Disclaimer: See the Prologue
Once General Pepper and the Cornerian fleet had recovered the Great Fox, his agent Fara Phoenix had explained to him everything that had transpired on Papetoon, leading to it's destruction:
Andrew Oikonny's operations involving Chaos and his plan to destroy Holy Terra, his dabbling with the dark arts which led to the defiling of it's colonies…and the most disturbing of all, was it's cloning program of Jacques Mortensen, the only good human there is.
And Star Fox kept to that story, denying ever harbouring the enemy, saying that the destruction of Papetoon would be the last world to ever be destroyed in Lylat, and that it was considered the deaths of it's colonists were mercy killings. Pepper reluctantly agreed, seeing no reason to prosecute Star Fox.
But his lingering hatred of Lord Calgar, the Ultramarines and the entire Imperium was still there. He had wondered whether it would have been all right for Oikonny to destroy Holy Terra and cripple the entire Imperium, but immediately thought of the consequences.
And for that, Pepper was somewhat grateful…especially towards the only good human.
Once again it was past bedtime on board the Great Fox, as it sailed through the dark void of space, and McCloud once again couldn't sleep. He laid flat on his back on the bed with that covers pulled over him as he stared up at the ceiling, as he replayed this afternoon's events in his mind.
'Can't believe he's gone,' he thought sadly, still thinking about that charismatic Space Marine, 'And it was only a few hours ago.'
Knowing he wouldn't be able to sleep over all this thinking, he got out of bed and his two feet touched the carpet, sighing. He then made sure his pants were on before stepping out onto the hallway.
'Wonder if anyone else is still awake?'
He stepped onto observation, where the stars were shining brightly and illuminating the entire deck. He sighed as he watched them glitter, instantly reminding him of a rhyme he learnt back in kindergarten, which would sound pretty degrading nowadays.
He wasn't aware of the blue beauty in a nightie some feet away, also watching the stars closely. And she was smiling when they reminded her of certain individual, possibly millions of light years away; and whom she was missing greatly.
She exhaled softly, which caused Fox to turn her way.
"Krys?" he begun, surprised.
Krystal smiled softly, "Fox."
"You can't sleep?"
She shook her head; "I just wanted to stay up a bit, watching the stars. You?"
He chuckled, "This is going to sound unbelievable, but now I can't sleep."
"That is unbelievable," Krystal agreed, "Still…"
Her smile faded as she sighed.
"He was a good friend to us all."
Fox nodded glumly, "Yeah. He was a great guy. Possibly one of the best members this team ever had. My dad would have wanted to meet him."
"He's still a member of this team at heart," Krystal said, "He probably didn't want to leave us…though…"
Her head turned back towards space, sighing.
"…he thought it was for the greater good."
"You guys were really close. This is normal when your spiritual brother has gone away," Fox assured her, "It'll pass in time."
"I know," Krystal replied, looking over at him slightly, "He was like a brother to me."
Fox also looked glum, seeing her like this. He shuffled closer towards her, where he reached for her hand and held it tightly, yet comfortably. Krystal turned to him and smiled, enjoying his company.
She felt Fox's arm around her back and she smiled as they pulled close to each other. Dissipating her worries and fears, as they watched the stars shine before them, both confident that peace was finally here now that Oikonny, the Orks, Chaos and even the Imperium were gone for good.
'Thank you, Jacques,' Krystal thought.
She then smiled as she watched the stars shine they're brightest.
'You've guaranteed the future.'