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Stars of Lylat


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Hi all, This is a story which I am also posting on FanFiction.net, so If you wish to see the original version, that's where it is. This Story is a novelization of the direct lead up to Lylat Wars, and features all of the main LW characters plus a few low level OCs.

S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  1

[    T h e  L y l a t  S y s t e m    ]

-“When people think of the Lylat War, they think of Arwings and Starfox’s amazing counter attack on Venom. But some of the events that happened before then were just as—if not more dramatic.”—General Pepper

The wind whipped over the sandy surface of the third planet of the Lylat system, picking up dust and grit as it travelled. The native species of the planet where more than used to this of course, for a creature living on Katina, sand storms were a fact of life. The unevolved creatures scuttled around, desperately trying to block off homes or caves before the ferocious storm arrived.

The people of Katina too were used to such things. For them it meant that children couldn’t play out side for the day, and travelling was restricted to those with underground access. All of the houses on Katina were fortified against the planet’s frequent dust storms though, so while the dust storms were potentially deadly, as long as they didn’t go out into it, the storms had little impact on the reasonable populous living on the planet.

But the fiercest dust storms were a mere annoyance in comparison to the threat of interplanetary tyrant Doctor Andross Oikonny. The Ape was reasonable for the death of millions and the destructions of billions of credits worth of infrastructure in his endless crusade for control or destruction of the Lylat system. Or to be specific, the destruction of the people of Corneria, the people who had persecuted him, and exiled him from their world.

Andross was once a brilliant scientist on Corneria. And he had gone from strength to strength, eradicating disease and creating helpful inventions that were prized by people in all walks of life. It wasn’t long before Andross was working as the director of research and development for the Cornerian military. But there Andross began to change; he became obsessed with bio-weaponry and mechanical super weapons, creating one crazy design after another.

Finally, an experiment of Andross’ went astray—damaging much of Corneria and destroying an entire army fleet before being subdued—and the subsequent discovery of Andross’ involvement in a civilian bombing insured that the unstable Ape was classed as insane and banished to the barren, deserted planet, Venom.

But five years later, General Pepper of the Cornerian Army discovered unusual activity originating from Venom and dispatched the elite mercenary team, ‘StarFox’ to investigate.

The StarFox team was widely reported as the best group of pilots in the system. Even the general public had heard of the brilliant pilot James McCloud, who could out fly even the most elite of the Cornerian military pilots. And while the team’s mission had been a secret one, the people of Lylat had discovered what had happened on their mission after the fact. Pigma Dengar, one of McCloud’s trusted wing mates had sold out the rest of his team, and McCloud had been killed as a result.

Even in the peaceful system of Lylat, one mercenary betraying another wasn’t considered that unusual an event, and so the public didn’t make much of it; it wasn’t until later that the public had learnt of Andross’ involvement. But the military had known. Trying not to panic the civilian population, they had not informed the public, instead opting to quietly begin building up their forces; increasing the amount of their military personal in preparation of Andross’ inevitable attack. But they had run out of time; two months after the death of James McCloud—and the escape and report of his wing mate, Peppy Hare—Andross attacked, and the storm of Andross swept across the system like the dust storm now sweeps across Katina. Whole worlds and sectors had fallen to his endless army of allied apes and Venom’s native lizards.

It had started with Venom. Andross had taken over the entire world under the thick blanket of sensor resistant cloud without anyone off planet realizing. Next, the closest outpost to Venom, a tiny base on the moon of MacBeth had been wiped from the surface. Then the storm had continued; Titania, Aquas, Fortuna and Papetoon. All had fallen under the control of Andross, and it was only a matter of time until Zones fell too.

And thus now, almost two years after his initial attack, Andross controls most of the Lylat system. The only two worlds to elude Andross attack and almost certain subsequent capture are Corneria—behind its screen of asteroids—and Katina.

The last two planets in the System accounted for most of Lylat’s population, and the public know that Andross wouldn’t dare even thinking about attacking them. They simply have to much military might. Here at last, Andross’ invasion had been brought to a halt. So people on Katina sleep in their beds unaware of the three massive battleships bearing down on them, they do not worry, because to worry would be actually consider the possibility of an attack; something that most people refuse to do.

The military of course know better. But even here, on the main base, most of the officers are sleeping in their barracks. Except for a single fighter wing, only the skeleton crew in the radar room make any real noise as they sweep the area around the planet for invasion forces.

The military know it’s only a matter of time until Andross strikes here, and so every available radar dish on Katina is pointed toward the sky. Military and civilian alike, they are constantly on the lookout for any approaching craft; normally, nothing so small as a pebble could get past without Katina knowing about it.

But they are blinded by the waves of radar jamming interference sent forth by the attackers. So they too, sleep unaware. There is no scrambling for air craft, no sweaty paws on the controls of anti-air cannons, only a small selection of people fruitlessly scanning the blinded radar for attacks; even as Andross’ attack ships are skipping into the upper atmosphere and heading straight for them.

Andross was indeed thinking of attacking Katina and Corneria, in fact he is already doing it. For the ape, nothing short of total conquest will do. The people of Lylat had to pay for their persecution of him.

And so his largest attack carrier is descending on the unsuspecting people of Katina, and the only ones that could stop him are half the system away...

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Nice job!  I really like how you used such an ominous tone; the effect was strong enough to feel.

And it's nice to see another FanFiction.net member!  I'll head on over there to review this, too.

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Thanks Blaise,

    This 1st chapter is very loosely based on the prologue for Mathew Stovers Revenge Of The Sith.

Next Chapter coming soon.

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S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  2

(part 1)

[      N i g h t  T i m e  D o u b t s      ]

-“Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say. However, I’m yet to see much desperation to defend Corneria; it’s almost sickening how easily they’re falling.”—Andross

Dimly he could hear a drum roll in the back of his head as he flew his ship down the twisting corridors. Large rings and red bomb canisters impossibly floated in the middle of the corridors as he flew through them, taking any branch in the path at random. At last he reached the final stretch, how he knew this he didn’t know, but the feeling was there and as he rounded the final bend, he could see that the corridor opened out into a large darkened chamber just ahead. Feeling a slight sense of déjà vu, he travelled through the last of the tunnel and into the chamber beyond. Instantly he was assaulted with a blinding and dazzling display of colours. Green, purple, orange and blue. Colours seemed to just wink in and out of existence and grow and shrink in fractions of seconds in a display of quantum like changeability.

There was but one thing in the seemingly infinite room. Directly in front of him sat the silhouette of a humungous head. Just how big it was, was impossible to tell against the ever changing background which gave no reference points, but he knew it was bigger than him; possibly bigger than his ship. And then suddenly it was coming towards him, growing bigger until it was obvious that it was indeed bigger than his ship—much bigger. Bigger than house, as big as a battle cruiser. The massive head—which the pilot now thought looked kind of familiar—began to laugh, a deep maniacal laugh that not only shook the head but the whole room. Just then the head moved forward into the light, but just before he could recognize it, James ‘Fox’ McCloud sat bolt upright with his chest heaving as his eyes snapped open onto his darkened room.

With a deep sigh to slow his racing heart, Fox wiped the sweat off his face and swung his legs out onto the floor. This was the third night in the past week that he’d had such a dream, a dream that was utterly bizarre. He couldn’t for the life of him, understand the purpose of floating bomb canisters, or for that matter, the disembodied head. He knew that he recognized it from somewhere. But why the rest of its body was absent he couldn’t fathom.

“Bleh, I need a drink.” He muttered, stepping out of bed and retrieving a dressing gown to guard against the chilly air. Rapping the fabric tightly around him and doing up the sash, Fox padded out of his quarters and down the thinly carpeted hall. This was one of the few places that actually had carpet on his base of operations; this level was entirely living quarters, and so it was thought that carpet could be spared for those who enjoyed night time walks. Not that Fox really was into them, but after his resent run of nightmares, he’d found himself scurrying down the hall far too often.

A short walk brought him to the end of the hall; and the main lift. The lift could access any of the ten or so floors, including the main control room, and was big enough to move several pallets of equipment from floor to floor. Fox however was more interested in the doors in the walls on either side of the lift. Through the doors was primarily the recreation room, although some of the less formal meetings and briefings were also held there, the room ran around the back of the lift in a horse shoe shape and was perhaps twenty metres wide and thirty long. But perhaps the best thing about the room was the enormous panoramic window that stretched around three sides of it, and as Fox stepped into the left side of the darkened room, he could see the brilliant vista of space.

Far away in the awesome sea of stars was the apparently golf ball sized blue orb of Corneria—fourth planet away from the star and the most heavily populated in the system. About twenty degrees to the right from Corneria was the three pronged yellowy-green nebula which sat in the centre of the area known as Sector-Y. This was the beautiful sight seen out of the port side of the Great Fox, the base of operations of the StarFox team.

This room was Fox’s favourite place on the assault ship at night, when the lights were turned off. Directly in front of him—on the port side of the room—was a pool table, which could also be used as a laser-hocky table or table-tennis table with only a few adjustments. From the doorway turning right, towards the front of the craft, a sunken lounge was at the forward-most point of the room. And on the starboard side—out of sight from Fox due to being on the other side of the lift—was a small amount of gym equipment.

But the feature of the room that Fox was currently most interested in was the small bar tucked in between the sunken lounge and up against the back wall of the lift. Aside from the kitchen, at the other end of the hall, the bar was the only place on board the Great Fox were it was possible to get anything to drink other than water. In no particular hurry, Fox walked over and opened the fridge; pulling out a bottle of an alcoholic beverage that his father had been rather fond of. He had never really cared for it himself, so he wasn’t sure why he suddenly felt like having some. Maybe the dream reminded me of father somehow. He mused.

Pulling out a short tumbler, he poured himself a glass and replaced the bottle back into the fridge. He turned his back towards the sunken lounge, leaning back on the bar and looking up at the huge deactivated LCD display screen that sat overhead. Wondering if there was anything on the Lylat News worth watching, he was just about to take a sip of his drink when…

“Do you have any idea how bad that stuff is for you?” asked a voice from behind him.

Fox jumped a foot in the air, and that was nothing compared to what his heart did. The tumbler in his paw went flying, slipping through his fingers, spilling fluid all down his front on the way down and landing with a clatter on the floor. The glass bounced on the vinyl floor covering, but there was still liquid everywhere. Turning towards the noise, Fox slammed a now sticky paw on the bench; “Don’t do that, Peppy! What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack?” he demanded.

“You should be thankful that you don’t really have to worry about such things.” Said Peppy’s voice from the direction of the lounge. “You wait ‘till you’re my age, then you can worry about heart attacks.”

Fox fumbled under the bar and found the light switch. Flipping it on, the lights came on in the bar; the radiant light illumined the red fabric of the sunken lounge.  The lounge was a horse shoe shape, with its open end against the window, at the closed end was a small stair that led down to the lower area. The two lines of seats that lined the edge of the lounge were big enough for perhaps twelve people to sit at. In between the two sides was a large coffee table, and on the left booth of seats, with a cup and saucer of tea clutched in his paw, was a salt and pepper coloured hare in his mid forties.

“What are you doing sitting here in the dark anyway?” asked Fox, as he washed his now sticky paws under the tap.

“Much the same reason as you I would have thought.” Said Peppy wearily, “Can’t sleep, and the view of space is nice.”

“It is beautiful.” Agreed Fox, as he wiped up the mess on the floor before opening the fridge again; this time pulling out a bottle of fruit juice. He poured himself a glass of the juice and walked over to join his friend, sitting opposite from him across the coffee table. He turned in his seat to look out at Corneria, the time on the Great Fox was synchronized with Corneria City far below on the surface, it’s  just a few hours before sunrise down there, Fox mused as he stared at the blue orb floating in space.

“So what’s on your mind, Fox?” asked Peppy, setting his tea cup down on the table and looking over it at his younger friend.

“Who says that anything’s on my mind?” countered Fox evasively, he didn’t want to seem like a little kid going running to their elder over a bad dream.

“Oh, just because everybody goes around on midnight walks—it’s so great for our health.” Said Peppy sarcastically.

“You’re awake, too.” Pointed out Fox, “Why don’t we hear why you’re up?”

“If you want me to.” Said Peppy. “But you first.”

Fox groaned in frustration. “It was a nightmare.” He said, “Nothing to worry about.”

“Nightmares can sometimes be a window into our inner fears.” Said Peppy sagely.

“I’m flying down through corridors in an Arwing.” Conceded Fox, closing his eyes and leaning back into the couch, “Dad’s Arwing.” He added, realizing for the first time that he was right; he wasn’t flying his own ship. “But there’s this giant head that appears at the end of the dream before I wake up. But I can’t identify who it is.” He finished. “I’m sure I recognize it from somewhere though…” he said as he looked over at Peppy who was wearing a thoughtful expression on his face.

“What about you then?” asked Fox. “You’ve heard my reason for being up at this somewhat less than pleasant hour of the morning, what yours?”

“I haven’t been able to sleep all night.” murmured Peppy, “I can’t help but feel a singular feeling of foreboding—something big is going to happen, or is already happening. Something defining in the War.”

Fox felt a chill at the hare’s words, Peppy had great insight into the climates of situations, and he was rarely wrong about things such as this; Fox wondered if he wasn’t secretly psychic. “A battle or an invasion of some sort?” he asked.

“I would assume so.” Answered Peppy.

The two of them sat in silence for a while, each taking the occasional sip from their respective drinks, “Do you really think that we can beat Andross?” asked Fox at last.

“Us as in StarFox? Or us as in Corneria?” asked Peppy.

“Both, I guess.” Said Fox after a short consideration.

Peppy looked thoughtful as he placed his cup and saucer onto the Coffee table, “I know General Pepper,” he said, “I know he’ll have some plan towards Andross, it isn’t over yet as far as the war is concerned, he’s been pulling back troops from every planet that we’ve lost. Regrouping them and preparing for a defence of Corneria. Andross Forces can’t be infinite, so I suppose the General is trying to wear them down as much as possible, leaving them open for counter attack.

“As for us… as I told the General before we came out here, we’re ready to be used if we must be. But I can’t see us on the front lines anyway. The General knows as well as we do that we are merely four fighters. I expect us to be sent on covert strikes, or interception missions, but not on the main front.”

“We’ll be behind the scenes on some crucial mission so that the Cornerian Army can take all the glory.” Laughed Fox, “That’ll be right.”

“Being merely four ships has its advantages as well as its disadvantages.” Reminded Peppy. “While even with Slippy’s numerous upgrades, the Arwings are not designed for open warfare. They’re fast and light, with a small payload of bombs and medium lasers—the typical equipment of interceptors. The important thing to do is to know what you’re limitations are, and work within them.”

“Slippy still thinks that he can rig photon cannons,” Noted Fox, “And he’s currently working on using the G-Diffuser to increase shield output.”

Peppy nodded, “If he can arrange that, we will be looking much better for open combat.” He said, “But you couldn’t send four fighters through an area like the Venomian Defence Fleet for example.”

Fox was thoughtful for a moment before saying, “Falco still thinks that we should have already offered our services in the war.”

Peppy shook his head, “There are no second chances on the battle field, Fox.” He said. “You boys haven’t seen real combat yet; you don’t know what it’s like, we’ll need every scrap of training and more before I’ll consider it’s safe for us to enter the fight. And you three are just not ready yet, in battle you need every edge you can get, Falco is a great pilot, but he still lacks discipline…”

“And probably always will…” muttered Fox under his breath. Peppy continued as if he hadn’t heard him. “…and without that he will get into trouble. Slippy… well he’s better than your average fighter recruit, but we all think of him as engineer extraordinaire first, and pilot second.”

Fox snickered slightly, Slippy wasn’t a bad pilot, but he wasn’t a brilliant one either, and like the saying about creating your own luck, the gremlins seemed to follow him around every time he stepped into a cockpit. “He tries his best though.” Defended Fox.

“As we all do.” Agreed Peppy, “But we need to do our best, not try our best.” He sighed and closed his eyes, leaning back into his seat. “I don’t want any of us to end up like James…”

“Father wasn’t killed because of lack of flying skills; he was killed because Pigma betrayed him.” Spat Fox.

“I know, Fox.” Said Peppy placating, “But I don’t wish for another team-mate to die, not on my watch.” Pain was written all over his face, and Fox was shocked to realize he’d forgotten that Peppy had known his father even better than he had.

“I’m sorry.” Mumbled Fox, humbled, “I just hate to hear people talking about Father’s death. I know that people make aspersions that it was because he was fighter jock that couldn’t hack it when things got a bit hot.”

“That is, unfortunately, the view that that most of Lylat holds of mercenaries.” Said Peppy solemnly, “Perhaps deservedly, there are not many people with morals as strong as your father’s, many of them, like Pigma, are only interested in what money they can make out of a situation.”

“I still just don’t understand it.” Said Fox, “Pigma always seemed so cheery, it seemed impossible that he would even think of betraying you or father.”

“I know,” said Peppy, “I have spent a long time since I escaped from Venom tying to work out where Pigma went wrong. But I just can’t, I don’t know whether he was always working for Andross, or whether he was approached quietly and won over… all I know is that he was unusually jumpy on our last mission.” Peppy looked down into his lap. “Sometimes I wonder if I could have seen what was going on earlier; protected myself and James before…” he trailed off into silence.

“Well, I think it’s probably time for me to go back to my room and try going to sleep again.” Said Peppy suddenly, draining the rest of his cup of tea and standing up. “So I’d advise that you get to bed soon too.”

“Fox rolled his eyes. “Yes Dad.” He said, stressing the second world. Peppy hesitated slightly at the comment. Fox blushed slightly and averted his eyes. “Sorry, Peppy. I’ve always considered you like a second father after… well, y’know.” He said.

Peppy smiled, “Thankyou for saying so, Fox. I’m honoured that you think of me that way. You’ll always be like a son to me.” He said as he stretched slightly and walked over to put his empty cup on the bench—Rob would be there to clean them up in the morning—And turned toward the door. “Good night, Fox.” He said as he walked towards it.

“Goodnight!” called Fox after him. With a sigh, Fox looked out the window again at the brightly glowing blue orb of Corneria. He had been there, planet side when he’d first received the news about his father’s disappearance and subsequent death. He had been attending the Cornerian Military Academy; following his father’s steps in military training. His father had insisted that the military training was an important step; teaching many things that other options wouldn’t. But nevertheless he had always planned on leaving the army after he’d graduated—to fly with his father in the elite StarFox.

But at sixteen years of age, that dream had been shattered for ever. He had been on the way from his Astrophysics class, to a standard class in self defence when he had been paged to report to the headmaster’s office…

Part 2 coming soon...

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S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  2

(part 2)

[      N i g h t  T i m e  D o u b t s      ]

“…I repeat, James McCloud Junior, report to the headmaster’s office immediately.” The announcement rang over the heads of the bustling cadets travelling between classes. A sixteen year old Fox McCloud left the group of friends that were still calling after him, jokingly wondering what he was in trouble for. Truth be told, Fox was a bit miffed himself. His behaviour had been good—reasonably—and he hadn’t been in any fights—recently—either. On the other hand, he wasn’t particularly sad about missing self defence anyway; mainly because he wasn’t very good at it—he was constantly beaten in it by, former friend, now more of rival, O’Donnell. So all in all he had trudged most of the way to the headmaster’s office in reasonable spirits.

In hind sight, Fox should have realized that something was wrong when he had walked into the Headmaster’s office and seen General Pepper standing behind the desk instead of Captain Granthorp. Perhaps he had on some level. But his response was merely a hesitant, “Reporting as ordered, sir.”

The General had turned away from the coat of arms behind the desk slowly and faced him. He looked weary as if he had a heavy burden on his shoulders. “Fox…” he had said.

Fox had known then that something was definitely wrong. While he knew the General personally through his father, the General always used formalities when they where out in a public setting. Thus, with the general dropping in unannounced on the Academy and using Fox’s preferred name, and with his father away on a mission, it didn’t take an Einstein to work out what must have happened. “No…” he whispered, fighting back tears and determinedly staying in military posture. But he couldn’t hold back the words. “No it can’t be true…”

“Nothing is confirmed yet.” The General was quick to say. “We’re currently just listing them MIA. It’s just that their report is long overdue, and we haven’t heard from them.” But he didn’t sound very hopeful, and considering that he would know the mission profile better than anyone else—thus what StarFox was dealing with—it didn’t raise Fox’s hopes much either.

Dimly Fox was aware of Pepper saying that he should return to study, and that he would contact him if there were any further developments, but he wasn’t really listening. Nodding at the General’s words, he roughly saluted and mumbled a quiet, “Thankyou for informing me.” Before turning to leave. However just as his paw reached the door activation pad, the General’s communicator rang. “Hold on Fox, this might be something.” Said the General as he snatched the communicator off his shoulder strap. “Yes?” he answered briskly.

The Fox listened intently to Pepper’s side of the conversation. “Yes…yea… what?! Are you sure it’s him? Yes, but he’s alone?... When was this? Just then? Good, get him into a private room and tell him I’ll be right there.” Pepper hung up the call and turned back to face Fox who was still frozen by the door, hoping against hope that he knew who ’he’ was. Unfortunately he was only half right. “Peppy Hare has just been checked into the Cornerian base’s infirmary. He refuses to speak to anyone but you or me. Come, we will go at once.”

Fox sighed as his reminiscing came to an end. He and Pepper had gone to the base; Peppy had looked like he’d been through Hell and back. His flight clothes were stained and tattered, and he himself was bruised and bloodied. Upon seeing Fox his face had broken into one of relief, then sorrow as he informed the two of what had happened. How he and James and their third pilot Pigma had snuck into the atmosphere of Venom. How Pigma had sold them out. How they had been captured and imprisoned by... none other than Andross. It had been then that Fox had vowed to take down Andross if it killed him. And thus he had dropped out of the Academy, and he and Peppy had reformed the old StarFox squadron and had spent the last two years training for war. They’d uncovered two more pilots, Falco and Slippy, and the dreadnaught class assault ship that his father had ordered before he died had also been completed in that time. The StarFox team had named the ship in James’ honour, -the ‘Great Fox’; the very ship in which Fox now sat. They had flown over to the inner edge of the asteroid field where they now based themselves for training.

Peppy had devised a gruelling training regime made to test all four of them to their limits, so far the team as a whole were doing well, and under Peppy instruction, Fox had gone from a talented recruit, to one of the best pilots in the Lylat system. But Fox was still unable to beat their avian pilot in simulated combat. As much as he hated to admit it, it seemed that Falco was just a tiny bit too good for him.

’No,’ he shook his head. He had promised himself: one day he would be a better pilot than anyone, even Falco. With that in mind he gulped down the rest of his drink. Fox took one last look at the beautiful vista out of the window as he rose to his feet, before walking over to the bar and putting his glass down along side Peppy’s. Then without looking back he walked out of the lounge and back to his room, if Peppy was right, Fox could probably use all the sleep he could get.

Meanwhile, far away over the sandy surface of the third planet of the system, an elderly green lizard sat in the command chair of a large round attack ship. He was Colonel Vawsknech, the Venom commander in charge of Andross’ most recent assault. In fact at this moment he was in contact with the emperor himself. “What is it?” snarled the ape as his head appeared on the screen.

The commander’s first instinct was to shrink back from the terrifying stare of Andross, but he forced himself to remain firm. He—all the army were terrified of the powerful scientist, Andross after all, wasn’t the most forgiving of people, and failing him usually meant death.

But on the other hand, Andross seemed to admire, or at least respect those like Commander O’Donnell, People who would dare to stand up against him. Ranks seemed to come to those kinds of people, though only as long as they didn’t go too far; the trail of dead officers who’d chosen the wrong thing to argue about attested to Andross’ dreadful temper. Thus one had to have rather good judgment.

So swallowing heavily, Vawsknech gave the best bow he could while seated and then sat up stock straight, trying not to look too intimidated. “We are in position, my emperor.” He reported.

“I take it the radar jammer is activated and working.” stated emperor Andross, the simple question conveying a thinly veiled threat.

“Yes sir. It is functional and it seems… uh… it is working.” replied the lizard as he remembered that Andross only liked definite answers. “The Katinan military is completely unaware of us.”

“Very well, Proceed!” snapped Andross, his mugshot disappearing from the screen.

Breathing a sigh of relief, the commander switched to a tight beam channel to the other two members of his fleet. “This is the Saucerer to warships Conquest and Exterminator. We are going ahead as planned; you all know the orders, spare no one.” With those words the other crew on Vawsknech’s bridge propelled the craft forwards toward Katina, releasing a company of fighters to fly on ahead of it. Like a pair of gigantic missiles, the two long battleships moved after them.

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This is really good, all these "old school" Star Fox fanfics are inspiring me to write one myself (heh, even though I'm already trying to work on 2 other SF fanfics and a Zelda fanfic). But anyhoo, back to your story, I really like it, it sets a great mood for the unfolding story, and is generally well-written (and using the novelization of Revenge of the Sith as inspiration is an excellent choice!). I will definitely be following this one, and will also leave feedback on fanfiction.net if you prefer.

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Thanks guys, for all of you who ]i]are FanFiction.net members, I would really appreciate the reviews there instead of/as well as here... I know that when I go looking at stories the number of reviews is often a very good guide as to how good the story is... and to be frank, there are a lot of stories on FF.N that aren't as good as mine ans have a lot more reviews.

  • Thanks again for your positive feedback.
  • Now we go back to Katina. Sorry to have to split chapters, but they rather quickly exceed the char limit on this site.

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S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  3

[      T h e  I n v a s i o n  o f  K a t i n a      ]

-"With your radar jammers you have no chance of detection—squash that base."—Andross

Major Russel Case was the commanding officer in charge of Katina Space Force Base. He had originally been stationed on MacBeth, and although his group had been forced to retreat from the base when Andross had attacked there, his efforts had allowed the civilian scientists on the base to be evacuated. And thus General Pepper had reassigned him here. At the moment though, he was less interested in his recent military activity and more interested in his good night of sleep—or lack there of.

For the third consecutive night, Case found himself walking towards the flight control room at around three in the morning after not being able to get to sleep. Maybe all this active duty is getting to me... He thought grimly, rubbing his eyes again as he stopped outside the radar control room. He placed his key card into the locking mechanism and entered a short code. With a slight whir, the doors slid open and Case stepped in, squinting into the duller light of the radar room. All of the radar operators glanced up to see the new arrival. "Good, morning sir." Said a couple of them before turning back to their screens.

"Says who?" grumbled Case, depositing himself into a chair behind a radar screen. "Any activity in this sector?" he asked.

"Aside from a sand storm on the other side of the planet? None at all." Replied one of the radar operators, "It's almost too quiet."

"Bleh! Don't say that, you'll put a jinx on us." Said Major Case

"A jinx sir?" snorted one of the other radar operators, "Jinxes don't exist, sir."

"If jinxes don't exist then fate has a very strange sense of humour. It likes to wait until you're sure that nothing can go wrong and then turns on you." Said Case. "Why on MacBeth we…"

"Hold on sir! I've got something on radar!" cried one of the radar crew from across the small room. "It's moving fast over the city and coming straight for us."

Major Case sprang to his feet. "Bring up the searchlights in that sector," he ordered, "And pull all video from that area as well." The main screen flickered on, showing an image taken from the ground looking up at a starry patch of sky for a second before at least a dozen searchlights lit up the area and began scanning—their ambient light drowning out the stars. The members of the room looked on with baited breath as the searchlights moved across the sky, Russel bit his lip as a solitary bead of sweat made its way down the fur on his forehead.

The searchlights danced across the screen before one of them flashed across a dark grey shape. At once, all twelve lights focused on the object and showed it to be…

…A native Funga bird. The five metre wingspan bird started in the light and dove towards the ground. Russel let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding as people around the room let out shaky laughs. "False alarm." Concluded Case. "Okay, begin wind down procedure for the lights and…" his sentence trailed off into a strangled gasp as the Funga bird escaped from the beams of the search beacons and the lights instead illuminated a massive saucer shaped space craft. "By the…" gasped Major Case.

One of the quick thinking radar operators switched to a thermal satellite image over the base. There, displayed on the screen, about eight kilometres away from the base was the huge circular shape of the space craft, it was at least two hundred metres across. Big enough to hold over three hundred Invader II Venomian attack craft. But even more frightening where the two dreadnaught battleships flying directly overhead. "What the?" gasped someone before the entire base shook from a cannon strike.

Major Russel Case struggled to his feet, untangling himself from his chair. "Bring the shields up to full power. Sound the Alarm! All personal to their stations!" he shouted, "Contact General Pepper and activate the surface to air defence systems. And GET THE FIGHTER CREWS TO THEIR FIGHTERS!" he bellowed.

Klaxons began to blare as the two battleships fired another volley of cannon fire and the base rocked again.

William "Bill" Grey sat bolt upright in bed as the world shook violently around him. Klaxons blared and red lights flashed. "What the heck?" grumbled Bill, struggling out of his bed. He glanced around at his wide eyed room mates who were also struggling to untangle themselves from their bed sheets.

"I'll take it this means that we're under attack." Said Bill, his dry humour belaying his fear of the situation. All five of them where new recruits from the academy; this would be their first time in live combat. And though Bill had flown countless simulations and graduated top of his year—with the highest score since the legendary James McCloud himself—all the veterans he had ever spoken to had told him that live combat was nothing the same, and he was quite nervous about his first time, or rather he was down right terrified. But as his military training kicked in his voice was perfectly calm. "Lets go." He said.

The five room mates dressed in record time, and sprinted down through the bustling corridors to the hanger. "How long do you suppose we have until they get here?" Bill asked his closest friend out of the five, Thomas Whitmore.

Another colossal bang echoed through the halls as the world shook again. People around them in the corridors where thrown to the ground as Bill managed to grab the wall for support. "Scratch that, sounds like they're already here." He said as the rest of his companions picked themselves of the floor. "That's affirm." Nodded Tom. Out of the five of them, Tom had passed with the lowest score from the academy, but given the dreadful bullying he had been given over his people's traditional temperament, that was perhaps understandable.

As the five pilots passed into Hanger, they where swept up in a hive of activity. Mechanics and ground crew swarmed over the fighters that where being prepped for launch; some hadn't even changed out of their pyjamas in their hurry to get down to work. That's the problem with this sort of operation. Reflected Bill, The pilots can only launch as fast as the ground crew is ready for them to.

"Look, over there." Said another of Bill's companions, Gwin Jones. Bill followed his outstretched finger to see the Major, Russel Case, giving a stand around briefing to a group of about fifty or so pilots. "All right, lets go." Said Bill turning to run over to the crowd.

"What's happening?" whispered Bill to one of the other squad leaders at the back. "The Labrador Squadron was on standby, they're already in the air." Whispered back the other pilot, "But the battleships have mounted cannons and they're keeping them at bay. At least they've drawn the fire away from the base though."

Bill felt his eyes widen in shock. "Battleships? As in plural? Just how many are there?"

"Shh." Hissed another pilot.

"…The attack saucer seems to be hanging back for the time being," Major Case was saying, "So Husky unit, you're first priority is to take down those Dreadnaught battleships. Bulldog unit, you're on the fighter escort."

"Sir, What about missiles." Asked a pilot from near the front of the group. "Are we still using those test ones? We're going to need secondary weapons if we're taking on dreadnaughts."

Case hesitated, "As you know, the new type of missiles are a bit temperamental, we have had to take them off during storage for safety reasons, We expected to have more warning of an enemy attack; giving us a chance to redeploy them. As it is…"

"You mean we're going into active combat against capital ships, with no missiles?" asked another officer.

"Believe me; I don't like it any more than you do." Said Case uncomfortably, "But that's the way it is. Squadron leaders prepare for launch. Good hunting, dismissed."

"Just great." Said Bill rolling his eyes, "Combat without secondaries… no problem, lets do it!" he said to his room mates. His Squadron mates. As the second highest ranking graduate from the Military Academy in history, Bill had been straight away given the rank of squadron leader over his old class mates. On the Katinan bases, each squadron was assigned their own room, so as to socialise the people who would fly together as much as possible. Thus the people Bill bunked with, he also flew with.

Bill climbed into his fighter trembling with excitement, this was it, after several weeks of training and waiting for Andross to attack, he was getting into his fighter for real combat for the first time.

"Husky Unit," said a voice over the radio system; labelled as Husky leader on the Heads-up-Display, "This is you're captain speaking, please insure that you're seat back and tray tables are…"

"Oh shut up." Said another voice labelled Husky one.

"Geez, Some people, no sense of humour," muttered the first voice again, drawing a few laughs, including Bill's. "Okay, this is Husky Leader, all fighters give me you're status—in order—before I give you back to your squad leaders."

"Husky one, standing by. Husky two, standing by. This is three, standing by." The radio chatter went. The arrangement of the squads on Katina was very simple. The Wing Commander—Husky Leader, in this instance—was in charge of the different flight units—each made up of 31 fighters including the Wing Commander. Then the first six numbers of the squadron where given to the squadron leaders who each commanded four other fighters. Thus Bill was Husky Six, while his Squad mates; Tom Whitmore, Shane McGrath, Glen Warne and Gwin Jones where Husky twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine and thirty respectively. "Husky four standing by. This is husky five, standing by…"

"Husky six standing by." Reported Bill, before the count moved on to Husky seven. At last after Gwin reported in as standing by, Husky leader said, "Alright, Squad leaders, prepare to move into the launch tube."

Having completed their last minute checks, the ground crews scurried away from the fighters as one by one the craft were automatically taxied onto the launching catapult. Like a shot, the first group was fired out of the launch tube, and the catapults travelled back down their tracks and into position as the next group were being taxied up.

"Are you guys ready?" asked Bill on a squad only channel as Squadron three launched. "As ready as we're going to be." Responded Tom.

"Good, that means yes." Said Bill, his paws tightening on his flight controls as he did a quick scan over all of his instruments, since it had just been checked, and his craft hadn't even left the ground yet it was probably unnecessary, but it made him feel better, regardless.

At last as Squad five launched, Bill lifted his craft slowly into the air and moved it on directional thrusters only into the launch tube, at once, the computer took over, guiding his craft down towards the launch track even as the catapult came racing back. "Husky squad six. Give a go, no go for launch." Spoke a voice over the radio, just as Bill's craft shuddered slightly as the launching mechanism latched on it

"Are you all go, guys?" Asked Bill. Four green aircraft came up on Bill's squad states display as his wing mates activated their friend or foe beacons. The signal for 'all green'. Activating his own beacon, Bill opened a channel to flight control and said in the crisp military voice that all recruits into the academy where taught. "This is Husky Wing, squadron six, we're go for launch."

With his left paw, Bill grasped his throttle as his launching catapult began to speed up the launch tube, in five seconds flat, he went from stationary to his launch speed of over a hundred-and-three metres per second. With a sudden jolt the catapult detached from his craft and he jammed the throttle into full. Like a shot his fighter screamed out of the launch tube and into the night.

Part 2 coming soon...

AN: I know that 103 metres/second doesn't sound that fast, but its actually roughly 500 Km/h (311 Miles/h)

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S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  3

(Part 2)

[      T h e  I n v a s i o n  o f  K a t i n a      ]

"How are we doing? Are all the fighters in the air yet?" Asked Major Case as he grabbed a head set and sat in behind a radar screen, which were displaying the thermal satellite images since the radar was still being jammed.

"Husky Squad six and Bulldog Squad six have both just launched, sir." Reported lieutenant Keeves.

"Good, hopefully that should even up the score a bit." Said Case. "Tell the Labrador and Bulldog Squadrons to draw the Invaders away from the base.

"And tell Husky squadron to take care of the battleship's weapons first."

"Yes sir." Replied Keeves.

Cannon fire streaked ribbons across the black sky, the green of the Katinan anti-air cannons and the scarlet of the Venomian attack cannons glowing brightly against the stars and the targeting lights. Missile trails wound through the battle as they had travelled after the fighters that they had locked on to, and the fighters themselves flitted around like gnats around a candle. It was a nightmare of a place, filled with chaos and destruction. "Watch it boys," called Husky leader to Bill and his group as they levelled out at two hundred metres and turned to fly into the melee. "We count thirty-five to forty-five Invader II's, the other groups are trying to draw them off, but watch your back. And keep an eye out for missiles too; we've already lost eight and seventeen to them."

"Roger that, sir." Said Bill

"I've seen good things from you, Grey; don't disappoint us."

"Thankyou sir, I'll do my best."

"Husky group, this is base leader two, squad six and four, you guys are on the missiles, everyone else, you're on the cannons."

"We're on it." Said Bill as he pulled his craft into a lazy loop towards the battleship, for the first time he could clearly see their opponent. High above the mushroom shaped base, sat the two dreadnaughts. They were at least two hundred metres long, flared out into engines at the back and pointed into a peel-back missile bank at the front. In the middle was a large bulbous gunner's pod with cannon turrets on the top and on the bottom. They almost looked like giant deadly bugs. And behind them sat a dark grey saucer of death, its blasters offline at the moment, but one just had to look at the ship to be awed. At five hundred metres across, it sat over the desert sands, spinning slowly in the light of Katina's two moons, which had now poked over the horizon.

Swallowing down the bile that had built up in his throat, Bill spoke to his wingman, "Okay guys, let's spray these bugs shall we? Tom, Gwin, stay back in flanking positions, Glen and Shane, lets get 'em." With his left thumb he toggled on the boosters and his craft shot forward towards the battle ship closest to the base.

"Let's hit them hard and fast, target the missile bank." Bill cried, with a practised ease he lined up the missile bank and fired. The shots glanced off with no visible effect at all. "Oh damn, not good." Said Bill. As if realizing it was being attacked, the missile bank opened up, and primed several missiles for launch. "Dang… scatter!" cried Bill a second before the missiles fired.

At least a dozen missiles rocketed out of their launchers and streaked towards the scattering formation. Bill looped under an enemy fighter into the middle of the melee between Bulldog squadron and the Venomian forces as warning indicators and alarms went off in his cockpit. "Look out Husky six; you've got a missile on your tail." called one of the other Katinan pilots, tagged as Bulldog two. "No kidding." muttered Bill as he tried to evade the missile that had locked onto him when he and his squadron had broken away from each other.

Bill tried all the tricks; he tried a half loop and sharp turns. He tried boosting and air breaking, but the missile dragged along behind him as though it were attached by a tow cable. In the end it was freak luck that saved him. An enemy fighter, trying to evade fire from one of Bill's friendlies had skimmed straight into the path of the missile. Before the pilot or the missile's computer guidance could work out what had happened, the two collided in a respectable fire ball. "Damn, those things are like shadows!" he said as he blasted a fighter that travelled through his sights.

He looped back around towards the battleships which had begun to fire on the base once again. "Form up and report in guys, what's your states?" he asked his squad.

"I've taken some damage but I'm still green." Reported Tom.

"I'm still here." Called Glen Warne.

"I'm green." Said Shane McGrath.


Bill waited. There was no word from Gwin. "Gwin? Gwin Jones? Report in Gwin…" he happened to glace down at his instrument panel; Gwin's indicator was missing. There could be only one reason for that; Bill's squad had suffered their first loss in the war.

"Look out boss! Fighters coming at us!" called Glen. Bill brought his fighter around to see the enemy formation heading their way as his remaining squad mates formed on his wing. "Hey, Grey? Where's Jones?" asked Shane.

"He's gone." Said Bill tightly, eyeing the approaching formation with clenched teeth. He didn't hear his squad mates exclamations of shock; his mind was travelling into the past, far away from the battle at hand. Years ago, before the beginnings of the war, before Andross had come back into the picture. When he had still been at the academy, he had been best friends with one James McCloud Junior, or Fox as he preferred to be called. Fox was the son of accomplished pilot, James McCloud Senior. Though Bill was almost equal with Fox in skill on a good day, Fox had three things that Bill didn't; a heritage in flying, more refined instincts, and a knack for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Bill couldn't remember the amount of times that he'd been about to shoot Fox down in one simulation or another, only to have Fox pull some ridiculous stunt or squeeze through some gap that Bill wasn't even sure he should have been able to fit through to escape. One day after such an occasion, He had asked Fox how he kept on doing it. After joking about how he'd have to kill him if he told him, Fox had quickly gone sober and said: "You need to be able to get into your zone, and then everything just seems to happen. I like to think of what I fight for."

"And what do you fight for?" Bill had asked Fox.

Fox had said nothing for a long time, "My father is the best pilot in the system." he had answered at last. "I fight to be like him, someone who'll make him proud." At the time Bill had scoffed him off. Now, as he tore through the enemy formation and raced past the battleship, peppering it with fire before turning back towards the fighters again, Bill knew it to be true. Here in the whirl of chaos and confusion that was battle, the difference between soldiers was the power of their will, and the only people with strong wills where the ones with something to fight for. Wether it be for their family or their friends. Or for the Lylat system or for their hatred of the opposition, the ones who where successful on the battle field all fought for some grater purpose than simply shooting down opponents. And in Bill's case, He fought to avenge the deaths of all the people who'd lost their lives in this war. From the father of his best friend, James McCloud, to the most recent, his squad mate Gwin Jones.

Major Case watched the battle above the base via the thermal radar system—it was not looking good. "Sergent, we need a head count." He said to one of operators, "And scan the Battleships for damage, we need to know how much we're doing…"

"Sir!" cried lieutenant Keeves from across the room, "The saucer carrier is advancing into the outer battle zone!"

Russel chewed his lip, "Sergent, that head count?" he demanded.

"Not good sir. We've lost forty percent of the Husky and Bulldog wings and ninety percent of the Labrador wing."

"Damn!" Russel cursed, he sighed, "Right, open me a fleet wide channel." He said. He ground his teeth noisily; though the Bulldog Squadrons efforts had wiped out most of the Invader II fighters, between those and the battleship's missiles, they'd lost more than half their flight group in only minutes. Worse, Russel was sure that the only reason that the Saucer was entering the fray now was to release more fighters. "You're on, Sir." Said the Sergent.

Russel nodded and switched on his headset, "Squad leaders, we have incoming! Bulldog unit, don't let them through, Huskies and Labradors, you're still on the Battleships."

"What's your shield status, Base One?" That was Husky Leader.

"We're still holding good at seventy-two percent." Replied Russel, "You guys are the more pressing issue at the moment. You must try to preserve your numbers."

"Hey what do you think we've been doing? Dancing a tango or something?"

"What about the battleships sir?" asked another Voice, if he wasn't mistaken it was William Grey who had graduated at the top of his class from the Cornerian Flight Academy. "Have we damaged them at all?" he asked

Russel looked down at the printout he'd just been passed on that subject and grimaced. "The battleship designated 'Battleship A's shields are still holding at ninety-one percent, Battleship B is at ninety-four." He told them.

At that moment, lieutenant Keeves called out, "Sir! Enemy carrier is launching fighters, we count twenty… correction thirty, no fifty ships."

"Heads up Bulldogs, coming your way." Said Russel, he just hoped that the Bulldog's depleted forces would be enough…

Adam Mitchell flew under the number Bulldog two. As an experienced member of the Katinan Space Forces, he'd seen some combat through Katina's internal peace keeping, but never had he been involved in a battle such as this, Cannon fire from the two battleships shred the dark sky as the main base radioed up more good news. You gotta be kidding me? Fifty ships? The last forty wiped out half our group! He thought grimly. "You still with me, Hobby?" he asked his only remaining squad mate.

"Still here Mitch." Came the response, "I heard, let's get 'em!"

Adam flipped his fighter around and sped toward the incoming Invader II's, squirting shots into them like clouds of rain he was joined by the seventeen or so other fighters as together, they desperately tried to keep Andross' forces of the other two fighter wings and their base. Ivan Green, their Wing commander boosted on ahead into the thick of the fighters, Adam looked away for a moment to blast a fighter that had strayed close enough to his sights, he looked back at his wing commander, just in time to see him collide with an enemy fighter. Both fighters vanished into the fire ball.

That meant—seeing as Husky one had been shot down earlier—that he was in command of the remainders of the Bulldog unit.

"Form on my wings, stay in formation no matter what; we'll chase these guys down one by one if we have to." Adam said. "Lets go!" bringing his fighter around in a slow curve, allowing the other fighters to stay in formation he punched the boosters and tore after the advancing enemy group who were making a bee line to reinforce their battleships. "Oh no you don't!" muttered Adam, lining up one of them and squeezing the trigger. The enemy ship disappeared in a flash.

"We cannot let them reach the others, Sir!" said one of the other pilots in his squad.

"I know, lets gun it men." Said Adam jetting off after the Venomian fighters.

Part 3 coming soon...

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S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  3

(Part 3)

[      T h e  I n v a s i o n  o f  K a t i n a      ]

"Enemy battleship A's shields, still holding at eighty-three percent." Reported the base. It was everything that Bill did not want to hear. He'd Just lost another of his Squad mates; Shane McGrath had just been shot out of the sky, and they still weren't making any head way.

Bill shuddered as another fighter vanished under the explosion of two more missiles not twenty metres away. "Glen, Tom, Let's go! We've got to get rid of those missile launchers." He said as he looped around to find himself face to face with the nearest battleship, designated Battleship B. "Alright guys, don't break off until you can see the rivets on those launchers." He instructed as his two wingmen formed into flanking positions.

As one, the three fighters fired, burning a deadly rain of lasers at the battleship, but once again they were thwarted by the shields and armour of the larger spacecraft. "Damn it!" cursed Bill, "This is getting ridiculous. We're barely scratching it!"

"If only we had missiles, we could launch one through into the engines. Blow it up from the inside." Commented Glen.

"Yeah, well we don't have missiles," snapped Bill, "So unless you're volunteering to try and land in one of those things, blowing it up from the inside is…" he broke off into an 'ooh' as a wonderful idea occurred to him. They didn't have any missiles, but the battleships did. Dozens of them. "Guys form up. We're going in again." He said.

"What's going on, Bill? You're up to something." Said Tom.

"Just fire the retros and prepare to fire on my mark." Responded Bill as the other two formed into flanking positions again. They veered off toward the second battleship, lining up with its head again. "Okay guys, hit the retros." Said Bill firing his own. The fighters slowed to half their speed as they closed in on the battleship. "This is the sort of thing that you would have thought of half an hour ago, Fox." Muttered Bill to himself, then at battleship he whispered: "C'mon baby, open up now, come on… c'mon you useless heap of junk so I can blow you clean out of the sky!"

As I in response, the missile bank trembled and then the two halves began swing back open. Bill gave it half a second to fully open and then bellowed "MARK!" as he pumped his own trigger as fast as he could. Shot after shot from the three fighters blasted into the ranks of missiles primed in their launchers, after less than two seconds, the missiles' primitive launch shielding failed and one of the missiles exploded, which in turn, detonated all of the missiles around it, which blew off the entire missile system and all of the rest of the missiles housed behind it, severely damaging the front of the craft.

"Yee haw! That did it! Cheered Bill as the three fighters pulled up over the almost crippled dreadnaught.

"That's the way to do it, Boss!" cheered Glen, "You show 'em what happens to people who mess with Ka…" he was cut off as the battleship they'd just damaged, fired at point zip range and vaporized his craft with it's top cannon.

"Glen!" cried Tom at the same moment Bill shouted "No!" he couldn't believe it, three of his wingmen were now gone, it was worse than his wildest dreams. It was at this moment that Bill realized that they could not destroy Andross' forces here; the best they could hope for was to drive them into retreat and try to rebuild before they tried to attack again. "Form up, Tom." He said heavily. "The show must go on. Cover me!"

"Husky wing." Came Major Case's Voice, "We've just taken a reading on Battleship A—the one that Six's group just hit. Shields at seven percent, destroy it before they can regenerate. And Good job, Grey."

"Husky Unit, to me!" called Husky leader, "We'll attack in formation." Bill and Tom reacted immediately, arching around and forming on their wing commander's flank. It was depressing how many people where missing from the formation, aside from Bill, there was only two other squad leaders left; Husky two and Husky four, and more than half of the other ships where gone too. And even as they formed up, Husky two vanished in a bright flash.

"Alright boys, Fire as we fly by, fire at will." Said Husky Leader as together the fighters lined up the larger Battleship. Fire blossomed across the bulbous belly of the weapons pod as the fighters poured their blasters into it. As they reached it, fighters flew above and below, shooting at it until the last second.

"Shields down to three percent!" announced the base excitedly.

"One more pass, move it guys." Said Husky leader as he began to loop around, but then came bad news, "Husky boys, this is Bulldog two." Announced the radio, "You have incoming!"

"Oh lovely, Just what we needed." Groaned Bill.

"Can it Grey." Said Husky leader, "Break formation and attack the battleship whenever you have the chance."

"You got it," said Bill, before switching to a squad only channel. "Tom, stay on my wing, we'll loop around and make another run." Breaking out of formation, he boosted out of the path of the incoming fighters and slowly circled around toward the battleship again. "Okay Tom, lets finish off this tin can." Said Bill with a smile, an evil smile but nevertheless, it was the first smile he'd given all morning. It was time to take care of the battleship; finally they would be the ones on the front foot.

"Negative, Negative." Called his squad mate urgently, "We've got three Invaders coming in on an intercept course." Bill looked up to see Tom was right, a delta formation of Invader II's where indeed trying to cut across their right flank. "Damn! Why now?" gritted out Bill, hitting the retros and spinning around to face the fighters. Picking one of them out at random, he launched toward it in a deadly game of chicken, both fighters fired at each other mercilessly, but Bill's lasers cut through first. At a range of only eighty metres, just as Bill was thinking of pulling up, the Invader II exploded under the onslaught of Bill's Cornerian fighter. Its right wingman blew up too as Tom's blasters shredded it. The third fighter was torn to shreds by blaster fire from the side as the Bulldog unit re-entered the fray. "Good timing Bulldogs." Said Bill on the global channel.

"You're welcome Husky six." Said the voice that Bill recognized from before as Bulldog two.

Bill was just about to turn back to the battleship when he saw Husky Leader zoom past him, trailing two Invader II's.

Jerking his fighter around to follow, Bill boosted after him. "Husky leader, this is Grey, I'm on your tail, break to the side and I'll cover you."

"Negative." Replied Husky Leader resignedly. "I've just lost thruster Control, take out that other battleship, I've got this one, you are in command now Grey!" Bill watched in stunned silence as with the last of his thruster power, Husky leader, altered his course straight towards the battleship. With the two fighters still firing at him, and with a last defiant scream, the Husky Leader rammed the battleship's weapon's pod and disappeared under fireball, half a second later the entire battleship went up as the shields finally failed and the weapons pod vaporized, taking the rest of the ship with it. The massive explosion was so bright that it lit up the area around the base like daylight, and Bill had to look the other way lest he get blinded.

As the fireball faded away, a sudden feeling of loneliness swept through Bill, he was no longer just one of the many pilots, he was now in charge of the entire wing, and the entire fate of the battle with the remaining battleship lay in his paws. To him fell the task of destroying two more massive craft that had so far taken out more than half of their own.

"Squadron leaders, this is base one. That enemy attack carrier is heading directly towards the base, we're detecting huge energy readings coming from that thing; we think it may be some sort of plasma weapon."

"Then let's take it out before it takes us out." Said Bill, "Husky Unit, ignore everything else, concentrate all fire on that mothership!" flying over the flaming remains of the battleship they'd just destroyed, Bill boosted away towards the steadily advancing flying Saucer; it's form barely visible through the night.

It was a calm morning on Corneria, People went about their daily business, small unevolved birds flew over the streets of scooped up crumbs off the ground. The air was full of the noise of hovercars beeping at each other from where they were stuck in the peak hour traffic jams. Looking at this, one could almost forget there was a war going on as close as a few hundred thousand kilometres away. But indeed it was, and General Pepper was the one in charge of trying to coordinate the Cornerian part in it.

General Pepper was a light coloured blood hound in his mid fifties, his uniform was red and his face was stern but kindly. He was looking over a holographic map of the Lylat System in its current arrangement. The orbits of the Lylat system where all very uniform, meaning that the system had changed very little in the two years since Andross had attacked.

In the middle were the stars, Lylat Major and near by the red dwarf, Lylat Minor or Solar as it was more commonly called. In a somewhat rare case, a small world named Papetoon orbited Solar but not Lylat, this orbit allowed the planet to be habitable despite it's proximity to the stars.

The first planet in proper orbit was Zoness, mostly ocean except for a handful of islands; the planet was a popular vacation spot because of the plentiful sun and sand, it was on the other side of Lylat Major from Solar.

In the second orbit sat Aquas, currently in between Zoness and Katina in it's orbit, as the name suggested, it was completely covered in water—it's hard surface deep below the waves. Next came Katina, sitting perpendicular to the Zoness, Lylat Solar/Papetoon line. It was mostly desert like Papetoon, but it was far enough out that some vegetation grew on it, and the climate was comparable to Corneria's.

Then was Corneria, directly behind Katina. Then Fortuna, the jungle world, it's thick atmosphere kept the temperature hotter than Corneria, and many strange creatures lived in the tropical climate. It was roughly behind Zoness.

Then directly Lylat with respect to Corneria was MacBeth, the large mining and industrial world was the first world to be taken by Andross at the beginning of the war. After that came the tiny Fichina, the freezing temperatures of Fichina meant that it was constantly covered in a thick layer of ice and snow. The climate control centre helped to make the planet liveable, but only military and the most die-hard of researchers had a presence there. It was situated close to the side of Corneria. Then came the frozen desert of Titania, the planet contained no moisture, the little amount of water that did naturally occur there was locked in its polar caps, the reddish soil was only a smidgen above freezing. It sat a few degrees wide of MacBeth, Last of all was the barren world of Venom, the toxic atmosphere glowing a bright acid green, giving the planet its name. Andross had built himself an empire there through his incredible uses of technology, the ape's home world sat behind MacBeth.

Currently though, it was Zoness that had General Pepper's attention. With the press of a button, the other planets faded away and Pepper was left with an enlarged vision of the watery planet, along with the report that he'd just received from the Major there—it was thoroughly depressing reading. The troops where pulling out and retreating, but it just wasn't happening fast enough, the Venomian forces were quickly eating up the Cornerian rear guard, and if they fell too quickly, the retreat process would be wide open to attack.

On the other hand, he couldn't send reinforcements because it would mean taking longer to evacuate in the first place.

General Pepper groaned, why couldn't Andross have just stayed lost in obscurity on Venom? Instead, he was making a royal nuisance of himself. This war—the Lylat War, as people were beginning to call it—had been going for almost two years, and it didn't show any signs of stopping soon. No, that wasn't accurate, Thought General Pepper; Corneria didn't look like winning any time soon.

Pepper estimated that thirty percent of the Cornerian armed forces had been destroyed, with seventy-six percent of the remaining forces having fallen back to inside the natural barrier of Meteo Asteroid Field. Venom's Forces on the other hand seemed endless, and Corneria was slowly but surely losing their grip on all its occupied worlds. Only Corneria and Katina remained free from besiegement. And Pepper wasn't stupid, he was under no illusions how long that was going to last.

Pepper was perhaps fortunate enough—when it came to the war—to have known Andross personally. Hence he knew to an extent how Andross worked, when Andross decided to do something, he gave it the whole hog; there was no chance of him just losing interest and giving up. Pepper also knew that Andross was fiendishly cleaver. Even when he had been a scientist, Andross had been very good at getting his way. He had always known just the right superior officer to go to to get a project funded. And often when he wanted to work on something that nobody would grant, he would find a collection of seemingly unrelated projects which he would work on and then combine into the project he had originally wanted. Even Pepper himself had frequently found himself having been suckered.

Thus he knew that Andross always had multiple avenues of attack in every battle, the short fight for Sector-Z was a perfect example: Andross had attacked with huge numbers, only to be repulsed by the Base's defensive cannons. Rotating their ships so that the almost impenetrable armour of the bottom hull was facing the Base, the Venomian Army had come to a stand off. The Cornerian Army had launched all their fighters at the ships, trying to take them out from the sides. The plan had worked fantastically until a small unnoticed ship had snuck into the facility and blown it up from the inside. The fighters, with no cover and nowhere to run had been quickly crushed by Venom's forces.

With yet another curse at Andross' deviousness, General Pepper switched to another report, this one from Fichina. Here the battle actually seemed to be going quite well. There was a chance that they might even repel Venom from the sector. An even better chance since the reinforcements that Pepper had sent there would soon be reaching them.

Though to be honest, Pepper was not entirely sure why Andross was even attacking Fichina, there was little strategic value in the planet. It was too far out of the way of anything to be used as a staging ground against Katina, and on the wrong side of the asteroid field from Corneria.

Pepper smiled ruefully. For years, planetary leaders and businessmen alike had cursed the existence of the Meteo asteroid field due to its obstructive and unstable terrain, now Pepper was thankful for its presence. Scientists had never been able to full explain where the asteroid belt had come from—hypothesizing that it had once been two or more of Corneria's moons that had collided, completely destroying all traces of the planetoids, and instead leaving the countless amounts of meteors that now littered the area. However it had happened, the field now completely encircled Corneria, cutting it off from the rest of the system.

There was only one gap, the strange passage known as Sector-Y. This area—known for the beautiful brightly glowing Y-shaped greenish-yellow Nebula in its centre—was not without its own hazards. The electro-magnetic field generated by the Nebula caused interference with radar systems, making the ordinary intership radar all but useless. So to prevent the many different ships that used the route from crashing into each other, a large control station had been built in the Sargasso region just into the asteroid field on the edge of Sector-Y. Using an advance radar system too big to fit into regular ships, it constantly scanned the channel through Sector-Y, acting as an air traffic control centre of sorts for all the space traffic passing through. But Sector-Y was on the other side of Katina from Fichina; making Andross' campaign there all the more confusing.

Giving up on trying to see the logic of Andross' attack, Pepper sighed and zoomed the hologram back out to the map of the Lylat system. Running through vectors and the order of planets in which it might be possible to counter attack Venom, he completely missed the knocking on his office door until someone burst through it. Pepper looked disapprovingly at the young leopard that had just broken through his door and was now panting in front of his desk. "This had better be good, lieutenant." He threatened.

"Yes, sir! Sorry sir." Said the leopard, straightening up and saluting. "I bring urgent news from Katina, Sir!" he continued.

"What kind of news?" asked Pepper slowly, his heart sinking into his boots.

"I'm afraid you're not going to like it, sir…"

Part 4 coming soon...

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S t a r s  O f  L y l a t

C h a p t e r  3

(part 4)

[      T h e  D e f e n c e  O f  K a t i n a      ]

Bill rolled under another attack from the fighter on his tail, waving furiously through the battle in an attempt to lose his it so he could attack the mothership. He managed to lose it, rolling under it again and then jetting off before his opponent could catch him again. The remaining fighters of all three squadrons where attacking all over the advancing ship, but it was making no difference at all; the ship's armour was too strong. The ship had moved in slowly and was now hovering almost directly over the mushroom shaped base.

"Squad leaders. There's some sort of energy reaction." Commed Major Case. "Hurry up!"

"Sir! Something is lowering from the bottom of the ship; it looks like it could be a power core." Called one of the other fighters.

"We're running out of time," lieutenant Keeves was saying, "You're just not causing enough damage… It's settling directly over us."

Bill blocked out the panicked voices from the base and listed his own orders, "Right, target that power core. Husky nineteen and twenty-four, form on my wing. Tom, take the others and keep the fighters off our backs. The other wings will doubtless have their own plans of attack, but those are your orders."

As the Husky wing moved to carry out those orders, Bill dived from hight toward the edge of the saucer. To his right, the remaining battleship lurked, still firing off the occasional missile as it began to slowly pull away from the base as the mothership continued to move right over the top of the base. As Hunky nineteen and twenty-four formed on his wing, Bill swooped under the edge of the saucer and got his first view of the core. It was a simple cone shape protruding from the very centre of the bottom of the craft, exposed to the air for cooling; the core was made for one purpose; to power the carrier's most powerful weapon.

"Stay sharp." Said Bill, "Watch for enemy fighters."

"Roger that, sir." Said Husky twenty-four half a second before his craft was ripped apart by enemy fire. Bill didn't react at all, the battle situation and the deaths of so many of the base's inhabitants had numbed him to emotion. Perhaps later there would be a time to weep for all who had been lost tonight, but not now. As the sky began to lighten behind them, Bill gave the order to his other wing mate: "Nineteen, fire at will, let's take out that core!"

The two fighters poured blaster fire into the protruding core like rain out of a thundercloud. It wasn't enough, the core sparked dangerously, but it held intact and Bill and his flank were forced to break off before they ran into it. "Hurry up Grey! We read that the energy levels are beginning to level out!" cried Case urgently, "That thing could fire at any time and you're the only group not pinned down by fighters!"

"I'm on it!" returned Bill, feeling adrenaline surging through him; time was running out, he needed to destroy that thing quickly. "Husky Nineteen, lets make another run. Don't worry about formation, just turn around and fire!" he said as he looped his own fighter around. He was just lining the core up again when red indicators and warning signs flashed on. "What!? A missile lock? Why now?" he howled, "Husky nineteen, I've picked up a missile—you'll have to take this shot." He said as he broke off, desperately trying to loose his pursuit. Husky Nineteen spoke his acknowledgement, but a cut off, surprised and agonized scream signalled his death mere seconds later.

"Damn it!" swore Bill in panic, he hesitated only slightly before turning to line up the enemy core, preparing to sacrifice his life in a last ditch attempt to take town the enemy. He was able to get off a couple of shots, but his momentary indecision almost cost him everything as the missile took advantage of his hesitation and clipped his right wing, tearing off the end in it's resulting explosion, it also threw him off course toward the dessert floor below. Bill was able to pull his fighter out of its deathly dive, but even as he righted his craft, the core vanished back into the saucer shaped ship. At the same time, Bill noticed that the saucer was also beginning to move, or rather rotate. Slowly but surely, the entire ship was tilting over.

"Squad leaders, you're out of time. Get your people out of there!" said Major Case, a resigned note in his voice.

"We're not done yet!" cried Bill, trying desperately to think of something to do. In panic he boosted toward the ever flipping mothership, raining lasers upon the hull with zero impact.

"Get as far away as you can!" shouted Case.


At last the gigantic saucer finished its rotation, hovering upside down over the Base. On the now belly, sections of the hull in the direct centre pulled back like an iris lens, revealing a large green crystallized indent—perhaps a hundred metres across. "This is a direct order from a superior officer." Said Case quietly "ALL UNITS ARE TO IMMEDIATELY DISENGAGE AND RETREAT TO SECONDARY FALL BACK POSITIONS!" he roared.

Bill made several gulping motions as he scrambled for words to say. Blue streams of energy began to flow from the edges of the green indent, coalescing into a large ball of energy in the centre. "NOW!" screeched Major Russel Case. After opening and closing his mouth several more times. Bill found his voice again as the other wings began to pull back, "Husky unit………… break away." He said, hanging his head in shame. As the nine remaining fighters from the Husky units, joined the others in the retreat, Bill looked back in his seat as the gathering energy under the saucer lit up the base and the entire area around it in an eerie bluey green glow.

Bill jerked back as in one swift moment; a thirty metre wide beam shot down and struck the top of the base. The base was levelled in a brilliant fire ball as shockwaves of extra energy poured away from the bottom of it. After a seaming eternity, the beam and the fire ball faded away and the remains of the base, the mothership, and the remaining battleship receded into early morning fog, quickly being swallowed up by darkness.

With a wave of rage, Bill punched the screen of his indicator panel as hard as he could; cracking it. "Dang…" was all he could say.

"Don't be too hard on yourself." Came the voice of Bulldog two, who like Bill had been left in command of his squadron after the death of his group leader. "All of us did our best. There's nothing more we can do."

"Except kick the hell out of Andross in revenge." Said one of the only two remaining pilots of the Labrador squadron.

"Well we can't even do that," said Bill grimly, "Not until we've had our ships refuelled and repaired. And we can't do that without a base. So the first thing to do is to set course for a secondary base, any ideas for which one?" he asked.

"Negative." Said Bulldog two; Adam Mitchell was his name was according to the ship's communications log. "The first thing to do is to lose those battleships, which means that we have to put as much space between us and them as possible. Then we can think about bases."

"Oh, very well." Grumbled Bill, he knew the other pilot was right, the last thing they wanted to do was lead the enemy straight to another, less equipped base. "Lead on Mitchell." He added resignedly. They had suffered a grievous loss to Andross, but Bill knew that they would fight on—they had to. In formation the tattered remains of the three squadrons jetted off towards the rising sun…

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Guest Julius Quasar

WOW!  Very good so far.

*moment of silence for the slain Katina fighter pilots, soldiers, and base personnel.*


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Thanks; as you can probably guess, I was trying to clearly illustrate the "bad" ending to the mission on Katina here. I just made a couple of extra changes to make it resemble Independence Day a little more, in fact you can expect to see plenty more borrowed lines and scenes from ID4 in the Katina arc of this story.

I'm going away for the week end, but hopefully the next chapter will be up on Sunday night or Monday.

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I hope you post the next chapter soon, this is a great story. You make it easy for the reader to feel like they're in the action!

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