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Scattered To The Winds
Chapter 19

After a long and painful recuperation, it was late spring. Summer would be on us soon, so I wanted to be ready for action. I got a visit from Lola one morning. "Hi Julius!" she said, strutting up to me and giving me a kiss. "You recovering okay?" she asked me. "I'm good to go, barely." I said. "Great! Listen...my brothers bought your car and your Arwing from the repo company, BUT...they need a favor from you." she said.

"What might that be?" I asked.

"They need you to infiltrate Don Marco Anathema's compound. He has a friend of our family held hostage in the basement. His name is Michael Mayes. Here's a bio on him." Lola explained, as she punched up a file on my computer.

Name: Michael Myes
Nickname: Mike
Age: 29
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 179 lbs
Eye Color: Crystal blue
Alignment: True Neutral
Gender: Male
Species: Arctic Fox
Fur color: White with blue markings, specifically around the ears and muzzle.

Personality: Michael's doesn't usually have a sense of humor, but when it shows, it shows. He maintains a grim demeanor and does not like to talk to people unless it's absolutely vital.

Home: Michael lives in his personal ship he acquired in a poker game. He takes it from contract to contract.

Family: Mother and Father killed as a child. Sister was mentioned to him, but never seen.

Weapons: He keeps two longswords strapped to his back as well as an Ultralight holstered on his belt.

Powers: He doesn't have any special powers.

History: Michael grew up with a difficult childhood, his parents have been killed when he was five years old right in front of him one night when a grizzled rat thief broke into their home. His parents were brutally slashed to death as they tried to stop the attacker. The thief fled into the night before Michael could do anything. Since he has grown up, he trained to become a bounty hunter, in hopes of one day finding that rat and enacting his revenge. There he met his best friend, Fox McCloud, who had taken some time to personally train him in the finer arts of hand-to-hand combat. They parted ways when they graduated the academy, in hopes of crossing paths again soon.

"He's being kept as a hostage in the basement of The Don, who has the only key to that basement holding room. He's a capo of an old, powerful, and dangerous mafia family. We don't want to get any f the Foxglove family hands dirty, nor do we want to risk any of our family on something like this. But fortunately, we have you, and an incentive to send you into this fracas.

You have to kill the Don, steal the key to the prisoner's room in the basement, and escape with the prisoner, both of you need to get out alive. Security there isn't exactly what you'd call 'lax', but the Don runs a tight ship, and if he's alarmed he might kill the hostage and attempt an escape. He has a high performance sports car in his garage, but his brother has the keys to it, so be careful if you choose to use the car as your means of escape. You may have to kill the Don's brother as well."

Lola showed me a map of the Don's compound, all floors, all areas inside and outside, pictures of the family, their staff, the car, and surveillance footage of the place from satellite view. The Don was a large tuxedo cat...with a mean, psychotic face. He was practicing golf swings with a titanium nine iron, on the balcony outside of his bedroom.

"People visit the mansion to pay their respects, bribes, or ransoms. We don't pay for ransoms, we collect on them! The Anathema Family is gonna answer for kidnapping our friend. Get him back for us!" Lola said. "You got it!" I said. Lola took me in Todd's Malestrom to a pizza restaurant that belonged to her family, a front.

I headed to the back, and Lola gave me a pizza delivery boy uniform to change into. She giggled at my uniform. "You look like a dork!" she laughed. "Oh, 'ha-ha', it's your family's restaurant that uses this uniform!" I replied to her as I handed her my old clothes. "It's a franchise, the corporates designed it." Lola replied. Danny pulled up in the limo. "Hey, you get Julius yet!?" he asked his sister Lola. He looked at me and laughed. "Okay Julius, get the pizza from the counter in the kitchen, it's already paid for, and heading for the Anathema Family's compound. Don't take weapons in from the outside, they will search you. But you can find a gun in the back study of that place, just don't get caught beyond the front foyer. Hope you memorized the map of the place!" he warned. I nodded.

"Joey! Drop Julius off with the pizza!" Danny said into the limo. "Lola, you go home, and thank you for getting Julius!" he said. Lola nodded, and said to me "Break a leg hon', I'll drop off your clothes with Misty, she's at our house now, and she'll give you them when you're done." she said. "Thanks!" I said.

I went into the pizza place, and got the pizza, then I headed back out to the alley, where Lola and Danny were gone, as were the limo and the Malestrom. But Joey was there, with a pizza delivery truck. He laughed at me when he saw my uniform. "I'd beat you up for wearing that, but you gotta do a job for us!" he chuckled moronically. "That makes two of us!" I said, looking at my ugly pizza delivery boy uniform.

I got into the truck, and Joey took me to the Anathema Family Compound, a lovely seaside Mediterranean Villa. Joey dropped me off and sped away, and I headed to the front gates.

"Hold it right there!" one of the guards said. He searched me for weapons, and made me open the pizza box. "Okay, go ahead." the guard said as he let me in. I took the pizza to the front doors of the mansion, and another guard stopped me. "Pizza delivery for..." I said, but the guard took the pizza, and the other guards on the porch and by the garage followed him inside. I caught the door before it shut and sneaked in as the maid followed the guards from the foyer, into the dining room. Two master stairs snaked up the sides of the foyer, up to a landing on the second floor, with a set of doors leading beyond...

All of these guards were tuxedo cats, like the Don. The maid was a tortoiseshell cat.

I sneaked in, took a left, and headed through a small sitting room, made my way though a library, a parlor and media room with a back staircase leading to the second floor. I went into the room beyond, and there was the study. I found a laser pistol on the desk, and extra power cells for it, which I pocketed with the gun. There was a back door leading outside, but I headed back to the media room, and up the back staircase. The Don waddled past me, towards his bedroom at the top of the stairs to my right, but I pulled out my gun and fired on him, killing him instantly. I also shot the nearby guard, killing him.

I ran over, took the Don's gun and the key to the basement room from him. I put my gun away, and held the Don's gun as I put the key in my pocket. I heard footsteps towards me. I ran to a set of doors opposite the Don't bedroom entrance, and passed a guard on my left. "HEY!" he shouted, but I shot him in the head, and ran to the set of doors farthest from me, across the room and slightly on my right.

I ran through a hallway, the doors to the foyer staircase landing on my right, and headed through another set of doors to an upstairs parlor and dining room. I made a left, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. I ran through the kitchen, and down the stairs to the basement.

I ran through the basement, and found a locked steel door. I unlocked the door, and found an arctic fox sitting in a chair in the room. "Who are you!?" he asked. "I'm here to help you!" I said, handing him the Don's gun.

Michael took the gun. "Thanks!" he said. "No prob'! Let's get outta here!" I said. As I turned to leave the room, I came face to face with the Don's brother, another mean looking tuxedo cat. "AAAAHHH!" we both said, as I fired my gun at him, killing him. I grabbed the keys from his belt. Michael fired several shots and killed the Don's son as he appeared out of nowhere and took aim with his gun. "Thanks!" I told Michael. "No problem!" he said, as he and I escaped out the back door of the basement. We made our way to the garage, got into the Don's car and drove away as the guards converged on the garage. I nearly ran over several of them.

I drove us out the gates, and to safety...

Hours later, we were at the meeting place (an old warehouse belonging to the Foxgloves)..."Here he is!" I said, helping Michael out of the car. "Good goin', kid!" said Danny. "You can keep the car, too. My gift to you!" I said. "Thanks." Danny replied, smiling. Michael handed me the Don's gun, but I gave it back to him, saying "Keep it, for your safety." I said. "Thanks." said Michael. "And thanks for rescuing me!" he said. "No problem!" I said.

"Yeah, thanks kid! Misty's gonna pick you up, and you two can drop off that pizza uniform at the pizza place. She has your car, and Todd dropped off your Arwing at McCloud Ranch." he told me. "Thanks Danny." I said. "No problem, kid. Joey's gonna take the Don's car to be chopped up for parts. You did good, kid. Take care!" he said, as he and Michael got into the limo, and it left the warehouse. Joey took the sports car, and Misty showed up and gave me my clothes to change back into. We kissed, then I drove us to the pizza place, dropped off the uniform, and we headed to McCloud Ranch. I saw my purple Arwing back in the hangar.

"Sweet!" I said, touching it gently. "That was nice of them to do this for me...giving me the opportunity to get this and my car back." I said. "Yeah, and I checked it out, did some maintenance, it's fine." said Miyu, wiping the grease from her hands. "Thank you!" I said, hugging her. "No problem!" she said, hugging me back. "It's good to have you back, Julius." Fox said to me. "Great to be back." I said.

Fox let me and Misty stay at McCloud Ranch. Todd's loft place was okay and all, but I needed to practice my flying again, and to be close by and ready for our next team missions.

*that's it for this chapter*

Scattered To The Winds
Chapter 18

I lay in the wreckage of my Wolfen. I looked out, and saw a red fox in sunglasses walk up to me. "Take my hand Julius." said James McCloud. I reached for his hand. "I can't reach!" I said. "Don't ever give up, Julius!" James told me. "You can overcome all of this, Julius. I believe in you." he said.

"I can't..." I said. "No such word." said James. "I've screwed up my life so badly." I said. "But it's not over. You don't want to fall any further. Time to climb up and out." said James. I finally reached out, and took his hand. He pulled, and I slid out of the cockpit remains. I fell to the ground, and watched as my Wolfen burned.

James smiled at me and said "I knew you could do it. Just like you can fix your life. Won't happen all at once, but time heals all wounds." he said, before fading away. I crawled away from my burning Wolfen, but stopped after dragging myself ten feet, the best that I could do. Small explosions went off in my wrecked fighter.

I then saw a wolf head for me. "Woooolllfff?" I said weakly. The wolf stood over me and said "Julius?" as he leaned close to my face. "Edge?" I said. "Yeah it's me. How did you get out of that!?" he asked, pointing to my wrecked and burning Wolfen. "James helped me." I said. "I dunno about that, but it's time to go." Edge scooped me up and shouted "I got him!" as I blacked out...

I woke up in the recovery room of the Galatae. Glad this ship was in tact. It probably would have withstood the attack anyway, but I was furious with Wolf. He used me as a sacrificial lamb, to stop Star Fox. Tigress checked up on me, and explained to me what had happened.

The caught Panther and recovered some files, but he wasn't talking, Wolf and Leon split up and got away. I was to stay in the recovery room, until we got back to Corneria. I would be transferred to a hospital, and possibly face criminal charges and a CDF Military Tribunal.

"I'm sorry it came to this, Julius." Tigress said, patting me.

I had a broken arm, a broken leg, several major lacerations, some compound fractures of the ankle. I had also lost a lot of blood. As I lay there in pain, Fay came in and gave me some painkillers. "Uuuugggghhhh!" I said.

"Relax, Julius, you'll be fine." she said.

"I wanna see him!" said Misty from outside the door. "No Misty, only Fox, Fay, or I see him!" Tigress said, presumably blocking the doors. "I don't care, I wanna tell him..." Misty's voice trailed off. "You can talk to him when we land! For now he needs his rest!" said Tigress. The two of them argued for several minutes, and Fay rolled her eyes and left the room.

I heard Tigress roar "DAMN IT, MISTY!" as Misty ran into the room. "She pushed right past me!" Fay said from outside the room. "I know, I'll get her!" said Tigress. Misty ran up to my bed, hugging and kissing me. "I'm so sorry Julius! I'm so sorry for everything! Please, please be all right! Please don't hate me!" she said, sobbing, tears streaming down her eyes. "I..." I tried to moan, but I passed out from the painkillers as I saw Tigress drag Misty out of the room, as she kicked and screamed.

I awoke, and waited for us to land as we entered Cornerian airspace. Panther was transferred off to prison, the files were submitted as evidence, and I was transferred to a hospital where I was treated for my injuries. The next few days went by in a blur. I was taken, in a wheelchair, into the CDF headquarters. My teammates spoke in my defense, and General Pepper presided over the whole thing. "I should have known it would be you in trouble again, Julius." he wheezed.

After all of the arguments, the plea bargains, the offer to use my freedom in exchange for files taken from Panther, I was released on a pardon. I was still on the hook financially, and I had to have my stuff taken from my Mansion. Todd, Edge, Falco, and Tigress moved my stuff into Todd's loft, as I watched the cops, and my creditors lock the gates to my mansion, and place "No trespassing" signs on the walls and on the gates. I sat in my wheelchair, looking sadly at the end of another chapter of my life.

My mansion looked forlorn, now that my creditors had seized it. My car, my Arwing, seized to pay some of my debts. I still owed a lot of money. About $140,000 credits. I was going to live at Todd's loft in the city. I would have to eventually file for bankruptcy. I was really depressed.

Misty spent the days comforting me. She did come back to me, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend again. Fox and the others said that would help me if they had the money, but they were all having many financial problems of their own. Todd and Lola barely made ends meet. Madame Vulpine was struggling to save her theater cafe. Conrad was helping her as best he could by working dangerous missions for the Corneria Intelligence Agency...

Misty couldn't find work anywhere and was living where she could, with whoever would take her in, usually a rich sugar daddy. But she had had enough of that life. Babs and Edge were living on and working at Fichina...Babs worked as a security consultant and private detective for the labor camps, Edge worked at those same labor camps, doing the grunt work.

Akasha, Tigress, Krystal, and Kylie were dealing with economic problems on Cerinia, and they were doing their best to prevent the collapse of their economy. Pal wasn't able to find work, and he told me how he used to have financial problems like mine. Silas was also losing out in the arms dealing, as there were tons of illegal smuggling out to Earth from the Lylat system, and the competition was too much for Silas.

Fara was out of a job again, Fay was working the free clinic and constantly overwhelmed, but it got so bad that the clinic closed due to budget cuts. Miyu lost her job, as did Tigress when the dealership closed. Katt was out of work...Fox and Falco were losing too many races, and Slippy was losing jobs as the factories closed. Even Krystal and her psychic readings business failed, due to lack of customers.

So it was agreed, we would form Team Star Fox again and stick together, while still trying to find work on the sides. But no more drifting apart, especially after what happened to me. Übervixen even paid us a visit, and wished e well. She said that her finances took a hit as well. Corneria and the Lylat System's economy was sinking, infected by Earth's rotten global economy. The team swore to each other out as best they could.

"You really been through a lot, Julius, sorry that you lost your home." said Todd. I nodded, as I looked out the window to the rows of lights from the passing vehicles in the streets, the highways, and the air traffic vectors chartered by the hovering markers.

"Need anything?" Todd asked me. "I'm fine, thanks." I said. Misty snoozed on my bed peacefully, as I sat in my wheelchair, to which I would be confined for several weeks, if not months. Todd left, and I wondered what lay in store for me next. I'd be missing several field operations with Star Fox, due to my injuries. But after my physical and financial recoveries, maybe then could my life get better after that.

*that's it for this chapter*

Scattered To The Winds
Chapter 17

I got ready to go...I was really behind on my payments...I still owed money for debts on my credit cards, there were medical bills, insurance bills....I had no choice but to go back to Star Wolf.

I headed back to the hideout and Wolf tossed me a bag filled with supplies. "We're going to Venom! There's still some old lab files by Dr. Andross there, and there are folks with lots of money who will pay top dollar for them, especially on Julius' planet, Earth!" Wolf declared to us.

"So why am I here again?" I asked Wolf. "I've cancelled your suspension. Temporarily. You'll make a lot of money on this, as will we all, and you need the money, Julsie." he replied. "Thanks." I said. As we got into our Wolfens, Panther stopped me and whispered "I got a bad feeling about this, Julius. I think Wolf has some sinister ulterior motive in mind for you." he warned. "I think so too." I replied.

"Just watch your back." he said.

We flew out towards Venom. When we arrived, we flew towards the burned remains of the entrance of Andross' Palace. "We're going in!" said Wolf. As we flew into the dark, complex corridors of the palace, we headed towards the area that housed the laboratories, in this vast honeycomb of a headquarters.

"I remember it being around here. Look sharp everyone! Word has it that other mercs and gangs want this stuff too. Plus the CDF is offering rewards for turning in these valuables caches of information to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. But we'll sell to the highest bidders." said Wolf.

"We just gotta beat the others to the breakfast table." said Leon.

"I can just imagine how great it will be to write our ticket with anyone over these!" said Panther.

"I hope this will be a milk run, but that might be asking for too much." I said.

"We have to strike now, and fast! Others are on their way, and we can't fail!" said Wolf.

We finally found the lab, and we landed. We put on our oxygen tanks and masks, and got out to find and gather the information, be they files on paper and in folders, or computer drives, both portable and hard...blueprints...we worked to gather up what we could. Wolf loaded the stuff into the Wolfens. For some reason he didn't load mine.

"There's not enough to fill all four of the Wolfens." he told me. My ass.

"That's all we can find, we better get outta here!" said Leon. "That should do quite nicely." said Panther. I joined the others, and we flew out of there. My Wolfen wasn't responding very well. Wolf didn't do such a great job repairing this thing.

"Keep up, Julius!" said Leon. "I'm trying, my controls aren't working very well." I complained. I swore I heard Wolf chuckling. "What's so funny?" I asked Wolf. "I'm not laughing. Just coughing. This Venomian air is lousy." he replied.

"We're gonna be rich once we secure these files." I said.

"Can't let you do that, STAR WOLF!" said Fox.

Star Fox appeared, with Star Vixen. Everyone from the old team was back, and flying toward us. "Gives us the files!" said Falco. "You're the wrong hands we don't want them to fall into you creeps!" said Slippy. "This will not stand!" said Krystal.

"You can't stop us! Star Wolf, pull out!" said Wolf.

The three Wolfens pulled away, but my Wolfen didn't respond to hyper drive. "Hey! I'm stuck!" I said. Wolf appeared on the monitor. "I've hijacked the controls to your Wolfen, Julius. Also, your Wolfen is packed with explosives. I'm turning your Wolfen into a guided missile. You're going to crash into the Galatae and explode, taking down Star Fox's flagship and provided us the ultimate escape. You have to to take one for the team, ONE LAST TIME! Cheerio!" Wolf smirked.

I tried to eject, but that feature didn't respond. I stared in horror as my Wolfen turned and flew upwards towards the Galatae up above.

"Shoot Julius down! We can't let him reach the Galatae!" said Tigress. "Isn't that a little harsh?" asked Fara, sticking up for me. "We have no choice. Sorry Julius." Todd said sadly. The others joined in and shot my Wolfen. "It's nothing personal Julius!" said Falco. "I understand." I said. My ship exploded, and tumbled to the surface....

*that's it for this chapter*