StarFox Fanfic - As the Raven flies

By Zoe E.L Stead.

All characters that are not mine and any StarFox related themes are copyright Nintendo and

their respective creators.

If anyone wishes to use my characters, (Raven Helix / Jiles Helix / Tregar Folessa / Dagno

Wellen or Caprin Lyar) please ask me first. Any suggestions or comments about this story are

more than welcome at Zoe.cool@talk21.com. Enjoy!

As the Raven flies

"Fox, what the heck do you think you're doing?" Falco's screeched over the com.

"Relax Falco, I've been waiting to try this out for ages."

Fox pulled his Arwing into a loop the loop, lasers blazing as they charged. He pulled off

sharply

when his nosecone was almost vertical to the ground, coming up right behind the all too

familiar

grey panelled engines of the Wolfen II fighter, that had been on his tail only moments before.

"Eat hot laser Wolf," Fox grinned, letting loose a salvo of blue, hyper laser fire.

Wolf felt the blow as it wiped out his shields and took down the right engine in one blow. He

snarled back at the fox over the com, his eye-patched face coming in over the static, radiating

contempt at his arch rival, "Damn you Fox! StarWolf reform, we're getting out of here."

Flicking the shades from the bridge of his snout, Fox smiled mockingly into the vidicom.

"See ya later Wolf! Just think, next time maybe you might be somewhat of a challenge!"

There was no reply. Wolf had cut him off.

Four battered shapes broke off from their StarFox counterparts and got into formation behind

Wolf.

The ships finally became faint blips on the radar as they left for the outer atmosphere of

Katina, to

the whoops of delight from Fox's comrades. The young leader smiled smugly. James would

have

been proud of that one. He had been working on that manoeuver in training for weeks and

was

extremely glad it had worked out exactly as he had planned..

"Whoo! Where did you learn moves like that Fox?" Slippy buzzed him in his usual high

pitched

accent, "I don't remember that being taught in flight academy!"

"Don't you recognize it?!" Falco sniffed disdainfully, "He's been at that stupid manoeuver for

the

past month! You're lucky you pulled it off Fox."

"Just coz you couldn't," Peppy scolded him, as always. To them he was like the father of the

group,

despite having to live with Falco's constant quips about him retiring.

"Fox you did a marvellous job. Just like when I used to fly with your father!"

"Thanks Pep," Fox replied, "Right. Now, back to business. I don't need to do an all aircraft

report',

so let's go take out that base!" Flicking his shades back across his snout, and pulling a barrel

roll

for style, he called into the com, "It's time to rock and roll."

Fox was defiantly on form.

Great Fox was in orbit around Corneria when four Arwing fighters screeched into the

docking bay,

their afterburners dying down until only the low hum of the engines could be heard. Fox

pressed the

cockpit release button and the main screen swished smoothly back with a hydraulic hiss.

Jumping

out onto the gantry and removing his helmet, he waited for the others to join him.

"Looks like Andross 'll be set back a few months for sure!" Slippy grinned, "Fancy him

trying to

build a base on Katina!"

"Yeah, we wiped it out no problem," Falco grinned enthusiastically. He was in a good mood

for a

change, having counted shooting down three more fighters than Fox that day. He felt he was

justified for a little good humour, seeing as he had already buzzed fox six times, reminding

him of

the fact, and managed to rile him into a bout in the gym later that evening.

"Guys, debrief. Come on," Fox called to them, tapping his paw impatiently as he stood by the

hanger

door, "The sooner we get this over..."

"Gees!" Falco exclaimed, "No need to boss us around! Ah, well, I suppose you must be

feeling a bit

soar after....."

Peppy glared at him as if saying "give it a rest". It had not been just Fox who had been

putting up

with Falco's jibes for most of the mission.

Fox just sighed. He was used to it.

Placing his helmet down on the impressive glass table in Great Fox's debriefing room, Fox

took his

usual place at the head of the table. Tapping a few buttons on the arm of his chair he opened

up a

link with the Cornerian Army Base.

"Put me through to General Pepper please. It's Fox McCloud."

"One moment please Mr McCloud," the secretary informed him. Static took over the

overhead

screen for a second, before General Pepper's canine face popped into view.

"StarFox, Attention!" Fox barked, snapping a salute, the rest of his team doing the same.

"At ease StarFox!" Pepper commanded, "And well done. I heard what happened on Katina

from

Commander Grey."

"Yes Sir, mission accomplished. We met up with Bill's Husky Unit and took out Andross's

base.

Stats are on the way."

"Yeah, and this time remember you're paying for four of us!"

Peppy kicked Falco under the table as Pepper gave him an icy stare. Ignoring the arrogant

bird the

General continued, "Yes, anyway, StarFox, good job. However, I have another mission for

you, news

just came in."

"We're only just got back from this one," Falco whispered to Slippy. The toad nodded in

agreement.

"Remember Solar?" Pepper asked.

"How could we forget?" they all echoed. Being almost burnt to death was not an experience

any of

the team thought they would forget in a hurry.

"Yes, Solar. When you took out Andross's Bio-weapon, we imagined there was nothing left

of it in

form of debris. However we have found out otherwise. If the Cornerian Army could lay its

paws on

that weapon it would be most beneficial to our cause. I believe Slippy Toad has some

experience

in this field of work, he would be most welcome to join the science team after remains are

collected."

"Slippy stop drooling!" Falco chided when he saw the toad's eyes light up at the mention of

being

able to work on an original Venomian Bio-weapon."

Ignoring his teammate, Fox nodded solemnly, "We'll be up for it. When's the mission planned

for?"

"I'm taking a ship to Great Fox four days from now. I want to personally brief you myself."

"Personally myself?"

"Falco I'm getting pretty fed up with you......." Peppy grunted.

"Yes Sir!" Fox barked again, snapping a salute, "We'll expect your arrival."

"Alright Fox, StarFox, Pepper out."

The screen went blank and the whole crew slumped into their seats, giving a huge sigh or

relief.

"Falco, when will you learn that you can't insult General Pepper on the com!" Peppy sighed,

reaching for the water pitcher on the table.

"Fine," the Avonian smiled, "I'll just wait until he gets here himself!"

Even Peppy had to smile at that.

"Debrief over I guess!" Fox said standing up, "Uh Solar? Not again! Right guys I suggest you

get

as much R&R as possible until then."

They all got up to leave for the lounge.

"Where do you think you're going Falco?"

He looked around at Fox, a frown on his face. "What d'ya mean?"

"We have a score to settle. Gym! Now!"

That evening Fox was sitting in his quarters on Great Fox. On his lap was his flight journal.

He had

just finished writing up that days mission and was flicking through some of his other battles

and

dogfights, all listed there in his usual neat paw-writing. There had been quite a few, that was

for

sure.

"Good thing I didn't want a quiet life," he muttered to himself, turning the pages and smiling

when

he saw two small photos, paper-clipped next to the captions, 'Dad takes me to Flight

Academy' and

'Me and Bill at Katina.'

Fox looked at the remembrance of his father with a sigh. There Fox was in his striking, red,

recruit's

uniform, a slightly awed expression on his face, standing next to the figure of his father,

shades on

as ever, giving a slight, yet certainly proud, smile. Of corse, James had on the StarFox

uniform, the

very same one that Fox wore now, the only exception being on his left lapel hung the

Cornerian

Cross. This was the highest award anyone could receive. He had been decorated two days

before that

picture was taken for outstanding bravery and service to Corneria. He had taken down over

fifty

Venomian fighters by himself on a Venom raid, and had come back with only a slightly

scuffed

Arwing and half power shields.

Fox shook his head sadly. Would he ever be as good as that? Peppy certainly thought so, and

apparently Falco when he caught him a left hook earlier that evening. Their little spar had

proved

an interesting match. It ended up a draw. He and Falco were, after all, close friends, even

though

Falco would be the last one to admit it.

Then another picture caught his eye. This time it was him and his Academy pal Raven Helix.

They

were giving each other high fives with one paw, while in the other the unmistakable

Cornerian

insignia stuck out from a sheet of paper with the words 'Passed with Honours' plastered

across

them.

Fox closed the journal and put it back on the shelf. He seemed unaware that there were tears

in his

eyes. As he stood by the long, vertical window next to his bunk, looking out into space, he

thought

of Raven, and his previous carefree mood was wiped out in a second. Raven had been shot

down

on the

second dogfight they had been in, against StarWolf if Fox remembered correctly. It was the

first

time he had met the team behind the senseless torture and murder of his father. Fox believed

that

if he had been paying attention and not out for unconditional revenge he might have been

able to

save her. She had been a good candidate for a Cornerian Captain and was due to sit her test

that

week. She had been a fighter with amazing potential, not to mention a good friend of all the

StarFox

team.

Fox banged his fist against the metallic bulkhead. He had lost too many people in his life,

and with

this upcoming mission to Solar he wondered if he would ever lead them badly and it would

cost

them one of their lives. Ever since Raven went down he had never forgiven himself, despite

it not

being his fault. He only felt it was that way.

"Computer, locate Jiles Helix."

"JILES HELIX IS IN ENGINEERING, LEVEL 2, SECTION 3B."

Rubbing a paw across his eyes and finding them surprisingly somewhat damp, Fox opened a

small

draw, took a carefully wrapped package out, and left the room, heading in the direction of

Level 2.

"Fox! Great to see you!" the Arctic fox greeted the much younger station leader as he walked,

somewhat hesitantly into Great Fox's engineering bay, "What's the

problem?"

"Jiles hi, I just wanted to see you. After all I don't get much time to see the engineers who

work on

my Arwing do I now?"

"She's a beaut," Jiles smiled patting the Arwing's shiny panelling, "In fact I've been making a

few

mods on yours. Wanna see them?"

"Sure," Fox said following Raven's father.

"Seeing as you're heading off to Solar I thought I'd raise the temperature threshold, it'll take

up to

14'000 degrees. Then there's the Nova II bomb, my speciality. Twice as powerful as the Nova

I, that's

why we can only fit in one at the moment. It's a lock on missile, and can detonate on your

command. I was gonna tell you tomorrow, before Pepper gets here, so you can have a few

test runs.

Oh and there's one other thing," Jiles laughed, opening the cockpit and pointed to a little flap,

"Seeing as you've taken to wearing James's shades, I thought you'd need somewhere to put

them

when you ain't blowing StarWolf out the sky," he paused. "Fox, what's wrong, you look a

little......."

"Do you blame me for Raven's death?" he just blurted out.

"So this is what this visit's all about," the other fox said, wiping his paws across an oil rag

tucked

into his overalls, and leading Fox to sit down with the other.

"When Raven went down I knew that she had been with the best. She had got to be flying

with you

and that was what she always wanted. I blame you no more than I blame her. She had an

ambitious

spirit, and a vendetta against Wolf.. You know why, and in a way I suppose it's my-."

"But I should have saved her!" Fox exclaimed, "I'm team leader, it's my job to look after the

team.

And don't say it has anything to do with you, I understand why you were worried I wouldn't

understand once I knew that my Head mechanic had once been a Venomian engineer."

Jiles sighed, spreading his paws helplessly, "I can't make you feel better Fox, not if you feel

like

that. I loved my daughter with all my heart, but I knew she died the way any pilot would want

to go

if they had to, in a dogfight, and was mourned by the friends who loved her."

Fox sniffed.

"Look," Jiles said, pointing to Fox's fighter, "Take her out for a spin. I remember whenever

Raven

was upset or afraid she went out for a fly. She told me she felt free up there with-"

"No worries in the world," Fox finished for him, "Yeah, I think I'll take you up on that."

Within a few minutes Fox's Arwing screamed out into the abyss of space, afterburners

flaming as

they backfired fuel into the engine chamber and ignited it in an explosion that made the

Arwing

famous for its 0 to Mack speed record in a matter of seconds. In the cockpit Fox McCloud

found he

felt better already. He pulled double loops, U turns, and a few moves even Falco would gawp

at,

letting his troubled feelings flow away from him through his flying. That was until he found

his

mind was wandering, a great danger to a fighter-pilot, but he could not help it and soon Fox

found

he was reliving the day he had tried to block from his mind for the past few years.

Fox McCloud, the newly made leader of the famous StarFox Team was flying over Corneria

City,

four wingmen behind him in precise formation. He found himself reaching for the vidicom

and

barking over the link "All Aircraft report!"

"Falco here, I'm fine."

"I'm right behind you Fox," Peppy's friendly face beamed at him.

"My systems are all functioning with-"

"Yeah, Slips okay, Raven here Fox. Let's go blow some bogeys to kingdom come!"

"Easy Raven. You'll get you're chance."

As the five Arwings flew over the City, a huge vidiscreen blazed up a message GOOD LUCK

STARFOX, at which Fox smiled inwardly. The team had been called out by General Pepper

to deal

with some Venomian fighters heading towards the city. Soon enough the fighters came onto

the LRS

and Fox ordered they took his favourite attack pattern, devised by his father, and called quite

originally the 'McCloud Arrow'. The Arwing's ran circles around the Venomian fighters,

felling

them like flies.

"Ye-har!" Raven yelled as she barrel rolled and took down a fighter, watching as the pilot

bailed out.

Fox pulled up next to her so they could see each other through the tetraglass cockpit screens.

He

winked at her roguishly.

"Wanna go for it togther?"

"Sure."

"Those two there, I'll take the right one."

"I'll take the left."

Two fighters flying parallel to each other shot arrow-like towards two unaware Venomians

breaking

out of formation. Easy pickings for the two foxes. Dual lasers went blazing into the fighters,

their

aim deadly and right on target. Fox and Raven cheered as they U turned in perfect

synchronization

and headed back to the main group.

"Rob, report!" Fox called into his mouthpiece.

"ALL FIGHTERS DESTROYED."

"Cool!" Falco butted in, before Great Fox's robot could finish "We sure kicked some tail."

"Don't be too cocky StarFox!"

Fox and Falco both exclaimed at the same time, "Who was that?"

"A face suddenly grew from the static and flashed onto Fox's screen. It was that of a wolf

with an

eyepatch, and had more hatred in that one eye than he had ever seen before in two.

"How rude, I really must apologize," the wolf said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, "I really

should

have introduced myself. I go by the name Wolf O'Donnel. I'm the leader of the StarWolf and

I'm

gonna blow you into oblivion Fox McCloud."

"Something tells me these guys aren't friendly!" Falco exclaimed finding a fighter on his tail,

its

lasers skimming across his left wing.

"Team, stick together!" Fox commanded smoothly, as he rolled his Arwing skilfully on one

side,

taking a sharp right, knowing this manoeuver usually confused his enemies. But Wolf was

still on

his tail and it looked like he was staying there.

"Who are you?" Fox growled as he felt a shot from Wolf hit his Arwing's shields, "You one

of

Andross's minions?"

A cruel laugh met fox's ears. "Minions? No renegades, perhaps. Maybe my wingman can

explain

better, Fox. Pigma? What d' you say?"

"Pigma Dengar?" Peppy cried as the voice he hoped he'd never hear again crackled across his

headset's speakers.

"Yup Peppy you old has-been. Let's see if I can send ya to meet James."

Fox felt his blood boil in his veins, as he suddenly realized where he had heard of StarWolf.

They

were hardly known when he had taken over from James, the only member he knew had been

Pigma,

for obvious reasons. There had been reports from Venom, that Pigma had several other so

called

friends who had also been involved in the torture and subsequent death of James. These must

be

them.

"Wolf O'Donnel?" Raven cut in on Fox's thought for a moment,

"Raven?"

Wolf was so surprised at hearing her voice he almost lost Fox for a second.

"Raven Helix, we meet again," he snarled, trying to locate the blip of her Arwing on his

radar,

realising Fox was not his only problem now, "Of course, I remember you. How could I

forget? Met

on Titania, used to go around together, somewhat of an item back then weren't we?"

"Hardly call it that," she sneered back, shooting at Andrew's engine, after picking him out as

her

target when StarWolf had arrived. She could have taken him down ages back, and had simply

been

toying with him while Fox conversed with Wolf, "I kicked your lupine butt half way across

the

desert after what you did to Dad! And I'm more than ready to do it again."

"Jiles should have finished those Wolfen designs without me having to torture him. Lucky for

us,

Andross rebuilt them from the prints he left behind. Still alive is he? Hope that leg of his isn't

giving

him any jip, I'd be so upset if it was. I'm sure a little oil would sort it out."

Fox, who had been listening to their conversation had no idea that Raven and Wolf had a

history and

when he heard about Jiles, he gasped. It could only be the same Jiles Helix, who had become

the

recent addition to StarFox engineering. Raven's father must have once worked on Venomian

craft,

at least that's what Fox had gathered from the way they were talking, and as for his leg, it was

mechanical. He had told Fox it had come about from an accident with a hydraulic piston,

now

however, it sounded more like Wolf had been the accident.

Finding that the fighter behind him had dropped it's velocity, Fox pulled a loop, hoping to

take Wolf

by surprise. He had had quite enough of being chased.

The preoccupied Wolf suddenly found his location radar screaming at him. There was a ship

right

on top of him,

"What the heck!?"

Fox's paw quivered over the green FIRE button on his control stick as Wolf tried to roll his

plane

this way and that, trying to loose Fox, only to find that within a few seconds the roles had

been

reversed and Fox was sticking to him like glue.

Fox's sights turned red as they locked on to Wolf's shield generator, but just as he was about

to fire,

a frantic plea for help came over the com.

"Fox help me!"

Fox saw Slippy's ship was battered and smoking, another hit and he would be out for sure.

Andrew

had escaped Raven as she had pulled off towards Wolf and had found Slippy a perfect,

unmarked

target.

"Raven, think you can handle Wolf?" Fox called over the private link.

"No problem," she replied

"I think we have a lot to talk about when we get back."

Raven gritted her teeth, as Fox pulled back sharply and went to help Slippy. She and her

father had

not been too honest about their pasts, it was true, but there were more important things at

paw than

worrying over what might happen later. In fact the most important thing on Raven's mind

was

blowing up the fiend who had, at close range, tried to kill her father with a laser blaster.

Fox pulled off behind Andrew and fired, easily hitting him with a barrage of shots, making

Andross's nephew change his course. Falco was coping alright against some guy called Leon,

so Fox

had no worries there. They seemed matched in fighting skills and were spiralling off all over

the sky

in pursuit of one another. Meanwhile Peppy and Pigma were locked in a grim struggle some

way

away to the far right of Fox's view, the hare using all his years of skill trying to take down the

betrayer of the old StarFox Team.

Suddenly Andrew's shields went and he knew he was in for it. Screaming to his team mates

he took

off for higher ground, and no doubt back to his uncle. Now Fox turned his attention to Pigma.

He

had no real problem with Wolf, he just seemed like an overstuffed braggart who had a thing

against

him. Pigma was where Fox's personal hatred really lay.

"Fox I gotta leave, that slimy-"

Peppy's message faded into static as Fox saw the hare's Arwing spluttering away from the

battle

scene. There was a problem with his G-diffuser and clouds of thick grey smoke steamed from

the

back of the plane.

"Looks like it's me and you slime-ball," Fox snarled, locking onto Pigma's tail. The pig hardly

seemed worried and just laughed evilly.

"I wouldn't count on it kid, I'm gonna send you to see your Daddy. Did I mention he screamed

real

good before he died!?"

The words burned in fox's ears, "Why you......."

Seeing he was getting a reaction from the young leader, Pigma continued his torment,

making up

atrocious lies about James's fate, hoping to provoke Fox into making a huge mistake. In a

way he

did, as Fox turned his comlink off, only leaving on a silent vidiscreen. He needed all the

concentration he could get as primed a Nova bomb and took aim at Pigma's fuel tank.

While this was going on Raven and Wolf were having a private battle of their own. For her

second

real dogfight, Raven flew like a natural, her reactions just as quick as the seasoned fighter

behind

her.

"I call this the Double Helix!" she smiled cunningly, "Hope you like it scuz-ball."

An intricate manoeuver of vertical flying and a series of well executed corkscrew turns left

Wolf

with only his radar for her location, but even then he could not locate her properly.

"Where are you, you damn little-"

"That's no way to treat an old friend," she laughed.

Raven, flying literally under Wolf's undercarriage zipped up behind him and fired, scorching

the

paintwork off his wings and battering his stabilizers.

Wolf was impressed despite his inconvenience. She had always been a sharp one, even when

they

had hung around together on Titania, at the Venomian secret engineering base, in the days

before

StarWolf was even formed. He had been somewhat older, but found she was mature for her

age and

knew she would make a formidable pilot. He even once, secretly hoped she would fly with

him.

That turned out not to be, when her father found out what Andross had planned for him. He

wanted

Jiles to make a fighter that could outfly the Arwing. The arctic fox had refused. He had

nothing

against StarFox, only the Cornerian Government, and when he joined Andross, Jiles had been

unaware that the doctor intended to take over the Lylat System, only believing him to be a

visionary

with a mind for change on Corneria. If he had known, he never would have joined him. This

was

when Wolf came onto the scene, along with his accomplice Leon Powalski. Wolf had been

hired

by the base captain to see to the job done, and that meant torturing Jiles into submission if

need be.

On the base Wolf had got to know Raven, not knowing that her father was the one he was

employed

to keep under control, and had built up a friendship with her. He had never had many friends,

and

she seemed so sympathetic, yet when the mood took her was rash and dangerous; qualities

that Wolf

found most attractive. It was only when Raven found out Wolf was behind her father coming

home

in the evenings moody and almost in fits, with scores of lash marks and painful bruises, she

planned

an escape; an escape that almost cost them their lives. After weeks of planning Raven and

Jiles

broke into one of the hangers and attempted to steal a plane, but Wolf, who had happened to

be

walking back to his quarters after a night's drinking saw the door open. Raven was already in

the

plane when she saw Wolf creeping up behind Jiles and aim a laser rifle to his leg and fire.

Raven,

screaming,

had thrown the spanner which had been in her paw at Wolf, who upon seeing her had

suddenly

realised what he had done. Shock meant he was unable to dodge and the blunt edge had

caught him

in the eye, knocking him out cold, allowing Raven to help her father into the jet and escape.

This story was going though both of their minds at the same time, except Wolf also

remembered

how he had been held responsible for their escape and had taken off with Leon the next day,

only

to return to Andross's services some years later, the only memory of his one time friend being

a

dead eye.

"You're good!" Wolf cried, unable to recall any of the feelings he had once felt for Raven,

due to

years of bitter hatred gradually eating away at his heart, "But I'm better!"

The lupine turned his shields to full power and U-Turned straight into Raven's craft. She

screamed

as an explosion erupted in the back of her cockpit as a console burst into flames, and her

head was

thrown violently forward.

"Fox help me! I've lost weapons!" she called, finding all the alarm buttons on control panel

were

flashing at once. But fox could not hear her. He was about to send Pigma to the fate he

deserved.

"Fox!"

"Forget oblivion. For my eye you're going straight to-"

"Nooooooo!"

Two short laser blasts ripped Raven's wings off and struck the opposite engine. More

explosions

and a thick grey fog choked Raven's throat as well as blocking her vision as her Cornerian

fighter

went spinning out of control towards the ground.

Fox had his claw over NOVA RELEASE when he saw his vidicom was bleeping red,

showing an

incoming message, but seeing only grey. He realised someone was going down. Pulling off

his

attack on Pigma with a curse, he yelled into his mouthpiece, "Who's Down?"

"Fox, -cough- , it's me Raven, I'm -cough- , Ahhhh!"

Fox saw out of his shades, Wolf's fighter skim across Raven's bow and fire straight at her

cockpit.

The jet fell flaming from the sky towards the ground below.

"Eject!" Fox yelled, while turning his fire towards Wolf, who he faintly heard laughing evilly,

trying

to stop him from causing her any further damage.

"I can't, it's stuck! Oh no! He's hit the fuel, I have a leak. Fox I'm gonna d-"

Fox's mind screamed at him as he saw her ship explode on impact with the world below.

He could say nothing. He felt as numb as when Peppy had come to him aboard Great Fox

and told

him about James. He also felt the same kind of anger.

"Falco, Slip, Formation Seven. No questions."

The two wing-men realised Fox was not kidding around and brought their planes into

formation

within seconds.

"What they doing?" Pigma squealed, "They're sitting ducks like that!"

"Us, not a chance," Fox growled hitting the Nova release. A Nova bomb went spinning

towards the

centre of the StarWolf team.

"Get outta here!" Fox yelled, reversing thrusters, while the others spiralled off left and right

respectively.

StarWolf could only gape as they saw the Nova explode and the fireball expand towards

them.

"I'll get you Fox!" Wolf cried as his ship caught the backlash of the explosion and crippled it

beyond fighting capability.

"I'll be ready Wolf," he cried as he reformed in front of his comrades, knowing that this time

when

he called for report there would be once voice he would not be hearing.

Fox slowed down as he reached the docking bay of Great Fox. It was silent when he got out

of his

Arwing as it was late and only a few engineers could be seen, closing up for the night. On

Fox's

gantry he saw Jiles waiting for him, something in his paw.

"You left something behind Fox," Jiles said, walking over to him.

He handed over a little package, wrapped in a red cloth. It was the same item Fox had taken

from

his room. He took it and opened the string tie. Laying in the folds of the material was a rolled

up

sheet of paper and a little model Arwing fighter.

"I never showed you, but Raven gave me this," Fox said, "The model's something we made

when

we were in Academy together. She loved coming with me to watch my father do circuits in

his

Arwing with me after class, remember? He'd fly over Corneria and dip his wings at us and

we'd

cheer. And this..." he unrolled the sheet of paper, "was the last thing she ever wrote to me."

Jiles took it, a tear forming in his eye as he read the simple message. "Fox, one day we're

gonna fly

away together. Until then, want to go for a pizza tonight?"

They looked at each other and laughed.

Fox felt a lot better. Remembering that fight had relieved a lot of weight from his shoulders.

For

years he had tried to forget, then when he finally faced up to what happened he saw there was

nothing he could have done. When General Pepper came, Fox knew he would be ready to

face this

mission with a clear head, and woebetide StarWolf if they decided to show up again. It was

time he

showed them StarFox was the best, and he swore also that he would repay Wolf O'Donnel for

Raven's debt to her father.

Three days later..........

"Rise and shine everybody!"

"Shut up Slippy!" three weary voices snarled as they trudged into the mess room for

breakfast.

"I got a feeling today's gonna be a long one," Falco complained, helping himself to the orange

juice,

"One of Pepper's briefings is enough to send me to sleep for the rest of the day."

"I don't care what you think, just make sure you listen up. This ain't no cadets outing. There's

bound to be some of Andross's ships who want to get that wreckage before we do."

Falco raised his eyebrows at Fox's seriousness, but said nothing. He knew when he was in

one of

his moods it was best to keep quiet, and after their bout in the gym, he knew his friend was

not

fooling around. Falco just hoped Fox would soon snap out of it. It was not like him to be this

sombre. Maybe he could get him into going paint-balling with the lads from the base later on

that

week. He and Bill used to wipe the field senseless, maybe that would-

"INCOMING MESSAGE." Rob64 informed them.

"Ah Gees we're having breakfast!" Falco complained, getting up, standing, ready to salute.

"StarFox, I'll be arriving at 0900 hours, briefing will be at 0930. Looking forward to seeing

the

mods on Great Fox. General Pepper over and out."

"It was a damn recorded message!" Falco grumbled, picking up his spoon and menacingly

shovelling his cereal down his beak. The rest of his complaining was drowned out by the

others

laughter.

"Hey what's so funny?"

"It was a good thing it was recorded Falco!" Peppy chuckled, "You got y' uniform on

backwards!"

Falco looked down and saw he had accidentally put his overalls on backwards over his flight

jacket.

"Gees! Now I know why I was getting tail cramp!"

They continued to laugh, tears rolling down their cheeks.

"Hey guys cut it out! You especially!" Falco said, annoyed at being laughed at by Fox. When

he

realised there was nothing he could do he shrugged. He had wanted to cheer him up after all.

It was mid-afternoon when General Pepper left, and not even Fox could say he was not glad

of it.

The briefing had been, as Falco put it, "One heck of a meeting."

They felt like they had already been to Solar after the frying they had been given. It was

obvious

from the way he had spoken that the General took this extremely seriously, and he wanted

the best

on it. StarFox was to be joined by Bill and a twenty from his Husky Unit, seeing as they

usually

worked well together. It was to be a simple enough recovery mission, with an exploration

craft at

the centre of their convoy. Orders were to protect the craft at all costs once the remnants of

the Bio-

weapon were safely onboard. Reports were already coming in of grouping Venomian forces

on

Bolse, a rather nerve-racking thought. The only good news the team got was they would also

be

joined by an old friend, who they had not seen in quite a while.

"Tregar Folessa!" Fox exclaimed happily, "Why, I haven't seen him in ages, how is he?"

"As well as any bounty hunter can be," Pepper had snorted. He and Folessa had never got on,

Tregar

being an ex Venomian sub lieutenant, who mended his ways after meeting the formidable

StarFox

Team and seeing that there was more to his life than serving Andross. Ever since, he had

been a bit

of a wild card, not caring much for joining up with the Cornerian army, nor with StarFox,

and

had

gone his own way. Even so, he had a habit of turning up whenever he was needed, and

reports

of him

bringing to justice some most disreputable Venomian officers had not past their attention.

So, with a buzz of excitement, Fox and his crew mates had one last debrief from their leader

before

heading to their quarters for a few hours of rest. They were meeting in the hangers at 14:30,

and

when that time came, four smartly dressed fighter pilots strode down the famous corridor

towards

the docking bay, helmets swinging from their paws and laser blasters strapped firmly to their

belts.

Fox's Arwing was the first out into the abyss of space and when his wingmen took positions

behind

him, they accelerated off to their meeting point, on the border of Katina's airspace. Before

they got

there nonetheless, a flame red Epsilon class fighter with the name 'The Lamda Bravado'

sprawled

across its fuselage, shot into radar range and hailed Fox jovially.

"Well if it ain't McCloud! Whoa! Your ship looks good!"

"Tregar! Put on your vidicom, frequency 124KHz"

"You really wanna see my ugly mug!" Folessa joked, tapping the frequency into his control

panel

until Fox appeared on his own screen.

At the same moment Fox saw the mink's sleek muzzle showing his sharp pearly white fangs

in a

grin. His fur was a light brown and almost creamy around the mouth, while his curled

whiskers

formed a little moustache. The only thing spoiling his seemingly spotless appearance was the

torn

left ear and the black mercenary style flying jacket, which left him looking exactly like what

General Pepper usually described him as; a renegade.

"You look as dashing as ever Fox. Managed to get any girls yet?"

"Not yet Treg, and you?"

"Blasting Venomian fighters is a full time occupation, I haven't set paw on a base for ages. I

heard

you were heading off to Solar and I wanted to see if the upgrades on my old Epsilon FV21

were up

to scratch. I still have every single Venomian code, so finding out what they're up to's a piece

of

cake."

"And you still won't give them to us," Falco butted in.

"Come on Falco," Tregar replied, pulling smoothly up next to his Arwing, "Where's the fun

for you

in that. Besides I got my reputation to think about. So, who else's on this joyride eh?"

"Bill, you remember him, and twenty others," Falco explained, "So what's Pepper paying you

for

this eh?"

"Oh he said I could have your cheque Falco!"

"Not funny."

Fox laughed as he heard their conversation, issuing a challenge to his old rival when they had

finished, "Wanna see who can get to the outpost first Treg?"

"Sure I'll whip y' furry hide," and with that boosted his thrusters onto maximum and sped

ahead of

the others.

"Hey! That ain't fair!" Slippy called, realizing he'd been left behind as usual, his team mates

almost

non existent on his radar. "You cheated."

"So sue me!" Tregar's voice replied mockingly, "Eat space dust!"

"Not if I can help it!" Fox retorted, pulling up along side him, "Now let me show you what an

Arwing can do."

At the space outpost, Commander Bill Grey had just finished issuing his unit with final

orders, when

he saw five jets fast approaching. Two were slightly ahead of another two and one was some

distance back, the two in front being an Arwing and an red FV21 fighter. As the group

slowed down,

Bill heard the cheery voice of Fox crackle across his speakers.

"Hey Bill! Great to see you. Who won?"

Bill scratched his head. The two fighters leading the race had been extremely close, and he

had not

really been paying attention. He decided to be diplomatic and said, "It looked like a draw to

me."

"Y' going blind Commander!" Tregar challenged hotly, "The Lamda Bravado can out fly

anything

in this sector! I beat Fox by miles."

"Tregar? Oh it's you," Bill answered as though he was hardly pleased to see him, "In that case

I'd

have to say Fox won by a good nose."

The mink smiled to himself, "Is that so, eh?"

"Come on, enough guys," Peppy said, remembering the seriousness of General Pepper's

words, "I

think we should get going. Time's a wasting."

"Alright Gramp's," Folessa joked with him, "You leading this pretty parade or am I, Fox?"

"Who do you think?" Fox replied to him, taking his position at the front of the group, Bill

slightly

behind, and his other teammates flanking the rest of the Husky Unit, with the science

exploration

craft the Lexelcior, tucked tightly in the centre.

"So where am I meant to go?" Tregar exclaimed, finding he was flying out of formation all of

a

sudden.

"You always said you were a bit of an outsider," Falco buzzed over to him, "Now you really

are."

 

Wolf paced up and down in his quarters, his left arm in a sling. After the encounter with Fox

three

days ago, he had wrenched his arm during a sparing match with another Venomian officer,

and had

to have it bandaged. This meant he was grounded until his arm got better. The rest of his

team were

out on manoeuvres, and it had been sickening watching them leave without him. He hated

being

unable to fly, it was one of those things that made him grouchy, and seeing as he had not

been

having a good week, full stop, he was in a foul mood. Usually Wolf would have been

scheming, as

usual, trying to think of a way to destroy StarFox once and for all, but he had not felt like

doing

anything lately. Even Leon could not cheer him up, and no one in their right mind would let

him

near a prisoner. Anything Cornerian and he was likely to blast it into bits. Forget about

torturing

them for information, for Wolf it was shoot first and try to ask questions later, which for

obvious

reasons would be extremely difficult in most situations.

"Sir," came a nervous voice from the direction of the door, "Sir, there's someone here who

wants

to see you."

"Tell them to go away. I thought I said I didn't want to be disturbed," Wolf snarled.

"Uh," the voice quavered, "He said it was urgent."

"Well if he's urgent to die send him in!" Wolf exclaimed dramatically, expecting whoever it

was

would decide better than to risk it and leave him alone. Instead, the door opened and standing

in the

doorway was someone Wolf had not seen in a long time.

"Dagno Wellen! Now this is a surprise."

"So you ain't gonna kill me then?" the bold wildcat laughed, stepping into the room. "That's

good

coz I got some news you'll die to hear."

Wolf motioned for him to sit down with a wave of a paw, before joining him.

"I take it you know the latest, that General Pepper's sent a science craft to Solar to find the

trash

from Andross's old Bio-weapon destroyed there?"

"Yeah. So what?" Wolf grumbled, "It can't be important, my team are out on manoeuvres. If

Andross thought it was important he'd of sent for us."

"He did," Wellen replied, polishing his claws on his uniform lapel, whilst watching Wolf's

reaction

with a sideways glance, "You weren't to be told. StarFox is leading the Cornerian mission to

Solar,

your team have been sent to stop them at all costs."

Wolf looked as if he was going to kill the wildcat, but Wellen knew Wolf was more angry

with

Andross than him and continued, "And that's not all, guess who's going along with Fox? Our

old

friend Tregar Folessa."

"Arrogant lump of crud," Wolf spat, "Why, if I could, I'd be up there getting apiece of him.

I'd-"

"Sorry Wolf you'll never get a chance."

"Oh and why's that?"

"Like I said, your team are off to stop them."

Wolf gave him one of his looks, "You trying to be sarcastic or something?" he growled,

"Three

against a whole Cornerian Fleet, and StarFox?"

"Yes, three ships........and three long range torpedoes, with cloaking devices naturally."

"Now that's good," Wolf grinned, his mood brightening, "What's the rest of the plan?"

"Easy enough." Wellen explained, "Your team are the only ones needed. They show up, once

they're within the remote's radius, the torpedoes will be launched and that's that. By the time

they

come onto their scanners it'll be too late. Folessa's mink pizza, StarFox is out of the way and

there's

no Bio-weapon for General Pepper."

"Hah!" Wolf grinned nastily, "I feel better already. Wanna go for a drink down the canteen?"

"Sure, I'm on shore leave, but don't get too plastered. I expect there'll be one heck of a

celebration

tonight!"

Little did they know how wrong they were.

Deep underground in a secret Cornerian base, earlier that day..........

"You've got to save them my girl. You're their only hope."

"But StarFox!"

"I know, maybe it's just meant to be that way. The blueprints for three cloaking missiles were

intercepted two days ago, and on closer inspection we've found that there is no way they can

be

detected, even by a ship as advanced as the Lexelcior. We are the only ones who know. You

must

warn them."

"Is my ship ready?"

"Firefly is being prepared as we speak."

"Then I'll go. I have no choice."

"Take care my dear. And remember, never tell anyone what has happened to you here, or that

we

even exist. Once you leave the confines of this base it is a one way ticket, you can't come

back. We

can't take that risk. But it's time we let you go."

"Thank you. I'll miss you Caprin."

The marten scientist looked over his spectacles at the young creature he had treated like a

daughter

for the past few years, "We'll be watching you. If you need me I will always be there, I

promise. I

know you'll make me proud. "

They hugged for a last time.

As she walked off the half arctic, half red fox turned one last time as Caprin called after her,

"And

Raven, if you get a shot at that nephew of Andross's, send him my regards before you blast

that

whining good-for-nothing to oblivion."

She nodded, for oblivion was what anyone that crossed her path would meet at the end of her

laser

cannons.

Solar loomed like a giant ball of flame across Fox's cockpit as he entered the planets

atmosphere.

Immediately he felt the heat as his atmospheric conditioning cut in and regulated the

temperature.

"All aircraft report," he called, and after five responses, ordered his team to split up and

search the

area. He and Folessa would scout ahead and watch out for Venomian fighters, The Lamda

Bravado

having a greater radar capability. Tregar was content to be paired with Fox, and they sped off

ahead,

leaving the others, with Slippy in charge, to their search. It was not long before Fox got

message that

something had been found. Slippy's new technology on board Lexelcior finding the

Bio-traces

easily.

Within another half hour a message came in saying that all that could be salvaged was on

board the

science craft and that they should head back for their return flight home.

"It's been too quiet," Tregar complained to Fox, as they flew back to Slippy's coordinates

together,

"I would have expected to see at least one Venomian fighter by now. They surely know about

this.

Not much misses Andross nowadays."

"I agree," Fox replied, "Still picking up nothing on your scanners?"

"Nothing."

"Oh well, maybe-"

"Fox! Three fighters coming in at five o clock. Damn that was a cliche."

"We're almost back at the Lex's position," Fox told Tregar, "I'll call Bill, tell him to leave five

fighters to protect it, we'll need the rest to fight. I expect the rest of their cronies will be

coming

along in a minute."

"Confirmed Fox," Tregar radioed back, "I was getting a little tired of hanging around anyway.

If you

go back to the Lexelcior I'll head up and give ëem a greeting. Hold ëem off for a while for

you,

three's no problem. They'll be expecting me I'm sure."

Fox knew better than to say no. Folessa was an experienced pilot and could handle himself.

He half

expected that if Andross's forces showed up while the mink was after them, their numbers

would

be slightly depleted. In fact, he would bet his Arwing on that.

Raven Helix's jet, Firefly, shot past the Katina outpost and off towards Solar, before radar

could

pick it up, even as an anomaly. Firefly was at the pinnacle of Cornerian technology, and

Raven was

more than eagre to try it out; on a certain Wolf O'Donnel especially. The Raven who had

been a

happy go lucky young vixen who had crashed that day on Corneria, was gone forever. Now

only a

bitter hatred and lust for revenge dominated her life and until her revenge could be for filled,

she

knew there would be nothing more. There was no way she could return to her home or live

among

other creatures, she was an outcast, and to look at her it was obvious to see why.

Seconds before impact, after the skirmish with Wolf all those years ago, Raven had managed

to get

her cockpit open manually, but had been too close to the ground for her parachute to open

properly

and had been thrown by the explosion into the ground with force enough to give her horrific

injury.

Ground speeding towards her was the last thing Raven thought she would ever see, but due to

what

she found was some kind of a miracle, she survived, though never to be the same again.

Raven had awoken in a perfectly white walled room, decorated with only silver panelled

sideboards

and dim fluorescent lights. Standing by her, holding a strange looking device over her head

was an

elderly looking pine marten in a starched white lab coat. She had tried to sit up, only to find

she was

laying on a flat hospital type bed, restrained by light leather straps. At first she had struggled,

and

yelled, until the marten, a kindness in his eyes that made Raven know she need not be afraid,

explained her predicament. His name was Caprin Lyar. He told Raven how he was a

Cornerian

scientist, excelling in the field of mechanical and biological science, until the Underground

militia

(Andross's followers on Corneria) came along. All the leading scientists had been under

threat from

these maniacs, who under Andross's commission had been paid to kill any creature on

Corneria who

excelled in their field of study for the Cornerian Army. After an attempt on his life, Caprin

had gone

into hiding and formed Equinox IV, a secret lab, where he and some other scientists worked

from,

creating new technology to aid the Cornerian Army.

"We were lucky to have found you," Caprin had explained gently, "You're deep below the

surface

of Corneria City, and luckily, among friends."

She had been luckily, and in more ways than one. Caprin had saved her life, at which he

slowly told

her had been at price. She had been injured most seriously, beyond any normal means of

healing,

and had suffered extreme burns all over her body. When Caprin finally allowed her up, he

said that

she would find life a little different. At first she had not understood him, but when he let her

see

herself for the first time, she understood why. Caprin had literally rebuilt her, and now some

quarter

of her body was covered in metallic plating. Her right arm had to be electronically

re-attached and

some of her bones had been replaced with strengthened titanium replacements, after being

shattered

on impact. And to top it all off, she ached from head to tail.

It had taken many months for Raven to recover and learn how to use her new body, at which

she had

at first repulsed, and wished she had been left next to her Arwing to the fate she would

normally

have received. But under the care of Caprin she gradually became strong again and regained

the will

to live. She worked with Caprin at undermining the Underground's evil plots in the time she

was

there, and became a much loved friend to all of the Equinox IV team The only regret she had

was

not being with her father. She was his only family left and to know he was there but she

could never

see him again was worse than becoming what she felt like she was; a living machine. But she

was

far from that. Her hatred for StarWolf proved that.

She knew that to leave the lab would mean she would never return, and when Caprin came to

her

and told her of the missiles, it was a huge question of what way her life would now go.

Would she

save her old friends and leave her life with Caprin and the others to that of desolation and

solitude?

Or would she forget about what she looked life and tell Fox she was still alive.

She thought that Fox would never understand her. He probably would not even look at her, at

least

that is what she believed, but saving his life and doing Caprin a favour was above all that.

She would

deal with the problem of where she was to go afterwards. Now was all that mattered.

Tregar Folessa estimated intercept with the Venomian fighters in under three minutes, that

was why

he was more than a little surprised to find a craft, previously undetected, suddenly flash up

onto his

radar. Frowning at the monitor, he pushed a few buttons, trying to see if he could get a

reading on

what type of ship it was. Information was limited except from that it was a type three fighter

with

many improvements made on it's engines, it had a power output that was highly efficient, it

was

Cornerian in design, and more importantly it was on an intercept course. Tregar immediately

charged his weapons, but when the other ship was withing range and still showed no signs of

attacking, the mink realised this was no enemy. At least if it was, it was a foolish one.

"Identify yourself stranger?" a light female voice crackled into the mink's earpiece.

Slightly taken aback, Tregar took a second to reply, "Stranger? I think you're the stranger.

Your ship

has no reference code I recognize. You should identify yourself."

"My name's not important, and neither's my ship. What is, is that you tell me who you are. I

mean

it, time's wasting."

The urgency in her voice made Tregar realize that maybe something was going on that was

important, and so far she had shown no signs of being a threat.

"Tregar Folessa's the name I go by, and I shoot down anything Venomian, so I'm warning

you," he

began.

"You here with the StarFox Team?"

"Yeah, why?"

Raven quickly explained about the three missiles that would soon be launched towards the

Lexelcior's co-ordinates, and how they would not show up on their radar.

"Is there any way we can stop them if they get launched?" Tregar asked, finding that droplets

of

sweat has started to form underneath his tight fitting helmet.

"It will be very difficult, that's why you've got to warn StarFox, and quickly."

"Yeah, I'm going. What about you though? I still don't know your name."

"I can't come, and I can't tell you my name" Raven said quietly, "But don't worry, I'll be

around."

"Well if I don't see you, thanks whoever you are!"

"It's nothing," she replied cooly, "In fact you're not like what I was told. I'm actually

beginning

to like you."

"Thanks," Folessa said sarcastically, before adding "If you didn't I guess it would make my

life a

little shorter."

Tregar knew he would not get any more out of this elusive pilot and decided to turn back.

Even in

the heat of the situation, Tregar couldn't help showing off to her, pulling a fancy U-turn and

boosting his thrusters, speeding his plane back to the Lexelcior. He was intrigued at this

mysterious

stranger and had been desperately trying, during their conversation, to re-modulate his

vidicom

frequency to match hers. It had been a fruitless task. She had some kind of high tech buffers

that

even he could not figure a way around, that was until he tried matching it to that of her audio

signal.

On his recorder he was sure he had a second or so of her talking on his video tape before she

cut off.

Tregar smiled cunningly.

Leon, feeling pretty full of himself, after being the one chosen to lead the attack on StarFox,

had just

picked up a single ship on his scanner, it was immediately identified as the Lamda Bravado.

"You got that position?" the chamaeleon asked Pigma, his second in command.

"Confirmed. Let's get this show on the road," Pigma answered, ordering Andrew, who was

behind

him, to spread out into attack formation.

"Ah," Leon smiled coldly, as he saw the mink's craft speed by him, "That's right, back to the

others,

It's time to die Folessa.."

Thanks to the upgraded heat resistance, fox was able to skim the very flames of the surface

and pick

off fighters who could not get anywhere as close. The only problem was there were no

fighters, and

when Tregar came back, he was more than eagre for a report. Fox got a report alright , but in

it was

even more than he bargained for.

"Missiles!" Fox had exclaimed, "Directed on the ship? And some stranger telling you all

this!"

"I know it sounds far fetched," the mink had told him, "But it's true."

"And she didn't say who she was?" Falco questioned.

"No, I couldn't get her to."

"Well we'll have to deal with this," Fox said rationally, "Are there any others heading our way

apart

from StarWolf?"

"None that I know of," Tregar said, deciding to keep the tape incident quiet.

"Then we're going to have to stop them before they get a chance to launch."

Fox, thinking quickly, got in touch with Bill and told him to get the Lexelcior back to

Katina's

outpost as soon as possible. Ten fighters would be left half way between, incase StarFox

were

unsuccessful and the missiles had to be shot down. Everyone secretly hoped it would not

come to

that.

"Peppy, Falco, take the left and right flanks, Slippy, try and get a scan on those Wolfen jets, I

want

as much info on those missiles as possible. Tregar, you going back with Bill?"

"Fox, listen, I owe you. I'm going with you. It's the least I can do alright. I know StarWolf

have a

vendetta against me, but hey, you ain't best of pals either."

Fox nodded, glad for another experienced pilot watching his back.

"Right then, set co-ordinates 09398 by 67543."

"Permission to fire on sight?" Falco asked,

"Granted," came Fox's heartless reply.

StarWolf were quietly overconfident. That was until they saw five ships coming towards

them at

full velocity.

"What are they doing?" Pigma grunted, "They shouldn't know that were coming."

Leon, annoyed, and knowing they could no way take on all five, ordered that the missiles

should be

released and then StarWolf should head for home, and as fast as possible. No one wanted to

be

around when the missiles went off.

Fox was desperate to get to them before the missiles were launched. He and Tregar, having

the

fastest ships and using all their skill managed to get within range of Pigma and Andrew, who

had

to U-turn and get out as quickly as possible, without releasing their deadly burden. Only Leon

managed to escape and launch his missile within homing range of the Lexelcior.

"Hahhh!" he laughed coldly as he heard Fox curse at him, "See you StarFox."

He turned around to join his friends, knowing the team had to try and stop the missile and

would

leave him and the others well alone.

"StarFox, take out that missile," Fox commanded urgently, casting a look regretfully at the

three

ships fleeing back towards Venom.

"What do you think we're trying to do?" Falco exclaimed angrily, "This damn thing looks like

it's

staying. What they've built it of is beyond me."

"Tregar, do you know how to disarm this thing?"

"No, can't help you there Fox, except trying to hit it with all I've got."

"Maybe I can help."

"You again?" Tregar radioed, "Didn't think you were going to leave that soon. So where are

you?"

"Those missiles aren't the only things that know what cloaking is bounty hunter."

"Alright!" Folessa said, "Help away."

Meanwhile Fox had been busy blasting at the missile, along with the rest of his team when he

found

a very old form of communication coming in over his com. It was morse code. The message

happened to be from Tregar, and it told him that the mysterious pilot was abroad again.

Having no

way to communicate back, Fox waited until more bleeps came in. This time Tregar told him

he

should aim at the left section of the missile with his lasers at a new frequency, at which he

immediately sent. He also told Fox he was going to try and find out who this creature was

once and

for all.

Fox soon related the message to the others, and luckily, just as the Lexelcior came into view,

the

missile self-imploded and all gave a huge sign of relief.

"Treg, you did thank that gal from me didn't you?" Fox said, as he followed the science craft

back

to Katina, all safe and sound.

"I'd have loved to Fox, but she left before I even realised I was radioing static."

"You didn't find out who she was then?"

"No, afraid not. I Morsed you thinking she wouldn't realize I was trying to find her location.

She

must have picked it up somehow and vanished before I could re-calibrate my system. Hey

Fox d'

you think it's strange how she only talked to me?"

"Yeah," Fox murmured, "Real strange."

Later that evening.......

Back on Great Fox, the StarFox team joined by Tregar Folessa and Bill Grey were relaxing

with a

game of pool in the lounge, joking and laughing as if it had been just any other day.

"Hah, the way they scattered when I went after em!" Tregar laughed, eyeing up a ball for the

corner

pocket, "Thought I was still on their side, the fools!"

"Yeah, those idiots soon stopped bugging us when we met up with Bill!" Falco grinned,

remembering at the sight of fifty Cornerian ships, the Venomian Fleet turning tail and

heading

disgracefully home, realising that their plan had failed. They were talking about an old

mission, like

friends usually do, and had been relaxing after successfully escorting the Lexelcior back to

base.

Fox smiled thinly, leaning up against the sofa, relaxing, while he watched Tregar smoothly

pot the

8 ball.

"Looks like you win again," he said with a sigh.

The mink raised his eyebrows and grinned, "I don't just fly great you know."

"Thought any more on my offer," Fox said casually.

Tregar sighed and lent his cue up against the table.

"Uh huh, I'd love to join StarFox, believe me, but I don't think I'd fit in. Not with my past

anyway.

Besides we can't have Pepper suffering the wit of both me and Falco can we now?"

"It'll be a shame to see you leave again."

"I know," Folessa sighed, "Don't worry though, I'll be around, I always am."

He stretched languidly, "I'm gonna check on my ship, I'll be leaving tomorrow morning. I

heard

there was a convoy leaving from Venom to Macbeth. I think it's only polite I pay them a

call."

They all agreed and began to set up the balls again on the table as Tregar left to go look over

the

Lamda Bravado, at least that is what they thought. Instead, the mink headed straight towards

Fox's

quarters, making sure looked as least suspicious as possible.

It was hardly a long walk and the mink soon found himself standing outside the white

painted door

with Fox's name written on the gold plaque that was screwed in just above eye level. Slipping

a

small device from underneath his jacket, he picked the electronic lock with ease, his skills as

a

bounty hunter coming in useful. Slipping into the large room, he quickly walked over to a

wall

terminal and slipped into the computer a small disk. It ran immediately, showing nothing

except

grey until, for a moment, a picture appeared.

"Computer hold it there," Folessa demanded excitedly, "Magnify image 100%."

The image enlarged and Folessa saw a face appear. She was a fox with light orange fur with

white

strips across her head. She was slight and pretty, and it was only the fact her paw, that rested

gently

on her console was metallic, that he gave a start.

"Computer run diagnostic on all Cornerian pilots."

"Complying," the computer responded. Tregar tapped his claws impatiently as he saw the

computer

flicking though its database. When it stopped, this time Tregar almost exclaimed out loud,

for

written across the screen in large, red, capital letters was DECEASED.

Quickly scanning down the file, he read the name of the pilot as being Raven Helix, and

found out

from his brief search that she had a father on Great Fox. Making a copy of the disk he

quickly left

the room leaving it as he had found it.

Maybe he would stay a little longer after all.

"Tregar? What you doing here?"

The mink almost jumped out of his fur as Fox walked up to him and put a friendly paw

around his

shoulders.

"Er, y' know, I think I've got a bit lost. Great Fox ain't how I remembered it," he said a little

uncomfortably, still feeling guilty for breaking into Fox's quarters without his permission.

"I'll be pleased to show you the way to engineering, I know what you mean. First time I came

here

I thought Great Fox was huge!"

"Actually Fox," Tregar said, stopping in the middle of the corridor. "I've been thinking and I

wondered if your offer was still open. I'd really like to stay here for a while. I dunno about

calling

myself part of the team but-"

"No," Fox exclaimed happily, "We'd be pleased to let you stay, as long as you want."

Tregar smiled thinly.

"You know," Fox said, escorting him down the passage, to check on his fighter anyway, "I

never

thought when we first met we'd ever be friends like this. I think it'll be great to have another

creature that I can trust one hundred percent watching our backs."

"Don't trust me, I'm a renegade remember," Tregar joked, though a little less heartily than

usual,

"And don't think you'll be getting me to wear one of those uniforms either."

Fox patted him heartily on the back as he laughed. The mink was such a kidder.

As they walked together, Tregar Folessa wished he could tell Fox what he had found, but

something

strange inside him told him that, for the moment at least, he should keep quiet. The next few

weeks

should prove to be more than interesting, for during his time aboard Great Fox he would

dedicate

it to finding out about the mysterious re-appearance of the vixen known as Raven Helix, who

was

meant to be dead. Was there some great secret surrounding her death that one of the team

knew?

Was she some old friend? He didn't know the answers, but seeing as he had already become

involved, he could hardly back out of it now. He was hooked.

"Are you alright? You look lost in your thoughts," Fox asked.

Tregar shook his head, a light smile still on his lips still, "No, nothing that matters."

"You know Treg, I think you're going to find your new lifestyle here interesting," Fox said,

meaning

all the equipment, the comfort of his own quarters, and not having to watch out for old

enemies all

the time.

The mink agreed, though not in the same context, "Extremely interesting."

THE END.......for now.

Authors note: If anyone's wondering about Tregar's past or wanting to know the full story

about

Wolf and Raven, e-mail me and I'll be happy to enlighten you, the full stories are still on the

old

drawing board as I'm writing the continuation to this at the moment. I also apologize for any

spelling mistakes etc. Anyhow, hope you liked it and watch this

space.......(space not

being any kind of a pun of course)....from Zoe Stead. AKA Double Helix.