Starfox. I am reassigning you to the Bolse Satellite. I will be in need of it shortly and in the event that McCloud and his precious Starfox show up I will be counting on you to help in its defense. Andrew, Pigma." The pig and simian both looked up expectantly. "I have one more task for you and after that you will differ to Wolf. I will be too tied up with other projects once McCloud and Corneria are out of the picture. Now that the mater is settled untie them and carry on your assignments. " Andross growled. "Unless there are any other problems?"
"No problems." Wolf snapped.
"Good now be on your way." Andross grunted.
Andross One stalked down a lone corridor with Herbert in tow. Strange thoughts were buzzing in his mind. "I know you are only and android and incapable of any emotion besides utter loyalty to myself." He said.
"OINK?" Herbert asked.
"A lot has been on my mind recently. I find myself distracted by thoughts I have put aside for many years. Thoughts about my own mortality."
The Polo pig didn't respond.
"My brother and I have escaped death's icy grasp once but we will not always be so fortunate. The cloning technology is far from perfect and any amount of factors could cause it to malfunction." Andross paused for a moment. "If I am gone, if both of us are gone, however, what legacy will I leave behind?"
"OINK." Herbert replied.
"Yes, but Andrew would probably run everything into the ground within a few years. I'm speaking of something more noble, something I have left sitting on the back burner for many years."
Herbert made his best effort to shrug.
"If I remember correctly I was about done with the Project Regenesis before the war. All I had to do was a few more procedures and I might
be able to turn this barren rock into something that even those simpleton lizards could be proud of."
"My brother will take care of that he seems engrossed in it but when my empire is past this growing pain I want people to see my true genius for years to come." Andross One said departing through a set of double doors down a long unused corridor.
"If he needs me, he knows how to contact me." Andross One said dismissive disappearing down the darkened corridor. "Genocide seems to be his forte'."
Wolf had gone completely cold since they left the lab. Leon was keeping his distance, when Wolf was like this he was on the verge of becoming very dangerous.
They approached the elevator, Wolf stabbed the call button with a finger and eventually the lift arrived and they stepped inside.
The lift took off again and Wolf showed not a single flicker of emotion.
Leon flicked his tounge about his eyes out of nessicity and not to try to break the ice wich he suspected was too dangerous to mess with. The lift slid to a stop and one of Andross' Cerbral Bores stepped into it.
The former Cornerian loped onto the lift with their usual gate and glassy dead stare. Leon assumed it was one of the various minions Andross used to keep his vast underground facility operating properly. It was indeterminate what species it was let alone the sex since it had obviously been modified several times. He personally didn't like them because they smelled of death and industrial lubricants.
Then the stupid thing made the last mistake in it's short existence.
It turned towards Wolf and saluted saying in it's dry crackled voice.
"All hail Andross!"
What happened next, Leon wasn't quite sure, there was an inhuman roar.
Wolf drew his knife and lunged at the thing with lighting speed.
There was the sound of the knife sliceing repeatedly into it's flesh and cybernetic components and a massive splatter of blood and nutrient fluid all over the wall.
Leon noticed the nasty mix spilling onto the floor and stepped away form it, not out of revulsion, but to not get his own boots dirty.
Wolf stood holding the thing up against the wall with it's half severed head and then suddenly dropped it to the ground leaving it lay splayed open and cut down the middle.
"Was that a good idea?" Leon asked as Wolf wiped the blade of his knife on the thing then putting it back in its holster.
Wolf paused for a moment and took a long slow breath regaining his center.
"Who cares, I hate those stupid things anyway." Wolf snarled as the lift slid to a halt. "This is our stop."
Wolf casually stepped over the corpse and out of the lift past a stunned lizard tech who was waiting to step on board.
"What are you looking at!" Leon hissed jabbing a long finger into the lizards chest. "Get someone to clean up that mess!"
Leon quickly caught up to Wolf as he headed toward the hanger bay.
"Andross will pay for that little insult Leon, and I'll make him pay dearly
The Lab Door shut and Andross flicked on a light on a dusty wall. The lights flickered but gradually illuminated a Workshop that he had not visited in sometime. Tracing his fingers over one of the workbench as he passed he sighed looking at all the projects he had long since abandoned. When he first Arrived on Venom he dove into the one thing that had always comforted him, his work. He buried himself in it using what he had backed up in Herbert at the time and salvaging the shuttle for parts.
In a few years, with the lizards cooperation he had set up his first workshop in the ancient temple and started again where he left off. The lizards worshiping him as some sort of god were more then eager to bring him any wreckage that they had happened to find scattered across their world. The biggest find was the starship that had been buried deep inside the temple.
Andross remembered a fall while experiencing where he had nearly broken his leg and gaping in aw at the ancient relic slumbering deep within the temple. Ignoring the Archeological value he utilized it to its fullest. From his own research he remembered discovering that the starship like the ruins it belonged in was one from the ancient race of Cornerius, why they left it on this desolate world was beyond his knowledge. He remembered tracing his fingers along its hull in amazement.
The vessel was nearly intact but it did not stay that way for long. Using the technology on the vessel Andross was able to rebuild. The ship had amazing technologies on it, plus adding his own he was able to be living in comfort once more and able to continue his work unabated. He had the vessel stripped of anything useful.
Now in his old lab Andross paused on his trip down memory lane.
It was a shame that Vixy had not been alive to see it.
Andross shook his head grumbling. If only he had done the job himself she may have been.
Once had himself re established it was almost as if it was back to his old days of research. Using the Data tracks backed up in Herbert, he became lost in his work again. His first project had been to re terraform Venom into something more inhabitable. He had poured a lot of effort into it and completed the project in a short time. However other discoveries had been made on the way, which diverted his attention to other endeavors.
Why had he stopped short of launching the device?
It would have made Venom a lot more bearable.
Now that Andross Two had delegated him the menial task of dealing with the hirelings, he knew that his time was growing short. Strolling over to one of his old workstations he activated it and it slowly came to live.
Taking out the keyboard he began to type furiously.
"Let's see what my Dear Brother is up too." Andross One mused as he accessed the terminal creating a new back door so his brother would not detect him.
His eyes panned over the vast streams of data streaming across the stream. His brother was changing something in the Ascension prject. "Hmm very curious brother..." He said watching the schematics pass by. "Very curious indeed."
Andross set himself to work his fingers typing away furiously.
Fox slept uneasily.
He was having nightmares, of an unusual nature.
He was on Venom but he did not know why. All around him sinister laughter could be heard. "Who's there!" he demanded. The laughter only intensified.
Suddenly the ground erupted around him and several sinister looking spires shot up into the sky. He suddenly realized that the spires we're closing in around him and suddenly resembled giant fingers. He screamed as the fingers clasped around him and held him into place.
"At last McCloud. You are finally mine!" Andross' Voice boomed in his ears. Fox looked up and saw Andross' face emerge from the turbulent Venom sky. "Falco, Slippy, Peppy HELP!" Fox screamed.
He suddenly heard the sinister laughter of StarWolf as their Wolfens appeared and circled the enormous hands.
"You are all out of friends McCloud!" Wolf sneered.
"They're all dead! All because of you bwa ha ha!" Leon snickered.
Fox looked around and could see burnt wrecks of destroyed Arwings all around him. "NO!" He shouted.
"You never had a chance you never did!" Andrew shrieked.
"You've failed just like your father did! FWA HA HA HA!" Pigma taunted.
"No! It's impossible this can't be!"
"It is and it was always meant to be this way Fox." The large visge of Andross chuckled. "And now it's your turn!"
Andross opened his enormous mouth and Fox was moved towards it. He tried to free himself but no matter what he did the enormous Andross simply made his grip tighter.
As doom came closer a familiar alarm sounded. Moment before he was devoured the dream suddenly faded.
Bweet weet. Bweet weet.
Fox woke up with a start and sweating. He fumbled around for the light switch and only succeeded in startling Fara and causing her to fall out of the bed. After much confusion and cursing Fara got up on the bed and asked what's wrong.
"It's nothing just a nightmare." Fox sighed heavily rubbing his eyes.
"That was some night mare, you were thrashing around quite a bit." Fara said holding him from behind.
Bweet weet. Bweet weet.
"Shouldn't you get that?"
Fox nodded and hit the switch on his bed stand. "What?"
"WE WILL BE IN PAPETOON SYSTEM WITHIN 72 HOURS. SHOULD I SEND A NOTICE OF OUR ARRIVAL?" Rob reported.
"Fine. Yes, just don't be in a big hurry to get to the planet ok? We need our rest." Fox yawned.
"If I can get back to sleep." Fox muttered.
"Fox, the war is over." Fara purred. "You don't need to worry anymore." She said nuzzling the back of his neck.
"Yeah I know, but something is telling me it isn't." Fox grunted.
"Well I can't blame you for worrying." Fara said. "You need to let it go though. You can try." She hugged him tightly.
Fox leaned back into her embrace and sighed. "With you I might be able to forget." He said kissing her neck.
"Hmm." Fara cooed. "I can probably help you get back to sleep too." She chuckled.
"Wow Andross is toast. Who would have thought it." Katt said.
"Yeah, I'm surprised you didn't hear." Falco replied.
It was late as Falco and Katt strolled along the main corridor of the Great Fox leading to the bridge. They had spent the last few hours catching up on recent events.
"Well Falco I was a little busy trying to find you. I guess I didn't get a chance to catch up on current events."
"I just can't believe the dumb luck we had with you bringing Wolf into the fray." Falco chuckled. "I guess he and his teammates have a few little problems that they need to resolve."
"I don't know. I knew they probably had my ship bugged but I didn't exactly have time to thoroughly check for it." Katt hissed.
"You have taken care of that haven't you?" Falco asked.
"Yes, I talked your frog friend into doing it." Katt said. "He was practically over eager to do anything for me."
Falco laughed. "Yeah that little bugger falls for a pretty face just like the rest of us."
"That's the first complement you've ever given me Falco." Katt said quietly.
"I figured." Katt said slugging him in the arm. "I will never ever figure you out." Katt said stepping in front of him as he rubbed his arm. "I don't understand why you have someone who is so in love with you that she practically is broadcasting it on high-band and you act like you don't even see it."
She stepped closer to him. "How can you ignore me. We were close once Falco. Very close." She said closing in on him backing him into a wall. Falco looked uncomfortable and tried to escape but she had already pinned him on either side with her arms. "What are you afraid of Falco?" Katt said. "Are you afraid to feel for once, to loose control." Katt said moving closer pressing against him.
"Are you afraid to give of your whole self to one person and really, truly love someone." She said quietly, intensely, her lips not for from his beak her eyes staring into his. "You have no reason to run anymore." She said kissing him deeply.
For a long moment they held each other like that.
"AIEEEEEEE!" Slippy's voice could be heard coming from the docking bay.
Katt suddenly startled jump back and Falco stood a little dazed. "What was that."
"Oh shit…" Katt muttered. "I forgot to warn him about that…"
"About what? Who? Where?"
"Just a little toy I built on Zoness, we'd better go see if your friend still has his head attached." She then looked into his eyes. "Well finish this later Falco dear."
Falco nodded he hadn't expected something so intense from Katt. He still felt a little out of his mind after that and smacked himself on the side of the beak to get his head back together as he followed Katt to check on Slippy.
"What.." Andrew Oikonnoy sighed as him and Pigma sat alone in a rec room alone and rejected. Keeping each other's company simply because no one wanted them.
Wolf and Leon had already left for Bolse.
No one wanted them around even the lizards seemed to be mocking them anymore.
Pigma was getting loaded on the cheapest whiskey he could get his hands on and had convinced Andrew to take a few shots as well. "You know where we ssshrewed up."
"Oh I don't know you take a frigging guess."
"Shhhhut up. Lishhen to me." Pigma said with some manner of patience in his voice. "Guys like us, we don't need Wolf's or even Andross' telling us what to do."
"Ha, now I know your drunk." Andrew laughed. "You are talking treason right there buddy."
"Well kid do you think Andross is ever going to jushh step aside and let you take over. Especially now that you have to wait for BOTH of them to die or retire." Pigma said. "It'll never happen."
"Well, perhaps." Andrew conceded. '
"What I'm saying is since Wolf is too damn smart we should perhaps look to exploit a weakness in your Uncle's trust." Pigma hiccuped. "I don't know if it's that damn Polo pig or what but I never see him with a weapon. If we waited for the right moment, we could take him out and then you could be the new head of a pre made empire, you got me?"
"Hmmm. It would be nice."
"With someone like me to help you run it, it's be a piece of cake." Pigma smirked. "We could even make Wolf lick our boots at some point now wouldn't that be something?"
"Yes. It would be nice to be respected for once." Andrew mused.
"All it takes is we have to strike…. At the time Andross is most vulnerable." Pigma belched.
"Good grief that could take forever."
"I know I know." Pigma said calmly. "Which is why we need to stick to him like fleas on Fox. I have a feeling that something may be up with these two twins. If I know Andross, he doesn't like to share the top with anyone. This little farce won't last much longer."
"Very interesting. Perhaps you are onto something Dengar." Andrew mused already seeing his commencement ceremony. "In return for you helping me I will give you a life of wealth which I doubt you could even imagine."
"Sure fine enough by me. Just don't screw me like everyone else likes too."
"I wouldn't even dream of it. You will be the highest and most respected person in the new empire."
"Sounds good to me kid." Pigma said sitting down his bottle. "Shake on it."
And the celebration in Andrew's mind carried on.
Banners and Fanfare and all.