Shadows in the Sand pt 1
April 17th 12:23pm
(The Raven in orbit around Sauria)
Lament has slept in late...it was a luxury he was rarely allowed anymore, either a mission, a problem with his ship, or Kursed found some way of depriving him of much needed sleep. As it were his first stop of the morning...or afternoon, was his morning visit to the bathroom before getting dressed; today in a white tank top and a pair of faded blue jeans. His second stop was in the kitchen for a bite to eat and a cup of coffee...not to mention a nip of Scotch for an eye opener. He soon found himself awake and well sitting in his seat on the bridge...
"MEL system report..." Lament said sipping at his coffee.
"Fuel cells at 84.1164...food stores at 56.68...small non-fatal error in the communications system, error is electrical in nature, reparis advised but not necessary...hyper drive engines are currently at 100 efficiency, life support systems are at 97.226. All systems check out as opperational." The robot answered, "There are currently three messages for you. One from Maxwell Tanner of Papetoon, one whom refused to leave a name, and one from Tyrel Mayson of Tarros-4 in the Dan'jas system."
"Tyrel?.." Lament wondered out loud, "I haven't heard from him in some time...wonder what the sick old bastard is up to...patch him through."
"Com channel unavailable..."
That got Lament's attention, Tyrel was one of his most frequent employers and had a special com channel just for Lament that he never turned off, "Really?...try one of his other channels."
"All com channels under the listing Tyrel Mayson are unavailable..."
"Then set a course for Tarros-4...contact CHSA and get us clearance...If I'm needed just patch all my calls into the docking bay I'm going to work on my Arwing before I get to work on the com systems..." Lament said walking out of the room, "Controls felt really choppy on the way back in from Sauria when I went for supplies." He mumbled to himself as he walked down the hall.
Hours passed as Lament found himself working on his Arwing, he'd found that some of the G-diffuser system's relays were a bit off on their calibration, which made perfect sense as they were meant to be checked every year and his hadn't been so in over two. After his work on his Arwing was done Lament headed to the bridge and took about an hour to get his com system's holographic imaging system back online, then took a much needed hot shower. It wasn't too long before MEL's voice called over the PA system announcing that they'd gained clearance to go into hyperspace. Even in hyperspace the trip would take some time, three days tops, Lament waited until he was on the bridge to make the jump. He didn't like the idea of just laying around for three days doing absolutely nothing, his fallback as a cure of boredom was as always his training. Lament owed his life to his training, especially with Kursed on his tail constantly. His training was not light by any manner; he trained every skill he used in a single room with an increased gravity, he trained in a gravity four times that of a normal ship.
By the time he'd been in his personal training room for any more than three hours he was spent. Nobody else in the entire Lylat system, that he knew of, trained with increased gravity but one clear look at his musculature could tell that it was far more than effective. At times he believed that his intense training was the only thing that kept Kursed from killing him, but it wasn't going to work forever...she was getting stronger and more skilled...he knew that eventually she'd finish what she'd started. He had accepted long ago that she'd be the one to end his life but, he also guaranteed himself that he was going to make her life hell on the way. It was like he'd explained to her, he had no intention of killing her, he still didn't understand his own obsession with her chasing him, maybe it was something about a beautiful girl constantly chasing him around the galaxy, or maybe he was just an adrenalin junky caught up in the moment every time she attempted to kill him...or maybe he was just falling for her...
"Nah..." He said to himself shaking his head, "...wonder what time it is." He added turning away from his training gear, "Computer restore gravity to normal."
He picked up his wrist communicator and turned on it's time piece...it was nearly 9 o'clock, he'd been training for over five hours. He rubbed the back of his neck which was pretty sore for the moment, even so he didn't think he was training for as long as he had been. As he stretched his arms over his head a powerful smell wafted past his nose...
"Damn..." He said tuning his face away, "...is that me? I need a shower more now then ever."
(Meanwhile on Katina...)
Kursed had no choice but to sleep aboard her small ship as the repair crews fixed whatever was wrong with the ship...and CAM as well. She'd gotten some supplies as well, not much but enough to last a month or so in space. She was very appreciative that the mechanics made their work as quiet as possible while she slept, she'd seen someone in the city that she really didn't want to run into. Why Falco was there she didn't want to know but she knew that he'd bring up more than one question about her disappearance as well as possibly trying to take her in for her alleged murder of the senator. Luckily the lead mechanic of the small group working on her ship seemed to be quite infatuated with her...something she used to the depths of her ability to get her ship repaired faster. To some extent she'd grown to enjoy toying with men's heads, she was after all a very enticing vixen and was well aware of the fact, and how she could use it to her advantage against most men. Even though she'd gone as far as she was willing to go, the mechanic informed her that the repairs would most likely take a few more days, followed by his normal flirting and come ons. Kursed was half tempted to just take him up on his offer for dinner; after all he was a rugged and handsome wolf, he was a gentleman and was very well mannered, though at times he seemed to be a bit shy, in the end her memories of Fox simply wouldn't allow it.
On the night of her second day on Katina Kursed the wolf showed up in the kitchen where she was eating a small dinner to herself...
"Miss..." He said, "...we've finished the repairs on your ship."
"Thank you Teed...I've left some extra credits in a small case in the docking bay for you all."
"You're too kind ma'am." Teed replied using a small rag to wipe away some of the oil remaining on his light gray fur, "You know if you don't mind my intruding...you look like you've got a lot on your mind ma'am."
Kursed chuckled a bit to herself, "Is it that obvious?"
"Well...you have been eating for over an hour and your plate's still full."
"It's this bounty I've been chasing for...well a long time, " Kursed said, "he's stronger than me, a better fighter, and an awesome pilot, but every time he has had the chance he didn't pull the trigger. By my count he could have killed me a dozen and a half times by now, but every time he just walks away."
Kursed had gotten used to talking to the wolf and signaled for him to sit, he quickly did so, "You know my father was a mercenary, and he once told me 'The true warrior is the one who knows when to stay his hand'...perhaps there's more to this person than you first perceive."
"It's the one that killed Fox McCloud..."
Teed nodded slowly, "I thought you looked familiar...you're Krystal aren't you? You know most people in Lylat think you're dead."
"Krystal died with Fox..."
"Well there's your main problem..." Teed said reaching for her hand, "...look, I learned when my wife died that you can't dwell on the past. Not only is it not what Fox would have wanted it will eventually lead to your end, you already doubt yourself and your motives." He stood up and stretched his neck and placed a paw on Kursed's shoulder on his way by, "Do me a favor and get some rest okay? And don't worry your secret's safe with me, my son's probably wondering why I'm two hours late coming home right now."
As he left the room Kursed called back causing him to stop at the door, "Thank you Teed, your wife was a very lucky woman."
"And I was a luck man, even though we were only together six years...the ones you love never really leave...you just need to know where to look for them. Good bye Krystal..." He said walking out of the room, "...and you remember to get some sleep."
After her dinner she decided to go to her room to do as Teed had requested, at the same time giving CAM the order to take off. By the time she got to her quarters the ship had broken the atmosphere, and after a hot shower she changed into a red nightgown...but no matter how she tried she couldn't sleep, Teed's words stuck with her. The ones you love never leave...you just need to know where to look. Kursed thought on this for a moment, she decided to meditate on it for a bit at least enough to tire herself out. She sat cross legged at the center of her bed and rested her hands on her knees before taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. As she concentrated all of her thoughts toward Fox she could see a small light in the distance beyond the darkness of her own eyelids. The light closed in on her very quickly...it was just that a large blot of light green pulsating light. As it enveloped her she could feel a hand on her cheek, and a familiar warmth, the familiarity of the feeling brought a slight trace of tears to her eyes...
But why is the light so dim...it's like he's only half there. Kursed thought to herself.
After such an experience her sleep was no help, she had a reoccurring dream in which she finally stands off with Lament, but as she watches him die he smiles, as she's struck down from behind...she catches a glimpse of Fox's face just before fading into the darkness and waking up in a cold sweat. Most of the night she spent laying in bed fearing he own sleep, fearing that if she closed her eyes she'd see the one she loved killing her all over again...by the time it was 3 o'clock she finally got some dreamless sleep, since Xander had not answered her call she set a course for Titania where his home was located...she didn't expect to find Arlex there but Xander was always around even if not at home.
For Kursed the days heading toward Titania went by far too slow, like Lament her training was the only thing that ever seemed to ease her mind to any degree...unfortunately like most other things she used to train with Fox so even the act of her daily training brought back painful memories. When she finally found her ship settled above Titania. The barren planet was perfect for Xander as he preferred to be alone and there were few if no in habitants of the planet...instead Xander lived in a large ship orbiting the planet. As Kursed's ship circled the planet she attempted to establish communications with Xander's ship but, as it's last location appeared there was nothing but floating debris...
"Oh my god...CAM give me a report." Kursed said jumping into her seat.
"Dreadnought class ship...registration matches that of the Black Lance...two life pods had been safely jettisoned to the planet's surface...chances of survival on Titania during it's summer months are 46.291 percent. Pod locations locked, at point 32.21 degrees south latitude by 113.22 degrees east longitude. Bio scanners are being disrupted by a passing electrical storm..."
"How long till the storm passes?" Kursed asked.
"Approximately 28 and one half hours...life expectancy in current temperature of 110.46 degrees Fahrenheit...four to five hours."
"I'm going down there to look for them...I'm sure Arlex can handle himself well enough, but Xander's not nearly as tough as Arlex." Kursed said standing from her chair, "If there are any changes call my Arwing...send out a distress signal to any Cornerian ships in the area. Within minutes Kursed's ship was Arwing was headed into the atmosphere of the red planet.
The planet's unstable atmosphere caused her small fighter to shake violently with turbulence, but she soon broke into the sweltering heat of the desert planet the planet was home to some strange life forms , and the masses of ancient ruins littered about the planet suggested that it was, or could still be populated. Though there were no direct records of any animal sightings on the planet. According to some hieroglyphics that Beltino had found on one of the archeological surveys done there...there was at least at one time a race known as the Mashif that lived on the planet. The small escape pods were found exactly where she was told they'd be, the footprints in the sand however didn't look to promising either Arlex or Xander had been injured as one was limping, and judging by the smaller boot print it was Xander who was hurt. To avoid the heat and make the trip shorter she followed their footsteps which were visible at some height, until they suddenly stopped several miles from the escape pods. She landed her ship and leaped onto the soft sand, the heat instantly took her breath away, it took a moment to adjust to the sweltering heat of the planet wide desert. Kursed noticed that off in the far distance was a large oasis to the north, and mountains to the west.
She studied the large imprints in the golden colored sand, judging by their direction they were headed for the oasis in the far distance...but something wasn't right, it was as if they'd both collapsed and were swallowed by the desert itself, as she studied the area she noticed very small prints in the sand, they were almost perfectly covered by the sand. The prints were headed in the direction of the mountains to the west Kursed made it a quick step to board her fighter and fly to the mountainous region. What she discovered was that rather than mountains the hills she'd seen were parts of what was once an elaborate ruins that seemed to blend into the surrounding dunes of sand, she soon found the footprints again which led into a large opening in one of the highly carved surfaces, she didn't like the feeling of the place and quickly drew and extended her spear. As she moved about the area she heard something shift the sand behind her, she quickly turned ready to attack but...there was nothing there. Again the sands shifted behind her causing her to turn, every time she'd face the direction the shifting sound came from she found nothing. Suddenly her right thigh began to burn causing her to cry out in pain, she looked down just in time to see what looked like a scorpion's tail vanish into the sand...she couldn't move and her vision was now merely a vague blur of color, she felt her heart slow down and finally fell face down in the sand. A moment later she managed to see a set of stubby black legs, and heard the sound of small snaps and clicking sounds...she could feel herself being dragged along the ground just before she blacked out...