Chapter 1: Da Capo: The beginning.
Alright, I owe everyone reading this an apology. My original story New Beginnings was quickly turning into a disaster, and I didn't like where it was taking me. So I decided to stop it after writers block got to me too. And now, here we are with a new story, same vague premise, and hopefully exponentially better writing. So, without further ado, Let's get this party started.
Before I forget, a big thank you to every one of the reviewers who leant some creative criticism for my other fic. Radredknuxfan, , Serpent P (read his story Reptilia if you haven't, I enjoy it greatly.) as well as the every wonderful Jaslazul for his criticism of another of my wolf/fox fanfictions. You all did a major part in helping me get back on my feet, and I couldn't find a way to say thank you other than this. So thanks for your help, inspiration, and encouragement.
Disclaimer: I do not own StarFox or any of its proprietary merchandise. Sorry.
The day had droned on, meeting after meeting; interview after interview, until the red fox couldn't take it anymore. "Peppy, if anyone asks where I went, just tell them that I had something important to attend to, will you?" Fox grumbled, shaking his head as he ran his hand along the back of his neck to try to calm down his hackles. He never was one for sitting around all day and listening to people complain about financial troubles this, or political standing that. The vulpine spun on his heel and quickly exited the room before another reporter could flag him down. For the love of the gods, if I had to listen to one more of that mindless droning, I'd probably have shot someone. He thought to himself with a tired groan.
"Ah, there you are, Fox." Spoke a voice from a few yards behind him and to his left. " I just had some official wonder where you went. Must be tough being a celebrity." The voice of the Katinian defense captain called with a light chuckle. "It's been a while, Fox."
"Yeah, It has, Bill. Captain now, huh? The times have treated you well." Fox chuckled, which prompted the husky to clap him on the shoulder. "I guess I shouldn't have expected less from my academy flight-mate." He grinned slightly, letting himself relive some of the old memories.
"Uh-Huh, but had your ass not shown up and saved us from that giant flying mothership thing back in the Great War, we wouldn't be here having this conversation, commander." Bill grinned. He knew Fox hated the official title he was given, seeing himself as an equal to his squad mates, instead of their commanding officer. "Heh, but anyways, I told the guy looking for ya that I hadn't seen ya. I can understand just how hard it can be to deal with so many politicians." He laughed.
"Yeah, they're definitely something hard to deal with. The only problem I have is that they just like to talk and talk and talk. They're like some of Andross' Generals that we had to fight to get to venom during the War. Chatty, without ever really knowing what they're talking about. Hell I heard one of the politicians say something about instituting social boundaries, whatever the hell those are." Fox grumbled. The vulpine had often wished he could just punch something whenever he had to listen to the self-entitled politicians who were always only thinking about the Cornerian populace in terms of numbers, instead of terms of individuals.
"Huh, Really? Social boundaries? That's just messed up. They seem to be trying harder and harder to separate the lower class from everyone else. It's not going to be pretty if they do either. Hell, might even bring about a civil war if that does happen. Let's hope it doesn't. We had enough trouble just stopping Andross. We don't need all of Corneria in an uproar either." Bill sighed, shaking his head as he rubbed the bridge of his snout. "Soon they'll be deciding to cut off the Blue District off from the rest of the surrounding area, huh?" he grumbled.
"Yeah, well I'm sure General Pepper won't let it get that far." Fox muttered, shaking his head despairingly at what the higher-ups of the planet were deciding was best for its inhabitants. He chewed on his lower lip in a nervous habit as he felt the hair on the back of his neck raise up in a familiar warning that some stupid reporter was nearby. An old habit that didn't die hard, he supposed. Fox looked around and bit back a curse as he saw a short old badger, microphone in hand, and camera crew following him. "Sorry to cut the conversation short, Bill, but I'd rather not talk to another reporter today." He explained hurriedly, ignoring the husky's bark of laughter as he scurried away quietly to avoid detection by the said badger. He managed to slip away easily, not that it surprised him. The reporters he had encountered so far were not the brightest. He still didn't feel like he should have left Peppy like that, but hell if he would listen to more " "s from unknown strangers. He sighed again.
Solar had just reached its peak in the sky, signaling that it was just reaching noon. "Ugh, four hours and that banquet thing is still going on?" the vulpine murmured to himself, rolling emerald green eyes at the sidewalk in front of his boots. "I should probably get away from here before a crowd leaves and spots me." He grumbled. Sure he was taking drastic measures to avoid simple reporters, but it was justified. To him anyway.
A beep from his communicator told him that he had an incoming text message. The banquet is ending, finally. Watch out for crowds Fox. And Pepper said he wanted to speak to you later, by the way. We'll stop by the hotel rooms after a bit. See you there. –Slippy.
Fox grumbled as he made his way to the familiar hotel room they were staying at. The crew would be at their own respective living quarters, had this banquet not been held practically on the other side of the planet in the high-class sectors. The commute from apartments to the location would have taken a few hours at most, and the banquet was to be held in the morning. No one wanted to make the 6 hour travel at midnight to get there on time. Everyone had agreed that staying at a local hotel would be more practical.
Arriving at the Hotel they were staying at, a rather fancy one at that, Fox waved at the receptionist, the tigress giving him a meek smile and a rather timid wave, doing nothing to hide the blush that spread across her features from acknowledgement by the great Fox McCloud. He rolled his eyes once he was in the elevator. The females these days were all the same. Some sort of small shirt that made their breasts look bigger, and the same short shorts that barely covered their rear, let alone their legs. It was enough to disgust Fox, to be honest. He had always cared more about a girl's personality than her looks. Looks to him were just a bonus. He sighed inwardly as he forced his mind away from that train of thought before he had more problems to worry about than just what general pepper wanted to do with him.
"Ah, Fox, how nice of you to finally call, I was beginning to think that your teammates didn't let you get word that I need to speak to you about a mission." Speak of the good General, and he shall be there Fox thought, biting back a sigh from his lips. "By the way, it's a shame you left the banquet the time you did, they had just brought out a very delicious brisket." The general chuckled, giving Fox a knowing wink. He knew just as well as Fox did that paparazzi bothered the mercenary.
"Yeah yeah, Must have been delicious." The retort slid off of Fox's tongue as naturally as ever. He was too used to this playful banter between him and the General of Corneria's army. "So what do you need us to do?" he asked, deciding to get right down to the heart off things before General Pepper could make any more comments about how he should have stayed at that stuffy party anyway.
"We've received Distress signals from a single base on Fichina. Orion base has been broadcasting this distress signal for the past few days, and the content hasn't changed of the encryption. Whoever's sending this distress signal doesn't want a specific code to come in contact with the wavelengths. Or so the Intel department has told me. I don't know the specifics." Pepper explained, occasionally stopping to take a sip of water that had been placed just out of the holoscanner's field of vision.
"Uh-huh. And so instead of sending a trained military squad out, you're going to send mercenaries like us to take a look at it instead?" Fox rolled his eyes again, sarcasm dripping from his words as was his normal protocol when dealing with an old friend like Pepper. "What could we do that a small squadron couldn't? I mean, Not to say we won't do it, and I'm sure the pay is pretty good as well." He quickly affirmed at Pepper's chuckle and the glint in his eyes that told Fox that he would do just as the vulpine suggested if the idea came up any other time.
"Well, for one, it'd get you and your team off planet and away from the politics again, and give you something to do. The only downside is you'd have to take a military cruiser." Pepper explained again, noticing Fox's wince when he was reminded that the Great Fox was still currently out of commission due to the assault on the Aparoid home world. "But, other than that, it'd be a free trip, easy mission, and even easier money." He chuckled. "Given it doesn't turn into a life-or-death situation anyway." Pepper smiled slightly, ignoring Fox's despaired eye roll at the reminder of how every one of the missions he takes ends up a life or death situation somehow.
"Fine, we'll do it. When do we leave, sir?" Fox said after grumbling to himself for a few moments. He grabbed a notepad nearby and got ready to write information down. No use telling his teammates if he forgot the information he had been told before they got back from their little excursion. And knowing Falco, he probably wanted to lead the other three off on some sort of bar binge and get them wasted, so who knew when the trio would be back. He looked at the hologram of the bloodhound, who was wearing an amused expression at his use of a pen and paper instead of the usual holopad. "What? I like to have something that won't get accidentally erased for important information." Fox muttered, as if the general's scrutiny was an admonishment for using 'primitive technology'.
"Heh, no no, I can understand the sentiment. But you are scheduled to leave Tomorrow morning at 0900 from the local spaceport. We are having a carrier load your Arwings and fly it's way over to the Green-Sector Spaceport. It will be waiting for you at the appropriate time for the Rendezvous." Pepper chuckled as the vulpine mercenary rolled his eyes yet again. "Good luck on the Job, Fox. Pepper out." Pepper murmured curtly as his hologram disappeared, leaving Fox to slump into the nearby couch and sigh.
"Great, another mission, right after a stuffy banquet, and right in the damn morning." Fox sighed. Guess it can't be helped. At least it's an easy one. But the distress signal has been going for days, he said. And they have a rather powerful encryption on the signal. They don't want anyone getting to that message other than a certain person, and judging by how Pepper wanted us to go instead of a generic squad, it must have been us this person needed to see. Fox's musings were brought to an end as a loud crash brought his attention to the entrance hall of the large penthouse suite. His hand directly shot to where his trusty FS-18 blaster pistol had usually rested. He stumbled momentarily when he didn't meet the worn handle. His fears were removed entirely when he heard the loud voice of Falco Lombardi singing some song off the radio badly out of tune, obviously smashed beyond normal for the falcon. He sighed, shaking his head as he worked to smooth the fur on his tail that had stuck straight out in his distress.
"Oh hey Fox! There you are. We were looking all over for ya buddy." Falco slurred, stumbling over to the vulpine and putting a wing around his shoulder. The man reeked of cheap alcohol. "Found this cute vixen who was dying to meet ya, bud." He grinned. "I mean god, You two saw the rack on her, didn't ya!?" Falco exclaimed, throwing his arms out in a rather large berth in front of his chest, as if to try to emulate the vixen's bust. "God, must have easily been Double D's. Had she not been so into meeting the 'great Fox McCloud' I might have had a go at her." He grinned before Fox gently pushed him out of his personal space.
Fox rolled his eyes at the falcon's antics, sighing. "Well you better sober up soon, Falco. We've got a mission to go on tomorrow, and if you're too busy having a hangover, I will personally drag you into a cab." He laughed at Falco's horrified expression, deciding that it was more fun to mess with his friend's mind at the moment. "I might just tie you to the roof on the way to the spaceport." He laughed even harder as the falcon worked to repress a cry of despair at the thought. "But all jokes aside, the rendezvous is supposed to be at 0900 tomorrow morning. So we need to be up bright and early to be ready. The mission is to investigate a rather persistent distress signal in Orion base in Fichina, so we need to be ready for the travel. A military cruiser will be taking us and our Arwings to the planet. That's all. Dismissed." He finished, more out of habit than actual need to get everyone to do their thing. Peppy merely nodded and chuckled softly, heading to his own room within the suite.
"Aw come on Fox. That's not fair, tying me up to the roof of the cab." Falco grumbled, already starting to fall asleep due to the large amount of alcohol in his system. He seemed to fully believe Fox's threat. Fox helped the bird into his room and into the bed, sighing. Tomorrow was going to be a long day of dealing with Falco's mutterings about his hangover. He turned out the lights as he heard Falco's even snoring quickly after his head hit the pillow.
I'm hoping this all goes as well as Pepper says it should…
And there you have it. A nice length chapter for the first new story of mine in a little under 2 years. Finally.
Hope it sets the pace of the story well enough. I'm trying to get a good balance in between the too many words and not enough WORDS, and Not enough words at all points. I hope I took all the constructive criticism I've received over the years and put it to good use finally. This will be, hopefully, a million times better than New beginnings ever was trying to be. Please, readers, Read and review this chapter, and tell me what you think needs to be done to make the next chapter better. It always makes me feel accomplished when a reader points out something relevant that I didn't notice in my own writing.
Anyway, I know you're not here to read the words I put to express my own thoughts outside the story you came to read. So enjoy this story, as much as I'll enjoy writing it now that life is back in the right shape it needs to be and I have free time. :D