Tails’ head was bent low, tears streaming down the young fox’s face as he hung limply in his restraints. He was currently around twelve years of age, wearing simply a pair of denim shorts, his goggles and all the gadgets he’d had with him lying on the table before him. He himself was hanging from the ceiling, a pair of cybernetic cuffs secured around his wrists and his ankles secured to the floor with two more cuffs to keep him pulled spread-eagle. He knew that Sonic and the rest of his friends had met a similar fate in other rooms. Some of them would simply be held there like that, but others Eggman had slated for execution, Sonic naturally being first in line for the latter.
Tails still couldn’t believe what had happened. He wasn’t even sure how it happened. It seemed like Eggman had been defeated once again and that he was trying to make his escape. However, it had turned out to be a trap, and he, Sonic, and Knuckles had walked right into it. With them out of the way, it was a simple matter for Eggman to take care of the rest of their friends not even Vanilla or Cream had been safe from his uprising to power. Tails’ fists clenched in his bonds and he gritted his teeth just thinking about it. Right now, Eggman was probably living it up somewhere to celebrate while they were stuck here.
As he was thinking about this, his ears pricked as he heard the sound of someone whistling approach the room before the door opened and Eggman himself walked into the room.
“Well now, how are you this fine day?” he asked his prisoner, grinning widely.
“Oh, I’m doing fine, you know, I’m just hanging around!” Tails told him bitterly, looking away. Slowly, Eggman’s smile faded, and then he sighed, taking off his glasses for a moment to rub his temples between a thumb and forefinger. Putting them back on, he then suddenly did something rather unexpected as he pressed a control on the wall, and the chains pulling Tails spread-eagle grew slack, allowing him to fall down to the floor. The chains still restricted his mobility so he couldn’t go too far, but now he could at least move around.
“All banter aside, I didn’t come in here just to taunt you, Tails,” Eggman started, and Tails looked up, surprised. He knew Eggman was being serious right now since he hadn’t even referred to him as “Brat” or “Fox Boy” this time. “You see, although we’ve had our differences, the truth is that I’ve always sort of admired your intellect,” Eggman told him. “It may have seemed like I’ve been looking down at you, but the reality is that I feel you’re the only person who is my intellectual equal,” he continued.
“Do you remember when I let you go after you defeated me on Prison Island that one time? I did that because I felt you deserved my respect for beating my own machine, not just because I had more important things to do. The fact that you were brave enough to stand up to me on the ARK later on was equally impressive! But I’m straying away from my point here,” Tails could only look on in shock as Eggman continued his speech. “You see, Tails, the thing is that it’s lonely at the top, as I’m sure you’ve often heard before. I want to be able to talk to someone WORTH talking to at times, someone to rule alongside me when I form my Eggman Empire,” Eggman explained.
“Before you say anything, let me ask you this,” Eggman went on. “Were you ever truly happy fighting alongside Sonic? Do you feel that he ever really appreciated your genius? To be honest, the only reason you even formed your friendship was simply because you started following him around,” Eggman reasoned. “Sure, he always tried to play the big brother for you, but the truth is, you two don’t actually have a lot in common, do you? I know that asking you to betray your friends is a big deal for you, but think of what we can accomplish together! Maybe with our combined resources, we might even be able to find your parents!” Eggman concluded. He turned, walking towards the door again before he turned back to Tails. “I’ll give you some time to think about it,” he said before he left, leaving the chains on Tails’ cuffs loosened so he could still move until he came back.
doubt whether or not his friendship with Sonic was really what it seemed to be. It seemed that the main part of why he’d been friends with Sonic for so long was simply because he wanted to be like him, to be faster than the speed of sound. Sonic himself had always just seemed to take his relationship with Tails in stride, he liked having someone around to look up to him and stroke his ego.
Another thing he noticed is that because he was always helping Sonic on his adventures, he hadn’t had much time for his own goals. He was still no closer to finding his parents than he had been before he met Sonic. That was one of the only things he truly wished for, to find any existing relatives and to try and bring any family he had left back together. Thinking about these things, he eventually reached the conclusion that Sonic was holding him back. It seemed like it was time to take his own advice and believe in himself, and only himself. Only then would he truly be able to accomplish his goals. Eggman was exactly the person who could help him do this, unlike Sonic, he saw the two of them as equals. Still, there was one part of his old life that he still wanted to address before he abandoned it.
After an hour or so, Eggman came back in. “Well, have you made your decision?” he asked Tails.
“Almost,” Tails replied simply. “However, before I decide completely, I have a simple request,” he told him. “There’s someone I have to talk to at least one more time before I join you,” he explained.
“I understand,” Eggman replied, nodding. “I can see how you would want to speak to Sonic one more time before he…”
“No,” Tails cut him off, taking him by surprise. “I’m not talking about Sonic. The one person I feel I need to talk to one last time…Is Cream,” he told him. The more he’d thought about it, Tails had decided that Cream had been more of a friend to him than Sonic had ever been. She’d always listened to everything he’d had to say, even if she didn’t understand all the technical terms he used. She always encouraged him, she always knew how to cheer him up when he was feeling down. To him, she was probably the only one he’d truly be betraying by joining Eggman, and thus was the only one he truly needed to talk to before he made is official decision.
“Hmm…Very well,” Eggman whistled and two Egg Pawns armed with blasters came in as Eggman released the cuffs around Tails’ wrists and ankles. “Escort Tails to Cream’s cell and then wait outside, but if either of them tries to make a run for it, stop them!” he instructed his robots. They nodded and flanked Tails, leading him out of the room and down the hallway of Eggman’s base. They stood at attention at the doorway as Tails stepped into Cream’s cell. Cream was wearing the orange dress she usually wore with her blue bow. She was restrained in the same way that Tails had been, sleeping lightly in her bonds. Tails took a deep breath and stepped before her.
“Cream,” he called up softly to her. “Hey Cream, wake up!” Cream stirred, looking up and blinking as she recognized her friend.
“Tails?” she asked, hardly daring to believe it. “What’s going on? Did Mr. Sonic escape and free you?” Tails shook his head.
“No, Sonic has nothing to do with this,” he replied. “The reason I’m here is that Eggman just made me an offer…He wants me to join him!” he explained as Cream’s eyes widened.
“Tails, no! You can’t join that horrible man, think of all the bad things he’s done!” Cream protested as Tails sighed.
“I’ve been thinking about that as well,” Tails replied. “Is he really as evil as we thought he was? To be honest, I have more reason to join Eggman than I have to stay with Sonic,” he replied. “I’ve actually already made my decision, but I want you to come with me!” Tails told her.
“What?” Cream asked, slightly confused.
“You’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a friend, and I don’t want to see this happen to you,” Tails explained. “You can have it better than this, if you joined Eggman with me, we could both be free! There’d be no one who’d stand in our way, we could always be together and…”
“What the hell is wrong with you, Tails?!” Cream suddenly yelled at him. Tails looked up at her in shock. He had NEVER heard Cream swear before, he hadn’t even suspected it was in her capacity to do so.
“Cream,” he said softly before Cream continued.
“What happened to your ethics? You used to tell me that what Mr. Eggman did was a perversion of the true purpose of science! You told me that science was supposed to help people and improve life for others so that it can show them the way to further progress as a society, not to gain control!” Cream demanded.
“Cream, don’t you understand? Eggman is the only other person with my intellect, I feel that he’s one of the only people who can truly understand me…” Tails replied before Cream cut him off.
“I understood you, Tails,” Cream said sadly. By this point there were tears in her eyes, and she found she couldn’t make eye contact with him anymore. “I used to understand you, before you made this decision,” Cream told him. “Mr. Sonic CARED for you, and I’m sure deep down Mr. Knuckles and Mr. Shadow cared as well. You don’t know how lucky you really were in your life, Tails, you had friends who loved and respected you, but now you’re throwing that friendship away as if it were nothing just because you feel that our enemy is the only one who sees you as an equal,” she told him.
“Cream, please listen to me, I…” Tails started before Cream cut him off once more.
“NO!” she shouted, clenching her eyes shut as the tears ran down her face. “If you want to accept whatever bullshit Mr. Eggman gave you, then that’s fine! But I would rather hang here the rest of my life than to work with him!” she screamed. Tails raised his hand up to her before pausing, at a loss for what to do. After a moment, he sighed, walking over and pressing the button to release Cream’s cuffs, allowing her to land on the floor.
“Tails what…” Cream asked, confused. Tails had turned away from her, not looking at her anymore.
“When I leave, I’m going to try and distract the robots who escorted me so they forget to lock the cell. After that, you’ll have ten minutes before I activate the alarm,” Tails told her, walking out of the cell. Cream blinked, not getting what he meant before she understood; although Tails was playing for a different team, he couldn’t abandon her without at least giving her a chance to escape. As Tails left, she took it, slipping out behind the Egg Pawns as they escorted Tails back to his cell and started to run in the opposite direction, not looking back.