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A Coccoon Inverted (PG-13 for language)


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Behold, the rare fanfic from me. Short, as usual. I'm not quite sure I like the thing, to be honest. But we'll see.

I've cross-posted this to two other SF boards. So if you saw it there first, you needn't read it again.


I had sensed a great amount of anger from Falco as we returned from our mission. It was almost palpable, as most of it was directed at me. The others didn't notice it, of course, until he deliberately ran into me just outside the Great Fox's hangar entrance. I wasn't going to say anything. Fox stood up for me instead, predictable as always.

"Falco, what's wrong with you, huh?"

Falco whirled and glared down his beak at our team leader.

"Wrong with me, Fox? Wrong with me? I'll tell ya what's wrong, it's her!" He jabbed a finger vehemently in my direction. "I'll be damned to the Three Frozen Hells before I fly another mission with this walking disaster area!"

Fox was ready to protest, always ready to defend me, but Falco cut him off.

"Fox, I used to complain about Slippy being the worst pilot on the team. We always have to save his ass, from bogeys as much as from himself. But he's at least competent. You found her," he almost spat the word, refusing to use my name, "what, a year before we took her into space? What the hell were you thinking, really? She didn't go to Academy, she didn't have anything but a few months of simulator training before she got shoved into an Arwing to try and save the universe.

"Falco, we didn't have much of a choice at the time."

"Batshit, Fox! The three of us could have done fine by ourselves. Or we could have called in Bill, or even Katt! Instead, you decided to saddle us with a liability, and that was damned irresponsible of you. She's gonna get someone killed, Fox, mark my words, and it sure ain't gonna be me. You gotta start thinking with the head on your shoulders, get me? One foxy pair of legs..."

"Falco, that's enough, dammit! All right, I made a mistake, I didn't make the best decision. But we all survived, okay? And now everything's fine, Krystal can go to the Academy and take flying lessons or something. All right?"

Falco snorted. "She'd better. I ain't gonna fly another mission with her until she does, and ain't nothing telling me otherwise. She's a liability, mark my words. So either she leaves, or gets her shit straight, or I leave. Got it?"

He turned on his heel and stalked off. Fox shook with surprise at the sudden rush of anger coursing through him. His mind was always an open book to me; out of the four of them, he has the least mental control. He moved over to me and put a hand to my shoulder, trying to comfort me.

"Krystal, I'm sorry, you know what a jerk Falco can be sometimes..."

I brushed his hand off. "No, Fox, he does have a point." Then, sensing his concern, I added, "Don't worry about me. I'm not known for letting words upset me." I forced a soft smile, and he returned it. "I'll be in my quarters. Let me know what the General has to say."

"The General...?"

Peppy's voice came over the communication system. "Fox, General Pepper's on the horn, asking for you. Better get down here on the double."

Fox gave a short laugh, smiled at me once more, and then took off down the corridor, Slippy following at a slower pace. I meandered off towards my quarters or... wherever. I honestly didn't care.

I had lied, after all. Something Falco had said was bothering me. "One foxy pair of legs."

I found myself in the forward deck, across from the hangar and beneath the main bridge. The windows there provided a lovely view of blue-frosted Corneria, whirling slowly below.

"I'm just sorry it isn't home."

I'd been feeling it for a while now. At first, it was simply a feeling, like the first pang of hunger, only I didn't know what it was. I pushed it down, forgot about it, until it came back, and stronger. That was when I'd begun exploring it. All I knew was that it represented a change, of some sort. I couldn't fathom what, however. The question gnawed at my psyche, made flight training difficult. And for a long time, that was how it remained: a question, a lingering doubt, and especially a distraction.

The rush of battle, of living at the edge of mortality, had allowed me to repress the doubt once more, and so our great mission to defeat the Aparoids continued to its successful denouement. But it was during that final battle, against the Aparoid Queen, who mimicked the voices and images of our lost loved ones, that a memory, more ancient than myself, was awakened within me.

It was an image of my father. I had not seen him since before my planet was destroyed, for he had died long before. My mind was strong enough that I could see the Queen Aparoid's trick for what it was; yet I still saw it.

"You are not one of them," the image said, its tone admonishing. "You are not them, and they are not you. Why do you help them? They know nothing about you, care nothing for you. And soon, you will be forced to abandon them. Stop this madness!"

The ruse failed. The Queen fell. But the memory awakened, and I realized the truth behind those phantom words.

The lingering doubt, the incessant nagging at the back of my consciousness, was my body telling me to prepare for the next phase. What lay buried in the collective unconscious of my people was the memory of our true nature; being so isolated from the few who survived Cerinia's destruction, I was denied access to this memory until long after it had become pertinent.

For my people are shapeshifters. I, in my isolation, had forgotten my true form, and it is not what these Cornerians see when I stand before them.

And soon, it will change. That is what the image of my father warned me of. Soon, I will become something else; I know not what. All I can be certain of is that whatever it is will be unlike anything Fox, Falco or the others have seen. Perhaps it will destroy them, or drive them mad. I cannot say.

The question which once caused me such doubt in myself has been answered. Yet it leaves behind only more doubt, and this time I find myself unable to shake it from my thoughts.

What is happening to me? What will happen to them? I feel Fox's attraction to this form so strongly. I must admit some amount of affection for all of them. I wish them no harm.

But I don't know what the future holds. I just don't know.

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Not that you need any more praising and you know its good so I'm going to just say it: This is great! Well done, this was a great read, thank you.

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