The Fox's Lament

The Job

(Orbit around Terros-4...)

April 21st 1:20pm

Lament had already been to the planet...he found what was left of Tyrel's home, it had been both smashed and burned, but there were no signs of his old friend anywhere. He checked the local news and such only to find that there were no leads. Among the rubble one hare was found, the body was determined to be Tyrel Mayson. Lament sat in his chair on the bridge playing his message over and over again looking for something he might be missing, he noticed that Tyrel's voice was shakier than usual, something that he hadn't noticed before. At one point Lament paused the recording to get something to drink...he left the room and made his way to the kitchen returning with a tall glass of he entered the bridge again, he took a small sip of his drink. Instead of sitting down he stood next to the imaging screen and took another drink. As he pulled the glass away from his lips something in the frozen frame caught his eye...

"Hey MEL...get me a closer look at this mirror in the background." Lament said pointing to the image.

As the image of the mirror far behind Tyrel took over the entire screen, it was blurred but, there was someone's reflection in the mirror. "Clear up that image..."

The blurry image was wiped over several time every minute slowly bringing it into focus until the picture was almost clear. He studied the image for a bit but couldn't put his finger on it, the image almost looked familiar.

"MEL...reference that image with all registered people in the Lylat database."

The room went silent for a moment, "Match found...possibility of error 24.228 percent. Image scanned matches the profile of Wolf O'donell..."

"Wow...I didn't even think he was in Lylat anymore...after the Anglar were destroyed Star Wolf disband and Wolf supposedly vanished." Lament wondered, "Why would he kill the old man though? His beef was always with McCloud...maybe it's a military thing. Tyrel did have some connections with Corneria's higher ups...MEL look up any and all articles and news reels that have something on O'donell within the last three years."

"1,587 files time estimated at...3 hours 10 minutes and 40 seconds."

(4 hours later...)

Lament had read through every article and watched every news reel that MEL had downloaded, only one seemed to have any significance. One of the articles seemed to dub Wolf some sort of hero in the Danjas system for some sort of harrowing act of bravery...

Wolf O'donell granted the medal of honor for the death of the famed mercenary Lament. It is rumored that Lament will not be missed as he was wanted in nearly every star system in our brief region of space. Lament's body was brought in and identified through the public databases. His original name was proven to be Jase Tomas. Tomas was known in the Stygian system for the systematic killing of 820 pilots of the Stygian system's best military trained fighters and had at one point stollen and hidden an experimental fighter of the Arwing class that was deemed would change avionics forever...

Lament read on into an article placed over four months later...

An anonymous tip recently was brought in claiming that Jase Tomas was indeed not the lone mercenary known as Lament. Wolf O'donell was incarcerated for the spread of a public conspiracy sentence has been set for three years...Wolf claims that Jase had gone by Lament when he was taken down but, due to the nature of Jase's capture there is no possible way of filtering lie from truth. Wolf claims that he will not rest until Lament is brought to a stop. Wolf had recently given a powerful, heartfelt speech at the annual celebration in the honor of the late Fox McCloud claiming that "Though he and I were bitter rivals. McCloud had my utmost respect as a man and pilot, and though dying in my Wolfen would be my idea of a perfect death. To be shot down simply for the fame of having killed a famous pilot however, is no way for the great to die." at the same conference he swore that he would bring Lament to justice...

By the time Lament had read through everything a second time, he found that the bottle of Katinan Scotch on the table was sitting on empty. At some point the Scotch was the only way to keep the thoughts of his tattered and painful past at bay. It seemed like every time he began to call someone a friend they either tried to kill him of they were killed because of him. His vision was slightly off, and he definitely felt a little drunk Figuring he couldn't handle any more history lessons he stood up and attempted to walk out of the room, unfortunately his balance was fucked and as he made it six steps he collapsed to the floor. He decided that it was against his better judgement to get up and instead simply rolled over to his stomach, he took off his vest and rolled it up setting it under his head...

"R..(hic)..R...(hic)...MEL...Sau...(hic)" Lament managed to hear MEL confirm the command before he slipped off to sleep.

(Orbit around Katina...)

April 21st 6:06pm

Kursed had been searching all the possible databases along with Xander for any information on Lament for the last few days...but nothing came up. Kursed found herself at her wit's end, it was as if Lament had never existed at any point. For today she had started looking over the records at 5 o'clock, finally she gave up and headed for the shower. After about an hour of relaxing in the cascade of hot water Xander's voice came in over the PA system slightly startling Kursed as she was used to being alone on her ship...

"Hey Krys...I mean Kursed. I found something on Lament..."

"And?" She asked leaning against the far wall of her shower.

"The name is more of a started back in 2906 when a space pirate named Jarren Lee came up with the name when he left his band to become a traveling thief or...treasure hunter as he called himself. After living as Lament for about a hundred years he found and befriended a lonely youth...He passed the name down to the boy and eventually this boy grew weary of the job and, remembering how it made him feel wanted he found a young man like himself and passed on the name again..."

"So this is why we can't find anything about Lament..." Kursed said pulling her long hair around in front of her taking care in washing it, "...because Lament is just a name...we have to find out who he was before he was Lament."

There was a silence for a moment, "Pretty technically the only way I can help you find out more about this guy is to cross reference him with every missing person in the Lylat system. And if he doesn't match there we simply move on to another star system."

"How soon can you start? I really need some sleep." Kursed asked flipping her hair back behind her.

"I can start right now...but there are over 200 trillion animals in this system alone. Needless to say it could...take a little time."

Kursed stepped out of the shower and began to dry off, "Well you see what you can get done and I'll take over when I wake up."

Kursed didn't even bother getting dressed, her bra and panties were enough for her to sleep in, she didn't really understand why people wore their clothes to be...she knew Fox never did. Her bed seemed to almost beg her to fall asleep as soon as she lay down. She actually found herself enthralled by her sleep as she was not graced with a single bad image or nightmarish vision...for the first time in months she would finally get a peaceful night's sleep.

(8:15am the next morning)

Kursed woke with a heavy yawn followed by a content sigh of relief...nothing interrupted her sleep. The only times she recalled having slept so well was when she was on board the Great Fox. She yawned again and turned on the small lamp on her nightstand; she decided against wearing her uniform and instead put on a black tank top and jeans. She staggered into the hall and walked to the kitchen, Arlex was there greeting her with a friendly smile and a cup of coffee, he wore the same thing he normally did, a gray tank top and dark blue jeans with his trademark armbands. Kursed sat down at one of the small tables, while Arlex stood near the window looking at the planet that stood in it's timeless space outside. As they stood by Xander walked into the room; though he appeared to be a light brown furred fox his mother was a wolf, this explained why his fur was a bit more scruffy than your average fox, his dark green eyes showed the effects of the late night he had worked as he let out a loud yawn, he was much shorter than Arlex, and wore a white t-shirt and a pair of long jean shorts. He walked over to Kursed's table and dropped a file in front of her...

"Sorry Krys..." He said struggling not to yawn again, "...if he's from Lylat he's one of the 800 vulpine on this list."

"Thanks get some rest now okay?"

Xander yawned again on his way to the door, "Thanks for the permission."

Kursed took a sip of her coffee, "So what are you two gonna do now? Your ship..."

"I'm pretty sure we'll come up with something...we always do."

"It still doesn't make sense though..." She replied, " said that it was Star Wolf without a doubt that attacked your ship...Why? Last I heard the team members were labeled heros and Wolf himself left the group."

"True...I have no idea who their new leader is...but they've got something planned that I don't really like the smell of." Arlex said turning to face her, "See it's my opinion that they were after you...not us."

"What brought you to that conclusion?"

"Only two people were given our coordinates...McCloud...and you..." He said walking to her table and sitting down, "...why else would they leave me and Xander on Titania instead of coming after us? I think the point of the matter was that something happened and they missed their chance, I did manage to damage Leon's Wolfen pretty extensively before...their new pilot shot me down. I barely made it back into the ship's docking bay before they opened fire on our ship...Xander and I barely managed to make it to our escape pods before the ship blew."

"Why come after me though..."

"I...don't know..." Arlex said sarcastically, "...something having to do with you...a senator...a .50 caliper rifle...any of this ringing a bell? I know you didn't do it but...nonetheless it put a hefty price on your pretty little head."

The thought of the incident made her blood boil her claws involuntarily exposed themselves and she dug small grooves into the tabletop, "Lament..." She growled.

" he set you up...I understand why you want to kill him...but not why he'd set you up. Or did you go after him first and get caught with the evidence..."

"I..." Kursed turned away.

"That's what I thought..." Arlex said smiling a bit, "...tell me why is it you have nothing better to do with your life then to hunt him down. I know he killed Fox but, last time I heard you say anything to Fox you made it very clear that you hated him and wished he was dead..."

Kursed was beginning to feel the tears burn the corners of her eyes...

"Killing Lament is not going to bring Fox back...and despite what you may think I can assure you that it will give you no piece of mind either. I know from experience."

That was enough as her tears fell free...

"You don't think that I know that!?" Kursed yelled vainly wiping away her tears as they were replaced by more, "This is just something I have to do! It's the only way I can apologize!"

"Krys...I know you better than anyone, you're like a little sister to me...hell I took care of you on Cerinia more than your own parents. And if all that time with you taught me was that you are without a doubt the most stubborn vixen I've ever met."

Kursed wiped her eyes, "You're not helping..."

"Perhaps not...that was the problem though...Fox was just as stubborn as you were...up until you left." Arlex said sitting down and empty coffee cup, "After you left he cut himself off from the others emotionally...according to Falco when he saw you again during the war he started to show himself again...then he tried to get you to come back and you told him that he wasn't a part of your life anymore. After the war was over and you still hadn't come back he disband the team, boarded the Great Fox, and left Corneria...that was the last any of us saw of him..."

"I really don't want to talk about this right now Arlex I have work to do..." Kursed said picking up the files and heading out of the room...

Arlex sighed as he walked back to his spot at the window, "It's not your fault Krystal...Despite how much you convince yourself's just not your fault."

(11:00am Orbit around Sauria)

Lament woke up on the ice cold metal floor of the kitchen on his ship, he could taste a horrid mixture of Scotch and vomit. The room refused to stand still as he stood up and made his way groggily out of the kitchen, the sound of his every footstep caused his skull to split from his pounding headache. The hiss of his bedroom door sliding open as he approached sounded like nails scraping against a blackboard, a hot shower was the answer…normally Lament didn't drink to the point of inebriation but memories of his past always caused him to drink extra, it seemed that being drunk was the only way to make them go away…the problem now was that he couldn't remember what it was he was doing before he had passed out. Being that a hot shower would have possibly put him back to sleep he made sure the waters were cold enough to keep him awake…the frigid water instantly snapped him to an alert state of mind…

"Holy Shshshshit!!" Lament said shuddering as his entire body went rigid against the stream of icy water.

After he was sober again Lament changed as his clothes carried a peculiar smell that he couldn't rightly identify. He changed into a casual suit; just a white sleeveless shirt and a pair of black jeans. As soon as he was done he headed to the kitchen to get some coffee as that was usually what he used to treat a hangover. Eventually on his way to the bridge he would stop by the medical bay and take something for his headache as the migraine persisted to torment him…

Lament took a bit of time before he realized that there was a message he hadn't answered from a few days ago. Whatever the cause the message was only audio, as Lament switched on the message a raspy voice came though…

"Lament…it is an honor to finally get a message through to you. My name is Syrus Blake…don't bother looking it up, I've taken the liberty of wiping myself from the Lylat databases, but we hardly have time for that then don't we? I wish to speak with you about this object…" As the voice said this Lament's holo-imaging system came online displaying a nicely decorated sword, "…It is of Cerinian make. The sword was named Lovithar…you see I am a collector of rare and beautiful things and would pay a handsome price for this sword. Unfortunately I have been informed that another collector is in possession of this particular weapon. A man named Panther Caruso. As I have heard he has been storing the sword at his condo on the outskirts of Corneria City, go to Papetoon when you have the weapon…I'll know whether or not I should be there…I look forward to seeing you in person again…Good bye Mister Lament…."

"If that ain't the damnedest thing…" Lament said to himself studying the image of the sword, "…Computer save this image and run it through all database records…if it's worth that much it's more than just a sword. Also cross reference the word Lovithar for any matches within the closest four star systems."

Lament studied the looks of the weapon but the image was far too basic, "Match found for the word Lovithar." The ship's computer called out after a few minutes.

"And?" Lament stated curiously.

"Word is derived from two words in a human language on the planet Uth'maria in the Dan'jas system. Lovithar is a two part word made from the words "Lov" meaning key and "Ithar" meaning heaven…meaning of this term is unknown."

Lament thought of his options for a moment, "Fuck it…MEL get us to Corneria…"

"Acquiring clearance from CHSA……" MEL said going quiet for a moment, "……clearance acquired. ETA….."

"Yeahyeahyeah….about 6 hours I know….just go…"

(Back at Katina roughly 20 minutes earlier...)

Kursed had just returned from dropping Arlex and Xander off, she left her old friends with enough credits to help them get at least a small ship. She returned to the ship in time to receive a message for a job. She didn't really feel like doing any jobs but, she decided to play the message anyway...

The message was all audio, " is an honor to finally get a message through to you. My name is Syrus Blake...don't bother looking it up, I've taken the liberty of wiping myself from the Lylat databases, but we hardly have time for that then don't we? I wish to speak with you about this object…" As the voice said this Kursed's holo-imaging system came online displaying a nicely decorated sword, "…It is of Cerinian make. The sword was named Lovithar…you see I am a collector of rare and beautiful things and would pay a handsome price for this sword. Unfortunately I have been informed that another collector is in possession of this particular weapon. A man named Panther Caruso. As I have heard he has been storing the sword at his condo on the outskirts of Corneria City, go to Papetoon when you have the weapon…I'll know whether or not I should be there…I look forward to seeing you in person again…Good bye Miss Kursed…."

A connection between Cerinians and humans, that was worth looking into...and she already had something to use against Panther, the cat had a deepening crush on her from the day they'd first met so getting close to the weapon would pose no problem for her. She quickly set for clearance and headed for Corneria, oblivious to the trials that the job would lead to...

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