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Relaxation on Oceanus

Tiger Carson

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The island chain of Proximus, a beautiful place where visitors to Oceanus come to check in, get things settled up, and go for their destination on their stay for vacation.  Though the island chain itself had plenty to see and do.  The main island, Proxox(Pro-zox), had the villas, cabins, and hotels.  Each ranged in price, and what you could get for those prices.  The most basic having just the bedrooms with two twin size beds and a small bathroom that had a combination shower/bathtub and one toilet, with a small out-door spot for people to get fresh air that had no furnishings.

The best ones though were essentially homes away from home.  Each suite had a kitchen with a full stove and oven as well as a complete refrigerator and food replicator.  Living space complete with holo big screen tv, couches and reclining chairs as well as another replicator for any needs one may want and some tables and desks.  Master bedroom with a king size bed and two chairs along with a desk and two individual night stands, normal bedroom that had everything the basic suites had, and an outdoor space with plenty of stretching room and even a hot tub.  Each bedroom of course had its own bathroom, with the Master having the most lavish that had a separate shower stall and a two person Jacuzzi along with two toilets that had a little divider for privacy if so desired.

The rest of the suites fell somewhere in between, with the ones that included a Jacuzzi or hot tub being in the middle.  But honestly, the rooms are just places to sleep in while one enjoys the sights, sounds, and activities offered by the island.  Proxox also had a city that was as advertised busy, during the day it had an assorted number of festivals and street vendors active.  At night, the neon lights would be on, and there would be night clubs with flashy signs and lights that tried to attract a lot of potential customers.  Each night club was as you would expect, having a full service bar, several tables and chairs, a dance floor and some VIP rooms.  There were also normal bars located around the city that operated all days of the week at all hours.  The city also catered to some religious tastes for those who simply couldn’t worship at their suites, as it had several churches, temples, and other buildings.  As for anything else, the city had plenty of casinos for those who wanted to try their luck at gambling, and it was full of businesses that provided all manner of services.  From food, to souvenirs, to medical supplies, to entertainment of all kinds, you could find it there at the city of Proxox.  It even had a few hospitals, fire stations, police stations and such emergency services.  As for the rest of the island, it was surrounded by beautiful beaches and oceans, with the hotels, cabins, and villas being close to the beaches, and they all had docks and board walks dotting the beaches.  This was nothing unusual though, as the other cities throughout the planet were more or less the same as Proxox.

Proximus’ other islands in the chain varied in their terrain, with a few volcanoes towards the west, some desert islands with oasis as described to the east of the dormant volcanoes that had become so tall they were now ice capped mountains.  Further east were the jungle islands.  Next to them was Proxox itself, further east were the Pine Forest Islands with rural suburban area islands dotting them for the inhabitants.  At the furthest east was the desert islands with the aforementioned oasis dotting them as described in the commercial.  It was here that the military bases were also set up on a few random islands in just the right places to avoid prying eyes.  It was otherwise a perfect place to vacation, and have fun.


Casher waited with an entourage of other natives, male and female, all dressed in bathing suits with sarongs on the females, and all of the entourage had multiple flower necklaces on their necks, for the arrival of some guests.  Not just any guests though, these were rising stars affiliated with the Cornerian Defense Force as mercenaries.  They weren’t as famous as Star Fox, but Star Tiger did have the attention and direct contact of General Pepper, so they had to be something.  Casher waited expectantly as the team departed their shuttle which was brought up to pick them up while the Sanctuary Tiger was placed into space dock for the duration of Star Tiger’s stay.

“Welcome to Oceanus!” Casher called out to Star Tiger, who were all wearing casual clothes, though they weren’t wearing bathing suits. “We’re honored to have one of the rising stars of the Lylat System heroes stay at our wonderful, yet humble, world.” She walked right up to Tiger, the leader, and personally placed a flower necklace on his neck.

“Uh, thank you.” Tiger said as he bent down a bit to let her do so, blushing as she moved her ample bosom fairly close to his face in a flirtatious manner while placing the necklace on his neck.  Other members of the greeting party did the same for the rest of the team.  A hunk of a zebra in tropical shorts placed one on Zera, while a hunky oriental dragon did the same for Jeena, a hunky wolf placed one on Kola’s neck, while a beautiful blue jay placed one on Hawk’s neck, and Copper had two vixens place some on his neck.

Each of them was unused to this level of attention for a vacation stay, the girls blushing at the muscular look the men had along with their handsome faces.  Hawk wasn’t affected by the Blue Jay’s flirtatious movements though, but he still blushed a bit from the level of attention he was getting.  And Copper was definitely feeling a flush of heat to his cheeks.  The vixens couldn’t have been older than thirty, meaning he could easily have been their father, and this made him blush quite brightly.

“So, are we ready to get you all situated?” Casher asked Tiger, gently physically flirting with him.  But Tiger gently pushed her away in a respectful manner.
“We are, I’m ready to get started on this long over-due vacation my team needs.” Tiger said to her.  Casher nodded, not offended by Tiger’s rebuff.  She thought he was probably a guy who didn’t like that sort of thing right off the bat.
“Follow me, I’ll personally lead you all to your accommodations after we get you checked in.” Casher then turned to the reception building, and started walking there.
“Lead the way.” Tiger said as he and the rest of the team followed.  The members of the entourage hooked their arms around the arms of the other members of the team, causing a lot of blushing from the team.

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"And..." said the hotel employee, a short yet well built green corn snake who was garbed in standard hotel attire, but with a bronze Ogniemite medallion around his neck, putting his hand on the palm scanner to unlock the door, "here's your room!" The doors flew open, revealing a suite full of high-end amenities and multiple rooms.

The master bedroom was located at the far end of the suite, and had a spectacular view of the ocean and beach. A small balcony with furnishings was outside. The bedroom's king-sized bed would be more than adequate for the two lovebirds that would occupy this room for some time. The bedroom's holo TV was not turned on yet. In the suite's living room, there were several chairs and a sofa gathered around a coffee table. The carpets that draped themselves over the floor were smooth and firm. In the bathroom, one could find a bathtub and chrome shower heads installed on the walls and ceiling of the shower. The counter containing the sink and mirror was also elegantly designed and crafted.

The kitchen's stove, oven, sink, refrigerator, and food replicator were also top of the line appliances, which could only be found in the most luxurious of homes. However, the duo that temporarily occupied this suite would not need those for many tasks, since they planned on sampling the local cuisine.

The employee brought in the heaviest of the duo's bags. He set them down beside the king-sized bed, and faced the couple, who followed behind him. They too sat down their smaller carry-ons. The employee spoke with a faint Vlach accent.

"Now, Mr. Ionescu, Ms. Gostautaite, if you ever need anything, just call room service. You can find the number on the paper next to the phone."

"Mersi, Vasile," Iosif said in Vlach. He then gave Vasile twenty credits as tip.

"Mersi, Domnule," replied Vasile in the same language. Vasile left him and Diana in their room, and the door closed behind him.

Diana opened the balcony's glass doors, and stepped outside into the bright and warm sun. Iosif followed her.

Iosif wore a short sleeved collared shirt with a Hawaiian floral pattern. It was unbuttoned, and underneath it was a white tee. He also wore slightly faded blue jeans and brown walking shoes. A worn brown belt held up his jeans. He also had his distinct eye patch over where his right eye was. Diana's attire was a similar collard shirt, but plain off-white, and buttoned. She wore a straw trilby on her head. She also wore navy blue khakis and black skate shoes. They both wore gold-plated Ogniemite medallions, which gleamed in the sunlight.

Iosif sight as he placed his right arm around Diana's shoulders. "We needed this," said he.

"Yeah," answered Diana. "We also need food. I'm hungry." She looked into Iosif's eye. Iosif looked back. "Where to, Di?"

"Hmm...." she looked down at the street, which was some ten stories below them. On it were several restaurants catering to various gastronomic tastes: seafood, meat, vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, spicy. Almost everything was there. "Let's take a look around," Diana said as she turned her sight back to Iosif. They smiled, and went back inside the suite.

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Amelia was hiding a big secret. She didn't tell anyone why she was going to Oceanus. She figured that it was more information than people needed, and it would also hinder her travel plans if anyone found out what her true intentions were. It was a terrible secret--not that she'd committed a heinous crime or anything, but it would be a serious cause for concern for those who cared. People didn't understand what she was going through, though they do mean well, but her end game was the only thing driving her at this point.

The past two years had been a really rough one to say the least. Her third child had died before her first birthday from Sickle Cell Anemia, and she had not taken it well at all. Who would be able to take the death of their baby in stride? As a result of that she had spiraled into the deepest, darkest depression, and it sucked the life from her veins. Let's not spoil it by divulging all of the details, and leave it at that she had done some harrowing things to herself and others in the name of depression. and when Derek left her because he didn't understand enough to support her and later took the kids when it was deemed that she wasn't of sound mind to care for them, the fight lost all meaning.

She didn't find anything odd about her current circumstances though. She was in her late twenties, smart, pretty, but didn't think she had much going for herself. She was bone-tired, terminally exhausted, and needed a very long vacation. It wasn't Oceanus she really wanted though. She wanted something else entirely.

When she was offered to leave Corneria for an extended holiday, she was enraptured. She booked a quaint little bungalow with a specatular view of the ocean, in the center of it all on the island of Proxox. She would enjoy the freshest of local delicacies, sip rich wines, take in local customs that were centuries-old but new to her. It was a good place to be, especially when back home, the snow fell thick and deep on the unnatural concrete, muffling the noise of urban living so that the Corneria City seemed to dance on its own showshoe.

But here on Oceanus, everything seemed to be a study of deep contrast: sleek modernity of the hotel's sense of enterprise culture, superimposed over the island's rich, beautiful traditions. But the most contrasting of all was her. Thrilled simply to be a live and ready to experience life, but determined as ever to die.

She had never felt so bipolar in her life.

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As Solomon Muralł made his way through the bustling Proxox SpacePort, he couldn't help but smile at the thought of the relaxation that awaited him. The Saurian had never had the oppurtunity to take a vacation before in his life, the only other time he was even on a deep space transport craft being when he fled his planet so, as he traversed the transport hub, his anticipation and excitement could be likened to that of a small child. 

A month-long getaway. The promise of rest and entertainment were nearly too much for the Ceratosaurus to handle and his mind raced excitedly as it remembered the various things he had read about Oceanus on the internet.

However, the reason for his visit was, in his opinion at least, a tad bit selfish. He needed to get away from his friends for a while. He loved the two Venomian he lived with back on Corneria like brothers but the pair of defectors were... Taxing, to say the least. Kosovo, the older of the two, was an upstanding man, yet his post-traumatic stress often kept Solomon awake at night with the sounds of screaming. Kimber, the younger of the duo from Venom was truly a victim of the Venomian military program. He was a sociopathic, egotistical, and at some times, masochistic teenage raccoon who had no qualms about killing a man. Solomon's mission with Kimber was to groom him to be an upstanding member of society; a mission which he oftentimes failed.

Solomon would never give up on Kimber, though the young procyon's constant outbursts and violent tendencies had become to much for the humble and non-violent reptile. He needed time away.

The dinosaur chuckled as he felt the weight of the eyes of many of the travelers in the SpacePort. Many patrons stared at him in awe and remarks about his red scales which had, in places, black splotches which seemed to be outlined in yellow, his sharp claws, and the horn at the end of his snout were whispered amongst the vacationers; some impressed and some hoping he was not a galactic terrorist.

He walked out of the front doors and into the tropical heat, a heat he was used to growing up on the Southern Coast of his world. Though, he was not accustomed to the sight of sheer excess in front of him. High rise hotels and condominium complexes rose into the heavens as designer sports cars darted through the street like excited insects. 

He searched the parking lot directly in front of the port for his friend,  another Saurian by the name of Ro Kunrace. The two had met by chance in a Cornerian honky-tonk bar a few months prior, each of them excited to find another citizen of Corneria with Saurian heritage. A friendship developed and soon, the two seemed to be doing everything together.

Ro was the one who had organized the trip. Being the adopted son of Donovan O'Hashi,  a Cornerian billionaire, Ro had access to funds of which Solomon could only dream.

Solomon was knocked out of his search when a loud honk pierced the air behind him. Solomon turned to see Ro in a large, roofless jeep. Kunrace waved for Solomon to join him.

"Over here, Muralł!" He called.

Solomon smiled and approached his friend's vehicle.

"Have a good flight?" Kunrace asked as his friend climbed into the jeep.

"As good as one can expect in transport class." Solomon replied, throwing his bag into the back seat.

After Solomon had draped the seatbelt across himself, Ro pulled out onto the open road, his blue scales glistening in the afternoon sunlight. 

"So, Kunrace." Solomon began. "Where are we headed first?"

"I thought we'd stop by my father's beach house." Ro explained. "He has a small one right on the oceanfront. I thought you could drop your things there and then I could show you what a night out on the town in Proxox looks like."

Solomon nodded in approval as they drove on the coastal highway, mere feet from the glistening blue deep.

"Is your father here?" Solomon asked.

"Yes." Kunrace replied. "With his grandchildren. He is very excited to meet you."

"And I am very excited to meet him." Replied Solomon as the two traveled further down the strip of hotels which lay beside the ocean.

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It didn't take long for Tiger and his crew to get to the check-in desk, where Tiger asked the lovely female Border Collie Attendant about the team's reservations. "Here you go." She said, "Six king 1 suites on the tenth floor."
"King 1 Suites?" Tiger asked as he looked the pad over, "But we wanted six deluxes?  There must be some mistake?"
"It's no mistake, I assure you." Casher said, rubbing her shoulder with Tiger's. "I decided that Star Tiger should have only the best accommodations, at a deep discount." Tiger eyed the Fishing Cat suspiciously.
"What's the catch?" He asked her.
"Ohhhh, can't a hostess and CEO give clients like you something nice without being suspected of something shady?" She feigned being hurt. "I assure you, there's no catch.  I'm just very excited and happy to have such notable guests here.  Only Star Fox themselves showing up would make me happier.  Come now, you got your card keys, let's get you all to your suites." Casher then lead the way to the elevators, with Tiger reluctantly following along with the rest of his team, and Casher's entourage who were still with them, and some of which were carrying the team's luggage.


Up on the tenth floor, they filed in to the hallway where the suites, which Star Tiger's were numbered 1005-1010, were located.  The suites were the ones with the one bedroom, two baths, living space and kitchen.  As the team didn't have children, the suites with two bedrooms weren't needed.  Casher personally showed Tiger around the suite, while the others were guided by the attendees who had given them warm greetings earlier around their suites.  Once Casher finished, she turned to Tiger, "If you need anything, just let the hotel staff know, or you can contact me directly." She held a hand out to Tiger, who cautiously extended his hand, which was promptly given a piece of paper. "My personal number, don't hesitate to call it if you have any problems."
"Um, thank you." Tiger said in some embarrassment. "I'll keep it in mind." Casher smiled warmly, with a hint of naughtiness in it.  She then headed out.
"I'll excuse myself, I have people to meet, things to do." She said, "I am a busy woman.  Enjoy your stay." When she had left, Tiger let out a sigh.
"This is too much." He said to himself. "A hotel is a place to crash at night, not a home away from home." Still, he milled about a bit on his own, placing the piece of paper on a desk.  He intended to deal with it later when his mind was cleared from the whole buzz of what had just happened. "Oiy, if this is celebrity life, I think I'm going to have to retire earlier than expected.  That was simply too much attention for me.  I need to clear my mind, a walk should do the trick."

He then walked over to one of the bags that hadn't been unpacked for him, and searched through it. "Where is it, where is it?" He mumbled to himself, and then pulled out a cylindrical object with some orange colored liquid at the mid section, a mouth piece at one end, and an opening at the other. "There it is, my vaporizer." He then slid it into one of his pockets. "Going to need it if I check out any of the vape shops here." He then made sure he still had everything else, like his wallet, concealed blaster, and the hotel card key.  Satisfied that it was there when he was done, he exited the suite into the hall way, and made sure the door was looked.  The click that signaled it to be so confirmed it, and walking from his suite, which was 1005, he made his way to Zera's suite which was next door.  He gave a knock, to which he was promptly answered by her... poking her head out by having opened it a bit.  It didn't take him much to figure out she was currently... indecent. "Uhh..." He said.
"Oh, sorry, I was just changing into something better suited for here." She said, then noticed his expression change to one of questioning as well as confusion, "What's the matter brother?"
"I just need some walking to clear my head, would you like to join me?" He asked her. "If you're not too, Ahem, busy that is." Zera at first didn't get it, but then realized what he meant.
"Oh no, he left shortly after showing me around the room," Zera explained. "Along with the rest of Casher's entourage when she left your suite.  Though..." She blushed a bit, "He did leave me a piece of paper with his number..."
"I guess you need this as much as I do." Tiger said, "Casher did the same with me.  Finish changing, and I'll see if the others would like to join us in the mean time."
"You got it." Zera replied as she pulled her head back in, closed the door.  Tiger then checked with the others, Jeena was going off to check out the beach, Hawk was going off to see the flight museum, and would join Tiger and Zera much later in the day.  Copper was simply going to the hotel lobby to find where the nearest library was.  And Kola was heading down to the hotel pool to get a head start on her relaxing.  She had greeted Tiger in a bikini with sarong on, which had caused him to blush a bit.  Having checked with each one, and noting that they were all going off on their own, Tiger could tell he and Zera would be on their own.  Which was fine with him, he wanted to stick close to his sister for a time anyways.  He snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Zera walk out of her suite, and lock the door.  She was now clad in a white tank-top with some bikini straps showing, a pair of green mid-thigh length shorts, and a pair of simple red tennis shoes along with a pair of sunglasses situated on her forehead.  Compared to Tiger, who was wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans and black cowboy boots, she looked very relaxed.
"You ready?" She asked him. "Of course." Tiger said as they headed over to the elevator, and punched in the down button, and waited for it to arrive.

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Iosif and Diana left their room and closed the door behind them, which locked. They walked down the carpeted hallway to the elevator, the chrome doors giving way to a clean, sleek, futuristic interior elevator. Iosif pressed the option labeled "G" on the holographic interface. The doors closed, and the duo rode the way down to the ground floor. The elevator opened to a marble-tiled lobby, with clean, bright walls and modern, chic furnishings were located on depressions in the floor aside the main walkway to the reception counter. Behind the counter on the wall was a large portrait of the island of Proxox, where the hotel and city most guests resided in were located. The lobby was teeming with hotel guests and all manner of tourists. Iosif and Diana made their way to the revolving glass doors, and through them they went. The hustle and bustle of the neon streets of Proxox City were outmatched only by the tropical splendor of the island which housed it, and the varying beauty of the other islands in the Proximus archipelago. Street vendors peddled their wares, such as crafts and food, while storefronts and restaurants profited greatly from the tourists flowing from the cruise ships and space vessels, eager to relax and unwind from their mundane lives.

Iosif and Diana were one of those tourists, and they planned to have the time of their lives. However, as they stepped out onto the street, they were greeted by, on a rented motorcycle, wearing a light blue tank top, dark blue jeans, black boots, sunglasses, and a gold-plated Ogniemite medallion around his neck, a certain Pawel Chmielnicki. Pawel, under the alias of "Nikolai Karev", sought to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Oceanus, one island at a time. It was his first day on the world. Mr. "Karev" had known of both Iosif and Diana from working with them on certain work opportunities back on Corneria, and he was a bit surprised to see them on Oceanus. He rolled up to the curb.

"Joe and Di," said Pawel, his motorcycle idling on the curb. "What are you two doing on this fabulous world?"

"Just enjoying ourselves," said Iosif, suspiciously eyeing Pawel due to his sudden appearance. Diana too was wary of this encounter, but barely showed her discontent, unlike the more visibly disturbed Iosif. "What are you doing here, Paul?" Pawel smirked and chuckled.

"I'm here to have fun, Iosif. Don't worry, I'll get out of your way. But..." Pawel looked around, and gestured the two of them to come close to him, which they did. "...there might be certain 'job opportunities' for us. We just gotta ask the right people." He then revved his motorcycle's engine. "See you two around!" Pawel sped down the street, leaving Iosif and Diana in the dust. They looked at each other.

"We're just gonna enjoy ourselves, Joe," Diana urged. "That's it." Iosif nodded.

"Of course," said he. "I didn't blow ten grand just to end up working."

"We didn't blow ten grand," corrected Diana.

"Right." Iosif smiled innocently.

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Copper had made his way to the local library, dressed in his uniform.  He could never really get used to civies since he had spent so much time in a uniform.  When he entered it he found it was huge, and had every kind of book you could imagine. "Whoa..." Copper said to himself. "All the books in here...  It'd take life times to read them all, nay Ruthenian life times." He then headed to the desk, and talking quietly to himself, said, "Might be a good idea to look in either languages or intellectuals.  It never hurts to increase one's own knowledge and wisdom." He then asked the attendant, quietly, where this was.  He then headed there when she, a raccoon, had told him.  He found himself in the intellectuals section shortly after, looking through the titles.


Hawk, dressed in a green T-shirt, white jeans, and white tennis shoes, found himself in front of the aviation museum.  He was impressed by the size of the place, just on the outside. "Well, let's see if it's bigger on the inside." He then went inside the place, and indeed, it was bigger.  But that was due to the trick of having more of the building under ground than above. "Hmm, clever." Hawk said as he went to the desk, paid for admission, and started to make his way around the place, just meandering, and reading up the holo info plaques at each exhibit.


Kola had come down to the pool of the hotel, and found a good reclining bench.  She set her bag down, and applied sunscreen on the parts of herself not covered in fur to protect her skin.  She then reclined, and slipped her sunglasses over her eyes, and relaxed.  This was going to be a good day.


Jeena was herself walking down one of the beaches near the hotel.  She was wearing a light purple midriff tank-top which her bikini straps where shown by, and she was wearing a pair of mid-thigh length red shorts, while wearing a pair of white sneakers.  It was a mostly good decision, given she had dark blue main color.  She was also enjoying the breeze, sometimes stopping, holding her arms out to the sides, and just breathing in the salt water scented air. "Ahhhh..." She sighed, "This feels like Zoness, before the Lylat Wars." She then resumed her walk, smiling.  Though it wouldn't hurt to have someone join her to share in this feeling.


Tiger and Zera meanwhile had come out of the elevator after it had come to pick them up.  They then started to walk around the grounds of the hotel, seeing what it offered.  There was the gift shop, which had a good selection of things that were available in other places.  There was also the restaurants inside, though they were a little high priced.  They then found the gym, as well as a club of it's own.  There was even a section dedicated as a casino, and a few holo-suites for entertainment, with some that could even be rented out if one had enough money to do so.  There truly was a lot to see, as they made their way around, conversing, and pointing things out to each other that they commented on.

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Iosif and Diana had walked for several minutes after their encounter with Pawel before happening upon the Proxox City Mega Mall. A grand and opulent megastructure, the Mega Mall is several acres large, and holds over 200 stores, restaurants, and stalls. Thousands upon thousands of people walk through and shop in the Mega Mall daily. The concourse alone that lead up to the glass doors of the mall was laden with stalls peddling all kinds of wares, and palm trees lined its edges. They walked up the white brick concourse and entered the mall. The throngs of tourists buying this and buying that, eating here and there, seeing sights and taking pictures, populated the mall.

"Oh my God," said Iosif, dreading having to wade through the crowds of vacationers.

"Well, anything for a pair of shoes!" said Diana enthusiastically, dragging along Iosif through the sea of people.

"Oh boy!"


Pawel rode his motorcycle down the beautiful, sun-drenched avenue. His diesel engine roared down the clean street, with the center lined with palm trees, much like the concourse leading up to the city's Mega Mall. A few minutes and some hard and sudden brakes for traffic passed before Pawel ended up at his destination: Oliver's Coffeehouse, a popular local cafe. They also are known for being the first business in Proxox City's to be licensed to sell marijuana legally. This is primarily why Pawel was here, as well as relaxing with a nice caffeinated beverage. He parked his motorcycle in a designated parking spot with a meter. It had no time on it, so Pawel inserted a few coins, which gave him a solid two hours.

The coffeehouse's storefront was a modest one, albeit with neon lights for the evening: a simple green and yellow awning covering an outside patio, separated by a small cast-iron fence. The chairs and tables were cast iron as well, although the chairs had red cushions on the seats. The front itself was brick, with glass windows giving a view inside. A few patrons were already sitting outside on the patio, smoking weed and drinking coffee. Pawel opened the wooden door, and entered Oliver's. A bell rang when the door opened. Pawel walked to the bar and sat down on a black cast-iron stool with a back and cushion. A short and slender otter by the name of Lucio approached Pawel from behind the bar, wiping down a cup with a white towel. He had a green apron over his white tee and blue jeans. He also had medium-length hair that drooped over his left eye, but was cut short everywhere else. He jerked his head left to get a better view of Pawel.

"Hey there, welcome to Oliver's Coffeehouse," said Lucio, putting down the cup and towel. He then handed Pawel a small menu containing the coffeehouse's products.

"Hey," replied Pawel, receiving the menu. "Say, are you Oliver by any chance?" Lucio chuckled, while Pawel took off his sunglasses and placed them on the ebony bar.

"Nah, my name's Lucio. Oliver's my husband."

"Oh, cool, cool," said Pawel, nodding his head. He then looked through the menu.

"So, our strain of the day is Blue Dream, which has a sweet berry aroma and a calm, soothing affect," began Lucio. "It gives you a gentle, euphoric high, and doesn't, like, push you into a sudden high. It's also good for treating pain, depression, and nausea." Pawel nodded approvingly.

"Okay, I'll have your Blue Dream," Pawel said.

"Joint, bong, or oil?" asked Lucio. Pawel thought it over momentarily before answering.

"I'll take it in a joint," said Pawel.

"Joint it is," replied Lucio.

"I'd also like a cappuccino, straight," continued Pawel.

"What's that mean?" asked Lucio, jokingly. Pawel laughed, leaned back, and clapped his hands together once. Lucio laughed with him. "You got it," said Lucio after he recovered. "Do you want latte art on it?"

"Will it cost me?" questioned Pawel.

"Yeah, one cred extra," answered Lucio. Pawel nodded, not minding the extra price. Lucio then got to work on first his joint and then the cappuccino. A few minutes later, Pawel's joint was ready and waiting in front of him. "One Blue Dream joint," said Lucio, placing it down in front of Pawel on a plate.

"Oh, this is great," commented Pawel. "You know your budtender loves you if he serves you a j on a plate." Lucio chuckled as he worked on Pawel's cappuccino.

"You need a light?" asked Lucio while he was pouring milk into the cappuccino.

"No, I'm covered," said Pawel. He then held the joint up to his snout, and briefly spat out fire, which quickly dissipated in the air. However, it had lit the joint up. Pawel began smoking it, and immediately began to feel its pacifying effect. He nodded, his eyes half-closed and looking at the joint. He fully closed his eyes, and sighed, nodding. He opened them up again. "Good roll," said Pawel.

"Thanks, man," Lucio said, giving Pawel his cappuccino on a white plate. The latte art consisted of a marijuana leaf. Pawel chuckled, delighted at this sight. He sipped the drink, and sighed contentedly.

"You have good sh-t," said Pawel, laughing. Lucio laughed with him.

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Amelia's manic episode came at her in three-day surges. Three days of not eating, sleeping, barely sitting in one place for more than a couple minutes at a time. Three days of constant shopping--and the tourist destination of Proxox was all about commerce, however culturally rich its veneer. Three days on non-stop talking to everyone she could on the east coast, then to anyone awake on the east coast, to anyone who would listen. In all honesty, she didn't simply need to talk. She was afraid of being alone. There were things ambient in the air around her that she didn't want to remember The feeling of her heart sinking into her stomach when the doctor told her that there was nothing else that could be done. Taissa's shrill screams for comfort when Amelia couldn't take away the pain; her voice, screaming begging for comfort that her mother wasn't able to give. She had never though she could be so haunted by anything so familiar, so beloved, so heartbreaking as her child's voice.

She looked harmless enough, one would suppose. Sitting there at a bistro table on the patio of a neighborhood restaurant, watching the waves crash on the beach, she looked like a quiet, arguably well-groomed Canid woman in her late twenties, who was just killing time as she sipped on a Mojito. Waiting to meet someone, maybe, or waiting for an appointment. The waiting part is correct. She was waiting. She has been waiting; she does nothing but wait. And the killing part is correct too, but it wasn't time she wanted to kill. It was the happy young couple at the table next to hers, taking a selfie to commemorate their holiday on one of Lylat's most beautiful destinations. She was happy once. And she did have great expectations from life. After all, but for a chronic mental illness, for several years she had it all: good education, a family that loved her, and gainful employment. She calls them "The Zoloft Years," the glorious span of her early and mid twenties when everything seemed to go her way. For the first time in her life, she found a medication that actually worked. Zoloft seemed to kick her out of depression, but did not knock her into mania. Instead, it nudged her ever so slightly into hypomania, every Bipolar's dream.

Hypomania is that blissful intermission right beforw mania when all of one's senses are at the peak of arousal without being overwhelming. Nothing is overwhelming. The sun never shines too bright, and you feel the warmth on your body. The wind never blows your hair out of order, but it whisks the clouds away. During hypomania, life is fluid and equilibriated; it is balanced.

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It didn't take Tiger and Zera long to find their way out to the streets where they walked along, looking at the scenery, and taking note of the shops.  That's when they came across the vape shop, and Tiger took notice. "Oh, there's a vape shop here." He said aloud.
"Oh, I could really use a recharge on my vaporizer." Zera said, looking at the door to see if the shop was open, which it was.
"I didn't know you vaped." Tiger said in some surprise.
"It's something I picked up to kick my bad smoking habit years ago." Zera said, "After what happened on the Lucky Seven, I kind of needed something to calm me.  My lover at the time, Zeb, introduced me to smoking.  But, as you can imagine, that wasn't a good thing..." Zera seemed a bit ashamed at this. "After I broke up with him for reasons I already told you, I looked around for something to help me kick the habit.  That's when I found this." She pulled out a small discreet cigarette like cylinder from her pocket.  It was silver and blue, with a tip that would glow yellow when activated, showing it to be one of the E-Cigarette models. "It's been a help in getting the habit kicked, major help."
"I see." Tiger said, "I too vape, but, it was more to join in with my combat buddies in the CDF.  I knew the harm of it, but I still wanted to fit in with them, so I got a vaporizer instead.  It's purely recreational for me, though fun."
"So I see." Zera said, nodding in understanding. "Well, let's see what's inside, they're open after all."
"Alright." Tiger nodded as he and his sister entered the shop.

"Ehlloo!" The shop keeper said to the siblings, "Welcome to Vinny's Vape Shop!  We have all the latest vaporizers and E-cigs, look around, and see what you like."
"We already have our chosen models." Tiger said, he and Zera both showed their vaporizers. "We're just looking for flavors and refills as well as recharges."
"Oh, cool cool." The keeper, probably Vinny, said, "The entire left half of my store is dedicated exactly to those needs.  Look around for what you need.  I have very reasonable prices too, and some deals you will not want to miss."
"Alright, thank you." Zera said as she and Tiger started to look around the indicated store section.  It wasn't too long before they found some intriguing flavors.
"Peppermint, huh?" Tiger said, "Bet it'd smell like the holidays when you use that one."
"Probably would." Zera chuckled, "This one is interesting.  Orange mango."
"Bleck, not a good combo." Tiger said, "I've tried it before, I couldn't get the residue out of my nose for a week."
"Eww..." Zera said, "Okay then, passing on that..." She then found another flavor. "Ohhh, this is interesting, chocolate strawberry."
"Huh, I wonder if they have samples, I'd like to give that one a try." Tiger mused.
"I'm sure they do, we'll ask Vinny when we're ready." To which Tiger nodded at Zera's statement, and soon they had come up to the desk after having chosen a few different flavors, and found some charges for their vaporizer models.
"Hey, do you have any samples to see if people will like certain flavors or not?" Tiger asked Vinny.
"Of course, of course." He said as he pulled out a basket with some sample tanks, each had enough for one breath though. "I heard your comment about the Orange Mango, man, you must have had a bad batch.  Give this a try, please." He indicated the two samples there.
"Very well..." Tiger said, fitting it into his, with Zera doing the same.  They didn't expect a different result this time, and after having taken in a breath, they both coughed out clouds of vapors from the flavor just not being good for them. "Oh man, that was even worse than last time..." Tiger coughed out.
"Wow, never saw anyone have that sort of reaction before." Vinny stated, "Guess you really don't like the things.  Here, try these peppermint flavors, they should help clear you up." Tiger and Zera then both frantically put the tanks into their vaporizers, and breathed in, and then out, breathing the vapor cloud out normally, and both felt much more relieved.
"Phew, that's much better." Tiger said.
"Yeah, much, thanks hon." Zera said to Vinny.
"But of course, I hate giving my customers a bad impression." Vinny replied, "I really am sorry for that discomfort you both felt."
"Not a problem," Tiger said, "We'll just make sure to be more assertive with the shop at home next time they try to make us try a flavor we don't like."
"Yes, so, what do you think of the peppermint?" Vinny asked.
"It's good." Zera said, practically purring. "I definitely has that holiday taste and smell."
"I agree." Tiger said, "We'll definitely be purchasing a few of those."
"Excellent." Vinny said, "Come now, try the others." And they did, each one they found to be to their liking.  Satisfied with their selections, they had Vinny run the items through the register. "Alright." Vinny said, "That will come to about 100 credits for all of that."
"That sounds decent enough." Tiger said as he ran his card through the scanner, and the transaction went through.
"Hope you both enjoy, and enjoy your stay on Oceanus." Vinny said, handing Tiger the receipt.
"Thank you, we will." Tiger said, "We'll recommend this place to all our friends who vape or want to have an alternative to smoking." The siblings waved as they exited the shop, and started making their way down the street again, heading passed a deli shop. "That was pleasant." Tiger said to Zera.
"Oh yeah, that was nice, Vinny seems like a good guy." Zera said, "He also seems to care about his customers."
"Sure does, I like it when a shop owner cares about his customers." Tiger then noticed the deli they were passing. "Hey, I'm feeling a little hungry, wanna grab a bite to eat?"
"Oh yes!" Zera said, "I'm very hungry right now.  Those vape flavors really gave me an appetite."
"Let's go then." Tiger said as he went in with Zera giving an enthusiastic yes and nod.

They later came out of the deli having some sandwich plates, Tiger having a roast beef and pastrami sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes with mayonnaise.  Zera had a roast chicken and peppered ham sandwich with gouda sliced cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes with mustard.  They also had some medium sized sodas, and took a seat to enjoy the food, both of them saying a prayer before they got started on their sandwiches.

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"You're lucky, man," Lucio said to Pawel, still enjoying his cappuccino and joint. "That was the last of our Blue Dream, among all the other ones we ran out of."

"You don't have any more?" asked Pawel, sipping on his cappuccino.

"Nah, man," replied Lucio, shaking his head, leaning on the bar. "Our main supplier, this guy living on the island next to this one, usually gives us 50% of his crop. But now, by my calculations, he gives us 10% of what he produces. 10%! Now, we have to rely on other growers on other islands farther away. That costs us cash, and it may not get at all because of the bureaucratic bullsh-t that it has to go through. So, we run low all day, every day." Pawel nodded.

"You know," he began, taking a short smoke of his joint. "I could help you with this supply problem, maybe give your guy a bit more... convincing."

"Ah, man..." said an agonized Lucio. He did not want to resort to any nasty business, but Oliver's was always low on marijuana. Without that, they would lose much of their customer base, and much of their income. "Okay... Just don't kill the guy, right? He is one of our main suppliers, or was. I'll pay you well."

"Ten grand," demanded Pawel. Lucio sighed heavily. This would cause a big dent in their budget. But if Pawel came through, they could recoup their losses within a week.

"Deal," said Lucio, outstretching his hand to Pawel, who shook it. "And here's where he's at." Lucio handed Pawel a Sticky Note with the coordinates of his supplier's farm scribbled onto it. Pawel took it, finished his joint and cup of cappuccino, paid for his coffee and marijuana, and put on his sunglasses.

"I'll be back," Pawel said with a Ruthenian accent. He got off the stool and left Oliver's. He got on his motorcycle, turned it on, and rode off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After about half an hour of driving Solomon and Ro arrived at the beach house owned by Ro's father. Just as Ro had said, it was right on the oceanfront. Suspended on sturdy wooden beams, the two-story stucco building stood high above the sand with a narrow wooden staircase leading to the front door. Kunrace maneuvered his jeep onto the sand, a few feet from his father's SUV, and the two Saurians departed the vehicle for the house.

The warm sand beneath Solomon's feet and the crystal clear water brought back vivid memories of his childhood on Sauria's southern coast. He had been born a decade before the takeover of General Scales and remembered how his planet looked before the Saurian Crisis. It was much like Proxox, sans modern buildings.

The two made their way up the stairs and opened the front door.It opened to a large living area with a couch and two loveseats. A large holo-vision sat on an entertainment set across from the furniture. 

Ro's father, Donovan O'Hashi, an aging arctic fox, sat on the couch surrounded by his grandchildren, three smaller foxes and two white tiger cubs. Upon hearing the door open, all six of the couch's inhabitants looked at Ro and Solomon.

"Ro!" Greeted Donovan warmly as he saw his son. Three of Donovan's grandchildren ran to meet their uncle, jumping onto his legs.

"Hello, father." Ro said to Donovan, trying to walk across the floor with his nephews and nieces hanging from his legs.

"This is your friend?" Donovan asked.

"Yes, it is." He replied, sitting on a loveseat and pulling his sibling's children off of him. "Father, this is Solomon Muralł. "

"Hello, Solomon." Donovan said to the Ceratasaurus, who was still standing at the door. "I am pleased to meet you."

"And I am pleased to meet you, sir." Solomon said, unsure of whether or not he should join Ro and his family.

"Come." Said Donovan. "Please, sit down." 

Solomon thanked him and sat on the other loveseat.

"So, Ro tells me that you take an interest in medicine." Donovan says.

"Yes." Solomon replied. "I am in the process of finishing medical school."

"Very good." Said Donovan. "Glad to know that my son is in the presence of an intelligent mind."

One of Ro's nephews, a four-year old fox by the name of Ray, crawled into his lap and tugged at his shirt. Ro looked down at his nephew, who asked him a question.

"Is this your husband, uncle Ro?" He asked, causing a laugh to ensue between himself,  Donovan, and Solomon.

"No, little one." Ro replied, chuckling. "He is simply my friend."

"Do you two have anything planned for the evening?" Donovan asked.

"I thought I would show Solomon some of the local venues." Ro said. "We'll be back late."

"Alright..." Said Donovan. "Sounds like a plan. But remember: tomorrow, these children are yours for the night."

"I know, father." Said Kunrace. "Maybe uncle Ro could arrange a movie night in the living room?"

All of the small children cheered at the notion of a movie night.

"Yes." Said Donovan. "Sounds good."

"Where are  you going tomorrow night, if I may ask?" Requested Solomon.

"I have certain business to attend to tomorrow night." Said Donovan. "A sort of merger."

"Ah." Said Solomon. "I am sorry if I prodded."

"You have no need to be sorry, friend." Donovan said. "Oh! Ro!"

"Yes?" His adopted son asked.

"You need to show Solomon his room."

"Oh, yes!" Replied, picking Ray up off of his lap. "Come, Solomon. You have all of the amenities."

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Renard sighed as he took a look out at the approaching chain of islands. It had been a very long time since he had last gone anywhere by boat. He enjoyed the gentle rocking sensation beneath his feet as he approached what was sure to be a relaxing few months.

The only weirder thing then the fact that the hero was on vacation was the fact that his entire family had tagged along as well, hoping to relax. naturally that meant everyone would go their separate ways and only meet up at the house at night, but that suited them just fine.. the family had even chipped in to purchase one of the nicer houses on the largest island. adventuring could certainly pay big bucks. especially if you found something ancient and not dangerous to sell to a collector.

He smiled.. in about an hour or so he ould finally get some much needed rest

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Bohdan watched from the shore as his nephews swam with Korben a few meters out in the shallow water. He was teaching them advanced breathing techniques to help their bodies retain oxygen under water for longer periods of time. He smiled, his hands dug into his khaki shorts' pockets. He also had on a white tank top, and over that, a red summer vest with his religious hood draped over his head. The cool ocean water lapped on his feet in small, weakened waves. Elizabeth walked up from behind him and moved to his left. She was wearing a black bikini top and black shorts, and sunglasses. They stood beside each other. Elizabeth looked at her right hand, and held it up to the sun, admiring the glistening gold ring on her ring finger. Bohdan noticed this, and commented on it.

"How does it feel to wear a wedding ring again?" he asked. Elizabeth put her hand down and looked at Bohdan.

'How does it feel to wear one for the first time?" Elizabeth asked to Bohdan in reply. He, too, wore a wedding ring on his right hand, and took his hand out from his pocket and examined the ring. They compared.

"I already got used to it," said Bohdan. They put their hands down, and Bohdan wrapped his arm around Elizabeth's shoulder. They sighed contentedly in unison. The cool ocean breeze collided with their figures, and the ocean waves crashed into the shoreline, their substantially weakened states careening with Bohdan's and Elizabeth's ankles.

"Are we gonna bail Sandor out yet?" asked Elizabeth. She and Bohdan looked at each other.

"No," they said together, shaking their heads. They then watched as Bohdan's nephews and Korben swam in the ocean.

"There's our boys," said Elizabeth. "All grown up."

"Yes," added Bohdan. "Well... not Sandor. Not yet, at least."

"Oh, no," agreed Elizabeth, chuckling. Bohdan began chuckling as well.

"Not for a long time," said Bohdan.

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Jeena had made her way to a gazebo that was out on the beach, and sat herself on a bench under the structure's shade for a small break.  Walking on sand wasn't the easiest thing to do, and even someone in as good shape as Jeena could be worn out by it after a long enough walk.  She looked around, doing a bit of people watching, and saw a couple, a male dog and a female cat, being cute in a romantic way.  Jeena smiled, knowing the feeling of love like that.  But it also twinged a bit, as she also thought back to some of her past loves, and even the three dates she and Tiger had been on when they tried to see if there was anything more for a lifelong relationship.  The night of the third date confirmed what they had suspected, and though it was a very enjoyable evening they shared together, she and Tiger had woken up the next day not feeling the way they had felt with those they had fallen in love with before.  They were close, and best friends, but that was all they really were.  There wasn't enough to support further encounters, nor to support a romantic relationship.  This was a neutral memory for her, as while it had some bad to it, it also had the beauty that the night gave the two of them.  All in equal shares, so that it wasn't unpleasant to them both.  They didn't talk about it readily, but they didn't hesitate to discuss it if asked either. "That man is going to make the woman he winds up with VERY happy..." Jeena said aloud to herself, "Once he gets a few things with himself straightened out of course."
"You mean those two there?" A voice said to her from her left shoulder.  Jeena turned to look, and saw an orange male oriental dragon standing near by.  He was a hunk of a dragon, wearing tropical shorts, a tropical shirt that was buttoned from the bottom to the middle of his stomach, allowing his pecs to be more visible, and a pair of shoes. "They've been there for a while."
"Oh, no." Jeena replied, "I was just reminded of someone.  A bit rude to ask such a question though."
"I'm sorry, forgive my manners." The dragon said, "I just couldn't help but notice you looked like someone who could use a person to talk to."
"You're forgiven." Jeena said, "You want to sit?  There's no one else sitting here."
"If I may, yes." The dragon said, extending his right hand to her. "Let me introduce myself first, I'm Lea Long."
"Jeena Dracko." Jeena replied, shaking his hand. "Go ahead, either side I don't mind."
"Thank you." Lea said as he sat to her left. "So, what brings a beautiful dragoness as yourself here?"
"I'm here on vacation for a month." Jeena said, "This is my first day here."
"Heh, funny enough, this is my first day too." Lea said, "And I'm also here for a month.  Seems a lot of people are here for a month it would seem."
"I guess so, though I wouldn't know." Jeena said, "So, what made you decide to come here?"
"Rest, relaxation, seeing the sights, maybe making some new friends." Lea said, "You?"
"More or less the same." Jeena said, "Merc life can be busy, a girl's got to get away from it now and again."
"Heh, I can imagine." Lea said, "I'm a head of a major transportation company.  It can get pretty hectic."
"I see." Jeena said, and started a bit of a conversation where they discussed what they've been up to so far as well as more about eachother.  His company was one responsible for transportation of people, and it was a very lucrative business, and one Jeena had heard of, and even worked for a little bit before he mercenary days.  Lea then found out some of Jeena's adventures, and that she was part of Star Tiger.  They actually found they had a fair bit in common too, not just the relations between the team and his company.  Lea was only a year older than she was, and did a fair bit of philanthropic work.  They also began to find that they had an attraction to each other, though they hadn't said so to each other yet.

"So, find anything so far that you like?" Jeena asked.
"Some." Lea said, "I've seen the beaches, like how beautiful they are.  The locals are nice, and I think I've made a new friend."
"Yeah, same here." Jeena said, "Who's this friend if I may ask?"
"Well, she's an oriental dragon who has a rough around the edges personality, is a merc, is very pretty, and happens to be around this spot." Lea said with a lot of hinting tone.
"I see." Jeena said, "Well, my new friend is an oriental dragon who's a head of a transportation company, really handsome, and happens to be here too."
"So I see." Lea said with a smile, knowing who she was talking about. "You know, this friend of your doesn't have any plans made for later..." He trailed off hinting.
"And your lady friend has no plans made either." Jeena said with a smirk. "She'd like to make plans with you I'm sure, if not spend the day with you." Her left hand brushed over his right hand a bit, which Lea replied to by gently holding her hand in his, and lacing his fingers with hers.
"Your man friend would certainly like that." Lea said, "Would you mind if he bought you lunch?" He gave her hand a gentle squeeze, which she returned in kind.
"I wouldn't mind at all." Jeena said, "I should also say, your lady friend will really appreciate it if you could treat her to a nice dinner.  Who knows, you may even get lucky?" Jeena said with some definite hinting.
"I'm lucky enough to have her as a friend." Lea said, "But it never hurts to get more luck.  Come on, I hear that there's this nice little sea food place near here where we can get some lunch."
"Alright, lead the way." Jeena said, and Lea stood up, still holding her hand, waiting for her.  Jeena also got up, and walked with him to the sea food place where they both got some food, and continued to get to know each other.


Kola continued to relax, but she had gotten up to get herself a drink.  During this time she had started talking with a white wolf who was dressed in tropical colored swim trunks.  It turns out Jack Timber, as he was named, was similar to her in terms of work before she joined Star Tiger, being a spy-hunter, and both his personality and looks were attractive to her.  They then returned to the reclining bench she had reserved, and he took his, and joined her by setting it next to hers.  They continued their conversation, and without realizing it, had laced their fingers together in their hands.  Their attraction to each other growing stronger with each topic they discussed.


Copper had finally picked out a book, and sat down at one of the benches where he proceeded to open the book and read it.  He was then interrupted by a familiar voice he never thought he'd hear again. "Fancy meeting you here, you old owl." A feminine voice said.  Copper looked up to see the owner of the voice was Peggy Bobcat, a bobcat woman who was around his age, dressed in a casual outfit.  She didn't look that old though, as she had good genes, and also did enough working out.  But she was showing a little bit of extra weight around her middle, though it only added to her already voluptuous figure.
"Peggy," Copper said, "What the devil are doing here?" He said as he got up to greet his old friend with a hug, which she was eager to return.
"I'm here doing some research for about a month." Peggy replied, "I have a little project involving the civilization that disappeared some few thousand years ago on Oceanus."
"The Shatusians?" Copper said, "You're on that old legend, huh?"
"That's right." Peggy said, "It'll probably be a dead end, but it'll be an educational one."
"Perhaps." Copper said, "You certainly look to be doing well for yourself, you gotta be what?  Thirty?"
"Flatterer." Peggy said, "You know I'm a year older than you."
"Heh, so you are." Copper said, "Though you don't look a day over thirty one." At this Peggy chuckled, and Copper himself also chuckled.  Though they restrained themselves due to their location out of respect.
"So, what are you doing here you old codger?" Peggy asked.
"A long over-due vacation with my team." Copper said, "It's been... interesting, to say the least."
"I imagine so, what with you being a celebrity." Peggy replied. "How's Jeremy?"
"He's doing fine." Copper said, "My boy and I reconciled a while back as father and son."
"That's good to hear." Peggy said, "Finally forgave yourself after all that time, huh?"
"Yeah." Copper said, "He was never angry with me, I shouldn't have pushed him away for so long..." Copper looked down and to the side with a sad look.  To which Peggy grabbed his arm, and pulled him to look at her.
"You shouldn't have pushed anyone away." She said, "We're all here for you."
"I know..." Copper said, "It's just that, we can all act so immature sometimes...  Me especially..."
"Copernicus, you can always talk to me, even if it's through the message system." Peggy said with a small smile in an attempt to comfort her old friend.  Copper then noticed that there was no ring on her left ring finger.  He decided to wait to ask about that.
"I know, and I will." Copper said, "So long as Vern doesn't mind."
"Well..." Peggy said, "Vern and I... we haven't talked in years.  We actually didn't even make it to our engagement..."
"Peggy, I'm sorry to hear that..." Copper said, but was stopped by Peggy raising her hand up in a gesture to make him stop.
"It was a long time ago, and it obviously wasn't what God wanted in our lives." Peggy said, "And for that, I'm grateful.  Vern turned out to not be the man I had thought he was, and had we gone through with it, our lives would have been ruined."
"I see." Copper said. "Then I guess we both are the way we are for a reason."
"Darn straight we are." Peggy said, and gave Copper a kiss on the cheek which caused the owl to blush. "Now, what was it you were reading?"


Hawk had been at the museum for a while now, and had been going through when he bumped into a vixen who was also walking through the museum. "Oh, sorry miss." Hawk said in apology, which was unusual for him.  Perhaps Tiger's gentlemanly habits were wearing off on him?  Regardless the vixen, who had red hair, was wearing cute square rimmed reading style glasses, and was wearing a blue tank-top that had a small rounded bust line cut with a blue ruffled skirt and blue tennis shoes, and had an attractive body to boot, turned to apologize herself.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-" Her mouth hung open as she saw, and froze.
"Uh, hello?" Hawk asked, "Cat got your tongue?"
"Y-you're Hawk Acer!" The vixen said excitedly, "Star Tiger's ace pilot!"
"Heh, so my reputation precedes me." Hawk smiled, happy to have his abilities recognized.
"I'm a big fan of yours Mr. Acer!" She said, "I've read up on all of your exploits and watched the holo feeds."
"Well, nice." Hawk said with a smile to the vixen. "I'm sure you were very interested in them."
"Oh I was." The vixen said, "I was hanging on every second.  You are absolutely amazing!"
"I know, I know." Hawk said, "Hey, would you like me to sign something for ya?  Give you something to remember even after we part ways."
"Could you?" She asked, but then looked a bit sad. "But, I don't have anything for you to sign..."
"I'll get something, sign it, and give it to you then." Hawk said, "How about that?"
"That would be nice, but I don't want to impose..." She said, her excitement basically giving way to her more humble and polite nature.
"Listen, it's not imposing at all." Hawk said, "Any fan is worth paying attention to, and you, my young lady, are no exception."
"Thank you, Mr. Acer." She said with a shy smile.
"You're welcome, but you can call me Hawk, er?.." Hawk stated, and waited for her to give him her name.
"Shelby." The vixen said, "Shelby Vulpes."
"That's a beautiful name." Hawk said. "Anyways, please Shelby, call me Hawk."
"Okay Hawk." Shelby said, "I will."
"You know that makes us friends now." Hawk said, "And as a friend, getting you my signature on something will be no trouble at all."
"Thank you Hawk, that would be very appreciated." Shelby replied, beaming.
"No prob." Hawk said, "So, you live here on Oceanus?"
"Oh no." Shelby said, "I live on Corneria.  I'm just here on a month long sabbatical.  Teaching college can be problematic at times, and this last semester was a tough one for me.  I needed the time off to get my head together."
"I see, I'm here for a month too, first day actually." Hawk said.
"Second for me." Shelby said, "But that's interesting...  I guess a lot of people I read are coming here for a month."
"Yeah, so, what're you teaching on?" Hawk asked.
"The arts." Shelby said, "Figure studies, composition, and that sort of thing."
"Really now?" Hawk said, "I would have pegged you as physical education or beauty teacher."
"Oh?" Shelby asked. "Why's that?"
"Well, you look to be in such good shape, and you're pretty too." Hawk complimented, "But the arts is nice, good for the brain."
"Oh, th-thank you." Shelby blushed from Hawk's compliment. "I find the arts to be such a beautiful thing, and I try so hard to instill it into my students.  Though some of them these days can be a little less than polite..."
"Huh... why would?" Hawk then realized, she said figure studies. "You don't actually... you know... make yourself the model... do you?.." Shelby looked off the side and down, and blushed beat red.
"Man, the perves." Hawk said, "I'd sure like to give them a piece of my mind for that..."
"Oh no, please don't." Shelby said, "It's only a few, the rest benefit so much from it that it actually makes it worth it."
"Still, you shouldn't have to take it from them." Hawk said, "Even if they're paying for the class or have someone else paying, that doesn't give them the right to disrespect you.  A pretty lady like yourself, you deserve better than some snide remarks from people who still have ten year old brains in eighteen to twenty two year old bodies."
"Um, thank you." Shelby said.
"It's not a problem, I'm speaking the truth here." Hawk said, "I'll do something to see what can be done so you don't have to put up with it.  I'll even look it up tonight."
"Well, if you're going to do that, you might need my contact info to let me know." Shelby said.
"Alright." Hawk said, taking and holding his space phone to her. "Just enter your info in."
"Alright," She said, and took out and handed him her phone. "Maybe exchange contact info fully?"
"You got it." Hawk said as he took her phone, and the two entered their information into each other's phones.  When they were done, they handed their phones back to each other. "So, how about we switch to something more pleasant?"
"I'd like that." Shelby said, "What do you want to know?"
"What brings you to this museum?" Hawk asked, "Got an interest in flying?"
"Yes." Shelby said, "I've always been fascinated with flight, almost as much as I love art.  But I could never really get into flying lessons...  Too expensive.  But, I still would like to someday...  Especially since my child hood hero, James McCloud, was such an inspiration."
"He truly was, wasn't he?.." Hawk said, remembering. "You know, I could take you flying in my Arwing...  Even give you lessons."
"REALLY?!" Shelby zipped up close to Hawk, almost like she was going to hug him, but stopped just short. "You'd do that for me?"
"Yeah, I would do anything I can to help a friend." Hawk said. "I'm serious, I really will take you flying in my Arwing and give you lessons."
"Eeee!" Shelby squealed, and jumped on Hawk, hugging him tightly. "Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!"
"Whoa!" Hawk said, "You're welcome.  Really means that much to you, huh?"
"Yes!" Shelby said, "Oh, how can I repay you?"
"You don't need to." Hawk said, "You really don't, I'll give you those lessons because you've become my friend."
"I guess." Shelby said, "But I really do want to repay you...  Is there anything you wanted to learn but haven't?"
"Well..." He thought about driving, but given how disastrous that turned out, he decided to go with something else he wanted to learn, but couldn't growing up due to how tough a life he had lived. "I guess drawing would be one.  I never really learned how to draw..."
"Oh, how sad." Shelby said, "I'll be happy to teach you, we have close to a month for me to give you lessons.  We both can teach each other something."
"Will that do?" Hawk asked.
"Yes!" Shelby said, "Ohhh, I get to learn how to fly from Hawk Acer, and I get to give him private art lessons, I must be the luckiest girl alive!"
"Yeah, uh, could you do something first?" Hawk asked.
"Yes, what is it?" Shelby asked.
"Could you release me from your hug?" He said, "I'm starting to feel a little short of breath."
"Oh, sorry!" Shelby said as she released him from her hug. "I just got so excited there."
"That's fine." Hawk said. "Hey, I'm getting hungry, would you mind if I bought you lunch?"
"Oh, now that you mention it, I am hungry." Shelby said, "Yeah, the museum has a cafe, wanna stop there?"
"Of course." Hawk said, "Beats walking to the nearest diner, and we both can continue to enjoy the museum."
"Yaaay." Shelby said in contained excitement, and practically just about held onto Hawk's arm.
"Now, uh, this may be a bit late, but, no one's gonna mind, are they?" Hawk asked.
"That we're both teaching each other some things we've wanted to learn?" Shelby asked in return. "Nah, I'm single, been focusing too much on my studies and teaching to have a relationship.  Why do you ask?"
"Just curious." Hawk said, "I didn't want you getting in trouble or anything."
"It's all cool Hawk." Shelby said as they walked to the museum cafe, "It's all cool."

Edited by Tiger Carson
Toning down a little bit of something with a replaced word.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Pawel rode his motorcycle to the edge of the beach front. He parked it in between two recently painted white lines, which signified a parking space. It was slightly dirtied by sand encroaching from the beach. Pawel, sitting on his bike, scanned the white sands to find a large Ruthenian Sclav with a slightly shorter Cornerian husky. He instantly knew who he was setting his sights on. Pawel took out his phone, and called Bohdan.


Bohdan's phone rang from inside his shorts. Looking down, he took it out to see who was calling him. It was Pawel. Reluctantly, he answered. Pawel was the first to speak.

"Cousin, it is your cousin," Pawel said. "I need your help."

"No, Pawel," replied Bohdan without a moment's thought.

"It's Paul?" asked Elizabeth, but mouthing. Bohdan nodded.

'Why no? You don't even know what I was going to ask," protested Pawel.

"I do not care," said Bohdan. "Do not ruin my honeym- I mean, vacation."

"Your honey-what?" Pawel inquired, curious about why Bohdan corrected him.

"It is nothing, just do not ruin my good time." Bohdan hung up on Pawel. Pawel, frustrated at his lack of progress, got off his bike and walked onto the beach, putting his phone back in his pocket. He approached the duo from behind, unnoticeable to either of them.

"Does Paul even know about us?" asked Elizabeth. Now, Pawel was currently within hearing distance of them.

"No, he does not," said Bohdan, putting his phone away. "I plan to tell him after our honeymoon."

"Your honeymoon?" Pawel asked, approaching the married couple from behind. Bohdan and Elizabeth looked behind them to find a vacationing Pawel staring at the two of them embracing each other.

"Pawel," Bohdan said shockingly.

"Mmm, Bohdan!" replied Pawel with contempt. He had a scowl on his face. "I'm your blood," said he, moving closer to his cousin. "I'm a Chmielnicki, and the leader of my family doesn't even tell me he's married." He shook his head.

"What I do and who I love is none of your business," said Bohdan. Pawel simply stared.

"I need your help, and you need me to keep quiet about this," said Pawel. He walked back and forth as he continued talking. "You know how fast rumors about the NFs (Noble Families) spread on the home world. Can you imagine the firestorm that would happen if the news that Bohdan Chmielnicki married a Cornerian? The Mikhailovichs would be onto that sh-t in an instant. And the Vasas! Oh, man! They need all the ammo they can get."

Bohdan glared at Pawel, but recognized the dangers of this secret being released without going to the Czar first. "What do you want?" asked Bohdan. Elizabeth looked at her husband, dumbfounded that he would agree to his cousin's demands.

Pawel grinned, his sharp teeth showing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Amelia noticed that when the sun hit her unopened bottle of water just right, it made a rainbow on the surface of the deck.

There shouldn't be this much sun on the last day of November. But Amelia forgets that this is not Corneria City in one of its harsh snowbound winters. On Oceanus, the sky was a brilliant blue. She could feel the sunlight through her clothes, flushing her skin, dilating her pores. She could feel the hairs on her arms and the back of her neck ripple with pleasure like wind-stroked wheat, and--

Oh my god... The hairs.

A common trait in her family, especially on her father's side, her hairs were fine and delicate, soft to the touch. When she felt particularly sexy, she would trim them, which wasn't very likely or often these days. Since her child's death and Derek leaving her, depression had been harder to forget. But as innocent as the fine hairs might have seemed, they were like manic tripwires. Unavoidably, the chemical imbalances in her brain began to flux, and her hairs are the first things to alert her. She knew it was hypomania. Heavenly hypomania at last.

The little hairs loved hypomania. Life was suddenly all about textures, taste, sensations, all to many and too much to be ignored. It was all so decadently delicious, actually the best part of her affliction. Up until her nipples protested against the surfeit of silk chiffon. Then she felt like a blind person faced with an overabundance of Braille. That was when the little hairs turned inward, prickling and burning at every sensation, until each and every nerve in her body was acutely inflamed, and she winced at the slightest whisp of wind. And then it took all she could to simple keep from slicing the mosquito bite clean off her ankle.

But as she sat the bistro table, sipping her mojito, watching the waves crash, and admiring the rainbow from her water bottle, the little hairs were certainly happy, content to just soak up the sun on the patio of that neighborhood bistro.

She had to pee.

Abruptly, she got up, and made a beeline towards the ladies room, her high heels clicking purposefully with each step. As she walked, she walked past a table where a lovely tiger couple was seated as they dined upon their sandwiches. She hadn't eaten in days, and vaguely realized that she was hungry...


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Tiger and Zera paid little attention to Amelia as she passed the two of them.  Since she had only noticed them, and hadn't talked to them, they paid no heed to her.  They didn't consider her a threat after all, but if they had interacted with her, their training would have told them something about her was off.  They would also have corrected her on thinking them a couple had they known that's what she thought they were.  Tiger though, being a typical male, did notice what Amelia was wearing, which was an interesting choice of clothes.  But here on Oceanus, clothes could be as minimal as a speedo for men, and a thong style bikini for women.  Tiger and Zera were much more modestly dressed though, and they certainly wouldn't have drawn attention for their sex appeal.  Rather, for the simple fact that they were dressed so modestly for a world renowned for it's loose dress code and liberal choices of vacation activities.

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The very first thing Renard had done once his feet crossed the threshold into their cabin was heft his bags into the room with the most windows.


Holing up in his room he slipped out of his traveling clothes and replaced them with a simple pair of denim shorts and coupled with an olive green muscle shirt.

He slipped past his siblings as they filled the hallway, jousting for the better rooms, letting himself flop down on the couch, and proceeding to get used to being back on solid ground.

He felt a heavy shift in the couch, indicating that his father had sat next to him.

" So.. We own this thing, huh? he spoke up. " Not bad for a place we can just retreat to when we need a break."

Ren crossed his arms. " I'm sure this place is beautiful, but it could stand to be a bit colder."

" Hah!" Aesop gave his child's back a heavy pat. " You've gotta be the only one of us with an aversion to heat. Though i'm sure it's not cause of your skillset. C'mon, Ren, try to have some fun, ya? There's lots to do!" Aesop laughed, but his son's pensive look caused him to settle down.

" Look. You got set up before any of us. You hit the boardwalk or something, we'll pretty up the fort."

The younger fox smirked in spite of himself. " I guess I've been working really hard lately. See you there, old man."  He said wryly as he slipped out the door

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