Ikran's F-Zero timeline

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Lap 14

Rick was training strenuously using every simulation Falcon had in his possession, including the Phantom Road. He couldn't seem to get the championship and even Rodney's upcoming fate out of his mind, and neither could Tinsel. She wanted to practice using Falcon's courses, but they agreed not to with Gomar and Shioh for confidential reasons. She remembered the first time when she noticed an enormous structure transform right before her eyes as she, Yugi, and Joey found a Duelist; it was a rare sight since most people were interested in F-Zero racing instead.

To calm her mind, Tinsel was returning to the place where it was the most tranquil and sentimental. Her remaining friends, Draq, Leon, and the Duelists, were arriving in Port Town. The sabotage there resulted one of the ROBs missing. Tinsel noticed it during her second visit and she wondered what Dark Million would use it for.

They soon stopped at the outskirts and the canine asked, "Tinsel, why did you stop?"

She was gazing up at the sky. "Don't you want to absorb its beauty? This place always has the best sunset, with its mesmerizing blues, reds, and indigoes." She took a deep sigh as she reflected. "It makes a wonderful sight. At least THAT hasn't changed in 13 years."

The sky was so dramatic that she and her allies climbed out and sat on top of their machines, watching the city light up as the sky grew into a more darker purple. Yugi and Joey sat on their Dragons, Timaeus and Critias. Hermos was still in its card.

Leon spoke after a silence that seemed to have lasted into eternity. "Um...could you guys excuse us for a minute? I need to talk to Tinsel... Alone?"

"Yeah, I guess." replied Joey and Yugi left with him.

"Fine by me." Beastman hopped off and ran to the duo.

"Shall we?" Gomar requested.

"Let's." added Shioh.

"Do not be long." said Draq as he wobbled toward the group.

When it turned quiet, Tinsel asked in concern. "I knew you would talk to me in private one of these days. Spit it out already."

"Tinsel...if this were to be our last race, there's something that you should know..."

"What is it...?"

"It's about a pilot I used to meet... He was once a mentor to Black Shadow and his minions and soon the Federation's. His name is James, he owns the Little Wyvern and has a wife and son. Thinking that he was a traitor, they abandoned him. He has been in the shadows ever since."

"What's your point?"

"My point is that we should find him. Maybe he can help us deal with Black Shadow and possibly know the whereabouts of Jody and Stewart. And maybe help us prepare for the last race. There's only one person who could help us find him...but...even he's very elusive."

She nodded. "I know what you're saying. Falcon's actually busy training himself and Rick for the championship. Let's search every crowded street, he should be here. At least I think so... Let's hope he hasn't been relocated."

"I'm with you, Tinsel. We all are." Leon smiled and they bumped their fists. They went to the others and they were off in search of the mysterious pilot.

As the team split up, Tinsel and Gomar and Shioh eventually wound up near an abandoned base with a strange logo on it. It was a faded dark blue, with a huge white atom in the middle. The words Galaxy Dog appeared thrice encircling the image.

"I hope this is the place," Tinsel wondered.

To answer her question, both she and the Furikakes were blinded by a large spotlight. "That's a little bright, don't you think?"

"Halt! Who goes there?!" a male voice echoed from a watch tower.

She gulped, "Um, it's me, Tinsel Steelus. And these are my friends, Gomar and Shioh, from the planet, Huckmine. We-we came here so we could find you, and that you could help us practice for the finals."

"Hm. That's the Silver Comet and the Twin Noritta?"

"That's us!" the aliens replied.

The lamp shut off, and their eyes took a few moments to readjust. "Proceed." the stranger called. Just then, the titanium door opened slowly, allowing the pilots to enter.

They emerged into a courtyard of sorts, and the steel compound surrounded them as the military man stepped out. He wore sunglasses, a red scarf, a green shirt with a silver coat covering it, and tights. His skinny boots reached his knees and his dark brown hair stuck up at the sides like canine ears. He motioned them to leave their vehicles, shoving his head to the left.

"Greetings, everyone. I am James McCloud, the leader of a squadron called the Galaxy Dogs. We strive on being the best war fighters both in the sky and in deep space. Discipline is our top priority around here."

His demeanor seemed to have intimidated the trio. "Uh, nice to meet you." Tinsel reached for a handshake, but he swapped it away.

"No time for talk, missy. I hear you've all qualified for the championship at Lightning, did you not? Along with Rick Wheeler, and Captain Falcon?"

"Yeah," Gomar said.

"We have." added Shioh.

"I suppose you all have been financially prepared. These training sessions don't come cheap, you know."

"Do-do you accept money digitally?" she murmured.

"Indeed. Any way is satisfactory," he replied. One could get the feeling the money was intended for defenses. There was reason for suspicion, seeing as he knew about the sabotage. Yet, Tinsel never asked.

On her key, she withdrew a hundred space credits, the duo did the same. They simultaneously chirped when the transaction was confirmed, and then downloaded to James'.

"Then let's get started. The race begins in two days, so I don't want any lollygagging. Let's move! Follow me and bring your machines."

They hesitantly did just that, though they didn't know someone slipped in from the outside as the entrance was open.
From that same tall structure, Jim was in charge of a cockpit. It was a training session to test their agility by avoiding volleys of bullets. They kept raining down on each of the hapless machines. The clanging almost hurt their ears, and they left many dents.

"Come on, you useless maggots. This is a way to become more evasive by dodging enemy fire! Black Shadow and his cronies would never stop at being reckless. And even they can throw a few trick plays. Get your heads in the game and out of your asses!" Jim hollered.

"Oh, that's very helpful." Tinsel retorted, steering her machine as sharply as possible.

"Yeah, but we can do this!"

Once the bullets rained down, the two machines were on their way, moving as intended. At least, it seemed that way at first. In the early few seconds, Gomar and Shioh found slight marks on the ground, and used them as guard rails, avoiding them at every possible turn. To see the Twin Noritta moving in such a fashion was to compare it to a fly, moving with supreme control.

The Silver Comet on the other hand found itself nicked by one of two stray bullets. Tinsel knew well ahead that this was not going to be easy, but she tried her best to read the situation and dodge the bullets. However, no matter where she moved, she still heard her metal being hit. Once the volley of bullets stopped, both machines arrived near Jim, to hear their evaluation.

"Looks like you two are the perfect decoys. Unlike you," he motioned to Tinsel, "who's been slacking off."

"Sir, this wasn't easy. You see, I just had some of my components replaced by-"

"I don't need your excuses, cadet. Now, you three lazy lumps follow me. There is a good ole course I want you to see." His voice was lowered for a bit. Yet, Tinsel still found a harshness in his tone.

Another session featured courses that were about 50 feet high off the ground. Tinsel thought it to be a special treat, as one of the courses were designed after the Queen and King Leagues of old. The latter boasted sharper curves and was much longer than the former.

The Comet and Noritta were idle while Jim stood by at the starting line. "This doesn't matter who wins. It is only a friendly competition. Survive and conquer it." After eight seconds, the officer shot a pistol into the air, signaling the drivers.

During the trial, the sharp drill sergeant noticed how heavily the Silver Comet descended. As he saw how the jump plates were being used, he jotted some notes down, scoffing as he did. He could only wait to see how Tinsel and the Silver Comet would do in the more difficult course: one adorned with several lethal turns. It was bad enough that Tinsel had to slow down constantly, while Gomar and Shioh were suffering as they kept on hitting the walls.

At the second lap, the rival machine decided to cheat a little as it soared to the right on the second jump. Gomar motioned to Shioh to take it and Jim noticed the stunt through his binoculars. He summoned a large UFO-like machine from a portable remote that picked the pair up from a tractor beam at the underside. It forced them back a few inches; this actually allowed the Comet to catch up. They clashed with each other from time to time, but no one was backing down. Neither had the need to use any side or spin attacks, and the Booster Fire was completely out of the question. The difficult curves and obstacles were bad enough.

By the time it was over, Tinsel won. They cheerfully returned to their coach after their victory lap. "See, Jim? I told you we'd ace this."

"Sorry for cheating, sir." Gomar replied bashfully.

He wasn't impressed to their discouragement. "You made a very risky move on your part, Huckminers. This was supposed to be no contest, but yet you acted foolishly to win it. Never make that same mistake, as it could cost you your pathetic lives." he said sternly.

They both drooped their heads in shame.

"And you. You may have won that race, you're extremely lucky while you kept slowing down at each sharp turn. I appreciate your humbleness, but you still have failed miserably."

"What?" She couldn't believe what he was saying. "What do you mean? Where did I go wrong?"

"Your Comet was far too heavy when it landed after each Jump Plate. You need to make a longer distance and soar like a comet should. You're just a fallen meteor on that race."

"" Her mind shifted to the gap temporarily, before Jim was able to snap her out of her reverie.

"Tinsel!" That made her jump back to the present. "Daydreaming won't save you, either, the mind must always be as sharp as a great white's tooth. I'm incredibly surprised you hadn't mastered it, every pilot knows how to make longer jumps better than you can."

"I don't understand this at all." Her throat tightened. "How can any other racer soar more? This doesn't make any sense that everyone could make that gap except me."

James' expression changed, "Excuse me?"

She told him about the incident 13 years ago. She never wanted to talk to anyone else about it, let alone a stranger.

"And what makes you think you could win? You were the only one who never made it. I saw that accident on TeleVid at that time. I was only starting out as an F-Zero pilot until I noticed Galaxy Dog wasn't getting a lot of monetary support. You're determined, but fragile. You must be able to leap over troubling pits like this one."

"You will show me?" Her windpipe loosened. Could this really be my chance to overcome my worst fear?

"Don't get all emotional on me, Tinsel. I've already lost my empathy with my family. I can't let you make the situation at hand more intolerable than it is. Follow my lead, and I shall demonstrate."

He brought over the Little Wyvern. It was nothing she had ever seen before. It was built very much like a fighter craft with its elongated wings, narrow, sharp-pointed nose, and had a lustrous grey body. He parked beside the Comet at the exact spot where the race began. He was the one who hit the Jumps first and he was almost literally flying just like a minature jet while the wings opened and closed.

He stopped after the second hop and observed her. She was still sinking rapidly after each of the plates. She hesitated next to Jim, and she was so perplexed on how he was able to make longer ascents than her.

"You need to raise the nose to make a lighter drop, and a longer leap. You have to hold back the bars as you make a tight grip, allowing the G-Diffuser to have less of an effect. Pushing the thrusters forward would cause the vehicle to land harder. You got that?"

"I think so." Taking the lessons in mind, she thought about how she could use her newly acquired knowledge to cross the gap in the White Land track. She wasn't very thrilled at the thought, and it was best not to dwell on that. She went away for a few miles, turned back, and leapt over the pit. At the same time, she instantly yanked back the controls, allowing the Comet to catch more air and land safely. She hardly even noticed the impact as she felt it was being lifted by a strong updraft. She was shocked by the performance and she almost lost control. The Furikakes were ecstatic that it really worked, as was Tinsel!

"That's it!" James exclaimed. However, she missed the other plate before she hit the dirt, slowing her down.

"I made it..." she could hardly speak. "So, this is how they do it."

"Indeed." James arrived next to her. Tinsel looked up with shiny eyes.

"Oh, how could I ever repay you?"

"You already did. When you and the Huckminers paid me for these tedious dry runs."

Tinsel didn't feel so bad; while she may have failed in the first session as Gomar and Shioh succeeded, mastering the long jump was even better than anything else. They were returning to base to retry the bullet dodge until she heard a whispering noise after she exited the cockpit.

Psst. Psst.

She looked over and walked toward the silhouette hiding behind a dome-shaped war tent. She could barely make out the six-armed figure. He lowered his raised limbs as she treaded toward it.

"Octoman? Is that you? How did you get passed security?" She theorized that the place would definitely have plenty of safety protocols since Jim mentioned he needed the cash to defend against various intergalactic threats, including Dark Million.

"Never mind how, Tinsel."

Thinking she heard a sound, she looked back and saw nothing. "What're you doing here?"

"Listen. I followed all of you here. I know why you're training with James McCloud, I actually heard of your plight involving the finals and Rodney Stewart. Black Shadow means business.

"Heed my words, just in case I get caught in the Galaxy Dogs net, they're vicious."

"I was afraid you'd say that." As if their leader wasn't aggressive enough.

According to the Takoran, James McCloud was a criminal. He warned her that he trained all F-Zero pilots, including those that were in the Task Force, as well as Dark Million, making him a traitor to his cause. He's actually a mercenary, always caring about having money in his pocket, and never emphasizing for anyone he trains. The squadron he created, the Galaxy Dogs, help the Federation to defend the universe. Yet, working with the enemy made her very uneasy. She was so excited to show her friends what she could do, that she actually lost sight on who James McCloud was.

She managed to escape avoiding all the spotlights and she kept hiding herself from the cameras as she attempted to blend into the opaque compound. She looked up the intel inside the Comet. For the most part, much of James McCloud's story was true. But info on his machine revealed it had an E-level body strength. Among the worst in its class, but it had boost and grip strength in the B-class. It was known as one of the modified fighter jets belonging to the Galaxy Dogs. Jim actually convinced Space Dynamics to make this contraption. James McCloud alone...was the main suspect.

She entered the area with the watch tower, and then she aimed her nozzles while she tried to dodge more bullets. She kept going around until she found her target. She shot out two ice beams, freezing the massive gun! This instantly disabled it, and Jim lost all control.

"You goddamn crotch-licking-" The pilots heard the sergeant shouting and swearing unintelligibly inside.

"What did you do?" Shioh was stunned.

"You froze the machine gun..!" Gomar said, motioning to Tinsel.

"Let's just say that it's time for a little payback. James isn't the man he claims himself to be. He's nothing but a rebel to his own squadron and his trainees."

"What?" The Furikakes were perplexed. Before she had the chance to explain, they saw him step up to the Comet. Tinsel exited and marched toward her new adversary wearing a face of hatred.

"I know all about the Galaxy Dogs. You're very canny, Jim."

"What the hell are you talking about?" he responded in a cold voice.

"You think you're a fair soldier? I've seen your records, thanks to two friends of mine. One of them knows what you've done on his home planet, and another obtained some data to prove it. You always believe that you and your squadron have a squeaky clean reputation, and are all that and a bag of chips. You guys are nothing but scoundrels, only going for the gold, literally. In other words, you worked for Dark Million and caused nothing but sabotage over your own greed!"

"How dare you say such blasphemy! You ungrateful slut! You should be thankful that I was the one who taught you to make longer leaps with your wasted machine."

"That machine happens to be made by the late Dr. Clash. He gave up his life for us!" That infuriated Tinsel so much, that all she wanted to do was destroy the corrupt man in front of her!

"Then it was HIS mistake for creating it. Even I could do a far superior job than him. But no matter, since you're nothing but a-" He pushed Tinsel a few inches back forcefully. Then, he did it again, and she lunged back. The Huckminers just stood there as they watched her right arm being bent in a dislocating fashion. Then, James' face was splattered with a gooey substance. Her arm was free, though pretty sore. She did use her left arm and held out a pistol as Octoman appeared. Jim took off his soiled shades, revealing his copper eyes, and grinding his teeth.

"Tinsel's innocent, she's not wrong. She was the one who donated a portion of her prize money to my home world, Takora. My people have been hunted down like dogs by the Federation, and its always torn by bloodshed and poverty. You should know this by now since you, too, are a veteran, yet you follow a tainted path as you took advantage of the Galaxy Dogs and manipulated the Platoon's beliefs about us! Our ways of living and our existence has been tarnished because of you!"

"Wait 'til the Task Force hears about this!" the alien duo chimed.

That put the treacherous man on edge. He actually went on his hind heels and slipped into the Little Wyvern. Octoman and Tinsel climbed into their corresponding machines and went on the pursuit as they saw their enemy leave the compound, kicking up sand in the idle faces of the extraterrestrials. Startled, they decided unanimously to alert the first person that came to mind.

"Rick, Rick! You gotta help us! I hope Falcon's with you!"

He was lucky he was still inside the Dragon Bird, a simulation just began to run. "Gomar...? Shioh?" He listened on all the transpired events, putting him in a sense of utter shock.

At once, Port Town's alleys felt a gust of wind. The Silver Comet moved at lightning speed, avoiding the walls and careless pedestrians with only one target in mind. The Deep Claw was on her tail. The Wyvern actually slowed and bashed onto it, to the point where sparks flew. "Eh oh." Tinsel made a side attack, however, it caused a chain reaction that made the octopus skid and collide into a wall. The Wyvern was weak, but it managed to hang in there. Tinsel needed to find a way to cut him off, otherwise she'd be a goner if he should clip her. A ramp was visible to the right. She had to take it, or else she was forced to try her luck with a wider turn and lose even more time.

For a moment, she saw the horrific White Land gap. But very quickly, she put it out of her mind. She needed to be at her best if she was chasing down a criminal.

At the incline, she felt her machine hop into the air. But she immediately knew what to do. She adjusted her control in the air, pulling the nose back, but she also made sure it wasn't lurched too far. As a result, she gained a bit of speed while keeping it quite level.

Meanwhile, the Little Wyvern slowed down, anticipating her crashing onto the surface just before it. Yet, that didn't happen. The Silver Comet landed right onto the Little Wyvern's front and boosted right off of it. Quickly, she leaned over to the left, in order to create a giant U-Turn and block his further passage into the major streets.

For a moment Tinsel experienced some glee in conquering it, but she remembered exactly what needed to be done.
The cockpit opened up and she pulled out a gun.

"Freeze, scumbag!"

She shot out a volley of ice, freezing the Wyvern gradually on contact. Jim managed to jump out of the cockpit as his precious machine made a few wipeouts and then exploded. Octoman grabbed the stunned pilot with all his inky, firm arms.

Before James was apprehended by the Platoon, with its cruiser sirens wailing in the distance, he explained he used to have a close friend in the military named O'Donnell. They joined the army together, and Tinsel was astonished that it wasn't really the air force.

They were on a mission soaring over some thick canopy, and one evening they received orders to extract their men from an enemy base. They were in a massive air carrier, and it was attacked by bullets and fire bombs.

"Rescue 101 has been hit, we're going down!" O'Donnell cried.

"Damn!" Jim growled.

They ran from the wreckage and wound up in an onslaught somewhere deep within the jungles. It was a perfect place for an ambush since it was so dark during the wee hours and the foreign terrain. James was injured from the crash, then O'Donnell ran toward the group of terrorists resulting his demise.

"O'Donnell!" He shrieked in horror as he witnessed his wingman killed right in front of him!

"No one saw me so I was able to escape. That night changed my life forever." Jim's mind returned to the present, in handcuffs. "I...never trusted anyone anymore."

"And neither could anyone ever trust you. You have no soul, McCloud." Tinsel said bitterly.

"We were nothing but tools here!" Gomar and Shioh protested.

The officers loaded him in the slammer; Jim was relieved that his family wasn't there to see this humiliation.

Being that he lost a close friend during a combat mission, and abandoned his men in the process, Tinsel felt that he actually lost himself. That he no longer cared about his new cadets, only using them for his financial gain. He had no heart nor any values. Not even his own wife and son. All he does go for was cold, hard cash since he didn't seem to give a damn that Dark Million is a threat to the galaxy.

As the heroes saw Jim being pulled away permanently, Tinsel wondered what would become of his own squadron. She never felt so torn. "One day, you will find atonement for what you have done." she thought aloud as she gazed up at the astronomical amount of stars.

She shielded her eyes while she was blinded by the bright headlights ahead. She could barely make out the Blue Falcon and the Dragon Bird in the distance. The two pilots ran up to her.

"Are you alright?" the bounty hunter asked.

"Yeah, we were going to save you." her best friend added with concern.

"From what?" Tinsel wondered.

Rick and Falcon heard a distress call from Gomar and Shioh, and discovered there had been an accident somewhere in the backstreets. By trusting their instincts, they followed the trail and it was actually both Tinsel and Octoman who stopped James McCloud in that fierce hunt. Falcon filled in the gaps: Because of James' criminal activity, his son, Todd, will take his place as squadron leader, and leave his father strained. Thanks to Falcon, even the commissioner was convinced from the cephalopod's redemption. James' fate remained unknown because due to his treachery, he would either serve a very hefty prison time and/or permanent cold sleep in Planet Alcatran. Rick was very surprised that a former traitor managed to put a stop to a spy for Dark Million.

"Looks like we owe you one, Octoman. Especially for what you did when you prevented Miss Killer from winning at the Cosmo Terminal."

"We'll settle on this later, Wheeler. ...We do have the championship, after all." He walked away into the darkness.

Tinsel's head shot up. "Octoman? Could you make a promise? Will you be there and root for us when we march on for the title?"

He accepted with a wink and drove elsewhere in the Deep Claw. The Duelists recently briefed in they will go with them, and put their monsters on stand by like they did last year in case Black Shadow and his minions would cause another accident.

Because of Jim's absence, Tinsel freely invited Falcon, Rick, and the Furikakes to the advanced version of the old circuit. Rick was impressed that the Comet was able to make a longer leap than it did before. And the Twin Noritta mastered its tactics on misdirection and agility. After the race, with Falcon as the victor, she explained that it was Jim who taught them before Octoman and Clank unveiled his true colors. She was a little miffed they knew how to make longer distances and they didn't tell her how. Rick assumed she already knew, but sadly she didn't. He wondered if she could use that same technique, and offered her to try it at White Land.

She immediately turned sour, "No, no! I'm not going back there!"

Everyone looked at Tinsel, wide-eyed.

"I am NOT...going...back there!" she said as she was driving away. Then, she stopped at a corner. "I am not going back there." She shook her head, "Uh uh. Nope." The last thing she wanted was to re-experience the course she had long dreaded for over a decade. Tinsel never wanted to go back, at least not until Black Shadow would be defeated for good, much as the perpetrator having his tail between his ironized legs.

A/N: I just noticed a trope known as the Canon Foreigner, a character that has been expanded to a different form of media, and/or into another universe. In this case, with GP Legend, they are Rick/Ryu, Lucy, Lisa, and Haruka/Miss Killer. I'd seen that every foreigner strives to be something known as a Canon Immigrant, someone who's popular enough to be introduced to the original material. This is something I always wanted for Rick, from GP Legend/Climax to the original franchise, or perhaps Smash Bros. That sadly hasn't been done, however, I still consider it since he, along with the other characters, made it here in Ending it All, as well as the other stories for F-Zero.

This was actually non-canon info; James McCloud is only a mercenary and he didn't really design the Port Town courses. It would be quite interesting if he did, though, including the UFO used for the Grand Prix 13 years prior. In here, he was the architect of both things, and his technicians from the Galaxy Dogs built the two courses and the space craft.

I was thinking of using the Port Town theme from Climax when the Comet chases the Wyvern. In my opinion it is better than in X and GX, since there are a few noticeable fragments of the original song there.

The Duelists made an appearance again, but I wasn't really into the latter seasons, as the Dragons may give you a hint. It just became more and more complicated as the show went on. I was a casual fan of it anyway.

The last course is Lightning: Thunder Road, a shout-out to the scarce Grand Prix in GX, the AX Cup. They say you could unlock it using a Memory Card with F-Zero AX data, but it's only from those rare arcade cabinets. I never experienced them personally, and I felt I really missed out. However, from a LP, the only circuits that stood out the most were the Thunder Road, and Outer Space as well. I was shocked that the anime actually featured the latter course, although I saw the show before I discovered AX.

I'm not a huge fan of James McCloud. Sure he is a Starfox reference, but having him as a fighter pilot working for almost all racers for the sake of money, including for Dark Million, kind of rubs me the wrong way. I see him as a spy for Black Shadow. Like Tinsel said, I felt he lost himself and cash was the only driving force in his life, not friendship, not love for his family, not even his heart. And overall, Jim was a very underwhelming pilot to use, and he hardly had any references to the former Starfox leader at all. Much like him, his fate is unknown; he serves a very long prison sentence, but it's a mystery whether or not he could have the death penalty from his betrayal or perhaps permanent cold sleep.

Another exhausting Lap done. It was a complete drag to make, involving James and the Galaxy Dogs. Now it's finally off to the glorious Championship! See you then!

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A/N: Please note that this isn't the Final Lap/Chapter, but rather just the Championship race. We finally reach Lightning, specifically the Thunder Road circuit, which was introduced during the rare AX Cup from GX.

Rick, Falcon, Tinsel, and the Huckminers have made it to the final round. Would they be able to defeat Dark Million and seize victory?

Lap 15

After a couple days of intensive, non-stop training, it seemed to take its toll on Rick. He was the one who's been practicing the most and has been getting less sleep; Falcon was, too, but at least he was more adaptable. Tinsel, Gomar and Shioh watched the ardent duo closely, even when they weren't racing.

He was currently at the training circuit in Mute City, and he had participated in every single one prior to this course. He was determined as ever to win the championship, rescue Rodney, and above all else, defeat Black Shadow. Tinsel, Jack, and Lucy found Rick in the Dragon's cockpit. He was having a little shut-eye, until the former rocker knocked on the windshield.

"Hey. Hey, Wheeler. It's time to wake up." It was almost dusk, and he'd been sleeping for only an hour.

He slowly opened them with a groan. "Thanks, Jack."

"This guy doesn't quit, does he?" Tinsel said while shaking her head.

"He's been resting less and less, and tomorrow is the Championship," Lucy informed. "This can really wear him down; he may not be ready for the final challenge against Dark Million."

"IF it is the final challenge." the Comet pilot emphasized.

Rick was able to leave the Dragon Bird behind, though his best friend was there to escort him in case he decided to drop. He wanted to visit Port Town at Falcon's stronghold, until there was a signal coming from Tinsel's key fob.

"Take a break, guys. I need you all here at the Central Chamber. Now." It was Clank, and the other pilots, excepting the captain, were waiting for the missing quartet.

They've arrived and the kid was as somber as ever. Gazelle was next to him. "Roster for Championship has been confirmed."

Leon, Draq, Gomar and Shioh, Beastman, and EAD were there, and even they had grim expressions.

"Dad's right, you know." He went over the roll call on the large screen. It shown a list of the finalists as well as some other peculiar drivers. "According to this, it seems we're not alone. There are still some opponents we weren't expecting: 'Dynamite' Guster will be in the race."

"This could mean big trouble." Rick said. "These two never get along well, and they always tend to fight each other." He and the Task Force remembered the last time he was chasing after him, when Goroh was accused of blowing up a space transport. "It can't be good for Goroh, he might not be able to help us."

"At least it could give us some leeway." Chris remarked. "So, you guys may have a better chance."

"But that's not all. Blood Falcon will also make a return." That was disturbing news for everyone, even to the geek. It was highly unlikely since the last clone was obliterated when the team snapped Lucy out of Black Shadow's thrall. According to the rules, he should've been disqualified overall, yet somehow the F-Zero Committee allowed him back in. This wasn't the strangest thing they've ever done since the organization allowed Gomar and Shioh to compete; however, this was way worse.

"What about the others?" Leon queried. "Are Dr. Stewart, Jody, and the Skull gonna be there?"

"No. But...Black Shadow is."

"What?!" Tinsel yelped.

"Oh, gosh." Draq didn't like the sound of that one bit. "I wish I would be there to help demolish that demonic bastard." he held his fists.

"What're you all worried about? We have Captain Falcon, right? He can deal with him any day, anywhere."

"It's not that simple, Jack. Even an unstoppable Grand Prix champion has its limits." the android reasoned.

"Black Shadow..." Everyone looked at Rick, clenching his fists. "At long last, I would finally race against him. I swear I'll never lose, even if we were to lose Falcon..." He recalled the pep talk he had with him in his fortress, how he was suddenly aware of his mortality when he realized his greatest adversary unexpectedly returned. "My main concern isn't Zoda anymore, it's him. HE was the main culprit who unleashed Zoda and Miss Killer. HE's the one who brainwashed us until Tinsel and the others made us return to our senses."

That put Lucy, EAD, and even the boastful Jack in a stunned silence.

"He destroyed Dr. Clash, my mentor." the carrot top recollected with a crack in her voice.

"He nearly killed my dad." Clank added, facing Gazelle.

"He's not really a hero anymore, like we thought." the Huckminers said regretfully in unison.

"Guess we all have a motive on beating him.'s up to us finalists who can." the detective stated with earnest.

"The Duelists said they'll follow us to Lightning, just in case anything should run amok." Tinsel commented. "They always say that he's a racer from the Shadow Realm; how wrong they are." But then again, she, Yugi, and Joey misinterpreted him.

"Lightning of all places...It may be violent, but that won't stop the fanatics from participating. At least it has a stadium." Clank said.

"I've raced there before, at the Volute track, and Loss Landing."

"This isn't the same, Rick. Not like this. Thunder Road is a circuit that's rarely been occupied. It's also worth noting it's an elite course." Tinsel inputted.

She also explained a distant planet was given that name because of its endless, volatile atmosphere. It was once claimed to be a calm world, however, the air was so polluted that the weather took a drastic change. The extreme climate continues destroying the ozone layer. Bolts kept on hammering down that power companies were able to harness the electricity, recycling up to 10 million gigawatts! The output's so powerful that the energy has been channeled to neighboring planets. The course itself is lethal due to its 90-degree turns. Tinsel wasn't looking forward to it because of that annoying gimmick.

"But remember, misdirection," replied the Furikakes confidently. She sighed in response to their zealousness. She, too, dreaded it was around the area where she met Black Shadow, she had a really bad feeling he WOULD try something.

"Don't worry so much, Tinsel. We can win this, together. We can't let him emerge victorious, nor harm Rodney." Rick tried to calm her nerves.

"You'd better be right."

What she didn't notice was his vision was becoming foggy, and his head was swimming. He looked at the group for a moment until...

"Rick!" Everybody gathered around him as he collapsed onto the couch. He couldn't respond as they attempted to shake him awake and kept calling his name.

He was in a comfortable bed, his jacket was removed and hanging on a rack. The sun just rose and Jack and Tinsel were sitting by him. His eyes fluttered and he startled himself up. Jack immediately held him down.

"Ergh, Jack!"

"Rick, you're exhausted. You should sleep for a few more hours; the competition won't start until tonight. So get your rest."

He wasn't convinced. "But, I must prepare myself for Black Shadow. How can I-hmmph." His buddy covered his mouth to silence him.

"Lucy and the Gazelle are looking over the Dragon Bird for you, making any last-minute adjustments." Tinsel said. "Same thing with the Comet and the Noritta. Falcon will meet us at his designated location by 6pm sharp. And Yugi and Joey are organizing their decks, putting their best monsters on the line. For once, Jack's right, you do need some sleep."

He was awestruck. "What did you say? You said I'm right?" She nodded. "Well, that's a first."

"Don't let it get to your head."

Looking back, he murmured, "You can be so dang stubborn, you know that, Wheeler? You make it sound like you're the only one fighting Dark Million." That gave Rick an epiphany. "Hey, lighten up a little, would ya? You should just rely on us for now." Jack removed his grip, revealing a thin smile.

"Yeah. You're not alone in this, Rick. You still have me, Falcon, and the Furikakes on your side. And if anything should go wrong, you still have us in the Task Force, waiting for you. Oh, and there's also Haruka, watching over you."

"Jack, Tinsel..." He was so wrapped up that he almost disregarded there was someone upstairs who was looking out for him.

"Idiot." That comment made her snicker. Jack didn't seem to be much of a hassle as he was before. He became a lot more supportive since they rescued him back in Aeropolis.

Darkness fell around the city in a fuchsia hue. Both Jack and Tinsel looked out from the balcony at the upmost floor in headquarters, and it was almost 6:00.

"He's not used to depending on others; he doesn't even know we saved his sorry ass many times."

"We could only go so far, Jack. These guys are on a completely different level. And it's true we can't depend on Falcon forever. We all have an expiration date."

The punk walked up to the glass and punched it, hurting his fist. "Jack..." Tinsel never saw him this wired, nor this anxious about anything. He was always calm, though cocky.

He laid a hand on the glass casing as he sulked. "Our help may just hinder him. How could anyone stand up against an evil organization like this alone?"

"I'm certain this is only his way on coping it. But...I'm sure that he knows he's never alone. We got him this far, didn't we?"

Jack let out a sigh, and a little grin came across his weary face. Tinsel was caught up in her own fears, that he didn't notice someone marching in.

"Tinsel." She rose her head abruptly and saw Rick accompanied by Gomar and Shioh. He looked like he was ready to hunt some bear. "Let's go. Falcon is waiting."

She nodded, and they were off to the bounty hunter's spot located near a warp gate. Although, from past experience, he and Tinsel knew this only led to Big Blue; however, this was still the shortest way. "We can't access Lightning from the air, so we must take this warp gate." he said. "Follow me." The foursome obliged, and on the highway, a couple of people were approaching them from the rear.

They automatically suspected it was the Bloody Chain, or some other street gang, but instead it was an adult Yugi riding on Curse of Dragon and Joey on his Red Eyes Black Dragon. They were so relieved since the road was clear, unlike last year. Rick and the aliens were shocked seeing the spiky-haired kid mature so fast, but he explained it was all thanks to the sacred Millennium Puzzle he wore. He said that Yugi is only the modern version of the spirit that dwells within it. By the time he put it together, after receiving it from his grandpa, Solomon, Yami's soul was released and the monsters came to life. There were numerous card duels, yet they had time to venture into the universe of intergalactic racing, which was how they met the elusive masked man, Falcon. They were involved in several missions such as rescuing some pilots, dealing with Black Shadow's schemes, and see him win a few challenges. Currently, Yami is trying to put together a more personal riddle of his very own.

They finally reached the gateway to Lightning with Falcon leading the pack. They came across a very familiar site as he, Tinsel, and the Duelists passed an active tower. It belonged to one of the power plants that's capable of housing the planet's energy. The memories of escaping it and saving Jody flashed into their minds. Thankfully, it wasn't ready to explode this time, and the areas surrounding it weren't destroyed. It was pretty fascinating to say the least. For Joey, there were some images of him chasing the Blue Falcon with a speed-sensitive bomb attached to it while riding his Black Dragon. Still, the two card specialists never stopped worrying about the demon since the night they first met him.

Tinsel was sorry she never got involved in the Battle City nor the quest for the legendary Dragons, since searching for the Task Force was her biggest priority. Still, they forgave her. Besides, the battles they fought weren't for the faint of heart anyway. And neither was this course.

The circuit itself was just several miles away. And despite the fatal lightning, Falcon assured the newcomers that as long as they stayed close to the ground, they won't get struck. Once they get to the track, it's unlikely anyone would get electrocuted since the technicians were kind enough to absorb the storm thanks to some very tall rods conveniently located throughout. No matter how high the pilots would go, they won't get hurt as long as the tracks didn't enter the stratosphere.

The Task Force would love to cheer them on, but they were never that foolish on being inside the arena. Many of the seats were already booked so very few of them were available. The Duelists were lucky enough and they were their only means on keeping the finalists safe.

It was almost like deja vu for them, as well as for Falcon and Tinsel, as their minds shifted back to the Grand Prix last year. Even the disturbing sights of the Black Bull, the Fire Stingray, and especially the Hell Hawk. The intense rumbles of thunder and sudden flashes of lightning made the stadium even more terrifying.

"We must win this." Rick muttered, he, too, was just as nervous.

"We cannot let Black Shadow and his thugs have their way." the captain added. "Quickly, into our machines. Yugi, Joey, watch us closely from the bleachers; we will need backup."

They nodded and ran to them just before they were instantaneously packed by hardcore addicts.

Pilots were piling in, and no one saw Black Shadow enter his machine. Rick managed to observe a conversation with Miss Killer and the champion's carbon copy.

The roar of the audience was just enough to go over the harsh, deep booms.

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and fans from all worlds. This is it, the final challenge, here at Lightning!" Mr. Zero said. "This will be an exhilarating competition as each one of our top pilots will fight for the glory of the Championship! Whoever wins may also take the title as this year's Grand Prix Champion. The winner will be decided just as soon as the results are tallied for this course alone. So, sit tight, and root for your all-time favorite racers; they'll need all the support they can possibly get. It's game time, winner takes all!"

The signal began just as soon as there was a strike directly on top of the stadium itself!

The race started with a couple dash plates, which the racers were clearly fighting over. It was no surprise with the Fire Stingray and the Green Panther. Of course, they had to be aware of the sharp right turn, followed by another dash. By that 90-degree angle, all machines battled it out with their spin and side attacks. The conflict was incredibly fierce, however, there was no fret since there was a pit area ahead. All the competitors had to be aware of the bold arrow signs, otherwise there was a risk on falling off the circuit upon every hair pinned turn.

Then another right turn and a long straightaway enabled the vehicles to be neck and neck, especially the Silver Comet and the Moon Shadow which made a few nudges. The Twin Noritta remained at the rear, and there were still no signs of the ominous Black Bull. Another speed boost awaited them and the Dragon Bird was lucky enough to take it. Then another right turn made the machines turn sharply, almost as if they were drifting. The Falcon, next to the Dragon, took the boost, the course narrowed, and there was a jump with searchlights surrounding it to make it easier to see upon descent, followed by another sharp right. The machines clustered and it was unclear who took the next boost. They were in full throttle as they approached the pit area, and then met a right curve, followed by another skinny track, and a longer jump. Most of the machines lifted the nozzles to have a longer leap, including Tinsel's. She was starting to think James' technique has really paid off since it allowed her to get ahead of the other racers.

It didn't seem to last, though. There was yet another speed boost, a sharp left curve, and a pit area that swerved from side to side, making the pilots bump into each other constantly as they fought over the regenerators. After a few technical left turns and another dash, they finally reached the goal, and their Boosters were activated, making the war rage as much as the endless storm.

"The nine pilots have survived the first lap. But the battle had just begun!"

The Twin Norrita passed their first opponent, who deliberately slowed its pacing. "Agh! It's the Blood Hawk!" Shioh shrieked.

Gomar reasoned his partner, "Yeah, but he doesn't seem to be attacking us. Why? He's only letting us pass through."

Meanwhile, the rivaling space pirates were at each other's throats as soon as their machines caught up. They were acting like a couple of rumble fish, as they fought one another as soon as they saw their enemy. Both the Stingray and the Panther clashed together.

"Ergh, I need to win this race because I have to beat Falcon!" Goroh roared.

"Too bad, old buddy! You gotta deal with me!" Guster snarled back.

"Since when was I your 'old buddy?!' You always sabotage my bounties, no matter where I go!"

"I don't sabotage your bounties, I destroy them! That's the fun part!" It was no question why he had the nickname Dynamite Guster. "You really think Lisa would appreciate someone who's so dull? Who never enjoys life and isn't passionate on what he does? I'd be bored out of my mind.

"And how dare you go behind my back at the Takoran Moon while we both captured Lord KImbo!" he ranted "I was the best, I was the one who helped you in your time of need! You can't do anything right by yourself. You can barely win against Falcon, and you lost to him, a woman, and a dog recently. What kind of thief are you exactly? I forgot." he said sarcastically.

"Goddamn you, Guster!"

Because of their wrath, the racers avoided the conflict and they both broke down, since they were too busy fighting each other instead of winning the race. There were just some things Rick, Falcon, and the others shouldn't be involved with, and couldn't be resolved.

A red hue surrounded the reckless Blood Hawk as it spun at the speed of sound! Blood Falcon was closing in on his opponents, and his first target were the Furikakes. They saw the spectacle and they tried to be as misguiding as they could, attempting to outmaneuver and confuse the madman. However, the Blood Fire was too fast and powerful for them! Not even the enhancements from the Big Fang weren't enough for the Dark Reactor Might. The duo-driven device was spilt in two and smithereens flew and spun across the course. They've been disqualified, just as the clone intended, and perhaps killed.

"Oh no! Gomar! Shioh!" Tinsel never saw anything like it. "You'll pay for this you brutal, power hungry bastard! Booster Fire!" She yanked the stick back as far as it could and her Comet was engulfed in a turquoise flare! She activated it just before the Hawk caught up. Like two Beyblades, they hit and bounced off each other. On a slight curve, they leaned in and tried to push the other person off. Just then, flashbacks from yesteryear's race were re-entering Tinsel's mind: she was in Mute City and Blood Falcon and Black Shadow miraculously took the lead. It wasn't easy distracting the other pilots, but she and Falcon made their way. The clone was ruthless as he bashed into the Comet. It was running low on energy as her power was draining rapidly from the Hawk's brutality. After all, it's body was one level stronger. As she was at his mercy, she eventually saw a sharp right turn. Then, she shifted back to the present. Being her grip was a few levels higher than his, while her other stats remained the same as the foe's craft, it was easy for her. When they were still accelerating, she slammed on the brakes, and the result caused the Hawk to fall through the guardrails. The Comet returned to normal, and she took a deep sigh of relief. But the Moon Shadow was close behind, and another machine made her cringe.

The Black Bull showed up on the last lap, in all its sinister glory. Falcon was the first to lay eyes on his old nemesis, and he warned his partner he was coming. Rick wasn't that intimidated about it, when he realized the machine wasn't as destructive as everyone feared it to be. He had some intel before the race thanks to Clank. It was heavy but just as tough as tons of titanium alloy. "The Black Bull seems to have decent cornering, and is very strong. But he's really slow."

As if hearing his remark, Black Shadow countered, "Apparently, I'd underestimated you. But soon you'll be playing the fool, Wheeler. If I can't win the race, I might as well destroy everyone and everything! I'm here to eliminate any obstacle in my way and take the Championship. And I do mean, anything! Victory shall be mine! Black Fire!" The Moon Shadow and the Silver Comet saw the bright, dazzling violet spark closing fast.

He was gaining up on the two leaders, putting the captain at unease. Since the Dragon Bird was behind the Blue Falcon, he sustained some damage first as they immediately used their own Booster Fires.

Back Shadow was astonished by the results, "You both withstood my attack."

"What's the matter? Used up all your trump cards? Without that Speed Booster, the Dragon Bird and the Blue Falcon are still on top!"

The Emperor of Brutality just gleamed at him. Falcon just shown a frightening expression. "Rick, don't get so brash! Remember what I said about him using two-"

"Black...Fire!" The same spectacle happened again!

Rick went into shock, "No way! But how?!"

"What?!" The Duelists couldn't believe what they were seeing!

"What's happening?!" Lucy screeched as she watched from headquarters.

"Shouldn't a Reactor Might be used once per race?" Jack wondered.

"Rick! Falcon! Look out!" Clank cried, cowering beside Gazelle.

In the far distance, Tinsel and the Furikakes saw it happen again. "Falcon was right, after all. He warned him this would happen! Oh Rick!"

The extraterrestrial known as the Commissioner was also watching the race at an office somewhere on Earth. "The race must be stopped! We have to save the pilots! This is highly unorthodox!"

So far, the Bull was closing in more and more on the Dragon, and the Blue Falcon escaped as the racer deliberately went off course. The Falcon Flyer was there waiting for him. He pleaded Rick to jump but he was pretty stubborn since he wanted to finish the race instead. As a result, he was hit by the second Black Fire in an explosion! The villain mentioned his Bull had TWO Reactor Mights installed within each of its indestructible horns, hence two chances for the Black Fire. They reached across the finish line but the collision caused the Dragon Bird to flip and collide onto the course, rendering Rick unconscious.

Everyone watching had a loss for words and were completely frozen in fear, even Mr. Zero. "This...this was just horrid. On how a single trusted pilot could cause that much killing and destruction... It's unclear who won. Did Rick Wheeler and the Dragon Bird survive?"

The devil spawn showed absolutely no remorse as the Black Bull shot four sensors into the air while the storm was still raging! They formed a cube which seemed like a rip in the sky. The machine rose, ejected a pair of grappling hooks, and carried the Dragon Bird and the unconscious pilot aloft.

"Ah! They're gone!" the announcer said in utter horror. "What's...gotten into those two?!"

Tinsel, the Huckminers, the Duelists, and even those within the Task Force were so distraught. She and the aliens were caught off guard when Miss Killer aimed her Glock at the trio! "Tinsel Steelus. I finally have my chance to murder you. Although, you should be glad that Wheeler would still be alive."

Now, it all made sense. Clearly, Dark Million planned this right from the start! "What-what're are you..."

"It's time to pay back all the meddling you've caused us, on your futile attempts to reunite the Task Force. You hadn't succeeded since Jody and Dr. Stewart are still within our power, and soon Rodney." She clicked the gun. "Say hello to Baba, Bio Rex, and Zoda for us, you good-for-nothing skank!"

She was shaking from head to feet, as were the Furikakes. Their lives were coming to a sudden end all around them. They braced for the worst.

Just then, there was a shot. And the bullet ricocheted off the Moon Shadow. The Falcon Flyer soared over the scrimmage and Luna fired a few attempts. They did nothing and the bounty hunter aimed his own nozzles directly at her!

She withdrew her weapon, and just smiled. "Nice try, Falcon. I'll eventually plot my revenge on you. But right now I must meet Lord Shadow where he's holding our prodigal son. He shall become one of us again very shortly, and we will gladly see this through." She pointed to the group, "I will finish you all off after that!" Then she cackled and faded away along with her car.

"NO!" Tinsel screamed, tears burst in her eyes, and she sunk on all fours. Thunder clapped incredibly loud as if the weather was also in turmoil. This was the thing she terrified the most. Were she and Falcon too late?

In a dark, quiet, spacious chamber Rick woke up and noticed he was caught in some large golden spider web. His arms were raised and cuffed above his sore body. "Unh. Ugh, where am I?!" He struggled to break the hold, until he heard a familiar voice.

"So, you're awake. It'd be less painful if you were still asleep." Black Shadow echoed, emerging from the darkness with Stewart and Jody close to each side. "Welcome back, Rick. I'm sure you are acquainted with this place by now."

"I remember it very well. I should've known you would bring me back here! What do you want?!" his voice rose with every sentence.

Black Shadow just sneered. "Why don't you ask your associates, then. They were the ones who helped me apprehend you. Ha ha ha."

"Ah! Jody? Doctor?!" He glanced at each of them, his body became numb with horror.

"Yes, Wheeler. It is us." the senior said.

"Long time no see." added the former captain.

"Ergh. If you're here to kill me, then you've done one hell of a job." Rick muttered.

"Oh no. That's where you are wrong." Stewart mentioned. "We actually want you to join us again. We have been waiting for this for the past several weeks, Rick. You do realize that Black Shadow is sparing your life for a reason..."

"Huh?" He couldn't understand his motives.

"Be grateful you aren't put on probation for all the orders you have broken, Wheeler. You may be a traitor, but we are willing to give you a second chance." Jody said, her face like stone.

"Become one of us, as a vital part of Dark Million. Your lover would be pleased." the ruler of evil said.

"No! No way in Hell! I won't be recruited as your loyal subject! Never again!" he refused the offer.

"I have been thinking on ways on dealing with you, Rick Wheeler. Our talented colleagues like the Skull, Miss Killer and Zoda gave me the perfect plan to do so. It was experimental, but since the dark solution worked temporarily on Tinsel, that was when we strived." Rick's eyes widened, remembering the incident while she was training in the Hovercraft Hub at Tortiz 3. "So, I began my search for the six Reactor Mights; I'd found all three containing Darkness, and by the time you were vulnerable, we made our move upon the Task Force. By exposure, they were as weak as kittens in a litter." After 150 years and his resurrection, he then realized that Rick was a powerful force to be reckoned with. To tip the scales against Captain Falcon.

"The time has come. Not in our dreams, of course." Stewart mentioned, "I had made a reversal for the effects of the agent. Since it was able to enhance neurological functions, it would be merely impossible. Lord Shadow himself has the right idea. The brain is 77% water, making it the flawless method for him to manipulate the minds of his victims. Not to mention, he's used the Dark Reactor Mights while creating it."

"Oh, and at that time, you came to terms of the death of your loved one, Haruka. With an empty vessel and no spirit to inherit, it was easy to control. You two will be reunited as you are both shrouded in darkness. One. Happy. Couple."

"So that's what this is all about!" With all his strength, Rick broke free from the web, but Jody instantly aimed her Glock straight at him. "I don't want to hurt you, Jody. But if I have to kill Black Shadow, and avenge Haruka's death, I will!"

"I assure you, you won't have to." Miss Killer emerged. "Haven't you forgotten our bond, Rick?"

"Don't bother; we don't have time to play with you." the captain stated.

"My son has already found his place. We will be a family no longer torn by grief, like father like son. As would you with her." Stewart motioned to a stasis tube filled with a pink-peach liquid, then to Luna.

Black Shadow's body illuminated, then he released a binding energy rope of sorts that entangled Rick in. "You, the Task Force, and the remaining Reactor Mights will soon be mine once more. When they are, my precious dream will be realized!"

He used his kinesis to lift the helpless racer and throw him into another tank that appeared from the floor. It was empty, and the hatch sealed shut. "Black Shadow! You won't get away with this!" Rick shouted angrily.

It began to fill up. The strangest thing was, he could still breathe despite it being difficult from his pounding heart. Dr. Stewart marched up to him and laid a hand on the glass. "Rick, calm yourself. This will be over shortly, no harm will befall you. You are with us now." Somehow, he felt himself being soothed by his words. Then again, when was the high mind ever wrong. He started to get more and more placid.

"You'll be put into a deep sleep while your mind will be wiped clean." Jody added. "Making you the perfect pawn without any resistance. Never to remember the life you'd lost."

"I believe this is what you truly desire... Isn't it?" Black Shadow marched toward the pair. As he gazed at him, Rick sunk deeper into the trance.


"You were born with a traumatic, inescapable past. Having to bear so much pain and sacrifice, alone against such a dark fate. You've walked a hard path. Just as I did." Miss Killer added.

"I don't..."

Black Shadow's voice became deeper as it softened, while he spoke in a sort of rhythmic tone. "Lean back, and cleanse your mind. Leave this all to us now... Relax, Rick... Relax... Relax... Relax for a while...and serve us."

The influence was successful as Rick's heavy body and mind began to slip away while his pupils enlarged. He began closing his eyes. His head drooped and his eyelids moved rapidly.

Rick! A vehement voice echoed in the darkness.

"Who's there..?" he said groggily.

Rick! He heard it again, urging him to awaken. Yet, he was very weak that he didn't realize it belonged to Falcon.

You can be so dang stubborn, you know that, Wheeler? You should just rely on us for now. Rick saw Jack lying over him at the bedroom back in headquarters.

We wanted you to know... If you work together, you can accomplish anything. Gomar and Shioh chorused at a racetrack.

You don't win when you're lucky. You win when you're bold! Falcon said inside the Blue Falcon racing along the Mute City course.

Then, he had glimpses on the faces of Leon shaking his hand, then Lucy, Rodney, Beastman, EAD, Clank, Gazelle, Draq, Burt, and even...

You're the only one who can do this, Rick! Do not let your heart be tainted again. Haruka stated in the captivating heavens.

Just then, his fists clenched, his body was glowing with a shade of cinnabar then disappearing subsequently.

Come back to us. Don't give up. I believe in you! Tinsel encouraged as she looked up into the sky, straight at him. Then his eyes shot open. "Eeerrgh...Aaaahhh!"

"What?! How can this be?!" Black Shadow witnessed the sudden change within him. Jody and Stewart were at a loss for words. Miss Killer's jaw dropped and she stepped back a few inches.

They heard him scream at the top of his lungs and burst out of the tank, spewing the liquid everywhere! His body was brightening more as he was utilizing energy from his Reactor Might nearby. It was almost like he turned into a Super Saiyan!

Black Shadow used indigo volatile energy from his Dark Might. He released it and the onslaught covered the victim's body, yet somehow Rick, through his rage, was more powerful when he deflected it! It was enough to blind the entire chamber, and also burn away some of the demon's face! He held it in brutal agony, almost as if it was covered with corrosive acid!

Soon, the aura dissipated and after several deep breaths Rick summoned the machine. "Dragon Bird!" As if it was anthropomorphic it responded instantly, appearing right next to him. While his enemies were still immobilized, Rick glanced at the remaining tank that trapped Rodney. He punched around it, until the lid opened and the fluid spilled out. He grabbed and laid him over the shoulder. Then he was about to approach his car.

"Rick! Rick!"

A male and a female yelled for him in the distance. Their machines emerged as they collided with a bunch of Death Soldiers, and immediately stopped beside him. The Blue Falcon and the Silver Comet's pilots urged him to hop in and follow them out while he still can.

"Let's go, Rick!" Tinsel replied with a thumb up.

"Can you keep up?" the captain asked in delight. Rick smiled and automatically obliged.

They all knew how. "Booster...Fire!" All three vehicles crashed through a wall within the violet halls and they floated into the voids of deep space; thankfully they had the G-Diffusers as it was their only means of survival. After a few comforting seconds they were caught by a tractor beam! Tinsel unleashed her ice jets, freezing the bright amethyst hue, then the bounty hunter snapped his finger, indicating the Falcon Flyer to catch them in its maw.

By the time they escaped, Black Shadow rose while still covering the injured side of his face. Jody, Stewart, and Luna also recovered and surveyed the damage.

"My son... He has escaped." the mad physician realized in dismay.

"I'm afraid we may have underestimated Wheeler." Jody concluded, her voice as cold as ice.

"As with Falcon and Tinsel." Miss Killer added. She then shifted toward her incapacitated master. "Lord Shadow?"

By hearing his name, he stood up while holding the left side of his face. His hand was just enough to cover the residue of Rick's Reactor Might. "Indeed..! We may've miscalculated him." He faced his troops in earnest and with a grimace. "Rick is an issue. As long as he has his friends by his stead. I believe we would be no match for him. Unless..."

Everyone changed their expressions. "Yes, I see your plan." Jody was the first to speak. "We must rid of his supporters first and foremost. We will start with the one he holds the most dear. Then, it would be a cinche from there. Falcon will be next, but we have to remain cautious. Then, the Reactor Mights will be ours for the taking. And lastly, so would Rick."

"We must also use some tactical force against his friends in the Task Force, and perhaps the Commission." Stewart said.

"The device should be almost ready." Luna boomed. "Is it, Lord Shadow?"

He managed a weak smile to his compatriots. "Soon enough. Jody, Doctor, follow Miss Killer's lead. We have some...persuasion to accomplish here..!"

All three bowed in submission. "Yes, Lord Shadow!"

Back on Earth, the base received a signal. The Central Chamber picked it up. And the squadron saw Rick flash on the screen, holding his own key fob. "Jack? Clank? Can anyone hear me?"

Everyone looked up and cheered. They were so glad he made it out in one piece. "I'm coming home. We have some planning to do, our main objective now is to fight back against Black Shadow, and rescue the doctor and the captain. I have Tinsel, Falcon, and Rodney with me. Stand by for re-entry."

His friends cried out in glee once more as he ended the message. Thank you, everyone! he thought gladly.

Tinsel sat beside him on the couch while Falcon was watching and controlling the space craft. He looked back and listened on the conversation. The couple looked in each other's eyes before they embraced. She took a deep sigh and her body was trembling. Rick soothed her with every caress and word. "It's alright, Tinsel. I'm alright..."

His warmth and security comforted her gradually. "I-I was worried sick about you. I never thought you'd still be alive, or even yourself again."

They parted. "I actually wouldn't have made it if it wasn't for you."

Her head shot up; she couldn't believe what he just said.

"You and Falcon saved me, Tinsel. You were a light in the darkness. You gave me the strength I needed to resist Black Shadow and help me save Rodney. I saw my friends appear before me, then Haruka, then you.

"I know now that I'm no longer alone when facing Dark Million. You've all been there for me. And I will do the same."
After a kiss on his cheek, "We're always here for you, Rick." Tinsel whispered. Then, suddenly, her face changed. "Wait, what about the Championship? Who won the race? Who won the Grand Prix?"

His face lowered. "That..? I don't know. I can't tell who actually won in Lightning. Either me or Black Shadow...I don't know."

"We'll be approaching the Earth's atmosphere. Sit tight." Falcon announced.

Once they did, they entered the base. Gomar, Shioh, Yugi, and Joey immersed with the crowd. The trio were greeted by everyone, receiving some tight squeezes and a few pecks from Lucy and Leon. When they finally gave them some leg room, Rick was all smiles. Burt offered "the usual" to him. "It's been tough on you, hasn't it? Enjoy."

Rick held his head in awe. "I-I have so much to tell all of you. I don't even know where to start!"

Falcon laid a hand on his shoulder. "Why don't you start from the beginning, after the race."

Rick nodded. "Okay."

A/N: Alright, not gonna lie, this was a ripoff from Lap 47 from the Japanese anime; some people might think this is too soon, but the scenario was too intense to pass up. Besides, it was Rick's chance to finally deal with Black Shadow personally. The rest will have to be brought up later.

There were some Lightning circuits in other installments, not just in GX where it debuted. Volute was from GP Legend, and Loss Landing was from Climax. Also, I really despised Chapter 7 in Story Mode; it was one of those scenarios that I never wanted to play again, as it was nearly impassable. Blood Falcon, Black Shadow, and the other racers always made it so unforgiving, as did the hazards. No wonder Ephraim225 lost it.

The question remains, who won the finals and the Championship? Why was it a split victory? Could it be Rick, or Falcon that took the winner's circle overall? Did Black Shadow prevail as he collided into the Dragon Bird? Even I'm not sure; that may be revealed once the fic is done, and I don't think it'll be over by Christmas. The pacing isn't very favorable, despite the camaraderie of my collaborators. See you all next time.


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Lap 16

Clank invited Rick and Tinsel to the Falcon House. He said he had something very special he wanted to show them, particularly to a certain someone who had slept for 150 years. While Gazelle was cleaning up the place, and Burt was setting up the diner for more patrons, Rick received a photo of his last race at the Big Apple tournament inside a diary from Clank.

"So, this must be your girlfriend, Haruka."

Rick became worried, "But, why was this in Alias' home?"

At some point, Clank knew Alias and became close friends. Both Rick and Tinsel were shocked he was the same kid that was about to receive heart surgery. And the same one that received the stolen medication from Goroh and his thugs on the first day she even met Rick. But before all that, as well as prior to Clank's father being killed, Alias showed the young geek an ancient golden journal from a secret room, which according to him housed many strange things. The book contained some secret info involving Haruka.

"Alias' mom said it was related to you, so she wanted you to have them. Perhaps, Alias was Haruka's grandson..?"

"It can't be." Rick startled. "Haruka said she never had any relatives. She and Alias don't seem to have the same last name."

"Sounds coincidental." Burt said.

"Haruka..." Rick's mind drifted away for a short while, until Clank said he offered to take a peek.

"Hey, this is Rick's business. This was made from 150 years ago. The same time period he had lost! It wouldn't be right if you were to snoop into it. Didn't you know that a journal is private?!" Tinsel said scornfully.

"I was the one who found this diary! Let me check!"

"I'm afraid she's right, Clank." the boss's words made the boy lower his head. "It's best if we take it with a grain of salt; we should mind our own business."

"But...Haruka looks a lot like Miss Killer."

"We know. Rick already knew... Ever since he saw her kindred spirit after his mind was restored." Tinsel looked over at him for a second, then he just got up and went, nearly bumping into the janitorial bot. "He must have a lot to think about after finding this. I sure hope he'll feel better in time. Maybe it'll give him some more insight on what happened after he was put into cold sleep."

She sighed, and eventually exited after breakfast. The Dragon Bird was still in the parking slot, and Rick was deeply enamored. She briefly glanced at him, then she walked to the Silver Comet.


She abruptly stopped. Rick called to her and he wondered if he could share his findings with her.

"Uh...sure, ok. You really want to do this?"

"I'm positive. You helped me deal with the scars I've had, and saved me from Dark Million twice. I really owe you a lot, Tinsel." She accepted his request. "Come, we can both start reading this at Memory Park."

She followed Rick's vehicle to the designated area. The field was looking over the clear river and the Brooklyn Bridge. He said it was where he was going to propose to Haruka, and he spent most of his time there just reflecting the moments he spent with her. On a bench, they sat.

He removed the slab and looked inside. The writing was almost like chicken scratches but in plain English. As Rick read Haruka started with a person named Rose, and she happened to be a close friend.

The blond introduced her to Rick during a race. Haruka said it was destiny that'll bring them together.

"So, it was destiny that led me to her. At that time, I didn't win any races; I was only an amateur."

He said she and he first met while he was starting out.

At one time he lost royally and he was so furious that he slammed his own Formula One helmet on the ground within a worn-down garage. Haruka marched in and held it up. Hearing the stilettoes, he opened his eyes, "You..."

"Yes, it's me. Don't give up."

Haruka kept giving him advice and encouragement since she, too, had a gift on racing. And little by little, they began to bond. Tinsel recalled they used to compete each other, but not during tournaments.

Just then, a flood of memories entered his mind: from the day on a peaceful, balmy cruise; to his victory during the New York Cup.

He remembered it strongly as he gained the upper hand while his opponents gave way as they ran out of fuel. He crossed the finish line first and he leapt out of the racecar as Haruka met him.

"You did it!" The crowd was going wild as they embraced each other.

A few hours later, the couple were sitting at a table overlooking the gleaming city. Two fine glasses of red wine were laid.

"You were amazing out there today, Rick." Haruka said cheerfully.

"Thanks, Haruka."

"One more win, and you'll be the top winner of the year!"

"We'll see." Rick said enthusiastically. "There are a lot of great racers out there, Haruka. And my luck can't hold up forever."

"It's not luck, Rick. You're the hardest working driver on the circuit. You deserve to be number one." It's no wonder since she's been with him day in and day out. He was always maintaining his car and practicing tirelessly to keep the gears in check, and beating his personal best times.

"Thanks. That means a lot." He couldn't have felt more fondly.

"Everybody feels the same way I do."

"I couldn't have gotten this far if it wasn't for your encouragement, Haruka." This was mostly true since she was the one who was always at his corner, win or lose. She was not only like a supporter to him, but also his topmost rival giving him some pointers.

"That's sweet."

"Haruka...winning the championship would be great." Rick reached out and grabbed her hands. She returned the pressure since he was serious but hopeful. "But I got my sights set on a much more important prize." They looked deep into each other's eyes.

And then, his heart hurt a little as he recalled the walk down to the jewelry store.

It was close to a cinema, and Haruka just saw a window sale of a mannequin hand showing a ring with a delicate diamond shining from it. She suggested it would make the perfect gift, whether Rick qualifies or not. He assented it and they walked off. Late that night, just as the outlet was closing up, he bought it and been wanting to save it for a very special occasion.

"At that time...I was going to propose to her after the Championship, until..."

Haruka was standing at the same spot where Rick and Tinsel are. She was very curious on why he asked her to stay there. After waiting a couple hours, she wondered, "Where could he be? Hmm..." Just then, her cell rang. She immediately picked it up, "Rick, are you playing hard to get?"

He was inside his police cruiser, waiting in a dark alley. With a smile, he replied, "I'm sorry, Haruka. I'll be right there." The signal went dead, and her face disappeared. "We got cut off." He closed it and put it aside. "Well, no problem." He took out his ring and stared at its magnificent luster. "This will make up for it."

"Attention all units! Attention all units! Suspect 7162413 is driving a brown sedan, heading for the Brooklyn Bridge!" Rick got a call from the precinct. It described a man as armed and dangerous. He just escaped from a nearby maximum security prison, and putting the details together, Rick had a picture of a crazed inmate who looked as if he'd busted out of a nuthouse. Putting aside Haruka for the moment, and thinking he'd be heading straight toward her-

"I can't believe it. That's Zoda!" Rick went on the hot pursuit as soon as he'd say his name. He followed two other police units who gave away from his constant firing. His semi-automatic stuck out of the window and he kept looking back till he saw Rick. "Zoda. You're insane!"

"I wouldn't be so sure about that. YOU'RE the crazy one if you try to catch me!" The criminal laughed hysterically, then he ducked back inside. They soared through a ramp, and after about five minutes, he finally had enough. Rick's skills as a professional racer was barely futile. "Heh heh heh. You win...the door prize!"

After a sharp turn to the right, he maniacally kept shooting at his own door! By the time the hinges were destroyed, he kicked at it with such force that he sent it flying... And it was heading straight toward Rick's windshield just as soon as he made it!

Through the hair-pinned corner, Rick nearly lost control. Then, by the time he looked up, he was frozen stiff. He couldn't anticipate what was flying directly at him! His face was covered with shards of lethal glass, as was his body while the debris rained on top of him! He was unable to stop the runaway cruiser, then he had a brief glimpse of...

"Haruka..." Her cheerful figure faded, as did his life. He suddenly sunk into total darkness.

"I didn't expect it to end this way... Since that night, I'd lost everything."

Wearing a somber expression, Tinsel leaned into him. "You didn't lose everything. Don't say that. Remember when you first met Jody and Dr. Stewart?"

A nurse was watching over him, as just minutes after he came to, she escorted him to a white room. It was from there where he met the high-flying medico and his associate.

"We still have the clothes you wore before you were put into cold sleep, Rick." he said. "But I think you'll find these a bit more up to date." There were two stacks: One to the left had Rick's green T-shirt and denim coat nicely folded on a table. There was also the velvet case consisting the engagement ring he left behind as well as brown sneakers. The one to the right, as the doc referred to, also had some folded clothing with a red T accompanied with a white necking, some boots, and crimson pants.

"My name is Jody Summer. I'm the leader of the Elite Mobile Task Force of the Galaxy Police. I'm glad you're back; Dr. Stewart says it was touch and go for a while. How do you feel?"

He made a self-examination, very surprised his wounds were completely healed and had no pain or stiffness. "I'm...ok..." He went over to the counter and opened up the ring box. He stared at it for a few moments, before that dream entered his mind when he was planning to slide that ring on Haruka's right finger. His eyes grew wide and he stormed out.

"Rick, wait! You took the wrong clothes with you!" Stewart cried.

"Rick, where are you going?" Jody queried authoritatively.

"I gotta go see somebody." He took off the white underclothes and dressed into his old attire. As soon as he was done, he followed the narrow hall to a spacious room which shown the perfect view of his own future!

"Hah! Where am I?!" The infrastructure was absolutely different from what he was used to. The roads were more confusing as they intertwined with each other, there was way more traffic down below, even the cars have changed drastically. The buildings were three times taller and looked more bizarre. Rick immediately kept following the passageway as he continued. "No! It can't be true!" It was then he realized he was in cryo-hibernation for the last century and a half! Plus, this place was currently known as Mute City, rather than New York.

"I soon began to realize 150 years had passed. Nothing was ever the same again. I...I had a lot to endure. I still couldn't believe Haruka transformed into an abomination before my very eyes..! I saw her that evening as clear as the brightest star."

His mind went back to that night when he met Sophia, who was believed to be hunted down by Dark Million.

She was later known as Miss Killer, also known as Luna Ryder, and she was sent by Black Shadow to slay Rick since he was the one who kept stealing his chances on retaining the prize money.

Rick was on his PC, frustrated on how to contact headquarters, until she snuck in from behind. "Would you tell me her name?" she asked in a soothing, sinister tone.

That struck a warm cord in him. "Her name was Haruka." Just as soon as he said it his chest had a deep, sharp pain, and his throat closed up completely. The air passages were blocked. "Ergh...I...can't...breathe..!" He fell on all fours, much to the lethal lady's delight.

"Good. The spell is working."

"What spell?" He faced his enemy.

"The spell that will destroy you!" She tossed off her clothing, revealing a suit of armor complete with a chest plate, shoulder pads, and leggings. "You sealed your fate when you said the name!" She even took a shiny dagger that gleamed in the dim light.

"You witch! Agh!"

He dove out of the way before Luna made her mark. He held onto the mattress, then leapt away again, leaving her to stab another blank. Rick was growing weaker by the second, and he was using a metallic drawer for support. But his weight and dissipating strength caused both of them to topple over.

"Don't move!" She flipped him onto his back and raised the knife aloft. "Now you'll be with your darling forever!" She drew it for his heart, and Rick grimaced and looked away. His eyes laid upon the fallen velvet case where the engagement ring was. It shimmered and for a moment, they both stopped. Rick stared in the eyes of Miss Killer as she struggled to drive the dagger through him. Even as he held her arm at bay, he wanted to believe there was just an ounce of good in her.

With his last ounce of energy, Rick managed to toss Luna back. She landed on her hands and gazed at her suffocating target. His vision was fading, and so was his life force, while he grew more blanch.

"Rick..? Rick?" From the commotion, Tinsel followed into his apartment. The first thing she saw was him, lying lifelessly on the floor. Then, there was the mysterious, deadly dame whom she saw jump through the large window. She landed on the roof of the Sonic Phantom, and they raced off into the darkness. Tinsel ran to her fallen friend and tried to revive him after she hurriedly put a pillow beneath his damp head.

Something else happened that she didn't know about.

"Rick. Rick!" As he thought he was dead, he heard a familiar, cheery voice call for him, then he saw a small light at the end of a tunnel.

He shielded his eyes after he went to it. It grew brighter until he was immersed into paradise. Beautiful clouds surrounded him, and beneath him. The air was calm and pleasant, and the sun shined gently on his skin.

There was Haruka, smiling at him.

"Haruka..?" He slowly approached her, and they embraced for a brief period of time. "I'm so glad to see you again after all these years..." He was so serene that his voice echoed his peacefulness.

"Rick..." her smile faded. "It's not your time."

He was at a loss for words after hearing it. It was as if his heart dropped and shattered. He waited for the last century and a half to be reunited with his long, lost love, and now this..?

"Don't worry, Rick. I will always stay with you. Just remember, that I'll be watching over you like I did before you slept. I promise, I'll see you again when the time comes..."

From that moment on, he knew that Luna wasn't exactly Haruka after all, even though she had a similar resemblance. And the engagement ring was proof. By morning he was looking out through a large broken window, admiring the fact that she would always be deep within his heart. "Thanks for looking out for me. And for this..."

That was a heartwarming feeling for Rick, knowing there was someone who loved him both living and dead, and that she was correct that Tinsel needed him; because quite frankly, he needed her, too. But that was when he also remembered what Haruka told him once. The woman before him was actually a falsity wearing the skin of a woman he once knew. So, he continued to look through the diary, and he came across the dark age, even for her.

The worn pages described Haruka still waiting faithfully for Rick at Memory Park during a sunset.

"Where are you, Rick? she wondered. Unfortunately, she got the answer on her cell from her close friend, Rose. They were taken to the ER, and she said they had to hurry in order for her to see him. She introduced Haruka to the guard of Room 3; she was desperate and he said, "they'd already started."

Haruka rushed in and saw Rick inside. His body was completely covered in lethal lacerations, to the point where the medics were doubtful on his survival. He was also encased in frost and ice. Haruka said it was the last time she ever saw him...

"Oh... I'm...I'm so sorry." Tinsel whispered.

He continued on.

"Rick, you'll be awakened in a new world, but I won't be there. So..." He couldn't finish, he dropped the diary on his lap, which slipped to the concrete. Tinsel managed to pick it up, and she read the rest for him, barely making the lettering out.

Much like Rick, even Haruka wanted to have revenge over Zoda. According to Rose, there was a trap in the East Bank set for him. There was a reward for Zoda's capture just as soon as after Rick was killed somewhat. There wasn't any news about the incident, it was as silent as that time when the Task Force went missing. Rose kept an instant freezing device inside, and warned the director. Rose told her not to do anything stupid.

A day later, the employer spotted him in a large covered van heading toward it. The place was empty, except for him and several thugs. Several small bots appeared then were shooting with ice beams in the Freezing Facility. Then, Haruka stepped in with a pistol drawn. Yet, she couldn't shoot him; she hesitated as it kept reminding her of Rick's tragic death, or so it seemed. Zoda was arrested and banned to Planet Alcatran where he was in permanent cold sleep, then so was Haruka after her own accident. The date of the death was when she was in cryo-hibernation.

Rose said Haruka stopped being a racing queen after Rick was in limbo, and Tinsel recalled him saying she was only 21 at the time.
Lastly, Rose wrote that she disappeared the night before and never returned. Then, that was when she left her last thoughts and feelings behind. Since then, as Rick would get out of cold sleep, he'll have this diary, and that was the last thing they both wanted.


That was the last of it. During the riot 150 years later, Zoda went first, then Haruka was resurrected by Black Shadow.

Tinsel wondered if Luna has to be killed. She recalled that after Rick woke up after the formula was inserted, he said that Haruka won't find peace unless Black Shadow's defeated, not just Zoda. Because she had a dark aura as she was pursuing the psychotic, the demon exploited that from her empty vessel; there may never be a reversal.

By the mid-afternoon as he finished reading Haruka's diary, Falcon went up to the duo. He asked if they were ready to fight Black Shadow and rescue Jody and Dr. Stewart. They obliged and he suggested to Tinsel that she should give Rick her own Reactor Might, as he may need it against him, or rather...Deathborn.

Upon the theory, Tinsel's face dropped. "Deathborn..? It was...Deathborn?! No! No way in Hell! You defeated him, and we only saw Black Shadow!" she said horrifically.

"Let me explain." Falcon, due to his keen eyesight and memory, noticed the silhouette was somewhat different. And half of Black Shadow's face was showing a skull after he was blinded and scorched by Rick's hidden strength and his own Reactor Might. It was actually a deformed Black Shadow, yet he only had a glimpse when the trio escaped with their own vehicles and the Falcon Flyer. The bounty hunter heard the same voice, but from that stunning sight, he put two and two together. He stated that he was the one responsible for everything, including brainwashing Tinsel and the Task Force.

"What're you talking about?! You mean it was him this whole time?!"


She sunk back onto the bench. She was pale and barely breathing. Rick tried to comfort her, still perplexed on what he just heard. "So, it wasn't Black Shadow after all. But, who is he?"

The captain was still the most calm, and he let it all out to his closest friend and pupil. "We first saw Deathborn after the Mute City Grand Prix last year. Tinsel and I won, and we saw Black Shadow get electrocuted, then disappear when we saw him." He described him as a cyborg of sorts, with a dark violet helmet and a long, large cape. He was about eight feet tall, and he was covered in elaborate armor. Falcon said he, Tinsel, and the Duelists were the first people to witness the murderous pilot personally. He was known as the "Champion of the Underworld" since he won the dark half of the Championship Belt, while Falcon won the lighter half. He defeated Deathborn within three fatal laps on his own course. It was fortunate he was never seen again, even though the meddling spirits said it was their "best creation." Until recently.

Rick grimaced, "T-that was what I saw when I touched the belt at your watchtower! Deathborn and that track. But, how can he still be alive? No one can survive after their machine has been incinerated in lava."

"There's more to it, Rick." Falcon unveiled about the Horrific Accident during the final challenge in the Grand Prix 13 years ago. At first it was rumored to be Pico due to his reckless driving and the fact he was an expert assassin. Everyone was wrong, and then they thought the culprit was Black Shadow, him included. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Police mentioned that several pilots hadn't actually died, but rather have gone missing, including the original owners of both Roger and Draq's machines.

"They were missing..? Then that means Roger and Draq can never find ownership for the Hurricane and Typhoon." Tinsel sulked.

"I've only said they had passed on because I didn't want to terrify them, thinking it was him." Falcon continued, saying that Deathborn has died three times, and each time he had his body parts replaced with mechanical ones, making him immortal. He believed it was the creator ghosts that kept repeating the enduring process. He wasn't sure if he would be gone for good this time, since he defeated his compatriots. They also installed a device that allowed Deathborn to travel freely through space. That means, he could mysteriously appear and disappear without any lifeform knowing it and he tends to exile anyone he despises into the vast reaches of the universe, making them as vagabonds that drift throughout eternity. Even worse still, is that he plans to destroy the universe by cindering it instantly. Rick heard him talk about it by utilizing the power of the combined belt.

Falcon described, "He's the one who commands the Dark Schneider. It's also known as the Wings of Darkness."

Tinsel and Rick glared at Captain Falcon, dreading the future knowledge they were about to gain.

"It has a brutal exterior, powerful boosting and a menacing defense system. For him, poor handling is hardly an issue. It was coveted enough that foolish souls tried to steal it. They instead found themselves stabbed with several poisonous needles. I assure you...this menace is not a joke. He is leagues above Black Shadow. It is absolutely important that you are completely focused and in control before you confront him."

"But, we only saw the Black Bull during the Championship. You're not making sense!" Rick protested.

"I think what he was trying to say is...Deathborn was Black Shadow in disguise so he could race in the overworld, and the Federation wouldn't suspect him. It's possible he owns both the Bull AND the Schnieder since he died supposedly!" Tinsel reiterated. "Deathborn's way WORSE than Black Shadow! Who knows, he could be here now!"

Falcon laid some tense hands on her quivering shoulders. "Calm down, Tinsel."

"That bastard..." Rick's fists clenched as he had flashbacks while he was in Dark Star. "I left Jody and Doctor at his mercy. And he was the one who controlled my friends, won the race, and used Haruka's empty vessel..." Falcon looked over to the self-guilty pilot. "I gotta stop him!" he cried and stormed from the bench, but Falcon prevented him from progressing further.

"Rick, is that what you really want? To choose death and approach the situation without a proper plan? You can't beat him, not like this! Trust me. You don't want to be slewed or tainted forever, do you?!" The detective hesitated. "If you make any attempt to kill him now, you will only be removing his only obstacle...yourself."

"I got to stop Deathborn at all costs! I mustn't let him dominate the entire universe and keep enslaving everyone! But..." The 150-year racer's throat was very tight. "I can't do this alone, Falcon. I need your help."

"In that case, I've come to a decision. Rick, you must bring the Dragon Bird to headquarters."

"What for?"

Lucy, Clank, and Gazelle put all their mechanic skills to the test. After exactly 24 exhausting hours, the Dragon Bird received one final upgrade to house both Rick's and Tinsel's Mights, since the Blue Falcon could hold only one. Falcon alerted Rick his car was finally ready, and when he entered the garage, he was ecstatic.

From what he saw, some sections had goldenrod decals upon its hood, and it's been enlarged. Tinsel followed suit and she gave a quick reading; she was surprised its stats are coincidentally the same as her Silver Comet after it received an enhancement by the Big Fang. Thanks to the addition of a second Reactor Might, its boost is greater, though its strength remained the same, and its grip had decreased, combined with an already sturdy hull making it even rivaling the champion's own craft. Since he was the one doing most of the work tirelessly, Clank declared it as the Dragon Bird EX.

"I would highly recommend you'd give it a thorough test drive before using it as a weapon to vanquish Deathborn." Falcon said.

"I-I will..!" Rick looked over toward the people who made the advancements. "Thank you, everyone."

"It was our pleasure, Rick." Lucy chirped, her face and suit covered in grime.

"Dr. Clash would've wanted it. It definitely was really cool when Falcon brought it up." Clank added, having a similar appearance.

"We should rest while Rick trains." Gazelle suggested.

"Yeah. I really appreciate what you guys have done. I can't wait to test it out." Rick said enthusiastically.

"It's too bad I don't have the Booster Fire anymore." Tinsel realized. "Does that mean I can't help you win over Deathborn? I almost did before." She remembered activating her secret weapon that she borrowed from Yugi. During the first lap as Falcon was racing him, he summoned the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. On the second lap, he took out two more, which combined into the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, just waiting for the time to strike. And on the final lap, he made it kill itself, resulting its essence to become stronger. From there, he now had the Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon! Unfortunately, she wasn't able to use it since Falcon crossed the finish line first just barely in one piece.

"You may not have made your move on Deathborn, but you can still help us, and the Duelists may pitch in as well."

"How, Falcon? How can amateurs like us stand up to him?"

"Well, you have a strong bond with Rick, so your efforts can be of some assistance, especially if he should fall under temptation. We'll try and see if we'd find a way to revive Tanaka and Rodney. But until then, we need to formulate a plan. With all three of the Light Reactor Mights, we'll be able to withstand the darker equivalences."

"Should I bring along the other pilots? Jack, Leon, Clank?"

"They would be supportive. However, I'm not certain about Burt Lemming due to his constitution. He may be of help if he were to revive Jody's deeper memories.

"Rick, you must stay alert. I know you've just unlocked the secrets involving Haruka. But you must stay sharp as you train with the new Dragon Bird and test your skills once we get to Dark Star. Is that understood?"

"Of course." he nodded.

"You may stay here for now. I must head back to base and see what the Falcon Flyer has picked up from the enemy stronghold. I'm leaving my fate in your hands."

"No problem, Falcon."

Rick, Tinsel, Gazelle, Clank, and Lucy witnessed him leave. Throughout the remainder of the day, he practiced as hard as he could with the other pilots at the old King League course. Although, Tinsel had this risky intake on taking on all the courses from that portion of the Grand Prix, excepting Tortiz 3. They agreed, and Rick managed to win every single one.

At last, he was able to return home. It was around 10pm and he headed to his flat. Before having some proper shut-eye, he glanced at the memos once more. He looked at the ring the most, and Tinsel asked what was wrong. Rick put the casing back and explained that Haruka will be his motivation to defeat Deathborn. Tinsel understood and he thanked her for the practice races she spent with him, as well as sharing the diary his deceased loved one left. As she tucked herself in, he then did something he never done before, he prayed as he bowed his head, folded his hands, closed his eyes, and whispered.

"Haruka, if you could hear me, please listen. I beg you, watch over us when we deal with Deathborn, Jody, Doctor, and Miss Killer. Please protect us, and stay within my heart. I promise...I will conquer Dark Million, help Falcon, and save the universe, for both of us..."

A/N: This tale was inspired by Lap 36 from the Japanese dub; I'm so miffed they never gave it an English dub as a) It gave a lot more backstory to Haruka as well as Rick's pasts, b) There were some flashbacks that were featured in GP Legend, including the tragedy, and c) It just gives the story more closure, which the American version sorely lacked! Again, this is why I'm writing this!

I still don't understand this: In the anime, it was shown from his Reactor Might that Zoda recollected the fact that Haruka was there with him at the bank. However, she didn't destroy him after she sworn to do. It said that Zoda was betrayed by her. Did that mean they used to work together at one point? Was there something that went bad, resulting in Rick's demise? Was Haruka actually willing to serve with Zoda? That's really unsettling...

I couldn't believe the anime ruined Deathborn's prowess. They made him as a chairman for the F-Zero Committee, and a pawn to Black Shadow; this was like role reversal. Also, we never see the awesome Dark Schnieder, nor do we use it in GP Legend or Climax, and worst of all Black Shadow's motives are nearly the same. In there, the demon said that his dream was to compress and incinerate the universe, born with evil. Doesn't that sound so familiar, as Deathborn said he'd do it by winning that fateful race against Falcon in GX? And since he would use the power of the Championship Belt, isn't it pretty similar since Black Shadow would achieve his dream by obtaining the six Reactor Mights? You know, as a way for gaining absolute power? Same agenda, but different methods; how cheap is that! Were they just running out of ideas and ended up bastardizing Deathborn? And the fact we can't even use him?!

With all resentments for TV Tokyo, FOX, and 4Kids aside, it was very astounding that the Dragon Bird EX has the exact same stats as the Silver Comet, both have BAC ranks. DAMN! It was definitely a coincidence, as I saw the stats after I made the upgrade to Tinsel's machine and I never had a chance to use the EX personally. Lousy game creators since they never released Climax at international shores, even though some of the text and the announcer are in translated English! Sorry, but I can't help getting so pissed on Nintendo's and Suzak's pitiful decision making. I don't care how unsuccessful GP Legend was.

The concept of the Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon was an idea I had after I saw "The Pyramid of Light." I don't remember much now, but by then, I was able to make it to the eighth chapter in Story Mode. I also owned a card displaying that monster, then I soon gave it away. It was undoubtedly the most spectacular duel monster I've ever seen, even more than Ra or Exodia. And I should thank RevivedRacer for the editing.

...Well, the secret's been unveiled that the real big bad is Black Shadow, but it was actually Deathborn in disguise. After going down heart-wrenching memory lane, Rick, Tinsel, and Falcon prepare to make their last stand against Dark Million. See you then.


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Lap 17

Tinsel was waiting in a massive, busy lobby. This one belonged to a place which was believed to be top-secret; Stewart actually shown Rick once after Jody was injured in a lethal race, and he promised him not to reveal anything about it. It was there when he found out she was a cyborg, and the location remained to be elusive against any possible threat. This was the only safe haven in mind since Rodney's hospital was invaded by Dark Million; it's supposed to be a place for cybernetic research, but Rodney's associates fled here for the sake of him and Tanaka.

Rodney has been taken to an ICU, and remained there for a few days. He hasn't woken up, not even during the escape from Dark Star. Tanaka was also there at a cot next to him, though he, too, was still in a coma since the crash during the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Tinsel was alerted by Rick that it was time to visit the patients. A security guard unlocked the quarantined room using an ID card. A scanner allowed them entry as the light turned green on the pad, and opening the door just a mere crack. They slowly went inside, with Rick leading the way. It was completely silent, and all they heard were monitors beeping as they examined their pulses. To Rick, he hadn't seen anything like it since he was in cold sleep, as well as seeing Jody as a half-robot.

The two pilots sat between Rodney and Tanaka's beds, somber and worried. They couldn't believe that Dark Million was able to inflict so much damage from within; the body was one thing, but the mind was a completely different, and fragile, can of worms. He had the most guilt when he looked back at the young physicist.

He laid a hand on his cheek. "This was all our fault. If we hadn't forgotten the formula and kept it safe for you, this wouldn't have happened. And you probably wouldn't be under your dad's or Deathborn's mercy. Please, pull yourself together and find your way out of the darkness... We all need you."

He hardly moved as he continued to gaze at his empty shell, excepting his hand as he caressed. Tinsel hopelessly closed her eyes. How could there be a way to revive them without Stewart's medicine?

Suddenly, Rick's hand began to warm; it was a soothing sensation to him. Then, he startled as it began to glow a vermilion shade. He looked and his palm brightened. Tinsel saw it as well. "Rick... This was nearly the same color you had when you busted out of that container. Why is it doing this..?"

A memory came to him when he was touching her after she succumbed to the intense dizziness when she learned the Booster Fire. Remembering how it awakened her and healed her headache, maybe...

He put it on Rodney's forehead and the thermal energy became hotter as it illuminated. Finally, the light dissipated, then Rick removed his hand. "What did you just do, Rick?" Tinsel wondered in astonishment.

"I has something to do with the Reactor Might. I remember the same warming sensation happen to me, then I felt my body ignite as it grew stronger. I was able to escape and break the trance Deathborn had on me. This was the same way how I was able to heal you, Tinsel. So, I thought this could also work on Rodney, maybe Tanaka."

Her eyes widened, "Wow. That's amazing. So, you're some kind of healer?"

"I think so. I have a Reactor Might of Light, this could work the opposite way from a Dark one. Whereas it could give a person strength than drain it." Rick knew all too well, although he was very uncertain. Both of them didn't want millions of people take advantage over his newfound skill.

They waited silently and patiently, until they saw someone's hands quiver. Then a weak moan escaped. Rodney took in some deep breaths, then his eyes slowly fluttered open. "Unh...Dad..? Dad, is that you..?"

Rick was the first to answer. "No, it's us."

Rodney's eyes cleared. "Rick? Tinsel? W-where's my dad?"

They sulked. "We couldn't save him. We were only able to get you out. There wasn't much time as Rick stunned Dark Million. So, he managed to have you instead." Tinsel explained.

"Captain Falcon helped us." Rick added. "The three of us escaped from Dark Star, and he revealed he was actually Deathborn in disguise."

"Who's he?" The two unveiled the bounty hunter's secrets; Rodney was completely agog. "I can't believe this. Deathborn was Black Shadow so he wouldn't be spotted while participating in the races. And my dad told me about the Horrific Accident my grandpa was in when I was young, that was really him." His face lightened, "Wait-did you win the Championship?!"

"We don't know..." Rick replied. "Not even the Committee is certain. As far as they know, it was either me or Deathborn in the Black Bull. He then took me in after I crashed along the course, thanks to the two Reactor Mights."

Rodney's heart raced. "Ah, he had two Booster Fires?! How?"

"His machine was stronger than mine, and that was why Falcon recommended to give Tinsel's Might to me. Lucy, Clank, EAD, and the Gazelle made some enhancements on the Dragon Bird."

Tinsel chimed, "They called it the Dragon Bird EX, and it has similar stats to the Comet now. Though, I may not use the ice beams since the Might has been given away."

"I see." Rodney glanced over to Tanaka, his temporary roommate. "What should we do with him?"

Rick suggested he should try and revive him the same way he did before. "I'm not sure if I could. Sometimes, it takes a lot out of me."

"Perhaps we should dine first so you could build up your strength; I could see why the process is exhausting."

"Ok, I guess we should take a little break. I'm sorry your dad's still up there, you must be anxious."

"I'm afraid for his life. Who knows since he's been under Deathborn's thrall for too long, and Jody." Rodney's expression changed as he grabbed Rick's hand. "You and Falcon are the only ones that can save them. Please find Jody and my father, and help them recover." Tinsel felt excluded.

"I...can't guarantee they'd return as themselves. But, I promise, I will defeat Deathborn, with all my heart."

"Thanks, Rick. I knew you're our last hope. Tinsel was right about you."

They soon left and told the guard Rodney was awake and as himself. His co-workers had never been any happier than now. It was only a matter of time before Rick would be able to regain his lost strength to heal the comatose Tanaka.

After what seemed like a few dragging hours, Tinsel saw the junior Stewart after he was examined by X-rays, MRIs, and EEGs. All his vitals seemed normal, however, there was a slight glaring detail.

"What happened?" she asked.

"Just a concussion..." Rodney concluded. "Though, it's a miracle as to how I recovered..."

"Indeed, it was." Because the formula was sabotaged by Dr. Stewart, Rodney relied on Rick to heal Tanaka. Later, Rick did, unfortunately, the director didn't come around as soon as Rodney.

By the time he did, Tanaka was actually his better self. He seemed to have a more serious, stone cold personality, rather than his meeker, cowardly version. He couldn't thank Rick enough for saving him. The last things he remembered were searching for the Reactor Mights, enhancing the machines and the Death Soldiers with Clash, then participating with Pico at the Death Wind course. He didn't remember the accident that occurred there, and he found out the winner hadn't been decided after the Championship, plus there was Deathborn which he barely recognized as he kept hearing about him through the Federation; he actually thought those were mere rumors when he heard of the missing pilots.

He actually recognized Tinsel, but he only recalled seeing a glimpse of her. He never put two and two together until now.

He had a flashback toward the time when Black Shadow attacked the Federation in Lightning. They fell prey to the villain, including him. Since the Wonder Wasp had poor defense, it wasn't effective offensively nor defensively, resulting Tanaka being struck down severely while it was hit. By the time Falcon showed up, he temporarily came to, alerting him Jody was still trapped within the power plant. He also saw the Silver Comet, and a large, creepy, spiky dragon with two mouths, sharp claws on its feet and hands, enormous demonic wings, and completely covered in crimson. The way he described it, Tinsel realized that was Slifer the Sky Dragon, Yugi's own Egyptian God. She wasn't there in Battle City, but she did see it for herself as the kid transformed into the pharaoh and went on the pursuit to aid the Blue Falcon. It was a decent choice, since it was known to be the fastest out of the trio.

During the chase, he lost consciousness again, until the power plant exploded. He awakened seeing the Blue Falcon emerge from the smoke and he was reunited within Jody's soft arms. He then wobbled as he escorted her back to the Wasp; the White Cat was obliterated, even his robotic companion, J-Love-1. Jody, however, took the wheel as she observed Tanaka going in and out. When they went to a hospital nearby, the head doctor stated that Tanaka had a concussion to his frontal lobe. He woke up within a month, and that explained why his personality changed...for the worst, in Jody's and Tinsel's opinions.

The damage to the frontal lobe would cause a person to have loss of attention, judgement, and decision-making skills. Patients could also have changes in personality, as well as displaying excessive actions accompanied with emotions. According to Rodney, this fitted perfectly. Thankfully, to him, he had a lesser impact than Tanaka.

"So, what're you and Wheeler going to do now?" he queried.

"We're planning to rescue Jody and Stewart; they're still up in Dark Star. I'm sure Deathborn will demand for the Reactor Mights."

"Of course, that's his main objective; just because this year's Grand Prix is over doesn't mean he'd stop at nothing. Wheeler and Falcon must be extremely careful. We can't let him accomplish his dream."

"Dream? You mean incinerating the universe instantly?"

"Yes, but only if he manages to collect all six Reactor Mights; so far he has the three Dark ones. He's also building a Reactor until then. I can't imagine what he'll do, but he must be stopped at all costs."

"Sure thing, Tanaka."

"Even though I hardly see you at my office, I'm sure you'll be of good use. You've my permission to invite your allies to our cause."

She nodded and grinned, "Consider it done, sir." She was so enthusiastic that Leon, Beastman, and the rest of the gang would have their shot on defeating Dark Million other than racing.

"Goody. I'll be back at headquarters asap. You'd best prepare yourselves."

While the director was still resting, Rick and Tinsel told their compatriots the news. Everyone was thrilled both Tanaka and Rodney were back in business. As well as astonished that Rick was able to heal both of them by the power of his Reactor Mights,
"It's not just the Reactor Mights that made him so powerful." They all looked up and saw Captain Falcon.

"Hey, what do you mean by that?" Jack greeted.

"Never mind that. We need to develop a strategy to infiltrate Dark Star and retrieve Dr. Stewart and Jody."

"I agree." Rick said. "What do you have in mind, Falcon?"

"The Falcon Flyer can lead us there, but we need some special weapons to assist us." Something occurred to him. "You remember Yugi and Joey, the two young, courageous Duelists that helped me and Tinsel on our past missions? Those you'd just seen at Lightning?"

"Of course. But how can they help us? I doubt the monsters could survive in space."

"Oh, they don't have to use just Duel Monsters; they also have cards they could use defensively as well. In addition, they have some Trap Cards that can be helpful."

"Trap Cards?"

"You'll see soon enough, Rick. They'd shown me what they were capable of as we ran a couple drills. Even though they aren't F-Zero racers, their skills are impressive and unique."

"Are you sure about this?" EAD questioned.

"I'm certain. They were able to help us get out of tricky situations." Falcon recalled all those times, from dealing with the Bloody Chain, to balancing the machine while he dethatched the bomb, to alerting the presence of Deathborn from the Millennium Puzzle, to standing up against the creator ghosts. "Never underestimate someone who has existed for 5000 years." he referred to the ancient pharaoh, Yami. That made everyone shocked.

"Where are they now?" asked Tinsel, who wasn't affected by the revelation.

"They should be near the King League course. We should head there now before Deathborn makes his move."

"I'll probably get Burt and Clank, they could be of use to us."

"Good plan, Rick. I think we'll practice our plan as soon as we get together."

"But, someone's gotta watch over the base." Lucy added.

"I believe that's where Tanaka might stand. I fear the worst for Andy, as he had cheated death. Roy should be a valuable asset, too."

"Alright, so by the afternoon, we should be on our way." the detective suggested.

Rick left on the Dragon Bird EX while Tinsel looked for the two duelers on her Comet.

She investigated the deserted track. The only things that stood out were the active landmines littered over the wide curve, as well as a few burning craters from the destroyed ones. Everywhere she looked, there was no sign of Yugi nor Joey. Not a single trace or clue caught her eye, not even their Duel Discs or their massive decks, nor the sacred Puzzle the kid wears. By the time she made her first round, she decided to exit the cockpit to take a closer look. A lot of times, they would hang out on a guardrail at a safe portion of the circuit. There was still nothing left behind.

"Tinsel," Jody said, with a frown turning upside down.

"Jody." Her expression became stern. "What the hell are you doing here? Where's Yugi and Joey?!"

The captain summarized that they saved her. She once posed as a damsel in distress, with them saving her from a horde of robots. The Death Soldiers were coated in grey and golden metal. Those robots possessed the G-Diffuser system, powered by Tanaka. Since he worked as a mechanic, he was just as promising as Clash was. Thus, he made these drones more advanced to retrieve the Reactor Mights. The Death Soldiers piloted their own machines known as the Hel Hoverers which had an orange-yellow appearance and had poor body strength, but a decent boost and grip. The crafts were round and had dome-like heads for the cockpits, and the toothy smiles, blank eyes, and the button noses were located in the front.

Various monsters were used such as Kuriboh combined with the Multiply card, which made a few of the swarms explode. Joey's Flame Swordsman equipped with the Legendary Sword was used as a melee fighter, slicing any enemy that crossed their path. Yugi's Dark Magician Girl assisted him with her spells using her wand, and his Top Hat Card made her abilities more powerful. Unfortunately it wasn't enough since they were agile and swift to make up for their weakness. So Joey summoned the Baby Dragon in conjunction with the Time Wizard. The clock mage rewound its arms, affecting the bots' extreme speed. Then the arms switched and turned clockwise rapidly. Both monsters soon began to merge and the creature transformed into the Thousand-Year Dragon. Yugi teamed up with Slipher, putting an end to the final wave and leaving none of those goons behind. The pair were a bit unfortunate since they attacked in a safe location, rather than where the landmines were.

As soon as their backs were turned, however, they got stunned by Jody's ray gun, shocking the guys on contact. Finally, they were taken to another location.

"You want to save the Duelists? Then, all I need is for you to help me pull the trigger on one simple simple Super Arrow. That's all you have to do-"

Tinsel stared at Jody, her mouth agape. She was never a fan of the pseudo-superhero, and she did keep recalling how Stewart described him as the "zero in F-Zero." But. killing Super Arrow with a specially-powered bullet would rip him from Mrs. Arrow's heart. She knew Rick was already one to suffer such a horrible fate, knowing a puppet contaminated Haruka's form and losing everything he cared for thanks to Zoda. She then thought back to all the evil Dark Million visited upon her and her allies. With a powerful, unforeseen backhand, she cracked Jody's jaw.

She yelped and dropped to her knee. She couldn't believe what she saw. Blood, on her knuckle. Growling and grinding her teeth, she glared up at Tinsel.

"I can't believe you! You want me to kill a married man, just so I can save my friends?! You're asking me to do the impossible! You knew Rick suffered just as much when he lost everything after 150 years. And now you want me to decide who gets happiness and who doesn't?! That's no one's job!"

"The Task Force with you...?" Jody tried to be composed, "I'm surprised you're still even going this far. You know it was MY team-"

"If it's your team, I QUIT!" She angrily ripped off her badge and threw it toward her. The emblem on it wasn't the usual golden color, but rather she spray-painted it black, symbolizing the corruption of the Task Force. "How DARE you call it a team. It's always been just you and everyone else! And-and those in Dark Million. You physically harmed others, even when they were injured! I saw you inflict a lot of pain, especially to Rick, countless times! How dare you call yourself a leader! Now you're resorting to this?! What would your brother think of you now?! You're not a heroine. You are a disgrace!"

Burt was still revealed as Jody's lost brother, Andy Summer. With the revelation, she froze and felt as though something was trying to come out of her. She tried and tried to fight this sensation, but in the end, she grabbed Tinsel and threw her off, nearly hitting the Comet pilot in the face. With a daring finger at Tinsel, Jody huffed out an order, "Stop fighting something so useless! Stop trying to trick me! I will not be taken from my duties to Black Shadow!" She turned around and ran.

But, it didn't end there. Tinsel threw a sharp kick to Jody's sides, and then she followed up with a flurry of strikes--each alternating with varying sounds. But they were muffled by her rage. She eventually found her hand held by...

"Leon?" she nearly growled.

"Tinsel! That's enough! She's still-"

She remembered Burt a second time and then sighed. She relaxed herself, but as soon as Leon let go, she threw one last punch across Jody's face, one that left a red circle on her left cheek.

"Now, we can go." She walked away with the canine snarling by her side.

"What has gotten into you?!" Leon asked angrily as soon as they were out of earshot. "How would Burt feel about this, his sis bloodied and battered?"

"She captured the Duelists! She snuck to the course where she'd knew they would be, and tricked them as they were saving her from a swarm of Death Soldiers. Deathborn set up the whole thing. And then she wanted me to murder Super Arrow with this!" Tinsel shown the bullet the captain was about to use. "I quitted the Task Force, Leon. It's like she wanted others to suffer for her personal gain, and that's all she ever does!"

As all the painful memories flashed into her mind, Tinsel burst into tears in front of her loyal companion. He stood there, stupefied. He knew he smelt vile, and the odor was intense, but he'd no idea it was coming from Jody. "She was enlisted as an assassin for Dark Million, just like Miss Killer..."

She gradually calmed, but her body was quaking. "If she wasn't Burt's sister, I would've killed her."

"I know, I know." Leon sympathized. "I knew you had a grudge against Jody for quite a while. But, she's still Burt's sibling. He wouldn't want this. She deserves to suffer, yes. But...she can't be slewed. Believe me, I've experienced this as I lost my parents when I was still a pup. All she needs now is treatment."

She took a few deep breaths to keep herself together. "You're right, you're right. We need to go get Rodney so he can cure her, or perhaps Rick. But Yugi... Joey..."

"Don't worry about them for the moment. We have to help her, and Stewart. It's the only way to win. We made it this far, we have nearly every single member recovered, including Tanaka. Don't let this all be in vain. I'd seen my people lose their way." He remembered how his home world was overrun by war.

She wiped her bloodshot eyes. "Thanks, Leon." Looking back, she said, "I think you may need to keep an eye on her while I get Rick and the others."


As the anthropomorphic went back he saw the Duelists being tied up in the epicenter of the minefield. There were several active detonators just waiting to explode, if anyone was careless enough to touch them. As Leon was making his way back with the Space Angler, he carefully drove through and then turned loose the hapless duo.

Rick saw the Silver Comet as he was heading toward the track. He called her, but she never responded. Burt and Clank were on their way using his dad's Red Gazelle. Unfortunately, the Falcon House would have to be out of commission until the operation is successful; Burt hasn't guaranteed it would be in business again, and he would like to reunite with Jody. But they took Rick as a precaution.

He ran to her, but she never budged. She was very distraught as she told Rick what happened with Jody, and her quitting the squad His face almost fell, "Tinsel... It's not your fault. It was mine for abandoning the Task Force."

That brought back some light to her face. "Rick..." She just couldn't find the right words to say.

He looked deeply at her face. "Tinsel, take my hand. Come back to me." She hesitated. "I won't tell anyone you dropped out of the Task Force, and what you did to Jody. Let Burt handle it."

She was about to emerge from the opaque cockpit and into the light that was him. She went to take his offer.

But then a tractor beam covered her and the Comet, lifting her aloft. "R-Rick!" she screeched.

"Tinsel!" He reached out a hand, but he touched nothing but thin air. Then, there was an enormous, translucent figure of a deformed Black Shadow. He was shocked to see his face being halfway destroyed and preceding bone. The rest of his body seemed to remain intact.

He let out a belly laugh. "Rick Wheeler. We meet again."

"Why do you have her? What're you going to do with her?!"

"Heh heh heh. She's safe here with me, Wheeler. You and Falcon best come here to retrieve her. In order to have her alive, you must both surrender all your Reactor Mights."

Rick was flabbergasted by his ultimatum.

"Oh, and let's not forget about you. You alone can determine the fate of the galaxy, and your friends. You would either work for me, or cross me. Your choice. I'll stand by for you and Falcon's arrival. I may not have exterminated him in front of millions of fans like I wanted to, but I could always strike fear into them, and every living being in the whole universe. Yet still, you've the key to prevent this calamity." The demon glared, "Farewell, Wheeler. I will be waiting."

The Dark Star left Earth, leaving him as desperate as ever. "Tinsel!"

Leon's ears perked up as he was returning with Yugi and Joey in tow. They left Jody behind for obvious reasons. He followed the distress to the location of Black Shadow's massive space craft. And the Millennium Puzzle went berserk as it ignited. Recognizing the enormous hologram, Yugi cried, "Oh no!"

"Not him again!" Joey added. Leon growled.

They eventually saw the image dissipate and the cerulean machine raced to-

"Rick!" He immediately looked up and saw the trio. "Leon, Yugi, Joey."

They never saw him this heartbroken before. The coyote began to whimper. "What happened?" Joey asked.

"It was Black Shadow, was it?" his partner queried.

They gazed at the massive spacecraft that just emerged beyond the exosphere.

"What the hell is that?!" Joey startled.

"I thought he was from the Underworld."

"I thought so, too, Yug. How is he also an alien?!"

"He's after the Reactor Mights, and he's holding Tinsel prisoner in exchange for them. We have to help her."

"Right." Everyone chorused.

They headed back to the base and alerted everyone. Falcon was enraged by Deathborn's actions, from capturing Tinsel to tainting Jody's mind.

"Then, we have no choice. We must head to Dark Star. It's the only thing we can do."

"But, Yugi and Joey's Duel Monsters might not fight in space."

"Don't sweat it, Lucy." the latter Duelist chimed. "We could always use other ways."

"But taking the Falcon Flyer may be an easy target for Deathborn. We need multiple targets, a distraction if we need to." Rick and Leon explained Black Shadow was Deathborn's shell rather than just the Emperor of Brutality himself; this didn't faze the guys too much since they were all too familiar with him either way.

"I'll take up the call to arms." Everyone looked toward a headstrong woman with Burt beside her. The members of the Task Force were ecstatic.

"Jody! Captain!" They all surrounded her and told her how much she was missed; however, Rick, amongst others, weren't very pleased.

The crowd eventually separated. "Burt was the one who brought her back." Clank said cheerfully. "And she also remembered her dad, too." Her father, Mason Summer, was the inventor of the G-Diffuser anti-gravity system. She began training for the F-Zero competition upon learning that he had died when his ship crashed during a flight to the Leonid System. Tanaka actually studied under Mason while attending the University of Io. Then, that was when he met Jody; he fell in love with her almost instantly. After Mason passed away, he vowed to protect her...until that fateful night at Lightning. She, however, turned down his offer, since she was considered to be Miss Independent, and they used to work within the same unit, until Tanaka was promoted to director of the Elite Mobile Task Force, while Jody was the captain.

"There's nothing better than brotherly love, and the power of family." Andy stated.

"Yeah, until some people have been shitted on so badly. After what you did to Tinsel back there. Now, she's been taken and you expect forgiveness?!" Leon snarled, baring his teeth. This made Jody back away a few notches.

Falcon who always made the best peace intervened, "Leon, she just got her memories back. Surely, her mind may have some slight traces of the corruption Deathborn bestowed upon her. But we need all the help we can possibly get. After all, Dr. Stewart is still in Dark Star. We need to save whoever we can, together. We are the universe's only hope."

The canine exhaled, and that didn't really convince Rick and the others; they were hurt and some even got a bad first impression. While all Rick cared for was Tinsel.

"Regardless on how you all feel toward her and the situation, we should all take Falcon's stead." Burt commented. "I assure you Jody won't try to backstab us again."

"We need to use the Galaxy Runner along with the Falcon Flyer. We must head to Dark Star before the Reactor is active. Deathborn won't carry out his dream since we're the only ones that stand in his way. Besides, how can one man who can't save one person bring hope to the universe? It's an astronomical responsibility." She faced Rick who was puzzled after saying, "Unless, we help him."

"Then it's settled. Let's go for it, Jody."

"Right." she nodded. "I owe you that much, Falcon." She went to the Central Control Room and activated her own personal space cruiser from underwater.

Eventually Yugi and Joey's confusion subsided, yet they were both dumbfounded. "What's so special about you, Rick?" the spiky-haired kid asked.

"I...don't know..." he sulked.

"The Galaxy Runner is ready!" All pilots looked outside and saw a dark grey cruiser emerge from the depths. The elongated head was an emerald color, blue wings stuck out from its sides. They opened and the two rear engines were uncovered. The ship was tough, made entirely out of titanium alloy and adamantite, yet the inside was spacious and a bit cozy with the numerous sofas in the large cockpit. The Mobile Task Force's logo gleamed within the middle of the indigo-tiled floor.

"Holy cow!" Chris said in astonishment.

"I've never seen anything like it." Rick added.

"Jody... This is by far the most amazing thing you have ever done!" Jack shouted with glee.

Everyone rushed outside, leaving Jody and Andy behind. "It's been too long since I've last seen this baby." he said.

"Yes. Too long." she smiled. "There is no other time but now, brother. Especially since Wheeler is our only chance for victory."

"That is if he doesn't get tainted again. He and Falcon must prevail." He grabbed her hand, and she held it just as tightly. "Let's go. There's no turning back."

"I'm coming, too." Suddenly, Tanaka came out. "I'd seen the Galaxy Runner. I guess you're going after Deahborn?"

"Yes, we are. How do you feel, Tanaka?"

"I can't complain, now that the entire solar system is at risk. There's no time for embracing the horror." he responded, as serious as ever.

"Glad to see you again, Tanaka. More with it than ever before."

"Oh, I couldn't have been this way if it hadn't for Rodney here." He pointed to him who stood by him. "I'm coming, too. My father is depending on me. I wouldn't call myself his son if I were to cower now. I could also heal those nasty wounds."

"Thanks. Let's go. We cannot wait." The pair showed their assent.

Yugi volunteered to stay aboard the Flyer, while Joey chose to take the Runner. "It's gonna be great to work with Falcon again."

And so, both ships embarked on their perilous one-way journey into outer space, pursuing both Tinsel and Deathborn. Thus, this'll begin a new chapter, Destination: Dark Star.

A/N: I think the Ancient Mesa theme from Maximum Velocity should play when Rick looks over Rodney; the song is a little depressing when you hear it. The Koopa Castle theme will be heard during the dramatic part when Tinsel looks for the Duelists at the King League course, and meets up with Jody. Then there's the first Game Over theme you hear in GP Legend when Tinsel quits the team. And lastly the promising song of Space Land from Mario Party 2 as the Falcon Flyer and Galaxy Runner take off.

The facts enlisted above were actually true; people that suffer from damage in the front of the brain tend to act excessively with their emotions, lose the ability to stay focused, impaired judgement, and also demonstrate poor decision-making. They, too, can also have little to no motivation on doing tasks, nor would they hardly show any emotion despite feeling it. This kind of reminds me of Jan Berry; as one collision could drastically alter someone's personality and motor skills dramatically. Yes, the anime was set before GX, but in this fic, I hope I made a decent explanation as to why Tanaka was so different by comparison.

I didn't like the idea of the Soldier Anchors; they look very similar to Zoda's Death Anchor, and they have similar stats to it. I felt they were lacking originality, again. Besides, they already made the Hyper Death Anchor with Hyper Zoda, so there was no reason to make another replica for the Death Soldiers. Yes, it was a nice idea for the drones to be F-Zero pilots, but they should've made something way, way more decent than that. Which was why I created the Hel Hoverers instead; the color looks similar to that of Robotnik's Egg Pawns, the original ones. I figured this was a good homage to that since they were designed in a similar fashion to the robots; after all, they, too, were weak but numerous, making them a vital part of Robotnik's army. The Death Soldiers are as such, why did they have to be bastardized like that?!

Also, the last part WAS from the anime when she was captured by Deathborn; only there was Haruka abducted by Black Shadow. And the duel with the Death Soldiers was pretty difficult to make.

So, this would begin a three-part story arc called Destination: Dark Star. The Task Force had finally recruited Tanaka and Jody, and are now on their way to save Tinsel and the universe from Deathborn's evil plot. God speed, guys!


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Lap 18
Destination: Dark Star, Part 1

Rick couldn't get Tinsel out of his mind. He was so deep in his anxieties that he didn't care what else would happen. All he ever wanted was her, other than saving the galaxy and the remaining tainted member of the Mobile Task Force, Dr. Robert Stewart. He had a flashback to the other day when Tinsel was suddenly abducted by Black Shadow:

She was about to emerge from the opaque cockpit and into the light that was him. She went to take Rick's hand, until a tractor beam covered her and the Comet, lifting her aloft. "R-Rick!" she screeched.

"Tinsel!" He extended out a hand, but he touched nothing but thin air. Then, there was an enormous, translucent figure of a deformed Black Shadow. He was shocked to see his face being halfway destroyed and the other side preceding bone. The rest of his body seemed to remain intact.

He let out a belly laugh. "Rick Wheeler. We meet again."

"Why do you have her? What're you going to do with her?!"

"Heh heh heh. She's safe here with me, Wheeler. You and Falcon best come here to retrieve her. In order to have her alive, you must both surrender all your Reactor Mights."

Rick was flabbergasted by his ultimatum.

"Oh, and let's not forget about you. You alone can determine the fate of the galaxy, and your friends. You would either work for me, or cross me. Your choice. I'll stand by for you and Falcon's arrival. I may not have exterminated him in front of millions of fans like I wanted to, but I could always strike fear into them, and every living being in the whole universe. Yet still, you've the key to prevent this calamity." The demon glared, "Farewell, Wheeler. I will be waiting."

The Dark Star left Earth, leaving him as desperate as ever. "Tinsel!"

He was inside the Falcon Flyer and the crew consisted of Rodney, Leon, Beastman, Gomar and Shioh, Draq, Octoman, Yugi, and Captain Falcon. The Galaxy Runner had all members of the Task Force along with Burt, Clank, Gazelle, and Joey.

The young Duelist handed him a cup of sweet coffee along with a saucer. "Here, Rick. It's gonna be a long ride, so you have to stay sharp. I think this might help you out."

"Thank you." He accepted and took in a few sips. This was actually a fresher broth than the one at the Falcon House. And the hot sensation was welcoming for him. He took a sigh of relief.

Yugi kept encouraging him they can help him bring Tinsel back and defeat Black Shadow, who happened to be Deathborn in Falcon's eyes. The Duelists never doubted him for a second. They may not know them very well since they happened to be F-Zero pilots, rather than Duelists from the Shadow Realm. Nevertheless, he's positive that they'll somehow find a way to save her and the universe. They may not have made a single move on them, not even during the Championship; however, he was positive that with their monsters and magic, they can prevail and conquer their fears of the unknown. Still, it would be an exhilarating experience since they never dealt with threats outside of Earth.

This made Rick wonder what the demon said, "You alone can determine the galaxy, and your friends. Yet still, you've the key to prevent this calamity."

"Black Shadow said I'm the one who'll turn the tides. He demanded for the Reactor Mights, but what does that have to do with me?"

It was unseen through the visor, but the bounty hunter shifted his eyes toward the conversation. There was something that only he knew, and he never bothered to tell anyone.

Even Yugi had his doubts. "I'm not sure either, Rick. But Yami and I both know that you and Falcon can overcome this. He beat both Black Shadow and Deathborn before, even the Creator Ghosts. And I'm sure he can do it again with you by his side. He and I have something in common: We are champions in each of the tournaments we participated in, and I'm just as confident that you two can also make a difference. You just need to believe in him and yourself. And nothing can stop you."

With a grin, the detective thanked him once more.

Then, an alarm blared. As did the Galaxy Runner. The lights turned red and all of the heroes were completely shocked at what they saw. As soon as both Jody and Falcon silenced their ships, they gazed upon a very ominous cloud of sorts. The exterior was extraordinary, as the vessel itself was entirely covered with layers upon layers of energy. It was organic in appearance, looking like a spherical storm cloud.

"We've reached our destination. Prepare yourselves." Falcon spoke over the communicator.

"Right, Falcon. We all know Black Shadow doesn't fool around. We need everything we have to penetrate through this, use extreme caution."

The sacred puzzle shined and it was Yugi's cue to stand and fight. "I guess now's the time. Everyone, stand back." The relic illuminated and moved slowly. Then his body was engulfed in light. "Yu-Gi-Oh!"

Yugi transformed into the legendary, 5000-year old pharaoh, Yami. When the aura dissipated, and the symbol on his forehead faded, he looked nearly exactly like the kid, except he was a few feet taller and had a more earnest expression. Everyone was agape.

"How did you..?" Rick had a loss for words, even the Task Force.

"I am the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Yami. You have no need to fear me. This is only temporary, and my soul lies dormant inside the Millennium Puzzle. I'm an expert player of the Shadow Games and a master of the Duel Monsters. We shouldn't be intimidated by the darkness ahead, I will give Black Shadow everything I got!" It was quite obvious since he had stronger monsters and Trap/Magic cards.

"So, what's our plan of attack, Yugi?" Joey said through the comm.

"We will use all non-organic Monsters. We are in space, Joey. So, there is no gravity, nor atmosphere. We just have to rely on our magical and mechanical abilities instead." he advised.

Looking at the unusual mass and sensing great evil, he challenged, "I know you're in there somewhere Black Shadow. It's quite predictable since he'd use fear and vile to hide himself with. But no matter, light can pierce through the darkness. I now activate the Swords of Revealing Light!"

The Swords of Revealing Light acted as a barrier and a revelation to the whereabouts of the Emperor of Brutality in the dark nebula. "There, dead ahead." Yami drew a card that had a series of blades made of pure energy. They covered the Falcon Flyer.

"It won't be that easy." Falcon said. "The ship can move rapidly from within. And he can attack from anywhere."

"Then, we'll just have to fight back head on. I'm on it!" Joey was about to draw a card from his disc.

"Wait! Black Shadow knows we're coming. We have to increase our defenses."

Joey replied, "You got it, Yug. That's using the old noodle." He used the Aura Armor, while the Swords of Revealing Light held. The pink suit came in front of the Galaxy Runner.

There were some rapid blue flashes, coming from the outer hull. The blackness looked it was lighting up like the 4th of July. Then, a gigantic field of bright blue plasma headed straight for them!

A missile shot out from the Galaxy Runner, but the plasma negated it. "That's impossible!" Jody said.

"Brace yourselves!" Yami shouted.

It was so huge, that it went up against both the radiant swords and Joey's shield, until they wore off entirely. The force field went with them. "They're gone!"

Then, bullets rained down on both cruisers, ricocheting from the windows and bodies. "It's gonna take more than that to stop us! I will summon all my Magnet Warriors, Beta, Alpha, and Gamma, in Attack Mode." Yami did just that, as he drew three cards face up. The trio possessing those powerful magnets emerged, with Gamma in the center. They spread out their arms and drew in all the bullets using their gravitational pulls. The onslaught only left a few scratches on both sides. They fired back, and the ship was nearly unscathed.

Unfortunately the cloud's structure was too much for them, since Earth was ineffective against dark elements. They were vulnerable to the negative aura, leaving the gang open. "This is almost like the Dark Castle of Illusions," the wise one pointed out. A plasma cannon destroyed two Magnet Warriors, and left Gamma weak.

"Eh, you wanna play rough? I'll show you." Joey laid a card face down.

Yami summoned Curse of Dragon and equipped it with the Excalibur to double its attack power. On top of that, it was a Dark type. But Black Shadow unleashed his fury as streams of electricity hit the serpent.

"Activate Trap card!" It was Joey's turn as the assault automatically revealed the Magical Arm Shield. Gamma dissipated oncontact, leaving the dragon vulnerable.

"But, Joey, there aren't any monsters for you to control on the other side."

"I know, but I could still use it to defend you. At least you can attack with your monster."

"I'll join, too." Jody loaded a barrage of missiles and aimed toward the core. The Dark Star was distant, but they made a decent reach. Yami used his monster's Fireball along with it.

"Nice shootin', Jody!" Joey complimented.

"Don't get your hopes up." she responded.

"We may have penetrated its defenses, but I'm sure Black Shadow has some tricks up his sleeve."

"Ergh, I can't hold the light show much longer." The Duel Monster shattered under the ferocity. "Damn it!"

"It looks like he's turning up the heat. But so am I. I sacrifice my Curse of Dragon." The shiny reptilian was dismissed. "By sending a Level 5 monster to the Graveyard, I now draw on one of my greatest weapons. I'll fight intergalactic fire with fire. Behold, the Five-Star Twilight!"

With that, it was a special summon as all parts of the explosive family came out. That included the signature Kuriboh, but also Kuriboo, Kuribeh, Kuribah, and Kuribee. Together, they soared toward the Dark Star on their corresponding stars at such a velocity. Yet again, they destroyed the exterior of the ship, allowing the Flyer and the Runner to grow closer.

"All right! We're on our way, Tinsel." Rick cheered.

"Uh oh. With that duel monster, Yugi can't Tribute Summon any more monsters." his partner explained.

"So, now what?" Lucy queried. Like all the other racers, even she was confused on what was going on.

This was a tough spot, even for Yami. Then, he saw something in his peripheral vision.

"Hey guys! Come here, look at this!" Clank screeched.

The heroes rushed over and the young tech geek pointed down. They followed their partners' gazes and saw a planet get surrounded by dark violet orbs. They shot out from the Dark Star's underside, and they started orbiting the world below. Then, in a moment's pace, it began to implode on itself! Every onlooker was petrified.

According to the data, Clank said they lost Planet Uma-31, plus two others have already disintegrated.

"Now we know what we're up against." They all looked at Yami. He encouraged them to not focus on their mission, but rather follow their hearts, and the people they deeply care for. For him, it was his friends and his grandfather back on Earth. "Deathborn tends to taint the body and mind like he did with those in the Task Force, but he can't possibly corrupt the heart and soul. And that's what truly matters. The true essence of a champion cannot be tamed. I learned that from you, Falcon."

"Then we've no time to waste. Let's bring the fight to them." Rick said. Everyone affirmed.

A shield was activated once Rick, Falcon and the others entered, denying access for the Galaxy Runner.

"Wha-what just happened?!" the captain was astonished.

"It seems that a force field blocked our path." Clank answered.

"It's up to Rick and Falcon now." mentioned EAD. "It's obvious since Black Shadow only wants them for the Reactor Mights."

"Oh, I hope they'll be ok." Lucy worried.

"Don't worry, Lucy. I'm positive Rick and the others will make it out somehow." Burt assured.

"God speed, Ricky. Don't let us down, ya hear?" Jack added.

"It's all yours, Yug." Joey sighed.

In a dim lit chamber, everyone exited the Falcon Flyer. They were so anxious on putting an end to Black Shadow, especially Rick, Falcon, and Yami.

"We're here. I don't like the smell of this." Leon's nose cringed.

"This place is completely shrouded in malevolence; we have to stick together and stay focused." the pharaoh decreed.

"Yami's right." Falcon said. "The universe is in our hands, as are Tinsel and Dr. Stewart."

"Let's go." Rick led the group with the other two commandeers. Tinsel, I will find you, I promise. Please wait for us.

They wound up in a large, elliptical area and they were smack dab in the middle of it. Surrounding them was a dark violet fog layering their feet. It became thicker and more massive as it lingered amongst the ominous olive green walls.

As it stayed, everyone exposed to the shady substance as thick as pea soup made them feel a bit lightheaded. The longer they continued to look for their missing comrades, the more affected they became, all except for Falcon and the pharaoh. The Millennium Puzzle and the merged Championship Belt were the only things that saved them respectively.

Each pilot was dropping like rabbits. First was Leon since he was the most susceptible thanks to his strong nose, then Chris, third was Gomar and Shioh, next came down Draq with a huge thud, and finally Rick.

Yami couldn't awaken them, and Falcon said only if they could conquer their own nightmares canstill live on. The ancient king was curious as to how he knew all that. Falcon knew him as the Skull, the undead user of the most lethal black magic from all the vast reaches of space. Occasionally, he dealt with him during his bounty hunting missions, and in this case, there was nothing they could do.

Although, there was just one thing...

Helpless and trapped in their own subconscious, they didn't notice the appearance of the apparition that was Black Shadow.

"So, you two were the lucky ones that withstood my peer's greatest spell yet."

"Black Shadow!" Falcon protested. "Why couldn't you just kill them when you had the chance?!"

"Oh, that's where you're wrong, Falcon. You see, I tend to kill each of your friends, except for Rick. I've a surprise awaiting him. The Skull had the foolproof plan on manipulating their minds, and torturing their souls while they remain trapped within their own fears for all eternity. There is no better way than that!"

"So you rely on your sideshow freak instead of facing each of us head on? You're nothing but a coward. And here I thought you were almighty and powerful, but you just do nothing but fall into the shadows. Just like what PaniK used to do." Yami countered.

"Ah, the nefarious pharaoh, Yami. How wonderful to meet you again. Here to stand by that irritating bird, I see." the demon said.

"The two of us, Black Shadow. Just make your move." He drew out a card.

"Very well." The nightmarish fiend spread his arms, and the fog engulfed him. The Puzzle could only do so much to penetrate it, as it was only earthbound for 5000 years. Yami and Falcon could barely see. "Take this!" Two blue binding energy ropes enwrapped the duo. Yami dropped his card, even though it was face down. Then, they were lifted into the air, about twenty feet above the floor.

In a desperate attempt, Yami squeezed down his eyes, and the symbol of Wajit appeared on his forehead.

"Time to call on a spell caster of my very own. Dark Magician!" He opened his eyes after he communicated with his Duel Monster telepathically. The fuchsia-colored magic wielder emerged from its imprisonment and unleashed his wand, freeing both Yami and Falcon, and disappearing the sinister mist.

"Even the darkest clouds can shatter in the wind."

"How did you do it, Yami?" The champion wondered.

"With the help of the Millennium Puzzle, I was able to communicate with my Dark Magician. I can read the Duel Monsters' and my opponents' thoughts and feelings, as well as manipulate them. But that's only when the relic is being unharmed, and at its peak. It's all about unity, because the pieces are one." This reminded Falcon of the belt he was wearing, and he realized that darkness wasn't always used for evil purposes.

Unfortunately, they lost sight of Black Shadow. Even with the fog gone, the enemy vanished with it. There wasn't any time, so both heroes had no choice but to stand by.

Rick heard an alarm clock chirping. Only, it really wasn't what he thought it would be. He slowly opened his heavy eyes, and he touched the communicator. "Attention all units, there is a suspect escaping in a brown sedan, heading for the Brooklyn Bridge."

He then heard some maniacal laughing, which caused him to wake up abruptly. " that..?" Rick kept hearing the cackling again, and he immediately put two and two together. "Zoda?! He can't be alive! I can't believe this!"

He slammed down on the gas pedal, and noticed he was in the same cruiser from 150 years; the Dragon Ghost, Clank called it. He followed the diabolical bastard through alleyways that had little light. He increased the headlights, and he saw his crew give away to Zoda's constant onslaughts.

"You're next, Wheeler! Ha ha ha! It's about time I'd reunite you with Haruka forever!"

"Oh yeah?! I destroyed you once, I can do it again!"

He continued toward the last stretch as the wheels screeched into a sharp corner. Zoda fired numerous bullets to the door at the driver's side and kicked it into the air. The slab was heading straight towards Rick!


He immediately slammed on the brakes, then covered himself as he ducked and put his denim jacket over his head. The broken door hit the windshield just seconds later. Debris rained on top of him, and he felt some sharp pangs. After a few agonizing seconds that stretched onward to an eternity, he finally removed his coat slowly, away from his sore scalp. What he saw surprised him, as the sedan and Zoda were nowhere in sight. It was as if they'd vanished as soon as a simple magic trick.

Stupefied, he just sat there in the empty passageway, I may have lost the perp, but I hadn't lost my life this time. With a clenched fist, Rick declared, "I'd already beaten you in your own game, Zoda! I fear it no more. Do you hear me, Black Shadow?! My nightmare is over!"

"Yes, your DREAM is over. Now your worst possible nightmare is about to begin!" A mechanical voice called. The figure looked so familiar with its intimidating presence of all that elaborate armor, his astounding size, and massive cape.

Rick startled himself awake from a jump scare. He knew where he'd seen that enemy before, when he had those hallucinations while touching the merged belt.

"Rick, are you all right?" Yami said, kneeling in front of him.

"I..." He surveyed himself for any possible damage; thankfully, there wasn't any. "I think so. I was chasing after Zoda, before he was just a regular criminal wearing a prison garb. He didn't look like what he was before Tinsel and I froze him. Ah, Tinsel!" He abruptly stood up and headed out.

"Wait, Rick! Your friends are still trapped in the dreamscape." Falcon said.

"I'm sorry. I don't have time to dilly dally. Tinsel needs me, and I must stop Black Shadow and Deathborn."

They admired his strong resolve, so they let him pass. Falcon and Yami resumed watching over the sleeping quintet.

Beastman wound up in an opaque master bedroom. He was unarmed, and he only possessed a flashlight to help him see in the dead of night. The place was completely quiet, and he only heard some scratches and hissing from the doors that surrounded it.

"Huh? Who's there?" Chris queried.

He knew that only a natural, wild beast would make such noises. So, he took a quick skim. Even his own footsteps from his dinosaur costume made him squirm when the metallic toes hit the floor. Since he didn't have a weapon, he never bothered to see who or what was making a scene.

He heard another hiss, then a grunt and a snap of its lightning-fast jaws. Suddenly, it occurred to him. Those were only the sounds on what a gator would make.

That alone brought him back to his early childhood, when he was traumatized by their sneering maws, their bleeding gums, their pointed, razor-sharp teeth, and their scaly hides as durable as a tank's! Chris remembered being attacked by one, and he and his family were travelling through the Everglades. But they were unexpectedly swarmed by them. And Chris managed to stay alive, though the deep emotional and physical scars were laid upon him. He never wanted to talk to anyone about that unfortunate experience, nor show the abrasions; he became very skilled at hiding them, and then vowed to be the galaxy's best hunter.

Even still, his worst fear lied in the heart of his herpetophobia.

He checked every nook and cranny for the creepy croc he knew so long ago. Wherever he heard a sound of its own breath or its claws hitting the wood boards, he checked with his ears, despite them being hindered by his own racing heart.

He made sure all of the doors were locked, which they were. He took a huge sigh of relief, thinking he was safe from being the reptilian's next meal.

Then, a creature on four legs sprinted out from underneath the bed. It lunged straight toward Chris, without using a single sprawl. Facing the carnivorous animal head on, he braced himself. He was tackled toward the floor mat. His hands desperately wrapped around the snout, holding the animatronic's mouth shut. He knew from research that their jaws may have exceptionally strong muscles closing their maws, yet their muscles keeping them open were weak. Chris held on with every ounce of courage he could muster, while the reptile kept shaking his head violently to loosen his grip. Chris rolled then pinned down its head, providing even more prevention.

He landed his hands on the alligator's neck, between the back of its jaw and front legs. Chris pushed with so much pressure on the neck, lowering it to the ground. He was on its back near the front shoulders. His knees were squeezing the gator's flanks. The lower part of his legs were pinning the gator's hind legs. That actually prevented the gator from doing a death roll.

The right hand slid up the alligator's neck, shielding its eyes. While blinded and pinned down, Chris used his remaining hand running down its jawline. His fingers went inside the jaw, feeling a soft tissue. With his fingers below the jaw and the thumb on top, he squeezed it with all his might. With that, he quickly slid his right hand to the lower jaw. Both hands held the jaw shut, and the gator was powerless since it only relied on its lower jaw for chomping on its victims.

Finally, he raised the adversary's head toward his chest at a 90-degree angle. He slammed its head to the ground again, and immediately blinded it using his right hand, while his left hand pressed the neck. The dominant hand followed, and his feet went under it. Chris grabbed the neck then made a forward motion to jump back and escape.

But it wasn't over yet. The gator snarled and its eyes gleamed with a red malice. Chris slowly backed away while still facing it. The reptilian steadily grew closer to its midnight snack. He turned and ran in a straight line while it gave chase!

Fortunately, the animatronic lost its energy and panted profusely before retreating beneath the bed. That was more than enough for the Beastman to bare. He had a jump scare afterward, returning to the place where he once was.

Draq was in the hangar with his partner, Roger. They were soaring through sunny clouds, and they were happy as pigs in feces that they finally found ownership for the missing machines, the Mighty Hurricane and the Mighty Typhoon. Then, something went wrong as the blimp was shutting down and taking a nosedive.

The magenta giant used his massive body as a cushion, protecting Roger from collision. The strong man was knocked out cold from it, though Draq was unscathed. He managed to stand up using his cramped legs. And everywhere he turned, flames were licking the aircraft! The wildfire spread toward the vehicles, and their deliveries. Now, Draq had to make a choice: lose Roger, or lose their business.

After a brief period, Draq came to his senses. Despite the desire on returning the mysterious cars, he dragged Roger out from the flaming, collapsing wreckage. The blimp exploded, taking all their unsalvaged profits with them. At least he was thankful that he still had his closest friend. And he knew THAT could never be superseded.

The Emperor of Brutality came across two unsuspecting aliens within his interplanetary hideout. Zoda and Miss Killer brought in two inhabitants from the planet, Huckmine. They stood side by side before the demon. The extraterrestrials managed to sabotage a spacecraft which took them to Dark Star. The Furikakes, Gomar and Shioh, were delighted to finally see their idol. Their dream was about to be fulfilled, much like his.

"Oh, Black Shadow, we came here to assist you." Shioh spoke.

"We wanted to be a part of Dark Million for so long." Gomar added. "Can you please recruit us? We've been such huge fans of yours! We can work together with the organization and do some evil deeds. This could be fun, right partner?"

"You bet, partner." They beamed and shook hands with one another.

Zoda and Miss Killer gave them some irritable looks in the background.

"Hmm. What can you two Furikakes do for me?" he boomed.

"By winning F-Zero races, of course!" Shioh chimed.

"Yeah. We-we heard the Mobile Task Force is very hard to boot, so we were thinking you could use our talent of teamwork to defeat them and win prize money from them." Gomar explained.

Black Shadow thought about this for a moment. Although the Furikakes were known to have a unique lifestyle by finding partners as soon as they emerged from their seed pods, they were very cooperative to one another. However, from the looks of Gomar and Shioh, they seemed so different. "Very well... I would take the small fry since you have a quite a brain. Heh heh heh." He pointed to Shioh, "You on the other hand are as dumb as dog shit."

That made the tall one startle. He went down on his knees and begged to the ground. "Please, Lord Shadow. I would do anything! I promise I'll do better, just give me a chance! Please don't send my partner away! We are in sync he and I, we do stuff together. Please, don't take him without me!"

"Hm." The demon sneered over to Gomar. He was perplexed at his decision. "On the other hand, he's far too short to be of any use." He shoved him toward his friend, causing them to topple onto each other.

He pointed to the duo, "You two are weak and complete opposites. How do you expect to be the galaxy's most threatening villains?! You two are nothing but made from manure!"

The Huckminers couldn't fathom what they just heard. Their dream was to buy a machine of their very own, and steal money to get one. And since they thought Black Shadow was so thrilling to them, they decided to work together at being his top minions. They figured they'd be unstoppable working so close in an organization that was too good to beat. However, Black Shadow, their so-called hero, rejected them like broken dolls!

The toad-like creature felt infuriated. "Y'know what? Tinsel's right about you! She'd never discard us like that! She knows who we are and what we're capable of. We're the Furikakes!"

"Yeah. Tinsel and her friends think we're more than just pieces of manure! We always thought you were the big bad, but now we see you as a bully!"

"Hrgh! How dare you! Zoda, Miss Killer, take them away!" he retorted.

"No need, Lord Shadow!" Gomar said sarcastically, "We can throw ourselves out! We don't need you guys!"

They commanded the Death Soldiers to annihilate them. They drew their guns, Shioh carried Gomar and he ran as fast as his long legs would carry him! Bullets were nearly licking his stride, until he tossed his smaller friend into the shaft, then he climbed in before it closed.

"Whoo! That was close!" Gomar said.

"We must leave here and quickly. We must now be gone! She was right all along, partner."

"Indeed, she was."

Then they were firebombed by Black Shadow's craft, fortunately, it was outnumbered by the Galaxy Runner and the Falcon Flyer. It retreated as it was being covered by a large mass of omnipotent energy.

"Hey, our friends are here!"

"I sure hope they'd forgive us for what we did."

"They will. Since we've validated that we CAN work alongside us and help people out while doing it. Our real dream is to just win F-Zero races while sticking together."

"I'm in, partner." Because of the comfort of their allies, Gomar and Shioh didn't seem nervous of them finding out about their criminal record, as they already knew that they were just their friends earning their redemption, just like Octoman, and most of the members in the Task Force itself. There was no better place than that.

Meanwhile, Leon was at a desolate racetrack accompanied by miles and miles of sand, as well as distant dormant volcanoes. It was at night, and the ground itself looked like a dark purple, just nearly matching the sky. There was a large full moon completely littered with craters that were visible to the naked eye. The anthropomorphic ended up in Silence, a planet that had its name since there wasn't any organisms existing on this deserted plain. Thus it was only known for its races which ironically made it contradict its namesake.

He was anxious to earn the prize money he needed for the pups at Zou; the population was still suffering from poverty from the interplanetary war that occurred there since Leon was just 12. By 16, he wanted to participate for the sake of his people, and his opponents were not letting him accomplish this endeavor. He had to tackle the Ace League course, and he was surprised he made it there.

He was surrounded by various vehicles, and the race began. After a few slight curves there were two columns of landmines, then at a left turn there were more with a jump plate that was tumultuous to reach without crashing into them. His car managed to avoid them quite nicely thanks to its amazing cornering. Then, there were a couple sharp turns and a large area accompanied with no guardrails; instead, the sides were replaced by more jump pads. There was also a gap in the center of the fork. Finally, after a few sharp turns, there was a very wide area to drive through before the course narrowed toward the finish line.

At first, Leon was taking the lead until his Booster was activated. Everyone was passing him left to right, and he grinded his fangs, desperate to catch up to those menacing rockets. As he passed them, he noticed something very peculiar... There were some recognizable hover cars like the Blue Falcon, the Dragon Bird, and the Fire Stingray; however, the most shocking thing was...there weren't any drivers in them!

He was so terrified that he immediately turned just before he crashed into a wall. This was incredibly creepy, but the horror was just beginning. Aside from the thrusters turning without a single trace of life, there was something else amongst those empty cockpits. There was a more sinister version of the Space Angler, just speeding his way toward him! And the doppelganger howled just as the moon was churning into a crimson hue! A lunar eclipse made the earth glow a bright red, almost like lava!

The neon purple-and-black image raced beside Leon, although the pilot itself looked very similar. Except he had red, sneering eyes, and his fur was black and grey. He never said a word, but Leon was terrified. "What...what're you doing with all these cars?!"

He got his answer as they were speeding ahead and had sensors blinking at the side of them. His best bet was to be careful and to avoid crashing into them. By the time he passed a few, they were closing in on him, as if they had no regard to their own welfare. Just pure destruction! Leon was hit by them, causing hefty damage to his own machine. They were twice as powerful as the mines themselves. What was worse was Leon accelerating and barely falling off the course where the lack of guardrails were.

Regardless, his only adversary was the evil Angler, and he had to beat it to the goal! He wasn't holding back when it was time for the final lap.

Leon had to outsmart both the ravenous beasts and the killer machines. He remembered his own was enhanced thanks to the parts from the Big Fang. Because it was so durable, its body stood a better chance. And it was also thanks to his sharp reflexes that he managed to distract the other racers, allowing them to destroy themselves as they collided toward each other, or the walls. Whenever he was being threatened he either slammed on the brakes, or boosted away.

Eventually, it was down to both him and his rival; it was a bloody one-on-one dogfight. The Space Angler had better endurance, and it was faster, though its grip was lacking. He entered the jump plate at the center of the fork, while the fake Angler took a side road. Some of the daring machines accelerated too much and actually leapt off the course.

The copy had an improvement on side swiping, so it hit the original when they got to the broad road ahead. Fortunately, it gave Leon the advantage as it just got a slight nudge. He recovered, then shot past the canny clone and reached the finish line first since he wasn't fast enough! Whoosh, Leon won!

"Yeah! I finally won the race!" Although, he didn't get what he expected...

By the time they woke up, the team reunited and they were met with Yami and Falcon. The former said they have all arisen and broken a black magic spell over them. As he said before, it was possible that they could achieve anything as long as the heart and souls were pure. Even if their minds were crumbling down from the masterful manipulation of sorcery, the Skull.

"Black Shadow wasn't behind all this?!" Draq hollered.

That made the other victims cringe. They all looked up after a mysterious voice screeched from -the upper balcony.

"The Skull..?" Chris observed.

"Sterling LaVaughn!" Falcon reiterated.

His head and limbs were seen as the lightest shade of pale, along with a bright, thick red top consisting a hood and a high collar. He also had on rubber gloves; low, ruby shoes; and a flowing black kilt. "Impossible! How could you mortals withstand my most fearsome techniques?! Who are you?! I had you in my deathly clutches!"

"Think again, Numbskull." As foreseen from himself, Yami told Sterling that Draq survived because he saved himself and his partner, Roger, from complete destruction over their delivery business. Rick overcame his dread reliving the past, Chris dealt with his childhood fear over an alligator, Leon won a death race. And Gomar and Shioh realized that working for the villain wasn't smart, though they came to the epiphany that their friends had their backs.

And Yami made one last stand. "Their minds and hearts remained one and pure while they overcame their fears, and made them stronger than they ever were before." he praised. "But you have no heart, Sterling! And you hadn't had one in over two centuries. You may have bested in the F-Max competition but not in F-Zero, nor in science and dark magic. Your plans had constantly failed on more than one occasion, as you only relied on strategy and intellect alone, without any passion or affection. Just as any soulless creature would.

"Friendship and ambition are what drives me. Allow me to show you one of MY shadowy arts. As the dark, ancient protector of Egypt and the Master of the Shadow Games, I now send you...into oblivion!" He stuck out his hand and vanished the skeletal carcass, shattering his long-gone spirit and his body collapsed in a heap! It was almost the same way he used his punishment on PaniK.

"That was amazing..!" Leon had a loss for words. "I wouldn't want to get on your bad side."

"Don't be alarmed, Leon. I only do this to protect the ones I care about, as should you."

The Puzzle illuminated again, and a wall of darkness hammered into the pharaoh! Falcon gave him a hand as he dived in, pushing it back with all their strength, hoping their bodies wouldn't shatter under the immense pressure. Yami and Falcon ordered the pilots to evacuate and search for Rick, Tinsel, and Dr. Stewart, while they duel with their nemesis, back with a vengeance!

A/N: Venom 2 from the original Starfox plays when the cruisers and the Duelists infiltrate Dark Star. The theme for this arc could be Death Egg Zone from Sonic 2. And there's gonna be a lot of Metroid references coming up.

The Dark Reactor idea, and the Dark Star's defenses, weren't really based from the anime, but rather from a different source. Does anyone remember "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"? Y'know the underrated movie that featured V'Ger and the Cloud? Specifically, this was loosely based on the part where V'Ger releases the orbiting sensors that'll destroy Earth since its creator was missing, and it always believed that Earthlings were an "infestation." Well, that's it, although we never see what they did; they were just for show, sadly.

Oh yeah, I should really thank my collaborators for the ideas revolving around the Monster/Trap/and Magic Cards; as well as for giving me a little cheat sheet on each of the types' strengths and weaknesses.

The dream sequences were definitely the most difficult I had to come up with for every comatose pilot. Fortunately, my collaborator had some pretty good ideas, particularly for Rick, Leon, and Gomar and Shioh. He told me that if Rick would've used the brakes and not struggled on the sharp turn, then it's most likely he'd avoid the shattered glass from Zoda. He had some decent descriptions for Leon and the Furikakes, saying Leon would face a fake Space Angler with remote cars w/o pilots, and have bombs be activated by it. For the Huckminers, it was for them to seize their dream on joining Black Shadow, then being rejected.

I just added more details as I went, I was desperate to get these things out of the way. So, I was watching an LP for the Ace League, and I figured the second Silence course was decent for the anthropomorphic's challenge. I wish in the new F-Zero game, they would make courses for the planet, Zou. And I wasn't going to miss out on Silence either.

Herpetophobia is classified as a fear of snakes and/or reptiles. In Chris' case, though, he fears alligators and crocodiles. The setup was an inspiration from "Five Nights at Freddy's 4," I got that idea from Fawful's Minion when he described his Top 10 Spookiest Levels; never played it, though.

So Part 2 will be coming up, see you then.


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Lap 19
Destination: Dark Star, Part 2

Along the way, Rick found one of the capsules he recognized he was in. All of them were empty until he heard a distinctive sound that was almost like a cricket. Only it wasn't an insect; instead it was some little, bizarre lifeform that looked similar to a green jellyfish with a translucent membrane enclosing a red nucleus which almost resembled a brain. Out of empathy, he drained the tank and unlocked the hatch. The extraterrestrial floated over Rick for a few moments.

"Go on. You're free," he said. He was pretty surprised that an organism like that would actually hover over the ground, rather than just swim. It made some more of those noises, probably as a way of saying 'Thank you', until it just soared by.

He was then at a standstill and in the middle of a triple crossroad. All three chambers looked the same; they were immersed in a cerulean sky that grew from dark to light, and each had a skid mark of a triangular spaceship with two exhausts that dragged its body. Somehow, the passages have been duplicated to confuse intruders; this was sort of a mind game for him, where one was real and two were illusions. He decided to take the middle, but he immediately hesitated. If he mistakenly took the wrong one, the aperture might close and he'll be trapped. His heart raced and his head began to get foggy as he was losing his focus.

"The mind must be clear and sharp, and the heart must be pure to achieve anything." He heard two familiar voices echo. "What matters is what's inside you, ignore the other factors. it must come from within."

"Yami... Falcon..." he gasped. He then took a few breathers to clear his head, and closed his eyes. They shot open after he felt a slight breeze.

He took the middle path and climbed up a steep hill. The floor was very unusual, it was sturdy at some spots, but also slippery, and it almost felt like walking on a stormy cloud. When he reached a clearing there was a narrow bridge as black as coal. There was a bright drop which seemed to go on for two astronomical units. Suddenly, he saw two women wrestle in the center; one had dark, shiny hair while another was in a silvery outfit.

Tinsel got involved in a scrimmage with Miss Killer!

"Tinsel!" Rick rushed over to the scene, but the two clashing females nearly fell to their deaths.

The surface sloped a little. The area was wide, though there were some small pits at each opening. Then, it narrowed toward the bridge.

Both women were hanging by a measly thread. "If I go down to Hell, I will take you with me!" Miss Killer threatened. She pulled her down more, to the point where she was nearly losing her grip, where only her fingers were hanging tough.

"No!" At the sound of Rick's voice, the drama grinded to a temporary halt.

"Rick..." Tinsel whimpered in a weak tone, almost tearing up. "Please help me."

Underneath his eyes, he also saw Haruka. She glanced over at him, as innocent as her dark façade can be. "Rick, you have to save one of us. Or we will both perish. You have to believe me. Black Shadow would want the both of us dead. One must sacrifice her life for the other. You'll have to choose quickly, Rick."

"Rick! Don't listen to her. She's still Miss Killer. Black Shadow would mostly want ME dead, to feed your survivor's guilt and make you suffer. I don't think there's anyway on saving Haruka, I'm sorry..." They were losing their grip, no more than holding a fish.

"Rick, pull me up. I'll forgive you for abandoning me at the Brooklyn Bridge and going into cold sleep for 150 years. I knew you'd be in a new world and time, but just now, I have faith in you. I'm very happy to see you again. Let's go back to where things once were. Don't let me die, Rick, not your long, lost love."

"Your face may be Haruka's, but your soul is a demon's!" countered the Comet pilot.

They both held on for dear life, Tinsel was slipping as Luna was pulling her down. Rick had to make a crucial decision and fast! But his mind kept reflecting on Haruka as Luna constantly tricked him.

"Rick! Help me, please! Save me now!"

"No, Rick! Nooo! Don't listen or she'll pull me down! Remember when you saw her when you were under anesthesia!? Rick you have to believe me!"

He then recalled her kindred spirit in the heavens.

"Rick, you must listen to me. My spirit has left my body 150 years ago. That woman named Miss Killer was a byproduct from Black Shadow. He was the one who reanimated my vessel and transformed it into an abomination."

Seeing him in shock, she grabbed and caressed his hands. "Dark Million must be stopped, and the galaxy must be saved. Otherwise...I can't find rest." she sulked. "You're the only one who could do this, Rick. I know you will. But you mustn't do it alone. Tinsel and your friends are the only ones who're willing to fight by your side. She needs you now, more than ever."

"Ah, Haruka..." He couldn't believe what she just said.

"Do not grieve for me. I've watched over you for the last century and a half. I can take care of myself up here. But you still need someone by your side. And that someone, is Tinsel. You gave your love to me, now share it with her. I want you to be strong as she can help heal your wounds. Please, Rick, give her a chance, and prevent Black Shadow from succeeding at all costs."

He nodded with a small grin. "I will."

"Do not let Miss Killer intimidate you. Just spirit will always remain in your heart. Do not let it be tainted again. Go in peace, Rick."

Making the millisecond decision, his heart warmed, then he ran and grabbed for Tinsel. The dark witch finally fell to her demise with a screech. With both firm hands, he pulled her up. They both caught their breath and Tinsel looked down. It was as if Miss Killer killed herself, falling through the white clouds; the exterior appeared to be a far more darker shade of a midnight blue.

She began to cry as she apologized profusely that he didn't have the chance to save her in time. Tinsel wanted him to do so by recovering her, reviving her memories from long ago, and no longer be the vile Black Shadow made her to be. Miss Killer's soul was just too dark while she kept on intimidating Rick. "I wanted you and Haruka to reunite, but I couldn't... Please forgive me." She shut her eyes as she sobbed while more tears dropped.

He said after a pregnant pause, "No."

She looked up.

He shook her head, "I won't forgive you." His face was stern, and so was his voice.

That sliced her heartstrings; she felt as if it was broken, shattered into many shards. She absolutely knew Rick would be so uncompassionate towards her, after what she had done...

"I can't forgive you because..." He laid a hand on her shoulder. "...there is nothing to forgive." That made her shoot her eyes to him, and had her stop weeping. Her throat tightened at what she just heard.

He looked into them and assured that he knew Miss Killer was there from the start. Haurka warned him that she was a creation made by Black Shadow, using her form; she even called it an 'abomination.' She also told him that her reanimated corpse once mentioned that she was raised by Black Shadow since she was 'born.' It was clear from the get-go there was a point of no return, and Haruka herself will always be in his heart until she could find rest if Dark Million is destroyed. She knew Rick's the only one who could do it, and she accepted that Tinsel needed him.

"Tinsel... You're the one for me." he said as he held her close, and dried her tears.

"Thank you, Rick...and tell Haruka the same." she whispered. "I was so worried about your survivor's guilt. And I always cared for you but I never thought you were ready to let Haruka go... I love you, Rick. You're the only man in my life."

"I love you, too, Tinsel. More than you'll ever know."

They heard a vehement laugh which echoed throughout all the layers of dark matter. Recognizing who it belonged to, Rick parted and immediately followed with Tinsel close at his heels. They ran straight and the colossal chamber kept getting larger by the second, as if they were ants by comparison. Specks of light littered the floor, and there were some more hills, then a skinny pathway overlooking a white brick floor. Finally, they followed the open apertures to a dead end. A 500-meter pit awaited them as the passage ended within a cerulean sky; below was nothing but fog, and to each side they saw what looked like orange glowing Reactor Mights encased in spiky circulars.

Frustrated, Rick clenched his fists and yelled to the air, "Black Shadow! You hide like a coward. If it's me you want, then come out!"

"Agh!" Tinsel was shoved to the side. When Rick looked back, he immediately saw the demon, squeezing and lifting him by the neck. "If it's me you want, it's me you get!"

"Rick!" she cried for him, laying helplessly. She was terrified when he turned him and his body was hanging over the pit!

"It seems I don't need you, after all. Your Reactor Mights are mine for the taking. You served your purpose for helping me find them, and now I should eliminate that meddle, Captain Falcon, once I'm finished with you!"

"No!" He struggled and squirmed out of Black Shadow's grip with every bit of rage, but it held strong. He even tried to push him away using his hands and kicks.

"Yes!" The broken side of his face sneered as the normal half did. His eyes narrowed. "The chosen one." Rick's eyes grew wide. "How I wish you'd serve us again. But no matter, my precious dream has finally been realized. Earth will be my final destination. And I will incinerate everything in this rigid universe."

"Don't do it, Black Shadow!"

"You shall know how a traitor should suffer. Now, die!"

He lifted him and Rick was at his mercy, until...

Beastman, Gomar and Shioh, Draq, Rodney, and Leon ganged up on him. They all tackled him straight to the ground. And they wouldn't stop ripping him apart, both physically and psychologically.

"What do ya think you're doing?! Can't you see you've caused enough harm to the universe already?!" Chris protested.

"We'll clobber you down to stop this madness!" Draq took over with a body slam, nearly crushing his victim.

"You think we haven't finished you yet?! After what you did to my father?!" Rodney screamed behind the fray.

"You dare to ruin our best friends, you're a threat to us all!" Leon growled, baring his fangs into him.

"You mess with one of us..." Gomar started.

Shioh ended, "You mess with all of us."

"I'm not done with you yet, Wheeler! Erraaagghh!" He dissipated like a fading silhouette, and Leon licked Rick like a loyal dog.

"I'm ok, Leon. I'm ok. Black Shadow didn't harm us."

"Just barely." Tinsel also received a couple smooches. "How did you guys get here? The maze was very confusing."

"It was pretty easy, actually. Aside from Leon's outstanding sense of smell, we just heard the commotion and followed you here." Rodney said. "Oh, and your friends had quite a predicament before they were awakened; they said they experienced their own fears because of a spell done by the Skull. And then Yami sent him to oblivion using his ancient techniques."

Everyone talked about their corresponding experiences: from Gomar and Shioh trying to impress Black Shadow and then realizing the truth, to Beastman wrestling a wild croc, to Draq's fear of losing Roger, to Leon winning the Grand Prix in Silence. Rick told everybody he was the first to break the illusion over him as he protected himself as soon as Zoda was about to slay him just as he did 150 years ago.

The fog eventually cleared, revealing a walkway of neon green and white flooring. It was almost like it was made of some decorative ceramic. As they trekked further, the sky grew into a more sinister shade of indigo. Up ahead, there was a huge, opaque chamber. The hole was enormous, but it was surrounded by a five-pointed aperture, as if it resembled a hand waiting to grab the wanderers. Suddenly, there were some rapid flashes, thinking it was lightning.

"Heads up!"

Everyone ducked for cover as they heard a very noisy roar. It grew louder as it went closer and they covered their ears and eyes. Then it grew fainter as it went over their heads. The sparks went with the plasma orb.

"Is everyone ok?" Rick asked as they rose.

"Yeah, that was close." Leon said after the gang confirmed together.

"Rick, what was that?" Tinsel queried.

"Must be another one of those devices. Black Shadow said we're getting closer to Earth. And then he'll consume the whole universe once he gets all six Mights."

"I hope we're not too late." Chris worried.

There was yet another dead end. Rick knew there was only one way to cross the abyss.

Meanwhile, Yami and Falcon confronted Black Shadow.

"I will rectify the mistakes I've made by no longer underestimating you!"

He unleashed a volley of dark energy, but the Millennium Puzzle shielded the victim with light. The ancient artifact was too much for Black Shadow, blowing away more of his face! The demon covered the damage, and he just laughed it off.

"You're quite the cocky one, Black Shadow."

"On the contrary, you're the one who is just as foolhardy." His shell began to crumble bit by bit. His body and voice was altered.
"So, Black Shadow... You show your TRUE form!" They observed Deathborn's actual appearance. Then, Falcon warned he's more powerful than his former lackey.

The Black Bull and his shell crumbled to dust and the Dark Schnieder replaced it, rising from the depths like a bat out of hell. Apparently, both Deathborn and Black Shadow had merged since the creator ghosts' were vanquished by Falcon a year prior. According to him, Deathborn has died three times, but after each time he was brought back to life by exchanging his real body parts for mechanical ones. Through these procedures, he has become essentially immortal. A device was installed within his body allowing him to travel freely through space, making it possible for him to mysteriously appear anywhere at any time. He then banished those he dislikes to the outer limits of space, where they became drifting vagabonds for all eternity.

Deathborn was plotting to take over the universe, starting with the disguise as Black Shadow. His plan was to obtain the ultimate power that would allow him to determine life and death on every star and planet as he saw fit. He himself never raced in the Grand Prix, except during that Horrific Accident in Fire Field 13 years ago. Other than that, he only took part in the underground races. He used to employ Black Shadow to win the overworld races, using whatever means were necessary. He was the champion of the Underworld, as well as the Chessmaster of this whole ordeal, from brainwashing the Task Force, to making an alliance with Zoda, Miss Killer, and others, to obtaining power from the Reactor Mights.

"So. It was you this whole time, wasn't it?!" Yami outraged. "You're obviously no different than Marik, albeit on a larger scale! Falcon and I are the only ones left, able to withstand your cowardice and treachery. This ends now! Have at you!" As the pharaoh was making a counterattack, Deathborn aimed straight at Yami again, only this time, the energy burst threw him into a wall. He was surprised he wasn't injured, but...

There was dark energy on the Puzzle, toward the Eye of Wdjat! He looked down in shock, then sunk to the ground.

"Yami, no!" Falcon rushed to his side.

He felt himself grow weaker. "Falcon... It's all up to you and Rick now. Retrieve him as soon as possible. The in your hands." Then his essence dissipated as it was being replaced by the young Yugi.

He immediately startled and clutched his puzzle, surveying the damage. Usually, Yami wouldn't return unless it was done by himself. So, this was quite a scare for him. "Ah, Pharaoh?! Pharaoh!" There was no response; the Millennium Puzzle was nothing but a powerless ornament. He sulked and some tears were shed. "We've tried... There's nothing we can do. He's not the same as he was before, he's stronger. You can't beat him again, and neither can I..."

Falcon went up to Yugi, "Yes, we can. It seems the time of the legend has come into fruition."

The kid's eyes shot up. "Legend..?"

"It is Rick who can turn the tables now. Let me explain..." Yugi listened attentively on everything the bounty hunter had to say.

Using the Dragon Bird EX, they entered inside the open aperture, and inside the Dark Reactor Core. It was up ahead, and all they had to do was tread on those octagonal platforms to get there. There was a bomb-protected door that said, "KEEP OUT!" in large, bold print, and a radioactive symbol beneath it. Rick, Tinsel, and Rodney tried the encrypted door. As they got to it, an announcement rang: "Warning! Do not enter without authorization!" In that female voice it kept repeating itself. Rick figured he'll enter it using the ID he had while he was being brainwashed by Black Shadow. Tinsel worried it'd be invalid, lo and behold it was. Then, there was...Octoman?

"Let's just say I was a little stowaway. I knew my good friend, the Skull, would pull something on all of you. So, I decided to slip in as soon as he was gone, thanks to that Egyptian guy. You can't possibly go any further without me. Let me help."

Thanks to his ID card, the titanium door was unlocked, the announcer shut off, and they entered the restricted lab containing the Blood Falcons. The cephalopod decided to stay put and watch their backs as they trekked through the dark corridor.

Each tank lining up the walls contained a sinister Captain Falcon copy. Since it was attached to the Dark Reactor Core, it was easy for Black Shadow to make multiple replicas by using a microscopic strand of his DNA. Combined with these two factors, the amount was just infinite, said Rodney.

"Then it's settled. We got to destroy this laboratory." Rick stated earnestly. "I knew there was more than one Falcon."

"Yeah, you were the one who told me that, remember?" Tinsel reiterated.

By the Skull's demise, the thrall over Dr. Stewart was broken. He collapsed and lost consciousness after that. Tinsel and Rick attempted to awaken him, and a desperate attempt was done by Rodney when he rushed over.

"Dad!" He knelt and laid his hands on his clammy face. "Dad, Dad! You can't stay like this. We all need you right now. We can't defeat Black Shadow and save the universe. Not without your expertise. You alone can help us deal with the adversity. Please, wake up!" Despite all the imploring he did, his father never budged.

Rodney turned to Rick as he recollected what he did to him, Tinsel, and Tanaka. "Rick... You have to bring him back, you're the only one who can do this. Please."

She faced him, too, with a somber expression. "I can try." he whispered. He wasn't sure of himself, though, as he could lose some of his own energy. Still, he laid a warm hand on his forehead, saying his name repeatedly. The other two watched in silence, until...

His face was vacant as he opened his eyes, hardly recognizing where he was, or who was with him. His mind was almost like a blank slate.

"Dad. It's us. Don't you remember me? I'm your son, Rodney."

"Son..?" Stewart muttered.

"Yes. You raised me. And you also have a daughter, too, Luna. We became very promising physicians thanks to you. Oh, and these are my friends, Rick Wheeler and Tinsel Steelus. They're from the Elite Mobile Task Force, and so were you." His face fell. "Until that fateful night when Black Shadow darkened your mind." His voice rose, "You have to remember us. You're the only one left, the team is complete now!"

The strengthening of engram synapses was crucial for the brain's ability to access or retrieve specific memories. The consumption must have weakened those synapses, and impaired the neurons. That probably explained why they were powerless, making my dad brainwashed, then dazed and confused, he thought.

Stewart looked over at... "The Dragon Bird..." Then, he had some flashbacks to the day when he was unfreezing Rick from the cryo chamber. The events made the connection, and little by little, more memories flooded his mind up until the incident. It eventually all became clear to him.

"Rick! Rodney! And Tinsel, too." Everyone was all smiles.

"Doctor, it's you!" the 150-year pilot exclaimed.

Stewart held his head. "I...I can't believe it's been so long since we've last seen each other."

Rodney went to him, and they embraced each other tightly. "My dear boy. You've done me proud. Is the formula safe? Did you use it on the Task Force members?"

He broke away. "I'm sorry, Father. The formula was sabotaged at Mute City by Black Shadow, you, and Jody. You've actually used it on me, but fortunately I would've been like you if it wasn't for him." he motioned toward Rick. "Tinsel was the one who saved the lot of you. Jack, Jody, EAD, Lucy. And Rick came first. But Dr. Clash sacrificed himself during a race."

That pained everyone, including the elder doc. "What have we done...I'm not sure if I can forgive myself. He was a great man, with a mind that could surpass even mine."

"Don't blame yourself, Doctor." Rick reassured. "It wasn't all for nothing. We're here in Dark Star. There's still time to beat Black Shadow and end his game once and for all."

"What do you remember, Doc?" Tinsel queried.

"An everlasting dream... An endless dream of true darkness. In it, I could only hear what was happening. But, I couldn't recoil. My mind was absorbing all this malice, and that's all I reacted upon. Before that, I only hoped the savior would help me and my friends."

"The savior?" Rick asked. "Who is it? Will we ever see him?"

"Is it Falcon?" Tinsel brightened.

"Who're you talking about?" Rodney wondered.

Stewart took a deep sigh, after he lowered his head. Whatever it was, he knew it was going to be a long lecture. "There's something I've been meaning to tell all of you."

The former mad doctor explained about the forces of Dark and Light that were created after the Big Bang. Black Shadow was known to hold the Yin as he represented darkness and negativity, being hidden and passive, slow like the Black Bull, and treacherous. Whereas Falcon held the Yang which represented light, purity, quickness, and focus; kind of like how Tinsel remembered the same concept of the Championship Belts from the Grand Prix last year. Rick's vision was right about saying that there is Dark and Light that governed the universe.

This was the same when Falcon faced off with Shadow's master, Deathborn, and he won. He obtained the first Reactor Might. Then, the Creators were a nuisance and liars as she, Yugi, and Joey were trapped in their own cards. Yugi had the Dark Magician, Joey with Red Eyes, and Tinsel with Blue Eyes. Somehow, Black Shadow was resurrected upon Deathborn's and the Creators' demise. And all three were symbolized, having similar traits.

Falcon went to Stewart and Jody one day with some vital video info, saying there were six Reactor Mights scattered throughout the galaxy. He said in the 25th century, the Milky Way will fall under evil if all are united in corrupt hands. A savior must hold them, and those were determined by whoever possesses them.

Stewart heard these uncanny rumors before, but Falcon showed him. It was under his jurisdiction that one of those Mights should be installed in the Dragon Bird. He once said that the Falcon, the Dragon, and the Bull were brothers from a different time: The Falcon represented purity, the Bull was wrath, and the Dragon was an unknown entity.

Stewart said that Falcon and Shadow can't defeat each other by themselves, and he revealed that only the Savior, or Wuji, can turn the battle to either Falcon's or Shadow's favor. Rick experienced both sides already, making him susceptible to each. Thus, all those predicaments have labeled him as such.

The reason Zoda was awakened was because Dark Million was afraid of the savior's coming as the Dragon was rumored to be. At that time, Jody and Stewart couldn't find a skilled enough pilot who could handle the Dragon Bird prototype. But Zoda was the reason why they found Rick. Jody wasn't a firm believer in the legend, nor was she confident on reviving someone from cold sleep. She always thought he was there since he always hated him, but there was a common missing link between them going back 150 years.
Ever since Clank's observation during Falcon's training, and the races prior, they knew he could master it. And that was why Falcon trusted him as his only loyal student, and to protect him from further corruption.

With the Task Force, Black Shadow was determined, looking for the three Reactor Mights of Light. The Federation had those Mights, one in the Blue Falcon, the Dragon Bird, and the Silver Comet. Three of the Dark Ones were in Shadow's possession. Blood Falcon had one. One was in Miss Killer's. Zoda mutated after he was awakened due to exposure of a Reactor Might the demon found.

"Is that why he was in AND then out of cold sleep?" Tinsel asked after a period of stunned silence.

"Yes. That's exactly why. It's Rick's choice, and his destiny to hold all six sacred Mights."

His machine, the Dragon Bird, was experimental, it was upgraded from his demolished police cruiser, and there was something very unusual in it. It wasn't confirmed until Falcon pointed out that Rick had one of the Reactor Mights. He was the third element, the gifted racer that's vulnerable to either side, as he actually represented the Wuji, without an extreme, without ultimate.

"So.. I'm the one who'll determine the galaxy's fate?"

"Yes, you are. Of course, while we are here, the Blood Falcons must be exterminated." Stewart once heard him start a rumor there was more than one Falcon, as well as more clones; Tinsel remembered Rick pointing it out before the Aeropolis race while they were pursuing Jack and the Reaping Robin.

"I think I know how it can be done, come." He led the trio to a room where Rick was too familiar with. The same one that used to house him when he and his friends were mesmerized. The only differences were that most of the canisters were empty, and only several machines were left at a distant corridor, the Death Anchor, the Sonic Phantom, the Moon Shadow, the Golden Fox, and a cluster of the Hell Hawks.

Stewart gazed upon one particular vehicle. "This machine was first designed as a missile by the Galactic Federation, but Zoda managed to steal it and Dark Million customized it as a racer suitable for his insanity. No one knows if it's still operational, not even him. If we could just use it for its original purpose, perhaps it could obliterate this entire laboratory!"

"That is if the Blood Falcons won't wake up." Rodney gulped.

"I can't wait to rid all the disgusting vile Black Shadow set upon, including on me. I only wish Clank or Clash were here."

"Doctor..." Everyone looked at Rick. "I can. I think."

"Wait, are you saying you're gonna drive this thing, and destroy the lab yourself?! You could get killed!" Tinsel protested.

"Not unless I can jump out in time. Leave it to me, even I can't wait to rid of any traces of Zoda."

"Hm, I see." Stewart just smiled. "You are the savior, after all."

"I'll take it, Doctor."

"It's a long shot," Tinsel said.

The father and son stood by in the family machine, while Tinsel waited within the Dragon Bird. "Wait for the explosion." The high-flying medico advised.

Rick entered the missile-shaped vehicle. He was quite astounded Zoda left his key in there after his demise. He was even curious as to why Black Shadow left it here. Nonetheless, he started it up and drove it out of the lab. He met Octoman and told him to evacuate since the workshop would blow. He waited patiently for his pickup while Rick raced toward the research facility. It had top speed, but the handling was rough. Still, he was able to control it nicely toward the tubes ahead!

Quickly, he set it on cruise control. He mentally made the calculation. "1...2...3!" He immediately leapt out of the Death Anchor just minutes before it slammed into the foreboding subjects.

Rick ran as fast as he could, yet he felt the heat licking him. Tinsel, driving the Dragon Bird, encouraged him to get in. With its high acceleration, it escaped along with the Golden Fox. But, the aperture was closing.

"Booster Fire!" Rick's Reactor Mights were utilized and it gave his friends enough time to exit. The two machines soared over the 500-meter hole, and landed safely on the other side. The walls lit in numerous colors as the experimental chambers have finally churned into space dust!

That was enough destruction to disarm the energy shield, allowing the Galaxy Runner passage.

"The shield is down!" Jody commanded, "Let's go, Wheeler's waiting for us."

"Jody." Clank rushed into the control room. "You gotta see this."

The metal capsule revealed a lifeless female. Her face was as white as the brightest dwarf star, and her lips were blue. Everyone was shocked once they saw who was in the launch pad.

"Who is that, Cleopatra?!" Joey queried in shock.

"No, Joey. It's Miss Killer. She was once Rick's girlfriend from 150 years ago. Black Shadow reanimated her body after she was killed in a car accident." the boy explained.

"Ergh!" He was in total disgust just looking at that disturbing display.

"Wheeler's not going to be happy when he sees this."

"What do you think we should do, Captain?" Lucy asked.

"Hmm. I got an idea." And so, the team got to work redesigning the atrocious shell. They were so into their own project, that they didn't even notice Joey sneaking out. He knew his best friend was still out there, and he wouldn't miss any opportunity to go and help him and Falcon out. It was definitely a battle he would NEVER want to be passive for.

Despite the brief victory, they knew their mission was far from over. Rick offered Leon and the other pilots to head back to the entrance and stay in the Galaxy Runner.

Then he paused as he looked back at that creepy looking hand, welcoming him in its toxic grasp. After finding out he was the savior, there was only one more assignment for him. "Tinsel..."

"I know. This is something you have to do alone. And you feel like you're never coming back..?"

"How do you..?"

"I knew when you hesitated; I saw the feeling in your eyes."

Rick gave Tinsel his remaining memos, the engagement ring for Haruka, and the golden locket. "Take them with you. So that you would always have a way to look back...and remember me."

"I will never forget you, Rick." They leaned in for a deep kiss. Then, leaving his beloved, he took the Dragon Bird EX and activated the Booster Fire, returning to Deathborn's stronghold.

A/N: For the longest time, the Legend of the Falcon, or rather the GP Legend itself, was a very complicated concept to grasp. I understood Falcon was of course the main hero, as well as the most iconic character, in the franchise. And Black Shadow, or sometimes Deathborn, was the antagonist. However, Rick being labeled as the savior was really challenging; I couldn't seem to wrap my mind around him, and his involvement as the Savior. Aside from his developing talents from 150 years, and the connection with Zoda, this was sort of a mind game.

After around a few months, I struggled as I tried to make it seem more cohesive. Thanks to the concept in Pokémon incorporating the Tai trio, this actually helped. Reshiram was the Yin, Zekrom was the Yang, and Kyurem was the Wuji. Because they were once a single entity, an idea developed: Since Rick was the Chosen One, I decided to base him around Kyurem, as a third element to the Yin and Yang, making him affected by one side or the other. To either save the universe if he chooses Falcon, or plunder it by choosing Black Shadow. Because the story revolved around saving the Task Force after their minds were contaminated, this fits. Rick was tainted, then the residue was erased, next he trained under Falcon, and just now it was revealed and Stewart implied for him to make a choice since he experienced both sides, as the complex grey area. So, there you have it.

I still can't understand the legend itself, and I don't like the fact Captain Falcon is a title rather than an alias. But, hopefully, I've interpreted this in a simpler, easier way.

What I've learned from the anime is the Reactor Mights can actually affect someone's mind, like how Zoda used it to give Rick visions of Haruka's last stand, and Miss Killer about the past with Rick. She once claimed she was raised by Black Shadow since she was "born," and that it was the effect from erasing her identity by using a Reactor Might and the stasis tube. The same one that Rick had. I was pretty disappointed that it took too long for Haruka to come to her senses near the end. Sorry, but she kind of had it coming; nevertheless, she was dead to begin with anyways.

This was kind of a reference to Metroid Fusion, as the Bio Space Lab had about 10 copies of SA-X, and Samus used the self-destruct mechanism, destroying the lab and the Metroid home world, SR388.

And I made a reference to one of my collaborator's character, Luna Stewart, Rodney's half-sister. She owns her by the way.

So, at long freaking last, the Finale of "Ending it All" has taken root. What would happen next? Find out on the Final Lap of F-Zero GP Legend - Ending it All!


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YES!! We are at the finale of the F-Zero epic, at last!!

A/N: Well, futuristic racing fans, we're finally here! We went through 19 excruciating Laps, and we have waited months for this. At long last, we've reached the end of the F-Zero GP Legend saga. Thank you so much for sticking with me and waiting patiently. This is where the series, literally, ends it all. Sure the Japanese dub, Falcon Densetsu, did the same thing, but GP Legend didn't; and this is primarily for that. I would love to thank all my followers and collaborators for making this entire project possible.

But enough small talk. Let's finish this thing!

Final Lap!

"So, Rick is the only one who can help you defeat Deathborn?" Yugi pondered on the legend of the savior from Captain Falcon. He couldn't believe what he just heard. "What if something happens to him? What if he fails, what if you fail?"

"We mustn't worry about the worst-case scenario, Yugi." the bounty hunter said. "Our lives are in mine and Rick's hands." He laid his hands on his shoulders. "Listen, your Millennium Puzzle is impotent, and most of your cards have been rendered powerless. It's only up to me and the savior. You must return to the ship. If I'm right, he must've gone to the Dark Reactor Core by now.

"I'll summon the Blue Falcon, don't worry about us. Pray for our return, and hope for the best."

The kid took a deep sigh, "Alright. Good luck to both of you. Please beat Deathborn." He observed his hero's vehicle which made it to him with minimal effort.

"Believe in me and the savior, as you did with Yami." He closed the hatch and never returned.

"Yugi!" He turned and saw his friend running toward him.

"Joey, what're you doing here?"

He panted, "I'm not one who's gonna sit back and do nothing!"

"Falcon told us to return to the Galaxy Runner and the Falcon Flyer. We can't stay here, the universe depends on him and Rick now."

"That's ridiculous. He expects us to bow down to this treacherous bastard?! No way! We ain't backin' down! We've dealt with countless maniacs while we were dueling, so we can surely help Rick and Falcon. Besides, they may need us. You taught me to never give up, and just now you're doing it?!"

"You're right, Joey. Yami would never want us to cower in fear. We always have to stand up to our greatest enemies, otherwise we'd never win. And we saw those orbiting sensors around Earth, incapacitating its defenses. So, we should get involved."

"Well, let's go then."

"Right." Yugi and Joey headed in the same direction as Falcon did, to the first dead end, then drew out their cards. He summoned his Blue-Eyes White Dragon, while his companion activated his Red-Eyes Black Dragon. Although they had to hurry as the chamber was closing up fast. The Dragons used their full breath, enabling them just enough time to allow them through.

They were aghast at what they saw next. From head to stem, there was a colossal machine that spun slowly. It was almost shaped like a human's chest, wide at the top then skinny toward the bottom. There were spirals and spirals of a track made of a hard, synthetic material surrounding it. They each saw it gather energy with the same fazing color as the devices.

"Ah, Joey! It's the Reactor Core!"

"So, this is that damned contraption causing all this trouble."

Each of the Duelists saw the Dark Matter Core rotate slowly as each of the spiraling tracks became larger; this almost reminded them of the surreal Phantom Road Falcon used to be in. Hell, they weren't even sure where he is now!

Meanwhile, Rick was at a loss when the Core slipped further and further away from him. Then he heard an altered laugh. "You're that desperate to die in order to save the universe? Follow me!"

He did, and he momentarily found the Dark Schnieder, racing around the track like a F-5 tornado. It later kept on bashing the Dragon Bird. Rick was struggling to handle it with the two acquired Reactor Mights; in addition, he was also dealing with the vortex that was sucking him into the core itself! With the combined brutality, it was almost too much.

Eventually, Yugi and Joey emerged and saw the showdown below. "We can't stay here and watch. We gotta destroy this thing before our planet and the universe gets demolished. If only we can get the third Light Reactor Might..."

The energy kept increasing, anticipating to feed on Rick's Reactor Mights. "Booster Fire!" he used his.

"Death Fire!" Deathborn countered using his own darker duplicates.

There was the Dragon Bird EX combating the Dark Schnieder. And the two onlookers barely knew how tough the killer machine was. Falcon was not exaggerating one bit and they feared that Deathborn would be strong enough to not only activate the Core, but make Rick fall into it!

"It's no use, Yug. They both have two of those Reactor Mights, they're at a standoff. Deathborn would succeed, after all."

"Let's hope Captain Falcon can make it, Joey. He's the only one who could save us now. Unless..."

By a sheer act of faith, he did. He entered into the arena and used his own Booster Fire which went around the core at blinding speed! It was creating some shockwaves in which the heart absorbed, slowing its rotation. Then he finally caught up and clipped Deathborn's deadly spiral.

"Argh! You again! I'll make sure the Dark Reactor Core stays active."

"Rick, you'll have to take my place. Once you do, we'll rid the Reactor. Stay close to the Core!"

"But..." For some reason, Rick was holding back. He was too worried that destroying the Reactor could also demolish both him and his friend. Even though it was the only method to save his home world and the entire galaxy, it was almost too much with the incredible strength of the Dark Schnieder, and the fact he might fall in.

"It's the only way. And only you can destroy the Dark Matter Reactor. C'mon, you can do it." Falcon encouraged.

Rick's eyes widened. "An overload? But, if we do that..."

"With the Blue Falcon, one Reactor Might can slow it down. You, on the other hand, can utterly destroy it." It was quite possible since he had two of them, as does the Dark Schnider. As Joey said, they were at a draw. And Deathborn was as desperate as ever to achieve his goal.

However, Rick found the courage. "Booster Fire!" The Dragon Bird EX surrounded itself in a vortex of light energy. Soon, the Schnieder didn't hesitate and followed suit.

"You're dealing with me now!" Falcon challenged the astronomic abomination. He distracted him using his agility, but Rick was still hesitant. And his machine made them bounce off like a couple of Beyblades.

Rick's Booster Fire was far from enough. Even though the core absorbed more energy coming from the three Light Reactor Mights, it kept surging more and more. His strength seemed to be wavering during that stunt. "Ergh, I can't do it!"

"Give it your all, Rick!"

The Dragon kept moving faster as it drove around the core, but the opposing effect was too strong for him. "I'm trying. I'm trying my best, Falcon!"

The Dark Reactor Core kept on spinning rapidly, while the pathways swelled to a flat plane. The Duelists did nothing but observe the terror, then Yugi had an epiphany.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"I sure am!" Joey cheered. "We gotta destroy this thing. And I think we know how to do it." They nodded to each other and drew out their cards. "Hey, look. There's Falcon!"

"But, he's not alone."

There was another Blood Hawk gaining on him. They heard him chant, "Blood Fire!" and the Hell Hawk was surrounded by a glowing crimson aura. He knew the Blue Falcon was there to give the Savior the upper hand, and he was not going to let that happen. So, Deathborn sent in his only compatriot, Falcon's own surviving double!

"I've had enough of this bully!" Joey declared, clenching a fist. He drew a card from his deck. "Time for you to shine. Come out, Red-Eyes Black Dragon!" It emerged after he laid it down face up. He finally had the chance to use his most famous, powerful monster yet. "Now, I combine it with Yugi's Summoned Skull," The kid drew a card designed with Death's skull and crossbones. "So it can become... The Black Skull Dragon!" The two monsters melded and Joey wasn't backing down.

He'll never forget the time when he first encountered the carbon copy back at Lightning, nor chasing after the Blue Falcon with the speed-sensitive bomb he set up, or when he was giving Tinsel misery during the Grand Prix.

"I saved ya once, I can save ya again." He took out the Dragon Claws card and laid it down. That increased the dragon's attack prowess. "Give Blood Falcon everything you got!"

The archfiend took a deep inhale as it reared its head back. The Hell Hawk activated its Blood Fire to try and knock the champion off. The serpent gathered more energy, flames as black as the darkest night were gathered, along with a few shades of molten red. Then, it fixed on its target and unleashed all its fury. The Shadow Flare was too much for the clone, and the onslaught sent him plummeting to his demise inside the core!

With a strategy in mind, and no time to spare, Yugi took out three Blue-Eyes White Dragons. Some flashbacks raced through his mind: from the showdown with Deathborn, to standing up against the creator spirits, mocking their friend.

"Now you have become the champion of the two Grand Prixes." One of the phantoms stated within the Championship Belt at the fortress.

"And we'll take out your soul from your body, and turn into our creation." added a second one.

Joey was infuriated. "You're all talk! But you can't walk the walk! Right, Red-Eyes?!" He drew it from his deck.

"We'll defend him to the very end, won't we, Dark Magician!?" Yugi summoned his signature Darkness monster.

"We may not be as good as Falcon, but we can protect him in conjunction with my Blue-Eyes White Dragon!" Tinsel countered with her creature.

"You don't stand a chance. His soul belongs to us. And we'll be able to take yours with his when he loses."

The three nuisances said one at a time. Then, as the scenery changed to a psychedelic background, the trio was dragged down inside their own corresponding cards, leaving their monsters inactive and hapless! It was indeed very claustrophobic. They thought they'd never get out and see the light of day, yet by a slim chance, Falcon emerged victorious, and the trio was free.

When the memory ended, Yugi was as determined as ever. "This one's for you, Falcon. You saved our lives before, and we will return the favor. I combine the three Blue-Eyes so they can merge into the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!" They did, and there were three heads in one ginormous body. "Now, I send it to the Graveyard, and preserve its essence, so it can become... The Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon!" He and Joey already knew what they were aiming toward, the Dark Reactor. "Joey! Combine your strength with mine!"

His teammate nodded and both reptiles fixed their eyes. "With the powers of both darkness and light..."

"And using the concept of Yin and Yang..."

"Attack the Dark Reactor Core!" The two shouted in unison as they pointed.

With Yugi's Shiny Nova and Joey's Shadow Flare, they each inhaled and exhaled to the heart of Dark Star. Their energy intertwined and hit dead center.

Rick looked over at the spectacular display while the dragons were building their energy. Then, he had a hallucination of Tinsel, filling him with a confidence he never had before.

"Rick, I believe in you. You're the man of my life. I know you can do it. Go for it!"

His eyes shot open, and his body churned as hot as a thousand suns! "Booster...Fire! Full power!" The Dragon Bird EX was still using its Reactor Mights as the machine itself glowed golden, causing the core to stop rotating at last. Then, the spirals narrowed and there was an intense blast, shaking the circular track! The Dragons made their mark! The Duelists shielded their eyes.

"Hang in there, Shining Dragon!"

"Do it, Skull Dragon!"

Little by little, it was blowing to smithereens as the surrounding areas shook like a 9.0 quake on the Richter scale! And the stem lost its energy as it dropped straight into the core!

"No. It cannot be!"

"Deathborn! It seems that you and I will be going to Hell together!"

"Captain Falcon!" Looking through the glare, Rick, Yugi, and Joey screamed for their mentor.

Instead of escaping like he should have, he only pleaded one last time. "You're the only one who beat me fair and square. It is he who surpasses me who should let the legend live on." He couldn't be more prouder for his one and only promising disciple. "Rick Wheeler?" He faced him with a big grin, "You have to take my stead. You will be the rightful savior now!"

He became distraught and all he did was observe the destruction. The blast eventually caught up to Falcon and Deathborn, sending their machines straight into the core! More of the track was obliterated, and the diabolical genius evacuated his machine. As did the supreme champion.

"You will be the only one dying as you! I can't lose and let my dream be unrealized! Nooo!" Deathborn leapt from the cockpit and soared toward his adversary.

"Falcon...PUNCH!" Amongst the flames of disaster, he unleashed a powerful punch from his right hand. It glowed a bright orange, nearly blending in. And the impact created a fiery image of a bird of prey. As he dropped, so did he. Their bodies incinerated!

"Captain Falcon!"

Within the collapsing Dark Star, the Dragon Bird was lead away by the jellyfish alien he saved earlier... Only it has grown to extra proportions! It was like 10x its own size, and he theorized that he had been feeding on countless Death Soldiers. Just then, his machine shut down, and there was nowhere else to go! Except, that same parasitic jellyfish thing powered it up by shedding its own energy to it. They got out in one piece, except for Falcon and Deathborn. They managed to survive, and the extraterrestrial wanted to return the favor to Rick. Then, he saw it drift one last time while the foreboding fortress was no more, taking his best friend with it.

The Shining Dragon and the Skull Dragon escaped as well, with the Duelists riding on top. Much like Uma-31, the Dark Reactor Core imploded, and it caused the shadowy orbiting devices to blow out like candles. The sky above Earth cleared up as the sun poked through the darkness. The rays penetrated the cloud and there were no casualties. Everything was still and quiet, and the Commissioner from that moment on knew the universe was finally saved.

The Task Force, Rodney, Gazelle, Andy, Clank, and the others saw the mayhem on a meteorite. Space rocks were floating by and the young geek saw a few glimpses in the dark. Two of them headed their way as the Legendary Dragons escorted the Duelists. Then, there was the Dragon Bird floating freely. Tinsel wasted no time as she immediately ran to it, screaming Rick!

By the time it landed from the parasite that saved him, EAD lifted off the hatch. Tinsel laid her hands on the still pilot. Everyone cried his name. Although, Rick only looked devastated.

"Rick, where's Captain Falcon?" Clank cried.

He struggled to lift his head as he looked at his friends with heavy, bloodshot eyes. There were still some tears flowing, "He sacrificed save us. I...I'm sorry." He turned away as he sobbed.

Tinsel fell to her knees, Jack laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, Leon whimpered, and the gangs' faces became very glum. Clank ran a few inches away. He wiped hard at his eyes as he sunk. A large piece of moon rock darkened his vision, and he saw Falcon's own signature helmet, and the Blue Falcon. The Dragons volunteered to bring down the two objects before they were dismissed. It was as if someone from a distance told them to, and they obeyed the command.

Eventually, everyone calmed down. And they gathered around the helmet Dr. Stewart held.

Falcon's words echoed in Rick's grieving mind, "Rick Wheeler? You have to take my stead. You are the galaxy's rightful savior."

He took a good long look, as did Tinsel. Then he took it.

"You'll...take his place?" Dr. Stewart wondered.

"Of course he would. It's what he always wanted. He needed to find someone suitable and trustworthy to replace him, when he's gone." Jody said. "Tinsel, Jack, and Yugi told us that." Then she smiled, "If this is what you want, Wheeler... I'd be proud if you'd do just that."

"Falcon..." the kid cried some more, as was Yugi when he tried to comfort him. Leon and Joey were close by their side. Everyone parted when his Millennium Puzzle began to glow. The eye was clear, and then there was a ray of light which eventually emerged as the pharaoh.

Yami walked up to him and smiled. "Yugi? Joey? You two have done a wonderful job saving the galaxy." He faced the entire group. "I should owe my thanks to all of you. I will be forever in your debt, as you all have done the unsurmountable. My gratitude, especially, goes to you, Rick." He looked up at his demeanor. "Douglas Jay Falcon has chosen correctly. If you are willing to accept and fulfill his legacy, he would be most thankful. He never would've wanted it any other way."

He then motioned to his beloved. "Tinsel, take good care of him. And do this for Haruka. She should be at peace now."

"Of course, Yami..." she answered weakly.

"Dr. Theodore Clash would want Lucy, Clank, Andy, EAD, and Roy to fulfill his obligation. He shall rely on all of you. Make him proud."

"We will." They said in unison.

He closed his eyes, "I, too, can finally rest, knowing the universe is safe and in good hands." He opened them and grinned, "We have won. Dark Million's been defeated. I would consider the lot of you to be my champions. It was great meeting all of you." Yami faced the group before he faded into his own sarcophagus. "Farewell..."

Back inside the Galaxy Runner, Rick and Tinsel were sitting alone, looking out at the Milky Way. They, and the Falcon Flyer who was piloted by Gazelle, would be approaching Earth in a matter of hours, giving the gang some time to mourn for their loss.

Rick held her close, and she just closed her eyes while taking in his comfort. His eyes were also growing heavy, as well. All he wanted to do was sleep, and relax himself until he couldn't feel anymore of the pain he endured. Falcon's sacrifice was nearly as hurtful as was Haruka's.

"Rick..." He looked over at Tinsel, thinking she said his name. She didn't say a word. "Rick..!"

Standing in front of him in a gentle aura, it was her! "Haruka..?" Tinsel looked in the same direction, and she was startled she could see her, too. She never looked more fine, just as she did when Rick saw her in the heavens. They slowly rose and walked toward the pure spirit.

Her smile broke, "Rick... It's time to say goodbye." Rick reached out a hand, feeling her essence as warm as the sun. "It's nice to finally meet you, Tinsel."

"Oh. You, too, Haruka." she stuttered. "Will watching over us?"

"Of course, I will. As would Douglas and Theodore." She touched Rick's arms with her delicate hands. "Remember, Rick. That I'll always love you. You are the galaxy's savior. You have achieved your destiny, and I'm certain Falcon would love to see you prosper and carry out his wishes. My dear, Rick, I could never be more happier...that you are truly my man..." She touched his face, and he embraced her, as if he was wrapped in a comfortable blanket. Somehow, even Tinsel felt warm and fuzzy inside as he did.

Her corpse looked just as beautiful as her kindred spirit. Then, she gradually faded. Tinsel hung her head. Rick's eyes shot open, then he sulked as he noticed she was gone. Nevertheless, he knew the three of them would always be there when anyone needs them, in their hearts.

Tinsel walked up to him, and he held her close again. He took out the one memo he always had for the past 150 years, her engagement ring. He made a weak grin, knowing she'd finally rest with Zoda and Dark Million vanquished for good, as well as no longer having her body be controlled by a tainted soul who was Miss Killer. He then looked up at the silent void. He silently prayed, Rest in peace, Haruka...

Victory Lap

After that, Jody heard the news from the Commissioner about everything that transpired, including Tinsel's resignation. And by default, he found out that Rick Wheeler was the Champion of the F-Zero Grand Prix!

She later passed it all on to Stewart. They, along with Jack and the others, were ecstatic for his success, and they would miss both Rick and Tinsel dearly. Nevertheless, they were happy for the couple, knowing it was for the best.

About a week passed since Tinsel returned to Earth, and she was packing the last of her belongings into the confinements of the Silver Comet. Just as soon as she was about to leave headquarters behind her, the doc summoned her to their office.

It was there that Jody gave Tinsel one last assignment: "to take care of him."

She obliged almost instantly. "I will. I promise you."

"Rick Wheeler would always want you by his side, even when he's bounty hunting."

"Yes, of course, Doc."

"I hope you would visit us again, Tinsel. You and Rick are welcome here anytime."

"Thanks, guys."

"We're all in your debt, Tinsel. If it wasn't for you, Black Shadow and Dark Million would've let the universe fall into their corrupt hands. It was you who never gave up on the cause, and you who rescued us all." the captain complimented. Then, she handed her the badge as good as new. Then, they hugged each other. "Please, don't forget about us."

"I won't. Thank you."

"Jody!" The trio saw Tanaka burst in. "There are five new recruits waiting for you. They seem very anxious, they can't wait any longer. We could actually use them on the force. Leon, Beastman, and the others? Whew! They're exceptional."

"I'll meet them in a jiff, Tanaka." she ordered.

"Good." He saluted and headed out.

Tinsel requested to meet up with them. They got her permission. As she left and said goodbye to her friends, she encountered Leon, Octoman, Beastman, and Gomar and Shioh. They offered to become the Task Force's new members in Tinsel's and Rick's place.

"We knew you were going to resign after you dealt with Jody." the cephalopod said.

"Stewart said it was all up to us 'cause of you and Rick." Chris added.

"Yeah." she sighed. "It's over, you guys don't have to join. You all fought Dark Million well." Everyone looked at her, flabbergasted. "You're welcome to see them." She turned away.

"Wait." Gomar laid a hand on her lower back, making her turn. "Quitting again?"

"What do you mean?"

"We want to do this, Tinsel." Shioh chimed. The five encouraged her to do so.

"You... You guys actually want to join the Elite Mobile Task Force?"

"Hell, YEAH!" They chorused.

"For Falcon." Leon barked.

She gave in with a snicker. She had a feeling they would make excellent allies for the greater good. It eventually became official as every member became a new entry man to the Galaxy Platoon.

As for Yugi and Joey. they were Duelists so their work was done already, except for piecing together Yami's lost memories. Draq and Roger resumed their delivery business, and the lost machines were finally registered in their names, making them the permanent owners. Octoman's family moved into Mute City, though they'd still support the Takorans by winning races and show a better impression to the Federation.

While Gomar and Shioh will try to find some life partners since both Earth and Port Town have a diverse population. They each found a better way to make money by earning profits and making a more legitimate business ethic from selling century-old auto parts.

Beastman retired from hunting thanks to capturing Bio Rex and overcoming his childhood fear, and at long last he removed his dinosaur costume. He revealed an army green T-shirt and grey capris, some tattoos of stripes from different species were branded across his body, and he had a teal mohawk sticking out from the back of his head.

Leon would visit Zou from time to time while supporting it and his pups several light-years away, both as a part-time soccer coach, and the head of the orphanage. He was also courteous enough to support Clank's home world, Forno, as well.

The Mighty Gazelle joined the Federation as a lifeguard for all accidental victims. He was also a part-time janitor, and he and Clank had never been more whole. The boy was hired as a technician and junior data executive. Pretty soon, if he'd be old enough, he'll see his dream through as a F-Zero racer using the Dragon Bird EX; until then, he'd be a promising mechanic much like Dr. Clash.

Andy still remained as the boss for the Falcon House, honoring the fallen hero. He has taken in both Clank and Gazelle and he became a father figure to both of them. He still sees Rick, Tinsel, Jack, and his other friends giving them great service and support. In addition, he does spend some quality free time reuniting with his sister, Jody.

Leon and Lucy were closer than a couple should, working together in the Task Force. Jack got a date with Stewart's daughter, Luna. Rodney's hospital was repaired and business was booming thanks to the help of his family; their father would always be by his family's side. Jody spent more time with the doc, both professionally and personally, almost to the point of a possible engagement, rumors say. Tanaka kept a watchful eye over the organization for the slightest bit of trouble. And EAD made a lasting relationship with his love interest, Kate Alen, and he was the first to visit her overbooked and expensive concerts.

Meanwhile, in the shared apartment, Rick decided to don on Falcon's uniform in front of a tall mirror. Tinsel thought, "Wow, that looks great on you. I'm still gonna miss Douglas, though. I kinda liked you better as you were."

He took off his helmet, "Don't worry, I'll only wear this during some F-Zero races, as well as hunting some bounty. You'll still see me as I am."

"Does that mean you'll be using the Blue Falcon? The GT?"

He nodded. "I'm carrying on his legacy, remember? I'll also be visiting his fortress in Port Town, too."

"Don't you miss your machine, the Dragon Bird?"

"I'll use it from time to time. And Clank will have loads of fun tweaking with both machines." It was going to be tough to live under these new conditions. Rick may be gone more often and she wouldn't be with him as much.

"Will we see our friends again?"

"Of course we will. When duty calls, we'll always be there. Or if we just want to visit. Although...there is one more thing we must do."

"What is it?"

He responded with a stern tone, "...It's finally time."

Rick led Tinsel through a warp gate to Planet Alcatran. They soon arrived at the second White Land track where she could finally overcome her fear on crossing over the 50-foot gap. "Are you ready, Tinsel?"

"As long as you are, Rick." She was focused, but extremely nervous.

It was the Silver Comet vs. the Blue Falcon GT. It was slightly altered from the original model. He was at first reluctant, but he decided to do so to make it have more speed and less control in corners. Thus, thanks to Clank, its boost has been sacrificed, and the grip stat was reversed from its acceleration. Other than the yellow stripes behind its cockpit, the GT looked nearly identical.

The race started after a slow, four-second start. Rick gave the signal, and they were neck-to-neck until the Comet slipped across the treacherous snow and ice. After a few tricky curves, there they saw it. "The's just ahead!"

"Go for it, Tinsel!" he encouraged her. As they were getting closer, the Blue Falcon hit the brakes, leaving the Comet to speed ahead. She looked back, wondering why he stopped so suddenly. But then...she immediately entered the jump!

She was going on a steady descent, and she couldn't believe she was dealing with it again after 13 years! Then, an epiphany came to her: Earlier, James McCloud in Port Town taught her that she has to keep the Comet's nose up, making a longer jump and she could land lighter.

As the memory ended, she hurriedly grabbed the nozzle to the right. The nose of the Comet ascended, allowing more air into it. She kept pressing the gas pedal as hard as she could, just to make it clear over! Then...

Tinsel succeeded! She landed gently on the frigid road and turned her vehicle as it kept sliding across the ice before she hit a guardrail. She hesitated, awed by the fact she nailed it. Then, with enough distance and speed, she headed back over, meeting Rick at the other side. In a way, he wanted her to conquer her fear, just as she helped him amend from his scars by defeating Zoda and knowing Haruka would rest in peace now that Dark Million is gone.

"Rick...I did it. I finally cleared the gap, and made my way back unscathed..!"

"I knew you could do it, Tinsel." He gave her a big hug and a smile.

"Thank you...for always believing in me. I couldn't have done it without you." It was actually warmer in his arms than being in the Comet, Rick felt the same. As she opened her eyes, she saw something bright fly across the sky. "Rick..."

"What is it?" They parted, and she pointed up.

They each saw a fiery celestial body tread the air. "It''s a comet..." Rick observed in wonder. Tinsel barely said a word. There was no better moment than this, as they watched the comet sail within the heavens. "We would call it...the Tinsel Dragon." he said.

She couldn't be anymore happier. From that moment on, the loving pair will feel complete forever...

A/N: And with that, Ending it All, and F-Zero GP Legend...well has ended.

The Shadow Flare was something I made up since I can't find Black Skull Dragon's signature move. I was lucky to find the Shiny Nova, though. And the Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon made his mark on Deathborn, as it wasn't able to do so before. I didn't like the idea having Zoda, Baba, and the others involved, so Yugi and Joey had to take the job. I'm not a fan of Seito Kaiba, either. And I kind of made up Beastman's actual appearance without the costume; I wish it actually was revealed, same with Falcon's.

The Credits theme from F-Zero Climax should be heard where the epilogue summarizes each character up to the point where it centers on Rick and Tinsel in White Land.

The White Land II theme plays when the lethal race starts between the Silver Comet and the Blue Falcon GT. "The Battle is Finally Over" plays at the very end of the story. Of course, The Moment of Truth will be heard in this story, when Falcon sacrifices himself and prevents Deathborn from rising, as well as the ending, with English lyrics.

After that, then it goes with my version of the Credits theme from GX; though it'll apply to the Dragon, since it's mostly about the new savior of the universe, Rick Wheeler! PLEASE make him as a Canon Immigrant! And perhaps put him in the next Smash Bros. And hey, all these guys need somewhere/someone to go to, especially since Leon, Chris, the Huckminers, and Octoman are new recruits in the Task Force.

Finally, after four agonizing months, the F-Zero universe can be in full circle! I've completed my most precious, long-awaited story yet! And it took 13 years to finally pull it off. I'd like to give special thanks to my collaborators for all their ideas and support; this project could've never been done without all of you! I desperately hope that the franchise would see a brand new light with another installment and maybe complete the American dub of the anime, just as I did. To think this would be an early Xmas gift to all of you. Farewell, F-Zero fans and keep the faith.

Here's the vid of the ending song!

And finally the epic, iconic scene of the Falcon Punch!!


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Man of Destiny

A/N: Forgive me guys if this seems to be rushed, but lemme tell you all something. I'm not a fan of Resident Evil, nor the oversaturated zombie genre; I wish it would just let it die on its own since it's the same cliché every time! I'm also not into the horror genre either, especially since they're always going to be global destruction involving endless undead swarms triggered by a certain biological virus/experiment that went awry. I really wish it would have more desirable results like in "Warm Bodies."

I actually came up w/ this over a week ago when I reluctantly saw the original Resident Evil movie, and I feel this fic should do it justice. Then, my mind just randomly developed this idea for Rick's first bounty hunting mission; at first I thought of the PS2 game, Project Eden, but then it changed as I wasn't thrilled about it. It's almost as though my mind decides for me before I do and unfolds from there. I wanted to stop this idea but I later couldn't resist, so here goes.

A little after Captain Falcon's sacrifice, Rick has been spending some time at his fortress in Port Town since he received the mantle. Recently, he started training with Samurai Goroh in Planet Cryton on how to meditate as well as work as the legendary bounty hunter Falcon once was. Goroh was becoming less of an enemy and more of Rick's mentor; he seemed to admire Rick more than his archrival who constantly claimed he was betrayed by.

Rick woke up to a chirp from his key fob. And without trying to disturb Tinsel, he read through the message and readings the Falcon Flyer received. There was a list of assignments to choose from and this was Rick's first bounty hunting mission. One of them involved a mysterious outbreak known as the T-Virus in a distant location in Port Town. The space port was divided into halves, and the southern route was the most dangerous; similar to that of Mute City, as there are more intense crime rates there. Rick was lucky the late Falcon's fortress was located further north. There was a brief description from the Falcon Flyer as it picked up an assignment there. Still new to the advanced technology, he looked at his key and the text said about the T-Virus located in an underground, secluded genetic laboratory called the Hive. It was home to some questionable experiments developing weaponry, healthcare, technology and science. It also belonged to a rogue squadron known as the Umbrella Corp. According to the data, just five hours ago, the laboratory proceeded a massive shutdown, causing major casualties inside as each employee perished in various ways. It was a method done by its artificial security system called the Red Queen as it followed the procedures to quarantine the lab once the T-Virus was released. The result could be deadly and astronomical affecting the entire surrounding area. If he's successful on destroying the Hive while averting any further collateral damage, then the money would be forwarded to him immediately.

Daring as he was, he chose this to be his first bounty hunting mission, although it was probably designed for more skilled hunters. Much to Tinsel's dismay he wanted to take on the challenge to prevent Douglas Jay Falcon's home world from being contaminated by the lethal infection, so it was actually done by honor rather than a blind choice. Being that she had no experience, Rick volunteered to do this alone without Tinsel nor the Task Force watching his back. After the briefing on Earth with his close comrades, Clank and Jody decided to discreetly track Rick by implanting a device within Falcon's helmet.

With him leaving, Tinsel stayed at the Task Force headquarters and described to Dr. Stewart she can't eat, sleep, or function well without him; as if her mind and soul went north and south. He actually is planning to make an antidote with the research he found from Clank and only what the Galaxy Police knows about the T-Virus; the latter had actually sent out a special team called the Sanitation Unit to investigate the Hive after the incident.

In the Blue Falcon GT, Rick followed the signal going off through the subterranean tracks to the secret lair. Upon entry, he noticed that although the Hive was leagues underground, it was a structure that towered as much as about 50 stories. He went to a lift which appeared to have been abandoned. Something tugged his mind and caused his head to throb. As he was holding it in agony it made him have a vision: Before he pressed the descending knob, he had a hallucination of the elevator malfunctioning, as the safety brakes shut down while people were screaming passed him before the lift plummeted to the ground miles below! He then saw a woman emerge from another one, only her face prevented it from going any further down. Lastly, the car switched gears and quickly rose, smacking the lady's skull and killing her instantly! Rick shook his head, clearing it from the repercussions it left. He decided that taking the stairs would be more safer since he realized the fastest way was the most dangerous.

He soon arrived in a skinny hallway passed a large motherboard. He noticed that the leader, along with two others, have already fallen. The head of the group, Shade, had his own face sliced into pieces as their bodies bled. There was a narrow passageway and as soon as he entered it, the mechanical doors trapped him inside! The hallway turned green and there was a gigantic laser wall heading toward him! With cracker-jack thinking, Rick drew out a Glock and fired toward the barrier, shattering it. He panicked and braced himself, only to realize as soon as he got his breath he was still alive and unscathed. Using the Glock Falcon never used, the phaser fired toward the control panel at the back wall, disabling the codes and unlocking the doors.

He noticed more dead bodies while also some constant, distant moaning coming from the adjacent rooms. Rick assumed the T-Virus, the fatal byproduct of the corrupt Umbrella Corp, has turned the victims into flesh-eating zombies. Sure enough, they were as he fought off a few waves of them using his Glock at maximum settings, making the majority corrode and dissolve on contact. When the coast was clear, he laid down a small gadget on the ground and set an alarm. It let out a steady beep and the timer ticked away 60 minutes; this was something created by the Mighty Gazelle, as to obliterate the T-Virus threat from the universe entirely. Rick wanted to escape, but his heart told him there could be some survivors down here. Still, time was ticking.

Through the narrow passageways in the tunnels covered in wires, Rick activated a headlight on his helmet helping him see.

Meanwhile, there were three people, a man named Spence and two women, encased in a flooded chamber. One of the women who looked closely like a Goth, named Rain, was infected by bites and scratches from the undead infestation; her leg was covered in blood in which the monstrosities seemed to crave. There was a chirpy voice demanding the sacrifice of the unfortunate victim in exchange for their chances of escaping. They were in a heated dispute, until the other blond woman named Alice shot the TeleVid using a regular firearm. She continued to search for the anti-virus, hoping to cure her doomed partner. With her recent memories restored from her amnesia, she figured the antidote was present here since she had some flashbacks working here. Apparently, she used to be a promising researcher and active veteran protecting the Hive's secrets until the experiments involving the T-Virus went awry. She quit the job but unfortunately she was knocked out by nerve gas and could barely remember anything; her partner, Kaplan, felt the same.

Unfortunately, luck wasn't on her side. As soon as Alice was about to accuse Spence, he turned on them and pointed a pistol toward her. He revealed he was the one who set off the T-Virus epidemic here, as an ulterior motive on ruling all the world and soon the universe, working for the Umbrella Corp all the while. With that weapon, the galaxy would fall and the megacorporation would be unstoppable. Little did he know that someone was eavesdropping from the other side of the door. When the traitor stepped out, he was ambushed by a nearby trespasser. "I won't let all of Port Town suffer from the likes of you."

"Huh?" Spence faced his assailant who gave him a sudden punch sending him into the pool below. He was then drowning in it as he was sinking like a rock.

It turned out the brawler was none other than someone who was desperate to look for survivors. Alice and Rain were astonished to meet up with Captain Falcon. He never revealed his true identity, and he felt hopeless on finding a cure, claiming to be irreversible. Alice tried to reason with him there is hope, though they should hurry on finding it. Rick picked up the blue supplement Spence dropped and reluctantly handed it over to his informant; he was skeptical since her memory was hazy. To prove it, she inserted the formula into Rain while Falcon rinsed off her body as best he could. Though she was growing paler by the minute, and even upchucked.

There was a sudden rumble and Falcon took out his Glock, aiming it at Kaplan. They immediately assured him he was on their side and not yet zombified. The looks were different as he had some bleeding teeth marks on his arms.

The group marched off. But as they did, they grew hesitant on allowing a bounty hunter into the mix. Yet again, they were ambushed by more zombies and Falcon joined the fray. After a flashback of his mentor sacrificing himself with Deathborn, he attempted to mimic his Falcon Punch. He reared back and released a right fist, connecting with a nearby zombie. It didn't work as it never had the same effect. Caught unaware, he was sicced by one. He was saved, but he was hyped on adrenaline, shooting off the rest of them with his blaster. The trio never saw anything like it! With keen precision, they were destroyed, but Rick was trying to hide his injuries. Alice questioned him; she noticed that Falcon didn't look the same as the previous one, with the lighter, less dense skin tone, pointed neck, and thinner stature. He seemed to rely more on agility rather than strength. In his defense, Rick blurted out that this was his first-ever bounty hunting mission.

Everyone looked at him in a puzzled manner, yet somehow only Alice knew. So, he had no choice but to reveal himself as the Young Captain Falcon, as a replacement to the original, Douglas Jay Falcon. He unveiled that he gave up his life after Deathborn was destroyed along with him and the Dark Reactor Core. It was thanks to Rick's skills and his Full Power Booster Fire that obliterated the threat and ended the war with Dark Million just a couple months ago. He sulked a little as he reflected. His reverie was interrupted as Alice urged them along since Kaplan's infection was mutating. She said before Spence's betrayal, he mentioned there was an anti-virus aboard a hidden train; however, the power was down, enabling all access and allowing the epidemic and the zombies to run amok.

Time was of the essence because they heard a tiny bee within the Hive, the bomb that was set to detonate within 20 minutes. There was hardly any time for another quarrel so Rick limped with the survivors, but the Red Queen had some nasty surprises left. Not allowing them to escape with their lives and spread the word, she unleashed the remaining undead onto them. The survivors, excepting Kaplan, were able to fight them off, but not for long. They kept gaining on the vulnerable duo as he and Rick winced in pain and kept losing their vision and focus. Falcon claimed he could still fight, but they weren't taking chances.

They hurriedly boarded the back of the train, but there was no power to run it. In one last desperate move, Rick ordered everyone to go deep into the car while he remains outside; Falcon wanted Kaplan to be healed first since he was their only salvation. He fixated onto the incoming swarm, and the Hive's most lethal experiment, the Licker snuck aboard. Rick's body grew tense as his fists clenched, closed his eyes, and his heart raced. With the remainder of the adrenaline, he let out a scream and his body glowed in vermillion.

As Kaplan was inserted the last experimental sample, he punched around the motherboard to get the train moving. It was actually thanks to Falcon's desperation attack feeding it with his own energy. That also drove the undead back. But the Licker destroyed the hub and entered it. The duo fired with as much ammo as they had, but Rick's impact finished the job, making himself as powerful as possible while his body was wearing down. The Licker was fried upon the tracks when it fell off! They were soon out of the tunnels with just a few moments to spare!

The implosion destroyed everything from within; including the Red Queen, the remaining undead and Lickers, and even some mutated dogs. When the carriage stopped, everything was silent while the foundation collapsed unto itself.

Everyone looked at their new savior, who went completely still. He then collapsed and nearly fell onto the tracks before Alice, Rain, and Kaplan caught him. They carried him and he almost lost his helmet. Taking it off, Kaplan was surprised on Falcon's new appearance; they all saw his real face.

"He's...just a kid. He reminds me of how young I looked. Before I lost my sister." That actually struck a cord in their warming hearts as they recalled how innocent and docile they were before becoming killing machines.

They were blinded by enormous spotlights and the equipment shown the Umbrella's logo. The head honcho demanded his troops to abduct the survivors, waiting to mutate them. But then, someone commandeered the officers to stand down; the Galaxy Police arrived. "Freeze! We got you completely surrounded! Drop your weapons! Surrender or we will destroy you! You've done enough damage to this world! Drop your weapons, now!"

Dr. James Marcus and his men obliged and raised their hands, sparing the individuals. EMTs arrived and they treated everyone's wounds, except for Rick whom they loaded onto a stretcher and in an ambulance; the Blue Falcon GT was also docked in a separate vehicle while the trio watched in awe.

Meanwhile, in an apartment within Mute City, the sun was shining through in a bright cerulean sky. Tinsel was sitting idly, waiting anxiously for her beloved to return. She received a soft knock on her door. She opened and noticed it was Dr. Stewart, the high-flying medico, standing before her and wearing a grim expression. She cried out if Rick is coming back to Earth and whether or not the mission was successful, but she got an answer she wasn't expecting; Rick is still in Port Town and transported to the critical care unit. She lost her breath as her mind raced. The doc explained what happened and he wanted her to ride in the Golden Fox through the warp gate. He also said that his offspring, Rodney and Luna, were waiting as Rick is being quarantined. They had to hurry before the infection manifests through Rick's unconscious body, otherwise...

They wasted no time, and if his prediction is correct, he could extract a blood sample from one of the healed survivors and insert into Rick's bloodstream providing him a probable fighting chance. And to add some extreme measures, he'll be surrounded by all three Reactor Mights, one from the Blue Falcon GT, and two from the Dragon Bird EX. They raced toward the gate that led to Port Town's more benign streets.

Dr. Stewart led Tinsel toward the ICU and she instantly saw Rick resting on a hospital bed surrounded by impenetrable plastic. She ran up to him, "Rick!" IV tubes protruded from his hapless body, while still having that same blanch look. "Oh, Rick..." Tinsel then burst into tears while she dropped next to his side, burying her face in the mattress. "Rick you can't die. Just like how you lost Haruka..." She eventually rose when her numb body stopped shaking, asking what the trio could do. Stewart said that one of the survivors from the Hive was generous enough to lend him some blood containing the cure of the T-Virus, though he's uncertain if Rick would fight it. All they could do is wait since he's already comatose and surrounded by the Light Mights.

Hours went by, and still no movement. Although there was Falcon's helmet, resting next to him on a nightstand. Alice, Rain and Kaplan offered to give it back to Falcon, and promised never to tell anyone about his true identity. Then...

As Tinsel was still resting beside him, his eyes fluttered. Without a groan, he opened his eyes and looked around. Dr. Stewart entered the room agog. When Rick saw him, he moaned, "Port Town..? Out of...danger...?"

"Yes. You made it, and Port Town is saved."

The meeting awakened Tinsel and she was very ecstatic to see her best friend alive. She hesitated, and the doc said it was alright for her to kiss him. They embraced each other passionately, and Rick muttered that he saw Captain Falcon encouraging him to rise up within the bleak darkness. His late mentor never wanted Rick to surrender to the T-Virus, and his essence somehow gave him the strength to do so.

They soon left the hospital, and the surviving trio couldn't thank Falcon enough for destroying the Hive and preventing an apocalyptic virus from spreading. Alice, Rain, and Kaplan wanted to continue their investigation for the Sanitatian Unit to see if there is more corruption from the Umbrella Corp in the surrounding areas, as well as neighboring planets. For saving her life, Rain asked if they would ever see him again, and Rick said he'll guarantee it before he proudly left within the signature machine.

A/N: Glad that's finally over with; I couldn't wait to get this out of the way since it kept nagging me so much.

Check out this awesome fanmade remake of the original Port Town - Port Town (Reploid Utopia Remix) by Silverreploid CLE. I'm sure it'll be used somewhere in the story since it represents Falcon's turf. This story would end w/ Captain Falcon's Theme from F-Zero GX. The main song would be Port Town from F-Zero Climax.

Btw, the destructive sequence kind of reminds me of Metroid Fusion when Samus blows up the Biologic Space Laboratory as she vanquishes the infestation of the X-Parasites. As well as Spider-Man 2 when Rick makes his Post-Victory Collapse.

Also, the cast for Resident Evil was confusing; I knew about Alice, Rain, and the traitor, Spence, but Kaplan was something else as was the Red Queen. I never liked the latter very much as I feel she always plays some nasty tricks on them. So aside from Rick, Alice is like the deuteragonist and Rain and Kaplan are the tritagonists.

Glad that's out of the way, so see ya.

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And here's a short story for Rick's 50th bounty-hunting mission; this seems to be roughly inspired by another certain anime...

The Power of the Falcon

Disclaimer: I don't own F-Zero, nor Pokémon; they mostly belong to Nintendo. Still I happen to be a fan of both. And I hope there'll be a future F-Zero game in the works.

Why should the fun end so soon? I've been keeping this project in my stash for about a few months now, and I'm glad to finally share it now that "Ending it All" is finally done.

The intro would be a few seconds into the main theme of GP Legend, then it'll shift to another melody from a certain song that'll be featured here. You'll see what I mean.

The reason why I brought up the latter was because this story has some familiar elements to a certain...event in the anime. This takes place after quite a few months from Black Shadow's/Deathborn's demise. I'm gonna let Rick do all the talking.

Lap 1

"My name is Rick Wheeler! The pilot of the Dragon Bird, the champion in the Elite Mobile Task Force, the savior of the universe, and the recent bounty hunter carrying Captain Falcon's legacy! Life has been going great over these past several months after I've destroyed the Dark Reactor. I've been quite busy since then as I had been involved in multiple assignments with the team as well as grinding for some loot. We've been adjusting to our new life nicely... Yep, that's right, I said 'we.'

"Me and Tinsel have become very close, to the point where I'm not just an expert pilot/bounty hunter/Task Force officer, but also a fiancée. I've finally proposed to Tinsel Steelus, my true love. She'd helped me heal my past wounds and we are engaged! My regrets have dissolved at last, and we're planning to do something very special; we're actually going to take a restful break from all the hassles, and decided to take a journey to Giant.

"Little did we know, our paths would cross with someone we never unexpected. And the results were not what we had hoped for..."

Tinsel had moved into Rick's apartment; they've lived there together for the past several months and things were a bit tumultuous, both career-wise and personal. However, all that would change as Rick made a surprising week's reservation to visit the Planet Giant. Needless to say, it was pretty easy since it was known to have a primitive existence. Some of the citizens weren't too friendly when it came to advanced technology, yet others were fascinated with F-Zero races. Ironically, this was the only inhabitance that didn't have a single track.

She was looking through the digital brochure on her tablet when she suddenly got a call on her key. "Hey, Jody, what's up?"

"Tinsel, this is urgent. Where's Rick?"

"He should be back by now, he's just getting some last-minute supplies for our trip."

"Well, he'd better hurry. There is a young woman who's being captured by a street gang near the outskirts. She must be saved immediately as she's crucial to the Galactic Space Forces; her name is Lily Flyer, and she's a young, yet a prestigious recruit. You and Wheeler must save her before it's too late."

The pilot nodded in affirmation. "Alright, Jody. I'm on my way."

"Be careful." The call ended and she was hesitant on whether she wanted to carry on the assignment with or without her partner. Still the call of duty was insurmountable, so she went with her gut and headed out in her Silver Comet.

The Bunny Flash was in clear view on her GPS and so was its pilot as she saw her get mangled. She tried her best to fight them off, but her petite structure made her an easy target. She fell to the asphalt on all fours and the gang was sneering as they towered over her.

Tinsel discreetly parked near the assault. She was loading her ice jets as she saw her clothes get torn. She aimed and waited until the punks made their move.

"Hey, street rats!" They all looked up at the man who insulted them. He jumped off his machine. "If you're looking for trouble, then you have found it!" He made a fighting stance within the alley.

"Rick Wheeler!" one of the assailants cried.

"What the hell's he doing here?!" another yelled.

"Let's show this bastard a thing or two!" a third wielding a knife shouted.

They stormed toward him and he fought them off with minimal effort, it was like they were underestimating him, that was until the one with the switchblade. He knew this one was a doozy since he was unarmed. "This one is serious." He avoided his charges and attempted to kick it out of the criminal's grasp. However he too was agile, and he punctured his shirt. There was a hole, but no gash. The former detective was knocked down and he was pinned. The knife was raised over his head, but his legs were frozen. He was surprised that he couldn't move, and when he looked down, they were encased in ice!

"Great time-freezing, Tinsel." She gave her friend a thumbs-up. "Time for you to chill your heels at the cells!" He kicked the stunned tramp in the abdomen and he fell back, never allowing any support from his legs.

Tinsel came rushing to Rick. "Nice work, partner." he congratulated.

"Here comes the cavalry." she said as she heard sirens. In a moment's time the assailants were taken into custody. And Rick almost forgot about the female victim.

"Are you alright?" he gave a hand to her.

"I'm fine. Thank you." she replied. "I appreciate the arrival, Rick."

"No problem, miss. You're safe now. I heard from my boss that you work for the Galactic Space Forces?"

"Yes. My name is Lily Flyer; I've been a recruit for the squadron since I was very young. I still have a lot to learn."

"Of course. Oh, this is Tinsel Steelus; she's also a part of the Mobile Task Force."

"Hi." she greeted with a handshake. Lily's was surprisingly firm from such a small tyke. Facing Rick she said, "I believe we should be taking her to headquarters."

"Right with you. Ah, although you should probably take your machine; I...kind of got a little compulsive. We're actually on our way to Planet Giant."

"Planet Giant?" Lily was astonished. "I, too, was just about to go there."

"You can tell us along the way. I don't like this place." Tinsel murmured.

It wasn't long before they reached their destination. Jody Summer was fortunate that Tinsel and Rick arrived in time. "Excellent work, you two. The crooks have been apprehended and Lily is safe. We wouldn't have it any other way now that she's been busy looking for one of the most nefarious dealers in the galaxy, Don Genie."

"Who is he, Jody?" Rick queried. "I've never heard of him before." Neither did Tinsel.

"Sounds like someone who just came out of a rusty lamp of sorts."

Everyone looked up and saw Jack, as boastful as ever. "Lily, allow me to introduce you to Jack Levin. He's one of our top F-Zero racers in the Task Force."

"So I've heard." she acknowledged.

"Aye, it's about time I saw a pretty face. We don't get many around here." he teased.

"Pipe down, Jack!" Lucy followed him in. Jody introduced the newcomer to all her teammates: the engineer, Lucy Liberty; the android, EAD; the high-flying medico, Dr. Stewart; the canny canine, Leon; the slippery cephalopod, Octoman; the Furikake pair, Gomar and Shioh; and the wild animal hunter, Beastman, aka Chris Annex.

"Nice to meet all of you." Lily brightened.

"So, what were you saying, about Don Genie?" Tinsel asked.

Everyone listened attentively as she described him as an illegal trader across the universe. He had such a bad reputation, nearly as infamous as Black Shadow's, though he was never caught. Rumors in the Force said he has retreated to the planet, Giant; home to the most underdeveloped extraterrestrials.

"Oh yeah, Baba used to live there." Tinsel recalled her and Leon in the Big Blue race upon his demise.

There was a bounty of a million space credits for Don's captor, and according to an ancient myth, he's planning to awaken each of the colossi and wreak havoc on the planet, so he could rule it.

"That's true. I've been there a few times, they don't have too many feral beasts, though." Beastman chimed in. "The prophecy is that of the Deity Beings. One is of a solid, one's a liquid, one is a gas, and the last one is said to represent plasma. But it's rarely seen. If the powers of the titans of matter are unbalanced, it'll not only annihilate the people of Giant, but affect the entire universe."

"Well, I guess it's lucky for you since we happen to be heading your way, Lily." Rick said. "As a bounty hunter, I'm up for the challenge."

She was amazed that he was. "I thought the props would go to Captain Falcon. Y'know, Douglas Jay Falcon?"

His face fell. "I'm sorry, Lily. But Falcon is no longer with us; he sacrificed himself as he forced Deathborn into the Dark Reactor Core. So, I will be taking his place."

"Rick was able to collect 50 bounties so far." Jody praised.

"Has he..? Then, I suppose this should be a personal mission for you."

"It is, Lily." he declared.

"If you're willing to go to a world where the people are paranoid and don't really root for technology, then I guess it's your destiny."

"I'll be coming, too." Tinsel offered. "Like we said, we were planning on staying there for about a week."

With a smile, Jody responded. "Then it's settled. Wheeler and Tinsel will have a new assignment. To prevent Don Genie from awakening the colossi in Giant, and save the inhabitants from turmoil. While relaxing at the same time, of course."

"Think of it as an opportunity, guys." Stewart stated.

"What about me? I'm sure all the pretty ladies will worship me there. They got some of the best livestock in the entire galaxy!"

"Lay off, Jack. This isn't your assignment." EAD intruded.

"Ah, you spoil sports ruin everything."

"Although, it would be nice to give us a buzz when the going gets tough." Leon suggested.

"You know we will. Just 'cause I'm a bounty hunter doesn't mean I'll exclude you guys." Rick assured. "We're still a team, no matter what obstacle we face."

A/N: Alright, the first Lap is done; that didn't take too long. So Lily Flyer from the Galactic Forces will be a sort of tour guide for Rick and Tinsel as they approach Giant. It seems their vacation spot has suddenly changed into a salvage mission as they're on a quest to apprehend the megalomaniacal man known as Don Genie from awakening the three colossi that's rumored to wreak havoc across the universe. Much like any loyal bounty hunter like Samus, Spike Spiegel, and his former mentor, Falcon, Rick decides to take up the dangerous assignment. Let's hope he'd succeed and make this the 51st bounty collected in his incredible career, while simultaneously taking in the sights of the primitive planet.



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Lap 2

By the next morning, he and Tinsel made their last-minute preparations for the outer space odyssey. "How are we gonna get there? Would we use the Falcon Flyer?" she questioned.

"Lily was kind enough to let us use her cruiser from the Space Forces. This mission should be intriguing. I wonder what we'll find."

She sighed, "I hope we'll be able to fit in since a lot of people don't approve F-Zero racing, or how we live. I sometimes can't stand to be chastised."

"I suppose we should keep our advanced toys a secret, Tinsel. Lily advised us we should use caution. This would be great for us, to get away from it all. I'm certain they're not like savages or anything." He zipped up his suitcase, and it was off to the interplanetary shuttle. Rick and Tinsel tagged along for other reasons, but being they were skilled pilots in a planet that doesn't favor technology, Lily decided to bring them. Through a warp gate, they started their first leg.

While the pilot, Lily, described more of their assignment, Tinsel analyzed the info provided from her organization: She's 15 years of age and underwent some strict training during her childhood; she's very dutiful and naïve. She's used mostly for emergency situations and assists the Federation as effectively as possible. She also had a perfect attendance and was very punctual, as well as being a serious cadet. She could be as protective and strict as a drill sergeant if the need should arise.

She overheard the young soldier saying she was rehearsing a tune on her flute until she was abducted by a street gang. Four Deity Bodies slumbered within the heart of Giant; Holidus representing solid, Gastro which resembled the air, and Lixa for liquid as Chris said. There was also the great guardian, Plassein, which represented plasma, though its dormant location remained a mystery. Several hours later, they've arrived through the remarkably thin atmosphere.

The sky was very unusual as Rick and Tinsel gazed upon its minty color. Below them, there were miles and miles of dense vegetation; it was so unlike the overpopulated planets like Earth and Zou.

"I'm still not sure why Don Genie would want to take over a tranquil world like this." the bounty hunter said.

"I told you, Rick. Don wants to awaken the four Deities and conquer it. Someone like him should never care about its lifestyle or beauty. He just wants to plunder and rule whatever he sees fit. And it's possible that he might want to capture the Deities and sell them for a very hefty profit." Lily was pinpointing every detail, including where they should land.

Surprisingly, the couple never saw anyone or anything, but a grey landing pad next to a sparkling cerulean ocean. An enormous yacht docked beside them. It was just like any other balmy beach. Palm trees were swaying, the air was refreshing, and the humidity was low. When the two pilots stretched their legs, they breathed in the salty breeze.

"Are you sure we're not in Big Blue?" Tinsel asked.

"I'm positive, cadet. The continent where the Deities dwell is just up ahead. We have to land the cruiser here, otherwise the natives would get too paranoid. They cringe at new inventions, thinking they're like weapons."

"That's a shame." Rick said. "I'm surprised they never host a single race here. Not even a hovercraft race. They must be really living in the past, maybe even further than 150 years ago."

"Don't question them, Wheeler. They're very sensitive while being compared to the times. Besides, every world evolves differently. Come, we should unload our vehicles."

They did just that when the Bunny Flash, the Dragon Bird EX, the Silver Comet, and the Blue Falcon GT were lifted into the yacht. The gliders on each side made it easy to steer against the smooth waves. "We should be at the Materia Continent very shortly. So you two could just sit back and relax."

Tinsel was the first to leave the cabin, while Rick had the idea to change to his Captain Falcon attire; he figured it was the best way to blend into Giant's archaic society without being ridiculed. When he was done, he joined her after removing the heavy, crimson helmet.

"Hey, Rick." she greeted. He met her leaning over the bannister. "You look more heroic while wearing Falcon's uniform. Though, without the helmet, it's much better."

"Thanks, Tinsel. It's quite an honor to have the opportunity to wear it, and carry on his legacy."

She nodded. "I'm sure he must be really proud of us on what we're doing. I think he and Haruka should be watching over us right now."

He wrapped his right arm around her, bringing her closer to his side. She then hugged him. "I bet they are..." His mind drifted 150 years into the past, when he and Haruka were enjoying a similar cruise like this one. It was just like this, only with Tinsel by his side. He closed his eyes as he reflected... Until their bodies lurched as they bobbed over some rough waves.

Meanwhile, Lily overlooked the gloomy clouds outside. They were blocking out the sun and kept growing darker, from white, to grey, to a complete black. She pressed a button on the yacht's motherboard. "Hold on to your butts, lovebirds. The weather looks very stormy. I suggest you head into the lower decks now."

"We're on it, Lily." he obliged. He took Tinsel's hand, but the choppy waves were already licking the deck. They almost fell as the upper deck went obscure. He led her straight toward the cabin as he held on to the rails, while Tinsel stayed close to Rick for support; the three pilots were shocked how the weather had changed so rapidly.

"I don't get it." Tinsel said with tension. "It was clear when we got here, now it just got severe in under an hour?"

"What's going on, Lily? What's happening, is this normal?" Rick questioned.

"It's not always like this. The sky doesn't change this sporadically. The weather patterns are acting very erratic here." She looked over the radar "There's also expected to be some hurricanes, but they won't hit us. Something's not right, it takes a lot more time for the weather to develop than it does on Earth. At least the island's close, so fasten your seat belts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride."

This was no joke. The nimbus clouds got more sinister, and the waves were just as bad. She killed the engines when they reached the port. They saw a number of people assist to tie and anchor the yacht. There were some humanoids, albeit with some distortions to their bodies. Their skin was almost a mix with mahogany and crimson.

"Those must be the inhabitants of Giant." he said.

"Indeed. They were expecting our arrival here. And they can be very friendly as long as they're not provoked. The machines should be safe here. We need to find someplace to camp for the night."

"Is it going to get any worse?" Tinsel asked.

"I don't know. But, we should find some shelter, and fast."

The trio ran across the dock, only to have them stopped by an unusual crowd walking up to them awkwardly. It almost looked as if they were treading like zombies, putting Rick and Tinsel in a state of uneasiness. Some were actually frail, others were just skinny and scrawny. "They aren't gonna eat our flesh, are they, Lily?"

"No, no. They're just here to look over you guys. We don't get many visitors around here."

Rick gulped, "What do you mean 'we'?"

The duo cringed as they tried to touch them, but the people halted when they heard a bellow. "People of Giant. We have found the Chosen One who would grant us peace to the planet. Only he would quench the endless war of the forces of Materia," He was tall, looked to be in his elder years, and wearing a mask that sort of looked like a painted golem.

Tinsel was bashful. "Well, actually, uh, we kinda stopped by for uh-"

"Nah, don't fret, kid. It's only for the tourists! May the Deities protect us." he bowed then walked away.

"That was sure creepy." The detective said.

"Tell me about it."

His face brightened, "But wait, I need to tell him something."

"I'll tell them." Lily grabbed his shoulder and whispered. She declared in her strict voice. "Attention all citizens of Giant. I came here to present to you two talented individuals, Captain Falcon and Tinsel Steelus. They're devoted F-Zero racers, and they had heard of the calling from the prophecy. Falcon here is a bounty hunter and the savior of the galaxy, and he'll do whatever he can to prevent the terrible calamity from happening."

Everyone was in shock as they mumbled to themselves. "They're F-Zero racers? We don't allow technology here. They ruin our way of living. The prophecy, that's why they're here." Although some of them heard about the champion's outstanding reputation. "Falcon's here. Is that why?" Eventually, they all quieted as they processed what Lily said, then they cheered.

"So it is true, then. The famous Falcon has arrived to stop the Deities from running amok, and to unite each of the sacred orbs to their resting place. After many eons of waiting, we have found the Chosen One!" The elder raised his decorative wooden rod over his head, and the three pilots were allowed access to the resort, with the exhilarated septuagenarian leading the pack.

During the first night at Giant, Lily and the others didn't care too much of the sights. There were numerous festivals, parades, and huts serving various goods. Still, they weren't too distracted as the elder and Lily led them to their private quarters. He shown them where they could stay for the night, and it wasn't long for them to settle down. After about fifteen minutes, Lily called for them. She was wearing a delicate, flowing white dress with pink roses across it. To them, it almost looked like a petite wedding gown, there was something they can look forward to in the distant future.

"What do you think? This may be good for your upcoming matrimony, Tinsel." she said.

"Yeah...but I'd much rather have it to be all silvery and lustrous." The pilot of the Comet rubbed the back of her neck.

"Just follow me, you two." She escorted them out and through a few curious crowds. Having Lily intermixed with Rick and Tinsel made them feel irritable, some even curious.

Seeing Rick and Tinsel's otherworldly outfits, the primitive people gave them some positive and negative reception as they walked passed. They knew they were outsiders and the place was more exotic by the minute as Lily, Rick, and Tinsel sat next to the ancient priest. They were in a large orange tent, and a campfire was blazing in the center. They sat on cushions and were surrounded by some unusual décor. There were also some masks hanging on the walls; Rick figured they may look similar to the Deities everyone's been talking about. He definitely was a sucker when it came to traditionalism. He almost lost his concentration as Lily played the song that was said to raise the great guardian, Plassein. For some odd reason, Rick's chest warmed as he listened to it.

"That song..." Tinsel looked puzzled with the reaction.

When she was done, Lily described the legend being held.

"A legend?" That snapped him back to the present. He removed his helmet and he was actually feeling enthralled about this.

The young veteran said it's up to the Chosen One to unite the orbs and bring peace to the planet. At first, Rick and Tinsel weren't sure who it should be, but since he was the savior of the galaxy, as well as being a F-Zero pilot, he knew.

"Oh Chosen One, will you accept this challenge that has been brought forth to you?" Lily asked as she bent close to him. His heart heated up again.

"Lily, I'm just the right man for the job." Rick stated with determination.

"Once all four of the orbs of Materia are gathered, I celebrate by playing this song." she blew a joyous melody on her flute. "Then, it's over."

Sitting across from the group, the elder stood and motioned the savior next to him. He knelt down and the old man spread some war paint designs on his face. "Rick Wheeler, will you take on this perilous trial, and protect us from utter harm by the great Deities' wrath?"

He nodded. "I will."

His true love went to him and offered, "I hope I get to come, too. Rick and I, we do everything together, including racing. You can't bring him along if you don't have me."

"Then, it's settled. You three may come. Make sure Giant will be saved." The elder faced her, "And look after him, will you?"

"Of course."

"Don't worry, Elder. I'll protect them." Lily said proudly.

By the time the elder and Tinsel left, she reminded him in a stern manner, "Rick, we're not just here to stop a catastrophe. We still need to apprehend Don Genie."

"Yes, I know." Lily almost reminded Rick of Jody, albeit much younger. Although she was just a teenager, she still emitted a great deal of solemnity like a general in the army whenever duty calls. "I won't get too personally involved with my assignment."

"That's the way to go. Until the mission begins tomorrow, have fun while you can. Embrace yourself in their culture, don't mind the ridicule they'd give you."

"I won't."

"We'll see you tomorrow, then. Bright and early."

"Count on it." After she left, he couldn't help but feel some doubt. "Why does she keep saying 'we'?"

The pace quickened during the ceremony, honoring the newcomers and the eve of the legend. There were some dancing at the middle of a massive ring and a bonfire was all ablaze. They were surrounded by torches, and a wide assortment of drums. He and Tinsel were undoubtedly fascinated by it.

"This place is incredible. I'm surprised how they can live here without using machines, or any artificial material. It's all organic." she said.

"I can see that. I've never experienced anything like it." The uproars from the spectators along with the instruments were really distracting, that he could barely even think.

Tinsel touched his hand. "Follow me. I know a place where we won't be distracted by those party animals."

He grinned. "Lead on, Tinsel."

They left the feast and headed to their room, which happened to be a shoji, complete with a sliding door made of thin paper, and tatami flooring. The atmosphere was slightly quieter, more comforting, though drums were still beating in the distance. When they sat on a bed made of sheets with satin, they began to feel strange, yet pleasant.

His heart began to race, as did hers. Their bodies became numb and they gazed at each other. Their faces neared and then they kissed passionately. The heat was rising fast, and it was sublime as they embraced themselves, feeling their bodies mingle and their heartbeats as mighty as the percussion itself. Rick felt very similar to a rock, dense yet smooth. While her texture was similar to an absorbent sponge. That moment between them was so phenomenal that by the time they were fastening, she mumbled they're in the final lap, already taking first. Thank goodness they took extra precautions just in case.

All too soon, it ended. Just as the bashing died down. They just had enough energy to wrap each other in their loving arms. After a quick smooch, everything went blank.

A/N: The four Deities were based on the legendary birds from the Pokémon series. Instead of Fire, Ice, and Lightning, there are three titans that represent solid, liquid, and gas respectively. The fourth is made of plasma and is the most mysterious out of the bunch. Plassein is Greek saying to mold; Holidus is a mix of solidus, which is Latin for solid, and holos which means whole in Greek; Lixa is Latin for water; and Gastro was something I came up with.

The song that may be suitable for this fic could be Regeneration from F-Zero X, albeit more subtle. I actually got this idea from one of my collaborators. It sounds nice, but I could go without the rock n' roll theme.

I know Tinsel and Rick had to tie the knot, but it wouldn't hurt too much as long as it's out of passion. They really let themselves go as they got intimate; I was nervous on describing it without going overboard.

The mission begins tomorrow, on the next Lap, see you then.


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Lap 3

Clean, refreshed, and shaven, the new bounty hunter and huntress were ready for their mission; Rick didn't really like the facial paint he had anyway.

"Are you ready?" Tinsel asked as soon as he saw him.

"I'm all set." he replied.

"Let's go." she responded with as much determination as him.

"Our machines are still inside Lily's maritime vehicle; we'll have to walk from here."

For a second, Tinsel felt irritated, but what choice did they have. "Do you know where the shrine is?"

Rick nodded. "Lily just gave me the coordinates." His key showed a small screen of where they had to go to next. "It's a few miles from here. I suggest you pack something to eat. It'll be a long way."

After hearing that Rick was destined to fulfill the legend, the natives were a lot kinder to both him and Tinsel. They've shown them a pathway, but it was barely seen due to the debris from the storm. The elder told them that the unstable environment may be a sign of more worse things to come. The duo took it into account, and he wished them luck and he'd pray for their victory.

They were strolling through some thick canopy from the tropic jungle. To lighten the mood, they made a few brief picnics, and they had some conversation on various subjects; one of them was what would happen if they should move to Port Town where Captain Falcon lived. Rick said it might be a great idea, although they'd be further away from the Task Force base. He assured they'd only be a warp gate away if they should ever need them. Tinsel was very thrilled since she'd actually be at the same location as that nostalgic course she occasionally visits. By noon, he observed the shrine which was where the continent ended. Lily and her yacht were there waiting for them.

He was discussing the arrangements with Tinsel and Lily. He thought of everything since their slow lubber through the trail. There were a few slots located at the back chamber and he strategized to retrieve the orb of Gastro first.

"I think it might be best if I were to obtain the sphere from Gastro. If I do meet him, he probably won't be as tough as Lixa and Holidus are."

"Wait, what makes you think you'll meet the Deities?" Lily queried.

"The temples and the orbs may consist a test for the Chosen One. But they may consider me to be an intruder."

"Good point."

Tinsel volunteered, "Hold on. I'm coming with you, Rick. You may need someone to watch your back. Besides, I could use the Comet's jets to stun these monstrosities."

"Alright. You can go." Rick said, making Tinsel shout with glee. "Yes!"

Lily mentioned, "Ok, but someone must hold the fort. Don Genie may try something sinister here. The spheres must be reunited here to keep the planet in check, and stop the Deities from fighting each other if need be. I'm sure he'll do whatever he can to fulfill the prophecy and drive out Plassein. Giant's fate is in our hands."

To Tinsel, it was like deja vu helping Falcon about two years ago. She was so glad she can follow her true love who happened to be his replacement. Falcon was reluctant as she, Yugi, and Joey decided to cover for him, but Rick was more open-minded. She never had to think twice, nor have any regrets. Using the miniature yacht, they arrived at the island to the left. The current wasn't as torrential so it was an easy journey, unlike the walk through those humid jungles.

They were met by geysers of toxic gas colored with a neon green-yellow erupting from narrow ravines surrounding the temple. Tinsel was uncertain how they can enter it.

"There must be a safer way. We need to look around, c'mon."

After some strenuous minutes of searching, Rick saw a cracked wall beneath the crag. He called Tinsel to stay back, then he paced backward a few inches, rushed toward it, and kicked the wall down. He then suggested to take the trek underground. The entrance was cavernous and dark, so they used their flashlights from their keys. There were still some more poisonous pools beneath them, and the path was narrow. They had to go slow in order to avoid slipping. Still, the cave smelt like rotten eggs everywhere they went causing their noses to burn.

They eventually came across a map with an ancient etching on it. There was also a pit to their left; Rick figured this was where the orb was. With a grappling hook from the Comet, he went down until the rope snapped. He fell into a cloud of toxic gas as thick as pea soup. He immediately ran onto a ledge a few inches above it. He was catching his breath attempting to regain his strength, almost as if the atmosphere was literally sucking the life out of him. As he held his head, he touched Falcon's helmet, and unexpectedly activated a metallic, goldenrod gas mask via the earpiece.

This made an enormous difference while wearing it, as it was like a protective shield for Rick's helpless lungs. The labyrinth was a chore to navigate with dead ends, more of the green fumes, the works. But after some deep thinking and clear memorization, despite the fog getting in his way, he made it up a couple huge stone ledges which lead him to another chamber. He grabbed a sphere at the top of the tower from a small pedestal, which had the same shade of neon green as the gas emissions. Then he felt a warm sensation in his hands...

"Rick! Rick!" From above, Tinsel lowered the hook. He eventually ascended using the stronger hook from the Blue Falcon GT. It was able to support his weight, and he shown her the light green orb.

"Tinsel. I just got this." He said between breaths. "This has to be one of the sacred orbs from the Deities. From Gastro." She didn't feel anything when she held it, though.

The yacht headed back, despite the green residue Rick got on his outfit and face. He actually felt nauseous by the time he resurfaced into fresh air. There was an arctic cloth from the Comet to calm his body. They were surprised Gastro never showed up.

All of the sudden, Rick and Tinsel saw the Fat Shark speed away after they got back. They gave chase using the Comet and the Bird to the other island, only this one had a slippery land path ascending to the top. Because it was natural, there were no guardrails, nor any jump or dash plates, nor pit areas; they had to rely entirely on their wits and reactions. There were a few icicles jotting from the sides. They eventually made it to Lixa's Lair on that slippery course.

Rick looked around for just a few seconds. "This place must be designed for the Water Deity."

"No kidding."

They each fixed their eyes on the Fat Shark. It was rumored to be the heaviest machine and the second fastest next to the Black Bull. Tinsel had seen the stats before as she was analyzing the mission before the pilots entered Giant. It had a strong protection system, a quick boost, high top speed, but bad handling. The amethyst cockpit was said to represent a cut gem, and it's engine is made of gold. There were some gigantic multiple boosters and spikes from the exterior. And two large tubes at its sides reaching to the front for extra endurance. Being he has a vast fortune, he financed it to be a broken, unbeatable monster on the tracks.

However, that all changed when both Tinsel and Rick managed to cut him off. "Freeze! Don't move Don Genie! We've got you surrounded! Surrender now!" Tinsel shouted, pointing out her ice Glock.

"Hold on! The cockpit's empty." Rick observed.

"What?" She was astonished as she faced him. Upon close sight, he was correct.

"It was all a setup."

"Where's Don Genie, then?"

They saw the machine itself phase out.

"It was a hologram!" He figured to his partner that Don could be spying on them, and they'd best be careful.

The ancient door lowered and permitted the pair to enter. Just then Lily gave a buzz and told him to be patient, as she's downloading data to him on using an alternate outfit for Tinsel. Rick also had an upgrade when his shoes changed; they had silvery wings attached to them, as did she. "Sorry for the wait, Tinsel. There's hardly any reception here, so communication has been difficult. But, here you are, your own outfit. Good luck, you two." She said they're capable of having them levitate for a few moments. Which was good considering they rushed in as soon as it started to rain in torrents making the inside very slippery. Water kept rushing through the temple, and also leak at a few spots. She donned on a similar look to Rick's attire, only it had a silvery cyber suit with broad shoulders and a helmet and visor that covered her face.

"Tinsel, follow my lead." Rick advised.

There were some small platforms in the first chamber, the abyss was several feet below, and at times there were some downpours which caused the roof to tilt and release some waterfalls. The duo made some slight detours as they hopped from platform to platform, making their way around them. Rick had better footing than her, but she was lighter as she made her way through the temple. Occasionally they had to use their grappling hooks to keep themselves from falling, rather than just grabbing onto each other.

By the time they got to the end, there was a strong, stony precipice and a huge gap, about 50 feet like the one in White Land. There was no way to summon their machines, so they had to proceed on foot. Tinsel used the ice gun and froze a narrow bridge, though they had to hurry before it collapsed under their weight. They went one at a time, with Tinsel heading first. The pathway did fall as Rick reached the end. She grabbed him and pulled him up. He was heavier, but she managed with sheer strength and luck.

"Thanks, I owe you one."

"Let's just call it even."

There was a tall staircase up ahead, and a blue light was shining down. There was an opening just behind the top step, and it was only a drizzle outside. They looked around, and there was still no sign of Lixa once Rick got the cerulean orb.

"Two down, one to go."

Rick nodded in affirmation. "But how are we supposed to get back?"

"Ahoy down there!" It was the adolescent from the Galactic Forces.

"Lily!" Rick was so glad to see her.

"Mind if I give you a lift?" she lowered a rope ladder from the top step, and they both climbed up. When they settled in, the spacecraft ascended out of Lixa's Lair.

Rick took out the spheres in complete awe. He just couldn't stop looking at them, safe in his hands.

"I can't believe you guys made it THIS far without meeting any of the Deities." she remarked. "Hold up! We got company!" The cruiser let off a siren as it detected an incoming threat.

Lixa woke up from her slumber. As they'd expected, she was made entirely out of cerulean translucent water. She was just as high as the temple itself, her face was nearly human, and she was wearing a pointed, metallic, power helmet with spikes protruding from it. She started to attack them, thinking they were intruders, but Tinsel's ice gun wouldn't hold forever. They hurriedly headed back to the epicenter, and Rick and Tinsel summoned their vehicles, then...

"Helm controls are inoperative!" They were stupefied as they saw a pinkish hue surround them. The ship shifted as they were pulled against their will. Lily, Tinsel and Rick were drawn in by a tractor beam, as was Lixa who was electrocuted in a humongous flytrap of sorts. The shock caused her body to break. Then it regenerated to a smaller stature, about six feet tall.

When the field finally dissipated, the trio ran out and realized they were trapped inside an encased room. Jade-colored walls surrounded them. "Where are we?" Tinsel asked in suspicion.

"I'm not sure. But it doesn't look natural, so it can't be a part of Giant." Lily said.

"This could be Don Genie's turf. He must've dragged us here."

Rick pulled up his sleeves and tried punching and kicking his way out, much to Lily and Tinsel's dismay. But the walls were too sturdy. He was later panting and wiping sweat from his forehead. "It's no use. The walls are too strong to penetrate. We're stuck here."

Then, sleeping gas was emitted and Rick managed to cover his nose and mouth. "Don't breathe." he said, but the women were already coughing. "Quick! Activate your alternate outfit! Huh?" It was too late. Tinsel succumbed to the fumes, and fell to the ground.

In his frustration, Rick heard a snicker from a raspy, cheerful voice. On the small screen, there was a brown-faced midget. He looked to be in his late sixties with his wrinkles, and three thick mohawks of grey and white hair stuck out. He had a diamond eyepatch in his right eye, a pink undershirt, and an indigo collar with shoulder pads made of huge topazes and emeralds. The rest of his body was covered in black and white stripes, his wide sneakers were entirely made from blood rubies, and he wielded a cane made of moon rock that was almost the same height.

"Welcome to my crib. How do you like my generous hospitality?"

"So, you're Don Genie! What do you want with us?!"

"On the contrary. I only desire you," he pointed to him. "The famous Rick Wheeler, the new Captain Falcon, the most prominent F-Zero pilot." He sneered, "And the savior of the universe."

"Ah, how do you know that?!"

"Everyone knows who you are, Rick. Your record as a champion and bounty hunter astounds me so. Not to mention you are the Chosen One destined to interfere with my methods."

"If it's me you want, what're you going to do with my friends?"

"I do not want to have any leaks on my operations, Rick. No witnesses, no crimes to pay. In other words...they will meet their death."

His fist clenched until his knuckles were completely white.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have the remaining two Deities to capture, and soon the universe would be at my feet!"

"Ergh. You won't get away with this, Genie!"

He responded with a smirk, "Hm hm hm. You are so wrong, Rick. It's YOU who shouldn't get away." As he pressed a button, he managed to activate heavy gravity. The bounty hunter struggled as he tried to stand. "No need for extra exertion, Rick. Let your mind relax...and be at my mercy..." He looked up and saw something pulsating and swirling in slow motion. He squeezed his eyes shut since his body was too immobilized. He knew Don was trying to hypnotize him, yet...he began to feel calmer despite the enormous weight. He subconsciously gazed into it again, causing himself to lose focus and consciousness. The rich man kept repeating him to relax, that his eyes were growing heavy, and he was growing more drowsier.

"I'm...getting...sleepy..." Without any resistance, he dosed off.

A/N: Unlike the second Pokémon movie, I wanted to emphasize on each of the temples. It didn't really show much except Ash and Pikachu retrieving the orbs, but I wanted to turn this F-Zero fic into an action-exploration story, kind of like in Metroid or Starfox Adventures.

The first challenge involving the orb of Gastro was an inspiration from the tricky section in Hazy Maze Cave from Super Mario 64. And the Gastro Crag was a shout-out to the final challenge in GUTS; I kinda miss it. The second trial revolving around Lixa's Lair was based on the slippery level from Mickey Mouse and the Castle of Illusion; btw, even to this day since my younger years, I still find the music in this particular level to be a little unsettling. But it's probably just me. Also, Tinsel's alternate outfit is almost a reference to Samus' look in the GB game, Metroid 2; hadn't played it, though. Crappy references for the win.

On the subject of music used here, the White Land theme from GP Legend plays as Rick and Tinsel chase Don on the icy path, Level 3-2 plays at Lixa's chamber, the Door of Time sounds when Rick obtains an orb, and The Skull's theme plays while Rick and his team ended up being trapped by Don. Of course, since Don is the main antagonist, his theme from GX is heard here, particularly when he captures Lixa. Also, I wasn't sure of her design, so I just went with her body made of water, kind of like Chaos from Sonic Adventure DX, and her head almost looked similar to that of the Statue of Liberty.

It is no doubt the Fat Shark is the most broken non-customizable machine in F-Zero GX/AX; unfortunately, I didn't have much experience on using him. The only time I saw Don Genie personally was in the Japanese version of the anime, sadly. And his design bounces off of that. Unlike the show, though, he's completely separate from Black Shadow. He may want to take control of the racing committee, but until then he's got his hands full with Giant's Deities.

Oh, and here's Tinsel's outfit!

Tinsel's armor (concept art)

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Lap 4

The next thing Tinsel and Lily knew, they were taken to another chamber above the main hall where two of the Deities were kept. They were in a spherical loft above a circular room surrounded by tall see-through windows overlooking the archipelago in the late afternoon sky. A tile floor was below them, and there were some lights covered by ceramic ceiling lamps. Lily was the first to come around, and soon did Tinsel. The teenage veteran was sitting idly. "Lily, are you alright..?" she asked groggily.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just woke up."

"And Rick?" she saw him lying just a few feet away. Tinsel attempted to wake him up, but Lily said she tried once and he wouldn't budge.

Distinctive voices were screeching in the hall; Gastro and Lixa were crying in agony as the electrocuted traps continually shocked them. The air titan was almost like a cloud, as one would expect. He had a dark grey, circular chest with heavy stratus clouds surrounding it. Two muscular arms and his head matched the same shade as his abdomen did. The strangest thing was, he kept changing from white, then faded to grey, then in a sporadic order. Whereas the clouds surrounding his body were also changing randomly from cirrus, to cumulus, then to stratus.

She then saw a tablet at the epicenter. Tinsel wondered what it all meant; it was in an ancient language in which only Lily could decipher. "It foretells the legend. It's the same message inscribed at the Materia shrine."

"We have to wake up Rick and escape here. I'll call the Comet so we can make our getaway and free the Deities before the solid one arrives."

"We can't! Because Don would notice us... Unless if we could make some kind of a diversion." Even the cruiser and the Dragon Bird were missing. Lily theorized that the third Deity would destroy the ship from the outside, freeing them. However, it's likely they'll war against each other. The remaining Deity was the titan of solid, the golem known as Holidus.

Suddenly, an enormous fist made of multi-colored stone smashed through the windows! Lily and Tinsel were in a state of panic, and she tried again to awaken Rick while she was shaking and begging him to do so. "Rick!? Rick! You have to wake up! The titans are running amok!" Then, in her desperation, her hand glowed a bright blue while her right palm warmed. Energy from her Reactor Might restored him into consciousness. His body felt heavy as he slowly opened his eyes. There was a brief chill as he saw Tinsel laying over him.

"Unh... Tinsel... Lily." He felt a sudden lurch as the room shook.

Holidus kept smashing the fortress like the Hulk, and it was enough to break open the traps that released Gastro and Lixa. Unfortunately, she solidified and sicced on to the stone titan, while the gas giant immediately changed into an ominous shade of a stormy cloud. He exhaled a strong gust of wind toward the clashing duo, and the battle was on!

The collision was enough to break open a massive hole within the pilots' prison. The stained glass shattered, and they were several feet above the main floor. "Don Genie's not here. Now's our chance while the Deities keep themselves busy. Let's go!" With little to no hesitation, Rick was the first to jump down. He hardly kept his balance by the time he landed. "Lily, Tinsel, you can do it! It's not so far. Jump down and I'll catch you!" he commanded looking up.

The women were hesitant but Lily decided to go first. She was hanging then she dropped into Rick's strong arms. "Tinsel! Come on!"

She was the most nervous, as the landing might crush her unfortunate bones. "Hurry, the Deities can't keep Don at bay forever!" Lily called. With her friends' encouragement, she eventually accepted, but the impact made her drop! He ran beneath her just before they both hit the ground. They temporarily looked into each other's eyes, as she was laying on top of Rick.

"Guys! This isn't a staring contest! We gotta get a damn move on!" Tinsel climbed off. "Right." the bounty hunter affirmed. Both racers summoned their machines.

"Dragon Bird!"

"And Silver Comet..."

"Come to us!" they spoke in unison.

The cars dropped from a hatch within the ceiling, and the cruiser was released as well when it fell out. They leapt into them and immediately drove around the fortress, looking for a way out while it was falling. Debris kept raining around them; they weren't as lucky as the cruiser which soared out of the broken shards from the windows. Lily looked over them in horror, seeing they were still trapped inside.

"Rick, we can't make it! We'll be cut into ribbons, just as you were 150 years ago!" Tinsel screeched. "The spaceship is gonna crumble onto us if we don't escape!"

His expression changed from doubt to determination, "Unless..." He faced her who was riding beside him. "Ready, Tinsel?"

She nodded as she automatically knew.

"Booster...Fire!" They both yanked their handles back, and spun so fast that it could literally burn someone's eyes! It was just enough strength and speed to exit unscathed. Unfortunately, this wasted one Reactor Might to each. He grinned, "How's that, Tinsel?! There's no way I can meet the same fate this time!"

Lily was awestruck. By the time the spectacle ended, "Lily? Are you alright?"

"Uh, yes. Rick what is that?!"

"It's the Booster Fire. We've learned this from Falcon!" Tinsel declared happily.

"Captain Falcon..?"

"C'mon, follow us to the shrine!" he suggested. "We should be clear, don't look back!"

Giant has been torn asunder as the Deity Bodies clashed with each other. During the melee, Lily's cruiser was hit by Holidus' raised arm as he was defending himself from Lixa and Gastro.

"I lost all control over the cruiser. Rick, Tinsel! Don't worry about me. Be careful, get outta there!" She used auxiliary power to the thrusters, trying to level her descent as she kept the nose up as high as possible. She crashed just a few yards away from the main shrine, but she was alright.

Back at the fallen fortress, Don Genie was nearly pissed to his shiny, silver-braced teeth. "Grrr! You may have escaped. But I'll be waiting when Plassein returns. Then, you, and soon the entire universe will be mine!"

After the crash landing, there was a massive earthquake that shook the titans' battlefield. Holidus unleashed much of his wrath, that it was a chore for the two pilots.

"It's getting worse! The planet's being torn up!" Tinsel screamed.

"I know!" Rick supposed since all three Deities started their conflict, their best chance was to take cover at the main shrine, and unite the two orbs he found from Gastro then Lixa. Being the heaviest machine, the Dragon Bird EX was lagging behind.

A fissure was growing wider and Tinsel was the first one to cross it; Rick, however, wasn't so lucky. He boosted but the ravine was too wide. As he reached the jump, he kept his nose up, but to no avail. He fell, then his body lurched as he was caught by a neon green light! He was lifted out of the abyss, and he looked around in awe. "I-I'm not falling..? What gives? ...Is it Plassein?"

The Comet headed toward the center of the small rocky archipelago.

Lily called for her, and she was so relieved they made it alive. They wondered where Rick was and then looked behind and saw the same limelight. "There's the Dragon Bird..."

"What is this..? Who's carrying Rick?" Tinsel wondered.

Following the beam, their eyes gazed upon another enormous spacecraft. From the nozzle, the Dragon was lifted toward them. "It's the Galaxy Runner! The Task Force must've followed us!" Lily beamed. It dropped the craft gently and the beam seized. Rick hopped out of his vehicle.

Tinsel ran to him with open arms, and they embraced for a short while. "Lily. You're all right."

"Yeah, but my space cruiser crashed into Holidus. I'm stranded, except..." she pointed behind him and out came their old friends. He was just as surprised to see his allies from the Task Force.

The trio caught up to them and someone spoke in an Aussie accent, "Looks like we got our first catch of the day!" He looked up and saw his best friend.

"Jack!" They did a manly embrace. "H-how did you find us so fast?"

Rodney explained they eventually followed the duo via a signal as they got caught by the madman.

"You thought we were gonna let you go alone? I mean c'mon. We knew you'd be in trouble once the Dragon Bird gave off an SOS signal."

"Lucy?" he became more dumbfounded. "Why are you all here? How did my Dragon Bird give off an SOS? Why...why did you follow it?"

"We had to, Rick." an authoritative voice sounded.


"We knew you'd find yourself in a pickle eventually. That's why we're here."

"I can't believe it." Tinsel remarked. "How did you get here so quickly? Giant is many light years away from Earth."

"You know Jody," Dr. Stewart said as he stepped out. "Once she has an objective in mind, she would never surrender the thought."

"Doc." Tinsel chorused happily with Rick.

"My son managed to tag along, too. So did Clank and EAD."

"Guys..." the bounty hunter sulked. "I never wanted you involved in this. This was supposed to be our mission, and Lily's. I never wanted to endanger all of you."

"It was Jody's decision, Rick." Lily realized. "She was the one who brought the Task Force here."

"Don't get your brows in a furrow, Ricky. We've always got your back." he laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Jack's right." the high-flying medico stated strongly. "We're more than just a simple team protecting the galaxy; much like the Furikakes, we stand together, as a family."

That made Rick grin, and caused his heart to warm. "Everyone...thank you."

"Now go and unite the orbs you collected." He faced Jody. "There's still time before the planet falls apart entirely. The universe is at stake, and you are its savior. We're all counting on you, Wheeler." the captain smiled.

His demeanor became serious after the reminder of his destiny. "Understood, Jody." He rushed up the two layers of stairs. It was an exhausting climb. And he carefully matched the green and the blue orb to their corresponding holes in front of their respective isles. "There's the Gastro Crag. And Lixa's Lair." He then gazed at the Home of Holidus in the middle.

"Wait a second." Tinsel said behind him, "There are only three towers, yet there are four slots? We need to get FOUR orbs now? How're we supposed to get the last one?!"

Rick pondered on this, "Hmm. I'm not sure." There was a quake as the fight raged on. "What I am sure of is we have to get the solid orb before it's too late!"

"What's going on out there?!" Clank emerged from the Galaxy Runner, and was scared stiff at the fight between the three Deities.

"This is horrible." Jack said.

"Hard to believe these titans represent the three forms of matter. If any of them should die, it could affect the entire universe!" Lucy reiterated.

"It sounds unorthodox, but she's right." Stewart confirmed. "If anyone should fall, we would all be affected somehow. The results could be so dire, it's unexplainable."

"We have to help Rick. He's the chosen one, after all." his son added.

"We must get to the center tower and unite the orb, I'm not sure about the last one." Jody said facing the group. "Until then, we need to distract the titans. Jack and Tinsel will assist Wheeler to do so, Dr. Stewart and Rodney will stand by for healing duties. Clank will stay put and EAD will help him analyze any data concerning the planet's condition, and any activity from Genie. They and Lucy will also be in charge for repairs, and Lily and I will take the offensive."

"Sounds good to me, Jody." Rick stated.

"Ok. Let's move!"

"Roger." Everyone chorused.

Since there was one Reactor Might left, he couldn't use the Dragon Bird EX. His only chance was the Blue Falcon GT, and he was complete as he put his helmet back on. The ground shook and he saw Holidus marching toward the group.

The Deities were onto them! "They're-they're closing on us!" Lucy yelled.

"Everyone, hold your fire! We cannot provoke them!" Jody warned.

But all three titans were building up their energy. Everyone was expecting the worst as they braced themselves for impact, which would also destroy the shrine surrounding them. They reared back until...

A meteor storm took down the assailants. Through the colorful clouds, they were awestruck to see a serpentine creature with condor wings descend. Its body was encased in black, and there were numerous neon lines running down. In various shades, there were some on his head to its spine, its wings also glowed, as did its tail. And it had a crocodilian snout which ended in a pointed falcon beak. It was as if it had traits from both a dragon and a bird, much like Rick's machine...

"The great guardian of Giant. The embodiment of plasma, Plassein." Lily affirmed.

"I...I can't believe it." Tinsel said in shock. The others remained silent, and still.

"Plassein..?" Rick's eyes never moved from him. Then, he bowed down as the being faced him and let out a cry similar to a whale song. It made a few notes from Lily's ceremony last night.

"That sound." The young cadet was amazed at this, as was Don in his wrecked castle of corruption. The scanner zoomed in at the creature.

"Finally. The time has come for Plassein to awaken. Now is my chance." He clutched his fist in triumph.

Meanwhile, the titans were focused on their only target. Rick and company saw the onslaught every passing second! It became more brutal, and the Plasma Deity couldn't take more punishment. He conjured another meteor shower, but for the most part, he was holding back his power. By the time when he was sharply descending, Rick ran to the war.

"No, Rick! It's too dangerous!" Jack held him back, and he struggled to break from his grip.

"Jack, I need to help him!"

Unfortunately, from one more boulder, he was taken down. "No! Plassein!" the cop cried as he saw him fall through the dry terrain. The titans continued to clash with each other afterward.

The rocker released him and Rick fell to his knees, breathing profusely.

"How are we supposed to save the universe, if we can't save Plassein..?" Tinsel whimpered.

Lucy held her head in upset. "It's hopeless..."

Lily took out her flute and looked at it. As seconds passed to a minute, she played the sacred song. Despite the noises from the warring triad, this was a sign of aspiration. To Jack, something tagged at his heartstrings, a similar song he once heard from his childhood. After she played a couple bars, Plassein burst out of the ground, with a bright hue. It was literally a ray of hope.

Everyone looked upon the revived Deity. "Unh, Plassein." Rick stood up and fixed his eyes on him.

He walked toward him and laid a wing at his side. "The song restored my strength, for now. And I have come once the energy from two of the Materia orbs have combined. But that alone can't overcome the three angry Deities. I am the last with a pure soul, as are you...Rick Wheeler."

He looked into his fascinating eyes, "Plassein... What...must I do?"

"Only the Chosen One can reunite all four orbs of matter. Those that govern the galaxy: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. So far, you've only assembled half of them.

"Obtain the third sphere from the Home of Holidus, and return to the Materia shrine. I shall gift to you a part of my essence when the time comes. You must not wait, Rick. Hurry, and bring the final orb here. I'll keep the Deities busy as long as I can. Existence is depending on you. Go to it."

Plassein flew up and rocketed toward the fray once more. The squadron saw Rick summon the Blue Falcon GT. From that moment, he felt that the captain's spirit was inside him.

"Jack, Tinsel. Let's go, to the Home of Holidus." They nodded and climbed into their corresponding crafts as they followed him to the temple at the center of the war-torn terrain.

A/N: Plasma is usually found in space, but can also be present within lightning, neon signs, and also the auroras from the Poles.

I just came up with this unusual concept for Plassein. He is based off of Lugia, no doubt. But it seems that the legendary bird has characteristics belonging to both a bird and a dragon; it has a serpentine body, a curved head, and a back and long tail with scales. Combined with large wings belonging to a bird of prey. For the longest time, the species of Lugia has remained unclear, unless it is considered that it really is a "dragon-bird," just like Rick's own F-Zero machine, and Ryu's name! Maybe the craft and his name were created based off of Lugia, who knows.


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Final Lap!

With Plassein's help distracting the other Deities, Tinsel, Jack, and Rick approached the last temple, the Home of Holidus. As they'd expected, it was a crag, though they had to go underground for the final sphere. Unlike Gastro's turf, this one actually led beneath the surface.

Jack volunteered to stand guard while the couple ventured in. It was good for them since they had extra means to protect themselves from harsh environments; his from Falcon, and hers from Lily's download. They parked their machines, and climbed out of the cockpits into a subterranean chamber that almost reminded them of Norfair.

Their outfits were resistant, and there was just enough lighting for their search. They've looked all over for the sphere and the heat was intense, but it was nowhere to be found. There weren't any pedestals, nor any hidden perches within the walls, as Tinsel wasn't able to predict. Just some crumbling rocks. Rick even checked the patches of disturbed burnt soil, still nothing.

Their flashlights shone down a steep hill, which was getting darker upon the descent. "Are you sure about this?" Tinsel questioned. Rick wasted no time as he slid down without a moment's pause. Thankfully the trek down wasn't so irritating because of their interplanetary outfits. The bounty hunter landed gently, as did his partner. The atmosphere became very thick and pools of magma were boiling just beneath a couple feet. There was a straightaway, and they instantly figured this was the heart of the stone fortress, and where the orb laid.

Tinsel stuck close to Rick, then a magma-crusted creature dropped from the ceiling! It was around twenty feet tall, its tail was just as long, its head was small and curved, and it had a large white abdomen. It was definitely not friendly as it sneered and roared with its glowing red eyes. Its large flippers kept flopping until it released a volley of flame. The duo dodged it, and they both aimed their Glocks toward the lizard-like monstrosity. She used her ice to stun it, while Rick shot lasers toward its head. The assault caused the creature to back away; however, he was very resilient.

They had to be careful since there was nowhere else to go but forward, since the path was so narrow. They tried their best to keep avoiding the fiery onslaughts and shooting whenever there was an opening; sometimes they had to stop, drop, and roll if they were being fried like wild turkeys. The duo couldn't hold their own for long as its attacks were growing stronger with the crater's smoldering atmosphere. Its body was nearly indestructible considered it was made from below Giant's crust.

Annoyed, the creature swiped Rick aside like a fly. Tinsel was alarmed and kept rapidly shooting the monster. It was barely enough since they were nearing the precipice ahead. In addition, it was using its arms as a means of defense. If only they could keep him busy longer...

Meanwhile, as Rick was stunned, he saw some steam emit from the ground. He couldn't smell it, yet his nose was twitching a little, and he felt some heat rising toward him. He hesitantly grabbed some of the disturbed rocks and hurled them toward the abomination. They shattered upon its thick skin, yet the gas caused it to cough. He realized it was also weak against toxic fumes. He kept up the strategy until the creature backed off into a lighter surface. From its weight, the ground collapsed beneath him. He lost his footing then dropped into the magma. It thrashed and shook to keep itself from sinking, yet the magma was eating its skin until bones were shown. It roared in protest, until it finally met its maker.

By the time it was defeated, a ball of fire shot up. That caused Tinsel to startle and lose her balance. Fortunately, Rick reached and grabbed her. They both calmed themselves and they momentarily saw something glowing behind them. The bright red light was made out to be the last sphere; and he figured it was the guard's main source of energy. Thankfully, it didn't burn his hands when he held it.

"Ah! Out of ammo!?" Tinsel protested. Her Glock was completely used up.

There was a shake and the roof rained down some debris. A few stalactites fell from the ceiling, and Rick grabbed Tinsel's hand. "The place is starting to collapse!"

Outside, Jack got his hands full. The Astro Robin was distracting Holidus as it ran over its rocky feet. He was giving Plassein some leverage until Rick and Tinsel got back from the trial inside. Unfortunately because it wasn't light and nimble, Jack was easily caught by his humongous hand! The machine was like a tiny model car compared to the golem's size. Luckily, he was saved by the constant battles from the other Deities, and the Robin landed on top of Plassein before it crashed to the hard ground. They helplessly watched as Lixa and Gastro ganged up on him.

Holidus took so much abuse from the other Deities; Lixa used its hydro body to weaken it, while Gastro made it inhale the toxic gas and fill up its stomach.

"Crikey! That titan is taking quite a beatin'!" the Aussie said in surprise.

"Let it go, Jack." Plassein assured next to him. "We must wait for Rick and Tinsel."

The mighty Holidus fell, crushing most of the temple on impact. Then it was one on one. From the thick smoke, there was a spark. The Comet and the Falcon emerged!

"Damn, does it feel good to be outta there!" she cried.

"Wheeler! Tinsel, you made it!"

"That was a close call, Jack."

The titans closed in on them, and she used her jets to stun them. The Robin was near her, and the Falcon was beside Plassein. "Holidus' orb?"

"Got it!" Rick showed it from his pocket.

At times, the crafts were caught in the crossfire, and Plassein took the defensive. He unleashed another meteor shower to stun them for a short while, until they were destroying each other again. When it was clear, the heroes emerged victorious as the shrine was a few miles from the archipelago.

"We're almost there!" Rick said triumphantly.

"We'll see, Ricky! Not if I could beat the legendary Captain Falcon!"

"If that's a challenge, Jack, then I accept it!"

"Not if I have anything to say about it!" Tinsel added to the commotion.

Unbeknownst to them during their friendly race, Don Genie released a fatal contraption! It was the same one that was injuring both Lixa and Gastro. Plassein was electrocuted by that humongous flytrap with the Blue Falcon! Jack and Tinsel only watched in horror, as did the Task Force just a mile away.

Rick couldn't use the Booster Fire since sparks were flying all around him. He was helpless inside his machine, until it unexpectedly raised its hood. Soon, his own body was caught in the current. He fell out and the bolts kept licking him. He could barely move as he and Plassein were suffering from the endless, agonizing pain! Then...he was warming up, until he recalled Falcon using his signature move when he forced Deathborn into the Dark Star Reactor. His eyes shot open and his fist clenched very tight. And instead of being a fiery bird of prey, it turned out to be a dragon made of electricity! That left a large hole inside, causing Genie to drop the controls in awe. "He's so strong..!"

He just had enough strength and let the rage loose as his body glowed a bright orange. He screamed as his vessel shot out a volley of energy toward Lixa and Gastro, as well as a portion of Don's fortress, using his last Reactor Might and shattering the contraption. His body was in so much brutal agony that it made himself shut down while simultaneously absorbing the lethal electricity.

"Rick!" Everyone cried for him as they saw him and Plassein plummet. He dropped to the cockpit of the Blue Falcon and remained very still. They were so far away, that they didn't notice Plassein's body dissolve into pyroflies after he fell to the ground.

The Silver Comet and the Astro Robin rushed to the scene. Tinsel received a shock when she touched him, though Jack was lucky since he was wearing the red gloves. He carried him to the Robin, and the weather suddenly got violent. The wind began to pick up and Tinsel looked over a rip in the ground. It was so deep, that she couldn't see, nor make out, Plassein's fallen body.

Where's the Plasma Deity? she thought in horror. He can't be. Is he..?

An enormous tornado was formed and the inhabitants just lost it. Jack and Tinsel just saw it themselves!

"Jack! We gotta get outta here!" she panicked.

"You don't have to tell ME twice!" He immediately burned up the engines and a grappling hook shot out of its trunk. It latched onto the Falcon's cuff on its elongated hood, and with some elbow grease, he was able to pull it. They both raced back to the main shrine.

The tractor beam was offline, but the Task Force was relieved they all made it. They were alarmed when they saw Rick.

"I've never seen him look this bad since the day we got him out of cold sleep." Stewart thought aloud. "Everyone get back!" the team obliged, and his son was ready.

"Rodney. The shock left him in cardiac arrest. His body shut down from the high voltage." He faced his only prodigal son. "You know what to do."

He was as white as a sheet. And even Robert received a shock as he made contact. "Rodney, get two pairs of rubber gloves and a chest compressor. Hurry now!" They immediately put on rubber gloves and he was the one who restarted his heart. Through the darkness, Rick somehow heard the screams of the inhabitants of the planet, as everything around them was being demolished by the numerous storms as well as the eruptions from beneath the broken earth. Some of it even fell into the abyss, making it light up with flames. Tectonic plates were also moving at a horrifying rate. The planet truly was falling apart, and they had nowhere else to go!

After several compressions, Rick's heart finally let some blood through, warming his chest. He was barely breathing and moving his head. Tinsel rushed to his side. "Rick..? Oh, Rick..." She was tearing up, her resolve was broken.

He was able to slowly move his hand to hers and held it weakly. It was as if her tears were an ounce of strength. "Tinsel... Finish it... You must do it..." he begged.

Her head shot up. "What..?"

"I...can't make it... Too weak... It's up to you now..."

"Rick, you shouldn't talk." Stewart advised.

"No... Listen. She must to do this... Take Holidus' and Plassein's spheres..." he coughed up some blood.

"Rick! You need to rest!" Rodney said in earnest.

She was frightened from the ferocity, but a certain someone was able to help her regain her senses.

"That's your final mission, Tinsel. You must accomplish this." she looked up at Jody. "Wheeler knows you're the only one who can. Restore balance to the planet, and reunite the four orbs of Materia. Hurry up, stay alive, and place them inside the shrine. That's an order! Any objections?"

Suddenly, she felt the sensation whenever Rick was holding the sacred spheres. They warmed within her hands. With that, she declared, "No, there are no objections. I will finish Rick's mission!"

She ran up as fast as she could, nearly losing her footing. Lucy and Lily were close behind and they were able to catch her. When she finally placed the spheres in their correct slots, they glowed and their essences became one with the others as they shot toward the sky, like the Aurora Borealis!

Lily was uncertain. "Hard to believe the duties of the Chosen One can pass on the mantle to someone else willingly without dying."

Tinsel stated that she has a special bond with Rick, as they both loved each other, and she had Haruka's engagement ring to prove it.

Lucy's face lightened. "The song! You got to play it, Lily."

"Of course. This is the only way to make things right. Still...I wish there was someone who'd perform it with me..."

"Ahem." Everyone looked up at Jack who was holding an electric guitar. It almost matched his outfit, albeit had a darker shade of blue despite the crazy bolt designs. "My time to shine. I used to be a part of a band, don't you know."

Lily smiled, "Thanks, Jack."

The Galaxy Forces cadet blew into the flute the same subtle notes she played during last night's ceremony. During the number, Regeneration, Jack eventually strummed his own instrument. It was the same warm-up song he learned when he was just a kid, and he never felt more exhilarated as he saw this as his very own stage!

In the darkness, it was the same thing Rick heard. Despite the paralysis, it was soothing to him as he was resting in a comfortable bed somewhere in the Galaxy Runner. Balance was restored, as the storms gradually dissipated. The ground momentarily stopped quaking and erupting, and the oceans were calmer. As Giant was healing all three terrestrial Deities were revived during the celebration. And their hearts warmed, never wanting to fight. But Plassein never rose up.

Everyone didn't notice Jody and EAD leave on their vehicles and apprehend Don.

Rick barely opened his eyes and saw a gorgeous sunset through a large window. His body was still powerless from the onslaught. When the song ended, he barely noticed Tinsel laying over him. "Did I do it..? Did...I make a difference?"

She nodded, "Yes, you did. We all did."

He said his body was so hard to move. She wondered how he was able to get the Plasma orb. He wasn't sure, but he felt it course through his veins when he busted out of the shocking trap. It was also emitting energy in his other pocket by the time he woke up. She volunteered to stay by his side, but due to the shocks his body left, Stewart said she should let him be.

Rick regained some of his strength late at night, but he was still very weak. From his blurry vision, he saw a pair of mechanical crutches leaning against a wall a foot away. He grabbed them, thinking he had no vitality in his legs. They lit up as he put them beneath him. He tested the switches and knobs, until eventually he knew how to maneuver them in the direction he needed to go. He snuck out onto the ramp while Clank noticed from the surveillance.

"Jody! Somebody left the hangar. It's Rick!" She, the docs, Jack, and Tinsel were startled.

He made it to the main shrine and looked out toward the magnificent open ocean between the three towering islands, mourning for the fallen Deity. He noticed a huge shadow of a bird fly over him, but he dismissed it as nothing. Then, it landed and as it stepped closer, Rick immediately took out his blaster and aimed it at Gastro, dropping his crutches. "You stay away from me! You clashing titans have caused enough pain and suffering! If you make a move I'll blast your brains out!"

"Stand down, Chosen One!" The deity of liquid emerged from the sea. The solid golem marched up behind the gas titan.

"We're not here to fight you, Rick. We're only show our gratitude." the solid one said in a gruff voice.

The gas one lifted the crutches to him, allowing him to use them as he withdrew his gun. "Thanks, Gastro."

"We should be the ones thanking you."

They handed him a silvery wing, showing this was all that's left of Plassein's. "You saved this world from its own destruction. He wouldn't have wanted it any other way."

The bounty hunter turned it down. "No. Take it somewhere no one else can find it. Not even me."

"We wanted to give you something." Lixa said. It was an orb, but this was different as it was forged from a part of their essence. By the time Rick obtained it, it restored his strength as his body warmed up. "I...I feel stronger." When the energy dissipated, he dropped the crutches and faced the titans with a smile. "Thanks, everyone. I will keep this with me, always."

The solid one said, "We are all forever in your debt." They bowed, and Rick followed as he bent a knee. When they rose, he suggested to rest at their respective shrines. He watched them leave and then he said silently, "Thanks for you guys watching out for me. And for this." He gazed at the iridescent orb in his palm.

"Looks like you're better already." Stewart led the Task Force and Lily to him. Everyone was surprised he no longer needed the crutches and was standing tall. And the docs found something unusual in his molecular makeup. While he was sleeping, they examined his body and saw traces of the high voltage from some sparks. The high-flying medico never saw anything like it, and he gave him a pair of his red gloves which were enhanced with rubber. He also handed him some arches in his shoes as well, compliments from him and Rodney. Stewart described them as cushions for his electrical discharges; Rodney said the kinetic energy needed some place for them to be released.

"That way, it'll help avoid painful shocks on contact."

Tinsel suddenly ran to him, "Rick! Are you-"

With a smile, he said, "I'm alright. No need to worry. And you can touch me as much as you want. Doctor gave me those rubber arches and my gloves to help absorb the misfiring from my body. You won't be shocked as long as I wear them."

Stewart assured both Rick and Tinsel they still have five days left if they want to stay in Giant.

She went over and hugged him tightly as they were finally reunited in their arms.

The mission was accomplished as Giant was in balance. And Don Genie was finally taken in, albeit he had severe wounds he may not recover from. He'll be like a cripple for life, and perhaps impaired.

Despite the success of his 51st bounty, Rick and Tinsel continued to mourn over Plassein's sacrifice from time to time. The days went by fast, and when it was the end of the week, he summoned the Falcon Flyer to carry the couple home to Earth. The natives never minded the entry nor exit. From then on, they knew that technology could be beneficial for them, and the elder couldn't wait for the next opportunity for advancement, even if it's for a F-Zero track, or if they decide if they should return. They were always welcome.

"What will you do now?" he asked.

"We will return, to our planet." Rick answered.

"Our friends are waiting." Tinsel added.

"I see. You're lucky to have such friends, helping you save this planet from its own self-destruction. I will look forward to the day we shall meet again."

The bounty hunter and huntress bid the people of Giant farewell, as did the inhabitants and also the three Deities as the Falcon Flyer rose through the exosphere. Holidus was holding a little draconian chick safely in his palm.

Victory Lap!

At the fortress in Port Town, Rick and Tinsel had some private time to pay their respects and he also wanted to show her something special.

What many people may not know about Rick was he's also a martial artist, rather than just a former detective. It was no wonder since he knew how to defend himself well.

It was when he put two and two together: After he was severely electrocuted by Don Genie's flytrap with Plassein, he felt the shock as well as the thermal energy from deep within his core. It was the same sensation he had when he burst out of the tank Black Shadow imprisoned him in. Then, as he had a flashback of the Falcon Punch, he unleashed all his energy at it. Only it was a dragon than a bird.

At first everyone was prone to a static shock while touching him, until he wore the gloves and arches. Even Rick himself was shocked, both emotionally and physically, as it left him paralyzed temporarily while he decided to train himself with those new enhancements. He then decided to practice with Goroh at Cryton about a week ago, on how to harness and channel out the electricity more properly without sustaining damage. The samurai was unsettled when he found out Rick had similar abilities to his bitter rival, Falcon, but he was willing and honored to teach him anyway. Through rigorous work and meditation he did just that, and by golly, Rick finally was able to show Tinsel what he could really do!

Aside from the Dragon Punch, which he recalled using to escape the fatal gizmo, he could also use a sweeping kick which had the same effect on the ground. In addition, he made an uppercut which he called the Dragon Knuckle. And when he jumped and released the pull-up pole above him, there was an explosion of electricity coming from his hands; he called that the Dragon Kiss. She recorded the footage which she saved to show their friends later. She even slowed and froze the data at times to show Rick's sparks have created the illusion of a serpent in each of his moves. Since then, those were Rick's ultimate weapons aside from the two Reactor Mights.

Needless to say, everybody was impressed, those that were both in and out of the Task Force. Rick believed it was a sign that he had rightfully chosen to follow Captain Falcon's legacy as a hero, bounty hunter, and F-Zero champion. There were no regrets from this moment forward, as he now realized that he was bestowed both with the legend and the power of the falcon!

A/N: Hope you all enjoyed this short story as much as I did writing it. Seriously, there really needs to be more of a story for Rick as the new bounty hunter replacing Captain Falcon; though I don't see it as some bland title, just a way to honor him. And at the finale, the Mission Accomplished theme from Super Metroid plays, and so does the Grand Prix Results theme from GX.

The fight between the magma-crusted creature and Tinsel and Rick was a reference to Norfair and Crocmire from Super Metroid. The cataclysm was an idea I had inspired by the disassembling of the Warring Triad from Final Fantasy VI.

The finale was Regeneration from F-Zero X, although this one's more subtle than the original version. I should like to thank one of my collaborators for the suggestion.

I had this idea of Rick's new ability, the electric dragon, from the Fantendo Wiki. Particularly, from ThatKidWithTheAfro, who described how my favorite F-Zero pilot would fight in the next Smash Brothers; I'd always wished the day would come. And this would be my theory on obtaining the Dragon Punch as well as his other shocking skills. Again, it's kind of like Metroid when Samus absorbs multiple life forms' DNA such as the hatchling, the X-Parasites, and the Phazon.

I was surprised when I found out that Rick was also a martial artist and he's Ryu's F-Zero counterpart. Again, why wasn't he suitable for Smash, and yet HE is?!

Anyway, this F-Zero project is finished. And much like the series itself, who knows what the distant future would bring. Long live this phenomenal series!


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Here's a oneshot for an underrated character, PJ! As well as my first video uploaded to YouTube; pardon for the low quality..!

PJ, The Empyrean Colonist

A/N: I came up with this idea a few days ago, while wondering how the series should move forward from GP Legend/Climax since they should share one timeline. You'll see some references from a couple different games aside from those; so here goes.

It was a balmy late summer afternoon and Rick and Tinsel were walking along the sidewalks in Mute City, arm in arm. As the couple were returning to the Dragon Bird EX, they found a skinny alien with cream-colored skin, wide black eyes that could cast a reflection, green gloves, and a long orange-yellow uniform with black and white checkered patterns on it. He was squirting and scrubbing the vehicle's windshield.

Rick immediately marched up to it. "Hey, what're you doing? I just got this machine cleaned on account of the rain and-ergh. You should've asked first, it's all streaky."

"All clear, sir." The extraterrestrial withdrew the small spritzer bottle and held out a hand, begging for money.

"Uh-oh, I just have a debit card on me. I don't have any cash at the moment." he said as he dug through his wallet in his pocket.

He sulked a little. "Oh, that's alright; no charge." He waddled away, his bare feet brushing the rough city pavement.

Looking at the poor state he was in, Tinsel muttered how sorry she felt for him. Rick paused for a moment. Then he brightened as he offered, "Oh, you hungry, fella?" The stranger perked up at the couple. "You should come to the Falcon House; Burt makes this sweet coffee? Out of this world!" he exclaimed. That made him change his mind when he smiled. "Come on, we'll take you to him."

"Alright, sounds neat. But I have a little cabbie of my own." the alien pointed to a hovering taxi that had the same coating and patterns as his uniform.

He followed close behind the Dragon Bird toward the place where their mentor owned, a diner and apartment complex dedicated to the late Captain Falcon, as well as Rick following his legacy. Inside, the janitor, the Mighty Gazelle, was cleansing the tile floors with a tall steam cleaner, while Clank was hunkered over his own tablet. Burt greeted the trio and Rick introduced them to the unfortunate newcomer.

He acquainted himself as PJ, though he'd much prefer his initials than his full name since it was difficult for certain lifeforms to pronounce. He described himself as a 35-year old inhabitant of the Empyrean Colony. One of the best cabbies in the galaxy, he worked for Galaxy Cab, a taxi service that traveled from planet to planet across the universe. He was the highest fare earner of all and was well-renowned for his skilled driving; however he bashfully said he has never followed traffic laws well. Rick grimaced a bit at that statement.

As a result, PJ would often get involved in high-speed chases with the Galactic Federation on his tail, but he bragged that he always managed to get away from them. He considers his worst passengers to be either drunks, or couples who could never get their hands off each other.

For once, they can relate to that. "I really hate having some paradise by the dashboard light," Tinsel remarked.

"Especially, when someone is trying to be your chaperone," Rick added. "Drunks could also be the worst company."

"Spoken like a true cop, Rick." Burt admired his past experience.

Due to being the best cabbie in the galaxy, PJ got into a fight when he demanded an increase in wages, as well as a larger taxicab to accompany passengers who're up to 30 feet tall.

"Whoa! Why would you want that?" Tinsel wondered in shock.

"Oh, sometimes I come across passengers that can be as tall as a tree; you should see these guys on the interplanetary basketball team!" he snickered. The pair looked at each other skeptically.

Then, PJ's face became somber as he resisted a laugh. Because of his disobedience, as well as the company never meeting his requests, he ended up getting suspended from his job, leaving him without a steady income nor anything for his beloved Groovy Taxi to do. However, when he spotted an article about the F-Zero Grand Prix, he decided to retool it into a F-Zero machine and enter the competition. Alas, he never had the chance since Dark Million took over, and they were always overbooked. Despite the suspension, he still does some practice races now and again as a way to represent the company to the extent of advertising their services and wearing his cabbie uniform.

"I'm very sorry, PJ." Rick's voice softened.

He sighed, "If only I could go back to my home world, the Empyrean Colony. I wish it hadn't been destroyed."

That made the two pilots startle. They never been to the place, but the Task Force informed them not too long ago. There was a newsbreak that seemed never-ending as they beheld the sight:

His home city was demolished during one of his interplanetary travels as a train ambushed by mechanical gunmen had a bomb that detonated when it reached the city; the colony was so overpopulated that humans hardly settle there. Though one of the females sacrificed herself on impact while four merely escaped. There were massive casualties and about half the metropolis stood; the Galactic Federation believed it to be a form of terrorism.

Through his tablet, Clank gave them the intel. The Empyrean Colony had real estate companies and government officials beginning to recruit space colonists to search for a place to develop a project known as the "Empyrean Colony", which consisted on a floating city and would resolve two main problems: the lack of living places and the overgrowing interstellar population. Even for humans. After spending great amounts of money, a planet was finally chosen to house this project, but after years of trials and errors, especially those made by Dark Million, it barely did approve all the tests, discouraging everyone to continue researching. Which was fortunate since the main inhabitants found them meddling and intrusive.

PJ hung his head as he recalled the incident. He was close to tears since he, his Groovy Taxi, and his world were really down on their luck. He felt he was the few lucky survivors from that massive explosion, and he couldn't believe that paradise was lost to him as well as countless other lifeforms.

With Tinsel taken aback by the story, Rick laid an assuring hand on PJ's shoulder. "I can understand that. I remember losing everything I had after I slept for 150 years. But my friends and my true love helped me through. Hey, we can help you find a way to get you back on your feet! Tinsel and I can relate since we have allies trying to rebuild their lives."

"Leon and Octoman." she murmured.

"They're part of the Elite Mobile Task Force, and so are they." Clank pointed the pair out.

"Speaking of which, Clank is starting a prestigious school year in the fall," said Burt. "Roy and I helped enroll him in an academy specialized for advanced technology. A lot of promising children will be there, including his close friend, Alias. There are also some people who're interested in F-Zero racing." Burt listed them off as Mickey Marcus, Megan Violet, Jane B. Christie, Alexander O'Neil, Blitz Wagner, Terry Getter, and the place would be run by Prof. Yazoo. The location is in uptown Mute City, but there's also an academy located further south in Bianca City as well. Clank felt relieved he didn't have to move there.

"I am so stoked!" he beamed with excitement. "But I need to study hard so I can get ahead of my classmates."

"Well why don't you do that while Rick and Tinsel take care of PJ. Have you found him a place to stay temporarily?"

"I know just the place." he remarked.

He offered PJ to settle at the same apartment complex both he and Tinsel shared. Since the flat was unoccupied when she decided to move into Rick's room, she thought it'd be perfect for him and his Groovy Taxi; it was obviously the only thing he had close to home after the large explosion. They volunteered to assist PJ however they can, including re-enlisting him as a cabbie driver for the Galaxy Cab, as well as demonstrate his aspiring racing skills. Although Rick sternly mentioned that he'll keep a sharp eye on him to make sure he doesn't get reckless on the roads, unless PJ would challenge him to a friendly race.

A/N: I really liked that cute alien, PJ; he should have more of a backstory, especially that area I've mentioned. I'm not a huge fan of Maximum Velocity, but the Empyrean Colony is one of my favorite circuits, next to Synobazz, Ancient Mesa, Cloud Carpet, Tenth Zone East, and Beacon Port. Since they're nearly similar, I guess as far as looks go, I've decided to put two and two together; I wish Myamoto would put more innovation and development into representing different worlds/pilots which he sorely lacks as of late. I really want to look forward to the intel provided for those tracks on where they can be located and how they were created, as well as Aeropolis, Green Plant, and others.

Also, this was a brief excerpt from the underrated action flick, Sucker Punch; the location of Babydoll's last fantasy sequence where Rocket sacrificed herself for her sis' freedom. I figured that place looked so similar to the Colony itself. So Rick and Tinsel met the adorable taxi cab driver. I can't help but feel sorry for little PJ; he and the circuit should be identified more and work hand in hand.

Since Ending it All and GP Legend are done I'm not sure how to move the series forward; they said that MV takes place 25 years after the original, and I've been adding GP Legend to the main timeline, yet it's my least favorite aside from X. I can't be sure how I can move the series forward from here, so maybe PJ and the Empyrean Colony was probably a stunt. I wish I had the chance to beat the last chapter on Very Hard mode in order to unlock him; I probably would've done it.


Here's another oneshot, this one being Rick's origin story. At least my version of it...

The Bostonian Comes Home

A/N: Ok...lemme just say that this story can be quite inaccurate as far as locations go; these are only made for just general ideas. Two things had inspired me throughout the F-Zero series: both the intel I found at the end of Lap 46 in the anime, as well as a certain location from Maximum Velocity.

Tinsel had always wanted to visit Boston, ever since she first heard that Rick was actually born there back in 2423. He stated to Burt that he was raised on a farm in rural Boston, he had a Labrador named Axel until he died from illness, and his father was a racer. He had to help out his family constantly since not only he and his father were fit for heavy duties, but also due to his mom's weakness from her illnesses after Rick's tumultuous birth. It was also stated that he's an only child as well since he received his ancestor's mantle bestowing him as Ryu Suzaku II. Even though he seemed to be the Brooklyn type, he was actually fresh from the heart of Massachusetts.

"I thought you were actually from Aeropolis. You said you used to live at its location before it was developed." she said.

"I had moved there once, but I didn't stay long. I've actually moved away and lived further up after my mom and my dog passed away." He sulked a little. "It was hard losing them both. It's no wonder she never wanted a second child because of what her delivery of me did. She soon died from her terminal illnesses from that, and the farm..."

After a few pauses, Tinsel spoke as she laid a hand on his broad shoulder, "Don't blame yourself. I used to lose my parents too. I guess you did need the change of location since that must've been a burden to you and your dad."

The mention of his old man perked him up, "Well, at least it wasn't too big of a loss. I mean, I went on to become a stockcar racer, just like he was. I had heard that Boston didn't house a lot of major racetracks, so I soon headed to New York where most of the action was. The Big Apple Grand Prix, the Riverhead Raceway, the Long Island Expressway, the Skyline Raceway, the Michigan International Speedway and many others." His face then lightened, "Heh, it's no wonder it had so many wonderful circuits since it's known as the Big Apple! It was, after all, the new home for my ancestors."

"And that's when you've finally met Rose and Haruka."

He nodded with a smile, "The very same." Numerous memories entered his mind, even ones so vividly as he recalled first meeting them, then when Haruka encouraged him to never give up as he struggled as a rookie, and also how she congratulated him on his hard work and success. "She was the racing queen, so they say, and I was soon enlisted as part of the police force due to my skills. I guess you could say that sport fit me like a glove.

"But, it was all because of Boston that started this budding legacy. I'd been wanting to return there for 150 years. We should wait till it's balmy so it won't be so chilly as we head further north. Are you interested?"

"Sure." Tinsel gleamed, with her eyes shining with admiration like a comet's body.

It was before the crack of dawn when Rick tugged Tinsel awake, around 4:00 am. She moaned and barely opened her eyes, barely seeing her fiancée smiling and whispering at her.

"Time to get up, Tinsel." He caressed her cheek.

"Unh... But Rick, it's early... I'm still sleepy..." Her face turned over. But Rick persisted.

"You must wake up, Tinsel, if you want to visit Boston with me."

"Unh, Boston..? But why so early..?"

"Because we can avoid the hefty traffic going there. There aren't any warp gates to use for shortcuts since it's still on Earth, but we can beat them. You can rest in the cockpit during the drive, though; it takes about four and a half hours by machine."

Slowly, but surely and groggily, Tinsel sat up and soon left the bed. Rick was already packed and he assisted her to bag her own clothes for a few days' journey and even helped her dress her exhausted self. He escorted her inside the Dragon Bird EX, started the engines, and drove off.

Using the GPS signal, he followed it toward his destination while Tinsel slumbered soundly in the passenger seat behind him. The opaque section was just enough to block out the artificial lights from his LCD screen and the city lights. Because it was too early to stop by the Falcon House, Rick had to resort to some other small joints that sold breakfast, including sweet coffee and some hot, fresh burritos; she did eat one and went back to sleep.

As the sun was rising in the red velvet sky fading to a canary texture, Rick continued on his expedition toward his birth town. The headlights soon began to fade gradually while the summer sun rose. There were quite a few sharp turns as he went, but he managed the travel just fine.

Rick and Tinsel decided to stay there for a few days, just to take some of the load off from the city lifestyle and the anxieties from bounty hunting. Rick wanted to revisit his birthland after 150 years, but instead of taking the city route, Rick had abruptly stopped just before the metropolis.

"Rick. Where are we going?" Tinsel startled.

"I'll show you." he reassured.

He said he'll take the scenic route instead. His Dragon Bird EX hovered over several dirt roads and headed through some thick woods. He didn't crash into any trees or vegetation as he kept on following the patches of rich soil. Letting his GPS recalculate multiple times, he followed his instincts and memories instead as his mind drifted to when he was a tween. He recalled himself escaping from the pressures of farmwork in order to head into his most sacred, tranquil place. He followed the VFW Parkway and the Hackensack Road to his destination.

It was known as Boston's second largest unfragmented woodland, Allandale Woods. Composed primarily of oaks, maples, and pines, Allandale Woods was one of the few pristine secondary growth oak-hickory forests in the city of Boston. Trails ran throughout the site leading to various areas of interest including scenic Rock Pond, an extensive Depression-era stone boundary wall, a cattail marsh, intertwining streams that formed the Bussey Brook, underground springs, a historic spring house, and a certified vernal pool.

It was a bumpy ride and the forest had been stretching out for miles. Then, bright sunlight nearly blinded Tinsel as her eyes suddenly needed to adjust from the thermal rays. Rick still reached over and tugged her awake, "Tinsel. Tinsel, we're here."

By the time she uncovered them, they went to a clearing. They saw the entire skyline as light and clear as the pool and brook sparkling ahead! The machine's engines nearly sounded over the trickling as the skinny waterfall filled the rocky stream, as well as the chirping of neighboring fowls.

The Dragon Bird EX halted just a few feet away from the tranquil sight, and both pilots were in complete awe. Rick eventually recovered as he faced Tinsel, "We are here." He opened the hatch, the fresh air seeped through the cockpit brushing on their faces, and he led her out. They've embraced the beauties of nature, rather than just being used to bustling cityscapes.

"This is the most beautiful brook I've seen anywhere. Almost like the ones in Green Plant..." her mind drifted off for a few seconds to the Hovercraft Hub, but Rick brought her around.

He nodded. "Yes, it is. This place was my relaxing spot before I moved away. I had always treasured this place. Even took hikes through its long, smooth trails. I was lucky to find some curious wildlife too."

Rick reflected some more as Tinsel settled down next to him. They were standing side by side taking in the peaceful, natural scenery, then he decided to have a small picnic next to it. After almost an hour, he escorted her on his past journeys. At least this place hadn't changed in 150 years, he thought.

"Everything's so lush out here in the spring. I couldn't take my dog out here since he'd get bitten by ticks, fleas, and roaches."

Tinsel admired every minute of it, and then, Rick invited her to take a swim inside the fresh, cool brook; the sun was rising as was the heat, after all. They even did the unthinkable as they decided to do some skinny dipping.

The water was so refreshing, thankfully there were no harmful algae blooms nor any leeches. They even embraced each other a lot, feeling their racing hearts and warm bodies cuddle up with each other and the water seemed to have warmed with these sensations. 

He whispered to her, "I suppose you never got intimate in the water before..?"

"No. I don't s'pose you had that same chance with Haruka." Sometimes Tinsel wished their relationship could've gone further before that fateful night. They gazed into their glazing eyes as their faces loomed closer...

Then, suddenly Rick felt a sudden rush of water to his face, "Hey!"

Tinsel began to hurriedly paddle away before Rick could catch up to her. With some smiles, they had some contests to see who was the fastest swimmer, and who can hold their breath the longest; Rick won both, especially since he was the one who constantly tickled Tinsel to make her rise up. Curse her sensitive skin. He didn't even mind her paddling, either, to which he'd trained her to swim more properly. Whether it'd be the breaststroke or backstroke, she soon learned them. She pretty much said she had to teach herself in order to prevent her from drowning. 

They immersed in the brook for almost an hour. And as they got out, Rick offered Tinsel a hand to pull her, never minding any onlookers seeing their bare bodies since no one else was around lurking at them.

"Ah, that was amazing, Rick. It was so hard never wanting to leave this place," she exasperated while wrapping herself in a towel.

"That was one of my favorite places here in Boston. I stop by here almost every day, until my mom took a turn for the worst. As did Axel."

They leaned their enwrapped bodies against one another to speed up the process of drying, and they soon got dressed. As they got ready, Rick laid himself out on the fertile grass basking in the sunlight, Tinsel followed. After awhile, he invited her close to him and they snuggled against one another. Their minds began to zone out, even Rick's who thought of what Haruka, Dr. Clash and Falcon were up to in the heavens. The gentle breeze, the sounds from the brook and the temperate weather made them dose off in each other's arms.

Bristles of grass and the fresh smell of chlorophyll twitched Tinsel's nose, causing her to awaken. Rick was still asleep as she watched him after she stretched and yawned. It was nearly sunset as the sky was churning into a light turquoise with a hint of mandarin. She remembered Rick telling her it was only the beginning since he wanted to show her the old farmland he stayed at when he was young.

She waited for him to come to, only his body was trembling at intervals while his breathing was shallow as he moaned. Whatever dream he was having surely was intense. His squeezed before they shot open. He startled himself awake with his heart racing like one of the ancient stockcars at the Daytona 500. He began to calm down as soon as he saw a blurry vision of Tinsel caressing his upper back.

"Are you alright..? You looked as if you were having a nightmare."

He rubbed the thick layers of sand from his eyes, "Mmm, I'm ok. It was actually a nice dream, but it just got more intense as the momentum was going."

"What was it? An F-Zero race?"

He stood up, "I'll, uh--I'll tell you later. Right now we need to go to my former home. Ah, I don't even remember dosing off..!"

Tinsel was thankful for the reminder, as she'd nearly forgotten it after she slept. The Dragon Bird was well on its way, and by the time they got there, through Rick's memory, it was almost dusk.

The sky was a vermillion fading into tangerine, then goldenrod, and the air was getting crisp. Following the directions from the past 165 years, Rick looked over the foreign site. Instead of having rich soil and a small bright green pasture, as well as familiar landmarks like a tall silo, tractors, or a barn or ranch house, it wasn't what he'd expect.

Rick harshly gasped and Tinsel was alarmed, asking what it was. They both beheld a barren wasteland as far as the eye could see. There was no plant life whatsoever, not a single tree, hedge, or patches of grass nor straw. Everything was empty, dry, and lifeless, and those badlands stretched on for miles around them excepting where they were. Not a single ungulate was around, either, grazing in the nonexistent grass or a fowl clucking in a coup. Rick's devastated farmland intruded his mind from his lost memories. The landscape was deafeningly silent, and Rick broke it as he thought out loud, "Everything is gone."

Tinsel stared out of the machine's windshield until she tried to reassure him with a gentle touch. They barely noticed the weathered wooden sign pointed like an arrow that read Stark Farm.

She was lost in her own thoughts that she hardly noticed Rick take some drastic measures. He contacted his allies back in Mute City, within the Task Force headquarters, and alerted Jody and Dr. Stewart on what he just found.

He eventually hopped out of the cockpit and Tinsel followed, moving like a Draugr, toward a spot where he bent and took a sample of the alien earth. He smelt it, his face wrinkled from the chemical stench, and he grabbed some dead flakes in his palm. He crushed it in a fist, vowing to reverse the damage that had been done to his family homestead and stormed into the Dragon Bird.

Using the late Falcon's keypad, he mashed around the buttons and summoned the Falcon Flyer. Minutes later, it showed up, and even Tinsel was just as disgusted when she smelt the radioactivity. Rick managed to store a sample and loaded the specimen into the dock. He then set the remote controls to Mute City so Stewart and his children can analyze it.

He gave himself time to compose himself, and Tinsel tried to ease his anguish as best she could, saying how much she's sorry to see his homeland in such a sorrowful state. "Something must be done to reverse this," he growled. "I don't care what it takes, but it must be done."

"I'm sure that Doc can find out eventually and make this land green again like it was so long ago."

"I will not rest until that happens."

Silence stretched on again, until Rick started up the engines.

As night fell, Rick and Tinsel did some stargazing outside the vehicle, just like they used to do on the Queen League track in Port Town. Rick knew there was still a lot to explore and defend in this universe, and he wonders if he and his lover would see it all.

And then, they've heard a low, slow noise. Thinking it was only their hearts, they abruptly noticed it wasn't. They listened some more until he persuaded her to follow it. By foot, they went back through the thick, withering vines and roots, until the sound was looming closer; that wave of noise, they'd realized, was coming from some drums. As they got closer, they knew they were similar to the ones they'd heard in Planet Giant, at the village where the inhabitants honored Rick at the eve of their journey to reunite the orbs of Materia.

Removing the decaying foliage, they both foresaw a large blazing bonfire at the center of a gathering ceremony. Every one of the tribesmen were banging on the massive drums while their mates danced and swayed around it. The teepees were tall and opaque, and everything and everyone glowed while they made out the shades.

The bypassers crouched down low and glued their eyes and ears deeply into the performance. The drums were gaining momentum and velocity, and Tinsel could've sworn Rick muttering it's what he saw in his dream, only it was in daylight. The light of the golden, high moon casted like a natural stage light, and then their hearts began to race.

It was exactly what they felt in Giant during their first night, strange yet pleasant. They sighed during intervals and they couldn't peel their sight and hearing away. The scenery became more enticing as their temperature rose. And they could see the same flames burning in the reflections of their eyes. Their bodies rose and fell with each passing moment as they soon intertwined with one another. The ceremony guided them into oblivion as everything happened so fast and sudden, that they never cared they were going all the way, their hearts hammering with the drums themselves. And much like the bonfire, Rick's soul began to glow and heat up, as if melting Tinsel's ice. As she was sparkling like the stars above, soothing Rick's ardency. Combined, it was like water, just as fresh as Bussey Brook. They were as limitless as the wasteland they saw, with no restrictions holding them back. It seemed to go on for hours well into the night.

Finally, Rick and Tinsel woke up inside the dark cockpit. They both wondered if whether or not it was all a dream.

By the time, they completed their odyssey in Boston, their first destination was the Task Force base. At the conference room, Stewart mentioned the soil was filled by harmful substances, disallowing for any form of agriculture to grow. Every natural inhabitant had died off, almost like the dinosaurs choking on space dust and ash. In order for new life to form, he said, the soil needed to be cultivated in order to prevent any loss of food and growth. He and Jody will spread the word out immediately. They condoled for his, and his family's, great loss.

"I know they never wanted it to end this way."

"Thanks, Doctor." Rick said in despair.

With the sight of Aeropolis again, that seemed to lift up their spirits, if only for a little while. Mother-Q was notified by the Galaxy Platoon's top scientists and agriculturists, and they soon got to work on restoring life to the farmlands.

Or so they did...

A/N: In the end of Lap 46 in the anime, Burt said that Rick's from Boston, just as he said within the story.

According to the F-Zero wiki, Stark Farm's a circuit located on a barren, deserted farmland. It was once a lush, prosperous farm and a world designed for agriculture, though I only used it as a smaller rural area since I felt having a world was FAR too extreme! But, sadly, it withered and died for unknown reasons. Scientists investigated and discovered that soil was filled with harmful substances. While trying to recover all losses of food, an F-Zero track was constructed there, putting it back into the spotlight.

Needless to say, I'm not really big on Maximum Velocity, nor the courses in Stark Farm; I must admit that they're BORING as hell..! But since it's within an urban environment, I'd thought it'd fit well with Rick's roots. Also...I have only been in Boston once.

And the drive from NY to Boston is approximately 4 1/2 hrs. 

I remembered one Easter that me and my family were visiting Harvard University, since my step cousin had a class there in microbiology. I can only remember how beyond confusing it was, even on the GPS as it kept on recalculating, and it was excruciatingly difficult to follow all those numerous-layered roads thru NY. Boston was probably easier, but I also recalled feeling so damned jealous since, not only there were a lot of smart Asians, but compared to the high school I've attended, it was just lightyears better. Plus, I looked up once that, sadly, Boston doesn't have any major auto-racing circuits... :(

And I kinda go by the catchy tune from Family Guy, The Spirit of Massachusetts. But...that's pretty much it.

Plus, I just added that Big-Lipped Alligator Moment for lulz since I just submitted The Tribal Ceremony pic recently.

So, another branch into MV done. What do you think?

And...while there's no Starfox references, there is a reference to my own crossover event, the Tribal Ceremony.

The Tribal Ceremony

And the second one...

The Tribal Ceremony Continues...

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And finally, the latest, and possibly one of the greatest, installment in my entire F-Zero timeline!!

To Be Married and Loved

A/N: This was a project I wanted Berrywatterson to do, but it was entirely up to me; I often don't ask people to do requests since they can be unreliable. But this was worth it!

On October 9, 2577, this would be the day when Rick Wheeler and Tinsel Steelus will finally tie the knot! Actually, this is the second anniversary of the day since they first met, when Rick was desperate to save kids from terminal illness and retrieve medicine that was stolen by space pirates led by Samurai Goroh. Even better is the fact that the 4th episode was released on the FoxBox on Oct 9, 2004; the first episode I had seen! Hence the events of The Samurai Returns. And after a couple years, they're finally ready to be married and loved. So, here is their story.

Lap 1

It was at the old Queen League course of Port Town on Valentine's Day when Rick popped the question to his beloved, Tinsel Steelus. He knew twilight was the perfect time to do so, as she's usually found stargazing and taking in its blissful scenery there. He finally knelt down to her and whispered his words of appreciation. She was completely stunned...

"You've always been there for me, as I've been for you. I'm grateful I was able to meet a kindred friend. Ever since I was lamenting over Haruka, you were always supportive and you've saved my life numerous times. When Zoda and Deathborn were defeated, and when Miss Killer was gone, Haruka was finally able to find peace. It's what she'd always wanted over the past 150 years, and she, and I, would never have found it if it wasn't for you. And so I decided to pass on a part of her you." Rick took out the ring and held it up.

"I am now glad our lives will finally be completed, and all I have is you to thank for."

Her eyes blurred from his heartfelt gesture and words.

"Tinsel Steelus... Will you marry me?"

She gazed onto the ring for a few more minutes. She could've sworn her body was trembling deep inside. She slowly lowered herself until she was the same height as him. Her voice quivered as she spoke with a huge grin, "Yes, Rick. I will marry you."

Even his smile grew wider while he slid the sacred, century-and-a-half jewel onto her finger. The touch was warm and the ring itself was a perfect fit for her delicate digit. He gave her the case for safekeeping, Tinsel leaned in and they kissed passionately. Through her sudden tears, both she and Rick wouldn't want anything more. They finally had the opportunity to officially become a couple.


That was only last year, and since that fateful, life-changing night, Rick and Tinsel had decided that their wedding should be on Oct. 9, 2577; two years since the day they first met when he went to Planet Cryton and began his search for Samurai Goroh. Ever since, ideas developed in Tinsel's mind in rapid succession.

It was in the middle of March, and since it was seven months before the deadline, the pair thought it'd be a decent time to prepare for the festivities. To start, Rick thought aloud, "I think we should plan on what we should wear for our upcoming union."

She then recalled the murmur Lily Flyer made while they were visiting Planet Giant during a week-long vacation/salvage mission on saving the universe from Don Genie and the three ancient, wrathing Deities. 

The young, stern cadet of the Galactic Space Forces was wearing a delicate, flowing white dress with pink roses across it. To them, it almost looked like a petite wedding gown, and she coaxed there was something they can look forward to in the distant future.

"What do you think? This may be good for your upcoming matrimony, Tinsel." she said.

"Yeah...but I'd much rather have it to be all silvery and lustrous." The pilot of the Comet rubbed the back of her neck.

Tinsel turned it down; like all other things it should be as bright and silvery as a comet, as well as her own machine, the Silver Comet. And thus she wanted a medium-sized, shimmering wedding dress with actual comets descending it. She actually had this vision as she was using acrylic paints on a bank representing one of the most overrated princesses that the corrupt, simulating company, Disney, had concocted. However, she knew that the process of designing it by a professional tailor would be rather expensive. 
They then went to the Task Force base and discussed their ideas with their closest friends. Upon hearing Tinsel's suggestions for her outfit, Lucy decided to get involved using her own earnings. Since she became a promising successor to the late Dr. Theodore Clash but still worked as an F-Zero racer part-time, her pay has increased.

She beamed, "I would love to pitch in, Tinsel! I always love shopping for fabulous clothes! Besides, this should give me some pointers if I ever want to do the same thing for Leon." He panted at her words.

On top of that, Tinsel always hated wearing stilettoes, as she and Rick know of her poor gait and balance. So she eventually decided that when they should go and search, a pair of dazzling 6 1/2 flat shoes matching her dress would suit her well.

"So, what made you decide on your spiffy outfit, Wheeler?" Jack boasted.

He responded with a smile, "Well, I was thinking I could have a tuxedo, but rather a dark cerulean suit similar to the shades of the late Douglas Jay Falcon's uniform in conjunction with my own machine, the Blue Falcon GT." He also thought he could use the golden falcon pin as a nice touch, even a long tie with that same shade as his suit.

"That seems to be a great choice." Gomar chimed in.

"Yeah, since it'll look suitable to Captain Falcon." Shioh added.

"Those are admirable choices, Rick and Tinsel." Jody's face grew somber as she warned, "Although, you must decide very carefully on picking clothes for the groomsmen and bridesmaids as well." She suggested the group for everyone who'll be invited to assist and choose wisely of their spending and styles. She then faced the pair again, "What type of wedding are you planning on?"

"I believe a common white wedding would do," Rick said.

She advised that their outfits must match with the type of the ceremony. And that each member must cooperate on their own costs for their outfits, and Dr. Stewart suggested a personal tailor he had used with his former wife, as well as his second one. 

The next day, Rick and Tinsel went with him and Lucy to work out with the tailor, which...actually turned out to be Burt Lemming, aka Andy Summer!

"You're actually a tailor, Burt?" Tinsel asked in amazement after he revealed his secret at the Falcon House.

"Of course. I have always worked with them ever since I started my new career as the head of the Falcon House; staying formal and measuring for the perfect fit is very important for business."

After an hour with some discussion, Burt measured Rick, Tinsel, and their friends within the Task Force, and it was agreed that each of the bridesmaids shall pay up to 450 space credits for their dresses, and 400 space credits maximum for the ushers' suits. Even Burt had decided to spend his earnings on a fancy suit of his own. However, there was another challenge; the tailor asked, how many people should attend? Before a decision would be made, the couple left and got to work.

A/N: The oversaturated princess and the bank I was painting were references to Frozen; for my birthday just a few years ago, I received it, even though I was never a fan of the movie. I instantly had a vision on what Tinsel would look like if she were to be wed to Rick. And as you saw on the cover, this was that said bank!

I should thank Berrywatterson for the suggestions on using a tailor as well. I never would've carried this chapter forward if it wasn't for that, so thank you.

Our next challenge is to see how many invites should be chosen for the wedding as well as who they are and who would make it for the ceremony. So stay tuned for that.


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Lap 2

Of course, invitations had to be made. So, back at the apartment, both Rick and Tinsel unanimously agreed to send over their friends from the Elite Mobile Task Force, as well as their comrades from the outside. From their mentor, Burt; to Luna and Rodney Stewart; her son, Phoenix Levin; the Mighty Gazelle, Roy Hughes; his son, Clank; and his best friend, Alias as well as his mom. 

When they got to thinking of the latter group, Rick suggested, "I think Samurai Goroh and his family should also be invited."

Tinsel, of course, turned bitter and rejected his decision. He sighed, "Please don't give me that. They may be space pirates but they wouldn't start anymore trouble since there'd be a ton of people. After all, he is my sensei, and he has taught me a lot involving my inner strength and our Japanese heritage." 

She hoped they wouldn't send in more threats; she could never get over the scoundrels they'd employed or the antics they'd caused throughout the galaxy, even incorporating his resentful rivalry with the late Capt. Falcon. And since John Tanaka was his better self after his recovery from Dark Million's thrall, Jody spread the news to his office, and he volunteered to be the head of security; looking back, he has regretted his wimpy actions from before. Heck, he even passed it onto the Commissioner, so he also wanted to be a part of it personally. He was a little sorry he couldn't make it to the Task Force's last union, Jack Levin and Luna Stewart.

Tinsel also thought of her former Duelist friends, Yugi Muto and Joey Wheeler; she contacted the former's home at Domino City, his grandfather Solomon picked up, she asked if his prodigy was there to which he answered, and he was ecstatic with the news! He requested for Joey, Téa, Tristan and Mokuba to come, though he reminded her that Seto, as far as they knew, used the Quantum Cube and transferred his soul into the netherworld to reunite with someone special, hence his kid brother was in charge of his business. In fact...Yami, aka Atem with his real name and restored memory...can't make it. 

Her face fell, "Yami..? He can't make it to the wedding? But...why? Has he...passed away..?" 

Rick noticed her voice beginning to crack while holding the receiver. "What's wrong?"

She lowered the device, "It's the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Yami, but his real name's Atem. Yugi said he can't make it to the wedding."

He grew just as shocked as her, "What? But why?"

The kid said it was best if he should show them, rather than tell them. They needed to wait several minutes for him to arrive in Mute City by hover cab. When he did, he didn't hesitate.

While they were using a warp gate following directions from a GPS, Yugi showed Tinsel and Rick the burial sight to where the sacred Millennium Puzzle was dismantled; at the abandoned Millennium chamber, a secret cove which used to house all the cursed and blessed items of ancient Egypt including Pegasus' Eye and Marik's Rod. He explained after the Dimension Battle, Atem guided Yugi and his friends one last time against a Duelist named Diva in Kaibacorp's virtual world; Tinsel was astonished they were dragged into that same warped dimension again since their quest on rescuing Seto and Mokuba in a video game. Sadly, after the Puzzle was reconstructed, he was no longer in it. However, he was able to arrive and assist Yugi and Kaiba against the corrupt Duelist as well as the schizophrenic powers emanating from the Millennium Ring. 

By the time the trio got there and surveyed the damage of the relics, Rick and Tinsel paid their respects with a moment of silence, and they shall never forget him nor his valiant deeds on assisting the late Captain Falcon and saving the universe. With the Silver Comet pilot starting to tear up, Rick tended to her, and the couple hoped that Atem would watch over them just as Falcon, Dr. Clash, and Haruka would.

Tinsel wanted to send her invitations to Joey Wheeler and Mokuba Kaiba. When the go-lucky Duelist received the call, he actually requested to invite his sister, Serenity, his best friends, Tristan Taylor and Téa Gardener, and even his girlfriend, Mai Valentine, to which Tinsel has some disdain for.

The trio then had decided to visit Yugi's old flame, Téa. After he and his closest pals graduated from high school, they watched her take a jet one way from Domino City to Rick and Tinsel's hometown in order to pursue her lifelong dream as a professional ballet dancer. The couple were surprised that she wound up in Mute City and they didn't even notice her. In fact, it had been forever since the last time Tinsel saw her, which was just before she, Yugi, and Joey set foot on their adventures while following Falcon and participating in his dire missions. They were fortunate that Yugi never lost touch, and Tinsel was curious if she was his love interest at one time; it was never easy on a long-distance relationship nor Téa following her new career. Nevertheless, they stopped by at one of the places she frequented, and they had to wait till her audition was done. In the meantime, Yugi contacted Joey, Tristan, and Mokuba of the upcoming matrimony. As she was finally done Téa felt so thrilled, though she hardly remembered Tinsel. Yugi reminded the tyro on who she was and how she was a former Duelist trainee, as well as an assistant to him, Joey, and Yami. Even when she was borrowing monsters during certain emergencies such as the ones at the Crystal Cup and the Fake Star Cup; it stirred up some bitter memories for Rick, though.

Believe it or not, even though it's been six months after the farewell of Yami when he retrieved his memories, Téa actually guided them thru the invitation process such as making a large list of invites including their names, addresses, and contact info. The first step was the set-to-date including the couple's names, and the date and time of marriage. Second was the invitations to which they should be sent out at least six weeks before the due date; including names of couple, date, location, and time. Téa explained the RSVP card was a smaller card that's sent with the invitation. This was an optional, but helpful, inclusion to the package. 

She informed them it comes with an envelope and gives the recipient of the invitation the ability to tell the pairing if they are coming, the number of guests, and their preferred dish for the dinner. The recipient would have to mail them back to Rick and Tinsel in Mute City, so they'd know how many people their wedding would need to be prepared for. Téa actually suggested directions to where the wedding would be, since some of their friends could be faraway. She would also help on creating and sending multiple samples, but her schedule could be pretty tight; if not, they may choose Lucy and Luna instead.

When the soon-to-be-couple arrived back at their flat, it reminded them of their personal transport from the reception to their honeymoon. They had chosen, and discussed with, PJ upon using his Groovy Taxi instead of a fancy limo as they reminisced taking him in after the explosive incident at the Empyrean Colony. To which the adorable alien accepted it. So eventually, once the invitations were developed by Téa and were being sent out, the rambunctious Arrows got wind of the announcement. So...they received the pair's number and wanted to be a part of the action, much to Tinsel's uncertainty. As she was trying to voice her opinions, Mr. Arrow always talked her off and immediately took the offer without receiving the package!

As Octoman got his invite, he can only bring in one of his cephalopod kin while the rest of his family has to stay in Takora for security reasons.

Tinsel asked curiously, "How big is your family, anyway?"

The reformed villain answered, "Counting my wife and kids, oh, I would say...about 20, and counting."

She felt like she was starting to suffocate, "Ha-geez! ...Sorry I asked."

Soon enough, Lily Flyer of the Galactic Space Forces, Beat, Lewis Legend, Katherine Wilson, and Cynthia Grey were also added to the list; though they had never heard anything back from them weeks later. It was obvious since Lily was too busy as a young cadet, while the others remained unconfirmed. Altogether, there were 36 applicants for the wedding with just 250 space credits a head.

A/N: Inviting the latter four characters were suggested by my old friend, Buttscottchpiie; however, since she had been absent for over a year on DeviantArt, working with them would be too complicated. Pardon me, Buttscottch since they had been omitted; if only I would have the chance to see and work with you again... Ever since she started college, I'm not sure when she would ever return. Especially w/ the pandemic going on.

Speaking of complications, I never saw the movie, Dark Side of Dimensions. I hadn't watched the Yu-Gi-Oh series all the way through due to its mounting complex plots there starting w/ the Wake of the Dragons; so I kinda bailed on the movie as well. Also, it wasn't a smart idea releasing it alongside DBZ's film, Wrath of the Gods; it's like comparing an ant to a human foot, you got squashed badly, 4K Media!! And that was why I found out so late on what happened to Yami/Atem. It really was a hard loss knowing he's in the netherworld now, as is Kaiba which was a huge relief; I guess the cute Mokuba would be his successor?

Plus, I would find Kaebora Gaebora's theme from Ocarina of Time to be suitable when Tea gives advice on invitations.

Anyway, not everyone was invited to the occasion, which was good considering the fic would avoid complications and also make the preparations a little bit cheaper.


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Lap 3

Rick and Tinsel split up to cover more ground and the RSVPs were being sent out. He first visited Planet Cryton to deliver the invitations to Goroh and his family; fortunately he held his band of thieves at bay as they wanted to steal his advanced machine.
"I'm warning you, sensei, that the Galaxy Platoon would be watching your every move and I would highly suggest you arrive discreetly using your F-Zero machines instead of your spacecrafts." He was referring to the Fire Needle and Excellent Queen, otherwise they'd be shot down; so it was best to never mess around.

The Japanese warrior nodded with a smile, "I honor your union, kid. You'd best make sure you would have the Federation's permission; you and me both best not stir up any tension."

While the savior was heading back to Earth just an hour later, the King Meteor unexpectedly followed beside him. Super Arrow couldn't stop begging to be a part of this oncoming wedding. To shut him up, Rick reluctantly gave three of the packages to him, as he'd deliver them to his wife and kid immediately. Zukk squawked next to him.

Tinsel had to follow her GPS in her Silver Comet as she had forgotten the way to Domino City; the bustling streets made it more of a challenge to find Yugi's and Solomon's home, though. She gave them eight invitations, and only six of those were for his best friends Joey, Mokuba, Serenity, Tristan, Téa, and Mai.

While she was heading back to Mute City, Rick stopped by the Falcon House and offered Clank to deliver three invitations to Alias' home as well as their friendly rival, Digi-Boy; he beamed and accepted them with glee. Though he had to ride in his dad's Red Gazelle in order to get to these places.

Finally, they rendezvoused back at the Mobile Task Force base and Dr. Stewart offered to deliver the fancy invitations to his kids; Jack would bring one to the high-flying medico's grandson. Still, something was beginning to trouble the bright mind; as he was anxious to hear from someone he hadn't seen in years. Someone very distant, elusive, or possibly forever gone from his life...

In addition, food preparations had to be requested by the invites, so Burt, Lucy, Alias' mom, Luna and Stody decided to prepare them by the month before the occasion. 

To cut cost, Stewart suggested to make a buffet utilizing a variety of dishes. And to avoid chaos and skyrocketing payments, Jody volunteered it could be a dry wedding rather than have it served with any alcohol. Although a professional was hired to bake the cake, the couple wasn't sure exactly what flavor it should be, nor did they want any of the festive décor. After a couple weeks, Tinsel eventually decided on something basic, as to have the top layer chocolate, the second layer vanilla, and the third layer strawberry; Rick admired the simplicity and the deliciousness of her choice.

Only the majority of guests accepted, around 97% have returned within a month. As the packages were sent back, Tinsel made a spreadsheet highlighting some of the cells, while others had yet to be answered were left blanch.

Rick and Tinsel were both surprised that Kate and her midget manager, Gordon, offered to come along and put on a show for the special occasion. 

In fact, Rick's key fob began to chirp as Tinsel was looking over the digital repertoire. He picked up the call and there was a cheery voice at the other end.

"Rick, is that you?"

"Yeah." He then recognized the voice and smiled, "Kate! What a surprise! I-I never thought you of all people would be calling me."

"I never want to miss the chance on performing for you and Tinsel's wedding. Congratulations!"

He became bashful, "Um, yeah, thanks." His eyes widened like saucers, "Hey, wait! How did you know we were getting married!?"

She simply replied, "Who else would've broken the news. EAD did!"

"Oh, that star struck android!" He really was aghast by this.

"You don't mind if Gordon and I should participate, would you? I've already gotten the invitations mailed to us already!"

"Not at all, Kate. I--hope it won't be too much of a burden for you." He could never forget how stern she was when he and his colleagues had to give her 24-hour protection from Zoda after she won the prize money over him. And also how her fans used to pressure her so much. It was thanks to the friendship and valiance from Mr. EAD, as well as his temporary sacrifice, that changed her ways. They were still so astounded that Clash was able to restore him, albeit not his memories of Kate.

"Course not. Besides, EAD and I would be doing some shopping for our nifty outfits. And we could use some alone time before the big day; y'know, just to relax for awhile."

Although having the possibility of a human mating with an android can be pretty weird, for his stomach was tangled in knots. Still, he replied with a straight face, "Sure, ok."

"Great! I'll see October..." she sing songed at the end before she hung up and left Rick speechless.

Even more shocking was that Jack offered his own former band, Thunderbolt, to join in! Rick immediately said yes, as did Luna, and the punk would never mind how much it'll cost him, as brash as he was. Since he was his best man he would be willing to do anything to make Rick's matrimony a memorable one, even to defend him in a brawl.

Rick soon asked Tinsel and she thought that their wedding could take place at the first track from the original F-Zero; the Mute City track! He figured it was unusual, but since it was an old circuit, there wouldn't be any racers to run anything nor anyone over! The latter event would just take place at the other side of the track.

Rick then asked where she wants the honeymoon, and she immediately answered it'd be in Port Town's space harbor, no question since it was the largest and most advanced in the entire galaxy. At first Rick was disappointed it won't be at Memory Park, where he has taken Haruka once while he reminisced her enjoying the scenery with a flock of gulls and laughed heartedly the whole way through.

When they went to the Falcon House for their usual beverage, Rick then asked what Burt's role would be, he said it could be the marriage officiant. Even the server was impressed on Tinsel's unique choice of their union and reception since it'd be inexpensive, as the circuit remained inactive for years; it was actually better than going to any formal church, even occupying it for a reception. And in order to cut costs more, photography would have to be done professionally by a friend, and who knows technology well, say Clank and Mighty Gazelle? They both unanimously volunteered to take on the task; or better yet, the young tech geek would want to use a little friend of his to do the job proficiently and hands free. His bot he invented, Tek. And he retorted he would NEVER be willing to invite any of the self-centered children from the Forno orphanage!

Rick and Tinsel extended the time limit for any last-minute invitees by giving them all of summer to hear from them, despite retrieving the packages within 30 days; unfortunately, Beat, Catherine Grey, Lewis Legend, and Katherine Wilson didn't give them back. So much for Cat being the flower girl; Dr. Stewart said Kat's address is unknown and is very elusive, though he thought he shouldn't alert his daughter of her whereabouts just yet.

With every RSVP retrieved, Stody created a list of each food preference (though kids would have their choices monitored closely):

Jody: Fondue (wine had to be cut)
Stewart: Healthy choices, well-balanced
Tanaka: None
Commissioner: None
Chris: Gator? Exotic meat and Mediterranean veggies.
Octoman: No calamari or seafood!!

To be politically correct, the couple accepted to eliminate seafood; Tinsel wasn't too disappointed, and it'll also cut down on costs since fish is highly expensive.

PJ: Exotic mangos
Gordon (Kate's manager): Ramen noodles with small meatballs
Gomar & Shioh: Artichoke, cooked chestnuts
Jack: Anything spicy!

They decided a variety of sauces would be put aside such as hot sauce, buffalo, teriyaki, soy, and barbecue.

Luna: Butterscotch pie
Rodney: Same as his dad
Lucy: Carrot cake
Leon: Tender meat; medium (No rare meats!)
EAD: Spaghetti, eggplant parm
Kate: Coffee, sherbet, veal
Yugi: Hibachi (chicken, beef), fried ice cream (choc, vanilla, banana)
Solomon: Miso (either tofu/seaweed) and dashi soup (sea vegetables/mushrooms)
Joey: Spaghetti and meatballs/lasagna, steak, turkey, sushi, hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, soda, baked ice cream, filet mignon

As a person who loves to eat, he listed a plethora of entrees being written off the invitation! Tinsel was surprised, but Rick was more somber as he questioned if he remembered Burt's limitations of up to 3 entrees per person; while Dr. Stewart and his family would make the acceptations/exceptions.

Serenity: Fruit slushies, soufflé
Mai: Coconut cake
Téa: Tossed salad, fruit salad, Jell-O
Tristan: Nachos, hibachi
Mokuba: Ramen, tenderloin (favorite of Kaiba)
Roy: Curry

As a robot, Roy can't eat, but rather has to be refueled; he did decide on curry with his son. though.

Clank: Curry, Chili
Terry "Digi-Boy" Getter: Chili (preferably spicy), rice pudding (either w/ cinnamon, raisins, vanilla)
Alias and his mom: Exotic mangos

Tinsel complained since the mangos are interplanetary, they could be pricey; Rick stated that maybe Roger and Draq can help.

Goroh: Rice Balls and Oriental vegetables (he'd make them personally; translated from his native language via Falcon's computer program)
Lisa: Snake, seaweed (They decided on kale)
The Arrows: Mr. Arrow preferred crazy ideas involving Angel Food or strawberry shortcake. Mrs. Arrow argued they must choose wisely for Archer, like non-chewable ideas.
Zukk (pet owl): Birdseed or pumpkin seeds? Berries??? 

Roger and Draq would offer to help for deliveries of food/supplies. A cooler loaded with ice would be set aside for cold beverages, even soda, a variety of juices, seltzer, and iced coffee.

A/N: Several years back, my family and I had to make some arrangements for a former acquaintance's wedding, who was Indian (the ones that had a red dot on their heads), specifically the bride. And the cake itself was actually made by my ex-stepmom herself! She always had a thing for culinary arts, and each layer was both baked and covered with layers of icing of the corresponding flavor! There was chocolate, then vanilla, and strawberry on that! wasn't celebrated in a church, but rather at our own backyard; as was my parents' wedding as well back in mid-August 2003! At the yard, there was this small arching, and flowers were decorated over it, hence the inspiration of the décor.

The little robot I was referring to, Tek (despite the fact it was the geek's name in the English dubs), was his assistant as he would pilot the Dragon Bird EX, like he did in Climax.

But, that's only the beginning!


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I should warn all of you in advance that this can have some intense moments here in terms of trauma as well as despising sex in general. Cause personally I loathe it! Basically, my OC is about to go thru some past trauma, nothing related to the latter, just emotional trauma from amnesia.

A/N: The first three chapters were just a warmup. Now things are about to get much more serious. This is the time when Rick and Tinsel put their relationship to the test. Will it thrive before their union within a few months?

Lap 4

Back in their apartment, Rick was curious and asked Tinsel on who should be her "father of the bride" since her parents had passed on years ago. They had been discussing her dark past with Leon who was sitting and socializing with them over coffee and on a futon.

"I...I'm not sure. I wanted it to be Burt, but he's the marriage officiant; so it'd be unfair for him to take on both roles, and kind of odd. I then wanted it to be Stewart, but he's already a father." Her mind began to brainstorm on some possible candidates, including Beastman, EAD, Leon, Octoman, the Furikakes..? Definitely not Goroh, or Super Arrow! Roy wouldn't qualify since he's also a dad, albeit mechanized.

Each idea seemed more awkward than the last, and she wished that it'd be Capt. Falcon, if only he hadn't sacrificed himself. She was lost in the sauce as she gave a vacant look, so Rick decided to give Tinsel a little alone time to help her think more clearly and decide on who should be her escort down the aisle. She explained she was only able to remember how her mom died, by an armed burglar at the family's mom-and-pop shop, and how she never returned when she was only just a preteen; however she never mentioned her old man since she cannot memorize how HE bit the dust. Not even her memos unveiled anything, even the time she has shown him them! Rick found it to be quite suspicious, as if her mind, or rather she, was missing something...

So, he gave her a little privacy at the top floor to think things over on who she should pick.

For sympathy and comfort, Leon wanted to tag along, as he could relate to her predicament since he too lost his parents at a young age while his home world, Zou, was under an intense war; as a result his people remained in poverty, even the pups, and the impact reduced him to a mere orphan. Until he was taken in temporarily by the Arrows. He would always consider them to be his heroes, no matter how arrogant and ignorant the pseudo caped crusader was. Though Rick turned him down.

The canine let out a low growl, which to Rick thought it represented irritation or discontent. 

"Oh, so you're thinking I'm forcing her to find answers, huh?" he retorted.

Leon let out a loud snarl, thinking to Rick, as a detective, he was being intrusive. He scorned at the canine's delivery--

With a loud holler and a deafening scream, Rick rushed over to Tinsel's side and ordered Leon to stay put, just how he would any other canine. He arrived upstairs to see her on the bed, hyperventilating, and he thought she was suffering from a nightmare or a hallucination with her placid, blotchy face. Rick immediately tended her and kept telling her to take in deep breaths and to look into his eyes. She calmed a little, but her breathing and voice were still shallow.

While in shock, Tinsel stated in a choppy manner she was curious on who should be the "father of the bride," then she started to think of her deceased old man; her brain opened like an egg and she realized she was estranged from him, the one she left several years ago and actually found herself at the apartment in Mute City, the same one that she and Rick are currently staying at! Burt was indeed her father figure for quite some time, giving her advice and assurance, and sheltered her through the storm, so she thought he could be her escort instead. 

"But...why didn't you bring him up in the first place? You only mentioned you lost both your parents." 

Tinsel was surprised that none of her past memos opened any wounds, yet this did! He knew right from then she had some repressed memories, and they're scaring her to death!

Looking into her eyes deeply, he said, "Tinsel... You need some help. I'll contact Dr. immediately."

He went and did just that when he requested for Dr. Stewart and his family to treat her deep, psychological wounds, they didn't hesitate. And the high-flying medico was shocked that therapy usually unveils tragic pasts, yet she did it on her own. She didn't understand why her mind forgot all this, yet she could always remember her accident in White Land vividly. Rick sympathized since he could always recall the fatal accident chasing Zoda. So minutes later, he and Dr. Stewart got on the case. 

They went to the Task Force base, at the scenery chamber, and Tinsel ranted to Robert, Rodney, and Luna that her own father considered physical attraction as his upmost priority over anything else including a female's soul and personality since he'd grown infatuated with inhabitants of the southern Asian colony; in order for someone to be "loving" to him, particularly when he was lovesick and contacted them from a long distance via comp connections. From then on, she was being forced to move with him against her will then left for dead, and she mentioned she's been neglected multiple times. Luckily, Burt helped her through it so much by finding an affordable, safe place and sheltered her at the apartment complex adjoining the Falcon House; he wasn't arrested for harboring, though, like she always dreaded.

This surprised the doc since he regretted his feelings for his past wife and his current wife, Katherine Wilson, as he was mostly attracted to them thanks to the Florence Nightingale Effect. While it was hurting for his children to hear, they understood, especially since he wanted to give his heart to Jody, hence the merged codename. He came to the prognosis as Trauma-Induced Amnesia.

Tinsel went on it was a hobby of sorts to his farce father, and she felt he always wanted to rush relationships while considering intimacy first; as she always thought men think with their heads, inside their own testicles, that is. She then understood why most criminals are male, regardless of the species, and she had a new reason on denying love for anyone, as he uses sex as a weapon while acting as a horrible role model.

This was indeed devastating since the father's known to be a role model to his offspring, especially involving the opposite gender to a woman. Since Tinsel portrayed him as a poor example, she shunned men in general. Till somehow her brain restarted all the trauma she endured as she was settling in on her own and thanks to Burt's ongoing support.

Tinsel was devastated, and to calm her shaken nerves, Dr. Stewart's mind sharpened and looked up the obituary, the result of a fatal tsunami which devastated the colonies, specifically the Philippines. She indeed felt a bit sad, but always fortunate that she acted as soon as she did, it was too late to press charges on Burt, and she has ill-will to her dad as a result. She figured it was an act of God punishing the wicked. The children wished their own elders won't be so brash like he was. The trio of physicians assured her she did the right thing and averted her death, as everyone's responsible for their own fate and has every right to change their destiny, much as Capt. Falcon and Rick. Stewart encouraged her that Rick shall never let her down, and she should never be afraid to accept him and their upcoming sacred bond just a few months away.

He then questioned if she was a breast feeder, to which she replied no and asked why. THAT was the true solution as to why she was always turned off with a man's privates, even when she admitted that her birth was by C-section. He said the result could be placental abruption, a rare condition with severe complications and leaves the infant a lack of nutrients and oxygen by detaching from the uterus wall. The causes vary, and he theorized it could be the father's fault from his insatiable desire and appetite and how fragile her mom could be, but the most common were tobacco, drinking, or what he believed to be rough friction due to intercourse or physical activity, and the penis going a little too far.

"No wonder she hates sex so much!" Luna chimed.

"Except for Rick," Rodney added. He laid his hands on her shoulders, "Tinsel, you'll have to go to him. I know it's hard. But, I promise it's going to get better." She was very reluctant if she should open up to him now.

Hours later, after some consultation and relaxation, Stewart and his son walked out and stated everything to Rick.

"What..? That self-righteous bastard!" He smacked his fist so hard against his palm. "What he did was so unforgiveable, he DESERVES to be dead! If he was still alive, I won't hesitate to mangle him myself!"

"Rick, this is not the time to be brash! What's done is done. God did her a favor."

"Yeah, and besides, Tinsel needs you now. I know it's hard for her to accept, but..." Rodney hesitated looking at his idol, " you think he should do?"

"I highly recommend you should write your wedding vows; to always be the opposite of her old man, as unselfish, loyal, never have sex as his topmost priority nor use it as a weapon and cause him to be astray. Be the gentleman as you were with Haruka, and always make sure that any kind of intimacy would only be between you two, as long as you have her consent."

He nodded, trying to absorb his words of wisdom, but from what her mind just unveiled, Rick was fortunate he never suffered such hatred toward his own blood, and didn't have to suffer from trauma and bad blood since he went into a 150-year cold sleep. With that, he's not sure if she'd want to ever be this close to him...

Could she...want to cancel our wedding? he thought with some upset knowing such acts could be possible and very common.

A/N: About my mother having an abrupt placenta and me being delivered by C-section, it turns out that was true. There could be the conclusion of rough housing at the inside, and I was NOT a breast feeder! I, too, lost my mom before my teens, and it's no wonder I despise sex so much, unless it comes from true, pure love!

These are the ill feelings I had with my old man recently! I desperately hope my future would NEVER, EVER be in his corrupt hands ever again! I feel I seem to have better judgement than he does, and even I feel that men are a completely different species that always want to dominate; leading me to live a life of celibacy and never accept a lover! Good thing this is fictional, cause I'd never accept love for real, since these factors alone literally scarred my psyche for life! I desperately hope something as worse as a natural disaster shall punish the wicked like this while I can avert it! If possible.

Like I said, things are a lot more serious now. Will Rick and Tinsel's relationship hold together, or would it all be for naught?


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A/N: I just found The Mandala Dance by my nemesis, TheIncredibleIntruder. It's sort of a rebuttal for that! So, if you're a fan of him, know that I have no regrets. Will Rick, the Young Capt. Falcon, resist her charm as the former failed to do!?

Round 2 is about to start, w/ the testament of Rick's/Tinsel's relationship, but lightning is about to strike twice.

Lap 5

The Stewarts, and Rick, gave her the treatment she needed, yet she still finds herself struggling while dealing with her inner, traumatic turmoil. Regardless, she vowed she should never care for her estranged father that abandoned her several years back. With that mindset back then, she confessed to Robert, Luna, and Rodney, she was too afraid to open up to anyone else, including men; she always believed they're scums of the universe being taken advantage of by manipulative women or even use sex as a priority and weapon, so she utterly refused to fall in love with anyone, as it'd be something to cripple her independence she fought so long for the way her damned dad did! 

Her enthralled father was forcing her to relocate from Mute City to the Asian Colonies, particularly the Philippines, a third-world colony to which he had lust for consistent women faraway, from online alone. She fought long and hard to stay within the safety, comfort, and advancements of the mega metropolis. So, she received a lot of abuse of all kinds, but sexual, to which she found the "succubuses'" privates, hunger, and orgasms to be quite disturbing. She ran away and needed to seek asylum, Burt took her in and provided her shelter and support; and right now, she needs it again.

Stewart mentioned he looked up an obituary as the archipelago was devastated by a tsunami, then she screamed as she wished that he wasn't her father since he caused her so much agony and trauma, and got corrupted by his sins of lust and pride; hence she hollered that he'll never see his late wife in Heaven. Stewart came to the conclusion as to why her mind shut down, as a way to attempt to forget all these family affairs and damnation.

She had a nightmare later on, as she was smack dab in the middle of a burial and surrounded by shades she couldn't recognize. Yet somehow, he was still alive, wishing it was her drowning in that wave instead! She was about to lunge at him, screaming he should've been stabbed, but her body jolted, waking her up and startling.

Her breathing was shallow as Rick laid a reassuring hand on her, "You ok?"

She looked at him with a blank face and eyes as wide as saucers. "You were dreaming," he clarified in a whisper.

She never cried at her dad's funeral and was about to attack him, making sure he was dead rather than an apparition; she'll always hate him for his sins and disregard for her welfare, and Rick understood and assured that Doc (her therapist) accepted he would be her new father of the bride. That actually calmed her down a few notches and she semi-consciously whispered she would love that.

Early the next day, Rick left to pursue a bounty after he received an alert on his key fob. During the middle of her therapy session which stretched on for several hours, the doc stated that Rick had a marvelous surprise for her. He returned to Mute City from a bounty-hunting mission he chose personally like his first task in Port Town destroying the Hive and the T-Virus; actually, it was for the price of 5, but he lost 1. He was able to infiltrate and shut down several interplanetary brothels, each one run by the Asian Colonies on Earth! For each organization broken into, ransacked, and had the head criminals taken into custody, not to mention notifying the Federation afterwards to lock them down, he received over 200,000 space credits altogether!

The bounty that had been reported lost was in the Desert Kingdom at Planet Magica. He followed to a hefty price stationed there where he met the young, adventurous F-Zero racer, Princia Ramode. The 16-year old was actually impressed when she noticed the Young Capt. Falcon. So as a reward for carrying on his mantle and for his vigilance, she took him in, showed him around, and finally down to her basement which actually consisted her own chamber complete in ruby and crimson; never being fazed by the disturbing aura, she especially appreciated his youth and his actions on infiltrating those other "dungeons" in order to exterminate competition. So much so, that she gave her hero a Mandala dance, and she mentioned she was more into him than Samurai Goroh since he treated her like vile and he stole some valuable goods. 

Luna commented that she can't believe that someone so young was able to manipulate the late F-Zero elitist; she's so cringey..!

Ramode also mentioned she gave one to his predecessor as a way to relax. The ceremony struck a cord in Rick as she began. However, during his tepid kiss on her naval cavity to seal the deal... 

"Rick! Rick, STOP!"

Both of his beloveds, Tinsel and Haruka, screamed in his subconscious.

"No!" He abruptly shoved her, and she fell back on a comfy beanbag chair. She stood there, stunned over him. "My heart...belongs to another." He showed her the engagement ring, a replica of Haruka's ring, gleaming in the soft light. Realizing his refusal, she was scorned, and he slowly left without a word ignoring any recoils.

To prove this, Dr. Stewart told Rodney to do a DNA test. He just came back and the clear, transparent aluminum tube shown his semen was clean! He passed with flying colors! 

The doc then told Tinsel of his wedding vows, which made her feel so ecstatic as he has proven his worth to her; no one, not even their mesmerizing obedience, could possibly break their bond. It was no wonder Falcon had chosen him as his successor and why Haruka loves him so much, and his pure heart and faithfulness demonstrated this! It was as if someone from the heavens answered the call...

Dr. Stewart left to escort him in and her daughter explained that there's an abrupt newsbreak broadcasting the place Rick visited. The entire palace was demolished along with the surrounding oasis! Heck, the compound looked as if it was just swiss cheese than an actual royal ground, loaded with large holes and craters. It was ironic since Rick nearly destroyed the Asian providences, yet he lost one cause it had already been assaulted from the outside! According to reports, they said it was devastated by a meteor shower, obliterating everyone and everything within it, even Princia's machine, known as the Spark Moon, which enabled quite a spark that magnified its destruction!

There were also some rumors of the notorious seducer sending out fan mail to unsuspecting victims, including racers, involving the exotic Mandala dance; the same one Rick saw, much to Tinsel's shock! It was a good thing Douglas was oblivious to her later on....or God knows what the hell would happen, so much for the purity of the Yang.

"Well, it seems she won't be able to send out those viral vids this time! I'm glad that settlement's been wiped out!" Tinsel said in glee. She thought that the aforementioned ring somehow shielded Rick from being spellbound, as if Haruka was there, reminding him to not let his heart be tainted again.

Could it actually be from Atem..? she theorized as a sort of disaster conjured by the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, possibly using Kuriboh, or the Five-Star Twilight. She, along with the other onlookers, found it quite odd it happened just moments after Rick left. Very odd.

Their reverie was interrupted by the sound of footsteps as Rick, minus his helmet, and Stewart entered. Tinsel immediately stood up from her perch and raced over to him, hugging him nearly as tight as an anaconda's coil. The hero was blown away of her delivery, even when she broke into tears.

"Tinsel... What's wrong? I'm here. And I'm not tainted, not even how your father was."

"I know. I'm just so happy, and the therapy session's had been hectic involving him."

"Yeah, I'm certain."

Her voice became somber. "I was afraid of you, Rick. I was scared you would lose your way like he did, and I'd been shunning men and people out for so long..."

Rick added more caressing and pressure on her. "So, I've heard. I'm so sorry."

"I know." She parted from him, "I'm sorry too." Then she looked into his eyes. "Let's go home, Rick..." They leaned in for a deep, warm kiss, which made Luna think about getting back to Jack and Phoenix. Before she left, however, Tinsel looked up and wanted her to wait, then she asked if she would like to be her maid of honor. She simply smiled and said she shall be honored!

A/N: Just last June, I had released a revenge fic/creepypasta/first M-rated fic, The Lost Legend of Namira, a story as bashing TheIncredibleIntruder's own work, the Gerudo Seduction Dance. I was looking for that fic featuring Princia Ramode that same dance in a way to make Capt. Falcon relax in a way; and look what I've found! So, Round 2 was set as Rick resisted Ramode's sway over him, making him as one of her many servants, and God knows if she has manipulated women, extraterrestrials, and anthropomorphics too! As Spock would say, "Highly illogical."

I despise him!!! And I'm so sick of Ramode being used as fetish fuel! Regardless if it was intentional, a meteor shower, much like the one in the film, Armageddon, has destroyed her and the palace itself!! So, HAH!!!

I also implied the fact that Princia's machine as the...SPARK! Moon?! LOL! It's no wonder she wanted to control others to let her win races since the Spark Moon's almost as pathetic as the Silver Rat! I should know since I unlocked both pilots in the past.

I guess lightning strikes twice, so they say!

I swear I felt like I was being stung... Or how about...I felt like how Spock's mind overloaded as he tried to meld w/ Ilia's sensor! That'll be it!! I shall NEVER let Princia Ramode rule all the galaxy w/ all her racing servants by her side, nor Falcon.


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Lap 6

Tinsel was still recovering at Mute City's Task Force base with assistance by the Stewarts, as well as a brief, concerned appearance by Phoenix  Levin, and the couple had recently began to move in to Falcon's Fortress in Port Town. While there, she was ecstatic to be back inside the place without any anxieties of the late Falcon's strict guidelines! She knew from that moment on, she no longer needed to keep the location of the building to be a secret, which was quite pressurizing when Jody or Dr. Stewart would query her since she knew and worked with the bounty hunter and legendary racer. She was also relieved that Rick never seemed to act like a stubborn loner and he was willing to have the help from others; it was just so much more reassuring that Tinsel no longer had to hide her true feelings from him, like how Douglas was staying composed behind the dark helmet and his intimidating, stern face.

When Rick was resisting Princia Ramode's charm, he actually had an idea for their song of their first dance; he shown her on the stronghold's large motherboard and then it played a tune first being accompanied by accoustic guitars in E major. It was no question it was definitely in surround sound since they could literally hear it all around them within the garage! Actually, he first played the song inside his helmet while riding the Falcon Flyer back to Earth, and it reminded them both of one of Tinsel's birthday gifts to him just last summer; one of the three ancient films of auto-racing known as The Last American Hero aside from Days of Thunder and Need for Speed. It was quite inspiring, especially for Rick since Elroy Jackson Jr. introduced the drafting method in auto-racing, which became a staple technique. Tinsel didn't care for the biopic that much, but he knew she loved the main theme; thus he had this idea when he was thinking about her.

Then, as the song was picking up with the tenor's voice, Rick actually volunteered to dance with her. She accepted but was uncertain since she never danced before, and she may forget the steps; he decided to record the routine while they got better at it. So, throughout the duration, they'd make some time to spend and practice their first dance to prepare for their union.

It was then a month prior to the wedding. The girls decided to spend the evening at the Raining Spa and Salon which, according to Jody and Lucy, had great services and treatments from massages to hair services. It even had a sauna, mud spa, and a hot tub. And Jack and Luna volunteered for the guys to go to Roller Rocket World for the evening as well, which was home to roller rinks, an indoor arcade, and bowling to all ages and genders. Both of those places had restaurants too.

Jody and Lucy found it was a way to help cure Tinsel's old wounds; at the Raining Spa and Salon for the bachelorette party! This was actually a first for both the guys and the gals as they were too busy with their own crafts.

She cringed a little while looking thru the brochure they handed out when she came across the mud spa, though the hut tub and the restaurants were more her taste. She thought the first activity was disgusting but the young mechanic informed her it was a good way to remove oils and dead skin cells from pores beneath her face and let it shine once everything was rinsed off; Lucy always wanted to have one but couldn't since they were expensive, no different than applying makeup, she assured.

While Dr. Stewart found out from his son, Rodney, they'd be hanging out in Port Town, that somehow struck a chilling cord in his heart. His mind then shifted gears as he reminisced on that certain someone who was distant from him for literal years. Luna's biological mother and Robert's second wife, Katherine Wilson.

He then headed to a large keyboard and vigorously typed on it. There was a profile image to the left, showing a female who had similar complexions to Jody, such as her shoulder-length, flowing, shiny brown hair; her placid skin and lips; green-blue eyes; and a s;ight build. What followed was the intel that scrolled across the screen:

Katherine Wilson - A mechanic for the F-Zero competition, born and raised in Port Town. Katherine had spent most of her life studying about the F-Zero machines (as efficient and tenacious as the late Dr. Clash) and had always wondered what the mechanics were like to make those magnificent machines work. By the time she was 17, she registered as an F-Zero mechanic on the same day she had met Dr. Stewart. As a symbol of their friendship, she gave him a red scarf (which was the same scarf that he wore to this day; the medico ruffled his scarf which was still covering his neck). When Katherine turned 21, the two had gotten married and Katherine gave birth to a baby girl 9 months later. After being constantly hunted down by Zoda, she had left Dr. Stewart in care of their daughter. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.

For once, his daughter saw her father so somber, almost depressed; not once in her life has she ever saw him like this! His eyes drooped as his face and she headed in the computer room. She asked if her dad was alright, and his face broke as if nothing happened. He assured her he was fine, though she never saw the image and report of her missing mom. Instead, he wished he would see her again since Zoda had been assassinated by Rick and Tinsel over a year ago and wishes to see her again when he heads to Port Town for the bachelor party. She hoped for the same.

All the women took their F-Zero machines to their destination which looked pretty basic from the outside even with the neon sign flashing. The inside was a massive lobby with multiple pathways for different sections and activities. From the fancy interior, it was obvious they needed to book well in advance for the location and the party itself. So they split up and tried each of them out as they followed the bronze corridors.

Tinsel was actually coaxed by Lucy and Luna to let her brown hair grow out and never cut it; it was at the Raining Salon where they both got pampered as they had their hair stylized. The wife-to-be actually had hers with silver highlights and also flattened and curled to match with her cute style for her upcoming wedding. Mrs. Arrow, Mai and Lisa got some golden highlights while Lucy's carrot top was being heated in an electric lampshade to add more volume. Jody and Kate were having their backs massaged and it was quite easy to relax the captain's tense muscles considering she's a cyborg; she was never afraid to admit it either as the occupant had clients similar to her. Luna was just relaxing at the refreshing spa with Tea and Serenity.

By the time their leisure was over, the group rotated activities, until an hour later as the ladies gathered to grab some bites to eat at the fancy restaurant; they took two large round tables while their meals and desserts were being served.

Like the travel arrangements the women made, the men also had to take their own F-Zero machines. Only they had a little more hassle since they needed to take a warp gate to Planet Nintae and endure the congested streets of Port Town; these paths were also linear so travel was hindered quite a bit.

When they arrived, the place was just so dazzling with all those dark, neon purple lights and the large font screaming its name. The kids were ecstatic when they got there, and they became anxious as they nearly scrambled out of their cockpits of their corresponding vehicles, especially since both Clank and Alias were sharing the Red Gazelle's. Dai Goroh had to be held by Goroh at times as well even with his Silver Rat be pulled by a tractor beam from the Fire Stingray.

The children stormed in first before the adults did, even Jack ran in after them since he was pretty much like a man-child. Rick just stood there and looked up at the place full of awe. The interior was even more astonishing! A massive, airy lobby awaited the guys, rows of bowling alleys were to the right, the restaurants were a little further to the left, there was a large and deep roller rank, and at the corner were the arcade cabinets and even a quieter section for the mere sensitive visitors. The men almost immediately diverged, each partaking in different activities.

Super Arrow was watching over his baby son, Archer, as he excitedly played and dived around at the colorful ball pen.

Rick and Jack recognized an eccentric kid that looked like a professional roller blader at the half pipe rink; he had on shiny, black hair flattened by a headset and wore a neon green top with black stretcher pants and skates matching his outfit. The former thought it was Clank, but it only turned out to be one of the Task Force's indirect allies, Beat. He noticed he was one of the invitees who never gave back his RSVP; after some gleeful greetings, he explained that he was too busy, and he wouldn't want to hang out at a wedding due to cold feet. However it was nice to see his friends from the squad again.

Just then, a raspy, squeaky voice snapped Jack out of his reunion and he was ecstatic to meet an old mentor, and literally so since he was hunched over while standing with a cane, and had whiskers, wrinkles, and facial hair as white as snow. He was the nonagenarian F-Zero racer, Silver Neelsen! The punk happily headed over to the geezer and made up for lost time.

Outside the party zone, it was much more quieter than the raging activity inside. Dr. Stewart was taking a break from all the excessive input and an alto voice made him look up. At first he thought it was actually Jody, and she looked like her, but it was actually his long, lost second mate, Katherine! They embraced each other momentarily and she accepted that he loves Jody; she assured Doc he did a great job on raising Luna, and she'll drop her a letter soon, as the reunion would be too dramatic for her sensitivity.

Meanwhile, at the Roller Rocket World's bowling allies, Rick was discussing with the guys about Tinsel's repressed memories, those that weren't too preoccupied with the game as Super Arrow was. He was with Clank, Alias, Dai Goroh, Tristan, and Joey, then the go-lucky Duelist motioned for the future groom to speak with him in private. They sat at the row of stools several feet away from the bowling alleys and arcade machines, and Joey mentioned in a hushed voice that when he was 10, and when Serenity was 7, their parents divorced; their mom was a nurse while their dad was an alcoholic gambler and he often beats Joey. He had become a boy who could never defend himself even against bullies, until his dear friend, Tristan, always came to his aid. He said he knew what it was like to have an abusive/neglectful parent, and he eventually decided to run away and search for his mom, only to have Tristan take him in instead. He feels so sorry for Tinsel, though Rick assured him that their future would be brighter than their lives had ever been.

With full stomachs, everyone headed for home and they would never stop chatting of all the fun they had throughout the night!

A/N: At first I was going to have these two attractions (Roller Rocket World and Rainy Day Spa and Salon) at Meteorland; at Meteor, specifically, the fourth location in the original Starfox, but sadly I decided to scrap it. I wish that artificial meteor would've been mentioned a lot more in the series, though... It's a shame we see this awesome place only once. I wonder if these 2 places exist; I'd love to see them.

As for Beat, he made a minor appearance and he was suffering from cold feet hence his refusal to give back his invitation; I hope this'll make sense since Idk Jet Set Radio, excepting for Buttscottch. Also, one of her OCs, Katherine Wilson, had made a cameo as Dr. Stewart reunited with her; I wanted it to keep it sweet and let her accept his new mate, Jody. It's her OC so Idk her well, either.

It was quite surprising on what I found out from Joey, thanks to the Yugioh Wiki and how he can relate to Tinsel's predicament since they both had dark pasts and neglectful fathers. I can't believe the same thing seems to be happening, in a neglectful sense; and my parents too went thru a divorce as well back in autumn 2019 which was a relief from my toxic ex-stepmom.


And here's the song that Rick found for Tinsel. Does anyone remember "The Last American Hero"?


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A/N: Btw, I forgot to mention that the Roller Rocket World and the Rainy Day Spa and Salon were awesome ideas made by my collaborator, BerryWatterson (PrincessGumballWatterson). From the bachelor and bachelorette parties. The Raining Spa and Salon (which have great services and treatments from massages to hair services and even a sauna, mud spa, and a hot tub). And the Roller Rocket World (which is home to roller rinks, an indoor arcade, and bowling to all ages and genders). Both of these places have restaurants as well and they were inspired by her favorite places.

And...the next one is going to be quite tricky since this involves the date with Kate and EAD, even so much more... This was NOT easy! So I hope you'll appreciate this, Berry!

Lap 7

Kate Alen and Mr. EAD went shopping at one of the prestigious shopping malls in Mute City, and she offered him to try out different tuxedos and dresses for the wedding; he was pretty shy about it since he's an android and his extra-extra large stature would be proven to be quite a challenge for searching for an accurate size. From a worker behind the counter, she measured his humongous circumference, confirming it to be XXXL! Thankfully, they didn't have to rely on a tailor to design a super huge tux for the usher; instead the patron showed the duo a back chamber within the store that shown an XXXL black tux with a white undershirt and a red tie. She said that not many customers of that size come here often, though she knew it could happen since she has seen some F-Zero pilots with that said stature such as EAD as well as Draq.

Kate was ecstatic when they found what they needed for Rick and Tinsel's wedding only a fortnight to go. Unlike the android, she easily found a silky medium dress as well as a matching headband.

By the time they were successful, they can get some lunch. And while there, Kate decided to tell EAD how she was used by others on the week before she met the Mobile Task Force team. On how fans always pressured her to succeed and demand her to be at her absolute best; and since she was the youngest out of 10 brothers, she dealt with it all her life and her stress always built up from there. Since her parents were recording artists, she thought that going on stage and performing would be a relief, which at first it was, but her millions of followers as well as the infinite relocations she was forced to make were just grinding on her nerves, even the more rude and obsessive fans that she wished would be put down like the ravenous dogs they were! Even while she was F-Zero racing, the anxieties just followed since other fans had expected her to win them, not to mention take advantage of her soulful vocals and unique physique, even to the point of being a naked model!! All those stresses on staying on top on both occupations were far too much, even how the fans treated her.

So, Gordon and EAD were the only dear friends to her. Even while she was being hunted down by Zoda. She, at first, never cared of the ultra-sized machine and took away his memory chip, that was till his deep sacrifice he made, which made her have a change of heart that even the most emotionless lifeforms can still possess a heart, albeit metallic. Kate realized that she thought...maybe they can take their relationship onto the next level. So she decided to buy something at a store.

After they were finished shopping and having their picnic, the two decided to go to her mansion;  he had moved there in May, which explained why he was seldom seen at the Task Force base, unless if the need arose for his well-coordinated skills as a mechanic as gifted as the late Dr. Clash. As they got to her private, spacious quarters, she told him that she wants to take the relationship further.

Kate then wanted to teach him of the birds and the bees, since he's an android, and that he won't fry his circuits while learning it.

"You mean this machine wants to physically join with a human? Is that possible!?" Dr. McCoy questioned.

"Let's find out." Decker dared, he walked toward the archaic, though high intellect satellite comp known as V'Ger.

Clank and Alias were so enamored with the movie-adapted documentary that took place back in 2273 as Admiral Kirk and his crew infiltrated a deadly interstellar mass known as the Cloud; Tinsel offered it to them personally, as a nice, little distraction even for her while EAD and Kate were finally making love to each other. She wished the process would've been the same as the mergence of Capt. Decker and Voyager 6, even when Ilia stepped in. She didn't seem to like to think of how it'll turn out; while the bachelorette party was a nice distraction, it was still very temporary. Rick saw her pangs of worry from time to time, as did the Stewarts. It seemed rather awkward, especially if he were able to reproduce. Like Rodney said once, most androids cannot survive without their organic components, hence Dr. Stewart's formula cleansing Mr. BAD's codes that were corrupt by Black Shadow.

Just then, an unexpected chirp emitted from Tinsel's key fob. Thinking it'd be just a lure to a sensuous moment, her hand began to shake as she held the device in a fish grip. Rick noticed her hesitation so he offered to pick it up instead. A young man recognized Rick's voice, as did others in the background while his comm was on speaker; it was able to carry on a long range, as if it came from a ship or some kind of vessel. But the moment the Young Falcon realized a squeak, "I am Groot!", he instantly knew it belonged to his distant friends, the Guardians of the Galaxy! That also made Tinsel perk up and storm off the couch. Peter Quill, aka Starlord, answered the call, and Tinsel was admired to hear from her favorite members, Rocket and Little Groot, along with Gamora and Drax. 

Rick and Tinsel met them awhile back while they hunted for a bounty, but they had been very difficult to contact since then. Then, the misfits heard some rumors of them tying the knot, but they each never received an invitation since they were always so busy roaming around the universe. One time, their paths crossed as Rick and Tinsel encountered Drax as he twisted the neck of a violent attacker. Starlord saved their lives as he advised them to leave while his gang took the wanted, though comatose, aggressor so they won't waste the Dilithium Crystal they lend for the Falcon Flyer. Starlord really admired Tinsel's taste in music, as she always loved his playlist his late mom made specially for him before she died of cancer on Earth; a lot of his songs were downloaded onto her Audio Blu-Rays. The Guardians wished they would come to Mute City, but they'd always be distracted bounty farming, so Starlord requested it should be recorded, and Clank volunteered to do just that using his robot assistant, Tek. Tinsel and Rick said it was nice for them to make the call and notify them they aren't available for their matrimony, yet they still said farewell as they wished them luck, with the cute Little Groot saying those same three words all the way through!

Tinsel sighed, "Such a small world. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to meet these guys."

"Me too." Rick said as he smiled, just as grateful.

By the time the documentary ended, the young boys left and were soon picked up by the Red Gazelle. Then, Rick offered Tinsel to rehearse their first dance as they had gradually gotten better with every step; they knew they'd be ready, just in time for their fortnight wait.

A/N: Forgive me for misspelling the Deltan's name; it's Ilia, not Alea like I thought, and these sci-fi names can be difficult to spell and apply to. Yet again, the original Star Trek movie, The Motion Picture, made an appearance; the previous one being the inspiration for Dark Star using elements of the Intruder Cloud/V'Ger. What can I say? I find this movie to be incredibly underrated, and should be praised more since V is FAR worse!!

Also, the Guardians of the Galaxy made a cameo appearance; I like these guys, before their team was ruined by the events of Endgame, but sometimes I find the series difficult to get into for some reason. Heck, I kinda forget the names of the team from time to time excepting Starlord, Groot and Rocket, LOL. Also, there was this reference, via the Dilithium Crystals, on a Star Trek: TNG episode; can't remember what it was since I saw it a month ago, something involving a skilled aggressor and the crew was running out of warp speed/power if they ran out of Dilithium. Could someone help me out???

I wanted to get this Lap out of the way asap and I...didn't want to go too far describing Kate and EAD's consummation because a)...this was something that I'm sure my collaborator can do better and it's out of my comfort zone, b) it's between a human and an android to which is kinda weird, hence the interruption w/ the mergence of V'Ger, and c)...let's just say I'm saving a very sensuous scene for last, and it may be a little inappropriate and grotesque to show multiple scenes like this to various audiences; I don't want any trouble, and I have seen enough disgust as it is!!

So, there's only a fortnight till Rick and Tinsel's wedding! I can hardly wait!! 



Lap 8

This was when Rick and Tinsel got their wedding gifts!

With only a week left, they were invited to the Falcon House personally along with the Mobile Task Force as the duo were seated on their usual stools. They had to face the opposing side from the counter while their presents arrived through the door! 

At first, they were pretty small and often wrapped up in envelopes. According to Rick, who stayed true to his Japanese heritage, he identified them as shugi-bukuro. Before anyone questioned what that meant, the Task Force members along with Gordon and Yugi, whom the latter gave out Solomon and the Duelists' cash, humbly gave the envelopes out to the happy soon-to-be couple.

Samurai Goroh wanted to give the couple his and the family's own checks personally as Rick noticed the red-white emblem, just like the symbol on his mentor's bandanna; they were encoded in Japanese, but there was a note saying that one of his colleagues cashed in the Desert Kingdom's gems as the pirates were stealing them from Princia Ramode just before Rick arrived and the meteor shower struck; Sasuke did most of the work since she was presumed to be the most immune to the succubus' charm. They were over 500,000 space credits total! Tinsel was impressed on how generous he was for going thru great risks for his own generosity to his disciple. Thankfully, no one was caught nor grew suspicious, but they were grateful Goroh did so much for them. She was starting to think of Goroh as a sort of antihero, no longer worried he and his gang could pull some cheap tricks. Well...only him and his ninja sidekick, Sasuke, anyway.

Rick had finally saw what was delivered by Burt's personal tailor, who was the same person that designed Burt's own tux; Andy himself was saving it for the night before the wedding so he could surprise the special couple, but he didn't want to wait that long. Through the thick plastic and hanging on a wide hanger from a tall pole, Rick examined the dark cerulean suit; it was exactly what he wanted! His suit was a phenomenal medium size and like Burt's tux, it too had a white underling to it. The tie was also in dark cerulean, only it had very thin stripes accompanying the shade. He also had a pair of black, shiny, 7 ft. shoes, and his pants was the same color as the top piece.

For Tinsel's wedding gown it was just as she wanted from the small bank she painted several months prior; in fact, it was borrowed as a guide for the professional tailor. She felt as giddy as a kid on Christmas when she saw the silvery, medium-sized dress with a delicate neckpiece, as well as turquoise comets descending on the flowing gown! She too had a pair of 6 1/2 shoes that sparkled as much as seltzer. Burt offered the pair to have their fancy, dandy outfits as long as they'd be protected by the plastic and left on the hangers until the night before their wedding, which was a good chance to try them out.

The main gift, of course, was money, about 5000 space credits each tucked in a shugi-bukuro, which had gold and silver strings that were impossible to unknot, even with the most coordinated fingers; EAD and Gazelle didn't wanted to untie them. The other gifts were given in ornate rice-paper envelopes. In total, both the fiancés received almost three quarters of 1 million space credits total, which they presumed it was enough to pay the mortgage for Falcon's Fortress twice! Just in time to pay their dues before they'd make it their official living quarters!

After that, they headed to Port Town to pay the fortress' hefty price electronically as the envelopes were being sent and the counter reached 0 space credits. It was all paid, and they still had several hundred thousand credits to spare! They also noticed that there was a group of large, elaborate drums with exotic engravings.

Tinsel stormed over to them, in awe, "Hey, aren't those the same drums we saw since our first night in Giant?"

"Yeah, that's right, Tinsel." Rick replied. "Hey, there's two packages here." He lifted them up, wrapped in ornate paper and thin rope, and there was a note in which the Elder received word of the merry occasion; it was a surprise since they hadn't remained in touch with him for over a year since his people detests technology.

He gave one to Tinsel and they began to unwrap them: hers revealed a silky black dress decorated with white specs in which she figured represented stars, there was also a blue constellation shaping like a tortoise, there was a very sleek piece hanging under the dress which shaped like a snake much to her amazement, and a pair of black leather shoes shaped like snapping turtle heads completed the set.

"Wow. This is great," she whispered as she admired the clothes. "I can't believe it's from Planet Giant, I guess cause it's so authentic and organic..." She really loved the sensation.

Rick was also impressed of his own attire, more tribal than hers: He had a massive headdress consisting on bright vermillion long feathers in conjunction with some white ones; some were sticking outwards while others drooped at its undersides. He also obtained a thick amber wardrobe covering his body, arms, and legs. Moccasins completed the set along with a few small pints containing facial paint.

"This is amazing." His smile then broke, "But how would the Elder know about us being married?" He picked up the letter again; according to this, he apologized it arrived so late as he was learning of the four Elementals in which their outfits represented half of them, the Genbu (aka the Black Tortoise/Dark Warrior) and the Ryu Suzaku (aka the Vermillion Dragon/Bird)!

Tinsel was astonished Rick's machine was based on the guardian of summer, and she seemed to be the personification of the guardian of winter as was him with his; no wonder since her birthday was at the end of January and Rick's was in the 28th of July, he's fiery while she gets coldhearted and his flames melt the ice while her meekness quells the flames, she's more introverted while Rick's an extrovert... The opposites were staggering, and the outfits symbolized this. 

Even though Giant was known to house the four Materia Deities, they were impressed they also knew of the four seasonal guardians from Chinese mythology on Earth.

They wondered if maybe one of Goroh's associates knew of this, and possibly passed it on...

While Rick offered to try on his enticing outfit, as Tinsel followed suit, their eyes grew wide! They felt their last remark was justified since there was a large taiko just outside the garage! They looked out the window and it was smack dab next to the door; they probably didn't notice since its colossal size blended in with the dark corner! Luckily, it was on wheels so it was so much easier for transport since they were known to weigh a ton. Heck to add more convenience, there was a small golden gong folded into it at the right side within a medium black frame! Goroh certainly did drop it off here! This could be perfect to help themselves meditate, or--

Just then, as Tinsel was looking over it, Rick took the long decorative wand attached to the left side, and tested it out, she watched and it put her in a state of entice; she then offered to hit it a few times as he went to change into his tribal attire. She immediately did the same before he emerged. Their wonder just overwhelmed themselves as they gazed at each other silently. Then, after a pregnant pause, Tinsel went and hit on the set of the Giant drums using her hands and a steady rhythm, one she said she mimicked from an Indian ceremony she saw while she was a kid on Televid. Rick added to her slow beats, and soon something odd happened; as if they felt numb, just like that night at Giant during the Young Capt. Falcon's 51st mission. At times, she stopped and began to squirm low to the ground and rise slowly while Rick continued to encourage her to dance for him. His beats became harder as a sign for her to keep moving. They both still had this desire just as before...this feeling. Then, he tapped the gong attached to the taiko's side which let out a deep tone, and he motioned her to come forward.

She slowly walked toward him as he did, then they embraced each other in their warm bodies. Next, they kissed passionately and slowly, their mouths watering, their hearts and pulses racing. The drums seemed to have made them swoon and slowly, they trawled to the opaque bedroom, and with only a week to go, they caved into their urges, not without protection of course.

Before they knew, it was finally Rick and Tinsel's big day at last!! It came just as fast as the Full Power Booster Fire the Dragon Bird EX once executed.

At the Falcon House, Rick was seated at one of the stools while Lucy was applying his final touches of his cerulean suit, including adjusting his white collar and pinning the golden falcon pin; he smiled as he looked into a small, circular mirror, though it wasn't enough resolution to see his entire makeover.

"How do I look?"

"You look amazing, Rick," she replied with a grin. Lucy was wearing a headband with flowers that matched her white, petite dress. "Finito!" she declared as she backed away, her eyes gleaming. Rick rose and admired himself; his shade of his suit made him wish Falcon would be watching over the ceremony, as would Dr. Clash, Atem, and especially Haruka. He asked where Tinsel was, and she already was on her way to Mute City's Knight League course.

Lucy took Rick in the Elegance Liberty and assured PJ would take him and Tinsel to their honeymoon in Port Town. During the drive, Rick looked over the front seat, barely seeing the seating order on the small monitor.

The seating order was rearranged from the front rows of seats to the rear; unlike traditional weddings, they weren't split into halves for the bride/groom sides. The intel read as follows:

Luna (silver dress), Jack (black swap), Phoenix (black suit)
Rodney (white suit), Robert (white swap), Jody (white swap), PJ (black swap)
Goroh (red swap), Lisa (teal dress), Dai Goroh (black suit), Gomar & Shioh (black suits)
Beastman (black suit), Leon (black suit), Lucy (white dress), Solomon (navy blue suit)
Digi-Boy (blue suit), Alias (yellow buttoned suit), Clank (black suit), Mokuba (navy blue suit)
Commissioner (white uniform), Alias' mom (white dress), Gazelle, Tanaka (blue suit)
Kate (green dress), EAD (black swap), Gordon (brown suit), Octoman (blue swap)
Yugi (navy blue suit), Joey (navy blue suit), Serenity (white dress), Tristan (navy blue suit)
Téa (white dress), Mai (black coat and pants), Mrs. Arrow (white swap)/Archer Arrow (black suit), Super Arrow (blue swap)/Zukk (red tie)

And finally, Burt Lemming had decided on a spiffy black tux along with a white undershirt and a red tie, jet-black pants, and black suede shoes, just waiting proudly on the track awaiting the groom. 

A/N: The scene in which Rick and Tinsel received the envelopes almost reminded me of a similar scene in Goodfellas; in which Henry and Karen got the same during the start of their wedding. I found the traditional Japanese gifts to be interesting, even the shugi-bukuro, and there'd be more customs within the next chapter.

Heck, Rick and Tinsel need something to either help them meditate or turn them on; just like their first night in Giant. If you want to see what I mean, check out the 2nd Lap in The Power of the Falcon. When I was a little kid, I was always enticed by the exotic drums, those in the classic Sesame Street clips. Not sure why, but now you see how Rick and Tinsel got their own tribal outfits representing the Genbu and the Ryu Suzaku respectively.

I thought it'd be awesome to have the couple as personifications of two of the four seasonal guardians in Chinese mythology; not sure who would symbolize fall and spring yet...

Also, I had a lot of complications involving the seating order of all the guests; the idea was loosely based on Fanfictiondreamer's table she once made before she left DeviantArt, all because of the damned fallout we had! Hopefully, I'll be able to make mine soon.

Can't wait to release the two-part finale and celebrate Rick and Tinsel's wedding day!

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So, the big day for Rick and Tinsel Wheeler has finally arrived!!

Lap 9

At the finish line of the Mute City circuit, Burt proudly stood under a hanging arc filled with numerous, fresh cherry pedals. There were several rows of cerulean, foldable chairs provided for each of the ushers and bridesmaids. The wedding rings glistened in a mannequin hand straight from the jewelry outlet Rick was all too familiar with along with a triple-layered cup and a special candle, and the delicate 3-layered cake was towering at the left side of the track. Everyone was arranged by their own groups, such as Stody along with their growing family, then Lucy and Leon, Gomar and Shioh, Mr. EAD, Kate and Gordon, the Arrows, the Duelists, and finally to avoid trouble the space bandits were in the rear.

Regardless of their positions, everyone, but the groom, marriage officiant, the bride and her escort, came in pairs then seated after Burt and Rick who was awaiting his beloved in an anxious manner. They were each able to hear Canon in D being played by Thunderbolt in conjunction with the female pop singer's band; although they performed the said number subtly while the acoustic guitars replaced electric ones.

Of course, "Here Comes the Bride" had to be played on keyboard instead of an organ since it was a last resort. By the time the atmosphere shifted as everybody faced Tinsel and Dr. Stewart walking down the aisle, Rick felt a lot more at ease. He glued his eyes onto the duo as they slowly treaded toward the finish line, then Stewart seated next to Jody. Tinsel climbed up the small staircase and met her soon-to-be-husband. They reached hands and clutched them gently as they faced Burt who soon announced moments after the number subsided.

He had to wear a small mike to have his voice be amplified upon the airy course.

"Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to witness Rick Wheeler and Tinsel Steelus in their holy matrimony. To have and to hold, through better or worse, through sickness and in health, and through rich or poor. 

“We have joined here today to share an important moment. Through their time together, they have seen their love and understanding of each other grow and blossom and now they have decided to live out the rest of their lives as one.

"If anyone were to speak why they should never be wed, speak now, or forever hold your peace."

There was silence around, although Dai Goroh was desperately raising his hand and murmuring. But, his devoted father held it down, much to his irritation. There were some small giggles amongst the gathering. After a few passing moments, Burt went on.

"And now, they shall read from their wedding vows." There were two folded sheets of rice paper, and Rick took his on the center pedestal which was co-written by his best man.

The savior of the galaxy then cleared his throat and looked at Tinsel in her eyes.

“I, Rick Wheeler, take you, Tinsel Steelus; my kindred friend, my guiding light, my devoted love and life partner from this day forward. In the presence of our family and friends, I shall give you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner thru the good times and the bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to be the complete opposite of your estranged father and your ex-stepmom, and prohibit any infidelity, abuse, and trauma upon you, and to personally heal your deep physical and spiritual wounds you had endured. I shall always love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals and desires, to honor and to respect you dearly, to laugh with you and to cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”

The F-Zero veteran took the right folded sheet of paper from the pedestal, and faced the new Capt. Falcon as she said her vows co-written by the maid of honor. She smiled, trying to hold back her tears of happiness. She read her vows in a tight throat which later lessened:

“I, Tinsel Steelus, take you, Rick Wheeler, as my strong life partner and my one and only true love. With all my heart and soul, in which I had offered to you, I will treasure our bond and love you each day more so than with any other man. I shall be your guide both living and dead, as Haruka is to you. I will ease your flames, as you had thawed my icy heart; we shall be as inseparable opposites like the sacred Suzaku was to the Genbu. You had changed my perception on love forever, and for that, I shall trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, and to hold you dearly through good times and bad, regardless of what our past and future may hold. I give you my hand, my heart, my soul and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.”

“Those are some very heartfelt vows." Burt commented. "And now, we shall light the unity candle. Let us all bow our heads in silence as we ring the gong and beat the taiko." Samurai Goroh and Lisa Brilliant did just that.

Keeping with Japanese tradition, Rick offered to use a sake-sipping ceremony as well. They lowered their heads, then after awhile, using three flat sake cups stacked atop one another, the bride and groom took three sips each from the cups. Rick went first, sipped one, offered it to Tinsel and she did the same. The process repeated after she put the cup back with the middle and the lowest. The taste was bitter and it did burn their throats, but according to Rick's mentor, Goroh, it was to purify them from inside, and symbolize bitter trials.

When the track silenced again, Burt faced the groom with great admiration, "Rick Wheeler..? Do you wish for Tinsel Steelus to be your lawful wedded wife?"

He simply nodded with a smile, "I do, Burt." He faced Tinsel. Then she turned toward the officiant.

"Tinsel Steelus..? Do you wish for Rick Wheeler to be your lawful wedded husband?"

She faced him with sparkling eyes, "Yes, I do, Burt."

"The rings, please."

With that cue, Phoenix Levin immediately stood up and walked quickly to the placid hand and stood in front as he took off the rings. He then gazed at the tall groom, and handed his over.

"With this ring, as a token of my love and affection, I thee wed." Burt said.

Rick repeated the same words, then he slid it onto Tinsel's ring finger in her right hand.

Burt said the line once more after Phoenix presented the second band. "With this ring, as a token of my love and affection, I thee wed."

Tinsel repeated the same as she gazed into Rick's shiny eyes then looked down as she slid it onto his right ring digit.

“By the power vested in me and by the State of Mute City formerly known as New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife." He nodded as he grinned wider, "You may kiss the bride."

The pair then looked deeply into their eyes. After a pregnant pause, they slowly leaned in, closed their eyes, and kissed passionately. Everyone was ecstatic as they applauded for the completion of their union as Rick and Tinsel Steelus Wheeler, and Jack, Phoenix, and Luna cheered!

The reception carried on at the other side of the Mute City track, specifically just before the Jump Plate which was behind a massive, wooden stage. The crews of both Thunderbolt and Kate Alen's group had installed that large said piece as well as their usual equipment counting their microphones, machines and instruments, two huge speakers, and the streams of lights tied in tall rods overlooking the guardrails. Burt had actually assisted to install the numerous tables covered in white satin along with the chairs, for each table were assigned to certain individuals. He also helped Jody and Stewart with the upcoming setup and the fancy ware and flutes; heck some of the tableware was donated from his own diner. And, of course, the closest arrangement to the stage was for the bride and groom themselves, followed by the best man along with the maid of honor and Phoenix, then Stody taking the second row. After that were all the ushers and bridesmaids in reversed alphabetical order leading up to the food assembly.

Joey was the first to notice as he followed the mouth-watering scents from the wedding display. "Hold on, I smell something." Like a dog, he was fixated on them. "Getting warmer..? Warmer? Whoo! It's a buffet." He was indeed the first to check out the scrumptious selections. And everyone followed suit before they headed to their tables. One buffet suited the meals while a smaller one suited the desserts; the cakes had been omitted from the requests to cut costs and there was always the large wedding cake wheeled next to it.

Everyone ate and socialized. The food was amazing, even the wedding cake with all that icing. Of course, they all witnessed Tinsel and Rick cutting the cake, and also remove a large piece of chocolate.

As she was finally full, Tinsel actually offered to have a private chat with Samurai Goroh, much to Rick's amazement. He looked over at the conversation with just the two of them. Since Goroh is Rick's new sensei, she told him of her concerns involving the opposite sex, that every man has their vulnerabilities even when they can't resist their charm and become infatuated; she hoped that Rick would have some kind of protection to prevent him from going astray.

"That's why I persuaded him to stay tough, kiddo. I noticed he was growing soft once he got involved with you." Tinsel cringed, but the legendary warrior raised a finger. "I do not want him to be the same way once he lost Haruka 150 years ago; he must stay vigilante at all costs, especially if he wants to be like the late Capt. Falcon."

She hesitated but he went on, "You are the driving force of his life now, and he has immense honor and devotion to you. I understand your deep pangs, and he must stay strong. As long as he has you, as this ceremony proves, he shall NEVER have that same fate as your damned dad did."

That actually put Tinsel at ease; whoever thought that Goroh was this devoted, and compassionate, about their honor and safety. Even more shocking was the friendship Clank, Alias, and even Digi-Boy had as they immersed themselves with Dai Goroh like old schoolmates.

Before she had a chance to look up, Rick came over. She raised her hands and assured him they were just having a personal chat on how his heart must not be tainted by anyone. Rick remembered it was the same warning Haruka gave him when he saw her in the heavens as he was under anesthesia while his mind was being restored from Dark Million.

"Of course...there is always meditation." Goroh said. The couple then remembered the taiko he got. Though it had been tough for Tinsel to handle, as she often falls asleep soon afterwards, or sometimes has a minor delirium. Heck, there was also a brief memory entering her mind when Jack suffered as well as Lisa tempted him in order to steal the Astro Robin; which was quite ironic since it was Tinsel's first race after her practice runs.

Rick then invited her to their table, as it was finally time for the festivities; he's certain that Haruka's new ring would be the guiding light he needs, that as long as he has that and Tinsel, nothing would ever stop him from losing his heart, cause he knows that Tinsel and Haruka would always be with him and he'd never want another.

Kate announced the first dance of the newlyweds featuring a song by Thunderbolt; Tinsel felt sour to pick "Amazed" as it had a bad association to her old man, and the way he sang the wrong keys during the chorus was like nails on a chalkboard. Being that Rick wanted to be the opposite and never open old wounds, his choice was somewhat different. Since they both loved racing, were proud on who they were, they made a name for themselves, and because it was the main theme from one of Rick's birthday flicks in 2577 chosen by Tinsel, "The Last American Hero," they unanimously picked "I Got a Name."

They actually rehearsed some choreography for the song:

Rick and Tinsel wrapped each other closely as they slowly side-stepped one side then the other in time with the song. By the time the second verse sounded, as the number grew more tense, they parted yet they still held hands. With outstretched arms they performed a few twirls as they elongated, even when they each raised one to make their partner spin. Sometimes they would bring each other close and held their hands tightly while they moved immensely, especially during the instrumental break.
"And I'm gonna go there free!" Rick and Tinsel faced the audience as they stretched out their arms. 

They kept on elongating their arms and spun with one another while they reached the rest of the song, even making Tinsel's dress swirl beneath her like an open fan. And finally when the chorus finished, the couple spun twice simultaneously arm in arm, then stopped as they gazed into each other, and kissed deeply. The guests applauded for their successful first dance!

Tinsel then sang a number on stage with Jack's band, Thunderbolt, as well as with the Super Piranha pilot and her crew, the duet "Ebony and Ivory," upon the songstress' request. Kate then performed her personal song, "Betcha By Golly Wow" which was devoted to EAD in conjunction with the new couple. Jack, the best man himself, also did one of his best tunes from way back, "Won't Back Down." Rick actually requested "I Just Called to Say I Love You," remembering the time when Tinsel was worried during one of his bounty-hunting missions and then played this song for assurance, which warmed her heart so much. He even chose "The Warmth of the Sun" since it was related to his birth season, summer, as well as having a man's comfort warm her so much; after all, he does represent the Suzaku resembling the Oriental god, the Vermillion Bird. They also chose "You are the Girl" symbolizing how Rick feels to Tinsel, as well as "Tonight She Comes." And finally, there was Kate's usual number, "If Love Ruled the Universe."

You and I just live from day to day 
We never think that there could be another way 
Speeding through space 
Everyone will see 
Just how happy 
The two of us could be 
If love ruled the universe 
A million lightyears couldn't keep us apart 
If love ruled the universe 
Look in your heart and you'll see 
That's where I'll be

For the "big finish" of the reception, Tinsel surprised the crowds as she stepped onto the stage one last time; she chose this song personally as she was discussing with Kate, and she sang her heart out during the finale performing an old classic named "Someone Saved My Life Tonight." This act alone described how Haruka, Burt and Rick respectively rescued her in her times of great sorrow, pointing out the formers' names, and Rick nicknamed "Shining Star" instead of Sugar Bear during the chorus, and literally saying goodbye to those who caused her misery such as her old man, the succubus as she called Sallie and Magdalene numerous times, as well as other mistresses he found. Heck at the end of the bridge she cried, "So save your breath. The fires of Hell you play alone!" Then on the last chorus, she referred to her estranged father she ran away from as she sang, "You should be at the rope and tied!" for all the turmoil he caused as well as the people he associated with, plus how powerful she was over her, including financially.
The crowd went wild and Rick couldn't possibly be more impressed! Soon enough, he and Tinsel were on their way to the Port Town cruise!

A/N: The sake-sipping ceremony's popularly called san-san-kudo (san means "three," ku means "nine," and do means "to deliver.") This ritual dates back to a time when sharing sake created a formal bond as strongly as a handshake did in Victorian times. Using three flat sake cups stacked atop one another, the bride and groom take three sips each from the cups. Then their parents also take sips (for a total of nine sips), cementing the bond between the families. However, since Rick and Tinsel no longer had any, it was just for them.

Much like how Tinsel feels that certain songs are negative triggers, even I can relate: such songs that have bad associations to me include "Cherish" by The Association, "Amazed" from Lonestar, "Unchained Melody" from the Righteous Brothers (not counting the movie, Ghost), "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis (unless you refer to the silly UB40 version), "Runaround Sue" by Dion (again like Amazed, my old man sings the melodies poorly), "Love Me Tender" also by Elvis, or "Nights in White Satin" by Moody Blues (it's an ok song, I just have bad associations w/ it such as remembering Ginger's breakdown over Sam's gang beating up Lester, or just being bound to someone thru marriage). "Love is the Gift" by Shanice Wilson from The Bouncer soundtrack simply refers to someone who has passed yet that person feels he/she's still present at that one moment; I find "Forevermore" (the Japanese version) better by comparison, just saying.

I would visualize the Canon in D to be quite similar to the Christmas song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, "Christmas Canon," but without the vocals interfering.

And also, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John I can relate to, as I wish someone WOULD save mine; like avoiding an upcoming move/relationship that seems inevitable and rather stand up for yourself and break the shackles to live the life I would desire; sometimes that song does give me a feeling of aspiration, instead of being bound mentally/financially forever.

Besides, from what I've been thru, I'd rather have someone that's the complete opposite of someone so vain, negligible, manipulative, and would think with their wangs or is into negative things like alcoholism or looking for fights. But rather be open-minded, respects for what I fight for, cares about the person's heart and soul instead of overzealously losing them, only defend for the things he cares for, and also gives me the courage to do so!

Also, I finally found the lyrics for the song, If Love Ruled the Universe, on the awesome site TheRevivedRacer found for me, Random Action Hour! Can't believe I'd been saying the title wrong all this time, darn.

So, soon will be the finale of this short, romantic fic; although, I think I need to add in more than one chapter to this...


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This may have some sensuous scenes since this is Rick and Tinsel's honeymoon, finally becoming one. There's an uncensored version, which I won't show here, but I hope I did a decent job on editing this and the vid itself.

Final Lap!

After singing the finale, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Tinsel felt vindicated; that her deep scars had finally healed, and that she felt whole and invigorated again thanks to Rick and their union. Even the husband said that he was lifted in that moment to a better place, almost as content as when he saw Haruka in the heavens. However...

Looking deep into her eyes, he said in a serious tone, "Not yet. There is still one more thing we must do in order to attain total bliss."

They were interrupted as Kate announced the raffle contest; the guests filled out their names on the registry book during the reception, they were automatically entered and three winners were announced by a drawing made by a randomizer programmed by the Mighty Gazelle. First place, Jody, got a huge gift basket with stuff (including a 300 space credit prepaid gift card); second place, Gomar and Shioh, got a regular gift basket along with a 100 space credit prepaid gift card in which they were actually doing a tug-o-war with each other making the crowd snicker; and third place, Digi-Boy, simply got a gift bag.

Just above the crowd, Tinsel performed the rose bouquet toss; though it was hard to see in the shadows beneath the track, Dr. Stewart caught it as he rose it up in triumph! The couple hoped he could finally tie the knot with the captain soon enough.

It was finally off to the Port Town cruise as Rick and Tinsel ran off the circuit and away from the crowds toward the Groovy Taxi where their personal chauffeur, PJ, was awaiting them. Instead of traditional, messy rice, cherry pedals were being thrown at them from all sides, as they laughed and gleefully headed toward the alien's vehicle. Rick allowed her to get in before he did, and they grinned as they waved goodbye to all their friends wishing them bon voyage.

It took awhile for them to calm down while the taxi headed to a warp gate. Although the space port wasn't as congested as it usually was. As they were heading towards the pier, they reached the planet just in time as the stars glittered in a sky filled with an opaque vermillion fading to violet; the same display Tinsel adored since her first encounter during the Queen League 15 years prior. Rick tendered her as they both soaked in the scenery.

It soon became official that afterwards, their permanent residence would actually be at Falcon's Fortress, rather than their Mute City flat. It was now theirs, to Rick's joy, during that evening. They never wanted anything huge and astronomical, so they went with an average hovering yacht shared with a few other interstellar couples. They got settled in then headed for the balcony to absorb the harbor's beauty, even the isles located throughout the open body of water as far as the eye could see. Rick remembered the night when Tanaka headed for Kate's concert and how Tinsel showed him on all the stellar landscapes Port Town had to offer. His mind shifted a few times from all those precious memories involving Haruka; now he was grateful to share these moments with Tinsel. There was a constant, chilling breeze, but it never bothered the anemic wife as long as she stayed close to Rick's side.

An hour passed, then they headed for Deck 01, which was actually below decks. Their cabin was average, though it had a thin paper, soundproof, sliding door, much like those shojis at Giant. Through their luggage, Rick took out an audio Blu-ray disc and loaded it into the slot.

He then faced her, wearing that tense face again, "Tinsel..."

"Rick..." she repeated his earnest demeanor.

"It is finally time. At last."

They made the ultimate decision to go all the way, he wanted to be unprotected, as well as hear an enticing performance involving the exotic drums of Giant and the taikos of Japan and Red Canyon, and so, they followed in tandem.

He managed to download a few numbers involving the primitive planet's inhabitants, starting out slowly and increasing in velocity and noise. Followed by a performance done with a circle of taikos, the same one Tinsel introduced to him earlier; after a successful bounty-hunting mission, she couldn't wait to show her beloved what she found, as a special way to embrace his Japanese heritage. Heck, even Goroh had several of them, albeit some were stolen, and he was more than willing to give one to Rick; he did advise him that they're more powerful if joined in a group, and while playing one themselves they can also receive just that.

So, before the first enticing segment began, Tinsel and Rick dimmed the lights, activated the warm, fuchsia shades, and dressed up in their tribal outfits designed and sewn by the inhabitants of Giant. Tinsel departed for the lavatory then headed out, which put Rick in a state of astonishment. She sat on the bed slowly in front of him.

There was a subtle warmup as the drums were beating steadily and quietly in the background. Listening in on the assembly, their hearts began to race as they felt numb. Tinsel reached for Rick's firm cheeks and Rick's hands rested on her shoulders as they gazed into their eyes. She whispered, "Once you get under my skin, Rick...there's no getting out."

He nodded slowly, "I will accept the offer. Tinsel."

They leaned in, and then they kissed passionately. They caressed their backs, necks, arms, and thighs as they brushed their lips and sometimes nuzzled each other. He grazed her neck, so did she on his. The heat began to rise, as if Rick's ardency was melting the ice around Tinsel's heart and the feelings of resentment she harbored for her old man for so long. While her ice was soothing Rick's feelings of bitterness toward him. From that moment, she permanently changed her mindset on men in general as she knew Rick was her chosen. And he felt complete as his past scars were healed much like hers.

They each tasted their mouths. Then they slowly tossed aside their tribal outfits, all except Rick's majestic headdress. As the percussion was beating harder, so did their urges. Their bodies began to intertwine as they followed and got more entranced with the rhythms.

They continued to explore each other more, and even Tinsel was curious on something. Rick began to taste her stomach and feel her all around, reminding him of the allusion that her body was like a sponge. When they started to get more aroused, she actually guided him inside her as her flimsy hands pushed him to enter her while she opened up.

Slow. Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick...

In and out with Tinsel's and Rick's breathing as their bodies kept from splitting in two. Even when she encouraged him to go faster like his Dragon Bird as she played the mattress like another bongo, then increased more in speed and strength, even when he cued her to do the same. They even thrusted at times to feel the raw pressure deep inside. They held each other tightly as their temperature rose like the Suzaku enveloping them, and their hearts raced like competitiors in an F-Zero race alongside the percussion, enticing them more. He relieved some of the tension, yet they're still going; he made a deep, rushed cry emitting from his throat. In turn, Tinsel sighed in return.

BOOM tap-tap-tap, BOOM-tap-tap-tap, BOOM-tap-tap-tap, BOOM-tap-tap, BOOM BOOM! 

The drums repeated their steady pace as if it was a mantra while Rick and Tinsel followed. Together, it's as if that his mighty flames, and her frigid innards were merging into refreshing water, an element which brings life.

They continued to ride each other. Sweat gleamed, their hearts hammering, their sighs audible, and their pants rampant. She invited him in further, and they felt as if they'd reached the final lap..! Tinsel wrapped around him as they each became raw as their reactions. The pace quickened as did they. It was becoming overwhelming for them, yet they never seized. Rick's voice became hoarse, while Tinsel's started to crack as they were beginning to cross the finish line, and achieve first place; it was indeed a first for them as they had no boundaries, as limitless as the deep reaches of the universe.

They felt as if their bodies were splitting in half as they caved in. Tinsel cried his name while he squeezed his eyes! They finally gave away, like warp speed! They felt that time had stopped as they gazed at each other, agape. They were paralyzed, then gave into their exertion. Rick collapsed beside her and Tinsel could hardly move. All she did was turn her head and kiss him lightly on his forehead. That caused him to come to, albeit lightheaded. "That's right... You're mine." Rick confirmed, all she could do was paste a thin smile. And then they snuggled into their warm embrace before they blackened out.

The galaxy is at peace and aligned, just as they were. There was no better time than their own sacred union of the Ryu Suzaku and the Genbu, and as Rick and Tinsel Wheeler; they were forever inseparable and were now one, both in the stars and within their hearts and souls.

A/N: For the drum numbers, I would first hear the warmup during the African Dance in the Park from Sesame Street, then that clip as a lizard was beating one making two birds dance slowly, then have it at a steady rhythm like the one in the Montana miniseries, albeit more tension, and finally the Taiko performance from that.

This is actually the edited version of this chapter. The unedited Lap shall be released soon. Just to be safe, of course.

So, I hope you guys enjoyed this short story as much as I did writing it! Don't get me wrong, I'd still like to see Rick and Haruka's relationship go forward too, but I just hadn't seen much progress w/ them in the anime...especially since it took a long time for her to return to her senses and not use Rick as a punching bag! I hope I won't get any negativity out of this...

Until we meet again; take care futuristic racing fans and as always keep the faith. And maybe hope for the English dubs to have a 2nd wind.

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Hey, everyone! Since I'm a huge fan of the series, allow me to introduce my original character, Tinsel Steelus, the pilot of the Silver Comet.

Tinsel Steelus Wheeler 


Miaiden Name: Tinsel Steelus

Age: 27-29

Occupations: Member of the Elite Mobile Task Force (resigned), F-Zero pilot

Birthplace: Earth, Mute City

Best Friends: Rick Wheeler, Lucy Liberty, Dr. Clash (deceased), Dr. Stewart, Mr. EAD, Captain Falcon (deceased), Burt Lemming, Clank Hughes, Beastman, Octoman, Rodney Stewart, Gomar & Shioh, Leon, Roger Buster and Draq, Lily Flyer, PJ 180?cb=20180925233533

Other: Yugi, Yami (deceased), Joey. Plassein (deceased), Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Baby Groot, Rocket Raccoon

Appearance(s): Falcon's Followers; The Samurai Returns; Cold as Ice; Rick's Lament; Ryu's Immigration; Tanaka in Trouble; Merry Christmas, Rick!; Tinsel's Trial; Tinsel's Interview with Mr. Zero; Ending it All; Man of Destiny; An Action Point for Valentine's; The Power of the Falcon; PJ, the Empyrean Colonist; The Bostonian Comes Home, To Be Married and Loved

Machine: Silver Comet                                                                                                                                         180?cb=20180925234016

Used Cards: Kuriboh, Catapult Turtle, Multiply, Blue-Eyes (all forms), Red Eyes Darkness Dragon, Baby Dragon, Time Wizard, Winged Dragon/Guardian of the Fortress, Giant Soldier of Stone


Theme Songs: Mach Rider (SSBM; during intense race), Grand Prix results (Maximum Velocity; during a casual race), Mission Clear (F-Zero GX; when someone joins her team)


As the name may imply, she's a fan of things that have a lot of luster. Back in the original F-Zero Grand Prix (F-Zero), Tinsel became fascinated with racing. Her prized machine, the Silver Comet, had led her in second place during the Knight League while Falcon took the golden trophy. Unfortunately, her victory was cut short as she entered the Queen League; the circuits were more unforgiving, and she almost died when she couldn't make over a gap in White Land. She was hospitalized for so long from her near-death experience that she missed out on the King League, including the incident which took place during the Horrific Accident. Since then, she was thrown into despair and never wanted to race again. Her machine was left abandoned in a garage in Mute City, and she also missed out on the F-Zero X race.

But, she eventually got her hopes up as she heard of another intergalactic tournament, F-Zero GX. She eventually enrolled after she met two young Duelists, Yugi and Joey. Although Mute City and Port Town didn't suit their tastes, they were fascinated with the places and the fact the former's the main capital of all the F-Zero races. So, they decided to tag along as she explored certain parts of the galaxy while running into the undefeated champion, Captain Falcon. During his missions, they've discreetly used some cards to assist him, whether it'd be Slifer in the Lightning power plant, or Red-Eyes trying to dismantle a speed-sensitive bomb. Eventually, they met and the pair enrolled in the Grand Prix together to prevent his nemeses, Black Shadow and Blood Falcon, from winning.

By the time they won, Yami sensed an evil presence, which was Deathborn who slewed the demon and challenged Falcon to a death-defining race. In the Underworld, the champion somehow emerged victorious before the team was about to use their Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon. Then, they were encased in cards while the bounty hunter faced off the creator spirits. After that, they resumed their exploration. And it was about a year since she then met Rick and the Task Force as he was looking for Samurai Goroh. She became a member of the crew and usually had a certain disposition with Jody Summer and Jack Levin. There was a time when she used her Duel Monster cards during a party in Truman's home. She dropped the Duel Disc and avoided a trap set by him as Rick, Lucy, and the Arrows were caged in a basement. She countered him and the Bloody Chain using Kuriboh and Multiply, the Galaxy Police arrived, and Truman avoided arrest. However, she made an enemy for life, threatening him that if he should capture racers once more, it'll be his "head in the smasher." There was a reprieve for a few days, until Rick lamented over his lost past. Her relationship has grown for him since then, and she even saved his life from the Skull's spell after she succeeded using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

There were also some times when she had to contact the Duelists for emergencies such as when Roger and Draq were participating in a race against Rick as Pico attached speed-sensitive bombs to every F-Zero machine after a promise he made to Alias on winning it, or when she borrowed some of their low-leveled Duel Monsters to hold back the fatal meteor storm after Zoda deactivated the shields. When the Crystal Cup ended, that began her curse on losing every challenge as Rick, Falcon, and Jack, and at one time Lucy, stole her victories. She became very glum after that.

By the time the Duelists went up against a 10,000-year old curse, things got complicated for Tinsel. Without saying a word, she just got up and went as she decided to quit dueling. The Task Force was actually surprised and glad that she volunteered to work for them full-time; it was indeed a better fit for her since she had more skill and experience as well as a better sense of belonging. Not to mention she loved hanging out and helping her friends along the way. Despite their relationship lasting for about a month, Yugi, Yami, and Joey still remained friends with her, but their contacts since then became very seldom.

After several months of winning race after race, while never taking in first, she eventually was brainwashed by Dark Million. She recently enrolled in the Hovercraft Hub on Planet Tortiz 3, as a way to improve her skills since she hardly ended up in the top five. Fortunately, the spell eventually wore off and Dr. Stewart made a formula to reverse the effects. She had an accident at Mist Flow, then she recovered as Rick was watching over her. Through time, she slowly had a deeper attachment to the pilot as she learned of his dark past and the loss of Misaki Haruka. She promised to herself she'll always be there for him, as he has always been supportive.


During the mid-spring, she returned to headquarters only to find Rick and his team missing. She knew Dark Million was behind all this and so she'd fit the pieces together and encounter new friends along the way. So far, she was successful on reuniting with Rick, Jack, Lucy and EAD; however, she was unable to save Dr. Clash after he was involved in a tragic death. Still, she manages to push forward and she would never give up as long as her friends are by her side. Since then, she moved onto the finals and learned the Booster Fire, as well as a special technique that enabled her machine to make longer leaps as she enters a Jump Plate, and land more lightly. She witnessed a terrifying incident during the Championship race as Black Shadow took Rick back to Dark Star. Fortunately, she was reunited with him as she, Falcon, and his friends helped him regain his senses and escape while he was saving Rodney. But things took a turn for the worst as she unexpectedly encountered Jody where her team was going to meet. As soon as she made an ultimatum to kill Super Arrow with a special bullet she made, in exchange for the Duelists' lives, Tinsel went berserk and declared quitting the Task Force. Soon after, she was abducted by Black Shadow, and he made a deal with Rick to surrender the remaining Light Reactor Mights. Now, this begins a perilous journey to his own turf with Dr. Stewart as the only infected associate left.

By an act of faith, Rick was able to save Tinsel while she was in a deadly scrimmage with Miss Killer. After some attempts trying to intimidate and trick him, he made a fateful decision to save his true love thanks to Haruka's kindred spirit. She later reunited with her friends, and Rodney decided to tag along as the trio entered the Dark Reactor Core. It was there where Dr. Stewart recited the legend of the savior. Rick Wheeler was the chosen one, as the Wuji for the Yin and Yang that was Black Shadow and Captain Falcon respectively. After the Death Anchor destroyed the restricted lab creating the Blood Falcons, Rick made a declaration to defeat Deathborn for good, leaving his beloved with the memos he kept.

It was only a matter of time before she saw Rick emerge victorious after defeating Deathborn and destroying the Dark Reactor; however, the loss of Captain Falcon was quite devastating. Nonetheless, Yami, Haruka, and even Jody and Dr. Stewart congratulated her on her accomplishments by reuniting the Task Force and saving the universe. After a week of grievance, she resigned gracefully and went on her last mission, to take care of Rick, who's become the official savior and Falcon's replacement. She was incredibly grateful that her new friends had found a place within the Federation, as well as finally overcoming her worst fear as Rick took her to White Land. Using the technique James McCloud taught her, she had nothing to dread and she and Rick had never been more closer, as they felt complete at last.


A couple months later, Rick received his first bounty hunting assignment which happened to be in Port Town. The Hive was to set off an epidemic known as the T-Virus and is owned by the corrupt Umbrella Corp. Rick took the challenge to save his and the late Falcon's home world, and he barely made it out alive. Tinsel saw him comatose until he was revived hours after thanks to Falcon's encouragement as well as the Light Reactor Mights.


Several months later, she was engaged to Rick, and she remained by his side throughout his new career as a successful bounty hunter. After he reached 50 captors, he and she got a word from Jody that Lily Flyer needed to be rescued by a street gang. They did, and she informed them that she was practicing a tune that was rumored to awaken the plasma Deity of Giant, Plassein. She was on her way there; coincidentally, so were they to relax there for a week. This unexpectedly turned into a salvage mission on apprehending Don Genie, who was obsessed with money, and would fulfill a prophecy that the Chosen One must reunite the four Materia orbs to restore the world. This made Rick's 51st bounty, and Tinsel was with him all the way. Together, they went through the Deities temples and obtained the spheres, but Don made a last stand by shocking Rick and Plassein. In his weak state, he urged her to finish the mission by placing the orbs of Plassein and Gastro to their corresponding slots, resulting in the restoration of the warring triad, and the damage done to Giant. She and Rick recovered, mourned, and spent their week-long vacation, then he showed her his new abilities thanks to Goroh's rigorous tutoring. It was then that Tinsel witnessed Rick's profound techniques, and they both realized that he rightfully chose to follow Falcon's footsteps and those were the signs of the calling of his destiny.

She later met up with a lost alien from the Empyrean Colony named PJ; she and Rick volunteered to get him back on his feet after the massive explosion there.

She and Rick have set a future wedding date, on October 9, 2577, on the second anniversary on the day they first met in Planet Cryton, around four weeks after he woke up from cold sleep. The plans were all laid out, from the bridesmaids and ushers, to the locations of the ceremony and reception, to picking their mentor, Burt, as the wedding officiant. Heck, they already planned on what would their attire could look like. The merry occasion would start on that day, while also inviting some odd guests such as Goroh and his family, even the Duelists' other friends Tea and Tristian, and even Lewis Legend from the Dark Purveyors. Sadly, she never got her invitations back from Lewis nor Beat, not even Lily Flyer. She did decide the honeymoon should take place in Port Town, Rick agreed it'd be an advent for their future residence.

As Rick was curious on who her father of the bride should be, despite the fact her parents died several years ago, she wasn't certain; her mind went blank as she brainstormed any possible candidates, but they were so bizarre and unfitting. So Rick gave her some privacy to think things over, then...her mind snapped as repressed memories caught up to her! She screamed in agony, he came to her aid, and she was in hysterics while she recalled her neglectful old man, about how she refused to relocate to the Asian Colonies from Mute City. Rick immediately contacted the Stewarts and they were on the case. Meanwhile, he became worried that since she had this cold bias towards men as dominant figures, he thought the wedding could be cancelled, and their relationship broken... From his constant hobby on finding a mate there and having sex as a top priority and weapon, she ran away and Burt took her in, hence her residence near the Falcon House. Stewart assured her that he has died thanks to a tsunami which destroyed the Philippines, and she thought it was a way to punish the wicked. The docs tended to her turmoil and anxieties and assured her that Rick shall be the opposite of her farce father; she soon chose Dr. Stewart as the escort down the aisle afterwards. And she was ecstatic that Rick shut down 5 interplanetary brothels, and resisted Princia Ramode's charm when he went to the Desert Kingdom at Planet Magica; it was thanks to Haruka's ring that saved him from temptation, as she and Tinsel spoke to him subconsciously and broke the thrall, then the thot and her territory were destroyed by a meteor shower, as if a higher calling did the job!

Still, Rick returned with Stewart, and she was incredibly ecstatic knowing that he'll always be faithful to her and never give into temptation just as her father did. Through his wedding vows, and as long as he has Haruka's ring, he demonstrated how unbreakable their bond is. In addition, they received more than enough space credits to keep the occasion going. And she was soon invited to her bachelorette party at the Raining Spa and Salon, while the guys decided to go to Roller Rocket World for the evening bachelor party as well!

While there, Tinsel received a variety of services, such as a mud bath, full-body massage, relaxing at the sauna, and finally after about an hour, she headed to a fancy restaurant; this was definitely a good way to ease her inner turmoil her thot dad left! She also received some envelopes of money (shugi-bukuro), even a lot of space credits from Samurai Goroh thanks to the gems he stole and cashed in from the Desert Kingdom before it was destroyed.

With a fortnight to go, she received an unexpecting call; she feared it was some sexual prank, but it was only the Guardians of the Galaxy dropping a line to say hi, especially from Star-Lord, Rocket, and Baby Groot! As they apologized for not showing up on account of their busy bounty-hunting missions.

With only a week left, Tinsel finally received her dream wedding dress, comets and all, at the Falcon House! She and Rick also received some shugi-bukuro, Japanese envelopes of money that're impossible to untie and their sum was up to 3/4 of 1 million space credits! They presumed they'd pay the Falcon Fortress twice, so they cashed them in, and there were a few hundred thousand credits to spare! Heck, she also got a set of exotic drums from Planet Giant, as well as a ceremonial outfit symbolizing the Genbu (the Black Tortoise/Dark Warrior and Chinese elemental of winter).


Before she knew it, it was the day! Everyone but Rick and Burt were seated as she was being escorted by Dr. Stewart. She met up with Rick at the makeshift altar then Burt announced their union. They went thru a sake-sipping ceremony, the san-san-kudo, to symbolize purity and challenges, then they read their wedding vows, received their rings, and tied the knot w/ a passionate kiss! From that moment on, she's known as Tinsel Steelus Wheeler!! She enjoyed the reception, then went on stage to perform the duet, "Ebony and Ivory," w/ Kate and did the finale, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," honoring Rick, Burt, and Haruka saving her from her dad's and mistresses' sins.


Soon enough, she went with Rick to the honeymoon in Port Town! Before she did, though, she performed the bouquet toss and Dr. Stewart managed to catch the batch of roses! She hopes he'll eventually settle w/ Jody! Meanwhile, Rick and Tinsel were being covered by thrown cherry rose petals as they headed to their chauffeur, PJ, and his Groovy Taxi. It went thru the warp gate toward the space harbor where the hovering yacht awaited them. They embarked and soaked in the incredible scenery; an hour later, they went below decks and settled down, or rather take their marriage to the next level. Rick was earnest to go all the way, unprotected, and Tinsel warned once he gets under her skin, there's no getting out. He accepted and their bodies and souls intertwined. The universe is at peace and aligned, just as they were, and as inseparable from that night on.

Comet Statistics

Revivedracer209's image of the Silver Comet

Body: C

Boost: A178?cb=20200826151441

Grip: B

Altered Stats with Big Fang parts


Body: B

Boost: A

Grip: C

The Silver Comet was inspired by Hailey's Comet. As it shines while it races, its shape of the machine is very similar to a comet's luminous body and tail. This was revealed that it was once Dr. Clash's experimental machine, a prototype in which Tinsel obtained; much like Rick with the Dragon Bird. Despite the appearance, it's also able to shoot out ice beams, freezing her enemies. It was rumored to be by a reconstruction after the incident in White Land, from the nozzles to withstanding heat. A perfect example was when Tinsel was chasing after Rick who was on the pursuit for Jody to Planet Alcatran. The duo was attacked by Zoda, and Tinsel showed up at the last minute freezing the machine gun aloft instantly.

The Comet also has sub-par endurance, its defenses are still an improvement. But it's boost is extraordinary, and it handles sharp and slight turns fairly well. It's easy to handle and it helped Tinsel obtain many victories, even though she doesn't always mind being in first place. Until there was a slight change as it was enhanced by components from Bio Rex's Big Fang. It now has the same stats as the Dragon Bird EX, minus the Reactor Might she had. Thus, she couldn't use her ice beams unless there was one present in the ignition.

Tinsel's main weaknesses in racing were handling sharp turns, the Comet's weak endurance, as well as lagging behind her teammates. The thing is she usually wants her friends to win, as she always feels she may steal the spotlight from them. It was mostly they're job to win against Dark Million after all. And being she was a newbie, she never wanted to be a burden. Her other issue outside of competing was her meekness. Jody once lectured her about it, as she needs to take chances like Rick and Jack do. She must not hold back, even if the going gets tough despite being a woman. That if she could overcome her fears, she'd be unstoppable. Tinsel used that point of advice during the Big Blue race and won first while saving her life and Leon's in the process. Since then, it was the thing that kept her motivated on reuniting the Task Force.

Tinsel is known to have a pure, sympathetic heart, and she would deal with any risk to help her allies in need, especially Rick whom she feels the most compassionate for. However, if you mess with her and her friends, she can be as cold as ice.


Rick Wheeler

Tinsel first met Rick at the Falcon House while there were some technical problems with her Silver Comet; she felt intimidated since he's an officer working for the Galaxy Platoon, but Burt assured him he's a hero and pure since he was preoccupied with the ill kids as he's pursuing stolen medicine at Planet Cryton. She followed him and revealed his guide WAS Samurai Goroh, but it turned out he stole it from Vidion since he has a soft spot for kids, like his son Dai Goroh. Since then, Rick became her best friend, even encouraging her a lot, even when she joined the Task Force. Tinsel has given him some advice and support, as well as teaching him to be a more seasoned F-Zero pilot like herself; it was like deja vu on what Haruka did for him 150 years ago. Her infatuation grew and so did her feelings for him on that night when they encountered Miss Killer and saved his life by giving him mouth-to-mouth.

Her courage and confidence grew as she was searching for him and the missing members of the Task Force who were brainwashed by Dark Million. After she saved him from Black Shadow's thrall, and when Haruka said she needs him, and when she was saved at Dark Star after Miss Killer's scrimmage, she no longer hid her feelings. She was too afraid because of Rick's survivor's guilt and wanted to let him recover Haruka's mind; however since she was corrupt to begin with, he accepted and loved Tinsel more than ever.

They became roommates, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancés, and soon newlyweds! Their relationship thrived, and Jody knew they were the perfect match; she was the ice that sooths Rick's ardency and cause him to think more thoroughly, while Rick's fire warms her heart and increases her confidence more. They share their positive traits, like having the elements merge to water, and become inseparable. According to Goroh, it's a close relationship as the Vermillion Dragon/Bird (Ryu Suzaku) and the Black Tortoise/Dark Warrior (Genbu).

Burt Lemming/Andy Summer


He took in a distraught Tinsel several years ago when she ran away from her estranged, neglectful old man as he'd been forcing her to relocate to the southern Asian Colony from Mute City. Knowing she'd be better off staying, he harbored her for awhile, despite the consequences on doing so. He mended her broken soul giving her support and being there for her needs. Since then, she shared the same apartment complex with him, Rick, Jack and soon Clank. He had became an angel toward her, as she'd mention during the finale of her upcoming reception.

He also admires Tinsel's relationship with Rick as he devoted the Falcon House to him and the late Falcon, even when she was searching for his beloved and the Task Force. He was always her sense of encouragement no matter what dire situations she'd possibly have.

Capt. Falcon

At first an unchallenged and difficult rival since the original F-Zero Grand Prix, till that incident in White Land. 13 years later, he became her temporary mentor as he taught her the technological advancements of her Comet, even mastering the Booster Fire. Tinsel kept her word on never revealing his location and became fast friends. He even respected her deep feelings for Rick, upon observance, and knew he made the right choice on sharing his mantle after he realized his morality. He knew that Rick was the savior and he must stay pure as he told her that saving Rick is vital for the galaxy's fate. Knowing he'll always be in good hands, Falcon made the sacrifice after he encouraged Rick to carry on his unstoppable legacy, and rely on Tinsel to support him.

Haruka Misaki

She accepted Tinsel as Rick's living, mutual partner. As she watched him for 150 years, she observed Tinsel's feelings for him and willfully accepted each of their deep feelings for each other. When she visited to say her goodbye to Rick, she knew she made the right choice for him to fall for Tinsel and vice versa. Both living and dead, they became Rick's guiding lights. The darker version, however, became Tinsel's lethal rival. The rookie of Dark Million quickly soared through the ranks, as did Tinsel as she was looking for the Task Force. They temporarily had a relationship as they were the top women of Dark Million when Tinsel was mesmerized. But at the Fire Field race, their archrivalry was demonstrated and she triumphed, making Tinsel lose her confidence and spirit on saving them. She took advantage of Rick's thrall and wanted to wipe out Tinsel to have him for herself as they reunited in the darkness. And she made every attempt to eliminate her and use his survivor's guilt, even during their scrimmage in Dark Star. Luna fell for her demise when Rick remembered what Haruka's lighter half said. Zoda Much like Miss Killer, he too was Tinsel's greatest adversary. Since he was Rick's assassin and negative driving force in his life, Tinsel considered him as her latter. She was always determined to cut him down to size, especially when she wanted to save Rick from harm. She did just that as Rick saved her from Zoda's captive in Port Town, then he was frozen and then shattered. She knew Haruka would be at peace, however, she won't till Dark Million's defeated.


Thanks to her kind and generous nature, Octoman appreciated Tinsel for her donation to use to save Takora. Despite the fact he was a crony for Dark Million, she was the only one that still saw some good in him as a desperado for supporting his people. After the Green Plant preliminaries, Tinsel encouraged him to finally do the right thing and redeem himself since he grew more scared over Black Shadow's viciousness; realizing he never cares for his kin nor war-torn planet, he assisted Tinsel deal with the scoundrel, James McCloud; according to Clank, HE was the one who framed the Takorans against the Federation, and since the Cosmo Terminal quarterfinals, they shared their common goal. Since then, he couldn't thank Tinsel enough for believing in him, and they remained as close friends when he enrolled for the Task Force. Leon Like Octoman, he too appreciated Tinsel's charity, and he was willing to help her search for the Task Force and save the galaxy from Dark Million's annihilation, aside from the fact it's for the pups. They became fast, close allies ever since, even when they admitted their feelings for Lucy and Rick respectively. Much like Rick, he has been a supporter and loyal friend to Tinsel, even when he decided to join the Task Force during hers and Rick's resignation.

Samurai Goroh

At first he was Tinsel's bitter rival/enemy since the original F-Zero Grand Prix, and Tinsel had always recognized him as such! He was surprised she survived the incident at White Land and mocked he's not afraid of ghosts. Tinsel always held some negativity for Goroh, while Rick sees some good in him regardless. It took her a long time, but she slowly warmed up to him, especially when he became Rick's own sensei and mentor. She does like the fact she's related to the Black Tortoise, and that her relationship is close to Rick like it and the Vermillion Bird.

Dr. Stewart

Another rival from the previous F-Zero competition, technically GX unlike his dad from the original. But after she joined the Task Force, she opened up to him as he became her personal physician and mentor. He was the one who shared his secrets of Capt. Falcon, while she still stayed true to her word on never breaking her promise on never revealing his location. She has grown comfortable on whatever was bothering her, including her infatuation with Rick, and even combatting her repressed memories and inner demons. In fact, while Rick was nervous on getting intimate, w/ Tinsel's permission he unveiled a secret of her...unique turn-on, which soon became Rick's as well. On top of that, for Tinsel's wedding, he became her escort down the aisle.

Yugi Muto/Yami Yugi

They were both courageous adventurers that share their styles on utilizing skill than luck, even when they, along with Joey, set foot on following Capt. Falcon, their inspiration on being the best on what they do. He was Tinsel's closest Dueling buddy as well as the latter being her mentor and aspiration. That was till she quit as she thought she'd be a burden for the 10,000-year old curse involving the Great Leviathan...

While Tinsel's relationship was long distance, he still was a good friend helping her in her times of need, including dire emergencies utilizing his Monsters.

Since Rick and Tinsel, the Task Force, and the galaxy were important, and since it involved Falcon again, Yugi/Yami was on the case defeating his old nemesis, Black Shadow/Deathborn; it was quite shocking of the revelation and how he survived his demise. He took on the battles vigilantly and learned on the legend involving the universal forces determining the galaxy's fate, including Falcon as the Yang/Deathborn as the Yin/Rick as the Wuji. Yami himself knew that Rick as the savior would put the universe in good hands and was grateful on meeting his friends thanks to Tinsel. He knew that her relationship with Rick would maintain the universe's peace and safety. Which was why Yugi was enthusiastic on their upcoming matrimony.

Lucy Liberty

Like Rick, they both started as a bunch of newbies; however, unlike Rick, she has learned the ways of F-Zero thanks to her mentor, Dr. Clash. Both Tinsel and Lucy share similar personality traits; they're sweet, young, compassionate and docile, but they can up the ante if necessary. They're both determined, devoted in their own crafts, and loyal to their associates. Plus both their machines are lightweight, non-enduring, and nimble suiting their styles. Though Tinsel's more of a tomboy than Lucy as a girly girl; they seem to have a close relationship with Leon, and they admit to each of their feelings for their loved ones.

Jody Summer

They're both strong, independent women who respect each other, though Jody's strict personality is Tinsel's biggest turnoff. Despite that, she admires her great traits including her motherly instincts and devotion to her missions, even when Tinsel lost it after she dealt with the treacherous Truman. Both of their machines are light, flexible and low endurance, and Jody always wants to bring out the best in that veteran, hence why she chose her as a member of her team. And why she lectured her on being meek and not much of a risk-taker, unlike Rick and Jack whom she should learn more; she always wants her to break her limits.

"Only those who go too far will know exactly how far they can go. Think about it."

When she was brainwashed by Dark Million, she became their personal assassin w/ Miss Killer and Tinsel let out all her rage and hate onto her. As she was recovering when she reunited w/ Andy, she was determined to save her and the universe in order to redeem herself. Later on, she became more of the motherly wolf and gave Tinsel one final mission, to take care of Wheeler, during their resignation; she was fully aware that Tinsel and Rick's relationship began to blossom, even Stewart knew, while she was still too nervous to admit it to him.

From then on, she always watched the couple closely even from afar as she'd keep tabs on Rick during his bounty-hunting missions. She always supported them and encouraged both respectively when things seem the most dire. She's so devoted that she even decided to plan some elements of their matrimony.

"This baby is hot in cold courses, cool in hot courses, and it looks SPECTACULAR when it speeds across the track. It's a great machine, and I NEVER want to replace it! Unless...if I would count the Dragon Bird." - Tinsel describing the Silver Comet.

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