ENEMIES AT PEACE
(A SHORT STORY BY ANUBIS)
After two weeks of intense fighting both parties seemed to have reached a stalemate. The Venomians were in control of Venom, Area 6, Bolse, Sector Z and Titania. The Cornerians were still in control of everything else. MacBeth was currently the largest point of conflict. Massive attacks were waged against the industry-planet with neither side managing to obtain complete control.
In other parts of the Lylat system, however there were small fights and battles as well.
Leon wasnít happy. Why did Wolf had to pick him for this mission? A mere scouting mission! This was far below his qualities. Somebody shouldíve had this lousy job. Pigma or even Andrew wouldíve sufficed for something like this. But no! Leon was chosen as the ëvolunteerí. He grumbled some more. When he got back to the base he would torture one of the prisoners or his mood would be spoiled for the rest of the week, no the rest of the month! If only the part of space he had to check was interessting. But no, of course not. It was just an empty piece of space near Fortuna. Leon really disliked Fortuna. It was far too cold. Suddenly Leon was woken from his angry thoughts by a complete system shutdown. Nothing worked anymore. Even the small displays that should indicate if somethig worked or not were off-line. Leonís Wolfen got caught by the gravitational field of Fortuna and hurled towards the planet.
Falco wasnít happy as well. Stupid mission. He had to pick up some food for some hungry colonists on Zoness. Falco admitted that he was happy that Zoness was slowly becomig habitable again, but he didnít want to be a simple errandboy! Suddenly Falco noticed a strange green flash of light in the blackness. After that he noticed a large field of white rushing towards him.
Leon had chrashed. On Fortuna. His mood wasnít just bad, it was worse. His Wolfen was still completely off-line, no sign of civilization was in sight and it was cold. Bitterly cold. Leon looked up when he saw a small ray of light rushing towards the surface. After that he saw an explosion. It was pretty closeby. Leon decided to check it out. Maybe the pilot had some useful items he could ëprocureí for the Venomian cause. Leon grinned. This might turn out to be amusing.
Falco shook his head. Where was he? Who was he? What was he doing here? Falco soon remembered the answer to his second question. And he vagualy remembered that he was near Fortuna when he crashed. But that was about all. He checked if the radio worked. It didnít. He got out of his Arwing, or at least what was left of it. He looked around. In the distance he could see a small figure walking in his general direction. Falco shrugged. If he was going to be lost than he would appreciate some company.
"YOU!?" Leon cried.
"YOU!?" Falco cried.
"What are you doing here?" Leon said.
"Looks like that new weapon of yours that de-activated my Arwing has affected your Wolfen as well."
"What are you talking about? It was you who shot that at me. Not the other way around."
"What! You liar!"
"How dare you call me a liar!"
"Simple. Because you are a liar!"
Suddenly they both realised they were being silly.
"So that thing wasnít Venomian, huh?"
"And I also take it that you werenít responsible for it as well?"
They were silent again. The both gazed in each others eyes trying to see if he was telling the truth or not.
"Looks like we have to..." Falco almost couldnít get words out of his mouth "work together." he finally managed to say.
"Looks like." Leon said.
"Where are we going?" Falco said.
"This way." Leon replied.
"Because I said so."
"Who died and made you boss?"
Leon thought about that for a moment. "You perhaps?"
"In your dreams. I can take you with one wing tied behind my back."
"Ah, forget it. This whole ëco-operationí thing isnít going to work."
"See you around Leon."
"You will die when we do Falco."
Falco scrambled through the remains of his Arwing. A few systems had gone back on-line. Enough to get him of this planet, but unfortunately his Arwing was smashed.
Leon also had a few problems. Every system on his fighter was fried. Well, at least the hull was in good shape. Leon sighed. Perhaps Falco had a few systems to work with. Leon wondered where that thought had come from. It disgusted him. He would rather starve out here than ask the help of that blue freak.
Falco was going over his options.
One: starve out here.
Two: hope for rescue.
Three: ask Leon for help.
Falco thought a bit. He decided to hope for rescue.
Night fell. And with it came another snowstorm. A small one, for Fortuna that is. Both Falco and Leon had sought out shelter in their ships and both were seriously thinking about the possibility for co-operation. The idea disgusted both of them, but the idea of being lost on a plain where snowstorms reguraly occured also wasnít very appealing as well. They both decided to wait until the other came to offer his help.
Night faded. Solar climmed over the horizon, a very small dot against the pale sky, but it was there nonetheless. Falco was hungry. He had thought to grab a small snack at the spacestation were he had to pick up the cargo, but that wasnít going to happen any time soon, was it?
Leon was angry. Angry at Wolf. The only one who might be resembling a friend had sent him out here. Because of him he was stranded here and because of him he needed the help of his worst enemy. Leon grumbled. He thought aboout how Wolf would react when he heard that he escaped of Fortuna with the help of Falco. The expression on that would be on his face was almost enough to go ask Falco for help. Almost.
Falco was hungry, tired and miserable. He was plowing through the snow towards Leonís crashsite. Then he saw a figure. It was Leon coming towards him. So Leon had given up and went to ask him for help. About the same time when he wanted to ask Leon for help.
"Why are you here?" Leon asked.
"The same reason you are I bet." Falco anwsered.
"Well I wanted to see if you were dead yet so that I could take advantage of everything in your Arwing."
"Oh, yeah. Well, I wanted to go kill you and use your Wolfen."
"Good luck. Every system is still completely useless."
"Hah. MY systems work again. Well, enough to get me out of here."
"Then why are you still here?"
"Thatís none of your business!"
"Is your Wolfen in any good shape?"
"It can fly if it had the appropiate systems."
"Think my Arwing components could fit on your Wolfen?"
Leon decided to wait with any offer before Falco said it.
"Shall we work together to patch up that flying barrel of yours so we both can get out of here?"
This was what Leon was waiting for.
"I donít need your help. But if you want you may assist me."
"Ah, forget it."
Falco started to turn around again. This wasnít as planned.
"No, wait!" Leon yelled.
"OK, fine. Co-operation. You win."
"Thanks. Give me some time to get my components."
Repairing Leonís Wolfen shouldnít have taken more than about an hour. So after about six hours of fighting and two hours of repairs the Wolfen was ready.
"Who gets to fly?" Falco asked.
"I do of course. It is my Wolfen after all."
"But it works only because of my components."
Falco thought a bit.
"You get to fly and I can chose our destination."
"Where do you want to go?"
"Thereís a small abandoned spacestation in Sector X. Itís outdated and in disrepair, but from there we can contact both Venom and Corneria."
"How do I know this is not a trap?"
"Youíre just gonna have to trust me."
"That is the one thing I donít do."
"Well, we could always stay here."
"Fine. Iíll pilot it to that station."
"And remember. If youíre trying to fly towards someplace else Iíll shut this Wolfen down."
And so after exactly eight hours of ëco-operationí the two were finally in orbit.
Wotan looked worried. His ship, the Firewing, was about to intercept a Venomian battlecruiser. By it self the Firewing wasnít much of a ship, but the crew all used to be pirates and were quite skilled at the less noble forms of combat.
"How much before interception?" Wotan asked his navigator.
"About two hours."
"Hey, weíre not travelling that much faster!" the navigator said.
"OK, fine. Warn me when weíre coming into range."
"Leon you idiot! Youíre going the wrong way!"
"You said to fly in this direction!"
"I certainly did not! This direction will drive us straight into Venomian territory!"
"What are you talking about!? This is the way to that station of yours!"
"No it is not!"
"Well, Iím flying so shut up!"
Suddenly the entire ship shut down.
"What do you think you are doing!?"
"I will only restart if you change our course."
The Wolfen powered up again and changed it course towards Sector X.
"Sir! The Cornerian ship will intercept us in 30 minutes."
The Venomian officer let go a few words that would make even the most hardened New-Yorker go pale. After a few moments he calmed again.
"Weíll never reach Titania in time. Well, if they want a fight they can have a fight. Find a spot to stage an ambush."
"Where exactly sir?"
"Weíre in Sector X for Gods sake. Thereíre plenty of places to hide."
Wotan was sitting behind his desk reviewing several combat reports. It wasnít much but it he had to do something to get his mind of the oncoming battle. Suddenly the floor started to shake. The wolf got up and rushed out of his room.
"Sir, weíre being attacked by the Venomians!"
"An ambush. Typical."
When Leon and Falco emerged out of hyperspace all hell broke loose.
"Seems we have arrived at exactly the wrong moment." Falco said.
"Weíre in no shape to fight." Leon said.
"And if we were who would we fight?"
"Those Cornerians of course."
"I think not! Weíre defending freedom. You just want power."
"Correction. I want money and prisoners."
"What would you want with prisoners?"
Leon just looked at him.
"Bastard." Falco said.
"The feeling is mutual."
Suddenly the communications pannel started to blink.
"Shall we anwser that?" Leon asked.
"Ah why not. After today I can take anything."
Falco pushed a few buttons. The face of a reptile appeared and swiftly disappeared again.
"Guess theyíre not in the mood to talk after all." Falco said.
"Well, I wouldnít like to talk either if Iíd see your face."
"Very funny Leon."
Suddenly the Wolfen began to shake.
"Weíre being fired upon!" Falco shouted.
"You do have a way of stating the obvious, donít you?"
"Shut up and let me fly."
Seen from the viewpoint of the two sides the Wolfen engaged in some superior flying tactics, carefully dodging everything that was shot at them. In reality, of course, it was just Leon and Falco fighting over the control stick.
Wotan had noticed the Wolfen and had also noticed the Venomians diverting their fire towards it. Whatever was on that ship mustíve scared the hell out of them. Wotan, however, was focussing on the situation at hand. The Wolfen had so far only evaded the attacks without firing even one shot. This was the time to act. Wotan opened the communiactions channels of all the ships on his side.
"Alright, guys. Get them."
The small, swift fighters descended on the equally matched Venomian ones. However the Cornerian fighters were manned by pirates who had also recieved a standard Corneria military training for more elite pilots. Simply put: the Venomians were absolutely no match for Wotanís men. Finally the Venomian battlecruiser realised who the real enemy was, but was too late. After a mere two seconds the Venomian threat was no more.
"ALRIGHT!" Falco cheered. "Our guys have kicked your guys out of the system!"
"Donít party just yet. Weíre still in a Wolfen. Those guys are Cornerians. We should get out of here!"
"Correction. You need to get out of here. Ciao."
Falco pushed a button and ejected in a cleverly concealed escape pod.
"Traitor!" Leon yelled.
"What? Are you saying this never even crossed your mind?"
Actually the thought had occured to Leon. Several times even. He just didnít have the materials. Apparantly Falco did.
"Next time you die." Leon said as he burst away into hyperspace again.
"Yeah, right. ëTill next time loser."
"Status?" Wotan asked.
"The Wolfen has escaped, but we did manage to pick up the escape pod."
"Very well. Letís see what we have."
At that moment Falco entered the room.
"Hello guys. Good to see you. Say, could you drop me of at Great Fox? Iíve got a little matter Iíd like to discuss with Fox. Thanks. If you need me Iíll be in my quarters. See ya."
Wotan was left feeling a bit stunned.
"Who was that?"
"Falco Lombardi, sir."
"I know that! But what was he doing in a Wolfen out here!?"
"Beats me, sir."
"Better not, sir. Every attempt to talk to him about it has resulted in a rather akward conversation about repairing ships with your enemy or something."
"Really? Well I guess McCloud will hear all about it soon enough."
Wotan grinned. The young officer standing at the other side of the table also grinned.
"More than he would like, sir."
"Well what are we waiting for? Head for the Great Fox at once!"
"Leon you idiot! How on earth could you smash up your Wolfen!"
"I told you I donít know Wolf!"
"Thatís not good enough!"
"Well too bad! Deal with it!"
Perhaps Falco wasnít such bad company after all.