Authorís note: Commander Effy is an original character, created by myself. If you wish to use her in a story, please ask me first. Boomer/Beatrice is an original character of shaddowWing. If youíd like to use her character, you need to ask her permission. All SF characters belong to Nintendo.
Journey to Cedena
ìGood morning Commander.î Effy said as she brought her hand forward in salute.
ìGood morning Ef.î Bill nodded. ìAt ease.î Effy put her hand back down at her side, and smiled. Bill smiled back and returned his focus at the pile of papers on his desk. He flipped through them, and sighed. ìAnother stack for my in pile,î he said, looking back at Effy. ìMan, am I looking forward to my day off tomorrow.î
ìNo one deserves it more than you do Commander.î Effy commented. Of all the officers at Katina Base, Lieutenant Commander Effy was the closest to Commander Grey. They had a lot in common, and she saw Bill most often in the course of the day, due to her being second in command. The lioness also had one of the longest names in the Lylat System. No one could pronounce her full last name, Efficableraniotanzietti, so they just called her Effy. She would not allow anyone, not even Bill, to use her first name, Idlehyde, because she hated it. Of course Bill had every power as Supreme Commander to call her whatever he wanted; but he used what she asked everyone to use (Unless he was trying to make her mad). ìAre you planning to go anywhere in particular when you get leave?î She asked.
ìIíve made plans with my sister. She has the day off as well, and weíre going to catch a movie or something.î Bill put his signature on one of the papers, then put his pen back down. ìOne thingís for sure; I wonít miss the writerís cramp.î Effy laughed, and walked closer to the desk.
ìSorry Commander...î She breathed a sigh of slight guilt as she added another stack of papers to his In pile. ìI wish I didnít have to be the one to make this delivery.î
ìThatís okay Ef, whatís another three stories of paper?î Bill said, sarcastically. Effy smiled and turned to leave. ìHey Effy, one more thing...î Bill called. Effy turned around to face him. ìJust smile and remember that these are yours to sign tomorrow when Iím gone. Remember, youíre in charge while Iím on leave.î
ìOh Joy.î Effy replied with a dry laugh. She saluted her commanding officer, turned, and walked out the door. Bill watched her leave, shook his head, and returned to his paperwork.
The next morning Bill marched happily out of his office in a pair of blue jeans, and a green pullover shirt. He was happy to be out of uniform and in some casual clothes for once. He met Effy in the hallway, who saluted. ìAt ease Ef, Itís your turn now.î Bill laughed and saluted with a burst of energy.
ìHave a good day off Commander.î
Bill shook his head and smiled. ìItís Bill today Ef. Forget that Commander stuff.î
Effy nodded. ìSure thing Comman- Uh, Bill. You just let yourself relax okay? Itís really been hell around here lately.î
ìWell if I can keep Beatrice from playing her metallic rock and roll racket, Then you can bet Iíll try to relax.î Bill chuckled.
ìYou do that.î
ìHave fun signing those papers Effy, and donít do anything I wouldnít do.î Effy nodded, and saluted one last time before Bill turned, and walked down the hallway. She watched as the elevator doors closed behind him, and sighed.
ìNow watch all hell break loose.î Effy laughed to herself.
It was about 11:00Am when Bill docked the Grey One at a small port just inside the Corneria City limits, where his sister Beatrice aka: Boomer had promised to meet him. Her friends called her Boomer, mostly due to the fact that she liked loud music; but Bill still called her Beatrice. No sooner did he get out of his plane, did he see Boomer waving at him from across the airstrip. He started to walk over to her and soon broke into a steady jog. When he reached where she was, he greeted her with a smile. ìHey Bea, long time no see.î
ìDid you rhyme that on purpose?î Boomer laughed.
ìIím a poet and I damn well know it.î
Boomer rolled her eyes. ìWell, someoneís in a good mood today.î
ìHey, cut me some slack Bea, itís not often I get a day off.î
ìI can understand that, Commander. Where do you want to go to eat?î
ìHow about that new place on fifth street? Itís near the Cinema; we could just walk over after we eat, without having to worry about finding another parking space.î
ìSounds good to me,î Boomer agreed. ìBut I drive.î
ìThen I control the radio.î
Boomer shrugged. ìFine. Just as long as it has a steady beat.î
ìSounds fair.î Bill smiled, as they made their way to boomerís truck. She normally drove a motorcycle, but since she didnít like the idea of driving with a passenger, she rented a truck for the day.
It was noon by the time they had broken through traffic and arrived at the restaurant. ìItís cute.î Boomer commented as they walked inside. ìI like the wallpaper.î
ìAnd itís quiet.î Bill added. The waitress seated them, and they skimmed through the menu. Bill ordered soup, Beatrice had the same. As they ate, Bill made conversation. ìSo howís everything going with you?î
ìCanít complain.î Boomer shrugged. ìTesting is going well, and everythingís going relatively smooth...How ëbout you?î
Bill sat back in his seat. ìItís been.... Hectic. Everyone at the base is just wiped out from all the attacks weíve been getting lately. Itís just wave after wave. I kinda needed this day off, if you know what I mean.î
ìI can relate with that. I mean, Iím not the grand Admiral of Katina or anything, but I know where youíre coming from.î They finished their lunch, paid the bill, and left for the theatre.
The sidewalk was crowded with a sea of people. Bill and Beatrice practically had to push their way through.
ìMan what a mob!î Boomer said, frustrated.
ìWell it is a Saturday,î Bill said, slowly making his way through the crowd. ìAnd there is a- OW!î
ìWhat happened?î .
ìThat guy just stuck me with something!î Bill turned around to look for the culprit, but he had allowed himself to be swallowed by the crowd.
ìWhat was it?î Beatrice asked.
ìI donít know.î Bill said, rubbing his right shoulder. ìBut it didnít really hurt. Itís no big deal, letís just get in line for the movie.î
The sun was already setting when Bill and Boomer walked out of the cinema. The long walk back to the truck was relatively quiet. Neither of them really knew what to say to each other, and they were still making up for lost time. The two siblings had only recently reunited after years of separation, and were still getting to know each other again. Boomer finally broke the silence. ìHowís your arm?î She asked, motioning to Billís right shoulder.
ìWhat do you mean?î Bill asked, confused.
ìYour arm. Donít you remember? That guy outside the movie theatre?î
ìOh...Yeah...That. Itís okay; I canít even feel it anymore. In fact, I completely forgot about it.î
Boomer chuckled. ìI noticed.î She paused, and looked back toward her brother. ìAll joking aside Bill...Are you sure youíre okay?î
ìOf course Bea, that guy was probably just.... Running with scissors, I donít know.î
ìScissors?!î Boomer laughed.
Bill smiled. ìItís all good fun ëtill someone loses an eye.î By that point he and Boomer were laughing hysterically, and they were still laughing by the time they reached the truck.
ìI had a great time Bea. Weíve got to do this again next time I get leave,î Bill said, leaning against the Grey one.
ìWeíll both be old and grey by then.î Boomer said jokingly.
ìWeíre already Grey.î
ìThat was a bad pun, Bill.î
ìIs there any such thing as a good pun?î
ìThis is true.î Boomer nodded. ìWell, Iíll see you... When I see you.î
ìYeah, I gotta get back. As it is Effyís probably going nuts with that paperwork.î Bill smiled at the thought of Effy, with her fingers in a knot from all that writing. He then gave his sister one last hug, and climbed into his jet. He lipped the words, ëIíll call you,í but the tinted windows of the Grey one prevented Boomer from seeing it. Bill shrugged, fired his engine, and took off for Katina.
The next morning Bill felt unusually tired. He fought sleep as he monitored the cadetsí ground combat drilling; and practically fell asleep at his desk while filling out paperwork later in the day. It was late in the afternoon when Bill, finally unable to stay awake, woke to the sound of soft knocking at his door. ìCome in,î Bill muttered sleepily. Effy peeked her head inside the door.
ìHey Commander!î Her beaming face helped to wake him up, but not by much. Bill was just too tired. ìWow! You donít look so good!î Effy frowned.
ìI love you too Effy.î Bill said sarcastically.
ìIím sorry commander. But you just look so... Dead. No offense or anything.î
ìOh no, of course not,î Bill laughed.
ìYou want some coffee or something?î Effy asked.
ìCoffee would be great.î
ìCominí right up.î Effy turned, and was about to walk out the door when Bill called her back.
ìHey Ef, what was it that you came in here for?î
Effy thought for a moment. ìYou know something... I canít remember. But it couldnít have been that important. Anyway, Iíll go get that coffee.î Effy turned again to leave the room, but was startled by a loud thump, like something hitting the floor. She spun around to see Bill lying on the floor, unconscious.
ìAt the hospital Iím afraid. Iím not really sure what happened. I figured you should know, you being his sister and all. If youíd like, I will grant you leave to go see him.î
Boomer stared at her Commander with wide eyes. ìBut I just saw him yesterday. He was fine.î
ìApparently not anymore. Like I said, Iíve no idea as to what happened.î The Commander looked at her, waiting for a response; there was none. Boomer was too shocked at the news. She didnít understand what could be wrong with her brother. Then it occurred to her, the man in the crowd yesterday. There had to be some sort of connection. The thought was interrupted by the sound of the Commanderís voice.
ìLieutenant? Are you going to take leave?î
ìYes sir. Thank you.î
ìGranted.î The Commander put his signature on a slip of paper and handed it to Boomer. She took the slip, and quickly left the room.
Boomer practically ran down the hallway at the Corneria City hospital. As she neared the room where she had been told sheíd find Bill, she slowed her pace. She saw a nurse who was on her way out of the room and called to her. ìExcuse me, miss?î The nurse looked up. ìIs this the room Bill Grey is in?î The nurse nodded. ìDo you know whatís wrong with him? Do you know what caused it?î
ìIím sorry, I donít know. The Doctors are still running tests.î The nurse looked down at her clipboard, and then back at Boomer. ìAre you a relative?î
ìYes, heís my brother.î
ìWell then, you can see him. But I donít know if heís awake. Heís been slipping in and out of consciousness. But you can go in anyway.î
The nurse walked away. As Boomer entered the room, She swallowed so hard it hurt her throat. She saw Bill laying on the bed, out cold. She walked closer to him, looking for any signs that he may be conscious. ìBill?î She whispered. Her voice cracked. ìCan you hear me? Bill?î She looked at his pain-stricken face, and saw that his eyes were slowly opening. ìBill?!î
ìYeah, Itís me.î Boomer could tell that he was having trouble breathing. She could see it on his face. ìAre you okay?î
ìOh Iím just peachy.î
ìOkay, so it was a stupid question.î
ìMaybe just a little.î Bill laughed.
ìThat humor of yours just wonít die out will it Bill? Not even for a minute.î
ìIf it did, what would I have left?î He laughed, and Boomer was more than happy to hear him do so. Just then there was a knock at the door. Fox McCloud, Billís best friend, walked in.
Boomer looked slightly puzzled. ìThey let you come up here? Didnít they give you hell about that stupid ëfamilyí rule?î
ìI told them I was a relative. I donít think they believed me, but they didnít want to argue.î Fox looked at Bill. ìI heard about what happened. Are you okay? Wait a minute... Stupid question.î Bill chuckled. ìWell Itís nice to see you laughing anyway. By the way, exactly what happened?î
ìWell... I donít know exactly. I was talking to Effy, my chest started to hurt, and then... Lights out. Next thing I know, Iím here.î Just then the Doctor walked in holding a clipboard, with a look on his face as if bearing bad news. Bill was about to ask him a question, when he suddenly lost consciousness again, and fell back into his pillow. Fox and Boomer barely had time to react before the doctor signaled them out into the hallway. They followed him into a small office near Billís room. The Doctor motioned for them to sit down.
ìIím afraid I have bad news,î He frowned. Fox and Boomer quickly stood up. ìNo, please... Sit down.î The Doctor pointed to the chairs. They were reluctant, but sat back down. ìThe tests revealed the presence of a bacterium called Celkin. This bacterium is so unbelievably rare, Iím afraid a cure hasnít yet been found.î
ìYou mean thereís nothing you can do?î Boomerís eyes were burning. This was the news she had feared. ìThere must be something....î
ìNothing accomplishable.î The Doctor interrupted.
ìWhat do you mean nothing accomplishable?î Fox jumped in. ìYou mean there is something that can be done?î
ìNot really.î The Doctor started. ìThere is a discovered cure for Celkin, but itís nothing we can get to. There is a rare flower called the Celkian blossom, thus the name Celkin. Its stem contains a liquid that has been studied to be a cure.î
ìThen why isnít it accomplishable?!î Fox was starting to get aggravated.
ìBecause... Young man, Itís found only on Cedena.î
Fox sat back in his chair. Cedena, Venomís smallest moon, was nearly impossible to reach. Only one pilot has ever accomplished such a journey, Foxís father, James McCloud. He had been sent to the moon years ago, to scout around and pick up samples of rock and plant life. Fox was still a pup when his father was sent on this life-threatening mission. No one that had been sent prior to James had ever returned. James was the first, and the last. When he returned, he brought a sample of a plant that scientists had never seen before, the Celkian blossom. The flower contained a powerful sap that could cure thousands of diseases, even one so newly discovered it had not yet been named, that disease will be the very same to claim Billís life, if the Celkian Blossom is not administered in time.
Fox decided he would not let this happen, and stood up suddenly. ìIím going!î The doctor stared at him with surprise.
ìDonít be foolish young man. Going after that flower would be suicide!î
ìI donít care! Iím not letting my best friend die when there is something I can do to prevent it.î Fox had a stern, stubborn look on his muzzle. Nothing would change his mind. Boomer stood up next to him.
ìYou know Iím not about to stop you.î She then looked at the doctor. ìIím not letting my brother die.î She raised her eyes to Foxís. ìI hate to see you go alone. I want to go with you.î
ìNo Bea. I need to go alone. Thereís no need in both of us taking such a chance with our lives. Besides, Bill needs you. You should stay here.î Boomer nodded. As determined as she was to argue, she knew Fox was right. For Billís sake, she couldnít afford to be stubborn.
The doctor just shook his head. ìTo go would be very foolish young man.î
ìThen I guess Iím a fool.î With that, Fox left the room. Boomer followed. The doctor watched them leave, and suddenly felt ashamed. He was being a fool. He sighed, stood up from his chair, and made his way into the hallway.
ìYoung man... Young lady. Wait!î The doctor called for Fox and Boomer to stop, and jogged over to them. ìIím sorry. I did not mean to seem so closed-minded, and I apologize.î
ìItís all right.î Boomer said, forgivingly.
ìI just think there are a few things I should tell you,î The doctor added. ìMr. Grey has 72 hours. During the first 48 hours, he will be slipping in and out of consciousness. After a certain amount of time, Iím afraid he wonít wake up. Once he reaches that point, he has exactly 24 hours. If the Celkian solution is not administered within that 24 hours, Iím afraid he will die. Second, the Celkian blossom, so you know what it looks like, is a beautiful flower with shades of bright purple. You will know it when you see it.î The doctor looked at Fox. ìDo you think you can make it in time?î
ìWith Billís life on the line, you can be sure of it.î Fox said sternly. Boomer looked at Fox. Her eyes were watering.
ìYou havenít got much time. Youíd better go now. But you be careful Fox. If you are sure of anything, make sure you come back in one piece. Billís isnít the only life on the line here.î
ìThat may be true Bea; but if I die, so does he. It doesnít work the other way around.... Or does it?î With that, Fox turned, and made his way down the hallway.
Fox ran to his Arwing and fired up his engines. He took off with a burst of speed, and made his way toward the distant moon, and Billís only chance for survival. Boomer watched him leave from the window in Billís room, and silently wished him luck. The journey to Cedena would take at least a day, as would the trip back. Meaning Fox had only one dayís time to find the Celkian blossom.
Fox sat back in the cockpit, trying to relax. But his mind always wandered toward Bill, and the high stakes of the mission. He sat up straight, and clenched the pilot stick tightly. He then hit the small red button on the control panel, and threw the Arwing into hyperspace. The stars became streaks of light, as Fox was pushed back into the seat. Once he came upon the asteroid field in the distance, he took the ship out of hyperspace, and readied to take it slow, until he was clear of the asteroids. Fox was eager to throw it back into hyperspace; he needed to buy as much time as could. But he knew he couldnít; traveling the asteroid belt in hyperspace was far too dangerous. He began to grind his teeth with impatience, and suddenly couldnít take it anymore. He threw the Arwing into hyperspace, and held on tight. The asteroids came at him like spheres; but Fox, with expert maneuvering, was able to dodge them. He bolted through the asteroid belt with amazing speed and time, taking care not to hit any of the asteroids. When finally he was clear of the belt, he released from hyperspace. He decided not to use it again until he neared Cedena, so to conserve energy. Fox sat up straight again, and started to wonder exactly what it was that had kept all those pilots from returning from the mysterious moon. What secrets did it hold? Fox shook his head, trying to force away such thoughts. He couldnít ask himself so many questions. What ever happened, happened... And that was that.
Boomer sat down in the chair next to Billís bed. She couldnít stand to see the painful look on his face, so she looked away. She found herself constantly looking at her watch. Had it really been 12 hours already? Fox must have been at least half way there by now. She could only hope that he makes it there on time. She looked at her brother, and then back at her watch. Time was passing much faster than she had feared it would.
Fox was growing tired. He hadnít slept in almost two days. He blinked as he looked at his watch. ì24 hours already?î He mumbled to himself. ìI should be nearing Cedena by now.î He leaned forward and switched on his radar screen. The monitor signaled that the moon was only a short distance away. Fox squinted, trying to get a visual, but could see nothing. ìThatís strange,î he thought. ìI should be able to see it by now.î Fox strained his eyes, but all he could see was the thick cloud of debris a space dust which surrounded him. Suddenly, the moon came into sight, within only a few feet in front of him. ìHoly!...î Fox quickly pulled back on the stick, forcing the plane upwards. He was within inches of hitting the moon, but the nose of his Arwing had barely missed the surface. Fox breathed a sigh of relief as he glided safely down to meet the ground. It was, thankfully, a soft landing, and Fox was still shocked at his near encounter with death. He sat back in his seat, and put his head back. He suddenly jerked his head forward again, fearing he may fall asleep. He opened the hatch, and climbed out his the cockpit. He had no fear of the air being toxic; his father, upon his return years ago, had already stated it wasnít. Fox scanned his surroundings. ìThis planet is bare. How could anything possibly grow here?î He looked toward the North and noticed a small mountain range in the distance. ìI guess that would be the best place to look.î He knew there would be no place to land his Arwing there. He was thankful to have landed safely where he did. He would have to walk. Fox reached into the cockpit of his Arwing and switched on his tracking system, then switched on the receiver attached to his belt. This would allow him to find the plane again. Fox stared ahead at the mountain range, which now seemed so much further away. He took a deep breath, and started on his journey to find the Celkian blossom.
ìHmmm, his pulse is getting weaker.î The nurse let go of Billís wrist and let his hand drop over the side of the bed. She looked at Boomer, who had been at the hospital for the past day and a half, and sighed. ìMiss, maybe you should go downstairs and get something to eat.î
ìIím not hungry, thank you.î Boomer looked away, but the nurse still stared at her.
ìI know itís not easy to see your brother in a hospital miss, but itís no reason to ignore your own health as well. In fact, itís rather redundant.î
ìI said, Iím not hungry.î Boomer snapped. The nurse shook her head, and started to walk away, when Boomer stopped her. ìIím sorry Maíam. I didnít mean to snap at you. Itís just that...î
ìI know. And I understand.î With that, the nurse left the room. Boomer stared at Bill, still lying there; but her vision was blurry. She fought back the tears, but it burned her throat. She had to cry, but silently. ìFox. Please hurry. Please... hurry.î
The wind was hitting the side of his face like spears, but Fox kept going. He crawled along the sides of steep ledges, scraping his knees on jagged rocks. The wind blew sand into his cuts, stinging them. Fox was tired, thirsty, and hungry, but worst of all, running out of time. He had only 2 hours left to find that flower. The trip back home would take another day, and time was a precious commodity. Fox stumbled on a rock and fell to the ground, and it greeted him with a rough landing. His palms were raw and bleeding, and as he tried to get up he realized that he had twisted his ankle. The pain shot up his right side when he tried to move. He tried to get up again, but it was no use, he would have to wait out the pain. Fox cursed his rotten luck; time was something he just didnít have. He closed his eyes and thought of Bill. He thought of what life would be like without him. There would be no life without him. Nothing would be the same, and Fox couldnít let that happen. He attempted to get up again, but something caught his eye. The dark, dreary moon held little color; so the bright purple hues easily caught Foxís attention. He crawled along the ground and worked his way to a small log. The source of the color seemed to be wedged underneath it. Using all his force, Fox pushed the log over, revealing a beautiful purple flower. Foxís eyes beamed. It fit the doctorís description perfectly! This had to be it! In all his excitement, Fox forgot his pain and stood up. He was about to pick the flower, but paused, and thought for a minute. Instead of snapping the flower at the stem, he pulled it out of the ground, root and all. Fox gripped the flower tightly. To him, it was worth more than gold. It was worth the life of his best friend. Holding the flower firmly against his chest, Fox made his way back down the mountain.
ìIím afraid heís reached the 24-hour mark. From here on in, he wonít be waking up again.î The doctor tried to remain within hope, and tried even harder to show it on his face. ìWe can only hope that heís on his way back by now.î
Boomer only stared. She didnít want to hear the sound of her own voice. She didnít want to hear the doctorís, or a nurseës. She wanted only to hear Billís voice. The only voice that was unavailable to her ears.
ìIím sure Heíll make it in time Miss. I know who that young man is. I knew the moment I saw him. If Fox McCloud canít do it, no one can.î
Boomer thought for a minute. She knew the doctor was right. If anyone could pull off such a mission, Fox could. She only hoped Fox believed it.
Foxís tracker beeped louder as he neared the Arwing. He was thankful to be clear of the rough winds that had battered him in the mountains, and even more thankful to have found the precious flower which he gripped in his hands. All that was left in his journey was to find his Arwing, and head back toward Corneria. His eyes watered from the sand that had whipped across his face, his cuts stung him like bees, but Fox didnít care. He had found what he had come to find, and things were looking up.
Fox noticed a soft humming sound rising over the mountains behind him, and listened. He recognized that sound. Fox pinned his ears back, hoping it wasnít what he thought it was. The humming grew louder; the source was undeniable... Jets, not just one, but several. Fox knew they wouldnít be friendly. He was too close to Venom for them to be allies. The dust on the surface in front of him was starting to settle, and Fox could see the Arwing. He decided to make a break for it. He would not be able to defend himself until he was in the air.
The humming behind him was growing louder. Fox ran for his life. Soon he could see lasers piercing the ground around him, and knew he was the intended target. As the planes flew overhead, they broke formation, and started to turn back for another try. Fox could now see the invaders crystal clear, and ran even faster.
From inside his cockpit, Wolf OíDonnell laughed evilly. There below him, was his archrival... A sitting duck. He pushed forward on the stick, and dove toward Fox, firing his lasers madly. Fox dodged them, and kept running for his Arwing. ìAlmost there...î He thought ìIím almost there...î But Wolf wasnít the only one Fox had to worry about. He watched helplessly, as Leon, Andrew, and Pigma started to dive at him, lasers firing. Fox dove to the ground and slid under the Arwing. The poorly aimed shots missed both him and his plane. As they were turning to come back, Fox took his chance and jumped into his cockpit. Wolf tried to get in one more shot, but Fox was already inside. He fired up his engines, and took off like a shot. He glanced at his radar and saw that the Starwolf team was in hot pursuit. Fox had no choice but to fight, but time was running short. As it was he had only ten minutes to spear before he was to be off that moon, and on his way back to Corneria. It seemed impossible, but Fox had to destroy Starwolf within only a ten-minute window.
ìYouíre all alone now McCloud!î Wolf taunted, ìYour pathetic excuse for wingmen canít help you now!î He hit his boosters and pulled up on Foxís six. Fox somersaulted, and lost Wolf for the time being. Now he was dealing with Leon, who had pulled up behind him. Fox looked down toward Cedenaís surface, and noticed the mountain range blow him. He hit the boosters and sped toward them, with Leon following close behind. Fox rocketed through the mountains with expert maneuverability, avoiding the jagged rocks and mountain slopes. When he realized Leon was still following, he boosted straight for a nearby mountain. Fox appeared as though he was going to run right into it, but suddenly hit the breaks, sending Leon screaming into the mountainside. As Fox watched, he saw that Leon hadnít been the only one following him, and Andrew kissed the mountain as well.
All that was left was Wolf and Pigma, with only five minutes to go. Fox could see Pigma in front of him, and pulled up on his six. He was about to fire when he noticed Wolf on his Six, firing his lasers. Fox was sandwiched between the two fighters. Wolf laughed, thinking he had him where he wanted him. Suddenly, Fox banked left, and Wolf found himself shooting at Pigma, who was now directly in front of him. One on- target shot to the engine brought Pigma down to meet with Cedenaís dusty surface.
The odds were finally even. Wolf was the only one left, with only two minutes left on the clock. ìSo Fox, howís your good friend Bill?î Wolf laughed.
ìYou have something to do with that, donít you?!î Fox yelled.
ìMy dear rival, who do you think sent that spy?î Wolf said smugly.
ìThe one that injected him with that disease in the first place. We knew youíd come here in search of that flower. A stupid move, McCloud. A very stupid move. And when I destroy you, I will have destroyed Billís only chance for survival. Two for the price of one.î
Fox was red with anger. ìNot if I can help it! Iíll destroy you, both for Bill and myself!î
Wolf laughed. ìTry if you must McCloud! Try if you must!î Wolf pulled up behind Fox and started firing at him. Fox tried to somersault, but Wolf had been paying attention, and followed through, ending up right behind him once again. Fox suddenly got an idea, though he knew it was very risky. He could easily lose a wing in the process, but he had to try. He hit his boosters. Wolf accelerated and followed him, as planned. When Fox reached just the right speed, he hit his breaks and jerked the Arwing onto its side, causing the left wing to stick straight up at a ninety-degree angle. Wolf, unaware of what was happening, continued at a constant speed, straight toward Fox. Foxís wing caught Wolfís at the base, and sawed through it like a knife. Foxís wing remained in tact, but Wolfís had been taken off. In his shock, Wolf didnít realize Fox had pulled up behind him. He fired rapidly at Wolfís engine, not even bothering to aim. The Wolfenís engine burst into flames, and its pilot was sent to lay with his wingmen on Cedenaís surface.
Boomer paced the hospital room worriedly, as the doctor checked Billís pulse. ìItís growing weaker,î He sighed. ìHeís slipping away from us, slowly but surely... Dreadful disease.î He paused, and looked over at Boomer, who was still pacing about the room. ìMiss, Iíve been meaning to ask... Do you have any idea as to how he acquired this disease in the first place?î
ìI have a good idea. But first I must ask you... How is it possible to acquire this disease? How can you get it ?î
ìWell, thatís the reason this disease is so rare. The bacterium must be injected directly into the bloodstream with a needle.î He looked back at Bill, who was unmoving. ìWhich makes me wonder how he came in contact with it. The very few cases weíve ever had were all homicide victims. Someone was out to kill them.î
Boomer sat down in a nearby chair. ìWell then I guess I have a better idea than I thought.î She looked at her watch, and back at the doctor. ìHe has eight hours. Please tell me that my watch is wrong.î
ìIím afraid itís not.î He said sadly. ìTime is our worst enemy. And itís fighting dirty.î
Fox flew threw space like a beam of light, cursing at every second that went by. He was racing against time now, a worthier opponent than Starwolf had been. He passed by Solar, and was nearing Katina. He knew he would have to slow down when he passed through Katina airspace. They would suspect him as a spy if he acted suspiciously. He held his breath, and hoped they didnít try to stop him for inspection. Suddenly, a guardís voice buzzed in on his com-link. ìThis is the Katina command center, requesting you stop for inspection. Please dock your ship at the command post.î
Fox banged his fist on the control panel. He didnít have time for this! He tried to persuade them to let him pass. ìPlease sir, I have urgent business on Corneria, concerning Commander Grey.î
The guard was intolerant. ìSure buddy. Everyone knows Commander Grey is sick. Heís our boss. This is the Katina defense post remember? Try another one pal.î
ìI am serious!î Fox said angrily. ìIf you donít let me pass, Bill Grey will die!î
ìIs this a threat?!î
ìNo! Iím on your side! Iím for the Cornerian cause! Why would I threaten you?î
ìState your name, or Iíll give the order to shoot you down!î The guard shouted.
The guard laughed. ìYour real name smart guy!î
ìThat is my real name!î Fox snapped.
ìYouíre just full of ëem, arenít you pal?î The guard laughed.
Fox was officially mad. ìPut me on visual damn it!î He screamed.
ìOkay, if thatís the way you want to play it, fine by me!î The guard switched on his vid screen to see a very angry Fox. ìOh boy...î He muttered. ìIím terribly sorry Mr. McCloud... I... I had no idea. Go ahead, you can pass.î
Fox wasted no time; he bolted toward Corneria, heading into the asteroid field. He looked down at his watch, and saw he had 45 minutes to get to Corneria, or Bill would surely die. But he couldnít take the chance of going threw the asteroid field while in hyperspace. He had been lucky the first time, but it was a chance that could not be taken twice. He maneuvered quickly through the asteroids, taking care not to hit any of them. He was going as fast as he could go. Time ticked by quickly. With every asteroid he passed, another minute had come and gone. Fox, finally overwhelmed with impatience, threw the Arwing into hyperspace.
ìWhere is he?î Boomer cried. She continuously looked at her watch. ì15 Minutes! Only 15 minutes left! God Fox, where are you?!î She turned to a nurse who had just entered the room. ìGo get the doctor!î The nurse hesitated. ìPlease!!!î Boomer yelled. The nurse ran out of the room as if being chased by killer bees. About one minute later, the doctor ran into the room.
ìWhat is it?î He asked, worried.
ìDoctor, how long does it take to actually make the antidote?î
ìAbout ten minutes.î
ìOh god...î Boomer ran to the window. But as she looked out, her eyes met with a site, which made her cry for joy. ìFox!!! Heís here!î
The doctor ran to the window. ìAre you sure thatís him?î
ìThatís the Arwing! Thereís only four like it, and the other three are on Great Fox... Itís him!î Boomer bolted out of the room and ran outside just in time to catch Fox climbing out of his cockpit. ìDid you get it? Did you get the Celkian Blossom?!î
ìI got it. Howís Bill? Did I make it in time?î
ìWe have only twelve minutes, and it takes ten to make the antidote. We have to hurry!î Boomer grabbed Fox by the arm, and ran back into the building. They were met by the doctor in the hallway.
ìDo you have it? Give it to me, quickly!î
Fox quickly handed him the flower, and the doctor sped off to have the antidote made.
Upstairs, Fox and Boomer paced the floor, waiting for the doctor. Both of them kept looking at their watches. Two minutes left. Bill was fading fast, and his breathing had grown extremely faint. The doctor suddenly slid into the room, nearly crashing into boomer. He held in his hand a large syringe, which contained Billís only hope for survival. With one minute left on the clock, the doctor quickly rolled up Billís sleeve, and injected the antidote. He stood back, and stared at his patient. ìAll we can do now is hope, and pray.î The doctor looked over at Fox. ìI realized that you had preserved the root of the Celkian Blossom as well. Great thinking. Now we can grow them ourselves, and save hundreds of lives. This Blossom is a cure for a number a deadly diseases.î
Fox looked at the doctor. ìHow long before it takes effect?î
ìWeíll know if he makes it through the night.î The doctor sighed. ìWeíve done as much as we can until then.î
Boomer and Fox couldnít even think of sleeping that night. Both of them decided to stay at the hospital through the night, and only hoped to see Bill open his eyes.
The room was a total blur. All that could be seen were two, out of focus figures, parallel to the bed. Bill blinked, and strained to see, but his eyes refused to focus. He knew he recognized those figures, though he hadnít the faintest idea where he was. He strained harder to see. ìBea? Fox?...î
ìBill?...î Fox and Boomer stood up like they had been sitting on tacks. ìYou... Youíre okay!î
ìWell, I guess Iíd feel a little better, if someone would tell me what the hell happened... I feel like my head just exploded.î
ìJust try to relax Bill.î Fox smiled. ìWeíll explain everything...î
The base was streamed with ribbons and balloons. ëWelcome home Commanderí signs were hung everywhere. With every corner that Bill turned, there were rows of smiling faces, but no face was beaming brighter than Effyís. She ran to Bill and hugged him, almost knocking him over. ìI have never been so happy to see someone in my whole life!î
ìEffy... I canít breathe...î Bill choked
ìI missed you sooo much!î
ìHave I ever told you, youíre like the big brother I never had?î
ìI am so glad youíre back! ì
ìThen why are you trying to kill me?î
Effy let go of her strangling embrace, and punched Billís shoulder. ìDo you have any idea what Iíve been through?! My fingers are in a knot; Iíve never seen so much paper in my life! Honestly! You say youíre taking a day off, and you take a week!... by the way, Iím glad youíre okay Bill.... But honestly! A week! This is payback for all those ëhigh Commanderí jokes isnít it?...î Effy walked away, still rambling on.
Bill shrugged ìItís good to be alive... I think.î