Lament was hardly able to believe that he was actually doing this. He stood in between two small ships; his own arwing, and a very familiar larger blue ship...she was still here. She'd called and left a message with his ship's computer...MEL...telling him that she could be found in room 373 or the Heavenly Arms Hotel. It wasn't a particularly far walk, only a mile or so. The station was mostly all metal, parts, here and there were made of shatter proof glass including the massive dome where the resort area was located...The resort was a separate part of the station; the inside of the dome was roughly twice the size of Corneria city, there was everything inside the dome, even a simulated beach. Lament wasn't really impressed with the place, he'd been here once or twice before, the place was actually so large that they used hover cars to get around the 'city under glass' as it was often called. The first thing that Lament did was hailed a cab...he wasn't about to walk...
The cab that stopped was driven by a rather pudgy squirrel, "Where to Mack?"
"Heavenly Arms..." Lament answered.
The cabbie turned to look at the fox, "Uhh...you want'n the strip joint on 3rd or the hotel on Emmerson.?"
Lament thought to himself then shook his head, "Hotel...maybe later with the other..."
The cab rushed off quickly...Wow where the hell did this guy learn to drive?...After being in the cab for only a matter of minutes the cab came to a stop at a massive building. A red carpet led from the sidewalk and continued through the glass revolving doors, Lament paid off the cabbie and headed inside; the insides of the hotel did impress him a bit though, the walls were the color of fine pearls, detailed banners hung from the walls, and there were many ferns and other small plants and trees that lined the lobby which combined into an intoxicating scent...
The green feathered female avian at the receptionist desk eyed the fox, "Can I help you sir?"
"Yes...I need room 373...business meeting."
"That would be 53rd floor..." She said tilting over the desk so that her breasts were partially visible pointing to the elevators, "...through those elevators, then on the 53rd it's a left, down the hall, and a right...first room on your left."
Is this chick comin' on to me? He asked himself, "That was...uhh...detailed...thanks."
Lament made his way to the elevator and pressed the button for the 53rd floor; the ride was slow for the most part especially the dull but somehow equally soothing music that drained from a speaker above, it was like a tranquilizer...then again he hadn't slept for the entire trip almost 9 hours of flight and boredom. When the doors finally opened he nearly fell on his face, as he'd been leaning on the door. It was a short walk down the hall before he was standing nervously before a metal door, to the left of which was a small golden plate that displayed the room number 373. Lament pushed a small button on the palm reading pad...
"Please state name..." The device asked.
There was a brief silence, "Access granted..."
With a beep the door hissed open allowing Lament to enter the room; it was a nice room, the queen sized bed was almost double the size of his bed, there was a small balcony behind a set of glass doors, there was a massive plasma television across from the large bed...but there was no one inside. He looked around for a moment before the bathroom door opened. Oddly enough nobody came out, Lament peeked inside...
Just to the edge of the door was as far as he was willing to look, then again had he looked in any further he'd have seen Kursed hiding beside the door against the wall. He sighed as he walked over and sat at the foot of her bed...
"Kursed...I know the last thing you want is to talk to me..." Lament said staring at the floor completely ignoring the fact that she'd stepped around the corner cautiously pulling her spear from a concealed place by the couch, "I came here for a reason...it was actually...to ask you something..."
"Then ask..." Kursed said making sure the point of her spear was between them, she was still cautious, the Lament she knew and hated would never act like this.
"I want...damn it..." Lament sighed deeply, "Look this is going to sound stupid but...what you said back on Titania, it forced me to realize something. That you were right. Truth is I didn't care...huh...about anything, even less about myself. To be honest I...always blamed myself for my lover's death. Somewhere among the years of drinking myself to death...I killed your mate..."
Kursed retracted her spear, "He wasn't my mate...there was a time I'd hoped he would be...but then he broke up with me...I guess you'd have called him a military man...got involved with the war. It's confusing really...after the war I wanted to go back...sure I hated him, but I still loved him. Then I got home and heard the news and...If I would have only come back when he asked me to it never would have happened. He wouldn't have run into you...and he'd still be here..." She was hardly wearing anything under the towel wrapped about her but, she didn't care as she sat on another side of the bed.
"At least you have what you need to carry on with your life..." Lament pointed out, "There's no doubt that he never blamed you for anything...so you never needed his forgiveness. You just for some reason feel at fault for his death...when all the fault in on me. The difference is that for me there's only one way to get that forgiveness...and I seriously doubt that you will ever find it in your heart to give it to me...but...if you can think of some way to earn it...I'll do anything you ask..." Kursed jerked away a bit as Lament reached across the bed and took her by the wrist forcing something into her hand...
With all of that out of the way Lament headed out of the room; what he'd handed to her was exactly what he'd promised her, the title to The Raven and everything on board it, and also a golden ring topped by a large sapphire cut in the shape of a heart. He stopped at the door, "You know Kursed...your boyfriend and I...we made the same mistake. We took the two of you for granted...and even though he's on the other side, we're both paying for it. I'll leave you be now...this is a nice place. I think I'll stay a few days before I head home. Bella might not be helpless but she's too old to get anything done on her own..."
Lament was a few steps out the door when Kursed stood up, "Wait! You want to be forgiven fine...help me find that bastard Slash..."
Lament froze, "This about your boyfriend?.."
"He spent his entire life defending everyone in this star system...if you want him to forgive you, then do what he would do..."
The one eyed fox sighed, "What'd you have in mind?"
"Alone we aren't much of a match for those two...but..."
Lament laughed, "Together we would have the upper hand...well...in theory."
"Well they took the sword from you...we should base the search on that..." Kursed said, "...I'm gonna head downstairs and check out, I'll be right back."
Kursed got dressed and headed to the lobby. Lament on the other hand was left alone, his eyes were sagging involuntarily, his head nodded to the side every few seconds, only to have him jerk himself upright. Having deprived himself of sleep he was in no position to win his lasting war with the Sandman. Before Kursed could get back she found the exhausted vulpine asleep...his lower body hanging off the bed snoring softly. She tried several times to wake him up, but he was as good a dead to the outside world. She even rolled him off the bed resulting in a powerful thud, but with little to no results. Kursed let out an annoyed sigh and headed for the phone where she called the front desk...
"This is room 373...go ahead and cancel that check out...I won't be going anywhere today...hmm...payment?"
Kursed developed a devious grin as she walked over and picked Lament's pocket searching through his wallet, "Yes I've got that covered..." She said pulling out a thick wad of cash and hanging up the phone, "...and then some."
Lament woke with a slight headache and rubbed the sleep from his eyes...it was early morning...very early, the clock on the room's night stand read 3:35am. There was a light snore coming from a small mass of covers on a nearby leather couch...he almost didn't hear the sound, it was almost silent. He sort of chuckled to himself when he saw Kursed half hanging off the couch, her mouth hanging open. He'd never thought she could look so...cute. His headache eventually led him to the bathroom where he decided against a shower, but he hadn't seen a hot tub in years. Lament was happy to get into the tub having only his suit of clothes in the hotel he was forced to lay all of his clothes to the side...
Kursed was forced to wake as she rolled off the couch hitting her head on a nearby coffee table...as she sat up she wiped a small string of drool from the corner of her mouth. Now her head hurt, but she could ignore that, she had a decent ship now...and at least one crew member, who she knew was a relatively fair mechanic. She stumbled to the bathroom door only to find it was locked and Lament was missing from the bed. She ignored the fact that it was so early in the morn and decided to finally get her things together so that they could leave early and get a good start on tracking down Slash and Fyra. She was about to tell Lament to get his ass moving before the television turned itself on; it's screen displayed the letters EBS (emergency broadcast station), her heart leapt into her throat when she saw Lament and her photos on the screen. Above their photos were the words Armed and Dangerous, below their photos were the prices on their heads both set at 1,500,000 credits each then the voice sounded...
"We apologize for the interruption of your time...but at 6:23 this evening these two criminals were spotted somewhere within the Lylat Palms resort. Their names are Lament and Kursed...Kursed is wanted for the assassination of Senator Darius Fin if found she will most likely be in the presence of Lament, the most wanted person in the Lylat system for the murder of Fox McCloud. They are both known to be armed and incredibly dangerous...You are cautioned not to approach either at any time, if you see them call the police immediately...at this time the entire resort is in a state of lock down until further notice..."
"Hell no!" Kursed exclaimed to herself running to the bathroom door, "Lament! LAMENT!! Get your ass out here we gotta go now!"
This was important enough to call for desperate measures when he didn't answer, she used her access codes for the room to override the door's locks and rushed inside to find that Lament was not inside. His clothes were on the counter but he was nowhere in sight and Kursed could distinctly smell wet fur. She was beginning to think that he'd left her again but then she heard the sound of someone moving in the air vents above her. After a few moments she heard his voice come from a missing vent panel by the toilet...
"Psst...Kursed...get your things and pass me my clothes..." Lament's voice said from the shadows inside the tight space, "They're searching room by room for us...hurry."
She passed his clothes into the opening, she didn't even bother with anything other than her new jewelry, before she climbed into the vent as well. The first thing she noticed was how dark it was inside the claustrophobic space, she couldn't see anything accept for the small beams of light that made their way through the many ducts of the different rooms in the hotel. She could hear Lament start to move forward and followed behind as closely as possible without touching the fox in front of her. It was as they passed one of the other vents leading to the ducts that the light gave Kursed a view of the still nude fox crawling on all fours in front of her, she instantly jerked her eyes away...
"What the hell is wrong with you put on some clothes?" She tried her hardest not to yell.
"Well excuse me but, this isn't the ideal size of a changing booth and I was acting on a bit of an impulse..." Lament replied, "...I'll agree that the view back there may not be a welcome one but still. I'd rather not discuss this moment in prison...You know those bastards have a nice little cell for each of us on Nexus Prime. Not the nicest place in the galaxy you know?"
The thought of the 'prison planet' as it was called made Kursed's skin crawl. The worst offenders in the galaxy were not sentenced to death...rather they were given a much more horrid fate...a jungle planet with no inhabitants short of the inmates that are dropped off there to suffer for their crimes by living side by side with the only other creatures like them; it was a place where no one could be trusted and even fewer survived. Most of the animals of the planet were savage, bloodthirsty, predators it was nothing short of hell itself for those that were forced to live there. She decided to pass off his state of affairs as a minor annoyance compared to what he'd just mentioned. Kursed followed Lament down the endless shafts but after a long while of trailing behind him Lament stopped suddenly causing Kursed to ram into him, her face rammed the cheek of his butt...
After a moment she punched the same cheek, "Why did you stop?" She almost yelled at him.
"Ow...damn it..." Lament hissed as his backside let him know he'd been hit, "...they've got the exit to this place guarded."
"Is there another exit?"
"Yeah...but it's not pretty."
Kursed stalled for a moment, "Well lets go." She said tugging on his tail.
Lament sighed deeply, "You're the boss...but don't say I didn't warn you."
Kursed didn't know how long they'd been crawling through the dusty vents...but she did know they'd descended a number of floors. As they rounded a corner Kursed froze...
"My god what the hell is that smell?" She asked trying to wave a smell from her face.
Lament froze for a moment and chuckled, "Heh..heh...sorry bout that."
"Jesus Christ Lament, a little warning would've been nice."
"Sorry...but I'm hungry...that happens when I'm hungry."
As they continued their trip through the vents; she wasn't really angry anymore, she found the situation to be a bit humorous actually. Soon however Lament came to a stop again but this time he removed a panel from beneath him. "Stay here I'll scout the area for any police or guards." He said dropping into the room, where he quickly started to put on his clothes. He then looked up to see Kursed sticking her head through the opened vent cover, she dropped him a small blaster and pointed to the far side of the room where her Telepathy had obviously picked up on someone's thoughts. Lament then rushed off toward the direction she'd pointed out, Kursed had no idea what kind of room they were in...it looked like a boiler room but, the large room was rather cold and had no furnaces, just a mass of pipes and large tanks...
Lament inched his way passed the tanks one by one toward the direction that Kursed had pointed out, he didn't travel far before he actually heard someone walking near a large network of pipes. He peeked around a corner to find that the noise was caused by a mechanic and a cop...
"So there are no escape routes?" The echidna in the police uniform asked.
"Yes sir..." The raccoon mechanic replied, "...only way out of here is the old catacombs."
"What are the catacombs?"
"Not catacombs really..." The raccoon replied, "...it was actually an old escape tunnel when this was just a rundown space port. Then back in 3021 someone decided to turn it into a resort and went all out in the preparations, renovating, refurbishing, rebuilding...anything that wasn't rebuilt was torn down. They missed the entrance to the catacombs when they built this place over the sight of an old warehouse, most people are afraid to go down there..."
"Where dose it come out..."
"McCloud Memorial Park...on the north side of the pond."
The cop turned on his radio, "Rose...get dispatch on the line and tell them to get a few men over to the pond in McCloud Memorial...they may be headed there...Then I'm headed for the roof of the hotel to check there."
Soon enough the two left the area and Lament returned to the vent for Kursed. She dropped from the vent and followed Lament through the now empty room, they stopped by a mess of old pipes that were stacked on the ground. The pipes were huge, the massive pipes used for the water mains that ran through the floor; they were roughly 10 feet long and several inches thick, they were heavy. They were forced to move them one by one, unfortunately after so many had been moved the stack crumbled filling the room with the loud metal on metal sound of the pipes hitting the ground and each other. They paused for a moment and let the sound fade away...suddenly someone burst through a nearby door only to find an empty room and a mess of pipes all over the floor. He pulled his gun and flashlight and began to search the area as the room was rather dark. Lament and Kursed were both well hidden, Kursed found a small place beneath one of the large tanks whereas Lament was following the cop from the pipes high overhead...soon enough the officer made his way around back to where Kursed was hiding. Unfortunately as he passed the tank she hid under he suddenly stopped, his lupine sense of smell began to attract him to something. He shone his light under the tank and bent down slowly until he saw her face..
"Alright you, come out." He said pointing his weapon at her.
Kursed exited her safe haven with her paws in the air, she was certain that Lament would find a way out and leave her to rot in prison...
"Now where's Lament?" He demanded.
"I don't know...we split up."
As she said this the officer looked around still keeping the vixen in his line of sight but, as he turned to face her again Lament dropped from the pipes with his fists locked together. As he landed behind the wolf he drove his hammer-like fists into the wolf's neck knocking him to the pavement, he started to push himself off the ground but Lament's bare foot struck the side of his face laying him unconscious. Kursed had an odd look on her face, she was surprised that he hadn't used her as a distraction to get his own way out, but he didn't, in fact it was possible that he'd just saved her from a rather horrible fate..
"Nice distraction lets go..." Lament said patting her on the shoulder as he walked by, "...get his gun, and that light. It could get pretty fucking dark down there..."
Lament walked back to the cop and handcuffed him to a nearby tank, then smashed his radio, "Can't have him waking up and informing anyone where we went."
The door to their exit was covered by the pipes, Lament was informed of the exit and had used it once before when he had a job long ago on the station. As for Kursed she was about to learn why their way out wasn't such a nice thing. Lament pulled her toward the small double door and used his blaster on the small lock and chain, as soon as the door was thrown open Kursed pulled her head away; there was a rancid smell far worse than anything that she'd ever smelled, it instantly caused her eyes to water and sent her into a fit of coughing...
"Lament...what the hell? Again?"
"Give it a rest..." Lament said walking over to her, "...it's an old swage line. Like I said it ain't pretty."
"It's repulsive...it's like rotten ass."
"Correction..." Lament interrupted, "...it IS rotten ass...well...in a manner of speaking. Well ladies first."
Kursed donned a disgusted look, "That is soooo gentlemanly of you...ugh..." She said before jumping into the pitch black hole, "Oh my god...tell me I'm not standing ankle deep in crap."
There was a slight splash behind her before Lament's paw touched her shoulder, "Okay then I won't say it...but look on the bright side."
"And what might that be?"
"I'm not wearing any boots..." Lament said, "...look just give me the light and follow me. They most likely won't follow us down here."
"I'll try to contain my amazement."
Kursed followed Lament through the muck below their feet, the smell actually made her light headed, she wondered how Lament was able to stand it. He didn't seem to be bothered by the smell at all, then again he'd been through some situations in his life that were most likely worse than walking thru refuse. He was amazingly quiet for the time they were walking, almost as if he was deep in thought about something. Kursed attempted to examine their surroundings but accept for the small light coming from the flashlight in Lament's paw, nothing else was visible. After so much time Kursed delved into her own thoughts. She was confused...but maybe Lament really had changed, but that didn't stop her from thinking how she was traveling with Fox's killer. How would he feel knowing that she was actually working with Lament? As she thought to herself she noticed that Lament had come to a stop and was looking for something. It wasn't long before she noticed he was climbing a small access ladder that was invisible to Kursed...after a few seconds his light went off and another light shone in from above him. She was more than happy to know that she'd be outside again soon...A few more seconds later Lament climbed back down...
"There's two cops up there. Patrolling the area." Lament said, "I'll go up and distract them...you meet me in the hanger." He said passing her the light, "Look if they catch me...just do me a favor and don't leave my Arwing in the hanger, take it with you. If worse comes to worse head to Sauria and wait in orbit for one week, if I don't show up after that...just leave me to whatever fate hands me..it's less than what I deserve."
"Why are you doing this?"
"I guess...redemption...for all the things I've done. The word Lament means 'sorrow'...but it never did bring me any, rather it was a cure. The only cure, when my entire life was torn away from me. So listen in case this is the only other chance I get...I'm sorry, for everything I've done to ruin your life."
Lament quickly made his way out of the hole and Kursed was able to hear the guards, "There he is get him!!"
"He really has changed..." Kursed whispered to herself as she crawled out into the light.
In the distance she could see Lament rushing the cops away from the hangers, she rushed off in the opposite direction. Kursed stuck to the shadows of the alleyways on her treck back to her ship, she wasn't far from the hanger when a mass of officers passed by most likely to head Lament off. When she reached the hanger she found that the ships were no longer guarded, she hurried and hid near Lament's arwing, but after an hour passed she decided that he must have been captured. She boarded his arwing and maneuvered it into the docking bay of her ship. Luckily enough the lockdown became pretty much useless after Lament was spotted since the guards that were set to the hanger had all been called in to help chase the nimble criminal down. Kursed set her course quickly to get out of the station, and headed to the Raven where she would dock and set a course for Sauria where she had promised to meet Lament.
Even after docking with her new mother ship, Kursed rushed to her room on her old ship and quickly turned on her t.v...The image instantly washed over to an overhead view of the park in the resort. A small, single figure was being pinned to the ground by a swarm of police officers...
"There you have it folks...Lament has been captured. He'll be transported to Corneria where he'll stand trial for his crimes...The whereabouts of Kursed are as of yet still unknown...but this photo of an unauthorized ship leaving the resort during lockdown..." The newscaster said as a picture of Kursed's ship was displayed, "...if seen report the sighting immediately to the Cornerian Defense Agency. And now we return you to our scheduled program."
His fate was indefinite, if he wasn't killed, he'd be sent to Nexus Prime...Kursed didn't quite know how to feel; on one hand she was rid of him and even if he wasn't killed by the Council, a life on Nexus most certainly would...on the other hand, he put himself in this position to get her out of the situation they were in in the first place. All she could do at the moment is honor his request and wait for some sort of sign of him to show up on the Raven's scanners.