Death and Redemption

BY : Isegrim
Category: +S through Z > Star Fox 64
Dragon prints: 111
Disclaimer: I do not own Nintendo nor any of its characters. This is a non-profit fanfiction story.

Hey everyone, Isegrim here. For me this is a bit of a renewed acquaintance with the world of writing after being involved in some collaborative efforts years (and years!) ago. Which was amazingly satisfying and I cherish the memories and friendships, some of which still endure to this day.

So how'd I get -here-, I hear you ask? Well, a while ago I stumbled upon a Star Fox fanfic, started reading and, long story short, couldn't stop. The Star Fox universe is so diverse and colourful that it just begs to be explored. What grips me most is the interplay between the characters and all the different interpretations the authors here have given to it. Some of the writing is really inspiring and, well, here I am. My first Star Fox fanfic. Wow.

Anyway, I've tried to give things my own twist and hope you like it. The characters are the ones you know and love and if I did the job right they should feel pretty familiar. Expect violence, drama, romance and surprises along the way! Constructive reviews are welcome, yeah critical ones too as long as you're polite. Or I'll send Leon after you.

 

Chapter 1

 

Some say the void between the stars is an empty wasteland, filled with nothing but, well, nothingness. But that's not correct. At all. The universe in all its glorious complexity would never settle for endless parsecs of boring vacuum.

No indeed, the expanse between the stars is filled with clouds of interstellar dust and tiny particles that make up the solar winds. And planets, moons, asteroids. Add to that countless hydrogen atoms which form parsec-wide clouds that, under the influence of heat and radiation, light up as spectacular nebulae.

But that's not all, far from it. Besides nebulae and interstellar dust there are also myriad bits of rubble running in size from small moons to tiny grains of sand. Then there's radiowaves, infrared and x-rays all echoing through space, in addition to beams of visible light. There's radiation bursting forth from solar flares and from the dying hearts of collapsing stars. Not to mention the more esoteric and elusive phenomena such as black holes and the ghostly almost-presence of dark matter and dark energy.

It's beautiful, awe-inspiring, humbling even. And sometimes the universe goes one-up and does something really special, and creates Life.

That's pretty much when everything starts going to shit.

******

The ebon darkness of space was ripped apart by violent strobes of multicoloured laser fire, the stars' subdued light paling in comparison to the bright linear flashes. Now and again fierce explosions bloomed, illuminating the small fighter craft that were engaged in harsh personal dances of life and death. Skill and chance danced in time with the fighters' movements and for some the dance ended quickly, while others soared on to confront new adversaries.

The dogfight had been going on for some time and had coalesced into classic furballs of spacial combat, fighters chasing after each other in tight arcs and jinking left and right as pilots hunted for superior position and a decisive firing solution.

In the midst of the hectic maelstrom four fighters were holding their own against a seemingly overwhelming number of enemies, dishing out vast amounts of death and destruction despite being heavily outnumbered. Their base of operations and overwatch cruiser, the Great Fox, was equally engaged, double front cannon lancing merciless spikes of high energy into the enemy forces.

Star Fox were living up to their reputation, once again. But even the best mercenary team had its limits and, opposed by such a huge force it was only a matter of time before their battle plan began to unravel.

 

******

"Fox! I'm going down!"

Sweat beaded on her brow as Krystal tried everything to make her Arwing respond. But it was no use, her G-diffusers were toast and the main engine was stuck on full thrust, all fly-by-wire contact with her controls having been severed by the impacts of enemy fire.

"Krystal, hang on, I'm almost on you!"

Fox. Turning her head she could see that the three fighters that had been pummeling her with laserfire were now nothing more than expanding clouds of debris as Fox's blue and silver Arwing tore through their remains and rapidly closed the distance to her doomed ship. His voice rang in her ears.

"Try and reroute power to your diffusers!"

The blue-furred vixen let out a frustrated growl. "I've tried that! I've tried EVERYTHING!" Taking a deep breath she continued more calmly. "My boards have gone dark, Fox. Digitals are gone, analog indicators are all in the red except for life-support and hydraulics." She glanced at an open panel, wires and connectors hanging out. "I've tried manually rerouting flight controls and jumpstarting the diffusers, nothing. Pulsing power from life-support to essential flight systems didn't work either." There wasn't anything she hadn't tried, she was a good pilot dammit, she knew her stuff.

They'd taken a gamble and now she was going to pay for it. Fichina's atmosphere was already tugging on her Arwing's airframe, the leading edges of its wings starting to glow cherry-red. Any more punishment and her ship would start to disintegrate. And that would be that.

Fox knew it too. "No no no... Krys, th-this can't be happening.." It was as close to panic she'd ever hear Fox come, his voice tight with fear, matching the mental waves of anxiety she was picking up.

More mental flashes reached her, his ship must be really close now for her to be able to pick them up, images, feelings, Fox was unconsciously broadcasting hard. A large part had to with his anxiety, he was desperate to save her, no matter what, she got that clearly. Another part was dominated by lightning fast assessments, a rapid sequence of questions and answers, of options and the weighing of each one, almost too fast to follow. How to slow her ship down. Lasers? No not the lasers, her Arwing can't take it, structural integrity would fail! Charged bomb? Oh fuck no don't be an idiot Fox! Use his ship to physically push her fighter into a safer trajectory? Maybe. But not with her engine on full thrust, that would lead to disaster. Damndamndamn she can't die she can't die she can't die like this I've got to do SOMETHING!

"Hold on tight! I'm going to try something!"

Krystal barely had time to brace herself before a giant boot kicked her in the ass. A cry of pain escaped her lips as her breath was violently knocked out of her lungs and she almost passed out from the brutal impact. She managed a gasped "F-Fox, what the heck did you-...?" before her ship tumbled into a pitched roll and everything went black.

 

******

 

"Peppy! We're going down."

"Fox? We're being swarmed here, get back!"

Fox's voice sounded strained, as if he were fighting to keep control of his fighter. But there was a calmness to it as well, a fierce determination. Peppy felt a chill premonition, which got confirmed by Fox's next words. "Not happening old man. Krystal's in a bad way and I'm stabilizing what's left of her ship. Not much left of my poor Arwing either, I used it to ram her main thruster, hahah. Next stop is Fichina! Send a rescue team if you can."

The older hare protested. "Fox, don't be a fool, this sector is rife with Andross' forces, you saw what we're up against! A rescue team would never reach you in time!"

Fox grimaced. Yeah, no kidding. They bit off way more than they could chew, that's for sure... and were now paying the price for it. And it was all his fault too. If he hadn't been so damn eager to please Pepper and turn a fat profit he might have stopped to think, five wings of fighters, backed up by at least two capital ships and a handful of cruisers, had he really been that blind? Oh yes. I'm THE Fox McCloud, son of THE James McCloud, let's do this, it'll be a cakewalk! Ghahhhh. If anything, he deserved to pay for his unforgivable lack of common sense.

"I'm not letting Krystal die." In his mind, he added the word 'alone'. "This is the way it's going to be, Peppy. Now get out of here!"

"Fox, you can still make it, I can bring the Great Fox close enough to- "

"Fox out."

Peppy was left staring at his silent controls.

 

******

 

Consciousness was slow to return. She was cold, so bitterly cold and every part of her body hurt something fierce. The vixen grit her teeth against a mewl of pain and forcibly slowed her breathing. Focus. Calm. Deep slow breaths... that's it, that's it, remember your training, let your mind settle, find your center, become grounded... just like in the old days. Cerinia. Soothing memories came flooding in, of her life on her home planet, of her life before... Fox.

Her eyes snapped open. Fox!

She was in twilight, the Arwing's cockpit shrouded in near-darkness. The atmosphere reeked of burnt electronics and the lights were out. Her head was pounding and there was something wrong with her orientation. She must have a concussion. Fair enough, at least she was alive. Fumbling with her harness' release she struggled to free herself and finally succeeded. The five-point restraint snapped open and she fell UP, landing hard against the glassteel canopy!

Krystal muttered words a highborn lady would never use in polite company.

"$#@%! Upside down, of course I was hanging upside-down. Ghah stupid!"

Groaning, she sat back on her heels and took stock of her situation. Okay, her Arwing had apparently flipped during the crash and had landed belly-up, its cockpit buried in snow. Fine, she could deal with that. It must still be day or there'd be no light seeping down through the snow so she couldn't be buried too deep either. Double good. She was alive, no broken bones and life support had kept the cockpit filled with enough oxygen to breathe. No smoke, no fire, no toxic fuel leaks, check. Emergency pack should be behind the seat, check.

Communications...

A quick test didn't leave any doubts. Dead. Her scouter lay shattered at her feet and the ship's systems were fried. Damn.

She had to get out and find Fox. They were stranded in enemy territory and it wouldn't be long before Andross' thugs came to investigate. If they could make it away from the crashed ships, maybe set them on fire to mask the absence of bodies, they'd buy some time and might have a chance to escape and hide until help arrived. Not much of a chance but better than nothing.

Grabbing the emergency pack she got to work.

 

******

 

Fox was panting hard when he at last reached Krystal's Arwing, his breaths huffing clouds of white. It hadn't been difficult to spot the wreckage from afar, all he had to do was follow the dark plume of smoke rising from the otherwise pristine arctic whiteness that was Fichina.

Wading through the hip-deep snow in lung-burning subzero temperatures was hell though, his legs were trembling and there were dark spots at the edge of his vision by the time he finally made it to the crash site. But he hadn't once considered slowing down, he HAD to push on, Krystal was trapped in there! She could be hurt, she could be... worse. His muzzle twisted in a pained grimace, he didn't dare allow himself to consider that possibility.

Falling to his knees next to the Arwing's damaged fuselage he started to frantically dig. The small shovel he'd taken from his emergency pack made fast work of the loose snow until he hit a more compacted layer where the Arwing's crash had compressed the snow to near-ice density. Growling, he put his back into it and before long he'd made a hole as deep as he was tall. There! He saw the edge of the canopy!

He banged a fist against the fuselage. "Krys! Can you hear me!"

He listened... and his heart skipped a beat when he heard a muffled reply!

With renewed vigour he got back to digging, laughing and sobbing at the same time. She was alive! Deeper, dig, dig, there, he could see her hand against the glass!

"Are you hurt?" he shouted, getting down on all fours to lay one furred ear against the canopy. He couldn't make out words but her reply sounded reassuring and he felt a weight lift from his shoulders. She was alive and okay!

"Get back! I'm going to breach the canopy!"

He grabbed his blaster and took careful aim, then fired one, two, three shots on wide aperture, clearing a substantial hole, big enough for Krystal to crawl through. Which she did, once she was sure he'd stopped firing.

"Fox! Oh my word you're alright!" she cried and added a hug, wrapping her arms around the vulpine's waist, head pressed against his chest. Fox returned the gesture, doing some wrapping of his own.

The vixen then pulled out of the embrace, leaned back and slapped him across the muzzle. Hard.

"And don't you EVER do that again, Fox McCloud!"

When his head stopped spinning Fox could see how angry she was, fists balled at her sides, body trembling, teartracks matting the soft blue fur of her cheeks.

"Wh-what the fhuh..?"

"You could have DIED, you idiot!"

"Krystal, I-"

"Don't you 'Krystal' me, mister! I'm a fighter pilot dammit, a mercenary, a professional and a damned good one too! I know the risks! Dying would have been bad, sure, but dragging YOU down with me would have weighed on my soul forever!"

Suddenly all the fight went out of the vixen. She leaned back against the wreck of her ship, shoulders slumped, head down. In a small voice she added "Please, Fox... don't keep doing this to me..."

He didn't know what to say to that.

"Krys... we need to get out of this hole and move, NOW. C'mon. I'll.. we'll talk later, alright?"

She squared her shoulders and pushed off from the wreck after a quick wipe of face and nose, then bent down to grab her emergency pack, all business again. "Sure, whatever. You're right, let's go."

Climbing out of the hole wasn't too difficult. Slipping and sliding it only took them a moment to crawl up and over the edge, to stand in the soft snow which reached to their knees. An unwelcome surprise awaited them though. Instead of the empty wasteland of Fichina they were greeted by the sight of four pairs of boots. Bloodred uniforms. Grim expressions under red visors. And four blaster carbines aimed straight at their hearts.

"Told you he'd get her out. Saves us a shitload of work, hahah."

The lead ape smirked.

"The boss is gonna love this."

 



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