Trembling, Peppy gripped tight the center stick of his Arwing while the canopy fogged up from his own rapid frantic breathing. I can't be doing this, no way, he thought to himself as his aircraft barreled down the tunnel cutting through the crust of Venom. He wasn't ready for Venom, he wasn't ready for Andross, and he certainly wasn't ready for..for...

"Death" he said aloud as he turned his head to look to his right. Outside he saw the right wing of his aircraft, or at least what was once the right wing. It was just a stump, with smoke spewing out the side. Peppy gulped and stared down at his console, but he was met with a sea of red readouts telling the most gruesome story of the state of his Arwing. Critical hull damage, shields nonexistent, low on fuel and oxygen, it went on and on.

There's no way I'm going to survive this, he thought. I...I wouldn't even be able to help. I'd just drag down the team, yeah. Yeah, I'd better back out now and save the guys the trouble, I'm just not cut out for this...

"James, Pigma," said Peppy over his Arwing's comlink. "There's something wrong with my G-diffuser, I gotta back out on this one guys."

"But Peppy," Said Pigma "my readout says your G-diffuser is fine."

"Oh, well, that's not what I'm getting here. It's real bad Pigma."

"Peppy," James Mcloud said, "We need you for this, the entire Lylat system needs you for this. Stick together and we'll make it through"

"...well, um, oh look it's getting real bad, I gotta turn back now, I'm sure you two will be fine. Trust your instincts!" Peppy said, sharply pulling up his Arwing into a U-turn and jetting out of the tunnel.

Tears streaming down his eyes, Peppy shut off the comlink.

"Peppy!" Fox yelled, "stay focused!"

Peppy snapped forward in his cockpit in a cold sweat. He looked around himself in confusion. Rocks, tons of them. He was in the asteroid belt.

"no time for napping old man," said Slippy on the comlink "you might be old, but you are the bravest and most experienced pilot we've got, the only one to survive Venom. We need you!"

"Yeah..." said Peppy as he silently lowered his head. He glanced over at what was taped to the cockpit dashboard. It was a photo of him and the old crew, smiling in front of the newly built Great Fox. A single tear streamed down Peppy's face, dripped off his nose, and fell on the photo.