Starwing – Return from Out of this Dimension – Part I of VI

Chapter One: Dimensional Rift

‘The End’… always ‘The End’… sometimes it’s jumbled up but… it takes time to figure it all out again and still ‘The End’. Enemy ships keep coming, how then ‘The End’? I just keep going… Have I died in battle? I feel like I died but I’m pretty sure I haven’t. Must Keep Andross’ forces off the Arwing! What happened to the others? Maybe they thought I was a goner, maybe they’ve moved on to Venom. I must’ve been knocked out, I must’ve been dreaming at some point. Did I fight a Slot Machine? Keep going Fox, Corneria needs you!

A great tremor could be felt as the Cornerian Asteroid Belt was torn asunder. An incredible energy began to surge out of the rift Slippy Toad had created and a flock of paper thin lifeforms began to spill through into the Lylat System. Retros were engaged as Slippy’s old Arwing struggled to maintain its position. The system could only withstand the power needed to create this cross-dimensional portal for a limited amount of time, if he didn’t appear soon, then who knows when they could try this again.

Slippy gripped hard to the control stick as the portal began to overcome his Arwing and drag him towards it with the same force it was spewing those lifeforms out of it. A couple of seconds more and he’d be lost forever too. All Slippy’s hope began to slip away. With no other choice he de-activated the splicer and watched as the portal closed his mission a failure… So transfixed on this failure, he failed to notice the Arwing which violently cascaded out of the rift.

All was calm again. The tremors ceased and the silence of space was once more settled over the Asteroid Belt.

“Slippy! Did you see him? Did it work?” the voice of an exasperated General Pepper could not break the reverie Slippy now found himself. He felt wearier than he ever had before. Dejected he turned his Arwing around and began to make his way back to the northern quadrant of the belt where the Awesome Black Hole would return him to base. A buzz on his radar however broke him out of his gloom.

“Shoot! They’ve sent a response unit already! Gotta get out of here f-f-fast!” Like all of Andross’ units these would be armed and dangerous. An Arwing hadn’t been seen by anybody for almost a decade, and it couldn’t happen now. Thankfully the creatures from the other dimension would provide the perfect cover to sneak off unnoticed.

But as the ships began to come into view one of them went up in flames as an old friend came to live over the communication link. “The End Andross!” Fox yelled. Just as the two remaining shops broke off into an attack formation another was blasted by the Arwing, blowing it’s wing off causing it to crash straight into its ally. Needless to say the broken mass spiralled out of control and met its demise on a nearby Asteroid.

Slippy was in awe as his leader, Fox McCloud, was flying with just the same zeal he had done so many years ago, the prototype Arwing he was flying was just as graceful as the day they flew out of Corneria. The Toad wanted to burst into tears, if only his situation hadn’t become so dangerous all in an instant.

“This is not ‘The End!’” Fox began to fire at Slippy’s ship in a fever of fury. The Toad hardly had time to react, he swerved out of the way and initiated a barrel roll to reflect Fox’s blasters. But one of the lasers connected with his starboard side, temporarily loosening his control of the ship.

“Hey!! It’s me Slippy!!” The familiarity of the voice Fox heard knocked him out of his stupor and he had to dive dangerously away from his friend to avoid crashing into him entirely. Narrowly escaping a date with the side of a stray Asteroid he let go of the accelerators and allowed himself a moment of calm, something he felt hadn’t been possible in a very long time. He looked up at Slippy’s Arwing and there was no mistaking it, the Star Fox emblem though faded, visible on the wing.

The two friends hung in space, staring at and visualising the pilot inside the Arwing. Two warriors of space; who had now seen so much, who each at this moment understood little about what had changed in their respective lives.

“Slippy pal! Where’ve you been! Do you realise the onslaught of ships that have come my way? What happened to the communication link, it seems to be working now!” Slippy wanted to explain, but how could he begin with so much to tell. Now wasn’t the time to work it all out. “What happened with that Phoenix? I think it did something weird to me.”

“You have no i-i-idea Fox,” is all Slippy could manage. Tears of joy had overcome the Toad and Fox was a little surprised to see such emotion out of the blue. He decided to try and tune into Peppy and Falco’s links the lines were dead.

“What is going on?” Fox thought to himself.

“Slippy come in! What happened to that response unit? There are more ships on their way, a small army of them. You’re in trouble if you stay there for much longer.” General Pepper spoke over both Arwing radios and the pilots burst into action.

“General, Fox calling in. Preparing to engage incoming enemies! Slippy into attack formation, we’ll use the Asteroids as cover and attack them up close and personal. Let’s just hope Peppy and Falco will show up again soon!”

“Fox is that you?!” Pepper choked out. But before he could warn against such action Fox had already rocketed his way in the enemies’ direction. Slippy gave chase.

“Fox wait you have no idea what you’re up against!”

The Arwing darted between the Asteroids with ease and Fox enjoyed the scenery which he felt he hadn’t flown in a while. It was all so strange, he was sure it not a day had gone by since they first entered this Belt but the whole experience felt so starved for him. It was like he hadn’t flown properly in ages. However his enjoyment was short lived as he noticed Slippy had been left far behind. He slowed to give his friend time to catch up. “Is there something wrong with you Arwing Slippy?”

“Yeah Fox, you shot me remember! But that’s not it, look Fox I’m not sure what you think we’re going up against here but we need to turn around now!”

“Whaddya mean Slippy. We can take them no sweat.” It was at this point they rounded off the edge of a larger Asteroid and were met with the scale of the force that had been sent to investigate the destruction of the response unit. An army of ships, at least an hundred strong, were breaking their way through the belt. Any Asteroid in their wake was instantly blown to pieces. It was clear this platoon was sent to intimidate, and destroy. Exposed for that split moment, Fox awaited the enemy fire. But they didn’t start shooting.

Instead four larger ships boosted off from the flanks at an unbelievable speed. They soon had Fox surrounded and the pilot began to consider his options.  However before he could do react these four ships locked into position and spewed out hundreds of tiny capsules that had Fox completely covered. Expecting bombs he engaged his boosters and attempted to flee. However it was a tractor beam spread out into a force field these ships were creating and Fox found himself trapped inside. Desperately he fired a bomb out into the distance to try and scramble the capsules. Instead however his ship was being locked into place and dragged into the centre of the field, and the same effect was happening to his bomb. It began to head straight back towards him. A desperate roll away from its trajectory saved him just in time and the bomb exploded scattering many of the capsules. The field fluttered a moment and Fox again tried to escape but the pull was too strong for his ship and he felt the drag get hold of him once more.

Suddenly an explosion caught his attention and the field fluttered even more violently than before. He looked around him and saw Slippy, who had flown round the perimeter of the field and destroyed one of the host ships. Many of the capsules began to disintegrate and the trick to escape was revealed to him. He dived as best he could whilst the capsules began to reorganise as he fired down at another of the hosts. His blasters connected and the ship lost all power. Now free to move completely he joined Slippy in an arc and they simultaneously destroyed the remaining hosts, leaving the capsules to burn up without a master to power them.

“Nice work Slippy thanks!”

“No sweat F-F-Fox, but we gotta get out of here!”

“Fox!” Pepper chimed in. “We need you back at base. Follow Slippy to Sector Y immediately!”

“Sector Y, why there?”

“I’ll explain to you when you arrive, right now my Arwings are in danger!”

Reluctantly Fox followed Slippy through the Asteroid Belt, letting the small army fade away behind them. However unbeknownst to the pair images of the Arwing fighters were being sent back to Corneria, and soon news began to spread fast through Andross’ Lylat System. The Arwings had been found, and Team Star Fox were still alive…

Next – Part II

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