Thicker than Blood
Chapter one: Unexpected Events



I clicked a button on my visor, doing my best to maximize
the sensitivity of it, and as usual, no difference in the readings.
This was getting to be hopeless. If I didn't find those Legionaires,
who knew what kind of trouble they could cause the Island; plus,
Kommisar and I had alot of 'unfinished business'.

Ever since the night I spent with Knuckles, I've been going
on very little sleep, only stopping so my Sky Board can recharge,
doing my best to avoid the nightmares that haunt me; hard as I've
tried, however, sometimes the body just doesn't do what you want
it to, and I wind up back into what I believe is true hell.

The memories of my mother's death have gotten longer now , up
until when I am in the memory-erasing device. Then everything goes
dark, just like my mind, and I wake up. The one piece before this
what's fuzzy is when I screen the rafters above me, and I can't see
what I know is up there. It seems as if my sub-concious is trying
to tell me something, but the program acts as a wall to stop it.

I wonder what it is that could be so important for the
program to place extra strain on itself to do this; maybe I'm
to blame for Mari-su's, my mothers death...I chose to do this
alone so I could spare the Chaotix this danger; if what I believe
about me is true, the evil that surrounds me could take them next..

As I continue along my way on the portable aircraft, I
become lost in these painful thoughts, only coming back to
reality to check a bleep on my visor that is completely useless
in my quest, until I see small wisps of smoke in the distance;
it's nothing to concern myself about, *probably a campfire*
I though, until a new sound from the direction reaches the
sensitive cybernetics of my dredlocks, a sound impossible
to ignore, no matter how oblivious.

Screaming. Desperate, pain-filled, torturous screams.

I stopped dead in my tracks, almost flying off the
board, and hovered there as the two voices of my mind battling
each other on what I should do,

{It's none of your business, keep going!}

[No, you've gotta help. They could be in trouble.]

{You don't know them! Who cares?!?}

[Believe it or not, you do..]

Finally, I make my choice, and fly as fast as my
board could go, until below me there is a small village of
tents and temples, or at least that's what it was. Now, some
of the tents were ablaze, others already ashes on the charred
grass, and what seemed like hundreds of people were scurrying
frantically in no particular fashion. Many were looking to
escape, while a few warriors were doubled up, battling each
other and screaming words I could never recognize. This scene was
obviously an invasion of one tribe into another, the question
was: Who were the good guys?!?!

A shriek sends my gaze to another section of the camp,
where a small snow tiger, barely Tails' age, was tossed to the
ground, a huge grizzly bear armed with sword, armour, and a
strange mark on his hand standing over him. The look of terror
in the cub's eyes gave me all the proof I needed to see who to
fight; in a nutshell, the tattoed tough guys gotta GO!!

I swoop down on the Sky Board, jumping off as it hits the dirt,
and I nail the overgrown teddy bear in the space between his shoulder
blades, sending him flying over the cub. "Pick on someone your own
size, Smokey!" Meanwhile, the tiger was just staring at me, as if
he couldn't believe I was there; honestly, I couldn't either.

The doofus didn't seem ready to give up yet, because the
next thing I know, he's charging at me like bull seeing red,
screaming that "Dackar will not be beaten by a slave woman!"
*SLAVE WOMAN?!? That's IT!!* and does something I never thought
of; he pulls out a blaster-A BLASTER!- and starts shooting at me
with terrible aim.

"This is nuts!" I can't help but cry out. This tribe
looks like it can barely walk on two legs, let alone be
advanced enough to have such high-powered weapons. The guy's
missing me by a good metre each time thankfully, but although
he may not hit me, he could get lucky and hit someone else, so I
decide to be nice and take it off his hands.

I grab my own gun out of it's holder, knocking it from his
grasp in one clean shot, freaking the guy out completely.
He's stunned now from the shock of my aim, so it's time to take
him down, and hopefully scare the rest of the scarred fighters
into a retreat. With a quick jab to the face of Dackar (I guess
that's his name) he stumbles to his knees, and I know this is
my one good chance; moving as fast as I could, I grab the
tiger cub and place a gas mask over his muzzle, to protect him
from both the smoke that's burning my lungs as I fight, as well
as the gas bombs contents that I'm about to throw into ugly's face!


As planned, the bomb went off without a hitch, and soon
I hear dozens of people coughing and gasping for air, myself
included. Through the green gas, I can see the invading group,
plus Dackar running for cover into the dense forest surrounding
us; that's the last thing I see before the smoke and fumes
take it's toll, and I black out into silence....


Dackar and his troops come racing into the camp, still
coughing from the smoke they'd inhaled hours before. As the wounded
are carried off to be treated, the war leader knows that his battle
is not over; he must face Ralphus.

He moves warily to the great red tent in the center of the
camp, knowing full-well the Leader will not be pleased at all. Shaking,
he opens the flaps of the tent, and bows slightly, "Sir Ralphus, I.."

"How was the battle?" The very sound makes the strong bear
cringe, and tries not to run as his commander turns. Ralphus is a
monsterous siberian tiger, his orange and black fur thick and wiry,
with teeth and claws that could turn the mightiest redwood into
splinters within moments.

Finally, he regains his voice, and Dackar speaks again "Not..
not well master. We were defeated by.."

"DEFEATED?!?!?" Ralphus roars "HOW?!? OUR ALLIES GAVE US
SUPERIOR WEAPONRY, HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?!?" Dackar falls to his knees
"It wasn't my fault master! Another outsider came into the battle with
a magic ball, and she produced smoke fouler than the worst fires! We
were blinded!!"

"You know our agreement with the outsiders. We provide
them with workers, we get the Goman's land. I will not tolerate one
WOMAN stopping us to gain that land!!" Ralphus walked around the
quivering mass of fur, and exited the tent, but not before he
spoke again. "We return to battle tonight, and I will command.
The Goman's will be captured tonight, and I will teach the outsider
to ally with the weaker of our groups..."


I come to in a jolt, my brow dripping in sweat, and I
open my eyes; *man, I even have the blasted visions when I'm
knocked out!!* As I turn my head to look around, all I see are
cloth walls and sticks, and the unstable bed I was laying turned
out to be a hammock, roped to two of the wooden poles. It wasn't
until I tried to get up to clear the cobwebs in my head that
I realized my hands and legs were also tied to the poles; I
couldn't budge.

I looked over to the tent flap, and recognized the
sign as the same one on the villiages tents, which means I
was on the good guys land...at least that's what I think,
at least, until this HUGE panther entered the tent. She has
to be at least three heads taller than me, deep yellow
eyes illuminating from her black face, clothed in plain brown
materials, but no shoes; she also had a strange bracelet on her
wrist, a small polished stone glittering on it, but none of
this really concerned me right now, since I was too busy staring
at the dagger in her hand as she approached me, making my
heart jump up my throat *Guess I chose the wrong side after
all...* I close my eyes tight, waiting for the pain...

That never comes; the next thing I know, the bonds on
my hands and feet are cut off, as I open my eyes I see her
reholster the blade and speaks to me; "I apologize for the
ropes, but you were moving as you regained consiousness, and I
didn't want you to harm yourself anymore." I couldn't help
exhaling the breath I didn't even know I was holding, "Um,
no problem. And you are...?"

She extends her hand, "I am Eboni, a warrior of this tribe.
I want to thank you for coming to our rescue earlier; you were very
brave to take on Dackar like that." I smile and shake her paw; she
seemed friendly enough, and thanks to my sixth sense on lying, I
knew she was being honest "Name's Julie-su, and you don't have to
thank me. The creep shouldn't have been picking on such a little
kid, and you looked like you needed help. Where am I, anyway, and
why were those bozos attacking you?"

I sit over the side of the hammock as she takes a seat
cross-legged on the ground. "As for where you are, you're in a
part of Mobius known as the Land of a Million Lights, and this
place is a small farming tribe known as the Gomans; the other tribe
is the Tarlens, a more violent tribe that loves to battle and
kill; the black bear you took on earlier, Dackar, is their most
fericoius warrior. I'm surprised he was defeated by an outsider, but
he'll be back."

I can't help but notice how well she speaks english,
especially how everyone was screaming like an army of banshee's
before. *Land of a Million Lights..* It rung a bell, because
this part of the planet was a bit more primitive than others,
believing greatly in the older legends and beliefs of Mobius,
even it's magic.

Just as I was about to ask how she knew the Tarlens would
return, a white figure runs into the tent with a basket, "Eboni,
here's the food you wante-EEEEE!!"

The streak trips on a tree root, and the contents
of the basket go flying around the room, as the deliverer
flys into my lap, sending me flipping over the hammock onto
my back. "Omfff!" "Umf!" Once I regain my senses, I look
up to see the snow tiger I had saved before sitting on my
lap. He looked at me with yellow-green eyes and grinned
"Hello stranger, my name is.."

"Ying! I told you to call first, not just to run in."
The cub's ears flattened at Eboni's voice, and quickly got off
my lap, poking his toe in the dirt "I'm sorry, sister. I was
excited." *Sister?!?!* I do a quick double-take Ying picks up
the fruit "You're..related?!?"

Eboni chuckled slightly, "Yes, Ying is my nine-year
old brother. That is another reason I wanted to thank you; Ying is
precious to me, but he can be...energetic at times." The tiger
placed the basket-carefully, this time-in between Eboni and myself,
then goes ahead and digs in. *Wonder if he's related to Vector too*
I smirk at the familiar way he stuffs his face. Is it possible to feel
homesick, if you really have no home to miss?

Eboni handed me a peach, and spoke "Tell me stranger..Julie-su,
where do you hail from, and why are you here? We do not get very many
echindas in this section of the planet." Makes sense to me, considering
my species is into facts, not fairy tales.

As I tell the two felines about the prison break on the island,
I can hear the bustling of people talking all around the tent,
silhouettes of thier bodies carrying supplies to rebuild their homes.

"So I left the floating Island, and have been trying to track
them ever since, but.." Ying choked on his apple "You come from
Continent of Angels?!?! No wonder you protected me, you're an angel!"
*Angel? ME?!? Hah!!!!* I looked over at the small boy, then to his older
sister "Mind telling me what the Continent of Angels is?"

Eboni polished off the last of her own peach, "The Continent
of Angels is a legend of the great land mass that floats in the sky.
Since it watches from us above, my people believe it is inhabited
by a civilization of angels that protect the good of the world.
Foremost among them is an angel that always stands watch on the weak,
a brilliant halo as a trademark, known as a.."

"Let me guess, the Guardian?"

"What? How did you..?"

I had to laugh at this; The white ring of the Guardians
stature, a brillaint halo. Never thought of it as that before,
but it certainly fit. "Let's just say you've got the right idea."
*Not about to ruin thier ancient myths. After all, I am a guest*

It's almost dusk before I realize I've lost a whole day
of time to search for the prisoners. I stand in the tent and try to
excuse myself "Thanks for the hospitality, Eboni, but I still have my
mission to do, and.." I feel a hand grab mine. Ying's looking at me
with pleading eyes "It's too late now, Julie-san. Stay tonight, and
sister will help you tomorrow morning to search. She knows this land
better than anyone!!"

"My brother is right, Julie-san. The sun is already setting,
and you need a place to sleep. We still owe you a great deal, and I
would be honoured to help you." Eboni stands with me, towering over
me again. I couldn't do this; Eboni had a brother to take care of,
and she had no clue of the Legion's power. And yet...


My answer is cut short as the talking of the other
tribe members is muted by a familiar sound; like a brick exploding;
Energy Blasters!!

"Duck!!" Eboni and I hit the ground, dragging Ying between us
as a laser beam goes through the tent like a hot knife through butter,
sending the entire thing into flames within moments. We stream out of
the home, Eboni still holding onto her brother, to see the
Tarlen warriors back yet again.

This time, just ahead of the grizzly bear is an even more
pumped-up tiger in very little armour, his white teeth glaring in the
fires being lit once again. I can hear the fear in Eboni's vioce
as she sees the figure as well "RALPHUS!!"

The group stands on a small hill, all fully-armed with high
powered blasters the likes of which I've never seen, while a tiny
faction of Goman's face them, neither side moving, save Ying, who runs
to meet with the other fleeing mother's and women. I don't know
why they're waiting, I guess neither wanna get on Shier Khan on
Steriod's bad side; then the beast lets out a roar that shakes the
ground beneath me, and the chaos erupts, even Eboni goes rushing
towards her enemies.

Seems she was right; this battle was only beginning...