The Fox's Lament

A Slight Setback

(April 6th 1:32am GST)

(Kew City)

Kursed was happy to be in a hanger again, and mainly to be wearing her standard uniform; a light blue suit of armor that resembled a vest it was lined in white, the leggings to the armor covered her thighs, and her belt held a white sheet of cloth that hung to her shins front and back, the cloth was embroidered with gold needlework, her long boots covered her shins up to the knee, they were made of the same armor, and perfectly matched her bracers. Her hair reached down to her lower back and at the time was tied in several places with small white bands, her weapons were hidden about the uniform in several places, her spear was at her side at all times strapped to her thigh. The girls's parents all seemed to pitch in on her reward, she was also assured that the girls that did not live on Kew would be taken home ASAP she took her reward and headed back to her ship that was soon enough flying through space once again. Her ship was a welcome sight, she was in a hurry to get to the bridge; the bridge of her small ship was a larger room, rounded with computer panels everywhere and on large viewing window, a single padded chair on a swiveling stand graced the middle of the room. A large bipedal robot named CAM was working over a command console...

"CAM get a fix on that tracking device...I want to know every move that son of a bitch makes." She said as she plopped down in her seat.

CAM went to work on the small computer for a moment, "Target moving toward large Dreadnought class cruiser situated at a point approximately 209.5526 light-years from our current location."

"Good. Set us a course for that location..."

"Object no longer located in that region of space..." CAM replied, "...Isolated warp jump, destination unknown."

"SON OF A BITCH!!!" She screamed in frustration slamming her fist into the arm of her chair denting the armrest.

"Long range scanner have traced the tracking device to the outer rim of the Lylat system..."

Kursed stopped for a moment, "Moving or stationary?"

"Target is stationary..."

"Anywhere near a planet?" Kursed asked.

CAM was silent for a moment, "Target near planet Sauria..."

"Then contact the CHSA (Cornerian Hyperspace Safety Agency)...and set up a solid course for Sauria."

(Meanwhile in orbit above Sauria)

Lament had already called to his protocol robot to set up a warp jump before he'd ever made it to his ship. Unlike Kursed's ship...his was large; in fact far too much for a single mercenary and a robot. It was a massive ship with powerful weaponry; his arwing was pretty meek in comparison, the large ship was painted black like his arwing, and had small streaks of dark red along the wings, it had four wings in and X formation near the engines an angled neck that led into a small space where the bridge was located, there were a maximum of four decks on the ship. At the time he was busy taking a hot shower, he hated to admit it but the large rooms of his ship were almost the same as the ones he'd seen on Kursed's ship, they were mostly bare. He looked to his left arm where fresh blood had been falling, one of the she devil's attacks had actually grazed him, it wasn't deep but it was enough to make it bleed, the last time he'd been cut by a blade of any kind it cost him his eye...

"I swear that bitch is gonna end up killing me someday..."He said to himself stepping out of the shower and wrapping the wound with a large bandage from a first aid kit he kept in his room, "Well whatever I did to piss her least it'll make her happy when I'm gone...but...I ain't going down without a fight."

He finished bandaging the wound and quickly dressed himself in a pari of black jeans, before he looked to his bed; a large wood framed canopy bed with red sheets and linens, the digital clock on the nightstand read 3:43pm. He noticed that he was a bit bored, and really didn't have much to do until another client called in with another job. And being bored always made him tired...

"MEL...are there any repairs or messages I need to know about?" Lament shouted to the PA system.

The robot's voice came back, "Slight malfunction in the communications system, manual rewiring new messages have been recorded."

"Nothing too important then..." Lament replied, "...I haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep lately. Wake me up if anything important happens."

Lament woke up and rolled over to look at his clock...almost 8 o'clock. He put on a black t-shirt and headed toward the kitchen; the kitchen, or galley, was one of the largest rooms on his ship...there were five small round tables in the middle of the room each housing four chairs. It was most commonly used as a conference room where he would meet with his potential contractors, the far wall was entirely made of high density viewing windows. His first stop was to make a pot of coffee. He took a tall mug of coffee and headed toward the bridge, when he reached the bridge the heavy metal doors slid open; the bridge was not as large as the kitchen but, it was still pretty large, a few feet from the door was a set of inclining steps which led to his captain's seat, the entire semi-circular wall of the bridge was made up of multiple viewing windows, there were computer terminals covering the walls, at one of which a tall bipedal robot was working over some program or other...

"So MEL what's on the agenda for tonight?" Lament asked taking a seat in his chair.

"Message recorded at 5:15pm...message from Maxwell Tanner of planet Papetoon. Recall was requested."

"Go ahead and punch him through then..."

"Visual hologram system offline...proceed?" MEL asked in a monotone voice.

"Just do it..." Lament replied.

After a bit of time the system came online with a stranger's voice...

"Mr. Tanner...I apologize for the inconvenience but by imaging system is out..."

"No matter..." The seemingly disembodied voice said, "...It has been brought to my attention that you were the man to call to have a job done."

Lament rubbed his chin, "What kind of job?"

"I need someone taken out."

"I don't do assassinations very often you know?" Lament replied.

"So I have heard..." The voice replied, "...Which is why I've tripled your normal fee."

That hit Lament a little hard, his price for this sort of job was outrageous enough but, to triple it. He didn't like the idea of killing for money...that was why he charged so much, to discourage people from asking when there were far cheaper assassins in the business. He worked it over in his head for a moment 1.3mil...who's life was worth 1.3million credits?

"Who's the mark?" Lament asked.

"His name is Darius Fin..."

"Darius Fin? The newly elected senator on the Cornerian high council..." Lament said in shock, "No wonder why he's willing to pay triple for this ." He finished to himself. "Lets talk about this in person..."

"Good I know a nice little watering hole in Targer City here."

"I'm familiar with the place I'll be there say...1 o'clock tomorrow afternoon."

"It'll be a pleasure meeting you in person Lament...good bye."

He was a bit hesitant to do such a job but, what did he care, the high council of Corneria already wanted him dead, most of the Cornerian alliance wanted him dead, due to the whole incident with him and Fox McCloud. His memories on the subject were as clear as crystal even the parts of the incident that were known only to him. The coffee in his hand needed a refill, so he left the bridge and headed back toward the kitchen, where he decided to go to the fridge he'd left a cherry pie he'd bought last time he stopped for food supplies on Katina. That stop however went bad when someone recognized his face and he ended up ditching half of his supplies to get to his ship, his Arwing took several hits from the Katinan defense systems, but he managed to get away pretty fast. He was busy with his coffee and pie when MEL's voice blared over the PA system...

"WARNING!!! Space craft approaching. Matches that piloted by Kursed."

Lament dropped his cup of coffee and bolted toward the docking bay, "That bitch put a tracker on me I know it."

It took him no time to find the small disc stuck to the bottom hull of his black Arwing just under the nose of the ship. He threw the device to the ground stomping on it...

"MEL give me time to launch my Arwing then get then get the Raven out of here, warp jump to Titania then come back for me in 10 hours." Lament shouted to the PA system as he leaped into the cockpit of his fighter.

"Affirmative...contacting CHSA for clearance."

As Lament launched his Arwing and sped off into the dark void beyond the docking bay doors he could see Kursed's ship as a small fighter launched after him. Though she was a good pilot he'd been in aerial combat with her before and had no fear of her in a ship...but the weapon systems were not fully functional at the time on his arwing so...his only option was to retreat. As his Arwing sped toward Sauria he could see her fighter closing in on his as well as his ship The Raven vanishing almost instantly from sight as it was pulled into hyperspace. As he broke into the planet's atmosphere he noticed that Kursed's fighter was moving at an erratic speed, a trail of smoke was pluming from her right wing. When he saw this Lament nearly turned around...but there was no way his Arwing could make the trip to Titania. He found a nice place to land around Thorntail Hollow, the place hadn't changed much since the last time he'd been there; the dinosaurs were still there, the land was still green, the water in the stream nearby was clean, and thanks to the tropical environment it was also raining...

Lament sighed deeply, "Good thing I like the rain. I guess I'm stuck here for tonight though."

As he made his way into a clearing he could see a large cloud of smoke raising from the direction of Moon Mountain Pass. Kursed's landing couldn't have been very pleasant, but that was her problem not his. He needed a place to sleep for the night, he found an unused cave where he made a fire to dry his clothes, he'd brought with him the emergency rations that were kept in the cargo hold on his Arwing. He checked his wrist communicator as he ate from a mixture of potatoes, bacon, sausage, and eggs. It was 9:30, but for some reason he couldn't help but wonder what had become of Kursed. Was she dead? Dying? Or did she survive the crash? He had to know...

"At the very least this should give me something to do for the next hour or so."

He placed his guns into their holsters and strapped his sword to his side, he was happy to carry it again, and he now wore his new Manariki chain over his shoulder under his coat. He'd been to Sauria a few times before and knew that the Sharpclaw would attack anything, they weren't excellent fighters but they had a tendency to travel in packs. He sighed as he set down his meal and headed out toward Moon Mountain Pass. The trip, to Lament's dismay, was uneventful until he reached the gates to the Pass. A small group of Sharpclaw soldiers had surrounded someone; Sharpclaw were shorter than the other types of dinosaur on the planet, they resembled raptors of all sorts, among the tribes of the planet they were the only to forge elaborate armors and weapons of metal, most carried axes and small shields, not to mention the dagger like carnivorous teeth which were attached to incredibly powerful jaws. As he watched on two of the creatures fell, he was too far away to see where they were hit but, as they fell to the hard scorched ground he could clearly see a stream of blood fly into the air. He approached the fight cautiously but two of the creatures turned and rushed him, their loud clattering armor could have given them away at any distance...The first fell several feet from him with a loud grunt as Lament's blaster tore a hole in the creature's neck where it was not armored, it rolled around for a few seconds holding the wound making a disturbing gargling sound. The second seemed to be a bit smarter protecting it's head with it's sheild, Lament chuckled as he put away his blaster and rested his paw on the handle of his sword that was hidden under his trench coat. As the second Sharpclaw dropped it's defense to swing it's axe Lament strafed the blade to one side; he drew his sword while moving in a fast spin striking the creature across the knees, then the back of the neck, then finally stabbing it through the center of it's back. He kicked the dead thing off of his blade and turned toward the group that had slightly diminished...they'd attacked him, now he had a reason to fight...

As he approached the fight his stride slowly broke into a run, the first of the armored dinosaurs to see him was also the most unfortunate, his blade tore through armor and all rending it's torso in two at the waist, this maneuver placed him in the middle of the circle. Kursed who had been fighting at best she could was distracted by his entrance, she screamed in pain as one of the creatures locked it's jaws onto her shoulder causing her to fall to one knee, the creature released it's grip as Lament's sword pierced it's skull. He wasn't necessarily trying to protect her but...the Sharpclaw weren't exactly his favorite people, on top of that they'd already attacked him and he wasn't in the best of moods today. He drew his sword up and held it at eye level parallel with his shoulder, one leaped at him but the shaft of Kursed's spear slid beneath Lament's arm with a masterful precision driving it's point into the creature's face. One made a motion for the downed vixen but was stopped as Lament's blade tore it's head from it's shoulders, the last two attacked but, the Sharpclaw were nothing if not slow. Lament's attack was swift and deadly to both first removing the arm of the first creature then quickly pulling out his standard pistol, he swayed the attack of the next and quickly placed the barrel of the gun under the creature's chin pulling the trigger. The sound of the bullet striking the creature's helmet as it exited his skull was reminiscent of thunder and nearly as loud as the gunshot itself, the wound had obliterated the dinosaur's face. Unfortunately one of the Sharpclaw had only suffered an amputated arm and retaliated slashing it's axe across the fox's back...the wound instantly dropped Lament to his knees...but as the creature closed in on him he came back up with one of the other Sharpclaws's axes and drove it as forcefully as possible into the creature's chest forcing both himself and the Sharpclaw to the rain soaked muddy ground...

As Lament stood and slid his sword back into it's scabbard he noticed that Kursed had taken quite a bit of damage, her ship in the distance was in shambles...a non-Cerinian never would have survived such a crash. As he checked her over he noticed that she had a broken arm, he wasn't sure but it also looked like she had a broken rib or two, and the wound on her head may have caused a concussion, the bite on her shoulder may have broken something as well. He turned to leave but as he got so far away he could hear her moaning in pain, and with a heavy sigh he returned to her side and carried her back to his little camp in the cave...

"You'd better at least give me a head start for this." He said as he started to carry her toward Thorntail Hollow.

(That morning...)

Kursed slowly opened her eyes, she was in a massive amount of pain...and as she tried to sit up something pushed her back toward the ground. Her vision was however so blurry that she could not make out who was forcing her to lay down, the pain she felt was nearly unbearable.

"Don't move..." The voice almost sounded familiar but, it was distorted and echoing, " lost a lot of blood, you've got a concussion, and several broken bones."

"Who-who's there?"

"Don't worry about it..." The blur of colors before her said.

It was at his point that she felt the cold air on her bare fur, "Where are my clothes?"

"Right beside you...a lot of those wounds needed stitching..."

Those were the last words she heard before she slipped back into unconsciousness, her memories of Fox were the only ones she could see in the darkness. Their first date, the time spent together...their fight that caused her to leave, and the time he came back for her only to be pushed away. She blamed herself on every level for his death, maybe that was why she tracked his killer so ruthlessly...perhaps killing him would give back a small part of the person she used to be the kind hearted Cerinian named Krystal that seemed to disappear the day Fox died, and seemed to slip further away with every passing day. It seemed like forever that she stayed in that darkness, watching her memories as if they were happening right before her eyes. After what seemed like an eternity she finally opened her eyes.

At first it was too blurry for her to make out her surroundings, her only clue that she was in a hospital bed was the incessant beeping of a heart monitor that was positioned next to where she was laying. Thanks to the morphine being fed through her I.V she felt no more pain. She slowly pulled herself to a seated position, and pressed a button that caused a nurse and doctor to quickly enter the room, they both seemed to be happy that she was actually awake...

The doctor was the first to speak, a leopard in a long white coat, "Miss...can you tell me your name?"

"Kursed...what's going on? Where am I?" She asked placing her hand on her head.

"We have no clue what happened to you...but you are in the First District Hospital of Targer City. You were nearly dead when you got here."

Kursed was having a hard time filtering this out she couldn't recall any of what had happened, "How did I get here?"

"We don't know..." The doctor said, " were found on a gurney in the emergency room...but whoever put you there sure as hell saved your life."

"How long have I been out?"

"Three far as we know."

She sat up a bit more, "Can I get you anything?" A vixen in a nurse's uniform asked.

"Something to eat would be nice..." Kursed answered, "...when can I leave?"

"Well..." The doctor said, "...when you got here our main concern was the massive amount of blood you'd other than a slight hairline fracture on your right ankle you should be able to go as soon as your blood pressure is back to normal."

"How bad am I?" Kursed asked, "With the morphine I can't really feel too much."

The doctor flipped through some of the pages on his clipboard, "Lets see; grade 2 concussion, multiple lacerations and puncture wounds to your left shoulder, two broken ribs, a cracked collar bone, one shattered forearm...both bones, and a hairline fracture on your right ankle...Pretty badly banged up I'm afraid."

"Wow...I wish I could remember what happened."

"Well...I'm sorry to say concussive trauma can lead to slight and temporary amnesia or just blind patches in your memory."

Kursed sighed to herself...I only remember chasing Lament toward Sauria...then my fighter got hit by something. Lament didn't bring me here...did he? Why would he? She could still remember hearing that voice though...That voice sounded so familiar...Where have I heard it before?

The leopard doctor was a bit concerned as the blue furred vixen seemed to be staring into space, "Miss? Are you feeling alright?"

She snapped out of her trance, "Yeah...I'm fine. This is just a little much to take in.'

"Well this was left with you..." The doctor said leaving her with a sealed envelope, "...and I'll be back to check on your progress in...say...three hours. Your food should be here shortly."

As the doctor left the room Kursed removed a small piece of paper from the envelope...

Hope you're feeling better, your ship is docked in Hanger A-16...PS: can't wait to play our little game again...

"It was him...Is he obsessed with me chasing him or something?" She asked herself, "Or is that sick bastard getting off on me trying to kill him? How could he kill Fox...then act like this? It doesn't make any sense...Maybe someone around here saw him. Once I get out of this hospital I should check whatever bars I can find...Lament is a bit fond of Scotch."

(Corneria Lylat Arms Hotel...)

(April 10th 2:45pm)

Lament sat on the leather sofa in his room; it was a suite, with a large queen sized bed with this comfortable linens, a large kitchen area, lovely shag carpeting, a huge plasma screen T.V, and all of the luxuries that Lament liked but wasn't used to. He was amazed that Maxwell had already paid for the room before Lament had even landed on Corneria...of course being in a city full of people that hated him so much he used the alias...Jacob Marely...a name he went by on more than one social occasion. This wasn't just an alias though...for the right price all the proper documents were forged and put into Lylat's database...Jacob Marely was, according to records, a living person born and raised in the heart of Katina City. Lament was still thinking about how often his fake i.d had gotten him where he needed to go...

He held the small card up before sliding it into his wallet, "Best 50,000credits I ever spent."

He'd been there for two days so far; the assassination was set up in sync with a public meeting of the high council, they were to meet in city square, that made Darius an easy target for a high powered rifle. The whole plan was well thought out, Lament could reach the senator from the window of his hotel room, pack up, and be out of the system before anyone even knew he was there. He moved to a telescope at his window as he threw his shirt onto his bed, and peered into the square where several animals were setting up the podium and tables and several banners and a massive amount of chairs which took up the entire square. As he looked he noticed a pretty famous face...

"Well well well...Mr. Falco Lombardi...what's a slapstick GPX racer like you doing out here?"

As he watched the famous blue feathered falcon setting up chairs Lament noticed a pink furred cat rushing up to him, kissing him as she threw her arms around him. As he looked closer it looked like the two hadn't seen each other in some time...He knew the sight of Katt Monroe, he'd met her once some time fact she'd tried to kill him for what he did to Fox, he had to admit though even through she tried to kill him...he liked her attitude. At the moment there was something different about her though...

"Wow...either she's pregnant...or she really let herself go." Lament chuckled to himself, "The combined attitude of Falco Lombardi and Katt Monroe...there's a lethal combination."

The hit was still not scheduled for three days, plenty of time for Lament to get some much needed rest and to allow his back to heal. The doctor he'd seen had told him that the stitches could come out in about a week, so for the time being he was stuck where he was...but who ever complained about being in a big, expensive hotel room?

(Targer City, Papetoon)

(April 11th 10:25am)

Kursed was released from the hospital early in the morning and did just as she'd told herself, she checked the local bars for and sighting of Lament. Eventually she found herself in a downtown bar called 'The Pond', it was a rustic little dive; a small white building with a blue roof, it certainly stood out among all the taller buildings. The bartender seemed a bit worried about her being in such a place in her condition but was more interested in what she had to say...

"Yeah Miss...there was a fella like that in here just two...three days ago." The heavy set wolf said.

"You sure it was him?" Kursed asked.

"Oh yeah...there's no forgetting a face like that...pretty nice guy...little fond of Scotch but..."

Kursed almost laughed, "That's him alright. You know where he went?"

"We got into that a bit...said something about visiting an old friend in Corneria City."

"Thank you sir..." Kursed said, "...I've been looking for a clue all morning on where to find him."

"Not a problem Miss...just be don't look to be in a proper condition for any kind of travel."

"Thanks for the concern..." Kursed replied dropping a few credits on the counter.

She found her ship right where Lament's note had stated, unfortunately as she entered her ship she noticed that her fighter was gone. She knew that she'd crashed but, how bad was the damage? She was tempted to go back to Sauria and check the damage. As she started to limp through the room she noticed a large tarp covering something, she pulled it away to find a perfectly new Arwing with a note on it's hull...

Don't think this is a freebe I took the money out of your room while you were knocked out...

She was mad but, at least she didn't have to go through the hassle of replacing the ship herself. She had her suspicions that it may have been rigged or bugged, but at the time she had more pressing matters to deal with, she slowly made her way to the bridge. She instantly set up a warp jump to Corneria, being such a distance from the planet the trip was set at a full 24 hours...

"CAM...check out that new ship in the docking bay for anything unusual. I want an identification scan too, and a registration, I want to know everything about that Arwing by tomorrow morning." Kursed said standing up, "I've got a lot of healing to do..."

As a Cerinian she possessed the distinct ability to heal such wounds as broken bones and minor cuts...but it took a far greater toll on her than most of her other abilities did. She went to her room and sat in the middle of her soft bed where she'd be able to concentrate, her first step was to fix her forearm. She winced as she worked the bandages off of the swollen discolored arm, as she focused all of her healing strength the hand of her undamaged arm became surrounded by a light blue light that danced about like fire...

"Oh god this is gonna hurt..." She whimpered closing her eyes.

As soon as the light touched her busted arm she cried out in pain, mending bones with this ability was nearly as bad as having it broken all over again, it felt like a fire inside, as if someone were welding the bones back together with and arch welder. Five agonizing minutes later her arm was as good as new, though the bruised flesh and bone would take time to heal on it's own. Tears were still streaming down her face and she was breathing heavily, and sweating profusely the worse the wound the heavier the toll to the healing, and her arm had been broken in several places. She took a few minutes to rest and catch her breath before moving to her ankle, she really didn't like being a gimp...she'd have done this sooner but really didn't want to attract all the attention to herself from the doctors at the hospital. Her ankle didn't hurt nearly as much but nonetheless it still brought fresh tears to her eyes. By the time her healing was done her vision was blurring again, she lay her head on her pillow and slipped into a deep sleep to recover her lost strength...

(5 hours later...)

Kursed woke up, her vision was still blurry but, her arm and leg were usable once again. It hurt to walk and mover her arm a lot but, it was a bearable pain, a slight sting really...hopefully a hot shower would clear that up though. She almost fell asleep again while she was showering, she had not had a shower in several days she hurried herself in getting dressed; she put on a new bra and panties before putting on a pair of black jeans and a gray tank top. After a bit she headed to the kitchen, healing wounds of any kind always made her hungry, she called CAM on the PA to bring the report on the new Arwing to the kitchen. Kursed had her laptop with her when she sat down to a hot meal, and soon CAM entered the room and dropped off a small disk before leaving. Kursed quickly put the disk into the small computer's CD tray...

"Lets see here..." She said to herself skipping through the data from the diagnostic, "...everything checks out. It's's better than my old one. So...he's a swordsman, marksman, martial artist, ace pilot, and a great mechanic. Is there anything he isn't good at?" As she said this to herself she noticed something odd about the ship's registration.

The Arwing was registered to one Fox J. McCloud, and Star Fox team, that didn't make any sense...

"But the team had all of our ships decommissioned after Fox died...didn't they?"

As her curiosity built up she accessed the web and looked into any decommissioning records of the team's old equipment. All she pulled up was an old newspaper article...she should have seen it before but she didn't really care for the newspaper so she now read the article intently...

"Great Fox Disappearance...It would seem that bad news comes in large numbers these days. On March 21st of the year 3246, the great hero of Lylat, Fox Jamison McCloud, was shot down over Katina. Three weeks later a ceremonial funereal was held in his honor as no body could be recovered from the scene. On June 8th however another offensive tragedy struck as the Great Fox, which was to be decommissioned and placed in the Cornerian Historical Museum, was stolen from it's hanger. Oddly enough there seemed to be no forced was as if someone walked into the hanger, slipped past every guard, and managed to launch the ship all by his or her self. Though it seemed impossible for only one person to break into and steal such a massive space craft, one bystander claims to have seen a lone fox wandering around the hanger suspiciously several hours before the ship came up missing. Is it possible that Fox's murderer, this character that calls himself Lament has taken the Great Fox as some sort of trophy? It is the hope of most of the citizens of the Lylat System that this Lament meet justice as soon as possible..."

"That son of a bitch...leaving me Fox's old Arwing like this...probably just doing it to screw with my mind. I'll show him as soon as I get to Corneria." She growled to herself, "He'll pay for wasn't enough to kill Fox, but he had to steal the only real memory of him from the people that loved him so much."

As the hours passed Kursed got dressed into her uniform and got her things together, she was also forced to go to Lament's lengths to get clearance...being a bounty hunter she was not one of the most liked people in Lylat her id called her Myra Lynn. Like Lament however she had several different aliases in case one became a problem. She could recall every part of Corneria City, there were uncountable amounts of places Lament could be in such a massive city...there was no telling how long it would take her to find him, all she could do was start with a part of the city and move from there...

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