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Star Fox - Marauder; Just when you thought you'd seen it all...
Topic Started: May 7 2011, 04:13 AM (705 Views)
Star_Dragon
Member Avatar
Head General of the Marauder Corps
A new story from Star_Dragon. Nothing-- oh, wait, it *is* new! lol. This story encompasses the beginning of Star Fox's struggles against dark forces in the shadows of the galaxy, and the only one who can help is a mentally-traumatized Dragon-shifter who harbors deadly secrets...

Star Fox:
Marauder


Chapter One
Three Years Ago...

“Holodna hmoora. Eemruchnoh v'doosheh, Kak mohg znat ya shtoh tee oomriosh?”
All through the renovated house on the beaches of Dragonaria II, the Hymn to Red October played. A sniffle sounded, followed closely by the sound of bags being packed. A weapon bolt opened, ejecting an unspent round as the magazine was removed. The ejected bullet was inserted at the top of the magazine. The gun’s safety clicked on, and the gun itself was disassembled.
“Do svidonia, byehreg rodnoy; Kak nam troodnag pridstahvit shtoh eto nyeh sohn. Rodina, dom radnoy, Do svidonia Rodina.”
Seven more magazines of 7.62x59mm AP Plasma-Powered bullets were packed, followed by a pair of pistols – heavily-modified M806A2 semi-automatic pistols. Twelve magazines of 45-caliber ACP rounds followed that. The black-furred fox sniffled again.
“Ay. Avepakhod, avepakhod, nass val nahmarskaya zhdyot nyehdazh dyotsyah.
Nass zah vootmarskaya dah, ee preeboy!”
The dragon-shifter picked up the picture smeared with dried blood. The face of his wife, now dead because of an argument, could be seen. The dragon-shifter didn’t fire the weapon that killed her, but it was his fault she was dead. He drove her away, and by extension, signed her death warrant.
“Salute otsam ee nashem dedum, Zahvietum eekh fsigdah vierney. Tepierre nichtoh, nee astanoivit, Pabiedney shark, radnoy straney.”
Now the dragon-shifter is going back to the life he had before he married; the life of a marauder. He was determined to bring his wife’s killer to justice. By the blood of his forefathers, the dragon-shifter shall pursue the Nurtrrall Jsutis. It is his way. He had ignored it for so long in his happiness with his wife, but it was all torn away, brutally and quickly. How it happened so fast didn’t matter, not anymore; what mattered now was that his wife was dead, and his life in ruins. And the dragon-shifter would not rest until he found whoever inflicted this wound, however many of them there were, and kill them. From one death would come many.
Nurtrrall Jsutis – Natural Justice. A cornerstone in dragon-shifter philosophy since the founding of the Dragonarian Empire. Humans might mistakenly call it revenge, but it was much deeper than that.
“Tiy pliyvee, pliyvee bestrashna, Gordest say viernykh marieye. Revoluytziye nadezhdah sgoostk vierif sekh luydeye.”
The dragon-shifter held no fear of his faceless enemy. Fearlessness and defiance in the face of any odds was something passed down from one dragon-shifter to the next, generation to generation, from parent to child to grandchild. His pain and grief burned in his anger and rage. The cruelty inflicted upon him, the injustice done to him, the burden of his wife’s death would be nothing in the face of the dragon-shifter’s wrath.
“V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Rahpar tu ium miy nashe pabiediy. V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Novie meeir fahli numnashy dehidiy.”
For some reason, he remembered his birthday; October 22. And today was September 29.
Birthday. The only gift he’d get this year was seeing his enemy break before him. Then, and only then, could he shift his focus to rebuilding his life. But for now, his attention was narrowed on finding his enemies, wherever they hid, and systematically eliminate them.
The dragon-shifter finished packing, took his quadruple satchels out to his waiting craft, one of his own design – the JX-70 Advanced Assault Fighter. It had a chitinous, oval-shaped fuselage that looked somewhat like a shoe in the middle with two curved, blade-shaped nacelles protruding from the top and curving down parallel (with the exception of the nacelle supports) behind the the fuselage, with wings expanding out like axe blades to the sides supported by super-dense structures that connected them to the fuselage, and winglets on the edges of the wings, shaped much in the same way. The dragon-shifter climbed up top, dropped in through the hatch, and set his duffels down as he climbed in the pilot’s seat. He flipped a switch, and the hatch closed and sealed. As the room inside the JX-70 pressurized, the temperature dropped. It was as chilling as the dragon-shifter's fridge when the ship finished pressurizing. The Hymn to Red October repeated itself.
“Holodna hmoora. Eemruchnoh v'doosheh, Kak mohg znat ya shtoh tee oomriosh? Do svidonia, byehreg rodnoy, Kak nam troodnag pridstahvit shtoh eto nyeh sohn. Rodina, dom radnoy, Do svidonia Rodina.
Ay. Avepakhod, avepakhod, nass val nahmarskaya zhdyot nyehdazh dyotsyah. Nass zah vootmarskaya dah, ee preeboy! Salute otsam ee nashem dedum, Zahvietum eekh fsigdah vierney. Tepierre nichtoh, nee astanoivit, Pabiedney shark, radnoy straney. Tiy pliyvee, pliyvee bestrashna, Gordest say viernykh marieye. Revoluytziye nadezhdah sgoostk vierif sekh luydeye. V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Rahpar tu ium miy nashe pabiediy.
V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Novie meeir fahli numnashy dehidiy--”
The song abruptly stopped playing when the dragon-shifter switched his song. The hull of the JX-70 vibrated as it lifted off, heading on a new course as another song played.
“Crowded streets are cleared away, one by one; Hollow heels separate as they run. You're so cold, keep your hand in mine; Wise men wander while strong men die!”
* * *
The kingpin walked out of the bathroom from a fresh shave. His right-hand man just altered the course of a man's life by killing his wife. A man that had gotten too close to the something he shouldn’t have. One of his henchmen came in, bearing a look of worry on his face.
“Don't tell me you found something?” the kingpin asked.
“I'm not sure that Angus'... 'alteration' worked,” the henchman said.
“What do you mean?” the kingpin asked.
“The man whose wife we killed... well, Angus just found out he was a dragon-shifter. He was last seen heading here.” the henchman explained.
“Wait a minute,” the kingpin said, “What's a dragon--” his words were cut off when an earth-shaking, blood-curdling roar echoed in the sky.
FVWAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYN!!!!
A dragon, well-hidden in the nighttime sky, swooped in and breathed a stream of plasma-hot fire over several supply trucks. Then, a JX-70 Assault fighter made a run in the opposite direction, dropping several bombs that lit up the night as they exploded on the ground.
The kingpin's base of operations was being attacked. The dragon-shifter had found them. Now he would exact his revenge. And before the kingpin could leave his OP, the JX-70 suddenly turned and fired two missiles at it, obliterating the structure and the kingpin, whose hand provoked a dragon-shifter's retribution...

Stick around. There may be more. --Star_Dragon
 
Julius Quasar
Member Avatar
CDF Commander of the Army
I like, I like!
 
Star_Dragon
Member Avatar
Head General of the Marauder Corps
If you liked that, you're gonna love this.

Chapter Two
On the Ragged Edge

Fox walked through the cubicle maze of Corneria Military Command, heading to Peppy's office.
“Fox!” Peppy exclaimed with a smile, “Get yourself in here!”
Fox laughed as he stepped into Peppy’s office. “How are you, Peppy?” Fox asked.
“As good as can be expected,” Peppy replied. “Want some coffee?”
“As a matter of fact, I think I need some,” Fox stated.
Peppy poured fresh coffee into two mugs as he asked, “So... how are you and Krystal?”
“Don’t ask,” Fox said.
“You two had another one of your arguments again, haven’t you?” Peppy surmised.
“Yeah,” Fox sighed. “Same fight, different day.”
“Well, I’m not going to re-open old wounds,” Peppy said. “On to the reason you’re here,”
“Yeah, really; why am I here?”
“Remember that op you did out on Dragonaria III?”
“Yeah,” Fox stated.
“Well, you stumbled across some files that made the Tondam Corporation look bad,”
“Say what?” Fox inquired.
“Surprise, surprise,” Peppy said. “Alliance authorities are no longer calling the accident out on B’naria II as such; now they have evidence that it was corporate sabotage.”
“Yeah, brilliant detective work,” Fox commented with a hint of sarcasm. “There was a boatload of that for the taking,” he looked out to the office in time to see a black-furred, scarred fox sit on a vacant desk near Peppy’s office. He was dressed in camouflage attire, and looked around as he waited for Peppy to finish with Fox.
“Right,” Peppy stated, immune to Fox’s sarcasm. “There are two other things you need to know; ‘A’ is your objective; to track down the leader of Tondam corporation and bring him in, if possible.”
“What’s ‘B’?” Fox inquired.
“ ‘B’ is I’m supposed to tell you you’ll be getting a new member in this.”
“Well, if he can help us, fine; who is he?” Fox queried.
“His name is Kyle D. Anderson; we got him in an exchange program. But he’s... odd. His file says he’s a dragon-shifter, and he’s cross-trained as a marine, pilot, covert operative, and he can perform medical tasks with ease – a jack of all trades, so to speak.”
“What’s so bad about him?” Fox inquired, looking back to Peppy.
“He’s... unpredictable,” Peppy explained. “His wife was killed three years ago, and he refuses to release any details. He’s known to get aggressive quick, and on one occasion, went into what the Dragonarians call ‘blood rage’ – something none on Star Fox has seen. It is rumored Kyle went into blood rage once before; when he single-handedly slaughtered a criminal kingpin and his cadre of two hundred bandits.”
“He did all that?” Fox inquired.
“Yep,” Peppy affirmed. “When you take this man, I would ask you to pass a warning on to Krystal; because she is a telepath, she should take care around him. In his words, few who tread within the shadows of his mind return alive, and fewer still return unscathed.”
Fox nodded wordlessly as he returned his attention to the black-furred fox as he slowly reached a hand toward...
... the grip of an M806A2.
Fox’s reaction was instantaneous. “GUN!” he shouted, rushing the fox before he had a chance to unholster his weapon. Curiously, he was looking around, as if looking for who shouted the alert. He looked to Fox, and before Fox could react, he grabbed Fox by the arm and threw him over the desk. With a war cry, he brandished two plasma wrist swords – dual-bladed weapons that had an upper blade that extended out for three-and-a-half feet with an integrated plasma wrist guard and a lower blade that extended just as much and extended in the opposite direction that guarded the arm up to the middle of the upper arm.
Peppy stepped in to intervene before the assassin could attack. After he was sufficiently calm, Peppy stated, “Fox, meet your new team member; Kyle.”
Fox cautiously peered over the desk at the black-furred dragon-shifting fox, glaring at him with crimson dragon eyes with his plasma wrist swords still active. He extinguished them, twirled the hilts, and clipped them to his belt.
“I assume you’ll need your own quarters?” Fox inquired.
“No need; I have everything in my ship,” Kyle explained. “Minus a few sundries.”
“I’ll be happy to have you aboard,” Fox said, regaining his composure.
“I don’t mean to cut this short, but I need to go; just send me the location of your ship and I’ll meet you there,” Kyle stated, tossing Fox a small, spherical device. “Just hit the button on that when you reach your ship. My ship will lock onto the beacon, and I’ll be there in short order.” Without another word, Kyle turned and left. As Fox and Peppy watched him go, Fox commented,
“Not very chatty,”
“Indeed,” Peppy added. “I don’t need to tell you to watch your back, Fox.”
Fox chuckled. “Hardly,” he responded before heading off.
* * *
Everyone stood gathered in the hangar bay of their new flagship – a Sangheili Gunship, the Great Fox II. The Sangheili Gunship was a refit of the Covenant Assault Carrier, but this model was made solely for the purpose of combat. The Great Fox II was armed with multiple Kadgeron plasma turrets, a multitude of anti-missile point-defense pulse lasers, many 50mm Kadgeron autocannons, and four powerful, UNSC-created, Sangheili-improved MAC guns imbedded in the ship’s nose.
The Star Fox team – considerably larger than before, now consisted of many members; Fox, Krystal, Falco, Katt, Slippy, Amanda, Fox’s old friend, Bill, Dash – Andross’ grandson – the ever-ubiquitous ROB, Fox’s old flame, Fara, and Peppy’s daughter, Lucy – were present. Also housed on the Great Fox and currently present was the members of the famous Star Wolf team – Wolf O'Donnell, Leon Pawalski, Panther Caroso, his wife, May Caroso, and their newest member, a former-Kemorainian Faedyr by the name of Razuul Tibarik. Star Wolf no longer had any desire to fight Star Fox, and had come a long way in working with Star Fox.
“When’s this new guy supposed to show?” Wolf inquired.
“I’m not sure,” Fox answered. “But he’ll show.”
“I... do hope he got the message to dock in this hangar,” Krystal spoke.
It was then that an alien craft was seen approaching the Great Fox. It was strangely-shaped, and it was hard to make out any specific details.
“Interesting,” Razuul commented.
“What?” Katt inquired.
“That’s no ordinary fighter he’s in – in fact, it’s the only one of it’s kind, seems how the designs were lost in that accident on B’naria II,” Razuul explained.
“What is it?” Panther queried.
“It’s a JX-70 Advanced Assault Fighter,” Razuul said. Looking to Fox, he added, “The new member is none other than Kyle D. Anderson, correct?”
“Yes,” Fox affirmed, “How’d you know?”
“Kyle is the one who designed the JX-70,” Razuul stated. Looking to the approaching JX-70, he added, “Too much to explain now, but suffice to say... he trusts me. More than he would anyone else.”
“How do you mean?” Leon inquired.
Razuul looked directly at him. “He and I served together in the last war.”
The JX-70 phased through the MagCon field, hung suspended, then rotated counter-clockwise until it faced the MagCon field, and touched down on the deck. Landing gear appeared from the ship’s belly just before it touched down, and as the ship powered down, a hatch near the top of the craft’s oddly-shaped fuselage between the dorsal nacelles popped, hissed, and opened. It took a moment for Kyle to appear in the opening. When he did, he regarded the team without expression. His eyes stopped on Razuul, and he smiled.
“Razuul Tibarik,” he said. “Damn good to see you again, man.” He leapt off the JX-70, and he and Razuul had a short arm-wrestle – their way of a greeting, Fox surmised.
“I suppose you would like a... tour of the ship?” Fox queried.
“No need,” Kyle and Razuul said simultaneously.
“Raz and I know the layout of a Sangheili Gunship quite well,” Kyle put in, “Just point me to the holodeck.”
“Same place as any Sangheili Gunship,” Fox said, relieved that Kyle wasn’t on edge.
“Yeah,” Falco scoffed, “As if we could move it.”
Kyle paused for a moment, processing the joke, and then laughed.
“Did you bring what I think you brought?” Razuul asked.
“Damn right, I did,” Kyle responded. He looked to Fox and the rest of the team. “Piece of advice if you decide to join the fray; keep your weapons ready and your heads down,” he said. As Kyle and Razuul walked away, Falco and Leon fell into step behind them as Krystal said,
“Such a strange fellow,”
“In what way?” Fox asked.
“Well, he seemed... receptive,” Krystal responded. “He allowed me to enter his mind.”
“I thought I told you not to do that,” Fox said.
“You did,” Krystal answered. “But... he seemed to call out to me. And before I left his mind, I thought I could hear...” Krystal’s voice trailed off.
“Hear what?” Fox asked.
“... Distant screams,” Krystal finally replied. “He... carries the blood of many deaths on his mind, brought on by the death of one he he did not directly kill.”
“Although I would like to find out who,” Fox said, “I would advise you not do that again.”
Krystal didn’t make any sort of reply, she simply walked away. As Fox stared after her before he left with Fara, he knew just what path Krystal was about to take. He knew, but he never spoke...

But wait, there's more!
 
Julius Quasar
Member Avatar
CDF Commander of the Army
Awesome job!
 
Star_Dragon
Member Avatar
Head General of the Marauder Corps
Just wait, there's more! *There better NOT be more!* (lol. get the reference?)

Anyway, here's the first battle scene.

Chapter Three
Skirmish At Zarush

It was well into the standard day that Star Fox got underway. Their destination was a planet called Zarush, being sieged by the Obsidian Rebels, a faction of Terran insurrectionists. According to the distress call, they had been employed covertly by the Tondam Corporation. Kyle, eager to have a crack at the rebels and prove his fighting prowess, was put in charge of the Great Fox’s fighter assault. The Fighters – aside from Wolf, Falco, Krystal, Panther, Bill and Leon, who rode in their Arwings and Wolfens – were unmanned Covenant Seraph fighters controlled by the AI of the Great Fox – Marian. Also thrown into the mix were UNSC Longsword squadrons.
Fox, of course, was commanding the Great Fox as she sailed into battle with a battle group of two Sangheili CCS Battlecruisers, three UNSC Destroyers, and one UNSC Marathon Cruiser.
“Alert,” Katt announced from the helm, “exiting slipspace in five.”
“Fighter crews, be ready,” Fox stated.
“... two... one... slipspace exit now.”
The Great Fox exited slipspace with it’s battle group.
“Shields up and weapons ready,” Fox ordered. “Make ready to launch fighters. Kyle, are you listening?”
* * *
“Kyle, are you listening?” Fox asked over the radio.
“Indeed I am, sir,” came Kyle’s reply.
“Good luck out there, and... try to bring my colleagues back alive,” Fox requested.
“Leave it to me,” Kyle stated. “I’ll clear the path; follow me in and take as many of the fsuk’err’ss out as you can.”
The hatch behind Kyle stopped hissing and a green light indicated the room was pressurized. Kyle initiated all systems. Shields were operating perfectly, no power bleeds.
“Opening the doors in five...”
Life support was functional, no fluctuations.
“... four...”
Kadgeron disruptors read ready, the burst-fire plasma pulse cannons were functional, the dual Kadgeron beam cannons were ready, and the missile materializers were good to go.
“... three...”
Cloaking device was ready, no power failures.
“... two...”
The point-defense system was active, no tracking errors or system failures.
“... one...”
The engines were powered up and were ready. It was go-time.
“Opening hangar doors,” Fara said over the radio. As soon as she said this, the hangar doors before Kyle slid open, the MagCon field in place. The JX-70 lifted off, the landing gear retracted, and the AAF shot out of the hangar. Kyle executed a barrel roll as he and the others in the flight group turned toward the enemy.
“Is everyone ready?” he asked over the team channel.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Krystal responded.
“Good to go,” Wolf exclaimed.
“Just point me to the enemy,” Falco remarked.
“Bring ‘em on!” Leon exclaimed.
“Ready and waiting,” Bill proclaimed.
“Let’s go to work,” Panther purred.
“Okay,” Kyle said, “We have hostiles inbound – Seraph squadrons; arm your plasma charges; Longsword squadrons, arm your missiles; Every one else without missiles, pick a target and fire on my command.”
Five green lights appeared on his HUD, indicating his team was ready to fire. A screen of rebel fighters – a mixed bag of Danube, Peregrine, and longsword fighters – drew closer, but they didn’t fire. Kyle activated his missiles’ targeting system, and four target locks were acquired.
The enemy fighter screen fired, and a small swarm of missiles streaked toward them. The PDS detected these missiles, and went to work.
“Computer: Initiate Scramjet sequence,” Kyle commanded. Instantly, eight more targets were acquired as a song began to play on the radio. Guitars started playing Linkin Park’s “When They Come For Me” as missile after missile was materialized, dropped, and fired.
“Open Fire!” Kyle commanded. The Seraph squadrons fired a storm of plasma, the Longsword squadrons fired their missiles, and Kyle’s squadron fired charged shots at the enemy fighter screen. The resulting display of explosions cut the number of enemy fighters by two-thirds. The enemy fighters returned fire, and Kyle ordered, “All fighters, break formation! Star Fox, follow me in!”
Kyle executed another barrel roll as he took after one red-painted longsword fighter that was heading toward a stolen UNSC Merloit Cruiser. Kyle fired his burst-fire plasma cannons, and targeted the enemy cruiser. A flash of lightning marked the ship’s MAC gun firing at a Sangheili destroyer. Autocannons fired at the JX-70, and Kyle rolled to starboard, banked from side to side, and performed all manner of arial maneuvers as he gracefully avoided the 50mm slugs. While the rebels on this cruiser were determined, they weren’t particularly bright. Kyle spotted the bridge and accelerated for it. Arming the Kadgeron Disruptors, he targeted the bridge, and held his fire. No doubt the rapidly-advancing JX-70 startled the bridge crew, and when he was in range, he opened up on the cruiser’s bridge. The Kadgeron disruptors obliterated the bridge, and the entire ship ceased to operate. Kyle and his squadron ducked under the ship’s belly, as he led them past the cruiser, diving away from the engines before anyone could fly into the cruiser’s engine wash. Kyle dove for a rebel frigate – a UNSC Frigate with the rebel emblem painted on the side – as it took a plasma torpedo to it’s port side from a Sangheili destroyer. The plasma impacted, boiled off the frigate’s shields, and left the frigate defenseless. With the shields down, Kyle armed his missiles as Star Fox charged their shots, and when Kyle gave the order, everyone fired.
The six “Cruiser Bruiser” torpedoes Kyle fired streaked toward the frigate as the six charged shots from the others raced alongside them. The cruiser bruisers detonated where the plasma torpedo had hit, and tore chunks of hull off. The charge shots impacted seconds later, vaporizing hull and leaving six craters in the frigate’s side. By the time all the munitions had hit, the group was very close to the frigate, and opened fire on the ship with their lasers. Kyle, of course, held his fire as he armed his Kadgeron beam cannons. He rolled to starboard, dropped over the frigate’s side, and fired. Twin beams of white lashed out from the emitters, struck the port-side engine, and burned a path across the hull. The Star Fox squadron regrouped off the aft of the frigate as it took another plasma torpedo and blossomed into flame. Kyle turned his JX-70 around in time to see the Great Fox engage a pirate-retrofitted salvaged Halcyon cruiser. It fired a Kadgeron torpedo at the cruiser as the cruiser fired a small volley of archer missiles.
The Great Fox’s plasma arrays lit up and discharged a swarm of pulse lasers and vaporized nearly two-thirds of the incoming missiles. The remaining missiles impacted on the shields, making them flicker as the Kadgeron torpedo slammed into the cruiser’s spine and melted a hole in the enemy armor. Another Kadgeron torpedo discharged as one of the CCS Battlecruisers in the Star Fox battle group – the Retribution’s Glory – fired a plasma torpedo. The Halcyon cruiser was his with the plasma torpedo first, and the shields winked out as the Kadgeron torpedo whacked the ship on it’s starboard side, gutting the ship from fore to aft.
The remaining rebel ships – a pair of damaged UNSC destroyers and a stolen Covenant frigate – retreated into slipspace.
“Alright, team!” Fox exclaimed. “That’s the way Star Fox and Star Wolf handle things! Great work!”
“Did you get what we came here for?” Bill inquired.
“Indeed we did,” Fox responded. “Marian hacked into the rebels’ comm network, and transmitted the required tactical data to UNSC FLEETCOM. They’re already at work cracking the encrypted data, and from the response they sent us, they’ll take a few days to get through.”
“In the meantime,” Fara chimed in, “We’ve been invited to a little soiree down there.”
“We’ll discuss that later,” Fox said. “All ships, return to the Great Fox. And Kyle?”
“Sir?” Kyle responded.
“Two things,” Fox stated, “First; absolutely marvelous job out there – you and the team members under your command don’t have a scratch on them; second – don’t call me ‘sir,’”
Kyle chuckled softly. “As you wish,” he said before he killed the comm. This battle was over, and Kyle was ready for the next...
* * *

It gets worse before it gets better. Trust me.
 
Julius Quasar
Member Avatar
CDF Commander of the Army
I don't get the reference at the moment, but I love this newest chapter! Great job!
 
Star_Dragon
Member Avatar
Head General of the Marauder Corps
(Eh - it's okay. The reference was to an old movie called Snow Dogs. No big deal.)

As I said before, it gets worse before it gets better. The next two or three chapters I almost cried when finished. (Seriously. I almost did.)

Chapter Four
A Dragon-Shifter’s Pain

After everyone was safely aboard the Great Fox, Fox called everyone to the bridge. Kyle was the last one through the door before it shut.
“Good,” Fox said, “Everyone’s here. As you all know, we’ve been invited to a celebration down planetside.”
“Yeah,” Falco scoffed, “Tell us something we don’t know.”
“Well, the celebration’s on the coast,” Fox added.
“Great!” Katt said. “I’ll get my swimsuit.”
“And I’ll get mine,” Fara chimed in as she left with Katt.
Krystal looked to Kyle. He sat silent, twiddling his thumbs and staring at the deck as though his mind wandered elsewhere. But Krystal, unlike others, saw past Kyle’s facade of peace, and she sensed something on his mind. Something was bothering him.
Acting on this, Krystal said, “Penny for your thoughts?”
Kyle snapped out of his reverie and looked into Krystal’s eyes. His crimson dragon eyes pierced her, and she shuddered – but not visibly.
“Did you say something?” he asked.
“I was just asking you... if you were alright,” Krystal responded.
Kyle smiled, but Krystal could detect the subtle nuances of his mind. He was worried. But why? “I’m fine,” he said, “Thanks for asking.”
“What’s the matter?” Falco asked. “Don’t like the coast?”
“In case he didn't tell you,” Fox interjected, “he used to live on the coast.”
“Truth be told, I’d rather stay here,” Kyle said. “Away from the... presence of others.”
“You’re in the presence of others right now,” Bill stated. “What makes us any different from the others on Zarush?”
Though the others didn’t see it, Krystal noticed that Bill’s words hit something close to home. There was something on Zarush that Kyle feared. Or remembered. Something was out of place.
He got up suddenly and quickly, but his response was softer than Krystal expected.
“If you insist,” he replied. He left with a sudden aggression, and as the doors slid shut, Razuul spoke.
“It’s not other people themselves that he fears; it’s himself.”
“He fears himself?” Falco said, his voice verging on a laugh.
“It’s no laughing matter, Falco,” Wolf commented. “I’ve seen that look in his eyes before – on men in the field when the only part of them that was sane left.”
“Wolf’s right,” Razuul added. “It’s far more complicated than you seem to realize; Kyle never... ‘fit in’ with society. It wasn’t because of his appearance or status, but because of what he is.”
“Why do you think he’s so reluctant to accompany us?” Fox inquired.
“Flashbacks,” Krystal murmured. “He wants to avoid flashbacks.”
“That is correct,” Razuul affirmed. He paused to look at Krystal. “You surprise me, Krystal.”
“In what way?” Krystal asked.
“In the way that Kyle seems to trust you, despite of the fact you’re a telepath,” Razuul explained. “You... seem to hold an influence over him that I did not think possible.”
“Wait a sec – what’re you saying?” Fox queried.
“I’m implying that if Kyle accompanies us, Krystal would be the key to averting a potential disaster,” Razuul answered. Returning his attention to Krystal, he added, “But, before we head down planetside, a word of warning; take care what you do – few who tread within the shadows of Kyle’s mind return alive, and fewer still return unscathed.” As Razuul said “unscathed,” he pointed to the scar over his lip. Krystal got the implication immediately.
“Very well,” Fox stated. “Let’s get ready.” As the team split up and headed to their quarters, Krystal hesitated before heading to her own. Though it was fascinating, it also struck Krystal as terrifying to know that she held such an influence over a dragon-shifter – a race known for their fearlessness, defiance, and most importantly, for their unparalleled fighting prowess. While she was unsure how this could have happened, she now felt... compelled... to help this man.
* * *
It was close to dusk when Star Fox got to the location of the celebration. There was a hot tub set up nearby, but no one was in it. Kyle headed to it almost as soon as he spotted it. It wasn’t until the sun had disappeared over the horizon that Krystal finally summoned the courage to talk to Kyle as he sat alone, apparently lost in thought.
“Would you care for some company?” she asked. Drums started beating in the near-distance as a band began playing Breaking Benjamin’s “Away.”
“Just don’t expect a friendly conversation,” Kyle replied as he moved to the edge of the hot tub. He got on his knees as he leaned on the wall, with his arms on the rim.
Krystal, who was dressed in her black swimsuit, stepped into the hot tub and came up beside Kyle.
“Can I ask you something?” She inquired.
Kyle hesitated. “You may ask,” he finally answered.
“Why... were you so--” Krystal started.
“--Reluctant to come here?” Kyle finished. “Because there are memories here that are better left...” Kyle stopped midsentence. His hand began to ball up into a fist, but he released it. He was angry.
“I didn’t mean to push,” Krystal said, placing a hand on his shoulder. Kyle reached up, taking Krystal’s hand, and said,
“I... appreciate the concern.” With a sigh, he added, “But suffice to say... I was created here. The memories I have of this place are... painful.”
A fire flared nearby where someone had lit a bonfire. Kyle’s head snapped up to look at it, as if startled. Bystanders cheered, and Krystal sensed something that wasn’t there before; a power, a presence, that was growing with each passing second.
A cluster of firecrackers popped nearby, and Kyle nearly leapt out of the hot tub in surprise. He quickly exited, looking more and more disturbed, with Krystal close by.
Krystal could sense this ominous power getting more and more powerful, but didn’t...
... Then it hit her. He was having a flashback, and that flashback, in turn, was triggering his powers as a Dragon-Shifter; it was triggering his blood rage.
Kyle walked right past Fox as he asked, “Are you alright?”
“Get him!” a voice cried out from the dark. Three Terran thugs appeared from nowhere, brandishing buck knives.
This proved to be the catalyst that fully triggered Kyle’s blood rage. He stopped dead in his tracks as an unseen fourth thug grabbed him from behind. Kyle screamed, struggling with the thug. Then, that scream morphed onto a blood-curdling war cry as he head-bashed the thug behind him, leaned to the side, grabbed the thug and hurled him to the ground. In a fluid gesture, he drew his arms back, as if to pull the air toward him, and then launched his hands forward with his palms out. The other three thugs were telekinetically sent flying. The fourth thug, now getting up from the ground, pulled a pistol and fired. Unfortunately for him, his shots went wide, and one hit Kyle in the shoulder. Enraged, Kyle telekinetically pulled the gun out of his hands and crushed it.
But it had only just started. Kyle arced his arms above his head, pulling his elbows behind his back with his chest exposed, as he bellowed an earth-rumbling roar.
FVWAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYN!!!
In a sudden move, his arms shot forward in an X formation as two massive crimson wings sprouted from his back. The ground trembled as Kyle’s body shimmered, lit up, and began to morph. When the intense light disappeared, a massive, crimson-scaled dragon stood in the place Kyle had been. The bystanders, either drunk or unafraid, cheered.
FVWAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYN!!!
The four thugs that had confronted him disappeared, running for their lives from the crimson beast they provoked. Kyle spread his wings and was about to go into flight when Krystal shouted,
“Kyle, stop!”
The dragon froze. He looked behind him, spotted Krystal, and turned to face her. His wings slowly retracted, and he made a low, soft whining sound. His head slowly lowered to face Krystal, and his eyes looked into hers. She reached out slowly, placing a hand on the dragon’s snout as she whispered,
“It’s okay,”
The dragon spoke in a language alien to all, but not to Krystal.
Youk vitt nokk huet mekh?” he asked.
No, Ikh vitt nokk,” Krystal replied. “Buth Ikh muss n’kenn haat turblu’ss youk. Ikh muss n’kenn whe youk ar turblu’ett likh thiss.
Haat makk’ss youk thikk--” The dragon started. A gun cocking caused his anger to flare, and Krystal looked away in time to see a police officer with his pistol pointed at the dragon.
“No!” Krystal cried out. “Don’t!”
The dragon hissed at the officer, and then that hiss turned into a low growl.
“Put. The weapon. Down,” Krystal said.
The officer, either convinced that Krystal knew what she was doing or out of knowledge that his pistol wouldn’t be enough to forestall a dragon, lowered his weapon.
Unfortunately, someone else had other ideas. A machine-pistol fired a three-round burst that drilled the dragon in the side of the head. Contrary to what the shooter had intended, the bullet’s didn’t kill the dragon; they glanced off his head and provoked the dragon. His head snapped around to face the shooter; a drunken thug with an XRS10 .45-caliber machine pistol.
However, rather than rush him as Krystal expected him to, the dragon took to the air. He flew a distance away, and then...
... turned around, starting to descend as he roared. Fox jerked Krystal away in time to avoid a stream of plasma-hot fire as the dragon passed over.
FVWAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYN!!!
The dragon passed over again, and another trail of fire was lit up. The bystanders, now terrified, ran in every direction to avoid the dragon’s firestorm.
“Krystal, come on!” Fox called out.
“No!” Krystal exclaimed. “Someone has to stop him!” Before Fox could grab her, Krystal ran into the Dragon’s path, leaping over the thug that provoked him that was lying on the ground, his leg with a third-degree burn. The dragon inhaled, ready to light another stream of fire...
... and passed it off as an exhale with a puff of smoke rising from his nostrils. His wings flapped, sending a gush of wind past Krystal as he landed. Krystal remained calm as the dragon stared her down. She looked him directly in the eyes and thought, Don’t do it.
The dragon twitched, as though he heard what Krystal thought. He slowly lowered his head, then stopped.
Don’t do this, Kyle, Krystal thought. You’re a warrior, not a murderer.
The dragon made a soft moan, lowering his head even further to face Krystal. She reached out with her hands, stroking the side of the dragon’s snout. The dragon closed his eyes, gently pressing his head against this woman who was comforting him when he was hurt.
Why do you care for me so much? Kyle asked in Krystal’s head.
Because that is a part of who I am, Krystal replied. It’s part of my nature to be compassionate and empathetic.
The dragon made a low purr, and Kyle stated in her head, That is... something that I’ve not had in three years. If you wish to find out what troubles me on this world, then climb on my back; we’ve far to go, and little time to get there.
Krystal complied, climbing on the dragon’s back.
“Krystal, what’re you doing?” Fox asked.
“Healing a hurt man,” Krystal replied. “I’ll be back later.”
The dragon then took to the air, and Krystal hung on tight...

Okay, so it wasn't this chapter, it was the next one. But trust me, it's good.
 
Julius Quasar
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CDF Commander of the Army
Wow, very good!
 
Star_Dragon
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Head General of the Marauder Corps
Glad you like it, Julius. I came to tears in this next chapter. It was dark-themed, and I was listening to Breaking Benjamin's "Dear Agony." It's amazing how music and writing has that kind of effect on me.

Chapter Five
Secrets of a Dragon-Shifter

Krystal fell asleep in mid-flight to wherever the crimson-scaled dragon – Kyle – was taking her. What woke her was the sudden jerk when the dragon landed. She grumbled, sat up and opener her eyes. The sky was clear, and the moon lit up the surrounding landscape. There wasn’t much to see; the region looked like it was slowly recovering from a fire long ago.
“Where are we?” Krystal asked.
“Look for yourself,” Kyle stated. Krystal dismounted and looked at what Kyle gazed at. There was a massive building before her...
... or rather, what had been a massive building.
“What is this place?” Krystal inquired. She looked back at Kyle. “Why are we here?”
The dragon started toward the ruins. “This is where I was created,” he answered. “This is where my life started.”
“But what is this place?” Krystal repeated her query. In response, Kyle kicked aside a name board. Krystal approached it and was shocked at what it read:
“Tondam Corporation Genetic Labs”
“You were--” Krystal started.
“Yes,” Kyle affirmed. “I was a Tondam Corporation lab rat. An experiment in biological weaponry and state-of-the-art genetic engineering.” He didn’t look at Krystal, but she saw the tear fall from his eye. “To them, I was just a test subject.” He morphed into his original form, his shirt still missing, and Krystal briefly saw the scars on his back – ones from lashes and lacerations – before they disappeared beneath his fur. “I was a commodity to them;” he added, his voice shaking. “An exploitable resource and a disposable asset.” He sniffled, remembering all the horrors he had experienced. In a brief fit of anger and grief, he rampaged around, kicking half-burnt desks over and shattering broken lab flasks on scorched walls. When Krystal stopped him, he was in tears.
“What happened to this lab?” Krystal asked calmly.
“What else?” Kyle sobbed, putting his back to the wall. He sat down and added with a grief-laden voice, “I burned this damned place down more than twenty years ago.”
“And those that... did all this to you?” Krystal inquired.
“They... never made it out,” Kyle answered. He sniffled, then put in, “The fact that no one knew this place was here turned into their demise. But I didn’t burn just the security personnel; but the researchers... and the Tondam Corporation bastards supervising this project.” He looked into Krystal’s eyes, his eyes watery and filled with anger and rage. “They used me like an animal, and I slaughtered them like animals!” Kyle closed his eyes, letting more tears fall, sobbing as Krystal knelt down before him. “Twenty years...” he whispered. “Twenty years,” he repeated, looking to Krystal, “And I haven’t changed at all. And that’s why she died.”
“Who?” Krystal asked softly.
“My wife,” Kyle responded. “I didn’t kill her, but she died because of me. Because I am what I am.”
“Don’t be ashamed of what you are, Kyle,” Krystal said soothingly.
“You... wanted to know why this world troubles me,” Kyle said. His crimson dragon eyes pierced Krystal as he sobbed, “This world troubles me because it, like so many others, has been touched by me. This world, like so many others that felt my wrath, remind me that, no matter where I go, I will always be feared and misunderstood by those around me. I will always carry the blood of death on my hands because no one can help me, and no one can help me because they don’t understand me.” Kyle hung his head, closed his eyes, and mumbled, “And that which one doesn’t understand, one fears; and what one fears, one destroys.”
Krystal paused, staring at this man. When he came to Star Fox, he was an experienced soldier with a head for combat and tactics. As she looked at him now, she saw not a battle-hardened warrior, shaped and perfected by years of war and battle, but a man, a child, sick and broken over the many cruel injustices done upon him, tormented and haunted over the many lives he had taken in the name of retribution.
“Look at me, Kyle,” she said. Kyle’s head lifted slowly to face her, and she asked, “Do I look afraid to you?” Kyle simply stared at her before he replied,
“No,” and dropped his head. “And that’s what scares me; you, unlike the others, can see through the mask I have worn for more than twenty years. You can see the pain that hurts me, where the others can’t see past my scowl. You see more than they do, and therefore know me better than any of the others ever will.”
“Why does that scare you?”
“Because such knowledge can be used against me,” Kyle sobbed. “It’s the first rule of engagement; know your enemy.”
“Kyle,” Krystal said softly as she took Kyle’s hand, “You’re not our enemy, any more than we are yours.”
“Be that as it may,” Kyle growled, “I still have to do what I must to survive.”
“You will survive,” Krystal assured him. “We’re all soldiers, like you – we’ve walked your path before.”
“No,” Kyle whispered. “You’ve not been where I’ve been. You’ve not walked the paths I walked in exile; you’ve not seen the fires that raged on B’naria II when everything died around me.” In a whispering tone, he added, “You’ve not seen the war I still wage, the battles I still fight.”
Krystal was utterly shocked at the extent of what she just heard. She knew Fox had said prior to Kyle’s arrival that Tondam Corporation had caused the accident on B’naria II, and that there were no known survivors. Now, seeing the truth in this man’s mind, she realized a horrifying truth;
Kyle was the only survivor to a disastrous corporate sabotage that massacred a colony of thousands and rendered a planet almost lifeless. She realized that when Fox uncovered the information files on Dragonaria III, he stumbled upon Kyle’s private war with a corporation that had created him as a living weapon, destroyed his home, and scarred him in every imaginable way. Krystal then saw not only a broken warrior, but a man, drenched in blood from wounds that bleed still. Kyle sighed, trying to keep his tears in. A clatter of rubble caused Krystal to turn and see Fox and Fara entering the burnt facility. Fox simply smiled and nodded, tears welling up as the others arrived.
Krystal returned her attention to Kyle as she said, “Kyle, if you need a shoulder to cry on, I’m right here.”
Krystal had no more than said this when a terrible cry of anguish tore from Kyle’s lips. Krystal shushed him as he cried out to the sky,
“God, what have I become?!”
Krystal cradled him as he let loose his cries of agony and pain. These terrible cries testified to the horror and the cruelty that had been imposed on an innocent mind that had been created for the sole purpose of death and destruction.
“What have I become?” Kyle repeated. “Who am I? Who can I trust?”
“You can trust me,” Krystal whispered.
“How can I?” Kyle sobbed. “I’ve killed so many people, I can’t tell the difference between friend and foe! I can hear the screams of so many! Allies, friends, strangers – all of them! All of them, screaming in my mind, and I can’t get it out of my head!”
Krystal shushed Kyle as he buried his face in her shoulder. Krystal looked to Fox and the others and saw that he, like everyone else, was unconsciously crying. Krystal discovered that she, too, cried for a broken man, hurt and tormented for so many years because no one had the courage to hear his cries of pain.
“K-Krystal?” Kyle stammered.
“Yes?” Krystal responded.
“I’m sorry--” Kyle whispered.
“Shh,” Krystal shushed him, “You’ve nothing to apologize for. Let’s get you out of here.”
Krystal slowly lifted Kyle onto his feet, but clung to him regardless. They boarded a waiting transport as Fox powered it up, and sat down in an isolated spot. The others said nothing as Krystal comforted a hurting man as he cried out what was left of his pain and suffering.
It wasn’t until they hit orbit, heading to the Great Fox that it became apparent that Krystal had lulled him to sleep on her shoulder. The transport entered a hangar, and as everyone headed to the bridge, no one stood in Krystal’s way as she carried Kyle toward her quarters. She wandered down the corridors, found her room, and entered. She set Kyle down on her bed, and kissed him on the head. “Sleep well, dragon-shifter,” she whispered. She paused before leaving, then grabbed a spare blanket from nearby and gently pulled it over him. She left, headed into the mess hall, grabbed a tray of food, and ate. As she ate, Fox entered the mess, spotted Krystal, and sat down next to her.
“Say what you will,” he said, “But I think there’s more to Kyle than everyone else sees, Raz included.”
“There’s a lot more to him than you see, Fox,” Krystal responded. “Raz was right; few who tread within the shadows of Kyle’s mind return alive, and fewer still return unscathed.”
“You know what troubles him?” Fox asked.
“I doubt Raz knows what really goes on inside Kyle’s head,” Krystal affirmed. She looked to Fox and added, “Kyle was a Tondam Corporation genetic experiment that worked far better than they expected; he burnt down the lab he was created in more than twenty years ago.”
“Ouch,” Fox remarked. “You’d think that Tondam would see it coming.”
“That’s not the only thing,” Krystal chimed. “Remember what happened at B’naria II?”
“Yeah – evidence suggests that the accident there was the result of Tondam Corporation’s sabotage,” Fox answered. “Why?”
“Because I now strongly believe that Kyle is the only survivor to that massacre,” Krystal said. “He has nothing. No one. No home, no family. No friends, allies, or anyone who listens. And no one seems to care because they’re too busy running from him.”
“Yeah, we heard it all – how he was there. How the fires on B’naria II raged while everything died around him,” Fox stated. “He knows things that scorch his memories.”
“His past has done more than scorch his mind;” Krystal said. “His past has left wounds that have yet to stop bleeding.”
“What do you see of him now?” Fox asked. “Now that you have seen what pains him, I mean. What do you see now, compared to when we met him?”
“I see a man,” Krystal answered, “drenched in the blood of others, and drowning in his own as he bleeds from wounds that no doctor or psychiatrist can mend.”
“Do you think you can mend his wounds?” Fox asked.
“No,” Krystal admitted. “I don’t think I can.” She looked up at Fox. “I know I can. I understand his pain, his loss, because I, myself, have felt the same way.”
Fox chuckled. “If you love him so much,” he said, “Why didn’t you tell him?”
“It was you that said that such love does not happen so quickly,” Krystal responded.
Fox chuckled again. “There are... rare occasions when such love happens as fast, and turns into a long, healthy relationship. The most effective of such relationships often arise from mutual pains and necessities.”
Krystal smiled. “Interesting to hear you say that,” She commented.
“I didn’t,” Fox admitted. “My father did. That’s how he met my mother.”
Krystal sighed. “What if... he rejects me?”
Fox smiled. “He won’t,” he assured her. “He can’t. He needs you far more than he is willing to admit. And because you know him so well, because you and he are so much alike, he knows he’d be an idiot to turn you away – you’re the one he’s been searching for; one who hurts like he does – one who heard his cries of pain and answered his call.”
Krystal and Fox were silent after that. They didn’t speak it, but something very important had been resolved.
 
Julius Quasar
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CDF Commander of the Army
Wow, that's very moving. Good job.
 
Star_Dragon
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Head General of the Marauder Corps
Glad you like it. Anyway, on to the next Chapter...

Chapter Six
To Love a Dragon

Krystal was ready. She thought it, and Fox confirmed it. She was in love. How it happened so quickly didn’t matter. What mattered was that she had finally found someone who was like her in every imaginable way – apart from their racial differences. Though she was Cerinian and he was a dragon-shifter, they were a perfect match. All that was left to do was to show him how she felt. Everything else had been done.
But finding Kyle was a bit difficult. When Krystal returned to her quarters, Kyle wasn’t there. The bed looked as though it had been disturbed recently, and the blanket Krystal put over Kyle was missing. Krystal looked all over the ship before she found him in the hangar bay where his JX-70 was stored. He was sitting atop his craft, staring out at the blackness of slipspace. The MagCon field was in place, but the doors were open.
“See something out there?” Krystal asked as she sat down behind him.
“No,” Kyle admitted, “I was just... thinking.”
“Thinking of what?” Krystal asked.
“Did you think you and Fox were alone in the mess hall?” Kyle asked. Though he wasn’t facing her, Krystal could see him smile, and for the first time since she met him, it was a smile that wasn’t plagued by fear or apprehension.
“How were you able to get in there without opening the door?” Krystal chuckled.
“I didn’t, since you asked,” Kyle said. He looked back at her over his shoulder and added, “I can do many things, even in my sleep.”
“So you know about... how I feel?” Krystal asked.
“I know that you love me,” Kyle affirmed, “And that you’re afraid to tell me. Not just because you fear my rejection, but because I am a dragon-shifter – something you didn’t mention to Fox.”
“You see a lot,” Krystal remarked.
Kyle chuckled. “Few are the thoughts that can hide in the shadows of your mind,” he said. Krystal moved over beside him as he said, “In all of your thoughts and feelings for me, and your quest to know me, you still haven’t asked me one question.” He looked to Krystal.
“Why did you rebel against Tondam?” She surmised. “I figured you would tell me when you were ready.”
Kyle nodded and looked back out to space. “There are many in the Tondam Corporation – including their leader – that believe they should attack Lylat, and everywhere else, first... settle everything in one moment,” Kyle elaborated. “I was created for such a purpose. And I rebelled against those that created me because I believe that fate favors those who can turn away from such power. I also believe that the same goes double for those who use such power against those who would abuse it.”
Krystal nodded in understanding. “And what of us?” Krystal asked. “Of you and I?”
“Mm,” Kyle mumbled. “To love a dragon is one thing. Yet, to fall in love with one drenched in his own blood is quite another.” Kyle looked back at Krystal. But there was... something that burned in his eyes. Not anger, or grief, or rage and hate. It was something much deeper. “Yet you did it. You chose to care for me, to pull a dragon-shifter out of the pool of blood he was drowning in. You risked your life to save me, and I thank you.”
“I did it because I love you,” Krystal said, “because I, myself, once felt your pain.”
“Yes, you did,” Kyle admitted. “You lost everything when your home world burned.”
Krystal nodded. “It would seem you know as much of me as I do of you,” she chuckled.
“It was foretold to me by the Dragonarian council of seers that I would meet a woman – you – that would be my other half,” Kyle said. “The one who could read a closed book like me, who could know what I am and remain unafraid. A woman who could--” Kyle was silenced when Krystal suddenly grabbed Kyle’s muzzle.
“Anyone ever tell you that you talk too much?” she asked. Kyle and Krystal chuckled together, and as she looked into Kyle’s crimson dragon eyes, she finally understood what burned; his love – a flame that burned bright and eternal. She didn’t look to her right to see that Kyle was extending a crimson wing around her back as she closed her eyes, brought her lips to his, and kissed him. Kyle gestured, and music began to play as he wrapped his arms around his newfound love;
“Holodna hmoora. Eemruchnoh v'doosheh, Kak mohg znat ya shtoh tee oomriosh? Do svidonia, byehreg rodnoy, Kak nam troodnag pridstahvit shtoh eto nyeh sohn. Rodina, dom radnoy, Do svidonia Rodina.
Ay. Avepakhod, avepakhod, nass val nahmarskaya zhdyot nyehdazh dyotsyah. Nass zah vootmarskaya dah, ee preeboy! Salute otsam ee nashem dedum, Zahvietum eekh fsigdah vierney. Tepierre nichtoh, nee astanoivit, Pabiedney shark, radnoy straney. Tiy pliyvee, pliyvee bestrashna, Gordest say viernykh marieye. Revoluytziye nadezhdah sgoostk vierif sekh luydeye. V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Rahpar tu ium miy nashe pabiediy.
V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Novie meeir fahli numnashy dehidiy.”
The two slow-danced down on the hangar deck, and didn’t bother to cast a glance at the others coming to check on Krystal. They danced together to the Hymn to Red October, signaling to the team – and eventually, the galaxy – that they lived, breathed, and bled as one.
“When the dust settles from what’s transpired here, there’ll be hell to pay with Tondam,” Kyle warned his lover.
“Not to worry, darling,” Krystal whispered. “I have you. In the end, you’re all I really need.”
Kyle smiled as he and Krystal danced the time away...
* * *
As Kyle and Krystal danced, Fox leaned closer to Razuul.
“Talk to me, Raz,” he said. “What do you think of this?”
“I think this is for the best,” Razuul replied. “Their love grows around a basis of understanding. They know each other’s pain. They know that the other is the key to their heart.” Razuul looked to Fox. “They’ve been searching for each other for so long, and now that they’ve found each other, they aren’t going back.”
“That all sounds very nice,” Panther said, “But what does it mean? What do we do?”
“Leave them to their love;” Razuul said as he turned to walk away. “They deserve that much.”
As everyone walked away, Fox remained. He smiled as Fara led him away, and whispered, “Best of luck, dragon shifter.”
I’m not going anywhere, Kyle said in Fox’s head. As he left Krystal and Fox alone, Fox knew that right then, that Kyle was happy. For once in three years, Kyle had found someone he loved. Now, Kyle was someplace he hadn’t been in years – home.
* * *
Twenty-three years, and tonight was the first time Kyle could sleep without being haunted by nightmares of his past. For the first time in more than twenty years, he was at peace. It showed on his face as he slept in Krystal’s bed, with his lover beside him, her arms wrapped around him.
So, it seemed odd to Kyle that, at 3:30 AM, he awoke, feeling like he’d come out of a long dream. He gently removed Krystal’s arms from his chest and slowly sat up. He ran a hand through the fur between his ears, popped his neck, and was about to get out of bed when Krystal’s arm suddenly lashed out and grabbed his wrist.
“Going somewhere?” she asked groggily. Kyle chuckled.
“How can I?” he answered. “I take one step and you hear me.”
Krystal laughed lightly. “Did you have a nightmare?” she inquired.
“No, oddly enough,” Kyle responded. “Truthfully, I don’t know what woke me.” Chuckling and nuzzling Krystal’s nose, he added, “First time in twenty-three years I’ve been able to sleep without being... haunted... and now I can’t sleep for more than a few hours.”
“Perhaps you’ve become accustomed to getting by with so little sleep,” Krystal said. “It’s nothing to worry about, dear.” Without another word, she kissed her lover, and then whispered, “Come back to bed.”
For the first time in his life, Kyle didn’t resist. He laid back down next to his newfound love, kissed her gently, and was asleep again twenty seconds later.
 
Julius Quasar
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CDF Commander of the Army
Awww, that's sweet!
 
Star_Dragon
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Head General of the Marauder Corps
If you think that was cute, try this:

Chapter Seven
Flight of the Dragon-Shifter

Leon was reading a news article in the mess hall with Panther and May when Kyle walked into the room. Krystal was cooking what was obviously a meal for two, Wolf was at another table with Lucy sitting next to him, Slippy, Amanda, and Bill were at the table across from them, and Razuul and Dash were at the table behind them.
It was unexpected, then, when Kyle pulled Krystal into his arms, kissed her, and put her back onto her feet.
“Morning, babe,” Krystal chuckled.
“ ‘Morning, babe’?” Leon repeated. “Did I miss something?”
“Don’t ask,” Krystal and Kyle responded simultaneously.
They sat down next to each other to eat, laughing and joking like a newlywed couple.
Fox and Fara walked into the mess, and, noticing how Kyle and Krystal laughed and joked together, made a sly comment.
“I see we have a new couple among us,” he said.
“Speaking of which,” Kyle said, getting up to approach Fox, “I was... hoping you’d let Krystal and I head off to a place that has... sentimental value... to me. A place where I can be what I am and no one will be running.”
Fox smiled as he weighed his words. “After twenty-three years of fighting through hell, mekh fredt,” he responded, “you deserve it. You and Krystal both.” Kyle smiled, and was about to salute Fox – traditional Dragonarian-style – when Fox stopped him. “Kyle... there’s no need to salute me. Head of Star Fox I may be – next to Wolf and Star Wolf – that doesn’t make this team the Dragonarian military. On Star Fox and Star Wolf, we’re more than a band of commandos; we’re family – something you’ve been missing your whole life.”
A single tear left Kyle’s eye as he contemplated this. Seconds seemed like hours as he thought this over.
Finally, he spoke, “Thank you... mal’sibblus.” He sat back down with Krystal to eat his breakfast as Fox walked over to Razuul.
“What did he call me?” he asked.
“He called you mal’sibblus,” Razuul replied. “It’s Dragonarian for ‘brother.’” With a pause as he glanced to Kyle – now leaving with his lover – Razuul added, “What you told him struck home.”
“In what way?” Fox asked.
“To a dragon-shifter – to Kyle – family is everything,” Razuul explained. “He was orphaned from the moment he was created. He had no family until now.”
“I know,” Fox stated.
“No,” Razuul corrected, “You don’t. Family to dragon-shifters like Kyle is much more complex. To Kyle, we are the angels of his redemption. We embraced him as part of our family; we saw who and what he truly is, and we did not cast him down. We are his family; we are in his mind and in his heart – and what a dragon-shifter keeps in his heart, he will fight to protect.”
Fox smiled as he watched Kyle and Krystal leave. “That’s... pretty deep,” he said.
“A dragon-shifter’s life is one of depth and meaning,” Razuul said. “Kyle’s is no different. When we sheltered him, took him in as one of our own, he became a part of us in a manner that not all of us yet realize. When we are hurt by foreign hands... when we call out for help in a galaxy of evil... when we bleed from wounds of despair, he will be there – the spirit of vengeance. The ghost of redemption. The phantom of hope.”
“It seems we got more than we bargained for when we got him,” Wolf remarked.
“There is never more than one bargained for when one never bargained in the first place,” Fox said.
Though none of them spoke it, all of Star Fox and Star Wolf acknowledged that Fox was right. They had been given a new member to aid them in the fight against the Tondam Corporation – one who they knew could destroy Tondam. But in his unification with Krystal, they had received so much more.
In the end, they were not only warriors on the same team, but brothers to the same cause.
* * *
Kyle was finishing packing his and Krystal’s sundries onto his JX-70 when Krystal came into the hangar.
“So, this... special planet you have in mind... what is it called?”
“It’s an out-of-the-way world called Leona IV,” Kyle replied. “I mastered my dragon-shifting skills there; on that world, I can wander around in dragon form and no one will bat an eyelash.”
“Wow,” Krystal remarked. “Sounds like a nice place.”
“It is,” Kyle added as he finished loading the last of the items onto his JX-70. “After I burnt down the... lab... I headed there. I was only six at the time – and I stayed there, under the noses of the people, until I mastered my dragon-shifter skills at age twelve. After that, I joined the Dragonarian military, and I haven’t seen Leona IV since then.”
“So how can you walk in dragon form amongst the populace without their fear if no one knew you were there?”
“I became a local hero on my twelfth birthday, before I joined the military,” Kyle replied. “Stopped a hostile takeover of the Leona IV Trading & Commerce plaza by one of Tondam’s rivals. I saved more than ninety lives that night, and ever since then, the people of Leona IV regarded me as Wing’ett Marudakh – the Winged Marauder.”
“Alert,” Katt’s voice said over the intercom, “Exiting slipspace in thirty seconds. Kyle, Krystal, be ready.”
“Shall we?” Kyle asked, extending his hand. Krystal took his hand, and they entered the JX-70 together.
“Wow,” Krystal commented. “The interior is larger than I thought.”
“Yeah,” Kyle answered as he settled into the pilot’s seat, “The tech behind this... spacious interior is very complicated. Suffice to say, it can make a small, enclosed room seem as big as a small moon.”
“Wow,” Krystal said. “I’d quite like to see that.”
There was a very slight jolt as the Great Fox II decelerated, exiting slipspace. Moments later, the hangar doors opened. Kyle flipped a few switches, and the hatch in the back which Krystal and Kyle entered closed and hissed as the room was pressurized, and beeped with a green light.
“Sit tight, baby,” Kyle said, “We’re taking off.”
“Okay, Kyle,” Fox said, “Since I don’t need to clear you for take off, I will say this; take care.”
“Thanks, Fox,” Kyle replied. The hangar doors had finished opening when the JX-70 pushed off the deck. The hull vibrated as the ship lifted off.
“A little cold in here,” Krystal remarked. “Is it always like this?”
“Every time I travel in this thing,” Kyle affirmed. “But the computer adjusts atmosphere according to the body temperature of whoever is in the craft. Needless to say, it’ll warm up soon.”
“So... where exactly are we going?” Krystal asked.
“To the place I lived in when I was mastering my dragon-shifter skills – someplace that no one would think to look,” Kyle replied. The planet Leona IV got bigger by the second, and Krystal saw lush jungles, rivers, lakes and oceans.
But the view once the JX-70 hit planetside was nothing short of spectacular. Rolling plains filled with roaming animals extended for miles, with jungles, lakes and rivers beyond that, and one such river went into a deep canyon.
“Where is this place of yours?” Krystal queried.
Kyle didn’t answer as he brought the craft to a sudden halt as a landing platform appeared near the edge of the canyon’s right-hand top. Kyle settled the JX-70 on the pad, and moments later, as he was shutting the systems down, the pad began to descend. Krystal soon found herself in a cavern-sized hangar.
A dragon’s lair, she realized. Kyle’s lair. Kyle opened the hatch, allowing Krystal through, and Krystal gasped in awe at the beauty of this lair she now found herself in.
“You lived here?” she inquired.
Kyle smiled. “Long ago, yes,” he responded. “Originally, this place was much smaller. But, upon my claiming of this place, I made it bigger – extended the size, made room for my JX-70...” Kyle paused as he approached one console in the wall, tapped a few buttons, and the sound of powerful machinery filled the cavern. Moments later, the wall next to the console began to lower, turning it from a wall into a platform. “And I even managed to add this,” Kyle said, pointing his thumb to the platform. The platform was massive, with the wall as the main support for a smaller – but still large enough for Kyle’s dragon form, no doubt – platform that extended into the canyon.
Krystal walked carefully onto the platform, taking in the awesome view. “Wow,” she scoffed, “This is... pah, this is nothing short of beautiful!”
Kyle shifted to his dragon form, slowly walking onto the platform. He nudged Krystal with his snout, and Krystal cradled the dragon’s head in her arms. “Come with me, mekh luff,” Kyle whispered. “I want to show you a place... not too far from here. The place that has the true sentimental value to me.”
“Take me there,” Krystal whispered back. She hopped onto Kyle’s crimson-scaled dragon back, and he faced the expanse of canyon before them. He slowly spread his wings, leapt off the platform, letting it close behind him, and raced gently along the canyon path. Krystal watched as the canyon raced past her as Kyle navigated through the canyon. Krystal held on tight as her dragon-shifting love dodged this-way-and-that, avoiding a rock here, or a boulder there. He continued along the river that ran at the bottom of the canyon until it emptied out into a lake in a box canyon with a tree and grassy area at the far end. The river continued through the lake, making another river off to the right. Kyle decelerated, gliding to and finally landing on the soft patch of grass before the tree. Krystal gently got off Kyle’s back.
“In my dreams alone had I seen this place... until I found it, just two years after I came here,” Kyle explained. “I met my wife here.”
“Oh, baby,” Krystal said, “Don’t open old wounds.” She stroked Kyle’s scaly dragon cheek. “You won’t lose me the way you lost her. You just won’t.”
Kyle leaned his head against Krystal, making a soft dragon’s purr as she held him. They cradled each other for a moment, cherishing the moment, until Kyle spoke,
“Mekh luff, do you know how a Dragon shifter is united with his woman?”
“In a place like this, no doubt,” Krystal replied. “But I know little more than that.”
“That’s correct insofar as it goes,” Kyle said.
“Is that a dragon-shifter’s way of proposing?” Krystal queried.
Kyle chuckled. “You could call it that,” he answered.
“Though I’ve only known you a few days,” Krystal stated, “I can’t imagine saying ‘no.’ I am, and always will be, your love.”
“Ikh luff youk, Krystal,” Kyle said in his native Dragonarian, “Ad Ikh svett, bikh mekh onn bluud... Ikh vitt prottec youk. Nefett vitt Ikh hamr youk – ash uthre’ss khaff hamr’ett mekh. Ikh alvas khaff bidd, ad alvas vitt bekh youk’r’ss.”
While Krystal wasn’t fluent in Dragonarian, she knew that this was Kyle’s way of saying that he’d stay with Krystal for as long as he drew a breath in his body. It was his pledge of eternal love. In that instant, she knew how deep his feelings for her went. She knew that from that moment on, she would always be in his heart – and knew that what a dragon-shifter keeps in his heart, he will fight to protect. He would destroy a planet if only to protect Krystal. He would slaughter entire armies, even stand alone before the fury of every assassin in the galaxy to protect her.
“I love you, too, Kyle Anderson,” she whispered. Kissing Kyle’s dragon snout, she added, “Let it be known between us, that on this day, I acknowledge you as my life and my love; let it be heard across the stars that I now live, breathe, and fight as one with you, and let it be seen to the galaxy that I will honor you, as I honor those that I lost when Cerinia fell.”
Kyle smiled, revealing his gleaming, spiked teeth. “Then it is done,” he said. He drew a deep breath, reared up in his hind legs, spread his wings, and let loose a roar that shook the stars – signifying his unity with Krystal. From that moment on, they would be inseparable.
From that moment on, in Dragonarian eyes, they were one.

... gotta work on the next chapter.
 
Julius Quasar
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CDF Commander of the Army
Whoa, that's trippy. I love it! Good going!
 
Star_Dragon
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Head General of the Marauder Corps
Hold onto your lunch, Julius - the s**t is about to hit the fan.

Chapter Eight
Reunion

Krystal lay asleep against the scaly dragon side of her dragon-shifting husband in his lair. Having married in a traditional dragon-shifter ceremony – a ceremony it in a quiet, serene place with no one around but the man and woman to pledge their love to each other – made Kyle’s lair belong to Krystal as much as it belonged to Kyle. While others would think this to be a bit sudden, Krystal had no doubts. No regrets. No second thoughts or reconsiderations. What was done is done. And there was no one Krystal wanted to be with more.
She stirred gently, awoke, and sat up. Kyle turned his head to look at Krystal and smiled.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Did I oversleep?” Krystal asked groggily.
“Actually, you woke up just in time,” Kyle replied. “Feel like heading to Leona City?”
Krystal smiled. “For breakfast, I presume?”
“Yeah,” Kyle replied. “I know a few places... Perfect for a couple like us.”
Krystal chuckled softly. “One step at a time, babe,” she responded. “I just woke up.”
“Take your time,” Kyle said, “I don’t mean to rush you.”
Krystal laughed as she got up. Kyle morphed back into his original form, and the loving twosome wrapped their arms around each other.
“Sweetheart,” Krystal asked, “Can I ask you something?”
Kyle smiled. “You may ask.”
“Why did you allow me to enter your mind when we first met?” Krystal asked. “Fox had said you were... dangerous and unpredictable.”
Kyle nuzzled Krystal’s nose, closed his eyes, and whispered, “Because, mekh luff, when I looked into your eyes... I knew in that instant that I loved you. At the time, I was filled with mistrust – which is why I didn’t tell you. In your eyes, I see the peace I had sought for more than twenty years. In you, I saw my future.”
“And what did you see in your future?” Krystal whispered.
Kyle gently kissed his wife and replied, “It’s a surprise.” He and Krystal enjoyed a loving chuckle before Krystal changed the subject.
“Let’s head out; I’m hungry.”
Kyle stepped aside, and gestured to his JX-70. “After you... darling.”
* * *
The Great Fox II descended through the atmosphere of Leona IV. Apparently, the encryption on the data downloaded from the rebel network during the battle at Zarush was more complicated than UNSC FLEETCOM had anticipated. Triple security screens and quadruple counter-intrusion countermeasure blocks had severely hampered the efforts of the UNSC computer techs, even with help from the Sangheili and some outside Dragonarian and Kemorainian help. Needless to say, with this sector quiet and other sectors not requiring the presence of the Great Fox II, Fox decided to pay Kyle and Krystal a visit.
“We’ve made it through the atmosphere,” announced Falco, who had taken up the helm.
“Fox, Leona IV Star Traffic Control has cleared us for landing,” Fara announced, “they’re sending coordinates now.”
A landing map appeared on the central view screen, and the designated landing area was perfect – just south of Leona city, in a vacant grav-lift bay between a Sangheili CCS Battlecruiser and a retrofitted UNSC Marathon Cruiser. The Great Fox II descended toward the city, and slowed as it approached the two warships. Falco effortlessly glided between the ships, activated the grav-lift, and anchored it directly in the center of the grav-lift bay.
“Nice one, Falco,” Katt commented.
“Eh – I have my moments,” Falco responded to the praise.
“Anybody hungry?” Fox asked.
“Count me in,” Fara said.
“We’re in,” Katt and Falco said simultaneously as they looked to each other. “Last I heard from my Uncle,” Lucy said, “He was here. I’m going to see if I can find him.”
“You guys may have things to do,” Bill responded, “but I, personally, want to browse through the market goods.”
“Hell yeah!” whooped Dash. “I’ll go with ya!”
“My team and I will stay here,” Wolf said. “See if we can’t get that systems diagnostic out of the way that we’ve been putting off.”
“Actually,” Raz protested, “I was going to try and locate Kyle.”
“What for?” Wolf asked.
Raz smiled. “If Kyle came here for the reason I suspect,” he explained, “then chances are, he’s somewhere in the city – probably enjoying breakfast with Krystal.”
Wolf chuckled. “Well, don’t let me stop you,” he stated.
“I think Amanda and I can help with the systems diagnostic, if you need a hand,” Slippy chimed.
With the initial decisions out of the way, the teams split up, and headed to their destinations.
* * *
Kyle and Krystal were just leaving the restaurant they ate breakfast in – the Marauder’s Meal – when they promptly ran headlong into Fox and Fara. Fox, surprised to see that Raz was right – and at the same time, not surprised – greeted him.
“Kyle! What are you doing here?”
“I just ate here,” Kyle responded. With a slight tilt of his head, he asked, “Are you following me?”
“Nah,” Fox replied, “UNSC FLEETCOM had a few problems cracking the rebel database, so we decided to bunk here.”
“Raz really seems to know you,” Fara put in, “He said you’d be here.”
“Yeah – why did you come here?” Fox asked.
Kyle smiled, looking to Krystal as she looked to him with a smile of her own.
Fox got the implication almost instantly. “Wow, Krystal – first you meet him, then you stop him from killing us all, then you hear his cries of pain, and now you’re married to him,” Fox chuckled. “Is it me, or did several months just pass me by in the span of a couple of days?”
Kyle laughed. “Raz is gonna have a ball when he hears about this!” he laughed.
“Yeah, speaking of which, let me see if I can contact him,” Fox said.
Kyle frowned. “What for?”
“He... said he was going to look for you,” Fara responded. This time, when Kyle’s facial expression changed, everyone could detect it; something was wrong.
“Where is he?” Kyle inquired.
“Last we heard of him, he was heading to your ship – said he spotted it nearby,” Fox answered. “Is everything alright?”
“Raz doesn’t go looking for me at a time like this unless--” Kyle stopped to lower his voice. “--unless he knows something’s wrong.”
The restaurant manager wandered over to them. “Is everything alright?”
“Terror strikes from darkness,” Kyle responded.
“Follow me,” the manager said. Fox, Fara, Kyle and Krystal followed the manager past the kitchen in the back and into a private office.
“What’s going on?” Fox asked.
“A few years before I met my first wife, Tondam figured out I was here and came after me – caused thousands of credits of property damage before I drove them off. After that, I made an arrangement with the managers and leaders of this world to covertly construct a hidden armory in each of the places I frequent – there are three in the market, one here, one in the store next door, one in the gun shop a block from here, and two in the residential sector – one of which is directly under Lucy’s Uncle’s house.”
“Mr. McCloud, I would advise you contact your colleagues and tell them to arm themselves,” the manager said. “There isn’t much time.”
Fox quickly made the calls, and finished as he entered the armory – and noticed Raz was already there.
“I take it you know already?” he asked.
“We just figured it out,” Fox said. “How’d you get in here?”
“Don’t ask,” Raz responded.
“We don’t have time for idle chit-chat,” Kyle said briskly. “Any weapon preferences?”
“I usually take a blaster,” Fox explained, “but I’ll work with any other weapon you have.”
Kyle tossed Fox an assault rifle marked “AR610” from the rack. “That’s an AR610 Assault Rifle,” he said. “Fires .308-caliber rounds from a sixty-round magazine in full auto, three-round burst, or semi-auto.” Tossing Fox a small pouch, he added, “And that materializes ammo; it can fit a maximum of six clips. Just insert an empty mag in there while loading a full one, and it will automatically replenish ammo in the empty mag.” He looked to Fara. “What about you?”
“Surprise me,” Fara replied. In response, Kyle tossed her an assault rifle marked BR30 and an ammo pouch.
“That’s a BR30 Tactical Battle Rifle; fires .30-caliber rounds in three-round bursts and semi-auto, and it packs a hell of a punch.”
Krystal armed herself before her husband could ask her preference. “I’ll take this,” she said, grabbing an MP340 Advanced Assault Rifle from the rack with an ammo pouch. Kyle, of course, grabbed his MP340A2. He nabbed the ammo pouch, loaded a spare mag into the receiver, racked a round into the chamber with a metallic click-click and pressed a button that activated and charged the built-in Kadgeron Disruptor. Everyone loaded spare mags into their respective weapons, and were about to head back the way they came when Kyle stopped them.
“Going out that way will only raise attention,” he said. “First thing we need to do is contact the Great Fox and find out who and where our enemy is.”
“Good thinking,” complimented Fox.
“There’s a ghost-encrypted transmitter back here,” Kyle stated, leading the team back to a secluded room. He tapped several commands in with machine precision, and was patched into the Great Fox’s comm system. Wolf appeared on the holo-transmitter.
“Kyle? Fox?” Wolf said, surprised. “What’s going on?”
“Wolf,” Kyle commanded, “We need you to access the city’s security surveillance. It will prompt you for an access code – the code is Kilo-Delta-four-seven-Alpha.”
Wolf worked for a moment, then replied, “Alright, I’m in. What’s this about?”
“You’re going to be our eyes and ears,” Fox said. “We’ve reason to believe that there’s going to be a terrorist takeover of this place.”
“Got it,” Wolf commented. “But, uh... won’t they catch on to us?”
“Unlikely,” Kyle said. “As long as we keep our messages short, they wont find us. Even if they catch on to our surveillance and comm channels, everything we’re saying and doing is completely ghost-encrypted – they won’t be able to decrypt it, even if it goes out on public channels.”
“Understood,” Wolf said.
“Time is... 1100 hours,” Kyle stated, “Next contact will be at or around 1230 hours. Radio silence until then. Out.”
Kyle killed the connection and accessed the surveillance with another access code. He searched the many corners, alleys and locations of Leona city for the other Star Fox members scattered about until they found their way into the armory via different passageways with Kyle’s guidance.
Then, just as Kyle had commanded, at 1230 hours, Wolf contacted them.
“Report,” Fox ordered.
“I’ve located the enemy’s CP,” Wolf stated. “They’re using a manor house at the very fringe of the residential sector, north of your current location.”
“Any idea who to expect?” Fox asked.
“We’re dealing with a contingent of Tondam mercenaries,” Wolf answered, “mostly Terran, with some Raptorian marauders and a few Kemorainian Faedyrs thrown into the mix.”
“How many?” Kyle asked.
“We’re dealing with an enemy force of approximately one hundred-seventy-five mercs,” Wolf responded.
“How did Tondam get that many mercenaries into the city without being detected?” Fara queried.
“I’d be willing to bet that the answer lies in their command post,” Kyle replied. “But I will say this off the back – it was done in a manner not on the list.”
“Couldn’t have been done by ship,” Falco stated, “That would have been too easy. That, and the sophisticated security gear here would have identified a Tondam-affiliated ship and flagged it from the get-go.”
“What if they stowed away on one of the ships?” Katt suggested, “Like the Marathon cruiser, or the CCS Battlecruiser?”
“Unlikely,” Raz discounted. “The AIs and security teams would have found them, either by chance or by tracking any unofficial transmissions.”
“They could have used official transmissions,” Krystal said.
“Also unlikely,” Kyle corrected. “The security teams or AIs would have caught on long before they got here.”
“So that leaves one other way,” Wolf stated. “Translocation.”
“No,” Kyle said, “At least, they didn’t get into the city by that means.”
“You have another idea?” Falco inquired.
“Translocators require a lot of power to operate,” Kyle explained. “Setting up such a device in the city confines would be like putting big, flashing signs up that say ‘come and get us.’ No, if anything, that device would be somewhere in the countryside of this world – someplace isolated, yet a place that others are afraid to enter.”
“Like that haunted forest not too far from here!” Fara surmised.
“But translocators also require someone to receive the signal and activate the device,” Fox said. “Tondam hasn’t touched this place in years.”
“I know,” Kyle affirmed. “This lends validity to my suspicions that when Tondam came after me last time, they never left after I drove them away.”
“How would they get from the place where the device is located to this city undetected?” Krystal asked. “There are arial patrols that would spot any vehicle they use.”
“That they do,” Kyle confirmed, “But the day I drove them off, the last of the Tondam terrorists disappeared. I have reason to suspect that they have some form of secret passageway with a faster transport system.”
“And if we could commandeer that transport,” Fox surmised, “We could take down the terrorists, and take over their translocator!”
“And we can use that translocator to hit them where that translocator goes,” Kyle added, “Translocator links work both ways.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Fox stated.
“We’ll split into teams of three and take different routes to the CP,” Kyle said. “This way, we can cover more ground.”
“Let’s rock!” Bill exclaimed, cocking the bolt of his H36 Assault Gun.
Everyone loaded their weapons – an H40 Assault Rifle for Katt, an H44 Multi-Purpose Combat Assault Rifle for Falco, an H38 Battle Rifle for Dash, an H46 Combat Assault Rifle for Lucy, and an AR615 Assault Rifle for Razuul – and steeled themselves for the coming fight.
Looks like Kyle and Krystal’s honeymoon would have to wait...
 
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