Christopher Thorndyke was bored. There was nothing to do in his big mansion but homework, which he already finished and did over again for kicks. There was nobody to hang out with either. His parents were away, as usual. Dad was at a big corporate meeting in Hawaii, and Mom was shooting the next big feature film across seas. Chris felt lonely. Sure, he had friends, but not that many and they were all busy. Danny had basketball practice, and Frances was spending the day with her father and brothers. So it was just him.
It would have been nice to have more friends. He was somewhat an awkward kid at school, often picked on, and had trouble talking to others. What made him so different? Just because he had a thousand-dollar allowance? Because he was the smartest kid in class and chose to work on his physics homework than play sports? Perhaps one day, everyone will acknowledge him, see him as a great figure.
For now, he'd have to figure out what to do on this particularly boring day. Going to see what his grandfather was up to was a start.
"Hey Grandpa, what'cha up to?" Chris called, poking his head inside his grandfather's lab.
Chuck Thorndyke turned away from his latest invention and to his grandson. "Ah, Chris, glad you're here," he answered, "You're about to witness history in the making!"
"Again?" the 12-year old boy chuckled.
Chuck huffed. "This time, I worked out all the kinks. I did the math, then re-did the math, and double-checked everything. If my calculations are correct, I'll be able to open the doorway to alternate dimensions!"
Chuck nodded. "Yes. You see, Chris, my theory is that there are all sorts of different worlds out there."
"Well everyone knows that, Grandpa," said Chris, "There're eight planets in our solar system."
"I don't mean planets like Mars and Neptune," Chuck corrected, "When I say 'worlds', I mean dimensions. Zones, rather. Different forms of existence. For example, in other lifetime, you would be my grandfather, and I your grandson."
Chris chuckled. "That's silly."
"Sounds silly," said Chuck, "But so did flying aircrafts, but that didn't stop the Wright Brothers. Or Copernicus when he suggested the world revolved around the sun. You'll never know your true potential unless you become the best you can be."
"I know, I know," sighed Chris, obviously hearing all this before.
Chuck pressed a few buttons and turned some knobs on the control panel he stood at. "Okay, get ready, Chris," he announced, "I'm about to start the Dimensional Matter Displacer."
Chris watched as the invention began humming to life. Two metal poles began to glow, and exchange electricity, and the circular doorway flashed brightly. The machine was giving its all and Chris was impressed. It looked like whatever was happening it was going to work!
A farting noise.
And the entire machine powered down.
Chuck stared in disbelief. "I... I don't understand!" he cried, "I double-checked and triple-checked my calculations! It should have worked!"
"Maybe it just wasn't meant to be, Grandpa," said Chris as he approached the Dimensional Matter Displacer.
"No! It's possible!" said Chuck as he opened his notes and skimmed through, "All worlds are linked by time and space. It takes a massive amount of energy to break through the dimensional barriers. I tuned the end velocity to a nearby spot, which should have broken through the zone wall and reach into another world. What could I be doing wrong?"
As Chuck looked through his notebook, Chris walked through the invention, examining it closely. Not that he could actually do anything about it, but curiosity did get the best of him.
A device that opened the gateway to other dimensions? How cool was that? Maybe there was an alternate version of him that was actually popular and liked by everyone.
As he looked through the circular doorway, he thought he saw a glimpse of himself. Was there a mirror in the room? He blinked, and it was suddenly gone. He then glanced around the doorway, but saw no mirror. He looked back, and noticed the blue wall was suddenly yellow. The room was definitely different. It was another room… in another world!
"Hey Grandpa!" he called over, "I think it worked! I see-"
The machine had burst to life and gathered energy from all over. Chris stepped back, shocked, as the energy surrounded him.
Chuck quickly looked up from his notes and gasped in horror as his grandson was engulfed in a strange kind of element. "Chris, get away from the displacer!" he shouted.
Chris tried to step away, but the energy was pulling him in. It was just too much, and he was helpless as it completely sucked him through the doorway, leaving with a giant flash of light.
"Chris!" Chuck blindly raced for the Dimensional Matter Displacer in an attempt to rescue Chris, but only succeeded in tripping over spare parts and landing onto the side of one of the large poles, shocking him fiercely and throwing him to the floor. Chuck brought himself up to a sitting position, rubbing his aching head, and trying to open his eyes as the machine died down, the bright light going with it. He didn't wait for his eyes to adjust before he looked around in search of the boy. "Chris! Christopher! Are you all right?"
No answer. Chuck staggered to his feet and rubbed his eyes, his vision finally returning, and glanced around. The machine was dead.
And Chris was nowhere to be found.
Chris could feel himself lying face down on a cold hard floor. But what really woke him up was the rather girlish laugh in the background.
"Oh ho ho ho ho!" laughed the voice. "The test was a success! I can indeed manage to perform a man-made Chaos Control!"
"Truly wonderful, Master!" barked a robotic voice.
"Indeed!" spoke another "Dr. Eggman would have been so proud!"
"Yes… My long-lost master… It won't be much longer. Now that I can create a Chaos Control of my own, I will be able to take control of every nation on this planet! AND I'll do it faster than that speedy blue hedgehog can keep up! Oh ho ho ho ho!"
Chris lifted himself to his arms and glanced up. The girlish laughter had actually come from a tall young man, dressed in red with black pants and boots. He had shoulder-length chestnut hair, and though he had his back facing Chris, the boy couldn't help but wonder where he had seen him before.
"Who… who are you?"
The two robots, one tall and yellow, the other stout and gray, were the first to notice Chris lying on the floor. The young man was a bit slow on the uptake. "What?" he asked, "What is it?"
"Sir," spoke the stout robot, "It appears you have a guest."
The young man turned, and Chris finally got a good look at his face…
It was him!
Or… it LOOKED like him… Sort of… Maybe if he had a cousin or an older brother?
The man glared. "And who might you be?"
Chris was too stunned to answer. Why did this man look so familiar?
"Sir," said the yellow robot, "Perhaps he was pulled from another dimension when you activated the Chaos Control."
The man rubbed his chin. "I see…" He then grinned and clapped his hands together, "Another bait to lure the hedgehog in with. Or better yet," his grin turned fiercer, which frightened Chris, "A guinea pig to use for a later experiment."
He snapped his fingers. "Either or, take him away. Lock him up with our other guest."
The robots bowed and took a hold each of Chris' arms, dragging him away. "W-w-wait a minute!" he cried, "Just who are you anyway?"
The young man flashed a smirk as Chris was led out the room. "You'll know my name soon enough, as will the entire world."
Chris was harshly thrown into the holding cell, slamming into the ground hard. "Ow! Hey!" The robots obviously didn't care as they silently closed the doors and walked off. Chris sat up, rubbing his arm. What was going on here?
"Are you okay?"
Chris looked up at the sound of a girl's voice. Looking down at him with concern was a very pretty girl, dressed in a small but fancy white dress, and a feather clipped to her hair. Chris was a young boy, after all, and couldn't help but blush in the presence of a gorgeous, older woman.
The girl, however, must have noticed the unsubtle look on his face, and immediately backed away in fear. "No!" she cried, "Stay away! Don't come near me!"
Chris quickly jolted up and waved his hands wildly. "Wha- wait! Hold on! It's okay, I won't hurt you!"
The girl stopped and blinked. It wasn't the voice she expected… sure it was young and childish, but mainly because this person WAS young and a child. She looked back at Chris and studied him. "Wait," she murmured, "You're not Thorndyke…"
Chris blinked himself. "Huh? Sure I am! I mean, I'm CHRIS Thorndyke!" He tilted his head, "But how did you know who I am?"
The girl looked harder at Chris. "But… you can't be! You're much younger. Are you a relative? A cousin? Or a brother?"
That sounded familiar. Chris remembered thinking that when he first saw—
"Wait, you're not talking about that guy, are you? The one who threw me in here."
"You mean Dr. Thorndyke?"
"Doctor Thorndyke?" Chris was pretty sure he had no family members who were doctors.
"Yes," answered the girl, "He was the apprentice of Dr. Eggman."
"Egg… man?" Chris suddenly had the mental image of a giant talking egg.
The girl looked at him, wondering if lived under a rock. "Yes. You know, the evil dictator who tried numerous times to take over Mobius?"
She thought it was a figure of speech, but apparently this boy really DID live under a rock. "Yes, you know, our planet?"
"Planet?" said Chris, "Our planet's called-"
Then it hit him!
"I don't mean planets like Mars and Neptune. When I say 'worlds', I mean dimensions. Zones, rather. Different forms of existence. "
"That's it!" Chris slammed his fist in his other palm, "Grandpa's machine! That Matter Displacer thing! I'm in another world!"
The girl just stared. "…What?"
Chris looked over to explain. "My grandfather created this machine to open a gateway into other worlds… or, actually, dimensions."
"In other words, another zone."
"Yeah yeah!" Chris nodded, "You know about it too?"
"Dr. Thorndyke has been working on something similar," she explained, "Something about creating his own Chaos Control to control time and space."
"And it must have connected to my grandpa's machine, which opened a gateway between our worlds and brought me here!" Chris exclaimed.
The girl nodded. "I see! Then that means you really ARE Dr. Thorndyke!"
Chris nearly toppled over. "What?"
"You're Dr. Thorndyke! Only, a younger and nicer version."
Chris didn't feel like being nice. "I am NOT that guy! I'm not a world-domineering jerk!"
"Take it easy," said the girl, "I didn't mean anything like that. But you do share the same name…"
Chris turned away, crossed his arms, and huffed. "It's just a coincidence! Nothing more!"
The girl sighed and looked away. "Very well," she said, "I apologize. You aren't him." She muttered under her breath, "But you look a lot like him as well…"
"Nothing," the girl stood to her feet. "Forgive me, but I haven't introduced myself. I am Elise, Princess of Soleanna."
Chris looked over in surprise. "Did you say PRINCESS?"
"No wonder you look so pretty!"
Elise blushed at this. Chris quickly fumbled to correct himself. "I MEAN! Uh, pretty dress! Pretty dressed looking! Fancy looking! Like a princess!"
Elise smiled. "Well, you certainly don't behave like the doctor… though you do share some things in common."
Chris scratched the back of his head and grinned sheepishly. "Er, uh… sorry." He looked back up at the princess. "So why are you here anyway?"
Elise's smile faded. "In place of his master, Dr. Thorndyke wants to take over the world, creating the Eggman Utopia. He started with Soleanna, knowing that I had a Chaos Emerald."
"Yes. They're these seven magic gems that hold a limitless amount of power. Thorndyke wants all seven to complete his man-made Chaos Control and dominate all of Mobius. He invaded and took control of my kingdom and locked me away here. Soon the rest of the world will become his next target."
"I see," Chris rubbed his chin, "But why lock you here? What does he want with you?"
"I'm afraid I'm part of his, er, personal plan," Elise blushed, but not due to flattery this time, "When Thorndyke takes over, he wants me to become his… queen."
Chris wasn't sure how to take that. Sure it wasn't right for this guy to force Elise to marry him. But at the same time, he couldn't quite blame him. She was pretty cute.
Best he changed the topic. "So, how do we get out of here?"
Elise sighed hopelessly and turned away to the window. "There is nothing we can do," she responded.
"There's gotta be something!"
"Only one thing.."
Chris knitted his eyebrows. "Wait for what? For the world to end?"
Elise smiled slightly. "No… we wait for him."
Elise turned to Chris with a dreamy glint in her eye. "Sonic."