The Miracle of Love
Chapter 2: Viral Fixations
DISCLAIMER: This fan fiction contains instances of profanity, extreme violence, nightmare-inducing imagery, and sexual content. Viewer discretion is advised.
All characters and settings are property of SEGA and Sonic Team.
6:42 PM - GUN GLOBAL HQ - AREA 99
The GUN officers and tech support had their hands full the last couple of hours. An alien invasion was the absolute last thing that the Earth and its guardians were expecting or were prepared for. Reports and calls were coming in from everywhere about the Black Arms attacks. Westopolis wasn't the only major city dealing with this crisis. Harbored Heights, Spagonia, Chun-nan, Riverside, even Sunset City were under heavy siege from the alien invaders. While they suffered heavy losses, Westopolis was still suffering the highest death toll because of the low security and lack of preparation. Standing over the control room within his own glass booth stood an older man of 58 years, with a left blue eye and a right brown eye.
Proud but hard, GUN Commander Abraham Tower stood over his men doing his best to contain the carnage across the globe. He knew this day would come. He had felt it in his gut the day he first saw that black alien monster aboard the Space Colony ARK fifty years ago that this sort of thing would happen. Tower insisted on a training regimen and more tech to prepare for that day, but the United Federation and his fellow soldiers would scoff at his paranoia. Their inaction was now costing millions of lives. A GUN Captain ran into the room and saluted to report, Tower not even turning from his focus on the screens. ``The alien terrorists known as the Black Arms have hit six major cities across the world. The death tolls are still rising, but none of them look good.'' Said the captain, ``Westopolis alone is reporting an approximate fifteen thousand fatalities. The city's downtown area has been almost completely destroyed, and our entire platoon has been wiped out.''
Tower closed his eyes and clenched his fists hearing this. Some of this he already knew but he didn't imagine it could possibly be this bad already. Was there really no stopping these monsters? ``Additionally, an SNN broadcast seemed to confirm reports of a black hedgehog assisting the Black Arms in Westopolis.'' The captain continued. Tower opened his eyes and looked over his shoulder. ``Shadow...'' he said. ``We cannot confirm that for sure, sir. We don't want to make assumptions until we have official confirmation.'' Responded the captain. GUN had previously been ridiculed by the media in retrospect for assuming that Sonic was committing crimes when it was really Shadow, though there was good reason for that....
``Unfortunately, Captain, we don't have time to wait for confirmation.'' Said Tower, ``Deploy all troops and spread them out! All troops, mechs, sentry droids, what have you! Make sure they cover every inch of the territories occupied by the Black Arms and snuff them out! And if you find Shadow... then kill him with them!'' The captain was surprised by his commander's instant change in attitude. He had thought Shadow was on their side. ``W-With all due respect, Commander, didn't Shadow actually save - '' he began, but Tower cut him off. ``I don't give a damn what he did before! If he's with those aliens, he's our fucking enemy! That's an order, now go!'' he yelled. The captain hastily ran out to relay the message as Tower looked at the screens and saw Shadow. ``You can't escape me this time, Shadow. I'll kill you with my own hands for what you've done...'' he whispered.
Outside the room, two figures picked up on the whole commotion: the sultry Rouge the Bat, and her new partner in a green fennec fox in a magenta tanktop and bracelets, a black scarf, shoes, and hotpants that exploited her best features, and gold sunglasses that she wore on her forehead. Rouge looked at her new partner with concern. She was worried about what their boss might do to Shadow. ``I got a bad feeling about this, Sonar...'' she said to the fox. ``You and me both, Rouge...'' said Sonar.
6:43 PM - DOWNTOWN WESTOPOLIS]/b]
``Attention! Emergency broadcast to all mobile units! Headquarters to all units! All points bulletin: be on the lookout for Shadow the Hedgehog, wanted in connection with the Black Arms terrorist attacks. Last seen in the vicinity of Downtown Westopolis. Orders are kill on sight. Repeat, Shadow is marked kill on sight!''
This was the message that went out to all troops and units. GUN had put a hit on Shadow for his supposed involvement in the Westopolis massacres. Even if he was innocent, Commander Tower was having none of it. Troops began being deployed across the globe, while the remaining troops in Westopolis received and were determined to follow their orders to the letter. It did not take long for them to find Shadow. The last squad saw Shadow walking towards them, two Chaos Emeralds in hand. They lined up their weapons to fire at the black hedgehog. The Ultimate Life Form just kept walking towards them, putting away the Chaos Emeralds and smirking, as if daring the soldiers to attack him.
They were more than happy to oblige, shooting off rounds at Shadow, but he tanked them or casually moved aside. Not that many of those shots actually hit him, anyway. In mere minutes, however, their magazines ran out. ``My turn.'' Said Shadow, glowing red and preparing to strike. The soldiers looked scared and were ready to retreat. ``CHAOS.... BLAST!!!'' He screamed as he unleashed Chaos Blast wiping out all the soldiers and destroying a few buildings beside them. There was, however, one trooper that tried to crawl away. Shadow used his Chaos Control power to teleport in front of the soldier. The soldier panicked and tried crawling back, but Shadow took out a pistol and shot him in the head, killing him instantly.
``Very impressive, Shadow...'' said a voice from behind him. Shadow turned around and saw a transparent image of Black Doom's full body form ascend from the ground. ``Ah, the great overlord of the universe descends from his throne upon Mount Asshole to greet the plebs that are getting shit done.'' Shadow snarked. Doom did not change his expression, but he hardly looked the same even if he did. ``You should mind your tongue, Shadow. I am merely transmitting my own being from our base amongst the stars. My physical form is not on the planet at present.'' He said, ``However, you did well to exterminate the humans here. I knew you would be of good use to me. Professor Gerald would be most proud...''
``Professor... Gerald...?'' Shadow asked confused. The name meant nothing to him. Of course, it was the name of his creator, but Shadow didn't remember that. To him, that name was as foreign as these Black Arms. ``Hmm... strange that you do not even remember your creator... regardless, your mission here is complete.'' Responded Black Doom, stroking his chin. ``Then maybe you should start talking before I start busting a few caps in whatever asses you have. Who am I really? What did you `as we agreed upon'? Who the fuck is Maria?! How do you know me?! Who was I before this?!'' Shadow asked, getting increasingly angry as he asked Black Doom. ``All will be revealed in due time. But now there is no time to waste. We have merely wounded the humans, now we must cripple them! Go to the University and access the United Federation's mainframe. Then I shall give you some answers. Understood?'' ordered Doom. Shadow had little choice. This thing may be the only clue to getting the answers about who he is. ``Got it!'' he said and ran off to Westopolis University.
As the transparent figure of Black Doom subsided, a new figure appeared from the open. He was invisible to the naked eye and nobody knew he was there until they left. Espio had used his camouflage ability to blend in and follow Shadow. Vector and Charmy were also hiding nearby. The ninja detective looked solemnly at where Shadow ran off to. Now they understood why he was acting this way. He had forgotten everything about his past, his identity, and where he belongs. Charmy eyed Shadow and admired his awesomeness as ever, but he also felt sad for the black hedgehog. He couldn't remember anything, and it was something even Vector could sympathize with. ``This definitely explains why Shadow would side with those aliens. Finding about who you are would be far more valuable than any money...'' said the croc.
``The ends do not justify the means, but I do understand why. This Black Doom sees Shadow's vulnerability and is exploiting it to his own benefit. Disgusting.'' Said Espio. Charmy just floated there sad. He wondered how much of Shadow's memory was lost. It must have been hard for him. ``If only there was something we could do...'' he said. The three wondered how to help him. They didn't exactly know Shadow that well, not as well as some of their allies, and they hardly worked for free. The rent for their office was almost up again and business hasn't exactly been booming. Vector pondered for a minute and opened his eyes. He made up his mind. ``Well boys, looks like we got a case on our hands!'' he boomed, ``The Case of The Ultimate Life Form's Lost Memories!''
Espio and Charmy looked at their boss in surprise. They wondered where this side of him came from. ``A pro bono case, Vector? That's not like you.'' Said Espio. ``Like I said, discovering the identity of someone is more valuable than cash. I usually turn down work that don't pay, but given the circumstances, I think I can make an exception this time.'' Said Vector. Espio had never taken Vector for any kind of softie. It was a welcome surprise to see Vector take on a case of their own accord without pay. ``So where do we start? We don't know anything about Shadow ourselves...'' said Espio. ``Hey, how about we ask the others? Like Sonic, Rouge, and Amy? They gotta know something!'' suggested Charmy. ``Great idea, Charmy! Espio, you and I are gonna ask around for people that knew Shadow personally! We'll check their facts and piece together Shadow's past one bit at a time.'' Said Vector. Espio nodded more than happy to help.
``Hey, how about I follow Shadow and make sure he keeps it straight?'' suggested Charmy. Vector was afraid of this question. He knew the bee worshipped Shadow, but he was afraid that Charmy would not do the job right and just shower Shadow with endless sycophantic praise. But they did need someone to look over him, so it seemed Charmy was the best bet. ``Fine, but keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't do anything stupid. Last thing we need is that hedgehog getting into more trouble and causing more damage than he should.'' Sighed Vector. Charmy flew around excitedly and zoomed in the direction Shadow went. ``I hope you know what you're doing in sending Charmy.'' Said Espio. Vector crossed his arms. ``If he has a fan like Charmy with him, maybe he'll turn over a new leaf. Provided that Charmy doesn't ignore the damage Shadow's doing. Besides, can't get worse than this...''
The moment Vector said this, however, one last laser beam from the Black Arms fired down onto a building, blowing it up. Vector and Espio looked back and were in dismay. That last building was where their office was located. Now this day went from bad to worse for the croc. ``OH COME THE FUCK ON!!!''
6:58 PM - WESTOPOLIS UNIVERSITY
It took about ten minutes for Shadow to reach the campus. There was a computer room there where he could better access the mainframe. The school was relatively intact, at least compared to the rest of the city. Entering the empty campus, Shadow rushed until he found a computer room. He had never really been much of a tech genius himself, usually leaving that stuff to Rouge, but he would have to make due without her this time. Though he thought it was peculiar and almost too convenient that the United Federation mainframe could be accessed and hacked into from a normal university's computer.
``HEY SHADOW! WHATCHA DOING?!''
Shadow jumped out a loud voice behind him and turned to attack. To his chagrin, it was none other than Charmy Bee. While he was indifferent to the trio of bumbling detectives, he found Charmy extremely insufferable. The endless amount of praise the 10-year old bee showered him with was the one thing keeping him from roasting that bug. ``So I heard ya lost your memory huh? Bummer. Would love to know how cool you were before...'' sang Charmy. Shadow rolled his eyes and got back to accessing the computer. ``Go away, Charmy. I'm busy.'' He said. ``Busy doing what? Helping that ugly-ass alien? Cuz I don't think he knows as much about you as ya think. Hell, he looks like the last guy that knows about what crazy shit you did.'' Quipped Charmy. Shadow continued focusing on trying to hack. Surprisingly, he was able to access the database, but was stuck on log in screens. It shouldn't have been a surprise. Black Doom was asking him to access the government's heavily-encrypted database. This would not be easy.
``Heeeyy, how bout you let me try it?'' Charmy sung. ``Did I not tell you to fuck off?!'' shouted Shadow. Charmy was hardly fazed. ``Aww, come on Shad! Don't be so grumpy! Just thought you could use some company. Y?know, since Bat Tits and Mr. Roboto aren't here. Hey, I could be the Tails to your Sonic!'' Charmy said. Shadow cringed when he brought up that idea. ``I am nothing like Sonic, and you are no Tails!'' said Shadow. ``No, you're way cooler!'' said Charmy. Shadow just shrugged and tried to log in. He felt like he knew the password, but couldn't remember it. He tried about five times. Not a single log in attempt worked. Eventually, Shadow had enough. ``Oh fuck this!'' he shouted and karate chopped the computer with immense force.
The shockwave and force of the impact caused an electrical surge. In the moments after, a strange spherical portal appeared over the two. ``Cool!'' said Charmy, impressed. Shadow was less so and jumped up into the portal, eager to see where it would take him. ``Hey, wait up!'' Shouted Charmy, who flew in after him.
DIGITAL CIRCUIT ZONE
Shadow found himself spinning across a lightspeed circuit board, following the roads that lead him through until he reached the end of the circuit and hit solid ground. Shadow surveyed his surroundings. It was mostly blue and purple around with binary particles everywhere as well. It was quite surreal for him to witness. ``Did I get into the computer?'' he wondered. His thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of Doom's Eye. ``I was wondering how long it would take you to find your way here... Welcome, Shadow. This is the information highway system the humans call `cyberspace'.'' Said Doom. ``How did you get in here then?'' asked Shadow. ``We have shortcuts that we take. You do not... yet.'' Answered the alien.
``Whoa, we're in the internet! Too cool!'' shouted a voice. Shadow facepalmed. He was afraid that Charmy went in through the portal with him, and he did. Now he had to deal with doing Black Doom's work and looking after this twerp. ``Shadow... what is this insect doing here with you?'' asked Doom's Eye. He was clearly as annoyed at seeing Charmy as Shadow was. ``Oh that's just Charmy. Don't worry, he's a harmless annoyance.'' Said Shadow, nonchalantly. ``You cannot afford any distractions. Delete the core program of this realm that controls the data flow, and then take the Chaos Emerald. Once that is done, communications will be compromised, sensitive information will be leaked, network traffic will come to inconsistent speeds, and the world will plunge into absolute chaos!'' ordered Doom.
``Whoa whoa whoa... you mean we're gonna fuck up the internet?... AWESOME!!'' shouted Charmy. Shadow shook his head. This was going to be a long day. ``Wait. How did a Chaos Emerald get inside the digital world of the United Federation's mainframe?'' he asked. ``That is irrelevant. We have no time to waste. Now go!'' ordered Doom's Eye as he flew upwards, still intent on following Shadow's progress. Shadow rushed forward following Doom's orders, while Charmy flew behind him, trying to keep up with his pace. ``Man Shadow, you're so awesome! First you kill people with the most awesome one-liners, and now here ya are breaking the internet! I mean, yeah, you're doing it for these evil aliens that you really shouldn't trust, but still... you're so cool!'' Charmy praised.
``Look kid, I'm not your babysitter and I am not looking after you. I have my own goals, so do not even think of getting in the way of them. And don't even tell me how to do my fucking job like you know me, got it?'' said Shadow. ``You gotcha Shad! Just don't drag me into your mess. Don't need GUN trying to kill me, y'know?'' answered Charmy. ``Probably should have thought of that before jumping in here then.'' The black hedgehog answered. The duo came across some Black Arms soldiers locked in combat with GUN mechs. This confused Shadow further. What were Black Arms doing in the computer world? ``Let's get those alien bastards!'' shouted Charmy as he charged and pierced his stinger right through a Black Warrior's head. To his and Shadow's surprise, he was actually able to put a major hole in the alien?s head, but then the alien instantly disappeared in a mass of particles.
``Do not be alarmed. Though these warriors and droids appear and feel real, they are more or less data programs taking physical form in this digital realm.'' Explained Doom?s Eye. ``Well that cheapens my kill a lot.'' Said Charmy, disappointed. Shadow chuckled as he destroyed the Data GUN Beetles with a couple of Chaos Spears. Charmy cheered at Shadow, and the two came up to a large gap separated by a data cube moving back and forth. Shadow jumped onto the cube and awaited his moment to jump to the other side. It came and he jumped, making it there, but he became surprised at the arrival of some red diamond things approaching him. ``Another of this world's security system. Pathetic...'' Doom's Eye chimed. Charmy flew over and stung the diamond, which caused it to split in two. Shadow pulled out a Flash Shot and blasted them again, destroying them for good. ``Oh so cool!'' praised Charmy. ``I am aware.'' Said Shadow, not even caring as he proceeded.
Eventually, the two came to a red hexagon on the ground, with a red trail pointing towards the edge. It looked much like the circuits they travelled on before. ``Into the net we go!'' shouted Charmy as he stepped on it. In the instant, he turned into a light of data particles and dashed off. Shadow sighed and did the same, following after the pest. ``Shadow, be warned. These roads are littered with red ?firewalls? that will attempt to destroy you. Go around them.'' Said Doom?s Eye, still hovering over the world. It didn't take long for Shadow to find the firewall blocking the circuit roads. The black hedgehog was able to find alternate pathways to navigate around them, eventually arriving at a terminal after a few minutes of anti-malware evasion. When he jumped out, he homing attacked a few Beetle droids that got in his way and found Charmy spinning around. ``Whoaaaa, that was crazy! Let's do it again!'' he shouted in glee. ``Umm, let's not.'' Shadow flippantly said.
Charmy started looking around at all the data as they went about, thrashing the data enemies where they went by. Shadow didn't understand what the bee was so excited about. He didn't really understand the big deal about this internet or why it was so important. ``Oh man, look at this stuff! These government leaks of a high-tech secret Diablon robot! And it looks cool!'' shouted Charmy, rummaging through all the data, ``And these cool stories people write of us. Don't know why people ship Cream with Tails though, those two got no sparks!'' Shadow chuckled. ``Someone's jealous...'' he said. Charmy scoffed at Shadow's comment, but got distracted by lewd pictures of Vanilla and an older Cream. Shadow was honestly surprised Charmy was even allowed to look at such inappropriate content, but he figured that Vector or Espio probably had some stashed away.
``Man, I can't wait for us to be legal, Creamy...'' Charmy sighed happily. He looked further and cringed, seeing files reading `Sonadow'. He dared not show or mention them to Shadow, he didn't want to even consider what Shadow's reaction would be. He tried distracting himself by finding another data file. ``Ooh, another picture. `Sonic cucks Tails by fuck - okay, that's just wrong! What kind of sicko draws shit like that?!'' said Charmy. Shadow without hesitation shot the data files Charmy had. Even he knew where to draw the line, and people drawing cruelty against Tails was it. Even if he didn't like them, he was nowhere near that heartless.
``Yup, that's it. I'm blowing this motherfucker sky high.'' He said, rushing for the core program. The Ultimate Life Form was so impatient and annoyed, he didn't even notice he was about to fall down into an abyss of light until he slipped on and fell off a cube. Shadow screamed out as he tumbled but took a Chaos Emerald out. Just before he could use Chaos Control, though, he felt himself turned around and hovering above the ground, or lack thereof. Then he felt himself being lifted. Shadow looked around and saw himself being carried. Charmy latched onto his back and lifted him, acting like a jetpack to fly him up to safety and back on solid ground. ``Whoa, close one there, eh Shad?'' Charmy asked.
``Heh. Thanks. Guess you're not that bad after all.'' Said Shadow, dusting himself off. He quickly jumped up and saw the core program at the top of a tower. He looked over to Charmy and pointed upwards, gesturing him to give him another lift. Charmy nodded, clinging onto Shadow's back and holding him, flying him up to near the top of the tower. Several data GUN drones flew up to stop them. Charmy flew Shadow around to evade their firepower, which made Shadow have trouble aiming his gun. ``Oh for... Charmy, throw me at them! I?ll Chaos Blast these fuckers and the core in one shot!'' he commanded. Charmy nodded and tossed Shadow up, as the hedgehog glowed red and neared the core.
``CHAOS... BLAST!!'' In one powerful blast, the drones were wiped out and the core program was destroyed. As Shadow descended, he saw the yellow Chaos Emerald and grabbed it. It was time for them to make their escape. ``CHAOS.... CONTROL!!''
8:12 PM - LETHAL HIGHWAY
In a flash, Shadow and Charmy found themselves on a relatively safe Lethal Highway, which was a normal transit to and from Westopolis. Their job was complete and Shadow now had three Chaos Emeralds in his possession. `Three Emeralds and only four left. And here I thought finding these things would be difficult...?' he thought. Black Doom's transparent figure appeared before him. ``Well done, Shadow. Now the humans are further crippled!'' said Black Doom. ``WE BROKE THE FUCKING INTERNET BRO!! I mean it's bad and all, BUT THAT WAS LIT!!'' yelled Charmy. Doom?s eyes leered in an annoyed manner. ``Quite.'' Said the alien. ``Okay, ugly. I held up my end of the bargain, now you better do the same!'' said Shadow, all attention directed at the Black Arms overlord.
Black Doom chuckled. Shadow did as he was told but he didn't expect his new disciple to begin questioning him so aggressively. `Though his naivety could work to my advantage... a biased tale couldn't hurt him...' he thought. ``Shadow, you are the Ultimate Life Form and the greatest creation of Professor Gerald Robotnik. He was researching the prospect of eternal life to save his granddaughter, Maria, who was terminally ill.'' He explained to Shadow. Both the mortals were fixated on the story, but Shadow's eyes widened at the mention of Maria. He began to see flashes of his life, spending time with her, seeing the blonde human happy. He must have been good friends with this Maria.
``However, the Earthlings did not see you an individual, but a weapon. One too powerful to be given sentience. So they invaded your home and took all those that you ever loved away from you. They captured Gerald and murdered Maria. Feeble humans, willing to sacrifice their own when overcome by greed...'' Doom continued. Charmy frowned sympathetically as Shadow looked down, in negative emotions. Some confusion, some anger, some sadness. He couldn't understand why she would die, nor why her death haunted him. But a big part of him wanted to avenge her. If he remembered her, then she was something special to him. The Earthlings wouldn't get away with this. ``One question though: how?d ya know about the parts you weren't there for?'' asked Charmy. Black Doom leered down at the young bee. ``That... is a story for another time. But for now, my army's job is completed. Shadow, rest up and begin to search for the other Emeralds on the morrow.'' Answered the alien as he disappeared.
Shadow clenched his fists and began to walk off. One way or another, he would get even for what the humans did to Maria. He jumped on a discarded motorcycle and started it up, Charmy jumping on the back. ``WOOHOO, road trip!'' he yelled. Shadow sighed in annoyance, but also defeat. He knew Charmy wasn't going to leave him alone at this point, so he didn't bother arguing. Plus, if it wasn't for Charmy, he probably wouldn't have gotten the Chaos Emerald. Shadow revved the handle and drove off. ``You're tagging along, but remember: you get in deep shit, don't expect me to pull you out!'' he told the bee. ``Hey, you were the one that didn't watch his step. I don't trust that Black Doom, but wherever ya go, I know it's gonna be fun fun fuuun!'' said Charmy. ``That's a matter of perspective, but okay.'' Shadow chuckled.
He just hoped this frustration would be worth it.
7:45 PM - CENTRAL CITY - MEH BURGER
Amy was late to dinner tonight. Usually she had her last meal an hour and a half earlier, but today was different. She was completely off.
She dozed off for a couple hours, having another dream of Shadow the Hedgehog. This didn't make sense to her. Even though they had a disagreement, her heart still longed for Sonic... didn't it? Her weird dreams and conflicted feelings caused her to miss a lot of what was happening. Cream was staying at her apartment while the Black Arms invasion was happening. But they didn't leave for dinner instantly. She and Cream had to take a while to digest who was helping lead this invasion.
``What?ll it be ma?am?'' asked the cashier. Amy spent so much time thinking of Shadow that she forgot she was in line to order her and Cream?s food. She stuttered to get her food. So much that someone stepped in front of her. ``I'll take care of this. The usual Something's-Fishy Sandwich and Meh Salad, and a Double Meh Burger and Kids Meal for the ladies.'' Said a chameleon. The girls were surprised to find Espio ordering for them. ``Oh, Espio! You don't need to do that for us!'' said Amy. ``Nonsense, dinner is on me.'' Said Espio, pulling out his VIP Card to show to the cashier and paying, ``Actually, I was looking to talk to you Amy. It's important.''
Amy blinked in surprise at Espio?s words. As they got their food and began eating, Amy looked at the ninja in intrigue. The last time they saw each other, he was brutally honest about her affections for Sonic and not in a good way. It was surprising to see him here, but there seemed to be little ill will between the two. ``So what did you want to talk about?'' she asked. Espio ate his salad and looked to her with a serious face. ``We're currently working on a new case and would like your help.'' He began, ``I would like to know... what do you know about Shadow the Hedgehog?'' The second that name left his lips, Amy froze and Cream stopped playing with her Meh Burger meal toy. She was not expecting her life to suddenly be about Shadow so soon after her ?breakup' with Sonic. Cream shook a bit, knowing full well that Shadow was helping the monsters that attacked her.
``Umm... why are you asking this?'' Amy asked, nervously taking a bite of her Burger. ``I know it's sudden after the Black Arms attacks this evening, but Vector, Charmy, and I are trying to weave together his past. You see, we have reason to believe that Shadow may be suffering from amnesia.'' Espio explained. This definitely took Amy by surprise. While she had seen Shadow a few times before this after his unexpected return, her interactions with him had been limited. But he looked as if he barely recognized her. Now it all added up. Shadow must have somehow lost his memory when he survived the battle on the ARK. This means he probably doesn't even remember their encounter that inspired him to go against Professor Gerald?s dying wishes.
``Well, a little bit. I actually met him when he, Rouge, and Eggman broke in to steal the Chaos Emeralds. I hitched a ride on a GUN ferry to rescue Sonic and... well, thought Shadow... was... Sonic...'' she began, embarrassed. Espio raised his eyebrow. He was puzzled as to why Sonic was locked up, or how Amy could think Sonic and Shadow looked even remotely similar. ``But Amy, Mr. Sonic and Mr. Shadow don't look a thing alike.'' said Cream. ``I know, I know! Everyone made that mistake back then, and it was super embarrassing!'' Amy responded, blushing. Espio noticed Cheese sitting on the table and fed him the last of his salad. The Chao appreciated that very much. ``Once I hugged him and realized that his chest was fluffy and that he wasn't shrugging me off, I realized he wasn't Sonic. But his fur was soft...'' Amy continued. But she ended up blushing harder and waving her arms in embarrassing fashion. ``N-n-not in a weird way, of course! Completely platonic, err... enemy platonic!''
``Evidently. What else?'' Espio nodded, though a sweatdrop did appear on the back of his head. ``Well... I didn't see much of Shadow until we got to the Space Colony ARK. Apparently, Shadow showed Eggman his grandfather's secret weapon, the Eclipse Cannon, which could destroy an entire planet. Gerald needed the seven Chaos Emeralds to activate it's secret function: crashing the ARK into the Earth and destroying it. That was Gerald and Shadow's whole fifty year revenge scheme.'' Amy continued, ``Revenge against humankind for shutting the colony down and killing Shadow's dear friend, Maria. Everyone else pitched in to reach the core of the cannon, but Shadow didn't feel there was a reason to save everyone. So I found him alone in the control room.'' Now Espio was getting very interested. ``And then what happened?'' he asked.
``I told him... that some people may be bad and selfish.... But there are still good ones. And that everyone on this planet... they all deserve a chance to live and have happier lives. That people here on the Earth should not have their happiness taken... and that's when he remembered something.'' She explained, ``A promise he made to Maria; not to avenge her, like Gerald made him believe, but to protect everyone and give them a chance at happiness. He... shed a tear and ran off to help. He told me... he had to keep his promise to Maria... and me. But he never told me what that promise was. After that... Shadow was presumed dead. The credit for saving the Earth went right to Sonic... we all thought Shadow was gone for good...''
``Until Rouge and Omega found him. So your plead for help was able to bring him over to the light side.'' Espio mused. ``I guess you could say that. But now that he's lost his memory, that's all for nothing...'' she said. Espio crossed his arms and looked at her with great sincerity. ``Maybe not.'' He said. The girls looked at the ninja with some confusion. ``What do you mean, Mr. Espio?'' asked Cream. ``Shadow did not resist your accidental advances and your words of encouragement reminded him of his true mission, correct? That must mean he has, or at least had, some kind of affection or sentiment towards you. Or perhaps you just reminded him of his lost friend, Maria. In any case, your words seemed to be what brought him to the side of good, Amy... and I believe you may be able to do it again.'' Espio told Amy. ``Me? But how? Shadow won't recognize me!'' said Amy. ``Then find him and he might. He has Charmy following him at present, but he may not be able to crack Shadow. I think he needs a good friend to get him through this experience, and remind him who he is...'' explained Espio.
Cream's ears lit up hearing his name. ``Wait, why is Charmy with him?'' she asked. ``He has much respect and admiration for the black hedgehog. I think he may even see him as the brother he never had. But Amy, do not give up hope. You must save Shadow from Black Doom's influence... you may be the best bet on him returning to our side...'' said Espio, putting his tray away and standing up. ``I thank you for your cooperation, Amy. Your help is much appreciated.'' With that, he bowed and disappeared before he could hear another word. The way back home for them was quiet, the girls having much to think about.
Amy thought about what Espio told her. She had to take it in stride that she may be the only one that could save Shadow, but it still broke her heart knowing that he won't remember her. She hated to repeat herself and it felt was going to be the same thing all over again. As they entered Amy's house and prepared to get changed, they turned the news on. Apparently, the Black Arms had compromised and crippled the United Federation's mainframe. No doubt Shadow had a hand in this. This made Amy all the more sad. ``What if I'm too late? What if Shadow has gone too far and can't be saved?'' she asked. Cream noticed her friend's sadness and put her hands into hers. ``Don't say that, Amy! You shouldn't give up on Mr. Shadow like that. If you could talk him out of destroying the planet before, you might be able to do it again. Just have some hope.'' Said Cream. ``Chao chaaaoo!'' exclaimed Cheese.
Amy looked at her friend. She sometimes longed to be so sweet and innocent as she is. But she also envied her optimism. Amy had not been so optimistic in the past week, and tonight's news did her no favors. Amy thought on her friend's words of encouragement. Cream was right. She couldn't lose hope for Shadow. Not when she could be the only one to bring him back to the light. ``You're right, Cream! I can't give up! Tomorrow, you and I are going out and we're finding Shadow! We won't let those damn aliens have their way!'' she declared. Cream jumped in joy. It seemed like her words were making Amy feel better. ``Yay! That's the spirit, Amy!'' she said. With this, the two began getting changed, brushed their teeth, and got ready for bed. As soon as they got up tomorrow, they would find the Ultimate Life Form and remind him not of the monster he has become, but of the hero he was...
`Don't worry, Shadow. I'll make sure you remember everything...' Amy thought as she drifted to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...