Shining Star

        The aroma of pancakes with syrup and butter wafted down the
corridor to the Starfox team's noses, arousing them from a peaceful night
sleep.  Fox was the first to get out of his bed and wander into the
kitchen.  He had just woken up from a dream of his mother cooking
pancakes in the morning.  He rubbed his eyes as he walked into Great
Fox's small kitchen unit.
        "Mom?"  He asked, blinking his eyes and thinking he might still
be asleep.
        "No, it's me you dope," Star replied.  "Mom's dead remember?"
        "Oh, yeah.  I forgot.  You look a lot like her," Fox yawned.
        "Well, you look a lot like dad," Star replied.  "You know, you
really need more cooking supplies here.  I almost ran out of butter on
these pancakes."
        "What are you doing up so early?"  Fox asked.  He and his team
never got up before ten o'clock.
        "Making breakfast.  I was always an early riser, Fox."
        Fox looked at his sister.  The two of them looked exactly alike.
Except for a few minor differences.  Fox had green eyes, like their
father, but Star had blue eyes, like their mother.  Fox looked almost a
little insecure about himself.  Star always looked completely confident.
Star had a womanly figure, but you could hardly see it, because of the
loose clothing she usually wore.
        "Hey, isn't that my shirt?"  Fox asked, focusing on the navy blue
sweatshirt Star was wearing.
        "Do you mind?  I haven't had a chance to pick up some clothes at
my place yet," Star smiled.  Peppy walked in, yawning.
        "Morning!"  The hare said, cheerfully.
        'I hate people who are cheerful in the morning,' Star thought to
Fox through their telepathic bond.
        'He's telepathic, too, Star.  So cool it,' Fox thought back.
        "Pancakes?"  Star asked, setting a heaping plate of pancakes on
the dining room table.
        "Sure!  Do we have syrup?"  Peppy asked.
        "Just enough," Star answered, setting the bottle of maple syrup
on the table.
        "Hey, frog-head, back off!  I was here first!"
        "No way, bird-brain!  I was here first!"  Falco and Slippy were
fighting down the corridor.
        "Do they do that every morning?"  Star asked.
        "Normally, Fox is arguing with them,"   Peppy answered.
        "Falco, Slippy, breakfast is ready!"  Star yelled.
        "Outa my way froggy."
        "I don't think so-ummm..."
        "Whatsa matter?  Can't think of a come back Toad?"  Falco asked,
sliding into a chair at the table.
        "Leave me alone, Falco."  Slippy grumbled, sitting down at his
seat.
        "Check it out everyone!  Mr. Smarty-pants can't figure out how to
defend himself!"  Falco laughed.
        "Leave him alone, Falco!"  Star said.
        "And what are you gonna do about, Ms. Replacement?"  Falco stood
up, looking Star in the eye.
        "First, I think I'll break your other arm, then throw you down
into the docking bay and make you sleep in that piece of scrap metal you
call an arwing!"  Star yelled, leaning across the table.
        "Oh, yeah?"  Falco yelled back, leaning across the table towards
Star.
        "Oh, yeah?"  Star asked, standing back and crossing her arms.
"Is that the best you could come up with?"
        Falco blushed for a moment.  "I'll bet you couldn't have done
better."
        "Honey, I coulda done so much better than that, that you'd be
doin' more than blushing right now.  Now eat the pancakes 'cuz if you
don't, I'll give 'em to who ever wants them."  Star quipped.
        Falco sat back down and ate, using only one arm, because his
other one had been broken when Starfox rescued Bill Grey on Macbeth.
Star was temporarily taking his place on the team.
        "I'm done.  I've gotta get dressed now, so I'll be right back..."
 Fox said, edging toward the door.
        "Oh, no you don't, Fox," Slippy said.  Fox darted down the
hallway.  Slippy chased him.  Soon Star heard a door close.  "If you use
all the hot water again I'll-I'll turn off the water!"  Slippy walked
back to the dining room.
        "If you want to take a shower first, then why don't you get up
earlier?"  Star asked.  "That's what I did."
        "What?  You mean, we should wake up before we want to, just to
take a shower?"  Falco said in mock horror.
        "I can't imagine such a thing!"  Slippy said in his high-pitched
voice.
        Peppy laughed and Star rolled her eyes.
        "Look, if you wanna get Fox back for using all the water, do
this," Star turned to a computer and clicked some buttons.  Then, she
looked at her watch.  "Three...two...-"
        "Aaaaaaah!"  Fox yelled from the bathroom.  "Star turn the hot
water back on!"
        "Oh, sorry, Fox.  My hand must have slipped," she tried to hold
back a giggle, but didn't succeed.  She could barely stop laughing long
enough to turn the hot water back on for her brother.
        "Thanks, Star.  I'll remember that," Slippy said, trying not to
laugh anymore.
        "Did you hear him?"  Falco asked.  "He sounded like a baby!"
        When the team finally calmed down they finished the breakfast and
dropped the plates into the washer slot.  Fox got out of the shower and
glared at Star.  Slippy and Falco rushed to get to the bathroom at the
same time.
        "That was mean, Star," Fox said.
        "So what?  I know you always use up the hot water and Slippy
seems to get picked on a lot, so I figured I'd help him out a bit."  Star
walked to the rec room and turned on the computer.
        Peppy and Falco walked in a minute later.  "I decided to let Slip
get in the shower first, just in case he tried to turn the water off,"
Falco explained.  He flopped down on the couch and picked up a magazine.
"Hey!  What happened to my Playbird magazines?"
        "Excuse me?"  Fox asked.  "What did you say?"
        "That's a Cornerian Times magazine.  Why would it be Playbird?"
Peppy asked.
        "I had a Playbird hidden in here so no one would find it!"  Falco
said.
        "You know I don't allow those things on this ship, Falco," Fox
said, glaring at the bird.
        "So what's wrong with a little fun?  Where's my magazine?"  Falco
asked.
        "You mean this?"  Star held up a magazine that had gone through
the paper shredder.  "Or this one?"  She held up a second one like it.
        "Oh, no!  Don't you know how hard it was to get those?  I hafta
buy those behind Fox's back and he almost never turns his back," Falco
grabbed the magazines.  "I can't believe you did that!"
        "Sorry, birdy, but that's one rule that I agree with my brother
on," Star took the magazine's back and threw them away.
        "Now what am I supposed to do while you guys are out saving the
universe?  Read a book?"
        "It wouldn't hurt, Falco.  Those magazines rot your mind worse
than television," Peppy said.
        "I can't believe this!"  Falco walked out of the room, quickly.
        "How did you know about that, Star?"  Fox asked.
        "Well, on a ship that's run by four guys, I'd expect something
like that.  And it'd be just like you to not notice that.  I mean, why on
earth would Falco look at a Times magazine?  Not for educational value,
that's for sure," Star said.  "And get ready for an explosion in Falco's
room."
        "Why?"  Peppy asked.
        "WHERE'S MY CINDY CROWFORD POSTER??!"  Falco yelled.
        "That's why," Star answered.
        "I'm gonna kill y-"
        "Shower's ready for you, Falco!"  Slippy yelled.  Falco hesitated
a moment and headed for the bathroom.
        "Cindy Crowford?  He had a poster of Cindy Crowford and I didn't
know it?!  Star where is that poster?" Fox asked.
        "It's in the incinerator," Star said, coolly.
        "Oh, man!  Why'd you do that?"  Fox whined.
        "Fox, you sound like Andrew."
        "So what?  I'll bet Andrew has a Cindy Crowford poster in his
room."
        "No, Andrew's not allowed to.  Wolf's got several, though," Star
answered.  "Besides, your rule is that no one on this ship can have
anything like nude magazines, and sexy posters, stuff like that.  That's
your rule, not mine."
        "You know, I have a feeling I'm going to regret asking you to be
on the team," Fox said.
        "Get over it, Fox.  It's my turn to shine."

        "Anything at all, Ben?"  Ramsy asked his team technician.
        "No, I can't find anything.  If there's some kind of leak in the
system, then it's really well concealed," Ben sat at the computer, almost
never getting up.  Wolf was keeping Andross off their backs until they
found the "leak" that was giving information to Corneria.  Guy was seated
precariously on the window sill.
        "I don't think we'll find it," the young sparrow said.  "If it's
a spy, then how is the computer going to find them?  And if it's a
computer chip, then how are we going to find it?"
        "I can check the backgrounds of all the new people working on
Venom.  And I can run a scan check on all the electric devices to see if
there's a chip that isn't supposed to be there," the leopard explained.
        "But that'll take forever!  Let's go get some take out food," Guy
complained.
        "Be quiet, Guy.  We're busy," Ramsy said.  Guy watched Ben
staring blankly at the computer screen and Ramsy leaning over him.
        "I hope I never get old," Guy grumbled, and he left the dwelling.

        At the same time, Wolf and Andrew were having an argument.
        "She was a spy!  Why can't you handle that?"  Andrew yelled.
        "She was not a spy!  I can see a spy a mile away, you whiny, no
good, nephew of a power hungry ape!"  Wolf yelled back.
        "I'll tell Uncle Andross you said that, you stupid cyclops!"
          "You do and I'll slit your stomach and feed you your own
intestines!"
        "Try it, you one-eyed sleezeball!"  Wolf lunged at Andrew's
throat and Andrew ducked.  He got in a quick punch to Wolf's face, but
Wolf got Andrew in a headlock.  As the two of them wrestled, Pigma
watched uninterestedly.  He was eating a candy bar, popcorn, and pickles,
with some orange soda.  Leon was out visiting with a friend of his.
        Just as Wolf was ready to pull out his knife and slit Andrew's
throat, Leon walked in.  "Not again!"  Leon said.  He got into the fight
and knocked Andrew out of the way.  He pinned Wolf up against the wall.
"Knock it off!  Andross will send both of you to jail for that!"
        "My uncle wouldn't put me in jail," Andrew smirked.
        "I'm going kill him, I swear," Wolf growled, straining to get
loose of Leon's hold.
        "He would jail you as soon as he found out how useless you were,"
Leon said.  "Now get lost, before I let Wolf go."
        "I'm not afraid of him!"  Andrew said, edging toward the door.
        Leon let Wolf go just as Andrew ran out the door and slammed it.
It's not fair, Andrew thought.  They don't listen to me just because I'm
younger than them.
        Andrew walked to the bar in Andross's base and sat down beside a
sparrow eating a hamburger.
        "Gimme a Martini, on the rocks," Andrew said to the bartender.
Andrew quickly got his order.
        "It took me fifteen minutes to get a Coke and you get a Martini
in less than a minute.  What gives?"  the sparrow asked.
        "I'm Andross's nephew," Andrew said, proudly.  "I get what I
want."
        "My name's Guy.  I fly in the Conquest Squadron," Guy said,
holding out his hand.  Andrew shook it.
        "What are you doing here?"  Andrew asked.  "Shouldn't you be with
your team?"
        "They treat me like a kid.  And they don't listen to me."
        "Hey, same here!"  Andrew exclaimed.
        "But your Andross's nephew.  Why doesn't Starwolf listen to you?"
 Guy asked, puzzled.
        "Because I'm younger than them and they think they know better.
I can't go running to Uncle Andross every time they threaten me," Andrew
explained.
        "Yeah, I can understand that.  Are you going to order anything
else?"  Guy and Andrew were fast friends.  They talked for about an hour.

        "Where is Andrew?"  Wolf asked, angrily.
        "He's probably telling his uncle about what you did to him," Leon
said, polishing one of his knives.
        "That monkey doesn't have the guts to do that," Wolf said.  "He
said Star was a spy.  Can you believe that?  We've gotta figure out a way
to get her back from Starfox.  They're probably torturing her."
        "Fat chance of that," Pigma said.  "Anything that hurts her,
hurts her brother, too."
        "Are you serious?"  Wolf asked.
        "Yeah, it was the only thing that made them wish that they
weren't twins," Pigma swallowed a pickle.
        "Hey, I'm back," Andrew said, walking in.
        "Do you want a medal?"  Wolf sneered.
        "Hey, Pigma, do you think Star could have been spying the entire
time she was with us?"  Andrew asked.
        "Yeah, I mean, she could trick a cheetah into giving up his
spots.  She's good spy," Pigma swallowed some soda.
        "Are you saying she was just using us for information?"  Leon
asked.
        "Probably," Pigma answered looking through his empty bag of chips
for crumbs.
        "You idiot!  Why didn't you tell us that?"  Wolf yelled, grabbing
Pigma by his collar.
        "I didn't think you'd believe me!"  the pig squealed.
        "Let him go, Wolf.  You don't want to get in trouble," Leon
warned.  Wolf dropped Pigma.
        "I can't believe this!  She tricked us!"  Wolf yelled.
        "Correction, she tricked you," Andrew said.
        Wolf lunged at Andrew, but Leon stopped them from fighting again.
 "This is why Starfox beats us so often.  They get along,"  Leon pointed
out.
        "What does that have to do with anything?"  Wolf asked.
        "Everything.  When one of them is in trouble the others help them
out," Leon said.
        "So your saying we should help each other?"  Andrew scoffed.
        "It couldn't hurt," Leon pushed Andrew away from Wolf.  "Now
let's figure out a way to get Ms. McCloud back."

        Back on Great Fox, an alarm rang.  "Starfox here, what is your
emergency?"  Fox asked, turning on the a/v screen.
        "Oh, geez, Fox.  Why so formal?  What's up Pepper?"  Star asked
the image on the screen.
        "Fox, I just received news that Andross is going to try and take
over Titania.  I need you to check it out,"  Pepper said, ignoring Star.
        "Will do, General," Fox said, clicking off the screen.
        "Fox, Andross already has Titania," Star said, sitting at a
computer.
        "No way!  We took out Venomian colonies there a long time ago,"
Fox said, looking at the computer screen.
        "No, there were underground operations that you didn't take care
of.  They rebuilt the cities and took over the planet again.  You didn't
notice because no one pays attention to what happens to the desert
planet."  Star said.
        "Why would General Pepper suddenly realize that Venom was taking
over Titania?"  Slippy asked.
        "He could have received an anonymous tip from someone, or it
could be a holographic generated image that was sent to us so we could
fly right into a trap," Star said, pressing buttons on the computer
panel.
        "Well, if it wasn't a trick we have our orders.  We've gotta go
now," Fox said, heading to the docking bay.  "I'll take the Landmaster."
        "Why do you get all the fun?" Star pouted.
        "Because I'm the only one who can drive the tank."
        "I know how," Slippy said.
        "I'd rather have you in the air than on the ground, Slip," Fox
said, then he thought 'He drives worse than he flies.'
        'He can't possibly be that bad in a tank,' Star thought back to
him.
        Fox nodded to her.  "Alright guys-"
        "People," Star interrupted.
        "People," Fox corrected himself.  "Let's get going."

        "Gimme a Martini on the rocks," Guy said, walking into the bar
and sitting on a stool.
        "You're to young to be drinkin'," the lizard bartender told him.

        "Then, why can Andrew drink?"  Guy asked.
        "Wolf gives me a hundred dollars every week for keepin' the brat
hear as long as I can, an' Andross pays me a hundred for keepin' 'im
happy," the bartender answered.
        "Oh," Guy said, and thought.  I wish I was Andrew.  He doesn't
have to be nice to anyone and he always gets what he wants.
        Andrew walked in a minute later.  "A Martini on the rocks," he
said, sitting down next to Guy.  "Make that two."
        "You're gonna drink two Martini's?"  Guy asked.
        "No!  One's for you," Andrew said.
        "Thanks a lot!  Ramsy'd kill me if he found out though."
        "So how's he gonna find out if you don't tell him?"
        "Not tell Ramsy?  But he's the squad leader and he got me on the
team.  I couldn't go behind his back," Guy said.
        "Too bad.  I actually kinda liked you," Andrew said, taking both
the Martini's.
        Well, thought Guy, if Andrew was being nice enough to buy him a
drink, and Ramsy wouldn't ever know about it...
        "O.K., I won't tell Ramsy.  Can I have the drink?"
        Andrew smiled.  "Sure."  He passed the sparrow the drink,
smiling.  Not a real smile, but one of domination.  "So, what's your team
up to?"
        "Not much.  Ben's still trying to find the spy or leak or
whatever it is that's giving info to Pepper," Guy said as he sipped his
Martini slowly.
        "Oh, we know who it is.  Or was.  You know that Star McCloud
vixen that was around hear for awhile?"  Andrew's drink was half gone.
        "Yeah, I thought she was captured by Fox," Guy took another sip.
        "No, she was spying on us the entire time.  Wolf fell for her
like a sack of bananas."  He laughed at that.
        "Andrew Oikonny, please come to the docking bay.  Starwolf is
waiting for you."   A voice said, over an intercom.
        "Guess I've gotta go now.  See ya later, Guy," Andrew gulped down
the rest of his drink and walked away, leaving enough money on the bar to
pay for the drinks.
        Guy sipped his drink until it was done, and left.

        "Where have you been, Andrew?  We've been waiting for you!  Wolf
told you we were going to Titania.  Now we'll probably miss Starfox,"
Leon yelled, as soon as he caught sight of Andrew.
        "I was in the bar.  Let's go," Andrew said, heading for his
Wolfen fighter.
        "Hey, you don't give the orders around here, I do.  What were you
doing in the bar?"  Wolf asked.
        "Gettin' a drink.  Can we leave now?"
        "No, we told you to be here in a half hour.  You couldn't have
been in the bar for half an hour," Wolf said.
        "I was!  I wanna get going.  You never let me have any fun and-"
        "C'mon Wolf, let's go.  I don't want to hear him whine," Leon
said.
        "You're lucky I don't wanna hear your whining either.  Now let's
go," Wolf growled.
        Andrew hurried for his jet and followed his teammates to Titania,
taking his position on Wolf's left wing.  Leon flew on the right and
Pigma followed from behind.
        Andrew set his jet on auto-pilot and sat back to think.  He'd
never had a real friend before.  Sure, a lot of people pretended to be
his friend because he was Andross's nephew and he could do whatever he
wanted, but Guy wasn't that kind of person.  Guy liked Andrew for who he
was and not because of his uncle or power.  The only reason Andrew was on
the team, was because he wanted to be famous like Wolf, Pigma, and Leon.
He couldn't fly or fight, and he couldn't stand it when Leon tortured
people.  He hated Wolf, was scared of Leon, and was disgusted by Pigma,
but if this was the crowd that would make him famous, he'd hang with
them.  Andrew had almost fallen asleep when the red planet came in view.

        "Get ready to pound the arwings flat!"  Wolf said, over the
intercom.

        "Fox there's nothing to do here," Slippy said.  "I don't see
anything, Venomian, or Cornerian."
        "That means they've got something up there sleeves, Slip.
Probably a trap, or an ambush-" Star saw four Venomian ships on the
horizon.  "Or Starwolf."
        "Wolf, there's only three jets," Pigma squealed.  "Did someone
get taken out already?"
        "Oh, I'm going to enjoy this," Wolf said, seeing the tank on
Titania's surface.  "He's like a sitting duck."
        Leon fired the first shots at what he thought was Falco's ship.
Star flipped and chased Leon, using her hyper lasers.  Pigma flew after
Peppy, Andrew chased Slippy, and Wolf dove at Fox.
        "Hey, you're not Falco!  Where is that bird-brain?"  Leon asked.
        "Falco's on vacation so I thought I'd fill in."  Star answered.
        "Star!  Help!  I can't out-maneuver Wolf like I usually can!"
Fox yelled.
        Star looked down and saw Wolf mercilessly bombing the Landmaster
again and again.
        "Looks like you're brother's about to be space dust!"  Leon
laughed.
        "And so are you," Star said.  She blasted a Subtle bomb, her own
creation, into Leon's engine and flew to Fox.
        "What?  Do you think we're do-" Leon's ship was blasted to the
ground and Leon couldn't eject.  His ship lit up with flames as soon as
it hit the ground.
        "So Wolf, what's it gonna be?  Your enemy or your friend?"  Star
asked.
        Wolf hesitated.  "Andrew, Pigma!  Get down here now!"
        "Oh man!  I had the hare by his ears!"  Pigma whined.  Andrew
wondered what it would be  like to have a friend that would risk his only
chance to kill his arch-enemy to save him.
        "Fox, get out of the tank, now!"  Star yelled over the intercom.
        "I can't leave the Landmaster here!"  Fox said.
        "Too bad, bro.  The tank's dead.  If you don't come out, you will
be too."
        Fox stayed put inside the Landmaster.  "Why should I bail?"
        "Because the thing's about to blow!"
        "You've got less than thirty seconds to get out there!"  Slippy
said.  Star landed her jet next to the Landmaster and leaped out.  She
jumped on top of the tank and kicked in the hatch on top and quickly
yanked her brother out.  The tank exploded and threw the two foxes clear.
 
        "You nearly killed yourself!"  Fox yelled at his sister, who was
struggling to sit up.
        "So what?  You would be dead right now, if it weren't for me,"
Star tried to sit up, but the pain in her side was to great.
        "Star, are you O.K.?"  Fox helped her up and bit back a scream.
He felt the same burning pain Star was feeling.
        "Oh, yeah.  I'm just peachy," Star said, sarcastically, finally
being able to sit up.  "Is my jet O.K.?"
        "Your jet's fine, I'm worried about you.  What happened?"  Fox
asked, worriedly.  He looked at Star's side.  "Omigod!  Star we've gotta
get you to a hospital!"  Star was gushing blood.
        "Don't you even say that!  I hate hospitals.  Just get my med kit
and I'll be fine," Slippy and Peppy landed next to Midnight and Slippy
grabbed the medical kit.
        Star drank some painkillers down with some water that she kept in
her jet.  Then she looked around.  Her den wasn't very far off.  If she
was alone, she could walk there and get the necessary supplies to tie up
her side, but she could do it with what she had.
        Wolf was talking to Leon, who appeared to be badly burned, but
not in much pain.  He kept trying to get up but Wolf wouldn't let him.  A
transporter would be there soon to bring Leon home.
        "We've gotta get out of here before the transporter arrives,"
Star said.  "If it gets here before we get out Starwolf'll kill us."
        "All the more reason to let me fly you to a hospital," Fox
pointed out.
        "Cool it, Fox.  I know what I'm doing."  In less then two
minutes, Star had stitched her side up with medical thread.  Fox
swallowed some painkillers himself, because Star's stitching was hurting
him.  Then, Star bandaged herself tightly with Slippy's help.  Peppy was
watching the radar for signs of transporters and waiting for Great Fox.
Fox was inspecting the Landmaster.
        "Hey, Slip.  Do you think you can fix this?"  Fox asked.  Slippy
stood up and squinted at the vehicle in the hot afternoon heat.  Solar
was beating down directly overhead.
        "Maybe.  How bad is it?"  The amphibian asked, heading for the
tank.  Star stood up and walked to Peppy.
        "What's up?"  She asked.
        "Great Fox will be here soon to pick up the Landmaster.  I don't
see any signs of Venomian transporters," the hare replied.  "That was a
brave thing you did, saving you brother."
        "Brave or stupid," Star said, tossing some hair behind her ear.
"I'm not gonna lose Fox like I lost Mom and Dad."

        "Wolf, it's too hot," Andrew whined.  "Can I leave?"
        "No!  And quit your whining.  Leon's burned and he's not
complaining of the heat," Wolf answered.  He was worried about his
friend's condition.  Leon claimed to be alright, he didn't feel any pain
and he wanted to get back up and fight Starfox.  Wolf gave him a
tranquilizer to keep him down.  Now, Leon was sleeping on the sand.
        "But Leon's cold-blooded and he's asleep. I've got fur and I'm
sweating.  I wanna go home!"  Andrew said, whining even more.
        "Shut up, you idiot!  You're worse than Pigma when it comes to
complaining," Wolf looked at Leon.  "Don't bother me again, or you'll
regret it."
        Andrew looked at Pigma.  "Pigma's eating my rations!"  He yelled,
and ran toward Pigma.  "Get out of my jet!  We've only been here five
minutes!  You can't be that hungry."  Andrew snatched his ration pack
from the pig.  "What about your own food?"
        "I finished it," was the reply.
        "Go eat Leon's rationing.  His food's probably nice and burnt for
you," Andrew said, sarcastically.  To his surprise, Pigma walked to
Leon's jet (the flames had died out) and searched for the ration pack.
What an idiot, Andrew thought.  He looked at Leon and Wolf.  Leon had
come around and Wolf was talking to him softly.  Then, Andrew looked over
at Starfox, about fifty feet away from them.  Slippy was helping bandage
Star's side and then walked over to the tank.  Andrew assumed that Fox
was inside.  Star talked to Peppy.  I wish my team was as friendly as
theirs, he thought sadly.  No one would risk their neck if he was about
to be toasted in a tank.  No one would help him bandage himself if he was
bleeding to death.  No one on his team even bothered to make small talk
with him.
        After a while, Andrew went to sit in his jet.  He turned the air
conditioning up all the way, but he was still too hot for comfort.  He
saw Great Fox hovering just above Titania's surface.  The gigantic ship
beamed the busted tank up and then three ships flew into the docking bay.
 I think I'll ask Uncle Andross for our own mother ship, Andrew thought.
Then he sat back and relaxed in his too hot Wolfen class fighter.
 
        "Hey, how ya feeling, Leon?"  Wolf asked, as the chamaeleon woke
up.
        "I feel fine.  You should do something about your arm though.
You burnt it when you pulled me outa the jet," Leon said.
        "I did?"  Wolf looked at his arm.  "I didn't even realize that!"

        Wolf bandaged his left arm quickly and swallowed some
painkillers.  He sat by his friend's side.  "Need anything Leon?"  Wolf
asked.
        "No, thanks.  Is my jet fly-able, or do I hafta get a new one?"
the chameleon asked.
        "I think you need a new one," Wolf looked up at Leon's aircraft.
"Get outa there you fat pig!"  He yelled when he saw Pigma searching
through the remains of the fighter.  Pigma walked away carrying a pack of
food.  "I think Pigma just stole your rations.  Who can eat something
that was just burnt to a crisp?"  Wolf wondered aloud.
        "I dunno.  He's like a walking trash disposal.  When's the
transporter gonna be here?"
        "Soon, don't worry about it."  Wolf owed Leon his life at least
twice, if not more.  Leon was his best, and only, friend.  He felt like
it was his fault when Leon crashed down.
        "Wolf, the transporter's almost here," Andrew yelled.  Wolf
looked up and squinted his eyes, looking into Solar.  A small speck was
heading for them.
        "Hey, the transporter's coming Leon.  Rest up, you'll need your
strength for when we see Andross."  When the transporter landed, Wolf
helped Leon inside and then walked to his jet.  Pigma and Andrew were
already in their jets.
        Wolf took off, his two teammates following him.  After an hour of
following the transporter to Venom, Wolf realized how hungry he was.  He
reached down for his ration pack.
        "Hey!  Where's my rations!"  Wolf yelled over the intercom.
 
        "Whoa, what happened to you?"  Falco asked as the team entered
the living quarters where Falco was resting.  Star's (Fox's) shirt was
stained with blood.
        "You mean this little thing?"  Star asked, gesturing to her
shirt.  "It's just a little cut."
        "Hey, that's my shirt!"  Fox realized.
        "You told me that this morning, Fox."
        "But you bled on it!"
        "It's kinda hard not to when I almost bled to death!"
        "Knock it off you two," Peppy said.  "We didn't complete the
mission Pepper sent us to do."
        "I'm going to see if I can fix the Landmaster," Slippy said,
walking away.
        "I don't think General Pepper sent us to do anything," Star said
slowly.
        "What do you mean?"  Fox asked.
        "Hold on," Star sat at the main computer and hit some buttons.
"Let's see if we can trace that a/v message sent to us earlier."  After a
moment, the computer pinpointed a location on Macbeth.
        "You see!  That message was a Venomian imitation.  We were sent
there so Starwolf could try and take us out."  Star said, triumphantly.
        "But I thought that we had control of Macbeth," Falco said.
"When did Venom regain control over it?"
        "Very soon after you cleared Venom out.  You heard about the
problems there, what with everyone fighting for superiority.  Andross
just sent his forces there to take over again."
        "Can you track any call back to where it came from?"  Fox asked,
wondering if he could track his sister's call when she found Bill on
Macbeth.
        "Yeah you can track any call back to it's origin.  Except if I
call you from my den, you wouldn't be able to track it.  I have a lot of
security on my calls.  The only reason you reached me that one time was
because Slippy knew how to redial."  Star smiled, reading her brother's
mind.
        "So what do we do now, if Venom can send us images of Pepper and
tell us what to do?"  Peppy asked.
        "I could install a scanner device that would scan all calls and
tell you if they're real or not," Star offered.  "But, it'll take a
while."
        "Do it," her identical twin said.  Star started to download a few
things.

        "So, how'd it go?"  Guy asked, as Andrew sat down at the bar.
Andrew looked sunburned and tired.
        "Don't ask.  Two Martini's.  Extra ice in one," Andrew ordered
the drinks.
        "I'll pay," Guy offered.
        "Why are you so nice to me?"  Andrew asked.  He had been
wondering about that for a while now.
        Guy looked surprised at the question.  "You listen to what I say,
you buy me drinks, and I thought we were friends.  That's why.  Are we
friends?"
        Andrew smiled.  A real smile.  "Yeah, I guess we are."
 
        Wolf sat in the lobby of the hospital waiting to hear how Leon
was doing.  First he flipped through a magazine, then he watched the T.V.
for a while.  After he got bored of that, he tried to take a nap.  Soon,
someone was shaking him.
        "Hey Wolf.  Wake up!"  Leon looked down at his canine friend.
Wolf could have died of exposure and he had refused to see a doctor about
his arm. Leon was worried about him.  Wolf woke up slowly and saw his
friend leaning over him.
        "Leon!  Are you O.K.?  Can I help you?  What should I do?"  Wolf
jumped up.
        "Calm down.  I'm fine, Wolf.  The only thing wrong is that I was
burned a bit and there aren't any good looking nurses here.  Let's go!"
The two friends walked out.
        "You wanna go to the bar or something?"  Wolf asked.
        "Why?  Doesn't Andross want to see us?"
        "No, actually.  I went to see him and he sent me away.  I think
he's thinking of what to do to us now."  Wolf walked into the bar (which
was conveniently two buildings away from the hospital) and ordered a
drink.  Leon ordered an expensive wine and Wolf wondered how he could
afford it.
        The two made small talk for a while.  While Wolf was taking a sip
of his beer, he saw Andrew across the bar talking to a sparrow.
        "Hey, Leon, looks like Andrew's gotta friend," Wolf smiled
evilly.  "Wanna go raz him about it?"
        "Yeah, sure.  We don't have anything better to do anyway."  Leon
smiled, and swallowed the rest of his wine.  The two walked over to
Andrew and his friend.  Andrew saw them coming, but tried to ignore them.
        Wolf leaned on Andrew's shoulder and stole his drink as Leon did
the same to his friend.  "So what's a bird like you doin' with our little
teammate?"  Leon asked, sipping the Martini.
        Guy sat quietly, not protesting.  He had heard what Leon did to
his enemies and he was scared of the chameleon.
        "Whatsa matter?"  Wolf drawled.  "Cat got yer tongue?"
        Andrew saw his friends discomfort.  "What happened, Leon?  The
let you out of the hospital because you smelled bad or something?"
        "Why you little-" Wolf yanked Andrew off the bar stool and threw
him on the ground.  Andrew looked up in time to see Guy jump up and grab
Wolf's fist.
        "You can't hit him!"  Guy said, trembling.  He was scared, but
Andrew was his friend and he wasn't about to let Wolf and Leon hurt him.
        "The birdie speaks!"  Leon said mockingly.  "What're you gonna do
about it?"  Leon hated birds.  Probably because of Falco Lombardi.
        Guy trembled.  "I-I'll-"
        "Guy!  There you are!"  Guy looked up and was grateful to see
Ramsy and Ben walking toward him.  "Guy, if you've been starting a fight
here-" Ramsy looked up into the cold eyes of Leon and then into Wolf's
equally cold stare.  He saw Andrew, looking scared, inching away from
Wolf.  "Is there a problem?"  Ramsy asked.
        "No," Wolf said, thinking quickly.  He didn't want to get into
more trouble with Andross than he already was.  "We were just...um.."
        "Fooling around," Leon finished quickly.  "Any friend of Andrew
is a friend of ours."  He smiled evilly at Guy.
        "That's right," Wolf said, reaching down and yanking Andrew off
the floor hardly so that Andrew almost fell over again.  "No problem.
Aren't you the team I told to find the leak?"
        "Yes, and I think I found it," Ben said.  "If you'd come to our
quarters I'll show you what I found."
        "Sure.  We're coming," Wolf and Leon started to follow the small
team out.  Andrew started to follow them.
        "Hey, who's paying for those drinks you two ordered?"  The
bartender asked Leon and Wolf.  Leon turned around and smiled.
        "Andrew, did you forget to pick up the tab?"  he asked, and left
Andrew to pay for his expensive wine and Wolf's glass of beer.

        "You see, there's this extra computer chip hidden in the security
panel.  If someone could hide a chip in there, they'd have all the
security codes.  Then they would be able to break into the base whenever
they wanted."  Ben explained, clicking away at the keyboard in front of
him.
        "And you're sure this is the leak?"  Wolf asked.
        "As sure as to be expected, sir," Ben answered without
hesitation.  Actually, Ben was a bit scared.  He wasn't completely sure
that this was the computer chip he was looking for.  This chip had been
relatively easy to find and a real spy would have taken more care to hide
a computer chip in the security panel.  But, Ben reminded himself, the
chip wasn't supposed to be there and a security panel was the perfect
place to hide a spy chip.
        Ben had been a computer specialist on Corneria.  His mother died
when he was young and his father and brother were on the Cornerian
Defense.  One day, almost the entire Defense team was taken hostage by
Andross and his father and brother were killed before General Pepper
could pay the ransom.  Ben hated Corneria for that and turned himself and
his skills to Venom.
        Personally, he thought the chip had been installed by his old
rival Jo'hara, of the Justice Cadets.  They had been old rivals back in
the academy, both trying to be the best.  Jo'hara was a strange one.  His
race, he claimed, was unknown and his eyes were completely black.
        "I'm going to have a specialist look this over and make sure it's
the leak before I bring it to Andross.  Thanks a lot," Wolf said.  "In
the meantime, my team and I will be getting back to our quarters."  Wolf
turned to go.  Leon followed him.
        "What happened in the bar, Guy?"  Ramsy asked, once the canine
and chameleon left.
        "Wolf and Leon came in and started making fun of Andrew.  I think
Leon made Andrew pay for his and Wolf's drinks," Guy said.
        "You know Wolf wouldn't do anything to Andrew.  His uncle would
lock up Wolf up so quickly it'd make his head spin," Ben said.
        "Andrew won't tell his uncle.  He's not a baby," Guy said
defensively.
        Ben and Ramsy laughed. "Yeah, sure.  Now get outa here before
Wolf's 'specialist' gets here.  We don't want you getting in the way,"
Ramsy said.
        Guy walked out quickly.  Venom's almost poisonous air burned his
lungs for a second as he stood still getting used to the air.  "Thanks
for sticking up for me," Andrew said, stepping out of the shadows.
        "Thats what friends are for," Guy said.  "Do you wanna get a
pizza or something?"
        "No, Wolf's probably looking for me.  I'll see ya around," Andrew
walked away.

        "Alright, it's installed," Star said, sitting back from the
computer.
        "Great, can you make dinner now?"  Falco asked.
        Star put her hands on her hips and glared at him.  "Is that what
you think I'm here for?  To cook your food?"
        "No, but you made dinner before and it was pretty good," Falco
said.
        "Pretty good?  The only other person I knew who could cook that
well was Vixy," Peppy said.  "Are you gonna make dinner again?"
        "Yeah your foods even better than Siamese take-out," Fox threw
in.
        "Alright," Star sighed.  "I'll make something."
        Fox and Falco gave high-fives and settled down onto the couch.
        "Hey, Star, how'd you know about the Cindy Crowford poster?  I
kept that hidden under my bed," Falco said.
        "There's a security camera in every room, but no one ever watches
the tapes, so I looked into them and found out about the poster, the
magazines, the pictures you took on Zoness..."  Star let her voice fade.
        "You didn't take the pictures away," Falco pointed out.
        "Yeah, I figured I'd let you keep something.  Where's the
vegetable oil?"
        Fox helped Star look through the kitchen for the things she
needed until he got bored.
        "I'm going to the gym.  I gotta work on my roundhouses," Fox
headed out the door.
        "Don't forget to work on your high kick either," Star called
after him.
        "Do you always hafta remind about my weaknesses?"  Fox asked,
turning to face his sister.
        "Of course I do!  It keeps you humble," Star smiled.
        "If anyone needs to be more humble it's you," Fox quipped.
        "Why be humble when you're the best?"  Star asked.
        "I bet I could beat you in a fight," Fox challenged.
        "No way, bro," Star said.  "I can take you any time anywhere."
        "This should be good," Falco said, settling down on the couch.
        "Yeah, I agree," Slippy said, turning around in his chair at the
computer.
        "Someone could get hurt!  You shouldn't fight," Peppy said.
        "Hold on, Fox.  I gotta move the food so it doesn't burn," Star
said.
        "Slippy, help me clear the living room," Fox said.  Slippy and
Fox pushed the chair and coffee table to the side of the room.  Star
moved the food off the burner.
        Peppy stood by helplessly as the twins prepared to fight.  Star
stretched out, first her legs, then her arms, and lastly her back.  She
did a perfect back-bend and then a walk over.  She took a wrist guard out
of her pocket and put it on her right wrist.  She took off her over-sized
sweatshirt and revealed a tight t-shirt that showed off her great figure.
 Falco's eyes widened until Star looked at him with an icy glare.
        Fox stretched his arms out and did a few push-ups and sit-ups.
"I'm ready if you are," he said.
        "I'm always ready," Star answered, smiling.  They circled each
other for a second, remembering old weaknesses and wondering if they were
still there.  They'd fought before, but not for a long time and the
fights always ended in a draw.
        Fox threw the first punch, Star dodged it neatly.  Fox threw
another punch, but Star dodged that one and countered with a kick to
Fox's ribs.  Fox blocked that with his arm, but winced in pain as Star's
kick connected with his arm.  Star took advantage of that moment by
getting a punch to her brother's side and broke away.  They circled
again.
        Fox had always preferred fist fighting to the martial arts.  Star
was trained for martial arts as well as Fox, but she had improved upon
her training.  Star wasn't as strong as Fox, but she was flexible.  Bill
had taught her to fist fight and he said she could take a punch better
than anyone he knew.
        Star darted in for a quick kick at Fox, but he grabbed her wrist
and spun her around, but instead of slamming Star into the wall like he
wanted to, Star arched her back and threw her brother over her back.  Fox
went sprawling to the floor.
        "When did you perfect that move?"  Fox asked, trying to catch his
breath.  "You always used to mess that up."
        "I've been working on it," Star smiled.  Fox stood up and watched
Star carefully.  She fought very solidly, always standing her ground
unless going in for a punch or kick, but at the same time she was very
light and quick on her feet.  Fox always stayed light and moved quickly.
He did a quick roundhouse.  It wasn't his best, but it was strong.  It
would have knocked over anyone but his sister.  Star took the kick to her
stomach without flinching and countered with hard punch to Fox's stomach.
 He fell down, but Star knew he wasn't in pain.  She tried to move out of
the way, but Fox had grabbed her ankle and yanked her down on the floor.
Soon, they were wrestling without really hurting each other.
        Suddenly, the a/v screen switched on.  "Starfox, we need your
help!" was heard over the communication screen.
        Fox stood up and saluted the screen.
        "Starfox he- Bill!  What the hell do you think your doing?"  Fox
asked.
        "Hey, Bill," Star said, standing up slowly and flipping a lock of
hair behind her ear.
        "You guys fighting or something?"  Bill asked.
        "Bill, you scared me half to death!  I thought General Pepper had
a job for us," Fox said.
        "Did I actually sound like him?"  the dog smiled.  "I didn't
think I sounded like him."
        "Yeah, that was pretty good," Star said.  "So what's up?"
        "Nothing, I just thought I'd see what's up.  So what's going on?"
 Bill asked.
        "They were just fighting, but it looks like they've stopped,"
Falco grumbled.
        "Yeah, that was a good fight," Slippy said.
        "Their fights always are good, but they never know when to quit.
I've known them since they were kits and I've seen plenty of their
fights.  They'll keep fighting till Pepper and Andross shake hands and
agree on something," Bill looked at Star and Fox, who were both blushing
and looking away.  "Star can take a punch better than anyone I've ever
fought and Fox's punches are almost harder than mine."
        "Oh, c'mon Bill.  You taught us how to fight and take punches,"
Fox said.
        "We've gotta go, Bill," Star said.  "Dinner's getting cold."
        "Alright.  See ya guys...I mean people," Bill smiled at Star.
"Over an' out."  The screen blinked out.
        "Are you guys gonna finish fighting?"  Falco asked.
        "No, Bill's right.  We'll fight all night if you let us," Fox
said, rubbing his stomach.  "Nice punch, Star."
        "That was nothing compared to your roundhouse.  Have you been
working on it or something?"
        "Yeah, but it couldn't have been that good if it didn't knock you
over."
        "Fox, you know nothing knocks me over when I'm fighting."
        "Um, excuse me, but can we eat now?"  Slippy asked.
        "Yeah, sure.  There's a vegetarian dish for you vegetarians, and
there's a leg of lamb for me and Fox."  Star set the dishes on the table.
 Falco and Peppy fought over a bowl of pasta for a second until Falco let
go and grabbed the vegetables.  Slippy was sprinkling Bug Bits on his
dinner.
 
        "You think this chip is the one that's not supposed to be there?"
 The raccoon computer specialist asked.
        "Yes, I'm completely sure," Ben said, wiping the sweat off his
hands onto his pants.
        "Well, you're completely wrong.  This chip is a back up that was
a replacement for a main chip.  The other one crashed, so it needed a
replacement.  Unfortunately, they stopped making the right kind of chip
for this particular machine.  So it was replaced by a newer type of chip,
but the computer's circuits don't completely accept it."  the raccoon
packed up his equipment.  "Sorry." he walked away.
        "Oh man!  Now we're in for it," Guy said.
        "You can bet on that!"  Wolf stormed up to him, flanked by Leon
and Pigma.

        "That was a good dinner," Falco said sitting back.  Slippy
nodded.
        "How can you eat that?"  Peppy asked, looking at Star and Fox
finishing up their lamb.
        "Eat what?"  Star asked, snapping an inch thick bone with her
powerful jaws.
        "Meat!"  Peppy said.  "You know lambs, pigs, deer, and others are
rebelling against this.  Don't you know what that could mean for you
carnivores?"
        "Yeah, a shortage of mutton, ham, and venison.  Can we clear the
table now?"  Fox asked.
        "You'll be sorry when us herbivores are in charge of the
government," Peppy said, putting his plate in the washer slot.
        "Fat chance of that, what with General Pepper in charge of the
army and Bill in charge of the Cornerian Defense.  The entire army is
practically all dogs.  And they eat meat," Fox took his sister's plate
and dumped it down the slot.  Star handed him some more plates.
        "Now see here..."  Peppy and Fox got into a heated discussion
about politics.  Falco sighed and gulped down his medication the hospital
gave to him to heal his arm faster.  He went to bed after that, since his
medicine made him sleepy.
        Slippy and Star worked on the computer, Star pointing out little
glitches in the system and Slippy explaining problems he sometimes had
using the computer.  Suddenly, the a/v screen blinked on.
        "Starfox, this is Priority One.  We need your help!"  Geberal
Pepper said.
        "Fox here, go ahead General."  Fox stood up and payed attention.
The rest of the team stood behind him.  Peppy listened, Slippy tried not
to yawn, and Star crossed her arms.  Soon, the team was off on another
adventure.

        Two weeks later, General Pepper was sitting at his desk going
over a few reports, the Starfox team's report in particular.
        "Have you noticed a difference in Starfox since Star McCloud has
taken Lombardi's place?"  He asked a lieutenant.
        "Yes, sir.  The team seems to be flying better and they are more
thorough," the dog answered.
        "Yes, I thought so, too.  It seems we have a real shining star
fighting with us."

The End

*Author's note*
Star McCloud, Ben, Guy, and Ramsy were created by me and can only be used
with my permission.  The Jo'hara of the Justice Cadets was created by
Jwolfman and I had permission to use him.  If you have any comments or
questions, you can e-mail me at cmtr@juno.com.  Ciao!