Shadow Wolf Episode #2 of SunHawk

W. Jones

Special Note* This story does contain some strong language and a small amount of violence. Please think before you proceed if you find these offensive. Thank you.

Chapter 1 The Coming of Shadow

The planet Raiden. The only gas giant world in the Lylat system, and the seventh farthest planet away from the Lylat star in its orbit irregular from the other planets here. It has rings, somewhat large ones at that, which were hazy and scattered in a dense field rather then flat patterns like most planetary rings. The atmosphere of Raiden was a dark blue to a somewhat enlightened black. With this coloration, it had the resemblance of a big bruise in space. It had only one moon, capable of supporting life with a forest surface. Ice caps on both poles. This moon had no actual oceans, just large bodies of water scattered everywhere which would be better described as lakes, big lakes. The wild life population on this moon was tremendous, many of the animals there were things that defied the laws of nature, all because of the maniacal ways of a certain ape named Andross.

Because of genetic manipulation, Andross, now the emperor of Venom and dreamer that he would someday be able to rule the galaxy, most of the poor animals on this planet were deformed and horrendous creatures. After a certain amount of time, Andross knew that his creations here would be ready for a test. That test was his war against Corneria and the people who rejected and banished him. These weapons would prove useful for Andross' cause because of their ferocity and cunning. All that was needed was to release one on some Cornerian warship or transport and the chaos resulting from it would be limitless. It was no wonder why Andross was sending one of his best warships to take a few test samples off of the Raiden moon, just to see if they were what he expected.

Quietly, the old bull dog captain watched from his throne like captain's chair on the bridge. The Venomian war cruiser, Tooth and Claw, was one of the strongest and most successful ships in Andross' fleet, which was every reason why Andross would have this ship sent on such an important mission. The ship's captain, Shore Amerada the bull dog, smiled as he looked out a window to see his escort. The best Venom had to offer. Star Wolf.

The four member squadron of star Wolf, led by Wolf O'Donnel, flew in a diamond pattern around the Tooth and Claw to protect it from any kind of attack. Also guarding the ship were two Invader II class fighters. The two pilots in the Invaders, a mastiff and a ferret, were discussing issues which had no meaning, just useless talk. All four members of Star Wolf were growing tiresome of this endless chatter, but they could not cut their com-links in case an important transmission came to them. Pigma Dengar and Andrew both had the perfect solutions to this problem. They used their auto-pilot systems to keep them in formation and then went to sleep, unaffected by the chat. Leon Powolski taking point ahead of the Tooth and Claw had a CD playing old orchestra music loud enough where he could not hear anything else. Finally, Wolf was doing what he could to filter the mindless prattle out of his mind and concentrate on other things more important to him. Like the destruction of Star Fox.

Twice now. Twice Wolf and his cohorts have faced up against Fox McCloud and the rest of Star Fox. Twice have they been able to pull the band of worms out of hiding. Twice they have been defeated. However, Wolf was not allowing these defeats get to him. He was already looking towards the future. Towards a plan for their next confrontation if there was any to be. Wolf would not allow anyone to deny his vendetta against Fox be cleansed with blood. If they tried, they would die as one poor Venom soldier already found out a month ago. Stupid bastard dog, thought Wolf. Fox's death at my hands is my right.

Wolf spent most of his time planning for his confrontations with Star Fox, ways to flush them out and any attack patterns that might work. When Wolf developed one, he would work it through on paper, trying to think like his arch-enemy to try and plot where they would go and what they would do to counter act. When Wolf found a plan that looked like it would work, he would start to work on a new one. He would not stop until he had an arsenal of about six or seven different plans. Wolf no longer really cared who won this idiotic war any longer. Just as long as he could destroy Fox before it was over, he did not care.

This was the best thing to do for the flight time. Wolf had developed a new and possibly good solution to this problem. He did want to take the time to work it, however he could not concentrate with the endless talk between the two Invader pilots. Having had enough, Wolf switched his com-link on to the pilots and calmly spoke into it. "This is Wolf to Storm 1 and Storm 2." The conversation ended, signaling that Wolf had gotten their attention before they could respond. "I am really trying to concentrate here. I cannot do that with you two's senseless prattle. So, you can either shut up now, or I can shoot you down myself." Wolf listened for a reply, eager to hear their retort which would give him a reason to carry out his threat. But there was no response, and there was no further conversation between the two. Satisfied that he had what he wanted, Wolf picked up his pencil and calculator and went on to his figuring. He was going to make sure that these plans did not fail.

"Tooth and Claw to Wolfen Leader. Respond please." Wolf growled in a low tone as the hail came into his com-link. Angrily, he placed the pencil and calculator down and pressed the transmit button.

"This is Wolf, go ahead Captain." Wolf looked over the data he had so far and tried to run it through in his head while he listened to Captain Amerada's words.

"We have picked up a signal not to far from here. About five thousand kilometers directly ahead of us. We'd like you or someone to go and check it out before we enter orbit around Sub-Raiden," explained the Captain.

"What kind of signal?" asked Wolf, still enthralled into his work as he spook.

"It appears to be some sort of beacon. However, we can't identify its signal pattern. It's something we have never seen before. From our sensors, we can tell it is not one of ours, and it is too strong to be Cornerian. We would like to know what is out there before we proceed any further."

Grumbling under his breath, Wolf tucked his work in a small cubby hole in the cockpit for future use. "Acknowledged," he replied while doing so. "Send the signal telemetry to my computer and I'll get under way ASAP." The data was sent to Wolf's computer, which he looked over quickly. The Captain was right. Whatever this signal was, it was new, and definitely not Venomian or Cornerian. Wolf started to gain interest in this, always interested in something new to find, and maybe use for target practice.

As Wolf disengaged his auto-pilot, he got on the com-link to another ship. "Wolfen Leader to Wolfen Three, respond at once," he ordered harshly. No response. Wolf was not at all surprised at getting no answer, but he was agitated.

That damned foolish pig, swore Wolf to himself. The food stuffing snot spill has gone off to sleep again. Wolf always had the best cure for getting his men out of sleep while they were in their fighters, which they often did when escort was involved. Wolf turned up the knob which allowed him to control the PA volume in the other Wolfen star fighters. He turned all three up other then his, which he turned down, and then…

"WAKE UP YOU IDIOTS !!!"

Andrew and Pigma jumped out of their seats hard enough to almost break their restraint belts. They were all awake now, but Pigma was still rubbing sleep out of his eyes, wondering what had just happened. Remembering Wolf's special wake up call in this situation, he knew exactly what had happened. Andrew was tricked into thinking that a fight had broke out, for he began to charge up his laser system and arm his nova warheads for launch. When he looked around, he could see that they were not in battle yet. Embarrassed, the baboon disarmed his weapon system, and continued to stair at the butt end of the Tooth and Claw which drove him to sleep anyway. Leon's music was loud, but not loud enough to filter out Wolf's bugle call. Calmly, he turned off his music and listened in.

Before Wolf started to relay the orders to his comrades, he returned the volume control knobs to their default position and cleared his throat. "Gentlemen, in case you have not been keeping track of current events," he started sarcastically, "we are twenty minutes away from orbit around the Raiden moon. I must admit, this little knack of you sleeping while in your fighters is growing tedious. Maybe you should get more sleep during the night."

"I was not sleeping, Wolf," retorted Leon.

"Then leave your CD collection at the base, damn it!" snapped Wolf, hating to be talked back to. His voice went back to being calm. "We have received orders to check out a signal directly ahead of us. We must do this before the T and C can enter orbit around the moon. Leon, you and Andrew will stay and guard the ship with Storm 2. Pigma, form up on my wing and we'll go see what their fuss is about."

"All right," grumbled Pigma as he kicked in his jets and followed Wolf.

The two Invader jets were directly in front of them. Wolf reopened his link to normal broadcast. "Wolf to Storm 1," he called.

"Yessir."

"Join formation with myself and Wolfen three and stare there. No questions are to be asked. Understood?"

"Affirmative," replied the Invader pilot. Wolf watched as the bug like star fighter started to break away from its sister ship, waiting gradually for the two Wolfen fighters to pass him. Once they were there, the Invader kicked in its jets and joined triangle wedge formation with one half of Star Wolf squadron.

****

It didn't even take five minutes for the three ships to close in on the source of the unknown signal. Wolf easily saw the shiny object with his one eye, outlined by the dark blue color of Raiden behind it. It was a small object, not eight meters in length. It was oval shaped, pointed at the ends, with overlapping plates of steal forming scale like armor waving towards the ends while starting at the center. Two blinking signal lights were on both ends, and a pattern light ran around its center ring. Overall, it didn't look like much, but Wolf knew better then to judge by looks alone.

The three fighters circled around the object. While doing so, Wolf charged up his laser system and began to input the object into his targeting computer. Pigma detected this with his sensors.

"What are you doing Wolf?" he asked with his terrible squeaky and grunting voice. "There could be something valuable in that thing, whatever it is."

"Yes," returned Wolf as he targeted the object. "It could also be a bomb." Wolf got on the horn to the Tooth and Claw as the laser system charged up. "This is Wolfen Leader to Tooth and Claw. Respond."

"This is Tooth and Claw, Wolfen Leader. Go ahead."

"We have found the source of the transmission signal. Object in question appears to be a pod of some sort or a container. It does seem to have some sort of power to it, however energy type is unrecognizable to our sensors. They cannot penetrate its hull to see what is inside either. However, I am detecting one life sign despite the sensor blockage, possibly transmitted somehow from the pod. Request permission to destroy object in case dangerous cargo is contained within object." For some reason, Wolf really wanted to destroy this pod. He gripped the control stick, his index finger gently stroking the trigger to fire a laser barrage at the object.

"Stand by Wolfen Leader." Wolf ignored the words from the T and C while he started a silent count down in his head.

Going once… "Stand by."

Going twice…

"Wolfen Leader, request to destroy object is denied. Use tractor beams to tow object back to the ship. All Star Wolf fighters are also to dock upon arrival."

Wolf curled his lip in a horrendous scowl as he glared at the object before him. Orders were orders though, and Wolf had to follow them. He just knew that Pigma was happy that a possible treasure was in this pod. There was someone alive in there. The pod was letting Wolf's sensors have that much data. Even though he did not get to destroy this object, he was not about to be at the short end of the stick in this matter.

"Copy your last order Tooth and Claw," said Wolf. "Do keep in mind that since we made first visual contact with the pod, we are inclined to claim any valuables inside as our own."

Before giving a chance for the ship to reply, Wolf cut out his com-link and ordered Pigma to help him tow it back to the Tooth and Claw. Before he moved, Wolf took a last look at the silver pod and scowled. The face of Fox McCloud which he imagined was painted on the pod had vanished, which took away his only real reason to destroy it.

****

It didn't take long for the pod to be hauled back to the Tooth and Claw behind Wolf and Pigma. The object was a lot lighter then it looked, making towing it at high speeds a snap. When the three fighters returned to their mothership, Leon and Andrew were already docking, being replaced by three Invaders for every one Wolfen coming back in. When they reached the ship, Wolf and Pigma let the pod go, and the battle cruiser seized it with its own tractor beam to pull it in. While was being done, Wolf and Pigma docked their ships and joined up with their companions in the launch bay to witness the pod being opened.

In Wolf's one eye, the pod looked even smaller then what he saw from his ship. It was not much bigger then him, fatter by a lot, but not much taller. The pod's pattern light which circled it was still going strong. The strobe lights on the ends of the pod were gone. With some unknown power, the pod was standing perfectly on end, not allowing the weight of gravity to tip it to any side. No one in this small secondary emergency launch hanger, the eleven people counting the ship's captain and Star Wolf, knew the force which was accomplishing this feet, but all except Wolf were impressed. Wolf was too busy trying to contemplate was inside to be impressed. He particularly wanted to see the life form inside of it.

Behind Wolf, Pigma, Andrew, and Leon were talking amongst themselves, also about the insides of the pod. In their own way.

"What kind of treasure is in that thing do you think?" asked Pigma hungrily.

Andrew shook his head. "I don't know. Maybe it's just a trick box with nothing inside to make you waist time opening it. But if it is treasure, maybe we can hire some one else to kill Star Fox and we can retire." He and Pigma started to laugh, but were stopped cold when Wolf shot them a horrible hate ridden stare. They had forgotten how much killing Fox was important to Wolf. Pigma also remembered past his greed that he still wanted to watch Peppy Hare die by his hands too.

Being lenient now towards Pigma and Andrew for suggesting such a thing, Wolf returned his eye to the man standing beside the pod, preparing a cutting torch to use on the silver hull. Leon was also interested in any riches that might be buried inside, and Wolf did not notice the chameleon walk up beside him. Calmly, all four of them watched with the rest of the people in the hanger as the cutting torch heat was applied to the silver skin of the pod.

An electric arch began to pass over the surface of the pod when the fire touched it. A bolt shot out from the surface and struck the welder in the throat, throwing him away from the pod like a child's ball. Everyone watched as the gopher crashed into a bulk head and slid down, his eyes in total surprise of what happened while they were frozen at the moment of his death, smoke coming from a blackened and bleeding wound at his neck.

Typically, Star Wolf were the ones to ignore the dead man and keep their attention on the pod. The center pattern light had gone dead, something was beginning to happen.

The black center strip where the pattern light used to be began to retract away from two ends and back to either side of the pod. This exposed a bright blue light out of the newly made crack, blinding everyone touched by it. Also, fog of some sort was pouring out of the crack, slowly, like seeping sap out of the side of a tree. Two more cracks running strait through the old one along the length of the pod appeared, the rest of it began to slide open, shinning a terribly bright light in all of their eyes. No one could stare at it without turning their heads. All they could do was listen.

The pod doors made a wiring sound as they opened up on a vertical axis. It was powered by a machine, but no machine which anyone could see if they could look anyway. When the doors were finished opening, a latching sound was heard, and a new machine started. Everyone could hear the louder sound of a machine run for a few moments, all still blinded by the light, most of them backing away and to try and find new ways to hide. The machine noise ended with a loud thud, which could also be felt in panels at their feet. The light died.

Wolf, having had to only turn one eye away from the luminescence, was the first one able to focus on what had happened. He was looking at a tube like device. Metal machinery in the back, top, and partially on the sides. The rest was transparent surface. Inside the glass was only blue swirling clouds or fog, taking up the whole space of the inside. However, most of the people could make out the muzzle of a figure inside the tube. The ship's medical officer stepped forward to take a closer look, as did Wolf.

"A cryotube of some sort?" asked Wolf.

The doctor, a hoarse, did not answer at once. He took a minute to examine the device first. "It looks like one," he responded finally. "What should we do with it?"

All eyes went to the captain, who was staring at the cryotube in utter awe. Wolf sighed with impatience and stepped forward. "Let's open it," he suggested, still curious on who was inside this thing. Wolf knew this had to be the source of the life reading. The being inside had to be in bio-stasis and was ready to be awoken. People started to gather around as the hoarse doctor began to find a way to open the cryotube.

"Attention all hands. Attention all hands. Now entering orbit around the moon Sub-Raiden. All hands please report to common duty stations at once."

The people in the hangar looked at the cryotube, then to the PA announcer, and then back to the cryotube again in disappointment. However, there were people here like Wolf who could wait. The captain began to filter the people out of the hanger to their original observation posts, where no one really needed to be in this small hangar to do the duties assigned them. Before leaving, Wolf grabbed a security guard by the collar. "Guard it," he ordered, pointing to the cryotube. "Don't let anyone, including yourself, touch this thing until we get back. Someone will relieve you in time."

"Yessir," replied the trooper.

Wolf and the other three followed the captain to the bridge of the Tooth and Claw, leaving the guard alone to watch over the device. Soon, he and the being inside the cryotube were the only ones left in the emergency launch hanger.

****

What a boring existence this could be sometimes. The grunt work that came with the job, scraping paint off of the wall above your bunk. Cleaning your laser rifle three times per day even though it might never be used. Or spending an hour guarding a glass jar with a sleeping whatever inside of it. The guard which Wolf posted was growing restless, dozing off a few times before the roar of an Invader fighter being ejected from the forward hangar sound throughout the bulkhead, waking the soldier up from his trances. He knew what was happening around here. The Tooth and Claw were sending fighters down to the lunar surface of Sub-Raiden to see what there was to see that had Andross all giddy. Personally, this soldier, a hyena, didn't care what Andross had in mind. Just as long as it brought a quick end to this war and pronto.

The soldier looked around when the roaring noises, one after the other, all stopped. The fighter launches for now were over, yet more would surely come soon. The hyena was experienced enough to tell which jet fighters were launched from the hangar just by the sound level. Right now, they were all Invader fighters. I's and II's both sent down to scan the surface. No huge blast sounds of the Wolfen fighters which meant Star Wolf was still on the ship. Made sense. All they were usable for was warfare purposes which they excelled at. This was probably why Andross had them posted as a counter against Star Fox, which they did not excel at very much.

Too tired to think anymore, the soldier looked at the cryotube again. He had examined it over the hour, trying to get a better view of the person or thing inside of it, being careful not to touch it as Commander O'Donnell ordered. However, the fog clouds inside the tube did nothing to dissipate, leaving the cryotube's inmate completely masked. The soldier wondered if the tube was not from here, meaning outside the Lylat System. An actual alien object? It is possible. Anyone who serves in the Venom Army has seen enough strange things as to not be surprised by other strange things.

Despite its intrigue, the thought of an alien object in front of him did not contain his boredom. The soldier closed his eyes and began to hum an old melody to himself. An old marching song he heard when he was still a boy on Corneria, watching the yearly festival parades being marched down the streets of Corneria City. If there was one thing that the soldier was certain of, he would return to Corneria after the war was over. He didn't expect the planet to be all that different once Andross took over. Maybe it would become more pleasing.

Using the tunes in his head, the soldier once again started to fall into a forbidden slumber, the weight of his eye lids taking him over. The sleep was cut short by the sound of computerized beeping and a mechanical whir. The soldier opened a single eye and glanced at the cryotube. It had not changed, except a few lights had turned on that were not there before. The soldier closed his eye back up, ignoring this. He opened both of them again, and jumped to his feet, when a strong hiss was sounded through the hanger walls. A gas was being vented from the base of the cryotube. It was not the cloudy fog inside it, another type of gas. Not willing to be caught off guard, the soldier readied his phaser rifle.

The seal broke. The hyena soldier jumped when the loud crack and popping sound came with the small opening in the glass surface of the cryotube. The greenish blue fog was starting to come out, but very slowly. A low tone machine noise sounded, and the glass door slid open. The soldier leveled his rifle, pointing it at the opening ready for the devil to pop if need be. The door stopped, and the inside of the cryotube was now one with the general atmosphere of the hangar. At once, the blue fog began to dissipate.

The hyena looked at the figure which stood inside the opened cryotube. It was a wolf, tall, and well muscled. The wolf had midnight black fur from head to toe, with a patch of white on his right forearm, and a small amount of lighter fur on his face. He had lengthy black hair, a white stripe hair on the top of his head which like a stream of white paint on the forward section. He was dressed in black pants which hung down to the middle of his shins, torn up at the bottom cuffs, and a white sleeveless tank top. The black wolf's head was bowed slightly forward, eyes closed. The arms were to the side, hanging loosely, showing no signs of movement. The feet were close together.

The soldier knew the best course of action was to inform Wolf or a superior about this, but he was too frozen in place. Even though the wolf was a flesh and blood, the hyena knew this because he saw the chest move from breathing, he looked like a military cyborg. The muscles on the black wolf were not huge, but they were formidable. He looked like he could tear the hyena apart with one hand. Yet, the black wolf was slim and athletic looking, built more for speed and stealth rather then strength, but probably excelled in all three. A being whose flesh was made into something that resembled specially tempered blue steal at the hottest of forges. Without a doubt, this black wolf was a force of nature even while he slept. The soldier found himself growing more afraid as he looked at the creature inside. He grew more afraid when he saw movement.

The right hand began to move, the fingers bending in towards the palm into a fist, and they relaxed again. The hands had long vise fingers and sharp, twinkling claws. The muscles flexed and relaxed, and then flexed again. The head lifted a bit, and the eyelids began to twitch. When the wolf's eyes opened, they were glowing a pail blue color, like liquid glass surfaces in the moonlight. This lasted for about a second, then the reverted into a normal state of icy blue eyes. The wolf kept his eyes squinted for a moment, looking strait in front of him, and then closed them again. He pulled his arms backward, stretching the muscles in his back. He bore teeth while doing this, showing horribly powerful white fangs. The mouth was spread open in a wide yawn, bearing the jaws which could crush bone. Seeing this creature which he has never seen before, the soldier never removed his gun sights off of the wolf's chest. However, he was shaking in his boots like a little girl under a giant spider's web.

At last, he had come out of a sleep. Every joint in his body was sore and stiff, arms and legs felt like Jell-O mold and rubber. Calmly, the black wolf rubbed the back of his sore neck while he took a look around his new surroundings. At first, he did not notice the hyena standing before him with a phaser rifle pointed at his face. He just stepped out of the cryotube with ease and continued to look around. After a small moment, he did notice the soldier. Seeing the weapon pointed towards him, the black wolf began to growl.

It was the most terrible and menacing growl he had ever known. Not even Wolf's got to the soldier like this one did. Then again, Wolf didn't look this powerful either. The soldier watched as the dark one got a bit lower to the floor, giving himself a wide stance for an easy and deadly pounce if needed. The eyes narrowed and seemed to stair strait into the soldiers soul, tearing out its fabric. The soldier began to lower his weapon.

****

Wolf O'Donnell and the rest of Star Wolf heard the loud snarl and the louder scream from down the hall from the secondary hangar. All four of them knew that something had happened, so they started to run. Before they hit the door, all was heard. A quick machine sound and a glass being broken. They entered the hangar and saw what they suspected.

The cryotube was wide open, and the pod itself was opened on both sides now. A mechanical looking glass jar from another pod compartment was broken open on the floor, a small amount of blue gases escaping into the air. On the floor was the hyena soldier, face flat down, knocked unconscious. His phaser rifle lay a few feet away. Smoke was coming from the barrel, and Leon found a hole in the wall from where the laser blast hit. The inmate of the cryotube, who or what it was, was gone.

Wolf looked down at the comatose Hyena he posted here and grimaced, asking himself why he was not at all surprised. Wolf knew that whatever was in the stasis chamber had to have been the culprit here. Where it has gone, Wolf had no idea. Andrew holstered his own phaser pistol and picked up the rifle, grinning in the pride of new power. Wolf looked at him and the other two. "Find it," he growled. "It has to be on this ship somewhere, and we are not going to stop until we do find it. So let's get going." The four of them ran out of the hangar, trying to track down the escapee themselves.

****

Content that he had done his job, the short cocker spaniel technician walked down the hall away from engineering, trying to act normal. In a situation like this, knowing that he had twenty-two minutes to get off this steal space can, things could turn dicey. However, this dog was the most well recognized infiltrator and saboteur in the Lylat system. Nothing gave him greater pleasure then to destroy Andross' war toys and do what else he could to make life for Corneria easier. The dog knew what Andross was trying to get from the moon surface below. If he could through a wrench in the gears on this operating, he could get word to General Pepper on what was happening here and they could prevent Andross from getting his hands on these weapons of his.

For the fifteen minutes while the dog waited for the transport, he would take a gander in the surveillance video feed and see what the commotion on the ship was about. He knew that Star Wolf has found something knew which has the whole crew in a frenzy over. Maybe he could gather some intelligence before he left.

****

As suspected like other parts of the ship. Guards in the ship down, knocked out but not dead, through a few halls. They all knew that this had to be the path of the culprit. Easier then tracking a dinosaur in wood shop factory. Wolf looked down the hall they came to see one more comatose guard outside an open door. Some sort of computer room on the ship. Quietly, Wolf walked around the corner, Andrew right behind him with the phaser rifle, whose muzzle nudged Wolf in the back by accident.

"What the hell?" swore Wolf angrily, keeping his voice to a whisper. "Give me that." He snatched the rifle out of the baboons hands, getting an angry frown in return. Ignoring the glaring eyes of the spoiled nephew of Andross, Wolf gestured to them to be silent. Their target was directly ahead.

**** Despite the pressure building against him, the black wolf remained calm as he rummaged through the black nylon duffel bag. After a bit of searching, the correct object was felt and extracted from the bag. The wolf held a small blue glass orb in his hand, looking at its reflecting surface. The sphere glowed with a very dim light, clouds and gasses seemed to swirl around inside it. With a slight grin, the black one flipped the thing in the air and caught it happily, then starting to remember the words.

A red flash and spark caught the dark wolf off guard. He looked up and saw four beings standing by the doorway, baring his exit out. One of them had a smoking phaser rifle point strait at him, a wolf just like him, only with one eye. The other three, a chameleon, a baboon, and a pig all stood nearby with glum and determined faces. Narrowing his eyes, the black wolf stood up off his knees.

"What have we got here?" asked Wolf as he rechecked the single fire rifle. "It seems like we have a guest who is not respecting our hospitality here. Plus, it is a fellow lupine moon singer in land of sheep. A dark one at that. Well friend, we have a tradition here. Whenever another wolf comes in on the scene when I'm around, we make 'em get on their knees and say that I'm the top dawg around here. Since you were already on your knees, go ahead and do that."

Wolf lied about that part what he did to other wolves in the Venom forces. But he was amused in thinking about this large black doing this in front of him. Whether he lied or not didn't matter. The black stood his ground, coolly glaring at all four of them. Wolf frowned at this gesture of defiance.

"OK," he said, tapping his own head. "Umm, Leon? What happens when another wolf who is trying to make his outside appearance look darker then my inside appearance all of a sudden butts in on me turf and my reputation?"

"Never happened before," answered the green skinned lizard in a low voice.

"Never happened before," echoed Wolf. "Well what do you suggest?"

"Well," said Leon as he cracked his knuckles, the other two doing the same. "How about we just beat him until he's nothing but a pile of broken and bloody flesh."

Wolf contemplated on this for a moment before he answered. "Well that wasn't precisely what I had in mind, but it'll have to do." Wolf pulled the power cell out of the rifle and began to tap the stock into the palm of his hand while he held it like a club. "You mind if I take a few swings first? I think I need some batting practice."

"Be my guest old boy."

Rising the rifle above his head, hands wrapped around the barrel, Wolf yelled a bloody war cry and charged toward the black with the full force of a rabid steer. He made the distance in a second and brought the gun stock down hard, slicing the air, hoping to crush the target's shoulder. The gun only met air as the black dodged to the other way. Wolf tried to hit the other shoulder, the dodge went the other way. A swing towards the head was met by a duck, and a sweep attempt: a jump in the air, the club gun swinging safely underneath the black's feet. Wolf tried to strike at the midsection, but the black only jumped back and the gun still found nothing but air as a victim. Growing tiresome of these constant misses, Wolf brought the gun high over his head and swung, an overhead swing, the stock of the gun traveled through the air fast enough to cause the small holes on its end to whistle. His one eye closed, preparing to hear a crack of skull, Wolf's swing was stopped cold, but there was no crack and there was no rebound bounce either. He opened his eye and looked, and was shocked to see that the stock was in the palm of the black, clawed hands gripping its end right over his own head. Wolf looked into the glowing blue eyes of the black furred wolf, like his eyes were windows to powerful gems of radiance. The black was growling a deep and terrible growl along with this, showing powerful fangs, muscles were rippling. Wolf knew he was in deep trouble.

With a powerful jerk, the rifle was ripped out of Wolf's hands and thrown across the room, landing hard against the wall with a loud clang. Wolf looked into the glowing eyes and smiled calmly. "Surely we can talk this over," he said. The black's right arm shot out and grabbed Wolf by the shirt collar of his red uniform, and was jerked high into the air, two feet of air from his feet to the ground. "I guess not."

"You guess correctly," said the black.

Wolf was not given the time to be surprised at the speech which used the same accent as he did. Instead, Wolf was tossed across the room, the full brunt of the black's strength letting him fly. He crashed hard against the wall, certain that he heard a crack when he hit, sliding down the wall to the floor, and just laid there dazed beyond belief.

The black readied himself at once for the next attack, which came on two to one, the lizard and the ape attacking in unison. The baboon was yelling loudly, a dagger in has hands as he ran to strike, and Leon running ready to throw punches. The ape was the first to reach the black, ready to strike with the gleaming dagger. The black merely ducked down and stepped forward, allowing the ape's midsection to run right into his shoulder. In the same motion, the black lifted the same arm in the air quickly and Andrew was tossed into the air, feet way above his head. Andrew crashed hard into the wall, falling into the machinery and hitting his head on a pipe, knocked out cold, blood flowing from a cut on his head.

At the same time he was throwing Andrew, the black was also catching Leon's punch in his free hand. Slowly, he began to apply pressure to the hand until a slight crack was heard. Leon winced at the pain and glared at the black with cold eyes. "You can not do this!" he spat, cursing more in the from of wining. "I am the great Leon Powolski!"

The black shook his head. "In your case," he said, "I think that the greatness is only in the eye of the beholder."

Leon tried to strike with his free hand, but it was only countered by the black's own fist, connecting right where the eye socket connects with the cheek bone. The blow made a gash on its own which started to bleed like a small fountain. Leon's face, middle, and stomach were hit more times then he would care to ever remember. The black's fists were like steal battering rams powered by explosive pistons, all moving as fast as flash lightning. When the beating was done, Leon dropped to the ground at the black's feet, blood streaming from his mouth, nose, one of his eyes, and a few cuts on his face. Most of his face was now more red then green.

Stepping forward, the black faced Pigma, his eyes flaring a fire bright blue, teeth bearing into a menacing growl. After seeing this nutty fight in front of him, Pigma was certain that he wasn't even half the match for the black wolf who was ready to fight him. He backed away from the black, his palms in the air. "No fight here mister," squealed Pigma.

"Phaser," growled the black, pointing to the ground across the room. Pigma removed the phaser from his belt and tossed it across the room and replaced his hands in the air. It was then Pigma realized that he could have shot this bastard without much of a retort. He did not know that he would have been seriously wrong, but he cursed himself anyway.

The black's eyes returned to their normal state and he calmly walked back to his bag. After remembering the words while he held the small orb in his palm, the black began to speak them. The words were those of a language none of them had ever heard before. Even Leon, who had a decent education, recognized nothing. But the words did have an effect, for the orb was now spewing greenish blue fire, which was swirling down around the black.

"Sorry I had to leave the lot of you like this," said the black as he shouldered his bag. "But I really had no choice but to defend. I'd get those things looked at pretty soon here."

He spoke one last word, and the result was a bright but brief flash of light. A blue window disk shaped object grew around the black, enveloping him like a door way. It then contracted down, swallowing him completely, and he was gone, leaving Star Wolf in their current disgruntled state.

****

The last thing that Wolf saw of Tooth and Claw before the explosion in the engineering room was an engine failure, and the whole warship being dragged down into Sub-Raiden's gravitational pull. They were a good distance away before the impact explosion was seen, and Wolf knew that the blast would destroy any useful life on the moon. He also knew that the black was not the culprit behind this explosion, but a saboteur was behind it. However, the black wolf was responsible for the large amounts of pain which Wolf and his men were feeling right now. All of them except Pigma was hurt in some way or another from the fight with the black.

Wolf was sure he had broken a rib or maybe something along that line. It did hurt to breath, but it was not impossible. He wrapped his chest with an arm while flying with the other. Andrew was still unconscious, Wolf was forced to remotely control the auto pilot in Andrew's Wolfen to stay on his wing during the entire trip back to Venom. Leon had many cuts and bleeding parts in his face, plus he may be sporting some nasty bruises in his chest and stomach. All three would be vomiting in a terrible night's sleep before the night was out. For now, all three would live, the black had made sure of that. Because of his cowardice, Pigma got off without a scratch. He was glad, for he was happy just as long as he could walk away from a fight without any marks on his body.

All in all, Wolf considered the whole day a hell. They had lost today, and he had much explaining to do to Andross. Concerning why one of his best warships was lost, why his nephew was suffering from a concussion, and why a key to a quick and easy victory over Corneria was now blown to smithereens. However, Wolf knew that Andross would not do anything to harm Star Wolf. They were his best line of defense and best weapon of offense against Star Fox, so hence, they were not expendable. Wolf did know that he had made a new enemy today. This black rogue was now a target in his mind, and a very small step below precedence from Star Fox. No one, not even this smart ass, was about to make a fool out of Star Wolf and live. Wolf would find this black wolf and destroy him. He has just made it personal.

Chapter 2 The KitHawk

The small transport pod flew out of the atmosphere of the planet Corneria at its top speeds. The people aboard it were forced to hold on all through the trip out of the atmosphere. Either that or risk being tossed around from the harsh turbulence on the trip out. When the roughness of the ride ceased, all of the passengers gave a cold eye to the pilot. He did not notice, and neither would he care even if he did.

"You know, you really should try exiting Corneria orbit at an angle instead of going strait up," said a woman, sitting in the copilot seat of the pod. "That way, you'll probably have more customers who want to come back for seconds when they need it."

"Bah," hissed the pilot, a small sized rat with a large scar over his cheek bone. "You're talking as if this were a civilian transport. Ha. The luck I get in piloting military personnel is that the passengers don't get to choose whether they want to ride with me or not. They're all assigned in here, and once that happens, they're stuck in here whether they like it or not until the ride's over. If they don't like the way I fly, tough. They can take it to Corneria high command for all I care. There are bigger things for the big cheeses back home to worry about other then the flying tactics of a measly rat transport pilot. Wouldn't you say so, Captain?"

Captain Alison Dallas said nothing to answer him at first. Instead, she leaned forward in her seat to get a better view outside of the window. She scanned the area, looking for anything that might signify a ship in orbit, but she saw nothing. "Whatever you say," she answered finally, all the time looking out the window.

"Looking for your ship, Captain? Well we're almost on top of the rendezvous point. I'd say that your ship is very late Captain. I've seen stills of that big ship when it was still on Papetoon. A space titan couldn't miss that hunk of overpowered tin scrap heap."

"Excuse me," said Dallas, looking at him hard and sternly.

"I mean, your new ship is rather…large."

Dallas slowly took her eyes away from him, leaving a small trace of warning in him as an extra effect. Then she went back to searching the area. The pilot shuddered at the way she looked at him. Those eyes, jade green in color, seemed to burn with an unnatural fire. No, not unnatural, more like supernatural. He choose not to make any more wise remarks about her or her ship for the remainder of this trip.

"Besides," said Dallas, leaning back in her chair. "The SunHawk isn't here. She's holding position in Meteo for now, waiting until we return to it." Dallas nearly forgot about the two new crew members sitting in the passenger compartment behind her.

It has been two weeks since the first launch of the SunHawk at Papetoon. There, they were forced to launch premature do to a quick attack by Venomian forces. Thanks to Star Fox, the SunHawk had been able to live long enough to get into space for the first time, where they successfully repelled the Venom attack. Since then, the ship had been filled with all her full ordinance and man power. All of her Arwing fighter wings were in place, and all her warheads were in her weapons bays. The fuel tanks were filled to full capacity minus whatever used to get to Meteo from Papetoon. All in all, the SunHawk was minus only one piece from being complete. That last piece would come very shortly.

In truth, Dallas had already spotted the ship she was looking for, for she did know what to look for. Since the pilot did not, she kept silent, and told him a half truth. "I was looking for the ship that will take us to SunHawk." She smiled as she looked ahead. "And there it is."

The pilot looked forward as well, and leaped in his seat in surprise. Before him was a ship, mere meters from his, nose to nose. A silvery light from a spherical probe flew directly over their heads, which made the pilot flinch. There was a large beak shaped nose, pointed on the tip, much like a beak of a bird of prey protruding from the front of the ship. The nose was nearly tickling the transport. Overall, the ship was over eight times the size of them.

Flabbergasted, the pilot glanced over at Dallas, and was again surprised to see her smiling. "There it is," said Dallas, a beaming smile of confidence. "The KitHawk."

The ship before them had a shape similar to a creature that was a cross between a manta ray and an osprey. The forward beak nose was elongated to an ellipse with a more flattened surface on the underneath, and the sides sewn down to a fine edge which had an edge point on either side, perfectly symmetrical to one another. This shape was tapered forward into a point of the bird's beak and with the pointed sides creating an edge, the beak looked like it had a frown. The main body of the ship was on octagonal shaped three dimensional box with rounded edges. The command area of the small ship was identified from a large dome like projection which covered most of the upper side of the ship. The KitHawk had five "wings" so to speak. The two main wings were on either side of the ship, protruding out with a slight slope downward. The other three wings were better identified as stabilizers which were connected to the aft section of the main body. They were all sloping back at angles to decrease drag for atmospheric flight. There were two of these small wings above near the back of bridge angled outward and one underneath perpendicular to the body. Also were three claw like projections near the front, just behind the nose which all pointed forward, and formed a triangle around the main hull. The topsides of the ships main wings were painted totally orange, along with an orange stripe which ran down the sides towards the nose. The whole nose was also painted the color of an orange sun. On the side was the symbol the SunHawk, a bird of prey inside a golden ring.

The fore mentioned claws were the emitters for the modified Talon laser weapon installed onto the KitHawk. Like the bigger brothers which could be found on the SunHawk, this Talon laser was a solid anti-graviton heat ray which was a nightmare to anyone in a fighter. The equivalence for this laser to the weapons on the SunHawk was that it was slightly higher then the anti-aircraft lasers on it. This made it powerful enough to literally vaporize any type of extremity on a fighter, or simply obliterate it with a head on strike. Even with its advanced G-defuser system, the Wolfen II fighter, which at this time was only a rumor to the ears of Corneria, would take heavy damage from a direct hit. Crippling damage. Yes this was only the start of the armaments on this ship. On each of the three stabilizers were high powered hyper laser turrets with turbo firing rate capacity. There were also almost forty advanced missiles with nova bomb warheads and two torpedoes which could be housed with a deaths head volley of nova bombs or even a tactical nuke.

There were other systems on board the KitHawk which made it so impressive for its small size. Just as in the SunHawk, this ship brought a new twist into the utilizing the technology of time and space distortion. The KitHawk had a unique stealth ability from this technology. With the use of three probes, each very small, only half a meter in diameter, the ship became invisible to the enemy. The system worked by launching the probes and forming them in a tight triangle perimeter around the ship. Each probe creates a pocket or tear of disturbance in the field of the space-time continuum, creating a reality-warping field around it. This would conceal the KitHawk from enemy view and sensor sweep. However, because of the power being generated by them and the anchor needed in real space-time, the probes themselves would remain visible, making it seem that a triangle of lights was flying through space if they were seen.

The KitHawk, which class name was as yet still being discussed amongst its creators, along with the SunHawk, was one of the major steps in new military technology for Corneria. There have been words that the tampering with technology to alter space time was too dangerous to pursue. The effects on normal beings was to unknown and it served as a possibility to be too destructive if forged into a weapons, other then just using it to propel and conceal weapons as with the SunHawk and the KitHawk. An anti-time bomb, for example, could be seen as a weapon which could be concealed by "the next Andross" or something or other. It was there that the law to ban the use of time-space technology to create direct weapons was forged, and was now being administered.

Dallas thought about all of these things as she looked at the ship before her. She went on and gave the OK for the pilot to dock on the KitHawk where she and two new crewmen would depart and board the small attack ship for the first time. The pilot slowly brought the transport in a connected with the docking ring on the aft section of the ship. Here, he and Captain Dallas gave thanks to one another. Before she left, the pilot asked Dallas what the ship he was docked to was.

"A weapon," replied Dallas. "That's all it is. A plain and simple weapon."

She and two men crossed the docking umbilical towards the KitHawk. The door swung open on the other side. There, Dallas saw the face of one Jackal soldier, Mr. Rod Maurine. The SunHawk's security chief. She rose an eyebrow to see his face, slightly amused and now understanding of his practical joke against her.

Maurine looked at her face and gave a great whoop into the air like he had just one the war against Venom on his own. He turned back to Dallas, a great smile on his face. "It worked!" he cried, pride in his voice. "The time reality cloak worked like a charm. I was able to put this ship right on your nose and you didn't even see me until it was too late. Good lord, I love this job." He sighed, and then got all of a sudden depressed.

Dallas did not see this depression, otherwise she would not have spoken what she did. "Actually, I already spotted the probes before you were in position." She looked at him and noticed his gloom, and herself frowned. Talk to him could come later. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw one of her two companions snooping about. She turned to him.

"Mr. Amerce?"

"Yes," said the snoop. It was a middle sized beagle/hound mix with a slight limp in his leg and was dressed in a very well furnished dress uniform. He faced the two, and Maurine grew a chill at the cold gleam in his in his complexion, and the eerie look of the burn scar over his left cheek. The way he looked at everything was the judgment key for Maurine. This mutt was most definitely a pure bread manipulator.

"This is Major Drover Amerce, our political officer. He'll be on board of and on for the first six to eight weeks and watch the flow of our operations."

The dog reached his hand out, and with a bit of reluctance, Maurine shook it. "Don't get the wrong impression of me, Chief," said Amerce. "I'm really not that bad of a person." This did nothing to ease Maurine though, for he heard that boast before. Most of the people who tried to convey trust through words were back stabbing slime. They parted and the second new face showed himself. This one was a Dalmatian.

"This is Doctor Wynfield Q'Ronnie," introduced Dallas. "He's our new chief medical official."

Maurine was about to say something that they could have used him when the SunHawk was attacked back on Papetoon. Before he could, Q'Ronnie stopped him. "I heard about what happened at Papetoon. God awful mess, if you ask me. I should have been there, but I did not get word of this assignment until three days ago. I'm sorry for that."

Appreciating the explanation, Maurine only shrugged. "We didn't have very many casualties anyway doc," said Maurine. "I mean Doctor Kowronni."

The doctor said nothing of Maurine's mispronunciation of his name. "Please, Doc is fine. So is doctor, and if you wish to call me by name, I go by Wyn."

"Thanks Doc," said Maurine, shaking his paw. Dallas had a crewmen escort the two to more comfortable places for now when they could get underway. When they were gone, Dallas looked at Maurine and saw that gloomy look on his face. As if a storm had taken his mind by darkness.

"You did, however, succeed in scaring the hell out of the transport pilot by showing yourself right in front of us, if that means anything to you."

"Oh, it's not that. I just remembered something, and it forced out all the good feeling. Blowing it with Kesh." He shook his head, disgusted and frustrated with himself. "One unanimous tip-off about the traitor on SunHawk, and I'm up a creak without a paddle. That tip was a false one, and because of it, I was late meeting her in the arboretum. By the time I got there, she was long gone."

Feeling pity, Dallas walked up to him and patted him on the arm. "Try again," she said. "You must remember, just because Kesh's mind is digital circuitry doesn't mean she's without feeling."

"It's not that easy," returned Maurine, sighing again. "The only time she even talks to me now is because we're posted together often. Only in business. When it comes to just talk, she avoids me, walking away whenever I try and get her attention."

"Keep trying," said Dallas, herself exiting the docking bay to head for the bridge. "Get Kesh to listen to you and explain what had happened that night. Be stubborn, and be aggressive. Chase her down if you have to and make her see the truth of what happened. That is, if you feel up to it." She left before Maurine could retaliate verbally. But he didn't even make a motion to do so. He simply stood alone in the bay, wondering, waiting, dreaming.

****

It flew…like a dream. The KitHawk was like a self powered glider on the wind as it flew through space. It turned quickly, could fly in slanted patterns, could go up down, sideways from a strait path in the blink of an eye. Plus it was fast, so very fast. When compared to a fighter such as an Arwing, the KitHawk was not quite as maneuverable, but it was faster with a more powerful engine and a lighter composite hull. Dallas was justly pleased as the small assault ship quickly made its way from Corneria to Meteo in such a short span of time.

One of the other great things about the KitHawk was its small crew requirements. The ship needed a crew of only four people for her to function properly, and she would take no more then eight. Dallas knew that she would have to assign a full time crew to this ship whenever it was out to business from SunHawk. Finding those would be difficult, for she still did not have a real knack on the abilities of the SunHawk crew. There would be no more then three officers at a time. Dallas knew that she would be taking it out sometimes, where she would command it. It would be tough finding out who the regulars would be when she was not on it. But that would come later. For the time being, Dallas simply enjoyed the ride to Meteo. It was not far now. The bridge screen showed the way forward, and in the distance of space were what seemed to be thousands of tiny brownish gray spots flying through space. The asteroids of Meteo.

"I've located the SunHawk," announced Maurine, a headset covering his ears. "It's holding position about one hundred and fifty kilometers inside the asteroid field perimeter. Should I send an order for it to meet us outside the field?"

"No," replied Dallas. "Tell them to hold position and we'll come to them. I want a better look at what this thing can really do." She leaned back in her chair. "Pilot, decrease speed to sixty percent maximum burn. Fly us in nice and steady to the SunHawk."

The pilot swallowed nervously. "Aye, Captain," he said as he carried out his duties. The pilot was not the only one apprehensive about this maneuver which Dallas was ordering. The speeds for flying through an asteroid belt were forty percent and below. Sixty percent? Dangerous for the most veteran pilots. Suicidal for anyone below average level of experience.

"On second thought," said Dallas, "normal speeds into the field, and dock with the Sun-Hawk upon arrival."

More relieved now, the pilot complied her order and decreased speed to what it should be. It seemed that Dallas was not willing to make any foolish risks on the first day the received the KitHawk. This ship was too much of an asset to screw around with.

The ship flew through the asteroid field with the best efficiency, dodging anything that might collide with ease. After a few minutes of flying in this manner, the pilot grew more confident that they could have made it through even at seventy percent power. However, thirty was fine enough to get them to SunHawk in the correct amount of time. Soon, the huge battle cruiser, parked in between to massive hunks of rock, was visible to them. The KitHawk turned heading towards her and proceeded to move herself underneath the SunHawk. There were many people wondered what the extra docking port underneath was to be used for. It was too large to be docked with any kind of fighter or bomber and it was too deep inside the ship to be a latch on to another space craft. Now, that answer was clear to anyone watching. It was the docking port for the KitHawk, the craft that would go everywhere with the much larger mother ship. With this, the great Sky Omega class advanced battle cruiser was finally complete and ready for combat. The a large metallic clank was heard as docking procedure was complete, and the ship was pulled inside.

The first one to exit the KitHawk was Maurine, finally glad to be back on the great ship. He inhaled a deep breath, getting a taste of the air which has been home to him for the past two weeks. He looked behind him to grab anything he could and carry onto the ship. After being handed a small cargo container, he turned around and saw the face which reminded him that returning to a place called home can also mean a return to a zone of pain, old or new.

"Hello Kesh," he said, looking at the sparkling but cold and always calculating eyes. "Look, I'm…"

"Save it, Chief," said Kesh, keeping her voice low but with a knife edge. "I really do not have time to talk personally right now. Maybe later." She too lifted a luggage container and shouldered it with the carrier strap. She then began to walk away.

"Oh, please be careful with that young lady. I…Oh," When Mr. Amerce walked onto the KitHawk docking bay quickly enough to catch up before one of his bags disappeared, he was first looking to tell the woman carrying them to be careful with it. When he saw the eyes and face and body of Kesh Serene, wind was torn from him. Kesh looked at him sternly, expecting instructions from being called after in such a manner. "What I meant was, please be careful with that bag, dear lady. It has valuables which I hold most dear."

"I will not let anything happen, sir," replied Kesh. "Just tell me where they are to go, and I will take them there."

"For the time being," said Dallas, herself emerging from the hatch, "just put them in the baggage compartment on deck thirteen. Mr. Amerce here still has yet to get his quarters. Don't you?"

Looking out in a disappointed set of eyes, Amerce merely nodded his head. "But I must insist that the bag stay with me at all times. There are things inside it which I am very much unwilling to part with. You understand."

Kesh glanced at Dallas, who nodded to her to hand the bag over to him. Reluctant to step away from protocol, Kesh handed the bag towards the dog. Amerce reached out and grabbed the shoulder strap close to where Kesh's hand was. His fingers lightly brushed against her hand, which did nothing to attract her attention. She did look into his face however as he took the bag, and was caught by the scar of his. Amerce smiled as he held a hand towards the way out. "After you," he offered. Kesh looked at Dallas, and then briefly to Maurine, who was growing angry. She then quickly headed down the hall away from all of them. Dallas quickly caught up with her.

"Ship status lieutenant?" said Dallas as she walked alongside Kesh.

"No change since you left two days ago, Captain," she answered. "We did observe one Venom scout ship make a perimeter sweep outside the far side of the asteroid field. They did not detect us, and as you ordered, we avoided all sorts of enemy contact until your return. All we had to do was sit here and wait."

"Well done. Did you get anything which might have told you the scout's mission was?"

"As far as we know it was just out surveying the area. Ever since the rock crusher unit was destroyed a month ago, this area has been completely bereft of enemy action, and our action as well for that matter."

"If they're sending scouts out here, that may end up changing. Probably sooner then we think. And yet it could be someone out just seeing what there is to see. Did you report it to Cornerian high command?"

"Affirmative. Commander Grant sent the report about an hour after our first sighting with the scout."

Dallas, somewhat upset, "You mean it's been here more then once?"

"No Captain," replied Kesh quickly. "It did make a total of three passes along the Meteo rim. It kept passing in and out of sensor range in between each pass. After the third pass of the perimeter, it turned around and headed back towards Solar."

"Solar? Hmm. There is nothing on Solar which we know of that could be useful to Andross or anyone else in the Venom army." Dallas scratched her temple, wondering what they were up to, if anything. She shook her head and went on to get to the bridge. "Prepare to head out, Lieutenant," ordered Dallas. "As soon as we're clear of the Asteroid field, set course to Katina. I would like to be there before the start of tomorrow."

"Yes Captain," said Kesh as they broke off from each other.

Dallas and Dr. Q'Ronnie from the KitHawk went one way. Kesh, Maurine, and Amerce went the other. Maurine so much wanted to talk to Kesh right now, but he wanted to do so in private. Besides, he was growing too angry to talk at this time. Amerce had his eyes on Kesh's tail as it swished around as she walked. Maurine, being a telepath, grew more angry as he knew what the new political officer was thinking. He would have to move quickly.

There was something else though. Maurine thought he heard something in his mind while in that room. It was strange. A telepathic echo of some sort. It was probably nothing to worry about. Right now, Maurine had something else to do.

Chapter 3 Awakening

Silence. All that was heard, was subtle and haunting silence. He rose his head slightly off of the cold metal floor. That hurt him, right in the neck which had no strength. When they did not work, he felt nothing. Just lack of energy, and a few places in limbs which ached. But he could still hear, and see, and smell, and sense life around him. There were people inside here, and he did watch them until they left. Mostly, he watched…what looked like to him, an angel of war.

Now they were gone, and he was alone. At least for a little while. After a short time and a short sleep, feeling more rejuvenated, the black wolf sensed two individuals which reentered the dark room. He opened his eyes and tried to move his head to watch the two newcomers, interested in what they had to say for he did sense evil. Whether it was from them or not was yet to be seen.

"Thank Goodness," said one being. "I thought we would never be alone."

"Yes," said a female voice.

The black wolf strained his weakened neck to look and see, but the room was too shadowed to see anything. The voice he heard, the female voice, seemed familiar to him. He couldn't place the other voice though.

"Well, even though the attack on this vessel at Papetoon was a failure, Andross has other ways to terminate pests. This vessel is a pest, so it must be dealt with accordingly. It is true, there are very few ships in the Venom war fleet that can stand up to this ship. So much power behind this beautiful machine of war. It's like a space born monstrosity made of fire, ice, hell, heaven, and everything in between. Andross would so much like to take this ship for himself. With a weapons like this, Andross could win the war just as easily. Not as easily as with or last hopeful weapon, but effective. You do know that our weapon on Sub-Raiden has been destroyed along with the loss of Tooth and Claw. That happened nine hours ago. I found out before I came here. You do understand, don't you my dear?"

There was a pause for a small moment, and then, "yes."

Another pause, and a few foot steps were heard. "You do realize, of course, that if you could get Andross this ship for him, he will be very, very pleased. He may even give you what you want most. That would be nice, wouldn't it?" No answer. "Well, whatever you want. Your mission is to take whatever you can to give Andross a way to disable and take this ship whenever he wants. Security codes, a weakness from a certain type of weapon, soft spots with EMP warheads, anything. If there is nothing, we'll just find another way to eradicate this ship and its crew. Of course, you will be brought off of this ship before this thing is done. Do you understand this assignment, my dear?"

"Yes. I will do what I can. Andross is my father, and my savior."

The male voice laughed. It was a horrible, chilling cackle, nerve razing and evil. "Yes, I'm sure. And as soon as this war is over and Andross is sitting on the high throne of Lylat, you will be at the highest seats of his chambers. Until then, do what he wishes. After twenty seconds after I leave, you will revert back to your normal self. You will remember your instructions in an subconscious level, and you will remember nothing about this meeting. This transaction ends now." The black listened to the limping feet as the male left the room quickly. The female just stood there for a moment. After a short time, she breathed heavily, as if she had come out of a trance. For a second, she was confused, and then she left. The black went back to sleep.

****

After wandering the halls looking around and trying to figure out what to do, Maurine finally decided to go back to Kesh's quarters and try again. She would be there, for she almost always was during her off duty hours. Maurine knew that using her computer mind took much energy out of Kesh. She needed eight hours of non interrupted sleep to replenish her body otherwise she would be almost useless when active when it came to physical duties. After a while her brain would cease to function as well due to a lack of sufficient energy to her neural network. It was an existence given to her by Andross because of his genetic manipulation. Replacing the cell to create a normal being's mind with a self building nano-probe. Brilliant but very unholy. Now, Kesh was serving the Cornerian army to try and bring him down.

Silently but quickly, Maurine walked up to Kesh's door, and pushed the announcement button. He heard a voice to enter at once, and he did.

Like he had known, Maurine found Kesh's quarters as a typical living space for a person of science. She had nothing which could bring the place alive. There was a book shelf filled with boxes of all kinds. Other then that, a desk for working at, a sofa in case she had company, and a bed. However, Kesh was nowhere to be seen. Maurine did see something he did not like at all in there, which did nothing to turn him around.

"Just a minute and I will be right out," said someone from the bathroom. As promised, Kesh walked out with a wet towel wrapped around her and a hairdryer turned on. Upon seeing Maurine, she first widened her eyes in surprise, and the narrowed them with anger. It was clear she was not happy to see him. "And you are doing what here?" she asked, setting down her dryer and folding her arms in front of her.

"Apologizing," answered Maurine, a heavy sigh following. "And explaining myself."

"Do not bother," said Kesh. "Captain Dallas already took the liberty to explain to me why you stood me up. I can understand that. What I can not understand is why you took so long to tell me. You had me going around here thinking that you were a big jerk."

"I may be a jerk, but I'm not a big one. At least I don't think I am anyway. Besides, you never gave me the chance to say anything to you. Every time I tried you just walked off."

"Well, I was angry. People do that when the have something placed on their agenda for nothing. Especially if it is a date. Anyway, I do not think you are anything except you. Which is more then enough for anyone on this ship to handle. And I accept your apology. Now if you will excuse me, I have to change." Without saying anything else, Maurine got to his feet and left. He said nothing. Not thank you, goodbye, or even a request for another date. Kesh was confused why this was true. She was no longer confused when she saw her blood red evening dress laid out on her bed. Now, she was confused for she had no idea why she put it there.

****

Maurine did see the dress on Kesh's bed, her dress, and he was angry about it. It meant she already had plans for the evening, probably with the new political officer. What a bastard. He said that he had nothing to dislike when Maurine first met him. A joke in every since. Amerce was already making moves on the girl which Maurine was in love with, and had not even been on the SunHawk for two hours now. Of course, Amerce never knew about Maurine's feelings for Kesh, so he couldn't be blamed.

This was not the thing troubling him now. He had heard the psychic echo again while in Kesh's quarters, and they were beginning to get to his head. Seven of them since he first came on board, and not one were recognizable to him. Maurine hated it when he could not explain a telepathic vision which he was receiving regularly. He did know what to look for and where. The first echo occurred near the KitHawk launch bay. There, it was strongest. There was where Maurine would start looking for whatever was causing these echoes.

It took very little time to get to the door to the launch bay. When Maurine got there, Captain Dallas was already opening the lock to the door. "Captain? What are you doing here?"

Dallas turned to look at him, also surprised to see him there. "Maurine. Have you been sensing anything unusual lately? Any weird telepathic visions or anything like that?"

"Actually I have," answered Maurine. "I've had seven of them so far. Why do you ask?"

"Well if I've been getting them too, then they are not telepathic in nature. I'm no telepath. It has to be something else."

"You've been getting them too?" Maurine stopped, now realizing that he was sounding foolish. She had just said she had been seeing them. "What do you think they are?"

"If I knew," she said, unlocking the door and pulling a out a phaser pistol, "I would not be here. Now, get ready for me to open this door."

Maurine nodded to her and pulled out his phaser from its holster. His phaser was a large dual barreled heavy weapon. He always carried it with him while on duty, ready for the unexpected at any time of his security shifts. This was the second time he got to even hold it since he was on board. He held it up to the door, ready for Dallas to open it. She pushed a large button, and the metal door slip open.

Both of them nearly choked on their own tongues when the tall figure emerged strait in front of them. The tall black wolf with long dark hair had been on the other side of the door when it opened. When Maurine and Dallas saw him, they were very much startled. They still had their guns poised and ready to fire. They dared not take them off after seeing his eyes, flaming bright blue in color. The black wolf's eyes were looking at them, pleading in their emotions, but also exhausted as well. They went back to their normal state, and began to flutter. The black fell forward after his legs gave way, and he was caught by both Captain Dallas and Maurine.

"Dallas to Dr. Q'Ronnie," she said into her communicator while holding the unconscious but strong looking black wolf from falling to the floor. "Report to KitHawk launch bay immediately. We may have your first medical emergency here." Dallas and Maurine carefully laid the comatose wolf onto the floor, and then looked at one another when they saw his half open but unconscious eyes, gleaming a fiery blue. They were wondering what it was they had just found.

****

Dallas, Maurine, Mr. Grant, and Sparky were all in the medical bay looking on as the new doctor did what he could to examine the newcomer onto their ship. None of them had ever seen anyone like him before, and both Dallas and Maurine figured no one ever has. There was not record of any sort of creature with eyes capable of glowing the way his did. Plus, he was muscled just enough to let someone know not to mess with him, along with teeth and claws which conveyed the same message with more effect.

As the four of them watched the doctor examine the wolf, Kesh was trying to figure out the medium sized duffel bag which they also found in the launch bay. The bag seemed to have no entrance orifice of any kind. No zipper, no buckle flap, no nothing. It was locked up and sealed from all outside sources. Frustrated, she set the bag down and joined her companions. Maurine saw her anger and placed a hand on her shoulder, telling her not to worry about it. She smiled at the gesture, and went on to watch as the doctor continued to examine the black.

After a short time, Doctor Wyn left the small room where they were examining the black and faced Captain Dallas.

"Well, what is your prognosis for our new friend, doctor?" she asked.

"He will live," he answered, removing a surgical glove. "No doubt about that. Quite extra-ordinary in every sense if you ask me."

"What?"

Wyn did not answer at first. He started to, then paused looking thoughtful. "In a normal living being, a certain amount of energy is stored for everyday use. When that energy is used up, we must sleep to recover it. If, by some chance, the entire reserves of that energy were to be drained and depleted, that person would go into a coma and probably spend the next week or so asleep to recover his or her metabolism. In this new being, the same type of energy drain occurred, but with his rate of energy regeneration, he will be back on his feet and as strong as ever by the end of the day."

"That fast?"

"That fast. Oh, I pried this from his hand." Wyn handed a medium sized jewel to Dallas, a bluish colored glass orb which sparkled beautifully in the light.

Dallas walked past the doctor an looked into the window at the black, holding the orb in her hand. The black was lying on the table, a respirator giving him air for the moment. Dallas could see the movement in his eyes, quick and jerky. He was dreaming. Deeply dreaming. Quietly, she made her way towards the sick-bay door to leave. "Tell me at once when he wakes up. We have to know how he got on board this ship without anyone knowing about it, and why no one found him until now." She left the sick-bay as did everyone else except Kesh. She wanted to stay for a small while longer.

****

The halls were so cool this time of day. Common practice for one to be comfortable where thought and abilities of the mind were most needed. For much of his life now, the black wolf has been living here, learning and understanding the world around him. As with all of his people, he found it necessary to gain knowledge of the world around him and worlds beyond. What they mean and what must be done to gain an understanding of them. That was not for all of them, but mostly for those who were a member of his caste.

For the time being, knowledge and truth were behind him, and the black wolf used the time to enjoy the peace. His midnight black robes were rustling in the light breeze, his hood which hid his face, flowing gently into it. The black wolf gently pulled the hood off and let the breeze blow into his face. These times were what he lived for more then anything.

"Conner, my son?" The black wolf turned at the mention of his name, and saw a tremendously tall lioness dressed in a white robe and many religious ornaments hanging from her walk into the halls to greet him. "What troubles thee? You have not been yourself for many days now. Is something the matter?"

"No, my lady," answered Conner. From looking in his eyes, seeing trouble in there, the lady knew that he was being untruthful. She looked at him sternly. There was no lie which could successfully kept from the high priestess Sera Morel. "I was just trying to remember why I did what I did. I turned my back on my Executor brothers to join the Catholaie Caste. Now, I know I am looked on as a traitor to all of the members of Executor. Yet, I do no mind, for I knew that this held best for me. Tell me, my mother, is this something to be ashamed of?"

"Never. I have always known that the Executor Caste has grown to cold over the years. They rule too harshly over the people and the other castes. We are the only caste which they hold no power over, and I thank both the heavens and Tareck for that. We must all follow the paths which we find best in our hearts, my son. You have the ability of an Executor warrior, yet you have the heart of a Catholaie. If you felt it was the right choice to defect, then it is the right choice. Never let the feelings of others guide your actions, for they are yours to guide. Remember my words long after I am gone, my son."

Slowly, the black wolf opened his eyes and looked into a bright light. A tear fell from his face, a window of sad but long past memories. Memories which could not help him now, but would be sentimental value to him later. Slowly, the black wolf lifted his head and looked around, trying to identify where he was. He saw the medical objects around him, and realized that the people of this ship were attempting to cure him. If they were, then why did he have restraints on his wrists an ankles. If there was one thing which the black disliked, it was being tied down and not able to go anywhere. Even though his muscles were still sore, he had regained most of his strength. The black pulled hard on the restraint with his arm, all of the strength in him went into that arm. The restraint groaned with stress, and then broke off, his arm flying free from it. He proceeded to free himself.

****

So many things to do, and not much time to do it. Wyn had many tests to run on the black to try and explain his enhanced abilities to heal and rejuvenate himself so quickly. These tests along with getting his sick-bay ready for things to come. For now, he was going on to run his tests on the black. Wyn was very much startled when he heard a crashing sound, followed by a brief pause, and then cloth being torn open as he left his office. Swallowing nervously, Wyn walked slowly into the med-lab and peered in.

The door into the operating room had been shattered, glass was everywhere on the floor. Inside it was a vacant operating table where the black had been resting on only moments before. One of the restraints had been broken off of the table cleanly, the others just opened. Lying on the floor was the black cloth bag, torn open. The way the bag was torn, it looked like claw tears. Four tears, cleanly parallel, and lightly even. There were many objects inside the bag left behind by whatever opened it. Clothes, a tin box which had broken open had many different jewels of different color assortment. There was a long black box as well. That was all which Wyn saw in the bag for now. Curious, he bent down and picked up the black box and opened it. In the box was a brass coated flute, a little worn, with a dark red cloth tied to it. Wyn shut the box and placed it where he found it, letting security deal with it. That was when he remembered something which he had forgotten to do.

Wyn got to his feet and pulled out his communicator. He never go the chance to use it though. When he turned around, there was a black blur, and then a hard strike to his head. Wyn lost his vision and fell into unconsciousness at once, falling to the floor.

The black stood over him, an object which looked like a sword hilt in his hand. He looked down with a frown and said, "never snoop into things which don't belong to you my friend. My people call it rude. Sorry about your head though." The black pulled a long black over coat out of the bag and slipped it on. The rest would wait here for now. The black quickly made his way out of the medical room and down the hall, easily subduing a guard as he went.

****

"How the hell did this happen?" demanded Dallas as she stood in the middle of the sickbay. Her eyes were poised coldly on Wyn, who was sitting on an examination table with a bag of ice on his head. "I thought I asked you to tell me when he awoke."

"He awoke when I was away. When I tried to call you I was hit."

"From behind?"

"No, from the front. But it was still so fast, all I saw was a blur and then I was hit. After that, all I remember is seeing Mr. Maurine's face waking me up. I'm sorry, Captain."

She said nothing. Alison merely turned away. For a few minutes, she let the fuming anger in her vent out, breathing deeply and counting to ten to get her calm. After a few minutes of doing so, "find him. He has to be somewhere on this ship so find him, and do it quickly. Don't try to subdue once you find him, just try and talk to him and see if he'll step down. We have to let him know we mean him no threat. Kesh?"

"Yes, Captain."

"The bag is open now. Take it and see what you can make of the things inside."

Everyone left to perform the jobs which they were instructed to do. Dallas stood in the middle of the sick-bay and looked around at the damage. The broken restraint and the shattered eon brand glass window, much more powerful then normal glass. It would take great strength to do such a thing. Dallas knew that someone like Grant could do damage like this, but he was not the one in there sick. Plus, Grant was a lion, much more stronger then any wolf. That was, until now. She just looked around, trying to figure out what their guest was doing and what he was thinking. This was a task which Dallas never counted on for her first command. An actual intruder.

****

The six security soldiers moved down the hall quickly, trying to get ahead of their suspected target. Maurine was trying to use his telepathy to find and pinpoint the location of their guest, and try to confront him. His orders were not to engage in any kind of fight with him, but to try and talk to him and get him to understand there want to understand him. Maurine was not sure whether this would work or not, but it was worth a try. For this, all of the security guards were armed with hand-held phasers just for protection. One guard was armed with a rifle, just in double case.

A large metal door they came onto had been forced open. Awesome. How strong was this being? Maurine was not sure if Grant could do something like this. If this was where the black was hiding. Inside was total darkness save for a few swinging lamps. Maurine looked at the door sign, and saw robotics maintenance lab 2 marked above the door. This lab was not in use right now, and the only way out besides the door was a network of ventilation ducts which lead to all parts of the ship. Perfect place to hide. Maurine signaled the men to enter and secure the place. All of them went in single file, using night vision to navigate.

Maurine tapped into his communicator helmet set which provided a communication mike. "Maurine to Captain Dallas."

"Go ahead Ensign."

"We may have a possible location on the intruder. Possible location is Robotics maintenance lab number two, deck nine."

"Understood. Remember, avoid direct confrontation at all costs, enter only if provoked into doing so. Try and talk to him, Maurine. Make him understand that we mean him no harm."

"Affirmative," replied Maurine as he too entered the lab.

It was pitch black inside except for the two hanging lamps on the other side of the lab. Everyone had night vision on, trying to find anything that moved in the darkness. They scanned everything in here, the many containers and dead robots and machine pieces. A hundred and one two different places to hide in this one little room alone. The possibility that the intruder wasn't even in here was present. But Maurine knew he was in here. Not through his telepathy, but a strong gut feeling. He got to his man on the right and ordered his troops to stay low and out of sight, ready to pounce once necessary. They did so, and Maurine was out in the open.

It was here that he used his mind to send out a telepathic message. It was a simple greeting of hello, and to tell the receiver that no harm would be brought to him if he just shown himself. There was no way which Maurine could know if his message was getting through to its intended destination or not. Anyone, telepath or not, could understand a telepathic communication. It was how they responded to it that was different for other people. Maurine kept repeating the message, each time faster and more intense then the previous. Soon…

"Stop it!" Everyone nearly jumped at the sound of the voice from the darkness. "If you are truly meaning you mean no harm, stop your mind prattle at once! It hurts my ears!"

"Where are you?" asked Maurine, trying to see past the darkness and hone in on the source of the voice.

"Virtually, I am everywhere in here. If you mean in a physical sense, then I cannot tell you now."

"Why not? I already told you that we don't want to hurt you. Why are you hiding from us?" "Simply put, I don't trust you. The last ship I was on prior to this one, I was attacked with a wish to be killed. Thankfully, I escaped them and found my way here. I will not make the same mistake again. I also know that there is someone on this ship who is conspiring against all of you. If I go out, I run the risk of being attacked, and I hate to fight anyone unless forced to. You can understand that, cant' you?"

It was impossible for Maurine to locate where their guest was in the dark. Even the guards could not do it with their night vision. Maurine gave up trying to look, and he just went on to talk. "If you won't tell me where you are, then you can at least tell me who you are. If not that, let me know what it is you want."

"I wish to talk to the one in charge here," said the voice. "I know it is not you, for you were taking orders from someone else some time ago. A woman of sort."

"Yes, that is our captain. Do you wish to speak to her?"

"I do."

Maurine nodded to the darkness and got on his com-link. He informed Dallas of the situation and she complied to the meeting. Within a few minutes, Dallas emerged at the entrance of the robotics lab. She slowly walked past the guards and walking in front of Maurine, motioning for him to step back. When he offered her a phaser, Dallas rejected it and moved closer into the dark.

"I'm Captain Dallas," she introduced. "Are you still here."

After a few moments of silence, an answer came. "Yes, I am here. And I will come with you provided you do something for me."

"Name it," said Dallas, keeping her eyes forward and herself in the light.

"I have heard things not too long ago which you will find interesting. I know that people will attempt to kill me for knowing such things. If I show myself, the first thing I do is meet in private and we will discuss this information. You are risking much if you reject my offer. If what I heard from these poor chaps is true, then you and your ship may be in peril. That is my deal, take it or leave it."

"We'll take it," said Dallas. "Now show yourself." A jingle of chains was heard above her head, Dallas looked strait up to see the form of a giant bat jump down from the chains. She stepped back hurriedly, and the dark figure landed cleanly on his feet directly in front of her. Like Dallas had already seen, it was a tall black wolf dressed in an overcoat of the same color. Every inch of him, save for a slight streak of white hair, was the color of night. This being was truly a shadow. Maurine now knew what the black meant when he said that he was technically "everywhere" in the dark. He was.

The shadowy wolf slowly walked forward, showing himself in the light. At first glance, Dallas and Maurine saw a person who would never want to hurt anyone. There was peace in his eyes, but there was also apprehension, distrust, and caution there as well. In his hand, the wolf held a metallic object. It had a handle which could be used with both hands, and some sort of a guard on the top. A strip of blue crystalline deposit was imbedded in the top of the object. It looked like the hilt of a broken sword. More slowly now, the wolf walked forward and faced Captain Dallas.

Dallas swallowed. "Is there anything else we can do for you, Mr. …?"

The wolf shook his head. "Nothing except keep up your end of the bargain. And my name is Conner. Conner Seacore. Where I have come from is a story…for another time, perhaps."

"Very well," said Dallas. "If you don't mind, I'll take you to my office and we can talk there. Will that be satisfactory?"

"It will, as long as there is someone else in their too. I do know that the person who is hurting you now is a girl. There was also a man though, so there are two people on this ship who are not on your side. So, I can't trust to be alone with anyone, not even you, Captain Dallas." She nodded at him with a smile, and then left the robotics bay. Conner followed up behind Dallas, and then Maurine and all of the guards followed.

Chapter 4 Betrayal

The large panda sat alone at the computer trying to read his book while waiting for a file to finish downloading onto his disk. It was a long wait for such a long file, but the panda had the time to spare. He was off duty from work in engineering for the next eight hours. For this time, he was going to get that music file he has been looking for. Sleep could come later. Besides, the panda had always felt fine and ready to work after only four hours of sleep. That he choose to keep a secret though. If Sparky ever found out about that, that would be his off duty time. No one liked a person who took time off that he or she did not need. The panda was also taking the time to send an E-mail to his parents back home, and another to his wife. The panda so much wanted his military time, or more appropriately this war, to end so he could go home to a wife he loved. To raise a family. The panda closed his book and spent the rest of the time waiting daydreaming about his wife and raising a family.

A hard metal point was shoved into his neck. The panda tried to call for help, but a hand was cupped over his mouth. The pain from the needle in his neck was horrible, so was the push. Whoever had him went on to inject the stuff in the syringe into his blood stream. The panda went stiff from the effect of the drug in his blood, every muscle in his body freezing in a flexed state. Then he went limp, and was guided down to the floor. The panda was out cold now, leaving his attacker free to do what they came to do.

The being set the emptied syringe on the computer console and went on to do her job. She had all the time she needed, for the oaf she just knocked out would not wake up for hours, and when he did, he would still be delirious from the drugs side affects. The girl erased everything which the panda had done on the console. She went on to do her own thing, bringing up a command file for the SunHawk's main power systems. There was where her objective was, what her contact had already instructed her to recover. She would then hand the data over to another contact who would take the data to Andross. It was simple enough, and it would turn a great threat to Andross and his destiny into a powerful weapons for him. The figure sat in the chair and herself, like the unconscious panda at her feet, began to wait for the download to finish.

It did not take long. The files in question were small, and the girl quickly loaded them onto a disk. When she got the disk and placed it in her pocket, she at once started to remember the meeting place for her to hand the data over to her second contact. She also would receive new orders there for a new task. The girl left as quickly as she could down the hall.

****

The black wolf, Conner Seacore, looked at the sculpture with no pattern shape with interest. The way the clay in the sculpture was presented seemed so…so chaotic. It had no real design thought to it, no style. Yet, it did take much imagination to find something which this resembled, or to find any shape in it at all. Conner did this, for most people would see something created by a child wasting time, he saw many things at once.

"Interesting," he complemented. "Did you do this?"

"No," said Dallas. "My mother did before I was born. I keep it for sentimental value. Now, if you are finished, Mr. Seacore, I would like to talk about what you heard which concerns us. Any time you're ready of course."

"I'm ready now." Conner sat down across from Dallas and sighed. He was half unconscious when he heard this, which meant his memory would be limited. He would do the best he could though. "I could not see any faces while it happened," he began. "Some object was blocking my view. I did hear their conversation quite clearly though. They were saying something like 'the glory of Andross'."

Dallas sighed, and Conner could tell that she did not bear well to the name of Andross. "Go on."

"There was a man, not real ruff sounding but manipulative and cold. I could find no emotion in the voice of the woman that was present."

"A woman?" asked Maurine, standing nearby.

"Yes, yes, a woman. The man gave her things to do on the ship. Such as finding a way to disable it so this fellow Andross could take it for himself. On the how, I believe he suggested things like acquiring security codes to take control, a weakness from certain weapons, things like that. If there were no things, then her objective was to find some way to get this ship to 'go away'. I do know one thing though. I was in that hanger bay when you, my lady, first came on to this ship. I saw you, your jackal friend here, and a golden hared vixen of sort followed by a few other ones. One of them was the poor man I had the unfortunate duty of subduing in your medical facility. The other, a mutt with a burn and a bad leg."

"He was in here when we first came on from KitHawk," said Maurine. "That would explain the first telepathic echo when we came on the ship."

"Exactly. I am not really a telepath of any kind, but I am capable of sending out a call for help in that sense when I need it the most. This I must say that I was able to identify the voice of the young woman in question as the golden hared fox."

"What?" Maurine laughed out loud, amazed at what he heard. "Now that's ridiculous! Captain, please don't tell me you're…"

"That will be all, Mr. Maurine," snapped Dallas coldly. She turned back to Conner, he was confused at what just happened for the first second. "Mr. Seacore, you have just accused a member of my crew for possible treason. I will look into it." Maurine turned away, frustrated and fuming with anger when she said this. "But I will not subdue or arrest her unless I get something else besides voce recognition. I have had some temporary guest quarters set up for you. I'll have security escort you there and your door will be guarded at all times. Is that fine with you?"

"It is for now," said Conner getting to his feet. "I say now that I do not lie in my words. I heard what I heard, and I speak the truth of what I heard and believe to be truth. That is how I was taught to live. If a friend of yours is playing all of you, I do apologize for that. This I will say as well. The lady did not seem to have a will of her own when she met with this other man. It seemed…like she was in a trance while she talked."

Dallas sighed and nodded to him. "Is that all, Mister?" Conner nodded to her, and he was escorted out. Dallas, Grant, and Maurine were alone inside, contemplating and fuming on what they had just heard.

"Please don't tell me you're going to swallow that," said Maurine. "I mean, Kesh a traitor? No! No, no, no, no! Not possible!"

"I agree," said Grant leaning forward. "We have been here for two weeks now and so far I have seen nothing that would be abnormal as far as Kesh goes. If she's a traitor then I am the all-mighty divine spirit. And this weirdo comes onto our ship and says he heard Kesh collaborating with a Venom agent? Not a chance in hell am I going to buy that."

"Neither am I," said Dallas quietly. "But he did say that the Venomians might have some sort of control over her. If that's true, then its not betrayal, it's manipulation. We do know that Kesh's CPU network was developed by Andross and installed into her when she was young. What if some sort of up-link or virus was put in her head as well? It is always said that what you build, you can control unless you're incompetent or the thing you build is too powerful to properly control. We all know that Andross is not incompetent, and he has a funny way on gaining control of things which we don't want him to."

"So you think that maybe our new friend is telling the truth?" said Maurine. Dallas nodded.

"But if he is, then maybe Kesh isn't beyond help. Our computer technology is far more advanced now. If there is anything, a hidden program or a virus that is allowing Andross to control her, with luck we can take it out before anymore damage is done."

"Do you want me to go find her?" asked Maurine, already going to the door.

"At once. Bring her strait to medical, and use force if necessary. If she is being controlled, then there might also be a chance that her life is in danger. Go! Now!" Maurine ran out of the office at once and Dallas turned to Grant. "I want you to lock down all of the computers and place a security code on them. There is not a single system which Kesh doesn't have access to, if it is her we are dealing with."

"Who do you thing her accomplice is?" asked Grant.

"I don't know. There is at least one here that we know of. Maybe two. We'll deal with them later. Right now, if they are controlling Kesh in some way, I want to take their tool away from them. You just lock down the computer." Both her and Grant got to their feet and began to leave the office.

"What are you going to do?" he asked.

"I'm going to help find Kesh too."

****

No one knew that there was a traitor on board this ship, and their pawn along with him. Everyone just went along and performed their duties accordingly. Conner could see that everyone was unknowing about the danger just by looking in their eyes. No worry, no apprehension. Just duty and life in general. Conner saw these things as the two guards led him through the ship where he would live for the time being. Conner, from what he has seen thus far, was not very impressed with this ship. He has seen much more impressive things in his travels. It was more impressive then the last ship he was on, which he remembers as being called the Tooth and Claw. The ship were he defeated those for creatures and then left using that horrendous mode of travel which drained his energy. Ethereal travel.

The guards led him down one more level. There were no people on this level, which was strange. Everything above them was as busy as a common hill of fire ants. This level was a ghost town in a ship. This did not stop the guards from going though, but Conner found it wise to keep his eyes open.

Wisdom always prevails…

The lights died out and went to a hellish red color. At once the guards stopped and readied their weapons, looking around for movement. Conner grabbed the sword hilt like object out from underneath his coat. Someone fired at them.

A figure from behind a corner began to open fire on Conner and the two guards. The first shot clipped the guard in the shoulder, and blood sprayed from the wound, knocking the soldier back off of his feet with a loud thud. He partner called in for help, reporting that they were attacked and a man was down. He returned fire and Conner easily pulled the injured guard out of harms way. The guard still standing joined them under cover while more laser blasts clipped the wall. The guard, a large pit bull, peered around the corner to try and see who it was attacking them. Because of the red darkness, he could see nothing.

The injured dog began to groan from the pain. Conner tore a chunk off of his bag which he reacquired and pressed it hard against the wound. He know that it would not last long though, and while whoever that was firing back there was intending to cover them very well. So much for getting a medical team in here to help. Conner peered around the corner himself to try and see. With his enhanced vision, he could just barely see the attacker around the corner. Sure enough, it was the blond vixen with a very mean looking phaser rifle.

Conner ducked back behind the corner just before a laser singed the air where his head was. He gritted his teeth, knowing that he would have to rush her sooner or later. If not, the first person she sees would die. "Is there any other way to get to her?" he asked.

"Around the corner and down on her from the intersection. But she's probably covering that way as well. If you want to die, be my guest."

"Better me then someone who doesn't deserve it. I'll rush her, you see if you can get this poor soul to safety."

"You got it," said the guard, preparing to lift his bleeding partner. "You sure about this?"

"Yes, quite sure. Unless you would risk that he stay here and bleed to death." The guard shook his head and lifted up his partner, signaling that he was ready. Conner held the sword hilt tightly in his hand, ready to rush from the other direction once needed.

Conner burst down the hall at the same moment a new figure ran in, expertly avoiding laser fire, while herself shooting down the hall towards Kesh. It was Captain Dallas, firing a phaser at stun. She rolled back behind the corner, aiming carefully down the hall. Kesh emerged and aimed the rifle, and Dallas pulled the trigger. Because of the dark, Dallas could not aim very accurately. She did hear a slight yelp of discomfort after shooting. She must have nicked her somewhere. It was not enough, for Kesh unloaded a full volley of laser fire in retribution. Dallas ducked back behind the corner and looked at the two guards. The guard still on his feet was ready to carry his injured partner out of here.

"Where's the black wolf?" asked Dallas, looking around for Conner.

"He took off down that way," said the guard, failing to mention he was going to try and rush Kesh and stop her.

Dallas swore under her breath as she scooted over to the corner. She placed her back against the wall, ready to take a peek around the corner any chance she could get. She motioned for the guard to leave and get his partner out of harms way. The two of them left, and Dallas was alone, taking a breath to calm herself.

"C'mon Kesh!" she called out. "This is not you! You're no traitor, and you never were, and you never will be! Andross is not the answer Kesh, you know that! He's manipulating you into turning against us! Fight it!"

More shots, all of the striking the wall near Dallas's head. She flinched away from the laser's heat, feeling the kinetic energy on her face. "Andross is father! He is savior!" Dallas heard the words from Kesh, knowing that she was being controlled. Not even Andross' most loyal generals would refer to him as the father or savior. Then again, since Andross created the mind of Kesh, she might be inclined to call him father. Whatever the case was, something had to be done to stop her. Dallas got to her feet and into a squatted position. She stuck her arm around the corner and fired two shots. After firing she began to count. One, two, a shot returned from Kesh. Dallas did it again, getting the same two second delay before Kesh shot back. Dallas knew this meant that she too ducked behind the corner when was shot at. This was Dallas's key.

She got to her feet and began to fire down the hall. After a few shots, Dallas ran down the hall, firing as she ran down the hall as fast as possible in her legs. Kesh never got the chance to retaliate after Dallas ceased fire. The only thing she saw were two green eyes rushing at her, fast.

Dallas tackled Kesh, ramming her shoulder hard into Kesh's mid section. The blow knocked Kesh backward hard into the wall. She was dazed for only a second, and realized that her face was also level with a phaser aimed right at her face. Kesh smiled evilly at Dallas as she rose. Dallas kept the phaser level, chilled at the way Kesh was looking at her. Kesh bat at her arm, and Dallas was caught off guard as the phaser was knocked out of her hand. Kesh grabbed Dallas by the shirt and by the hair and flung her up against the wall. She quickly picked up her rifle and rammed it into Dallas stomach with the butt stock. Dallas dropped to her knees, lost of all air and gasping to get it back. Kesh stood over her, holding the rifle in her hands like a club.

"Andross IS father!" she yelled. Kesh raised the rifle into the air, ready to crush the head of her captain with one, swift swing.

"I don't think so," said a voice.

Kesh looked down the hall and saw the black wolf standing a good distance down the hall. This was her original target now, and there he was. Conner stood with his hands folding in front of him, the sword hilt in one hand. He looked at her coldly, and she looked at him as if he were a mere termination target, which he was to her.

At the same time for both, Kesh fumbled to shoulder her rifle, and Conner charged forward. He was a shadowy blur, moving so fast down the hall he almost seemed to be at two places at the same time. Kesh got the rifle in her hands the right way, but she ended up seeing a pair of glowing blue eyes almost flying at her. She raised the rifle, ready to fire at him. A beam of bright blue light shot out of Conner's sword hit, stopping suddenly after a few feet. He swung the blade of energy, creating a trail of psionic power, a wake of sort as it flew through the air. The blade struck hard against the rifle, almost right where her hand was on the trigger, creating blue flames after the sword passed through the rifle and through the air. Kesh screamed in pain.

After regaining her breath, Captain Dallas looked up. Standing there was Conner, a glowing blue sword in his hands, and Kesh knelt down on the floor nursing a burnt hand and a surprised and pained look in her eyes, her mouth gaping open like she was still trying to understand what just happened. On the ground near her was a phaser rifle in two cleanly cut pieces. Dallas looked at Conner, who stood near Kesh with his sword ready to use in case she tried anything. She got to her feet and walked over to him.

"You…you saved my life. Why?"

"Because it is who I am, and what I do," answered Conner, retracting his energy sword back into its hilt form and storing it away. He walked over to Kesh and knelt down in front of her. Conner reached out and gently lifted her head by the chin, forcing her to look forward. Conner looked into her soul, and she stared with fear into his glowing blue eyes. Dallas watched with astonishment as the two just looked at each other for several minutes. And then Kesh fell forward, suddenly exhausted. Conner helped her to her feet.

"It is true. She was being controlled from an external source. It is nothing which can not be removed, but it will take time. Much time."

Dallas looked strait into Conner's eyes, herself filled with intrigue and confusion. "What are you?" she asked.

Conner only smiled at her question, but he never answered it. Maurine and Grant along with a medical team led by Wyn ran into the fray, Maurine running strait for Kesh. Conner guided her to him, and Maurine wrapped his arms around her. Dallas walked towards Wyn.

"Take her to the medical lab," she said to Wyn. "Keep a digital restraint in her neural up-link at all times. Keep her physically restrained as well. She has a burn on her hand so take care of that too." Wyn left with Kesh as the medical team carried her out. Before they left, Kesh sat up quickly.

"Captain!" she yelled out, getting Dallas's attention. A tear began to form in Kesh's eyes. "I am sorry. I…I."

"It's OK," said Dallas. "You'll be fine. And don't apologize, this wasn't your fault."

Kesh smiled at her. "I gave a disk to my second informant. That I can remember from what happened. The disk had the security code to take control of the SunHawk's power generator and shut it down from an enemy ship. He is taking it to Andross."

Dallas ran toward Kesh and caught her before they were gone. "How long ago did he leave?"

"Fourteen minutes eleven seconds ago and shuttle number three. I took the sensors off line while he made his escape. They will submit the data to Star Wolf near Fortuna. Oh, God what have I done?" Dallas stroked the frightened and grieved girl on her brow, and then nodded for them to leave. The medics wheeled Kesh away, Maurine at her side at all times. Dallas turned to the other crew members quickly.

"We have to catch that ship," she wailed. "If we don't, then Andross can take this ship as his own with ease. Everyone to the KitHawk now, its the only ship which can catch up to that shuttle quick enough. Now, move!" Everyone left except Conner and Dallas. "Thank you for saving my life," she said. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay you."

"Just let me go with you to catch this traitor of yours, m' lady," said Conner. "I have a feeling that you are an enemy to this being named Andross."

"We're fighting a war with him," said Dallas. "If we lose the war, this star system will not survive for very long, no matter what the other side says. And you can come with us, if you wish." Dallas smiled at him, and then took off down the hall. She had something else in mind all out for him.

Chapter 5 Lost Again

Three certain Wolfen class star fighters hovered in space along with three Invader II class star fighters close to the ice world of Fortuna. Wolf O'Donnell looked over the five fighters with all lot of anger. He was still hurting from the confrontation with the black wolf on Tooth and Claw. He had two broken ribs and a bruised shoulder blade. It no longer hurt to breath, but he did have trouble performing with such a hurt. Across from him was Pigma Dengar in his Wolfen. Pigma was the only one who walked away from the fight without a scratch, all due to cowardice. Leon was a mess, many bandages over his green face from the cuts on it, his ribs bandaged up. Andrew was not here because Andross kept him on Venom from being knocked out cold by the black. Wolf shivered at how much of a rage Andross went into when they brought his nephew to him unconscious and bleeding. He screamed when he ordered them to hunt down this rogue who did this to Andrew and the rest of Star Wolf. It took time to remind him about their trump card on SunHawk, and they had to act on it.

After that reminder, Andross sent Star Wolf minus one, three fighters to stand in for Andrew. Wolf and his men were given time to tend to their injuries and then they were sent out at once to get the data from the sleeper on SunHawk. Whatever the data was, Wolf was going to pissed if this trip was about something not worth it. Because of his injuries, he could not concentrate on testing his solutions to kill Star Fox. Plus, he found it difficult thinking away from the black.

Wolf heard a grumble over his com-link from Leon. "This is the pits," said Leon. "Who the hell are we waiting for her anyway?" He grumbled again, a pain in his face surfacing and then residing.

"Someone who can give us something to fight the Cornerian's new super warship," answered Wolf. "If we can meet this stooge coming to betray Corneria, we may have the ability to take the ship for ourselves. At least that's what Andross told me."

Leon growled under his breath. "I swear if I ever see that dark slime again I'll…"

"You'll do what?" said Pigma, laughing under his breath. "Stand around and let him use you for a punching sack again?" Pigma was laughing hard now, his horrible ear shattering voice getting on the other's nerves.

"Shut up! Damn you!" screamed Leon. He began to bring his Wolfen around, warming up his lasers. Pigma continued to taunt and anger him.

"Mr. Elegant here now has more marks on his face then a rotten Sozi melon." He continued to laugh, slapping his knee and losing air as his fat stomach rumbled from hysteria. Leon bared his targeting retackle on Pigma and began to charge up his lasers.

"Knock it off you two!" yelled Wolf. "We have company."

Leon forgot about his anger for the moment and looked to see a Cornerian shuttle craft appear to their sensors. He brought his fighter to bear on it, keeping his lasers at full charge. Pigma did the same, losing his sense of humor and gaining a sense for war and blood shed which he loved more then taunting people. Wolf set his sensors onto the approaching shuttle and went on to examine it. Just a common Cornerian speed shuttle, nothing inside it except the pilot. Wolf squinted his eye at the screen and then ordered the three Invaders to meet the shuttle and escort it to them. At once, the three fighters fired their jets and took off. Wolf and the other two waited patiently until they returned. It was not a long wait. The three invaders returned while around the shuttle, and at once Wolf got a communication to it.

"This is Lt. Commander Wolf O'Donnell of the Venomian army. Please authenticate Alpha Monroe." Wolf readied a missile to fire just in case the pilot returned the wrong answer. It took a few seconds, but…

"Mr. O'Donnell, I authenticate Red Bomb Raider. Glad to see you too. I have something that you want here, compliments of the sleeper on the SunHawk. I am ready to download the information now, if you provide escort for me back to Venom."

"How 'bout this. You transmit now, or we disable your shuttle, force it to land on Fortuna, and the gut you, place your head on your ship and leave whatever is left in the snow and ice to freeze. I'm sure there are things which live in the ice that would take a liking to the taste of frozen traitor. Now, you decide."

After a long wait, the response came. "Transmitting now," said the shuttle pilot. Wolf looked hungrily at the transmission status while the data was sent to his Wolfen. This was a delicate transmission. It needed to go on unhindered for it to be worth anything. Wolf ordered the others to take up defense around them, but they never got the chance.

"Wolf, do you see what I see?" asked Pigma.

"What?"

"Bearing is…seventeen mark ninety. Directly above us."

Wolf set his sensors in that direction and looked. There was a triangle formation of three lighted objects flying in perfect formation everywhere they went. Wolf looked at them closely, watching what they did and keeping his eye on the anomaly at all times. His computer informed him that the transmission was half over. He ignored it for now, watching the lighted triangle up until it changed.

The three probes in triangle formation stopped glowing and began to fall into each other. It was there that the ship emerged into their view, a large hawk like vessel which flew above them, preparing to swoop down on them like the bird of prey it resembled. "Holy crap!" yelled Wolf. "What the hell is…?" His words were cut short as the newcomer changed course and started to speed towards them. His sensors were picking up a buildup in weapons systems from the enemy ship. "Invaders, engage the enemy ship. Keep her away from the shuttle and from me."

The Invaders were too late. The KitHawk fired single orange laser beam strait down at them, which streaked through space and nailed the shuttle right in the back. The shuttle was shoved out of position as the beam punched strait through its body. Wolf saw the download begin to falter, and then it was gone. He struck the flight console with both fists, ignoring the pain in his ribs. At once, Wolf broke off from hover and ordered that every fighter nearby engage the enemy ship at once. He was angry enough to spit while he talked.

The three Invaders opened fire on the enemy ship. They missed with most of them, and the rest were easily stopped by the KitHawk's tough composite armor. The ship returned fire from the cannons on its stabilizers. The Invaders were torn apart after the first few seconds. When Wolf saw this, he realized it might be best just to walk away for once.

****

Sparky looked on from the bridge of SunHawk as the KitHawk proceeded to dock it its new home. He waited on the bridge after it did until Captain Dallas walked into it. When she did, Sparky looked at her with a smile. "It's done," she said. "Our betrayer, whoever he was, tried to give the information in question to Star Wolf who would then take it back to Andross. We, luckily, destroyed the shuttle before he could finish the download."

Dallas stood on the bridge and looked at the view screen. There was Katina sitting before her. Dallas remembered. She remembered vividly the last time she was here, seven months ago on the Illuminauti, on the terrible day. Dallas shook her head, forcing out the memories, and turned to Grant as soon as he walked into the bridge. She gave him the conn and left in a hurry. Everyone in the bridge looked at her as she left, wondering what was wrong. This was it for all of them. Grant thought that Dallas would want to be here, because this was where they would receive their first official mission orders for the SunHawk. To see her flee in such a manner made Grant wonder. Was she hiding something?

****

She did not care. It didn't matter to Dallas if they were being briefed for the final assault on Venom itself. Dallas found too much pain to look at Katina to care. All it did was spark old memories which she didn't want. Memories of people dying, some of them were close friends, others just enemies. They were all the same, all creating a scar inside her which would not go away any time soon. All Dallas felt she could do now was to keep it under water, and just go on living.

Dallas spent the next hour just cruising the ship. She watched the crew go about their duties. She did what she could to help people who needed it. She took a stop at the SunHawk's bar where she just sat, and listened. Dallas never realized how much could be learned by just listening and watching people on how they talked, what the said, and how they acted. She was always doing those things herself, never having the time to just stop and observe. Here she stayed for a long deal of time, using this time to force out the memories of Katina and the Illuminauti.

After a while, she went to medical to check on Kesh and see what her prognosis was, if anything yet. Sure enough, Maurine was there too, at Kesh's side at all times. She was awake now, and her and Maurine were just looking at each other in a way which Dallas knew would come sooner or later. She smiled at watching them for a moment and then inquired Wyn about her condition. His only reply was that it was too early to tell. Dallas nodded, saying that she understood, and she went in and greeted the two of them. Again, Kesh tried to apologize for her forced betrayal. Dallas rejected the apology, saying that there was no need for it. She had been under control, who knows for how long too. Dallas simply gave her an order to get well so she can return to active duty. Kesh fully understood and excepted it when Dallas said she would have to remain off duty and stripped of all of her military access while her mind was still under Andross' influence. It was here the doctor appeared and insisted they all leave so he can examine her. Maurine sent one single telepathic message to Kesh before he left, saying what he had been fighting to say for the past three weeks. She smiled at him and mouthed the words in reply, "I love you too." Dallas and Maurine, his heart now whole, left Kesh and Wyn alone.

She did not stop walking around the ship here, and she would not stop until they had left Katina. Dallas knew that someday, she would have to face these pains that were eating at her. If she didn't, they would continue to do so until she cracked and fell apart. This she did not fear so much. What she feared was what her followers, her crew, her new friends would think of her once they found out the truth. Wondering if they would consider her what she considered herself.

Dallas did very much want to avoid any place which provided a view of Katina. But when she walked past the ship's large arboretum, she stopped and listened. She could hear music playing from inside. A flute with the wind, conveying a lovely and soothing melody. The music was also sad along with the soothing feelings, which touched Dallas somewhere where she never thought possible. At once, she began to search out the source of the melody.

What she found was rather…unexpected. It was Conner, standing alone in the middle of an arboretum pathway, playing a flute. Dallas saw that Conner was dressed more presentable now. In a black day suit instead of a white tank top and torn pants. He still wore the same overcoat. He was also wearing a sash or scarf of some sort over his shoulders which hung down the front to his knees. On his jacket over the left half of his chest, Dallas could see a badge of some sort. It was difficult to make out from this distance, but it did bear a jewel surrounded by silvery decorations. Dallas leaned against a tree and listened to the black wolf play. The music did much to drive out the old memories, but not enough. The still lingered there, somewhere in her subconscious, where they would stay for all time.

Conner stopped playing and looked up at Dallas. He smiled when he saw her and began to put his flute away into his small bag over his shoulder. "I was not aware that my music could attract such a high ranking audience."

"Why'd you stop?" said Dallas, walking down to join him. "I was starting to like that. You play very nice. Where'd you learn?"

"Well, I spent about seven years of my life in a religious monastery. That is where my people live, where they used to live anyway." Conner shook his head and sat down on a stone bench, looking at the leaves in the trees rustling around, feeling a comfortable breeze on his face. "The wind?" he said, pointing to the rustling branches of the trees. "Where does it come from?"

Dallas sat down beside him. "We have a device that can simulate the feel of wind. It makes this arboretum more…lively. It's not like the real thing though. This wind here always comes from the same direction. It does bring life to this place. Now, tell me more about yourself, Mr. Seacore," she said. "For instance, why do you refer to me as m' lady?'"

"It's just who I am," answered Conner. "They way I learned things. On my home world of Shyer, we learn chivalry and honour while around women. Our society was based on a caste system. I was a member of our world's religious caste, called Catholaie. I spent much of my time around women while working in the monastery. The priestesses, sisters, and guards of sort. If you cannot learn to respect the women, you will not gain it yourself."

"It sounds like you value your women above men," said Dallas.

"No, not really. Most definitely are equals though. I was a member of the Executor Caste, which deals with ruling over the people and military. That was where I learned to fight. There were women in the fighting leagues who were oh so deadly. You learn the respect, and you learn it quickly. Still, the men are always willing to put their lives on the line to protect women who do not or cannot defend themselves. So, there it is."

Dallas took a moment to think about Conner's story. It was too bad Corneria did not adhere to such a thing. But every world had its own society. Some worked better for others. "I have talked with Mr. Amerce, our political officer before he left for the planet. It took time, but I did get him to see things my way. How would like to be enrolled as a full time crew member on this ship?"

Conner was speechless for a moment, not able to find air to talk and not knowing what to say even if he did. After a while, he was able to get up enough wind to talk. "Well, it would save me the trouble of finding a place to call home. But what would I do here?"

Dallas laughed. "After seeing you fight, it was not hard to find a use for you on this ship. We could use you, you know that? We're fighting a war against a madman who enjoys to create biological weapons of mass destruction. Many of his followers are just as crazy as he is. Our leaders back home are so desperate to win they resort to the hiring of mercenary groups to help us fight this enemy. We need all the help we can get. It's your choice, if you don't wish to get into it then I understand. I wouldn't blame you if you chose not to get involved."

"Madam, I already am involved in your war. I got myself involved when I first opened my eyes in this star system of yours. To walk away now would be pointless. I'm in." Dallas smiled at him and nodded, thanking him without speaking. For the rest of the time, the two of them just sat there and enjoyed each other's company. Conner went on to tell Dallas his story.

****

The cocker spaniel was led into the large marble building which stood as the Cornerian military command center on Corneria. There were cuffs around his wrists to maintain the illusion that he was a captured Venom spy, even in front of his friends. The dog wasn't sure if a real Venom soldier would keep his head high and proud or sulk in shame. He did the later, using his views of what Venom and her slime were all truly like in life. Thankfully, his friends were not here to see any of this. It was in the middle of the night, and no one he knew worked night shifts. The dog wished there was heat in this building. His paws were freezing and with the cuffs on there was very little he could do to warm them. The dog just grinned and bore it while the two soldiers led him through the building.

After a few minutes, they reached the office of General Pepper of the Cornerian army. A light was on inside, and so was soft music. One of the soldiers lightly tapped on the door and an old voice welcomed them in. General Pepper was sitting alone in his office going over war reports for the day. When the spaniel dog escorted by the two soldiers entered the room, his ears perked up. The hand cuffs were removed from the smaller dog's wrists and he was left alone with the general.

"It feels…good to be home," said the dog while rubbing his wrists.

"Is it done?" asked Pepper. The dog nodded to him.

"The Tooth and Claw crashed into Sub-Raiden about zero nine hundred this morning. I think Andross was attempting to gain access to some sort of new biological weapon. From the sounds of the people who talked too much on the ship, they were powerful and would have posted a threat if used against us. I planted an explosive in their engine core. The blast crippled the ship and it was pulled into Sub-Raiden's gravitational pull. I think, as a result of the crash, all animal life on that planet will die within the next few days. They were carrying a lot of nuclear and chemical deposits on that ship."

Pepper nodded and sat back down. "It was a pity that such a loss of life had to have been lost just to protect us. But then again, this is war. Is there anything else, Major?" asked Pepper.

"One thing," said the dog as he pulled a CD out from his jacket. "Before she exploded, the Tooth and Claw found a pod floating near Raiden. They brought it in and examined it. As far as I know, there was a person inside that pod. How he got there, I have no clue. And I do know that the person in question found a way off the T and C before it crashed. This person also did give us these results." The dog put the CD into Pepper's monitor and pushed the play button. Pepper looked at him with confusion. "Keep watching general," said the Dog. "I think you might find this…somewhat interesting."

Pepper watched the video of an unknown black furred wolf physically half mutilate the Star Wolf team. Even though he knew that it was cruel to do so, Pepper couldn't help but enjoy every minute of it. He sat back and rewound the image to watch it again.

End

Next: Enter Pandora. A beautiful scientist who seems to have knowledge about the gravity drive comes on board the ship after hers was sabotaged under mysterious circumstances. After she comes on board, she attempts to take control of the core. Seemingly unstoppable and brilliant, Dallas must fight to protect her ship from a terrible enemy until Conner returns, who has some sort of connection to the insane beauty.

Star Fox is a trademark of Nintendo Inc. and have been used without permission for non-profit purposes. The ship CSS SunHawk and its crew along with Conner Seacore are not to be used without my consent. Thanks.