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2BIT
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Sonic GeneX: Soleanna Struggle Arc 1

Sonic GeneX: Soleanna Struggle Arc 2
gss_-_fullarc1.txt
Keywords human 86189, sonic the hedgehog 50478, miles tails prower 12231, cream the rabbit 7647, dark 7515, adventure 4598, action 3678, mobians 3005, fanfiction 2370, chao 1498, wave the swallow 1285, eggman 871, mephiles the dark 833, jet the hawk 752, robots 683, genex 631, punchy 350, arthur copter prower 278, gemini the fennec 227, rainbow the echidna 192, storm the albatross 163, kosmo 160, guard the gargoyle 155, zipp 154, vortex the chameleon 139, bucky the rat 123, lospecter 118, illusi 115, heather the phoenix 106, razor the porcupine 102, spiny 88, crash the rhino 86, chet the cheetah 85, tommy the porcupine 83, fera the wolf 80, mia the cat 79, katie the coyote 76, princess elise 68, conan the raccoon 65, anubis the jackal 61, doomsayer 58, evelyn the fox 44, fred leo 43, timothy the fawn 42, adam the bat 40, eggman nega 36, dimentime 31, cuthburt 23, richard gunner 22, char the chao 20, e-2x alpha 20, s.p.o.t. 19, losipher 18, ozzie the morph 14, the great gator 11, metal eggman 4
Sonic GeneX - Soleanna Struggle
Arc 1 - Journey to Soleanna
Chapter NB1 - Canine Companions
Stage - Speed Highway
Battle - Copter Vs. Conan

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT, the author.


"One ticket to Station Square, please!" Copter was going to take a trip to the city where he and Tails first met. He wanted to really be there this time, unlike last time, when it was just business. His travels by train had taken him to many different places, but he hadn't gone there yet. So, he boarded the train and took a seat. He looked out the window at the people, with all their comings and goings. He still felt like he was on the outside looking in, like he really didn't belong in the world. As the train filled up, Copter began to fall asleep. He was awoken before the train took off. A black coyote girl wearing a small, sleeveless purple shirt and short jeans had woken him. "Hey, can I sit next to you?" she asked. Copter looked around. It seemed there were no other seats. "Sure." he said sleepily. The coyote sat down beside him and shook his hand. "I'm Katie the Coyote. What's your name?" she asked. "I'm Copter." he replied, still sleepy. The movement of the train as it left the station woke him up, and he looked over at the canine beside him. He was instantly struck by her beauty. He did not speak, as he couldn't think of what to say. After a while, though, she noticed him staring at her. "You recognize me, don't you?" she said, "Yeah, I'm the reporter for channel 2. I guess you want an autograph or something?" Copter shook his head. "No, I don't watch the news..." He looked away and tried to change the subject. "I... errr... I bet you covered the Kosmogon incident at Station Square? I was around when it happened..." he said. Katie smiled. "That was an exciting story. You know, you look a bit like the guy that fought alongside Tails." she said, "You know, the media still doesn't have much info on that. Sargent Gunner keeps declining interviews. If you were there, perhaps I could interview you?" Copter quickly snapped up the invitation. "Sure! Anytime!" he said. "Great. How about when we get off? Where are you getting off, anyway?" Katie asked. "Station Square." he replied. Katie gasped in surprise. "Me, too! I got a camera at my house, we can start as soon as we get there!" Copter blushed a little. "Uh... At your house?" he said nervously. Katie shook her head. "No, silly! I'll get my camera and meet you somewhere. How about Emerald Coast?" Copter looked out the window to hide his look of embarrassment. "Sure. I'll meet you there..."

The train soon reached Station Square, and the two of them got off together. Leaving the station, Katie called a cab to take her home. It seemed that Katie knew the cab driver. "Heya, Mia!" she said to the driver. Mia was a blue cat with violet eyes, and was wearing her "cabbie uniform," as she calls it. "Yo, Kat, who's the skunk?" Mia said. Katie looked over her shoulder at Copter. "You're still here? What, don't you know where Emerald Coast is?" she asked him. Copter scratched his head and looked around. "Ummm.... No." he finally said. Mia pointed to the nearby hotel. "There's an entrance through there, skunk boy." she said. "Call me skunk boy again and I'll take your muffler with me!" Copter growled. Katie climbed into the cab as Mia laughed at Copter. "Chill out, buddy! I'm just messin' with ya. What's your name, then?" Katie shut the car door. "He's Copter. Stop eyeballin' him, Mia." she said quietly, so Copter couldn't hear. Mia waved at Copter and drove the cab away, leaving the fairly annoyed fox to himself. "Idiot. Skunks have stripes down their backs." he muttered, heading for the hotel.

After a while, Katie showed up and set up her camera on a stand so she could begin the interview. Holding a microphone, she made her introduction. "Hi, I'm here at Station Square for an interview with a fox who was present at the Kosmogon incident. Hello, Copter!" She held her mic to Copter, who didn't know how to react. "Oh, umm... hi?" Katie began the interview right away. "So, Copter, where were you when that big ship passed over Station Square?" Copter realized that he shouldn't tell the truth, as it might get him in trouble. "Umm... I was... uhhh... just... wandering the streets..." he said, a very bad liar. Katie pretended to ignore this and went on to the next question. "So, describe to us what you saw when the ship arrived." Copter struggled to think of a good lie. "Ummm, well, you see... I umm.... It was..." Katie interrupted him before he could finish. "You weren't in the streets, were you, Copter?" she asked knowingly. "Wh-what? Yes, I said I was in the streets!" he protested, but it was no use. "C'mon. I'm not an idiot, Copter. You were the second fox up there, weren't you?" she said, turning off the camera. Copter's jaw dropped. "You KNEW!?" he grumbled. Katie smiled. "I was in the streets myself. I saw you. What I'm very curious to know is why a hero like you lies." Copter looked like a little kid who was caught causing trouble, and Katie found this adorable. "Hey, listen, it's OK. If it makes you feel better, that camera wasn't really recording." she said, patting him on the back. "It's GUN, mostly." Copter said, "They've always been out to get me." Katie started packing up her camera. "You don't have to worry about me. I may be a news hound, but I can keep a secret!"

As Katie and Copter left the beach, Copter couldn't shake the feeling someone was watching him. Up in a high floor of the hotel nearby, a brown raccoon watched him with binoculars. "At last, I've found you!" he muttered to himself, "And what's more, I've found a nice bargaining chip." He put away his binoculars and picked a sheathed sword up from beside the window. "Of course, if all else fails, this won't." He started laughing as he thought of his plan. "Another day, another hunt! It won't be too long before I have everything I need!" He gazed over at a picture he'd placed on the table. It was a picture of a dark blue squirrel girl. "Nothing will stand in my way, ever again."

Copter and Katie went their separate ways. It was getting late, and Katie needed to go home. Copter, on the other hand, had nothing but time. As he wandered the streets, exploring the city, he was eventually spotted by a familiar face. "Tails! Good to see you!" Amy's voice came from behind him. He turned around and she realized her error. "Ooops, it's just you, Copter. I gotta get my eyes checked..." she said. "I suppose you were hoping that I was Tails because that might mean Sonic was in town?" Copter asked. Amy noticed something odd about him, something only she could notice. "Say, Copter... You seem... different..." she said. Copter placed his hands on his hips and shut his eyes, sighing an irritated sigh. "How so?" he asked, humoring her. Amy took him by the hand and led him in a circle. "Joyous day for Copter! He's in love!" she cheered. Copter pulled his hand free and backed away from her. "Are you always this nuts? What makes you say I'm..." he began to say, and Amy answered quickly. "In love? I can tell! So, who is it? Anyone I know? Have you told her how you feel yet?" All these questions took Copter a bit off guard. "I-I don't know what... No, I haven't told her..." he said hurriedly. Amy frowned at him. "Oh, that won't do! You gotta tell her! You can't keep such a feeling all bottled up inside, you'll explode!" she said scoldingly. "H-hold on! I only just met her!" Copter protested. This only got Amy's romantic thoughts going more. "Love at first sight! How cute! Just like me, when I met Sonic..." She sighed longingly, reminiscing about when she first met Sonic. Copter turned and ran toward the hotel while she was distracted. "Uh, nice talking to ya, but I gotta get a hotel room for the night! See ya!" he shouted. Amy waved as he left. "Good luck with your romance, Copter! I hope you can be as happy as me someday!"

Copter couldn't sleep that night. There was far too much on his mind. Amy was right, the fact he'd said nothing ate away at him viciously. However, that wasn't all he was worried about. Earlier that day, he'd revisited the Mystic Ruins. It turned out, Shadow Arcangel had taken off again! While Copter was certain Bucky would not do anything drastic for a while, he was still concerned. Bucky's misdeeds had gotten Copter imprisoned once, and he feared it may happen again. "Since I may not have much time... I have to tell her how I feel..." he thought. Still, it wasn't the first time he'd felt he loved someone. During the day of the Kosmogon, Copter had felt something for Rainbow and Cream at certain times. Perhaps this wasn't love exactly, but it had to be something...

The next evening, Copter stumbled sleepily out of the hotel. He'd spent the whole day trying to sleep, but didn't get much. Now, it was rather late the next day. "Should've listened to Amy..." he thought.  As he was about to cross the street, Mia's taxi cab pulled up to him. "Get in, now!" Mia ordered. Copter hesitated, so she opened the door and pulled him in really quickly, and sped away toward the busy streets of Station Square. "Hey, what's going on!? You do know kidnapping is illegal here, don't you?" Copter shouted angrily. Mia let out a sort of angry laugh. "Now that's irony! Here, read this!" she said, handing Copter a scrap of paper. Copter read what was written on the paper aloud. "Dear Skunk-Looking Fox, I highly suggest you bring your tailband to Speed Highway by 10:00. Otherwise, I'll just have to test the sharpness of my blade on your little girlfriend. Warmest regards, Conan the 'Coon." Mia nodded as she drove. "Yeah, do you have that tailband thing the note's talking about?" she said gruffly. Copter re-read the note and scratched his head. "I don't have a girlfriend...yet..." he said, mystified. Mia took the note back with one hand and continued steering with the other. "He thinks Katie's your girlfriend. Now do you have the trinket or what?!" she shouted. Copter fully realized what was going on and grabbed the band from his tail. "Shoot, he's after the Tailbands of Chaos!? How'd he learn about them? And... He's got Katie!?" Mia let out an irritated groan. "Not very fast in the head, are ya? That raccoon's insane! He's got this sword and... You're gonna help Katie or I'll personally kill you!" she shouted. Copter nodded in agreement. "I can't believe I got her in such trouble so quickly..." he thought, horrified at the situation he'd caused.

Mia's cab soon reached the meeting place at Speed Highway. It was on a blocked off bridge, so Mia stopped next to the cones blocking the bridge. She rushed Copter out of the cab. "Go, go, go! I'll be right back with the cops, okay?" she said. Copter shook his head. "No police. This is my mess, and I'll fix it." he told her. Mia gave him another angry laugh. "No thanks, pal. If you don't want police involvement, you better wrap it up quick, before I get back!" As Copter walked past the cones and onto the bridge, Mia's cab drove away quickly and recklessly. "She cares, I'll give her that..." Copter thought, running to reach the meeting place. He only had a few minutes left before 10:00, so he had to hurry!

Copter soon learned why the bridge was blocked off. It led to a dead end, high above the ground. Conan was waiting there with Katie, who had been tied up. Conan wore a grey hat and a black cape. A belt around his waist held the sheath to his sword. As Copter approached, he drew the sword, a silver blade with a golden hilt. "It took you long enough, didn't it, vermin?" Conan said deviously, "Have you brought the item?" Copter held it in his hand and showed it to him. Conan had a wicked smile on his face. "That's nice. Would you happen to have the other one?" he asked. Copter closed his fist over the tailband. "You never said anything about both of them! And you're not getting this one until you let Katie go!" he growled. "How bold. But I know the tailbands were hidden together. Where is the second one?" Conan demanded. "Let Katie go, then we'll talk!" Copter shouted. Conan looked over at his captive. "This is getting us nowhere, isn't it? G'bye, love!" he said, pushing Katie over the ledge! Copter leapt over the edge after her, slipping the tailband on his tail along the way and catching Katie before she could fall far! Copter flew back to the bridge and landed a safe distance away from Conan. He quickly untied Katie so she could move. "Hide. This won't be pretty." Copter instructed her. Katie gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before running off. "Good luck, Copter!" she said.

Copter turned to Conan, who had pointed his sword toward Copter. "Very impressive. Just the sort of defiance I expect from GeneX Experiment 2!" he growled, swinging the sword to his side. Copter clenched his fists and bared his teeth, ready for a fight. "Just who are you, Conan? What do you want with the tailbands!?" he shouted. "My dear boy, it's power I want! As for me, I am the ultimate treasure hunter! And this... This blade is one of the many treasures I've unearthed! The Chaos Sword! Let me show you what it can do.... Blade, grant me power! Chao Spear!" Conan pointed the blade at Copter again, and a Chaos Spear blasted forth from it! Copter was taken off guard and it knocked him on his back. Conan laughed as he approached the wounded fox. "The old world was truly amazing, wasn't it? Now, die!" Copter quickly rolled out of the way as Conan thrust his sword at him. As he stood up he was struck by another Chaos Spear, and in order to get away from the attacks he had to fly behind Conan. "Nice try!" Conan shouted as he pointed his sword behind him and sent more spears after Copter with surprising accuracy. Copter swiftly avoided the attacks as Conan turned toward him, which allowed him more accuracy. In moments, Copter found a barrage of spears coming straight at him, and all he could do was try to block with his tails. As he did this, the tailband glowed and emitted a blast of energy that negated the spears. Copter slowly lowered his guard when he realized he wasn't being hit. "What was that...?" he muttered. "Tapping into its power eh? Ha! I'll find you!" Conan shouted, looking around. Copter was puzzled. "What's he looking for?" he thought. Suddenly, Conan spun in a circle with his blade pointing forward, firing spears all around him. A spear struck Copter and knocked him over. "Ah, I see. You didn't move. I do wonder if you even know you're invisible!" Conan laughed as he approached Copter. "I'm invisible?! What are you talking about!?" Copter grunted, standing up. "It's a shame you're so stupid. I almost hoped you might keep me amused!" Conan said, swinging his sword at Copter, who quickly jumped out of the way. As Copter landed behind Conan, the raccoon simply spun around and smacked him with a Chaos Spear. As Copter tumbled forward from the attack, he suddenly noticed that his tailband had stopped glowing. "Can't control the tailband, eh?" Conan observed, chuckling softly at Copter's confusion. Copter turned to face Conan. "My tailband can make me invisible? But I guess since it stopped glowing, I'm visible again, aren't I?" he asked. "Oh, you DO catch on!" Conan said in mock surprise. "Now, once again, die!" The raccoon lunged after Copter with his blade, but Copter quickly jumped into the air and hit Conan in the head with his tails, knocking the raccoon backward hard. Conan had been taken by surprise, and the hit was sending him over the edge of the bridge. "Not totally clueless, eh? We'll meet again, Experiment 2!!!!" he yelled, seemingly falling to his doom. Copter, however, knew better. "Someone like that always has a contingency plan. He WILL be back... And next time he'll know that I know BOTH powers of the tailband..."

Copter found Katie back where Mia had dropped him off earlier. "I don't think we'll see him for a while." he said. Katie ran up to Copter and hugged him tightly. "Thank goodness, you're all right! What are ya, crazy? You should've waited for the police!" she said, holding back tears. "What is it with everyone and cops today? Doesn't anyone trust me even a little? I DID help beat the Kosmogon!" Copter grumbled. Katie released him from her embrace and looked away. "I'm sorry, I know. You don't need help." They could hear a siren heading their way after a moment. "I think I'd better go." Copter said, walking away. Katie ran to his side. "Shouldn't you stay and talk to the police?" he asked. "Mia will explain everything well. She's good at that sort of thing. And I'd rather walk home with you." she said, taking his arm. "Well, um... O...K..." Copter muttered nervously. Copter can sure be shy when the mood takes him.

They walked slowly on their way to Katie's house. Copter kept his head down most of the way, afraid to look at her. It was apparently up to Katie to make conversation. "I see you on the train a lot." Katie said, "What brings you there so often?" Copter shrugged. "I'm on a journey. Sort of...searching for something." he replied. "Really? What are you searching for?" Katie wondered. Copter thought for a moment. "I'm not really sure. I'll know it once I've found it." Katie laughed a bit. "Are you sure? Hard to know you've found something if you don't know what you're looking for! Still, I do have faith in you. You'll find it." It was a bit cold out, and Copter thought she might be cold, so he put his arm around her, huddling close for warmth. "Who knows? Maybe I already have..." he said quietly. A few moments later, Copter managed to muster his courage to say what was on his mind, "Katie... I think I love you..." Katie smiled at him. "I think I love you, too." she said.


The next day, Conan searched the city for Copter, but did not find him. He had survived his fall through his own special methods, and now wanted revenge. "No one defeats me! No one! I may have been caught off guard last time, but next time, he WILL die!" he thought, holding the picture of the squirrel girl. "I will find all of the Chaos treasures, just you wait and see!"


Chapter NB2 - The Jackel
Stage - Red Mountain
Battle - Punchy Vs. Anubis

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT, the author.

"I've had ENOUGH!" Knuckles had caught Punchy attempting to steal the Master Emerald for the umpteenth time. Punchy leaned against the emerald while Knuckles shouted at him. "What is this to you, a game!? It's bad enough I have to live here at this lonely shrine, but I have to have you giving me grief constantly, too?!" he shouted. Punchy snickered at him. "Gee, Red, wouldn't you be bored without me?" he chuckled. Knuckles pushed him away from the Master Emerald. "It was peaceful before you were created! Now, I can never rest! Well, that's it! I'm taking a vacation!" he declared. Punchy looked at him quizzically. "Vacation? You're going to leave the Master Emerald here?" he asked. Knuckles replied by lifting the Master Emerald and stomping off. Punchy followed slowly behind. "Now, hold on! You can't just take off like that! What about Angel Island? What about..." Punchy found himself at a loss for words as Knuckles crossed the bridge toward the Red Mountain area. "The island will be fine. I'm outta here!" Knuckles muttered. "You know I'm just gonna follow you, Red!" Punchy shouted, still following Knuckles. "Right, sure, you're gonna chase me through Red Mountain without gliding? Good luck, Green!" Knuckles chuckled. He had a point, too...

Punchy found himself lost with Knuckles out of sight in no time. In the attempt to keep up, he'd gotten himself lost in the mountain caves. Now, he'd be content just to find an exit. "Who made these caves so big... and full of lava? Stupid Knuckles..." he mumbled, frustrated. He wasn't used to the heat, and didn't take to it very well. So, he hurriedly searched for a way out, heading on an upward path to distance himself from the lava.

"That's him!" A black and brown jackel was comparing Punchy to a sketch of Knuckles, which was in black and white. "The guardian of the Master Emerald. My mission begins now. Prepare yourself, echidna, to face the fiery wrath that is me! Anubis the Jackal!" Anubis waved his hands over the ground before him. "Arise, my servants! The time has come to bring despair to the denizens of the light once again!" Responding to the jackal's call, several arms burst out from beneath the ground, clawing their way to the surface. "I just wish there was a way to hurry this up. I grow weary waiting for the carnage to commence." Anubis complained as his minions dug themselves out of their resting places.

Punchy reached a dead end, a cliff at the peak of the path he was traveling on. The cliff overlooked a sea of lava, seemingly endless. "I guess I better turn back." he sighed, really wishing he hadn't followed Knuckles this far. As he turned to leave the area, he discovered that a group of black mummies had followed him! "What's with the black toilet paper? Who are you guys?" he growled, clenching his fists. Anubis stepped past them and stood in front of Punchy. "We are the agents of despair! I, Anubis, shall be taking the Master Emerald to its new home, guardian!" Punchy looked at the group he was faced with, and gave Anubis a confused look. "Guardian? No, I'm the guy trying to steal it. And I seem to have lost track of it myself..." he explained. Anubis stared blankly at Punchy. "Your lies are amusing, but far more amusing will be your cries of agony! Break him, my servants!"


Knuckles was pretty pleased with himself as he made his way to the Mystic Ruins train station. He needed this vacation, and he was glad Punchy wouldn't be following him. As he reached the station, a train from Station Square arrived. "I wonder if there's a train to Soleanna from here..." Knuckles thought. He hoped to make it in time for the Sun Festival. As the passengers cleared off the train, Knckles spotted a familiar face, Rainbow's. She spotted him quickly. "Hey, there, Knucklehead! What's up? Where's One?" she said cheerfully, looking around for her friend. She looked behind Knuckles, over the nearby railing, and then lifted up Knuckles' foot. Knuckles jumped away from her. "I'm not STANDING on him, crazy! He's not here!" he said, flustered. Rainbow scratched her head in confusion. "Then where is he?" she asked. Knuckles pointed to Angel Island. "I lost him in the mountains on my island. He can't glide, so it was pretty easy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to catch a train!" Rainbow shook Knuckles' hand before taking off. "Thanks, Knucklehead!" she shouted back as she left. Knuckles shook his head. "I can't help feeling a bit sorry for Punchy... Having to put up with HER..."


"Hi-ya!" Punchy smashed the last of the mummies to dust after a bit of a fight. "If they already died once, what makes anyone think I couldn't kill them again?" he muttered, looking around and seeing no one in sight. "Looks like that weirdo got scared and ran! Ha ha!" As Punchy started to head back the way he came, a wall of fire blocked erupted in front of him, blocking his exit. "How in the..." he started to say, when Anubis dropped from the sky behind him, cackling loudly to get his attention. "That was merely a test to guage your power. An infant could have defeated those mummies. Now, you face my fury! Burn in my Hellfire!!!" Anubis held out his hand and produced a flame from his palm. "Despair, for your miserable existance is about to end!" The flame burst into a large fireball, which Anubis hurled at Punchy. Punchy scrambled to get out of the way, but Anubis merely shot a jet of flames in front of him, cutting off his escape! "It's no use. You would be wise not to resist. The pain shall end faster." he insisted. Of course, that was out of the question. "You think you're so tough? I'll show you!" Punchy shouted, jumping high into the air. "I hope this works..." He lunged foreward in the air, attempting to glide, but he couldn't. He tumbled to the floor and rolled over the ledge, barely grabbing the wall before falling. Anubis slowly turned around and watched him pull himself up. "Or perhaps you'd prefer to destroy yourself, oaf." he said. Punchy climbed to his feet and smirked at Anubis. "No thanks. I think I'll show you my true power! Chaos Avelanche!" Punchy lifted up chunks of the ground using his Chaos powers and threw them at Anubis. The jackal did not panic. He slowly and skillfully stepped left and right, dodging the rocks effortlessly. "Mere trifles. You cannot hope to harm me. Still, you're welcome to try. Approach me, imbecile!" Anubis growled. Punchy ran at him and attempted to punch him, but Anubis simply caught his fist in his hand, retaliating with a swift, flaming kick to Punchy's chest! Punchy was knocked away, but not shaken much. Anubis didn't waste a moment, and quickly shot two fiery pillars from his hands toward Punchy. Seeing no easy way to dodge the attack, Punchy flung himself over the ledge and grabbed the wall as the flames passed by him. "It is futile to hide!" Anubis slowly walked toward where Punchy was clinging to the wall. "I am not exiting this abyss without the great controller! As for you, you will never leave this place!" Punchy was climbing along the side of the wall, desperately trying to come up with a strategy. Soon, Anubis had reached the ledge, and spotted Punchy trying to escape. "Burn to ashes!" Anubis shouted, spouting flames at Punchy from his mouth! Punchy quickly pushed himself back to the top of the ledge and climbed to his feet while Anubis was busy. "You sure like to talk!" Punchy grunted, running after Anubis once again. Anubis was too slow turning around, and Punchy managed to push him over the ledge! However, Anubis wasn't caught off guard, and managed to grab Punchy's hand as he fell! Punchy grabbed the ledge with his other hand, and tried to drop the jackal into the lava. Anubis climbed up Punchy's body to reach the ledge and within moments stood over the echidna, ready to deliver the final blow. "Any final words, guardian?" he asked as he created another fireball in his palm.

"You leave One alone!" Rainbow's voice shouted from behind Anubis. The jackal quickly turned around to see Rainbow gliding toward him at high speed, fists forward. She flew right into Anubis and knocked him over the ledge! As he fell, he attempted to drag Punchy down with him, but Rainbow managed to grab Punchy's arm just as Anubis pulled him off the wall! Punchy kicked Anubis away from him, and the fiery jackal plunged into the lava as Rainbow pulled Punchy up. They looked down to catch a final glimpse of a flaming Anubis as he sunk beneath the sea of lava. Anubis let out a terrible shriek and left them with some final words. "My death is nothing! Soon, you and all the world will succumb to the ultimate despair!!" With that, Anubis was gone.

Rainbow waved farewell to Anubis. "Um... Sorry... I didn't mean to..." she started to say before beginning to cry, "Oh, my gosh... I just killed that guy..." Punchy looked out over the sea of lava. "Yup, looks like it. You'd think a pyrokinetic would be able to survive in lava..." he said, They were silent a moment, when Punchy suddenly realized something. "You just saved my life..." he said, stunned. Rainbow's crying subsided somewhat at his words. "He was about to kill you...? Then it serves him right!" she said, her cheery demeaner returning. "How'd you know I was here, anyway?" Punchy asked as they started to leave, since Anubis' flames were no longer blocking the path. "I saw Knucklehead on my way off the train! He said you were here!" she explained. "He must be long gone by now..." Punchy realized, "Well, maybe he went to Station Square! At least if I'm wrong, I can spend the night at your place...um...maybe?" Rainbow smiled and nodded. "Sure! Follow me, One!" she said excitedly, running ahead to lead the way out.

Of course, Knuckles wasn't in Station Square. However, Punchy did run into Copter during his search. They both shared the stories of their recent adventures while chatting in front of the train station. "Sounds like you really like this Katie gal, eh, Copter?" Punchy chuckled. "Well, I only just met her... But, yeah. I think so." Copter said, "Hey, I bet Rainbow likes you, Punch! She saved your life, what, twenty times already?" Punchy shook his head. "You've got it all wrong. I'm the one who normally saves her!" he insisted. Copter laughed. "Ah, so you're the one who likes her?" Punchy smacked Copter in the back of the head. "Shut up! I barely even like her as a friend!" Copter continued chuckling. "Really? Could've fooled me." he said. "Whatever. I gotta go." Punchy muttered, walking away. Copter waved as he left. "Nice talking to ya, One!" Punchy hurled a rock at Copter. "Fine, fine. Mr. One!"

After a while, Punchy gave up the search and found his way to Rainbow's underground home. As he walked down the roads of the hidden city, he noticed that little had changed. Remnants of the robots he had fought on his first visit were still scattered about. The hole in the library where Terra had crashed through it was still there, as well as the hole where Rainbow's doorway used to be. "I guess she can't fix this stuff by herself." he thought, feeling some remorse for the damage that he'd caused by leading Terra to her home. Rainbow ran out to greet him as he approached her home. "Hey, One! How'd the search go?" she asked cheerfully. Punchy ignored her question and pointed to the damage he'd observed. "Still in ruins, eh?" he said. Rainbow looked surprised, as though she'd only just noticed it. "Wow, that robot jerk sure made a mess. I never had time to see the damage, what with how crazy the last few days have been!" she said. "I could fix it for you... maybe..." Punchy offered. Rainbow shook her head. "No, you don't have to do that. I don't even notice it!" she said. Before Punchy could reply, she ran inside saying, "Follow me!" He hesitated a moment, taking another look at the damage. "I probably can't fix it anyway..." he realized. "Oh, well. Maybe I'll try anyway..."


Chapter NB3 - Android Assignment

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT, the author. (also known as TheGreatGator)

Experiment 6, Guard the Gargoyle, looked over the city of Station Square from his vantage point atop the tallest building in the city. It was a clear night, one of those rare sorts where every star in the sky was visible. The beauty of it went unnoticed, however, as the sound of every police car siren in the city kept most indoors, unable to stand the noise. Guard, however, had too much to do to go indoors. "They're here... I can sense them..." he thought as his internal scanners searched the city. It wasn't the scanners that informed him of this, though. It was something more. Something he himself didn't understand. "I have a feeling about this..." he muttered to himself as he leapt from his high perch, stretching out his wings so that he could glide down to his destination. "What's bugging me is... How can an android, an artifical being... have feelings at all?"

Guard landed in near the Station Square police station. A police car was waiting for him just outside. As the android approached, a green porcupine in a police uniforn stepped out of the car to greet him. "You must be the guy from GUN." he said, extending his hand in greeting. Guard ignored the gesture and headed inside the station. "Oh, I can see it'll be a blast working with you!" the porcupine said sarcastically, following Guard. It was rather busy in the station, with people rushing to and fro all over the place, with the exception of a young yellow porcupine sitting behind the front desk. "Grrrr... You can't be authorized to be there." Guard growled. The green porcupine stepped between them, sitting on the counter. "Leave him alone, it's just my little brother, Tommy." he explained. Guard glared at the youngster, who looked a bit frightened, then turned away and looked around the area. "Who's in charge here?" he asked. The green porcupine stepped in front of Guard again. "I'm the highest ranked officer here, sir! The chief and the other head blowhards are busy and I've been instructed to bring you up to speed. I am officer Razor the Porcupine, and if I'm not mistaken, you're here for the GeneX case, right?" Guard nodded. "I have been instructed to bring fugitives such as Kosmo the Morph and the other four experiments to justice. Grrrr... If you have any information I don't already know, please share it!" Razor gave him a sly smile. "All business, aren't you? Follow me then, I have some informants waiting." he said, leading Guard away. Tommy stood up from behind the counter and watched them leave. "Now I get what Razor's always talking about. There's some scary dudes out there..."

Razor led Guard to an interrogation room where two brown hedgehogs were seated, one with darker fur than the other. The light furred one stood up. "Hey, Raze, what's with the accommodations? We're not under arrest, are we?" he said in a gruff tone. Razor shrugged. "Standing room only around here tonight, Bill. The head honchos have every cop in the city hunting experiments. Experiments that you two claim to have spotted, am I right?" Bill looked over to the other hedgehog. "You tell 'em what you told me, Bob." he instructed. "I done spotted that there black chameleon in the poster." Bob said, holding up the poster with Vortex on it. Guard stepped past Razor and glared at Bob. "Where! Grrrr... Where was he?" he growled. Bill held up his hand between them. "Easy, fella! We're here voluntarily, an' if you threaten us, we'll take our info elsewhere!" he warned. Guard backed off slightly, growling softly. "Go ahead, Bob." Bill said. Bob cleared his throat and continued. "I followed 'em. Very careful-like. But I had to stop, 'cuz I didn't have no cash to get in. See, he went into Twinkle Park." Guard immediately began to exit the room. "Hey, hold up!" Razor said. Guard stopped and looked back. "Anything else to report?" he growled. Bob shook his head. "Don't think so, sir." Guard let out an irritated growl. "Then don't detain me any longer!" Razor hurriedly followed Guard out, with Bill and Bob following. "There a reward?" Bill shouted as Razor and Guard left the station. "Put it on my tab!" Razor shouted back. Bill scoffed at him. "Fine thing. You'd think we was runnin' a charity, eh, Bob?" Bob looked at his watch. "I think it's 'bout time we got back to the bar, dontcha think, Bill?" Bill nodded. "Gotta call in some tabs if we wanna pay the rent! Let's go!"

"Wait a second, Agent Guard! I'm to accompany you on the mission!" Razor shouted as he followed Guard to his squad car. Guard jumped over the car and took to the air, flying in the direction of Twinkle Park. "Dang GUN! No respect for police authority!" Razor groaned, hopping into the driver's seat of his car. "I had a feeling this'd be a bad day. Better break out the siren..." In a few moments, he was off, following Guard as best he could. He also had to get the other officers off the wild goose chase they were on. "Attention all units! Suspects have been spotted in Twinkle Park! Repeat, suspects spotted at Twinkle Park!"


Vortex the Chameleon had indeed gone to Twinkle Park, and he wasn't alone. "Find any ringssss yet, Zipp?" he asked his companion once he caught up to him. "A few, but my luck isn't all that great. Guess I better not go to Vegas." the hornet said. "What's the grand total?" came a nearby voice, which belonged to none other than Bucky the Rat. Zipp held up one of his shimmering prizes proudly. "Fifty so far! How many are we shooting for?" Vortex looked around the park. "A lot more. Ssssshadow Arcangel won't fly much longer on the power we've been usssing. I only hope that thesssse ringssss will do the job." he said. "I don't know, but we'd better hurry up and finish gathering as many as we can! Four, Five, move out!" Bucky instructed. Zipp hesitated. "Say, master, why did we come here looking for rings, instead of at the casino?" Vortex looked back as he was leaving, curious to know as well. "An enclosed area like the casino could make for dicey situations if the military came looking for us." Bucky explained. "So? They're no match for us! We could crush the fools easily!" Zipp said. Bucky let a few warning sparks fly from his fingers. "Innocents could be hurt if we were to battle inside such a place! There's more room out here! I did not create life with the intent of taking lives, though I did plot revenge when I realized GUN was after me..." he fell silent, lost in memories. "I lost sight of my true purpose when I planned vengeance against GUN. I won't let it happen again." Vortex and Zipp left after a moment, unquestioningly carrying out their orders. Still, Zipp wasn't quite satisfied with Bucky's attitude. "Why do we have all this destructive power if we are not to use it? I say he's going soft! Well, maybe it's just something to do with how Kosmo almost killed us all, but I still want my revenge on GUN!"


It wasn't long before Guard reached Twinkle Park. His android components sent a signal that enabled him to activate the entrance elevator without a pass. "Grrr... Now, finally commencing the mission." he said, feeling that he'd been slowed down by visiting the police station. As he entered the park, his sensors began to detect the presence of the experiments. Their unique genetic signature was unmistakable, and it would not take too long for Guard to find them. Before his exploration of the park could really begin, though, Razor caught up to him. "Yo, sunshine! While you're in this city, I'm your partner! You don't leave without me!" he shouted as he ran toward Guard. "Grrrr.... Tell your superiors.... I work alone!" he grumbled, flying away. Razor slowly began to follow him, loading his gun with some odd looking darts as he did. "Maybe he don't need me, who knows? But what kind of cop would I be if I didn't follow him anyway?"


"Cursed vermin! I'd almost swear he was hiding from me!" Conan the Raccoon was still attempting a vain attempt at searching for Copter in the city. Little did he realize that Copter had already moved on, continuing his journey from town to town. At any rate, he'd grown tired of searching for the black fox, so he'd decided to try his original plan again. "If I can't find him, I'll make him find me! After all, if he came for that girl once, he'd surely do so again!" To that end, Conan searched a while for his old hostage, Katie, and found her at Twinkle Park, along with her friend, Mia. However, Conan did not make his move right away. The park was crowded that night, as they were once again having their popular "cute couple special." Conan wasn't interested in creating a big ruckus, and instead chose to bide his time for a while, hoping the crowds would dissipate at some point.

At the same time, Zipp had found the perfect way to win rings for himself: a shooting gallery! In no time at all, he'd won hundreds of rings with his incredible shooting skill. Still, the game was a bit too simple for him, and he grew bored quickly. "C'mon! Where's the challenge! I could make these shots from the other side of the park!" he bragged as he packed his winnings into a bag. At that moment, Vortex and Bucky arrived. "Hey, Zipp! Massster sssaysss that Guardssss around!" Vortex said. He was carrying four ring bags that seemed to be filled as much as Zipp's single bag. "Impossible! How'd you win all that!?" Zipp said with surprise. "Enough! I'm thinking it's time for us to leave!" Bucky said. He couldn't be more right, too.

Just then, an announcement was heard throughout the park. "Attention, patrons! We ask that everyone calmly vacate the park in an orderly fashion, through the main exit.The Station Square police force is on its way, as some terrorists have been sighted in the area!" The rest of the announcement could not be heard, for at the very mention of the word "terrorist," everyone in the park was sent into a panicked frenzy! Chaos and confusion broke out through the entire park as the patrons rushed to reach the exit. Zipp began to follow them when Vortex grabbed him by the wings. "Hey, lemme go! I hate when you do that!" he shouted in a panic. "Zipp, what are you sssso worked up about?" he asked him. "Didn't you hear?! Terrorists!" Zipp shouted. Bucky shook his head in annoyance. "Idiot! We ARE the terrorists! Apparently, my fears have already been realized. Sargent Gunner has Guard and the police force on our trail! These rings will have to do. Let's get out of here!"

Katie and Mia were among those that were alarmed by the thought of terrorists in the area, but it was a story that Katie just couldn't pass up. "It's too dangerous, Kate! Let's just get out of here!" Mia insisted. "No way! Not this news hound! You can go, Mia, but I've gotta get as much info as I can!" Katie said, pulling out the digital camera she had started carrying around for just such an occasion. Mia thought for a moment, then followed Katie as she ran against the crowd. "Least I can do is keep you from facing all this danger by yourself! Gimmie that camera!"


All the exitement soon came together in the large pool area near the entrance to the park. As Bucky, Vortex, and Zipp ran to find an exit, Guard arrived and stood in their way. Seeing this event unfolding, Katie and Mia ran to get a closer look. However, Mia insisted they keep their distance, so as not to get dragged into the possible fight that may have been coming. Unaware of the audience, Guard pointed his scythe at Vortex. "I've been searching for you. Grrrr... The boss wants you and Zipp in custody." he growled. Zipp aimed a pistol at Guard. "Yeah, well I'm thinking he'll be disappointed, as always!" he said. Vortex held out his arm in front of Zipp, as a sign for him to stand down. "What about the massster? Would you sssstand againsssst him, too?" he hissed. Guard remained unfazed. "Boss said to arrest the experiments. Grrrr... He said nothing about master! Besides, I would never harm my master! Grrrrr... But you aren't him!" Bucky pushed past his two experiments. "Experiment 6, I order you to stand down!"

"Are you getting all this, Mia?" Katie asked her reluctant camera-girl from their vantage point atop the steps near the pool. "Yes, but I don't think we're getting any hearable dialog..." Mia replied. Suddenly, a Chaos Spear struck the camera from her hand! "Sorry, love, your show's cancelled!" Conan declared, jumping down from the roof of the hall of mirrors building. Katie and Mia watched in horror as the villain they now believed was the terrorist approached. "I'd considered using you to lure Experiment 2 back to me, but I just remembered that I tried to kill you before, and I really think I should finish the job. You'll be my hostage this time, feline. Now, as for you, canine, die!" Conan aimed his Chaos Sword at Katie, firing a spear straight towards her! However, at the last moment, someone rushed up the steps with incredible speed and intercepted the attack before it could hit Katie! It was certainly a fast customer, but it wasn't Sonic! It was a light orange cheetah wearing a red jacket and red pants, someone Katie apparently knew quite well. "Chet! Oh, my god, are you okay!?" she gasped, helping him to his feet. "I'm a bit banged up, but I'll live, Kate..." he said with difficulty. Conan laughed at this event. "Oh, this is too amusing! How many boyfriends have you got, you dog! One less once I'm through with you!"

Guard heard the noise nearby, and found himself struggling to decide what to do next. "There are innocents in danger. An immediate threat, that for some reason I feel I should put a stop to. Then there's my mission, everything in my android programming says to carry out the mission... Yet..." his thoughts distracted him, and Bucky sensed the internal struggle. "So, what's it gonna be, six? You can try to capture us, and please your unpleasant commander, or you could rescue the innocents and be a hero. Clock's ticking, better choose!" Bucky declared, pointing to the hall of mirrors to inform Vortex and Zipp of where to go. Guard looked from Bucky to Conan, back to Bucky, then to the helpless citizens Conan was threatening. Suddenly, as a higher intelligence than his programming took over, Guard flew off toward the objective he chose...

Conan approached his victims. He grabbed Mia by the arm and restrained her with some ropes he'd brought with him. "Not enough to tie you all up, so I have no further use for you lovebirds! Now, die!" He began to swing his sword at them, but before it could hit its mark, the blade of Guard's scythe blocked it! "What's this!? Who dares stand in my way!" Conan growled as he pulled back his sword and looked around, seeing no one other than his hostages. Suddenly, Guard dropped down from the sky between Conan and Katie. "Get out of here! Grrrr... Get that cheetah medical attention!" he instructed. Katie began to lead Chet away, but Chet hesitated. "What about Mia?" he asked. Guard turned around and pointed away past the two of them. "Go! I'll take care of this!" Katie helped Chet limp away from the dangerous area, while Guard turned to face Conan. "Who do you think you are? Sonic the Hedgehog? Not that that bonehead could hope to challenge me, either! I am Conan, master of chaos!" He held his sword above his head before pointing it at Guard. "Blade, grant me power! Chaos Spear!" As Conan sent his attack at Guard, the gargoyle retaliated by firing an energy blast from his scythe! The energy blast flew straight into the spear, causing an explosion at the point where the attacks made contact! Conan stood still a moment in disbelief. "Another weapon like my own!? Impossible! There is no Chaos Scythe! Where did you get that!?" he demanded to know. Guard flew a distance away in order to draw the battle away from Mia. "The good scientists at GUN upgraded the scythe that my master gave to me upon my birth! Grrrr! And in the name of GUN, I place you under arrest, raccoon!" As Guard said this, Conan made his way down the steps toward him, sword in hand. "Ah, I get it! You must be GeneX Experiment 6! The so-called only gargoyle in existance! What would you say if I told you there were more gargoyles out there?" he said. "I would not care, for I am merely an android! Grrr... They are not my kin!" Guard replied. Conan chuckled softly and somewhat angrily. He was a bit annoyed at this turn of events. "What, may I ask, could possibly be your motive for challenging me?" he asked, just out of curiosity. "Grrr... When I fully understand myself, I'll let you know!" he said. "Oh, you won't get the chance! Those who stand in my way all share the same fate! En garde!"

Thus, Conan and Guard became locked in combat. Each were highly skilled with their respective weapons, but Conan lost interest in the fair fight quickly. He backed up and fired a Chaos Spear at Guard, which he flew out of the way to dodge and fired an energy blast from his scythe in response. Though the attack hit, it did little to slow Conan down. "Indeed, that is simply a machine! Your scythe's blasts are nowhere near as powerful as Chaos Spear!" With those words, Conan began firing shot after shot at Guard, who was being kept too busy dodging to fire his own energy blasts in retaliation. Since he couldn't shoot back, Guard chose to fly around behind Conan and try to get close enough to attack. However, Conan was too fast with his sword, and Guard couldn't get behind him. That was okay, though. Guard had a new trick to try. He flew straight toward Conan, which left him wide open for attack, but before a spear could hit him, he activated a new function that had been built into him. The spear bounced off of the new force field that he had just activated! Using the surprise caused by this, Guard managed to hit Conan, though only the side of the scythe hit him. While the raccoon was stunned, Guard spun in the air and kicked him aside! Following that hit, though, Conan was back to his senses. He realized that since Guard was able to hit him through the force field, the shield probably only blocked energy attacks, such as Chaos Spear. However, it had no such effect when Conan fought back with his fist! He gave Guard a nasty uppercut, then kicked him with all his might! Guard was knocked high into the air, then crashed into the nearby pool!

Conan walked toward the pool, laughing in triumph. "You fool! I'll grant that you're an expert scythe wielder, but you're a poor fighter all 'round!" Guard burst out of the water, gasping for breath. Though he was an android, it seemed he required oxygen to survive as well. "Grrrr... You haven't won... yet..." he said between gasps. Conan pointed his sword at Guard's head. "Perhaps not, but in a moment it will all be over! You saved two lives, but sacrificed your own! How sickeningly noble! Now..." Before Conan could finish his gloating, he was struck from behind by a small dart. "Ow... What in the..." In a moment, the dart shot bolts of electricity through Conan's body, rendering him helpless. As quickly as the shock started, it soon ceased. "Impossible!!!" Conan shouted as he fell to the floor, making it possible for Guard to see officer Razor standing a few meters behind the villainous raccoon. "Nighty night, sucker! THAT is what I call good backup!" he said, blowing smoke away from the barrel of his gun. Mia, whom Razor had untied, ran to the edge of the pool to offer Guard a hand. "Are you all right, sir? Thank you so much for saving me, by the way!" she said as she pulled him out of the pool. Guard climbed to his feet and saluted Razor. "Grrr... I had it under control... But thanks just the same." he said. Razor smiled and nodded, then saw to it that Conan was handcuffed. "All in a day's work, Agent Guard. By the way, any sign of the experiments?" he asked. Guard hung his head in shame. "I am sorry. Grrrr.... I let them escape in order to rescue these civilians. I will accept the responsibility for my failure..." he said in the saddest tone he seemed capable of. (which was still pretty gruff) Razor laughed at his seriousness. "What do you mean? I think you did the right thing. Protecting the innocent should always come first, for an agent as well as an officer!" he said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get a stretcher for this one. He shouldn't have suffered any permanent damage, but we better have him examined just in case. Think they'll mind if I skip reading him his rights while he's out? Heheheh..."

While Razor was busy, Mia took the opportunity to speak to Guard. "So... You're an agent? Like a secret agent?" she asked. "I don't know if I'd say 'secret'..." Guard replied. Mia saluted him in a playful manner. "Don't worry, your secret's safe with me, sir! And if you ever need a ride anywhere, call me! It'll be the least I can do!" she said. "Grrrr... Thank you. I think you can leave now, we have this under control." Guard said. Razor interrupted them, "No, I think she'd better stick around. The officers may have a few questions for her." with that, he resumed his work, as some other officers arrived with a stretcher. Mia gave Guard a quick kiss on the cheek before heading off to see if there were any questions for her. "Thanks again, agent..." As she hesitated to finish her sentence, Guard realized he hadn't introduced himself. "Guard. I'm Guard the Gargoyle." Mia winked playfully at him as she walked away. "Don't be a stranger!" she said. Once she was busy talking to the officers, Guard gazed up at the stars once more, his mind racing as he tried to make sense of the past night. "It would seem that I am more than just a mere android... The master gave me something other androids are without... And as a result..." His thoughts fell silent for a moment as he watched a shooting star fly accross the sky. Afterward, he continued uninterrupted. "I can be more than just a program... I can be.......alive..."


Chapter NB4 - The Report Heard Round The World

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT, the author. (also known as TheGreatGator)

"And now, it's time for an important SSTV News Bulletin!" are the first words Punchy hears upon turning on Rainbow's television set (a rather old model, by the way). The two sit down to hear what the big message is. At the same time, Copter is catching the report on a large screen that was recently installed in Station Square's train station. It is a few days after Bucky was in the city, and now Copter had at last returned. Elsewhere, in front of an electronics store, a purple creature wearing a brown trench coat was watching the report on the TVs in the store window. His glowing yellow eyes were fixed on the screen...

Katie the Coyote appeared on screen to break the story. "Today, the military has released a list of dangerous fugitives that are loose here in the Untited Federation. The list was compiled by GUN's very own Sergeant Richard Jackson Gunner, who is here with us to provide further details." After that introduction, the camera turned toward Gunner, who was standing nearby. Spy was standing behind him, holding up a sign that read "Hi Mom!" Gunner cleared his throat and began his sinister speech. "Citizens of the United Federation. I come today with a dire warning. In the past few weeks, a terrible threat has been unleashed on our great nation. The most sinister manifestation of which was the giant dragon that nearly destroyed Station Square recently." The purple creature in front of the electronics store growled angrily at that statement. "That is taken completely out of context! He forgot to mention how he was the one who drove me so mad!" His complaints go unheard, and Gunner's speech continues. "Shortly prior to that, similar forces, led by one who escaped military custody, stole the Chaos Emeralds, which were used to release that abomination!" Punchy spit out the soda he was drinking when he heard this. "That underhanded jackanape! He's gonna pin this on me when he was the one that released Experiment 3 in the end!?" he shouted. "Calm down, One. Mind your inner darkness!" Rainbow warned. Sergeant Gunner's slander continued. "These six menaces have been known to work with the notorious Dr. Eggman, and are to be considered a great threat. Therefore, I beseech each and every one of you out there watching; If you happen to see any of the five GeneX Experiments or their sinister creator, call the police immediately. I fear to think what would happen if they were left to accomplish their dark, malicious goals..." As Gunner's speech came to a close, the camera returned to Katie. "Wanted posters are being sent throughout the nation so that everyone can be aware of what the fugitives look like. After the commercial, we'll be showing all you viewers the wanted posters as well, don't go away!"

Copter froze during the commercial break. He couldn't believe it. Katie, the same girl who had told him she loved him only a few days ago, was now betraying him to all of Station Square! "This can't be happening... I trusted her..." he thought. Suddenly, he noticed that everyone in the station was staring at him. Copter looked up at the screen, and saw the six wanted posters displayed. There was Punchy, Vortex, Kosmo, Bucky, Zipp... and of course, Copter himself. He looked around the station as the fearful eyes of the citizens looked from him to the screen and back to him. Their fear turned to anger, then to hatred. Copter realized that it was no longer safe where he was. He addressed the gathering crowd in order to stall for time. "Umm... Gee, you sure can hear crazy things on TV... I once saw this show where this guy was claiming to have been to Saturn..." The crowd grew restless fast, and started shouting hateful things to Copter, who stepped backward toward the door slowly. "OK, wanna see some magic? Nothing up my gloves..." He turned and ran out the door. "Ta-da! I made myself disappear!" he shouted, running off through the streets to escape the furious mob.


Bucky, Vortex, and Zipp sat in front of a TV screen in Shadow Arcangel's control room. "We hooked up the TV for thissss?" Vortex hissed, glaring at the wanted posters. "I don't look like that!" Zipp growled, tossing a knife at the screen, which missed and landed on the floor. Bucky stood up and walked to the controls of the ship, gazing out the still broken window. "I knew this was coming. That's why I'm glad we collected so many rings. I just hope the other experiments don't do anything foolish." he said. Zipp hopped into the air and hovered beside Vortex, who had turned to look out the window as well. "I'm beginning to think Kosmo had the right idea! Kill them all and they'll leave us alone!" Zipp snorted. Bucky shook his head. "That's not the way. We must find a way to coexist with everyone else. This witch hunt, however, is a very nasty obstacle. Yet if we fight back, we just make them right!" Bucky slammed his fist against the control panel, furious with the recent turn of events. Vortex looked at the emerald terminal nearby, which held a fake Chaos Emerald inside it. "The fake emeraldsss are almossst out of power. Are you ssssure the ringsss can power thisss ssship?" he asked. Bucky turned to him. "They already are. I installed a few before we took off. That's why the fake emeralds aren't losing power. Because we're not using them. If we were, they'd be useless already." he explained. Zipp flew to another terminal, which held a fake red emerald. "How can rings power this ship, anyway?" he said. "The ship was designed to run on rings by the ancient people who first built it. The emerald terminals there were added by another people that took over the ship when its creators disappeared. A single ring can power this ship for a few hours, but the rings have grown weaker over the centuries. There was a time when one ring would power the ship for months! Though a lot of this ship and its history is still unknown to me, I have been able to determine that the ancients who built this ship relied heavily on ring power. Perhaps they were even the creators of the rings!" Bucky explained. Zipp dropped from his hovering place and landed on his head. "Ooof! You nearly put me to sleep! I didn't ask for a history lesson!" Bucky chuckled heartily at Zipp's remarks. "Sorry. Vortex, man the controls. I must resume work on the next generation of GeneX!" he said, heading for the exit to the control room. "Come, Zipp! Your banter will keep me focused!" Zipp flew over and picked up his knife before following Bucky. "I'll show you my new juggling act! Just let me find another knife!" he said excitedly as he left. Vortex manned the controls and sighed heavily. "I sssure hope experiment sssseven isss ssssmarter than Zipp..."


As another news day came to a close, Katie made her way out of the news studio, met by Chet on the way. "I can't believe they wouldn't let me see the wanted posters during the broadcast. Well, I'm checking them out on the way out the door! Are they posted there, Chet?" she asked him. Chet nodded. "I think I saw some of those guys at Twinkle Park the other day. Scary thought." he said. As they neared the main entrance, Katie rushed to the bulletin board and gasped as she looked at the posters for the first time. "Oh, my gosh! This can't be!" she shrieked, causing Chet to rush to her side. "What's up? Are you OK? You look like you've seen a ghost!" he said. Katie began sobbing uncontrollably. "Wh-what have I done? That's Copter up there!" Chet placed his arm around her and dried her tears with a hankie. "One of them a friend of yours?" he asked. Katie was too distraught to respond. She knew Copter was present during the fight against the Kosmogon, but she had no idea that he was related to it in any way! Chet did not quite understand why she was so upset, but tried his best to comfort her as he led her out of the building. "It'll be okay... We'll do whatever we can to fix this..." he said, hoping they could. However, it was far too late to take it back now. The damage had been done.


Razor was off duty for the moment, so he took a break at his favorite watering hole, the Neon Tavern, known by those who frequently visit as "Bill's Bar." Having recently turned 21, Razor could order whatever he wanted, but always settled for soda. Today was no exception. Bill and Bob were both moving to and fro behind the counter, serving customers. That didn't stop Bill from chatting with his favorite customer, Razor. "What's up today, Raze? You on the hunt for them terrorists still?" he asked. Razor took a sip from his drink before replying. "It's a madhouse at the station. Since all of the fugitives have been spotted around sometime or other during the week, Station Square's bein' called a hot zone. By the way..." Razor reached into his pocket and handed Bill a wad of cash. "For your trouble. That GUN agent's a real nasty customer. Still, he means well. He rescued Mia from some maniac that night." he said. Bill chuckled. "Hoo boy... She got herself in trouble again? Was the whole gang there?" he asked. Razor nodded. "They left before I got there. Lucky thing Chet came back to town when he did. Katie nearly bought the farm, but he saved her again." he explained. Suddenly, a ringing was heard in the bar. After a moment, Razor checked his cell phone. "It's mine..." he muttered as he answered it. "Yo, big bro! It's me!" It was Tommy. "Hey there, little guy, what's the good word?" Razor said. "I'm soooo bored... Thought I'd see if you were doin' anything exciting..." Tommy replied in a drowsy voice. "My work's dangerous, Tom, you know that. Why don't you go help out at the station again. They need all they can get." Razor suggested. "All I get to do there is sort papers. I'm tryin' to reduce my boredom, not make it worse!" Tommy protested. "Well, it's better than wasting time! It's about time for me to get back to work, so I'll talk to you later, bro. G'bye!" Razor hung up his phone and started on his way out the door. Bill stopped him. "You gonna pay fer that soda!?" he shouted. "Tab!" Razor shouted back, rushing through the door. Bill glared at the doorway. "He's lucky he's my friend. And a cop. Or I'd..." he trailed off. Bob tapped Bill's shoulder. "We need cash to make the rent, Bill!" he said. Bill nodded, then stood up on his stool. "Right, I'm callin' in all yer tabs!" Before he even finished his sentence, the bar emptied as everyone fleed paying their immense bills. "Thanks for nothing, bums!" Bill shouted, climbing down from the stool. Rather than complain to Bob, Bill simply began cleaning glasses.


Copter was furious. After getting by the initial shock of what had happened, he decided that Katie must have known exactly what she was doing, and now Copter was searching for her to confirm his suspicians. "She must've known I was one of the experiments. How long has she known? Does she really think me some criminal? After I saved her life!?" His thoughts ran uncontrollably, filling him with a terrible fear and intense paranoia. He was walking along a busy street when he spotted her on the other side. She and Chet were walking hand in hand, talking and laughing. Copter's eyes went wide and his jaw dropped. "She's got a boyfriend...? But I thought..." before Copter could complete his thought, he heard a siren nearby. Razor was on a police motorcycle, and he stopped a few meters from Copter. "Hey, you! Experiment! Freeze! You are under arrest!" he shouted. Copter glared defiantly at Razor. "The Hell I am! On what charge? Existing? Fine, try and catch me if you dare!" With those fiery words, Copter ran into the street and blocked another motorcyclist, who skidded to a stop quickly. Copter jumped at the motorcycle, and the rider hopped off and ran away in terror, possibly because he knew who Copter was. "Thanks for the bike!" Copter shouted, taking off as fast as the motorcycle would go! Razor sighed in annoyance. "Resisting arrest of course. You'll be sorry." He took off after Copter as fast as he could, though with a little more regard for the safety of those on the road.

Copter had never driven a motorcycle before, and it was extremely difficult to keep himself from hitting anything. Luckily for him, his unpredictability did make it difficult for Razor to keep up with him, much less shoot out his tires, which is what he was attempting. "This guy's gonna kill himself and anyone in his way! I have to stop him!" Razor thought, doing his best to aim his gun and steer the motorcycle at the same time. Copter, in the meantime, was having trouble focusing on the situation at hand. The events of the day had really gotten to him. When he woke up in the morning, everything seemed much simpler than it did now. He'd been looking forward to seeing Katie again, but now he felt betrayed. His mind racing, he struggled to keep focused enough to steer the motorcycle. Since it was dangerous on the crowded streets, so he turned at the first opportunity. Razor followed behind very stubbornly. "You obviously can't drive that thing! Pull over before you hurt someone!" Razor shouted, to no avail. Copter was too busy thinking to listen anyway. He simply sped up in hopes of losing Razor. Copter turned whenever he could, hoping to find a road he recognized, and Razor struggled to maintain pursuit. "I gotta make him stop, but I can't risk shooting at him. Odds are, I'd hit a civilian!" Razor thought, weighing his options. Soon, however, Copter found a street he recognized. It was a road rarely visited, and Copter could use the space in order to figure out how to better control his vehicle. Followed by Razor, he tore down the street, passing a dark alley with a secret...

The noise got the attention of the only nearby resident in this forgotten part of the city. Namely, Rainbow and her guest, Punchy! The two of them climbed out of the sewer to see what the commotion was. "We never get traffic 'round here, One! I wonder who it could be..." Rainbow said, gazing down the street in the direction the noise came from. In a moment, though, Copter and Razor passed by them again, coming from the opposite direction, as Copter had turned at the end of the street. Copter passed by his old "friends" too quickly to acknowledge that he saw them, not that he would have had he been going any slower. Punchy watched as Copter was chased to the end of the street and then turned out of sight. "Looks like the police aren't wasting any time rounding us up..." Punchy noted, a bit worried. "You think they saw us?" he asked Rainbow, who was waving in the direction Copter had gone. "Bye, Two! Stay longer next time!" she said, then turned to Punchy. "I don't think it's safe for you out here, One! Better get back underground!" she suggested. Punchy shook his head. "Can't. I know Copter. He don't belong locked up. Heck, I'd say he's more innocent in all this than I am! I have to bring him back here, so he'll be safe!" As he started to head off after Copter, Rainbow grabbed him by the arm and looked at him worriedly. Punchy didn't give her the chance to speak, "Stay out of sight. If they find you helping us, you'll be under arrest, too." Rainbow let go of his arm and watched him run after Copter. "Good luck, One..." she whispered.


The Station Square police station also housed the only prison facility in the city, which was more a temporary holding area for the more dangerous criminals detained there. It had taken longer than anyone would have liked, but the transport to the higher security prisons would arrive that night. Since there was delay, Conan was still being held in his temporary cell in Station Square, awaiting the transport. He had no plans to get on the transport, though. Yes, he would be leaving that night, but not with the other murderers and cutthroats. "Yes, Paulsy, my man, I'll be free once again when that transport arrives!" Conan sighed, lying against the wall of his cell. His cell mate, however, was skeptical. "Sure, you're gonna escape. And I'm gonna become queen of Soleanna. You're nothin' but talk." he grumbled, gazing down at the raccoon with hatred only learned through terrible deeds. Conan looked up at him sleepily. "You know, Paulsy, you have been disturbing my sleep all week. Maybe you need to lie down..." Before "Paulsy" knew what was happening, Conan jumped to his feet and pushed the man against the wall, holding one hand over his mouth while the other choked the life out of him! It took only a moment, and the few guards around were in the middle of changing shifts. Conan had killed the killer so quickly and efficiently, it was easy to pass him off as sleeping. "Ah, well, Paulsy. You did say you were on death row, anyway. You've just been spared the crummy last meal they would've given you. Pleasant dreams, pal..."


Copter's cycle driving improved quickly. He was able to move faster as a result, but as Copter's driving became less unpredictable, Razor found it easier to pursue him. Copter was now speeding through the bridge at Radical Highway, when Razor gave him one final warning. "Pull over, experiment, or I'll be forced to shoot out your tires!" Copter responded by looking back and sticking his tongue out at Razor. He only looked back for a second, but it was long enough to cause him to crash his motorcycle into the side of the bridge! The impact sent him flying over the side of the bridge! Razor pulled over near the wreakage of Copter's motorcycle and glanced down the side of the bridge. "Stupid idiot!" he groaned, seeing no sign of Copter, "Why don't anyone ever listen to me?" As Razor turned to leave, Copter flew back up from under the bridge, apparently unharmed. "OK... I pulled over..." he said, panting with exhaustion. Razor spun around and aimed his gun at Copter. "Hands on your head!" he ordered. Normally, Copter would've just flown away, but he just didn't have the energy for it now, so he did as he was told. As Razor approached Copter with a pair of handcuffs, a jet of flame flew past both of them from behind Razor! The two of them looked in the direction the blast came from to see the Kosmogon flying towards them! At least, it looked like the Kosmogon, but much smaller than the version Copter had faced before. Kosmo flew under the bridge, and Razor ran over to the side to look for him. While Razor searched for a dragon at one side of the bridge, Kosmo flew back up through the other side in his gargoyle form. Upon landing on the bridge, he reverted to his normal form. "Run for it, Copter. I'll distract him!" he whispered. Copter nodded, "Just don't hurt anyone. You don't want me to have to kick your rear again!" Kosmo pointed away from the area. "Just get going! Don't make me reconsider this!" As Copter began to run away, Razor spun around and aimed his gun at him, then at Kosmo once he noticed him. "Freeze, monster!" he growled, having decided Kosmo was the greater threat. Kosmo held out his arms. "All right. Cuff me, officer, I've been baaaaad..." he said. Razor slowly stepped over to Kosmo and cuffed him, when Kosmo suddenly transformed into a bee! "Whoops, they don't fit me!" Kosmo chuckled, tossing the cuffs aside. "Aw well, better luck next time, constable!" Before Razor could fire a shot, Kosmo flew off over the bridge! Razor tried, but couldn't manage to hit the morph. He was further frustrated by the realization that Copter was long gone now. He tossed his now empty gun to the ground in frustration. "They're gonna love this back at the station..."


Copter really didn't have any idea as to where he should go. It seemed to him that once again, he was all alone without any friends. In the end, he decided that there was one person he had to see. He had to confront Katie, and find out for himself if she really did betray him. Therefore, his next stop became Katie's house. He wasted no time getting there, and as he went to ring the doorbell, he heard voices coming from inside. "Perhaps I shouldn't let them know I'm here yet..." he thought, "I might get more honest answers if I eavesdrop..."

Katie and Chet were just beyond her front door, in her living room. Their conversation had apparently been going on for some time. "It's all right, Katie, don't cry." Chet said, drying tears from Katies eyes, "I'm sure he'll be all right. We'll talk to the police in the morning and see if we can't get this all straightened out." Katie shook her head slightly. "No, it's not that. It's the deception. Copter never told me he was... one of them... I thought we trusted each other, but he didn't tell me the whole truth..." Chet put his arms around her, holding her tightly. "I'm sure he had his reasons. Even so, it doesn't really mean anything. Maybe he didn't think it was all that important for you to know." Katie returned his embrace and smiled. "At least I know I can trust you, Chet." They eased out of their embrace, gazed briefly into each other's eyes, then kissed each other.

Copter had looked in through the window at that point, and right then and there had all he could take. He rang the doorbell, but found he couldn't even wait for them to open the door, so instead he bashed it in with a powerful blow from his tails! "Foul, trecherous, two-timing dog!" he yelled, bursting into the room just as they ended their kiss. Chet and Katie quickly jumped out of each others' arms as Copter pointed an accusing finger at Katie. "I saved your life, then you condemned mine! You told me you loved me, but here I find you kissing this guy! What else do you plan to do to me, you hag!" he roared. Just then, Chet stood up between Copter and Katie. The cheetah was a bit taller than Copter, and might've seemed intimidating to him if he wasn't so angry. "Now wait just a minute, you dirty skunk! Don't you DARE speak to her like that again!" Chet warned. Copter opened his mouth to speak but didn't get the chance. "Shut your trap, and listen up! She had no interest in betraying you. That newscast was aired BEFORE she got to see just who these experiments were. She had no idea who you were. Maybe you should've told her something before, then maybe she'd have done something differently! And as for your romance..." he turned to Katie as his voice trailed off. "Was there a romance?" Katie sat there with her arms crossed, looking at the ground. "I told him I loved him. You know I say that to all my friends... He just took it the wrong way..." Chet turned back to Copter. "It's apparent that you haven't known her long. She loves all her friends. Doesn't mean she's IN love with them!" Copter turned away from them for a moment, lost in thought. "Th-that... She... you... How could I have known that? The truth is, you let me believe it anyway..." he muttered. Katie rose to her feet, looking apologetically at Copter. "I'm sorry if I hurt you... I didn't mean it. Could we be friends anyway?" Chet put his hand on Copter's shoulder. "How about it. Truce?" Copter went rigid when Chet touched him. He stayed perfectly still for a moment, then spun around and punched Chet in the jaw! Chet fell backward onto the couch, and Katie rushed to see if he was all right. "I don't need any friends." Copter growled, walking out the doorway. "Farewell."


Back at Shadow Arc, Experiment 7 had been completed. A masterpiece, the fruit of all Bucky's research. Zipp was waiting outside the lab when the door slid open, and Bucky scurried out to announce his newest creation. "Experiment 4, you are fortunate to be here! May I now present the newest addition to our ranks! The first of its kind, and the seventh of your kind, say hello to the phoenix!" Through the doorway stepped a fire red bird, wearing one of Bucky's old lab coats. It was beautiful. It was legendary. It was...

"A girl!?" Zipp gasped. It was, after all, the first female experiment created. Bucky smiled like a proud parent. "That she is. Why don't you introduce yourself, Experiment 7! What name would you like to be called?" he asked. Experiment 7 looked around the area. She was a bit dazed, having not been alive long. "I... I don't... Understand..." she finally said. Bucky chuckled. "No rush. Look around our home, but stay with Zipp. That's him, there. I'm feeling inspired, so I'm going to start my next experiment immediately." Without delay, Bucky walked past Experiment 7 and re-entered his lab, shutting the door behind him. Zipp flew over to the newbie to get a better look at her. "Ah, lovely. Always wanted a sister. Allow me to explain us... Team GeneX." he said, flying a distance in front of her. "Follow me, ma'am. I'll show you around while we talk." The phoenix, still new to the world, followed Zipp slowly and tried to comprehend everything that was happening. Zipp spoke while they walked. "Here's how I see us. We are the few, the proud, the fake. Face it, we came off an assembly line. Old man Bucky wants to call you the first phoenix in existance, but you're just a science fair project, like the rest of us. We don't count. At least, not in the eyes of all those so called 'real' creatures. They don't accept us, because we don't have a mother. No, we just have a doctor. Crazy rat don't give his own behind about us anyhow, I reckon. He just wants to use us for his own ends. But, he's my pappy, so I grin and bear it. So, anyway, I forgot to introduce myself! I'm Experiment 4, Zipp the hornet!" Heather said his name, just to see if she could, while Zipp continued. But she was no longer paying muchg attention to him. "I'm not real? I was created by that rat? I won't be accepted? But why? I don't understand... Does everyone hate me? That's not fair! I won't stand for this!" she thought. Anger began to fill her heart. And with anger, can darkness not be far behind?


Chapter NB5 - A New Threat, A New Beginning

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.
The Cosmic Interstate is (c) Archie comics.

The night grew later. Storm clouds were gathering over Station Square. In the light of the full moon, the prison transport at last arrived at the Station Square police station. The guards went through their routine, as always, until they reached Conan's cell. A few cells away, a prisoner was shouting and complaining. That prisoner was an odd man in an alligator costume, known as Gator the pirate. "Let me out! I don't wanna be in here anymooooore!!" he whined. One of the three guards looked at his prisoner list, then walked over to Gator's cell. "It says here this cell should be empty. Who are you and how'd you get in there?" the guard asked. "I am the great Gator! As for how I got here, your guess is as good as pie... er, MINE!" Gator said in a panicky tone. The guard walked back toward Conan's cell. "We'll deal with you later." he told Gator. The other two guards had already opened Conan's cell. "What, is he sleeping?" one of the guards said, pointing at Conan's cell mate. All three of the guards surrounded the man and tried to wake him up. Conan took advantage of the opportunity to take out the guards by smacking their heads together! All three of the guards fell to the ground, unconscious. "Good evening, officers! Lovely day for an escape, isn't it?" As Conan began to head out of the prison area, Gator appeared in a puff of purple smoke in front of him! "I forgot I could do that!" Gator said, realizing that he probably accidentally teleported into his cell in the first place, too. "Get out of my way, you oaf!" Conan growled, pushing Gator aside. "Oh, how rude of me. Sorry!" Gator said as Conan passed by. "Say... That guy had a nasty look about him.... Meh, it's late. Maybe he's just tired..." Gator then teleported away.


Outside, it had begun to rain. In this weather, most would go inside. Copter, however, had nowhere to go. So, he wandered the streets, hoping not to draw too much attention to himself. He soon found himself in front of city hall, at the place where Sonic and Chaos had faced off for the first time, before Copter was even born.  "So, here I am. Back to where I started. Alone. Hated and hunted. Betrayed. The only thing left is for them to send me back to Death Row. Maybe I should let them..." he thought, then he took off and looked at the tailband. Tails had allowed him to leave with this one, and might've let him leave with both, too, had Copter seen fit to take it. "What kinda crazy talk am I thinking? I'm not as pathetic as I was before. I'll get outta Gunner's latest trap! I always do!" Copter felt a bit better. He may have been cold and alone in the rain, but he was still free. Just knowing that felt good enough for the moment.

Then, all at once, the moment turned sour. Copter suddenly spotted a familiar silhouette on the roof of city hall. Thunder crashed behind the figure, illuminating the area and revealing the snarling form of Guard the Gargoyle! Guard swooped down to the ground in front of city hall, pointing his scythe at Copter. "Grrrrrr!! There you are! I've a score to settle with you, copter-boy!" Guard growled, "Give yourself up, experiment! Grrrr... In the name of GUN, I arrest you!" Copter hopped smugly through the gate, ever defiant. His freedom was the only thing that kept his spirits up, and now, he found he'd have to fight for it. "Maybe I'd give up if I thought there was any chance of you beating me, but there's not. The score stands at two-zip! Care to give me another point, dog breath?" Copter said boldly. Guard snarled like a crazed wolf, raising his scythe in preparation for a beam attack. "Your luck's run out, Copter! Tonight, I shall defeat you once and for all!" He swung his scythe, releasing an energy beam toward Copter! The black fox quickly slipped his tailband back onto his tail and then deflected the beam by hitting it with the banded tail! The beam simply crashed to the floor, wreaking the drain that Chaos had once used to escape from Sonic!


Conan had retrieved his sword from the evidence room, which was conveniently very close to the prison area. Now, he was making his way toward the exit to the station. Anyone who stood in his way would up hurt, or worse! As chaos and confusion spread through the station, Tommy soon caught wind of the escape attempt at his "post" at the front desk of the station. "That crazy guy's gonna come through here... Shoot, I gotta call Razor!" Tommy said excitedly, fumbling through his backpack in an attempt to find his cell phone. The receptionist chuckled and tried to reassure Tommy. "We're in a police station, Tom. You don't really think any crook's gonna get too far, much less to here, do ya?" Tommy wasn't so sure. "How'd he get loose in the first place, Ms. Dedam? I think that's scary enough to think about! I wish I could find my cell phone..." The old receptionist just sighed in an irritated manner. "That's just a goof on the part of the guards. You think a group of trained professionals is going to make two goofs in one night? Gimme a break, Thomas." Tommy pulled out his phone at last. "I thought I looked in there first..." he muttered, dialing Razor's number. Suddenly, screams and shouts were heard nearby, as well as the growls and grunts of a furious Conan! "Out of my way, pitiful scum! You can't stop me!" the crazed raccoon shouted as a blast from his sword sent several police flying through the door to the front office. Tommy panicked, and tried to dial faster, but his haste causedb him to make mistakes, forcing him to start over repeatedly. Ms. Dedam ran around the desk and grabbed Tommy by the arm. "Come on, kid! We have to get you out of here!" she said hurriedly. Tommy, however, had frozen in place, terrified by what was happening. Suddenly, Conan burst into the room, and noticed Tommy holding his phone. "Trying to blow the whistle on me, eh, kid?" Conan growled. Ms. Dedam stood between Conan and Tommy, attempting to protect the young porcupine. "Leave the young one alone!" she shouted. Conan stared hatefully at her. "I'll have no one chasing me once I get outside! Now, die!" Conan fired a Chaos Spear from his sword, which passed clean through the old woman's body and passed over Tommy's head before hitting the wall! Ms. Dedam fell to the floor, and now Conan pointed his sword at Tommy!


As the thunderstorm worsened outside, Punchy found himself caught in the middle of it. The winds had picked up speed, and the rain was really doing a number on his eyes. Punchy had lost track of Copter while he was still being chased by Razor, and now he'd settle for just finding his way back to the Hidden Ruins. "Last time I try to help that lunatic Copter out!" he muttered just before bumping into someone in front of him. "Ooof! Sorry, mister! I didn't see you!" Punchy said, attempting to dry his eyes with his arm. "Quite all right, Dark One." the person responded. Right away, Punchy recognized the voice. "Illusi?!" Indeed, it was. The shrew was wearing a red hood along with his blue cape, so he remained relatively dry. "Yes, Dark One, I'm here. Back from my vacation in the Cosmic Interstate." he said, though Punchy couldn't have had any idea what that meant. Illusi handed him a long black coat with a hood, which he quickly put on to keep the rain out of his eyes. "So, what do you want now, Illusi?" Punchy asked. Illusi gazed up at the sky, which was illuminated by lighting. "As storm clouds gather, so, too, does the darkness. Something terrible is drawing near." he said. Punchy looked out where Illusi was looking, and spotted Kosmo flying by. As quickly as the morph was there, he was gone. "Was that who I think it was?" Punchy said in disbelief. Illusi nodded. "He is just as outraged over the arrest order as the rest of you are." he said. Punchy let out a disbelieving, angry "HA!" before saying, "He's the reason we're all in this mess to begin with!" Illusi turned to Punchy. "No, Dark One. This has been a long time coming. Sargent Gunner has been planning this from the beginning. Anyway, I happened to see Copter on my way here. I presume you are out in this weather looking for him? That way." Illusi pointed in the general direction where he spotted Copter, then dissappeared. "Well... Thanks, I guess." Punchy groaned, annoyed that Illusi left without warning. At least now he had clothes, and could continue his search with greater ease.


"Did you call anyone on that phone?" Conan demanded, slowly stepping toward Tommy. The young porcupine was too terrified to speak, and instead just backed away, shivering and stuttering. "I-I-I..." Conan grew impatient quickly. "Stop stalling! Who did you call!? Speak!!" At that moment, Razor burst into the station and pointed his gun at Conan. "Drop the sword, coonsky! One of the guards you knocked out woke up and called for backup. Very sloppy escape, pal!" Conan was furious. "I am no 'pal' to you! Now, die!" He jumped out of the way of Razor's gun and fired a Chaos Spear at him, knocking him over! Sirens were heard approaching outside, so Conan took his last chance to escape, and fled through the door without delay. Tommy rushed over to his wounded brother, who sat up slowly. "I'm okay. I only hurt my pride." he said. Tommy hugged him tightly, sobbing. "Ms. Dedam... he killed the old lady..." Tommy managed to say. Razor hugged Tommy back. "Next time you call me and say your bored, I promise I'll have a better answer! Now, help me up, bro. Don't worry, everything'll be all right..." While all present would like to believe that, in the next moment it was proven quite uncertain. The backup police that had just arrived came in and informed all present that Conan had given them the slip. It seemed that the sinister raccoon's escape scheme had worked.


Copter and Guard's battle raged on, each refusing to back down. Ever since his fight with Conan, Guard had been training himself to become a better fighter, and it showed. Still, Guard remained a bit clumsy. Copter had managed to knock the scythe out of his hands. So, for the first time, Guard found himself fighting unarmed, and in this more close ranged combat, the two of them appeared more evenly matched. "So, I see you're serious for a change." Copter said after a while. "Grrrrrr, I'm not losing to you again!" Guard growled, attempting to kick Copter from the air. Copter was knocked backward a bit, but quickly responded by punching Guard in the chest. The two backed away a moment. "Yeah, you've improved. I almost feel the need to tap into the tailband's power!" Copter chuckled. He was wearing the tailband, but not using it. After all, it was just Guard. "Grrrrr.... You arrogant skunk! You think you've already won! Grrrr... But this is far from over!" Guard jumped into Copter, sending them both tumbling across the ground and into the gate, where Copter kicked Guard away from him! Guard jumped away and took the opportunity to reclaim his scythe, which he immediately used to send a torrent of energy blasts hurtling toward Copter! The blasts crashed around the gate, obscuring it in a cloud of dust and smoke. Guard squinted to see through the smoke, when suddenly, Copter jumped out of it! He'd recieved a few bruises and burns, but nothing he couldn't bear. Now, however, he was incredibly frustrated. He tore after Guard in a fury, hoping to put an end to the battle right away. Guard, seeing the rage in Copter's eyes, took advantage of his blind anger and flew straight upwards, allowing Copter to pass under him before landing on top of him with a crash! Guard jumped away from Copter and pointed his scythe at the fox, who was on the ground and struggling to stand. "It's over, Copter! Grrrrr, give yourself up, now!" Copter glared up at Guard, defiant as ever, refusing without speaking. Guard sighed heavily. "Grrrr.... You have the right to remain silent..."

Suddenly, a figure soared over the gate, coming straight for Guard! "Back.... off!!!" Guard heard this warning and flew straight up to avoid the oncoming attack. Guard landed behind the attacker, who turned around toward him. It was a green echidna in a long, black, hooded coat. "I've seen you before... Shadow Arc, right? But we haven't been properly introduced. I'm Punchy the Echidna!" he said, glancing back at Copter a moment to see that he was okay, then looking back to Guard, "And this idiot you're attacking happens to be a friend of mine. Errr... Maybe more an aquaintance..." Copter climbed to his feet. "Bah, he's lying, Guard! I don't know this bozo!" he snickered, joking. Guard tightened his grip on his scythe. "Grrrrr! You fool! I have orders to arrest you, too, 'Punchy!' Both of you will be coming with me now! Unconscious, if necessary!" Before any of them could make a move, however, they were interrupted by the sound of screeching brakes nearby! A taxi cab had pulled up to the gate, and Mia the cat ran out, trying to shield herself from the rain with her arms. "Guard! There's an emergency!" she shouted. Copter stepped past Punchy and looked through the storm to see Mia. "So, you're with Guard, eh? Why am I not surprised? Is everyone in this town so trecherous!?" he shouted. "I'm just as surprised about Katie's report as you are! But that doesn't mean I can't be friends with GUN agents!" Mia replied. Guard let out an impatient growl, which Mia quickly replied to. "Right, the problem. Conan's escaped from prison! He's caused utter chaos at the station! Razor and the others need you there!" She dashed to her cab upon finishing her explanation. "Hop in! I'll give you a ride!" she offered, but before she could open the cab door, Guard was flying off toward the station. "Fine! Catch a cold in the rain for all I care!"

As Mia's cab took off, Copter and Punchy watched. "Seems like you're having a bad day, Copt." Punchy observed. "What was your first clue?" Copter groaned. "You're welcome." Punchy said sarcastically. "I didn't need your help, greenie." Copter retorted. Punchy started to leave, without a word. "Thanks, though," Copter said, "'aquaintance!'" Punchy turned around, giving Copter an odd look, which he couldn't help but laugh at. "You look utterly rediculous, Punch! Where's you get that oversized robe?" Punchy chuckled as well. "Wish I knew. So, it seems everyone's after us. Need a place to stay, 'bro?'" Copter walked over to Punchy and shook his hand. "Sure. I guess this makes us partners in crime, eh, 'bro?'" Punchy placed a hand on Copter's shoulder and looked at him with a grave expression. "There's one small catch. How do you feel about our host calling you 'Two' all the time?" Copter gave Punchy a similar, comically serious look. "Well, 'One', we're fugitives. We could always tie her up and gag her." They both chuckled a bit and then started walking side by side. "Beats prison, buddy." Punchy said.


It had been a busy night at Shadow Arcangel. Bucky's spree of inspiration had spawned four new experiments, each currently adjusting to their newfound lives. Experiments 9 and 10 were busy exploring the ship on their own, while Zipp was off conversing with Experiment 8 elsewhere on the ship. Vortex, in the meantime, had put the ship on auto pilot, and was waiting outside Bucky's lab, hoping to greet Experiment 11, who Bucky was now in the final stages of creating. "The massster hasss grown quite sssskilled at creating life. He'sss made almosssst asss much in a ssssingle night asss he did in the weeksss it took to create usss originalssss." Vortex said to himself. "Well, he did have help thissss time, though." He was referring to the little break he took from pilotiong the ship after Zipp was finished talking to Experiment 7. Bucky had requested that Vortex and Zipp aid him in the creation of Experiment 8. They did well, and when Zipp left to begin talking to Experiment 8, Bucky took Vortex aside and had a chat with him. "I'm quite impressed by your work, five." Bucky had told him, "You'll make a fine assistant in the years to come, and I couldn't be prouder of you. Four was all right, but he plays around too much. He lacks focus. You, on the other hand, may surpass even me some day!" He'd then asked Vortex what sort of creature he'd like to see. When Vortex answered, Bucky told him to expect a surprise once Experiment 11 was finished. So, here he was.

Experiment 7 was also in the hallway leading to Bucky's lab, lost in thought. "I'm just here to serve the whims of that crazed rat. To be 'Experiment 7.' To never be me." she thought, her anger building. She found herself speaking to herself, arguing even. "He did create me. I should respect him. He is my father." Then, her voice grew angrier, her attitude with it. "But he created me just as a specimen! Just as a project! He'll probably trash me once he's done with me!" Her voice then softened again. "No. Perhaps not. He'll treat me like a bird. Nurture me, care for me. Sure, he'll also be studying me, but he'll let me fly away when I'm ready!" Then, anger took her again. "I'm ready now! He won't release me! I'm a prisoner! He's betrayed me, brought me into the world only to cast me to darkness!" Vortex noticed that something was odd about her, but couldn't hear exactly what she was saying, and frankly, he didn't care. He was too excited to meet the newest addition to what he and Zipp referred to as "Team GeneX." After a few moments, Experiment 7 fell silent. She walked down the hall, to the door of the lab. "Massster cannot be disssturbed." Vortex hissed quietly. He'd become a bit drowsy waiting, though, and dropped off to sleep as Experiment 7 entered the lab. It was silent for a few moments in that hallway, until Vortex was woken by the sounds of explosions! Experiment 7's voice echoed into the hallway, "...And I shall henceforth be known as Heather the Phoenix!!!!" Vortex ran for the door to the lab, halted as he felt an incredible surge of heat coming from inside the lab. Another loud explosion, a violent crash, and the heat subsided, allowing Vortex to enter. He looked around the room with terror, and Zipp followed him inside moments later. The lab lay in ruins, all the equipment had been knocked around and burned. Bucky stood over a charred table, gazing through a gaping hole in the roof. "Where'd we get the new skylight?" Zipp joked. Bucky crashed his fist onto the table, causing it to crumble to pieces, before turning to Vortex and Zipp. His lab coat was burned in places, but he was mostly unharmed. He spoke in a shaky voice, disbelieving what had just occurred. "Experiment 11... had only just begun to live... and now she's dead. Experiment 7 saw to that on her way out. She's escaped...." Tears were rolling down his face, but a look of outrage burned through. "I will not lose this one. I will not be betrayed again!! I shall not allow another monster to be unleashed! Vortex! Zipp! Gather the rest of Team GeneX and bring Experiment 7 back! Chase her to the ends of the earth if need be! Move out!!!" With his fiery commands, Zipp headed out immediately. Vortex left a bit slowly, looking around the room for any trace of Experiment 11. "By heaven or hell... She shall be avenged!" he thought, heading out for his next mission.


Copter and Punchy soon found themselves at Rainbow's house, and the three of them were seated at her "kitchen" table, discussing the events of the day. "I thought I had friends in this town, but today, every last one of them betrayed me." Copter said after explaining his situation. "Not me, Two!" Rainbow pointed out. Punchy had related the story of his battle with Anubis as well. "At least you didn't have to endure that insane heat I dealt with." he said. Copter stood up from his seat, leaning against the table. He appeared exhausted. "I'd prefer fighting a real enemy, like you did. Someone clearly in the wrong. But the police... They've just been taken in by Gunner's biased reports." He began to walk away, then stopped, looking out a nearby window. "This underground city's incredible. I've never seen anything like it..." Punchy and Rainbow had stood up as well. "Yeah, this place is neat. We could stay here for years and they'd never find us. Maybe we ought to." Punchy said. "That'd be neat! You could each take one of the old houses in the city! We could have a lot of fun here, guys!" Rainbow said excitedly. Copter looked blankly at her. "No, I can't stay here. It'd be just like prison, only the food would be better. I for one don't want to give Gunner the satisfaction! I can't live in hiding!" he insisted. Rainbow looked a bit disappointed, but cheered up quickly. "It's okay. You're still welcome here anytime, Two!" Copter walked toward the exit. "Thanks." he said without stopping. "Coming back, Copt?" Punchy asked. "Probably." he replied, leaving their sight. "He's a fox of few words, ain't he, One?" Rainbow said a bit too cheerfully. "He's troubled, Rainbow. Are you so dense you can't see that?" Punchy muttered, too quiet for her to hear.


As the night grew later, the rain slowed down and eventually ceased. By this time, Guard had accomplished the task Razor set before him: to find and gather the citizens of Station Square who'd been involved in the recent events with the experiments and Conan. Back in the same interrogation room, all of them were assembled. Razor addressed the small crowd, which consisted of Tommy, Katie, Mia, Chet, Bill, and Bob, "I've called you all here because each of you have been involved with the recent experiment business, not to mention the capture of Conan the Raccoon. First off, let me inform you all that Conan has escaped!" A couple gasps and words of surprise followed before Razor continued, "Yes, yes, I know. I also know that he's bound to have thoughts of revenge for each of us. Not to mention the fact that the experiments might, as well. In fact, Chet here tells me Experiment 2 was at Katie's house tonight." Katie shot Chet a dirty look. "I was worried about you!" Chet explained. "He seemed violence prone!" Razor hushed the group and continued, "Therefore, you all are being placed under the witness protection program, and moved to a safe place. They tell me we'll be shipped to Soleanna." Everyone was upset by this news. "But... My bar! I poured my life into that bar!" Bill protested. "I just got back to Station Square!" Chet groaned. "Are we gonna have to change our names?" Mia asked. Razor hushed the crowd again. "One question at a time! No, our names will not be changed. With us furries, we can be found simply by our species, there's so few of us. Now I'm very sorry about all this, but it's the safest way to go." he insisted. Bill raised his hand. "Why, pray tell, would anyone come after me and Bob?" he asked. "You led us to where we confronted some experiments and arrested Conan! All of them may come after you!" Razor explained. "What about our jobs? Our friends? Our LIVES?!" Katie nearly shouted. "I'm sorry. No one can know where we're going. Don't worry, though. I'll take care of all of you. I'm being transferred to Soleanna as part of your protection." Razor said. "Fine thing!" Mia shouted. "See if I'll be helpin' youse guys again!" Bob muttered. "HEY!" Tommy shouted, silencing everyone. "You think my big brother likes this? He's a target, too! We all have to leave everything behind, because those scary people hate us! It's not fair, but we don't want to die, do we?" Everyone silently agreed, and they were dismissed to begin getting their affairs in order.

Guard, meanwhile, was talking to Gunner on a video display elsewhere in the police station. "Guard, I have a new mission for you." he began. "A few hours ago, the president contacted Shadow the Hedgehog in regards to the recent disappearance of Rouge the bat in Soleanna. Her mission was to retrieve a stolen artifact from Dr. Eggman. Guard, I suspect foul play, and I don't trust Shadow. You are to go to Soleanna, find Shadow, and observe his activities. If you see him doing anything out of line, kill him immediately!" Guard was a bit suspicious himself. "Grrr? How'd you get this information?" he said. Spy's voice was heard somewhere behind Gunner. "I AM a spy, after all!" Gunner groaned at Spy's stupidity. "Never mind my methods. Drastic measures must be taken to ensure the nation's security. You are to set out immediately! Gunner, out!"


Copter had wandered back to the surface just outside the Hidden Ruins. The storm had ended. Copter was wondering what would come next for him. As storm clouds gathered once more, he soon got his answer. "Storms don't come up again this fast..." Copter said as a thunderstorm started raging again in the area. Lightning crashed nearby, and almost as though appearing from it, the Doomsayer approached Copter. "You again! I was beginning to wonder what happened to you!" Copter said. The Doomsayer's chilly demeanor remained unchanged. "Copter... There is darkness in the air tonight. It is a terrible omen. The Dark is coming." he said. Copter chuckled. "You're afraid of the dark?" Thunder crashed near Copter, causing him to jump. "OK, I get it! Don't mock the Doomsayer!" he said, gasping to recover from his near heart attack. "Evil stirs once again. A great flame is being unleashed, in more ways than one." the cloaked enigma warned. "Can you try being specific for a change?" Copter asked. The Doomsayer let out a low growl. "An experiment has escaped. A new creation, of immense power. It is full of confusion. Confusion that the darkness could use to its advantage. Worse, it is being pursued, by more foes than one, and for more reasons than one. These events will lead to the ending of the very fabric of the universe. You changed the future, but for the worse! Now, more than just this world is threatened. I warned you repeatedly, and you defied me to the end! Now, it's over. There's no hope for you now. Or anyone, for that matter. Doom has come!!!" As the storm grew more violent, the Doomsayer vanished into a cyclone of sleet and hail, and the storm subsided. The Doomsayer's voice echoed on the wind, "It shall begin at Soleanna..."

Copter looked up at the sky, now clearer than before. "Should I really care? Tails fought Kosmo, too! And Sonic, and Shadow! Let them deal with this! I'VE FOUGHT MY BATTLE!!!" His scream was heard below ground, and Punchy and Rainbow soon climbed up from the Hidden Ruins. "What is the MATTER with you!?" Punchy shouted, "Every cop in the city's looking for us, and you're just calling them over!" Rainbow tapped Punchy on the shoulder. "So are you, One!" Copter didn't avert his gaze at the sky. "One of the experiments has escaped from Bucky. A new one. And it's being chased." Copter said solumnly. Punchy looked up where Copter was looking. "You're kidding? Bucky's chasing it? He didn't chase me, and I was glad of it. This isn't fair! If that experiment wants to be free, it should be... But, what are you gonna do? Not our problem." he said. Copter's eyes went wide, and he looked at Punchy with disbelief. "You're right... You son of a gun, you're right!" he said. "Yeah!" Rainbow added, "What are we gonna do?" Copter shook his head. "No, I mean, she should be free. Don't you see? This experiment's in the same situation we're in! Wouldn't we like someone to help us?" Rainbow scratched her head. "Well, gee, what about me? I'll help you!" she said. Punchy looked confused as well. "Yeah, I don't see where you're going with this." Copter chuckled. "You two have been hanging around each other too long. One of you is making the other equally dense." Rainbow smacked Punchy in the arm. "What're you doin' to me, One?" Punchy rubbed his arm where she hit him. "Me?! He meant you!" Copter chuckled again. "Don't you see? We have to find that experiment and help it. We gotta get to Soleanna!" he declared. "Anna? Who's she?" Rainbow asked. Punchy rolled his eyes. "It's a PLACE Rainbow! But how do we get there? I mean, we can't exactly waltz into an airport, we'll be arrested in two seconds flat!" Suddenly, Gator appeared in a puff of purple smoke! "Hi! Gator was nearby and couldn't help overhearing! You need to get to Soleanna? Well, Gator needs a crew to get to treasure! And I bet Soleanna's bursting with treasure! And pie! So, set sail with me! I am Captain Giseppi Gator! Pirate extraordinaire!" Copter and Punchy exchanged strange glances. Rainbow, however, was smiling. "I like him!" she said, "I'm in, Bluehair!" Copter and Punchy excused themselves and discussed it privately. "What do you think, Punchy?" Copter asked. "I think I'm drunk." Punchy replied, "This is too weird to actually be happening." Copter nodded in agreement. "Yeah, but let's say you're not drunk, since you don't drink. Should we go?" They both pondered this a moment. "Soleanna's got nothing against us..." Punchy realized. "And this guy seems... friendly..." Copter noted. "We're gonna regret this, but..." they both said at once, "We're in!"


"Dr. Eggman!" Char flew through the passageways of Eggman's new Egg Carrier in a huge rush. Soon, he reached Eggman's control room. "Yo, doc! Your spy satellites just sent us these pictures!" Dr. Eggman turned in his seat to take the pictures. They showed what appeared to be a figure, blasting through the roof of Shadow Arcangel, covered in flames. "Ah, old Dr. Stein has created another monster beyond his control. A powerful critter, too. Perhaps I can harness this power for the Eggman Empire! Alpha!" The blue robot quickly reported to the control room. "Yes, sir, big red, sir!" he said, saluting. "Stop calling me that! I want you to find the creature in these photos and bring it to me. Alive, please. Char, you're in charge of this mission. Take a squad of robots with you." Eggman ordered. "Aye, aye, Eggman!" Char said enthusiastically. "Yes, Santa!" Alpha added. As the two of them left the control room, Char turned around. "Good luck with the Solaris thing!" he said. Eggman chuckled. "Who needs luck when you're this big a genious?" As Char flew off on his way, Eggman let loose a symphony of his insane laughter!


The next morning, Copter, Punchy, and Rainbow gazed out at the sea as Gator's ship set sail. They had no idea what time had in store for them, but they would face this next adventure together. It was time for a new quest. They had started a new beginning...

The End...?


Sonic GeneX - Soleanna Struggle
Chapter 1 - Plan of the Deathbringer

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.
The Cosmic Interstate is (c) Archie comics.

"If you were able,
Would you go change the past,
To mend a faux paux,
With one last chance" - Dreams of an Absolution, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006


The universe is a vast place. It stretches further than the furthest reaches of the imagination. Still, a single universe doesn't even scratch the surface of what's out there. Hidden in each universe is an entrance to countless other universes, dimensions, and realities. Some are nearly indistinguishable from others. Some have only slight variations from others. Still others are drastically different. Among the many alternate realities are a group inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. A common factor in many of these dimensions is a powerful force of good, an incredibly fast blue blur known in all such realities as Sonic the Hedgehog!

This story takes place in one such universe, known as GeneX Prime. Perhaps you already know of the first major quest that distinguishes this dimension from similar ones. (Detailed in "GeneX - Tails the Fox" and "GeneX - A New Beginning") This is another side of a story shared by this and a similar dimension. (The other sides detailed in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" video game for PS3 and X-Box 360) For both worlds, the future is bleak. The denizens of the world have lived in darkness and despair all their lives. Life is a struggle, and people live without hope. When asked how the world came to be like this, no one has a good answer, but they always point to the flames. Flames belonging to an eternal life form, which cannot truly be defeated. It is the Flames of Disaster, known as Iblis.

Yet hope never dies. Some beings in this nightmarish world have chosen to fight back. Discarding weapons in favor of special powers, they have formed many small groups of freedom fighters, searching for a means to destroy their eternal nemesis. Leading the struggle in Soleanna, ground zero of the day of disaster, are two good friends, Blaze the Cat and Silver the Hedgehog. Many believe these two will finally destroy Iblis, but there's always a chance that they will instead be destroyed. Therefore, some groups are searching for havens where people can live safely during the reign of Iblis. One group, led by a fennec called Fred Leo, has departed for the place once known as Angel Island, now called Onyx Island. It is their goal to liberate the island from the rule of Dr. Eggman Nega, and more importantly, cleanse the island of the Lost Ones. Spirits and souls lost to darkness, the Lost Ones have taken control of Onyx Island away from Eggman Nega and placed one of their strongest beings in charge. Still, Eggman Nega maintains his former base as best he can, so the freedom fighters must defeat him as well as the monsters.

Fred's apprentice, Gemini, gazed out the window of the helicopter that was taking them to what they hoped would be a new stronghold in the struggle against Iblis. "We're almost there..." she said, fear in her voice. A friend of hers, Timothy the Fawn, was searching the island with his binoculars. "Do you think the Lost Ones have spread far in the island?" he asked, not directing the question at anyone in particular. "We won't know that until we find the current guardian" came the voice of the pilot, a pink fox named Evelyn. "Pay attention to where you're flying, Eve." Fred suggested. He was a white fennec, much like Gemini, who wore black clothes similar to that of a priest. In his hand, he often held his wand, black in color with a turquois gem at the tip. "Everyone, keep your guard up. The Lost Ones have likely overrun the island, so never assume you are safe. Especially you, Adam." he said, glaring at the gray haired bat he was addressing. Within moments, the helicopter landed on the island, joined by two more shortly afterward. Their group contained over 20 miscellaneous furries.


Watching the helicopters from the skies high above was the smoky being often believed to be the leader of the Lost Ones, Lospecter. After watching the helicopters land, he plummeted to the surface of the island, stopping just above the ground. He soared through the island toward a dark temple, then through the wall of the temple. Inside, it was dark. The floor was covered with Losol and the lesser, Loslime, and blue Ghost Fire burned in several places throughout the temple. Within moments, Lospecter reached a the large central room of the temple, which contained a few statues of fearsome monsters and a large organ piano covered in Ghost Fire, which was being played by a human-like creature, with turquoise skin and blue and green clothes. He had pointed ears, dark blue hair, and sharp fangs. He looked sort of like a vampire. "How can all the sorrow and all the pain of our time give rise to such a sweet melody..." the creature pondered as he played the organ. "Sweet melody? It is mournful and miserable. C'mon, Losipher, you have control of an island! Can't you be a little happy with your success? Hm?" Lospecter said, a bit annoyed by the music. The vampirical creature ceased his playing and stood up, turning toward Lospecter quickly and angrily. "What is it you want from me now? This poor, miserable soul eater... Consumed by the misery of those consumed... How can I be of service?" Though he seemed miserable and hateful, Losipher also seemed to hold some amount of respect for Lospecter. "Well, I just thought you'd want to know, a few more souls have arrived to be added to your army of the lost. And by the way, 'consumed by the misery of those consumed,' that's good, if I ever get depressed, I gotta steal that. But these souls, they're here to destroy you, I think. Yes, my cards say so!" Lospecter said. Losipher sat down on the stool he used for playing the organ and pressed his fist to his forehead. "Foolish mortals. Why can they not leave me in peace..." he muttered. Lospecter flew around his neck and whispered into his ears. "They'd rather leave you in pieces... Not to mention everything you worked so hard to build! Let's get 'em! It could be fun! I haven't had fun since... Well, long enough." Losipher stood up again, walking to the center of the room as Lospecter followed. "Those whose souls could find neither heaven nor hellfire, have found sanctuary in my dominion. I, born of a thousand lost souls, drowning in their misery, shall not allow light to enter our dark world again! Those who are lost, find them and make them lost as well! Spirits! Attack!!" At his words, the losol and loslime in the temple began to stir, and Losipher fell to his knees. "And so I wait once more... Watch over them, spectre, I need deeper darkness..." Lospecter flew off to join the Lost Ones. "Aye, aye, fellow lord of the para-abnormal. My cards never fail me!"


As the group of freedom fighters searched the island for signs of life, they found that everything on the island had been twisted and transformed by the island's current occupants. Mechanical trees, covered in ectoplasm, were among the many strange sights that stretched as far as the eye could see. Even the grass on the ground seemed artificial, not to mention slimed. "Ugh, I actually think the flames may be an improvement over this sludge hole!" said Ozzie, a silver morph who had piloted one of the helicopters. "It's not sludge, it's slime." Timothy pointed out. Black smoke blew past them, coming from a large building built into the side of the island's largest mountain. "What's the difference?" Adam said, trying futilely to shake the slime off his shoes. "The slime is undead." Gemini said, "Right, Teacher?" Fred nodded. "Where there is slime, it is not safe. That said, be on guard. We'll try that building. Scout ahead, Ozzie." As the morph dashed ahead of the others, Fred walked beside Gemini. "It's dangerous here. Have your wand ready." he said. Gemini looked at her feet sheepishly. "I would, but I can't find it. I'm sorry, Teacher Leo." Fred sighed frustratedly. "You are a student of the Divine, Gemini! You should always have your wand! But, I guess it can't be helped. Take mine. I have a spare. But don't lose it! We have no more." Gemini took the wand gratefully. "I promise I won't screw up again!" she said. Ozzie came running back at that moment. "Mechs! It's Eggman Nega's base! Run!" As he shouted this, a missile exploded behind him, propelling him foreward past his companions. "Oz!!" Eve shouted in terror. However, the morph was all right. He'd transformed into a swallow and flown above them. "Hurry! No time to lose!" he shouted. The group had already begun the retreat, when an Egg Mobile dropped out of the sky in front of them. "Leaving so soon? But I have guests so rarely..." It was Eggman Nega! "I insist you spend some time at my base. Say, the rest of your short lives!" Fred fired a bolt from his spare wand toward Eggman Nega's plane, but it swiftly moved out of the way. "We're taking back this island, Nega! You can either give yourself up, or we'll be forced to fight you, and, if necessary, destroy you!" Fred declared. Eggman Nega chuckled at his threat. "How amusing. Twenty against twenty thousand! Or more, I don't count my robots anymore. Still, you all must be desperate..." An army of robots surrounded the group, guns ready and waiting. "We got me, that makes it about even!" Ozzie said, landing with his companions and reverting back to morph form. Eggman Nega glared coldly at Ozzie. "You morphs may be resourceful, but you are far from invincible!" He pointed to the morph and issued his commands to his robots. "Fire! Kill the shape-shifter! The rest will follow like dominos!"

The robots aimed their rifles and fired without delay. Before any shots could hit them, Fred raised his wand and cast a spell. "Proplasmar!" As he shouted the spell, explosions erupted all around them as the missiles fired by the robots hit. Coughing was heard as the smoke cleared. "Missile maniac..." said Moe, a yellow rabbit in their group, and their third helicopter pilot. It appeared no one was hurt by the missiles. Fred had erected a barrier before they could be hit, but the barrier was severely weakoned by the attack. Eggman Nega growled softly, but then smiled. "That barrier won't hold back a second wave! Obliterate them, my army!" The robots targeted the barrier. A single missile was fired, destroying the barrier, but before any more shots could be made, the robots were suddenly engulfed by the slime they were standing in! More robots quickly ran in and shot down their comrades before the Lost Ones could take over their circuitry. Fred shouted to the freedom fighters. "Retreat, quickly!" They quickly obeyed, running off into the nearby jungle. Eggman Nega rose his Egg Mobile higher into the air. "Forget the animals! All nearby units, repel the Lost Ones! Let no more of you be taken over by the pests!" He then turned his ship toward the retreating freedom fighters. "I'll give them a little gift to remember me by..." he muttered, pressing a button on his control panel. The front of his plane opened up to reveal a missile launcher, and fired a single missile into the jungle.

As the freedom fighters dashed away, they heard the missile approaching them. "Take cover!!!" Fred shouted, and most of them did so. Moe, however, was running at the back, and couldn't get away. The missile caught him swiftly, and after the resulting explosion, it appeared to become utterly silent, despite the blasts going off in the direction they had come from. Adam was first to come out of hiding, dropping from a tree he'd flown into. "Guys? Did we all... Ohhhh...." he gasped suddenly as he spotted Moe's charred shoes a few feet away from where the missile had impacted. It appeared to be all that was left of the rabbit. "Poor bugger..." Adam muttered as the rest of the group walked over to him. Moe's closest friends ran to his shoes and began sobbing, but Fred quickly walked over and pulled them up. "Sorry to rush the funeral, but it's not safe here. We have to find a place to hide until things calm down. And, we need to make a plan. Let's go!" Ozzie ran up ahead, leading the others away. Gemini walked over to the shoes and froze as she looked at them, now fully realizing the gravity of the situation. "One of our pilots... What if we need to get off the island?" she whispered, holding back tears. Fred ran to her side and led her away. "Come. There's nothing we can do here now."


Ozzie had led them deep into the jungle, and they took shelter inside an old temple. It was very dark, but it seemed safe enough. "Dark as a tomb, but at least it seems empty." said Evelyn, "Who knows? Maybe the guardian is here somewhere!" Ozzie was leading the group deep into the temple, with his left hand morphed into a flashlight. "I don't know. I have a bad feeling about this place." Timothy said, shivering. Cuthburt, an alligator, laughed nervously a bit. "It-it's fine. So, we're down by one already and the entire island is like the stronghold of the enemy. That's no reason to worry, r-r-right?" he said. Adam scoffed at him. "Cowards, the lot of you. Out of my way!" He pushed past everyone and ran in front of Ozzie. Fred followed him quickly, and everyone else took off after them. "Adam, you foolhardy knucklehead!" Fred shouted as he chased him. In a moment, though, they heard the sound of Adam screaming. They picked up the pace and burst out of the hallway and into the large room Adam had led them to, which was dominated by the ghostly organ belonging to Losipher! Adam was backing away from the center of the room and rejoined the others as Losipher slowly approached them. "So, you escaped my losol and have come to destroy me!" he roared in a demonic voice. Fred pushed to the front and pointed his wand at Losipher. "I didn't expect you to be so easy to find, devil!" he said, a bit spooked. The tip of his wand began to glow. "We're taking back this island from you fiends!" Losipher backed away a step and looked at the wand. "A priest of the Divine. How quaint." He resumed stepping toward them and smiled, baring his demonic fangs. "You have no power here, son of light! I AM this temple, and this temple IS me! Drown in my sorrow! Fade into my darkness! And be damned to my Hell!! I, Losipher, shall be your end!!" At that moment, the entire temple seemed to come alive, and a vicious wind blew throughout the room. Tenticles burst from Losipher's back, growing along his spine, and more tenticles grew throughout the temple, sprouting on the ground, walls, and ceiling. All of the tenticles ended in sharp points, and the walls of the temple burst into ghostly flames! "Scatter and retreat!" Fred called out, though everyone was already doing it. As everyone ran for the exit, Losipher seemed to grow in size until his head seemed to take up the entire room, while his body sank below the floor. More tenticles shot from his mouth and chased the fleeing freedom fighters. Fred cast barriers on his way out in hopes of protecting everyone, but they fell quickly. Several of their comrades were soon skewered by the tenticles, then pulled into Losipher's gigantic gaping maw. Fred and Ozzie were first to escape Losipher's chamber, followed closely by Adam, who was shouting something about not wanting to die again. Evelyn, Cuthburt, and Gemini were at the back of the group, and before they could escape, Evelyn's ankle was wrapped by one of the tenticles! Cuthburt grabbed her arms and struggled to save her. Gemini, thinking fast, fired a bolt from her wand and severed the tenticle. As she and Evelyn ran off, Cuthburt remained behind. "Hurry up, Burt!" Gemini shouted. Cuthburt shook his head. "Go on. I'll keep him busy!" Gemini thought he was mad, and was about to run in and drag him away when Evelyn grabbed her by the arm. "No time to lose!" she insisted, and they took off together. As Gemini glanced into the room for the last time, she could see the tenticles surrounding Cuthburt...

Losipher's voice sounded through the entire temple. "There is no escape!!!" But the remaining thirteen members of the group didn't seem inclined to accept that. They ran as quickly as they could back in the direction they had come from, dodging tenticles that has sprouted all over the halls. Gemini dashed as fast as she could, passing most of who remained. A scream was heard as another of their friends were lost. Now, Gemini was running beside Todd, a beaver, and they seemed to be almost racing after a moment. Suddenly, a tenticle sprouted in front of her, and in Gemini's panic, she pushed past Todd to get away from it. Realizing what she'd done, she turned back to help him, but in his haste to get up, Todd had leaned against the wall. The Ghost Fire burning on the wall gave off no heat. He could not have realized it was there. Gemini looked away from him and kept running as Todd's screams faded to the shriek of a Loskel. Luckily, they were now near the exit, and Gemini soon ran into the jungle where Fred and Ozzie were waiting with a few of the others. They waited a few moments, and soon Evelyn, Adam, and Timothy joined them at the exit. With only ten members of their group remaining, they set out to find a better haven. As they left, they noted that Eggman Nega wasn't fighting with the Lost Ones anymore. Soon, they found that the Lost Ones were on their way back to the temple. The group tried to stay out of sight, and made their way back toward the helicopters. They had failed already, and they knew it.

It didn't take long to find out what became of Eggman Nega. They found him fighting with more Lost Ones not far from the helicopters. Adam had foolishly tried to sneak by the fight to reach the helicopters, but instead got the attention of both Nega and the Lost Ones. Now, they were running for their lives once again. What Losipher had said earlier now seemed quite true. There appeared to be no escape. Gemini was running along with her friend, Timothy, when she suddenly tripped. Taking advantage of her moment of weakness, a losol jumped at her. She screamed and covered her eyes, certain that this was the end. She snapped out of it when she heard Timothy's voice. "Run, Gemini!" Opening her eyes, she saw that Timothy had blocked the losol from hitting her, but now he was being swarmed by the fiends. Gemini scrambled to her feet and shot bolts from her wand at the losol, to no avail. "Run! I'm a goner, save yourself!" Timothy shouted. Gemini realized he was right, and with tears streaming from her eyes, she ran off with the remaining nine freedom fighters.


They finally found refuge in a cave a short distance away from Eggman Nega's base. They had set up a small camp, and their spirits soon improved after a few hours. If they couldn't get to the helicopters, they decided that Ozzie would morph into something that could fly them all away in the morning. They could regroup at an old abandoned workshop in the Mystic Ruins. They now knew what they were up against, and they'd return more prepared another day. Still, Gemini couldn't get over all the losses they'd faced. She sat in a corner, sobbing over the loss of her friends. Why did they have to die? More than half of the group, gone, and no one seemed to care much. The others were used to such loss, but Gemini had spent her life away from the battles, this was her first time out on a mission. She now realized that she wasn't ready. She looked over at the survivors, then at the wand her teacher had given her, then burst into tears. Noticing this, Fred walked over to her and sat beside her. "Too much, too soon, huh?" he said. Gemini nodded between sobs. Fred handed her a handkerchief, which she used to dry her tears. "It is terrible. We live in dark times. Do you need to talk to someone?" he asked. Gemini stood up and walked away. "I just want to be alone right now." she said, heading deeper into the cave. "Stay close!" Fred shouted, watching her leave sight. She ignored his warning, and wandered deep into the cave. It was dark, and she stumbled for a bit, but then saw a red light ahead of her. "A Chaos Emerald?" she said to herself, rushing toward the light. Upon reaching the source of the light, she found it was indeed a gem, but not a Chaos Emerald. "What is it?" she wondered aloud. "It is a Time Stone." A voice replied. Gemini looked around, and noticed a figure standing nearby. It was a creature in a black cloak, its face hidden. It had two large black wings on its back. "Wh-who or what are you?" Gemini asked nervously. "Don't be alarmed. I am the Deathbringer." the cloaked figure said. Gemini chuckled nervously. "OK. You're called the Deathbringer. And I'm not supposed to be alarmed... Great..." The Deathbringer picked up the Time Stone and handed it to Gemini. "This stone has great power. It can be used to travel through time." Gemini held the stone, looking at it curiously. "I could use this stone to go to the future... Or the past?" she asked. The Deathbringer nodded. "Think on it. You could go back in time. Save your friends. Tell your friends what's up here. Or, you could go further back. Back before Iblis. Before Losipher. You can prevent everything. Tell me... Do you wish to see your friends again?" Gemini opened her mouth to speak, but the Deathbringer vanished before she could, dissappearing into the darkness. She thought about it, and decided to ask her teacher for advice.


"Absolutely NOT!!" Fred yelled when Gemini suggested using the Time Stone. She felt he didn't understand. "We could change the past! We could rescue Moe and Todd and Tim..." It sounded good to her, but Fred disagreed. "Time travel is dangerous. You can cause all manner of mayhem. You can negate your own birth! You want to never have been born? End of discussion. Forget this plan." Suddenly, an evil laugh was heard at the cave entrance. "So, here you all are! Robots, attack!" Eggman Nega had found them! Missiles soared into the cave, blasting the camp as the Freedom Fighters took cover. Eggman Nega's plane flew in ahead of a small army of robots. The Freedom Fighters, however, were through running. A chatic battle ensued, but Gemini chose not to participate. She ran deep into the cave, toward where she'd found the Time Stone. "We can't win this fight.... We're going to die! I can't let this happen..." Gemini held up the Time Stone. "What's that you've got there?" Eggman Nega had followed Gemini! She turned around to face him. "You won't hurt my friends! I'm going to stop you! Time Stone! Send me back in time!!" The Time Stone glowed brightly, then let out a huge flash of light, forcing Gemini to shut her eyes...

When she opened her eyes, she was somewhere else. It appeared she was standing on some sort of altar. It was the shrine of the Master Emerald! The Time Stone had vanished, but she wasn't worried. She still had her wand, and also her spell book, which she always kept with her. She could return with a time travel spell. Looking around, she spotted a grey shrew in a blue cape. He was holding the Master Emerald, and he looked shocked. "Wh-who are you? Where did you come from?" the shrew asked. "Um... I'm Gemini. Pleased to meet you, mister...." She trailed off, and the shrew realized she was asking his name. "Illusi. Illusi the Shrew. Where did you come from?" Gemini thought a moment. She might as well see if she could make the time travel spell work. However, as we know, it didn't. She ended up becoming a dragon, then losing her wand and her spell book. Still, thanks to the help of Knuckles the echidna and Illusi, she eventually managed to regain her wand, her spell book, and her true form. Now, she searches for a way to stop Iblis and the Lost Ones, and to get back to her own time.


Meanwhile, other adventures have been unfolding. Somewhere over the sea, a ship known as the Green Freedom was sailing. Aboard the ship was a black and white, two-tailed fox called Experiment 2, or Copter, as he preferred to be called. With him were his friends, Punchy the green echidna and Rainbow, the echidna of many colors. Captaining the ship was Gator, an odd fellow in an alligator suit. "Soleanna ho!" he shouted from the crow's nest. Copter and his friends had already noticed the landmass drawing ever closer. "Somewhere on that island is Experiment 7. We can't let Bucky force it to serve him." Copter said. "True, Very true." came a voice behind them. It was a bent figure in an old cloak, leaning on a wood staff. "I've been listening to you three this whole trip. I can see your destinies are linked. Oh, my senility. I am Dimentime. Don't mind me. I'm just an old guy who exists in more than one dimension. Enjoy your adventure. I'll see you again, somewhere." With that, Dimentime limped away. "That was weird..." Copter muttered. "What else is new." Punchy said. "I'm gonna call him Caney." Rainbow decided. The three of them then set to work preparing for their arrival in Soleanna. Their next great struggle was about to begin...


Chapter 2 - Sun Festival Showdown

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.

"Is it me, you say, you're lookin' for?
Let me show you who I am and what I'm here for." - What I'm Made Of, Sonic Heroes


The Green Freedom had made port in the afternoon, and Copter, Punchy, and Rainbow began their search for Experiment 7, with Gator's assistance, after lunch. They had searched New City, without luck, and now it was getting dark. The Sun Festival had begun, and the four of them were taking a break by a fountain near the shop. "This would be so much easier if we knew what we were looking for." Punchy said. "You sure you don't know anything about Seven, Two? Like whether it's a boy or a girl? Or its species?" Rainbow asked. Unfortunately, Copter didn't know anything. The Doomsayer had left out all the details, and gave Copter little chance to ask questions. Still, he had a hunch. "I think the only creatures here that aren't human are us and the experiment. Bucky don't make humans, so lets just look for anything else." he suggested. Gator shook his head. "No more for me, thanks. Gator must get to pirating! Finding treasure and such. I think I'll start at the nearest bakery..." Gator began to run off. "Let us know if you see anything unusual!" Copter shouted. A second later, and Gator vanished in a puff of purple smoke. "So, if he heard you, I guess he'll come find us if he sees himself in a mirror." Punchy chuckled. "Ah, well, good riddance. He was kinda annoying anyway." Copter said, "Still, he did have a good idea just now. We should split up to search for Experiment 7. You and Rainbow look around near the crowds at the festival. I'll look elsewhere." Punchy groaned a little. He did not want to be left alone with Rainbow. "C'mon, Copt, I think we're doing good in a group." he argued feebly. "Are you kiddin', One? If we were doing so well, we'd have found Seven already!" Rainbow pointed out. "Bye, guys!" Copter shouted, already heading off on his own. Since Punchy saw no way around it, he came up with another suggestion. "Fine, then we'll split up, too, Rainbow." he said. Rainbow grabbed him by the arm and started leading him toward the festival torch. "Don't be rediculous, One! Remember how we found the shards of that big gem? Just follow me and we'll be OK!" Punchy stumbled along behind her, shouting in frustration all the way. "Lemme go, lemme go!! I don't need you to hold my hand! And stop calling me One already!!!"

Copter's hunch, however, was wrong. They weren't the only non-humans visiting Soleanna that night. Up on a rooftop nearby, Zipp the hornet was watching them through his visor, which could also grant him binocular vision. "Looks like they're trying to double their search. Guess I'd better quit following them and begin looking myself." he said to himself. He pulled out a gun and polished it with a handkerchief. "Looks like my little baby here might be getting a workout tonight. I don't know how 'Chopper-Boy' and 'Fist-Freak' found out about Experiment 7, but they're dreaming if they think they're gonna get in our way!" He holstered his gun and pressed a button hidden on his helmet. "How're things on your end, Vortex?" he asked via his helmet's phone. "I think I've ssssspotted her, Zipp. Let'sss meet up here and bring her home." Vortex replied. Zipp released the button and started flying off. "Over and out! Don't start the party without me!"


Crowds lined Soleanna's central canals, watching a large boat approach the large torch used in ceremonies such as tonights Sun Festival. Dancers twirled and pranced gracefully on the boat, while fireworks lit up the sky. A very important passenger was being transported on the boat, Soleanna's current ruler, Princess Elise the Third. Copter felt slightly dissappointed that he had to miss the festival for his search, but the Doomsayer had made it seem quite urgent that Experiment 7 be found. He was wandering near the gate between this portion of Soleanna and New City when suddenly, he spotted her. A red phoenix, wearing a black coat with orange stripes, and loosely fitting yellow pants. She wore a pair sneakers colored a fiery pattern of red and orange. Her orange eyes spotted Copter immediately, but she didn't know him, so she thought nothing of him. She simply walked toward the area with the torch, ignoring Copter completely. Copter followed her. His intuition told him that his search was over, and he quickly caught up to her and began walking beside her. "Hello. Beautiful night for a festival, isn't it?" he said in greeting. The phoenix simply ignored him and kept walking, so, Copter continued following her. "First time to Soleanna? It's my first visit, too. Come here for the festival? Or something else?" he asked, knowing the answer. "What do you want with me?!" she said, stopping in her tracks and glaring at Copter. He crossed his arms and glared back. "Well, excuse me for bein' friendly. I'll just ask one more question then. Do you know they're after you, Experiment 7?" Her eyes went wide at the mention of her experiment number, and she started backing away toward the gate to New City. Copter watched her as she recovered enough to speak. "You- You're one of THEM, aren't you? I- I don't.... STAY AWAY FROM ME!!" She turned to run, but smacked into someone who immediately grabbed her by the wrist. It was a large grey Rhinocerous, with a big white horn at the end of its snout. He wore metallic blue shoes and light blue gloves. On his head he wore a yellow bowler hat. His eyes were green, and fixed on the phoenix. "Watch where you're going, sparrow." he growled. Behind him, Vortex and Zipp were approaching. Copter realized that the rhino was probably with them. "Ah, another new experiment, aren't you? Experiment 8, I presume." he said. The rhino nodded. "You presume correct. I am Crash. I bet you already know my associates, Vortex and Zipp." he said. Though he appeared brutish, Crash spoke in a fairly educated manner. Vortex stepped between Copter and Crash. "Thisss isss none of your concern, Copter. Why don't you jusssst sssstay out of our bussssinesss." he suggested. "That is something I can't do. It seems, from my point of view, that you're attempting to enslave her. I can't let that pass." Zipp fired a warning shot at Copter's feet. "Make me aim higher, please!" he said, excited at the idea. "Let her go!" Copter demanded. "Make me!" Crash snorted. Things were getting rather tense, and it was about to get worse.

Princess Elise had approached the festival torch. She held in her hand a lit torch. It was her job to light the larger one, by touching the flame to the base of the torch. A large, intricate display would carry the flame up to the sconce. However, Elise seemed a bit distracted after being handed the small torch. She was imagining something, but she snapped out of it in a moment. "We give thanks to the blessed flames. May we continue to live in peace." she said, "Sun of Soleanna, guide and watch over us with your eternal light." With that, she lit the base, and the flames quickly climbed up the display and into the sconce for a dazzling effect. Elise waved to the cheering crowd, when suddenly an explosion went off behind her! It was missiles! More missiles hit in the area around the festival torch, causing the crowds in the area to panic and run away. A large ship was hovering overhead. The bottom of the ship slid open, reavealing a group of dangerous looking robots. The robots dropped from the ship and surrounded Elise and the others standing there with her. Another group of robots had also been deployed, and they were now surrounding Copter, Vortex, Zipp, Crash, and Experiment 7. Landing to Vortex's right was a familiar blue and green robot, with the number "E-2X" printed on its side. It was Alpha! Accompanying the robots was the small red and black Chao, Char. Startled by the events unfolding, Crash released Experiment 7 from his grip. "Freeze, ice cubes! Or I make you cookies crumble!" Alpha warned. "You didn't fix him YET!?" Copter groaned. Char chuckled. "He's a little better... More focused... That's enough. Now listen up! We're takin' the red birdie! Any objections, and you gotta answer to us!"

Meanwhile, a large ship dropped from the sky in front of Elise. A man was standing on it, bowing to the princess. It was Dr. Eggman! He rose and addressed her. "A pleasure to meet you at last, princess of Soleanna. I am Dr. Eggman. I've come here to obtain the secret of the Flames of Disaster from you, and to take the miracle gems that are the key to its secret..." he pointed to Elise, who was clutching a blue gem in her hands. "The Chaos Emerald!" he said. Eggman motioned for Elise to board his Egg Mobile. "Now, princess, this way, please..." Elise backed away a few steps, silently protesting, when suddenly a blue wind flew around the area and landed on one of the small pillars surrounding the festival torch. The blue wind was none other than Sonic the Hedgehog! "My, that's a pretty snazzy performance there!" he said. Elise looked up at Sonic in surprise. At first, she thought he was another hedgehog that she vaguely recalled from her youth. "You... It can't be..." she muttered. The surrounding robots quickly targeted Sonic and fired at him, but Sonic was quicker. He tore around the area, taking out the robots as he went. As he knocked out the last one, he observed that it was still standing on the ledge, so he lightly tapped it with his foot, sending it into the water. Next, he jumped over to Elise. "I'm Sonic! Sonic the Hedgehog!" he said, carrying Elise off in his arms. Eggman threw a small tantrum at the sight of his nemesis. "Not that irritating hedgehog again! Attack!!" More robots appeared immediately and began firing missiles at the fleeing hedgehog, but the missiles couldn't catch him.


In the meantime, the experiments faced Alpha and the squad of robots he was commanding. "So, any objections?" Char asked, grinning. "As a matter of fact..." Crash growled, charging at a nearby robot. Vortex jumped into action, catching a gun Zipp tossed him. Zipp pulled out the gun he'd been polishing earlier as well. "Fun time!" he said with glee. Experiment 7 attempted to run, and with the robots scattering to fight Team GeneX, she might have succeeded, if not for the fact that Copter and Alpha had spotted her escape attempt. "Hold it, Tweety!" Alpha shouted. Copter kicked Alpha away and continued chasing Experiment 7, when Char suddenly smacked him in the head from above. "Hurt Alphie, will ya? C'mon, Copter, I ain't afraid of you!" he said, pretending to growl. Copter smirked a bit. "That's nice, but your target's getting away." he said. "Huh?" Char muttered, turning around. "Uh-oh!!" he yelped, flying after Alpha. "Get in gear, Alph! She's getting away!" Copter looked around. Since Team GeneX was being distracted by the other robots, all Copter had to do was keep Alpha busy. That would buy Experiment 7 the time she needed to escape. It was a good plan, but it went bad fast when Copter heard a familiar scream. Cream and Cheese were nearby, and surrounded by robots. SPOT was also with her, which told Copter that Tails must've been in Soleanna. Unfortunately, Tails was nowhere in sight now, so Cream would need help. "Well, I sure hope Experiment 7's as tough as everyone seems to think, because I can't leave Cream like this!" Copter groaned.


Elsewhere, Punchy and Rainbow had observed the spectacle of Sonic rescuing Elise from Dr. Eggman. The retreating crowds meant that they had more room to move, true, but they had also been spotted by someone who knew Punchy was an experiment. Someone who'd seen the wanted posters issued back at Station Square. Officer Razor the Porcupine! "Freeze, punks!" he shouted, aiming a gun at Punchy. "Caught red handed! Helping Eggman pull off his job here, huh?" he said accusingly. Chet the Cheetah, who was nearby, ran over to Razor. "What's up?" he asked. "He thinks our hands are red." Rainbow said, looking perplexed. Razor would not point his gun away from Punchy. "Him, that green guy. He's an experiment! They followed us here!" he said. Punchy wore a stupified look on his face. "H-hey... Chill out! I'm just as surpised to see Eggman as you are!" he said, a bit flustered. Just then, more of Eggman's robots dropped from the sky around them. "Is that your backup?!" Razor growled, moving his gun from robot to robot. Punchy chuckled nervously. "Well, they might recognize me, but I don't think they're here to help me..." he said, noting that the robots were aiming at him and Rainbow as well. "What's the plan, One?" Rainbow asked. "What are you asking me for?" Punchy said, "You're the one who beat the last nut who tried to kill me!" Chet cracked his knuckles and grinned. "All right, looks like it's up to me! Oh, and you, Razor! Let's get 'em!" He sprang into action, leaping from robot to robot and using his claws to slash at them as he went. Razor ran for cover as the robots began shooting, doing his best to shoot back when he could. Punchy and Rainbow distanced themselves from Chet and Razor, fighting the robots in their own ways. Rainbow used her gliding skills to knock the robots about, while Punchy's fists were all he needed to knock these robots to pieces! Soon, he and Rainbow landed next to each other again, while robots hovered around them. "We'd better try to catch up with Copter again!" Punchy said. "Right. I think he went this way! Follow me, One!" Rainbow shouted, gliding into a robot to clear a path. Punchy followed her as best he could. "Not so fast Rainbow!! Wait up!!!"


Sonic continued running with Elise in his arms. "Um... Why are you helping me?" Elise asked. "No special reason." Sonic replied without stopping. Suddenly, robots landed in front of him, forcing him to stop. Sonic put Elise down and made short work of the robots, but it turned out they were merely a diversion. Sonic turned around upon hearing Elise scream, only to see a pair of giant robotic hands carrying Elise to Eggman. "I'm afraid our little game ends now!" Eggman said. Elise struggled until one of her arms got free, then tossed Sonic the Chaos Emerald. "Sonic! Take this!" she shouted. Sonic caught it. "I've got it! And don't worry! I'll rescue you!" he assured her. "I know..." she said a bit unsurely. "It's only a matter of time before it's mine!" Eggman declared. "Until then, you can hold onto it for me!" With that, the Egg Mobile rose up into the opened underside of Eggman's new Egg Carrier. Once aboard, Eggman brought up a hologram displaying Alpha. "We have the princess. Alpha, bring in the phoenix." he ordered. Alpha saluted. "Yes tubsy, but we have a situation! A widdle wabbit with that puppy-bot is here! Gotta make sure no rabbits take our cereal!" he explained. Eggman rolled his eyes. "Whatever, just don't let Experiment 7 get away!"

Sonic watched as the ship flew out of sight. Little did he realize that someone was also watching him. Up on a rooftop nearby was a silver colored hedgehog, wearing black boots and gloves with glowing greenish circles on the palm and back of his hand. "I've finally found him... The Iblis Trigger!" he said to himself. His glaring eyes showed a determined sense of purpose within him. He jumped from the rooftop. Just as he was about to go after this "Iblis Trigger," he heard someone yell "Now I've got you, Sonic!!" Before he knew it, a pink hedgehog in a red dress had thrown her arms around him excitedly. It was Amy. "It's about time I finally caught you again!" she said, looking up at him. As she did, she backed away from him quite suddenly. "Hey, you're not Sonic!" she said, hitting him on the back and nearly knocking him over. "Um, I'm sorry..." she added. The silver hedgehog took a moment to compose himself. He then decided to introduce himself. "Ah, I'm..." he began, when suddenly he noticed that Sonic was gone. "Hey, where'd he go... He must've run off!!" he shouted in frustration. Amy looked a bit sheepish. "I'm sorry. Did you miss someone bacause of me?" The silver hedgehog looked over at her. Maybe it was her fault, but there was no sense getting angry with her. "Ah, it's okay. I'm sure the guy I'm looking for is still on the island. I'm sure I can still find him." he said. Amy grabbed his hand. "Then I'll help you!" she insisted. The silver hedgehog was a bit surprised, and could only say "Wha?" in response. "Two heads are better than one when looking for someone!" Amy explained. "Hey, wait a second!" the hedgehog said. "What's your name?" Amy asked, ignoring him. The hedgehog paused a moment, then said his name. "Silver." Amy smiled at him. "That's a nice name. I'm Amy Rose. It's nice to meet you!" she said, leading Silver away.


During all the confusion, Experiment 7 had run off in search of a place to hide. Her run took her to New City, where she soon passed by Gemini. The fennec stopped her as she ran by. "Hey, what's the hurry? Are you all right? What's your name?" she asked. The phoenix took a look at her. She didn't appear threatening, so she stopped to chat. "I'm Heather. I was just running... umm... See, there was this explosion... And a bunch of robots... That'd scare anyone, wouldn't it?" she said, trying not to let on the real reason she was running. Gemini gasped at this news. "Explosions? I thought they were fireworks! That sounds like the work of Dr. Eggman! I should do something!" Heather thought for a moment. If Gemini went back there, she might be asked if she saw her. So, she had to stop her. "Wai-wait! You... can't go back there... They... uh... told everyone to evacuate the area. They won't let you in." she insisted. Gemini shrugged. "I gotta help though. I've got it! I'll use my wand to teleport in!" she said, pulling out the wand Fred had given her. Heather panicked, and without thinking, she grabbed the wand from Gemini's hands, running off with it. "You can't do that!!" she shouted as she ran off. Gemini chased her. "That's mine! I can't replace that!! Come back!!" Heather wouldn't stop. She was too consumed by fear at this point, so Gemini was forced to chase her for a while.


Alpha had captured Cream and carried her off toward the shop. Copter was smashing his way through the robots on his way to rescue her, and since he was headed that way, Crash followed, believing he was heading in the direction Heather was in. Since they both shared a common enemy, at least for the time being, Crash had decided to help Copter. "It is much more sensible that we join forces right now." He had said, "But make no mistake, Experiment 7's coming with us!"  Copter figured it was best not to argue, under the circumstances. Crash truly lived up to his name, though. He would charge horn first into anything that got in his way, knocking everything to pieces as he crashed through them. Copter was a bit slower fighting, but not quite as clumsy. Soon, they reached where Alpha had Cream hostage. When Crash saw that Cream wasn't Heather, he took off in a huff. "I can't believe it! You were going after that runt!? How wasteful of you. And you wasted my time, too! You'll pay for it later!" he growled as he left. Since there were no other robots left, it was just Copter and Alpha. "Let her go! She's not who you're after!" Copter shouted. Alpha glared at Copter with his glowing red eyes, shutters on the eyes closing a bit so that he looked angry. He let out a low robotic growl. Then, he reopened his shutters and flew off without Cream. "You're right." he said, "Silly rabbit, getting captured's for birds!" As Alpha flew away, Copter scratched his head and raised an eyebrow. "That was too easy..." he said to himself. Cream ran over and gave Copter a hug. "Thank you so much! Those robots came so suddenly and I was so scared!" she said. Cheese flew over and hugged Copter's head as well. "Hey, get offa me!" he said, lightly pushing her away. SPOT scampered over as well. "Yay! Yay!!" he said in a robotic voice. The text on his monitor read "Thank you, Copter!" as well. "I see Tails has been upgrading that thing." Copter observed. "Stick with me kid, until we find your friends." Copter suggested. "Thanks again!" Cream said, following Copter away.


The robots that weren't destroyed were now gone, at least for now. Razor and Chet had rushed to the New City, where Razor called a cab. Mia was the driver. "Where to, my witness protector pal?" she asked. "Police station. I think we may be in trouble." Razor said. As he got into the cab, he spoke to Chet. "Find the others. They should be warned. Soleanna's not as safe as we thought it'd be." Chet nodded. "Right. I'm off!" The cab drove away, and Chet took off at high speed in the opposite direction.

Punchy and Rainbow searched, but they couldn't find Copter or Heather. "Gee, where do you suppose Two went?" Rainbow asked Punchy. "How should I know." he said. They had stopped near a restaurant, and Punchy was staring hungrily at the building. "Is it time for dinner yet?" he asked. Suddenly, Punchy heard a splash behind him. He turned around and noticed Rainbow was missing. "Wha... Hey, Rainbow! Where are ya? You OK?!" he shouted. In a few seconds, Rainbow climbed out of the water, holding a shiny blue stone. "Think Bluehair will like this?" she said, showing Punchy what she'd found. "Hey... That looks like a Chaos Emerald... But it can't be. The lady Sonic carried off was holding the blue emerald. And... well... Chaos Emeralds are shaped differently. What do you suppose it is?" he said. Rainbow handed it to Punchy. "It's your lucky day! You can hold on to it, One! Now, let's eat! Two will be fine without us for a while!" she said cheerfully. Punchy followed her off, gazing at the gem in his hand. "It certainly has a strange energy in it, though..." he noted.


Copter looked for a while, but couldn't find Heather. "Drat! I hope she's all right!" he said in frustration at one point. Cream patted his back. "It's OK, Copter. I didn't know you were looking for someone, but if you describe her to SPOT, I bet he can help you find her!" Copter looked surprised. "That thing? With just a description? Well, I guess it's worth a try. It's a phoenix. How many of those you see running around? Just find a phoenix, OK, Fido?" SPOT let out a high piched "Hey!!" The text on his monitor read "I'm called SPOT, not Fido! However, I will comply. Sensors detect an odd creature. Follow me." SPOT ran off toward New City, so Copter and Cream gave chase. "I sure hope this works!" Copter said worriedly. One thing was quite clear, his next great adventure was now underway!


Chapter 3 - Mysterious Capers

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.

"Come along for the ride.
Truth can run, but not hide,
For long, the game is on, now..." - Team Chaotix, Sonic Heroes


Shadow's mission had gone exactly as it was supposed to. He had infiltrated Eggman's base easily and soon located Rouge. They had even fought off Eggman's Egg Cerberus, and were now on their way to the GUN rendezvous point in Kingdom Valley. For Guard, his mission to follow Shadow was about the most boring mission he'd ever embarked on. Gunner had instructed Guard to take out Shadow if he did anything he wasn't supposed to do, but Shadow had been on his best behavior since... well... ever! Not that Guard had a problem with this. He really had no particular desire to fight Shadow, but he also didn't like "baby-sitting," as he called it. However, he would not be bored much longer.

They soon reached the rebdezvous point. Guard stayed out of sight and awaited the arrival of the GUN agents that were supposed to meet them there. Rouge was talking to Shadow while they waited. "The former king of Soleanna used to reside in this castle. But a major accident occurred 10 years ago, and no one's lived here since. I think the name of the plan was..." Before Rouge could finish speaking, Eggman finished for her. "The Solaris Project." The mad scientist lowered into the area on his large Egg Mobile craft. "It was an ambitious project named after their eternal Sun God!" Guard began watching more intently, but he couldn't act until Shadow did something wrong. "Doctor!" Rouge gasped. "It's been a while my dear Rouge. And of course, Shadow. Now, if you'd be so kind as to hand back the Scepter of Darkness you took from me!" Eggman said, signaling his robots to surround and attack them. In the sudden attack, Rouge took flight with the scepter. Eggman, seeing this, moved some switches on his ship and punched her out of the sky with the ships robotic hands. As Rouge and the scepter fell seperately, Shadow had to act quickly. He ran over and caught Rouge, but didn't have time to catch the scepter. "NO!!" Eggman yelled as he realized what was going to happen next. The scepter crashed to the ground and immediately began sparking with energy. The resulting shockwave stunned Eggman's robots. "It's no use! Pull back! Pull back!! Pull back!!!" Eggman shouted, flying his Egg Mobile away hastily.

A dark shadow burst out of the scepter, dove into the air, then flew around the area, taking out the robots one by one as it blasted through them. Finally, the shadow dove into the air once more before diving into the shade cast by Shadow! From where the shadow dove in, a creature began to rise. As it did, it absorbed the shadow cast by Shadow. The creature looked nearly identical to Shadow, except for a few minor color differences. Where shadow was red, the creature was a pale violet, and its muzzle was a similar color. The creature had no mouth, and its green pupils appeared almost crystalline. It let out a sinister laugh. "Oh, how ironic fate can be! I would never have believed I would be ressurrected through YOUR shade! I thank you, Shadow the Hedgehog." The creature appeared to know Shadow, but Shadow was certain they had never met. "Who are you? And how do you know my name?" he asked. The creature began to approach Shadow, its gaze pointed toward the ground. "I'm Mephiles. Mephiles the Dark." it said. Mephiles slowly looked up at Shadow. "What? Did you forget me?" he said angrily. Guard was watching tensely from his hiding place. He could not move until Shadow did something wrong. Mephiles continued speaking. "I owe much to you, Shadow." he said, raising his hand. "Oh, yes...." A small vortex appeared just above Mephiles's hand. "What you gave to me, I now return to you! A one way ticket to oblivion!!" At that moment, the vortex grew until in enveloped Mephiles, Shadow, and Rouge. Guard could wait no longer, and dashed toward them, but was too late. The vortex vanished, and with it, Shadow, Rouge and Mephiles. Guard had launched himself a bit too fast, and ended up crashing to the floor where Mephiles had been standing. "Ooof!! Gotta work on my timing..." he grunted.

Guard stood up and searched the area. No sign of Shadow or the others could be seen, only the sparking remains of the robots Mephiles had destroyed. Suddenly, Guard heard something land behind him. He spun around and pointed his scythe at the intruder, who quickly put his hands up. "Whoa! Watch it! I'm unarmed and not dangerous!" The intruder was a gargoyle! It was orange, with black stripes going down its sides. It was taller than Guard, but scrawnier as well, and clearly posed no threat, so Guard lowered his scythe. "Grrrrr... How long have you been here?" Guard asked. The other gargoyle looked at the watch he was wearing. "Oh, about five minutes. Didn't you know I was here? I guess you were distracted by that Dark that was just here. Looks like a new one, too." The gargoyle looked around at the broken robots. "Toughest one I've ever seen, too. We could really be in for it, now." he said. "Grrrr... You called that thing... A Dark?" Guard questioned. The other gargoyle shook his head. "I knew it. You're not part of the tribe. Which is odd, considering there's only one Gargoyle tribe in the world... That I know of. So, I suppose I better introduce myself. My name's Rick. Who're you, and where'd ya come from?" he said in a serious tone. Guard was about to answer, when a blast of white energy tore through the air and then right through Rick's chest! Guard spun around and looked up in the direction the blast had come from. He caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a cloaked figure with wings flying away. It was going too fast, and Guard knew he couldn't catch it, so he instead ran over to Rick to see if anything could be done. It was futile, Rick had been killed outright. "Grrrr... One question comes to mind. Was that shot meant for him, or for me..." Guard muttered. He desired to investigate further, but he would not get the chance.

Just then, a helicopter flew overhead. It was the GUN team that was supposed to meet Shadow and Rouge. Guard stood saluting until the copter landed and some agitated GUN agents ran out. "Holy hell, what happened?!" the apparent agent in charge said to Guard. "Eggman found them, sir." Guard replied. The agents were aiming rifles at Guard now. "Maybe you better explain what you're doing here with a dead civilian!" the lead agent shouted. Guard dropped his scythe, as his programming commanded when faced with GUN soldiers. "There was nothing I could do for this gargoyle. Grrr... An assasin was here moments ago. I'm unsure if this was the intended target." he explained. The agent was not satisfied. "Where's Agent Rouge and Agent Shadow? Did you have anything to do with their disappearance?" he questioned. "It was the scepter. Grrrr.... Something happened, and a creature was released from it. I think it kidnapped them." Guard replied. The agent would not lower his gun. "Get in the chopper. You'll be questioned further back at HQ." he ordered. Just then, a whiny voice was heard from inside the helicopter. "What's taking so long!?" The owner of the voice exited the chopper. It was Sgt. Gunner's personal Spy! "This gargoyle witnessed some unexpected events here. We need to bring him in and connect him to a lie detector." the head agent said. Spy ran up in front of the agent and made him lower his gun. "That's the sarge's Guard, pal! He's here under Gunner's orders, and it looks like it's a good thing, too. You can trust whatever he says, sir." Spy informed the agent. The agent had a puzzled expression now. "Gunner's Guard? Why weren't we notified he would be here? Well, anyway, thanks Agent Spizzweld. You just saved us a trip. We'll file our report with Soleanna police and call HQ for orders! Let's go!" he said. As the agents returned to the helicopter, Spy ran over to Guard. "See, I'm not totally useless! C'mon, Guard. You've done well. We'll see Sarge Gunner hears of this!" he said, leading Guard into the chopper. "Don't celebrate yet." Guard muttered. "Grrrr... This mission's far from over..."


Those who traveled from Station Square to Soleanna as part of the witness protection program were living together in a safe house located in Soleanna's New City. Although they had been warned to stay at the safe house as long as the experiments were in the city, most of them ignored this and went about their daily routines. Razor was busy working at the Soleanna police station. Mia was running her taxi service and making no efforts to keep a low profile. Bill and Bob had set up shop in the New City restaurant, operating a small bar within the restaurant. Chet constantly visited all of them to make sure they were keeping out of trouble, and to see if he could find the experiments first so he could confront them. This left Razor's young brother, Tommy, to be baby-sat by Katie. However, Katie had her own concerns as well. She was asking Tommy questions while he tried to watch cartoons. "Say, Tom, did anyone come by here last night looking for me? Would you know?" she asked. Tommy shook his head. "Nope. Nobody came but the pizza guy. By the way, Chet borrowed your wallet to pay for it." he told her. "That Chet! I've been waiting for him to come back. See, I met a new friend yesterday. She seemed troubled, and didn't have a place to stay, so I invited her to stay the night with us. I even showed her where we were staying, but she never showed up. I think she was in trouble..." Tommy was too into the show he was watching to pay attention, but Katie was too nervous to care. "She seemed so... fragile... I have to try and find her! Tell Chet to stay here until I get back when he comes, OK?" she said, grabbing a coat and heading for the door. "'Kay..." Tommy said, not really paying attention. Katie left quickly, and about ten minutes later, Chet arrived. "Hey, Tom! Keepin' out of trouble? Where's Katie?" he asked, passing into the next room before Tommy could answer. "KATIE!!?" he shouted, prompting Tommy to turn up the volume on the TV. A moment later, Chet returned. "Did Katie say where she was going?" he asked. Luckily, a commercial had come on, so Tommy was finally paying attention. "Huh? Katie? She left?" he said. "Funny... I don't think she said anything..." Now Chet was worried. He grabbed the phone and started dialing. "Gotta see if she's OK, but I can't leave the kid alone. House could be on fire and he wouldn't notice 'till a commercial..."


By this time, the helicopter carrying Guard had arrived in Soleanna. While the GUN agents filed their reports and attempted to contact HQ, Guard had spoken to Razor at the police station. Razor was eager to do whatever he could to help Guard out, and offered to take him to someone who may be able to give them a lead on the identity of the mysterious assasin. So, they arrived at the restaurant where Bill and Bob were working. Bill had just gotten off the phone with Chet when Razor sat down on a bar stool. "Hey, Billy-boy! What's up? We have a few questions for ya." he said. Bill leaned against the counter. "Yeah, um, Razor? Katie's left the safe house. Chet wants to look for her, but he needs someone to watch over Tommy." he said. Razor groaned a bit. "Is Chet gonna wait there? This should only take a minute." he asked. Bill nodded, then watched Guard sit on one of the bar stools. "Oh, boy, it's a reunion. Sorry, I ain't seen neither hide nor hair of them experiments. Kinda weird that they follow us so easily. Think they're lookin' for us?" Bill asked. Guard shrugged. "Grrrr... I really don't know what you're talking about. Grrr... Have you seen any strange characters around, either of you?" he asked. Bob had just finished tending to a customer and was first to reply. "I don't reckon I have. Y'know, 'cept you. An' I also saw Eggman on the news." he said. Guard grunted in agitation at the mention of Eggman's name. "Grrr... Maybe he's behind it all." he muttered. "Anyone with wings?" Razor asked. Bill looked thoughtful. "Now you mention it, there was this red birdy in the bar last night. Real jumpy type. Wouldn't order nothin' but water. Seemed to have an odd reaction to the water, too. Steam. Her body let loose a lot of steam. Weird, I thought. She left when this hooded feller peeked in. I think she was waitin' fer this character." he said. Guard looked around the room, then back at Bill. "Grrrr... The hood... Did that person have wings?" he asked. Bill and Bob looked at each other unsurely, and Razor and Guard knew they didn't know. Razor tossed a wad of cash on the table. "For the info, and some cola. Can't drink the good stuff, I'm on duty." Bill tossed Razor a soda can and he and Guard left the bar.


Without much to go on, Razor and Guard returned to the police station, where Razor planned to go looking for the police captain so that he may inform him of the situation at the safe house. However, before he could, Katie showed up at the station looking for him. "Razor! I have to ask you something!" she shouted. Razor looked a bit miffed. "You know you left Tommy alone at the safe house. He's just a kid, Kate, he needs supervision." he said. Katie looked apologetic. "Sorry... But I had to go. You see, I met this girl last night, Heather, and I think she may be in trouble." she explained. Razor led her to a bench by the wall and they sat down. "What kinda trouble?" he asked. "Well, you see, when I met her she was a bit jumpy, and seemed afraid about something. I invited her to stay with us, but she never showed up. I think something bad happened to her..." she explained. Razor looked thoughtful for a moment. "Was she a bird? A red bird?" he asked. Katie nodded. "How'd you know?" she asked in astonishment. Razor stood up and led Katie to the door. "Listen, I'll look into it. But I want you to go back to the safe house and stay there. Things are getting crazy enough without all of you wandering around with bull's eyes on ya." he said. Katie agreed, and went on her way.

At the same time, Guard was calling Gunner using a video phone. After explaining the situation, Guard awaited Gunner's orders. Gunner looked thoughtful before answering. "I feel all this strange stuff you've been telling me about is all connected. That said, I think the biggest threat is that shadow creature. I want you to find Lord Regis. He's an important person in Soleanna, and he might know something about the scepter and the creature. Interrogate him. That's the best place to start. Under the circumstances, you may be our only chance of stopping this thing. Don't fail me, Guard!" Gunner commanded. Guard gave a salute and turned off the phone. With Guard no longer watching him, Gunner's look changed from serious to enraged. "Shadow's gotta be behind this! Furry freaks! Just wait, I'll have them exposed as the monsters they really are yet!!"


Up on a rooftop, Illusi the Shrew had encountered Lospecter once again. "Welly welly well, if it isn't Illoser the meddler. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were looking for me!" Lospecter said. Illusi snapped his fingers and a group of Wrongos appeared and surrounded Lospecter. "I need to know what you're doing here, Lospecter. Why here, why now? You're not planning on using the Flames of Disaster for something, are you?" he questioned. Lospecter pulled out a few cards seemingly from nowhere and looked them over. "My cards say you're getting a bit too nosey, Luce. Naughty naughty. I think you mean to oppose the Lost Ones! Very stupid. Know what else the cards say? You'll be joining us very soon." Just then, a group of Lospirits flew up from under the roof and knocked the Wrongos into oblivion. Then, they turned their attention to Illusi. "Sorry, pal, but to be honest, I hate you. Which is too bad, 'cuz I kinda like you. Get him, spirits!" Illusi ran away quickly, leaping from rooftop to rooftop in the attempt to escape, but the Lospirits were gaining on him. Illusi was forced to use more advanced escape techniques. He clutched an odd key, held it in front of himself, turned it like it was in a lock, and jumped through a vortex that appeared in front of him, closing it behind him before the Lospirits could catch him. Lospecter snapped his "fingers." "Slippery soul. But I'll get him next time."


Meanwhile, Guard found Lord Regis in front of a large building with a bell at the top. It was behind the festival torch where Eggman had attacked the night before. Regis was a bit flustered, no doubt concerned by a few incidents that had occurred the night before and that morning. "Grrrr! Regis! I need to know anything you can tell me about the Scepter of Darkness!" Guard growled. The growling seemed to startle Regis greatly. "Don't speak to me like that! Do you know who I am? Anyway, I can't tell you about that. Go away." he said. Guard would not leave. "Listen! This could be very important! Grrrrr! It could mean the difference between salvation and disaster for this city!" he said. "Are you threatening me, gargoyle!?" Regis shouted, "You don't scare me! I was sworn to secrecy on this information, and by Solaris, I'll never talk! Now leave these premises, or you will be escorted out!" Guard didn't like being spoken to like that, and he suddenly lost control and slammed Regis against the wall! "Grrrrrrr!!! This is getting old! Tell me about the Scepter, and that Dark creature!" he roared. Regis struggled to his feet, and the police rushed over toward the commotion. "What's all this then?!" one of the officers asked. Regis pointed an accusing finger at Guard. "This beast assaulted me! He's been threatening me, too! Arrest him!" At this point, Guard realized he had made a grave mistake. The officers approached him with guns and nightsticks, but Guard wasn't going anywhere with them. "Grrrr... It IS rather fitting, I guess. Grrr... Now ALL the experiments are on the run!" Guard quickly burst away from the ground and flew off toward the beach. The police followed as best they could, and took a few shots with their guns as well, but they would not be able to catch Guard that easily. Truly, it was not going to be easy from here onward.


Back in New City, Mia was driving around aimlessly. Work was slow, as people in Soleanna weren't big on traveling by car. She was just about ready to return to the safe house when she heard a scream coming from a nearby alleyway! She immediately recognized the voice as Katie's, and drove toward the scream. In moments, she spotted Katie tied up in a helicopter, which was flying away from the city! She couldn't see who was driving it, but the fact that the helicopter was colored red led her to one conclusion. "Katie's been kidnapped... By Eggman?!"


Razor had heard the commotion of Guard being chased away from his location near the gate of New City. He arrived in time to see Guard escape his pursuers. The officers were headed in his direction now, so Razor asked them what was going on. "Gargoyle attacked Lord Regis. Everyone's goin' crazy this week." the officer explained. As the police passed by, Razor thought about everything going on that day. "Something's off here. Guard wouldn't go after Regis without a reason. And all that stuff he told me... Something stinks here." he thought. Just then, he heard someone call his name. It was Mia! "What's the matter?!" Razor asked. Mia looked panicked and frightened. "It's Katie, officer! I heard her scream and... She's been kidnapped!" Razor's expression became utterly serious at that moment. It was clear now, something was wrong, and it had to be bigger than it all seemed. Razor requested Mia drive him back to the police station. He couldn't guess how the kidnapping, Rick's murder, Guard's arrest order, and this mysterious Heather could all be connected, but he was certain now; it was going to be a rough day.


Chapter 4 - Heather the Phoenix

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.

"I can feel your every rage,
Step aside, I'll turn the page,
Breakin' through your crazy maze,
Like a laser beam, my eyes on you!" - Sonic Heroes, Main Theme


It had been a rough night for Copter. He'd attempted to catch Experiment 7 using SPOT's sensors, but the signal was soon lost. With nothing to go on, Copter and Cream decided to get some rest. Cream had slept in a cozy bed at a hotel, with Cheese resting on the pillow beside her. SPOT curled up on the floor near the wall, with his tail plugged in so he could recharge. That left Copter to lie awake on a large windowsill in the room, gazing up at the stars all night, until sunrise. He thought about the phoenix. Why had she tried to run from him? What exactly did Bucky and the experiments under his employ do to make her so full of distrust? Copter had also come up with a more pressing question: What exactly was his plan? What was he to do once he found the phoenix? Stay with her until Bucky and the others stopped chasing her? In the end he decided it was best to make up his "plan" as he went along. He thought about other things, too, basically every aspect of his life to date, and these thoughts had kept him awake the whole night. That morning, he rolled off the windowsill and woke Cream up with the loud "THUD" that resulted from his fall. "I need sleepin' pills..." he muttered to himself as he climbed to his feet. Cream rose from the bed, stretched, and yawned. "Morning, Mr. Copter." she said drowsily, "Are you OK? That sounded painful." Copter smiled. "I'm OK. Didn't hurt anything important. Just my head."

In a few moments, Copter and Cream left the room and began marching to the hotel's front desk to check out. On the way, they found Gemini, heading in the same direction. "Hey, I know you two!" she said happily, "If I'd known we were at the same hotel, I might've stayed with you last night! How've you both been?" She leaned against the wall, polishing the gem on her wand as Copter and Cream stopped to chat with her. "It was kind of crazy last night, but at least I slept well!" Cream said. Copter still looked drowsy. "Here's a good lesson. Always finish your adventures BEFORE it's time to sleep. Otherwise the craziness of it all will keep you awake." he said, yawning, "What're you doin' in Soleanna, Gemini?" She motioned for them to follow her, and they continued to talk as they made their way to the hotel's elevator. "I'm sort of on my own adventure." she said, "But I got sidetracked last night when some lunatic took my wand! I don't know why she took it, 'cause she obviously didn't want it. Once she got away from me, she ditched it. Sure was an odd bird..." Copter ran in front of her and stopped her by placing his hands on her shoulders. "Back up! WAS it a bird? A red bird, perhaps?" he asked excitedly. Gemini nodded, staring blankly at him as she did. "Why?" she asked. "I know! I know!" SPOT said. Gemini glanced at the robot's screen, which explained that Copter was searching for a phoenix. "Wow, she had better luck than us, and she wasn't even looking!" Cream observed, "Why do you think she stole her wand, though?" Copter led the way as they resumed their walk. "Can you tell me where you found the wand? It'd be a big help to me." he asked, glancing back at Gemini. "Sure, but... LOOK OUT!!" Gemini's shout came too late. Copter, who wasn't looking where he was going, had stepped into the stairway at the end of the hall and stumbled down the stairs, screaming like mad! "Did it occur to you at all that you could've grabbed me!!!?" Copter shouted up as they began to run down to him. Gemini looked half apologetic, half annoyed. "Y'know, I think you'd probably have pulled me down with you!" she said.

Copter wasn't hurt, though, and as soon they reached the hotel lobby. Copter and Gemini checked out, but Cream chose not to. "Cheese, SPOT, and I will wait here. SPOT will tell me if Sonic or Tails pass by, and I should be safe here. Thanks for everything, Copter! And good luck!" she said, taking a seat in the lobby. Copter waved good-bye to her. "OK, good luck, kiddo." he said. As he walked away, Copter muttered something else under his breath. "Didn't need to be constantly watching her, anyway." Gemini heard this and smacked him over the head with her wand. "Don't be mean! Far as I can see, she was just trying to help you!" she said, stepping outside the hotel. Copter rubbed his head. "Yeah, well, she's more help than you are, I guess! Pushin' me down the stairs and hitting me with sticks..." They began walking down the street, Copter following Gemini. "So, where'd the phoenix ditch your stick?" he asked. Gemini turned around and started scolding him with her wand. "First off, this is NOT a stick! It's a magic wand! Second, we're on the way there now, so keep your pants on!" she said. "I don't have any pants." Copter said. "It's an expression! Anyway, I found my wand near the entrance to the desert. Know where that is?" Gemini asked. Copter scratched his head, thinking. In a moment he realized he had no idea where that was and sighed in frustration. "Lead the way..." he muttered. "Pushy, difficult people." he thought as he followed Gemini toward the older part of Soleanna.


"So, what happened? Why was that gargoyle placed under arrest?" Razor was in front of the entrance to the desert, questioning Lord Regis about what had happened earlier. He couldn't find any leads on why Katie was kidnapped earlier, but he believed that Guard's activities may have in some way been related to the incident, though he could not guess how. Regis wore an irritated expression, for he had already been asked this several times by the Soleanna police. "For the last time, assault. He attacked me in an attempt to force me to give up confidential information!" he insisted. He turned to leave when Razor cleared his throat loudly. "Ahem!" Lord Regis turned back to Razor. "What, there's more this time? Well, at least you're a dutiful policeman... or porcupine... What else do you wish to know?" he said. "Well, I'm just curious... What exactly was the information the gargoyle wanted?" Razor wondered. Regis looked a bit stressed as he answered. "He wanted information about the Scepter of Darkness... And something about a 'Dark.' I know a bit about the scepter, but this 'Dark' is new to me. Does it mean anything to you?" Razor shook his head. "Thanks for your time, m'lord. I'm just going to have a chat with the desert guards and be on my way." With that, Regis walked off.

It was at this time that Copter and Gemini arrived in the area. They stopped just before the bridge that led to the entrance to the desert. Why had they stopped? Copter had spotted Razor talking to the guards on the other side. His frustration now reached a boiling point. "Oh, of all the rotten luck! What's that crazy motorcycle cop doing here!?! What, did he FOLLOW me?!" Gemini looked across the bridge at Razor. "So... Had some trouble with the law, Copter?" she asked. Copter's rage intensified as he recalled the events that occurred just before he left on this quest. "Don't you watch the news, Gemini? That insane old GUN Sargent had ALL of the experiments placed under arrest for what that jerk Kosmo tried to do! And who ends up being chased all over Station Square? Is it Kosmo? Zipp, perhaps? NO! The stupid cops gotta go chasing ME around!!!" Just then, Gemini silenced Copter by pushing him into the canal. Just in time, too, as Razor looked over just as Copter fell out of sight. "Hey, what's going on over there?" Razor shouted to Gemini. Thinking fast, Gemini came up with a response. "Um... I was playing with the volume on my radio... Um... Yeah, I was listening to talk radio, and I guess I overdid it on the sound..." she said. Razor looked at her curiously. "What radio? You didn't drop it in the canal?" he asked. "Um... It startled me..." she replied sheepishly. "Well, it's broken now. Let that be a lesson to you, no radios near the water." Razor grumbled. He then resumed talking to the guards while Copter quietly climbed out of the canal and walked away toward the nearby fountain so Razor wouldn't spot him as easily. Gemini followed him, holding back laughter. "Oh, sure, that's real funny. You ain't gonna be laughing when I push you in!" Copter grumbled. "Sorry, but he would've spotted you. Anyway, you're not gonna try to go in there, are you? There's always guards posted there! You'll be caught!" Gemini warned. Copter wasn't about to give up, though. "There's gotta be a way..." he said, wringing out his tails like damp rags. As he did so, he looked at his tailband and remembered something. "That's it! Conan said my tailband could make me invisible! I just need to figure out how it works..." He tensed his muscles, trying to invoke the power of the tailband. "Is this working?" he asked Gemini. "Not unless you're trying to look stupid." she said. Copter sat down on the edge of the fountain and placed his head in his hands. "Of course... Well, I don't have time to figure it out right now..." he mumbled. Gemini snapped her fingers as the answer came to her. "No, you don't need invisibility, you need.... a diversion!"

"Brilliant!" came a voice from the other side of the fountain. It was Rainbow! She and Punchy had been listening from the other side of the fountain the whole time, and now walked over to Copter and Gemini. "Leave it to us, Two!" Rainbow said. Copter stood up and shook Punchy's hand. "Congratulations, Punch! I thought you were toasted by the robots last night!" he said. Punchy raised an eyebrow. "Toast? Me? C'mon, Copt, give me some credit!" he said. Rainbow was holding the gem they'd found the night before. "At least we found this pretty bit of treasure! Captain Bluehair'll like it, don't ya think?" she said, showing it to Copter. Gemini gasped in amazement at the gem. "It's a Time Stone!" she told them. Copter was uninterested. "Yeah, yeah, but you didn't find Experiment 7. Gemini did. Seven stole her wand and ditched it before heading into the desert. So, I need someone to distract the police while I head in there." he explained. Punchy gave him a thumbs up. "Don't you worry. We know how to deal with this guy, right Rainbow?" he said. "Uh, sure... Follow me, One!" Rainbow shouted, running off toward the police. Punchy and Gemini followed her. "You're on your own, Copter! I'm gonna tail these guys and their Time Stone for a while! Good luck!" Gemini shouted. Copter followed the three of them at a distance, waiting for the police to leave.

"Hey, colorblind! Still think my hands are red!?" Rainbow shouted to Razor as she approached him. Razor was taken aback by Punchy and Rainbow's sudden appearence. "OK... Are you here to turn yourselves in?" he asked. Punchy laughed at him. "No, we just thought we'd say hello to our favorite officer. Have you had your breakfast donut today?" he said. Gemini taunted him by sticking her tongue out. "Nya, nya, dumb cops! Last case you got to the bottom of was a box of cookies!" Now, Razor and the guards were mad. "That's it! We'll fix you!"

Copter watched as the police chased Punchy, Rainbow, and Gemini away. "Ah, yes, very masterful. Well, here I go!" He quickly dashed to the canal, flew across, and ran into the entrance to Dusty Desert. The blazing sun and scorching sand took Copter by surprise, he wasn't expecting such a dramatic change to the environment so quickly. "Dang it, why a desert?! I'm used to cool, air conditioned places..." he thought. What was worse about this desert was that much of the sand was quicksand, which Copter soon found out! With a little help from his tailband, though, he was able to escape the quicksand. He then flew to the stone floor that had been built long ago to protect the people living there from the dangers of the sand. "What kinda desert is made out of quicksand, anyway?! This place makes no sense!" Copter grumbled. Suddenly, he heard explosions coming from the direction of the large temple at the center of the desert. "Sounds like Eggman's robots are falling to pieces again! I'd better check this out!" Copter decided.

Upon reaching the source of the noise, Copter found it wasn't Experiment 7 fighting with Eggman's robots, much to his disappointment. It was Tails! "Of course! He's following me, too! Just not on purpose... Well, I don't have time to help him with those robots! Experiment 7 could have moved on by now!" he thought, but unfortunately, Tails and the robots were fighting on the path, and Copter would have to pass them to get any further. "OK, if ever there was a moment I needed the invisibility to work, this is it!" Copter attempted to make it work by concentrating, but with no mirrors or anything to let him know if it was working, he was just going to have to attempt to pass by and hope it was working. He attempted to pass as quietly as possible, but it was useless. The tailband's invisibility still wasn't working! Half of the robots stopped chasing Tails and started targeting Copter instead. "Aw, crud..." Now, Copter had no option but to help Tails fight off the robots. Copter began his usual routine of whipping robots to pieces with his tails, doing his best to avoid getting shot. These robots' shots weren't exactly lethal, but taking too many hits from them definetely wasn't a good idea. Meanwhile, Tails' strategy was to fight from a distance using containers of dummy rings. "Hey, stop that, Tails! I can't tell the dangerous rings from real ones!" Copter shouted, doing his best to avoid them as they scattered upon being released from the containers.

Eggman's latest model of robots were rather unintelligent. It did not take long before Tails and Copter finished reducing them all to spare parts. "Gosh, the Egg Pawns almost seem smart compared to these dopes." Copter commented as he and Tails began resting near the entrance to the desert temple. "Thanks for your help, Copter. I was trying to distract the robots so Sonic could lead the princess to safety. Eggman had kidnapped her!" Tails explained. Copter frowned. "Yes, I was in the vicinity when it happened." he said. They were both quiet for a moment, each wondering what exactly Eggman was up to. "So, what brings you to Soleanna?" Tails asked after a moment. "Bucky." Copter replied, "He created more experiments. One of them ran away, but unlike me and Punchy, Bucky's not letting her go. He sent the experiments under his employ to capture her. I'm here to help her escape. You wouldn't happen to have seen her, would you? She's a phoenix, a red bird." Tails' eyes lit up. "I... I saw her! While I was leading the robots away! I noticed a bird going into the temple here!" he said. "Really?" Copter said, looking in the doorway to the temple. He turned and shook hands with his original before doing anything else. "Thanks a lot. Don't forget about Cream and those little critters with her. See ya." he said. "Wait! Let me help you!" Tails offered. Copter waved good-bye. "Forget it, Tails. You'd just be a third wheel. Besides, I can take care of myself!" Tails couldn't help worrying, but waved back anyway. "Good luck, Copter!" he said. Without another thought, Copter entered the dark, cavernous temple and resumed his search.

Experiment 7 had not gone far into the temple. She was in a large room where someone had apparently gotten into a fight with Eggman's robots. Broken objects were scattered all around the area, some mechanical and some ancient. The phoenix sat on the floor at the base of one of the support pillars in the room, lost in thought. As Copter entered the room, she jumped to her feet and backed away from him immediately. "Holy cow, did you smash these robots?" Copter asked. She shook her head. "It was some hedgehog with powers... I was watching him fight before I came in here." She was keeping her distance as Copter slowly walked towards her. "Easy, seven. I'm not here to hurt you." Copter assured her. She glared at him with distrust. "Then, why are you following me? Who are you?" she asked. "I am Experiment 2. Copter is my name. I came to help you escape from Bucky. Um... That's our creator if you don't know. Do you have a name?" Experiment 7 looked him over. Copter didn't seem dangerous exactly. Thinking back, she remembered that last time, like this time, he hadn't attempted to do her any harm. Still, she maintained her distance. "I... I've called myself Heather..." she said at last. Copter smiled a little. "That's nice... For once one of us experiments was able to think of a real name. A nice name. You can probably tell that I had no clue what to call myself." he said. Heather became a bit less tense now. "Hmmm... I'd say you look like an... Arthur." she said. Copter grimaced a bit. "Arthur? Really?" His reaction looked a bit funny, and Heather found herself laughing. It was the first time she'd ever laughed in her life. Copter grinned a bit. He finally felt like they were getting somewhere. "So, what do you say? Come with me, and I'll help you find a way to make Bucky and Eggman stop chasing you." he said. Heather looked thoughtful for a moment, but before she could reply, someone else entered the room. It was a dark grey she-wolf, who wore a tight black suit. Her right eye was covered by overgrown hair. "You know how to stop someone from chasing you?" she said, more telling than asking, "You tear off their legs." Copter backed away from the newcomer and stood beside Heather. "Who are you, and what do you want?" he growled. The wolf grinned playfully at him. "What? Do I scare you? You needn't worry. I wouldn't harm a fellow furry. At least, not unless they got in my way. I merely overheard you two talking and wish to offer my assistance. If you both will come with me, I'll take good care of you..." she said. Copter could tell there was something sinister about this person. "I think we'll be fine on our own. So why don't you just start walkin'!" he snarled. Heather felt a bit curious, but was still overall distrustful toward most people. "I... think I agree with him. Thanks for the offer... But no thanks." The wolf's smile did not fade. She simply began walking away. "You think about it, all right? But dare not forget my name! I am Fera the Wolf!" With that, she disappeared into the corridors of the temple as suddenly as she had appeared. Copter scoffed at Fera. "I don't trust that one." he said bluntly. Heather nodded in agreement. "She seems... Creepy..." Copter began walking toward the path to the temple's exit. "So, how about we find a way out of here?" he asked. Heather thought a moment, and decided she might as well give him a chance, so she began to follow him along.


Sonic had earlier rescued Elise from Dr. Eggman. From the desert, he'd taken her to a vast, grassy field. It was a beautiful, peacful area, a surprising place to be so near the desert. After running for a while, Sonic stopped to rest. "I have no words to express how grateful I am for your help." Elise said as she rose to her feet. She then noticed that Sonic's arm had been injured during the escape. "You're hurt!" Sonic shook his arm a bit. "It's nothing." he insisted. "Don't say that!" Elise said, kneeling down and tying a cloth around the injury. "I'm sorry. It's all my fault." she said sadly. Sonic couldn't stand to see her cry. "Smile." he said, wagging his finger. As he did so, a butterfly flew up and landed on his nose. Elise smiled and lightly brushed it away, watching as it flew off. Her smile made Sonic feel a bit better, and he began walking along. "Your smile. That's all I need." he told her. As she began following him, Sonic asked about the kidnapping. "Eggman mentioned the Flames of Disaster. Is that why he's after you?" he asked. "Yes. The name of the sun god our country honors is Solaris. It is told that his rage would destroy the world. His wrath comes in the form of the Flames of Disaster. Ten years ago, we almost faced the full force of his fury. I was a child then, so I don't remember it very well..." Elise stopped in her tracks as she recalled the result of the accident. "I lost my father then..." she said solemnly, "And now that man is trying to cause the same disaster again! What can I do?" Sonic thought over everything Elise told him, then grabbed her hand and started running. "Sonic? Sonic, wait! I can't run that fast!" Elise shouted in a panic. "Don't worry! Just raise your head and run!" Sonic told her as they began an exhilarating run across the plains.

Elsewhere on the plains, Copter and Heather were walking along. "So, why exactly are you helping me, Copter? You got some sort of crush on me?" she asked him. Copter groaned a bit. "Oh, no, no, no, you got me all wrong. First off, I am THROUGH with love! It resulted in too big a disaster last time. No, I'm just helping you because... hmm... because..." Copter had to think about it a bit. He never really thought much about why he was doing this. Heather thought a bit about what he said. "So, you've had your heart broken... I'm not sure, but... I think that's sad..." she said. She hadn't been alive very long, so she wasn't always very sure what was normal and what wasn't. Copter ignored her statement and finished his thought. "I'm helping you... because it's the right thing to do. That's all there is to it." he said. Heather placed her arm around his shoulder in a consoling manner. "I'm sorry about your heartbreak." she said. "Don't worry about it." Copter sighed. Just then, they heard footsteps rapidly approaching them. "Oh, shoot! Someone's coming! We have to hide or something!" Copter said urgently. Heather gasped suddenly. "C-copter? Where are you?" she asked. "Huh? Hey, I'm invisible! So, NOW the tailband works! Um... Maybe if you take my hand, it'll work on you, too!" Copter suggested. Heather reached out and grabbed in the direction of Copter's voice. "That's my nose!" Copter grunted. "Sorry..." Heather replied. Copter took her hand in his himself, and she vanished as well. "Now, keep as quiet as possible..." he whispered as Sonic and Elise arrived close by. They slowed to a stop, and Elise sat down to rest from the run. Sonic turned to look at her. "Feels great, doesn't it?" he asked. "Yes..." Elise replied, out of breath, "I've never run so fast before!" Sonic cracked a slight smile. "Nothing starts until you take action!" he said, "If you have time to worry, then run!" After hearing that, Copter led Heather away from the area, out of sight, and released her hand. They both became visible at once. "What a preachy moron. 'Nothing starts until you take action.' Phooey! You know, if you don't take action, things will start anyway. You just won't be able to control them. The truth is, you have to take action first, before the action takes you!" Copter said.

Copter and Heather started heading back for the city. They'd find Punchy and Rainbow, then find Gator and head back to Station Square. They would be safe hiding out at Rainbow's place. Along the way, Heather noticed a sparkle in the grass. It was green, so most would probably miss it in the vast green area. She bent down and picked it up. "What's that?" Copter asked. Heather looked it over. "It's a Time Stone." she said. "How do you know that?" Copter asked. Suddenly, a loud, motor-like sound was heard approaching them quickly. They didn't have time to go invisible, as they were surrounded before they knew it! A trio of birds on extreme gear flew circles around them, laughing tauntingly at them. "Wh-what do they want?" Heather said nervously. "I bet I can guess." Copter growled. A green hawk, the apparent leader of the trio, swooped at Heather, causing her to panic and drop the Time Stone, which the hawk snatched up and began flying away. Copter jumped onto his board in an attempt to get the stone back. "Hand that over, chump! Who taught you bozos manners?" he shouted, struggling to hold on. "Do you know who you're talking to?" the hawk squawked. He spun his gear in the air and knocked Copter off, stopping his escape to laugh at him. "No gear, no glory! Ground dwellers have no hope of stopping the Babylon Rogues! I'm Jet, and I'm the leader of this team!" A purple swallow girl pulled up next to Jet on her board. "Don't waste your breath, Jet! This nobody's not gonna be any trouble for us!" she said. The third member of the trio, a big white albatross, stopped on the other side of Jet's board. "Aw, don't be a party pooper, Wave! Hey, floor fox! I'm Storm! You make trouble with us, and I'll knock your block off!" he warned. Jet chuckled at Copter as he scrambled to his feet and attempted to catch them. The Babylon Rogues took off far faster than Copter could follow. "So long, sucker! Hope to do business with you again!" Jet shouted as he left Copter in the dust. "Hooligans!! You'll pay for that!!" Copter shouted, kicking a rock on the ground in frustration, "Blast!!" Heather caught up with Copter and tried to calm him down. "It's OK. Don't be hard on yourself. They're too fast." she said. "That's no excuse!" Copter shouted, continuing to walk toward the city. "He sure does expect a lot from himself..." Heather thought as she followed him.


Soon, they managed to get back to Soleanna. They had begun searching for Punchy and Rainbow in New City, when suddenly, the sky began growing dark! Shadow Arcangel was flying over Soleanna! "Bucky... He's here!" Copter gasped, "He's probably got Zipp looking for us with his helmet thing. We have to hide!" On that note, they ran inside the nearest building. "I... I never wanted to see that ship again... How dare he bring that thing here!" Heather cried, both scared and angry. Suddenly, a resident of the building they'd wandered into addressed them. "You're Copter, aren't you?" It was Razor's younger brother, Tommy! Copter and Heather had wandered into their safe house! Tommy didn't seem afraid of Copter, though. "Did you come here because you heard Katie was kidnapped?" he asked. Copter paused a moment to take in all that was happening. "Wait, wait... You know Katie? And... She was kidnapped?" Copter asked. Tommy nodded. "Katie told me all about you. She says you're not really a bad guy like my brother thinks." he said. Heather looked worried suddenly. "Katie... That's the girl who wanted to help me! Copter, we have to rescue her!" she cried. Just then, Tommy's babysitter, Mia, walked in. "What's all the commotion? Huh? Copter?!" she said as she walked in. Copter crossed his arms. "So, you're here, too. Say, do you know anything about this kidnapping?" he asked. "Only that she was taken away aboard a red helicopter. Looked like Eggman's sorta contraption." she informed him. Copter glanced out the window to see if Shadow Arcangel had passed by yet. "OK, great. Eggman should be easy to find. But are we sure we want to help HER?" he said to Heather. "Please, Copter! I can't help feeling somehow responsible for her kidnapping." she said, begging. Copter groaned. "Fine. Let's go, Bucky's moved on!" After he and Heather ran out the door, Mia looked thoughtful a moment. "Hey, Tommy." she said, "Wanna go on an adventure?"


Copter and Heather searched for any clue they could find that might lead them to Eggman. "Let's see... Where should we look...?" Copter muttered as they searched. Suddenly, they heard a scream, and looked around to see Eggman's plane flying by with Elise in the clutches of his metallic hands! "Well, that was easy!" Copter mused as they began chasing. Sonic passed by them very shortly. "Show off!!" Copter shouted. Heather screamed suddenly, prompting Copter to look to his right, where Heather was pointing. Alpha, accompanied by Char, were headed straight for them! "Aha!! Found her! Let's bring her in, Alphie!" Char said enthusiastically. "Fire, freeze-bird!" Alpha shouted, pointing his lasers at them. Char whispered something to Alpha, and he corrected himself. "Oh, freeze, fire-bird! Sorry, I just wants target practice!" Copter looked from Alpha to the rapidly escaping Eggman. "We don't have time for this!" he shouted in frustration. Suddenly, as though on cue, Mia's taxi came speeding by straight towards Alpha! "Yipes!! Out of the way, Alphie!!!" Char screamed as Alpha ran around in circles panicking! Just as it seemed Alpha would be hit, the robot dove out of the way without looking, and landed in the canal. Mia stopped where Alpha had stood and leaned out the window of her cab. "Hey, don't just stand there, Skunky! Catch that Egg-brain and save Katie!" Copter smiled and winked at Mia before taking Heather by the hand and taking off after Eggman. "Thanks!" Heather shouted back as they ran. Mia winked back at them before looking in the back seat at Tommy, who was shaking and seemed to be turning green. "Uh, sorry, Tom. Can we please not mention this to your brother?"


Later, Punchy, Rainbow, and Gemini were chatting on the outskirts of the city. "So, what now, One? Two still hasn't come back yet." Rainbow said. Punchy sat on the ground, looking over their Time Stone. "Maybe we should look around for these things. Shiny gems like this seem to come in handy a lot." he said. Gemini was standing nearby, lost in though with her eyes shut. She opened her eyes in a moment and pointed to the first thing she saw. "Knuckles!!" Punchy and Rainbow looked anxiously. Sure enough, Knuckles was standing a short distance away, chatting with Eggman, who had given Sonic, Copter, and Heather the slip. Eggman tossed a flat, red object at Knuckles, which he tried to catch but dropped. "I wonder what's up... I didn't know he was so chummy with Eggman." Punchy whispered, hiding in nearby bushes. Rainbow had hid there as well, but Gemini didn't think it necessary. As Eggman flew away, Knuckles began walking further into the city. "I say we follow him, One!" Rainbow suggested. "Well, that's a given." Punchy replied, "He still owes me a Master Emerald." Gemini scoffed at him. "Please! It was made pretty clear that that emerald's not yours." she said. Rainbow frowned at her. "I didn't see his name on it." she said. Gemini sighed heavily. "Well, we should probably follow him anyway. Anything involving Eggman can't be good news for any of us." she said. "Then what're we all standing around here for?! Follow me, guys!" Rainbow shouted, taking off after Knuckles. "Quietly!!! QUIETLY, RAINBOW!!!!!" Punchy shouted as he followed her. "Man, they're nuts..." Gemini thought as she followed both of them. It seemed that now, everyone was back to business as usual, and that business is: adventure!


Chapter 5 - Battle At White Acropolis

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.

"We all danced in fire,
Trapped in this machine,
Don't know how long we've waited,
As the Eggman's watching." - This Machine, Sonic Heroes


Despite their best efforts, Heather and Copter had lost Eggman. Mia's diversion for Alpha had actually disoriented them, and try as they might, they couldn't find Eggman or Sonic again. So, Copter found himself with little alternative other than to ask the people around town if they'd seen anything. Luckily, a blue hedgehog and a fat guy in a giant plane are rather hard to miss, and Copter soon found plenty of people who had seen them. While Copter was asking a group of people some questions, Heather was keeping her distance. She feared everyone, she felt she had no choice. Anyone could be among the people out to get her, or to punish her. She vaguely remembered what had taken place when she escaped from Bucky, and was fairly certain that she'd killed someone. So great was her fear, that she'd found herself backing away from Copter and the people he was speaking to, until she was a good distance away and out of their sight. She had unwittingly hid in an alleyway. Behind her, someone touched her shoulder. She panicked, screamed a bit, and then ran a few steps away, turning around to see who it was. "Such fear... For one so powerful." Mephiles was there, still disguised as Shadow. His mouthless face seemed to be smiling somewhat. "Don't worry. I have no desire to harm you. I merely wanted to meet you." he said. Heather stepped back into the alley, curiously looking at Mephiles. "Wh-who are you?" she asked. "A friend. Unlike all the other pitiful scum who desire to hurt you... To use you. To force you to do their bidding. Ultimately, they would destroy you..." Mephiles said. Heather looked worried. She felt certain this was true. "They want me to hurt people... I know it. I don't want to hurt people." she said. "Oh, don't you? You did once. No one twisted your arm there. That poor creature never even had the chance to harm you..." Mephiles said. He wasn't finished, but Heather couldn't help interrupting. "Shut up! You... You don't know me!" she snapped. "Perhaps not... But I know what you should do. You had the right idea. Kill. Before anyone can try to force their will upon you again, destroy them. They'll all try to destroy you eventually, anyway. Better them than you!" Mephiles shouted. "Stop it!! I don't like this kind of talk!" Heather shouted back. Suddenly, Copter appeared at the alleyway. "Leave her alone, you Shadow wannabe!" he growled. Mephiles let out a menacing laugh. "Well, well. Your so-called protector. Tell me, Heather... If he knew you better, would he really continue 'helping' you?" he asked, covering himself in a dark vortex which caused him to vanish. The vortex itself vanished moments later as well. Copter walked over to Heather. "Are you OK? What just went down here?" he asked. Heather had burst into tears. She didn't know what to say, or who to trust. "I... I don't want to talk about it..." she said, running out of the alley. Copter followed her. "OK, we don't have to talk about it. C'mon, we have some things to check out now!" he said. Heather quickly got ahold of herself and stopped crying. "Right... We should help Katie..." she said, following Copter away.


Meanwhile, Punchy, Rainbow, and Gemini had followed Knuckles, who was later joined by Sonic and Tails, to Eggman's base in White Acropolis. Unfortunately, the base's outer defenses made it impossible for Punchy and company to pursue Knuckles without being discovered, so they soon lost him. Taking cover underneath a searchlight tower, Punchy, Rainbow, and Gemini planned their next move. "They're definitely heading inside the base, so we need to make our way inside as well." Punchy reasoned. "But which entrance will they use? The base is pretty huge." Gemini realized. "It's snowy out! We'll just follow their footprints!" Rainbow suggested. Punchy looked around and noticed that despite the fact that they'd been running all over the snow, no footprints were being left behind. "There ARE no footprints! What kinda freaky snow is this? You'd think this was a poorly made video game..." he groaned. Gemini was actually a bit relieved. "There's only one alternative. We'll have to split up and try to find Knuckles on our own. I can use my magic to call you if I find him!" she said. In reality, she wanted to find Knuckles first so she could warn him about Punchy and his plans to steal the Master Emerald. After all, she was still his friend, and what were friends for? At any rate, splitting up seemed a good idea to Punchy. "We won't have to fight ALL the robots to get in that way, they'll be split up between us. Which'll make this a cinch since ol' Red and his pals have already busted up about half of them!" he said, pointing in opposite directions, "You two go those ways, I'll take the dangerous way straight through the most robots. It's also the fun way!" As expected, Rainbow protested. "You can't do that, One! If you're going the dangerous way, I insist I go, too! I can fight! Remember how I took out Firedog?" she said, referring to Anubis. Punchy had hoped she would've just listened to him, but now that she protested, he realized he was stuck with her. "Fine, 'Colors!' Lead the way, you always do anyway!" he grumbled, marching off with Rainbow in the lead. Gemini smiled as she watched them leave. "They deserve each other. I wonder if they're ancestors of Adam. Punchy sure reminds me of him..." This line of thought led her to remember what she was doing in the past in the first place. "Hang on, my friends... I won't let you all down..."


At the White Acropolis control room, things were fairly quiet. Eggman had gone to confront Sonic, and left Char in charge of the control room. With little else to do, Char was playing online video games, using Firepaw as his avatar. This gave him an unfair advantage over other players (whose avatars couldn't move by themselves). Living with Eggman certainly had a bad influence on Char. "Wheee, take that you silly dopes! No one can stop the mighty Firepaw!" he said, laughing playfully. Suddenly, he heard a familiar alarm sound. "Ooooh, BAS has found something! Better check it out!" Char said to himself, exiting his game and pressing some buttons on the nearby control panel. "Intruders have been located!" BAS informed him. "Cool! Can you show me?" Char asked. The large monitor over the control panel flickered on, displaying video footage of Punchy and Rainbow making their way through a group of robots as they headed for the base. Char rubbed his hands together with glee. "Oh, boy! Punchy's come back to play with me! Time to get some payback for what he did to poor Terra! Now, what should I do to him...?" He thought a moment, then clapped his hands excitedly as he came up with an idea. "Perfect! I'll send our new recruit to smash up our old recruit! BAS, give our new pal a call!" he ordered. "Yessir, Mr. Chao, sir! Calling now!" BAS replied. Char jumped out of his seat and did some aerial somersaults. "Yaaay! This should be much more fun than some game! Tee hee!"


Gemini had managed to get into the base mostly unnoticed. It was much easier to sneak around now that she was a fennec again. However, the easy part was over. Now, she had to find Knuckles, despite having absolutely no idea where to look. She found herself wandering aimlessly, until she found a large room, mostly empty, with little more than a few boxes and poorly hidden cameras inside. It was there that she spotted an old friend, Illusi! "Now, what would a peaceful girl like you be doing in a dangerous place like this?" he asked her. "Illusi! Aren't you a sight for sore eyes! Have you perhaps seen Knuckles?" she asked, running over to him. "He's here... Someplace... Gemini, I've been wondering something..." Illusi said. "Uh... OK, what is it?" Gemini replied. Illusi paced back and forth in front of her as he spoke. "I often wondered... Why did the Doomsayer contact me? Why did he send me to Angel Island? Was it really just to protect the Master Emerald? I accepted that answer for a time... But now I find I've changed my mind." Gemini was getting curious now. "Who's the Doomsayer? What do you mean, he SENT you there? He knew I was coming... And where I'd end up?" she asked. Illusi continued pacing, though more slowly. "I don't know much more than you do, but now I think he did know about you. I think he wanted me to save you, not the Master Emerald. And so, I come to my question.... Exactly who are you?" As he asked the question, Illusi ceased pacing and glared at Gemini. It made her uneasy. "Wh-what do you mean? I'm Gemini, I told you..." Suddenly, a new voice was heard in the room. "Eeeeh, wrong answer! Or should I say, incomplete answer. Want me to help you out? My cards told me quite a bit..." Out of nowhere, Lospecter materialized in the middle of the room behind Gemini! She turned around and backed behind Illusi, fumbling through her pockets to grab her wand. Illusi shut his eyes and hung his head, looking defeated. "I'm too late..." he muttered.�How right you are! And now, I give you another quiz! Why did the Loskull cross Soleanna?" Lospecter said, leaving no time for an answer, "To eliminate the fennec on the other side!" Just then, a large group of ghostly skulls rose up through the floor! They were covered in Ghost Fire, and were obviously the Loskulls Lospecter had spoken of! Illusi called forth some Wrongos that stood between Gemini and the Lost Ones. "What did you mean about your cards? We both know your cards can't really predict anything! Why are you targeting Gemini!?" he shouted. Lospecter held up some of his cards and hovered in the air, shuffling them. "Ye of little faith, my cards do tell me much. Heh heh... And they told me all about her. How she's plotting genocide against my kind. They tell me she's dangerous. Or she will be, unless we can reason with her. How about we just turn you both into Loskel? They're rather high ranking Lost Ones. Sure, you have to give up a few things, like, say... Your soul! But you lose so much weight! Don't take my word for it, touch the flaming Loskull now!" The Loskull began soaring toward them, but they weren't going down without a fight! Gemini fired bolts from her wand at the monsters, while the Wrongos did their part as well. As for Illusi, his powers weren't simply limited to summoning a few flimsy Wrongos. He called on the power of illusion to create a sword, with a black hilt and silver blade. "Time to crack some skulls!"


It took some doing, but Punchy and Rainbow soon reached another entrance to Eggman's base. However, before they could get inside, they had to pass a large gate, an outdoor area enclosed by large walls. The walls formed a square around the area. It was an ideal place for Eggman to send his larger robots to attack intruders, but no such robots were there at the moment, so Punchy and Rainbow hurriedly attempted to take advantage of this chance. However, as they passed a searchlight tower by one of the four corners of the area, the light stopped over them, and a laugh was heard atop the tower. Punchy glared through the light to see who was laughing at him. "What's goin' on here? Kill the light, so I can see who I'm gonna clobber!" Punchy yelled. The light resumed its normal movement, and Punchy could see what appeared to be a blue hedgehog. "Sonic! Being a wise guy, are ya? Where's Knuckles!" Punchy shouted. "Squint a little, cuz. I ain't no hedgehog!" the stranger shouted back. On closer inspection, it was a blue porcupine! It had many large, sharp spines, sunny yellow eyes, grey gloves, and black sneakers. "I can't abide being compared to, or mistaken for, that goody-red-shoes hedgehog, Sonic! I'm Spiny the Porcupine! I work FOR Dr. Eggman!" he shouted. Rainbow waved at him. "Nice to meet ya, Spikes!" she said happily. Spiny grew angrier. "SPINY!! Not Spikes! What, he's blind and you're deaf!? And what kinda break-in is this? Not even hiding from the searchlights here, I'm insulted! You're trespassing on the great Dr. Eggman's base! Did you think we'd just let you waltz right in!?" he screamed. "Could you?" Rainbow asked. "NO!!" Spiny shouted. Rainbow shrugged her shoulders. "Ah, well. It was worth a try." she said. Punchy nodded to himself. "Yeah, well, we're going in anyway. This guy has a nice set of lungs on him, but I bet that's all he is, hot air." he chuckled. Spiny jumped down from the searchlight, then attacked it. "Chaos Spear!!" He attacked the searchlight with a rapid-fire blast of spears, toppling it in seconds. The light burst into flames as it landed, and Spiny turned to Punchy smugly. "Not just air, spikes, too." he said. Punchy scoffed at him. "That's not impressive. Shadow can do that, too. And Copter tells me this guy Conan can do it as well. Big deal." Spiny didn't like being mocked, and he retaliated by shooting a spear at Punchy. However, there was plenty of distance between them, and Punchy quickly ran out of the way. "No sweat... huh!?" Just as the spear reached where he was, it turned abruptly and smacked him in the chest! "Yikes! One!!!" Rainbow shouted, running over to Punchy. He picked himself up and looked over at Spiny in surprise. "H-how'd you pull THAT off?" he grunted. Spiny chuckled. "There's more to me than meets the eye! My spears answer to me, just like my fist!" he said, punching the air in front of himself. "Care to surrender? I mean, you're just Experiment 1. Last year's model. Not worth a pile of puke now... One." Punchy's eyes seemed to catch fire that moment. He grinded his teeth and clenched his fists, itching for a fight. "Stay out of this one, Rainbow. This jerk's MINE!" he said. Spiny grinned malevolently. "Bring it on!" The snowstorm that had been going on since they'd arrived was now turning into a blizzard, but neither Punchy nor Spiny were about to back down. Rainbow was a bit worried. "Hey, One! Remember what Mousy said! Don't get too mad!" she shouted before running off to find shelter from the snowstorm. Punchy, heeding Rainbow's advice, calmed himself a little. "I don't need blind rage to beat you. I just need this snow... Chaos Avalanche!" He concentrated his energy on the snow falling around him, and managed to catch it as it fell, creating snowballs in the air! He used the power of Chaos Avalanche to fling the snowballs at Spiny, who was too stunned by this maneuver to avoid them. In moments, he was buried, but he escaped just as quickly by firing a barrage of spears through the snow. "So, you have some tricks. But you're still outdated and outmatched! Take this!!" Spiny began concentrating his own energy, and as he did so, the spines on his back began to glow! "Spear Storm!!!" At his command, the spines on his back fired a barrage of Chaos Spears which then turned around in midair and flew right at Punchy! He fought back using Chaos Avalanche, and the snow colliding with the spears created an icy explosion that both Punchy and Spiny were caught in! As the dust settled, Spiny and Punchy began using fists instead of powers. As tough as Punchy was, though, Spiny appeared tougher, and faster. He dodged most of Punchy's blows, then retaliated with fast hits to the chest. Punchy began wearing out fast. He had to come up with some sort of retaliation, fast!


Elsewhere, Illusi and Gemini were fighting an equally tough battle. While they were doing a fine job of keeping the Loskulls away, Lospecter had called in batlike Losoars, which were harder to hit, and therefore, harder to avoid. The Wrongos Illusi had summoned were destroyed quickly, and the overwhelming numbers they were facing had begun to wear them down. Illusi and Gemini stood back to back, and the Lost Ones had begun to close in around them. "C'mon, pals, this is just sad. Give in, already!" Lospecter suggested. Illusi and Gemini both had the same answer, "Never!!" Lospecter yawned as though bored. "Suit yourselves. Eat up, my hungry minions!" Just as the Lost Ones were about to swoop in to finish their prey, several energy blasts came flying from behind Lospecter and destroyed several of the Lost Ones! "Whuzzuh!? Who dares interfere with us! The idiotic impudence!" Lospecter yelled as he turned to confront the meddler. Another energy blast flew right into his face as he did so, but he didn't seem affected by it. The cause of the blasts was the special scythe belonging to Guard the Gargoyle! "Grrrrrrr!! Take your fiends and leave, or I'll have to get rough!" he threatened. Lospecter stuck his tongue out at him. "You don't scare me. You're so unscary, my cards don't even mention you!" he said tauntingly. Guard, unamused, fired more shots at the rest of the Lost Ones, sending them crashing to the ground instantly. "Stupid weaklings! Should've brought some Losohsts! I'm outta here!" Lospecter quickly dashed through the air and exited through a wall. On his way, he dropped something shiny, which Gemini quickly ran to and picked up. It was a purple Chaos Emerald. "I should probably hold on to this..." she said to herself. Guard approached her and Illusi. "Grrrr... Are you two all right? What was all that about?" he asked. "Oh, nothing you need concern yourself with." Illusi replied. "Thanks for helping us, though." Gemini added. "Don't mention it. Seriously." Guard grunted, stepping away and using one of his android functions to call Sargent Gunner, who was displayed in front of him through a holographic projector in his eyes. "What's the word, Guard? Report!" Gunner said. "Grrrr... I've infiltrated Eggman's base, but I see no sign of the princess. Still, it's a large base. Grrrr... She could be held deeper inside." Guard reported. Gunner remained ever tense as he spoke to Guard. "Forget the princess. Let Soleanna worry about that. We're from the United Federation. I want you to find the phoenix that Eggman is looking for. Capture her, and bring her to me. Spy will find you and tell you where you can find me. Just keep away from Soleanna police. It seems they have placed you under arrest." he said. Guard looked surprised. "Grrr? Wait. Are you... here? In Soleanna?" he asked. Gunner glared at him. "That's not really your business, now is it? I'm on my way there now, actually. I will personally see to it that our nation's security is kept safe from Eggman. Gunner, out!" With that, the hologram vanished, and Guard began to make his way out of the base. "We'd better be going as well." Illusi said to Gemini. "Right. I have to warn Knuckles about Punchy." she said. Illusi looked very serious. "Be careful, Gemini. I'm not sure why, but the Lost Ones have decided you are a threat to them. They might stop at nothing to destroy you. Practice your teleporting, when you have the chance. You might need it." he said. Gemini nodded in response, then waved good-bye as she continued on her way. "Be safe, pure one." Illusi whispered as she left. Once she was gone, he took out his strange key and used it to open a portal in front of him, which he used to leave the base.


Punchy had been trapped in a desperate battle against Spiny, and was only able to get very few chances to hit back. "It's sad, really. Not even a year old, and already useless as a relic. Come on, show me why anyone bothered to create you!" Spiny taunted. Punchy was keeping his distance at the moment, thinking about how to fight back. "I can't help but wonder how you know so much about me." he said, "Did Eggman tell you?" Spiny grinned at him. "I think I prefer to remain a mystery for now." he said. "Ehh, Eggman wouldn't tell you that sort of stuff anyway. In fact, I'm surprised he even hired you. He never offers Sonic a job, and I bet he thought you WERE him!" Punchy said. This touched one of Spiny's nerves. "I'm not Sonic!! Not even a hedgehog! Shut your primitive face!" he growled. This gave Punchy an idea. "I bet you're just bitter because you wish you were Sonic. After all, he�s great. Everyone likes him. Well, 'cept Eggman. Or maybe you wish you were Shadow, using all those spears. Haven't got an original bone in your body, do ya? At least my Chaos Avalanche is different!" he said. "Shut it, clone!! How DARE you compare yourself to me! You're not even worthy to be mentioned in the same SENTENCE as me!!" Spiny yelled. "Fine. Have it your way... Sonic." Punchy taunted. This was all Spiny could take. "SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH, KNUCKLES!!!!!" he screeched, lunging after Punchy in his fury. "Chaos Avalanche!" As Spiny approached, Punchy caught him off guard by grabbing up the snow from beneath his feet with Chaos Avalanche and tossing it up into the air, sending Spiny flying with it! As Spiny began to fall back toward the ground, Punchy jumped up after him. "Name's Punchy, not Knuckles, punk!" he shouted as he smashed his fist into Spiny's chest, sending his flying across the snowy area and into one of the searchlights. Spiny crashed into it, and it toppled over on top of him. "I ain't no clone, either!" Punchy shouted once he landed back on the ground. Since it seemed Spiny was beaten, Punchy started to make his way towards the entrance of the base, where Rainbow was waiting. Suddenly, Spiny's voice came thundering through the rubble of the searchlight. "SPEAR STORM!!!" The remains of the searchlight exploded as what appeared to be a thousand spears erupted from beneath it, which were then hurled towards Punchy! Since the attack was unexpected, Punchy soon found himself being completely overwhelmed by the furious attack! In moments, the assault was over, and Punchy fell to the floor in pain. By now, Rainbow had already started running over to him, and by the time she reached him, Spiny was coming back as well. However, before any of them could do anything, the Base Announcement System gave a loud announcement. "Spiny! Report to the control room for new orders! Immediately!" Spiny kicked up some snow in annoyance at the interruption. "Immediately... Of all the... Probably wants me to unclog a drain or something. Moron!" he muttered, "You're off the hook this time, Punchy! But next time, you're mine!" Rainbow helped Punchy to stand up. One thing could be said for him, he was resilient. "That... Hurt like heck... But I'll be fine." he said. "Wow, One. You can sure take a beating. C'mon, we'll go inside and rest a bit." Rainbow suggested. Punchy shook his head. "No, we better move. Let's find Knuckles before he leaves!" he insisted. Rainbow looked a bit worried, but respected his decision. "OK, One. Whatever you say. Let's go!"

Punchy and Rainbow got lucky, the entrance they had chosen wasn't far from where Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles ended up. However, they weren't too lucky. As they wandered down a hallway toward a room where Punchy sensed the Master Emerald, they noticed a chaotic pink light flashing through the room! Punchy had a bad feeling about it, and ran to the room as fast as he could, with Rainbow close behind. They got there just in time to watch as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles vanished into the light! Moments later, the light faded, and Punchy and Rainbow stood by the entrance of the room, listening to a voice coming from within. The voice they heard was unmistakably Eggman! "Rest assured, they're not dead... Yet." he said. Punchy and Rainbow didn't know who he was speaking to. "They've just been teleported by my glorious invention to another time! Who knows where they'll end up? It could be the distant past or far future! But my machine still requires some fine-tuning. In fact, what my machine needs in order to be complete...is your power." As Eggman finished saying this, another voice, belonging to Princess Elise, was heard. "My power?" she asked. "Yes. I can finally complete my plans, now that I have the Chaos Emeralds, and you... the princess of Soleanna. That's all I need to revive the Flames of Disaster. And with its power, I will be able to control everything, and rule the world! So, you would be wise to remain on my good side!" That was the last words Punchy and Rainbow could hear, and moments later, Eggman left the area with Elise in tow.

Once Punchy was sure they were gone, he walked into the room where Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles had been sent away. "Great... Now the Master Emerald's not even in this TIME!" he shouted in frustration. "But Eggman lied. He doesn't have all the Chaos Emeralds." came a voice from behind Rainbow. It was Gemini! She had arrived shortly after Punchy, and had been listening to what Eggman was saying as well. She was holding the purple Chaos Emerald in her hand. "Whoa, Wanda! You're really sneaky, aren't ya!" Rainbow said, startled. "Wanda?" Gemini muttered. Rainbow apparently gave Gemini that name based on the fact that she always carried a wand. Punchy waved to her and then looked around. "Now what do we do? Can't exactly follow them, can we..." he said dejectedly. "What about that thing... What was it called... The Time Rock!" Rainbow suggested, stepping into the room. Gemini followed her in, shaking her head. "Stone, Rainbow. Anyway, it won't work. We have no idea what time they were sent to. Too risky." she said. Punchy held out the Time Stone. "I don't know. Maybe it knows the way!" he said. They were all silent a moment as they thought about it. Then, without warning, the machine was reactivated! The same pink light that had transported Sonic now surrounded Punchy, Rainbow, and Gemini! "Wh-what's this? Who turned the machine back on!?" Punchy shouted, looking up for the culprit. Unfortunately, whoever it was didn't want anyone to know, and had already run off. Gemini frantically flipped through the pages of her spell book. "Gotta get out! Gotta get.... Aaaah!!" It was too late. The three of them were lifted up by the machine, and in mere seconds, they were gone! However, one thing remained as the machine powered down. The Time Stone! "The machine has no power over the stones..." said the mysterious activator of the machine as he returned to the room. "Perfect!"


When Punchy regained consciousness, he found himself still inside the machine. Rainbow and Gemini were looking around nearby. The room had somehow been destroyed, and Gemini knew how. "Punchy... Rainbow... I hate to say this, but I welcome you to my home.... To you... it is the future!" she said fearfully. Rainbow didn't look surprised. "Yeah, we all live in the future of seconds ago. What's your point?" she said. The room certainly did look old, though. Clearly, no one had been there for years. Punchy was shocked, but got over it quickly. "So... this is...how far into the future?" he asked. "About 200 years." Gemini replied, "But it's fine! We can just use the Time Stone to go back!" she said. Panic suddenly came over Punchy. "No, we can't..." he said as it dawned on him, "The Time Stone's gone!" Gemini looked more worried than ever now. "I was afraid of this. The same thing happened to me when I went to your time.... But we still have a chance!" she said, holding out the Chaos Emerald that had remained with her. "That's not a Time Rock!" Rainbow pointed out. Gemini rolled her eyes. "I know that! But if we find another one, and then someone that can use Chaos Control, we can go back! I researched this, because I knew I'd need to come back here someday." Punchy had one more question. "Think Knuckles is in this time, too? Maybe he left already..." he said. Gemini thought a moment. "It couldn't hurt to be sure. We should probably get Knuckles and the others home, too, if we can." she reasoned. Rainbow didn't need to hear any more. "Right! First, we find a gem that matches that one! Follow me!" With Rainbow leading the way, Punchy and Gemini charged into the dark, dangerous future under the rule of Iblis. It wouldn't be easy, but they had to find a way back. Otherwise, Gemini would never be able to stop Losipher, and her friends were as good as dead!


Chapter 6 - Tropical Tragedies

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.

"I'm holding you in my arms,
Loving you beneath the stars,
I don't want the night to steal you away..." - Sweet Dream, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)


After a few dead ends, Copter came up with a simpler solution. He found Mia once again, not far from the safe house. "Hey, Mia! I gotta ask you something!" Mia and Tommy were sitting in her cab, looking over some maps. "Wow, Soleanna's bigger than it seems..." she muttered before looking out the window at Copter. "What's up, pal? Find anything?" she asked. One look at Copter and Heather's faces gave her the answer. "Oh, hit a wall, eh? Me, I'm trying to map a route through the jungle. But it looks like there's no roads there..." she said. Copter raised an eyebrow. "The jungle?" he said. Mia leaned through the cab window. "Yeah, where the chopper that took Katie went. Didn't I tell ya? Oh, wait... That was Chet..." she replied. Copter frowned. "What's that jerk doing around here?" he growled. Mia frowned back. "Uh, hel-lo? Because of YOU and your kind, the police had us all hide out here. Thought you might attack us. Excellent hiding place they picked for us, too, wasn't it? Anyway, Chet's cool, don't talk mean about him." she said. Heather was a bit curious now. "Who's this Chet?" she asked. "Katie's boyfriend. Man, have they been through a lot..." Mia replied, "Matter of fact, he came to me first to get directions to try and rescue her. Come to think of it... He never did return from the jungle, and it's been hours..." Heather looked worried. "Think he's in trouble?" she wondered aloud. "More likely lost." Copter said gruffly. Tommy looked worried now, as well. "What if he is in trouble? Mia, we should do something!" he said. "Hold on a sec, kiddo..." Mia replied, pointing toward the exit to the forest. "You go that way ahead of us, skunky. We'll go pay a visit to Tommy's bro and get some backup." she suggested. Copter looked where Mia was pointing. "There? All right... but don't call me 'skunky!'" he grumbled. Mia laughed at him a little, then waved good-bye before starting the cab. "Good luck, smelly! Later!" Copter turned around and shouted to her as she drove away. "Not smelly, either!" He then turned to Heather. "Do I smell? Wait, don't answer that... Let's get going!"

Hovering over a rooftop some distance away, Zipp was watching them. The whole of Team GeneX had been sent to find Heather again, after they had returned to Shadow Arcangel to inform Bucky of Copter and Eggman's involvement. Bucky's orders had not changed, they were to return Heather to Shadow Arcangel alive. Zipp pressed the hidden button on his helmet to call Vortex. "I'm winning here, 2 - zip! I just spotted 'em again. Now it looks like Copter's traded Punchy for Experiment 7. It seems they're headed for the jungle. Sounds like they're looking for someone or something... But, that's probably not important. What shall we do?" he asked. Vortex was quick to reply. "I'll head for the jungle now. Locate Crassssh, and meet me there." he said. Zipp started scanning New City for any sign of Crash. "What about the others?" he asked. "The three of usss will be plenty. Bessssidessss... I don't much care for the otherssss." Vortex replied. Zipp let out a soft chuckle. "You're right about one thing, we don't need their help. See ya!" Zipp now turned off the phone and headed for the other area of Soleanna in order to search for Crash.


It didn't take long for Copter and Heather to reach their destination, Tropical Jungle. As they explored the area, Copter found himself with a few questions. "Umm... Heather? About that... black character..." Heather thought back. "Mephiles?" she said. "Was that his name? Whoa, sucks to be him. Anyway... he said something... About if I knew you better... What exactly did he mean by it?" Copter asked. It was clear the subject made Heather uneasy. "I... He... Hey, does it smell like burnt fuel here or what?" It did smell like that. Apparently, Eggman's robots had been in the area earlier that day, but Copter would not let the subject be changed. "The robots are gone. Tell me about what Mephiles meant. Did you... do something?" he asked, slightly suspiciously. Ever since Mephiles appeared, Copter had been feeling very uneasy. He had begun to worry that Heather may have been pursued by Bucky for a good reason. Heather was beginning to have doubts about Copter as well, and these questions did a lot to fuel those doubts. "Well... I... I don't remember very well, all right? Just... Just leave it alone. Please..." she said in response to Copter's questions. "She's hiding something... But what? And why?" Copter thought. He began thinking of a way to get the truth out of her delicately, when Heather gasped with fright! They were walking on a bridge built over the large lake in the jungle, and Heather was looking at the water for the first time since they arrived. "Water... so much of it..." she said shakily. Copter looked out at the water, then at her, confused. "So? What's in the water? Sharks?" he asked. Heather shook her head. "I... I'm afraid of the water. I can't swim." she explained. "Well, I can. Don't worry, if you happen to fall in, I'll help you." Copter said, "I promise." Heather grabbed Copter's hand. "I'd rather not fall in. Hold on to me until we reach dry land!" she said, pleading. "Aw, how touching!" Copter and Heather looked up at a ledge that bordered the next segment of bridge ahead of them. Guard was there! "Grrrr.... You've done well enough, Copter. Grrr... Now, turn her over to me, and I'll forget I saw you here!" Copter stood in front of Heather, blocking any possible attack from Guard. "What's wrong with you people?! Can't anyone leave her alone?! And what the heck does GUN want with her, anyway?!" he shouted. Guard wasn't entirely sure, but he attempted to answer. "Grrr... Dr. Eggman is after her. We must keep her away from him. GUN will do whatever is necessary to prevent Eggman from threatening the United Federation!" he replied. Suddenly, Guard was attacked from behind by a blue robot, Alpha! "Meanie! What did Dr. Ro-butt-nik never do to you? You pay for that! Fifty bucks, please!" Alpha might be a bit wacky, but it was pretty clear that Guard had offended him. Guard pointed his scythe at Alpha, glaring at the robot. "Grrrrr! Easy, pal! Don't do anything you'll regret!" he warned. While Alpha was creating a diversion, Copter realized that now was their chance to escape! Past the walled portion of the bridge was a large turtle. "C'mon, Heather! If we hurry, we can ride the turtle out of here!" he whispered. "Oh... OK... Just hold on to me!" Heather insisted. Guard and Alpha continued a rather unintelligent series of insults while Copter and Heather boarded the turtle. "Get the shell out!" Copter said, grabbing a branch hanging over them with a fruit on the end. He held it out in front of the turtle, and it began swimming after it, despite the fact that Copter was making sure to permanently keep the fruit out of the turtle's reach. "Wow, this move's too smart for me." Copter thought, somewhat proud of himself.


The jungle was actually quite large, and stretched beyond the lake. (though Silver, who had been through the jungle earlier in the day, wouldn't know it. For details, play the Sonic the Hedgehog game that this story is based on) Team GeneX's primary members, Vortex, Zipp, and Crash, had visited the jungle through another entrance. They had searched individually for a short time, but now met up again to see if any of them found anything. "Sorry, guys, I haven't seen anything." Crash said, adjusting his hat. "Me neither. Just a bunch of eagles flying around, trying to eat me." Zipp reported miserably. Vortex's eyes narrowed. "Of coursssse you haven't sssseen anything! If you had, the phoenix would be here with you!" he hissed. "So, does that mean you didn't see anything either?" Crash asked. Vortex glared at him, as if to say, "What do you think!?" "Uh, OK... Just asking. Can't be too thorough..." Crash said. "Well, should we split up agai--" Zipp started to say, but Vortex silenced him. "Lisssten... Do you hear anything?" They were quiet a moment. Quite suddenly, a pair of Los Foxes appeared and attempted to attack them with their sword like tails! Zipp was quick to react, pulling out a pair of pistol guns and firing at them, while Vortex jumped into a tree so that he may use camouflage to hide until the time was right. Crash simply charged into one, knocking it over before it could land a hit! Once both the foxes were down, Vortex emerged from above to finish them. "Chaossss Inferno!" Vortex fired a pair of large, pink beams from his hands, straight down at the Los Foxes! The blast incinerated everything it hit, and Vortex landed gracefully to his feet. He then sat down, out of breath. "I need better battle tacticssss..." he muttered. "Those were the Lost Ones, weren't they?" Crash asked. He'd never actually seen any before, but Vortex and Zipp had described them to him once. "What could they be doing here?" Zipp wondered aloud. Vortex stood back up. "They may be sssearching for Experiment Ssssseven asss well. We better hurry, before they ssssucceed. We'll sssplit up and triple our sssearch! Let'sss go!" Crash saluted Vortex, then took off in one direction. "Don't kill yourself, 'Tex!" Zipp said before flying off in another direction. "No... I'll be doing the killing before thisss job isss done!" Vortex whispered before heading off in another different direction.


As Copter and Heather wandered deeper into the jungle, they soon came upon a smaller lake. It was a beautiful place, surrounded by trees covered with white flowers. The flowers were falling from the trees, almost resembling snow. At first, Heather recoiled away from the water, but after looking around a bit more, she was stunned by the beauty of the place. "This place... It's so... incredible!" she gasped. Copter had never seen such a place, either. "It really... makes you think..." Copter said silently. "About what?" Heather asked. "It shows us... Just what people mean when they call it a wonderful world. Such beauty, amidst all the chaos... It's strangely moving." Copter explained, "Why, the beauty of this place has even made you forget about the water." Heather looked down at the lake and backed away from it a step. "I'm being careful. I won't fall in..." she said. Suddenly, Copter heard a faint rustling coming from behind a nearby tree. "Someone's here..." he said seriously, running over to the sound. Heather followed, and in a moment, they both stopped and gasped with alarm! Chet was sitting against a tree, resting. He appeared to have been beaten up by something! "C-copter..." he said weakly. Copter leaned down to see how bad he was hurt. "Chet... What happened to you? Are you all right?" Though Copter disliked Chet, he couldn't help showing concern. "I... I was looking for Katie... She was kidnapped... I was attacked by robots. They came out of nowhere.... Barely escaped..." It appeared Chet was more tired than anything else, his injuries were minimal. "We came here to find Katie, too." Heather told him. With that, Chet climbed to his feet. "Then I'll go with you. If the robots come back, we'll have a better chance fighting together... By the way, Copter..." Copter knew what Chet was going to say. "Don't get excited, you're still a long way from being called 'friend' by me." he growled, "Let's go." As they started to leave, Chet looked at Heather and smiled. "Hello there." he said flirtatiously. Copter glared at him as though ready to fight. "What, one girl ain't enough for you!?" he growled. Chet chuckled nervously. "Wh-what? Can't say 'hello there'? Ah, wait... Are you two...?" Copter looked away and started walking. "Don't be ridiculous!" he growled. "Grumpy, isn't he?" Chet muttered to Heather. She chuckled in response, then followed Copter, with Chet behind her.


Crash had wandered far into the jungle. He saw no sign of Copter or Heather during his exploration, but he soon came upon a startling sight! In a hidden portion of the forest, he found a barbed wire fence circling a giant section of helicopter landing pads! A small army of red choppers were parked all over the area. It appeared to be some sort of air base! "Such an odd place to put things like this... Someone obviously didn't want these found. But this place... Though the choppers look like Eggman's sort of thing, the base has a decidedly different atmosphere. Who's behind all this...?" Crash pondered this for a few moments, when suddenly, Crash heard a jetpack zooming toward the area! Looking around, he spotted Alpha flying away from Guard! The robot was holding Guard's scythe, but apparently had grown weary of being chased by Guard, so he dropped the scythe near Crash! Guard stopped there to pick it up. Seeing Crash, Guard felt it necessary to question him. "Grrrr... Who are you, and why are you here?" he growled. Crash clenched his fists and glared at Guard. "How very impolite. And besides, none of your business! You just move along!" he shouted. Suddenly, Alpha hovered over to the area and addressed both of them from the air. "Nya, nya! I'm gonna catch the birdie fir-rst! So long, monkeys!" The blue robot then flew away, and Crash and Guard simultaneously shouted, "Experiment 7!!" before pursuing Alpha. The race was on!


Copter, Heather, and Chet's exploration soon brought them high into the treetops. There were some huge trees in the jungle, and in many cases, the trees served as better pathways than the ground below. At any rate, it seemed an unlikely place to encounter robots. Soon, they reached what appeared to be a dead end, with nothing but water below. "Looks like we need another route." Heather said shakily. Chet pointed to some vines that snaked around the area, ending on the other side. "They look fairly sturdy. We could always grind on those." he suggested. Copter was looking back for another route, but instead found bad news. "I'm thinking we'll have to try grinding... Look!!" As Chet and Heather spun around, they spotted Los Foxes a distance away. They were heading in their direction! Heather panicked suddenly. "B-but... Oh, my gosh! I... I can't... I'm too scared of falling... I can't grind across that!" she shouted. Chet looked out over the vines. "Not much choice. There's too many of those things to fight!" he said. "You're a bird... Can't you fly?" Copter asked. "I... I never really tried. And this isn't the best place to practice..." Heather replied. She didn't remember flying away from Shadow Arcangel the night she escaped. Copter took her by the hand. "I can fly. I'll cross right behind you, and if you fall, I'll catch you!" he assured her. Heather looked at him like he was nuts. "Y-you're a FOX! You can't fly!" she stammered. "Trust him!" Chet shouted, jumping on to the vines and grinding away. Heather was incredibly scared, even terrified. Still, she saw little choice. The Los Foxes were getting dangerously close. It was now or never. So, she jumped, landing on a nearby vine and clumsily grinding along. Copter followed, moments before the Los Foxes could stab their tails at the spot where he was standing! As Copter landed on the vine, he noted that Heather was wobbling wildly, desperately trying not to fall! Copter watched intently as she made it halfway across the vine, then lost her balance! She began to fall, and desperately tried to grab the vine as she did, but she missed! Certain she was doomed, she shut her eyes. Suddenly, she felt a hand grab her wrist! As she opened her eyes, she found Copter flying above her! Still terrified, she instinctively used her free arm to pull herself up Copter's arm, and in a moment, she wrapped herself around him, holding for dear life! "Told ya!" Copter said, changing his flight path so he was heading toward the edge of the water. "I'm ashamed to have doubted you..." Heather said, gasping to catch her breath.

Chet was waiting for them at the water's edge. "Awww, she looks so adorable, holding on to you like that, Copter. You should reconsider your stance on your relationship!" he said, half teasing, half serious. Copter set Heather down on the ground, then landed beside her. "Well, someone had to help her, Chet. Quit being dumb... if you can." he said. Heather was shaking, but that didn't stop her from letting out a small laugh. "You really think I looked cute?" she said to Chet. Copter began leading the two of them away. "He's demented." he commented.

It wasn't long before Chet stopped them. They had reached a small clearing in the woods. "This is where I was attacked..." Chet informed them. The three of them took a moment to look around. "No robots... Is that a good sign...?" Copter muttered. Suddenly, they heard a strange sound coming from above them. Looking up, they spotted a red helicopter flying high above them. It was the chopper that kidnapped Katie! It was flying away from the jungle! "That's it! I'm sure it is! Katie could be up there!" Chet shouted, "I can't let them get away!" Before Copter or Heather could say anything, Chet had taken off in the direction the chopper was headed. Copter and Heather started to try and catch up, but they suddenly found their path blocked as Vortex dropped out of a tree in front of them! "Leaving ssso ssssoon? But you haven't payed me a visssit yet! Sssstep assside, Copter, and I promisssse I'll make Ssssseven'sss death sssswift!" he snarled. Copter stayed firmly planted between Vortex and Heather. "She's not 'Seven!' Her name is Heather! And what happened to capturing her?" he growled. Vortex was glaring murderously at Heather. "Thissss I owe her. You will not interfere!!" he sneered. Copter glanced back at Heather. "Take cover." he instructed. Heather moved a few steps backward, out of the way. "Fine, then, Copter. I will desssstroy you, asss well!! Take thissss!!!" Vortex leapt into action, engaging Copter using lightning quick martial arts attacks! Copter attempted to block using his arms and tails, but had to retaliate. He swung his tails at Vortex, but wasn't fast enough to hit him. Vortex gave him a swift kick in the jaw, but Copter quickly recovered and kicked him back! Vortex unleashed a flurry of punches in response, but Copter withstood them easily. "You're fast, but not so strong!" Copter noted. "I'll sssshow you ssstrong! Chaossss Inferno!!" Copter barely managed to avoid Vortex's attack, which was really just a diversion so Vortex could catch Copter off guard with his ordinary attacks! However, Copter hadn't fallen for the ruse, and they both got a fair number of hits off each other. They ended by kicking each other simultaneously, both hitting each other in the chest. They then backed away for a moment before resuming their battle.

Heather looked on helplessly. She wanted to help, but was afraid she might lose control if she let loose her power. So, with nothing else to do, she simply watched. The distraction kept her from noticing that something was fast approaching from behind! Alpha had swooped down from the sky, and now grabbed Heather in his robotic arms. "Gotcha, birdie! Game over! Bwa ha ha!!" Heather struggled, but she couldn't get free. "Let... me... go!!! Copter, heeeeeellllp!!!!" Vortex and Copter stopped fighting abruptly and spotted Alpha escaping with Heather! Not far behind Alpha was Guard and Crash. Guard quickly took to the air to chase Alpha, while Crash joined Vortex. "Now what, 'Tex? She's gettin' away!" he said. "Thissss isss all YOUR fault!!!" Vortex snarled at Copter. Suddenly, another red helicopter flew to the clearing, piloted by Zipp! A rope ladder was lowered for Vortex and Crash. "Hurry up, guys! No time to lose!" he shouted. Crash started climbing the ladder, with Vortex close behind. "Thisss issssn't over, Copter! I'll get you back for thisss!!" he shouted as the helicopter took off. Copter attempted to follow on land for a while. "I gotta get in the air... But I don't know where the Hurricane is. It probably won't make it..." Realizing this, Copter took to the sky using his twin tails!

The helicopter soon got ahead of Guard, and Copter was soon flying beside him. "Grrrr... Give it up, Copter! She's going with someone in the end!" Guard shouted. "Yeah, well it looks like it won't be you, dog breath!" Copter shouted back. At least it seemed they might be able to keep up with Alpha. However, things were about to go from bad to worse. The rest of the red helicopters Crash had spotted earlier had taken off, and they'd spotted Copter and Guard! The choppers were equipped with small vulcan cannons, which they were firing on Copter and Guard with dangerous accuracy. "This isn't gonna work!" Copter realized. Guard nodded in agreement, but they weren't about to give up. Unfortunately, there wasn't much choice. Copter was soon struck in the head by one of the shots! The shots from the choppers weren't lethal, but it was enough to cause Copter to plummet to the ground! Guard, realizing he was likely to end up the same way, dropped toward the ground in defeat. Luckily, Chet had been watching from below, and managed to catch Copter before he hit the ground. Guard landed next to them, and they were soon joined by Razor, Mia, and Tommy, who had just arrived to help. They had also seen everything, and were anxious to pursue the rest of them. "Dang, that was a spectacle! Are you guys all right?" Razor asked. Tommy was scanning the sky. "Looks like they all got away..." he said worriedly. "Grrr... We must chase them!" Guard insisted. Mia gasped, seeing Chet carrying Copter. "Is he all right?" she asked. Copter's eyes slowly opened, and he soon jumped out of Chet's arms. "Put me down, you..." Before Copter could finish speaking, Razor grabbed his hands and cuffed him! "Good work, Chet! You've captured one of the experiments!" Mia, Tommy, and Chet exchanged worried glances as Razor pulled out his cell phone and called for a police helicopter to pick them up. Oddly enough, Guard seemed a bit concerned as well. "He was trying to help Katie..." Tommy told Guard. "Yeah, but it looks like I've failed miserably." Copter said sadly, "I have a habit of that..." It wasn't long before the police helicopter arrived, and everyone boarded it except Guard, who had left to avoid trouble with the Soleanna police. It was looking very bad in many ways, and instinct told Copter that it was only going to get worse from here.


Chapter 7 - Back To The Past

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.


"It's the price of being aware,
But too afraid it all might die,
Some things, they never mend,
I know I'm never the same again." - Worth A Chance, Sonic and the Secret Rings


Soleanna's future was no brighter than Angel Island's. The once abundant water was now almost entirely replaced with lava. Everything lay in ruins; several of the buildings had even been toppled. It truly looked as though Hell had risen to the surface. "This... is our future?" Punchy said to himself as he, Rainbow, and Gemini searched around for any sign of a Chaos Emerald in the ruined city. "How did this happen? Was it Eggman's doing?" he asked Gemini, who was the only one among them who might know. "I wouldn't doubt that Eggman probably had something to do with it, but few know for sure how Iblis came to be." Gemini answered. Rainbow seemed strangely unaffected by the change in scenery. She was skipping along ahead of them, humming a tune she'd heard an accordion playing back at Soleanna. They had climbed to the top of a building that was partially knocked over. What was left of the building was leaning against a large rock formation, which almost resembled steps leading back down to another road. As Gemini reached the top, she gazed out into the distance, then let out a shocked gasp! Somewhat far from where they were, on a large rock platform in the middle of the lava ocean, Silver and Blaze were fighting with Iblis! Punchy, Gemini, and Rainbow stopped at this point to watch the battle. Silver was making sure Iblis never got much of an opening, keeping Iblis at bay by tossing several chunks of debris at the monster's head using his telekinetic powers. It wasn't long before the fight was over, and Iblis was defeated. Silver, however, seemed oddly unhappy. "You see, even though Silver is powerful enough to defeat Iblis, we can never attain true victory, because Iblis simply rises from its ashes over and over." Gemini explained, "No one's ever been able to find a way to destroy Iblis once and for all... Most of us alive now were born into this nightmare..." Rainbow pointed at someone who had appeared nearby Silver. "Hey, who's that? He looks like Shade!" she said. "Huh? I've never seen him before..." Gemini muttered. It seemed the mysterious figure had said something that Silver found interesting, based on his reactions. However, they were too far away to hear anything. "We should try to catch up to them. At any rate, Silver would probably help us." Gemini suggested. Rainbow now pointed down the rocky "steps" before them. "No need, there's a gem!" she said. Sure enough, a shiny green Chaos Emerald was waiting just a bit further ahead of them! Excited, the three of them quickly, but carefully, climbed down the rocky steps to where the emerald was waiting.

Unfortunately, it wouldn't be as easy as they'd hoped. As they reached the bottom of the steps and walked onto the ruined street where the emerald was located, a swarm of lizard like lava monsters jumped out the windows of the surrounding buildings and landed around the emerald! Gemini readied her wand. "Watch out! I almost forgot about those things! No one's sure what they are, but they seem to work for Iblis. They look too hot to touch, but if you strike them quickly, you won't burn... much." she said. Rainbow backed away from the monsters. "I don't like burning... I better find a way to fight 'em without touching 'em!" she said, looking around for something to use as a weapon. Punchy was first to attack them, using his fists to begin beating them up. "Yow! They are kinda hot! They must've just come out of the lava!" he shouted. Soon, the monsters surrounded him. "Uhhh... Girls? Little help?" he said, realizing there were too many of them for him to fight this close. "Blastrotall!!" Gemini shouted. This was the spell to fire the wand blasts (last used in chapter 5), and it worked immediately, blasting a few of the monsters surrounding Punchy. With the way clear, Punchy retreated to where Gemini was standing. He then turned to the monsters. "If I can't fight them directly, then there's only one other way!" he declared. "Chaos Avalanche!" Using his chaos power, Punchy lifted several pieces of debris scattered around the area, while Gemini held the monsters back with her wand's blasts. In a moment, Punchy had hurled the debris at the swarm of monsters, knocking most of them to their deaths! Gemini picked off the remaining monsters with her wand. Just then, Rainbow returned from inside a nearby building, holding what appeared to have once been a flag pole. "OK, I'm ready to fight! Where's the baddies, One?" she said with enthusiasm. Punchy groaned with annoyance at her late arrival. Gemini looked around the immediate area. "Seems we've beaten them... for now." she said. Hearing this, Rainbow tossed aside the flag pole. "That was easy. So, where's the gem?" she asked. They all turned their attention to the green emerald, but before any of them could grab it, a familiar bat girl swooped by and snatched it! "Rouge!? What are you doing here?!" Punchy shouted, "Aw, never mind! We saw that Chaos Emerald first! Give it back!" Rouge was hovering in the air in front of Punchy, winking at him. "Yeah, thanks for dealing with those monsters. Saved me a lot of time. I'd love to stay and chat with you, greenie, but we need this emerald. See ya later! Or should that be earlier...?" Without another word, Rouge began flying away! Punchy wasn't about to let her get away with this, though. He tore off after her, running faster than he'd ever gone before! They might have been at a dead end, but there were rock formations jutting out of the ocean of lava that Punchy could use to chase Rouge. The bat girl landed on the next large landmass, and then ran into an old building. Punchy was close behind, but beginning to tire. Hopefully, he'd be able to corner her inside the building.


Gemini and Rainbow had attempted to follow them, but they had taken off so suddenly and so quickly, that the two of them were soon out of sight. That didn't stop them from attempting to follow, though, and soon they reached the landmass with the building Punchy had chased Rouge into. Unfortunately, they didn't know Punchy had gone inside, so they continued walking down the ruined street. Rather than finding Punchy, Gemini soon spotted another familiar face! It was the silver colored morph, Ozzie! Gemini called out to him, then ran over, followed by Rainbow. "I can't believe it! You're alive!" Gemini said, giving him a big hug. "Whoa! Take it easy, dead girl!" Ozzie replied, lightly shoving her away. Gemini wiped some tears from her eyes. She had been certain all her friends had died back at Onyx Island. "Did you just say 'dead girl?'" Rainbow asked. Ozzie smiled sheepishly. "Well, when you disappeared, everyone presumed you'd bought the farm. Except Father Leo. Where ya been?" he asked. Gemini happily explained. "I ended up using the Time Stone. That's how I met Rainbow, here. I was looking for a way to stop the Lost Ones before they could take over Onyx Island, and possibly stop Iblis, too. We wound up in some strange machine, and then we were transported back here. We're trying to find a way to get Rainbow and her friend, Punchy back home. We lost track of Punchy when he started chasing a Chaos Emerald. You didn't see a green echidna or a bat girl go by here, did you?" Ozzie took a moment to process everything Gemini told him. "Lots to take in. Um, I didn't see anyone weird go by here, but you need help. Why not ask Father Leo about a Time Stone? He seems to know everything." he suggested. "Good idea!" Rainbow declared. Gemini looked less than excited. "But... He'll be mad at me. And he won't let me go back with them." she said quietly. Ozzie understood, but saw little choice. "Your friends need to go home. C'mon, we'll go see the Father." Rainbow stood next to Ozzie, and they both simultaneously said "Follow me!" Gemini smiled somewhat, and Ozzie pointed out that Rainbow didn't know the way. At any rate, Gemini was anxious to see her surviving friends again. "OK, you two. Lead the way!"


Punchy had followed Rouge through a large portion of the building, undaunted by objects she was knocking over to slow him down. However, this couldn't go on forever. Soon, Rouge reached a room with a window, and jumped out of it, flying out of Punchy's reach. Unable to glide, Punchy could no longer chase her. "Cowardly cheat! I'll get you for this!!" he shouted through the window, shaking his fist. Having lost track of everyone, Punchy had only one option left. "First things first, gotta find an exit to this place." he thought. After some exploration, he turned a corner and thought he saw Knuckles enter a room in the next hallway! Punchy quickly ran over to find out what he was up to. "What the... Who was that guy!? He looked just like Shadow!" Punchy heard Knuckles say. Peering inside, Punchy could see a room full of computers and other equipment. The room was dominated by a large monitor. Tails was reading something displayed on a screen beside the monitor. "Th-This is terrible!" he cried with alarm, "According to the data, the princess died when she was kidnapped by Eggman! Apparently, Eggman's battleship exploded! The date of this incident was... two days after the Festival of the Sun!" Sonic glanced at the screen over Tails' shoulder. "If we don't return in time, Elise will die on board Eggman's battleship. That means..." he said, trailing off. "Yeah, I think so...." Tails replied. Punchy backed away somewhat and thought about what he'd heard. "Bad news for Eggman. I guess ol' Red's got his hands full enough without me barging in. Besides, I gotta check that out for myself..." he thought. Realizing that Sonic and the others would exit into that hallway, Punchy bolted for the corner where he'd come in, and waited for Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles to leave. He heard Tails talking as they left. "I wonder how Shadow and Rouge are doing..." was the only thing he could understand from where he was. "So, they're with that bat girl! Then they don't need my help. Good! I didn't want to deal with those three anyway!" he thought. Next, Punchy ran into the room with the data Tails was reading. "It's a news report... 'Among the other losses in the ship crash were...' Copter the fox and Heather the phoenix!!" Punchy nearly fell over in disbelief. "Aw, man... This is heavy. I hate time travel!" he said. After a moment, Punchy began to search for the exit to the building once more. "Can't save Copter from this time! Gotta go!"


Meanwhile, Gemini, Ozzie, and Rainbow reached the freedom fighters' Soleanna HQ! To Mia, Katie, and others centuries ago, it had been a safe house, and now it was the dilapidated home of this small band of heroes! Gemini looked around the "mission control room," and spotted four old friends! She introduced Rainbow to everyone. "Right, so here's what's left of our group, Rainbow. You know Ozzie already." she said, pointing to the morph. "Howdy, Oz!" Rainbow said. Gemini then pointed to a familiar gray bat. "That's Adam, someone who should be dead a million times by now." she said. "Hi, Zombie!" Rainbow waved. "Yeah, you should be dead, too." Adam said grumpily. Next was the pink fox. "There's Evelyn. Best pilot in Soleanna." Gemini said. "Yo, Eve!" Rainbow grinned. Next was, strangely enough, Gator! "Hey, Bluehair! How'd you get in the future?" Rainbow asked. Gemini scratched her head in confusion. "You know this pirate?" Gator shared Gemini's confused look. "Yeah, you knows this pirate? Then, did you maybe bring Gator pie?" he asked. "Stop talking about pie! I'm starving!!" Adam shouted. Ozzie looked a bit aggravated by Gator as well. "Why don't you get back to work, captain! The plumbing needs fixin'!" he said. Gator started on his way out the room, mumbling something about toilets falling on his head. Last, but not least, was the leader of this group, and Gemini's teacher. "Hello, Teacher Leo..." Gemini said, approaching Fred ashamedly. Fred was seated on the smelly couch in the middle of the room, grinning. "I knew you'd be back." he said, rising to his feet and giving Gemini a hug. Gemini returned the embrace, tears in her eyes. "I've missed you so much!!" she cried. Rainbow wiped some tears from her eyes as well. "I missed you, too, Reverend!" she said. Fred released Gemini and then looked at Rainbow. "How could you? We've never met?" he said. "Just caught in the moment..." Rainbow sighed. Fred then turned to Gemini. "Come with me. I must speak with you."

He led her out of the room and into what passed for their "mess hall." It certainly was a mess. "That was someone from the past, wasn't it?" he asked. Gemini nodded. "Someone sent us all to this time. I'm not sure who." she said. "There are others?" Fred asked. "Just one. A green echidna named Punchy." Gemini replied. Silence followed. Fred looked thoughtful, then placed a comforting hand on Gemini's shoulder. "Be at peace, young one. I do not blame you for your actions. However, I can't let you go back. It is too dangerous. Still, your friends must be returned to their own time, so I will lead you to our Time Stone. I stashed it away months ago for safekeeping. Do you still have my wand?" Fred asked. Gemini held it up for him, and he took it from her to examine it. "Hmmm... I see... You've used much Abra magic at the onset of your journeys... Then turned into a dragon... and... hmmm... It seems you've been through much, but at least you have learned much. Just try to lay off the Abra magics. It's not the real thing, and it uses much energy." Fred's abilities were so advanced that he could see all the events the wand was present for. "I am proud of you, Gemini. Once again, your kind heart has touched the lives of many." he said. Gemini accepted the wand back from Fred. "But this is your wand..." she protested. "No longer. You have faced many ordeals with this wand. It belongs with you now. Come, we should get going." Fred said, heading back for mission control. Gemini clutched the wand in her hands gratefully. She didn't know what she'd do without this wand now, and she was happy to be able to call it her own.


Punchy had been searching for Rainbow and Gemini, but found himself lost. He was somewhere between what was now called "Crisis City" and "Flame Core," near the foot of the volcano of the latter. It was an area with many steep cliffs, and stood above the buildings at the edge of Crisis City. As he wandered here, he soon heard a gunshot in the distance! It was coming from an area near the edge of Crisis City, and without any thought, Punchy took off in the direction of the sound to investigate. It took a few moments, but soon he reached a rooftop near where he heard the sound. In an alleyway beside the building, his eyes met a sight that completely blew his mind! There was Rainbow, eyes wet with tears, standing over a body. In her hands, she held a smoking gun! As if this wasn't crazy enough, the body she was standing over was someone Punchy knew quite well. In fact, it WAS Punchy! He had been shot through the heart, and now lay before Rainbow, dead. As Punchy backed away from the edge of the roof, he heard footsteps running away from the alley. When he looked again, Rainbow was gone. Punchy jumped down from the roof and landed outside the alleyway, trying to make sense of this. "Rainbow didn't kill me... I would've noticed that... Is... Is this a future event? But it's impossible... I don't expect either of us to live this long..." he thought, backing against the wall in order to support himself. The sight of his own dead body had left him somewhat dizzy, and his mind was trying to comprehend it still. Suddenly, he heard Rainbow's voice in the distance. Looking in the direction of the voice, he saw Rainbow running towards him with Gemini, Fred, Adam, Evelyn, and Ozzie behind her. Punchy ran over to Rainbow so she wouldn't reach his body's resting place. "Am I dead, Rainbow...?" he asked her dizzily. "Nope. How else would we be talking here, if you weren't alive?" she responded.

Everyone took a moment for introductions, and then Fred began leading them away. "Reverend there led us to you using magic, One!" Rainbow explained. "I'm not a Reverend, I'm a Divine Sorcerer." Fred said without stopping. Punchy was still a bit shaken by what he saw at the alley, but convinced himself that it had to be an illusion. He would consult Illusi about it the next time he saw him. "So, where are we going?" Punchy asked. "You'll see." Evelyn said. It took some time, but they soon reached their destination. "Here we are! Soleanna Castle! Or... what's left of it!" Adam announced. It was the castle Elise had governed from, now older and a little broken, but it did appear to be the least damaged building in the city. "It's safer inside the castle than outside, normally." Ozzie informed them, "Iblis' minions patrol the area outside the castle. So, it's time I go into 'stealth mode!'" Ozzie glowed brightly, then morphed into one of the lava monsters of the flying variety. "Morphing sure comes in handy!" he chuckled. "Eeek!! Monster!!" Rainbow shouted, running away from Ozzie. "Get back here, dummy!" Punchy shouted. Ozzie morphed back into his true form in order to stop scaring Rainbow. "Forgot, not many morphs in your time." he said. Fred pulled out his wand. "I'll get us in. Cleviso!" He pointed his wand in a circle around the group, and they all became invisible. "This invisibility won't last long, but don't be too hasty! We don't want the beasts to hear us!" Without further words, they began to sneak toward the castle, with Ozzie and Adam up front, Gemini, Evelyn, and Fred behind, and Punchy and Rainbow bringing up the rear. Though the monsters couldn't see them, they could see each other. There was just enough invisibility time for all of them to get into the castle's front gate. As the spell wore off, Fred led the way into the entrance hall, where he called out to someone. "Hello, old friend! We have need of your assistance!" Everyone else looked around in confusion. "What old friend?" Adam muttered. "Why don't we know of this person?" Evelyn added. Suddenly, someone dropped down from the roof in front of Fred and shook his hand. Punchy's eyes went wide. "The gargoyle!? Now I KNOW you shouldn't be here!!" he shouted. The "old friend" Fred spoke of was Guard, looking a bit more battered and experienced, but otherwise unchanged. "Grrrr... You came from the past, I presume. Grrr... I had to get here the long way... Waiting." he said, grinning at Punchy. "Is... is he smiling!? Wow, figures you'd only smile in a screwball time like this." Punchy grumbled. Fred chuckled heartily. "I knew you were old, but wow. The wonders of that age, I suppose. As an android, Guard here was able to 'guard' this castle ever since Iblis came to power. He will lead us to the resting place of the Time Stone, which our guests will use to return home." he explained. Rainbow smiled. "OK, lead the way, Devilie!" she said. "Grrr... Long time since I heard that name." Guard snorted, turning to lead the way. "Yay, we get a tour! History lesson time!" Ozzie chortled. "Don't start..." Evelyn groaned. "No, go ahead, Oz. I haven't heard your theories for a while!" Gemini said excitedly. "I can help you, now that I've been to the past!" Thus, their exploration of Soleanna castle began, as did a long, rambling lecture on the history of Soleanna, which half the group would enjoy, and the other half endure.

They explored for some time. Parts of some of the hallways were blacked by rubble and debris, an unavoidable result of the castle's years without repairs. Eventually they reached a large ballroom. There, Gemini and Ozzie were discussing the rise of the Lost Ones. "I'm telling you, they didn't conquer Angel Island that soon! Knuckles still had control of the island at the time I wound up at!" Gemini was saying. Suddenly, a noise was heard in the room. Guard raised his scythe. "Careful... Grrrr..." he said. Looking up, they found the source of the sounds. It was the shuffling of cards. Lospecter's cards! "Very stirring! I've been listening to your lecture, but I'm afraid it has to end now. But hey, join us and I'll tell you how we REALLY came about! I know, 'cuz I was there! I'm even older than old gargoylie here! Anyway, I must be going, but I'll leave you all with an old pal! Hehehehe... Bye!" Lospecter then vanished, and a horde of losol and loslime began to crawl into the ballroom through cracks in the walls! Hanging on a giant chandelier in the center of the room was another slimy presence. The group below scattered as the chandelier fell with a crash, and the slimy being jumped out of it. It was a slimy alligator, whom the freedom fighters in the room recognized instantly. "Cuthbert!!! Oh... WHY!!!?" Evelyn screeched. He'd sacrificed his soul to save Gemini and Eve, and now he was Los Cuthbert. He spoke to them in a gurgling voice, which sounded like death. "Why? I'll tell you why. Lost... Lost is the best way. The ONLY way. Do not resist us. You will live forever. Just let us in, and sacrifice your SOUL!!!" Guard had seen and heard enough. He flew over to the center of the room and swung his scythe at Cuthbert, decapitating him! This did little, though, as his head simply grew back! "You see? I cannot die..." Cuthbert proclaimed. "You're already dead!" Fred growled, readying his wand. "Lead the way, Guard! We'll have to fight them as we go!" Guard reacted quickly, clearing as much of a path through the ballroom as possible. "All right! Time to dance!" Ozzie shouted, morphing his hands into whatever weapon suited the situation as he followed. Adam and Evelyn came next, and they were ready with laser pistols this time. Punchy and Gemini covered the defenseless Rainbow with Chaos Avalanche and the wand, respectively, and in the back was Fred, valiantly maintaining the back end of their small path as best he could. The Lost Ones were many, and Guard marveled at how so many of them could get inside without him noticing. Even worse, some of the slime creatures were latched to the roof, waiting to drop down on them as they made their way through the dark halls of the castle. To Gemini, this was the Onyx Island temple all over again, only this time she was even more terrified, though she was too busy fighting to let on that she was.

As they drew closer to their goal, the Lost Ones' presence lessened. They had been lucky, this time none of them had fallen. Their group ran closer together after a while, and in this tighter formation, they were better defended. Soon, they reached the throne room, which was where the Time Stone was hidden. Seated at the throne was, to their dismay, Losipher! He held in his hand a pale white Time Stone. "Time travel will not save those I have taken. I have gone back and warned the Lospecter of the past of your hate! Your antagonism has also forced my hand. I shall purge this world of all that is not lost, even Iblis! The Lost Ones shall hold absolute control! And even Heaven and Hell alike shall be snuffed out for our dark order. Weep... yes... weep... for you are all.... now... LOST!!!" As Losipher shrieked that last word, the slimy Lost Ones they'd left behind began swarming into the room, surrounding the freedom fighters. Los Cuthbert arrived as well, and stood across from Losipher in order to cut off any escape route. As for Losipher, his eyes began glowing a deep shade of red, and his fangs seemed to grow too big for his mouth. Devilish horns formed on his head, and slimy black wings grew from his back. His hands seemed to melt into those pointed tentacles that had previously skewered several of Gemini's friends. The tentacles then melted away altogether, leaving behind a pair of swords clutched in his hands. The losol and loslime began making loud noises, which sounded like a ghostly chorus repeating the word "Los" over and over again. The freedom fighters readied their weapons. Fred looked around, then gave what would likely be his final order. "There's no turning away from this! Prepare yourselves, we either fight our way out, or share the same fate as Cuthbert! Freedom fighters, attack!!!"

At that moment, a desperate battle began. The freedom fighters scattered in order to get the Lost Ones in the room to split up, while Losipher merely stood at the throne and watched. Ozzie had transformed into a dragon, but had not changed in size. He was fighting a large group of losol, with Adam doing his best to cover him with his laser. Fred, covered by Evelyn, was taking on a group of losol that had combined to form a Losol Golem. This left Guard and Punchy to deal with Cuthbert and Losipher. Punchy took on Cuthbert, with Rainbow and Gemini nearby doing their best to help. Thus, Guard attempted to challenge Losipher. "Grrrr!! You think you're so smart, sneaking past me like that. Grrrr!! But it was your biggest mistake, and will be your last!" he growled, wildly swinging his scythe in order to take out the losol in the immediate vicinity. Losipher moaned demonically. "I made my last mistakes ages ago... My souls no naught but sorrow... And rage. I will break you, purely to satisfy that rage." Losipher then ran at Guard, attempting to slash him with his blades! Guard defended with his scythe, then knocked Losipher backwards with it. Meanwhile, Punchy had challenged Cuthbert. "I don't know who you were, and I don't really much care. You slime balls are standing in our way of getting back home, so you're going down! And this time, you ain't growing back!" he said confidently. "You are totally ignorant. You cannot fight the Lost Ones. Whether in the past, the present, or the future, you, and all, will meet your demise by our armies." Cuthbert snarled. "It's no use talking to him, Punchy! Cuthbert... He's gone." Gemini said. "Give 'em heck, One!" Rainbow cheered. Cuthbert responded to Rainbow's cheer by charging at her. "I'll give you Hell!!!" he shouted, attempting to bite her with his gator jaws. Punchy defended her with Chaos Avalanche, causing part of the roof to cave in on top of Cuthbert! The chaos energy from the attack destroyed Los Cuthbert instantly, leaving only a puddle of slime behind. "That was easy..." Punchy said with surprise. However, it would not be that easy. The slime puddle flowed out from under the rubble, and took the shape of a loskel. "Aw, all that did was make him lose weight..." Rainbow groaned. The loskel cackled with Los Cuthbert's voice. "Lost Ones are eternal! Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!" The loskel was holding a Ghost Fire blade, which it now came after Gemini with. Gemini fired some bolts from her wand, but that merely knocked some ribs off of the skeleton. Punchy ran over and punched the monster in the skull, smashing it to pieces! However, the skull simply grew back. "Stand back, guys!!" shouted Ozzie, who flew over and blew a jet of flame at the loskel, once again reducing it to a puddle of slime. This time, the puddle remained still. "Th-thanks Oz!" Gemini shouted shakily. Once again, she was filled with the paralyzing fear that had taken her during the Onyx Island battle. Ozzie saluted his companions, then returned to help Adam, who was being overrun by the loslime around him. With Los Cuthbert taken down, Punchy turned to Guard and Losipher. "We should help him! C'mon, girls!" he said. "Right! Follow me, One!" Rainbow said, charging ahead with the blade the loskel dropped. The Ghost Fire had been extinguished, and now it would work as a normal sword. Punchy followed close behind Rainbow, but Gemini found herself unable to move. The truth had hit home. "Even if we beat the monsters, Losipher will finish us off... Fred was right... If I hadn't used the Time Stone, this wouldn't have happened... I've doomed us all!!" she thought, shaking with terror at this realization. Not paying attention, Gemini didn't see the losol approaching her. It pounced toward her, and she screamed as she finally noticed it! Luckily, Fred was nearby, and shot a bolt that knocked the losol away. "Stay focused, Gemini! We're not finished yet!" Her teacher's words snapped her out of it, just in time for her to see Punchy reach the area where Losipher was fighting Guard. "I'm here to help!" Punchy said. "Grrrr!!! Stay out of my way! I don't need any help!" Guard yelled, keeping himself focused on his fight. Rainbow, knowing Losipher was out of her league, was assisting Adam and Ozzie a short distance away. Punchy, however, wouldn't be left out. "Stop being an idiot, Guard! I'm coming in!" He ran toward Losipher and launched a powerful punch at the vampirical dark lord, which knocked him backward a little. "Grrr!! I said butt out!!" Guard snarled, pushing Punchy away. The time he took pushing Punchy away was time he didn't have. With that brief opening in his defenses, Guard was stabbed through the chest by Losipher!! "It seems... this was YOUR last mistake! HAH HA HA HA HA!!!!" Guard's body slid limply off the sword, and the last thing he saw was his bleeding wound. "Grrr... Blood? Androids... don't have...." Without finishing his sentence, Guard met his death. Everyone had seen this, and it appeared that the losol were even taking a break to watch their lord's triumphant moment. Hoping to make an example of Guard's body, Losipher approached it with his blades ready to slice it to ribbons. This was one thing Punchy would not allow. "Back... away... from him!" he warned. Losipher grinned and pointed his swords at Punchy. "So be it. I'll remove your head first." Before either Punchy or Losipher could do anything, though, Ozzie flew in, still in dragon form. "Your turn, devil!!" he roared, sending an intense wave of flame at Losipher from his mouth! Unaffected, Losipher walked right through the flames and stabbed Ozzie through the chest, but Ozzie wasn't dying without a fight. He struggled with Losipher, despite his mortal injuries, and in the battle, the Time Stone was knocked from a hole Ozzie tore in Losipher's body, which flew across the room, and was caught by Punchy!

"The Time Stone!!!" Losipher howled, leaving one of his swords inside Ozzie in order to go after it. As Ozzie collapsed to the ground, he reverted to his true form, and then sighed his last breath. Punchy, fighting back his dark side, kept his distance from Losipher. Rainbow quickly joined him, and Punchy held up the Time Stone in an attempt to use it. "Time Stone... um... work?" Nothing happened. Losipher growled at Punchy. "Give... me... the stone." he commanded. Rainbow scoffed at him. "Like we're gonna listen to YOU!" she said in the most serious tone she could muster. Losipher let out a mournful, yet enraged, howling scream, then began transforming erratically, shooting tentacles around the room randomly as he became an unspeakable monster! It suddenly became intensely hectic in that throne room, and everyone was struggling to avoid being killed by the tentacles. The entire castle shook, and Gemini was left alone between the locations of Punchy and her teacher. As she looked from one to the other, she found herself unable to decide what to do. "I... I'm the only one here who knows how the Time Stone works... I need to get Punchy and Rainbow back home... But I can't leave my friends like this!!" she thought, shuddering with fear at the impending doom around her. Suddenly, a voice made it through the chaos to her ears. "Gemini!!!" It was Fred's voice! She turned in his direction and stepped toward him, but he stopped her. "Go, Gemini! Use the Time Stone! There's no other choice left... Don't worry about us! Punchy... needs you! Go!" Heeding her teacher's words, Gemini ran after Punchy, tears flowing from her eyes. She was swiftly avoiding the tentacles from Losipher as she ran, motivated purely by fear and determination. This was her last chance. She reached Punchy, grabbed the Time Stone from his hand, and invoked its power! A brilliant light filled the room, and Punchy, Rainbow, and Gemini shut their eyes and awaited the outcome...


Chapter 8 - Extreme Gear Surfing

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.

"Danger is lurking around every turn.
Trust your feelings, got to live and learn!
I know with some luck I will make it through.
Got no other options, only one thing to do!" - Escape From The City, Sonic Adventure 2


As the light faded and Punchy opened his eyes, it was immediately clear that the Time Stone had worked! Looking around, he found that himself, Gemini, and Rainbow had arrived back from the future, and were dropped off on the coast of Wave Ocean. "....We made it..." Gemini said after looking around for a moment. "But... What'll happen to the others?" Rainbow asked, concerned. Punchy and Gemini looked equally worried. "Even if they do escape... Their future doesn't look good." Punchy observed. Gemini noticed that the Time Stone they had used was still with them this time, though she had dropped it. She picked it up. "I can't go back home... Until I stop the Lost Ones. That will set things right, and save my friends." she said, looking at Punchy as if to ask what he would do. "Um... Well... That's swell, but... I have stuff to deal with, too. Like warning Copter..." Punchy said. "Huh? Warn Two? About what?" Rainbow asked. "He's gonna die along with Heather... Whoever that is... On Eggman's battleship!" Punchy explained. Rainbow gasped with alarm. "We can't let that happen!" she said. Gemini looked a bit shocked as well, but was more concerned. "What, during this incident? He dies? Hmmm... Then you need to help him. I guess that means we gotta split up now. After all, lives are at stake in both our times!" she said, a bit sad knowing she'd be alone again. Since none of them were quite sure how much time they had, they quickly said their goodbyes and left in different directions.


In the skies above Wave Ocean, a large, red blimp could be seen. This blimp, owned by the Babylon Rogues, was flying circles around Soleanna, searching for the Time Stones. Jet was sitting in his small office on the blimp, examining the green Time Stone he and his gang had taken from Heather. "They're awfully big rocks, aren't they..." he said to himself. "Don't even think about it, Jet!" Wave said, entering the room. "Remember, if we keep the stones for ourselves, we don't get the big treasure!" Jet sighed grumpily. "I need to get a lock for that door..." he muttered under his breath. "What's up, Wave?" She had her hands on her hips, and looked rather cross. "You know, the other Time Stones aren't going to find themselves! Shouldn't you be doing something more important than eyeing that rock!" she said grumpily. "Chill out, Wave. I'm not wasting time. I'm thinking." Jet claimed. "That would be a first!" Wave snapped. Jet placed the Time Stone on his desk and looked out the window. "I'm just wondering... What does our employer want with these stones?" he said. Wave looked thoughtful for a moment. "Let's see... They're called Time Stones... So maybe they can be used for time travel..." she said. Jet held back a chuckle. "You're joking, right? Time travel's not real!" he said. "B-b-boss!!" Suddenly, Storm burst into the room excitedly. "The radar's going off! The next Time Stone is close!" he exclaimed. Jet grinned as he grabbed his Extreme Gear board, which was propped up against the side of his desk. "All right! Just keep them away from Wave. She'll try to build a time machine with them! Hehehehe..." he said, pushing past Storm and Wave on his way out the room. "Time machine?" Storm said, glancing at Wave. "It's just a theory! Let's just go!" she yelled, stomping off after Jet.


Punchy was quieter than usual as he and Rainbow made their way through the beach toward Soleanna Castle Town. He was watching Rainbow through the corner of his eye, looking for signs of mutiny, but finding none. It simply didn't add up. Rainbow seemed incapable of even getting angry, much less shooting someone. Also, why were there two of them in the future? It was centuries into the future, so they couldn't possibly have survived the way Guard had. Punchy realized that it must mean they would end up going back, but why? Thinking about it just gave him an increasingly bigger headache. "Something wrong, One?" Rainbow asked after a while. "I hate time travel..." was the only response he could come up with. As Punchy continued walking along the shore, he wasn't watching where he was going, and soon fell into a hole! "Whoa! One, are you OK?" Rainbow shouted, looking down at him. "What jerk would dig a big hole like this in the middle of the beach!?" Punchy grumbled, climbing out of the hole. Rainbow helped him up, then looked around. The entire coastline ahead of them was dotted with deep holes. "Wow... Looks like cheese." she observed. One hole, not far from where they were, was having sand tossed out of it. "All right, I'm gonna give this jerk a piece of my mind!" Punchy exclaimed, running over to the hole. He dove in, hoping to catch the digger off guard, but instead landed on his face. "OWWW!!! Where's the digger?!" he shouted. Looking up, he saw Gator looking down at him. "Teleported." he said, grinning. Rainbow ran over to Gator as he helped Punchy out of the hole. "Hey, Bluehair! Do you know us today?" she asked. Gator nodded. "Well, of course I do. You're my crew! And that means you should be doing the digging! Not me! I have captaining duties!" he said. "What the heck are you digging for?" Punchy asked. Gator looked at him with surprise. "You can't guess? Treasure, of course! I AM a pirate... I think... Look, look! I already got some great finds!" he said, leading them to a green chest he'd apparently brought with him. "Lookie, lookie! Isn't it pretty?" The chest was filled with mostly bottle caps, but also various shiny bits of litter. "Wow! Who knew the beach was so full of treasures!" Rainbow said, eyes lighting up. "It's nothing but garbage..." Punchy muttered. "Not so!" Gator shouted, wagging his finger at Punchy. "It may not be gold or jewels, but you gotta work your way up to gold from somewhere! When all this is collected, there'll be nothing but cash left!" he declared. Rainbow gazed at the litter excitedly. "Wow, you're so smart. And you're helping clean up the beach, too! It's such an honor to work with such a great pirate!" she said. Punchy decided to take advantage of this silly situation to gain some time to think. "Right, Rainbow, he's soooo smart. Listen, that box is looking mighty full. Captain Gator will need to empty it to carry all the loot he'll... find... Anyway, he'll need help taking this back to the ship. I'd love to help, but... um... I think I may have gotten more hurt than I think when I fell into those holes!" he said. Gator took all this very seriously, despite the hint of sarcasm in Punchy's voice. "Oh, pie! This is a disaster! How will Gator carry all this treasure back to the ship!? Cruel fates! Why does you mock Gator!?" he shouted in a panic. In his panic, he'd begun jumping around and kicking the sand. Rainbow tried to calm him down. "Hey... hold it! Stop that! I'll help ya!" she shouted. Punchy had already used the distraction to begin walking away. "Yeah, I'll meet you guys in Soleanna. I know I'm hurt... but I'll just walk it off." he muttered as he left them behind. "Now that dumb and dumber are out of my way, I can try to make sense of this crazy day..." he thought to himself. As he wandered further toward Soleanna, he continued to wonder about the events of the future. Try as he might, he could not come up with any answers. "This is all just so weird... The Lost Ones... Copter dying.... Guard dying... Me dying... before my own eyes! What should I do!? What CAN I do!?" he shouted in frustration. In response to his cries, Punchy heard the voice of an old friend. "Troubled, are you?" Turning around, Punchy saw a cloud of smoke, which Illusi emerged from. "Aw, Illusi... There's been so much insane stuff today, I don't know where to begin..." Punchy sighed. Illusi crossed his arms and smiled at him. "Why don't you start with the most pressing issue. The one that's bothering you the most." he suggested. Punchy thought a moment, then told Illusi his problem. "It's about Rainbow... See, I... have reason to believe that she might... kill me. Trouble is, I can't figure why." he said, thinking that the whole time travel thing might not be good to tell anyone about. Illusi raised an eyebrow. "Kill you? Rainbow? Ho ho ho... What in heaven's name would give you such a notion?" he asked. Punchy continued to avoid the truth. "Well... Let's just say I'm fairly certain it's going to happen. What should I do?" Illusi thought for a moment, and quickly came up with an answer. "It's probably best you don't worry too much over this. Whatever will be, will be. All one can do is their very best. Perhaps your fears will prove to be unfounded. And, if I may say so, I very much doubt that she would do something like that on purpose." he said. Punchy thought it over, then realized Illusi might just be right. "You know, Illusi... I think that's EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Now, if you'll excuse me, I better go. There are others in danger right now, too!" Punchy then started running back in the direction he'd come from. It would be too difficult to find Copter on his own, and the only person he could turn to was Rainbow! Illusi watched him go with a tense expression on his face. "He never ceases to surprise me... But where did he get that idea, I wonder?"


Meanwhile, Gemini was exploring a different part of the beach. She had decided to practice her magic as she tried to think of what to do next. She knew she had to stop the Lost Ones and Iblis, but she had no idea how. Practicing her magic was all she could think of. She tried several spells, but none quite worked the way she expected them to. She attempted a freezing spell on the water, but it instead caused waves. She tried a shield spell, but instead caused a small sandstorm. However, she took it all in stride. She had to get something right eventually, right? One thing she missed from her dragon form was flying, so she attempted at levitation spell on herself. "Aeroft!" Suddenly, her body was lifted into the air. "Yay, I did it! I knew I wasn't hopeless!" she cheered, but then she noticed that she was still rising, and that she couldn't seem to control where she was going. "Wh-whooooooa!! Not that way, that way! Not up, down! Aaaaaah!! Ceaszam!" Using a general magic de-spell, she stopped her levitation and fell face down in the sand! "I AM hopeless..." she muttered in defeat. Suddenly, she heard laughter nearby. Looking around, she spotted Jet, sitting on his board, which was hovering over the ocean. "Yep, I'd have to agree. That was just awful. Flying takes talent, which is something you clearly don't got!" he said. Gemini glared at him. "What do you know? Magic is complicated!" she shouted. "So is riding Extreme Gear, but you don't hear me whining. Oh, wait. That's 'cuz I don't suck!" Jet replied tauntingly. "What are you saying? I... I don't suck! Take that back!" Gemini yelled. "I might... If it wasn't true." Jet chuckled. Gemini fired some blasts from her wand at Jet, which he swiftly avoided with his board, then landed gracefully on the beach in front of her. "Your aim's bad, too!" he added. "Grrr! Shut up! You're a jerk!" Gemini growled. "Not jerk, Jet. By the way, you wouldn't happen to have a Time Stone, would ya?" Jet asked, already knowing the answer. "Sure, but I'm not gonna give it to YOU!" Gemini replied angrily. Jet laughed sinisterly. "I don't need you to GIVE it to me... When I can take it!" Of course, Gemini wasn't about to let that happen. "You want it, jerk? Catch me if you can! Abra-ka-warpra!" Since she didn't know the Divine spell for teleporting, and she had no time to look it up, she simply used the Abra equivalent. She was covered in a bright light, and then vanished before Jet could catch her. "I see... Maybe this will be a challenge after all!" he said to himself excitedly.


Punchy had caught up with Rainbow back at the shore, where she and Gator had just returned from their trip to the Green Freedom via a motorboat. "Hey, captain, I'm sorry, but Rainbow and I have friends to help. You'll be fine without us, won't you?" Punchy asked Gator. Gator smiled and nodded. "Aye, mates! Gator's not alone! Watch! Abra-ka-clone-da!" As Gator shouted a spell, two more Gators appeared in a puff of purple smoke! Each of them were wearing pirate hats on top of their alligator hoods. "Tee hee! Clone 1 here! What's up, sirs? Oh, the Sun..." one of the clones said. Punchy began leading Rainbow away. "OK, let's get out of here, Rainbow. His ability to clone himself is something I didn't need to know about. He's scary enough alone..." Rainbow waved to the Gators as she followed Punchy. "See ya, Bluehairs!" Gator's clones immediately set to work digging for treasure, but soon started arguing. "That not how shovel dig! Like this, stupid!" Clone 2 shouted. "No, no, no! You'll tire youself out that way!" Clone 1 replied. In moments, a fight broke out. "Hey, no fighting on my time!" the original Gator shouted, jumping in to settle the fight. However, his clones were incapable of taking punches, and they vanished in another puff of smoke as soon as Gator touched them. Gator, however, thought they were still hiding in the smoke left behind, and was left fighting himself for some time.

Punchy and Rainbow ignored the ruckus behind them as they started back on their way back to Soleanna. Suddenly, Gemini appeared nearby in a flash of light! She spotted Punchy quickly and ran over to him. "Great, you're still here! I need your help!" she told him. Punchy looked a bit irritated. "Didn't we already agree to split up? If you're still in Soleanna when I'm done with my own problems, then we can talk. Now scram!" He really was sick of the beach, and didn't want to spend another minute there for anything. "Sorry, Wanda. Two's trouble is gonna happen first..." Rainbow said. "Yeah, but you're not listening!" Gemini said urgently. "There's no time! Until we get back to Soleanna, we won't even know what DAY it is! This thing happens two days after the Sun Festival! That could be now, for all we know!" Punchy insisted. Gemini opened her mouth to try to explain once more, but it was too late! All three Babylon Rogues arrived, and quickly surrounded them. "Hey, what's goin' on here!? Get outta our way!" Punchy growled. "Tried to tell you..." Gemini muttered. Suddenly, Storm charged at Gemini! Before he could get to her, Punchy stepped in and knocked him off his board. "Ooof!! I hate when this happens!" he grumbled as he stood back up. Storm, however, was just a diversion. Wave dashed in next, and snatched the Time Stone away from Gemini! "She got the Time Rock!" Rainbow shouted, getting Punchy's attention. Now, Punchy was mad. He grabbed Storm's board before Storm could, then jumped on to chase Wave and Jet as they attempted to make their getaway! "My board!! Not again!!!" Storm grumbled. Rainbow got an idea as she watched the boarders take off into the water. "Hey, Wanda, follow me!"

Punchy had absolutely no experience with Extreme Gear, as was evident with how clumsily he was chasing them. To make things more complicated, the commotion was attracting a lot of sea creatures, particularly dolphins and whales. The playful dolphins seemed to think the chase going on was a game, and kept jumping out of the water in front of them just for fun. This actually worked to Punchy's advantage, because Jet and Wave were being slowed down by them as well. However, Punchy wasn't quite as good at avoiding them as Jet and Wave, and found himself steering into whales, which acted as ramps sending him into the air! Luckily, this also helped. When he landed, he was right between Jet and Wave. "Very unorthodox style. You're either really good or extremely lucky, but it doesn't matter! You're nowhere near as good as us!" Jet said. Punchy ignored him and attempted to catch Wave in order to get the Time Stone. Just when Punchy was getting close, she threw the stone to Jet, who caught it and stuck his tongue out at Punchy. "Nya nya! Too slow!" Jet taunted. "Grrrr, that's a cowardly move! Come back here!" Punchy shouted, steering back toward Jet, who then passed the stone back to Wave. "We can do this all day, mutt!" she teased. "Did you just call me mutt!? That does it!!" Punchy turned after Wave much faster this time, and she was forced to use a dolphin as a ramp in order to get out of his way. She then passed the stone back to Jet. "C'mon, give it up! No wingless loser's gonna catch us!" he said. Punchy may have been slowly improving, but it was pretty apparent that Jet was right. This was getting them nowhere. In fact, all it had done was cause them to grow distracted. Since they were paying too much attention to each other, they didn't see that they were about to hit a whale that had surfaced in front of them! The three of them were launched into the air as they hit the whale, but Jet and Wave recovered quickly, using this moment to turn around in midair and go off in a different direction. Punchy, however, had started spinning in midair, and could barely keep himself on the board. Still, he managed to land facing the same direction as Jet and Wave, though he nearly fell over and thus lost some time. "Stubborn, isn't he?" Jet said, a little annoyed. Suddenly, a motor was heard ahead of them. Gator was rapidly approaching using his motorboat, accompanied by Rainbow and Gemini! "Stupid thieves! The seas belong to pirates, not you! Take this!" Gator shouted, charging the boat toward Wave! Taken by surprise, Wave was unable to get out of the way in time, and was knocked off her board! Rainbow tossed Wave a life preserver as they passed by. "There ya go! We don't want ya to drown, after all!" she said. "Thanks a lot, guys!" Punchy said as they turned and joined the chase to catch Jet. The sneaky hawk had quickly come up with a plan, and although he could simply leave the motorboat far behind right away, he instead maintained only a slight lead. Punchy and Gator were so concerned with chasing him, they didn't pay attention to where he was leading them. "Captain! Whoa! Stop! Look out!" Gemini shouted, pointing ahead. Jet suddenly broke ahead of them and jumped with his board, landing smoothly on the beach ahead. Of course, the motorboat wouldn't work on land, but Gator tried to chase him anyway, and soon crashed onto the beach! The surprise caused Punchy to stumble as he reached the beach as well, and he fell off the board! "Dirty thief!" Gator shouted, shaking his fist. It was futile, though, as Jet had quickly flown out of sight.

Storm, seeing his chance, grabbed his board back from Punchy. "I can't stand to see someone who reminds me of that red echidna using my board! Especially when he totally stinks!" he growled. Wave arrived at the beach around the same time. "So long, losers!" she said as she and Storm took off on their boards. Punchy watched as the Babylon Rogues switched their boards to flight mode, and flew off toward their blimp. Gemini and Rainbow jumped out of the boat and looked as well. Once the Babylon Rogues were on board the blimp, it began flying toward Soleanna. "I'm going to need a Time Stone in the end to get back home." Gemini realized. "I can't let them get away!" Without waiting for Punchy, Gemini ran off in pursuit of the blimp. Next, Gator jumped out of the boat. "Looks like it isn't broke, really. I'll just need to get it back in the water somehow..." he was saying to himself. Punchy walked up to Gator and shook his hand. "Thanks for the help. It seems I've under estimated your usefulness... Even though they got away. Tell me, you wouldn't happen to have seen Copter around lately, would ya?" he asked. "Ummm... No. No Copters. Then again, Gator was not looking. I prefer looking for pie!" Gator replied. Without any leads, Punchy decided to go back to his original idea. "Oh well. We'll check around Soleanna. Later, Gator!" he said. Rainbow waved good bye to Gator and then ran in front of Punchy. "You've been wandering lost on this beach since we got here! I'll lead the way this time! Follow me, One!" she said energetically. "Slow down Rainbow! Where the heck do you get all that energy?!" Punchy shouted, trying to keep up, as usual.


Meanwhile, at the Soleanna police station, Razor was waiting for the Soleanna police to track the red helicopters, which they were unable to pursue in the helicopter that picked them up. It was an annoying wait, though, because Tommy was continuously arguing with him. "Come on, Raze, don't you get it? Copter's not a bad guy!" he said, leaning on the desk in the lobby, which he could only do standing on tip-toes. Razor stood with one hand on his hip, and the other reading the newspaper. "Oh, yeah? Then what's GUN after him for? Jaywalking? This is the MILITARY we're talking about, Tom! They don't go arresting people without cause." he insisted. "They made a mistake, then! You said everyone makes mistakes once. And Copter..." Before Tommy could finish his argument, Razor interrupted. "Yes, everyone. ONE. The government is not one. It's a group. You're going to say a group of trained professionals are wrong? I've read the report. Copter escaped Death Row! He robbed Security Tower! He worked for Dr. Eggman! See any sort of criminal pattern here?" Razor's voice had grown angry as he made this argument. "But he tried to help Katie..." Tommy replied weakly. Chet, who was nearby listening, spoke up. "He was trying to help Katie. He even helped me. And he was escorting another lady, a friend of Katie's, who I think was in some sort of trouble. He's like Sonic!" he told him. "Sonic never worked for Eggman." Razor said matter-of-factly. Mia, who was also still there, backed them up. "Yeah, but GUN wrongfully arrested Sonic once. And Shadow... He worked for Eggman, too, but changed his ways." Razor was growing highly annoyed with all of this. "Shadow was pardoned!! Now, this may shock you to hear, but heroes are NOT above the law! This experiment... Copter... He may not actually be a bad guy. But it still stands that he has broken the law, repeatedly! And if you break the law, you must be punished. End of story! If you don't like it, wait and see if GUN allows for bail!!" Just as Razor finished this rant, Spy walked in and called to him. "We've tracked the helicopters, officer Razor! Could you come back here a moment?" Razor placed his newspaper on the desk, then started toward Spy. Halfway there, he turned to Tommy, Chet, and Mia. "Look, I'm sorry. I really am. It's really nothing personal." he said before following Spy out of the lobby.

Copter was being held in a cell located inside the police station for the time being, until transport could arrive to take him back to Death Row. However, Copter was determined not to go back there again. "Lucky for me, they didn't confiscate my tailband. I'm getting outta here! Hang on, Heather!" With this thought foremost in his mind, Copter charged at the bars of his cell, then attempted to smash them with a tail whip. Instead, he simply banged into the bars, merely hurting himself rather than breaking the bars. "Owwwww!!! What the....?! Why didn't it work?!" Two guards, who had heard the sound of Copter hitting the bars, ran over to investigate. "Hey, stop bangin' on the... What the!? He's gone!?" Copter slowly backed away from the bars as he realized he'd become invisible. "Uh huh... That's not the power I wanted... Does this tailband have a mind of its own?!" he thought as he watched the guards open the cell and walk in. "How do you suppose he pulled off this escape?" one of the guards asked. Copter grinned as he seized this opportunity. "Like this!" he shouted, jumping into the air and kicking both guards in the head, knocking them out. "Sorry, pals, but I don't know how long this invisibility will last. Can't have ya blowin' the whistle on me!" he thought to himself, slowly and carefully sneaking out of the prison area...


Chapter 9 - Train Chase Act 1

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.

"Rollin' around at the speed of sound,
Got places to go, gotta follow my rainbow!
Can't stick around, have to keep movin' on.
Guess what lies ahead, only one way to find out!" - Escape From The City, Sonic Adventure 2


Having escaped his cell, and still maintaining his invisibility, Copter snuck into the lobby of the police station. If his luck held out, he could just walk out the front door. As he slowly made his way toward the exit, he noticed Razor enter the lobby, followed by Spy. Copter stopped to eavesdrop as Razor spoke to Chet, Mia, and Tommy. "Agent Spizzweld here has managed to track the red helicopters, so I'll be joining him and a small group of GUN agents to investigate. We're going to the train station." he informed them. "I'm going, too!" Chet insisted. "You can't." Razor said, "It's far too dangerous. Go back to the safe house, all of you. Watch over Tommy for me. I'll call you as soon as we find Katie." Mia crossed her arms grumpily. "Leave it all up to you? We're the ones that found the copters in the first place!" she protested. Razor put on his police cap and started out the door. "I've said my piece. I'm deeply sorry about everything that's been happening... But you three are civilians. Among us, only I am qualified to go, and I'm lucky GUN allowed that, since I don't work for them. We'll talk later... Bye." After Razor exited the station, Mia motioned for Chet and Tommy to follow her. Seeing his chance to get through the door, Copter followed them. "This is insane! We did much better than any of those so-called professionals did!" Chet grumbled, following Mia to her cab. "Razor did the best he could..." Tommy said in his brother's defense. Mia turned and winked at them before getting into the driver's seat of her cab. "Yeah, Razor did great all right... Telling us where he was going. C'mon, we're not getting left out this time! Into the cab, and we're off to the station!" she said. Copter, overhearing this, snuck into the cab from the other side while Chet and Tommy thought about it. "I want to go... But I have to agree that it's too dangerous for Tommy." Chet reasoned. "I'll stay out of the way! Please, let me go, too!" Tommy begged. "I'll look after him, OK, Chet?" Mia offered. Satisfied, Chet and Tommy got into the cab. "Oh, boy... This invisibility better hold out... I don't wanna pay the cab fare..." Copter thought, holding on to the edge of his seat as a substitute for using a seat belt. After all, the seat belts weren't invisible!


Meanwhile, Punchy and Rainbow had finally made it back to Soleanna. They had lost sight of Gemini along the way, but Punchy didn't care. Her business wasn't his business. As they crossed the bridge nearest Wave Ocean and began heading for New City, they heard a faint growling sound nearby. Guard was seated at the fountain in front of the entrance to New City, lost in thought. Punchy decided to stop and chat. After all, it felt sort of soothing to see him alive again. "Hey, Devilie!" Rainbow said in introduction. He looked up at them, with the same grumpy expression he usually bore. "Grrr... It's Guard. And... Grrr... You're Copter's friends, aren't you?" he said. Punchy nodded. "Yeah, remember, I helped him get away from you that time... You seen Copter?" he asked casually. "What are you doing?" Guard growled. After all, Punchy had never been so chummy with him before. "I've attacked your friends. Grrr... We're enemies... aren't we?" he grunted. Rainbow looked shocked at this statement. "Enemies? We are? Since when? I don't remember this!" That was because Rainbow had never been in the area while Guard was fighting with Copter. Punchy thought about it, then decided against telling Guard what happened in the future. He felt it would probably just upset him. "Look... uh... Guard... I don't got anything against you, really... Just the jerk you work for.... Aw, forget it! Let's just go, Rainbow!" he grumbled, frustrated. He started to walk away, but Guard stopped him. "Copter was arrested!" he said in his ever growling voice. Punchy and Rainbow spun around quickly, looking at him with surprise. "Two's in jail? What for?" Rainbow asked. "Simply because he's an experiment, Rainbow." Punchy told her, for what seemed to him the millionth time. (She never understood why the experiments were fugitives.) Guard wasn't finished, though. "He was caught off guard... Grrr... After the experiment was captured by Dr. Eggman's robot." he explained. Punchy looked shocked and dismayed, but all that quickly changed to anger. "Sure, I leave for... Some time... And everything falls apart! Well, at least he'll be safe in jail, but I have to help what's-its-name! Can you believe I've not even met this experiment yet? How would I even find it!?" he shouted in frustration. Guard stood up from where he was sitting and walked a couple steps toward Punchy. "She's a phoenix. Grrr... I believe her name is Heather...." Punchy smacked himself on the forehead. "Duh! That's who that was! Why the heck didn't I guess that? Wait... Did I guess that? D'oh..." he said, referring to the report he read in the future. (Also somewhat referring to a plot hole... Which has been fixed by now.) Guard ignored the comment and continued. "I have maintained contact with one police officer. Grrrr... According to him, the robot was last seen being followed by red helicopters. Grrr... They were tracked to the terminal station. Grrr... I can lead you there." he offered. Punchy smiled at Guard. "All right! Now we're getting somewhere! Lead the way, Guard!"


At the same time, Gemini had reached the train station. She had followed the Babylon Rogue's blimp there, but was stopped by Soleanna's guards. Apparently, the station was off limits to civilians. Mia's cab was there, as well. She, Chet, and Tommy had already been barred from entry. They didn't want to let it stop them, though, and they had parked the cab a short distance away from the station in order to figure a way in. Once they were all out of the cab, Copter saw his chance to exit, and attempted to pass the guards while still invisible. Unfortunately, his luck finally ran out, as did his invisibility. "Hey, where'd he come from!? You, get outta here!" the guards shouted, chasing Copter off. "Fine! All right! I'm going! Stupid jerks..." Copter said, running off. Gemini had watched the whole thing, as had Mia and Chet, and all of them gathered at Mia's cab. "So, can we call you Houdini? How'd you pull off that vanishing act?" Mia asked. "I don't really know... That's why I'm not still using it." Copter replied. Watching Copter had given Gemini an idea, and she was now attempting to recall the invisibility spell her teacher had used in the future. "So, I know those guys are here for our mutual friend, Katie. What're you doing here, Gemini?" Copter asked. Gemini had pulled out her spell book to look up the spell, but answered Copter's question first. "It's been a... hectic day. I'm attempting to get back a Time Stone that was stolen from me." she explained. Copter was curious as to what had been going on with her and Punchy, but there wasn't time to ask. Gemini quickly found the spell she needed. "Aha! Here it is! The invisibility spell!" she said. Chet looked skeptical. "Spell? The only magic around here... Is the kind that led a beauty like you to us!" he flirted. Mia smacked him over the head. "Not now, Casanova!" she grumbled. Tommy's eyes lit up when Gemini took out her wand. "Oooh! Are you gonna do a magic show?" he asked excitedly. Gemini smiled at the young porcupine and nodded. "I'll help us get in the station... Are we all going?" she asked. They all said "yes," so Gemini cast her spell over all five of them. "Cleviso!" They all became invisible, which surprised more than one skeptic among them. "Cool! Can you do more magic?" Tommy said with excitement. "Not now. And everyone be quiet. The guards can still hear us!" Gemini informed them. With that, they quickly and stealthily snuck past the guards. Shortly afterward, Guard, Punchy, and Rainbow arrived. "Grrr... Those guards won't let us through..." Guard realized. "Then how will we get in?" Rainbow asked. Without answering, Guard walked within sight of the guards. "Grrrrr!!! Hey, remember me? I 'threatened' Lord Regis! Grrrr... What are you punks going to do about it!?" he shouted. The guards quickly started chasing him, giving Punchy and Rainbow the chance they needed. "Didn't know he got in trouble... I guess it's lucky for us!" Punchy thought as he followed Rainbow into the train station. The station guards had failed to take Guard's wings into account, as well. Guard leapt into the air and flew over the station, leaving the station guards bewildered and frustrated.


Heather had indeed been brought to the station, where Eggman had placed her on a train along with his other captive, Princess Elise. The two of them were both locked in the same small passenger car behind the lead engine. Neither of them were restrained, because Eggman didn't think they'd try to escape from a moving train. Since they each were the only company for the other, they started to talk. "So... What're you in for?" Heather asked. Elise was a bit surprised that Heather didn't know who she was, but didn't show it. "I'm not entirely certain... Eggman did say something about me having some 'power,' but I'm not sure what he plans to do exactly." she replied, "And you? Why did Eggman kidnap you?" Heather looked at bit sad as she thought about it. "Everyone seems to be after me. I... I think I have a power, too. But... I'm afraid of it. These people after me want to use me to hurt people... But I don't want to..." she explained. Elise looked very sympathetic. "That's got to be tough... I've only had Eggman chasing me, and that alone has been hard. But... I know it'll all be okay. A friend is coming for me... I know it!" she said. This got Heather thinking about Copter. "That's another thing we have in common... Except I'm not sure if my friend will come. He... I don't know what to make of him. There seems to be no reason for him to want to help me." she said worriedly. "You know what my friend said when I asked him why he was helping me?" Elise asked. Heather shook her head. "'No special reason.' That was all. I'm certain your friend will come for you, too." the princess insisted. All this talk made Heather remember the moment in the plains. "That's right... Take action first, before action takes you..." she whispered to herself. Elise heard her say this, and was reminded of what Sonic said. It was then that the princess made up her mind. "I'm going to help you get out of here!" she declared. Heather looked at her with surprise. "How? And... what about you?" she asked with concern. "No need to worry about me. Sonic will help me. But there's no reason both of us should stay here!" Suddenly, the train came to a screeching halt! The sudden stop made Elise and Heather fall over, but they quickly recovered. "Now's your chance! Out the window!" Elise said. Heather looked concerned, but knew that she couldn't take Elise with her, because the window was too small for a human to get out of fast enough. "Don't worry about me, go!" Elise insisted, using a hairpin to unlock and open the window. Heather quickly climbed out of the train, then turned and waved to Elise as the train continued. "Thank you! I'll find a way to repay you someday!" the phoenix promised, crying a little. Hearing a noise nearby, she noticed Shadow running off after the train. "He must have stopped the train somehow... Maybe he'll rescue... Wow, she helped me without us even introducing ourselves..." she realized.


Back at the station, Razor and the GUN agents had stopped to wait for a train pulling in. Gemini's invisibility spell had worn off by the time they reached this area, so she and the others with her were keeping out of sight as much as possible. "What're they waiting for?" Tommy whispered. A large, black passenger train arrived at that moment. On the side of each car was the insignia of GUN! Razor and the agents stood before the front passenger car, when suddenly, the agents pointed their weapons at Razor! "H-hey?! What is this!?" he shouted pointing his own gun around. "Lower the weapon, you slime!" said a passenger exiting the train. It was Sergeant Gunner himself! "W-what's happening?" Tommy whispered to Chet, scared. "It looks like... GUN's betrayed us!" he growled quietly. Razor was forced to drop his gun. "What's the meaning of this, Gunner!?" he demanded to know. Gunner turned to Spy first. "You've done excellent work, Spy. I knew you would be useful someday!" he said. "Thank you sir!" Spy replied, ignoring the insult hidden in Gunner's praise. Gunner next proceeded to handcuff Razor. "You've been sticking your freakish nose where you shouldn't have! I hereby place you under arrest for treason! Proud of yourself now, you furry freak!" he yelled, leading Razor and Spy into his passenger car while the other agents boarded the train's other cars. "Well, well. I bet officer bonehead there will think twice before trusting Gunner again!" Copter chuckled. He was loving this, for sure. Gemini looked at him angrily. "This isn't funny, Copter! We have to help him!" she shouted. Copter may not have liked Razor, but he liked Gunner even less. "Fine, let's go! I miss clobbering Gunner's minions, anyway!" Without any further delay, Copter and Gemini ran after the train, which had already begun moving, and jumped onto a car in the middle of the train. "H-hey, hold on, you crazies!" Chet shouted, stupefied by how quickly things were moving. Mia pushed him forward. "Hurry up, before you miss the train, Chet! I'll watch over Tommy!" she ordered. Chet quickly snapped himself back into focus. "R-right! Razor's bailed me out in the past, so now it's my turn!" The train was getting away, so Chet had to run as fast as he could in order to get onto the back car! He barely made it!

As Mia and Tommy watched the GUN train leave, Punchy, Rainbow, and Guard arrived. Punchy didn't think anything of them, but Guard recognized them immediately. "Grrrrr.... You two shouldn't be here! It's a restricted area!" he growled. "Then what are you doing here?" Tommy asked cleverly. "He's got ya there, Devilie!" Rainbow said. Mia pointed down the track the GUN train was on. "A GUN train was here. This old dude came and arrested Razor for treason! Copter, Chet, and this other girl got on the train as it was leaving to try to help them!" she informed them. Punchy smacked his forehead again. "Shoulda known Copter would escape! He can't be contained! We have to catch that train!" he shouted urgently. "What about Seven?" Rainbow said, reminding Punchy about her. Guard looked down the track. He could see with his android eyes that the train wasn't moving too fast for him to catch it. "I'll handle things with GUN. Grrrrr... Razor's arrest has to be a mistake. Grrrr... I'll get him out, and help the others, too!" he promised, breaking into a run before jumping into the air and flying after the train. Punchy sighed with relief. "Maybe us making Guard come here changes the future enough... Anyway, let's go! We may not be fast enough to catch the train on foot, but maybe we'll find Heather on the way!" he said to Rainbow. "OK, One! I'll go on ahead, since I'm faster than you! Follow me!" As Rainbow ran ahead, Punchy followed. "Quit calling me One, Colors!" he shouted. Left with the job of babysitting Tommy, Mia began wondering what to do next. "Well, that was crazy. Still, we can't just LEAVE. The guards are gonna want to take us in for questioning once they notice we got past them... Or something..." she said. Tommy started thinking. There had to be something they could do. "Maybe we could just follow 'em on foot, like that green guy's doing." he suggested. Mia shook her head. "Nooooo way! I think I've walked enough today! Still..." As she looked around, she noticed that the GUN agents had left behind some motorcycles. "How much you wanna bet I can drive one of those?" she said, pointing to them. Tommy looked a bit nervous. "I can't drive them... I'm not old enough to drive, Razor says." he protested. Mia hopped onto one of the bikes. "Hop on the back! Just hold on tight!" she said. Tommy would've preferred to take his chances driving one himself, but knew that wasn't going to happen, so he hopped on the back of the motorcycle and grabbed Mia around the waist. "Do you... know what you're doing?" he asked. Mia grinned as she revved up the bike. "Maybe... We'll soon find out!"


Actually, most of the passenger cars on the train were pretty empty. A few minor robots were patrolling the train, watching for intruders. Chet was left to deal with most of the robots at the back of the train, and it would take a while for him to get to the front. Together, though, Copter and Gemini easily dealt with the robots they faced. They slowly made their way toward the front of the train, where Razor was being held. It seemed they would probably be finished long before Chet could catch up. "For something involving GUN, this sure is easy..." Copter noted. "The agents that came on board were mostly in the front cars. Don't get cocky, Copter. This'll get harder soon enough!" Gemini warned. She was right, but she didn't realize just how soon! As they jumped from one car to the next, they found tons of explosives being set to a timer by someone. It was Fera the Wolf! "Holy heck!? What ARE you DOING!?" Copter shouted. Fera was unshaken at being discovered, and merely continued her work. "What am I doing? Striking a blow for all furs! Sergeant Gunner is one of our biggest opponents. He'll stop at nothing to murder each and every fur in the world! Me, I'll stop at nothing to eliminate those inanimal humans!" she said, setting a timer. "Inanimal? Is that supposed to mean, like, inhuman?" Gemini asked. Fera laughed at this. "Inhuman would be a compliment! Do you not see how they run this planet? More than once, the entire world was threatened by their actions!" she said. Copter and Gemini each readied for a fight. "I applaud your desire to help the world... Heck, even killing Gunner has merit. But there are innocents on this train, including furries like us. We can't let you do this!" Copter warned. Fera scoffed at him. "If there are other furs on this train, they deserve to die for consorting with those hateful humans! And you... You deserve to die for trying to help them!" she threatened. Gemini quickly cast a spell on the explosives. "Morphicadabra!!" The spell turned the bombs into harmless firecrackers, thus ruining Fera's plans. This only made her laugh, though. "Ooooh, you cheeky little Divine mage! So, you've bought Gunner some time. Fine. I'll just have to settle for destroying you two! Then, the phoenix will be easily swayed to join me! Especially if she thinks the humans killed you!" she said, black sparks beginning to shoot from her hands. Copter had heard enough, and he next tried to hit her with his tails, but Fera simply stepped backwards to dodge. "There's not much room here... I think I'll go out for some air! And if you don't want to follow, fine with me! Gunner's still on this train!" she sneered, diving for a window! She used the same black energy to shatter the window, then climbed to the roof of the train! "Th... that looks dangerous..." Gemini whimpered. Copter also looked a bit worried. "If only we weren't moving... I HATE machines!" Though they hated the idea of going that way, they couldn't just let Fera escape. Copter climbed up to the roof first, then helped Gemini up. "I knew you'd follow me!" Fera shouted as Copter and Gemini attempted to balance themselves on the roof of the train. Fera seemed largely unaffected by the change in environment, and was eagerly waiting for them to move first. "Come on, human sympathizers, let's see what you got!"


Punchy and Rainbow found themselves following a different track, having been disoriented by a sneak attack by GUN robots. It was merely a few beetles, but there wasn't enough room to fight where they were ambushed, so they had to move. "This place is crazy! Who built a railroad high in the mountains! And with so many small platforms and moving conveyer belts! This stupid kingdom makes no sense!" Punchy had said as he made his way to a larger platform that served as one of the train stops. Once there, Punchy quickly took out the beetles by jumping at them and punching them to pieces. Rainbow helped by tossing tools she found laying around at them. With the robots gone, Punchy looked down the track they'd wound up at. An odd looking train was stopped some distance away. "That ain't GUN's train. Looks like something Eggman might build." Punchy said. "Maybe Seven's on board!" Rainbow realized. It would likely take a while to get there, though. Eggman's robots were patrolling the tracks. "This may be our only chance to catch them. I think they're having engine trouble or something..." Punchy reasoned. Rainbow grabbed a bunch of tools in her arms to use against the robots. "Let's get goin' then, One! Time's a-wasting!" With that, the two of them ran after the train, following the track. Since it was too dangerous to use Chaos Avalanche in a place like this, Punchy found himself having a lot of trouble fighting, since the majority of the robots were flying. So, he merely smashed whatever enemies came close to him, and left the flying enemies to deal with the tools Rainbow had brought. Still, it was getting clear that they would have too much difficulty reaching the train in time. Worse, the robots had begun swarming around them, and Rainbow soon ran out out of tools. "That's it, Rainbow! Hang on to something, 'cuz I'm gonna have to break the bridge!" Punchy warned her. Rainbow pointed behind them. "I wouldn't do that, One! Not since we got backup coming fast!" Looking back, Punchy saw an armed motorcycle heading toward them, shooting at the robots! It was Mia and Tommy! "Keep it moving, green guy! I don't wanna hit you!" Mia shouted. The robots were alarmed by this development, and many of them rushed to go after Mia. This was Punchy and Rainbow's chance! The two of them ran as fast as they could, and jumped into the train from the back just as it began to start moving! "Thanks, ma'am! Good luck!" Punchy shouted to Mia. Rainbow tapped Punchy on the shoulder and pointed inside the train. "Don't thank her yet, One... L-look!" The train was filled with Eggman's robots! Punchy and Rainbow screamed at first, but quickly quieted down when they noticed they weren't moving. "Huh... They're turned off. This must be a... Army transport... Of some kind..." Punchy said. A few robots suddenly started moving, having heard their screams! "Nuts, we woke them up, One!" Rainbow shouted. "They... don't sleep, Rainbow... Let's just fight these guys before they power up the other ones!"


Copter started to attack Fera, trying once again to hit her with a tail whip, which Fera easily dodged. "Come on, haven't you got anything original? Watch this!" Fera shouted, tossing a ball of dark energy at Gemini! "Blastrotall!" Gemini defended by hitting the energy ball with a blast from her wand. The attacks bounced off each other and fell off the train. "Leave her alone! I'll fight you one on one!" Copter shouted. Fera growled in a sort of playful manner. "Isn't that cute? This little boy wants me all to himself. Even though both of you together can't hope to challenge me!" she said. Gemini didn't want to be left out, either. "Don't go playing the hero, you idiot! This isn't some game! I can help!" she shouted. Suddenly, another voice was heard close by. "Listen to your buddy, pal. I think you guys'll need all the help you can get!" The voice belonged to Jet, who was leading Wave and Storm alongside the train! "One of you has a Time Stone, and we're gonna get it!" Wave told them. "So you might as well save us all some trouble and hand it over!" Storm added. Copter and Gemini exchanged glances and then glared at the Babylon Rogues. "You're nuts! We don't have any Time Stones! You already stole them from us!" Copter shouted, with Gemini nodding in agreement. Fera chuckled at them. "That might be true, but that doesn't mean there aren't any Time Stones here!" she yelled, holding up a red Time Stone! She clutched it in her left hand, while her right hand became surrounded by dark energy. "You guys want it? Just try and take it!" she threatened. Gemini pointed her wand to Jet as well. "You're gonna give back my Time Stone, too!" she declared. The time for talk, however, was now over. The Babylon Rogues started moving to attack, while Fera began hurling balls of dark energy at them. At the same time, Copter and Gemini were caught in the middle, stuck trying to dodge while Copter ran after Fera and Gemini tried to shoot at Jet. Just as the Babylon Rogues were about to speed up and ram the three on the train, an energy blast from behind caused them to scatter! Guard had finally caught up with the train, and was ready to help. "Grrrrr!!! I don't know who most of you are, but I don't really care. Grrrr, you're all going down!" he snarled. Copter waved to Guard as everyone paused to watch him. "I don't think I'll ever be more happy to see you, dog breath!" he said. Unfortunately, Guard wasn't going to get to help. A blast of white energy was fired at Guard from his right, which he barely managed to dodge. Looking over, he saw the same person who killed Rick flying away. "Grrrr!!! Darn it! That assassin! Sorry, guys, I can't stay to help!" he shouted, changing his course in order to chase his black clad assailant. Fera looked back at the others. "Now, where were we?" she growled, "Oh, yes. Right here!" With that, the battle resumed.


Punchy and Rainbow fought their way to the front of the robot filled train, and came to the conductor's control room, as was the way Eggman's trains were built. Someone was seated at the controls, and it appeared to be Eggman. "Stay back, Rainbow. This might be unpleasant." Punchy advised, approaching the control chair. Rainbow still stayed relatively close, though. Punchy stomped his last step as he stopped a few feet from the chair. "All right, Eggman! Where's Heather? You're gonna let her go... right... NOW!" As he said that last word, Punchy grabbed the chair and gave it a spin. It stopped facing Punchy, and they found that it wasn't Eggman, but a metallic look alike! "Sorry, Punchy, but you've got the wrong train. I am Metal Eggman, and this... Is Alpha!" Metal Eggman pressed a button on the armrest of his chair, and the roof of the train opened up to allow Alpha and Char to make a somewhat dramatic entrance. "Hahahaha!! You sure are dumb, Punchy! Eggman's train is long gone by now!" Char teased. Alpha let out a robotic chuckle as well. "You shoulda seen the look on your face when that fakey fake turned around! It looked like you!" the robot said. Punchy was now more frustrated then he'd been all day. "That's it! Now you'll get to see what happened to Terra!" he roared, lunging at Alpha fist first! Alpha was faster on his feet these days, so he quickly dodged and punched Punchy back. "Pow! Take that, melon head!" Alpha taunted. Punchy retaliated quickly, socking Alpha in his robotic chest. Alpha was simply knocked backward, and quickly fought back by tackling Punchy! He fell toward Metal Eggman, who kicked him from his chair. This kept Punchy from falling, though, and allowed him to punch back! "Go, Alphie! Get Terra's revenge!" Char cheered. Rainbow glared at the Chao. "No way! You can do it, One! This jerk's just a pile of pots and pans!" she said, attempting to top Char's cheer. Char glared back at her, and it could have turned into a cheer war if they weren't suddenly interrupted. "You guys sure make a racket!" came a voice behind them. "Spiny! Great timing!" Char said, turning around. Spiny glared around the room, full of contempt for everyone there. "Yes... Great timing... Because now I get to clobber all five of you at once!" he sneered, pure hatred in his eyes. Rainbow raised her hand like a student in a classroom. "Um, sir? Aren't you on Tubby's side?" she asked. Char also looked confused. "You said that you wanted to help us..." he recalled. Spiny let out a menacing cackle. "Yes, well, Dr. Eggman's sure gullible, isn't he?! The mere fact that I look like his archenemy should have set an alarm off! Truth is, I'm a double agent. And now, I get to discard this facade! Prepare to face my wrath!!"


Chapter 10 - Train Chase Act 2

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.

"Can't hold on much longer!
But I will never let go!
I know it's a one way track.
Tell me now how long this'll last!" - Open Your Heart, Sonic Adventure


"So, you're a double agent?!" Punchy growled. Char laughed at Spiny's claim. "Some joke, blue boy! C'mon, no one's buying this!" he said. "Yeah, it's too expensive!" Alpha added. Metal Eggman stood up from his chair. "If you're a double agent, but not on any side represented here, then who are you working for?!" he asked. Spiny chuckled malevolently. "Well, let's see. GUN wouldn't hire me, so who's left? I guess I'll just cut to the chase. I am Experiment 9!" he proclaimed. Punchy and Char both looked surprised, while Alpha and Metal Eggman simply became defensive. Rainbow simply waved at Spiny. "Hi, Nine!" she said, nicknaming him after his number, as usual for the experiments. "Whoa... Bucky's sure been busy lately!" Punchy muttered, wondering if there were any more experiments out there. Just then, Zipp flew in behind Spiny, holding a pistol in each hand. "Let's hurry up and capture the train, Spines! I left Vortex and Crash to pilot the chopper! We all know that won't likely end well!" he reported, half glaring at Punchy all the while. Alpha was first to realize that this was fast becoming hopeless, and blasted a hole in the left side of the train! "So long, lab monkeys! Alphie's gonna tattle on yoooouse!!" he said tauntingly, running for the hole in the train as Zipp attempted to shoot him down! Punchy saw what may be his only way out, and jumped onto Alpha's back as he exited the train! Char and Rainbow, reacting fast, ran after them! Char flew away with Alpha, while Rainbow attempted to follow by gliding! With no other targets left, Zipp pointed his weapons at Metal Eggman, who had sat back in his chair and pushed a button. "Sorry, pals, but I won't be powering down today! So long!" Metal Eggman's chair then detached from the train and rocketed through the open roof, leaving Spiny and Zipp to claim the train unopposed! "Give me a minute, Zippo, I have something to do!" Spiny chuckled, heading for the back of the control car and opening its back door. "So long, robots!" he snarled, disconnecting the cars from the train before firing a series of Chaos Spears at them, making them erupt into a massive explosion! Zipp flew over and grinned at the destruction. "Ooooh, I like you, Spines. Keep the train going as best you can until I switch places with Vortex. You know, before he crashes the chopper!" he said, zipping away.


Back on the roof of the GUN train, Copter and Gemini were still fighting with Fera and the Babylon Rogues. Gemini kept the Rogues at bay with shots from her wand, which they were so busy dodging that they couldn't do much else, while Copter battled with Fera. "OK, Fera, you've annoyed me. It's time I really fought back! Chaos Whirlwind!!" Copter shouted, sending a gust of chaotic wind toward Fera, which was moving in the opposite direction of the train. Fera tossed a few dark energy balls into the wind, slowing it into a light breeze. "Hah! You call that an attack?! You're nothing but hot air!" she sneered. Copter next attempted to punch her, but she ducked and slammed him in the chest with a blast of dark energy! The blast knocked Copter backward, and might have caused him to fall off the train had he not quickly spun his tails and corrected his balance. "You ARE stubborn, I'll give you that much!" Fera said, grinning as the dark energy surrounding her hand began building up. "Now, let's see how you handle THIS!!" She finished charging energy, then fired a black beam at Copter! He jumped backward and pulled Gemini down with him! "Eeek! What are you doing!?" Gemini shouted, hanging on for dear life. "Saving you!" Copter said as the beam passed over them, and then barely missed the Babylon Rogues! As the beam subsided, Copter saw his chance. He quickly stood back up and called his attack. "Chaos Whirlwind!!" This time, Fera didn't have time to slow the wind much, and was knocked slightly off balance! While Gemini was struggling to stand back up without falling off the train, Jet took the opportunity to speed past her and snatch the Time Stone from Fera's hand! "Thanks for your contribution!" Jet squawked, preparing to make his escape. "Oh, no you don't!!" shouted Copter, who quickly leapt onto Jet's board and began struggling with the hawk. "Hey, no hitch-hikers! Get off my board!!!" he yelled, trying to push Copter off. In the struggle, Copter managed to wrestle the Time Stone away from Jet, but it seemed he wouldn't be able to get away with it. At that moment, Copter got a huge stroke of luck. As Jet's board moved around above the train, Alpha could be spotted ahead of them! Punchy was still hanging on to Alpha, and this gave Copter the idea to do the same. "Later, parrot brain! Enjoy your spin!" he said, jumping from Jet to Alpha and simultaneously causing Jet's board to spin out! With their leader in trouble, and falling fast as a result, Wave and Storm were forced to attempt to help him. "We'll be back, skunk face!" Wave shouted, though sure Copter was out of earshot already. With that intense moment over, Gemini turned to face Fera. "OK... Looks like your friend has lost by forfeit! Think you can succeed where he failed?" Fera said triumphantly. Gemini pointed her wand at her, refusing to back down. "Maybe not... But he didn't exactly get beat! I'm not giving up!"


Heather had wandered somewhat far from the station where the trains had started, following the track of the train she escaped from. She was walking between that and another track on a large bridge, when she suddenly spotted Mephiles ahead! "All alone again, are you?" he said, looking around slowly. "Y-you!? St-stay back! Copter's looking for me, you know!" said Heather, recoiling slightly. Mephiles responded by laughing coldly. "Is he now? Do you truly believe that? What possible reason does he have to help you? The answer... is none." he said quietly, walking toward Heather slowly. "I know... But he's helped me so far. I think he's just... A good person." she said, looking at the ground in uncertainty as she did. Mephiles had stepped close to her, and circled around behind her, whispering in her ear from behind. "I have a reason. We have much in common. Copter just wants to use you. He's a fugitive, too, and he wants to use your power to destroy those chasing him." Heather stepped away from Mephiles, turning to face him as she did. "Come with me, Heather. Together, we can eliminate all those who desire to do you harm. You will truly be free. We can reshape the world together..." he offered. Heather thought about it for a moment. Everything Mephiles said made sense. "It's tempting.... But I trust Copter! He's stood by me, and he doesn't trust you, so I won't!" she shouted defiantly. Mephiles did not show emotion. He simply created a vortex above himself. "Think it over. We'll meet again, and I'm sure you'll make the right decision. After all, you and I are linked in ways you cannot yet imagine!" With that, he jumped into the vortex and closed it behind him. As Heather's attention moved from Mephiles to the area around her, she saw a somewhat damaged train heading straight toward her! Hovering over the train was a red helicopter, piloted by Zipp, with Crash in the co-pilot's seat! The train stopped next to her, and Vortex and Spiny jumped out of the hole in the side and grabbed Heather! "Hello, there, Sssseven! Nice to ssssee you again!" Vortex hissed viciously. He and Spiny forced her on to the train, despite her attempts to struggle. "Let me go!! Stop this!!" she shouted feebly. "Now, now, ma'am, take it easy. We're just going for a little ride! Welcome to the GeneX Express!" Spiny cackled as he tied her up. "Next sssstop, Sssshadow Arcangel!!" Vortex announced as the train began moving. Heather could do nothing but cry. Things looked bad, and would likely get worse fast!


Alpha soon landed on a platform that served as one of the train stops, then shook Copter and Punchy off. Rainbow landed nearby, and Char flew over to Alpha. "You OK, Alphie? Those guys must've been heavy!" he said, snickering a little. "You silly. They're light and fluffy like stuffed animals... Or marshmallows! Mmmmm... Stuffed marshmallows!!" Alpha replied. "Huh? Two!? Where'd you come from?" Rainbow asked in confusion, having missed the drama on Gunner's train. Copter dizzily responded. "Well, you see... One day Bucky got bored and kidnapped Tails..." he began before being snapped out of it by the sound off Eggman's voice! Alpha was projecting a hologram of Eggman, which was speaking to Char. "It seems our hostages have escaped, but the phoenix isn't with Sonic! Char, I want you and Alpha to begin searching the area for that escaped bird! And this time, see to it she stays caged!" he ordered. Char gave him a salute. "Yes, doc! But I gotta tell ya... Spiny's really Experiment 9!" he said. Eggman was not surprised. "Metal-Me has already reported on the matter. I've already informed the robots! Get that phoenix!" With that, the hologram faded, and Alpha waved goodbye to Copter and Punchy. "Let's play again another time! So long, dollies!" Copter, Punchy, and Rainbow watched as Alpha and Char flew away. "What's with everyone going after that Heather? Is she pretty?" Punchy asked, still regretful that he hadn't even met her yet. "She's... nice... There's no time for this, Punchy! A lot of people are in trouble!" Copter replied. Rainbow nudged Punchy with her elbow. "Don't forget, One! Two's in trouble, too!" she said. Copter ignored that and began looking around for something he could use as a vehicle. "R-right! Copter, I gotta tell you something! Me and Rainbow wound up in the future, and..." Punchy started to explain, but Copter interrupted him with laughter. "Future!? Come on, be honest, Punch!" he said. Rainbow grabbed the Time Stone out of Copter's hand and pointed to it. "This thingy! We used one to get back! Wanda came from the future with one, too!" she tried to explain, but Copter didn't get it. "Wanda? Who the heck... Can you translate, Punchy?" he asked. "Gemini's from the future. But forget that! Copter, you and Heather are gonna die when Eggman's battleship crashes! You gotta avoid that ship!" Punchy shouted. Copter grabbed the Time Stone back from Rainbow, rolling his eyes at both of them. "I somehow doubt I'm ever going to be near that ship. You're crazy. But if it'll make you feel better, I'll call my plane by remote! I have no idea where it is, or if it still runs, but who knows? Maybe it'll find me if I need it... To escape from crashing battleships... Or whatever..." he said, pulling out the Hurricane remote and using it. "Can't wait here for it now, though. Gotta find Heather." Punchy grew a bit frustrated by the fact that Copter wouldn't take him seriously. "Copt, when a guy comes and tells you you're gonna die, you don't ignore him!!!" he growled. Rainbow put her arm around Punchy. "Chill out, One! Maybe Two's right! Maybe he won't get on the ship!" Copter kicked some tools that were on the floor. "Dang it!! There's no way I'll find Heather in time at this rate!" he shouted. Suddenly, a motorcycle was heard coming down the track! Looking in the direction of the sound, Copter saw Mia approaching! She stopped in front of him and looked from him, to Punchy, to Rainbow. "I imagine we missed quite a show. Too bad, eh, Tom?" she said, looking back at Tommy. The young porcupine was shaking. "C-can I get off and w-walk, please, Mia?" he said. Copter helped Tommy down from the bike. "Uh, Mia... I need to borrow that bike. Care to loan it?" he asked. Mia hopped off the bike. "Be my guest. It's a rental." she said. Copter climbed on the bike and waved to his friends. "I'll see you four later! If I survive this, that is... Now how the heck did I work the last motorcycle I used...?" After a short pause, the motorcycle sped off, with Copter shouting in surprise at the sudden acceleration. "Bye, Two! Good luck!" Rainbow said cheerfully as she waved to him. "Yeah, he'll need it..." said Mia.


Gemini was face to face with Fera, struggling against the force of the movement of the train. She could not back down. Fera's plans would threaten innocents, and that was not something Gemini could allow. Fera looked at her with contempt, but also with a thrilled anticipation. "You know, I'm sort of glad you showed up! I was certain this mission would be boring..." she said, both of her hands becoming engulfed in dark energy. "That's some unusual dark magic you're using there... But light magic always wins over dark!" said Gemini, trying to sound sure of herself. "Such naivet�! Don't give me any of that 'light conquers all' drivel! Darkness rules this world! Allow me to show you... The power of despair!" shouted Fera, shooting sparks of dark energy toward Gemini! She reacted too slow, and was shocked by the dark attack! The sparks hurt, but Gemini knew Fera was capable of worse. She had to fight back. "B-blastrotall!" She fired a few blasts from her wand, which Fera easily avoided. "Come on, is that all you can do?!" the wolf sneered, shooting more sparks and causing Gemini to kneel over slightly in pain. Gemini could barely stand on the train without falling, much less dodge Fera's attacks. As she attempted to recover, Fera threw some dark energy balls at her, forcing her into action. "Abra-ka-blockra!" Gemini had no time to attempt to recall a real spell, so she erected a weak shield to keep Fera's attacks from hitting her. The barrier shattered once the last ball hit, but Gemini was ready. "Abra-ka-petra!!" She attempted to hit Fera with a petrification spell that might stop her, but upon hitting, the spell very quickly wore off. "Please! Abra magic is far too weak to petrify me! Even light magic might fail!" said Fera in an annoyed tone. She resumed throwing her dark balls at Gemini, which she attempted to avoid. "Ahh! Fine, I'll try a petrify spell! Streeze!" she shouted, but the spell was wrong. It instead caused a strong wind to blow, which still caught Fera off guard. The wolf started to fall, but then vanished in a flash of black light. Gemini looked around where Fera had been. "Is that it? Did I... win?" she asked herself. She got her answer as she heard Fera laughing behind her. "Petrify, eh? Very funny. Seemed more like wind!" Gemini turned around to see Fera building up dark energy as she had done shortly before Copter left. "Face... Despair!!!" shouted Fera, shooting a black beam straight at Gemini! Very quickly, Gemini thought of a spell. "Solare!!" A similar beam of light energy shot from Gemini's wand, then hit the dark beam head on! The two beams remained for a moment, each trying to overpower the other, until at last the light beam made it through! It wasn't because the light was stronger, however. "Always watch your enemy!!" Fera shouted from behind Gemini before hitting her with an intense spark attack! Gemini dropped to her knees, unable to hold on much longer. Fera abruptly stopped attacking. "You are weak, as is the light you prize! It's interesting, though... This was the second time you lost that red Time Stone!" she said, mockingly. Gemini looked back at her in shock as she realized what she was saying. "That Time Stone... You took it when I came... You know I came from the future!" she gasped. "Partially correct. I didn't get that stone from you. I got it from the one who did take it from you, though." Fera explained. Gemini had no clue who that could be, but she did know that this was her last chance to fight back! "Solare!" This time, the light beam hit its target, and hit hard! Fera fell onto her back, and remained there long enough for Gemini to stand up and approach her. "Fool that I am... I hesitated..." Fera growled. Rather than attempt to restrain Fera, Gemini reached out her hand to help her up. As Fera stood up, she sent sparks searing through Gemini's body! "You had your chance! Mercy is for the weak!! But since I've wasted enough time here..." The dark she-wolf released Gemini from her grip and warped away without another word. Gemini began to fall over from the pain, but was suddenly caught from behind! "Easy! Come on, don't be dead!" said Chet, who had climbed up to the roof just in time to see Fera warp away. Gemini stood back up with some effort, but it wasn't quite as difficult as it might have been earlier. The train was slowing down! "I... I'll be OK... That magic wasn't strong... Just shocking..." Gemini said. Chet stayed close to her, just in case she fell over again. "I heard the racket from inside the car, so I climbed up. Looks like I was a bit late. What happened to Copter?" he asked. Gemini rubbed her head a bit. The ordeal had given her a bit of a headache. "Copter? He... had a flight to catch... He's fine, I think..." As the train came to a complete stop, a horrible truth became clear. The train had stopped alongside a large compound. Beside the compound was an airfield, filled with red helicopters! The buildings were mostly painted red, as well. On the front of the largest building of the compound was the same symbol as on the side of the train, GUN's symbol! "Holy moley! Katie was kidnapped by GUN!?" Chet shouted with alarm. Gemini pointed to something in the air nearby. "That gargoyle! Quick, let's try to catch up to him!"

The creature that had murdered Rick the Gargoyle before, and who was trying to kill Guard, had stopped a short distance away from the airfield, in a small, grassy field. Guard landed a few feet away from it, readily clutching his scythe. "So, grrrrr... Why are you trying to kill me?" he growled furiously. "Why shouldn't I? I'm the Deathbringer!" it responded in a low, sinister voice. Guard's voice grew louder. "I demand to know! Grrrrrr!!! What cause do you have for these attacks!?" The Deathbringer flapped its wings and hovered in the air in front of Guard. "Suffice it to say, I have my reasons. But you... You don't deserve the satisfaction of knowing!! You'll just have to beat it out of me... If you can!" Guard flew after the Deathbringer and swung his scythe at it, but it flew out of the way and slammed Guard back to the floor with a powerful energy blast! Guard struggled to stand back up, while the Deathbringer prepared to finish him. "Stop it!!" Before either the Deathbringer or Guard could launch another attack, Gemini ran between them and stretched out her arms to defend Guard. "You... The time traveler..." Deathbringer whispered. Chet arrived seconds later, and helped Guard to his feet. "Why!? Why are you attacking him!? He's a good guy! Leave him alone!" Gemini yelled. The Deathbringer's emotions remained hidden underneath its hood, but it was clear it didn't want to fight with Gemini. "All right. I'll go, for now. But make no mistake, gargoyle! I WILL kill you!" said the Deathbringer, who then flew away, quickly leaving everyone's sight. Guard, however, was not grateful for the intervention. "You made him leave! GRRR!!! Now I'm back to square one! Are you happy!?" he snarled. "Funny way to thank someone for saving your life!" Chet grumbled. "It's that kind of attitude that'll get you killed... someday!" Gemini said, recalling Guard's death in the future. "I was built to be totally self reliant. Grrr... I need no help!" Guard growled. Chet began walking toward the entrance to the GUN compound. "My friends need help, so I'll leave you to your ridiculous pride!" he said. Guard began following him. "Grrr... You do know I work for GUN, don't you?" he said. "So what? Are you going to arrest me?" Chet grunted. "No, but I'm going in there, too. Grrr... I have a bone to pick with my boss." Guard replied. "So what?" Chet growled. Gemini ran between them. "Stop it! Let's just cut to the chase! You're both going the same way, so you can help each other. And since you both helped me on the train, I'm going, too. Now, let's quit arguing and get going!"


Copter was catching up to the train that was now under the control of Team GeneX. The back of the train had no door, and since there were no cars attached to the engine anymore, Copter could see Heather inside the train! "All right! Things are going surprisingly well. As long as I can keep going straight, I'll catch up in no time! Just hang on a bit longer, Heather!" Copter thought. He had gotten the hang of driving the bike straight, but if he had to do anything else, he wasn't sure if he could figure it out. He would have to try, though, as the helicopter piloted by Zipp soon made its presence known behind him! "Shoot! Zipp!! I hate that guy!" Copter grumbled. Crash, who was also still in the helicopter, called out to Copter using a megaphone. "Hey, you! I suggest you stop that bike, right now! Otherwise, we'll have to shoot your tires!" he shouted. "Sorry! I don't know how to stop it!" Copter shouted back mockingly. Zipp snatched the megaphone from Crash. "Listen here, you clone clown! I ain't gonna aim for your tires, if you get my drift! Now, butt out, or be shot in the butt!!" Copter could see no remaining options, so he carefully started to swerve so that Zipp wouldn't have an easy target. After all, he seriously didn't know how to stop the bike. "Go ahead and try it, Zipp, you gun obsessed sissy!" he shouted. "Are you insulting my guns!? You have the insolent GALL to insult my guns!?!? I'LL KILL YA!!!" Without further delay, Zipp opened fire on Copter, attempting in vain to hit him. Zipp's blind rage messed with his aim, buying Copter some time. However, Copter quickly realized that he was going to be in trouble really soon!


Punchy, Rainbow, Mia, and Tommy were slowly making their way back to Soleanna. It seemed apparent that there was nothing more they could do at the moment, so it seemed they might as well get to a safer place. "I wonder if Razor's OK..." Tommy said worriedly. "Don't you worry. Chet'll take care of him, and save Katie, too, I'll bet!" Mia said confidently. "Who are all these people?" Punchy muttered, feeling he was left out of something. "I dunno, but it sure sounds like a lot's going on in this kingdom today!" Rainbow observed. Suddenly, Illusi appeared in a puff of smoke in front of them! "We have problems, Dark One!" he said gravely. Punchy jumped in surprise. "DON'T DO THAT!!!" he shouted. Rainbow waved to Illusi. "Hi, Mousy. Excuse One's temper, it's been a busy day!" she said, smiling. "Wow, just when you think the day can't get wackier, some guy in a cape appears out of nowhere!" said Mia. Illusi noticed the new faces and took a break for formalities. "Hello, I'm Illusi. I've been... attempting to unravel certain mysteries..." he said. Tommy shook his hand. "I'm Thomas, but you can call me Tommy." he said. Mia simply waved to him. "Name's Mia. Could you show me how you do that poofing teleport thing? I don't wanna walk home!" she asked. Illusi ignored the question and turned back to Punchy. "Listen, there's some terrible things happening here. The Lost Ones have formed a secret alliance with a Dark, a creature of unspeakable evil!" he said in a dire tone. "Oooh, sounds scary! What should we do, Mousy?" Rainbow said. "Does this have something to do with Heather?" Punchy asked. Illusi nodded slightly. "They are both searching for her. This Dark goes by the name of Mephiles. He has the power to travel through time, and is searching for the Chaos Emeralds. The Lost Ones have decided to help him!" he explained. Rainbow suddenly interrupted. "Wanda! She's got one of those gems!" Illusi crossed his arms. "Who is Wanda?" he asked. "Gemini! She's gotta be warned!" Punchy said. "Is that the girl who was doing magic?" Tommy asked. "Yes, yes, that'd be her... Blast, we don't have time..." Illusi grumbled agitatedly, "We need to stop Mephiles. He's going to unleash the Flames of Disaster!" Mia looked around the area. "All right, I see where this is going. Greenie, you gotta go fight this Mephiles guy. I'll find some means of transportation and catch up with that Gemini girl. C'mon, Tommy, I think I see another motorcycle!" she said, running off. Tommy followed slowly. "Can't we take a train or something? Uh, bye, guys!" he said, waving to Punchy and Rainbow. "Right, Mousy! Leave the fightin' to us!" Rainbow said enthusiastically. "OK, I'll meet you back in Soleanna! Don't be slow!" Illusi said, vanishing as quickly as he'd appeared. "H-hey!! Take us WITH you, you idiot!! Awww..." shouted Punchy. It was no use arguing now, though. Punchy and Rainbow began walking back to Soleanna once again.


Copter could see no way out of his situation. Zipp wasn't allowing him to move forward, shooting ahead every time Copter tried to speed up. Further complicating things was Spiny, who was sending a barrage of Chaos Spears in Copter's direction. Somehow, Copter was avoiding most of the attacks, but he could never keep this up. The motorcycle had taken a few minor hits, but it was starting to become serious. "Something good better happen fast, or I'm a goner!" Copter thought. Suddenly, Crash grabbed the helicopter's controls from Zipp. "What the--" The helicopter swerved and avoided a missile that was shot at them from behind. "We've got company, Zipp!" Crash shouted, pointing behind them. To their surprise, the Babylon Rogue's blimp was there! A pair of giant missile launchers had been attached to the sides of the blimp, and were targeting the chopper. Jet was steering the blimp. "Out of our way! That's our Time Stone!" Jet squawked, though no one outside the blimp could hear him. Wave and Storm were each controlling one of the missile launchers. "Sure was generous of the boss to give us these... I never thought we'd have to use them, though!" Wave said. "I say we ask for double the reward! This fighting's rough!" Storm grumbled. Meanwhile, Zipp had turned around the chopper to attack the blimp, and was taken by surprise at how quickly it could avoid his shots. "Who built that thing!? How can it move so fast!!?" Zipp yelled. Further adding to the distractions was the sudden arrival of Alpha, along with Char, and a small battalion of Eggman's flying robots. "CHAAAAAARGE!! They's taking up valuable air space!" Alpha shouted, leading the attack. Copter sped up the motorcycle. "Man, it is impossible for anyone to be as insanely lucky as I've been in the past hour or two!" he thought. Even Spiny had been awestruck by the spectacle unfolding behind the train, and had stopped attacking Copter.

The train had reached a tunnel, and was now leaving the airborne combatants behind. Spiny's focus returned, just as Copter was getting close to the train. "Aw, no you don't, skunk boy!" he yelled, shooting spears at Copter. At this point, Copter didn't care about the motorcycle anymore. He stood up on the bike, avoided some of Spiny's attacks, and jumped to the train, grabbing Spiny's arm as he did so! "Your stop, Sonic wannabe!" Copter shouted, flinging Spiny out of the train! The blue porcupine tumbled to the ground and landed on his rear! "You haven't seen the last of me! AND I LOOK NOTHING LIKE SONIC!!!" Spiny shouted before collapsing on his back. "Stupid life..." he muttered. Back on the train, Vortex was driving, but stopped when he heard Copter enter. "It'ssss a pity you had to come all thisss way... But I mussst thank you for tossssing that sssstupid Sssspiny! Now, I get to usssse what I ssswiped from Zipp!" Without giving Copter a chance to move, Vortex pulled out a gun and shot Heather in the chest! "NOOOOO!!!!" shouted Copter in dismay. Heather's body collapsed to the floor, and as Copter ran to her, Vortex used the opportunity to escape. "Don't cry, Copter. Ssssshe desssserved it. Sssshe wasss a murderer, after all!" was the last thing Vortex said as he jumped out of the train. Copter was devastated by the loss of his friend. He broke down and began sobbing, untying her just to keep his hands busy so he didn't do anything rash. "It... it isn't fair!! Why... why do I always have to fail!!? She couldn't have been a murderer... She didn't deserve... Damn it... NO!!" He could say nothing else. The train was silent for a few moments, save for the sound of Copter's sobs. Then, a miracle happened. As Copter began to shakily stand to his feet, he saw a spark emerge from Heather's chest, where her heart would be. That spark became a flame, which in moments engulfed her entire body! Her clothes, being fireproof, were unaffected as her dead body was reduced to ashes. Yet the flame burned on, and out of the ashes, a new body began to take shape! A brilliant flash of white light covered the room, and Copter couldn't see nor speak until the light faded. When it did, Heather stood before him once more, exactly as she had been before. She had no wounds, and bore no scars. It took a few seconds, but she finally started breathing again with a sudden gasp, and she opened her eyes! Copter was rendered utterly speechless, but she wasn't. "You're late... But I'm glad you came!"

To be continued...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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by 2BIT
Sonic GeneX-Retrospective Pt1
Sonic GeneX: Soleanna Struggle Arc 2
Sonic GeneX: Tails the Fox - Arc 5
Sonic GeneX: Soleanna Struggle Arc 2
Well, it's not like this is hard, so I suppose I'll post all these arc-versions anyway. It's extra "content."

Soleanna Struggle was my first game adaptation, showing the events of Sonic 06 from the perspective of my OCs. Included is the in-between story "A New Beginning," which I personally consider part of Soleanna Struggle anyway. (So Chapter NB1 = New Beginning 1, etc)

So, this goes through the 5 chapters of New Begginning and then 10 chapters into Soleanna Struggle. This story will only have 2 Arcs.

Keywords
human 86,189, sonic the hedgehog 50,478, miles tails prower 12,231, cream the rabbit 7,647, dark 7,515, adventure 4,598, action 3,678, mobians 3,005, fanfiction 2,370, chao 1,498, wave the swallow 1,285, eggman 871, mephiles the dark 833, jet the hawk 752, robots 683, genex 631, punchy 350, arthur copter prower 278, gemini the fennec 227, rainbow the echidna 192, storm the albatross 163, kosmo 160, guard the gargoyle 155, zipp 154, vortex the chameleon 139, bucky the rat 123, lospecter 118, illusi 115, heather the phoenix 106, razor the porcupine 102, spiny 88, crash the rhino 86, chet the cheetah 85, tommy the porcupine 83, fera the wolf 80, mia the cat 79, katie the coyote 76, princess elise 68, conan the raccoon 65, anubis the jackal 61, doomsayer 58, evelyn the fox 44, fred leo 43, timothy the fawn 42, adam the bat 40, eggman nega 36, dimentime 31, cuthburt 23, richard gunner 22, char the chao 20, e-2x alpha 20, s.p.o.t. 19, losipher 18, ozzie the morph 14, the great gator 11, metal eggman 4
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Type: Writing - Document
Published: 1 week, 5 days ago
Rating: Mature

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