Amy Rose’s hands shake around the handle of her hammer, her chest heaving and calves burning. She can’t quite catch her breath, can’t quite get her bearings.
Pandemonium reigns around her. The building to her left is on fire. The building to her right has collapsed. People run back and forth between them, frantically shouting to each other above the sound of toppling buildings and ground-shaking explosions. Amy would stop and help them if she could, but she’s a little preoccupied.
She’s never seen this many of Eggman’s robots in one place.
At the back of her mind, she knows that something is wrong. Something is different this time, different from all the other times Eggman has launched some scheme or other. She can’t quite put her finger on it, focused as she is on smashing every robot in sight. But something is different. Something isn’t right.
A scream behind her, and she spins around to see an Egg Pawn looming over a rabbit - a teenager - who’s huddled on the ground. Amy charges forward without hesitation and nails the robot with a well-placed blow to the chest. It sails off, head over chassis, and she turns to help the terrified rabbit.
“Are you okay?” she asks him, offering a hand. He nods and takes it.
“Thanks,” he says as she pulls him to his feet. “I thought I was done for!”
“No problem,” Amy says, and gives him her most reassuring smile. “I’m happy to help! You should really get out of here, though. Find somewhere safe to hide.”
The rabbit needs no further encouragement, and he turns and runs with one final “Thank you!” thrown back over his shoulder.
Amy turns back to the fray, feeling a little more even-keeled. Helping people always makes her feel better. Still, she’s kind of surprised that there are still so many civilians in this area. Normally, Sonic would have already run through and gotten everyone out of the way.
And as she slams her hammer into another Egg Pawn, Amy realizes something that makes her feel like she’s the one who just got hit.
Sonic’s not here.
She hasn’t seen him anywhere. Hasn’t heard him, hasn’t heard anyone mention him, there’d been none of the telltale skidmarks or piles of robot destruction that usually herald his presence - Sonic isn’t here.
Maybe he’s busy somewhere else, she tells herself. This might not be the only place that Eggman’s attacking. Or maybe he’s off confronting Eggman himself! If that’s the case, they’ll be just fine. Sonic will beat Eggman and the robots will leave. Just like always.
As if on cue, she spots something flash past out of the corner of her eyes - a blur of blue. Oh, good! With a sigh of relief, Amy takes out another robot. She should have known better than to doubt Sonic. She should have known that he’d never turn down a chance to-
Once again, Amy wheels around with her hammer at the ready, prepared to take out whichever of Eggman’s robots is threatening an innocent bystander. But this time, it’s not an Egg Pawn.
This time, the victims are cornered, pressed up against the crumbled brick wall of a fallen building. And looming over them with arms raised, claws glinting in the sunlight, is no ordinary badnik.
Amy’s hammer shakes as she raises it. Crabmeats are easy pickings. Motobugs are simple to squash. Egg Pawns? Great target practice. But this? This is a real threat, on a whole other level.
Because she’d been mistaken. The blue blur zipping past hadn’t been Sonic. No.
It’s Metal Sonic.
The two helpless civilians he’s trapped against the wall let out another cry of terror as he leans in closer, red eyes glowing, poised to strike.
Amy slams into his side with every ounce of force she can muster and knocks him away from the wall. “Pick on someone your own size!” she snaps, brandishing her hammer. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees the two victims scramble away to safety. Good.
Metal Sonic looks at her with those creepy, glowing optics of his, and then he lunges. Amy meets his lunge with the face of her hammer and a satisfying piko! It’s not enough to beat him, no. This is Eggman’s best robot she’s dealing with, one built to go toe-to-toe with Sonic. She can’t just turn him to scrap with one hit like she can with most of the others.
But she’s at least managed to knock him back a few feet. That’s good.
At least, it’s good until she hears the whine of an engine powering up, and she has just enough time to think ‘ Uh-oh’ before Metal Sonic slams into her at top speed.
The city flashes past them so quickly that Amy can’t tell up from down. She struggles with her hammer, trying to get a good swing in before Metal can slam her against a wall or throw her to the ground, but she doesn’t have enough leverage. She kicks instead, trying to catch an arm or a leg or hit his torso hard enough to make him let go. Her first few attempts don’t work, but as they burst out into an open square and Metal starts to fly higher, she manages to land a hit solid enough to push herself free.
The fall to the ground is short and quick, and the impact knocks the wind out of her lungs and the hammer from her hands. Thankfully, that seems to be the worst of it. She’s a little rattled when she sits up, but otherwise uninjured.
Metal Sonic lands a few feet in front of her, and Amy gulps, scrambling up to her feet. Hammer, hammer, where’s her - ACK!
She dives out of the way as Metal lunges forward, his claws slicing through the air where her head had been a moment before. He lunges again, just missing the hem of her dress as she darts out of reach.
It’s only when she’s forced to duck a blow aimed at her head that Amy sees her hammer lying near a building at the edge of the square. She dodges another swipe and makes a run for it, not daring to look back over her shoulder even as she hears Metal’s engine powering up again.
She’s almost there when Metal’s engine roars to life, and she dives to the ground, grabbing her hammer and hunching over to brace for impact. Oh, this is going to hurt-!
But it doesn’t. The impact never comes.
After about two seconds Amy opens one eye, and then the other, and stares up at Metal Sonic. Metal Sonic stares right back, frozen in mid-attack, furious and confused and...glowing?
Amy blinks, and then looks past Metal Sonic, out to the square. On the other side of it, with arms outstretched and a look of fierce concentration on his face, stands a hedgehog with pale fur and long quills. Amy doesn’t really know Silver the Hedgehog that well, but she’s never been happier to see him or his psychokinesis.
“I can’t hold him for much longer!” Silver shouts to her. “Hurry!”
Right! Amy grips her hammer and stands up. She preps to swing, but before she can, something red rushes into her field of vision and slams into Metal Sonic with a resounding CRUNCH!
The robot goes flying out of sight, and Amy’s left with her jaw on the floor and the hammer dangling loosely in her hands, staring at the spot where he’d been only one second before. Now, someone else is standing there, one spiked fist still outstretched. He scowls up at the sky where Metal Sonic had disappeared, and then turns to look at Amy.
“Oh hey, Amy,” Knuckles the Echidna says, dropping his arm. “Uh. You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Amy says. “Way to steal my hit, you jerk!” She punches Knuckles playfully on the arm. Instead of laughing at the joke, however, he looks concerned.
“Did I? Sorry, I didn’t mean to. You looked like you were in trouble, so I–”
Amy cuts him off with a pat to the same arm she’d just punched. “I was joking, Knuckles.Thanks for the help!” She glances up at Silver, who’s walked over to join them. “You too, Silver! I don’t know what I would have done if you two hadn’t shown up.” She tilts her head to the side, balancing her hammer on one shoulder. “What are you doing here, anyway? Is something wrong with the timeline?” That’s what Silver does, right? Something about timelines. She’s never been entirely clear on what his deal is; they've only ever met briefly before.
Silver’s face falls, and he exchanges a glance with Knuckles. “You could say that,” he says. “Something really bad happens in this time, something that plunges the whole world into devastation. I’m not entirely sure what I need to do to fix it, but...I think this attack might only be the beginning.”
Amy feels a cold weight settle into her stomach at those words. “Only the beginning?” she echoes. “You mean...things get worse from here?” She’s been hammering away at the invading robots for hours. She’d hoped that she could go home and rest once they were all taken care of, but if things are going to get worse…
Silver nods grimly. “I don’t know many details,” he says. “I...I don’t think there were many survivors, whatever it was.”
“But that’s why he came to me!” Knuckles pipes up. “I was all alone on Angel Island, so I wouldn’t have known about any of this until it was too late! So since Silver came to me, it means that I’m part of whatever we need to do to stop things!” He folds his arms over his chest, looking pleased with himself.
Amy leans closer to Silver. “Is that really how it works?” she whispers.
Silver shrugs. “I don’t know,” he whispers back. “Probably not, but he’s already declared himself the commander of the resistance, and we will probably need a leader.” He scratches the back of his neck. “I don’t think I’m really cut out for that kind of responsibility, so I’m okay with it.”
“Resistance?” Amy says at a more normal volume. She glances back at Knuckles, who doesn’t seem to have noticed their whispers. “You’re starting a resistance?”
“Yep!” Knuckles nods proudly. “It’s just us for now, but I’m sure we’ll have no trouble finding more members!”
“Yeah!” Silver nods as well, face brightening. “I mean, we already found you! That is,” he coughs lightly, “if you’d like to join us?”
Amy has to take a moment to think that over. It would be nice to be part of a team, to not have to fight Eggman’s army by herself, but...well. She’s not sure a resistance is necessary. Sure, this is a pretty heavy assault even by Eggman’s standards, and it might not be as easy a fix as some of the other challenges they’ve faced in the past, but it’s still just Eggman. He’s not unbeatable. Especially not with Sonic on their side. Once Sonic gets back from whatever it is that kept him from this battle, he’ll beat Eggman and things will go back to normal.
But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a solid team to back Sonic up, would it? And someone needs to make sure that all the civilians in danger are safe. Someone’s got to watch out for them while the big life-and-death battles are going down, right? Yeah. Sonic may be a great hero, but he’s still only one person. He’ll need a solid team behind him if they want to win this fight.
So with that in mind, Amy nods, smiles, and says, “Count me in.”
“That’s the spirit!” Knuckles cheers, clapping her on the back and almost sending her sprawling to the ground. A hand on her shoulder steadies her, and she looks up to see Silver beaming back at her.
“Great to have you on board!” he says. “At this rate, we’ll have this crisis averted in no time!”
Amy smiles back at him, the first genuine smile she’s had since the first robots marched in. “Eggman won’t know what hit him!” she says, and even though she doesn’t really feel as optimistic as her words, saying them aloud makes her feel better.
“Yeah!” Knuckles agrees. “Now all we need is Sonic, and we’ll really be in business!” He glances around. “Where is he, anyway?”
“I don’t know,” Amy says. “I haven’t seen him.” She steps back a little, frowning. “You didn’t see him on your way here?”
Silver shakes his head. “We came straight from Angel Island,” he says. “You’re the first familiar face we’ve seen since we got to the city.”
“Oh,” says Amy quietly. That cold feeling settles into her stomach again, uneasy. Sonic’s fine, she’s sure of it, but…
“Eh, don’t worry about it,” Knuckles says. “He’s probably just in a part of the city we didn’t fly over. I’m sure we’ll find him.” He stretches, holding one arm across his chest. “After all, this is Sonic we’re talking about. It’d take more than a few robots to bring him down.”
“Right!” Silver nods. “And in the meantime, we have to protect the city! There’s a lot of people still trapped here, and they’re going to need our help!”
“You’re right,” Amy says. They’re both right. Sonic can take care of himself, and they have other things to worry about right now. They have people to defend and evil to defeat.
“That’s more like it. Now, come on!” Knuckles turns to face the other end of the square, opposite from where they’d entered. “We’ve got a city to save.”