(An adaptation of Shadow the Hedgehog)
by K. M. Hollar
Copyright information: Sonic the hedgehog and related characters copyrighted by Sega. The Mekion concept copyrighted by K. M. Hollar. All original characters copyrighted by K. M. Hollar.
This is fic 30 in a story continuity by K.M. Hollar. It builds on things established in other stories, and here is a brief explanation of things that might confuse the reader unfamiliar with the world.
1) Shadow and Mekion are the same person. Shadow was revived after the ARK incident by his chao Nox, who then died. Shadow fell into the clutches of Metal Sonic, who converted half of Shadow's body into a robot in a process called mecha-fusion. Metal Sonic then renamed the resulting creature "Mekion". However, the Shadow-half is still Shadow, and the robot half is called Mekion. The two minds are continually at odds. The story arc that chronicles this is:
The Slave and the Darkness
Mercury Inferno Rising
In Pursuit of Revenge
The Eye of Doom
Chapter 1: Divide by one
The red lights flashed on and off. On and off, like a migraine. Maria and I sprinted along the corridor, gasping for breath and looking over our shoulders. Behind us rang gunshots, screams and shouts, but we were almost there.
I was surprised that Maria could keep up so well without my support. Through my terror I exulted in the knowledge that at last she was recovering. She could run! She could breathe! And we would both survive this. After all, Maria had her Shadow with her.
We had drilled escape procedures many times on the ARK. In case of emergency, all personnel were to meet at the shuttle bay and jettison to the planet below. But the hallways had never seemed this long.
We saw a crumpled body on the floor ahead of us. As we approached it, Maria gasped and covered her mouth. It was Madrid, one of the station managers. He had been shot twice and had not been dead long. "Don't look," I told Maria, guiding her around the corpse.
We ran on, but my fear tripled. The soldiers were killing everyone! Why? What was our crime? Would they try to kill Maria and me? Maybe not Maria, but I bet there was a bullet somewhere with my name on it. I am the Ultimate Lifeform, and if the scientists were being killed because they lived on the ARK, then I must be a primary target.
We kept running.
The blinding white lights of the shuttle bay winked into view up the hall. We put on an extra burst of speed and a few seconds later we skidded into the last haven on the ARK.
Rogers and Calvin were already there, two lab techs whom I had known since I was born. "Shadow! Maria!" Calvin yelled, beckoning furiously. He and Rogers manned the escape pod controls, and calibrated one of the last remaining pods. "Get in," said Calvin, pointing to the open door.
Gunshots crackled from up the red-lit hall that Maria and I had run down. We all ducked, and Maria looked at me imploringly. "I won't let them near," I promised her. I sprang through the doorway and stood in the hall, watching the distant bend for enemies. If I was a prime target, then surely I could draw them off and--
"Shadow!" Maria shrieked.
I spun around in time to see five guards dash into the shuttle bay. One of them thumbed the doorlocks, and a sheet of metal slammed shut in my face. They had locked me out in the hall.
Then I heard muffled gunshots.
I broke into a wild skating flight up an adjoining hall. The main shuttle bay entrance could only be closed from the central control room, and I could get in that way. Beyond that were no thoughts at all. Only stark black terror. I couldn't think about what those gunshots meant. I just had to get there.
A voice in my head whispered, "You're not fast enough." I moved even faster, inching up to sixty or seventy miles an hour, extremely dangerous for indoors, but it wasn't fast enough.
I turned a corner, rebounded off the wall with both flaming skates, and skidded back into the white light of the hanger.
Rogers and Calvin lay beside the pod console, shot where they stood. And Maria--
I screamed in utter anguish as my heart broke. She lay facedown on the floor, her white gown stained scarlet.
Standing over her with a pistol pointed at her head was a black mechanical hedgehog. He laughed as our eyes met. "Hello Shadow," he whispered in my mind. "We be of one blood, ye and I."
"Stop it!" I screamed, running forward. I wanted to tear him limb from limb, stomp him into scrap, beat those electronic red eyes into fragments. But before I reached him, he pulled the trigger. Once. Twice. Three times.
"Mekion!" I cried, and woke up.
I was curled in a tight ball, and I had clenched my teeth so hard that my jaw ached. I forced myself to relax and uncurl. I was shaking. I sat up, put my feet on the floor, and allowed myself two deep, reactionary gasps that were almost sobs. Then I made myself breathe deeply until I calmed down. "Mekion," I thought to the creature who had invaded my mind, "I am going to destroy you."
"But we are one," Mekion replied in his voice that wasn't really a voice. "Destruction of one implies destruction of the other."
I grasped my head in both hands and sat like that; my left hand, which was made of metal, holding the metal side of my face, and my flesh and blood right hand holding the living half of my face. The divide between robot and living seemed even sharper than usual. Warm versus cold, compassion versus oblivion ...
I was still sitting there when my roommate Nick emerged from the bathroom, fresh from a shower and ready for work. He stopped and looked at me. "You okay, Shadow?"
I nodded. "I need to get out of here."
He shrugged. "If you need to go, then go. Just don't let GUN see you."
I smirked, the right side of my face smiling while the left side remained immobile. A few months earlier, some of my enemies had conspired to try to isolate the source of my immortality. All that had happened was that Mekion had been badly damaged and is now insane. Nick was the recipient of enough chaos power to kill him, but the experiment actually worked, and he survived. Being human, this wasn't supposed to happen. He lived in fear that someone, mainly GUN, might discover what had happened to him and take him in for testing. Lethal testing.
"I won't give you away, Nick. But really, I have to get out of here." I jumped up, strode to the window and stood looking out across Sapphire City to the sea. "Mekion is getting worse," I murmured.
Nick was silent, and I heard him picking up his bag with his equipment in it. "I need to go," he told me. He walked to the door, but didn't open it. I turned my head and saw him fumbling with his wallet. He removed a card and held it out to me. I took it. Mecha's debit card. I had loaned it to Nick so he could buy food and supplies for us when I had moved in. His returning it meant that I was free to leave. I silently shook his hand, and he left without a word, never making eye contact. Was he sorry to see me go? Me, the monster cyborg hedgehog? Not likely.
I turned and looked around the apartment. I had precious little that I could call my own. My tattered black backpack lay in a corner, unzipped, with Nox asleep inside of it.
Odd. Nox always slept with me. I crossed the room and knelt beside the backpack. Nox opened his eyes and blinked sleepily up at me. He's a black chao with deep orange stripes along his hedgehog-like spines. He's belonged to me since Dr. Robotnik freed me from cryogenic freeze. Even when I forgot him, or turned on him, he has remained my loyal friend.
"What are you doing in there?" I asked.
Nox climbed out of the backpack and sat rubbing his eyes with his round paws. "You were having nightmares," he said. "You kept thrashing around, and I swear that Mekion was trying to claw me. So I moved over here."
"Sorry," I said, stroking his head with my natural hand. "I think it's time to leave."
Nox looked at me, his white pupils suddenly piercing. I knew that he was sorting through my feelings. Nox is a sympath, and sometimes it's creepy, but I don't mind. There are times when even I don't know what I'm feeling, and Nox helps me sort myself out.
Now he nodded, as if finding something that did not surprise him. "You've been restless for days," he said. "I wondered if it was time to go. Ever since we got that newspaper."
That newspaper was currently spread across the kitchen table. Mekion and I had read it over and over. I could close my eyes and see the type. "Festival of the Black Comet! The Black Comet returns to orbit the sun once every fifty years, and this year its trajectory takes it within seven hundred thousand miles of Mobius. Viewing will be spectacular. The Black Comet is so named because it has a tail millions of miles long, but reflects no light ..." And so on and so forth.
I had a copy saved to Mekion's database for future reading. Why? I don't know. It filled me with a foreboding anticipation, like waiting for the detonation of an atomic bomb. I was excited and terrified, and for days I had felt a growing need to get out of the apartment and run. Just run. Anywhere but here. Why? I don't know. But the time had come.
I raided Nick's cupboards for the meal rations he had bought me, and stuffed my backpack with them. I tucked Mecha's debit card in a side pocket, and pulled out my golden Chaos Emerald. My transport, my healing crystal, the source of my power. I rubbed it against my fur to polish it, then stooped and handed it to Nox. He took it in both paws, and looked at me with shining eyes. "You mean it?" he breathed. I nodded.
Nox opened his mouth and sank his little teeth into the Chaos Emerald. Instantly its power engulfed him, stretched him out, and rebuilt him into a long-legged bird. Something like an ostrich, but without the naked neck--he wore sleek black feathers, culminating in a plume of gold feathers on his head, and long gleaming tailfeathers. The Chaos Emerald glowed from inside his mouth as he spoke. A chao's power was to transform when in possession of a Chaos Emerald, and they could not eat or drink in that form. Thus their transformations were limited.
"Oh boy, I love this," he exclaimed, strutting in a circle. "Let's go run! Please please?"
In reply, I grasped his neck with my living hand. I felt the chaos power pulsing just under his feathers, as if he were a living emerald. "Chaos relocate," I said.
In a flash we vanished from the apartment and reappeared on top of a grassy hill outside of Sapphire City. "Now run," I said, and bolted eastward. Nox gave a trill of joy and ran after me on his long legs.
I am perfection embodied.
I am my own morality. I see my surroundings for what they truly are. No one has a claim to my attention or perfection, for I am perfect.
But there are those who would spoil perfection, trample it into the dust of mediocrity. Never mind that I alone behold the world as it is, unshackled by restraints or moral boundaries. There are those who would destroy me.
Shadow would destroy me. I am perfection and he is my one blemish. If I could remove him, I would be faultless, pure as diamond. He is a craven, groping creature, pleading that I leave him shackled by his pathetic moral code. He does not wish for me to destroy the ones whom I despise, those who would destroy me. It makes sense for the created to destroy the creator, then take his place. I am perfection, therefore I should be Master.
But Shadow must fall first. He stands in my way to utter control--he, too, desires control. We share the same body, and both of us wish to dominate the other. I have set all of my processing power to work, mapping his neuron network. I have traced several paths already, but his subconscious is deep and vast, a labyrinth of electrical connections and chemical balances.
He does not know that the Eye of Doom is upon us. I have beheld it. I fear not, for I am perfection. I am all I am.
I am Mekion.
Mekion, my enemy, made me halt at sundown.
Nox and I had run all day long. From Sapphire City we followed the road east, past several small Mobian towns whose names I didn't catch, and up into the mountains, taking the road to Ironhedge. Why there, I didn't know. I had never set foot in Ironhedge, and only knew what Mecha had told me, how it was a penal colony for Mobians and humans alike. All I knew was that I wanted to hide.
But as the sun set, Mekion began to drag at me. My robot leg refused to take long strides, and my mechanical eye wandered, cutting my vision and making me dizzy.
"Mekion," I asked him inside my head, "what are you doing?"
"We must halt here," he replied to my mind. "It is June second."
"What's that got to do with anything?" I snapped. I hate it when he forces me to do things. I tried to make my legs walk forward, but Mekion refused to let my mechanical leg move. I stood in the road, feeling like an idiot.
Nox stopped beside me, beak open and panting. "What's wrong?"
"Mekion," I told him with a snarl. I slapped the metal side of my head. "If a car comes, we'll be history."
"There will be no cars tonight," Mekion told me. He displayed a map on the inside of my mechanical eye, showing the entire region in green and blue. There were a few cars several miles away, but none traveling in our direction.
Unbidden, my mechanical arm moved. It extended and pointed up into the darkening blue sky, where a few stars twinkled. I followed its direction with my eyes. Dim in the sunset hung a hazy star with a fading tail. The comet.
Something clicked. Over the last month and a half, Mekion had made me sleep walk. I've awakened in all kinds of crazy places, usually on the roof of a building, always staring at the sky. And now at last I understood. Mekion was watching that comet. So why was I, Shadow, so afraid of it? What did my subconscious know that my waking mind did not? I gazed up at the comet with both eyes. A tail with an empty center. No heart. Like Mekion.
Beside me, Nox gave a shrill gasp and shrank close to me, his warm feathers pressing against my shoulder. Mekion's vision wavered and blurred with static, and I felt a surge of energy roll over me, like electricity. The street ten feet away shimmered and blurred in an oval. Out of this anomaly came the Eye.
It might have been a starfish or a squid, but it was bigger than I was, and swam through the air like a squid through water. In its center, facing forward, was a single red eye. Instead of one pupil in the center, it had a line of black pinpricks.
It was so hideously alien that I wanted to run, to scream, to teleport as far away as I could. But my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. I gripped Nox's feathers with my living hand and stared at my reflection in that terrible Eye. It regarded me without moving, like a camera with a fixed lens.
The distortion wavered and shimmered behind it, and another creature emerged through it. This one looked slightly less alien, and at the same time even more so. It had a head and two arms, but if it had legs, I couldn't see them. This being wore a long robe-like thing that parted into fluttering strips a foot from the ground. There were no feet under them. It floated up beside the Eye-squid. I lifted my head to look at its face. Its head was triangular, with black leathery skin, and two horns or ears sticking out of the sides. It had three red eyes with no pupils, but they glittered and shimmered, so I guessed that they were compound.
"Greetings, Shadow," said the newcomer. It had no mouth that I could see, but I heard its voice distinctly. Deep, masculine, harsh, angry. It was one of the voices that Mekion had been transmitting for weeks! I thought I had been losing my mind. The realization that I had been hearing aliens was no better.
I swallowed and said, "How do you know my name?"
"I am Black Doom," said the alien. "We had an agreement, Shadow. Why have you not brought the seven Chaos Emeralds?"