It's been a while. Here's a brief recap of the story so far:

A female Ultraman named Alumina landed on Corneria to fight monsters made of pure darkness. Once she meets Star Fox though, the opposing heroes clash as Alumina refuses to work with Star Fox. But a new monster has shown up and is giving both Alumina and Star Fox a hard time. Will Alumina get over her pride? Will Star Fox be able to destroy the monster? Let's find out.

How We Do Things cont.

It was time to try a different approach with this monster. The Arwings may have been faster, but Landmasters had more fire power. Star Fox HQ was close to where the monster attacked, so Slippy was able to fly back to HQ and come back with a Landmaster.

"Okay guys, I can see the monster," Slippy said as he moved the Landmaster into position.

"Do you think this will work?" Krystal asked.

"We'll find out soon enough," Falco stated, "Slippy, blast the thing!"

Slippy nodded and fired the main cannon. The monster gave a loud scream as the red blast hit it, but the way it began flailing it's tentacles around meant it was simply angry now.

"That's bad," Falco said through the monster's screams.

"Falco, look out!" Fay shouted through Falco's communicator. Before he could react, the monster's tentacle flew over to his Arwing and was about to knock it down, but thankfully he was able to move out of the way.

"Geez! What's it going to take?" Falco asked.

"We've tried lasers, bombs, plasma shots, Landmasters," Krystal reasoned, "I don't think we have anything left past the Great Fox!"

"But the Great Fox is still being repaired," Slippy said, "I hate to say it Falco, but at this point I think we should just focus on keeping it busy so Alumina can-"

"Forget it!" Falco shouted, "I'm not letting that alien take the glory!"

"Falco, would you listen to yourself?" Krystal asked, "This isn't about glory! This is about saving Corneria!"

"Exactly! She's only been here for a day, but we've been here for years! We're Star Fox! This is our planet, our system, our fight! I'm not going to just sit by and wait for some magical girl from space to fight my battle for me! Maybe I am arrogant, but I am not helpless!"

"Damn it Falco..." Krystal looked down and sighed. She had to admit, seeing Falco like this was inspiring, but he wasn't thinking clearly at all. They couldn't beat it. Not without Alumina, and she knew that.

"Guys, it's heading for the water supply again!" Slippy cried out.

"Oh no you don't!" Falco drove toward the monster firing his lasers, "Get the hell away from there!"

"Falco, NO!" Krystal screamed, but he wasn't listening. He was determined to destroy that monster with his own power, or die trying.

Krystal was just worried it would be the latter.

Fox had to have been searching for at least fifteen minutes. He knew that he was around the area she disappeared from, and if what Slippy believed was true then she had to be nearby in her Cornerian form.

"Where are you?" Fox asked frantically, "Alumina! ALUMINA!" Fox turned around and saw Alumina walking over to where he was, but she was leaning against a tree, "Alumina!" he ran over to her, but she immediately pushed off of the tree and stood in front of Fox, looking right at him.

"You shouldn't have come," Alumina said, "I told you yesterday, your weapons are no match for the Darkness."

"We couldn't leave you alone," Fox said, "and judging by what that thing did to you, you're not doing much better yourself."

Alumina looked down with a serious expression, "Most of the time, the monsters I've fought are merely scouts like the Draegon from yesterday. That new monster is one I haven't faced before."

"If that's true then we should work together," Fox said, "You can't fight alone forever, and we can't defend our planet without you."

"I've seen other people try to fight the Darkness, and it doesn't end well for them," Alumina explained, "Entire planets have been wiped out because of the Darkness, I don't want your planet to be the next one," she suddenly looked like she was in great pain and fell to her knees. Fox immediately ran over to her aid.

"But if you keel over and die then who's going to protect us then?"

"Sir, you have a kind heart," Alumina said softly, "In another life, had another officer of the Space Garrison come to your planet, you would be the perfect candidate to act as a vessel for him, but that's not how I carry out my missions."

"Vessel?" Fox asked slowly.

"I don't want to put you or your friends in any danger," she looked into Fox's eyes desperately, "Please, just let me fight on my own."

She was dead serious about this, but she wasn't in any condition to fight. Fox put Alumina on his back and began walking her to his Arwing.

"I need to know more about your race, and why you're so serious about this."

"Then will you stay back?" she asked.

"I'll decide that after I hear your story. In the meantime, I have first aid equipment in my ship. Hopefully it can help you in this form."

"Sir..." Alumina looked at Fox, "I'm afraid I still do not know your name."

"It's Fox. Fox McCloud."

"Fox... McCloud..." she seemed to take in the name, "Quite heroic sounding," Fox couldn't help but chuckle a bit when she said that, "Very well. Ask me anything."

Falco flew all around the monster firing at it, but none of his weapons had any effect on it (at least, not a visible one). Krystal flew in and began firing plasma shots at the monster, but it spewed dark mist at her Arwing, damaging it's sensors.

"Guys, that smoke shut down all of systems!" Krystal shouted.

"You need to land," Peppy said from HQ, "Meet up with Slippy and have him take a look at it."

"But what about Falco?" Krystal asked.

"If nothing else, he's an ace pilot," Peppy said, "I think it'll be a while before he's knocked out of the sky."

Krystal nodded and landed her Arwing next to Slippy's Landmaster. Slippy got out and ran over to the Arwing as Krystal stepped out.

"Please tell me you have your repair kit," Krystal pleaded.

"Of course. I'll see what I can do. Can you cover Falco in the Landmaster in the meantime?" Slippy asked. Krystal nodded and jumped into the Landmaster, immediately getting to work. She liked Arwings better, but the Landmaster would do fine for now.

"So that giant is what you really look like?" Fox asked as he took care of Alumina's injuries in his Arwing.

"Yes. My race many years ago found a powerful light that evolved us into the form you saw me in. In that form we are able to use the power of the light, such as the energy beams you saw me use."

"I see, so I'm guessing you looked like us before then?"

"Mmm, somewhat. Truth is I don't know what we looked like before then. That time was before I was born. In your years I'm about five hundred and sixty years old."

"Dear god!"

"But in my years I'm only about twenty-four."

"Huh," Fox looked thoughtful, "We're the same age, sort of," Alumina laughed, a surprisingly pleasant sound, "So what is that light that appears between your..." Fox asked slowly. At first Alumina didn't seem like she understood, but he pointed to his chest and she nodded.

"Ah, you mean the Color Timer. Every Ultraman is born with one nowadays. You see, in my natural form I am vulnerable to the atmosphere of the planet. It flashes red when my light is on the verge of fading away, or if I am at critical state."

"You mean the planet is killing you?" Fox was shocked. He didn't expect that.

"Not in this form. We take on a form that suits the planet or hide in the hearts of people like you so we can maintain our forms. We only shed our disguises when danger comes."

"You mentioned that before, the whole vessel thing. What does that mean?"

"Well, using someone of the same gender as an example, if I were to make the Cerenian woman my vessel," she pulled out that baton she used to transform, "I would merge with her and give her this. She could then use it like I would and take on my form. From there she and I would act as one entity."

"But you didn't do that?" Fox asked, silently asking why (though he was happy Krystal wasn't in danger).

"We only do that if the person is on the verge of death. Our light can revive them, you see. Over time they regain the ability to live independently of us, but until then we become symbiotic entities of sort."

This was a lot to take in, but Fox was fascinated hearing this. There was one thing that was still on his mind though, "So, why does your race defend other planets like you do?"

"When we received the light, we felt that we needed to use the light for a just cause. We do not interfere with the lives of people, rather we go to planets that are facing threats they are ill equipped to face on their own. It's our desire that all life receive the light, but that can't happen if they die before their light comes."

"So you go to planets that don't have the light and defend them from monsters like the one from yesterday?" Fox asked. Alumina nodded, confirming what Fox felt in his heart. Her entire race was just trying to protect the universe in their own way. They were a good race of people.

"So, now you know the truth about us," Alumina said, "I expect you to uphold your end of the deal then."

She was about to get up, but Fox sat her back down, "I said I would decide after I heard your story. Well, I heard it, and I've decided even more that I want to fight with you."

"But... No!" Alumina shook her head, "If you fight them then you'll-"

"Your people fight for other planets all the time, but who's fighting for them?" Alumina looked like she wanted to answer that, but couldn't find the words, "Star Fox is composed of seven members total, and everyone fights together. Our motto is 'when you're with Star Fox, you never fly alone'."

"Fox..." she sounded pained hearing him, but he had to continue. This was too important to him.

"You want to fight the Darkness, and we want to defend out planet. Rather than fighting it and us, you should fight as one of us," Fox held out his hand, "Please, let us help you. I know our weapons aren't strong enough to kill them, but at the very least we can weaken them for you and give you support."

She looked really unsure, but Fox noticed that her hand was slowly raising to his. She was going to do it. She was about to take his hand.

But they both heard the monster scream in pain. Alumina immediately looked in the direction of the scream and jumped out of the Arwing to see what was going on. Fox frowned and ran after her. When they reached the fight they saw Falco's Arwing flying around the monster still firing at it. They also saw a Landmaster next to a grounded Arwing firing at the monster as well.

"That doesn't look good," Fox said reaching for his communicator, "Slippy, what's the situation?"

"Bad, Fox. Very bad," Slippy replied, "Krystal's Arwing is down, and Falco is still trying to be a hero. Please tell me you found Alumina."

"She's right next to me," Fox said, looking to make sure she was still next to him (she was), "Tell Falco to fall ba-"

Alumina took in an alarmed deep breath catching Fox's attention. The monster sprayed Falco's Arwing with that dark mist, and it was now flying out of control.

"Damn it! He's going to crash!" Fox shouted.

"Do you see?" Alumina shouted, "Now do you understand?"

"Alumina..." Fox looked at her and saw tears in her eyes.

"I know your team is strong, and normally I would let you handle it, but you can't defeat this!" she pulled out her baton, "I'm going to fight that thing, and I'm begging you, don't follow me!" she then pulled out the baton from the center and made the two ends glow, "ALUMINA!"

She was engulfed in a bright light, and before Fox knew it, Ultraman Alumina flipped in the air and caught Falco's Arwing, setting it down gently near Krystal's Arwing and her Landmaster.

"Don't think I'm thankful," Falco retored as he got out of his Arwing. Ultraman Alumina stepped away from the Arwing, but before she could react, the monster wrapped it's tentacles around her neck chocking her.

"Alumina, no!" Krystal cried. Alumina was thrown to the side, and now the monster began focusing on her. This time however, Alumina was ready, and she began punching and kicking the monster trying to push it back. Unfortunately like she said to Fox, this monster was stronger than the Draegon, and it hit her with it's tentacle knocking her to the ground.

Fox looked really frantic. There was still no way she could defeat it on her own. There had to be something he could do. Thinking quickly he ran back to where his Arwing was waiting for him and jumped in.

"This time, it's out turn to save you!" Fox said to himself as his Arwing began lifting from the ground.

The monster wrapped both of it's tentacles around Alumina's arms and began throwing her around the field. She tried to catch herself on the ground and throw the monster around too, but it was a lot heavier than she was and instead it threw her to the ground. This was bad. With it holding her arms like that she couldn't use her light attacks to break free.

"Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT!" Falco shouted grabbing a bazooka from his Arwing.

"Falco, what are you doing?" Krystal asked him.

"I think this proves that she can't fight these things by herself! I may not have an Arwing, but I can still fight!" Falco jumped out of his Arwing and ran to the fight.

"Falco! FALCO!" Krystal screamed.

"I fixed your Arwing!" Slippy shouted to Krystal, "I'll give Falco support in my Landmaster if you want to-" before he could finish, Krystal pushed him aside and ran into her Arwing. God, Slippy thought, she REALLY missed being in the air.

Falco began firing at the monster with his Bazooka, "Hey ugly! Down here! I'm the one you want!"

Alumina looked down at him and frantically shook her head.

No! Stop this! You're just going to die!

The monster looked down at Falco and was about to spray him with it's mist, but Alumina rolled in the way and too the full force of it herself, instantly causing her Color Timer to flash red. Alumina stood up and continued to struggle, but the monster shot more mist in her face, doing extra damage to her.

Falco and Slippy both fired at the monster, now focusing on getting Alumina free, but it was hopeless. She knew it. There was no way they could get her free. This was the end.

I'm sorry, Father... I couldn't... do... it...

"Not today!" everyone heard from the side. They looked and saw Fox's Arwing flying towards the monster at high speed.

"What's he doing?" Fay asked frantically watching from her computer, "Peppy, what's Fox doing?"

"Hm..." Peppy just looked at the screen, as if he knew what he was going to do. He did know Fox best, and that was James' son.

"You're going to let her go NOW!" Fox shouted.

"What are you doing?" Slippy asked.

"You're insane!" Falco added.

"FOX!" Krystal shouted.

"AAAAAHHHHHH!" Fox screamed as his Arwing flew toward the monster at high speed. He then turned to his side and using the wing...

He cut the tentacle... freeing Alumina...

She rolled to the side and looked up at Fox, meeting his eyes through the cockpit. She couldn't believe what happened.

He... saved me...

She was still hurt, and her Color Timer was flashing red at a slightly faster rate. She hated to say it, but right now, she couldn't do it alone.

"Krystal, you and I will support her from the air," Fox commanded from his Arwing, "Slippy, you and Falco keep firing at it from the ground. All of us need to coordinate our attacks with Alumina."

"Right!" Slippy said.

"Understood!" Krystal said.

"Got it, Fox!" Falco said.

"Star Fox, attack!"

Fox and Krystal flew past the monster using their wings to damage it. At the same time, Alumina flipped over to it and kicked it back. She then went behind the monster and grabbed it, holding it still for Falco and Slippy to fire at it. The places they fired at were then hit by Krystal's plasma shots.

Alumina rolled to the side, and Fox fired a bomb right over Alumina, the explosion throwing the monster down. Alumina then got on the monster's back and began pounding it until it threw her aside. As it tried to get up, Slippy's Landmaster rammed it, knocking it down again, and Falco fired at it with his bazooka, this time hitting it in the mouth and doing massive damage.

"Aw yeah, found your sweet spot!" Falco said.

When Alumina saw that, she then ran back over to the monster and held it's mouth open. Both Fox and Krystal fired bombs into it's now open mouth. Alumina then threw it aside, and began drawing energy into her arms. Putting her arms in front of her, she took a step forward and threw her arms out firing a light blue stream at the monster, finally killing it.

"WHOO!" Falco shouted.

"It's dead! IT'S DEAD!" Slippy cried out.

"I can't believe it," Krystal said in relief, "She did it."

"No, we did it," Fox said smiling. He flew over to Alumina and slowly circled her looking up at her. She looked right at him, and Fox could have sworn he heard a voice in his head.

Thank you.

"You're welcome," Fox said softly. Alumina nodded and took off to the skies, vanishing from sight.

A few hours later, Fox, Falco, Slippy, and Krystal were walking back to HQ. Just like yesterday though, they saw Alumina standing in front of the base waiting for them. Falco was about to walk over to her, but Fox held his hand out stopping him and walked over to her himself.

"So, you're okay?" Fox asked.

"I flew over to your sun to heal my wounds," Alumina said, "I'll be fine," she looked away from Fox, "When I think about it, this is the third time you helped me."

"Well that's what Star Fox does," Fox said. He then held out his hand, "You know, my offer still stands. We can work together to protect the planet."

She looked really torn. Falco walked over to her and pushed her toward Fox a bit, making her squeal in surprise.

"Come on, ya know ya want to," Falco said, "Trust me, he's really pursuasive."

"If you join us, you can use the extra Arwing," Slippy said smiling.

"And it would be nice to have another girl on the team," Krystal stated, "Fay and I are sort of outnumbered."

Alumina laughed slightly, but then returned her attention to Fox. This stood against her morals. She decided she wasn't going to endanger anyone. She would fight by herself and save everyone. But now that the Darkness found it's mark, it wasn't going to leave Corneria. Maybe this time, she did need support.

This was their planet. Maybe they should...

"So, what do you say?" Fox asked, "Work together?"

Alumina closed her eyes and smiled, "I'm going to need a uniform, and flight lessons."

With that she took Fox's hand, sealing their partnership, and their growing friendship.

Next time~

"Slippy, I really think you should come back to the academy," Slippy's father Beltino said.

"Dad, my home is with Star Fox," Slippy said, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going back."

"Why doesn't he continue with his studies?" Alumina, now called Allie, asked Fay.

"No one knows," Fay shrugged, "He was their top student at the Science Academy."

A giant green lizard monster was attacking the city, Fox and Falco already on the scene. Slippy was about to run out, but his father grabbed his wrist.

"Pilots like that don't live long! I don't want you to end up like James!" Beltino said.

"Damn it Dad, it's my choice!" Slippy shouted turning to his father.

"She needs help!" Krystal said frantically as Alumina fought the monster.

"Damn it, where is Slippy!" Fox shouted.

Slippy and Beltino stare at each other seriously.

The Prodigal Son