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     Sole survivor part 2: False Hope
 
 

    Corneria was finaly drifting into veiw, but no one abord the great fox was either happy or excited to see it, the were worried, they should be, after janet's latest fall under artemis' control, they agreed it was best to keep her in a private holding room until they landed. the private holding rooms were about the size of a small bedroom except there was no furnature at all, janet was very bored, fox or one of the others would occasionaly drop by to see how she was doing, but she didnt have much contact with them other than those breif encounters when they would bring her a meal or take away some dirty dishes. janet had been in quaranteen for 6 hours without seeing anyone when she was begining to think something was wrong. "hello" is anyone out there" asked janet to the emptyness, but there was no answer except for a distant driping sound. leaving the door, janet walked over to the nearest wall and lay down figuring the time would go faster if she were asleep, come to think about it, she didnt know what time it was, it felt like she had been there for days. sleep came easy, but the dream was something else, janet drempt she was in the middle of a grassy feild watching slippy use some computer thingy, when she saw artemis appear from the woods, she was dressed in what looked like a clear gown that was made of plants. walking over to slippy, artemis sat down next to him and they began talking, janet couldnt make out a word they were saying, but she got the idead when they began kissing, suddenly in fear for slippy's life, janet ran over screamin "wait dont ", but shewas too late,  artemis had pulled his head off and was gnawing on some gore hanging from his neck. suddenly artemis looked up at her and she was her, a virtual clone of her, but her eyes were clouded, and blood began to pour from her mouth and she pointed at her and said "your soul is mine". waking up screaming janet ran to the door and began pounding on it franticaly. within a minuet, fox peppy and falco where at the door, "what's wrong janet" asked fox as he took her in his arms. sobbing uncontrolably, janet tried to speak, "slippy, where is he, he is in danger". "dont worry" said peppy, "slippy went on ahead, he had some errands to do before we got there". falling to the floor, janet seemed to be a little releived, "fox" said janet weakly, "who is fara". a little surprised fox looked around nervously and said "why do you ask, she is a freind of mine". "oh, a freind" said janet with a sigh, "artemis said you used me, and that i was just some messed up bitch you picked up somewhere, and that you were just using me for my body". "listen, artemis was manipulating you, how would she know who fara is, we once dated, but it didnt work out" explained fox as he held her close, "i dont think your just some messed up bitch". "thanks said janet a little weakly, "hew fox, can i get out of this room now, i think the danger is gone now". "sure, why dont we go to the bridge and i'll point out some of the places we can go to when we get back to corneria" said fox with a laugh as he helped her to her feet.
 

        a few minuets later in the bridge, fox and janet stood by the window staring at the growing giant blue ball in  space. "wow, its amazing" said janet breathlessly, "where do you live there". "do you see that large hexagon on the southern contenent" asked fox pointing to a large  shape taking up a fifth of the contenent, "thats corneria city, largest city in the galaxy". "incredible" was all that janet could say, "that long line running accross the equator, what is that". "that's the cable car tracks" said fox, "they transport people and other stuff from corneria city to the building site for neo corneria, thats where they are building next, supposubly corneria is running out of room". "hey fox" said janet with a smile, "do you think sometime once we deal with artemis, that we could possibly take a trip on the cable car". "well i dont see whats stopping us" said fox, "except for one thing". "whats that" asked janet confused. "well, the cable cars main usage is to handle weddings, and neither of us are getting married soon". "oh" said janet a little dissapointed, "hey fox, remember when i told you i had no last name". "what about it" asked fox curiously. "what do you think of janet mccloud" asked janet nervously.  "well, its interesting, but why would we have the same last name" asked fox a little confused. "you men are so dense" said janet a little offended. "i guess so, i know what we could do, do you see that large blue spot near corneria city" asked fox as he pointed out a fuzzy blue mass. "what about it" asked janet, "it looks like a lake of some sort". "well, back when i was younger".. began fox, but he couldnt finish his sentance because janet interrupted him, "what else would it be, way back when you were older". "very funny" said fox, "anyway, my family took a trip there, it is a giant marsh like area called crystal springs, when we were there, my father bought me this dumb little t shirt that said "i went all the way to crystal springs resort and all i got was this lousy tshirt". "well it appears that stupidity and onoriginality are not just on earth" laughed janet, then she got a little more serious and said "fox, did you love you parents at all". "well, yes, they were my role models, all children look up to their parents, it's only natural" said fox. "i never looked up to my parents" said janet with an empty sigh, "they werent your average people, they were almost evil, oh fox, they hurt me so much, i have a confession to make". "what is it janet, you can tell me" said fox calmly. "well, when i heard about the dead returning to life, i went back and i was planning on killing them, i knocked them out and slit there throughts, and i left them there to bleed to death, and there out there somewhere walking, feeding" said janet thru tears of shame. "im sorry, i didnt know, i cant say i understand how you could hate them, but i dont know them, bui will say, that i dont think you would have killed them if there wasnt a reoson" said fox sympatheticaly. "thanks" said janet, "it's good to know someone dosent think im crazy". "of couse i beleive you" said fox, "hey janet, i just realised you didnt have any lunch, why dont we go to the mess hall, this time i'll cook, no estrogen surprise" laughed fox. "that sounds great, why dont you fix me something that can only be found on corneria, something different, something new" said janet as she took his hand. "alright, ill show you i can do more than just fly a plane and shoot stuff" said fox as they walked off to the mess hall.
 

"hey, how about a little service here" yelled janet into the kitchen in a perfect annoying customer immitation, "be right there" said fox from the kitchen as he came out with a steaming platter with an odd looking omlette like thing on it. "dont tell me" said janet, "let me guess, it's a cooked chicken embryo with dead flesh in it". "your a vegitarian i take it" said fox raising one eyebrow. "well, after months of watching those dead things tear apart bodies, it makes me look at steak differently" laughed janet, "besides, red meat is bad fo you". "well, i can gaurentee you this has no dead flesh in it" said fox as he put the omlette in front of her. after a few thoughtful bites janet looked up at fox and said "hmmm, kind of reminds me of a mcdonalds egg substitute, and there is this vegetable in it, id almost swear it was a carrot, but it tastes different". "right, it's a carrot" said fox, "but it's not like the type you get on earth, its 100% organic". "wow, i thought organic fod was just some earth healthfood crap" said janet with a laugh, "but i must admit, vegetable did taste alot better when they were homegrown out of the earth instead of produced in factories, but i guess years of pollution and corrupt companies made natural agriculture too dangerous to even consider". "ha ha ha, well, we cornerians beleive in returning to nature as much as possible, so you wont be seeing any synthetic crap on my planet" said fox proudly as he sat in the seat next to her. "good thing you cooked this time" said janet, "if it werent for being possesed, youd probably have had to feel the wrath of a much dedlier poison, my cooking". "well, how bad can it be" asked fox curiously. "well" said janet, "the only dishes i know how to make are ramen, and instant chocolait pudding". "whats ramen" asked fox. "you dont know what ramen is" said janet shocked, "you uncultered swine, well, i guess i'll have to show it to you some time". "if you say so" said fox skepticaly. "hey fox" said janet, "i have a question about this ship, i saw on the map that it had some type of training feild, what is it". "oh, the training feild" said fox thoughtfuly, "thats were we practice using the arwings". "you mean, you have a full virtual reality room here and you didnt tell me" shaid janet shocked, "you have to take me there and show me the simulator".  "well i suppose it couldnt hurt" said fox slowly, "but peppy dosent like me using the rom for non training purposes". "screw peppy" said janet with a laugh. "if you say so" said fox as they got up and left.  exiting the mess hall, fox and janet found themselves in the central hub of the ship, leading janet to a small elevator on the opposite wall fox had to stop himself from laughing, he never felt this way about anyone before, janet was so different from all the women he knew, she was well just plain different, he knew he should be careful, after all it was dangerous to lead on a woman this empty and alone, but he couldnt help himself, he just couldnt stand to watch her in pain, she handled pain like no other woman hed ever seen, looking into her eyes fox could see that they had seen sights to horrible for a woman as pure as janet to see, whenever he saw her, he just felt this overwhelming need to hold her and make her terrible past dissapear, but even that was beyond him. they had reached the elevator, and it opened right as they walked up to it, the inside was all white, with a large window looking out on a beautiful garden. "what the  f is that" asked janet too surprised to swear. "that janet, is the shining example of vr" said fox proudly, "that is really just an empty room, it took peppy a whole year to complete that, but it was worth it dont you think". "well yes, i never knew peppy was such a romanticist" said janet. "well, he did get alot of help from me" said fox a littl nervous, "the master of romance". "really" said janet with visible intrest, "why dont you show me how romantic you can be sometime". "ha ha ha," laughed fox, "well i'll just do that when you show me you alleged raman cooking skills". the elevator opened up into a vast room that resembled a gigantic dance hall, there were glittering lights everywhere, and a gigantic stairway leading to a balcony and a huge ornate chandalere in the center of the celeing. "this is the banquet room" said fox, "well a virtual one actualy, i got it off the internet, this is our flight sim disk". fox walked over to a small computer and inserted a small disk and typed in a few bars of code, suddenly the banquet hall dissapeared and two arwings appeared in the center of the room. "ok" said fox, "you take the right one i'll take the left". "but wait" objected janet, "i cant fly, i get sick even on commercial flights". "come on give it a try" said fox as he picked her up and set her in the jet. taking his own seat, fox typed in a few more buttons and the room exploded into a giant cloud of fog dispersing into a gigantic valley filled with miniature buildings and rivers and lakes and everything. "this is the virtual model of corneria" said fox as he took off doing a few loops in the air. "hey fox, how do i take off" asked janet a little worried. "simple" said fox with a laugh, "first you pull the green lever and press the green button". a few seconds later, janets arwing burst into life and shot accross the ground trashing sevral parked cars.  thru the com link fox could hear what was probably the foulest language hed heard in his life "impressive number of four letter words" said fox laughingly as janet struggled to pull the plane off the ground. this commentary just brought on another surge of swearing from janet as she finaly acheived some hight, actualy fox was surprised at how fist she was learning, he just watched her weave thru buildings back and forth with amazing speed "hey not half bad" said fox thru the com link. "well i guess it's just my natural talent" said janet jokingly as she suddenly dissapeared from his veiw. "hey fox, behind you" yelled janet appearing behind him sending a few laser blasts his way. "you dirty little.." said fox as he watched her fire her lasers like a drunk blind rat sending fire everywhere but at him. "hey fox, guess what" said janet with a ldevious look in her eyes. "what is it" asked fox a little worried. "building" said janet with no emotion. "building, what are you talking about" asked fox a little confused, but he realised to late as his ship crashed into corneria university in a huge ball of flames. "well" said janet with a laugh, "i guess thats one way to get in college". "oh shuddup" said fox  bitterly as he walked away from the crash site. a few minuets later, janet came over from her landed plane and looked at a humbled fox, "and you call yourself a great pilot" said janet jokingly.  "hey fox, why dont i go put another world in" said janet as she went to the console and searched the archives, "hey an earth map" . "wait, dont open that file" warned fox, but he was to late, the bright canyon was replaced by the brick and concrete walls of the tall apartments of new york city. stunned janet ran to the center of the street and just stared around, there were wrecked cars everywhere, everything had a few years of rust and filth on it, and the dead, they were everywhere, a few thousand of them came lumbering out of everywhere, and they were horribly decayed, roted almost beyond fuction, they walked i stiff inhuman postures all screaming. "what the hell is this" asked janet in terroe. "this is earth" said fox, "in five years, this is why i didnt want you to open the file". but by now his resons didnt even phase janet because she had fallen into shock and was lying in a ball on the street as the dead reached her and began to tear her to peices. "peppy, falco" turn the damn thing off" screamed fox. as suddenly as it appeared, the horrible vision of earth was gone and they were alone again, janet unconscious on the floor.
 

       it was two hors before janet completely revived from her ordeal and able to talk. "is there any way to change that from happening to earth" asked janet weakly. "im afraid not" said fox with a sigh. "do you think artemis plans to do the same for corneria" asked janet worried. "i hope not" said fox as he straightened the covers over janet. "our only hope is to get their before artemis" said janet blankly, "do you know why earth was chosen for death" asked janet. "no, why" asked fox a little confused. "because" began janet uncertainly, "well, i read this in one of those religeous books, that our society would collapse under the devils army, because we destroyed an entire civilization" said janet in a strained voice, "scientists found out about a meteor or a really small planet that had entered our atmosphere, anyway, there was a civilization on this planet, it was highly advanced and peaceful, fearing their technologies would fall to foreign governments, the us government launched a full scale attack on the planet wiping it out from exsistance, but not before they took some of the technology for themselves, the took some sort of power generator, that would create energy from nothing, and they used it to fuel their war machines, begining the final steps to world war 3, but something was wrong, the energy turned agains the scientists, it was a poison, it took on a life of it's own, and destroyed the base where me and my parents were stationed, i was the only survivor, the entire staf were transformed into hideous zombies, scared, i ran, i made it into washington, but it was too late, the plauge had reached dc ahead of me, all i could see where the dead, they were everywhere, with no where else to go, i hid in an apartment complex, and i spent the whole time there, thats where i met anne,  i dont know how artemis fits into all of this, but i clearly remember the energy, it called itself the dark one". "the dark one" said fox with an internal shudder, "do you think that mabey artemis could be a servant to this dark one". "the thought had crossed my mind" said janet, "but it didnt seem likely, fox, i cant stress how important it is that we reach corneria before artemis does, if she is working for the dark one, she might have found a way to bring the plauge to corneria, than all life will be lost". "but what could we possibly do against something like the dark one" asked fox uncertainly. "im not sure" said janet, "but it must have a weakness, if we can stop artemis, we can stop the dark one". "well, said fox, "we'll be landing in corneria withing the hor, so you probably should get some rest before we land".
 
 
 

        thirty minuets later, the great fox finished it's decent into the cornerian atmosphere, landing at he cornerian army hq. it was about midday when the exit shute dropped onto the hard concrete surface of the landing pad. "pretty quiet" said janet as she began to walk accross the long landing pad over to a small dorr that led inside. inside the base, janet and fox found themselves in a long white hallway leadng both ways farther than they eye could see, "ok" said janet, "our first move is to get to whoever is the leader of this base as fast as possible". "that would be general pepper" said fox as he began down the right corridor, "follow me, i know the way to his office". a few minuets later, fox and janet were standing in front of two large glass doors leading into a large office with general peppers name etched on the door. inside the room, facing a gigantic window, was who could  only be general pepper, "fox, your back" said general pepper, "did you get the woman". "yes, she is here" said fox leading janet to the front of the desk. "what the hell is going on" asked janet startled, "how did he know i was comming". "i knew you were comming" began pepper as he turned to face them, "because we picked you up on our scanners, you being the sole survivor of earth will be very advantageous to us". neither fox or janet could say anything, but they knew exactly what eachother were thinking, what the hell did pepper want with janet. seeming to pick up on the same commam feeling, pepper began to explain, "as you know, our scientists have been working with the earth scientists for quite sometime now, our technology is quite the same now, a year ago, earth told us that a small drifting planet had enetered their atmosphere, and that they had discovered the ultimate biological weopon on it, a force only known as the dark one, the humans  realised the infinate power they could gain from it so they began to run tests on it, they were just about to figure otu the secret of it when the outbreak began, we need you janet, because you are our only link to the dark one". "what the hell" said janet, "dont you know what would happen if you try to containthe dark one, the entire cornerian civilization will be doomed". "ha, not likely" said pepper, "were much more prepared for this sort of thing, that civilization on the comet had contained him, so can we, all we need to do is retreive it from the comet, of course, were not alone in our search, there are others seeking to control the vast powers of the dark one". "andross" said fox coldly. "yes, he is just one" said pepper, "but we also beleive there is another party after it, a woman spirit". "you dont mean artemis do you" asked fox. "no, not artemis" said pepper with a dark laugh, "artemis is only a pawn in the dark ones game, artemis is not entirely evil, but there is a second woman spirit, diane". "who is diane" asked janet. "well" began pepper, "diane is almost like the other side of artemis, her good side, you see, on earth, there was a woman, a woman named diane, she was the product of dna mixing between our races and the human race, when the dark one appeared on earth, it captured diane, and enslaved her, since she was a natural telepath, her body being stuck in the womb on the dark one was only an incovieniance, she made a mental projection of herself, to go and warn the cornerians of the dark one, but the dark one had other plans, it split her into good and evil halves, giving birth to artemis and diane". "i dont get this" said janet, "why should i help you harness a dark force for your own evil purposes". "because my dear" bega pepper, "you dont have much choice, i am sending you with a military group back to earth and the lost planet to find the essence of the dark one and mabey contact diane and get her to contain the dark one, and fox, dont worry, i have a special place for you as well". before either of them could protest, armed troops pulled janet and fox away from each other leading them to their holding cells. "oh and fox, you do know the punishment for treoson dont you, public excecution" said pepper with an evil laugh as fox was knocked out and dragged to his holding cell.
 
 
 

   later when fox regained conciousness, he found himself in a small room, a prison cell, he was stunned, he couldnt beleive what was going on, pepper must have gone insane, if only he could escape and help janet, but this was the most efficiant prison system in the galaxy. remembering an old movie he saw once about a prison break fox had an idea, he got up and walked to the sink, he pulled with all his strength on one of the elbo pipes until it burst off sending a spray of water into the cell. within a minuet, a large doberman guard was at the door, "what the hell is it now worm" shouted the guard in a gravely voice. "the sink is broken" said fox as casualy as possible, "could you help me close it". "well" thought the guard, "all right, move out of the way". the guard opened the door and walked in, never taking his eyes off fox, but just as he turned to look at the sink, fox smashed him from behind, knocking him out cold. fox ran at full sped out of the cell block and into the main hall, he was almost free, he just had to make it to the lift back up to the landing area, but just as he reached the lift, a bullet whacked against the wall right next to him, it was general pepper, with thirty guards. "thought you could escape huh" asked pepper as he pushed fox back along the hall until he was pressed out onto the turrent of the cornerian army hq's largest gun, they were backing him into a fourty story drop into the capitol of corneria. just as fox reached the edge, he had thought all hope was gone, he turned and leaped off the cannon, falling with a thump onto the hull of the great fox, two stories below. quickly running over to the hatch, fox climbed into the cabin and ran over and sat down next to peppy and falco at the controls of the ship. "we heard everything" said peppy darkly, "what should we do now". "im not sure said fox, "take us to katina, im sure bill can help us, some how we have to stop pepper from getting hold of this dark one, and save janet".
 

to be continued.....

will fox, peppy and falco be able to stop general pepper, what drove him to this maddened state, and why does pepper need janet to contact this dark one, will bill be able to help them, will they be in time to save janet and prevent vorneria from suffering the same fate as earth?

these questions and more will be answered in

    Sole Survivor part 3: secret of the dark star