Liberation From Venom

        "Watch your six, Slippy!"  Fox yelled as he shot down a bogey on
Slippy's tail.
        "Thanks, Fox," he said quickly, and began chasing another bogey.
        "Geez, where are these guys coming from?"  Falco asked, taking
down two bogeys with one shot.
        "Look at the radar!  There's a mother ship coming this way," Bill
said.  "That must be where they're coming from, but why?  They know we
always win these battles."
        "You should know by now that Andross doesn't know how to quit,"
Fox said, flipping around and catching several bogeys by surprise.  He
shivered in his arwing.  The Katina weather outside was about as cold as
Fortuna, and as much as Fox liked helping Bill, he couldn't understand
how Bill could stand the weather.  But then, Bill did have a cousin who
lived on Fortuna so maybe adapting to cold places was in the Gray family
        "There's too many of them!"  Peppy said, interrupting Fox's
thoughts.  He was right.  The base was swarming with Venomian fighters,
and they looked like Invader fours, Andross's new fighters.
        "We can't win this one," Fox said.
        "We're not losing without a fight, though," Bill said, firmly.
        "Then let's give them a run for their money," a familiar female
voice said over the intercoms.  Fox smiled.
        "Star, I thought you wouldn't show," Fox said.
        "You mean miss the dogfight of the century?  Forget it!"  Star
said, laughing.  "O.K., I did a little research on these jets and found
out they can take a charged laser, but if you shoot them from above with
one shot they crash and burn.  I'll look up the mother ship now."
        "Don't worry about it, Star," Bill said, smiling.  "With you
here, that mother'll get scared and run away with it's tail between it's
        "We don't want this to get away.  This ship has got enough TNT to
take out an entire country!  It's heading for Corneria, these little
Invader units are just decoys," Star said, watching her computer screen,
while dodging laser fire.  "Fox, cover my wing.  I'm going after the
mother ship."
        "Hold on a minute, Star," Fox said, killing the bogey in front of
him.   But Star was already heading towards the mother ship and all he
could do, was follow.
        "Falco, get your tail feathers over here," Star demanded.
        "Why should I?"  the bird asked, catching up quickly to the
        "Fly under that hatch right there.  It should open so enemy
fighters will swarm out and chase you.  Lead them away, I know you can do
it, you're one of the best pilots I've ever seen.  Then I can take out
the ship.  Got it?"  Star asked.
        "Got it."  Falco flew to the hatch and circled it for a moment
until a new batch of Invaders flew out after him.  Before the hatch had a
chance to close, Star shot a nova bomb directly into the center.
        "Switching to Hyper speed, now!"  Star yelled.  Falco and Fox
switched to Hyper speed and got clear of the explosion.  The mother ship
went down in flames and the Invaders lost their nerve to fight.  Most
tried to run, but were shot down, mercilessly by Husky and Bulldog
        "Yeah!  Great work, Star," Bill said.
        "No, that was easy," Star said, smiling.
        "Hey, why don't you guys stay at the base for a while?"  Bill
asked.  "Just to have some coffee, warm-up, c'mon.  It's not like your
doing anything else today."
        "Sure, I'm not going anywhere."  Star flew down to the base and
docked.  Fox envied her for making the decision so quickly.  He had to
decide wether his team was up to it, if the work was done, if they were
needed on Great Fox...
        "Yeah, we'll stay awhile, too."  Fox said, landing next to Star's
        "Hey, is that a new jet?"  Falco asked, walking towards Star
        "Yeah, Arctic.  The one I was telling you about," Star said.
        "Whoa, she's a beauty," Slippy breathed, coming up behind Falco.
        "Move it, bug-breath.  I was hear first," Falco said, pushing
Slippy away.
        "No way, Beak-nose," Slippy said, shoving back.
        "Would the two of you knock it off?"  Star asked.
        "Yeah, let's get inside.  It's freezing out here," Fox said,
walking inside the base.
        "Oh c'mon Fox it's not that cold," Star said.  "Our grandfather
was an arctic fox; being cold is in our blood."
        "I'd rather be warm," Fox said.  "I don't like the cold."
        Try living on Titania, Star thought.  That would make Fox
appreciate the cold.  Star followed her brother's team inside to the bar,
where Bill was already seated, sipping a drink.
        "Hey, what took you so long?" the dog asked.
        "Them," Peppy said, pointing to Falco and Slippy as the two
fought over a bar stool.
        "So how have things been with you?"  Fox asked his grade school
        "Why don't you ask your sister?"  Bill grinned.  "I'm sure she
        "I do, but why don't you tell us?"  Star asked, ordering a Pepsi.
        "Well, my arm healed from that burn I got from Leon on Macbeth.
I haven't found Roverans yet, that's pretty important to me now.  I
really want to find him.  He's the only close living family I have,."
Bill said, sadly.
        "I've been looking for Roverans in my spare time, but no luck.
When I get back to the den, I'll look more carefully," Star promised.
        "I don't want to keep you from something that's more important,"
Bill said, quickly.
        "I ain't got nothin' better to do," Star smiled, gulping down her
Pepsi.  "That's if Fox can stay out of trouble long enough for me to
relax at home."
        "Hey, I never asked you to save me on Venom," Fox quipped.  "No
one told you to come out of hiding."
        "I wasn't in hiding!  I was in seclusion," Star protested.
        "That's fancy word for hiding," Fox said.  Star turned to face
her brother.  Their eyes were blue-green, in mild competition to stare
the other down.  Bill watched them and smiled.  He had seen them fight a
lot when he was a pup, but as much as he liked o see them fight, he
couldn't allow them to fight at his base.
        "C'mon, guys," Bill said, gently pulling the twins apart.  "Fox,
you should be getting back to Great Fox and Star-Hey where is your den
        "I won't tell anyone," Star replied, tossing a lock of red-gold
hair over her shoulder.  "That's my secret."
        "You seem to have a lot of secrets," Fox growled, looking away
from Star.
        "Of course I do, honey," Star grinned. "I've gotta get goin',
boys," Star waved to Falco and Slippy, currently arguing over a napkin.
"Bye Peppy," Star nodded to the hare, who was watching the frog and
falcon fight.
        Falco looked up as Star exited.  "There goes one foxy vixen," he
whistled softly.
        "Yeah, I'll say that much about her," Fox said, coming up behind
Falco.  "Let's go, I'll pay the tab."  Fox looked at the bill for the
drinks.  "Hey!  Star left without paying!"  Falco laughed and followed
Slippy and Peppy outside.

        Wolf lay on the bench press sweating.  After a minute, he reached
for the weight above his head and lifted it.  One, he counted silently,
two, three... The weight was almost two hundred pounds. ...thirteen,
        "I wish I could do that," a whiny voice said from behind Wolf.
Wolf lost count and when he tried to remember where he left off he almost
dropped the weight.  Luckily, Leon came in at that moment and helped Wolf
put it back over his head.  Leon handed his friend a water bottle and a
towel and glared at Andrew.
        "Do you know what you could have done?  Sneaking up on Wolf like
that?"  Leon asked, quietly, dangerously.
        "I didn't mean to sneak up on him," Andrew protested.  "I just
said I wished I could bench press like him."
        "And you surprised him.  He almost killed himself and you
wouldn't have been able to help him," Leon said, his voice low and even.
Andrew began to feel a little apprehensive.  Leon scared him in a way he
couldn't really understand.  Leon had never even touched Andrew, unless
it was to break up a fight between him and Wolf.  "Maybe I should give
you a lesson on manners and letting people know when your in the room,"
Leon threatened, quietly.
        Andrew backed up, nervously.  "You can't touch me."
        "Your right," Leon said, checking his watch.  "I've got an
appointment in the jail in five minutes."  Leon smiled evilly.  "Wolf,
you'll deal with him as soon as you're ready, right?"
        "Yeah," Wolf said, panting and wiping the sweat off his face.
"Yeah, go head."
        Leon walked away quickly, checking his watch again, just to make
sure he was on time.  Outside the gym he picked up his suitcase and
whistled cheerfully on his way to the jail.
        In one of the jail cells a dalmatian cringed at the sound of
reptilian scales brushing against the wall as the laser bars to his cell
disappeared and Leon walked in.  The lasers came back up as soon as the
chameleon was completely inside.
        "Hello Roverans," Leon said, opening his suitcase and taking out
the clamps he used to pin his victims to the wall.  "Paws up," Leon
        The dalmatian stood and stretched his paws out, painfully.  Leon
clamped them to the wall and then did the same to his legs.  "So how's
the weather been?" Leon asked, selecting his first torture item.
        "Fine," Roverans answered dimly, though he had no window in his
cell to see the weather.  He had learned not to back-talk Leon long ago.
        "How's the food?"  Leon questioned, pulling out his shock phaser
and setting it on level two.
        "Better than what they served on Fortuna," Roverans muttered.
        "I'll tell that to the chef," Leon said, he turned the shock
phaser on and held it close to Roverans chest, not quite touching him.
"Do you know Star McCloud?"
        Roverans paused.  Of course he knew her, what did Leon know about
her?  What should he say?
        "Answer me!"  Leon demanded, pressing the phaser against the
dog's chest.
        "No, I don't know her!"  Roverans screamed in pain.
        "Who said anything about Star being a her?"  Leon asked, upping
the phaser level to two and a half.
        Roverans screamed again, half in pain, half in anger at himself
for letting Leon trick him.
        "Next question," Leon said, pulling the phaser away from him and
putting it away, pulling out the table saw.
        Roverans gulped and watched the weapon in Leon's hand.  "I know
she's Fox's sister and Bill's friend.  That's all I know, honest," he
sounded pleading.
        "I do hate it when you begin to beg.  Are you sure you don't know
anything else?"  The saw came dangerously close to Roverans arm.
        "Yes, I'm sure," Roverans said, he screamed as Leon pressed the
table saw to his arm.
        "Don't you know what happened to her?"  Leon asked.
        "She's dead-Aaaaah!- She crashed on-Aaaah!  Stop!- She crashed on
Titania," Leon pulled the saw away for a moment and let Roverans catch
his breath.
        "You think she's dead?"  Leon asked.  Roverans looked at him
suspiciously.  What was that gleam in his eye?  "I know that you know
Star's alive and well.  For now anyway."  Leon pressed the saw to
Roverans other arm, ignoring his scream.  "Where has she been living?"
        "I don't know!!"  Roverans screamed.  "She stopped by two or
three times in the last five years!"
        Leon took the saw away and wiped his face with a handkerchief.
"That's a little hard to believe, considering no one knew where she was
for eight or nine years," Leon wiped off the table saw and picked up one
of his drills.
        "Sh-she didn't see me often.  She j-just stopped by to see h-how
things were, s-see what was g-going on with Bill," Roverans stuttered,
struggling to talk.
        "Isn't that a shame?"  Leon brought the drill closer to Roverans,
smiling as the dog screamed.

        Guy sat nervously in the bar.  It was a new bar, not the one he
and Andrew often met in.  He was waiting for the person who had given him
the card with his number on it.  He wasn't even sure who to look for.
        "Hello, Guy," a low voice said from behind.  It had a tint of a
French accent to it.  "Sorry to keep you waiting."
        Guy jumped.  "Who are you?"
        "It's me, Liam.  The one you called a while ago."
        "I know that, but who are you?  Why did you come to me?"  Guy
        A tall chameleon stepped out of the shadows.  "I'd like to join
your team, the Conquest Squadron, as you call it," Liam sat down next to
the sparrow.
        "But why didn't you talk to Ramsy?  He's in charge of the team,
not me," Guy looked this stranger up and down.  He had rich looking
clothes and looked strong and flexible.  "Besides, what makes you think
you can be a pilot?"
        "I've flown before, my skills are useful.  And I've heard that
you've been having problems with Starwolf and Andross.  I can help," Liam
        "How?"  Guy asked, skeptically.
        "First of all, Andross knows of my skills and wishes to see me
join a team here.  Second, Leon is my cousin.  I don't think he'll harm
his cousin's team."
        "I don't think you know Leon very well.  He's even shocked Andrew
with his phaser, and Andrew is Andross's nephew," Guy explained.
        "Maybe, but Andrew probably deserved it," Liam said.
        "He did not!  Andrew's my friend and doesn't deserve to be
treated like that."
        "Alright!  O.K., so let's say we make a deal.  I'll keep Leon off
Andrew and you'll convince your leader to let me join your team," Liam
smiled, looking almost exactly like his famous cousin.
        "Deal," Guy said, shaking Liam's hand.

        Star stretched out in her lounge chair and clicked the buttons on
her remote.  Some music played and her computers turned on and booted up.
 She sighed and stood up to insert the disk to her personal computer,
then watched the other computers.
        One showed what was happening on Venom, while the other showed
what was happening on Great Fox.  Star payed attention to the Venomian
computer and typed in a command.  The screen flashed, showing Star
pictures through security cameras.  One picture showed a bar where Andrew
and a sparrow where drinking and talking.  Star zoomed in on the sparrow
and clicked a button and the picture of the laughing sparrow froze.  She
sent the picture to her personal computer with a command to find data on
him.  Then Star went back to the camera images.
        The lizards in the control room were talking loudly and trading
stories of when they were pilots, not paper-pushers.  Another picture
showed the gym, deserted.  The next picture was in the lounge, showing
Lieutenant Caiman and some other pilots taking a time-out.  In the
cafeteria Star saw Pigma helping himself to several servings of whatever
slop they were serving.  In Starwolf's lounge Star saw Wolf getting ready
to go out.  His hair was wet, Str assumed he had just showered.  The next
picture was Leon leaving a prison cell.  Star froze the picture and
zoomed in.
        Leon was carrying his suitcase of torture tools.  Bill called it
the "Suitcase of Suffering."  Star noticed black and white fur on Leon's
sleeve that could have come from the prisoner he was torturing, or from
someone else.  She zoomed in until she could see the cell number above
the cell.  56 was the number and Star sent it to her other computer.
        She was getting excited, had she finally found Roverans?  Star
went to Venom's prisoner record and looked up cell 56.  "Naroman,
Roverans, a dalmatian of medium weight and semi-tall, has been
transferred from a jail on Bolse to a prison on Venom-"
        "Yeah, yeah, I know that," Star muttered, skimming through the
report.  "What have they been doing to him?"  The prison records didn't
tell Star what she wanted to know, obviously the prison records wouldn't
show what was happening to the prison records so Star would have to find
out what she wanted to know from personal files.
        Star back out of the prison files and opened up Starwolf's files.
 Andrew kept a diary on the computer that was interesting to read now and
then, especially when that monkey showed up claiming to be Andross's
nephew, but Star wasn't interested in Andrew's secrets right now.
        Leon kept a record and schedule on his computer to remember
appointments and to jot down reminders and information.  Star hacked into
those files and what she found surprised her.
        "2:30, Thursday, torture job for cell 56."  Read the appointment
on the schedule.  Star clicked on it to find out more.  Inside she read
what was actually happening during these torture jobs Leon had.
"Roverans talks easier than his cousin does and screams louder, too.
Today, I asked about Star, and for the first time since I first started
torturing the dalmatian, he actually lied and said he didn't know her.  I
got the confession out of him via the shock phaser.  He seemed reluctant
to talk about her, and now that I think of it, when I told Bill Grey to
tell me everything he knew about Fox, he omitted Star.  They must have
really been dedicated not to tell anyone about this young vixen.  Perhaps
there is more to her than meets the eye."
        Oh, there's a heck of a lot more to me than you'll ever know,
Star thought, finishing the document.  Now, I'll need a plan to get int
Venom and free Roverans...
        I've got it!  Star thought excitedly.  She called Starfox quickly
to tell them the plan.

        Bill sighed, kicking off his boots and laying on his bed.  It had
been a rough day; after about three hours of fighting Invaders I's he was
tired and hungry, all he got was a quick rest at the bar with his friends
and then it was back to work with the Husky Unit.  Drills had run for
four straight hours, due to mistakes the pilots seemed to be making more,
and more of as time went by.
        "Man, do I miss Roverans," Bill murmured.  This was usually the
time of day when Bill could catch Roverans and they'd chat for a while
before Roverans went to work.  The day was just starting for him on
Fortuna while the day was ending for Bill on Katina.
        Too tired for dinner, Bill tried to do some paperwork that was
already late, but he couldn't concentrate.  He remembered the days when
Leon had him in his clutches...
        The dark cell, the damp smell, the poisonous spider, and the
waiting for death, or freedom, whichever came first.  He could remember
hearing the drip of water, the reptilian scales brushing the walls, the
click of a suitcase opening, the humming of a shock phaser-
        Stop!  Bill commanded himself, silently.  Remembering won't help
Roverans, and what could Leon gain from torturing his cousin?  Scientific
data?  Pleasure?  The satisfaction of knowing Bill was worried sick?
Bill was far from tired now, but he couldn't concentrate on his papers
now.  I'll go for a quick ride in my jet, the dog decided.  Maybe that'll
calm me down.

        "Where's Andrew?"  Leon asked, stepping out of the bathroom,
fresh from a shower.
        "I dunno.  I haven't seen him since the gym," Wolf replied,
looking up from his magazine.  "How was your appointment?"  Wolf expected
Leon to smile with satisfaction and tell Wolf what had happened, but to
his surprise, Leon shook his head and got a soda.
        "It's funny how Bill never told me about Star when I tortured
him.  Roverans is still reluctant to talk about her.  But they'll tell me
everything else I want to know without hesitation."  Leon took a gulp of
soda.  "It's like there's something about her that makes people stop and
        "She's the kind of person that you'd stop and think about," Wolf
said, polishing his knife.
        "But it seems uncanny the way they don't even like to talk about
        "Starwolf," the a/v screen blinked on and a monkey was talking to
them.  "Andross has a mission for you."
        "About time," Wolf growled.  "What is it?"
        "One of our space stations orbiting Fortuna is under attack, we
need all our forces there.  We think Starfox is in the area as well."
        "Great!  I haven't shot down Falco in a while," Leon said,
donning his helmet.
        "Could you page Andrew and Pigma for us?"  Wolf asked, sheathing
his knife and grabbing his helmet.
        "Will do," the monkey said.  "The new secretary, Dawn, will take
you to your jets.  They're in a different docking bay."
        "Why aren't they in the same one?"  Wolf asked.
        "Because someone spilled an entire barrel of oil in there this
morning.  Over and out," the screen blinked off.
        As Wolf and Leon walked down the hallway an announcement blared
        "Well that was quick," Wolf hesitated.  His friend's silence was
making him nervous.  Nothing scared Leon and he could figure out people's
weaknesses easier than anything, but Star seemed to confuse him...
        "What's goin' on?"  Pigma asked, meeting up with Wolf and Leon.
        "We've gotta chase Corneria outa one of our space stations.
Maybe even fight Starfox," Wolf replied.
        Up ahead Andrew was waiting at the end of the hall, talking to
his friend, Guy.  Guy left as he saw Leon approaching and Andrew waited
for his team.  He fell into step with them as they passed and didn't ask
any questions.  He could tell when Leon was in a bad mood, and usually
when Leon was in a bad mood, so was Wolf.
        Soon, Wolf could see the docking bay reception area and a young
raccoon typing at the computer.  She wasn't very tall, her clothes were
humble, showing she didn't have much money.  Her muzzle was long for a
raccoon, her mask was jet black.  When she looked up Wolf could see that
her eyes were blue.
        "Oh, hello.  You must be Wolf," the secretary's voice was quiet
and smooth.  She stood up to shake Wolf's hand.  "I'm Dawn.  I'll take
you to your jets."
        Wolf followed as did the rest of his team.  Leon thought for a
minute that this secretary seemed a bit familiar...but he brushed the
thought away quickly.
        "I'm new here," Dawn was saying.  "I went to a Venomian
technology school on Macbeth to learn about computers and desk work, so I
could work on Venom.  I never thought I'd actually work in Andross's base
though."  The raccoon went on, talking quickly, hardly slowing.  She
talked about everything, from her school to her interests and hobbies.
Leon stopped listening after a while, and thought about why she seemed so
        "Here's your Wolfen II's," Dawn said.  "Good luck on your
mission."  She nodded to Wolf and then looked at Leon.  Her clear blue
eyes cut through him like knives, and he found himself thinking that they
were as blue as...As blue as what?  He puzzled over that for a minute, as
he climbed into his jet and took off after Wolf.

        "So what's going on?"  Falco asked.  "Why hasn't she called us
        "She'll call us soon," Fox said.  "Bill, you've got the transport
ready, right?"
        "Yeah, as soon as you give the word, Fox," Bill said, over his
com link.  The transmission was static-y, but understandable.  Bill was
stationed just outside Venom, guarding a transport with half of his Husky
Unit.  "I'd feel a lot more comfortable if you were doing this."
        Fox laughed.  "Don't worry about it, buddy.  Everything will turn
out alright."
        Suddenly, another transmission cut through they're coms.
"They're out.  Repeat, Starwolf is out."
        "Go in as soon as they're gone, Bill," Fox said.  "Thanks, Star."
        "Anyway I can help," Star said.  "Out."
        "Invader III's coming our way," Peppy said, watching his radar.
        "Oh man, while the Cornerian army gets to get out the space
station, we gotta deal with Invaders," Falco complained.
        "Remember the space station isn't the target of this mission,"
Fox said.  "Take out as many as you can."

        Starwolf could see the battle almost two miles away.  "Is Starfox
there?"  Andrew asked.
        "Yeah, they're on the radar," Wolf said.
        "What about Star?"  Andrew asked.
        "No, she's not there," Wolf replied, checking his radar again.
        Suddenly, Leon remembered why Dawn had seemed so familiar to him.
 "Pigma, Star was a spy right?"
        "Yeah, so what?"  Pigma answered.
        "Does she spy through computer bugs or does she actually get
behind enemy lines in disguises?"  Leon asked
        "She does both."
        "Wolf, Dawn was Star!  I know it!"  Leon yelled.
        "What?  Why would she be in our base?"  Wolf asked.
        "I don't know, she's probably spying on us.  Wolf, this entire
mission was planned to get us out of the base so Star can do whatever she
wants to do," Leon said, thinking slowly.  "Didn't you see her eyes?
They looked just like Star's."
        "Yeah," Andrew said, he couldn't forget Star's eyes.  They were
as blue as the water on Aquas.  "I saw her eyes, too.  They looked like
        Wolf swore.  "Pigma, did that look like her?"
        Pigma thought for a moment.  "Yeah, now that I think of it.  And
Dawn is Star's middle name."
        "I'll call venom," Wolf opened a channel on his com to Venom, but
didn't hear anything but static.  "Damn.  Turn back, the coms aren't
working," Wolf said.  "If Star's in our base we've gotta contact Andross
right away."

        "Fox, Starwolf's turning tail!"  Slippy yelled, watching the
retreating Wolfens from a distance.
        "We'll chase them," Fox said. "Disengage from battle and get in
attack formation.  Hustle!"
        The Starfox broke away from their targets and followed Fox.
"Whatsa matter, Wolf?"  Fox taunted.  "Got scared early so you're running
away with your tails between your legs?"
        "As it turns out, Fox, we just figured out that your sister is on
Venom.  We were on our way back to warn Andross.  Take them out quickly
team!"  Wolf commanded. The teams fought, Starwolf trying to slip away
every chance they got, but Starfox chased them back every time.

        Star crept silently down to the jail.  Luckily, I sabotaged
Starwolf's coms so they can't call Andross to let him know I'm here, she
thought.  She was actually a little surprised when Pigma didn't recognize
her, or her middle name.  Dawn the raccoon had been her favorite identity
for a long time, even if her muzzle was a little long for a raccoon.
Star also had several other secret identities, used for spying.  She had
papers drawn up that looked completely legal, recommendations, diplomas,
graduates, and other things.  Dawn was a secretary who graduated from
Macbeth Institute with good grades in computers and filing, but she
flunked her other classes, making her useless to do anything but be a
        Star watched the passing cell numbers.  54...55...56!  Star
punched the code into the keypad lock on the laser bars.  "Roverans?"
Star asked gently.
        Roverans was cowering in a corner of the cell, scared.  He
cautiously looked up and saw Star.  "Star?"  He tried to stand up.  "Star
is it you?"  Roverans wasn't sure if this was Star or not.  Star was a
fox, but this was a raccoon with her voice.
        "Shh, yeah, it's me.  I had to wear a disguise to get in."  Star
looked Roverans over and frowned.  The sight would make even the toughest
Cornerian official retch, but Star had seen worse.
        Roverans was bloody from head to toe, with cuts on top of cuts.
He's ears were shredded, his tail looked more like a mop soaked with
blood.  Dried blood caked Roverans fur until it was almost impossible to
tell what species he was.  Star knew she'd have to move quickly, and
Roverans would slow her down, so she'd have to hurry this up.
        "Alright, Roverans," Star said.  "I've got a plan to get you outa
here, but you've gotta play along, O.K.?"
        "Anything to get me out of this Hell," the dalmatian muttered,
struggling to sit up.
        "No, lay there," Star pushed him back down.  "Help!  A prisoner
escaped!  He's wounded a guard!"  Star yelled as loud as she could.  The
guards at the end of the hall heard her, and came running.
        "What happened?"  one of the lizard guards asked.
        "One of the prisoner's escaped while he was getting his food.  He
must have escaped and beaten the guard," Star explained.
        One of the guards checked Roverans pulse, as the dog seemed to be
unconscious.  "You sound the alarm," he said, standing up.  "I'll get a
wheelchair.  You'll have to take him to the hospital, miss."  He looked
at Star.
        "Yes, I will.  Now hurry up and get the prisoner!"  A guard got a
wheelchair from a closet in the office in front of the jail.  How
convenient, Star thought.  She helped Roverans into the chair and wheeled
him quickly down the hall.  An alarm went off, alerting other guards that
there was a prisoner on the loose.  Star continued down the hallway,
avoiding people running quickly.
        "Hold it there, miss," a guard held his hand out, stopping Star
and the wheelchair.

        "Where is she?"  Bill asked, nervously.  "She should be out of
there by now."
        "Don't worry about it," Dan Ladino said.  "Trust me, I know
        "I do too, but most of what she does, she does by herself.  She's
not used to working with other people."  Bill and Dan had been friends
back in the Academy.  Dan had known Star under her false name to keep her
hidden from Andross easier.
        "She'll be alright," Dan said, confidently.
        "Hey, can we get a transport down here?"  Star yelled over the
com.  "And make it snappy!"
        "Coming in, Star," Bill said, smiling.  "Landing in two minutes.
Let's move Husky Unit!"
        Bill landed along side the transport close to the docking bay's
double doors and jumped out of his jet.  "Oh, my God, Roverans, are you
        "Does he look alright?"  Star quipped.  "Look, I had to knock a
guard out to get here and I think we're in trouble.  Let's hurry up."
        Bill helped Star get the wheelchair onto the transport than
turned to her.  "Whatever I can do to make this up to you-"
        "You can do it by getting back in that jet of yours and getting
off this planet," Star said.  "Don't wait for me, I've gotta get my own
        Bill nodded and went to his Grey One.  He took off, guarding the
transport.  He looked back to see a dusty, rattle-trap of a jet following
behind.  "Geez, Star.  Where'd you get that jet from?"  he laughed.
        "Hey, the image I wanted to convey, was poor and innocent, so I
disguised Arctic as a Venomian jet.  Looks pretty authentic, huh?"  Star
        "Star, we're in trouble here!"  Fox's voice interrupted their
        "Alright, I'll be there in a moment," Star replied.  Starting to
go to hyper speed.  "Later, Bill."
        "No, wait," Bill said.  "Promise me you'll meet me at the
Sympathy hospital, at 08:00 hours."
        "Right," Star said, speeding ahead on her jet.

        "I can't take it any more!"  Slippy cried, as Andrew shot out one
of his engines.  "I've gotta pull out!"
        "Star, where are you?"  Fox asked.
        "Right here," Star said.  Andrew's triumph over Slippy was
short-lived, because Star sent him running home to Andross with a broken
wing.  Falco was taking Leon out neatly, so Star hurried the process
along and sent Leon home.  Falco helped Peppy with Pigma, and in a matter
of minutes, the Starwolf team had left with major damage to their ships.
        "Yeah!"  Fox yelled, as Wolf limped home to Venom.
        "Great, I'm going home now, if no one else needs my help," Star
started to fly away.
        "Wait a second, you promised Bill you'd meet him at the hospital
on Katina," Falco reminded her.
        "Umm, how bout you do that?"  Star said.  "I'll meet Bill after
Roverans is out of the hospital."
        "Oh no, Star," Fox said.  "You're coming to see Bill at the
        "But I hate hospitals!"  Star whined.
        Want me to tell everyone about the time you locked yourself in
the storage closet at the Academy?'  Fox thought, telepathically to his
        You wouldn't dare,' Star thought back.
        Try me,' Fox thought, smiling slyly.
        "Alright!" Star said.  "I'll go."
        "What'd you do, Fox?"  Falco asked.
        "He's blackmailing me," Star grumbled.  "I'll get you back for
this, Fox."
        "I'm sure you will, but you'll hafta wait til we're on the
ground."  Starfox flew in formation behind Fox, while Star showed off her
aerial tricks, never staying in one place to long.  Fox envied her,
wishing he could be as carefree as her.  Falco wished the same thing,
holding his position on Fox's right wing.  He wanted to practice some of
Star's tricks.
        "Entering Katina atmosphere," Star announced, as they neared the
        "Star, that's my line!"  Fox said.
        "Too bad, Junior," Star smiled and did a flip.
        "Star, I hate being called Junior'," Fox gritted his teeth to
keep from yelling.
        "Oh, really?  I must have forgotten, Junior."  Star said,
        Fox growled and tried to ignore his sister's comments.  She was
trying to annoy him for blackmailing her, and she was succeeding.  The
team landed their arwings in the small parking area.  Star and Fox landed
on either side of Bill's jet and leaped out of their own quickly.
        Star hesitated at the door, wondering if she could make a break
for it.  Peppy and Fox read her mind and moved to Star's sides,
preventing her from getting away.  Falco opened the door ad held it open
for her.  Star sighed and walked into the hospital like it was a prison.
Falco dropped the door on fox as he hurried inside after the young vixen.
        "Star, you're here!"  Bill said, greeting her with a hug, which
she didn't return.
        "Fox blackmailed me into coming," she growled under her breath.
Bill laughed and shook hands with Fox.
        "I figured that would be the only way to get her here," Fox said,
        "That's what I thought, too," Bill nodded to the rest of the
team.  Suddenly, he looked serious.  "Roverans is in critical condition.
It's surprising he's not dead."
        "Leon doesn't let his important patients die," Star said.  Bill
shuddered, remembering his Hell with Leon.  "Can we see him?"
        "No, the doctors say he's too weak for guests.  I wish I could
see him though.  I haven't seen him in so long," Bill said, wistfully.
        "I'll take you to see him," Star offered.
        "But he just said visitor's aren't allowed," Slippy said.  "You
can't go in there."
        "You don't get what you want in life without taking your
chances," Star smiled and "accidently" knocked over a vase of flowers.
"Hey, secretary person, you need a janitor here.  Someone just knocked
over a vase."
        "Oh my!  Who did that?"  The secretary looked surprised then
        "He did," Star said, pointing to Fox.
        "I'll get you for this,' Fox growled.
        "Oh well," Star said.  As the secretary and a janitor walked into
the room, Star grabbed Bill's arm and slipped into the hospital corridor.
 Star sat at the secretary's computer and typed in Roverans name.  "I
know where he is, let's go."  As the two friends passed by a storage
closet, Star grabbed to white doctor gowns.  She tossed one to Bill,
buttoning up her's.  "Better blend in."
        The ICU was silent, almost no sign of life except the beeping
from monitors.  Bill looked nervously at patients who had been in serious
accidents and looked in bad shape.  Star walked confidently on, not
looking at the other patients.  Suddenly, she turned into a small,
curtained off section.  Bill hurried to his cousin's side.
        "Roverans?"  Bill gulped.  He's dead, I'm too late, he thought.
        "Bill?"  The dalmatian struggled to open his eyes, feeling scared
that he had dreamed the entire rescue and Leon was ready for another
torture appointment.
        "Yes, it's me," Bill said, softly.  "Just rest.  I wanted to be
sure you were alright."
        "Star?"  Roverans ignored Bill's request to rest and tried to sit
        "She's here, don't worry," Bill pushed Roverans back down.
        "What are they trying to do, kill him?"  Star asked, reminding
them off her presence.  Star was examining the clipboard in front of the
dog's bed.  "They're feeding him too much for someone who's lacked enough
food for several months.  It'll make him sick, and possibly die,
considering the condition he's in."
        "Excuse me, what are you doing here?"  A nurse asked, her long
rabbit ears twitching.  "This is restricted area."
        "Hello nurse Julia.  I'm Doctor Reinard, surgeon specialist, I
was just checking on my patient for tomorrow's surgery, and I must say,
I'm surprised.  This dog's provisions must be cut or he'll be as sick as
a dog in no time.  If you'll pardon the expression.  Come now, Doctor
Brown, we're not going to work in a hospital that can't even determine a
patients intake," Bill smiled, and started to follow Star out.
        "Wait!"  Julia said, nervously.  "I'll have the food changed.  It
must have been a mistake.  I'll have it fixed in no time.  Please
        Star seemed to think about it.  "It was a dangerous mistake.  If
I see another like it, I'm going to take my services elsewhere."
        "Nice one, Star," Bill said, as they walked out of the ICU.
"How'd you come up with that so fast?"
        "Making quick decisions is my life, Bill.  And a very
unpredictable one at that.  I have an spy-alias called Doctor Candas
Reinard, so I used her."
        "Geez, you've gotta spy-alias for everything."
        "Yup," Star said.  "And most of em have part of my name in them.
 Reinard was my mom's maiden name, that's why I use it."
        "And dawns' your middle name," Bill said, catching on.  "You've
been busy these past years."
        "Sure have," Star answered, taking off her doctor's gown and
throwing it into a closet.
        "Hey, can I take you to dinner?"  Bill asked, throwing his gown
in the closet too.  "Since you won't let me pay you back for saving
Roverans and there's so much we've gotta catch up on."
        "I'd really rather not," Star said, walking back into the lobby.
        "Please?"  Bill asked, pleading.
        "Bill, I hate it when you look at me like that," Star sighed.
Bill continued to look at her with big eyes and a pathetic expression in
his face.  "Alright, fine!  Just don't look at me like that!"
        "Great!  So it's a date!"  Bill said.  "When's a good time for
        "Whenever," Star answered.  "I don't have anything planned."
        "O.K., next Friday?  I have off from Bulldog Unit drills, then."
        "Sure," Star answered, carelessly.
        Fox and the others were keeping quiet about the subject and
trying not to look at Star or Bill.  Fox looked up in time to see Falco
look at Bill with...what?  Anger?  Jealousy?  Contempt?  Whatever it was,
it disappeared and was replaced by Falco's usual scowl.  As they got up
to leave, Falco muttered, "At least I don't have to beg for a date," to
Bill.  Fox glared at him for a moment until Falco walked out, holding the
door for Star.
        "See ya later, Bill," Fox said, shaking his classmates hand.
        "Take care, Fox.  And remind Star that we've gotta dinner next
Friday, I have a feeling she'll forget'."
        "She may, she may not.  You can't tell with her.  Chances are, I
won't see her before then."
        "Alright, well, see ya then," Bill pushed Fox out the door.
"Don't keep your team waiting."
        Bill watched as the jets took off and then went back to the
waiting room to hear what was going on with his cousin.

*Author's Note*
Star McCloud, Guy, Ramsy, and Ben are my characters and can't be used
without my permission.  Roverans Naroman is J Wolfman's character and
can't be used without his consent.  Questions and comments are welcome.
E-mail me at cmtr@juno.com.