Flames of Chaotic Fury
Part 3: Flaming Rage
A lightning temporarly lit the plumbeous sky, as the Ultimate Lifeform dashed between the wastelands. As he skated, he almost automatically turned his head to his right. He saw in his mind Sonic's playful face as he flanked him “Keep up, gramps!” chuckled the hedgehog as he ran ahead and vanished like a ghost. Shadow shook his head: he couldn't believe it, but he really missed him… His ironic smirk, his free and funny attitude, his never dying heroism… He used to find him boring and childish at the start, but in time he arrived to considerate him like the little brother he never had. They used to fight sometimes but when duty called they knew they could trust each other. Sonic saved him from darkness once and now he was going to return the favor. “Hang on, little brother! I'm coming to save you!” He said accelerating.
After a few minutes Shadow was near the prison's perimeter. His face grimaced in disgust as he saw the cement and metal-made monstrosity and he placed a hand behind his left ear, metallic as his limbs and left eye, pressing a button behind it “NICOLE” he said “I'm in position" “Roger” replied the AI's voice “Initiate prison scan" he ordered. His metal eye changed shape, allowing him to see perfectly the prison’s complete planimetry “Hm… That's weird… I see different heat sources on the first two floors but only one on the third…” he said to himself “Agreed. I suggest you check on that floor” said the lynx “Roger. Approaching now.” He said closing the call and getting closer.
Meanwhile Eggman got back in his office and checked his paperwork, releasing every once in a while a violent cough. Suddenly a blue spy lit up on a monitor “Hm?” Eggman took a remote and clicked it, showing some graphs and a green irregular line. Eggman grinned at that sight “Very very interesting…” he giggled pressing a button on another remote.
Shadow pressed his back against the perimeter wall, checking the surroundings and if someone was coming then he reactivated the communications “No one around" he said “Good. Let's cross fingers, sir…” said NICOLE. The super computer in the cave lit up and on its monitor appeared the phrase “Activating Chameleon Device… Chameleon Device operative!” croaked the metallic voice. “Green light, sir. Let's see.” Said NICOLE in the commlink. Shadow nodded and activated the rocket boosters in his shoes, flying up and over the perimeter wall and landing in the “garden". One of the patrolling Metal Chasers turned its head and stared at Shadow for a few, long seconds. The sight monitor of the robot flashed for a few bits then appeared a phrase “Metal Chaser 227711 recognized” and the guard left, then Shadow sighed in relief “Whew… The CD works… Thank Chaos…” he sighed “Sure it does! It interfaces directly with the Metal Chasers's recognition system. That way, at their eyes, you'll look like them.” Said NICOLE “I know… I designed it…” Said Shadow flying up and landing on the building’s roof. With his X-ray vision, Shadow looked into the third floor cell “Empty. No, wait. I see something at the bottom. A heat source and… HOLY CHAOS!! Whoever's in there he's having a heart attack!” he yelled “What are you waiting for? I disabled the security system of the prison so you can get in!” said NICOLE, worried. Shadow didn’t wasted time: he sank his metal fingers in the roof and tore a piece away. Then he flew inside, using the flashlight of his eye to look around “Lower more” said NICOLE. Shadow flew down faster until he arrived at the big fish bowl “What the…?” he said to himself, then he peeked inside and saw him! Sonic! Tied up and about to drown! “SON OF A…!” he growled, diving in and getting him. He flew up and landed on the metal catwalk, cutting the ropes. “NICOLE, scan for physical situation!” he said worried “Oh, motherboard…” she said frightened “Not only he's going cardiac, he's about to suffocate! Do something! Quick!” she yelled. Shadow started hitting his chest to get the water out, also doing mouth-to-mouth as he prepared the defibrillator mod for his hands. Sonic started breathing weakly again, but he still had a suffering face that Shadow never saw on him. Shadow placed his modified hands on Sonic's chest, regulated the voltage to 300 volts and shouted “Clear!!” Sonic's wet body jumped slightly “It didn't worked! Sir!” “I KNOW, DAMMIT, I KNOW!” growled the ebony hedgehog “TRY MAX VOLTAGE!” “Sir, there's a 50% chance that voltage will kill him…” “WANNA KNOW THE PERCENTAGE OF THE DAMN I GIVE NOW?! AMP IT UP! CLEAR!!” he shouted almost hysterically “Don't you dare, faker… You survived worse things than this… Please, survive…” he thought as the voltage struck Sonic's body, which jumped like a popcorn. Smell of burned fur could be heard as Shadow fighted to save his life. For a few seconds no sound could be heard, then…
“He's stable! You did it! But how?” asked NICOLE “Don't ask… I wouldn't know how to answer you…” said Shadow visibly relieved. Sonic coughed slightly and slowly opened an eye “You almost gave me a heart attack, faker…” Shadow said with an unexpected smile “S-Shadow…?” he stammered on the brink of crying “N-nice chroming… T-that's r-really c-cool…” he added, smiling weakly “Hey, one does what he can to survive! Those sons of a glitch really did a number on me. I wasn't sure if I could’ve survived the Chaos Blast but as you see I did. You won't ever get rid of me, faker" Shadow chuckled “Shoot…” Sonic joked before a violent pain spasm took over “Are you okay?” asked Shadow worried “Peachy…” said Sonic with irony “I-it hurts in places… I didn't knew it could hurt…” “Scan him" said Shadow. After a while NICOLE finished the analyzes “His… His bones are all shattered! And his volontary muscles are completely paralyzed and emaciated! He stayed like this for five years?” asked NICOLE “Weird… His accelerated healing factor should've already healed him… Unless… NICOLE, brain scan!” ordered Shadow while Sonic looked at him lost “S-Shads… W-who… Who you're talking to?” he asked weakly “Oh right” said Shadow facepalming “You see, I created the metal parts of my body using pieces of scrapped Chasers found here and there. Then using components from their CPU, I created an AI assistant. Come say hello" he said as from one of the security cameras nanites started flowing out, forming NICOLE's physical body, then she smiled warmly “Hello! I'm NICOLE! Nice to meet you, Mr Sonic!” “H-hi… I… I didn’t understood much… But thanks for helping Shadow…” he mumbled “You're welcome!” she said bowing slightly.
Shadow activated his bioscan to check Sonic’s brain “AH-HA! NICOLE, I found an anomaly!” said the black hedgehog “Here, I'll show you" he added, transferring the data to the computer in the cave. NICOLE stood still for a while, checking the data, then she opened her eyes “A psychic block… Someone made sure that you couldn’t heal from the damage you received that day” she said as Sonic froze “W-whaddya mean with t-that day? I’ve been here only for… For… Oh Chaos, how long was I in here?” he stuttered. NICOLE and Shadow looked at each other in the eyes until the ebony hedgehog kneeled down “Sonic… It's been five years… Eggman kept you prisoner and tortured you for five years…” he revealed, causing the hero to cry desperately, something that Shadow never saw him do “F-f-f-f-five y-y-y-years-s…” he whined. Shadow understood too well: Sonic was never been capable of standing still for five minutes, so five years without running must've felt like an eternity to him. Sonic looked like a baby for how much he cried in despair, so much that both Shadow and NICOLE felt very moved. The AI sat next to him, stroking his blue wet hair trying to comfort him while Shadow thought of what to do “Got it" he muttered “What?” asked the AI “The generator. Make it blow, NICOLE. That way the cells will open and everyone will get out" he ordered “Yes sir” she said nodding “When you're done wait here with Sonic until he recovers” he added pulling out the glowing bag. NICOLE wiped Sonic's eyes as he found the strenght to stutter “R-recover… W-what?” Shadow smiled as he pulled out from the bag… “A-a C-Chaos E-Emerald?!” he stuttered “Not one…” Shadow said smirking, showing the seven gems to him and putting them in a circle around him “That’s why Eggman couldn't found them… You had them…” said Sonic. Shadow nodded “ I hid them in a cave out of town the day Eggman made the announcement. I had a bad feeling about that so I put them away with a stash of food, water and weapons enough to last for decades. I was there learning how to use these” he said showing his metal limbs. Then he turned to NICOLE and nodded. She nodded back and vanished in the camera, reappearing in the generator room “And now…” she said stroking her hands “Lights out!” she announced shooting a blast of red nanites that corrupted and destabilized the generator. All proud, NICOLE reappeared in Sonic's cell and counted down with her fingers. 3… 2… 1…
The explosion destabilized the structure, making the ground move. Eggman fell down the chair and rolled on the floor “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!” he yelled. Tribot flew in “Sir, are you okay?” he asked helping him up “What happened?” “Earthquake?” “Preposterous! This isn't a seismical zone! It was an explosion! And judging by the sound, it must be the generator!” he growled “B-but how's that possible? Your generator is bombproof!” said the butler-bot “I know, you imbecile! We have an intruder! Why didn't the alarm reported me?” he yelled before coughing violently “Doctor, calm down! If you get upset, your already unstable situation will get worse! Maybe it's a system malfunction…hypotzed the robot as he held his creator “I hope it is… But I have a very bad feeling about this…” said the doctor, finding some strenght.
“Good job, NICOLE. Stay with Sonic as I evacuate the prison" said Shadow going at the door, then he stopped and looked at Sonic “Listen… After what Eggman did to you…” “Don't even say that…” Sonic interrupted him “He's too dangerous to be left alive like this. Who knows what else he would do. To you, to your friends… To Amy…”Shadow stated “Leave her out of this. It's not worth it, Shadow. If you do that… You won't be better than him” Sonic said. Shadow just looked at him, crossing his arms “Listen. Closely. To me, Shadow. Killing Eggman is not a solution” he said looking at Shadow in the eyes. Shadow sighed: in any other occasion and time he and Sonic would discuss about it for hours, usually ending up with Sonic convincing him. But that wasn't the time. Shadow had been decided about it for three years: the doctor went too far. Kidnapping humans and Mobians, building Robotnikatraz, torturing his friends. Eggman had to die. Period. He smiled, bitter “How about you recover first? Then we'll talk about it. Promised" he said with a calm that didn't belonged to him. Sonic looked at him for a bit then he humphed “Fine… Try and leave some bots for me, faker…” “I don't make promises…” Shadow grinned, then he looked at the camera that was off “NICOLE, turn it on. Let the doctor know I'm here” “With pleasure!” she said.
The office's lights turned on again, only weaker “The supporting generator works… For now…” commented Eggman “Send all the Metal Chasers to look around here. Make them found the intruder!” he said to Tribot. The butler-bot nodded then he turned his head “Hm? Doctor, that camera is on!” “What?” said the doctor getting up and looking at the screen. He felt like his blood stopped coursing in his body: Shadow! The black hedgehog looked at him with a frightening frown, then he pointed his fingers at his eyes and back at the camera. A clear sign: I'm coming for you! Then the camera turned off. Eggman stood silent for a few seconds “S-sir? W-who was that?” asked the robot. Then an angry grimace formed on Eggman's face “A damn pest who just won't stay dead!!” he growled grabbing the mic “TO EVERY METAL CHASER! TO EVERY METAL CHASER! WE HAVE AN INTRUDER IN CELL 23691! HEAD THERE AND KILL HIM! STAT!” he yelled in the mic “Tribot!” he then yelled “Y-yes?” he asked, he never saw his master so worried “Tell Tails to go in the bombproof lab and to not get out until I say so! And don't tell him about Shadow! I spent five years breaking that fox's spirit and that red and black partypooper could ruin it!” he yelled “Yessir!” said the robot, flying to Tails's office. He knocked on the door and explained Tails what happened “An exercitation?” asked the twin-tailed genius “Yes. The doctor wants his Metal Chasers to be always prepared.” “And he wants me to move in the bombproof lab?” he asked suspicious “Yes, because they'll fight seriously and the doctor thinks the noise could disturb you” he said calmly, so calmly that Tails was convinced “Okay. Let me know when it's over” he said taking his stuff and going in a room under the lab “I handled Tails. What now?” he asked contacting Eggman “Well done! Keep an eye on the second floor. If the strongest Mobians escape we're done!” Eggman said, not feeling very well. He closed the contact and looked at the off monitors gritting his teeth “Damn you…”
Shadow was outside the cell, fully concentrating about what was about to happen: he was about to fight hundreds of Metal Chasers alone. “It's not fair…” he thought while a grin formed on his face “To be even, they should've been thousands…” he added in his mind. The robots arrived and saw Shadow, who had turned off the CD to be seen. “Intruder detected! Terminating!” they said together “You want a piece of me?” He growled as his hands turned into heavy machine guns “COME AND GET ME, SCRAP BRAINS!!” he growled, jumping and firing at them. Those were robots: they didn't had emotions nor pain so Shadow removed any inibition as he started to massacre them. One after another, the robots started falling as they weren't a match for the Ultimate Lifeform. Shadow flew up and from there he fired over the metallic monstrosities, his hands kept changing shape: from machine guns to rocket launchers, then electrical impulse cannons and finally high precision laser rifles. While in the aisle Shadow was fighting, Sonic was slowly recovering with NICOLE looking at him, wondering what would he do when he recovered. Would he help her master? Or get in his way? She didn't knew and that frightened her a bit…
“H-hey… N-NICOLE, am I right?” asked Sonic bringing the AI back to the real world “Yes?” “Can… Can I ask you a favour?” he asked almost embarassed “Surely!” she replied smiling “C-can I… P-place my head… O-on your lap?” he stuttered weakly. She, calmly, got closer to him, raised his still moist head and delicatly placed it on her thighs “Comfier?” she asked with an almost motherly sweetness. The hedgehog nodded and relaxed “Talk to me…” “What?” “I’ve been alone… For five years… I… I need to talk with someone…” he said sad. NICOLE smiled “Okay. What do you want to talk about?” she asked “W-what happened… to Mobius in these five years?” he asked, almost scared of the answer. She petted his quills and explained everything: that the president was a traitor, that he killed Rouge and that now the humans were reduced to animals, ready to kill for survive “Quite a mess, huh?” said Sonic “Yeah… But once we're done here, everything will be okay, right?” she asked, trying to comfort him “I-I… I don't know…” he mumbled before falling asleep. She couldn't help but smile and kept petting him like he was his son. Suddenly she recieved a call “Yes sir?” she whispered “Why are you talking so silently?” asked Shadow as he tore the robots down “Because Mr Sonic is asleep… He's so adorable…” she mumbled running her fingers through his hair “Good thing Amy didn't heard you… Anyway, I think the second floor cells are still locked. Eggman must have a backup generator. Do you mind taking care of it?” asked Shadow while his laser melted the head of a Chaser “Consider it done” she said whispering “By the way, Mister Sonic is at 55% of energy” “Good. Thanks" he said as he ripped the limbs from a Chaser “Now we're even…” he hissed as he crushed its head like a tincan. NICOLE duplicated and ordered herself to go and destroy the backup generator. The clone nodded and digitalized, vanishing in the air, as the original remained looking at Sonic sleeping peacefully. After a while the clone found and destroyed the backup generator, turning off the lights of the prison.
Tribot raised his eyes to the lamps “Oh, perfect… Now the backup generator is offline too…” he grunted, not realizing of the celldoors opening. From one in particular came out a heavy breathing, like if something, or someone, has been repressing its mighty rage for years. He once was Mobius's strongest and respected warrior and that pyramidal pipsqueak humiliated him. He got out of the cell stomping while his strenght flowed in his body like a turrent, heading to Tribot, too busy mumbling to notice the danger he was in. Then a certain sound got his attention. A loud, almost unhearable sound in the silence of the prison. Cracking knuckles. The robot turned its head and saw the only Mobian who didn’t feared him, but hated him even more than his hate for Eggman “Hey, tincan… Remember me?” growled Knuckles ready to even things “K-Knuckles!” stuttered Tribot “Scared? Weird, I thought that robots couldn't feel emotions…” he grinned as he cornered the robot, blocking any way out for it “T-That’s it! G-go back in your cell or else…” he didn't even finished speaking that Knuckles dashed forward and grabbed its head with his hands. The robot tried struggling to free itself but to no avail “Sorry, you were saying?” asked Knuckles before squishing its head without problems “Toldya you'd payed…” he hissed, crunching the robot like a tincan and throwing away what remained, a little metal ball. Soon Knuckles freed Amy and the others “W-what's going on?” asked Amy going out of her cell “Don't know, don't care. It's our chance!” said the echidna “A-and Sonic? And Tails?” she asked worried and looking around “I'll take care of them! You evacuate the prison! Get everyone out of here!” he ordered to Amy before running on the third floor. Amy nodded, took Cream's hand and went out of the prison, with all the special Mobians
To be continued