Disclaimer: I don't own them. THERE! I said it!! HAPPY?!

This is Beyond Blue Skies, the dedication I've been quipping bout for the past, I dunno, months or so? Finally got it up, and will be continuing it alongside Disappear whenever I don't feel like typing bout Tikal, Chaos, and the rest of them. Then I'll just write ARK stuff, cause who doesn't want more Shadow? O-o

Shadow: Me.

You don't count, it's a biased vote.

Shadow: I really hate you....

Of course you do, dear. :) -sneezes- Ugh there goes my allergies again. Stupid fur.

Shadow: A blessing in disguise...


"Shadow, I beg of you, please do it for me... for a better future!"

"Maria!"

"For all people who live on that planet! Please, give them a chance to be happy...let them live for their dreams."

"....no, Maria...No!"

"..please, Shadow, I know you can do it. That's the reason why you were brought into this world..."

"No! Maria! NO!!"

".....Sayonara........Shadow the Hedgehog."

"MARIA!!"


Pitch-black abyss dotted by shining specks zipped pass on the other side of the thick, and yet just barely transparent, window. In truth, it was really better as a mirror with the dark background of outer space. She could see her golden hair outlined in the obscure window and after a little dimness where her ivory skin would be, her bright blue eyes stared back at her, blinking only when she did. Normally she would continue to simply stare at her reflection for hours on these long trips, but this was no normal journey. Space! She was in space, of all places! The black unknown, the final frontier! Everything was new and exciting, but at the same time, billions of years old! How many people got to experience something like this? According to her parents, not very many. In fact, she was currently one of the youngest travelers into space at this time, since it was awfully hard to get permission in the first place. Her father said often that Grandpa had to pull quite a few strings to get them up here.

Grandpa.

Thanks to him, she was going up in space, for the first time in her five year-old life. This was an adventure beyond the ones she'd played back home on Earth, with all her friends. She couldn't wait to get back and tell everyone about space and how big and beautiful it was. Nothing like the silly white dots on black construction paper she'd drawn once in art class. The teacher was right about drawing a lot of things, like it didn't look right when you put a green flower on grass, or made the sky white and the clouds blue, or even when coloring a house, don't color outside the lines, but that whole lecture about how stars should be drawn white was all wrong. She was seeing so many colors out here that she couldn't wait to tell her class just how wrong an almighty grown-up could be.

"Maria, honey, look..." Her mother's arm appeared in the corner of her eye and Maria swerved her blonde head to look in the indicated direction. Past the reflective glass, a tremendous circular mass of metal slowly rotated. Her small, pale hands pressed against the window and her already large blue eyes widened. It was glorious, far more beautiful than the clinking hunk of scrap she was on right now. The colony was a shining lord of space, a world all its own. A smile spread across her face as the observation deck window came into view. There! There was Grandpa, looking out of the window as eagerly as she! She broke into frantic waves and screaming, only to be shushed harshly by her mother.

"Don't get so excited, we'll be there soon!" Her mother scolded, tugging her arm gently. "Make sure you have your seatbelt on, we're docking."

So Maria plunked back into her seat with a loud huff, and rebuckled that belt that her grandfather once said cost more lives than saved. Of course he meant robotic lives, which her father often corrected her and him by saying no electronic equipment was alive. To which Maria and her Grandpa would give each other a long, meaningful glance, communicating silently about how wrong her father was. They both held the same opinion of robotics, and opposed the world with it. And it was that outlook that had made her grandfather the world's leading respect in robotics, and genetics.

She couldn't wait to see him again.

-0-

"Grandpa!! Grandpa, look, look!! We came!!" The second she was out into the 'open' air of the space colony, she broke into a wild dash for her grandfather, shrieking so loudly that many of the resident scientists swore that their glass test-tubes cracked.

But Professor Gerald Robotnik was equal to his frenzied granddaughter and, as soon as she was within reach, snatched her up off the ground to swing her up into the air and around the room, laughing, his strange, almost savage sounding guffaw chorusing with her highly-pitched giggles. It was a rather touching reunion flight that ended in a strong hug from the elderly man. Finally they parted and Maria's parents, who had taken their time disembarking, reached the two. Both received warm welcomes from the senior scientist before delving into exchanges of recent and even out-dated happenings.

In the end, Maria was left to amuse herself amidst the echoing, iron halls of the ARK while the adults talked. Her grandfather promised that as soon as they finished their 'boring grown-up stuff' he'd get to spend time with her, but not until then. Protocol first, Maria, He always said, and though she was five, she understood. She'd once refused to wait on an earlier visit last year, and the professor had sat her down and explained that in space, everything had to go a certain way. If it didn't, he explained, the results could hurt people. Even kill.

So, she had to wait.

But that didn't mean she had to be bored, now did it? There were hundreds of rooms on the ARK, and thanks to previous visits, she knew where most things were. But the colony was always receiving new things, and that meant she had to re-explore everything each time she was there. It made for a great past-time, and was interesting as well. Drawing was fun too of course, but guessing what a funny looking machine did was constantly rewarding as well.

Perhaps there is such thing as fate, since for no reason she could think of, she backtracked. She'd been on her way to the emergency launching bay, a place were blinking lights and buttons were fun to make silly rhymes to the tune of, when something bright-red had caught her eye. She turned back, but nothing was behind her, except a glass window that opened into the experiment observatory, where her grandfather and fellow workers tested out new theories, equipment, and the occasional living creature.

Thanks to her grandfather, all of ARK's doorway access panels were compatible with her DNA, so she could get into any room that didn't have a pre-coded genetic lock on it, in which case only Grandpa and his co-workers could go inside. She placed her hand on the panel, and smiled when the door gave way. Stepping into the room quickly, so she wouldn't be caught when the door 'swished' closed, Maria took the time to glance eagerly around the room, searching out the red she noticed earlier. The was nothing but a blank, white room, illuminated by the stream of brilliant light from the ceiling.

She sighed in disappointment, and turned to leave, intent on returning to her quest to go to the launching bay, but froze in place when she saw it.

It was a monster.

To a five year-old, many things are monsters: frogs, snakes, and most unfamiliar foods. However, I think that one would be extremely hard pressed to find anyone of any age who did not find the creature looming above the small child to indeed be the very definition of a monster.

The monster was a large reptile, a lizard of one kind or another, with wrinkled orange skin that showed large veins running beneath it, a large metal tank on its back, and gaping, pitch-black holes for eyes that reflected the frightened girl's face back to her.

Maria whimpered and backed away, coming into contact with the wall sooner than she would have liked. The lizard was between her and the door, and it was advancing forward in an awkward, lumbering sort of way. Her mouth and throat went dry, and try as she might, she couldn't make a sound, let alone scream for help. It probably wouldn't have mattered, the thing would kill her any minute now, long before any sort of assistance could've arrived.

Or at least, that's what would've happened...

Maria didn't really see much of what had happened. In fact, she only witnessed flashes of light, and barely even those. Somehow though, in the span of a few moments, the reptile was lying on the floor, and a strange new creature stood before her.

It was a hedgehog, black-furred, with red winking into existence here and there, head spines upturned, unnatural for its kind she was sure. Its back was turned to her, so that was really all she could tell about him. Then he looked over his shoulder at her, and strange, deep crimson eyes pierced into her sky blue ones. He turned fully then and kneeled in front of her, never blinking.

Maria stared back, unable to look away. This creature had saved her, but for what purpose? What did it want?

The hedgehog reached out slowly, and Maria drew back, squeezing her eyes shut and expecting something to happen, something awful or painful, perhaps what had happened to the monster. Instead, she felt her hair gently being pulled away from her face, and opened one eye to see the furry peering at her in curiosity. It took her hand in its, and tugged her, signaling her to stand. She paused a moment, but obeyed.

The minute she was standing, it started to inspect her hair more closely, examining everything about her. Maria shied away at first, but then let him explore at her hair and laughed when he tried to undo the small hair-clip bow her mother had placed in her golden locks before they left Earth to come up to the colony.

Suddenly she heard the swishing noise of the doors, and someone calling her name. Everything was soon chaotic, people in white coats tugging at her, her mother crying, her father screaming at Grandpa that they shouldn't have let her out of their sight, the yelps of the frightened hedgehog, her grandfather trying to defend his creations.

In the midst of it all, trapped in her mother's arms, Maria saw the hedgehog reaching for her, as scared and bewildered as she, trying to fight away the humans around it to return to her. And she reached for him as well, catching hold of his hand for a few moments, and then being pulled away by what seemed like a hundred hands, the door sliding closed as a needle entered the hedgehog's outstretched arm and it slowly gave in, resisting until it collapsed and the metal door swished its way shut on the scene.

And all the while, they both reached.


Do. Not. Ask. This is the beginning of a maybe...two, three chapter thing if I want to continue it. Maybe I will, and maybe not, review and we'll see. This, like Disappear, has no real fixed path, though where it ends is pretty much planned, which can't be said for Disappear. If you haven't read it yet go do so. Then you can vote on what you think should happen next, cause I'm lost. I just flow along. And I need to get a Beta reader.

Back to Beyond Blue Skies, personally, I like how it came out, and how spiffy-ness it seems to be. If you find something you want altered, talk about it in the review, and I'll see what I can do. ;) After all, I am the ultimate authority in my fics. Buwah! Fear me!

Shadow: I can't believe you sometimes...

Yeah, I'm just so awesome.

Shadow: That's not what I meant....