I do not own Ultraman nor Star Fox. Ultraman and related characters belong to Tsuburaya Pro. Star Fox and all related characters belong to Nintendo
Ultraman, Final Light
The city was in shambles, the people infected with Aparoid cells getting treatment in overfilled hospitals, and the death toll was appallingly high. A heavy price to pay for the defeat of a deadly enemy. When word reached of the destruction of the Aparoid home world, the people throughout the Lylat system felt relief and joy course through them, but not without sadness in their hearts for the many dead. However, this also brought to light some new, even startling to some, evidence; while they were not alone in the universe, the Lylat system was not aware of a powerful species existing, until a being calling itself Shodai arrived back on Corneria with the legendary Star Fox team. The being had appeared once before during a crisis involving Oikonny reforming his late uncle's armada and try to take the system, but that ended in failure on the ape's part, no small thanks to Shodai and the Star Fox team. And now, learning that an entire race of beings like him exist, has made the people wonder. But one among the team, a blue-furred vixen and quite possibly the last of her kind, Krystal, knew without a shadow of a doubt that their intentions would never be against them, especially Shodai. After all, she first met him what seemed like a lifetime ago. After they got back to Corneria, Shodai, in his Lylan guise as Shin, stood next to Krystal on the hotel balcony. The Space Patrol man was ordered to assess the damage done to the system and report back any indication that the Aparoids had not been completely destroyed. They oversaw the damaged buildings and the wrecked streets under a sunset as both Lylat and Solar went to the other side of the planet. The sky was a brilliant gold, the clouds a light purple and lavender, which reminded Shin of the Aparoids a bit too much for his taste. "It's lovely," the vixen next to him said softly.
"Oh sure, if you like the sight of the decimation of an entire city," Shin replied. He heard a soft chuckle and a small fist lightly punch him in the arm as a playful reprimand.
"Not that, this." Krystal gestured to the sunset, and Shin smiled, both at the sight, and at Krystal. "It reminds me of…" She stopped herself from saying 'Cerinian', for fear of the pain it brings.
"Don't be afraid to say it," Shin replied softly. "If you never say it, you'll start to forget."
"Forgetting might not be such a bad idea," she mumbled.
"You shouldn't forget, never forget, where you came from. The pain will have healed and you never would have known it."
"I'm afraid…" Shin wrapped an arm around her waist.
"Don't be. I'm right here," Krystal looked up at the non-vulpine who smiled down at her. She returned the smile.
"It reminds me of…Cerinia…" The pain she was expecting to come rushing at her never came, except as a dull, small ache. She was expecting a flood, but all she got was a small wave that barely washed over her feet. Realizing that the pain had died away to almost nothing, she felt like smiling again, even having small tears in her eyes from joy. It still hurt, but it was a good hurt. Shin held her closer. "Whenever I tried to talk about it and the pain got too much, Fox told me to not talk about it, saying that he wouldn't want me to be in pain,"
"We all need to face what we fear the most. We can't hide from it, only face and accept it."
"What if it never goes away?"
"It's not supposed to. It becomes a part of who we are, and we must always face it if it ever turns up." Krystal looked up at Shin once more as he looked at the sunset, the smile gone from his face. "If we run from whatever we're afraid of…it will find us. And it could very well destroy us." Krystal rested her head on his shoulder, Shin noticed and looked down at the vixen, saw her nearly bury her face into his shoulder as he held her.
"I'm scared. I don't want to face it every day,"
"We all have to. But it gets easier over time. Trust me." Krystal closed her eyes and snuggled deeper into his shoulder. A second later, she heard a weird sound. It was like a buzzing noise and went on and off, on and off. She opened her eyes and found herself in her room. She sat up in the bed, her nude form hidden by the sheets and blanket. That was the third dream these last couple of weeks she had about Shin since he left her again. She collapsed back on the bed and slapped her hand on top of the alarm clock going off. She felt like breaking the damned thing, wishing she was back on a planet where she had a sunrise to tell her it was time to wake up. She got up and walked to her bathroom, hopped in the shower and turned on the hot water. The water streamed from the nozzle and cascaded down her blue body. She washed herself with a scented soap, rubbing vigorously as her mind drifted back to Shin. She remembered how he held her in the dream, how secure she felt and how she snuggled closer to him. But that wasn't all she wanted. She wanted him to look at her, and tell her his secrets. She wanted to look into those eyes and be lost in them. She wanted to…was her hand in between her legs? She looked down and slowly pulled her hand from her pelvic region. She thought she was washing that area, but the soap was in her other hand. Chasing it from her mind she let the water wash the soap from her body before turning it off and grabbing the towel from the rack next to the stall. Drying herself off and wrapping it around her body, she left the bathroom and went to the dresser in front of the bed, standing against the wall next to the door. She opened one drawer and got out a shirt and panties, and proceeded to dress herself while walking to the nightstand and opening a drawer beneath the lamp. Inside were two item. One was about ten inches in length, had a round end and a sharpened one on either side and looked to be made of gold. The other was significantly smaller, being only four inches in length and was diamond shaped. She pulled the smaller item from the drawer and held it in her hand, a memento from a dear friend. He promised to send letters to her every couple of weeks, and per usual he did not disappoint. When she held it in her hand, it was flashing steadily, like a pulse and it levitated from her palm and floated in front of her. An image appeared just above the device in the shape of a vulpine-like face. He had red facial fur and a white stripe going through the center of his head, a fox-like snout, pointed ears and piercing green eyes. Krystal smiled when she saw the image of Shin. "Krystal, when you get this message, I just want you to know that I've now covered at least half of the galaxy now, and still nothing has happened. Ever since the fall of the Aparoids, it's like all the bad guys decided to take an extended vacation. Not that I blame them. All we found of them so far are dead drones all across space and in the inhabited systems. Also, almost all of the victims infected by the Aparoids are returning to normal. Makes me wish that I'd known that before…" he paused for a moment, and Krystal knew what he was going to say before he stopped; 'before I killed them', she finished mentally. "Anyway, sorry about the Great Fox and I wished I could have helped you with your situation, but you have yet to accept my offer of help," 'not that we need it, but it is a nice gesture' she thought once more. "Anyway I hope that you're doing well for yourself. I got your last message and it seems that you're doing fine, even if Fox seems a little distant," he reminded her that she has to have a talk with Fox about their relationship later, "and I hope that whatever it is that you're doing, that you find what it is that you're looking for." Shin smiled before the image winked out, and Krystal placed the device back in the drawer before taking her staff out. She wonders if he sends her the letters while she's asleep, since she never gets one while she's awake, like he hopes the first thing she sees when she wakes up is that. The thought brought a smile to her face as she opened the closet to the left of her bed and pulled out her flight suit.
It has been a few months since the destruction of the Aparoid homeworld, and the Lylat system is starting to rebuild what it had lost, just like before. Corneria City, one of the places hit hardest, was just now almost done with rebuilding itself. The other places where the Aparoids had been had the soldiers and other personnel dispose of the many corpses of the Aparoid drones littering the planets. Most were gathered and shot towards Solar and Lylat, both stars incinerating the drones by the thousands. The system had returned to normal, such as it is, and with that came the regular activity of space pirates taking advantage of the few numbers and resources the CDF had and raiding near-helpless cargo ships in busy shipping lanes. Because of this, certain groups have prospered from this, almost being hired full time by a rather disgruntled military. However, there is one team that the military is always happy to have when they can get them; the legendary Star Fox team, renowned for cheating death, killing Andross twice and dealing the death blow to the Aparoid Queen herself, were celebrated heroes on Corneria, if not the Lylat system as a whole. Despite losing their famous ship in the final battle against the Aparoids, the military was kind enough to grace them with another ship. One that has undoubtedly seen better days. It was an overhauled, nearly derelict carrier ship that was decommissioned almost a decade ago. How the thing was still able to fly was beyond Slippy's technical know-how. He even called it a miracle that it didn't blow up in their faces when they started up the engines. Having been majorly upgraded, thanks to the fee they were paid by the military, they were able to fix many of the problems on the ship and give it some much needed weaponry and equipment. However, shortly thereafter, tragedy struck. General Pepper, leader of the Cornerian Army and Defense Force, had fallen ill and was bed-ridden. His health failing, he needed someone to take his place. Despite his own protests(and his better judgment) Peppy Hare opted to take the former general's place. Now with the rank of general himself, Peppy Hare led the CDF and CA in a nearly never-ending war against the constant piracy and raids happening to the supply ships carrying vital supplies and equipment to the outer worlds.
The carrier, christened the "Great Fox II", was in orbit around Macbeth after a job when they received another offer from the military. It was another supply convoy under attack by Venomian raiders, their guard fighters wiped out and the freighters were under attack. The ship was the only one close enough to the battle to do anything about it. The great ship heeded the call for help, after accepting the fee, of course. It warped in on the battle, and Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox team, oversaw the fight with a weary sigh. "It never ends," he mutters to himself. Having sent the message to the rest of the team, he turned around and saw the remaining three members assembled in front of him. "We got another raid going on. You people know the drill, hit them fast and hard before they know they're dead."
"At the rate they're going, we might just get enough to sell this crap-heap of a ship and get a real one," Falco said, looking around the command room. He was wearing his old tan flight jacket and pants with a red scarf and shades on top of his blue-feathered head. Despite the large fee they collected, most of it went towards the engine repair and maintenance, as well as nearly replacing every other onboard system that was fried or obsolete, and negated the repair of the command room as wires were strewn all over the place and most of the panels were dim and unlit. "We just might make our fortune with this,"
"Yeah, hopefully," Slippy chimed in, the squat amphibian dressed in his yellow mechanic's suit holding a wrench since he was busy repairing and maintaining thermal shielding of the core, for what must have been the thousandth time. "Or at least upgrade some of the equipment on this ship. Be a real shame if we all just died right here and now if the shields gave out and the bay doors were to open at the same time and we got sucked out into space." Krystal was dressed in her blue flight suit, hiding a slight smile behind her hand. Fox smirked and shook his head slowly.
"We all feel your pain, little buddy," Fox replied. "And hopefully, with this fee that we got coming once we get this mission over with, we'll be able to do just that, and maybe get a real vacation." The sound of that made everyone feel a little better, especially Krystal. The thought of having some quality time with Fox made her think that they were going to get over some of the issues they had in the past. "Well, those raider's aren't gonna blow themselves up,"
"Unlike us," Falco muttered but Fox ignored it.
"So let's rock and roll!" The team ran out of the command room and into the hangar. It was more than twice the size of the old Great Fox, able to hold four times as many fighters as the old Dreadnaught-class was, and the four customized ships made the hangar seem cavernous and empty in comparison. The fighters were drastically different from when they looked during the Aparoid Invasion since the fee went to the customization of the arwings. Fox's fighter went back to the old arwing design, but looked more streamlined, calling it the Arwing II. Slippy's arwing, the Bullfrog, was more bulkier and carried more bombs and heavier shields. Falco jumped into his sky Claw, which looked a lot like Fox's arwing but the wings were inverted, giving it better speed and maneuverability with claw-like protrusions at the tips of the wings. And finally was Krystal's arwing, undoubtedly the most radically different of them all. It was in the shape of a bird, with the cockpit being the bird's head itself. She called it the Cloud Runner, after the Saurian tribe on Sauria. All four fighters started their engines, and all four flew out from the Great Fox II.
In another part of the galaxy, thousands of light years away, another battle was taking place. Beams of light danced amongst each other in a brilliant display of power and color. A single form, anthropoid in shape and being roughly forty meters in height, fired upon an alien armada with unrelenting fury. Her destroyed every ship without remorse and evaded the volleys of return fire they sent back at him. This armada was the remnants of a dying race, ravaged by the Aparoids and sought a new planet as their home, by wiping out a race they deemed as inferior because they had yet to discover space travel. The inhabitants tried to negotiate, but the invaders would not listen, deeming that they should be sacrificed so they could live. Shodai, the famous Space Patrol man who fought the Aparoids on their home planet and faced the Queen herself, answered the call for help and dealt deathblow after deathblow to the invaders. Soon, the armada was decimated and the planet was saved once more. The gigantic red and silver being looked back, and received their message of thanks. Shodai nodded in acknowledgement and flew back towards his patrol sector. This was the first SOS he had received since the downfall of the Aparoids. Apparently everyone in the galaxy was busy with their own troubles to deal with anyone else, he thought. He just received another message, this one making him stop in his flight in shock; they just found another one. He homed in on the signal, and sure enough he found the body of the dead Space Patrol man floating in space. His body was completely drained of energy, and he didn't show signs of Aparoid infection. His Color Timer was dead and his eyes were dull. The energy was completely drained from his body. This was the third one found this month, and they were finding them all over the cosmos, like something were sucking them dry like a parasite. But the thing that bothered him the most was that some of them had been dead since prior to the Aparoid breakout. He knew it was linked to the cases that started just a year before when he tracked Baltan III to Lylat. Back then it was only three Ultras dead. Now they found at least twelve of them, not including the ones he found after the Invasion. He reported the condition back to his superiors, and awaited for Sebun and Ace to arrive. His old friend, a Scarlet Ultra with boxy eyes and mostly red body, was accompanied by Ace, a fellow Silver like Shodai, except for the slightly different 'mouth' and the larger fin on his head and different red patterns on his body. When they saw the body, Sebun remained stoic, but Ace was taken aback slightly before regaining his composure. He looked at Shodai "Nii-san, what did this?"Ace asked.
"I don't know, Ace. And It's starting to bother me."
"Whatever is behind this, it's getting bolder. This kill is recent; made just a few days ago, judging by how long he's been without power, and so close to the last one found," Sebun added, looking at the corpse.
"But how can we find something that sucks the life out of Ultras? It kills them before they can get a warning signal out," Ace countered, looking at the corpse.
"One way or the other, we need to find the culprit. We're few in number as it is, we don't need something that preys on us to make it any worse. You two report this back to M78. I'm going to patrol further and see if I can't find what did this."
"Be careful, Shodai. We don't know what we're dealing with and we'd hate to lose you to it." Sebun replied with a nod. Shodai returned it and became a bright red light and streaked off into the cosmos. Not far away, just behind the natural satellite of a small world, something or someone lurked behind the shadows. It feels uneasy seeing the three Ultras together, but the other leaving had lessened its fears somewhat, but not by much. It had just eaten its fill and didn't need to kill again, and it preferred to not tangle with the other two if it didn't have to. The only thing burning in its mind right now was one single feeling; vengeance.
It went like clockwork. The raiders all but scattered before them when they saw the four fighters. However, they found their courage and went in to attack them. The Star Fox team met them head on. Krystal and Falco, the most maneuverable of the group, flew circles around the Venomian ships and weaved in and out between them as they took pot shots at them. Fox, on the other hand, took advantage of the cat and mouse game they were playing and shot down the ships as he took them unawares. Slippy had a more bolder plan, attack and disable/destroy the raider's mothership. It wasn't far away, just at the edge of the battle so as to keep out of line and fire and make a quick pickup if need be. She hardly had any weapons, just some laser batteries to drive off curious or cowardly ships. Slippy evaded them with ease, dropping bombs on the unshielded hull and watching the explosions bloom like flowers of flames. The ship was wiped out and the amphibian wore a satisfied smile on his face as he turned back to the fight. One raider pursued Krystal, who teased and goaded him on when she dropped thrusters then sped up when the fighter got close. She enjoyed it, like teasing a man out of the cockpit only to shoot them down. Her one regret was that it wasn't a certain feline who hounded after her after the Aparoid Invasion. "Krystal, this is Fox. Stop playing with that guy and take him down before he kills you!" Krystal rolled her eyes at Fox's statement. She could kill him anytime she wanted, but enjoyed the frustration she felt from him. It put a smile on her face when she felt the pilot throw a fit when he missed. However, she was caught unawares when another fighter arrived and took his shots at her. Her shields were gone and the ship trembled. Another volley broke her wing off and she was sent into a spin. She controlled the ship and righted it back up. Now both of them were on her tail as she dodged and juked desperately. She barrel-rolled and deflected the laser bolts, but she knew it would be a matter of time before they got lucky. The Sky Claw came in from behind and vaped both of them, turning them into so much flaming debris. Falco's voice crackled over her headset.
"You alright, Krys?" Falco asked.
"Yes. Thanks, Falco."
"Anytime, baby doll." Falco replied with a smirk and waggled his fighter next to Krystal. The vixen smiled at her friendly rival. She'd have to get him back at his calling her 'baby doll'. Perhaps in the simulator, or maybe a race? She had all the time in the world. When the fighters had landed in the bay, Krystal jumped out of the cockpit and walked towards Falco, saying thanks again when she felt a hand on her arm. She turned and saw Fox's displeased face.
"I told you to take care of him before he tried to gun you down. Isn't that what I just said?" he asked sternly. Krystal felt her face freeze with shock at this while Falco stepped in.
"Fox, it wasn't the guy chasing her, it was another one!" he argued. "I thought they were all gone except for the one she was playing with. If it's anyone's fault it's mine."
"Stay out of this, Falco!" Fox ordered, turning back to Krystal after letting her go. "Well, Krystal?" he asked.
"Yes," she replied simply.
"I want you in my quarters, immediately." He turned on his heel and walked out of the hangar bay. Krystal looked worried, but felt a feathery hand on her shoulder.
"Don't worry about it, Krystal. He was just a little worried about you, that's all. He'll just give you a tongue lashing and that'll be that."
"It's not just that. He's been so…distant lately. He doesn't talk about it, he doesn't talk to me, he just issues orders and acts like there's nothing wrong."
"Yeah. Things have been rough, what with Peppy gone and General Pepper not feeling so hot. These guys have been in Fox's life since forever. Plus, he always turned to Peppy for advice, and without him around, he probably feels lost for the first time since his dad got…you know."
"Yes. I just wish I could help him."
"I'm sure you will. Anyway, wouldn't wanna keep the boss man waiting, and let me know how the "tongue-lashing" goes," he said with a smirk. Krystal was puzzled, then when he brought up a mental image and Krystal saw it, her cheeks were flushed red.
"You pervert!" she nearly yelled and beat her fists against him as he laughed out loud.
"Admit it, Krystal! You know that's what went through your mind when I said that!"
"I'm not anything like you, you deviant turkey!" she replied. Falco still brought up images, and Krystal saw them, fueling her rage, but she felt a smile of her own play out, knowing that it was all in fun. When she stopped and walked away, she looked over her shoulder. "I'll get you for that yet, Falco. That, and for the baby doll!" She wore a predatory grin as she spoke. Falco chuckled and went back to his fighter.
"Do you enjoy tempting death? You have a death wish or something?" Fox asked as he stood behind his desk. Krystal had her face emotionless as he spoke, since when Fox was businesslike, that's how he liked it and she felt like she had to humor him.
"No, sir." Krystal replied simply.
"Then why do you do it?" he asked. "Why do you throw yourself into situations like that?!" he demanded harshly. Krystal was taken aback at this and tried to come up with a reply as she felt his mind. He was different now, he lacked most of the caring and kindness he had before, replaced it with something else, something harder and less warm. "I won't have anyone on my team hot-dogging like that. It could get someone killed!"
"Then why do you allow Falco to do it?" she asked. Fox was stuck as he tried to come up with a reply.
"Falco knows what he's doing," he replied.
"And so do I." she added.
"No, you don't, otherwise you would have seen that guy coming! You can read minds, can't you? Couldn't you have used them to see someone coming at you?" he asked harshly. Krystal was stock still, trying to feel him out, but all she felt was this hard and cold wall, like metal, around his mind. Either he was shielding himself from her, or this was what he was like now. "Well?!" he demanded again.
"Yes," she replied simply, "sir".
"You've been reckless with yourself and your ship, and you've put your other teammates in danger more than once. You've become an unstable element in this team. I can't have anyone like that on active duty." Did he just judge her?
"What are you going to do sir? Ground me?" she asked.
"I'm dismissing you." he replied. That struck Krystal like a hammer to the head. Her arms felt limp and her jaw slack.
"What?" she asked dumbly.
"From the team. I can't have you endanger yourself or anyone else. It's my responsibility for the wellbeing of everyone on this team."
"Forget responsibility, can you hear yourself right now?!" she asked. "You're kicking me off the team? Where am I supposed to go?!" she asked, raising her voice. "I have no where, no where, else to go!"
"Maybe you should have thought of that before you decided to get cocky." Fox replied, sitting down in his chair as Krystal stood over his desk.
"Have you completely lost your mind?!" she shouted. "If I recall correctly, I saved you more than just a few times from some bad mistakes you made!" Fox slammed his hands on his desk and shot back up.
"That's enough out of you!" His voice turned hard, the same as his mind. "I don't want to do this, but you left me no choice." Fox turned his back on her, and Krystal felt her eyes burn as tears well up. She sniffled and reached for her breast. Fox heard her slam her hand down on his desk and walk out of the office. He looked down, and saw the badge he had given her more than two years ago, and felt his heart grow heavy with regret. He wondered if this was the right thing to do? At least, in this way, she would be safe.
She started sobbing before she reached her room, and the streams ran down as she threw everything into a large bag and closed it tightly. She sniffled as she looked around. It wasn't like her old room on board the old Great Fox, but she thought with some sprucing up it could be again. With that thought, she closed the door behind her. She almost ran into Falco, who saw the tears on her face but passed without a word. "Hey Krys, what happened?" Falco asked. Krystal didn't turn or even acknowledge him. He put a hand on her shoulder and she whirled to brush it off and he could see her sobbing openly. He was shocked by this, seeing Krystal crying. He never thought she was able to. As he held her as she struggled against his grip, he felt his jaw go slack. "Wha-what's…" Krystal broke away and nearly ran down the corridor, the bag bouncing against her back as she did so while Falco ran towards Fox's office. In the hangar, Krystal jumped into her fighter and started up the engines, rocketing out of the hangar as she gripped the throttle as tight as she could. Her mind was racing at this point, all her dreams of being with Fox shattered like glass as she guided her ship to the one place she felt she could go.
"What the hell did you do, Fox?! Krystal was sobbing her eyes out when she almost ran into me!" Fox was busy filling out something on his PAD about Krystal's account before looking up at Falco.
"Nothing, just a disciplinary issue."
"Disciplinary issue?! She looked like you reached into her chest and pulled her heart out just before you stomped it to death as she watched!" Fox remained stoic. "What the hell happened to you, man? Before you really used to care about Krystal. Hell, I half expected you to pop the question to her before you became…whatever it is that you are now."
"Times have changed. She should have known that."
"Is this because of Peppy? Because he's not here to play as your conscience so now you feel like you can do whatever the hell you feel like?" Fox furrowed his brow in response. "I mean, does she even know that you love her? Or is that gone with him as well?" Fox stood up and faced the avian, his eyes narrowed.
"Where do you get off…"
"When my best friend and team leader starts to make stupid decisions that affect the people around him."
"What I did I did for the best interests for the team. She was a liability with the way she was acting."
"Bullshit!" Falco replied. "You just can't accept the fact that you're in love with her! You've cracked down on me harder than you ever did her, even today, you just saw an opportunity!" Fox lashed out with his fist and struck Falco across the face. The avian stumbled back. Fox looked enraged, then as the moment dawned on him he looked shocked, staring at his own fist as it hung in midair after he threw it before bringing it back. He looked at Falco, his face one of surprise and even apologetic.
"Save it, Fox. I understand perfectly." Falco reached for his badge and dropped it on Fox's desk. "For the good of the team. I do hope it's for the best." He turned and walked away. Fox slumped in his chair and held the badges in his hands, and feeling very suddenly alone.
She touched down in the clearing, amid the jungles and forests of Sauria, hoping to clear her mind but the memories that this place held kept rushing back to her, no matter how hard she tried to chase them away. She jumped out and ran towards the temple, tripped over a rock and fell with a cry as she sprained her ankle. She was still crying as she held it in her hands, rolling on the ground and sobbing. Krystal, the last of the Cerinians, was feeling very alone.
Shodai was flying from planet to planet, system to system, trying to find some clue to the identity of the thing that's been killing his fellow Space Patrol members. He scanned each and every planet, moon, asteroid and debris field her came across, but each one came up negative. Out in the open without any clear idea of what he was up against, he felt more vulnerable than in most times in his life. There was only one place left to search, but it would take some time until he got there, but it was the only logical place. As he sped on, the feeling of dread closed in, and he was feeling very alone.