Disclaimer: I don't own Star Fox or Warhammer 40,000. They are property of Nintendo and Games Workshop. Special thanks to SF Ghost for proof-reading, fluff check and the use of the "Lylat/Imperium Truce".
A/N: Here's something to get me back into writing Star Fox and Warhammer 40,000. Just a oneshot story set towards the end of Jacques' three months with Team Star Fox before the Ork invasion back in the first story.
Boredom. That was one of the things Jacques Jeán Mortensen thought he would never have to experience when he had recited his vows on Ultramar before he was permitted to don the sacred Power Armour of the Adeptus Astartes – the Space Marines, of the Ultramarines chapter, defenders of the Imperium of Man that existed outside the boundaries of the Lylat System.
It had been two months since his liberation from his state of suspended animation inside the Thunderhawk transport, in which he had been adrift amongst the ruins of Cerinia. The destruction of the planet at the hands of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and its Venomian and Orkish allies claimed the lives of the entire vulpine xeno Cerinian species and many of his Battle Brothers of the 2nd Company, some of whom had been his close friends – including the xeno. He had never focused on why his Chapter went out of its way to safeguard an alien race, but he never questioned his orders from his Captain Cato Sicarius, who in turn had been under the orders of the Chapter-Master, Marneus Calgar.
Here he was now, out of combat and out of his power armour, sitting in the infirmary of the Great Fox II, flagship of the commandoes-for-hire Team Star Fox. Wearing only the piece of power armour that covered his waist and extremities, his immensely muscled frame was hooked up to several alien medical apparatus as the ship's medical cogitators, or computer, scanned his body for any abnormalities. Jacques was glad the Great Fox II's medical suite had the right equipment to periodically check his body, and his sacred gene-seed, almost mirroring the Astartes Apothecarium back on Macragge.
Scan completed! The computer's mechanical voice stated. Comparing from last scan two months ago, no changes or abnormalities detected within primary, secondary or tertiary organs.
"Disengage medical apparatuses," Jacques ordered, the wires attached to his body loosening themselves. "Status of Power Armour?"
Cleaned and fully charged.
Jacques got up from his seat and stepped over to the centre of the room. He moved his head around, his neckbones creaking in anticipation
Spots in the floor around him opened up to reveal several mechanical appendages emerging, each with parts of his blue 'ultramarines' coloured armour – His cuirass, his pauldrons, his gloves, his backpack/power source. Each piece interfaced itself into him through his biological Black Carapace and was welded into place by other mechanical apparatus.
Jacques? Can I come in?
The Ultramarine suppressed a smile when he recognised the voice over the com.
"You may, Krystal."
And in stepped a blue-furred, almost ethereal looking vixen in her mission clothes. She greeted him with a smile as if they were friends, but it faded when she saw the mechanical arms in the process of assembling and attaching his armour to himself.
"Oh…I'm sorry. I thought…"
"You're not intruding, Princess," Jacques reassured her, referring to her by her formal, and somewhat unnecessary, title. "Do you need me for something?"
Krystal briefly awed at the sight of him as he once again donned his Mark VII Aquila Power Armour. The apparatus handed him his helmet, which he magnetised to his hip as he felt no need to don it at the present time.
Krystal blinked, "Ah…ROB just detected an anomaly within the System."
This piqued Jacques' interest, "What kind of anomaly?"
The vixen became silent, eyes scanning the floor.
"One that's near what used to be…Cerinia."
...to anyone …request immediate assis…human spa…under atta. We ca…escape…
"Transmission cuts off here."
"Can't you clean this up a little bit more, ROB?"
"Negative. Signal has been corrupted by unknown elements. "
On the bridge, the members of Star Fox gathered in the conference room, standing around the holo-projector that was broadcasting nothing but white noise and a tone of voice that reeked of pure desperation. The ambiguity of whomever had broadcasted the distress signal was enough to make at least one of the mercenary's appear uncomfortable.
The mercenaries in question were a rugged-looking orange/white-furred vulpine, a blue-feathered falcon avian of perpetual inpatient appearance, a short green frog wearing a cap; an aged rabbit wearing glasses and of course there was Krystal.
Fox, Krystal, Falco, Slippy, Peppy and Jacques – Team Star Fox.
"Unknown elements, huh?" Falco deadpanned. "By unknown you mean…?"
The avian sighed, "Uh-huh…thought so."
"Didn't I just hear the guy say 'human'?" Slippy asked, uncomfortable. "Cause' it sounded like he said 'human.'"
"He did," the human among them, Jacques, said. "I assume he meant to say 'human spacecraft'."
Fox looked confused, "That somehow got through Lylat's Border Defences?"
"It could have dropped out of the Warp," Peppy said. "No way could any of our systems, or any Lylatian system for that matter, detect any opening into the Material space."
He turned to Jacques, worriedly.
"Correct," Jacques nodded.
He stepped forward and tapped on the keyboard built into the holo-projector, producing an image of the Lylat System.
"Where did this transmission originate, ROB?"
A red blip appeared on the map between Sauria…and Sector C – the remains of Cerinia. Krystal involuntary covered her mouth slightly, while Jacques crossed his arms as he stepped back, grimacing.
"Or the ship could have just been floating there ever since the Cerinia Conflict," Fox said, rubbing the back of his head in obvious discomfort. "There's rarely any activity in that sector anyway."
"No way," Falco shook his head. "We would've detected it when we picked up Jacques and destroyed that dumb ape Andrew's Warp…thing…."
Falco shuddered as her remembered that unholy looking spacecraft that Andrew Oikonny, the current head of the Venomian Remnants, unleashed on them when they had travelled to Sector C. All that crimson, not to mention what came after in the Cython Sector, was still giving him nightmares.
Jacques nodded again, remembering that it had been two months since he had been reawakened from his self-inflicted state of Suspended Animation, having put himself under if after narrowly escaping Cerinia's destruction – brought upon the world by the dark alliance of Orks, the Forces of Chaos and Venom. He had come out ready to kill every xeno on the Great Fox II, but his former charge – Princess Krystal – had been the one to greet him, and he felt compelled to continue his mission on safeguarding her for the Imperium's interests.
If said interests still mattered to the normally anti-xeno Imperium of Man. It still confused him as to why the Imperium would still have anything to do with Lylat. As far as he knew, Lylat was located in a neighbouring galaxy past the Sabbat Worlds of the Segmentum Pacificus and the Astromican, the Emperor's Light, could hardly be felt; the most superstitious of humanity wouldn't dare venture this far out here, not anymore at least.
The Treaty of Kew was still in effect despite two past violations during the past twenty years, with the Lylatians simultaneously and foolishly unearthing the Chaos gates on Evergreen, the Vulpine homeworld, and Falconia, the avian homeworld. Almost immediately the Ultramarines were at Lylat's borders, as if they expected the gates and the corruption to be found.
Jacques raised his head, having dipped slightly in thought, to see Slippy looking over at him.
"You still with us?"
"I am. I was just thinking."
"You want to share anything with us?" Fox asked. "Like why is there an Imperial spacecraft in Lylat. I thought they all withdrew after…"
He paused, noticing Krystal's sullenness with the fact that the Imperial presence in Lylat finally withdrew following Cerinia's destruction, that they had all left their former Cerinian allies and the Imperials that didn't get off the planet fast enough to die. In Jacques and a few of his Brother Marines cases, however, they had decided to stand their ground and continue fighting.
Only Jacques and Krystal survived.
"I do not know what the Imperium's stance with Lylat is at the current time," Jacques said. "Like Peppy said this craft might simply have dropped out of the Warp into Lylat."
"Hm," Fox nodded. "ROB, has anyone else received this transmission? Cornerian High Command, Venom?"
"Negative," ROB replied. "Outlying sensors detect no signs of additional mobilisation in response to the Imperial craft detected within the System. We are the only craft that has received this transmission."
Falco groaned, "Uh…let's go check it out before any more dumb Cornerians get themselves killed."
Peppy nodded, "Yeah, I doubt we would able to accomplish anything if we just stand here and endlessly speculate."
"Seconded," Fox smirked. "ROB…Sector C right now."
***FOR AUTHORISED VIEW ONLY***
As of this day, any and all hostilities between the denizens of the Imperium and the Lylat System will officially cease, due to sound decisions by the military leaders in the Battle of Kew.
This truce is in effect due to received Cerinian intelligence about the presence of abandoned, dormant Daemon Gates within the borders of the Lylat System. According to this intelligence, the gates can be re-activated by martial conflict erupting in close proximity to them. Further, the location of the Gates is hitherto unknown, and so would constitute a massive military risk for the troops of the Imperium, should they decide to lead their invasion force further into Lylatian space.
In mutual agreement, the military leaders of both sides present on Planet Kew have called for a cease-fire, and have constructed this truce after weighing consequences and discussing the matter at length.
The signing of this truce makes valid the following points:
- The Lylatians will allow the evacuation of Planet Kew, in order for the Imperium to establish their rightful colony on this world. Although the world is no longer invaded by military means, it is still Imperial territory and will always be Imperial property in the future. Kew will officially be recognized as part of the Sabbat Worlds, Segmentum Pacificus.
- Lylatians will be allowed to evacuate Planet Kew without harm and shall henceforth live in peace from Imperial incursions and retribution of any kind. This condition is accepted by Imperial personnel because of the great security-risk, which the Daemon Gates pose, as noted in the above.
- Any and all military incursions into Lylatian/Imperial space will be closely monitored to see whether they abide by the points made valid in this truce.
Signed on Planet Kew, Lylat System/Segmentum Pacificus, 355.M35.
Under the authority of Lylatian Central Command and the Imperium of Man:
Frederick Hare, Abel Koresh
Field Marshal, Captain,
Kew Defense Force, Blood Ravens 2nd Company
Peppy had gone other his electronic copy of the Lylat/Imperial 'Truce' for the tenth time as he sat alone in his study, busy trying to figure out the Imperium's logic patterns on the day that the truce had been enacted, overseen by his direct descendant Frederick Hare. Although what they referred to as their 'Emperor's Light' was dim this far out of their home systems, nothing Lylat had could have a chance in stopping them from venturing further into the System and wiping out all life in Lylat – and if these Daemon Gates were real and were activated as a result, what would stop the Imperium from beating the Forces of Chaos back as well?
'Too overwhelming even for the Imperium, I suppose?' Peppy thought.
Hey Peppy, Falco's voice sounded off from the rabbit's room com. We've arrived.
Peppy switched his terminal monitor off and stood up from his seat.
"Be right there."
We're in observation…
"…and boy, old timer, you gotta see this!"
The Great Fox II emerged from hyperspace just outside the blue crystalline nebula where Cerinia once was, now reduced to rocks ringed around blue nothingness. And steered towards the Great Fox II was an ancient-looking Imperium of Man starship – a cruiser to be more precise. Save for Peppy, Team Star Fox was assembled on the observation deck.
Slippy whistled and leaned against the railing, "Now that is what I call old."
Jacques nodded, arms crossed, "The starships of the Imperial Navy may see service for hundreds, even thousands, of years."
"Really that old, huh?" Falco quipped. "No such things as progress with you Imperials, right?"
Jacques frowned, "Not since the Horus Heresy, no."
Fox nodded, remembering Jacques' telling of the civil war approximately 10,000 years ago that almost destroyed humanity and allowed the Forces of Chaos to run ramshod across the galaxy, with the Lylat System at the edge of the Segmentum Pacificus just barely spared. Or so he thought anyway.
"So what are we looking at exactly, Jacques?"
Jacques' narrowed his eyes, "I recognize it as a Lunar-class, the backbone of the Imperial cruisers. The most common and easily constructed craft within the Imperial Navy."
"Holy…that's what you call the common kind of starship?" Slippy was speechless. "It's big! A-a ship this huge must need a crew of thousands."
Jacques glimpsed at the frog, silently enjoying his look of astonishment, "Tens of thousands."
"That many?" Falco drawled. "That makes it sound like their slave galleys or something. Always needing to have their torpedoes manually primed, y'know…"
He made a whipping gesture with his hand.
"Slave drivers with the whips and all."
"You are correct in your assumption, Falco," Jacques deadpanned, still facing the ancient spacecraft.
Falco became silent, arm frozen mid whipping motion, "Ah-wuh?"
He then scowled, outraged at humanity's primitive, seemingly unnecessary way of loading ordinance.
"For real?! Ships powered by slave labor?! Jeez laweez…"
The Great Fox II approached the Lunar-class cruiser, until the significantly smaller flagship was flying alongside the ancient, crumbling yet mighty looking Imperial starship. Krystal stepped forward towards the window, surprising everyone when she stretched her left palm towards it, closing her eyes in focus.
"Krys?" Fox queried.
"When we received that transmission it felt…like we should have not have received it," Krystal said. "Like it doesn't belong."
"Belong?" Peppy asked as he stepped in observation. "Could you be clearer?"
Krystal shook her head and turned around, "Belong in this reality, this time…it just doesn't belong here."
"Still not following," Falco quipped.
Jacques frowned at Falco's dismissal of the seriousness of the implications Krystal was alluding to, "Travel through the Warp is to travel through the same dimension where Chaos and daemons roam free. The laws of time, physics and…well…anything that is supposed to be grounded does not exist. Whole spacecraft can enter the Warp and never return…"
Jacques then briefly gave an uncomfortable looking glance at the Imperial cruiser.
"…or they reappear hundreds, maybe thousands, of years later. We designate those 'Space Hulks.'"
Slippy swallowed nervously, "So…can daemons find their way onto a ship that travels within the Warp?"
"Fucccckkkkkk …" Falco groaned. "And a bunch'a dumb bastards probably woke em' up boarding that…thing."
Negative. No boarding craft of any description has been detected alongside the Imperial craft, ROB promptly shot Falco down.
"Who sent that transmission, then? If it wasn't anyone from around here…?" Fox scratched his chin.
Krystal grimaced, continuing to sense whatever horrors lurked within the craft, "I…I can sense pain, hatred, agony…"
Falco shook his head, "We're not seriously thinking about going aboard that thing, right? I know how these things play out. We should just get General Pepper to send a fleet here and wipe it off the star map…from as far away as possible!"
"Along with anyone that could be alive?" Krystal asked in disgust.
"On board a human ship? They'd be dead anyway!" Falco exclaimed, slowly starting to become agitated.
"It is your decision, Fox," Jacques turned to the vulpine. "If whoever sent the transmission is still alive, they will not be for long, and we will possibly be in for a fight."
Fox breathed in deeply, and stared out of the window towards the possibly damned Imperial craft; quickly making his mind up. His mouth formed a thin, determined line when he made up his mind.
"We've never backed out of anything before! Everyone…suit up, grab the most powerful close-ranged weapon you can hold, as much ammo as you can carry and assemble at the airlock in ten minutes."
Fox cracked is neck in preparation.
"We're not leaving ANYONE to the mercy of WHATEVER'S in there!"
Krystal smiled at his words. Peppy nodded in acknowledgement. Slippy as well
Falco however sighed, "I knew it."
Jacques smirked, admiring the xeno warrior's spirit, and his doubts towards being commanded by said xeno once again receded.
Already waiting for the others within the airlock chamber, the blue-feathered avian stretched a hand out to receive the Imperial forged shotgun Jacques hurled his way, followed by a small bag of cartridges. The Ultramarine was armed with his boltgun, his chainsword magnetized to his left hip. In his right hand was a portable hand-held auspex, an Imperial-produced tracking device.
"Have to say, I'm gettin' pretty fond of those Imp-made weapons," Falco stated as he loaded the cartridges into the shotguns chamber. "You remember seeing what this baby did those bastard apes two missions ago?"
"Vividly," Jacques replied, putting his helmet on, it's vox-system distorting his voice as he continued. "I have never seen anyone wield a shotgun one handed and relieve two Venomians of their heads."
Falco chuckled, "Me neither, heh."
An awkward silence came about as they waited for Fox, Krystal and Slippy to join them. Falco looked up from his cartridges and glimpsed at Jacques…
"Must feel pretty weird."
Falco cringed lightly, his vox-enhanced voice sounding like nails on a chalkboard, "Being part of an 'alien' force about to board and ' plunder' a floating shipwreck for an Imperial cruiser; seeing it out from our point-of-view…"
"Our?" Jacques interrupted. "Do you mean from Star Fox's or the xenos in general?"
Falco became silent, then couldn't keep the frown off his face.
"It has been two months, and you still believe I will turn on you the first opportunity I get if the 2nd Company or any other Imperial force finds its way into the Lylat System past the Sabbat Worlds," Jacques explained. Falco could not see the look of distaste on Jacques' face, but could sense it in his voice.
Falco chuckled darkly, "Oh…I'm not worried about that, you sounded sincere enough when you pledged yourself and your whole arsenal of planet-cracking to the team…"
He then sounded serious.
"The only problem I have with you is that you're…y'know…a human…"
Jacques suddenly interrupted, "If you are trying to make me feel out of place here and to make me realize that all the numerous times I have killed xenos without considering them as sentient civilized beings, the you have failed. And if you were about to point out tauntingly that I have spent my life up until this point fighting non-humans only to now be allied with them as I continue to perform my duties as assigned to me by my Captain and Chapter, then you have also failed."
Falco's mouth had been open in mid-conversation just before Jacques interrupted him.
" Right. Outta. My fucking mouth," Falco growled. "How'd…?"
"Yo, Falco, Jacques!"
He was interrupted again by Slippy stepping into the chamber, followed by Fox and Krystal, all of whom were armed - Krystal with her staff and her blaster sidearm, and Fox and Slippy each with blaster rifles.
"Trying to argue with Jacques again?" Fox wasn't amused.
Falco snorted immaturely and said, "He started it."
Jacques and Krystal shared a rather peeved glance, though one couldn't see it through Jacques' helmet, Krystal thought she saw his helmet lens brighten for a second. Fox tapped his headset communicator.
"ROB…bring the ship to dock towards one of the airlocks in the center of the Space Hulk."
The Great Fox II decelerated once it and the Space Hulk were side by side. The Lylatian carrier then extended its space walkway towards what appeared to be a rusted-iron door that ostensibly passed for one of the Imperial cruiser's airlocks, sealing itself against the aged steel. The normal pressurization cycle followed, then the Lylatian airlock door opened, revealing the ominous looking walkway that led to the Space Hulk.
"I have tuned my auspex scanner for the source of the transmission. It should pick it up once we are within close proximity," Jacques announced. "Then we will be able to track it more easily."
"How deep do we have to go into the cruiser to get a good enough reading?" Fox asked.
"With regards to the interference?" Jacques asked, and then answered. "Hopefully not too far."
"Right," Fox said. "All right everyone. We go in slowly, scanners zero in on the distress signal, we move in as quickly as possible. First sign of trouble we get the hell back out. Agreed?"
"AGREED!" everyone chorused.
Jacques then bowed his head, raising his boltgun up so that his forehead was touching the barrel.
"I am steel, I am doom, I march for Macragge and I know NO FEAR," Jacques recited a familiar litany to himself.
Fox smiled lightly, accustomed to Jacques' prayers every time they stepped back into the thick of it.
"Neither do we," Krystal stated.
"The Emperor protects," Jacques responded.
Out of eyeshot of the Astartes, Falco feigned a gag. Slippy noticed and cringed, fearful Jacques would notice. Falco simply rolled his eyes.
Get ready, Peppy was heard over the com. ROB, open the airlock door.
"What is it, Slip?"
"Can y-you just catch asthma? Or is it just me?"
The trek across the space walkway was uneventful, and Jacques' hacking into one of the ship's archaic looking airlocks was easy enough. Only when they were greeted by a flickering lit hallway splattered with what appeared to be fresh blood they each begun to feel dread. Except for Jacques, boltgun scoping the hallway, his auspex magnetized to his right hip.
"Er…atmosphere generators appear to be intact," Slippy reported, awkwardly checking his own PDA. "Oxygen levels nominal."
Fox inhaled a bit, "We've noticed."
He turned is head towards Jacques.
The Ultramarines grasped his auspex with his right hand, the green illuminated pinging radar display pinpointing the source of the transmission past whatever interference, now known to possibly be of eldritch nature, that radiated off the ancient starship.
"Straight ahead," Jacques said, boltgun in his left hand at the ready. "Be ready."
They followed Jacques as he led them through the first hallway leading from the airlock deeper into the starship, each mentally remembering the path back to the Great Fox II in case their own pathfinder equipment failed on them. The only sounds that could be heard beside their breathing, heartbeats and footsteps were the humming of still functional ship systems.
That soon changed when they began to hear…
'Chanting?' Krystal thought, ears perking up.
"Shit, gunfire," Falco whispered harshly as everyone quickly hunched over slightly. "Everyone hear that?"
Eyes darting around cautiously, they all heard the faint, distant sounds of weapons discharge reverberating all around them. They passed by another hallway heading in the opposite direction when suddenly Jacques shoved Fox forward and out of the way of a hail of bullets from an autorifle that collided harmlessly against Jacques' power armor. Jacques leveled his bolter at the darkened hallway and fired one gyrojet-propelled slug that hit the aggressor and exploded a second later spraying blood all over.
A body slumped forward a few seconds later, revealing a bald-headed human in Imperial navy uniform and bandolier holding an autorifle, and missing the left side of his torso where the Ultramarine had hit him. Jacques grimaced then stepped forward and turned the pale, corrupted looking body over onto its back, revealing the eight-pointed star emblazoned on his forehead.
"That's not good, right?" Fox gritted his teeth.
Jacques was pensive, before responding with a blunt, "No."
To drive the point home, so to speak, another human in a ragged navy uniform charged from around the corner towards Krystal with his autogun with attached bayonet. Krystal quickly extended her staff and struck him across the face, knocking him into the wall and smearing it with his blood before dropping onto the ground. More cultists followed, brandishing knives, swords and other assorted sharp/blunted objects.
"THE DARK GODS HAVE FINALLY SET US LOOSE UPON THE GALAXY!" they all heard an evil, demonic voice rumble around them. "THE FIRST OF MANY SACRIFICES AWAITS US!"
"Back the way we came NOW!" Fox ordered above Jacques' boltgun fire, making sure to keep himself in front of his team-mates to protect them from continued autogun fire. Krystal fired fire shots from her staff past Jacques' shoulder at more of the humans.
They turned to head back to the airlock but found almost a dozen more cultists appearing behind them. Falco discharged his shotgun, the buckshot downing several of them almost immediately. Blaster drawn, Slippy miraculously didn't fumble with his gun as he fired at the melee-crazy cultists.
"GO LEFT!" Jacques shouted, indicating the hallway where he had killed the first cultist.
They quickly ran down the hallway, Fox at the front Jacques at the rear, firing at the cultists in pursuit.
"Wow…didn't imagine things going south this early…" Falco quipped darkly, pumping his shotgun after loading more cartridges.
"Shuddup Falco!" Fox growled. "Krystal?"
"I'm fine!" Krystal exclaimed. "EVIL! I SENSE IT ALL AROUND US!"
"Still behind us!" Jacques called back, remarkably calm. "Find alternate way around back to the airlock!"
"YOU GOT THE FUCKIN' AUSPEX! GET YOUR TITANIUM ASS IN FRONT, THEN!" Falco screamed, "AW, SHIT…ABOVE US!"
Suddenly a vent way above them opened and out poured more cultists, dropping down and knocking them all, save Jacques, on the ground.
"OW…GODDAMMIT!" Falco growled as he dropped his shotgun, quickly reaching for his combat knife and driving it into the side of the cultist's neck as he reached for his throat.
Fox kicked the cultist accousting him off him while Krystal simply shot her head forward…
…and bit the cultist in the ear, tearing it off in time for Jacques' to charge and knock the cultists off his team-mates, grabbing one of the cultists by the skull and slamming him into the wall, bursting his head open as if it were a grapefruit, bellowing all the while.
"MELEE! SWITCH TO MELEE!" Jacques cried, chainsaw revving up, parrying the strokes of a heavy-set cultists before driving his chainsword into his gut, spilling his innards all over the floor.
"NOW YOU'RE GIVING THE ORDERS?!" Falco inquired angrily, grabbing his shotgun off the ground and knocking another cultist across the head and down on his back, before reloading and firing twice.
Slippy cringed as he kept firing his blaster, suddenly having it knocked out of his hands. He instinctively grabbed his wrench and swung it at the human's groin, forcing him to double over in pain before Slippy swung upward in an uppercut and knocked the cultist off his feet. Fox jabbed his left fist forward, punching a cultist in the face before swiping his combat 'knife', which was more the size of a short sword, in an arc, driving it through the cultist's head.
"KEEP MOVING!" Fox ordered, before activating his wrist com. "Peppy, you copy?"
Static was his response.
"This cursed ship!" Jacques cried, boltgun in right hand while chainsword in left. "CHAMBER THROUGH THE DOOR, RIGHT!"
Fox struck the console next to the door leading into theroom and Star Fox forced themselves through it, Jacques shutting it behind them, hands against it and forcing it to keep closed as the cultists kept repeatedly hitting the console to open the door.
Krystal covered her mouth in terror, while Slippy cried out in horror.
"Oh…sweet…." Falco was stupefied.
The room was full of terrors, in the forms of the rotting corpses of several naked Lylatians of different races – canine, avian, lizard, monkey, nailed to the wall by their hands and hung all around the room, including right next to the door. Slippy screamed and stepped away, falling onto the ground and into the blood spilled everywhere.
"What is in here?" Jacques cried, unable to look over his shoulder.
"Something you've missed seeing back in the Imperium…!" Falco quipped.
"FALCO!" Fox shouted.
Jacques growled and turned around, forcing his back against the door, his weight keeping it sealed. He gritted his teeth upon laying his eyes upon the grisly sights upon the room.
'I have NOT missed this!' Jacques thought, embittered by the avian's sense of humor. 'The Geller Fields protecting this ship from Chaos influence must have failed!'
Jacques snarled angrily at that revelation, spun around and punched through the door, knocking one of the cultists pressed against it on the other side flat on his back.
"KEEP MOVING!" Fox ordered. "Door on the other end NOW!"
Careful not to trip on the bodies or slip on the blood, Team Star Fox made their way towards the door on the far end of the room, only for it to burst open with almost a dozen cultists; who were immediately fired upon. One cultist fired his laspistol at Fox, who quickly swerved his head to the left, the las-bolt singing his head fur. He then fired back with his rifle, killing him. Jacques stepped forward, boltgun taking down the majority of the cultists before rearing his right fist forward and knocking the last cultist down with a mighty forward punch.
All the while his auspex was alight with close to a hundred signals dotting the screen.
"Going around them might not be an option anymore!" Jacques exclaimed as they left the room and back into the hallways, the sounds of footsteps and devilish chanting coming from all sides.
Fox gritted his teeth, "Can we lose them, then? Head towards the source of that transmission then try for an alternate route back to the airlock?"
"Worth a try!" Jacques growled determinedly as he switched out his boltgun magazine, having mentally kept count of his shots.
They were interrupted by more enemy movements from all sides around them.
Ten minutes later, they found themselves sealing themselves in what appeared to be a conference room completed with a large table, seats and a hololith projector situated in the center. Team Star Fox stopped to catch their breath. Jacques was the only one not appearing to be winded, instead checking his auspex.
"Enemy activity appears to be light in this sector," he declared. "It will not stay that way for long? Slippy?"
Checking his own PDA, Slippy panted, "Calculating alternate route! Ahh…seriously you guys…"
"What?" Falco leaned against the wall as he loaded the last of his spare cartridges into his shotgun.
"Next Space Hulk…we blow it outta space with every ship in the Cornerian fleet backing us up."
"I concur," Krystal replied, wiping the blood away from her staff's gemstone with her thumb. "Jacques, any…kind of explanation for any of this?"
Jacques nodded, "This ship's Geller fields…what protects from daemonic influence while in transit through the Warp, must have failed. its crew must have become tainted through time spent within the Immaterium…"
"Yeah and I recall the stuff you said about time not mattering within that hellverse," Fox stated. "Are we are risk of being 'tainted' s as well?"
Jacques was silent, every casting worried glance at one another.
"If we get off this ship fast enough and ignore the voices that are bound to start whispering in our ears then we should be fine," Jacques replied. "Before we do, however…"
He stood aside to reveal the body of a Cornerian Alsatian lying in a blood of his own blood behind him, his still white noise emitting headset on and what appeared to be a still operating beacon transmitter clutched in his arms.
"We're at the source?" Slippy asked, then couldn't keep the smile off his face, relieved that something had finally gone right. "Gimme a second…gonna blow this whole thing WIDE open now."
Fox and company followed Slippy as he passed by Jacques and knelt over the body, quickly patching his PDA into the beacon. Slippy scrunched up his face slightly when he realized that…
"Y-you guys, this tech appears…dated," Slippy stuttered slightly. "Aw, man…REALLY dated."
After a few more button presses, they heard the transmission that had been relayed to them earlier, albeit now cleared up.
...to anyone in the Kew Defense Fleet we request immediate assistance. We succeeded in boarding the human spacecraft but are under attack by overwhelming armsmen forces. We cannot escape, routes back to shuttles cut off and sensors indicate that the warp engines will be online again in twenty minutes.
Fox and Krystal stared at one another worriedly, Falco appeared bewildered, Jacques' body language suggested he wasn't surprised and Slippy, steel kneeling before the still fresh corpse of the Cornerian soldier, felt his whole entire being start to shiver with fright.
"This distress signal is dated 2312/2A," Slippy couldn't stop shaking as he checked the details being displayed on his PDA. "T-two A? The Second Age?"
"The 36th Millennium according to the Imperial calendar," Jacques stated, realizing the implications he had stated earlier about time and warp travel being inconsistent. "The same time…"
"As the Battle for Kew," Fox trailed off, equally stunned.
"You don't really t-think those same Cornerians and humans are still around, right?" Slippy looked up, equally hopeful and equally frightened, at Jacques.
Before Jacques could answer, Falco piped in, "After, what, 6,000 years? Ha…not…!"
Falco's pupils shrunk to the size of pin pricks…
…when he noticed the Cornerian husky canine standing in the doorway, his uniform different than the standard issue within the Cornerian Army. Fox immediately recognized it as antiquated, circa…
He inwardly gasped, 'Battle of Kew.'
Furthermore it was torn in many places, specifically around the abs; clotted with blood and lined with bones, the eight-pointed star etched on his right shoulder pad. That was when he recognized the nightmarish, Chaotic visage of the Cornerian standing before him and Team Star Fox. The red-eyed canine had the same Mark of Chaos Undivided carved on his forehead and was snarling at them. If they hadn't have recognized the eight-pointed star, then the skull rack fastened to his back containing rotting human heads was evidence of his allegiance.
Falco's eyes widened as comprehension dawned, "Oh, shit."
The husky growled and drew a rusted combat knife. Fox suddenly felt himself pushed out of the way by Jacques, who stepped forward…
"EMPEROR GUIDE MY HAND!"
…and leveled his bolter at the husky's head with one hand and pulled the trigger, leaving a fist-sized hole in the Cornerian's skull as the round exploded once it hit the far wall behind the skull.
"I rebuke you, Lombardi, by stating: They ARE!" Jacques cried, holding his bolter with both hands. "Weapons up!"
"HOW?" Falco tried not to panic amidst the shouts and screams of what sounded like a thousand men and women butchering each other throughout this part of the ship . "Fuck me sideways HOW?!"
Fox cried, "LATER! WE GOT COMPANY!"
Krystal gritted her teeth as her psychic gifts flared up, "I-I can hear them now! THOUSANDS of them, throughout the entire ship!"
Jacques growled, "So can I."
The Cerinian was surprised by the Ultramarine's statement. It faded as she extended her staff as more Lylatian Cultists emerged through the doorway, each one shoving at each other snarling and appearing rabid. Jacques glowered when he recognized each one was carrying a crude close-combat weapon – knives, shivs, pipe-wrenches and pieces of the ship itself, and deduced they were aligned with the Chas God of Blood and War - Khorne. He quickly switched to his chainsword, revving it up.
Falco recognized that sound and cringed, "AW, MAN! GET OUTTA THE WAY!"
Jacques let out a war cry and threw himself past his team-mates towards the doorway, swinging his chainsword which chewed through each cultist and bisecting the Lylatians, his massive charge crushing two of them against the wall.
"Now we can leave!" Jacques exclaimed. "Fox?"
Exiting the room from the opposite door they found themselves running through the darkened, blood-splattered hallways once again, almost tripping over the corpses of the humans and Lylatian cult groups who had been fighting one another continuously for what seemed like a year instead of six-thousand years; the sounds of both sides hacking away at one another.
"We…are running around them, right?" Slippy panted.
Jacques head shot up when he felt a familiar, holy presence up ahead.
"Next right!" he exclaimed, sounding hopeful. "The ship's Chapel!"
They did so and found two large doors. Jacques pushed them open…
…and everyone else ran through in time for more Lylatian cultists to turn the next corner. They would have followed them in, if Jacques hadn't fired his final two bolter rounds and exploded several of them before closing the chapel doors behind him.
Here Team Star Fox found respite, taking a few moments to catch their breath. Doubled over panting, Fox gradually looked up and around to find themselves in what Jacques identified as the ship's chapel – a largec, spacious area complete with stained glass windows, wooden seats from one end of the chamber to the other surrounded by pillars and a podium at the front where the priests conducted their sermons. Imperial insignia and motifs consisting of skulls and the double-eagle were all over the place.
"Is there…huff…a reason…puff…you lead us into a dead end, Jacques?" Fox asked whilst catching his breath, mirroring Falco's cynicism.
Jacques pulled his helmet off, "Respite. And when they are finally able to bring that door down we will be able to face them in this open area. Plenty of room to maneuver and fight around them and back toward the airlock."
Krystal sighed, imaging the chapel filling up with those maniacs and having to fight around them back towards the exit. Her eyes widened when she sensed a presence behind her; however it bore none of the Warp's taint. This, however, didn't stop her from extending her staff again before the presence darted forward and wrapped his left arm around her throat in a headlock, drawing his combat knife with his right and digging the point into her left cheek, drawing blood.
Fox, Slippy, Falco and Jacques quickly turned in her direction, the vulpine and the human equally alarmed to see something in the shadows next to one of the pillars holding a knife to the blue vixen.
"KRYS!" Fox shouted with his rifle drawn, then towards the assailant. "LET HER GO!"
Jacques leveled his boltgun towards Krystal much to everyone else's alarm, especially the one holding the knife to the vixen, seeing that the Ultramarine was aiming specifically at him.
"Step out of the shadows and reveal yourself," Jacques commanded.
Save for Krystal's grunts of struggle there was silence.
"M-my lord Space Marine…"
Jacques' raised his eyebrows with intrigue as the figure forced Krystal to step forward with him behind her, the light revealing him to be an Imperial naval officer, wearing a tattered uniform with bits of ceramite armor attached to his shoulders and knees. To let him know that he had nothing to fear, Jacques performed the Sign of the Aquila; placing his hands on his chest in a crisscross manner, thumbs interlocking.
"Why…do you consort with xeno?" the Imperial officer finished, shakingly.
"Release the Cerinian and you will know," Jacques said, as calm as he could manage at seeing Krystal in peril.
The officer complied, moving his knife away from Krystal's face and letting go. She immediately spun around, thrusting her stuff forward, stopping a few inches in front of the officer's face, a scowl on her face. It disappeared, however, when she could not sense the taint within him.
"You are not one of them," Krystal pointed out, lowering her staff. "I do not sense taint within you."
"Of course not, xeno! I'm a loyal servant of the Emperor!" the captain hissed angrily. "Keep your foul sorceries away from me!"
Falco snorted, "Judging from how much your buddies waiting outside this room want to kill us, they're just as devout as you."
The officer shook his head and was about to blurt out again in anger when Jacques glared over at Falco, making the avian turn his head and roll his eyes in annoyance. The Ultramarine then asked, "What is your name and rank?"
Not losing his glare, the officer replied, "Petyr Heintzman, Captain of the Sanguinius Indominatus. We were here to secure the planet Kew and annex it as part of the Sabbat Worlds from those…"
He flinched at the sight of the Fox and the others.
Fox chuckled darkly, "That wasn't very nice."
The vulpine then appeared serious.
"We intercepted a distress beacon on this floating wreck. We're here looking for…untainted survivors and how much you are willing to co-operate makes a difference between getting out of here alive or being left behind."
Alarmed, Heintzmann turned to Jacques, "You answer to this xeno fur, Lord Ultramarine?"
He then realized that Jacques' armor design was radically different than the Space Marines he had encountered prior to their departure from Segmentum Pacificus and the Sabbat Worlds.
"My mission parameters dictate co-operate with the xe…Lylatian population," Jacques quickly threw in a word swap.
"The…the Space Marines attached to the Cadians were sent here to cleanse Kew," Heintmann explained. "The Blood Ravens…"
"How long have you been here?" Krystal asked.
Incensed, Heintzman stated, "I don't answer to you, witch-xeno!"
Fox grounded his teeth, fast losing patience with this human and his refusal to abide by basic courtesies.
"Answer me, then," Jacques said. "How long have you been aboard this craft since it arrived at Kew?"
Heintzmann paused to think, "About six standard months, I believe."
"The Battle for Kew was about 6,000 years ago, captain," Krystal said, sympathetically. "You've just come out of warp space."
Heintzmann became silent when it all came back to him: The xenos boarding parties, their advanced technology bypassing the ship's security protocols, his ordering immediate warp travel away from the ship to keep their poisonous influence away from the fleet…and somehow spending six months within the Immaterium, its eldritch influence eventually overwhelming the protective Geller Fields and driving almost its entire crew and its xeno boarders insane with Chaos zeal; having spent the past three six in warp space fighting each other and spilling blood in the name of the Dark Gods and their daemons.
He collapsed onto one knee.
"D-does the Imperium still stand?"
"It does," Jacques replied.
"Yet why do you consort with xenos?"
"Much has changed," Jacques replied.
Everyone quickly turned towards the chapel doors as the cultists on the other side begun throwing themselves against it, the doors straining against their combined weight. Jacques gripped his chainsword, giving a couple of revs in anticipation for staining the blade with cultist blood.
"I will tell you how much once we all get of here alive," Jacques said, boltgun also at the ready.
"You mean evacuate this ship along with these xenos?" Heintzman was flabbergasted.
"Beats dying, doesn't it?" Falco cried as he primed his shotgun.
"We ain't that bad," Slippy readied his blaster. "Ask Jacques."
Heintzmann was now staring at the Ultramarine in disbelief.
"The…they know your first name?!" he was now enraged.
An explosion caused by Cornerian High-Ex grade seismic charges blew the chapel doors off their hinges, Team Star Fox ducking out of the way just as an entire crowd of cultists poured in. Jacques' chainsaw roared to life and he charged, his first swing decapitating five at once and the next bisecting another two, splattering a combination of red and black all over. Fox, Falco, Krystal and Slippy were taking cover behind the pillar and firing away at the cultists that made it past Jacques.
One screaming cultist ducked beneath Jacques' chainsword swing and went straight for Krystal.
And was promptly knocked down onto the floor by Krystal swinging her staff into his face, before its gem blazed with her psychic power, and she drove the tip of the staff down into his chest. This time making sure no more made it past him, Jacques swung his chainsword a full 180 degrees, knocking back the several remaining cultists that weren't cleaved in half. He then finished each one off with precise shots to the head and chest with his boltgun.
"Alright let's go!" Fox ordered.
"Wanna keep serving your Emperor, skinny?" Falco quipped, using the derogatory term inspired by the standard human appearance of a shaved primate. "You should stick with us! Jacques could use a playmate!"
Heintzmann angrily hesitated, before following after the Ultramarine and xeno furs, combat knife still drawn. Team Star Fox then found itself within close quarters combat as they battled their way down the passageway from the chapel, Jacques in the lead with his auspex now programmed to lead them back to the airlock; the Space Marine's chainsword spraying more blood and viscera all over.
After a minute they all found themselves within a very familiar hallway…
"SAVED!" Slippy exclaimed happily, pointing towards the airlock at the very end. "C'mon."
However as they began running towards the airlock and the space bridge beyond it, Heintzman slowed down before coming to a complete stop. Team Star Fox stopped as well.
The Imperial officer gritted his teeth.
"I refuse to become damned like you!"
He then pulled out a frag grenade, finger already about to pull the pin as he began walking backwards away from them. Fox, Krystal, Slippy and even Falco appeared each equally shocked. Jacques, however, appeared stoic at the scene.
"Captain Heintzman!" Jacques exclaimed.
Heintzman shook his head slowly, "No way will I allow myself to become tainted living amongst the furs!"
Slippy went white as he saw the snarling cultists turn the corner, about to continue pursuit. Heintzmann smirked as he heard them coming down the passage.
"Go with your pet xenos and continue whatever misbegotten crusade you have embarked on, Ultramarine!" Heintzmann scorned. "I'll be at right side of the Emperor watching you damn yourself!"
Heintzmann then spun around and charged the cultists, pulling the pin. Jacques pushed past Falco and grabbed Fox…
…and they continued running towards the airlock. Heintzman let out one last defiant cry…
"There is only the Emperor, and he is our shield and pro..!"
…and was cut off by the resulting explosion, the flames engulfing the cultists and much of the hallway, Team Star Fox each feeling the explosion at the back of their necks, save for Jacques. They made their way across the walkway as the Space Hulk rocked back and forth, causing sparks to fly out of the connected walkway's machines and the glass to crack.
"SHIT!" Falco cried. "OUT! THROUGH THE DOOR, NOW!"
Once Falco was the last to dive through the doorway and into the Great Fox II Jacques came close to shattering the airlock's door button, sealing itself from the space walkway.
"ROB! EMERGENCY DETACH WALKWAY!" Fox shouted out loud. "GET US AWAY FROM HERE NOW!"
Not bothering to retract the walkway still connected to the Space Hulk, instead two miniature explosions detached the carrier from the Imperial craft. The Great Fox II's thrusters ignited and sped the flagship away, just as the Space Hulk initiated its warp engines and opened the gaping, eldritch hole into immaterial space which also threatened to suck the Great Fox II in as well. But luckily it got away, just as the Space Hulk disappeared back into the Warp.
Exhausted mentally and physically, Team Star Fox were practically sprawled all over the bridge, seated and still trying to catch their breaths and desperately trying to un-see the horrors they had just been exposed to, Peppy standing next to his seat and keeping vigil over them. Having dropped his helmet on the steel ground, Jacques was standing, and appeared as stoic as ever, leaning against the wall next to the door with his head bowed and eyes closed as if in meditation.
"Fuck…" Falco swallowed, banging the back of his head against the seat, eyes closed tightly. "That was…all that was just…fuck!"
The avian then grounded his beak together.
"…don't wanna…think about would've came our way if we kept on exploring that fucking ship!"
"Language!" Jacques silenced Falco, raising his voice for the first time outside combat.
His left eye shot open when he heard Slippy sob into his hands.
"Do not cry Slippy."
The frog turned his head towards the stoic Ultramarine, who was staring back at him embittered.
"Crying never solved anything."
He then stepped out of the bridge, his heavy footsteps sounding like echoes as he disappeared down the hallway. A heavy silence followed, before Slippy resumed sobbing.
"Jacques' right, Slippy," Fox sighed, rubbing the back of his head, feeling uncomfortable for agreeing with Jacques' sudden lack of empathy.
Falco growled when he realized he agreed with the Space Marine, "Today really is a bad day: I agree with the big guy on that one as well."
Slippy raised his hand from his palms and glared at both Fox and Falco.
"So y-you don't feel anything?" Krystal made out quietly, distressed. "Anything for those people…all of them displaced from their own time, gone insane from all of their pain? And those that are left must suffer once again for who knows how long!"
"I feel…felt everything for them," Fox replied tiredly. "Believe me, I do…"
He then looked at Krystal, sincerely sorrowful over everything.
"…but if war in Lylat is going to end up becoming like war in the rest of the galaxy, I think sadness is something we're going to eventually stop feeling when we continue standing up to those horrors and we end up becoming used to the kind of war Jacques was born into."
Slippy hiccupped, "T-that's not fair."
Fox nodded, finally letting go of his empty rifle and it cluttered onto the ground, before he looked down at it.
Krystal sniffled, thinking more about Jacques and the eternal war he was born into rather than what awaits Lylat, "No…it's not."
Still silent this all time, Peppy nodded; then looked at the bridge door where Jacques had retreated through, no doubt already on his way to the simulator.
"It never is."
Jacques suddenly blurted that out as if instinctively. He paused, surprised with himself. He then shook his head, frowned, and continued walking.
'I thought I was hearing the conversation they were having back on the bridge. Right through the door. Ridiculous…'
He rubbed the side of his head as he made his way back to medical.
'Last time I checked, I am not a psyker.'
A/N: Imagine if they had tried to explore the entirety of the ship. They definitely wouldn't have survived. They were genre-savvy enough to try to leave at first opportunity, but of course that didn't work out well.
I'm actually quite hesitant about resuming work on the main series, seeing much I've butchered WH40K fluff and lore and now that I'm more knowledgeable about Warhammer 40,000 I'm seeing less and less ways to continue it with all the mistakes I've made weighing heavily in both the story and my mind.
Case in point: In retrospect, Captain Sicarius and the 2nd Company should have journeyed into Lylat with the Cadian 412th as support INSTEAD of Marneus Calgar and HALF the First Company.
I'm actually considering editing/re-writing the whole thing and this time try not to cram ALL of Warhammer 40,000 into it. That's basically what I tried to do at the very start with making Abaddon the main villain.
Any thoughts on what I just said?