A pseudo-rewrite of Retribution that now poses under its own name. Took second in the KF oneshot challenge.


Krystal was laying on the couch in the recreation area of the Star Wolf mothership, her head in Panther's lap. The intimacy was nice, a comfort in her otherwise desolate world. Not too long ago, she would have been afraid to be this close to anybody, but now, more than ever, she needed it.

Panther's hand was running through her hair, something that she had came to miss in the past few days. She looked up at him, playfully swatted away his hand, and moved it to a different spot on her head.

He gave her an amused look. "How went the mission?"

"As good as ever," she said, looking up to meet Panther's eyes. "It wasn't really all that difficult."

"Hrm, I was under the impression that it would be quite the opposite."

Krystal let out a short bark of laughter. "Things aren't as difficult for me as they would be for any of the others."

"Really now?" Panther stopped stroking her hair and looked down at her, an amused, aloof look on his face.

Staring back, Krystal knew what was going on in his head. She could've sensed it from miles away, considering how strong it was. She could practically smell it.

He leaned back, crossing his arms. He made what she knew was a fake glance down at his communicator. "It's late. Shall I escort the lady to bed?"

Krystal managed to make herself smile. "Sure." She leaned up until she was sitting on her own, then stood. Panther held out his hand, and she took it, walking beside him as he led her to the lift, not acknowledging that it was more her guiding him to her room than anything else. His dark fur gleamed in the artificial light, and, in a way, it was kind of beautiful. In moments like these, she could almost believe that she loved him.

It wasn't like she was being dishonest to him, or anything. If he had found out that she died on the mission, he probably would have replaced her in a few days. The feeling was mutual, and Krystal was perfectly alright with that.

She was done with love.


Fox was having difficulty breathing, he was laughing so hard.

"What?" Wolf's voice seemed extremely loud in the small room. Fox was sitting on the bed, and Wolf was kicked back in Fox's rotating desk chair, his legs resting on top of the desk. "S'the truth."

"But she slapped him?"

Wolf nodded. "Yeah, and he ran way screaming like a little girl."

Snorting, Fox said, "That doesn't sound like Panther at all..."

"Ha, you don't know him then." Wolf swiveled the chair around in small, effortless motions. "This kind of crazy shit happens with him all the time."

"Doesn't he ever... y'know..." Playing with his fingers, Fox fudged around to find the words to say it without actually saying it. "Get enough? Get tired of it?"

A shrug. "'Parently not."

"What about Krystal?"

Wolf sat up, bringing in his legs so that his feet rested on the floor, then rotated the chair to face Fox. "She was off on some high-end Cornerian military espionage mission." He had brought up his hands and made air quotes at the last words.

Fox knew he was taking a risk, and he knew that he would probably end up getting the Look, but decided it was worth it. "Won't she be angry if she finds out?"

Then it was Wolf's turn to snort. "Her? Angry? Yeah, right. She doesn't care."

Fox raised an eyebrow, over-exaggerating the gesture to ensure Wolf caught it..

"She's the same way he is. Doesn't go flirting with random women, though. That'd be kind of creepy."

Fox scratched at his neck. "She sure has changed..."

And then Wolf gave him the Look: deep purple, half-lidded, making him feel translucent as glass. Fox had known it was coming, but he still replied with a frown, crossing his arms. "Hey, calm down. We're done. She wanted Panther so bad, well, now she's got him."

Wolf smirked, and Fox caught the glimmer of purple again, saw the slightly upturned corners of Wolf's mouth, and smiled. "That's a good boy," Wolf said.

Letting out a sigh, Fox said, "So, what's on the agenda for tonight?"

There was a quiet whirring sound as Wolf sent the chair rolling towards the bed. The lupine got up and tackled Fox, sending him sprawling on his back. "I don't know," Wolf said, a mischievous grin on his muzzle. "What do you iwant/i to be on the agenda?"

Fox squirmed under the lupine's weight. "Hey, slow down! It's not even eleven yet. Why don't we go down to the rec room, play some pool, watch a movie?"

Wolf looked off to the side. "Is that safe?"

Fox nodded. "I cut off all the cameras and made sure everyone's already asleep. Falco's on the other end of the hall from us and Slippy sleeps like a log, so there won't be any trouble."

Wolf made a big deal of looking as if he was thinking on it, bringing up a finger to scratch at his chin, still on top of Fox. "Well..."

Fox made a mock gagging sound, reaching up to his throat. "Hurry it up, you're crushing my pancreas."

"Fine, then." Wolf cast a quick glance around the room before getting off the bed and starting towards the door. "Come on, let's go."

Fox smiled, easing himself off the bed and following behind the lupine. He didn't bother telling Wolf to wait for him—the lupine probably knew the place just as well as he did.

This was going to be a great night.


By the time Krystal woke up, Panther was already up and out of the room. No surprise there. She yawned, gazing up at the ceiling for a few minutes and enjoying the feeling of being back in her own bed. It felt soft, familiar, comfortable… everything that she liked in a bed, and nothing like the explorer's had been. She liked it better than the one back in the Great Fox, actually. Despite how expensive and comfortable it

(was)

had been, she knew that every night she had laid on it, she had been laying on something much less substantial and much more offensive than cloth.

Pushing that out of her mind, she dragged herself out of the bed. It had been at least a week since she'd been here last, she realized. It hadn't seemed that long, but she looked over at the clock and read the date, and that confirmed the notion.

Nine days. Nine days since she'd been back on the ship, nine days since she'd been with Panther, nine days since she'd reported to Wolf. She figured she might as well go do that now, actually...

She took a furtive glance at the door before crawling out the bed and stooping before her nightstand. Reaching into the drawer, she pulled out a stained photograph that had wrinkled with age. Falco, Peppy, herself, Slippy, and He all stared back at her.

Him...

He was probably rich now, had probably gotten that upgrade for the Great Fox that he had always wanted. And he would still be alone, maybe... maybe he'd picked up another girl to bed with lies.

A spot of moisture appeared on the photograph, and she remembered the reason why the photograph was stained in the first place. It was kind of sad, really—she wasted so much time and shed so many tears over a fake reproduction of a real-life scene.

Fake! Everything in the world was fake. Fake lights, fake love, fake images, fake words, fake identity. But she guessed she'd come to terms with it now. At least there was no more pretending there was something more than fake love, like there had been with Fox. No pretending they were a righteous organization, like they had in Star Fox.

She dried off the picture with her shirt and stuck it back in the drawer. She went into the bathroom to change her shirt and check her eyes before she stepped out. And then she was gone, making her way towards room 47.


Fox had flown the route to Sargasso so many times by now that he could probably do it in his sleep. He let his pace die down to a crawl as he approached so as to eliminate any noise the engine might cause. After flying the ship around the place, a quick glance down at the docking bay proved that it was open.

He flew in, being careful not to land too heavily. He was always uneasy about coming here. He certainly didn't want to have a confrontation with Her, and he certainly didn't want one here. He stepped out of the Arwing, donning his jacket more out of habit than need.

He walked over to the lift, leaning against the wall, tapping his foot. After a few moments, he heard the whirring noise as it made its way down, then the mechanical hum as the door eased open. He stepped inside, pressing the button marked with the word "cabin," feeling the usual pang of jealousy at how much nicer the Star Wolf mothership was than the Great Fox. If only upgrades weren't so expensive...

He stepped out as soon as the elevator stopped and began tiptoeing down the hall, keeping a steady eye on the room numbers.

42...44...46... 47.

Since the door was cracked open, he didn't bother with knocking. He pushed it open and closed it behind him, satisfied with how mute the resulting sound was.

He had expected to see Wolf's room when he turned around, bright with the meticulously-neat bed and desk, spotless as if Star Wolf had a maid that had just left the room. Instead, he saw a poor imitation of the room that had the same physical dimensions, but looked as if Falco had lived in it for the last week. The bed was unmade with the pillows thrown on the floor, empty bottles scattered about the desk. They were beer bottles, he realized.

There was a commotion coming from Wolf's bathroom, and after a few seconds, Wolf emerged from it, shirtless. His fur was matted and messy, and his pants were ripped in several places.

Wolf breathed a sigh of relief, holding up his hands. "Thank whatever gods there are that you're here."

Fox kept his expression neutral. "Rough day? You look like crap."

Some of the lines in Wolf's face disappeared, and his shoulders went down, losing some of their tension. He let out a chuckle. "Well, thanks for the compliment."

"I'm just speaking the truth. What happened?"

Wolf walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge of it, his eyes trailing down to the floor. "It's... complicated. It's the kind of stuff that you'd never have to worry about. Being outlaws ain't always fun."

Fox gave a knowing nod, walking over to the bed and sitting down beside Wolf. In just a few seconds, Wolf was leaning over and had his head in Fox's lap. Noticing the filth, Fox contented himself with plucking out pieces of debris from the other's fur.

Wolf was smiling up at him now, a canine sticking up from under his lip. "Thanks for coming."

Fox didn't say anything, just ruffled the fur on Wolf's head. Several minutes dragged by, during which Wolf hardly moved. He had his eyes closed and looked like he was about to fall asleep. Whatever had happened during the day must have been pretty bad.

"Hey."

Wolf's good eye flickered open, and Fox felt the lupine's muscles tense as he stretched. "Yeah?"

"You should take a shower." Fox poked at Wolf's wet nose with a finger, flattening it. "It'll make you feel better."

Wolf made a lazy swat at the finger. "Well, I kind of haven't had any time."

"Well, go now."

Wolf looked up at Fox, pulling his eye back open as his eyelid crept back down. "But I've already laid down now."

"Okay, fine."

Wolf continued to stare, unmoving.

"I'll go with you. You happy now?"

Wolf looked like was struggling to contain a chuckle, but it eventually won out. "Maybe."

"Come on..." Fox eased Wolf into an upright position and wrapped an arm around the lupine's waist, angling towards the bathroom.


Krystal could pinpoint the moment she became aware that another person was on the ship. No, more accurately, it was another ship that was on the ship. And that ship on the ship was inhabited.

Its inhabitant, the intruder, was going up. He was on the lift. And she didn't need to use her extrasensory perception any more after that point, because she could hear the lift as it stopped on her floor, and hear the footsteps that would have been inaudible to any other ear.

Sweat already coated her brow. She stalked to the closet and retrieved her blaster, making sure that it was fully charged. Sure, she could send out an alert that there was an assassin in the ship, but then that would give her away, and she would miss the pleasure of seeing the surprise on the intruder's face.

No, she wanted to do this the old-fashioned way. She'd been doing stealth ad nauseum as of late, and she longed for something different. That, and she had to stand by and watch today during the fight while the rest of the team handled the apes... she hadn't been too happy about that.

She opened her door, trying to be as noiseless as possible. She jumped a little when it clicked shut, but she could still see the intruder moving in front of her, so she disregarded the noise. Holding up the blaster, she aimed it at the figure, the trembling of her arms making it difficult.

She was about to call out to the guy when she noticed something. His gait—she was sure it was a male canine by now, the stench was impossible to miss—was oddly familiar, and the graceful way his tail swished back and forth was something she knew she'd seen before. Tip-of-the-tongue syndrome, where she knew it but didn't iknow/i it.

In the dark, she couldn't make out the figure... she would have to get closer. She waited until the figure had traveled a few more feet, then decided that she was never going to get a good image of who it was.

She closed her eyes, squinted, and sent out a gentle mental probe towards him. She hoped it wasn't enough to be noticed, but she still held her breath as she felt her consciousness envelop the space between them.

As soon as the probe touched him, she recoiled, snatching it back. She gritted her teeth, swallowing.

Fox. Fox McCloud. What was he doing here? Was he looking for her? Should she make herself known?

But, no... she would have to play it safe. It seemed like Fox had a sense of direction, like he was moving towards something. She would wait it out, see where he was going.

She stood back, leaning against the wall, slowing her breathing down as much as she could. Fox went a few more feet before he stopped, turning to face the wall to his right.

That was Wolf's room.

Krystal ran towards Fox as quickly as she could, her heart pounding, but by the time she got there, the vulpine had already disappeared inside.

Her mind was racing. Fox couldn't have known the code, no. He couldn't have had the key. He didn't knock. The only explanation was that the door was already open, waiting for him; that Wolf had let him in on purpose, that Wolf was aware that Fox was here. And that kind of made sense, since Fox didn't stink of murder.

But that was preposterous.

She drew in a deep breath, focusing on slowing her heart rate. The logical thing to do was to spy—no! not spy, just... gather information. Eavesdrop. She felt a twinge of disgust for herself at how quickly she thought of doing that, but in her defense, she was so used to doing it that by now it came naturally.

She crept up to the door to Wolf's room, kneeling as she approached it to ensure that her entire body was below the peephole. Sweating and trembling with effort, she leaned her ear up against the door.

Nothing. Of course there was nothing. The door was only, like, two inches thick. Probably soundproof, either on purpose or as a side-effect of the insulation. She cursed the maker of the ship for giving the captain such an extravagant room, then cursed herself for letting Fox get this far. Should've put a charge through his skull while she had the chance.

(Like you really could have done that, girl.)

What were they doing in there? Making deals, maybe drug deals? She wouldn't put it beyond either of them. Maybe Wolf had forced Fox to come, somehow. Either way, she needed to know what her leader was doing behind her back, and, even though she had told herself a thousand times that she was done with Fox, she still wanted—no, ineeded/i—to know what was going on with him.

It wasn't an option. She ihad/i to know what was going on in there. But she couldn't just knock on the door, and she couldn't just bust in. Intruding would defeat the purpose of

(spying)

investigating her curiosity altogether.

But how?

She bit her lip, still leaning against the door. Her thoughts flared back to her room and—

That was it. With renewed vigor, she began making her way towards the elevator, not bothering to keep her footsteps silent.


As soon as Krystal was into the security system, she navigated the menus to the camera live feeds. She browsed for a bit before finding the one that was in Wolf's room. She held her breath as she waited for the view to load up, hoping that the camera was still functional and that Wolf hadn't thought of covering it. He was an idiot, so he probably hadn't.

Idiocy confirmed. As soon as the feed appeared on the screen—

She blinked a couple of times, rubbed her eyes, and closed them for several seconds before reopening them and finally accepting that she wasn't going crazy.

She felt bile creeping up. Fox and Wolf. Together, in the same bed. They seemed to be asleep, and the look on Fox's face left her with no doubt about what had just happened. Noticing that they both appeared to be shirtless certainly didn't help. And...

And she couldn't look at it any longer. She rolled back the chair and buried her face in her hands.

She wasn't crazy, it was real. As if that weren't enough, she couldn't help recalling the dumb grin on Fox's face and the way he clung to Wolf. He'd never done either of those things when he was with her.

At the same time that it was so wrong, it made so much sense, like in one of those mysteries where you'd never guess the ending, but once it happens it becomes so obvious you feel so istupid/i for not seeing it. For almost as long as she could remember, Wolf had been gone every other Friday, and on every iother/i Friday, he was nowhere to be found. Had this been going on back when she was with Fox? Was that why he was always so shy, so nervous, so iafraid/i? Was that why he got rid of her, so that he could start screwing Wolf without feeling bad about it?

Wolf didn't even deserve him, though:

(Krystal did. Oh, yes, she deserved him much more than that stupid oaf. She would've remembered to turn off the cameras.)

they'd been at each other's throats for as long as she could remember. So, why, then, did Fox have the gall to forsake her for Wolf? It was as if it were all some cruel joke, and she was the punch line.

A movement in the picture caught her eye, making her pause. Fox squirmed, tossing his head back. Krystal paled and as she realized that she might've accidentally projected her emotions a bit too much. A few seconds later, Wolf's head lifted up, and Krystal was shocked to hear his voice coming through the speakers.

"What's wrong?" It sounded nothing like the Wolf she knew.

"I don't really know..." On the screen, Fox's head drifted back from Wolf a little. "Just a bad dream, I guess."

"Havin nightmares...? What for?"

Fox brought up a hand from underneath the covers to wipe at his eyes. "Not sure. I think Krystal was in it.... can't remember."

"Well, she's not here. Stop fantasizing."

Fox smiled, looking like he was holding back laughter. "Kinda funny how our positions have been reversed."

Wolf sighed in what was just about the most obvious fake attempt to present annoyance Krystal had ever seen. "Fox?"

"What?"

"Stop talking and go to sleep."

Fox's words sounded playful when he spoke. "Okay, fine. Have it your way."

And then something happened that Krystal would never have believed if she hadn't seen it with her own two eyes. Fox leaned in, and—and—

Krystal cut off the feed, breathing as if she had just ran a marathon. Everything seemed to have an ethereal tinge to it, as if she was living in a dream and would wake up any second in Panther's arms so that he could

(act like he cared about comforting her)

tell her everything was all right, that it was only a dream. But this was different, because she knew it was as real as the bed of lies she

(went willingly into)

had been seduced into sleeping in.

Fox had never taken the initiative with her like that. His love with her had been fake, just like everything else in her life. But that—that was real, there was no doubting it.

She pounded her fist on the desk, then gave a yelp as she shook her hand, trying to alleviate the pain.

The injustice of it all infuriated her. Something like this couldn't be allowed to happen. If only she were in the same room with them, she would have—

And Krystal smiled, feeling everything fall back to her. She was in control now, she was strong again, because she knew what she had to do.

She would show them. Oh, yes, she would show them all. The time for games and pretending had drawn to an end. The bed of lies was going to be broken. It was time for truth, and Krystal would be its vessel.

(Time for Retribution.)


Wolf had been laying on the bed for a while, unable to fall asleep again, which was a bit strange, considering how tired he was. Then again, on ordinary days, he didn't have to fight to keep images of the day from creeping up on him. He kept seeing the ape, plasma knife gleaming in hand; seeing the flash of crimson as Leon came running in with the blade; but then he would look over at Fox, and that would calm him again.

He was looking at Fox now, actually. The vulpine's head lay in the crook between Wolf's neck and shoulders, hand resting on Wolf's chest. His fur was all frizzled, and it looked just as cute as it did ridiculous. He had to resist the urge to reach down and scratch at Fox's ears.

Pushing his head into the pillow, Wolf resigned himself to go to sleep. Just stop thinking about things. Push it all out. It should have been easy after all the drinks. How many had he had? After the fifth or sixth, the mantra "just one more" had overrode his counting mechanism.

Right when he was about to close his eyes, his good eye strayed over to the far corner of the room. He'd looked at the place so many times that he had a clear image of it painted in his mind. He would have never thought it would have changed, but, now that he looked, it had. The change was so small that he wouldn't have even noticed if hadn't been actively searching for it. He almost gave up trying, but, with a shocked gasp, he found it.

"Shit." He sprang up from the bed, ignoring Fox's disgruntled cry, snatching up the pillow and running towards the corner. He shoved the pillow up against the camera, praying that it was just some kind of ship malfunction.

"Wolf...." Fox sat up, rubbing the side of his head, combing down some of his fur. "What's wrong?"

"Umm... Fox." The world was spinning, but he wasn't sure if it was from the alcohol finally kicking in or his fear.

"What?"

"I forgot to turn off the cameras."

Fox's eyes widened to the point that Wolf thought they were going to burst out of his skull. "Umm... Please don't tell me that means what I think it does." His voice was rising. "Did you just forget, or did someone—"

"Yes, Fox. I saw it move."

"Are you sure?" Fox looked completely awake now, sitting at the edge of the bed.

Wolf nodded. "Look, nobody's used these things since we got this ship. It moved, okay? And it was pointing at…" He gestured towards the bed.

Fox frowned. "So that means..."

Wolf swallowed, then nodded. "There has to be someone on the ship. And if... if they saw..."

Fox fidgeted. "How do you know that? And if even if someone had been watching, we didn't do anything. It's not like we..." He trailed off, leaving Wolf to fill the blank.

Wolf, however, gave Fox a blank stare in return, his thoughts drifting back to Fox's nightmare. "Yeah, we did."

Fox flinched, and he opened his mouth a few times before saying, "Oh."

Wolf hadn't been aware of how dry his throat had been until then. He walked over to the table and snatched up one of the full bottles ("just one more"), opening it and guzzling it with such fervor that some of it spilled on his chin. Trying to ignore the look he was getting from Fox, he went to the closet and began rifling through it, throwing out several useless objects and sending crashing sounds throughout the room.

"Hey, what are you doing?"

Wolf kept rummaging, ignoring Fox for the moment. He dug for a few more seconds before he pulled them out.

Fox was standing up now, a few feet behind Wolf, up on his toes as to peer over the other's shoulder. Wolf held the two objects up, offering one to Fox.

They were blasters.

Fox took a step back, wide-eyed again. Wolf was beginning to wonder if he had taped his eyes open to keep himself awake. "Is that really necessary?"

"Look, Fox, people get pretty pissed when the smuggling wars start, okay? I'd rather carry a weapon and be safe than get my head blasted off, wouldn't you?"

There was no response. Fox reached out and grasped the blaster, cradling it as if it was a foreign object. "But why would they be spying on you?"

Wolf growled, throwing out his hands in rage. "Dammit, Fox! I don't know. These people are nuts, okay?"

Fox was looking back at him, his eyes sunken back into his skull.

Wolf approached him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Look, I didn't mean it. Today's just been hell for me, okay? I'll make it up to you later, I swear."

"Don't worry about it," Fox said after some time. "I understand. That's why I'm here, right?"

Wolf gave him the Look. "Come on. We have to go get the rest of the team." He started towards the door.

Fox hesitated, unmoving. "Wait, 'we?'"

Wolf turned around, fidgeting with the handle on the door. "Yes, iwe/i. It won't matter if anyone knows about this if we're all dead, will it? I don't know how many people they brought with them. They could have a whole army up there. But if we stay down here..." He paused. "They could blow up the ship. Or worse"

Fox stood there for a while, not saying anything. Wolf wanted to point out the urgency of the situation again, but he managed to restrain himself, knowing that Fox was mentally filling in the blanks for the Or worse.

After what felt like several long minutes, Fox said, "Okay."


By the time the elevator dinged open, Krystal could hear shouts and footsteps echoing through the hall. She wasn't sure what was going on, and she couldn't see in the darkness to tell. She headed to the right, towards Wolf's room, but stopped when she realized the sounds were coming from the other direction. She followed the noises, and after only a few feet, she realized that she was heading towards her own room. There was the sound of a door swinging shut—hers. They'd gotten in somehow. Wolf must have had her passcode.

Curse them all.

She took a deep breath before entering the code herself and stepping in, the light blinding her at first.

"Quiet, she's at the door!" She recognized that to be Leon's voice. She hadn't counted on the rest of the team being involved, but if they got in her way...

(Time for Retribution.)

"Krystal?!"

And that was him. She forced a smile, bringing the blaster out in plain view. "Hi, Fox."

Wolf sent what looked like a disapproving glance her way. "Where in Lylat were you?!" He growled, and she thought she could almost detect a slight slurring in his voice. "At least you have a blaster. Hurry up, let's get going."

"What's going on?"

"There's an intruder on the ship. Someone hijacked our security system. I'd be willing to bet it's the damn monkeys. Come on, let's—" He started to make a shaky movement toward the door, but Krystal held up her blaster, causing them to freeze.

Wolf held up his hands, his ears creeping down. "Krystal...?"

"Nobody move." She liked the sound of her voice, so dark and powerful. "If any of you flinches without me telling you to, you're gone." She let the barrel of the blaster settled on each person independently: first on Wolf, then Leon, then Panther, then him.

There was dead silence and cold stares.

"Does any of you know what he—" She aimed the blaster at Fox. "—is doing here?"

Leon hissed. "Knock it off. He's helping us."

Fox blinked a few times, then said, "Yeah, I'm just here to help. I heard—"

She made a jabbing motion at him with the blaster, causing him to stop. "Do any of you know what's been happening for the past... I don't know, year or so?"

She was met with the same stares from i{A}/i Panther and Leon, but she was enjoying the look on i{B}/i Fox and Wolf's faces.

"I didn't think so. He—" She pointed at Wolf, shrieking, "—has been sleeping with him!" She pointed at Fox, gritting her teeth.

Parties {A} and {B} exchanged glances amongst themselves.

Panther stepped forward, looking down at his hands and gesturing towards her with them. "Krystal, are you okay? You seem... flustered."

"Now really isn't the time to lose your marbles, girl," Leon said, his arms crossed.

That was party {B}. She aimed at Party {A}, waiting.

"...so it was you."

Wolf's words were quiet, but they seemed extremely loud in the room. His ears were glued to his skull, his hands hanging limp next to his side.

"Yes," she said. "I saw what you did."

Leon glanced back and forth between Krystal and Wolf. "Wolf, is what she said true?"

"No," Fox said, visibly shaking, his voice rising. "It's not true. We didn't do anything!"

Wolf shot a glare over at Fox before hanging his head again. "Yes, it's true."

Silence. Silence so loud that she could hear it threatening to deafen her.

Leon broke it by grunting, cocking his head off to the side. "I don't believe it."

There was utter silence in the room as Wolf approached Fox, his footsteps soft and yet ear-shatteringly loud. Krystal followed him with the blaster, her arms trembling. It hurt so much, holding the thing up for so long.

"Wolf, what are you doing? Stop it, you're drunk." Fox took a step back.

"There aren't any intruders," the lupine said, the slur more prominent now. "It was just Krystal. There's nothin to worry about." He drew Fox into a light embrace, the vulpine returning the gesture after a few seconds.

And then, while Fox was still trying to push Wolf away, Wolf kissed him. He had the nerve to kiss Fox

(her Fox)

right in front of her eyes. She gritted her teeth, closing her eyes. The room erupted into commotion. Before she knew what she was doing, she had the sights locked on Wolf.

Krystal screamed, the sound coming out in a horrible, grating noise that continued until her throat was raw. She wasn't sure how many times she pulled the trigger. Just kept pulling it until her finger lacked the strength to do any more.

At last, she opened her eyes, and she felt tears running down her face. She let out a tremendous sob, even more enraged.

Fox was in front of Wolf, his body hanging limp, smoking, and mutilated.

"No!" Wolf fell to the ground, cradling Fox's body in his arms. Tears were welling in of his eyes. He began to stroke the side of Fox's face. "Come on... Fox, why do you always have to be the hero?"

"You bastard!" She pulled the trigger on Wolf, kept pulling after she was crying so hard that she couldn't see, let alone aim. She made to pull it again, but it gave only a lazy whine in response.

She threw the blaster against the wall, producing a sharp, metallic clang, and collapsed to her knees. Leon was moving toward her the same way he had moved towards those apes earlier that day, his blaster hanging at the side, his tail flinging madly from side to side. She'd seen what he done to the apes. She knew what he was about to do to her.

"Panther," she managed to say, her voice hoarse and sounding like it belonged to a stranger. He was her only hope, the only person left who still cared for her. The only one she could confide in anymore.

But the cat backed away and locked his own blaster onto her, growling.

She collapsed on to the floor, her nose meeting the ground with a crack and a sharp pang of pain. There was nothing left.

They were all gone. Panther, Wolf, Fox... all of them. She had killed party {B} and now party {A} was going to kill her.

(Time for Retribution, girl.)

She felt cold metal pressing against the back of her neck. She didn't have to look up to know what it was.

Let him do what he would; the Krystal he knew was already dead.