Story 165: Crisis on Infinite Mobiuses: The Prelude

Time Rifts.

Nobody knew for certain what they were or what their proper name even was. They had been referred to by many different names. Some called them "tears in the sky", some called them "streaks of light". Some even referred to them as "eyes of the universe" and thought that they were being watched by them and given their nature of sucking people up, some even referred to them as "illuminated jaws" and theorized that they swallowed up what they could and once somebody had been sucked up by them, that was the end of them. Completely gone. Never to be seen again. Whatever people thought they were, nobody knew what they ACTUALLY were. Time rifts were rips in the timeline, a tear in the space time continuum, an anomaly that spelt doom for anybody who saw it. Once they opened up, they sucked up what they could and then just disappeared for the moment. One a time rift opened up, you could bet that this wasn't the last you had seen of it. All over the multi-verse, time rifts had been opening up far and wide and causing havoc on whatever worlds they opened up on. They didn't just open up on Mobius Prime, they were opening up everywhere in the multi-verse, even planets that weren't another version of Mobius. Even Earth and all the alternate versions of Earth were getting time rifts! End of the world theories may grow far and wide and get ridiculous and silly but the time rifts were the coming apocalypse, the Day of Reckoning, the Judgement Day that so many people feared all over the multi-verse and the sinister thing was…nobody knew how to stop it. What was causing the time rifts? Why were they happening? Was it possible to stop them? Nobody knew and time was running out for the multi-verse. The time rifts had been going on for a while now. On some worlds, they had been happening for years, some worlds they only just started happening and on worlds like Mobius Prime, they had been happening for months. They were getting worse and sooner or later…the end of all things would finally commence for everybody in every time zone, dimension, world and universe and nobody would be able to stop this terror from happening…

Mobius Prime was nearing its final curtain call on this very day. A pity really considering that today was waking up to a beautiful sunny morning and the skies were looking as clear and beautiful as ever.

Two individuals were closer to the morning that one might imagine. Closer in the sense that they were sleeping under a tree in the park of New Mobotropolis. These two were the world famous Sonic the Hedgehog and the ruler of New Mobotropolis, Queen Sally Acorn. Sonic and Sally had had their first date last night and to say it was the best night of their lives would have been an understatement. They had enjoyed every minute of the date last night and had been all too happy to admit their love for each other. Love had been an interesting experience for Sonic and he was pleased to have finally found it in Sally. She was definitely more loveable than Amy Rose that much was certain. Their date had been so romantic and wonderful that Sonic and Sally had ended up falling asleep under a tree and had spent the night lying on the grass and in each other's arms. In their sleep though, they felt like they were in their beds at home. Now the sun was rising and the night skies were broken up into light, turning the night into morning. The light began to shine over Sonic, disturbing him from his peaceful slumber. Sonic stretched and yawned as he woke up and he scratched his back. It had become a little itchy from lying against a tree all night. Sonic looked around and he realized that he was not in fact in his own bed at home, he was still in the park he and Sally had had their date in. Sonic chuckled more to himself than anything.

"Wow, we got so romantic that we fell asleep in the park!" he laughed "Ha, ha…funny what love can do to ya isn't it?"

He then looked down at Sally, who was still snoozing peacefully beside him, her arm on his torso and her head resting against his shoulder. Sonic smiled with awe at his girlfriend. How beautiful and cute she looked when she was sleeping. Pity he had to wake her up now since it was that time again. Sonic gently shook Sally.

"Good morning Queenie." he said "It's time to wake up."

Sally mumbled sleepily as Sonic shook her. It seemed she didn't want to wake up right about now but Sonic kept up the shaking. Sally eventually opened her eyes and she gave out a big yawn. She rubbed her eyes, which were full of sleep, and she looked up at Sonic.

"Why good morning handsome." she said "I wasn't expecting to see you so soon."

"Well Sally, I think the fact we fell asleep together under a tree in the park might have something to do with that." snickered Sonic.

Sally had no idea what Sonic was on about but she quickly found out for she took a look at her surroundings and realized that she wasn't in Castle Acorn but in the park she and Sonic had their date at. Sally laughed, almost sounding embarrassed in an amused way at the fact they had fallen asleep here and had spent the whole night under a tree.

"Oh my goodness, we really did overdo it didn't we?" she giggled "Fancy that, we slept here in the park all night! Ha, ha, ha…goodness me this is one amusing turnout."

"Certainly is." chuckled Sonic "Least we were together as we slept. And you know what, I can still remember last night as if it had only just ended five minutes ago."

"Me too. What a wonderful night it was." purred Sally "Made all the better by the fact I spent it with you Sonic the Hedgehog."

And with that, Sally gave Sonic his first kiss of the day to which Sonic gratefully accepted. Sally sure knew how to give a lovely kiss, that was certain. Her lips felt very lovely on his own as they kissed. If Sonic wanted, he could keep this up forever. Their kiss went on for a minute before they broke it up and Sally lifted her head up a little.

"I think we should head back before anyone notices this." she said with an amused smile on her face.

"Yeah, don't want folks getting the wrong idea do we?" chuckled Sonic.

Deciding not to hang about for any longer, Sonic and Sally got up onto their feet and they walked away from the tree, hand in hand of course. As they left the park, they admired the scenery all around them and drank in the beauty of the morning as they observed what was going on. Mornings in New Mobotropolis somehow managed to look beautiful no matter how many times Sonic woke up to them. Maybe it was simply because New Mobotropolis was such a beautiful city of true magnificence and the morning skies complimented its true beauty so flawlessly as they shone over the city. It was a view Sonic was always happy to wake up to and it was a view that made him proud to live in NewMobotropolis. It was a beautiful city even before it became New Mobotropolis and it was still beautiful now. What more could a hedgehog ask for when it came to a place to call home? As Sonic and Sally walked off to the two most important buildings in New Mobotropolis, Castle Acorn and Royal HQ, Sonic looked over at Sally and decided to ask something. The events of last night continued to dance in his mind and he was keen to ask Sally about it.

"So, what did you enjoy the most of our date last night?" asked Sonic.

"Our first kiss of course." purred Sally seductively "When we kissed, I felt like I was reaching for the stars. I will say it's amazing how well you can kiss Sonic, one would think you were a natural at it."

"I've never kissed all that much so I guess it was just pure luck I delivered a good one." said Sonic modestly "For me, I enjoyed our little meal and Amy's little contributions to the date, as well as how maturely she handled the fact I was seeing another girl. I seriously expected her to start baying for your blood when she found out about us." an unsettled expression fell on his face as he said that.

"I was kinda expecting that too." said Sally "So you can imagine I was about ready to do leaps and corkscrews when I found out Amy was actually contributing to our date and not throwing a tantrum over you with me. I will say if she dared to attack me I would have locked her in a cell in the Detention Centre and thrown away the key!"

"Well Amy's cool with us so we won't need to do that." said Sonic "Although one has to wonder if the real Amy's not here and instead got replaced by a clone or something…"

"Stop it Sonic, you know the real Amy's with us." chuckled Sally, playfully shoving Sonic slightly "She's no clone at all."

"Come on Sal, you know that humour is one of my biggest trademarks." laughed Sonic.

"I do know that and your humour is truly what makes you so loveable." said Sally "Even if you can be overly snarky for your own good sometimes."

"Eh, I tease and mock a lot but obviously, I only ever intend to hurt my enemies." said Sonic "Mostly Eggman." he added with a wink that accompanied his cheeky smile.

Sally chuckled at the joke. They say a woman appreciates a man who can make her laugh and Sally was no exception to the rule.

"Oh Sonic, I'm so gonna enjoy our relationship together." said Sally delightedly "Makes me glad that you decided to have a chance at us together."

"I'm glad I tried it too." said Sonic "Although I fear that this might get in the way of my heroism and all. Will I have to ease up on the hero thing if we're to make this work?"

"Not at all Sonic." said Sally, stopping for a minute and standing before Sonic with her hands on his face "Remember, I'm fighting alongside the Royal Fighters now. I will be able to join you in your heroism. Also I don't EVER want you to stop your heroism. That's what I fell for after all. Your heroism makes you who you are Sonic and I would never forgive myself if I made you stop. I will worry for you don't get me wrong but I will NEVER want you to stop what makes you who you are."

"Wow…when you put it that way…that sounds great." said Sonic brightly, putting his hands on Sally's waist "Thanks Sally."

"Just returning the favour Sonic." said Sally brightly "You've done so much for me and my loyal heroic Royal Fighters so it's time I did something for you."

The two had another kiss over that, Sonic doing it as a sign of appreciation more than anything. They kept this one brief though and they carried onto Royal HQ and Castle Acorn without wasting another minute. As they arrived at the two buildings though, they could see that all the Royal Fighters were already gathered outside of Royal HQ and they seemed to be up to something. Intrigued, Sonic and Sally ran up to the Royal Fighters and they could see that the twin-tailed child prodigy himself, Tails the Fox, was showing off some new inventions of his. He had been supplying the Royal Fighters with new weapons, giving Sally wristbands that could emit energy blades and Cosmo the Seedrian and Cream the Rabbit throwing discs with deployable blades*. Now he was giving Wilson the Dog and Mandy Mouse some new weapons. He had been waiting to give them to them but after the hell Mandy had been through with The Exterminators, Tails had decided to let Mandy recover before giving her a new weapon. As you already know, a week had passed since The Exterminators had been defeated and Mandy seemed well rested and recuperated so Tails decided now would be a good time to introduce to Wilson and Mandy his new weapons for them. Sonic and Sally watched with delight as Tails presented a pair of metal knuckle attachments to Mandy. They looked very tough, made of the strongest steel around and that they could pack quite a punch. They fitted around her knuckles perfectly and to Mandy's surprise, they were more comfortable than she fought they would feel. She looked very pleased with them.

"These look super cool Tails!" she cried with joy "Much cooler looking than my ordinary ones that's for sure."

"Glad you like them Mandy." said Tails happily "And here's the exciting part. These knuckle attachments form an invisible force field around your hands that will make your punches stronger than usual. It ONLY activates when you throw a punch so don't worry about it being there if you like want to touch something or shake hands with someone. For the purpose of testing the durable strength of the steel knuckle attachments, I brought this block of titanium for you to punch," he paused for a minute as he lifted up the heavy rectangular block of titanium that was lying beside him "Feel free to punch away Mandy. I can't wait to see how powerful your punches will be with my new invention adding strength to them."

Mandy seemed keen to test her new toys out so she took up a boxing like position and prepared to throw a punch at the block. Mandy drew her arm back and she punched the block as hard as she possibly dared. There was a terrific clang sound as her fist made violent contact with the block and the power enhanced punch ended up denting the block so furiously it looked like a man doubling over in pain after being punched in the gut. Everybody was amazed at the power Mandy now wielded thanks to these new knuckle attachments and Mandy herself seemed bewildered she could even punch that hard now.

"Oh mah stars!" exclaimed the beautiful but powerful Bunnie Rabbot "She can punch as hard as ah can now! And she doesn't even have cybernetics!"

"That invention of Tails's is pretty amazing luv." said Geoffrey St. John, Bunnie's boyfriend "Mandy can now punch things much harder than herself. Boy I'd love to see her throw a punch like that on Dr. Eggman."

"Oh Geoffrey, believe me, Eggman's the FIRST guy I'm gonna punch with these things on!" laughed Mandy, very pleased with her new weapons "If only I had something like this when I fought Brawn the Rat, I would have floored him otherwise. Oh well, there's always other enemies to use these on." she added with an ecstatic smile on her pretty face.

"I have a feeling you just got tougher all of the sudden my love." said Wilson gleefully "So Tails, what new weapon have you got for me?"

"Well Wilson, seeing how potent you are with that spinning blade weapon, I decided to make you this." said Tails, showing Wilson a silver coloured arm gauntlet that had a pole on a rotating pin, suggesting it was obviously meant to spin around. Some hazard symbols were tattooed on the gauntlet and they had every right to be there for this weapon could be very dangerous. "This is a spinning blade gauntlet. It fits onto your arm like so," he paused as he clipped the gauntlet around Wilson's right arm "and this is how it's supposed to work. Clench your fist and the pole will spin and then thrust your arm forward. I advise everybody to stand back though for we wouldn't want Wilson to accidentally chop you all to pieces would we?"

Everybody stepped well-back as Wilson followed Tails' instructions. He clenched his fist, the pole on the gauntlet now spinning around at a terrific speed. Wilson then thrust his arm forwards. The pole ejected from the gauntlet as he did that and twin blades deployed from it. It sliced neatly through the air and Sonic and Sally watched as the twin-bladed pole boomeranged back towards Wilson. Wilson held up his arm with the top of the gauntlet facing outwards and the pole reattached itself to the gauntlet, sheathing its blades upon re-entry of course so as not to accidentally cut him. Wilson was amazed at what had just happened and he wolf-whistled at his new weapon.

"With this I can send a spinning blade in one direction while I fight with my normal one." he said "This is ingenious Tails."

"Thank you." said Tails modestly "And the best thing is, it's programmed to attack any enemy within its radius and it doesn't come back to you until it's hit every single one of them. So while that blade is attacking other enemies, you can use your own spinning blade to fight off some others, very useful for if we're hopelessly outnumbered and all."

"Well Tails, me and Mandy greatly appreciate our new weapons." said Wilson brightly.

"We do indeed kiddo. Thanks." said Mandy gratefully.

"You're welcome." said Tails cheerfully "Nice to see all my new weapons work. Speaking of which, I wonder where Sally is? I'd like for you two to see the weapons I made for her."

"I'm right here honey." said Sally, deciding now was a good time to make her presence known at last.

The Royal Fighters all looked over to see Sonic and Sally standing there and watching them as if they had just decided to stand back and watch the show. They all seemed happy to see the two there at last though and they greeted Sonic and Sally enthusiastically.

"Good morning Sonic and Sally." said Tails "So I guess you liked the new weapons I have Wilson and Mandy?"

"We sure did Tails, they really cool." said Sonic with a thumbs up sign "Wilson and Mandy will do great with them I bet!"

"They will indeed." said Tails with a big grin of pleasure on his face.

"So how are the two lovebirds this morning?" asked Amy Rose sweetly "Did your date go well at all? Did you do anything else after I left?"

"I have a feeling they enjoyed themselves because Sally didn't return home last night." said Nicole the Lynx "Did you and Sonic sleep together at his house or something?"

Sonic and Sally both blushed bright red at those remarks, not expecting the two girls to suddenly start making their love for each other public, especially as they had been hoping to do that themselves. The Royal Fighters all gasped in pleasant surprise at this.

"Sonic and Sally went on a date last night?" gasped Ruben the Water Panther "Aw, how wonderful to hear!"

"I hope Amy doesn't mind this." sniggered Sora Prower.

"Well Mr. Sonic and Miss Sally, that's wonderful to hear!" said a very happy and excited Cream the Rabbit "Did you have a lovely date last night? Did you kiss each other?"

"I bet it was very romantic." said Cosmo the Seedrian dreamily "Just like any moment with me and Tails."

Sonic was so close to dying of embarrassment right now.

"Uh guys, can we not make such a fanfare about this?" said Sonic sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head nervously "You're kinda embarrassing us. Amy, I was hoping that me and Sally would make our love known ourselves when you're done making a big scene about it." he said with a glare of steel at Amy.

"Sorry Sonic." mumbled Amy guiltily, looking very ashamed of herself for doing this.

"Please Sonic, they would have found out soon enough anyway and I'm glad they're so happy for the two of us together." said Sally defensively "Ease up on poor Amy."

"OK then." said Sonic, quickly thinking of something to change the subject "So Sally, Tails made you some new weapons did he?"

"He did indeed." said Sally "I'll show you them next time we go into battle if you please."

"Sounds cool." said Sonic "I wonder what your new weapons are?"

"Let me just say…you'll be impressed." said Sally, tapping Sonic's nose playfully.

Sonic liked the sound of that. His girlfriend had probably just become more awesome with whatever new weapon Tails had made for her. He suddenly ended up having something else to think about though and it was something he wasn't expecting to suddenly be thinking about right now. The Royal Fighters all heard something coming towards them and they looked to the wall around NewMobotropolis where they could see two flying things coming towards them. Sonic put his hand over his eyes to shield them from the sunlight and see if he could make out what it was that was coming towards them. As the thing came closer he could soon make out who it was. It was none other than the future couple themselves, Silver the Hedgehog and Blaze the Cat! Silver was in flight and was carrying Blaze with him (the cat trying to ignore the height of course). Sonic's face lit up like a flashlight with excitement.

"Bless my sneakers! It's Silver and Blaze!" cried Sonic excitedly "I wonder what they're here for? I bet it's good news."

"I wonder if they're here to tell us how wonderful the future is now." said Sally "They did think the Martian invasion had doomed Mobius and now we prevented it, their future must have changed now."

Sonic nodded agreeably. He did have to wonder why Silver and Blaze were flying through the air though. Didn't Silver usually have a warp ring to use when he wanted to time travel? Silver and Blaze flew over the ring wall and they spotted Castle Acorn standing proudly on the hill that rose it above the city. Silver headed down to the ground and he put Blaze down before the Royal Fighters before joining her on the ground beside her. His body stopped glowing and his psychokinesis switched off for the moment. They were met with a wondrous greeting almost immediately. That alone made the two feel better after all they had just been through a moment ago. Sonic came forward and he knuckle-punched Silver in greeting.

"Silver my futuristic do-gooder! So good to see you again!" exclaimed Sonic delightedly.

"It's great to see you too Sonic." said Silver with pleasure "Me and Blaze are very happy to see you all again."

"How have things been going with you all?" asked Blaze inquisitively "Have things clamed down since the Martians?"

"We've had some rough moments and a new enemy pop up from time to time but we're OK." said Sally, shaking Blaze's hand "Just recently Sonic saved Mandy from a crazy bunch of mice-hating rats and I helped to protect New Mobotropolis from an Ice Witch named Blizzard."

"Funny you should mention that scum in witch's clothing." muttered Blaze bitterly "Me and Silver ran into her after we were brought here by a time rift and she tried to use me for her spell!** We escaped her with our lives though don't worry, she won't be bothering anybody for the moment."

"I like the sound of that." said Amy in a very cold, almost sadistically gleeful tone of voice, suggesting that the very thought of Blizzard suffering badly made her happy "I bet you burnt her to a crisp didn't you Blaze?"

"Oh I let her have more than just a flicker of flames that's for sure." said Blaze with a slight scowl on her face as if the very thought of Blizzard made her cringe "But that's not important right now. We have come to warn you of something terrible that we've just encountered."

"Wait a minute, before you tell us, how's your timeline?" asked Sonic "Is Mobius OK in the future now the Martians have been stopped?"

"Far from it I'm afraid." said Silver, his face grave and sullen as if he'd just found out somebody was dying of a tumour in their brain "The Martians were NOT the cause of Mobius's end at all, nothing changed for me and Blaze at all. The only thing that changed was Count Drago not being in the invasion when they invaded Mobius. That's it. The future is still a wreck and Mobius is still on life support."

Sonic's mouth ran dry at the sound of that.

"Oh no…" he gasped "Stopping the Martians didn't work?! Well at least that tells us we would have won anyway even if you two hadn't stuck your noses in but if it wasn't the Martians then who DID doom Mobius in the future?"

"We're still trying to work that out." sighed Silver sadly "But we've found no more clues since then. We're still at square one. But that's not important now, what's important is that me and Blaze were brought to Mobius by a time rift and we felt it best to warn you of it since a time rift spells doom for anybody."

"What's a time rift?" asked Tails cautiously.

"Rips in the timeline, a strange anomaly that appears from time to time and disrupts the space time continuum." explained Silver "The cause of them is unknown but what time travellers like me DO know is that they're deadly and can spell the end of the world for anybody who sees one. They look like multi-coloured streaks of light and they suck up anything in their path."

The Royal Fighters all let out a chorus of horrified shrieks that let Silver and Blaze know that this truly shocked them and yet their shrieks were shrieks in the sense of they knew what they were on about, suggesting this wasn't the first time this had happened.

"So that's what the weird streak of light in the sky is all about!" declared Sonic "They're time rift thingies and they spell doom for us all?!"

"They do indeed." said Blaze grimly "You seem awfully familiar with them though, has one already happened here?"

"More than one!" blustered Sally in terror "One appeared during the Devatron invasion and snatched Scourge and Fiona away according to what Sonic told me they had told him! And one appeared and took Sonic to Mobius Nega and then another one appeared in Chun-Nan and took away some evil reptiles and spiders and then another one took the Megapolis Royal Fighters Dark Cat the Leo-Lynx and Kiara the Cheetah away! This has been a regular occurrence now so what does that mean?!"

Silver and Blaze looked very disturbed to hear this and it pained Silver to bring them the horrible truth.

"It means the end of the world is coming." said Silver "And there's nothing we can do to stop it…"

Sonic was so horrified to hear this that he nearly passed out in shock…

Over on Angel Island, Knuckles the Echidna and his gorgeous girlfriend and co-guardian Shade the Echidna were having a relaxing morning to themselves. They were sitting side by side by the emerald shrine and they had their arms around each other and their heads resting against one another's. Shade must be in a casual mood today for instead of her Nocturnus outfit, she was dressed in a pink vest top and a pair of tight fitting skinny jeans that complimented her figure wonderfully and she wore some beige coloured shoes with grey soles on her feet. She still had her trademark hair band on. That seemed to be the one item she could never be without. Shade had grown tired of wearing her Nocturnus outfit all the time so she had decided to dress in casual clothes for a change. Tails had made her a little device that allowed her to put on her suit whenever it was mission time so Shade would be able to make a quick change should she need to. Shade quite liked her casual wear though and was all too happy to be wearing those clothes as she relaxed with her handsome boyfriend. Knuckles and Shade were both enjoying the peace and quiet as well as each other's company. This is where being a Master Emerald guardian has its perks, you're at peace with the world and it can be quite wonderful to just sit there and enjoy the view. The echidnas hadn't had any trouble since the Royal Fighter's last encounter with Dr. Finitevus and Finitevus hadn't shown up again so it seemed they could kick back for the time being. The Royal Fighters hadn't needed them for anything recently either so that added to their time of relaxation. They knew it couldn't last but they didn't care for the moment. They cared about one thing: enjoying the peace while they can. Three weeks had gone without a hitch for Knuckles and Shade so they'd had plenty of time to make the most of it and they hoped it'd continue for a while longer. Shade nuzzled her head against Knuckles's shoulder and smiled a content smile at her handsome echidna.

"Oh Knuckles, it's so beautiful on a slow day like this. I wish it could always last…" she whispered softly.

"I wish it could too babe." said Knuckles, putting his arm around Shade's waist and pulling her a tad closer to him "As is, nothing lasts forever so we make the most of what we have when we have it. When it comes to being a guardian, this is my favourite part of the job. Peace and quiet are golden to me when guardian the emerald and I always like to think my reward for guardian such a valuable emerald is the beautiful scenery all around us."

"That's a good way to put it handsome for if we didn't protect the Master Emerald, Angel Island would be down on the ground and vulnerable to attack." said Shade "If only my stupid father and your wicked uncle could see that…"

"Ix and Finitevus can think what delusional thing they ever want to." scoffed Knuckles "Shows we know better than them. But Ix is gone and Finitevus isn't interested in AngelIsland anymore so we don't need to worry about them."

"I agree." said Shade "And speaking of Ix…I still continue to be grateful to you for helping me escape his wrath." she said warmly "If it wasn't for you, I'd still be suffering his ruthless treatment and living a horrible life as his mindless servant. You truly saved me that day."

"Aw think nothing of it Shade." said Knuckles, putting a hand on her shoulder and looking her in the eyes "Anyone being oppressed deserves to be freed from their oppressors I say. And besides, I couldn't let a girl as gorgeous as you continue to be treated badly could I?"

Shade smiled with appreciation to hear Knuckles say that. It was no wonder she fell in love with him over time. He was such a wonderful boy to her that Shade could hardly help but love him.

"I'm grateful for your compliment." said Shade "And you know Knuckles, you are the one thing in the world that's more precious to me than guarding the Master Emerald."

"You took the words out of my mouth hon…I could say the same to you." said Knuckles, rubbing his nose against Shade's playfully.

The little nose rub quickly became a loving kiss though. When you're in love, somehow any moment can turn into a kiss, not that Knuckles or Shade minded. They kept the kiss up for a moment before breaking up and looking back into each other's eyes.

"I bet my dad would be thrilled to see us together like this…if he was still alive that is." said Knuckles.

"Locke would have been very proud Knuckles." Shade assured him as she tenderly ran her fingers down his dreadlocks, something that Knuckles could never get enough from due to how nice it felt "I know he would. Especially considering how well we guard the Master Emerald together."

"Oh yes indeed." said Knuckles, smiling over the very thought of Locke being happy to see his son partnered up with Shade.

Knuckles put his arms around Shade's waist and Shade wrapped her arms around Knuckles's shoulders. In their eyes, they just couldn't get enough of making love to each other. Their eyes closed and they leaned forward for another kiss but just as their lips were about to lock, a terrible sound echoed through the sky and the echidnas were up on their feet in one second. Knuckles raised his fists and Shade took up a battle ready stance.

"What was that?" asked Knuckles.

"Whatever it was, it picked the wrong day to mess with the guardians!" growled Shade.

They didn't have to spend too much time working out what it was though for the answer him the sooner then they could imagine. Straight above them appeared another time rift! It opened up in the sky like a pair of lips that had remained closed for years and had finally decided to open up but the eerie thing about the time rift was it wasn't like any normal time rift they had encountered before. This time rift was beyond enormous! It was the width of five football pitches and it yawned wide open above AngelIsland. Knuckles and Shade stared incredulously at this enormous streak of light that shone thousands of different colours simultaneously. They had not seen one this big before and they knew it meant something terrible indeed.

"A streak of light!" cried Knuckles in disbelief "And it's bigger than the ones that have appeared before!"

"We have to get away from here now!" shrieked Shade "There's not telling what…"

She was cut off mid-sentence as the time rift began its terrifying vacuum phase. As it loomed above Angel Island, it began to suck up whatever it possibly could. The Master Emerald's power managed to keep Angel Island where it was but unfortunately the same couldn't be said for Knuckles and Shade. They felt themselves being tugged towards the time rift as if somebody had aimed a giant vacuum cleaner at them in hopes of sucking them up like specks of dust. Knuckles and Shade both clung onto the emerald shrine as hard as they could but their efforts were fruitless. They had no chance of avoiding being sucked up by a time rift this big, especially as the pull was beyond anything they'd felt before, even stronger than when Dr. Eggman made his entire city fly and used it to steal the Master Emerald. Knuckles and Shade were whisked away from the shrine and dragged screaming into the terrifying anomaly that apparently spelt the end of the world for Mobius. As they vanished into the shining streak of light in the sky, the time rift remained open for a minute more, not sucking up anything important, and then it closed up, disappearing entirely from view. But it wasn't long until it would show up again, this time much bigger and much, MUCH worse than before…

Back over at New Mobotropolis, Sonic still seemed to be having a tough time accepting Mobius was doomed. All his hard work saving the world from crazy Dr. Eggman schemes, alien invasions and big monsters like Perfect Chaos and yet the world's coming to an end?! It couldn't be! His hard work couldn't just go to waste like this, it just couldn't!

"No…no! Mobius can't end, it just can't!" exclaimed Sonic "There MUST be a way to stop these time rifts or whatever they are!"

He grabbed Silver by his chest fur and began shaking him as if hoping to make his head fall off.

"You're an expert on these things, you must know how to prevent them from dooming us all!" he shrieked.

"I'm sorry Sonic but I don't know how to stop the time rifts." said Silver sadly "I don't even know WHAT is causing them so how can we stop something if we don't know the cause?"

"Then we'll FIND out the cause!" declared Sonic, letting go of Silver "We must go out searching for the cause of these things before zero hour comes for us!"

"That'll be futile Sonic, we have NO idea where to start and we can't possibly know where to start looking for such a cause." muttered Blaze disapprovingly "This is a problem that we will never be able to sort out. I'm sorry Sonic but it's over, for all of us. There's nothing we can do."

"To heck with that!" snapped Sonic "I've been working too long and too hard to save the world from evil in all shapes and sizes, I refuse to just sit back and accept this is Mobius's fate, to be ripped apart by these time rifts! I'm gonna find out how to stop it and if I have to do it alone then so be it!"

"Sonic please, you can't do this!" begged Sally "We don't know how to stop these things or even where to find the cause of them, however do you expect to just suddenly stop the time rifts?"

"I'll think of something." said Sonic "You know, I wonder if the Chaos Emeralds could help us…"

"Sadly, I doubt even Chaos Emeralds will be of much use in this situation." said Silver with a shake of his head "Not sure what we'd even be able to do with them that could stop the time rifts. A Chaos Control won't solve anything just like that, they'll still happen. While I don't think the time rifts doomed Mobius and ruined the future, it doesn't really matter now since they're hitting worlds and timelines of all kinds. Mobius is doomed anyway and me and Blaze will never save the future now…"

He stared down at his feet as he began to picture the planet being torn apart and just disappearing from existence altogether. What a way to go that would be. Sonic looked like he had just been given a bomb for his birthday.

"I can't believe this, we've been through a lot of hard times all of us and now a silly streak of light that spells doom for us all has you thinking it's over?!" exclaimed Sonic "What happened to you all?!"

"Sonic, in our previous bouts we got to know the enemy and we eventually learned to counter them." noted Sally "The time rifts are beyond what we can comprehend and we don't know what's causing them. We know nothing about them except the fact they're dangerous, that's it. This is something beyond anything we've ever fought! We can't possibly stop the time rifts!"

Sonic just glared at Sally as if he was ashamed his own girlfriend had just said that to him. Mandy had once said that the royals were always the first to give up and now Sally was reinforcing that statement by clearly giving up.

"Well then, guess I'm the only one who actually cares about trying to save this damn planet." he muttered coldly, storming off in a huff past Sally and blatantly bumping her aside.

Sally didn't fall over luckily but she was a little hurt that Sonic had done that so blatantly. She watched helplessly as Sonic stalked off in a temper and just left all his friends behind to just wonder what to do. Sally wanted to go after Sonic and stop him.

"Sonic! Please wait!" Sally cried out feebly.

"Let him go." said Nicole, holding Sally back hastily "If Sonic wants to try and stop what we can't stop then let him. Mobius maybe doomed but let's let Sonic keep hold of whatever hope he has OK?"

"OK." said Sally dejectedly "Although I think Sonic has the right idea. We shouldn't just sit around and wait for Mobius to disappear, we should try and stop those time rifts! I'm not going to let my planet die after all we've done to save it from disaster, I say we should try and prevent the coming apocalypse! I know it's futile but then again, we've managed to come out on top of situations that seemed futile before so I don't see why know should be any different. Royal Fighters, are you with me?" she asked hopefully.

The Royal Fighters looked at each other and they all knew what the answer to that question was.

"YES!" they all screamed in unison.

"Excellent! Are you with us too?" Sally asked Silver and Blaze.

"Well…I guess we could try." said Silver "After all, if we just let Mobius end then me and Blaze will never find out what's doomed our future for there won't be a future anymore, not even one that's clinging onto its last ledge of life!"

"I may think this is hopeless…but it's worth a shot." said Blaze "I'm definitely in too."

"Very good." said Sally brightly.

"Very good." said Sally brightly "Now let's catch up to Sonic and let him know we're in too."

With that said, the Royal Fighters all ran off after Sonic, hoping to catch up with him and let him know that they were willing to try and stop the time rifts. But they suddenly found out that Sonic hadn't left the city and that he was standing dead in his tracks, staring directly ahead of himself. He looked stunned as if something had just come out of the ground unexpectedly. The Royal Fighters stopped behind Sonic and they stared in astonishment at what they were met with. Standing directly before Sonic and getting ready to cause mayhem were Drs. Eggman and Finitevus! They had decided to spring an unexpected surprise attack on them and now they were here in Sonic's home territory and ready for a fight. Eggman hadn't been seen since the fiasco with Enerjak*** and Dr. Finitevus hadn't been seen since his failed attempt to drain Sonic, Shadow and Knuckles dry of their energy and yet they both were here right now. It seemed they had been fed up of not doing anything and thus, were now doing something. Finitevus flashed a dark smile that reeked of the devil at the heroes before them.

"Hello Royal Fighters. How lovely of you all to be around as we take this city apart." purred Finitevus menacingly "Don't worry though…I won't break any of your bones if I can help it."

"I on the other hand won't hesitate to do so!" cackled Dr. Eggman, his voice booming from inside the Omega armour that was literally keeping him alive after his near death experience with the crash of the Egg Carrier "I'll tear each of you apart if I have to!"

"Eggman, Finitevus, now is NOT a good time!" cried Sonic "We've got a world to save and we can do without you two getting in our way if that's OK!"

"You're not going anywhere without challenging us!" declared Dr. Eggman, pointing a metallic claw at Sonic "Fight us or die with your city, simple as that!"

"I say we just finish them off whether they want to fight or not." muttered Dr. Finitevus "The result will be the same anyway."

"Look you two, we don't have time for this!" yelled Sonic desperately "Back off now or you'll regret it!"

"Hey Sonic, who are those two?" asked Silver curiously "I don't believe I've read anything about them."

"The weirdo in the cape is Dr. Finitevus, Knuckles's brain-dead crazy uncle." explained Sonic "And the hulking robot there is a life-support machine for Dr. Eggman. He literally rests inside that machine."

"You mean Dr. Eggman's in that robot?!" exclaimed Blaze "What happened to him?!"

"Long story." said Sonic "Right now, we've gotta stop those time rifts remember?"

"Time rifts? What time rifts?" asked a very puzzled Dr. Finitevus, his eyebrow raised in interest.

"I'll explain." said Silver, stepping forward to address the two doctors "Eggman, you know who me and Blaze are so I needn't introduce us to you. Finitevus on the other hand will need the exposition. I am Silver the Hedgehog and this is Blaze the Cat." he said as he introduced himself and Blaze "We come from the future and we were brought here by a time rift. We've warned Sonic about it and now we're trying to stop it before it dooms the whole world."

Eggman's life support machine jerked back as if it was about to malfunction out of the blue. Finitevus however seemed eerily fascinated by this.

"Wh-wh-what d-do you mean?" asked Eggman nervously "What's a time rift?"

"It's a multi-coloured steak of light that appears in the sky and sucks up what it can." explained Blaze "One brought us here and Sonic tells us that Mobius has been receiving time rifts on a regular basis. We fear the end of the world is coming and we hope to stop the time rifts. If you two villains want to live then I suggest you cease your evil ambitions and help us put an end to this ticking doomsday clock." she said sternly, pointing sharply at the two evil doctors.

"Count me in!" Dr. Eggman said almost immediately "I'm not letting Mobius die! I can't conquer it otherwise!"

"I suppose we could team up for now." sighed Dr. Finitevus "After all, I will never get the satisfaction of destroying you all if something that's not my doing does it for us."

Blaze smiled at this.

"Good, now we're allies for the moment and if you think of back-stabbing us then so help me I'll barbecue you both!" she snarled threateningly.

"Please my jumpy little fire cat, why would I want to backstab you all when it's a matter of life and death here?" snorted Dr. Eggman "The truce will stay up UNTIL this problem is sorted. Once that's done, we're enemies again."

"Whatever, we know the status quo by now fat-head." sighed Sonic "So can we get going now?!"

"Maybe you two could give us an idea on where to start." suggested Tails "You're both scientists, analyze the whole thing and see if you can work out how we could stop the time rifts."

Eggman and Finitevus both looked at Tails as if he was crazy and then they looked at each other. They racked their brains for the moment and began to think.

"Hmm…how to stop a rift in the timeline…" mused Finitevus "This is an interesting problem to solve…"

"Being as I've seen one in action," mused Dr. Eggman, thinking back to the day Sonic was taken by one "I might have a better idea on this than you Finitevus. Now then, let's see…"

Their little science problem was brought to an abrupt halt by a horrible sound that made the earth shudder and everybody fall over in alarm. Sonic and his friends all stared up at the sky after the rumbling had ceased and they got the shock of their lives. An enormous time rift suddenly ripped open in the sky above New Mobotropolis but this time rift was unlike anything they had seen before. This time rift was so big that it literally covered the entire sky over NewMobotropolis, leaving no patch of blue or a single cloud in the space it occupied! The time rifts had been getting worse and yet even know, it could easily get worse than this! For Sonic and friends, this was the worst one yet! Dr. Finitevus couldn't believe his eyes as he stared at the illuminated streak of multi-coloured lights in the sky, shining ominously above them with the colours dancing around like the Northern Lights on Earth.

"This…cannot be!" he gasped "It's unlike anything…I've ever seen before!"

"It's a time rift!" screamed Sonic in terror "We've gotta juice and fast before we're all sucked into it!"

"Everybody run!" exclaimed Sally frantically "If it's this big then it's bound to suck us up any minute now! Run, run, RUN!"

Running would do no good for anybody now. The time rift had already begun its sinister act of sucking up anything within its radius. The time rift began tugging on everybody with a force that felt like thousands of invisible hands wrapping around their bodies and pulling them towards the yawning mouth of the horrifying light staring down above them. The Royal Fighters threw themselves down onto the ground and clung onto it as hard as they possibly could. They were desperate to avoid being sucked up the light. Last thing they could do with was being whisked off to another world while they tried to stop this impending crisis. Many citizens of New Mobotropolis weren't so lucky though. They were immediately whisked up and those close to their homes clung onto them for dear life only to lose the struggle and be sucked up too. Some citizens had been lucky enough to get into their homes and hide there but soon not even houses would do them any good the next time a time rift appeared. Two of those citizens were Scourge the Hedgehog and Fiona Fox. They had been allowed out of their cells for some fresh air for a minute only to get sucked up into the time rift. This wouldn't be like when they ended up on Mobius Nega though and scourge and Fiona cried out as they were sucked up into the rift. Dr. Finitevus opened up a warp ring and tried to jump through it but not even somebody as strong as he could get away from the time rift. He ended up clinging onto the warp ring as if his life depended on it and he tried to pull himself into the warp ring. As is though, his strength wasn't enough and he ended up losing the struggle. Finitevus gave in to his strained muscles and he was pulled up into the time rift like a speck of dust being sucked into a vacuum cleaner. His screams were silenced the moment he disappeared into the streak of light. Dr. Eggman kicked his life-support machine's rockets into gear and tried as hard as he could to fly out of range. The rockets roared with effort as they strained to get him away from this powerful force of an anomaly that tried to swallow him up. His suit was strong but unfortunately, not strong enough. Eggman ended up being dragged into the time rift, screaming at the top of his lungs from inside his life-support machine as he disappeared into the time rift. Sonic began wishing now two of his deadliest enemies had been sucked up the time rift would just close up now and not bother with the heroes but much to his displeasure, the time rift still persisted. It was almost like it was deliberately trying to suck them all up. Sonic was determined to win this fight though, he wasn't letting the time rift suck him up again as it did the first time. His hands throbbed as he held on tight to the ground and his face went red with effort. The other Royal Fighters were holding on tightly too but they began to find themselves faltering in this tough struggle to avoid being sucked up. Cream and Cosmo were the first to give up. Their grips on the ground released and they were sucked straight up into the time rift. Following them shortly afterwards were Tails, Sora and Ruben, then Amy, then Geoffrey and Bunnie, then Wilson and Mandy, then Vector, Charmy and Espio and then Nicole. Even Silver and Blaze ended up giving up and getting sucked up into the time rift. Sonic and Sally were the only ones left but they wouldn't be around for much longer. Before the time rift pulled them in, Sonic looked over at Sally. The queen was clearly getting ready to let go now for her strength was failing fast.

"Sally!" Sonic called to her "No matter what happens now, we will stop the time rifts! This will not be the end of Mobius!"

"I hope it won't!" Sally cried, her voice straining along with her body as she held on for one more minute "And if it is the end…at least we'll have tried to prevent it!"

Sonic nodded and he closed his eyes, accepting that he was going to get sucked up no matter what he did. His strength gave way and he and Sally ended up being dragged into the streak of light that ominously waited for them to join the others in its depths. Sonic and Sally glanced at each other one last time as they disappeared into the pool of light that awaited them. Sonic reached out helplessly as Sally disappeared into the light and then he felt himself going limp all over as the overwhelming cascade of lights whooshed past him in a dizzying display that would give a weak-willed person a seizure. Sonic's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out, spiralling around as the time rift closed up being him, trapping him in a pool of glowing lights that would eject him onto some other world in some other universe. Another universe that was also doomed from this supernatural scare…


* See Sonic the Hedgehog: Tales from Mobius Arc 21: A Bitter Snowstorm

** It all happened in Sonic the Hedgehog: Tales from Mobius Arc 22: Impending Crisis, the very prologue to this saga

***See The Terror of Enerjak


Will Sonic and friends save the day again or is this...truly...the...END?! 0_0 Find out next time for Crisis on Infinite Mobiuses continues in Part 1 with Hedgehogs on New Worlds...