"He, the greatest of his kin, He, who is quick of mind and keen of senses. He who is untouched by disease or plague, from whom sickness flees, He, whose image is distorted and yet is great, shall stand before the darkness. He shall wield the finest weapons with the greatest skill, He shall have strategy and tactics so that none can best Him. He shall possess the might of titans...
"He shall be the Chosen One, and He shall know no fear."
-The prophesy of the Chosen One, as spoken by the Ancient Walkers.
Chapter 1: To Lose it All
There was no other way to describe how he felt, really, not without using a colourful selection of curses. He probably would have used them instead too, if he had the strength; but he could feel it leaving him now. Along with his blood, now running out of the blaster holes in his chest and staining the grass around him crimson.
It wasn't this that was making him fell so useless though. It was the fact that he had failed again! He was supposed to be protecting them, heck, he'd even promised that little girl Cream that he would be her personal bodyguard! He'd run back to them as soon as he had caught the metallic scent of swatbots, but...
There were just too many of them.
Yes, that was it. He wasn't losing his reflexes or anything (or at least he hoped he wasn't- a mercenary without reflexes was a dead mercenary), it was just that he'd been overwhelmed. Not even Sonic could have won against those odds.
His eyes, one organic and the other mechanical, rotated to view the area before him. A sight of pure chaos met him, bodies, heads, arms – you name it and it was there – from defeated machines were scattered around in heaps. Yes, he had destroyed a lot of them, but they had just kept coming!
No, Sonic would not have won! He could have zipped around, spinning like he always does, maybe using one of those power rings of his to become faster, but he would have moved away from the kids. It was the blue hedgehog's only major flaw- he was too impatient, trying to take the fight to the enemy, always leaving his back unprotected.
The fox, a young adult now who had not been in this part of the woods for many years, leant back against the tree which he had collapsed by after the bots began to co-ordinate both ranged and melee assaults on him at once.
'Funny,' he thought, 'I used to play here when I was little... Who would have thought that I'd die here, too. I guess I deserve it though.'
It was his last legible thought before his muscles relaxed with exhaustion, pulling the six retractable metal claws back between his knuckles and up into his forearms as they did so. The only sounds to accompany them were a quiet metallic ring.
As he slipped into unconsciousness, his mind flew back to the events, stretched over ten long years, which had gotten him into this mess. Most of them, until recently, would often happen in his nightmares and cause him to wake up screaming in pain, horror, and fear.
It had always seemed to be that way.
Such was his life.
"Geeeeoal!" Amy Rose cried, jumping up and down in glee whilst pumping her fist into the air. Miles Prower, or 'Tails' as he was otherwise known thanks to the bizarre birth defect of having two tails, watched in surprise as a huge grin began to spread it's way across his face.
10-6 was the score. They were playing dirt hockey, a game that his surrogate family had all but invented for the sole purpose of keeping him occupied. It was such a fun game that it had become quite popular and kids involved had begun to form teams.
Tails had had difficulty finding someone to play with him, because the other kids tended not to like him too much- either they were uncomfortable around him due to his abnormality, or they were jealous of the attention he received from Knothole's elite- namely the Freedom Fighters, led by Princess Sally Acorn, the rightful ruler of Mobius, and the legendary Sonic the Hedgehog.
It wasn't until Amy Rose had turned up that he had had a real friend his age. She had been moved to Knothole from a small town to the southwest in the great forest, one that had been overrun by Robotnik's forces. Her father had been killed, and her mother had barely survived. Both had been brought here by Sonic and a small contingent of Freedom Fighters, and she – much like Tails – had developed a sort of hero-worship of the hedgehog.
And whether it was because of that or because of some other reason, she and Tails got along fantastically. They played together all the time, and had drawn themselves some amused looks from most of the residents of Knothole. They didn't understand what those looks meant, though.
It hadn't been long until Tails had shown her the basics of dirt hockey, and she had picked it up almost immediately. And so, the fox had a teammate, and they had begun to practice to become a proper team.
And they had just won their first game.
"Yeah!" he shouted, and ran to her. They hugged, and jumped around to the sound of clapping from the small number of spectators. They were so caught up in their victory that they didn't realise the pitch had gone silent except for them.
That was until someone grabbed Tails by the scruff of his neck and pulled him away.
"Wha-?" he yelped, trying to look around to find who had gotten a hold of him.
One day later, he was standing in Knothole courtroom.
He was scared. Very scared, and that was saying a lot, considering that at only twelve years old, he had been in a number of exploits which someone twice as old should never witness; had seen his parents die, almost been turned into a robot, and been fired at with live blaster ammunition countless times but to name a few.
And here he was, trapped, but not by machines. That was why he was so scared, for those imprisoning him were the very people whom he had come to see as his family.
Much like it had been to Sonic and Aunt Sally when Robotnik took over (he guessed), he could not really understand what was going on. It had to be bad, of course- the imprisonment, the guards watching him, and the disapproving looks from the Freedom Fighters all spoke volumes. He was in deep trouble, definitely, but why he was in trouble was unknown to him. No one would tell him either. He had asked Sonic when he had passed nearby, but he had simply looked at him and then walked away. The other Knothole Freedom Fighters he knew well – Bunnie, Rotor, Dulcy – had reacted in a similar way. Antoine, however, had reacted in a more aggressive manner, calling him (with his French accent providing minor difficulties in translation) a "fuelish child", followed by "perhaps you did not think that we would find out about your, how you say, treachery?".
And that had been new to him. Traitor? He wasn't a traitor. He was a Freedom Fighter in training! In just a few months, he'd be a real Freedom Fighter! And then he'd go fighting Robotnik with the others! He was no traitor, no way!
This was why he found it confusing that he was standing in the dock in the Knothole courtroom. Why was he on trial? They didn't really think he was a traitor, did they?
Before him, sitting at a long desk, were Sonic and Sally with Bunnie to the left of them and Antoine to the right. Either side of the distance between them were three rows of seats, at which some of the inhabitants of Knothole sat. From the array of faces, he could only see a few he knew personally- Rotor was there. So was Amy.
"We... All know why we are here," Sally said, making a start to proceedings. "Tails honey, answer with either 'yes' or 'no' for now, do you understand?"
He nodded, and then said in a shaky voice (as he was quite nervous at this point), "Um... Yes, Aunt Sally."
This appeared to have some effect on her, as she had to pause for a moment before she continued.
"Is your name Miles Prower?"
He ignored the quiet laughter that rose from the spectators at the sound of his rather goofy name.
"And you are twelve years old?"
"Yeah, but I'm thirteen next month!"
"So you are twelve right now."
He considered pointing out again that he was nearly thirteen (which made a significant difference as far as he was concerned), when he noticed the look Sally was giving him. It was begging him to confirm what she had said.
"Thank you Miles."
Miles? That was strange- Aunt Sally never calls him Miles...
"You are here to receive your judgement and sentence on the charge of treason the murder of Ari."
"What!" he exploded. "Murdered? I, I didn't! I haven't killed anyone!"
"Miles, there is no doubt. We found traces of your blood by his body... Nicole has made a 100 match. There is no doubt that you were there."
"But I didn't do it! I didn't know Ari was dead 'till now!" He turned to Sonic in desperation. "Sonic you gotta believe me, I couldn't kill him!"
Sonic refused to look at him, instead keeping his eyes firmly on the floor. Tails felt his knees turn to jelly as his idol refused to help him.
"Miles, please," Sally said, her voice breaking as she did so. "Because you are still a child, you are not eligible to the adult sentence of execution. Instead, we have decided that... exile is the best option."
It was then that Tails first felt like his life was falling apart. And, as things would have it, it wouldn't be the last time either.
"Yah ready, sugar?"
Tails stared at his old bed, lost in thought and not really listening to his Aunt Bunnie.
'Just Bunnie, not Aunt Bunnie. Not anymore.'
They had completely ignored him, of course, as he was not legally an adult. Therefore, he could not defend himself with much skill, as no one would believe him. Those who knew him well seemed to want to listen to what he had to say, but they were the minority.
In the end, exile was about the best he was going to get for the murder he had, apparently, committed. How or why anyone would believe that he had anything to do with it was beyond him, until Nicole had been consulted to explain that some foreign blood on Ari's body had been his. Those believing that Tails was guilty had pointed out that he had a cut on his arm. Amy had stood and said that the cut had been inflicted by accident when they were playing dirt hockey a few days prior to the trial.
But she was a child too, so no one had really paid her much attention. After all, she may have been trying to cover for him. There were no witnesses to this game.
Rotor was quick to point out that there were no witnesses to the murder either, but fact were facts- the blood being present said that Tails had come into contact with Ari when he died. A knife, found nearby had traces of his sweat on the grip.
There was no other way to explain it all. And so, he was being cast out from the place he had come to call home at only twelve years old.
"Tails, y'hear me?" Bunnie asked, sadness clearly evident in her voice.
"Yeah," he replied, his throat dry. So dry that it hurt to speak. He needed a drink of water.
He put on his backpack, filled with a few possessions- a small toolkit (it had been a birthday present), a pendant with his name on that Sonic had once made for him, and a picture of all of the Freedom Fighters.
...a picture of those who were casting him out into the world, alone.
He also had a few more items- some apples to last him until he came across another town, a map of the Great Forest and a compass, plus a torch.
He walked out of his hut, his home, and into the streets of Knothole. His head was hung, avoiding the gases of those who had come out to watch him go. Bunnie walked with him, a reassuring hand on his shoulder. He appreciated the comfort she was trying to offer him- but the bitterness that she had allowed him to be framed and punished for a crime he knew nothing of prevented him from allowing himself to give in to it.
It was difficult, but he would not cry. Sonic wouldn't cry.
As they neared the outskirts, the hedgehog in question came into view standing with Sally, Antoine, Rotor, and Amy. All of them except for Antoine looked guilty that they could not do more to help him, or even go with him- but to do such a thing was forbidden by the laws of the House of Acorn. Antoine stood apart from the group, sneering down his muzzle at the boy. Tails cringed.
Rotor seemed like he didn't know what to do, which was appropriate as he was a big kid really- he was as confused as Tails that all of this could happen so fast. He said,
"Goodbye Tails, and good look. Stay safe, okay?"
Tails nodded, and put on a brave smile. It felt false though. And it made him feel like a fool.
Bunnie and Sally both hugged him whilst beginning to tear up.
"Now ya listen to me, hun," Bunnie said. "You be good, and you be careful, alright? I don't believe that ya had anything to do with Ari, but there's nothin' that I can do 'bout it... I hope we meet again sometime."
Sally immediately latched onto him when Bunnie was done, whispering in his ear,
"I've always thought that you were like my child, my little boy... If there was anything I could do to help you Tails, you know I'd do it, don't you?"
"Please, be careful. And come home to me one day."
She kissed him on the forehead, and stepped away. Tails found himself looking at Sonic, his idol, who was smiling at him as if to inspire confidence in the young fox. He gestured for Tails to follow him, and walked away from the group and towards the trees.
He followed, and when Sonic judged that they were far enough away, he stopped and knelt down to be face-to-face with the boy.
"You know that you're my best bud, don't ya?"
"Yes," Tails whispered.
"Good. Because I want you to know that you still are, and you will always be. I don't believe that you could have killed anyone, Tails. I know you; it's not possible for someone with a heart of gold like you to do something evil like murder. And I swear to you, I'm going to find out who really killed Ari. I'm going to clear your name, bring you home, and then you're gonna join us. You have so much potential... You're going to be the best Freedom Fighter ever, ya hear me?"
The corners of Tails' mouth perked up a little. "Thanks, Sonic," he croaked.
Then Sonic reached forward and hugged him.
"Everything's going to be okay little buddy, ya hear me? It's all going to be okay."
Tails felt his eyes watering up at Sonic's promise, but felt inspired by it too. Yes, everything was going to be okay, because Sonic would make it okay. He'd never failed him before, why should he do so now?
"Now go on, Tails, and I'll see you soon. Be brave, okay? Make me proud."
He looked over Sonic's shoulder at the others, where he saw Amy openly crying into Bunnie's shoulder. Sally looked like she was on the verge of breaking down too, but was doing her best to look like she was in control.
"I'll see you soon, Sonic. I'm sorry for everything," Tails said before running into the Great Forest without once looking back.
It was the last time any of them would see Tails for ten years.
He had been on his own for maybe a week, and already he was in serious trouble.
It wasn't his fault, he was sure- it was the emotional farewell that the others had given him, causing him to run wildly to the east and straight towards Robotropolis.
Naturally, the closer one got to the mechanical city, the more frequent swatbots patrols became. Tails, still inexperienced in the ways of stealth from the Freedom Fighters, had stumbled upon one of these patrols and was currently being chased back the way he had come.
Yes, he was exiled. But surely Sonic would help him out anyway! They were still best buds after all!
But would the others? Some didn't seem to believe that he had killed Ari, but others clearly did. What if they attacked him instead?
Sonic wouldn't let them though, surely!
But what if Sonic wasn't around? What if he was away, trying to clear his name?
It was this line of thought that proved to be Tails' downfall. Being so deep in thought meant that he wasn't looking where he was going, so it was no wonder that he ran straight into a red and black hedgehog who sent him spiralling to the ground. Stunned and confused, he pulled himself to his knees, only to be lifted by the scruff of his neck clean of the ground. The hand that had grabbed him rotated him slowly, bring him face-to-face with the visor of a swatbot.
He was trapped, had no escape plan, and had no one to save him. So he summed up his situation in two short words.
Months after Tails had left, months since his trial, and months since he had supposedly killed Ari- Sonic had became more and more frustrated at his lack of progress in clearing the little guy's name.
He knew that Tails hadn't done it. He was certain, Tails just wasn't capable of killing yet, but he needed proof, and of that he had found nothing. Sally had been helping too, followed by Bunnie and Amy, but so far, none of them had found anything at all.
But Sonic's commitment had paid off when he stumbled across a strange creature. It was a fox, whom he had at first mistaken for young Miles, until he had realised that it only had one tail, and was far too tall. He had called out to it, thinking of the possibility of gaining another Freedom Fighter, only to receive the shock of his life when the creature turned.
As it turned out, it was not quite a fox- well it had been at one time, but was now a hybrid of flesh and metal. Its left eye was replaced a bionic eye- a cold grey box-like contraption with a ring on the front, a glowing yellow orb in the centre. Its lower jaw was also metal, with large and sharp silver teeth protruding from the metallic gums as it growled at him.
Various parts of its body were covered with metal plates as a crude form of armour, breaking up the natural reddish orange fur in clumps. And, emerging from the backs of each forearm, were a pair of deadly blasters. For a moment, Sonic had been reminded of Bunnie's partially robotic body, and thought that this was some new form Robotnik's swatbots – a workerbot with weapons – but that idea was quickly dispelled when he realised that the metal was not a part of the fox's body, but was instead grafted into it.
The creature had been no robotisization. It was some kind of cybernetic organism, a living machine!
They had had a short battle which had demolished a group of trees and created a new clearing in the Great Forest, but ultimately (and as always) Sonic had come off the victor.
The body had been taken back to Knothole, where Rotor and Dr. Quack had got to work on finding out what it was. The results were disturbing for everyone.
The fox had still been alive, and apparently had a will of its own- the trouble was that its entire skeleton had been replaced with a crude mechanical version, complete with motors, ammo feeds and ammo drums for the blasters, so that it could be controlled remotely. The living brain of the host body had provided it with information about the immediate environment, but had been unable to control it- the fox had been alive, though trapped, when Sonic had fought it.
No one in Knothole had come across such a thing before, and so it had been nicknamed a 'Cyborg' (coming from the combination of 'cybernetic' and 'organism'). And there was only one person who had the ability and cruelty required to do such a thing- Dr. Robotnik.
A meeting had been held in the Knothole war room, gathering the leaders of all other Freedom Fighter factions together to discuss this alarming occurrence. The use of their own against them was not the problem, as that had been happening for years due to robotisization. No, the real concern had been that these creatures were very, very deadly, because they had the wits and intelligence of a living creature combined with the weapons and reflexes of machines. Sonic had nearly been killed against the first Cyborg, and that one had clearly been a prototype judging by the state of its mechanical parts- how powerful would an army of them be?
A debate on what to do next went on for over three hours, marred by petty infighting. Yet, all had been united when Rotor and Dr. Quack had burst into the room with important news.
They had found that, not only had the Cyborg been 'upgraded' with metallic accessories, but it had also had part of its genetic code altered to match that of one Miles 'Tails' Prower. And, traces of Ari's blood had been found hidden under it's sporadic fur- there was no doubt that it had killed Ari. Tails was innocent.
Robotnik's plan was clear- he intended to turn the Freedom Fighters against each other, causing them to be weakened so that he could destroy them all. So they had retaliated by uniting together to defeat him, and began to amass a huge army beneath the canopy of the Great Forest.
The Knothole Freedom fighters remained concerned, however. They all knew that Tails had tremendous potential; though he was young, he showed traits that were far beyond his age. If he completed his training, there was little doubt that he would become one of the best.
What if Robotnik knew this? What if he had planned for Tails to be exiled all along? What if... What if he planned to use Tails against them?
It was a frightening thought. So immediately search parties had been sent out to find him. But eventually, a time was decided, and the assault on Robotropolis began. The battle was long, bloody, and violent, but in the end Robotnik fell and the city was levelled.
Tails was never found.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sonic the Hedgehog, nor X-Men... I don't have any money either, so please don't sue me!
Well ladies and gentlemen, here is my offering to the Sonic fanfiction community. I hope you enjoy it. :-) This fic is based upon the SatAM universe, but takes elements from Sonic games and, especially, the comics. I won't deny that a lot of this had been inspired from X-Men, but don't think of it as a 'traditional' crossover. Cyclops and Wolverine will not pop in to say hello. Rather than simply mashing X-Men and Sonic together, I'm doing my best to blend the themes of one with the story of the other, hopefully resulting with something that is coherent with the SatAM cartoon... but you readers are the judges of that, I suppose.
In addition, there are a number of Warhammer 40,000-ish references. What can I say? I love the darkness of that universe, and I just had to bring a touch of it here.
Anyway, I talk too much. I hope you enjoyed this prologue-like chapter, and please, leave a review!