The Fox's Lament

By Randy Healon

Scifi / Other

A Deadly Game pt 3

The rooms of the area seemed to all be the same, empty spaces connected by empty corridors, it was only after finding the main gates out of the arena that they found themselves in the midst of a ruined city. Some of the structures had been rebuilt with modern flair though they were still made of stone. The long catwalk nearby that led away from the arena was lined with massive stone pillars, there was no telling how tall each was but most were at least half destroyed, but far in the distance Lament could make out the tall tail wing of his ship. Lament took cover behind one of the mammoth structures as he saw something Kursed followed...

"What are you doing? It's clear..."

Lament scoffed, "Take a close look toward the buildings near just below the wing from my ship..."

Kursed leaned out a bit and stared squinting into the glare of the bright sun; at first she saw only sand and stone buildings but, something moved slowly across the sand...it was a small swell parting the sand like the dorsal fin of a shark parts water.

"Is that what I think it is?" Kursed whispered.

"Yeah...I noticed it when they attacked me before..." Lament pointed out, "...I don't think they can see too well, more like sonar...and that's a real problem, the solid ground around here to a creature like that...perfect sound conductor..." Lament noticed Kursed aiming her rifle at the shifting sand but, quickly stopped her, "Are you nuts? At this range...even it you hit your mark, there wouldn't be any penetration."

As they sat there thinking Lament looked at Kursed, a devious smile spread across his face, "Do you know where your spear is?"

"When they drug me through the hanger they left it in a pile of stuff...why?"

Lament pulled out a single grenade and smiled, "I liberated this from one of those guards...let's see how stupid these things are...I got 20 bucks says at least one grabs it." He said bouncing the explosive up and down in his paw.

"You're on..." Kursed said.

Lament pulled the pin and lobbed the device the 50 or 60 yards to the patch of sand where the creatures were swimming in the sand. As soon as it impacted the sand the two lumps in the sand rushed over to it...Lament smiled a bit anticipating that he'd won the childish bet...he lost hope but the device vanished below the sand. The blast was slightly muffled by the sand. The two vulpines ignored the fact that Lament had just won their bet and rushed through the open area...though the blast was slightly muffled by the sand it would definitely draw attention to the hanger where the ships were being held. As they moved through the spaces between the buildings random animals began to rush toward them though in small numbers, Lament and Kursed's combined fire tore through whatever lines they formed as the alleyways they rushed through gave no room to take cover...

As soon as they broke into the hanger Lament knocked Kursed to one side causing her to slide behind a mass of junk taken from the ships. At the same time diving to the opposite side, just in time for the mass of soldiers to open fire...a stray bullet struck Lament in the foot...

"I found it..." Kursed called showing her spear.

"Good toss me the rifle..."

Kursed didn't hesitate in sliding the gun across the stone floor, Lament scooped the weapon up into his other hand...

"As soon as I start shooting you get to your ship..."

"What about you?" Kursed asked.

"When did you start caring about that? Just go..."

Lament stood exposing himself above the crate he used for cover...the rapid spray of hot lead was unexpected as it caught the guards off guard, a multitude didn't move fast enough to get to cover as they were riddled with bullet wounds. Unfortunately one of Lament weapons emanated the whirring sound of a gear grinding on another, followed by a few short clicks...

"FUCK!" Lament yelled throwing the jammed gun and ducking back to his cover.

'What happened?' Kursed's asked inside his head.

"The fucking thing jammed..." Lament replied out loud.

'What now then I'm pinned down back here.'

"Plan-B...get ready to do that fireball thing..."

Lament reached for a nearby fuel cell; everyone knew a that a plasma cell set on fire was as good as any bomb. Lament hurled the cell as far as he could near a spot where about six soldiers were taking cover...Kursed peeked from her cover near her ship and fired a bolt of red energy at the fuel cell...the soldiers never saw it coming as the ball of flames slammed into the cylindrical cell. The blast was several times what the grenade had been earlier, sending the soldiers and their severed limbs in all sorts of directions; a fox in particular slammed into the hull of Lament's ship with a force that left a massive red splotch of blood. The shock wave from the blast had knocked Lament on his ass. Lament laughed, "Holy shit that was a big boom!" He hadn't really expected the explosion to be half as big as it was. Unfortunately that was the only cell anywhere near him, all he had now was a half spent machine gun. He took a quick peek around his cover to see Kursed rush into her ship. The gunfire from the enemies had died down and Lament took this time to search the small area for anything even close to a weapon, all he found was an old rusty screwdriver.

"Hey can you still hear me?"

'Yeah...'

"How many are there left?"

'Eight...hang on one's coming around on your left...'

Just as the words came to Lament a soldier slid on the ground aiming a rifle at Lament; unfortunately his nose slid right into the barrel of Lament's rifle...the burst fire of the weapon let off three rounds tearing away the side of the animal's face...he then claimed the SMG that the fox had; a bit larger than a normal gun with an extended clip. He was happy enough that the thing was more than half full of bullets...

'They're coming in on both sides now...'

Lament settled over his options as he took in his surroundings...a small board with four wheels sat nearby, the kind mechanics would use to get under a vehicle. He quickly grabbed the board...

"God I haven't done this since I was 16."

The guards leaped into Lament's cover only to see him leap over the nearby crates landing on the crawler like a skateboard, gliding him across the stone floor. He whipped his vehicle around facing the enemies unleashing all the ammo of the two weapons he had...one of the bullets he'd fired turned out to be one of those one in a million shots striking a grenade one of them had strapped to his belt. The explosion sent the animals in several directions, there wasn't even anything left of the one that had the grenade...

"Lucky shot!" Kursed yelled as she emerged from her small ship.

"Why didn't you leave?"

Kursed rushed over to a nearby command console, "There was another ship in here when I came in...I think those two creeps left...with the sword."

"What's the big deal it's just a sword...?" Lament asked checking his injured foot.

"Weren't you listening to Belladonna?" Kursed shouted, "They could resurrect anyone if they find a way to activate the spell in that sword. Even Andross."

"Sorry kid but, that's hardly my problem..." Lament said limping toward her ship.

As he made his way toward the Raven a gunshot sounded off, a wound burst from Lament's shoulder, almost in instant reaction Lament spun and hurled something at his shooter's face. The wolf had caught Kursed by surprise and held her at gunpoint when he shot lament, though he was fortunate enough that the blast from the grenade his friend held didn't kill him, his aim suffered. The object thrown from Lament drove itself forcefully into the wolf's left eye, his death wasn't instant as he fell to the ground screaming, he was quickly silenced by the point of Kursed's spear as she drove it into his forehead...

"Haven't you ever cared about anything other than yourself?"

Lament turned to face her, "Yeah!...Once...and look what the fuck it did to me! I'm tired of living like this...every day is another attempt on my life! You have no idea how badly I just want to stand still when they shoot at me!"

"Then why don't you!" Kursed yelled back, "If it's so hard to live...then why do you fight so god damn hard to stay alive!"

"Because I still love her..."

Kursed was a bit speechless, she hadn't expected that answer...It was the memory of his lost love that kept him from just laying down and dying. She didn't have time to think on it though, she transferred whatever data she could to her ship. When the Raven took off Kursed was forced to shield her eyes from the dust that was picked up. No sooner then the Raven left the hanger was her own ship in the air. She decided that she needed to find out if there was a second alter built and if so where it was...there was only one person that would be able to find out such a thing, but at the time there was no telling where Xander and Arlex had gone after their run in on Titania, now that they had a new ship they could be anywhere in the star system in hopes of uncovering anything new in their exploration, but they often searched uncharted planets so that was where she'd start. She caught a short glimpse of the Raven when she broke atmosphere just as it leaped into hyperspace. She still found it hard to understand...when she'd first started tracking him she thought Lament was no more than a heartless, soulless killer who simply built his career around those he killed...but now she questioned everything that she knew about him, when the time came she didn't know if she'd even be able to kill him...when leaving him alive would be a far greater punishment...


(Somewhere in the Lylat System)

May 3rd

11:15am GST

Days had passed by and Lament had nothing but his painful memories to keep him company, as MEL had been destroyed, or dismantled by the mechanics that were most likely planning on stripping down the Raven to see what they could use on their own ships. Because of this Lament was forced to stay away from his normal drink of Scotch so he relied on his second favorite drink, a health drink that was sold almost everywhere...though he couldn't really pronounce the exotic name of the drink he did like it's blended flavors of different fruits. MEL was also his mechanic so he was forced to repair anything wrong with the ship himself, as well he'd nearly been arrested on Papetoon when he had his wounds taken care of at the hospital in Targer City. He was tempted the other night to take out the entire bottle of Scotch that he'd been taking small drinks of here and there. He couldn't explain it but, the alcohol had lost it's effect, the more he drank the more her memory was forced back into his head finally forcing him to throw the bottle into the wall. That same night he demolished every bit of liquor on the ship, he'd never touch a bottle again...

His days became filled with nothing more than the maintenance of his ship, and an absurd amount of training after having gotten his ass handed to him by Fyra. The more he trained however the more he thought about his old team. He'd done them no extent of wrong...and worse he'd never apologized. His days without the alcohol had made him remember what his life once was. He used to have so much fun flying his arwing, doing missions for whoever called on him...maybe that was the answer. Stop being so serious all the time and lay off the fucking alcohol intake...He wanted to send his old teammates an apology. He found out what he wanted to do. He always had a backup to MEL's CPU and had integrated it into the ship's main computer...

"MEL...take me to Sauria..."

Five minutes went by, "Confirmation acquired...destination Sauria...ETA approximately 10 hours."

"Just get this old piece of shit moving alright?"


(Lylat Palms resort and Space station...about 22,000 light-years from Titania...)

The past few days had been pretty hard to handle. Her ship had started acting up recently and needed some maintenance, and she was in no way a mechanic. She really didn't like the idea of the place she'd chosen to get the work done but, it really needed to be taken care of a.s.a.p...the only real reason she didn't like this particular space station was because of the memory that it revived. Fox had once taken her to the resort on a date, it was here that she let her feeling for him be known...where they shared their first kiss. It was times like these that she simply stayed to herself...she decided that this was a more than an opportune time to get in a bit of recreation, her ship could take more than a single day to repair...there were electrical failures all over the place...The lead mechanic had informed her that most of the problems were pretty minor accept for the fact that her engines were on their last leg, apparently all the time she spent chasing Lament from one star system to another had finally taken it's toll on her ship, it would be expensive but luckily she'd been paid quite a bit for the job she did on Kew about a month ago...

"Maybe a little fun time is in order...haven't had much time for myself..." Kursed said to herself rolling over to look at the ceiling, "...sitting here in my room sure isn't helping anything."

She got up and packed a small suitcase full of clothes, "Knowing my luck something bad'll happen before I can even get into the spa."


(Planet Sauria)

10:19am

May 4th

Lament had been there for some time, he'd always told Belladonna that he'd help her fix up her hut, but had never done so. This time however it grew into the late hours and he still went about fixing things...there was something else odd that she noticed about Lament; not once did he call her 'bitch' or 'old hag' every time he said something to her. He had spent hours fulfilling his wasted promises, one by one; he rebuilt her roof, fixed the door as it had been broken during the last strong storm, he even managed to draw out plans for a system that would bring her fresh water from the well although that would take some time to set up. He'd also been working with Belladonna to get all the information they could on Slash's location...

Lament had his arms full of fresh flowers, "So you're going to visit her."

"Yeah...I'll be back..." Lament replied, "...just do me a favor and get my sword from my arwing...I'm going to need it to finish the roof when I get back...I really need to get you some tools next time I go to Katina for supplies."

Lament took his time walking to the well, he took in the salty sea air...he'd always loved the smell, from the very first time he'd come to Sauria, he'd never forget it. He took his time climbing down the seemingly endless numbers of ladders. He again walked to the gravestone where he carefully laid down the mass of flowers carefully situating them around the slab of stone...Unlike last time he didn't say anything. He simply sat there and began to clean off the headstone as he noticed that the name on the headstone had been worn off. He ran his fingers over the spot where her name was...

"Guess I'll have to engrave that again huh?" Lament said standing up. "I'll come down her to fix this place up tomorrow...some of the flowers look pretty bad."

Lament made his way back up the well to the small cave that lead back out to the cape but turned back to look down at the grave again before heading back to the hut...He couldn't help but to smile just at the thought of her...His voice echoed through the well even as he left the spot...

"I love you..."

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