The world before them appeared to be a desolate and polluted city, surrounded by a slowly dying forest. Smoke billowed up from the factories within it, dying the sky above it a sickly black-brown. Sora scratched his head, perplexed as to why the path to a world like this had been opened. "Do you think you should land?" He asked his comrades, looking to Donald and Goofy, who were seated behind him. "It looks like the Heartless have already had their way with this place."
"Well, the Keyblade opened the path here." Donald replied. "Maybe it brought us here for a reason."
Sora turned his head back toward the darkened city of smokestacks and factories. "What reason could there be?"
"Well gawrsh, Sora. The Pride Lands was pretty torn up when we landed there." Goofy said. "The keyblade called us there to fix it. Maybe that's the reason here."
"I dunno." Sora groaned.
"Just land, already." Donald squawked. "How bad could it be?"
"Fine..." Sora replied, taking hold of the controls and descending into the world.
When the ship landed they found themselves in a dark alley. The air was repugnant and hard to breath, and the sound of loud machinery could be heard in the distance. The trio strolled down to the far end of the alley, looking for signs of life. "It doesn't look like there are any people here." Sora stated. "I wonder where they all went."
As those words left Sora's mouth, Donald noticed out of the corner of his eye a brown and red creature in a blue jacket run into the alley and duck behind a pile of trash. In excited state, he tugged on Sora's sleeve, catching both the boy's and Goofy's attention. "Look!" The duck squawked, pointed at the creature.
"What is it?" Goofy asked.
"I think it's one of the inhabitants of this world." Sora said. "Let's ask her what's up."
The being sat fiddling with what appeared to be a hand-held computer, a serious and concerned expression plastered across it's face. It was covered with brown fur and beige fur coming up from its chest to is muzzle, where brown and beige met at a small black nose. A tuft of red hair spouted out of its head, styled into a feminine shape that framed a set of bright blue eyes. "Nicole, time please." It said in a female voice.
"Current time is 21:52 hours," The computer responded in a synthetic female voice, "Eight minutes until scheduled rendezvous."
The creature let out a groan. "He's running late." She complained. "What could be keeping him?"
Sora walked up behind her, giving her a gentle poke on the shoulder. "Excuse me, Ma'am?"He asked.
She turned, a perplexed look on her face, which quickly turned to dread. "Get down!" She snapped. "Do you want to get us caught?"
Sora, Donald, and Goofy very quickly ducked down, as to be obscured from sight by the pile of junk. "I don't know who you three are, but coming to Robotropolis by yourselves is very reckless!" She scolded. "Do you three want to get yourselves roboticized?"
Sora blinked cluelessly. "Robot-o-sized?" He uttered, confused.
She took her computer back out of her jacket, and opened it. "This may disrupt our entire operation..." She muttered under her breath. "Nicole, run these three's appearance against the records in the Freedom Fighter's database and see if there are any matches."
"Searching records, Sally." The computer replied.
"Freedom Fighters?" Sora asked, looking to both Donald and Goofy.
The duck and dog shrugged. It seemed they were as out of the loop as he was. The computer beeped as he reset his sight on the creature. "No matches found, Sally." The computer said.
"I guess you guys weren't a registered group at the time the records were made..." She said, closing her computer. She tilted her head, perplexed by their appearance. "What region of Mobius did you three come here from."
Sora scratched his head. "Region? Um... We're from the outer.. outer region." He replied.
"That's pretty broad." She replied. "Do you mean you're from Southern Mobius or Northern Mobius?
"We don't know, we're lost." Donald said, shaking his head.
"So you don't know what direction you came from?" She replied "Well you certainly wandered into the wrong neck of the woods.... Can I have your names?"
"I'm Sora." Sora replied. "He's Donald, and that's Goofy." He added, pointing to his friends.
"I'm Sally. Princess Sally Acorn." She replied.
"You're a princess?!" The three exclaimed in unison.
Sally put her finger over her mouth, signaling for the three to lower their voices. "Not so loud. Titles are meaningless here and in the Great Forest, anyways." She said. "You've interrupted us in the middle of an important mission."
"Us?" Sora asked. "What are you doing here?"
"The other Knothole Freedom Fighters and myself." She replied. "We're trying to take down a bot factory here to lower the number of Swatbots that Robotnik has at his disposal."
Sora looked back to Donald and Goofy, confused, only to have them both respond with a silent shrug. "I'm afraid we're not familiar with those.. things." He said.
Sally's eyes widened. "How could you not know about Doctor Robotnik?! He's enslaved and polluted the entire planet!" She exclaimed.
Goofy leaned over and whispered in Sora's ear. "Sora, remember, we can't let 'em know we're from another world."
Sora rubbed his hand across the back of his head. "Um.. we've been... underground for a long time!"
As those words escaped his mouth, a gust of wind whizzed past them, leaving a small cloud of dust in its wake before stopping in front of Sally. As the dust cleared, it revealed a blue figure near Sally's height, sporting a mohawk of spines and a pair of bright red shoes. "Sally, we've got trouble!" He said. "Ant blew it again! We've gotta go, now!"
"What happened?" She asked.
"He fell out of the duct!" The blue creature said. "Cat ended up getting snagged, but Ant's on his way back to Knothole."
Sally clamped her hands over her mouth. "Oh no..."
"Security's on my tail-" The creature paused, noticing Sora and his friends. "Who are these three?"
"Lost travellers." Sally answered. "Now, Sonic, focus."
"Right." He said, turning and looking out of the alley. "Let's get back before- MONDO PROBLEMO."
He backed up. "Swatbots! They must've followed me!"
"What are we going to do? They've got us boxed in!" Sally lamented.
A group of steely gray robots with red visors piled into the alley, pushing the group back. "We fight!" Sora proclaimed.
He called the Kingdom Key to his hand and leaned forward, ready to strike. Donald and Goofy drew their weapons, poised to strike as well. Sally and Sonic looked back at the three. "I guess we've got no choice." Sonic said.
The creature leaped into the hair and spun his body into what resembled a big blue buzz saw, lashing forward into the crowd of robots. Sora lunged into the group, swinging his keyblade down, instantly smashing the head of the robot it landed on. An adjacent swatbot grabbed his arm, locking it in a tight grip. "Priority one: Freedom Fighter!" The machine droned.
"Hey! Let go of me!" Sora protested.
"Get your mits off my friend!" Donald proclaimed. "BLIZZARD."
An icy volley launched from the end of the duck's staff, rushing past Sora and clean through the arm of the robot. "Watch where you're aiming!" The boy griped.
Goofy's shield launched past Sora, smashing in the face of the very same robot. Sora shook his head and turned back toward the group, swinging the keyblade into the torsos three swatbots lunging in his direction. The three of them were quickly in pieces. The blue buzz saw boomeranged back, cutting through the remaining swatbots, landing in front of Sora as it came out of its spinning motion. "Nice moves, man." The blue figure said. "What's your name?"
"I'm Sora." The boy proclaimed. "These two are my friends Donald and Goofy."
"Name's Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog." He replied. "But enough introductions for now. We gotta juice back to Knothole!"
The hedgehog reached into a brown knapsack on his back, retrieving a large gold ring from inside it. "Everyone grab on and hold on tight." He instructed.
The group grabbed onto Sonic's back, as the hedgehog held the ring up in the air. A glow erupted from it, and Sonic zoomed off, the others hanging on in tow. As they departed, they neglected to notice a robotic spy eye hovering over the alley...
"Tell me, Snively... How did the hedgehog get past all my security?" Robotnik asked.
His tiny assistant trembled, turning to face his master. "T-through an air duct, Doctor Robotnik."
"An air duct?" The bulbous villain asked.
"Y-yes, sir." Snively answered.
"THEN SEAL IT OFF." Robotnik bellowed, slamming his fist angrily into the arm-console of his seat.
Grinding his teeth, he turned toward the monitor, observing the footage being fed in by his spy-eye. "Furthermore, what's this?" He inquired. "New faces? I don't believe I've ever seen freedom fighters dispatch my swatbots so easily.."
"I've never seen them before, sir." Snively answered.
"What a peculiar weapon..." The large man utter, observing footage of Sora wielding the keyblade.
"Sir, there's one more thing; we've captured a freedom fighter." Snively added, recapturing Robotnik's attention.
Robotnik turned back to his assistant. "Oh really?" He asked with a smirk. "This is good. Very good indeed. Bring him in."
Two swatbots brought in a male cat, his head and hands bound in a metal restraint. Robotnik let out a joyous chuckle, watching the prisoner struggle in vain to free himself from his restraints. "Tell me, old boy.. the location of Knothole." He said. "Give me its whereabouts and I give you my word that you will not be roboticized."
The cat scowled. "I ain't tellin' ya nothin' about nothin', Robotnik!" He replied.
"I wouldn't be so sure about that old boy. I have machines of all kinds; marvelous machines that can do things you cannot believe." Robotnik warned.
The cat gave a loud gulp. Robotnik grinned down, taking a bit of delight in the terror he was inspiring in the creature. A sinister, disembodied laugh sounded through out the control room. "I like your brand of evil." The source of the laughter said, in a female voice.
A female figure materialized out of a flurry of green flames in the center of room, behind the restrained feline, dressed in black. "And who might you be?" Robotnik asked.
She smirked, clutching her staff close. "I suppose you might consider me a friend." She said.
"Flattering, but my dear, as I've said so many times before... I have no friends. Swatbots! Seize her!" He commanded.
The robots clattered toward her. "What interesting toys. Let's see how they play with mine." She said.
Two neoshadow heartless erupted from the floor and tore the swatbots apart with little effort. "You see, my dear, I bring you a gift that will finally allow you rid yourself of that miserable hedgehog." She said. "And all I ask in exchange is that you destroy that brat with the keyblade along with him."
"And what is this gift?" Robotnik inquired.
"Why, the heartless, of course." She said. "Much more efficient soldiers than your machines."
"These are heartless?" He inquired, watching one of the creatures examine a shivering Snively.
"Creatures born from the darkness in hearts; anyone who submits to the darkness in their heart can control them." She said. "My name is Maleficent, and I sense much darkness within your heart."
"Even more flattering.. I didn't even realize I had a heart." Robotnik replied with a smirk.
"And with the power to control them, I bestow you with an even more useful gift as well." Maleficent said, lifting her staff.
She drove the staff into the captured cat's back, the creature letting out a gasp as he was engulfed in a glow of eerie green light. "Submit to the darkness. BECOME DARKNESS ITSELF."
A glowing pink heart escaped from the cat's chest, his body vanishing as it floated above him into the air. A smoky shadow enveloped the heart, reshaping into the form of a heartless. Robotnik looked on in intrigue, grinning widely. "Interesting.. Tell me more, my dear."