Chapter 1: Infiltration

Location: Mobotropolis

Early Morning…

Night had long since fallen over Westside Island and the citizens of Mobotropolis slept peacefully, confident that they were safe and sound behind the protective walls of the city. A robotic hedgehog with a black and gold paint job stood on the rooftop of the coliseum, gazing out across the cityscape with his oval-shaped red pupils. Without warning, the robotic hedgehog ignited his boosters and launched himself across the sky, purposely trying to garner the attention of the city's Artificial Intelligence. Landed on the rooftop of the Nate Morgan Academy, the robotic hedgehog was angrily greeted by a brown and black furred lynx, with blue-green eyes, with shoulder-length black hair. She was dressed in a shoulder-less, sleeveless dress with split tails, decorated with a small broach. Black pants, white gloves, and shoes, the gloves featuring round gold cuffs while the shoes had silver cuffs and toes.

"You're that Metal Sonic unit that sabotaged the Freedom Fighter Special, then ambushed Sonic and Tails," she stated.

"Guilty as charged," he reluctantly admitted, probing the gem embedded in his torso.

"You've hacked into the city's network," NICOLE accused, "I'm purging you from the system."

The Mobotropolis that both the lynx and robotic hedgehog were stand in was a data-based visualization, not the real thing.

"You might wish to hear what I have to say," he warned.

"You have ten seconds," NICOLE warned.

The Metal Sonic held his right arm before him, his palm facing upwards as he clenched it into a fist, unclenching it several seconds later and producing a small icon.

"I was dispatched by the individual responsible for my reconstruction," he stated, "He wishes to inform you of allies hidden in the unexplored land of Murasia. The information can be found within this file."

The icon hovered within the rogue Metal Sonic's palm for a brief moment before floating over to NICOLE, stopping directly in front of the lynx.

"Why should I trust you?" NICOLE asked.

"I don't expect you to trust me," he stated, "Sonic taught me the value of life, I can't hope to repay the favor, but I can try in whatever way possible."

NICOLE waved her hand over the icon, running a virus scan as she didn't quiet trust the rogue Metal Sonic unit. The scan came up negative, and with hesitation she opened the file, causing a VidWindow to open before her.

"…Well this is interesting," she said, dismissing the screen.

Turned her attention back to the rogue Metal Sonic, discovering that he had disconnected himself from the network, leaving her alone. Deciding that this was information that needed to be shared, she manifested her physical form directly into the sleeping quarters of Sally Acorn. She was sleeping soundly within her bed, the blankets pulled around her lithe form due to the coolness of the night air.

"Sally," NICOLE said.

The Princess of the Republic of Acorn slowly stirred awake, opening her blue eyes, finding NICOLE standing at the side of her bed.

"NICOLE?" she asked in surprise.

"We've got a situation, Sally," she stated.

"What's wrong?" she demanded.

"Our network was just infiltrated," NICOLE informed.

"Was it Dr. Eggman?"

"No. It was Metal Sonic, the same one who attacked Sonic and Tails following our departure from the Hidden City," she explained.

"But Geoffrey and the Secret Service recovered the Power Gem from Mt. Mobius after he sacrificed himself to allow Sonic and Tails time to escape that erupting volcano," Sally stated, "So who stole it?"

"It really doesn't matter at this point," NICOLE said, "Metal Sonic's working for someone, he's provided us with a data file that details a colony of humans in the Murasian region of Efrika."

"Is it one of those cities that are a part of that Hidden City Initiative?" Sally asked.

"They're descended from a group of colonists who departed Station Square six centuries ago," she explained, "These 'Terrans' have an entire civilization hidden somewhere in Murasia."

"You'd better wake daddy," she said, "He'll have to decide whether or not to summon the Council."

NICOLE immediately winked out of existence, giving the princess the privacy needed to dress herself.

Location: Castle Acorn

Forty minutes later…

King Maximillian Acorn had been none too pleased to hear that an intruder had managed to bypass security, but given the circumstances he agreed to summon the Council of Acorn for an emergency council session. The council had formed in response to civil unrest that had plagued Mobotropolis sometime after the city had been retaken from Dr. Eggman. A series of elections had been held to democratically elected members of the public to the six seats available on the Council of Acorn. Sally paced outside the council chambers, dressed in a black, sleeveless crop-top worn beneath a closed blue vest, and black shorts, both with white rimming. Blue boots with white outlines on the buckles covered her feet, while white gloves with blue bangles covered he hands. Two members of the Royal Guard lingered outside the chamber doors, staring blankly ahead in utter silence. One of them raised his fingers to his ear, as if listening to a conversation, before locking eyes with the princess.

"They're ready for you, your highness," he stated.

The two guards pushed open the wooden doors, permitting the princess entry into chambers of the Council of Acorn. The chamber was dominated by a large set of windows situated behind a half-circular table where the council sat. NICOLE stood in the chamber; holographic displays were projected before the gathered councillors, displaying data to them. Seated behind the table was her father along with Isabella Mongoose, Rosemary Prower, Hamlin Pig, Dylan Porcupine, Penelope Platypus, and Sir Charles Hedgehog.

"I apologize for the wait, my dear," King Max stated.

"That's alright, daddy," she said.

"The information provided to us was very interesting," he stated.

"Soleanna is located in Murasia, a region in Efrika that has never been fully explored," Sir Charles stated, "It's not difficult to see how this city has managed to remain hidden all this time."

"If these 'Terrans' are indeed descended from the colonists who left Station Square, why didn't the President tell us?" Isabella asked.

"It was six centuries ago," NICOLE interjected, "they could've forgotten or even assumed that they had perished."

"The question is…" Rosemary began, "would they be willing to join an alliance against the tyranny of the Eggman Empire?"

"The council has voted in favor of dispatching an envoy to open diplomatic relations with the Terrans," Dylan decleared.

"It would be reckless to go down there without knowing the dangers," Hamlin stated, having been unusually quiet.

"I'm in complete agreement, councillor," King Max stated.

"Then perhaps it would be in the council's best interest to dispatch a small recon team to scout out the area before the arrival of the diplomat team," Sally suggested.

"Princess Sally you are very capable diplomat, you have proven so in the past and I see no other more qualified then you are," Rosemary said looking at her fellow councillors nodding, "at our request we ask of you, to please bear this responsibility."

"I humbly accept your request, councillors," Sally replied, bowing.

"Then we shall leave you to organize your team," King Max said, "and if there is nothing else…then this meeting is adjourned."

"Should I summon the others, Sally?" NICOLE asked exiting the Council Chamber with her.

"No. We'll have to hammer out the details in the morning," she stated, "Sonic and Tails were delivering supplies to Relic's camp in the Aquatic Ruin Zone, there's really no point in dragging them back to Mobotropolis at this hour."