Ultraman Zenith: Advent of Darkness

Chapter 1

In the galaxy known as the 'Milky Way', there is a solar system by the name of Sol. A nine-planet system, with only one of which capable to support life. Near the planet Saturn, the single-ringed planet, a small craft in the shape of a bird, or a Pteranodon, is floating lazily by, its occupant waiting on her companion to show up. After all, it was his idea to come back out here, in the first place. 'The least he could do is be on time,' the pilot thinks. The pilot is an anthropomorphic blue vixen, with a tiara with an emerald in the center, wearing a blue flight suit that showed off her curves. Annoyed, she looked this way and that, hoping to locate her friend. However, her ship's sensors were keyed to detect metal, so she was caught totally by surprise to see a face looking right at her through the canopy. When she saw it, she gave a yelp of fright, then breathed in relief, then in irritation. The face looking right at her was silvery, looking more like a mask or helmet, with oval-shaped glowing yellow eyes, and a fin going through the center of the 'face', while a peculiar type of mouth-piece was centered right below the fin. The face pulled away, revealing the rest of the body; it was humanoid in shape, about as tall as a man with a red and silver pattering, with silver being the dominant. It even sported a pair of red 'briefs'. The being floated away from the craft and the occupant, floating towards the rings of Saturn. 'I was beginning to wonder when you would show up, Jim.' Krystal says, through her rapport with the Ultra. She wore a slight smile, and it grew wider when the Ultra being gestured for her to follow him. Both shot towards the rings of Saturn, and both of them flew into them. Flying around, between, and even over the fragments, the Ultra kept ahead of the ship that followed so closely, matching him move for move. The Ultra barrel-rolled out of the way of one, but Krystal looped over it, and pursued after the Ultra, a smile on her muzzle. Dancing and weaving among the crystals and stones, the two frolicked for several minutes before the Ultra burst out of the rings, followed by Krystal. Jim looked back at Krystal, and the vixen did the same. Then, both made their way to the cruiser that awaited them just outside of Saturn's orbit. It was one of the older Cornerian cruisers that was used during the Aparoid Invasion more than two years ago. Inside, Beltino and Slippy Toad, wearing his usual yellow mechanic's outfit, were waiting along with a pink-skinned amphibian, who wore a dress and a ribbon on her head. She was holding Slippy's hand when both fighter and Ultra landed in the hangar. Krystal climbed out of her fighter, called the 'Cloud Runner' after a native tribe on Sauria, and walked over to the Ultra. The red and silver being made and 'X' shape with his arms, and his body was covered by a shimmering curtain of red light. When the light died, a new person was standing in front of them; he was five foot', nine inches, had short blonde hair upon a fair-skinned face that was sharp with steel-grey eyes and a small nose. He looked to be about twenty or so, with Krystal just a year and half ahead of him. He wore an outfit that was dark blue in color, with a black vest, digit-less gloves, boots and pads, while a silver brace with a single red arrow-shape went through the center. He looked at the smiling vixen that was walking towards him and smiled himself. He pulled the vixen into a light embrace and kissed her gently on the forehead. "Enjoy your morning exercise?" Beltino Toad asked. He was wearing a jacket with a green shirt, red pants and spectacles on his bulbous head that looked to be on the verge of falling off.

"How long has it been since we did that?" Jim asked the vixen. Krystal gave a thoughtful expression before replying with a smile.

"Too long." she replied. Slippy and his girlfriend, Amanda, giggled at the sight of the vixen and human together. Then, the group made their way into the interior of the ship to head for their destination; Earth.

More than a year has passed since the defeat of Gorzul. Jim, the super being known as Ultraman Zenith, hailing from the Land of Light in the Ultraverse, the home of all Ultras, was assigned the Lylat system to defend against any possible attacks. He was found on Earth by Krystal, a member of an elite team of mercenaries-for-hire called the 'Star Fox' team. Over the course of a year, Jim would realize his true potential as a Warrior of Light, and that he was the son of a great warrior named Ultraman Hayata, the first Ultra Crusader to ever set foot on Earth in the Ultraverse. It was also then that he learned that he and Krystal, the ones who hold the 'Might of the Sun', and 'Power of the Soul', were chosen to defeat Gorzul, an inter-dimensional demon that Andross freed several years ago, after it wiped out the previous civilization that occupied the Lylat System before the rise of the current Lylan race. After a long and fierce struggle, both Jim and Krystal struck down the evil entity, and sealed the doorway to the Dark Realm in the Cross Roads, the never ending expanse that bridges all of the realities and universes together. However, an era of peace has settled in the system. Not even the local pirates and followers of Andross cause enough problems to keep the team financially afloat. Because of this, the team disbanded and went their separate ways. Fox McCloud, the leader of the Star Fox team, decided to join Fara Phoenix, his long time love interest, in the Cornerian Military. Falco Lombardi, the hot-headed ace of the group, went back to his loner days, probably to pursue Katt Monroe(even though he will never openly admit it to anyone). And as for Peppy Hare, when General Pepper, leader of the Cornerian Army, had taken ill and had to retire, he personally asked the hare to take his place. Having worked alongside the old hound since even when Fox's father, the legendary James McCloud, had been alive and formed the original Star Fox team, it was little wonder as to why he was selected. Knowing the great responsibility that comes with this, Peppy Hare accepted. And as for Slippy Toad, he finally found a girlfriend who'll always stand beside him, no matter what, as he pursued his career in designing weaponry and devices for the military, alongside his father. And finally, Jim and Krystal. When the team was disbanded, the human was left with two options; either stay in Lylat and be treated like an outcast, despite being a member of the legendary team because he was a human, or leave the Lylat system, and head back to the Ultraverse for reassignment. Neither of them suited particularly well, so he opted for a third option instead; since his homeworld was nearly destroyed by Gorzul, he was left as the last remaining human being in the universe. However, the Ultra race was able to save the Earth itself, bringing it back to its former glory before the rise of mankind. This was discovered when Jim and the Star Fox team stepped on Earth for the first time in months, and much has changed since then. Now, Jim only wonders what the Earth will look like now, after he decided to personally lead an expeditionary team to Earth that was being spear-headed by the Department of Science, to procure artifacts to be preserved from the elements and displayed for the rest of the galaxy to see, and quite possibly make a new home for himself on the planet. Krystal readily joined him, already promising him and herself never to leave his side.

In his room, Jim was going over an old photo of the team, just weeks before they disbanded. They stood in front of the camera, each of them throwing up a 'peace' sign while standing in front of their personally modified arwings. Krystal's Cloud Runner was seen in the background, while Slippy's personal 'Bull Frog', a heavier version of the arwing, was perched next to it, and Jim's personal fighter, which he calls the 'Beetle', after the aircraft that the SSSP in the Ultraverse used when his father was bonded with a member of the group. It was even shaped like it, being a standard plane-shape with a round nose and fuselage, with short front stabilizers and larger rear stabilizers that held nova bombs. The cockpit was in front, perched almost on top of the nose, with the laser cannon directly beneath it. It was blue and white in color, same as the rest of the arwings, but with a symbol of a shooting star just underneath the canopy. Jim looks at the photo of the team, a sad smile on his features. He sees Slippy and Falco at opposite ends of the group, while Krystal and Fox were next to him. All were smiling at the camera. He heard the door open, and knew that it was Krystal. His suspicion was correct when he felt fur covered arms wrap themselves around his shoulders as a canine-like head rested itself against his own head.

"Miss them?" Krystal asked.

"A little." Jim replied.

"Me too. I wonder how they're all doing." the vixen replied. Jim chuckled as he set the picture down.

"Considering you send them all letters every other week, I'm pretty sure that they know that we're doing just fine. You even send Falco letters, even though he hardly sends us one." Jim replied.

"That's because you never send one out. Even if I have to physically move your hand to write the words out, you still won't do it. And yet, you're always busying yourself with writing those silly little stories of yours." Krystal retorted.

"It's not myself that I have a fan base. People actually like my stuff." Jim retorted. "And let's not forget about-"

"-the editor who promised to buy your material, but found out you were an alien." Krystal said along with Jim, having heard it all before that she knew the line by heart. "See, maybe that's a sign."

"A sign of what? Specieism? Prejudice? 'Cause that's what it looks like to me." Jim said. Having published his own brand of short-stories and online novels on the internet, Jim has garnered something of a fan base. Because of this, and editor took interest, and asked Jim if he could buy some of his work. However, once he found out he was a human, the editor dropped all communications with him, and Jim never heard from him again. Nevertheless, it left his proverbial fur a little ruffled.

"Well, at least we were able to find some form of employment." Krystal said. "Also, it's kind of nice to be back here."

"And what's so nice about it?" Jim asked, getting defensive. Krystal remembered how he was always touchy on the subject of his race being wiped out by Gorzul, and tried to amend the situation.

"Well, what I meant was, well what we did this morning. I can't even remember the last time we flew around Jupiter's rings." Krystal said.

"We flew around Saturn, Krystal." Jim replied, raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, right. See, I can't even remember the names!" Krystal said, trying to lift Jim's spirits up.

"And yet, that's the same planet that I got you that necklace that you never take off, am I right?" the human replied, wearing a sly smile. Krystal reached for her chest, and pulled out the necklace that Jim had made for her from one of the crystals from Saturn's rings. It was a bright blue stone that was almost transparent, affixed to a dog-tag chain. She recalls when he gave this to her, after she was acting as his flight instructor when he first joined the team, just shortly after he stepped on the Great Fox, and after his race was wiped out. Since then, she never took it off, not even during the war with Gorzul. She gazed at it, a smile playing on her muzzle. Jim got up behind her, and embraced her around the waist, resting his head on her shoulder, while she held his head in a soft hand, nuzzling up against him. Ever since Jim had walked into Krystal's life(after she crashed on Earth by accident), both of them had a feeling of mutual connection to eachother. However, it wasn't until recently that they were able to openly express it. Now, they were the closest of couples as could be. Krystal licked Jim's cheek briefly, before the intercom went off in the human's room with Beltino's voice ringing inside the room.

"Jim, could you come to the bridge, please?" Startled by the suddenness, both of them broke away, and headed to the bridge. After making a few turns here and there, they finally reached the bridge where Beltino Toad stood in the center, while various technicians and workers busied themselves at consoles in the bright white room. The amphibian turned, and gave a grunt of approval. "Ah, here you are." he said, moving towards the taller human. He came to just about Jim's waist, much like Slippy, and led Jim to the main viewer for him to have a look at something. Krystal stood in the background, her hands clasped in front.

"Psst, Krystal!" The vixen heard a voice whisper to her, and when she turned around, she saw Slippy and Amanda sitting next to eachother at a console. The pink frog waved the vixen over to her, and Krystal made her way towards them while Jim talked to Beltino about something. "Did my future father-in-law catch you two at an inopportune time again?" Amanda asked, a grin on her smooth, frog-like face. Krystal blushed for a moment, trying to reply.

"I… I don't know what you're talking about."

"It's alright, Krys'. We saw through the security cam that you and Jim were getting kind of cozy." Slippy replied. "We were just about to turn it off for you, when my dad called you up here." Krystal decided to ignore the voyeur remark made by Slippy, and decided to change the subject.

"What does he want with Jim, anyway? Are we close to Earth, yet?" she asked. Slippy shook his head.

"No, not yet. Dad wants to conserve as much energy as possible, that's why it's taking so long to get there."

"But why?" Krystal asked. Slippy shrugged.

"You got me."

"He did mention something about an ionic storm that was sighted headed our way, but it seems that it's going to miss us." Amanda replied, facing Slippy.

"That's probably it. You know how my dad is always cautious about stuff, even though there really is no danger." Slippy said.

"Pretty soon, he's going to be 'our' dad, Slippy." Amanda said, her voice barely above a whisper. Slippy turned bright red at this, though more from being love-struck than anything else. Krystal giggled at the sight, and turned to head towards Jim and Beltino. Amanda was introduced to the couple just shortly before the team disbanded, and is one of the few people outside of the team who knows about Jim's secret as being the Ultra Zenith(which was due mostly to her deduction skills, rather than Slippy coming out and telling her, even though he would happily do so, despite the threat of injury/death from Jim should he expose him to anyone for any reason). Because she accepted the human so readily for what he is, even though his being the one who pretty much saved Lylat alongside her boyfriend was also a perk, Jim had taken a particular fondness for the amphibian. The fact that Amanda and Slippy have been going steady for awhile now is no secret. In fact, they even brought out that they planned on getting engaged. Of course, this was only told to the members of the Star Fox team, and close family members. Even Beltino Toad can hardly wait for them to tie the knot and add another to his family. Slippy even asked Fox to be the best man, when the marriage ever got started. The vulpine, whom had been Slippy's best friend since they were children, readily agreed. He even asked Jim and Krystal if they would attend, even though both of them wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Falco, however, was another story. Slippy sent the word out to him, but he never got a reply back. This didn't surprise any of them, even if it did disappoint the amphibian couple a bit. However, the exact date of the engagement, even the wedding for that matter, is still unknown. Krystal thinks that Slippy's waiting for the right moment, whereas Jim thinks he's just waiting until he can save up enough money for them to start their new lives together, which would include a rather expensive honeymoon on Zoness, which is what the amphibian told him. Either way, the young coupe could hardly wait to start preparations for the wedding. When Jim nodded at Beltino in agreement and turned to walk away, he was met with Krystal coming up to him.

"So, what did Beltino want?" Krystal asked.

"It's weird, but he wanted to confirm how far Earth was from the sun, as well as its mass and density, and atmospheric composition. Weird, since he already should know all of that."

"Why would he ask you that?" Krystal asked.

"I don't know, and he's not letting me in on it. Whatever he's got going on in the little froggy brain of his, he's not sharing with anyone." Jim said, looking back at the amphibian who was busying himself at one consol and then another. Amanda and Slippy were busy at their own consoles, taking readings from the planet Saturn and its rings, making themselves busy. Jim and Krystal turned around and went back through the entrance from whence they came, heading back towards their rooms. Krystal went back into her room after telling Jim that she'll be with him in a minute to go out for another excursion around Saturn's rings, and the human went back into his own room. However, once he set foot inside, he felt a strange sensation, like his brain was vibrating in his skull. He clutched his head in pain, the sensation becoming painful. All the while, he heard a voice.

'Not what it seems…Not what it seems…'

"Wh-what?" Jim asked aloud, finding his voice.

'Everything…is not what it seems…Warrior of Light.' the voice replied. It sounded like two gravel boulders grinding eachother into meal, though it was barely above a whisper in terms of sound. And yet, the sensation still continued.

"Who are you?!" Jim shouted.

"Not what it seems…Not what it seems…' the voice repeated before trailing off. Finally, the painful vibrating in his head ceased, and Jim breathed in relief. He found himself sitting on the floor, next to the doorway. He brought his hands away from his head, his breathing labored after the ordeal.

"Just what the hell…was that?" he asked aloud. His Spacium Brace was glowing steadily, although he failed to notice this.

In another reality: "Has he found out, yet?"

"Not yet, but he soon will."

"When he does, everything he has ever believed in will shatter like glass."

"And then, we will take our revenge, by destroying both of them…"