I do not own Sonic or any of the other characters present. All rights go to Sega and Archie comics.
Espio ran through the forest as fast as he could. He had been able to get a head start on Nicole's pursuers but he didn't want to take the chance that a few of the more...enthusiastic of their pursuers wouldn't find out what had happened and decide to follow them. Looking down at the small hand held device strapped on his side he couldn't help but sigh.
They had both been having a difficult time after the Iron Dominion had been defeated. Espio had to start the difficult process of gaining his friends trust again. His betrayal had hurt their relationship and it was still going to take him a little time to fix it.
Nicole had been having a worse time than Espio though. Her friends were still able to accept her but she began to be persecuted by almost the entire population of New Mobotropolis. Because she was running the city her apparent betrayal had been the most dangerous of the them. Her control of the nanites that made up the city allowed the Iron Queen complete control just by conquering one A.I program.
Thankfully Sally and Sonic had been able to rescue Nicole from her enslavement and she and Sally decided that for the time she would pretend to still be under the Iron Queen's control. With her help, they had been able to defeat the Queen and peace returned to New Mobotropolis. So they had hoped.
Mina Mongoose had decided to voice her complaints about Nicole through her songs, hoping to show the people, specifically the Freedom Fighters, that having one program in charge of the city could be a problem. This had results that she hadn't expected, it started a fear and hatred of Nicole that began to worm its way into the people hearts, having them begin to want Nicole taken offline.
Eggman had decided to attack during this time, with his new weapon, the Death Egg Mark 2. Sonic and the other Freedom Fighters had to fight very hard but they were able to send the madman packing, at a price though. Sally Acorn, Nicole's best friend, had been severely injured and was now hospitalized.
Without the beloved princess to help keep the emotions of the people even they had begun to voice their protestations of Nicole more and more. Even the council seemed to be against her as they had decided to confine her to Freedom HQ. However, it seemed that some of the villagers weren't pleased with just this.
Espio had been in the city to shop for some supplies for him and the other Chaotix. As he was paying for a new radio for Vector, he saw a group of villagers sneaking, or at least trying to, behind one of the houses nearby. Years of adventures with his friends had helped him learn a few things. One of those was that there is a certain feeling you get in your stomach when something bad is going to happen. Espio was getting that feeling in spades at the moment.
Thanking Sir Charles he walked around the corner until he was out of sight, then went invisible and ran towards where he had seen the group disappear. When he got close he slowed down and he simply walked around the edge of the house. Behind the house there was a small group of citizens in a quiet but heated debate.
"I say we do it now! They can't stop all of us, nor can they harm us as they have sworn to protect us!"
This was greeted with a few nods and whispers of assent to this idea. Another one of them stood up and began to speak.
"Very well, we have all heard your idea, now, may I have my say?"
Looking around him, there appeared to be no problem at his continuing.
"Thank you. We all know how protective the Freedom Fighters can be about Nicole. Despite our differences on this matter they are still the only ones that have been able to time and again defend us. If we were to storm in and destroy Nicole right in front of them, they may decide to quit doing this, and none of us would want that. So I say that we wait until later tonight, then strike. This way, it may appear that it was done by one of their many enemies, and we can still keep our protectors."
Espio, while disgusted with the whole idea, had to admit that this was solid planning. However now was not the time to admire their plan. He had to go and warn his friends and to see what needed to be done.
It had taken him a little bit of time to gather what Freedom Fighters were available. Sonic and Amy had been easy to round up, Sonic had barely left the hospital and Amy was staying close by in case he needed some comfort. Rotor had been wandering around town, the confinement of Nicole had hit him pretty hard. Tails had been busy fixing up the Tornado after it had taken a pretty big beating during the fight with the Death Egg. Unfortunately Antoine and Bunnie were busy with King Elias and time was running short so this was all of the group that Espio could gather inside Freedom HQ.
When Espio had told them about what he had overheard there was mixed reactions. Tails had gotten a little angry but managed to control himself. Nicole had crumpled to the floor and was sobbing. Tails walked over to Nicole and put his arms around her trying to console her. Sonic had seemed to lose more of his old cocky nature and seemed to slump lower. Amy put her arms around him to support him but it was obvious that she was also hurting. Rotor was the most expressive about his feelings.
"What do they think they are doing! Do they think that we would stand by silently and just let this happen! Well they have another thing coming. I'm going to beat them so bad..."
"I don't believe that would be a good idea."
Looking at Espio with consternation, Rotor looked almost ready to snap him in half. Espio merely glared right back at him. After a few seconds of glaring at each other, Rotor seemed to slowly calm down.
"Well, what would you suggest?"
Espio had to think for a few seconds. He did have a plan but he didn't know how they would take it.
"I suggest...that I take Nicole to a safe haven, outside of the city, until we can get the people to calm down and see reason."
Everyone looked at each other and silently agreed to the plan. Rotor sighed and walked off to download Nicole to her small carry computer. Tails, Sonic, and Amy started to say their goodbyes to Nicole. Espio merely kept lookout of the window, making sure that nobody from the group got a bit itchy and decided to rush in.
"I'm sorry things have turned out this way Nicole," Tails began to say, "but I'm sure that we can get them to see sense."
"Yeah! Don't you worry about it," Amy said, trying to raise their spirits, "We can still visit and tell you about what is happening here."
"I'll come as often as I can and give you info on Sally's condition." Both Nicole and Sonic had been torn up about her injury's and any chance to learn about how she would be doing would make Nicole's forced leave a little more bearable.
Nicole thanked everyone but she didn't seem to be able to show any kind of feelings. Because of what had happened she was now being forced to leave her city, her friends, and Sally when she needed her.
Suddenly Rotor yelled out that everything was done and that Nicole only needed to drop the hologram to finish the process. Sighing, Nicole slowly let her semi-physical form slip away as she went back into her small computer. Before she completely disappeared she looked at everyone and gave a small smile.
"Thank you. For everything."
With that, the process was completed, and Espio could carry her to the safe haven. Rotor stepped out of the computer room and walked over to Espio. As he handed over Nicole he looked right at Espio.
"Take care of her, and come back as soon as you can to tell us where she is."
Espio nodded as he placed Nicole into a small leather pouch he had strapped on.
"I will. I'm sorry about all of this. She will be safe, I promise you that."
He shook hands with everyone, saying their goodbyes and with that he walked out the door. As he ran into the forest he could see a group of the villagers walking towards Freedom HQ. He had been able to get her out in time, thank Aurora. Now to get her to safety.
Where is Espio taking Nicole? Will she even be able to return to her home and friends? We shall have to wait and see.
Okay, so some of you may be wondering what the heck is going on. If you read the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Comics, then you would know that Sally actually was roboticized and that Ixis Naugus had taken over as king and that Elias had been kicked out. I wanted to be able to return Sally to normal but after a few hours of research on Mobius Wiki about roboticization, how to escape it, who invented how to escape it etc. I realized something. I couldn't get her out without bringing in aliens. Specifically the Bem and I would prefer to not have to go through that whole problem.
I also decided to not have the whole Ixis Naugus taking over the city for a few reasons. 1. I would have to kick him out and that would just be a pain in the butt. 2. I would have to deal with Geoffery St. John and all of his issues. 3. I am tired of Ian's writing. Some of you may not agree with me but he just won't give the characters a break from problems. They go from one fight to the next to the next on and on, it's just really tedious to read. So I decided I had no qualms changing up some of what he wrote. You may not agree with me and I respect your opinions. Please don't flame me for not agreeing with yours. 4. Final reason. This way makes it just a smidge easier for people who haven't read the comics to get into the story. Less for them to learn and thereby easier to just jump in.
Phew...Sorry for the rant, just needed to explain a few things. Thank you for reading and please review. Until later,