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THE DAY AFTER

29. Sonic boom.

[SONIC, Stephen Zacharus]

Kyle, being the worldly fellow that he is, referred me to a splendid underground weapons factory just outside of Station Square.  Well, fancy that.  Turns out that it *does* pay off to have friends in low places.

After stealing a stray pickup truck and loading it with as much explosive shit as I could get my hands on, I drive to a small, abandoned warehouse and unload the artillery: guns, bullets, grenades, shit like that.

Oh, and a fuckload of C4.  Can't forget *that*, can we?  I can't figure out how to strap it to myself, so I just use duct tape.  What the hell.  It's not like I'll ever have to take it off.  Suicide bombings in industrial complexes are *so* today!

On top of the C4, I strap on some ammo and a more than a few grenades.  I test my two handguns on the rusting garage door at the back of the warehouse, followed by my machine gun.  Hot damn.  This goes beyond "trigger-happy." 

This is so fuckin' *cool*. 

Everything feels so weird… like it's all a dream or something.  I just can't seem to give a shit about anything.  Time means nothing to me anymore; before long, I'm armed and ready and standing at the gate to Eggman's robotics compound.  He's sure as hell going to be sorry he ever fucked with *this* hedgehog.

I bust into the place--guns in both hands, knocking off every goddamn 'bot in my path.  I think I change clips once or twice, but I'm not really paying attention.  I just live for blowing shit up.

I've got my back pressed against the wall now, ducking from the onslaught of laserfire that's coming from the next room.  I toss in a few grenades.  Ka-fucking-blooie.  'Bot parts everywhere.  Before long, I blaze into the room with my machine gun, holding the trigger down and aiming at ANYTHING.

That is, until out of nowhere comes a laserblast that scorches my left shoulder, and another that grazes my ear.  I drop my gun.

Another shot almost hits me in the face.  I fall.  Hard.

The next thing I know, there are hundreds of cold, tense robots surrounding me--scanners on *me*, guns pointed at *me*. 

And suddenly, I'm… laughing. 

Laughing.

What the fuck?!

I can't help myself.  I can't stop.  Hell, I don't even know *why* I'm laughing.

But… this is just so goddamn FUNNY!

"Well, if it isn't Sonic the Hedgehog--the fastest sex fiend in prison.  It's been so long, hasn't it?  I was looking forward to chatting with you again.  However, I must confess that I was hoping our little get-together would be somewhat… quieter.  But no matter.  I still get the last laugh, don't I?  At least my two 'serial killers' were able to torment you while you were still locked away--a marvelous revenge scheme, if I do say so myself."

I see that fat fuck looking down at me, grinning like a used-car salesman.  I stop laughing for a bit and hold up my C4 detonator. 

Silence--save for Robotnik's slow, steady breathing.

I snicker.  "Nice new factory you got here.  I was hoping to give you a little house-warming party."

"You wouldn't."

"We'll see."

Eggman looks at me timidly, and back to his robots.  Back to me.  Back to his robots…

With a slight hand motion, he commands the 'bots to lower their weapons.

"Alright, Hedgehog.  Let's talk."

"I'm not in the mood to talk."

The mad doctor doesn't move a muscle.  I can't tell if he's afraid or not.

"You don't want to do this, Hedgehog," he tells me.  My, how cliché. 

"I think I can decide that on my own, asshole.  All I have to do is press this button and your entrails will be decorating the moon."

"Ah, of course," Robotnik says, smiling faintly.  "A true hero until the end, eh Sonic?  Trying to rid the world of my evil influence?  Trying to do humanity one last favor--a desperate scheme to better your irredeemable reputation?  But what do you *owe* humanity, Hedgehog?  They're the people who turned their backs on you after you made just one mistake.  They're the people who abandoned you when you needed them the most.  Why should you care what happens to *them*?"

I tighten my grip on the detonator.  "I'm not doing this for them.  I'm doing this for ME."

"How so?"

"This isn't me saving the world.  This is me exacting my fucking *revenge*.  You've made me who I am, Eggman.  Without you, I'd be a normal guy with normal problems in a normal life.  If it weren't for you…"  I pause, noticing the tears in my eyes for the first time.  I grit my teeth and ignore them.  "If it weren't for *you*, Eggman, I'd still have a place in this world."

"Would you?"  Robotnik is practically grinning from ear to ear at this point.  "If I did, indeed, make you who you are, Hedgehog, wouldn't I be credited for your *fame* as well?  If it weren't for me, the world would have turned its back on you long ago.  It's a damned shame how biased society can be towards those from whom they can benefit.  As soon as they lose confidence in their heroes, they begin to forget them.  You found that out first-hand, didn't you?"    

I clutch the detonator fiercely--trembling, glaring at Eggman.  He looks deep in thought.

"Alright, Hedgehog," he says at last.  "I won't bother to fight this.  Go ahead.  Press the button.  Send us both into oblivion.  It's apparent to me that you've only lost your will to live and have decided to take me down with you--nothing more."  He pauses eloquently, smiling.  "Ah, but what if there were a way to bring yourself *back* to the light?  Sounds awfully tantalizing, doesn't it?"

I'm in no mood for fucking games.  "Robotnik, what the hell are you trying to pull?"

"It's a two-for-none deal, Hedgehog: *both* of us live happily ever after."

I raise an eyebrow.  "I don't follow you."

Robotnik turns away--paces the room.  "As I see it, you have two choices at this point.  You can either press that button and blow us both to smithereens... or…"

He turns back to me, his expression suddenly serious.

"You could pay the world back for all its done for you.  You could join *me*, Hedgehog.  You can embrace immortality in a body of perfect, blessed machinery.  You can assist me in ridding the world of its disgusting petulance.  Spite is by far the most beautiful form of revenge, isn't it?  To be feared is to command power at its most absolute, and an entire planet would fear *you*.  What do you say?"

I stand up, holding out the detonator for all to see.  "No deal.  I don't look good in chrome." 

I'm so damn funny, aren't I? 

Robotnik just glares at me.  "Then that will be your final mistake, Hedgehog."  He waves his hand, and the robots surrounding me raise their guns once again.  "They will fire on my command.  Let's see just how fast those reflexes of yours really are."

I stare into the fat man's eyes.

"Fuck you, Robotnik.  You lose.  I win."

I'm only slightly aware of the spray of laserfire that passes through my body... but that doesn't matter anymore.  Nothing matters anymore.  I've already pressed the detonation button.

And suddenly--boom.  White plumes of fire swallow me whole, swallow the room, swallow *everything*. 

I don't even have time to scream, and yet… somehow this seems like the perfect ending.

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END

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