Chapter 4: Defending Sector Y
Fox yelped in pain as blood began to pour down his snout. Falco watched as his former leader tried to overcome his pain. “What are you of all people doing here?” he yelled. “I was quite content dying and now you, Fox McCloud appears out of nowhere to be my saviour. Well done Fox you walked right into a trap!” he sighed, his rage rising as he continued. “What are you doing here now? Did you enjoy your holiday Fox? I hope it was worth it because if you don’t have a good explanation buddy, I’m going to smash you into pieces and make you wish you never came back!” Fox, through his pain, could tell Falco was serious.
“You wouldn’t think a wing would make such a good fist, but it really does,” He said through gritted teeth. “Good to see you too then.”
“I swear Fox you don’t start talking right now you won’t be able to talk again for the rest of your life.”
“Pull it together Falco there’s no time for this, the other might be in trouble.”
“Like the trouble they were in ten years ago… or the trouble we’ve all been in for a decade now. You’ve seen what happened to Peppy I presume. How dare you pretend like you care now?” Fox wanted to defend himself but Falco’s words hit him to his heart and for the moment he was speechless. “The entire galaxy needed you and you turned your back on it. Well done Fox, Andross won.”
“What good have you been doing these past ten years Falco? From what I’ve heard it’s been nothing good.” This tipped Falco over the edge and he would have dived straight for Fox if Slippy hadn’t shown up in his Arwing at that moment. Instead his swears were drowned out by Slippy’s landing.
“Well I see you two are both happy to see each other,” he said as he opened up his cockpit. The tension between them was stifling so Slippy continued. “I reckon we should be getting out of here, this place is too empty for my l-l-liking. Something still doesn’t feel right.”
“You’re correct Slippy. Andross knew we were coming; he kidnapped Falco particularly to lure us here. We were too careless and now he knows precisely where Pepper is hiding. We need to leave now.”
“Andross must have manipulated my employer to persuade me to come here. That energy was so unreal I couldn’t let it go unnoticed. Sadly he got exactly what he wanted from me. I gave away the Sector Y coordinates when I made the emergency communication signal. If only I’d have known have closely I was being watched.”
“It doesn’t matter right now Falco, we’ve got to get moving,” But Falco was again reluctant to move.
“They destroyed my ship you know. I’ve got to fly with one of you.” They were all painfully aware of how single-seated the Arwing were.
“Welcome aboard then Falco,” Slippy said reluctantly, sensing the hostility between the pair.
“Thanks Slippy but I don’t quite trust little fresh-faced Fox over here quite yet. I’ll be flying with you pal.” Fox groaned through his throbbing jaw.
Out of Macbeth’s atmosphere now, the Arwing were once more heading towards their secret route. With no enemy ships around they hoped they still had at least one secret from Andross.
“Did you guys at least check out that energy build up on Macbeth?” Falco asked though he was muffled by the cockpit roof that his face was hard-pressed against.
“Yeah I did,” Slippy replied uneasy. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s so powerful, it’s like you could power anything with it. I also managed to contain some in a phial so I can check it out back on Pepper’s Carrier.”
“Great work Slippy, the more we can find out about this stuff the better,” Fox commended. “Let’s just hope Peppy and the others are still okay.” An emergency alert had been sent in shortly after taking off from Macbeth but all communication since had been unsuccessful.
“They’ll have reserved all the power they could into the shields, that is if they’re under attack,” Slippy had said, though exactly what part of that was comforting to Fox was now unclear.
“Let’s hurry this up guys.” As they entered the Awesome Black Hole once more, Fox had the heavy realisation that the fleet they’d passed by in Sector Z on their way to Macbeth was nowhere to be seen.
The two Arwings, with the three pilots inside materialised into the heart of Sector Y. The once peaceful nebular was now deep in the ecstasy of war. A sea of fighters, Andross’ ships outnumbering the Cornerians considerably, lay between them and the whale where Pepper’s Carrier still remained, shield at maximum capacity. Behind them stood the remainder of the fleet, several Fortresses each housing countless quantities of enemy fighters. Andross had sent to destroy, but his arrogance wanted to have to fun before the job was done. However the little manta-rays had joined the fray and, crashing at incredible speeds into the enemy ships, were providing, for at least the time being, a level playing field.
“Pepper this is Fox, we have returned to assist in your defence,” he had finally tuned into the General’s Carrier.
“We’re under heavy attack Fox,” yelled Peppy’s voice on the other end. “No time to explain the circumstances now we need to find a way to beat those fortresses down.”
“Slippy gather some data on those enemy fortresses, me and Falco will head on over to the Carrier. Once Falco has a ship we’ll see what we’ve got to work with from there.” Slippy veered off towards the enemy fleet while Fox and Falco dived straight into the battlefield.
“Fox bomb coming our way, move it now!” Falco cried and Fox pulled his ship up and narrowly escaped the bombs blast range. “You seem rusty Fox, you need me to fly this thing instead?” A barrage of lasers ricocheted off his hull and they felt the tremor of it all through the cabin.
“Falco, please just keep any flying tips to yourself while I’m driving the Arwing!”
“Suit yourself,” was the curt response.
Another flock of enemy ships began hot on their trail and Fox had to perform a series of barrel rolls to deflect the onslaught that followed. Performing a swift somersault he managed to get behind his followers and take a few out, but these ships were faster than those he knew and soon enough they were behind him once more. Thinking fast he swerved full force past a flock of manta-rays for support. Familiar with Fox’s ship they quickly gathered around his stalkers and, with their might, force them all together and destroying them all in quick succession. They then gathered around Fox’s ship and, thankful for the assistance, guided him over to the whale who was currently batting away enemy fire.
They arrived in the Carrier’s hangar and before they even landed Falco leapt out of Fox’s Arwing and was relieved to finally stretch his body out in full again. Fox called down to him, “I’m going back out there. We’ve got to protect this place at all costs!”
“When this battle is over Fox you have a lot of explaining to do. And if you decide to bail on us again, I will find you, so remember that.”
“Fine, Falco,” Fox conceded. “Let’s move out!” He boosted out of the hanger and left Falco behind with the remaining two Arwings. He stared at his old spacecraft he’d sworn never to fly again. Ten years had passed since he’d flown this thing, he’d believe Star Fox was over and the Arwings had failed in their duty. To fly this particular craft again would have been too hard for Falco to think about. But it seemed in less than a day everything had gone full circle. Nervous and a little frightened of the outcome, he climbed aboard and for the first time in nearly a decade, that feeling of hope returned to him if but for a moment. Blasting off, he joined Fox and Slippy in battle.
While the enemy ships were numerous, now that Star Fox was on the case they were making quick work and what they assumed to be only the first wave of enemy ships they were to face today. Another batch were dispatched but as they reached the fray a series of giant manta-rays blockaded them, crashing into them and wiping out whole clusters of enemies at a time. Soon the stream of enemy fighters finished and the first wave had been defeated. “We’ve done it guys, well done!” cried Peppy. “Don’t let your guard down though anything could happen now.”
“I think you’re right Peppy,” Slippy shuddered as he sent the analysis of the fortresses to his allies. A special weapon had been installed, one that at that very moment was being put into action. Andross had used it shortly after his takeover of the Lylat System on the inhabitants of Fortuna. Mind control had seized every lifeform on that planet and to this day they remained unknowing slaves for Andross’ bidding. The lead fortress mounted a huge satellite dish atop its huge hull and soon the special frequency began. The rays began to chance colour; all of a sudden their demeanour became dark and unfriendly. Without warning they began to crash into the Cornerian fighter pilots, blowing up several in the process. Outnumbered even with these friendly creatures on their side, they were positively doomed as the fortresses began to release even more waves of enemy ships.
“Fox we need to stop that thing quick!” Slippy cried. A group of the rays had flown straight at their old friend, the whale and it not knowing the sudden frenzy that had seized them, was no longer fighting back. It was distressed and frightened. “We’ve not got much time left to us!”
“Into formation guys, we’re going after that satellite dish!” Quickly the three Arwings grouped together and charged straight for the fortresses. Dodging heavy fire along the way they made it into firing range of the dish relatively unharmed. “Aim true guys, now!” The three friends fired heavily at the dish, even Falco threw one of his Nova Bombs and they successfully connected with the target. But to their dismay the shield around it was strong and despite the ferocity of their assault now damage was done to the system whatsoever.
“How does it have so my power it can charge all this at once!” Slippy cried. But this sparked an idea in Falco’s head.
“You two distract the thing. I’m going inside!” and before Fox could protest he was out of sight and flying without restraint into the enemy hangar. Fox tried to follow but a group of enemy ships appeared on radar and prevented them from making an escape. Battling hard to keep them off each other, Fox and Slippy eventually managed to knock all the ships out, but still no Falco had emerged from the fortress.
Just then a great explosion erupted internally on the grand ship and Falco shot out of the hangar just in time to watch the thing go up in flames! Flying fast to avoid being sucked into the blast, the three Arwing watched as the fortress was blown to pieces. Fox was speechless.
“I almost forgot how easy they things were to fly!” Falco cried, ecstatic at his efforts.
“How’d you do that Falco?” Slippy asked.
“I’ve been flying this system the past ten years Slippy I know exactly what the inside of these things look like. Besides you’re right it shouldn’t be able to sustain so much power at once, unless they recently changed the energy source powering it.” Slippy jumped in excitement.
“Of course! We can use that energy against them!” Elated by their sudden plan, the fortresses weren’t ready to let the same thing happen twice. More satellite dishes appeared on every single of the giant ships and just as quickly as before, the manta-rays frenzy continued. Only this time they were all poised towards the three Arwing fighters.
“We can’t hold these things off all at once, we’ve got to destroy more of those fortresses!” Falco cried.
“There’s no time Falco we’ve got to escape while we can. Fight for another day!”
“I’m not bailing on this Fox!” he argued and the pair was suddenly just as distant as they had been on Macbeth. But as the two old friends argued Slippy put another plan into motion. Inserting the phial of energy he’d obtained on Macbeth into the mainframe of his energy, he felt a surge of power flow through the machine so intense his whole cockpit lit up like a star. Amazed by the sight Fox and Falco stopped arguing as the new attachment on Slippy’s Arwing moved into position. Almost overwhelmed by the power in his hands, Slippy fired his laser.
It shot true across the nebular and pierced straight through one of the fortresses shields and made a devastating whole in its hull. He swiped the controls once more and the incredible laser continued its carnage through all the fortresses. The explosions were immense as the realisation began to sink in. Slippy had just wiped out Andross’ entire army in one single shot.