A Sworn Oath
 
    "We all have dreams.  Some of us just try harder to make them a reality."
    Lilith Branson sighed.  Her mother had said that.  Now, her parents were dead, killed in Andross' first attack on
Corneria.  And for once, Lilith could do something revenge.
    She smiled a little.  The spacefighter was a converted arwing, called the Sundown.  A tawny gold all over, the plane
matched her pilot.  It had cost a lot, but it would be worth it.  Andross was going to pay, whether he knew it or not.
Lilith closed the hanger door and drove home.  She was single, a cougar based Cornerian.  Before she had entered the Air
Force, she had been a teacher, and now, she was a pilot.  She had flown through fight school--no pun intended, passing
with better marks then Fox McCloud had.
    She wasn't sure how she was going to go about the revenge business...she wasn't used to it.  She had no with to be part
of the Cornerian forces, though she counted herself as an ally.
    "Think about that later."  She told herself, revving the motorcycle's engine.
    "Well, hello gorgeous."  Said another biker with a laugh, pulling up beside her.  What he wore said he was part of the
Hot-Rodders, a notorious group of bandits.
    "Hello, yourself."  Lilith rolled her eyes.  "I'm a little old for you, you think?  I'm double your age."
    The biker laughed and put up the visor on his helmet.  "Girls.  Can't take compliments, one way or another."
    Lilith blinked.  "Falco Lombardi."
    "That's me.  How do you know me?"
    "Everyone knows the Star Fox team.  Besides, I student taught your class when you were in elementary school."
    He grinned.  "Good memory teach.  Mine isn't so bad either.  Ms. Branson, correct?"
    "That's me.  What are you doing out biking?  Shouldn't you be in the air, fighting?"
    "Ah, Fox let us have a break."
    "You're a terrible liar, and always were.  You snuck out."
    The light changed.  "Sue me."  He gunned the bikes' engine and sped off.
    It hit Lilith right about then that Falco might be just the person to help her get back at Andross.  She gave chase.
    Falco, looking over his shoulder and seeing her, grinned.  "If that's the way it's gonna be."  He pulled a wheelie and
wove through the traffic, trying to loose his pursuer.  Lilith wasn't far behind him.  She had just caught up to him in the
middle of an intersection when the light changed.  Cars started forward, honking, brakes slammed, and several cars spun out
on the wet pavement, crashing into each other.  Falco easily got out of the way and rode half a block up, waiting.  Lilith
joined him after a moment, harried.
    "Fender bender. Quite a mess you made down there."  He said.
    "It wasn't my fault."  She protested.
    "Well, it sure as hell wasn't mine.  What do you want from me,  Lilith?"
    "I need your help, dammit!!"  She near-hollered at him.
    "Whaddya want from me....oh hell, we better talk elsewhere.  Cops just arrived at that wreck you made."
    "So let's find somewhere else to talk."  She agreed.  "And that wreck wasn't my fault!!"
    "It was so!"  He shot back as they started driving again.
    "Was not."
    "So!"
 
    Fox sat on the bridge, listening to what Falco was telling him.  He didn't know what to think, really.
    Over the years, many people had served on the Star Fox team, or allied with the Star Fox team.  Currently, at any one
time the team fought with between four and seven fighters, because of a trio of alternates(Katt, Bill, and Fara).  Fox didn't
deny that quite often the Star Fox was in the revenge business, but taking on another pilot, even for a short while, made
him think.  He didn't know the person Falco was telling him about.  "Why does she want to fight with us?"
    "Her family was killed in one of Andross' attacks, Fox.  She wants a chance to get back at them."
    "I doubt that she's really, truly serious, Falco."
    "She is."
    "Look, I didn't realize at first how serious this business is at first..."
    "Serious enough."  Said a new voice.  Lilith leaned on a nearby wall, watching them.
    "How did you get on board?"  Demanded Falco.
    "Easy.  I followed you."
    Fox shook his head, amazed.  "Most people wouldn't follow a mercenary pilot to their cruiser, then just fly right into
the docking bay without permission."
    "So I'm a little different. If you have no plans to let me fly beside you Fox, then give me some information.  I've got
money.  I want a cruiser.  I don't know where to get one."
    He blanched, and replied without thinking.  "Space Dynamics Co. Ltd..  Talk to Beltino Toad, tell him I sent you."
    She grinned, and started back toward the docking bay with a flip of her head.  "If not with you, then on my own."
    "Wait just a moment, now!"  Fox ran and caught up to her.  "How do we know you won't turn on us, whoever you
are?"
    "Fox, you have my solemn oath that I will never, ever aim my lasers in your team's direction."  She replied quietly.
    He slowly nodded.  "I expect you to keep that oath, Lilith Branson."
    "I never, ever break a promise, Fox McCloud."
 
Five Months later....

    "Lylat, a peaceful system, hah!"  Jassen glared at the recent battle
damage on his fighter.  "Put THAT on travel brochures and see how many
people sure their travel agents because Andross and his Syndicate raided
their luxury liners!"  He kicked the tool box in frustration, and yelped.
    I sighed.  I had found Jassen, near death, fighter totaled, air supply
almost gone.  He had been a Cornerian scout, and he had found Andross, all
right.  I had nursed the fiery teenager back to health, and now he was my
friend and copilot.  He's also a pain in the tail.  "Swearing at your
fighter isn't helping it's condition, Jassen."
    "I know, but I feel a lot better now."  He sighed.
    "Except your foot."  I snickered.
    "Shut up Lilith."  He snapped, picked up a wrench, and went to work.
    "I'll leave you to it then."  I left the maintenance bay on my cruiser
and my feet almost slipped out from under me.  "What the hell?"
    "This is ice."  Natalie, the teen genius, slid up to me.  "This is what
happens when water gets very cold."
    An inch of ice covered the hallway floor.
    "Isn't this great?"  Kyle skated up to me, in a good mood.
    "Great, hah!  When this melts, it'll make a helluva mess and ruin the
carpet."  I protested.
    "If it works right, it'll evaporate, not melt."  Said Nat.
    "How much longer will it last?"
    "A couple more minutes."  Kyle spun in place, making his long banded
tail completely circle him.
    "You guys are nuts."  I sighed, wondering how they had managed this in
the five minutes I had been in the maintenance bay.  I think I know how
Peppy Hare feels when he argues with the teenagers on the Star Fox team.  At
37, I'm the oldest on my team.  I had recruited my teammates on the spurs of
moments.
    Jassen's a Dalmatian, and as I said before, the former Cornerian scout.
Natalie, a cyotie, had been in a genius program.  Andross had kidnapped her
to invent new weaponry, and Jassen and I happened to raid the cruiser
Natalie was being held on.  We rescued her, then recruited her.  Kyle had
been on the run from both Andross and Corneria--lord only knows what he did,
but it must have been bad.  He had run into me, and had ended up joining.
He's easy enough to get along with, he's a ring tailed lemur.  The last
copilot is Aaron, currently monitoring radio channels.  A former Androssian
fighter, he's a parrot.  I don't know his history, for all I know he's a
double agent.
    Fog started appearing, and the ice started disappearing.  Kyle put
covers on the blades of his ice skates as the ice evaporated.
    "IT WORKED!"  Said Nat happily.  "Now if we can just keep it from
exploding...."
    "WHAT?!"  I thundered.
    Giggling madly, Kyle and Nat ran off, dodging around Aaron, who had
suddenly appeared carrying a new contract.  He shook his head at Kyle and
Nat.
    "What's up, Ar?"  I asked.
    "New assignment.  Working for Corneria."  He passed the contract to me.
    Finding assignments for my little group ain't easy!  I don't fight Star
Fox, Jassen doesn't like fighting Corneria, Aaron doesn't like fighting
Andross, Kyle hates both, and Nat is carefully neutral.  Still, our
political affiliation is to the highest bidder.  My group had worked for
both Andross and Corneria, but had never found Star Fox and never will.
    The contract in my paws was a hiring offer from General Pepper.  Andross
had built a large orbiting base above Venom, and it was churning out
fighters around the clock.  It was next on General Pepper's hit list also.
My team would be flying beside Star Fox.  They had a different mission, but
our mission was to take out the base Boss.
    Fox McCloud doesn't know what to think of us.  Sometimes, I don't blame
him.