The Catharpa Series Part Two
Shone Till Tomorrow
by Jeremy Stieglitz
"Ok Jeeves...Receiving Data Files Now"
The Smuggling Ship Boul'ard worked it's way across the destroyed Venomian Base, Cthula, in the area of space known to the Lylat system as sector X.
"Got them all, 100 percent. Trailing course Now"
The Boul'ard came upon a large chunk of base that presented a fork in the "road". The Boul'ard went left.
"Man,,, if we're right about this Grenwa, We'll all be rich" Shipmate Ranata said.
"IF, we are right Ranata. We don't know this for 100 percent." Grenwa said.
"Yeah but I was there remember...... I saw all that Tridillium. It's there, I'm telling you!" Ranata said defensively.
"Well we're about to find out. Entering warpgate one!"
The turbo lasers on the Boul'ard went wild and an seemingly normal piece of wreckage opened up to reveal another of the same type of "Gate."
"I don't know Ranata," Grenwa Said "But these warp gates seem more like defensive mechanisms. Almost like the bars on a prison cell. Whoever built these must have been trying to....."
"To keep all the Tridillium for themselves! Well we're not gonna let em have it!" Ranata quickly said. "We're coming up on the last warp gate. Here we go!!!!!"
And the Stars faded into a big blotch of yellow and suddenly the Boul'ard was a long way from sector x.
"Ok, I'm punching in the sensors and .....wow! You were right Ranata, there is a lot of Tridillium here. That stuff’ll keep Corneria powered up for the next 10,000 years!" Grenwa said happily. "In other words, we are now the richest people in the Lylat System!!!!"
"Told ya so" Ranata said happily.
"Now all we have to do is-"
Grenwa's words were cut off when there ship suddenly spun out of control reeling towards a chunk of debris.
"What the??!!" Grenwa exclaimed.
Ranata didn't answer. Hid head had hit the control panel during the shake...he couldn't be.....Oh no. Grenwa felt sick.
He looked out the starboard window. What in the world....what the heck is that? Grenwa though as he stared in horror at the now approaching gelatinous cube. It seemed to radiate. As if made out of energy. Could it be some form of Tridillium. It came closer. He thought he could make out some sort of face in the middle....and hands....The ships alarms went haywire. Energy overload, Radiation Level 6.983467889......the synth voice went on reading the damage reports that got worse as the thing came closer. What had Grenwa done? He'd unlocked the gates....The gates....They WERE "prison bars"!! That thing was free... What would this thing do to the lyla-
Grenwa couldn't finish the though as his ship exploded in a fiery burst of energy. It came closer.
"Fox McCloud I thought I'd find you here!" Fox McCloud instantly recognized that voice and turned away from the punching bag.
"Katt!" Fox said enthusiastically.
"Hey Little Man, How ya doin. I heard that you got Star Fox down for the count!"
"Yeah I took him down pretty bad. He was flying kinda weird but it doesn't matter, we have bigger problems, namely a crazy monkey named Andross." Fox Said.
"Andross.......I thought he was......."
"So did the rest of us. We don't know how he survived. I took him down! I was there! How could he have survived?!!"
"It's ok fox. We'll get him."
"Yeah, but you heard about that incident last week! How we broke in to that outpost and no one was there! It's all too weird. I'm beginning to think I don't know anything anymore."
"That's probably just what Andross wants. But anyway I need to go work with Slippy to get those new hyperdrives on your Arwings. We're gonna need some heavy Tridillium to get those baby's up and running." Katt said.
"Good Luck. See ya round Katt." Fox said.
"You too McCloud." Katt said as she left the training room of Great Fox.
Fox continued his workout.
"Daddy, when I grow up, I wanna be a pilot just like you!" 4 year old Fox McCloud said jubilantly.
"You can do anything you want Fox, your so strong." James McCloud said to his son.
"Daddy, Where's mommy?"
"Your mother died Fox. When you were just months old." James said quietly.
"Daddy what does it mean to die?" Fox asked.
Suddenly the skies turned black and a hideous ape-like face appeared in the air.
"I'll show you what it means to die Fox McCloud. Just watch what I do to your father!!, Hahahahah!" The ape said.
"Foooxxxxx" James screamed as some invisible force pulled his father away from fox and closer and closer to the Ape Face.
"Daaaadddddyyy! Don't leave me! I love you daddy! Please don't leave me!" The young Fox screamed!
"Sonnn... I can't! Please.....help me! I.......ahhhhhhhh" And with that James McCloud completely disappeared from Fox's view but the two words "help me" seemed to linger in the air.
"Hahahahaha! hahahhahah!" The ape face screamed "Hahahaheeep ahahbeep beeep beep beep!"
Fox awoke from the nightmare and scrambled for the com link positioned near his bed.
"Fox McCloud here." Fox Answered.
It was a Cornerian Lieutenant Stationed in Sector Y
"Fox we need your help some unknown.. bzzzzt....force.....defeated our...defenses...at sector y...crackle.....heading...away.......energy levels....bzzt...can't....high...."
And then the connection went dead.
"Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?" Fox said in vain. "Here we go again. Why can't you just leave us alone Andross?"
"So as you see my Lord the Aquasians banished the creature to the wormhole that connects sector x and z and kept it there using "gates" positioned in sector x." Frotlo, one of Andross's mammalian servants said.
"I see but of what possible use could this be to us?"
"Well my lord this creature is as far as we can tell nearly invincible. It consists of pure energy formed from the Lylat-native Tridillium. If we could somehow bend it to our will it would be the ultimate weapon!" Frotlo groveled.
"Hmm very good, very good indeed. But just how would we 'bend it to our will'?" The 2 meter tall sinister looking ape asked.
"A team of Catharpian scientists has devised a sort of containment field which theoretically should contain the creature. Then if we could just reason with it-"
"I don't very much care for all these theories Frotlo but this creature sounds very enticing, the ultimate example of a bio weapon. I'm willing to take this risk, in fact just to make sure that this operation runs smoothly I will personally accompany you aboard the Intimidator. Is that understood?"
"Yes my lord" Frotlo said rather nervously.
"Well Pepper" Andross said to himself "Looks like the day of Lylat’s demise may come sooner than planned after all...."
Fox McCloud raised down the prep shoot and landed perfectly in his Arwing as did Falco, Peppy, and Slippy.
"Lets get this party on!" Falco smirked.
"Ok guys lets take em out." Fox said.
"Roger Fox" Said Peppy.
"Lets see if these new hyperdrives work as planned." Slippy added.
The four Arwings burst out of Great Fox's hanger and into the vacuum of deep space.
"Ok initialize Tapper Hyperjump on my mark. 3, 2, 1!" And as Fox said one all three ships burst into a wormhole like view of space traveling at speeds no ship in Lylat (except Katt's) had ever traveled before. Less than a 15 minutes later they emerged in Sector Y to find a scene that was all too familiar. The fleet was ravaged once more. Andross had done it again. He would pay. Fox had no time to finish that that as a great mass of energy swooped down right in front of him almost like a child would swat at a fly.
"Watch out guys, this one's alive!"
All three ships broke off in separate ways as Fox did a 180 to see just what it was that had attacked him. He turned around and prepared to see something awful and unsettling and what he say was nearly just as bad. Nothing.
"Where is it?" Falco asked.
"My scopes still read high levels of radiation coming from this area but I don't see it!!" Slippy answered. "This is too weird!!!"
"Wait a sec. My scopes are reading that it has moved away. At hyperspace class speeds to....wait computer's still computing......here it comes....Solar????" Peppy said astonished.
"Wait my sensors say that things made of Tridillium and if that's true I'm guessing it's gonna need some heavy plasma phase mass to keep it going. And plasma only appears on suns!" Slippy said nervously.
"That things gonna devour our sun! Lets go get it!" Falco said.
"Ok calculate a jump to 300 miles out of solar at these coordinates. Jump on 3,2-"
A bright flash of light and the Catspaw appeared out from a hyper jump.
"Hey boys...you gonna hog all the action?" Katt said mockingly.
"Katt! You shouldn't be here!" Falco said annoyingly.
"It's ok Falco. We can use all the help we can get. Jump on 3,2,1" Fox said.
"The Tridillium creature is now headed for the Lylatian Sun my master" Frotlo said.
"Plot course for Solar, And intercept immediately. It is almost within our grasp!" Andross ordered.
The Class I-1 Battle cruiser Intimidator's hyperdrives went to work and it sped away towards the burning sun of Lylat.
Three Arwings and a modified Invader 3 class ship burst out of hyperspace and headed towards Solar.
"I'm getting strong Tridillium readings at 12 o clock. You see him Fox?" Slippy asked.
"Oh I see him all right!!" The creature was 100 meters from the ships and at 30 meters tall was a terrifying sight to Fox. "All ships bug out, switch to Hyper lasers and fire at will. If we don't stop this thing we can kiss Lylat goodbye. That star will go supernova!" Fox said as he wove his Arwing around the creature.
"Our arframes can take radiation levels up to 7.9 but I don't know if we ca handle it getting to close...ahhh Slippy's hit!" Slippy cried.
"Time to take you down ugly man." Katt said calmly.
The Catspaw wove its way through the lunges that the roughly humanoid creature made.
"Take this!" She fired with all her might but to no avail the creature didn’t even seem annoyed...it actually seemed to get more determined to swat them down!
"Falco here, going in for an attack run."
Falco's Arwing pulled left and right zig zagging through all the creatures lunges black swirls of stars and space moving at lightning speeds past his cockpit view.
"Chew on this!" Falco said as he shot a Mark 3 class electron bomb at the thing.
It blew up in a spectacular show of lights but when it faded the creature had grown to twice it's size!
"What the.....we can't fight this...it's impossible!" Falco yelled. "I...."
His word was cut off as a huge plasmatic hand slammed down to the side of his ship. He went reeling off into space. "Ahhhhhhhhh" he screamed.
"Falco!" Katt yelled.
Suddenly a spectacular light show appeared next to the creature as a craft of immense proportions entered subspace 50 meters in front of the creature.
"That's the Intimidator, Andross's flagship!" Fox said in despair.
Andross's voice burst over the radio.
"Now Fox I have you all! You will die just like your father before you!" Andross mocked.
"Your the one that's going down Andross. I'm gonna finish you off now!" Fox screamed back.
"Fox you can't possibly take on a ship of that size. Where's Katt?" Peppy said.
Fox steered his Arwing towards the Intimidator firing his Hyper lasers with all the strength he had in him. Here, Now, Andross would pay.
"Umm sir we have one Arwing attacking our ship, apparently an Invader 3 class fighter going after an out of control ship and 2 Arwings attacking our weapon. What shall we do now?" Frotlo asked.
"Take our item. Deploy the Tridillium containment cage. Use the high concentrated Tridillium cube to lure the monster in. Time for us to claim our present." Andross said in satisfaction.
"Deploying Containment field now your highness" A Catharpian servant said.
"Something's coming out of the Intimidator!" Peppy said as his cockpit turned, the sun solar flying past his line of sight. A huge box like container was released from the back of the cruiser. The monster seemed to be attracted to it.
"He's tryin to steal the creature!" Peppy said. "Fox get over here!!"
"I can't peppy, not now. I need to finish him!" Fox said angrily.
"Fox ,dammit! Lylat needs you. We can't do this alone! Fox the creature he's being lured!" Peppy begged.
"I can't........" Fox said as he started to remember...........
It was a beautiful Cornerian summer day. Solar was shining bright. Fox and his father were out in the park. Walking. Enjoying themselves. "Daddy when I grow up I wanna be a hero just like you!" Fox said admiringly.
"Well son there's more to being a hero than just being brave. You have to know what's right and what's wrong, and always protect those whom you call your friends." James said.
"Daddy, your my friend, I'll always protect you........." Fox said.
"I'm sure you will son, I'm sure you will"
Space. Deep Space. Where was he? Wait there's the Intimidator. And that...thing. And Peppy and Slippy. And Katt and poor Falco. They were his friends. He would protect them. "Thanks dad, that's what you would have wanted." Fox thought.
"Fox dammit, We can't hold out much longer...... please!"
"Right here Peppy! It's time to take this ugly plasma thing down!"
"What is the status of the operation?" Andross asked.
"It is 84 percent complete sir, another minute and we'll have it." Frotlo answered.
Andross for once in his life, smiled.
"Have any ideas slippy?" Asked Fox.
"Only one, if we set the frequency on our Hyper Lasers to a negative polarity it should draw from the creatures power rather than add to it. Theoretically that is..." Slippy said.
"Well it's all we've got so lets go for it. Set Frequency to negative point four nine two. And lets rock and roll!"
The three remaining Arwings dashed and fired like crazy at the creature that was heading for the trap. The first shot hit the creature and....nothing.
"No...we've failed." Fox said silently.
The next 5 shots tore through space, hit the creature, and it went wild.
Lashing and tearing out at all that was around it, the monster went left and right swinging its "arms" everywhere.
"Guess he doesn't have much tolerance for pain!" Slippy said humorously.
"Just keep firing" Fox said quickly.
As tens and twenties of shots rained down upon his "weapon" Andross vowed revenge on Fox McCloud. "You will pay for this McCloud. You will pay for this Now!! Fire all Turbo lasers and homing missiles at Arwing designated one. Kill them all!"
The creature seemed to "stumble" then clutched its stomach.
"All craft get outta here! This baby's gonna blow!!" Fox said as he dodged the volley of laser fire now coming from The Intimidator.
The 3 ships turboed away from the impending explosion as Falco's ship was towed away by Katt.
The creature stumbled around for what seemed like an eternity to all who saw it, then released all it's energy in what could be called a small supernova.
"We can't take this kind if Radiation sir....we......engines failing....we must leave now!" Frotlo said nervously.
"Let us leave then." Andross said. He flipped up the button for subspace radio frequency. "I will not forget this StarFox" He said over the radio, "My forces are now gathering on Atzerri to conquer you and the Lylat system and there is nothing you can do to stop them. I have the last laugh after all.....Fox McCloud! Hahahahah-" Fox switched off his radio. He couldn't bear to listen to Andross now. He had a lot of thinking to do.
Back on great Fox the StarFox team and Katt awaited the reports on Falco's condition. "Falco Lombardi will be ok" ROB said emotionlessly.
"Good" Fox said. "Hey guys, Katt, I'll meet up with you guys in an hour. I need some sleep"
"Ok" They all replied in near-unison.
Fox lay wide awake in bed. Despite how tired he was he could not sleep. He kept on thinking about how he came so close to defeating Andross and how almost lost so much. No matter. In a few days they would launch a major attack on Atzerri. Intel was pinpointing that planet as Andross's main supply base for quite a while. This confirms it. Time to pay for all that you've done Andross. Oh yes, Fox would make him pay.
As Andross's crippled ship sped away towards the Catharpian planet of Atzerri, Frotlo could not contain himself."Ummm Master.. I was umm wondering why umm did you tell StarFox where our main base was??" Frotlo said extremely nervously.
"Why? Because now he will attack it. Which is precisely what I want him to do. I have laid a trap for him there. The Cornerian fleet cannot possibly conquer MY army. And as for Fox, I have a special....surprise waiting for him there." Andross flipped on a com switch. "Has your team gotten used to the Invader 4's yet? Are you ready?"
"Ready as ever Andross." A cool, calculating voice answered, "It's time for the StarFox to die."