mjakob42

Star Fox: Rising

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mjakob42

What you're about to read is a "novelization" of sorts - it is the story of the Star Fox game I've been working on for a long time (for more information on that, check out my thread: http://starfox-onlin...-in-the-series/). This novelization is basically the story in novel format (the CG scenes and stuff like that). Keep in mind that it's going to be slow with the first few chapters, so please give it time. I'm having a hard time making a decent introduction and explaining what I'm trying to do, so without further adieu...

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PROLOGUE

O'Maley's was tradition, plain and simple. No other place in Corneria was more fun and rewarding for a job well done than this small, family-owned pub, which sat in the midst of Downtown Corneria City. For the Star Fox team, it was Utopia.

Neither of the team members could really put their finger on the reasons regarding "why" it became this strange sort of paradise. The Downtown area was filled to the brim with all sorts of bars, restaurants, lounges, and the list goes on. But O'Maley's just had an aura of home about it, and home was something hard to come by when some, like Star Fox, spend countless hours on the battlefield. Fox McCloud could only guess that it was because the generations of the O'Maley family had a long history of serving in the Corneria Defense Force; there were always stories to tell about each other's experiences on the different battlefields that the Lylat System has possessed in the past. Yet there's also O'Maley's famous home-brewed ale, considered by many to be the best in Lylat.

It was Falco Lombardi who once told Fox, "Who cares? We just got back from fightin'; time to party!"

***

Applause from several different Cornerian civilians riddled the pub as Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, and Krystal (whom a few were unfamiliar with) walked into the pub. Though the faces of the team had been plastered all over every newspaper and TV station at one point or another, it was strange seeing them in person. The thrill was like that of one meeting their favorite celebrity. To think that just a day or so ago, these civilians were digging underground from the Aparoid menace that nearly ended civilization in the Lylat System, and here they are, able to live a normal life again. And the reason why is standing right in front of them.

O'Maley, a chocolate lab and owner of the pub, was at the bar cleaning glasses when his favorite customers walked in. In his thick accent, "Everybody! Everybody! Could we please settle down for a minute!?" The crowd silenced. O'Maley continued, "Lads and lassies of Corneria, I would like to propose a toast to the people who have saved our hides and tails from total decimation. Everybody, let us honor the Star Fox team, our greatest heroes!"

The crowd went wild, facing the team standing at the door, raising their bottles and glasses. The five gave their thanks as they walked to the bar and sat on the stools. O'Maley immediately directed every single bit of his attention to these heroes. "Ah, my favorite lads, how're we doin' tonight?"

O'Maley's attention was distracted when he suddenly heard a woman clearing her throat - loudly. He turned to look at a gorgeous blue vixen whom he was never seen before, but she was sitting with the team, so she must be pretty important.

"Hey, McCloud," O'Maley said, facing Fox, "Who's this pretty lass over here with ya'?"

"This here is Krystal, our newest member," Fox said. "Krystal, O'Maley- O'Maley, Krystal."

Krystal held out her hand to O'Maley. "Nice to meet you," she said.

"Ah, the pleasure is all mine," O'Maley responded, giving her hand a kiss. "Anyway, as I was sayin', how're my favorite lads - and lass - doin' tonight?"

"Well," Fox started, "the Aparoids are gone, the Lylat System is safe again, just got a rather hefty check from the General himself, and I'm sitting at my favorite bar. What do you think?"

O'Maley chuckled. "I'd guess you're doin' alright. How 'bout a few drinks to make the night even better?"

The team happily obliged as each one of them was given a bottle of O'Maley Ale. They all prepared to sip away before Peppy interrupted them, his bottle raised. "My friends," he started, "thank you for this great partnership over the years. Thank you for being some of the best friends anyone could ever have. And, most of all, thank you for keeping me from retirement!"

Everybody got a good laugh out of that. "Amen to that, brother!" Falco said, raising his bottle with Peppy's. Now the entire team was exchanging cheers, then drank away. Within a couple of minutes they were ready for the next round, but before so, Fox reached into his pocket to grab his wallet. "How much we owe you for that first round?"

"Fox," O'Maley started, giving Fox quite a look, "you've been coming in here for how long now? You of all people should know that the first round's always on the house."

"You're a good man, O'Maley!" Fox exclaimed.

And then the party truly started. Left and right, coins raced into the jukebox. A festive playlist full of fiddles, acoustic guitars, and flutes blasted from the speakers. O'Maley was busy at work, pouring drink after drink for a bar full of patrons while they danced to the festive tunes from the jukebox. But those that weren't drunkenly dancing were full of awe as Falco and Slippy Toad told their versions of the stories collected from fighting the Aparoid menace, exaggerating every bullet fired and every wound received in the heated battles. To some, it sounded like the greatest action movie ever made.

Fox wished he could fully share the fun atmosphere that made the night at O'Maley's, but too many memories flooded his head, specifically the first time he ever stepped into O'Maley's. He had just come back to Corneria City from battling Andross during the Lylat Wars, where he was sure he saw and heard his supposedly dead father, James McCloud. It was late when Fox wandered Downtown Corneria in a saddened daze, and not a single place was open except for this bar called O'Maley's. With the help of friendly discussions with the owner and a few O'Maley Ales, Fox's troubles were temporarily out the door.

Fox was suddenly snapped out of his episode with a tugging at the sleeve of his green button-up shirt. It was Krystal, with a huge smile on her face. He returned her smile back. "Let's dance, Fox!" She enthusiastically suggested.

"Ah, I don't know," Fox said, hesitant.

"C'mon!" She playfully tugged harder at his sleeve. Fox gave in, and the two took the metaphorical spotlight on the bar floor, becoming rapid-moving marionettes, controlled by the extremely skilled puppet master that was the juke box. Patrons stopped their partying to cheer on the two tearing up the floor, rhythmically clapping to the beat of the tune. Within minutes, the music came to an end. Applause filled the bar as Fox and Krystal were breathing hard, catching their breath in one heck of a sweat. When their breath was all caught up, they exchanged an embrace, then went back to the bar and ordered a couple of more drinks - a small glass of scotch for Fox, and a glass of red wine for Krystal. A silence filled the space around them as they very slowly sipped their drinks (neither of them were the type who enjoyed being drunk), but there was so much to be said to one another, especially for Fox. But why couldn't the words come out? It shouldn't take so much effort to start a simple conversation, but everytime he tried to utter a word, his stomach churned as it took the words right out of his mouth.

A tingling jolt went down Fox's spine when a sudden hand grabbed Fox's shirt collar. "Hey!" Fox said loudly. He turned around to see it was Falco, a look of immense dissapointment filling his face. "Get over here, Fox," Falco said, grabbing Fox's arm rather violently and dragging him outside. Slippy was there as well.

"What're you doing, Falco?" Fox said, pretty steamed. "You're drunk, aren't you?"

"A little buzz, but sober enough to talk serious talk."

"Okay then, what's up?"

"Fox," Slippy started, "We've been thinking a lot, and we're curious...you haven't kicked it off with Krystal yet, have you?"

"What're you talking about, Slip?" Fox asked. Falco gave Fox a sarcastic look. "Oh, no, no, no. Of course not!"

Commotion started with Falco and Slippy. "Why not, man?" Falco asked.

"Because, well..." Fox started, jumbling his words. "I mean, Krystal's great and all, but...I - I mean it's not that she's not beautiful, it's just that...y'know - she's...she's..."

"Perfect for you?" Falco inquired.

"Spit it out, Fox, we don't have all night," Slippy said.

"I don't know. I'm just not interested," Fox said stiffly.

"I wish I could believe you," Falco started. "But I've known you long enough to know that you're an awful liar, man. Tell us."

There was an awkward silence before Fox said, "I'm nervous."

Falco laughed heartily. "Why? Are you seriously tellin' me that you can fight intergalactic monsters and all sorts of bad guys, but you can't ask a very pretty and available girl out, let alone start a conversation? I'll be the first to say it, Foxy. It's obvious that she's into you. The way she talks to you, the way she interacts, heck, she always wants to be next to you during battle. She's writing in big, red ink 'I like Fox'. Why can't you read the writing on the wall?"

Another moment of silence. "You really think so, Falco? Slippy?"

Falco opened the door for Fox. Slippy pushed him inside. "Go get her, loverboy," Slippy said. They watched as Fox first stood there stiffly and nervously (and a little like an idiot). But he took a deep breath and confidently approached Krystal at the bar. Falco and Slippy couldn't hear a word the two were saying, but they sat there for hours. Falco and Slippy low-fived each other before coming back inside for another drink.

Several hours later, the team was asked to leave the bar, as they were the only customers left before closing time. They all gave each other their regards and thanks for their hard work before leaving in different directions. As Falco walked down the street, he took one more look at Fox, hand-in-hand with Krystal, leaving to who-knows-where. Falco smiled, then continued on his way.

***

Was it truly the greatest day of his life? After eleven months of hard work, Fox said to himself, it better be.

At this point, it was hard to tell. Fox's heart seemed to be beating two-million miles a second - any moment now, he felt like he was going to keel over because of a heart attack. Fear the anxiety came from, sure, but it was a good kind of anxiety. It was a form of excitedness, like one who's to anxious about tomorrow to get a single hour of sleep. But what if he screws up? What if the wrong word slips out or the wrong thing is done? What then? It was then that the dread of becoming a pariah, exiled from society due to his easily avoidable mistakes. Being a sort of celebrity in Corneria, what if his screw-ups made it public? His face would be all over televised news and printed newspapers, and there would be no escape only through death. Fox's stomach cringed at the thought.

The sounds of shuffling shifted Fox's thoughts and speculations.

Specifically, the shuffling sounds were that of the guests rising from their pues. Within a couple of seconds, the entire chapel was up from their seats, eyes shifted at the carpet path which divided the two columns of pues. Walking down that path was the center of what made today so special. Just the sight alone made Fox discard every dreadful and negative speculation of the possible future. The key word: possible. It was only a possibility, and in this time and place, anything is possible. The everlasting beauty ascending toward him reminded Fox why he needs to keep positive and happy speculations. His reward for doing so was in his eyesight (getting closer) and Fox needs to keep up on his part of the deal.

Dressed in a gorgeous and elegant crimson dress, Krystal, soon to be Mrs. McCloud, slowly ascended the path, escorted by the Star Fox team's beloved Peppy, who was donning a black tuxedo.

Fox's legs trembled like a dock on minimal support. His fur itched from the sweat spawned from his nervousness and his outfit - a navy blue CDF service dress uniform, complete with the ribbons and medals that boasted his heroic deeds. His paws, like they had minds of their own, fidgited uncontrollably like a young pup forced to wait in line at the post office with mommy and daddy.

With Falco inexplicably and anonymously absent from the wedding, Slippy was forced to fill in for Fox's best man. Standing only a few feet away, Slippy could hear Fox hyperventilating at an obnoxiously unsteady pace. "Calm down!" Slippy whispered, but loud enough for Fox to hear. With a nervous gulp, Fox inhaled a deep breath, and exhaled. The pace of his breathing straightened out, but next thing he knew, Fox's beautiful and long-time fiancee was standing right there next to him. His heartbeat increased speed.

A young avian, the one to pronounce their marriage, went on with his arguably melodramatic speech, but neither the bride or groom paid any attention. They were soon to be together forever, and the idea made the both of them happier than either of them had ever been in their entire lives. Every now and again, the two gave each other brief, but loving and meaningful, glances. When they weren't visually loving each other, they were admiring the crowd of wedding attendants: among the glassy and teary eyes, a large majority of the revealed either current CDF members or CDF veterans. There were also a few very close friends, one of which being Miyu, an award-winning photographer who shot their wedding without the slightest desire of money.

"And do you, Fox McCloud..."

Fox's subconscious appreciation for today was interrupted when that familiar name snapped him back to attention. The avian, Krystal, and the entire crowd over put the invisible spotlight on Fox.

"Take Krystal to be your lawful wedded wife?"

Time seemed to slow down to the point of stopping. Fox's heavy heartbeats echoed throughout the chapel.

You can get married, but screw up, and regret it for the rest of your life.

It's your destiny.

Go get her!

She's too good for you, Fox. The bachelor life is the only life.

If anything was possible, that includes a bright future.

"I do."

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TCPeppyTc

Ive seen.... A Starfox: a Rising. Ive seen..... trouble on the way....

Nice job though

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mjakob42

Hey, thanks for reading!

And now let's get this ball REALLY rolling...

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Chapter 1

Anxiously crowded around the stage, the audience roared as the promise of a new and more ambitious future walked up the podium. Over an entire decade of oppression, now walking on the road to an end. Even for their own kind, he was a rather intimidating individual; about six foot and a face etched with battle scars (not to mention an eye-patch). He brought his face closer to the podium's microphone as his two armed escorts stood at ease behind him.

Through the obscenities toward the opposing force, the crowd was silenced with the words spoken. On either side of him, a flag was raised: on his right was the precious and coveted home flag. On his left was an inverted CDF flag.

"My people of Venom," he started, hypnotizing and silencing his audience with his deep, raspy, and bold voice.

"At one point in our lives, we have all been thrown into a corner. Whether it be the schoolyard bully or a city-street mugger, there's that one moment where we've found ourselves threatened into a curled up, pathetic mess. But how did we handle it? A 'civil' man would do anything to stay out of trouble. He would give in to his torment. He would let his oppressor win every ambush they ever executed. For eternity, especially after the Lylat Wars, this is what we've been; 'civil', and I have three words to respond to this: shame on you! Have you no pride? No self-respect? Has pacifism gotten to your heads? Well, I forgive you; it's only instinct to avoid pain. But now comes the time to betray our own instincts. The time has come to take action. We've been thrown into a corner for too long, and now we've been given only one option. And who gave us this privilege?"

A moment of silence before his entire arm flew into the direction of the inverted CDF flag.

"Them!" The audience aggressively agreed. "The so-called peaceful and prosperous government of Corneria has become the schoolyard bully. Sure, our homeworld is not exactly up to par with the living conditions of the metropolitan Corneria, but it's still our home! Why else would they exile the great Andross to Venom? To Corneria, it is a living Hell. But my fist is raised at them for their behavior after the Lylat Wars. I was proud that for the first time we actually took action against them. Not only that, but we could have potentially exposed Corneria for the brutes that they really are; their propaganda sickeningly depicted him simply as a power-hungry tyrant after that little 'incident' that Andross was held responsible for. I'm actually surprised that the Cornerians would buy into such a rushed cover story, but here's the truth. Andross didn't nearly wipe out Corneria because of an insane mind; he was the first revolutionary! He saw past Corneria's corruption! He did what we need to do now; TAKE ACTION!"

Once again, the crowd went ballistic.

"It's been a decade now. Sometimes peace, sometimes conflict in the Lylat System. Was it because of us? Sure, there was the inexperienced Andrew Oikonny's awful attempt at carrying on the legacy just before the Aparoid conflict, but not all of us are Oikonny. Yet anytime we try to make amends, we are shunned. Conformed Lylat turns the other cheek on us and totally ignores our being 'civil', and it's because of the image that the CDF has plastered all over the Lylat System. Well, I say that it's time to live that image of their propaganda. We cannot allow ourselves to hold back. The term 'civil' is totally foreign. My people, I ask of you; please join me. Assist me in showing our oppressor what we are capable of! Are you with me?"

The entire audience obliged. As the voice of the place raised, he took a lighter out of his coat pocket. A small flame ignited as the lighter was brought closer to the inverted CDF flag.

"My people, I see an all-new future for Venom!"

The CDF flag toiled in flames.

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This is NOT all of chapter 1. I have plans today, so I have to cut it off here in the meantime, but I'll be back later to finish it.

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Ellanie

Wow! Very promising start, the quality of writing itself is great! Please continue!

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mjakob42

Thanks for reading!

And I'm back! Remember that the following below is the rest of Chapter 1.

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If one were to ask Pfc. Spencer how he felt about his job in the CDF, he could only answer with one word: boredom, and he isn't even a year into his military career since graduating from tech school. The irony is that his job was essential to home defense; Spencer is held responsible for monitoring satellite radar in the Lylat System, along with seven others in the CDF Headquarters. Eight CDF satellites were strategically placed in different areas of the Lylat System; one soldier per satellite to monitor. Spencer felt deceived when he was first assigned this job; his COs were frequently reminding him how important his job was, and one screw-up would put him under serious review - potentially court martial. Spencer was incredibly nervous his first day, but by the end of his first month, the reality struck him; it's not every day the Lylat System is under attack. It's not every day that outsiders attempt to illegally enter the Lylat System. Just watching screens was all the job ever required.

Today was a bit more stimulating than usual, though; Spencer was put in charge of monitoring the VIX 7 satellite's radar. The VIX 7 was the satellite placed nearest to Venom, where some of Lylat's most notorious figures descended from. "Dear Venom, how about spewing out another one of your infamous tyrants to make today a little more exciting?" Spencer jokingly thought to himself. Then he began to think; what if another Venomian wretch declared war right at this moment? How would they declare war? Would one of those bastard apes hack into one of the screens and give a melodramatic "We Declare War" speech? Would Corneria be bombed to nothingness?

"Finally, something to think about, at least," Spencer said to himself. Morbid, yes, but it kept him in very deep thought.

Bing.

That was when the guilt kicked in. A speculation like the Venomian decimation of the CDF could potentially get him arrested for betrayal high treason. Has he betrayed the CDF, his family and friends for that matter? Deep down, does he wish he was on the same side of the playing court as the Venomians?

Bing.

"Am I a teenager again?" Spencer asked himself heartily, going back to the morbidly warm memories of how rebellious (for the sake of being rebellious) he was back when he was young. He actually chuckled out loud a little bit. And how much he wished he could be young again; despite being a boring job, how could he deal with this job, to know that he was responsible for keeping the Lylat System secure, and he would be the first to see any activity first-hand? Too much weight for anybody to carry. Just to be young one more time and drop all that weight, to truly live and enjoy those days where he took it for granted that he'd always be a kid. Just one more time.

Bing.

Spencer's attention was drawn from his deep state of mind to the radar screen.

Bing.

The radar was picking up something. A thick spot of green dots were proceeding south.

Bing.

Probably just a CDF patrol team doing their dailies.

Bing.

Wait a minute; first off, what is a patrol team doing that far from CDF territory, and so close to Venom? Also, why is the patrol team so large? Patrols usually consist of two to four CDF Scouts; this had to consist of at least fifteen, given the size of the object on radar.

Bing.

Shouldn't be anything to worry about.

Bing.

Okay, just to calm down, take a look at the satellite's POV.

Bing.

With the tap of a few keys on the keyboard, the screen to the radar's right brought up a POV camera shot from VIX 7. He played around with the control panel's analog stick before getting the radar's green dots in view of the POV. It's definitely a few ships, but it's still not clear enough. Spencer zoomed in a bit...

Bing.

Spencer began sweating as his heart raced. Those were definitely Venomian ships; two battleships, a few carriers, and lots of fighters.

Bing.

Spencer put his headset on played around with the mic to position it perfectly. He had to report this to Maj. Ryan, his CO.

Bing.

"Major, this is Spencer - we've got a bit of a situation here in the radar station, over."

Bing.

No answer. Spencer repeated.

Bing.

Oh, that's right. General Pepper is holding that big CO meeting today. "But Ryan made very clear not to interrupt that meeting by any means," Spencer said to himself. The thoughts of "What am I going to do?" raced through his head.

Almost unconsciously, Spencer got out of his chair and made a mad dash for the meeting room, which was practically on the other side of the building. His feet immediately began to hurt as they furiously took each step. Guards and workers looked at him with concern, but Spencer had better things to worry about than returning their anxious looks. An MP who just got off of his shift was knocked to the ground by this psycho running down the halls. He shouted a few obscenities, but this psycho didn't seem to care.

Before he knew it, Spencer made it to the door of the meeting room in less than a minute. He immediately swung the door open. Then there he was, the center of embarrassing attention as the eyes of several COs, including the General himself, stared at him. He was panting furiously and his shirt showed signs of sweating. He crookedly saluted his superiors.

"I'm so...sorry, but...I need to talk...to-"

"What are you doing, Spencer?" Maj. Ryan angrily inquired. "Were you not briefed when I specifically stated that no one was to interrupt this meeting?"

"Major, I'm terribly sorry...but I need to talk to you guys now." Spencer was finally able to get his breath back in order.

"Spencer, you're going to go under some serious review after I'm through here! Are you crazy in the head or something? Are you-"

"Major!" General Pepper shouted, immediately ceasing his lecture. "That is enough! First off, you were supposed to tell your men that this meeting was to be interrupted ONLY if an emergency was underway - common sense, if you ask me. If HQ was on fire while I was giving this meeting, I don't know about you, but I'd like to know about it! Now it seems to me that with all his panting and sweating, I don't think the private over here looks like he's giving us the daily weather report, do you?"

Now it was the Major who feared serious review. Pepper turned his attention to the private. "Now," the General started. "What is it you need to say?"

"Follow me to the radar station," he said.

***

Pepper sat in his office, a stressed out mess, trying to think of what to do about this. Only two years ago was the Aparoid conflict resolved, and now here Pepper is with a group of Venomian radicals on his hands. What to do, what to do. It's too soon to address the CDF, let alone Cornerian civilization; he could explain the problem, but there was no solution.

Yet.

He couldn't afford to send any of his own out yet, either. There's been no communication whatsoever with the Venomian leader (whomever that may be), so it's best to avoid any casualties right now. On a temporary good note, the CDF's airspace weaponry could take down any type of missile they try to launch. But the key word: temporary. By the time that fleet gets close enough, it could destroy that weaponry without taking a scratch from it. If Pepper could estimate, it would take about twelve and a half to thirteen hours for the fleet to get close enough for that kind of activity to occur.

What to do...what to do...

Pepper picked up the phone and dialed the Search Team office.

"This is General Pepper. I need you to find the whereabouts of the following people, and I want them here in no later than ten hours..."

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This is another one that I'm going to make a few changes every here and there. I feel like I rushed that last little bit.

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Ellanie

Great set-up. You are good a pacing things, too. This looks like it's going to be an entertaining story!

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mjakob42

Here it is; Chapter 2, half-way completed. Enjoy!

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Chapter 2

Peppy Hare sometimes perplexed the other professors at North Corneria University. Here was this old rabbit pushing into his late 50's, a former member of the Star Fox team, and now retired, yet here he is, teaching astronomical engineering at NCU. It's almost like he compulsively has to keep busy - some could understand, but of all things, teaching? For someone his age and retired, one would think that the last thing he'd want to deal with is people. Why not actually retire and enjoy the rest of life?

"It's not about the paycheck," Peppy would answer. "It's about the planet."

Peppy cared deeply about the future of Corneria. It is already a prosperous place, but Peppy has already lived half of his life, and now it's a matter of time before he goes. When he does go, he wants somebody there to take care of what he left behind, but those people need to know what they're doing. Peppy had a Ph.D sitting at home, and now he could actually use it - all it took was retirement. Peppy was sickened by the selfishness elders in Cornerian society who used retirement as an excuse to sit under palm trees at the fanciest resort in all of the Lylat System. Sure, Peppy owned a nice leisure home in the mountains of Corneria, but he would never take advantage of that. In Peppy's own nutshell, everybody has to do their part.

There's a reason why Peppy is considered one of the best professor's NCU has ever seen.

ASTRO_1001 had ended forty-five minutes ago, and Peppy was just now heading to his car. Peppy always loved to sit with a cup of coffee and converse with fellow professors - in any workplace, coworkers need to become friends before anything else. All these other instructors had great potential, and that potential couldn't be wasted because of an awful day. Peppy was walking down the hall when a familiar voice behind him shouted "Mr. Hare! Professor!" accompanied by the pulsating of loud, racing footsteps. A Styrofoam cup of coffee in hand, the shock almost caused Peppy to spill some on his argyle sweater vest.

It was Michael Dane, a student from his ASTRO course. Very bright and attentive in class, but his grades have begun to slip.

"Hello, Michael," Peppy greeted in his very friendly and bold matter. It took a few for Michael to respond as he was busy catching his breath.

"I know your trying to get out of here and I'm sorry, but I need to talk to you if you've got the time," Michael said, seemingly all in one word.

"Well, don't hurt yourself: take a moment to gather yourself and take a deep breath," Peppy said.

Michael did so. "Okay, walk and talk with me," Peppy said. "So what's on your mind?"

"Well," Michael nervously started. "It's about the exam coming up."

"Yes?"

"I mean, as you've probably noticed my grades haven't been up to par, and I'm sorry about that; it's just that I've been under a lot of stress lately, and I have to work two jobs now and I've no time for studying-"

Like he was a psychic, Peppy put a hand on Michael's shoulder, looked him in the eye, and said, "Michael, we all have troubling matters in our lives - I totally understand. In class, I've no judgment on your performance - you take intensely detailed notes, you pay full attention, you ask questions...I've no complaints about you. Why don't you stay home the day of the exam and catch up on that studying? Don't worry, your absenteeism won't be counted against you."

A smile lit up on Michael's face. "Mr. Hare, thank you so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you-"

With a simple look, Peppy stopped Michael. "Slow down, slacker," he said jokingly. "Now go home and do that studying!"

"Will do! Once again, thank you so much!" Michael said as he confidently walked toward the front door of campus. Peppy looked over him as he left. A hard worker aware of his faults and doing all he can to improve...a start, yes, but the initiative of this young dog seemed a catalyst of sorts for the bright future that Peppy saw.

Peppy looked at his pocket watch only to remind himself that it was definitely time to head home. So he turned around and headed toward the faculty parking lot whilst putting his coat on and getting his keys out.

At his car, two CDF soldiers in dress uniform awaited Peppy's arrival.

***

It hadn't even been an entire year, and there are already three Slippy's Auto Hobby & Repair shops in Corneria - quite a feat for somebody like Slippy Toad. Yes, the guy had some of the biggest brains about autos in Corneria, but Slippy's history showed little to nothing about knowing business, let alone owning three stores in less than a year. But what was it about Slippy's that was so great, that made those feeble-minded in the field of autos always come back? There were plenty of other auto hobby & repair shops in Corneria long before the arrival of Slippy's, thus more trustworthy to the public, so why are civilians switching over to Slippy's?

Joe Gehrig, long-time assistant manager at the original Slippy's location, had three speculations regarding why:

1) Slippy was an insanely popular face in Corneria, and, on top of that, a hero. Along with those two foxes, that bird, and that rabbit, Slippy was several times responsible for preventing Corneria from undergoing formerly inevitable destruction. Perhaps the public's way of honoring Slippy's heroic deeds was spending their hard-earned money at the hero's place of business. The irony of that speculation, though, is that Slippy ignores the fact that he is, in fact, a hero. He's not rude about it, or anything like that; "That's who I was, but this is who I am," is how he'd respond.

2) Slippy's Auto was a great place to get a car or anything like that repaired. When it came to his own autos, Slippy was always a "do-it-himself" kind of guy. Any time Slippy took his car to an auto shop, they would charge Slippy almost ten-fold what the damage was really worth - Slippy claims to have the ability to buy a brand new car with the money it would take to repair one of his old ones. Slippy started this business because he was fully aware that some people were foreign to the idea of fixing a car by themselves, but Slippy wanted to treat them fairly for once instead of overpricing the heck out of a very simple fix.

3) The commercial they shot; about two and a half months into Slippy's Auto's lifespan, Slippy managed to get a film crew together to write shoot a commercial. With his fun and quirky personality, Slippy himself starred in the commercial, advertising the benefits of choosing Slippy's next time one's car needs a fixer-upper.

"Did I just doze off?" Joe said to himself as he suddenly snapped back to attention from realizing the company's success to his current project. Nothing new, just another oil change, probably where most the company's money came from. Luckily the job was almost done anyway, just gotta' screw the new oil filter back on...

And another car all fixed up and good to go.

Joe dragged himself from underneath the car to check the clock; 4:52 PM - less than ten minutes 'til closing. Just one more thing to do before getting out - calling the customer and telling them their vehicle is good to go. Joe walked over to Slippy's office down the hall. He was prepared to knock until hearing Slippy's voice inside.

"Amy, I said I'll be home for dinner. Don't worry 'bout it. Besides, you know how things get here."

Another argument with Amanda, Slippy's fiancee. Joe is still surprised that they haven't called off the engagement. Twice a week there's some sort of argument going on about not being home on time or dinner getting cold or Amanda being lonely...the list of specific argument topics goes on, but the spirit remains the same.

"Amy, I work heard to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs! I don't work just for the sake of ignoring you. Would I have proposed to you if I wanted to? Would I? Would I, Amy?"

A brief moment of silence.

"I didn't think so. Now look, Amy. I'll be home soon, okay?"

Another silence.

"Okay, Amy. Be like that. I gotta' go, now. I love you-"

Yet one more moment of silence before Slippy could be heard slamming the phone down, followed by an irritated sigh. Hesitantly, Joe knocked on the door. Slippy answered, an ironically bright and happy face - as usual. "Gehrig, what's up man?" he inquired.

"Hey, that silver Model 17 is all oiled up n' good to go. Wanna' hand me the customer info so I can call 'em?"

"You can go ahead and leave now, Joe. I'll take care of it."

"Hey, thanks Slip! I'll see you tomorrow morning?"

"Same time, same place. Just turn the radio off on your way out, would you?"

"Hey, Slip?"

"Yeah, Gehrig?"

"Everything going okay with you and Amanda?"

"Oh, you know how she can be sometimes. You know what they say; gotta' make sacrifices, y'know?"

"Even if you're busting yourself up to provide for them?"

An answer was ready to come out of Slippy's mouth before stopping himself.

"Well, I'm going to go ahead and close up Gehrig. Have a good night."

"Yeah, you too, Slip. Hope things work out."

"Oh, they will, Joe!"

Joe walked over to the radio in the check-in office to turn off the radio. With the simple click of a button, the very place that was once filled with the sounds of hard rock were cut off into a strange silence. And it was at that exact second when Joe heard someone honking outside the garage.

Nothing worse than the last minute guys.

Joe opened the garage door and approached the shiny, black sedan. Inside were two dogs - one driving, the other in the passenger's seat. They were both wearing matching aviators and very fancy matching uniforms. The torso of the uniform jacket was plastered with medals and ribbons. Definitely CDF.

"Sorry guys, we're closed," Joe said.

"Is Slippy Toad here?" the passenger asked.

"Yeah, he's in his office. Why?"

"We have things we need to discuss with him."

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

More to come later.

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mjakob42

Okay, sorry about the long wait - been busier than I thought I'd be, not to mention I've had a pretty awful writer's block. But here it is, the rest of Chapter 2! Also don't forget that the second quarter of Chapter 2 was edited into my last post.

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One year down, five to go.

A week ago was Prisoner 4630870's one-year anniversary since his first day in prison. It was strange; here he was, in prison, but that year just flew by like it was nothing. It was only the first week that sucked; although he had gotten himself into much worse trouble in the past, officially sitting in prison was a foreign world to him.

But why am I here for six years, let alone at all?

This was the other thought that cycled through 4630870's mind. He's seen murderers and junkies get two to five years, sometimes getting out early with parole or good-behavior. And he got six years (which his lawyer told him was lucky) simply because of racing?

Wait a minute, recuperate a little first before going off on an outrageous mental tangent.

His real name was Falco Lombardi...yes; the Falco Lombardi, the one who saved the Lylat System from total destruction along with the others in that mercenary team. If one thing was known by everybody about Falco, it was his love affair with thrills - especially when it involved fast vehicles. He'd never admit it, but this was part of why he became a member of the Star Fox team. What could be more thrilling than jetting the Lylat System whilst dodging enemy fire...and getting paid? Though as time went on with the Star Fox team, he became so involved in taking pride in saving Lylat that he forgot why he originally joined. But now the Star Fox team is since disbanded - everybody's off doing their own thing now that there's no eminent threat. Without his Arwing, Falco felt he was about to go insane.

Then came the G-Zero Racing League.

It was something that Falco always thought about. Racing was never exactly his thing, but it was the biggest thrill he could find besides Star Fox. Not to mention all that money from doing jobs with Star Fox could get him a slot in qualifiers without a problem. The day of qualifiers came, and the scouts didn't even think twice about putting Falco in the League. For his entire time racing for G-Zero, Falco became one of the biggest celebrity icons of Corneria in a long time. And he loved it. He was never scared to walk the streets with every person wanting an autograph or a desire to know his tricks in becoming a G-Zero success.

Now he felt like a traitor to his fans.

In between tours, racers would have a week-long recess to do whatever they please. Falco was hooked to the idea of being a success, and he wasn't going to let that change. With the help of a hefty sum of money, Falco bought and modified a custom jet identical to his G-Zero Racer. During recess, Falco would spend every waking minute of the day practicing and practicing some more. While flying outside the atmosphere of Corneria (which was illegal without a permit for non-CDF personnel), Falco was stopped by a CDF patrolman. Non-CDF (since the Star Fox team is out of commission), racing a modified vehicle in illegal territory, Falco earned himself six years in Durango Prison without any chance of bail. Falco had never heard a more ridiculous punishment for such a harmless crime. Doing time didn't worry him so much as much as what to do after doing time. Will he be able to get a job with this on his record? Will society decline him because of his "awful" deed?

Still got five more years - let's think about something else in the mean time.

Falco's arms felt like gelatin after that twentieth 225 pound bench press. He didn't know why he spent all his time pressing during time in the courtyard. Sometimes other inmates invited him to play ball or something, but Falco just always zoned in on lifting. Maybe he was unconsciously plotting some big prison break? Falco didn't even know. Just a way to kill time and bulk up a bit.

"Ha! Wimp," Falco heard from somebody. He turned in the direction of the voice.

It was Skutch, a bulldog currently doing twenty years for multiple crimes. Skutch was the kind of guy who just got off on the misery of others, but he's since made a mockery of himself since being in prison. On the outside world, he was a dangerous criminal who needed to be locked up, but inside the joint, he came off as an obnoxious schoolyard bully. Although Falco administered a few beat-downs from Skutch, it's since become a lot of fun to stew him up. Just a few bruises in exchange for entertainment. Falco gave the approaching Skutch the middle feather.

"What was that?" Skutch furiously asked, now right next to Falco.

"I think you saw that just fine, Skutchy."

Skutch swiftly grabbed Falco by the shirt collar. "What have I told you about calling me that, beak-boy?"

"Calling you what?"

"You know darn well what I'm talking about!"

The heat paused a moment as onlookers gathered around the confrontation.

"Oh, you don't like being called Skutchy - that's right!"

"Shut up!"

Like a train going 2000 miles an hour, Falco was taken down by a right cross performed by Skutch. On the ground, Falco could feel the right side of his face pulsating with pain. He looked down on the concrete to see blood dripping down.

"Okay, okay," Falco said, painfully standing up. Without hesitation, he removed his gray T-Shirt to reveal his tattoo-laden body. Up and down his body, his arms, everywhere except his face was inked with the art of the tough. Falco wiped the blood off his face with the T-Shirt before tossing it on the ground. His stance was the indicator that put him in the position to fight. Skutch slowly stomped his way toward Falco, his paws clenched in fists. Falco just remained still. Faster and faster Skutch approached. Swiftly, he raised his fist and darted toward Falco.

Falco managed to scoot out of the way before going down for the count. Fist extended out, slightly bent down, Skutch was in the perfect position to go down. Falco's knee jabbed Skutch right in the stomach, and down he went. Falco grabbed the collar of Skutch's prison outfit and pulled him from the ground.

"Who's the big dog on campus now, Skutchy?" Falco asked, menacingly. His fist was pulled back and ready to give Skutch what he deserved.

"PRISONERS!"

Every single bit of activity stopped at the dictatorial order from the security guard.

"LINE UP!

All the prisoners lined up at the barbed wire-laced brick wall on the other end of the courtyard, standing at attention like it was the military academy or something. Out the door came the warden (with a piece of paper in his hands) and two security guards. They got closer to the line of criminals before stopping. The warden, an old hound, put on his reading glasses and examined the sheet of paper.

"Prisoner number 4630870, please step forward!" the warden ordered.

An awkward pause amongst the prisoners as they nervously looked around at each other.

Wait a minute, that's me!

Falco stepped twice forward from the line. The warden came up to him face to face. "Come with me, Lombardi."

Falco robitically followed the warden and guards into the prison and down the halls. Multiple speculations raced through his head.

What's going on? Am I going to be executed? Am I being freed?

"A couple of guys from the CDF have orders to escort you to their headquarters," the warden said, as if he read Falco's mind.

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

Alright, Chapter 2; 75 % done! Sorry 'bout the wait, and sorry 'bout the mediocre quality of this quarter - I kinda' rushed through it. Like everything else, it'll get some tweeking.

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Okay, final part of Chapter 2. 'Nuff said.

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

There was no danger in sight. In his Arwing, Fox McCloud was criss-crossing the skies of Corneria City almost unconsciously, but not a bogey was to be found. The feeling of the day alone just wasn't the conflict type: the sky was a peaceful blue, laced with thin cumulus clouds. The mountains in the distance were a beauty to the eyes, and not a soul in sight walked the streets of the city below him. Fox slowed down his Arwing a great deal to get a feel for this majestic sight. For once, beauty. For once, peace. Fox could feel his body succumbing to the beauty, the peace. Every ounce of weight in his body faded away. Imaginary hands relaxed him into leaning back into the cockpit seat. Fox's eyes slowly shut, as if preparing for an eternal sleep. Not death...just relaxation. For the first time in years.

Suddenly an immense heat seared its way into the Arwing cockpit.

Fox's eyes opened without hesitation. Black clouds suffocated the now demonic-red sky. Below him, Corneria City was engulfed in Hellish flames. Explosions set off every left and right. Fox darted through the skies, but not a target was to be found. Suddenly, the steering mechanism in the Arwing locked up. Fox used every ounce of his might to turn. Next thing he knew, the steering mechanism was broken free and in Fox's hand. The Arwing's control panel beeped fiercely, all the lights blinking red furiously. Fox needed to escape, but the cockpit wouldn't open for anyone or anything. He knew it. He was going to die. Fox took the deepest breath in his entire life as the Arwing sunk deeper and deeper into the surface of Corneria City.

Krystal was unexpectedly awoken in the queen-sized bed. Her head pulsed with an ache, but it wasn't migranes or anything like that. It was her telepathy...again. She took a moment to come to terms with her senses. What was her telepathy picking up? So drastic to wake her in the midst of her deep slumber? She sensed trouble, but she wasn't the damsel in distress. It wasn't life-endangering trouble, but rather the trouble of one's psychosis. She felt a tussling next to her in the bed. Her senses told her that the trouble was coming from that exact spot.

"NO!"

Even though she was awake and knew what was going on, Krystal's heart skipped a beat as Fox lurched awake. He sat upright on the bed panting, eyes wide-set (as if he had just seen a ghost), and drenched in a cold sweat. Krystal scooted closer to Fox and put a caring arm around his shoulders.

"Was it another nightmare, honey?" She asked. Fox didn't make the slightest eye contact. His eyes were still wide-set, looking straight forward. With the blink of an eye, Fox broke down into a whirlwind of tears. Krystal brought Fox closer to her, rubbing his back and shushing him. Their embrace resembled mother and son more than husband and wife. Sometimes that wasn't too far from the truth when it came to describing their marriage.

Two weeks ago, a visit to a psychologist revealed that Fox was suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Days prior, Fox underwent serious insomnia. When he was able to get sleep, the nightmares would interrupt his slumber. As these two weeks went on, the nightmares just got more and more disturbing.

"I'll go get your medication," Krystal said as she got out of bed. She gave Fox a reassuring kiss before heading off. On her way she glanced at the clock; 1:57 in the morning.

"Krystal?"

She was right at the medicine cabinet in the bathroom when she heard her husband call her name. She stopped what she was doing immediately to check up on Fox.

"Yes, Fox?"

"Could you just come sit here with me for a moment?"

"Of course," she said, taking a seat on the bed right next to Fox. Yet again, she put her arm around Fox. There were no words for a moment or two. Just a momentary and wordless bond was what Fox needed at the exact moment. But then the question was asked.

"Krystal...do you think I'm crazy?"

Another moment of silence before she could answer.

"Fox," she began, looking right at him, but he didn't return her look."First off, look me in the eye." She took her hand and shifted Fox's head to face her.

"Fox, you've been through much in your lifetime. Very much. The death of your father, Andross, the Aparoids...that's almost too much for a person to face in a lifetime. I can't even fathom going through that much. I know that with the murder of my parents, I'm contradicting myself, but you see what I'm saying. But, Fox, there's no need to worry. All of that is behind you, and look where you are now; you're a civilian, you're highly respected, you've got a nice home, and as your wife I think I do a pretty good job."

A reassuring smile appeared on her face with that last sentence. Fox put his arms around Krystal following up with an intimate kiss. "I love you so much," he said in the midst of the intimacy. Krystal put a finger in front of his mouth, interrupting him. "You still need to take your medications, mister," she said playfully in an effor to liven up the mood a little. She got out of bed and again headed for the medicine cabinet int he bathroom. She was stopped by Fox's inquiries yet again.

"One more thing, honey," he said.

"Hm?"

"You wouldn't leave me, would you?"

"Oh, I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon, Fox." She continued to the bathroom.

Sometimes Krystal was tempted to leave Fox, though. She despised herself for letting that thought even cross her mind, but sometimes she feels that her boiling point has reached it's limit too many times. Most nights he can't sleep, and when he does, he's immediately interrupted by a nightmare. All of these troubles her husband braves forces her to worry constantly about Fox, and then leads her to give second thoughts about their marriage. But then she would recuperate, realizing that Fox needs more love and help than ever, and just leaving him would make it even worse.

(Though the thought of leaving still resorts in the back of her mind).

Krystal's eyes scanned through the various boxes, bottles, and ointments sitting in the bathroom medicine chest before she found the right bottle, which contained SSRIs. She took two tablets out and poured a small paper cup of water. She walked back to the bedroom only to find that Fox was nowhere in sight.

"Fox?"

No response, but a few faint noises came from downstairs in the living room. She descended down the dark stairs. In the living room, Fox sat in the brown couch, only illuminated by the blue light beaming from the television. A glass filled with something was in his hand, which he would sip on periodically.

"You should at least try to get some sleep," Krystal said, now a little irritated. Fox didn't make the slightest response. Krystal walked to Fox and took the glass out of his hand.

"What're you doing, Krystal?" Fox asked, a little nervous. She took a small sip from the glass after setting the pills and cup of water down.

"Scotch, Fox?" She asked angrily. "This is going to only make things worse!"

"Krystal, I know, it's just that I need a little something in me. That nightmare was intense and I'm still a little freaked out."

"I don't care if the nightmare almost killed you, alcohol is not the solution!" She yelled, tossing the glass to the floor. Fox was speechless as the glass shattered into a million pieces on the floor, droplets of scotch flying everywhere. His stare shifted to Krystal, not a single word able to escape his tongue.

"What're you doing honey!? I spent good money on that scotch!" The only words that could escape Fox.

"I'm not goint to watch you kill yourself!"

Fox stood up, getting closer and closer to his wife.

"I'm not killing myself! It's just a little something to calm me down!" He exclaimed, almost ignoring the fact that he's conflicting his wife.

"Do you not hear about those poor souls who get themselves killed because of alcohol!? The ones who die in horrible auto accidents? Or how about the ones, like yourself, who go through immense emotional problems and find themselves resorting to alcohol? You know what happens to them? They disgust the people who surround them, and everything is taken from them simply because alcohol made them feel better!"

In this heated argument, Fox knew he'd been beat. In the midst of a pause, Fox sat back on the couch.

"I'm sorry, honey," he said under his breath. Krystal took a seat next to him.

"Fox, you know I love you to death, and I'm pretty sure we committed to 'til death do us apart. I don't want to see you in any pain at all, Fox. You've got very much to get off your back, and I'll help you fight every step of the way, but if I have to waste every glass of scotch in the world to do so, so be it. We've got a long road to walk down Fox, and if you're willing to walk, I'll walk with you-"

The heat of the moment was stopped with a knock at the nearby front door of the house.

"Who's that?" Krystal asked.

Fox didn't respond. He stared at the door, gathering speculations regarding the person knocking at their door.

"Krystal, what time is it?"

"About two in the morning."

Fox didn't hesitate to go to the closet in the living room. Krystal follwed.

"Fox, what are you doing?"

Fox was busy blindly scavenging the out-of-reach top shelf of the closet. "Aha!" he said, coming out with a pistol.

"Fox, put that away!"

Fox locked and loaded as he approached the door. "Not just anybody comes to your door at two in the morning. I'm not letting some two-bit street punk have their way with us." Krystal had not even thought about that possibility. Now she was scared. Fox slowly approached the front door; Krystal followed very closely, kneeling down a little, hiding behind Fox's back. At the door, Fox pulled back the hammer of the pistol before looking through the peephole. There was an awkward silence as Fox scrutinized through the peephole.

"Fox, who is it?" Krystal whispered. Fox tucked the pistol in the back of his pajama pants as he cautiously opened the door.

"Can I help you two?" Fox asked the mystery knocker, who was out of Krystal's sight.

"Is this the current residence of Krystal and Fox McCloud?" The mysterious voice asked.

"Yes," Fox answered hesitantly.

"Mr. McCloud, I'm Sergeant Kriegman from the Corneria Defense Force. This is my partner, Sergeant Gabriel. We have orders from General Pepper to escort you and your wife to CDF Headquarters as soon as possible."

"Sergeant, I apologize, but it's two in the morning, I'm having an awful night, can I get some sleep first?"

"My apologies, Mr. McCloud, but the General's orders are urgent. We will use force if necessary."

There was a pause. Krystal came out from behind Fox and confronted the men at the door. They were two CDF soldiers in dress uniform.

"Might I ask what this is about?" Krystal asked.

"General Pepper will brief you in oh-four-hundred hours."

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

Finally, it's done (Chapter 2)! I know the start-up is kind of slow, but that's (arguably unfortunately) the kind of writer I am, but I assure that it will get better.

Also, critiques are welcome! I know I'm a very mediocre writer and I have some things I seriously need to improve on, but I wouldn't mind to get a better idea on what needs improving. Thank you!

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mjakob42

Okay, to those who have been reading this (thank you very much, by the way), I'm very sorry about not having the next chapter up for a couple of weeks. I've been arguably busy, but I've just had a pretty bad writer's block - I know where I want to go with the next chapter, but I'm sketchy on how I'm going to execute it. I'll do my best to make a point of getting it up by Sunday, because I'm really enjoying the project.

In a nutshell, project is NOT dead - it just drove up to a roadblock and it's having a little trouble getting around.

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TCPeppyTc

This is really interesting mjakob42. Really interesting. For a 15-18 year old kid you write adult married couples with stress problems very well. I feel myself hardpressed to find mistakes with it. Writing and punctuation is very good. Try to be consistent with what tense you want it in, past or present. My only question, which Im sure youll answer in good time is what is the plot? We have some very well written scenes of the starfox team, but just needs a little more.

When you have the chance, could you give my fanfic, "Starfox Genesis" a review? It already has been, and needs more content, but just when you have the time, you know..

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mjakob42

Starfox: Genesis has been critiqued by me, so ch-check it out!

Also, thanks for the compliments, but more importantly, the critique about tenses and such. My writing style is really weird and I am trying to work on it, but thank you.

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TCPeppyTc

Just pick a consistent tense and you should be fine. All of Starfox's current occupations seemed to fit them pretty well, especially Peppy and Falco. I also liked how the dog soldier burst in on Peppers staff. Is the new Venomian dictator Andrew or Dash? I guess Ill find out!

So sorry, Ill check out your review and work on mine when I have the time! Keep it up!

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A hint about the main villain: a new character I made up - I figure the series could use a new one. But the identity of said character will be revealed in the next chapter.

And about the plot (sorry I didn't respond earlier); it's really just a basic "Uprising from Venom, Star Fox is sent in to take care of it." Nothing new, I know, but I wanted to add some more darkness and grit to the story, something that has never been done in the series. Not to mention a few plot twists every here and there. If you've read my dream Star Fox game thread (link at the top of the page), that will give you some additional information.

*No intentions of bumping my speculation thread.

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Alrighty, here it is! Chapter 3!

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

Chapter 3

They couldn’t believe their eyes.

It was one of the most surreal experiences any of them had ever undergone in their entire lives. Sure, they knew a piece of the feeling, being the likes of somebody seeing their best friend after so many years. What made this particular moment so peculiar, though, is that it had been only two years after seeing each other.

Then it hit them: two years without hearing a single word a best friend is equivalent to being the last person to walk Corneria.

The long disbanded Star Fox team only gawked at each other for three-something seconds, but it felt like an eternity as the heat of the moment unleashed a flood of emotions and memories. Every battle fought, every discussion held, every laugh shared, every tear shed, all of it came back in the span of a microsecond. It was claimed that one sees their entire life flash before their eyes in the face of death. The thought gave them the chills.

After a few blinks, they knew it wasn’t death.

There was a sense of guilt amongst them, too. Their leader, Fox, had called them his friends with such passion after defeating the Aparoids. The rest of the team couldn’t agree more that they were friends, yet after Fox and Krystal’s wedding, none of them ever bothered to make a phone call, drop a visit, or even write a letter. Fellow Cornerian citizens said that real friends never, ever hesitated to do any of that. Had the Star Fox team fallen victim to complacent conformity? Had they become mindless followers of the norm?

“It’s like seeing a ghost.â€

Peppy’s comment insulated the twilight moment. Following the comment was a strong exchange of embraces from one another.

***

Inside the CO Meeting Hall of the CDF HQ, the Star Fox team had waited a half an hour, which seemed more like two at the time. Seated around the stretched table, they passed time exchanging the uneventful past two years of one another. Ironically, the rush of seeing each other again made the stories feel like they were the greatest action picture to come out in years.

When the conversations had started to kick off, Fox and Krystal briefly shunned themselves away from the stories. Begrudgingly, they agreed not to tell the truth about their lives, regarding Fox’s PTSD with minor alcoholism and Krystal’s uncanny resemblance of a mother rather than a wife. Each lying word that came out of their mouths just made them more and more sick. The fact that they were lying to their best friends just made matters worse for the two. In their minds, they frequently pondered why they were lying; just to make themselves look like the naive couple next door? Sickening. Just sickening. More proof of their falling victim to conformity.

Falco was not particularly proud of himself, either. The second he found out he was going to be confronting his teammates, there was only a brief moment of excitement and anxiousness to see them again. Then the dread came. After his arrest, his face was plastered on the front page of every newspaper and on the cover of every celebrity magazine. Because of that piece of news, it was impossible to hide his record. How would he explain himself? Would this risk his spot on the team (if it still exists)? Would he lose his best friends?

Luckily, that half hour just flew by.

It was all interrupted when the door slid open. Two highly decorated COs, both dogs, walked inside, their paws full of files. One of the officers struck a chord with each member of the Star Fox team. The surreal moment came back at the sight of him.

It was General Pepper.

It was quite shocking to see the old hound still commanding troops. How old was he, now? He’s got to be somewhere in his mid-sixties, at least. If there was one thing they remembered about Pepper, it was definitely his patriotism and dedication to the safety of Corneria. Pepper and the other CO, a shepherd, took a stand at the end of the table.

“Well, Star Fox,†Pepper started. “Been a long time, huh?â€

“You can say that again!†Slippy said with excitement. It was so great to see their commander again.

“Still as free-spirited as you were two years ago, huh, Slippy?†Pepper inquired, jokingly. They all shared a laugh with the exception of Fox.

“Oh!†Pepper said, snapping into an alternate attention, gesturing to the CO next to him. “I forgot to introduce my colleague here, whom of which you’re probably unfamiliar with – this is Colonel Kirk Dax, our newly appointed second-in-command of the CDF. I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m starting to get way too old for this, and I need an heir to continue where I left off. Colonel Dax, anything you’d like to say before we get started?â€

Dax was significantly younger than Pepper; late-thirties at the oldest. Just by looking at him, the team could tell that he was also much more energetic and physically fit for such a high position in the CDF. His stance alone showed a bold, but friendly, commander. His physique was fit and slender - he took excellent care of his body.

This is the protege that the CDF is looking for.

“Well,†this Colonel Dax guy started, clearing his throat. “I’d like to be the first to say that it’s a true honor to meet you. Heroes like you don’t come around anymore, and I’d like to be the first to thank you for all you five have done, so thank you.â€

Dax faced Pepper, and Pepper returned his look. A look of dread was placed on his wrinkled and elderly face, some skin drooping down from hs muzzle. He took a deep breath and a nervous exhale.

“Well, Star Fox, I think it’s time we get started. I’m sure you’re all very curious as to why your personal lives have been interrupted and put on hold for this meeting,†Pepper turned to Fox and Krystal. “Especially you two. The report said that our soldiers arrived at your house around two in the morning, am I not mistaken?â€

“It’s true,†Fox said. “So, want to tell us what’s going on?â€

“Well,†Pepper started. “Star Fox, we, the CDF, beg of you to band together for one more mission.â€

Everybody at the table immediately turned to Pepper, fearful looks of inquiry on their faces.

“Approximately ten hours ago,†Pepper continued. “One of our men monitoring satellite and radar amongst the Lylat System came upon this via the VIX 7 satellite.â€

The General turned to the Colonel, who took out a few photographs from the manila folder in his paw. Pepper took the photos and gave each individual at the table a copy. The team members examined them.

“Upon further investigation,†Pepper continued. “The ships you are looking at are in fact, and I dread to say this, Venomian. On top of that, I also fear to say that judging from the size of that fleet, I’m afraid they’re going the offensive on the CDF.â€

“Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, General,†Falco said. “What makes you think they’re after us? I know it sounds ridiculous, but we haven’t made a move on them since after taking care of Andrew, so I’d figure that they’d made peace by now.â€

“I knew one of you would ask,†Pepper responded as he pulled down a white projection screen from the wall. “So ask and you shall receive. This video transmission was leaked via LyComm Network. Hey, Colonel, want to hit the lights?â€

Colonel Dax did so, displacing the room of fluorescent illumination. Pepper clicked a button on a small remote which sat near him on the table. On the screen appeared the poor quality of amateur-shot footage which focused on a one-eyed, heavily scarred ape. Charismatically, this ape gave a fierce speech – something about taking down the oppressive Cornerian government, and the audience responded to each sentence with rage-fueled agreement. The climactic speech wrapped itself up as this crazed tyrant actually had the guts to set fire to a CDF flag. The video cut off afterwards.

The lights were put back on as Pepper and Dax handed out files to the team. They were dossiers. Like a child with a birthday present, the team members were quick to open the dossiers. They immediately began sifting through the pages.

“His name is Arkady Kuranga,†Pepper started. “Forty-nine years old, natural born Venomian. Unfortunately, we don’t have much on him since he’s kept a low profile ever since the end of the Lylat Wars. As you will see in the dossier, we do know that he had a somewhat high position in the Venomian Army, along with frequent side-work with Venom since he was a child. During the Lylat Wars, he served as an Assistant Fleet Commander on Area 6, and ever since his record has shown no activity over the years.â€

“Is there any clue as to how he has been placed in such a high position now?†Krystal asked.

“Like I said,†Pepper responded. “We don’t have much on him, though Dax has a speculation. Dax?â€

“Thank you, sir,†Dax said, turning his attention from Pepper to the team. “Yes, I do have a speculation, but I don’t have much to base it off of. As Pepper said earlier, we do know that he’s been doing work for Venom ever since childhood, not to mention that he made it as high as Assistant Fleet Commander, so it’s obvious that he has a huge place for Venom in his heart. Judging from that video you just viewed, he wants a bright future for Venom, so he’s probably made a few independent speeches against the CDF over the past few years before somebody said ‘Hey, that guy knows what’s up! Let’s put him in charge of us!’ I’m guessing that that’s exactly what happened, and I think you can figure the out from there.â€

There was a pause as the team uneasily glanced at each other.

“Star Fox,†the general started. “We need you…please.â€

“Have you tried to get in touch with them?†Fox asked. “Have any negotiations taken place at all?â€

“You know how Venom is, McCloud,†Dax started. “I mean, seriously – think about it; they didn’t even warn us or black mail us prior. All they desire is Corneria’s decimation. No more, no less.â€

“Well, for one,†Fox started. “We haven’t touched our Arwings since we left them here, so who knows how those are going to hold up. Also, the Great Fox is destroyed-“

“We have since recovered them, Fox,†Pepper responded. “We’ve taken the liberty of restoring them, too. They’re all fueled up, shaped up, and good to go.â€

“Even the Great Fox?†Fox asked.

With a click on the remote, Pepper revealed a picture of a large red ship on the projection screen.

“Well, unfortunately, we couldn't salvage enough of the Great Fox's wreckage to restore it. But, as a substitute, we have this decomissioned Assault Carrier sitting in the hangar - fully restored armor and weaponry. It might not be the same, but it'll have to do."

“What about ROB?†Fox added.

“He just needs a couple taps on the keyboard, and then he’s ready to go,†Pepper responded again. “What do you say, Star Fox?â€

Yet again, the team glanced at each other.

“Would you mind giving us a few alone, General?†Fox asked, gesturing toward the door.

“Certainly,†Pepper said. “But please make a decision, and quick.â€

Pepper and Dax left the room. The team leaned in toward one another.

“What’s the word, Fox?†Slippy asked nervously.

“Look,†Fox started. “I know we all have personal lives, but if we’re going to continue those lives we need to get this taken care of. I’ll start by saying I’m in, but I need my team.â€

“You got it, Foxy!†Falco exclaimed. “These guys didn’t get me outta’ prison for nothin’, and I don’t exactly want back in. Besides, who’s going to save your sorry tail when you got a bogey on your six?â€

Fox and Falco shared a laugh. Fox turned his attention to Slippy and Peppy, on the other end of the table.

“Fox, as much as I really want to help, I got a business to run. I can’t just abandon it,†Slippy said.

“Don’t you have managers to take care of all that? Remember, this operation shouldn’t take too long – just take out that fleet, which I’m positive this Kuranga guy is part of, put Kuranga in custody, and that’s all she wrote.â€

Slippy sat in thought for a moment.

“I’ll be right back,†Slippy said, getting up from his chair and walking to the corner of the room whilst dialing a number on his cell phone.

“And you, Peppy?†Fox asked.

Peppy laughed.

“Fox, I’m getting too old for this,†Peppy said, still laughing. “But you can count me in.â€

“That’s it?†Fox asked.

“Remember, Fox, I’m retired. Teaching is something I do on my own time. I can abandon that whenever I want.â€

“But what about all that talk you made at my wedding? Y’know, how retired peoples should still make a contribution to the community?â€

“Fox, by taking part in this operation, I AM making a contribution – helping save them from Venomian take-over.â€

“Touche, Peppy,†Fox said. “But I’m going to need you in an Arwing out there.â€

“Aren’t you forgetting somebody, Fox?†Krystal asked.

“Oh, no way am I letting you into combat, Krystal.â€

“And why not?â€

“Here we go,†Peppy said under his breath. He motioned toward Falco, and up from the chairs they went. They walked to the other side of the room.

“Krystal, remember, you’re my wife. I don’t want to see you hurt.â€

“But aren’t I a part of this team?â€

“We all were, but that was then – this is a whole new game, Krystal.â€

“I’m still standing after fighting the Aparoids, aren’t I, Fox?â€

“Yes, you are, but still – these aren’t Aparoids, these are Venomians!â€

“What difference does that make, Fox?â€

Fox paused, scratching the top of his head.

“Besides,†Krystal said, raising her left paw toward Fox, showing off the diamond ring. “’Til death do us apart, if I’m not mistaken?â€

“Alright, fine,†Fox said. “But you stay close to me at all times, you hear me?â€

“’Til death do us apart,†Krystal said, playfully.

“Peppy, Falco, come on back. We’re through, here,†Fox said. As Peppy and Falco came back to the table, Slippy joined back in, hanging up his phone.

“What’s the word, Slip?†Fox asked.

“I’ve got it all taken care of,†Slippy said. “Managers and assistant managers are going to watch over the stores.â€

“Good. Peppy, after talking with my wife, we won’t be needing you in an Arwing, so you’ll play the same part you played when we fought the Aparoids,†Fox said.

“Whatever you need, Fox,†Peppy said.

“And you said you’re in, Falco?†Fox asked.

“Right on the money, Fox,†Falco said.

“Well alright then,†Fox said. He leaned back, facing the door in which Pepper and Dax exited.

“General! We’ve reached a decision!†Fox hollered.

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

Okay, I'm pretty pleased with myself with this one. The only thing is that I forgot that the Great Fox was destroyed until I finished this, so I came up with a pretty lame way to bring it back. I'll tweek that as time goes on.

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chaos_Leader

It's actually pretty good.

Granted, you've got a stock vanilla plot going that doesn't bring much to the table: just another variation of "Venom Strikes Back", but what'dya gonna do? Aside from a few awkward bits here and there, the execution and actual writing part of it comes off fairly well; some parts feel a little rushed, or fotced, or otherwise abrupt and awkward. The example I'd pick would be the opening: you bring the readers in, wham slam bam, and before we know it there's a wedding taking place, and without any of the lead-ups. Okay, I know there are tons of Fox/Krystal junk out there... I'll let it go

I feel this plot pot needs a little spice. Why is Venom attacking now? What sort of edge do they believe they have over the rest of Lylat? You don't write badly, not at all, but I'm still left wanting some sense of threat from whoever the designated enemy is supposed to be.

That's what I got for now.

If anyone's interested, I recently overhauled the Star Fox: Legacy threads to be much more user-friendly now. I'd love to see you all there.

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mjakob42

Hey, thanks for the critique, chaos! I know you're one of the hot-spots of the SFO Fanfic section, so your critique means a lot to me.

Yeah, I know parts are strangely paced, and you specifically pointed out the wedding scene - I NEED to play off the wedding scene a lot better (I rushed that part a ton), but my number one concern was getting it out there. You are right; there's tons of Fox/Krystal romance stuff out there already, and that is part of why I kept it brief; I didn't want to come off as an obnoxious furry fan - on my part, though, that's no excuse for lack of emotional emphasis in a scene that needs it the most. To play devil's advocate, though, that's why I took the "stressed couple" twist on the romance. I'll work on this bit for a while.

As for what you call the "vanilla stock plot". To go on record, a big inspiration to this fanfic/dream SF game is Metal Gear Solid, which also has a stock plot when you look at it closely; terrorists seize nuclear weapon, super badass secret agent is sent in to stop them. But the story's dark nature along with lots of twists and turns make the player totally forget what the plot all boils down to. This is the direction I'm taking with Rising - I know this is starting out kind of dry, but I can assure you that a few spices are going to be thrown into this soup. Stay tuned to see how that's going to be played out.

So there's my explanations (not excuses). Once again, I highly appreciate you taking a look at this, chaos (along with everybody else who has read and commented/critiqued). Hope to see you again!

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chaos_Leader

Hey, thanks for the critique, chaos! I know you're one of the hot-spots of the SFO Fanfic section, so your critique means a lot to me.

So there's my explanations (not excuses). Once again, I highly appreciate you taking a look at this, chaos (along with everybody else who has read and commented/critiqued). Hope to see you again!

Hot spot? I wish...

In the time I've been here, I have gotten a grand total of 1 (one) response to Legacy. I'm just a cynical old curmudgeon (by internet standards anyway) who's been at this whole fanfic thing for a while. I know how much having a response means to the writers; it's nice to know people give a damn once in a while; so I try to uphold my end of it whenever I can.

Have you thought about posting this to the FF.net archives? goodness knows we could use a few good new talents there. Most of the current writerdom consists of a couple old hands, a great slew of young folks just barely getting their writer's feet under them, and a few oddballs in between.

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mjakob42

Well, I have looked at the prologue for Legacy Vol. 1 and I liked what I saw! I'd read the rest today, but I gotta' be at work soon and I don't want to get too into something and then have it interrupted by real life. But I've got tomorrow and Monday off school and work so I'll take a look at it.

And is ff.net short for something? I typed that in the URL bar and it took me to pantsu.net. What did I do wrong?

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chaos_Leader

And is ff.net short for something? I typed that in the URL bar and it took me to pantsu.net. What did I do wrong?

Whoops. :? I thought most people knew it's an abbreviation of "fanfiction.net"

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Ellanie

Wow, I fell behind.

To expand upon chaos_leader's point, while the bare bones of the plot here may be "vanilla," as long as you keep the execution of things interesting, which I think you have a good start with the unique take on character development, as well as obviously keeping the writing quality up, it can still work.

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mjakob42

Hey, good to see you again, Ellaine!

And chaos, I have created an account on FF, but it's making me wait an unnecessarily long time to upload anything, so patience please.

Also, I'm taking a short break to see how I'm going to play the story off from here. In the meantime, I'll do some editing every here and there - a lot of Rising needs it.

So, thanks for reading! Thanks for the critiques! I'll be back in a while!

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chaos_Leader

And chaos, I have created an account on FF, but it's making me wait an unnecessarily long time to upload anything, so patience please.

Also, I'm taking a short break to see how I'm going to play the story off from here. In the meantime, I'll do some editing every here and there - a lot of Rising needs it.

Yeah... FF.net does that. I think it's meant to deter spammers, trolls and other internet vandals. It's a week wait, isn't it?

Buuuut: guess what else you can do while you're taking that break, waiting for the account to activate, or searching for inspiration... :mrgreen:

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Shadow Matrix

Amazingly well designed story. I feel like im watching a movie when i read this. When I was reading chapter 1, i seriously. thought that was Dash BowMan like talking about making "Venom" a new place lol. But i was like. "Nah".

Anyway, as Chaos Leader listed, there is a vanilla stock plot. But meh that ain't much. But like chaos had stated before, there are a lot of parts in the chapters, where things were, rushed and kinda scrambled out of the ordinary a bit [from my perspective]. But yeah thats just me.

None the less, the story is good, you surely write a hell of a lot better then I do I'd like to see more of this in the upcoming future.

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mjakob42

Hey, thanks for stopping by, Shadow Matrix! And you want to see more of this? Don't worry...this isn't intended to be a short story (couldn't come up with a good pun).

Also, Chaos, I've started Legacy Vol.1 and I like what I see! I should have a review up on the thread by the end of the week.

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