A Race Against Time
By Hoverbike Girl
Thanks for all the reviews! Thanks to some pointers from Tylec Asroc, I decided to fix this chapter up a bit. Hope you enjoy this revision!
Chapter #1: Silent Stalker
The exotic Angel Island…a great wonder from the world known as Mobius, the same place from which a famous hero and a mad scientist had come. The island was home to the Master Emerald, one of the largest (if not the largest) gems known to mankind. But even with this famous jewel sitting within reach of human hands, no one dared to come and claim it and the land, for one reason.
The Master Emerald had a Guardian.
He dozed calmly on a ruin by the Emerald's altar, occasionally cracking open an eye slightly to glance at "his" Emerald and make sure no harm had come to it. Each time he did so he closed his eyes again, mentally slapping himself for worrying way too much. He was just being paranoid; there was nothing to worry about. After all, because of his presence, no humans ventured near the island. Only the people he considered his friends were allowed to set foot on Angel Island, and even then sometimes they weren't welcome.
So why did he feel that something was wrong?
The Guardian just shrugged it off and turned over. His eyelids fluttered and then slowly shut in deep sleep.
A snapping sound startled him awake. But instead of panicking or calling out, he calmly stood up and glanced about for the source of the noise. There was a wind blowing, so it could have been nothing. But when he heard the sound a second time with no wind blowing, he was sure that something…or someone…was out there.
He had to check it out.
The warrior silently climbed down from his resting place and crept into some nearby brush. If somebody was on the island, then he would probably come here for the Emerald. And so the Guardian waited.
Then he heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps.
A shadowy figure crept out of the woods to the altar. He glanced around, looking for anyone hostile. Once sure he was safe, he started for the steps.
A sudden red blur sent him crashing into a stone column. The Guardian grabbed him by the throat and held him up so he could see his face in the glow of the Master Emerald.
…A blue hedgehog.
"Geez, Knuckles, it's me! Will ya quit choking me?" he gasped.
Knuckles let him fall to the ground and then proceeded to scold his friend/rival. "Sonic, how many times have I told you not to sneak up on me or the Master Emerald, especially not at night?"
When the Guardian's back was turned, Sonic pulled out from his shoe a small, grenade-like object. "Hey, Knuckles..."
The echidna turned around and said impatiently, "What!" Then he saw the object, and his eyes widened.
The hero pulled out the pin and tossed the grenade to the ground. "Brace yourself."
The explosion sent the echidna flying into a nearby column. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he heard his "friend's" voice saying, "One down, three to go."
Downtown Station Square
"Finally! All of my shopping is done!" said Amy Rose as she and her friends Cream and Cheese walked out of a superstore.
"Thank you for taking us, Amy!" Cream said politely.
"Chao chao!" Cheese agreed.
"Thank you for helping me! I don't think I would've been able to get all these groceries home without you two!" Amy shifted the weight of the bags for more comfort. "I can't wait to get home and try on my new dress! I hope Sonic will like it!" At the thought of her hero she sighed dreamily. Cream giggled and rolled her eyes at her friend's silliness.
They reached the apartment building in no time, and Amy tried on her dress—a skirt much like her traditional red one, but it was cobalt blue. With a happy smile, she posed in front of her mirror.
"Why did you pick this one instead of that pink dress, Amy?" Cream asked her.
The girl replied with a clever grin, "Blue is my favorite color." Cream and Cheese giggled, knowing whom she was referring to.
Wondering what time it was, Amy glanced at her watch. "Oh! It's really late! We'd better get you back home, Cream."
Both of the girls grabbed their jackets and rushed out of the apartment, with Cheese following behind. Once outside on the sidewalk they settled into a jog and chatted about various things as they walked. They were near the train station (Cream's home is in the Mystic Ruins) when suddenly Cream realized something.
"Amy, where is Cheese?"
The hedgehog looked around them. "He was right behind us when I last checked," she said with a worried frown. "Let's go back a bit; he may have gotten sidetracked."
They walked back a ways and called the Chao's name several times. Then Cream caught sight of Cheese rushing into a dark alleyway. "No, Cheese! Come back!" she called out to him. She rushed in after her friend.
"Cream, wait!" Amy yelled to her, but like Cheese, the rabbit didn't listen. She groaned and ran into the dark alley, which turned out to be connected to other alleys. Confused by the maze, she shouted for Cream and Cheese to come back until her voice was hoarse.
Suddenly a piercing scream shattered the silence. Amy gasped and ran deeper into the alley, hoping that nothing terrible had happened to Cream or Cheese. She rounded a corner and…
…Smacked into someone.
Amy jumped to her feet and swung at the person with her hammer. Only when the person shouted, "Whoa, Amy! Hold it!" did she stop. She opened her eyes and gasped at the person in front of her.
"Sonic!" she squealed. She hugged his neck tightly, causing him to come close to suffocation. "What are you doing here?"
The hero scratched the back of his neck and answered a bit awkwardly, "Well, uh, I heard Cream screaming, so I took a little detour through here to find her."
"Have you seen her? Is she okay?" said the girl desperately.
"Not yet, but I'll keep lookin'!"
Then a lightbulb came on in Amy's head, and she said with a smile, "Let's look together!"
The hedgehog's smirk vanished and was replaced with a nervous look. "Err…wouldn't it be easier if we split up? You check the alleyway to the right, and I'll look out on the street." He extended one foot backward, ready to escape.
Unfortunately, Amy saw it, and she grabbed his arm. "Don't even think about running off on me!"
"What? I wasn't thinking about that!" His voice gave away the fact that he was fibbing, and Amy glared at him until he said, "All right, all right! I'll help you look for them! But only if we split up!"
Amy folded her arms and sighed. "Fine. Let me know if you find Cream and Cheese." Sonic turned around and ran down another alley, and Amy chose another. She hadn't gone far when she stumbled over something in the dark. She whirled around and gasped.
"Cream!" She bent down and examined her fallen friend. The rabbit didn't seem hurt, but strangely her breathing was deep. "She's asleep?" Then she noticed Cheese dozing in a birdcage that was a little too small for him. "They're both asleep…"
It was then that she saw the tranquilizer dart stuck in the back of Cream's neck.
"What? Somebody drugged them? But who in the world would—ouch!" Something had stung her neck. Amy reached back and felt a dart. Just as she attempted to pull it out, a gloved hand grabbed her arm and another covered her mouth. She struggled to get free and maybe see her attacker, but it was in vain. A sudden drowsiness settled on the girl, and slowly she lost consciousness in her assailant's hold. The last thing she remembered was a voice—a familiar voice.
"All too easy."
Tails' Workshop, Mystic Ruins
Inside the garage of his home, Miles "Tails" Prower was cleaning up his prized plane, the Tornado, after he had taken it for a night flight, whistling a tune to himself as he washed the plane. When he was finished, he wiped himself clean of any grease or soap on his hands.
"All done!" he said with satisfaction. Suddenly he yawned. "Man, I'm tired. I'd better close up the shop."
He went all about the workshop, turning lights off and locking all the doors. After that, he sleepily trudged into his bedroom and collapsed on his bed, not even noticing that he hadn't taken off his shoes. He was asleep as soon as his head touched his pillow.
He was awakened half an hour later when he heard something climbing his roof. He opened his bedroom window and called out timidly, "W-who's there?"
A voice called back, "It's just me, Tails." The silhouette of a hedgehog peeked down from the roof.
"Oh. Hey, Sonic."
"Mind if I spend the night up here?"
"No, not at all. Good night." The fox went back into his bed and remembered to tuck himself in this time. He was so fast asleep that he didn't even hear the window opening and footsteps tiptoeing past him down the stairs.
A sudden rush of cold wind woke Tails a second time, and he sat up, rubbing his tired eyes. "Funny, the window is open. I thought I closed it." As he was shutting and locking the window, he felt a bit thirsty. He went downstairs into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to search for a drink.
The boy hit his head on the ceiling of the fridge in surprise. "Sonic, you scared me!" he exclaimed.
"Sorry." The hedgehog pushed a glass of juice forward as if in apology. "Here."
"Thanks! How did you know I'd come down here?"
A shrug and "Lucky guess," was the reply.
Tails sat down and drained his juice. As he set the glass down he commented, "It tasted kinda funny."
"The date might be expired," said his friend, and he looked at the juice carton to check his theory.
The boy's eyelids drooped a bit, and he wearily agreed. "Maybe you're right..."
The hedgehog set down the carton and stared at the fox. "Ya look tired, buddy. Need some help up the stairs?"
"No thanks," the fox mumbled, his answer barely understandable.Slowly he stood up from his seat and began to make his way out of the kitchen.
Unfortunately, he didn't notice the red sneaker placed in front of him.
Tails tripped over his friend's leg and fell in a heap on the floor, his head slamming hard against the tile. Instantly his vision was clouded with stars and shapes of all colors.The room spun in circles and began to blur as the boy lost consciousness. His last vision was of a blue hedgehog standing over him...and he was grinning.
The blue hedgehog didn't make any move to help Tails; instead he waited for him to fall asleep. Slowly the fox's eyes closed shut, and his breathing set into a deep pace. The hedgehog kicked him in the side, but he did not stir. Satisfied that Tails was out cold, he closed his eyes, and suddenly his body became liquid metal. An instant later Metal Sonic was formed. He turned his attention back to the dozing fox and, pulling two pairs of handcuffs out of a compartment in his body, secured them around Tails' wrists and ankles. Then he turned on the communicator on his wrist and spoke into it.
"Doctor, I have captured the fox. That sleeping drug you gave me came in handy."
Then there came a voice on the other end. "Good! Now we have all we need to go through with my plan."
"You still have not briefed me on this 'master plan' of yours, Master."
"All in due time, Metal Sonic, all in due time. But I think it will be right up your alley."
"I do not fully understand, sir."
"I think you will like it, is what I mean. It involves our hostages, some good traps, and..."
"And what, Doctor?"
"...Why, Sonic, of course..."