StarFox Fan Fiction ❯ A New Enemy ❯ Chapter VII: Strange Happenings ( Chapter 7 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The other members of the Starfox team, however, were neither smiling or sleeping. The three members of the team of mercenaries recently had entered the medicenter, where Slippy had applied his engineering expertise to construct a remote device with which they could monitor Krystal's brain activity, and now they watched wide-eyed as the affliction known as Ha'lar Marai was steadily deteriorating Krystal's mind.
"There has to be something we can do!" Falco exclaimed, pounding a fist into his hand. "We can't just let her die...not after all she's done."
Peppy blinked. 'Falco, emotional?' he thought. 'Now there's a first.' Krystal and Falco had hit it off from the beginning. While Falco was the ranked ace pilot, Krystal definitely had shown her prowess with an Arwing many times over. The funny thing about it all was that Falco didn't seem too mad about her stealing some of his limelight. But Peppy knew that there would never be nothing more than a strong friendship between them. Krystal was in love with Fox, and he with her, even if neither one of them could see it. And Falco, though he refused to admit it, liked Katt Monroe.
"You're right, birdbrain, for once," Slippy replied.
"Hey, can it, Slip-up," Falco retorted. "Just tell me if there's anything we can do. You're our resident medical expert."
"But I have no idea what's going on here. This isn't normal mental deterioration. If it was, there are plenty of treatments available for it. What did Taylor call it?"
"Psionics," Peppy interjected.
"Right. Psionics. Whatever they are, I would bet that it's having a strong effect on whatever's going on here."
Falco threw up his hands. "Thank you, Captain Obvious."
"Hey, look," Slippy shot back, "I'm trying to do the best I can with the resources available to me, all right, feather-breath? You try to do my job, and we'll see where we end up!"
Falco took a menacing step towards Slippy. "Watch it, frogger! You're in deep water now!"
Peppy stepped in between the warring mercenaries. "Boys!" he snapped. "That's quite enough! This isn't doing Krystal any good!"
Falco and Slippy looked at Peppy, then at each other. "You're right, Peppy," Slippy sighed.
"Yeah, gotta agree with the toad, gramps," Falco seconded.
Peppy opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off when a loud beeping sound emanated from the device that Slippy had quickly thrown together. "What's goin' on, Slip?" Peppy asked.
"I don't's Fox!" Slippy exclaimed.
"What?" Falco quirked an eyebrow.
"I'm not really sure, but somehow he's in Krystal's mind!"
"Is..that even possible?"
"Apparently it is," Slippy gasped. "And look at this...his energy patterns are going nuts! His brainwaves are off the charts!"
Peppy's eyes quickly roved the screen, then he gasped sharply. "I--I've seen this before...but--but it's not possible!"
"What is it, gramps?" Falco asked.
"It's all coming into place, now," Peppy murmured. "The Reshetell, Taylor...Now I know where I've heard of them!" He suddenly realized Falco had spoken. "No time to explain now," he replied. "I have to find Taylor!" He turned, the sprinted out of the medicenter. Neither Falco or Slippy had ever seen Peppy move that fast. They exchanged confused glances, then wordlessly agreed to follow Peppy.
________________________________________________________________ _______

Taylor laid in his bed, unable to sleep. He stared blankly at the ceiling, trying to figure out a solution to their problem. 'I can't just give up,' he thought. 'It'd be like if someone gave up on Star. Fox loves Krystal just as much as I love Star. We're really not that different.' After a few more minutes of thought, Taylor sat bolt upright. 'I've got it!' he crowed. 'If no one's gone in there...which is doubtful, considering the riil...ugh! I hate them. Still, it's gotta be done. It's the only way we can save Krystal.' Taylor took a deep breath, then exhaled. He climbed out of his bed, then made his way down the hallway. 'I need to find someplace quiet,' Taylor thought. 'Otherwise I won't be able to concentrate enough to get into the Archives.' The Archives were not actually a physical place, but a 'mental dimension' of sorts, created by ancient Guardians to house their knowledge. However, in recent months, strange creatures had been entering the Archives. Their intent was unknown, but assumed malign. They had attacked a few of the members of the Iri Felessar on occasion, but so far they posed nothing more than a minor annoyance. Taylor turned down a side hall and smoothly entered the reading room, a room that was in effect, a minature library with a few pieces of furniture and lighting for readers who desired a more personal atmosphere. He saw Jacen sitting on a chair, reading a rather thick book, mumbling something in Altairian every so often.
"Hey, Jace," Taylor murmured, smiling slightly.
"Hey, boss," Jacen replied, looking up.
"Find anything?" Taylor asked.
Jacen sighed, shaking his head. "No..."
Taylor clenched his fist. "Dammit."
Jacen closed the book with a soft whump. "Don't take this the wrong way, boss," he began, "but why are you so interested in these guys, anyway? I mean, I know it's our job to help people when and where we can, but you're reacting almost as if it was one of us..."
Taylor sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I don't really know," he said. "I almost feel a personal connection with Fox...I don't know why..." He stared at the ceiling for a few moments, trying to form a coherent explanation. "I was a pretty big fan of the games when they were released back on Earth, but I just thought they were sci-fi characters. Nothing real. But then, when I saw Krystal hurt, and when I saw how Fox reacted, it reminded me of me when I thought Star was dead. So I want to do everything I can to help...even if it doesn't work," Taylor finished with a sigh.
Jacen nodded. "I understand. Well, I'm with you all the way, and I think Jeresh and Star will be, too."
Taylor nodded and smiled. "Thanks, Jace."
"By the way, why are you here so late, man?" Jacen asked.
"Ah, that," Taylor said. "I had an idea that might help us find some sort of solution to Ha'lar Marai."
Jacen raised an eyebrow. "Really? What?""The Archives," Taylor replied simply.
"The Archives?" Jacen blinked in surprise. "I thought they had been declared off-limits since the riil started attacking."
Taylor shuddered a little. "Ugh...yeah, but I'm ducking the red tape."
"...Again," Jacen added with a smirk.
"Very funny, man," Taylor laughed.
"Yeah, I know," Jacen shot back, then became serious. "Hey, if you really are going into the Archives, I'm going to keep an eye on you." He pulled a small device from his pocket and pressed a few buttons on it, activating it. "This'll monitor your vitals. If anything weird starts happening, I'm comin' in after you."
Taylor smirked. "You know weird is my middle name."
"I'm serious!" Jacen exclaimed. "These riil are really something else."
Taylor threw up his hands. "All right, all right!" He allowed Jacen to strap the device onto his wrist, and was about to focus his mind for entry into the Archives, when he suddenly heard pounding footsteps coming down the hallway. Taylor and Jacen scrambled to change into their 'morph forms as a panting Peppy dashed into the Reading Room, looking exhausted.
"Taylor!" he gasped. "Thank fortune I found you!"
"Whoa, Peppy!" Taylor exclaimed, placing a hand on the hare's shoulder. "Take it easy. Slow down and take a breath. Then you can tell me what's going on."
Peppy nodded, then leaned down to put his hands on his knees and catch his breath. When he had, he straightened, and bowed formally to Taylor and Jacen. "I am sorry for not properly greeting you before, Jelet're'el," he said. His voice had now acquired a tone that Taylor had never heard before. It was one of deep reverence.
Taylor raised an eyebrow. "Wait. How do you know who I am?" He didn't think he told Starfox about his being the Jelet're'el.
"You are the leader of the Iri Felessar, yes?" Peppy asked. Taylor could only blankly nod, now completely confused. Jacen seemed to be just as lost. "I thought as much," Peppy mused. "You see, I come here before you now for your help. Fox has found a way to telepathically link, physically as well as mentally, with Krystal. I believe he is--" Peppy had to choose his wording carefully, "--awakening--but without proper guidance, he will be lost and confused."
"Wait," Taylor replied. "Awakening? Physically bonded? I thought Krystal was the telepath, not Fox."
'I see the contact had a wider implication than was first assumed,' Peppy thought. "Yes," Peppy said, "Krystal is a telepath, but that may be the extent of her powers. Fox, on the other hand, has a whole host of psionic powers."
"By whose blood?" Taylor asked. "I didn't exactly think James was a psion." Taylor fleetingly realized he was trading information about the Starfox team, some that he wasn't supposed to have, with one of its members. But he had to know how Fox was a psion.
Jacen suddenly entered into the conversation. "No--" he breathed. "James wasn't...but Fox's mother was..." A single name escaped his lips, one that Taylor had never heard before. "Lierra...that was her name." Taylor looked back at Peppy, who nodded solemnly.
"She was the leader of a group of psionic warriors known as the Freedom Fighters; they were actually quite similar to your group," Peppy mused. "About twenty years ago, Lylat was under the vicious, tyrannical rule of a villain named Arellinn. The Lylat System is, in actuality, a collection of three star systems; Lylat, Nerej, and Vash. A small planet in the Vash system began a resistance movement to Arellinn's efforts. To prove her power over us, Arellinn annihilated the rebels."
A name suddenly sprang to Taylor's lips. "Cerinia..." Taylor breathed, then suddenly blinked in surprise. "I've heard that name before!"
Peppy tilted his head. "Heard of it? Where?" He didn't think the Terrans had known about that. When they had contacted Earth, Fox was still just a fresh cadet out of flight school and had just formed the new Team Starfox; he was nowhere near to meeting Krystal then.
"All the pieces are starting to come together now..." Taylor murmured, then spoke to Peppy and Jacen, who looked just as bewildered as the hare. "A few months back, I was confronted by a furre on the planet Rydia, who gave me a mysterious message and a letter," he said. "They said, 'Give this to the princess of Cerinia. Her, and her alone.' I thought that I had misheard him, or that maybe this might even be some sort of joke. But then, yesterday, when Adek called Krystal the Cerinian princess, and when you mentioned the planet; that caused everything to come back to me."
Jacen nodded. "And I had heard of Fox before, too, I just didn't remember it until now. My father once said to me: 'If the one born of Fire who is drawn to ice ever comes to you, be ready to help him, my son.' He's the One born of Fire," he said.
Taylor gasped. "What? No way..." he breathed. The One born of Fire was supposed to be a legend; a myth. According to the stories, the One born of Fire was an intensely poweful psion, one whose powers outstripped even Taylor's. He would be the one who would bring final peace between humanoids and 'morphs. Taylor, though he had heard the stories, had never bought into them--until now.
Taylor looked over at Peppy. "Well, now, I guess there's no more need for this ruse, at least around you, Peppy," he said. He turned to Jacen and nodded, and, as one, the two warriors transformed back into their natural forms.
A soft gasp slipped from Peppy's lips. "I have never seen a humanoid personally before," he said. "You have a certain--unique grace about you; something that puts to rest all of the belief of you being 'hairless beasts,' as is the common thought."
Taylor chuckled slightly. "We've found that most cultures that have never made contact with a non-'morphed race react in a similar way."
Taylor turned to Jacen. "Let's see what we can do to help Krystal."
"What can I do?" asked Peppy.
"You're not a telepath, are you?"
"Not that I know of," Peppy replied with a small smile.
"Then wait here and watch these monitors," Taylor replied, strapping one of the small devices to his wrist, then tossing another to Jacen. "If anything happens, find Star and Jeresh. They'll know what to do."
Peppy nodded. "All right.
Taylor looked over at Jacen. "Let's do this, man!"
Jacen flashed a thumbs-up. "I'm with you all the way, Taylor."
As one, the two warriors closed their eyes, and began to chant an ancient rune: "Iri Felessaren, varrahá deláa nu áesh berec j'harell Ioeress kirá shenereq." Even through closed eyelids, the bright flash of light stunned the pair. When it faded, they opened their eyes, blinking a few times, then stood. Looking at each other, they wordlessly agreed on a plan of action, then split up, jogging through the aisles of the library-like Archives in search of answers.