By Asher Tye
Author's Note::Walks out before velvet curtain wearing tuxedo and slicked back hair:: I regret to inform you that I have decided to discontinue this story in favor of other stories I will probably not finish as well. I beg your humblest apologies in this and hope you will find it in your hearts to forgive… ::Dodges five flaming arrows as they strike curtain igniting it:: Okay then. Roll the final chapter Clyde.
A God of Irony: I guess that's where we have to disagree. From the end of Shadow the Hedgehog, I took it that he forgave Shadow when he found out the guy just got caught up in everyone being afraid of him.
Ri2: My, you have a lot of questions. Answering in order, Shadow accidentally Chaos Controlled into the bush. Since he didn't know it was there, he thought he was going to appear in open space. No, his fur isn't magic, but I think the effects of Chaos energy are variable enough to allow him to alter his quills' ability to cut and smash. Actually you're right, Big was in Heroes and they did meet. My bad. As to who would obey Tails, Sonic maybe if he knew Tails knew what he was doing, Cream definitely because who doesn't she take orders from. Yeah, Shadow would definitely be a Sith. For the purposes of this story, I think it would be more psychic vampirism than a bond, or maybe parasitism since Shadow didn't want Sonic at the time. As to why he didn't go after the crooks, my guess is it just didn't occur to him, especially since he didn't know exactly where they were… Phew, not that's one long reply
JudasFm: Sadly yes, this story must come to an end, though maybe I'll do a spin-off if I can think of one. The prickle bush gag was actually the only thing in this story that was fully planned from the beginning. I kept wondering how much actual control Shadow had over Chaos Control. Would it warn him if he was about to teleport into space already occupied by something? I guess not
Lallyzippo: Actually someone told me it was the other way around, that it was supposed to be "," then "?" for questions. A well, live and learn. And no, I really didn't catch that Vector was in love with Vanilla… they actually seem like polar opposites to me. But I gotta admit, that makes for a cute couple. Maybe I should have worked that more into their chapter. ::Looks thoughtful::
KandyHouse: Well thank you for the compliments, I love hearing from new reviewers.
Mist Hero: I try to keep the typos down, but sometimes I get so excited to post a new chapter I forget to read over my work. Sadly that's what happened in this chapter's case. Hopefully, I'll be able to repost it when I find the time. Oh yes, and as to Shadow saving the world three times, I'm counting Sonic Heroes as well. True he only helped, but in this situation, wouldn't you embellish too?
VoldemortsLemming: Don't feel dumb, the truth is Shadow didn't have a plan up until about five seconds before I started writing it. You wouldn't think having something as cool as your own space station would be such a problem…
JaydiTheLaydi: When I wrote those parts for Shadow, I realized he was sounding too much like Sonic at that point, so I decided to make it seem like he actually was drawing on Sonic. Sadly the inspiration for this joke was anything but original as I saw it on an episode of the Simpsons. But seriously, how many gags haven't they done?
Stella the Sniper: Yeah, all I need is an actual plan… You'd be amazed how useless a giant working space station is for any practical plan, especially for a guy who doesn't like sharing space…
YumeTakato: Thank you, we aim to please.
Dokami-San: What can I say? Sonic has an infectious personality and Shadow temporarily caught it.
Disclaimer: See the first chapter.
Shadow slurped loudly as he drew the delicious ramen into his mouth, much to the chagrin of his dining companion, the illustrious Commander of G.U.N.
"Must you slurp your food so loudly," Commander Braxton asked as he watched the black hedgehog devour his bowl of soup? Had the Commander realized just what Shadow was hungry for, he would not have taken so repulsive an eater to such a high class restaurant. Though the human commander was not normally one to worry about appearances, he could almost imagine how the tabloids would take his less than refined companion.
"If people have such a problem with the way I eat then they're welcome to leave," Shadow said reflexively.
"This plan of yours to become the most obnoxious individual on Earth just so we'll keep up Ark so you can stay away from us won't work Shadow. Too many politicians have beaten you to it."
"Humph. Well that wasn't my plan anyway but you can see how things would be easier if I weren't planet side all the time."
"Yes, well, be that as it may," Braxton began as he cut into his own meal, a medium steak "the costs in this case do not justify the benefits. At least that's what one Ms. Brown at the O.E.B. stated when I inquired for you. And she does have a point you realize."
"Yeah, on her head," Shadow said, in no mood to listen to defenses for the female human's behavior. Even though he and Braxton were no longer enemies, they weren't exactly friends. The only reason he'd been able to convince the human commander to see him was because of their shared link to Maria. Since they weren't actually friends, Shadow felt it most likely that he wouldn't try to sugar coat any critiques he might have on Shadow's attempts to retake Ark. Since they weren't enemies, or at least since Braxton had agreed to help in memory of Maria, the black hedgehog hoped the human wouldn't steer him down the wrong path.
"Be that as it may, this is definitely not the time for the government to take on the cost of maintaining a space station as costly as Ark."
"So you're saying the government can't help me?"
"No, I'm saying they can't completely foot the bill. Since that's the case, maybe you need to find someone else who's willing to share in the expense."
"I'm not real interested in selling off the station piecemeal, particularly if I have to put up with any sort of nuisances they're likely to send up." Braxton gave a short chortle at the black hedgehog's response.
"It is something of a problem," the human said. "What exactly does one do with a fully functional space station when its primary occupant wants to be a hermit?"
"You make it sound like I'm the problem."
"Well you must admit, there is very little you can actually do with a space station that does not necessitate having people on board."
"People are over-rated," Shadow said as he ate some more of his noodles. Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. "All though…"
"Slave labor is severely frowned upon Shadow," Braxton said warningly, only to receive a fairly nasty look from the black hedgehog.
"I wasn't thinking along THOSE lines, human. Besides from what I've learned of human beings, you don't take captivity well."
"So then, what idea is it you're nursing there?"
"I'm thinking, what good DOES having a space station provide? Obviously it must be useful, otherwise no one would want it. And I think I may have just come up with a way to use it. All I gotta do is round up some help to pull it off."
"Will you be requiring my assistance?"
"Yes, I'll contact you when I need your help."
"So long as it remains legal, or at least doesn't involve hurting Station Square, I will help you," Braxton said after a pause.
Seven weeks, five days, thirteen hours, twenty-seven minutes, and fifty-two seconds later found Shadow once more standing aboard his beloved Space Colony Ark. Specifically, the Ultimate Lifeform was standing in one of the VERY spacious storage centers that had formerly housed the station's large and heavy equipment and spare parts. When G.U.N. had abandoned the station, the large rooms had been stripped of all the components the current leadership had found to be valuable, so now, predictably, all this storage space was quite empty… or at least it had been up until about fifteen minutes ago when Shadow had used his mastery of Chaos Control to warp in a mountain of crates and boxes all marked "Property of G.U.N."
"Make sure that stuff is handled gently, Braxton says a lot of it is fragile," Shadow said to his team of "workers." In point of fact, they were a group of the exact same ghosts that had once been "living" in Eggman's former most current lair. Unencumbered both by physical frailty and the full force of gravity, the ghosts proved quite capable of moving pretty much anything Shadow needed moved. And of course the ghosts were quite thrilled to finally have a haunt that wasn't going to crumble down around their nonexistent ears any time soon.
"These crates will need to be opened to verify their contents, sir," the ghostly foreman, whom Shadow had designated Curly due to a wisp of phantasmal energy popping out of his forehead, said as he held a clipboard before him. "Team B is still sorting through the items Eggman sent us. Obviously this has to be inspected very carefully to insure there are no, uh, 'surprises.' But Team C is finished with Soleanna's stuff, so if you want I can get them to help and make this all go quicker."
"Good, I'd like to get this done quickly before any new arrivals have to come," Shadow said, just as another ghost wearing what looked like a sun-visor can "running" up to him.
"Mr. Shadow, Mr. Shadow," the ghost called.
"For the last time Kenny, it's just Shadow, no Mr. attached," Shadow said holding the bridge of his nose. Two weeks of having to correct the same ghost over and over again was giving him a migraine.
"I'm sorry, it won't happen again Mr. Shadow," Lenny said, not even realizing he'd broken his own promise in record time. Deciding it was better to simply move on at this point, the black hedgehog asked a question that seemed rather important to him.
"There was a reason you were looking for me, wasn't there?" For the briefest of moments, Shadow could almost swear he saw a look of utter confusion on the ghost's transparent face. Finally though, he answered.
"Oh yeah, that call you've been waiting on is happening," Kenny said, giving a conspiratorial wink, or at least as much of an approximation of one as he could perform given he had not eyelids or eyebrows to speak of.
"Excellent, I'll be in the communications room." And with that, Shadow left the ghosts to their business.
Inside the communications room, five more ghosts were present, each wearing earpieces as they used the various communication equipment to complete what appear to be several incoming calls to the station. As Shadow enters the room, he looks to find one of the terminals is open, a flashing red light indicating that someone was on hold. Quickly Shadow took the seat in front of the terminal and put on the earpiece, taking only a moment to compose himself and smooth out his short body fur.
"You have reached the Space Station Ark, business headquarters for Shadow's Safety Storage Maximum Security Holding Company where our motto is 'You miss a payment, we'll gladly hurl your crud into the sun.' How may we help you?" Not surprisingly the face of Matilda Brown appeared on the screen before him looking more than a little perturbed.
"Mr. Shadow, you may help me by please explaining to me why you are using a government built satellite as a floating storage facility, and a rather expensive one at that."
"I would think it obvious, Ms. Brown. You handed me a bill and told me in order to live up here, I needed to pay it. So naturally I'm trying to generate enough money to pay," Shadow said as he placed his elbows on the console before him and hid the lower part of his face with his hands to hide his smirk. "As a friend of mine said, you've gotta roll with the punches life throws at you."
"You do realize that Ark is a TOP SECRET instillation. Allowing unauthorized personal on board is tantamount to treason against Station Square."
"The Station Square government only holds claim to half the station, and much of that is in the material used to build it over the actual designs. Those, if I'm not mistaken, were the intellectual property of my own creator, Professor Gerald Robotnik."
"Be that as it may, I don't think…"
"And as to the government owning the rest," Shadow continued, not even caring if he interrupted the human bureaucrat, "correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the government abandon this station more than fifty years ago?"
"That may be, but if that is the case Professor Robotnik also gave up any claim to the station when he left."
"Yes, I remember that quite well," Shadow said through gritted teeth. "The flaw in that is that he was forced to leave by your people. Basically run off of his own property as it were."
"Regrettable though it was, that was a government sanctioned operation to neutralize a perceived threat."
"A threat that, as it turned out, was actually coming from somewhere else. In fact, once it was revealed that Gerald had had no subversive plans against the planet, wasn't he post-humorously cleared of all charges?"
"Yes but…" Suddenly, from seemingly out of nowhere, Shadow pulled forth a massive book that landed on the console with an audible thump. This turned out to be a book dealing with various laws governing inheritance. Quickly the black hedgehog opened the book, flipping through its pages until he found the one he was looking for.
"Then I think the law states that, lacking a formalized Last Will, the Professor's belongings, including this station, fall to his descendants."
"You may be his creation, but that hardly qualifies you as a descendant. That would make the legal heir to the Professor's property Eggman wouldn't it?" Now it was Matilda's turn to smile as she believed she'd caught the Ultimate Lifeform in a loophole. "And since Eggman IS a known criminal, and I'm quite sure there's no way to deny that fact, wouldn't that render the station the rightfully seized property of the government once more."
"Not necessarily," Shadow said, his sly smile never wavering from his face as he pulled out another book, a decidedly thinner one titled "Project Shadow." "I must admit, I am surprised that you're willing to use that argument, especially since it was originally one of your suggestions that I claim the remainder of Professor Gerald's fortune to pay the bill. I suspect that was something of a thinly veiled attempt to get the rest of the Robotnik fortune away from Eggman."
"That is neither here nor there," Matilda said.
"Meh huh," Shadow responded, clearly not believing the woman. "In any event, you are correct. Between us, Eggman does possess the stronger claim to this station, himself being a direct descendant of the Professor's. But you have to remember, I was not originally created as a weapon, no matter how good I am at being one. I was created to help fabricate a cure for his granddaughter, Maria."
"And the point would be?"
"In addition to Black Doom's genetic patterns and those of an unnamed hedgehog, Gerald utilized Maria's blood and genes in order to 'allow for easier compatibility with regards to a cure' as it says right here in his notebook." Shadow held up the thin book to the camera projecting his image back to Earth, displaying the quote for Matilda to see. "So you see, while I may not be one of his offspring in the conventional sense, I am a Robotnik by blood and can lay claim to the Professor's estate." Shadow put the book back down, being very certain to close it as well. "Oh I don't doubt Eggman could probably take the station away from me legally, but let's be honest. If he was dumb enough to think he could walk into a courtroom and walk out with the deed to a high-tech space station complete with armaments and not be arrested for all his past crimes, would he really be the threat to you he is?"
"I see," Ms. Brown said in something of a defeated tone.
"As another friend of mine told me 'never let anyone use you as a stepping stone.' Now if we're done here."
"There is one problem. As near as I can tell, you're the only one who has been given official permission to live on that station. How exactly are you planning to run this little enterprise of yours without help?"
"You have my personal guarantee that there are no other people living up here," Shadow said before pulling two ghosts into view of the camera. "Isn't that right boys?"
"You got it boss."
"You're using ghosts as your labor force?" Matilda said in a disbelieving voice.
"And some refurbished robots that were still up here, though if you want them back I can understand, though I think the egg-robo's parts belong to me," Shadow said. "Actually, it's a very nice trade off. I get a work force that's efficient and will stay outta my way; they get a haunt that isn't two seconds from falling down around their proverbial ears." Of course the black hedgehog neglected to mention that he was the cause for the last haunt of this particular group of ghosts to come crumbling down. "Win, win I think."
"That has to violate some sort of labor law somewhere…"
"Not really. The problem has never been that ghosts would be abused by a potential employer, it's the fact that most people won't work with them. If you can get past their overall 'ickiness,' they're actually pretty easy to get along with." As Shadow said this, a new ghost appeared behind him and ran its large tongue up the back of his neck and head. "Excuse me please…" With a hard shove, the Ultimate Lifeform sent the interloper flying out of the room. "So, now that I have a workforce and the space, I've decided to run the world's most secure vault. And I'm pleased to say I've already signed quite a few clients up on very lucrative contracts."
"Yes I've noticed. In addition to Station Square you have Eggman as well, along with a plethora of other questionable entities and known rogues such as Hex Industries."
"I don't play politics. So long as I get the money and they abide by the rules, it's not my place to judge."
"Uh huh, and how is it you expect to enforce these rules of yours?"
"I'm glad you ask. May I present my Chief of Security." Shadow pushed himself away from the camera to reveal Omega walking into the room with a golden badge magnetically pinned to his chest. The broad robot looked at Ms. Brown and saluted.
"I am the law," Omega said in a monotone voice that made Shadow smile. The perpetually pinched face of the bureaucrat turned back to the fully relaxed hedgehog.
"And you honestly believe you can support this station using this cockamamie enterprise?"
"I'm the only one up here that has a preference for food and water, I'm already making plans to supplement power consumption, and the mechanical entities I have up here are very fuel efficient thanks to being designed by some of the world's foremost experts on the subject. I don't believe I'll just break even, I fully expect to start turning a profit up here," the hedgehog said his voice full of confidence. "And once I do, who knows, maybe I'll be a nice guy and start a charity college fund… the Maria Foundation has a nice ring to it."
"All the way up until something goes wrong and explodes and you're begging the government to help you claw your way out of debt," Matilda Brown said in an annoyed voice. Clearly the woman did not like the fact that Space Station Ark was going to remain active and was now going to be out of Station Square's control.
"That almost sounds like a threat Ms. Brown," Shadow said with a contented smile on his face. "I would hate to think Station Square still thinks of Ark as a threat, particularly after all the trouble that was caused last time that happened."
"Very well. It appears this is all a legitimate, if highly suspect, operation. I see no reason to dissuade you pursuing this. That is, as long as you can keep from becoming a burden to the country." Shadow backed away from the camera.
"I was created to be the Ultimate Lifeform, Gerald's most perfect and unstoppable creation. If I must move from the lab to the battlefield to survive, so be it. And if I must move again from the battlefield to the boardroom, I'll do that too," the black hedgehog said. "Now, in light of the relationship we've had over these past few months, it gives me great pleasure to suggest the following… Get off my line!" So saying, Shadow shut off the communication just as Matilda Brown gave an indignant squawk, a fact that gave him immense satisfaction.
"Well boys," he said to the ghosts still running the communications room, "after a performance like that, I think I deserve a snack." Right after leaving the room, Shadow once more stuck his head in as he remembered something. "Oh yes, before I forget, send a thank you message to Braxton for all the help he was getting the contract with Station Square's military."
Shadow soon found himself in what served as the pantry for the massive Space Station. Given that Ark had originally been designed to house several hundred human scientists, and their families as needed, the food storage facility was a predictably huge space. Now that only one biological organism was in residence upon the station, Shadow had basically taken control of the whole area, using the first of his new capital to stock the pantry with his most favorite of foods. A grin on his face, the Ultimate Lifeform reached up to grab the pantry door handle just as a ghost suddenly left through the closed door. What got the hedgehog's attention about the ghost was the fact that it looked awfully plump. Come to think of it, a lot of the ghosts he'd passed on his way to the pantry had been looking bigger than normal. A sudden sinking feeling appeared in the pit of his stomach. Like him, ghosts did not have to eat, but did that mean they didn't enjoy it? Fearfully the Ultimate Lifeform threw open the door, only to be greeted by a sight nearly as horrific as any he'd seen over the course of his life.
"MY RAMEN!!!" was the wail that was heard throughout the station, as the anguished hedgehog stared at the pantry which was now filled only with busted wrappers.
And that's the end, decided to go out on a joke. Shadow's love of ramen noodles was my series' running gag after all. Now I know he was a little OOC for this chapter, but given what he was able to accomplish, I can actually see Shadow being a little snot over finally outdoing someone without having to resort to blowing them up. Hope you all enjoyed this, and don't forget to review please. Roll the credits Bob!
::Start off the Credits with the names of all those who worked to create Shadow, Sonic, and everyone else as the tune "All Hail Shadow" plays in the back ground. As the music stops and the credits end, the camera fades in on a picture of Radical Highway at sunset, with Shadow walking down the road. His back is to the camera and the sun is in front of him as he moves. Suddenly he stops and turns his head back ever so slightly to look at the audience.::
Shadow: It's over now… Go outside, play in traffic.
::So saying, Shadow continues his journey as the camera fades to black.::