lanceXstorm5, Neolight16, and everyone else: Thanks for the reviews and support you two. If you have any critique, suggestions or other input please feel free to tell me. Every little bit of input can help me improve so don't hold back.
Graystripe: Actually I was just too lazy to think up an original name for the system. Like all writers I 'borrow' concepts from other sources and incorporate them into my stories. As this is just a fanfic subtlety isn't high on my priority list, so don't be surprised when adaptions of elements from other series pop up as the story progresses. Though outright crossovers? Not going to happen.
"Switch external power to internal." A commanding voice ordered.
Cables detached from the hull of the Terra Ark as another voice replied, "Internal power enabled, external power disabled."
"Enable Astrogation system."
Power began to flow into several of the monitors within the bridge, casting light on the people within, "Astrogation enabled." The speaker was a young female duck sitting directly in front of a much larger figure.
"Enable Life Support." The massive figure, an aged, greying bear with a beard and wearing a full Captain's uniform.
"Life Support Enabled." The duck replied as the air circulation system powered up to full.
"Seal all external bulkheads."
"Bulkheads sealed" All doors leading off the ship closed with armour plates.
"Prime all engines and prepare to lift off." The captain ordered.
"All engines primed." Replied the duck.
"All outside personnel evacuate. Repeat; all outside personnel evacuate." The Captain ordered. He looked at the clock on his terminal and waited for two minutes to pass, "Detach primary safety bolts."
A loud metallic thud was heard as the Drydock's main locking system detached from the ship and retracted, "Primary safety bolts detached." A voice radioed in.
"No errors, Captain." The duck informed.
"Power up G-Diffusers." The Captain ordered.
Several sections of the ship began to emit a soft green glow as the systems engaged. "G-Diffusers Online, all systems nominal." The duck commented.
"Detach secondary safety bolts." The Captain ordered.
A metallic thug sounded again as the secondary bolts detached from the ship and retracted, the Terra Ark now hovered in the air under it's own power, "Secondary bolts released. Good hunting, Terra Ark." The Drydock operator announced as the newly launched ship began to slowly make it's way out of the dock.
"Lt. Lasna, take us into orbit." The Bear ordered. A parrot with a large steering wheel like control in it's hands nodded and pushed the accelerator level forward while pulling back on the wheel.
The large vessel's massive engines flared to life and the ship's bow rose into the air as it accelerated to escape velocity. As the ship left Corneria's atmosphere the Bear Captain stood and said "Set a course for the rendezvous point, I'll be speaking with our pilots. XO Kalono, you have the bridge." A panther woman nodded as Bear stepped into the bridge elevator and the doors slid shut.
The Captain found the five pilots in the training room in the heart of the ship. Glancing around he saw Andrea and Jet in the simulators for the new machines while Fara and Kisa where sitting on a bench wiping sweat from their fur. A powerful shout from the middle of the room drew the attention of the Captain.
He found Jolt in the middle of what appeared to be some human martial arts routine. The young man punched, kicked, twisted and jumped around on the mats with a savage grace most Cornerian's couldn't hope to match. The Captain himself knew he could never move like that, bears like him where powerful, but certainly not so graceful.
Fara glanced at the Captain and spoke up, "He's already been at it for a few minutes now, I can't believe he's not tired yet."
"Should he be so active? He was only just dismissed from the hospital." The Bear asked.
The fennec fox shrugged, "If he was Cornerian I'd say he should be taking it easy. Since he's not…"
"We just need to take his word for it…" The Captain sighed and pulled a pipe out of his coat.
Kisa suddenly let out a sharp gasp and the Captain's head snapped around to the little wolf, "What? What's wrong Little One?"
"No Smoking in the Training Room!" The little girl barked accusingly.
Blushing, the Captain returned the pipe into his coat, "I-I was just holding it… I wasn't going to light it…" He stammered in excuse, Fara and Kisa both seeing right through him.
"You should know better then that Captain Bearnov." Fara scolded with a smirk. The Bear grumbled under his breath as the human finally brought his routine to an end with a thunderous shout.
Bearnov raised one of his fuzzy brows at the sight of the human, his somewhat muscular, lightly furred body bathed in sweat, his chest heaving from the exertion with both feet double shoulder width apart and his right hand outstretched in a punch.
The human seemed to come out of a trance and looked at the Captain's imposing figure before giving him a nod of acknowledgement, "Captain, I wasn't expecting to see you down here." Jolt said honestly. He figured since he was on a military vessel the Captain would call for him to come to the bridge or briefing room if he wanted to talk.
"We are an Independent Task Force, Boy. There's no reason for me to act like I'm better then everyone else." Bearnov's face broke out into a friendly grin, "Besides, a happy crew works better then a crew on a leash."
Jolt gave a slight nod and asked, "So did you want to talk or is this about the mission?"
"A little of both actually." Bearnov admitted, "First the mission related topics. As you know our destination is Earth, latest scans have shown large numbers of unknown signals across the planet. Also we have detected a great many anomalous massive energy readings across the planet. Finally… we have detected life signs similar to your own." The Captain paused as he observed Jolt's reaction.
"So I'm not the last of my kind…" The young man had suspected others could have survived by hiding themselves, by design or chance, from sensor equipment, which would have lead to who the Aparoids and James where unable to detect them. He grabbed a towel and wiped his face, "Probably mostly politicians and the rich… my race would still be doomed." He commented without emotion, he'd already accepted it as fact before the tournament anyway.
With a shake of his head the human rubbed his eyes and sniffed, "Bah, anyway I'd better familiarise myself with the new machines." He uttered with a distracted tone before walking to the simulator set aside for him while Kisa quietly ran off to her own simulator.
Once the soundproof machines had closed the Captain glanced at Fara and inquired, "How where the results…?"
The fennec fox rubbed the tip of her ear and sighed, "There's a six percent error between the sample we took before and the one we took before boarding." She explained.
His mouth curled down into a worried frown as Bearnov heaved a heavy sigh, "So whatever it is is spreading…"
"And it's accelerating…" Fara added.
"So how long…?" The Captain asked sadly.
The fennec looked away from the massive male, "Maybe ten years if he's lucky…"
Several hours later Captain Bearnov was once again seated in the bridge of the Terra Ark. In his hands was a bottle of water he was sipping from as the crew finalized the last minute checks. The newly launched vessel proudly flew by the Warp Gate Station as he powered towards a familiar vessel.
"Opening hailing channel, Captain." The Communications Officer commented, anticipating the Captain's order.
"Thank you Lieutenant Zinda." Bearnov replied as the main screen flickered to life, the holographic system displaying the face of the Lylat System's most renowned mercenary leader, "Salutations Fox McCloud, it will be good working with you." He greeted with a warm smile.
The red fox smiled back and nodded, "You too Captain. Once you've completed all your checks we can proceed at any time."
With a slight grunt the larger Cornerian gave a nod, "That's good to know, however my crew is likely quite exhausted from all the excitement, we will depart after we have all had plenty of time to rest." He looked Fox in the eye and asked, "Are you all right with that, Fox?"
The veteran pilot smiled slightly and nodded, "That's fine Captain, we're all in need of a rest as well." Fox replied before cutting the transmission. The crews of both ships then either heading to bed or switching with the 'night shift' crewmembers.
During this down time a certain human male was bathed in a cold sweat as he tossed and turned in his sleep. He didn't talk in his sleep, little more then grunts and meaningless mumbles escaping his lips.
In his dream he saw a fleet of ships he recognized as Cornerian in make, each and every one firing at him as he returned fire with weapons no fighter he'd seen possessed, tearing the fleet apart.
Then the scene changed, a Cornerian fleet attacking another fleet of red ships. Suddenly both where bombarded by him and others with weapons like his own and it dawned on him who those weapons belonged to…
'…hear me…?' a soft voice echoed in his mind…
The scene changed again, this time he was aware he was in a gigantic land weapon of some kind. Swarming over his head where three fighters he recognized as Star Fox's Arwings and he was being shot at from the ground by a tank he realized was a Landmaster.
As the battle in the dream continued the voice spoke again, '…help me… please… can you hear me…?'
Jolt felt an analogue of pain as the Landmaster damaged his dream body and he toppled to the ground, the tank taking to the air and landing on his back before firing at his vulnerable core.
Suddenly the voice rang out clearly, it sounded like it belonged to a young girl, 'Can you hear me? Please help me… you're the only one…'
The Landmaster shattered the core and Jolt shot straight into an upright seated position while letting out a cry of mixed pain, fear and lose. Taking a shuddering breath he placed his face in his hands before taking a deep breath and letting it out. It had all been so real… he had felt like he had been struck by a deathblow at the end and yet it was just a dream and he was alive. It was a strange feeling… a terrifying feeling…
Then he heard the voice in his mind again, 'Save me… my King…'
NEXT CHAPTER: Homecoming
"Jolt Kullkaven launching in the FVF-X12R Knight Wing! PUNCH IT!"
"Fox McCloud, SVF-X11F Arwing Sentinel. Launching!"