-Hello Star Fox fans! The after a long road, the time has come to close the book on this story. The patience you have all displayed upon my lack of chapter updates is more than appreciated, and for that; I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank everyone that gave a review for my story; for without them I don't think I could have written a story that you could appreciate. For those who are curious, Star Fox: All Father will make its debut to FanFiction in due time. Just keep an eye out for a cover with similar emblems. With all of that said, I want to thank you all again. Leave a review if you'd like, and as always; enjoy the chapter!
30. Moving On
~Honor the fallen, for without them; victory could never have been achieved.
They were tired, and heartbroken; joyful of victory, and saddened by loss. The Star Fox team sat within the bridge of the Great Fox II simply mourning and grieving over the loss of Axios, and they could not find any form of relief from their grief. "I- I still don't believe it…" Fred said. "I thought he could survive anything. I thought that he was going to make it through this war for sure."
"We all did." Falco responded. "He survived the beating of a lifetime during the Black Suns conflict, and he still made it out all right. Who would have figured that Scyther would take him down."
"Damn beast forms…" Abigail frustratingly commented. "How could the Crimson Organization even do that to their people?"
"I don't know…" Marcus responded. "And I don't care…" Marcus rose from his chair and turned towards the exit of the bridge. Seeing him leave in the manner he did, Krystal quickly rose form her seat as well.
"Marcus, wait." Krystal said.
"Krys, let him go." Fox said as he held his hand up to Krystal. "Just leave him alone. He'll be fine."
Krystal watched as Marcus disappeared behind the bridge doors. Marcus walked through the halls of the Great Fox II trying to brush off the thoughts of losing Axios. However, he slowly came to a stop and leaned up against a wall. He struggled to hold back a tear that was brewing in his eye, and he grew angrier at the thought of Axios's death. To calm his nerves however, he sensed a presence around the corner form him. "Sierra?" Marcus asked. "Is that you?"
In response to his question, Sierra slowly came around the corner with her arm wrapped around her side. Marcus soon realized that on the other side of the wall he was leaning against was the medical bay. "Marcus…" Sierra softly said. "When I woke, ROB and Krystal filled me in on what happened. I'm so sorry Marcus…"
Having to deal with Axios's death was one issue looming within Marcus's mind, but the sight of Sierra's torso wrapped in bandages brought him more despair. However, he was relieved to see Sierra back on her feet, and it was the first time he had smiled since leaving Corneria. "I'm glad you're ok…" Marcus said to Sierra. "You have no idea…"
Sierra smiled as she slowly approached Marcus. She reached out and slowly wrapped her arms around Marcus's neck and held him close to embrace him. Marcus in turn gently wrapped his arms around Sierra and felt love and warmth to comfort him from his troubles. "When I saw Capital land his claws on you…" Marcus said as he held Sierra. "I completely lost it."
"Krystal told me you used her staff to beat Capital to a pulp." Sierra responded as she held Marcus. "She said you used the earthquake ability on him three times, and dug a ten foot hole in the ground."
"Well that's what happens when someone hurts the people I care about." Marcus's words caused a sensation of warmth within Sierra's heart. Her affection towards Marcus was returned with his affection towards her.
"I'm glad you're ok Marcus…" Sierra softly said. "And... I'm glad you're here now."
"You know…" Marcus said as he gently pulled his head away from Sierra's arms. "Me too." To them, the troubles of the world were briefly forgotten while they held each other in their arms. Without any more doubt within their minds, they brought their faces close together to share a kiss.
While Marcus and Sierra were left alone for their own comfort, the rest of the team received a call in the bridge. Fox was the first to notice the communications terminal flashing its lights and he stood to answer. "This is Fox McCloud of Star Fox." Fox said into the communicator.
"Fox…" Peppy's saddened voice spoke over the communicator. "Care to bring up the holo-projector? I want to see you guys."
Fox looked out the windshield of the Great Fox II and he noticed Peppy's flagship from the side. In response to his question, Fox pressed several buttons on the communications terminal and Peppy appeared before the team within the bridge's holo-projector. "You're on gramps." Fox said as he slowly returned to his seat.
"I see now." Peppy said as he turned around seeing the rest of the team sitting in the bridge. "I know what you're all thinking. Axios is gone, and we ultimately failed our personal agenda of bringing him back."
"Are you a telepath too gramps…?" an irritated Falco asked.
"Easy, Falco." Fox interjected. "Peppy, we're about to enter the gate and head home. What's the deal?"
"To be honest, there is nothing critical to share." Peppy responded. "Except for the fact that Sigma, Axios's A.I. assistant, has forwarded us all of the information Axios's obtained about the All Father and the Children of Red."
"Data?" Krystal asked. "What data?"
"Axios's didn't kill the Crimson Star at first glance. In fact, he actually had a long conversation with him before things got heated. The Crimson Star, or otherwise known as Cadeus Faxton, supplied Axios with all of the Crimson Organization's records of the Children of Red."
"Why would they do that?" Fox asked.
"It seems that the Crimson Organization is not on friendly terms with the Children of Red. In fact, the Crimson Organization had originally planned to join forces with the Black Suns to defeat the Children of Red. Axios recorded all of this information through his ear piece communicator, and the visual information through his mask."
The team was all placed into feelings of surprise, and they were speechless towards what Peppy was telling them. "I thought Axios jumped the gun for revenge." Falco commented. "But he actually put his life on the line to get us intel?"
"It would appear to be that way." Peppy responded.
"But why wouldn't he tell us?" Isaac asked. "Joey and I worked for him. You even assigned us to his personal squadron with the understanding that he would share all of his information with us."
"Son, I assigned you to his personal squadron to help him rebuild the Black Suns. And yes, I thought he would share his plans with you and Joey. You two were kept in the dark, much like I was."
"So you never knew either?" Fox asked.
"No. Whatever agenda Axios had planned, he didn't share it with me. It turns out there's more mystery behind Axios than even I understood." In response to Peppy's words, Fox grew frustrated and slammed his fist on the arm rest of his chair. He hunched over to the side to hide the angry expression on his face, but his actions attracted the eyes of his team and Peppy.
"I don't believe this!" Fox frustratingly said. "How could he keep so many secrets from us like this? Did he ever trust us at all?"
"He owed us his life Fox." Krystal responded. "I'm sure he didn't tell us these things because he didn't want to put our lives in any more danger." Fox took a moment to take a deep breath and calm his nerves. He knew that getting angry about the past would not help the future, and so he sat up straight and regained his composure.
"Peppy, where is Axios's body?" Fox asked. "Last I saw it; it was being taken into a medical shuttle. What's the news?"
"Axios was pronounced dead upon the arrival of my ship's med bay." Peppy responded. "Axios's corpse was tended to and put into the cold storage morgue. But, he died a hero in my eyes. His remains will be laid to rest in the White Cemetery near the air way. As for Cadeus, there was an issue."
"What was the issue?" Krystal asked.
"Cadeus's heart was completely artificial, and my science team noticed a transmitter within one of the valves. It turns out the transmitter is to shut down with the stopping of the heartbeat. Cadeus warned Axios that if his heart had stopped beating, the Children of Red will come through the mega gate in full force."
"Wait, I thought Cadeus was dead on arrival?" Falco asked.
"And he would have been, but to preserve the signal; we had to keep his heart beating. We can't survive an assault from the Children of Red at this time; all of Lylat and even Philat will be destroyed. In other words, Cadeus is still alive. However, the amount of trauma and shock he endured has caused permanent brain damage and he will be kept on life support."
Peppy's words caused a nervous stir within the hearts and minds of the Star Fox team. Knowing that another war was nearly brought before them, the team's pulses jumped. "How long can you keep the heart beating?" Fox asked.
"Not long enough to prepare a system wide mobilization of the military." Peppy responded. "Our science team predicts they can keep Cadeus alive in a stasis tube for only a month."
"That's it?" Falco asked. "To prepare for an army of fleets hell bent on destroying all of Lylat?"
"I thought you'd enjoy a challenge bird boy." Katt remarked. "Are you scared?"
"Scared? Of course not, but I know a tough fight when I see one."
"Tough or not, it doesn't matter." Fox said. "I don't care if the Black Suns and the Crimson Organization feared the Children of Red. I don't care how many ships are in their fleet." Fox rose from his chair and he stood tall and determined before Peppy. Following his example, the rest of the team stood with him, and they were started to become moved by Fox's words.
"We are Star Fox. We've been through tough challenges before, but we've surpassed them all and we will do it again and again. We will always be the first to respond to danger, and we will always be there to protect the people of Lylat. We've stopped Andross, the Apparoids, the Anglars, the Black Suns and the Crimson Organization. And I'll be damned if we fall to the Children of Red. So Peppy, mobilize all of the fleets you have in Lylat; we will be here ready and waiting for the Children of Red. Because when they come through that gate, they are going to face the fight of their lives."
His words sparked hope in the hearts and minds of his teammates around him, and they all smiled and gained determination from his mild speech. Peppy smiled at what he had just heard, and he gained newfound confidence to combat the Children of Red. "I'll mobilize everything I can get my hands on." Peppy said. "It seems like you guys are already set for war. That's good, because you kids are going to be put through the biggest challenge of your lives. I'm moving my ships through the gate now, so I'll see you on the other side."
"Copy that gramps." Fox responded. "We'll see you real soon." Fox walked back over to the communications terminal and pressed a button so end the transmission between the team and Peppy. Upon doing so, he looked out at the rest of the team and smiled at them. "We've been through tough times." He said. "But we've always come out in one piece. I know we can do it again."
"We're with ya Fox." Falco responded. "Not going to pass out on a fight like this."
"I'm in too." Katt responded. "Besides, someone has to watch bird boy here."
"Well, you know we're in." Slippy said as he placed his arms around Fred and Amanda. "Right guys?"
"Right!" Fred and Amanda said in unison.
"I'll be there too." Abigail said. "From now until the end"
"Don't count us out either!" Joey called out as he and Isaac stepped towards Fox. "We'll do this for Axios."
"And for the other Black Suns." Isaac added.
Fox smiled at the group and filled his heart with hope and confidence. His attention was drawn away from the group however as he noticed the bridge doors open behind him. He smiled at the sight of Marcus and Sierra standing together in the door way as they both stood tall and determined. "With another war about to start," Marcus said as he started to approach the team. "The Star Fox team will have to be at its best. To do that, I believe it's time we add to our numbers."
Marcus approached Joey and Isaac and smiled at them as he pulled out two Star Fox pins from the back of his jacket. "You two have more than earned them." He said as he held the pins out to Joey and Isaac. "We'd like you two to officially join Star Fox, and to fly with us for the coming years."
Joey and Isaac were both completely speechless upon being given their pins. They both took them form Marcus's hand with joyful expressions as their excitement could not be contained. "Hell yea we will!" Isaac exclaimed.
"I'm in." Joey happily responded. "I don't have a doubt in my mind about that."
Marcus was filled with joy at the sight of their excitement. He turned to face Sierra at his side and reached into the back of his jacket. Sierra was equally surprised at the sight of Marcus holding out another pin towards her within his hand. "You deserve this too you know." Marcus said to her. "You've also more than earned it."
"Did I now…?" Sierra softly asked as she took the pin. "Thank you Marcus."
"Welcome to Star Fox." Marcus looked at the rest of the group and smiled. "Guess we got work to do."
"Looks like it." Fox responded. "But for now, let's just enjoy the trip back home."
"ROB." Falco said. "I'm feeling home sick. Help me out will ya?"
"We're moving through the gate now." ROB responded. "ETA to Corneria will be two hours."
"Guess that works with me." Fox said. "Least we'll-"Fox was silenced as the communications terminal was flashing once more. Marcus walked to the terminal to activate the receiver.
"This is Marcus of Star Fox." Marcus said. "Who is this?"
"Marcus, its Sigma." Sigma responded. "I need to speak with you and your team. It's about Axios and the Crimson leadership."
Hearing his name had brought more minor feeling of pain within the hearts of the team. They did not want to be reminded anymore of Axios's death since they were more focused on the upcoming war. "We'll put you on the holo-projector." Marcus responded.
The team took their seats once more within the bridge. They all sat within a relative circle around the holo-projector. Within moments, the Black Suns ring appeared in the holo-projector and Sigma's voice was heard once more. "It's good to see you all survived." Sigma said.
"Not all of us Sigma." Fox depressingly responded. "Now, what do you need to say?"
"For starters, we have two problems. First off, Master Spectra and Capital, two masters of the Crimson Five, escaped the Vogar facility."
"Say what?!" Falco responded as he sprung from his seat. "What do you mean they escaped?!"
"After Axios had breached the facility, Master Spectra and Capital both secured a stealth escape shuttle and managed to flee the system."
"How did they manage to breach the Cornerian blockade?" Marcus asked.
"They didn't. Instead they traveled to the far side of the planet and sought refuge until the siege was over. I managed to trace their ship's location, but I lost the signal as they snuck through the mega gate behind the Cornerian fleet."
"So what you're saying is they got away?" Sierra asked.
"I'm afraid so."
"Dammit!" Falco yelled as he slammed his fist on his arm rest. "How could we let that happen?!"
"Easy Falco." Krystal said as she raised her hand at him. "There's nothing we can do about it now."
"What else do you have for us Sigma?" Marcus asked. "Do you have any good news?"
"In fact, I have two pieces of good news. The first is that I have forwarded every single piece of data Axios recovered about the Children of Red to the Great Fox II database." The team watched as the Black Suns ring disappeared and was replaced with the many files Axios visually recorded while speaking with Cadeus. "This is all the data Axios managed to obtain. I feel that it should be of great use to you all."
"This will be more than just useful." Fred said. "With all of this data, we might be able to retrofit the Cornerian military force with the upgrades we need to combat the Children of Red. This is great stuff actually!"
"Well that's good to hear."
"You mentioned two pieces of good news." Marcus interjected. "What was the second?"
"The second is a personal message from Axios; one that he had me record before you set out towards Corneria." The team quickly became alert to Sigma's words as they did not realize Axios left them a message. They were both nervous and anxious to hear it, but they felt that it would only bring them more pain. "I am beginning the play back now."
The images of the data were replaced by a hologram image of Axios standing within the MacBeth war room. He was leaning over the edge of his holo-table and his head was sinking. "Marcus…" Axios said within his message. "If Sigma is playing this message, then I'm already dead."
His words brought more sadness into the hearts of the team, and Krystal found herself looking away for a brief moment to wipe away a tear. "If the rest of Star Fox is watching this, then I'm sorry for taking this long. I don't know how else I could have done this, but I felt this was the best way to do it. In the end, no one can tell you why I jumped the gun except me. The reason is very simple; if I hadn't proceeded ahead of the military then the Crimson Star would have vanished. I know this for certain because Cadeus was guaranteed to flee. I would have done the same."
Axios lifted his head within the hologram and he started pressing some buttons on the edge of his table. The hologram of Axios was replaced with the image of the planet Fortuna. "What you're looking at is the planet Fortuna." Axios's voice continued. "You and the team are probably wondering why I'm showing you this. Fortuna is the key Marcus, the key to stopping the Children of Red. After we recovered the data form the Zoness HQ, Sigma stumbled onto something that was being developed in Zoness. The Crimson Organization was developing in secret a new weapon known as the Purifier; a mass pulse weapon with unquantifiable levels of destruction."
The image of Fortuna was replaced with the schematics of a super weapon. The weapon appeared to be a massive U-shaped space station. It had four large rods run the length of each leg, and it hat two large spokes extruding to the center of the U. "This thing is the size of three Cornerian capital ships put together." Axios's voice continued. "According to Sigma, this thing will be the key to stopping the Children of Red. It has the power to destroy an entire fleet, and in the hands of the Cornerian military; this can be the key to turning back the invasion of the Children of Red."
The team sat in awe as they were studying the schematics of the Purifier. They did not believe the size and scope of the weapon, nor did they believe that it was capable of that much destruction. "This is the last thing I leave to you all; to Star Fox and the Cornerian military." Axios continued as his physical self was being shown once more. "It's up to the Cornerian engineers to build it, and it's up to you to use it properly against the Children of Red. I have taken care of the Crimson Star, and the rest is up to you. One more thing Marcus, and to the rest of Star Fox if you're listening; I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being there with you right now, and I'm sorry for not sharing the truth when I had the chance. You guys had given me my life back, but I returned the favor by betraying you all. I hope someday you will forgive me, but I understand if you don't. I can never thank you all for giving me a second chance that day sixteen years ago, but I hope the information I shared with you all will atone for that."
Axios lowered his head within the hologram and a small tear was seen rolling down his cheek. "Marcus, Fox, Krystal, Fred, Slippy, Amanda, Abigail, Falco, Katt, and to my remaining Black Suns; I love you all. You guys are my family, and even in death I'll watch over you all. I'm sure someday we'll see each other again, but until we do; I want you to save Lylat. Good luck to you all, and take care."
Axios's video file finally stopped and the hologram of Axios was replaced by Sigma's Black Sun ring. The team was left speechless within their chairs, and they felt a mix feeling of sadness and joy within their hearts. Even though they were not able to respond to his words, they felt a moment of joy as Axios was addressing them all personally. "Even in death…" Fox said as he pushed aside his sadness. "He is still looking out for us."
"I'll forward the data of the Purifier to Peppy and the Cornerian military." ROB said. "The construction of the Purifier will be started immediately upon the fleet's return to Corneria."
"That's good." Marcus responded. "In the meantime, we should prepare for the upcoming battle. I say we all get some rest, we got some time to kill." Following his suggestion, the team all rose from their seats and exited the bridge. They all scattered throughout the Great Fox II and went their separate ways. With their battle finally over, the Star Fox team found themselves time of rest and relaxation.
Within Peppy's flagship however, his tone was different compared to the Star Fox team. He was accompanied by two guards as he was walking towards the medical bay of his capital ship. As the double doors opened, he first noticed Cadeus submerged within a stasis tube. The life support was keeping his heart beating, but the amount of previous blood loss and shock had rendered him brain dead. "How is he?" Peppy asked.
"His heart is alive and stable." a scientist said a she approached Peppy. "The life support will keep the heart alive for only a month. After that, the signal will go off and-"
"I know what happens then doctor." Peppy looked to his side and he was looking upon a bed top with a white blanket covering a corpse. "Is that him?" he asked.
"Yes general. He was examined and pronounced dead on arrival." Peppy walked toward the bed top and he reached out towards the white blanket. He slowly drew the top of the blanket and was looking upon Axios's corpse. Peppy was saddened looking down upon Axios's lifeless and scarred head and he took a deep breath to calm his nerves.
"And there was nothing you were able to do for him…?" Peppy asked.
"We tried CPR, defibrillation; none of it worked." the scientist responded. "We were unable to get his heart started up again."
"What happened to the cybernetic implants he had within him?"
"Well I'm not sure how he did it, but he managed to implant himself with a C-class micro regulator. It is a device that accelerates the healing process of the body leading the blood cells to clot earlier and heal any wound faster. The drawback for him was that he had a limited time the regulator would be functioning. After its time had expired, he was doomed to death."
"I see." Peppy placed the white blanket back over Axios's head and looked away from his corpse. He took a deep breath and adjusted his glasses as he contemplated his thoughts about Axios's memory. "Axios was a good man. He died an honorable death, but there was so much more he could have helped us with." Peppy turned back towards the scientist. "I want to give him a soldier's burial, but it's going to be kept off the record."
"There may be another option." the scientist said as Peppy walked past him.
"What other option?" Peppy asked as he stopped in his tracks.
"There is an R&D organization in Corneria known as TriGenics. They specialize in the recovery and rehabilitation of the Cornerian people. Lately they are diving into research to revive a dead corpse in its full functionality and-"
"I'll hear no more of this nonsense. Axios gave his life to stop the Crimson Organization, and I will not play with his corpse as if it were a toy. His sacrifice will be remembered, and we will respect our dead. Axios will rest in peace along with the many other soldiers who died in the past eight hours."
"But general, hear me out. If Axios could be brought back to help the military through the invasion of the Children of Red, wouldn't you want him there to support the fight?"
"It is disrespectful to tamper with the corpses of the dead."
"General, when the Children of Red come through the mega gates, do you think they'll care about respecting our dead? We need all the help we can get."
Peppy was struck speechless, but his frustration continued to boil inside him. He turned away from the scientist and walked out of the medical bay. He contemplated his thoughts about leaving Axios in peace, and restoring his life. He did not like the option as it only drove his frustration into a deeper state of anger. However, he could only think about the Children of Red that would be coming through the mega gates in one month. He looked out through a nearby window within his flagship and the sight of space calmed his nerves. "This isn't right." Peppy said to himself. "But I do hope I don't regret this."
Peppy walked towards the bridge of his flagship and tended to his soldiers. While the Cornerian military made its way back to Corneria, there was one stealth shuttle on its way towards the Bikar system. At the moment, the stealth shuttle was surrounded by the green hue of the gate hyperspace travel. Within the bridge, Spectra and Master Capital were both sitting nervously in the pilot and copilot chairs as they were nearing the system. "Cadeus is dead, and Star Fox has once again won." Spectra said to Master Capital. "But the good news is that Axios was killed in the process."
"What difference does it make if he's dead or not?" Master Capital responded. "They still obtained the data form the Zoness facility, and Cadeus gave him all of our information on the Children of Red."
"The All Father already knows this. He knows about the Purifier and he already has plans for dealing with it."
"Then let's hope he accepts our return."
After several minutes of travel, the shuttle arrived through the mega gate within the Bikar System. Spectra and Master Capital both took a moment to gaze upon three planets within the distance that greeted them upon their arrival. However, the immediately noticed a swarm of contacts appear on their radar and they grew nervous. "They're coming." Spectra said. "Just try to relax."
"You look more nervous than I do." Master Capital responded. Within moments, the two of them received a call from a blocked messenger. The recipient's location was scrambled leaving Spectra and Master Capital no way to trace the signal.
"This is Spectra." Spectra said after he activated the communicator. "We're here to-"
"YOU… ARE NOT… WELCOME…" a low pitch, demonic tone said. "YOU… FAILED…"
Spectra and Master Capital both noticed several lock on warnings appear on their HUD and they were both thrown into a panic. "How are they locked on?!" Spectra asked. "We're in stealth mode!" He and Master Capital both looked through their windshield and noticed four black fighters quickly approaching them. "Wait! We can explain this! Give us a chance!"
"NO… CHANCE…" the voice responded. "DIE… NOW…"
Spectra and Master Capital scrambled to U-turn their shuttle back through the mega gate to escape. However, the mega gate had started to close as they turned the shuttle around. Seeing that they had no escape, Spectra and Master Capital both froze within the cockpit of the shuttle. "Oh shi-"
Spectra was silenced as the shuttle was fired upon by three micro shroud laser canons and was destroyed midflight. Looking upon their deaths through a monitor, a black furred vulpine dressed in black flight armor smiled. He turned away from the monitor and walked through a door behind him. He found himself within a very large circular throne room. The room had a pit within the center that appeared to be bottomless, and only one bridge to approach the center. The only sources of light were two strips of light outlining the edges of the bridge to the throne, and another ring of light outlining the edges of the large pit.
The black furred vulpine walked across the bridge to the throne and kneeled at the base of multiple steps. He did not look up at the figure sitting on the throne, nor did he initially speak. "What… has become… of them?" the figure on the throne asked.
"Lord, they have both perished." the vulpine responded.
The figure looked down upon the black vulpine and slowly rose from his throne. To help him stand, he propped himself up a long black staff within his right hand. The staff had a spear end and a diamond shaped pointed end that was identical to Krystal's staff, and the staff was radiating with glowing red energy. As the figure stood before black vulpine, he took a deep breath and grinned. "The time… will come… soon…" the figure said to his subordinate. "Lylat… will burn. And Star Fox… will… fall…"