(Author's note: Well, here I am, back to Sonic work. I'd left it behind for a while but I learned that a lot of people consider my Sonic X fanfics to be masterpieces. What, really? You sure? I was kinda making those up as I went while busy with college. Well, since people enjoyed my Sonic work so much I'll give it another go. Like most fans, I aspire to try and find the 'perfect' Sonic continuality. That's why I'm trying out this series to see where it leads me. But that doesn't mean that MY perfect series is YOUR perfect series. This is not to suggest either that one Sonic continuality is superior to another. They're all equal. *Except AOSTH, that just sucks* This is just what I would find to be the most appealing style of Sonic universe.

This AU Sonic continuality is based off the formula: (SatAM-50%, STC-20%, Sonic X-10%, Archie-10%, Original spin-10%.) If you don't like that formula then stop reading now.

In addition, just because you know a character's personality and history in another continuality, don't assume that they will be the same here. Some characters have been altered quite a bit while others haven't. If you come across a character I have altered and don't like the change then feel free to tell me in a review and give me feedback on how you think it could be improved in the context of the story, but please keep the criticism constructive. The same goes for any couplings I may or may not do. There will be no feeding of the Trolls.)




It was raining, the kind of sooty, dirty rain that always fell in Metropolis City Zone, filled with the smog and dust continually pumped out by the city's many factories. It was the sort of rain you couldn't stand in for long periods of time without getting filthy. Through the haze it was only just possible to see the lights of cars and trucks traversing the main bridge that crossed the aqueduct, travelling home for the evening.

The traffic was thick at this time of day, the honking of horns a distant background noise. In the skies overhead flew the ever present and ever watchful Seekers; the eyes, wings, and claws of the Dominion, capable of plummeting swiftly on any target. They were formless shapes in the gloom, a mere suggestion of movement in a swirl of cloud, but they were definitely there.

With the rain coming down she could feel it chilling her bones, the wind pressing her matted fiery red hair to her body. Sally knew she was going to need a long, vigorous wash once this mission was over, but it couldn't be helped. This was the one and only time their target was going to be vulnerable on its route and rain or not, she had to be at her post. She shut it all out of her mind and focused on the scene before her.

Watching the bridge through her E.S., Enhanced Sight, goggles, the display on the internal lens told her the relative speed of every vehicle she saw as well was their registration number. Sally didn't like the city. It was closed in, dirty, loud, and foul, and it made her fur stand on end to think of actually living here. Her job, her mission and purpose, was the only thing that compelled her to remain. If it were up to her, she would spend her life far away from this terrible place.

Why anyone in their right mind would choose to live here was beyond her ability to grasp. Perhaps once upon a time the city had been a place of beauty and fairness, where justice was allowed to flourish and not the corporate and military favouritism practised by the authorities, but today it was a dried out, corrupted husk of that ideal.

She risked a glance down at her watch. A quarter to eight. It was almost time. Adjusting the scope of her goggles, she glanced up and down the bridge, just waiting for any sign of the oncoming convoy.

From her position on the rooftop of a building on one side of the aqueduct she could see everything she needed to and more besides. Looming just in the distance, high over the city and towering up over everything else was the Central Citadel.

The fortress was a massive construction, a huge dome that dwarfed the buildings around it and surrounded on all sides by support structures, including its own power plant and communications depot. Its curved, almost egg-like structure gleamed with its metallic exterior even in the pale evening light. Illumination from various points around its surface outlined the mammoth shape, giving its shadow an ominously large appearance against the smog. It was from there that the evil in the world spread, from there that a tyrant ruled this world with an iron fist.

A swift bleeping from the electronics in her goggles caught her attention and she looked down. The traffic that was attempting to use the bridge was being diverted by a large, nasty looking squadron of Swat-Bots, the drivers being directed in no uncertain terms to clear the way. The cars already on the bridge were quickly being cleared. In no time at all the route was free of vehicles.

Then the convoy itself lumbered into view. The first to attempt the crossing were several large assault vehicles with a Moto-Bug badnik escort on either side. They were enormous mobile platforms with machine gun turrets at each corner, manned by Swat-Bots. But these were merely the vanguard. Once they had come some distance onto the bridge, the tanker itself appeared.

It was a colossal hulk with receiver dishes and sensory antennae attached to its top, along with several cumbersome tanks jutting out in the centre. The red triangle of the Dominion was stamped proudly on its side. It was a chemical payload hauler, a heavy capacity carrier vehicle from the Chemical Plant Zone outside the city limits, down the coast to the south. The infamous distillation facility did not possess an aerodrome of its own and as such its products were moved to the airship port in Metropolis. Even now undoubtedly a freighter airship was standing by to deliver the cargo to its ultimate destination.

Sally began to make a quick note of the escort protecting this crucial target; the robots alongside and the amount of Seekers and helicopters in the air following from above. Slowly she reached up and turned the lapel of her blue jacket up, revealing the small communications node attached underneath.

"The tanker is on the bridge now. Twenty Swat-Bot guards, three T.M.A.T units, five Seeker escorts, and a few choppers." She said slowly and calmly into the device that crackled with electronic static back at her. Then she smiled. "Nothing you can't handle."

One of the Seekers had noticed that something was moving on the support structures of the bridge and it turned to look at it with its zooming optics. Whatever the anomaly was, it was racing up from the base of the city aqueduct that the bridge spanned and then up along the cables; an impossible feat of speed and agility. The Seeker dived down to investigate at once. It emerged out of the protective covering of smog and revealed its true form as a robotic bird of prey with several large, meter-long wings with mounted laser turrets on the underside.

That was what the speeding object had been waiting for. It burst forward with a flash of intense speed, racing up the vertical shaft of the bridge support with seemingly no effort to the gravity defying stunt. Then it launched itself out into midair in a colossal leap, spinning several times in an acrobatic stunt that seemed to defy the laws of motion and landed atop the robot's back.

The helicopters above all turned to shine their search lights down on him, giving him the spotlight he so loved to have when doing his favourite job. He grinned down at the watching people and made a thumbs-up gesture with one hand. The short, blue, fused quills that matched the fur covering the rest of his body, and his bright green tinged eyes gleamed vividly in that light.

His visage was one all the people of Metropolis knew, having seen it on television or the public broadcasting network more than once. All those in and out of their cars on either side of the bridge paused to look up at him, many pointing him out to their fellows.

"Alright! Let's get this show on the road!" Sonic the Hedgehog declared in a cocky, half-mocking voice as the robot swung back and forth trying to dislodge its passenger. With a burst from its thruster rockets it flew sharply back up, trying to reach the safety of its flock where its unwanted cargo could be disposed of. As it soared up almost vertically the hedgehog leapt from its back, doing a perfect spin in midair. "COWABUNGA!" He yelled, dropping down towards the other robots that began to raise their weapons up towards him.

"Priority one, hedgehog!" One of the Swat-Bot guards cried out in its electric monotone, bringing up its Metarex grade blaster rifle at the new target, the weapon humming as it charged. The device was about the length of the robot itself and the automaton had to have reinforced arms in order to hold and aim the weapon and deal with the near crushing recoil. There was a high-pitched whistle as each glowing white orb of charged particles shot forth. But Sonic was simply too fast, dodging so quickly that he seemed to blur in between the blasts that tore up the tarmac around him and sent pieces of concrete, metal, and stone falling into the aqueduct below.

"So boys, been practising your shooting for little ol' me?" He asked, racing around the legs of a badnik Moto-Bug which tried in vain to stab him with its forward pincers, but Sonic dodged left and right, his body a blue blur parting the rain.

Seeing an opening, the hedgehog spun in midair, curving his body around into a tight ball. He spun so fast that his quills turned into deadly rotating blades that cut cleanly through the metal casing of the robot's shell. The two halves of the Moto-Bug fell to either side and then exploded with a crackle of intense blue sparks as Sonic raced on through, dodging the bullets and laser blasts directed at him. His movements were fluid and precise, even in the heat of battle. He had absolute control over his centre of balance, slipping back and forth between the projectiles shot after him and coming on relentlessly.

The helicopters overhead followed his every movement, keeping the spotlight on the blue hedgehog as much as they could, but Sonic was too fast to be centred on for long. The co-pilot of one of the choppers reached for the radio, flipping the talking device on and yelling into it above the noise of the rotating blades.

"Confirmed, it's the Hedgehog!" He called out. "Seekers, move in! Take him out!"

At once the formation of Seeker bombers which had been following the convoy dipped down out of the clouds in perfect unison, spreading their metallic wings to slow their descent for the bombing run. Sonic looked up when he heard the afterburners of their rockets. Nobody could run from or withstand a direct barrage from the Seekers, but Sonic didn't intend to try. He just grinned as they approached, slipping themselves into formation to deliver their deadly ignited plasma payload as if bombing an entrenched hostile position. They were coming on quickly, the one in the lead opening its underside to reveal the interior where its plasma containers were housed. Still dodging the bullets fired at him, twirling in midair, Sonic pointed one finger at the approaching hazard and simply said;


They were just coming into range when, from some distance away, several loud shots rang out like distant thunder. A projectile impacted the leader directly in the underside and blew it to pieces in a fiery display with debris of twisted metal falling all around. The plasma it used for ammunition ignited in the blast, producing an even larger secondary explosion, the shockwave spreading out with the speed of a whip crack. Several of the robots turned to try and locate the point of origin for the long-range shots, but they were too slow and the unseen sniper took them out as well. Explosion after explosion rang out and a near constant rain of metal cascaded down. The remaining few Seekers regrouped a short distance away and backed off quickly, as that was part of their programming, to preserve the effectiveness of their unit.

"Nice shot, Sal!" The blue hedgehog said with a grin into the communications node attached to the underside of his fingerless gloves. On the building across the river, Sally watched the strike unfurl through her goggles, her hands busy re-cocking the Metarex ignited plasma rifle they had stolen from a depot some months ago; a long-range assault cannon capable of launching incendiary rounds for a range of up to two miles when properly aimed and discharged. That was her job on this mission: wait for the Seekers to be called down within firing range and then take them out. She was good at it by now, having been trained in the use of firearms since she was five years old, and she had been practising on this weapon since the day they stole it.

"The tanker, Sonic! Go for the tanker!" She told him urgently, firing another round and taking out a straggling Seeker which had lagged behind its fellows. By now the robotic birds had returned to the clouds to regroup. It would not take them long to determine where the sniper fire had come from and attack. Quickly she turned her attention on the Swat-Bots still protecting the colossal vehicle, firing on them to weaken the defence of their target.

"On it!" Sonic responded instantly, knowing how much of a timer they were on.

It would not be long before more 'bots than they could handle turned up and tried to overwhelm and subdue them. Racing past the smouldering heaps of the robots that had been guarding their target, the hedgehog moved right on up to the side of the tanker, slipping under the automated defences that tried to hit him when he came too close. Charging along its hull, he reached into his backpack and withdrew a square device. This he attached to the underside of the tanker with a magnetic link. The bomb was a charged particle discharger with quite a wide range. It was not powerful itself, but it would certainly be enough to ignite and then vaporise the chemicals the tanker was carrying.

Outfitted with a custom made magnetic lock, it was quite firmly secured to the metal plating. The timer was set to start once it was attached and clicked instantly to a '00.30' setting. Thirty seconds was plenty of time to get well clear of the estimated blast radius. Grinning and intensely pleased with himself, the hedgehog stopped outside the door to the storage compartment. Transported alongside the larger tankers were often smaller containers of other vital chemicals and substances needed to manufacture and maintain their mechanised forces. The Dominion was nothing if not efficient. Without this payload and stockpile, the their war economy would be dramatically slowed.

"Ok, time for all this crap to go straight to..." He stopped and trailed off, his gaze settling on what he could see through the window on the door. There were indeed stacks of crates and barrels piled up high inside the small room beyond. Each was labelled with their contents such as petroleum, plastics, silicon plates, and various other industrial materials. But in amongst the stacks, strapped to the wall by metal restraints was a kid, a young fox boy perhaps no older than ten years. He looked dirty and gaunt and was barely conscious, struggling to keep his head upright with an expression of pain on his dazed face. Sonic stared at him, gap-mouthed in astonishment.

"Sal! I got a kid in here!" He yelled into his communications node quickly. A moment of static and then Sally replied.

"What? I didn't copy that."

"They've got a kid strapped in here!"


There were other Freedom Fighter groups besides just theirs, of course, and many of them would not risk the time it would take to do anything about this, considering it regrettable collateral damage but necessary to achieve a specific objective. Sonic's group did not share that perspective.

"Can you disarm the bomb?" Sally asked, although they both already knew the answer. "Oh, never mind! Just get him outta there! Move it, Sonic!"

Already Sally had packed up her weapon, strapped it across her back, and was vaulting down the stairs of the old building two steps at a time. By now the Seekers had determined where those shots had come from and were soaring overhead scanning for targets. At the far end of the bridge reinforcements were coming, a dozen Swat-Bots with tank support summoned from the district garrison by the emergency response signal that had been triggered when the ambush had begun.


Sonic smashed his fist into the side control panel by the door and wrenched the dented cover off. Once the buttons were exposed he typed in an override command into the keypad that opened a hatch to the circuitry and wires underneath. Connecting two of the torn wires he triggered a release mechanism and the door shunted open instantly. It was a trick his Uncle had showed him. It had proven useful more than once and it was fortunate he could do it quickly. It did not take him long to pry the fox out of his restraints. The poor kid was so limp he barely even registered that someone was there, muttering an incoherent mumble.

"H...huh...what..." He managed through half-closed eyes as Sonic hoisted him up and carried him over one shoulder. Then the fox hissed in pain and clutched his side, blood staining his gloves from a reopened wound.


"Easy, I got you." He told the kid, jumping outside supporting his passenger. The fox barely even managed to stand up, his legs buckling underneath him. Sonic could see that close up the kid's fur was a dirty brown colour and had some dried blood stains here and there. Somewhere in the back of his mind Sonic was also aware that his passenger had more than one tail, but in the heat of the moment it barely registered. Hoisting the pretty much unconscious child over his shoulder completely, Sonic took to his feet, darting away from the approaching automatons and across the bridge to the far side.


Out in the street Sally looked up, listening with dread to the unmistakable distant, high-pitched screech of approaching Seekers. The citadel had obviously sent reinforcements as well. It was time for the 'run' part of their hit-and-run tactics. Changing the frequency of her communications node, she contacted their technical support.

"Hare, I need an extraction point now!" She called, running down an alleyway with searchlights suddenly illuminating the street she left behind.


By the time she reached the end of the alleyway, Sonic was already there waiting for her, having carried the kid as fast as he could run. A moment later from behind them on the bridge, the charged particle grenade exploded, an expanding dome of blue lightning engulfing half the bridge in a flash of light that took out several helicopters, the scrap metal remains of the battered robots, and half the Seeker escort, causing them to plummet into the water of the aqueduct. The pilots of the helicopters had had just enough warning to jump clear, parachuting to a safe but bumpy landing.

The remains of the tanker collapsed over the road, the chemical lubricants, fuels, and toxic substances it had been transporting destroyed in a melee of colliding atoms. They ignited from the heat caused by increased molecular activity and cascaded all over the bridge, burning away. Bits and pieces of metal were sent flying out over the edge of the bridge, tumbling and breaking into smaller fragments before falling into the water.

Sally nodded once in approval. Let them spin that however they wanted on the evening news. At least those weapons wouldn't be used to butcher anyone who didn't take being under Robotnik's thumb lightly. One day everyone would see that the protection the Doctor offered Mobius was not worth the price he asked for. Maybe that day was not today, and perhaps not tomorrow, but one day it would come. She had to believe that.

"Two streets over, sewer entrance." A gruff voice on Sally's node responded, crackling with the distortion of the long-range com system. "I can shut down communications and surveillance in that part of town for five seconds." Sonic grinned impishly.

"Oh, then I've got time to take the scenic route." He remarked. Sally shot him a disgusted look, shaking her head at his flippancy. "What?" He asked with feigned surprise for her vehemence.

Without saying anything to dignify his statement she let herself get carried. Not only was Sonic fast, he was strong enough to hold and carry two people while he was running without being slowed down. In an instant they were racing along the streets, the sound of pursuing choppers growing louder and louder.

The rain was getting worse, the same dirty rain that seemed to carry the corruption of the city along with it. Soon Sonic was racing down a collapsed section of road and into the sewers beneath, to flee from the light and the foulness of the rain that continued to fall on the city of blackened industry.




Within the space of an hour the entire city knew about the Freedom Fighter terrorist attack. News crews were not permitted near the scene, but enough shots of the flaming wreck on the bridge made it onto the news feeds to panic the general public. People were terrified for loved ones and were demanding reassurance from the authorities. If any were smug about the damage done to Dominion facilities and weapons, they kept it to themselves. It was never a good idea to voice such opinions where others could hear you.

Barely three hours had passed since the incident on the bridge before the Dominion leader himself made a televised appearance. All at once his visage appeared on screens across the city, flashing up in public squares and in parks and on the private screens in the homes of the populace.

The man's wide face beamed down at them, his expression kind and compassionate like that of a father to a favoured child, although his eyes were hidden behind a pair of blue tinted wire rim spectacles. His head was bald and gleamed, giving him an almost halo-like glow. Out from under his nose was a large, ginger brown moustache that seemed to be trying to make up for the loss of hair elsewhere. He wore a red uniform with black pants over a profoundly ample belly, buttoned almost directly up the middle of his paunch. A very imperial looking, short yellow cape descended from his shoulders halfway down his back, giving him the look of a military General. Slowly he spread his arms invitingly out towards them. This was Doctor Robotnik.

"People of the great Metropolis City Zone, I have heard your pleas for safety and security." He said in a deep, resonating, oratorical voice. "These terrorists' attacks are a danger to our unity, unity we need to stand against the Metarex threat, unity which my beneficial rule makes possible." Many stopped to listen to his worlds to be reassured. Others just averted their gaze and kept their heads down while the Swat-Bot enforcers were around. "But be assured that justice will be meted out to this dissident elements that disrupt our harmony and prosperity. This cobalt hedgehog will answer for his crimes and your children will grow up in a world of boundless possibilities. Here to you I pledge that I will bring down this anarchist, this Sonic the Hedgehog, and deliver him to justice." He brought his hands together in front of himself almost as if in prayer, the tips of his fingers between the large spectacles that hid his eyes. "Have faith and do not give in to fear and we will prevail, now and always."

Dominion news outlets never pointed out that not once had Sonic ever targeted a civilian facility, only military and production infrastructure. It was always a balancing act for them, countering anger against the government's constant militaristic stance with the fear of attack by the Metarex and the terrorists. The Dominion had been founded over ten years ago in the aftermath of the Metarex invasion of Mobius, under the leadership of then Dr. Julian Kintobor. This self-appointed titan and champion of the people had changed his name to Doctor Robotnik so as to better lead the people to becoming a strong planetary nation, united without dissent against any such invaders ever attacking Mobius again. Or at least that was the official and highly propagandised version of the events that took place, which was now written in all major classroom textbooks. Robotnik himself had seen to that.

Now one of the major concerns for the Dominion was in finding these so-called Freedom Fighter cells and destroying them once and for all; especially the group led by that impossibly fast blue blur.

"There was no way of knowing they intended to hit us on the bridge." One of the councillors, the minister in charge of internal security, was already saying even before the meeting officially began; his voice nervous and pleading as if he were a man on death row begging for amnesty.

His fellow ministers all but ignored him as they sat in their chairs. All heads were turning to face the head of the table, where already seated as if he were a king enthroned was Dr. Robotnik himself, fresh from his television appearance. There was no one with more authority in the entire government than him. The council members, despite their lofty sounding titles, were all simple officiators. They existed only to deal with the day-to-day problems of running the government and to do the paperwork. He was the real power and with a word he could destroy them.

Robotnik appeared now as he had on live television only half an hour before, only this time the act of fatherly concern and altruistic benevolence had been dropped. His face was marred by a slight frown, eyebrows pressing down on the top of his glasses. He radiated power and authority, his mere pose showing that he was totally at ease and at the same time confident in his superiority over them all. What really set him apart and made people stare was the 'pet' which was never seen in public.

Perched on his left shoulder was a miniaturised Seeker robot, an animatronic raven about the size of a regular feral bird with a very detailed exoskeleton to facilitate artificial feathers and wings. It had to have been made of a very lightweight metal, as he let it perch there without any apparent strain from its weight. Beady little red optics glared at each member of the Dominion council in turn as they sat around the table.

Standing off to one side, his stance poised and attentive was the only other man in the Dominion who had authority over them. Snively, the dictator's nephew on his brother's side, was a very short man. Everyone in the council dwarfed him by at least a foot. He was almost completely bald, except for a line of fine hair running up the middle of his scalp. His eyes were a deep blue but uncertain, ringed with deep worry lines. His nose was the most noticeable feature, elongated and sharply pointed. He was dressed in a military officer-style green uniform and leather boots, practical and bland in comparison to Robotnik's clothing. The insulting title was not his real name of course, but the Doctor would not more call him by his birth name than Snively would openly remind anyone that the two of them were close blood relations. It had been made firmly clear some time ago that calling the Doctor 'Uncle' or 'Julian' was not going to be tolerated.

Despite him being so clearly subservient to Robotnik, his position as second-in-command put him on a lofty pedestal that none of them could ever have. He regarded the council now with a flat, emotionless expression, guarded and nervous himself. He, like them, had much to fear from the temper and angry whims of the dictator. Robotnik's hands were knitted in front of him, fingers interlocked and his expression blank behind the smile that banished his earlier frown.

"We took every precaution we thought necessary." Another councillor added meekly into the silence, his shoulders sagging.

Robotnik didn't turn to look at him directly but rather leaned back in his chair, the leather creaking in response, and regarded them all. His head turned slowly from right to left. Then he raised his left arm and instantly the metallic bird on his shoulder dropped down from his shoulder and onto the leather padded sleeve that ran from his wrist to his elbow.

"Snively." He commanded simply, stroking his artificial pet across its metal wings tenderly.

"Yes, Sir." Snively responded. His voice was nasal, a contrast to the commanding, steady voice Robotnik had. Out of his pocket he took a small control device. He pressed a few icons on its touch screen surface and the lights in the room dimmed. In the centre of the table they were all seated around, a panel slid to one side and a holographic projector emerged. With a whir it began displaying three-dimensional reports from the past few years of security files in the air directly above, casting a pale green light.

"Three months ago..." Snively began, reading off the written report that was displayed on his handheld device. "...the hedgehog's resistance group targeted a Swat-Bot production facility, rendering the generator inoperative and destroying the assembly lines."

The hologram showed the before and after moments of the facility in question, where the factory had been reduced to an almost burned out husk of mangled and ruined equipment. Swat-Bots and other badnik cyber troops were terribly expensive to mass produce, so the factories were specialised to make them as cost efficiently as possible. Replacing the equipment had taken more money than the robot legions needed for maintenance. Snively dragged his finger across the screen of his device and the holographic image changed.

"Before that a communications hub was sabotaged and the vandalism left military traffic in utter chaos." He said. That had been the stunt that had made the hedgehog a sort of folk legend amongst the people, as it had disrupted their daily lives and brought him to their attention. Some feared him, others applauded, and had were yet to make up their minds. Dominion news was doing its best to portray the Freedom Fighter as a blood thirsty terrorist. Whether villain or hero in the minds of the people, Sonic had left the communications hub in ruins and traffic of Seeker and Swat-Bot battalions completely disorganised for several days. The report of the incident rotated slowly above in depressing detail.

"And a year ago vital supplies intended for the frontier garrisons to help suppress the Bear uprising were diverted and disappeared without a trace."

The Bear Kingdom, comprised primarily of the Diamond Dust Zone, the Blizzard Peaks Zone, and the Hill Top Zone, was the most unruly of all the Mobian states, refusing to recognise the authority of the Dominion at all. Attempt after attempt was made to crush their resistance. Those lost supplies had allowed for a victory of the Bears over the poorly equipped cyber forces sent to slow them down. All because of the Hedgehog.

"His continued efforts have forced me to divert resources from essential projects to deal with the sabotage." Robotnik said, adding his own comments and making several of them flinch at the sound of his voice. The pet Seeker responded in turn, flaring its wings with a rattling sound of metal against metal. "Gentlemen." His smile had been fading and the frown returning, the ends of his moustache twitching in irritation. "How much more of my property does Sonic the Hedgehog have to vandalise before you start taking the threat he poses seriously?"

The threat implied was quite obvious and the councillors paled visibly, and several of them were seen to visibly shake. Everyone knew what happened to someone who displeased the Doctor, or worse, became disposable.

"We have already upgraded security in Metropolis to level 5." Another of the councillors ventured with nervous agitation, sweat running down the side of his face. "It will remain there until the resistance has been rooted out."

"Yes..." Another added with a quick, apprehensive nod. "And we have Seekers patrolling the city around the clock and Swat-Bots stationed in important strategic locations."

Robotnik raised his right hand and waved a finger back and forth, his head titled down so his chin rested on his chest.

"I'm afraid it's a bit late for that." He said and the entire body of councillors shifted back in their seats away from him for the ominous phrase. Even Snively looked a little apprehensive. "Since you gentleman seem so inept at doing your job, I've decided to act. It's clear to me now that I ought to have taken matters into my own hands a long time ago."

Quite suddenly he stood up and looked around at them all sceptically as if evaluating their collective worth. The councillors all went deadly silent and Snively took a prudent step backwards, out of the Doctor's line of sight. They all knew that if Robotnik wanted, he could have them all replaced and the 'replaced' often had a habit of disappearing without explanation.

"All I want you people to do is concentrate on making sure that the facilities of the city and the empire at large are kept running smoothly. I want no more disturbances, especially from the other Freedom Fighter cells that follow the hedgehog's example." He said firmly. "You will leave the pin cushion to me."

"I'm...afraid I don't understand, sir." One of the councillors asked in a small voice. "Just what are you going to do?"

"Going to do?" Robotnik repeated with a smile, adjusting the position of his glasses along the length of his nose. "It's what I've already done." When the quizzical looks of the councillors did not alter, his smile evolved into a full evil grin. "Sonic may have skills no Mobian alive possesses, but he has the naïve soul of a gullible teenager."