Ori

Star Fox: Power of The Endless (OrbiterSpore's Fanfic)

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Ori

Well, per request of some people and for those who don't want to/can't go at dA, here's my fanfic. So far I got a little content to show, not much more than two chapters. It's a crossover with the lore of the game Endless Space (which I mentioned before) set at a post-Assault, non-Command timeline. Well, better than nothing although I think I suck at titles. And possibly more than just that. So prepare for the worst and enjoy:
 
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 StarFox: Power of the Endless

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Lore:

 

There is one thing no power can control.

 

No matter how an empire grows strong, no matter how advanced they are, it is impossible for any to control and shape this to their will. It is yet to be known one that can control not only what is –and will- happen.

 

Outsmart the paths of time. Outsmart the certain death.

 

Shape the very Universe around them.

 

Only one race was nearly able to do this... And even they didn’t succeed…

 

They were called The Endless. Immeasurable knowledge, untold wonders of technology, and greater wealth than anyone would ever imagine. Of all their mysteries, one though is perhaps the most perplexing; their whole civilization is missing, leaving behind only their constructs and works.

As a matter of fact, their legacy is not a humble one. Whole planets, made habitable; countless ‘ruins’ that still stand solid despite any harsh condition they would withstand… And The Dust.

 

The Endless’ most notable creation, this nanotech is perhaps the most used—and least understood – of all their creations. It would seem today it that most consider it as currency, but there those who see its true potential; from information, to warfare, to construction, and anything imaginable…

 

And those are willing to take on the risks for greater reward than simple wealth.

 

The Dust is not simply a nanotechnological construct. Much beyond that, it acts autonomously, and continuously self-replicates exploiting anything seen as useful. Upon reaching a certain quantity, its entangled networking becomes ever more complex, leading it to indeed get ‘smarter’. To the point sometimes even achieving self-awareness.

 

As a matter of fact, its nanotech scale and adaptable programming allows The Dust to incorporate itself to perhaps all it can reach; systems, craft hulls, buildings… and even lifeforms.

 

The risk of becoming a “Dust-infected†individual is feared by most, as a common side effect for the faint of heart is losing their mind. Yet, those who are convict on their goals seem to achieve untold feats upon becoming, as they call “Dust-enhanced†individuals, either on battle, or as scholars.

 

At this point, we may only know a fraction of The Endless once did, but having finally unshackled ourselves from the confines of limited space, the doors to infinite possibilities now open.

 

What will happen now...? Only time will tell…

 

------------------------------

 

I’ll say it;

 

No matter how hard you try, it’s not easy to get things work be the way you hope or expect. Plan as you will; you’ll have to deal with the unexpected.

 

And it’s dealing with ever more surprising occasions that I find myself here.

 

I am Fox McCloud, leader of the mercenary team called StarFox. We're known in Lylat for having defied enemy forces and plunging straight into the enemy's leading corps.

 

It all started when my father, James McCloud, founded the team with his close friend Peppy Hare, and assisted by another mercenary called Pigma Dengar.

 

The same way we do today, the team was famous for the prowess of destroying entire fleets even if outnumbered or outgunned. It was during a conflict between Lylat's Cornerian Defense Force and the empire of a scientist that went berserk after banishment -named Andross- that they were most noticed.

 

This success didn’t last long, though… As it turned out, Pigma was acting under the enemy’s orders, for the larger paycheck…

 

*Sigh*...He shot my father down before he could even react.

 

From that day on, ‘harsh’ was to understate it. Pigma had fled unscathed into the underworld of Lylat, and despite the best efforts, justice couldn’t be done at the time…

 

Even though there was no wreckage found of James' fighter or any corpse or escape pod, there are no proofs that he survived the incident...

 

*Deeper sigh*

 

It’s just some bad memories that you don’t really want to have…

 

----

 

Not long after this though, the team was reborn with a new crew. A four-ace team with perhaps the best flight academy graduates…

 

…Erm… okay, I think that’s overstating a bit… You can say it was a case of “almost, but not quiteâ€.

 

Motor mouth, with a knack for comic dialogue, and almost reckless honestly, the team’s ace Falco Lombardi is a great pilot and excels at flying the Arwing, and obviously, performs greatly in battles. He is skilled, but sometimes he does tempt fate more than a bit…

 

Peppy has a lot of experience from what he has seen and done, and is still good during space combat. Recently, though, he shared the position of commanding the mission from the Great Fox with ROB, since someone has come into the team that ended taking his place.

 

Though he's very young for a starfighter engineer, Slippy Toad deals swiftly with nearly any tech he can put his hands on. Tweaking, reprogramming, fixing, upgrading, calibrating… you call it, he can get it done. On the other hand, he’s not the best pilot around…

 

And worth the mention, and there's also ROB. He's a command and control drone kept ever since the original team. Still works nicely. Of course I'm not decommissioning him so soon. That drone already has story with me.

 

----

 

After the new team was complete, we've been requested of services by the CDF, once again against Andross. After driving his forces back into his main assets, we had troubles of many kinds, and one of them, was Star Wolf.

 

Another mercenary team, they were really there only for the money. While their team members were Wolf O' Donell, Leon Powalski, Andrew Oikonny, and Pigma Dengar, their luck wasn't the same as ours. They were serving as a last line of defense for Andross' plans, and despite their advanced fighters at the time, their motivation was faint, and we managed to defeat them.

 

The rest, as some say, is history.

 

----

 

Time passed, some things changed, and we all had our differences. It got to the point Falco offed himself into his own adventure, but perhaps it’s still something that can make quite the conversation topic… He came back though, but the circumstances were… at least, strange.

 

 I was dispatched at a recon mission at the time, on Planet Sauria, for good reasons nicknamed “Dinosaur Planetâ€. The number of reptilian species in that planet still can surprise unknowing visitors.

 

As it turns out, it was more complicated than first thought. An uprising of a dominant reptilian warrior race was happening, and to make it worse, the incredulous mission control disregarded my reinforcement requests. I was roughly on my own, with the occasional aid of a few natives…

 

It was on that planet though, that our last team member was found. I still ask… what are the odds? Heh…

 

Her search was driven only by one motivation; discover what caused the ultimate destruction of her homeworld, and the loss of its civilization.

 

Her name is Krystal.

 

By means untold until further ahead, on her quest she managed to reach Sauria, though seeing the imminent conflict, Krystal decided on an act of selflessness to help restore peace.

 

It wasn’t so successful, though. She became trapped inside a crystalline construct by forces we still don’t really understand... I first found Krystal in that state, only partially aware of what was next to her.

 

I couldn’t just walk away and leave her. Within what I could do, I was able to free her from the entity. As a token of gratitude, she decided to join us until she could settle herself, and return to her search.

 

As it turns out though, she stayed for quite a while longer than that…

 

-----

 

Krystal’s decision to stay with us lasted longer than she probably thought it would. For quite some time, the best efforts of our help to her didn’t give many results besides what she already knew; her world was dead, and there were no signs of what possibly caused it…

 

Even in this unfortunate time of her life, though, she didn’t recluse herself. Rather, she became a good friend of us all, and a valuable asset to the team as well… And I’ll admit… I feel close to her...

 

As we knew each other better, Krystal had shown herself as gentle, yet reliable, and perhaps quite determined. Her kindness makes her fit the role of team and crew counseling perfectly, and as a matter of fact, her species carried the gift of telepathy, showing her value of understanding nature

 

Perhaps her good looks are a super extra. Heh…

 

And with the time that passed, I couldn't help but to become even more interested in her than I first thought I would...

 

----

 

Of course, as you probably figured out, the destruction of Andross has caused the rest of his followers and supporters to fall in disorder. But that didn’t foil their last card; to create a rebellion. They were more a nuisance than a threat, actually, and were easily neutralized and forced back into their minor outposts, with their leader, Andrew Oikonny, running across Lylat into his last-resort territories.

 

We thought that it was a matter of time upon peace blanketed the system. But things changed suddenly, as even though Oikonny was defeated, we were put against a new foe.

 

I'll put it simply: they are deadly, and they are ugly. The Aparoids. Insectoid cyborg race which assimilates any and all technology and life forms into their hive. The Corneria Defense Force had faced one of those in the past, and there were few survivors of the encounter with the single Aparoid.

 

Their invading forces attacked both minor and major locations in Lylat, having appeared first in Fortuna, and then invading Katina. They even invaded the very same tribal planet that I've visited in the past, Sauria, as well as striking the very capital of Corneria.

 

Though our team defeated them flawlessly, the damage done cost many lives, and Corneria learned a harsh lesson of how to plan their strategies having faced this.

 

 

There was someone though, who was willing to do anything to get what he wanted.

 

Pigma Dengar was absorbed by their forces, and turned into one of the Aparoids himself. All he was made of is greed for money and for power. He paid a high toll when he captured an Aparoid core. Even though it granted him control over many devices, in the end he lost his very mind and became an empty shell. A husk.

 

Surprisingly, a former nemesis proved themselves allies, instead of enemies. The Star Wolf team had participated in the conflict, but this time, not against us. Perhaps someone convinced them to help, perhaps the impending doom hit their sense of honor. Regardless, even in the last stand, they showed great prowess in both piloting and fighting.

 

Our victories cost the Great Fox though. The ship had been attacked by Aparoids, and partially assimilated just before Peppy made a final strike with the Great Fox’s weapons. And the ship itself. He managed to survive, but what was left of the ship was ultimately destroyed as the whole Aparoid homeworld was destroyed with it.

 

Perhaps we would have lost our ship, but not our will. Stronger and more powerful than ever, now we stand as one, seen not as simply mercenaries anymore, but perhaps…

 

…as protectors of peace.

 

----

 

Chapter I: Contacts

 

News had reached me about The Great Fox Mk. II. At the Corneria Orbital Shipyards, its assembly process had finally reached the very end, and little was left to introduce it into the fleet. Perhaps a warship was not of urgent need, but a command craft was needed for our team, now seen as the highest elite.

 

High up in one of the many skyscrapers of Corneria City, I silently observed the vista. Among the colossal structures I could see, everything was working as a single organized entity. Far in the horizon, the sight of Lylat's twin suns setting. It seems that the efforts for peace had paid off. The whole system prospered after the damages were repaired, but Corneria was especially benefited.

 

Perhaps nothing in Lylat comes close to Corneria's cities when it comes to the density. There are buildings of any and all sizes imaginable, and as the night comes, the city pulses with life. It is possible to see the cities dotted around the planet, even from far off. No wonder why Krystal seemed delighted on the first time she saw the planet personally.

 

After this moment of thought, I was interrupted by the sound of a door opening. As I turn in its direction, I see the familiar figure of a blue vixen.

 

Krystal...

 

----

 

As Fox turns to Krystal, it’s impossible not to see he is quite dazzled by seeing Krystal. The vixen was wearing a long, white dress, along her necklace. Not much else was to notice, if not her natural appearance.

 

"It still amazes me..." Krystal says, while joining in the sightseeing. "It's just... Beautiful."

 

“Would that be the city?†Fox asks. “Because it sure has got competition…†he continues, grabbing onto Krystal’s hands.

 

“…Yep, that sunset pretty much makes me undecided about it.†Fox adds with a smirk on his face.

 

“Ooh Fox… You never let go of those jokes, do you?†Krystal responds, with a giggle. “Still… It’s really impressive…â€

 

Krystal may have lived in Corneria for a while already, but that is no reason for her to find beauty in what others may find perhaps trivial.

 

Corneria was much different than what she was used to in Cerinia, her home planet; Lush rainforests which spanned the whole planet, with exception of the poles and a few masses of water. It was a true jungle paradise. The structures there were only the Cerinian towns, and Krazoa temple ruins scattered around the planet. Differently than Lylat, the system orbited a single star.

 

"You know, that's the thing I love in these big cities; I can literally feel the life within them. Many different people. It feels so close to them, even if they don’t know I can feel them. Reminds me of home…" Krystal adds, before giving a platonic sigh.

 

"Oi, you alright there Krys?â€

 

"Yes, I'm fine, you worrywart." Krystal replies, rolling her eyes. "I'm just trying to say this place, even though it’s bustling and ever-noisy, now really feels like home for me... Mostly thanks to you." She adds.

 

"Wait, why is that?†Fox didn't pick up what she meant with the statement. Of course, the vulpine was more focused at looking at her face (rather lost in his wonders).

 

"Who else? You helped me fit in this new society, to begin with, and not to mention I would have died if you didn't release me back at Sauria. There’s just a lot I have to thank you for..." Krystal states.

 

“I’ll simply be happy knowing that whatever you’re doing, there’s no regrets left behind… someone as wonderful like you deserves that much, Krystal.†Fox states, in a soothing voice.

 

Upon hearing this, the fun smirk of Krystal was replaced by a slight blush, and a smile of happiness from the flattering words.

 

Fox gently reached with his hand to touch the blue vixen's face. Krystal actually didn't mind his touch. She actually liked the occasion.

 

The turquoise eyes of Krystal met the other vulpine's dark green eyes. Truly that moment became somewhat special for the two. Krystal's arms gently wrapped around her companion's shoulders. She could sense the various thoughts going on Fox's mind, but she did find no ill intent within them. It was rather clear that the two were enjoying the moment like nothing else mattered.

 

Rather unavoidably, the couple attempted to kiss each other. This was one of the rare occasions where there wasn't a nearby unpleasant teammate who is prone to exploiting the occasion for jokes, or one whose presence could just feel awkward.

 

Fox and Krystal's faces gradually neared. It seems it was only a matter of time until that happened; the sunset turning the skies into an orange tint, the city lights slowly appearing, and the lack of the common city noise, only occasionally interrupted by a faraway aircar flyby sound.

 

Their lips touch each other’s, and the vulpines are filled with emotion of both joy and pleasure at their hearts. It is needless to say that the pair is madly in love.

 

The moment was short-lived, however. A beeping communicator noise barges awkwardly through the romantic mood of the moment.

 

"...How did I see something like this coming?" Fox says after stepping back from Krystal, rather disappointed, and embarrassed.

 

"I... Um... I think you should answer…  It should be important to call at, um… A time like this…" Krystal stutters, now blushing due to the awkward incident.

 

Well, that was... Disagreeable...Krystal thought to herself. As much as she loved Fox, she couldn't find many proper situations to express that... well, properly. Despite being in a team with a good-natured tech geek and a joker ace, it could feel awkward to be subject of joke.

 

"Talk about importance… Isn’t this kinda redundant?" Fox muses. "As if anything could be more important..." He adds, causing a giggle on Krystal's part.

 

The vulpine grabs the communicator from his pocket, actually already considerably annoyed by the continuous beeps. Ugh, those things annoy the heck out of me. Convenient communication my--, he thought, before being cut mid-sentence;

 

"You know what? I agree, hee hee..." Krystal had picked up his thought, saying that with a smirk shot across her face.

 

"Oh, you..."

 

----

 

He turned on his communicator and saw the call ID.

 

"Can't I just catch a break?" Fox argues.

 

"Not when it’s just loafing all day!" The familiar-sounding voice of a certain avian comes from the device.

 

"I wasn't ‘loafing’! It's just that I have... More important things to do." Fox answers, as he stops to look at Krystal for a moment.

 

"Ooh, 'more important things', huh? I see… Perhaps I've called just at the right time... Is Krystal there with you? Heh, heh, heh..." Falco says, already with a mischievous voice tone.

 

"Yes, and perfect timing, Falco." Fox says. "So before I decide to turn this off, why did you call me in first place?"

 

"Cut to the chase, you see: I've just received this letter telling that 'The CDF Science Division is requesting the services of Captain Fox McCloud and his team in a matter which may require the skills of one or more of the individuals from mercenary team StarFox precisely. Report to CDF HQ for further orders if you accept this mission'." Falco reads the letter. "I don't know why the Science Division is calling for us, but I heard these guys got a fat paycheck."

 

"A 'fat paycheck'? As in...?" Fox asks, more interested about the matter.

 

"Enough and quite a bit more than that to practice target shooting with diamond targets.â€

 

"...You are kidding me." Fox says in a now doubtful tone.

 

"I'm serious, man! I myself am wondering how they got all that money! I wouldn’t lie about a thing that big, and even if I did, don’t you think I would be noticed with THAT much of a payment?†The avian replies.

 

"Yeah, right. But if it’s true that they have a nice amount of cash to do… whatever they’re doing…" Fox states. "Hey, isn't Slippy's father, Beltino, the research director? Maybe he has some more information for us on that."

 

"I tried calling him, but he doesn’t answer. Beltino should be busy with something there" Falco replies.

 

"Well, in this case I suppose that Slippy can brief us on that." Fox says. "Krystal and I will go on ahead. Meet us there, then we’ll see if we can find Slippy there as well." he adds, before actually hanging up.

 

----

 

"Well… Looks like we’ll see something less idle, hm?" Krystal says, breaking her silence.

 

"Perhaps. Though, I don’t think we need to worry about being in danger this time, because as far as I remember, there isn't anything threatening Lylat since the last of Andross and his rebels, and the Aparoids were put an end." Fox states. "Most probably they want to test some new combat vehicle design. You know these guys; science this, experiment that..."

 

"Well, we'll find out that soon enough." Krystal says, smiling a little. "We better get going now; otherwise Falco may call again to ask why we're taking too long and… Well..." She adds, as she winces with her eyes, raising an eyebrow.

 

"Oh, yeah... That." Fox definitely knew what she meant. More importantly, he knew what Falco would end up thinking.

 

Fox turns rather rapidly towards indoors, being held by Krystal's hand as he does.

 

"Wait!... Fox..."

 

The vixen nears her face to Fox once again, and gives him a gentle kiss to his cheek.

 

"...Thank you." She says in a soft tone.

 

After Krystal backs away from Fox, the vixen walks indoors with him.

 

----

 

Meanwhile in Slippy’s personal workshop, it was possible to see the toad in question working on a semi-functional Arwing, as well as what seemed like an unfinished prototype component.

 

“Alright… Reconfiguring energy output to shields…â€

 

As Slippy does it, the Arwing stops and drops unpowered to the floor with a loud metallic “CLANGâ€.

 

“Grrh!... This keeps happening!â€

 

Slippy jumps out of the cockpit, mumbling to the video log recorder near.

 

“Okay… In theory, these prototype upgrades I’m trying to get working would allow for shields function using only thirty-five percent of the available energy, which would raise the energy output to weapons and enable the use of a prototype warp drive, but whenever I re-calibrate them, the whole system goes out!â€

 

Slippy then is surprised by a chime from his computer.

 

“Huh?â€

 

It was a message from the CDF HQ.

 

“Hello, it’s dad. No time to explain now. I've called the rest of your team here to the HQ. It’s some matter of the Science Division, and perhaps you’re required as well. –Beltinoâ€

 

“The Science Division?†Slippy thinks out loud.

 

In a rush, Slippy turns off the power to the Arwing, grabs his backpack, following to run out of the workshop. He didn’t know or really care actually what the cause was, but it was reason enough to get him running.

 

“Off with being stuck in that workshop! About time something showed up!â€

 

----

 

Leaving a small shuttle transport, Fox and Krystal arrive at the headquarters building, both using their personal CDF officer outfits. Greeted at the entrance area by Falco and Slippy, the reception lobby had a few officers around, but Beltino wasn’t there.

 

"So, you're here." Falco says as the vulpine couple arrives. "Slippy, could you tell us about what Beltino wants?"

 

"You tell me. I don’t know, either! I thought he would be here by now." Slippy says. "Wonder why he--"

 

"Well, well, here I am then." Slippy is interrupted as Beltino walks into the scene. “Perhaps just at the right time, heh.â€

 

“Hello, Beltino.†Fox greets the toad. “So, what is it you need from us? I’m taking it’s something important since you gathered all of us here.â€

 

“Indeed it is Fox. It’s something concerning both you and the rest of your crew. I must say though it’s something of secretive nature… Would you mind to come over to a place with less staring eyes, perhaps?†Beltino states.

 

Fox nods accordingly, and proceeds to follow Beltino with the others.

 

“May I ask, where exactly are we going now, Beltino? And what we’re supposed to be doing here?†Krystal queries.

 

“We’re going to a higher-security section of the headquarters. We’ll be able to discuss the matter more freely once we get there.†he answers.

 

After following Beltino for a bit, they find a reinforced blast door. Beltino uses a keycard in a console beside it, unlocking and opening the doors, revealing an elevator.

 

"The lift will take us down into the high-security area, which is also where the Science Corps hold one of their assets. Now, continue on, shall we?" Beltino says.

 

As the team steps into the elevator, it quickly starts heading down. For a brief moment, the lights flicker, and at the same time, Krystal cowers with an angsty expression for a second.

 

"Hey, what was that?†Fox asks.

 

"I'm... I'm not sure. I just felt something strange...†the vixen answers.

 

"What do you mean with that?†Fox questions.

 

"I can’t tell... It just feels..." Krystal says, with a pause.

 

"Powerful..."

 

----

 

The lift unlocks and opens as it comes to a stop, this time revealing an advanced research laboratory. The holographic monitors and large viewscreens were visible in all directions, being seen at the same time there were experiments of all kinds being conducted, as well as a large amount of researchers from several Lylat races. What seemed to be an experimental engine had a quite a crowd gathering.

 

As usual, Slippy lets his fascination towards science drive him around. Dazzled at the tech wonders, he began walking, looking at all the large and minor techy works that he didn’t see before.

 

"And finally here! Welcome to the CDF Science Division, Tier Three." Beltino says. "Now, you might be wondering why all that to come here. Well, obviously, we can't let just anyone come here, the place could literally explode, heh! Eh..."

 

The three didn't seem amused or that even pick the apparent joke at all. Actually Falco seems rather annoyed.

 

"...well, that was just a, eh, little joke. Anyway, another reason is that some of this technology is not to fall in the wrong hands." The frog continues. "An experimental engine like that one behind has an unstable power source that may go critical if handled without care, and believe me, you wouldn't want that to happen near you; otherwise it’s molten steel rain and debris everywhere."

 

"But you've got the whole military headquarters above of here! Anyone dumb enough to come here shooting would leave in a coffin.†Falco says.

"Yes, yes, I know that. But yet still, it’s not good to have shootouts and killings on the news. And, there is something else here that if leaks out to the public, we're probably in trouble. Real trouble." Beltino says.

 

"Oh, come on! It's not like you're making a doomsday virus or a maniacal robot here! ...Are you?" Falco wonders out loud.

 

"Not as far as I can tell, but who knows next time, heh." Beltino muses. "Now, enough of chat. Please, follow me."

 

As the researcher and the team walk through the large hall, Krystal whispers to Fox;

 

"Fox, remember that strange feeling I had in the elevator?"

 

"Yes, what is it, Krystal?" Fox replies.

 

"Well, it's getting stronger as we go. I don't know what it is, but it’s not just powerful: It’s colossal, and I think we’re getting unsafely close to it." The vixen says.

 

"Hm. I'm not sure if I like what I'm hearing." Fox states.

 

----

 

The group enters a small office room. From the looks of it, they can tell this is Beltino's office. Adorned with a few small plants, a couch, along a glass desk and an Arwing sculpture, there is not much else to see, aside from the large window with the laboratory hall outside. The room is soundproofed, so as they enter it, the only noise to be heard is their own footsteps', along with the permanent air ventilation shafts.

 

Slippy proceeds to enter the room last, clumsily. “Eh! Sorry, I think I strayed off back there.â€

 

Beltino sits in his chair. "Have a seat, please.†He adds, gesturing towards the couch.

 

As Beltino types in some commands into his computer, shutters block the light from the window. A holographic display is seen in the middle of the room.

 

"I don’t expect you to know it, since this has happened under covert ops directive. A few years ago, the Lylat government privately decided to create a colonization effort in order to expand our exploration initiative and ensure the sustainability and resource viability of the Lylat society. Since we've encountered proofs of other civilizations in various planets, such as the Krazoa both in Cerinia, as Krystal reported in an occasion, and Sauria, this was a clear sign that there were space-faring civilizations out there." He says.

 

"I remember these back at my home world. When I saw their palace in Sauria, the engineering works at their structures were almost identical as the ones in Cerinia." Krystal says. "I've read about similar structures at Aquas. From the descriptions, they also seem very familiar."

 

"Indeed they are. It appears that the Krazoa have mastered the use of the so-called 'warp pads' to transport around planets, and from your report on how you came to Sauria in first place... Let me see here...  Yes, they also were able to use this even across different star systems by the use of an enhanced warp pad." He says. "But that’s a bit off-topic, so, back on track; for our explorations, we had picked various excels at fields to be the first colonists into the potential hospitable planets at systems; Clenare, Tariu, Atres and Yatus. Most of them were either planets with similar arid ecosystems to Katina, and some were colder, with more climates of tundra and arctic. Perhaps because their stars had relatively low temperatures - for flaming balls of nuclear fusion, that is."

 

"...Sooo. Where do we come into?" Falco says, quite bored by the little lowdown.

 

"I'll get there. Eventually. Anyway, during our expeditions to a planet in system Clenare, we've found wreckage of an unknown spaceship, however, with no sign of crew inside or outside. It was seemingly abandoned, most likely left adrift. This craft had an impressive amount of technology, but it was very difficult to study its components since it was made of extremely dense alloys." He continues with the explanation. "Now here's the thing..." He says, before displaying a star map in the hologram.

 

"You see, we’re… here, Lylat. Some time ago though, long range probes identified a certain anomaly, believed to be a gravity well caused the local dense star cluster or a dying star. The point is, the cause was neither.â€

 

"You mean... It simply appeared there for no reason?" Krystal asks, perplexed by the fact.

 

"Exactly. There were no singularities at that area of space before, and there are no indices so far that it was caused by any natural or artificial occurrences in our galaxy." He answers.

 

"So you're saying it's a negative space wedgie that showed up from limbo? Because I've seen enough of weird stuff like that for a lifetime already..." Falco states.

 

Beltino stands up before continuing; "I said this wasn't an occurrence in our galaxy."

 

"Now, I want you to know that few people were allowed to know what I’m about to tell. You may even feel quite disturbed by it, but please refrain from--"

 

"Right, right, we know, there's some weird shit we'll see and no screw-ups allowed. Shall we continue?" Falco argues.

 

"Falco! Can't you be a little less of a jerk for once?" Krystal complains at Falco’s rudeness. "Pointless!â€

 

Falco gives her a dry stare, while Beltino is blank on expressions.

 

“Um…†Krystal lets slip off, blushing a little. “Beltino, you were saying?..."

 

“Oh. *ahem* Well, during a battery of scans that we were doing at the vicinity of the anomaly, we've detected an energy surge within the wormhole.†Beltino explains “When at first we thought that it would collapse into itself, and began an immediate evacuation, we were wrong."

Beltino once more changes the display, this time showing several images of a ship different than anything the StarFox team did ever see.

 

"...What is that supposed to be?" Fox asks.

 

"This, is the first vessel we've witnessed that is originated from the other end of the anomaly." Beltino says, as he crops the image to a detail view of the ship.

 

"Whoa dad, wait a second, are you saying that the ship used the wormhole as... Don't know, some sort of portal, perhaps?" Slippy asks, trying to understand how the ship could survive the extreme forces of the travel through a wormhole.

 

"Yes, son. The researchers at the time also had this and many more questions in mind, but other things got in the way, so per say." Beltino states. "After this occasion, we obviously had to develop some sort of communication with the 'visitor'." He adds. "And this wasn't the only time it happened; it happened several other times, with other kinds of ships and very different archetypes for each. Some not as friendly as the others, perhaps… Like I said, it's a few been years since it happened."

 

"So you're saying this has become a two-way passage from here... To where?" Slippy asks.

 

"Actually this obligatorily leads to our next stop." Beltino says as he stands from his chair. The toad inputs a few last commands into his computer, opening a previously locked door into another elevator. "Okay, I know you may be getting sick of this, but yes, elevators are everywhere here. Shall we go in?" He adds. "I'd give you the tour as well, but perhaps we're short in time. We'll head down directly to Tier Zero."

 

"Tier Zero?" Krystal asks.

 

"Yes indeed, and you might want hold on to something. This particular elevator is rather fast.†comes the answer from Beltino.

 

Beltino follows by flipping a switch, causing the elevator to rapidly dive down towards the so-called Tier Zero.

 

----

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Ori

Chapter II: Descent

 

The lift hits end of line as the shaft ends. Greeted with darkness,  floodlights suddenly turn on to reveal a large vault door in a considerably large hollow even deeper underground, with several cameras - and most notably; heavily armed Cornerian elite troopers - the team is astonished by the enormous proportions of the apparently impervious engineering.

 

There isn't much else to see there, though. The poor lighting only aided by the elevator shaft reveals that the structure was built into solid rock. A permanent sound of air streams, however, suggests that there are other unseen entrances to the area.

 

"Holy sh…†Falco says, cutting himself immediately “What the hell do you guys keep in there?!..." Falco asks, baffled by the whole structure and its enormous size.

 

"Whoa. Well... It's sure a big door." Slippy says in awe.

 

Krystal's eyes focused solely on the structure before her. She can feel the same 'energy' that she felt earlier. It felt alive, though it felt strange, artificial. She felt intrigued.

 

Trying to pry into the unknown force, she concentrates her telepathy as the door prepares to unlock, without avail. How come this feels like both alive and artificial? It doesn’t feel like a creature. Could it be... A sentient drone? No… What in the world is there? she thought.

 

The blue vixen repeatedly attempts to ‘tune’ into the force, until she is surprised by an unexpected response. Krystal's eyes widen as she sees a glimpse of what lies ahead. It was clear; it not only was powerful enough to be seen by Krystal, but as well it was overburdening.

 

It seemed like Krystal had seen in a few seconds the experience of centuries—or even more – as it was enough to make her cringe somewhat painfully, kneeling from the ‘sensory overload’.

 

Fox notices the obvious disturbance and sprints to Krystal, reaching down to her.

 

"Krystal, what’s wrong? Is it that ‘thing’ you sensed again?" he inquiries, wearing a worried face. "You don't seem okay at all..."

 

"Yes Fox, it is... 'It' again. And it’s… I think it's alive." The vixen answers, trying to come back to her senses.

 

Fox lets out loudly, trying to understand what he just heard; "What the-!?"

 

Cutting Fox mid-sentence, the floodlights turn out, replaced by red rotating beacons along an audible klaxon. It is possible to notice a before-unseen energy field deactivating around the huge vault door, as it starts opening with an ominous metal sound.

 

As the door fully opens, the lights turn back on, revealing in what before thought to be an enormous tunnel, only a huge wall, with a much smaller chamberlock in the bottom.

 

"Oh, come on..." Falco argues. "Just asking... What the heck kind of door is that?"

 

"Well, well, that's actually not the door at all. Is it smaller than it’d really seem, yes? That's just to make sure in case... Bad Things happen, it doesn't get up there, and otherwise we'll have to deal with god-knows-what." Beltino answers. "Moving along!"

 

Krystal stands up from the floor, with Fox's aid. She wasn't quite sure of what she had received, but gradually she was hearing words in her mind;

 

…Power... Knowledge… Endless...

 

...What kind of gibberish is that?  Krystal thought, not understanding what the words were meant to be.

 

Fox proceeds to check if the vixen of his dreams was alright. Looking at her face, he could see that she didn't express a feeling of grief, but rather a more thoughtful – rather lost—expression instead.

 

At the moment, however, he didn't realize; he kept holding Krystal's hands during the time. He was bought to his senses, however, by Slippy;

"Hey, Fox! Krystal! You're gonna just stay there? We've got to go in, you know!"

 

"Oh, right, um, the door." Fox sort-of stutters as he says, proceeding to walk with Krystal towards the chamberlock. "I guess you're fine, Krystal... But what happened?"

 

"I don't know... It was like something was telling words to me... 'Power, Knowledge, Endless'..." She answers.

 

“Tell me you know what that means…†Fox says, not understanding. "But you said you felt it as alive. Did you manage to at least know what’s actually there?â€

 

"I don't think so..." The vixen says. "Look, Fox, whatever it is, it's behind that one wall. We’ll find out soon enough." She adds. “Let’s get going. The others are waiting.â€

 

Fox nods accordingly, and continues walking. He was as puzzled as before, if not even more, but this did not stop him from thinking about the matter. What was that all about? Is this trying to warn us about danger? Or is Krystal’s telepathy trying to trick her? Perhaps we  will find out none too late…

 

Fox continues to ponder, thinking about what was supposed to be behind that door. What if they are doing experiments on hijacked technology? What if they want us to test a dangerous weapon? I hope this doesn’t put anyone to risk… Not while Krystal is around.

 

Turning his head for a second, catching a profile view of the vixen, his thoughts remembered other experiences with her during dangerous situations. Krystal notices, and looks back at him with a smile

 

…Nah, she’s a tough girl. If that thing is out to get us, Krystal won’t give up without a fight.

 

He ends by drifting through a memory of the past.

 

~~~~

 

[…]

 

“Am I doing this right?†Krystal asks from the front seat of the training starfighter.

 

“You’re doing just fine, Krystal.†While watching her flying from the back seat of the fighter. “You look like to be getting the controls quite quickly, considering you came from a planet without any technology… uh, no offense.â€

 

During the training session, Krystal was performing well—better than a considerable number of cadets, actually. Fox knew that the controls of an Arwing weren’t prohibitively hard to learn, but even so, Krystal had no training or any kind of instruction before… That they were aware of, at least.

 

“Thanks!†She says happily. “I’ve always wondered if I could fly one of these fighters. It feels great to be able to do this someone like yo-- er, with you instructing me, heehee…†She adds, giggling awkwardly at her accidental comment. “Hold on a second… Let me try something else.â€

She tampers with the craft’s controls and settings, interrupted for a second by Fox.

 

“Krystal, what are you going to do?†Fox asks, a little skeptical.

 

“Aaaah, I’m going to do the best I can…†She answers, in a suggestive tone.

 

In a second, she pushes the throttle to full, and the roar of the afterburners break Fox’s skepticism. They are both forced backwards, and the contrails get each time more visible from the wings and hull as the craft heats up from the atmospheric friction.

 

“AGH! Krystal, what are you doing!?†Fox exclaims.

 

There is no answer. She just looks back for a short moment, and lets off a... rather unnerving smirk.

 

Krystal outdoes the expectations and goes even further; somehow she performs military-grade maneuvers and acrobatics. As if it wasn’t enough, she lifts the plane to a full climb.

 

Fox was noticeably more and more worried. “Krystal, this fighter is just for in-atmosphere training, we don’t have a plasma engine!†he exclaims as the first signs of icing are noticeable around the craft.

 

The engines turn dead cold as the atmosphere is left behind. The following moments lead to a short period of weightless flight.

 

Fox didn’t calm down though. He knew; what goes up has to come back down. The forces of the planet start pulling the training craft back planetside.

 

“Ground is rushing to meet us!†Krystal exclaims in a rather enthusiastic tone.

 

The white contrails now turn into bright orange and red fire trails. The craft was sustaining the reentry, but as the engines and airframe surfaces were mostly unresponsive; the craft was little more controllable than in a freefall stall state.

 

“KRYSTAL!!†Fox exclaims once more, now in legitimate panic.

 

“Here we go!†She lets off, before turning the engines on and increasing their speed even more.

 

Not surprisingly, as the craft dives towards the planet, the shockwaves get even more violent as they enter the denser atmosphere. After a moment with forces deaccelerating the craft, Krystal triggers the airbrakes and retro thrusters of the craft, gradually slowing the training fighter until it comes back into controllable speed.

 

As the craft finally comes to a level flight, Fox gives a sigh of relief.

 

“Krystal… I don’t think that I need to tell you to never, ever, EVER do that again... â€

 

“Oh, look what we have here, the famed Fox McCloud, afraid of flying?†She mocks.

 

“It’s not fear of flying; it’s just that… You… flying like that… it’s suicide!†He counters.

 

He stops for a moment, realizing what just happened.

 

“Krystal… Where did you learn to fly like this?â€

 

“You learned to fly like this…â€

 

----

 

Back at the ground, Fox was still perplexed by Krystal’s answer. He was trying to piece together what in Lylat just happened, when Krystal’s voice sounds from behind him;

 

“You want to know how I could fly that way.â€

 

“Wait… What?†Fox says, puzzled by how she knew what he thought.

 

“You remember before, when you told that you heard me asking for help back at Sauria?†She asks.

 

“Yes, but what does this have anything to do with—“

 

“It’s simple really… I can sense, understand and learn from the mind of other beings.†Krystal cuts him off, before he questions. “And I can speak to them that way.â€

 

“You mean… You’re a telepath?†Fox says.

 

“Well, I think that is the word you have for it.†She says. “And as I showed you earlier, I could learn from your memories, somewhat. I listened what you taught me, then I saw what you know… And tried it myself.†she adds, giggling at the end. “Not like it would be hard to guess that you’re kinda weirded out by that flight, hehe…â€

 

“That’s… Really impressive.†He says. “Are you the only one who can do that?â€

 

“Well… My whole race, from planet Cerinia, was able to use this ability… But…†Krystal says, remembering her planet’s fate.

“Oh… I understand…†Fox says.

 

“…I think it can feel lonely.†He adds.

 

“Sometimes it can be… I’ve never met other telepath from any race so far.†Krystal states.

 

They both look at the distance. Similar fates; one being orphan, the other losing the entire planet before her own eyes.  Scarring experiences for most, but those two, they wouldn’t seem to ever back down despite their stories, overcoming each challenge in their lives.

 

Perhaps they were not alone at all.

 

~~~~

 

The last beeping noises from the electronic locks, followed by the decompression sounds from the airlock were all the team really had to hear before their entrance to ‘Tier Zero’.

 

----

 

As the airlock opens, what before would seem as madness if told otherwise is right before the team.

 

They feared what they would find could be a weapon able to endanger Lylat, or experiments beyond insane, but it was none of that; even so, it left them astonished.

 

The team was standing in an observation room, but what was beyond the glass wasn’t just another part of the laboratory; it was a huge network of laboratories underground, with sections all over even the cave walls.

 

As if this wasn’t enough, the researchers weren’t just Lylatian. Drones of complex and extremely alien builds, and strange-looking creatures—perhaps the ones who came from the ‘anomaly’.

 

“U-um… F-father…†Slippy almost stutters saying.

 

“…Uh… Okay, I take back my word; This is disturbing as hell…†Falco says.

 

“Okay, alright; working with aliens I can cope with, but… under Corneria City!? Civilians are right above!†Fox exclaims. “What people would think if someone found out about this!?I don’t know you, but I don’t think many people would like that idea! Everything could go wrong! Riots, murders, even rebellion--â€

 

“And these are just some of the reasons why we have this amount of security; to make sure a war doesn’t break out among us or between the ones of your own.†A male voice comes from behind the group.

 

The figure walks near to them. Wearing what seemed to be a combat armor, it was possible to see that the being had a similar body appearance to known lifeforms of Lylat. It happens though; it was neither of any species of Lylat, nor any known other for the team. The creature lacked the common canine traits present in a good portion of the Lylatians. Somehow resembled a primate, but distinguishably different.

 

“I see you realize that both sides had a lot of trouble getting past their differences. Luckily, our incidental meeting wasn’t hostile.†He says. “Commander Markus Ford, of The Initiative’s Tactical and Operations. I’ve heard of your team’s achievements. Most impressive, considering overcoming the limitations of your technology is quite a feat.â€

 

“ ’Limitations’? The Arwings are cutting-edge fighter craft!†Slippy exclaims, somewhat taking the statement as a personal offense. He did actually help in the engineering of the fighter, so he couldn’t stand complaints to his handiwork.

 

“To you maybe. But I highly doubt simple alloys like the standard issue Arwing Mk. II’s could handle a salvo of A-entropic shells or a disruptor beam weapon.†Markus counters. “Look, I’m not here to start a diplomacy tension because of getting a fight with an engineer. There’s too much to be done and little time for this quarrel.â€

 

“He’s right, son.†Beltino reinforces. “I know you dedicated a lot of time into the Arwing, but it’s not like it can shoot a warp warhead. You did a good job. It’s just that they’re… Pretty far ahead.â€

 

Slippy gives a sigh. “…Alright, father…â€

 

“Cmdr. Ford, may I ask a question?…†Krystal states, after Slippy is done with his mumbling.

 

“Is it about the location, or our intentions, or something related to the technology here? Because we’ll get that covered in a few moments.†He says.

 

“Um… Not actually...†She answers, tilting her head, somewhat confused. “It’s about this place, really... I think you know that it is of my nature to have telepathic abilities, yes?â€

 

“Yes, that was an ability given highlight as far as my sources gathered. I have no doubt that this could come in use here.†He answers. “Your point?â€

 

“What I’m trying to say is; during the way down here, I’ve felt various times a… Presence… Growing stronger as I came nearer.†She says, while looking through the window trying to find the source of this “presence†with her extra sense. “And I think that should be said… I heard it talking to me…â€

 

“Hm... Perhaps you inadvertently may have had contact with a certain thing I intend to introduce you to.†Ford says. “Maybe we should begin explaining precisely this.†He adds while inputting commands into a nearby console. “But I don’t need have psychic abilities like you to notice: you are nervous about that. Don’t worry, there’s a reason for you to be able to sense and hear what you’re talking about.â€

 

A hovering platform comes to the group, and they proceed to step onto it. For a deep underground hollow, it was very spacious. So big actually there was quite a number of hovering lifters and small transport shuttles.

 

While Krystal looks down into the site leaning to the platform’s handrail, something seems to get her attention. She spots several complex structures that seemed perhaps like a conduit system, but the energy emanating from it was enough for her to distinguish. It was of glowing appearance and shaped like some circuitry of sorts.

 

“Cmdr. Ford, mind if I ask about these… um… conduits, perhaps?†She asks, still staring at the structures with a curious expression.

“Ah yes, those conduits. Yes, they do obviously act as power conductors and information distribution systems for the whole complex, but looks can be deceiving. There’s more to that.†He states.

 

“And would that be?†Krystal asks.

 

“I’ll give a more proper explanation shortly.†Ford replies.

 

The slow ride finally comes to an end as they reach the bottom of the complex, and probably the rock bottom of the whole cave system. Markus guides the team through the section, leading them into what seems to be another laboratory.

 

“Now, Krystal, tell me what you see here.†The commander states.

 

“Hm… Well… I can’t really tell what this place is, but I think it’s supposed to be one of the many research labs here.†Krystal replies.

 

“Fair enough.†Ford says. “But let’s see if you can see what’s beyond obvious here; try using your abilities to see if there’s anything… unusual perhaps.â€

 

Krystal closes her eyes, attempting to isolate the foreign lifeforms from her mind, and focus on her raw sensing. All comes to a silence to her for a short while, but gradually she begins to sense, though, the same pattern of energy she saw before surging through the walls, the equipment, and even around the researchers. Most surprisingly, it starts appearing even as clouds near her.

 

Krystal gasps as she realizes something isn’t quite right there. How could this be there and go unnoticed all along?

 

“What you probably heard, sensed or saw, happens to be the one thing that keeps this place running, in a way. It’s a myriad nanomachines working together, and it can store information, generate power, rearrange both of the former, self-replicate and all that in half of a second. Surprisingly, this isn’t something new, or even fully understood by us. It’s been around since eons ago.†Ford explains. “We call it ‘The Dust’, for obvious reasons on how its presence is looming, and how its visible form is normally seen.†he adds.

 

“But how… How something this advanced can exist from so long ago?†She inquiries, legitimately confused by the facts.

 

“Simply put; we don’t know. Why? We didn’t create it. Nobody alive today, no species that we found, nothing is related to The Dust at all but a number of ruins and a couple of planets.†He states. “It’s a legacy. Legacy of what can really be called a timeless civilization. They were The Endless.â€

 

“I guess ‘The Endless’ is a meaningful name, eh?†Falco says, finally demonstrating a bit of interest.

 

“Meaningful indeed, Falco. By the time my race figured their way into space, The Endless were already long gone, but they were so advanced, that even today we can’t understand fully how The Dust works.†Markus replies. “But you’re probably wondering: if we are so advanced to that point of having the basic control of this enormous power in hands, why come precisely here? Why go through all the way into this corner of the universe, what, just to find someone less advanced?†Ford says.

 

This indeed causes the team to question the motives of such an operation going on their planet. However, if an attack was to be done, it wouldn’t have gone unnoticed, and surely a doomsday device would have been noticed already.

 

“I answer these questions with a question: Do you know what is going on where we came from?†Ford continues.

 

“Since you’ve apparently been here for quite some time, I’m taking it you don’t have hostile goals, or we would have been blasted into bits already…†Fox says. “But I’m still not sure about all this...â€

 

“Fair enough. This whole Initiative was part plan of civilizations who wanted an existence of both unity and peace. Indeed they did have wars in the past, but those mistakes were made many centuries ago…†Markus replies. “It’s not the reason you’re here, though.â€

“So what is it then?†Slippy inquiries.

 

“Let’s begin with a supposition:  If you live between societies that have diverging views and philosophies, namely those societies having interests in, for instance, glory and power, while others want knowledge at any cost, and some only want unity, no matter the means, I’ll say it; conflicts are bound to happen, sooner or later.†The commander says.

 

“Yes, but—“

 

“I’m not done yet; What if we add a new element to the equation?†Markus says as he cuts Slippy. “A completely new society. Considerably similar, yet with tardy development. Regardless, with great potential as the others for its adaptability.†He adds.

 

“…what?†Slippy asks, in a confused, flat tone.

 

“I’m taking you’re talking about us.†Falco says. “So we happen to be of some importance, right?â€

 

“Precisely.†Markus replies. “But as we add elements to a compound, there’s always the possibility something unexpected may happen, and it might even react in some way it could break the fragile balance of the other elements.â€

 

“Fragile balance? You’re saying you’re… at war?†Krystal asks, somewhat worried.

 

“…well, not quite. It’s not an all out war between the worlds.†Ford answers. “But the diplomatic tensions have been rising among the races, and minor factions have been gaining influence, some deliberately causing disorder. This is the time when opportunists find their way to do all kind of hacking, frauds, spying, and of course, stealing.â€

 

“Sounds like paradise.†Falco sarcastically states.

 

“Oi, not like it’s any different here, Falco…†Fox says.

 

“Well now, this doesn’t sound as bad as a war though.†Slippy says.

 

“You’re forgetting the part where this happens in a galaxy-wide network that chains events that affect all societies involved, from trading bureaus to military projects.†The commander says. “Add the fact of a totally unexplored, basically harmless new sector like yours, and what do we get?â€

 

“Wait a minute… You’re saying that there are plots against Corneria? But this makes no sense, we wouldn’t have been given a chance to negotiate instead!†Krystal exclaims, as realization fills her thoughts.

 

“They’re opportunists like any other, except those have god-like egos and some military strength. They don’t care if they’ll destroy a whole race for it, what they want is profit and power. This whole galaxy had basically no exploitation for resources, and basically is a profit machine for the one that gets it first.†Markus states. “Worse still, they’re infiltrated in under the cover of influent groups. That makes things twice as hard.â€

 

“What!?†Krystal exclaims in outrage. “Then why don’t just get what they want and leave us alone!?â€

 

“Look, being a civilized species, and having understood perhaps a good amount of what the universe is, you are righteously the ‘dominant’ species of this galaxy until a new one is found here.†Markus says. “The problem is, your existence is not of public knowledge for the galactic society from where we’ve come from, either.â€

 

“So as long as we’re here…â€

 

“…you’ll be a hindrance in their plans.†Ford completes Fox’s statement. “But if you’re not here when this place becomes public knowledge…â€

 

“But this is completely insane! Of all the things I’ve come across, I never saw something willing to destroy so much for simply own gain!†Krystal outrages. “I… I don’t even know what to say about this! This is insulting! Nngh!—“

 

She closes her eyes and gives a deep sigh, only to see right after that the unknowing bypassers are all staring at her… problematic reaction.

 

“S-sorry for my rage burst… Please proceed.†The blue vixen says.

 

“No need to be sorry. Their plans are against every single law people gave their lives to build and harden in the past. An outrageous attitude… But for the people I’m talking about… They see you as but inferior beings. A… pest to be exterminated, if you will…†Ford says. “The reason I’m here—the reason this whole place exists here, is that there are some who don’t want to see that happen.â€

 

“And, we all know you’re iconic figures here in Lylat.†Beltino says. “We don’t want to send bureaucrats we have into another galaxy, because we know; there are purists and extremists in Lylat, just as there are on the other galaxy. Even though you may not be big politicians or rulers, you have great influence.â€

 

“…That’s why we intend on sending you as ambassadors.†Ford finishes.

 

“What!?†The whole team exclaims in surprise.

 

“Listen, I know the situation is harsh, but there has to be people better qualified than us for this task! That would be over-the-top desperate!†Fox states. “Look at Slippy; he isn’t even that sociable at all!â€

 

“Hey!†Slippy exclaims.

 

“Not now, Slippy!†Fox interrupts. â€Even if we’re that influent here, what it means there, since they don’t know anything about us at all?â€

 

“I reckon your concerns, that are all proven and factual, but there’s the problem: Nobody there has proofs that there’s intelligent life here.â€

Markus says. “And don’t start with the Initiative; there’s secrecy on both ends of the whole operation network. If we blow our cover, we’ll be seen as traitors. Look, ‘ambassador’ is perhaps the wrong word. Perhaps “representatives†would be a better term? What I’m trying to say is, they need proof you are a civilized species, and we need to keep that classified, but with enough red tape for the black marketers, pirates, slavers, and all sorts of scum you can imagine not to destroy everything here.â€

 

The commander turns around and sighs, thoughtfully looking far into the distant laboratories. This was risky, but it was the only move.

“Right, but tell us why did you pick our team, will ya?†Falco says. “Why us when you have all the already-in-touch savvies like Beltino there, or high-rank guys like Pep— ahem, General Peppy?â€

 

“Look, we’re not trying to prove that you are simply sentient. Bots are sentient, and they can be scrapped. We need to prove that you have potential as a race to rise and share the universe with us, contribute with your unique traits, culture, or anything new perhaps. You represent perhaps the best of yours, as well as a few other individuals we selected. You were investigated into, and we gathered dossiers into what perhaps, would make a representative group that would grant Lylat active military protection from the Initiative, within official terms.â€

 

Worried and somewhat out of breath, Ford gives a deep sigh.

 

“Sounds fair… But keep in mind, no one from Lylat will give up if a war breaks out. Our forces fight to the end.†Falco says, trying to raise an argument.

 

“Apparently you didn’t understand why all the concern with a conflict. I’ll be clear now; if any of them comes here, it won’t be a war. It will be extermination. One wrong move, and you’re dead in the blink of an eye. I have legitimate concerns about this place, and this civilization. And I don’t intend on seeing this place die any time soon.†Ford says with an increasing concern from his part. He was clearly convicted that The Initiative could not afford to lose. “Please understand.â€

 

There was a moment of silence after.

 

Krystal nears Fox and holds his arm. The two look at one another, as Fox nods and sighs, proceeding to speak.

 

“We agree that this is not a good situation for either of us, but if anyone tells the Hissho, the Cravers or the so-called ‘United’ Empire that there are people cooperating from both sides, we’d be considered renegades or traitors, as I’ve said.†Ford states. “Not a good situation to be in, since they have quite some power when combined. Not to mention the pirates, or extremists like the Horatio or minor zealot factions…â€

 

“It would be a shock for both sides though, to know of the existence of each other, publicly… Not to mention, we have inferior technology to yours… That might be yet another barrier…†Krystal says, contemplating the possibilities and what ifs that would come from this project.

“For this and many reasons the Initiative is already here… We plan to ‘uplift’, so to speak this civilization gradually, if your government is willing to it, that is.†Ford says. “It may seem like ‘forced advancement’, but…â€

 

The man turns around and takes a step towards Fox.

 

“So, this is what is at play here. Cooperation or resulting destruction otherwise. I wish the circumstances were not so harsh, but… What is your answer?â€

 

Fox looks at his friends. They nod accordingly, clearly now motivated to collaborate.

 

“Commander. We’ll gladly take part on this project.†Fox answers, offering a handshake.

 

“It’ll be a pleasure to be working with you and your team on this, Fox.†Markus says.

 

“Now though, how are we supposed to get through all the way to properly, eh, introduce ourselves, I guess?†Fox inquiries. “I’m pretty sure our ship won’t get through a spatial anomaly like the ones you use…â€

 

“We first considered that obstacle, and we already solved that issue. Your new ship was secretly engineered with proper alloys, shielding, and engines to rival a high-standard combat vessel.†Ford replies. “We also added a warp core to your ship, making travels between systems possible without orbital gates.â€

 

“Well, sounds good to me.†Fox states. â€I’m just concerned on how the new ship crew will handle otherworldish technology…â€

 

“Again, we thought of that. Your new crew was selected from Initiative officers and volunteers that agreed to participate without making this public.†Ford says. “This time it’s like they say; spare no expenses.â€

 

“Hm… Well, we’ll get the preparations done and will wait for more orders, Commander.†Fox says.

 

“Very well. I know this wasn’t the calmest of occasions, but I assure you that this decision will be worth the effort.†Ford says.

 

Krystal suddenly gasps, and at the same time an ominous alert klaxon breaks the silence.

 

“Attention, security breach, level EC-15. Hostile forces detected. Origin:  Craver†A computer voice alerts. “All essential personnel, direct to the nearest emergency room, and wait until escort.â€

 

“What?! No! Dammit!†Ford exclaims. “They’re here!â€

 

“They who!?†Slippy yells in panic.

 

“Everybody, watch out!†Krystal exclaims before leaping onto Fox, having both vulpines to dodge a blast from the nearby wall.

 

“Dammit, the Cravers!†Ford exclaims, before activating some sort of communicator. “This is Cmdr. Ford to security teams, requesting immediate backup! Cornerian VIPs endangered; it’s the StarFox squadron!â€

 

He proceeds to dodge the crossfire between the security turrets and the attacking creature squad, reaching a weapons lockbox.

 

He hands blasters to the team. “Take this, just fire! Fire at will!â€

 

“Why they’re attacking us!?†Krystal shouts before firing a few shots and taking cover again. “We didn’t do anything to them!â€

 

“It’s what they do! They are born for war, nothing else!†Ford answers after firing a round of shots. “Security team, where’s that backup!?†Ford reaches the communicator again.

 

“Negative, commander! There are two other assault groups in the base! We were caught unprepared! We need time to organize!†a voice comes from the communicator.

 

“We NEED anything you can send here! The-- Everyone, take cover!†Ford exclaims when he spots an incoming charged bolt.

The burst tosses the group back and knocks some out with a shockwave. The turrets however keep functioning and defending the area, killing off some of the invaders before being destroyed.

 

One of the Cravers, however, was still alive and came to Krystal. Seeing its weapon overcharging, the armored creature dropped it and held Krystal with a huge clamp from the exoskeleton.

 

“…Weakling. Uncategorized. Flesh being of inferior knowledge. Attempting to escape is of no avail.†The rough grievous voice states flatly, while a single eye in the suit of armor stared at Krystal as she tried to force herself out of the clamps. “You lack the force to survive. I question your motives to even attempt to struggle—“

 

“Hey you! Overgrown bug!†Fox directs its attention while catching the foe’s weapon. “Like the gun!â€

 

A loud, but short-lived shriek is heard before Fox shoots an energy bolt at the abomination. Krystal falls back as the creature releases her right before its dead body hits the ground.

 

----

 

A few moments later, the other team members that had fainted wake up.

 

“Whaa… What happened—AAH!†Slippy panics as he sees the dead alien.

 

“Argh! Feels like I’ve been falling for a year!...†Falco states while getting up. “What was that blast!?â€

 

“Ugh… As I’ve said, even personal weapons are deadly when combined with Endless tech… Agh!†Ford states, exclaiming from sharp pain. “…There’s more trouble though; if this attack isn’t stopped quickly, we might have more trouble than getting out fast; we’ll have to keep them in, with us.â€

 

“Aaaah, I vote for escape route. Unless your researchers happen to have some sort of tank here.†Falco states.

 

“Unlikely.†Ford comments.

 

A moment of silence is interrupted by an explosion and tremor far off.

 

“Not liking the sound of that.†Falco says.

 

“Me neither.†Ford states, looking around. “We’ll need better firepower if we are to keep these things from reaching the surface. I think there may be a weapons cache in one of the security stations, but the Cravers may…†he adds, before stopping.

 

“What?†Slippy questions.

 

“…It’s… It’s already too late, Ford. They reached a station… Who isn’t badly injured or trying to escape… Nngh… I can’t take it anymore!†Krystal says, in angst. “…w-wait… hold on, there seems to be another station… They’re still having trouble to hold them back, but they’re still standing... If we take haste we can get in time…â€

 

“Alright, that’s where we’re going first.†Markus states. “After we help the remaining force, we’ll need to arm with better weaponry against the Cravers. Everybody, move on!â€

 

The team departs the area following Markus, but Fox doesn’t seem to be alright.

 

“…Agh!â€

 

“Fox, you sure you can fight them? That didn’t sound so good.†Falco asks, turning to the friend.

 

“I-I’m alright, Falco, it’s nothing to worry about. Let’s keep going, we need to reach the station.†The vulpine answers. Krystal, however, doesn’t believe him at all. She felt he wasn’t completely okay.

 

“Fox, you look a bit worried…†She says, reaching for his hand.

 

“Krystal, I’m fine, don’t worry. We can go on.†He answers, holding her hand and (rather forcedly) smiling assuringly, releasing it shortly after.

However it only made her only more convinced of the opposite, when she saw Fox’s blood dripping from her suit’s gloves. Shocked by seeing it, she couldn’t help but to gasp and exclaim.

 

“…Fox!!â€

 

“Heck… Okay, I admit… Nngh! That… that thing burned my hands! My arms are both numb and twitching!...†Fox says. “How could this happen?â€

 

“That’s not from the weapon. It was The Dust. They probably made a self-defense program, to prevent reverse engineering… They program it to attack any flesh or foreign material touching the blast cannon…And that’s the result...†Ford states as he activates a scanner from his suit at Fox’s injuries. “I remember there are cases the victim is killed by a major injury, but you’ll probably be fine since this is a very small one. The defense program hindered your control of your hands by blocking some specific neural impulses, though. You won’t be able to shoot properly without some treatment, otherwise you will have sharp pain and impaired aiming.â€

 

“Being able only to watch the others fight without being able to help… Not quite the way I wanted to spend the day.†Fox rambles.

 

----

 

Reaching dimly-lit corridor, the feeling of a trap is present.

 

“It doesn’t feel right. I think something is watching us.†Fox says.

 

“And it is.†Krystal confirms. “There seems to be one of them in there. I can sense it.â€

 

“So what should we do? We can’t go back, either.†Slippy asks, concerned.

 

“Then we spring the trap.†Krystal answers, continuing towards the dark corridor.

 

“Uh, Kry-Krystal…†Slippy stutters.

 

“You stay back.†She replies in a flat tone. “I’ll deal with this.â€

 

“Krystal, you can’t!†Falco exclaims. “It’s crazy!â€

 

She doesn’t stop or react. As she goes into darkness, the automatic lights attempt to turn on, only to spark and short out rapidly. If there was a good place for a trap, this was it.

 

We have to get out of here quickly. Krystal thinks. Ford may be right about the injuries, but it’s too dangerous down here, and Fox is a weak target in his condition. These… Things will probably gang up on us if one falls down. Fox needs to be treated or taken away, and fast.

 

…But why are they doing this?

 

…This place isn’t even a strategic station. It’s barely an outpost... Some weapon caches and research complexes aren’t a major threat. Picking on the weak...Ford said the races were of glory in war, not sneaking and assassination… This can’t be right… No matter, I can think about this later. I have to keep alert.

 

Krystal shakes off her thoughts when she reaches the middle of a darkened room. Some sparks and electric pops appear from the short-circuiting consoles, but no other sign of anything is to be seen there.

 

The vixen takes a few more steps, being surprised as a large Craver lands in front of her.

 

The Craver takes a step emerging from the deep darkness, while two other orange glowing eyes show up staring at the vixen.

 

She didn’t cower back, though. She faced her foe in a matching attitude, but at the same time, Krystal was inadvertently trying to pry into its thoughts.

 

“So, you reveal your disgusting self.†Krystal defies the armored being.

 

“Flesh being. The odds of outcome point towards your failure and destruction. You will not escape, and you are outnumbered. Battle is pointless. Simply surrender and your death will be done quickly.†The armored creature declares, powering up a weapon towards Krystal.

 

“Have it your way then… DIE!â€

 

With lightning-quick speed, Krystal pulls out a hidden dagger from a leg holster after shouting. A weapon simple and archaic, yet modernized and effective with a curved form and plasma cutter edge. As quickly as she pulls out the dagger, Krystal lunges with the weapon directly at the foe’s face.

 

The alien shrieks loudly in agony, and falls dead on the ground.

 

“If you think you’ll kill me without effort, you’re wrong. I’m more powerful than you imagine, and I proved it killing one of you disgusting beasts.†The vixen says as she puts away the energy blade. “You’re no different from the Aparoids. Their arrogance led them to fall, thinking we would never overcome them. They fell. And so you will.â€

 

The two other aliens growl incoherently, threatening her by stalking closer.

 

Their armors start to glow. The Dust present in it has started to power. Krystal realizes they are readying their attacks, but the blaster she got from the Commander was overheated.

 

Great, now what?... Think, Krystal...

 

The two Cravers separate to attack her from the sides. While the odds aren’t on Krystal’s favor, the vixen realizes their biggest mistake.

Wait… If they could reprogram The Dust to attack Fox… Maybe…

 

“…You do realize the odds aren’t good for you either?†Krystal says, as an aggressive— maniacal even—smirk shot across her face.

Though she is unsure of the outcome, Krystal attempts once again to communicate with the base’s Dust systems. The only thing she could think of is sending a single thought to the Dust.

 

…Attack Cravers…

 

She closes her eyes, and kneels to the ground, touching the floor around her with the hands. Soon it starts to glow with bright circuit-like patterns, and it spreads to the walls and ceiling, and even Krystal’s arms, as a light pulse is sent through the patterns across the vicinity, and Krystal herself.

 

“…Feeling lucky today?†she loud-whispers.

 

She opens her eyes, and in a sudden move motions the arms at the attackers.

 

The Dust from the air and floor around her forms a cloud that goes rushing towards the two Cravers near her. As it hits them, it engulfs and ‘infects’ their own Dust, heating their vital systems and killing them in the process.

 

Krystal escapes unscathed, but not entirely stable. Her senses are confuse, her body feels numb and her thoughts are erratic. Stunned, with fast, heavy panting, she reaches for the nearest wall, trying to recover from the encounter. From the obvious noise of dying Cravers and the golden light, the team rushes into the room towards Krystal.

 

----

 

Breaking the silence, Fox starts shouting while running towards Krystal.

 

“Krystal!!--“

 

He’s interrupted by the very vixen.

 

“…The Cravers are dead… All three of them.†She says, still imbalanced.

 

“You killed… You killed three Cravers, alone?†Markus queries, surprised. “These were light troopers, but still… How could take them all out?â€

As Krystal looks at Markus, he can only notice one thing; her eyes.

 

Her pupils were outlined with the same golden pattern from The Dust, contrasting with the light blue irises. Perhaps she was also infected during the encounter.

 

“Your… Your eyes…†The commander stutters, hesitating to say, even more intrigued.

 

Krystal looks at her reflection on a nearby glass panel. She saw the glow and the color, and with a gasp, only then Krystal realized what had just happened to her.

 

A moment of silence followed as nobody could comprehend the situation anymore.

 

----

 

“…It did what!?†Krystal exclaims as she is revealed to the fact that she had Dust within her body.

 

“You said before that it could react and kill who used it!She shouts, remembering what happened to Fox. “Why are you so calm about that!? Tell me what’s happening!â€

 

“Look, please calm down, Krystal. The Dust that injured Fox was programmed to do so. You did something else. At the moment you sent the telepathic command, you channeled The Dust, and perhaps it adhered to the emitter of the command – in this case, you.†Markus explains. “This is not a first. Many people have been ‘infected’, so per say, with Dust in the past, and that was not only a benefit, but a gift, so to speak. The ones who were considered ‘masters’ of Dust all had one thing in common; basic knowledge of artificial telepathy, thing which they dedicated years trying to achieve.â€

 

“This doesn’t explain how she killed these hulks just now.†Falco says. “If they need a ton of training to just, be able to control it, how did she kill them off just with one try?â€

 

“Perhaps it’s for us to discover then. I don’t really know. My theory is that since the Cerinians already were all born with telepathy, they had better capabilities than other ways of telepathy that were artificially developed.†Ford says. “But Krystal looks a considerably beat. I’m certain she wasn’t prepared for something of that magnitude. Someone else could have fainted trying that.â€

 

Once again looking at the reflection of her eyes, Krystal comes up with a thought.

 

“Ford… Since The Dust is able to affect lifeforms, do you think that I can use what infected me… to heal Fox’s Dust wounds?†The vixen questions.

 

He pondered for a moment. Ford reckoned that Krystal now had an valuable power and it would be of help to have Fox able to shoot, but he also had to consider their safety. “Hm… This can be a bit risky…Killing something is a thing. Healing a living being –and keeping them like that— is another one entirely…â€

 

“I want to do it anyway.†Krystal says. “I won’t do it if I’m risking too much, but if it’s possible…â€

 

“I have no guarantees. You can try it, but I’m not sure what will happen. Probably nothing, and best-case he’ll get healed. However, worst case it could backfire, and, well…†Ford adds.

 

Krystal nods, then walks near to Fox, who was listening to the speculation.

 

“So… You’re gonna try and use Dust to heal me… Are you sure that’s safe?â€

 

“We’ll see…†Krystal says, while grabbing onto Fox injured hands.

 

As she concentrates, she repeats the focus method she used before. She can see that there is still some of the hostile Dust in Fox bloodstream. However, there are two more glaring spots, which she sees as two large amorphous spots of ‘red’ Dust in his arms.

 

She attempts to take control of the remaining Dust in Fox. As she does, her own hands show the trademark visible glow. At the same time, The Dust present in Fox expels itself as a particle cloud from his open wounds, apparently powering down after that.

 

Fox can only gape at what just had happened to him. His pain had mostly disappeared, and he didn’t feel any more twitching. Despite the blood still being in his hands, his wounds were mostly healed.

 

Krystal opens her eyes to meet Fox in sight, with the most surprised expression. The golden circuit-like glow fades out from her arms as she stands up.

 

“It… It worked!†Fox says, surprised.

 

Krystal didn’t only remove the harmful element from Fox, but she also healed his injury. A lucky stroke perhaps, but was still a good outcome. Fox can’t help but to look at his previously-harmed arms in disbelief, as the blue vixen smiles seeing her success.

 

“How do you feel, Krystal?†Ford queries. The apparent success was a good thing, but he had to worry about side effects.

 

“I feel sort of tired, but I think I still can go on…†Krystal answers in a soft tone.

 

“Krystal, thank you…†Fox says, with a smile showing up in his face.

 

Krystal only answers with an affectionate hug.

 

“Um, guys, I know you’re happy and all, but save the thanks for later. Remember there are still some of these alien freaks around here.†Falco says, interrupting the scene.

 

“He’s right, we better get going.†Ford enforces.

 

“Wait, anyone else is noticing something strange?...†Beltino asks.

 

“Like what?†Slippy says, puzzled.

 

“Just listen!†He answers.

 

There was nothing to be heard at the moment. The blaster fire, the explosions, even the ventilation sounds were all gone.

 

“…It’s too silent around here…†Markus says.

 

Of sudden the lights start going out. After a few seconds, everything is pitch-black.

 

“Damn, they’ve cut the power!†Markus exclaims. “This can’t be good. If they reached the power room, the chamberlocks to the surface are practically open!â€

 

A dim flashlight appears from Markus’ blaster.

 

“Your weapons also have flashlights on the ironsights. Keep ‘em lit, we’re going to need everyone close now.†He says.

 

He looks for an interface panel at the nearby wall.

 

“Hm… Looks like the reserve mode is still online. The failsafes can still be triggered.â€

 

“Nice, so where we’re headed now?†Falco asks.

 

“No change in plan, still to the security station.†Ford states. “From there the power to the base can be restored, and we can trigger the backup turrets. The main power room is pretty far from the chamberlocks, so if we’re quick enough, we can reach it before the remaining Cravers escape.â€

 

“Right. Let’s go.†Fox says.

 

The group rushes into darkness on the way to the security station.

 

----

 

Ford, Beltino and The Team continue their sprint towards the security station. However, Krystal suddenly stops.

 

“Wait!†she exclaims.

 

“What is it?†Fox turns to her.

 

“I think I’ve felt something around here.†Krystal answers. “Hold on…â€

 

She turns and walks into a hallway by the side. She was moving the flashlight around in search for anything unusual. The team nods at each other and follows her.

 

The slow walk of the vixen comes to an end as she’s greeted with a metal door.

 

“Ford, can you open this door?†she asks.

 

“I’m afraid—“

 

“Hold on a minute—“ Krystal cuts Ford before a full reply is heard.

 

She reaches for the interface panel. Once again the gold circuits appear and give off another source of light. Ford can only fold his arms.

 

“I think you have a new best friend…†Ford ironizes.

 

The rotating locks spin and open the door, but nothing is immediately seen.

 

“Huh?… I could’ve sworn I did – “

 

“Aah!†A young male voice interrupts Krystal.

 

A young-adult vulpine is seen rushing to the group, panting and breathing in with an obnoxious gratitude;

 

“Finally! Thank you, I thought I was going to suffocate there! Wh–“

 

Markus literally shuts the exclaiming vulpine’s muzzle with the hand.

 

“Hey! Want to kill us all!?†Markus argued, loud-whispering.

 

“Agh! What was that for!?†The fox says, after freeing his muzzle.

 

“Don’t you realize that the base is under attack? There were explosions!†Ford says.

 

“Well, you know, there should at least be something to let some useless locks loose, then! I was checking out the conduit system in this room, when suddenly the alarm went out, the doors slammed shut and I was hit in the head – and almost beheaded—by a moving part!†the vulpine argues. “How could I realize that before I fainted?â€

 

“Okay, fair enough. Just try to be silent. This time we got lucky, since they probably didn’t hear you. I guess this time you’re fine.†Markus states.

 

“Erm… I appreciate your concern for the safety, sir, but could someone explain what’s happening?†the fox says. “My name is Tyke by the way.â€

 

Looking around to see who had freed him, recovering the sight from the sudden flashlights, Tyke slowly realizes who he finds himself with.

 

“Wait… You are… Krystal, yeah, that’s your name, right?†Tyke asks to the blue vixen. “Oh, so the StarFox team is here! I heard you would—“

 

“Less greetings, more saving ourselves from death. We can save that for later, okay?†Falco cuts Tyke mid-sentence.

 

“Oh, okay, of course.†Tyke says.

 

Looking for a second time at the team, Tyke realizes;

 

“Uh… Anyone have a spare hand blaster or anything?†He asks, scratching the back of the head awkwardly. “I am kinda… Well, unarmed here, you know.â€

 

“Oh please…†Ford says and sighs. “Just come with us until we can find some place safe for you, yes?â€

 

Tyke laughs awkwardly in embarrassment, and proceeds to follow the group as they leave.

 

----

 

The group arrives near the security station. The location is actually another platform built into the walls of the huge cave system. Even if everything is dark out, for some reason the station is still lit. It’s possible to see some of the Initiative workers being held prisoners.

 

“That doesn’t sound like the Craver way.†Ford says while putting away the long-range visor.

 

“They don’t make prisoners; they just obliterate everything and anyone who doesn't escape, if not to extract any usable resources for the ‘Hive’. Why are they holding them?...†Ford questions.

 

Of sudden a Craver seems to order one of them to stand up. The prisoner refuses, and is held by a large clamp shortly after. At the same time,

 

Krystal seems to have a chill for a moment.

 

“…What are they doing up there?†the vixen asks.

 

“I don’t know… But if the Cravers are doing it, it’s not a good thing…†Ford answers.

 

Another Craver hulk is seen nearing the hostage with a device. The first one stands behind said hostage. As a loud buzz is audible even from the Team’s hiding spot, an ominous whining sound of the powering device is heard.

 

“Oh no.†Krystal says as her eyes widen once more.

 

Right as she says it, a green energy blast is seen hurtling outwards the station. The hostage is instantly vaporized. The Craver behind is

seemingly intact.

 

The group is horrified by the death weapon.

 

“A million times, damn! If they developed a weapon that can kill everything that isn’t Craver using Dust, we’re in a huge disadvantage!†Ford says. “They can literally shoot at their own that nothing will—“

 

Ford, however, is cut, as he sees the Craver losing balance, while the corpse falls down off the ledge right after. The Craver was also killed in the process.

 

The one holding the device growls incoherently and violently tosses it at a nearby wall, and walks off-sight again.

 

“…They’re testing the weapon at their own.†Ford states.

 

“This… this is just disgusting…†Krystal says.

 

“So they’re on a one-way field testing trip, even if it requires testing on their own. Not the brightest move.†Fox says.

 

“It isn’t a bad idea when they can replace you at any time. They are a huge hive, and they only live to serve it. Everything is disposable.†Markus says.

 

“He’s the only one up there now. Maybe if we can sneak up, we can take him down and turn the power back on.†Falco suggests.

 

“No, if we just climb on like that, he’ll disintegrate us!†Markus says. “We need more than surprise him; we need distraction.â€

 

The Lylatians eye one another, turning out to all stare at Tyke at once.

 

“Aw, come on now!...â€

 

----

 

Tyke slowly approaches the remaining hostages, in absolute silence. They are stock to energy cuffs, that are seemingly powered from a nearby generator.

 

Despite the quietness, the Craver turns to Tyke and shouts at him, running to his direction with a melee weapon. Tyke quickly reacts and

attempts to evade, causing the Craver to hit a wall instead.

 

The second time, Tyke isn’t able to evade; he takes a strong push to the corner of the station, hitting a wall. As the Craver approaches with the weapon giving off electric discharges, Tyke is still down and unable to react. With the enemy approaching fast, he can do nothing but to flinch.

 

With the spear only a few centimeters from Tyke’s head, the Craver gets shot at the back, letting out a digitized growl and some fluids spilling, still ‘livable’.

 

The shooter was Falco. The plasma discharge from the handgun was enough to do some damage, and most importantly, grab the alien’s attention. Instead of finishing off Tyke, the Craver seems to let his target flee for a more worthy opponent, as Tyke crawls away from the impending duel.

 

Falco fires another discharge, deflected by the Craver. Although basically mechanical, the alien was giving off signs of rage towards Falco, uttering words in its ‘language’ -which is more of a series of growls and clicks- and taking an offensive stance towards the avian.

 

“Oh, watch out, somebody’s angry…†Falco’s cocky grin accompanies the statement.

 

The Craver reacts by triggering an electric charge on his scimitar. The electric sparks dart across the surface of the large blade, giving it a more menacing look than it already has.

 

Falco watches the Craver’s movements, keeping his distance and aiming at the foe. The Craver, instead of advancing and performing a lunge, hits the ceiling with its weapon. The systems of the room overload and the lights explode, while Falco protects his face from the shrapnel. This is just what the Craver needed to make its move; the falchion misses by little Falco’s arm as he sights the incoming blade. A second slice is attempted and evaded, but throws Falco off balance and causes him to lose grip of his blaster.

 

The Craver sees the opportunity to deal a finishing blow and tries to strike Falco one more time. The only thing Falco can think of in the moment is to hold the opponent before it could attack. Falco is forced backwards, struggling to keep the falchion away from him. The Craver causes

 

Falco to fall backwards, still pushing the blade off.

 

In a last move, Falco kicks away the Craver with all his strength, and quickly recovers grip of his blaster. The Craver is hit by the plasma discharges through his armor, and ‘bleeding’ the fluids from the holes in the exo-skeleton, finally falls backwards lifeless.

 

Tyke gives a sigh of relief as Falco gets up and holsters his blaster. “Phew… See? It worked, didn’t it?†Falco says.

 

“Yes, it worked; I almost got stabbed, and you almost got killed. Send me at an omnicidal maniac then jump right in, sure, great plan.†Tyke says in a sarcastic voice, getting up with a slight pain on the arm.

 

“Hey, we’re alive, he’s dead; we win.†The avian counters.

Tyke attempts to free the prisoners from the energy chains, as Falco signals the rest of the team clear.

 

“Crazy, but hey, it worked.†Fox states as he enters the room.

 

“Okay, can we just get to turn the power on and end everything already?†Tyke complains while trying to deactivate the cuffs from the prisoners.

 

“Agh! Unlock already!â€

 

With a thump of rage on the portable generator, Tyke incidentally turns off the device.

 

“Well, that’ll work…â€

 

Ford powers up the security systems and locks of the base, ensuring the safety of the world above.

 

“Finally.†He says, relieved.

 

“Commander, thank you for the help.†One of the liberated security personnel comes to him. “Sir, there are still people in the safe-room bunkers.

 

The Cravers on the base have been eliminated and there were minor casualties. Orders?â€

 

“Go provide proper escort to the surface for the Lylatian personnel, and medical assist for the injured. The other Initiative members should gather here and help repair the damage.†Ford commands.

 

“Acknowledged.â€

 

“By the way soldier, call on the StarFox team.â€

 

The surprise attack caused quite some damage on the surroundings, but it was recoverable. Markus knew that it was just a taste of what was to come next, though. Cravers weren’t the only threat that came to light; there are things that live in the shadows, and not everything there wants to be shined on…

 

----

 

“Ford, is the base clear of intruders?†Fox asks.

 

“That indeed.†The commander says. “We’ll just have some procedures to repair the damage and put everything back together. Beltino, Tyke,

you two head back to the surface HQ. We can’t just keep dragging both of you around.â€

 

“Certainly. I’ll head back to the main section.†Beltino says, before leaving along the security team. “Keep the guard up, everyone.â€

However, Tyke doesn’t leave.

 

“Tyke, aren’t you going?†Markus inquiries.

 

“…Ah um… a-actually, Commander… I have a, um… request t-to make…†Tyke states, in somewhat hype

 

Tyke breathes in and out deeply, apparently trying to calm down to avoid saying something wrong.

 

“Okay… Sir, I’d like to join the crew of the Great Fox II under command of Captain McCloud and his elite team.†Tyke says, in a more confident tone.

 

“Tyke, I’m not sure if they’re in need of an engineering specialist. As much as you’re good, they will already have the officers that volunteered for the maintenance crew, and Slippy is their tech expert.†Ford states. “Besides, you just saw what they always run into. It’s dangerous if you don’t have the training and preparation for it.â€

 

“Look, you’re not making me think otherwise, Commander. I’m not asking to jump straight into battle though. But I know I can help them somehow. Just give me a chance and I’ll prove it.†Tyke replies.

 

Tyke turns to Fox, and in a more serious tone, asks the other vulpine;

 

“With your permission, I’d like to join the crew of your ship.†Tyke states. “I may not be efficient at combat, but I can provide technological information and engineering support with my knowledge of Dust and Endless technology and artifacts.â€

The Commander ponders about the matter for a moment. Tyke could be a good researcher, but missions with the StarFox team involved constant risk. The Initiative was an organization that cared for its members, to make sure they don’t die (meaninglessly at least), and as much as good officers there were, replacement of lives is an attitude of low standards.

 

 â€œOkay Tyke. You convinced me... I’ll get some changes done to fit you into the crew... There would have been some space either way. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Just… don’t mess up.†Ford states.

 

“Thank you, Commander. I’m glad you understand my motives.†Tyke says with a clear smile of satisfaction on his face.

 

“Alright, don’t think you’re special just because of that favor though. You’re still with the Initiative, and that means your mission is as serious as ever.†Ford states. “I’ll stay here and direct the damage control. StarFox team, you shall head to the orbital shipyards with Tyke then, and get prepared with your new ship and crew.â€

 

“Alright Commander. We’ll be sure to report back quickly.†Fox states.

 

Ford walks off waving back once in dismissal. Tyke seems to be legitimately hyped though, as he’s certainly most pleased with the result.

 

“You know, I can kinda hear your internal screaming of joy.†Krystal muses, seeing Tyke’s perhaps overhyped even mood.

 

“I know! It’s awesome I’ll be helping in this project! I’ll be sure to do my best with what I have in reach, guys.†He says, in an enthusiastic tone.

 

“Hehee, I can tell…†Krystal comments.

 

====

 

“…Sir.â€

 

“What’s the situation?â€

 

“Our decoy group has been destroyed. They managed to cause minor damage, but no critical impairment.â€

 

“Any involvement of the local military?â€

 

“Nothing on report, sir.â€

 

“Worthless… The operation is taking too long, and much beyond the best interests of High Command. We need a more direct approach.â€

 

“If I may say it, Admiral, a straightforward offensive might not go unnoticed. A conflict with the Empire would be inevitable, and the Sheredyn

might react negatively as well. Our relation towards them—â€

 

“You are not in position to suggest my judgment is flawed, Captain. The plan will proceed at a faster pace and with no change of intents.â€

 

“…as you wish, Admiral.â€

 

====

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chaos_Leader

hmm....

 

Some interesting ideas there, but it has some work that still needs to be done.

 

The writing itself is executed fairly well, few grammar errors and such. The pacing feels a little weird though. There are times where things felt like they transitioned waaay abruptly.

 

The overall concept has all the markings of a classic "New Threat Invades Lylat" kind of feel to it, with a strong heaping of the "Mysterious Advanced Ancient Tech". Ford and his guys, by the way you describe them, seem suspiciously human-like.

 

I feel like a story like this is a little much to chew on, for reader or writer. There's a lot of new outside elements to try and incorporate into all this, and it can overwhelm the writer and reader too. For comparison, it's like when in a sci-fi film (set in modernish Earth), a gigantic high-tech super-secret organization suddenly and conveniently shows up out of nowhere to counter the alien threat.

 

Also, I don't know who tyke is, or why he's apart of the Star Fox team now. We haven't really seen enough of this guy to get any sort of firm understanding, or first impressions. It also feels a lot like the the usual spread of Star Fox fanfic where "New Guy Joins Star Fox".

 

By all means, keep up the good work, just be on the lookout though.

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Ori

Looking at it, now I realize some parts could be better planned and all. I haven't written in a long while actually, and I wasn't any better than this back then... :V And actually, yes, humans indeed are present; It's part of the ES canon and, well... I think it's kinda late to step back now though. =/

 

The plot thing it's not revolving 'new threat invades Lylat', but rather it's about deeper affairs between old, unsolved plotholes *hint* of SF, with the addition of some of the ES canon, and its looming antagonists. It won't be centered in 'EGADS A WILD VILLAIN HAS APPEARED!', but a story arc will have a bit of it.

 

I now see I left off more questions than answers, but eh, I've been outta writing for a while. =P You see, relative to Lylat, the outside organization involved indeed is of large-scale power nature, although in the ES canon it represents an average threat instead. I'll try add less elements and do it at an slower pace, until I sort out what I added.

 

Aaah, that character... Well, I don't think I did many mistakes, but I see I made some critical ones. =P Well, I had some ideas of what to do with him already, but flaw is to explain him at all it seems. :V

 

At least now I have some useful notes to keep in mind when writing. :-P Thanks for the advice, Chaos.

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Ori

Alright! It's been too long, but I finally restarted this thing and am taking this probably marginally more seriously than before. Rewrote what seemed horribly aberrant to me. Infodumps kinda still present since I intended this fanfic to be directed to newcomers into either and any of either lores, reworked to seem simpler. 'Changelog' as follows;

 

-General spelling mistakes corrected;

-Attempted to fix pacing issues (ch. I still relatively short, ch. II still horribly long asdf);

-Explained Tyke; not into 'team hero', more like ship officer (I.E. Engineer K. Donelly from ME2, non-critical yet seen during plot);

-[in turn, Added headcanon: Great Fox no longer magically maintained and operated only from the bridge; crew and officers added]

-Overly complicated term piles corrected for easier understanding;

-Fixed formatting issues.

-Removed Herobrine

 

Anyway, critique is welcome as always, and I'll be happy to finally put this back on track. Might be just a bump, this post, but I hope the 'retrofit' of my writing gives a different feeling this time. :-P

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      "I should hope you do, sir. Content of character is very important to me. I've dealt with enough turncoats and traitors in my day" said Pepper.
      "What if I cloned myself into some kinda fancy souped up super weapon?" asked Peppy.
      "It is the unconquerable soul of a soldier, not the nature of the weapon he uses, that insures victory" replied Pepper.
      "Well I'll be, the unconquerable soul of a soldier, how bout that. Guess that's why we're outnumbered" said Peppy.
      "What did you say? Listen Peppy, my plan will work with some tweaking. The second wormhole in the Asteroid belt leads to a timeline in which
      our military is much more advanced" said Pepper.
      "I see. Well, maybe I'm just getting too old for this. How bout a corn dog and a cold beef sandwich?" asked Peppy.
      Peppy began devouring his corn dog ravenously.
      "Yeehaw, lord bless mah soul, this is the best meal I've ever eaten" said Peppy.
      "It may be your last. Eat heartily" said Pepper.
      "Well, I'm on my way now. Gotta go relay all this stuff to the team" said Peppy, getting into his Arwing.
      "Wait sir, I forgot to warn you of the warphole to Fichina on your way back to the Great Fox...oh well" said Pepper.
      As Peppy left, his only regret was that he failed to share his new chili recipe with the general.
      In a dark room, sitting at a table, the SF team planned their mission. Each member was sipping coffee and soda and enjoying themselves, for a while,
      then they began to wonder what was taking Peppy so long.
      "Where's the Pepster? I kinda miss him a little" said Miyu, pressing her nails against the table.
      "He's probably getting the map from the general. It should outline our course for this mission" replied Fox.
      "I think we should go the third route this time and take Andross by surprise" suggested Falco.
      "The last time we took the third route I had a disasterous experience with Wolf O' Donnel" replied Fox.
      "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Fox. I really need to learn to shut my big beak" said Falco.
      "Yeah, ya do!" said Fox.
      "Ca-ca-ca-can I say something?" asked Slippy.
      "Sure, Slip!" said Fox, flipping a quarter in the air and making it land on his nose. He then began spinning it on his nose.
      "I just wanted to say that I'm glad we're all here and that we should be thankful we have each other" said Slippy.
      "Yay, hugs all around!" said Miyu. Falco groaned, but Fox just chuckled.
      "Anything else, Slippy?" asked Fox.
      "Well, I was just gonna agree that trying to one up Andross by taking the third route might not be the best idea, there
      are black holes and time warps and things on that third route" said Slippy, stuttering. Miyu sipped her soda.
      "Peppy's late, he's usually here by now to chart the course and show us where we're going" said Miyu.
      "You know how Peppy is," said Falco. "He's probably asleep in a luxury hotel on Eladard or something. Peppy is anything but his namesake!"
      "Don't trash Peppy. He's the smartest, most wise and considerate guy I've ever met in my life, second only to you, Falco!" said Fox in a sarcastic tone.
      "Bushy tail, you earned yourself a cold beef sandwich!" said Miyu, tossing Fox a sandwich.
      "Thanks Miyu, this is delicious!" said Fox, taking a huge bite out of his sandwich. Miyu snapped her fingers, and another sandwich fell into the room.
      "There was more where that came from. Who else wants some sandwiches?" asked Miyu.
      "I sa-sa-sa-sorta want one. With some ba-ba-ba-ba-barbecue sauce, that'd be nice" said Slippy.
      "So you want barbecue sauce manufactured by the sheep people of the Baa Baa Galaxy or what?" asked Falco
      Later, after much sandwich eating soda sipping fun...
      "Well, Peppy isn't coming apparently, I tried to communicate to him on the messenger and his screen went to static!" said Slippy. But Falco was playing cards with Robert, and Fox and Miyu were having too much fun feeding one another to pay attention to Slippy.
      "Pour me some more Ginger Basil Grapefruit spitzer, Miyu!" said Fox.
      "Coming right up, your majesty" said Miyu, pouring Fox's drink. Fox guzzled it down, as Miyu deposited a grape in his mouth. Then she poured more
      spitzer into his glass, and into her glass as they toasted.
      "Some cheese with it?" asked Miyu.
      "Cheese would be great, you know in case you didn't know I love cheese" replied Fox.
      "To a long long riveting romance" said Miyu putting on a pretend accent of some sort, as she and Fox toasted again.
      "I gotta hand it to you Miyu, you're great at arranging little get togethers like this!" said Fox. Falco could not stop chuckling, and Slippy was
      about to panic.
      "I don't arrange the get togethers mah lord. They arrange me, but then I get back at em and one up em with my devout sense of preperation and
      servitude to the cause!" said Miyu.
      "Yeah, well, you're the best Miyu. Say Falco, we should all get together like this more often" said Fox.
      But Falco was playing cards:
      "Two aces, Rob!" said Falco. Slippy thwacked Falco with a frying pan.
      "Tell Fox and Miyu to get their ba-ba-ba butts into high gear now!" said Slippy.
      "Oh, okay. Yeah, good point" said Falco.
      "Tell them, now! Peppy's screen is static, his ship might have been shot down for all we know" said Slippy.
      "Okay Slip. Say Fox, have you forgotten something Fox? This is not a get together. It sure as hell wasn't arranged by Miyu! And the fate of the galaxy is at stake here.
      Is there something about cheese and grapefruit spitzer that sends you two off the deep end or something?" asked Falco.
      "The deep has no end, it keeps unraveling itself with one more tangled web, each getting more tangled and intricately woven than the other" replied Miyu.
      "Hahaha, my sentiment exactly," replied Fox, slamming the table with his fist.
      "Oooh, careful Foxy. Careful!" said Miyu.
      "We're doomed!" said Slippy.
      "Not necessarily. I've got a bullhorn for these silly tipsy whipsies!" said Falco. Falco used his bullhorn.
      "YOW! Falco, what are you doing?" yelled Fox.
      "Trying to bring you back into reality. Things are actually pretty grim right now we don't know where Peppy is!" said Falco.
      "Alas, poor Peppy," said Miyu, leaning back and staring into her fancy glass.
      "Remember that one time when he didn't show up till morning?" asked Fox.
      "Yeah, I do actually. But we should probably go meet with the General on his ship and get an update just to be safe" said Falco.
      So the team got their act together and flew their Arwings to meet with General Pepper.
      "Hello team. All the intelligence data and indications are that Peppy has gotten himself stranded on
      Planet Fichina in the middle of a blistering snowstorm! He doesn't even have a coat!" said Pepper.
      "What do you suggest we do sir?" asked Fox.
      "I don't suggest. I give orders.
      I order Miyu and Slippy to head towards Fichina, while Fox and Falco go and take out the Attack Carrier that has invaded Cornerian airspace" said
      General Pepper. Fox gave a military salute to Pepper.
      "Yes sir, Pepper sir" said Fox. He and Falco raced to their Arwings. Miyu and Slippy hesitantly teamed up, and went to their respective ships.
      We join Miyu and Slippy:
      "So, Slippy, this might be our first mission together, huh?" said Miyu.
      "Blurbitt!" replied Slippy. Miyu moved the Crystal Stick into gear and steered the ship into Fichina.
      "Blurbitt, huh? I like that actually" said Miyu. Suddenly, something came over Slippy as they entered Fichina's foggy atmosphere.
      "You missed a gold ring!" yelled Slippy trying to take charge of the Arwing's control pad.
      "No I didn't, Slipster what the heck are you doing?" yelled Miyu. Slippy sent the ship hurtling towards the ground, and Miyu jumped out and grabbed
      Slippy with her in a parachute. They both hit the ground and watched their Arwing blow up into smithereens.
      "Slippy, what was that?" asked Miyu.
      "I think it's just my allergies" replied Slippy.
      "Oh, yeah, terrific, Slipknot. You do realize you just got yourself the pink slip from me" said Miyu.
      "Is that a reward?" asked Slippy.
      "No, it's um, like, the opposite?" said Miyu.
      "You mean I'm still a calf frog in your eyes? Even after the little trick I hel[ped you orchestrate?"
      "Oh, Slippy, I'm a lynx, you're a frog, you know?" said Miyu.
      "Fair point" conceded Slippy. Miyu held Slippy's hand and attempted to comfort him as they trudged forward into the snow towards the red dot
      on their radar.
      Later...
      A giant missile nearly hit Slippy and sent him flying off far far away.
      Miyu entered the base, shown as a little red "dot" on her GPS navigator. She zapped all the guards with her ray gun and freed Peppy who was in a giant
      cage.
      "Pepster Pops, you're alive!" said Miyu, hugging Peppy.
      "Yeah, well hold on a minute pumpkin puss, I gotta check my pulse. Yeah. I'm still alive" replied Peppy.
      "Peppy, we've gotta find a way off of this planet. Did the baddies take your Arwing?" asked Miyu.
      "Remind me what a-what a...Arwing, as you call it, what is that thing anyway?" asked Peppy.
      "Oh, Peppy. You know what an Arwing is. Let's get out of here and get lunch!" suggested Miyu.
      Miyu and Peppy went to the Fichina Diner.
      "Miyu and Peppy, your tables are ready!" said a voice. Miyu and Peppy raced to their tables. Peppy looked over the menu. The waitress came over.
      "Hi, my name is Bloomeelia Glowdentissa, I'll be serving you today, how can I help you?" asked a cat girl in a maids outfit.
      "I'll have mashed potatoes with gravy and some beans" said Peppy.
      "Fichina's finest! And how may I help you?" said Bloomeelia, glancing at Miyu.
      "Grapefruit," said Miyu. "Just...grapefruit!"
      "Good choice! My friend Rallassa almost exclusively orders grapefruit here every time! I'll be right back!" said Bloomeelia.
      "So, Miyu, I've been thinkin, you know I have this chili recipe I'm thinkin' about perfecting once the war is over" explained Peppy.
      "Oooh, that sounds heavenly. Do tell me more" said Miyu, batting her eyelashes and gazing into Peppy's eyes.
      "Yeah. I'm thinkin' it needs some good ol' fashioned old time Cornerian spices" said Peppy.
      "Can't have enough of those," said Miyu, filing her fingernails.
      "Yeah. Some thyme maybe. Meatballs!" yelled Peppy, slamming the table. Bloomeelia came back with the mashed potatoes and grapefruit.
      "Thank you kindly Miss" said Peppy.
      "Yes thank you, rock on!" said Miyu.
      "You too, funky soul sister!" said Bloomeelia.
      "Do you and her know each other?" asked Peppy.
      "I ran into her once back in Academy. She dropped out early on though to become a sorceress" said Miyu. Miyu pressed the grapefruit against her mouth and
      nose and buried her face in it, soaking in the divine goodness of the moment.
      "Anyway, so I've got this chili thing all planned out" said Peppy.
      "Is your rabbit friend okay?" asked Bloomeelia.
      "He gets like this. His memory is fried" replied Miyu.
      "Well, I'm a sorceress and if I know one thing about memory, doing a special thing you haven't done in years usually gets your memories
      jogging like biscuit fueled fiends!" said Bloomeelia.
      "That gives me an idea of how we'll get the Arwing back from that base!" said Miyu.
      Later...
      "Peppy, you know your Arwing is in there, just because it's heavily guarded doesn't mean we can't get in there" said Miyu.
      "So many guards. Course, there are those barrels over there" said Peppy.
      "Exactly," replied Miyu. "We're gonna have to do it"
      "Get who to do what?" asked Peppy.
      "We're gonna do a barrel roll gosh darn it! I've waited my whole life for this chance" said Miyu.
      "I'm too old, Miyu" yelled Peppy.
      "No you're not!" said Miyu.
      "I'm not?" asked Peppy.
      "No, I think you're as prepped, ready, and as peppy as you've ever been" said Miyu, pushing Peppy into a barrel. She got into the barrel with him.
      "This is a tight squeeze. Crammed in here, but not bad. Not bad at all actually" said Peppy. The two began rolling down the hill, and they sent most
      of the guards running home, flattening some, to a degree. The barrel finally smashed into a wall and broke open.
      And there...in the midst of all...was the Arwing of Peppy, inside the base. Miyu and Peppy raced into the base.
      "Well, we did it, we did a barrel roll together" said Peppy, brushing off his pants.
      "Oh, Peppy. What would Vivian Hare think?" asked Miyu.
      "Who?" said Peppy, confused.
      "Ugh, do we need to do another barrel roll?" yelled Miyu.
      "I don't know but it never pays to underestimate Star Fox, that's for sure" said Peppy. Peppy was about to get into his Arwing
      with Miyu and fly off into the
      sunset when suddenly the dome like base's doors automatically shut, and a vortex appeared.
      Wolf and Falco came out of it.
      "Well well, look what the monsoons brought in. You know it's rather fitting that it end like this, as this planet
      is now the headquarters of Emperor Andross's entire base of operations. I'm only telling you this because I'm confident
      we will defeat both of you" said Wolf, putting out a cigarrette. He held a ray gun up to Peppy and Miyu and proceeded
      to tie them up.
      "You'll never get away with this, Bird Man and Wolf" said Peppy.
      "Falcky's joined up with Wolf and Andross? What the heck is going on?" said Miyu.
      "That can't possibly be Falco, his feathers are too ruffled" said Peppy.
      "No, it's really me. Been tempted to do this for ages, Fox always tried to one up me, he
      thought he had the upper hand of the deck, but now I'm the ace of spades. I now know the truth, that
      Pepper's been playing you all for fools and has you all eating out of his paws like termites, he broke the deal
      he had with Andross, not the other way around" said Falco.
      "Oh please, next you're gonna tell me Fox Mcloud's father actually died of cheese addiction" said Peppy.
      "Yeah, I'm sure some guy named Ben Cheese had something to do with it" said Miyu.
      "Please don't hurt us!" said Miyu.
      "Sorry lady, this is just our duty" replied Wolf.
      "Yes, Andross knows what he's doing" said Falco.
      "You see what's happening here? The bird finally started using his brains. You two can make up for your shortcomings if you so desire, I'm
      perfectly willing to get you two on my side as well, though I doubt you'll take me up on the offer" said Wolf.
      "I'd rather be put in a zoo!" said Miyu.
      "I'd rather be forced to deliver candy door to door in a bunny outfit" said Peppy. Falco groaned. Wolf continued speaking.
      "Cornerians are going to soon be upgraded, and those who refuse will be immediately terminated" said Wolf.
      "Upgraded? You mean experimented on and treated like an animal, right? Not gonna happen Wolf" said Peppy. Wolf pulled
      out a remote and activated a trap door with a growing wormhole underneath. He used the remote to lower the pillar Miyu and Peppy were tied to further and further down, hoping they would fall victim to the wormhole wherein Andross would kill them. He began mocking them.
      "Hey, no sweat dear fellows. Trust your instincts, don't ever give up, hahaha" chuckled Wolf. Wolf then got in Peppy's Arwing with Falco and was just
      about to take off, when Miyu began chewing on the ropes with her sharp teeth. She cut Peppy free the same way, and grabbed
      on to him just as he was about to fall into the hole. They began blasting inside the Arwing, causing the entire machine
      to start flashing. Wolf and Falco evacuated the ship and it burst into flames.
      "Congratulations, you destroyed your own ship!" said Wolf.
      "Not so" said Peppy, texting Pepper on his phone. A vortex opened and a fresh new Arwing appeared.
      "What the heck?" asked Wolf.
      "It pays to eat out of Pepper's paws, Wolf. But it doesn't pay to eat out of the hands of Emperor Andross, who's
      about to get his just desserts by the way" said Peppy, getting into his Arwing.
      "Take me with you" said Miyu, gazing into Peppy's face with starstruck eyes.
      "No, I'd feel too bad if something happened to you" replied Peppy.
      "Please, Vivian Hare's dead, and I...love you" said Miyu.
      "Oh, alright, if it means that much to you, I'd rather die with you than anyone else" said Peppy. Peppy
      and Miyu got into the Arwing, and flew into the wormhole to meet up with Andross. Wolf and Falco
      got into a seperate ship and followed in pursuit.
      The Final Battle Begins:
      Sure enough, there was Andross, complete with his diabolical mechanically constructed new face and metal hands.
      "The lynx and the rabbit, I'm not used to this. Very well, I'll destroy you both just the same" said Andross, as he
      began attempting to send enourmas blocks of energy towards Peppy's Arwing. Peppy fired many shots into Andross's hands
      destroying both of them. Finally Andross attempted to suck the arwing into his mouth.
      "Peppy, what do you do in this situation? Remember? You DO A BARREL ROLL!" said Miyu.
      "Understood, my precious lynx!" said Peppy, who made the Arwing do many consecutive barrel rolls succesfully avoiding
      Andross's sinister clutches. Finally Peppy began blasting the flashing red eyes of Andross, and Andross's face-ship split
      into pieces, leaving only a box with a giant brain inside of it. Peppy fired a nova bomb at it and it exploded. Miyu kissed Peppy's cheek and Peppy
      felt very relieved to be back in the game, and also incredibly amazed and amused, as he had defeated Andross for the first
      time with no help from Fox whatsoever.
      "Fox probly still thinks Andross is on Venom" said Miyu jokingly.
      "Yeah" said Peppy. "We rock!"
      "What about Wolf and Falco though?" asked Miyu.
      "Just got a text from Pepper. They've been taken into custody. Falco was exposed to a brainwashing helmet.
      The effects will wear off soon enough" said Peppy.
      Later...
      We join Falco and Katt in their apartment.
      "I can't believe I fell for Andross's garbage" said Falco.
      "It's okay, chickie poo. Your feathers have been ruffled enough. Come lather my fur why don't you?" said Katt.
      "Gee thanks, I think I'll pass for now" said Falco.
      "So, are you gonna take me on that vacation to Fortuna in that delicate ship of yours?" asked Katt.
      "Yes, but don't call it delicate that diminishes its value. Let's go, Katt!" said Falco.
      The Conclusion:
      "Wow, Peppy, I'll never consider you an old timer again" said Fox.
      "Congratulations to you and Miyu!" said Slippy.
      "Next week we're getting married" said Peppy.
      "I think I'm gonna cry" said Slippy.
      "I'm gonna cut the cake now. Know what it says on it?" asked Fox.
      "What?" asked Peppy.
      PEPPY WANTS YOU
      TO DO A BARREL ROLL
    • TheRadFox987
      By TheRadFox987
      Greetings, fellow Cornerians I am here.
    • MidnightMike
      By MidnightMike
      Hello everyone. ^^
      My name is MidnightMike, and I'm here to show you my tribute animation to the original Star Fox, which celebrated it's 25th anniversary this past March.
      I know it might not be as good as you were hoping, but I had fun making it. Here it is. :)
       
    • Snys93
      By Snys93
      As I writer (amateur writer...very very amateur lol), I tend to get bored easily. As a result I've ha e written or atleast started several series' without finishing them. So I ask this of you: which of this fics should I continue? I will post them in a poll on this thread and if you'd like I can give a brief, informative synopsis for each one.
      Please, this would REALLY help me out guys. Thank you for your time.
       
      Synopsis:
       
      Starfox: Fall of Lylat :
      Set before, during and after events of the Lylat War, the story mainly follows CDF officer Chis Agathol in his experiences as part of the military and as an individual. As his journey unfolds, many questions are asked as to the nature of war, sacrifice and commitment to just doing the right thing. Follow him on this journey from a young child full of promise and imagination to an aspiring cadet in training and the seasoned officer he becomes. Only thing is...what else lies beyond?
      Action/adventure/scifi
       
      Naruto: Bloodied Desert Rose :
      A genderbend retelling of the popular manga/anime series, Sabaku no Gaara goes from skilled assassin to simple bodyguard for the newly elected Hokage, Hinato Hyuuga.
      Action/drama/romance
       
      Doom: Lengthening of Shadows :
      B. J. Blazkowicz III comes from a rich military family history. But once he goes on the wrong side of the law, the UAC doesn't hesitate to lock him and throw away the key on of all places...the second moon of Mars, Phobos. He doesn't wish for escape but the heat of battle in raw combat with no holds barred to fight his inner demons. And with all of Hell unleashed...he gets his wish.
       
      Dark Souls: the anthology series :
      What is life? What are souls? What is this thing you call 'self'? There are two paths, one of fire to keep Burning a dying Flame, the other Dark and... Who are you...? Are you on this journey? Join us and see for yourself. For who knows where the road may lead...and let souls feed your Hollowing mind.
       
      ZabuHaku: A Naruto Pairing :
      One a slave, the other a slave to his desires. Both seek rest and only one sought the comfort of the other. Zabuza and Haku paid their sins in blood...but their story is just beginning.
       
      Starwars: Parallels :
      His master slain by his own hand and his mentor lay dying, much goes through the mind of the new Emperor. What path has the galaxy been set on and how will Emperor Skywalker blaze a new future without the Jedi?
       
      Snes1993's Starfox :
      My take and spin of the beloved series' notable characters and their path to salvation from a tyrannical ruler and his near infinite space armanda.