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The Cinderninja: Hahah, glad this fic let you discover the joys of the Whoniverse!^^ (starting to sew a TARDIS skirt this week, here XD) And yeeeeeah, my updates are a royal pain to wait for, I myself usually can't believe how long the gaps get in between. Chapter 10 was posted before I even knew I was gonna go to Japan for a year and now I'm already back again, what?! but it's reviews like yours that keep me writing, so thanks! Hope you enjoy the new chapter :3
Chapter 11: Race against Time
"Converted…she's been converted, it's like a Cyberman – no, it's worse, the process is still not stopping…" The Doctor was darting around the circular console muttering to himself at high-speed, poking his screwdriver into crevices and slots, sweat on his brow while he wouldn't even acknowledge the rest of the adventurers.
"Doctor, what's going on?" Rose called out to him, but the Time Lord didn't hear her. "What's 'roboticized' mean?!"
"Robotnik invented the process to turn living Mobians into mindless machine slaves, I told you, remember?" Sonic said quietly. "But I'd never have thought it was possible to do it to a space ship…"
"A TARDIS is an organic creature, hedgehog," Robotnik growled. "To be able to fly it, I needed to make it a machine a human could handle. And more specifically, now the TARDIS is programmed to obey only me. So much more efficient, so much more beautiful…I improved it," he purred.
"You killed her, you…stupid ape!" The Doctor snarled, using one of his favourite insults for the first time ever since he had regenerated. "The Time Vortex, the heart of the TARDIS cannot be contained by a...machine,"he spat the last word out like it was poison. "A TARDIS needs to be alive! And now she's dying because of you and if I can't reverse this process we will be stuck here until the reapers and the rift have consumed everything! Is that your improvement?!"
Robotnik merely scowled at him. "I never said this thing would last for long in this state, but if I hadn't had to continue travelling because you wouldn't leave me alone-"
"Buttnik. Shut it," Sonic snapped, only slightly nervous because he somehow felt he was now flickering out of existence for longer times than he was there. "We need to get this ship de-roboticized and fast. Tails, can you do that?"
"I, I don't know," the fox stuttered, "The last time I helped de-roboticize somebody it was a Mobian and not a space ship and it was ages ago…"
"You've built a…de-roboticizer before?" The Doctor asked, the young fox now doubly insecure now that all gazes were on him, especially the one of the brilliant Time Lord.
"Err, in part, I mean, Sonic was roboticized once, I had to, uh…" the kit was right now busy wrenching both of his namesakes in his hands as he tried to speak. The small part of Rose that wasn't busy worrying about being consumed by a giant rift in the near future wanted very much to squeal and hug him at this point.
"But, I don't know anything about TARDISes, I-"
"Weeell, I think I can take care of that part," the Doctor gave the small fox an appreciative glance. "And besides, since we have the creator of this atrocity here he should be able to help us with the rest," he added, a none-too-friendly scowl directed at Robotnik at that part. The human scientist glared at them.
"No. If I can't have Mobius, none shall have it. Let the rift swallow it all."
"What?! I know you're no Samaritan, Buttnik, but this is your own flippin' life hanging in the balance, so you better get out there right now-"
"We don't have the time to argue," the Doctor interrupted Sonic, already looking stressed, but focused again. "As far as that rift was open already, we have twenty, thirty minutes tops. Whatever we need to assemble a de-roboticizer, we have to get it from the laboratory and build it before that time is up."
"Go back down there?" Amy asked, looking back the way they'd come from reaper-infested territory aghast. "But there's…those things…"
"And we can handle them, Amy. Don't worry," Sonic reassured her. "You two pixel-brains know what you need from the lab?" he asked with a nod toward the Doctor and Tails, the Time Lord only ever so slightly raising an eye brow at the nickname. He frowned.
"Not exactly, no. If I knew more about this roboticizing process, then I-"
"Did Kintobor have a roboticizer we could simply re-wire?" Tails asked at that point, making Sonic look around. "You must know," the fox said and his voice was suddenly quivering a little, "You guys lived together and were best of friends, weren't you?" He still tried to keep it a light tone, but none could fail to hear the ever so subtle accusation lingering beneath those words.
Sonic gave him a pained look. "Tails. Please."
"Sure, Sonic. Or Olgilvie. You didn't even tell me your real name, so why tell me you shared rooms with the man responsible for killing my parents?"
From the background, Robotnik laughed. "Oh, what a revelation! You mean you haven't even told him of our shared past, Sonic? Should I get out the photo albums?"
"Robotnik. One more word and I'm going to snap," the hero of Mobius' voice trembled, both his fists clenched as he fought to keep his anger under control.
"But why, Sonic…you wouldn't hurt your old friend, would you?" the moustachioed man asked, his tone as sweet as a candy cone laced with cyanide.
Sonic lunged as quick as lightning.
"NO!" shouted the Doctor, but even a Time Lord had nothing on the reflexes of the fastest thing alive. Robotnik gasped; apparently he hadn't been expecting an actual physical attack from the hedgehog.
And it was only inches before the blue whirl of deadly spines could impact with the face of the human that Sonic was knocked out of the air by a black buzz saw, the Ultimate Lifeform the only one who had been able to react in time. Both hedgehogs bounced off each other and uncurled to land on their feet in mirroring battle stances.
"Keep out of this, Shadow. This is none of your business," snarled Sonic, trying to find a way around his black look-alike to get at Robotnik. Shadow did not give him a chance.
"This planet my sister Maria wanted me to save is going to go bust because you're wasting time with your childish antics. This makes it my business," he scathed. "You disappointed the fox kid, big deal. You want to disappoint him again by letting him die because you couldn't focus on what was important at the time?"
"He's right, Sonic," Tails said, his tone oddly level and detached. "The Doctor and I have to build a de-roboticizer now. This is what matters. I wouldn't want my real family to have died for nothing."
The blue hedgehog stared at his younger brother for one moment wordlessly, in his eyes a world of hurt. Then he turned away, ears drooping and spoke without looking at them.
"Right. To answer your question, yes: Kintobor had built a roboticizer. For medical reasons, because he wanted to be able to stabilize patients in mortal danger, I should probably add, but it doesn't change anything for you, does it?"
"Sonic…" Amy started, reaching out to the blue hedgehog. "I don't really understand what has been going on between you and Robotnik but I know you'd never intentionally hurt anyone. I believe in you."
Sonic looked up. "Thanks, Amy," he said and sounded genuine. That Tails still refused to look at them couldn't hinder him from giving at least a small smile. "That's all I need. Let's get going to find that roboticizer and the parts you need to re-wire it, right?"
Rassilon, thanks, the Doctor thought. He wasn't entirely sure whether it was the truth, but it did seem to him as if he usually not only always ran into some time-travel/ evil-alien –adventure, but that it also was always accompanied by another episode of Coronation Street emotional drama. At this point he should probably be thankful that Robotnik hadn't turned out to be Sonic's abandoned half-brother, or something.
"Okay. We need to go back in the laboratory and I think we'll be quickest if we split up," Sonic said. "Shadow, take Tails with you and protect him while he looks for the missing parts to reverse a roboticizer. I'll go with the Doctor to find the actual machine and we'll meet back here, okay?"
"Right," Shadow nodded, summoning another crackling ball of Chaos fire in his hands. "But you can't handle Chaos Spears as well as me. Want some other backup?" he asked, pulling his trademark semi-automatic from his quills to offer it to the blue hedgehog.
Sonic shook his head. "No, thanks. Told you before, wouldn't be caught dead with one of these things. You want it, Doc?"
"Nope. Same goes for me, actually. Try shooting at everything opposing you and eventually you'll be the last living creature in the universe," the Doctor shook his head, ignoring Shadow, who shrugged and let the gun vanish again. "Ready, everyone?"
"Wait, what about me?" Amy asked. "I want to help, too."
"You need to stay here in the TARDIS and make sure that Robotnik doesn't do anything stupid. I know you're probably not happy, but somebody has to do it," Sonic said, shrugging apologetically.
"You can't leave her here all alone!" Rose protested. "I mean, what is she supposed to do if this guy, I dunno, attacks her?"
At this, Sonic gave a weak smile. "Believe me, he wouldn't be stupid enough to try."
"But-!" Rose started again, but fell silent as she actually beheld Amy. For some reason, the pink girl was suddenly holding a giant red mallet that was almost as tall as herself and she wielded it with the same ease as if it had been an inflatable toy.
"…oh." Rose managed.
"It's my piko-piko hammer!" Amy explained cheerfully and the human girl decided that maybe all the cartoons showing characters pulling elephants and pianos from behind their back were onto something.
"What will you do, Rose?" the pink hedgehog asked next, twirling her weapon with a worrying mixture of skill and unconcern.
"I'll…go with the Doctor. I always do," she replied, giving the Time Lord a warm smile. Sonic nodded. "Right. Teams are decided, so let's do it to it!" He yanked the door of the TARDIS open.
The Doctor nodded. "Allôns-y!"
"Let's juice and jam!"
Both blue-furred/blue-suited heroes had once again taken off, leaving two slightly disturbed companions looking at each other.
"I'd say their catchphrases are equally corny," Amy finally managed. Rose nodded.
"Yeah. Maybe both of them are secretly hoping one day their enemies will simply cringe to death."
Both girls shared another giggle before the blonde finally turned to leave, Shadow and Tails already gone. "Sorry, but I have to go catch up with them now, or else I'll never find them again. If we leave them alone together they'll probably have too much fun to save the planet, you know?"
"Sure!" Amy waved her goodbye. "Watch out for them reaper things!"
The human girl departed the TARDIS running and Amy finally turned around to the only other passenger onboard that had not yet departed.
"Well, Eggman…" she cooed, raising her hammer while she smiled her most innocent of smiles. "So you tried to hurt my Sonikku today?"
The Doctor and Sonic meanwhile had dashed down the stairs into the lab again, entering the main room they had been in before. So far, no reapers were to be seen but the hedgehog and Time Lord were too experienced to relax.
"Do you know where we're going?" the Doctor asked as the hedgehog's large ears were twitching, probably trying to pick up any sounds of the monsters before running on.
"Sort of. I remember Kintobor's roboticizer being in the level below us," the Mobian replied, opening a door that led down further into another room, this one containing yet a different large machine, both more complex and less finished-looking than the ones above. It consisted mainly of three platforms with tall glass tubes, their tops connected with tubes and wires to something that could have been a punchcard computer from the outside but sported also already a screen and a console board on the front. It was clear they were never going to be able to carry it.
"Here it is," Sonic said, briefly looking around to make sure there weren't any reapers yet in here. "As far as I understood it when he explained it to me, the important part is the lens embedded in the ceiling of those large glass cylinders. I guess we can't take the entire thing upstairs, but I think, if we take that and some other key parts out, Tails should be able to work with it. Damn, I wish I'd listened somewhat closer when Kintobor was rambling again…"
"You…were good friends with him, weren't you?" the Doctor asked, even if the hedgehog's last remark had only been mumbled and the perceptive eye of the Gallifreyan could almost see Sonic cringe.
"Yes. I was friends with the human who later almost destroyed Mobius and is responsible for the deaths of uncountable people," the hedgehog replied in what was almost a snap, sounding bitter. "Not such a great hero like Ta- everybody thinks, am I?" he turned around. "I'm gonna guard the door. You take your screwdriver thing and see you cut out the important parts that we can actually carry upstairs."
The Time Lord was silent for a moment but then nodded and got to work, his mind just for a second in another world at another point in time – a world with two suns, and a bright orange sky and there were two boys running through the purple grass and laughing…
"I had a friend, once, too," the Doctor said, his eyes not looking at Sonic while he briefly sonicked the screen of the console, the thing switching on and his brain taking in the gigabytes of information and blueprints flickering across it in seconds. "On Gallifrey. We were both special in our ways – also both renegades, later. And of course," he added with a purse of the lips, "both brilliant."
"Not much for modesty, are ya?" Sonic interjected at this point, outwardly not sounding very interested in the seemingly unrelated story, but one blue ear turned toward the Time Lord still betrayed him. Hands now buried in wires after having taken a panel off, the Doctor continued.
"No. But later on, there came the war. Later on, there came the madness and the dark."
Despite their own tense situation Sonic had to swallow at the undisguised pain suddenly beneath the Doctor's words. Still looking out into the corridor, waiting for any attack, the hero of Mobius finally licked his lips. So his friend had descended into insanity…
"That friend of yours, Doctor…what what was his name?"
"We both chose new names over our childhood ones," the Time Lord replied. "You've probably guessed that I wasn't always called the Doctor."
Sonic shrugged. "Hey, I had a mum who named me Ogilvie. I'm the last one to assume anything."
A brief smile flitted over the Gallifreyan's face. "Our reasons for the change were a bit different from yours. We were both renegades from our society, you know? I chose my new name because I wanted to help people…but he…" the Doctor paused. "He called himself the Master."
And then they were interrupted, because a reaper burst through the opposite door, screeching high enough to let glass shatter.
To be continued...
Hi there! Dear gods, it has been a year and a half since I last updated this, hasn't it?^^° I swear, *I*'d need a TARDIS, if only to keep my fanfic on track...on the other hand, just got back from Austria where I walked across an avalanche, so I guess it's a good thing this fic gets continued at all, I guess? :p On the other hand, while waiting for this fic to be updated, you could also head over to JudasFm's profile and check out her latest Sonic fic that she just started - she's one of my absolute fav authors and I couldn't be more ecstatic. That said, hope you liked and if you read, please review! :D