The Fox's Lament

By Randy Healon

Scifi / Other

Running with Knives

April 23rd 9:49am

Orbit around Corneria

Kursed woke early she didn't look forward to what she was going to do, the thought made her a bit hesitant to crawl out of bed. She rolled out of bed and put on her uniform before going through her morning routine; she washed up, brushed her fangs, fur, and hair as she did most mornings and after a short breakfast she made her way into the bridge. She was still trying to shake off the dirty feeling she had from what she was doing but, it seemed like the easiest way to get to the sword, she activated the ship's com-system...

"CAM put me through to Panther Caruso..." Kursed said shuddering at the thought of seeing him again.

Soon the holographic imager before her seat lit up and the black panther's profile appeared, his eyes grew large as he realized who it was, "Hello my dear...long time no see. You're the last person I expected to call me."

"Well I've been doing some thinking Caruso..." Kursed said trying hard to keep up a pleasant front, "...and it's about time I moved on."

"Oh if that be the case...would the lady care to join me for dinner?"

Despite the fact that she had no mutual interest in him, she'd always like his polite mannerisms...

"Sure...or we could have lunch first I can make it into a hanger by 12 o'clock..."

Panther smiled at the thought, "Hmm...an entire day with one so beautiful...noon it is then."

As soon as the image of the cat vanished Kursed stuck out her tongue and pulled her hands across it's length trying to wipe away the taste of what she'd said...

"Ugh...I can't believe I just did that..." She said looking to the ceiling, "...Fox, wherever you are I'm sorry."

She gained clearance with one of her many false identifications which registered her as one Jane Marks of Papetoon...it was one of her more favorite aliases, for the main reason that the photo made her look like an entirely different person. She called Panther and informed him to meet her at hanger N-64...


(roughly an hour later...)

The Raven broke out of hyperspace near one of Corneria's moons...

"Alright MEL...set the Raven into orbit around this moon, I'll take the last leg of the trip in my arwing."

Lament stopped in the docking bay; his black arwing was overdue for a system check; over the next half hour he spent his time going over the small ship's usual maintenance. He changed it's fuel cells, made sure it's weapon systems were at full power, and made sure that there were no electrical problems, as they were the most common found in the small ships. His arwing did look a bit different than the older ones aside from it's obvious paint job; the wings were thicker than usual, and it's body resembled a Mk-II arwing, but it's main advantage was it's engine the MT-X7, the first successful neutron fusion engine...the stolen prototype was called "The Razor" because of it's split second maneuvering ability. Some of it's production scientists compared it's performance to a razor cutting through a stream of water. The ship was hardly any faster than a standard Mk-II arwing, but it's advanced engine made it the most maneuverable ship there was. He had painted it the very day he'd stolen it. Well at least he took the credit for stealing it, in truth he...borrowed it from it's original thief...

When all systems checked out Lament boarded the arwing and fired up the engine...he closed his eyes and leaned his head back taking in the light roar it gave off, he'd always loved that sound...He then pulled the cockpit hatch shut over him and went over the vehicle's systems, preparing for launch. Lament shot out of the Raven's docking bay at his usual high rate of speed. He was flying fine until something hit his shields forcing his arwing to shake violently. It was laser fire, he took a glance to the side the hit had come from and as he saw a familiar looking ship speeding toward him. Lament smiled to himself as he opened a com link with the approaching ship...

"Hello O'donell...I was wondering when I'd run into you." He said as the gray lupine's one eyed face appeared on his arwing's small plasma screen.

"Get ready to die Lament."

Lament laughed, "I couldn't be more prepared if I had noose around my neck."

"One way or another you'll face up to your crimes..."

Several more shots flew by which Lament flawlessly avoided...

"My crimes?..." Lament laughed, "...look who's going all self-righteous. Maybe you should look into things before you start handing out sentences your honor. Does it really constitute murder when the departed wants to die?"

As Lament finished the transmission was terminated, and Wolf fired at him a few more times. Two of the four fired shot were deflected by his ship's shields. Lament pulled his ship into a tight barrel roll while kicking on his engine's boosters, he wasn't too surprised to see Wolf's wolfen mimicking his movements perfectly. A wide smile spread across his face... "HaHa...This is gonna be fun."

He pulled every evasive maneuver he knew, but Wolf being the expert pilot that he was but, soon the constant stream of laser fire from bounding off of his deflector shields began to drain the power from his defense systems, several more hits from the wolfen's extra powerful weapons and he'd be a sitting duck. Lament chuckled a bit, "Time to stop playing Wolfy." He said to himself. He locked his targeting systems onto a piece of space debris several hundred yards ahead of him. He quickly fired a single nova bomb at the object and fired his thrusters. Wolf did the same just as Lament had hoped and as Lament passed up the bomb and the debris Wolf found himself half blinded by the blast that went off several meters ahead of him, he was forced to break away from his pursuit. The blast also damaged his shields quite a bit, but as he searched the area when the blast cleared...Lament was gone...

"He didn't have time to break atmosphere..." Wolf said to himself, "...did the blast take him out?"

Wolf was cut from his thoughts as several laser shots rattled his wolfen, he kicked his thrusters on...now it was his turn to run. Wolf, like Lament, made every attempt possible to get away from the arwing that followed behind him as though he were towing it himself...but as Wolf noticed a passing meteor he got his own bright idea. Wolf fired a nova bomb into the heart of the meteor as it was some distance away. The massive but, eerily silent blast caused the massive space boulder to fragment into hundreds of smaller pieces creating a small asteroid field which he led Lament into. Wolf vanished into the created diversion out of Lament's sight. Lament smiled as he brought his arwing to a full stop, he took aim at some of the largest meteor he could find and fired the only remaining nova bomb he was carrying. Wolf wasn't expecting that as the meteors began to fragment closing in around him, he barely managed to get out. He eventually found his way back to Lament and found himself on Lament's tail again...but Lament was wasting his time no matter how much fun he was having.

Wolf's jaw dropped as he watched Lament's arwing; the wings split into three separate wings on each side, one above and below the main wing, these extra wings then turned and locked into place making their sides parallel with the cockpit. He jaw nearly hit his lap when the arwing he'd been chasing turned 180 degrees on a central pivot and shot back in his direction...this was something that no ship he'd ever known of were capable of. To make a perfect u-turn in place without losing momentum was unheard of. As Lament rushed by several laser bolts made it through Wolf's shields tearing expertly into his wings which caused an alert siren to blare off inside his cockpit...

Lament's face appeared on his com system's screen, "I'll leave you with a bit of dignity this time O'donell...but fuck with me again and you'll wish you were never born..."

The transmission cut off as Lament's arwing shifted it's wings back to normal and burst through the planet's atmosphere...now Wolf was clear on how Lament was able to shoot down Fox...he fought just like him, like a mad man...


(Corneria City hanger N-64)

Kursed landed in the hanger at about 11 o'clock, to her not so great surprise Panther was there waiting. If it hadn't been for his ego problem he may have seemed charming for more than a few moments. At the moment he was smiling in her direction. Kursed figured that most girls would have found him charming, dashing even but she was hardly like most girls; he was dressed in a more than appropriate flair, a blue silk button up shirt and dark blue jeans., he was quick to take her hand kissing it in a gentlemanly fashion, but from her time dating him before Kursed knew him all too well...

"I was hoping to have a second chance after...the unpleasantness of our last meeting."

"Well everyone deserves a second chance..." She replied, "...so you have a place in mind?"

"Don't I always?"

Panther lead Kursed to a waiting hover car, and after a short while they were at a rather fancy looking place. It was the kind of restaurant that she would have normally walked by and ignored, but at this point she was willingly walking inside...with someone she didn't even like...to be fully honest she had more feelings for dying vegetation, but he was her ticket to getting to the weapon without much of a fight or any trouble...she was lucky enough that the last place anyone would be looking for her at the moment would be Corneria. Kursed didn't even bother taking in the sights of the highly decorated restaurant she simply followed Panther to their table. There wasn't much for conversation as they ate...Kursed could at least admit that Panther was trying he explained everything that he and the Star Wolf team had been through after the war, and Kursed did the same...


(Elsewhere in the city...)

Lament could see Panther through the window of the restaurant from his position high atop a 15 story building across the street, he'd received a tip off from a pedestrian who claimed he was at a local restaurant with a date. He seemed to be talking to someone across from him but, thanks to his position Lament could not see the cat's date. To avoid any noisy confrontation Lament was perfectly dressed for stealth; he wore his black long coat and carried only his sword and the chain he took from Kursed when they were on Mo'jan's ship. Soon enough he noticed that the Panther was getting ready to leave, luckily he had already bugged his target's car. So to keep suspicions low he headed back down the building. By the time he made it out the front door Lament noticed that Panther's car was already gone, the scanner on his wrist communicator gave him a location they were stopping at some other place, judging by the placement on the map it was the hanger...possibly to drop his date off.

Lament followed his target for some time until he was led to a rather expensive looking condo just on the outside of the city. He spent about an hour examining the perimeter, of the complex before heading back into town. He normally would have looked for a bar at this point but, being he had a job to do he found a place a bit more practical. A quaint little coffee shop on the outskirts of town with an outdoor sitting area on a lovely patio; the chairs were all nicely crafted of metal. He found a nice seat and turned it away from the shop facing the direction of Panther's condo. He set his sword on the table next to him and was soon greeted by a smooth, soft voice...

"Can I get you something sir?"

Lament looked to the voice's source standing by his table, now standing there was a breathtakingly beautiful Manx with snow white fur, he body was to die for, and her eyes were a striking shade of light green, he shoulder length hair was delightfully curled and wavy...

Lament looked her over before smiling, "Wow...as long as you come back with it you can bring me anything."

Her incredibly light fur was obviously her downfall as it showed her blush clearly, "Umm...hah...thank you...but I'm engaged."

"Lucky fella...but if that's the case the strongest drink you have. And something to eat..."

"Let's see food..." She thought to herself, "...well all we have in terms of food are some pretty lousy cakes, the coffee's not half bad though."

"Hey as long as it doesn't taste like stale cardboard I'll eat it..." Lament said.

"Well then you definitely don't want the cakes." She replied laughing pretty loudly.

Lament could help but join, she had a very infectious laugh, "Thanks for the warning the coffee will be fine. Thank you...um..."

"Lanna..." She replied.

"Lovely Lanna...name's Maryk Creed." Lament said extending his hand.

She took his hand only to be pulled close enough for him to kiss it...She walked inside and came back out with a cup of hot coffee. Lament paid more than double the price, he'd really enjoyed talking to the waitress, he especially enjoyed watching her walk away. He propped his feet up on a railing not far from his seat that separated the patio from the side walk and lightly tilted his seat back. Now all he had left to do was wait and drink his coffee. He actually found it was pretty good compared to the ungodly swill that he normally settled for on his ship, but it was far too sweet for his taste...good coffee of bad he still preferred Scotch. The hours passed far too slowly for his liking, soon enough the lovely waitress Lanna waved to him as she and a rather luck wolf rode by. Finally the sun started to disappear over the Cornerian horizon, and then as he was hoping Panther's car rushed away from his home. Lament made his way to the house, he didn't know how long this window was but he was going to take it. He didn't have any trouble getting to the large two story mansion.

Living life the way he did Lament was well practiced in the art of breaking and entering, so much that he usually didn't even do any breaking. He got inside without a problem; he found the place to be elaborately decorated with plush carpeting, and an unusual amount of pictures of Panther himself on the walls...

"Wow this guy isn't conceited is he?"

Within an hour he'd searched the entire house but he couldn't find the sword...and what's worse he ran out of time as he heard Panther's car pull into the drive...

"Shit!!" Lament silently screamed to himself as the front door began to slide open, causing him to dive into a nearby closet.

Lament could barely make anything out from the pea sized crack he left in the door of the closet but he could see well enough to see the blue vixen that walked in before Panther. This was an interesting twist he hadn't expected Kursed to be here...he especially didn't expect to see her dressed so casually, a pari of white jeans and a form fitting white tank top...

"Perhaps I could show you my collection upstairs later." Panther said taking a coat that hung from her shoulders.

"Really...upstairs you say?" Lament whispered to himself.

"Perhaps in a bit...you said something about having something for me?" Kursed said.

Panther recalled for a moment, "Right...oddly enough I believe it was yours to begin with...I found it when we inspected the old McCloud manor out on Notting Hill."

After the two became merely voices in the background Lament made his way upstairs as quietly as possible. At that moment however Panther and Kursed were in the living room where Panther handed her a small necklace with a red stone at the end of it. She forced back her tears as she held the stone in her hand...

"If you wouldn't mind...what exactly is the significance to that stone? Is it part of your heritage?"

Kursed slid the necklace around her neck, "Yes Panther...it is part of a Cerinian tradition. You see it's the females of my tribe that hold most of the power, even the power to chose our mates at an early age. Cerinian women are trained brutally as fighting machines and magical warriors if the particular vixen has the gifts for magic. All Cerinian women of a certain age are given two necklaces of varying colors; one symbolizing our heart which is most often a red stone, and one being our spirit, this stone varies from person to person..."

"So the red stone is a way of giving you heart to the one you love?"

"Precisely..." Kursed said, "...but my people were all destroyed...so you could understand why I would want the sword."

Panther nodded, "Of course, of course...it's only natural that you would want something that by all rights should be yours..." He said as they began to make their way upstairs, "...but you realize that that weapon took a large sum of money to acquire...I'm afraid I cannot just hand it over."

Lament was searching the only bedroom he could find upstairs, but there was nothing; no hidden areas for it to be hidden, no switches, nothing. He started to leave the room but he heard a set of approaching footsteps and quickly rolled under the bed who's covers luckily hung low enough to hide him while allowing him to see whoever else might be in the room. He watched as Kursed entered the room followed by Panther who hid the fact that he'd locked the door...

Please tell me this idiot isn't that stupid...

"Well..." Kursed said turning toward Panther, "Where is it?"

"I'd really like to talk about how you're going to pay for it..." Panther said.

"Then why not come out and say it...remember I am a telepath I know what you've been thinking for the last few hours."

"Well then...there wouldn't be much of a price involved...I'm not asking for your companionship..." Panther smiled, "...just one night."

Kursed actually moved her body against his, "I guess I don't have much of a choice then do I?"

Lament couldn't believe his eyes when Kursed engaged Panther in a rather heated kiss, then slowly began to work her way down his body kissing his defined chest as she undid the buttons on his shirt. Finally stopping and freeing the zipper on his pants allowing his already half erect member to worm it's own way out. Lament noticed an increasingly odd look on Kursed's face as she slowly began to cradle the appendage in a caring manner first just with her hands then her tongue. Lament saw it coming as Panther lay his head back to let out a soft moan. Kursed's face curled into an insidiously evil snarl. Panther's scream could have been heard from miles around as Kursed sank her fangs into his manhood locking her jaws into a rather tight grip. Just watching this take place made Lament look away cradling his own crotch from some sort of sympathy pains. As Lament looked back onto the spectacle Panther had a good grip around each of Kursed's ears struggling vainly to get her off but he only managed to make things worse as his attempts began to tear the wounds even more. Kursed twitched her jaws biting down a bit harder forcing Panther to break into full blown sobs pleading mercifully for her to let go...

"First tell me where the sword is..." Kursed managed to say between her teeth, which was surprising considering the amount of blood that was overflowing her mouth at the moment, not to mention several other liquids that were leaking from the wounds her razor like fangs had created.

After a moment Lament noticed a familiar look in her eyes, she was reading his mind, the extreme pain that he was in was dropping his defenses to the point of being paper thin...but when she stopped the enraged look on her face soured even more...

You sick mother fucker!!! Her voice slammed into Lament's skull like a slug a point blank range.

Panther released a scream that could have risen the dead...on the other side of the planet. With all the force she could possibly muster Kursed bit down on the bleeding hunk of meat separating it from Panther's body. As Kursed stood up Panther fell to the floor his body convulsing horribly from the shock he'd just gone into. Kursed wiped some of the blood from her face and spit the severed member onto Panther's chest...

"It was too damned small anyway..." She huffed turning to a nearby bookshelf.

Lament watched as she pulled a single book away and pressed a small switch...it was such a simple thing that he'd overlooked that would have given him the prize. Kursed walked into the new room giving Lament a moment to head out of the room stopping to cringe at the sight of the state Panther had been left in. As he watched Kursed from a crack in the door; she exited the small room and walked to an window where she looked outside while hugging the weapon close to her body. As Lament looked on she pulled the sword away from her body and studied it closely, it was an opening. With a lithe movement across the room Lament made a quick stride toward her and dove directly at her, Kursed heard this movement and strafed to her left...unfortunately this was what Lament had wanted. As he passed by her he reached out and took the sword by it's handle...Kursed couldn't stop the momentum created by his moving body as the weapon was torn from her hands and Lament was hurled through the window. Followed by a loud crash...

Kursed rushed to the window, upon his decent Lament had hit several trash cans indefinitely separating his shoulder...he turned to look to the window but broke into a shocking run as he noticed Kursed had leaped from the window. Kursed, being the athlete she was, landed at a running start and as they entered the city limits she was beginning to gain on the injured thief. Lament glanced over his shoulder only to notice that she was only a few yards behind him...as he kept up his pace he slit the sword into his belt and reached out taking a nearby metal trash can's lid, this confused Kursed up until a hover car pulled in front of them. Lament quickly tossed the lid out in front of him and whipped his Manariki chain into the vehicle's bumper while leaping onto the lid. It hurt a bit when the car tugged on the chain but, his plan worked as it began to tow him at a much faster speed then he could have ran at, or better yet at a greater speed then Kursed could run at. As she vanished from sight and the spaceport grew ever closer, an unfamiliar hover cycle blasted toward him carrying an all too familiar body. Kursed pulled up beside him just in time for him to give his chain a skilled flick which released it's grip from the vehicle forcing him and his lid...or what was left of it...to skid to a halt unfortunately hover cycles don't stop so fast and Kursed sped on for a hundred yards or so. Lament rushed into the space port shouting into his communicator...

"MEL get us a course the fuck out of here! Home, hell, somewhere! Anywhere but here!"

Lament leaped into his arwing and pulled the hatch shut then forced his limp left hand into one of the overhead handles, and while holding his arm in place pulled until he muffled a scream that would have followed the loud crunch of his shoulder snapping back into place. He quickly cleared his launch and tore into Corneria's atmosphere with an insanely pissed off vixen hot on his trail...

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