Author's Note: All the characters in this story, both mentioned and used
(Falco Lombardi, Fox McCloud, Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad, General Pepper, Katt
Monroe, Leon Powalski and James McCloud) are copyrighted by Nintendo ® and I
take no credit for them.  Other characters (Taylon Rene, Bandit and Spiker)
are characters I made up and may not be used without my permission!  Otherwise
I hope ya like this story.  E-Mail me with any comments you have, or any
suggestions.  You can reach me at jadehawk1@aol.com  Whatever!  By the way
when a character is thinking to them selves this is the sign that I use <>.
Otherwise when they talk out loud it's "" as always!  Thanks, Deadly Games is
my first story so here goesÖ
~Taylon Rene~

PART I
DEADLY GAMES
by Taylon Rene
Chapter 1
"I hate these Cornarian Senate meetings." Falco muttered.  "It's always the
same!  We're in your dept Star Fox, blah, blah, blah.  Thankyou for saving the
galaxy, blah, blah, blah."
        "I find the senate meetings quite valuable." Slippy replied.  "A good pilot
needs to have both diplomatic talents and Arwing skills."
        "You'd think that wouldn't you, Slippy?" Falco shot back as the four pilots
walked down one of the halls of the Great Fox.  "I almost got bored to death
for the past four hours sitting there listening to General Pepper!  We had to
go to the senate meeting where we were congratulated for beating Andross,
where we got these medals." He pointed to the medal that hung on the left side
of his jacket.  "I'd rather have been taken hits from the late Leon Powalski
than sitting through that!"
        "I totally agree with you, but I'm not supposed to!" Fox whispered so that
only Falco could hear him.  Falco laughed quietly as Peppy and Slippy enhanced
in a conversation hardly worth listening to in Falco's point of view.
        "Come on you guys." Falco urged.  "What do ya say, up for a fly, target
practice or something?"
        "Relax, Falco." Peppy retorted calmly.  "Life doesn't have to be fast paced."
        "I know, but I want it to be fast paced or I gets boring!" Falco snapped.
        "I'm sure that if you had a girl it'd be a different story" Fox mocked
playfully.
        "He had Katt!" Slippy exclaimed.
        "Yeah, but they broke up." Fox shook his head; sorry he had brought up the
subject.
        "Now Katt's hanging around with some other guy, that is not my problem."
Falco looked over at Fox and sent him a look.  Fox shrugged helplessly.
        "Did you ever have a girl, besides Katt, I mean?" Fox asked.
        "Besides Katt, yeah, once." Falco admitted.
        "Really who was she?" Peppy asked casually.  Falco smiled, as if remembering
something that hadn't thought about in a long time.
        "If I tell you, it'll reveal my past and almost no one knows about my past."
Falco's smile vanished as quickly as it had appeared.  "And I like to keep it
that way."
        "Falco, we could be three of those few people." Slippy chimed.
        "Nope." Falco shook his head.
        "Aw come on Falco!" Fox begged.  "Tell us, will ya?"  Peppy kept quiet but he
did look up at Falco in question.  Falco let out a sigh.
        "Okay I'm only telling you once.  On one condition.  You don't tell anyone,
nothing, not nothing about my past leaves this ship, got it?"
        "I won't tell." Slippy nodded.
        "Hey, you can trust me, Falco!" Fox grinned.
        "I can keep a secret as well as those two can." Peppy nodded.
        "All right, it started two years ago before I joined Star FoxÖ" Falco began.

Chapter 2
Falco grinned at his hand of cards.  Black Jack.  He pushed her money chips
into the middle of the metallic table.  The large cat beside him snarled a
comment as the dealer raised an eyebrow at the young avian, Falco Lombardi.
Slowly the cat lay down his cards and bared his razor fangs.  Falco took a
breath as the other players looked doubtfully at the hand.  A dog set down her
handÖnot a winning hand, for sure.  Falco Lombardi's heart raced as the cat
across from her lay down his hand.  Could Falco beat it?  They all stared at
her as his cards hit the table.
        "Pure Black Jack ladies and gentlemen." Falco smiled reaching out to take the
money from the table.  The large cat's paw came hard down onto Falco's wing.
"Hey!"  The cat growled dangerously and muttered something angrily.  "You
cheated!"
"Who's cheating?" Falco asked.  "Not me, I won that far and square, pal!"  The
dog across from them snarled,
        "I'm with the cat.  Cheater!" She growled angrily.
        "I'm going to bite your head off!" The cat snarled.  "Then we'll see how well
you cheat!"
        "Take your accusations someplace else, I won fair and square!"  Falco reached
for the credits but the dog pulled her blaster.
        "No, I don't think so." She sneered.  "I'm gonna put a hole through you!"
        "Uh-oh!" Falco reached for his own blaster that rested on his belt.  "Hey I
don't want a fight, really!"
        "Too bad." The cat laughed.  Falco pulled his blaster.
        "If you pull the trigger I'll fire." Falco threatened.  "I'm an honest racer
and I don't want any trouble.  See, I won this hand fairly!"  The dog's
blaster whined as Falco pushed his feet up against the table, tipping it over
onto the cat.  The shot hit the ceiling bringing down one of the lights.  It
crashed causing glass to shatter.  Falco sighed as the cat struggled to get up
from under the table.  The bag of money hit the floor and Falco shook his
head.  The cat, about a foot taller than Falco came up from behind him and
lifted the falcon high up into the air.  Falco put his blaster up against the
large cat's ribs.
        "I really didn't want any trouble but you just had to pose a threat didn't
you?" Falco shrugged as he squeezed the trigger of his blaster.  It bolt hit
the cat's foot; it jumped up and howled in pain, dropping Falco.  He quickly
grabbed the moneybag as the dog got to her feet.
        "I'm going to blast you!" She yelled.
        "Pleasure," Falco shot the light directly above the dog's headÖit smashed
over her head and she slumped to the ground.  "As always."  Rushing out of the
cantina leaving the band playing on Falco pushed his way through the crowd
among the streets.  A coyote brushed past and whistled something.  Falco moved
through the shadows keeping the money close to his belt.  His feathers were
ruffled by now, and his boots had been scuffed along the street.
        "After him!" Falco heard the dog yell out.  The young avian ducked into one
of the alleys into the shadows.  Now seventeen Falco had already gotten into
numerous fights, some ending on serous injury.  Minutes later he ventured back
into the Cornarian streets and casually made his way to the middle of the city
where he was supposed to meet his contact.
        "Here's the spot." Falco muttered to himself after he had arrived.  "This had
better be worth it."  A dark figure emerged from the shadows as Falco stood
watching quietly.
        "Falco Lombardi?"
        "Yeah, that's me." Falco replied, still wary of his surroundings.
        "You said you wanted to join the Space Hot-Rodders." The figure came out into
the light where Falco could see him.  He was a tall porcupine perhaps Falco's
age wearing a long black cape that trailed behind him.
        "Yes." Falco nodded.  He'd realized he'd made a big mistake deciding to
gamble before coming here.  His heart still pounded from the fight.  Though he
didn't quite need the money he'd won fairly, he could use it, if need to bribe
this guy.
        "You a good pilot?" The porcupine asked.
        "Of course I'm a good pilot, true to my word too!" Falco grinned.  "I can fly
circles around anybody, anywhere!"  The seventeen-year-old avian pilot
narrowed his eyes, as the porcupine looked him over, skeptically.
        "Don't know about you, Lombardi." It hissed.  "You fit the bill a'right.
Young, daring, reckless and you brag about being a good pilot."
        "I brag cause I am!" Falco reassured the porcupine angrily.
        "Well, you might be a braggart, a low down scoundrel but you'd fit right in
with us Hott-Rodders, Lombardi.  Guess you're part of the gang now." The
porcupine snarled as Falco smiled slowly.
        "Scoundral?  Me?  I'm just looking for a name for myself."
        "Exactly, we all are, Lombardi.  As I said, you'll fit right in with us."
        "So I'm a Space Hot-Rodder now, huh?" Falco asked tauntingly.
        "Yep, ya are.  I assume you know the moral code of our little group and what
we do?"
        "Course I do." Falco replied.  "Would I have tried to join ya if I didn't?"
        "Good, it was a pity that we had to find a new member after our last had
anÖunfortunate accident while racing."
        "What happened?" Falco asked, clearly interested to some extent.  The
porcupine smiled twistedly.
        "I'll put it this way, Lombardi.  He's not alive to tell you 'bout it."
Falco raised an eyebrow and let the topic drop.  The porcupine growled as he
leaned up against the wall of the alley they'd been walking through.  "I'll
introduce you to the other members of the team.  I'm sure they'll be pleased
to meet you." He mocked.  Falco knew what he was getting into.  The Space Hot-
Rodders were a group of racers making their pay by getting into major
competitions and racing within them.  Dangerous but it had good pay.
        "I'm sure." Falco repeated with a grin touching his features.  The porcupine
stood up straight.
        "Me, I'm the leader of the Space Hot-Rodders.  Spiker's the name." He
snarled.
        "I've heard of you." Falco said quietly.  "You're notorious for your gambling
skills."
        "You got that right." Spiker muttered as they walked through the narrow
streets of Cornaria to one of the small docking bays.  "This is where we dock
our ships.  You've got a ship, don't ya Falco?"
        "Sure do." Falco nodded.  "Arwing class."
"You'll dock your Arwing with out own at this bay." Spiker pointed.  Falco
looked to see four ships lined up, all Arwings.  Spiker was slightly taller
than Falco, with a large scar lining his left eye.  He had a long tail that
dragged behind him.  He was thin and his eyes were a dark shade of purple.
        "Yo, Spiker!" A voice called out.  Falco turned around to see a ferret
standing a few feet back holding a blaster in his left paw.  "That the new
recruit of yours?"
        "Sure is." Spiker growled back.  Falco walked casually up to the ferret and
extended a wing.
        "The name's Falco Lombardi." Falco grinned as the ferret nodded in approval.
        "So Falco, your one of us now.  I'm Bandit."  Bandit looked to be about
Falco's age, short blond hair with cool calm brown eyes.  Black fur rimmed
around his eyes, which gave him his name.  Bandit tucked the blaster back into
its holster sensing no threat.   "Our other two pilots are out gambling,
should be back later."  Falco let out a sigh.  He'd done it.  After the death
of his parents and his rough life on the streets he'd finally made it.  The
seventeen-year-old falcon had lived life on the streets for five years now.
He'd learned to be a quick hotshot pilot before his parents had been killed.
Now part of a gang he was out to earn a living.
        "We got our own apartment area down south part of this city." Spiker growled.
"Here's the address, make yourself at home."  Falco was handed a crumpled
piece of paper that he eyed over.
        "Great." Falco muttered shoving it into his pocket.
        "We'll meet you back there in an hour or two.  Bandit and I need to repair
some parts on his ship." Spiker nodded.  "Remember, you're one of us now,
Lombardi."
        "I won't forget it." Falco replied sarcastically as he turned around and left
the docking bay wondering what fate had in store for him.

Chapter 3
Falco slumped down on the poor excuse for a bed that was provided for him.  He
stared up at the ceiling at let out a sigh.  "Well, I've finally done it."
Falco thought aloud.  "Too bad mom and dad aren't here to see me now.  Swain
would have been proud too."  Falco remembered his family, recalling their
deaths.  His parents and older brother killed in a terrorist bombing when he
was only twelve.  The only survivor he had wandered the streets, begging and
stealing.  Not something he liked to remember.  Doing various jobs for pay.
Falco remembered some of the eerie highlights of the time.  Falco Lombardi,
bounty hunter, thief, messenger, assassin and spy.  At the age of fifteen he's
bought the Arwing and become a hotshot pilot.  Now here he was, part of the
Space Hot-Rodders, out to make a name for himself and a true living.  For some
time Falco considering going back into the bounty hunting profession but then
thought better of it.  The apartment building was separated into five
different suites.  Falco had personal space though the rest of the Hot-Rodders
would be on the other side of the wall Falco still could talk to himself
without being heard.  There was a knock at the door and Falco sat straight up,
alarmed and ready for action.  He grabbed his blaster and crept quietly to the
door.  He pulled it open to face a tall lizard, just his height, wearing a
black pilot suit.
        "Falco Lombardi?" The lizard asked with a slight accent.
        "Yeah, I'm Falco!" Falco replied uneasily.  "What do you want?"
        "Nothing.  Spiker told me you'd joined up with us.  Also told me to drop by
and introduce myself so not to alarm you later on."
        "It's a little late for that." Falco muttered.
        "My name is Leon Powlaski." The lizard ignored Falco's comment.
        "I'm take it you're one of the other two I didn't meet." Falco said flatly,
as he looked Leon over.  Falco got a chill up his spine, something didn't feel
right about this lizard.  Falco shook it off.
        "Yes." Leon replied calmly.  "I am." He smiled cruelly.  "It was truly a pity
that our dear friend Naver had to part with life so suddenly.  But now that we
have found a replacementÖ" He let it hang.
"Uh-huh, great.  I guess I'll be flying with you then." Falco narrowed his
eyes.
 "Adieu, Falco Lombardi." Leon turned around and walked down the hall out of
sight.
        <Something isn't right here. >Falco thought.  <Something is very wrong about
this guy.> Silently Falco locked his door and tried to get some sleep.

The next morning Falco awoke to the sound of footsteps in the hallway, by the
time he was up and completely awake he was already rushed to get out of the
apartment.  His black boots clicked along the floor as he jumped the stairs
down to the second floor.  The previous day he's flown his Arwing back to the
docking bay so that he didn't have to deal with it in the morning.  He arrived
early to find the five Arwing's deserted, at least it looked that way.
Without warning a resounding clank made Falco whirl around in defense.  He
considered pulling his blaster before he realized there was a figure lying
under one of the Arwings replacing parts.  Falco quietly and casually strolled
up as the figure pushed away from under the hull and quickly stood up to face
the Arwing.  Falco doubted they'd noticed him.
        "Hey!" Falco called out.  The figure slowly turned around as Falco
approached.  "You must be the other member of theÖ" Falco trailed off as he
realized the other member of the Hot-Rodders was an avian, a female avian at
that.  "Um, hi." Falco stuttered as she stared at him.
        "Leon told me Spiker had finally found a replacement, you must be Falco." She
smiled warmly.
        "That's be me, Falco Lombardi." Falco extended a hand for her to shake.
        "Pleased to meet ya Falco.  I'm Taylon Rene, pilot, gunner and mercenary."
She replied shaking his hand.  Taylon's feathers were light tan with streaks
of brown around her neck while her eyes shimmered a cool clear ice green.  She
wore a khaki pilot's suit with a belt that hung around her waist.  She had
long flowing brown hair that was tied back into a ponytail that stopped at the
middle of her back.  There was a dark brown V marking on her forehead that had
several loose strands of hair hanging down into her face that she carelessly
brushed away.  She was perhaps a few centimeters shorter than Falco but still
tall and thin.  Taylon's beak was a very dark brown while her tail was much
lighter.  Taylon stood upright now still gripping Falco's wing in a friendly
handshake.  Though her wings were light brown with tints of dark brown at
their tips and shoulders.  Her black boots hugged her knees though they were
polished clean.  He noticed she also wore a blaster at her hip that was
secured tight in its holster.
        "Trust me, the pleasure is all mine, Taylon." Falco replied in a dashing
manner.  Taylon smiled again and let out a sigh putting a small wrench back
into her belt.
        "You sure talk smart." She grinned.  "But can you fly an arwing?"
        "Can I fly an arwing?" Falco laughed, showing off a little.  "Of course I
can.  I assume you've seen it here."
        "Yeah, I noticed it.  Very nice model Falco.  It'll come in handy when you
race it."
        "I've raced it before and won every time." Falco bragged.  "What about you?"
        "Me?  I can fly anything, anytime, anywhere." Taylon smirked.
        "That so?" Lombardi asked, leaning up against the arwing's hull.
        "Yep." Taylon replied tossing him a small bag of tools.  "By the way, you
might one to make some modifications on that arwing of yours."
        "My arwing is fast enough the way it is." Falco shot back.
        "Good, because I'm sure you don't want to find yourself a flaming heap of
wreckage during one of the races." Taylon laughed.  "You better be careful if
you know what I mean."
        "Oh, I'll be careful, you just worry about yourself, Taylon."
        "I can take care of myself, Falco."
        "Just making sure." Falco said with mock innocence.
        "The others will be here soon." Taylon quickly changed the subject.  "Then
we'll see just how good a pilot you really are, hotshot."
        "Oh, you'll see all right." Falco sighed.
        "I sure hope so."
        "Hey you two!" A voice shot out.
        "Bandit!" Taylon yelled.  "Get your tail over here!"  Bandit slowly strolled
over, his long tail dragging behind him.
        "I was wondering where you two were." Bandit replied.  Then he quickly
glanced from Falco to Taylon then cocked an eyebrow at Falco.  "Am I
interrupting anything?"
        "No." Taylon replied quickly.  "Falco's quite a pilot, apparently."
        "Really?" Bandit asked.  "Hey that's cool.  Good thing Spiker choose you
then." He added giving Falco a friendly punch in the shoulder.
        <These two seem friendly enough.> Falco decided thoughtfully.  <That Leon I'm
too sure about.>
        "Hey, Falco.  We'd like to see you fly that arwing of yours." Bandit pointed
out.  "Spiker and Leon will be here soon and then you can show off your best."
Falco noticed the tense tone in Bandit's voice at the mention of Leon.  Falco
noticed Taylon was staring right at him, her green eyes shimmering in the
sunlight.
        <Man, she's pretty.> Falco thought.  <Those eyes, that smile, aw man, get
over it Falco!  She probably has a boyfriend!> He scolded himself angrily.
<Though, maybe I'll have to ask her, just to be sure.>  Suddenly a bizarre
feeling washed through Falco causing him to jump even before he realized why.
        "Leon!" Bandit obviously had seen the lizard coming.
        <What is with that guy?!> Falco asked himself.  <He gives me the chills even
when I can't see him!>
        "Ah, yes." Leon hissed in his faint English accent.  "Bandit, Taylon Rene and
Falco Lombardi.  I am truly not surprised.  "I believe we are going to see if
Falco can fly as good as he speaks, am I correct?"  Now Falco was sure Leon
bothered Bandit slightly if not more than that.  Taylon herself didn't speak;
her eyes did the job for her.
        "Hello, Leon." Taylon replied, somewhat coldly.
        "My dear Taylon, good day to you." Leon nodded.  "I see you have met this
rogue, Falco Lombardi."  Falco's heart raced, partially in anger.  Could Leon
possibly be Taylon's boyfriend?  Falco instantly doubted it but he couldn't be
quite sure.
        "He makes you nervous." Falco guessed aloud quietly in Bandit's ear so that
Leon couldn't hear.  Bandit gave a curt nod of his head.
        "I'll explain later." Bandit replied as Leon walked up to the trio.  Taylon
didn't dare take a step back but the tension had increased.
"So, Powalski." Falco spoke up.  "You've come to watch me fly, eh?"
        "Of course, Lombardi." Leon shot back using the same approach by calling
Falco by his last name.  Taylon glanced at the two and frowned.
        <These two sure aren't going to be fast friends.> She muttered to herself.
She clenched a fist to release her anger without being noticed.
        "I've come to watch you fail." Leon spat.  Falco was now vibrating with rage.
His eyes had narrowed as Taylon seriously considered putting a wing on his
shoulder to pull him back but suddenly thought better of it.
        <They  haven't reached for their blasters.> Taylon told herself.  <That's a
good sign.>  Bandit looked over at Taylon pleadingly knowing he shouldn't
break it up.  She made a slight shrug with her shoulders.  <Let Spiker deal
with them.> She whispered to herself.
        "Who's gonna fail?" Falco snapped.  "Not me that's for sure."
        "Oh, we'll see."
"Yeah?  Oh yeah, you wanna settle this withÖ" Falco trailed off as Taylon
finally pulled him back.  As she touched Falco's shoulder gently a wave of
calm replaced the cold, cruel sense that surrounded Leon.  He'd remember that
feeling.  Leon instantly shut his mouth and quickly dropped the subject as
Spiker showed up in time to stop the would be brawl.
"Hey, Falco!  Ready to prove yourself?" Spiker called.
"I'm ready for anything!" Falco laughed as Leon sent him a scowling look.
Taylon knew the look.  Rivalry.
"Both of you, stop it." She hissed before Spiker caught up to the group.
Falco looked away, as did Leon.  Falco's temper was rising even as Leon kept
eye contact with him.  Taylon quietly stepped in between them, breaking it.
Falco breathed a sigh of relief as he calmed down, slightly.
"Okay, let's fly."

Chapter 4
The five arwings lifted off into space, into Meteo.  The heavy bulks of space
rock passed by silently, Falco knew just how deadly they were if he didn't
dodge them.
        "Falco here." Falco reported over the comm.  "So what do I do to prove myself
Spiker?"
        "See those hulks of space rock?" Spiker replied.  "Fly around them, don't
even graze a wing, Falco.  Speed back here and if you're alive then you pass."
        "No problem." Falco laughed.  "I fly around them right?"
        "Yes." Taylon reassured him privately.  "You can do it, Falco.  I did it."
Falco took a deep breath as he boosted forward at the deadly rocks.  His
arwing maneuvered with quick dashes of speed and grace around the rocks as
Falco kept a clear head throughout the course.  There was a large stone arch
up ahead with a life form resting inside.  Like a giant space dragon it lunged
up.  Falco didn't see it until it came right for him.
        "Crud!" Falco yelled barrel rolling away.
        "Falco, look out!" Taylon warned as the dragon took chase.  Leon smiled
quietly.  Falco took a dive forward narrowly dodging the dragon's teeth.  His
arwing zipped around a hurling rock that was coming for him.  The dragon
looped around as a rock tunnel came right for the two of them.
        <Can't go around it.> Falco told himself.  <Gotta go through it.>  The dragon
snarled as it came up close to the arwing.  <I'm gonna die if I mess up.>
Quickly and with agile skill he twisted around and did a triple spin followed
by three summersaults the belly of his craft whined as the dragon twisted
along with him.  Falco put on the breaks as the dragon sped past him.  It
turned around in surprise as Falco went boosting for it.  Both were coming at
each other at high speed.
        "He's insane!" Leon blurted.
        "He's brave!" Bandit retorted.  "Go Falco!"  Falco heard his friend's remark
and pulled up and around, corkscrewing around the moving dragon.
        "Now that's flying!" Spiker muttered.  Falco quickly slammed on the break
again as the tunnel came for him.
        "He's done for!" Bandit panicked as Falco zipped through the tunnel.  There
was a moment of silence as Taylon watched tensely.  Falco didn't appear coming
out of the other end of the tunnel.
        "He didn't make it." Leon mocked.
        "Oh, Falco." Taylon sighed.  The dragon turned and left, satisfied.
        "Ye-haaaa!" A voice yelled over the comm as an arwing came bursting from the
other end of the tunnel at a shocking speed.
        "Falco!"
        "He's alive?!" Leon raged.  Falco came around and hovered above Taylon's
arwing.  She had to admit; she felt something for him.
        "Wait a go!" Bandit laughed as Falco dropped to their level.
        "Hey, Leon." Falco mocked.  "Did I fail?"
        "That was awesome!" Bandit howled in praise.  "How'd ya do that?"
        "I told you I was a good pilot." Falco replied pulling down back into
Cornaria's atmosphere.  Taylon went right after him.

        Back on Cornaria Falco and Taylon walked beside one another musing over
Falco's skills.  They stood apart, though Falco wished she was leaning against
his side but he knew she wasn't that type of girl.
        "That was awesome." Taylon pointed out.  "Where did you learn to fly like
that?"
        "My older brother taught me." Falco replied.  "I wish he could have taught me
more."  Taylon sensed that sadness in Falco's eyes.  The way he longed for
something.
        "What happened to your brother?" Taylon asked.
        "He was killed." Falco replied truthfully.  "In a bombing, my parents too."
        "I'm sorry, Falco." Taylon shook her head.
        "Why would you be sorry for me?" Falco looked over at her.
        "A family is a horrible thing to loose." Taylon replied flatly.  "I never had
one.  I grew up within a smuggling operation."  Falco nodded, understandingly.
        "So, how long have you been with the Space Hot-Rodders?"
        "Give or take about three years."
        "How old are you, Taylon?"
        "Seventeen, you?"
        "Same as you." Falco replied.  "What's your history?"
        "My history?  I grew up on a smuggling ship, then joined the Space Hot-
Rodders.  Met up here with Bandit, Leon, Spiker and a guy Naver, the guy
you're replacing.  Been piloting ever since.  I'm good with a blaster too."
        "I'm not too bad with one myself." Falco grinned.  "I keep mine right here,
just in case." He patted his waist where his blaster rested.
        "You're not alone." Taylon laughed.  "I use mine to protect myself against
overconfident dashing guys like you who pick a fight."
        "Overconfident?" Falco teased.  "Me?  Aw, Taylon, you've got the dashing part
right, but overconfident?"
        "Yeah.  But I am giving you credit, I did say you were dashing!" Taylon
laughed.  Falco cocked an eyebrow and put on his best smile.  "And charming?
You happy now?" Taylon added.
        "Uh-huh, charming makes up for the overconfident part." Falco approved.
"Say, Taylon, you wouldn't happen to have a boyfriend, would you?"
        "And what do you mean by that?" Taylon asked.
        "I'm just curious."
        "That so?  Well, learn something about me, Falco.  I'm open but right now I
have more things to worry about than a relationship."
        "Okay, don't get touchy." Falco added.  "Just friends?"
        "Just friends." Taylon agreed.
        <For now.> Falco told himself.
Chapter 5
Months passedÖthe rivalry between Falco and Leon grew stronger while Taylon
and Bandit watched on, unable to interfere.  Races were won and races were
lost.  Money was gained and money was lost.  The five pilots scoured the Lylat
system making a name for themselves.  Falco's attitude grew with every step,
with every victory and every lossÖ

Bandit, Falco and Taylon lounged in the hall talking and sharking thoughts as
Leon tortured small non-sentient animals for the pleasure of it nearby in his
own apartment.  Falco looked over at Taylon as her eyes sparkled the way hey
always did.  He'd gotten used to life this way.  The apartment area, he
learned was theirs from winnings years ago.  He would visit Taylon once and
awhile in her suite, just to talk.  He felt personally that he was winning her
over but he had his doubts.  Taylon was stronger than she looked.  She was
tough and didn't like being messed with.  Falco had learned that the hard way.
        "So you got two got plans for tonight?" Bandit joked.  "Or do you wanna join
me for a little fun after hours?"
"I'm game." Taylon shrugged.
"Sure, it's been awhile since I've been out to have some fun." Falco agreed.
"Gambling or should we go out for a fly?"
"Actually I had a different plan." Bandit admitted.  "We could go out on the
bikes and get a little practice."
"Oh yeah, I'm definitely game." Taylon laughed.
"I'm still for it." Falco grinned at the same time Bandit did.  "I'll rev up
the bikes.  I could use a good race."
"You're just saying that cause you want the practice cause I've beaten you
every time we've raced." Taylon pointed out.
"I let you win." Falco lied then smiled slowly.  "I always let you win."
"Yeah, right!" Bandit punched his friend in the shoulder.  "She always kicks
your tail feathers!"
        "So what?  I don't mind being beaten byÖher." Falco winced.
        "Then you won't mind loosing, again?" Taylon mused.
        "Of course not.  In fact I enjoy loosing to you." Falco replied
sarcastically.
        "As long as that's clear." Taylon shot back in the same tone.  The three
friends broke into laughter.
"Let's make a friendly bet, shall we?" Bandit chuckled.  "We race, winner gets
fifty bucks, deal?"
        "Deal." Falco agreed.
        "Deal." Taylon nodded.  They quickly shook on it.
        "She's gonna win, Falco." Bandit pointed out.
        "Oh we'll just see about that." Falco grinned.

To be continuedÖ