A/N: This is my first Sonic Underground fic, so be nice. It's a kind of merge between SU and the SatAM series with more emphasis on the Sonic Underground characters and plotlines, but don't worry, Sally and everyone else is still there!
Squiggles (~) denote a flashback. Another one denotes the end of the flashback. Not that confusing and way better than using italics. Unless of course, you WANT to go blind. So, here goes…
Disclaimer: All characters in the Sonic Universe owned by Sega. 'Nuff said.
"Manic! Behind you!"
"Got it," the green hedgehog replied. He spun around and leapt onto the robot so he sat on its shoulders.
"Man, feel the beat!" he sang, drumming a loud beat onto the mechanical being's head then with one hard stroke, slammed the butt of his drumstick deep into it and somersaulted gracefully off as the robot exploded.
"One down!" he yelled in exultation. He was about to go for another one when he heard Sonia scream. He whirled around and saw a robot holding her in its hand. The screaming hedgehog reached for her pendant...
And with one ferocious swipe the robot ripped it off her neck. It fell to the dirt with a dull thud. The robot turned its attention back to the pink hedgehog. It slowly lifted its other hand, forming it into a gun.
"SONIA!" Manic screamed in fear, just barely hearing Sonic yell the same thing. He heard a whir and his brother shout "Hold on, I'm coming!"
Then there was a loud crunch. Manic turned at the noise, just quickly enough to see a robot spin around and catch Sonic squarely in the face with its steel arm. The blue hedgehog flew backwards and sprawled in the dirt, dizzy and confused. Manic turned to the robot holding his sister, a snarl growing on his face.
"You are SO going to p-"
He didn't even get to finish his sentence.
A laser hit him from behind, tearing through flesh and lung. For a second time froze. Then the pain spread like wildfire through his whole body and he screamed in agony, his screams mingling with his siblings' ones of horror. He fell to the dirt, convulsing, his breaths ragged. He felt as if he was suffocating, unable to breathe. Every breath he took in immediately fled out through the hole in his lung. Sonia screamed again and kicked futilely against the robot holding her captive, gun still against the side of her head.
With a furious cry Sonic zoomed towards the robot, hitting and punching and kicking, yelling at it to let his sister go.
"Sonia..." Manic said weakly, attempting to sit up. He felt hot bile rising through his throat and he retched vomit and blood. He tried to take another breath and found he couldn't. He felt something hot run down his body and he looked down.
"Blood?" he murmured in shock. He saw shiny mechanical feet in front of him. He glared up, a snarl rising in his throat.
"Spawn of Aleena" Robotnik smirked, clad in a silver robotic suit of armor. "How're you today?"
Manic spat, his blood staining the dirt a reddish brown.
"Temper temper now" he said and, raising his foot back, kicked the green hedgehog with all the force of his hatred and anger behind it, the robotic suit adding to its power. Manic skidded in the dirt, the pain in his chest almost unbearable as rough sand and soil found their way into his chest. Eyes wide in agony he spurted blood out of his mouth with ragged coughs.
"How's that now?" Robotnik taunted. Painfully, Manic attempted to get up. He sat in the dirt, on hand propping him up, the other hand clutching his wound, the blood getting all over his gloves and skin.
"Bastard" he spat with difficulty. Robotnik stared then started to laugh.
"Such insolence!" he laughed. "You still think you're going to win, don't you?"
He gestured at Sonic and Sonia. "Look at them! You don't have a chance."
Sonic was tugging desperately at the robot's hand, unable to break it and too afraid to simply blast it with his guitar in case he blasted Sonia along with it. Behind him, robots grabbed him by both his arms and he was forced off the robot, screaming in pure terror, kicking and squirming.
"No... Sonic... Sonia..." Manic whispered.
"How's that for you, hedgehog? Still believe in your precious freedom now?" Robotnik sneered.
"No... don't..." Manic tried to shout. Pain ripped through his small body and he screamed silently at the sky, black clouding his vision. Robotnik grinned as he picked the green hedgehog up by the neck.
"Feisty little thing" he chuckled. "Now, what to do with you..."
He grinned evilly. "I wonder what kind of robot you would be like..."
He turned to his robots. "Lets go" he commanded.
"I'm NOT letting you take us alive Robotnik!" Sonic yelled defiantly, his voice trembling with fury with what Robotnik had done. Kicking hard, he managed to free himself. He tore towards Sonia and spun round and round the robot until he created a tornado of dirt. The next thing Manic saw was him releasing Sonia on the ground unconscious and the tornado dying down, along with a clatter of shattered robotic parts. Robotnik tightened his grip on Manic's neck and pressed a button. Huge metal wings spread out of his back and there was a roar as flames exploded out of the ends, lifting him and his hostage with a jerk into the sky.
"No! Manic!" Sonic yelled, and Manic could hear the fear behind his voice. He heard the whir as Sonic tore towards the two. The blue hedgehog leapt wildly, desperately, swiping at Robotnik. He missed; the man had lifted beyond his reach.
"You lose, hedgehog! You can't do anything now!" Robotnik laughed triumphantly. He changed his direction and started to head back north, the rocket wings on his back boosting them both along at a tremendous speed. Manic gasped in pain as he squirmed weakly against Robotnik's steel-hard grip against his neck and as the wind blasted through his wound. His head spun and he was going to faint.
"Manic! MANIC!" he heard both siblings scream, and down below he could see a blue blur as Sonic ran faster than he ever had in his life, desperate, terrified, trying to save his brother. Robotnik cackled loudly.
"Stop trying, it's such a futile attempt!" he laughed and with his free hand blasted something at Sonic. It opened up and the blue hedgehog tripped and sprawled, entangled in the net. Quickly, he tried a Sonic spin but found the net too thick and strong for his spikes to cut through.
"NO! MANIC!" he yelled, hot tears of fear and anguish streaming down his face as he tried to disentangle himself as quickly as he could, only succeeding in entangling himself further.
"Sonic..." Manic whispered weakly, tears pouring down his face as everything went black.
The last thought he had was how powerful Robotnik's creations had become, without any of them noticing it.
Then he fainted.
There was a loud thunder of noise and the underground pipes shook. There was a whir as a piece of paper ran through the rickety old machine. A gloved white hand snatched it and scanned it quickly. His grip tightened.
"Here" Sonic said, giving the paper to his sister. She read it.
"Queen Aleena… seen in Robotnik's castle…" she sighed. "Sonic, you're not thinking of going, are you?"
"Come on Sonia, it could be true…"
"What's the point anymore?" Sonia asked, frustrated. "We've been getting these… how many times? More than we can count. How many of them have been hoaxes? Nearly all, and the ones that weren't… what's the point? We NEVER get her, and why? Not that we don't try. She runs away from us. Why are we wasting our time chasing a false hope? Let's just face it; she doesn't want us. There have been so many times she was right with us. Why didn't she join us then?"
Another piece of paper ran through and Sonic grabbed it again. He read it and started shaking.
"What?" Sonia asked.
"What?" Sonia snatched the paper from his hands and scanned it quickly. She stared at it disbelievingly, going pale. She made her hands into fists, crumpling the paper.
"Who would play such a cruel joke?" she asked quietly.
"I don't think it's a joke" Sonic said, taking the paper from her hands. It read:
We have seen your brother Manic. He is in the castle with your mother.
A short, simple message. It meant so much to the two. Sonia suddenly leapt up and tore the paper to shreds.
"Lies!" she shouted.
"Sonia…" Sonic said, trying to pacify his sister.
"How can someone do this to us? Keep raising our hopes like this, just to let them plummet back down?"
"We should go check it out"
"Why should we? It's a JOKE Sonic, a cruel joke played by some twisted person"
Sonic felt a pang of sorrow in his heart, and not for the first time felt how much he had been forced to mature in the past years. He put her arm on his sister's shoulder.
"But if it's true… imagine it. We would finally have our brother back. So what if it's another hoax? We have to see, don't we? What if Manic really is… alive? Can we just abandon him?"
"Yes we can dammit!" Sonia shouted. She put her head into her hands and started crying.
"He's not alive… how can he be… the robots… shot him… through the lung…"
"Yes, I know"
"He couldn't have survived that, Sonic! No one could!"
"Manic's a survivor"
"Yes, but NO ONE could have survived that. Not after Robotnik kicked him on the ground, not after he… oh god" Sonia cried. "Who could make such a cruel JOKE out of this?"
"It may not be a joke. Our brother may still be alive"
"No he's not, he's NOT!" Sonia screamed. Sonic waited for a while for her to calm down. It had been like that for years, and he had been forced to be sympathetic, to be patient, for his sister. They were the remaining two of the original three heirs. What else could he do?
"Oh god… it's been so long…"
"Yes, it has" he agreed softly.
"Ten years… TEN YEARS, Sonic! Ten years since that bastard killed our brother, and look at us now. We had it good, Sonic, really good, and we didn't even know about it. Look at us now. The freedom fighters have been reduced to four, including us. Everyone else has been caught and roboticized. Robotnik's ruined EVERYTHING, all our friends are either dead or slaves… he destroyed Knothole… that beautiful, beautiful village… Stripes…"
"But it wasn't enough, was it? We just kept trying and losing. Why do we even bother? Look at us now. We were three. We had fun, playing our music. Now what? We can't play our music or else robots'll catch us, we're living in a SEWER, too afraid to come out onto the surface and Manic… Manic…"
Sonic sighed. He sat on the floor next to his sister and gave her a hug. "You know what sis? You're right. We ARE only down to two, four if you include the other Freedom Fighters left, Tigra and Lenn. We ARE living in hard times. But you know what? It'll all be great again, you'll see. We just have to keep trying… we CAN'T give up! We're the only chance left, and if we get killed or roboticized, so what, we tried, right? And if Manic's actually alive, we can't just leave him there, can we? We can use all the help we can get. We have to keep trying, even if we keep failing, cuz one day we'll SUCCEED!"
Sonia started crying again. "its all my fault… all MY fault… if I hadn't been caught by that stupid robot, Manic would probably still be alive"
"It's not your fault…"
"Yes it is!" Sonia insisted. "He wouldn't have been distracted, he would have heard that robot coming up behind him, and he wouldn't have gotten shot. If you hadn't been trying to get me free from that robot you could have gotten to Robotnik faster and he wouldn't have been able to take off. How is that not my fault?"
"I could have run faster," Sonic said quietly. "I could have… but I didn't. As I ran after Robotnik when he was holding Manic, I don't know if I could have run any faster but somehow… I just felt I could, but my legs just wouldn't go any faster…"
"It's my fault…"
"Look, we're not going to get anything done by sitting here and saying whose fault it is! The fact is that someone SAW Manic AND our mom in the castle, and we have to go and try to save them. So come on, dry your eyes, we gotta go!"
Sonia sniffled. "Do… do you actually still think he's alive?"
"I'm positive" Sonic said firmly. He grabbed his skimpy backpack and walked through the ankle high water then crawled into a pipe that would take them outside.
"You're such a liar," Sonia whispered before following him.
When they got to the surface Sonic quickly whipped out his gas mask and strapped it on, putting one on his sister first. The air had become so polluted it was dangerous for them to breathe it for longer than ten seconds. One breath was enough to choke someone.
Hence the reason why anyone who had not been caught by Robotnik or killed by the robots had died anyway.
There was a loud clanging of noise and the two ducked behind a crate, watching silently as an army of robots patrolled by. Sonia could see her brother's hands clenched hard into fists by his side, his face furious, full of loathing and realized that she herself was doing exactly the same. When they passed Sonic turned around.
"Hold on" he whispered. Sonia nodded and clasped her hands around her brother's waist. Sonic closed his eyes and concentrated. There was a soft whir then he shot off so fast that Sonia would have flown off if she hadn't been holding on. Over the years, Sonic had learnt to run silently without the normal sound he made that the robots had come to listen for and shoot at. His feet moved so quickly at times even he felt as if they didn't touch the ground. Sonic made sure he didn't run into any robots; nowadays they were able to react and shoot extremely quickly, and he had almost been shot himself more times than he was comfortable with.
Sonia leapt silently off and rolled with the impact behind a building when they neared Robotnik's castle. Sonic ducked into a spin so he didn't make a screeching noise when he stopped. He waited until he had slowed down then stuck his legs out and crouched behind a high steel wall surrounding the towering castle.
After Robotnik had finally defeated the trio those ten years ago he had immediately started widening his empire. He sent robots to all parts of Mobius cutting down forests flat. When he had discovered Knothole he had sent robots down, even gone down with them. The Freedom Fighters hadn't even had a chance, and by the time Sonic and Sonia had found out it was too late. It was the same for Stripes' village; by the time they had gotten there it had been burned to the ground, all inhabitants gone.
When Robotnik had found the hidden castle of Queen Aleena he had been ecstatic. It had been torn down immediately and then rebuilt to make Robotnik's new fortress. It was easily the tallest structure in the whole of Mobius and also the most ominous.
Sonia wanted to scream every time she saw it.
"Come on" Sonic whispered. The two sneaked closer to the castle. Sonia took out a laser beam the two had managed to ravage off a robot from their last encounter with one and made quick work of the six robots guarding the walls. Sonic took out a piece of scrap metal he had picked up before from his backpack and, putting all his speed and strength into it, hurled the thing at the robots guarding the doors, making it seem like it was coming at another direction. All the robots whirled around suddenly and fired their lasers, melting the metal.
"Attack, attack, attack" they chanted and marched to the direction from which the metal came from. When they were all gone Sonic grabbed Sonia by the waist. There was a whir as he started up, then he blasted as fast as he could at the wall of the castle, his feet barely touching the ground. He adjusted his weight when he hit the wall, accelerating so the force of gravity wouldn't pull him down. He ran up the wall silently, his sister in his arms and touched down neatly inside a room. Over the years Robotnik had gotten wise to the twins' attacks, and had probably placed a numerous amount of traps in front of the door. They had not tried any attacks for months now and Lenn had told them that they were presumed dead, but Sonic didn't want to take any chances.
Once inside they were able to take off their gas masks. Sonic put them both back in his backpack and the two headed to the dungeons. They knew the way; after all, they had been there so many times on so many failed missions.
"Careful!" Sonia hissed, pushing Sonic back against the wall as she spotted a security camera. She pulled out her laser and set the intensity down low then carefully shot the camera, just enough for it to go offline. They quickly made their way down the stairs to the dungeons.
"Robotnik's sure done a hell of a job in redecoration," Sonic whispered. Sonia nodded, staring at the grotesque pictures of himself hanging on the walls. She didn't like the place. It was cold, literally. Made of steel the walls were high and thick, and the whole room was quiet. The walls were lines with pictures of Robotnik and nothing else. There wasn't even a carpet or a light to be seen.
They finally got to the dungeons. Carefully, they looked around then ran to all the cells. Nearly all of them were empty; all the inhabitants had been roboticized. Just looking at the people that WERE in the cells made Sonia want to throw up. Sick, diseased, dying… there was a man who looked like he was melting; his body had been struck by severe radiation.
It just made her sick to think that Robotnik was doing this to humans too and not just Mobians.
Sonic reached a cell and halted. He stared in at a creature huddled in a purple shawl and green dress. His heart stopped. He had seen her before… could it be…
The creature looked up and stared. Sonic could have cried.
"Mom… is that you?" he whispered. "So it wasn't a hoax… omigod, it's really you… are you alright, you look sick and-"
"Shhh… calm down. I'm alright"
Sonic looked at his mother. She looked far from 'alright'. Her eyes were heavy-lidded, her cheeks were flushed and beads of sweat ran down her forehead, as if she had fever.
The blue hedgehog wanted to scream in joy and weep at the same time. At last, he had finally found her… and she was right in front of him!
He wasn't sure if it was a dream. He bit his tongue just to check, and knew it was true when he tasted the copper in his mouth.
"Sonic… you've grown…" Aleena whispered.
"You were watching us?"
"Of course I was, always! Since you were babies I was with you"
"Why did you give us away?"
"It was for your safety… I'll explain later, the guards might catch you"
Sonic remembered something. "Someone said they saw Manic here. Have you seen him?"
Aleena looked pained. "Yes…"
"Where? Where is he? In here?" Sonic asked, his voice rising in excitement. Aleena kept silent.
"Where's your sister? Did she come with you?" she asked suddenly, a note of emergency in her voice.
"Where is she?"
"Right here" someone said in a smug, tinny, robotic voice. Sonic whirled around fists clenched, ready to attack.
"No, don't!" Aleena cried, grabbing his arm through the bars. Sonic could barely make out the shape of the thing, and when it came closer and he could see it better he almost died of shock.
His sister, lying unconscious; bleeding in the forehead after obviously being hit on the head. In the arms of a metallic green robotic hedgehog.
Manic smirked. "Missed me?"