The Political Ethos

This story is the sequel to Tyrant's Grip. Many developments occurred in the Tyrant's Grip that will make this fic hard to understand if you didn't read it. However you can still read this and enjoy it anyway.

Nintendo owns Star Fox. I'm open to other people using the original characters in this story if you let me know.

If you noticed, this story is listed as a romance. Keep that in mind. If M/M relationships bother you then it's recommended you not read past this point as later chapters will deal with that. (Sorry misty's double, you were right about your first guess)

Rated T for some language and innuendo.

Chapter 1 - Newly Selected

"You should have obeyed my orders. Now you shall face your death!" General Pepper pulled the trigger on his blaster and laughed viciously as he watched his advisor crumble to the floor in agony and pain, fruitlessly clutching his chest from the gunshot wound. After a moment of trembling and shaking his movements stopped and he receded into his death in a cold silence, staring upward with an open mouth expression of pain.

Pepper huffed and put the gun away in its holster with a smile. A flutter of beeps emanated from all over the bridge of the ship, which was filled with terrified faces.

"General Pepper sir, what should we do about Corneria?" asked an ensign meekly, wringing his hands in stress as the beeping grew louder.

"Kill them all, the entire planet!" he growled. "And you shall refer to me as Andross!"


Pepper flew up from his sheets and looked around, covered in sweat, the only sound being a series of loud beeps from the comm panel on the nightstand. He was in his bed, dressed in his usual sleeping attire, black flannel shirt, matching shorts and a quirky nightcap on top of his head. Tiredly, he rubbed his eyes, trying to extinguish the nightmare away, the trauma that filled his nerves, the terrified faces.

He picked up the receiver on the comm panel, pushing aside a group picture of old military officials.

"Yes, what is it?"

"Good morning General Pepper, this is Max Deveron. I'm just giving you that reminder that you'll be expected at the Lylat Unity meeting in two hours."

"Oh...yes, thank you Max," the fatigued canine sighed and rubbed his forehead.

"Are you alright General? You sound...stressed."

"No..." he whispered quietly. "I mean yes, I'm fine. Of course, I'm fine...just a...," he paused for a moment thinking about the nightmare.

"Just a bad dream, that is all..." He shook his head as though still trying to wash out away the phantom faces in his head. "Pepper out." He clicked the comm panel off and slowly melted back into the sheets, clenching a pillow in his arms.

The sun glistened off the tips of skyscrapers as a countless number of hovercars rushed between buildings and through the skies above the city where balloons and confetti were floating around the crowds that filled the streets. News crews seeped through the streets, making their way through the densely packed masses of jubilant people. The populace hopped around in a collective euphoria that was most likely on everyone's mind at the moment, happy to be free from the chaos they were under before.

"Today is a new day for the Lylat System as citizens are rejoicing all across the four populated planets of Katina, Zoness, Macbeth, and Corneria herself in a festive atmosphere to usher in a new age for Lylat!"

The reporter stood in the street covering one ear as he spoke, trying to block out the roaring crowds around him. "I'll let our affiliate who is actually at the Lylat Unity building take it from here!"

"Yes! Thank you Daniel! I am here live at the Lylat Unity building where a massive meeting of Lylatian representatives will be taking place, which is currently being dubbed the 'Lylat Unity Conference'! 45 newly selected senators from Corneria's city-states and 105 representatives from Katina, Macbeth, and Zoness will fill the building you can see behind me. Inside they will listen to a speech by our newly selected leader, Chancellor Cardus, and discuss new policies such as what to do to rebuild the recently devastated planets of Macbeth and Zoness!"

Hovercars zoomed over the plaza the reporter was standing in as more and more senators and delegates pushed through an opening in the crowds to get inside the massive dome shaped building. They were about several blocks from where the remains of the old senate building were. The shell of the structure that once existed, laid in a crumbled heap several blocks wide as a reminder to where all the original tyranny had started.

"Can you tell our viewers who some of the notable guests to this meeting will be?" The squirrel news anchor behind the reporting desk pressed a hand to his ear to try and hear the ground reporter over the roaring crowds while he watched the telescreen with her image on it.

"Yes Daniel, if I heard you right, you asked me who will be arriving?"

"Yes that's correct! He laughed as he watched a group of canines behind her make peace signs and throw confetti on the vixen.

She quickly brushed it off and held her microphone with a firm grip. "Well, the most notable guest we're all waiting to see is the newly selected Chancellor of Corneria, Olivia Cardus. Included with her, we're also expecting the mercenary hero Fox McCloud along with the newly chosen Chairman of Extraplanetary Affairs, Wolf O'Donnell!"

Falco zipped up his jacket as he watched Katt try and unglue herself from the TV news, lying on the couch inside their high-rise condo.

"Aren't you supposed to be at that Lylat conference meeting thing, oh great Ambassador to Zoness," he asked in a mocking tone of her new title.

"Yes and you're coming too!" she replied with a smile. "I'm just waiting for Wolf to call me and tell me that he's leaving so we can all arrive at the same time."

Falco poured himself a cup of coffee, "Oh, I see and why exactly do I have to be there?"

"Hmm I show your support of me maybe?" She took the coffee cup from him and drank the rest of it.

"I need that more than you do," she gasped after taking the gulp down.

He growled and got himself another mug, bypassing a group of large boxes on the way to the coffee maker. They were still settling in their new home, sort of a temporary solution until a new Great Fox could be constructed as Katt would say when she would look out the window to admire the view of the city.

"What do you think of my outfit?" She twirled around in front of him in her formal deep red pant suit that had her badge identifying her as an ambassador. Falco raised his chin in a smug manner,

"You look fine."

"Is that all you can say?"

"Why do women always have to fish for compliments? Of course you look great, you look spectacular! Now don't let all this formal uniform ambassador bullshit get to your head because then I won't be good enough for you!" He took a sip of his coffee while eyeing her behind the mug with a sarcastic glint in his eye. It was always difficult to read his face thought Katt as she watched him.

"Oh come on, you had a hand in saving this planet too, I think that puts you somewhere on the list of Cornerian celebrities."

Falco spat his coffee out, "Don't you dare call me a celebrity!"

"Why not Mr. Celebrity?"

"I'll tell you why Ms. Ambassador, because you know what they say about celebrity couples..." He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close to him.

"Oh what's that?" asked Katt seductively brushing her whiskers against the feathers on his neck.

He moved near to her as well bringing his beak oh so very close to her face, but he still held a playful grin in his approach.

"They never last!" he finally said.

"Hey!" She slapped him on the arm, and took his coffee mug away again. "This is mine now!" She drank the rest of the mug as Falco went wide- eyed.

"Don't drink too much now." He crossed his arms. "You don't want to look like a crazy the first day on the job right?"

"You've already made me crazy," she scowled.

"Oh touché pussycat."

Fox walked across the lobby of the government building, passing under the glass skylight crown while slowly looking around. The atmosphere was upbeat, people standing in the marble tiled atrium among the indoor trees, chatting brightly about how good the times were. Corneria saved, Lylat restored and perhaps a new return to normalcy and prosperity was on the agenda for the future. The bemused mercenary entered a nearby hallway past the empty receptionist's desk and continued walking, taking notice of more people standing in the corridor and conversing. Not paying attention, he bumped right into a rabbit woman who tripped and dropped all the papers she was carrying with a loud crash of flapping debris.

"Watch out will ya!..."She looked down at the mess as her ears dropped down in disappointment. She glanced back up and her face snapped into a beaming smile,

"Oh...You're Fox McCloud!" She brushed herself off as her ears perked up.

"Yeah, last time I checked. Sorry about that, here let me help you." He rolled up the sleeves on his usual white jacket and kneeled down to scoop up the papers as she did the same across from him.

She laughed, "I'm one of the receptionists in this building. Everyone's been talking about you recently and how you saved all of us." She brushed a strand of brown hair out of her face. "Is there anything I can do for you Mr. McCloud?"

He smiled and scooped up more papers, "Actually yeah, I'm looking for Wolf O'Donnell."

"Oh, you mean the Chairman of Extraplanetary Affairs Wolf O'Donnell?"

He raised an eyebrow, "Yeah I think that's the one."

She got up and took the papers from him. "He's in room 303 at the end of this hallway to the left."

"Thanks and uh...sorry about the..." he gestured toward the mess in her hands, "the papers."

She looked down again and noticed they were out of order and crumpled, "Oh don't worry about it. You have a nice day!" She walked away as Fox blinked incredulously. Without wasting another moment he paced down the marble tiled hallway, counting the door numbers until he came to the room number he was looking for. He quickly opened the door to a small carpet floored office which had a young orange tabby behind a desk. She was filing her nails with deep concentration.

"Oh I'm sorry...I'm looking for Wolf O'Donnell," said Fox with a bewildered glance. He noticed another door behind her desk.

It took her a moment, but she finally snapped from her meditation/nail filing and looked up. "Oh!...Nope you're in the right place! I'm his secretary!" She giggled loudly which made him cringe. "It's my first day on the job, but then again I guess it's everyone's first day isn't it?" She giggled again with the same fluttering high pitched sound, showing off her braces. Fox figured she couldn't have been older than eighteen. Her innocent sounding voice occasionally lisped when her tongue pressed between the metal rails on her teeth.

"So what can I do for you?" She paused for a moment and narrowed her eyes at him. "You know, you look veeery familiar..."

Fox looked around the room holding a mystified smile on his face as she pointed a finger at him.

"Oh my gosh! You're Fox McCloud!"

Fox put a hand on his forehead, "Yeah listen, if I could just see Wolf O'Donnell..."

"OH my GOSH! You know they say that we wouldn't even be here if it weren't for you and Wolf!"

"Well people have a tendency to exaggerate sometimes..."

"Oh no I know it's the truth! You've always been a hero Mr. McCloud! I used to always hear stories about you when I was a little girl and WOW, now I'm sitting right here in front of you!"

"Well thanks...I think. What's your name?" asked Fox with a slightly irritated tone.

"Oh my gosh where are my manners. I'm Cecilia Cicero!" She horribly lisped her name as she extended her paw and batted her eyes Fox took her hand slowly and clasped it with his other as she blushed.

"Hey Cecilia?" He leaned over the desk and moved closer to her. She nodded and smiled, radiantly showing off her braces. "Do you think it would be possible if I could see Wolf O'Donnell now?"

The door behind the feline secretary opened with a one eyed wolf crossing his arms. "Cecilia, would you care to tell me what all the commotion is out here?" came the smooth voice.

Fox smiled at him as he returned the wry grin "Well look who it is," said Wolf with a lazy surprised tone as he leaned in the doorway. "Get in here."

They made their way into the office. Fox took notice of Wolf's deep blue uniform and light gray eye patch as he walked over to his desk and placed a digital tablet on it.

"You're looking sharp it seems," added Fox as he strode over towards him in the living room sized office.

"Do I?" Wolf looked down at his official attire and brushed a gold trim arm cuff with a smirk. "You wouldn't believe how out of place I feel here."

"Don't worry, I feel out of place just being in this building," said Fox.

"Oh shut it." Wolf reached out and embraced him warmly. Fox couldn't help but notice how great it felt to hug him, just to have two feet both on the ground and to know that they made it through everything alive in one piece.

"Aren't we supposed to be at some Lylat conference meeting or something?" asked Fox.

"Oh it can wait just a little bit I think," answered Wolf. He smiled at Fox as he watched him flop down on the couch and lay back, looking out the large glass window with his hands behind his head. Wolf's office had a magnificent view of Corneria City, the opulent glass towers rising above a backdrop of lush green hills.

"Hey that couch is for my leisure only!" demanded Wolf with a grin. "Now scoot!"

Wolf slumped down on the couch after Fox sat up. He leaned against Fox with a sigh, partaking in the view of Corneria City outside the window which was behind his desk.

"I mean think about it Fox, just a few days ago we were saving the world and now here we are. I can imagine you got plenty of looks coming down the hallway right? People have given us quite a high status."

"It's almost...scary." he muttered. "The last time I saved Lylat was seven years ago. Back then I was able to run away in the Great Fox and not come back for several months to avoid all this heroism bullshit." His eyes lingered for a moment before setting on Wolf with a leering smile.

"So...the new job! What exactly does a 'Chairman of Extraplanetary Affairs' do?"

Wolf's eyebrows shot up, "I have no idea whatsoever! I think it might have something to do with foreign policy or something, who knows! Let's just hope I don't have to do anything important in the near future, since I can't rely on my secretary obviously."

Fox nodded in agreement. "You shouldn't be doing this desk job bullshit anyway. I tell you what. Right now Slippy is working with Arspace to design a new Great Fox. After it's complete I would want nothing more than for you to join the Star Fox team. Your piloting skills are renowned throughout the system..."

Wolf raised a paw up to stop him, "Ah but see, I really don't know if I want to do that either. I've had enough of the wham bam adventure Fox. This wolf is keeping both feet on the ground for now ok?"

"When did you decide this?" asked Fox astoundingly.

"I think somewhere between dodging Pepper's bullets and dangling out a speeding hover-train," he answered calmly as he poked around the computer on his desk.

"Whatever you say, but that's not going to stop me from trying to change your mind."

"Oh is it?" he grinned at him. "Speaking of action and adventure, what's going on with Bill and Elena?"

"They got away," responded Fox with a smile, "Bill, as Head Commander of the entire Cornerian fleet, is supposed be at this meeting, but I doubt we'll see him there. He's probably off on some private beach getaway in Zoness with Elena right now," he sighed.

Wolf smirked, "Sounds like he has the right idea. Anyways I need to call Katt and let her know that we're leaving for that government meeting we have to be at." He picked up the phone. "Ambassador Monroe?"

"Um, yes?" came a voice.

"This is Chairman O'Donnell speaking." Wolf tried his hardest not to laugh.

"Wolf! Dammit I hate you! You scared me! I thought someone important was calling me! Don't you ever do that again!" Katt spoke rapidly as she paced back and forth across the living room with the phone. Falco noticed the empty canister of coffee on the table.

"Relax, relax! I was just calling to say that Fox and I are on our way."

"Oh it's about time!...Falco!" She paused and yelled out behind her.

"Yoohoo, I'm sitting right here sweetheart." The avian waved his hand from the couch. "No need to shout when I'm two feet from ya."

She growled, "Get up! We're going!"

Wolf put the phone down, "Alright here we go!"

Fox curled up on the couch. "Nah, I think I'll stay here. I'm all comfortable and everything..."

Wolf waltzed over absently brushing his arm cuffs with one hand. "Oh but Fox, why lie there and relax when you can go to a stuffy bureaucratic meeting of talking heads with me!"

Fox groaned and buried his head in a couch pillow. Wolf laughed, grabbing Fox's tail with two hands before giving him a good yank. Fox held on with a strong grip and swiped his tail back.

"Hey no touching of the tail!"

"Oh c'mon I thought we were way past that," laughed Wolf.

Their chuckles slowly dwindled. An awkward silence took hold of the room. Wolf blinked a few times and looked away from the uncomfortable silence.

"Well...we're going to be late," he carefully announced.

"'re right. Sorry."

Dozens of reporters and news crews ran up to an approaching hover- limo with flashing cameras behind a roaring crowd of people. Olivia stepped out the car door greeted by a news camera in her face along with hundreds of microphones and flashing cameras.

"Hell!" she squawked almost tripping over, but her shouts were drowned out by the flood of noise coming from all around her.

"Chancellor Cardus! How does it feel to be leader of the planet!"

"Chancellor Cardus! Can you tell us your thoughts on the Androssian takeover!"

"Get the hell away from me!" she shrieked, shooing away the cameras as several men pushed the reporters back, trying to help her get through the crowd.

Wolf's car landed further away from the hordes of people, parking itself at the edge of the plaza in front of the massive dome shaped building. Fox glanced out his passenger window as the doors unlocked.

"Look there's Olivia!" laughed Fox.

They watched her swat away at the buzzing crowd of people as they swarmed around her, an occasional red feather coming off her as she was jostled around.

"Man...I feel like I should go help her or something," added Fox.

"Good lord no," muttered Wolf as he pulled the keys out and opened his door. "She can handle herself. Trust me, she's a tough woman."

"Look everyone!" shouted a man as he pointed at their car. "It's Wolf O'Donnell and Fox McCloud!"

"Oh shit! Get down Fox!" Wolf ducked behind the door. Fox had nowhere to hide as he frantically looked around, but it was too late. A massive throng of people were already rushing towards them across the open plaza.


Wolf bolted away from the black sporty hovercar with Fox following as fast as he could. Reporters quickly took notice and joined in the pursuit, flashing cameras and gripping their microphones with determined intensity. Wolf burst through he crowd and made his way to the steps of the conference building with Fox quickly in toe. They rushed up the stone flight of steps with the reporters desperately following them.

"Hurry Fox we're almost there!"

They rushed through the massive front double doors which were held open and guarded by several canine police and military officials. They took notice of Wolf's uniform and let him pass, doing the same for Fox as they could easily recognize his face. They saluted him as he entered.

"Whew, ok, we made it out" Fox's voice trailed off as he turned his head up to look upward in the massive lobby. The Greek style columns reaching up several stories to a glass paned ceiling, passing by white marble balconies along the way. It was beautiful, thought Fox as he stared in awe and passed through the crowds of officials and government employees.

"Fox! Wolf!" Katt pounced towards the two across the wide open atrium with Falco in hand, dragging him along.

"Are you guys ready to go into the main senate chamber?" she asked anxiously. She seemed nervous even though she was dressed appropriately for the occasion.

Wolf looked her up and down slowly with a smirk. "Nice pant suit Katt."

"Screw you."

"Hey that was a compliment!" he retorted.

"I'd be careful around her, she's buzzed on caffeine," said Falco as he slowly tried to sneak away but Katt held a firm grip on him.

A mouse holding a digital tablet was headed towards the group. She was talking into her headset microphone fervently as she came closer.

"Yes?...Yes I have them here, I'm telling them now..." She looked up from her tablet. "Alright, Chairman O'Donnell, Mr. McCloud, Ambassador Monroe and Mr. Lombardi, I'm one of the ushers here at this event and I'll be helping you with your seats."

Everyone nodded.

"Alright for you four, Chancellor Cardus has asked you all to sit with her up in the main Cornerian balcony seats in the chamber room."

Falco smirked, "Translation folks, 'Help me guys I'm scared, I have no idea what I'm doing and I need you to sit next to me!"

Everyone laughed as the usher adjusted her square rimmed glasses. "What about the rest of the Star Fox team, where are they?" asked Fox curiously. The usher checked her tablet, "Let me see...ah Mr. Toad, Mr. Hare and ROB64 are already in the main seating area, section J-23. Unfortunately I'm afraid they won't be able to sit with you. There's no more room up in the main balcony with Chancellor Cardus."

Fox shrugged, "Eh that's fine, they can manage I guess."

She adjusted her glasses and pressed a button on her tablet, "Alright it looks like 90 of the delegates are here, so we're ready to seat you four. Follow me please."

She swiftly turned around and walked down the marble atrium. Sunlight glistened through the glass ceiling above as they passed by several sets of double doors, brushing against other formally dressed people. As they kept walking, Katt dragging Falco along, Fox couldn't help but feel like they were going to see a bull fight at a stadium or an opera at a theatre. The feeling was surreal, as they passed by the seat numbered doors and mingled through the crowd. Eventually they made it up another staircase, rising above the now crowded lobby until they came to large set of double doors.

"This is it!" said the usher out loud towards no one specifically as her large mouse ears perked up. She smiled and pulled open the doors to a fantastic sight. The next room ahead was nothing compared to the lobby that Fox thought was amazing in the first place. A spectacular circular room several hundred feet across with dozens of balconies overhanging a circular formation of seats below greeted their eyes. The room was crowned by a high marble dome that reached higher than the lobby's atrium ceiling did. Hundreds of formally dressed and uniformed people could be seen walking and conversing through the aisles among the seats far below and more on the balconies across from theirs as well.

"Well Fox McCloud, Wolf O'Donnell, we see each other on the ground at last," Olivia turned around from the railing of the balcony and smiled. She had a compliment of two brute looking rottweiler guards at her side that she quickly ushered away. The cardinal wore a stunning black uniform that came all the way up to her neck, and spread down into a swooping trench coat that reached all the way to the floor. It was more fashionable than political, the only thing defining her leadership being a small gold badge on her arm cuffs which bore the insignia of Corneria.

"Chancellor Cardus," said Wolf with equal heaviness as Fox merely nodded and smiled.

"Oh c'mon you guys, it's Olivia and we're friends remember?" She leaned forward and hugged Wolf, then did the same to Fox. "Hey Falco, Katt." She nodded at them brightly, her red feathers bobbing in cue.

Fox adjusted his white jacket to look more formal. "So how's the new job coming along Olivia?"

"It's more of who I am now than a job really. This leadership is apart of me personally as an individual now," she paused and looked around. "I'm sure you figured why I asked you guys to sit with me. No one is supposed to know this but," she slowly leaned forward towards Fox, her beak inches from his face, "But I don't really know what I'm doing."

Wolf huffed and glanced at his uniform, "Hey, that makes two of us."

Katt's hand shot up, "Oh! Right here!" She waved her hand around, "Right here! You can put me down for not knowing what she's doing also."

Olivia smiled, "It is good to know I'm not alone. Did you have a hard time getting here? I had to literally shove the media hounds off of me just getting out of my limo." She brushed her arm cuffs, looking up at the group.

"Yeah, we saw. You put up quite a fight!" exclaimed Fox.

"I'm sure that will look good for public first impressions." She rolled her eyes.

Wolf leaned over the balcony and looked down at the masses of people settling in the seats below. "I wouldn't worry, the people are looking for someone who isn't afraid to slap others around," he said. "Ah Fox, I see Slippy and Peppy down there." He pointed at the crowd below.

Fox stepped over to the edge and leaned over, and sure enough Slippy was sitting with Peppy and a few scientists. ROB took up the seat beside them and towered over mostly everyone else around as Slippy spoke with his hands and continually gestured towards the bulky robot. He was probably bragging about the artificial intelligence protocol he designed or something that would show himself off as usual.

"YO! SLIP! PEP!" shouted Fox as he cupped his hands around his muzzle.

Slippy was distracted and looked up, Peppy joining him. They waved as Fox did the same and then returned to what they were doing. ROB stared upward, he appeared just as bored as Falco did who was now slumped in a seat next to Katt and continually glancing over the balcony next to him. A calico feline entered the doors to the balcony from behind them in a stunning cedar green uniform with a beaming smile on his face.

"Max!" cried Olivia, shooing away her advisors and embracing him.

"Hey, I hope you didn't think I'd miss this did you?" He looked at her carefully with a smirk.

"Of course not! And if you did I'd remove you from your rank!"

He gave her a wide-eyed look that was complimented with a playfully stunned smile.

"I'm kidding Max! I wouldn't abuse my power the first day in the position," she folded her arms and gave him a dry smile.

"Oh I know I know Olivia. Shouldn't you be making your speech soon?" he asked.

She nodded carefully and brushed her garments nervously. Several ushers buzzed around and were conversing with delegates at the same time as Olivia folded her arms and continually glanced at Wolf who was repetitively adjusting his deep blue uniform. He appeared just as nervous as she did and Fox couldn't blame them. Next to no political experience and now they were serving an entire planet. It was almost ridiculous when he thought of it carefully. Wolf stepped over to him and pressed his face in his shoulder humorously groaning as Fox looked up and smiled.

"You really are nervous aren't you?" he asked as the crowds grew louder with more people filling the monumental chamber.

Wolf straightened out again and nodded, looking around continuously. "There isn't a word to describe the nervosa right now," he sighed.

Olivia shooed away her advisors and stepped over, taking Wolf's hand. "Hey, listen you don't have to say anything Wolf, so don't worry, no speeches today," she winked and smiled. "Me on the other hand..."

Katt looked over the balcony and smoothed out her blouse, "Looks like we're just about ready to begin."

Olivia nodded as an usher entered the balcony from the double doors behind them. "It's almost time," he said as he pressed a hand to his headset.

Fox glanced around quickly, "I don't see General Pepper. Olivia did you hear anything from him?"

She looked around swiftly as Max did the same, "I called him earlier this morning and he said that he'd be here," he said as he brushed his pins.

A raccoon usher glanced at his tablet, "I don't have him in the present listing yet, but this might not be updated. Unfortunately there's no time, we should begin now Chancellor."

"Very well," she took a deep breath.

Wolf turned around and observed the other balconies across from them. The first one on the left was filled entirely with delegates and representatives from Macbeth, the stoutly mole people chattering about and conversing in plain gray uniforms. The next balcony to the right, which was directly across from theirs, was filled entirely with Katinians. A tall giraffe who was the President of the planet was speaking with many advisors around him as well. He towered over them as he tried to manage all of them individually, appearing just as swamped with duty and obligation as any other political leader. Finally, the furthest balcony to the right was populated by the Zonessian representatives. An awkward looking calamari sat in his seat in silence, simply looking around with several other squid and even a dolphin who were conversing with each other closely and looking around as well. And, of course, down below in the circularly oriented seats were the 45 senators of the Cornerian city-states along with special guests, VIPs, or other dignitaries who were deemed important enough to be a this event.

Olivia closed her eyes for a moment and carefully breathed, trying to brush aside the tension. She reached up to her neck and plucked a large red feather off of her stiffly.

"Take this Fox."

He looked over at her in disbelief as she handed him the feather.

"Think of it as a way of wishing me luck," she added softly.

He took the feather and looked at both sides of it delicately, twirling it around. Wolf noticed and stepped over, his face holding a sullen expression as he watched Fox analyze the crimson barb in his hand. Wolf reached into his uniform pocket and pulled out another red feather. Olivia saw this, her face quickly brightening in response.

"This came off of you when we were held prisoner and you helped us," he continued looking at the feather in his palm. "It reminds me of why I'm here...and how I can count on trust and hope."

Her face lit up as she looked at the feather in conjunction. She closed Wolf's paw with her gloved hand and smiled. "No matter what, the three of us are always in this together."

Everyone took notice of how the area was now quieting down, no longer holding the hustle and bustle of conversation before. Soon the only noise was coming from a few murmurs around the large gaping chamber.

"It's time to do this," she said to herself.

"Chancellor Cardus, we're ready to begin," whispered an usher as everyone took their seats.

She turned around and stepped up to a podium at the edge of the balcony that overlooked the entire circular hall.

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of Lylat, thank you for coming here." Everyone applauded after her voice echoed through the chamber. She nodded and smiled accordingly towards the mass of people around and below her. "As you know, we are all here together in unity because of perseverance and peace, to meet under one common ideal...

...the pursuit of prosperity." The chamber remained quiet as she took a breath.

"For the past several months the Lylat system faced a dark period under the tyranny of Andross. We were shocked and awed at how he manipulated his way into power by using our very own figures of justice and leadership, but in the end...

...we persevered."

The chamber broke into applause again, this time much longer as she smiled robustly and felt her confidence rise.

"She's good," murmured Wolf as he shook his head and applauded next to Fox and Katt, who were doing the same. Falco was making an attempt to sleep, stirring awake as the continuous clapping kept him up. Katt noticed and quickly gave him a slap on the leg. He slouched in his seat and frowned angrily.

Olivia looked back at Wolf and Fox and gave a big smile as Fox did a thumbs up in response. She turned back to the microphone on the podium as the audience quieted down.

In the preceding hush, the doors to their balcony crept open slowly and a tall dark figure slipped in. Fox and Olivia turned around to see General Pepper silently nod and take a seat in the far back.

She smiled at him and nodded as well, "And now, let us begin our first meeting of unity on a high note with this assembly of delegates and representatives. Let us usher in this new age with prospects that spell out our prosperous future. To all under Lylat...

...thank you."

The applause returned as everyone rose from their seats and fervently clapped in support of her words. It was an amazing sight, the entire room filled with ovation and praise. Delegates, senators, representatives, ambassadors, councilmen, emissaries, and whoever else filled that great hall of unity, all uproariously showed their support. Wolf looked at Fox and laughed as they clapped, knowing that the future was definitely going to be bright.

As the boisterous ovation continued, Olivia noticed Wolf and laughed as well as everyone gave her a beaming smile.

"Ah and wait!" she added into the microphone, "Our heroes!" Wolf's jaw dropped as she gestured at them. The clapping grew louder as everyone's focus switched towards them.

"Fox McCloud, Wolf O'Donnell, Katt Monroe, Falco Lombardi, Max Deveron, all of us wouldn't be in this room together if it weren't for them!" She cried happily as the applause continued. Wolf looked around as a light shone on him. He folded his arms, then put them behind his back, then folded them again, completely unsure of what to do with them. Fox tried to hide his face as several cameras flashed nearby. Max waved and smiled, he seemed to have no qualms about having such a large of attention drawn towards him. Katt merely continued to clap with widened eyes, still wired on caffeine as she held a plastered smile. Falco could only look around with a look as he tried to hide his face from everyone.

Olivia pressed a button on the podium inciting a walking bridge to extend from the balcony and slowly make its way across the wide circular room. It crept above the cheering audience far below as it headed toward the opposite facing balcony. Olivia already started walking across the narrow bridge as it continued to extend. It finally met the other side when she was halfway across. The applause continued as several advisors followed the trail of her black long coat uniform. The Katinian president who was on the opposite facing balcony extended his hand as a section of the railing dropped to access the bridge. She graciously took his hand as a hustle and bustle of conversation broke out among the great chamber.

Katt leaned over to Fox and Wolf as they took their seats again, "You know I hear now after she shakes hands with the planetary leaders that they're just going to talk about boring political shit. I don't think you two have to be here for that."

Wolf nodded and looked over from his seat at Fox who breathed a sigh of relief. They both quickly got up and waved to Olivia across the balcony. She looked over as several short mole people hopped around her while the giraffe President of Katina was trying to talk to her.

"Well looks like she has her hands full already," said Wolf as he stepped up to the railing to get a better look.

"Here, let me make the 'I'm leaving' hand motion," added Fox as he strained his neck and tried to make eye contact with Olivia who was currently very distracted. She finally noticed him as she shook hands with a calamari representative from Zoness. Fox gestured with his hands to the door and she nodded and smiled.

"Alright let's get out of here Wolf."

Falco quickly shot up from his seat and started following them.

Katt grabbed him by the arm, "Where do you think you're going?"

"Hey! You said yourself that we don't have to be here!" he bellowed.

She maintained her grip on him, "Yes, but I do, and that means you too!"


"Because you're showing your support of me!" She shoved him back down in his seat as he went wide eyed and closed his beak.

Wolf smirked at Falco as he made his exit, "Have fun!"

"Oh go to hell."

"C'mon honey, this will be fun!" Katt said sardonically as she straightened her blouse and watched a dolphin emissary from Zoness walk across the bridge towards their balcony.

"Don't ever call me honey," he growled.

Fox looked at the empty seat where Pepper was sitting, "Well seems like the General made his escape."

"He has the right idea as well. I can't blame him," said Wolf, looking at the empty blue seat.

"Yeah, but I wanted to at least say hey or something to him."

Wolf opened one of the double doors to exit, "Maybe you can catch him on the way to his car?

"Yeah good idea," Fox stepped out and gave one final look toward the bustling chamber room. The last thing he saw before the doors closed was Falco's middle finger fully extended from his seat and flashing in his direction. The image was back dropped by hundreds of dignified senators and representatives walking across the balconies and bridges between them.

"Ah...that's nice," whispered Fox with a grin as he shut the door.

Wolf was already halfway down the stairs.

"Hey wait up!" called Fox.

Wolf turned around in his blue uniform and flashed a smile, "If we want to catch Pepper then we must be hasty in our pursuit." They both trotted down the steps before landing on the marble tiled lobby floor. They waltzed toward the double doors to exit the magnificent building, nodding off to the guards as they neared the doorway.

They stepped out into the bright sunlight and Wolf quickly raised his arm, "Ah! There he is," he said as he pointed toward a red uniformed canine walking quickly across the plaza in the distance.

"Looks like he's in a hurry," muttered Fox to himself as he started down the stone steps outside the building which led into the open plaza. It was sparsely populated now but a few small crowds could be seen mingling outside the building.

Wolf and Fox both increased their pace as they neared Pepper, still walking, but faster now as they passed by a handful of people along the way.

"General wait!" shouted Fox as he started jogging.

Pepper stopped in his tracks and didn't turn around for a moment. He adjusted his hat and muttered a few words to himself. He finally turned around, "Yes what is it Fox?"

"General!" he panted as he came to a stop. "I couldn't help but notice how quickly you made an exit."

"Well, looks like you two followed suit," responded Pepper blankly, nodding to Wolf as he stopped next to Fox who was rolling up the sleeves on his jacket, "I figured you'd make a speech," started Fox, "or at least something because..."

"I think it's best that I didn't," shot Pepper, cutting of Fox. "I don't think that anyone now wishes to see my face publicly."

"What do you mean?" questioned Wolf as he folded his arms and gave a curious glare.

"What I mean, Chairman O'Donnell, is that my political career is over and that Corneria should move on without me."

Wolf shook his head, "That's nonsense, your political career is just starting. You re-built this government with your bare paws and now you can't just walk away from it like you didn't have a part in the prosperity that's coming."

Pepper looked away and shook his head.

Fox stepped forward, "Look, everyone knows Andross was controlling you. They understand fully what happened. You're being overly judgmental about public opinion and quite frankly, I think you're just being childish."

"Childish?" questioned Pepper with a sharp tone. Wolf stepped back in response. He didn't like where the conversation was going.

"Here, let me let you in on a little something. I have memories Fox. I remember it all. The killing, the destruction, the terror, I was trapped in my body, watching from behind my eyes which were merely distant windows as that ape bastard puppetted me around like a toy. Nicholas, Dordon Prole, Calar think I don't remember their faces? I remember them damn well. I can barely look in the mirror, let alone shake off the nightmares...

...Do not tell me about being childish."

Fox strained his eyes at him before looking away, "I'm sorry...I didn't know."

Pepper turned his head away, "Listen, you and Wolf are good people, and Corneria is in the right hands. It will all be better if I just stayed out of it from now on."

"Just because of your history in the matter," started Wolf. "Doesn't mean you still can't make a speech or be a public figure."

"I'll let Olivia handle the public relations of Corneria." Pepper turned his head and strained his eyes at something in the distance.

Wolf and Fox turned around to see where he was looking, and sure enough a large group of reporters were headed their way in a hurried mass.

"Looks like we've got trouble," he muttered as he opened the door to his hovercar remotely.

Well this is a new setting (especially for Wolf). I hope you're enjoying everything so far. Chapter 2 will hopefully be on its way soon.

I'm probably losing about half the people who read TG by making this story a M/M romance.