|The Great Adventure: The Legend of Chaos
Author: Jason de L'Epee PM
An adapt of Sonic Adventure. Sonic is sent on furlough to hunt down the reason behind Dr. Robotnik's disappearance from Robotropolis, but the morning before he reaches Sapphire City, a mysterious creature destroys the Master Emerald from the inside. As thRated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Drama - Chapters: 2 - Words: 105,205 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 10-15-05 - Published: 07-30-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2510588
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 16: The Tale of Amy and Gamma
"My frog's the right one!"
"Your eye-equivalents have color problems! Mine is right, you rust bucket!
"You all need reprogramming; my frog matches the hologram!"
Gamma was late getting in the room, but not late by the rendezvous time. He stood on the very right if you were standing in front of them, and held out his frog, patiently waiting for his master and patiently enduring the ongoing arguments of the other three.
He gazed at the frogs that the others held. If one wasn't careful, these frogs could've been mistaken for the one Master needed. They were all nearly identical in size, color and body shape. The only major difference was the tails, or lack there of. Most had a point from where the tail had disappeared.
Gamma thought that he had the right frog, but he began to doubt his own sensors. Could he have the wrong frog?
He had no time to think of that in depth, for the quarreling robots were silenced by a bark of command from higher up near the platform.
All four lined up in numerical order, greatest to least, left to right. In other words, from the left stood, E-105 Zeta, E-104 Epsilon, E-103 Delta and finally E-102 Gamma.
The squat figure of Dr. Robotnik walked down the steps towards the four robots. Gamma, if he could would've held his breath in hope.
"Ah, dummies! Dummies! Dummies! Dummies!" shouted Robotnik in frustration. "None of you have the right frog! We need this one!" Robotnik once again displayed the hologram of the tailed frog again, and began pacing back and forth in front of the robots. "We need to get this one for it bears the tail of Chaos! And if my Chaos energy tracker is still accurate as always, it even has swallowed a Chaos Emerald!"
Gamma, if capable of facial descriptions, would've looked downcast. Even if he didn't have them, he did look disappointed.
Thus was his surprise when Robotnik suddenly cried out in surprise right in front of him.
The obese man was staring wide-eyed at Gamma's frog for a fraction of a second, and then smiled in deep pleasure. "Ah, there it is!" Robotnik pointed at the frog. "I'm so proud of you, Gamma. You've showed yourself to be better then any prototype so far!"
Gamma appeared to be so joyful that he practically shook with happiness.
Then he turned to the three remaining ones, and scowled at them. "All you worthless hunks of junk, be gone!"
The three robots were illuminated by green transporter beams and disappeared one by one. Delta managed one last look at Gamma before he beamed away. Gamma recorded that last look in his deepest memory bank, and didn't know why, but he felt sorry.
Gamma turned to Robotnik.
"I have another task for you. Don't worry; this one's easy." Robotnik pointed to a trio of doors a ways behind Gamma. "Through that door behind you leads to a small cell block, and the farthest one holds a small girl and a bird. All I want is a bird, for even he, like this frog, is vital to my plans. Go!"
Robotnik stamped away, and Gamma stared blankly at the three doors. "Is this the one?"
Gamma tried the first door on the left, which unfortunately was not the right door. It led to a construction bay which was sickeningly familiar. Something was being worked on inside, and Gamma peered inside.
Gamma's feet clanged onto something at his feet, and he found pieces of robot arms and legs lying at his feet. He recognized them to be another E-series robot.
He again looked inside, and with a shudder discovered that his suspicions were justified.
"Beta?" Gamma said quietly, and looked up. The only thing that was even the same of the old Beta was parts of the head and the upper torso. The arms were completely torn off and was being replace with large forearms.
Another voice spoke, and this one was not nearly so pleasant.
"What are you doing here, E-102 Gamma, best of the E-series?" The voice sounded sarcastic and dripping venom.
"Is that you…" Gamma hesitated. "…Mecha?"
Gamma hesitated again, and just turned out of the room. He could imagine Metal-Sonic unpleasantly happy at his successful intimidation.
He realized that this was the wrong room, and decided to check his readings to find out which room it was he was assigned to go to.
The middle room lead to a maze of aquariums and incubators for organics, instead of robotics, called the Hot Shelter.
The door to the right lead to a circular room at first, but the next one had three cells.
"This is the room," Gamma droned, and stepped through the door.
- - - - -
Amy was huddling in the corner, turned away from the door and holding the bird in two hands, petting it to comfort it. Birdy was shaking like a leaf from the experience.
"There, there. Don't worry; I'm here. I won't let anything happen to you."
She would say variations of this over and over as the hours passed in her cell. She had quite an experience: Metal-Sonic came in once she was thrown in and tried to goad her to give up the bird by building up fear within Amy. It went like this:
Amy was facing forward in a sitting position at first, when the blue metallic hedgehog stomped into the room. Amy of course gasped in fright.
"Greeting, Amy Rose. We meet again…" Mecha purred.
"Go away, you bad robot!"
Mecha rolled his claws on the bars with intimidation towards Amy, and then entered a code into a nearby control pad, which opened the cell doors of Amy's cell. Amy's eyes grew in terror.
"If you knew what was good for you, you'd give up the bird."
Amy took the bird and hid it to her side. "Nope. I know you too well; you'd hurt him, you jerk!"
Metal-Sonic appeared to be seething, but tried to hide it. "You know that I could rip you to shreds on this spot, and it would give me much satisfaction, and I wouldn't even care."
That just intensified Amy's intention of protecting her friend. She answered bravely, "At least I would die doing what I think is right."
Metal-Sonic lost it; he grabbed Amy's arm and even attempted to snatch the bird from Amy, but she squealed loudly and kept Birdy from arms-length of Mecha.
Amy was desperate for any way to keep Birdy away, and thought the best way was a swift kick. She did such, hitting Metal-Sonic in the jet-intake.
Metal-Sonic recoiled and cursed Amy to her grandfather's grandfather, and stormed off after closing the cell doors.
"Consider your death delayed, girl, for I have something else to vent my anger on besides helpless little hedgehogs, but one day, I will return that blow and you will wish you never fell it!" He shouted to her again.
Amy congratulated herself for standing up to Mecha.
"I'm sure Sonic would've been proud of me for doing that."
It was two hours later when the next event happened: the door that separated the cells and the next room opened with a hydraulic hiss, which was followed by heavy, regular metallic steps.
"Oh, not Mecha again!" Amy stared at the cell entrance, ready to see the blue robot any time.
He never came, but a robot did come. It was a red, odd-looking robot, with a three-barrel gun for his right hand. It bore the number "102" on its side. It stared at Amy with his green, glowing eyes.
"What do you want?" Amy said, her grudge against robots rising to the surface.
"Hand over the bird," Gamma said casually.
Amy hid Birdy to her side. "Nope," she said in plain refusal.
Gamma hesitated to try another approach. "Will you please hand over the bird?"
Amy was inwardly confused at the strange politeness from a machine, but decided not to show it. "Not at all!"
"None of your business why not!" Amy stood up defiantly. "You tell me why you want him, now!"
Gamma searched his memory banks for an explanation; he didn't remember Master Robotnik explain why he needed the bird. "Data unavailable."
"You don't even know?" Amy was a little shocked, but firmed up. "I bet you'll be mean to him; you're just a big bully!"
Amy walked up to the cell doors, and Gamma not knowing why stepped back.
"Why not just let us out?" Amy asked. "Can't you see how afraid this bird is, and how bad I feel for this bird?"
Gamma was utterly confused, for his mind was built on logic. "Does not compute! You have feelings for something not worth anything to you. Your actions are illogical!"
Amy began to understand. The robots that Robotnik makes are slaves with no will and were robbed of proper rights of life. Only Metal-Sonic was bad down to the core truly. This robot was trapped in a slavery of the mind.
"I feel sorry for you, because that bad man Dr. Robotnik neglected to give you feelings. That must be horrible."
Birdy began to squirm suddenly, for it sensed something within the robot. It struggled hard and flew out of Amy's grip.
"Birdy, come back!" Amy cried out.
Birdy flapped in front of Gamma's "face" and began chirping so rapidly that Amy couldn't tell if Bird was breathing in between each set of chirps. To Amy's surprise, Gamma nearly was in convulsions, barely standing on two feet.
Suddenly, Gamma turned to a switchboard and pressed several buttons. "Go, escape!"
The doors of the cell slid upwards, showing Amy to be very confused.
"Hurry, you must take the bird and escape. Within a few hours, we will land back at the Mystic Ruins base. You must escape into the jungles then."
Amy walked out cautiously. "You're letting us go?"
Birdy perched on Amy's shoulder, but Amy wanted to say one thing more.
"You really are a good person inside. I guess that means we can be friends now. I hope we'll see you again!"
Amy and Birdy ran or flew into the next room, leaving Gamma leaning against the walls with realization of what he done: he had disobeyed a direct order, and Master will punish him soon. He didn't even react to the yellow alert activation saying that another aircraft was sighted close to the ship.
He sat there for a long time, until a red light fluttered up to him.
Chapter 17: Game for Freedom
Sonic and Tails were flying off starboard of the Egg Carrier, closing in on a gathering storm. They met the same resistance like the last time they battled the Egg Carrier.
"Ha ha! So far, so good!" Tails laughed in defiance.
Sonic had no controls of the weapons this time, and was amazed how Tails was able to divide his attention between flying and locking the weapon systems on to the fighters and rocket launchers. He felt like a target unable to defend himself mostly.
"I hope you know what you're doing, kiddo."
"Just leave it to me, Sonic."
Sonic heard weapons rotating deep within the plane, and saw beams of lasers suddenly make sweeping moves against the hull, searing the surface.
"Are these the weapons that you said could take out a tank?" Sonic asked over the wind.
"Just one of them." Tails smiled.
Oh boy, Sonic thought.
Tails darted to and fro, shooting at the fighters, and knocking out missiles that shot after them. He began to fly in front of the Egg Carrier again, but darted again when the Egg Cannon had opened behind and fired again, missing this time.
"Whoa! I felt that one fly by," Sonic said, shivering at the tingling of the charged air.
Tails got an idea: maybe the way to get on the Egg Carrier safely was to take out the Cannon, but the massive beam must've been produced by something with a large lens. Tails went through his weapons arsenal mentally trying to find a weapon strong enough to crack that lens. Nothing was strong enough, unless he…
"Sonic, hold on!"
"Hold on? Why?"
Suddenly, a large two-mandible claw unfolded from a now-open slot on the side and picked up Sonic without giving him much warning. Sonic was about to protest, but noticed that several panels opened and parts folded up.
The propeller in front disappeared completely, and only the rotor stump remained, shining a little bit red and a little bit gold. The wings shifted from the typical biplane shape to a near-perpendicular "x." A large jet engine appeared on the very bottom of the ship, and the rear side rose up to compliment the increased weight behind.
A computer spoke inside the controls. "Battle mode initiated; all systems online."
"Tails! This is cool!" Sonic said, amazed.
"This is the Tornado X, or the Tornado 2 in battle mode."
"Does it freakin' matter?"
Tails piloted the Tornado X to go under the underbelly of the Carrier, and found it riddled with floating mines. Tails had to think quickly to either shoot down the mines or avoid them. Sonic wished that there was a rear-mounted gun so he could shoot those mines down.
More missiles were after them again, and Tails had to perform many evasive maneuvers to avoid being blown up. Sonic was gripping the body of the Tornado with his legs and hands as the Tornado was going to and fro.
Tails had moved to the back thrusters of the Egg Carrier, and turned his head to Sonic.
"Sonic, I have a plan to land on the Egg Carrier, but we got to take out that laser lens!"
"Exactly," Tails chuckled from the timing of the unintended pun. "Seriously, I'm going to fly under the underside and fly in close to the lens. And when I'm close enough, I'll blast it with some concussion missiles, and then keep repeating it until it's gone!"
Sonic hesitated, taking in the plan, and gave a thumbs up. "Let's go crack a window!"
The Tornado swooped down quickly underneath, and was met by several missiles firing. Tails rolled to and fro (like a certain move from an Arwing) to avoid being hit. Several claws appeared from the above panels and attempted to grab at the plane to tear it apart.
After the hectic moment underneath the Carrier, Tails turned about, and found that the Egg Cannon was not the only thing to deal with: six missile launchers sat around them in case of a direct attack to the Cannon. Tails locked his weapons onto them, but it was harder then he realized, for missiles fired and ran into Tails' fire. The lens cover slid open, and Tails let loose all the weapons, lasers, missiles and the like in desperation. The lens glowed blue, and Tails steered to the side to avoid it.
Sonic had one look at the lens before the cover closed again. "Looks like you left a mark on it, buddy. Two more rounds should crack it."
"Thanks, Sonic. Let's try again!"
Tails, instead of going back under the barrages underneath the Carrier, he just turned in front, and prepared to face the Cannon again.
"Get ready, Tails. We need to get this thing out of the way, or not at all!"
The lens slid open, and Tails sent a barrage of missiles into the lens before it shot again.
"Looks like there's a fire inside there, kiddo," Sonic said.
"Good, one more shot should do it." Tails checked his arsenal over the computer, and noticed that he only had three concussion missiles left. "I only have one shot at this, Sonic. I'm going to get us close."
Tails positioned the Tornado close to the lens cover. "It's now or never…"
The lens opened, and the lens glowed blue, sickly, but blue. Tails fired one, then another after that, but there was no need for the second. The first one breached the glass, and detonated deep within the laser system. Fire shot out so far out forward so that Tails had to swerve aside to avoid getting torched. The flames licked about the broken lens, and the fire shot out once more in one gigantic explosion; Sonic and Tails both felt the heat from a good distance away.
Sonic laughed triumphantly and awe. "Look at that fire go! We did it! C'mon Tails, let's land!"
Tails steered up away from the inferno inside, and Sonic looked down and watched the lens close for the last time, labouringly.
Tails was swelled up with pride with his plane and triumph by satisfying a small vengeance against the Egg Carrier and Eggman.
"There's a landing strip! Let's land there!" Sonic pointed to several strips of pavement that were in front of a green, cylindrical container that contained lots of machinery.
It was then that Tails had forgotten something for the battle mode. "Uh oh…"
Sonic's sharp ears caught the worry in Tails' voice. "What's the matter?"
There was no beating around the bush for Tails. "There's no landing gear for this mode, Sonic! I forgot to install it for this mode!"
Sonic stared at Tails in shock. "What?"
"I'll have to drag it!"
Tails let up on the speed and pulled up so as not to make the drag very rough.
The bottom tips of the wings scraped and caught on the rough pavement. Sonic was sent flying off the tail, and the plane skidded and slid until it lay backwards and pointed towards the side.
Tails hopped out of the plane, and called out for Sonic. "Sonic? Are you okay?"
Sonic was lying on his side a few meters away, but got up and shook his spines. "Yeah, I'm okay. That hurt a bit."
"S'all right." Sonic looked around. "Geez, this thing's huge! I don't think even the Flying Fortress was this big! One could fit a baseball, football and a soccer game on here at the same time comfortably."
Tails, even though he had a great interest for a machine unique, knew that time is against them. "C'mon, Sonic, we have to find Eggman."
"You're right, kiddo. Let's go!"
Sonic leaped off the runways, followed by Tails, and onto the deck below, narrowly missing a monorail rail.
The both of them were very close to a ramp that led up to what looked like the bridge, when a menacing voice rang over the loudspeakers.
"Do you think that I do not see you boys trying to get to me? You obviously still need to see what power is contained in this invincible vessel. How 'bout a little…uh…sample?" The voice laughed.
Sonic grabbed Tails' hand, ready to dash out of the way of a large weapon or a trap. What did come was a low rumble, and the low creaking of metal echoed through the stormy sky.
Suddenly, the ramp ahead rose, and slid away from them. Sonic tried to get up the ramp, but now it was steeper and smooth so that no one could climb it.
The side panels that they thought to be armor plating but were actually two wings extended and folded so that they spread out like the wings of a vulture. The panels where the rear thrusters rested shifted downwards, making the wings vaguely like a capital "K" tipped ninety degrees to the right.
"Whoa!" Tails said astonished. "It changed shape! Sonic, did you see that?"
Sonic looked at Tails. "Yeah, Tails," he said hollowly.
The speaker, Robotnik, laughed in glee. "You look like you weren't expecting that! I've cut off your route to get to me! Ah, now the only way through is through the door in front of you. I don't think you can make it here though." Robotnik laughed again.
Sonic shook a defiant fist in the air. "Oh, yeah? We'll show you, Eggman! Just bring it on!"
Sonic ran to the door, followed by Tails. Hesitating for just a half-a-second, he opened the doors and walked in.
- - - - -
"Oh, great! Birdy, we're trapped!"
Amy and Birdy were at the opposite door in the circular room that Gamma was in earlier, but the door was now locked and required a certain code to open. In the middle of the room was a platform with eight, evenly-spaced holes around a smaller, center platform.
Suddenly, a menacing voice rang out over speakers that nearly scared Amy out of her skin.
"Do you think you can make it from here?"
"Robotnik!" Amy shouted.
"Yes, and now I have you trapped. And the only way out is to play my game."
"What game? I don't see one?"
"What else do you think that thing is in the center, girl?" he said a little angrily. "Play it, or never get out! Ha ha!"
Amy looked at and around the platform; she found a large, red-colored mallet with yellow. Nearby was a digital hologram of a sign reading:
Blue Sonic: 100 pts.
Yellow Sonic: 500 pts.
Dr. Robotnik: -200 pts.
Dr. Ivo Robotnik--3000 pts."
"I have to play a Whack-A-Bonk game to get out of here? That's just weird."
Amy stepped onto the center platform, and it must've started the game for a gear kicked on and a timer started ticking down to zero. Various heads of Sonic, Super Sonic and Eggman popped up and disappeared again.
Amy took the mallet and began whacking the positive scoring ones as fast as she could, but not fast enough. A lot of the time, the targets popped up and lowered again as soon as Amy saw them. After thirty seconds of play, the timer rang. The score was only 1200 pts.
Robotnik's voice came on again. "Is that all you got? I've expected more from you, being so passionate of that idiot hedgehog."
"His name is Sonic!" Amy shouted in rage, and slammed the hammer on the center platform. "This game is for Sonic."
The timer started again, and Amy whacked heads in a mad fury that was fueled by what Dr. Robotnik said. She was not paying attention to either the timer or the score number. She just whacked away at anything that moved. Birdy stood back on a control pad farther away, astonished by Amy's determination.
The timer rang, and Amy brushed the bangs of her hair out of her face, and looked at the scoreboard: 3400 pts.
"What? How could this happen?" Dr. Robotnik shouted in anger and disbelief.
The door on the far end slid open with a hydraulic hiss.
"Yes! C'mon, Birdy, let's get out of here!"
Amy ran out, thinking about leaving the hammer behind, but she looked at it, and gave it a good swing. It felt like it could be a good weapon for her. She was always defenseless, and it would be good if she could now. She exited the round room, and turned sharply right and into the door to the Hot Shelter.
- - - - -
Knuckles was on the rear deck and was the only one that was on the Egg Carrier that Robotnik did not know was on board, besides one other deep inside the ship. He was walking around on the deck, listening for the slightest hint of a shard ring. He could feel that they're here, but did not know where.
He stood glaring at the long space between the front and the back that was created when the ship transformed.
"Ah!" Knuckles pounded a fist in the palm of his other hand. "Why does his things change so much?"
He looked down and saw that the gap was an area empty with sliding doors on both sides. Carts were running back and forth carrying heaps of junks to the sliding doors, dumping the worthless cargo through the doors, and running back to get more.
"Looks like a waste unloading area." Knuckles stared down, and just for personal curiosity, went to find a way to go down. He found a ladder that led down into the area. About half-way down, Knuckles' head rang; not from any ailment, but from the signal from an Emerald Shard.
"Ah, I can feel it more now; it must be close now."
He climbed down into the jettison area, and began to search.
Chapter 18: Sky Deck
Sonic and Tails stood on a narrow walkway that spanned over the sky below. If anyone fell off, he or she would've been done for.
"Good grief! It's like walking on a tight rope!" Sonic exclaimed.
Tails suddenly shouted in fright. "SONIC! RUN!"
Sonic looked around in bewilderment at what danger was present, then he felt his wrist being tugged violently, for Tails was pulling him forward, eyes widened in fright like an animal.
Suddenly, a huge explosion rumbled through behind them and the very force of the sound threw them forwards and flat on their faces.
Sonic pushed himself up and looked behind him, and his eyes widened to nearly twice their normal size, for the bridge behind them was gone!
"What happened?" Sonic said.
"That's what I was trying to tell you! I saw a huge cannon aiming toward us…" his statement trailed off as he looked for the cannon again, which was readjusting and pointing towards them again. "…and it's going to shoot again!"
Sonic leaped up and grabbed Tails' wrist and took off down the narrow pathways. "Looks like we've overstayed our welcome."
To say that it was just running would be an untruth, for the Sky Deck was a labyrinth of paths, ladders and gaps with spinning pistons. Dozens of energy cannons dotted the underside of the Egg Carrier, causing both Sonic and Tails to be very alert at any movement of those cannons.
When they had reached sets of pistons, they jumped on them, gripping the sides with hands and feet, for the base of the pistons was as wide as a foot, not as in the unit of measurement, but as in the part of the body.
The middle of the Sky Deck was probably the most difficult for both Sonic and Tails for a cannon as large as a house was destroying the bridge behind them plank by plank.
"Gee, Eggman's not taking any chances, is he?" Sonic commented dryly.
"Sonic! Don't just stand there admiring the view! That cannon's got our number!"
No sooner then did Tails' words left his mouth, that another shot came straight towards them. Sonic grabbed Tails' wrist and took off down the narrow catwalks.
The area where they were at composed of a large central cannon surrounded by four pillars numbered 1-4 all connected by catwalks. After the fourth pillar was a catwalk that then turned sharply left then headed towards the cannon. A ladder led up from that small walkway and upwards into a cubby hole. A small inactive rocket launcher that pointed towards the cannon sat past the ladder.
"There's our ticket out of here, kiddo." Sonic pointed to the ladder.
"But what about that huge cannon? That thing will shoot us before we're halfway up!"
"Then let's use that launcher there."
"Do you know how to use it, Sonic?"
"No, but I think it's time to learn."
Sonic ran down the walkways toward the launcher, the cannon attempting every few seconds to blast them into oblivion, but Sonic was ahead of it. He got to the launcher, and found it loaded and ready to shoot. He found a control pad beside it, and he just pressed a large red button.
It was a lucky choice, for it shot into the barrel of the cannon and exploded inside. The cannon was set ablaze and then exploded from the inside stress, the remains falling into the sky below.
"Yes! Cannon down!"
Tails ran up and started climbing the ladder quickly.
"Hey! Heroes first!" Sonic said rather glib.
Tails didn't appear to hear him, and just kept on climbing upwards, until it led through a cubby hole that opened to the sky. He shouted down to Sonic, "Sonic! I can see the sky! We're on the top!"
"Finally! I keep thinking we're upside down on this Sky deck thing. Hurry it up!"
Tails climbed up to the top, and found that it was on top of the slope that divided the front half from the rear half. It was made of a smooth iron, and the way it was marked showed that it was a group of runways. On the runways were several sliding panels at regular intervals, a total of eight. There was a groove in the middle that fell through the Sky Deck below and below.
It was very windy up there. Tails ears were laid back from the force of the wind, and he was gripping the ladder top hard, just as Sonic came up. He was also surprised at the force of the wind. The wind would rival Windy Valley's if there were contests for winds.
"Wow! Why is it so windy here?" Sonic shouted.
"What?" Tails said, not being able to hear Sonic over the wind.
Sonic repeated it, but Tails still couldn't catch it. Exasperated, Sonic took Tails' ear and move it to his, and then repeated his question.
Tails did his best to reply. "I'm guessing because there are no wind blockers here! C'mon, I can't hold on to this ladder forever!"
"Hang on to my hand, and I'll get us out of here. I don't think there are any traps, save that five-foot-wide groove in the middle. If we stay away from it, we'll be safe."
That just shows that how little one can expect on something rather ordinary, for you never know what stood under those panels. It was when he stepped on one was when he knew what was under them, for the very one slid open and they both fell into it. Sonic and Tails at first thought that it was a trap door that fell into the sky below, but they fell onto more marked metal with another sliding panel in front of them. The panels above slid shut.
"What the heck is this?" Sonic exclaimed in surprise. "Is this Eggman's idea of a cruel joke?"
Then the doors ahead opened, and a boarded shark plane slid onto the panel where they stood, then the whole room rose up, the doors opening above. When it reached its full height, the plane rolled off and flew away.
"Ok, that was just a bit weird," Sonic commented dryly.
The rest of the run over the runway was uneventful, save the constant booming of cannons that seemed to shake the craft beneath their feet. Then they came to the second half of the middle portion of the Carrier, which was a pit riddled with moving canisters, sliding doors and cranes milling about. Trash was everywhere.
Sonic and Tails jumped down into a canister of trash, which was a bit more painful than either of them really were expecting. Tails even cried out in pain.
"What's wrong, kid?"
"I think I found a piece of glass in this junk pile!" Tails had withdrawn his left arm and found it scratched, not deeply apparently for there was no blood. He dug out the offending shard of glass, and picked it up.
Sonic looked at it. "Wow, it looks like a piece of a beer bottle. I didn't think Eggman would take to drinking."
Tails tapped the glass against the metal side of the canister. It tapped heavily, but it didn't feel heavy. The shard was no bigger then a stick of deodorant.
"C'mon, Tails. Let's get to the other side of this roboticized landfill. I see gates high up on the other side. It likely leads to the back side. Let's go!"
Sonic leapt down deeper into the garbage disposal pit, followed by Tails, still holding the shard, not knowing that he still had it (for it was one of those occurrences when someone just carries something but not knowing it), but later, he was glad that he still had it.
- - - - -
Knuckles was on the other side of the disposal pit, trying to home onto a shard resonance, but was having much trouble for machines kept moving, doors kept sliding open, dumping garbage out (and onto Knuckles sometimes), and robots kept getting in his way.
"Curse that Eggman," Knuckles would breathe time and time again. "What I wouldn't give to skin that egg alive."
It was then that he saw a platform that rose high above the garbage unit level. It appeared to have a control panel just on the edge of it. He at first didn't think anything of it, but when he had picked up on a shard resonance behind one of the doors, and by the sound of it, it was far back behind the gate, he thought of it again.
There must be a switch to open these doors up there, Knuckles thought.
He found, built into the wall, a ladder that led all the way up to it. It took a few moments to climb it, but when he came to it, he saw that it indeed have several buttons for commands, also it had a large joystick-like lever right in the middle.
It took quite an eye-search to find the button to open the doors on the floor below, but he found it, pressed it, and found that all the doors opened below when he glanced down. The one with the shard in it was below him on the adjacent wall. He didn't feel like digging through garbage (again), and then wondered what the lever did. His curiosity got the better of him, and he yanked the lever toward him.
- - - - -
"What the--?" Sonic exclaimed.
"Look out!" Tails shouted, just as he saw tons of garbage rolling down towards them.
What had happened was that the whole ship had tilted to where they were going, and canisters had spilled behind them, and dumped the garbage, sending the avalanche of junk towards them. Sonic grabbed Tails and jumped in time, but landed on the top of the flowing garbage.
- - - - -
Metal-Sonic lurched as if he lost his balance and nearly fell on the control panel. Dr. Robotnik was cursing aloud as he nearly flew out of his seat and onto the control pad. "What the devil is happening?"
The robot, still reeling on the slope, had checked the readings on the computers. "It appears that someone's messing with the controls in the waste disposition section, above the Sky Deck!"
Robotnik growled in anger, "Override!"
- - - - -
Amy was hot-footing it in the Hot Shelter, when suddenly the flat passage she was in suddenly seem to dip behind her, and she found herself stumbling onto the floor, arms flailing to grab anything to keep her from sliding back. Shrieking like a little girl could, she looked back behind her. Birdy chirped in utter confusion at the situation.
- - - - -
Knuckles had already glided down into the pit when he saw that the garbage had spilled and was digging out the shard, when the whole craft had even itself out, throwing Knuckles out of balance and into a nearby garbage pile.
"Ah, Eggman must've found out how to override that control panel."
Hr picked himself up and began digging again. It took him a bit of throwing the garbage about, but he found the shard as big as his fist.
"There we go." Knuckles stared down at the large shard. "Hmm, considering the size of this one, there must be only one left." He cast an ear upwards as if listening. "…and it must be nearby."
He got up, stuffed the shard into his backpack, and then made to go to the other side of the "glorified trash bin" which Knuckles would call later.
- - - - -
Sonic and Tails were strewn about the area, half-buried in the garbage heap. Sonic dug himself out, and looked at Tails. "You all right, Tails?"
Tails shook his head as if he was a little dizzy. "Yeah, kind of." He began to dig himself out, and Sonic came up to help him out.
"I wonder what caused the whole place to tilt."
"I don't know, but it was weird."
"Sonic? Tails?" a voice said behind.
Both turned to see the speaker, and found that it was Knuckles.
"Knuckles? What the fark are you doing here?" Sonic asked a little bewildered.
"I was looking for the last of the shards, and the last one's here somewhere. In fact, it should be here somewhere."
Knuckles took several quick glances around, and found that it was coming near Tails. He began digging around Tails' body, and actually found it in Tails' hand which was buried underneath the garbage.
"Tails, you have the shard?"
Tails looked down at the shard in his hand. "You mean this piece of glass?"
"That's an Emerald shard I'm looking for!" Knuckles exclaimed, amazed and impressed.
"Good grief, Tails, you've found at least three Emeralds, me on that volcano and now part of the Master Emerald. Have you ever considered going after the lottery?" Sonic said.
Tails smiled sheepishly and picked himself up.
"Hey, Knux. Do you have any idea how to get out of here?"
Knuckles looked back towards the control panel that was on the high overhang on the other side. "I saw a door clear up on that platform up there. I'm not sure where it goes, but it goes under the bridge."
"Right. C'mon, Tails, let's go!" Sonic began to run, rather clumsily on the garbage heap.
Tails began to run after Sonic, but halted and turned to Knuckles. "Are you coming, Knuckles?"
"I'll catch up later. I think this is the last shard, but I won't take chances. I'm going to search more and if I don't find more, I'll try to find you."
Tails shrugged. "Okay, good luck, Knuckles."
Tails ran off and Knuckles began looking again.
Chapter 19: Confrontations
Amy had been wandering through the Hot Shelter for a good hour, and feared that she was lost.
"Oh, Birdy. Where are we? Oh, I wish Sonic was here…"
Birdy chirped in agreement, and then looked back, and began chirping in alarm. Amy looked back, and gasped in fright.
"It's that robot! Zero!"
The hulk of a trashcan was tumbling her way, arms extended to snatch her up again as well as Birdy. Amy was frozen for a short time, but then remembered that she wasn't any longer weaponless. A spark of courage began to blaze within her heart; she leapt up with a yell mixed with fright and determination, and gave Zero such a whack that it sent him wheeling about!
Zero fell over on his side, and Amy made a noise inside showing pleasure, sounding like a high-pitched "humph." She then took of at a run and was able to gain distance from Zero, who was slowly getting up and slightly dazed by Amy's sudden strike.
Amy had gotten into a large room that was circular and had a cylindrical platform on top of a larger cylindrical platform. The door had closed behind her, and she could just hear Zero banging on the other side.
"Hmm, stupid robot." Amy's confidence in herself had grown considerably since giving the green-and-black robot a whack to remember.
She noticed that both she and Birdy were not alone for someone else was here too, and was sitting on the highest platform, and seemed to be in a bit of an enigma. The figure was the biggest, and most-certainly the fattest cat that she had ever seen. He was at least seven feet tall. He brandished a fishing pole.
The figure noticed Amy. "Hello, little girl. Can you help me?"
Amy felt insulted at first, but then realized that this cat was nearly four times her size so she did seem "little" to him, and so let it go. "Hi, what do you need help with, Mr. Cat?"
"Oh, I'm Big…"
Amy chuckled at the name, but tried to hide it. Big seemed not to notice.
"…and I'm trying to get my Froggy friend out of that glass thing over there."
Big pointed to a stained-glass pane and Amy saw that a large, green frog was swimming to and fro in the tank, behind the glass.
Amy thought about it, and decided to help out. He didn't appear to work for Robotnik, she thought.
After a good look around, she found a pressure pad in the very center of the platform. Two shoe-print guides were marked on it; Amy experimentally stepped on it, matching the marks with her feet position.
It must've triggered something, for all the glass panes slid upwards and all the water and everything in it (fish, eels and frog) spilled into the room. Amy was a little worried that the whole room would be flooded at first, but when all the water emptied into the room, it only came up to just above the apex of the first cylindrical platform, not even filling up half the room.
"Thank you…uh…what's your name?"
"I'm Amy, and this is Birdy." she motioned to the bird, who was perched on her shoulder.
"Thank you, Amy. You've been very kind."
Amy felt redder then her dress, and said "you're welcome." She then decided that it was time to leave; she said "goodbye" and departed down another hall on the opposite side.
Big on the other hand sat still and dropped the lure down into the water, and called for Froggy once in a while.
- - - - -
Gamma was still in the jail room, not moving at all, but when the red light that I mentioned before fluttered up to him, for the first time he moved. His head swiveled round to look at it. Suddenly, he was completely enveloped by the light, and he couldn't understand why.
When he was able to see again, he found that he was in a mountain plain, and could pick up the sound of running water nearby.
"Must determine location. Accessing data…"
Gamma's visual sensors focused on a nearby stone bridge, a mountain in the distance, and finally, on an ancient shrine over the bridge. No matches were found in his memory unfortunately.
"No data found. Location unknown." Gamma paused and took in the situation. "This presents a problem."
Gamma began to stride forward over the bridge to find help in any shape or form. He didn't find help necessarily, but he did find the strangest creatures he ever seen, or ever will see for that matter.
Ten or fifteen little blue creatures with large heads and small wings seemed to be making humming noises that sounded a little nasal. If one ever thought about it, he would think that these creatures were singing, a little out of harmony and rhythm from each other, but these creatures kept on as if it was no big deal.
Gamma studied them. "Creature species unknown. A peculiar place I'm in."
A bubbling noise was coming from the shrine a little further back, but the surface wasn't disturbed by it. He began to step towards the shrine for further study.
"Stop! Don't go any further!" a female voice called from behind, not from anger or aggression, but earnest as if frightened for Gamma.
Gamma's head swirled 'round and found a young Echidna girl in a peculiar garb. She seemed to be only thirteen years of age.
"Oh, I'm sorry, stranger. I guess you're not one of them, huh?"
Gamma did not answer, for he was confused.
"Have you noticed the presence that guards the chao here?"
For the first time, Gamma spoke to someone in this "vision." "If you mean the bubbling without a cause within the water, affirmative, I have."
The girl, Tikal as a matter of fact, giggled as if he found his words strange. "Well, any way, that's the presence that guards the chao here, so they can sing in peace. They are too vulnerable without him."
Gamma noticed the bubbling again.
"He's a loving and gentle creature, but…" Her tone of voice dropped to a tone that showed she was slightly saddened. "…my father, the leader of the Sapphire Tribe, wants to take their sacred home, and I'm afraid that the creature will be provoked to destroy all of us. What do you think?"
Gamma had no time to speak, for another voice rang out, one deeper and more familiar.
"Gamma! Prepare to receive battle instructions!"
Gamma physically jumped and found that he was back in the Egg Carrier.
"A hedgehog and a two-tailed fox have breached the Sky Deck and made it through the waste facility floor! You must be ready to intercept them and terminate them! You may be able to get a hoverjet before they get here. Get it, but hurry!"
"Affirmative, Dr. Robotnik!" Gamma said, a little gleefully. Dr. Robotnik must not have found out that Amy had escaped. He went to the weapons' upgrade hangar which was in the construction bay. Gamma glanced at the bay were Beta was being "rebuilt," but it was empty. Then, some robots showed Gamma to a place where he could stand and these robots began installing a hoverjet, mounted on the "hump" on Gamma's back. It took fifteen minutes, but it went uneventful.
When it was finalized, Gamma made haste to get to the rear deck, fearing that he would be late.
- - - - -
Five minutes later…
"Is that it?"
Sonic and Tails were sitting in the round main hall where the four E-series robots got their assignments and three of them failed.
"It might be, Sonic. We should find the bridge."
Sonic looked around as if he was looking for something, or someone.
"What are you looking for, Sonic?" Tails asked.
"Oh, you know why I was on that volcano? Well, Amy was captured (again) and I was chasing them when you found me. I haven't seen her since!"
"Well, let's go! Maybe we'll know after we find Eggman!"
Sonic and Tails did a quick search, and found a hovercraft that went back and forth up a tube that was on the ceiling. "Let's use that!" Sonic pointed out.
They both boarded it when it came down, and were raised up into the tube.
- - - - -
"Oh, I wish we could get out of here!"
Amy and Birdy were taking a break from running near an elevator. They haven't seen Zero since before meeting Big, but Amy knew he was close somewhere.
Birdy chirped suddenly, and Amy looked up; a bright, fairy-like light fluttered towards them and around her face.
"What in the world--?"
Amy and Birdy were blinded by a sudden flash, which made their eyes smart. When the light faded, and the after-image had disappeared, they found that they were on a stone bridge over a river below.
"Where are we?" Amy looked around in bewilderment. "It's beautiful, but I wish we knew where we were…"
Both heard a commotion a good ways away, and they began to walk towards it, curiosity abounding. When Amy and Birdy got to the source, they found several bluish creatures and an Echidna-girl standing near the steps of a shrine.
Amy gasped in delight. "Chao! Oh, look, they're all so cute!"
Birdy seemed puzzled at the odd-looking creatures, and Amy was ready to pick one up and hug it over and over.
The girl, Tikal, seemed just as enamored at them as Amy was. "You're the chao! Oh, I never knew you were so cute." She stepped forwards to pick one up, but they scattered in fear. "Oh, don't worry, little ones. I won't hurt you…"
One of the chao stopped running and turned to face Tikal, and bravely stepped towards Tikal. Tikal raised a hand to pet it, and the chao recoiled at first, but he raised his head and let her pet him. He fell in love with her, and wanted to be picked up. Tikal obliged it, and was soon in the mass of chao when they saw that she was a friend. They began chattering in their various high-pitched voices.
Suddenly, a rumbling sound came from the shrine, and Tikal, Amy and Birdy looked in awe and terror as the water raised up and formed into a creature with green eyes and long arms.
Wind! The chill! Amy and Birdy awoke and found that they were on the rear deck of the Egg Carrier. The wind and the chill were stronger here, for she was in the Hot Shelter a good four hours which was considerably warmer.
"Ah, we're out of that room! Now we can find a way to get out of here!"
Amy began looking around for anything or anyway to get off this ship.
"Where do you think you're going, Amy?"
Amy looked up and trembled; she recognized that voice. It was Robotnik.
He was in his hovercraft which he piloted to be right in front of Amy. "Hello, Amy, how can I help you today, hmm?" He chuckled menacingly. "On a more serious note, I want the bird!"
"Robotnik, no!" Amy clenched Birdy to her side.
"Leave her alone, Eggman!"
Amy and Robotnik looked towards the voice, and found Sonic and Tails striding towards them. "I'll make this easy, Eggman. Let Amy go, and I'll think about letting you keep your liver intact!" Sonic said, index finger raised to show seriousness.
"Hmm, rather dark, Sonic, but you're too late!" Robotnik replied.
The claw rose out and snatched up Birdy so quickly that none of them could react in time.
"Birdy!" Amy reached out in vain.
Sonic was ready to tear apart the hovercraft at once, but Robotnik had positioned it too high and out of his reach. Birdy chirped loudly in protest, but just as quickly as he was snatched up, he was released. He fluttered about and flew to Amy, looking a little shell-shocked.
"Ha! This is what I want!" Robotnik shouted over the wind, and held up a sky-blue gem.
Tails gasped. "It's another Chaos Emerald! The bird had it!"
"That was no ordinary bird, Tails. That was a Flicky!" Sonic pointed out. "A Royal Flicky if he would bear such a treasure."
"Be gone, all of you! I've got what I need, and you got the girl back!" Robotnik pointed to Sonic.
"What makes you think that I'm just going to stand here and let you give that to Chaos?" Sonic yelled. "I might just stay here and wait for you to do something stupid!"
"Gamma!" Robotnik barked.
A clang like metal on metal rang out behind Sonic and Tails, and naturally they turned around. There stood a red robot with a small body but long legs. A three-barrel gun was it's right arm. It was Gamma.
"What is your request, Master Robotnik?"
"Destroy these pests, all of them!"
"Affirmative, doctor, I will comply."
"I'm counting on you, Gamma. Don't fail me!"
Robotnik flew out towards the front of the Carrier, and Sonic stood facing Gamma, who was rotating weapons to fire.
"Stay back, Tails! I'll handle this rust-bucket!"
Sonic leapt up into the air, and at a good time, for a missile was fired and hit the spot where his feet were. He began to run circles 'round Gamma, reading his defenses. Gamma kept trying to lock on, but Sonic was too fast a runner.
Sonic attacked so fast to the head suddenly so that Gamma was taken completely off-guard. He reeled back and his visual sensors were temporarily impaired, but they switched back on. Just in time too, for Sonic was charging again. Gamma rose his left hand to swipe at him. Sonic was hit in the chest and was sent flying. He lay, windless and a little smarting.
Tails saw the danger and attacked at Gamma's feet with his tails. The leg seemed to collapse, and bolts of blue electricity shot to and fro.
"Stop it! Please!" Amy was shouting.
Sonic had gotten up and hit the robot in the torso. Gamma's insides were beginning to malfunction and were in danger if Sonic attacked again.
Gamma had a lucky break when the unexpected happened: Sonic was charging to give the final blow, but Amy stepped in between them. "Stop it!"
Sonic skidded to a halt, completely surprised. "What are you doing, Amy? That's one of Eggman's clunkers! Get out of the way!"
"No!" Amy held her arms outstretched and stood in absolute defiance. "This robot is my friend! He helped me and Birdy to escape! Please don't hurt him, Sonic." Amy folded her hands now and pleaded with Sonic.
"Amy…" Sonic started, but then considered what was going on. Amy was pleading for Gamma's life, something she's never do, for she hated robots. "Oh, I'll let him go then. You must have your reasons, I guess."
"Oh, thank you, Sonic."
Suddenly, all four of them felt the entire Egg Carrier shake as if an earthquake rumbled through. Sirens wailed and warnings blared through the speakers.
"Warning! Warning! Fire hazard located in Egg Cannon inner chamber! Craft equilibrium has been compromised! Warning!"
Tails gasped, "The whole ship is losing altitude!"
"We're fresh outta time!" Sonic said, realizing the danger. " Tails, take Amy and get out of here!"
"But what about you?" Amy asked.
"I'm going to find Eggman, and nail him!" Sonic took off towards the bridge.
"Thank you, Sonic, for coming to save me as usual!" Amy called out, and heard metal grinding and looked back to see Gamma standing up, but seemed that he was having trouble. "Are you okay?"
"Auto-repair systems have been commenced. I will be 100 functional within two hours," Gamma reported.
"Why don't you come with Tails, Birdy and I? You don't need to be under that awful Eggman. Just leave him."
"Why are you trying to help me?"
"I said that I owe you one back there in that jail, so I'm returning the favor. I want you to have a better life away from Eggman, even Birdy here wants you to leave."
Birdy chirped, and seemed to nod.
"Amy, come on!" Tails called out.
"I hope to see you again, Mr. Robot!" Amy called behind, as she ran to Tails.
When she arrived, Tails took to the air and snatched up Amy with two hands. Birdy flew behind them and they all escaped from the Egg Carrier. Gamma suddenly hunched down, and a six-bladed propeller unfolded on his "waist," and begun to spin quickly. He lifted off and he too escaped.
- - - - -
Sonic had reached the mouth of the waste area, when he realized that he couldn't get there without going back through the Sky Deck, something that would take way too long.
"If I'm to continue, I need to find a way to get this ship back into its old shape. There must be a switch on the bridge…somewhere. I have to find it!"
Sonic quickly scanned the "head" of the Carrier, and found a ladder leading toward a high door. He began to climb it without hesitation, and got to the top. He looked to see if Amy and Tails left. They had and he saw them fly off.
"Good job, Tails. Now to find that switch…"
He opened the door, and at once he knew that he was on the bridge. The only thing was that the button was unlabeled and was among many other switches and buttons.
"Oh, crap. I hope I find it soon."
He felt the whole ship shake again, and just pressed several buttons until he heard the computer voice state: Battle procedures have been canceled and normal procedures have commenced. Resuming monorail operation.
"Great, now to find Eggman."
Chapter 20: Chaos 6
Big the Cat had fished out Froggy sometime during the confrontation between Sonic and Gamma, and had taken him out of the Hot Shelter. When he did, he felt the entire floor shake.
"Uh oh, we better get out of here, little buddy! It feels like the whole place will explode!"
Big then heard a voice that came from nowhere which startled him, and Froggy croaked in surprise.
"Battle procedures have been canceled and normal procedures have commenced. Resuming monorail operation."
Instantly, he saw that a craft that seems to be moving on a rail. Big saw it open and thought it was a free ride like the train. When he climbed on, he felt the sensation of moving and was on it for a while, then it opened again and he was beside a large, green-glass cylinder.
He climbed a ramp that led up to a pathway that led beside it.
"We can make it, Froggy. We can go home and we'll go fishing!"
Then, he heard a voice that lots of people knew, except him. "Ah, I see you're trying to get away. I see that I'm not too late."
"Who are you?" Big asked.
"I am Dr. Robotnik! Soon-to-be ruler of the world!"
"That's bad, doctor."
"I know! It's what I do best…" Robotnik waved his arms dramatically. "Chaos! Come here!"
Big nearly jumped when water spilled onto the cylinder and suddenly changed into the shape of a shark.
"What's that?" Big said, a little afraid.
"That's Chaos, you idiot!" He turned to the monster. "Chaos, quick! Get the frog!"
Chaos suddenly whipped out his knife-like tail which slapped into Big which made him drop Froggy and Chaos eagerly scooped him up and into his body. In the mean time, Robotnik had thrown the Sky Blue Chaos Emerald towards Chaos' body and he absorbed it in. Froggy inside twitched suddenly and his mouth opened wide and out came the Yellow Emerald.
Suddenly, a huge greenish flash erupted from Chaos' body, and the shark's body melted away, and when it came back, it was three times bigger and in the shape vaguely of a six-legged spider, for its legs rose above its body. Instead of two, featureless eyes, it had eight eyes like a spider: two large ones and six smaller ones.
"Don't forget the tail, Chaos! The frog's possessed by it!" Robotnik said.
Big was mortified; Froggy twitched like he was trapped in a high-voltage room, and the tail snapped off suddenly and disappeared in a flash of light. Froggy seemed to faint from pain. Another flash came out and a huge tail grew out of the rear side. A stinger formed at the end in the shape of a crescent. Chaos had become a hideous water-scorpion!
It was now when a blue hedgehog ran up and saw Big lying on the floor, Robotnik and Chaos changed again.
"Eggman! Aw, will you never stop?"
"Ha ha, never, Sonic! I've found six of the Chaos Emeralds and so there's only one left, and I feel that it's close."
Sonic felt a rock settle into his stomach: The Emerald in the Tornado! He tried to hide his sudden shock, but wasn't completely sure he was successful.
Big got up and saw Froggy inside the water monster's body. "Oh no! I must save Froggy!"
Sonic looked at Chaos and saw that a large frog was floating unconsciously inside Chaos. "He's your friend?" Sonic asked Big.
Big nodded. "Yes! We must save him!"
"Go on, Sonic! Try! Chaos is nearly complete, and he'll finish you even now!" Robotnik laughed ant sat back, expecting easy victory.
Chaos roared, and Sonic and Big covered their ears, eyes closed and teeth clinched in agony, for Chaos roared like a dragon.
"I'll distract him, and you fish out your frog-friend!"
Big understood, and picked up his fishing pole. "Let's do it!"
- - - - -
There was yet another figure left on the Carrier, and he was still on the other side. It was Knuckles, and after finding the last shard, he was looking for Sonic and Tails, but found neither.
He called out, "Sonic? Tails? Where are you?"
Something fluttered by his head, and it seemed bright. There it was again, and it was the same light that he met the last three times. "You again?"
A bright light shone out in front of him, and he saw nothing else. When his vision had returned, he saw that it was night, and he stood on one side of a bridge.
"Oh, not again."
Knuckles could tell that something was not right here, for he felt like something terrible happened. A bright red light shone ahead, and Knuckles then smelled smoke.
"Good grief, something's on fire!"
Knuckles ran towards the glow, and was appalled at the scene he saw next. His heart nearly broke when he took it all in.
The Master Emerald shrine that he had seen in a vision earlier was ablaze with fire. The seven pillars around the shrine had been broken, not just cracked but snapped in two like twigs. He could see that the seven Emeralds perched on those were gone. Several bodies in front of the shrine lay dead. The chao were all dead. The only one who wasn't dead was Tikal, who was lying unconscious at the front steps. Knuckles only could've told that she wasn't dead by feeling and found that she was still warm, and breathing.
"Hey, what's happened here?" Knuckles shook Tikal's shoulder, and she stirred.
Tikal did not get up, but she spoke, "I couldn't stop my father from attacking the sacred grounds. They came, killed all the noble creatures, and then…he came and suddenly changed! He became a giant dragon and killed everyone, then disappeared!"
Knuckles then heard a roar in the distance, which nearly turned his blood into water. The roar, even though frightening, sounded sad.
"I have to stop him!"
Tikal got up and began running up the steps.
Knuckles called out, "Wait! Where are you going?"
Suddenly without any warning, he found that he was standing on the Egg Carrier rear deck again. "What is the meaning of this?"
Suddenly a huge roar that brought Knuckles to a stand-still rang out over the whole craft.
"Chaos!" Knuckles thought with a touch of fear. "He must've changed again, and got a mouth!"
Knuckles took off towards the sound.
- - - - -
"Hey, water-bag! Over here, you two-faced twit!"
Chaos 6 may've been bigger, but his size made him move slower. Sonic was running to and fro trying to distract Chaos enough for Big to have enough time to fish Froggy out. Froggy had woken up and was desperate to get out, huddling against the side of Chaos' body closest to Big.
The reel broke through the watery flesh of Chaos, and Froggy at once snatched it up. Big yanked, but Froggy wouldn't pop out at first. He kept yanking the line and Froggy kept kicking trying to break through. At last, Froggy popped out and Big caught him.
"Froggy!" Big laughed joyfully, petting the exhausted and bewildered frog. "Let's go home."
"Get out of here! I'll take care of this beast!" Sonic called out.
"Bye!" Big called out, and ran off carrying the frog.
He came to a small plane on the runway above the Egg Carrier. He looked down and saw fire licking the iron panels. He stared at the plane.
"Huh? It's a plane!" Big said. "Maybe we could use it to get out of here…but I don't know how to use it."
"Ok, I guess I can try…"
Big climbed into the cockpit, but only could fit his tail into it, and just sat on the top, feet hanging out. It took a few minutes, but he got the plane started and using one hand, he steered the plane, and off they went.
I will say that Big was able to land safely on land, and the only damage on the Tornado was that the metal on the bottom-most wings were gone. Big thought the flight was okay, but never considered a career of it after.
Now we must go back to Sonic, who was fighting for his life against Chaos, and Robotnik wasn't making it easy; he kept throwing liquid nitrogen bombs which would detonate after a good amount of time (about five minutes) and make the glass they were both on as slick as ice. Sonic needless to say slipped like a novice at ice-skating, and tried to keep his balance.
He had tried a shot to the head for that's where the brain usually was, but in Chaos 6, the brain relocated into the center of the body like a heart. Several nerves like veins scattered throughout the body and wrapped around the Emeralds in the legs.
Chaos open his mouth and inhaled deeply, causing a hurricane-force wind to come within him. Sonic gripped the railing around the circumference of the platform for dear life, but this move hurt Chaos more, for an ice-bomb that didn't detonate just yet was sucked in and detonated in there.
Chaos suddenly twitched, rose up and froze over into a solid block of ice. Sonic felt the wind suddenly drop and saw Chaos locked in ice.
"Huh, I think we've just found the weak spot," Sonic thought, and then attacked the ice sculpture in a ball of spines. The ice broke like glass, and Sonic scoffed at Robotnik, who couldn't believe his eyes.
Then, the ice that was Chaos melted and Chaos reformed and shook himself as if he was hit in the head. Sonic picked up another grenade that Robotnik had just thrown out, and advanced up towards Chaos, waiting for the mouth to open.
Chaos didn't oblige him, but what he did was that he leapt up into the air and when he landed, a huge wave of energy flew away like a ripple on water when a stone drops in. Sonic jumped in time and it passed harmlessly under him, although he still felt the heat on it.
Chaos tried again, and again failed. Each time he did that, the glass broke underneath and the glass fell into the machinery below and there was an awful grinding sound that floated from underneath. Then he tried to strike him with his stinger, which glowed a bright orange. Sonic yelped and just barely avoided being decapitated by the monster. Chaos started to go after him again, and again opened his mouth about to suck him in again. Sonic was ready; when Chaos started inhaling, he tossed up the bomb, and it went in precisely as planned.
Chaos froze over again, and Sonic again broke the ice statue.
Chaos was very furious, and before Sonic could get another bomb, the monster melted into a bulb-shaped blob, the six legs tucked in, feet sticking out. The tail detached and remounted on the apex of the bulb. The stinger grew to twice its normal size. Sonic wasn't sure what to do, for he never saw Chaos do a morphing trick, besides melting away.
Many glowing dots appeared on the flesh, and popped out, followed by a watery tentacle which felt as tough as hard leather. The tentacles pretty much pinned Sonic into a small pocket, and Sonic immediately saw what Chaos was about to do.
The monster shot the stinger in a swinging motion so it would come back slapping Sonic from the relatively-unprotected back. Sonic's timing was nearly impeccable, for he saw the stinger shoot above him, and he leapt when it did so. It flew underneath him with a whoosh, and the tentacles withdrew.
Chaos reformed and Sonic was growing impatient: time was growing short and who knew if the Egg Cannon would explode when the power core would be breached anytime now likely.
Chaos was now only stones-throw away, and Sonic decided to take a chance. He scooped up a grenade and threw into Chaos' face. Chaos backed away in surprise, but that was a very unfortunate choice; if Chaos would've stayed where he was, the grenade would've bounced off his face and fell without harming him, but when he backed off, the grenade fell into his mouth and exploded. Chaos was again a statue of ice.
"Ha! Take this, Chaos!" Sonic said, crashing into the ice, shattering it. The only thing was that Chaos did not reform.
"Hmm, looks like Chaos is defeated again, Eggman!"
Robotnik stood in disbelief in his hovercraft, not sure what to do.
Then, a familiar voice spoke through the wind. "Hey, Sonic!"
Sonic looked and found his old friend, Knuckles the Echidna, running towards him.
"There you are, Knuckles. Glad you decided to show up!"
Robotnik found his tongue. "I'm not done, Sonic! We shall meet again, hedgehog!"
The human turned his hovercraft and flew off the Egg Carrier descending gradually, but not without event.
"Hey, come back here!" Sonic ran off after him, and leapt off the ship.
Knuckles chuckled. "I guess he really didn't need me after all. Now, I have some patch-up work back on the Island."
Suddenly he heard a deep, guttural growl that made his skin crawl, felt like someone else was here. He turned around and saw the insectoid shape of Chaos, standing boldly and proudly, as if trying to intimidate Knuckles.
"Ha, you think you can stop me? You can't stop me from finishing the Master Emerald! I'll take you down before you take me!"
Knuckles raised a fist in defiance, and Chaos growled again. Knuckles strode forward, and found that parts were wet. A little puzzled he had one eye on Chaos, and the other finding out what the heck is going on.
Chaos made no move, and Knuckles found pieces of metal, as if from a grenade. He then found trinkets the size on his fist, and they were ice cold. He had an idea:
Knuckles picked up a grenade and began stalking towards Chaos. Chaos reacted different to Knuckles; instead of trying every move to take out Sonic, but Knuckles seemed to display some strange unseen power over him, and so seemed very hesitant to do anything.
Even Knuckles was rather surprised about Chaos' hesitation but was liking it secretly. "Either leave me to do my business, Chaos, or I shall take you down, drip by drip!"
Chaos felt ridiculous being intimidated by a small red Echidna, and his will
hardened. He took a step forward, and opened his mouth to chomp him, but Knuckles back away a few steps, took a deep breath, and threw the bomb in.
It worked like a charm; Chaos reeled back and froze into a statue. Knuckles needless to say made a swipe with his spiked hand.
Chaos broke with a terrible crash, just as before, melted away and reformed into the water-scorpion again. Knuckles grinned inside; he'll whip this giant raindrop into shape yet.
Chaos forgot about his past hesitation and grew angry with Knuckles, like he was when he first broke out of the Master Emerald a few days before. He tried the same tactics before with Sonic, since Knuckles was a slower prey. What Chaos didn't count on that Knuckles made up in strength over the lack of speed.
Knuckles was the kind of person that would never walk away from a fight (for Echidnas have a large tendency to have a martial attitude, like the ancient Spartans of Greece) and was not wavered. He was already armed with another grenade and waited for the opportunity.
He made mind not to get anywhere near the missing panes of glass where the machinery was exposed. Anyone who dropped in there would be toast for sure.
Chaos decided the inhaling trick again, and Knuckles was almost a little too close. The grenade left his hand and he went flying towards Chaos. Fortunately he had let go of the grenade and it went in first.
I won't bother to tell the process of Chaos being smash again for I'm sure you're very familiar with it already. Chaos 6 no longer decided to use the inhalation trick for that exposed him to attack.
The stinger lashed out like a whip to a horse, striking at Knuckles repeatedly. The Echidna was hard pressed to keep from getting pummeled. The first dodge, he was a little too late and ended up with a bruised calf, which smarted for days afterwards.
Knuckles knew he was running out of time, for he too had felt the ship shake as if it was going to break in half, and the grenades were running low. In fact, only two left actually.
He took the last two, one in each hand, and stood ready for any move that Chaos would show. Chaos growled in complete anger and frustration, and Knuckles growled back in aggression and mockery.
Knuckles suddenly felt the sensation of sinking, like on the island a few days ago, but much faster. "I'm out of time!" Knuckles charged at Chaos 6, and pretty much slam dunked the grenade into his mouth, and nearly got his fingers chomped.
Chaos froze, and Knuckles broke the statue. This time, the ice remained, and six jewels fell from higher up in the air and fell onto the glass.
"What? The Chaos Emeralds? Why did Chaos give them up?"
The ice blocks were there, melting at the normal speed, but no Chaos. The Chaos Emeralds lay motionless.
Knuckles made up his mind to take the Emeralds before Chaos decided to come back, and did so, stuffing each Emerald into his backpack, mildly burning himself on the red one. He could feel the heat coming off of it when he put it on, but when it touched the Master Emerald shards, it instantly cooled. Knuckles was perplexed at the sudden chilling of the Red Emerald, but when the Carrier shook again, he thought not to waste anymore time.
He slipped on the backpack, ran to the edge, and glided off, and not a second too late; the Egg Carrier started bursting in several places, and then burst into flame. Knuckles looked back and saw the Egg Carrier sink and fall into the ocean, dousing the flames. The Echidna secretly wanted to see the whole dang craft to explode, but considering that he still wasn't too far from it, he thought otherwise.
"Now back to Angel Island…"
Chapter 21: Night of Hazards
Sonic lay unconsciousness in a deep jungle, the sun was still relatively high, about 5 o'clock; he couldn't have told if it was day or night back on the Egg Carrier for the sky was overcast with the dark clouds of a storm.
The hedgehog woke up, and felt pain everywhere. He then remembered why he was so sore: he fell off of Robotnik's craft when he leapt on it from the Carrier.
"Ah, I hate that Eggman!" Sonic found that his side, stomach, arms and feet. Very shallow scratches showed on his arms, not bleeding, but a hair swollen. He must've fallen through trees and probably bounced off a few branches. That would explain a lot of his bruises.
The only thing he managed to do was to short out one of the engine of the hovercraft.
"Where am I?" he thought, looking around in confusion. "It seems familiar, but I don't think I've been here before."
If Sonic was higher up on nearby cliffs, he would've recognized the jungle, for he and Tails had flown above it two days before, but seeing the jungle from within is quite different from seeing it from above.
Then, he realized that he was starving, for the last meal was breakfast back at the hotel. "Aren't there some fruit trees here or something?"
He walked down the paths, which always split or merged into other paths and made it a perfect maze.
"What in the world?"
Sonic had just seen a light flutter by and was initially surprised. Then he saw a stone building that looked like a pyramid that he saw back on the Floating Island, in the Marble Gardens nearly three years before. The light seemed to be fluttering towards it.
"That light, it wants me to follow it…"
Sonic strode forwards and got as far as to the top of the stairs, but stopped at the door, decorated with an open snake mouth. "Uh, no…I'm not going in there. No way, José!"
The light fluttered back up to Sonic's head, and seemed to be talking.
"You must! It's for us all!"
"Us? Who's 'us?'"
"You're friends! Tails, Knuckles, Amy…"
Sonic glared in suspicion. "How do you know them?"
"I've showed them parts of the past, and to save the world, you must see this!"
"In there? What's in there, the Stargate portal?"
"Just come on. It's about Chaos!"
"Chaos? What about Chaos?"
"Come on in!"
Sonic growled inside. "Oh, all right. I'll go with you, but if one spine raises on my neck, or if I smell something fishy, I'm gone, got it, fairy-butt?"
The light flew on, apparently not really listening to Sonic; the hedgehog followed it in. It was dark, but thank goodness for Sonic, the blue wristlet he bought that morning started glowing, and the hallway was lit with its glow. The whole hall sloped downwards, then it came to a room where sat a shallow pool, and greenery on the other side. A tunnel sat on a ledge over the greenery.
Sonic was wondering how green plants could grow in such a dark environment, but the light urged him down the tunnel. It was a rather strange tunnel, for instead of going straight, it twisted to and fro, up and down. It would make a good running track, but Sonic had no time for levity.
It was when he got to a turn in the tunnel when he began thinking about what was ahead; the tunnel had flame jets and rolling walls. It reminded him of Temple of Doom, a video he saw once in between trouble against Robotnik.
He saw that the light wanted him to go through.
"Are you kidding me? How do you want it: rare, medium, or well done?"
The light seemed to ignore him; Sonic shrugged, and stepped in. He didn't go at a run obviously, he went at a walk, watching the flame jets closely.
- - - - -
The sun was setting on the people in Station Square, and if one looked toward the sea, he would see something, or someone flying in. And if he waited, he would've seen that it was two kids and a bird.
A few minutes later, the two kids, Tails and Amy, landed safely on the sidewalk in front of the train station.
"Whoo, thanks, Tails." Amy looked up and saw Birdy fluttering towards her.
"It's no problem, Amy. I'll see you later." Tails began to walk away.
Amy sat down on the steps, Birdy landing beside her. "Sonic seems to be saving me all the time, and I can't seem to repay him. I need to grow up and learn to look after myself."
She looked at the hotel, where her mother worked if you remember right. "Oh, I'm gonna get it from my Mom." Amy happened to glance down at Birdy. "You surprised me earlier, having a Chaos Emerald, you know? No wonder they were after you my feathered friend."
Amy petted the bird's head, and when she came to the neck, her fingers fell on something.
"Hey, what's that?" She looked at it. "It looks like a necklace chain, and…you have a locket around your neck." Amy had traced the chain around and found a locket that was shaped like an octagonal stone, bluish in color. Amy opened it and found a picture of three birds: One cream-colored one, one reddish one, and Birdy himself.
"This is your family, isn't it? Aww, they're so sweet. Did they get captured like you did?"
Birdy chirped, and lowered his head.
"I bet they were. Hmm, where could they be…ah! That nice robot said that the Egg Carrier was heading to the Mystic Ruins base. They must be there. Wanna go?"
Birdy looked up, a shine of hope in his eyes.
"I've been missing all day; I might as well be missing during the night. Let's go to the Mystic Ruins and let's find that base."
Amy started walking towards the train station door.
Now we must go to Tails, who was about to have the adventure of a lifetime. He had walked away, and saw something else flying towards the city over the bay.
Tails squinted, for it was hard to see due to the sunset, but he could tell that it was round, and made of metal.
"Hey, it looks like Robotnik's craft! If he's here, where's Sonic?"
The craft seemed to be having trouble, and it crashed into the cement near the entrance of Twinkle Park. Tails snuck closer, and the fact that the hovercraft was facing towards the City Hall road, Tails remained unseen.
His ears caught Robotnik muttering, and Tails did not like the sound of it. "I'm finished! Chaos was defeated by that hedgehog, and my Egg Carrier is ruined! Hmm, I'll still destroy Sapphire City anyway."
Tails' eyes popped open. What did he mean by "destroy Sapphire City?"
His answer came in the form of rumbling out in the ocean. The fox turned, anxiety growing like a weed, and he felt like he turned into water as a huge missile emerged from the water. Then it hit him like a load of bricks: the only thing that could decimate a city this size was a nuclear bomb.
"If that missile is launched…"
He didn't finish, for he just heard Robotnik begin to countdown. "3…2…1…ready, FIRE!"
Smoke emitted from the base and the rocket lifted off. The roar was so intense that Tails was blown down onto his rear. He felt so helpless that even if a crippled entombed in plaster couldn't have been any more helpless.
They all…were doomed.
The missile flew into the skyscraper region, Tails clinched and awaited the blast that would rip him apart, cell by cell. He heard a deep crash in the distance…
…and nothing else.
- - - - -
"Whoa, swimming party."
Sonic was now in a large stone room that had several ledges up towards the ceiling. He felt that the entire Egg Carrier could fit easily in this room. Scratch that, two Egg Carriers.
The light had fluttered up towards the highest ledge, and Sonic was left on the bottom.
"How to get up? Hmm…"
The ledges were too far up to just climb up, or even jump up, despite Sonic's possession of a great vertical. He walked around the ledge that he was standing on, looking for anything, like a climbing rope.
"C'mon, people. There's gotta be something to get me up there!" Sonic spoke out loud as if to somebody, but the only thing that answered him was his own echo.
It was when he came to the edge of the ledge, and where another started above, when he saw something besides the brown stones. It was a circular platform, and on top of that was a circular button, about as big as Sonic himself, and it was made of lapis lazuli.
"Hmm, a button. I wonder what it does?"
Curiosity took hold and he stepped on the button, he heard a rumble deep below the surface of the water and the water began to rise.
Sonic was not a keen swimmer, and quit lessons long before now for he didn't enjoy water as something besides a thirst-quencher and plant feed.
The water began lapping at his ankles, then his knees, and then he found himself treading water. Sonic hoped that it wouldn't fill up the room completely.
It stopped at the ledge that was next up, and Sonic climbed onto it. There was another platform and another button, but it was square, but the same color as the last one. Sonic was hesitant, but pressed it.
Nothing happened, at least at first, but he did hear a hum from the very top, close to the uppermost ledge.
"Hmm, sounded like I did something up there. I'll have to see what…"
The ledge went higher by steps, then he saw another button, but it was behind several rows of earth-colored spikes.
"Wow, they sure make a point, these guys."
Sonic thought about jumping over it, but wasn't sure how far those spikes went. He jumped up to see, and saw that there were only four rows.
"Ah, no problem."
He jumped over them like it was just a hurdle, and landed squarely on the other button. The water rose again, and it stopped at the bottom of the ledge he stood on. The next one was on the other side of the room.
"Crap, now how am I…what on earth?"
Sonic never finished his wondering on how to get to the other side when the largest creature that he ever saw suddenly emerged from the deep well. It was a snake, as long as a jet plane. Its body was as thick as a trunk of a redwood tree.
Sonic huddled against the platform and watched the snake closely, ready to dash anywhere if the snake gave any sign of wanting hedgehog fricassee for supper.
What Sonic noticed first was the stone blue eyes; they seemed to be glowing in the semi-darkness, much like Sonic's wristlet. Another thing was that the snake seemed to do nothing but swimming in a vague figure eight pattern. (If one studied the movement closely, it would've looked like a figure eight, within a figure eight.)
Sonic waited there for a good five minutes, and was rather surprised to see that the snake never broke from its swimming pattern. He dared to get closer and saw the body of the snake as it got next to the ledge. It was stone. The snake was a stone machine.
Sonic chuckled, partly embarrassed and happy, and got an idea: the snake kept meeting one of the ledges on one of its sweeps, so what if he used it to get across?
He put his idea into action once the stone snake passed by again. It worked beautifully; Sonic got to the next ledge, all puffed up inside for thinking up the idea. He found another square button, but it was green. He pushed it and heard the hum again, just like when he pressed the blue button before.
- - - - -
Gamma was hovering over the sea, pretty high up, which was a good thing considering that the shore ahead were sea cliffs over five hundred feet high.
The robot seemed occupied; it's memory banks were flashing different pictures into his "mind." The first one was Beta being torn apart and being placed back together in the construction bay. The second was the instant before the three other E-series 'bots beamed out and banished. The third was of a pink hedgehog girl, Amy she was called. The next one was of the face of Dr. Robotnik, when Gamma had first awoken.
The pictures flashed again, faster they went each time, until they became blurs.
"Must…delete…registration…" Gamma droned, with trouble.
When he landed on the top of the cliffs, he took a few steps, balked and shuddered, then straightened up.
"Master registration had been deleted. Dr. Robotnik, enemy. E-series, friends."
Gamma looked around, and now that he had rebelled from Robotnik's service, he took on a new task: to rescue the other E-series robots, namely Beta, Delta, Epsilon and Zeta.
"Must save friends…"
Gamma began walking towards the tunnel with the rocks at the base of the mouth.
- - - - -
Tails opened his eyes, and found that he was still sitting on the sidewalk in Station Square. He felt a little silly, but overall, confused. What happened to the nuclear blast?
He got up and looked at Robotnik, who hadn't moved, and looked just as perplexed as Tails was.
"Ah! It was a dud! I can't believe this!"
"A dud? Whew, lucky break," Tails thought.
"Hmm, well I'll still detonate it yet." Robotnik hovered upwards and towards the Speed Highway elevator.
Tails couldn't believe what was happening: a nuclear bomb was somewhere in Sapphire City, and now Eggman was going towards it to manually detonate it.
"Oh, someone has to beat him to it!"
Then he realized that he was alone this time. Sonic was not there to blast his way to there.
"Oh, I have to do it. The entire fate of this city rests on me." Tails heart melted. "Sonic…"
Tails shook his head, drooped, feeling completely helpless once again.
"I wish Sonic was here. I wish none of this happened…"
Suddenly, something deep in his past, when he was only a toddler back north of the Great Forest, came to him and rose in his soul; he remembered what his father said when the first remnants of Robotnik's armies were coming to destroy the village. Tails had thought the same thing and said so to his father.
"I wish I didn't have to leave, dad; I wish none of this happened…"
His father, with a voice of wisdom had replied, "I know. Any who live to see times like this say the same, but that's not for us to decide at all, skipper. What we have to decide is what to do with all of the time given to us. I know that you'll do fine, Tails."
Tails wiped a tear from his eye, and knew what he had to do. He felt like he was going to turn into sand, but he needed to do this.
He found Eggman tearing an entrance through the door of the elevator. Tails snuck in, and waited behind the craft, waiting for the doors to slide open.
"I have to get to that missile. I have to get to that missile…" Tails kept repeating this in his mind.
When the doors opened, Robotnik went first, Tails behind, running as fast as he could. The human seemed to sense his presence, and saw Tails.
"You? You think you can beat me to that missile, Tails?"
"I don't think, Eggman! I can!"
Tails clicked his heels, remembering his anklets, and spun his tails. Tails took off like a missile himself and soared over the highway. Robotnik cursed and accelerated himself. The race began…
- - - - -
Sonic had reached the uppermost ledge where he discovered the use of those square buttons. Over the door were three panels, color-correspondent to the three square buttons that Sonic had pushed. They were alit, and the door had slid open before he got to the top.
The passage was long, lit with torches, and smelled damp. The light had been waiting for him, and led him through, until they got to a large, very dark room. No light, save a huge orb of phosphorescent crystal near where Sonic had come into the room was in the room. The crystal was covered on one end and a visor was put on so that it would shine in one direction.
"Ok, where to now?"
The fairy fluttered away into the darkness. Sonic could hear water flowing deeper in the room. "Crap, more water."
Sonic strode forward, left arm outstretched since it proved to be a sufficient light source. He came to a stone walkway, and in the middle, a strange platform with a large disc on it sat there. Sonic got close to it, and when he got close enough, the disc caught the light and reflected it into many directions. He blinked in the bluish light, and turned away.
He saw that on closer inspection, the lens was actually a mirror, which would explain how it could reflect the light so well. Sonic looked back and saw the light from the orb.
Rising out of the water to his left was another mirror, fixed in one position though.
"It's a mirror machine of some kind," Sonic thought. "This must be how the light can get across the room."
He then figured that this may be his way to get through the room without falling into the water. Sonic moved the disk so that it caught the light, and then turned it slightly and the light bounced off the disk and into the nearby mirror.
Suddenly, there was light almost everywhere; Sonic blinked and saw his path illuminated in a cold blue light.
It could've been easier, but time and decay play a role in the world efficiently. Sonic was forced to avoid holes, jump over places where the stone had broken off and sank into the water, and balance on narrow places where the stone broke off on both sides.
The end of the twisting path was a large pit, full of water, and was way too wide to jump, for he could see a door on the other side lit by torches. It must be at least a hundred feet away from him.
The light fluttered up. "Jump."
Sonic glared at the light. "Do I look stupid to you?"
"It's perfectly safe."
"So is skydiving."
"You have the tool. Use it."
"Have you forgotten the Ring?"
Sonic looked under his cuff and found the Power Ring, shedding a golden radiance on his face. "Well, maybe."
"You can use that."
"How come I never thought about that?" the hedgehog thought, and placed the ring on his ring finger.
Sonic felt something change in his feet. Looking down, he saw the heels light up a bright gold. He thought this was cool, but then the light pleaded to him to hurry.
Sonic felt pressed and he didn't like to be, but he had no choice. He went into a stationary spin-dash, and he could feel the power of the Ring flowing through him. His blue fur lit and illuminated the water below. Then, he jumped across.
It was more like flying then jumping; he found himself soaring over the water below, through the door, down the hall and nearly smacked into a wall before the energy gave out. Sonic looked back and laughed triumphantly. He then wondered about his shoes, were they built to work with the energy of Power Rings?
He decided to dwell on that later. The next place was a swiftly running river, flowing down through a tunnel that led downwards and curved to and fro.
The light fluttered down it, and Sonic followed. He felt like he was on a water slide in an amusement park. It didn't last long, not even long enough for him to wonder what was on the bottom.
It was a small waterfall that flowed into a shallow pool where the water flowed into from the pyramid. Sonic landed on a small island, and looked around.
"It looks like I came back out." Sonic looked up, but the sky was obscured by treetops. No light seemed to get through."
He looked up and saw the mouth of another passageway on the other side of the pool. He had to hop islands to get there, but it was pretty much effortless.
The light was waiting for him, and it spoke. "Careful, Sonic. In this passageway, you must run. Just run. Don't stop, always run."
"Well, what's in there that's so dangerous?" Sonic was peering down into the passageway, and it was fairly ordinary, just sloping downwards and straight. He thought he smelled something burning, but thought it was torches on the sides.
"Just run. Your life depends on it."
Sonic felt like turning back and leaving the light to her own problems, but then he realized that there was no way back up that water chute. Growling, he began running down the passage.
It wasn't even five seconds into his run when he found out why the light told him to run; he heard a crash of stone upon stone, and heard something rolling, behind him. Still running, he glanced back.
There was a huge flaming boulder rolling towards him like a bowling ball against a single pin. It was as big as an elephant. Needless to say, he ran faster.
The passage was long, and felt like it went about a mile underground. He saw the end ahead, radiant with light. He ran through it and huddled against the wall adjacent to it. The boulder was too large and stuck fast into the passageway with a crack like thunder, throwing Sonic off his feet.
Sonic picked himself up, shaking the water out of his fur (for the room had a shallow pool of water in it and he fell into it) and saw the light, flutter through yet another door.
"This is getting rather tiresome."
Sonic ran after her, and saw that they were in a large room, just as big as the room with the stone snake.
"Cool." Sonic heard a slight echo. "Cool!" Sonic shouted out, listening to his echo reverberate through the room.
The light fluttered up to his face. "The shrine is close. Hurry, there's not a moment to lose."
The light fluttered ahead, and Sonic followed her.
- - - - -
Tails had never been on the Speed Highway and was pretty much lost on the maze of exit ramps, turns and clover shapes. Robotnik had it easier for he was in a hovercraft. Tails used the jet anklets when the road ran straight and went on foot when the building and roads began to close in. This task would've been quite impossible for Tails if he had no means for propulsion.
The night began to close in on them, and Tails was beginning to lose sight of the road. Everything was beginning to look the same.
"Oh, I hope Eggman isn't too close…"
- - - - -
Gamma had made his way through the mountain tunnel, over the dam I mentioned before, and searched the valley from where the river flowed from. He had an internal radar system that was able to point out general locations of other robots. He had found two blips on it and found that they came from E-series robots, according to their signatures.
"E-103 Delta. Location found: the southern edge of Windy Valley," Gamma's computer informed him.
Since the valley was closer, he thought it would be quicker to intercept Delta than go to the other signature which was in a further place, a volcanic region.
It was quite a walk, for the valley was full of rocks and Gamma had to take pains to avoid the river. The valley became a rocky gorge, and Gamma made use of his hoverjet whenever things got hairy.
He found a narrow branch of the gorge which had steep rocky cliffs on both sides, and Gamma's computers picked up the signature of E-103 Delta, and it was close.
"Delta?" Gamma asked into the gorge, and that was followed by footsteps, heavy ones. Delta was coming.
Gamma stepped back so Delta could get out. The blue robot stepped out. "E-102?"
"Yes, I'm Gamma."
"Why are you here? Did Master Robotnik banish you as well?"
"Negative. I came here on my own will. I'm here to rescue you."
"Gamma? You have revolted?"
"Yes. Robotnik is no master of mine if he'll banish my friends on a whim."
"Gamma…I'm sorry, but my internal programming is to terminate all enemies. Revolting make you an enemy. I…have to destroy you. I don't what to, but I have to. I'm sorry."
"Do what you will, Delta."
Delta raised up an arm to blast Gamma, but Gamma wasn't done. He switched to ion cannon, quickly raised up the gun and blasted Delta's head.
Delta head split open like a hot knife does to a stick of butter. Delta collapsed with a bunch of metal banging, and lay still. Gamma looked again and saw that a blue bird flew out of the sizzling head. It fluttered up to Gamma's eyes. The bird looked a lot like the bird that was with Amy, when he released them.
"Delta?" Gamma asked.
"I was," the bird spoke, fluttering. "My name's Azura. Thank you Gamma for saving me from that robot. I'm eternally grateful."
Gamma stood still, as if reminded about something.
Azura spoke again. "Can you get out of there?"
Gamma realized that he too was a bird trapped in this machine, but had no clue how to get out. "Negative."
"Hmm…" Azura fluttered to and fro. "Well, I wish the bird that is Beta was here. He'd probably help you. I hope everything goes well, Gamma. I'll see you back on the island!"
Azura fluttered away, and Gamma started after her, with mixed emotions.
"E-104 Epsilon is closer now. He must be rescued too."
The red robot began walking back down the rocky valley, thinking about the situation he was also in.
The sun is beginning to set. Better hurry.
- - - - -
Tails stood panting on top of a building, holding his side for it was sore and eyes open for any side of a rocket. He had to be quick, for he knew that Eggman was somewhere behind him. He could hear people down below clambering and wondering what is going on.
"Oh, where is that missile?"
Tails' ears suddenly perked up and he heard the thrusters of Robotnik's hovercraft. Tails panicked and took off into the sky, eyes wide and ears perked.
He looked back and saw the human a hundred yards behind.
"Oh no! I hope I can find that missile before him."
Tails activated his jet anklets, and took off, Eggman close behind. In all the history of the Speed Highway, there was never a greater race in 50 years.
The poor fox was sucking in any air that was available, eyes wide in nervousness. He had to find that missile!
- - - - -
Amy Rose stood on the Mystic Ruins Train Station Platform.
"Well, here we are. I wonder where Dr. Eggman put his base…"
Birdy fluttered into the night, and Amy descended the stairs and followed Birdy as best she could. The night was deepening and it was harder to see Birdy. At one point, she lost sight of him completely.
"Birdy! Birdy! Where are you?"
For a moment, there was no answer, but then she heard Birdy chirping ahead and to the left. Amy ran towards it. To her dismay, there was a fairly steep hill, and she was already tired from running.
It took here a few moments, but she got up the hill, panting and glistening in the night.
"Oh, I hope this doesn't ruin my dress."
Birdy began chirping more, and Amy followed the noise. She found that he was fluttering near the mouth of a cave. Sitting there was train tracks, and on those was a mine cart.
"Ooh, a mine! Is Dr. Eggman in there?"
Amy stepped into the cart, and found that there was a straight stick there. Amy snatched it up and decided to use it to push the cart through the tunnel.
"My it's dark in there…"
Birdy chirped as if he didn't care. Amy shrugged and they plunged into the darkness.
- - - - -
Tails had a change of fortune more then halfway through the Speed Highway, for the police had sighted Robotnik and was out, ready to hunt down him and arrest him. Several police cruisers were out causing Robotnik to swerve to and fro to avoid collisions.
Tails looked forwards and saw smoke beside two large skyscrapers in the distance. He activated his jet-anklets and dived towards the continuing plume of smoke.
When he landed, he found the missile, nose buried in the pavement. Military personnel were there, the letters "G.U.N." were emblazed on their uniforms. Tails' sharp eyes saw the missile and saw that there was a symbol for radioactive substances on it. It was just as he had feared.
"Quick! Who hear knows how to disarm it?" Tails shouted out.
Some personnel looked at Tails, but they showed no knowledge on how to disarm a nuclear missile. Then, Tails got an idea.
He ran up to an officer and asked, "Do you have a radar-jammer? Please, quick! Robotnik is coming!"
The officer stared down at Tails, and then quickly shouted out an order. One private produced a gadget that looked like a glorified teacup. Tails snatched it out of the private's hands, said "thank you" over his shoulder and ran to the missile.
He put the jammer on the metal surface, which was still warm from its brief flight, and turned it on. Several military people were telling him to get away, but he wouldn't heed. He hoped that its jamming radius was large, for this missile was as long as three busses.
He didn't have to wait long, for two seconds after he had activated the gadget, the hovercraft dropped down from above. The human looked in disgust at Tails.
Robotnik spoke, voice dripping with venom. "So, you beat me to the missile, you little worm. You'll pay for that…"
Chapter 22: Tails' Moment
The sun had set. The moon rose in the east, and shone down on the earth with her pale beauty. It was within the jungles of the Mystic Ruins. Two figures were walking on the dark paths. One was a girl hedgehog, carrying a large hammer, brandishing it as a weapon. The other was a Flicky bird, fluttering besides her.
It was Amy Rose and "Birdy," and they were on a mission: to find Birdy's parents. Amy figured that they were kept in a base in the Mystic Ruins. They had been searching for three hours, and it was now very dark. The stars were out and looking down on the earth, but Amy couldn't see them because of the tree canopy.
"Oh, Birdy. I wish we could find that base of Eggman's. I'm getting tired…"
Amy may have been exhausted, frustrated and a little grumpy, but she was determined. She had found the pyramid where Sonic had gone in several hours before, but never entered it.
"Oh, I don't think this is his base, Birdy. It's too dark in there, and it smells wet. I don't like it at all."
Birdy flew in a few feet, but flew back out again and looked just as fearful as Amy did when she looked in.
"Oh, look! What's that?"
Amy was pointed past the pyramid, and strangely enough, there were lights, lots of lights like a city skyscraper at night; definitely something that one would not see in a jungle anywhere near a city.
"Hmm, that looks like a city, but out here?"
Amy walked slowly away from the pyramid, followed by Birdy, and towards the lights. It was not a far walk, for when they got out of the ancient courtyard, they found a path that led straight towards the lights. It ran besides a stream. She knew from school that it was normally not wise to drink from a stream, but she couldn't help it; she was terribly thirsty. Birdy dipped his beak into the stream and raised it again to drink.
After their little drink stop, they began walking again, refreshed slightly. Not long after, they came to the edge of a cliff that dropped sharply into more jungle below, almost 1,000 feet down. The creek flowed over the lip of the cliff and poured down, turning into a misty cloud before the reached the bottom. The "city" rose up from the jungle floor below and the apex of the base (which looked like one tower of the World Trade Center at night) was high above even the top of the cliff where Amy stood.
She barely noticed anything that I had shown a little bit ago for a long bridge extended from the city and ended on the cliff, not too far from where Amy was standing. "Hmm, now this is strange. A city in the middle of nowhere?"
Birdy chirped, as if trying to tell Amy something.
"…or a base? Do you think that this is Eggman's base, Birdy?"
"All right. Let's go."
Amy walked up to the door, and it opened automatically. It led to a tunnel-pod, which was like a single car train that went on rails through tunnels. Amy and Birdy entered it, the doors closed behind them, and they were off with a whoosh.
- - - - -
Sonic stood breathless in a short passageway. He had been pretty much running through the large room with a water pool and walls of stone and lapis lazuli. There were flame jets here too and Sonic had to take pains to avoid them.
The room had a good many passages, including a square hole in the roof that would've let in sunlight if it was day, but it wasn't day so the bluish lights of phosphorescent crystals provided light. Sonic felt something strange in this room, as if the entire room had a static charge; he felt it before, but he couldn't remember when or where before.
He began thinking differently about the feelings he had when he found several highlighted panels with glowing pink triangles on it. The light fluttered had fluttered up it, and was waiting for Sonic.
"Uh, excuse me? I can't walk up walls and I don't know anyone who could either," Sonic said crossing his arms.
"You can here. Step on the stones."
Sonic looked at the stones, and at the glowing triangles. He rubbed his chin, and experimentally placed a foot on the stone. He felt a surge of energy flow through him and his vision altered, like one has when he sat on the floor too long and gets up too quickly, disrupting the inner equilibrium, causing the vision to go white in places.
When his vision cleared, he saw that his foot seemed to be firm against the stone as if he was standing on ground. Around the foot was a bluish light, rimming the shoe.
Sonic then put his other foot on the stones. Instead of falling to the ground under normal circumstances, he stood sideways, the stone firm beneath his feet.
Sonic was surprised, and a little thrilled at this wall walkway. He began walking up at it.
"This is just too weird…"
There were many other such pathways in this room, but proved to be a little more hazardous, for stone spikes and flame jets were here and there and Sonic had to keep his eyes open.
One time, he thought about jumping to see if he'd just go back to the wall like he was jumping on the ground, but when he saw the distance down, over 100 feet, he decided against it. He didn't mind the danger; it was the idea of having broken bones when he would hit the bottom made him think twice.
He had to make another Power Ring jump across the room into another passageway, and that led to where he stood now. It was dark, silent and smelled damp. The passage opened into a room with no other exit, save going back.
The room was lonely and only lit by four burning torches. The was two ponds of water, no more shallow then a small backyard swimming pool, and the path ran in between them at the torches. The opposite side of the room was a platform that could be reached by climbing the three steps.
The light beckoned Sonic to the opposite end of the room, and fluttered upwards. Sonic looked up to it, and then saw something on the wall.
Sonic looked at it closely. It was a mosaic of precious stones; quartz, onyx, lapis lazuli and many others. "A mural?"
It was a grim mural. It was of a huge bluish beast which had the head that looked like a moray eel. It seemed to be roaring triumphantly and staring coldly down at a stone city, flooded and utterly destroyed, and all the residents, dead.
Sonic felt a slight but strange feeling of terror for some reason, and began dreading the mural all together.
Suddenly, the light fluttered around in his face, and the whole world turned white in his eyes.
- - - - -
Tails stood in an empty street, and all he could hear was the wind blowing and the occasional paper bag or newspaper fluttering away in the breeze. It was quiet, but not a pleasant quietness, but one of those eerie silences, just before the full fury of the storm. It felt like the moment just before the tornado back in Windy Valley.
The crowds that normally came out stayed inside, and they had a good reason, for Tails' ears perked for he heard another noise; one that made him feel like he swallowed a boulder.
It was the sound of heavy metal footsteps, coming closer. Tails slowly turned, and saw coming straight towards him, the alarming silhouette of a huge robot with four huge legs, curled like a spiders, except not arching so high. It looked a bit like Eggman's hovercraft, but two times larger with the legs. Its size would make an elephant jealous.
The young fox's eyes were wide opened, and he could feel his knees ready to show his fear. Robotnik himself was seated inside the huge walker (christened the Egg Walker) and was glaring down at Tails. The people around were hiding, not wishing to be anywhere within eyesight for fear of being targeted by Dr. Robotnik.
Robotnik spoke, voice low with utter malice of Tails. "Be gone, fox boy, or else I'll make mincemeat of you…"
Tails did not speak at first or even move. A voice kept saying inside his head "I'm not scared. I'm not scared…"
Tails perked up his courage, and glared right back at Eggman, eyes full of determination. "I'm not afraid of you, Eggman. Even if Sonic isn't here; I will not stand by and let you hurt everyone here!"
Robotnik glared daggers at Tails. "Then die like a worm…"
The Egg Walker raised a foot as if to crush Tails under its feet and grind him to dust, but Tails had no such intention; he darted underneath the underbelly of the Walker, and was nearly thrown off his feet when the stomp shook the earth.
Tails' mind was racing for any answer, and eyes open to see a potential weakness in the body of the Egg Walker. He could find none.
He darted away from underneath and hid in an alley, just as Eggman aimed rockets at him. Tails fell breathless in the alley, just as the rocket flew by and nearly obliterated the brick walls there. When he picked himself up, he found that his badge fell off his underbelly fur.
He picked it up, and was about to clip it back on, but he stopped and felt the purplish feather on the bottom, and remembered Tikal's words...
"This is the Rhythm Badge. I gave it to you so you can remember your training."
Tails peered out of the alley, and looked at the huge legs on the Egg Walker. They looked stable enough, but if he hit it hard enough…
Tails breathed in deeply, and walked out of the alley.
Eggman saw him and didn't say a word, but he let the Walker say his intentions for him: it sprayed out huge flames of fire towards Tails. Tails ran out and spun around in his little "attack-dance" which he would call it later, and smacked into the front right leg.
The leg buckled from the intense attack and shot sparks. The Walker collapsed onto that leg, and Tails leapt onto the steel body and smacked some heat-releasing panels on the sides of the machine.
The heat panels suddenly felt hot, and were ready to burst, but Eggman whipped out a fire extinguisher and sprayed them down, cursing the fox.
Tails felt his pride swell; he had found a weakness. He could tell that Eggman was growing furious, and one could not think clearly if anger kept filling his or her mind.
The Egg Walker's front opened up and let loose bombs, which rolled towards Tails. The fox took to the sky, and the bombs exploded, sending shrapnel in every direction, some flying threw glass windows, causing the glass the shatter and the people to take cover.
Tails landed on one of the back legs and slid down it. He at once attacked it with his tails and it collapsed. Tails attacked the heat panels again, and one exploded like a large firecracker.
The Walker backed off, but two legs seemed to work labouringly. Tails coughed from the smoke that came from the bombs. The stitch that was in his side began to smart again, and while Robotnik was recalibrating the Walker, Tails took advantage of the wait by hiding behind a car and rubbing his side, trying to make it go away.
His wait wasn't long, for the Walker blew more flames headed straight for the car of that Tails was nearby. It was a good thing that Tails happened to see the light of the fire in his peripheral vision and hastened away. The car was enveloped in flame and the paint was charred black and peeled off.
Tails kept his distance from the car, for he knew that if a car is exposed to too much fire, the oil and fuels inside would ignite and blow up inside, causing danger to anything and anyone near it.
The Egg Walker stomped towards him, but stumbled every step or two due to the malfunctioning legs. Tails figured that if another leg went down, it would cause the Walker to fall and never rise, for the sheer weight of three legs should pin it down. Then, he could go for the heat panels on the other side.
He began to run, then propelled himself forward with his spinning tails to avoid more rockets that had launched. He went for the other leg on the front, the left one, and smacked it with his dance. The leg buckled, he jumped up and aimed a swift kick at the two heat panels on the left side. It worked perfectly. The steel heels of the jet-anklets provided some extra power and one of the heat panels exploded, the other one ready to follow.
Tails ran for his life and dove into the alleyway where he had hid before, and he had a good reason; Robotnik ejected his craft and hovered high up and a few seconds later, the whole craft exploded with a bright orange fire, and the bang that rang out seemed to shake the entire earth, and Tails was thrown off his feet, and lay motionless. He lay there for a while and listened to multiple explosions like jumping jack firecrackers that kept erupting from the inner charred hull of the former Walker.
When the explosions ceased, Tails got up and came out. He found the charred wreckage of the Egg Walker, two legs separated from it. He heard the jets of Eggman's hovercraft above, and he looked up.
"You may have beaten me this time, fox, but the next time we meet, you won't be so lucky…" Robotnik said in a low voice, full of hatred, and hovered away.
Tails breathed a sigh of relief, and suddenly heard applause all around him. He looked around and saw that he was surrounded by the crowds that were hiding, but came out when Tails became victorious.
Then, he realized something. "Hey, I did it without Sonic's help!"
Several news reporters suddenly ran up and Tails' eyes were attacked by rapid flashes of cameras all around.
Tails never been in the spotlight before, and felt a little nervous, but didn't mind too much. Several reporters asked several questions, and Tails was soon surrounded by various microphones bearing the company and news names.
It was now 1 AM and Tails was getting bushed from all the events of the day. He went from flying to find Sonic to beating Eggman and the Egg Walker. He was given a free taxi ride back to Station Square and to Sunset Resort.
He went to bed, thrilled at himself for beating Eggman single-handedly.
"Oh, I can hardly wait to tell Sonic about it…I hope he's all right…"
When Tails' head hit the cover, he went to sleep instantly, dreaming about him and Sonic running together, laughing and talking about both of them beating Eggman.
- - - - -
"What's this place?"
Sonic was standing on a hillside at night, but instead of the typical darkness, there was a dull red light ahead, and he could hear the rumbling and crackling of fire, burning something. He could smell the smoke and he could tell that it was not too far away.
"Where am I?" Sonic began walking, and found a stone bridge that crossed over a river. "This is just too weird."
The wind ruffled his spines, and it chilled him, not only from cold but it also had a feeling of death to it.
He ran up the hill, growing fearful although he never knew why, but when he reached the top, he stood still, appalled at the scene:
In front lay a shrine, ablaze with fire. The water in the moats around it appeared as black as oil. Seven great pillars that were surrounding the shrine were broken in half and dashed to the ground, like when a child does to twigs.
As he drew nearer, he saw something that nearly broke his heart. Several things lay dead at his feet, and he knew them well. They were chao, the very creatures that he loved to be with back in Station Square, and here they were, dead.
He picked one up, and found that it was speared through the heart. The blood had already congealed and ran like water from the wound. No one else knew of it, but he shed tears of seeing such small creatures brutally murdered.
"Why? Of all things, why these chao?"
His ears perked and he looked up, eyes red from sadness. He heard that he was not alone with grief for the dead chao. It sounded like two voices, both crying. One was high-pitched, and the other was still high-pitched but no as much as the first one.
His eyes fell on a young Echidna-girl, crying on the steps on the shrine. She was holding a wounded and crying chao (it somehow survived the mass killing.)
The girl looked up into Sonic's eyes, her eyes and expression mirrored into Sonic's face as well. She seemed unable to speak, and Sonic found that she too had been wounded; her head had an ugly gash across the forehead.
"Why did this have to happen?" the young girl said, tearing over again, stroking the sad chao's head.
Sonic could say nothing, but sat down on the steps beside her.
"What happened?" Sonic asked, voice cracking.
"I'm Tikal…" the girl began. "…and my father was a chieftain of my tribe. He grew greedy about the Emeralds housed here. I tried to convince him to not come here, but I failed. He attacked tonight, killed the chao, and he came out and…oh, father!" Tikal broke down and cried hard.
Sonic laid a hand on her shoulder. Suddenly, he heard a loud, mournful roar in the distance. Sonic's blood tingled; he recognized that roar…
"I'm sorry…" Sonic said.
"I need to stop him." Tikal stood up, took up the chao and ran up the stairs.
"Hey, wait!" Sonic said, jumping up a half-second later and running up after her.
It was stifling hot up there, and Sonic could scarce breathe in it. There, he found Tikal and the chao standing in front of a large, green Emerald as big as a boulder.
Sonic's eyes grew wide; he knew what this was.
"The Master Emerald?" Sonic breathed, and blinked.
When his eyes opened, he found that he was standing in a dark jungle, and he could hear crickets chirping. The sun had set quite a while ago. He looked around, confused, and saw that he was standing in front of the pyramid, the snake-head entrance raised above him.
"What just happened? Was it all a dream? No, I was in that pyramid. How could I have gotten out?"
Suddenly, he heard something flying overhead. It didn't sound like the flapping of wings like a bird would have, but a steady whirring sound, like jet engines. Sonic looked up and saw the glow of three jet trails flying overhead. He recognized that trail anywhere.
"Eggman!" Sonic blurted out, and gave chase, head upwards to follow the smoke despite the darkness and running to get out of the pyramid courtyard.
Robotnik appeared not to notice Sonic, for it was dark and the color blue blends in well with darkness at night, and flew into the distance where there were many lights.
Sonic got out of the courtyard, and saw the strangest sight in the world. It was a tall building ablaze with lights, rocketing over the jungle valley below. Sonic saw that Eggman was flying straight towards it.
"Aha! His base! Now I'll get him good!"
Chapter 23: Final Egg
Gamma was stumbling through a rocky place, what his radar told him was the Red Mountain and Fire Lake Wildernesses. It may have been pitch black with all the crags and the lack of sunlight at that time, but because of active lava flows, it region in places were lit with a dull red glow. Gamma detected temperature that rose way over 1500 degrees, and avoided such places at all costs.
He then picked up more metal clanging in the distance, and he followed it. The outside temperature rose to over 100 degrees and he had some vague recollection that he was getting closer to a lava pool.
The temperature was slowly rising, and Gamma feared to go much closer. Then he picked up readings of a signature of E-104 Epsilon. He looked to see if his visual sensors could pick it up. They did, and saw the orange and black silhouette of Epsilon, standing dangerously close to a lava pool.
"E-104 Epsilon! Do not venture any closer; you will terminate yourself!"
Epsilon stared at Gamma, and Gamma, despite the fact that he was supposed to be an emotionless robot, felt that the stare was not a friendly one.
"Who are you…?" Epsilon droned.
"I am E-102 Gamma. Do you not have that information logged in your memory banks, E-104?
"You are the one who had me banished because of that frog…" Epsilon sounded angry.
"That was Robotnik's doing; he banished you as he did to E-103 Delta and E-105 Zeta. I have come to rescue you."
"Why? To humiliate me further with your 'efficiency?'"
Gamma was taken aback at Epsilon's reactions. Normally one would be thankful to be rescued from such an environment and predicament.
"I have nothing else to live for, E-102, that is why I'm positioned at this magma pool.
Gamma was taking this in, and then droned out, "You are self-destructing. You must not, Epsilon." Gamma was reminded of Delta after what happened when he was destroyed. You contain an avian creature inside you, and it will die with you if you continue in self-destruction."
Epsilon turned away and towards the pool. "He is me then, if I want to die, he wants to die."
Gamma thought quickly, and he then saw Epsilon's foot raised to step into the lava pool. Gamma raised his gun arm and shot several rounds of ion blasts which pierced the hull through and utterly destroyed the head. Gamma rushed forward and grabbed Epsilon's arm to keep him from falling in by accident.
The holey metal body of Epsilon fell backwards to the ground, and lay still. Then, a red-orange bird fluttered out of where the head was and hovered towards Gamma.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Gamma. I shouldn't have tried to commit suicide. That was the robot's doing. I tried to stop it, but it kept going. I hope you can forgive me…"
Gamma stared at the bird that was Epsilon. "I do not hold it against you. You have been rescued."
"My name is Sirius. I hope to see you again, Gamma."
Sirius the Flicky flew off into the night sky and Gamma droned after the bird. "I hope we meet again…Sirius."
Gamma took a long look after Sirius, and he too left.
He stopped once he got out of the volcanic wilderness and consulted data about what was left to do.
"E-103 Delta: rescued. E-104 Epsilon: rescued. E-101 Beta: location unknown. E-105 Zeta: location unknown."
Gamma stood in the night thinking about where Robotnik would teleport Zeta to and where Beta would go after Mecha-Bot 2 was done with him.
"Perhaps, on the Egg Carrier…"
It would take all night to get to the Egg Carrier, but he would try. Power read outs were at 70. He'll recharge at the Egg Carrier when he got there.
- - - - -
Amy sat in a room and listened to the machinery working behind her in a round glass container that went from below the floor through the ceiling above. She was hopelessly lost.
They had been in that place for a long time, and she felt that it was past midnight. She was exhausted, and you would be too if you had a day like hers: captured by a robot, running from the same on later and got off a large battleship, only to try to find a bird's family in less then 24 hours.
"Oh, I didn't see them anywhere, Birdy. Did you see you family?"
Birdy chirped, and lowered his head.
"Oh, I wish we could find them. I do not like this place."
"And why would you?"
Amy jumped when that voice spoke; she knew that voice all too well. That low, metallic-overtone with the voice that gave her nightmares ever since they first met. It was Metal-Sonic.
Amy brandished her hammer and looked around wildly. "I have a weapon, Mecha, and I'm not afraid to use it."
"Do you honestly think that I would be intimidated by a large hammer, considering that I have the superior weapons arsenal? I could kill you without even moving from my spot."
Amy swallowed hard audibly, and Birdy hid behind Amy's back. "Oh, I wish Sonic was here…" she thought at first, but then remembered why she was here in the first place. Not only for helping the poor Birdy, but to prove to herself that she could do things herself. What better way then to stand up to Metal-Sonic, her worst nightmare?
Amy stood up, but he still felt scared. "Mecha? I'm not afraid of you. I'm here to find Birdy's parents, and you are not going to stop me."
"I have the choice to kill you in two ways: swift and painless or slow and full of agony. The choice for the moment is yours, Amy Rose. There is no Sonic here to save you now…"
"I won't go down without fighting, Mecha." Amy raised her hammer ready for anything that Mecha would do.
"Then die, like you have never been born…"
She heard the whoosh of Mecha's engine and knew that he was coming. Amy hoped that she would be brave and stood with her hammer raised high to make a swing like a major league hitter bracing for a fastball.
Amy closed her eyes and waited for Mecha's engine screeching come close enough. Birdy squeaked in fear, and Amy swung.
There was a loud metallic clang! Amy's tin hammer met hard steel; her arms shook from the force of the hit, and when she opened her eyes, she saw that Metal-Sonic was smacked on the side of the head and his flight path had been seriously skewed and he smacked into a wall. He rose up, and his eyes glowed in anger and hatred.
"You're going to wish that you never did that, Rose…"
Amy's pride swelled at her hit. "I wish I'd done it sooner, robot Sonic."
That was the worst insult that was ever given Metal-Sonic and he pounced towards Amy claws extended, ready to tear at Amy's flesh.
Amy ducked and Metal-Sonic soared over head. Amy decided to put some distance between her and Mecha.
She ran for a door, just as Metal-Sonic turned around and charged again. She flung herself in and the door slid shut behind her. She could hear Metal-Sonic snarling behind the door, which is not a pleasant thing to hear considering the metallic overtone.
Then she heard banging and jumped when she saw Mecha's claws pierce through the door, trying to tear a hole into the steel door. Amy instinctively slammed the hammer onto Metal-Sonic's fingers.
The claws withdrew and Mecha sounded furious (for having a bio-nanite brain as the last upgrade enables the reactions that would happen if such injuries were obtained. When Amy brought down the hammer on the claws, Metal-Sonic withdrew them like they were in pain, but he didn't feel it being a robot still; the natural reaction was there though: remove the claws before more damage is obtained.)
Amy ran off again panting down the passage, expecting Metal-Sonic to fly after her after ripping apart the door. The two young ones kept running, even when the sounds of Metal-Sonic were long gone.
She ran through a door, and when the door shut behind her, she leaned against it and panted.
"Whew, that was too close, Birdy."
Birdy sat down on a metal bar nearby and was trying to relax his beating heart; he appeared to be in a flutter (would you blame him?)
Suddenly, someone else appeared, and she looked to see who it was, and quickly hid herself again. It was Dr. Robotnik himself.
He was stalking by, and appeared not to notice Amy, and for this she was thankful; if Robotnik ever caught of glimpse of Amy or the bird, they'd both be fodder for the roboticizer.
Thankfully, Robotnik was fuming and too concentrated on nursing his injured pride to even bother to look around. Amy could hear him mumbling and grumbling about something, but could only make out a few words, like "Tails," "pay" and "Chaos," but never thought more of it.
Once Robotnik was safely away, Amy got up and Birdy shook his feathers, trying to calm down. She waited until it was quiet, save for the rumble of machinery deeper in the halls, to move.
"I wonder where Eggman put your parents, Birdy; do you have any idea?"
Birdy chirped, but Amy didn't think he knew either. Then, something clicked in her mind. When she and Birdy first met, it was in Station Square yesterday…when the Egg Carrier flew over.
Amy gasped at this sudden revelation. "You escaped from the Egg Carrier! And that's where your parents must be."
Birdy lifted his head, and his eyes appeared to be glimmering with hope.
"C'mon, Birdy, let's go!"
It wasn't too hard to find the main entrance again, for she had hid in the main room, where the bridge began. She got to the door and was about to open it, when the unthinkable happened.
The door opened once again and the last person that Amy thought she would see that night came strolling in, shoes a little wet and muddy and spines a little ragged. It was Sonic the Hedgehog.
The reaction on both side changed greatly: Amy was filled with joy and excitement to be with Sonic, while Sonic was fuming that Amy would stoop so low as to sneak into Eggman's base.
"Sonic!" Amy squealed in delight.
"Amy! What the fark are you doing here in all places?" Sonic pretty much yelled, his spines bristling. "You shouldn't be here! Eggman or Metal-Sonic will find you here!"
Amy was initially shocked at Sonic's rage. "But…but…I was…"
"You didn't! Now go home, Amy!" Sonic could imagine that his eyes were rimmed with red.
Sonic stormed off down the hall, his footsteps echoing down the hall. Amy felt like breaking down and crying on the spot, but some strange instinct in her mind was nagging at her that Sonic was trying to keep Amy safe, and that her prying around was causing much more problems for him.
Amy walked slowly through the bridge and back into the jungle, which was now very dark and all she could hear was night insects chirping through the night.
"Why am I always messing things up? I wish I could do something by myself…" Amy blurted out into the relative peace of the jungle.
Amy pouted all the way back to the train station, and Birdy roosted on her hair ribbon, inspecting his wings, and preening different feathers.
Chapter 24: A Game of Tag
It was dark when Knuckles got back to the Island, but he didn't give a darn, for he was about to complete a big task that was handed to him: fixing the Master Emerald.
He had a communicator with him when he went looking for the Egg Carrier, and had contacted the Chaotix back at the Marble Gardens that he found the last two shards.
Knuckles looked as calm as a fair summer day, but inside, he was as ecstatic as a sea otter. Just a few more steps from the old shrine, and the Master Emerald would be healed, and the Island restored.
He reached the steps. Twenty-five steps…fifteen steps…five…he was at the top, and the green glow of the Emerald made his red flesh appear dark, and his eyes sparkled with the light.
The Chaotix were waiting there already, like a welcoming procession: Vector and Charmy on the left side; Espio and Mighty on the right.
The green light created a strange, but fabulous scene as Knuckles stepped up to the Master Emerald, and took out the last two shards, and fitted them into their appropriate slots.
The Master Emerald suddenly flared, causing the Chaotix to step back and try to keep their optical sensors from blowing up, but Knuckles stared with a hypnotized awe, unaware that he couldn't even see anything else besides the light. The light still continued to glow; so bright it became that one could see it over the ocean miles away.
Sailors over the sea saw the green light and thought it was a new lighthouse. People working late in Sapphire City saw the glow and a story of aliens hit the tabloids. Froggy back in the Mystic Ruins saw the glow and hid from it, thinking of a second Chaos.
Back on the Floating Island, the trees in the Gardens stirred, the sand shifted in ruins of Sandopolis, people in Echidnaopolis woke with a start and groped for lights, babies cried, swarms of insects lifted from the swamps in Mushroom Hill, the ground rumbled in Lava Reef, and the Super Emeralds shimmered in the darkness of Hidden Palace in satisfaction and relief.
The Emerald dimmed slightly, and then the whole Island shook. Knuckles felt the same sensation of the earth shaking and the sense of vertical motion three days ago, but this sensation was much more desirable, for the Floating Island, was now living up to its name.
Five hundred feet…one thousand feet…fifteen hundred…two thousand…and now at over 2,500 feet, the Island stopped. The Emerald dimmed slightly once again on the shrine, and then flared back to its normal default glow.
There was an awkward silence for a full ten seconds, and then the Chaotix whooped like rookie soldiers on their first battle. Knuckles smiled in the green light, chuckling at the cheering Chaotix. He felt that his inner joy was being expressed outwardly by his friends.
Now the next task was to move the Emerald back into Hidden Palace. Knuckles was unsuccessfully trying to hide a smile at the very idea of telling the now ecstatic Chaotix that the four days was way past up and that they needed to move the Emerald back to Hidden Palace and back to the relative safety.
He wondered if he was cruel enough to share the present task at first; he glanced at the Chaotix once more.
"Uh guys…?" Knuckles started.
The Chaotix stopped and were all ears to Knuckles.
The Echidna crossed his arms. "You do know what I said about the Master Emerald? It's been almost a week since we first moved the Emerald from the Palace, and it's time to put it back."
Needless to say, there was a collective groan among the Chaotix. Knuckles felt a little sorry about the task with the relocation of the Master Emerald, but there was a twinge of amusement in his mind.
- - - - -
"What the heck?"
Sonic came to the door where Metal-Sonic tried to reach Amy, but only wound up getting his fingers smashed. Sonic of course was not given this information, so he was left wondering. All the same, it made him more alert about what was lurking in this base.
He came to a long hall, where large reddish lasers whipped across the floor, threatening to eat away Sonic's feet if he stood in those places too long. Sonic took pains to avoid the lasers at all costs.
Then there was another long hall and construction claws the size of houses kept slamming down onto the hall floor, and they seemed to be deliberately aimed at him. Sonic ducked, side-stepped and all out ran to get out of that hall.
rating those claws?" Sonic wondered out loud, leaning against the wall.
- - - - -
Deep in the base, peering at several camera screens, and if he was capable, would be smiling in a cruel pleasure. His red eyes reflected back and showed the figure of Metal-Sonic, watching Sonic dodge while Metal-Sonic was toying with the obstacles that the hedgehog was trying to avoid without losing any flesh.
The door opened and the large figure of Dr. Robotnik walked in and stared at Mecha, a grouchy look dominating his face.
"Well, Mecha, I see you're keeping busy."
Mecha didn't answer, neither move.
"What makes you so amused?"
Mecha pointed to a screen, thinking answering was gratuitous.
Robotnik glanced at the screen, looked away, blanched and looked again. Then, his displeasure turned into a look that would've mirrored Mecha's.
"So, Sonic has infiltrated my base…"
Metal-Sonic's hand twitched at the name, "Sonic," but Robotnik did not appear to notice.
"…the perfect opportunity to test out my newest creation. Excellent…" Robotnik rubbed his hands. Mecha hoped that his metallic frame wasn't heating to show his anger.
Robotnik strode out the door. The Mecha-Bot stood there, and felt like tearing apart the hedgehog personally.
Maybe he could…why should Dr. Robotnik have amusement in destroying the hedgehog? Mecha processed. If I'm fast enough, I'll disembowel that hedgehog first, and prove myself as the original.
Metal-Sonic didn't give it a second thought, and zoomed out the door before once could say "Jack Robinson," Mecha was gone and out of hearing range.
- - - - -
"I wonder how deep this is…"
Sonic was standing on a platform over what Sonic thought was a glass pit, and the floor dropped down into darkness. He looked up and saw large machinery working above, and had a thought about it falling down on him if he started to cross it.
There was another door on the opposite end, and Sonic saw that the only way was to "hop rocks" per se, jumping from floating platform to platform. He did so, nervously glancing upwards to see what the gears and machinery above would do.
They did nothing, but Sonic still had an uneasy feeling that he was being followed.
The next room, interestingly enough, was like the last one, but instead of a deep precipice, there were gears, pistons and more, moving and working just below the floor level. There appeared to be no ceiling. It'd be perfect for an ambush.
He wondered in he could use the gears and pistons to get across; the danger was standing on one too long in the wrong place, for where the gears met, Sonic could have his ankle crushed if he stood wrong.
He decided to give it one try, and he was on a turning gear that lay horizontally, when he heard a whoosh of an engine. Eyes widening, he peered towards the doorway, and in the darkness of the hallway, only one thing Sonic saw immediately: two, glowing eyes, red like blood.
"Hello, hedgehog. I'm surprised to find you among machinery. I thought Miles was the one who was attracted to machinery."
Sonic knew that this was the worst place among others to confront Metal-Sonic, but he'd been in worse, he told himself. "Well, I can always pull a first."
Metal-Sonic jetted out into plain view, but instead of attacking Sonic directly, he leapt onto a moving gear, adjacent to Sonic's and kept walking along it so as not to fall off. Sonic could tell that the robot had some extensive upgrades last time they met, on Little Planet, the smaller of Möbius' two moons.
Mecha's arms were bigger, and his claws were too. It appeared that his hull was upgraded and was stronger, but in the joints was a cartilage-like substance which gave any Mecha-Bot more flexibility. The arms looked like they contained a nice bunch of weapons.
"Nice get up, Mecha. Going to a ball?"
All this time, a piston lever was swinging back and forth between Mecha and Sonic. The robot's eyes brightened in a glare. "I wouldn't be so glib if you knew my capabilities, hedgehog."
"Uh, hello, Mr. Mecha-Bot, this hedgehog has a name."
The tips of Mecha's claws withdrew and became laser pistols. He shot laser bursts with such a rapid fire that Sonic had just barely have time to duck and roll to the side. The gear surface was scorched by the laser bursts, and Mecha seemed to enjoy this destruction.
When the high-pitched percussions of Mecha's guns subsided, Sonic peered at the Mecha-Bot staring from above.
"Imitating Silver Sonic now, huh, Mecha?"
"Mecha-Bot 1 is obsolete! He didn't even have a voice processor," Mecha snarled.
"Oh, and you're NOT obsolete?"
Mecha's eyes brightened several candelas and he made a yell that sounded horrible with the metallic overtone. When the piston swung by his position again, it seemed to wisp him away, like a towel wipes away a picture from a dry-erase board.
Sonic's eyes widened at Mecha's sudden disappearance, then a metal-fist slapped him across the face and sent Sonic off his feet and near the edge of the gear. A few feet away, Metal-Sonic stood standing, staring at Sonic, eyes full of malice.
Sonic leapt up, and rubbed the side of his face, and found that it was bleeding from Mecha's claws. "Nice trick, Mecha. Care to teach me?" It hurt to smile, for it wrinkled up the cuts, and the movement caused them to smart.
"I've made you spill your life-sustaining cardiovascular fluid." Mecha revealed his blood-stained claws. "I wouldn't speak so flippantly, hedgehog."
"This 'hedgehog,' no matter what upgrades you can get, bucket-brain, can still whip your tail."
Sonic went into a stationary spin-dash, and the heels of his shoes lit up. Sonic's blur fur began to emit a glow; Mecha began to feel an inkling that he didn't want to be in the way when Sonic attacked.
Metal-Sonic dodged to the side, just as Sonic leapt forward with a high-pitched whoosh that left a trail of blue light for a split-second. Sonic may have not hit Mecha, but the direction of his spin-dash sent him through the door on the opposite side, and he kept rolling down it.
Sonic heard Mecha snarl and curse, then he heard the jet engine of Mecha's coming after him. Sonic uncurled and set down the curving, downward sloping hall at a run, looking over his shoulder, expecting to see Mecha's red eyes, shining through the darkness.
Suddenly, the floor ended into yet another pit, where darkness reigned below. Sonic tried to break to a stop, but he couldn't for he was going too fast; he flew out and smacked into a support beam.
It hurt horribly, and Sonic knew that it would hurt worse later. It felt like a sledgehammer was thrown at his ribs. The hedgehog was hanging from his fingertips, but he managed to throw himself up and he lay on the support beam, gasping and clutching his ribs. They didn't feel broken, but he thought he could count them by feeling the pain.
All this takes a moment to say, but Sonic only had a half-a-second after he swung himself up, for Mecha also flew through, but his momentum was stronger, and he smacked into the opposite wall, ricocheted off and landed on the beam (which was no wider then four inches) with a metal clang, and he got himself up, shaking as the internal repairs were dealing with the damage inside.
Sonic slowly got up, nearly doubled over, and faced Mecha.
"Hi, Mecha, couldn't stand me leaving you so soon?"
"All I have to do, hedgehog is to move over there and push you off, and you'd be dead within three seconds."
"Ooh, I'm scared. I think I wet myself in terror," Sonic clutched his heart as if it stopped, but was just hamming it up.
Mecha was not amused, and aimed a laser at Sonic's feet and fired. Sonic bounced back a few feet, and nearly lost his balance.
"How does it feel to not have the upper hand, hedgehog?"
"Like heck you do, Mecha." Sonic pulled up the cuff on his glove, and pulled out a glowing ring. Mecha knew instantly what it was.
"I think I have the upper hand." Sonic smiled, and slipped on the Power Ring.
Mecha felt the air as if it was charged with electricity, and he saw Sonic glowing a bluish color in the darkness, and a grin on his face.
"See you in the funny papers, Mecha."
With that, he jumped, and dove into the darkness below, like a falcon after its prey.
Mecha glared downward, seeing Sonic plummet, then suddenly turn and disappeared. Curses! Sonic found another way out!
He opened the connection between his computer and Robotnik's communicator. "Doctor, I've lost the hedgehog; I believe that he's heading towards the core of the base."
"Perfect. That's a good place to test out my newest creation. Thank you for your information, Mecha-Bot 2. I will proceed."
Mecha signed out, and decided to see how his "master" would fight the hedgehog. He had seen the new attack robot; it had the same technology that he bore: metal strength, but joint flexibility. Sonic had a hard enough time fighting him, he thought. Something the size of a bus would be harder yet.
It would be a pleasure to see Sonic die, but he had rather have it done by his own hand, not someone else's.
Mecha dove into the pit, turning on his night-vision so he could see the doorway, and darted down the doorway again.
Chapter 25: Egg Viper
Knuckles sat on the blue marble floor of the Hidden Palace, staring at the Master Emerald, glad that it was back to normal. He was tired of course, for moving a two-ton rock that was the size of a car was rather difficult, but his joy outweighed his fatigue for now.
With him were the six Chaos Emeralds that he got from Chaos 6 after beating the monster. He brought them back with the shards, but didn't have any clue what to do with them now that they were here. He reached into the bag and just pulled a random one out, and admired its glow (it happened to be the white one).
The Echidna stood, tapping the Emerald against his chin in thought, and then thought about the old shrine he saw in two of his three visions. Maybe he would just leave them with their proper Super Emeralds…just for heck.
He withdrew the Emeralds and put them with their matching Super. He hesitated with the red one, but since it was in the presence of the Master Emerald, it was cooler, but still a little warm.
After placing all of them, he looked at the Dark Blue Super Emerald, and shrugged. "Haven't got one for you. Maybe I'll go looking for it later."
The Echidna stalked towards the teleporter and beamed out of there, unaware that the Chaos Emerald were doing something, sitting at the bases of the Super pedestals.
- - - - -
Sonic stood on a bridge, made of floating platforms. There was a bridge of the same build over twenty-five feet away. Below was a chasm, enveloped with a misty darkness. He began to get miffed at all the chasms he encountered.
He had blundered into this room earlier, and just sat there. He couldn't see anyway out, save for a ladder that led up towards a hatch, but it was closed and locked.
"Hey, Eggman! I'm waiting!" Sonic called out.
He sat there for a good five minutes, listening to the rumbling of machinery through the walls. Then, he heard another noise: it sounded like a low roar of a large craft, coming closer.
Then, out from the chasm, a large red robot flew upwards. Sonic grimaced at the monstrosity: it appeared to have a large snout, and two large yellow eyes. On either side of the "head," were two spinning wheels with spikes protruding from the circumference. Sprouting from the head was a segmented body, each embedded with a large four-foot spike. In between each spike was a large laser blaster.
It looked a bit like a snake. Sure enough, the words "Egg Viper" were emblazoned on the head, above the "eyes."
The snout withdrew, which showed a glass covering, which opened afterwards, and showed the face of Dr. Robotnik.
"Hello, Sonic. I'm surprised you made it this far. I was sure you got lost in the jungles."
"Ha, Eggman. I carry a compass in my head, unlike a certain human I know."
Robotnik glared daggers at Sonic. "You have yet to see the power of this battle-mech. I hope you've said your prayers, Sonic." The human laughed, and the snout closed over him.
The Egg Viper flipped backwards like a trained dolphin, and disappeared from Sonic's view. Sonic looked from side to side and prepared to dart away.
The Viper leapt up, and the laser blaster fired at Sonic. Sonic spin-dashed away, and was suddenly reminded that his chest hurt still from the support beam. The mech fired again, leaping the opposite direction, firing several laser-bolts at a time. Sonic danced out of the way, seeing the laser burns on the platforms.
The Egg Viper reared up, and the snot slid away, the cockpit now exposed. "Aw, does the little hedgehog not enjoying his playtime?" Robotnik mocked.
"Hardly, Eggman. I'm enjoying every minute of it." Sonic curled into a ball and smacked into the cockpit.
Robotnik yelped, cursed and withdrew deeper into the Viper. The mech dove backwards, and Sonic began jogging to avoid the inevitable laser blasts that would follow.
The lasers fired every time it leaped into view. Sonic could smell the burnt paint that they left. This time, instead of rearing up right at Sonic's side; it rose, backed up and its tail rose up.
The cockpit opened again, and Robotnik spoke, "Ha ha! See if you can make it from there, Sonic!"
Sonic saw that the underside of the tail was several glowing circles, and it looked like they would let out a huge amount of energy, like a lightning bolt. The Egg Viper's visage unfolded to reveal three huge energy panels that also would let out a pulse of energy. The panels started to glow, from green to a bright blue.
Sonic realized that those would fry him if he just stood there, so he leapt onto the tail, hopped from segment to segment and dashed into one of the now bright blue panels.
The world flashed red and the Egg Viper dove to the side. Sonic was thrown from the explosion onto the other bridge that was over the chasm. Sonic stood, coughing at the smoke and wondering how he didn't catch fire.
Unbeknown to either fighter, Metal-Sonic was watching from the now-open hatch and watched the fighters with grim amusement. By the way they're fighting, it seemed impossible for either to survive.
Sonic shook the smoke off his fur and just in time, for the Egg Viper was repeating its laser barrage.
Then Robotnik changed tactics. Instead of appearing on the long sides of the bridge, it reared up like a sea serpent out of the ocean on the end of the bridge. Its front laser on the snout began firing repeatedly down the bridge, the mech advancing towards Sonic all the while.
Sonic spin-dashed below the mech, just nanoseconds after a laser blast hit the area he was standing on. He could count every bolt on the underside as he looked up.
Then, when it reached the end, the Egg Viper turned about, and the snout opened, revealing the three energy panels again, but one was dead. Then, the two spinning wheels on the sides came off and began spinning rapidly. They lay horizontally, in front of the mech.
"I hope you're quick on your feet, Sonic. Nobody can avoid these razors." Robotnik laughed menacingly.
Then, the first of the two flew forward at a great speed. Sonic's first impulse was to jump, and he complied with it. He jumped, but a little soon. Instead of passing underneath it, he landed on top of it. The razor flew back and brought Sonic back to it.
He smashed the second panel which threw him off and onto the front of the mech. Robotnik cursed and retreated in the Viper.
The Egg Viper flew over the bridge and dove into the darkness below. Sonic got up, and found that his spines on the end were singed from the fire that the damaged panels shot out.
He then saw the mech rear up on the edge of the other bridge, and displayed the second use for the razors. While spinning rapidly, it smashed into the panels of the bridge, destroying them, leaving the bridge that Sonic was standing on.
"Oh, boy. I've done it now," Sonic thought with a touch of humor.
Then the Egg Viper dove below the surface, and then the Egg Viper broke through the end of the remaining bridge, causing the bridge to shake and Sonic held out his arms to balance himself.
The cockpit came out again, and Robotnik sneered. "It's no use, Sonic, give up."
"Like heck I will, Eggman!"
The razor's shot again, then Robotnik realized his mistake, but before he could react, Sonic had already leapt on, and came back and hit the last glowing panel.
The whole mech was enveloped in flames! Sonic leapt clear as the segments of the tail blew off, sending the spines, armor in different directions, sometimes embedding into the bridge.
The Egg Viper (what was left of it, which was the head) fluttered to and fro, struggling to stay in the air, spinning as it went.
Sonic shielded his eyes for the whole room was lit with red as the explosions and fire inside the head flashed; it wouldn't be long now. He watched in grim amusement, suddenly, the same light that guided him through the pyramid fluttered by again, and Sonic heard it speak, earnestly.
"Watch out! He's up to something!"
Sonic stared distracted as the light fluttered by again. "What? What do you--"
Suddenly, Sonic glimpsed the flaming head of the Egg Viper dive…towards Sonic. Even with the mech almost destroyed, Robotnik still had a sense to take Sonic with it.
Sonic leaped aside, throwing himself as far as he could, and the flaming head crashed through the bridge and into the chasm below. Then, the Egg Viper's head exploded with a loud bang, stronger then a standard bomb detonation and a pillar of fire shout out of the pit, and nearly blinded Sonic.
The light from the inferno was so strong that he didn't notice Metal-Sonic fly down, to rescue Robotnik. He had received a transmission of distress and he had to comply, much to his disappointment.
Sonic looked up and saw the light flutter by again. "Come, I'll take you back to the Ruins."
The light spun around Sonic and they both vanished in a twinkle of light.
- - - - -
Several hours later, the next morning…
Amy Rose was standing, reading through the glass of a newspaper stand. The headlines read thus: "Möbian Defeats Robotnik! Young Miles Prower, a two-tailed fox, at 1 AM defeated the evil genius Dr. Robotnik, responsible for the overthrow of the northern city of Mobitropolis. The fox also stopped the same doctor by beating Robotnik to a nuclear missile that had been launched from Sapphire Bay and landed in the business district of Sapphire City…"
"Tails beat Eggman?" Amy exclaimed; Birdy perched on her ribbon.
Amy read the rest of the article, and read that they were planning a hero ceremony for Tails at City Hall next week.
"Well, I'm glad for him. I wonder where Sonic is…"
Birdy made a look as if thinking if Sonic was the only thing that Amy thought about, but Amy didn't notice.
Then, her eyes came to a sub-column dealing with an environmental hazard in the bay, for a great airship crashed into the bay during the evening. It was floating in the bay, and the environmentalists were making mountains out of molehills about probable oil pollution and what not. It was identified as the same ship that flew over the city the day before.
"Hey, that's the Egg Carrier! Birdy! That's where your parents must be!"
Birdy looked up, a look of joy suddenly flooding over his face.
"C'mon! Let's go find a boat and go over there!"
- - - - -
E-102 Gamma was desperate. He had already gotten to the Egg Carrier wreckage, but realized that his fusion core was beginning to lose power. Power levels were at 30. He better use as little energy as possible while trying to find Beta and Zeta.
He logged onto the Egg Carrier mainframe and consulted it for signatures of either E-105 Zeta or E-101 Beta. Both were present.
The coordinates proved to be more difficult to obtain, for the system was sluggish from damage, and only one set was coming through clearly. The other set kept changing, as if either Beta or Zeta wouldn't stand still.
He obtained the steady coordinates and decided to come back later to obtain the other coordinates.
He headed towards the Hot Shelter, and proceeded to enter it. This was hard on Gamma, for he was a robot, and most robots aren't waterproof. Because of the crash, several fish tanks broke and there were lots of fish dead in it, except in the parts deep enough.
Gamma was hard-pressed to avoid water, and his hoverjet proved useful. The robot made a detour and ended up in the bowels of the Egg Carrier; lots of machinery was running.
Strange, Gamma reasoned that because of the salt water, the machinery would've shorted out long ago. This region must be insulated, he reasoned.
Gamma avoided swinging pistons and large gears. In one moment, his left arm, the one with the hand, nearly got caught between two gears and only Gamma's plasma cannon saved him.
He left the machinery room and came to a supply monorail. This monorail could move up to 150 mph, so the boxes were stored carefully. Gamma's radar picked up the signature Zeta's signature, down the tunnel where the monorail would run.
Gamma boarded the monorail, and it must've triggered something, for the engine kicked on and away the train went. Gamma was immediately thankful for grips on his feet, or he would've taken on serious hull and appendage damage if he fell off.
Gamma checked the coordinates he was in, and they were swiftly changing. Gamma's super-computer made calculations that the nearest place to get off was quickly approaching and would be there in 45 seconds.
Gamma must find a way to get off…or he could leap, and risk damage. He checked his power readings: 27. Better make this jump a good one.
Gamma boosted radar readings for the best escape route possible and for any obstacles that could interfere with his escape. Gamma's computer was factoring any interference into the problem and computing the most favorable time for the leap so quickly that any Physics teacher would want to use him.
The final calculations were that Gamma would have the best jump would be within 9.7 seconds.
Gamma could glimpse a doorway ahead.
Gamma leapt and activated his hoverjet. He hovered off the monorail and onto a nearby platform. He landed with a loud bang! He consulted a damage report. The feet obtained minor damage but wasn't severe. He was 5 damaged, but was functioning regularly.
He strode down more halls, and then found himself in a huge circular room. In the center was a purple-colored generator. Gamma's radar beep and it told him that Zeta's signature was in this room. Gamma's visual sensors swept the room. Zeta was not present.
Gamma strode around the room twice before he noticed the top of the generator. An E-series head! E-105 Zeta was transformed into a generator. Mecha-Bot 2 was ingenious at punishing robots, it seemed.
Gamma strode towards the generator. "Zeta?"
Zeta didn't answer.
Gamma repeated Zeta's citizen name, but Zeta couldn't respond. Gamma reasoned that the only way to rescue Zeta now was to literally blow his head off. Gamma aimed an ion blast at the top of Zeta's head.
There was a huge, blue blast and Zeta's head split like a hot knife would slice butter. Out fluttered a pink Flicky.
"Wow, thanks, Rigel!"
Rigel? Who is Rigel? Gamma looked inquisitive.
"Oh, you don't remember, do you?" the Flicky flapped around and perched on Gamma's shoulder. It pecked at a plate on Gamma's head. "Rats, it's been welded down."
"Query: who are you?"
"Oh, I'm Xeya. Thanks or saving me. Oh, find that black and white robot, Beta I think it was. He can help you out. He's the most experienced. I'll show you a shortcut back to the main hall. I discovered it while I was still E-105 Zeta." Xeya glanced at the charred hull of the purple robot. "Follow me!"
Xeya flapped ahead, and an impulse in Gamma's chassis told him to follow. Rigel…it sounded familiar…
Chapter 26: Aboard the Egg Carrier…
Back in the Mystic Ruins, Tails was waking up from a lovely sleep, and suddenly missed the Tornado 2. He left it back on the Egg Carrier, and it suddenly settled that it may've crashed with it. It may have survived…depending where it was.
Tails got up, and realized that he slept with his shoes on.
"My, I must've been tired."
He heard a bit of a commotion in a nearby room, and wondered who in the world it was. He picked up an iron pipe for some kind of protection, and stepped out quietly. He saw a light in the kitchen and someone's shadow moving around in there.
He stepped towards the light, and peered in, and oh joy! It was Sonic, looking in the cupboards for any sign of creamer or sugar for his coffee.
Sonic looked up, and saw Tails, holding a pipe and looking very happy.
"Hey, little bro! What's with the pipe?"
Tails looked at the pipe in his hand, blushed and threw it aside. "Oh, nothing, really."
Tails stepped forward, and started to ask about what on earth Sonic had been up to. As he got closer, he saw that Sonic's face was sliced on the side, there was a bruise on his side, his spines were darker on the ends as if they were on fire, and countless other bruises on his arms.
"Good grief! What happened to you, Sonic?"
"Well, I'll give it to you in a nutshell: fall off the Egg Carrier, wonder through an old pyramid, go into Eggman's base, get shot at by Mecha, fight a huge mech and see how you look."
Sonic found sugar and dumped quite a bit into a cup of coffee.
"Want some coffee with that sugar, Sonic?" Tails smiled.
"Hey, you were on the Egg Carrier longer then I was. Did you see the Tornado?"
Sonic paused to remember, the snapped his fingers. "Yeah, some big cat took it to escape from it. I had to help him rescue a small frog from Chaos…"
Before he knew it, Sonic was telling Tails while sipping his coffee about what he had experience over the last twelve hours, stretching the details a little bit. Tails also told about him racing Eggman to a nuke in Sapphire City and then fighting a walker made by Eggman. He even told the fact that several reporters watched the whole fight, and that he was in the newspaper.
"Figures as much…" Sonic mumbled. "I'm out lost in a jungle and nearly gutted by robots, and you get the limelight."
Tails smiled smugly.
"Wipe that smile off your face, or I'll slap it right off."
Tails turned away, knowing that Sonic was bluffing. Then he turned to a nearby fridge, and took out an energy drink (for he thought that he was too young for coffee), and sipped it.
Almost immediately, the energy began returning, and then he thought about finding the Tornado. "Hey, Sonic! Want to help me find the Tornado?"
"Heck yeah! I want to see the thing closer. I'm wondering what you did to my plane."
Sonic shrugged, and finished his coffee. "I'm all charged up. C'mon! You can bring that drink with you, kid."
They both exited the workshop and began waling towards the cliff where the cart was located.
"Hey, race ya!" Sonic said.
Sonic set off at a run, and Tails activated his jet anklets and flew after him, both laughing from the love of speed. Sonic made it there first, thanks to a sudden burst of speed that Sonic could enable.
Tails climbed into the trolley first though, and Sonic was forced to push it through, grumbling all the way. About five minutes later, they came to the other side. Sonic pointed out the pyramid sticking out of the sea of treetops.
"See that, Tails? I explored that whole pyramid. (It was partly true.)
"Cool! Tails scanned the rest of the valley. "Hey! What's that beyond the pyramid?"
"Hmm? Oh, that's Eggman's base. That's where I fought the Egg Viper…and Mecha."
"Why out here? I thought he hated vegetation!"
"I guess it was growing on him. Get it? Growing on him?" Sonic joked.
"Boo…" Tails said, reacting to the bad pun.
Sonic and Tails descended into the jungle valley, and Tails remembered. "Hey! I remember this jungle! Knuckles helped me find the Chaos Emerald so I could fly the Tornado 2!"
"Good ol' Knux! I saw him on the Egg Carrier. Not sure why he was there, but he was." Sonic shrugged.
"This place reminds me of the Great Forest before Robotnik came along. I wish he'd just go away."
"Yeah, sometimes I think that too."
Tails squinted through the morning air, and saw a glint of metal. "Hey, look!"
Sonic looked in the direction where Tails pointed, and remembered Metal-Sonic. "Careful kid, it could be the Tornado, but it could be Mecha, too."
Tails' eyes widened; he remembered too. "Ok, Sonic…uh, you go first."
Sonic smiled, but said nothing. He stalked forwards, looking all the time at the blue metal. Sooner or later, they found a turn in the trail, and they found a wall-less hut, built into the wall. Nearby, lying on its side was the Tornado 2, lying on a riverbed near the hut.
"Look! There it is!" Tails said.
Tails ran up and immediately began to inspect the Tornado for damages. Sonic took a good look around the hut. "Hmm, I wonder who lives here…"
He saw that there was a table in the middle (if you could call it a table), but it was the biggest table Sonic had ever seen. It appeared to be eight feet by three wide.
"Wow. The guy that lives here must eat a lot."
Listening to Tails tinkering with the engine compartment, he looked around more and saw a rack where the house met the tree.
"Hey, Sonic! Could you hold this while I check the inside here?"
"Sure." Sonic climbed down the steps from the house and took something out of Tails' hand. It was wrapped in burlap. Curiosity took over and Sonic unfolded it slightly and saw that it was the Blue Chaos Emerald.
"Is this one Knuckles found for you, Tails?"
"Yep. Went through heck to get it; dealing with a frog that nearly swallowed it."
"A frog that eats Chaos Emerald?"
"Imagine my thoughts."
Sonic wrapped the Emerald back in the burlap and clutched it tightly, for they weren't too far from Eggman's base. He decided to look more inside the house, more so the rack he saw before.
There were three fishing poles on it, and Sonic saw that there should be four, for there was a space between two poles big enough for another. He looked around for the tackle box and it was gone too.
"The guy must be fishing."
Sonic walked back to Tails, and saw that Tails was now in the cockpit. "How's the Tornado, kid?"
"Just a few scrapes. I can't see how anyone could land this thing…"
"Beginner's luck, I guess." Sonic thought about how to get the Tornado out of the jungle. "Hey, Tails, we don't have any runway of any kind here!"
"I know, but there's one thing that I didn't tell you about what else I did do the Tornado. I'll need the Emerald, Sonic."
Sonic handed back the burlap-wrapped Emerald, and Tails hastily installed it into the converter, then he leapt into the cockpit and he pressed a button; Sonic jumped back in surprise.
The tail extended, split and they seemed to morph into feet. The wings tucked into the body and a hoverjet appeared on the bottom. A mounted gun appeared at the rear. The only way you could tell that it was the Tornado was from the main body and that it was still blue.
"Whoa, Tails! What did you do?"
"I made a walker mode. That way we can get the Tornado to a runway without so much trouble. Oh, and it has a new name in this mode. I called it the Cyclone."
"Climb on! Let's go back to the workshop! I want to try the hoverjet some more."
Sonic climbed on behind the mounted gun, and saw that there were controls on the back. "Hey, these are just like the firing controls during the plane mode."
"Sure! I didn't want to confuse you with a different control panel. What if you punched a self-destruct button when you meant to fire a Cyclone-mounted power rocket?"
Sonic blinked in alarm. "You have a self-destruct button on here?" Sonic quickly looked at the control panel.
"Oh." Sonic still stared at the control panel as if it had mousetraps all over it.
Tails piloted the Tornado (or Cyclone) through the jungle paths. Sonic looked on in amazement as the Cyclone didn't have trouble avoiding fallen branches and more.
They came to the ledge where the mine cart was stationed.
"I'd love to see how we're going to get up there," Sonic said, pointed up.
"No prob. Hold on!"
Tails made the Cyclone jump, and Sonic felt like he left his appendix behind. Tails turned on his hoverjet full blast, and with both upward forces, was able to get to the top of the ledge. "Whew! We made it."
"That was cool!" Sonic exclaimed.
"C'mon! Let's get back to the shop. I'm starting to get hungry."
The Cyclone walked forwards and into the darkness.
- - - - -
"Here we are!"
Xeya, the pink Flicky, had been leading Gamma to a room where robots with weaker fusion cores could charge up. Gamma was thankful, for he was getting warning alarms that power systems were in critical range.
"I thank you for your assistance, Xeya. Do you know the coordinates for E-101 Beta?"
Xeya looked confused, but then spoke, "Oh! You mean 'where is Beta'! Why didn't you say so?"
Gamma said nothing.
"Well, he's been flying around the whole Egg Carrier, mostly on the outside. I can take you there. But first, charge up. Beta hasn't been acting himself lately."
"Affirmative." Gamma's front panel opened and something stuck out and plugged into a matching socket. Power levels started to climb.
Gamma stood stock still as he charged up, and Xeya perched on Gamma's shoulder and began preening her wings.
Five minutes later, Gamma's fusion core was fully charged.
"All systems are operating normally. Power levels are at 99," Gamma's computer told him.
"Self-unit is fully charged." Gamma said in monotone.
Xeya flew in circles around Gamma. "Come, there's an elevator nearby. It leads to the construction bay."
Gamma followed the bird through a dark hallway that led to two doors. Xeya pecked a button and the doors open.
"Here we are. Let's go!"
Gamma stepped in and Xeya fluttered in. The doors closed, and the elevator began to rise. Several minutes later, the elevator stopped, and the doors opened. They were near Construction Bay 1.
Gamma's memory banks depicted that this was the last place where Beta was being rebuilt. A shudder ran through the chassis; Beta was tortured here.
A few minutes later found them in the main hall, the Hot Shelter and Construction Bays behind.
"This is where I leave. I hope you can find Beta. I'll see you back on the island!" Xeya fluttered away through the hovercraft hole in the ceiling.
Gamma searched his memory banks for this "island," but no records were present. He walked to a console and plugged in. Beta was on the network, but on some strange instinct, Gamma thought it unwise to contact him through the network, but he didn't know why.
Once again it wasn't the robot computer that gave him that instinct, but it was the creature trapped in the hull. Gamma ventured to the hovercraft that would lead him to the surface of the Egg Carrier.
As he climbed in, he felt an impulse to check his data to see who else was needed to be rescue. Dr. Robotnik could have made others by now. The network connection he made earlier updated the roster for him. He got a list on the E-series and conditions.
E-101 Beta (m-k 2) Active (location: Egg Carrier decks)
E-102 Gamma Active (location: Egg Carrier main hall)
E-103 Delta Terminated
E-104 Epsilon Terminated
E-105 Zeta Terminated
Robotnik apparently had better things to do then build more, possibly in the light of his secret project. But what really disturbed Gamma was his own name on the list. How was he going to escape? The last three E-series robots were all Flicky birds trapped in the robot chassis. Could he and Beta be the same? And if he was, how was he going to get out?
His thoughts were interrupted when something whooshed by with the sounds of active hoverjets. Gamma looked in its direction.
It was a burly black-and-white robot, its arms wide and laser lenses peeked out between the claws at the ends. It appeared to have a segmented tail. Gamma didn't see it from the back, but its head had one single eye, narrowed to a horizontal slit.
Gamma wondered what it was, but found that its power signature matched E-101 Beta's, but it didn't look like Beta at all! Then he recalled the tag on the computer read-out: m-k 2
This Beta must be the version Metal-Sonic toyed with. Poor Beta.
Gamma walked after him, fearing a fight. This Beta Improved may be more of a challenge then the Beta Gamma knew a few hours after activation. He hoped that Beta would still have reason, despite his monstrous-looking hull.
- - - - -
Amy and Birdy were waiting on the docks near Station Square. They had rented a boat so as to get to the wreckage of the Egg Carrier. Amy would have to work more to regain the steep amount, but Birdy's parents need to be found, so her act of goodwill outweighed her finances for a trip to the mall.
She had some lessons boating, and so did have some experience to drive a motor boat. Her mother had invested in those for they did live near an ocean.
It was a small boat but it was perfect for Amy and Birdy. The hammer that Amy got from the Egg Carrier lay on the floor. Amy spent the morning practicing swings for it, for one never knows what Eggman would pull out from the inside of his sleeves.
It was now 11:00, and Amy had packed a lunch already and they began their trek over the water.
One thing that Amy did not account for was Birdy. Birdy was not accustomed to riding objects (Twinkle Park showed that) and quickly got seasick. Amy looked amused and sympathetic at the same time as Birdy was reeling on the bottom of the deck.
It was fortunate that the winds were fair and the sea was calm, for Amy had not had enough experience to go on more turbulent conditions.
The Egg Carrier loomed in the distance like a huge island, frowning and unwelcoming to anyone who would come upon it.
"There it is, Birdy. There's the Egg Carrier."
Birdy didn't look up, but trusted Amy just the same.
"We'll be there in a few minutes, Birdy."
- - - - -
Sonic was basking in the sun, back in the Mystic Ruins. He was looking over the Emerald, admiring its cool touch. This was his favorite of the Emeralds, for its color was a rich, deep blue, nearly the same shade as his fur. He then wondered if they should keep all the Emeralds…once they found them.
They had one, and Knuckles was the last one on the Egg Carrier. He's gotta know where Chaos went next. But getting there was harder, for he saw that the Island was floating again now and was a mile away. Knuckles was taking no chances in case for another splash-down. Still, it would be nice to know where the other Emeralds are. Besides, Tails needed an Emerald more then Sonic wanted one.
He took off the glove off of one of his hand to touch the Emerald more efficiently, for this was the only other one he touched besides the red one, and touching the red one with bare skin was out of the question. He found it nice that the Emerald felt cool, but what really surprised him was that it felt wet. He took a handkerchief and wiped it down, thinking that he accidentally dropped it in water.
To his astonishment, it still felt wet as if it was just withdrawn from water, but after several minutes of "drying," the white cloth was as dry as the desert sands.
Weird, Sonic thought. These Emeralds were getting weirder and weirder. He had to talk to Knuckles about these.
Then, something else happened. Sonic was stroking the Emeralds wide octagonal facet on the top, and he felt something he never felt before. It was the feeling of harmony, and there was a strange feeling in his fingers. The Chaos Emerald was resonating and the energy was being felt in his fingertips.
Sonic was hooked. He lowered his head down to the Emerald's facet and was out of the world. At first, all he saw was the deep blue of the Emerald, but then, the color spread through his vision, and he saw roaring waters, waterfalls, the oceans in storms. Then, the image turned into the silhouette of a city, but it was flooded and suddenly, out of the side of a building, a huge, appalling head of a monster reared out and let out a roar!
Sonic cringed at the sound, for it felt as if it was inside his head. He wished he could look away, but he couldn't!
Sonic snapped back into reality and started breathing heavily, and saw Tails have a worried look at Sonic. The break from the image caused cold sweat to drip down his shoulders and back.
"Are you okay?" Tails asked.
"Uh…yeah, I'm…okay." Sonic was breathing deeply. "I think I took a snooze cruise, I guess."
The humor of the statement reassured Tails, and he got back to the Tornado, still in walker mode.
Sonic gazed at the Emerald again, but it was its solid blue as before, as if nothing happened. He must've fallen asleep, sitting up. But still, he would have nightmares about that beast again, that's for sure.
He glanced towards the sea, and saw the Egg Carrier in the distance, floating. Sonic thought it was almost two miles away. Its immense size and clashing colors made it not difficult to see. Then, something else caught his attention, away from the Egg Carrier but still in the sea. The sun was high in the sky now and its light caught something and made it sparkle, like a single drop of rain caught in light.
Sonic got up and focused on the sparking object. It must be a boat of some sort, he thought, but Sonic wondered why they'd be heading to the Egg Carrier. It could be Eggman, but he'd use the hovercraft he had, would he? It looks like it came from Sapphire City.
Tails looked out from the engine compartment.
"Do you have a pair of binoculars in the workshop?"
"Sure! Try in the bedroom, on the top shelf!"
Sonic got up and ran for the shop, tossing thanks back to Tails, who got back to work. Sonic found the binoculars, and blew the dust off of them. Of course, he started coughing for those had been up there for a while, and gathered a lot of dust.
He ran back out and put them up to his eyes. It took a bit of time to locate the boat, and when he did, it was blurry. Sonic was thankful that this pair of binoculars were the better kinds where you could adjust the clarity. Sonic did so and could see the boat easily enough.
"What have we here?"
Sonic tried to glimpse the pilot, but couldn't at first; the sun was putting too much of a glare at first, but he could tell that it was not Eggman; too small. Wasn't Metal-Sonic; wrong color and he could fly over; he wouldn't bother with a boat. Wasn't any human; again, too small.
Then the boat turned, and the glare moved. Sonic could see the pilot clearly. It was a young girl hedgehog with pink fur, red dress, ribbon and boots. Amy Rose.
Sonic lowered the binoculars and looked as mad and frustrated as one can be. Why on earth would Amy be so dumb as to go back to the Egg Carrier, where that robot that was there would find her again?
Sonic had a mind to just leave Amy to her problems, but if Amy got in trouble…Dang it! That girl really IS a pain!
"Tails!" Sonic jogged up to the fox and the Cyclone. "We got to go back to the Egg Carrier!"
Tails looked out, shocked. "Why on Möbius?"
Sonic quickly explained seeing Amy on the boat and the fact about a robot on the Carrier that had something against Amy. "We gotta jam out there!"
Sonic gave the Emerald to Tails, and Tails hastily installed the Emerald into the converter. Tails leapt into the cockpit and changed the Cyclone back into the Tornado, the plane mode, not the battle mode, but normal flight mode.
Sonic leapt back onto the saddle behind the seat, wincing slightly. "You got to get a better seat back here Tails."
Tails smiled, and then started the engine. "To the Egg Carrier!"
Sonic felt a sense of nostalgia as the plane flew out towards the Egg Carrier…again. It felt like they did this too many times.
- - - - -
Several minutes earlier…
Gamma stood on the glass circular platform which housed machinery on the front end of the Egg Carrier. Opposite of him was E-101 Beta Improved, staring down at him like a hawk does to a sparrow.
"Greetings, Beta. I apologize for what Mecha-Bot 2 has done to you…"
Beta reared back, and seemed to be charging for battle. Gamma resigned from his first strategy of just talking Beta into not fighting, but Beta apparently was beyond reason.
Gamma tagged Beta with his laser and fired an ion blast. Surprisingly, Beta threw up an arm and blocked it. Gamma learned that firing Beta from the front was useless. That presented many problems.
Beta was indeed "Improved;" Gamma had now no clue how to fight Beta. Beta had a vast array of attacks, and now new weapons. The claws on the front of the claws also proved effected. Beta reared back and suddenly charged at Gamma with the speed of an express train.
Gamma lacked the speed Beta possessed and was knocked down, now bearing four nicely-sized holes in his torso. But now an idea came to Gamma. Beta's back was now exposed, and quickly, Gamma fired two rounds of ion blasts into Beta's back.
Beta convulsed slightly and flew backwards several feet, his single green eye brightening several candelas. Beta backed up and panels opened in his back, sending several missiles towards Gamma.
Gamma tagged them with his laser and blasted them out of the air with his standard gun. Beta then flew high up and aimed charged blasts from the laser lenses from his arms. Gamma's solution against these was to run in circles, jumping and hovering over the broken glass sections, the blasts exploding harmlessly behind him.
Beta hovered to and fro, reading Gamma's defenses. Gamma was 27 damaged and Beta was 35 damaged. Gamma was stronger then he reckoned. Why was he fighting him anyway? The creature in his hull found this wrong, but this E-series robot had some control over it, like the machine Epsilon nearly self-destructed.
Gamma saw that Beta was hesitating, and Gamma began to wonder what he should do after Beta is destroyed?
Beta charged at Gamma again, but Gamma ducked, so the hull wouldn't get punctured again on the front, but despite that, Beta tore off a panel from Gamma's back, dangerously close to the hoverjet. The force bent one of Gamma's legs.
Gamma reared around and shot Beta in the back.
Gamma was 48 damaged, and warnings were flooding through the computer. Beta was 75 damaged as a missile rack was destroyed from Gamma's attack. Bolts of electricity were flickering outside the hull of Beta.
Beta charged again, lower to the ground, and Gamma lifted his arms to block the blow. The two were locked in arm combat, as Beta was trying to free his arms to punch at Gamma's head. Gamma's gun was inoperative while it was holding Beta's claws away.
This was leading to a stalemate and both of them knew it; both backed off.
Since Gamma was now half-way damaged, it was harder to operate. His movements were now sluggish, and walking with a bent leg was also an interference to Gamma.
Beta fired several charged shots towards Gamma, ending with one large shot that enveloped nearly half of the platform. Gamma fired several shot towards Beta, to lure him back down. Beta knew better, but it seemed that neither were going to get anywhere without taking damage themselves.
Now that Beta was 75 damaged, the programming that was commanding him to fight was weakening, and reasoning was beginning to filter back into the trapped creature's mind. If he was 100 damaged, he would escape this body and be free once more.
Beta dived towards Gamma without a second thought. Then Beta thought that Gamma will need to be destroyed too so that Rigel would escape…wait…Rigel?
Beta smashed into Gamma, firing a laser into the torso. The red robot toppled over, but then aimed an ion blast at Beta's now exposed back and fired.
Beta's back exploded and Beta began convulsing. Gamma got up, just in time to see Beta go through more convulsions like he was in a seizure and dropped to the ground, lifeless.
Gamma strode forward, ignoring the 89 damage flashing through the computer. Beta Improved was destroyed, but what about the creature inside?
Suddenly, Beta leaped up and blasted Gamma's head with a charged blast. Gamma's head was blasted clear off, and a few second's later, Beta's head burst off from internal explosions. Flying out of Beta's body was an off-white bird, slightly singed but unhurt. It quickly fluttered to Gamma's hull.
"Rigel! Rigel! Are you in there?"
Something stirred inside Gamma's hull and out fluttered a red Flicky, coughing and inhaling the air. It turned to the off-white Flicky.
"Tava?" the red Flicky that was Gamma said, voice trembling.
"I thought I blew your head off!" Tava said.
"Well…in a way you did."
"Hey, you haven't happened to see our son, Turos, have you?"
"No, not even as E-102 Gamma. I hope Dr. Robotnik hasn't turned him into a robot too."
Chapter 27: Amy vs. Zero
Amy and Birdy arrived on the Egg Carrier, on one of the side panels. It took a while to dock, but Amy managed and once on board, she tied the rope from the boat tight on an exposed support beam. Then, Amy picked up Birdy, for the poor Flicky was still suffering from seasickness slightly. She strolled on the deck, Birdy in one hand, and the hammer in the other.
"There. Now let's find you family, Birdy."
Amy walked around, trying to figure out where to go. This was the front half of the Egg Carrier, and she was only on the back half before, so nothing looked familiar. There was a lift nearby that lifted to a set of runways.
"Hey, Birdy, let's try that!"
Amy carried the slowly recovering Birdy to the lift, and once they stepped on, it immediately activated and went upwards. Once it stopped, they were on the runways. Amy strolled a bit, looking over the ocean.
"Wow, what a view!"
Suddenly, there was a bit if chirping from behind. Birdy suddenly stirred, seasickness forgotten and struggled out of Amy's hand.
"Whoa, what's wrong, Birdy?"
Birdy began fluttering towards the green glass cylinder at haste. Amy ran after him, holding the hammer near the head so to balance it out more. When Amy got to the top of the machinery capsule, she found no Birdy.
"Birdy? Where are you?"
Lots of chirping responded, and three Flickies fluttered down the Amy. Amy squealed in delight.
"All right! We found your family!"
The red one fluttered up to Amy. "Hi, Amy!"
Amy was a little surprised that these birds could talk, but even more so that it knew her name. "Who are you?"
"I'm Rigel, the bird that used to be E-102 Gamma."
"The red robot that helped you escape."
Amy's eyes widened in disbelief. "YOU are the nice robot?"
"Was. I finally got out of the robot, and I've been looking for Turos. This is my mate, Tava." The red Flicky motioned to the white one.
Birdy flew up and seemed to answer the question with an avian nod. Amy caught on.
"You're Turos? How cone you didn't tell me?"
"He can't speak just yet; he's still learning. Thank you for taking care of…"
Disaster struck in the form of a hand that smacked into Turos out of the air. As it retracted, Amy gasped in fright as Turos collapsed to the ground in a senseless heap of feathers.
During the conversation, the green robot Zero had come onboard the Egg Carrier from the main hall and detected intruders. It came to investigate and found the girl and bird that gave him the worst of trouble.
Amy looked up, saw Zero, and she was filled with rage at Zero for doing something so awful.
"Why, you stupid robot! I'm gonna show you a piece of my mind!"
Amy stood up and swung her hammer and stood in a pre-attack stance, the hammer ready to knock anything in the way out of the way.
"I'll show you what I'm made of!"
Zero stood in the middle, un-intimidated by the young, little-experienced hedgehog standing several feet away. The robot called up an electrical field that would keep Amy from escaping.
Amy saw several posts rise up on the rim of the very platform she was standing on, and then several hundred volts of electricity ran through the posts; there was no escape now.
Amy didn't care; she was too angry and was as mad as hive of hornets. She swung wildly at Zero's face, intending to whack out Zero's eyes. Zero took the blow, which sent him reeling. He underestimated the fight skills of this hedgehog.
Zero aimed a tag laser at Amy and let loose a fist, the same move that hit Turos out of the sky. Amy whacked it out of the way, and slammed into Zero's torso.
Zero began pouncing, trying to crush Amy under sheer weight. The battle was so intense on both sides that neither noticed a blue biplane coming in for a landing…and who was on it.
Zero in most fields had the upper hand: he had the strength, weapons and protection that Amy lacked, but Amy was small a target and hard to hit.
Suddenly, things turned ugly against Zero, for the battle brought the two dangerously close to the electrical field. A whack in Zero's face did the trick; Zero was knocked backwards into the electrical field.
Zero let loose a digital shriek that made Amy's ears hurt, and the robot lurched forwards, limp. The top part of Zero popped open, and Zero exposed his only weakness. A small, white, rectangular bunch of computer chips that stuck up from the inside. Amy saw it glimmering in the sunlight, steaming like a tea kettle on a stove.
Amy gave a cry of anger and brought the hammer down on the "brain" of Zero. The box of chips exploded as they overheated. Zero suddenly went into convulsions, electrical surges running through his body, for now they couldn't be processed.
Amy ran to the birds and helped them move Turos away from the doomed Zero. Zero lurched upright, and all of the sudden, exploded with a loud bang, pieces of his former self flying everywhere. Thus was the demise of the prototype of the E-series, E-Zero Alpha.
Amy dropped her hammer, ignoring the sound of the electrical posts dying nearby. She needed to see what happened to Turos.
"Birdy--I mean Turos, please wake up. I beat the bad robot. Please wake up…" Amy was on the verge of tears, and didn't noticed Sonic and Tails jumping off the Tornado and running towards Amy.
Tava put her head close to Turos face. "He's breathing, and his heart's beating…but why won't he wake up?"
"I don't know!" Amy was panicking; she began stroking the bird on the chest. "Please wake up…"
Turos' eyes fluttered open. He looked a little dazed, but seemed all right. He chirped a few notes, and both parents sighed in relief. "He's all right," Rigel said.
Amy sighed, and smiled.
"Thank you, Amy. I'm eternally grateful to you." Tava bowed a most beautiful bow for a bird.
"You're welcome. Wait, where will you go? You can't stay here, can you?"
"We'll go to the mainland. We'll see you again before going back to Flicky Island. Good-bye, Amy! We'll see you again!"
Turos, Rigel and Tava fluttered upwards and away. Turos made one last look back, and fluttered back to Amy. He quickly unbuckled the pendant he wore and gave it to Amy.
"Turos, your locket? You're giving it to me?"
Turos nodded. It was his gift of gratitude.
"Oh, thank you."
Amy patted the bird on the head, and Birdy chirped one last time, and flew hastily after his parents. Amy watched, teary-eyed.
She jumped and turned around. There standing was Sonic and Tails, Sonic appeared a little crossed.
"Oh, hi Sonic." Amy didn't like Sonic's look.
"What in the world are you doing here?"
Amy looked down. Sonic didn't want her getting in the way, since the last times she tried they both got in trouble, and she understood. She stayed sitting, and didn't say anything.
Sonic noticed Amy's attitude. "Hey, what's up? What happened here?" Sonic noticed the junk lying about.
Amy cheered up a little, and looked at Sonic. "I helped getting those birds back together. Dr. Eggman had made robots out of them!"
Sonic saw the wreckage of Gamma, Beta and pieces of Zero scattered throughout the platform. "What the hey happened here, anyway?"
Amy went talkative and talked about the battle with Zero, and made it a point that she beat him all by himself. Sonic looked a little annoyed at the constant stream of chatter, but couldn't help liking her deep down. This was her first battle after all.
Sonic picked up the hammer and studied it; nothing special about it from the looks of it. "You beat a robot with this?"
"Yep!" Amy smiled smugly.
Sonic shrugged. He guessed that there was a first for everything.
"C'mon, we'll give you a ride to the Mystic Ruins. We'll come back for the boat."
Amy smiled, being with Sonic for one thing, but for destroying Zero.
"I never thought I'd make Sonic respect me, but I guess I was wrong," Amy thought.
A few minutes later, Tails, Sonic and Amy were leaving the Egg Carrier, and returned to the Mystic Ruins.
Chapter 28: The Quiet Before the Storm
Several days showed quiet with Eggman gone for now and Chaos defeated, Sonic, Tails and Amy had an empty schedule…much to everyone's delight.
Saturday showed Tails traveling to the Egg Carrier, for he was intrigued by the huge laser system there and wanted to know how it worked. He spent many hours at a time there, studying the weapon's there, now that Eggman wouldn't be using it anytime soon, it was much safer.
Sonic spent some more time with Amy, in the chao gardens in Sapphire City. Amy got to raise a new-born chao, and Sonic found that the chao he toyed with a few days before still remembered him, although it was greener then he remembered and it had two sharp points on the back of the head.
Knuckles spent the weekend looking around the old Master Emerald shrine in the Marble Gardens, studying it. Ever since the last vision he had, the one after the destruction of the Marble Gardens, he was curious about the outcome. He had hoped to find something, evidence of destruction, but the only thing he found was the unevenly broken seven pillars that displayed the seven Chaos Emeralds before they and the Master were located to the Hidden Palace. There the Supers were made, and then the Chaos Emeralds somehow ended up on the mainland…where Sonic and Tails found them later.
Big visited Sapphire City…for a little bit; just to get some more bait. Froggy hopped along beside him. He would not leave him again if he could help it.
Sunday was an interesting day; Sonic, Tails and Amy went to the Floating Island by the Tornado to visit Knuckles and the Chaotix; it was Amy's first visit there. Tails and Amy started exploring the Marble Gardens…and when they came upon the Master Emerald shrine, Amy stopped and gasped.
"Amy, what's wrong?" Tails asked.
"I've seen this before!"
"You have? But I thought you've never been here before."
"Yeah, but when I was in the Hot Shelter, this fairy showed me this place, but there were seven Chaos Emeralds and a big green Emerald here, and there was chao, and a water monster…and there was this girl name Tikal--"
"Tikal? You meet Tikal?"
"Yeah! You did too?"
"Yeah, but I was in this city with a bunch of Echidna's. I got this there." Tails displayed the Rhythm Badge.
"What happened in your dream?" Amy asked.
As Tails recounted his vision with Tikal, Sonic and Knuckles were in Lava Reef, talking about the Chaos Emeralds; Sonic recounted his little experience with the Blue Emerald. Knuckles nodded, interested and thinking at the same time.
"So, what do you think happened?" Sonic asked finally.
"I don't know. Chaos Emeralds are out of my league. There's probably a lot about them in the old documents. I'll look at them later…"
"Yeah, all right…whew, I forgot how hot it gets down here."
"There's lava everywhere; what did you expect, a walk-in freezer?
Sonic chuckled lightly.
By now, they came to the end of Lava Reef, where a small cavern opened to them. Knuckles crawled in, followed by Sonic. The atmosphere changed at once. It was still warm, but instead of the dull red of Lava Reef, it was a cool blue.
"Hey, speaking of Chaos Emeralds, what happened to Chaos?"
Knuckles shrugged. "I'm not really sure. I think I killed him though. When I gave the last punch, the ice shattered and out came the six Emeralds he had."
"Hmm, good riddance."
A few more turns later, they were in Hidden Palace. Normally, Knuckles would've murdered who got too close to the Palace. But Sonic and Tails had already been here, when trying to find Robotnik, and won his trust. Sonic and Tails would never give the location away.
Sonic noticed the Chaos Emeralds at the bases of the Super Emerald bases. "Hmm, no better place to keep 'em safe then here, eh?"
Knuckles spoke, "Might as well. We can't let Eggman get them."
Sonic was admiring the glow of the Blue Super Emerald, and stroke its facets. Nothing happened. "Hmm, it's strange. This was the way I was holding the Chaos Emerald when I zonked out. But nothing's happening here."
"I heard that even though the Supers came from the Chaos Emeralds, they run on entirely different principles, but that's all I know. I really need to study more about those Emeralds."
Sonic looked around at the other Supers standing around the Master. It reminded him of that vision with the dead chao and Tikal. That vision haunted him, and he shuddered slightly.
Knuckles noticed. "Hey, are you all right?"
"Yeah, I was just remembering something."
"Well, when I was lost in the jungle a few days ago, this fairy made me visit this pyramid in the jungle and led me into this room with a mural--"
"A mural! What kind?" Knuckles was very interested.
"Well, it had this huge blue dragon on it. It was rising out of a flood over a stone city."
"The mural of Chaos…"
"Sonic, that was Chaos. That's what happened to my ancestors, and why the Master Emerald is now underground."
Sonic looked skeptical. "C'mon, Knux. I've seen Chaos when he has six Emeralds. He's big, but not as big as a fifty-story building."
"That's him with all seven Emeralds! Six Emeralds don't do the trick, but when all seven are there, it drastically changes things!"
"Oh…I didn't think about that."
Knuckles leaned against the Green Super Emerald Pedestal.
Sonic changed the subject…slightly. "How did you know about the mural of Chaos, or whatever you call that?"
"Well, uh, I was on the search for the pieces of the Master Emerald, when I was found by this fairy-like thing who led me to the pyramid and showed me around inside. There I found it."
"Yeah, like the one that led you through the pyramid."
"When you found the mural, was it followed by a dream?"
Knuckles thought a moment, and then his eyes widened a fraction. "Yeah, it did!"
Several minutes later, Sonic and Knuckles were going back through Lava Reef, discussing the different visions they had. Sonic had 1, Knuckles had 3. Little did they know that Tails and Amy above were talking about the same topic.
"Do you think that we should tell Tails about this? He was wondering in the jungle too." Sonic said.
"We should. I want to get to the bottom of this…Tikal, the chao, everything!" Knuckles stated.
Once they got back to the top, they hiked back to Knuckles' house and saw Tails and Amy talking on the front porch.
"Hey, Tails, Amy, what's up?" Sonic asked, once they got to the house.
"We were talking about something this fairy showed us."
"You too?" Knuckles exclaimed. "It happened to Sonic and me too!"
Thus began a "conference" to discuss the dreams. Tails described his visit to an old city with Tikal. Amy talked about Tikal, the chao and the water monster rising from the shrine moats. Sonic again discussed the gruesome night with the chao. Knuckles was writing down the dreams on a notepad, muttering as he wrote.
It was several minutes of quiet that followed, and Amy, Tails and Sonic waited tensely. Finally, Knuckles passed the notes to Sonic, and voiced his thoughts.
"This is what I came up with. What I surmised was that hundreds of years ago, there was a mainland tribe that lived in the now Mystic Ruins, but the chief there grew greedy and devoured up the surrounding tribes, then he set his sights onto Angel Island, and the Shrine of Chaos in the Marble Gardens. The chao lived here, under Chaos' protection.
"Tikal was young, and didn't know much about Angel Island, but didn't know if this war was worth the Emeralds. A few years before that, her grandmother commissioned her to memorize a poem dealing with the Chaos Emeralds. There's the poem on the paper."
Sonic had passed the note to Amy, and Amy read the poem first of all.
"So, my dream was first?" Tails said.
"In comparison to the others, yes. Now, Tikal went to the Island, out of curiosity, and found the chao…and met Chaos, who was suspicious."
"My dream," Amy said.
"Yep. Tikal also saw the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald. She began to think about that poem again. Then, she returned to the Mystic Ruin City and spoke earnestly with her father, the chief to call off the planned attack. I saw that in my first vision.
"She kept trying, and went back to the Master Emerald shrine and pleaded with the Emerald to do something or to take, Chaos, the chao and the Emeralds to another place to keep them away from her chief's greedy hands. My second vision…
"Then, the fatal night came. This part's a little foggy so I'm not too sure about what happened, but later in the night, Tikal was laying among dead chao, the shrine was ablaze and the Emeralds were gone, except the Master. I'm trying to figure out what happened next and what happened before."
Tails was reading the notes more, while Sonic voiced his thoughts. "Well, what gets me is, what was the point? That stuff happened hundreds of years ago and we couldn't have helped out even if we wanted to."
"As I said, I'm not too clear on it, so I'm just as lost as you," Knuckles answered.
Tails rubbed his chin in thought, and then spoke. "I wonder what that light was."
Sonic replied the quickest. "I think it was Tikal. How? I dunno, but all I know is that the voice of that fairy was the same as Tikal's."
Knuckles backed up Sonic's statement. "I agree. She spoke to me too."
"Well, what do we do now?" Tails finally asked.
Knuckles propped up his chin under his spiked fist. "Well, Chaos is dead and we've found the seven Chaos Emeralds, so we'll just make sure that Eggman keeps away from them."
Everyone nodded, but all shared the feeling that they didn't see the last of Tikal…or Chaos.
- - - - -
Monday showed Sonic convincing Tails not to go to the Egg Carrier to study the Egg Cannon and showing him the chao at Sunset Resort. Amy went shopping at the mall, and stopped by the jewelry store, and stared at engagement rings wistfully.
That evening, Sonic took Amy and Tails to Twinkle Park, and Sonic didn't realize what he missed at Pleasure Castle when Zero revealed himself. The game that he was thrown into had been replaced, and Sonic checked it out, but didn't play it immediately.
Sonic and Tails went back to the hotel to sleep, and decided to check out the chao gardens again the next day.
Tuesday was uneventful. Sonic taught his chao (which he named Dash) to swim properly. Interestingly enough, it never really learned how to swim properly; having imprinted on Sonic, it took on some of his likes and dislikes…like swimming.
Tails had hatched a chao the day before, and it immediately attached to the young fox. When Tails played with it the next day, today, he noticed that its default bright-blue color changed to a misty-sky-blue, as if one was looking at the sky through a thin cloud. It also tried to learn how to fly. Tails saw why Sonic liked these creatures so much.
Amy got a visit from the three Flickies: Turos, Tava and Rigel. They talked for a long time and Amy told Rigel about the meeting he had with Knuckles about Tikal and the visions.
Rigel jumped and hastily told Amy about his vision. Amy, wide-eyed, and took the Flickies to see Sonic and Tails. Sonic heard Rigel's dream and related to Knuckles through communicator. Knuckles took it in and thought that it happened on one of Tikal's later visits to the Gardens. It cleared up a minimal amount of the fog, but there was still a lot of things in question.
When Wednesday showed her face, things changed…drastically.
Chapter 29: Rage Awakened
Ancient city blazing, shadows keep attacking
Little children crying, confusion, hopeless anger…
It started on the Floating Island.
Knuckles was locked away in an old library in Sandopolis (for old parchments, a dry, arid place is the best place for preservation in ancient times) and was researching things about the Chaos Emeralds, especially the blue one considering Sonic's experience, when he felt the whole place shake, and then felt like the whole place was sinking.
Knuckles leapt to his feet and ran out the chamber doors, for he knew what was going on…the Island was sinking again!
He headed towards the nearest teleporter which was a good run away, but when he was within eyesight of it, the island struck the ocean, and the whole Island rocked, but remained intact.
The Echidna teleported down to the Hidden Palace, and was astonished and puzzled at the scene. It…was normal!
The Master Emerald was still glowing, and the Supers were as well, but the Island still fell!
"This doesn't make sense…"
He made a quick eye-scan of the Palace, and his gaze fell on the Chaos Emeralds. Ah, the Chaos Emeralds! These Emeralds tended to be unpredictable, and apparently made a power drain on the Master Emerald. He gazed at the Emerald, and it was glowing but not as hot as it normally was.
Knuckles glared at the Emeralds. He took them in to keep them safe, and what do they do?
"Hmm, I guess it's not safe to keep them here after all. Hmm, I'll take them to Sonic, and I'll tell him to take them to Knothole. That should be a safe place. Yeah, that should be good."
Knuckles ran back to the teleporter to go back to the house and grab his backpack to get the Emeralds and take them to the mainland.
- - - - -
Robotnik, for a real first in his life, rode out in his battered hovercraft to get fresh air and look around the jungles. Although he didn't enjoy himself, for he was brooding over his defeat as well as Chaos' defeat, and had found out that he was dead. It seemed that no matter what happened in his favor, he can't overthrow anything and keep it!
He was in this broodiness so deeply that he didn't notice at first a puddle of water running in his wake. Robotnik perked up, for he remembered something. In case of the Egg Carrier's demise, he had built a duplicate to replace it, but dare he use it? Tails had pretty much obliterated the first Egg Carrier with his biplane.
Suddenly, he heard a bubbling sound from behind; he turned his head to see the body of Chaos 0 solidifying behind him.
"Chaos! You're not dead! How--?"
But before Robotnik could say anything else, Chaos grabbed Robotnik's hovercraft and shook it to and fro. Robotnik yelled in surprise and fright, and with one heave, Chaos threw the hovercraft, and Robotnik blanked out. The craft was flying towards the coast.
- - - - -
Sonic was admiring the Windy Cave from the outside and was listening to the wind inside, whining as it flew upwards.
Suddenly, he heard Tails shout from behind. Sonic looked back and saw the fox running straight towards him, eyes wide.
"Hey, Tails, what's up?"
"No time, Sonic! I was on the ledge near my workshop, working on the Cyclone, when I saw something fall in the distance. I took the binoculars and looked to see what it was. It was the Floating Island!"
Sonic's spines leaped erect. "Hey, no way! What happened?"
"I don't know, but I'm sure Knuckles is trying to find out. We got to help him!"
"C'mon, we'll run along the coast until the Floating Island's close, then you'll fly me across, got it?"
Sonic took off, followed by Tails, flying with the jet-anklets. Sonic dialed up Knuckles' frequency with his communicator that Tails lent him.
- - - - -
Knuckles was actually already on the mainland, and was walking down the coast to get to the Mystic Ruins base. He had his shovel-claws strapped on for Sonic did inform him that Eggman had a base in the ruins. He had been walking so for several minutes when he his communicator buzzed.
"Yeah, this is Knux."
"Hey, Knux," It was Sonic. "What's up with the Island?"
"I think it was the Chaos Emeralds, and they caused a power drain on the island." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "I'm taking them to you."
"What am I going to do with all seven?"
"Keep 'em safe. Take them back to Knothole when you get them. Then--wait, Sonic, someone's here."
Knuckles lowered the communicator from his face and saw that there was a hovercraft turned over, and a figure of a man was laying down face down, and was moaning. It was Robotnik!
Knuckles stalked towards Eggman, surprised at his condition. "Robotnik, why are you here?" Knuckles kept the backpack on his back; he was not about to have Robotnik know he had six Chaos Emeralds.
But Robotnik couldn't care less if he had one Emerald or not, he was in shock. "It--it's terrible! C-Chaos is…"
"Is what, doctor?"
Suddenly, he heard a deep growl behind him, and Knuckles turned. It was Chaos!
Chaos swung an arm to strike Knuckles, and his arm extended ten feet. It slapped Knuckles across the chest, knocking him out cold. Chaos picked up Knuckles and grabbed the backpack. He ripped out open, and saw the Emeralds.
- - - - -
Sonic was listening to what was happening on the other end. Knuckles had left the line open. It sounded like thus:
"Take them back to Knothole when you get them. Then…" A pause. "…wait, Sonic, someone's here." Footsteps, and someone moaning. "Robotnik, why are you here?"
Sonic's heart leaped in surprise. His mind screamed to tell Knuckles to get away, but what came next was strange.
"It--it's terrible! C-Chaos is…" A pause, the Knuckles spoke. "Is what, doctor?" A pause, then a shout. "Chaos!" The sound of a scuffle, then static.
Sonic shouted up to Tails. "Double time, Tails! Knux is in trouble!"
Sonic tore across the coast, then realized that Chaos was alive. If he found those Emeralds Knux has…
Tails shouted from above. "I see them! It's Knuckles and Eggman!"
Sonic gave a thumbs-up and screeched to slow down. He sprinted to the bodies of Knuckles and Robotnik. Robotnik was stirring, but Knuckles lay still.
"Tails! See if you can wake up Knuckles! I'm talking to Robotnik!"
Sonic stalked up to Robotnik. "Well, Eggman? What happened here?"
Robotnik rolled over, and stared up at Sonic. "Chaos is still alive! He attacked Knuckles and took the Emeralds from him! He's after the last one!"
"Sonic, Knuckles is awake now."
Knuckles sat up, and rubbed a bruised spot on his chest. "Oh, what happened?"
"Chaos attacked you and took the Emeralds," Sonic answered.
Knuckles whipped off his backpack, wincing at the pain in his chest, and saw that his backpack had nearly been torn in two. Knuckles cursed aloud.
Robotnik lifted himself to a sitting position. "Where's the last Emerald?"
Sonic looked at him. "We have it, but not here."
"You must go back and get it, and keep it from Chaos! I must go back to the base, now!"
"Robotnik, wait!" Tails shouted.
Robotnik ignored him and climbed into the hovercraft. He took off into the jungles with the roar of his hovercraft rumbling through the woods.
"Sonic, remember the mural in the pyramid?" Knuckles said.
"Yeah, how could I forget?"
"That's what will happen again if he gets that Emerald. You heard Eggman, get that Emerald and guard it with your life!"
"Can do, Knuckles. You'll be all right, Knux?"
Knuckles stood up. "I'll be fine, but it won't matter if Chaos gets that Emerald."
Tails spoke earnestly. "C'mon, Sonic! Let's go!"
Sonic turned to run, but balked. A light fluttered around in his face and went right up into his eyes. "Aw, gee!" Sonic exclaimed.
Tails and Knuckles turned to see Sonic slumped over on his side, the red light they were very familiar with flying above him in circles.
"What happened?" Tails said.
"It's Tikal. Sonic's getting another vision." Knuckles shrugged. "Tails, I'm going to the city. If Chaos gets that Emerald, he'll hit that city, just like Eggman said before. I've got to warn them. When Sonic wakes up, run the heck back to where you have the Emerald, pronto!"
Knuckles turned around, and ran down the coast. Tails waited, impatiently. Time was running out.
- - - - -
Sonic rose from a sitting position on a rocky landscape. He could see that it was now night. He saw something glowing different colors ahead. He thought it was an aurora borealis, but they were too far south for that. He sprinted towards the light, and saw a sight which brought down to earth the situation.
It was the Master Emerald shrine in the past, and over 100 yards away, over the bridge was a great army. Near the mouth of the bridge stood several figures, but one he knew all too well. One was Tikal, and she was standing in front of all the other figures there, arms outstretched. Sonic crept close to hear what they were saying.
"Get out of my way!" said the center figure. Sonic assumed he was the chieftain that Knuckles mentioned, Tikal's father.
"We need those Emeralds to survive, Tikal! They're for our people, YOUR people! Stand aside!"
"I won't obey! This is just the start of greed! You'll keep swallowing up every single tribe around, and even then, you won't stop! Father, listen to reason! This is evil!"
"Bah! I don't listen to the words of a child! I didn't become the leader by listening to children's babble!"
Sonic suddenly knew what was coming.
As the Echidnaen lines advanced, Tikal was struck down in the head by a swipe from a spear. Then, the Echidnas began slaughtering the chao. The cries of the chao, the blood pouring out like water, the blood-filled dry of the Echidnas drove Sonic mad. He screamed in rage and charged at the nearest Echidna, intending to make him feel what the chao felt.
But when he curled into a ball of spines, he went through the Echidna as if he was a ghost. He was among them now, and they passed through him. Sonic couldn't stand it, he rushed out and broke down outside of the crowd of Echidnas, the cries of the chao piercing through his brain.
He looked again as saw that the Shrine was now ablaze in fire. The chieftain stalked up the staircase, intending to take the Master Emerald, but before he got there, the waters poured out of the moats and formed into the humanoid figure of Chaos 0. Sonic, clear from where he was standing, could sense the hatred in Chaos' eyes.
The Echidnas backed down, shouting various things when they saw the monster. Chaos looked down, saw the chao, and the wrath of Hades broke loose.
The seven Chaos Emeralds were thrown off their pedestals; the pedestals themselves cracked like twigs under Chaos' strength. The Emeralds flew into Chaos' body, and a huge white light shone out. All the Echidnas stood rock still as the bright silhouette of Chaos grew bigger…and bigger…
Sonic sprinted up to Tikal, and found that a chao was crying out in pain nearby. He picked up Tikal and the chao and hustled them out of the way of the fury that would come.
Then, the worst night in Echidnaen history entered the final stage. The light faded, and Sonic gasped as he looked into the face…of Perfect Chaos: a giant, water-beast with the head the shape of a moray eel's. He looked twenty stories tall. It roared deeply, and the whole island seemed to shake under his wrath.
He swept down onto the ranks of the Echidnas like a flood. Sonic now heard a different noise: the cries of Echidnas dying, the roar of the waters that Chaos commanded to kill everyone in his sight, and the roar of Perfect Chaos, mournful and raging.
Sonic shut his eyes tightly at the scene. The chao continued to cry nearby, and it seemed that this was taking hours.
Then, it stopped. He opened his eyes, and saw the bodies of the chao strewn about. Chaos was gone, and the fire was still blazing on the shrine.
"Tikal! Tikal, wake up!"
Sonic shook the limp body of Tikal, and she stirred. "Are you all right?" Sonic asked.
She stirred slightly, and moaned painfully. "I…I think so. What happened?"
"One of those Echidnas grazed you with a spear, then…" Sonic choked. "…they killed the chao."
"What?" Tikal leapt up, ignoring the blood trickling down her face. "No, no, no!" Tikal heard the chao crying at her side, and picked it up, and seemed to cry into its blood-matted fur.
Sonic stepped away, shivering at the wind. It seemed colder now then ever before. Again, he heard Chaos roar again, mournful.
Tikal looked up, her face wet with tears. "I must stop this, now!"
Tikal began to run.
"Hey, wait!" Sonic said, sprinting after her.
Tikal reached the top of the shrine, and put the chao down. Sonic was there a half-second later and stood staring at the Master Emerald. Tikal began to speak:
"The servers are the seven Chaos, Chaos is power, power enriched by the heart, the controller is the one who unifies the chaos!"
Tikal laid her hands against the gem's surface. The Master Emerald began to blaze. Sonic blinked in the increasing light.
"You must stop him, NOW!"
A humongous flash erupted from the Master Emerald, and Sonic felt his optic sensors burn at the brightness.
Suddenly, he was awake, lying on his side on a beach. He leapt up, his eyes wide from what he just saw.
Tails was standing nearby, and heard Sonic gasping.
"Sonic! You're awake! What did you see?"
"No time! We gotta juice back to the Cyclone! Let's go!"
Sonic took off at a run, and was out of sight in a heartbeat. Tails followed as fast as he could, jet-anklets roaring in his wake.
- - - - -
Metal-Sonic stood in the shadows of the trees and base, watching the Egg Carrier 2 lift off from the launch base and fly towards Sapphire City, slowly but surely.
"Hmph, you never seem to sense the futility behind all of your machines, Dr. Robotnik. All but one."
He of course was referring to himself. He glared at the gargantuan ship as it slowly shrunk in the skies. If Robotnik survived any attack against Chaos, Mecha could have the facilities to make new upgrades for himself. If he didn't, Robotnik would be dead, and Mecha would be free, but the facilities would be useless. Dr. Robotnik knew some things that Mecha didn't.
He sat there, in the shadows, and weighed the possibilities. He couldn't care less if Robotnik was killed under normal circumstances, but since Robotnik had much knowledge about metal-craft, still unknown to Mecha, having him dead would destroy any knowledge that Mecha needed.
The burly-blue robot stalked back into the Final Egg base, and wondered into the labs. He wondered at the cartilaginous joints that he now possessed. He strolled to a computer and looked up information on metal-craft and upgrades. He found the files locked, but that didn't deter him. His internal matrix plugged in through the network and overrode the security.
He found that the joints were made of a new-form of metal that Robotnik invented out of nanite-produced gel which had a semi-tight bond, each nanite flowing around each other, but it flowed like cold molasses, but still liquid.
"That explains the flexibility," Metal-Sonic thought.
Nanites; Mecha was familiar with them. They were microscopic robot like cells that carry energy, like red-blood cells slightly, can cause havoc, like viruses, and have numerous other uses. He didn't carry any inside his hull, though, besides the ones in his joints.
What Mecha found fascinating about these nanites was that the particularly unique was that they seemed organic in a way. Metal-Sonic pulled up advanced biology files, particularly dealing with bones. He was astonished to find that the nanites in his joints were made in the same shape of organic cartilage cells in any animal skeleton.
"It seems that Robotnik made a breakthrough in bio-robotics. This surpasses the roboticizer greatly."
Mecha downloaded the data he found about these "bio-nanites" into his memory banks. He then began downloading the advanced biology files, but they were too large to store. He took a few trips to download as much as he dared, then empty it onto several flash-cards he kept in his quarters. It took time, but since Robotnik was gone, he had plenty of time.
Once he was done, he thought about Chaos and Robotnik. He recalled that the doctor was flying the Egg Carrier 2 to Sapphire City. He thought in grim amusement at the battle or lack there of if Chaos got the last Emerald.
Maybe he too should fly to Sapphire City…just to play spectator.
- - - - -
Back in the Mystic Ruins, Sonic was pounding the earth with all the speed he could carry. That vision of Perfect Chaos was carved into his mind, and suddenly remembered the Blue Emerald and what he saw with it. Chaos in the vision looked a whole lot like the monster Sonic saw in the Emerald's facets.
The thought just made him run faster.
Sonic saw the train station ahead and slowed so as not to overshoot Tails' workshop. He ran up the steps and stopped at the Cyclone. Tails quickly followed up, panting; the flight took a lot out of him, and he landed, winded and reeling beside Sonic.
"C'mon, we got to get that Emerald out and we'll run to Knothole with it. Hurry!"
Tails jogged up to the Cyclone to fetch the Emerald. Suddenly, a pillar of water erupted from where the Cyclone stood. Sonic and Tails were thrown back from the sound and the shaking of the earth. The Cyclone was deep inside the pillar.
Suddenly, the pillar vanished, and the Cyclone stood dripping, and needless to say, cleaner then ever before.
Tails quickly got up and opened the engine compartment, fear growing in his mind. He found the converter, but the Emerald, was gone.
"Oh no! The last Emerald's gone!" Tails cried out.
Sonic's eyes grew wide in realization. "Chaos nabbed it!"
Tails looked up to Sonic, ready to panic. "What are we gonna do now?"
Sonic paused, and blurted out "We gotta juice to the city, pronto!"
Chapter 30: The Fall of Sapphire City
Thunder, rain and lightning
Danger, water rising
Clamor, sirens wailing
Sonic wasn't even a quarter way to Sapphire City when it happened.
It was a beautiful day in Sapphire City. It was about noon now, and a rush hour was active as people from their offices were trying to grab a quick lunch and rush back to their offices. People were in the downtown region, walking to shopping marts, conversing with each other; completely oblivious to what was going to happen.
It was in this pre-storm atmosphere when Knuckles the Echidna came running in, panting and looking serious. He began pleading with people to move inland, for there was a huge sea monster heading towards the city. Several people scoffed this, saying something like he was watching too much Sci-Fi Channel movies, but some saw the fear in the Echidna's eyes and complied. A few of the latter were the Rose family, and the Flickies that were staying with them.
Amy didn't know Knuckles long, but knew that he was Sonic's friend, and Sonic trusted Knux like none other. It would be wise to trust him here.
While some lagged and some fled, there was a disturbance beneath the pavement, deep within the sewers. The still waters that flowed through the sewers suddenly started to stir; a low rumbling was evident as well.
Knuckles felt the ground shake slightly and ran for his life. Some other people also felt it and began to venture deeper into the mainland quickly as well.
Water poured into the sewers below, surging through the pipes.
The traffic continued through Station Square and the downtown region, undaunted. Suddenly, several manholes blew, water shooting out like great geysers! People screamed and ran. Cars veered away from the water flow. The streets began to crack from the extreme pressure that was still building underneath.
From the skyscrapers, windows blew out, and tons on water poured out like water from a pitcher. More and more skyscrapers bent and gave to the flood; the streets cracked like wood and water shot skyward; and suddenly, a huge wave, ten stories tall roared off the coast. This tsunami bulldozed through Station Square and deep into the city, until its weight took over, and it brought down building after building with its fall.
The sky began to cloud. Lightning flickered to and fro, striking the building with all their wraths. The water began to rise quickly. 100 feet. 200 feet. 300 and it still rose without stopping.
Very soon, Sapphire City changed from a bustling city, to a post-apocalyptic landscape; the buildings, leaning and broken, looked like tombstones of a lost civilization. The Fall of Sapphire City had only taken ten minutes.
- - - - -
Sonic rounded a bend in the jungle trail which led to a hill. He didn't even know what he would do if he beat Chaos to the city, but he was going to do something. He ran up the hill, not slacking his pace, but stopped frozen when he reached the top. Tails was right behind him, and when he reached the top, he drew a breath.
From the high hill, they could see Sapphire City, but instead of the city they grew to like, they saw that over half of it was underwater, and that a huge storm had built on top of it.
"Sonic! He beat us!" Tails shouted in despair.
Sonic stood, not responding. He had never seen such a disaster before, and it torched his heart.
"Why?" Sonic mouthed.
"Sonic! Knuckles is here! He may be hurt!"
Sonic snapped out of it. "What? Why the heck is he here at Ground Zero?"
Sonic took off, running on the ground as far as the floods would allow, and building hopping the rest of the way. He was glad for the practice he had a few days before.
He reached the "ruins" of Sapphire City, and was shouting Knuckles' name everywhere.
"Knuckles! Knuckles! Where are you, man?"
Sonic looked around at the disaster area: half-looking for the red Echidna, and half-looking at all the destruction. It was like…the beginning of the end of the world. It was...too much.
Sonic stopped on a strip of the Speed Highway, which happened to survive the surge of the tsunami. His eyes hurt at the repeated lightning strikes.
"Knuckles! Where are you?"
"Hey! Who is that?"
"Knux? Where the heck are you?"
"Under this car!"
Sonic looked around and spotted a red SUV lying upside down, and he saw a shoe sticking out. "Hey! What the hey happened?" Sonic sprinted around and found Knux lying on his front.
"I was running…when I heard the ground rumble. I got to…this highway…and when the tidal wave hit…it threw this stupid car onto my leg. I think it's broken!"
Sonic looked at the leg that the offending SUV had pinned down the leg. Blood was everywhere. Sonic winced. "Man, Knux, that looks awful."
"Yeah, duh!" Knuckles felt that Sonic was asking if the sky is blue.
"I'm sorry! Okay?" Sonic stood staring at the car, and wondered which way to move it.
"Don't try, Sonic. You couldn't make any progress moving that car as me pushing a glacier!"
Tails parachuted in by his pair of tails and landed just a few feet away. "Hey, you found Knuckles!"
"Yeah, he did. Did you just come by to announce to a dead city that I broke my leg under a flying SUV and the fact that Sonic found me?"
"Cool it, Knux!"
"You should talk! You're standing there on two good legs!"
Suddenly, the three were interrupted when the side of a nearby building blew out with the sound of glass breaking times 50, and the water began pouring out. Then, it swelled into a bubble and it began morphing. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles stood motionless, staring at the bizarre show. Tails' face wrinkled in disgust as eyes began to form. Knuckles stared unblinking, and Sonic looked stern.
The bubble stretched, and into the shape of a moray eel's head. Green eyes formed and produced narrow slits. The skin of the creature grew scales, and Sonic stood staring at the monster he saw twice in two different visions.
The monster's head raised and let out a roar that shook the waters and the very pavement that the three were standing.
"If only I was dreaming! That monster…" Sonic pointed at Chaos, his eyes rimmed red with anger. "…is a real menace!"
"Sonic, I have an idea to got Knuckles out! I'll push upwards on the car, using my jet-anklets to get better push, and you'll drag Knuckles out!"
Sonic snapped out of looking at Chaos and looked at Tails. "Gotcha. Let her rip, kid!"
Tails clicked his heels and pushed up on the SUV, spinning his tails to get even more push. Sonic saw it lift slightly, and dragged Knuckles out. Knuckles cursed at the pain as Sonic rescued him. Tails dropped the SUV, and it crashed down again, glass spilling onto the highway.
"Thanks, guys," Knuckles said.
"Heck of a good thing that was since that jerk is playing proud punk over there!" Sonic shouted, pointing behind him to Chaos. "And we can't do a thing about it!"
Chaos dove forward into the water, bored of his view from the building and reformed a short ways away and sank his jaws into a nearby building. The three cringed at the sound of metal tearing and ripping apart.
Suddenly, all of them heard jet engines coming closer. It sounded very familiar to all of them.
"Sonic, look!" Tails pointed towards the north. "It's Eggman!"
Sonic looked and saw the Egg Carrier coming their way. "Wha--? I thought the Egg Carrier was brought down!"
"For your information, hedgehog, that is the Egg Carrier's mundane duplicate, the Egg Carrier 2."
Sonic looked up to see Metal-Sonic, sitting on a building, staring down at the destruction. Sonic regained his cool.
"For once, Mecha, I agree with you. What the heck are you doing up there?"
"I'm, what you would say, 'watching the show?'"
Sonic couldn't believe Metal-Sonic would have the gall to watch mass destruction, but his mind changed when he saw the Egg Cannon cover open.
The Egg Cannon fired and shot through Chaos' liquid body, causing the water to heat up, and steam rose from the floods. But that's all it did, for Chaos still stood defiant, glaring so hard at the Egg Carrier 2 that it could burst into flame from the glare alone.
But that was not Chaos' idea.
Sonic saw that there was a huge glow building in Chaos' throat. Chaos opened his mouth and out shot a beam that seemed to be made of lightning. It shot skywards and it breached through the Egg Carrier 2.
The Egg Carrier 2 split cleanly through the middle, like a hot knife sliced through a butter stick.
"Whoa!" Tails let out.
"Eggman's toast!" Sonic let out quietly, wide-eyed at Chaos' power.
Metal-Sonic saw the brief battle, and flew off, obviously having seen what he wanted to see.
"Chicken!" Sonic shouted after him, hearing Mecha's jet.
"Not now, Sonic!" Knuckles barked, sitting up, breathing through his teeth at the shock of pain in his leg.
"We gotta get Knux out of here!" Tails said.
"How? Chaos is right over there!" Sonic motioned to Perfect Chaos. "If you try to airlift him, he'll pick you off like he did Eggman, and you'll be nothing but ashes!"
Suddenly, the same light that showed five people different visions flew past Chaos' head and flew in front of Sonic.
"Hey, it's you! You're the one who sealed Chaos in the Master Emerald! Tikal…"
Knuckles and Tails looked at the ball of light as it fluttered around, then it swelled into a glowing red silhouette of a young girl. The three shielded his eyes as the glow became too much. Then, the light faded and there stood a young, Echidna girl wearing ancient attire.
"Tikal?" Knuckles said.
"Yes. I was sealed in the Master Emerald along with Chaos, hundreds of years ago. But when Chaos broke out, I was released as well. To warn you, I had to give you visions of the past, so you could know what Chaos would do when he gets to his full potential. He's angry and bitter with the death of the chao, and he won't let up at all. His heart is as hardened just like my father's."
Chaos roared again, and something fell from head. Knuckles saw what they were, just as one plinking onto the pavement nearby.
"Hey, that's not cool!" Sonic picked up the object, a dull-grey gem.
"He drained the Emeralds of their power! He must be put back into the Master Emerald, NOW!"
"How can that help?" Knuckles said, testing his leg bravely and found that it wasn't broken at first thought. Relieved, he stood up, ignoring the jolt of pain.
"It won't change what's inside, will it Tikal?" Sonic added. "He may be out of our trouble, but with the sight of the dead chao still in this mind, he'll just stay angry, and his heart will be in turmoil!"
"He'll just be trapped forever!" Knuckles finished.
"What other choice do we have?" Tikal asked.
Tails sat thinking, gazing at Chaos off and on. Then, he thought about the conversation that they had earlier the past week-end. Sonic said something about dead chao. Amy said that Chaos appeared in the moats near the chao. Knuckles also saw the chao. Sonic also told him about the Flicky's dream.
"That's it!" Tails exclaimed.
"Whoa, kid! What's with the blurt-out?"
"The chao! Remember that Chaos was the guardian of the chao? He's angry now that he thought that all the chao were killed…"
Sonic was catching on. "…but all of them weren't! One was rescued by Tikal!"
"Let alone all of the ones at Sunset Resort," Tails added.
"Hey, you're right. Do you think they survived?"
Knuckles looked at the flood. "Not likely."
"They could've. The chao garden is on the top floor of that hotel. That hotel was tall too, so there is a chance."
"First of all, we gotta get there without a certain water monster with anger issues finding us."
"We could use the Chaos Emeralds," Tikal suggested.
"What? These?" Sonic held out the dead Emerald.
"And use them how?"
"You should know!"
"What, get a sling and throw them at his head?" Sonic was getting ticked.
"Sonic!" Tails said.
"Remember how you beat the Death Egg, Sonic? You used the Emeralds!"
"But they actually had power in them at the time. They're deader then a burned-out light bulb."
"Wait, Tails has an idea!" Knuckles said. "The last time, you went Super and the Emeralds converted to pure energy. If the actual jewel is still here, that means some energy is still there. You may still be able to use them."
"But first, we need to find the rest of them."
"Geez, they could be anywhere," Sonic said, looking around.
"Sonic!" someone shouted from above.
Sonic looked up to see three birds fluttering towards them, and they were carrying two dark grey gems like the one Sonic has. It was the three Flickies: Rigel, Turos and Tava.
"Hey, you guys!"
The three dropped the gems onto the pavement. "We found these, and thought you'd need them. What is that?"
"The water monster?"
Knuckles got up and started listening, something was happening. There was a weak signal, something ringing in his mind. He began walking to the source.
"Knux! You got to get off that leg!"
Knuckles ignored Sonic and looked into the water. On a sunken part of the Speed Highway, there was a gem, glittering through the broken light.
"Look! There's one below!"
Sonic jogged up and saw Knuckles pointing down at the gem below. "Drat. That's gotta be at least 10 feet down."
"That's no problem. I can swim. Sonic, can you hold these jet anklets for me?"
"Sure," Sonic took the jet anklets and watched Tails dive in. A few seconds later, Tails emerged with the Emerald.
"Well, that makes five." Sonic twiddled his thumbs impatiently.
"Two to go," Knuckles muttered.
"I think I can find them," Tikal spoke up. "I'll be right back. Chaos shouldn't bother me."
Tikal vanished into her light form and flew away.
"Even if I go Super with these Emeralds, would it be able to fight Chaos with them? He made short work of the Egg Carrier 2," Sonic said.
"Like it hasn't happened before. Tikal was able to stop Chaos with the Master. You should be able to use the Emeralds against him."
Perfect Chaos suddenly dove forward into the water, and what happened was surreal. Buildings began to tip over from some unseen force.
"Looks like Chaos is bent on destruction underneath the floodwaters," Knuckles commented dryly.
Tikal suddenly zipped back again and reformed into her Echidna form. Two Emeralds dropped from nowhere with her. "I found them on top of a building."
"Well, that's seven." Sonic sighed. The thought of using dead Emeralds against a monster that was bigger then the Egg Carrier itself was unnerving.
"Better try now, Sonic. Chaos will flatten the place before sunset."
Sonic looked at the wake that Chaos was creating with his underwater movement. Then, he lifted up one Emerald and closed his eyes. The other Emeralds began spinning around Sonic, orbiting faster and faster as time went on. Suddenly, a bright light shone from the Emerald that Sonic held and enveloped Sonic's body. Tails, Tikal, the Flickies and Knuckles covered their eyes at the light.
When the light dimmed, the others saw Sonic, now glowing an orange-ish color, and was enveloped with a golden fire. His spines now stood up as if charged with electricity. He floated a few inches off the ground. His eyes also changed: instead of an emerald green they were now a golden yellow.
Super Sonic turned to the rest of the people on the highway. "Let's kick some butts."
Tails cheered and Knuckles flashed a thumbs-up.
"Sonic, make sure that you keep Chaos away from Station Square. We can't have him interrupting us."
"Got it. I'll do more then just play distraction." Sonic turned away and faced Chaos, who had now emerged a good distance away. "I'm going to take him down."
Sonic flashed down the water surface, leaving a trail of yellow light.
"C'mon! We got to find the chao!"
Chapter 31: Final Fight
If it won't stop, there will be no future for us…
Super Sonic caught Chaos ripping apart a mass of building farther away, and set out to hit him as hard as he could. He knew that Chaos' weak-spot at all the last forms was the brain. Unfortunately, Chaos now had a virtual helmet now. He had a cartilaginous skull that covered the brain at all spots except from behind the eyes and below the base of the skull.
It'd be best to hit it from the underside, where the brain had the widest gap.
Sonic struck Chaos' side, and whipped upwards into Chaos' brain.
Perfect Chaos' head split in red fire, and a roar of pain echoed through the desolate landscape. Super Sonic flew out of the water and landed on his feet on top of a building. His eyes quickly looked for Chaos, and saw him an eighth of a mile away.
Chaos found out that he wasn't alone after that first hit, and was bound determined not to have it happen again. That hit was a power drain on him. He searched for the offender and found Sonic, but instead of his blue, he was a hot orange color, and flying.
Super Sonic charged again, close to the water's surface. Chaos retaliated with purple fire bolts that shot from the spines on his back. Sonic swerved to and fro to avoid being hit; despite being invincible, he could still feel the searing heat as each bolt soared by at blinding speed.
Chaos swiped at Sonic with one of his long watery arms, but Super Sonic was too fast. He ripped into Chaos' flesh and hit the current in the center of the Chaos' body. He rushed upwards and smacked into Chaos' glowing brain in a ball of glowing spines.
Chaos' head blew off with light blue fire; his scream seemed to rip the sky. Chaos' body melted into the flood, and Super Sonic stood nearby, waiting for him to come back up again.
But Chaos didn't come back up. The thought of Chaos gone already appeared, but he only whacked him twice. It took three hits to beat Chaos 0; two wouldn't down Perfect Chaos.
Suddenly, two jaws popped out on either side of him, and with sudden realization, he saw that he was in Perfect Chaos' maw! Adrenaline pumping through his veins, he soared upwards full throttle. He heard the slap of Chaos' jaws close just beneath him. He stopped over 2,000 feet above, and glared down. Perfect Chaos was staring up at him like a crocodile staring up at a baby chick about to fall out of a tree and into the water.
"Jerk!" Sonic shouted down.
Sonic shot horizontally and dove into the more dense buildings. Chaos pursued, mouth open to scoop up Sonic and chew him up into mincemeat.
Super Sonic was waiting. He found one low building that had a radio tower on the top. He got an idea:
He grabbed onto it with both hands and swung around it. His body super-charged worked perfectly with it. He started moving vertically on the pole, still spinning up it and when Chaos got closer, Super Sonic launched himself towards Chaos' neck, yelling as he went.
Sonic plunged into Chaos' neck and shot into the brain.
- - - - -
Tails was comforting a half-drowned chao, and watched Perfect Chaos fight Super Sonic. He saw Sonic spin up the tower and shoot right into Chaos' head. Chaos' head burst into white flames.
"Wow! Did you see that?" Tails was talking to anyone who would hear. The chao looked wearyingly in the battle's direction.
Knuckles, despite his leg, was handing up chao through a hole in the roof that they were able to make in the Sunset Resort roof. Tails was comforting the now pearly-white chao that was his by looks only. Tikal was sitting nearby, comforting a crying default-blue-and-yellow chao, and some other chao, different shapes and colors, were lying out, totally winded from their near-death experience.
Suddenly, Knuckles appeared and handed up another chao, a green one with two head spines. It was the one Sonic was raising the few days before.
"I found him hiding on the shelf. He was scared of the water, and quite frankly, I don't blame him right now."
Tails took the chao, and it was shivering and its eyes were wide open in an agony of pure fear. "Don't worry, Dash, everything will be okay…"
A rush of energy and Super Sonic appeared. "Hey, guys."
"Where's Chaos?" Tails asked right away.
"He ducked into the water, and I can't see under there. It'd be suicide to find him under there. Where's Dash?"
Tails held up the green chao to Sonic, who scooped him up. "Man, Chaos nearly killed him." Sonic made a death glare towards where he was before. "I'm gonna give it to him good."
"Be careful, Sonic. We just need him to see the chao," Tikal said from his back.
"Look! The clouds are fading, and the lightning's stopped."
Sonic looked up to see that the sun was breaking through the dark clouds. The lights were refreshing to see. Everyone felt their spirits rise.
"Now we just need to find Chaos and give him a psychology class." Sonic handed Dash back to Tails. "I'll juice right back!" Sonic turned and was gone in a yellow flash.
"He can do it…can he?" Tails said to Tikal.
- - - - -
"Yo! Chaos! It's getting cold up here!"
Super Sonic was growing agitated at Chaos' lack of attacking.
"Coward." Sonic muttered.
Suddenly, he was blown head over heels as a huge lightning bolt beam torched the area where he stood; he flew a good distance until he screeched to a halt in the air. He looked back to see Perfect Chaos towering above the building he was standing on. He was smacked by the same laser that split the Egg Carrier. He thanks his invincibility for saving him; still, that one hurt.
Sonic turned 'round, a fury rising in his mind and dove towards Chaos with all the speed he could. Perfect Chaos shot red fire bolts, much faster then the purple ones and Sonic got hit a few times. He kept getting hit over and over, and finally ducked to the surface.
The fire bolts changed course and dove right towards Sonic. Super Sonic ducked under water and the bolts hissed as they splashed down into the water, extinguished.
Super Sonic shot forward, under the flood's surface towards Perfect Chaos' body. Even though he couldn't see underneath the water much at all, but he could see a vertical tunnel that rises from the surface and knew that it was Chaos. It looked like an upside tornado, like back in Windy Valley.
He shot up the "tornado" and smacked into the brain.
Boom! A resounding boom rang through the city as did the pain in agony, followed by a roar of green fire. Super Sonic fluttered up and searched for Chaos, looking in all directions, not wanting to be shot down by that lightning bolt beam again.
Chaos rose to his full height a good mile away, in a denser part of the buildings. Sonic shout towards him, intending to leave the speed of sound in the dust.
He shot forward like a lightning bolt, but Chaos wasn't called Perfect Chaos for nothing; he uprooted a nearby building and threw it at Super Sonic.
Sonic just had enough time to see it and to duck it barely, just as a ruined building flew by over his head. Even then he got smacked across the head that sent him spinning.
He knew that he'd hurt a bunch when he de-charged but there was no use thinking about that. Perfect Chaos received four hits. About now, he saw that each fire burst corresponded with the color of each Chaos Emerald. The first was a red one, then a light blue one, then white, then green.
That's it! Each hit Chaos took, he lost power from one Chaos Emerald each time. That meant Chaos must take three more hits to get down now.
Piece of cake.
Unfortunately, it proved to be not the proverbial section of a certain pastry. Chaos proved much more of an opponent. He began changing tactics and his sharp eyesight seemed to keep catching Super Sonic before he could get close enough.
Sonic gave up trying and hid beside a building. This is crazy! Three hits away and he couldn't get within a hundred yards!
- - - - -
"Sonic hit him again, but Perfect Chaos seems to keep dodging him every time!" Tails said.
Knuckles appeared again, dripping wet, carrying one more chao, a pink one. It looked like the one Amy raised. The Echidna gasped, "That's the last one, and my leg is killing me."
Tails counted heads. "Thirteen chao. Do you think that'll be enough?"
"I hope he'll see these chao and soften his heart," Tikal said, worried.
"I hope Sonic gets going on beating Chaos," Tails said.
A boom, a shriek and a rumbling seemed to answer the question. All looked to see water fall from the sky over a mile away, accompanied by a flash of yellow fire.
"Looks like he heard you, Tails," Knuckles commented. "We better flag down a chopper; I saw a few on the way here. Tails, can you see if you can catch one?"
"Sure," Tails stood up and gave his chao to Knuckles, then remembered something, "Hey Knuckles, doesn't Super form die out after quite a bit of time?"
"Since the Emeralds were dead, wouldn't they last shorter?"
Knuckles blanched. "Uh oh…"
- - - - -
Super Sonic was able to ambush Perfect Chaos by hiding in a window near the water level and when Chaos passed by, looking for him, he set into a spin-dash and shot through.
Two hits to go and he knew that they won't be easy. Chaos gets trickier each hit.
Then the monster appeared once again only three hundred yards away, roaring as it emerged. Sonic began to hate the very sight of water by now, for he knew it would remind him of Chaos.
He dove forward and began swerving around to avoid what he thought would be inevitable fire bolts, but Chaos had another trick up his sleeves, in the form of waterspouts.
Perfect Chaos threw four whirlwinds made of water at Super Sonic. Sonic of course was not expecting this so was caught on one. It threw him backwards, flipping about like a paper in a strong gust.
"Dang you, Chaos!"
Sonic curled into a stationary spin-dash and shot forward in retaliation, swerving to and fro to avoid the waterspouts. He shot into Chaos' torso and shot into the brain.
A flash of purple fire erupted from Chaos' head and Chaos melted into the ground.
Sonic landed onto a nearby building, and panted. Strange, he didn't remember fatigue at all the last time he went Super. Maybe he just didn't remember.
He looked at himself and saw that he was a little dimmer before, then he remembered that Super form didn't last forever, only Hyper form did.
"Oh, crap! Time's almost up!"
Sonic looked around for any sign of Chaos, and saw he was nowhere near. "Shoot!"
Sonic began whipping around, looking for Chaos, his alarm growing as his yellow-orange was deepening to orange.
Sonic whipped around and found Chaos, over a mile away, leering over a building, a perfect vantage point. Sonic shot forward, moving a little slower then before.
If Sonic de-charged, it would be dangerous. If before, Sonic would fall into the water and likely drown or get shot by Chaos. If after, Chaos would be defeated, but what about after? What if he de-charged while still inside Chaos? Would he still give Chaos the final blow, or would it be just like before?
A half-mile away. Sonic saw part of the Speed Highway ahead, above the water surface. He could pick up some speed with it, maybe.
When he got to the Highway, his feet touched the ground and he ran forward and shot forwards. Chaos shot down fire bolts at him as thick as a huge hailstorm. Sonic's spines faded more, and his speed began to drag. Sonic screamed in desperation and poured out his energy into this last stride.
Only a thousand feet. Five hundred. His spines took on a greenish color. He must not let this happen!
He shot through Chaos' torso, his spines losing their glow. He continued to fly upwards and saw the pink glow of the brain. He steered towards it and smacked into the brain, just as the Chaos energy left his body and his spines faded into blue.
- - - - -
"Right over there, captain!"
Tails was guiding a helicopter pilot towards where Perfect Chaos was. While he had said his words, Chaos' head exploded in a deep blue flame, and then his body erupted into a white pillar of fire.
"Whoa, what was that?" Tails said.
"Chaos is defeated," Tikal said quietly, face empty of emotions.
"I didn't think there'd be a firework's display at the end," Knuckles muttered, watching a medic who was dabbing some antiseptic onto the cuts.
"I can't believe how you didn't break you leg under that SUV," the nurse said.
"I'd rather not talk about it. Will it need stitches?"
"Yes, that's a very nasty slice, but it didn't cut an artery. I can do it here; this is a medical helicopter."
"So I gathered." Knuckles peered at all the medical supplies nearby.
They landed on a section of Speed Highway that was still above ground, other then the one where it started. Tails saw a blue body lying face down on a partially submerged area on a ramp below where they stood. Seven glowing gems surrounded him.
Tails gasped. "It's Sonic!"
Tails leapt out before the chopper landed and parachuted down to Sonic's limp body. He grabbed his arms and dragged him to a higher part of the ramp. "Sonic! Please, wake up. You made it through Windy Valley; you can make it."
Tails flipped Sonic around and patted Sonic on the cheeks repeatedly, to wake him.
"Come on, Sonic!"
Tails thought about the pumping he gave Sonic back in Windy Valley, and proceeded to do the same. Sonic was not as drowned as he was back then, but he was close. Tails pumped and pumped and pumped, and then Sonic lurched forward and vomited out the water in his lungs.
Tails was glad and disgusted at Sonic's present consciousness: glad that he was alive, and disgusted at Sonic's reaction.
Sonic lay back and wheezed. "Hey, kid, I guess I did it."
Tails peered at the Emeralds in a circle nearby; they all had their colors. "Chaos is gone, huh?"
"I think. I didn't see him when I blew his head off; I de-charged just then and nearly drowned. I think the Emerald's saved me, despite they nearly killed me."
"It was the blue one. Somehow it ended up in my hand and while I was falling, I suddenly changed direction, I think, and instead of the water, I fell onto this ramp. I was over nothing of water, then it changed to this ramp."
There was shouting from the ramp above, and several chao suddenly scampered from the ramp and flew down towards Sonic and Tails.
"What in the world?" Sonic looked up.
Tikal jumped down from above, and walked up to Sonic. "I'm glad you're safe."
"Me too. What was that shouting?"
Tikal stifled a giggle and said, "It was Knuckles. Some lady in a white uniform is tending to his leg, and Knuckles doesn't like it."
"Good ol' Knux, despite witnessing the near end of the world, he hasn't changed a bit."
Tails was gathering up the Emeralds, but couldn't pick up all of them without dropping one or two of them. "Hey, Sonic! Help me out here!"
Sonic helped scoop up the Emeralds, and the highway began to shake.
"Whoa, what is that?" Tails asked.
"Look! The water's flowing out! It's going back into the ocean!"
The water level began to drop; with Perfect Chaos gone, it had nothing to hold it up. Suddenly, a figure rose from the water and stalked onto the ramp.
"Hey, it's Chaos!" Tails pointed, and was ready to run to keep the Emeralds away from him.
Chaos stomped forwards towards Sonic, but stopped when one of the chao, the green one with the head-points, waddled up to Chaos in plain curiosity, chattering as it went.
Chaos heard the chao chatter, looked down and saw the chao. Suddenly, the rest of the chao had glimpsed Chaos and were coming closer to see what this was. Chaos couldn't believe his now-featureless eyes. He thought all of the chao were killed.
"These are the chao you were protecting, long ago…" a voice said, nearby.
Chaos looked up to see Tikal, the only one who she made friends with him. Anyone else who saw him would run away.
"They survived for generations and have lived peacefully with humans and Möbians." Tikal walked closer to Chaos.
They survived? Chaos thought. What a wonder…
"The fighting's over, harmony's restored and life goes on."
Chaos looked at the chao again; for reassurance, he squatted down and petted the nearest chao. Then, they all came up to him begging for a pet and to be picked up. Chaos picked up two of them, and both giggled in his grasp. The cold in his heart melted away, replaced with forgiveness.
"Looks like Chaos changed again..." Sonic said, from the side.
"…yeah, and for the better." Tails finished.
As Chaos was caressing the other chao, Tikal turned to Sonic and Tails. "Thank you so much."
Sonic smiled, as did Tails.
Chaos lifted his head, and looked at Sonic, stood up and bowed to him. Sonic wasn't sure how to react, but his first impulse was to bow in respect. He did.
Chaos lifted his head higher and heard Knuckles' loud protesting up top. He bounded up, followed by Sonic and Tails.
Knuckles only had half of his stitches put in, and was not enjoying it, when Chaos strutted up. Knuckles wasn't sure how to react, but when Chaos saw the nurse trying to stitch up the Echidna's leg (or was for she saw Chaos and fainted), he walked up to Knuckles, saw the blood on Knuckles' leg, and grabbed the knee where the wound was.
It hurt Knuckles at first, but Suddenly, Chaos' hand (the one holding the knee), glowed green and a noise like high-pitched water falling rushed through the air. In a few seconds, Chaos let go, and Knuckles inspected his knee.
"Huh? What have you done?" Knuckles saw no mark or even a scar where the gash was. "It's cured!"
Knuckles leapt up immediately and tested his leg, enjoying the fact that it was cured. He turned to Chaos, and remembering ancient tradition for gratitude, he bowed deeply, and Chaos returned the gesture.
"Whoa, that was cool. Did you see that, Tails?" Sonic said, having witnessed the healing.
"Yeah, that' must be how he helps the chao."
Chaos stalked over towards Tikal, and Tikal looked at the three, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. "I hope we shall see each other again soon. Good-bye!"
Tikal grabbed Chaos' hand, and a ball of light shown between then. It began to grow until it enveloped them both. The three blinked in the sudden light, but it faded as quickly as it came. Chaos and Tikal…disappeared.
"Where do you think they went?" Tails asked.
"Back to the past, I reckon," Knuckles answered. "Hey, look over there!"
Sonic and Tails looked to where Knuckles pointed, and in the distance, a hovercraft was flying away towards the north, towards Mystic Ruins. The design on the hovercraft was unmistakable.
"Eggman!" Tails shouted.
"He made it, through you-know-what?"
Tails shrugged. "Looks like things ARE back to normal again."
The three shared a quick laugh, gathered up the chao and the Chaos Emeralds and they boarded the chopper to East Sapphire City, the part where the water didn't make it.
Chapter 32: The End of All Things
Open your heart, it's gonna be all right…
There was much joy and festivities as the helicopter carrying the chao and the three heroes landed on a hospital helicopter pad. Everyone was cheering as the three stepped out. Sonic had found a medical bag and stuffed the Emeralds into there so they would be easier to carry.
Sonic found Amy there and Amy needless to say, rushed forward and threw her arms about Sonic's neck. Sonic tolerated the welcome, but was blushing nonetheless.
Reporters flooded the area and eagerly wanted to get a scoop on the Super Sonic battle. News helicopters had been watching the actual fight itself, and the reporters inside them wanted the story. Sonic obliged him (it was his turn after all), and Tails slinked away; one of these meeting was enough for him. Knuckles didn't care for crowds of humans, so he followed Tails.
Sonic talked about everything, and Amy, starry-eyed, watched on. In the p
ictures that would appear later, Amy would appear with Sonic, much to her delight.
The next several days were bittersweet. Several families were reunited, but some would be separated forever. Three-fourths of the city was destroyed from Chaos' wrath, and would take a long time to get Sapphire City back to its former glory.
Knuckles went back to the Floating Island, thinking he's been on the mainland long enough. He told the Chaotix about what happened in the city.
Sonic and Tails kept the seven Chaos Emeralds, but Tails graciously used them as a power source for generators and other energy-related needs. He built the converters in a whirlwind, so he could get them to work as soon as possible. The rebuilding needed to get a good start.
Sonic helped out, flying the Tornado back and forth from Santiago City, picking up supplies. He never was part of a rebuilding project, but he had an idea it wouldn't be the last, thinking of the now-empty Robotropolis. Eggman wouldn't be needing it now, so they'd better start tearing it down.
He called in back to Knothole to assure that they were all right; Sally had seen Perfect Chaos destroying Sapphire City, and thought that Sonic was still there.
July turned to August, and August turned into September. Reconstruction was in full swing, and half of the city was cleaned up, and both Egg Carriers, which were deposited into the city from the tsunami, were deconstructed and the metal was used as new building materials when melted down. The weapons were also researched; they all knew Dr. Robotnik was a genius about new weapons, and scientists always were trying to find out about them.
Sonic and Tails were honored at a temporary City Hall (since the other one was destroyed in Station Square) and were rewarded for their valor; Tails for saving the city from a missile attack, and Sonic from Perfect Chaos. Since the city would need the Chaos Emeralds for reconstruction, they needed to keep some of them, but Sonic and Tails were given four of them: red, yellow, blue and white. Two of them, the purple and light blue ones, were stored in the Prison Island underground vaults to be brought out again for emergency. The green one was stored in the underground vault also temporarily until the Federal Reserve Bank was reconstructed.
They also got to keep the chao as a reward. Chao were a novelty in the city, and were considered very valuable, next to the Chaos Emeralds.
Sonic and Tails grew homesick of Knothole during the reconstruction, and when they got their gifts from the people of Sapphire City, they thought it was time to leave.
They flew back to Knothole, the chao in the front seat with Tails, as well as three of the Chaos Emeralds (the fourth one if you recall would be in the Tornado's engine compartment), and Sonic was on the saddle-seat near the tail.
"Tails, you gotta expand this thing; this saddle, though not too uncomfortable, gets a little aggravating after a while of sitting on it," Sonic said.
"Sure," Tails was divided to flying the plane and keeping the chao from playing with the controls. One incident that nearly turned disastrous was when Dash was reaching for the lever that transformed the Tornado into the Cyclone, the walker mode. Being almost a thousand feet in the air, a sudden transformation would make a smooth sailing into a solid drop.
A few hours later, they landed near Knothole and received another reception, slightly different then the human one, fewer people for one. They gathered around Sonic and Tails and naturally asked about the adventure and what the heck were the chao.
Tails escaped to his workshop with his chao and the backpack that carried the three Emeralds. He opened the bag and realized that there was only three.
"Oops! I forgot the one in the Tornado. Maybe I should get it…" Tails looked in the bag and saw that the one missing was the red one. "…uh, maybe I'll wait until I find a pair of leather glows."
The chao scampered towards the backpack and peered in. It made a noise like it was amazed and it patted the White Emerald's surface. Tails took the white one and just lay it on the ground so the chao could play with it easier. It smiled with delight and played with it.
"Looks like the white one's your favorite." Tails reached in and took the yellow one. It felt warm, but not blistering hot like the red one, but a welcome warmness, like a heater running on low.
He was admiring its glow, when he heard a voice. "Hey, Tails! Where's my Emerald?"
"Yeah, you know, the blue one!"
Tails reached in and brought out the Emerald. "Whoa, Sonic, did you leave it in water?"
"No, it feels wet to you too? Strange, isn't it? The red one feels hot, the blue one feels wet. What do the others feel like?" Sonic walked up and took the blue one.
"Well, this yellow one feels warm, not hot, just warm. The white one doesn't feel like much at all."
"Hmm, lemme see…"
Sonic reached down to the White Emerald, but Tails' chao cried out when his hand got close, as if Sonic was going to steal it. Sonic withdrew his hand.
"Impudent chao. He won't let me have the Emerald."
"I thought he was a she."
Sonic looked at Tails, then at the topknot. "You're right; it's a female. I guess we'll find out later how it feels." Sonic looked at the Emeralds. "Is the red one still in the Tornado?"
"Yep. I'm not worried about it blowing up or anything," Tails replied.
"That'd be just our luck now wouldn't it?"
Tails' stomach growled. "Oh, I forgot that it's almost suppertime. Do you know what's for supper, Sonic?"
"Nah, but knowing Antoine, it'll be some formal banquet or something. I just hope the beard doesn't ooze out of the oven again."
Tails stifled a giggle.
- - - - -
Supper was delicious. Antoine whipped together several dishes like beef lasagna, a spinach salad, a sugar-topped cake, and I won't describe others for they'll just make your mouth water in vain.
Sonic pigged out as did Tails, and Dash had trouble using his fork for his hands were still shapeless blobs. He solved this problem by just giving up the fork and practically diving into the lasagna and mauling it. Sonic nearly choked on a piece of cake watching Dash make a mess, finishing the lasagna and eyeing a nearby cake slice.
After supper, and the cleaning up from Dash's little experience in gourmet dining, Sonic and Tails went outside with their chao and were sitting in some lawn chairs, watching the stars come out one by one. Sonic was also fondling the Blue Chaos Emerald.
"Whoa, look! A shooting star!" Tails pointed up at a star that shot across the sky.
"Cool!" Sonic said, looking upwards for more, but after a few minutes, got bored and started looking at the Emerald again.
"What are you doing?" Tails asked finally.
"This Emerald has been doing strange stuff with me and I'm trying to figure it out. Maybe Knuckles will figure it out in those books of his and maybe I'll find out finally. It'd be cool to use this as something else then a power source."
"Yeah…" Tails looked at his chao who was eyeing the sky as if longing to be flying up there.
"Hey, Tails, did you ever find a name for your chao?" Sonic asked, watching the moon rise.
"No, I've been trying to decide, and when I think of a good one but this one keeps doing something to change my mind. He was a blue color before, but now he's white, REAL white."
"You could try Snowball…"
"Nah," Tails said after some thought, then his eyes widened. "Hey, how 'bout Frosty?"
"Frosty? You mean like the topping of the cake before Dash saw it?"
Both laughed and Dash fell asleep in Sonic's arms.
"It fits her. The big head reminds me of Frosty the Snowman. Here that, girl? You are Frosty."
The chao, Frosty, smiled and yawned sleepily.
Tails sat back and Frosty dozed off, tired from the flight back. Tails looked at Sonic, who was still fondling the Emerald. "We had a great adventure, didn't we, Sonic?"
"Yeah, no kidding, little bro…it's been fun." Sonic glanced at his phosphorescent bracelet as it glowed with nearly the same intensity as the Emerald.
"Where do you think Eggman went?" Tails asked.
"Probably back to that base in the Ruins, trying to figure out why he wasn't toast. He should've been, you know. That bolt tore that ship in such a surreal manner that it was a wonder how it happened."
Tails got up, carrying the sleeping Frosty. "I think I'll go to the bed now. See you tomorrow, Sonic."
"Good night, kid."
Tails left Sonic to stare up at the moon, admiring its pale face. This adventure was over, the next one would come up soon, he knew, but it wasn't now. It was now time to sit back and enjoy himself.