Brand New World

Chapter 9

"General, we're getting a transmission from the Great Fox."

"Put it on." General Pepper stood amid the command center as various technicians and operators worked at the consoles around him. The screen in front of him flickered to life as Peppy's face filled it. "Peppy, I hope you have good news for me."

"Well if the destruction of that thing that was tearing Corneria City a new one counts as good news," the hare replied. The wizened bloodhound felt relief flow through him as he heard this.

"Well thank God for that. Let me guess, our mysterious friend took care of it?"

"How'd you guess?" Peppy asked, wearing a knowing smile. "More than that, we found something from the remains of Andross's old lab. It might be what brought that…thing here in the first place."

"Have it sent to the people handling that inter-dimensional crap. I'll be there presently."

"At once, general." Peppy's face winked out, and Pepper turned to head out of the command room. Heading down the hall, he was accompanied by a duo of armed guards, both walking parallel, just a step behind, laser combines slung at the ready. From a side room, an officer came up, holding a PAD.

"General, I have the figures of troops lost in the last encounter,"

"Have it sent to me, via email. I'm busy."

"Of course, sir." military officials walked to and fro, but they took a second to stand out of the general's way and salute him, which he returned every second. His personal transport waited at the end of the corridor, perched on the landing pad. Both guards stopped at the door as the general walked out and climbed into his vehicle.

He was still a little woozy when he stepped back onto the hangar of the Great Fox. Falco jumped out of his Arwing beside him as Jason saw Fox, Peppy and Slippy walk up to them. "How you feeling, Jason?" Fox asked.

"Little dizzy, but fine."

"I'd still feel better if he made a visit to the med-center," Peppy replied. "After what happened last time with Fox, I'd sleep better."

"I agree. Jason, head down there."

"Fine."

"The rest of us, meet at the bridge while we head to the Hall of Science. We got a package to deliver." Jason turned away from the others as they headed for the bridge, turning to the medical bay with ROB waiting for him.

"I have been preprogrammed to run a series of tests and diagnoses on subject Jason Schneider." Jason dropped the wolverine guise, revealing his more human form.

"Let's just get this crap over with."

"So we're taking this box to the same people who ripped a new one in the fabric of time and space? Does anyone else think that's a little crazy?" Falco asked, slouching in a chair. The rest of the team were seated at other consoles while Fox took his place at the command chair.

"He has a point," Slippy replied. "Those guys brought Jason and Galan here. Also, they're partly responsible for what happened on Aquas and here."

"True, but if this can help them set things right, then what have we got to lose?" Peppy asked.

"Maybe everything," Fox murmured.

"I'm just saying we shouldn't completely trust them with this thing," Falco said, looking at Fox. "Their last pet project almost tore the planet apart, what do you think's gonna

happen when they get their hands on that box?"

"Subject's vitals and tests appear to be normal. Will continue with examinations." ROB worked away on the console while Jason lied on an examination bed as a hovering device slowly made its way upwards from his feet to his head. On the console, images of the human's internal organs, muscle and skeletal structure flashed as ROB typed in commands and questions into the medical computer. As he lied there, Jason closed his eyes and let his mind drift.

'Jason….Jason…' He thought he felt his eyes open, and beheld a grand brilliance. A multitude of colors emanating from a single source while the ground he stood upon was covered with a soft, crimson mist. A figure stood in front of him, its back turned to him. But when the figure turned, Jason recognized him as Galan. Both locked their eyes for a moment, before Jason felt Galan's words in his mind. 'Long have we been a part of one another.'

'I made you when I was six years old, a hero I dreamed up of when I heard things go 'bump' in the night.'

'And yet, I stand before you, as real as the flesh on your bones.'

'But how? You're just a figment of my imagination! The-the Ultarans, the Vl'Gor, Kraken, Outer Gods, they're all just figments of my mind!'

'And here, in this realm, what you imagine, and have imagined, can and will take shape.'

'But why did you merge with Fox?"

'I was trying to protect you, from him.'

'You mean Malachi.'

'He's not to be trusted. He's unnatural, and there is something about this realm he is not telling us.'

'So what do we do?'

'We keep our senses open, at all times.'

"So how's our patient doing?" Fox asked, looking through the window to the med center with Peppy. The Hare was holding a PAD that was being fed data by ROB from the medical computer.

"Certainly doing a lot better than you were. Must be because of his physiology." Peppy was scrolling down when he caught something. "Well that's interesting,"

"What is?"

"His synapses are firing off at an irregular pattern. Heck, his entire brain activity is different!"

"Is it because of the merging?"

"I'd have to run it against the data we got from you, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say yes."

"So what, does that mean he's smarter now, too?"

"Probably," Peppy replied with a shrug. "We should be getting close, right? Let's get everyone down to the hangar so we can depart. That box is secured, right? Wouldn't want our new friend fainting right when we touch down."

"It's safe, Peppy. But I have to agree with Falco on this. They caused this mess, who's to say what might happen if we hand them that thing?"

"Well, the good general says hand it over."

"Doesn't mean I have to like it." Fox turned to head for the turbo lift as ROB guided the medical scanner over Jason, and permitted him to rise, handing him his shirt. In the back of his mind, Peppy can't help but agree with Fox and Falco, but at the same time, he feels there is no choice.

The ramp opened and slid down to reveal the Center of Science and Technology. It was a large, dome-shaped building with twin, tall spires on either side of it, while a large park and parking lot lay in front of it. People went in and out of the center, some scientists and others were just visiting, while some seemed to stop and look up at the newcomers who had arrived in the large Dreadnought-class ship that was docked in a special berthing-bay, where smaller ships were docked alongside it. Jason, already in his wolverine guise, followed the Fox and Falco while Peppy and Slippy fallowed from behind. Fox carried the bag that held the small box that was found in the remnants of Andross's old lab, and even though he wasn't feeling as bad as he was when he first saw it, Jason still felt a small, chilling dread in his spine whenever he cast his eyes on it. Inside the dome, Professors Amirs and Aeries were waiting for them, the lemur being more excited than his avian companion. "Good of you to come here. Do you have it?" He seemed a little more eager than usual, and Jason was a little put-off by this. When Fox handed him the bag, he looked inside while Aeries stepped forward.

"Sorry to drag you all the way over here, especially right after the incident in Corneria City."

"It's all good. We're just glad to be rid of that thing, whatever it is," Fox replied, dryly. Aeries seemed to appreciate his tone, and turned to Jason.

"We have some…interesting news that we would like to share with you. Professor Amirs?" The lemur looked up from the bag.

"Oh, right! Yes! Well then," he slung the bag over his shoulder. "We were able to repair the dimensional window here at the center, as expected, and had much better control of it as well after we opened it again…"

"Wait, wait, what?!" Jason asked.

"You opened the portal again?!" Fox asked. Both their voices were loud enough to make the people walking around them stop and look, making the lemur and Avian look rather uncomfortable.

"Please, keep your voices down!" Amirs insisted. "Just follow us, and I'll explain." The professors led the team away from the common area and down one of the halls leading to a spire. "Yes, we did open the portal again, but this time it was directed towards Earth. We wanted to gain some more knowledge of the world where Jason came from."

"What, one look wasn't enough for you people?!" Jason asked in an indignant tone. "You have to go ripping the fabric of space apart just to get what you want?!"

"Well, space wasn't the only thing that was ripped, so to speak," Aeries replied solemnly.

"What does that mean?" Fox asked.

"Take a look for yourself," Aeries replied, stopping at a door. He pressed a sequence into the key-pad next to it, and the door slid open. What the team saw next, especially Jason, made their jaws fall open. The room was barely large enough to hold the small, pale-blue painted house with the front lawn and metal fence. The house itself was very small, barely over fifty feet long, twenty feet high and just as wide with wooden boards covering up the brick underneath. The shingles were starting to loosen on the roof, and the pain was chipping in places, but for only $345 a month for rent, Jason thought it was a bargain. Certainly a much better bargain than staying in the dorms, and he had a place he felt he could call his own. Now, as he sees his home for over a year, sitting with half of the front lawn and fence haphazardly in the clean, science room, it looked like something out of a parody. Jason fell to his knees, his wolverine disguise dropping as he struggled to form words.

"My…my house…" he said softly at first. "WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY HOUSE?!" His voice was loud enough to make the workers wearing clean suits look up in alarm while the scientists around them did the same. The rest of the team just stood, dumbfounded, at the sight of the house in a clean room. Amirs was the first to break the silence that followed while Aeries urged the personnel to return to work.

"When we reopened the portal, we decided to try for the address we found in your wallet, when you first came here and you were unconscious we did a little digging through your personal effects, and try to bring back a small sample of that place and observe your…environment to get a better idea of how you lived. Obviously there was a slight…miscalculation and we brought the entire domicile through on accident. We never meant to do this." Jason looked up at the lemur with a mix of horror and rage. Barely getting to his feet, his fists clenching tightly, he fought to rein in his emotions from his face, but was only semi-successful.

"I'm gonna kill you," he growled softly.

"What?"

"I'm gonna kill you!" he stormed towards the lemur, his brow furrowed, fists almost swinging as Amirs backed away.

"Now, now, let's not be hasty here,"

"I'm gonna kill you, monkey boy!" Jason replied. It was at this that Amirs made a break for the house, actually leaping inside and shutting and locking the door behind him as Jason pounded on it from outside. However, Jason kicked the door in, breaking part of the frame, and seeing a rather terrified Amirs looking up at him. "I'm gonna…" He looked up, and saw all his old possessions. The dresser sitting next to the door, with its rows of DVDs, Blu Rays and games, while facing towards him was the entertainment center he set up, with his TV in the center, and his PS3 and PS2 side by side, and the various figures he collected over the years next to those, while a poster hung on the wall behind the TV. The Lazy-boy chair sat in front, the leg-holder still propped up die to it being broken and unable to close all the way. Beyond the den lied the small kitchenette and dining area which led to the only bathroom and two separate rooms. It felt like a lifetime since he had been in here. Amirs took this time to hurry out of the house where the rest of the team waited for him.

"You really should do something about him!" Amirs said to Fox, half-gripped with terror.

"Like what?" the Vulpine asked. After exploring the house a little bit more, seeing that almost everything was in its place, some things were gone like a couple of DVDs were missing, some personal items and other things, Jason stepped out of the house, looking around the large clean room. "How did all that fit in here?" Fox asked.

"With that," Aeries replied, pointing upwards. The dimensional portal was still active, albeit barely. The light from it was soft, almost dying. Jason walked out from under it to look up. "After bringing the house here, the window started to decay rapidly before stopping in this state. We aren't able to see on the other side anymore, but we are picking up signals from Jason's world."

"What kind of signals?" Peppy asked.

"Radio signals, I'd imagine. Maybe their so-called internet is spilling into here somehow, could be television signals…who really knows? We haven't had a lot of time to analyze them."

"Who authorized the reopening?" Peppy asked.

"I did." All eyes were focused on the door, and General Pepper walked forward, his cap under his arm. "I authorized it, so we can at least try to learn a little bit more about what we are dealing with." As Pepper walked forward, Jason locked eyes with the blood hound. "You may not agree with me, but don't forget who helped backed this project in the first place. In essence, I'm the reason why you are here, Jason. And right now, we need more information than what you gave us. And if the only way to learn more is to reopen the window, then so be it." Jason didn't say a word, just held the glare with the general, until the blood hound looked away towards the rest of the team. "I trust you handed the box over to them."

"We already have it," Amirs replied, holding the bag.

"It's a mistake!" Jason said harshly.

"It's ours to make!" Pepper replied.

"Not with items from my world, not when you're screwing around with my world!" Jason's hand went to the crucifix on his chest, his ire rising. "I won't let you!" His fist glowed hotly, as it looked like he was about to summon Galan again. The Star Fox team gathered close to the general as he stood firmly, even took a couple of steps towards the human.

"If you believe that you should stop us, then do it. But the only way you will is over my dead body." His fist trembled and the glow intensified as it looked like he was going to wrench the cross from his neck.

"STOP!" a loud voice commanded. A bright light exploded in front of the house, and a shape took form in it, becoming the shape like that of a man, with a bright white aura about him. His head turned to face Pepper and Jason, walking towards them with purpose. "Jason, let them have the Arca Fhtagn."

"Galan," Jason whispered, his hand falling from the cross."You know what that box is, what it will do!"

"Yes, but I also know that no human can go near it. It is next to useless to you because of this barrier. Only they can use it."

"And let them cause further problems?! The helped bring the Outer Gods here!"

"Unwittingly, yes. However, it is best to let them atone for their mistakes. And the first step is to let them have the Arca Fhtagn. You know as well as I do that there are others here who have set their eyes on it! Why do you think the Vl'Gor was summoned here? And it will be the first of many to try and twist this realm into their likeness!" Galan held out a hand, and another luminescence formed, floating above the palm of the open hand. This too, took form, and as the rest of the team and the workers and scientists gathered round to see, they could see that the orb separated itself into ten smaller orbs, two being the center of eight, while three other fragments took the shape of letters. They recognized this as a model of the Lylat System. Even the orbs started to look like the planets orbiting the larger star Lylat, while the smaller star Solar orbited around Lylat the closest. Even th nebulas were made, and the model swelled as it rose higher above Galan. He pointed to the planet that looked like Aquas, and its shine reduced, till it looked like a solid black marble. "Already the Outer Gods have taken this planet, and soon the rest of this system will fall, becoming the first outpost in their invasion of taking this realm."

"How long?" All eyes were on Fox as he stepped forward. "How long do we have before they completely take over?"

"At most, only a week. That is, if they get their hands on the Arca Fhtagn." Galan turned back to Amirs, who held the bag. "It is vital to their plans that they obtain it."

"What is it?" Peppy asked.

"A means of opening a larger portal without the need of freshly killed bodies, for the evil power within it is powerful enough to open a permanent gateway between their world and yours."

"So what should we do with it then?" Galan looked back to Fox.

"Keep it safe. Keep it hidden, and for God's sake, do NOT open it! If you do, then the Outer Gods will be able to find it that much quickly." Amirs took another look at the bag, then back at Galan. "The Vl'Gor was the first. Next, they will summon a much more powerful opponent. Be ready." Galan vanished in a brilliant flash of light, the diagram of the Lylat System vanishing as well, leaving the human standing at empty air, feeling for the first time in a long while, unsure about himself.

The hurricane that formed in the lower regions of Corneria pushed itself upward, towards the largest continent on the planet where Corneria City lied.

The time was coming. If they were to wait, it would be too late to do anything about the Ultaran, especially with the coming storm. They have to kill him here and now, before he gains anymore power. The figure looked down at the ruined floor in a ruined building in Corneria City, the Sacred Circle already formed in the blood of a murdered innocent, one he didn't have to kill himself since the Vl'Gor provided him with hundreds, if not thousands. Archaic symbols decorated outside and inside the circle as the figure began to chant in a language that has never been spoken before in this realm, and lifted its arms up towards the dusk-filled sky. The chanting became louder, more reverent, and an unholy glow emanated from the circle, and pulsed like a heartbeat. Wind blew, and the sky darkened, as though the coming storm had arrived. Across from him, the floor cracked, and something burst through the concrete: An anthropoid figure stood before the cloaked being, arms folded. It was covered in a type of ebony armor that seemed to belong to some lost Dark Age, with a large sword attached to his back. Its face was concealed in a helmet in the visage of a snarling dragon, fangs extended.

"What is your need, oh lowly summoner?" It asked in a gravelly voice. The figure looked up, its labor complete.

"There is one here who stands in the way of our masters. One who has killed countless of your kin. The Ultaran, Galan!"

"Galan…" its voice seemed to growl like a volcano as it spoke. "Where is he?"

"If you want Galan, you will have to bring him to yourself."

"Very well. But know this, lowly one. I do this NOT for the benefit of the ones you presume to be our masters. I do this, for myself." The armored being lowered its head, and slowly vanished into the air. All the while, the hooded figure felt a smile creep on his face.

"So what's gonna happen to his house?" Slippy asked.

"I guess they'll just keep it there," Peppy replied. Both Hare and Amphibian saw the human looking out of the viewport as the Great Fox lifted up off of the docking berth, and the CST. Since they got paid for the experiment that brought Jason to their world, as well as getting paid extra for Aquas and the Vl'Gor, the Star Fox team often goes on a brief sabbatical to rest and recover after getting the job done. Fox was already looking to book rooms in a hotel on Zoness, the popular pleasure planet. A couple weeks on the planet should be enough, but of course Falco would never want to leave, and it might be a good experience for Jason as well. And just in time, too: A large hurricane was making its way towards the city. Almost half of it was in ruins, so the refugees will have to rely on the underground shelters, like last time when Andross attacked. As Jason stood and watched the CST shrink, He can't help but feel that something, at least something, should be done for his old home, rather than just leave it there in the clean room. At least, however, he was able to take some of his old stuff with him. Despite this, the one thought keep nagging at the back of his head; If all of this is like a dream world, like Malachi said, then how could his house be here? Then again, Galan told him not to trust what Malachi said, which he found to be sage advice the more he thought about it. A great light materialized in front of the CST, making everyone look up in surprise, especially when it started to take on a shape that resembled a man. The light receded, and the armored-clad figure floated up above the center, arms folded across its chest. It lifted one hand in front of its face, an orb of luminescence forming, and then threw that orb down, towards the CST.

( watch?v=QpM4l8cp6n0)

It struck the parking lot, sending vehicles and people flying upwards and in different directions, screaming, in a large explosion that all but turned the parking lot into a smoldering crater. From the Great Fox, the commotion drew the team from the consoles to the view port, until Fox brought the image up on the larger view screen up front. The parking lot was indeed destroyed, while a hovering figure formed another ball of luminescence and chucked it at the running throng of panicked people, creating another creator behind them as they continued to run in fear of their tormentor.

"OK, what the hell is that?" Falco asked, pointing at the screen.

"Not sure, but it looks like a person," Fox replied.

"It is the enemy," A voice replied. The team whirled and saw Galan, in his non-corporeal form, standing just behind Jason, walking towards the screen. "The enemy has decided to send one of their best to challenge."

"Challenge who?" Peppy asked.

"Us," Jason said. "He's been sent to challenge us, hasn't he?"

"Well if he wants to take on the Star Fox team," Slippy began.

"He isn't here for you," Jason replied.

"But you just said,"

"I think, What Jason means is Slippy, is that that thing is here to challenge him and Galan. Am I right?" Peppy asked. Galan looked at the Hare, and nodded.

"It's a member of one of the most powerful warrior sects in the realms. The Ultarans fought them when they were forced to fight us by the Outer Gods. Many on both sides were lost. I recognize it by the pattering on its armor. He's a member of the Draco Sectoral, the Sect of the Dragon. He's here to settle a score with me."

"Why you?" Fox asked. Galan Looked at Jason, and he turned back into an orb and flew right into the human, or more specifically, the cross on his neck. Jason took one look at the team around him, and seemed to smile. He turned, and headed down towards the turbo-lift, followed by Fox and Slippy.

"Fox, wait!" Peppy called. "This is between them!"

"If that thing picks a fight with one of us, he picks a fight with all of us!" Fox replied. With that, Fox and Slippy got onto the turbo-lift following Jason, soon to be followed by Falco and Peppy.

The lowly life forms swarmed away from him in panic, as all lowly life forms should. He had little time to deal with them, and waste none more than is necessary. However, his love for the lower forms should drive him to him any moment now.

"Draco!" The armored form halted, then turned to face the floating, silvery figure in front of him.

"Galan…" the armored one hissed.

"Draco. Leave these people alone. Your grievance is with me!"

"My grievance is with whomever I please, but you're the one who killed my kin."

"We've all killed others on either side. You've killed my own, we killed your own."

"Yes, as it is true in war. But, I must find out for myself. I must find out, if the title you bear is fitting enough."

"What title is that?"

"Iras Tempastas Deus," The figure got into a fighting stance as he said this, and this prompted Galan to do the same. However, the figure pulled the sword that was attached to its back out of its sheath, and wielded it in one hand. The sword looked like great sword, with the blade looking to be made out of the blackest metal, the hilt having a serpent's head on either side, the mouths open and fangs extended, ready to bite. Seeing this blade, Jason, inside Galan's form, felt himself recoil.

'How do we fight against something like that?'

'By fighting fire with fire,' Galan replied.

'How?'

'Just concentrate, and imagine.' Jason did imagine, and felt Galan's hand closed into a fist. He looked down, and saw a light blue blade come out of Galan's forearm, just above the hand.

"So, your avatar is learning to adapt to your body. Well let us give him his first lesson."

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Draco charged forward, and Galan, being half-guided by Jason, barely brought his guard up in time to ward off the blow with his own blade. The black metal struck the blue-white luminescence, and sparks were thrown as both tried to push the other back. Galan brought his leg up and kicked the knight in the arm, knocking him away and rushing at the knight with his arm raised high, preparing to swing it downward upon his helm. However, the knight reacted and blocked with his own sword, barely stopping the deathblow in time. "Not bad! Now I know your avatar is willing to kill if he's putting forth this much effort. Why not let him take control so I can see what he can really do!" Inside Galan, Jason can feel the muscles in his arm flex, as though they were being used, as he viewed things through Galan's eyes. Suddenly, the view from Galan's eyes looked as though he were seeing through his own eyes, and was so caught off-guard that the blow from the knight's fist actually hurt, and the plummet from the sky when he hit the ground also hurt. When Jason rubbed his head, he found he was moving Galan's body, as though he himself were Galan.

'What is…'

'I decided to let you handle this, but I will help you.'

"What?! But, Galan, I don't…"

'You are a soldier, are you not? You were trained not only by your army, but by your friends, your father, and now, I shall help you. Now, prepare yourself!' Jason, in Galan's body, looked up, and barely moved away in time as the knight crashed to the pavement, making the crater where Galan fell even larger. The knight, kneeling with his sword imbedded in the rubble, stood up and pulled his large sword out, resting it on his shoulder as he regarded the Ultaran that was now being run by the human.

"I see Galan took my words literally. Too bad, that means I can't go all out on you. Oh well, a cheap victory is a victory nonetheless." The knight got into a wide combat stance, holding the sword above his head while resting the tip of the blade on the wrist of his left hand, which was outstretched, the tip of the blade pointed straight at him. Jason formed the light blade again, and held the blade up, like the knight, but instead didn't let the blade rest and kept it ready. Without warning, the knight surged forward and tried to thrust, only to have Jason/Galan step out of the way at the last possible moment and swing vertically downward, slashing across the knight's back. However the blade did little, if any, noticeable damage to the armor. The knight retaliated by swinging his blade upward, downward, thrusting, while Jason/Galan was on the defensive, ducking, dodging, and parrying, waiting for the right time to strike. The knight got lucky and got in a thrust that, while missing his body, managed to cut his torso, in between the ribs. As Jason/Galan backed away, the Ultaran looked down at his wound, and saw that he bled light, which wafted upwards from the cut like a vapor. He placed his hand on it, and in a moment the wound was fully healed.

"Time to end this," Jason said, his voice sounding a little like Galan's. His blade retracted and his form glowed, his arms tucked into his body.

"And what do you hope to gain by expanding yourself?" the knight asked.

"I'm gonna squish you like a bug, see if that works," Jason/Galan replied.

"I wouldn't advise it," the knight replied, resting his sword on his shoulder again. "Even if you were to increase your size, I won't, and it will be just like trying to swat a fly, in a city of anthills. Eventually, the ants are going to get agitated, and will storm out to sting you to death, do you understand?" Jason hesitated for a second, then put forth more power.

"Who has time to listen to your bullshit analogies?!" he replied, his form glowing and expanding. However, instead of his fifty-meter height, he was only fifty feet tall. However, he still looked down at the knight as though he were an insect, and swung his fist down into the pavement where he stood. However, the knight was able to move away fast enough to avoid the blow. Jason/Galan looked to where he rolled, and saw him duck into an alleyway. He charged energy into his hands, and threw it as a ball of light that barely fit between the buildings. The knight looked up in surprise, and was struck by the ball, knocking him right into a brick wall that left a visible imprint of his body before slumping to the ground. The knight rose, using his sword to help him up as he was getting over the force of the attack.

"Not bad. I underestimated you. But no longer!" The knight surged forward and his body was covered in a black and red aura. He leapt at the Ultaran, who deftly moved out of his way as he crashed into the building behind him. The building then exploded, sending rubble and debris falling everywhere. Jason/Galan put up a light blue bubble around himself that covered half a kilometer, saving most of the people from the falling death. However, from the smoke and dust walked another figure, this one rivaling Jason/Galan in size. It was the same knight as before, but his armor was different. The plates on his chest and back had wing-like designs on them, his gantlets ended with a wyrm's extending over the fist, as though they were going to swallow his hands. The helm was a little different too, in that the mouth of the dragon no longer had a lower jaw, and was just a face plate that had blood-red eyes glowing from behind a visor that would chill any who looked upon them. His sword was replaced. Instead, he held a blade that was attached to a shield in his hands. "I haven't used this form in quite a while, and you just gave me the perfect excuse to use it. For that, let me thank you by giving you a warrior's death!" Jason/Galan extended his own blade and barely parried off the down-swing that would have cleaved him in two. Draco made a horizontal slash which Jason/Galan avoided by rolling out of the way, but it cut a sky-scraper in half, and sent it toppling into other buildings. Jason/Galan retaliated by going on the offensive and forcing Draco to use his weapon as a shield. While it did come with a shield, a combined weapon like that would prove to be almost unwieldy and awkward in close quarters, especially with buildings all around them. As Jason/Galan pressed the attack with swings and thrusts of his blue-white energy blade, the knight kept his guard up, and reached for something under the shield with his free hand. In one motion, he bashed the shield against Galan's blade and pulled his own sword out of the shield. Now armed with two weapons, Draco took a more appropriate defensive stance with his shield held in front and the blade of his sword resting on the edge of the shield, . which Jason/Galan saw had an emblem in the shape of a dragon on it, and was as black as the sword and armor. However, Draco was not merely going to use the shield for defensive purposes. He surged forward, and used the shield to bash Jason/Galan in the face, sending the Ultaran back into a building and leaving a large imprint. The Ultaran shook his head, clearing the fuzziness and spots, and barely rolled out of the way as Draco slashed the building in half. The knight raised the sword up again to swing it down, but Jason brought up his left arm to guard, and the black blade struck the forearm, or rather, it almost did, but a slight, light blue aura covered the Ultaran's left arm. Caught off guard, the knight left himself open to an attack as Jason/Galan struck Draco's shield with his left arm, knocking it away and slashing downward as hard as he could with his blade. This time, the blade bit deep, and a large cut was visible going down the chest plate that seared and smoked. However, as they two fought, the clouds began to darken without them knowing as the hurricane began to come in from the sea. The Star Fox team, already scrambled in their fighters, were flying over the combat zone as both knight and Ultaran had locked swords.

(end)

"What do we do now, Fox?" Slippy asked.

"If we attack, we could end up hurting more people than saving," Peppy commented.

"Jeez, I hate being in situations like this, where I'm just forced to watch!" Fox shared Falco's view. Sitting here and doing nothing while a personal war raged below was not what Star Fox was meant to do. And yet, innocent lives were at stake. If they were to intervene, how high could the cost be? He heard a light tap on his canopy, and looked up at the darkening sky to see the first drops of rainfall. Great, could this day get any worse, he though. Draco kicked Jason/Galan in the ribs, sending him crashing into a building, and then slashed downward on his chest. The Ultaran groaned loudly in pain, falling to the ground, holding his wound as his blade went back into his arm. The knight's blade burned coldly as green flames were ignited on the sword, and he swung downward, scorching the ground where Jason/Galan had lied, but the Ultaran rolled out of the way barely in time. He extended his blade again, but he was feeling tired, exhausted, after spending so much energy trying to fight off his more experienced opponent. He couldn't even reform his shield. Jason/Galan surged forward, but Draco merely blocked his swing with his shield, and stabbed the Ultaran in the midsection, getting a choked gasp out of him. The team saw this, and Fox's first reaction was to surge down there and unleash everything he had on the armor-clad enemy. In fact, he did just that, followed by the rest of the team as they made strafing runs and fired twin lasers and charged shots. However, Draco brought up a red energy bubble that deflected the attacks off of it. The blade, still burning, seared the silvery hide of the Ultaran as the blade sliced through to the other side, sticking out of the back of the Ultaran. Jason fought to hold on, to not let his vision be blurred, but his eyes went dark, and he felt himself fall, with Galan's words lightly echoing in his ears, but he could not make out what he was saying. The Ultaran had fallen to the ground, his hand over his wound as both the Soul and Mind Gems went dark, and his eyes faded. Without a word, Draco sheathed his blade on his back with his shield, and turned away, still maintaining the energy bubble around him while the Star Fox team made strafing runs on him. All the while, Fox was feeling his anger mount. First, he lost a team member, now he can't kill the scum who killed him! It's like what happened to his father all over again. Up above, lightning danced all around them, some seemingly striking the ground. Where he lied, the Ultaran didn't even twitch, didn't breathe, as the light show went on. Within, Jason felt himself succumb to a deep, dark pit, one that had no end. In the pit, he kept hearing a voice. It sounded so faint, but yet seemed so familiar. It was soft, and soothing, and it sounded like…

"Tasha," Jason's eyes snapped open, and the Ultaran weakly raised his hand to the sky.

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Draco stopped in his steps, and looked back at the Ultaran, seeing his hand reaching for the sky. The Star Fox team also stopped in their attack, following the gaze of the night, and beheld what was transpiring. Lightning danced and struck the ground around the Ultaran, and even struck him, the bolts hitting the Soul Gem on his chest! The wound vanished with each bolt that struck, and Jason/Galan stood up once more, his wounds completely gone.

"What the hell…" Falco started. "What just happened?"

"The lightning, the lightning hit him and he's standing again," Peppy replied. Slippy, using the scanner on his HUD, took readings, and found something.

"It's the plasma! He's absorbing the plasma from the lightning and the storm to revitalize himself!"

"So this guy runs on plasma?" Falco asked. All the while lightning bolts continued to strike him, but Jason/Galan paid them no attention. The knight, however, felt himself feeling amused, even elated, at the turn of events.

"So it's true. I had heard rumors, legends, but to actually see it!" The Ultaran walked forward as Draco spoke. "It is said that the first Ultaran was born in the eye of a great and might storm, the lightning giving him shape and form. And when he was born, it was said that he was imbued with God and heaven's wrath! Hence the title, Iras Tempastas Deus!" Jason/Galan stopped just in front of Draco, not saying a word. "Time to see if the avatar is still worthy of the god." As Draco reached for his sword, Jason/Galan surged forward, as fast as light, and struck the knight in the stomach with a knotty fist. The force of the blow was enough to knock Draco off his feet, and into the building behind him several kilometers away. The knight pulled himself out of the building, and with a growl, surged forward with his sword drawn. Jason/Galan didn't move, didn't flinch, as the knight surged towards them. However, when he got close enough, the Ultaran cocked his fist behind his head and threw his fist at the knight. The fist connected with the sword and shattered it into thousands of small fragments of ebony. Looking down at his sword, dumbfounded, Draco was caught unawares when he was assaulted by a flurry of punches and kicks to his body, torso, face, and head. He felt strong hands on his shoulders force him to lean forward as a powerful arm wrap around his neck and a knee make solid contact with his stomach several times, hard enough for him to start spitting blood and vomit almost at the same time. Jason/Galan pushed him back up, then spun around, his foot raised in a spin-kick that made contact with the left side of Draco's helm, and sending the knight flying into a building, through it, and into another one. Woozy, Draco unsteadily picked himself up off of the ground, and saw the Ultaran coming for him. That was when he decided to take the fight off of the ground and flew into the air, with the Ultaran in close pursuit. The Star Fox team decided to follow close behind, watching the Ultaran sending golden, crescent-shaped energy bolts from his hands at the retreating knight. The crescents cut through his armor, and he was forced to turn back and face his pursuer, retaliating by holding his shield in front of him to ward off the attack, and to send a torrent of green flame from the dragon symbol. The Ultaran easily avoided the attack and came up from beneath, landing an uppercut that sent Draco flying upwards, and then back down to the ground, creating a larger crater than before. The storm still raging around him, the Ultaran reached out to take in more lightning bolts, the electricity crackling on and around his arms. He brought his arms to his body, the hands almost touching the Soul Gem as energy arced and danced between them.

"PLASMIUM…CANNON!" At the shout, the Ultaran thrust his arms downward, at the inert form of the stunned Draco, as he looked up and saw the bright light of plasma energy racing for him. He couldn't muster the strength to move out of the way in time as it hit him, and he was bathed in a surge of nearly immeasurable power, ripping away at his armor and body.

"My weapons and armor were useless in the end, for every blow he gave back ten-fold, and yet I don't regret it," he says this as the stream energy still poured on him. "You hear me Galan, I fought the strongest Ultaran, and I have no regrets!" The knight laughed aloud as he said this, welcoming the blast of light that extinguished his life in a blaze of brilliance. The light was so blinding, that it seemed as though a second sun were born in the heart of the city. And when it died, there was nothing left but a crater.

(end)

Jason/Galan, still floating in the sky, looked down at where Draco had been, wondering why the knight was so content in the end.

'You gave him a fight most can only dream of, and a most beautiful death. To him, it was the greatest compliment anyone could have given him.' Galan's voice in the back of his head made him flinch slightly, but he still accepted it. He saw his teammates floating in the sky with him, and felt the Great Fox high above the storm, and led the team back home.

"Well, that could have gone worse," Peppy said, getting out of the Arwing as the rest of the team followed suit.

"Could have gone worse?!" Falco asked, incredulously. "Those two just tore Corneria City a freaking new one! And then he gets stabbed in the gut, and almost died, and by sheer luck, he resurrected himself with lightning bolts! And then he blew that guy straight to hell, while taking a chunk of the city with him!" As he spoke, Jason walked forward, and Fox caught sight of him, and walked forward. Jason braced himself for a reprimand, but found the fox lightly embracing him. Confused, Jason rooted at the spot when Fox broke away.

"How you feeling?"

"Uh, great I think. I just got hit by at least several million volts of electricity, so I'm gonna have that in my system for a while."

"Well you can walk that off," Fox replied. "Better than having you dead, any day."

"Yeah," Jason replied. "Anyway, I think I can use a vacation."

"You ain't the only one. In fact, let's head up and let me show you some of the prime vacation spots here in Lylat." As both human and vulpine walked to the turbo-lift, Peppy looked back to see Falco arguing with Slippy about maintenance, and then shrugged with a slight smile.

'At least there's some quiet in the storm.'

Fichina, known as a frozen wasteland of a world, lies near the edge of the Lylat system. On its surface, the frozen water has formed into mountainous glaciers and valleys, with sparse vegetation tough enough to eke out a survival on the harsh planet. However, they aren't the only ones on the planet. A Cornerian military outpost had been stationed there to serve as a lookout for enemy attacks, and as a guard for the scientists there who are conducting experiments and research into turning the planet into a garden-world, much like Corneria, by terrafroming its surface and melting all that frozen water. A hover-jeep skirted the surface of the ice as it made a b-line for one of the larger glaciers. Inside, a Canine and Hare worked the controls while a Feline busied herself at the radio and scanning station. "Slow down, we're coming up on it!"

"Alright," the Canine replied. The hover-jeep slowed to a crawl as the Feline tuned the transmitter, and picked it up again, the same transmission she'd been picking up since last night, when she stumbled onto it by accident. The hover-jeep stopped, and the Canine and Hare, dressed in heavy parkas and cold-weather gear, set out into the snow and ice, accompanied by the Feline. "Who the hell would want to live out here?" the Canine asked.

"No one sane, that's for sure," the Hare replied. "Which, given the present company," The Feline made a face, and with her portable transmitter, headed towards the source of the transmission. "Lord, few things can warm me up in a place like this," he said, watching the Feline walk away, especially when his eyes was on her shapely rear.

"Yeah, yeah, what's it said about Hares and multiplying again?" The Canine asked with a grin on his muzzle. The Feline stopped just short of the glacier, and waved the two over to her. Upon reaching her, they saw what she did; a large, dark shape in the ice, probably larger than their own base.

"What is that?" the Hare asked.

"Looks like something buried under the ice," the Canine replied, kneeling down to brush some of the snow off the ice to get a better look. Something was indeed buried down there, probably for centuries, given how deep it must be.

"Look!" The Hare and Canine looked up and saw what the Feline saw, buried in the ice next to the larger shape. It looked vaguely anthropomorphic, given the outline, but not much can be made from it. It was buried almost as deeply as the other shape.

"We better report this back to base, and get some drilling equipment up here!" the Hare exclaimed, heading back to the hover-jeep.

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The Feline knelt down, brushing the snow off of the ice, trying to get a better look at the thing within, but all she saw was a shadow.