This story is currently in the process of a massive rewriting overhaul. These first 10-12 chapters in particular no longer reflect my current command of narrative, character, setting or plot as a storyteller. So I am going back and completely redoing all the parts I screwed up, hard; a total uproot and replanting. Bear in mind though, a lot of material from this actually second edition of Star Fox: Legacy will probably end up in the new-and-further-improved version, but there will be some major structural shifts.
Believe me when I say that I'm doing this for all you guys and gals out there, you deserve the best I can deliver. I know can do better than what I've done here, because I have done so much better since. Thanks to all who've stuck with the story this far, but it's about to get totally revamped here, and I don't aim to disappoint.
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true.
We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities...
Late in the the year of 1977 on Earth's Gregorian calendar, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America, NASA, launched a pair of unmanned spacecraft. They were Voyager I and Voyager II respectively. Their mission was a simple one: fly by and photograph certain planets in Earth's native solar system. After the completion of this mission however, the two spacecraft continued into the infinite reaches of deep space.
For several years afterward, the Voyager space probes continued their lonely sojourn, sending whatever scrap of data they could find back to the distant planet Earth, just as they were designed to. Then sometime in the year 2027, after nearly half a century of continuous operation, Voyager I's thermoelectric generator was no longer able to sustain sufficient power. The dying machine's distant creators on Earth gave Voyager I its last command: it was ordered to shut down, and allowed to drift through the cold black emptiness of space...
[The following is a selection of excerpts from Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.]
Their radio transmitters long dead, the spacecraft will wander for ages in the calm, cold interstellar blackness – where there is almost nothing to erode them. Once out of the Solar system, they will remain intact for a billion years or more, as they circumnavigate the center of the Milky Way galaxy...
Space is nearly empty. There is virtually no chance that one of the Voyagers will ever enter another solar system – and this is true even if every star in the sky is accompanied by planets. The instructions on the record jacket, written in what we believe to be readily comprehensible scientific hieroglyphics, can be read, and the contents of the records understood, only if alien beings, somewhere in the remote future, find Voyager in the depths of interstellar space. Since both Voyagers will encircle the center of the Milky Way galaxy essentially forever, there is plenty of time for the records to be found – if there's anyone out there to do the finding...
We do not know whether there are other spacefaring civilizations in the Milky Way. If they do exist, we do not know how abundant they are, much less where they are. But there is at least a chance that sometime in the remote future one of the Voyagers will be intercepted and examined by an alien craft...
We cannot know how much of the records they would understand. Surely the greetings will be incomprehensible, but their intent may not be. (We thought it would be impolite not to say hello.) The hypothetical aliens are bound to be very different from us – independently evolved on another world. Are we really sure they could understand anything at all of our message?...
But being much more advanced scientists and engineers than we – otherwise they would never be able to find and retrieve the small, silent spacecraft in interstellar space – perhaps the aliens would have no difficulty understanding what is encoded on these golden records. Perhaps they would recognize the tentativeness of our society, the mismatch between our technology and our wisdom. Have we destroyed ourselves since launching Voyager, they might wonder, or have we gone on to greater things?...
Far from home, untouched by these remote events, the Voyagers, bearing the memories of a world that is no more, will fly on.
A machine does not know time, especially in the unfathomable vacuum between stars. Some machines know seconds, minutes, hours, and even years. But for a machine, it does not make a difference whether time has passed for an instant, or for an entire geologic eon. All that matters to a machine is to function as it is told to.
After such an immeasurable length of time, the spacecraft Voyager I was given a feed of its electrical life-blood and revived from its eternal slumber to perform it's most solemn function.
"There, you see Professor? I told you I could get this contraption to work."
"Well let's see it, Mr. Andross."
Voyager carried a golden phonograph record encoded with images, sounds, and words, along with the means by which to decode and observe the data. With some degree of difficulty, a pair of scientists – one older, and another quite young – were able work out the methods by which it was all operated.
"The screen Dr. Al'Sayif! Look at it –the text, it's... it's in our language!"
"That's impossible Enos. Explorers found this thing stuck orbiting a star light-years from Lylat, well away from us. That's what they told me anyway."
[This Voyager spacecraft was constructed by the United States of America. We are a community of 240 million human beings among the more than 4 billion who inhabit the planet Earth. We human beings are still divided into nation states, but these states are rapidly becoming a single global civilization.]
"No, that's Cornerian alright. But it keeps referring to 'humans' and 'Earth' and 'United States of America. I don't think I've ever heard of these things, have you?"
"Hmph, its probably nothing more than a sick prank."
Voyager doesn't care what others think of its message, all that matters is to function as it is told to.
[We cast this message into the cosmos. It is likely to survive a billion years into our future, when our civilization is profoundly altered and the surface of the Earth may be vastly changed. Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some-perhaps many-may have inhabited planets and spacefaring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message:]
[This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe.]
[James Carter, President of the United States of America, June 16, 1977.]
"Oh yes Professor, lots more. The backside of this disc looks like it should work too."
"Well Enos, this is either the most profound discovery in our history, or the most elaborate practical joke in our history."
"On the bright side, Professor: it's history either way."
"That's what I'm afraid of."
You know this story...
Or at least you know how it ends.
It ends in bloodshed across worlds.
It ends in utter devastation, both tangible and emotional.
It ends with the event that defined an era.
This is the story that started it all...
It is a nebulous tale – hinted at, but never fully explored.
It is a sequence of events so often taken for granted, that must work out somehow.
It is one of the greatest stories never told...
I will tell you the story of the Lylat System:
I will show you how it worked, how it faltered and at last, failed.
I will show you the politics, economics and society that drove it.
I will show you its people, with hopes, dreams and problems of their own...
I will tell you the story of Star Fox:
I will show you how it all began, how it nearly ended.
I will show you why the villains fell to their faults,
And how the heroes rose to the challenge...
I will tell you the story of James McCloud:
I will show you how he lived, how he loved...
I will show you how he fought, won, lost...
And at the end of all things:
I will show you his fate.
I will tell you the story of the Legacy...
I understand that this is a huge-ass piece of writing, well over 170k words now. I started it a really long time ago, and my skills, along with my writing quality, have steadily improved since then. The first ten chapters or so, despite my going back and overhauling them many times, are still a little tough to chew on compared to later chapters, so consider yourself warned in that department. If you're still not sure about reading this, you're welcome try a "free sample" by checking out the oneshot Lombardi's, which is considerably shorter and less time-consuming than this big-ol' honker of a story.
Despite the rumors you might've heard out there, I don't bite... Okay, that's a lie, but I don't bite often, or too hard, usually... So anyway, feel free to throw a little feedback my way if you're so inclined, compliments, comments, critiques and criticisms are all welcome (trust me on this, the authors really appreciate it).
About the Japanese:
If you're interested, you'll find a detailed and comprehensive explanation behind the story's Japanese title 「スター フォックスの遺産」 and brief use of the language in my user profile (don't worry, I only use Japanese in this chapter).
But that's enough from me, on to the real story!