Zaphyr Stone

A Fighter by His Trade

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Zaphyr Stone

So this is a fic about my character, Jack. While it is an OC fic, there are cameos from canon characters, so there's that. I just really wanted to tell this story. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment and give your opinion of the story thus far! I value any and all constructive criticism.

Story Description: On the eve of his championship fight, Jack Darcy reflects on the wild journey that led him to the boxing ring. Tracing his steps from soldier to war hero to discharged veteran and remembering friends made and lost along the way, he is now faced with a simple question he cannot answer: What's next?

This is an M rated fic due to swearing and violence.

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Those moments right before a match are always the most nerve wracking. The silence of the locker room is filled with a flurry of thoughts lingering in the air around me. I feel my self-doubt rise to slow my stride, so I fill the void by focusing on preparation.  

I stretch everything. I move around. I throw punches, anything and everything to warm up and stay warmed up. Gerard helps to rub me down. I still try to crack a joke now and then about how he should take me out to dinner first. Sure, it’s immature and a painfully old joke, but we still laugh. It makes a grown man rubbing Vaseline into my chest and shoulders less awkward for me as well. We keep things loose and casual. Dramatic pep talks are for movies, and they just psyche me out.

My manager, Johnny, walks in to check up on me and wish me luck. The stocky blue nose pit bull looks like he should be the one getting into the ring, and I should be in the pressed suit wishing him a good fight. He reminds me this fight is being recorded live and to just focus on my job. It’s not my first time in front of a camera, but I’ve never been recorded while doing my job. I try not to think about it as Gerard re-centers my focus. The gray-spotted rat weaves with me in a bout of shadowboxing, helping me to stay in the zone. Before I know it, the referee is coming in and giving us the standard “rules of the game” spiel, and Gerard is taping and gloving my hands. It’s time to go.

I pull off my sweats, relieved that the uncomfortable heat is alleviated, don the silken violet and gold robe that bears my family name, Darcy, pull the hood so it drapes over my blunt white snout and walk out with Gerard. The din of the crowd erupts into wild cheering as the announcer cries out for Jack Darcy. I hear only the beat of my own heart reverberating in my ears as I make the walk out to the ring. My fans cheer my name over the musical fanfare that precedes me. As I make my way through with Gerard, it still amazes me how far I’ve come. I feel like I’m marching out to the warzone again, off to fight off the Venomians or the Aparoids. I feel the casing of my prosthetic press against my knee as I walk up the steps and duck through the ropes. It’s almost time.

 

The arena darkens, and a video montage displays on the monitors, glorifying my opponent. I only vaguely hear the excited speech. My mind, despite the focus I fought to maintain, wanders back to the interview Cornerian Sports Network conducted with me to show with this fight. I still remember how strange it was to be behind a camera and questioned about topics that weren’t military-related. The reporter was patient and kind and asked mainly about my readiness for a fight of this magnitude, but there’s one question that sticks out in my mind, one I was unable to truly answer.

“What’s next for Jack Darcy?” she had asked, feline whiskers twitching as she looked up from her notes.

I had been frozen to my seat, mildly caught off guard. What was next for me? What did I want? My life felt like it had been one crazy event after another, and I was just along for the ride. I remember answering something along the lines of doing whatever would make me happiest. It was purposefully vague but still the truth, even if I had no idea after all these years what would make me happy.

I close my eyes, silencing the world around me for just one brief heartbeat in time, and, in that moment, I can almost hear the roar of the jet thrusters and feel the rushing wind of the landing aircraft that brought me to the first step of my journey to this stage.

 

 

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It was the first time I had ever seen anything so beautifully intricate and simplistic at the same time. My father, forever the mechanic, would go on for what seemed like hours about the elegant sturdiness of the Arwing, and he would explain the intricacies of its inner workings with such passion and excitement that I just didn’t have the heart to stop him despite my ten year-old brain’s inability to comprehend his technical ravings. When Katina’s annual air show rolled around, his normal excitement was only exaggerated.

“Darcy men have always had a hand in the technological advancement of Lylat, Jack. We have a proud heritage in mechanical achievement.” He had told me as we took the public transport out to Katina Outpost.

I had to have heard that line at least once a day from him, that goofy grin on his blunt red muzzle. I learned from my mother that this claim was fairly exaggerated but harmlessly so. My father genuinely loved his work and was proud to be a part of whatever project he was assigned to, so there was no reason to bring him back down to ground level and remind him that our family’s role in Lylat’s “technological advancement” was more of a fingerprint than a hand. I never gave mechanics much thought. It felt like a foreign language to me.

It wasn’t until I saw the shining silhouette against the skyline that I caught a glimpse of my father’s excitement. It shot through the sky with such intense speed and managed to do it so effortlessly.

“That's like the one James McCloud flew, right?” I asked as we climbed out at our stop, my mother keeping a firm hold on my shirt collar so as not to lose me in the crowd.

“Yeah, it’s very similar.” He nodded with a serene smile, “It’s a newer version, a little more advanced. It’s one of Corneria’s top tier models.”

“Cool,” my eyes lit up as I remembered once seeing the legendary pilot fly his Arwing on TV.

“Let’s see if we can catch the last of its practice run.” My mom goaded me along with a smile. She didn’t need to tell me twice.

My dad led the way through the crowd with me following at his heels. It was always easy to find him, thanks to the red of his fur and the stocky build of his bull terrier body. I took after my mother’s white and black coat, and between the three of us, it was hard to lose each other in a crowd. We came to the main runway of the airshow, and it was glorious.

Aircraft in all shapes and sizes, from single-pilot fighters to massive air carriers, lined either side of the runway, and groups moved from one to another down the line. Booths were stationed at each craft, some informational, some from organizations associated with the outpost, and others recruitment for the Cornerian Defense Force.

I watched the Arwing from before zip over the airfield and towards the outpost, bystanders cheering excitedly.

“He’s going back to the hangar, and they’ll wheel the Arwing out to the show on the ground.” My dad explained.

“We have some time, why don’t we have a look around?” My mom suggested, and she sauntered out with my dad, the hem of her pink sundress fluttering in the breeze.

I followed behind, scittering around each craft we came across. Some of the booths had games, and others giveaway prizes. The CDF recruiters were holding various physical contests; several older teens tried their hand at the pull-up bar. One daring adult husky was strapped into a gyroscopic training wheel while watching a simulation through a VR headset. I saw a pair of my friends ooing and awing over the large carrier. All huddled together at the open docking ramp, they tried to sneak peeks inside the cargo bay. As soon as I came over to see them, we immediately fell into excited chatter.

“The guy is giving tours of the inside.” My friend Max bounced excitedly on his feet, which made his floppy yellow ears bounce as well, “We’re waiting our turn to go in.”

“Yeah, and we got the new kid to think there’s killer robots inside.” Hank, a blue heeler, snickered, “We told him the carrier was shipping defective robots and that it was running late and had to stop for the airshow with the robots still in the cargo bay.”

“And…why are we telling him this?” I raised a brow in confusion.

“Because he just went in for a tour, and when he comes out, we’re gonna record him screaming like a girl.” Max grinned.

“It’s gonna be awesome.” Hank laughed, pulling out a miniature tablet from the pocket in his hoodie and unlocking it.

“There’s no way he actually believes that. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard you guys come up with.” I rolled my eyes. They were normally good guys, but every now and then they would get a hold of a stupid idea.

“Oh wait wait! Here he comes!” Max shushed me and ushered me aside while Hank set the camera on his tablet to record as a small group of people walked out with a Cornerian aircraft technician.

The new kid they were talking about was trailing timidly at the back of the group. Grady Newell was a scrawny strange little cat gecko with deep reddish-brown scales, a thick curly tail and glittering silver eyes. He was in the same grade as us, but his size always made everyone think he was younger. He was afraid of everything and didn’t really talk to anyone, so no one knew much about him. This made him a pretty decent target for some of the bigger kids in the class. Max and Hank were just falling into the new fad as always.

I watched as Max kept out of sight and sneaked around behind Grady on the ramp.

“Hey Grady! How was it?” Hank called out, waving to the gecko.

Grady waved with a shy smile, walking over to Hank, “It was really cool! But I didn’t see any of the—”

Max jabbed his fingers into Grady’s sides with a loud “BZZZZT!”

Sure enough, the color drained from Grady’s scales, and out came a shrill screech that nearly split my eardrums. Hank and Max howled in laughter as some of the nearby adults looked over at us in confusion. I felt my face and ears heat up in embarrassment. Grady had the good sense to run away from the attention he had caused.

“Oh my god, I can’t breathe!” Max doubled over in laughter.

“You guys, I think he peed himself.” Hank could barely get the words out.

“Well I hope it was as awesome as you guys hoped.” I frowned uncertainly, “Can we go now? People are looking at us.”

The rest of the afternoon, I was able to forget about my friends’ shenanigans with Grady. We roamed the airshow like we owned the place, checking out the fighters and touring the carriers. We even got to check out a flight simulation. As things began to die down, there was one last event, the one I had been waiting for. I said goodbye to Max and Hank and reunited with my parents to find a good spot for the Arwing flight demonstration. As everyone began to gather together, I noticed a familiar silhouette huddled under the wing of a small fighter, thick tail curled around him.

Guilt churned in my stomach. Grady was always by himself, and the times he wasn’t weren’t much better. I knew I should have stopped Max and Hank from pranking him. Whether it was because I felt bad for him or for not stepping in, I wasn’t sure, but before I knew it, I was just a few steps away from him. He really did look pitiful.

“Hey Grady?” I tried.

The little gecko jumped slightly and looked over at me warily. I wasn’t sure how you could tell if a lizard had been crying, but I could tell somehow.

“Listen,” I rubbed the back of my neck awkwardly, “I’m sorry about earlier. Max and Hank are idiots, but they’re not bad guys.”

“Oh,” Grady sniffed, “It’s okay, I guess. It’s my fault for being so scared all the time.”

“You have to admit it was a pretty lame lie. Killer robots? Really?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Grady cracked a smile too. “Yeah, I didn’t believe them at first. They seemed so sure, though, so I thought maybe it was true.”

“Rule number one with Max and Hank: if they have to convince you of something, they’re probably trying to fool you.” I laughed, “So…are you by yourself out here?”

Grady nodded, a somewhat proud gleam in his eyes, “Yep! My mom works evening shifts, but I have a tram pass so I can get home from school.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a card with his picture and name stamped on it, “So I used it to come to the airshow. I wanted to see the new Arwing.”

“Woah, that’s really cool!” My eyes widened impressed. I didn’t have a tram pass, “Well the Arwing is getting ready to take off. If we hurry, we can find a good spot to watch.”

“Really?” Grady’s silver eyes sparkled hopefully.

We took off back towards the crowd, squeezing our way through to find any kind of gap where we could see. Being a couple of the shortest kids in our class, we understood the struggle. Finally, we were able to find a small spot at the front, just big enough for us to share. We watched the pilot board the Arwing from a hovering monitor, the actual fighter being some distance away for safety. The slate gray peregrine falcon just oozed coolness.

With a loud boom, the Arwing took off, and we watched it take sharp turn after turn, somersault in graceful loops. I heard Grady gasp in awe next to me at the swirling flash of light it created from its barrel roll. The two of us had never been happier.

My parents offered to give Grady a ride home, and the entire way there, we chatted up a storm. Grady was actually a pretty cool guy. He was just as much a fan of James McCloud as I was, maybe even more, and he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. We both collected and built model Arwings, liked a lot of the same TV shows, it couldn’t have been more perfect. We had no idea just how different our lives were going to be now that we had a friend in each other.

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Author's Note: And that concludes chapter 1! Keep an eye out for chapter 2, and thanks for reading. Shout-out to Tiger, Doc, Armin and Kurt for helping me name a couple of these characters!

Edited by Zaphyr Stone
Had a typo. Thanks, Tiger!

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Tiger Carson

Pretty good Zaph.  This is an interesting one, going in first person perspective.  I personally don't see it that often.  I just have one thing to point out though.  There's a sentence that doesn't read right to me. “Is that is like the one James McCloud flew, right?” Might want to fix it so it makes sense, like this "That one is like the one James McCloud flew, right?".  Otherwise, good so far, I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.

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Naza Sutera

YUSS, gurl! This gave me everything I needed! I must say, Max and Hank are some hoodlums. They need an ass-whipping.

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      By Storminator
      (Unsure whether to post this in Fanfiction or General discussion, please move if needs be)
      So with Star Fox Zero branding itself as a "Re-imagining" of the Star Fox story, I thought to myself how I would reinterpret the furry filled Lylat system! This thread will be showcasing my personal take on Star Fox, so without further ado, lets dive in!
      THE LYLAT SYSTEM

      First off, a little pet peeve of mine- Where are all the moons? It always struck me as odd that the planets had a distinct lack of moons (Bolse notwithstanding) So in this universe Papetoon is Corneria's moon and was the first celestial body in the system to be terraformed. We'll get to the other two, but first- Solar.
      Solar has always been an odd one- Is it a Planet or Star? Well in my mind, it's a Planet (Despite what 6 year old me thought) but I've decided on making it a Gas Giant, because that's another thing Lylat seemed to be devoid of in my mind. Now onto its moons- Aquas and Fichina. Making them planet sized moons of a Gas Giant kills two birds with one stone- It satisfies my want for moons, and it deals with the issue of the system having too many planets that its unfeasible. The much loved Sectors X,Y and Z are still here, just not shown on this map since they're not technically in the system, just visible from certain planets.
      THE TIMELINE
      This timeline mainly covers the events before Lylat Wars/Star Fox 64 and is less of a re-imagining and more my interpretation of events. When creating this timeline I decided on a year in which the game's conflict would occur- 4096 (cookie for those that know how I got that number) I worked from there, doing Wiki searches to find character's ages and such.
      The Lylat Wars (4072 – 4102)
      This 30 year period saw 3 major conflicts throughout the Lylat System, the largest being the Vemonian War.
      Macbeth Civil War (4072-4074)
      The frontier industrial world of Macbeth had become divided politically between established corporations and immigrant population that was employed there. It eventually boiled over into full scale civil war, with the Cornerian Army being deployed to aid the rebel Immigrants.
      The Syndicate War (4084-4085)
      With many large scale Crime Syndicates growing in power in the outer system, the Cornerian central government declared open war in an attempt to crack down on illegal activity before it had a major impact on the central planets.
      The Vemonian War (4096-4102)
      The Vemonian War began after the exiled Dr. Andross formed the Vemonian Empire over the course of 7 years in order to become the dominant power in Lylat. The war spanned almost the entire system, even reaching Zoness.
       
      C.L.T = Cornerian Local Time
      C.F.A = Cornerian Flight Academy
      4066 C.L.T
      –Arspace Dynamics invents G-Diffusion Technology
      4068 C.L.T
      -James McCloud enters the Cornerian Flight Academy
      4069 C.L.T
      -Wolf O’Donnell born
      4070 C.L.T
      -James McCloud meets Peppy Hare
      -Arspace Dynamics develop the prototype AR-93/Arwing
      -James McCloud agrees to test the prototype
      4071 C.L.T
      -James McCloud graduates from C.F.A
      4072 C.L.T
      -Macbeth Civil War begins
      -James participates in numerous battles throughout the War
      4073 C.L.T
      -Peppy Hare graduates from C.F.A
      -James & Peppy serve under Commander Cornelius Pepper
      4074 C.L.T
      -Macbeth Civil War ends
      4075 C.L.T
      -Arspace Dynamics put AR-93’s into limited production for Cornerian Army
      4076 C.L.T
      -James leaves Cornerian Air Force, forms Team Star Fox with Peppy Hare
      - James meets Vixy
      -Star Fox hires Pigma Dengar
      4077 C.L.T
      -James buys four AR-93’s from Arspace Dynamics, upgrading from their old standard Cornerian Fighters
      4078 C.L.T
      -James and Vixy marry
      -Fox McCloud & Slippy Toad born
      4079 C.L.T
      -Star Fox has its first run-in with the Star Wolves, a group of Space Pirates lead by the O'Donnell clan
      4080 C.L.T
      -Peppy meets Vivian
      4081 C.L.T
      -Vixy is bedridden with a fatal disease
      4082 C.L.T
      -Vixy passes away
      4083 C.L.T
      -Arspace Dynamics Arwing blueprints are stolen by an unknown crime syndicate
      -Peppy and Vivian marry, having a Honeymoon on Zoness
      4084 C.L.T
      -Crime gangs gain territory in the outer system (Macbeth, Solar, and Sargasso Region)
      -Cornerian Army declares war on all crime syndicates in the system
      -Star Wolves employ the use of Wolfen Starfighters, reverse engineered from Arspace Dynamics Blueprints
      -Star Fox hired to combat the fighters
      4085 C.L.T
      -Syndicate War ends with criminals either surrendering or going into hiding
      4086 C.L.T
      -Cornelius Pepper gets promoted to General of the Cornerian Army
      4087 C.L.T
      -Andross deploys Biological and Chemical weapons across Lylat, practically destroying the ecosystems
      4088 C.L.T
      -Andross is exiled
      4089 C.L.T
      -James McCloud commissions the construction of The Great Fox, takes out an 80 year loan to cover expenses
      NOTE: James would be 109 years old by the time the loan expired!
      -Andross forms the Vemonian Empire in secret
      -Wolf O’Donnell comes out of hiding and takes over leadership of the Star Wolves, turning it into a 4 man squadron of mercenaries known as Star Wolf
      4090 C.L.T
      -Construction begins on the Great Fox
      4091 C.L.T
      -Andrew Oikonny approaches Wolf O’Donnell about joining Star Wolf and striking a deal with Andross
      4092 C.L.T
      -Wolf O’Donnel meets Leon Powalski at a bar on Venom
      4093 C.L.T
      -Strange activity reported from Venom. General Pepper employs Star Fox for a scouting mission
      -Pigma’s Betrayal
      -Pigma joins Star Wolf
      -Falco forms and leads the Free-Feathers
      -Fox McCloud enters Cornerian Flight Academy
      4094 C.L.T
      -The Great Fox is complete
      -Macbeth falls to the Vemonian Empire
      4095 C.L.T
      -Fox leaves C.F.A
      -Fox re-forms Team Star Fox with the aid of Peppy
      -Falco joins Team Star Fox
      4096 C.L.T
      -The Vemonian War begins
      -Bill Grey graduates from C.F.A
      -Star Fox hired by General Pepper to help combat an assault on Corneria
      4097 C.L.T
      -Fichina Outpost overrun, Star Fox sent to investigate
      -Team Star Wolf presumed K.I.A after engaging Team Star Fox
      -Bioweapons discovered on Aquas and Solar, Star Fox sent in to deal with them
      -Bill Grey promoted to squad leader of Husky Unit
      4098 C.L.T
      -Battle at Sector Y
      -Vemonian forces establish a foothold at Zoness, using it for Waste disposal
      4099 C.L.T
      -Battle for Katina
      -Fox and Bill reunite
      -Katina frontline base destroyed
      4100 C.L.T
      -Cornerian forces retake Zoness
      -Star Fox take out a major supply base at Macbeth, giving Cornerian Army a staging ground for a full scale assault on Venom
      4101 C.L.T
      -Cornerian forces begin the Assault on Area 6
      -Ground assault on Venom
      -Star Wolf return with upgraded Wolfen Fighters to protect Andross
      -Star Wolf K.I.A on Venom
      -Andross defeated by Fox McCloud
      -The Vemonian army dwindles without strong leadership
      -Star Fox hailed as heroes, offered official position in the Cornerian Army
      4102 C.L.T
      -Vemonian remnants stage a last-ditch assault on Fortuna, led by Andrew Oikonny
      -With the aid of Star Fox the Vemonian forces are defeated and officially surrender
      -The Vemonian War Ends
      CHARACTER AGES
      Next up is character ages, their birth years and year of death (if available);
      James McCloud- 4053-4093 C.L.T (40yrs old)
      Vixy McCloud- 4055-4082 C.L.T (27yrs old)
      Fox McCloud & Slippy Toad- 4078 C.L.T (18yrs old as of 4096)
      Falco Lombardi- 4077 C.L.T (19yrs old as of 4096)
      Peppy Hare- 4055 C.L.T (41yrs old as of 4096)
      Gen. Pepper- 4047 C.L.T (49yrs old as of 4096)
      Beltino Toad- 4049 C.L.T (47yrs old as of 4096)
      Dr. Andross- 4040-4101 C.L.T (61yrs old)
      Wolf O’Donnell- 4069-4101 C.L.T (32yrs old)
      Pigma Dengar- 4057-4101 C.L.T (44yrs old)
      Andrew Oikonny- 4074-4102 C.L.T (28yrs old)
      Leon Powalski- 4064-4101 C.L.T (37yrs old)
      That's all there is for now! Thoughts, critiques and suggestions are very welcome! I'd also like to hear about your ideas for a completely re-imagined Star Fox Universe