Chapter 1: The Blue Hero
Speed, it's not just a mindset. To our first hero, Sonic the Hedgehog, it's a way of life. Running faster than the speed of sound is an everyday practice to Sonic, and that is how our story begins, with Sonic running across a special obstacle course created for him by his best friend, Miles "Tails" Prower. Flames, spikes, sharp turns, and even bullets were part of this obstacle course, but they weren't Tails's idea. "You have to step it up, Tails," Sonic had told him. "I need to be prepared for anything Eggman throws at me, especially the dangerous parts." Tails unwillingly conceded, and he now watched worriedly as his friend performed one death defying move after another.
After several agonizingly long moments, Sonic completed the course and went to Tails without a scratch. Tails looked at his timer. "3.43 seconds," was the young fox's answer to Sonic's inquiring look.
Sonic groaned, "You've got to be kidding me! I could've sworn it hadn't taken me more than 3.4 seconds! I must be getting slower."
Tails chuckled, "Sonic, it's only three hundredths of a second. Besides, that's what this course was built for, training!"
Sonic laughed along, "Yeah, you're right, Tails. To be honest, I wasn't keeping track."
The two friends were interrupted by Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic's other close friend and the muscle behind their group. He was breathing loudly and had obviously been running. "Sonic! I finally found you, and I must say Sonic, I'm shocked by your recent behavior. I didn't think you had it in you."
Sonic was puzzled in more ways than one. "Um, Knuckles, first, what are you doing here? Second, what behavior are you talking about? Third, why didn't you say hello to Tails?"
Knuckles paused from his frantic breathing. "Well, I came here looking for my Chaos Emerald. I woke up from my afternoon nap yesterday and realized it was gone. I thought you might have 'borrowed' it again for one of your O so heroic adventures, so I came looking for you to get it back."
Sonic replied, "I already have a Chaos Emerald, the blue one, so I wouldn't need to borrow yours for anything unless I had to use my Super form, and I'd tell you if it was that important. Besides, I still have no idea what behavior you're talking about."
Now Knuckles was puzzled. "You don't know? You must know. It was you, wasn't it?"
Sonic shook his head. "What was me?"
Knuckles looked down, now visibly distraught. He looked at Sonic. "You really don't know, huh? I saw it all over the news on my way here." Tails was now worried.
Sonic seemed frustrated now. "For goodness sakes, Knuckles, will you just tell me already?"
Knuckles was silent for a moment. Then he answered, "It's Dr. Eggman. He's dead." Sonic stood still and silent. Tails was dumbfounded, and his jaw nearly hit the ground. There was no answer to Knuckles's statement, so Knuckles continued, "I thought you'd finally did him in. I just assumed—" Knuckles stopped. This was no longer the time for words.
After several more moments, Sonic managed to utter a word: "How?"
Knuckles shook his head. "Nobody's sure. Apparently some government agent found him dead in his new laboratory. He built it after you trashed the old one in the incident with Super Mecha Sonic about a month ago. He'd been beat to death. The government agent said that she saw the silhouette of a hedgehog shortly after she arrived at the scene, and investigators deduced that Eggman was definitely killed by someone of about your height wearing gloves. All of that fit your description, so I guessed it was you. In fact, most of the general media is guessing it was you."
Sonic remained speechless, so now Tails spoke. "Couldn't it have been Shadow? He's a hedgehog about Sonic's height with gloves."
Knuckles now turned his head to Tails for the first time since their conversation started. "No, the government agent confirmed the location of Shadow at the time of her arrival in Eggman's laboratory. He was nowhere near the site."
Sonic lifted his head to face Tails and Knuckles. "Tails, get my Chaos Emerald. We're going to find out who did this and clear my name. Knuckles, are you in?"
Knuckles smiled. "I wouldn't miss a good adventure with you, Sonic, but I'll only help if you agree to help me find my Chaos Emerald along the way."
Sonic smiled too, and Tails came back with the Chaos Emerald. Evening fell across the landscape. Sonic faced the setting sun and exclaimed, "Let's go, guys!"
Chapter 2: Shadow's Quest
Power, it's not just an ambition. To our second hero, Shadow the Hedgehog, it's a way of life. The rush of adrenaline caused by reaching a new level of superiority is stronger than any drug. Therefore, Shadow searches for it relentlessly, hopelessly addicted, a slave to his own desire to become powerful for some undefined purpose. Was it to be able to take anything he desired, or was it to be able to please those he loved? Was it to overcome his enemies, or to protect his allies? He couldn't give you a direct answer if you asked him. "The ultimate life-form," genderless, though addressed as male, Shadow was over fifty years old, but his ageless body refused to be overpowered by time.
Shadow was now in an apartment, staying temporarily with his friend Rouge the Bat. He'd been staying here for almost a week now. The reason was simple. About a month ago, after Sonic defeated Super Mecha Sonic and destroyed Dr. Eggman's old laboratory, Shadow searched the remains of the lab and found an old book, which was authored by Dr. Gerald Robotnik, Dr. Eggman's grandfather as well as Shadow's creator. However, the book was completely coded, and he needed Rouge to help him decode it. Rouge deduced that the book could only be fully decoded by Dr. Eggman, but Rouge was able to decode a few words on a page containing plans of some sort: hedgehog, ultimate, chaos, and artificial. Shadow was convinced the page was about him, and the plans had something to do with him. Unfortunately, Rouge had been gone for several days now on classified business, and Shadow was stuck loafing around her apartment in solitude.
Feeling that his time was being wasted, Shadow reluctantly sat on Rouge's couch and switched on the television. The channel was already on the news, which showed a picture of a destroyed laboratory surrounded by police tape. The anchorwoman spoke, "This is the only photograph received from the scene yesterday, where a government agent discovered the new laboratory of the international criminal, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, otherwise known as Dr. Eggman. According to reports, the mad doctor was found dead in his laboratory by the agent, who saw the silhouette of a hedgehog leaving the scene, but the agent confirms that the silhouette was not of Shadow the Hedgehog. Investigators have concluded that Dr. Robotnik was beaten to death by someone shorter than him wearing gloves. Although police officials have refused to say anything about the matter, it's widely speculated that the doctor's death was caused by Sonic the Hedgehog, who was Robotnik's lifelong nemesis." Shadow turned off the television.
The black hedgehog looked down at his coded book. He clenched his fist. The door opened. Shadow looked at the door. It was Rouge. She had returned. Shadow stood up and confronted her, "What do you know about the death of Dr. Eggman?"
Rouge cocked her head to the side and looked innocently at Shadow. "I know the same things that you do, just what was said on the news."
Shadow's glare intensified. "Don't play dumb with me."
Rouge chuckled. "Alright, you got me. I was the government agent who found him dead. It'd better not have been you though because I already told everyone that you weren't anywhere close to the scene.”
Shadow said, "Of course it wasn't me. I needed Eggman. He was the only way for me to finish decoding this page about my past. I've been cooped up here in your apartment waiting for you to get back from your 'trip.' "
Rouge smiled, "Aw, Shadow, you waited for little old me? You're such a sweetheart."
Shadow scowled, "Don't flatter yourself. I need you to decode this page for me. That's it."
Rouge chuckled again. "Whatever you say." Shadow walked to the door and began to exit the apartment. Rouge asked, "Where are you going?"
Shadow replied, "I'm going to find Sonic. He's the only clue I've got on this. If he's the one who killed Eggman, I need to know what happened, and he might know something about Eggman that could help us decode this book." Shadow grabbed a brown trench coat and a handgun. Then, he looked at Rouge. "Are you coming or not?"
Rouge grabbed a gun of her own and walked over to Shadow. "I'll be right by your side."
Chapter 3: Amy's Adventure
Love, it's not just a desire. To our third hero, Amy Rose, it's a way of life. Constantly chasing the man of her dreams, never losing hope regardless of the fact that her dream boy always ran, this was Amy's lifestyle. She was Sonic the Hedgehog's top admirer and self-proclaimed future wife. Today, we can find Amy sitting on a bench in the city park in Metropolis, staring wishfully at the park's fountain. The rushing, blue water reminded her of Sonic's elegant blue fur rushing freely in the breeze as he zoomed past. Amy sighed. Her fantasy was interrupted by her best friend, Cream the Rabbit. "Amy? Are you okay?" the timid rabbit asked.
Amy awoke from her fantasy, still somewhat dazed by the thought of Sonic. "Huh? Cream? Oh, I'm sorry. I drifted off into my thoughts again…"
"Were you thinking about Sonic?" Cream inquired.
"Yeah," Amy sighed again. Her gaze drifted off into the distance.
Cream looked at her with concern. "Hey, I've got an idea. Let's go to my house and get some ice cream. That will cheer you up."
Cream's small pet Chao, Cheese, obviously concurred with delight. "Cho! Cho!" she exclaimed while flying rapidly in circles.
Amy managed a faint smile. "Yeah, I think I'd like that." The two friends walked down the city sidewalks until they reached Cream's vacation home, where she and her mother, Vanilla, were staying for a few weeks until after the fourth of July. When they arrived, Cream walked into the door and removed her shoes. Amy did the same, and they went inside
The two walked into the kitchen and found Vanilla talking with a family friend, Vector the Crocodile, ace detective of the Chaotix Detective Agency. Vector was exclaiming something that Amy couldn't quite make out, but once Amy and Cream opened the door to the kitchen, Vector and Vanilla were both immediately silent. Cream was the first to speak, "Mom, what's going on?"
Vanilla was hesitant. "It's nothing, Sweetie. Mr. Vector and I were just talking about a recent case of his."
Amy asked, "What case?"
Vanilla shakily replied, "I'm afraid it's top secret, and we can't tell—"
She was interrupted by Vector, "Now, Ms. Rabbit, we both know that these two are able to handle the truth." He addressed Amy and Cream. "I hate to be the one to tell this to you, but there's no point in trying to hide it. Dr. Eggman has been killed, and there's evidence to show that Sonic is the one responsible. My team and I are trying to find out more of the facts, but—" Amy slapped him harshly across the face.
Cream screamed, "Amy!"
Amy ignored her and proceeded to add insult to injury, "You idiot! What kind of detective are you? My Sonic is a hero! How could you even consider the thought that my Sonic might be responsible for such a horrible thing?"
Vector tried to explain, "Amy, I'm sorry, but the facts—"
He was interrupted by Amy again, "You want facts? I'll give you some facts! My Sonic is the most caring, compassionate, heroic, and pure-hearted person on the face of this or any other world! Even if it was Dr. Eggman, Sonic would never have killed him! There's your facts!"
Vector added, "Eggman could've forced him into it."
Amy said, "That's impossible! There's no way my Sonic would ever have done that! He would've found a way! I know he would've!" Amy took a minute to calm herself. "Come on, Cream!"
Cream stopped fidgeting her thumbs, and she replied, "Um, okay, Amy."
Vanilla said, "Hang on there, young lady. Just where do you think you're going?"
Amy answered for Cream, "We're going to clear my Sonic's good name."
Vanilla grew bold, "Absolutely not! I will not allow the two of you to go roaming the world unsupervised! There's far too much danger."
Vector nodded his head, "Ms. Rabbit is exactly right."
Vanilla looked at Vector, "Thank you, Mr. Vector."
Vector added, "Which is why I'm coming with you."
Vanilla looked at the crocodile who had just betrayed her, "What?"
Vector said, "I need to get some facts in order to solve this case once and for all. In order to do that, I need to find Sonic. Since Sonic is always on the move, it'd be nearly impossible for me to find him on my own, but Amy is like a living Sonic-tracker. No one is better suited for the job, and we need Cream's powers of flight in order to navigate the treacherous landscapes in which Sonic has undoubtedly placed himself."
Vanilla sighed, "Fine, I suppose if Vector is going, then it's alright for you to go find Sonic, but don't get into anything too dangerous, and make sure you're back by the fourth of July for our party."
Amy, Cream, and Vector all said simultaneously, "Yes ma'am!"
Chapter 4: The Meeting
Sonic was jogging at fifty miles per hour down the side of a desert highway. Knuckles and Tails were keeping up, with Knuckles running at full speed and Tails flying using his twin tails. "Where are we going, Sonic?" Tails asked the blue speedster.
"We're going to the scene of Eggman's murder, the remains of his new laboratory," Sonic proclaimed with noticeable confidence.
"But Sonic," Knuckles wondered aloud, "how will we find the laboratory? The news didn't say where it was at, and it was a hidden laboratory. It's not like he made it easy to find."
"Don't you remember?" Sonic teased his red friend. "Dr. Eggman was found by a government agent. That means that the government knows where his laboratory is!"
"The government?" Tails asked, "but, Sonic, who can we contact from the government?"
Knuckles's eyes widened as he came to a realization. "Wait a minute. Oh no, Sonic, please tell me you're not thinking of…"
Sonic smiled in reply. Then, he grabbed his two friends by the wrist, and they sped away at the speed of sound.
The trio of friends arrived in the downtown of a bustling city. "I know she lives somewhere in this city," Sonic thought aloud. "We'll have to split up and search for her. Tails, you go with Knuckles. I'll look on my own.”
"Alright," Tails nodded in agreement. "Let's go, Knuckles." Tails and Knuckles ran off in one direction while Sonic dashed in another. Knuckles and Tails found themselves going down a bustling street. It was after dark now, and the street was lit up by many neon signs. These fascinated Tails, but Knuckles remained focused on his current objective.
After walking for a few minutes, a figure swooped over their heads. "There!" Knuckles shouted. The two followed the fleeing figure into a dark alleyway. Before long, the alleyway came to a dead end, and the figure stopped, halted by the graffiti-covered brick barrier. "Stop right there! You can't run!" Knuckles yelled to the figure. Suddenly, wings burst from the shape, and it ascended to the top of the wall at the end of the alley. A cackle of amusement erupted from the figure as well.
"Wait a minute," Tails said in shock. "That's…"
Knuckles finished, "Hello Rouge."
Rouge remained perched at the top of the wall. She placed her left hand on her hip and looked down toward Knuckles and Tails. "Hey there, Hun, you're just the echidna I was looking for." She gave a wink after her statement, and Knuckles blushed slightly.
Tails looked at the bat. "Why did you run?"
Rouge examined the nails on her right hand and answered, "I wanted to see if you'd chase me."
Knuckles regained his composure and looked up toward Rouge. "You work with the government, don't you?"
Rouge's eyes moved toward Knuckles, though her face did not sway. "I only work part-time."
Knuckles asked, "Could you take us to where Eggman was killed?"
Rouge jumped down from the wall and faced Knuckles directly. "Maybe I can. Maybe I can't. Take me to Sonic. Then we'll talk." Knuckles looked toward Tails. The two shared a nod, and they led Rouge to the direction in which Sonic dashed.
Meanwhile, Sonic arrived at the third set of apartments he'd found in the city. He went to the man behind the counter and asked, "Does Rouge the Bat occupy any of these apartments?"
The man answered, "Why yes, are you a friend of hers?"
Sonic breathed a sigh of relief. He had no such luck with the first two apartments he investigated. Then, he answered, "Um, yeah, I need to see her, but I can't remember which apartment she lives in."
The man looked at Sonic. Then he said, "Oh, that's right. She recently changed apartments, didn't she? Well, she's in apartment 106 now."
Sonic sighed in relief again. "Thank you," he said. Then he zoomed off to Rouge's apartment. He arrived at the door in no time. He knocked on the door. Then, he waited, but there was no answer. He knocked again, but again there was no answer, so he knocked a third time, and the door slowly creaked open. Sonic walked into the apartment. Every light was turned off, but it was still easy to see the place was a mess. Sonic traveled through Rouge's abode cautiously. He called, "Hello? Is anyone there?" His response was another door slowly opening. Sonic was startled a little, but then he took a deep breath and chuckled. He walked into the door and found himself in a small bedroom.
The next instant, a gun was pointed at the side of Sonic's head, and a familiar voice spoke, "Sonic, we need to talk."
Chapter 5: The Conversation
Shadow pointed his handgun to Sonic's head. He wasn't going to let this opportunity slip from his grasp. Here he was looking for Sonic the Hedgehog, and here he was having that hedgehog practically dropped into his lap by fate. Sonic wasn't going to run away from this one. At full speed, Sonic could run faster than a bullet, but at pointblank range, Sonic didn't have the time to build up enough speed to dodge a gunshot. Shadow knew that, and so did Sonic. The two hedgehogs stared into each other's eyes unwaveringly for a moment. Then, finally, Sonic closed his eyes and sighed. "Phew, Shadow, it's just you. I was worried there for a moment. Don't scare me like that. Alright, I'll listen, what do you want to talk about?"
Shadow was shocked. How could Sonic be so calm? Was he really not intimidated by Shadow at all? These things confounded Shadow for a moment. He expected Sonic to panic and act with hostility, but instead, the blue hedgehog was casually conversing with him like a reminiscent friend. Shadow regained his composition, and he lowered his gun. He asked his first question. "Sonic, I need to know for sure, did you kill Dr. Eggman?"
Sonic's expression grew serious, and he answered, "No."
Immediately afterward, the lights came on. Rouge, Knuckles, and Tails entered the room. Shadow and Sonic looked at the group. Rouge smiled and said, "Oh, good, we're all here. We have a lot to talk about, so let's not waste any time." The three went into the living room section of Rouge's apartment, and they began to talk.
Sonic started the conversation. "Rouge, just so you know, I'm not the one who killed Eggman."
Rouge nodded. "I had it was a feeling it wasn't you."
Knuckles inquired, "Then, who was it, and why did they kill him?"
Shadow spoke, "That's the same thing I'm wondering."
Rouge looked down. "Well, I have a hunch. Do you know why I went to Dr. Eggman's laboratory in the first place? Of course you don't, so I'll tell you. A few days ago, one of Eggman's robots infiltrated a government facility and stole the silver Chaos Emerald in their possession. I was assigned to track the robot and retrieve it. Yesterday, I was finally able to find his new laboratory, and immediately infiltrated it. Just before I got into the lab though, I heard an explosion, so I hastened my entrance. When I got in, I saw the silhouette of a hedgehog through the smoke, and Eggman had been ended along with his laboratory, but here's the strange part: When agents from G.U.N. arrived at the scene and began investigating, we couldn't find the silver Chaos Emerald anywhere."
Tails asked, "Do you think Eggman's murderer might have stolen it?"
Rouge nodded, "That's my hunch."
Knuckles added, "My green Chaos Emerald was stolen too. At first, I thought Sonic took it, but it might've been the same guy that killed Eggman."
Shadow said, "So he's after the Chaos Emeralds, huh?"
Rouge concurred, "That's my hunch."
Sonic stood up. "I don't know, guys." Then, he turned to Rouge. "Your hunch sounds good and all, but we can't really be certain unless we investigate more. Think about it. The silver Chaos Emerald might just have been lost in the rubble of the explosion."
Tails agreed, "I think Sonic has a point."
Rouge said, "Indeed, you have a point, but things like this are rarely that simple."
Sonic looked at Shadow and Rouge. "Well, I still want to investigate the scene of Eggman's murder before I decide for sure." He turned to Tails and Knuckles. "What do you two think?" They looked at each other and nodded. Shadow stood up and walked toward the door. Sonic turned his attention to the black hedgehog. "You should come too, Shadow. The five of us together would make a pretty sweet team, don't you think?"
Shadow stopped and grinned, but he didn't turn to look back at Sonic. "Sorry, not today," was his reply. With that, he left the apartment.
Rouge looked at Sonic and his friends. "I should probably go with him to make sure he doesn't do anything more reckless than usual. Oh, and the place where Eggman was killed isn't too far from here. It's about two miles southeast. Good luck, you guys." She left to follow Shadow.
Sonic sighed. He left the building and began jogging to the southeast with his two friends shortly behind him.
Chapter 6: Amy's Rescuer
Amy and Cream were walking down the streets of Metropolis as the sun started to set. Vector was steadily lagging behind them. He took notice of the lateness of the day. "Hey, it's getting kinda late. Don't you two think we should find a place to rest?"
Amy whispered to Cream, "This guy is so annoying. We're never going to be able to find Sonic with him on our tail. We have to ditch him."
Cream asked, "But Amy, how will we do that? He's just as fast as we are, and we'll get in trouble if we run away from him."
Amy winked at Cream and whispered, "Don't worry. I have an idea. Just play along." Amy pointed in a random direction. "Look over there! What is that?"
Vector immediately looked. "What? Where? I don't see anything!"
Cream caught on and pointed in a different direction. "Look! It's over there now!" Cream ran in the direction in which she was pointing, with Cheese and Amy just behind her.
Vector started running after them. "Hey! Wait up!"
Cheese pointed in a different direction. "Cho! Cho-Cho-Cho!"
Cream and Amy ran in that direction with Cheese behind them and Vector trying to keep up.
"Look!" Amy exclaimed, "It went down that alley!"
"I don't see anything!" Vector shouted in frustration as Amy and Cream ran down the alley and he struggled to keep up. As Vector chased them, he saw the two turn around a sharp corner. Vector ran to the corner and turned after them. However, after turning the corner, he realized that it led to a dead end, and the children were nowhere to be found. "Darn it!" Vector yelled. "Where did they go?" He looked around, but he saw no trace of them, so he left and began looking in a different place.
In truth, Cream used her massive ears to fly her and Amy to the other side of the wall blocking the rest of the alley. Amy now had her ear against the wall, and she was listening for Vector to give up and leave. He did. Amy looked at Cream with a triumphant smile. "The coast is clear. I told you we could ditch him."
Cream hesitated. "Maybe we should have stayed with Mr. Vector. After all, we don't really have a place to stay the night, and the city can be a dangerous place after dark."
Amy laughed, "Ha, trust me, Cream." She and Cream left the alley, and Amy began walking down a crosswalk across the street. "I can handle anything this city throws at me."
Suddenly, Amy found herself being blinded by a bright light. She looked to her left, and she saw a semi-truck heading at full speed right toward her. She didn't know how to react. She was on the crosswalk. The truck should've stopped for her to cross. Suddenly, a blue blur whisked her out of the truck's path. Cream screamed in fear. Amy's vision was blurry. She looked up toward her rescuer, and a blue figure in a dark, hooded coat began to materialize in her sight. "Sonic?" Amy asked faintly. The figure sat her down and began walking away. Amy looked toward the figure. "Wait! Sonic! Don't go!"
The figure turned around and removed its hood. A robotic voice answered, "I am not Sonic."
Cream cautiously examined the road for vehicles. Confirming that the street was clear, she ran across the crosswalk and helped Amy to her feet. Then, she looked toward Amy's savior, Metal Sonic. The robotic doppelganger stood motionless for a moment. Then, he continued to walk away. Amy called to him again, "Wait!" Metal Sonic paused a second time. Amy hesitated and added, "Thank you." Metal Sonic looked away again and resumed walking away.
Cheese flew after him. Cream cried, "Cheese! Hang on! Don't get too close to him! Remember he's dangerous! He kidnapped Chocola and tried to take over the world!" Cheese continued to follow the blue robot. Cream gave a moan of anxiety, and she followed her curious Chao. Amy continued to stare at Metal Sonic for a moment. Then, she followed him with Cream.
Metal Sonic stopped again. "Why are you following me?"
Cream, Cheese, and Amy stopped as well. Amy answered, "Well, it's just…" She hesitated. "Why did you save me?" Metal Sonic did not answer, so Amy continued. "I thought you hated me for helping Sonic to stop you from taking over the world."
Metal Sonic spoke robotically, "I have been reprogrammed by Dr. Eggman. World domination is no longer my objective."
Amy said, "Still, I thought you wanted to destroy Sonic."
Metal Sonic did not move, but his answer was postponed for a moment by some internal happening reminiscent of what a living creature might call emotions. "I have reached an epiphany. I am a fake. Sonic is real. I cannot defeat him. My primary objective has been altered. Now, I exist solely to serve Dr. Eggman in whatever way he sees fit."
Amy asked, "But what are you doing now that Eggman is dead?"
Metal Sonic seemed stalled again. Then, he resumed walking away. Cheese continued to follow him. Cream looked at Amy and shrugged. Then, she followed Metal Sonic as well. Amy followed.
Chapter 7: Eggman's Message
By midnight, Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails had arrived at the location to which Rouge directed them, two miles southeast of the city. Upon arrival, Sonic immediately noticed an area which had been completely blocked off by G.U.N. agents. Knuckles asked Sonic, "How are we going to get in?"
Sonic gave a confident smile and answered, "We'll ask nicely." With that, Sonic walked toward a few of the agents with Knuckles and Tails at his side.
One agent immediately noticed him. "Sonic the Hedgehog? Can I help you?"
Sonic answered, "Yes, is this the place where Dr. Eggman was killed."
The agent responded hesitantly, "Well, I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but I'll make an exception since you're kind of a hero and all. Yes, this is the place."
Knuckles said, "It's kind of obvious with all these agents running around. How have you managed to keep it a secret?"
The agent responded, "The Commander told the media that we're conducting a new set of research in this area."
Sonic said, "Wow, they bought that?"
The agent chuckled, "The media will believe anything these days."
Sonic added, "You got that right. Anyway, we just need to take a quick look around."
Sonic began walking through the police tape, but the agent stood in his path. "Hold on there," he said. "You may be a hero and all, but the Commander would kill me if I let anyone in, and that includes you, Sonic. I'm sorry."
Knuckles cocked his head from side to side in order to crack the bones in his neck. "Well," he said upon cracking his knuckles as well, "we tried it your way, Sonic. Now we're doing this my way."
The G.U.N. agent pulled out a small firearm. "I don't want to fight you, but I won't hesitate if you leave me no choice."
Suddenly, another voice entered the conversation. "Private Leonard, just what do you think you're doing?" It was Topaz, a G.U.N. agent and a friend of Sonic who once served as an envoy between him and government.
Private Leonard looked toward Topaz. "Agent Topaz, I was just preventing these three intruders from entering this classified vicinity."
Topaz frowned and spoke to the private with a scolding voice, "Private, do you know who this is? This is Sonic the Hedgehog! He saves your life more often than you change your underwear! I say if he wants to enter this vicinity, he has every right to do so! Do you have any objections?"
Private Leonard was cornered. "No ma'am," he answered.
"Good!" Topaz spoke with an authoritarian voice. "I'll be escorting these three personally." She led the three past the police tape and into an underground hallway.
Sonic smiled to her, "Thanks Topaz, we appreciate you helping us get in here."
Topaz looked down toward the blue hedgehog and his friends. "Just don't expect me to stick up for you if the Commander shows up. He'll have my head."
Knuckles added, "Bah, we could've handled those guards."
Tails said, "I'm glad that Topaz showed up when she did. Fighting G.U.N. agents and becoming enemies of the government wouldn't exactly be helpful for the rest of our lives."
Topaz laughed, "That's true. By the way, why are you three even here?"
Sonic responded, "I'm trying to clear my name. Most of the media thinks that I'm the one who killed Dr. Eggman, so I need to find the real culprit and shut them up. We're looking here in order to try to find clues on who it could've been."
Topaz led Sonic and his friends into the central laboratory where Eggman had been killed. The entire area had been completely destroyed. Topaz told Sonic, "Good luck finding anything. The government has been turning this place inside-out all day, and we haven't found a thing: no footprints, no fingerprints, no fur samples or any kind of DNA other than Eggman's."
Suddenly, a robotic voice came from a speaker in the ceiling. "Sonic the Hedgehog DNA identified. Commence emergency messaging system."
Suddenly, a hologram of Dr. Eggman appeared in the center of the room, and it began reciting. "Sonic, if you're getting this message, it means you've found the remains of my laboratory. This is a warning. The monster that attacked this place wishes to end life as we know it, but it is not something you can fight by normal means. It seeks the Chaos Emeralds. If you are to have any chance of defeating it, you must collect all seven Emeralds before it does. I cannot stress the power of this creature enough. Perfect Chaos and Emerl were common goons compared to him. If you want to save the world, come to the top floor of the clock tower in Metropolis. You'll learn more there. I'm counting on you, Sonic."
Chapter 8: Shadow's Brother
After leaving Rouge's apartment, Shadow asked Rouge about the location of any remaining Chaos Emeralds. "If Eggman's murderer is going after the Emeralds, then all we have to do is get to one and wait for him there."
Rouge chuckled and answered, "You don't waste any time, do you? Alright, there is the violet Chaos Emerald. It's being displayed at a museum just outside of Metropolis."
Shadow looked toward his accomplice, "Can you give me its exact location?"
"Sure," Rouge answered as she pulled out a GPS. She typed in some coordinates, and then handed it to Shadow. She pointed to a green dot on the screen. "It's right there."
"Alright," Shadow said. "Let's go." He pulled a red Chaos Emerald from one of his coat pockets and shouted "Chaos Control!" In a flash of green light, Shadow and Rouge were instantly transported into the interior of the museum. It was just after midnight, and the museum was closed. The lights were off, but the bright light of a full moon shone through the glass roof of the room, so its contents were easily visible. In the center of the room, there was a glass case containing the violet Chaos Emerald. Shadow looked. "There it is. He'll probably be here soon." He addressed Rouge. "Make yourself useful and turn off the security systems. I don't want anyone interfering with my business."
Rouge smiled and responded, "You got it, Honey." She threw Shadow a small radio which could fit in his ear. She winked and added, "Stay in touch." Rouge left the room and walked into the museum's central control room. She cracked her fingers and began typing rapidly on the control panel of a large computer with screens showing the museum's rooms. After a few minutes, she was able to disarm the security system. She contacted Shadow via radio, "You're good to go."
Shadow answered her, "Good." He waited a few more minutes. Then, his Chaos Emerald began reacting strangely. He looked toward the cased Emerald. It was vibrating as well. Then, a flash of red light appeared, and within it, there stood a figure. "Is that Chaos Control?" Shadow wondered aloud.
The figure was a short, anthropomorphic hedgehog. He had black fur, similar to Shadow's, but his quills were longer, more numerous, and spiked further up. At the end of each quill, there was a red tip of fur in a flame-like pattern. The two quills on his back sported this red pattern as well. He wore black shoes and gloves, and he wore three ring-shaped bracelets on each wrist. Two of the bracelets on his right wrist were dark grey, and so was another one of the bracelets on his left wrist, but the other three were each different colors. The remaining bracelet on his right wrist was green, and the two on his left wrist were silver and cyan. Each colored bracelet glowed and radiated with the power of the Chaos Emeralds. Shadow pocketed his Emerald and pulled out his handgun. The mysterious hedgehog looked at him curiously. Then, he cocked his head to the side and gave a slight grin. The hedgehog opened his arms mockingly. "Well, hello there, my big brother."
Shadow's facial expression instantly transformed into one of shock. "Big brother?" was all he could say.
The mystery hedgehog maintained his mocking pose. "Yes, we're brothers, you and I. I wasn't expecting to meet you so soon. It's such a pleasant surprise."
Shadow's demeanor now became one of anger. He looked toward this new hedgehog and shouted, "I have no brother! You're just some imposter trying to mess with my head."
The hedgehog chuckled, "Believe what you will." The three colored bracelets on the hedgehog floated off of his wrists, and in their centers materialized a Chaos Emerald, each one corresponding to the color of the bracelet it appeared from: cyan, silver, and green. The hedgehog began casually juggling the three Emeralds in his right hand.
Shadow looked. "The silver Chaos Emerald, so are you the one who—"
The hedgehog finished Shadow's sentence with, "killed Dr. Robotnik? I suppose you could say that. He was a foolish old man, telling me that I would serve him and help him conquer the world, what an imbecile."
Shadow asked the hedgehog, "Why are you collecting the Chaos Emeralds?"
He answered, "All I want is to become complete. The Chaos Emeralds are the final ingredient in Gerald Robotnik's recipe."
Shadow remembered the coded plan in the old book written by Gerald Robotnik. "Recipe?" Shadow was becoming more confused. "What recipe are you talking about?"
The new hedgehog chuckled, "Why, the recipe for me of course! That is why you and I are brothers. We were both designed by the same scientist, albeit for different purposes. We are both the ultimate life-forms."
Shadow looked at him. "Even if I believed you, and I'm not saying I do, what do you intend to do after you become 'complete'?"
The hedgehog's grin intensified. "I'm going to rid this world of all inferior beings, and I shall create a new world in which only the ultimate life-forms shall survive." Shadow's look returned to a state of shock. "What do you say, Brother?" the hedgehog continued. "Will you join me in creating this new, ultimate world?"
Shadow looked down and clenched his fist over his gun. Then, his gaze returned to the mysterious hedgehog. "Not a chance!" He pointed his gun at the newcomer and fired. The hedgehog moved his head to the side, thereby dodging the bullet, which instead made contact with the window behind Shadow's target and shattered it.
The new hedgehog looked toward Shadow. "That was a mistake." The silver, green, and cyan Chaos Emeralds returned to the hedgehog's bracelets, and he ran toward Shadow at incredible speed. Shadow prepared to counter his attack. The hedgehog clenched his right fist and aimed a punch at Shadow. Shadow clenched his left fist and aimed an attack of his own. The two hedgehogs' fists connected with one another, and their fight began.
Chapter 9: Metal's Programming
Midnight approached Metropolis as Amy roamed the streets with Metal Sonic, Cream, and Cheese. Amy increased her pace and began walking next to Metal Sonic. She was now a little more comfortable that the robot did not intend to kill her. If he wanted her dead, he would've let that truck hit her. For whatever reason, Metal Sonic wanted Amy alive, and she planned to use that to her advantage. "Hey Metal?" she inquired, "What are you doing out here anyway? Are you looking for a new objective now that Eggman is gone?"
Metal Sonic answered without turning to address her, "No."
Amy continued, "And how can you talk? I thought you could only talk while you were in your Neo Metal Sonic or Mecha Sonic forms."
Metal Sonic answered again, "Dr. Eggman upgraded me so that I may converse with others in this form as well."
Amy thought aloud, "Wait a minute! Your original programming was to destroy Sonic, right? Does that mean that you contain some kind of machine that can track his location?"
Metal Sonic continued to answer Amy's questions. "I contain no such mechanism."
Amy sighed, "Oh, darn, that would make it so much easier for us to find him. Well, you can still help us find him, can't you?"
Metal Sonic took a legitimate pause for the first time since the beginning of their encounter. "I don't usually take an interest in the affairs of biological organisms such as yourself, but you have sparked my curiosity. May I ask you a question, Ms. Rose?"
Amy looked up and answered, "Of course, Metal, we're friends now, so you can ask anything."
Metal Sonic spoke, "Why do you chase Sonic when you know that he will always run away? Your continued pursuit of him only puts you in dangerous situations. It never fails, yet you refuse to face facts and give up on your objective. Even if you catch Sonic and he stays, he will inevitably run off eventually to protect something important to him. It is a pointless objective."
Amy's smile faded. She looked toward the ground and clenched her fists. Cream grew worried and thought, Oh no, now he's done it. He shouldn't have talked to Amy like that about Sonic…
Amy's smile returned, and she faced Metal Sonic. Cream was surprised. She expected Amy to slap Metal Sonic or attack him with her hammer, but instead, Amy was smiling. Amy said, "You just don't get it, do you, Metal? It's not a pointless objective. It's love."
Metal Sonic paused again, but there was something different about this pause, something more emotional. "Love? The definition of this word is programmed into my database, yet I do not understand how this thing would compel you to chase Sonic."
Amy chuckled, "No, Metal, you've got it wrong. Love isn't a thing. It's a feeling. When you love someone, you'd be willing to do anything for them because when you see them happy, it makes you feel like the happiest person in the world. You don't know what you'd do without them, and you'd do anything to protect them. You always want to be close to them, no matter what situation they're in. You want to be there for them, and you want them to be there for you."
Metal Sonic replied, "A feeling? I see. That is why I do not understand. I am not programmed to feel emotions." The robot turned around and mumbled to himself, "Is that why I am inferior to Sonic? Emotions? "
Amy asked, "Huh, did you say something, Metal?"
Metal Sonic ignored her question. "It is late. You both must be tired. I will find shelter." The robot found a small hotel, and he bought a two-bed hotel room. Cream shared a bed with Cheese, while Amy slept alone, or at least she tried to sleep. She had great difficulty, and she commonly found herself staring out the window of the room at the full moon outside. It reminded her of Sonic's bright gaze. Metal Sonic, being a robot, did not require sleep. Instead, he watched vigilantly over his new "friends" as they slept peacefully. He looked at Amy, and he wondered.
Chapter 10: Search for the Truth
Sonic and his friends thanked Topaz for her help. Then, they started running toward Metropolis. It was past midnight now, but Sonic was too determined to sleep. What kind of monster was Eggman talking about? Was the monster what killed him? Why did it want to destroy life as we know it, and why did the bad guys always want the Chaos Emeralds? These questions ran through Sonic's mind as he ran through the desert roads. He was darting toward Metropolis at full speed, holding Knuckles and Tails by the wrists. He'd find his answers at the clock tower.
They arrived in Metropolis, another bustling city after dark, but Sonic did not decrease his speed. The city's innumerable neon signs appeared only as blurs and lines of multicolored light when viewed by someone running at three hundred miles per hour. Sonic saw the clock tower, and he finally stopped upon reaching its base.
He released his friends' wrists, and the three looked up at the massive tower, its shorter hand perched between the one and the two, and its longer hand resting near the six. Sonic took a few steps back. Then he dashed at full speed and ran straight up the wall of the tower. Tails looked at Knuckles and held out his hand. "Grab on," the young fox instructed the sturdy echidna. Knuckles grabbed Tails's hand as Tails began flying toward the top of the tower with his twin tails. Sonic reached the top floor of the tower first, and he entered the building. He was surrounded by gears and mechanisms controlling the massive clock. He looked around for something unusual, and he found it in the form of a small metal box sitting in the middle of one of the horizontal cogs controlling the great clockwork. He leaped down across a few gears to the one holding the box. Knuckles and Tails entered afterword, and they leaped down to stand by Sonic. Knuckles said, "A box?"
Sonic shook his head. "I just get the feeling that this is what Eggman wanted us to find."
Knuckles stepped forward. "Leave it to me." Knuckles grabbed the box and tried to open it, but the box would not budge. After a few moments of failure, Knuckles began noticeably struggling to open the box, but it was to no avail. Knuckles shouted, "C'mon, you stupid box, open!" but it did not.
Sonic stepped up. "Let me give it a shot."
Knuckles set down the box and laughed. "Sonic, if I couldn't even open the thing, then what makes you think you stand a chance of opening it?"
Sonic grabbed the box. A robotic voice played from it, "Sonic the Hedgehog DNA identified." The box opened. Knuckles's jaw dropped.
Tails laughed, "I guess brute strength really won't solve everything."
Knuckles shouted at Tails, "Hey! Be quiet! How was I supposed to know that only Sonic could open it?"
Sonic looked at the box. "This is definitely what Eggman wanted us to find."
Then, another Eggman hologram came from the box. Sonic dropped the box in a startled motion. The hologram began to speak. "Sonic, I never thought I'd say this to you, but I am genuinely sorry. I never wanted it to come to this. All I wanted to do was take over the world and destroy you once and for all. My intentions were perfectly reasonable. However, from my ambition was born a great evil, a second ultimate life-form. This life-form was originally designed by my grandfather, Professor Gerald Robotnik, the one who created Shadow. I found an old book of his containing the plans to create this monster. I followed his instructions, but everything went wrong." Sounds of commotion could then be heard in the background of the message. The Eggman hologram grew frantic. "I don't have time to explain the rest, but your answers can probably be found in the recent pages of my research journal. I tore them out and stored them in the box from which this message is broadcasting. Read them and know the truth." Now, loud static could be heard in the background. "Good luck, Sonic, you're this world's last hope." The message ended.
Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all looked into the box with curiosity. Within it, they found several pages of notes with Dr. Eggman's writing on them. Sonic looked at them. "Alright, guys, let's get working on these notes."
Knuckles and Tails looked at Sonic. "Um, Sonic," Knuckles said.
Tails finished, "We're really sleepy. Vanilla and Cream are staying at their vacation home nearby. We should ask to stay the night at their place."
Sonic looked at them. "What? You guys wanna sleep? You've got to be kidding me!"
Tails yawned loudly, "I'm sorry, Sonic."
Sonic sighed, "Fine, we'll go to Cream's place and spend the night." The trio left the clock tower, and Tails directed them to Cream's new vacation home.
They arrived shortly, and Sonic knocked on the door. Vanilla answered. "Sonic! Well hello! How are you doing?"
Sonic answered, "We're sorry for disturbing you so late. We're trying to save the world from a horrible monster, nothing new, but right now, Tails and Knuckles are kind of tired, and we were wondering if we could spend the night here."
Vanilla responded, "Of course you can! Oh my gosh, wait a minute! Cream and Amy left looking to clear your name earlier today, but Vector went with them, so I'm not too worried, but nevertheless, you should go find them. Maybe Cream will come home if you tell them that you can handle it."
Sonic was shocked, "What? Amy's out there looking for me? Ugh, she's such a pain. Alright, I'll deal with it, ma'am. Count on me!" Sonic smiled and gave her a thumbs-up. After that, Vanilla's mind was more at ease. Sonic and his friends gladly slept. Regardless of whether Sonic admitted it, he was tired from a long night. He slept in the guest bedroom, while Tails took Cream's unoccupied bedroom and Knuckles slept on the couch. Tomorrow would be a big day.
Chapter 11: The Ultimate Battle
Shadow's left fist connected with his opponent's right. Shadow used his right leg to kick toward his so-called brother, but the mysterious hedgehog blocked it with his left wrist. That's what Shadow was hoping for. Now, both of his enemy's arms were occupied, and his right hand, which was still holding the handgun, was free to shoot. Just like with Sonic, there's no way this hedgehog could build up enough speed to dodge a bullet at pointblank range. Shadow released his left fist and used it to grab his opponent's right hand. In the same motion, he simultaneously pointed the gun in his right hand toward his adversary's torso, and he fired. That same instant, a flash of red light erupted from the new hedgehog, and he vanished, narrowly avoiding the bullet. Shadow cursed, "Damn! I guess that entrance earlier really was Chaos Control, and he can use it without moving his body at all to dodge my attacks instantly, but where'd he go?"
A voice echoed, "I'm right behind you." Shadow turned around to find a fist which immediately connected with his left cheek. Shadow flew backward for a few yards, but then he caught himself using his hover shoes. Shadow threw down his gun in frustration and armed his red Chaos Emerald.
"I'll send you to Hell!" Shadow yelled. He raised his left hand, and it began to glow with yellow light. "Chaos Spear!" Shadow shouted, and a barrage of blue energy bolts rocketed from his open hand toward his opponent. The mysterious hedgehog was not fazed. He transported himself to safety in a flash of red light using another silent Chaos Control. Shadow's attacks continued and broke the glass container which protected the violet Chaos Emerald along with several of the museum's invaluable exhibits. Shadow instantly turned and searched for his opponent's location. He was to Shadow's right.
The new hedgehog inquired, "Are you done yet? Surely you know by now that your attacks won't work!"
Shadow yelled, "I'm just getting warmed up! Chaos Control!" With a flash of green light, the black hero vanished, and he reappeared directly behind his nameless brother. Shadow punched at his opponent with his left hand, but the mysterious hedgehog turned around and grabbed Shadow's fist with his right. He squeezed Shadow's hand until his counter created a symphony of snapping bones and screams of agony. Shadow used his good hand to grab onto his enemy's wrist. Shadow smiled. "Now I've got you right where I want you."
Shadow's brother chuckled. Then he broke out into full laughter, "Was that really your plan? You sacrificed every bone in your left hand just to grab hold of my wrist. You can't even squeeze me hard enough to damage my tough body. It doesn't matter if you and I share superhuman strength, your strength is useless against my invulnerable skin! Besides, I can use Chaos Control to break from your grip any time I want." The smile on the mysterious hedgehog's face vanished. A shocked expression appeared on his face. "What is this? Why didn't my Chaos Control work?"
Now it was Shadow's turn to chuckle. "I told you that I've got you, but since you're so desperate to know why you can't escape, I'll tell you. Your Chaos Control worked just fine. The fact of the matter is I simply used Chaos Control at the exact same time as you did. Since we're both using Chaos Control, you can't take advantage of stopping time around us to escape from my grip." At this point, Shadow's brother was trying desperately to escape from Shadow's grip. However, just as he had said before, Shadow was able to match him in strength, and he was unable to break free. Since brute force was useless, Shadow's brother used his free left hand to punch Shadow in the stomach. Shadow flinched as the punch forced the air from his body, but he did not release the mysterious hedgehog.
Shadow's brother conceded, and a slight grin returned to his face. "Alright, Brother, you've got me, but let me ask you this, now what will you do? Your left hand is useless, and you need your right hand to hold me captive. You could try kicking me to death, but as I said before, even your strength can't damage my skin. Besides, you only have one Chaos Emerald, and I have three. Your Chaos Control will not last as long as mine will, and once your Chaos Control runs out, I'll be free to beat you senseless at my leisure."
The smile on Shadow's face did not break. He looked his brother in the eye. "You've got a point, but I'm afraid to say that you've grossly underestimated me. When I used Chaos Control to appear behind you just before my attack, I knew I wouldn't be able to hit you with your own trick. That wasn't the point of using that initial Chaos Control. The point was to get this without your interference." Shadow opened his teeth and revealed the violet Chaos Emerald underneath his tongue.
The expression on the mysterious hedgehog's face returned to one of shock. He looked over to the broken glass case which once contained the violet Emerald, and the Emerald was gone. The trapped hedgehog thought, He's been planning this from the beginning. He knew I'd dodge that Chaos Spear attack of his. He just wanted to break the case around the Chaos Emerald so he could get to it! He wanted me to think that the point of his Chaos Control was to appear behind me and surprise me, but the attack was a feint in order to get the Emerald and trap me in his grasp, and I fell for it! Damn him!
Shadow closed his mouth over the Emerald. "You say that your skin is invulnerable, but I'd like to try and prove you wrong! Let's see if you can handle this!" The red outlines on Shadow's quills began glowing, and his eyes lost their color. A red aura appeared around the black hero.
Now, the mysterious hedgehog's expression changed from shock to panic. He thought, That's why he needed a second Chaos Emerald! He's going to perform a Chaos attack within a Chaos Control!
Shadow announced, "Chaos… Blast!" In an instant, the hedgehogs' Chaos Controls were broken, and the entire room was destroyed by an exploding shockwave of red energy. The more fragile of the museum room's artifacts were disintegrated. The less fragile were shattered, and the sturdy were crushed. The walls crumbled to the ground, and the ceiling fell in. A crater was formed in the ground where the room of the museum stood only an instant earlier. This was the result of Shadow's quest for power. This was his ultimate technique, the ultimate power, the Chaos Blast. There was a momentary yell in pain as the mysterious hedgehog felt the impact of Shadow's Chaos Blast. Then, the yell vanished along with the area. Shadow collapsed to the ground. "It's over." Using Chaos Blast in a Chaos Control proved more difficult than he imagined.
A voice echoed, "Well, I'll admit, Brother, you gave me quite a scare." Now Shadow's face became panicked. "That attack really hurt. I suppose you actually are another ultimate life-form." Shadow looked up to the face of his so-called brother, standing above him with a mocking smile and his arms in that same open position as when their battle began. "Nevertheless, I am still superior. I'll be taking these now." The mysterious hedgehog reached into the helpless Shadow's coat pocket and removed his red Chaos Emerald. After that, he kicked Shadow in the side, and Shadow coughed up the violet Emerald. His brother retrieved it as well. Shadow writhed in pain. He was too exhausted to move, and now the pain of his broken left hand was reaching him. He could do nothing as the rings on his brother's wrists absorbed the violet and red Chaos Emeralds. The victor looked down at Shadow again. "Now, I need just two more. I'll let you live this time, Brother, and give you a chance to reconsider my offer of joining me. Now that you know my power, you might want to seriously think about coming to my side because when we next fight, I will not show you this same mercy." The mysterious hedgehog vanished in a flash of red light, and Shadow fell to unconsciousness.
Chapter 12: The Other Metal
Amy and Cream were both rudely awakened. "Wake up," Metal Sonic demanded with enthusiasm. "Hurry."
Amy's eyes slowly opened. She was still sleepy, and she was not fully awake. She looked to the bed next to her and saw Cream and Cheese in a similar state of drowsiness. She turned her attention to Metal Sonic, "What's the rush, Metal?"
Metal Sonic looked around. Then he addressed Amy, "You both must leave this place immediately. It will not be safe here."
Cream asked, "Safe? Why won't it be safe? What's going on?"
Metal Sonic spoke again without turning to address Cream directly, "You must leave now before—"
Another robotic voice spoke, "Before what, Sonic? Before I discover your treachery?" The voice came from the balcony, the door to which had somehow been opened, and a small draft blew through the room and carried the new metallic voice. The robotic image of a red echidna stood in the balcony.
Metal Sonic turned his head around and addressed the robot, "Why are you here, Knuckles?" Amy suddenly became more awake, though she and Cream had yet to rise from their beds. Amy rubbed her eyes and saw the new robot more clearly. It was a Metal doppelganger of Knuckles the Echidna.
Metal Knuckles stepped into the hotel room. His programmed personality seemed much more casual than that of Metal Sonic. He spoke, "I'm here to make sure you're performing your mission properly. By the looks of it, I'd say that you're failing at that." Metal Knuckles let out a mechanical sigh. "You really are such a disappointment, Sonic. Your objective is to find a safe location to hide and protect that specific item, but instead you're gallanting about in the open public, and you're doing so with our enemies, nonetheless."
Metal Sonic turned completely toward Metal Knuckles. "The item is secure with me. It is not your purpose to determine how I should perform my mission. These two are bystanders, and they pose no threat to our objective. Therefore, disposing of them would be a waste of my time and power."
Metal Knuckles gave a fake smile. "If they're just bystanders, then why are you tagging along with them? It's not like they're helping with your objective either. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that they'd be a distraction to your objective, don't you think?"
Metal Sonic spoke again, "Why is it of your concern how I perform my mission? Currently, the item in question is safe. Therefore, I am completing my directive."
Metal Knuckles stepped forward and dropped his fake smile. "I'm the one who determines whether or not you are adequately completing your directive, and I say that you're doing a bad job, so I am now subject to following orders and thereby relieving you of your duty."
Metal Sonic seemed to frown. "You will not fool me, Knuckles. I am aware that your intention is solely to fight me. You do not care about my directive in the slightest. You simply desire to prove yourself the superior model. I discovered that on the day we met, and I knew it was only a matter of time before you challenged me." Amy and Cream had by now risen from their beds. Metal Sonic referred to the two girls. "However, leave them out of your self-imposed duty. Your business is with me, not them. As I stated previously, they are simply bystanders."
Metal Knuckles looked at Amy. "If that's the case…" He armed a laser gun in his left arm and fired it at the pink hedgehog. Amy dodged the blast, but the subsequent explosion created a hole in the wall, leading to the hotel hallway.
Amy armed her Piko Piko Hammer. Metal Sonic looked toward her. "Go!"
Amy shouted, "No way! I'm not letting you fight this creep alone! I already told you we're friends now! I don't care what happened in the past! You're different!"
Metal Sonic's eyes glowed bright red. "I said, 'Go!' "
Cream grabbed Amy by the arm. "I think we should listen to him, Amy," Cream added.
Cheese enthused, "Cho! Cho-Cho!" Cream pulled Amy through the hole in the wall created by Metal Knuckles's laser.
Metal Knuckles fired another blast at them, but Metal Sonic intercepted the laser and deflected it toward the balcony. The blast created a hole in the wall leading to the outside of the hotel, and the outdoor balcony fell to the ground. Metal Sonic's eyes continued glowing, and he said, "I told you that your business is not with them!"
Metal Knuckles's eyes glowed red as well. "Fine, I'll scrap you first if that's what you want." Metal Sonic dashed out the new hole in the wall which led to the outside where the balcony was previously positioned. He used his jets to blast away from the hotel, but before he got far, a red blur zoomed past him, and Metal Knuckles hovered in the air in front of him. Metal Sonic stopped. His robotic rival let out a fake chuckle, "I see what you're doing. You're trying to lure me away from your little friends, so they'll have time to escape before I'm done obliterating you. However, you seem to have forgotten something: Dr. Eggman built me with the same amount of speed that you have. I'm just as fast as you are, Sonic."
Metal Sonic spoke, "You have miscalculated. The girls are of no concern to me. I simply desired to fight you in a less crowded location, so when I annihilate you, your bits will have more room to scatter across the area."
Metal Knuckles chuckled again. "Your false pride won't help you now, Sonic." Metal Knuckles flew toward Metal Sonic at high velocity. "We both know that this fight ends with you as specks of dust floating in the wind!"
Metal Knuckles punched toward Metal Sonic, but Metal Sonic dodged. Metal Knuckles persisted with an onslaught of punches, alternating fists with every punch. Metal Sonic observed the nature of the attacks, and he discovered an opening in Metal Knuckles's defenses near the mechanical echidna's abdomen. A laser gun extended from Metal Sonic's right arm, and he fired at his enemy's abdomen. The blast pushed Metal Knuckles back exactly 2.3 yards according to Metal Sonic's visual calculations, but Metal Knuckles regained his position and announced, "You didn't really think that'd work, did you? My armor is just as strong as yours. It'll take a lot more than one simple laser to hurt me."
Metal Sonic switched the laser gun on his arm to rapid-fire, and he shot a barrage of blasts at Metal Knuckles, who took every hit. The attacks pushed him back into the wall of a nearby building, and a few of Metal Sonic's lasers hit the building's wall. The wall subsequently crumbled, and a cloud of dust formed over Metal Knuckles, but Metal Sonic did not cease to fire until the wall was reduced to nothing but dust and the building fell on Metal Knuckles. Metal Sonic watched as law enforcement and security officials evacuated civilians from the area of destruction. Metal Sonic flew down to his enemy's calculated location under the rubble. "You were disappointingly simple to defeat," Metal Sonic said as he observed the rubble of the building.
Metal Knuckles sprang from the rubble behind Metal Sonic. Metal Sonic tried to turn around in time to counter Metal Knuckles's inevitable attack, but blue robot was caught off guard. Metal Knuckles bashed the back of Metal Sonic's head with the side of his fist, and Metal Sonic flew forward and hit the ground. The robotic hedgehog stood up and waited for his automatic repair system to fix the damage inflicted on the back of his cranium, but it did not. Metal Knuckles ran toward Metal Sonic and shouted, "You're an idiot to think you can beat me! Your blueprints have been programmed into my database! I know the location of every wire and mechanism in your body, and I can turn them off just by applying force to the right areas! Now that I've shut down your auto-repair system, I have the satisfaction of knowing that when I blow you up, you can't put yourself back together!"
This revelation did not hinder Metal Sonic's drive to fight. He curled himself into a spiky, metal ball and spun toward Metal Knuckles. Metal Knuckles grabbed Metal Sonic in his ball form, and he shoved the blue robot into the ground. Metal Sonic's impact shattered a small portion of the concrete. Metal Knuckles hollowly chuckled, "Not only are my speed and defense equal to yours, but my strength is far superior! You're outclassed, Sonic! I've already won!"
Metal Sonic rose to his feet and tried to punch Metal Knuckles, but Metal Knuckles grabbed both of his arms. Then, he placed his right foot on Metal Sonic's chest, and he pulled off the metal hedgehog's arms. Metal Knuckles dropped Metal Sonic's right arm, but he used the disembodied left arm to bash Metal Sonic across the face. Then, he discarded the left arm as well, and he flew into the air. Metal Sonic felt something now, something reminiscent of fear, but it wasn't quite fear. It was more like a sense of helplessness or inferiority, a sense of failure. Metal Knuckles used his rockets to hastily descend toward Metal Sonic. The red robot pulled back his left fist, and he punched Metal Sonic in the chest. The twin claws on Metal Knuckles's fist penetrated Metal Sonic's armor, and they cut off Metal Sonic's connection to his power source. Metal Sonic fell to the ground. The light began to fade, and his systems shut down one by one. He saw Metal Knuckles rare back his right fist to prepare for a second punch, but then everything went dark.
"Emergency power system activated."
The light returned to Metal Sonic's perspective. Everything appeared blurry at first, but then the images of the world around him became clear. Amy Rose was kneeling on one knee in front of him with her front facing away. She held her Piko Piko Hammer strenuously in both hands. She was blocking Metal Knuckles's punch. Metal Sonic was surprised. "I told you to go!"
Amy replied, though her struggle to keep Metal Knuckles's attack from hitting Metal Sonic was obvious in her voice. She spoke between pants, "You—really are an idiot.—For the last time, —I told you we're friends now, —and friends—always—protect each other."
Something clicked in Metal Sonic's head then. Literally, a switch in his head was activated, and his automatic repair system suddenly became operational. His arms regenerated. The damage done to his chest and the back of his head was reversed. His connection to his primary power source was repaired, and his emergency power system was shut off. Metal Sonic stood, and he pushed Amy out of his way. Metal Knuckles's fist, now clear of Amy's interference, continued on its path toward the original target, Metal Sonic. Metal Sonic's chest glowed yellow, and a gigantic beam of yellow energy directly from his power source emitted from his torso. The energy beam instantly disintegrated the robotic echidna's right arm, and it immediately afterward connected with the rest of Metal Knuckles's body. Metal Knuckles spoke within the energy blast. "This—cannot be happening!"
The red robot flew backwards into a bronze statue of some person whom the town apparently thought worthy of having a metal statue created in his honor. The back of Metal Knuckles's head was bashed into the statue's extended hand, and half of the robot's cranium was destroyed. Metal Knuckles fell to the ground. The lower half of his body was destroyed by Metal Sonic's attack. The armor covering the front of his chest was torn away, revealing his central power core, a glowing sphere of some kind created by Dr. Eggman. His red paint was all chipped away, revealing his metallic grey skin underneath. Metal Sonic walked toward his defeated adversary. "For all of your cockiness, this is quite a pathetic conclusion for our battle. It appears that my pride was not false. You are inferior."
Metal Knuckles looked up toward Metal Sonic with somewhat of a robotic rage. "How? I don't understand! How did you defeat me? I am superior to you in every way! I am the more recent model! I deactivated your auto-repair system, and your programming forbids it from being reactivated except by manual means, so you couldn't have reactivated it without your arms, not without overriding your original programming! How did you do it? How did you overwrite your own programming?" The victorious robot did not respond, further infuriating Metal Knuckles. The half-destroyed robot screamed in rage, "What the hell do you have that I don't?"
Metal Sonic armed the laser gun in his right arm and pointed it toward Metal Knuckles's exposed power source. "A friend." He shot a single laser into Metal Knuckles's core, and the robotic echidna exploded in a fury of energy and metal.
Chapter 13: Eggman's Journal
Chapter 13: Eggman's Journal
Sonic awoke early in the morning. He had finished his breakfast cereal before Knuckles, Tails, and Vanilla even began to stir. He looked at the first page of Eggman's journal.
Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, May 30th
While going through some old storage boxes in the basement of my evil lair, I discovered an old book written by my grandfather, Gerald Robotnik. It's written completely in code, but after deciphering it, I discovered that it contains details on many of his great accomplishments: Project Shadow, Project Gizoid, the Eclipse Cannon, and others. It was all, of course, written before his fall to insanity. The last page, however, contains an unfinished project of his. Its code is harder to crack than the others, but I'll be able to decipher it in a matter of time. On a different note, I wonder how Mecha Sonic's progress is going. According to my scanners, he's collected six of the seven Chaos Emeralds. That's good. Once he collects that seventh Emerald, Sonic will be no more!"
Sonic chuckled after reading the last sentence. He continued to read.
Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, May 31st
Today has been a disaster. Mecha Sonic collected the seventh Chaos Emerald and transformed into Super Mecha Sonic, but then he led Sonic right back to my base, and my entire laboratory was destroyed by their battle. To make matters worse, I lost my grandfather's coded book in the rubble, and Super Mecha Sonic was defeated and destroyed by Sonic! I thought for sure I had him this time! At least I memorized the last page of my grandfather's book before I lost it, and I managed to salvage Mecha Sonic's pieces and rebuild him as Metal Sonic again, but he seems different now. Oh well, I suppose today wasn't a complete failure. I did manage to collect the yellow Chaos Emerald in the aftermath of Super Mecha Sonic's destruction.
Sonic pondered for a moment, "So that's where the yellow Emerald has been all this time." Then, he continued to read.
Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, June 29th
I've finally managed to decode the last page of my grandfather's book. It contains plans for a very special project of his. At first, I deemed it useless to my plans for world domination, but then I realized that this project might be the one thing that can finally destroy Sonic. After all, even Sonic can't match the power of the gods. I'll begin working on the project in the morning."
Sonic said, "The power of the gods? What was that old man thinking?" Knuckles, Tails, and Vanilla finally awoke, and Vanilla made pancakes for them. She offered to make a plate for Sonic, but Sonic refused since he had already eaten cereal. Sonic settled back down and continued to read Eggman's journal.
Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, June 30th
I've managed to nearly complete my grandfather's project today. I'm going to use the Chaos Emerald that I stole from a government facility a few days ago to give the project an affinity for chaos. I'm also programming its memories with information on Sonic and all of his friends, so he can defeat them without having to learn all of their abilities. This project could be the thing that finally puts me at my rightful place as ruler of the world. Still, I have an uneasy feeling about this. As a precaution, I've decided to dress an EggBot in skin made from my DNA, complete with blood, and I'll have it perform the finishing touches on the project in my disguise. That way, if anything goes wrong, I'll be long gone. I've also given Metal Sonic a specific mission to complete if anything goes wrong, and I've reactivated Metal Knuckles and reprogrammed him to ensure that Metal Sonic's mission is successful.
Sonic was shocked. Metal Sonic and Metal Knuckles were active and out there somewhere. He'd have to deal with them after he was done clearing his name. He read the last page.
Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, July 1st
Everything went completely wrong. Project Saturn went rogue and turned on my minions. He stole the silver Chaos Emerald and destroyed the EggBot in my disguise along with my entire laboratory. Metal Sonic and Metal Knuckles managed to escape, and they know their directive. I pray that Metal Sonic can complete his mission. He may very well end up being the world's last hope. If Project Saturn collects all seven Chaos Emeralds, he'll become invincible, and nothing will be able to stop him. Who knows what he plans to do once he's ascended to godhood! I'm going to leave clues around for Sonic, so he can find them and be warned of this horrible monster that I have created. I've also decided to hide out in a secret chamber in the basement of the clock tower in Metropolis until Sonic finds all of my clues and seeks me out.
Sonic's jaw dropped. Eggman was alive. The one on the news was an EggBot in human skin, disguised as Eggman as a cowardly method of protecting its creator. Sonic looked over toward Tails and Knuckles. "Knuckles! Tails! You won't believe what this journal says! It's about Eggman! He's—"
Sonic was interrupted by the hurried opening of the front door. Rouge walked into the house, and she carried Shadow unconscious on her back.
Chapter 14: The Truth is Revealed
Shadow awoke on a couch in the living room of a strange, small house. He looked up to find himself surrounded by five faces, all familiar, but only one of which he was not unhappy to see. He saw the faces of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Vanilla, and Rouge. His left arm was in a cast, and his left hand was heavily bandaged. The last thing he could remember was being defeated by that mysterious hedgehog who called himself his brother. Shadow's eyes widened. He instantly sat up, but then he cringed as his sore muscles demanded that he lie back down. He disobeyed them. Instead, he checked his coat pockets. The Chaos Emeralds were gone. Then he remembered. His brother took them. He clenched his good hand into a tight fist in his frustration.
Then Sonic spoke, "Shadow, we need to talk."
Shadow looked up at him. "You're right. First of all, where am I, and why am I here?"
Vanilla answered, "You're in my vacation home in Metropolis. Rouge took you here because you were badly hurt in a fight."
Shadow looked at Rouge, "You took me here to recover? Couldn't you have just taken me to a hospital?"
Rouge laughed, "Ha, the hospital, funny, let me tell you something. I work for the government, Honey. I don't make that kind of money."
Shadow smirked. "The hospital would try to keep me from leaving anyway."
Sonic intervened, "Alright, we really do need to talk. We've got quite a situation on our hands."
Shadow looked at his injuries and added, "You're telling me."
Sonic said, "O.K., here's our situation in a nutshell: Dr. Eggman has created a second ultimate life-form, a monster who seeks the Chaos Emeralds in order to become something like a god. However, before Eggman's plans went awry, he dispatched Metal Sonic and Metal Knuckles on some kind of mission to help save the world, but this is what I really wanted to tell you: Eggman's alive."
Every eye in the room widened. Rouge said, "That's impossible. I saw Eggman's dead body with my own eyes."
Sonic looked to Rouge. "It was a fake, an EggBot complete with blood and human skin made from Dr. Eggman's DNA. Eggman's creation destroyed the fake and took his Chaos Emerald. You saw the new ultimate life-form's silhouette leave the area, and you confirmed that Shadow was nowhere near the site, so everyone assumed that I killed him when, in truth, he's not even really dead. After hearing that, Amy and Cream went with Vector to try and prove my innocence, so now they're out there somewhere too."
Shadow began to speak. "I met this new ultimate life-form at the museum last night. He called himself my brother. I challenged him, but he defeated me, and he stole my Chaos Emerald along with the one from the museum." Shadow addressed Knuckles, "He also had your green Chaos Emerald."
Knuckles exclaimed, "I knew it!"
Tails wondered aloud, "So Shadow, do you know how many Chaos Emeralds this monster has?"
Shadow looked to Tails, "Five, that means there are two more out there somewhere. He's looking for them, and we have no idea where they are."
Sonic smirked. He took off his right shoe, and he pulled from it the blue Chaos Emerald. Shadow was shocked. He lunged toward Sonic with his good arm and demanded, "Give me that!"
Sonic retracted and said, "No way, Faker, you already had your chance with the Chaos Emeralds, and you lost them, so I'm holding onto this one." Shadow reached into his coat for his gun. It wasn't there. He remembered throwing it down in frustration during his fight against his brother.
Shadow stood up. He took off his coat and left it on the couch. Then, he started walking toward the door. Sonic asked, "Where are you going now?"
Shadow looked back, noticeably annoyed. "Isn't it obvious? You said that Eggman is alive, right? I'm going to find him."
Sonic asked, "What about finding the Chaos Emeralds? Besides, you're in no condition to go out on your own."
Shadow responded, "I'm fine. I'll leave finding the last Chaos Emerald to you."
Rouge stood up. "Then I'm going with you."
Shadow looked at her. "No, you're not. They need your help more than I do. You're a treasure hunter, aren't you? They'll need your knack for finding valuable jewels."
Sonic said, "Shadow." Shadow looked toward him again. Sonic continued, "Eggman is hiding in a secret chamber in the basement of the clock tower." Knuckles pulled out a lock of Sonic's fur. Sonic looked at Knuckles and exclaimed, "Ouch! What was that for?"
Knuckles gave the lock of fur to Shadow. "You might need this," the echidna said. "So far, all of Eggman's clues have only been intended for Sonic, and there's been scanners that need to identify his DNA before you can get anywhere."
Shadow took the blue fur and nodded, "Thanks." Then, the black hedgehog left the house.
He got to the clock tower in no time, since it was very close to Vanilla's vacation home. He went into the bottom floor, and a voice announced, "Sonic the Hedgehog DNA identified." Part of the wall rose, revealing a secret room. Shadow entered, and he saw the criminal mad scientist, Dr. Eggman.
Chapter 15: Project Saturn's Power
Amy was shocked. She had just witnessed the destruction of Metal Knuckles. She always knew that Metal Sonic was powerful, but usually that power induced fear. Now, it induced something strange, a feeling of relief and security, almost a feeling of warmth. She looked at the mechanical hero with awe. Somehow, he looked more like Sonic now than he did before. Her thoughts were interrupted by Cream. "Amy!" Cream yelled as she ran toward the pink hedgehog. "Are you alright? I told you to let Metal Sonic handle it!"
Amy looked at Cream and smiled. "Yeah, I'm fine, Cream. Don't worry. Metal Knuckles is gone now. Sonic took care of him."
Cream looked confused. "Sonic?" she wondered.
Amy shook her head and corrected herself, "I mean Metal Sonic. I'm sorry." Cream chuckled and smiled. Then, Amy began laughing along, and Cheese laughed as well.
Amy called over toward Metal Sonic, "Hey! Metal! Good job! You really proved that guy wrong! You are the coolest robot I've ever seen!"
Cream yelled, "Yeah, Metal, congrats! You rock!"
A third, more menacing voice echoed, "Congratulations indeed, Metal Sonic."
Metal Sonic was noticeably shocked. He looked toward the source of the voice. Amy, Cream, and Cheese looked toward the voice as well. It did not take long to discover that the source of the voice was a hedgehog with long, spiky, and black fur. At the end of each spike was a red, flame-shaped design. The hedgehog wore black shoes and gloves, along with three bracelets on each wrist. Each bracelet was a different color. The bracelets were, from top to bottom, silver, cyan, and violet on his left wrist, and green, red, and gray on his right wrist. The gray bracelet lacked the jewel-like luster that the other bracelets possessed. The mysterious hedgehog continued, "I was under the impression that you and Metal Knuckles were on the same team. I never thought you'd turn against each other, but I suppose that worked to my benefit. After all, if it wasn't for that last big attack you shot at him, I wouldn't have been able to find you, and now I only have to deal with one meddlesome robot instead of two."
Amy looked toward Metal Sonic. "Metal, do you know him? Who is this guy?"
Metal responded to Amy's question. "This is Project Saturn, the second ultimate life-form. He was designed by Gerald Robotnik and created by Dr. Eggman for the purpose of destroying Sonic, but he went rogue and destroyed Dr. Eggman's laboratory. Now, he seeks to become a god by collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds in order to become complete. Each of those bracelets on his wrists is built to contain one of the Chaos Emeralds."
Amy looked at Project Saturn, and then she looked back at Metal Sonic. She asked, "Then why are there only six bracelets? If he needs all seven Chaos Emeralds, then he would need seven bracelets to hold them all."
Project Saturn answered for Metal Sonic. "On the contrary, Ms. Amy Rose, that's exactly why I only need six bracelets. Once I am in possession of the seventh Chaos Emerald, I will become complete, and these bracelets will be obsolete."
Metal Sonic looked at the bracelets, and then he referred to Project Saturn. "I see that you have only collected five of the Chaos Emeralds. Why are you not searching for the other two?"
Project Saturn said, "Sweet, naïve Metal Sonic, that's exactly what I'm doing. That gigantic attack you used to defeat Metal Knuckles had a great bit of chaos energy in it. There's a Chaos Emerald around here somewhere. I know it, so why don't you just hand it over?"
Metal Sonic answered, "I am afraid that you are mistaken."
Project Saturn clenched his fist. "Fine, if you won't play nice, then I won't either. Since you won't tell me where the Chaos Emerald is, I'll just have to tear this place apart until I find it!" The mysterious hedgehog lifted his fist into the air and shouted, "Chaos Eruption!" He punched the ground. Suddenly, the ground began detonating spontaneously around Project Saturn. The detonations continued to extend away from the caster, and they stretched toward Amy and Cream. Metal Sonic rolled himself into a ball and used lasers to cut out a circle in the ground around Amy and Cream. Then, he grabbed the section of the ground, and he pulled it upward using his rockets, creating small pillar, at the top of which he stood safely away from the explosions along with Amy, Cream, and Cheese. However, the detonations extended not only to the base of the pillar. The entire edge of the pillar began erupting into a series of spontaneous explosions. The pillar fell. Metal Sonic was safe with his rockets, but Amy and Cream began to fall with the pillar. Cream tried to use her ears to fly to safety, but the explosions had caused her to fall at a pace too rapid for her to catch enough wind to stop or even slow herself to the point of safety. The two girls screamed as they fell.
Chapter 16: Saturn the Hedgehog
Although the speed of Cream's fall was intense, in her adrenaline-fueled state of panic, it seemed to be happening in slow motion to the young rabbit. Her fear got the best of her. She closed her eyes and waited for her fall to come to a sudden, agonizing halt, but it did not. Instead, she felt herself being caught, and she was gently held. Cream's panic subsided, and a rush of relief flowed through her. She opened her eyes. Carrying her was none other than Vector the Crocodile. Vector looked at Cream and said, "I told your mother that I'd watch out for you two, and darn it, I intend to do just that! It's a good thing that I found you when I did, or you'd be a pancake!"
Cream was still in a state of mild shock. She asked Vector, "Where's Amy?"
Vector smiled, "She's better than ever. See for yourself." Cream looked to her right.
Amy found herself in the arms of her hero, the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Amy opened her eyes slowly. She looked up at Sonic. "Sonic? Is that really you? How did you get here?"
Sonic smiled and looked down at Amy with heroic green eyes. "I'll admit you were falling pretty fast just now. Given my distance from your location, I wouldn't have been able to catch you just by running," Sonic paused for a moment to reveal his blue Chaos Emerald, "so I used this."
Tails, Knuckles, and Rouge arrived at the scene. They stared in awe at the steaming remains of the city block. Tails wondered aloud, "What happened here?"
Sonic continued to look at Amy for a moment. Then, without setting her down, his eyes drifted upward, and they found Metal Sonic. Sonic asked Amy, "Was it him?"
Amy answered defensively, "No! He's good now, Sonic! He saved my life, and he protected Cream and me from Metal Knuckles! He's my friend, our friend!"
Sonic stared at his mechanical counterpart for a moment. He said, "Is that so?" He continued to stare. Amy could not tell what Sonic was thinking from his expression, but she could tell that Sonic was definitely thinking hard about something. Sonic set Amy down gently. "Wait a minute! Did you say that Metal Knuckles was here? Did he do this?"
Amy shook her head. "No, he showed up and tried to attack us, but Metal Sonic destroyed him. The one who did this," Amy pointed toward the mysterious hedgehog, Project Saturn, "is him."
All eyes turned toward the new villain. Vector asked, "And just who are you?"
Project Saturn sighed loudly. "I hate having to repeat myself. Let me say this one more time. Make sure you're all listening because I will not say it again. I am the second ultimate life-form, the younger brother of Shadow the Hedgehog. I am the last project designed by Professor Gerald Robotnik, but I was completed and created by Dr. Ivo Robotnik, also known as Dr. Eggman. I am Project Saturn. However, you may all address me by my true name, Saturn the Hedgehog."
Vector spoke, "So tell me this, Saturn the Hedgehog: Are you the one who killed Dr. Eggman?"
Saturn answered, "I suppose you could—.”
Sonic interrupted, "Vector! There's something important you need to know! Eggman's not dead! The thing you saw on the news was a fake. It was an EggBot with skin and blood made from Eggman's DNA."
Saturn finished, "Yes, I'm the one who broke that little tin can in human skin."
Vector nodded and grinned. "I suspected as much. Eggman has managed to weasel his way out of Sonic's clutches for years now. I had a feeling he couldn't be eliminated so easily."
Saturn eyed Sonic's Chaos Emerald. "Now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, what's say you hand over that Emerald, so I can be on my way?"
Sonic gripped his Chaos Emerald tightly. He yelled toward Saturn, "No way! You only want it to become some sort of god!"
Amy, Cream, Cheese, and Vector all looked toward Sonic in shock. Amy thought aloud, "A god?"
Sonic continued, "I suspected you were bad news after what you did to Shadow, but now that I've met you in person, I'm sure of it. You're pure evil! Not only will I not give you my Chaos Emerald, I'm going to take all of the ones you have and return them to their rightful owners. After that, I'm going to make sure you can never hurt anyone ever again!"
Saturn cackled maniacally, "Well, Sonic, you're just as cocky as I thought. Alright, fine, since you're in such a hurry to die, I'll accommodate you with pleasure. If you think you can take these Emeralds from me, then just come at me and try!"
Sonic looked toward Tails. "Tails, I need you to keep Cream and Cheese safe. This guy defeated Shadow just last night, and he doesn't seem fatigued or injured in the slightest, so he's way too dangerous for you guys. Leave this to me and the others."
Tails nodded, "Right." He ran over to Cream and Cheese. "C'mon, you two, we'll just be in their way." The twin-tailed fox led them safely away from the area.
Rouge pulled her cell phone from her pocket. She dialed a number. The number answered. Rouge spoke, "Yes, Topaz, this is Rouge. I need you to have G.U.N. agents evacuate Metropolis. Sonic the Hedgehog along with me and several of our accomplices are about to combat Eggman's supposed murderer. I'll tell you the details later. Anyways, the Chaos Emeralds are involved, and our opponent has already proven able to perform very destructive attacks without showing any signs of tiring, so things are going to get messy." Rouge closed and pocketed her phone. She armed a handgun.
Saturn opened his arms mockingly. In a single motion, Sonic and his friends attacked. Sonic ran toward Saturn. Rouge fired her gun. Knuckles jumped and fell toward him. Metal Sonic flew at him. Amy readied her Piko Piko Hammer and charged. Sonic was the first to reach Saturn. The blue hero punched at his enemy with his right hand, but the mysterious hedgehog blocked with his right arm. The next to reach their enemy was Rouge's bullet. Saturn caught it with his left hand and dropped it. Then, Metal Sonic arrived with a right-handed punch of his own. Saturn blocked the attack with his left arm. Sonic then punched at Saturn with his left hand. Saturn used his right leg to block. Then, he grabbed Metal Sonic's and Sonic's wrists, and he threw them in opposite directions. Then Knuckles reached him and punched down toward him with his right hand. Saturn dodged slightly and left-handedly punched Knuckles in the stomach. Amy reached him last. She swung at him with her Piko Piko Hammer. Saturn grabbed it with his right hand. Knuckles tightly wrapped his arms around Saturn's waist, restraining him. Meanwhile, Metal Sonic had readied the laser gun in his left arm. Now that Saturn was restrained, he switched the gun to automatic and fired a hailstorm of lasers toward the evil hedgehog. There was a flash of red light, and Saturn disappeared. Knuckles would've been hit by the barrage of lasers, but Amy stood in front of him and spun her Piko Piko Hammer to skillfully block them.
Metal Sonic examined the teleportation, and he reached a conclusion: Chaos Control. Sonic and Knuckles recognized the technique immediately. Sonic said, "Watch out, guys! He knows how to use Chaos Control!"
Knuckles said, "Yeah, I know!" He looked toward Rouge, "Why didn't you tell us that before?"
Rouge seemed nonchalantly annoyed as she responded, "I thought it would be obvious since he's Shadow’s brother."
Sonic looked at them. "Hey, you two, now's not the time for bickering!" He looked from side to side, but there was no sign of Saturn. "Dang, where'd he go?"
Metal Sonic scanned the area. He yelled, "Sonic, look out! He is above you!"
Sonic looked up in shock. Saturn was falling toward him with great speed. Sonic jumped backward in order to barely dodge the attack. Saturn's impact created a small crater and shattered a chunk of the concrete. Saturn chuckled, "I'm impressed, Metal Sonic. Your skills of detection amaze me. I completely hid my aura of the energy that radiates from Chaos Emeralds, so you couldn't sense my presence, and yet you were still able to locate me in time to warn Sonic, who was, by the way, impressively fast enough to dodge my attack. You all are just as impressive as I thought you'd be, yet somehow, you still manage to be pitifully weak. Even when all of you attacked me at once, none of you were able to lay so much as a scratch on me."
There was a flash of blue light. Sonic appeared behind Saturn and punched at him. There was a flash of red light. Now Saturn was behind Sonic. Saturn successfully punched Sonic aside. He mocked, "That was your big sneak attack?"
Vector sprang from the shadows and grabbed Saturn from behind. The muscular crocodile yelled, "No, this was! Get him, Rouge!" Saturn looked surprised. Rouge flew toward him and spun herself midair. She performed her signature Screw Kick on his chest. The wind was knocked from Saturn as Rouge's high heel boot connected with his ribcage in a drilling motion. Then, he appeared behind Vector in a flash of red light, and he punched Vector and Rouge aside.
Saturn brushed himself off. "That was a noble effort, but I'm far too powerful to be damaged by such a technique."
Sonic and Knuckles ran toward him. Knuckles yelled, "Then how about this technique?" Knuckles grabbed Sonic's wrist and jumped into the air. Sonic curled himself into a ball, and Knuckles clenched Sonic between his fists. An aura of fire appeared around Sonic, and Knuckles dunked the blue fireball toward his opponent. Saturn moved to the side to dodge, but when Sonic hit the ground, a small wave of smoke spawned from the point of impact. Saturn was temporarily blinded. Knuckles took advantage of this opening to punch at the evil hedgehog, but Saturn again used Chaos Control in a flash of red light to teleport out of the way. Saturn appeared behind Knuckles and tried to punch him, but Knuckles turned around and dodged the attack. Then, Knuckles swung away with a flurry of punch after punch, and he smirked. "I figured out your fighting style. You dodge when you can, but when you don't have time, you like to use Chaos Control to appear behind your opponents and catch them off guard with a sneak attack, but that won't work on me!" Metal Sonic watched closely. Sonic, Amy, and Vector ran toward Saturn from different angles.
Saturn smirked. "You're just as I thought you'd be too, Knuckles: naïve, foolish, brazen, gullible, and easily deceived." Knuckles was irritated. Saturn chuckled, "If you think Chaos Control is my only defense, you're dead wrong!" Saturn stopped dodging. He yelled, "Chaos Shockwave!" A gigantic aura of red energy surrounded Saturn and expanded. It blasted Knuckles along with the advancing Sonic, Amy, and Vector. The four of them were sent flying back. Metal Sonic closed his eyes for a moment. Then, he opened them. He completed his analysis.
Chapter 17: The Truth of Saturn
Shadow entered Dr. Eggman's secret underground lair beneath the clock tower in Metropolis. There stood the maniacal scientist, Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik. At first, Eggman mistook Shadow for Sonic in the lair's poor lighting. Eggman exclaimed, "Sonic, I'm so glad you found me! You must've found all of my clues! Come! I need your help with some—" Eggman realized it was Shadow. "Uh-oh."
Shadow jumped on Eggman and pinned him to the ground. He grabbed the mad scientist's shirt collar with his right hand. "Listen up, and listen well, Eggman! Because of you, I've been put in a really bad mood. Your stupid new ultimate life-form stole my Chaos Emerald and broke my left hand, so you'd better do exactly what I say, or I'll make sure that your fake death turns out to be less fake than Sonic and his friends think, got it?"
Eggman gulped, "Um, yes, of course, my dear friend, Shadow, I'll do whatever you want. Uh, what exactly is it that you want?" Shadow handed Eggman the coded book that was written by Eggman's grandfather. Eggman gawked, "My book! You have it! That's where it went! I lost it when my lab was destroyed by Sonic in his fight against my Super Mecha Sonic!"
Shadow said, "I know. It's completely coded. It contains all the different projects created by Professor Gerald Robotnik, my creator, your grandfather. Details on me are in there as well. I was able to decode most of it with help from Rouge the Bat, but I couldn't find anything in there that I didn't already know, except this." Shadow flipped to the last page of the book. "This page is written in a more complex code than the rest of the book. Rouge only managed to decipher four words from it: hedgehog, ultimate, chaos, and artificial. I know that it has to do with me. Rouge said that you'd be able to decipher the rest of this page, so you'd better start deciphering!"
Dr. Eggman stood up and took the book from Shadow. He looked at the page. "Wait a minute. I know this page. I'd recognize it anywhere. I've already completely memorized it."
Shadow looked at him intently and impatiently. "Well, old man, what does it say about me?"
Eggman closed the book and handed it back to Shadow. He sighed, "I can tell you what's on this page, but I doubt you'll be satisfied. I hate to tell you this, but this page has absolutely nothing to do with you. As a matter of fact, you're barely even mentioned on it."
Shadow was shocked. "What? But, the words, if it's not about me, then what's it about? Is it…" Shadow hesitated to say it, "my brother?"
Eggman looked curiously. "Your brother? Is that what you call him? I suppose yes. This page contains every last detail on my grandfather's final project, Project Saturn. He is the second ultimate life-form, an artificial hedgehog with a natural affinity for chaos energy. That's where your four words come from. I can still tell you the contents of the page if you'd like. Perhaps you could use some of the information here to defeat that monster."
Shadow looked down. He was disappointed, but he spoke with unwavering resolve. "Alright, tell me. Why did Gerald Robotnik design such a monster? Was it after he went mad?"
Eggman shook his head. "No, he was perfectly sane when he designed Project Saturn. He could have used it to exact his revenge on mankind, but he opted to use the Eclipse Cannon instead, probably because it could be more easily controlled. You see, my grandfather hoped that someday the Space Colony ARK could be used as a spaceship to explore the farthest reaches of the galaxy. However, such an endeavor would require a power source with enough energy to take the ARK billions of light-years from the Earth without having to recharge. At first, he thought that perhaps the Chaos Emeralds could provide enough power, but after researching them further, he discovered that not even they were powerful enough. In the end, he decided that he would need an infinite power source in order to use the ARK as an exploration vessel that could reach any part of the universe."
Shadow's gaze intensified. "You mean he wanted to use—"
Eggman interrupted, "That's right. He intended to use the Master Emerald, a fantastic jewel forged by the gods that contains an endless supply of sheer chaos power, but my grandfather couldn't simply steal the Master Emerald. Doing so would disturb the balance of its resting place, Angel Island, and its guardians. My grandfather also feared that using the Master Emerald for such purposes might even incur the wrath of the gods themselves. Obviously, he needed an alternative source of infinite power. Finally, he reached a conclusion. Since he couldn't use the original Master Emerald, he'd create his own. He would make an artificial Master Emerald."
Shadow banged his right fist on the wall. "That's impossible! If the Master Emerald was forged by the gods, no human could create such a thing!"
"You're exactly right, and my grandfather thought the exact same thing. The only way to create something of the gods is to build it out of something else of the gods: the Chaos Emeralds. In order to create a Master Emerald, my grandfather built a device which could amplify the Chaos Emeralds' power. This amplification accelerates every time another Chaos Emerald is inserted into the device, and with all seven Emeralds, the device can amplify their power to a level of infinity."
Shadow asked, "So Gerald Robotnik built a machine to create an artificial Master Emerald from the Chaos Emeralds?"
Eggman shook his head again, "No, the device was not a machine. It was an organism, a living creature, and he went mad before he could build it; he only managed to finish its designs. Obviously, such a living organism could be nothing short of perfect if it were to harness infinite power, so he based it off of you, the ultimate life-form. However, he did alter it slightly in order to increase its density so it could contain the infinite power of a Master Emerald. Originally, he called it the Infinite Chaos Amplification Organism, but he decided that the name was too long, so he changed it. Since this organism would have infinite power, it could be placed on the same level as a god, so he named it after the Roman god of strength, Saturn. He labeled the design Project Saturn, Saturn the Hedgehog."
Chapter 18: The Heart of a Hero
After watching Saturn dominate Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, and Vector, Metal Sonic reached a conclusion. Knuckles thought he had figured out Saturn's fighting style, but he did not know half of it. Metal Sonic figured out the entire thing. He finally figured out how Saturn worked. Saturn was a defensive fighter. His strategy was that the best offense was a great defense. Saturn continually mocked his opponents, and he left himself in a taunting pose at the beginning of a battle. These things encouraged Saturn's enemies to attack first. It was nearly impossible to damage Saturn because he had three layers of defense, and each time a layer of defense was penetrated, his opponents were open to a counter-attack, which usually involved some form of Chaos Control.
Saturn's three layers of defense were as follows: First, Saturn had the agility and dexterity to dodge almost any normal attack made toward him. However, this layer of defense could be penetrated through teamwork by having either one fighter restrain him while the other attacked or having two fighters attack him simultaneously so that there was no room for him to dodge. Second, Saturn could use Chaos Control to instantly transport himself away from any attack he could not dodge normally. This layer of defense was his strongest and the trickiest to overcome, but overcoming it was possible. This was proven when Rouge hit Saturn with her Screw Kick. Metal Sonic had a theory of how to overcome this second layer of defense, but he was not sure until Knuckles attacked him again. Now, he was certain. There was a limit to how often Saturn could use Chaos Control. He could only perform it once approximately every four seconds. Therefore, his second layer of his defense could be penetrated by attacking during that four-second time period, but it would still have to be an attack that Saturn could not normally dodge. Third, Saturn had extremely dense skin. He took a direct hit to the chest from Rouge's Screw Kick, a signature attack that had ended many of Metal Sonic's robotic brethren, and he was not injured in the slightest. Saturn's final layer of defense would seem to be the most difficult to penetrate, but in reality it was the simplest. Again, there was a limit to exactly how much damage Saturn's skin could withstand. Therefore, Saturn's final layer of defense could be penetrated simply by overpowering it with sheer force. Metal Sonic would have to hit him with everything he had.
Metal Sonic looked toward his organic doppelganger. "Sonic, I need you to cooperate with me. I have a plan, but you must attack him powerfully, and ensure that he is unable to avoid your attack."
Sonic gave Metal Sonic a thumbs-up, and the blue hedgehog grinned. "Leave it to me!" Sonic curled himself into a ball, and he spun rapidly in place. The spinning continued until blue particles of kinetic energy began to build up around him. The particles orbited around Sonic's spinning body, which by now was at such a speed that it appeared only to be a blue sphere. The fur and quills on Sonic's body could no longer be distinguished, and within seconds, the blue particles rotated at such a speed that they appeared only to be a blue orb of energy engulfing Sonic.
Saturn's calm demeanor deteriorated as he watched Sonic transform from a hedgehog to a living ball of rotational blue energy. "What on Earth is that?"
Knuckles chuckled, "Well, it looks like Sonic has finally decided to get serious. This creep has been able to keep up with Sonic up to this point, but now that he's using Light Speed Attack, it's all over. No one is fast enough to dodge this."
Saturn looked and Sonic and thought, Did he just say, "light speed"? That's impossible! Nothing is that fast! There's no way!
Saturn blinked in disbelief, but when he opened his eyes, Sonic was gone. In the twinkle of an eye, a stream of blue light raked across the ground, and Saturn felt an impact across his left cheek. Saturn was shocked. He looked around. He saw another streak of blue, but it was gone as soon as it was there. He looked in the other direction, but before he could turn his head all the way around, another impact connected with him, but this time the attack hit his stomach. He saw a blue blur before him for an instant. He tried to punch it, but it was gone. Saturn felt as if he was dreaming, and Sonic had become some indestructible mirage straight from a nightmare. This speed was unfathomable. Sonic's friends cheered him on.
Amy yelled, "Go, Sonic!"
Vector smirked, "He's completely outrunning that villain. Saturn has become helpless. He's practically putty in Sonic's hands. What do ya know? That hedgehog really is the fastest thing alive."
Saturn continued to be bombarded by Sonic from different directions. He tried to decipher some sort of pattern or reasoning behind Sonic's attacks so he could predict them, but there was none. They came from random directions at random times. The entirety of Sonic's attacks was random. Saturn soon became frustrated. He screamed, "I've had enough of this! I am the supreme being here!" There was a flash of red light as Saturn performed Chaos Control. In that instant, Sonic was stopped dead in his tracks by a lariat from the evil hedgehog's right arm.
Metal Sonic counted, "One," and he speeded toward Saturn. Saturn dropped Sonic to the ground, and the blue Chaos Emerald rose from Sonic's possession and into Saturn's remaining gray bracelet. Metal Sonic counted, "Two," and he punched at Saturn. Saturn blocked, and Metal Sonic grabbed both of his arms. Metal Sonic counted, "Three." A yellow light glowed from the blue robot's power core. Saturn seemed startled, as if he just reached an epiphany. Metal Sonic counted, "Four!" He fired a gigantic beam of yellow energy from his core. The blast directly connected with Saturn and continued past him to destroy the bottom of a skyscraper which stood behind the beam's target. The great building subsequently collapsed.
Amy exclaimed, "Wow, Metal's almost as powerful as my Sonic! He really is amazing!"
Vector placed his hand beneath his chin. "That certainly was an excellent plan. He knew from the start that Sonic's attack wouldn't work, but he knew that Saturn would have to use Chaos Control in order to counter it. Then, Metal Sonic took advantage of the opening to hit Saturn, and, boy, did he hit hard or what?"
Amy looked at Vector, "Wait. You're telling me that Metal used my Sonic as a decoy? That was incredibly rude. He could've at least let Sonic in on his plan!"
Vector looked toward Amy, "It's not that simple. Metal Sonic couldn't tell Sonic his plan because there was a risk that Saturn might overhear. We don't know how good this guy's hearing is. If Metal Sonic had told Sonic the plan and Saturn overheard, that monster could've turned Metal Sonic's entire plan upside-down."
Amy sighed, "I guess you're right, but it doesn't really matter now." Amy clenched her fist and joy returned to her face. "That attack made mincemeat out of Metal Knuckles, so there's no way that Saturn is still conscious after something like that, no matter how dense his skin is. We finally won!"
Saturn's voice echoed loudly, "Think again!" Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Vector, Rouge, and Metal Sonic were all utterly horrified by shock. It froze Amy and Rouge in their tracks. Sonic, Knuckles, and Vector staggered. Only Metal Sonic was physically unfazed. There was a flash of red light, and in the next instant, Saturn was holding Metal Sonic up by the neck. Metal Sonic activated the laser guns in both his arms and fired a barrage of lasers at Saturn pointblank. The lasers connected, but Saturn was unharmed. Metal Sonic ceased to fire, and he grabbed onto Saturn's hand and began struggling to break loose. Saturn chuckled malevolently, "Ha-ha-ha-ha! That wasn't a bad attack! I'll admit it hurt! Your little plan was well thought-out! I guess you aren't as pathetic as I thought! You really do never cease to amaze me, regardless of the fact that you're just a hunk of scrap metal! However, there was one tiny, itty-bitty flaw in your brilliant plan: the difference of power between you and me. Indeed, I dodged most of your attacks up to this point in order to give you the illusion that if you managed to hit me, you could incur a reasonable amount of damage, but now that cat is out of the bag! The fact of the matter is that my little façade worked perfectly, and you gravely underestimated my density! I am built to withstand anything and everything! As impressive as your laser lightshow may be to weaker opponents such as your old partner, Metal Knuckles, it couldn't put a single scratch on a supreme being like me!"
Metal Sonic observed his surroundings and looked for a possible means of escape. He found none. Saturn concluded his rant, "Our little skirmish was fun, but I'm getting a little annoyed. I think it's about time that I ended this!" Saturn thrust his right hand into Metal Sonic's chest. Amy screamed and ran toward her metal friend. Saturn seemed intrigued, "Oh? What do we have here?" He pulled the yellow Chaos Emerald from Metal Sonic's chest. "So this is what's been powering you, huh? That explains how you were able to perform such a powerful chaos-based attack. Well then, I'd like you to know that your death was not in vain. You have given me the final ingredient necessary for my completion, the seventh Chaos Emerald. However, now you are useless to me." Saturn tossed the robotic hero aside. Amy caught him before he hit the ground.
Amy held her metal friend. Tears started dripping slowly from her face. "No, you can't be dead. Metal, you just can't be dead!"
A mechanical voice spoke, "Emergency power system activated." Light returned to the robotic hedgehog's eyes. He looked up at Amy.
Metal Sonic inquired, "Amy? Why are you crying?"
Joy came to Amy's face. "Metal! You're okay! You're going to be okay!"
Metal shook his head. "No, I am sorry, but I am currently operating on emergency backup power. This power source is insufficient and only temporary. My life cannot last without my core."
Amy started crying again. "You can't die! You just can't die! We just got to be friends!"
Metal Sonic looked at the tears dripping onto his body. "I do not understand your sadness. Normally, I am able to predict the emotions of others regardless of my inability to truly understand them, but I cannot fathom your current melancholy. You told me before that you love Sonic, the real Sonic. I am just a fake, an inferior copy which can never be as strong as the original. I am worthless."
Amy screamed through her tears, "Shut up! Don't you dare for a moment say you're worthless. If it wasn't for you kidnapping me all those years ago, I would never have met Sonic. If it wasn't for you, I would've been smashed by that semi-truck last night. If it wasn't for you, who knows what would've happened when Metal Knuckles came for Cream and me. You've made such a difference in my life. You're not even close to worthless!"
Metal Sonic continued to look with confusion. "Nevertheless, I am just a fake."
Amy's temper subsided, but she could not stop her tears. "Don't say that either. You just don't understand, do you? You might not be the real Sonic, but you're the real Metal, and just like you can never be Sonic no matter how hard you try, Sonic could never be you…"
Metal Sonic had a revelation. Somehow, emotions made more sense to Metal Sonic now. He felt comforted, warm, and even, though he dared not admit it, happy. "Amy, before I power down, I shall leave you with my final explanation. Over a year ago, when I became Neo Metal Sonic, I believed myself to be the real Sonic, so I betrayed Eggman and took on his goal of world domination. However, even after I upgraded myself yet again to become the Metal Overlord, I was still defeated by Sonic. Regardless of this defeat, I refused to acknowledge that I was a fake. Instead, I blamed Sonic's victory on his use of the Chaos Emeralds and his help from his friends.
"Later, Eggman reconstructed me as Metal Sonic, and he reprogrammed me to be more obedient. I helped him with some more of his schemes, until finally he upgraded me so that I could have the same power as I did when I was Neo Metal Sonic, but I retained my loyalty and obedience. After the upgrade, I was renamed after one of my prototypes, Mecha Sonic. The upgrade gave me a stronger link to the Chaos Emeralds, and after I gathered all seven of them, I was able to become Super Mecha Sonic. However, I was once again defeated by Sonic, this time singlehandedly, regardless of my upgrades. After this, I was repaired by Dr. Eggman yet again as Metal Sonic, but this time, he used the yellow Chaos Emerald, which he recovered after my fight with Sonic, as my primary power source. My latest defeat at the hands of Sonic finally made me realize that he was the real him and that I was a mere copy. I then switched my primary objective from destroying Sonic to serving Eggman because I knew that, as a fake, it would be impossible for me to ever defeat Sonic.
"Then, Saturn came. Eggman reactivated Metal Knuckles, and he ordered me to leave and find a safe place to hide from Saturn in order to protect my Emerald and prevent him from becoming complete. I was in the process of doing just that when I stumbled upon you and Cream. When I saw you about to be killed by that large truck, my mainframe received a command from an unidentifiable source to save your life. I obeyed. After that, I decided to stay with you and Cream in hopes that I could trace the source of this command, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not find it. When Metal Knuckles arrived and attacked you, the same unknown source sent me a command instructing me to protect you yet again, but it was not just an instant like the first time. This command ordered me not only to protect you momentarily, but to ensure the security of your safety by betraying my comrade and destroying Metal Knuckles. Again, I blindly obeyed. This same command appeared a third time and ordered me to fight Saturn regardless of the fact that I knew I could not defeat him. It appears that my obedience led to my downfall. I never did manage to trace the source of these commands, but seeing your tears has made me remember something you told me yesterday. I think—" Metal Sonic's voice began to fade. The light slowly faded from his eyes, and his systems began to shut down. "Amy Rose—I—love—you…"
Metal Sonic shut down. His eyes went completely black. His body went limp. Amy's tears were pouring down now. She could do nothing but cry. He was the greatest thing Eggman ever created.
Chapter 19: Ascension of a Deity
Things were not going well to say the least. All in all, the situation had turned bad, very bad. Tails, Cream, and Cheese watched the battle from afar using a pair of advanced binoculars that Tails had built in order to more easily track Sonic's high-speed adventures. Tails said, "Uh-oh, things just turned from bad to worse!"
Cream spoke with enthusiastic curiosity, "What? What is it? What happened?
Tails took off his binoculars and looked at Cream. "Saturn just killed Metal Sonic."
Cream gasped, "Oh no! That's horrible!"
Tails put his binoculars back on and continued to watch the unfolding events. "That's not even the worst part. Metal Sonic had the yellow Chaos Emerald powering his core, and now Saturn has it. That means he's got all seven Emeralds, and he can become complete!" Cream covered her mouth to hide her gasp of fear.
Cream took Tails's binoculars. "Let me see!" Cream viewed the situation. Sonic was getting up after being injured by Saturn's lariat. Amy was still crying over Metal Sonic's dead hull. Rouge was paralyzed in fear after seeing Saturn's heartbreaking display of power and cruelty. Vector and Knuckles were both angered, but they too remained still out of fear to attack this monster.
Saturn held the yellow Chaos Emerald in his right hand, and the other six Emeralds appeared from his bracelets, and the rings reverted back to their original gray color. The monster spoke, "Finally, I can become complete. I can become infinity!" Saturn began to rise into the air as the seven Chaos Emeralds floated around him.
Sonic looked up at the ascending monster. "Become… infinity?" was all Sonic could mutter. Saturn rose higher and higher into the air. The seven Emeralds stopped midair along with Saturn. Then, the mystic jewels were all absorbed into Saturn's chest.
Saturn roared with laughter. "Ha-ha-ha! Yes! This is it! This is my destiny! This is the power, the power of the Master Emerald!" His six bracelets shattered off of his wrists. The red flame-like patterns at the ends of his quills began to spread to the rest of his body. The crimson coloring leaked over him like spilled blood. The flame-like designs, now free of their bloody coloration, faded to a deep black color. The red coloring of Saturn's eyes also leaked away, staining the whites of his eyes until they too were blood scarlet. This left Saturn's irises a deep black color like the flame patterns on his quills. Saturn closed his eyes to relish in his victory. He opened them, and his irises had changed from black to a demonic yellow. His pupils were slit, giving him an animalistic appearance. He roared, "I am supreme! From now on, you may all address me as Infinite Saturn!"
Knuckles punched the ground, "So that's it then? He wins? We couldn't even scratch him when he was incomplete. Imagine how strong he is now that he's at full power! We can't do anything!"
Sonic shared Knuckles's frustration. "If only we had the Chaos Emeralds!"
Infinite Saturn looked down at them condescendingly. His voice boomed across the city. "Do you really want the Chaos Emeralds so badly?" He waved his left hand in a circular motion, and the seven Chaos Emeralds materialized above it. They levitated midair. "Here, go get them!" The seven Emeralds flew in different directions, and they landed in different areas around the city. Infinite Saturn cackled viciously, "I've got an idea. I'll let most of you leave to gather the Emeralds, but I need to make sure that you all don't just try to run away, so one of you must stay behind as my hostage."
Knuckles looked at Sonic, "What do we do?"
Sonic answered, "He's at a completely different level than we are. It looks like we'll have to do what he says until we have the Chaos Emeralds."
Vector questioned, "Sonic, this whole thing seems a little fishy. Why would he just give us the Chaos Emeralds?"
Sonic looked at Vector. "He's obviously just being cocky. We'll take advantage of his overconfidence, and then we'll show him what we're really made of once we have the Emeralds, but one of us needs to stay behind, so I guess that means I'll—"
Knuckles spoke, "I'll do it."
Rouge looked at Knuckles, "Why you? Sonic was about to volunteer!"
Sonic said, "Yeah, Knuckles, let me handle this!"
Knuckles said, "No way, Sonic, your speed will decrease the amount of time it takes for us to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds. Besides, you're way too weak. You couldn't handle this guy for a second. I'm the only one strong enough to survive."
Sonic asked Knuckles, "Are you sure?"
Knuckles smirked and nodded, "Get out of here. Split up, and get those Chaos Emeralds back here in a minute flat."
Sonic and Vector looked at each other. The two exchanged a nod, and then they ran off in different directions. Rouge helped Amy up and comforted her. "C'mon, Dear, we need to find those Emeralds, so Sonic and the others can defeat this monster." Amy still had not recovered. Rouge looked down at Metal Sonic. Then she spoke to Amy, "It's what Metal would've wanted." Amy wiped her tears and nodded her head with newfound resolve.
Rouge and Amy left in a third direction. Knuckles looked up toward Infinite Saturn. "I'm staying behind! You got lucky and hit me with cheap shots last time, but now I'm going to fight you for real, so prepare yourself!"
Infinite Saturn only chuckled, "Bring it on."
Knuckles used the spikes on his fists to climb a nearby skyscraper. He reached the top, and he jumped off. He glided across the air toward Infinite Saturn with both fists forward. Infinite Saturn disappeared, and he reappeared directly above Knuckles. He elbowed the red echidna and sent him downward, crashing into the ground and creating a crater on impact. Knuckles felt his ribs crack as he smashed against the concrete. The injured echidna tried to stagger to his feet, but the relentless Infinite Saturn appeared to his right and kicked him before he could recover. The kick knocked Knuckles hundreds of feet through the air until he crashed into a bronze statue of a man with his hand extended. The statue fell over, and Knuckles fell on top of it. Continually, Knuckles tried to regain his footing, but each time, Infinite Saturn appeared next to him and bashed him aside with unbearable strength that broke a few more of Knuckles's bones with each attack.
Meanwhile, Sonic, Vector, Rouge, and Amy were all searching for the Chaos Emeralds. Luckily, they were not difficult to find. Sonic found the blue Emerald on top of the clock tower, and he found the cyan Emerald next to a manhole in the street. Amy and Rouge found the violet Emerald at the hotel where Amy and Cream had stayed the night with Metal Sonic. Vector found the green Emerald in the backyard of Vanilla's vacation home, which had been evacuated thanks to Rouge's request to G.U.N. Tails, Cream, and Cheese had also begun to search for the Chaos Emeralds. Using his binoculars, Tails was able to spot the silver Chaos Emerald, which was hidden in the leaves of a tree at the city park. Cream told Tails, "Alright, we've got a Chaos Emerald! Now let's go give it to Sonic and the others!"
Cheese tugged on the side of Cream's dress and enthused, "Cho! Cho-Cho-Cho-Cho! Cho-Cho!"
Cream looked down toward her pet Chao. "What is it, Cheese?"
The blue Chao pointed upward toward the top of a skyscraper and said, "Cho!"
Tails looked at the top of the building with his binoculars. The fox exclaimed, "It's an Emerald!"
Cream said, "Okay, let's get it!" Cream flapped her ears and flew up toward the top of the building. Tails rotated his twin tails and flew to the top as well. The two of them got to the top of the skyscraper and saw the yellow Chaos Emerald. They flew to it and simultaneously tried to grab it, but their hands met. The two children stopped, looked up at each other, and blushed slightly. Cheese interrupted the embarrassing moment by flying beneath the two's hands and snatching the Emerald.
Tails chuckled, "Alright, let's go meet up with Sonic and the others."
Sonic, Vector, Rouge, Amy, Tails, Cream, and Cheese all met up back where they left Knuckles and Infinite Saturn, but they were gone. The group placed the Chaos Emeralds in a circle. Sonic stood in their middle and said, "It's time to show this freak the real power of chaos!" Nothing happened.
Rouge commented, "Um, shouldn't you be glowing or something?"
Sonic said, "The Chaos Emeralds aren't working!"
Another voice spoke, "You blue idiot! It should be obvious why those Emeralds don't work!"
Chapter 20: Dark Sonic
Sonic, Tails, Amy, Cream, Cheese, Rouge, and Vector all looked at this new voice which had appeared before them. It was Shadow. The black hero stood fearless with dignity, but his left arm was still in a cast. Tails exclaimed, "It's Shadow!"
Sonic and the others surrounded Shadow with joy. Rouge ran up to him and hugged his neck. Shadow was slightly embarrassed by all of the attention. He quickly regained himself and asked Rouge, "What's the current situation?"
Rouge answered, "Knuckles, Metal Sonic, and everyone you see here have been fighting your brother, Saturn. However, despite our efforts, we have been unable to damage him in the slightest. He's pretty much made a joke out of us. He killed Metal Sonic, and he took the yellow Chaos Emerald that was powering the robot. He also got Sonic's Emerald. Now, he's become complete, and he calls himself Infinite Saturn. He materialized the Chaos Emeralds for us as a display of cockiness, but he made someone stay back as his hostage. Knuckles decided to take the job. We left the two here, but now they're nowhere to be found."
Shadow contemplated aloud, "Infinite Saturn, huh? I guess that makes sense in reference to his current level of power."
Vector asked, "What exactly do you mean by that?"
Shadow looked at the crocodile. "To put it simply, Saturn was designed by Gerald Robotnik as an artificial Master Emerald which amplifies the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds in order to reach an amount of chaos energy equal to infinity."
Sonic clenched his fist. "Infinity! You've got to be kidding me! No wonder Dr. Eggman referred to his complete form as a god! By the way, where is Eggman?"
Shadow said, "He's hiding out under the clock tower waiting for the battles to subside."
Amy intervened, "Hang on! You said that Infinite Saturn has an infinite amount of chaos energy at his disposal, right? If that's the case, then there's no way we can defeat him! It's impossible!"
Sonic looked at Amy and gave her thumbs-up. "Nothing's impossible. We just need to figure out a way to weaken him."
Shadow said, "Good luck with those Chaos Emeralds."
Tails asked, "Shadow, why aren't the Chaos Emeralds working?"
Shadow looked down at the youngster. "You naïve brat, it should be obvious. Those are nothing more than fake Chaos Emeralds. They're worthless rocks that Saturn infused with negative chaos energy in order to disguise them as the real Emeralds and toy with all of you."
Vector raised his finger. "I knew it!"
Rouge asked, "Wait. If they still have chaos energy in them, then why can't Sonic still use them at least to a lesser extent?"
Shadow turned to Rouge. "It's because Sonic's use of the Chaos Emeralds focuses solely on the Emeralds’ positive energy. Negative chaos energy is useless to that blue faker."
Sonic was insulted. "Shut up, you faker! You can't use negative chaos energy either!"
Shadow gritted his teeth and glared at Sonic. "What was that?"
Amy stepped between the two. "Cut it out, you two! We can't argue at a time like this!"
Tails pointed to the sky and exclaimed, "Incoming!" Everyone looked up to find a flying, red object coming directly at them at high speed. They scattered out of the way. The impact of the object made a crater in the ground, and the fake Chaos Emeralds were scattered around the crater.
At the center of the crater was Knuckles, who was limp and had been beaten senseless. Knuckles tried to rise to his feet, but Infinite Saturn appeared in front of him, and he grabbed Knuckles by the neck with his right hand. Sonic shouted, "Saturn! Leave him alone! You've done enough to him! He isn't a threat to you anymore! We're back now, so you don't need a hostage!"
Infinite Saturn looked at Shadow and said, "Hello again, Brother, did you reconsider my offer?"
Shadow was unhesitant to answer, "No."
Infinite Saturn sighed a little. "That's a shame. I suppose you're here to help these pitiful whelps in their suicidal attempts to stand in my way." Shadow did not answer, so Infinite Saturn sighed again and continued, "I suppose I'll just have to kill you too then."
Sonic yelled, "Hey! Are you even listening to me? Let Knuckles go! You don't need him!"
Infinite Saturn faced Sonic for a moment. Then he turned to Knuckles. "Yes, I suppose you're right. I don't need him." Infinite Saturn squeezed his hand around Knuckles's neck. There was a snap. Knuckles went limp, and the evil hedgehog dropped the lifeless echidna to the ground.
Rouge and Amy screamed. Cream covered her mouth with both of her hands. Cheese squealed in fear. Vector and Shadow were shocked. Tails yelled, "Knuckles!" in hope for a response, but no answer came. Sonic dropped to his knees.
Infinite Saturn looked at the gawking mass. "What are you all so surprised about? I told you that this was the fate which awaited you all. Knuckles was just the first to receive a god's judgment."
Sonic clenched his fists tight. The blue hedgehog's muscles were shaking in anger. The fake Chaos Emeralds began to glow. Dark energy emitted from the Emeralds, and it started to flow around and into Sonic. The color of Sonic's fur began to darken. His quills spiked upward.
Tails looked to Shadow. "What's going on?"
Shadow cringed at Sonic's newfound fury. "I don't know, but I've never seen Sonic like this."
Sonic mumbled, "First Metal Sonic… Now Knuckles… You…" He looked up and screamed at Infinite Saturn, "You bastard! You're no god! You're a devil!" Sonic's irises and pupils vanished, leaving the hedgehog's eyes as empty whites. His fur had completely darkened to a deep navy blue, almost black. A dark aura surrounded the newly-corrupted hedgehog. The dark aura swerved around Sonic and created a great gust of wind in all directions. Cream held onto Cheese and struggled to fight being blown back. Rouge shielded her eyes. Tails held a large rock which had sprung from the ground when Infinite Saturn created the crater with Knuckles. Amy and Vector shielded their eyes from the intense wind as well. Shadow flinched a little, but remained altogether motionless. Infinite Saturn was the only person unfazed by this release of Sonic's new power.
Vector asked Shadow through the wind, "What is this?"
Shadow said, "I'm not sure. It looks like Sonic has been completely corrupted with negative chaos energy. He's become a darker version of himself, a Dark Sonic."
The wind calmed down into a gentle zephyr. Dark Sonic stood and raised his head to face Infinite Saturn with a sinister grin. The dark hedgehog said, "Let's get on with this already. I can't wait to spill some of your blood."
Amy looked horrified. "Is that my Sonic? No, there's no way that's my darling sweet Sonic. What's happened to him?"
Infinite Saturn looked at Dark Sonic curiously. "Something's changed about you, Sonic. It's as if watching your friend die before you has awakened your inner fury and transformed you into a bloodthirsty monster." Infinite Saturn sported a sinister, toothy grin that matched Dark Sonic's exactly. The red monster licked his lips. "I like that."
Chapter 21: The Brightest Light
Dark Sonic sped toward Infinite Saturn with supersonic speed. Dark Sonic right-handedly punched his godlike adversary, but Infinite Saturn blocked with his left arm. Infinite Saturn disappeared and reappeared behind Dark Sonic and tried to punch him, but Dark Sonic ducked to dodge. Dark Sonic tried to uppercut Infinite Saturn, but the red hedgehog dodged. Infinite Saturn proceeded to punch Dark Sonic in the face. Dark Sonic slid back across the ground a couple of yards, and Infinite Saturn appeared in front of him to dish out a barrage of other punches, but Dark Sonic was able to dodge these by rapidly moving his head from side to side.
Shadow was amazed. "Dark Sonic is actually fighting on par with him." Infinite Saturn finally hit Dark Sonic with a right uppercut. The attack obviously damaged Dark Sonic, but the dark blue hedgehog was not bothered by the pain, and he counterattacked by kicking Infinite Saturn in the chest. However, Infinite Saturn was completely unfazed by the blow. Infinite Saturn grabbed Dark Sonic's leg and threw him a few hundred feet into the air. Dark Sonic looked down and fell toward Infinite Saturn. The red monster flew up toward Dark Sonic. Dark Sonic's black aura condensed onto the dark hedgehog's right fist. Infinite Saturn's right fist began to glow with dark chaos energy. The two's fists connected, and a shockwave of dark chaos energy was released.
Vector said, "I don't feel like I'm watching Sonic fight anymore. This is like watching a battle between monsters." The shockwave of dark energy connected with the top of a nearby skyscraper, and the upper half of the building collapsed toward Sonic's friends. Shadow, Vector, Amy, Rouge, Tails, Cream, and Cheese all tried to run away from the falling building's path, but Cream tripped. Vector looked back and yelled, "Cream!" The crocodile ran back to the peach-colored rabbit. He grabbed her and threw her to safety, and then he ran to safety himself. He managed to narrowly avoid being crushed by the building, but he was too close to the impact, and bits of shattered glass from the windows stuck into his right leg. Vector fell in pain. He had a few cuts on other parts of his body from the glass, but his right leg was the only part in which the glass stuck, so it received the most damage. He couldn't walk.
Cream, Rouge, and Cheese ran to Vector's side. Cream and Rouge tried to help him to his feet. Cream worried, "Oh my goodness! Vector, your leg, are you alright?"
Vector could not stand. He fell back to the ground regardless of Rouge and Cream's attempts to assist him in regaining his footing. Vector yelled at Cream in painful frustration, "Does it look like I'm alright? I've got glass in my stupid leg!"
Rouge kneeled down and began to tend to Vector's wound. She pulled the shards of glass out one by one. Vector cringed in pain each time. Rouge said, "That was very noble of you, Vector."
Vector smarted back, "Remind me next time not to save the kid."
Cream told Vector shyly, "Um, Vector…"
Vector looked. "Yeah? What is it?"
Cream said, "Uh, thank you, you saved my life just now. I'll be sure to tell my mom about it."
Vector sighed, "Don't worry about it, Kid. I'm not just saving you 'cause I told your mom I would. I'm your friend, after all. I'll save your life whenever I can."
Cream smiled. She looked over to check on Shadow and Amy. Shadow was standing calmly watching the battle between Dark Sonic and Infinite Saturn. Amy was also watching the battle, but she was not calm. In fact, she seemed utterly horrified. Dark Sonic was getting beat to a pulp. He lost the clash of dark chaos energy with Infinite Saturn, and now he was flying through the air. Infinite Saturn appeared behind him and sent him flying in a different direction. Dark Sonic was now flying toward a building, but before he hit it, Infinite Saturn appeared behind him and bashed him in yet another direction. Infinite Saturn continued to appear behind Dark Sonic midair and send him flying in different directions. At one point, Dark Sonic tried to turn around and hit Infinite Saturn midair before the red hedgehog could hit him, but Infinite Saturn just vanished again, reappeared behind Dark Sonic, and bashed him through the air. Infinite Saturn was laughing maniacally as if he was a child who had just found a new toy. Basically, he was just playing with Dark Sonic.
Finally, Infinite Saturn had his fun, and he bashed Dark Sonic to the ground. Dark Sonic caught himself on his feet. Infinite Saturn charged negative chaos energy into his right fist again. Amy started crying again. She yelled, "I just can't watch this anymore! I just can't!" She ran toward Dark Sonic.
Vector reached out his arm and shouted, "Amy! Don't do it!" He tried to go after her, but his injured leg still prevented him from standing. "Darn my leg!" Vector yelled.
Amy ran to Dark Sonic with tears dripping from her face. She reached the dark blue hedgehog before Infinite Saturn because of her closer distance. She placed herself between the red and blue monsters, and she grabbed Dark Sonic's waist. She hugged her Sonic and held him closely. Dark Sonic was shocked. His pupils returned to his eyes, and he looked down at Amy. A barrier of light appeared in front of Infinite Saturn and blocked his attack. Infinite Saturn ricocheted off the barrier, and the wall faded away.
Infinite Saturn looked, "What was that?" The red hedgehog's chest began to glow with light. He screamed in agony, "What's—happening to me?"
Tails asked, "Now what's happening?"
Shadow answered, "It's the positive energy from the Chaos Emeralds inside of Saturn. Somehow it's reacting to Amy's actions." The light energy began to flow out of Infinite Saturn's chest, and it broke off into three streams. One stream surrounded Dark Sonic. Another surrounded Shadow. The third stream surrounded the dead Knuckles.
The stream of energy soaked into Dark Sonic and transformed him. His dark blue fur faded to a bright golden color, and a golden aura sparked around the purified Sonic and caused his quills to stand straight up. Sonic's irises changed from green to red, and the seven fake Chaos Emeralds reverted back to gray rocks.
The second stream of energy transformed Shadow. The black of his fur changed to a bright golden color. His left hand completely healed, and Shadow discarded his cast. A golden aura sparked around this hero as well.
The third stream of energy soaked into Knuckles. His bones were put back into place, and his organs began to function anew. He had been resurrected. His fur changed from deep red to bright pink.
Amy took a step back. "Sonic? Is that you? Are you really back?"
Sonic looked at Amy intently. "Yes, Amy, I'm back, thank you."
Infinite Saturn looked at the golden Sonic. "You! What have you done? You've stolen my positive chaos energy, and you used it to heal your friends and activate your Super forms! How?"
Super Sonic looked at Infinite Saturn. "I didn't steal your energy. It rejected you because of your black heart. You may think you're a god, but you focus too much on the evil side of chaos energy. You can't control everything unless you can control the good side of chaos energy as well. Your plan to reach infinity was doomed from the start."
Infinite Saturn clenched his right fist and negative chaos energy surrounded it again. "Silence! You stole my chaos energy! I'll kill you and take it back!" The evil hedgehog flew toward Super Sonic with his dark fist at the ready.
Super Sonic grabbed Infinite Saturn's punch with his left hand, and Infinite Saturn was completely stopped. Super Sonic said, "I'm sorry, Saturn, but I can't afford to lose and let you walk away. There's too much at stake." Super Sonic punched Infinite Saturn in the face with his right hand. The red monster flew backward. He rose to his feet, but he felt something strange. There was something wet and warm trickling down the left corner of his mouth. He wiped the substance away and looked at it on his black glove. It was blood.
Chapter 22: The Final Battle
Super Sonic looked at Super Shadow and Super Knuckles. "Are you two ready?"
They both nodded. Super Knuckles said, "Let's do this."
Super Shadow added, "I'll show him who the real ultimate life-form is."
Super Sonic smiled. The three superheroes started to approach the demonic Infinite Saturn. Amy told Super Sonic, "Be careful, Sonic."
Vector said, "Sonic," and Super Sonic looked toward the injured crocodile. "Kick his ass for me." Super Sonic smiled and gave Vector a thumbs-up. He motioned his head for them to leave. Tails, Rouge, Cream, Cheese, and Vector all left with Rouge and Cream helping Vector. Amy was the last to leave. She said, "Good luck, you three!" and ran off.
Infinite Saturn continued to gaze in disbelief at the small amount of blood he had wiped from the corner of his mouth. His expression changed to a sinister smile. "It's just like I said before, Sonic. You never cease to amaze me." Infinite Saturn spread his arms out in his signature, mocking pose. "Before now, you and all of your friends have tried with all your might to defeat me, but no matter how hard you tried, none of you could even lay a single scratch on me. Rouge's Screw Kick, Metal Sonic's Chaos Cannon, Shadow's Chaos Blast, your Light Speed Attack, they are all extremely potent techniques, and none of them are easy to perform. However, now that you have become Super Sonic, a single one of your effortless punches contains more power than any of them. I never imagined that your level of strength would increase this much. I'm genuinely impressed." Infinite Saturn licked his lips again. "Maybe now, I can finally fight at full power." The monstrous hedgehog's eyes widened with insanity. "Let's put your Super form to the test, shall we? I want to see absolutely everything you've got, and then I want to crush it all into the dirt and prove my place as a supreme being!"
Super Knuckles yelled, "We'll just see about that!" The super powerful echidna grabbed a parked car which had been left in the abandoned city, and he threw it at Infinite Saturn, but the red monster grabbed the car with his right hand and held it effortlessly midair.
Super Shadow said, "Chaos Spear!" and he launched a yellow bolt of energy at the car and caused the vehicle to explode in Infinite Saturn's hands.
Super Knuckles cheered, "We got him!"
Super Shadow was not satisfied. He knew it would not be so easy. He looked from left to right for the red hedgehog. He saw him to the right and shouted, "He's over there!"
Super Sonic and Super Knuckles looked, but Infinite Saturn vanished. They looked around. Super Sonic saw him to the left. "He's to the left, guys!"
Super Shadow and Super Knuckles looked to the left, but he vanished again. Super Shadow said, "Blast it! He keeps moving from one place to another!"
Super Knuckles said, "What I don't get is how he got out of that explosion so fast. We would've seen it if he jumped out or used Chaos Control."
Super Shadow said, "The attack was too slow."
Super Knuckles was shocked. "What? The Chaos Spear couldn't have taken more than a second!"
Super Sonic commented, "That's more than enough time for him. Look at the speed he's moving. My eyes can't even keep up with him."
Infinite Saturn appeared in front of Super Sonic and right-handedly punched the heroic hedgehog in the face. Super Sonic slid back a few feet. Some blood trickled from the left corner of his mouth. Super Sonic wiped it away. Infinite Saturn cackled, "Well, well, well, what do we have here? According to Dr. Eggman's data, Super Sonic is supposed to be practically invulnerable, but it looks like I can damage you too, so I'm still at your level. As a matter of fact, I'm at a higher level because none of you can keep up with me. That last punch you got in will be the last time you ever touch me!"
Super Sonic looked at Super Shadow. "Hey, let's use Light Speed Attack and show this guy who's really boss around here."
Super Shadow chuckled, "Alright, I'll play it your way this time, Sonic." The two golden hedgehogs curled themselves into balls and spun rapidly in place. Small, golden orbs of chaos energy and kinetic energy appeared and started to orbit the two hedgehogs. The speed of the energy orbs increased until they surrounded the hedgehogs like spherical veils of light. The two superheroes sped toward Infinite Saturn at the speed of light. Infinite Saturn smirked. He vanished to avoid their attack. Super Sonic struck at him again from a different angle, but he again vanished to dodge. Super Shadow tried to strike him next, but the red demon vanished yet again. Time after time, the hedgehogs attacked Infinite Saturn, but he kept vanishing to dodge.
Super Knuckles struggled to keep up. He put his right hand on his forehead. "Ugh, they're moving so fast that I can't even see what's happening! Are they even hitting that monster?"
Super Sonic and Super Shadow stopped. They both panted. Infinite Saturn laughed maniacally, "Are you convinced yet? I told you that you couldn't touch me!"
Super Shadow looked at Super Sonic. "What? He dodged all of your attacks? You couldn't lay a single miserable hit on him? You really are pathetic."
Super Sonic retorted, "Shut up. You didn't hit him either. Besides, it's not just that. Not only could I not hit him, I couldn't even keep up with him."
Super Shadow said, "Neither could I."
Super Knuckles exclaimed, "Wait! Did you just say that you two couldn't keep up with him? You were both moving at the speed of light! If you couldn't keep up with him, then he must've been moving significantly faster than you! Nothing is that fast!"
Super Shadow clenched his fist. "He's right. Nothing is that fast…" Super Shadow came to a realization. "He's right!" The original ultimate life-form addressed his partners. "Sonic! Knuckles! I've figured it out! He's not outrunning us! It's Chaos Control! He's using Chaos Control in rapid succession to avoid everything we throw at him no matter the speed!"
Super Sonic turned to face Super Shadow. "How is he using Chaos Control? I thought that a flash of light was emitted from the user's body whenever someone performed that technique!"
Super Shadow said, "Well, that's not necessarily true. The light emitted from someone using Chaos Control is created by the excess chaos energy released from that person's body when he or she performs the technique. Since everyone is different, the color of the light varies depending on who uses Chaos Control. However, somehow, Saturn has gained the ability to use Chaos Control without expending any energy from his body. Therefore, he can use it without emitting light. Not only that, since his Chaos Control requires no energy emission, he can perform it with no limits or restrictions. Basically, he can use Chaos Control limitlessly with no side effects."
Super Sonic was surprised. "That's crazy! How are we supposed to beat someone like that?"
Super Knuckles answered, "I'll show you!" The super powered echidna raised his fist into the air and delivered a massive punch to the ground under his feet. The punch literally caused an earthquake. The ground shattered beneath Super Knuckles, and the concrete rippled with the force of the impact. Every window within half of a mile of the impact was broken. Every car alarm was activated. The force of the impact sent Super Shadow and Super Sonic flying off. Infinite Saturn teleported away, but it wasn't far enough away, and he too felt the shockwave.
The impact of Super Knuckles's punch knocked Infinite Saturn off of his feet. Super Sonic used Chaos Control in a flash of yellow light to appear right in front of Infinite Saturn and attack him while his guard was down. The golden hero punched at the red monster, but Infinite Saturn vanished and appeared behind Super Sonic. He kicked the gold hedgehog in the back with his right leg. Super Shadow had been using this time to charge for his attack. He held a large, red spear of chaos energy in his left hand. He yelled, "Chaos… Lance!" and threw the lance of energy at Infinite Saturn. The red monster turned around and deflected the attack to the side using the back of his left hand. The Chaos Lance proceeded to fly a few hundred feet until it connected with the ground. Upon hitting the earth, the Lance erupted into a violent explosion of red chaos energy, which destroyed half of a dozen city blocks.
The three superheroes regrouped. Super Shadow said, "Great, he was able to brush aside my Chaos Lance like it was made of rubber."
Super Knuckles asked, "My Earthquake Punch didn't hurt him either. It seems like physical combat is the only way to damage him."
Super Sonic added, "How are we going to do that? He keeps Chaos Controlling away from everything we throw at him!"
Super Shadow answered, "There is a way. I used it to get in a good hit on him the last time I fought him at the museum. If you use Chaos Control at the exact same time as he does, then he won't be able to teleport, and you can at least fight him fairly until the Chaos Control runs out."
Super Sonic said, "That's going to be difficult to time."
Super Knuckles encouraged, "We can do it. This guy uses Chaos Control like nobody's business, so we'll have plenty of chances to catch him."
Super Shadow voiced a plan, "I'll go in and force him to use Chaos Control. Sonic, you'll have to use your Chaos Control exactly at the same time as his."
Super Sonic nodded, "Got it."
Infinite Saturn charged toward the three and roared, "It's time to give back what you stole!"
Super Shadow said, "Knuckles, get back! Sonic, get ready!" Super Shadow addressed his enemy, "I'm the real ultimate life-form, you meddlesome copy!" Super Shadow started to glow with red chaos energy. "I'll show you the ultimate power! Chaos Blast!"
Super Sonic used Chaos Control at the exact same moment as Infinite Saturn. Time froze around the hero and the villain. Super Shadow's Chaos Blast stopped. Super Knuckles, who was jumping out of the blast zone, froze midair. The bits of concrete flying from what was left of the street immediately ceased movement.
Infinite Saturn looked at Super Sonic. "You! You got the tip from my older brother! You used Chaos Control at the exact same time as I did to stop my teleportation!"
Super Sonic frowned. "Not so tough now that you can't run away, are ya?"
Infinite Saturn gritted his teeth. "What did you say? You arrogant fool. I am supreme. I don't need to use Chaos Control. I'll send you to Hell right here and now!" Dark chaos energy surrounded the red monster's entire body. Light chaos energy surrounded the golden hero. The two hedgehogs, polar opposite, charged toward each other and clashed headfirst. This was it, light against darkness, friendship against selfishness, good against evil, with the fate of the world on the line.
The light and dark were perfectly equal. Neither warrior could outmatch the other. There was explosion of light and dark chaos energy. Both of their Chaos Controls broke, and the explosion of mixed energy cancelled out Super Shadow's Chaos Blast. The two hedgehogs stood face to face, exhausted, out of breath. Infinite Saturn placed his right hand on Super Sonic's left shoulder. "You… You loathsome hedgehog… Give me back… my energy…"
Super Sonic clenched his right fist. "You want your energy back? Take it!" The hero of light dealt a single blow to the monster of darkness. Super Sonic punched Infinite Saturn in the stomach. Instantly, all of Super Sonic's positive chaos energy began to flow into Infinite Saturn.
The demonic hedgehog wailed in agony, "What's—happening to me? Why is my body rejecting the positive chaos energy? I was designed to withstand an infinite amount of both positive and negative chaos energy! Then why? Why does it hurt so much?" Infinite Saturn screamed in pain. His chest began to glow. The black flame-like designs began to fade into a bright golden color. The luminescent glow spread until it covered his entire body.
Sonic reverted back into his normal form. He said, "I thought I told you before. Your body may be designed to handle positive chaos energy, but your heart has leaned so far toward evil that you've practically drowned yourself in the darkness, and now it can't handle the light. The positive energy isn't rejecting your body. It's rejecting your evil heart!"
Infinite Saturn's glow intensified until it was practically blinding. His body began to crack, and streams of energy could be seen within him. He screamed, "Damn you, Sonic the Hedgehog!" The evil hedgehog exploded into a blast of light energy. The monster was overcome by the light.
Sonic fell unconscious.
Chapter 23: Independence Day
The next day was the fourth of July. As promised, Cream and Cheese returned to their vacation home to spend the holiday with Vanilla. Vector and Amy attended too as planned. Amy dragged Sonic along, so Sonic talked Tails and Knuckles into coming too. Rouge thought it sounded like fun, and she could always go for some free celebration cake. Shadow tagged along because Sonic refused to give him back a Chaos Emerald if he didn't go.
The city was partially destroyed, but that didn't stop Metropolis from having its grand fireworks show as planned. Now, it was evening, and Sonic and company waited on the grass in the front yard for the colorful spectacle. Sonic sat down with Amy sitting at his right side. Tails sat to his left, and Cream sat to Amy's right. Vector, whose right leg was bandaged and immobile, lay in a lawn chair, and Vanilla stood at the injured crocodile's side in case he needed something. Rouge lay in the grass staring at the night sky, and Knuckles placed himself at her side. Shadow stood at a fair distance from the crowd, so in the future he could either claim to have been in their company or deny it, whichever benefitted him most at the moment.
The fireworks started. At that moment, everyone was happy just to be alive for the holiday. They all smiled at the bright lights, even Shadow. Sonic looked at Amy. Amy looked back. Sonic blinked. Amy closed her eyes and began to lean forward. She puckered her lips and moved closer to Sonic. Sonic interrupted, "Oh wait! I, uh, just remembered that I have to, um, go check on Eggman, yeah! That's it! Ya know. I've got to make sure he's not off making some new evil scheme under the clock tower or something like that. Gotta run!" Sonic dashed away.
Amy complained, "Sonic! You get back here!" The pink hedgehog started to run after him.
Knuckles chuckled, "Some things never change. C'mon Tails, we'd better make sure she doesn't kill the poor idiot."
Tails laughed, "Alright, thank you for everything, Ms. Rabbit!"
Vanilla waved goodbye. "Any time!"
Shadow said, "What imbeciles."
Rouge addressed Shadow, "You know Sonic just ran off with the seven Chaos Emeralds, right?"
Shadow widened his eyes. "Sonic! You get back here!" The black hero dashed after Sonic.
Rouge ran after Shadow. "I'd better make sure he doesn't get in too much trouble."
Cream looked at Vanilla. "Mom, can I please go with Amy and her friends?"
Vanilla answered, "You can go after them tomorrow, Sweetie. You've had plenty of adventure for now."
Cream asked, "Oh c'mon, Mom, pretty please!"
Vector said, "Listen to your mother, Cream. It's far too dangerous for you to go off adventuring on your own."
Cheese complained, "Cho-Cho!"
Vector added, "So I'll be going with you in the morning once my leg heals up."
Cream and Cheese cheered. Vanilla looked at Vector, "You'll be doing what?" Cream, Cheese, and Vector looked at Vanilla with heartbroken eyes.
Vanilla sighed, "Fine, I guess so long as Mr. Vector is watching you."
And so the adventure of Sonic and his friends continues, and so it shall always continue, as long as there is an adventure to have, an evil to defeat, a mystery to solve, Sonic the Hedgehog will be there.
Chapter 24: Epilogue: Dr. Eggman Persists
Metal Sonic opened his eyes. He found himself in a laboratory containing numerous portraits of Dr. Eggman. Then, he saw the evil doctor himself. Eggman spoke, "Ah, it's good to see that you're back." Metal Sonic took a moment to examine himself. Eggman continued, "It wasn't easy to repair you. There was a massive hole in your chest. Most of the spare parts for your auto-repair system had already been used, and your backup battery had been entirely depleted. Nevertheless, I, being the evil genius I am, was able to fully repair you and rebuild you with an alternative power source. There was one curious thing though. When I was going through your databanks, I found that an unknown directory program had been installed into your hardware by some untraceable source. I tried to delete the program, but your inner computer simply gave me a 'Program Not Found' error whenever I attempted it. Here's the strangest part: For some reason, the unknown program contained an awful lot about Amy Rose. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
Metal Sonic answered, "No."
Eggman kept ranting, "Ah, it's good to see that your communication mechanism is still working properly. In any case, since I couldn't delete this mysterious program, I simply moved it to the very back of your hardware. It shouldn't be bothering you again anytime soon. By the way, what happened to Metal Knuckles? I lost his signal, and when I went to where he was last recorded alive, I couldn't even find enough pieces of him to rebuild. Something really tore him up."
Metal Sonic answered blankly, "Project Saturn obliterated him."
Eggman said, "I suppose that makes sense. Anyway, I figured something like this might happen, so I took the liberty of constructing a new partner for you." A mechanical coffin rose from the ground.
Metal Sonic asked, "What is that?"
Eggman smiled, "It's your partner." The coffin opened, and smoke came out. The image of a dark, metallic hedgehog was visible through the smoke.
Metal Sonic said, "I see. You finally made that one."