He was finally here.
The Death Egg had proven to be one of Sonic's greatest challenges. Every which way he turned, traps and robots were coming at him in droves, shooting and bombing him in an attempt to stop his assault on the weapon of mass destruction. Eggman would not let Sonic stop his dream from becoming reality so easily... He was mere inches from his goal, his ultimate purpose on this plane of existence. Soon, Mobius would be nothing more than a ball of dirt and rock, wiped completely of life.
With the Master Emerald in his possession, and Sonic holding the seven Chaos Emeralds, having so thoughtfully brought them, Dr. Eggman would finally see the fruits of his suffering come to realization.
Yet, as he stood upon the viewing deck on the outer edges of the Death Egg, there stood his greatest nemesis only feet away. That insufferable blue hedgehog, giving him a glare so dangerous, the mad doctor was sure he'd be dead if looks could kill. But, he was still standing, and the hedgehog was only one person. What could he possibly do?
"Come to see what gifts I bring to dear Mobius, boy?" Eggman sneered. His demeanor far less composed then when they first met. Their constant battles and upheavels over one-another left a boiling desperation inside of him. Had it not been for Sonic time and again, he would have completed his mission long ago, something he was keenly aware of, and beyond agitated about.
Sonic stepped forward, fist clenched. It was the only step he had taken, sharp jade eyes giving Eggman a once over.
"After everything, you're still hellbent on doing this?" He looked angry, but his voice betrayed him. Sonic was upset, confused, that it even had to come to this. He'd been mulling over the possibilities of what to do ever since he had crash landed on Angel Island only a day ago... No matter what conclusion he came to, the uncomfortable reality settled in just as he arrived to face Dr. Eggman one final time.
It was a truth he did not want to confront; a fact laid bare before him, left his stomach reeling.
"Surely, you cannot be trying to appeal to my better natures, Sonic?" It was almost as if he was mocking him, a tone that didn't pass by Sonic at all. Instead, he watched as Eggman worked away at the console on the platform, standing in front of the largest robot he'd ever seen. It was easily four times bigger than the Death Egg Robot Sonic encountered upon his first trip onto the Death Egg... and he only saw the shoulders going up. He couldn't fathom just how much bigger this mech was.
There was a part of Sonic that silently pleaded for this to end. To just... run over and... take care of the problem right now. Just thinking about it created a shiver up his spine, biting down on his tongue to keep steady. Sonic continued to watch, reverie broken by Eggman once more.
"The sheer amount of energy being exuded by the Master Emerald...! It's astounding! I could not dream of having this much energy, and plenty to spare! My only regret is that I didn't happen upon it sooner."
"And what about the Chaos Emeralds?" Sonic snarled, stepping forward again, reaching around his back to open the knapsack Knuckles had given him just an hour prior, holding the seven Chaos Emeralds together. Sonic looked down into the sack, noting how they seemed to shine less brightly than before... were they losing their power?
"What ABOUT them? I'll simply take them from you when all is said and done." Eggman fired back, turning to face the hedgehog. It was only then did Sonic manage to get a good look at Eggman ever since their first fight. Everything about the doctor was disheveled and improper. His jacket unzipped, sweat pockmarking his forehead, and that normally immaculate moustache uncombed and unruly. His entire person looked crazy and desperate, on the verge of collapsing himself at any moment.
"You know what happened last time. I can do it again!" Eggman let out a bellowing bark of a laugh that caught Sonic off-guard, one hand on his stomach.
"If I'm not mistaken, boy, you couldn't even control yourself that time! I have no idea how you even managed such a ridiculous transformation, but it won't work a second time!"
He had to try.
Sonic dumped all seven emeralds on to the floor in front of him, the clacking of ancient mineral as they tumbled and rolled at his feet. It might have been disrespectful, but Sonic was done playing nice, even as he gazed back up towards Eggman, whose smile was growing manic every second. The final preparations for his greatest robot were complete.
At that moment, a twin bulkhead door began to open up on the 'neck' of the robot, hissing as steam was released from vents on either side. A brilliant green light shone out of the cracks, bathing Eggman in its pure light. There sat the Master Emerald, encased in a steel prison, with wires and pads sticking into the surface from all over inside. Countless wires hooked to no doubt innumerous systems used to power this mechanical marvel. Just looking at it made Sonic sick in a way he wasn't used to it. It felt... wrong.
Under any other circumstance, Eggman would have been regaled for creating such a machine... but there was no time for fanfare. Now, or ever.
For Sonic, it was just a symbol of the doom to come.
A symbol he would destroy.
With the emeralds at his feet, Sonic closed his eyes, silently calling upon their power once more. A golden hand wreathed in flame, outretched itself from the darkness, claws poking through the fabric of a glove, the cuff having been torn to shreds long ago, floating along the arm like jagged wisps. A wave so cold it must've been born of the deep reaches of space, coiled around his soul.
He could see his heart... beating, growing in quickened pace, as he prepared for that vicious vice to close around his soul yet again. He would endure the pain. He had to.
But it didn't come. Instead, a voice came to him. It wasn't the same one he had heard all the way back underneath South Island. No... this one was gentle, effeminate, yet stern.
Chaos is power... Power enriched by the heart. The controller is the one that unifies the Chaos.
Another hand, unmarred by battle, pierced the veil of the darkness surrounding him, taking ahold of the golden one, fingers closing around the wrist, sending a shiver up his arm. This new arm was a faint orange, its own wrist with a blue, ring like jewel around it.
Upon touch, the golden, fiery fur seemed to ebb away, shifting silently into a gleaming silver and white. The pain Sonic had prepared himself for was there... but it felt more like a warm cloth wrapped around his entire person after being left under the faucet for too long. Pure white ribbons snaked around Sonic's heart, gently tugging in every directio, taut and secure.
It wasn't entirely unpleasent, but it was nothing compared to the agony he felt the last time he did this.
Only a few moments had passed between Sonic calling upon the emeralds, as their energy overtook him. Bright green eyes opening up from the inky blackness, as the raging heat dwindled into an ember. The potency of that flame hadn't died in the least bit... it was simply bubbling beneath the surface, boiling and ready to be unleashed. Sonic could feel the trigger for this power just below his minds eye. It would take one, thoughtful stroke of his will to unleash the power residing within.
What happened? Why wasn't he in pain? Even as he felt that familiar strength coursing through his veins, his sight wasn't blinded in a waterfall of crimson. He brought an arm up to inspect it, finding it not wrapped in golden flame, but sheathed in a brilliant, shining white. Trails of rainbow tinted energy drifted off the surface. Sonic experimentally waved his arm around, watching as trails of rainbow tinted dust seemed to fly off him, before turning into sparkles and disappearing just as quickly.
His whole body was reacting, as if it were swimming through reality. The very fabric of space and time was nothing more than a sheet. Had he just pierced that barrier? He couldn't explain it any other felt so... serene. He could feel his quills, normally straight and rigid, were now floating about... they seemed to be... fluffier, like clouds drifting on the waves of the ocean, gently rocking. One of his quills hung lightly in front of his shoulder, almost like it had grown longer in that short time. It felt strangely comforting. Inviting, even.
In Eggman's case, he was just witness to this perplexing transformation. The scientist inside of him yearned to study this phenomenon. Even he could tell of the maternal instinct washing over the hedgehog. Even as he wished he could ask just what Sonic felt in that moment, It would never happen.
Turning his attention back to his console, all power readings of his robot seemed stable. The Master Emerald remained fixed inside of its metal coffin. There would be no delays this time.
"So you've changed your fur color yet again. Ho-hum. It will not stop me. Nothing will!"
Sonic silently watched as Eggman crawled inside of his robot, climing up the rungs of a ladder embedded into its breast, opening the head so he could fit comfortably inside. Just as before.
Sonic should have been freaking out. He should have been screaming for Eggman to stop this. To surrender and give up. Yet, even as he watched the mighty, mechanized suit of destruction whirr and click to life, even as its great red, beady eyes flashed on, and even as the head of the robot swiveled to face him... Sonic felt an eerie calm.
He thought of the trigger. He thought of his finger upon it. It would take one pull, and all of it would spill forth.
With Eggman inside of his robot, it rose up, a sleeping giant awakened for the eve of destruction.
Rise, robot... rise!
The platform around them crumbled. A fist from beneath the floor rose through, tearing apart the metal like wet paper. It was effortlessly moving through the platform, speaking of the sheer force it must have exuded. The power cost alone for such a machine was unfathomable to everyone but Eggman.
The metal beneath Sonic's feet gave way, crumbling and falling. Yet Sonic did not move, even as the ground disappeared, replaced by nothingness, he began floating, lifting his legs slightly. The mere thought of flight was all he needed to stay stable. Surreal was putting it lightly.
Tilting himself forward, Sonic shot off like a rocket towards the Great Eggman Robo, fist outstretched. Eggman responded in kind. Despite its size, the speed with which it responded was phenomenal! A part of Sonic buried deep within smiled, fangs flashing in anticipation! Fists collided, creating a mighty spark of light between the two screaming souls.
"Impressive. All of my sensors are detecting a great heat eminating from your being! If anyone normal were standing near you, they would be undeniably scorched! How are you exuming such power?" There was a layer of mirth and excitement in Eggman's voice. Despite his propensity for his dastardly plans to unfold, he was always a scientist first. His mind raced at the possiblities for such an event to occur, even as he clashed with Sonic.
"Beats me." Sonic responded cooly. His eyes were sharp, with his mind even sharper, a razors edge within the storm of power, voice level. He should have been angrier. Sonic thought of the trigger.
Bringing another fist around to knock away the one pressing against Eggman's mechanized hand, Sonic slid back, circling back before charging foward in a wide sweep, coming in even faster than before. The white hedgehog was as quiet as the sky... and faster than lightning
Some part of Eggman couldn't help but enjoy this. He felt the very real possibility of dying. It did nothing to dampen his mood. He was close. He was so close. He just needed to take care of Sonic, and then the world would be his to repair, to fix and maintain for the greater good.
Eggman thumbed a button on his control stick, connected to his lit up dashboard, the six rocket engines on the back of the Great Robo flared to life in a thundering roar of technology, taking off towards Sonic as he reared for another attack. Sonic wouldn't be able to dodge in time, opting for a cross-armed guard as the giant robot bodyslammed him, sending him back, further into the Death Egg. Sonic's body crashed through countless walls, all the same gunmetal gray and white, becoming a blender of steel and titanium as he stopped himself, before making a beeline back into the fray. Focusing on himself, he pushed harder and harder, until he seemingly blinked out of existence, becoming nothing more than a ghostly afterimage.
Eggman activated the reverse thrusters upon the mech. Ports opened up on the front, where rockets began spewing fire, changing angles to better navigate the growing debris field from the conflict. The Death Egg was half destroyed... it was a miracle it wasn't crashing back to the planet. Although, if it hadn't yet, it would... Orbital decay would be setting in any minute now.
Scanning the area for Sonic, Eggman kept his power output to maximum. Anything less would do him no good. Indeed, for if he hadn't, the sudden multiple impacts upon the surface of his robot would have probably done far more damage. The Master Emerald was bolstering every aspect of his greatest creation.
These impacts suddenly caught up with themselves. Multiple thunderous claps rang out, creating various dents on the surface of the robot. While the damage was only mildly superficial looking, it ran far deeper, knocking loose several components and creating several alarms as Eggman shook inside of his cockpit.
Swiveling his cameras around, Eggman spotted Sonic, who was just now shimmering into view. Sonic had gone so fast, he hadn't even detected the strikes until the last second. That kind of speed was impossible!
"Don't think I can pull something like that off again. That took a lot out of me." Sonic said it so matter-of-factly, it actually irritated Eggman far more than he'd like to admit. Pressing another button, a rocket pod rose out out of the shoulder of his mech, before shooting multiple guided missiles at him.
Sonic kept a keen eye out, flying backwards and around to avoid the munitions gunning for him. Eggman wouldn't be outdone, and began firing more as he backed away, deep into the growing debris field as the Death Egg fell apart around them.
Flipping around mid-flight, Sonic kicked one of the missiles upward, sending it spiraling out of control, into a different part of the space station. They were flying through what appeared to be the remnants of a hanger. As the missile flew into the surface, a large hulk of metal began falling down. So artificial gravity still worked...
Flying up, Sonic grabbed the large chunk of metal by the edge, swinging his body around and throwing the debris directly at Eggman. Multiple missiles struck the debris, creating a large explosion. Using the explosion as a smoke screen, Sonic billowed right past the fiery cloud, directly into Eggman's line of sight. On his way over, Sonic front-flipped as he traveled, letting go of a powerful axe-kick directly onto the top of the missile pod, destroying it with a shower of sparks.
With a growl, Eggman activated a slew of sub-weapons. Lasers, more missiles, and even a few floating mines.
A few of the explosions created a chain reaction as Sonic attempted to dodge them, getting mild burns along his being as he did so, trying to fly in a circle around Eggman, hoping to get a strike at his back.
It was almost impossible. There were just too many things firing at him. He didn't want to chance the lasers either.
Turning around on the dime mid-air, Sonic blasted off through the walls of the space station. Indignant and fired up, Eggman gave chase. The large fingers at the end of each arm retracted, reforming into a pair of triple barreled gatling guns. The telltale whirr of the weapons spun up, before full-metal jacketed rounds began tearing through the walls, hoping to catch Sonic.
Eggman was fast catching up as well. Looking behind his shoulder as Sonic flew into the center atrium of the Death Egg, a few bullets knicked along his sides, sending a sensation of pain up and down his torso. They didn't draw blood, but they sure stung like hell. If he let a barrage of those close range, he probably wouldn't survive. Sonic thought of the trigger.
Turning around as he flew backwards, wind whipping at his quills, Sonic brought up a palm as a missile came close to him. Holding his palm out, he grabbed at his wrist, before letting out a yell unlike anything he'd screamed before, wracking his lungs and his body to unleash a localized explosion.
This invisible explosion distorted the space in front of him, sending the various munitions following him and right back at Eggman's mech. Sonic wasn't sure what he just did; all he thought of, was being able to send everything back to his enemy, and it worked! He wasn't sure what else he could do... but he'd rather not chance anything experimental.
The munitions, now marked return to sender, peppered and exploded onto Eggman's robot. He yelled in exclaimation at the sudden turnabout, unable to shield himself in time. They were powered the Master Emerald, and designed to level entire cities if it came to that... so having everything suddenly blanket him in return wasn't a welcome addition, and in fact, was quite catstrophic.
Sonic saw opportunity.
Sonic thought of the trigger.
He pulled it.
Arching his back as his arms were thrown down, Sonic let out an earth-shattering cry, as a superpowered explosive wave erupted from his form. The white-hot energies he was emitting grew beyond an inferno, white fur shimmering rapidly with rainbow tinted energy.
"This ends, RIGHT NOW!"
Eggman, for the first in his life, felt the cold chill of death upon his back.
Devoting all of the mechs power to its thrusters, he began making his escape. He would lose Sonic in the growing debris field, he would abandon the Great Robo, and detonate it. He would rebuild. He would do so again, even if it took him the rest of his life. He was doing this for the betterment of mankind. Why couldn't Sonic see that? He had to get away.
Blasting away through the field of asteroids and metal chunks, Eggman faced away from his attacker, while dumping the rest of his ammo in Sonic's general direction. He was growing beyond desperate, beyond frantic... in his mind, he would win so as long as he escaped. Sonic would tire eventually.
Swiveling his camera around, Eggman scanned the massive debris field. He couldn't detect Sonic anywhere. Did he lose him? Did he win?
Turning his view forward once more... he was greeted with Sonic's furious visage.
"THERE YOU ARE!"
Eggman roared with indignation as Sonic appeared into view a mere kilometer away. A kilometer would be nothing to Sonic in this state.
Slamming a hand down upon a lever, all the way down, the head of the robot opened up revealing an ironsights fixated in front of the Master Emerald, as focusing lens slid into view. A bright blue laser began forming at its base. Sonic could hear the defeaning crescendo of a power attack being built, as Eggman's laser primed itself and ready to fire.
In a blinding flash, a meters wide laser shot out from the front of the robots head, using the Master Emerald as its battery. Shifting slightly to the side, Sonic slid along the laser, feeling that oppressive, vaporizing heat miss by mere inches, speeding along the deadly beams path.
With fist outstretched, Sonic became a speeding bullet, through the neck of the Great Robo like tissue paper, missing Eggman by mere feet. The mighty blow tore the metal asunder, deactivating the laser weapon and wrecking components and the structural integrity of the mechanized suit. Stopping within the robot, Sonic planted both feet inside of its scorching metal guts, as his body turned wires and nuts and bolts to slag. Gripping both hands around the bright green Master Emerald, it only grew brighter as his hands touched upon it, nearly blinding him. Closing his eyes, Sonic pulled with every ounce of strength he could, tearing the Master Emerald free from its prison.
Eggman knew what was happening. A sudden power loss like that would create a failsafe detonation! If he didn't escape in the next few seconds, he'd be nothing more than ash scattered to the solar winds!
As his cameras and screens flickered in and out, the last thing he would see before the world was ripped away from his view, would be Sonic. An angry, but sorrowful expression etched onto his features.
With the Master Emerald under his arm, Sonic reared back one final attack, winding up his arm to send an explosive haymaker directly into the center of the Great Robo. The punch sent the now powerless mech directly into the rapidly descending Death Egg.
The Death Egg exploded seconds later.
Massive sections of the Death Egg seemed to remain intact... but it was forever splintered and torn apart. The core of the space station was nowhere to be seen, having torn itself in twain, becoming nothing more than oversized flakes of metal under orbital decay, and now, running into its own pieces of itself, tearing off sections as the hulk of metal fell silently towards the oceans of Mobius.
It was over.
With the Master Emerald safely in his hands, Sonic quietly made his way back to Mobius. The stress of the battle began weighing on him, gliding back to the planet, hanging onto the great relic. Sonic could feel it now... the energy was slowly leaving his body. That beautiful white fur began flickering. His vision grew dark around the edges of his eyes. He didn't have much more in him, and soon, he'd fall to Mobius just like the Death Egg. Was this where his story ended?
At least he saved the planet.
Sonic closed his eyes, pressing his face into the cool, smooth surface of the Master Emerald, cheek absorbing the comforting chill, replacing the effervescent heat welled inside of him. As the winds of Mobius greeted him once more, he could swear he felt a gentle hand caressing his cheek, inviting and soft.
Huh? Who was calling him?
Sounds of an engine filled his ears, snapping Sonic back to the land of the living. It was growing closer, approaching fast... on his left? Sonic turned his head to the increasingly loud cacophony of a plane engine. Green eyes swept this way and that, until he finally spotted the red hue of a plane.
With Sonic gliding like he was, using the last bit of his energy to keep from falling like a rock, Tails guided the Tornado underneath his friend, slowing down slightly so he could land on the sturder upper wing of the biplane. Sonic had just enough sense in him to land the emerald upside down, in the middle of the plane. Any side but the middle would have it tip over, and that would be real bad news, especially after everything they went through to get here.
"Tails! You're alright!" Sonic looked back, a wide smile turning up on his cheeks, resting on the wing of the Tornado. Tails looked up from the controls, giving off a wink back to Sonic, and his very own smirk to go along with it.
"You bet I am!" Tails wasn't sure why Sonic was white, what that huge emerald was, or what just happened... but he knew one thing.
Sonic saved Mobius.