One Crazy Party
If you had asked Ivo Robotnik what he thought of Sonic The Hedgehog a week ago, he'd call him an obnoxious, well-meaning daredevil, but ultimately far more complicated than one might assume at first glance. His heart was always in the right place. That's something he could call Sonic a kindred spirit in. They were both steadfast in their beliefs, something he endlessly respected the blue hedgehog for.
Yet, as he sat, back against a computer aboard the Space Colony, codenamed ARK, he could not but help and stare in abject horror upon what he came to see in Sonic in that very moment.
It wasn't his intention to awaken Emerl as he did. He was simply conducting experiments on the Gizoid, in an effort to understand what his grandfather saw in an ancient war machine. As this was before his untimely mental meltdown at the hand of GUN, he thought maybe there were good intentions in studying Emerl The Gizoid... He was beginning to think Gerald Robotnik was abhorrently skilled at hiding his madness when it mattered. Or maybe insanity just ran in the Robotnik family.
The Ark, post Eggman's rebellion using Shadow The Hedgehog and holding the world at ransom with the Eclipse Cannon, became declassified once Eggman vowed to serve his consecutive sentences by handing out goodwill amongst the populace of Mobius. He made the argument that technology aboard the ARK, while half a century old, far outclassed many modern technologies they held dear today. As such, he was allowed transportation to and from the ARK, granted, with an escort of GUN personnel, but nonetheless, it was a step in the right direction.
It was only after he discovered Emerl during one of his more... unsupervised forays in the space station, did he set out to figure out more of what was lost. It's what any good scientist would have done. He would never apologize for the endless pursuit of knowledge. But he had not meant it to come to this.
He had not meant to awaken a pair of tyrants that day.
Just a week prior, he had introduced Emerl to Sonic and his friends, during a brief stop in Emerald Coast. Sonic was visiting Miles Prower's home there, in an effort to curb his endless objective to stay the onset of boredom. When introduced to Emerl, Sonic looked like a kid in a candy store, and took him on many adventures around the eastern seaboard, up to and including Central City, all the way to the Mystic Ruins.
It was only when Emerl was introduced to the Chaos Emeralds did things start to go downhill from there. From what he understood, one of their group, a dimunitive and blind owl girl, showed the confused robot around. While Emerl didn't "take" the emerald per se, he did drain it almost entirely. Not even using the emeralds to power his Death Egg project drained all seven that quickly. Needless to say, it merited further study.
Out of pure curiosity, Emerl was introduced to the other emeralds, and as he drained each one, he grew smarter, going from what one could describe as ruidmentary AI, all the way to having a full-on personality that was unique and entirely his.
Unfortunately, when they came across the final emerald, Emerl... changed. He went from a fun loving robot that liked to occasionally spar with Sonic, to a weapon hellbent on destroying the earth by using the Eclipse Cannon, just like Shadow almost accomplished a few years prior. It was eerily uncanny to how similar both situations presented themselves.
It would seem Gerald's decades long quest to enact revenge upon humanity would never die so as long remnants from the past remained, a fact Eggman was becoming quickly attuned to and aware of as time went on.
Everyone tried to stop Emerl.
No one was a match for him. Not even Shadow, and he held his own out the longest. But that's all he did. He was on the defensive the entire time. Emerl was just too quick, too fast, too agile and far too powerful for the chaos attuned hedgehog. While Shadow was extremely skilled in his own right, Emerl had somehow copied his chaos abilities quickly and efficiently, replicating almost instantly, as he used a conglomeration of all of Sonic's moves, as well as the most effective of his friends. He thrashed everyone, and left no mercy.
The only reason they were alive at the end, was because Emerl saw killing them as pointless, especially when he would fire the Eclipse Cannon at Mobius and be done with it.
Sonic arrived soon thereafter.
Eggman had been taken hostage by Emerl, forced to use a teleportation pad that he had developed in his spare time to board the ARK quickly and quietly during his tenure with GUN.
Sonic arrived with Shadow, Knuckles and Tails soon thereafter, using the same teleportation pad. Everyone bar Sonic, looked as if they had gone several rounds through a paper shredder, looking beaten, bruised and otherwise hurting.
Sonic looked... Happy?
Shadow had more strength than either Tails or Knuckles, standing up, holding an arm out to prevent either of them from joining Sonic, as the blue hedgehog stepped forward, approaching the platform Emerl stood upon.
"What's the deal, Emerl?" He started, fists clenched as he slowly approached the Gizoid.
"You can't go blowing up planets. That's not very nice."
"Sonic." Emerl turned around. Those normally sapphire blue orbs he called eyes became a vibrant cerulean, pulsing with energy. Every inch of the ancient gizoid warmachine had broken his limits, and became something far more. Whatever immensly complicated machinery made up Emerl allowed him to utilie the emeralds just as the Heralds could do... and in some way, somehow, it was a pervese, twisted malfeasance on the law of nature. Even Eggman could see that.
"It's within my parameters to destroy Mobius. It was my original creators will, and I will carry out my orders. By any means necessary." He spoke with a voice unlike his, and yet it sounded so very distant and not at all like him either. Sonic merel shook his head, as he brought a hand to shoulder, rolling the joint to loosen himself up.
"Break the ice, Emerl. You grew beyond your programming, and this is what you choose to do with it? I'm honestly really disappointed in ya."
Emerl took a moment, staring down Sonic some few odd meters away from their positions. He didn't move an inch, as Sonic proceeded with what seemed like customary stretching of all of his limbs, as if this wasn't anything more than one of their sparring matches upon Emerald Coast's beach.
"It does not matter what you think. This is what I was built for, and I will see my programming to its final conclusion. This is non-negotiable." It was at this point that Shadow spoke up, stepping forward just a bit to swipe a hand in front of the air. He seemed oddly animated at this juncture, moreso than Eggman had seen him before.
"You're more than the sum of your parts! Everyone has the ability to grow! So what if you were designed to destroy the foolish idealogues of humanity? That's not who you became! You can't tell me you decided to revert? For what?!"
Shadow had begun shouting. It was at that moment that Eggman saw the similarities in both of them. Both manipulated as weapons, but abundantly clear one chose to dwell in darkness, instead of running away from it.
Sonic hadn't budged an inch after he'd gotten done with his stretching.
"For... the one truth. To eradicate the dustlings. This was pre-ordained." Emerl hesitated before he responded. Something didn't seem right. Not in the least bit. This tangled morass of emotions raged on inside him, as the gizoid's hands firmly curled into fists of his own.
"I will not listen to a moment more of this. Final preparations for the Eclipse Cannon were enacted long ago, thanks to . With the power inside me from the Chaos Emeralds, I can effortlessly charge the cannon and finish what the ancient ones started five thousand years ago."
Tails and Knuckles had remained quiet up to this point, but they both shouted a visceral, reverbating 'no', toward Emerl. This didn't stop him in the least, as the warmachine turned on the spot, placing his hand upon the console in front of him.
System lights began flashing all over the ceiling, power began restoring to the countless sub-systems within the ARK. It felt as if an ancient monster from eons past began awakening, opening its maw to the world once more. A colorless fog descended from vents in the walls, as exhaust ports ejected spent coolant, keeping the machines operative and efficient.
Arcs of lightning shot from Emerl's hand, into the console, as the lights grew brighter around them. The pit surrounding the core of the Eclipse Cannon raised up from the abyss below, becoming one solid platform.
A window to the outside opening up, as the viewports swung to once more bring Mobius into view, just like those few years ago, sweeping across countless starts, until the blue planet they called home sat in direct line of fire to the doomsday weapon at the Gizoid's fingertips.
The next second Eggman knew, Sonic was right in front of him. What the- he hadn't even heard him come over.
Apparently neither did Emerl, as he recoiled upon noticing Sonic suddenly much closer than before, while Sonic ignored him entirely, placing a hand out to Eggman for him to grab it.
"Sounds like history is repeating itself, huh?" Sonic non-chalantly proffered, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Eggman, stupefied, reacted upon instinct, taking Sonic's hand more out of instinct than sheer principle, wondering just how Sonic had approached him so quickly and so quietly.
Sonic led the portly scientist over to where Shadow, Knuckles and Tails were, leaving the human to stand with the echidna and the fox, before making his way to Shadow.
Eggman could only barely hear what Sonic was saying.
"You got that shield trick all figured out?"
"Wha- yes? What does that have to do with this?"
"You're gonna want to bring it up around you and everyone on the platform. And keep it up."
Shadow was going to retort about not taking orders, but one look at Sonic's expression told him everything.
There was only one other time he'd been terrified in his life. Even now, he wasn't terrified of Emerl, or of Mobius potentially being destroyed. No... any words of defiance died in his throat the very moment he saw the manic, almost crazed look Sonic sported on his normally happy blue and peach face. There was an excitement there he'd only seen prior to their battle on the outskirts of the ARK. It unsettled him then, and it downright shook him to his core now.
There was a deep, twisted smile, as his eyebrows sharpened in the same way Shadow's tended to look all the time.
Sonic turned back toward Emerl, who eyed him with an unsteady look. Impressive, being a robot.
"Thirty seconds from now, the Eclipse Cannon will be fully charged and automatically fire."
Sonic quietly approached Emerl, even as he spoke.
"You have lost."
Tails shouted after Sonic, pushing past everyone else, standing next to Shadow.
"Destroying Emerl should power down the cannon! But-" It was Eggman's turn.
"He's correct! The cannon is siphoning off Emerl's residual chaos energy! Cutting it off from the source will disable it once more!"
Sonic let out a huff through his nose, thumbing it, as he did so naturally.
"But I'll be destroying Emerl in the process, right? Wish I didn't have to do that, but this is how we roll out here."
Sonic reared his foot back, tapping the tip of his shoe against the metal floor.
"This party's gettin' crazy."
Sonic assumed a stance, pressing both tips of his hands digits to the floor, looking as if he was emulating an olympic runner.
Every single one of Shadow's instincts suddenly flared. Every fiber in his body began screaming at him, as his danger senses became a shrieking cacophony of alarms blaring in his skull. He was only able to shout two words before hell broke loose in front of him.
In that same amount of time, he brought both arms in front him of him, as if hugging something ethereal, something only he could see. He closed both eyes, squinting shut.
In a near instant, a distorted barrier formed around Shadow, Knuckles, Tails and Eggman, creating a dome, shielding them from the sudden explosion from outside their bubble.
Sonic had trusted Shadow to shield his friends from the sudden, ensuing sonic boom that engulfed the room before him. Shadow only managed to realize this mere seconds after Sonic had broken the sound barrier, becoming a living jet, aimed right for Emerl.
Emerl barely had enough time to react to the sudden attack, choosing to dodge out of the way instead of guarding against it. Good thing, too, as Sonic's foot barely grazed against Emerl's arm... leaving a wide gash against the metal gauntlet encasing his arm.
The shock of suffering such heavy damage from even a glancing blow left him reeling, flipping backwards several times as he shot several artificial chaos spears towards Sonic. The blue blur didn't entertain the thought of getting hit even once, dodging in such a manner that looked more like elegant aerokinetics than it did a high-flying stunt.
Twisting his body around, Sonic let loose a sweeping roundhouse kick, aimed squarely for what would be his ribs if he had any. Those same ribs would also be completley liquified, were he an organic, as such, he was only sent rocketing toward the far wall, becoming embedded in the heavy steel walls.
Emerl was beyond surprised. He was completely and utterly aghast the sudden power and speed Sonic brought towards him. None of the previous data he had acquired from Sonic was prepared for this. Every time he'd fought, every time they trained, every time he watched Sonic get into a fight...
The horrorific realization dawned on Emerl.
This was a game to him, and he was finally being serious.
The world slowed down to a crawl, as Emerl initialized his onboard analysis systems. Like this, he would be able to compute massive amounts of data. Hundreds of terabytes of information being calculated all at once, mostly in part-thanks to the chaos energy residing within him.
While the world was slowed, so was he. He could simply observe what was in front of him at this very moment, as the breadth of a second stretched out to minutes long observation of the situation before him.
Yet, even as Sonic's friends became still, Sonic himself was advancing on Emerl. Slowed down as he was, he was still making considerable distance, legs extended in long, purposeful steps. Most interesting were his feet. He had caught Sonic just as his foot stepped upon the metal floor... and found that sparks were erupting from the point his toes ground themselves off the floor, let alone the cloud burst behind him as the barrier of sound vaporized upon his mere presence. That alone spoke levels to what he was dealing with.
Emerl ran multiple models, trying to see what he could do in the span of a fraction of a second.
Nothing came to him. All plans of attack came back to him with a chance of success being less than two percent, or even less. There was simply nothing he could do, offensive in nature. The best he could hope for was to guard against Sonic's next strike and go from there.
The world sped up again. Emerl brought both arms up to shield his head from the incoming uppercut kick, something sonic dubbed the Flash Kick. With one arm damaged, the potency of his defensive posture was considerably lessened, as Emerl was dug out of the wall and flung over Sonic's head.
Emerl shot a few more Chaos Spears at Sonic, as his servos and systems froze in but an instant and came back online. That instant was just enough for Sonic to jump straight at Emerl, who still hung in the air, to suffer an agonizingly powerful axe kick to the back of his head, rocketing the gizoid into the floor so hard he bounced, landing several feet away from his enemy. Emerl reporte several parts inside of his chassis had been lodged loose. Combat efficiency plummeted to seventy-one percent.
Sonic blasted off towards Emerl once more. With a quarter of his combat data lost against that last attack, Emerl pulled from the plethora of techniques Sonic had taught him. Flipping backward, the gizoid planted both hands into the ground, spinning both of his legs around at breakneck pace to hopefully catch the hedgehog off guard.
Sonic, while he was indeed unprepared for a sudden revival of one of his own moves, wouldn't be outdone. Barely dodging the kicks aimed at his face, Sonic lowered his body, sliding along the floor toward Emerl. Stopping on a dime, Sonic pressed one hand into the ground, before spinning his body in one wide, sweeping arc. One might call it breakdancing, but in Sonic's hands, it was a deadly weapon.
The back of Sonic's heel, just like the axe kick from seconds prior, collided square on with Emerl's head, flipping him around several times, being sent so hard into the opposite direction, he bounced and rolled. Sonic followed up quickly, letting loose a few quick sets of kicks against Emerl as he rolled, curling into a ball to try and mitigate the damage being dealt to his frame.
The last blow to this furious assault came in the form of Sonic kicking Emerl away like a ball, with a soccer kick so strong, there was the sound of a small boom at the point of impact. His systems reported a small, localized explosion occuring at his back, reporting it as a fragmentation grenade.
Being hit hard and fast in rapid succession like that shut off most of his motor functions in due order. He could not willingly operate his legs anymore, uncurling mostly out of necessity than desire. He tried to divert systems back into other, more important areas, but Sonic's vicious macabre dance wasn't over.
With the sound of what seemed to be another jet taking off, Sonic approached Emerl, hanging midair, curled into his own ball.
Sonic tore through Emerl's midsection, tearing him completely in half.
The ARK's systems suddenly shut off, reverting back to the auxiliary it would hang indefinitely in, just as it had half a century prior. All at once, subsystems blinked off, returning the room they occupied back into its gloomy state.
Emerl fell next to the console that controlled the ARK's Eclipse Cannon. He wasn't sure where his legs went. He was fairly sure they were vaporized. Then again, his own calculation models were on the fritz after being bisected like that, so maybe he was unreliable.
Shadow let go of the shield surrounding the small group that just witnessed that final battle between master and disciple, falling to one knee to catch his breath. Knuckles elbowed Tails in the side, whispering to the younger fox.
"Did you catch any of that?" Tails could only shake his head and blink, before remembering he had a mouth.
"Nope. Totally lost."
Eggman was speechless.
Sonic's sneakers emitted an aura of heat, radiating from the soles. He was lucky Chuck had specifically designed them to be nigh heat-proof, otherwise, he might dealing with melted shoes.
"Sorry I had to go hard." he began, walking towards Emerl's upper half, whose head only barely turned to face Sonic. Sonic's smirk from before was still there, but it had softened somewhat. He wasn't angry, boasting, or even smug. It looked to be more sad than anything else, even if his smile curled up high on his cheek.
"I couldn't let you destroy my world."
It was only then did Emerl finally begin to understand him. Sonic had become hungry for conflict. For situations that put his life at risk, for the sake of getting stronger and protecting those that he loved and cherished. For his family, for his friends, and for his planet. The thrill of defeating his enemies was a hunger unlike anything else.
How long until this hunger consumed him? How long until he turned to less desireable means to achieve this nirvana he so desperately sought? To seek solace amongst his unending craving to fight.
He called this a crazy party. He was having fun. This life or death situation of an entire planet gave him a thrill unlike anything else. Why then? Why was he holding back all of those other times? Why didn't he unleash the full extent of his might all those other times he got into fights or adventures?
He wanted to destroy, to crush his enemies... but he wanted to protect the planet, and all that lived within it.
In his last moments, as he recollected all of the good times, with Sonic... with Tails, Amy Knuckles, Cream, Shadow, and finally Eggman, one moment stood out to him the most.
It was when he was sitting on a cliff, overlooking the sunset with Sonic, as the duo gazed comortably into the retreating sun, Sonic had confided in him something he hadn't told anyone else.
"I think I'm scared of being alone the most. The voice inside me wants to run and fight endlessly. The worst part is, I agree with it. It doesn't matter who's wrong or who's right. I think, so as long as I have ground beneath my feet, and maybe a good scrap or two along the way, I'll be okay."
It doesn't matter who's wrong or who's right. Those words stuck out to him the most. Emerl didn't understand it then, but in those brief moments where he caught Sonic smiling like a madman when presented with a dangerous situation, as he told Emerl how he couldn't destroy his planet, Emerl finally understood what Sonic was trying to say. He too, encompassed those very words these last few minutes, as Emerl didn't care who was wrong or was right, he was doing what he thought was the correct path. Just as Sonic was.
At some point in time, Sonic would come at odds with everyone he knew. He didn't know how long it would take, but it was a mathematical certainty. One he was sure of, even as his systems failed one by one. What if a greater good came along... and Sonic didn't agree with it?
"You're a monster, Sonic the Hedgehog."