Chapter One

 “Pigma is a character that diminishes further as every second goes by.  He started as a promising pilot for the Starfox team, and now he is one of the lowest of the low.”

         --Peppy Hare, Starfox

 Jonabara McGregoria had been in the journalism business for only a year, so when his boss at the Venom Daily told him to interview Pigma Dengar, he was completely shocked.  Me?  A meerkat journalist like me interviewing one of the heroes of the Venom Military?  Of course he would be honored to do so, but he felt that it came too soon, when he’s too inexperienced.  In fact he was almost reluctant, but when Pigma told him to that he would like to be interviewed, he took no chances and went directly to his quarters in the Venom HQ Base.
 Even as he waited by Pigma’s door, he was sweating.  The meerkat has a red cap on top of his pointy tan head, and was wearing a green shirt and loose brown pants that partly covered his white sneakers.  His small nose twitched with nervousness, and his brown eyes scanned left and right.  After all, he would meet a person that the Cornerian public would love to see him burnt, fried, and quartered.
 The door slid open with a whisper, and the figure of Pigma was in front of him.  He was visibly taller than Jonabara, and his stomach swelled out like a pot, and several of his shirt buttons were missing, exposing the pale, pink flesh of his hairy chest.  His snout snorted a greeting, and his eyes twinkled somewhat dumbly yet welcoming.  The pig’s white shirt were stained with brown gravy, and Jonabara could smell a dash of fresh meat blood on his gray pants.
 “Ah, you’re the journalist, right?” Pigma asked as he shook his paw.  “Come in, make yourself at home.”
 Jonabara came inside, and was soon struck with the strong smells of tornab crab, beefline stew, gray booze, filthy clothes unlaundered for weeks, and the air was stuffy.  He dared not to make a face of disgust however, and took stock of the room.  On his right was a white couch that in some places ripped and some of the cotton innards were popped out.  Next to it was a brown and dead fern plant on a pot, and a ball of discarded paper was laid on the end table with the plant.  A bent can of soda was on the ground nearby, and some of the black liquid were spilt on the green-carpeted floor.  A table in front of the couch had some messes of red potatoes lazily left on the wooden top, gathering bacteria or the Gods knows what.  To Jonabara’s left was the restroom, which was so dirty that he at once decided to hold it throughout the interview.  A messy kitchen was next to the place, and on top of the stove was a boiling pot of gravy, the brown, lumpy stuff spilling out of the edges of the pot.  A drawer was next to a bed, and some of the drawers were left open.  The bed itself had sheets that were wrinkled, and the meerkat thought he saw a small wet puddle on the middle on the bed.
 Jonabara sat on the couch while Pigma was busy with the gravy.  His third plate of tornab crab was already laid on a table in front of the couch.  “You hungry?  I got my favorite crab ready.”
 “Um, no thanks.  I want to get started right away.”
 “Of course,” Pigma replied and came over to the table carrying a bowl of the gravy and poured it over the crab.  He sat on a wooden chair across from the table and faced his interviewer.  He took a bite out of the crab first.  “Hmmm, the best type of crab in this entire Lylat System, this tornab.  So, what shall we begin with first?”
 “The purpose of this interview is about your story on why you betrayed Corneria and was responsible for the death of James McCloud.”
 “When in this should I start?”
 “How about before you entered the Starfox team?  Where were you in that time?”
 “The Academy.  Spent a year there, but I never liked it.  I loved flying, but my co-pilots hated me.”
 “Well, that’s complicated.  Why don’t I begin a month before I entered Starfox?”
 The meerkat nodded.  “Alright.  Let me get this recorder out.  I should of done that moments ago,” he said and pulled out a tape recorder from his shirt pocket.  He laid it on the table and turned it on.  “Alright.  Start with your full name, and your age during the setting of your story.”
 “Pigma Freena Dengar, age 21 a month before I joined Starfox...”

Chapter Two

 “Pigma....what can I say about him?  Slob, liar, gluttonous, greedy, cares too little about others, not trustful, and a bunch of other things, none of those benefitting to anyone.”

        --Draco McChea, pilot of Corneria

 The wake-up lights flicked on in Pigma Dengar’s dormitory at the Academy in Corneria City.  Pigma rubbed his eyes and yawned deeply, his mouth swallowing huge gulps of air.  He looked at the digital clock on an end table next to his bed.
 “Four in the morning.  They expect me to be energetic at four in the morning,” the pig complained as he sat up and yawned again.  His dorm was quite small, with only a bed, a small drawer/cupboard combination, an end table with the clock a lamp, and a monitor phone, and a television bolted to the upper northwest corner of his room.  The Cadet dressed up in his blue uniform and black boots.  The uniform was clean and stiff, and Pigma often grumbled about it’s itchy cloth.  He never liked wearing it, but the rules told him to wear it every day.
 Muttering sleepily, he got out into an empty hallway and clicked on a calculator-style box that was on the wall next to his dorm’s slide door.  The box chirped and on it’s screen was the words “Please state name, rank, division number, and date”.
 “Cadet Pigma Dengar, Division Alpha Four B, 3-05-2347.”
 The box chirped again and showed Pigma on the same screen the daily orders for the morning.  Pigma read it with a sense of displeasure.
 “Oh yippie, another drill,” he said in a sarcastic and dull tone of voice.  “Report to the Cadet Briefing Office for further details.”  Muttering another curse, he turned off the box and stormed quietly through the hallway to the Briefing Office where he usually gets his training mission debriefs.  The walls of the hallway were shaded blue and beige white, sleek like plastic.  The ceiling had flourescent lights that shone brightly, and the hallway led Pigma to the Main Center, which was often the busiest of all rooms.
 Pigma shoved his way through small crowds of pilots, soldiers, and other military personnel to an elevator which sent him to the third floor.  He came in the auditorium-style Briefing Room and saluted to Captain Greyhall before sitting down on one of the plastic seats with the other thirty cadets that had attended.  When all the pilots came as ordered, Greyhall dimmed the lights and turned on a large panel monitor that was on the wall facing the pilots.
 The screen showed a desert training ground two hundred miles north of Corneria City.  There were thirty large hovering rings, positioned at random places in mid-air.  Those were meant for pilots to go through, to hone their manoeuverability skills.  Fourteen of the rings were moving up and down, while the others were still.
 “Now, as you all know,” spoke the lizard Captain.  “This last month before graduating is a month of testing finals.  These tests will ultimately determine your final status upon graduation.  This one is a test of manoeuverability, and while you may have flown through rings before, never with thirty rings to fly through, with almost half of them moving, all of those at different speeds.  Also, the rules will be stricter.  If you bump into one of those still rings, you will fail.  If you bump into one of the moving rings, you will fail.  Pass through all the rings in a time of over a minute and a half, you will fail.  Each pilot will fly with one chance, and one at a time, the order depending on the class rank.  The testing will start at 0900 today.  Any questions?”
 The two hundred pilots remained silent, and the lizard turned off the panel monitor.  “Dismissed.”
 Pigma grumbled quietly.  He hated tests, especially if the rules were strict.  Why would the high-ranking officials would determine a cadet’s future in the military by one or two tests?  To him, that didn’t make any sense.  He decided to have some breakfast, so he marched to the mess hall and gotten himself a plate of granda eggs and steak.  He sat on a lonely spot in one of the large tables of the room, mainly because he has no friends and wasn’t highly respected by his school mates.
 Pigma entered the Academy nine months ago with a feeling that he had been stolen out of his future by his commandeering father, Fredma.  The bearded pig was a retired general at the time when he ordered his only and spoiled son to the Academy to become a pilot.  Pigma wanted to be a sailor and cruise the waves in a battleship, so he protested his father’s actions.  However, he became so dependant on him that he was forced to submit to him.  Pigma knew he wasn’t a good candidate for a pilot, but he must appease his father.
 Once at the Academy, he was forced to pursue a career he never wanted.  He never liked his professors, the way his training jet moves and handles, and especially the strict rules.  As a spoiled child, he was never really the one who follows the rules.  In high school, he was constantly in trouble, and his two-faced father could do nothing to help him turn the other way.  Even at the Academy, he breaks rules.  However, he often got away with it due to his father’s popularity in the military and his bribes to the supervisors and officials of the Academy.  Pigma may hate his father for stealing his future, but he loved him for backing him up whenever he was in trouble.  The other cadets knew the real picture however, and in the result, they despised him.
 Despite his flaws, he grew more confident in the cockpit, and rose through the class ranks.  By the time of the finals, he was 14th out of 120 in his class.  Still, such a high rank won’t be acceptable by his father.  He wanted his son to be in the top five.

 The “Ring Arena” was located on the Coman Desert, a small ground of sand, mesas, cactus, and a beautiful line of blue called the Crystal River.  This area was used for testing only, so Pigma had never trained in this spot.  The Arena was five miles long, with the rings hovering from thirty to two hundred feet in the air.  While this may be only a test, there are grave risks involved.  If a jet brushed with the metal rings, it could snap the wings and plummet the pilot to his doom.  If the wings didn’t snap, then the pilot could be distracted and miss the next ring.  If the pilot won’t die in the testing, he or she could die in career terms when they receive a failing grade.  In this time and day, being a pilot for Corneria was a dream come true for many of the people of the Lylat System seeking a career in the military.
 Pigma sat on a large bench alongside the launching pad where the pilot would take off to begin the testing.  Captain Greyhall and several other captains were standing close by, carrying their clipboards.  One by one, the pilots before Pigma flew their one-chance round through the rings.  Some of them made it perfectly, some missed a few.  Finally, it was Pigma’s turn.  His comrades actually booed at him as he went aboard his jet on the launching pad.

 Pigma muttered.  “Ah, screw you,” he cursed quietly.  The canopy window of the Protector-class jet closed in from above, and he clicked on the engines.  The jet hummed and then roared, and a sense of freedom overwhelmed in.  It was here, in the cockpit, where he would have his true freedom.  The ridicule of the other cadets would be drowned out by the roar of engines, his supervisors could boss him through comlink, but he could just simply turn it off.  He lifted upwards, and the jet slowly accelerated forward toward the first ring.
 He swiftly squirmed through the first five rings, cooly swerving left and right, with ease.  No cause to panic.  He forced the jet to move upward and got through the first moving ring that was descending easily.  Then he moved down and got through the next one.
 This is going to be a piece of cake, he thought.  He went through another ring, and another.  He became so confident that he actually hummed as he flew.  Halfway through, he pulled himself up to get through a ring that was ascending along with him.  Only a few yards away, the ring suddenly shifted downwards, catching Pigma by complete surprise.  Pigma frantically pushed the control stick forward, but the bottom of his jet brushed with the top of the ring, and when Pigma passed it, he realized that he had missed it.
 He banged on the controls angrily.  That ring wasn’t supposed to go down at that moment!  I’ll bet those stupid cadets at laughing at me now.  Because he missed a ring, he had failed, and his career in flying may go down with it.
 Grumbling and cursing, he landed on the launching pad, and climbed down with eyes fuming.  He didn’t bother to acknowledge to the cadets’s cheering, and stormed to a transporter nearby and flew back to the base.
 In his quarters, he kicked the drawer with a resounding bang, and sat on his bed still muttering.  He spotted the monitor phone, and called his father living two miles away from the Academy.
 Pigma put on his sorrowful face as the picture of his father came on.  Fredma bear a close resemblance to his son, with the exception of wrinkles and the beard.
 “Son?  What happened?”
 Pigma pretended to weep.  Hopefully his father won’t see through that charade.  “Oh, Dad, it’s awful!  I failed the maneuver test!”
 “What?  How?”
 “I was doing just fine when one of the moving rings changed direction right in front of me, and I missed it.  That ring wasn’t supposed to change at that spot.  I was cheated!  They want me to fail!  They want me to fail!”
 “Now, now, son, calm down.  Who was in charge of this?”
 “Um, Captain Grayhall,” he answered and made a loud sniff to heighten the drama.
 “I’ll talk to him about this.  Don’t worry Pigma.  I’ll get things straight for you.”
 “Thank you.  Bye.”
 “Farewell, son,” Fredma said and the screen went blank.
 Pigma craftily smiled.  “Like taking candy from a moron.”

Chapter Three
 “My son was ridiculed in the Academy by the other immature kids and stupid supervisors.  I blame them for my son’s downfall.”
        --Fredma Dengar, retired General

 Pigma knew what his father did the moment he received a message from Captain Grayhall the next morning.
 The message read:
 Cadet Dengar, I am deeply sorry for the blunder yesterday in the Maneuverability Test.  I later found out that the ring that you missed had malfunctioned.  That was why it changed direction suddenly.  Because of this mistake, I will give you a passing grade for the Test nonetheless.  For tomorrow’s Speed Test, I will be sure that no more blunders would be made.
         With the deepest apologizes,
          Captain Grayhall

  Pigma laughed heartily.  He still has a chance to graduate through this stinking school.  He threw the sheet of paper into the wastebasket outside the door of his room, and whistled on his way to the mess hall.
 “Well, well, well, if it isn’t ol’ Pork-rind!”  Jenkins teased him at the mess hall.  He was wearing a bluish vest with a green shirt, and a gold belt held up his black pants.  The huge place wasn’t all that crowded, since it was later than usual for breakfast time.  The older serval sat by Pigma in his own invitation, and grabbed his fork away.
 “Hey!  Give that back, you idiot!”
 Pigma reached for the fork, but Jenkins threw it across the room.  The annoyed pig got up from the bench, but Jenkins grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back into his seat.
 “What do you want, Jenkins?”
 “I just heard that you passed the test yesterday.  What did your father do, bribe that lizard Grayhall?”
 Despite his grudges toward Fredma, Pigma never liked to hear his father being insulted.  “Get out of here!”
 Jenkins laughed.  “Geez, Pork-rind, you’re what, 21 years old, and still you hide behind your Daddy.  Why don’t he just move to here and tuck you in every night?  Maybe he’ll tell you a Mother Duck story, treating you like a dibbun!”
 “Don’t you have anything else better to do, you idiotic moron?!”
 Jenkins laughed again.  Already, that annoyed Pigma.  “Ooooh, that hurt!  Boy, I can’t wait for tomorrow, Pork-rind.  The seeing the look of your face after you receive a failing grade will just make my day!  I just can’t wait to kick your curly-tailed butt tomorrow at the Speed Test.”
 “Yeah sure.  You will be seeing my curly-tailed butt when you get through the finish line.  Right at your scrawny face!  Now, if you don’t mind, lame-brain, I got to eat, and you’re in my way!”
 Jenkins chuckled, and stood up by him.  Arching his head forward, he let out a ball of spit.  It landed on Pigma’s meal.  “I’ll see you tomorrow, Pork-rind,” he said as he walked away.  Pigma was left alone, and shoved away the ruined meal.
  “We’ll see who gets to have his butt kicked.  We’ll see....”

 Early morning the next day, the large doors of a hangar near the Academy slid open, and Jenkins came inside, snickering and carrying a clipboard that has all the names of the pilots flying the Speed Test and the numbers of the jets they would be flying.  The serval walked past the silent Protector-class jets confidently.  He has a plan, and a clever one at that.  He looked at the clipboard and then at the jets.
 “Let’s see, Pork-rind flies jet #78.  Hmm..” he said to himself as he studied the jets, trying to find the right one.  He spotted the jet lying close to a wall, a few hundred yards over from him.  He almost laughed, and walked over to it.  He reached in his pocket, and pulled out a test tube with bluish liquid.
 “Gosh, I’m so clever that I scare myself!  I ought to win an award for this!”  He said as he poured the liquid inside the main engine.  “This liquid will slow down the engine’s power, and that stupid piece of bacon won’t even go over half the normal speed limit!  He’ll be a slow poke!  And then, when the officials come over to investigate, the liquid would already be completely dissolved and disappear forever.  What a genius I am!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

 The forty jets for today’s race on the Speed Test were lined up in columns of ten on one of the landing strips of the Academy.  The Protector-class jets are one of more slower jets, their limit only at half the speed of the then-prototype arwings.  The tip of their noses had a special microchip installed inside, which would send out a signal to a radar every second so that the officials would know who’s leading in the race.  The rules were simple: get from Point A (the landing strip) to Point B (six hundred miles north), and be quick about it.  Only the fastest five get the passing grade.
 The aerial “race track” has five loops which everyone must pass through.  However, with forty jets flying at the same time, this might be very dangerous.  The loops were big enough only to allow three jets to pass through at the same time.  Miss one due to crowding and the officials won’t sympathize you.  You would fail.
 Pigma aboard his jet confident that he would win.  The Speed drills were his favorite, for he loved the thrill of speed.  The other pilots got in their assigned jets and warmed up their engines.  The soft hum turned into a sharp roar as the jets hovered like a helicopter, ready to blast forward at the signal.  Pigma was among the front of the anxious crowd of pilots, and almost chuckled with confidence.
 His comlink buzzed with a sole bong sound.  Pigma sharply accelerated, his engines blasting the jet forward.  The race was on.
 He was going so fast suddenly that he was pushed against his leather seat.  “Yahoo!”  He cried as he began to pull away from the other pilots.  Being first at the start can determine the outcome.  Pigma quickly glanced at his speedometer, it’s arm at 240 m.p.h. and climbing.  He laughed with glee.  Eat my jet stream, Jenkins!!
 Speed still climbing, now to 280 m.p.h.
 After several minutes, Pigma spotted the first ring obstacle.  He spotted another jet beside him and the pilot was beginning to move forward to the front of him.  Knowing that trying to get through a ring with even one other pilot would be very dangerous, Pigma accelerated faster, trying to get on front of him.  However, the other pilot was too stubborn, and kept up to speed.  The ring was getting closer at a quick pace.
 Pigma’s engines grew even louder as he pushed his speed more faster, fervently trying to get ahead.  Then, as he least expect it, his speed stopped climbing.  The engines refused to grow louder or cooperate with Pigma’s commands.  His opponent quickly got in front of him and passed through the ring first.
 The startled pig was so distracted on the sudden surprise of malfunction that he almost missed the ring.  He frantically looked at his instruments and controls.  Nothing seemed to be wrong, so why the speed halted at 300 m.p.h.?  “C’mon!  C’mon!  Go faster, you stupid jet!”
 He banged on the controls, but with no effect.  Another jet passed by him, then another.  “What the hell’s happening?  C’mon!  Move it, you worthless, metallic version of a failure!  Get going!  I’m losing here!”
 His engines refused to budge another once of faster speed.  The arm seemed to be frozen on the 300 m.p.h mark.  Pigma yelled with frustration, and banged on the canopy window on his side.
 “Hey Pork-rind, why aren’t you going faster?”  His comlink buzzed in rudely.  It was Jenkins.  Pigma looked right and spotted the serval flying alongside.  As if to grow his already boiling anger, Jenkins smiled and waved at Pigma.
 “Did you tamper with this jet, Jenkins?!!”
 “Now what made you think that?  Well, I just love to stay and chat with you, but I got a race to win.  C’ya later!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!”  With a burst of speed, the tormenting serval rushed in front of Pigma, and made a barrel roll as if to show off his triumph.
 Pigma narrowed his eyes.  “Oooooohh!  That’s it!  I’m going to murder you when this test is done!  A jury will be sympathetic!!!”  He continued to pound fruitlessly on his controls as more and more jets passed by him.

 When he had finally reached the finish line, which in another base, he landed alongside the other jets that had already finished long before him, and the angry pig marched straight into the base, eyes scanning for a certain serval.
 He spotted Jenkins in a rec-room along with three other pilots.  The serval was laughing with his friends, probably boasting his triumph today.  Pigma rushed inside, eyes boiling and arms reaching for the serval’s brown neck.  “Aaargh!  Die!”
 Pigma grabbed hold of Jenkins’s neck, strangling him.  The other pilots grabbed Pigma and tried to pull him away.  One of them rushed out to find a supervisor.  Pigma held on tightly to his bully, shaking him back and forth.  Jenkins rolled up his eyes and made strangling sounds.  Finally, the other pilots managed to peel Pigma off of him, and when Jenkins was let go, he slumped to the floor.
 Pigma was held down to the floor himself, still watching Jenkins lying down, gasping for breath.  A supervisor then came in and assisted Jenkins first.  The serval was still alive, though he was almost dead.
 The could-be-killer laughed internally.  How did you like that, Jenkins?  Huh?  How did you like that?  Revenge hurts, doesn’t it, especially when you’re the loser?  Hope you leanred that lesson.  Annoy me again and I’ll give you another lesson, which will be your last!!!

Chapter Four

 “Pigma deserves to die.  Only the purely evil ones deserve that.”

         --Jenkins Menveroa, Corneria

 The metal bench was cold to the touch, but Pigma barely noticed it.  The jail doors kept him inside the cell, and Pigma sat at the bench, his head bowed in worry about his father’s reaction.  Fredma came forty minutes after the incident with Jenkins, his own eyes red with angriness.  A security guard alongside him opened the cell doors, and Fredma walked inside and sat with his troubled son.  The 56-year-old retired general was wearing green civilian clothes and a tan leather coat.
 “What am I going to do with you, Pigma?  Why do you keep getting yourself in trouble?”
 “It wasn’t my fault!  Jenkins sabotaged my jet so that I would lose!  I just provided justice.”
 “I just heard from the supervisors.  They checked your jet’s engines and they couldn’t find anything wrong.”
 “What?  They lie!  They hate me!”
 “They ever tell you why?”
 “No, they haven’t.  They hate me because...well, just because!  I want to quit this Academy!  How can I graduate if even the supervisors won’t let me?”
 “Look, I have done this before, and I will do it this time.  I will discuss this mess with the supervisors, and I will get out of this.  You will graduate from this Academy, wether you like it or not.  However, I might not be able to help you once after this is over with.”
 “Look, you’re 21 years old, and once you graduate, you might live by yourself.  It’s time for me to back off and allow you to take your problems yourself.  I have done my job of raising you, and it’s time for you stop calling to me for help.  You have to be strong in this mad galaxy of ours.  Didn’t the other cadets teased you because I kept pulling you out of trouble?”
 “Yes.  They do other cruel things.  They call me Pork-rind, Snot-nose, Bacon, slob, and many other cruel names, and the supervisors allow it to happen!  They want me to fail!  I don’t know why, but they just want me to fail!  I hate them!  I just hate their guts!”
 “There’s only a couple more weeks till Graduation day, so just tough those weeks through.  Please do that for me, Pigma.”
 “But what if they did something to make me fail the other tests, Dad?”
 Fredma sighed.  His son doesn’t deserve to be treated by others like this.  “Alright.  When those cases come, I will talk to them, but that’s it.  If you get in trouble intentionally like in the fight earlier, then don’t expect me to lend you a paw.  It’s time for you to accept responsibility for yourself.”
 “But it’s really all their fault!  I leave those fellas alone.  They’re the ones that decided to mock me, insult me, and make me fail with their cowardly, sniveling plots.  I blame those guys for my troubles!”
 The security guard came up to them.  “Mr. Dengar?  Visiting time is over.”
 Fredma nodded.  “I’m going anyway.  Look, Pigma, I know that you can get through this.  I trust you to do your best.”
 Pigma sighed with frustration and disappointment.  The other students hate him, the supervisors want him to fail, and now, his own father would be backing out.  “Yeah, whatever.”
 “I’m doing this to help you become more independent-”
 “Go, Dad.  Leave me alone,” his son said, eyes bowed in sorrow.  “Make sure the door don’t hit you on the way out.”
 Fredma would have scolded him for that remark, but instead he got up and left the cell.  He didn’t even say goodbye, but that never mattered to Pigma.  To him, Fredma wasn’t his father.  He was just a guy that bails him out, and now, like a coward, decided to back off.

 “You ever see your father after that time?” the reporter Jonabara asked his interviewer in Pigma’s quarters.  It has been three hours since the interview began, and still Pigma was eating his meal.  An hour ago, he ran out of tornab crab, and now he went to eating beefline stew.
 Pigma made the last sip of his fourth refill of soda.  “No, I never did saw him after that.  The slob went into hiding and rarely got out into the public spotlight.  Some people say that he was in grief for my failure to reach hero status in Corneria, but I know the real truth.  He was a coward.  Nothing but a yellow-bellied coward.  I hate him.”
 “You hate him even after all that he had done for you?”
 “All he really done was to raise me and make me get the passing grades that I deserve.  However, when he backed off in that jail cell, I realized that he wasn’t the brave general that the public viewed him as.  Oh sure, those gutless Cornerians may think that Fredma backed off because he wanted to help me in the long run, but the public is too stupid to notice the real story.  Yes, he may defend me in all those troubles in the Academy, but look, this is like an athlete’s life.  Let’s say that this famous athlete had played in his team for nine years, and busted his butt to win for his city and fans.  The fans cheered and rooted for him in all those years.  Then, in just one final game, when there’s two seconds left, this “hero” made a mistake that cost his team and city the championship.  Is this athlete declared a hero after that game?  No!  Flat out no!  The fans ridicule him, harassing him, ruining his life.  The athlete calls it quits, and the media and public calls him coward for doing so.  This athlete goes down in history alright, but not as a hero, but as the one that made the mistake that cost his team the championship.  You get what I’m talking about?  This is almost the same way with Fredma.  He’s that athlete, and I’m the public.”
 “So, what happened next?”
 “Well, I passed the next four tests, and I graduated 12th in my class.  Jenkins finished 5th, but I had a better future than he did.”
 “Really?  What happened to him?”
 “He ended up being a Fortuna fighter jet pilot.  Lost in a battle against some of the last Space Pirates around.  Worms are making a feast out of him now.”
 “You know where is your father now?”
 “He’s still in Corneria City.  I know his address.  The Corneria City Cemetery.  If you want to meet him, then bring a shovel ‘cause he’s six feet under with his face downwards!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!”

Chapter Five

 “Pigma is a slob, but I don’t care about his eating habits.  As long as he does his job, he can eat chilled chili if he wants to, with sardines!”

         --Wolf O’Donnell, Starwolf

 Jonabara reloaded his tape recorder with his fifth cassette.  Pigma went back to the kitchen, stirring at the beefline stew to make it ready for another serving.
 “You hungry?  Thirsty?”
 The meerkat shrugged.  “I don’t mind a soda.”
 “I got 7-Down, Nurse Pepper, Cola-coca, Sipep, and Hill Dew.”
 “Cola-coca please.”
 Pigma nodded, and went back to his seat, giving his interviewer the can of soda.  “This is taking longer than usual, eh?”
 “Three hours now.  I’m not tired yet.  Now then, how did you join Starfox?”
 “I joined in at my own invitation.  James McCloud and Peppy Hare wants to hire a third pilot, and I when applied for the job, I was the best candidate...”
 Pigma paced across the waiting room of the Brean Base nervously.  He was dressed in a white flight suit complete with a gold badge on his chest that symbolizes his graduation from the Academy.  There was no one else in the room, so everything was quiet.  Just yesterday, James McCloud himself had called him saying that he would be his new co-pilot.  Pigma of course was excited.  He used to wish to become a sailor, but he found out that if he joined in the Navy, his skills achieved in the Academy would go to waste.  He would have joined in the Air Force, but he would be forced to follow even stricter rules than in the Academy.  Starfox seemed the most promising at the time.
 The doors leading to the landing strip of the base opened, and Peppy Hare, the famed co-pilot of James, came inside and shook Pigma’s paws.  Peppy was shorter than the pig, even with his long, floppy red ears.  His eyes showed intelligence and common sense, and fastened on the front of his belt was a white triangle, which was the badge of the Starfox team.  His red and white fur were groomed neatly, and even his buck teeth were pearly white.
 “Hello, Mr. Dengar.  We finally meet.”
 “Yeah.  I’m nervous.”
 “So was I when James hired me ten years ago.  The Great Fox is getting ready in the landing strip, so we might stay here a while.  Let’s meet my friend James.  He’s inside the Great Fox.”
 “I never seen the Great Fox except in TV and newspapers.  It is really the size of a small building?”
 “Why don’t you follow me and look for yourself?”
   Anxiously, Pigma followed him out into the landing strip, and when he spotted a medium sized ship being attended to close by, he knew instantly what it was.  The Great Fox was shaped like a stocky swan with the head poking out of a irregular shaped box, at least to Pigma’s eyes.  He couldn’t describe it any other way.  It was indeed large as a building, and it might be capable of carrying over two thousand tons and fifty people.  On the bottom front of the ship was the hangar, where the arwings were kept in, and the walls consisted of strong armor of steel.
 “It’s a beauty, eh?”
 “Yes, it is.  When was this built?”
 “The project started two years ago, and it was finished nine months later.  It took James into debt though.  That’s why James and I are mercenaries, and you will be one soon.  We often go on missions to find criminals and such, like bounty hunting, but we did took sides in that civil war in Macbeth a few years back.  Being paid on commission is tough, but we don’t really have a boss if no one’s paying us.  General Pepper would hire us at times, often to hunt down the remaining Space Pirates that still terrorize the borders of the Lylat System.  Follow me into Great Fox.  James and his son might be inside somewhere.  I can give you a tour if you like.”
 Pigma nodded and followed the hare into the large ship.  Inside, he walked on carpeted floors, saw gleaming walls on the hallways, passed comfy guest rooms and quarters, several huge rec-centers, an eatery with the only kitchen in the ship connected to it, two hologram rooms, storage rooms, fridge rooms for storing frozen food, and a small clinic to be used on rescue missions.  The hallways and rooms were lit by lights on the ceiling, and there was even a botany greenhouse.
 “I thought this is a warship, not a pleasure cruiser,” Pigma remarked almost jokingly as they were walking through a large lounge with plush seats and a large palm tree in the center.
 “The Great Fox is both, actually.  One of the main reasons why we are so far in debt is because James always had a taste for fun.  He was the one who irritates the professors and supervisors in the Academy.  I was his roommate, so believe me, I know his wild nature.  Still, he’s not the one who breaks the rules or things.  The supervisors actually think of him as a prodigy kit, and he got the pilot skills to prove it.  Still, the picture of Corneria’s Hope enjoying a mud bath might seem strange to you.  James got about three different hologram programs about mud bathing.  He drinks sometimes, but he’s no alcoholic.”
 “Is there anyone traveling with you and James?”
 “ROB is the driver mainly.  He’s a sophisticated robot, but he’s not the one to have a conversation with.  James’s son Fox goes with us too, and he wanted to be a pilot just like his father.”
 “Every pilot wants to be like James, seems like.”
 “Well yeah, that too.  James’s wife Vixy doesn’t always goes with us, though.  She never liked flying, and she can take good care of herself in Corneria City.  She’s a manager of an insurance firm, and a great one at that.  There are others, but they are temporary helpers.  Mostly, it’s just James, Fox, ROB, and me.”  The pair soon found themselves climbing the stairs on the neck section of the ship, and at the top was a bluish sliding door with the words “Control Room” painted on it.
 When the door opened, Pigma’s eyes noticed the rather handsome figure sitting on the “Captain’s Chair”.  He was a red fox pure and simple, wearing a stiff green shirt and black loose pants.  His dark glasses completely hid the color of his eyes, and when he stood up to greet Pigma, he was of same height as the new pilot.
 “Welcome to the Great Fox, Mr. Dengar.  Did Peppy already gave you the tour?”
 “Yeah.  It’s a nice ship.”
 “Of course.  I made it.”
 Peppy straightened himself.  “Ahem.”
 “Huh?  Oh yes, Peppy lend a paw, and so did Beltino Toad.  A bunch of workers did it also.  Must I have to credit everyone?”
 Peppy laughed, and slapped his best friend on the back.  “How’s things going here?”
 “Running smoothly so far.  ROB reported nothing unusual.  We’ll be leaving for Katina soon.  Reports of space rogues roaming around Katina space.  The Katina High Command had decided to reward us 90,000 credit dollars if we eliminate them all.”
 “90,000?  Sheez, that’s high.  Those rogues must be a real pain in the butt.”
 “They now control a scientist space station in Katina orbit, and they are skillful in piloting enough to fight off thirty Bulldog jets.”
 “We’ll see who’s good in flying.  Just how many will we be against?”
 “I’m not sure.  The reports always show different numbers.  I’ll bet those rogues are like an entire squadron, if they managed to defeat thirty Bulldog jet pilots.”
 “Hmmm...well, we just might as well go.  We faced tougher missions before.  Where is your son?”
 “Fox’s taking a nap in his quarters.  He wanted to see Vixy, but we can’t stay here long, so he’s a bit upset.  Teenagers.”
 Peppy nodded in agreement, and even Pigma chuckled at that remark.
 James let out a sigh of joy.  “Well, welcome to the Starfox team, Pigma.  I hope that you will be of great assistance to this team.”
 “Yeah, and I hope this team will benefit me as well.  So, where is my quarters?”
 “I’ll take you to it,” said Peppy.  “You’ll see the arwings later.”
 Pigma nodded gladly.  As a member of Starfox, he had hoped that finally, he would gain the respect and admiration that he thought he deserved.

Chapter Six

 “Yes, I do hate Andross, but Pigma strikes a different tune.  You see, Andross may be responsible for the death of my father, but it was Pigma who brought him to Andross.”

         --Fox McCloud, Starfox

 The Great Fox cruised across space in a slow but smooth pace towards Katina.  Pigma had already seen the arwings, and was amazed by their advanced capabilities.  He was very anxious to fly his very own arwing.  Even after a couple hours inside the Great Fox, he had already laid his place in the eatery, eating delicious tornab crab and drinking gina scotch.  Never the social one, he kept out of James’s, Peppy’s, and even Fox’s way, and was quiet most of the time.
 Five hours away from their destination, Pigma relaxed on an easy chair in one of the rec-rooms, his eyes focused on a book that he found next to the chair.  The Great Fox was running so smoothly that he felt no bump, no humming sound of engines.  He just might as well be living on flat ground in some quiet planet.
 “Like the book?”
 Pigma looked above his book and spotted Fox coming inside.  James’s son bear a remarkable resemblance to his father, but his fur was more lighter red.  At 14 years old, the kit was just getting through the early stages of puberty, and his voice had not matured yet.  He wore blue jeans and a red shirt with a white leather vest with gold buttons.
 “I just begun reading it,” the pig answered, not laying down the book.  “You read this?”
 Fox shook his head and shrugged.  “Yeah, it’s okay.  Don’t want to read it again.  Too boring.”
 Pigma snorted a chuckle.  “What job you do around here?”
 “Oh I do various chores.  I often clean and scrub the arwings, stuff like that.  If we have guests around, I’m often the one who gives them what they need, you know?  Sometimes I hate it, but my Dad pays me for doing it.  I would rather fly those cool arwings, but my Dad won’t let me.”
 “Smart guy.  You think you can be as good as your father?”
 “Oh yes, yes, I will be.  I’m sure of it.”
 Pigma finally laid down the book.  His eyes had a well-just-you-wait look to it.  “Sure of it?  But you’re still young.”
 “What’s age got to do with it?”
 “Well, a lot of things might happen to you in the future that might change your mind.  I wanted to be a sailor, but here I am as a pilot.”
 “But I thought your Dad forced you into the Academy.”
 Pigma silently grumbled.  “That’s different.  What do you want?”
 “I just want to see if you’re fine, that’s all.”
 “Do I look like I need company?  If you don’t have anything else to say, then good bye.”
 Fox stood there, a bit perplexed.  He then grunted and left the room.  Pigma shook his head and went back to his reading.

 “How long till we get there?”
 “Another half hour,” James answered Peppy in the control room.  “I think it’s time we leave the Great Fox and attack the rogues by arwing.”
 Peppy agreed.  The Great Fox may have strong defenses, but it only has one laser and it won’t be effective against the faster Protector jets that the rogues fly.  “It’s about time.  Let’s see if Pigma can be a good pilot that he says he is.  ROB?”
 The taller, stockier robot handling the controls behind them turned to faced them.  “Yes?”
 “You know the drill.  Halt the ship and make the arwings ready in two minutes.”
 “Yes, sir.”
 James and Peppy rushed out of the room and down the stairs as the alarms went off inside the Great Fox.  By the time they got to the hangar, Pigma was already in his arwing cockpit, waiting for them.  James got inside the arwing in the middle, and Peppy got in his to James’s right.
 James quickly donned his comlink.  “Pigma, Peppy, report.”
 “Peppy here.  All systems go.”
 “Pigma.  Everything’s fine here.”
 “Blast off in five, four, three, two, one..”
 The engines of the arwings fired up, and their roar was music to their ears.  In a split second, the three arwings rushed forward in blinding speed.  Pigma was in space before he knew it, and though he was jubilant to make a barrel roll for fun, he decided to keep in formation.  The Great Fox was quickly becoming a dot amid stars, nebula gases, and empty space as they flew further and further from it.
 Pigma couldn’t help but to yell.  “Yahooo!  This jet kicks butt!”
 Peppy laughed.  “You haven’t seen nothing yet!  Faster than your training jets, aren’t they?”
 “Sheez, by threefold probably!”
 “These arwings are actually twice the speed as the Protector-class jets, but they are still primitive,” replied James.  “Maybe in couple years, more advanced arwings can be made.”
 “But why are there only three of them?  Why not make an entire squadron?”
 “We’re dealing with brand new technology here.  I had great difficulty with these when they first came out because they were so different than my old jet.  You might adjust to it easier because you have more knowledge of the arwing’s abilities.  Besides, it’s money, money, money, if you know what I mean.”
 “Hyper-powered lasers, a higher strength in armor and deflective defenses,...boy this is heavy stuff here!”
 “State-of-the-art, Pigma.  Being in the Starfox team may be the best thing that will ever happen to you,” said Peppy.  “I know that from my own experiences, though James can be a bit pushy in certain situations.”
 “Hey!  Don’t insult your best friend here!”  James responded in a jokingly manner.  “Keep doing that and I’ll fire a laser or two at you!  Ha, ha, ha!”
 “If you do that, then Fox will tell Vixy.  Hey Pigma, if you think Pepper can be mean if you get in trouble, then try to be Vixy’s husband and get in trouble!”
 “Oh very funny, Peppy.  Vixy can scold me for anything I do if she wants to.  We love each other, and nothing will change that!  Oh, I see the space station now.”
 Pigma was surprised of being there already.  “What?  But I thought we’re supposed to be an half hour away from them!”
 “That’s in Great Fox speed, Pigma.  Trying to compare the Great Fox to an arwing in speed terms is like comparing a rocket at full blast to a bowling ball at the gutter.”
 Pigma nodded, and noticed the space station on the orbit of Katina.  It has a sphere-like structure, with huge rods sticking out on the center.  It was rather comical in appearance, but the Protector jets flying around it were not.  There must be about fifty of those rogue jets around, all ready to shoot down a couple of arwings.
 “Switch to all-range mode,” barked James.  “Prepare to charge lasers.  Pigma, you ever been in a real dogfight before?”
 “Um, no I haven’t.  Except in the Academy.”
 “This is much different.  Believe me, I know.  Much more scarier.  Just keep calm and you’ll get through it.”
 “Yeah, and if you need help, call for us.”
 Too occupied with anxiousness to respond, Pigma grunted and charged up his lasers.  A ball of green flame formed in front of his jet’s nose, ready to be released.  The rogue jets, spotting their intruders, began to face them.  They seem to taunt each other on who’s going to fire first.
 Pigma’s heart pounded, sucking blood quickly, and he sweated on the forehead and claws.  His breathing partly clouded the canopy window in front of him.
 He could hear James’s fierce order.  “Fire, team!  Fire at will!!”
 Pigma yelled his battle cry as his locked laser blasted forward, homing towards his target like a moth to a flame.  Three explosions ended the lives of three rogue pilots, and soon the rapid-fire lasers began to criss-cross between the two warring parties.  Several more rogues were shot into flames, and Pigma fired his lasers for all that was worth.  He dodged left and right, zig-zagging, barrel rolling through the dogfight that was growing more intense.  Explosions distracted him with their bright flashes, but he knew those flashes consumed another rogue pilot.
 “Peppy!  Pigma!  I got two on my tail!”
 James’s arwing was being hit by two rogue jets chasing him, following his every move.  Pigma U-turned and blasted a stray rogue before he got behind the rogue chasers.
 “Alright you two idiots, stay off of him!”  Pigma warned as he fired at the rogues.  One of the jets burst into flames, and exploded, causing the other rogue next to him to swerve right suddenly.  Pigma followed the surviving rogue, letting loose another barrage of lasers.
 James knew that Pigma had just saved his life, but he was too busy to thank him.  The Starfox team continued to shoot down one rogue jet after another, till all were finished.  Now, all the resistence left was in the space station itself.
 “Alright!  Let’s dock and fight off the rogues inside!”
 Pigma resisted that order.  “But why can’t we use our nova bombs and blow them apart?”
 “Pigma!”  It was Peppy.  “That station has innocent people inside!  Scientists!”
 “If we intrude inside that station, then those rogues will kill off the hostages!  No, my plan is much better!”
 Pigma faced his jet toward the station, and with one push of the button, fired off a powerful but slow-moving nova bomb at the station.
 “Pigma!  No!”  James yelled, horrified on what his own comrade had just done.  In a last ditch effort, he fired a frantic display of lasers at the bomb, hoping to destroy it before it could reach the target.  The bomb suddenly exploded in mid-space, sending out blue fumes of light.
 Peppy banged his fist on his controls.  It was rare for him to be in uncontrollable anger, but then again, this situation was rare also.  “Pigma, you fool!  You shouldn’t have done that!  You would have killed innocents in there!”
 “I would have also killed the rogues!  Isn’t that’s what we were sent here for?  If we came inside that station, we would have endangered our own lives!”
 “We got hostages to rescue, and when we get back to Great Fox, you and I will have a long talk!”  James barked angrily.  “The Gods damn them all!  That was a serious mistake, Pigma!  A very serious mistake!”
 The pig didn’t bother to respond.  The three arwings docked at the lucky space station, their minds toiled and turbulent.  Thankfully, the docking entrance was empty when the team got inside, their phasers armed and ready.  However, when Peppy and Pigma faced each other, Peppy tried to choke him.
 “Hey!  Peppy!  Calm down!”  James barked as he tried to wring Pigma free of the hare’s angry clutches.  Peppy let go of the pig and stood a few feet away, sneering at Pigma with cold eyes.
 “Now’s not the time to fight.  Split up and when you find hostages, give them weapons and make sure they follow you at all times.  We meet here at this spot in ten minutes.  Understand?”
 Peppy and Pigma nodded, and went off their ways.  James let out a sigh.  Already, there was friction on his team.  He hoped that Pigma won’t cause any more trouble.

 Stupid idiot.  Why did we hire him?  Peppy thought as he roamed the quiet hallways of the space station, eyes hungry for the sight of a hostage or a rogue.  The corridors were well-lit, and that can be like a double-edged sword.  While Peppy may be able to see the rogues better in the light, they can see him quite easily as well.
 After a minute, the hare sensed fear vibrating from the room just beside him.  Peppy was said to have such telepathic powers, but even now, he couldn’t fully understand them.  He stood by the room’s door, and gave it a few soft knocks.  Moments later, the intercom next to the door buzzed in.
 “Hello?  Who is it?”  A gruff voice asked.
 Peppy decided not to answer, and hoped that the rogue would open the door.  He continued to wait, his phaser close to his face.  The sliding door opened, and Peppy lurched in front of it, phaser aimed at eye level.  Instantly, a lion rogue had a hole on his chest as the laser cut right through his heart, and the only other rogue soon found himself with a hole through his brain.
 Peppy rushed in and rescued the only hostage in the room:  a turtle in a brown trench coat of a Katina scientist.  The turtle shook Peppy’s paws gleefully.  “Thank you, thank you.  But how did you know we were here?  We didn’t make any sound.”
 “I hear things that can’t be heard by my ears alone,” the hare quickly said.  He wrestled a phaser off the paws of the lion and gave it to the scientist.  “You know how to use this?”
 “A little.  All it takes is to aim and fire, isn’t it?”
 “For now, that’s enough for you.  How many hostages should there be in here?”
 “Nine, I believe, including me.  I also counted fourteen rogues, but I think I’m wrong.”
 Peppy nodded and pushed a button on his comlink.  “James, Pigma, report in please.”
 “James here.”
 “Pigma here.”
 “My first rescued hostage says that there should be about eight other hostages in the station.  Also expect around fourteen rogues.  Peppy out.”
 “What power level should I set on my phaser?  Stun?”
 “Try level two.  That lion is wearing armor, and level two is the minimal power to cut through it’s metal.  Follow me, and warn me if you see or hear anything, such as another hostage or rogue, you understand?”
 The turtle nodded and they were on their way, Peppy leading.

 The last of the four rogues in the storage room was hit in the neck by a lucky shot by Pigma.  The four dead rogues laid on the floor, but they already did the damage.  All around the room of crates, there were blast marks caused by lasers, and Pigma stood up from his crate barrier displeased.  The two hostages in the room were also lifeless, caught in the cross fire.  Their blood mingled with the blood of the rogues, and the room smelled of death.
 Pigma sighed as he got out of the room.  “Stupid morons.  Why must they be so dumb to be caught in the cross fire?  They’re supposed to be scientists!”
 It has been nine minutes since he had gone on his own, but he still had yet to rescue one hostage.  The two hostages in the storage room were the only ones he had found, and now they’re worm feed.  He decided to give up and go back to his arwing.  He was on the other side of the station, and his running and dodging lasers had made him exhausted.  “This is a waste of time!  If James haven’t interfered by destroying that nova bomb, I would be relaxing in the Great Fox by now!  But no...he wants to save the scientists.  ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste’, he might say.  Stupid fox!”

 “So, um, what happened at the end, Pigma?”  Jonabara asked, drinking the last of his soda.  Pigma burped, and patted on his fat stomach.
 “Well, James and Peppy rescued three hostages only, and there was a Katina transporter waiting for them by the arwings.  We managed to kill off all the rogues, and we got the reward money.  I wanted to have the money split equally and I can use my share to have some fun in Titania, but James once again barged in.  He says no, and he made it clear that he wants the money to help repay his stinking debt.  Gosh, I hate that guy!  Peppy too!”
 Jonabara checked his tape recorder to see if there’s enough tape left.  “What do you hate about James, Peppy, and Fox during that time?”
 Pigma laid back on his chair, and grinned.  “James is a fun-loving so-called immortal hero that thinks he can order me around.  Peppy is a brainless twit that has buck teeth and crossed eyes.  He says that he’s wise, and the public, since they are so stupid, agreed with him, but I know that he’s not wise.  I’ll bet right now that he regrets hiring me to be in Starfox.  That must be stupid of you, eh Peppy?  Ha, ha, ha, ha!  Now, Fox....what can I say about you?  Oh, he’s a brat who thinks he could be as great as his nim-rod father.  There are a bunch of other things I hate about those idiots, but I don’t want to take more space on your tape than I really have to.”
 “I do have one last tape left.  Um, how long were you in the Starfox team?”
 “Four years.  Four long, foul-smelling years.  I’m sure James and Peppy hates me, and I’m extremely sure that the public hates me.  I went on several missions with those morons, and many times I saved their lives, but they take the credit.  They deserved to be killed.  They just deserved to be.”
 “How long has this interview been going?”
 “Five hours now.  Are we getting to the betrayal part next?”
 “Yes.  This will be the last section of this interview.  Now, I want you to start at the time when you received that offer from the Venom spy.”
 Pigma’s grin went wider.  “This is going to be my favorite part of the interview, Jonabara!  Mwa, ha, ha!”

Chapter Seven
 “I never felt any feeling of guilt when I betrayed James.  I did what I thought was right.”
         --Pigma Dengar, Starwolf

 Pigma nursed his green cider casually in a saloon somewhere in Corneria City.  He was alone in the late hours of night, his comrades resting in some motel as the Great Fox was being repaired after a failed mission.  No one was hurt, but all the hostages were killed, along with the criminals.  The Great Fox suffered some engine problems, but it was expected to be as good as new soon.  Just yesterday, Pigma had received a secret message from a lizard that claimed to be from a “secret place” far from Corneria.  It was only a note saying to be at this saloon at this hour.
 A hooded figure came up to Pigma, carrying a suitcase.  It was indeed a lizard, his scaled green skin marred by yellowish slash marks on his face, and his yellow eyes gleamed in the low- lit saloon.  His voice was like stone scraping against stone.  “You Pigma Dengar of the Starfox team?”
 “Yes, that’s me.  I got a note from you yesterday-”
 “I have come with an offer from Emperor Andross.”
 “Emperor?  You mean that crazy doctor had turned ruler?”
 The lizard’s eyes narrowed.  “Fool.  Say that in front of his exalted appearance and you will have your head cut off and thrown into a deep, dark pit.  Emperor Andross is now ruler of Venom, formerly named Edena.  Within a few years, Andross will rise into the spotlight once again, this time to declare war against the scum of Corneria and their pitiful allies.  All will tremble before his Majesty’s wrath and power, and all will fear his very name.”
 Pigma almost snorted in amusement, but refrained.  “So what’s the offer?”
 “The Emperor knows of your pain and suffering that you have due to the ridicule of the Cornerian public.  He himself was in that position.  This offer will give you the chance to fight back against the Cornerian public and exact revenge.  You can be a respected member among the Venomian Military of Andross, and enjoy luxuries beyond your imagination.”
 “Luxuries and respect, huh?  I can imagine enough.”
 “You’ll get it, and much more.  Gold, jewels, a fancy room for you to live in, and all the food you can eat.  The soldiers will adore and respect you, for you will have a commanding rank.  That is, if you accept the offer.”
 “Well, you still haven’t really told me what the offer was.”
 “If you accept it, then this is what you must do.  Andross will allow suspicious movement around Venom space, so that the Cornerian scouts can spot it and report to General Pepper.  The Starfox team might be sent to investigate.  Once in Venom, you must capture James and Peppy.  Once you do so, then Andross will know that you have decided to join him, and therefore you shall be rewarded everything that I had told you before.  If you fail in that mission or refuse the offer, then Andross will consider you an enemy, and all of his enemies will die in a couple of years when he strikes.  Now’s the time to make the choice.  Will you or will you not accept the offer to join in the Venomian Military?”
 Surprisingly, it took little time for Pigma to make a choice, but he was still skeptical.  “What’s in that suitcase?”
 “Proof that Andross will give you all that you wish,” the lizard said and laid the black suitcase on the table and opened it.  Inside, there must be about a million credit dollars.  “Accept this offer, and all this will be yours right now.”
 Pigma’s greedy eyes sparkled.  While it was shameful to betray anyone, his greed overpowered his judgement, as well as his urge for revenge.  “Okay.  I accept.”
 “Good, good,” the lizard said, giving him the suitcase with the money in it.  “General Pepper might call for you and the other Starfox members two days from now.  Be ready then.”
 Pigma nodded, hugging the suitcase like a doll as the lizard quietly left the saloon.

 “Is that confirmed, General?”
 The hound on the monitor screen nodded.  “Yes.  My scouts confirmed it.  Can you investigate this for me?”
 James rubbed his chin, Peppy watching his leader anxiously.  “Alright, General.  We will go to this Venom and try to find out what’s going on.  James out.”
 The screen with Pepper went blank, and James touched a button on his captain’s chair.  “Corneria Base, is the Great Fox ready to go?”
 A chipper voice answered.  “Yes, she’s all ready to go, sir!”
 James nodded.  “Alright.  We will launch soon.”
 “Where is Pigma?”  Peppy asked.  In the four years which they had been together, he and Pigma had never recovered their friendship from that incident with the Katina science space station long ago.
 “Probably in his hotel room.  Fox is going to stay with his grandmother right?”
 “Yes,” the hare answered.  Ever since Vixy died several years ago by a mysterious explosion, Fox had been more and more reluctant to fly with his father in the Great Fox.  “I will call Pigma to come here and we’ll get going.”
 Minutes later, Pigma hid the black suitcase under his bed in the Great Fox, and was already sweating as James told him about the suspicious sightings around Venom.  As they were cruising through space, the anxious yet nervous pig laid down on his bed, impatiently waiting for them to reach Venom.  He laughed internally, knowing that revenge would be near.
 Venom was a brownish, cloudy planet when the three arwings got there.  So far, there were no sightings of any jets, but there were numerous signs of activity according to Peppy’s scanner.
 “What’s going on in there?  I thought Ede- I mean, Venom, was an empty paradise!  Now, it’s heavily polluted and there are heavy signs of industry in there!  Who had done this with the knowledge of Corneria?”  Peppy asked, shocked at his findings.  “James, you think we should go inside Venom and investigate further?”
 “That sounds reasonable...wait a minute!  Jets at 9:00!”
 Four orange colored jets of unknown class were coming at them in a seemly attack formation.  They looked like Protector class jets, but were more streamlined and cone-shaped.
 “What are those jets?  Pigma, do you know what’s those are?”
 Pigma, a hundred yards behind James’s arwing, didn’t respond.  His claws sweated, eyes focusing on his target.
 James suddenly heard a beep, and that meant that he was now being locked on.  He looked around for the culprit, then noticed Pigma’s arwing having a green ball of flame forming in front of it.  “Pigma!  What the hell are you doing?  Pigma!”
 Pigma snickered.  “Goodbye, James!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”
 James’s pupils on his eyes grew smaller as he watched in horror as the charged up laser was released and coming right at his arwing.  “Pigma....you fool.....”

 Pigma laughed so loud that it echoed around his room.  Jonabara raised his small eyebrow.  “But you didn’t kill James just then?”
 “Oh no, no, an arwing can withstand a single ball of a charged laser.  The four Invader-class jets took Peppy and James by surprise, and they were captured.”
 “What happened to Peppy and James?”
 “Well, the old fart of a rabbit was sent to rot in jail, and James was sent to a special room where there was a doctor armed with a drill.  I was in the room at the time also.  James couldn’t take the pain that the doctor had drilled holes into, so the feeble wimp died.  Sadly, Peppy escaped.  However, there will be a time when that hare will be shot down by yours truly, and the Cornerians that once teased and ridiculed me will suffer the consequences.  Ha, ha, ha, ha!”
 “Well, looks like the interview is over,” the meerkat said as he stood up from the couch.  He shook claws with Pigma.  “It has been well, fun and educational.”
 “Thank you.  I had a fun time too.  When will it be posted on your newspaper?”
 “Tomorrow, maybe the day after.  Well, goodbye.”
 “Bye Jonabara,” Pigma responded as the meerkat left his room.  When everything was quiet again, the Cornerian Public Enemy #1 laid down on his bed, reliving old memories.

The End