The Tale of Maria the Hedgehog
By: Teen Hero
Disclaimer: I do not own Sonic the Hedgehog or any of Sega's intellectual properties.
"Sayonara...Shadow the Hedgehog," said a young girl as the life began to leave her body. Her blood began to pool beneath her, her body lying on a cold metal floor.
"Maria!" cried out the hedgehog, Shadow, from inside an escape pod. It was firmly sealed and ready to blast off into space and towards the blue planet, Earth.
Maria could only smile a sad smile as she watched the hedgehog that had been her best friend bang on the side of the escape pod with his fist, trying his hardest to break through it before it launched towards Earth. She knew she would never see him again, nor would he see her. She would have cried, but she was almost already gone by the time the pod launched towards the planet that she would never truly get to see.
"I'm...so sorry, Shadow. I wish we...could see each other...again...one day..." Maria said. Those would be the last words she said before her eyes closed and her world became the darkest black.
"Initializing Resurrection Program Alpha," said an electronic voice that sounded very much like the voice one would hear on an automatic answering service. "Commencing scan of subject Robotnik, Maria."
A bright green light suddenly filled a room that had been darkened for over fifty years, giving it an eerie, almost ethereal glow. It was the only light in the room as there were no windows.
"Vital signs...normal. Body structure...normal. Scan detects previous bullet wound, now fully healed. Brain activity...sedated, but normal. Transformation from Homo sapien to Erinaceus albiventris...successful. Initiating revival program."
The green glowing light illuminating the room became even brighter. From outside the pod, which was the source of the electronic voice, if one were to look inside, the form of a female hedgehog could be seen. She was wearing a blue dress with blue-gray stripes going down the front and the sides, a pair of white gloves, two blue and silver gauntlets, and a pair of blue and silver boots which had two metal rings on each boot. The rings of the boots were joined by a thin piece of metal that was rounded at one end.
One could also see that the female hedgehog was floating inside of a glowing green liquid, the source of light in the room. The liquid would not be the only source of light in the room for long, however, as the room suddenly became illuminated by bright overhead lights. As the room became illuminated by the white overhead lights, the liquid inside of the pod began draining out through a small hole at the bottom of the pod. As it drained, the female hedgehog slowly began to settle at the bottom until she was lying on her side. Once the liquid had completely drained away, the front of the pod opened up towards the ceiling.
"Resurrection Program Alpha...complete. Awaken...Maria Robotnik," said the electronic voice.
At first, there was no indication, besides the low noise of her breathing, to suggest that the young female hedgehog was even alive. Then, her breathing slowly became louder as she began to stir. Soon after she began stirring, she made a moaning sound like one usually does after a long time asleep. Then, her eyes fluttered open, though her vision was blurry.
"Wha...what happened?" she asked as she propped herself up to sit. She noticed that she was inside of a pod and moved to get out of it, though she was crawling as she did so. She hadn't yet tried to get up and wasn't quite sure her legs worked yet. She at least wanted to have some room to fall safely when she tried.
Once she was clear of the pod, the female hedgehog slowly stood to her full height and somehow felt like she should have been taller. That didn't bother her that much, however, as she suddenly remembered something very important.
"SHADOW!" she cried out. "Oh my god! Shadow! I hope he's okay."
Maria Robotnik suddenly remembered the last few moments before she supposedly died, which made her feel very uneasy. First of all, she was worried about Shadow and sincerely hoped that her friend was okay. Second of all, she was supposed to be dead. She definitely remembered a bullet piercing her back and exiting her chest. She also remembered falling to the floor of the ARK and the life slowly draining out of her until she lost consciousness.
"I...should be dead, but I'm alive. How is that possible?" Maria asked herself. As she stepped forward, she nearly tripped and fell. She quickly regained her balance, but noticed a strange reflection on the metallic floor. She looked back down and instead of the face of a twelve year old girl, she saw the face of a sixteen year old female hedgehog.
Maria didn't scream or cry out, as one might have expected her to do, at least not at first. She calmly looked at the reflection on the floor, making numerous faces, waving her arms and legs, and doing whatever else she could to make sure that the image she was seeing was really her. Once she confirmed that the blond female hedgehog she saw in the floor was herself, then she let out the bloodcurdling scream that was inevitably going to happen.
As Maria screamed, a video monitor on the other side of the room came to life. As the monitor was easily the size of the entire wall, it got Maria's attention and calmed her screaming. The actual monitor, however, wasn't what ceased her screaming. It was what, or rather who, was being displayed on the monitor.
"Grandfather!" Maria exclaimed. The man shown on the monitor screen was most definitely Gerald Robotnik, her loving grandfather.
"Hello, Maria," said Gerald Robotnik, though it was obviously only a recording of the great scientist. "If you are hearing this message, then my plan to cure you of your disease has worked. Unfortunately, my dear granddaughter, as you have no doubt discovered already, it was at the cost of your humanity."
"I'm cured?" Maria said outloud, though it was mostly a question to herself. She knew the video image of her grandfather couldn't respond back.
"You are, as you can most likely see, a hedgehog. Long into my research on how to cure you of NIDs, Maria, I realized that your human body would never be strong enough to fight off the disease, no matter what treatments were administered to you. I theorized that you would need the body of an animal to successfully be cured of NIDs. Since I had already created Shadow as a means of curing you, I reasoned that a hedgehog would be the first logical choice."
Maria slowly took in the information the recording of her grandfather was giving her. It all sounded a bit too fantastic to be real, but then again, her grandfather was the greatest scientist of his age and probably of any age. There was, however, a nagging question in the back of her mind that she wanted to be answered.
"You are probably wondering when you were placed inside of that pod," Gerald Robotnik said. The elderly man on the screen sighed sadly and took a deep breath before he began to speak again. "You were shot, Maria. It was an accident, as the soldier who fired the gun was merely trying to destroy the Artificial Chaos behind you, but you were caught in the crossfire. Maria, even though it was only for a little while, you were clinically dead."
"So I did die," Maria said to herself. That didn't surprise her. She felt as if she had been dead and she even remembered dying.
"Before GUN took me, Maria, they gave me a few moments alone to grieve for you. I realized that the only way to save your life was to place you inside of this pod and begin the procedure immediately. If this message is playing, then the procedure did indeed work. I'm glad I could do this for you, my precious granddaughter. However, since I could not properly monitor you myself, I had to initiate a process that would likely take over fifty years to complete. For the most part, you would not age, though I did allow for some physical and mental development, putting you at around the age of sixteen or so. I am sorry to say Maria, I am no longer among the living."
The image of Gerald Robotnik smiled and a tear could be seen trailing down from his eye. That made Maria cry herself, though her tears were much more numerous. The girl was openly sobbing, the intense sadness she felt from knowing her grandfather was gone being almost too much to handle.
"Do not worry about me, Maria. I wish I could have been there to see you come back into the world as your new self, but that cannot be. I do have some more good news, however."
That caught Maria's attention and, for just a moment, she stopped crying and waited for what her grandfather had to say.
"As you well know, Maria, Shadow is the Ultimate Lifeform. Among his many abilities, Shadow possesses a genetic trait that does not allow his body to age past a certain point. Most likely, the last time you saw Shadow was when he was at his full physical maturity. Maria, what I'm trying to tell you is that you're not alone. Out there, somewhere, Shadow is alive."
It took several moments for that to sink in, but when it finally did, Maria jumped for joy. Her best friend in the whole world was alive. The image of Gerald Robotnik smiled again, as if he anticipated his granddaughter's joy at hearing her friend was alive.
"Shadow is on Earth, Maria, and if you wish to see him, you will have to travel there," the image of Gerald Robotnik stated.
Maria stopped all of a sudden and became somewhat depressed. How was she going to travel to Earth? She didn't know how to fly any of the craft that would be docked on the ARK and even if she did, there was no guarantee that they would be in working order.
"Maria, I want you to go to the safe across the room. It has an electronic keypad on it. It's built into the wall just next to the monitor on which you are watching this message. The code for the keypad is your birthday. Please go open the safe."
Maria did as she was instructed and went over to the safe in the wall. She punched in the code, her birthday, and the safe opened. It was a rather small safe, so Maria couldn't fathom what could be inside that would allow her to go to Earth, which she had guessed was what her grandfather was trying to give her. She was shocked, however, to see a blue gem inside, a gem that was very familiar to her.
"You wouldn't be completely wrong to say that it is a Chaos Emerald you see," Gerald Robotnik said as Maria took the gem out of the safe and stepped back to look at the screen again. "It is a fake, but a very remarkable fake. While it does not have nearly the amount of power as a real Chaos Emerald, it does still retain all of the properties of a Chaos Emerald. You see, Maria, along with your new body, you have some new abilities. Most of them will mirror the ones that Shadow possesses, such as enhanced strength, agility, and incredible running speeds. You will even possess the same control over Chaos energy that Shadow does. The only difference in your abilities is that you will become weakened and tired out faster than Shadow would, since you do not possess any of that vile Black Doom's DNA inside of you."
Maria took in all of this surprisingly well. She had significantly calmed down since her initial bout of crying and although she was still a bit emotional about the whole ordeal, she was doing her best to take it as calmly as she could.
"Maria, do you remember Chaos Control? I'm sure that you do. It's the ability that Shadow possesses that allows him to instantaneously transport himself from one place to another. You too, possess that ability Maria."
Maria would have been shocked, but she had been shocked by so much in just a short period of time that she had practically been "shocked out." There was no more "shock" left in her.
"While you can use Chaos Control without an emerald, real or fake, to travel short distances, you will need the power of one or more emeralds in order to travel much larger distances. Do you remember how I told Shadow to do it, Maria? You must concentrate on the place you want to go in your mind, draw the Chaos energy from within body out, and then say, 'Chaos Control!' When that is done, you will instantaneously be transported to the place you pictured in your mind. I want you to test that ability Maria. I want you to teleport to your bedroom here on the ARK and then teleport back here. Remember, picture it in your mind, draw out your Chaos energy, and say, 'Chaos Control.'"
Maria looked at the fake emerald in her hand and eyed it for just a moment before she began to follow her grandfather's instructions. She closed her eyes and pictured her room on the ARK. She held it firmly in her mind as she felt a warm, vibrant, pulsing sensation spread throughout her body. It had come naturally, without even trying, but the sensation she was feeling was her Chaos energy being drawn out. With the first two steps taken, Maria concentrated just a bit harder before she spoke.
"Chaos Control!" Maria cried out. She hadn't opened her eyes, but she felt as if there had been a bright flash of light. She also felt a tingling sensation all over her body, as well as feeling hot on the inside and cold on the outside, as if she had been microwaved.
When Maria opened her eyes, she found herself in her room on board the ARK. It hadn't surprised her to find herself there, though she was surprised she had been able to do the Chaos Control as her grandfather had said she would be able to. Remembering that she was supposed to teleport back to the room she had awoken in, Maria used Chaos Control to return back to that room. Just as she reappeared and opened her eyes, Gerald Robotnik began speaking again.
"Hopefully, Maria, you have successfully managed to use Chaos Control. If you have, congratulations. If not, then keep practicing until you master it. It is vital that you do so. Continuing on, assuming you have mastered Chaos Control, I want you to picture this city in your mind."
The image on the screen changed from that of Gerald Robotnik to that of a picture of Station Square, one of the largest cities on Earth. The image then changed back to Gerald Robotnik.
"This is Station Square, Maria. This is the city where you will teleport to with Chaos Control. There is an apartment there for you, rented under the name Maria the Hedgehog. You will also find this apartment fully stocked with everything you will need. Clothes, furniture, and enough food to last you for three weeks until you find a means of supporting yourself. All of these things should be being delivered and set up in the apartment as we speak, as per the instructions in my will. The address is 679 Mach Street, Apt. # 213. Good luck with your new life, my granddaughter. I hope that you will find Shadow and that you will be happy. Goodbye."
With his goodbye said, the screen displaying Gerald Robotnik's image faded and the screen flickered out.
Maria was crying again, all semblance of her control gone. She was sitting on the floor of the ARK, her knees drawn up to her chest, crying her eyes out. Her grandfather had done so much for her, dedicated his life to saving her, and she couldn't even properly thank him or tell him goodbye. The more than fifty years she had been in that pod had taken so much away from her. The only thing from her past she had left to hold onto was Shadow, and even then, she still had to find him.
After almost a full half hour of crying, Maria managed to pull herself together enough to do the Chaos Control that would take her to Station Square. Before she did though, she turned and looked at the black monitor screen that had recently displayed the image of her late grandfather.
"Sayonara, Grandpa," Maria said before she focused her mind on Station Square and the Chaos Emerald in her hand.
With a flash of blue light, Maria was gone and the ARK was once again simply a metal shell hovering in space, devoid of any signs of life.