"Krys? You ok?"
Bedside lamp on and sitting up on her side of their bed, Krystal shivered when she felt Fox wrap her arms around her waist and nuzzle into the back of her neck.
It was six years ago to this day.
Krystal nodded, "The same one."
++Kew, Sabbat Worlds++
Ultramarine Sergeant Jacques Mortensen removed his power sword from the splintered cranium of the Chaos Sorcerer's skull, barely registering his missing left arm as his eyes scanned the interior of the inner sanctorium and the amount of dead heretic bodies littering the massive chamber until he registered blow. Trudging across the sea of bodies he kicked the body that pinned Krystal, the last of the xeno Cerinian race. The wound in her left arm was reopened, blood tricking over her combat armor, but she managed to weak smile up at the Astartes.
"Like old times?" Krystal asked.
"..." Jacques remained stoic as she bent over and helped her up with his remaining arm. "Yes."
It was so long ago. Thing hadn't felt so grey back then. To him it had been simple: The righteous against the unrighteous. Good versus evil. Though he did not regret his character and he felt everything he had accomplished in the hundred or so years of his life had been worth it, he wondered how he had turned out to be so naïve as to how the Imperium functioned, believing they would overlook his transgressions with regard to the xenos he had associated with.
Krystal gasped and reached to touch the stump where his left arm used to be, hobbling forward on an injured right leg. She looked up at him with concern. Concern, and an almost sisterly love for him that would have made him sick were he the Space Marine the Imperium had preferred he be. Instead of the aberration that he was.
"I will live," Jacques assured her, Krystal wincing a bit from his voice projected through the vox grill of his helmet. "Let us leave this place."
Krystal's eyes widened when she remembered what was at stake. She nodded hurriedly, "Y-yes."
The Cerinian's arms wrapped themselves around his neck as he carried her with one arm out of the cathedral and toward the steps leading down from the cathedral toward the hellscape that was the Battle for Kew, the Black Legion's attempted incursion into the Lylat System, and the joint Lylatian-Imperium efforts to stop them. It had ended with the Imperial forces essentially taking the Lylatian forces – their troops and their ships - hostage until the Cerinian used her xeno magicks to seal the Warp rift and defeat the Chaos Lord that had attempted to spread Chaos from beyond the Solar System.
The Inquisitor lowered his plasma pistol from Fox's head when he saw the xeno-traitor and his Cerinian pet make their way down the steps toward him and his retinue, his attention focused on his former xenos masters kneeling on the ground with the hands behind their heads. He looked over at Captain Sicarius, his power sword in hand with his Ultramarines at his back. They looked ready to turn their guns on him and his storm troopers present at the first opportunity should things go awry.
"It's done!" Krystal called out. "The rift has been closed."
"Once you burn the bodies, it will be as if Chaos had never set foot on this world," Jacques added as he let Krystal down on the ground. "The bargain has been fulfilled. Now-"
"Not so fast, sergeant," the Inquisitor said. "There is still the matter of someone answering for the Ultramarines' unsanctioned activities in Lylat."
"We agreed as to how it shall be settled," Sicarius reminded him, grimly. "Sergeant Mortensen."
"Have you made your decision?"
Jacques removed his helmet and let it drop to the ground, revealing he had picked up even more scars a year since he had left the Lylat System. He watched as Krystal limped toward Fox, the two of them embracing and ignoring the hotshot lasguns trained on them.
Krystal broke their embrace and the two of them looked at the Ultramarine Sergeant, puzzled. "Jacques?"
The Inquisitor's distaste at this act of intimacy was palpable. "You have a choice."
"I understand. I will purge the xeno-taint from the chapter immediately, once and for all," Jacques declared. He turned to Sicarius, "If I have my captain's permission."
Without hesitation Sicarius nodded, "It is yours."
Fox held his breathe as Jacques drew his bolt pistol, the barrel of the gun pointed dangerously toward each member of Team Star Fox. Krystal sniffed when she thought that this was the end of the only human, she could ever bring herself to love like a brother. That is until she noticed the company Apothecary standing by, his redactor at the ready. Krystal's eyes widened when she realized what Jacques' choice really was.
He reached towards his neck and tore the necklace she had given him off and tossed it their way.
"...no..." she whispered.
"It belongs to you," Jacques' face softened. "I was just holding it."
Fox turned to her, "What?" Pain crossed the vulpine's face when it dawned on him how Jacques was going to 'purge the xeno-taint from the chapter.' His eyes downcast as he felt tears well in his eyes, "Falco, Slippy..."
"...yeah?" Falco sounded like he knew what was coming too.
"Courage and Honor," were Jacques' last words before he raised his head, putting the barrel of his bolt pistol underneath his chin.
All of Team Star Fox screamed his name as he pulled the trigger, none louder than Krystal...
Krystal sighed into Fox's chestfur as the two of them laid back down on the bed, Fox pulling the blanket up and over them before stared up at the ceiling.
"I miss him," Krystal mumbled.
Fox kissed her forehead soothed his wife "...me too."
Their ears perked up when they heard their bedroom door open. Krystal lifted her head up off Fox and sat up on the bed.
The little five-year old blue-furred vulpine boy sucked in a breath, "Mommy? Daddy?"
Fox noticed how the light reflected off the green crystal necklace he wore, "Everything ok, buddy?"
Marcus Jean McCloud rubbed his left shoulder anxiously, "I...had a bad dream..."
Krystal smiled and stretched her arms, "So did I. Come here."
Marcus didn't hesitate in throwing himself into his mother's arms, feeling his father's comforting hand on his shoulder.
Thought For The Day
"Life is the Emperor's currency. Spend it well."
A/N: 11 years ago, I would never have imagined myself writing something like this. But now I realize: For a Space Marine to ally himself with xeno and cannot bring himself to choose the Imperium over them this was the only way it was ever going to end. It's sad, it's anticlimactic, it's grimdark.
Don't get me wrong. I don't regret writing Star Fox 40,000 and consider it all one big exercise in developing my skills, which I admit still needs lots of improvement. I just wish I was more knowledgeable about the setting and lore from the very beginning and I should have written it with more grimdark in mind instead of straight heroic fantasy. This was originally going to be a full-fledged reboot, but honestly, I just want to put all this behind me.
My interest in Warhammer 40,000 is coming back, mostly thanks to a fan film on YouTube called GUARDSMAN (go watch it ^_^) and I'm considering writing another multi-chapter fic, which will center around the Imperial Guard. This fic was written just to provide some kind of closure, to myself mostly.
Thanks for reading. :) It may be short, but tell me what you think.