Healing Hearts Chapter 0ne

Mobius-Outskirts of Robotropolis...

Princess Sally gazed out over the bleak and hostile landscape. The sky overhead was black and smoke permeated the air, making it difficult to breath. The city below her was devoid of life. Only machines and metal inhabited this place, ruled over by a man, if you could call him that, who had turned a once beautiful and prosperous city into a fortress of evil and destruction. Where once there were humble homes, there were now warehouses storing weapons and vehicles. Factories belching out thick, black smog dotted the area, churning out more Swat-Bots and machines capable of destroying everything in sight. And worse still, and this one hit especially hardest, the robotic Mobians patrolling around, Mobians who had once been flesh and blood, now turned to metal and circuits, serving against their will to the very same man who ruled this city.

Sally's fists clenched in righteous fury. Every time she thought about all of the things Robotnik had done over the years, she felt anger and, at times, despair. How long had she and her fellow Freedom Fighters been defying the mad Doctor? How much longer would this fight continue? How many casualties had they suffered? How many more would they suffer?

Sighing, Sally returned her attention to the task at hand. They had a mission to accomplish and she needed to be alert. One misstep, and it was all over. Inside information had informed her that Robotnik was setting up a new factory, who's purpose was to churn out a newer and more lethal brand of Swat-Bot. Lately, Robotnik had been stepping up his game. Which meant the Freedom Fighters had to do the same.

"Is everyone in position," she asked over her comlink.

"I'm in position, Sally-girl," Bunny reported.

"I, too, am in ze position," Antoine responded.

"Ready on my end," Tails replied.

Sally nodded. For a moment, she half-expected, half-hoped, to hear another voice respond. But, she knew she wouldn't hear his voice. She'd never hear it ever again. Fighting back the tears that threatened to run down her face, she steeled herself and prepared to give the order to move out. However, just as she was getting ready to speak, something unexpected happened.

Down in the city, there was a bright flash of light. Sally squinted against the glare. The light faded out and she saw someone standing right where it had appeared. Her eyes widened in surprise. It was a human! Sally pulled out her binoculars and peered through them to get a closer look.

It was a human male. He had fiery red hair, sky-blue eyes and fair skin. He was wearing a black shirt, red overcoat, and blue jeans. Sally also noted a sword strapped to his side and a knapsack over his shoulder. He looked around in confusion, taking in his surroundings.

"Who are you," she whispered. Aloud, she addressed her team. "Everyone, hold your positions. We may have a situation here."

She turned her attention back to the mystery figure below. She figured it wouldn't be long before he was discovered.

"HALT!"

Right on cue, she thought. A squad of Swat-Bots had spotted him and were now advancing on him. She heard the ominous sound of the alarm sounding.

"Sally, what's happening," Tails commed in. "Do they know we're here? I hear the alarm!"

"Stay calm, Tails," Sally replied. "It's not because of us. Looks like there's someone else here. The bots are converging on him now."

"What do ya'll want us to do, Sally," Bunnie asked.

Sally watched the scene below. The human was totally surrounded and more Swat-Bots were arriving.

"This could be a perfect distraction," she said. "While the bots are busy with this, we can continue the mission. Alright, everyone. Commence with the mission."

Her team responded and moved out. Sally was getting ready to move out herself, when she witnessed a surprising turn of events.

The Swat-Bots aimed their lasers at the human in their midst.

"YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN THE DOMAIN OF DR. ROBOTNIK! YOU WILL SURRENDER AND COME WITH US!"

The human gazed around at the robots surrounding him. He seemed unafraid, his eyes coolly assessing the situation. His hand slowly moved towards the sword at his side.

"Let's say for a moment, I refuse," he said. "What exactly would happen?"

"RESISTANCE WILL BE MET WITH HOSTILE FORCE," the robot replied, it's laser glowing ominously.

The human smiled. "Yeah, that's what I thought."

Faster than the eye could follow, he drew his sword. The blade flashed and he swept it in a wide arc, decapitating several bots in the process. Before any of the others could react, he twisted around, slicing several more Swat-Bots where they stood. The bots collapsed, circuits and wires sparking. The remaining Swat-Bots opened fire, crimson beams streaking through the air.

The human dodged with incredible speed, his reflexes alerting him to incoming projectiles. Zigzagging around the beams, he charged the Swat-Bots. Once close enough, his blade cut them down. Metal screeched and groaned as the sword sliced through them. Glancing back, he noted more bots heading his way. He turned to face them and raised his hand. A greenish light formed around his hand, and then a massive wave of green energy blasted into the Swat-Bots, shattering them to pieces. With that threat taken care of, he turned his attention to another oncoming group. He charged at them, mowing them down where they stood.

Sally stared wide-eyed. In less then a few moments, this one human had decimated an entire squad and then some of Swat-Bots, armed with a sword and possessing power of some kind.

"Sally! Sally! Do you read me?"

Sally turned her attention away from the battle and responded.

"I'm here," she replied.

"What's going on," Tails asked. "The whole city's in an uproar. Swat-Bots are on full alert. How do you want us to proceed?"

Sally fell silent. The distraction of the mystery warrior wasn't working out to their advantage as she had hoped. If the Swat-Bots were mobilizing, then they would no doubt move in to secure the area.

"Fall back, everyone," she said. "The mission's aborted. Rendezvous at Knothole."

Three affirmatives answered her. Sally cursed under her breath. So much for taking out the new factory. Her gaze once more fell upon the human down below. A pile of destroyed Swat-Bots littered the area. Still more were approaching. Sooner or later, the mystery warrior would be overwhelmed. She was prepared to leave, but suddenly stopped. She gazed back at him. A part of her just couldn't leave knowing what awaited the human if he was captured. Despite the fact Mobians had had problems with humans in the past, she just couldn't turn a blind eye.

"I must be out of my mind," she muttered, as she descended from her position overlooking Robotropolis.

In his main command tower, Dr. Robotnik turned his attention towards the large computer, while the alarms blared in the background. He pressed a button and the screen flickered on revealing his lackey, Snively.

"Snively," he growled. "What is all the commotion?"

"It seems we have an intruder in our midst, sir," Snively replied.

"The Freedom Fighters," Robotnik asked anxiously.

"No, sir," Snively said. "It's a human."

That surprised him. He had expected Princess Sally and her friends to show up. But a human? He pressed another button and brought up footage from outside. The sight that greeted him shocked him. There was the human, armed only with a sword, cleaving Swat-Bots left and right. Already there were large piles of destroyed bots all over. And it was just one person!

"More Swat-Bots are converging on him now, sir," Snively reported. "It won't be long before they overwhelm him."

Robotnik watched the battle continue. Suddenly, he spotted something else of interest. It was Princess Sally. And she was making her way towards the melee.

"Well, well," Robotnik smirked. "It looks like the Princess decided to show up after all. Perfect." He jabbed a button on the armrest of his chair. "Attention, Swat-Bots! Priority-1 target inbound to your location. Apprehend both targets at any cost."

He sat back and watched, a sinister smile crossing his face. Soon, he would have them.

Another bot fell, sparks showering him as he sliced through it.

"Oh, c'mon," the human snarled. "How many more damn robots are there?"

Suddenly, a sphere-like object sailed through the air. It struck the ground and shattered, a bright arc of electricity zapping the bots and dropping them. He stared in surprise, wondering where that had come from. He spotted who had come to his aid. It was a humanoid chipmunk, probably about 4 feet, with red hair and blue eyes. She, for he could tell this was a female, was dressed only in a blue vest and blue boots. She ran up to him and gestured from the direction she had just come from.

"This way," she said. "There's too many Swat-Bots! You'll be overwhelmed!"

He stared at her for a moment. He hadn't been expecting this. But then he hadn't been expecting a city filled with robots either. Then, a burst of laser fire brought his attention back to the current situation. More bots were converging on them, and several hovering vehicles had entered the fray.

"Okay. Maybe it is time to get out of Dodge," he said.

He followed after the female chipmunk, lasers hitting the ground behind them as they fled.

"By the way," she said. "My name's Sally."

"Nice to meet you, Sally," he replied, ducking as laser fire streaked overhead. "I'm Austin. I wish I could say this was a pleasure, but,..."

A laser struck the ground near him.

"I understand," she said.

They skidded to a halt. Right in front of them was a wall of Swat-Bots, all aiming lasers at them. And coming up behind them, their pursuers.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me," Austin growled. "Really? Where are all these robots coming from?"

"Goes with the territory, I'm afraid," Sally replied.

"So, out of curiosity," Austin asked, "Just where were we running to?"

"We just had to make it to the forest," Sally said, indicating the trees beyond the wall of bots. "But that might be a problem now."

They gazed over the army of robots and airships surrounding them.

"We might be able to get out of this yet," Austin said.

"I take it you have a plan," Sally asked.

"I do," he replied. "Stay close and brace yourself."

Sally moved closer to him, wondering what he had planned. She watched as he was surrounded by a blue aura of light. The ground around them began shaking and Sally grabbed hold of him to steady herself. The aura grew brighter and expanded outward. Then, Austin thrust both arms out and released a massive wave of concussive energy. The wave spread to all sides and tore through the bots and hover drones. Everything collapsed in a gigantic heap of ruined machinery. Sally stared in shock at the destruction.

"Unbelievable," she gasped.

"Now, let's get out of here," Austin said.

"But we'll never make it to the borders before more show up," Sally said.

"Oh, yes, we will," he said. "Do you trust me?"

"Uh, yes, I suppose," Sally replied.

Without another word, he scooped Sally up into his arms. She blushed slightly as he held her close.

"Uh, wha," she stammered.

"Hold on tight," he said.

She gazed up at him and then her eyes widened in surprise. Austin suddenly changed. His hair grew slightly longer and a lite-blue fur covered his face. Even more surprising were the majestic blue wings that sprouted from his back. They spread out in an impressive span and then he lept straight up. His wings flapped, helping him gain more altitude. Soon, they were high up in the air. Sally held on tight as she gazed down at the ground far below her.

"Don't worry," Austin said. "I won't drop you."

The wind rushed past them as he took off towards the forest at amazing speed. Soon, Robotropolis was left far behind.

Snively stood before the doorway leading to Robotnik's chamber. He knew full well how this was going to turn out. The door slid open and he entered. Robotnik was seated in his chair, his back to his lackey. Snively stood and waited.

"Snively," Robotnik began, his voice low and ominous, "Tell me something. How is it a single human and one Princess could escape capture from an entire army of Swat-Bots and Hover Drones?"

Snively swallowed nervously, knowing whatever answer he gave wouldn't make a difference. Heads were going to roll for this.

"Um, well, sir," he said. "I can't really vouch for the Princess, but, the human with her was, um, no ordinary human. In fact, sir, I'm not sure he was human."

The chair swiveled around. Robotnik's red eyes locked on his subordinate.

"Elaborate," he said.

Snively brought up security footage showing the earlier skirmish. Besides the impressive swordplay, the mystery human exhibited energy based abilities that had decimated his robot forces.

"As you can see here, sir," Snively said. "This person was exceptionally skilled in fighting and capable of utilizing immense power as well. And then there was this."

The next image showed Sally and her mysterious friend. The human suddenly grabbed Sally and transformed, sprouting wings. Then they took off into the sky. The screen paused. For a few moments, Robotnik remained silent, pondering over this strange development.

"So, he's not human," Robotnik mused. "But what is he? And where did he come from? Is he an ally of the Freedom Fighters?"

"At the moment, I'm not sure, sir," Snively replied. "But if he is, we may have a real problem."

"Snively," Robotnik said. "I was able to dispose of one major problem, as I'm sure you remember. This boy, whoever or whatever he is, will perish just the same. We'll just need to expand and improve on productions. In fact, our newest bots should be ready to deploy very soon."

"Yes, sir," Snively said, uncertainty tinging his voice.

His gaze returned to the paused footage on the screen. He had a bad feeling about this mysterious stranger. Robotnik might not be concerned, but Snively was. He decided it might not be a bad idea to have a few contingency plans made, just in case.

End of Chapter One...