The Other Life
A Star Fox Adventures Fanfic
By Vikky Cutter
1: Never the Same Anymore
The chill off the small observation bubble filled the air and pressed down through the fur that covered Lisitza's body. The blue vixen resisted the urge to wrap her arms around herself to try to keep warm, her tail already curled about her leg.
Below her spun the blue and green globe of Corneria. Her home... or at least it had been. She wasn't sure where she was from anymore. Just one more thing in her life that was unsure. She had no idea what to do anymore. She had thought she knew, and believed it would all just work as it had used to, but it simply hadn't.
The journey from Sauria had taken six weeks, and six weeks was suppose to have been long enough to build a new life, but nothing had come of it. She hadn't yet learned to live with her new self. If anything she felt even more out of sorts with her new body. The money they had earned on the last job had run thin with surprising speed. There was enough to pay the landing fees, and refuel the ships, but not much past that.
They had tried to find a new job on the way back, but no one wanted to hire the Star Fox team without Fox McCloud. The people searching out the team were not interested in hiring an unheard of vixen, even backed up by Falco.
With a sigh the vixen ran her hands through her hair. She was going to have to start with small jobs again, the sort of jobs the team would scoff at in the past. It would be a way to make a name for herself as part of the team. Things would become even more complicated when her plans came to fruition.
There was a familiar lurch as the orbital thruster fired and slowed The Great Fox just slightly, enough to bring it into a holding orbit around the planet.
It had been two years since she had last set foot on Corneria, and then she had been a male.
The planet seemed to turn under her as they moved over the darkside. City lights twinkled in the darkness, outlining the edges of the continent and the main highways between the cities. The world grew large in the window as the rotation seemed to slow; she was familiar with the approach and knew they would be landing soon.
Turning around Lisitza keyed open the door, stepping back inside the ship itself. The warm air filled her lungs and quickly washed away the chill from her thin ears. Taking a deep breath she turned to walk towards the bridge only to find that she wasn't alone in the hallway.
Krystal was waiting for her in the hallway, dressed in a brown jumpsuit that was unflattering to her figure. In hung in bags off her shoulders and hips, and clashed with the natural blue of her fur. The only highlight came from the two jewels that she wore, one hanging around her neck and the other from a small tiara that placed the jewel right between her eyes.
"I thought I would find you here," Krystal said to her twin, her voice rolling in her strange accent.
"Don't you have your own ship to land?"
"Not today. I'm staying docked in The Great Fox, I'll get my own slip once we reach the ground."
Lisitza looked at her twin sister. Two months ago she hadn't even know the vixen had existed and now they were identical in every way. "Your ship hardly fits inside the docking bay. You had better double check your tie downs."
"Slippy and I went over them three times," she said, holding up three fingers as well.
"Good, he'll be sure they are tight." The toad hadn't been very kind to either vixen, but he wouldn't do anything to risk the ship.
Krystal nodded and looked closer at her. "You aren't looking well. Are you okay?"
The other vixen snorted and started to walk away, heading up toward the bridge. She wrapped her arms behind her back, her paws grabbing tightly at her wrists. The older of the pair followed a few steps beside.
"Why would I be okay? I'm about to return to a world where I don't officially exit. Nothing I own is in my name, not even this ship," Lisitza replied.
"You said your general friend will fix that, won't he?"
She flicked her tail and shrugged her shoulders. "He's doing what he can, but nothing will be official until I meet with him after we land. Even so, there's only so much he can do."
Krystal nodded and fell into silence as the two vixens climbed up the narrow stairway to the top level of the ship. Together they started down the long hallway, past the crew quarters and over the goose neck to the bridge. As they neared the door, the older vixen fell a few feet behind her twin.
Lisitza keyed open the bridge door and stepped inside. ROB was standing at the navigation controls, flying the ship with his usual lack of precision. Peppy was at the communications station, chatting with traffic control and Falco was perched in the captain's chair, his head leaning back and snoring softly.
The vixen frowned a bit at this and walked over to the center chair, looking at the falcon. His blue feathers were askew, pushed out of shape from pressing his head against the back of the chair. His tongue was lolled out of the side of his beak and fluttering as he snored.
"He's kind of cute like that. More the pity, considering how he acts the rest of the time," Krystal said.
Much to the other vixen's distaste, there was a part of her that felt the same way. Feelings like that bothered her a great deal. Until her transformation she was only interested in women, but her orientation had changed with her gender. She wasn't sure she could ever accept that men were now her primary interest.
Finally she snorted. "It's about the only time he looks cute," she said, then kicked the falcon's legs. He jumped slightly and sputtered, his head snapping forward to look at the vixens around him.
"Falco?" Lisitza said in a casual tone.
He looked between the two vixens; sleep still in his eyes plus a bit of lust. "Tell me I'm dreaming and I'll escort you both back to my room."
The vixen clenched her jaw slightly. "This is no dream. This is my ship and you are in my chair. Now get out of it!" she snapped.
He paused from a moment, a frown crossing over his flexible beak. "Damn it Liz, you're no fun." He climbed out of the chair, quickly brushing the feathers of his crest back into place.
She snapped her tail in frustration. "Do not call me that. My name is Lisitza, not Lisa, not Liz and not Hot Pants," she said, partly in annoyance but with some amusement creeping into her voice. Her old friend had been gone for years, and even though he had returned at the same time she had been changed, she was happy to have him back.
"All right BV, don't get your panties in a knot," he said with a smirk and walked to the back of the bridge, pulling out one of the extra chairs kept there. Krystal took her own seat a little bit away, just out of range of the falcon's reach.
"Where's Slippy?" the vixen asked as she sat down in the captain's chair. The lack of her engineer worried her a little bit.
"He's working on my fighter. The plasma lock went out again," Falcon said.
Turning her chair around she looked at the falcon. "I'm not surprised; it's a mish-mash of about twenty fighters. It's amazing that it hasn't blown up around you," she replied with a small smirk.
He smirked back at her and shook his head, but said nothing at all.
The vixen turned back to look at the view screen that covered the front of the bridge, the planet growing larger under them.
"How long until we touch down?"
"Twenty-six minutes," ROB replied.
She nodded and relaxed back into her seat, trying not to focus on the planet below. So many things had changed in the last two months and she was so much younger than before. Her new body was almost as old as her friendship with Falco. She had gained a lifetime, but the cost was so high.
"Pepper will have a car waiting for you as soon as we touch down," Peppy said, the older hare looking up from his controls.
"I'm not surprised," she said in return. Reaching down she pulled a data screen from the side of her chair. Jabbing at it with a finger she brought up her new back story. She and Krystal had worked it out over the last month. It was enough information to make her a real person, at least in the eyes of the law, but everything else was still in limbo.
She reviewed the information for what seemed to be the hundredth time, trying to commit every piece of it to memory. It was her life, she had to know it effortlessly, but it was hard to be so honest about a lie.
There was a thump and a jolt as the air grew thick enough to start dragging the ship. The robot started to adjust the flight, decreasing the speed for a warm reentry.
The vixen tried to relax, feeling the familiar shaking of the ship as it descended. The vibrations should have settled but instead they grew stronger, past the threshold she was familiar with. A moment later there was a lurch that forced her back into her chair and slammed at the base of her tail.
Carefully she said the data screen to the side and looked back at the hare. "What is happening with my ship?" she asked in a calm voice, but with a firmly set jaw as the ship jolted again.
"I'm trying to get hold of Slippy, but in-ship coms are shaking worse than the ship."
She nodded and held tightly onto the arms of her chair as the ship lurched and started to dive, a moment later she was slammed back into her chair as the ship started to rise far faster than it was meant to. That only lasted a few moments before they fell back into a dive.
"We're porpoising," ROB announced.
"I can see that," she replied, struggling to pull on her safety belt and cinched it up tight.
The shaking started to become worse as they lurched upwards again, flames starting to wrap around the front on the ship and over the window. Below them the ground was coming up far faster than it should.
"Someone get that robot off the controls!" she snapped out.
"On it," Falco said, jumping from his seat as the ship went into a dive, sending him rushing across the bridge to hit the controls with a gasp. Gathering himself, he pushed the robot away then sat down and strapped himself in. "Something is wrong with the control systems," he said, trying to level out the ship, but it still went nose up again.
There was a strained hissing and a pop as the hydraulics gave out of the bridge door and Slippy rushed into the room. "We've lost left stability and the gravity drives aren't shutting down," he said as he pulled himself to the engineering station.
"Can you fix it?"
"I'm trying!" he replied as his hands worked quickly over the controls.
An alarm sounded in the bridge, a loud klaxon wailing around them as bright orange and white lights starting to spin against the ceiling, giving everything a strange glow.
"Hull temperature is critical," Slippy said, yelling over the alarm.
The ship started to roll to the right. Falco said something that was lost over the alarm and twisted the controls around, bringing the ship back upright but making the up and down motion worse. Low groaning sounds filled the ship, echoing along the goose neck behind the bridge.
Slippy reached down and pulled something out of his console and the alarm fell silent but the lights continued to flash. Outside the flames started to cross the view screen, covering almost all of it.
She could hear Peppy on the radio, calling in the emergency as the ship jumped again, still lurching. They were going far too fast to do anything safe; if they couldn't get the engines fixed they couldn't slow down to land, or speed up enough to get back into orbit.
"Falco, aim the ship at someplace empty," she ordered.
The falcon looked back for a moment then nodded his head. "I would really like to land in one piece."
"Then I need some help. Someone get down and pull the fuses on the gravity drive. I can't shut them off from here," the toad yelled out.
Kyrstal struggled to her feet and looked around the bridge. "Where are they?"
"Halfway down the neck! Just pull everything in panel twenty-seven k."
She nodded and dove out the door. Lisitza watch her go, the hallway bending around her in unsettling ways.
There was another lurch and the ship twisted in the air and started to drop rather fast. It only lasted a few moments before the ship righted itself and nose began to pull up.
"We have about twenty seconds before we lose the hull," Peppy said.
"I think I can drop more speed," the falcon said, twisting the controls again.
"I'm working on it!" Slippy yelled at the same time, pulling his console open and starting to pull at the wires. Sparks flew around him as he did something with the connections. There was a distant thump from the back of the ship as the vibrations started to quiet down. The ship wasn't stable yet, but it felt more controlled.
"The right stabilizer is out as well," the toad said.
Falco let out a sharp laugh. "It works for me, our speed is dropping, but not fast enough," he said, pulling the ship up and trying to hold it in position.
A new series of thumps filled the ship and suddenly everyone was trust forward against their restraints. "The gravity drive is down."
"Hold on!" The falcon said and slammed his hand down onto the control panel, the ship slammed back as the breaking jets fired. They were going far too fast for it to be safe, but there was hardly another choice.
As the ship slowed down the flames over the front of the ship flickered out. The up and down motion of the ship leveled out and the nose lifted slightly.
"Can we make the docking port?" Lisitza asked.
"Think so; but it's going to be close," the falcon replied as he start to turn the ship in a long circle. "We're too fast, too low, and have too little thrust." There was a note of glee in his voice as he continued the turn.
Krystal came back onto the bridge, looking a bit disheveled. "Is there anything else I can do?"
"Unless you can rewire a gravity drive system, I doubt it,' Slippy replied, his head half buried under his console. The vixen sat back down at the back of the bridge.
A series of deep thumps filled the ship as the nose came back up, the ship settling out properly. "Stabilizers are back online."
"Good to know," Falco replied, bringing the ship wide around Corneria City, low enough that the buildings were clear in the morning sunlight. She could see the familiar lights outlining the docking port.
Lisitza could see that they were going too fast, but didn't think there was much they could do about it. If they tried to go around losing the extra speed they would never make it back to the docking port.
"Do we have landing clearance?" she asked.
"Any open slip we can manage," Peppy replied.
Falco banked the ship, turning it at a fairly steep angle around the docking port. They were coming in low over one of the outer buildings, other ships passing fifty feet under them. There was an empty docking slip in front of them, all the visuals showing just how low they were.
The falcon fired the breaking thrusters again, sending everyone forward. The ship twisted a bit and began to slow, getting closer to the proper speed. Before they reached it they ship touched down, skidding on the dock as the landing field grabbed at them.
They slid along the docking slip, the ship turning slightly as the landing sucked away the excess speed. They finally came to a stop near the edge of the slip, but in one piece. Outside she could see emergency crews rushing towards the ship.
"A perfect landing, as usual," Falco said as he unstrapped himself from the chair.
"Everyone okay? Is anyone hurt?" Lisitza asked as she climbed out of her seat, rubbing the base of her tail.
"Just a little shaken, but I'm fine," Peppy said.
"I'm a bit brused," Krystal added.
Slippy looked up from his console, his fingers pulling at the wires. "I'm shutting down all the primary drive systems and life support. It's going to take a lot of work to repair the ship." He turned his head around and looked at where ROB sat, folded against the back wall of the bridge, the lights of his systems out. "ROB is down as well."
She looked around the bridge and at her crew. "I'm going to need a repair estimate, after that we should all take the night off. I think we've all earned it."
"That's going to take time, Fox. Everything looks bad from where I'm sitting," the toad said.
"Take all the time you need, then get some sleep. We're going to have a lot of work to do in the morning," the vixen said, then turned around, walking out of the bridge. "Falco, come with me. Someone has to talk to the police and I have no standing to do so."
The falcon nodded and hurried after the vixen.
Krystal watched them go and looked back at Slippy. "Do you need any help?"
He looked up at her with narrow look and then shook his head. "No, you go with the rest of them, I can take care of this," he snapped, and then bent back down over the console.
The blue vixen stood in the doorway for a few moments, wondering if he would change his mind. When it became clear he wouldn't she turned and started down for the docking bay. "I'll be in my ship," she said.
To Be Continued...
This story is copyright 2009 by Victoria-Ann Cutter, hardcopy reprints limited to one a person, all other rights reserved. This story may not be distributed for a fee except by permission of the author, and this copyright notice may not be removed. _Star Fox_ and _Star Fox Adventures_ and all related characters and settings are owned by Nintendo and are used without permission.