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The Beginning of the End

Chapter Text

“Talking”

‘Thinking’

[Computer text]/ [“audio from electronic device”]

*Sound effect*

 

Kingdom of Acorn Mobotropolis

The capital of the Acorn kingdom it is here where it all began, It was this very city where the infamous mad scientist Dr. Ivo Robotnik commonly known as Eggman would shake the world for years to come. A long time ago he served as the royal adviser of King Nigel Acorn, but was dethroned and exiled to another dimension by the Doctor in a hostile takeover however the would-be conquerors reign would come to an end by a resistance group led by princess Sally Acorn and the famous hero Sonic the Hedgehog.

The renowned resistance group who named themselves the Freedom fighters eventually after years of fighting would force Eggman out of Mobotropolis and the kingdom liberating the land, soon after Nigel Acorn would be rescued from his prison and restored as the rightful King. Sadly, this victory would become the first chapter in the long and bloody struggle against the mad scientist. Despite his devastating loss Eggman had never gave up his ambition for world conquest and so quickly built a military force strong enough for him to challenge the world.

Swiftly establishing his Empire across the globe spearheaded by the Egg Army: Legions of Cyberized Soldiers who have pledged loyalty to Eggman; supported by a deadly army of robots built by the doctor; the Badnik Horde. Leading this war machine were 11 cyberized individuals collectively known as the Egg Boss’s elite commanders who spearhead the Doctors quest of domination across the world.

With these tools of conquest at his command Dr Eggman was able to secure a few early victories establishing footholds nearly on every continent; Yet despite his armies and advanced technology he would swiftly meet heavy opposition from the reestablished Kingdom of Acorn and Its ally the United Federation; along with the rising active resistance from the local freedom fighter groups in the conquered/contested areas.

Now 30 weeks have passed since the shattered world crisis ended but unknown to the people of Mobius the fates of countless lives shall forever be changed.

(~)

It was a beautiful summer day in Mobotropolis across the city and its outskirts as crowds of mobians and even a few humans flocked the streets as the feet of thousands of happy citizens traveled to their destinations.

With this time of the year, it was a grand opportunity for the local businesses selling deinks, coolers, fans, and many other summer merchandises; In a liquor store a group of friends now turned 18 were exited as they left with a few cases of beer intending to celebrate their coming of age at a party.

Inside another building a mobian bear grabbed a tie-died t shirt, wanting to show his friend he turned only to fail at holding his laughter in as he saw his chameleon friend had the same pattern and color as the shirt covered his body embarrassed he tried and failed to cover his body in response his bear friend doubled over, as the dam broke.

Sadly, this tranquility will soon be shattered.

(~)

Zake was a silver mobian cat the only son of Felix a cat like his son only his fur was a charcoal color and his mother a silver-colored mouse named Ilse; a rather odd pairing but there have been stranger relationships between mobians.

It was the first day of his summer vacation his parents decided that going on a picnic in emerald park would be a great start of their child’s summertime. As both parents settled down on a sheet eating wrapped sandwiches pulled from the nearby whisker basket; while they watched Zake play with a large ball tossing it up while trying to catch it.

As he caught his ball, he noticed a strange sight on the horizon given that this was the hot season of the year it was not uncommon for people to see illusions created by the summer heat so believing that this was one of those mirages he watched in curiosity. Zake became confused as he watched instead of the mirage fading away as seconds ticked by the shapes had become clearer.

Behind the boy his parents were enjoying their meal and company; as Felix gave his wife’s hand a loving kiss, in the corner of his vision was the still form of his child; worried he stopped his light lovemaking to Ilse giving a quick apology, she watched as her husband approached their son with worry. “Zake?” Felix received no answer grasping his son’s shoulders in hopes of snaping him out of his trance gave a light shake. “Please speak up son what is wrong? Talk to me please!”.

His shouts had attracted attention of nearby people causing them to cease all their activities to witness the puzzling sight of a father grabbing his son, as hushed whispers spread around soon after a few decide to go back to their activities while the rest continued to watch the drama unfold.

The boy raised his arm up pointing behind his father; Felix had turned to see what it was his son was pointing at and his blood froze soon after gasps could be heard around him.

In the distance he saw it; although its form was hazy from the heat there was no mistaking the enormous glinting metal of the Death Egg and to make things worse the metal monstrosity was surrounded by an armada of warships that only grew in number, as the flotilla rapidly approached toward them this gave no room for doubt.

“Eggman.” Felix breathed heavily at the very thought that nefarious villain here and now, scared him beyond words much so that like his son; was petrified at the nightmarish sight. “THE EGGMAN EMPIRE IS ATTACKING!” a nearby random person shouted with the spell broken Felix did not hesitate to grab his family and run along with everyone in the park.

The situation became worse as crowds of panicking residents flocked the streets as survival instincts kicked in disregarding everything, even going as far as to shove, pull and even trample just to find safety. Quickly the military had been deployed attempting to maintain some semblance of order and assist the injured from the chaos.

The boy was sitting atop his father’s shoulders as he and his family waited in a long line at one of the emergency shelters. Zake could not stop his hands from shaking, for years he had heard much about the Eggman Empire and its nefarious ruler Dr. Eggman. For children everywhere the doctor was the boogieman that crept in the night waiting for the opportunity to snatch them away to be turned into robots.

Zake remembered that night he had a bad dream; he was strapped down on a metal table with a ray gun like machine above his struggling form and to the side was the doctor glaring at him with his red eyes and drooping pink nose, laughing maniacally as he pulled a leaver next to him.

The machine had sparked to life than fired, he screamed as watched his own flesh turned into cold lifeless metal. After that all he could remember was standing near his parent’s bedroom door with tears in his eyes telling them about his nightmarish experience. His mother had brought him to the bed as his dad promised that he could stay with them for the night. And he never had another bad dream that night; cuddled with his mom and dad.

Zake’s ears had twitched from a whistle like sound turning to look at what it was that is causing the irritating noise and immediately was in panic mode. “Dad. Dad! Look behind you!” Zake shouted at his father in worry. Hearing his son’s warnings, he too turned around and knew; those were missiles heading towards them and to make the situation worse sounds of terror were heard all around him.

Holding his son tight and grabbing his wife’s hand he began to push and shove his way up to the shelter. It had gotten a lot harder for Felix as people shoved and pushed each other to reach safety it was pure chaos as self- preservation kicked in.

Through luck and perseverance Felix and his family arrived at the threshold but the missiles were dangerously close, and the blast doors begin to close in desperation everyone doubled their efforts to escape doom even the nearby soldiers let fear get the better of them choosing to save themselves.

Realizing he did not have much time Felix and his wife Ilse ran as fast as they could but upon arriving, the heavy doors were nearly shut. Without thinking he swiftly moved to the entryway with Zake held in his arms and threw him inside.

Zake was dazed but quickly turned his gaze to his father in despair “Mom! Dad!” getting up he ran looking at his parents with tears rolling down his face, as the exit was now nearly closed. They too cried as they looked back at their pride and joy. Felix spoke his final words.

“Zake I want you to know I will always love you, and i'm proud of you young man; do me a favor for me please, try your best of being a good person okay?” His mother came up to say her own last words to her baby “Zake honey I know it’s going to be hard for now on but please remain strong okay? You are the greatest thing that ever has happen to me, and I Love you so much beyond words.”

She broke down sobbing as her husband held her while giving one last look at his boy, before the door shut close. Zake had leaned on the metal before crumbling to the floor wailing in pain, even when he felt the structure around him shake.

 

Outskirts of Mobotropolis Death Egg Bridge Control

[“The long-range missiles have made impact now sir; all primary and secondary targets have been destroyed or severely compromised.”] a formal electronic voice announced his report it was none other than Orbot, one of Eggmans ‘fateful’ robotic aids. [“We sure got lucky right there those new stealth missiles you bult are working like a charm for once.”] This was Cubot, Eggmans other (more annoying) robot assistant.

“What do you Mean for once?!” Dr. Eggman self-proclaimed world genius and Emperor of the epithet Eggman empire. [“Welp boss it’s just your track record speaks for itself; your ideas tend to fail when sonic and his buddies are involved. Some just don’t work at all or like that experimental shield generator back in the Federation got stolen by your enemies, and used against you.”] Eggman growled in frustration, he hated to admit it but Cubot was right; often his creations would blow up in his face literally and metaphorically.

As much as Eggman wanted to berate his annoyingly chatter box of a minion there was important work to be done. While sitting in his stationary egg mobile he was focused on the multiple video feeds displayed across the room wide digital screen, he was pleased with the outcome.

His mouth stretched into a grin, beginning to reminisce about his past with that one blue rodent. “Oh, sonic; for years we have been duking it out at each other like a boxing match over the many years of our feud, yet despite the number of 'knock outs' you've dealt I still delivered some crippling blows of my own.

He paused as the memories of the past both old and new flowed together in his mind, often it was a literal headache when the original memories are brought up instead of the ‘current’ ones. “Sally was robotized, Naugus dethroned Elias and came into power, even that time when I wounded one of your best friends that coyote mobian trapping him in a coma. It was delightful seeing you oh so crushed after you saw your precious sally as my robotic slave, and yet.”

His hands had tightened on the arm rests so much that the metal under his grip deformed from his surprising strength. Suffice to say this sight spooked Orbot and Cubot who stood in silence while watching their master’s seething form.

“Just when I was sure I had broken your spirit as well as the other pests.” His rage continued to boil. “You came to save the day when I invaded that village and…;I SAW THAT DAMNEDABLE SMIRK I HAVE ALWAYS LOTHED ABOUT YOU THE MOST!!!”

He screamed so hard the two robots sound receptors were overloaded, causing them to grasp those sensitive areas while watching the doctor panting, as if that burst of fury had taken so much energy out of him. He grasped his head as the rage within him continued to burn.

After a few moments of taking deep breaths to calm himself Eggman relaxed and slumped down letting go of the arm rests; revealing they had been deformed his robotic assistants looked at each other nervous, than back at him. “Even when you faced your girlfriend again, I even modified her to the point that barely anything left of her original ‘body’ remained. I was so sure that this realization would shatter your spirit and while this did wipe that stupid grin of your face the next thing, I know YOU used a spin attack on her.”

“Then thanks to the super-genesis wave everything, and I mean everything was reset. The posh fleabag was up fit as a fettle, I could imagine that rodents disgusting joy rising faster than his own speed! And my newest weapon of mass destruction was now back to flesh and blood.”

Finished with his ranting Eggman took a moment to collect his breath, still winded from his last outburst. Grasping his hands, he moved them underneath his chin. “Even with those two major setbacks I was confident that with Dark Gaia’s energy I could finally achieve my dream of an Empire MY Empire covering every corner and dark hole on this pitiful world, and what happened next.”

[“Sonic stopped you again?”], Cubot asked dumbly; only for Orbot to smack his fellow assistant across the face making his head literally spin while he was being scolded. “It was a rhetorical question Cubot.”  Eggman glared at him and replayed with a sarcastic mocking tone; “Why yes Cubot that’s exactly what happened. SONIC STOPPED ME AGAIN!!!”, his robot assistant was so startled, that he moved backwards so far he hit his head on a section of the bridge controls. He was rubbing his head when he felt a familiar sensation, “Ah bloody hell here we go again.” His voice chip had changed only this time it was a Tralian accent, his partner facepalmed.

Eggman ignored the tomfoolery, “In spite of my best efforts, the hedgehog was able to gather all the Gaia keys and seal Dark Gaia into the planet preventing me from utilizing all that potent dark energy to fuel my machines and army, once again I have been thwarted by that meddlesome blue rat!”. He pressed a button on his wrist that soon summoned a butler-like robot carrying a trey with of cold cups of water. He grabbed one of the nearest tall glasses and chugged it down.

Once hydrated, Eggman turned to Orbot and Cubot the latter which was still rubbing his metal noggin noticing his gaze the two stood in attention as a maniacal grin formed on his face. “But none of that matters now because Im done playing games with those filthy animals and especially that one blue hedgehog. He is the sole reason why I have suffered loss after loss causing me defeat so bitter it was practically agonizing. After our last battle I realized that the solution to all my problems is quite simple: kill sonic and yes, I know I have tried to end him many, many times in the past but I was never serious enough. The only time I came so close was when I burned knothole village to the ground.”

His hands grasped behind his back had tighten at the memory, “Dear Gaia my original memories are getting cloudier as time passes.” His thoughts trailing off, “I had him on the ground his body bruised and with little energy left to spear; I had him right in the palm of my hands literally, I might add and instead of finishing sonic once and for all like I should have, I decided to let him live telling him that all his friends, family, love one’s and the citizens of knothole would be turned into fuel.”

He slammed his fist on a nearby console destroying it as his anger flared up again. “What a fool I was, a blatant fool not too long after I left Sonic, and his two bosom pals had infiltrated New Megalopolis and set all of the prisoner’s free, I had him right THERE!”.

His hands were shaking. “And instead of snaping his neck or vaporizing him I let him go, my one chance to end it all and I blew it.” His mustache and glasses drooped a bit at the sheer stupidity of botching such a golden opportunity, that was not likely to happen again.

It was disturbing for the two robots to see the Doctor going through a serious mood swing, keeping a safe distance from the volatile man Orbot was about to speak, but was interrupted by Eggman. “And that was the problem; I hated that hedgehog so much that I wanted him to suffer as much as possible, for the sheer hell he has dragged me through all those years and now, NOW i'm going to do what I should have done, when I had him at my mercy all those times.” Turning his attention again to the video feeds now showing columns of smoke rising as pockets of fires raged throughout Mobotropolis.

“This time rodent, i'm done playing games I am gunning for you now, everything and everyone from this point on is nothing more than collateral damage between you and me.” Eggman rose from his throne with his arm up, as he clinched his fist in determination, while glaring at the place where it had all begun, weather this timeline or the other.

“This time sonic, it is all or nothing I have put everything into this assault, and I mean EVERYTHING every Badnik, every soldier, every weapon, and asset. Every ounce of resources and manpower, I have at my disposal are now poured into this one final battle Sonic the Hedgehog!”

He sat down and turned his attention to his aides; “Orbot! Cubot! Get the Egg bosses on the line, and tell them operation Endgame is to commence, and they are to annihilate anything and everything that gets in their way, and make sure the war machines are prepped for deployment, as for Sonic he will come running; the ‘hero’ always does and when he arrives.” Eggman chuckled darkly with another more sinister grin “Sonic today is the day you die.”

 

Artika 1 ½ hours ago

Sally had braced herself from a sudden strong gust of the freezing artik wind, yet pressed on undeterred with her companions Tails and his robotic dog T-pup, Rotor, and Sonic the hedgehog all followed behind.

She was in the middle of inspecting some readings from her portable handheld computer Nicole, when she felt her foot stepped on a rock hidden underneath the snow, making her lose balance and stumble toward the edge of a steep cliff face.

Just before toppling over someone had grabbed her coat from behind and pulled her body away now on more steady ground Sally let out a breath in relief from a near death experience, she could still feel her heart pounding once calmed down, she looked to her savor It was none other than Rotor the walrus.

“Thanks for the save Rotor, *pant* I was almost certain that I would be shredded apart on the way down.” Rotor gave a comforting smile while gripping her shoulder. “No problem Sal; but seriously, you gotta be more careful with your footing around here,  one wrong step and you could fall to your death or worse.”, “Worse?” she wondered what was worse than falling to your death.

“Yep, one time a member of my tribe fell into a cavern hidden by the snowfall, he was trapped there broken unable to move, it was days later when we found his body and well, he died a slow and painful death all the more reason to be careful; Life here in Artika is a treacherous one.”

While Sally was no stranger to danger and even near-death experiences like the one she had just avoided, but hearing Rotor talk about the dangers of this icy wilderness with that manor of fact, sent a chill up her spine and it was not the cold.

Nonetheless the freedom fighters continued with their objective, while Sally had done another area scan to find if any hostiles were in the area after all the group was deep into enemy territory you never know what to expect.

Hearing footsteps of someone coming from behind, Sally looked to find it was Tails the fox who was approaching he was waving his arm in greeting. Now walking side by side, the two could speak without much interference from the weather.

“Wow, the snowstorms back home sure are tame compared to this and if not for these carbon fiber insulators and micro thermal generators we’d be popsicles by now.” She gave a light chuckle at the kits frozen joke, but he Is right if not for the clothing they all might have been frozen statues.

But the humor left sally, when she saw his face turned into concern. “Sally I don’t mean to question you but are we SURE about this, I mean this feels like an elaborate trap made by Eggman, It just doesn’t make any sense that the Egg army in Northamer would just vanish without a trace.”

Sally understands his concerns, after all this is the first time ever that something like this had ever happened. “You are right Tails, it doesn’t and not long after I received a similar report from Arthur of the Woodland Kingsmen that Mordred Hood and his army were no longer in Camelot, and that is why we are here in Cool Edge Zone to see if Tundra and his soldiers here are still present.” it was then another sudden gust of wind had erupted forcing everyone present to brace themselves fortunately the passing wind was a short one. 

Though to Tails annoyance his goggles had been covered by the pelting snow taking a moment to wipe them clean. “Shech, the weather is such a tail buster.” With the snow cleared from his vision, Tails could continue hiking with Sally intending to finish the conversation. However, he and the others had now stood atop a hill looking down at the Artika Egg base, from their viewpoint appeared lifeless, bringing her portable computer to her face Sally contacted Nicole the holo-Lynx.

As she waited, Sally thought back about the conversation she had with Tails; ever since those two strongholds had been found abandon a great unease, settled on her shoulders after all these are the regional headquarters of the Egg Army factions of the Eggman Empire’s Forces; these places act as footholds for the Doctors ambitious quest, so to leave such strategic locations is highly suspicious. [“-lly, Sally?”] she heard a familiar voice cutting in and to her embarrassed realized that she had spaced out.

“Sorry Nicole, I called because I need you to check and see if there is any activity within the facility, as far as we can tell there is nothing happening around the perimeter.” Nicole gave a friendly salute as she began to work her magic, however on the screen Nicole’s expression turned into confusion indicating that something was off. “This is weird”, the holo-lynx’s response caused Sally to raise an eyebrow in confusion, hoping for more details from the AI.

“Well, the good news is that I was able to detect no communication chat nor, any Badnik signatures. As you requested, I had tried to access the base’s systems to dig up whatever information I could but.” Stopping a moment to double check her data, while Sally waited anxiously about what her friend had found. “This is unusual when I tried to integrate with the base network, I could not find any access points in cyberspace, even worse I can’t detect the presence of the Eggnet the only conclusion I have, is that the Artika Egg Army has withdrawn as well.”

This was not a good sign this just about confirms her worst fears “Nicole get the other freedom fighter groups on the line, tell them it is urgent that we need to know the current status of the remaining Egg Armies ASAP, and tell Bunnie speed up the search of the Desert Raiders I have a feeling that we’re going to need every ally we can call upon.” Nicole nodded in understanding disconnecting the line as Sally put away the device, turning to the remaining freedom fighters.

“Alright here is the situation; according to Nicole the Artika Egg Army is no longer here however just to be sure we are going to have a more through on-site investigation, hopefully it may turn up any leads we might find.

Sonic you are to search the immediate area outside here, report anything suspicious back to me. Tails take T-pup with you along with Rotor, try to gain access to the main structure while I will explore the other nearby buildings no heroics you guys I need you all alive and well, understood?” Everyone nodded whereas Sonic gave his iconic thumbs up and smirk, before dashing off into the snow while the others three headed off to their own destinations.

It took some time for the trio to trek through the thick snow but now they arrived at the front entrance to the large igloo like structure, that also happened to sport a slight likeness to Eggman. Rotor was furious at this twisted image of the doctor that served as a reminder of a bitter truth, looking up to the large walrus Tails only saw him with that expression once; it was after the mission to save Jari-Thure and Sarianna two Holoskans from this icy fortress.

Luckily, the entrance was open however it would be a tight fit, especially for one large mobian walrus. “I am not going to be able to fit in through that.” Tails gave a nudge to his arm before heading over to the massive gate with his robotic canine T-pup, Tails gave his ‘dog’ a small pat on the head “Ok boy you know what to do.” giving a bark to his creator, pup had placed himself vertically inside the gap before pushing his back against the heavy metal.

Time ticks by, as it seemed the little mechanical canine made little progress then the sound of metal creaking was heard, soon after the entrance began to slide open little by little until it was wide enough for Rotor.

It was at this moment Sonic showed up, appearing in front of the duo “Hey guys what’s shaking?” walking toward his big brother figure Tails crossed his arms while smiling with amusement. “Other than the big bad door no, and seeing you here is hardly a surprise speedy.”

Sonic huffed “Yeah well you know me; fastest thing alive and don’t let that 'faker' tell you otherwise.” He boasted while doing a ‘light’ jog standing in place, Tails chuckled while scratching his cheek knowing who Sonic was referring to. “Heh well I’d rather not be Shadow’s punching bag for a day so no, anyway im assuming you finished with your recon?”

Sonic stopped his exercise bringing his arms behind his head in a more relaxed posture. “I sure did, and I got nothing, I searched every nook n cranny in this Gaia forsaken icicle land and let me tell ya; my werehog form was WAY more comfortable in this weather and speaking of, for the record I would have wrapped up my search sooner if it weren’t for the snow here its very hard for me to get traction, I got to say I don’t like running in this place.”

Tails could not help but laugh from his brother’s attempt to save his pride, but time was wasting, and he needed to get back on track. “Welp as much as I would love to hear more of your stories, but we really need to resume the investigation hopefully we can find a terminal somewhere and find whatever info on the mainframe.”

He was in a playful mood a moment ago but Sonic quickly turned serious and determined, with the way things are now it was a priority to find out whatever rotten plot Egghead has cooked up. Without further word Sonic followed Tails to the now gaping entrance made by T-pup, who stood next to Rotor as he peered inside. “It’s very dark in there, though it is hardly a shock given the place is currently blacked out, but this is not a problem.”

Placing his backpack down rotor rummaged through the contents until he pulled out an electric lantern, along with a headband with a flashlight handing it over to sonic who shortly after fastened it on his head making sure it was on tight. “Okay sonic while you are looking around try to find the generator or whatever powers this place, it will make our job much easier. While you’re doing that me and Tails will head on to the Command Center, to see if we can pull out any files in the mainframe okay?”

Giving a thumbs up in understanding sonic gave a quick “No prob.” Once inside Sonic switched on his little headlight before dashed right into the dark passageway while his friends watched on as the speedster briefly lit up the hall before them, until Sonic made a sharp turn to the right.

Rotor took the lead holding his lantern out while tails followed, with t-pup beside him. As they walked Tails had his Miles Electric pulled out displaying a map of the facility as well as some diagnostic data, now that he is inside Tails thought he could get better readings but no such luck so far, this place really was quiet as a tomb and that did not make him feel any better.

“I don’t like this Rotor I mean your father from what I heard is not the type to turn tail and run so- oh, im sorry Rotor I didn’t mean.” Tails realized what he had done mentioning Rotors father, It was still a sore subject; knowing your own family is working with a tyrant like Eggman is bound to create some strong tension between the two.

“No Tails it is alright I have accepted the truth no matter how painful it might have been. Despite our past I still held him in high regard he truly was a great warrior, but he was so full of pride that I never even conceived the notion that he would submit to Eggman.”

It was difficult for Tails to imagine such a scenario where his own father would work with his sworn enemy, a frightening thought that he was grateful such a reality does not exist. And the sudden realization hit him; in this timeline he never met his parents the reason why he never noticed was himself and everyone had found themselves in a whole new reality and when the planet cracked, that entire time they were all focused solely on fixing the world and stopping Dark Gaia.

Tears cascaded down his cheeks with this revelation that his parents may or may not be alive, or at least the ones he knew before the Super Genesis wave still exist. It was too much for him at that point he could not hold back the sobbing, not long after he began to feel his legs starting to give under the overwhelming pressure of his grief, he lost his mother and father whom he loved dearly; even went as far as to fight his brother figure Sonic to save his dad.

A hand was gently placed on his shoulder this sensation pulled Tails out of his sorrow turned to face the person with blurred tears staining his vison to see Rotors face. The seeing one of his most dear friends had caused him to insectively reach out and hug the walrus seeking solace crying in his chest prompting Rotor to respond with a hug of his own to comfort the poor fox kit, “Shh, just let it out little buddy take a moment than tell me when you’re ready, okay?” Tails responded by tightening his hold.

Rotor knew, despite all his accomplishments and experiences deep down inside Tails was still just a child.

 

Meanwhile deep inside the Artika Egg base

Speeding on through the halls and corridors was hardly a warmup for himself, granted the darkness made things a bit harder even with the bright headlight those tight corners and tunnels made it hard to see what was within them such as that one embarrassing moment when he slammed hard into a pipe good thing, he is quite durable, but his nose still stung a little from that slight tomfoolery.

Sonic noticed up ahead he was approaching a proverbial fork in the road, so he made a sudden stop at a t-section glancing left and right pondering which rout to take he was fast sure but still he could not afford to get lost in this place. He spotted some writing painted on the wall in front, pointing to the left was an arrow with the words ‘sewage processing’ shown above.

His face scrunched up in disgust while holding his nose as if to block out a nasty odor “Yuck that is gross I feel bad for who had to work in there.” Remembering that one time he had to look for bombs hidden underneath a city’s sewer system while he was successful in getting rid of the explosives, the horrid smell stuck to his fur for weeks. Shaking his head in a somewhat poor attempt to forget that stinky experience, he looked to the arrow pointed right that said ‘Reactor Core’ he could not help but grin. ‘Bingo’ he thought, without a moment to lose ran in the direction of his objective.

Literal milliseconds later; Sonic had finally arrived at a vault like door that was ajar, he gave a whistle happy that his luck was good so far. While he is brave and perhaps too cocky for his own good at most times, he was not a fool not sure what to expect he carefully peeked inside.

With the literal headlight Sonic was able to see that the space inside was circular shaped and about the size of a ball room, another detail he noticed easily was that this space was a stark contrast to the icy and concrete makeup of the rest of the structures here. First was that the floor was so polished that his light reflected off the surface he could easily see his own image on the floor.

Covering the walls and ceiling, were many red colored metal panels each blend so well with one another that it looked like a single solid piece all together. Along the wall were various monitors and other machines he could not make sense of. Yet right there in the center of this spacious chamber, was a hatch wide open with a cylinder like object jutting out intrigued Sonic moved to get a closer look at this strange thing. Crouching over the opening Sonic noted that the unknown item was inside of some sort of small dome like device which he had no clue what it was, but it was a safe bet it is the power source that runs this ice box.

Standing on his feet Sonic had place a finger on an earbud size communication device nestled inside of his ear, moments later a chime had sounded notifying him that contact was established. “Sonic? *A-hem* is everything alright?” the voice of his little brother chimed in his ear, but what bothered him was that Tails sounded guttural for some reason, like that time Tails caught that mobian flu “Hey is everything alright little bro?”. He swore that he heard what sounded like a snuffle, Sonic was about to speak again when he was interrupted.

“Im…im fine Sonic but let us forget about that, now did you find something? Or need assistance?” Sonic kept his mouth shut for a moment contemplating weather to press further but ultimately, he opted to settle this matter later. “The thing is that, I am inside the generator room or at least something close to one anyway and right now im looking at some doodad machine I’ve found, and have no idea how it works.” If anyone could figure this out it was his Wizkid of a blood brother. “Slow down alright. Right now, I just need you tell me what you see as best as you can.”

After that sonic had done as he was asked proceeding to describe the strange machinery, though he had to be as descriptive as possible given his general lack of understanding technologies. Tails was silent, no doubt piecing together the details Sonic had given him.

Then heard the earpiece turned back on “Okay from what you have said it sounds like to me that the object you see is some sort of fuel rod, or something along the lines from what I can guess. Try pushing it into the machine that might start it up.”

With the advice sonic gripped the handle at the top of the said object and push downward however the object refused to budge no matter how hard he tried he grunted and growled in frustration from the effort trying all he can to get the damned thing inside. “Hey! Hey! Hey! wait a moment!” sonic suddenly stopped, as his companion yelled into his ear forcing him to stop. “Be careful Sonic. I have no idea what would happen if you damaged the rod, so please be more delicate.” Sonic rubbed the back of his head feeling sheepish.

Chuckling nervously, he explained that he cannot seem to be able to get the fuel cell inside no matter how hard he tried to force it in “Don’t just shove it in try twisting the cell it might not be in the correct position, and BE carful this time.” Sighing Sonic grasped the handle and attempted to make the fuel rod turn, only that the object refused to budge.

He was about to call quits until he felt the device slowly twist until it felt like it was fully in place ready to slide right in. “Alright cross your fingers Tails hopefully this place doesn’t blow up.” Removing his finger from the little comm, Sonic took a deep breath and exhaled out his nose steeling himself than he gave the power cell a push downward, until was nice and snug inside.

Instantly the reactor hummed to life and soon after the hatch begin to close prompting Sonic to pull his arm out. When it closed, the sudden brightness had blinded him; out of reflex he put up his arm to shield his eyes as everything around was now powering up; the lights flashed on up as the monitors flickered coming to life, displaying various messages which he did not bother to read.

He was brought out of his sightseeing, when his comm ringed again “Yes! You did it Sonic, now Rotor and I will not have any problems reaching the command center. Before you rendezvous with us, I suggest you scout the facility for anything else.” It was reliving to hear the young fox in a more chipper mood, when this is over he intends to ask Tails about whatever had bothered him; later but there was a more pressing concern that bothered him.

“Hey buddy before you go listen, when you get the chance can you look up for anything about this place im in? This set up is WAY too different from the rest of the place, heck im standing right here and it’s almost like I am inside the death egg, this room feels like something out of a sci-fi flick, wait hold up.” To the side of was a digital screen littered with words numbers and other mumbo jumbo that was useless, except for a particular sentence.

[Prototype tri-cold fusion reactor statis:100% efficiency, Metarexum Fuel Rod integrity: 98%] Tapping his ear he reported this to Tails “So yeah, apparently this is some sort of experimental tech they’ve got here no doubt from egghead himself, do me a favor for me buddy if you can look up anything about this reactor the last thing, we need is baldy bringing some new toys.”

Tails simply hummed he too was curious about this new fusion reactor technology and this so called ‘Meterexum’ , he never heard of this element before. “Alright I’ll see what I can find, crap it’s one thing after another today honestly im starting to get paranoid from all this. Okay I will see you in a few, good luck Sonic.” The line disconnected he sighed in frustration, this whole thing was just like that time after the fall of the iron dominion when eggman went into hiding, leading up to the first genesis wave and Sally’s-.

‘No don’t think about that Sonic, sal’s back to normal that’s all that matters.’ Tightening his fists as his resolve exploded, remembering that one event that nearly cost him the one person who he held deep in his heart, TWICE and now a storm was coming he could feel it. ‘What are you up to egghead it must be something important for you to go to this extreme, all these years of terror and suffering both this timeline and the old I showed mercy, I beat you but never had I even considered THAT. I sometimes wonder, if it came down to it would I be able to do it? Even if it is for the good of all, can I commit that one crime? I don’t know, but I really do hope it won’t come to that.’

Sonic smacked his face to stop that dangerous line of thinking. “Ow! Dammit Sonic the hedgehog what’s wrong with you today pull yourself together, Egghead is up to something bad and you need to be in tip top shape.” He closed his eyes than started to breathe in and out, an exercise used to help calm one’s mind. Reopening his eyelids, Sonic in a heartbeat ran outside into the illuminated halls doing what Tails suggested before meeting up with them.

‘I don’t know what you’re scheming Eggman, but whatever it is I will stop you.’

 

Tails & Rotor *bark bark* and T-pup

 

With the power flowing this made their search much easier, with everything back on and not having to stumble on through the dark, with his Miles Electric Tails was able to lead the group to their target. “Welp this is the place.” Rotor looked up at the message above: [Command Post. Warning: Authorized personnel only!] painted atop a heavily secured entrance, too bad he did not bring a cutting torch but there is more than one way to screw a bolt.

“Alrighty than little buddy do you think you can get us inside, or is the big bad door too much?” Tails gave a friendly scoff with a wave of his hand he knew Rotor was joking after all hacking machines is one of his specialties. “Please. Rotor this will be easy as quantum mechanics.”

As he walked over to the electronic lock, he received a quizzical look from Rotor. “Wait that is a really complex…Oh silly me, of course it would be EASY for you.” The two shared a laugh, for the two tailed fox such sophisticated equations and concepts are as straightforward as the alphabet, for about everyone else.

Tails pulled out a cord, that was attached to his Miles Electric and inserted it inside an access port giving him a direct link. Looking down at his tablet he watched as lines of data code flashed on the screen, then with his incredible intellect Tails was able to process the material at a rate rivaling or even surpassing that of supercomputers. It took mere seconds to bypass the security, as the device beeped along with the door sliding open.

Tails smiled, while gesturing to the unsealed passage “You first big guy.” Rotor had a small chuckle from Tails own jab, ‘Although if anyone is large among us that would be Big’ he mused, before walking inside followed by the mobian fox and T-pup. Several rows of computers stretched across from the left and right side of a central ramp, leading downward until it stopped at the bottomost floor, ahead on the surface of the wall; a rather enormous digital monitor which displayed Eggman’s notorious logo with a lock underneath.

“Alright time to get to work, hopefully we can find out what Eggman is up to.” Tails moved to a terminal standing below the large digital screen, and proceeded to pry open one of its panels with T-pups help. Looking around the electronic innards until he found an access port now, he had a way to gain access to the base’s mainframe.

Behind him Rotor stood waiting, while the robotic canine stayed next to his creator panting. Typing at his small but powerful tablet he was able to make some progress, but was having unexpected difficulty at breaching the firewalls until it got to the point where mainframes cyber security was too well protected. “Darn I can’t get past the security systems on this thing, it has to be hiding something important for this level of protection.”

Rotor was deflated; this was not what he expected to hear from Tails, the answers are right there yet still out of reach. ‘We sure got our foot stuck in the grate here, for Tails to have a hard time cracking through the systems defenses. Damn.’.

“Then it’s a good thing I have someone who can help.” A feminine voice rang out causing the three to ready themselves, as they faced the mysterious voice prepared to defend themselves, but lowered their guard once realizing it was Sally, standing at the entrance with a look of amusement.

Rotor was the first to push aside his surprise and respond, “Oh Sally, you nearly scared me to death I didn’t hear you coming.” He felt the adrenalin pumping throughout his body as his heart raced, seriously they are inside an enemy stronghold and could be attacked at any moment, so having Sally appear out of nowhere was a good way to get the heart pumping.

“Honestly, its kind scary how you move around so quietly, sometimes I think it is Rouge sneaking about.” Her brow raised up making tails a bit nervous for using an odd comparison. “Uh now then, Sally im going out on a limb and assume that your own search was unsuccessful.” She touched her forehead almost ashamed to admit that Tails had figured it out. “Despite my best efforts I could not find anything more outside only empty buildings littered with useless piles of scrap and trash. So, I figured you guys may have had better luck than me; and by the look of things, it is a good thing that I came when I did.”

Sally turned her attention to Tails tablet she gestured for it understanding what Sally was about to do so handed over his Miles Electric as, she opened the casing of Nicole connecting it to the Miles Electric.  “Okay Nicole time to do your stuff.” The Holo-Lynx gave a solute before she flickered away.

The tension in the room was thick as fog as everyone present were waiting with hope and worry, even Sonic who was currently leaning on a nearby desk taping his foot in impatience felt his nerves on edge. Sally watched as the progress bar moved painfully slow, until it finally reached the end and just as she was about to celebrate, a big red x was crossed on the screen.

[No files Found] the screen clarified “Gaia dammed it!” Sally slammed her fist on the console “I should have known they would have scrubbed the data from the whole system.” The screen was now replaced by the holo-lynx. “Yes, im afraid you are correct Sally; I could not find anything other than the most basic coding inside. I hate to say it, but this is a clear dead end.” This was the worst kind of news for the freedom to hear, it seemed that they came all this way only for it to be in vain.

Sonics hands were shaking in anger, he and his friends went through all that trouble and effort only to turn up nothing; they had wasted precious time on a wild goose chase when Eggman could very well at this moment began his plan. The idea that innocent lives could be in danger made his blood boil to the limit he was tempted to- *Ring, Ring*. All eyes were on Sally, as the computing unit in her hand rang, Nicole appeared again. [“Sally I have a message from Bunnie, she says it urgent.”]

While this was not terrible news, but Sally was unsure on how to tell Bunnie about the fact that the Egg Army base here became a total bust, despite all their efforts she and her comrades ultimately failed to find anything. However, she pondered there was a chance that Bunnie had far better success than they had, so deciding to take the call Sally composed herself for the rabbots report; taking a breather to settle her nerves she was now ready.

[“Right, I’m ready Nicole; patch her in.”] Nicoles form was replaced by Bunnie the rabbot, just as Sally was about to speak she was shocked by her state. Bunnie had this faraway look as if her mind was a thousand miles away hardly, acknowledging the leader of the freedom fighters the sight deeply disturbed Sally, it looked like her friend was having PTSD like many people who were victims of Eggmans conquest, even Lupe had night terrors of that horrible day when her village was sacked and burned to the ground.

[“Sorry Sal but.”] She was pulled out of her train of thought, when Bunnie spoke. [“The…the Desert Raiders are gone, they are with Nephthys.”] Those words left her greatly baffled, ‘Have they been captured?’ she needed to know more. She heard something cluttering on the floor it turned out to be Bunnies communicator.

Now her worry transformed into horror “Bunnie? Bunnie!”

 

 

Midesta Shamar 25 minutes ago  

As Sally and her unit were busy in Arika, Bunnie along with her husband Antoine and the mobian cat Big had traveled to Shamar to investigate another puzzling mystery. Before Sally had the briefing on Sky patrol, she had contacted the other freedom fighter groups in a coordinated effort to investigate the other strongholds, strangely the Desert raiders had been the only ones to not respond, worried Sally had decided while she and the others would head over to Artika, as Tails plane could travel there faster as the frozen iceland was further away than Midesta. Bunnie was given command of the remaining freedom fighters and head over to Midesta to contact the Raiders.

“Sacrebleu are you certain zis is the building we are looking for? I do not mean to be rude, but zis place is a Décharge it seems more like a haunted house than a well-suited commendations madame.” Bonnie was frustrated by her husband’s wining, although it was not as bad as in their younger days she turned to give a playful smirk.

“How about when we had to live in the woods of knothole village, in those first years of our freedom fighting?” Antoine grumbled remembering all too well of those days of living in the filthy wilderness, he had unpleasant dreams about those horrid living conditions.

“You are right but still, I can’t shake off the feeling that something is amiss here, the fact that this place appears so empty and decrypted bothers me the most.” Bonnie stopped to think about what Antoine had said. “Your right sugar this place feels awfully like a squatter slum, but I batcha that this is exactly what they would want people to think.”

Antoine was lost for a moment until realization kicked in, he wanted to smack himself for his folly “Im such a fool, it makes perfect sense that a freedom fighter group like them have a hidden sanctuary Mais finding is the real problem here.”

During the old days they had several secret safehouses and concealed rooms that were used for planning and storing stockpiles of materials, secrecy was vital for the group’s success. As such the desert raiders having a hidden room was a certainty.

While those two were busy, Big was moving around the dusty old building looking for Spike and his friends but, so far had not found them. He remembered on the sky ship that his old friends had said that they had not heard from his new desert friends, he was worried for them especially Sonar she was sweet to him.

Big stopped when he noticed that he had just walked into another room without knowing it, but since he was already here might as well have a look around.

Light from the sun outside shined in through the gaps of the boarded-up windows, illuminating the dusty interior to his right an outdated tv was sitting atop a crate along with folded metal chars standing a few feet away from the screen with a grey rug underneath.

Across from him was a wooden dinner table with a trio of plates sitting ideally, with a box of plastic sporks and knives sitting near the edge, there were no seats around it but it’s likely the folded chars also were used for sitting at the dining table.

Further away on the wall hanged a shoe box sized picture frame containing a photo of Spike the porcupine, Sonar the Fennec, and the big buy of team; Trevor Burrow the mole.

The image depicted the three sitting together on a rock in the Midestan sands with the hot sun shining overhead outside of the photo. Sonar was giving a wide smile while waving at the camera, Spike sat up straight as he gave a victory sign with his right hand, he too had a small smile on his face. To his left Trevor had his right arm on Spikes shoulder as he looked over to Sonar it appeared that he was laughing at her antics.

Big was feeling a sense of sentimentality from such a jolly scene of the Raiders, so much he had a sudden desire to hold it in his hands, reaching out to grab the portrait he attempted to pull it away from the wall only it barely budge; he gave it a few tugs after and still it held strong, even so this only made him more determined.

Leaning backwards for more leverage, he pulled at the stubborn photograph with all his might; soon his body was straining from using such a huge amount of physical force than sounds of metal being torn, growing louder by the second.  

“What the…”; in an instant the picture frame finally came off, but the sudden backlash caused his body to stumble backwards until he fell hard on his butt causing the building to shake and rumble from the impact of a big heavy cat.

“Ow.” He rubbed his hurting bottom before noticing he was gripping something in his hands, looking down to discover he was holding the picture frame, to Big’s dismay the glass now sported a few cracks; caused by the fall. Thankfully, the photo within was not affected from what he can tell at first glance, nonetheless he felt terribly guilty for damaging such a precious memento.

But as he held it Big noticed something odd first it weighed too much for a picture second, he noticed something protruding out of the backside; carefully he flipped it over to find a torn off hatch of some kind.

Glancing up, he found what appeared to be a metal box inside the wall, exactly where the photograph originally hanged, he tried to make out what was inside, but it was too dark for him to see anything.

He was about to pull himself off the floor when he heard footsteps heading in the direction of the room he is in; a second later Antoine and Bunnie rushed inside both ready for a fight.

When there was no present danger, they quickly deduced that Big was the cause of the ruckus, sheathing his sword while his wife reconfigured her arm cannon back to a regular mechanical one.

“Ça m’a fait peur Big you gave me a fright, what are you doing down on the dirty floor? And is that a portrait your holding? We came here to find our comrades not to rob their home, explain yourself.” Bigs ears flopped down, feeling nervous from Antoine’s accusation along with his piercing gaze; made him feel like a child caught with their hand inside the cookie jar.

Before Big could explain to Antoine what had happened, he was interrupted by Bunnie. “Well, lokkie here. Antione come look at this!” Looking over to find his wife standing next to a safe, by the looks of it.

“Mon Dieu what is this?” as he unclasped a flashlight strapped on his belt, then pointed the beam of light inside the hollow space finding nothing except an odd sight; on the back side in the center was a dial with numbers etched around the circumference it looked awfully like a combination lock.

“You thinking what im thinking sugah?” Oh yes, he did. “Where there’s a lock there is a door nearby, but. *sigh* we don’t have an inkling as to what the correct numbers might be, and I would not be surprised if ze mechanism was rigged if we tried to guess randomly zis might end poorly.”

Clasping his hands behind his back Antione paced back and forth trying to figure out how they were going to proceed meanwhile Bunnie leaned on the wall watching him as for Big he took the time to stand up.

Realization dawned on the coyote smacking his head surprising Bunnie. “I am such a Crétin.” He ran over to the compartment reaching inside to grab the nob, and begin to turn it; left, right, left.

Bunnie saw him turn the dial to the numbers 21-19-23 once the last number was selected, a loud mechanical click was heard from behind prompting everyone present to turn and watch as a section of the wall began to move inwards than slide to its compartment. Revealing a metal stairway leading downward, with lights lining the sides of the passage.

“Oui. Score un pour Antione.” he whooped in victory as Bunnie looked at her exited husband she was interested on how he figured out the code.

“Ah don’t mean to rain on your parade Antoine but how did you know?” he stopped and met her face as he rubbed the side of his head “Honestly it was as you call an educated guess and I figured that they’d use something like their own age as a code.” She was not happy Antoine took gamble on a presumption, but like the old saying goes never look a gift horse in the mouth.

“I can understand; after all people who are close together like those three, would use something like that as a secret code.” She than gave a naughty smirk which unsettled Antione.

“Afterall I know the password to your computer I thought it was lovely you used our wedding date, but I have to admit your quite the naughty boy having those ‘special’ pictures of me I am actually touched.”

Antoine’s heart jumped becoming flustered, embarrassed about the ‘content’s’ his wife had found. At this point he was blushing like a tomato from her teasing. “Welp um Bunnie honey maybe we should discuss this later after we head on down to the, secret basement?” Bunnie chuckled at his nervous reaction it was fun to get him so flustered occasionally, but now is not the time nor the place.

“Your right sweetheart but don’t think this is over. Oh, and once this whole thing is over im bringing a recording cam next time for our ‘special night’.” Antoine was stuttering even more now, honestly if he blushed any harder than his face-fur would turn red, taking a deep breath to calm his heart and his raging hormones he followed behind as his naughty wife made her way over to the passageway, giving her hips a little extra shake.

This act brought his blush back full force, frustrated by her torturous teasing he held his face attempting to hold his sanity together, and keep his 'special man' downstairs in check.“And to zink she was being serous about this mission a moment ago, Gaia is it that time of the month? Please give me strength.” Giving a small prayer before jogging over to the others.

As the three traveled down, laying down on its back was the photograph of the Raiders only slightly distorted by the broken glass meant to protect the invaluable memory of those three friends who stood strong together, despite the hell and misery of their past.

(~)

Once Big sat foot on the flat metal ground, the group had found themselves inside an underground tunnel stretching out until it reached a side corridor at the end. Thankfully, it is wider than the stairs the three climbed down on since Big was almost too wide to fit through, almost got stuck halfway down the steps in fact.

“Nuff lollygagging boys lets go, Spike and the others have got to be down here somewhere and we sure ain’t gonna find them standing around.” Motivated, her companions followed Bunnie into the metal depths, ready for anything that awaited them.

As the three took a turn around the corner Antione felt something tugging on his right shin; his ears twitched when hearing an ominous click.

On pure instinct he pulled out his sword out as a thunderous sound echoed in the small space in a display of amazing dexterity; used his own sword to deflect the projectiles, he used this skill against enemy fire before, but with his inner ears severely affected, Antoine’s battle awareness was deteriorated. In the heat of the moment, he felt one of the bullets impact his right shoulder, immediately after three more had penetrated his flesh.

Worse still because of the pain, Antoine had been distracted long enough for the remaining round to get dangerously close.

Through shear fortitude Antoine fought through the pain, in a desperate act brought his sword up to prevent it from hitting his heart. He had felt It impact the side of his blade, however soon after he cried out grasping the left side of his face mainly where his eye was located, blood had seeped between his fingers flowing down his hand onto the floor, unable to bear the agony anymore; collapsed to his knees panting and moaning.

Bunnie watched as the love of her life collapsed bleeding before her very eyes had struck something within her mind. She stood in a field of grass with patches of flowers dotting the landscape, such a scenery would have been beautiful to the average person, but Bunnie did not feel happiness or wonder of such a splendor of tranquility, instead a terrible sensation of fear and anguish festered within her heart when she saw inside of a small crater; the battered broken blood-stained body of her husband Antoine who shared vows with her, to love and cherish one another until death.” 

The memory of that day flooded her mind, nearly succumbing to the despair of reliving something Bunnie wished to never experienced again. Antoine’s cries although stabbed her heart,  it was enough to force Bunnie out of her shock.

Running as fast as she could to Antoine, she grabbed his shoulders to steady his body while assessing his injuries, and it was not good. “Oh no; please no. Antoine sugar, listen to my voice sweetie I need you hold yourself together for me please, and keep putting pressure on your eye okay.” She looked to the side spotting her other teammate. “Big give me the med kit; hurry I have to treat him now!”

At her request Big hurried over to hand over an emergency medical kit, wasting no time Bunnie opened it and pulled out the necessary tools and supplies lining them on a clean sheet nearby, she turned her attention back to Antione; seeing his face like that had brought back that terrible memory of him laying in a hospital bed, trapped inside a coma that had a slim chance of him ever awakening from again. Bonnie’s resolve burned through her dread her love needed her now more than ever.

“Okay sweetie I need you to move your hand out of the way please.” He nodded signaling that he understood, still in pain he slowly and carefully removed his hand from his eye. Bunnie nearly flinched, seeing the grisly condition of the left eye socket; a nasty vertical gash had cut upward from his upper cheek to his brow, however it was his eye that worried her the most.

While she tried to examine what possible damage it had sustained, the area was covered in so much blood that she could not determine its current condition. It was so frustrating, but it’s probably best to let the professional doctors have a look later, right now she needs to treat Antoine’s wounds as best she can.

It was a stressful moment Bunnie spent the next couple of minutes treating her husband; cleaning the wounds, pulling out the bullets that had embedded themselves inside his mussels,  one everything was prepared Bunnie applied a special gel called medi-gel.

This amazing piece of medical technology not only effectively seals and keeps the wounds clean, but also helps accelerate cellular mitosis inducing rapid healing, making it a true lifesaver for those with serious injuries, however the more life threatening traumas still require professional medical treatment, and there are limits.

Right now, Antoine was bandaged and thanks to the gel his injuries were not as painful nor serious despite his condition, he still was determined to press forward using his sheathed sword as a makeshift cane he slowly made his way on his feet when a sharp pain rattled across his body, as another grunt came from his muzzle as he faltered a little; thankfully he caught himself before he could fall onto the floor again.

This sight worried Bunnie who approached to assist but Antoine raised his hand stopping her. “I-Im alright Bunnie just give me a moment please, I have to do zis alone.” At last, he made it onto his feet although he still needed his sword to help keep himself steady. He faced his partner, his spouse with the righteous passion of a soldier; answering the call of duty with valor.

“Ve have come too far now to just give up; ze stakes are high now with the world in great danger once again by zat fat Charlatan of a doctor, and our comrades may be in trouble.” Her heart was hurting so much seeing him like this, but he was right the mission comes first despite how much she wanted to drag him away, this was too big to ignore.

Letting out a breath Bunnie smiled, before moving to his side shouldering his left side help him walk until he was ready. “Okay Hun I trust you, but Big will take point you are not in any condition to fight right now so no more heroics; understand.” He took a sharp breath as another wave of pain flared, Antoine agreed with her, he is defiantly not ready for another bout with death. Though another thing that bothered him, was that his injured eye was beginning to feel weird. “It’s embarrassing; for ze knight to have ze maiden to come save him, but I cannot argue against ma petit chou-fleur.”

Antoine gave a charming smile to Bunnie making her flush. ‘Now how in the hell does he do it? Antoine looks half dead, and still he makes my chest flutter I can’t decide if it is the charm or the man, but I wouldn’t mind for it to be both. Oh gosh I have not told him yet! But now is not the good time he doesn’t need that burden on his shoulders just yet.’

(~)

Resuming their journey so far, the group made good progress they did encounter some more traps along the way, and succeeded to disable them for good measure this did eat up some of their precious time. Luckily, the gel healed him to the point Antoine can now walk without Bunnie, though he still uses his sword for support.

Antoine, Bunnie and Big now stood just outside of a heavily protected blast-door, given the recent experiences they endured, naturally Antoine and Bunnie had reservations about how to proceed with this obstacle, for all they know they could blow up the whole place if they weren't careful.

“I don’t like it Antoine not one sure bit, from the look of it; the darn thing doesn’t have a terminal or anything we can use to open it.” This was a big problem while Bunnie had patched up her husband well, he still needed real medical help and soon.

As the two debated Antoine noticed movement in his peripheral vision “Big? what are you; stop you fool!” reaching out in a vain attempt to halt the lumbering feline as his warnings fell deaf on the cats ears, Bunnie was about to rocket boost when a red light from above the entrance door flicked into existence; forming a horizontal line at the bottom,  as it slowly made its way upwards across Big.

Closing his right eye Antoine was bracing himself for the worst ‘Big I just want to say in case I am annihilated into oblivion; tu es un putain d’idiot.’. A soft beeping sound was heard twice; [Biometric signature recognized, access granted.] opening his good eye witnessing the scanner powering down, as the thick steel entrance was pulled upwards.

Big, turned around to find his friends giving him a funny look. “What’s wrong? Is there something in my fur?” he looked around his chest and arms, while Antoine as well as Bunnie continued to stare dumbly at the clueless cat.

“What in the burning pits of hell, were you THINKING!?” Big recoiled from the outburst, he could practically feel the words laced with the rabbots anger, he might be simple minded as people would call it, but he wasn’t totally stupid.

“Oh- sorry miss rabbot, I thought that since I am friends with Sonar and her friends, I thought they would allow me to come inside their hideout.” She could feel her eye twitch from his simple and outrageous line of thinking, but she really was not in a position to complain; plus the innocence he displayed helped settle the fire burning in her mind.

“Alright darling, now from here on out don’t pull another fast one like the one you just did alright. Now since you’re the closest you can take point and watch out for anything suspicious, I’ve had enough scares in the past 30 minutes than ah would've like.”

Big gave a nod before heading through the entrance, the rabbot could not help but close her eyes and shake her head in exasperation. A hand was placed on her back and then began to rub softly in comfort; a loving smile began to form, knowing who’s loving touch it was. It was then that her fleshy hand met the other’s squeezing each other, before finally facing its owner.

Despite the pitiful state he was in, Bunnie still saw the wonderful man she loved if it weren’t for his spirit that gave her strength, she would have turned into a broken shell even if ‘that’ event happened in a different time; the memory of it still haunted her, but Antoine was always there to give her hope.

‘Alright girl you have moped enough now.’. Before heading on in Bunnie gave a light kiss and Antoine returned it with one of his own after which he gestured to the doorway. “Ladies first madam.” Bunnie cannot help but chuckle ‘ah still the charmer sometimes I can’t help but wonder, what did I do to deserve a man like you?’ she thought as a hand trailed down to her belly rubbing it tenderly.

(~)

The place was spacious and well-furnished, certainly much better than the living conditions above. It was a mix of a fully stocked kitchen and living room rolled into one space, heck there was an expensive comfortable couch with a flat 10k resolution UHD tv with a virtual headset gaming system known as a VP5 its designed to stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for external stimulus processing, of the five common senses in other words; the gaming system is capable of making the user(s) feel as though they are inside a real environment. An amazing piece of gaming tech but a bit expensive.

An impressive set up to be sure, but across from the entrance was a semi-circular open chamber with a computer terminal with a message displayed on the monitor screen above.

[Message for the Kingdom of Acorn Freedom fighters. Recording commencing in 5 seconds]. They gathered around unsure what is waiting for them, did Eggman’s soldiers captured them or perhaps they went on a long-term mission the three freedom fighters did not know for sure. Antoine sat down on the nearby office chair.

[0]; the screen changed to what seemed a video recording of Spike sitting on the couch leaning forward, with his right hand atop the other; within a moment he looked up facing the camera the look he gave was bleak, and immediately Bunnie could tell something is very wrong.

[“If you are watching this, and the place hasn’t gone up in smoke than it is safe to assume that you Sonic; or your friends have arrived to our ‘pad’ and terribly sorry about the welcoming matt it’s an old habit of ours, plus we wanted to make sure it was you guys who got here.”] He rubbed his hands as if he were having difficulty of finding the next words. [“I suppose it is best to tell the truth, you’re going to find out anyway soon.”] Bonnie was horrified and angry; that they would purposely use such deadly measure’s just to make sure it was not anyone else but them. “The truth? what are you…?”

[“The truth is that you have been deceived, and not just you but everyone including the people of Shamar. That story about you; the famous freedom fighters who defeated the tyrant Eggman, being our inspiration to rise up and fight against tyranny, was merely a cover for our true purpose; our mission was to resist Eggman’s forces in Midesta so he could not achieve complete dominance over the continent, that is what she asked for us to do.”]

“She? Who is he talking about?” The Rabbot would have committed further, but she was entirely focused on the video.

[“But since we’re already at this point, I might as well tell you about WHO we truly are; you see all of those times of us shaking hands and giving smiles to the ‘good’ people we protected, those who call us their friends and saviors.”] His face had turned serious. [“We felt nothing for those pieces of garbage.”]

Spikes confession had forced a gasp of surprise and horror from Bunnie, behind her Antoine had grasped his sword tightly, he could not believe that those three who he fought valiantly alongside one another had called friends, had such apathy for those who respected them and looked up to for hope.

Spike chuckled as if he saw the reactions of the viewers. [“I admit it was nice to get that much appreciation truly, but in the end all that mattered was the job entrusted to us, and nothing more.”] He took another deep breath, than leaned backward looking up at the ceiling. [“How many years has it been since the slums I wonder, seems almost like a century ago.”]

This peaked the viewers’ attention, come to think of it they never learned about the Raiders past.[“When we were kids, we lived on the streets as homeless orphans scavenging for any scraps of food we can find; I still remember the gnawing hunger tearing into my stomach every fucking day for a long time. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, and neither could my friends; my family yes that is what we were to one another, the only family we had anyway. With Sonar’s brains and Trevor’s strength we figured that instead of searching through garbage, we had far better chances of taking decent food and water, that's the way it was for about a few months.”]

He snarled showing his sharp teeth. [“One day we stole from the wrong people, we tried to outrun them, but we had taken a wrong turn in the alleyway leading us to a dead end. Once cornered they didn’t hesitate to beat us to a pulp, and once they were satisfied; those basterds took back their stolen goods and left us to die in that alleyway. I wasn’t sure how much time had passed, I kept falling in and out of consciousness, at one point rain had started to fall pelting our broken bodies. As I laid there in a puddle, I remember crying believing that this was the end but even worse, was the pain of failing my friends the ones I called family, and that hurt worse than the hunger that plagued me and the blows that broke me. So, I accepted my fate as the price for leading my precious one’s to ruin, but then she came.”]

Quickly his whole demeanor had taken a 180; he now had this blissful look on his face seeing him like that was beginning to disturb the freedom fighters [“She was like an angel from heaven she took me into her arms cradling my broken flesh speaking words of comfort, when I opened my eyes I had found myself mesmerized by her beauty. That night she took us to a hospital; even going as far as to pay for our medical care, she visited us often while we recovered, constantly asking the doctors for updates once we fully recovered she chose to adopt us *Chuckling* oh I slapped myself after hearing those words, believing that I had been stuck in one of those comas I heard about during my stay, yet when she came down on her knees to me with concern in her eyes, that was all the evidence I needed. The three of us could not stop ourselves from crying; the gift she gave to us simply had been too wondrous for words to describe. Once we calmed down, we asked for her name and she smiled, and with a loving radiance of a mother answered: Nephthys the Vulture.”]

“WHAT!!?” a loud scream of disbelief reverberated the room “No way it’s just no way Nephthys! ZE Nephthys, the Egg Boss here in Midesta!?” Antoine had surprised Bunnie who turned around in a flight or fight response nearly hitting the coyote “Gosh Darn it Antione you scared me half to death! We…”   Bunnie was interrupted by Spike, from the recording that is still running.

[…and so, asked us to assist in her plan to keep the continent contested, I and the others of course accepted, how could we? She gave us so much that we would gladly do anything she would ask of us no matter what it is, hell if she asked me to kill all of those people here in Samar I would; we feel nothing for these people they could just drop dead for all we care. Years ago, we asked those same ‘upstanding people’ for help and all they did was pass on by as if we were like the very garbage we sifted through to live so you know what, FUCK THEM!”

Everyone jumped back, now they saw Spike panting with drool dripping down his lips, so enraged he looked a lot like a rabid animal; it was apparent that his past had left a deep nasty scar inside his mind. *Beep. Beep* the sound pulled the mobian porcupine out of his rabid state, using his arm to wipe his mouth before looking down at his left wrist causing him to scowl.

[“Damn im running out of time, it is happening soon I need to hurry this up.” He turned to face the camera again, still angry “She was not happy about us volunteering, but we could not let her face this alone even if we are exposed, but that matters little to us as long as Nephthys is alive, and that we do whatever we can to help her.”

This time Spike leaned forward his form nervous and rubbed his hands more than before, clearly something was bothering him. [“It is happening now, operation: Endgame. The beginning of the end though for who has yet to be seen, I have one final thing to say to you the Acorn freedom fighters.”] Now his face was awfully close. “Just so you know I, Sonar and Trevor really; truly respect you guys and if it’s any consolation, when and if we meet in Mobotropolis it’s nothing personal when we kill you and your comrades, with that final disclosure, I bid you good luck and goodbye.”]

The video had cut suffice to say this revelation shocked all those present to the core. This was too much for them their minds were short-circuiting, unable to believe what had just been witnessed. Not knowing what else to do Bunnie pulled out her communicator to call Sally. After a few moments, the princess appeared on the screen and before she could ask the rabbot what was wrong. “Sorry Sal but.” She paused unsure as what to say to Sally “The…the Desert Raiders are gone, they are with Nephthys.”

After that, everything became background noise to Bunnie so unfocused the hand muscles relaxed causing the communicator to slip off, she did not register the device hitting the hard floor or Sally crying out from its speakers, everything up to that point had finally overwhelmed her until a familiar voice was heard.

“Sally! Bunnie! I have urgent news that needs your attention NOW!” The sound of Nicole panicking brought her back out of her mental fog; if Nicole was spooked it meant bad news. With urgency Bunnie picked up her communicator while Antoine and Big watched the rabbot with pounding chests. It was then that the freedom fighters worst nightmare come true.

[“Mobotropolis; has gone dark! I can’t reach anyone!”]

 

To Be Continued in: The barbarians are at the gate.