Sonic GeneX - The Series
Episode 8 - Neon Interlude
Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.
"Dear My Friend" is (c) Brent Cash(?)
Previously on Sonic GeneX...
Last time, Eddie the Hyena was defeated by a mysterious orange blur, who Katie believes to be Chet, despite reports that he'd died. Razor arrested Eddie, revealing that Ridley is now working with the police. Meanwhile, Mia went on a date with Vector.
It was recently brought to Tails's attention that GUN is experimenting with transferring powers between animals.
(Many events from throughout the "season" may be brought up during this chapter. It really would be best if you'd read a few previous chapters by now.)
Now, let us begin today's story...
It was a normal dreary day in Troblusk City. Bill the hedgehog met his brother Bob at the entrance to their bar, the Neon Tavern, like always. Unlocking the door and heading in, it wasn't long before they were behind the counter and awaiting their customers as usual. "Ho hum... Never thought movin' to Troblusk'd be so quiet, eh, Bill?" Bob asked. Bill nodded. "Business sure took a steep dive when everyone realized Eggman was holed up in town all that time. Wonder when that shock'll wear off..." he sighed. Soon, their first visitor walked into the bar. They were surprised to see Guard the gargoyle, Col. Gunner's top agent. He sat down with a grunt, his broad wings blocking the two seats beside him. "Uhhh... What'll it be?" Bob asked. Guard wore an irritated scowl. "Grrrr... The boss wants me to set up cameras here... Watch your clientele in case they divulge any information about the location of Sonic..." he said plainly. Bill glared back at him. "We already got trouble bringing in customers. If we let GUN watch 'em, they'll ALL stop coming! Look, you can order a drink and stick around, but we draw the line at spying, pal!" he protested. Guard sat back and shrugged. "...I'll start with water..." he grunted. At this point, Razor the porcupine came in, not wearing his police cap, which indicated he was off duty. "I don't care, I need a stiff drink..." he grumbled. Bill set to work preparing something while Bob brought Guard his water. "Long face, Raze. What's up?" he asked. "Chief's being a bear about bringing in Despair. We caught that hyena, but it doesn't amount to much... I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall..." he sighed. More guests started to enter next, starting with a mopey Amy Rose. "I'll get drunk on milkshakes if that's what I gotta do... This thing with Sonic being hunted is tearing me apart inside!!" she whined. Guard got up and sat next to her. "Grrrr... Tell me more..." he said. Copter and Punchy were next to enter, arguing about things. "I say we just toss Eggman out!" Punchy growled. "Yeah, and what if he blows up the tower on the way!? He knows the self-destruct codes! He can do it!" Copter protested. "Gah, as if! He'd never blow up his own base!" Punchy asserted. Bill smiled as the bar started to fill out. "Finally... A wave of misery! Just what our business needs!" he chuckled.
More and more guests started coming in, and in addition to serving them drinks, Bill and Bob gladly lent an ear to their problems. Espio and Vector came in, with the crocodile looking particularly down. "That feline broke my heart... Whiskey, Bob..." he groaned. "Don't get too down, Vector... You can't hold your liquor." Espio warned. "Mia, right?" Bob asked him, to which Vector nodded. "Yup... She ain't lookin' fer no commitment... 'Sides, I thought you was into--" he started to say before Vector shushed him. "Quiet! What if she walks in??" he stammered, blushing. A different girl walked in instead, Katie. She sat beside Espio, her eyes wet with tears. "It's Chet, isn't it?" Espio said, recalling how their recent date ended. "I'm sure he's out there..." Katie sniffled. Bill shrugged. "I dunno, but if he's hiding, there's gotta be a good reason. If he's out there, he'll show himself when he's ready." he said, "Not that I think he's out there..." he mumbled. Katie wiped her eyes and nodded. "You're right..." she sighed.
A welcome change of tone was Tails and Marine, who came in laughing and generally cheerful. Amy was shocked to see them like this. "Tails!! What about Cream??" she shouted. Tails blushed at the implication. "What?? N-no, this isn't a date! We're just hanging out while I mull things over..." he stammered. "He owes me a drink fer helpin' him out at the festival a few months ago!" Marine nodded. Amy crossed her arms. "And just what are you mulling over?" she asked. Tails saw Guard sitting there and backed away. "Umm... GUN stuff..." he whispered. "Buy your drinks and sit apart..." Bill suggested, "Your gal could always walk in..."
Of all people, Gator ported in next, taking an empty seat and ordering some simple soda. "I'm full of rue, guys..." he sighed, "I used to be someone in this world, but now I only get to show up on my birthday... when I get mauled by monsters!!" he whined. Bill and Bob had no idea how to respond to this. "Ummm... Who are you??" Bill muttered. "You SEE?? No one even remembers me!!" Gator wailed.
Rouge walked in next, and upon seeing Guard, ducked into a booth. "...Wait. He must be ditching work, too! ...Wait, he can't. He's a robot." she groaned. "Android!" Guard grunted, making Rouge jump. "Don't judge me! And, um... How much will it cost to buy your silence?" she sighed. Illusi was next, and he calmly sat and waited for Bob to get to him. "Red wine... And an ear when you have a moment. It's my dead daughter's birthday..." he sighed.
It was already getting pretty crowded as the afternoon drew close, and Crash the rhino walked in. The earlier visitors were pretty much all still there, but had moved from the counter to tables. Crash sat at the counter and sighed. "Who'd have thought freedom would stink... Zipp's become insufferable and Vortex is a lovey-dovey mess..." he groaned. Bob nodded. "I getcha... Closer y'all are, more ya can drive each other nuts." he said. Knuckles came in soon after, and as he sat down, Bill scratched his head. "Hey, uh... Isn't it your job to guard... somethin'?" he asked. Knuckles shrugged. "I got someone to cover for me... Uhhhh..." he mumbled, noticing both Amy and Guard in the room, "It was, uh... Tails's robot-doggy. Yeah. That's it..." he mumbled.
Ridley the coati came in next, sitting beside Razor. "You allowed to drink that stuff?" he smirked. Razor glanced at him and smiled a little. "I took a personal day. Needed it." he replied. "Then why are you wearing the jacket?" Ridley wondered. Razor gulped down his drink and sighed. "Never leave home without my gun... You wouldn't either if you were me..." he said. The coati nodded. "...Hey, can I try some of what you're having?" he wondered.
Soon, Blaze and Cream entered, and since Tails and Marine hadn't heeded Bill's warning, things quickly got out of hand. "You again!!? You really are trying to steal Tails away from me!!" Cream shouted, snarling at the raccoon. Blaze rushed over to try to calm things before her two friends could start fighting, but Marine didn't help matters. "Crikey! We never thought you'd come into a bar! They serve milk here?" she babbled. Cream pulled Marine out of her seat angrily. "Aha!! That's practically a confession!!" she yelled. Tails yanked Marine back while Blaze pulled Cream away from her. "Calm down! Take a seat! I think you n-need to think about this!" Blaze stammered. "Let me do the talking to Cream next time, Marine!" Tails groaned.
The last major visitor of the group was Gemini, who found Copter hanging around the counter and sat beside him. "Hey... Rainbow drive ya nuts?" he asked. Gemini chuckled. "No... Hey, how's your job going?" she asked. "I'm gonna get fired. Everyone keeps pushin' me..." Copter grumbled. Gemini looked at him sympathetically. "I wish I could help..." she sighed. Bill and Bob walked up to them and snickered lightly. "What're you goons lookin' at??" Copter grunted. "Nothin'. We were just thinking what a lovely couple you two are!" Bill said. Gemini blushed and Copter nearly fell out of his seat. "Listen you! We are NOT a couple! We're just a guy and girl who happen to live together! That's ALL!!" he shouted, his face bright red. Gemini turned her back to him, clearing her throat. "I'd never get involved with an ex-con, anyway..." she huffed.
It was inevitable with this group that tensions would run high. Guard grew tired of waiting for someone to slip and mention Sonic, so he stomped over to Knuckles and growled at him. "...I think you know where Sonic is..." he snarled. Knuckles glared at him. "And I think you know I'm not about to give him up." he said. Rouge stepped between them suddenly. "Calm down, boys... Hey, Knuckles, tell you what, I'll get GUN off your back in exchange for a certain emerald..." she smirked. "Don't even think it, you guys!!" shouted Punchy, who was quick to throw a punch that struck Guard. "Grrrr!! That's it!!" The four of them were soon having an old fashioned bar brawl, which Razor drunkenly tried to break up. "G-guys... D-don't make me have to cuff youse..." he grunted, wobbling their way. He wobbled into Gator, who instantly took offense. "NOW no one even sees me!? I'll fix you!!!" he shouted, wildly throwing punches everywhere! Cream and Marine saw the fighting, and got out of their seats despite Tails and Blaze's protests. "Right, let's get this settled, mate!" Marine said, raising her fists. Cream sent Cheese straight ahead to smack the raccoon in the face! "Oww!! No fair! Blaze, innit a foul, doing that??" she shouted. "Don't drag me into this..." Blaze sighed. Gradually, everyone was getting involved in the brawl, though, to the point that Amy was smacking Crash over the head with her hammer. "Gaaah!! Why are you doing this to me again??" he groaned. "You shoved me!! ...Right?" Amy stammered. Tails growled and ran in to try and stop the fighting, as did Espio and Vector. "Cream! What would your mom say!!" Vector shouted, only to get a Chao in the face! "Oooof!! You brat!!" he yelled. Tails snuck away from the girls and tried to help Knuckles, who was caught between Punchy and Guard. "We gotta do somethin'... Our bar's gonna be in a shambles!" Bill stammered. During the brawling, who should try to enter but Dr. Eggman. "Bartender, I'll have a--OOOFF!!" The doctor was swiftly knocked back out the door by a tossed chair, which undoubtedly angered him. "Those animals!! I ought to flatten this establishment to the ground!!" he growled. However, Bob was quick to emerge with a bottle of fine wine. "Complements of the house, sir. Don' blow us up, thank ya..." he said nervously. Eggman took a look at the label. "Hmmm... Fine, but if I ever find out who threw that..." he growled, turning to leave. Inside, Illusi growled loudly, raising his hands. "ENOUGH!!!" he shouted, summoning dozens of Wrongos to break up the fights and return peace to the bar!
Everyone sat down, glum expressions on their faces. The bar was a bit of a shambles. Vector and Gator both couldn't even get a seat since several of the chairs had been overturned and broken. "Now I'm stuck standing... Fine! I'll open my own bar! With a buffet! And a casino! In fact, forget the bar!" Gator said, storming out. Vector propped up one of the overturned chairs and sat shakily in it, sighing. "We really went too far..." he groaned. "Speak for yourselves. I've just been sitting here calmly." Blaze sighed. "Me too..." Katie said groggily. Guard called Bill over with a frown. "Grrr... I think I'll have something stronger now..." he groaned. Knuckles and Punchy were both grumbling grouchily in the corner while Rouge nursed an injured wing and Ridley helped a pukey Razor to the bathroom. Copter nursed a black eye while Gemini scolded him for getting involved, Espio and Crash each tried to convince the other that their team was more annoying, and Illusi just groaned into his glass of wine. Marine decided to sit with Amy while Tails tried to get Cream to calm down. "There was no reason to fight, Cream... I'm friends with lots of other girls... Like Amy and Blaze! Are you gonna get mad when I hang out with them now, too?" he said, not meaning it quite as angrily as it sounded. "Th-that's different! I see how you and Marine are together..." Cream protested, turning away from him with tears in her eyes. Tails frowned. "Man... This is making you crazy..." he muttered. "I know." Cream squeaked, holding Cheese tight as she sniffled. Tails looked around grimly. He had to get Cream to understand his feelings, but talking to her wasn't working. Just then, he noticed the Neon Tavern's karaoke stage, which wasn't quite as beat up as the rest of the place. "Hmm..." he muttered, slipping away to try a new approach.
In a short while, several of the patrons noticed Tails up on stage. He shook a little, clutching a microphone as they stared at him. "Don't be nervous, kid... And don't make my music sound bad..." said Bill, who was standing at the edge of his counter near the stage, ready with a keyboard instrument that he usually played during "happy hour." Tails cleared his throat and steeled his nerves. "...This is for you, Cream..." he whispered into the mike, catching her attention. Bill's keystrokes slowly led into the heartfelt song Tails softly sang to her.
"Good times and bad times,
I can count on being with you.
I thank you for staying so true.
My life will go on a long time,
Have to catch up when I see you,
And you are my reason I can make it through.
I will give my word that I will come in time to rescue.
My heart will always be with you.
I'm so glad I met you, being with me wherever,
We're made for each other forever.
I know life can be tough on you time and time again,
Laughter may be gone away.
I will wipe away my tears tomorrow.
Life must go on,
That's the reason that you travel away.
I will be there when you need me,
And I know you'll do the same.
I can see you, I can hear you in my heart.
You will be here if I need you,
I will never have to guess,
'cuz we are very special friends..."
As Tails sang with all his heart, the grouchier patrons' hearts softened, and Cream approached the stage with a sniffle, nodding when the lyrics rang particularly true. Blaze and Marine sat trying to hide their tears as well. "They are so adorable... I'm so sorry I made 'er jealous!" Marine sniffled. "...There's someone I need to find!" Blaze said abruptly, rushing out of the bar with this song fresh in her mind. Katie found Espio and tapped his shoulder. "I want you to know... we're friends, too..." she said, winking. Espio smiled, but then Vector yanked him away, heading for the door. "I need your help, Espio... I gotta write the perfect note to MY sweetheart! You'll tell me if I get too mushy, right?" he said, not really giving him a choice. Ridley helped the drunken Razor out of the bar, while Knuckles and Punchy shook hands. "Let's not fight... We both have the same goal." Knuckles said. "Speaking of, where's Rouge?" Punchy asked. Realizing their goal might be in jeopardy, the two echidnas hurried out of the bar in hopes of catching up to the thieving bat girl. Illusi finished his drink and left, humming the song Tails had been singing with a tear in his eye. Amy listened to the song and teared up as well. "...I gotta find Sonic... And apologize for trying to capture him before..." she sniffed, running on her way. Crash left quietly, adjusting his bowler before heading outside, snickering on the way as he noticed Copter and Gemini leaning against each other, listening to Tails's song with their tails entwined. "Grrrr... Get a room, you two!" teased Guard, making them snap out of it and leap out of their seats. "Umm, errr... We're just tired! L-later Gems!" Copter said, running off while blushing profusely. Gemini nodded. "Y-yeah... Later..." she replied, sighing and heading out a bit slower. As Tails finished his song, Cream flapped her ears and joined him onstage, hugging him tightly. "I'm so sorry... I promise I'll trust you more from now on!" she said, crying into his chest. Tails patted her head and nodded. "You don't owe me the apology, Cream..." he said. She nodded and took his hand. "Let's find her now, then..." Cream smiled, the couple heading out of the bar together. Guard grunted and left a wad of bills on the counter. "...For the damage. I'll report this as a bust, grrrr..." he said, exiting the bar last. Bill and Bob looked around and sighed. "Better clean up..." they said at once.
Later that evening, after any additional customers they'd gotten had left, Bill and Bob were cleaning up glasses and getting ready to close up shop. As Bill headed around the counter, the door opened. "We're closing, sorry..." he muttered, only to gasp loudly as he saw their customer. It was Chet, wearing a loose fitting red hoodie that was covering his face until he was inside; and when he removed the hood, Bob gasped as well. Without a word, he sat at the counter, and the two hedgehogs didn't stop him. Bill returned to the counter and grabbed a clean glass for him. "...It's important no one knows I was here..." Chet muttered, barely looking at them. Bob took the glass from Bill and started fixing a drink, while Bill patted the cheetah on the shoulder. "Everyone's welcome here for a discreet rest, pal... You most of all." he said with a smile. Indeed, everyone needed such a refuge from time to time, and after a day like this, Bill and Bob were quite satisfied with their choice of business...