My First Star Fox Encounter
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Fox, any of its characters or anything else I might reference in this story, but I hope you love it.
"Come on, Michael. I thought you said you were better than me.", my older brother Edwin joked as he activated his Star Power and started running his fingers over the fret buttons of my new Guitar Hero 5 controller like there was no tomorrow.
"I AM better than you, I'm just not used to playing on these kinds of difficulties!" , I yelled back as I, too, activated my Star Power and strummed like my fingers were on fire. My name's Michael Angelo Pena, by the way.
"That's the best you got? Ha, that proves it! I'm better than you and I always will be.", Edwin said with a laugh. By the time we finished our pro face-off of playing 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana on hard difficulty, my fingers were sore and reddish-pink in color. In case you've noticed by now, my brother and me get REALLY competitive over video games- Xbox 360 games in particular. I breathed a sigh of disappointment as I walked out of my bedroom to lay down on my living room couch and began playing Star Fox Command on my Nintendo DS Lite. Games always make me feel better when I need to pass the time or get rid of some stress. As I was playing on the Venom stage- Good-Bye, Fox, I began to dream about meeting them in person one day and having an adventure of my very own to brag about. Little did I know what was in store for me later that day...
Somewhere in the Lylat System... The Star Fox team had just finished their job of escorting a large shipment of medical supplies to a local hospital several light years away and the only way to get there and back was through a hyperspace jump from the Arwings. This kind of job was very tricky because if anything went wrong, the mission would be that much closer to failing, but the riskier the mission, the bigger the paycheck for Fox and his teammates. "Ok, that's the last of them. We just need to get our check, then we can head back to Corneria.", Fox said as he placed a large box of fresh Blood Packs, needles and surgical tubes next to a large row of hospital beds.
"Finally, we can get out of here. I don't like hospitals that much because of the awful noise and even worse food.", Falco said as he shuddered at the thought of getting sick in a place like this.
"You know, if we didn't accept this job in the first place, all of these people here wouldn't even have one chance of living, don't you?", Krystal scolded. Falco simply shrugged his shoulders in a 'I don't know' kind of way.
"Hey, cut the chat, guys. Peppy says we're needed back at the Great Fox immediately for our next mission.", Slippy said over the communicators on each of his friends' left wrists.
"Copy that. Fox out. Let's head back, everyone.", Fox said as he received the check from a male rabbit and shook his hand.
"Thank you. Without your help, none of our patients would've lasted the next 2 hours."
"It's no problem at all, Dr. Louis. No one on the team ever turns a blind eye to anyone in trouble."
"Thanks again, if you ever need some supplies, you're more than welcome to come back."
"We'll remember that. Take good care.", Fox said as he waved good-bye. And with that, the team started up their Arwings and entered their jump location coordinates into the computer screens in front of them. Krystal had just entered her coordinates and locked them in, when a warning alarm went off.
"Uh-oh, guys. I'm in trouble here!", she cried as she opened up the channels to her friends' communicators.
"Krystal, what's wrong?", Fox asked.
"I think I made a typing error for the coordinates and now I think I'm going someplace else, instead!"
"Can you override the launch codes?", Falco asked.
"It's too late for me! The codes are already locked in!", Krystal said with a tone of alarm. A look of fear washed over Fox's face like a sudden hurricane.
"Falco, deploy the grappling cables to the back of Krystal's engine, now!", he cried.
"We can't do that, Fox. If the jump activates, we'll be taking a trip right along with her!", he yelled back.
"We have to take that chance, there's no telling where she's going!"
"Fine. But this was your call, not mine." They both fired the cables at the same time but they missed their mark, so they reeled them back in as fast as their Arwings could go. As Krystal's fear was getting worse, so were her chances of escaping this dilemma. The alarm was flashing faster and the numbers were dropping lower. Then, an automated voice came from the overhead message board said: "Hyperspace jump commencing in five..."
"Fox! Falco! Please hurry!", she screamed. They fired again, but they still missed.
"One..." The countdown ended and WHOOSH! A giant circle of blue-white light opened up, sucking Krystal in and immediately closing behind her.
Back on Earth... The day I had went by in its usual way; I'd wake up around 9:00 A.M., watch tv, eat lunch, take my medicine, pace around the house and other things like that. I was currently wearing a black t-shirt with the word vokal written in gray and outlined in white, South Pole blue jeans and a pair of white socks inside my black Tommy Hilfiger hiking shoes. Edwin had just left the house in his usual routine of saying, "I'm better than you!" five minutes ago, when I heard a loud crash outside that could have been heard by anyone within a 2-block radius. I ran outside through the back door and was shocked at what I saw; inside of my family's garage, well, more like the layout of the garage, was an Arwing, but it was slowly becoming set on fire from a knocked over gallon of Gasoline. I knew that's what it was, because I'd spent more than enough time playing the Star Fox games to recognize anything from them. As I carefully made my way towards it, I noticed a familiar-looking Staff lying four feet away from my feet. "It's impossible...", I said to myself, but the proof was right there in front of me. The Staff was none other than Krystal's and upon looking at the canopy, I saw a small hole which the Staff obviously made when the Arwing hit the cement. "If this Staff is here, then...", My thoughts were quickly interrupted by a woman's voice.
"Help! I'm suffocating and the control panel for my canopy is broken.", she cried. I suddenly realized that this was the REAL Krystal inside there. I was just a finger's reach from grabbing it, when I remembered how it worked in Star Fox Adventures.
"If I touch this Staff, will it electrocute me and burn my hands the instant I grab it?", I thought with fearful eyes.
Then I heard Krystal speaking to me in my mind. "Don't worry, you have my permission to use it and it won't harm you as long as you believe in it."
"Okay, if you say so...", I answered, despite still being nervous. Very carefully, I grabbed it and like Krystal said, it didn't harm me. Without any time to celebrate, I ran to the canopy and started to smash the pointed end of the Staff ferociously against the sides of the hole in hopes of making it bigger. After about five smashes, my effort paid off as the glass shattered into small, harmless pieces and I pulled Krystal out of there using all the strength I could muster. When she was safe, I placed her on the bench in front of my house so she could breathe and recover, while I ran into the kitchen and removed the Fire Extinguisher from the wall so I could put out the fire that was about to reach my parents' garage. When it was completely gone, I walked back to Krystal and wondered if she was still okay.
"Cough... I'm fine. Cough... Don't worry, I'll be ok." Upon looking at her body, I noticed a few bloody cuts on her arms that didn't look deep enough to leave scars, but they immediately needed tending to. Since I was all alone, I was the only one there who could help her. I took her by the hand and led her into my parents' bathroom, where I found a First-Aid kit and used all the steps I learned in health class; first, I washed the blood and bacteria away with warm soap and water, then I took a small cotton swab mixed with disinfecting alcohol and dabbed it on the cuts to ease the pain and finally, I took some medical gauze and wrapped two layers around the cuts to stop the bleeding and prevent any further infection from appearing. Krystal was quite marveled at how well my work was and touched both of the bandages without feeling any kind of pain. When she was done admiring my work, I politely asked her to wait inside my house while I gathered some new clothes for a shower. I needed one, since my haircut from yesterday left a bunch of tiny hairs all over my shirt and I was still itching. She agreed and looked around my house in curiosity. Twenty minutes later, I was clean and itch-free. I was now wearing a light/navy blue Nike shirt with a pair of Ecko-Unltd blue jeans and the same shoes and socks from earlier.
"This sure is a nice place you have here. You've done so much to help me and I don't even know your name.", Krystal said while staring at my mother's family pictures.
"My name's Michael Angelo Pena.", I said while smiling in thanks.
"You have two last names?", Krystal asked. I realized that since, Krystal didn't even know about my kind or my galaxy, I decided to explain.
"Not really. You see, I'm part of a species known as humans and it's kind of like tradition for any of us to have a first, middle and last name."
"I see. Very interesting. So, is this your family?", Krystal asked while staring at a large photo of my parents' wedding anniversary. It had me in-between my mother Ana and my father Rodolfo, with my oldest brother Rudy standing at my father's left and my second older brother Edwin standing at my mother's right. I nodded.
"You look so much like the one on the far-right. Why is that?", Krystal asked.
"I'm not quite sure. You see, I've got many different traits from each of them, even though I'm the youngest in my family. I've got my older brother Rudy's looks and height, my brother Edwin's appetite and love of competition, my father's knack for fixing things and being young at heart and finally, I've got my mother's quick temper, taste buds and love of making all kinds of food."
"You don't seem to love your brothers very much, do you, Michael?"
"It's not that I hate them completely, I just can't stand they way they act towards me. This one time, my brother Rudy said I was so lazy, he forced me to come work with him and my father. I didn't even get a single bite to eat, so all that ladder climbing and handing him tools exhausted me. By the time our job was done, I was so hungry, I threw up the water I drank twice. And I told myself I'd never go working with him like that again. And as for Edwin, he and I keep having arguments over who's better than the other. And we usually play games to settle them. Sometimes he wins, and other times it's the other way around, but I still have fun and I'll always believe I'm better than him, no matter how many times I lose."
"Hmm... Interesting. So where am I, anyway?"
"Well, our planet is called Earth. It's a part of what we humans call the Solar System and our galaxy is called the Milky Way. I'd explain it, but maybe showing you would be much easier. May I show you what I know by you using your telepathy?"
"Of course. Just clear your mind and focus on directing your thoughts to me.", Krystal explained.
"Ok, here goes." I followed her instructions and gave her a perfect view of our world and everything in and around it. As I kept on focusing my thoughts, Krystal started a small conversation.
"Wow. It's so beautiful. There's so many sights, sounds, foods and names I'd never even seen or heard of before. It's simply amazing."
"Thanks. I'm glad you liked that. Speaking of food, you must be very hungry and thirsty after that crash. Is there anything I can get for you?"
"Now that you mention it, sure." I asked her about all the different kinds of foods she liked to eat and made a mental note of them. She was mostly vegetarian and in a few minutes, I'd made her a salad with ranch dressing and a small plate of baked fish sticks, while I made myself a large plate of Totino's Pepperoni Pizza Rolls. I also had enough Sunny D for one and a half glasses, so I poured until both of ours were completely equal.
"Thank you, Michael. This meal is fantastic. What's this drink called, anyway?", she asked while licking her lips.
"It's called Orange Juice. Most of the plant life on this planet can be harvested and studied to see what can be made from them. The juice from the oranges is rich in Vitamin C and helps your immune system." As an afternoon snack, we each shared half of my last Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolate.
When our meals were finished, I noticed that Krystal was staring at my glasses very intently. "Is something wrong?", I asked.
"Oh, sorry about that. It's just, when you were helping me outside, your glasses were dark and I couldn't see your eyes. But now I can and the lenses are clear. Why is that?"
"Oh. You must be talking about my Transitions lenses."
"Transitions lenses?", she asked in a confused way.
I removed my glasses and explained: "These lenses are made of a very special material that's affected by direct sunlight exposure. Anytime I'm out in the sun, they turn dark in about 5-10 seconds and when I'm outside the light, they become clear in about three minutes."
"Really? May I see them?" Her question startled me.
"Why would someone as beautiful as her want to see my glasses? Her vision's perfect and if she tried wearing them, neither of us would be able to see and our eyes would hurt.", I thought to myself. I noticed upon hearing that, one of her ears was twitching, despite the fact that I was near-sighted. She gave them back and smiled at me once I put them back on my face.
"You really think I'm beautiful, Michael?", she asked while twirling one of her bangs with her right hand. I realized that I was trapped and just revealed my most precious feelings for her.
"Uh-oh. You're in for it, now.", My conscious added.
"I'm sorry! That was an accident, you see, I...", I tried to calm myself down, but I only made things worst for myself instead.
"It's okay, Michael. There's no need to be ashamed of your feelings. In fact, they're quite flattering.", she finished with a heart-warming giggle and a few bats of her eyelashes.
"Thanks, I guess. But still, you're the most beautiful person I've ever seen.", I said while blushing.
"Thank you for that.", she replied while blushing as well.
"Oh, yeah. That reminds me. How did you crash-land here, anyway?", I asked out of curiosity.
"We were on our way to the Great Fox to receive our next mission from Peppy, after we finished with our current mission of delivering vital medical supplies to a local hospital near our galaxy. As I typed in the hyperspace jump coordinates, I locked them in by mistake. Fox and Falco tried to rescue me by using their grappling cables but they missed and then, I was sucked in by the portal. The next thing I knew, I crashed into your garage and you saved me.", she finished.
"I see. That explains everything.", I said while nodding.
"I wonder how Fox and the rest of his team is handling something like this? With Krystal here, there's no doubt in my mind that they're worried sick.", I thought.
"Hmm... I'm sure I can still contact them from my long-range PDA. I just hope it wasn't damaged like my Arwing." She typed in a few commands and started speaking, "This is Krystal. Is anyone there? Please respond."
A few seconds later Fox's voice was heard. "Krystal, thank goodness you're ok. Where are you right now?", he asked.
"I'm on an inhabited planet called Earth. I'm sending you the coordinates now.", she said as she sent the data.
"Ok, we've received your coordinates and narrowed down your location, but that last hyperspace jump completely left us without any Fuel Cells and we won't get our next shipment until tomorrow. How are things on your end?"
"My Arwing crashed and my canopy controls were wrecked. Fortunately, a nearby inhabitant saw me in trouble and he rescued me. I also received some cuts from the landing, but they're patched up, now."
"Ok, when we're ready, we'll come and pick you up as soon as we can."
Upon hearing the conversation, I became worried. If the Great Fox were to come here, there would be a major panic and maybe even more damage to the acres around my home.
Krystal sensed my worry and spoke, "Fox, can you possibly pick me up in person? I don't think the Great Fox can land anywhere without causing a wide-spread panic, but you can use it to repair my Arwing."
"Understood. We'll contact you upon arrival. Fox out." And with that, Krystal turned off her communicator.
"Speaking of cuts, I think my shot's all better by now.", I said as I moved my left sleeve and peeled off the small, round bandage used to cover up the Flu Shot I had to get yesterday.
"Are you ok, what happened there?", Krystal asked as she pointed at it.
"Oh, this? It's just a Flu shot. You see, around this particular time, we have what's called 'Flu Season'. And we're required to get antibiotics injected into our bloodstream so we don't catch these contagious and often fatal viruses. Which reminds me, I've got to turn all the clocks back an hour for Daylight Saving time tomorrow."
"Your kind has Daylight Saving time, too?", Krystal asked. I nodded.
"So, what about the rest of your family? Will I have a chance to meet them later?"
"I'm not sure that's a good idea, Krystal. Although you meeting the rest of my folks would be great, I don't know if they'll get to understand or welcome you as much as I do. My two sister-in-laws would love to meet you, but they're too busy running errands to earn money for gas, clothes and other things while looking over their kids, so I don't know if they'll have enough time to introduce themselves when they come back later. When my three younger sisters come back from school, they'll be acting like they always do and they say and do things you might not want to see or even hear. My younger brother, Jose would freak out and start asking tons of questions once he sees you and my two older brothers would start making fun of me by saying you're my girlfriend and I'd never hear the end of it from either of them."
"That's ok. If you feel that way, I won't pressure you. You can tell them about it when you feel they're ready and I'll be right there to support you.", she said as she held my hands in good faith. They felt nice, warm and soft to the touch and I saw the honesty in her voice and face.
"Ok then. When they're all here, I'll introduce you. For now, there's got to be a way to pass the time."
"You can tell me more about your world and everything in it, starting with whatever you like.", she said.
Over the next few hours, I told Krystal all that I knew so far about my world and she listened as intently as she could. She was very fascinated by all of the many different kinds of things I explained to her from animation, animal names and kinds of studies to vehicle models and zodiac signs. Then, at around 3:00 P.M., I got a call from my mom saying she'd be home with groceries in about five minutes. Luckily, I also thought that Krystal's Arwing would give her away, but she used her PDA to manually activate a cloaking device that had a very long effect, so there was no need to worry for now.
When I saw my mom's van turn the corner on the other end of the road, I used my thoughts to ask Krystal to hide in my bedroom closet, but for her to keep enough open space for her to breathe until I helped my mom with everything she bought. She agreed and the task was done within four minutes.
"Hi, Michael. How was your day?", my mom asked as she walked toward her room to set down her purse.
"It's been ok. Just the usual stuff I do each morning.", I said. I also saw my brother, Jose, who was followed by my youngest sister, Rosa, my second-youngest sister, Brenda and her older twin sister, Glenda.
"So, Michael, you want to play Guitar Hero: World Tour?", Jose asked when all of the groceries were put away in their proper places.
"Jose, you know you have to eat first, then ask mom for permission to come into my room.", I said.
"No, Jose, you can't! You're still grounded from playing games for the week!", my mother yelled at him.
"Sorry, Jose. Maybe later, when you're not punished, ok?"
"Ok. I'll be waiting.", he said. As the hours passed, I entertained myself by playing my Xbox 360 games; Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic Unleashed, Command And Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, Guitar Hero 2/3/World Tour/5 and Fallout: New Vegas. I also watched a few cartoons on my tv, like Pokemon, Naruto: Shippuden, the Total Drama series and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
By the time it was 6:12, I heard a familiar rumbling coming from the driveway. And when the front door opened and shut, I heard a familiar female voice cooing to someone in baby talk. I knew who was here right away; it was my older brother, Edwin with his wife and my sister-in-law, Jackie and their only son and my nephew, E.J., a.k.a. Wingo. "Mine, not yours, but mine! I said it, first!", I shouted at Edwin, as we usually did, trying to jinx the other. As I touched his right shoulder when he didn't notice me, we both got a jolt of static electricity. I also saw my other sister-in-law, Josie, talking to her and Rudy's little daughter, Leticia, who was also my little niece.
"Hey, Josie. How's Rudy?", I asked her.
"He's at work, Mike. He'll be back later.", she answered.
"Ok, then. I'll see you later.", I said as I walked back to my room, where Krystal was trying to figure out how my stereo worked. I sat down on my bed next to her and cleared away some old junk that was on top of my stereo: an empty, see-through pencil sharpener, an unused box of tissues, a roll of toilet paper, a red ten of diamonds poker card, a broken staple remover, a bottle of silver glitter, a Wal-Mart bag with some pens, coupons for saving $2 on face care products, a magnetic letter T and a fake gold quarter that looked like it was part of a necklace. I showed Krystal what kinds of CDs I had and showed her how to use my stereo. Her favorite tunes were on my Selena 2-CD soundtrack, Boyz II Men II soundtrack, Within Temptation The Silent Force soundtrack and my All-4-One cassette tape, mainly because the tunes they played were about feelings for 'that special someone' you know is in your life somewhere. When my father and my brother, Rudy finally came home at around 9:00, I finally decided the time was right to let my family know who was here.
"Um, everyone, there's someone here I'd like you all to meet.", I said as I tried not to look too nervous.
"Who could it be, your girlfriend?", Edwin joked as he gave Rudy a high-five.
"Not really, but she's special in her own way.", I said while trying not to blush. I looked behind me and nodded my head, allowing Krystal to enter the kitchen. "May I present..."
"Hello, everyone. I'm Krystal of Cerinia. It's very nice to meet all of you in person." It didn't take very long for everyone to start asking her questions, while she answered them as calmly as she could.
"Lucky. You got to meet and know her better before we could. That's not fair!", Jose said.
"You think that's lucky? I saved her life and even got to use her indestructible Staff while you all were out. That's totally fair, Jose.", I said with a large grin.
"Mommy, look. She's so pretty.", Leticia said as she gave Krystal a hug and tried to brush her tail.
"Thank you, little one. You're very pretty, yourself.", Krystal said as she returned the hug.
"So, Michael here saved your life? That was a very smart thing to do.", my mom said as she looked at me.
"It was indeed. You've done a great job of raising such a noble son, I'll always be grateful for all he's done for me.", Krystal said.
"That's my boy!", my dad cheered in his favorite quote from Tom And Jerry, which I usually hated, but I let it slide just this once.
"How long has she been here, anyway?", Rudy asked.
"Around the time Edwin left the house after lunch.", I answered.
"So, if she's been here all day, where was she hiding?", Rosa asked.
"While you were out, she was with me. I had her hiding in my closet when you came so the surprise wouldn't be seen too early."
"This house has so many beautiful pictures everywhere. Where did you get them all?", Krystal asked my mom.
"We had some of them taken throughout the years and others were purchased at local stores or Flea Markets. I'm glad you like them.", she responded. Krystal was also fascinated by the many Native American and angel items she kept throughout our house. My mother had a hobby of collecting them for quite some time, until she had to make room for other pictures when my brothers married and had their kids. Krystal seemed intent on figuring out the picture of Jesus we had on our living room wall. It was one of those 'picture within the pictures' and she looked like she was in a trance. The picture of Jesus portrayed his Crucifixion, and a close-up of his face; a flock of birds and several eyes formed the crown of thorns, the wooden cross formed his eyebrows, while his head and face became his left eye and the cloth nailed behind his hands formed the right one, his body became the nose, his loincloth and right thigh formed his mustache and mouth, respectively, his left thigh and the rest of his legs formed his chin and beard, two mournful faces became the bleeding cuts near his body and another row of crosses finished his sideburns. It was a painful sight to see, but stood for our atonement.
I also showed her the souvenirs I bought from my summer vacation with my relatives at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where I was born. I had a green shirt with a picture of three black-gray wolves howling under the full moon, a round stained glass ornament with a pair of brown wolves and a pine tree covered in snow on it and a small wooden carving of a female wolf nuzzling against a male wolf, which were dark brown and grayish-white in color. This didn't mean I liked Star Wolf, I only got those souvenirs because wolves were an important part of Native American history/folklore and I also thought they'd go well with my mom's decorations. Krystal sensed my thoughts but didn't mind and complemented them, instead, which I thanked her for. By the time 10:00 came, my mom had my little siblings go to bed and I told Krystal she could use my bed for the night, while I slept in my recliner sofa. She said that it wouldn't be fair for me to get such a small sleeping space, but I told her I didn't mind. After our dinner of Krystal having a bowl of Kraft Velveeta macaroni shells and cheese, me having a plate of Pepperoni Bagel Bites and both of us sharing half a Klondike Choco Taco for dessert, we got ready for sleep. After giving each other a goodnight smile and a hug, we both got our beds ready and fell asleep. The next morning, after everyone had gone and me and Krystal were the only ones left in my house, Krystal's communicator beeped and we got a message from Fox saying he'd be here to pick her up in about two minutes.
"Thank you so much, Michael. I only wish I could repay you somehow after all our wonderful time together.", Krystal said as she and I shared a loving farewell embrace.
"It doesn't seem fair, does it? We've only known each other for a day, but I feel like I've known you my whole life.", I said with tears forming in my eyes.
"If I really mean that much to you, then why don't you be a part of the Star Fox team?", Krystal asked while lending me her right hand. I was really surprised that she'd offer me a chance like this, but could I risk it? I'd be leaving my home and family for a long time, maybe even forever, but I took a deep breath and told Krystal my decision.
To be continued... I really hope you liked this chapter, but I'll need time to come up with new ideas for the next chapters, if you want to see any. Let me give a VERY special thanks to my new friend Justin C, for inspiring me to make this story and making me feel like a true writer. I owe you one, man. Please review and leave votes on your reviews, ok? See you soon.