The mental image of Fox McCloud delivering pizza is something that I will cherish forever. You can't do a barrel roll in a van! Well, you can, but you aren't supposed to and you could probably only do it once.
In my view, Starfox: Command didn't happen. Firstly because I didn't play it, and secondly because I seem to recall hearing that NONE of the endings are considered cannon. So that…means it didn't happen, as far as the actual story for the games is concerned. Fanfiction writers rejoice, your stories have not been rendered inaccurate! Yet.
Also, I have no knowledge whatsoever about genetics or what changes in the third, eighth, or sixteenth chromosomes would do. Let's just say that in Cerinians they are the reptile genes, while all the others are mammal genes. That's totally how genes work in the Star Fox universe. Seriously.
One more thing: sex scenes are stupid. I have yet to see one that doesn't interrupt the flow of the movie or at least distract the audience from more important things. I'm not saying that characters can't have sex –in some cases it needs to happen- but there's no reason to get too graphic. This may sound odd coming from a guy, but Hollywood is terrible at sex scenes. Seriously, it's just pathetic, like watching a surgeon try to perform open heart surgery with a sledgehammer. It's just embarrassing.
And that's it for this story! I had a lot of fun putting these up and I may have plans for another. It would involve Fox and company coming out of retirement due to an assassination attempt on Fox's family. Can these old mercs show the newer crowd how it's done? You bet they can!
Just don't expect anything too terribly soon. I'd like to get some work done on other projects, you know? Thanks so much for reading along and giving feedback and all that jive. So…that's about it. I have nothing more to say, apart from my continued curiosity as to the exact nature of Leon's "insanity". It's never really been examined in depth.
But that's something for another day. Later guys!
Fox woke very slowly, his physical pain overcoming his desire for more rest. He looked over at where Krystal had fallen and saw that she was gone. For a few minutes he just kept as still as possible, afraid that the slightest movement would make his condition worse. He hoped that Krystal had left of her own accord and not because Snag had forced her.
Fox sat bolt upright and immediately regretted it. His ribs were bruised and his arm was probably broken, not to mention whatever was wrong with his leg. Still, he needed to convince himself that Snag was really gone for good. He had no idea how he would do that since the monster had evaded the entire crew for a very long time, but he had to try. At least he could have a look around.
"Hey, stop that!" Krystal ordered. She appeared beside him as though by magic, white box in hand. When she set it down on the floor Fox saw that it had a red cross painted on the top. "You'll only hurt yourself more. Lay back and try to relax."
"Did we get him?" Fox asked. "I hope we did, because if not then I feel like this was a lot of wasted effort."
Krystal glanced at the hulking metal monstrosity that had nearly killed them both. "I think we did," she said. "I haven't been awake for much longer than you, but I can already tell that the ship feels…different. It's like a sickness that I didn't notice until now has been cured."
"You're a sap." Fox grinned weakly. "You might need to get a wheelchair. I'm not going to be walking anywhere."
"You're not going to be doing much of anything," Krystal retorted. "You're an absolute mess. It's a good thing someone spotted our distress beacon." Fox tried to sit up again, but she pushed him back down. "Slippy and the others regained consciousness when we killed Snag. Slippy's in bad shape, but he was able to free up the long-range transmitter array. A Cornerian relief vessel happened to be in the area."
Fox felt a pinprick on his shoulder and sighed as a powerful cocktail of drugs took effect. The pain of his body became far less important than it had been a moment ago.
"Very odd," Peppy muttered as he scanned ROB's test results. Krystal was lying on a medical bed in the Cornerian cruiser Argent Dawn, but Fox had refused to let anyone take a look at her. It wasn't until Peppy suggested letting their personal AI run the tests that he backed down.
"I know," Fox admitted. "She's changed."
Krystal stared at her razor-sharp fingernails. They had become more like claws, and not the kind a canine was expected to have. They looked like they would be more at home on a reptile. "So what exactly happened?"
"Unknown." ROB spoke over the encrypted wavelengths of Fox's communicator rather than using the unsecured wireless transmitters that would have allowed him to use the Argent Dawn's intercom system. "DNA anomalies detected in third, eighth, sixteenth chromosomes. Hypothesis: exposure to formerly unknown life form has cause rapid mutation."
"He means that Snag did something to you," Peppy explained. "We have no idea how or why. It might even have been an accident. Most of the changes are small, like abnormally high amounts of serotonin in your brain and increased bone density. Those should fade with time. The biggest change is the one on your hands, and I don't think it's going away any time soon."
Krystal sighed and clicked her nails together. "I don't like it," she said after a moment. "It doesn't make sense; Snag was a disembodied spirit, not a physical presence. He shouldn't-"
"There were a lot of things that he shouldn't have been able to do," Fox said. "He still did them. Getting sharper fingernails isn't the worst that could have happened to you."
Krystal smiled up at him prettily, which sent his heart into overdrive. "I suppose you're right."
After a moment's consideration Fox pressed the transmit button on his communicator. "ROB, have you archived these test results in your private data banks?"
"Affirmative. As per instructions, no information has been leaked to outside systems."
"Good. Destroy it. What happened stays between us and Star Wolf. No one else hears about it under any circumstances."
Once he'd sorted out Krystal's physical it was time to focus on repairing the Great Fox. The Argent Dawn had enough replacement parts to start Fox and his team on a slow limp back to civilized space, but it would take another four days to make the journey. Of course, that was assuming they could convince the larger cruiser to part with certain expensive items.
Krystal found him on the bridge while he was trying to plot a new course. "Falco is supervising the repairs," she said. "He seems happy to be doing something useful. Slippy and Peppy are helping out wherever they can, but no one is up to full strength yet."
"It'll take a little time," Fox said. "It always does. We just need a nice, quiet job to keep us busy while we recover. Star Fox will be back up to full strength before too long."
"I'm glad." Krystal stood next to him and leaned over to look at his computer screen. "Planning our next destination?" she asked.
Fox shook his head and pushed the keyboard away. "I've finished it," he said. "It wasn't hard. There isn't much between here and the nearest port that we need to watch out for. I should go help with the repairs."
"I'm not so sure about that," Krystal said. She put a friendly hand on his shoulder. "The repairs could take quite a while. You have other things to take care of."
"I do?" Fox asked. "The course is set, the weapons systems are on shakedown, and the life support systems have been put in order. What else is there?" He noticed that Krystal was standing much closer than before and had her other hand around his waist.
"Captain," she said insistently. "You have other things to take care of."
"What do…oh. Oh." Fox started to turn a very self-conscious shade of pink, but after a moment's consideration he smiled and shut off his communicator. "Falco is a great negotiator," he said. "I'm, uh, sure that he can handle buying those replacement parts."
"I'm sure that he can," Krystal said, looping her arm through his.
Krystal and Fox were alone on the bridge, having taken the night shift for themselves. They leaned against the frontal viewport and admired the stars that glimmered in the inky blackness of space. "The Cerinian view of space travel was not like yours," Krystal said. "We were afraid to think about what was above our heads. It was too big for us. We got so used to being around each other that going outside the range of telepathy was frightening."
"With good reason," Fox pointed out. "We both saw what it did to Snag. He just…fell apart out there, right in front of us." Krystal shivered next to him and moved a little closer. He found that he rather liked it. "I wouldn't worry about that too much. There are plenty of other people on this ship." He smiled fondly at a memory that popped into his head. "My father used to say that space was the answer to our problems –that no one would have to fight anymore if we could just spread out far enough."
"That doesn't sound very realistic," Krystal said.
"I think that it was, in a way." Fox pointed to a specific star. "That's where I grew up," he said. "When I was younger and unqualified to pilot anything more powerful than a pizza delivery van I would sit outside and just watch the sky. It was so big and I couldn't wait to break atmo and see what it was like. My dad told me that space was the greatest gift any god could ever have given us. There's enough of it that each of us can take all he wants. Every person can have an entire horizon all to himself."
Krystal saw that Fox's eyes had misted up. "Your father would be proud of you," she said. "You're a wonderful man, Fox McCloud. Your father could never have hoped for better." He smiled and put an arm around her waist. "I have to say that I find his dream a little lonely," she admitted. "I wouldn't want an entire horizon all to myself. I'd rather share one."
"That sounds like a very good idea." Fox poked a finger at the thick, durable glass of the viewport. "We'll take that one."
"Oh! How nice," Krystal giggled. "It looks wonderful."
"I'm glad you like it. I'm also…glad you think it would be better to share it."
Krystal laughed at how serious he sounded. "I can tell. So, Captain, what do we do now?"
"Now we try and get the Great Fox up to full strength."
"And then?" she asked.
Fox kissed her, and then looked at the universe spread out before him. "Then we go and find our horizon. It's out there somewhere." He pointed again and added "Specifically right there, but I'm open to other suggestions."
"That's a good plan," Krystal said. "Lead on."
Star Wolf had been through many dangerous conflicts over the course of its less-than-morally-upright history, but had rarely come so close to death. It had been disconcerting to be so utterly helpless, but the team would undoubtedly find a way to strengthen themselves because of it. It was what they did.
Wolf, Panther, and Leon were now waiting patiently in the passenger terminal for their false identification cards to be processed. They had gone by fake names before and, being the wanted fugitives that they were, knew the value of traveling discreetly. As far as the crew of the Argent Dawn knew, Wolf and his crew were just three refugees that had been picked up by the Star Fox team on some backwater planet.
Leon was sitting far away from the other members of his team, staring moodily through a small porthole. No one paid much attention to him because this was hardly unusual behavior. Leon had trouble relating to other people for many reasons, the foremost being that he was, as Wolf had once remarked, "nuttier than rat droppings in a peanut factory." Panther and Wolf had gotten used to seeing him pull away from social interaction and always dismissed it as business as usual.
Normally they would have been right. Leon often tried to ignore the world after completing a mission, and what had happened on the Great Fox was not so different than a tour of active combat duty. Leon had always separated himself from others because he had no idea what he was supposed to feel after the fighting was over. Mostly he felt disappointed, which he knew was not normal.
This time, however, he was not seeking isolation because he didn't know what to say or how to act; he was trying to carry on a private conversation. Anyone that had been paying attention might have noticed that he was talking to himself.
"I wish this could last," Leon said quietly. He absentmindedly brushed lint from his flight suit. "I like mercenary work, but it won't last forever. We almost died this time. We could just as easily die next time. I'd rather avoid that."
His eyes widened slightly. "I could keep that from happening," he whispered. "I know I could. I just need time to think of a way. Life doesn't have to end with a depressurized cockpit. I can find a better way to do things. I just…I just need the time."
Leon glanced over at Wolf and Panther, who were both completely silent. Wolf was far too injured to say very much and Panther was not feeling talkative. "In the meantime, I'll do my job." Leon giggled so quietly that even he could hardly hear himself. "I'll be a good mercenary for as long as it takes. One day I'll change the way this works. I'll make it safer for us. Until then…."
A shiver took him and Leon fought to remain still. "Until then no one needs to know," he said. "Until then Wolf and Panther are the top priority. It does no good to improve mercenary work if the people you want to protect are killed too soon."
"I'm glad you see it my way." Leon smiled and looked through the porthole again. He could see his reflection smiling back at him. It wasn't a smile that any sane person would have considered friendly or inviting. "I look forward to working with you. We'll be the best of friends, you and I."