Author's Note: This fic stems from two things. One - my nagging sense that StarFox Adventures, brilliant as it is, isn't the game it could have been, particularly given the time spent on it; two – little things about the game that make me wonder if the developers hadn't had more ambitious plans for it originally. Thus I now let my twisted mind loose on the basic plot, to see how it would have written the tale. Enjoy!

Please note - this story contains frequent nudity, mild to moderate, occasionally strong, violence, mild to moderate language, with the occasional burst of strong, and mild to moderate innuendo and sensuality. It also contains same-sex relationships, so if that offends or unsettles you in any way do everyone, especially yourself, a favour, and hit the 'back' button now.

All things StarFox are © Nintendo, and used with affection and no intent to make money. Honest. Credit must go to Alex Warlorn of DeviantArt for helping inspire one of the major plot aspects.

Prologue

Rain. Rain was her world right now. No matter where she looked it filled her vision, glistening curtains of water that disappeared into the night. It robbed her of place, it robbed her of direction; it even seemed to rob her of time. Even when she closed her eyes it was all she knew, pattering rhythmically on head and back, seeping into her fur, weighing down her meagre clothes. Even now, so far on, she couldn't escape it.

Deep-set melancholy tinged cerulean-blue eyes as they scanned the crying skies for any hint they were heading in the right direction. Finding none, they gazed down at the Cloudrunner she sat astride once more, her only distraction from the rain. He appeared oblivious to it, a silent purpose to his strong, regular wing beats and the unwavering gaze from narrowed eyes. She envied him, wished she too could shut it all out so easily, so that she wouldn't have to remember. It had rained that day, too.

One paw lifted from the Cloudrunner's neck to smooth back a clump of fur that had slipped over one eye, then check that the staff remained firmly fixed to her back. Losing it now would mean losing it forever. She'd lost more than enough already. Her eyes squeezed closed, a single tear joining the rain already saturating her cheek fur. Why did everything take her back?

A sharp cry from the Cloudrunner shattered her reverie. Blue eyes snapped open to see a gaping and horned dinosaur head of impossible proportions rearing from the gloom ahead of them. As a thick neck came slowly into view she realised this unsettling apparition was made of a dull grey metal she couldn't recognise. Her already large eyes expanded in blank disbelief when the immense beast proved to be the figurehead of a gigantic ship; a sailing ship.

Soon the whole thing was in view, a galleon with but a single mast gliding through the storm-swept night sky. An iron-clad prow jutting forward under the figurehead, a row of horned skulls pinned along the length of the ship, unidentifiable wooden constructions clinging to its sides, and an angular, ungainly body shape all combined to form an ugly nightmare of a vessel. Even as icy fear started tickling down her spine, though, curiosity got the better of her.

"Scejoh!" she called to the Cloudrunner, none of her alarm showing in her clear voice.

The winged dinosaur obliged, flying to meet the ship as it slid nearer, apparently equally curious. That imposing figurehead loomed over them both, seeming to bellow defiance at the elements. She blinked rain from her eyes, then looked up. Two burning orbs looked right back, set into the grey face of the metallic carving, its head twisted round and down to hover inches from hers. A deep, rusty roar blasted stale air at her, almost blowing her from the Cloudrunner's back. Determined hands and legs held fast until the bellow subsided, then she straightened back up. A resolutely rigid and lifeless figurehead was all she saw on glancing over her shoulder.

The Cloudrunner flew higher, to perch on the ship's rail, gazing silently about himself. Now she could see the deck, and that it was utterly deserted. Boxes littered the slick planks, all marked with a familiar serpentine swirl of an insignia. Confusion furrowed her brow as she fought to make sense of it all. So much here seemed wrong…

"Nuak xoho," she murmured, sliding from the dinosaur's back and dropping gracefully to the deck. "A navv ro hawxk rusb."

The Cloudrunner's only reply was a short, crow-like caw as it folded its leathery wings. Her heart thumping in her chest, she stole across the glistening wood, heading for a door at the rear of the ship. Why that felt like the place to go she didn't know, but something pulled her towards it. Caution remained to the fore, though, as evidenced by her careful, creeping pace, and her fully erect ears. She listened carefully at the door for some moments before opening it.

She padded noiselessly down and round a sloping u-shaped passage, and stepped cautiously into what had to be the ship's hold. Dozens more boxes crowded into the four corners of the room, leaving feet of space around a strange metallic box sitting in the dead centre. On top of that lay a simple key. It was so out of place, so strange a thing to find there, she could only conclude it wasn't meant to be. Darting over to the box she snatched up the key, and only then realised what might occur as a result.

Internal alarm bells ringing loud she sprinted from the hold and back on deck. As she noticed with shock the Cloudrunner had vanished double doors set in the face of the forecastle crashed open and a quartet of leather-armoured Sharpclaws barrelled forth, a forceful rush of green, scaly bulk and guttural cries.

A single panic-stricken possibility occurring to her she scrambled across the drenched wood, fighting to keep her footing, then gripped the rail and flung herself over it.

Harsh screams of rage echoed in her ears as darkness rushed up to meet her…