Sonic, Shadow, Tails, Knuckles (and Robotnik, and anyone else from the Sonic games I might happen to mention) are all very much their own people, but for the purposes of this world, they're all copyright SEGA. As for Black Crystal, well... in much the same way, I suppose Black Crystal is copyright me and my brother.

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Exactly where this story started, I'm not certain. Perhaps it began fifty years ago, on a space station called the ARK. Or perhaps it began even further back than that, when a meteorite crashed into the planet, thousands of years ago. Perhaps it began when the long-buried meteorite was discovered. Or perhaps it began here...

He was falling through the atmosphere, his power growing weaker. Maybe it didn't really matter. He'd fulfilled his promise, and now... now that it was done... he was going to die. He still had a little power left, though; it was keeping him in his Super form, keeping him from burning up in the atmosphere... for now. But he knew that when he hit ground, even if he hadn't run out of power too long before, he would die. He'd be out of energy by then, he knew. There was no way he could make it down safely. But perhaps... perhaps it didn't really matter. He had done what he'd promised.

'Or have you?' he asked himself. 'As long as there is evil in the world, it will threaten them. I must still keep my promise…' There was only one possible way out that he could think of, and he wasn't certain if he had enough energy left to pull it off. Further down he fell, already feeling his energy growing dangerously low. He wasn't far down enough... not far enough... no! Too late! It was going to be too late, he didn't have the energy... He hung onto his Super form, calling on reserves he didn't know he had, for... just... long... enough – no longer able to maintain his Super form, he immediately Chaos Controlled to a point a short way below the one he had been in. The Chaos Control negated his downwards velocity, but now he had hardly any energy left... as he neared the ground below, he used up the last of his reserves in one short blast from his boot jets, hoping that that would be enough... That hope was his last conscious thought.

* * *

A computer screen glowed faintly in the darkness, green lettering on its blackness providing the only illumination in the dark room. It had been on for quite some time, unused, but now slender fingers tapped on the keyboard, typing...

Information request: Black Crystal project

Authorisation code required

Authorisation code 903-21A-NMS-D

Authorisation code accepted. Details of Black Crystal project follow:

The Black Crystal project was originally begun shortly before the completion of the robot Hyper Metal Sonic. After the failure of this creation, work on the project was discontinued. The Black Crystal project was revived when Chaos was discovered, and the project approached completion. But when the Chaos project failed, the Black Crystal project was once more abandoned. UPDATE PROJECT STATUS? Y/N

There was a moment of absolute stillness – then a finger flicked out with lightning speed.

Y

Enter additional information

For a long time I have been left alone in the dark. But now... The Black Crystal Project Is Complete.

The fingers flicked to the 'enter' button, saving the update to the file.

Attention flag request: Black Crystal project

Select level of priority: L [Low] M [Medium] H [High]

H

Black Crystal project flagged High priority

The unseen figure deactivated the computer, then left the room into an equally dark corridor. It would not take long for Robotnik to notice the high priority flagging of the Black Crystal project...