Following the incident aboard the BOTTLE SHIP, a team was sent up to investigate and take stock of what was left. Ultimately, the military decided it was best to simply destroy the BOTTLE SHIP, so they set its autopilot to take it back near the region of space where we had found it in order to keep Earth from getting caught in the blast. Before they carried out that mission, Tails and I returned to the derelict space station for one last visit. When we left it last time, it turns out I had left something behind. Something I didn't feel complete without.

-Sonic the Hedgehog


Tails sat alone in the bridge of the Cyclone, quietly humming a tune to himself as he piloted the ship through deep space and checked the monitors in front of him. He remained focused on the task at hand, his eyes not even glancing back towards the door leading into the rest of the ship as it opened and Sonic stepped through it. The blue hedgehog looked over at the fox and walked over, sitting down in the seat next to him before saying, "Hey Tails."

After taking a moment to make sure nothing was in their flight path, Tails looked over at Sonic and said, "Hey Sonic. By my calculations, it won't be much longer now. We should be seeing the BOTTLE SHIP real soon."

Sonic nodded, "Glad to hear it. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can get away from that ship before the military turns it into space garbage."

Tails nodded and then said, "Too bad Knuckles couldn't come with."

Sonic shrugged, "Eh, we were lucky to be able to drag him away from Angel Island when you called us to your lab. Good thing the Master Emerald was right where he left it when we got back from Guardian Mountain. He probably would've had a hissy fit if it had been stolen." He then leaned back in his chair and placed his feet up on the panel in front of him, shutting his eyes and taking care not to hit any buttons by mistake.

Tails smiled and took the chance to look Sonic over. It had only been a couple of days since they left the BOTTLE SHIP, but it was apparent that the spots where Sonic had had burnt fur were already starting to grow back. He'd be looking normal again in no time. Tails then looked back out the glass, keeping an eye out for any signs of asteroids or anything else that might cross paths with them. Eventually, he spoke up, "There it is!" Sonic cracked his eyes open at that. Sure enough, he could see the BOTTLE SHIP, no longer surrounded by space dust and almost looking like it was drifting through space.

After a short, relatively uneventful flight, the Cyclone passed through the invisible shield around the entrance to the BOTTLE SHIP and landed in the same spot it had before. The ship's front door opened and the ramp extended down to the ground soon afterwards, Sonic and Tails walking down the ramp to the ground below. After the ramp retracted, there was silence, the same unwelcoming silence that had greeted them last time. Sonic soon asked, "So, to Sector 3?"

Tails nodded, "Yep. We'd better get moving. We've got a lot of ground to cover." With that, the two of them ran up the nearby ramp, once again making their way into the BOTTLE SHIP.

The ship's Main Sector was relatively deserted; the only creatures they saw on their way to the elevators were Reo and Geemers. They almost felt like they were running through a high-tech futuristic ghost ship. Aside from the small creatures, the only thing that could qualify as a possible sign of life was the female computer voice that spoke to them after they boarded the elevator to the Pyrosphere, "This elevator is bound for Sector 3." It wasn't the least bit comforting.

Their trip through the Pyrosphere was a little more exciting, as the wildlife that had taken over the sector were a little more abundant than that in the Main Sector. They weren't visiting just to see what was still around, though; they had a destination in mind: the Geothermal Power Plant. Some new damage had occurred since their last visit, however. Part of the ceiling in the hallway near the elevator that connected to the volcano had fallen in, damaging the hatch to the volcano in the process. With the hatch damaged, it seemed that going the long way through the sector was their best bet for reaching the Power Plant.

Of course, going the long way meant that they had to deal with a fair amount of the creatures that populated Sector 3. In the room where Team Dark had faced the Vorash, they even encountered a creature called a Crocomire, which had skin so tough that the only way to defeat it was to push it into the lava. The Crocomire was about the only thing they encountered that really gave them any problems, though. Everything else they had seen before, so any other encounters they had the rest of the way only slowed them down slightly.

Eventually, they reached the Navigation Booth closest to the Geothermal Power Plant and ran through the room and the glass tube that were past it. At the entrance to the Power Plant, they hurried up the stairs, but the hatch leading to the part of the Power Plant where they had encountered Black Doom's clone was not lit up. "I guess the hatch is still damaged from that attack Black Doom used. The team must've decided that there was no point in repairing it since we opened the Magma-Eruption Port," Tails said.

"Hm. I'm not sure I wanna find out how durable these hatches really are. How did you, Knuckles, and Shadow's team get out last time?" Sonic asked.

"Oh! When Shadow went after the clone, he made a big hole in the wall. It should still be around here somewhere…" Tails replied, spinning his twin namesakes around and flying away from the hatch, looking for the hole. He soon found what he was looking for and landed on the edge of the platform, calling, "Over here! Come on!" Sonic ran over to him and the two joined hands, Tails once again taking flight and lifting Sonic up to the hole and flying through it.

Sonic glanced around as they approached the platform in the middle of the room, commenting, "Geez, that platform looks even worse than it did before."

Tails watched a piece of the platform break off and fall into the magma below before nodding, "No kidding. Shadow must've done more damage with that Chaos Blast than I thought. I hope it's still here…" He set Sonic down near the middle of the platform and landed next to him, both of them looking around. Tails soon spotted Sonic's helmet near one of the edges and ran towards it, exclaiming, "There it is!" He stopped in front of it and carefully picked it up, noting that the heat of the magma hadn't seemed to have had any effect on it.

He turned around and walked back over to Sonic, who had finished summoning the rest of his suit, everything but his head now covered. He gently took the helmet out of Tails' hands and said, "Thanks Tails." He then slipped it on and disengaged his suit once again, the helmet now joining the rest of it. He grinned, "Heh, feels good to be back!"

Tails smiled at Sonic, then turned around and looked at one of the walls of the room. He then said, "Guess this is the last we'll be seeing of this place." After a moment, he turned to look at Sonic, wondering why he hadn't said anything. The hedgehog had moved closer to the side of the platform that was near the hatch, looking at the magma as it flowed out of the port. Tails walked over to him and asked, "What's wrong, Sonic?"

Sonic glanced back at him and said, "Nothing. Just thinking…"

Tails looked concerned as he looked up at him, "About what?"

Sonic hesitated for a moment, then he turned to Tails and said, "I had a weird dream the other night. I was floating through space when all of a sudden, this huge… thing comes shooting by me. I think it could have been an asteroid, but it looked kind of strange. I'm not sure that's what it was."

Tails asked, "Could it have been some kind of spaceship? You know, like Astral Babylon?"

Sonic replied, "Maybe. It did kind of look like there might have been something other than rock inside of it. All I know is that it didn't give me a good feeling to look at it, especially when I saw six others go shooting by."

Tails placed his right hand on the side of his mouth, "Hm, I guess that does sound kind of weird. What could it mean?" He then started to look worried, "What if it has something to do with the Chaos Emeralds? Or you, Sonic?"

Sonic looked back at him, "Me?"

Tails nodded worriedly, "Yeah. What if something happens to you? I know it probably sounds like I'm still worrying about what happened in this room, but still, what if it means something and something bad does happen to you?"

Sonic placed his left hand on Tails' left shoulder and said, "Tails, I can't promise you that nothing bad is going to happen to me. I can't see the future, after all. But I can promise you that I'll do everything in my power to make sure nothing bad happens, either to me or my friends. Besides, remember what I told you when we were making our way here before?"

Tails' eyes drifted down to the floor. "How could I forget something like that?" he thought to himself.

Flashback

"Come on Tails, move it!" Sonic called to his fox buddy, who was currently being attacked by a group of Magdolites as he flew over a lake of lava. Sonic was giving him some cover fire with his beam, but the creatures weren't making it easy for him to hit them. Tails was about to reach the ledge Sonic and Knuckles were on when one last Magdolite came after him, reaching for him with one of its arms. Tails managed to land on the ledge before it grabbed him, thankfully, and Sonic disposed of it with a charged blast and a missile.

"Well, that was fun. Come on, we're almost to the Geothermal Power Plant," Knuckles said, immediately heading in the direction of a hatch.

Sonic was about to follow him when he noticed that Tails was down on his hands and knees. He walked in front of Tails and knelt down, pushing him onto his knees with a hand and asking, "You okay, Tails?"

The fox panted, "Yeah, yeah I'm okay, Sonic. But that was kind of crazy. I probably shouldn't have tried to take a shortcut like that."

Behind his helmet, Sonic grinned, "Hey, you made it, didn't you? And it kind of looked like fun!"

Tails sighed, "Uh, yeah. I guess that's one way to look at it. But they came close a few times; I wasn't sure I was gonna make it."

Sonic helped Tails get to his feet and they began to follow after Knuckles, Sonic saying, "It sure didn't look that way to me. It sure looked like you were determined to make it."

Tails replied, "Well, yeah, that's true. But still…" He stopped himself before he could let himself trail off.

Sonic spoke, "Listen, Tails… don't forget. Believe in yourself. Not you, who believes in me. Not me, who believes in you. Believe in yourself, who believes in you."

End flashback

Tails looked up at Sonic and nodded, "Yeah, I do remember that."

Sonic replied, "You can tell me if I'm being out of line here, since I wasn't there for the rest of the mission, but it sure seemed like you stuck to believing in yourself while I was wandering around. Sure, you had Knuckles with you, but it sounds like you did plenty of things during that time. You trailed the Deleter, James Pierce, you came up with the plans to defeat the Nightmare and Queen Metroid, and you protected Madeline Bergman. You did a lot here, Tails, and there's no doubt in my mind that, no matter what happens from here on out, you can do it again."

Tails nodded slowly, "I-I didn't even think about any of that stuff. I guess you have a point there. Thanks, Sonic…" He then came forward and embraced the hedgehog, who gladly returned the embrace. At that point, everything else seemed to fade away. The sound of the magma pouring out of the wall, the heat in the room, the slight groaning of the platform they were standing on… They tuned it all out. Their display of brotherly love was far more important, and nothing could ruin it for them.

Well, almost nothing. All of a sudden, an alarm started blaring, startling both of them. Then they heard the female computer voice say, "Self-destruction protocol activated. Please evacuate the facility immediately." Sonic and Tails shared a quick glance, both of them thinking the same thing, and then broke apart from each other. Tails flew up, flying through the hole in the wall while Sonic followed him by doing a Spin Dash.

Outside, they dropped down to the floor and ran through the hatch they had come through earlier. As they stepped into the glass tube, an explosion caused it to collapse about halfway down. Over the sounds of the glass shattering and the tube's supports breaking, they heard the female computer voice say, "Six minutes until detonation. Please evacuate the facility immediately."

Tails asked, "Six minutes? Is that gonna be enough time?"

Sonic replied, "Not if we go back the way we came. Give me a hand here, Tails; we'll take the overland route." Tails was initially confused, but he soon got what Sonic was getting at. He grabbed Sonic's hands and helped him get on top of the remains of the glass tube. They then started going back the way they came, climbing over the structures rather than going through them.

They didn't go back exactly the same way they came. Instead, they headed for the volcano, which was giving off one last eruption as though it knew the end was near. They had to dodge lava bombs once they were closer, but they soon found the part of the volcano that went over the hallway that was connected to the elevator. All it took was a little spinning on Sonic's part to get them through the rock and steel, allowing them access to the hallway.

Running to the front of the elevator in the adjacent room, they found that the hatch was stuck mostly open, but the elevator itself was out. "Guess we couldn't expect the elevator to still be working when the station's about to explode," Sonic commented.

"So we're going to have to go up the shaft ourselves?" Tails guessed.

"You got it," Sonic replied. He ran inside the elevator and used a Spin Dash to break through its ceiling. Standing on top of it, he began to Wall Jump up the shaft, using a Boost to break through the hatch at the top. Tails gave him his distance, but he wasted no time in catching up with Sonic.

As they stood in front of the hole where the hatch used to be, they heard the voice say, "Three minutes until detonation. Please evacuate the facility immediately." Sonic and Tails shared another glance before they ran around to the front of the Sector 1 elevator and ran through the hatch across from it.

As they made their way back through the Main Sector, parts of the station began blowing up behind them. They also noticed piles of flaming rubble and Cyborg Black Arms as they ran back through some of the rooms. Other than that, there were no surprises waiting for them, so they made their way back to the BOTTLE SHIP's hanger fairly quickly. As they stepped through the hatch leading to it, they heard the voice one last time, "One minute until detonation. Please evacuate the facility immediately."

The duo hurried down the ramp and headed for the Cyclone, the ship's front door opening and ramp extending to the ground as they approached it. Once onboard, they headed for the bridge, both taking a seat at the ship's controls and firing it up. The Cyclone was soon ready to take off; Sonic looked over at Tails and asked, "Ready to blow this chili dog stand?"

Tails looked at him and nodded, "Yeah. Let's go home." They both then turned their attention back to the controls. The Cyclone lifted up, turned around, and shot out through the invisible shield into space. The BOTTLE SHIP continued exploding behind them, but they were far away from the station by the time the final explosion occurred, the white light from the explosion shining brightly behind them. Sonic and Tails paid it no attention; they simply set the Cyclone's course for Earth.

Meanwhile, on the distant planet Drak…

Under the planet's polluted skies, a meeting had been called in the House of Knowledge between the three house leaders. Presiding over the meeting was Master Scholar, leader of the House of Knowledge, Emperor Ko-Dorr, leader of the House of War, and Sister Haggra, leader of the House of Magic.

"Why have you called us together, Master Scholar?" Emperor Ko-Dorr demanded.

"Be patient, Emperor Ko-Dorr. Sister Haggra will give you all the details," Master Scholar answered.

"What, another one of her visions? This had better be good," Emperor Ko-Dorr grumbled.

"I believe you will be quite interested in this, Emperor Ko-Dorr. I have seen that the Drakon Empire will be able to rule the universe forever. And to set my vision in motion, this is where we will start," Sister Haggra answered. Master Scholar directed the Emperor's attention to the glassy circle on the floor, pointing a small device at it. Suddenly, an image of a mostly orange planet appeared. Sister Haggra continued, "This planet, Tallon IV, was impacted long ago by a celestial object. Within this object is a substance that we have come to call Phazon. It is a mysterious substance, displaying not only radiation, but also sentience."

Emperor Ko-Dorr asked, "It's a living thing?"

Master Scholar answered, "Somewhat. We do not know exactly how 'alive' it is. But we have seen what it can do to living things. We have witnessed it driving creatures mad, although there are some that aren't driven mad, and yet they change. They become stronger, fiercer; they may even display abilities they didn't have before. If we can harness this substance for our own ends, then our Sentinels and Prosecutors would become unstoppable."

Emperor Ko-Dorr thought to himself, "Is that right? I must investigate this myself, but if this is true, then I can make it so I can become even stronger myself. Not even the two of you would be able to stop me." He then cleared his throat and asked, "So I will be leading our troops to recover this 'Phazon' and bring it back here to Planet Drak, correct?"

Master Scholar sternly answered, "No, Emperor Ko-Dorr. We are not risking our own planet to this substance until we know everything about it. We already have plans to study it on Tallon IV so that our people will be safe. You will be leading our troops there, however. It would appear our old enemies, the Black Arms, have also stumbled upon the Phazon and are looking to take it away from us. And there is another complication."

Emperor Ko-Dorr growled, "What?"

Master Scholar used the device in his hand to turn the image of Tallon IV around, revealing the spot where the planet must've been hit by the celestial object. He then spoke, "Most of the radiation being emitted by the Phazon is coming from where the object struck the planet, however we are unable to get anywhere close to it. This planet was formerly populated by the Chozo; after the object struck, they were eventually able to construct a cradle, preventing the substance from getting out of the impact crater. Whatever they used to seal it, the Prosecutors we have sent there are unable to break through it. We have found spots where we can mine the Phazon, but to get it all, we will need to get into that crater. Finding out how to break through their cradle will be your task."

Emperor Ko-Dorr nodded, "I see. And what of the Chozo? Even if they no longer populate this planet, they were quite knowledgeable. Surely they were prepared for this."

Master Scholar replied, "Perhaps not for the impact itself, but from what we've gleamed of the last traces they left behind, they believe that a 'Defender' will come to Tallon IV. Whoever it is, whatever it is, will then enter the impact crater and destroy the source of the Phazon. And that's not all; we believe that they were helped by another bird-like race that was traveling the stars. Both may have died out, but the vessel that the other race used to travel is still out there. And it may contain gifts that were intended for this 'Defender'."

Emperor Ko-Dorr demanded, "What? Where is it?"

Sister Haggra smiled, "You can thank the Prosecutor that was captured on Planet Alinos for that. He was taken to the planet that the vessel now floats above."

Master Scholar pointed his device at the circle again. This time, it changed to an image displaying Earth's upper orbit. Master Scholar turned the image until a floating structure was seen. He then spoke, "This is the vessel that the other race used to travel the stars, possibly in search of this 'Defender'. They knew it as the divine wings, the traveler of the stars. They called it… Astral Babylon."

THE END.

YOUR RATE FOR STORY COMPLETION IS 100%.

SEE YOU NEXT MISSION.


Heh, got this done fast, huh? Well, shortly after finishing the previous chapter, I got the sudden urge to write up this one. I mean, this was the last chapter and I had the inspiration I needed; why not get it off my back?

I know in the post-game sequence that Phantoon is the boss that makes an unexpected appearance, but he showed up on the Control Bridge. So I thought, if something were to appear in Sector 3, what would it be? Then I remembered the first "Other M" trailer and how some people speculated the Vorash was actually Crocomire from "Super Metroid". So... that's where that idea came from.

Sonic and Tails commenting on the platform in the Geothermal Power Plant is meant to make reference to its appearance in "Dead or Alive: Dimensions". It doesn't look exactly like it does in that game, mind you, just similar.

All the named Drakons at the end are based off of the official characters of the same name in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic. I know Ko-Dorr was deposed of at some point, but this is obviously different from the comic and its official unofficial continuation.

I think that's about it for that. If there's anything else that I should comment on, just let me know.

Now, based on several things in this chapter, you can probably guess what's going to happen next. That's right, next up is the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Sonic style. I mentioned way back in Sonic Fusion that I might have plans for the Drakon Empire. Well, now you know: although the Black Arms may take on a few roles themselves, the Drakons will be mostly taking on the role of the Space Pirates. And... Astral Babylon? Could the Babylon Rogues be making an appearance?

In regards to Metroid Prime Hunters, I probably won't be doing a story based off of it. If I do, it'll probably only feature Team Dark and, rather than taking place between MP1 and MP2, it would take place before the start of the Trilogy. It would pretty much be a lead-in to the Trilogy itself, if anything.

Now I've told some people this, but I haven't told everybody, so I might as well put this here. In addition to the Prime Trilogy, I've also decided to do another Sonic crossover fanfic. It won't be related to this Sonic/Metroid crossover series at all and, based off of other fics that have done this type of crossover recently, it probably won't be well-received. That's not going to stop me from doing it, however, but don't worry. You won't be seeing anything related to this new fic for a while, and even when I start, I'll still continue the Trilogy. I'm just letting you all know this now.

Okay, that's about it from me. Thanks for sticking with this story for so long and I'll see you later!

Music:

Return to the BOTTLE SHIP - Gigantic Angel Zone Act 2 (Sonic Pocket Adventure)

Heading for Sector 3 - Facing a Huge Reaction (Metroid Fusion)

Going the Long Way - Crisis Mission (Metroid Fusion)

Dreams of... the Future? - Tallon Overworld Theme #1 (Metroid Prime)

Tender Moment - Theme of Samus (Metroid Other M)

Escaping the BOTTLE SHIP - Evacuate Immediately! (Metroid Other M)

Meeting between the Houses - Building (Jurassic Park (SNES))

To Be Continued... - Results (Metroid Other M)