The Catharpa Series Part Four
As Twilight Falls.....
by Jeremy Stieglitz
It was a beautiful Day on Corneria. Solar was shining bright which was a real surprise considering it had to shine through the Meteo belt. But it did and Fox and his father were having a wonderful time on the Cornerian Park of Gopar.
"Daddy I love you" Fox said innocently.
"I love you too Fox." James said lovingly back.
"Daddy, Where's mommy?"
Fox remembered these scene oh so often. Fox would ask where his mother was and his father would say she was dead and fox would ask what was death and then this voice would......
"She's, She's dead Fox." James said quietly, almost to himself.
"Daddy, what does it mean to die?"
No....here he would come. Out from nowhere and take his father away. Away from Fox. And there was nothing he could do about. he would wake up every time sweaty and shocked as if it had really happened. Every time leaving that face cackling and laughing at him. Every time........running away.
Suddenly as if from nowhere a horrific ape-like face would appear in the sky.
"I'll show you what it means to die, Fox McCloud. Just watch what I do to your father!" The Ape-Face mocked.
Suddenly James was jerked away from fox. He struggled but to no avail his father just kept on getting farther and farther away from him.
"Daddy!! Don't leave me , I love you daddy, please don't go."
"Help me fox help-"
And then he disappeared.
"Hahhaaahaaa! Haahaaa! HAHAHAHAHA!" The Ape face mocked.
Here is where Fox would wake up.
Here is where Fox would wake up.
"I can't wake up!! What's happened to me." Fox no longer four years old but now instead 28.
"You have been destroyed, Fox. You are in a coma." A invisible voice replied.
All was black.
"What? What? How? The last thing I remember was flying. In my Arwing. Then .....oh, no.....Bill. Bill how could you have? He....he shot me down. Bill." Fox said silently. Almost as whatever was talking to him couldn't hear.
"Yes your 'good' friend Bill shot you down. He took you down as easy as you would have destroyed any of Andross's scout ships. You are weak, Fox!"
"Noo...he couldn't have. It wasn't Bill. It couldn't have been. He wouldn't have done that to me. I AM NOT WEAK!" Fox screamed in rage.
"Yes you are Fox. You are weak. Andross has gotten you. You have failed. You have let yourself and your teammates down."
"Yes. And most of all-"
"You have let your father down too."
"Life support functioning. Fox's condition has stabilized." ROB said, the beeps of life coming from behind him.
"Good, hang on Fox. You can make it through this." Katt said sympathetically.
"I should've been there. I let him down. How could I have let Bill take him out like that."
"It's ok Falco." Katt said.
"No it's not. I guess....I guess I'm not as good a pilot as I thought I was."
"But Fox'll be ok right? Fox'll be ok."
"Fox will be ok" ROB interrupted.
"But will be make it out of the coma?" Katt asked.
"That is unforeseeable. It depends on how hard Fox tries. The comatose stage could last from a day to a week to years to life." ROB said almost with a hint of emotion.
"Keep trying Fox. Keep trying. Never give up." Peppy said as he entered the room.
"Never give up. That's what my father told me and that's what I'll do. You'll never defeat me!" Fox said.
"Not even when I am this?" The voice called.
Suddenly Fox was in the cockpit of his old P-5 Arwing. As he looked forward through the front of his cockpit plasti-steel he shuddered as old memories flooded his brain. The brain. It was the first Andross. He was still alive? No...this is all in his mind........
"Only I have the brains to rule Lylat!!!" The creature mocked.
Time to get moving.
Aboard the flagship Intimidator Andross reviewed the plans for the attack on Lylat. He smiled for the second time. All was going well, especially in defeating his enemies. Especially in terms of Fox McCloud. Andross chuckled quitely. In an ironic twist of fate Fox's best friend, Bill Dog, was the one to deliver the crushing blow. He-- the automatic door slid open.
"Andross, hello." Bill said.
"Yes, what is it?" Andross replied.
"Yeah I wanted to say something."
"What?"Andross said, getting impatient.
"Have fun on your trip to Hell!"
Before Andross could move Bill had a gun trained on him
"What are you doing???!!!" Andross said in shock.
"The mind control procedures wore off, now it's time for me to take you down and avenge my friend."
"I bet you are proud of yourself you fool. Too bad it's your own funeral to which you have brought on."
"What are you talking about? Your the one who's-"
Bill's finger tightened on the grip and the blaster bolt tore through the air.
As it hurtled towards Andross's torso it disappeared after hitting an invisble wall 2 feet from Andross.
"A force field. Comes in very handy when you have unexpected...guests. All I had to do was distract with talk for a second."
Andross smiled once more.
Bill ran for the door.
It didn't open.
"Frotlo send to squads of armored troops over to my throne room. We have an intruder. Bill Dog to be exact. Subdue him and bring him back to the station. And tell them to use stronger mind control procedures this time."
"Yes my master." A slightly distorted voice said through the radio.
The color drained from Bill's face.
"What's wrong Bill. You have the look of a man who's mind will soon be gone."
Andross smiled for the fourth time in his life. Things were going oh so well.
Fox dispatched the 2 eyeballs with relative ease. But then the brain came for him.
"This isn't real. I can get out of this."
A voice seemed to whisper "You cannot, Fox McCloud. You are too weak."
"No...please....stop....who are you?"
"I am you, Fox McCloud. I have always been you."
"You're lying. Andross has captured. Put me through some sort of procedure. He's the one who you are!"
"No Fox. I am you. I am you."
And with that the tendril lashed out from underneath the braing and grabbed Fox's Arwing. The pulled him and whipped him and the damage report was going crazy.
"Left wing lost. Bomb bay inactive. Damage to port area. Right Wing Lost." An synthetic female voice said.
"Please fatherrr help meeeee! Please."
But there was no answer.
"Tridillium tanks damaged."
All went black.
"So Andross, what do we do now?" Wolf 'O Donnell said.
"Simple, O'Donnell, we attack and capture the Lylat system. And this time they don't have their precious Fox McCloud to protect them."
"You can thank me for that."
"I can thank myself for that. But don't worry O'Donnell, you'll get your money. As you always have. But now I have a slightly more.....covert....operation."
After Andross was finished telling Wolf the mission Wolf O'Donnell had an evil grin on his face.
"I just love working for you, Andross."
"Fatthhherr please,,,,,,I can't do it by myself. Why did you leave me? Please." Fox said to the now floating apparition of James McCloud in the black void around him.
"You let me die son. I died for you. I will die for you. And for all eternity I have died for you! How could you let this happen?"
"I tried father. Why did you leave me and go to Venom? Why did you go?"
"You're pathetic Fox McCloud," James suddenly disappeared and an omnipotent voice replaced his. It was everywhere.
"What, what are you talking about."
"When you killed that Atzerri, all was good. You let your anger go and fought back. You weren't weak like you always are. Like you always were. And like you always will be! You know it felt good to fight BACK for once."
"No." Was all Fox could think of to say.
"Then let your anger go. And kill the man who will kill your father." Suddenly there he was. Right in front of Fox, staring and smiling. Mocking him. Andross.
And suddenly in Fox's hand was the glove.
"I will kill your father. I have killed your father. And there is nothing you can do about it you sniveling--"
"--pathetic, weak, insignificant--"
"You let your father die, Fox!"
"NOOOOO.. I lived for my father!"
It happened again.
"AND HE DIED FOR YOU!!!!!! Take me down!"
It is said that in every man's life there is a point where he must make a decision to go two separate ways. This was Fox McCloud's. And all was silent for an eternity.
"No," Fox said. "No, I will not kill you now Andross. I will not lose myself anymore. I am Fox McCloud and I will not give in!"
"But........your father?" Andross said desperately.
"My father was a great man but he did not die for me. He died for all. He died for all he loved and all he cared about. He died for me-"
"No, you lie, Fox McCloud."
"No you don't know!!!" Andross squealed.
"For my mother."
"And one last thing Andross......he's not dead!"
"Nooooo, you lie you-"
And suddenly there was a flah of light and suddenly Fox felt as if he was being hurled throughout space and time at 100 million miles a second.
"Guys....Guys...." Slippy yelled ecstatically. "He's coming around he's coming around!!"
"Huh?" Falco said starteled as he woke up.
"You serious honey?" Katt said.
"Yeah Yeah come in here!!"
"Well lets go!!" Peppy said as they all started to run down the corridor to sickbay.
"Fox is waking up" ROB said almost with a hint of joy.
"Uhhhhhhhhhh," Fox moaned wearily.
"Hey Fox sure took you long enough."
"Falco...I've been through a lot."
"But the important thing is you're OK" Slippy said.
"Yeah and something else I know something else."
"What's that Fox?" Asked Slippy.
"My father, he's alive."
"What?" All four said in unison.
"What?" ROB said.
"He's not dead. I'm sure of that now. Andross has him."
"Yeah but-" Slippy was cut off as alarm kalxons sounded all over Great Fox.
"We are under attack" ROB said.
"How could they find us here. We're right off Meteo!" Faclo said.
"No time to debate about it now. We have to fight." Katt said already leaving the sickbay to get to the Catspaw. Fox noticed that she hadn't said anything to him yet.
The 4 Arwings and Catspaw flew out of Great Fox right into a barrage of turbolasers.
"StarWolf!" Falco said.
"Quite correct Lombardi. That is my name." Wolf replied.
"And don't forget me!" Pigma said.
"And me, the great Leon!" Leon added.
Andrew was noticably absent from the group.
"We're gonna take you down just like we took down your father." said Pigma.
"Go ahead and try." Fox said confidently as he weaved to his way behind Wolf.
"Pretty confident today, StarFox!" Wolf said.
"More than you know." Fox said as he fired a round of 6 hyperlaser blasts at the Wolfen 4 fighters, the newest of Andross's line.
"Not good enough Fox!"
Falco weaved his way in unison with Slippy behind Leon and each of them fired rapidly.
"I can't dodge them...too much....Wolf help m-"
Leon's ship exploded lighting up the space around them.
"Leon! You've done it now, StarFox. We're bringing in a suprise for you." Said Wolf.
"Hey Buddy!" Bill said as his ship emerged from a large asteroid.
"Bill? Oh no."
"Yeah it's me, Fox. And it's too bad you didn't die last time!"
"Wolf, how could you?" Katt said.
"Hahahah." Wolf laughed sinisterly.
"Your not getting away from me Pigma! This is the last time!"
"You can't defeat me you old-"
Pigma's ship blew up under the barrage of laser blasts that Peppy Hare fired.
"Time to die, Fox" Wolf said. "You won't shake me this time."
Wolf was right. no matter how hard Fox tried he couldn't get him off his tail and Bill too. He couldn't win.
"You have lost Fox I-"
Wolf's ship exploded as streaks of yellow lasers pounded through the area his ship had occupied.
"Looks like they forgot about me, again." ROB said.
"Good one ROB, now we have Bill." Fox said.
"You can't win Fox; I'll take you down." Bill said.
"Bill listen to me. I don't know what Andross did to you but please snap out of it!" Fox pleaded.
"What are you talking about. Andross is my leader. " Bill said blankly.
"Bill please listen to me!!" Fox said desperately.
"Bill remember!" Falco said.
"What are you talking about. You-"
At that moment Bill's ship slammed into one of the smaller asteroids sending him reeling towards one of the larger ones.
"Fox...I remember now. The training academy, Us as children, the days at the beach, your father.All the fun we had together. I remember Fox. I remember."
"Bill we're coming to get you hang tight. We're coming Bill."
"It's no use Fox. I'm gone. Bye Fox and Peppy-"
"Please Bill try and do something. You can make it" Fox said with tears in his eyes.
"Slippy, Faclo, Katt. Go get Andross for me. Make him pay."
But it was no use as the last of Andross's special attack force reeled towards his death. Fox swore that he would not cry, he would not despair, but he would get even. Andross would answer for all the crimes he had commited.
Bill's ship hit the asteroid and exploded into a thousand pieces.
"Umm sir...your not going to like this.....no your definately not......ummmm uhhh"
"What Frotlo, what?" Andross said.
"Umm the mission well it failed and ummm everyone is welll, down."
"Hmmmm. Establish a comm link with Contact P on Corneria."
The wall lit up into a video screen that showed a shadowy figure standing just beyond visible light.
"Yes Andross?" A voice said.
"I need some information."
"And what would that be?"
"I need to know excactly when and what the Lylat system is planning to do to stop me."
"That will cost you a lot, Andross."
"Money is of no conern."
"Well in that case here's the information. Corneria is playing a wait and see approach building up their defenses and waiting for you to attack. They have placed 90 percent of their forces on the western side of Lylyat because under the circumstances that would be the most tactical area for you to attack." The Figure answered.
"Hmmmm. This information is invaluable. Thank you 'P,' you are indispensable."
"I know that, Andross."
"Katt, what's wrong?" Fox asked.
"Nothing Fox. I can't," She had tears in hear eyes.
"I... just got news that the sun of the Issus system went....."
"Went supernova. It's all destroyed, Fox. Everything I had to live for. It's all gone."
Fox didnt know what to say.
"I know how it feels to lose all that you have, Katt."
"I know Fox. I-"
They embraced and fell silent.
"Falco, come in here I have to show you something." Slippy said sitting near his computer as usual.
"Yeah Slippy. What is it?"
"I just intercepted a call from Corneria directly to Atzerri. Itr was encoded heavily but I cracked it. I can't decipher the message itself but it was labeled ' Contact P. Need Information. Andross.' What do you think it means Falco?" Slippy asked.
Falcos face went pale.
"Slippy. We have a traitor."