Well… it's been a great two years writing this series but I have to put an end to it somewhere. This is the final chapter of this series but don't worry, I plan on going out with a bang. After which I'm taking a small break from writing.

I'd like to thank everyone who stuck with the series since I started with the Heroes adaptation way back when and all those who gave me really positive reviews. You made getting up on a Monday worth it.

So… It is my great pride and honour to introduce to you the final chapter of 'my' Sonic X.

Welcome to Combine Wars:


Hey.

This is Major Koji Naoko Okida here. Long name I know, so just Okida will do.

I'd like to recap on everything that's lead up to this, but I don't have the time; so I'll just have to go through the important stuff. That is if I can make sense of all this in stuff in my head, it gets confusing if I think about it for too long….

Well, about two years ago Earth was a battleground in an all or nothing fight between G.U.N, Doctor Eggman's Egg Fleet, the Metal X Machine Federation and the armada of the Black Arms; an alien sect Metal Sonic tricked into helping him in his crusade against the people on Earth. It was a free for all that left half the cities on the planet in ruin. I pity the poor guys who had to try and clear it up after the smoke cleared.

But the fighting was just a big distraction. All of us, Metal Sonic included, had been used as puppets by a being called Krish Kra Pal. The race for the Chaos Emeralds between us had been completely orchestrated by him. Once we had all seven, his two servants Dark Oak and Mishoal stole them from us and used their power to free Krish from a dimensional prison known as Nexus.

An unstoppable titan, Krish Kra Pal, also known as the Destroyer demolished everything in his path. Even Nazo and Queen Illumina of Maginaryworld fell at his feet. It was as if nothing hurt him.

We all went up against him and his battle station, the Armageddon and if we didn't win, he was going to use the original Eclipse Cannon attached to it to blow Earth to kingdom come. We came close to loosing that time, very close.

If Tails and Cosmo hadn't sacrificed their place in this dimension to allow the energies of the Master Emerald, the Chaos Emeralds and the Precious Stone to merge; we'd all be up on clouds with halos and harps.

Sonic, Shadow and somehow, even Nazo teamed up and with that energy flowing though them dealt the KO blow that sent Krish packing.

Now, this is the part where I should say "the end." But I can't, no matter how badly I want to.

Turns out that when Krish was destroyed he sent out a physic ripple. This passed out through space, completely invisible to all creatures expect one. His Brother, the Dooms Eye.

Who it just happens is the Emperor of an intergalactic Confederated Empire. These were the guys the Black Arms spilt from and are twice as nasty. Now we've got an entire invasion fleet on its way here. We've had two years to get ready and now time's up.

We're as ready as we're ever going to be, but why can't I shake the feeling that beating Krish was just the Beginning?


-

Planet Archon: Imperial Confederation territory:

Garrison forces were thrown into complete disarray as dozens of explosions ran out across the width of the main and battlements. As the Confederate soldiers shot past one another to see what was going on, a single intruder made his way past the confusion and slipped in past the defences.

One of the soldiers cried out in his native language, raising the plasma sword in his hands as their visitor shot forward. Before he could swing his weapon the fesonian was dealt a savage blow to the head throwing him backwards crashing into the floor unconscious.

Reaching into the pocket of a long blue coat, the intruder withdrew several round objects and tossed them down through the ventilation shaft to his left. A moment later, an updraft of extremely hot air coursed skyward as they exploded, throwing more confusion across the Fesonian military.

With such utter chaos reigning, the intruder shot across the courtyard. In the semi darkness of twilight, his orange fur highlighted along with a pair of sea blue eyes. Reaching a large door that had locked down; he placed several more devices across the surface and pressed a button on the surface.

There was a small thud and suddenly the lock down door caved inward, revealing a long cargo tunnel leading into the cliff face. Standing before the entrance, his form silhouetted by one of Archon's several moons; Miles managed a short smile.

Advancing in he slowly made his way down the tunnel. It was long; so long he couldn't see the end of it. A long series of lights lit the tunnel ceiling, giving the illusion of everything being a fair shade of orange.

"Here again Miles?" A voice sighed through the air. The fox drew a cutlass blade from a scabbard at his side instinctively, whirling around to face whoever it was but found that his surroundings were empty. "Have you not yet realized both she and I are far beyond your meager reach? Your efforts and endeavors against me are pointless." The fox ignored the voice although a deepening frown cascaded over his face as he slowly slid his rapier back into its scabbard. "How many more times must I teach you that lesson?"

"As many times as I need to get her back." The fox replied, breaking into a run. His coattails flapping out behind him, his shadows passing by him swiftly as he ran underneath the rows of lights. The voice around him chuckled lightly. "I don't care if you find my attempts funny, I'm going to save her if it's the last thing I do."

"I would choose my words carefully if I were you Miles." With that last ominous threat, the voice faded away. Almost immediately a loud roar echoed out from behind him. Looking back Miles kept running as a huge lumbering form came charging out of the darkness of the tunnel's beginning. It looked like a dog, but with scales rather than fur. A pair of huge flaxen yellow eyes stared out above a mouth full of untrimmed teeth. Bounding like an animal it charged; its front legs a sheer wall of muscles while it's back legs underdeveloped in comparison. Keeping it in balance was a long muscular tail.

A mutated Fesonian; one of their attack classes. There was no chance of winning in a direct clash with one of those. Tearing a succession of round metallic objects the size of a baseball out of his pocket; Miles hurled them at the ground behind him and kept running. Upon striking the ground each metal objects broke open and sprayed a neon green liquid all around the mutant pounded on after him but failed notice the green puddle until it set foot upon it. When it did, its front paws became stuck fast as if it was wading in glue.

That would not hold of a creature that strong for long. Miles kept running, not looking back. The end of the tunnel was in sight. He was almost there! He was so close this time. So close!

Bursting out of the tunnels exit, he skidded to halt finding himself at the bottom of a giant canyon. The walls arched around so wide he could not see the end of it, but the canyon was not what drew his attention. At the bottom of this colossal crater was a small lake, a large jungle surrounding it all the way up to the canyon walls. The Fesonian compound buildings carried on all around, their organic like technology running like blood vessels everywhere.

Attached to the shore of the lake as the start of a colossal chain. Each metal link had to be the size of a coach and together the chains full length was well over a mile long. The chain stretched up into the sky and attached to the far end of it was a planet.

By no means as big as the one he was standing on but large enough to cast a never ending shadow over the ground. It was colossal, the canyon barely fitting its size. From here he could see the clouds spinning around its round form. It appeared to be like Earth, only miniaturized.

"You're not going to stop me this time!" He snarled from between clenched teeth and drew his sword. Taking off he ran as fast as his legs could carry him, darting from the road and into the trees. Behind him he could hear the mutant coming out of the tunnel. It had torn free from his trap and now it had his scent, it refused to let up the hunt.

"Halt!" Someone called out in the native Fesonian tongue as a squad of Confederate troops burst out of the undergrowth, all armed with their own plasma swords and laser weapons. They numbered fifteen in all. Seven of them never knew what hit them. Two went down with cuts across their exposed throats, another three sent flying back into the trees at a result of well placed kicks. "Shoot him!" The air pulsated with laser fire from their rifles. Miles arched his sword around in an angle so perfect the metal reflected the blasts and two more were riddled with holes from their own weapons.

Using the body of one as a shield he carried on, bursting through the tress running for the lake. As for the remaining eight, they quickly realized it was not wise to get in the way of mutant and its hunt. Miles did not look back at the flying gore. He kept going, breaking through the tree cover and onto the beech. The colossal chain was anchored down to the ground by an anchor like structure that had giant metallic claws latched onto the ground.

Scaling the building was no problem but the chain itself proved much more difficult. Each link was completely smooth and without anything to get footing on, the fox kept slipping down it. Yet utter determination and sheer willpower sped him on. Clearing each link he kept going, climbing on and on higher and higher towards the planet above. The wind around threatened to tear him and send plummeting to his death but to him now, on the mere threshold on success, it was nothing. A loud snarling caught his attention and glancing back he watched the mutant climb after him. Its scaly lips were still fresh with blood, the torn ligaments of a limb caught between its teeth. It was climbing fast, sinking its claws into the metal to gain a footing.

Ignoring it, Miles carried on climbing. Nothing would stop him now. The creature however was gaining on him.

"Tails." A soft voice called out to him and in that instant he could see her. Her compassionate sea blue eyes upon him, her green hair like a leaf on either side of her face. "Please go, you can not get to me in time."

"No." He replied forcing himself on. "I am not leaving without you. Not again!" Nothing would turn him away at this point.

"Please listen to me." She called to him and he could literally feel the tars welling up in both her eyes and his own. "I am not important. I have seen his intentions. I am the least of your concerns."

"I made you a promise." He reminded her. The mutant was only a single metal link away from him now, relishing with the prospect of a meal. "I said I was going to keep you safe and that's what I'm going to do." An instant later, the image disappeared; snapped away as if some communications line had been cut off and now all he could sense towering over him were a pair of glowing orange eyes.

"You deluded fool." A third eye opened above the first two, a silted pupil; staring down at him. "I am a Titan, heralded by peoples across creation as a force that made the gods themselves quake in fear. Each and every time you gain the audacity to challenge me, you go away empty handed."

"I will make you pay for this I swear." The fox yelled trying to run forward, only to find his ankle caught on something. Looking back he saw his foot caught in the iron grip of the mutant, its huge fist closed around his leg refusing to let go.

Blurring out from his coat, Miles let his two tails whirl around each other; spinning faster and faster like a fan. Taking like a chopper to the air the fox tried to pull himself free of the monsters grip but like a vice its fist refused to budge and it was far too heavy to lift.

The three eyes seemed to break into a laugh that rippled through the young fox's body like a thunderbolt. Suddenly a beam of light crashed down from the planet above and struck the chain just before him, energy sparking as cracks began coursing through the metal.

"Again…" The voice told him as he stared at those three eyes head on. "Again you fail."

"COSMO!" Miles Prower yelled at the top of his lungs as the chain broke under the force of the blast and the side he was one began falling. Letting go of the fox in the surprise the mutant went tumbling back first into the abyss. The chain crashed down into the lake below, the water sent flying up into the air in a giant spray. The crash shook the ground for miles, birds flying out of the canopy of the jungle squawking in surprise. A small tidal wave cascaded over the shore of the lake and smashed into the trees, breaking the first rows of them apart like matchsticks.

Then everything went quiet. The chain laid there half in and half out of the water, a lifeless snake of metal. Several of them had fallen inland, crushing some of the Fesonian garrison buildings and leaving giant impressions in the ground and jungle trees.

As the gently washing of the waves returned to normal, Miles found the water carrying him gently to the shore. He hadn't the strength either physically or emotionally to do it himself. Lying on his back in the shallows he watched the Miracle Planet above as without a tether to bind it here it faded away once more; vanishing as if it had never been there, disappearing to whichever dimension its instability determined. Now all that greeted his sight when he looked up was the sky itself.

"Damn you…" He hissed, spitting out a good deal of water in the process. "Damn you Black Doom."

Seven times now his attempts to follow the Miracle Planet and attempt a rescue had all met with failure. Again and again, Black Doom struck him down, leaving him alive as apart of a psychological torture. A message that was as clear as day; you are not worth my time.

He felt his back hit the hard ground of the shore itself and he hoisted himself up into a sitting position. He would give anything to role back the clock two years. More than anything he wanted to call himself Tails again, but until he succeeded in his mission he could not. Now it seemed that name was gone forever. He was Miles Prower now and forever.

No. A voice in the back of his mind told him. Black Doom only wins if you give up. He reached into his soaked jacket and removed from a sealed pocket within a picture. Upon it were the people he used to know. There was a red Echidna with spiked fists, a pink hedgehog with a hammer at her side, a boy and his grandfather both expert technicians and a young rabbit girl with her Chao and robotic guardian. Last but not least, at the centre of it all was the blue hedgehog with emerald eyes with a name almost universally known. "I'm going to get you back Cosmo." Miles sighed. Suddenly an unexpected smile crossed his face. "But I think I'm going to need some help to do it."


S.O.N.I.C; GO!

S.O.N.I.C;GO!

Breaking the rules up until yesterday,

today being just generally loose,

With a punk philosophy,

saying to no longer run

towards the best goal,

that there is no meaning elsewhere.

With my biorhythm doubled,

the scenery is just countless lines

as the wind surrounds me.

I don't want to be

attacking Inside, Outside,

surpassing absolutely everything,

leaving nobody and nothing ahead.

Inside Outside GO! SONIC!

Absolutely Everything Yes! SONIC!

"Look Out!" and "Have a Nice"

the difference is paper thin.

Throw away the boredom, and just start running.

S,O,N,I,C GO!

S,O,N,I,C GO!

GO, GO, GO, GO, LET'S GO!

Confederate Front Saga

Episode 1: The Betrayal of the Earth

---

Location: Angel Island

Time Until Confederate Assault: 30 hours, 7 minutes

Knuckles had been wrestling with this dilemma for some time now. The decision he was about to make was not to be made lightly. It required a lot of forethought and now the time for thinking was up. Two years had drifted by since Krish was destroyed and one half of his being trapped within the Master Emerald. Standing before the giant jewel now, the object he had spent his entire life keeping safe, he was forced to decide his course of action.

"Well this is it." He remarked as if talking to the Emerald. Its glow dulled in response. The cold, high altitude air that Angel Island floated through stung at his skin. Winter had come and gone, thick patches of melting snow scattered across the shrine in clumps. "The two years are up. The confederates will be arriving any day now." Warned by Sonic about the impended threat, Knuckles had had plenty of time to think on what he should do. He sighed and looked deep into the shaped dimensions within the jewel, yet found nothing to help him reach his ultimate decision.

"I know I usually stay out of stuff like this…" He remarked hoping the Emerald would afford him something, a vision maybe. At this point he was willing to take anything as a sign. "But if they conquer Earth, I can kiss the Master Emerald goodbye." That much was true. Their technology was run completely by Chaos Energy. There was no way they were going to let the Master Emerald go by unnoticed. It would be like the power source equivalent of the Hope Diamond to them. They would steal it and let Angel Island crash into the ground. It would matter little to them what happened to the island.

A brief shimmer of light passed down the side of the giant emerald, sparking like a lens flare before vanishing to a single point. Knuckles stared after it in silence before he let himself fall back and using his gliding skill to slow his fall, he dropped gently to his back. Putting his hands behind his head, he simply stared up at what clouds travelled high enough to pass over Angel Island.

"I guess I don't have a choice." He stated out load. Once again he found himself hurled into the melee of another chaotic battle, a war by rights he was not a part of. All he had ever wanted was to continue his peaceful life here. Fate it seems had different ideas. Time and time again he had been forced to abandon the Master Emerald to help fight for the greater good, often by Sonic's side. There was something disturbing about that.

He sat up and stared past the emerald to the endless sea of clouds that Angel Island seemed to float on top of. A pristine surface of white and grey swirls that ever seemed to end, carrying on to the horizon. "Here we go again."


--

Location: Blue Typhoon

Time Until Confederate Assault: 27 hours, 56 minutes

"With the two year waiting period now expired, the militaries planet wide defences appear to be nearing completion." The report announced, the emblem of the new G.U.N Federation fading away on his left fading away to be replaced by scenes of mobilizing troops, Mech's and tanks. As the pictures came and went they showed extensive military presences in towns and cities around the world. Mech's on the streets on New York. Laser hunters patrolling Moscow in packs. Half of the Canadian countryside was now filled with dozens of Ground to Orbit Guns, all aimed skyward in readiness.

Amy sighed as she watched. When she'd tuned in she'd been attempting to try and take her mind off the battles now so close at hand. This was the last thing she needed to see right now. "And now the unnerving waiting period begins." The reporter began again. "Our network will attempt to bring you up to date tactical information…" The pink hedgehog lifted the remote and switched the TV off. Groaning she heaved herself off the sofa and sat up properly. She was no longer the teenager Sonic had had following him around with stars in her eyes. Over the two years of preparation for the Confederates invasion she had grown into a young woman of twenty and it showed in her appearance. She had dropped the red headband for a pair of headphones. Her red dress had stopped fitting a year ago. In its stead was a loose blue t shirt that hung about her, falling below her waist and her jeans.

"I could really use a vacation from all this hero stuff." She sighed into the air. Saving the world was a round the clock occupation with a terrible salary and health hazards. She, Sonic and all the others had gotten themselves this job through no fault of their own and now they needed branded with it for life. She had sent her entire life since she little more than twelve enduring one adventure after another.

"Couldn't we all?" A voice replied. Looking up, she saw Okida standing in the doorway to the recreational area of the Blue Typhoon. The ship was hovering over the American countryside just outside Utah having been allowed back into the country after the coup conducted by the G.U.N commander to get rid of the Hexagon company.

Okida had taken a fashion change in the last two years. His gloves were larger and had cuffs going back over the wrists. His head fur had been styled spiky and forward over the forehead and his usual brown boots had been replaced by white sneakers similar in design to those sonic wore only with two blue squares near the ankles. The big change came from a canvas brown coat he wore around him. It had long sleeves so his arms were now covered and a tail end hung just past his knees. His belt had been tied over it, keeping it from flapping about and getting in the way of his wings. "Hey, you haven't seen Sonic anywhere have you?"

"He went out for a run." Amy replied, stretching herself out before she stood up. "Left the ship about half an hour ago." Okida rolled his eyes and asked the ceiling…

"Why can't that hedgehog stay in one place?"

"So what's up, why do you need him?" The pink hedgehog asked coming up along side the bat with her large war hammer at her side.

"We're planning out a strategy." Okida replied as they walked together down the corridor outside the door. "And it would be nice if our biggest hitter would know what it was."

On the bridge, Chuck and Chuck were the only ones there. Everyone else had occupied themselves with something or other. Chris was sitting in one of the chairs by the consoles with his grandfather standing by. With his sixteenth birthday last month Chris had grown from the timid twelve year old boy Sonic had once befriended into a teenager on the verge of adulthood. He had for the most part escaped the ravages of acne and let his hair grow longer. Now it hung around his shoulders stead of a short crop at the back.

"Well Eggman, what's the low down?" Chris asked at the screen before him with Chuck leaning over his shoulder. His grandfather had weathered the years well. Even with his sixties coming to an end.

"Are they coming?" The old man asked; sounding agitated as he leaned in closer. The sneering, thick moustached face on the screen leered at them. A pair of thick spectacles hid the squinting eyes.

"Don't rush a Genius." Was all he said, his voice and picture garbled by the poor transmission. The Egg Moon was quite a distance from the Blue Typhoon's present position and without rerouting the signal through a satellite the condition of receiving image was poor. "My equipment is the best in the world. Unequalled by anything the military can manage." The doctor stated proudly as he stepped aside to reveal his two hence bots, Becoe and Decoe running around dragging wires and cables everywhere, sometimes tripping up over each others efforts. The Doctor's Elite robots stood to attention behind him.

On the far left was Metal Knuckles, recently repaired from extensive damage inflicted by Metal Sonic. Next to him was Egg Robo, a sniper class robot armed with a large laser rifle at his side. Next along was the last remaining robot of the E1000 series, E1004: Theta. Last but not least was the rebuilt Gamma. All four of them stood rigidly there all in a neat line. "When their little fleet gets within sensor range," Eggman continued. "You'll be the first to know about it."

The door at the back of the bridge slid open and Okida and Amy walked inside.

"And news yet?" The Major asked, brushing a few strands of head fur out of his face as he and the pink hedgehog walked up.

"We're online with the EggMoon." Chuck replied, his hands in his lab coat pockets as he glanced back at them. "We should be getting a confirmation soon enough."

"I just can't believe we're trusting Eggman again." Amy said with a furrowed brow as she balanced her hammer on one shoulder.

"Yeah; especially after what happened the last time." Chris added in with a smile. Eggman himself did not look overly impressed; he sat down in his seat and folded his arms in front of himself, his eyes narrowing so much the skin folded over the top of his glasses.

"Again I ask…" He began fixing them all with a stare. "Do you really have any choice?" The four of them exchanged nervous glances. They knew he was right. "I'm the only one apart from the Black Arms with a deep space going fleet or an early warning system." The doctor unfolded his arms and jabbing his thumb into his chest. "You need me." The reminder was so bitter they could have gagged on it. It was a foolish thing to do to trust Eggman, but he was right, they needed his help. All of them had to pull together to repel the Confederates invasion and Eggman's forces were almost crucial to their defence plans.

"Doctor, numerous large moving objects have entered the Egg Moon's sensor range." Decoe called over, his bronze form hunched over the radar screen gaining everyone's attention. Even the four elite robots turned their heads to look.

"Affirmative, now tracking." Becoe added in, his metallic hands running over the keyboard in front of him.

"Look's like this is it." Chuck announced and instantly everyone's mouth went dry. Silence gripped both sides of the transmission and Chris kept his gaze locked on the screen, his heart beating hard in his chest. Okida and Amy were peering over his shoulder trying to see what was happening. The tension in the air could have been cut with a knife. This was the moment they had all been mentally preparing themselves for two years for.

"Sizzling circuit boards!" Becoe proclaimed so suddenly he nearly making everyone fall over. "There are thousands of them!" On the radar screen in front of him, as the green line passed by uncountable numbers of green dots lit up along with it. As it circled more and more appeared on the screen. So this was the Confederates' sixth attack fleet? Impressive size that was for certain, but Eggman had yet to see them in action to make any intelligent judgement about offensive capabilities. Quantity was no guarantee of quality.

His frown changed unseen into a smirk.

"Well." He began turning back to the screen. "It looks like we've got another big battle on our hands. I doubt either G.U.N's fleet or my own is going to be able to stop them from landing."

"Thank you for those comforting words." Chris remarked, leaning back in his seat and looking up at the ceiling with an exasperated look on his facer.

"I'm just telling you like it is." The Doctor stated defensively. "I don't believe in sugar-coating news, especially the nightmarish, end-of-the-world kind." The ends of his moustache drooped. "If we don't get our act together, we can say goodbye to the Earth."

"We know the whole save the world drill Eggman." Amy reminded him with a grin, her weight balanced on the end of her hammer. "You kept us on our toes for some time." The Doctor's smirk widened.

"And for some time to come I hope." His hand pressed something out of sight and instantly the transmission was cut off, replaced by a blank screen.

"Eggman isn't the ally I imaged us having right now." Chuck admitted, folding his arms in front of himself.

"Me neither." Okida agreed.

"Well like he said." Chris remarked looking back at them over his right shoulder. "We need him."

"Speaking of Allies," Amy started giving the Major a look. "Who else can we count on when the fighting starts?" Okida blinked as if surprised by the statement. He rolled his eyes and put a forefinger and thumb to his chin in thought.

"Well let's see…" He began. "The militaries on the march, although I don't really think I could call them allies." That went without saying. There were Mechs, tanks and infantry in practically every town in preparation for the invasion. The G.U.N fleet would have taken up a defensive pattern outside the atmosphere by now. "Vector said we could count on Chaotix for help." The major added remembering that little nugget of information when he clicked his fingers. He paused for a moment. "Can't say much for their organisational skills."

Chaotix weren't exactly as trained or experienced as others they could call on for help, but they were all professional veterans who knew what they were doing in a fight.

"Omega's behind us too." Chris reminded them. "He'll be the biggest hitter in terms of firepower." The E100 unit could unleash more firepower than some of the Mech's in G.U.N's arsenal. Thanks to the various upgrades both Chuck and the military technicians had given him, Omega was now debatably the most advanced fighting machine on Earth.

"And he's not the only robot we have on our side." Amy added in. Of course, there was also Emerl. Cream's guardian robot was a force to be reckoned with. The gizoid did not fight with missiles or laser rifles. For Emerl, it was pure hand to hand combat. He could literally rip entire tanks apart with his bare hands. Unfortunately Emerl wasn't a reliable ally. His only concern was to protect Cream and her Mother. That was the central core of his program, written into his hard-drive and impossible to remove. As such he could abandon any fight to defend the rabbit girl if she was in any danger.

"Don't forget the rest already on the Typhoon." Chris told them. He was referred to those who hadn't gone off for some last minute R&R before the fighting got underway.

"Oh right, those guys." The major began with a sigh.

In terms of raw physical strength, the strongest was Bark the Polar Bear. His strength was on par with that of Knuckles and martial arts skill to boot, that made him a valuable asset.

Hare was a balanced fighter, quick, agile and strong but lacking the flash of specialised skill. He was an atheist, ill-mannered, grumpy and quite often outright rude. More than that he was often drunk, but apart from that he was reliable guy.

Their explosives expert was Bean the Duck, or "Dynamite Duck", as he preferred to be called. Possibly clinically psychotic, Bean enjoyed blowing things up with bombs, plastic explosives and various other things that went boom after you lit a fuse. His skills had come in handy on numerous occasions but quite often he behaved as hyper as a six year old stuffed with caffeine.

The humans onboard apart from Chris and Chuck had their uses as well. Chris' uncle, Sam Speed had once been leader of S-team but had given the position up to become a member of the crew. While primarily a racer, Sam's real skill lay with its engineering talents. He was a talented mechanic and knew the inside and out of every Mech they had done in the hold.

Topaz, oh what would he do without Topaz? Okida asked himself silently. She was nearly a good as Mech pilot as he was now, a brilliant tactical planner and an expert of battle strategy. In fact, she was in charge of planning the …. 'deployment' of their own resources when the fighting started. More than that though, for Okida had his own reasons for near idolizing her. A faint blush tinged his cheeks and he coughed to regain his composure.

"Of course you haven't even mentioned the hardest hitters yet." Chuck announced; reminding them all that the three to without a doubt cause the most damage they hadn't even gone through on their lists yet.

Without even saying it the first was Sonic himself. There wasn't a person on Earth who didn't know who he was, who hadn't heard of his adventures. He was a praised hero all over the world. Sometimes that fandom had him running away from crowds of screaming fan girls. A skilled fighter, Sonic's skill was with attacks of such unbelievable speed it left his opponents dazzled.

Shadow was another one. Like Sonic he was fast and skilled in various forms of high speed combat. More than that, he could control energy as if it were part of his body, calling forth devastating attacks like Chaos Spear or Chaos Blast. Also he had near mastery over Chaos Control, affording him teleportation and even slowing down time so allow him extra opportunities in battle.

The third and final one was one they were not entirely sure about. Metal Sonic was a formidable fighter, a match for both Sonic and Shadow; sometimes combined. Yet because of his intentions he could never really be trusted. He allied with neither Eggman nor them, his ultimate agenda to rebuild the Metal X Machine Federation; a task he had apparently put on hold until the Confederate threat was dealt with.

"I guess we're as ready as we're ever going to be." Okida sighed looking up. Chuck nodded in agreement, but still with a frown on his lips.

"Only time will tell if that's enough." All eyes were suddenly on the screen in front of Chris. It was still showing Eggman's radar display and the hundreds of green dots that represented the amassed alien fleet.


----

Location: Caribbean Islands

Time Until Confederate Assault: 25 hours, 10 minutes

When Sonic told Amy he had gone out for a run, he hadn't been entirely truthful. True he did run, but not for enjoyment purposes. He was far too hyped for it. They were less than a day away from all out war, a destructive melee to decide the fate of the world and by now he was so wired in anticipation even industrial strength sleeping pills wouldn't be able to put him down.

So instead, Sonic was running all over the globe making sure that everything was ready. G.U.N was in place and whenever he asked about preparations he was told by soldiers armed with large guns to get lost. So for now he just assumed they were ready and raced on.

Rouge the bat was with him, flying the X-Tornado. There was no way she could keep up with him by herself. The plane helped her with a boast of speed and besides they needed the room for those they were bringing back with them. Arriving in the Caribbean, Sonic put on the breaks to make one last stop. Chaotix had promised their alliances and how he was near to pick them up.

Sonic had undergone little in the way of style changes over the years. But recently had had taken to wearing a pair of green tinted glass over his eyes while he was running and passing them up to his forehead at leisure. This wasn't something he did because it was practical. He did it because it was the style Tails had taken to some time before. The style was a token to remind the blue hedgehog that his oldest friend was still out there somewhere and would be back some day. That drove him on through this campaign, a steadfast determination to keep Earth safe so that Tails could return home to it.

Espio was there waiting for them when the X-Tornado landed on the dock of the harbour, Sonic skidding to a halt just beside it leaving a trail of fire after him.

"So here's our ride then?" The chameleon asked.

"Yeah, you all ready to go?" The blue hedgehog asked as Rouge pushed the cockpit cover open.

Espio gestured behind him to those gathered on the docks. All of Chaotix, Vector, Charmy, Beck and Rei were there. Not only that but Vanilla Rabbit and Cream were there too, their robotic guardian Emerl standing rigid beside them. Cream had grown up quite a bit since they last meet. Now both she and Charmy were twelve and their overall size almost seem to have doubled.

"So are we gonna save the world again?" The young bee asked, buzzing up alongside Sonic.

"It's turning into something we do for a hobby." The blue hedgehog replied with a flat expression.

"Sonic…" Vanilla began calling over. "Can I ask a favour of you?" Sonic zipped up beside her.

"Sure what is it?"

"I want you to take Cream with you when you go into space to fight those aliens." A stunned silence passed over the blue hedgehog.

"Say what?" He asked with a stunned expression. Vanilla smiled.

"I know it sounds monstrously irresponsible of me to ask you, but I'm not sure her staying with me will keep her safe. The entire world is going to be a battleground in less than a day." She looked him right in the eye. "She's been on your adventures before and you've always kept her safe. I trust you, so…"Her smile widened a little. "I want you to keep my daughter safe for me." Cream glanced back from between her mother to Sonic, unable to read the expression on either of their faces.

"But what about you momma?" She asked. Vanilla looked down at her daughter and gently patted her head.

"I'll be fine dear. I think those aliens are going to have bigger things to worry about than chasing me with Sonic around." Sonic just grinned in response.

"Ok then. I'll keep her safe." He told her.

"Thank you Sonic."

"Ah…. touching isn't it Vector?" Rei asked with a grin.

Vector was standing very still with his back to all of them. His gaze was locked on the sky, refusing to leave it. Now that Sonic thought about it, the crocodile hadn't said a word since the hedgehog got there and he was usually talkative.

"Er…Vector?" Charmee began, hovering around the crocodile's side. In his hands, the reptilian was holding a small box which he was rolling about between his fingers in indecision. Slowly he turned to look down at it, then back up at the sky. He and Vanilla had been dating for some time now and they were on the verge of lovers. He had been meaning to present her with this for over a month but the time never seemed right. Now he was into his last few seconds, putting it off now was not an option.

"Vector… what's wrong?" Vanilla asked and he shuddered a little.

"Ah to hell with it." He exclaimed suddenly turning around so sharply his tail nearly hit Espio in the face. Without a word he walked right up to Vanilla, his large eyes locked on hers. Then he dropped down onto one knee, receiving a gasp from those gathered around them. Producing the box he opened the lid to reveal a golden ring inside.

Vanilla stood there with a stunned expression on her face. "Vanilla…" He began, gesturing the jewellery up to her. "Will you marry me?" Espio's jaw dropped almost comically. Beck was left standing there with wide eyes. A moment later a small thud echoed out. Looking around, Espio saw that Cream had fainted beside him. Then there was another thud as Charmy fell down beside her.

"Well this is new." Sonic added in quietly with wide eyes, his arms folded in front of himself.

"Vector I…" Vanilla began with her voice unsteady.

"I know this isn't the best time but….Vanilla I love you." The crocodile added in quickly. He paused. "Boy that was easier to say than I thought it would be." Silence gripped them, refusing to let up. Vanilla's expression slowly turned unreadable, her eyes staring at Vector's as if trying to seek out his honesty in this proposal. Slowly a smile spread across her face and tears began welling up in her eyes.

"You've always been there for me and Cream Vector and… and I love you too." She told him, kneeling down and placing a hand against the side of his cheek. Vector's expression was unreadable. Their eyes locked and the emotion in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. "But it's too soon after Cream's father left me. I hope you understand." Vector didn't say anything. Instead he simply closed the box, the smile on his scaly lips simply refusing to go.

"I'll just hang onto this then."

As some hidden passion gripped them both, Vanilla and Vector almost literally seized each other. Kissing was almost an impossibility for the crocodile as his snout was hardly compatible with her lips. So instead their hug had to make up for it, an embraced so heart felt it felt like two souls had joined together.

"I don't want to sound like scourge here…" Sonic spoke up tapping his foot. "But we do have an alien fleet about to crash down on us now." Espio held his arm out to silence him.

"Leave them be." The chameleon stated with a reluctant sigh, turning to advance towards the X-Tornado.

"Yeah, we can manage five minutes can't we?" Beck asked walking past.

"Besides we've been waiting for him to get that out in the open for a while now." Rei finally added, walking past with the stunned to unconscious state Charmy in his arms.

"What does this look like; a soap opera?" Sonic asked raising an eyebrow after them questioningly.

"Oh quite being such a spoil sport." Rouge called down to him, sliding out the cockpit and stretching her wings. Espio took her place at the controls. "I can tell you're not a romantic soul." She paused. "Or was that what Amy told me?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" The blue hedgehog asked defensively. She smiled coyly at him.

"Just that she's waiting for you. And she's been waiting a long time already." Sonic managed to hide the blush underneath his blue fur.

"You're a fine one to talk. What about Knuckles?" Her smiled refused to leave her face. She simply waved him off with feminine grace.

"I'll have him in the palm of my hand before too long." She announced walking away. Sonic forged a deep frown.


-

Location: G.U.N Central Command

Time Until Confederate Assault: 12 hours, 37 minutes

Across the entire Canadian northern front, an entire forest of ground to orbit guns had been installed. Similar constructions were almost complete in northern Russia, the Far East and several in Scotland. These however were only for use in the worst case scenario, which was if the Confederate's broke through their fleet's defensive line. Despite their preparations, Federation intelligence did not know entirely what to expect once the alien fleet entered their space. They had already been informed by their temporary Eggman Empire allies that the Confederate fleet was nearing their orbital path and accelerating. They would be within firing range of Earth in little over twelve hours.

In preparation for a possible ground based invasion, troop deployment in major cities all around the world had been dramatically increased. The economy had been brought to the verge of collapse by the militaries demands for increased funds over the last two years. Almost three quarters of the state's entire budget had been funnelled into the Mech program. That isn't to say G.U.N didn't spend the money unwisely. Every strategic position leading to and fro from state capitals in every major country across the globe had been heavily fortified. The military was heavily entrenched on the surface. If the Confederates landed they were going to have one hell of a hard time trying to engage the G.U.N troops.

Even so Jericho, G.U.N commander and temporary President of the United States could not help but worry. He was fighting an enemy of which he knew nothing about. All intelligence they had came from the Black Arms, who had taken up defence of the terraformed Mars and even then it wasn't up to date. Running from the Confederate Empire for so long, the Black Arms had avoided all confrontations with their army. Their own knowledge of their military capabilities was prepares centuries insufficient. It was like expecting to fight men with swords and shields only to find a row of tanks rolling down at you.

"Doctor Eggman's Egg Fleet is assembling around the Egg-Moon." Someone was telling him, a display appearing in the main screen of the war room. Officials, officers and others were rushing around in a melee. Tripping over each over at regular intervals with papers, documents and cups of coffee flying into the air. "If all goes as planned the Shark Battle ships with rendezvous with our fleet by 2200 hours." Thus far, the ships belonging to the Black Arms had not deployed themselves from Mars. The alien sect appeared to be focusing their attentions on planet defence instead of fleet deployment.

Jericho hadn't been listening to the reports coming in. His thoughts dwelled elsewhere. Even if they won the coming battle, the United States was finished economically. There was no way it could last the year required to stave off the invaders long enough for some other Federation to intervene.

The last thing the world needed was to be run by a military-industrial complex like the Guardian-Units-for-Nations. As soon as the crisis was over, Jericho had every intention of stepping down the current state of emergency and removing troops from civilian population centres. He was not going to force G.U.N down the path of either the Elite or the Hexagon Company. He would not make his coup pointless like that.

"Commander Jericho?" His eyes snapped up when he realised someone had been talking to him. Looking up he saw a decorated captain standing waiting for his response. "We have a direct communications link with the Fleet sir." Jericho blinked and quickly gathered himself.

"Put it through." The main screen in front of the war room buzzed with static for a moment before the image of a man in a military uniform appeared. It was the General presently in charge of the Giant Wing Fortress. The massive carrier, mobile fortress and tactical operations centre served as the

"Commander, this is Giant Wing. Our own radar has just picked up the alien fleet passing by Mars' orbital path. They appear to be holding station now." The general's image flickered for a moment to be replaced by the image of a radar sweep. Jericho stared at the hundreds of green dots that almost seemed to blank the screen. They had indeed stopped their advance towards Earth, slowing to a near stop just past Mars, as if they appeared to be in in-decision. "Wait… wait sir, they're doing something now." Suddenly the giant swarm of green dots seemed to divide, a quarter of their number collecting into a separate small group, before finally flying off towards Mars itself. Jericho forged a frown.

They must have detected the presence of the Black Arms and sent off some of their forces to engage them there. Once the division had been made, the rest of the forces carried on towards the Earth.

"What's their ETA?" Jericho asked.

"At present speed they'll be within visual range of our fleet in little over12 hours sir." The general replied. Jericho paused for a moment to collect himself; taking slow calm breaths. So this was it. This was what they'd been preparing themselves for two years for.

Jericho suddenly became aware that everyone in the war room had stopped to look at him. Every officer, strategist and anyone with a clearance badge attached to the front of their shirt was simply staring at him, waiting for his response. Even the general on the screen was waiting for him to say something.

Slowly he stood up, his face a wall of emotionless granite.

"Battle Stations!"