The Fox's Lament

Shadows in the Sand pt 2

(The Raven in orbit around Sauria..)

April 18th 6:23am

Lament was a bit upset, the CHSA had been experiencing technical problems and his patience was wearing thin. He hardly had a decent sleep through the night, and he felt like something was happening to Tyrel. He had never had to wait any more than three hours before getting clearance for hyperspace He did as usual that morning; shower, coffee, then to the bridge. It was there that he realized that something was not right as he looked over his laptop and punched up the most recent messages left on his system only to find that there were two.

"Lets see..." Lament said as he read out loud, "...Dear sir, we regret to inform you and your crew that we at the CHSA are experiencing technical difficulties with our navigation network systems, at the moment there can be no safe course plotted through hyperspace all travel is at this moment restricted, but soon enough our systems will be back online...thank you for your time..."

Lament managed to suppress the urge to tear the screen off the device, "Fine...fuck you too then..." He said to nobody in particular, "...what the hell?"

To Lament's great surprise the second of the messages was part of a distress call, "What the hell is this all about MEL? Why didn't you wake me up for this distress call?"

"You specifically ordered that you not be disturbed during your sleep."

"Fair enough..." Lament said, "...where did it originate?"

"Distress signal sent from a point in orbit around planet Titania...time of 8:26pm galactic standard time." MEL replied in his monotone voice.

"Well I guess it's better than just sitting on my thumbs all day...never know when these lame bastards will get their systems back online plot a course for Titania, as fast as we can travel without breaking into the hyperspace engines."

"Trip estimated at four hours..."

"Then lets get to it..." Lament said.

The hours seemed to fly by and soon Lament found himself looking out at the surface of the famous red planet. It was one of the only planets in the Lylat system that were deemed uninhabitable, Lament didn't take any leisure, he made it his way to the docking bay and boarded his Arwing and shot out of the docking bay. A short while out he contacted MEL...

"MEL...send any messages to my Arwing I'll check 'em on my way back."

Lament set his scanners to pick up any downed ships on the planet's surface, he managed to pick up three small distress beacons on the planet's surface. When he landed he found Arlex and Xander's escape pods; nearby were footprints headed north, and there were more near tracks that implied an Arwing had landed. He leaped back into his fighter and headed for the third beacon. Lament was surprised to find a lone Arwing not far from some large stone ruins. He landed nearby and checked over the small ship; it was the Arwing that he had left to Kursed, but according to the control console it's last flight was...yesterday.

"That's not right...she doesn't stay on solid ground that long." Lament said as he said this something flashed in the sunlight near the entrance to the ruins...he rushed over to the object, "What the fuck is going on here?" He asked picking up a golden spear from the sand, "Kursed wouldn't leave this laying in the sand,..."

He pulled his sword slowly...

"Hang on..." Lament said, "...she's better than that. How did they sneak up on her?"

Lament's ears perked up as he heard something shifting the sand behind him, he didn't turn to look rather he concentrated on the sound, following it with his ears. He couldn't pinpoint whatever it was, it kept moving. After about two minutes the sound vanished. Lament looked around in all directions, but there was no more sound...within an instant he heard the sound near his leg but, quickly reached down grasping something tightly. His instant reaction was to thrust his sword into the dirt where the thing in his hand had protruded. A small black thing burst from the sand screeching horribly with Lament's sword driven through it's chest...the creature thrashed about for a moment before the life left it's body. Lament looked over the creature; it had rubbery black skin, almost no face, with large with large white slits for eyes. It's scrawny arms were tipped by seven fingers each tipped with sharp hooked claws, it had webbed toes which were tipped by the same tearing claws, it was wearing a cloak made of tattered black cloth, the thing he still held in his hand turned out to be a tail like a scorpion's, it was at least six feet long. "The hell is this thing?" He asked himself removing his sword and poking at it a few times, "Well better safe then sorry."

Lament rolled the thing up in a spare blanket he kept in his Arwing's cargo bay, at the least it would make for an interesting study piece later on. He took a deep breath before moving into the darkness of the ruins; their insides were like a deep cave, a small halogen light on his shoulder was his only light source. Soon he heard footsteps coming toward him and shut off the light and hid against the wall. Two of the freaky little monsters passed by. When they were out of sight Lament flipped open the screen on his wrist communicator and set it to scan the area for any type of signal from another communicator...there wasn't a smart person alive in Lylat that didn't wear one while traveling in space. He was lucky to learn that there were in fact two active...his problem now was finding his way to the area. He found his way down most of the halls without any problems, eventually hiding from passing creatures as they came. After a bit of time the dank musky smell of the cave was joined by a much more familiar smell, a smell that followed a certain blue furred bounty hunter. The sent led him through the halls one by one until he found a small room where there was a single cell of some kind, what would have been iron bars before was made up of stone. There seemed to be no use of any guards, but how did they get the prisoners inside? As he approached a single black furred fox leaped up as if to protect someone...

"You alone in there?" Lament asked.

"No...there's an injured wolf in here, and a poisoned fox."

"How bad's the poison?"

"It's not good...she's got a high fever." The almost invisible fox said.

"Then we need to get her out of here fast..." Lament said attempting to move the bars, " do I open the cell?"

"I don't know I was unconscious when they brought me in here...they seem to be practically blind in if you find yourself in trouble shine your lamp in their eyes. They're also none too smart..."

"How do you figure?"

"Our weapons are still in here...they never took them."

"Well...then they're either stupid...or they just don't know anything about weapons..." Lament said, "...I'm hoping for the first opinion myself."

"You and me got a plan?"

Lament studied the stone pillars for a moment, "Stress fractures...a loud enough blast of sound could rip these things apart." He passed Kursed's spear through the bars, "If they come in here for any of you hold them off till I get back."

Lament rushed out of the cave as quickly as possible only to find that he'd been traveling for some time as night had set in. A bone chilling cold set in with the shadows of night, Lament went to his Arwing's weapon storage...a smaller cargo bay near the back of the ship...where he took out several small concussion grenades, not nearly powerful enough to be considered deadly but would provide more than a powerful enough blast to destroy the stone bars on the small prison that held the three captured animals; he turned to face the ruins again only to see three of the small figures like the one he'd killed cocking their heads as they studied him...He doubted that the clicking sounds he was hearing were coming from their mouths as he doubted they had mouths. He was proven wrong however as the one in the middle let out a vicious hissing sound, as it's massive mouth showed several rows of lethal fangs...

This motion startled Lament into drawing his sword... "Why do I always get drug into THIS SHIT!!?" He shouted rushing them.

The first of the three leaped at him with an unusual speed but, it's path was stopped as it's flying body collided with the blade of Lament's sword splitting it's short torso in half, a deep green liquid sprayed from the wound covering both Lament and a good portion of Kursed's nearby Arwing. The motion didn't slow Lament's advance the slightest bit as he continued to charge forward lashing out at the other two with a spinning motion as he dropped from a powerful jump. The first of the two dropped vanishing into the sands, the second however wasn't so lucky. The thick red stained blade of Lament's sword tore into flesh and bone spreading the creature's chest open like a finely honed scalpel, spraying Lament in blood as it's entrails spilled onto the sand. Lament looked about for the third but, he'd lost track of it after it dove into the sand vanishing like a shark below the waves. As he kept his senses on end searching for the creature something burst from the sand several feet to his left, as it flew by his back he felt the stinging pain of the creature's claws tore several cuts into his back. The creature circled around again leaping out of the sand striking his right arm this time, unfortunately after the fourth pass Lament had studied this attack pattern long enough. Lament ducked the next attack and thrust his sword upward, The creature's path plowed itself into the blade, it's body only made it half way through until the blade became lodged into something pulling the blade to the ground with the body. It's tail, which had been wrapped around it's waist began to flail about wildly. Lament dislodged his sword and wiped the blade clean before sheathing the weapon...

Lament ran his fingers over the cuts on his arm, "Damn those claws cut deep...this is gonna need stitches."

There was no more interruptions between him and the cell where he found several of the creatures dead lying outside the cell. Neither Lament or the still conscious fox inside said a word, Lament set a single grenade at the base of the stone bars. Arlex pulled the other two to the far wall and covered his own ears, Lament set a small timer on the device and backed into the hall. The grenade didn't quite explode; rather a concussion grenade simply emits a sound wave strong enough to not only render one unconscious but if you were a ways from the blast it could also throw off your equilibrium as well. The lightly muffled boom wouldn't have been perfectly audible but, the shaking it caused in the caves was perfectly noticeable, but the bomb had done it's job the bars were totaled...

Lament rushed inside and lifted Kursed onto his back, "You gonna be alright?" He asked noticing that Arlex was a bit off balance.

"I...I..I'll be fine..."

"Good. Then grab your friend and lets get the hell out of here. These bastards may be as blind as bats but their hearing is just as good too."

As the two rushed through the halls Arlex pulled out in front of Lament and began to overtake him in their footrace out of the cave. "Just get to one of the Arwings outside! I'll meet you in orbit!" Lament yelled.

As Arlex vanished into the darkness of the caves something whizzed by Lament's ear, these things had some sort of weaponry but thanks to the pitch black, and his unwillingness to turn around he couldn't see what it was, luckily when he was at his Arwing he had devised a little 'surprise' for the little freaks. The standard grenades around his belt were all held on by a pull string...which when pulled would remove the pin from all ten of the highly explosive devices, while at the same time dropping them all to the was a trick he'd come up with to get out of a foot race, and it had saved his ass more times than he cared to count. As he approached the entrance of the caves Lament took the cord to his grenade trap in his hand...

"See if you can keep up with this, you ugly little fuckers!" He shouted yanking the cord.

He could hear the grenades falling behind him and tossed the cord aside rushing as fast as he could for his safe exit but, he found he'd pulled the cord a bit prematurely. The first explosion threw him off balance a bit, the explosions were a fraction of a second apart, and each one amassed a large fireball behind Lament. As he finally found himself near the exit he attempted to dive to one side to avoid the fire that followed him but the force of the blast launched him and Kursed into the air. They both rolled a short distance through the soft sand and Lament noticed that one of the creatures had also attempted to outrun the a lesser success than Lament''s body was wedged in a mass of collapsed rubble that was now covering the entrance to the ruins. Lament looked to Kursed who was face down in the sand only to rush over and put out small fire at the end of her tail. "Little close for comfort there eh kid?" He asked the unconscious vixen.

Lament noticed that her's was the only Arwing there...Why'd he have to take mine?...He thought to himself as he placed his passenger into the vehicle. Lament was happy to set the planet to his back, all of Lylat had registered Titania to be uninhabited. Now the four knew better...

"I don't know about you..." Lament said to the non-responsive vixen as the small ship broke the atmosphere, "But if I ever meet the guy that said this planet is deserted...I'll personally drag his ass down there and leave him there."

Lament activated the small ship's communicator and punched in the com channel of his own Arwing, the small screen before him showed up with a small image of a black fox, his deep blue eyes were strong and piercing...

"Lament...right?" He asked.

"And you must be the famed, Arlex Stone and Xander's a pleasure."

Arlex looked a bit confused, "My question is...why would someone with your reputation help us?"

"Honestly?..." Lament asked, "...It was just to pass the time. CHSA seems to be having some sort of technical problems with their navigation systems so..."

"You know that sounds a lot like someone I used to know...answering a distress signal just for something to do."

Lament rolled his eyes, "Well I'm not one for 21 questions, or lets state the obvious. So...all games aside, you can use the medical bay on my ship to fix these two up...on one condition..."

"And that would be?"

"You know anything about stitches?"

Arlex sighed and turned off the com system...

(about 5 hour later...)

Kursed woke up with a searing headache and a burning pain in her right thigh...she was amazingly comfortable surrounded by thick blankets and sheets. It hurt to move for the most part...

"Hey you're awake...looks like that anti-venom worked."

As her sight cleared Kursed saw who was speaking; next to the bed she lay in was a tall, muscular black furred fox, he had long black hair, and dark blue eyes, at the moment he wore a gray tank top and black pants, around each of his powerful biceps was a leather armband hung with small multicolored feathers...

"Arlex? Where are we? What the hell happened?" She asked.

"Someone answered your distress of those creatures down there poisoned you. You're lucky to be alive...our savior managed to collect one of the monsters for study. Xander managed to formulate the anti-venom that saved your life...but it may actually take some time to get some of your motor skills back..."

"Who saved us?..."

Arlex didn't actually give her a name as he knew it would upset her, "Didn't say...he's some kind of researcher and a hell of a fighter to boot."

"I...guess I'll have to thank him then..."

"That may prove to be a bit hard...we're orbiting Katina right now...he says he needs to get somewhere important and that he needs to leave right away." Arlex explained, "At least he brought us and your ship this far though. Xander is on the planet right now sending all of the info he gathered from the body our mysterious friend left with us to the Cornerian Defense Administration..."

"How long before I'll be healthy again?" Kursed asked sitting up as much as possible.

"Xander said you should be able enough for travel and walking around now...but you should take it easy for now for safety sake..."

"What happened to you guys...your ship was just rubble?"

"It's a good thing we have time to spare for this...cause it's a long story..."

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