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Sonic GeneX: Entering Despair (Full Version)
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2BIT
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Sonic GeneX: Knuckles the Echidna - Arc 1

GeneX - Shatterverse 1
kte_-_fullarc1.txt
Keywords human 87632, sonic the hedgehog 51128, amy rose 14936, shadow the hedgehog 13819, miles tails prower 12391, rouge the bat 10732, knuckles the echidna 4770, adventure 4702, silver the hedgehog 4210, action 3726, mobians 3126, fanfiction 2409, eggman 884, espio the chameleon 762, robots 698, genex 635, metal sonic 546, punchy 353, arthur copter prower 281, gemini the fennec 229, rainbow the echidna 192, kosmo 160, zipp 158, guard the gargoyle 156, vortex the chameleon 139, bucky the rat 124, lospecter 118, illusi 115, lucky the cat 112, razor the porcupine 103, violet the echidna 97, spiny 89, crash the rhino 86, chet the cheetah 86, tommy the porcupine 83, fera the wolf 83, mia the cat 79, katie the coyote 77, zeke the dragon 71, ridley the coati 66, conan the raccoon 65, carrie the mirage 62, anubis the jackal 62, talon the griffin 59, doomsayer 58, patch the fox 51, firepaw 50, eddie the hyena 48, evelyn the fox 44, fred leo 43, deathbringer 42, adam the bat 40, mitch the weasel 36, basker 33, cuthburt 23, darkseeker 23, richard gunner 22, e-2x alpha 20, char the chao 20, s.p.o.t. 19, radia 15, dark punchy 12, riley spizzweld 11, doug stone 9, professor pickle 7, sgt. drol 7, e-5x jolt 6, e-6x freeze 6, gun commander 5, chief paynson 2, rouletar 1
Sonic GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Arc 1 - Covenant of Despair
Chapter 1 - Escape From Angel Island!
Stage 1 - Tech Tunnels
Boss 1 - 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 (TheGreatGator), the author.


"Angel Island.... This is my home. Floating high above the troubles of the world below... This island is both a haven, and a prison. But I can not leave. I have a duty, one which has consumed my entire life. It is my mission to guard the Master Emerald!"


The universe of GeneX Prime. Similar to many dimensions, but set apart by the appearance of animals with intelligence comparable to humans. These "furries" have long lived in relative peace with the humans, but not absolute peace. Fear, mistrust, and suspicion between the two groups have many times come to blows, but rarely on a large scale. The thing about rarities, though, is that they sometimes happen. Hatred and greed eventually reach a boiling point, and those with dark intentions may use that to set horrible events in motion. And this time, the event is war...

It was a rainy night. A light rain, but still enough to make Knuckles the Echidna wish there was a roof over his head. If not for the rain, sleeping would be easy. "It's quiet tonight..." Knuckles thought as he sat at the top step of the Master Emerald shrine. "...too quiet." Indeed, there was normally more to hear on Angel Island at night. This night, even the crickets were silent. It was as though they were anticipating something, and keeping quiet to avoid detection. Knuckles attempted to shrug this off. "I'm reading too much into it. It's just a quiet night." Try as he might, Knuckles could not shake the foreboding feeling he was having. As he sat there, tensely listening for anything unusual, the rain began to intensify, and the island grew darker. "Huh? The rain sure got worse fast..." Knuckles thought, standing up. He glanced around at his surroundings. "I've got a weird feeling... H-hey! What's that!?" In the distance, something was nearing Angel Island. It was tough to see any details in the dark, but it appeared to be... another island! "What!? Where did THAT come from!?" As Knuckles wondered about what he was seeing, an icy wind blew in front of him, forming a cyclone of hail! As he backed away from it, a pair of glimmering golden eyes peered through the hail! In a moment, the hail vanished as suddenly as it appeared, and in its place stood a fearful figure wearing a black robe and hood. It had a pair of large spikes on its back, and was wearing blood-red shoes. Knuckles recognized him immediately. "I've seen you... That night, on Shadow Arcangel..." Knuckles recalled looking down from a shattered window on the ship, seeing this figure talking to Tails just before he became Super Tails, but he did not know who it was. "Who are you, anyway?" he asked. The figure responded in his raspy voice. "I am known only as the Doomsayer!" Lightning struck behind the Doomsayer as he spoke his name! Knuckles backed away a step as the Doomsayer continued. "Listen well! The world is on the path to apocalypse." Knuckles stared at him questioningly. "What do you mean!?" he asked. The Doomsayer ignored his question. "They are coming... You have little time. In fact, it may already be too late..." he said. Knuckles looked around. "What? Who's coming!? Is this about the Master Emerald!?" he asked. Once more, lightning struck behind the Doomsayer! "Silence! The time for questions has passed!" he growled. Knuckles didn't like his tone. "Hey, if you know something I need to know, speak up right now! Or else..." Before Knuckles could finish, three bolts of lightning struck around the Doomsayer as the creature yelled angrily. "DO NOT THREATEN ME!!" Knuckles jumped back as the lightning faded, leaving the Doomsayer unscathed. "W-what are you!?" he gasped, wondering how anything could survive getting struck by so much lightning. The Doomsayer had begun being engulfed by hail again. "I am a warning of darkness! Farewell!" The hail swallowed up the Doomsayer, and as it faded, Knuckles saw that the Doomsayer had vanished...

Knuckles sat at the top step of the Master Emerald shrine, wondering what the Doomsayer was talking about, when he remembered the island he saw! Looking towards it, he could see that it had come closer! In his distraction, he didn't notice several shadowy figures approaching the altar. Among them, hanging to the rear, was a chameleon, hornet and rhinoceros. "What's our role here, exactly?" said the rhino, adjusting the yellow derby on his head. "Hang back and obssserve, Crasssh..." said the black chameleon, "The massster'sss plansss for usss will become clearer in time..." While Knuckles was gazing at the island, he heard a voice at the bottom of the steps below him! "Good evening, Master Emerald guardian!" He quickly looked down to see a dark grey she-wolf, wearing a tight, black uniform with a red symbol on the chest! The symbol was an odd looking star, with thirteen points! The wolf's right eye was covered by overgrown hair, and she was not alone! There were several others around her, wearing the same uniform! Standing closest to the wolf was a black and brown jackal, holding a black & white sketch of Knuckles. "Oh... Red..." he muttered. The wolf introduced herself to Knuckles. "I am Fera." she said. Knuckles looked at all the uniformed animals at the bottom of the steps. "Hmmm... Nice outfits, but Halloween's not for another few months!" he joked. Fera frowned at him. "Dare not mock us! You will hand over the Master Emerald immediately!" she ordered. The jackal nodded. "Or, I could simply destroy you." he threatened. Knuckles glanced back at the Master Emerald. "You want the emerald, eh?" he said, lifting it up. Fera smiled. "That's it! Hand it over!" she said. Knuckles chuckled at her. "I don't think so!" He turned to jump off the side of the shrine, but Fera acted fast! "Stop him!!" she shouted, prompting a pair of uniformed bats to fly into his path! Knuckles stopped short. "Whoa! Where'd you come from!?" he shouted. Suddenly, rocks struck the bats from below, knocking them out of the sky! That is, they seemed like rocks, but why did Knuckles hear a splash? He glanced down to see a creature similar to a raccoon, but it was actually a coati. It was orange, with blue ears and blue stripes on its tail. "Quick! This way! You're no match for them alone!" he whispered, running for the bridge leading away from the shrine. Knuckles hesitated. "Who's that?" he wondered. The jackal pushed past Fera and began coming up the steps. "Enough! Let's kill him and take it!" he growled. Knuckles knew what he had to do. "Angel Island's gonna fall, but I better get the Master Emerald outta here for now!" He leapt off the side of the shrine and ran for the bridge! Fera pointed in his direction. "Don't let him escape! Agents of Despair, begin pursuit!" Before the uniformed animals could move, however, the island began to shake, taking them by surprise! As the Master Emerald began to fall into the ocean, Knuckles quickly headed for the Mystic Ruins while the enemies were distracted!

When Knuckles arrived outside the Mystic Ruins train station, he realized that he'd lost track of the coati that helped him. "I guess he's gone. I have to get the Master Emerald someplace safe anyway." he thought, looking around. It had been a while since he'd been off the island, but not much had changed. "One of Tails's workshops is around here. I think the emerald will be safe there until I throw those thieves off my island!" Knuckles decided, walking in the direction of Tails's Workshop. It wasn't far, so Knuckles got there in no time. The door was unlocked, and Knuckles walked inside to find Tails busily working at his computer, with his robotic puppy, SPOT sitting beside him. Knuckles wasted no time with small talk. "Hey, Tails! Could you keep the Master Emerald here for a little while?" Tails turned his chair around to face Knuckles. "Huh? Well, sure. I guess. Why, Knuckles?" Before Knuckles could explain, a loud explosion was heard outside! "Whoa! What's that!?" Tails shouted. SPOT began beeping loudly. "Alert! Alert!" the robot shouted. Fera's voice was heard over a megaphone seconds later. "Listen up! Come out and hand over the Master Emerald, or we will be forced to destroy that building and take it!!" she threatened! Knuckles was shocked. "What!? Those dirtbags! How'd they find me so fast, anyway!?" Tails was trying to understand the situation. "Destroy... My workshop!? What's happening here!?" he wondered. Suddenly, SPOT began beeping more loudly! "Emergency!" the robot warned. "What's that metal mutt beeping about?" Knuckles wondered. Tails glanced at SPOT's monitor eyes. "SPOT detects a powerful weapon nearby... It might even be powered by a Chaos Emerald!" Tails gasped. Before Knuckles could say anything, Tails took action. "No time to waste! SPOT, open the emergency exit! We have to get out through the underground tunnels!" he said. "Acknowledged!" SPOT replied. The robot let out a few beeps, and a hatch in the middle of the floor opened up! Knuckles looked worried. "Underground... But your workshop!" he said. Tails frowned. "I know... But I can't ask you to give them the Master Emerald!" he said as he was digging through some drawers for something. Knuckles started down the hatch, but hesitated. "What are you doing?! Come on!" he shouted. Tails tossed something shiny to SPOT. "Hold on to the Tailband of Chaos, SPOT! Can't let any bad guys get ahold of that!" he said hurriedly. Without wasting another moment, Tails, Knuckles, and SPOT jumped into the hatch! As they did, they could hear explosions above them! When they hit the ground, Tails looked up to see flames engulfing the room above them! "We... We've gotta go!" he said, leading Knuckles into the tunnels beneath his workshop.

Beneath Tails's Workshop was an expansive series of tunnels, which Tails had been using to store some of his gadgets and parts. The tunnels were like a giant maze, and Knuckles was amazed that they were there. "Did you dig these tunnels yourself?" he asked. Tails shook his head. "I discovered these tunnels. I think some echidnas used to live down here a long time ago, but the tunnels were pretty much empty when I found them, so whoever dug them must've abandoned them for some reason." he explained. Knuckles thought about their situation for a moment. "Hey, Tails... Where are we going, anyway?" he asked. Tails glanced above them sadly. "The Tornado-1 was in my workshop's garage. If we had more time, I would've taken it, but now it's wrecked. So, we'll have to take the other, blue Tornado to get out of here. It's parked somewhere in the tunnels. In fact... SPOT! You better go start up the Tornado 3 so we can leave without wasting time!" At his command, SPOT ran off ahead of them to prep the plane. Knuckles scratched his head. "How long could it take to start up the Tornado?" he asked. "Those guys who attacked us will probably find the tunnels. We have to get out before they catch us! But, with my computers knocked out..." Tails said, trailing off. As they turned a corner, they were attacked without warning by laser fire! Tails and Knuckles barely got out of the way in time! Looking ahead, Knuckles saw that the shooters were Egg Pawns! "Eggman's robots!? What are THEY doing down here!?" he shouted. Tails looked at him sheepishly. "Well... You see, I found some and started studying them. Eggman's a clown, but he's a technical genius, and I can learn a lot about robotics from him. I was keeping the robots under control wirelessly from my computer... But with the computer destroyed, the signal broke up, and since I erased Eggman's program from them, they're just going to do what they know how to do... Which is still shooting." he explained. Knuckles groaned with annoyance. "What was the point of erasing Eggman's program, then!? Look at them!!" he yelled. The robots were still shooting, but they were shooting wildly and randomly. Without Eggman's programming, they only knew that they were designed to shoot, not what they were supposed to shoot at. "We'll just have to take them down, Knuckles. We can do it!" Tails said. So, without further discussion, they set to work! For the robots ahead, Knuckles ran out to distract them. "Hey! Glitched Pawns! See me? I'm your target!!" While Knuckles drew their fire, Tails spun his tails and flew over them, dropping to them one by one and kicking them down! Soon, the robots in front of them were defeated, but there would be more throughout the tunnels.

Tails led the way as they continued navigating the maze of tunnels, battling any glitched Pawns that got in their way. As they came to a four way intersection in the tunnels, some fresh faces approached them! It was a pair of dogs wearing black uniforms, just like Fera's! "Aha! You must be the enemy!" one of the dogs growled! "We're too late! They've found us!" Tails gasped. Knuckles raised his fists. "Well, well. If it isn't... whoever you are!" he said, realizing that he still had no idea who these foes were. Tails suddenly felt himself growing enraged. "You wrecked my workshop! Bad dog!" he shouted. "You should have given up the Master Emerald when you had the chance!" one of the dogs replied. "Now you won't get away! Prepare yourself!" said the other! Immediately, the dogs began circling Tails and Knuckles at high speed! Their speed took Tails and Knuckles by surprise, and before they could counter them, the dogs had run in and knocked them down! "Argh!! What is this!? EVERYONE'S as fast as Sonic now?" Knuckles growled. Tails started hovering in the air after he stood up. "They're not as fast as Sonic, Knuckles! Not even close! They're just... fast!" he said, doing his best to stay out of the dogs' reach. Knuckles glanced around at the dogs as they approached him again. "Hmmm... Their feet might be faster than their brains..." he thought, jumping out of the way as the dogs approached! The dogs were moving too fast to stop, and were heading for the same spot, so before they knew what was happening, they crashed into each other! "Grrrowww!!! Watch it!!" one of the dogs yelled. "YOU watch it!!" snapped the other. "Hey, dogs!" Knuckles yelled, getting their attention. Tails and Knuckles were right beside them, and immediately attacked! Knuckles punched one, while Tails whipped the other with his tails! The dogs fell over and hit the ground hard! Knuckles grabbed one of them by the collar and started shouting. "All right!! Now I want some answers!! Who are you guys, and what do you want with the Master Emerald!!" As he yelled, Tails tapped him on the shoulder. "Uh... Knuckles...?" Knuckles turned to Tails, still crazed. "WHAT!?" he shouted. Tails pointed at the dogs. "We knocked them out..." he explained. Knuckles looked, and sure enough, the dogs were unconscious. "Oh... Well, I guess we better just leave them, then..." Knuckles realized.

It wasn't much longer before they reached the runway where the Tornado 3 was parked. The plane was already running, and SPOT was waiting patiently beside it! Tails smiled excitedly. "All right! We're here! Now let's get away before those creeps catch us again!" To his surprise, a voice he didn't know responded to him. "Creeps? That's your best insult?" Someone suddenly dropped from the ceiling, landing between them and the Tornado! It was a brown raccoon, wearing a grey hat, a black cape, and a belt with a sword sheath attached to it! The raccoon drew the sword, which had a silver blade and a golden hilt. "Why not use our proper name? We are the Covenant of Despair!" Knuckles noticed that this raccoon wasn't wearing a uniform, so he had to clarify if he was with the others. "Covenant of Despair? Are those the guys in the uniforms? Are you with them!?" he shouted, approaching the raccoon slowly. Tails looked worried. "Careful, Knuckles! He's got a sword!" he pointed out. The raccoon glanced at Tails suspiciously. "You have something, too, haven't you? You can't hide anything from me!" he said, his eyes shifting from Tails to SPOT, then back to Knuckles. Knuckles crossed his arms. "Oh, really? And who are you?!" he asked. The raccoon grinned at Knuckles wickedly. "I am Conan, Master of Chaos! The world's greatest treasure hunter!" he declared. Knuckles laughed at his claim. "Yeah, right! I would've heard of you, if you were so great!" he said. Conan frowned at him. "Spending all your time on that pitiful floating island? I think not! But that's enough of that. On to business! Turn over the Master Emerald! And I'll take whatever that fox boy is hiding, as well!" he demanded. Tails looked confused. "Hiding? I'm not hiding anything!" he protested. Conan pointed his sword at Tails. "You can't fool me! Give it up, or I'll carve the treasures out of both of you!" SPOT was watching these events, and flashed some text on his monitor. "Hostility detected. Retreat advised." In a moment, however, SPOT realized that he was being ignored, so he flashed another message on his monitor. "No one is reading this. Standing by to support Tails." Meanwhile, Knuckles had gotten Conan's attention. "I don't even care why you want the Master Emerald anymore! You're not getting it! But you ARE gonna leave, RIGHT NOW!!" he threatened. Conan pointed his sword at Knuckles. "All right, guardian! Make me!"

Knuckles charged at Conan, only to get pummeled by a few Chaos Spears shot from his sword! "Ah, did I forget to mention? My blade is the Chaos Sword! And to become a true master of Chaos, I will acquire every Chaos Relic there is... But right now, you're in my way. Big mistake." Conan growled. Knuckles chuckled at him. "That all ya got? A few energy spears from a rusty old sword? Okay, step aside, chump." he said, approaching Conan a little more cautiously now. "Ha! I can see that I've already softened you up a bit... Now, die!!!" Conan yelled as he attempted to stab Knuckles! Before Conan could hit Knuckles, SPOT jumped onto Conan's head! "Attack!! Attack!!" the robot yelled. "Get off of me, you artificial mongrel!!" Conan shouted, tossing the robot away before firing Chaos Spears at it! After taking those hits, SPOT began sparking! "Oh, no!! SPOT!!" Tails gasped before running to see if he could do anything for the robot. With Tails and SPOT out of the battle, Conan now resumed focusing on Knuckles, who had recovered by now. "Now, where were we..." Conan muttered. Knuckles attempted to punch Conan out, thinking he was distracted, but the raccoon simply stepped aside and zapped him with a few Chaos Spears in the back! "Ah, yes, that's right." he muttered. Knuckles turned around, rubbing his back a little. "Stay put, would ya?!" he grumbled. Conan snickered. "Why? And let you beat me? Come now, give up the treasure and this won't have to get any messier." he offered. Knuckles glanced at Tails frantically working to fix SPOT. The young fox had given up his workshop to help him. Lost one of his planes. Knuckles wasn't about to let all this be for nothing! He charged at Conan, attempting to dodge the flurry of spears that came his way, but not too much. The spears weren't his main concern. "You idiot! Fine! Die then!" Conan yelled, raising his sword to strike as Knuckles neared him! This was what he was watching for. Using what strength he had left, Knuckles quickly jerked out of the way as Conan brought down the sword, and then punched him hard in the chest, knocking him over!

Knuckles's attack had even managed to knock the sword out of Conan's hands! Conan scrambled to his feet and ran after the sword, but before he reached it, a beam was fired between him and the sword! Conan looked back to see that Tails had repaired SPOT, and they'd rejoined Knuckles! Conan leaned down, picked up his sword, and sheathed it. "That punch really hurt. It seems you really are as strong as you are dim-witted." Conan growled. "DIM-WITTED!?" Knuckles shouted furiously. Tails started to say something. "Well... uh... Oh! Never mind..." Knuckles glanced over at Tails. "What? What were you gonna say?" he wondered. Conan laughed at this. "Ha ha ha ha ha!! You ARE clueless! It may be a little much for me to overpower you, especially with your friend here, but I suppose it won't take much to outwit you!" he said, turning to leave. "I'll have that emerald later! Ta!" As Conan disappeared into the tunnels, Knuckles turned to Tails. "Do you think I'm dim-witted?" he asked. Tails avoided the question. "You know, I bet he's going to get help! Let's go before he gets back!" he suggested. Knuckles looked at him blankly. "Oh... Right... Let's go!" As they boarded the Tornado, Tails had a thought. "Uh... Knuckles? Where will we go?" he asked. Knuckles thought a moment. "I'm not sure... Maybe we should try that second island that appeared near Angel Island!" he suggested. Tails looked at Knuckles with surprise. "A second island? Is that where the Covenant of Despair came from?" he asked. "Maybe..." Knuckles replied. Tails looked worried. "But... If that is where they came from, do you really think we should go there?" he wondered. "I don't see you coming up with any better ideas!" Knuckles growled. SPOT flashed some text on his monitor. "Perhaps we should find Sonic." Without reading SPOT's monitor, Tails responded to Knuckles. "I have an idea! Let's go find Sonic!" SPOT displayed another message on his monitor. "This monitor is useless." Knuckles disagreed with Tails's idea. "No way! There's no time to be looking for Sonic!" he insisted. Tails sighed with disappointment. "All right... Next stop, the second island! SPOT, open the doors!" At Tails's request, SPOT sent out a signal that got the doors at the end of the tunnel to begin opening. Once they were open, they were ready to go! "Tornado, take off!" Tails said as he began piloting the plane through the exit of the tunnel!

The plane flew out of the hole in the side of the cliff that Tails's workshop was on, and reached the ocean. Tails maneuvered the plane to gain altitude, then flew over his workshop, which was still burning after the Covenant of Despair's attack. "How could they do this..." Tails said sadly. Knuckles was looking around the area near the workshop. "They're gone. I guess they're all looking for us underground." he said. Tails began turning the plane towards Angel Island. "Let's not wait for them to get back!" he said. Wondering what the Covenant of Despair could possibly be after, Knuckles and Tails now began their new journey to find those answers...


Chapter 2 - Shore Showdown
Stage 2(Dark 1) - Shimmering Shore
Boss 2 - Shore Shot

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 Experiment 1. I call myself Punchy the Echidna. I'm a fugitive. Pursued, just because of what I am. But... What AM I? Who AM I? My only memory is the Master Emerald. That's where the secret must lie.......so, I must claim it."


It was early in the morning. So early in fact, that some might call it late at night. Most would be asleep now, but Punchy the Echidna was wide awake. He was planning to go to Angel Island after Knuckles was asleep so that he could make off with the Master Emerald, but his friend Rainbow had delayed him. She insisted that it was too cold out, and Punchy needed some clothes to keep warm. So, Rainbow had dug out some old clothes stored in the temple she lived in. She knew that this might come up at some point, so she had found some boxes of clothes for boys in one of the many empty buildings of the underground Hidden Ruins she lived in. Punchy thought this was ridiculous, but decided to humor her to make things easier. Now, he had finally found some clothes he was okay with being seen in, so Punchy met Rainbow at the entrance of the temple. He was wearing a pair of tattered brown pants held up by a black belt, and just for the heck of it, a red and blue headband. "Those clothes are all so ancient, Rainbow! These were the only decent pants in the boxes!" Punchy grumbled, getting Rainbow's attention. "Really? Well, they suit you perfectly, One!" she said cheerfully. Punchy sighed grumpily. "Great. Can we go now?" he asked. Rainbow nodded. "Yep! Ready when you are! Let's go pay Red a visit, One!" Rainbow's habit of calling everyone by nickname still got on Punchy's nerves. "My name is STILL not One..." Punchy muttered, following Rainbow out of the temple.

As the pair began wandering through the underground ruins to the entrance to the sewer that served as its exit, a strange, distorted voice called out to them! "Stop right there!" Punchy and Rainbow looked around, but didn't see the owner of the voice right away. Suddenly, the sound of flapping wings drew their attention! A creature was flying towards them, its form hidden beneath a black cloak and a hood. All they could see of the creature was its black wings! In a moment, the creature landed in front of them, and Rainbow jumped back in fright. "Eeeek!! Who are you!?" she shouted. Punchy thought back. "Hey, I know you! You're Dimentime, right?" His guess was wrong, and the creature corrected him immediately. "I am the Deathbringer!" The name scared Rainbow. "Eeek!! Grim Reaper!!" she yelled, hiding behind Punchy. "Punchy the Echidna! Prepare yourself! Your end is at hand!" the Deathbringer said, its voice changing as it spoke. Punchy was ready for a fight. "My end? I beg to differ! Rainbow, get moving! I have a feeling this one's gonna be tough!" he growled. The Deathbringer crossed its arms. "This is not an attack...yet." it said. Punchy looked confused. "Huh? Make up your mind!" The Deathbringer pointed at him threateningly. "This is an ultimatum. Leave the United Federation, and never return! Or else, I will have no choice.... but to destroy you!" Punchy wasn't one to just sit there and be threatened. "Oh, yeah!? I'll fix you!!" He shouted, running to attack the Deathbringer! The Deathbringer jumped into the air and flew away before Punchy could hit it. It was so fast that by the time Punchy realized he missed, it was gone! "Huh? He's gone! How'd he do that!?" Punchy gasped. Rainbow was scared by these events. "What should we do, One? He sounded pretty serious..." she said. Punchy turned back towards the entrance to the sewer. "Bah! I'll tell you what we'll do! We're going to Angel Island, just like we planned!" Seeing that Punchy wasn't letting this worry him lifted Rainbow's spirits as well. "All right! If you say so! Follow me, One!" she said, running ahead!

Rainbow led Punchy out of the sewer, and continued running ahead of him towards the train station. Punchy was doing his best to keep up, but Rainbow was generally faster than him. However, as they passed the burger shop and neared the street that would lead to the train station, Rainbow suddenly came to a stop! As Punchy caught up to her, he looked around. "Hey, Rainbow? Why are you stopping?" he asked. Rainbow was gazing at a crowd of animals wearing black uniforms with thirteen pointed stars on them. She was fixated on a female purple echidna in the crowd. The echidna had yellow eyes and was wearing blue bands on her front two quills. "Is... Is that...?" Rainbow muttered. The uniformed group was facing a reddish brown weasel wearing an expensive looking black suit with a matching hat. The front of the hat displayed the same thirteen pointed star that was on the group's uniforms. The weasel�s most notable feature was that his left foot was robotic. The weasel addressed the crowd. "All right, boys! Our mission starts now! Let's get moving!" A blue hyena in the crowd began laughing uncontrollably. "Eeeee hee hee hee! You forgot! It's not just boys!" the hyena said, glancing at the purple echidna. The weasel groaned at the hyena. "You know what I mean! Yeesh!" The hyena continued laughing. "Eeeee hee hee! Of course we do, Infin!" Punchy was watching the crowd curiously. "What's with the silly suits? Are they ballet dancers or something?" he muttered. Infin began leading the uniformed animals away. "Move out boys! AND girl!" he said, prompting the group to follow him. "Oh.... Wait!!" Rainbow gasped, starting to follow the crowd. Punchy ran after her and stopped her as the crowd wandered away. "What's got you all nervous, Rainbow?" he asked. Rainbow pointed in the direction the crowd was going. "I... I think I saw my sister with those guys!" she said! Punchy's eyes went wide. "What? You have a sister!? Great... Two of them..." he said, whispering the last part to himself. "I haven't seen my sister in so long, I thought she was gone for good! We've gotta find out if it was really her, One!" Rainbow pleaded. Punchy glanced at where the animals were going. "Hmmm... I think they're heading for the beach... Say, Rainbow... Is your sister anything like you?" he asked. Rainbow scratched her head. "I'm not sure. I haven't seen her in, like, ten years!" she said. Punchy frowned. "Hmmm... Ten years? I haven't lived that long... I guess we'd better check this out." he said, starting towards the beach. "But we're going for the Master Emerald right afterwards! Definitely!" he added. As they headed off, a an orange dragon with red horns and red and black wings crept over to where they had been and watched them go. A black cat with a fluffy white chest wearing a red collar, red and blue pants, and yellow shoes emerged from the shadows to greet him. "What's up, Zeke?" the cat wondered. The dragon spoke with a labored breath that made him sound like he was chuckling. "Those echidnas following them... I wonder if we should alert... Someone." he said. The cat backed away slightly. "If it means going home, I'm all for it." he sighed. "Don't be such a scaredy-cat. If you don't prove useful to the master, well... He might have to make some adjustments..." Zeke cackled.

The uniformed animals had wasted no time getting far away from Punchy and Rainbow, and as they entered Emerald Coast, they couldn't be sure they were actually going the right way. Eventually, they reached a segment of the beach untouched by the tourists. High cliffs towered over the area, waterfalls pouring down from them. The sparkling water and clean white sands were quite beautiful, but Punchy and Rainbow weren't there for sightseeing. Neither was the squad of GUN's Beetles that they found floating around as they arrived. "GUN's here? What would they want here!?" Punchy groaned. Two men were supervising the beetles. One was a black haired man wearing a black suit with a green tie and strange green sunglasses. Beside him was a taller man with light blue hair. He wore the uniform of a GUN sergeant, but with black armor over it, as well as a black cape. He had a noble bearing, and he was the first to spot Punchy and Rainbow. "Halt! Who goes there?" the sergeant said in a rather dignified voice. Punchy looked at the sergeant and let out a chuckle. "Hey! Check out the dope with the cape!" he laughed. The man with the green shades quickly got riled up. "That is no way to speak to Sergeant Drol... Experiment 1!" It no longer surprised Punchy that the GUN agents knew who he was. "Sergeant... I'm almost afraid to ask... What happened to Gunner?" Punchy muttered. Rainbow smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, One! This guy looks like royalty! I'm sure he won't give us trouble!" she said, though only she could understand her logic. Drol rolled his eyes at them. "Experiment 1... It is most certainly NOT a pleasure. I have heard of you from my superior. I am Sergeant Drol. GUN's Noble Knight!" he said. Drol's minion looked worried. "Sir, we mustn't waste time on the likes of these outlaws! Despair is here!" he said hurriedly. Drol sneered at him. "Silence, Agent 32. I know my duty! I was merely introducing those wretches to their executioner." Drol motioned to the nearby GUN beetles. "You! Robots! Deal with these peasants. I must be off!" he commanded. In moments, Punchy and Rainbow were surrounded by the beetles! "Awww... You're a nasty Knight!" Rainbow said. Drol turned to walk away. "I take my leave of you. GUN will be pleased with your demise. Come, Agent 32." he said. Agent 32 followed him hurriedly. "Y-yes, sir! Right away, sir!" he said. Punchy sighed with annoyance. "Well, at least he's quieter than Gunner."

Punchy looked around. The beetles seemed to be ordinary ones, with no visible weapons. "Wait a minute... It can't be this easy..." he realized. Suddenly, hatches opened up on the undersides of the beetles, and laser turrets came out! "That's more like it!!" Punchy said as he attempted to dodge the lasers the robots began shooting! "C'mon, One! We gotta catch up to my sister! Avalanche 'em or something!" Rainbow suggested. Punchy nodded and concentrated on the sand around him. "Chaos Avalanche!" Using chaos energy, he lifted up chunks of sand. Unfortunately, the chunks of sand crumbled and fell back to the ground before he could use them! Punchy was forced to jump aside to avoid being shot. "Great... That complicates things..." he grumbled. Rainbow was growing frustrated as well. "Stupid bots! Take this!" she yelled, tossing a seashell at one. It bounced off, and the robot turned and started shooting at her! "Hey! You leave her alone!" Punchy shouted, running to the robot and punching it hard! The robot fell to the ground and exploded, but the others were focusing on shooting at only Punchy now! Punchy scrambled to get out of the way, but soon found himself cornered at the wall of a cliff. "Shoot... Wait! Don't shoot!" Punchy shouted, running to the left as the robots fired and hit the cliff wall. The impact of the shots knocked several boulders loose. "Hey... Why didn't I think of this in the first place?" Punchy said as an idea came to him. "Chaos Avalanche!" Once more tapping into the power of chaos, Punchy lifted several boulders from the cliff and hurled them at the robots! In no time, all the robots were destroyed! Rainbow ran over to Punchy when the coast was clear. "Yay, One! But we better hurry now! Follow me!" Rainbow started to lead Punchy away, but Punchy wasn't moving very fast. "Um... Follow you where? Which way do we go?" he asked. Rainbow pointed at footprints in the sand. "Not many people come here. Those footprints gotta be going the right way!" she said. Satisfied, Punchy started following more quickly.

After some time following the footprints, they were suddenly stopped by a strange energy blast! The blast created a small explosion close to Punchy! "Aaaah!! Where'd that come from!?" Punchy shouted, looking around. As he looked, he suddenly spotted a familiar grayish shrew wearing a blue cape running towards him! "Dark One!" the shrew shouted as he reached Punchy and Rainbow. Rainbow smiled excitedly. "Hey, it's Mousy! He must've stopped whoever shot at us!" she said. Punchy sighed with relief. "Good to see you, Illusi..." he said. Illusi looked incredibly serious, and before Punchy could ask why, he fired another of the same strange blasts at Punchy! Punchy was knocked backward by the blast, but he quickly got up and started yelling at Illusi. "Wait a minute!! That came from you!? Why you little!!" Illusi began looking angry. "I can't waste any time! Dark One... I can't let you go anymore! You must be destroyed!" he shouted, snapping his fingers to summon a pair of Wrongos! The strange creatures flew over to Punchy and immediately began shocking him with bolts of lightning! Rainbow quickly retaliated by grabbing one and tossing it away! "Wow, those critters sure are light! Now for the other one!" As Rainbow attempted to stop the other Wrongo, the first one flew over and gave her a light shock! "What did I say when we first met? The Wrongos attack if you do anything wrong!" Illusi said to her. Rainbow glared at him. "Then why aren't they shocking you, Mousy! You call those flying donuts off, right now!" she yelled. Punchy knew that Illusi wouldn't call them off, so he jumped through the shocks and punched the Wrongo attacking him, causing it to vanish instantly! Before the other Wrongo could come after him again, Punchy punched that one out, too! "They're nasty, but it doesn't take much to destroy illusions!" he observed. Illusi snapped his fingers and summoned several more Wrongos, much to Punchy's annoyance. "Cut it out, Illusi! What's your problem!?" he yelled. Rainbow looked sad and confused. "Why are you sending your cute little circle things after us?" Illusi didn't answer, and simply watched as Punchy battled the second wave of Wrongos.

Once the Wrongos were gone, Illusi growled in frustration. "I need more Wrongos..." he said. Before he could summon them, however, Illusi was interrupted by a familiar voice. "Yoo-hoo! Illoser!" Looking in the direction of the voice, Illusi saw a ghostly being floating in the air. It had a white body, cyan gloves, a greenish muzzle and blue eyes with green whites. The creature had no legs, and a ghostly tail! Illusi stuttered with surprise as he saw the creature. "L-lospecter! You!" he said. Punchy squinted at the unfamiliar creature in the air. "Huh? Lospecter?! THAT's Lospecter!?" Indeed, Lospecter's form had changed since they'd last met. Lospecter flew down to Illusi. "Did you know those black-suited fun lovers have been looking for you? Someone tipped them off that you were in Station Square. Who, oh who could that be? Hee hee..." he chuckled. Illusi looked at Lospecter questioningly. "Why tell me this, Lospecter? What are you scheming?" he asked. Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice was heard nearby. "Over there! There's the shrew!" A couple dogs wearing uniforms were running towards them. "No time to waste... I'll have to stop the Dark One later..." Illusi muttered, vanishing in his usual puff of smoke! Lospecter frowned. "Aww, I was hoping he'd whip out that strange key of his. Well, better catch up with him! Illoser!!! Where are yoooooou?" Lospecter said, flying away. The uniformed dogs were staring at the area in disbelief. "H-hey... Did you just see him disappear?" one of them asked. "See who? I didn't see nothin'..." said the other. As the dogs started walking away, Rainbow glanced at Punchy. "What's going on with Mousy?" she wondered. Punchy looked thoughtful. "Looks like those shady characters are looking for him. But why? And why'd he attack me?" he muttered. Suddenly, Rainbow remembered something. "Oooh! Those doggies! They were with my sister! C'mon, One! Let's go after them!" she said. Punchy nodded. "Right! Looks like you made the right call following those footprints after all! Let's catch up to them!"

Soon, Punchy and Rainbow reached the destination of the uniformed animals. There was a small shrine on a portion of the beach far from the city. Sitting in the shrine was a stone tablet with writing on it. The uniformed animals were face to face with Sergeant Drol in front of the shrine. As Punchy and Rainbow arrived on the scene, Drol spotted them. "Looks like enemy reinforcements have arrived. No matter!" he said. The blue hyena from before turned to look at Punchy and Rainbow. "Eeeeee hee hee? Reinforcements? They aren't wearing Covenant of Despair uniforms..." he said. Punchy looked confused. "Covenant of Despair? What in the heck is that?" Behind Sergeant Drol was a tank-like vehicle with a large laser cannon. Infin had been looking at it intently, but now grinned as he realized something. "OK, we cleared out your basic robots, and it seems your friend back there will be pretty slow!" he said. Indeed, the remains of several beetle robots were scattered all over the sand. Infin pointed to the purple echidna in his group. "You! Grab the tablet and let's be on our way!" The purple echidna approached the shrine, and as she did, Agent 32 ran out to stop her! "No you don't, terrorist!" he shouted! Infin jumped in Agent 32's way and began struggling with him. Seeing this, Drol rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Scorpion Troops Shore Shot! Fire! Don't let a single one escape!" he said to the tank. Shore Shot immediately began driving towards the purple echidna who was just turning to leave the shrine with the tablet! Rainbow screamed at this turn of events. "Eeek! That thing's after my sister! One, we gotta do something!" she cried. Punchy nodded and ran between Rainbow's sister and Shore Shot. "Hey, bucket-boy! Pick on someone... who's still smaller than you..." he said somewhat feebly. Just then, Infin managed to knock Agent 32 over! "Well, this is working out! C'mon, boys! Time to vamoose!" he said, quickly leading his group away. "Eeee hee hee hee! Can we get breakfast on the way home?" the hyena said as he followed the group. Before leaving, Rainbow's sister stopped to tell Rainbow something. "Get yourself out of here! It's dangerous here!" With that, Rainbow's sister ran off with the others. "W-w-wait! Don't go!! Why's she running away from me?" Rainbow cried.

With the Covenant of Despair escaping, Drol had grown incredibly frustrated. "You infernal pest! This had nothing to do with you!" he shouted. Punchy grinned smugly at him. "Well, you did sorta try to have me killed earlier. I mess with people who try to kill me!" he said. Drol's eyes were filled with hatred. "It would have been wise to stay out of it! Shore Shot! Dispose of this fool!" At Drol's command, Shore Shot aimed its cannon at Punchy and began charging up power to fire at him! Seeing this, Rainbow grabbed a coconut that had fallen from a nearby palm tree and hurled it at Shore Shot! "Hey! You leave One alone!!" she shouted! The coconut struck the cannon and caused it to move just enough to miss Punchy! "Whoa! Big laser...." Punchy muttered as the shot missed him. Drol was glaring at Rainbow now, but she didn't care. "He protected my sister! I won't let you hurt him!" she shouted. Agent 32 had wandered back to Drol's side by now, and tapped his shoulder hurriedly. "Sir! Despair is getting away!" Drol smacked Agent 32's hand away. "Enough! Shore Shot! Destroy them both! Immediately!" As the machine started moving towards Punchy, he noticed the remote control in Drol's hand. "Hey... That's lucky! I'll just go for Drol!" he thought, attempting to approach the sergeant. Unfortunately, Shore Shot was faster than Infin had imagined, and it drove between Punchy and Drol before he could get close! "Foolish peasant! I won't let you touch my remote!" Drol sneered. Shore Shot immediately began firing at Punchy and Rainbow, though without charging, its shots were smaller and weaker. As they ran to put some distance between themselves and Shore Shot, Rainbow had a suggestion. "C'mon, One! Use your avalanche again!" Punchy looked around, but the nearest cliff was too far. "It won't work! All I can get from here is sand!" he said. Rainbow started throwing coconuts at Shore Shot again. "I don't think these coconuts will stop it, One! We gotta think of something!" While running from Shore Shot's lasers, Punchy looked around. "Nothing but sand.... Then that'll have to do! Chaos Avalanche!" Punchy concentrated on the sand below Shore Shot, and using chaos energy, shifted the sand until Shore Shot fell into it! As the sand buried Shore Shot, it caused havoc in the robot's circuits, and the robot soon exploded!

As the sand thrown up by the explosion settled, Agent 32 was looking very panicked. "S-sir!! What do we do now?" he stuttered. "That's it for your robot! You�re finished!" Punchy said. Drol did not look impressed. "Hmph! So I've underestimated you. It won't happen again. Come, Agent 32! We'll try to catch the Covenant of Despair!" he said, running past Punchy. Agent 32 followed him hurriedly. "What'll we do if we DO catch them!?" he shouted. Rainbow grabbed Punchy by the arm and started pulling him. "Way to go, One! Now let's go after my sis!" she said. Punchy pulled back, refusing to go. "No, thanks! I've had enough of GUN for one day. Besides, I think your sister's got plenty backup!" he said. Rainbow looked out in the direction the Covenant of Despair had gone. "You think she was really with those people? B-but... They didn't seem nice..." she said with concern. Punchy crossed his arms. "I think she's made her choice. Let's go to Angel Island! I don't think we'd catch those 'Covenant of Despair' guys anyway." he said, walking away. "But One..." Rainbow whined. Punchy didn't stop walking. "End of discussion! We've got our own problems, anyway!" he insisted. Realizing there was no point arguing with him, Rainbow quietly began following him. As they left, someone peered at them from behind the shrine. It was Illusi, and he was glaring at them angrily. "Yes... You certainly do have problems.... Dark One..."


Chapter 3 - Craziness in the City
Stage 3(Hero 2) - Central Streets
Boss 3 - Alpha

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.

"Mr. President!" GUN's Commander marched into the President's office, a look of urgency on his face. Behind him was a man with even whiter hair than his, and red eyes. He was wearing the uniform of one of GUN's colonels. Behind that man was a brown haired man wearing a black suit with a blue tie. His eyes were covered by a pair of sunglasses. The President looked up from his paperwork and greeted the officials in front of him. "Commander... And Gunner. Always a pleasure." he said. The GUN Commander wasted no time and got straight to the point. "Mr. President, your nation is in crisis once again." he began. "Those freaks must be stopped!" Gunner interrupted. The Commander glared at Gunner, who backed off right away. "I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I think the President would prefer an explanation first." he said. "Yes, sir... You idiotic suck-up..." Gunner grumbled under his breath. The President appeared curious. "What's going on?" he asked. The Commander explained the situation. "As you know, an anti-human group known as the Covenant of Despair has been active in the United Federation for some time. Recently, they have begun taking bolder actions. One such incident brought on significant casualties, including Col. Gunner's predecessor." he said. Gunner held back a mischievous grin and put on a more serious face as he interrupted again. "I warned you about trusting those furry freaks, sir! Now, it's war!" he said, secretly pleased with the prospect. The Commander was less enthusiastic about the idea. "Now, let's not be hasty. Open war would be even more hazardous to the people of this nation." he noted. The President looked distant for a moment, then stood up with a sudden resolve. "It seems to me the situation has already become hazardous. If the Covenant of Despair wants a war, then we'll have to oblige!" he said. The Commander looked shocked by the President's words. "Mr. President!" was all he could say. The President began heading out of his office. "Come, Commander. I'll need to be brought up to speed on all recent Despair activities! Let's move!" he said, leading the Commander out. Gunner's companion waved to them as they left. "Bye, sir! Wow, I can't believe I got to see the President!" he said excitedly. Once The President and Commander were out of earshot, Gunner laughed loudly. "HA! You see, Spy? This is how the higher ups operate. Spinelessly!!" he declared. Spy frowned and nodded. "Y-yes, colonel..." Gunner smiled at Spy. "Ah... Colonel... I still love hearing that... But you know... If I were president, I'd have launched an attack on the freaks without delay!" he said. Spy smiled casually. "Well, I guess we get to take it easy until the President gets back to us! That'll be nice." he said hopefully. Gunner sneered at his spy. "Take it easy!? Me? You? Not until every last furry freak is banished from our world!" he shouted. Spy hung his head sadly. "I was afraid of that... What are your orders, Colonel Gunner?" he asked. "We can't do anything big right now. Have my unit keep an eye out for Sonic the Hedgehog and Kosmo the Morph!" Gunner ordered. Spy scratched his head in confusion. "I thought we were already doing that..." he pointed out. "Well, DO IT BETTER!!! I want those freaks stopped before they begin assisting the covenant!" Gunner snarled. "Sonic? Assist them?" Spy blurted out. Gunner's eyes filled with rage and frustration. "THINK, Spy!!! For all we know, Sonic could be the ring leader of this circus!" he shouted. Spy realized that it was pointless to argue with Gunner. "Y-yes, sir! Off I go, sir!" he said hurriedly before exiting the office. Once he was alone, Gunner smiled unpleasantly. "Furry freaks.... Judgment day is at hand! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!"


Little did Gunner know, that one of the "freaks" he hated the most was in that very city, mere blocks away from the President's house! It was Sonic the Hedgehog, and he was simply planning to pass through Central City just to get some exercise, but as he neared the President's house, he came to a sudden stop! A familiar blue robot was wandering around not far away. It resembled Gamma, but was one of Eggman's more advanced E-X series robots: E-2X Alpha! Flapping small, blue wings beside Alpha was a red and black Chao. It was Char! "Hold it, nuts and bolts!" Sonic shouted as he approached them. Alpha jumped, startled. "Eeeeek!! It's Sonic!!" the robot yelled. "Fancy running into you two here! What're you up to?" Sonic asked. Char laughed at Sonic playfully. "Hahahaha!! Wouldn't you like to know! C'mon, Alpha! We can't outrun him, but maybe we can outfly him!" he suggested. Alpha turned to Char, pointing to Sonic. "I wanna pet the spiky kitty!" he whined. Char chuckled at Alpha's childish tone. "Not now, Alpha! We gotta remember our mission!" he said. Alpha turned to Sonic and shook his fist at him. "Bad kitty! You won't get my lucky cereal!" he shouted before running off with Char! "Hey! Not so fast!" Sonic said, preparing to chase them. Before he could move, someone came up behind him and grabbed him tightly! "Ahh!! What's goin' on!?" Sonic shouted, glancing back at who'd grabbed him. It was Amy! "Sonic!! It IS you, right? Yes!! No imitation THIS time!!" Amy shouted with glee. She had a tendency to mistake any hedgehog she saw for Sonic, so she was thrilled to get it right for a change! Sonic quickly wriggled out of her grip. "Amy!! I'm chasing one of Eggman's robots! I don't have time for this!" he said with annoyance. Amy simply ignored him. "I knew our paths would cross again, soon! It's fate! So, let's go on a date!" she said. Suddenly, Alpha's voice was heard yelling nearby. "Can't catch me!! Ha ha ha hoo!!" Sonic glanced around, trying to figure out where Alpha had gone. "Aw, shoot!! Uh, I think they went this way!!" Sonic said, running off down the streets of Central City! "Hey!! Sonic!! Waaaaait!!" Amy shouted, trying futily to catch up to the high speed hedgehog.

Sonic had gone the wrong way, and soon found himself dashing through the city streets at random, hoping to find some sign of Alpha. Soon, he came across another familiar face, who stood in his path to get him to stop. "Sonic! Sonic, my boy, slow down!" Sonic stopped and squinted at the old man, trying to remember who he was. "Professor... Pickle...?" he said at last. Sonic had last seen the professor far away, in the desert region of Shamar. Professor Pickle shook hands with Sonic in greeting. "I thought I saw you speeding about! How are you, old boy?" he asked. Sonic opened his mouth to speak, but the professor just kept talking. "I've been studying the secrets of the United Federation at the library here in town. Fascinating subject... Ancient echidna tribes... Chaos Reli--" Sonic was in too much of a hurry for this. "Um... That's nice... I'm kinda busy right now, professor. Can we chat later?" he said. The professor nodded. "Of course... I'll be at the library! We can discuss my research over a plate of cucumber sandwiches!" he said as Sonic sped off. "Yeah, thanks, professor... Now, I better keep heading after Alpha.... If he's even still in Central City!" Sonic grumbled.

After a while, Sonic came to an area of the city that was swarming with GUN's robots. "I guess I'm on the right track now. GUN must be looking for Alpha, too." he reasoned. As he started searching this part of the city, it wasn't long before one of the GUN Beetles fired at him! The shot missed, but it got Sonic's attention. "Hey! What's your problem!?" Normally, GUN beetles couldn't talk back, but these beetles were custom made for the one who commanded them. "Sonic the Hedgehog! You are under arrest, by order of Colonel Gunner!" the Beetle declared! Sonic took a moment to process what the robot had told him. "Colonel... Gunner...?! Aw, how the heck did HE get a promotion!? After everything he's done!" he groaned. More Beetles were heading towards him now. "Give yourself up, or prepare to fight!" the first Beetle ordered. Sonic smirked at the robots defiantly. "Can't we talk this over?" he said sarcastically. The Beetles fired a few warning shots in response. "I guess not!" Sonic said. The robots surrounded him, ready to shoot. "Sonic is resisting arrest! Attack mode!" Just as the Beetles were about to begin attacking, someone came running towards them! "Leave MY Sonic alone!!!" Amy had arrived! She jumped to the nearest robot and smashed it with her hammer, prompting the other robots to start shooting at her! "Amy! Look out!! Those GUN robots work for Gunner!" Sonic shouted as Amy ran out of the way of the robots' shots! Once Amy was far enough, the robots turned back to Sonic, and while they were distracted, Amy ran out to hit another with her hammer! "I won't let any robots get between us! Leave them to me!" she shouted! Sonic frowned at this. Amy was liable to get herself hurt, so he couldn't waste any time! He quickly used his homing attack to jump from robot to robot, until all the robots in the immediate area were destroyed! "Show off!" Amy groaned. Sonic looked at her seriously. "Gunner and his robots are dangerous, Amy! You shouldn't antagonize them!" he said. Amy looked at him with confusion. "How are they any different from Eggman's robots?" she asked. Realizing she had a point, Sonic didn't say anything. "You're chasing that blue robot, right, Sonic? Well, I'm coming, too, then! Let's go!" Amy insisted. "Yeah, I guess with Gunner's robots around, I'd better take you with me..." Sonic muttered, leading the way at a lower speed so Amy could keep up.

As they searched the city for Alpha, they soon found that something else had been smashing some of the GUN robots in the area. Something very hot, by the looks of the charred robot remains. As they turned a corner, they found some canines wearing Covenant of Despair uniforms, including the jackal that was with Fera at Angel Island! The jackal was admiring the destruction of some nearby robots, but stopped to greet the hedgehogs as they arrived. "Sonic the Hedgehog, isn't it?" the jackal said. Sonic glared at the jackal. "What's it to ya? Is it really you the GUN robots are here for?" he questioned. The jackal shrugged. "Maybe. Maybe they are here for YOU. It matters not. Since you're here, I must find out where your allegiance lies." he said. Sonic scratched his head. "Huh? Allegiance? What are you talking about? And who are you?" he asked. "I am Anubis! I am an agent of Despair!" the jackal declared! Sonic smirked at his seriousness. "How charming." he muttered. Anubis pointed at Sonic tensely. "You must choose, hedgehog! We will wage war on the humans! You will either help us, or stay out of our way!" he warned. Of course, Sonic wasn't impressed by his threats. "I'm not very good at taking orders! Besides, what fun would it be to just stay out of it?" he replied. Anubis glared hatefully at Sonic. "I knew you'd be like this. You're just as impudent as that Master Emerald guardian! Fools, all of you!" he snarled. Amy raised her hammer. "Watch how you talk to Sonic! Or you'll be sorry!" she warned! Sonic glanced at her with concern. "Take it easy, Amy! You saw what he did to those bots..." he muttered. Anubis held a fireball in each hand. "If this will be your attitude, I will burn you to ashes!! No one will get in the way of the Covenant of Despair!" he growled. The two dogs looked at Anubis nervously. "Uh... Boss?" one of them asked. "Silence!" Anubis snarled. Sonic chuckled at them. "You guys sure are serious! Well, you don't scare me! Let's see what you got!" he said.

Anubis tossed one of the fireballs in his hands at Sonic, who effortlessly jumped out of the way. "Too slow!" he taunted. Anubis quickly tossed the other fireball, which was again easily dodged. Anubis's two canine companions attempted to tell him something. "Boss! You gotta..." Anubis threw a fireball at the dogs to shut them up. "Do not distract me!" he growled. Sonic was tapping his foot impatiently. "Can we hurry this up? I was in the middle of something when you started this!" he said. Anubis set his hands on fire. "I agree, hedgehog. Why don't I turn up the heat?" He aimed his hands at Sonic and began shooting a continuous blast of flames at him! Sonic attempted to move out of the way when Anubis separated his hands so that he was shooting two blasts of fire! The fire started to surround Sonic, leaving him nowhere to go but up! He jumped as high as he could, and landed to Anubis's right! The jackal ceased the flames coming from his left hand and kept Sonic busy with fire from his right hand. As Sonic gracefully dodged the flames, Anubis was pointing his left hand at the ground and muttering something under his breath. As Sonic jumped away from the flames once again, a mummified hand reached up from beneath the ground and grabbed Sonic's ankle! "H-hey!! What's going on!?" Sonic shouted, trying to free himself from the grip of the mummy! Anubis grinned at the helpless hedgehog. "Now, prepare to..." Before Anubis could finish speaking, the dogs that were with him grabbed him by the arm. "Boss, you're supposed to be somewhere now! You can't waste any more time!" one of the dogs insisted! Anubis growled angrily as the mummified hand released its grip on Sonic and retreated underground! "You fools! You ruined my concentration! I almost.... Wait...." Anubis pushed back one of his sleeves a little, revealing a wrist watch. "Ah, yes. I have to go. Well, it can't be helped. You two kill this worm!" Sonic watched in confusion as Anubis ran off. "Farewell, Sonic the Hedgehog!" the jackal shouted in parting. Now, the two dogs raised their fists at him. Amy ran to Sonic's side holding her hammer. "Don't worry, Sonic! I'll help you this time!" she said. The two dogs seemed rather excited for the fight. "Heh heh! We'll surely get a promotion for this!" one of them said. "I wouldn't bet on it!" Sonic said, running toward them! Just before Sonic could hit them, they quickly moved out of the way and kicked Sonic from the sides! Sonic stumbled backward a little, surprised by the speed of the dogs. "So, you guys can move pretty fast, huh? Well, I can move pretty fast, too!" he said, quickly jumping away from another attack! By this time, Amy was running towards the dogs. "Take this!!" she shouted, swinging her hammer at one of the dogs! The dog tried to dodge, but failed, and was hit in the head! This simply angered the dog, who grabbed the hammer and attempted to pull it away from Amy! Meanwhile, the second dog was sneaking up behind Amy, but forgot about Sonic, who quickly smacked him away with a homing attack! "Hey! Fight fair!" he growled. Amy then managed to wrestle her hammer free and clobber the other dog! "Ooof!! Aw, Anubis is gonna barbeque us!" he whimpered, realizing Sonic and Amy together were too much for them. "Well, you could always get outta town, where he can't find you." Sonic suggested. The two dogs climbed to their feet and glanced at each other briefly before running away! "We gotta get a new job! At a candy store!" one of them shouted as they sped away. Amy stuck her tongue out at them. "Don't bother us again, losers!" she taunted.

As Sonic and Amy began searching the city for Char and Alpha again, it wasn't long before the GUN beetles found them! A rather large swarm of beetles surrounded them, but did not start shooting just yet. "Oh, great. These guys again!" Sonic groaned. In a moment, Spy arrived on the scene. "Oh, this is what the beetles were looking for. Hi, Sonic!" he said, waving. Sonic looked at him quizzically, and waved back slowly. "Hey... uh.... you.... Could you call off these robots? I'm busy chasing one of Eggman's robots, you see..." he explained. Spy looked around at the robots nervously. "Ummm... I'm not really authorized to command the robots. I'm just out to get Gunner his coffee. I'm following the beetles just in case the Covenant of Despair sees me..." he said. Amy sighed with annoyance. "It figures..." she said. Sonic decided to see what he could learn from Spy. "Just what is this Covenant of Despair?" he asked. Spy shrugged. "Beats me. They just seem to want to make trouble. And they're dangerous. Way more dangerous than Eggman, if you ask me. Look, the robots are holding their fire for a few minutes to let me get clear. If I don't move soon, they'll shoot anyway. Besides, I gotta get that coffee. Colonel Gunner may not be the best boss in the world, but he's my boss, so I gotta do what he says..." he said. Sonic crossed his arms. "Really? Even if you know what he's telling you to do is wrong?" he asked. Spy began backing away from the beetles. "You don't know him like I do. He's more clever than you know, and he'll do whatever it takes to get his way. I thought he'd be fired after that business with Experiment 3, but he's too smart for that. He actually ended up promoted! I can't defy someone like that..." As Spy's voice trailed off, the beetles began aiming their guns at Sonic and Amy. "What do we do now, Sonic?" Amy asked worriedly. "Give yourselves up, or be destroyed!" one of the beetles said. Sonic put his hands on his hips. "Well, we're not gonna pick one of those choices!" he said.

Realizing that it would be too dangerous to fight the beetles with Amy caught in the crossfire, Sonic decided on the only other solution he could think of. He lifted Amy into his arms. "Hold on tight!" he instructed. Amy grabbed on to his neck as tight as she could, choking him. "Ack!! Not THAT tight!" Sonic managed to say. "Sheesh, make up your mind!" Amy said, loosening her grip. At this point, the beetles finally figured out what Sonic was going to do. "Suspect is attempting to run! Pursuit mode!" The beetles suddenly underwent a slight transformation, revealing wings and engines, giving them an appearance similar to small jets! Spy looked at the beetles nervously. "H-hey! Wait! You can't leave me alone here!" he whined. Despite the robots' speed upgrades, Sonic quickly left them in the dust, and with the robots off his trail, he thought about how he might find Alpha. "That robot's probably still somewhere in the city. The question is, where?" he wondered aloud. As they ran, Amy had an idea. "Look there, Sonic!" Sonic stopped abruptly and looked up where Amy was pointing. A trail of rings was leading up to a rooftop nearby. Sonic looked thoughtful. "Yeah, that'll work. Good thing I'm wearing the light speed shoes! But I can't take you with me if I go up that way..." he told Amy. She jumped out of his arms. "Don't worry about me! I'll catch up!" she said. Sonic headed for the start of the ring trail. "Catch you later, then!" he said before using the light speed dash to race through the trail of rings! Once he was gone, Amy ran for a nearby building. "I hope I can find an elevator somewhere..." she muttered.

The ring trail took Sonic straight to the roof, and upon landing, he began looking around for Alpha. It didn't take long to spot the robot, for it was flying around the rooftops a couple blocks away! "If he was on the ground, this would be a cinch... Hmmm..." Looking around the buildings leading to where Alpha was flying, Sonic noticed that there were ring trails linking several of the rooftops! "Well, that makes things easier... Where do these rings come from, anyway?" As Sonic began chasing them across the rooftops, Char and Alpha were nearing their destination. They soon stopped at a large but rather nondescript rooftop. There were no stairs or elevators that could be used to go between the roof and the interior of the building, which is probably the reason why Char and Alpha were the first to find the cyan colored gem sitting there! "Well, Alpha! We did it! We found the Chaos Emerald!" Char cheered. Alpha didn't look pleased. "Chaos Emerald? I wanted a toaster!" he protested. Char giggled at the random statement. "Right, Alpha. Well, we better call the doc and tell him the good news!" he suggested. Alpha focused his robotic eyes on the center of the building and projected a life-size hologram of Doctor Ivo Robotnik, AKA Dr. Eggman! "Hello? Char and Alpha? I hope you have good news for me!" Eggman said. Char pointed at the gem on the ground. "We found it, doc! We'll be bringing it back soon!" he reported. Eggman smiled at the news. "Excellent! Did you encounter any resistance?" he asked. "Flying monkeys were laughing at me." Alpha said. "Ha ha! There's no such thing as flying monkeys! But we did run into Sonic on the way, doc! We gave him the slip!" Char added. A look of frustration flashed across Eggman's holographic face. "Of course... And now he'll be a thorn in my side for the rest of the plan. Well, if that's all, get back to the land base as soon as possible!" he ordered. Eggman's hologram faded away, and Char and Alpha turned their attention to the Chaos Emerald. "Well, mission complete! I knew we'd find the emerald!" Char said cheerfully as he dropped next to it. Alpha turned away from the emerald. "Did you know we'd find it?" he asked someone. Char glanced over at where Alpha was looking and found that Sonic had arrived! "Aaaah!! Sonic!? How'd you catch us!?" he gasped. Sonic grinned at him. "You didn't really think you could out-speed me, did you?" he said. Alpha shook his robotic head. "No, that's silly! I just thought I was faster than you!" he said. Suddenly, a noise was heard behind Sonic! Turning around, Sonic saw a hand reach over the side of the building! A second hand holding a familiar hammer reached up next, and soon, Amy climbed up from the wall! She crawled away from the edge, panting with exhaustion. "I.... said.... I'd.... catch up.... And I did! Now.... what's up?" she managed to say. As she climbed to her feet, Alpha pointed at the Chaos Emerald. "We found my shiny rock! Now let's all roll away!" he said, explaining the situation in his own way. Amy rose to her feet unsteadily. "Wow, that robot's still crazy! What's Eggman thinking, still using it?" she wondered. Char hovered beside Alpha, smiling knowingly. "A funny thing happened after your last fight with Alpha! His craziness made him more unpredictable!" he explained. Alpha raised his arms excitedly. "I want a rubber chicken for my birthday!" he declared. Char laughed loudly. "Hahahaha!! See? And when he fights, that craziness makes him hard to keep up with!" he said. Sonic looked skeptical. "He still can't keep up with me!" he said. Alpha jumped in place angrily. "You are rude! You didn't even offer me any toothpaste!" he shouted. Amy leaned on her hammer like a cane, still tired from apparently climbing up the side of the building. "You don't even have teeth... Do you?" she wondered. Char flew up high to get a better view of the action about to happen. "Ha ha! This should be interesting! Go get him, Alpha!" the Chao chuckled. Alpha began jumping around doing mock karate stances. "Alphie-fu time!" he said excitedly. Sonic found the situation somewhat humorous, too. "Heh heh heh! Bring it on!" he said.

Alpha jumped up into the air, using his jetpack to hover in the air just out of Sonic's reach. "I like you! Let's play laser tag!" the robot said, pointing his lasers at Sonic, who began stepping around the roof cautiously. "OK, pal. I'll play with you!" he said, humoring Alpha. Amy looked slightly worried. "Careful, Sonic! Who knows what that bot is thinking!" she said. "I do! I do!" Alpha replied, "That robot is thinking.... paper airplanes!" Before he even finished speaking, Alpha began firing his lasers at Sonic, who had to move quickly to avoid them! Next, Alpha dropped to the roof next to Sonic and attacked him with a spinning kick! Sonic was taken off guard and knocked over! "I got him!" Amy shouted, running to Alpha with her hammer raised. Alpha did a back flip just as Amy reached him, then pushed her aside with his laser hand, shooting at Sonic with it at the same time! Sonic quickly jumped away and then attempted to hit Alpha with a homing attack, but the robot suddenly rocketed up into the air, out of Sonic's reach! As he landed on the roof, Sonic skidded to a stop just before the ledge, slipping and falling on his back as he did! He sighed with relief, since he almost fell, and then quickly scrambled away as Alpha began firing lasers at him again! "That robot does improvise an awful lot... But I can do that, too!" Sonic said to himself, glancing over at the Chaos Emerald. Char had been laughing uncontrollably watching this fight, but suddenly stopped as he noticed Sonic running after the emerald! "Oh, no you don't!" he shouted, diving to the emerald and snatching it away before Sonic could grab it! "That would be cheating!" Char scolded. Alpha had been watching this, and now landed next to Char. "Hey! I wanna cheat! Give him the thingy!" he whined. Char looked at him blankly for a second, then dropped the emerald and hovered away! "Look out, Alpha!!" he shouted! Amy had approached from behind, and hit the robot on the head with her hammer! "Hi-ya!! Take that, you busted bot!" she yelled. Alpha was unfazed by the attack, and spun around quickly to push Amy down! "Laser tag! You're it!" Alpha shouted, aiming his laser at Amy! Sonic reacted quickly, running circles around Alpha at high speed! The robot spun his body around quickly, trying to keep up, but ended up losing his balance and falling over! Taking the opportunity, Sonic jumped into the air, preparing for a homing attack!

The attack hit hard, resulting in an explosion that sent Sonic soaring backward! Again, he skidded to a stop close to the edge of the building! "Next time, let's do this at a lower elevation..." he said. Char flew over to the explosion worriedly. "Alphie!! Are you OK!?" he yelled in panic. As the smoke from the explosion cleared, Alpha stood up. He was a little battered and smoky, but overall seemed fine. "Tee hee! That tickled!" he giggled. "It figures..." Amy groaned. Sonic walked over to Alpha, assessing the damage he'd caused. "Ready to quit?" he asked. Char nodded, flying to the Chaos Emerald and picking it up again! "Yeah, I think we are ready to quit! Let's go, Alphie!" he said quickly. Alpha glanced over at Char, looking rather pathetic. "All the world is blue again..." he whined. Char started flying off, and Alpha followed him. "Don't worry! You're blue, too!" the Chao said reassuringly. "Yay!" Alpha cheered. Sonic wasn't about to let them escape. Before they reached the edge of the roof, he dashed into their path! "Not so fast! Drop that Chaos Emerald!" he shouted. Char looked down at Sonic for a moment. "Hmmm... Right, you. Hahahaha!! I got it! Give us some smoke, Alpha!" he ordered. Alpha transformed his laser a little, enabling him to shoot out smoke, instead! In a moment, a blinding smokescreen covered the roof. "Hee hee! No smoking! I'm gonna go blow out some candles now!" Alpha chuckled as he and Char flew away! Sonic couldn't see where they were going through the smoke, but he could hear them for a little longer. "Wheeeee!!" Alpha shouted, apparently having some fun in his flight. Suddenly, Sonic could hear a loud thud. "OW!" Alpha shouted. "Watch where you're going, Alphie!" Char said. After that, Sonic could no longer hear anything from them. "When is this smoke gonna go away!? I can't see to move anywhere!" he yelled in frustration. He could hear Amy reply from somewhere. "Never mind that, Sonic. That robot's long gone now. At least there are still six Chaos Emeralds left!" she said.

Once the smoke cleared, Sonic scanned the skyline for any sign of Char or Alpha. "Well, that Chao was right... Alpha has gotten a bit unpredictable..." he muttered. There was no sign of Alpha anywhere, and it was clear that Sonic wasn't going to be able to find him now. He thought about the situation for a moment. "Well, I guess Eggman's up to his usual tricks!" he said, turning to leave. "Yeah... Guess so. What should we do?" Amy wondered. Sonic stood still for a moment, pondering something. "Actually.... I'm more worried about that guy... Anubis. He was talking about starting a war.... with the humans. That doesn't sound good." he said. Amy began looking even more worried as she thought about it. "That's right... And I bet they have a whole army, too! This could get dangerous, Sonic!" she said. Sonic made up his mind on the spot. "Well, army or not, I can't just let them hurt innocents! Forget Eggman for now! Better see if I can find out more about those Despair guys!" he said, walking towards the edge of the roof. Amy ran over to him and tapped his shoulder. "Uhhh... Sonic? That's all well and good, but.... How do we get down from here!?" she shouted, realizing that there were no stairs or elevator accessible from the roof! Sonic looked down the side of the building. They were pretty high up, so simply jumping was out of the question. Sonic thought about his adventures in Speed Highway, where he sometimes had to run down the side of a building. An evil grin emerged on his face. "Hey, Amy, feeling adventurous?"

Upon reaching the ground, Amy smacked Sonic in the head with her hammer. "DON'T EVER PICK ME UP AND RUN DOWN A BUILDING LIKE THAT AGAIN!!!" she screamed. Sonic rubbed his head where Amy hit him. "Jeez, you try to do someone a favor... Well, see ya, Amy!" he said, running away! Amy stood in shock for a second before chasing after him. "Hey.... Sonic!! Wait for meeeeee!!" she yelled.


Chapter 4 - Enter Troblusk City
Stage 4(Dark 2) - Hollow Manor
Boss 4 - Shadow Chaos

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.


Station Square is a decent city. Though trouble has found its way there on a few occasions, overall the city is calm and peaceful. In every nation, some cities are better than others, and some are worse than others. Troblusk City is an example of the wrong side of the tracks. You can't walk five steps in that dark, petulant place without being within sight of a villain of some sort. Such a place, where the rule of law is nearly absent, was a perfect place for a certain black-furred outlaw to hide out. This black, two-tailed fox was slowly walking down the streets, wearing a pair of blue pants with a yellow stripe along the bottom of each leg. A pair of blue goggles rested between his ears and the strands of white hair that hovered over his right eye. His two tails ended in spiky tufts of white fur, and his left tail wore the Tailband of Chaos which granted him great strength. He may look like Tails, but he was Copter the fox. Much was on his mind as he passed by the immense clock tower at the center of Troblusk City. "Who are these Covenant of Despair weirdos I've been seeing around? What do they want?" he said to no one. Suddenly, he spotted a familiar adversary of his heading his way! It was a green porcupine wearing a police uniform. "Freeze!! Don't move, experiment!" shouted officer Razor, pointing his gun at Copter! "Huh? You again! Don't you ever get tired of pointing that gun at me?" the fox groaned. Razor was looking a little weary, which was understandable considering where he was working now. "Yes, this does get pretty old. So could you please come quietly this time?" he asked. "Sorry. I'm not interested in seeing Guard and those other GUN geeks again." Copter growled, recalling the time when he was a prisoner. Suddenly, a robotic voice shouted at Copter from behind! "Experiment detected!! Capture!! Capture!!" Copter looked around and found an assortment of GUN's robots surrounding him! Razor smiled smugly at Copter. "I should have mentioned! Those 'GUN geeks' have been watching this town! Now, surrender!" he warned. Copter looked at the enemies nervously. "Eep... Can we talk this over?" he whined. Another, more unexpected voice replied to Copter's plea. "Don't bother! These wimps are nothing!" At this moment, a large purple dragon flew over from behind the clock tower, blowing fire at a pair of GUN beetles as it arrived! Copter knew who it was immediately. "K-kosmo!?" he stuttered. As the dragon landed, it began glowing with a bright, white light! "It's Experiment 3! Change target!!" the robots shouted, rushing the glowing dragon! The dragon proceeded to change shape, and as the light faded, a purple gargoyle stood in its place! "Boo!" Kosmo said as a hunter robot approached him. He jumped into the air, flying circles around the hunter for a moment before dropping down and kicking it hard, destroying it! When the smoke cleared, Kosmo quickly transformed into a purple version of Shadow, and used the speed of this form to take out the rest of the robots in a flash, leaving only a purple blur as he passed each exploding robot! Razor watched this in panic. "Aaaaah!! What's happening!?" he gasped. Within seconds, the last robot exploded, and Kosmo stopped in front of Razor before transforming into his normal form, which was a furry, purple creature with a hairless muzzle, red gloves, turquoise shoes, and a mohawk consisting of four strands of hair between his ears. His most notable feature was his glowing yellow eyes, which had black pupils and continued glowing no matter what form he was in. "Wanna be next?" he asked Razor once his transformation was finished. "Shoot! I need backup!!" Razor realized, running off as quickly as he could.

Kosmo laughed as Razor escaped, then started to leave before remembering Copter. "Oh, howdy." he muttered to him. "K-kosmo... You just saved me again!" Copter said, recalling the last time Razor almost caught him. Kosmo shrugged. "Just messing with GUN. You were just the bait! See ya!" As Kosmo ran off, Copter tried to chase him. "H-hey!! Wait!! Come back here, Kosmo!" he shouted. Kosmo ignored him and kept moving, so Copter just continued following him. Kosmo glanced back, glaring at him. "We're not buddies just because I helped you. Stop following me!" he shouted, continuing on his way. "Well, maybe I think I should keep an eye on you! Wouldn't want you going all psycho again..." Copter said, still following him. Kosmo stopped in his tracks, growling in frustration. "Psycho!? Come on! I just- You know what? I don't have to talk to you!" he said, leaning down to pick up some rocks. He then turned around and threw some rocks at Copter, who started backing away. "Hey! Cut it out!" he shouted. Kosmo threw one more rock before turning to leave. "Stop following me!" he said as he walked off. Copter hesitated a moment. "Hmmm... I wouldn't want him morphing and picking a fight with me, but I don't wanna just let him go this time..." he thought. Though Kosmo had helped him, Copter still couldn't be sure he could be trusted. "If only there was an easy way to follow him.... Hey, wait! There is!" he realized. Focusing on the energy of his tailband, Copter managed to activate its power, and vanished! "All right! I got it to work! I think... Well, time to test that..." he thought, following Kosmo once more. As they walked, Kosmo heard Copter's footsteps behind him. "I said.... huh!?" When he turned around, he could not see Copter. "Hmmm... Maybe it's my imagination..." he muttered, walking off again. Copter spun his tails and started flying to follow Kosmo. "Invisibility's working... Hopefully he can't hear my flying..." he thought. Whether Kosmo noticed him or not, their walk continued. Soon, they reached an even darker area of the city, which was heavily covered in dead and dying trees. In a clearing among these trees was a large, seemingly abandoned mansion! It was an extremely creepy place, but Kosmo sighed calmly once they arrived. "Home, sweet home!" he said to himself.

Kosmo entered the mansion and looked around. The entrance hall's only source of light was a couple of candles on a table by the wall to the left. The only apparent exit to the room, aside from the entrance, was a stairway leading to a balcony. The hall was a mess; it was cluttered with old junk and covered with dust. As Kosmo stepped towards the stairs at the end of the hall, he soon noticed that he was not alone. A few of GUN's beetles hovered down from the balcony, heading right for him! "What the... Those military dopes found my hiding place!" he exclaimed. One of the beetles fired a warning shot at his feet, which caused him to stumble and fall over! "Why you little... I oughta..." Kosmo grumbled as he stood up. "Kosmo the Morph! You are under arrest, by order of Col. Gunner!" the beetle said. Kosmo took a moment to process what had been said to him. "He... actually.... GOT PROMOTED!? Gah, GUN's full of idiots!!" he shouted angrily. The rest of the beetles in the room suddenly revealed their guns. "Suspect appears hostile. Preparing to attack!" the apparent leader of the beetles said. Kosmo raised an eyebrow. "Is this thing serious?" he said, feeling the beetle was being particularly stupid. As the beetles started shooting, Kosmo jumped into the air, morphing into gargoyle form as he did! "It's serious!" he groaned as he flew away from the bullets being shot at him. "Must capture suspect! Dead or alive!" the beetles yelled. "Oh, yeah?" Kosmo grinned, beginning to transform his tail. "Don't hog all the robots this time!" said Copter, who had just appeared at the entrance! Kosmo had turned his tail into a mace, and had begun swinging it around. "Great. Everyone followed me! Looks like I need a new hideout!" he growled, hurling the spiked ball at the end of his tail at the nearest beetle, destroying it! Copter nodded in agreement at what Kosmo had said. "Yeah, you don't need GUN knocking at your door every day. Well, time to deal with these guys! Chaos Whirlwind!!" As Copter motioned his hand towards one of the beetles, a chaotic wind began blowing in that direction, knocking the beetle off course and into another beetle, smashing them both! Kosmo landed beside Copter and looked at his handiwork. "Nice one. That wraps this up!" In the time it took Copter to destroy two of them, Kosmo had already taken out the rest! Copter crossed his arms. "Show off! But if I know GUN, more are on the way." he said. "Yippie... Well, before I ditch this place, I have to go fetch something." Kosmo replied, heading for the stairs. "Mind if I tag along?" Copter offered. Kosmo groaned at his persistence. "Oh, if you must... But I'm not your babysitter. If GUN catches you, you're on your own!" he warned. Copter started following him. "They couldn't catch a cold! Let's go!" he said.

Kosmo led Copter through the halls of the manor, but it wasn't long before squads of GUN Beetles blocked their path again. "Those bots have the hallway on lockdown, more or less..." Kosmo grumbled. "We could probably take 'em, as long as they don't have backup waiting to smash through the ceiling or something..." Copter mused. Kosmo shook his head. "Too close quarters for my taste. And this place is full of secret passages that they may have gotten into. Might turn ugly." he said, placing his hand against a rather abstract painting on the wall and giving it a push, revealing it to be a secret door! "Let's head for the library." he suggested, leading the way through the secret passage. The dark corridor contained a cobweb-covered stairway that ended at another painting-door leading to the dusty, cluttered library of the manor. Not only that, but it was slimy, too! Copter and Kosmo gasped upon finding puddles of losol slithering around the room! "Uuumm... Those YOUR pets?" Copter asked. "No way! GUN must've brought them!" Kosmo snapped. Some losol were crawling up into the bookshelves, and having reached some books, seemed to be absorbed into the covers! Then, the books seemed to come alive, flapping around the room like bats! "Kosmo...? Let's get out of this room, okay?" Copter suggested. Kosmo morphed into a bat form and latched on to the ceiling upside down. "Plotting my course now... You might want to figure a way to avoid those slime puddles on the way to the door." he suggested. Copter made an annoyed face, when suddenly, a laser was fired between them from inside the secret passage! "Experiments!! You are under arrest!!" shouted a robotic voice! Kosmo started flapping frantically. "Planning phase over! Time to go!!" he shouted. "Chaos Whirlwind!!" Copter yelled, blowing as much of the Lost Ones aside as he could so that he could make for the door! He also blew Kosmo forward, knocking him into the wall with a splat! "Ow...! Warn me when you're gonna do that!" he growled. Copter opened the door hastily as GUN robots started swarming into the room. "Let's roll, Kos!" he said, pulling the bat-morph off the wall!

They emerged at another dark hallway. "Well, anyway... Where'd you stash your stuff, Kosmo?" Copter asked as they slammed the door behind them and started moving. "On this floor. My 'bedroom,' if you must know." Kosmo replied. Copter nodded. "Makes sense... Something's been bugging me, though. You could mess with GUN more directly if you wanted to. So why have you been following me around and helping me out?" he asked. Kosmo laughed at him. "Following you? Jeez, I help you twice and you think I'm following you. I just happened to be in the neighborhood. And you're the one following me now. What's up with that?" he wondered. Copter didn't get to answer, as suddenly they heard laughter coming from a nearby room! "Hee hee!" Copter and Kosmo both glanced in the direction of the laughter. "You don't have a room-mate, right Kosmo?" Copter asked. Suddenly, the laughter was heard again, coming from behind them! Copter looked back and thought he saw someone running into a door a short distance away. "I think someone's following us..." he said. Kosmo looked where Copter was looking. "Great. What is it now, a ninja?" he wondered. "Hee hee!" The laughter came from the other side of the hallway this time, and was slightly louder. "Sounds like a kid..." Copter realized. There were doors all along both sides of the hallway, and every time both of them looked in one direction, the voice laughed behind them and crossed the hall to a room on the other side. This kept up for a couple minutes, until Kosmo decided to trip their stalker up. When Copter looked behind him, Kosmo simply walked in place a little, trying to make it sound like he'd turned. Just then, someone dressed in black dashed by the hall and entered a room on the other side! "That way!" Kosmo yelled, grabbing Copter by the arm and rushing after the stranger! They chased through the dusty, messy rooms of the mansion, barely keeping him in sight. As they ran, the stranger continued laughing as he tossed some junk he'd grabbed from the floor back at them! An old jack-in-the-box hit Copter in the head, knocking him over! Kosmo continued running without him, and once they were gone, Copter climbed to his feet. The jack-in-the-box opened loudly as he did, startling him. "Ahh!! Grrr... Keep chasing him, Kosmo! When I catch up, I wanna strangle him!!" he yelled, rushing off in the direction they'd gone. He soon found himself back in the hallway. He could hear Kosmo shouting at the stranger, so Copter followed his voice. When he caught up with Kosmo, he found the stranger cornered at a dead end! "Got you now!" Kosmo growled. The stranger they'd been chasing was a fox dressed in a Covenant of Despair uniform. His fur was colored differently in different places. His head was yellow, his ears were blue, and his tail was green, with a tuft of cyan fur at the end. He had green eyes and wore orange shoes. Though his voice sounded childish, he was actually a teenager. "OK, why were you following us!?" Copter yelled. "Hee hee! You guys are funny lookin'!" the fox chuckled. Kosmo glared at the colorful fox. "You brought GUN here, didn't you!? I oughta..." he growled, stepping towards the stranger. As he did, the floorboards started to creak loudly, and Kosmo stopped moving. "Hey, what's wrong, Kosmo?" Copter asked, walking towards him. "No, wait, stop!!" Kosmo shouted too late! The floorboards beneath them snapped from their weight, and they fell through the floor! The colorful stranger was laughing uncontrollably as Copter and Kosmo tumbled into the room below, landing on a large table! When the dust settled, Copter and Kosmo shakily climbed to their feet before looking around. They were in the dining room, which was dimly lit by a few candles on the table. Foul-smelling food was sitting on plates positioned around the table. "Once again, thanks for all your HELP, Copter!!" Kosmo grumbled.

The colorful fox they'd been chasing jumped gracefully through the hole in the floor, then back flipped over Copter and Kosmo! He then ran over to the entrance to the room, where a pair of glowing red eyes were peering through the darkness. "Well, well. It's that shape-shifter. Experiment 3." said the owner of the eyes as he stepped into the room. He was also wearing a Covenant of Despair uniform, but with a blue thirteen-pointed star on it instead of the usual red. This creature was a sort of turquoise canine, with black ears, a gray muzzle, and a medium-sized tail. He wore blue gloves and gray shoes. His lightly glowing red eyes had black pupils, and he wore a somewhat sleepy expression. The colorful fox was hopping in place with a silly expression. "Shape-shifter you say? Think he can imitate me? Hee hee!" he said. Kosmo crossed his arms and glared at them. "Just who are you supposed to be?" he asked. Copter recognized their uniforms. "They're with the Covenant of Despair." he growled. The canine nodded slowly. "Yes, that's right. They call me Basker. It's a pleasure. Sort of." he said. The colorful fox was excitedly jumping in place. "Hee hee! I'm called Patch! We have a bit in common, I think!" he giggled. "OK, and what are you doing here? Recruiting for the black-jumpsuit brigade?" Kosmo asked. "That's not why we're here. But you should consider it." Basker said calmly. He was very much the opposite of Patch, who seemed unable to contain his energy. "Despair's loads of fun! You get to beat up humans! Hee hee!" he said while hopping in place. Copter frowned. "Geez, these guys seem weirder every time I see 'em. You aren't considering joining them, are you, Kosmo?" he asked. Kosmo stood there with his arms crossed and his eyes shut, thinking. He was grinning at whatever he was thinking about, and it made Copter feel uneasy. "Kosmo? Seriously... Don't join these guys!" he insisted. Basker looked a little impatient. "Well, what's your answer? We know you are no fan of humans. Join us, and you can be rid of them." he said. Kosmo opened his eyes and glanced up at the hole in the roof. "Too bad. I don't have time for you kooks. GUN's probably gonna swarm this place soon, so I gotta finish here and leave, quick." he said. Basker stared at Kosmo calmly. "I am aware of GUN's presence. It is of no consequence. However, I can see that you need more time to think about this. Give him something to think about, Patch." he ordered. Patch hopped a few steps toward Copter and Kosmo, holding ninja stars in his hands. "Hee hee! Mull this over!" he said, throwing several of the sharp stars at them! Reacting fast, Kosmo morphed into his gargoyle form and flew up through the hole in the roof, followed closely by Copter, who barely dodged some of the stars as he flew to the next floor! As they escaped, Patch attempted to chase them, but Basker quickly grabbed him by the arm! "Lemme go! Lemme go!! I wanna poke holes in them!!" Patch whined. Basker tugged his arm roughly. "Patch, if you need throw knives, there are plenty of robots. We've no time." he insisted. Patch stopped attempting to run and frowned. "Awww. Why are we letting them go?" he asked. Basker released his arm and started walking towards the hole in the roof. "We still have our mission, and I believe that Experiment 3 may yet be persuaded to join us." he explained. Patch pulled out a switchblade and started playing with it. "Well, whatever. Hee hee! I guess we'll see those guys again!" he giggled.


After returning to the upper floor, Kosmo realized that chasing Patch had caused him to become somewhat lost. They had to retrace their steps to find their way to an area of the mansion Kosmo was more familiar with. Soon enough, they met with a problem. The GUN beetles from the library had gotten loose, and something seemed different about them now! "Hey, do those robots look a little green to you...?" Copter muttered. They were floating in a rather unusual fashion, as well, like gravity had lost its effect on them. Kosmo frowned. "Remember the slime that possessed those books?" he said. The GUN beetles, clearly possessed by the losol as well, had now noticed them, and started blowing jets of ghostly blue fire in front of them as they approached! Copter started to sweat. "I've seen that kinda fire before... It does baaad things to ya. Tell me they're not blocking the way we need to go!" he shouted. The ghoulish beetles were in fact blocking a fork in the hallway, and as Kosmo looked over the paintings and sconces on the wall, he got his bearings and nodded. "Yeah, we gotta turn that corner." he said. The beetles were heading their way, blowing those blue flames, so Copter thought to blow them back. "Chaos Whirlwind!!" The wind blew the fire back all right, and engulfed the beetles in the flames, turning them into possessed fireballs! "Come on, they shouldn't be flammable!!" Copter groaned. Kosmo morphed into hedgehog form and shook Copter's hand. "If I don't make it out, shoot Gunner for me, will ya?" he grumbled. Copter chuckled. "Sure, but who will avenge my death when your skeleton murders me?" he whimpered. Kosmo then leapt in between the beetles and yelled "Chaos Blast!!" The chaotic explosion incinerated the robots, and left behind scorched puddles of dead losol! Copter leaned against the wall, sighing in relief, and the wall opened up to reveal a secret passage that he stumbled into! "WHOA!! Where'd this come from!? My poor tails..." he whined. Kosmo smacked his head upon seeing that passage. "RIGHT! That was there! It would've taken us RIGHT NEXT to my room!" he groaned in frustration. Copter stood up shakily and glared at him. "Next time you take up residence in a sprawling haunted house, DRAW A MAP!!" he yelled.

Soon, they were at Kosmo's room, which was probably the dustiest room in the mansion, and the most empty. Aside from a few blankets in the corner, the most notable thing about the room were large cracks in the walls. Kosmo walked over to the blankets in the corner and pulled some things out from under them. "Let's see... Chicken bones... Newspapers... Sunglasses... Ah! Here it is!" Kosmo stood up holding a small object in his hand. "This is my only real possession. Well, besides the glasses. That's good for disguises." he said. Copter walked over to get a look at what Kosmo was holding. "It's a gold coin... Looks kinda ancient." he observed. Kosmo nodded. "Yeah. There's some writing along the edges of it in some form of old gibberish. Probably older than Bucky is." he said. "Where'd you get it?" Copter wondered. Kosmo shrugged. "I found it after I escaped Shadow Arc. Sometimes it glows. I think it might come in handy someday." he said. "Well, I guess we should go now..." Copter said, turning to leave. As he did, an explosion of light erupted from Kosmo's coin, startling them both! "Whoa!! What's goin' on!?" Copter shouted, turning back towards Kosmo. In seconds, the coin stopped glowing, and Kosmo blinked his eyes a few times to recover from the shock. "Wha... It's never flashed that bright before..." he muttered under his breath. "What's the matter, Kosmo?" Copter asked. Kosmo flicked the coin into the air and caught it. "Ah, it's nothing. Let's get outta here." As they headed for the exit, Copter hesitated. He heard a strange noise coming from the cracks in the back wall. "I know that sound... Kosmo! Something's coming!" Copter shouted, turning around to see what was happening. A strange, black liquid was oozing through the cracks in the wall! Kosmo looked at it with curiosity. "Not more sludge..." he grumbled, thinking it might be losol. Suddenly, the black liquid gushed out of the wall faster, and then rose from the floor, taking the shape of Chaos! The black Chaos had yellow eyes, and was familiar to Copter. It was Shadow Chaos, the creature Copter had encountered in the Chaos Shrine! "Hey... What's this thing!? What does it want!?" Kosmo growled. Copter thought back and remembered his fight with the creature. "I've seen it before... You! Monster thing! What do you want from me!?" he yelled, shaking his fist at Shadow Chaos. "It's not you he's looking at!" Kosmo realized. Suddenly, Shadow Chaos stretched its arms and threw its fists at Kosmo, knocking him a few feet backward! Copter turned in Kosmo's direction. "Whoa! You OK, Kosmo?" he asked. Kosmo stood up and shot a furious look at Shadow Chaos. "Got a bone to pick with me? Then show me what you got!" he yelled. Shadow Chaos jumped over to Kosmo and swung its seemingly elastic arms at him, knocking him aside again! This time, however, Kosmo didn't fall down. "Talkative thing, aren't ya?" he said. Copter ran over to assist Kosmo. "This thing's a real piece of work, Kosmo! Let's take it on together!" he suggested. Kosmo glowed with white light, attempting to transform, but abruptly shifted back into his normal form. "Well... It does seem that I'm more tired than I thought... Shouldn't have used Kosmogon form to help you earlier." he realized. Shadow Chaos took advantage of Kosmo's failure to transform, and slapped him aside with his powerful arms again! However, this gave Copter an opening to attack it with a tailband-powered tail whip! Shadow Chaos exploded into a black puddle, but quickly reshaped itself into its normal form. "Aw, that's cheating!" Kosmo grunted as he stood up again, "Well, I'm not getting knocked down again! Let's try Kosmosis!" A purple light shot out of Kosmo's eyes, similar to his Kosmos attack, but weaker. The attack wasn't powerful enough to explode Shadow Chaos, but it did knock it backward a bit. Shadow Chaos recovered quickly, and ran between Copter and Kosmo, spinning its stretched-out arms in order to smack both of them away! They were flung into the air, but both landed on their feet. "That kinda hurt... And it seemed like my tailband didn't hurt it any more than a regular attack would've..." Copter realized, seeing that Shadow Chaos didn't seem to be growing any weaker. Kosmo grinned at the creature. "Not bad, but it's time to end this!" As if in response to Kosmo's words, Shadow Chaos charged at him, flailing its arms violently! Copter flew over in an attempt to help. "Look out, Kosmo!" he shouted. Kosmo prepared to dodge, but Shadow Chaos stopped to smack Copter out of the sky with its long arm! Copter fell onto the pile of junk Kosmo left next to the blankets. "Ow!! Those chicken bones hurt!!" Copter groaned. Kosmo was about to attempt to attack Shadow Chaos, but the creature already turned to him and started attacking again. Kosmo jumped aside and ran out of the way, putting some distance between himself and Shadow Chaos. The creature pulled its arms back to their normal length and pointed its hands at Kosmo. After aiming, it began firing globs of black fluid at Kosmo with speed similar to a bullet! Kosmo quickly ran out of the way. "Good at long-distance fighting are you? Try this on for size then!" Though he was now panting with exhaustion, Kosmo managed to force his tail to morph into a mace, which he threw at Shadow Chaos quickly, smashing the spiked ball into Shadow Chaos and causing it to break down into a puddle again! As his mace-tail snapped back to him, Kosmo morphed it back to normal and glanced at the black water on the floor. "OK... He wasn't so tough. I think I beat him... Let's get outta here, already..." he said, starting to head for the exit again. However, Shadow Chaos began quickly reforming after Kosmo took his eyes off it, and as soon as it was able, it fired its arms in Kosmo's direction! "Look out!" Copter yelled, running over as fast as he could! Kosmo turned just in time to see Copter run in the path of the attack. Shadow Chaos's arms smacked into Copter with such force that they splashed against his chest, but Copter stood firm. "Yeow!! That hurts... Lousy monster!!" Copter groaned. Shadow Chaos retracted its arms and backed away a step, making odd noises in frustration. Kosmo stared wide-eyed at Copter. "Hey! Why'd you do that!?" he asked. Copter glanced back at Kosmo. "Heh... Now we're even..." he said. Kosmo stepped out from behind Copter and faced Shadow Chaos. "That sneak attack was uncalled for! If that's the way you're gonna be, let's finish this!" he growled.

Rather than attack Kosmo, Shadow Chaos backed away towards the wall. Naturally, this confused Kosmo. "Hey! We're not done yet! Come back here, you coward!" he shouted. Shadow Chaos sank back into a puddle and started slipping back into the cracks. Suddenly, a voice came from outside the room. "Stop! Shadow Chaos!!" It was Basker! He and Patch ran into the room, but they were too late. The last of Shadow Chaos's liquid form slipped into the cracks, escaping into the darkness. Basker was panting, having apparently been running for a while. "Missed him..." he said unhappily. "Well, it isn't a total loss! We found these guys again! Hee hee!" Patch giggled, pointing at Copter and Kosmo, who were now cautiously approaching the Covenant of Despair members. "That's weird. Almost seems like you guys scared that monster away." Kosmo observed. "Well, those guys ARE pretty creepy." Copter pointed out. "BOO! Hee hee!" Patch joked. Basker glanced around the room, as though looking for something. "It seems Shadow Chaos is no longer here..." he said. "Is that the creature that attacked us?" Kosmo asked. Patch laughed at the question. "Hee hee! That's classified!" he said. Basker crossed his arms. "I'd ask what you two were doing here, but I don't think it matters. Our operations here are concluded. We must now return to headquarters." he said sleepily. Patch jumped towards the exit and ran out hastily. "Hee hee! Later, losers!" he giggled. Basker hesitated. "I am anxious to return to headquarters. You two are welcome to come along, if only to get a sense of how hopeless it is to oppose us." he suggested. As Basker started walking away, Copter and Kosmo exchanged puzzled looks. "So... Were they looking for that monster?" Copter wondered. "I don't know, but they've got me a little curious. Besides, I need a new place to hang out. Perhaps I should follow them." Kosmo said, starting to follow Basker and Patch. Copter watched him go with concern. "I don't know about this... Well, maybe I can learn more about these creepy weirdos if I visit their HQ..." he decided, running off to catch up to the others.


"Mister Master! We've arrived!" Meanwhile, at Shadow Arcangel, two new experiments were meeting with their creator, the brown, lab coat wearing rat known as Bucky Stein. One of the experiments was a strange, yellow creature with a blue streak going down the center of her head, as well as blue hair hanging behind her head as well. She wore a light green sleeveless top, burgundy pants and had a forked tail with a band of blue fur ringing near the tip of each end. She had pink eyes, and was overall the most unique creation Bucky had produced yet. The other was a brown griffin. He had tan wings, a white crest of feathers on his head and a white tuft of feathers on his chest. He wore cyan gloves, yellow sneakers with red stripes, and had red eyes. He knelt before Bucky respectfully as he arrived, quite a contrast to his companion. "What is your will, my father?" he said. Bucky paused before turning his seat to face them. "You're late. We haven't got time to waste!" he said sternly. The female saluted him. "Understood, mister master. Better explain things to the baby quickly." she joked. The griffin looked at her in annoyance. "Quit calling me a baby!" he protested. Bucky rolled his eyes. "Fourteen! Fifteen! No bickering! You share the same mission!" he shouted. They glanced at him as he continued. "War is coming to our home. We could just sit by and ignore it... but this could be our chance. Our chance to step out of the shadows and reclaim our freedom!" he declared. The griffin looked uncertain. "Freedom... Is that really worth fighting for?" he wondered. The other experiment laughed at him. "That's why you're the baby, 'Fifteen.'" she said. "Cut it out, 'Fourteen!'" the griffin growled, raising his fists. Bucky shot a bolt of lightning between them to regain their attention. "Stop it! Your mission is simple. Go forth and observe all sides of this conflict!" he ordered. Fourteen crossed her arms. "What about the spies? Aren't Vortex and Zipp better for this job?" she pointed out. Bucky smirked at them. "Maybe I want you both to prove yourselves." he said. The griffin nodded. "Yes, father. We won't let you down." he said. "We'll split up and check out the Covenant of Despair and GUN!" Fourteen added. Bucky nodded. "Hmm... Don't overlook Sonic in all this. He's the wild card in this game. We'll keep in touch. Good luck, my experiments." he said. "Race ya, Fourteen!" the griffin said, speeding off. However, Fourteen hesitated in order to give Bucky a knowing wink. "Don't worry, mister master. I'll take care of everything." she said. Bucky nodded. "I have great expectations for you. BOTH of you." he said. As both experiments started to leave, Bucky turned to the controls of the Arcangel. "Time for me to go. The Covenant awaits..." he murmured.


Eventually, Kosmo and Copter found themselves in what appeared to be a throne room of sorts, deep within the Covenant of Despair's headquarters. Basker and Patch had taken them a long way, and they stopped to rest before going far into the large room. It was an elaborate throne room, giant columns along the walls reaching up to the high roof, unlit torches lined the path to the back of the room, with two lit torches in the center, burning with black flames. A large, black chair dominated the back of the room. It had various fearsome images carved into it, and was emblazoned with the Covenant of Despair's symbol, the thirteen-pointed star. As they wandered towards the throne, Conan watched them from the shadow of one of the columns to the right, doing his best not to be seen. His expression grew tense as he gazed at Copter's tailband. "What a revolting development..." he thought. Patch had left Basker's side and started goofing around near Conan, prompting him to sneak away to avoid being noticed. Near the throne, Basker turned to Copter and Kosmo. "We must wait a moment." he told them before walking in front of the throne, which was currently empty. "I guess we gotta wait for someone for some reason..." Copter muttered. To the left of the throne, a black and red hornet wearing a black leather jacket and a black helmet was looking at them. His helmet had a black visor that made his eyes impossible to see. "Heyyyyy..." he muttered, slowly flying towards them. "Psst! Copter!" he whispered. "Zipp?" Copter said, somewhat surprised, "What are you doing here?" Zipp's companions, Crash and Vortex, were hanging out by the columns at the left wall as well. Crash, a grey, green-eyed rhinoceros wearing a yellow bowler hat, was the first to join them. "Nice to see you again." he said. Kosmo's eyes widened as he realized what their presence meant. "Oh... No... It couldn't be..." he groaned. Vortex, a black chameleon with two horns on his head, orange eyes, a jagged tail, and two red spikes on his back, confirmed Kosmo's fears. "Masssster, Kossssmo issss here." he said, looking up towards the ceiling.

From the rafters, Bucky jumped down, using his electric powers to slow his descent! "Let me see him!" He said, pushing past Crash and Zipp in order to greet Copter and Kosmo. "Ah, what do we have here? I must say, I never expected to see you both together." he said upon seeing them. "Bucky! Hey, why'd Vortex only tell you about Kosmo? What am I, chopped liver?" Copter asked. Vortex had emerged from the shadows to greet them now. "Hanging out with Kossssmo? If you had a death wissssh, Copter, you could have came to sssssee Zipp." he hissed. "Seems to me I just did. Hey, Zipp." Copter replied, waving at Zipp. "If only Crash hadn't confiscated my shotgun! I'd give you a proper welcome!" Zipp chuckled. Kosmo looked around at his creator and fellow creations with contempt. "You know what? I think I'll be leaving now!" he growled. Bucky blocked his path as he turned to leave. "By all means, don't leave on account of me." he insisted. Copter frowned. "All right. We'll leave because of Vortex." he said. "Ssssshut up." Vortex snarled. Kosmo backed away from Bucky. "Don't even speak to me... None of you! You, who created me and then caged me! I want nothing to do with you!" he said threateningly. Bucky crossed his arms and glared at him. "I'm not too thrilled to see you either. But I have my reasons for being here, so I'll just have to live with it." he said. "Just why ARE you here?" Copter wondered. Before Bucky could reply, Basker turned to call them. "Kosmo! Copter! Come, it is time!" Copter and Kosmo left Bucky and approached the throne. "Time for what?" Kosmo growled, "If it's about joining you guys, I don't think I want to." Basker motioned to the throne. "Tell that to our master." he said. Suddenly, the throne burst into black flames, and began forming the shape of a creature! As the flames faded, a truly fearsome entity emerged. It was hooded, much like the Doomsayer and the Deathbringer, but this one's hood had three red stripes going along the sides and top. His cloak had a red collar, and his gloves were a dark red color. His shoes were red and grey, and he had a grey tail with a red furred tip. His hate-filled eyes glowed red as well, and were the only part of his face visible under his hood. Copter and Kosmo backed away a step, shocked by his appearance. The being first looked at Basker. "Basker... The mission ended in failure, did it not?" he said, with a demonic voice as fearsome as he was. Basker backed away as well, keeping his eyes fixed on this fearsome being as he did. "True, master. However, I have brought the morph." he said, pushing Copter and Kosmo forward. The mysterious being glared down at them from his throne. "Welcome, newcomers. I am the master of the Covenant of Despair. They call me...... The Darkseeker."


Chapter 5 - Cold Metal
Stage 5(Hero 3) - Frostbite Maze
Minor Boss 1 - Metal Sonic

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 story thus far:
The Covenant of Despair, a mysterious group bent on destroying all humans, attacked Angel Island with the intention of stealing the Master Emerald. With help from an orange coati, Knuckles managed to escape with the emerald. Hoping to hide the Master Emerald, Knuckles visited Tails at his workshop, only to have the Covenant of Despair find him again! Tails led Knuckles into the tunnels beneath his workshop just before the covenant set it ablaze, and soon they found the Tornado 3. Now, Tails and Knuckles are flying over the Mystic Ruins with the intention of challenging the Covenant of Despair at the floating island they came from...
Now, on to the next chapter!


As the Tornado soared through the sky above the Mystic Ruins, Tails was looking in vain for the island Knuckles had spoken of. "I don't see it! Where is this second island, Knuckles?" he asked. Knuckles looked in the direction he recalled seeing the island. "Hmmm... WHAT!? The island's gone!" he realized. Tails continued flying in the direction of Angel Island. "A whole island can't just disappear. It must have moved!" he said. "Well, obviously. But how can they move a whole island? Heck, how'd they even get it in the air without the Master Emerald?" Knuckles wondered. "I don't know, but now we need a new plan. Where should we go?" Tails asked. Before either of them could think about that, something hit the side of the plane hard! "Aaaah!! What just hit us!?" Tails shouted, trying to regain control of the plane as it began plummeting to the ground! "Tails! You gotta try to land this thing!!" Knuckles shouted. SPOT began beeping in a panicky fashion. "Danger!! Danger!!" the robot shouted. "You got that right, SPOT! We're gonna crash!!" Tails yelled.

Some time later, Tails and Knuckles awoke inside a small cage. "Ugh... What happened? Where are we?" Knuckles muttered, looking around. They were inside a medium-sized room with computers and monitors along one of the walls. Along the wall to the left of the monitors were several shelves lined with books and various bits of equipment. The table in the center of the room was littered with blueprints and tools. A familiar symbol on the walls made it all too clear where they were. It was one of Eggman's bases! "Huh? How did this happen?" Tails muttered, still somewhat dazed. Knuckles began shaking the bars angrily. "Never mind how! We need to get out of here!" he growled. Tails tugged him by the arm to get his attention. "Quiet! Someone's coming!" he said. Several shadows emerged at the doorway. "Good morning, everyone! Time for dinner!" said the owner of the first shadow as he entered. It was Alpha! "Dinner? Don't be silly, Alpha! It's lunch time!" said Char, who was next to enter the room. A frustrated sigh was heard coming from the next person to enter the room. "There goes my dramatic introduction..." said Dr. Eggman.

Three others entered the room behind Eggman, but Tails and Knuckles paid no attention to them. They were too focused on the diabolical doctor in front of them. "Dr. Eggman! Hey! Let me outta here, right now!" Knuckles yelled threateningly. Eggman pulled up a chair and sat down in front of the cage. "Let you go? Not until you tell me what you were doing flying around MY airspace!" he said. Tails looked very confused. "Your airspace? What are you talking about!?" he asked. Eggman got up from his seat angrily. "Don't play dumb! After all, whose flying fortress shot you down, hm?" he yelled. Tails backed away from Eggman a step. "Oh... Makes sense... Hey! Wait! Where's the Tornado!? Where's SPOT!?" he asked. "In storage. Now, back to the main topic...." Eggman started to say. "Excuse me, doctor." someone interrupted. The speaker, an orange coati, emerged from behind Eggman. Behind him, a blue porcupine that resembled Sonic followed. He had yellow eyes, black gloves, and black boots. It was Spiny the Porcupine! "What are you doing!?" he whispered to the coati. Tails briefly glanced at Spiny. "Huh? Hey! Sonic's here!" he said. "WHO SAID THAT!? LEMME AT 'EM!!" Spiny yelled, trying to push past the coati without success. "I don't think that's Sonic, Tails." Knuckles pointed out. Eggman turned to his bickering companions. "Calm down, Spiny! It's an honest mistake." he said, "Those are two new associates of mine: Spiny the Porcupine and Ridley the Coati." Knuckles recognized the coati from earlier that day. "Ridley..." he muttered. "If I may, Doctor. It would seem to me that these two were not aware of our presence at the Mystic Ruins." Ridley said, pointing at Knuckles. "Also, that is Knuckles the Echidna, is it not? Perhaps we can make a deal with him. His treasure hunting talents could be useful." Eggman looked back at Knuckles. "Well, obviously. But why were you two flying around the Mystic Ruins in the first place?" he asked. "We weren't looking for you. We were going after the Covenant of Despair!" Tails explained. Knuckles nodded in agreement. "Yeah, he's right! Now, let us go, or I'll have to go through you!" he threatened. Eggman glared at Knuckles. "Watch that temper! Covenant of Despair you say? Hmmm.... Really, now..... Well, that changes things! Now, tell me, what would you say if I told you we're on the same side?" he asked. Tails scoffed at him. "Yeah, right! I bet this is just another one of your tricks!" he said. Eggman looked hurt. "Tricks? Would I do something like that?" he asked. Alpha raised his hands excitedly. "Absolutely!" he shouted. Eggman groaned at this. "Char, take Alpha for a walk." he said. The Chao led Alpha out of the room, calling him like a pet dog. "C'mon, Alphie! Here, boy!" Once he was gone, Eggman turned his attention back to his captives. "OK, so I haven't the best track record... But, really, would I be on the side of human-haters?" he reasoned. Ridley agreed. "Listen, now. We can all help each other, you know." he said. Eggman smiled. "Yes, if you help me, I'll find Despair's headquarters for you! And fix your plane, to boot!" he offered. Tails frowned. "I don't know about this..." he muttered. Knuckles shrugged. "Well, it beats being stuck in this cell. Besides... It doesn't seem like Eggman's lying this time..." he pointed out. "Well... Maybe..." Tails said without confidence. "What do you want from us, Eggman?" Knuckles asked. Spiny looked upset. "Y-you aren't really... Going to let them out!?" he grumbled. Eggman motioned to a robot behind him. It was an orange robot with a pink head and purple eyes, which resembled Omega. "Firma, open the cell." he instructed. "Acknowledged." Firma replied in a feminine robot voice. The robot walked over to a control panel and pressed a button. Seconds later, the door to the cage swung open. "That's better." Knuckles muttered, stepping out of the cage. Eggman shook hands with Knuckles. "Just like old times, pal! Now, I want you to head for the Blue Ridge Zone. There, one of my robots will lead you to a secret ruins that has recently been discovered there. Within, your treasure hunting skills will surely lead you to the Chaos Gauntlets. Bring those back to me!" he ordered. "Right... And if I bring back the 'Chaos Gauntlets'.... You'll return the Tornado?" Knuckles asked. "And SPOT?" Tails added. Eggman nodded. "Yes, and I'm even being gracious enough to let you keep the Master Emerald! Now, get going!" he said. Ridley waved to Knuckles and Tails as they left the room. "Good luck." he said.

As they exited Eggman's base, Tails and Knuckles found themselves in an unfamiliar area. Oddly, they appeared to be in the middle of a city! "Huh? Hey, where's this base located...?" Knuckles wondered, looking around. He could see what appeared to be a police station a few blocks away. Seeing this, the two of them both looked back at the building Eggman's base was located in. Tails was shocked. "I don't believe it! Not only did Eggman build a base right in the middle of a city, but..." Knuckles finished his sentence for him. "He has a big, flashing sign on it! Doesn't he think he'll be caught here?" Eggman's base contained a large sign with his symbol on it, and the word "Eggtopia" written in big flashing lights. "That's what things are like here in Troblusk City." said someone behind them. They turned to see a young, yellow porcupine. He had blue eyes and blue shoes. "Hm? Troblusk City? Never heard of it." Knuckles said. Tails looked a little concerned. "I have. It's supposed to be this really dangerous city. Crime levels are so high here, it's no wonder Eggman was able to build a base unopposed." he explained. The yellow porcupine rubbed his eyes in disbelief when he realized who they were. "W-wow! You're.... You're Tails and Knuckles, aren't you?" he gasped. "You've heard of us?" Tails said with surprise. "Are you kidding? You're friends of Sonic! Everyone's heard of you! Even here!" the porcupine replied. Knuckles rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah. We don't have time for autographs!" he said. Tails ignored Knuckles's remark. "What's your name?" he asked the porcupine. "I'm Tommy. My bro is Razor, a police officer here in this city. We actually live in Station Square, though." he said. "If you live in Station Square, then why are you in a dangerous city like this?" Tails asked. Knuckles was growing impatient. "Tails! We gotta go!!" he groaned. Tommy answered Tails's question. "I was just visiting my brother. I'm waiting for my ride home now. But she's a taxi driver, and she has to put her passengers first." he explained. "Well, we're heading for Station Square now, too. Want to come with us?" Tails offered. "Taaaails!!!" Knuckles whined. Tommy ignored Knuckles. "Really? Is that OK? Thank you! I'll just call Mia on my cell phone and let her know I don't need a ride anymore!" While Tommy was tinkering with his cell phone, Knuckles pulled Tails aside. "Tails, you have a big mouth! We don't have time to baby-sit!" he said. "Good thing Tommy's not a baby, then. Look at him! He's about the same age as me!" Tails replied. Knuckles groaned loudly. "Fine, but he better not slow us down!" he said. Meanwhile, Tommy wrapped up his call. "OK! Bye, Mia! Man, she sure is jealous I got to meet you guys! Could you write an autograph for her?" he asked. Knuckles glared at Tails. "I hate you sometimes, Tails, you know that?"

Tommy actually proved to be a bit helpful, as he was able to lead them to the train station. Soon they reached Station Square, and began nearing Blue Ridge Zone in the north. Soon, Tommy was ready to leave them behind. "All right! My house is right around the corner! Thanks for taking me, Tails! You too, Knuckles!" he said. Knuckles sighed with relief. "Right.... Stay out of trouble, kid!" he told him. Tails waved as he and Knuckles left Tommy behind. "Bye!" he said. As they were walking away, an orange cheetah wearing a red jacket and red pants approached Tommy. He had green eyes, white gloves, and black sneakers. It was Chet. "Hey, there, Tommy! How's Razor holding up?" he asked. Before he could answer, a black coyote girl wearing a sleeveless purple shirt and short jeans ran up to them. She had brown eyes and blue shoes. It was Katie. "Eeeeeeeee!! Tommy, was that Tails and Knuckles I just saw go by!?" she asked excitedly. Tommy nodded. "Yeah! They brought me home! Isn't that cool?" he said. Chet looked at Katie with worry. "Uh, oh.... Katie's gonna...." Before he could say anything else, Katie started jumping with excitement. "Wow wow wow!! Friends of Sonic himself! Just think, if I hurry, I might be able to get an interview!" she shouted, running off after Tails and Knuckles! Chet watched her run off. "There she goes! Off on the hunt for news! Poor Tails and Knuckles..." he said. "Should we go after her?" Tommy asked. Chet started acting excited, too. "Yeah! I want to meet Knuckles!" With that, they both took off after Katie.

Meanwhile, Tails and Knuckles had arrived at Blue Ridge Zone. They hadn't been walking long before they encountered a robot. It was a light blue Gizoid, with a purple horn and yellow eyes. Eggman's symbol was on its chest. "You must be Eggman's robot." Knuckles said. The robot spoke with a chilling voice. "I am E-6X. Also known as Freeze. I am to show you to the ruins, where the Chaos Gauntlets are hidden." he explained. "All right. Lead the way!" Knuckles replied. "Follow me." Freeze instructed, jumping up to a high cliff with surprising speed! "Hey! Wait up!" Knuckles shouted. "There is no time to waste." Freeze said, running off. "He's no help..." Knuckles groaned. "Let's just head in that direction!" Tails suggested.

Freeze's trail eventually led them to a snowbound area to the west of the Blue Ridge Zone. Nestled in this cold, mountainous region was a huge ancient ruin. It was the ruins of a city surrounded by a large wall. Just outside the gate to this ruined city, Tails and Knuckles found a familiar face. "Rouge!? What are YOU doing here!?" Knuckles yelled. Rouge the Bat was examining the locked gate leading into the ruins, but turned around when Knuckles spoke to her. "Nice to see you again, too, Knuckles." she said sarcastically. Tails waved at Rouge politely. "Hi, Rouge! Are you here looking for the-" Before he could finish, Knuckles put his hand over his mouth. "Shut it!! It's none of her business!!" he yelled. Rouge smiled at them. "You must be here to find the Chaos Gauntlets, too. Sorry, pal, but this is MY mission!" she told them. "Mission?" Knuckles asked. "For the President. Not sure why he wants them, or how he knows about them, but he did promise some nice jewels..." Rouge explained. "If we're all looking for the same thing, why don't we help each other?" Tails asked. Rouge laughed at him. "Aw, how cute. Tails, you always were pretty naive!" she said. Tails looked confused. "What?" he muttered. Rouge rolled her eyes. "Oh, all right. I'll tell you what Shadow and I figured out." she said. Knuckles looked around. "Shadow's here, too!? I didn't know he was into jewels." he said. Rouge stomped her foot loudly. "Don't interrupt me, Knuckles! Here's what we found out. In order to get into the room with the Gauntlets, you need the three ancient relics that are the keys to the ruins. So, whoever finds them first gets the prize! Good luck, Knuxie! You'll need it!" With her explanation complete, Rouge flew over the gate and into the ruins. Knuckles shook his fist at her as she left. "Bring it on, Rouge! I can out treasure-hunt you any day!" he shouted. "I'm not so sure of that, Knuckles..." Tails murmured. Suddenly, a beeping was heard nearby. "Tails detected!" said the robotic voice of SPOT! Tails ran over to the robot excitedly. "SPOT! How'd you get away from Eggman?" he asked. The text on SPOT's monitor told his story. "I bit him. His robots chased me, but the malfunctioning one confused the others." Knuckles walked towards the gate of the ruins. "Great. You got your toy back. You play with it while I find those relics." he said. Tails ran after Knuckles with SPOT following. "SPOT can help us, Knuckles! SPOT, we're looking for the relics that open a door!" he said. SPOT beeped loudly. "Signals detected!" it said. "It works? OK, fine... You can come. If you can get over the gate." he sighed. "Wait, Knuckles! SPOT says the first relic is outside the ruins! Uh... That way!" Tails said, leading the way.

Soon, they arrived at the foot of a large, icy cliff. On a ledge halfway up the cliff, they could see a shiny object. SPOT's sensor indicated that it was probably one of the relics, though they really had no idea what the relics looked like and if they even gave off signals that SPOT could pick up. "Well, I guess I'd better try to climb up there..." Knuckles decided. However, this plan was interrupted by a laser being fired in their direction! Tails and Knuckles looked in the direction the laser came from and saw Metal Sonic heading towards them! "Hey, what's with Metal Sonic!? Why is he even here!? Eggman already sent Freeze!" Knuckles groaned. Tails shrugged. "Maybe Metal Sonic's on a different mission. Or maybe Eggman doesn't trust us, and Metal Sonic thinks we're up to something because we're not inside the ruins." he said. Metal Sonic made some robotic noises, which didn't sound friendly. "Well, he sure doesn't seem happy to see us..." Knuckles pointed out. Metal Sonic confirmed this by firing another laser blast at Knuckles! SPOT quickly brought up a shield to block the laser, while Knuckles shook his fist at Metal Sonic. "Have it your way, bolts for brains! Tails, can you fly up and get the relic while I distract him?" he asked. Tails glanced up at the ledge. "It's a little high, but I'll try!" he said.

Metal Sonic started the battle by shooting several lasers at Knuckles, which he avoided with some difficulty. Knuckles attempted to get close enough to punch him, but Metal Sonic quickly ran out of his range before he could. "So that's how it's gonna be? Fine, then..." Knuckles said, kneeling down to scoop up some snow. Metal Sonic fired a few more shots at him, so Knuckles quickly moved aside. Then, he threw a snowball at Metal Sonic! The snowball smacked into his eyes, temporarily blinding him! "Ha! Direct hit!" Using the opportunity, Knuckles ran up to Metal Sonic and punched him in his metallic chest! As the robot fell over, it began shooting at random, knocking Knuckles aside and nearly hitting Tails as he was flying to the ledge! "Yikes! That was too close!" Tails yelped. He was nearing the ledge, but his tails were beginning to grow tired. "Uh oh... I'm gonna fall!" he shouted. Hearing his master's call, SPOT transformed its paws slightly, turning them into small thrusters that allowed him to fly up to Tails and carry him the rest of the way to the ledge! "Whew... Thanks, SPOT!" Tails said, resting a moment before picking up the relic. It looked like a small ice crystal, but with writing etched into it. The writing was in a strange language that Tails couldn't read. "Yep, this must be the relic." he said before shouting down to Knuckles, "I got it!" Knuckles had begun fighting with Metal Sonic again already, but looked up at Tails briefly. "Great! Now we just gotta deal with Metal Sonic!" While Knuckles was distracted, Metal Sonic jumped into the air and mimicked Sonic's homing attack to knock Knuckles over! He then aimed his laser at Knuckles's head. "Watch out!" Tails shouted as he and SPOT arrived back on the ground. "I know that!" Knuckles groaned. Metal Sonic made a few threatening noises before moving closer to Knuckles, still aiming the laser at his head. "Close enough!" Knuckles yelled, grabbing some snow and hurling it at Metal Sonic! Once again blinded, Metal Sonic fired his laser and missed! While Metal Sonic brushed the snow from his eyes, Knuckles stood back up and prepared to continue the fight.

As Metal Sonic began approaching Tails and Knuckles again, he started beeping. His eye monitor began displaying some text. "{Receiving command...}" it read. The text was too small for Knuckles to see from a distance. "Hey, what's going on?" he wondered, slowly lowering his guard. More text appeared on the monitor a second later. "{New directive: assist Knuckles.}" it read. "Helloooooo? Metal Sonic?" Knuckles said, unsure of what was happening. Metal Sonic lowered his laser and made some robotic noises, somewhat friendlier than before. "I really wish Eggman hadn't taken away his ability to talk..." Knuckles groaned, looking confused. Tails cautiously approached Metal Sonic. "He's calmed down... Maybe he's received new orders from Eggman." he realized. Knuckles scratched his head. "Does that mean he'll help us?" he asked. Metal Sonic nodded to confirm this. "Oh... Good, I guess." Knuckles said without enthusiasm. SPOT ran up to Metal Sonic angrily, making a growling sound as he did. "What's with him?" Knuckles asked. "He's programmed not to trust Eggman's robots." Tails explained, walking over to SPOT. "It's OK, SPOT. Don't worry about Metal Sonic. We need you to lead us to the next relic." he said. SPOT began beeping as he attempted to locate the relic. "Signal detected." Looking at SPOT's monitor, Tails saw that the next relic was inside the ruins somewhere. "Looks like we gotta go in there now." he said. Knuckles started heading back towards the gate to the ruins. "Let's go then, Tails! And... uh... Metal Sonic. And... SPOT..." he said. Metal Sonic glanced at SPOT briefly before following Knuckles. As he did, SPOT began growling again. "Hmmm... Maybe I need to adjust SPOT's programming..." Tails muttered, following behind the others.

When they reached the gate, Metal Sonic used his laser to blast it open. Knuckles, having observed this, had an idea. "Hey, what if instead of finding these relics, we just have Metal Sonic blast the door to the Chaos Gauntlets?" he suggested. Tails shook his head. "Rouge came here with Shadow, remember? If he can't blast through the door, it probably can't be broken." he pointed out. SPOT began beeping louder as they entered the walls of the ruined city. "Chaos energy detected!" he said, rushing to the first building directly in front of the gate. The door contained three indentations in the shape of the relic they'd found. "That must be the door to the gauntlets! Sure was easy to find." Knuckles said. Metal Sonic aimed his laser at the door and fired, only to have the shot bounce off and nearly hit Knuckles! "Aaaah!! OK, bad idea!" he grumbled. "Told ya." Tails said, "Which way to the relic, SPOT?" The robot looked around. The buildings within the walls of the ruins were arranged to form a giant maze, and navigating it might be tricky. After a moment, SPOT began walking to the right. Tails, Knuckles, and Metal Sonic followed, but before they could get far, several creatures swarmed out from inside the buildings! They were large jellyfish creatures made up of pure chaos energy, each with three glowing red eyes! They were Chaos Guardians, much like the foes Tails had encountered in the Chaos Shrine! "What are these things doing here!?" Tails shouted fearfully. "Maybe they're mad because Metal Sonic broke the gate!" Knuckles said. Metal Sonic immediately began shooting at them, but it had little effect. While the others were worrying about the Chaos Guardians, SPOT began running though the swarm in the direction of the relic! "H-hey! SPOT! Don't leave without us!" Tails shouted. "Heck with it! Let's just try to follow him!" Knuckles decided, charging through the swarm of guardians in SPOT's direction. Tails and Metal Sonic followed, ducking and dodging the flailing tentacles of the Chaos Guardians as they went! Metal Sonic fired several shots ahead of them, causing the guardians to move out of the way, allowing them to continue moving with less resistance.


Back at the entrance, Katie, Chet and Tommy tiptoed their way inside the ruins. "Okay... The coast is clear!" Katie whispered. "It's cold. Can't I go back and get my winter coat?" Tommy muttered, shivering. Katie looked around cautiously. "Tails and Knuckles are getting away! I gotta catch up with them!" she grumbled. Chet sighed. "Isn't being the first reporter to explore these ruins what you should really be all excited about?" he wondered. The three of them crept to the sealed door that the three relics were needed to open, and after a moment's thought, they started wandering to the left. "Um, aren't the footprints going that way?" Tommy tried to point out, but Katie shushed him. "I'm trying to concentrate, Tom! Shush!" she said. Chet frowned. "This better not end like when we tried to work out the corn maze at the Autumn Fair..." he whimpered.


It took some doing, but they eventually managed to elude the Chaos Guardians. Soon after, SPOT led them to a path leading to what appeared to be a dead end. It was a particularly icy area, and Tails and Knuckles found it somewhat difficult to keep from slipping. However, they could see the relic waiting at the end of the path, so they did their best to move forward. Metal Sonic seemed to have no difficulty on the ice, and was the first to reach the relic. "OK, Metal Sonic! Pick that up so we can get off this ice!" Knuckles said. Metal Sonic glanced back at him, making robotic noises that sounded confused. "The relic! Pick up the relic!" Knuckles yelled. Tails held out the other relic to show it to Metal Sonic. "This! The second one's over there! Pick it up!" he said. Finally understanding, Metal Sonic leaned over to pick it up, only to have SPOT snatch it first! Metal Sonic reacted with some angry noises, to which SPOT replied by growling. "Oh, brother..." Knuckles groaned, "You two behave! Or... we'll make you take a time out!" Tails chuckled softly. "It's OK guys! As long as one of us has the relic! Now let's go find the last one!" he said. Suddenly, some gaseous spirits emerged from the wall at the dead end! Their hands were disconnected from their bodies, and their sudden appearance scared Tails. "Ghosts!! Run!!" he yelled, slipping on the ice and falling as he tried to run. Knuckles helped him up. "Don't be a coward! Those aren't ghosts! They're just some of those Lost Ones!" he pointed out. SPOT and Metal Sonic ran away from the ghosts, which were Lospirits, and stopped when they reached Tails and Knuckles. Metal Sonic took on a defensive stance, prompting Tails and Knuckles to look behind them. The Chaos Guardians had arrived, and were blocking the way out! With the ice making it unlikely that they could fight their way out, both Tails and Knuckles began to look worried. "Tails... If we get out of this... Remind me to punch Eggman in the face later!" Knuckles growled.


Chapter 6 - Fight for the Chaos Gauntlets
Boss 5 - Losohst Knights

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.



Knuckles glanced in both directions. The dead end they had reached was blocked by a few Lospirits, while the path they came from was teeming with the jellyfish-like Chaos Guardians. The ground was covered with slippery ice, but the enemies were airborne, so only Tails and Knuckles would slip. SPOT and Metal Sonic were unaffected by the ice, but there were too many enemies for them to fight alone. "How are we gonna get out of this, Knuckles?" Tails whimpered. The easiest direction to go would be through the Lospirits, but that direction led to the dead end. The Chaos Guardians would be impossible to pass safely, so Knuckles was left with only one option. "I'll get us outta this! Follow me, Tails!" he shouted, jumping towards the dead end! He landed on the ice, which was so slippery that he began sliding towards the wall at high speed! This, of course, was part of his plan. The ice carried him past the Lospirits fast enough to avoid them, and he used the momentum from the sliding to punch the wall with tremendous force! The old, weather-worn wall couldn't take such an impact, so Knuckles managed to punch a hole in the wall! "Quick, through here!" Knuckles shouted, leading the way as SPOT and Metal Sonic escaped through the hole. This left Tails, who decided he could never slide across the ice the way Knuckles did. So, as the Lospirits and the Chaos Guardians were closing in on him, Tails leapt into the air and began flying as high and as fast as he could! Luckily, the Lospirits were slow, so he could easily outfly them. In moments, he'd managed to fly over the wall and rejoined Knuckles and the others. "About time, Tails!" Knuckles grumbled, "While you were taking your time, your robot detected the third relic. Let's get going before those creatures follow us through the wall!" Tails picked up SPOT and examined the information on his monitor. "Right... We should go that way!" he said, pointing to the nearest turn in the maze. Already, the Lospirits were passing through the wall, so there was no time to waste! "That way it is! Try to keep up, Metal Sonic!" Knuckles said, running off ahead of the others!

Tails soon managed to pinpoint the location of the third relic using the information SPOT provided. It was atop a large pillar of ice that the ruins had been built around. Though they could see the pillar over the walls, they still had to navigate the maze in order to reach the pillar. As they were wandering the maze, someone was watching them from high above the ruins. It was Lospecter, and he was accompanied by the Lospirits that Knuckles and Tails had escaped from. Lospecter turned his attention away from Knuckles and glared at his minions. "Lospirits... More like LOSERspirits! What are you guys, frozen stiff? Seriously, I've never seen your kind move so slow." In his frustration, Lospecter picked up a card from his deck and hurled it at the Lospirits! It burst into flame and exploded, taking the Lospirits with it! With the destruction of one of the cards, a new card magically appeared at the bottom of the deck. "My regular lost minions don't have the kind of oomph I want right now... I guess I'll try my luck with the cards." he said to himself, pulling one of the gold-backed cards from his mysterious deck. "Ah... Lucky me! And if I have this right, the next card's the same! This should be fun!" He returned the card to the top of his deck and resumed watching Knuckles, Tails and Metal Sonic, who had nearly reached the ice pillar. Lospecter chuckled to himself as he thought about his plans. "Things sure have gotten interesting lately. With all those unlost dopes ignoring me, I get ringside seats to all kinds of hilarious shows. Only thing that bugs me is how... left out I've been. Well, they won't be ignoring me much longer... Heh heh heh heh..."


Meanwhile, someone else was also exploring the ruins. Katie, Chet and Tommy had gotten themselves lost while looking for Tails and Knuckles. "W-we should t-t-turn back! It's g-getting c-c-colder out here!" Tommy stammered. Katie kicked some snow in frustration. "My reporter's intuition told me to go this way! There ought to be SOMETHING worthwhile around here!" she growled. Chet sighed. "Maybe we should head back to the entrance and see if we bump into them on the way? Knuckles probably found whatever he came here for by now, with his experience. There's no sense wandering around lost anymore." he reasoned. Katie sighed in defeat. "You're right. Let's go..." As they started to turn around, however, they noticed a couple of Chaos Guardians had been following them! "EEEEEIIIIIYAAAAAAAHHHH!!!" They all shrieked and immediately started fleeing in panic, seemingly causing the guardians to grow more suspicious of them and begin to chase them more furiously! Soon, they reached a slippery, icy path, and started to slide along it like hockey pucks, bouncing along the walls since they had been caught off guard by the sudden change in traction! As Chet smacked into one of the walls hard, it flipped over, revealing a secret door leading inside the ruins! "Aha!! Chet, you're a genius!" Katie shouted, shakily changing her course and grabbing Tommy as she headed for the doorway! Chet rubbed his nose as he crawled in through the top of the flipped entrance. "Really? I actually feel like my IQ just dropped a few points..." he mumbled in pain. As the secret door slid shut behind them, the Chaos Guardians stopped their pursuit and looked around in confusion before resuming their usual patrols. "So... going to the entrance is out, huh?" Tommy sighed. Katie smirked excitedly. "I think we've hit the jackpot! Let's check this secret room out!" she said, rushing ahead of the others.

Tails and Knuckles looked up at the pillar of ice within the ruins in awe. "It's like a small mountain..." Knuckles said. "I wonder what made the people who built this place decide to build around this thing?" Tails wondered. Metal Sonic was tapping his foot on the ground impatiently, similar to the way the real Sonic would. "I guess Metal Sonic is trying to tell us that Eggman would want us to hurry up..." Tails said. Knuckles spied a ledge near the top of the ice pillar. "I don't suppose you could fly up there?" he asked Tails, who merely shook his head in response. "I thought not. Well, I'd better start climbing!" While Tails and Metal Sonic waited at the bottom of the pillar, Knuckles began climbing his way to the ledge where the relic was most likely located. Once Knuckles was about halfway there, things became dangerous once again. The Chaos Guardians had finally managed to track them down, and soon surrounded Tails and Metal Sonic! "Hurry up, Knuckles!!" Tails shouted as the guardians began to attack! The flailing tentacles of the guardians struck Tails and Metal Sonic quickly, but they were quick to recover. Metal Sonic began using the homing attack to attempt to keep the guardians at bay, while SPOT used its shield to protect Tails. With so many Chaos Guardians attacking, the shield didn't hold up long, and Tails and SPOT were both soon struck by the guardians' tentacles! "Aaaagh!! Leave me alone, you slimy creeps!" Tails yelled, using his large tails to block the attacks from the guardians. SPOT attempted to harm the creatures with laser blasts, but it proved useless. Making matters worse, Knuckles still hadn't reached the relic yet. "Hang in there guys! I'll get down there as soon as I can!" Knuckles shouted as he began climbing faster. "I'm trying..." Tails groaned, but he couldn't last much longer. After being hit a couple more times, Tails was knocked over, landing face-first in the snow! As he fell, he dropped everything he'd been carrying, including his Tailband of Chaos! However, as the tailband hit the ground, the Chaos Guardians looked down at it and immediately stopped moving!

Knuckles, noticing that it had become quiet down below, glanced down to see that the Chaos Guardians had stopped moving. "Huh? What happened to them?" he wondered. Remembering the relic, Knuckles resumed his climb and reached the ledge, where the final relic was waiting. "Got it. Now I'd better see if Tails is all right..." Rather than climb back down, Knuckles glided in circles until he was close enough to the ground to drop down. Tails was already back on his feet, but was resting against the wall. "That was close... I wonder why those creatures stopped attacking?" he wondered. Metal Sonic reached down and picked up the tailband, which Knuckles quickly snatched out of his hands. "Eggman won't be needing this!" he said, handing it back to Tails. With the tailband in his hands again, Tails came to a realization. "Maybe they stopped because of the tailband. Come to think of it... I saw these things in the shrine where I got the tailband!" he said. Knuckles picked up the relics that Tails had dropped and began walking towards the direction of the door to the Chaos Gauntlets slowly. "I don't know what these creatures' connection to the tailband is, but I suggest you keep that where they can see it until we get out of here!" he suggested. Tails began following Knuckles, aiming the tailband around like a weapon. "Easy, creatures... I have this tailband, and I kinda know how to use it!" he muttered. Metal Sonic glanced around at the unmoving Chaos Guardians for a moment, and then ran off into the maze on his own. "Where's he goin'?" Knuckles wondered. Tails shrugged. "Maybe he's spooked by those creatures... If robots can be spooked, that is." he said. Suddenly, SPOT ran off in the direction Metal Sonic had been going! "Hey, wait up, SPOT!" Tails shouted. "Ha ha ha! I get it! Those robots are having a race to get to the door! Sonic never changes, robot or not!" Knuckles laughed. Tails began running ahead next. "Last one to the door's a rotten Eggman!" he chuckled. Knuckles looked confused for a second before running off as well. "Wait a minute here! I'm the one with the relics!! You can't leave me behind!!"

Regardless of what order the others reached the door, it was indisputable that Knuckles was the last to arrive. In fact, it had taken him a good while to find the door, since he'd gotten lost in the maze. "Thanks for helping me find the way back here, GUYS!!" Knuckles yelled upon catching up. "Heh... Sorry, Knuckles..." Tails said, taking the relics from him and placing them into the indentations on the door. Once they were all in place, they started glowing! Seconds later, the door began glowing as well! "Oh, wow!" Tails gasped. In a moment, the glowing ceased, and the door slid open! "Great! Now let's go find those gauntlets!" Knuckles grinned, running into the building first! "Last one there's an ice cube!" he said, prompting the others to run in quickly! As they disappeared into the building, Rouge the bat dropped down from the sky. "No wonder I can't find any of those relics... They already found 'em! Hmph, if my wings weren't frozen stiff, I'd have found them first!" she scoffed. As she peered into the dark building, she held up the walkie talkie she was carrying. "Shadow, come in. This is Rouge... Shadow? Hello!? Darn it..." The only response Rouge was getting was static, meaning that the walkie talkie was useless. "Figures I can't get in touch with him when I need him. I guess I'd better find him fast, before Knuckles leaves!" As she began flying off, Lospecter peered out at her from behind a corner. "Shadow, eh? Heh, how interesting. Too bad I can't wait for them to get back. The fun's starting now, and I don't wanna miss it!"

Beyond the entrance hallway was a room covered in frost. Large support columns could be seen by each corner of the room, and the walls were covered with hieroglyphics similar to the ones on the mural in the Chaos Shrine. Knuckles, Tails, and Metal Sonic spotted the Chaos Gauntlets right away upon entering the chamber. They were sitting on a pedestal in the center of the room. Knuckles was the first to approach the pedestal. The gauntlets on the pedestal were made of solid gold, except for red gems on the wrist part and on two "knuckles" each. The back of the gauntlets were decorated with patterns similar to those covering the Tailbands of Chaos. "Fancy gloves... These must be it!" Knuckles realized, picking up the gauntlets. Tails walked over and held out his tailband, comparing it to the gauntlets. "Wow! They look like they were made the same way!" he observed. Knuckles frowned with disinterest. "Yeah, yeah, they're similar. Now let's get these back to Eggman's base and see if he keeps his end of the deal!" he suggested. Tails put away his tailband and looked around the room. "Hold on, Knuckles... There's something weird about this place..." he said with suspicion. Knuckles crossed his arms. "Like what?" he asked. Suddenly, a terrible scream was heard from further inside the building! "Like that! That scream came from back there!" Tails shouted, pointing to an exit behind the pedestal. "Let's check it out!" Knuckles said, leading the way as Tails and Metal Sonic followed him into the next room. This room was nearly identical to the room that contained the Chaos Gauntlets, but instead of a pedestal in the center of the room, there was a golden throne at the back of the room! Tommy and Katie were in the room, hiding behind Chet, who was staring up at a figure standing on the throne. It was Shadow Chaos! "Tommy!? What are you doing here!?" Tails asked in confusion. Tommy turned to Tails and shrugged. "It wasn't my idea!" he said. Knuckles looked around the room. "I don't get it... How did these guys get in here!? The only way in was through the relic door!" he realized. Shadow Chaos was glaring at everyone in the room. "What's that thing!? It looks like Chaos!" Tails said. Katie turned to Tails and Knuckles and explained the situation. "Sorry about this. It was my idea to follow you. But we got lost and ended up in here somehow." she said apologetically. "And now this monster's giving us the evil eye... Good going, Katie." Chet growled. Knuckles grinned at Shadow Chaos. "Aw, don't worry about that thing! I can handle it!" he assured them. Suddenly, another voice came from above! "You can't handle anything now! 'Cuz I'm here!" Lospecter dropped down between Knuckles, Tails, Metal Sonic, and the others, waving at Tails. "Hi, there, fox boy! Taken any good quizzes lately?" he asked. Tails thought back and realized what he was referring to. "Quizzes...? Oh! Lospecter!" he gasped. Knuckles had forgotten Lospecter, but it was obvious that he wasn't there to be helpful. "What do you want, ghost!?" he demanded. Before Lospecter could answer, Shadow Chaos jumped down from the throne and punched Chet! Chet wasn't hit hard, but had been caught by surprise. "Hey! No fair!" he yelled. "Shoot! That creature's getting cranky!" Knuckles said, attempting to pass Lospecter, who pushed Knuckles back. "Outta my way, ghost!" he shouted. Lospecter drew two cards from his mysterious deck. "Let's see what my cards have to say about that! Read 'em and weep!" He threw the cards into the air, and started laughing as the cards became engulfed in shadows. From the shadows, two Losohsts emerged, but something was different about them. The hooded and cloaked creatures were wearing silver armor over their cloaks, and large silver helmets on their heads. Each of them held a large sword and a silver shield! "M-more ghosts!?" Tails stammered, worried. Knuckles was feeling too impatient for this. "OUT OF MY WAY!!!" he yelled. "Don't worry about us, you guys! I'll handle this creature!" Chet said, preparing to fight Shadow Chaos. Lospecter chuckled at this. "Yeah, sure he will. OK, Losohst Knights, try to get those fancy gloves from them!" Lospecter commanded. Knuckles held up the Chaos Gauntlets. "Oh, yeah? You want these? Maybe I should test them out on you!" Knuckles threatened. Tails shook his head. "Bad idea, Knuckles! You don't know what they can do! The results could be disastrous!" he warned. Knuckles glanced at Tails. "Disastrous? Oh, fine.... I don't need 'em anyway!" he muttered, tossing them to Tails. "Bring it on, ghosts!"

As the fights began, Tails called to SPOT, who had been quietly watching behind them. "This could get crazy, SPOT. Go protect Tommy and that coyote!" he said. While Chet began fighting Shadow Chaos using his claws, Knuckles and Metal Sonic stepped forward to challenge the Losohst Knights! The knights attacked first, swinging their swords at Knuckles and Metal Sonic, who both dodged. Knuckles attempted to punch the Losohst, but it quickly blocked with its shield and countered with its sword, which Knuckles had to jump to avoid! Meanwhile, Metal Sonic used the homing attack on the Losohst, but it countered by smacking him away with its sword! Luckily, Metal Sonic's metal body was hard enough that the sword could not slice him, but the sword did make an effective bat, knocking the robot away and leaving Knuckles alone with the two knights for the moment! "Look out, Knuckles!" Tails shouted, running over to help. However, Lospecter blocked his path! "Hand over the gold and I'll get out of your way." he said. Tails attempted to tail whip Lospecter, but the attack just went right through him! "Hee heh, that tickles! Now, c'mon, give me the gauntlets!" he insisted. Meanwhile, Knuckles was busy dodging the attacks of the Losohst Knights. As the knights backed him to a wall, Metal Sonic arrived. The robot was holding its laser again, and fired at the nearest Losohst! The shot bounced off its armor, but got its attention! Knuckles took this chance to run away from the wall so he'd have more room to fight. "We've gotta get through that armor somehow!" he realized. Metal Sonic nodded in agreement, and fired its laser at the Losohst's face, forcing it to raise its shield in defense! This gave Metal Sonic a chance to get close, but the knight quickly recovered and swiped its sword at Metal Sonic! The robot caught the sword in its hands, and struggled to push the blade away. Meanwhile, Knuckles dodged another attack by the other knight and punched it with all his might! Unfortunately, even with all Knuckles's strength, he barely managed to crack the armor. "This isn't working..." he growled. Suddenly, Metal Sonic managed to overpower the other Losohst and pulled away its sword! Before the knight could try to recover it, Metal Sonic thrusted the blade into the creature's hood! The Losohst let out a sharp shriek before bursting into blue flames and vanishing! Tails jumped excitedly upon seeing this. "All right! You're a genius, Metal Sonic!" he cheered. Knuckles backed away from the knight he was fighting and reached out his hand in Metal Sonic's direction. "Toss that sword here!" he yelled. Metal Sonic hurled the sword, which Knuckles jumped away from rather than catching. "Yikes! I should've asked him to bring it to me!" he muttered. The Losohst Knight attempted to stab Knuckles before he could grab the sword, but Knuckles dove out of the way and snatched the blade! He then spun around and parried the knight's next attack before hurling the blade into the Losohst's unseeable face! Once again, the Lost One burst into ghost fire and faded, but this time took the swords with it!

Lospecter let out an angry scream once his knights were defeated. "My knights!! My cool, silvery knights!! That was the best couple cards I've seen in days!!" he yelled. Meanwhile, Chet's attacks against Shadow Chaos had apparently irritated it, for it had started making snarling noises! "OK, that creature looks mad. Let's go stop it!" Knuckles said, glancing at Tails and Metal Sonic. Lospecter grinned at him. "Stop it? Ha ha ha, right! I'd like to see you try! But, I've wasted enough time here. So long!" With that, Lospecter flew out of the building through the roof. With him out of the way, Knuckles, Tails, and Metal Sonic began approaching Shadow Chaos. "Hey, you! Sludge monster!" Knuckles shouted. Shadow Chaos hopped back onto the throne, and then waved its hand, sending a dark shockwave throughout the room! The shockwave hit everyone, and sent them all flying backwards! Knuckles was knocked the furthest away, and landed between the gauntlets' room and the room with Shadow Chaos. Knuckles slowly climbed to his feet. "That was intense... I'd better get back in there, fast!"

Knuckles barged back into the room while everyone else was still recovering from Shadow Chaos's attack. "What's the big idea!?" Knuckles shouted to the creature. Shadow Chaos remained perfectly still while Tails and Metal Sonic joined Knuckles. "What a weird creature... A black version of Chaos!" Tails said. "Well, aren't you the master of the obvious!" said a voice at the entrance to the room! Rouge the bat flew in and landed next to Knuckles. Katie watched from the back of the room, and couldn't help making an observation. "Get a load of her. Got enough makeup, batsy?" she said. Rouge didn't even look at her. "I'll pretend I didn't hear that." she muttered. With the appearance of Rouge in the room, Shadow Chaos began snarling again. "Oh, great. It's getting that angry look again. Brace yourselves!" Knuckles shouted. As Shadow Chaos raised its arm to attack again, another voice was heard in the room. "Chaos Control!!" In a flash of light, Shadow the Hedgehog appeared in front of Shadow Chaos, startling it along with everyone except Rouge! "Holy smokes! It's Shadow the Hedgehog!" Chet said in awe. Shadow Chaos looked a little confused, but still angry. "Hmph.... Chaos... Blast!!" Shadow caused a chaotic explosion, which knocked over the throne, and Shadow Chaos along with it! The creature was quick to recover, but decided it had had enough, and quickly dashed past everyone and out of the room! "Heh... Cowardly creature. Well, thanks for saving me the trouble, Shadow!" Knuckles said. Rouge chuckled as she walked over to Shadow's side. "Aw, come on, Knuckles. We both know you didn't stand a chance!" she said. "What was that!?" Knuckles growled. Shadow glanced back over his shoulder at Knuckles. ".....I'm not even gonna ask what you're doing with Metal Sonic... Hand over the Chaos Gauntlets!" he ordered. Tommy looked confused. "What's going on? I thought all you guys were friends...." he said. Shadow turned around and grinned. "Come on, Knuckles. Set a good example for the kid and hand it over." he said. Knuckles glared at Shadow with disbelief. "What!? No way! We got to them first!" he protested. Tails attempted to keep the peace. "Why don't we share them? I mean, do we really need both?" he suggested. Rouge rolled her eyes at him. "Yeeeees, we do!" she said. Metal Sonic stepped forward and beeped at Shadow threateningly. Shadow grew angry at this. "We're taking both of them! Even if I have to beat them out of you!" he warned. Suddenly, a blast of ice was fired at Shadow from the entrance to the room! Shadow jumped back hastily. "What the!? Who did that!?" he yelled. The Gizoid, Freeze, approached Shadow with a very unpleasant demeanor. "The Chaos Gauntlets belong to Dr. Eggman now. Stand down, or I will put you on ice." he threatened. Tails tapped Knuckles on the shoulder while Shadow was distracted. "Uh, I hate to leave Shadow alone with Freeze... But I think we'd better go!" he said. Knuckles nodded. "You're right, Tails! Let's get moving!" he said, turning to Tommy, Chet, and Katie, "I suggest you and your friends get going, too, Tommy!" While Freeze and Shadow were exchanging insults, Knuckles led the others into the gauntlets' room. As they reached the hallway leading out, Sergeant Drol appeared in their path! "Outta my way!" Knuckles said. Drol stood firm. "I am Sgt. Drol of GUN, and I demand to know what you're doing here!" he said. Knuckles sighed in frustration. "Ask Shadow! So long!" he said quickly before pushing past Drol, followed by the others. Drol was shocked at this lack of respect. "What? Stop! You fool! I'll make you regret ignoring me!" he yelled, though no one was listening. Outside, Knuckles and company began heading for Station Square, when Knuckles was suddenly stopped by the sudden appearance of a ball of pink light! "What the... That light!?" As the light touched him, it flashed brightly, blinding him! "Agh!! Not now!!" Knuckles groaned.

Once Knuckles's sight returned, he found himself standing before the Master Emerald shrine. A quick look around made him realize that this was the Angel Island of the past. "This again... I thought I was through with this." Knuckles thought as he wandered towards the shrine. Chao were gathered at the bottom of the shrine's steps, and were gazing up at someone. The shrine was in ruins, and the Chaos Emeralds were gone. Yet, standing at the top of the steps was Tikal the Echidna! The Chao made some concerned sounds as they called out to her. Hearing this, Tikal started down the steps of the shrine. "Don't worry friends. I'm still here!" she said reassuringly. Suddenly, as she neared the bottom of the steps, she recoiled in pain. "Wh-what... Ah!?" She held up her hand and noticed that she could see through it! She backed up the stairs a bit, frightened, and as she did, her body returned to normal. "What happened? That was very strange... Like I was fading away! I feel... I feel as though I can no longer leave the Master Emerald!" As Tikal pondered this, some echidnas approached the Master Emerald shrine! Knuckles hid behind the shrine as they approached, and watched them from the shadows. One of the echidnas was a yellow female, wearing a small orange shirt, brown pants, and a red headband with blue at the front. Her headband held her multicolored quills up, and she had green eyes. The other echidna, who was in front of her, looked astonishingly similar to Knuckles! In fact, they seemed nearly identical! This echidna reached the stairs of the shrine first, and gasped upon seeing someone there. "Princess Tikal!" he shouted with relief. Tikal looked relieved to see them as well. "Oh... Survivors! I am glad all were not destroyed!" she said happily. The red echidna smiled. "We never expected to find anyone here, either. What happened last night?" he asked. Tikal hesitated to reply. "Well.... It's hard for me to speak of..." she said. The red echidna nodded in understanding. "Take your time. You are among friends. My name is Athair. And my friend here is Radia. She is of the Raisol Clan." he said. Radia bowed politely to Tikal. "I came to investigate the roars and screams heard in this area. You... you are not injured?" she asked. Tikal shook her head. "Um.... No. But I can't leave here. I can't explain why." she said. Radia stepped past Athair and approached Tikal. "Excuse me... I am curious about something..." she said, raising her hand to Tikal and shutting her eyes. Tikal was confused. "What is it?" she asked. When Radia opened her eyes, she looked shocked. "I cannot sense your heart... How can this be?" she gasped, backing down the steps. Athair sat beside some Chao and looked up at Tikal. "It would seem we have much to discuss. Tikal... Your majesty. Please, share your story with us." he requested. At this point, the vision began to fade, and Knuckles found himself looking at Tails. They were back in Station Square. "Knuckles! You're awake!" Tails said, relieved, "I had to drag you out here. I sent SPOT to Troblusk City with the Chaos Gauntlets. I lost track of Metal Sonic." Knuckles rubbed his head and looked around. "Sorry, Tails... I'm not sure what came over me...." he muttered. Tails grabbed Knuckles by the arm and started leading him away. "Never mind that! Let's get back to Eggman's Base!" he said. As Knuckles followed Tails to the train station, he thought about the vision he'd seen. "Tikal... What are you trying to tell me?" he wondered.


Chapter 7 - The Despair Seal
Stage 6(Dark 3) - Giant Jungle
Minor Boss 2 - Guard

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.


When Punchy and Rainbow reached Angel Island, they found it on the ground rather than in the sky. This seemed suspicious to them, but not quite knowing the connection between the Master Emerald and the island's flight, they decided to head up to the shrine anyway. There, they found a bat wearing a Covenant of Despair uniform standing guard. Leaving Rainbow to wait at the steps, Punchy went up to interrogate the intruder. The bat jumped upon seeing him. "Hey! What you doin' here?!" he yelled. Punchy sneered at him. "I'm the one who should be asking that! Where's Knuckles and the Master Emerald?" he barked back. "With any luck, at our headquarters... Well, the emerald anyway." the bat mused, "The guardian should be sleepin' with the fishes." he said, pausing to glance at Punchy. "Hey, uh.... You his twin brother? You look just like him!" Punchy rolled his eyes at this. "Enough! You tell me what happened here RIGHT NOW!" he snapped. "Hey! Mind your temper, One!" Rainbow called up. The bat snickered at this. "Yeah. Mind your temper, One!" he teased. "I am Punchy!! PUNCHY!! Now are you gonna talk?!" Punchy growled. The bat shook his head. "No. I ain't no stool pigeon." he said. Punchy growled and socked the bat in the gut! "Stool pigeon THIS!" he shouted. The bat grunted in pain, but didn't seem fazed by the attack. "Hey, what's your problem, One!?" he grumbled. "Stop calling me One!" Punchy warned. Rainbow was shaking a bit, getting worried. "C-calm down now..." she whimpered. The bat didn't share her concern, though. "Naw, don't calm down! I wanna see what ya do about it! Mr. One!" he taunted, as Punchy growled, growing angrier and angrier. "One, One, One, ONE!!! Onnnnnnne! Ha ha ha! Look at you! You're such a baby!" the bat chortled. However, the laughing stopped in an instant when a rage-crazed hand seized the bat's throat! "I'll wipe that smirk off your smug little face!" roared Punchy, now having taken the frightening form of Dark Punchy! He socked and smacked the bat while Rainbow cowered at the bottom of the steps, only to be joined by the bat as Dark Punchy hurled him down in her direction! "O-one! Snap out of it!" Rainbow cried. "Had enough, you slimy insect!?" Dark Punchy growled as the bat climbed to his feet shakily. He took a deep breath, then shouted "MOMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!" before flying off! Rainbow stared up at Dark Punchy nervously. "OooooK One... He's g-gone... Now... C-calm down... Please?" she yelped. Suddenly, Punchy reverted to normal, and sighed deeply. "Whoa, that was counter productive.... But kinda fun, too." he said. Rainbow looked at him quizzically. "I didn't completely turn into Dark Punchy. I was able to restrain him a bit." he explained. Rainbow sighed with relief. "Don't scare me like
that, One! You gotta be calmer!" she shouted.

As they were turning to leave, and Rainbow was muttering about how they might as well look for her sister now, two strangers approached them! "Excuse us. Can we ask you something?" They turned to see a pink fox wearing a red shirt and blue jeans accompanied by a white fennec wearing black clothes, similar to a priest's. "What now?" Punchy mumbled. "I'm Evelyn, and this is Fred. We're here looking for the Master Emerald guardian." the fox said. "So am I." Punchy grumbled. "Never mind that. Perhaps you can help us instead." Fred suggested. Punchy shook his head. "No way! I'm not helping Red's pals!" he shouted. Rainbow scolded him. "Don't be mean, One! Let's find out what they need first!" she insisted. Evelyn nodded. "You see... We're really looking for a fennec named Gemini. A bunch of us were looking together." she explained. Rainbow remembered Gemini from Soleanna. "You mean Wanda?" she asked, using her nickname for Gemini. Fred and Evelyn stared at each other in confusion, but shrugged. "Anyway, in our search for Gemini, we lost our companions." Fred said. "Lost is hardly the word. They were kidnapped!" Evelyn interrupted. Rainbow frowned. "Kidnapped!? Who would do such a thing?" she gasped. Fred looked thoughtful. "Well.... He was a heavy man, with a big bushy moustache." he said. Punchy's eyes went wide. "That sounds like Dr. Eggman! Why would he kidnap your friends?" he wondered. "...they have an eggman here, too?" Evelyn whispered under her breath. "never mind that!" Fred replied, "We know not why this Eggman kidnapped our companions, but we need help to rescue them. We were hoping that the Master Emerald guardian might help us, but instead we found you." he explained to Punchy. "Please! Will you help us?" Evelyn asked. Punchy frowned. "I dunno... Sounds like a thankless chore...." he grumbled. Rainbow was more enthusiastic. "Don't joke around, One! Of course we'll help! Tubby can be so mean sometimes!" she said. "Thank you!" Evelyn cheered. "We will await you deep in the Mystic Ruins jungle. Our friends are being held near there. Safe journey, Punchy! Galaporta!" Fred said, waving a wand to teleport himself and Evelyn away! Punchy stared as they vanished. "He has magic... Why does he need us?? And wait, how'd he know my name!?" he stammered. Rainbow shrugged. "You must've told him and forgot. Let's go!" she said.

As Punchy and Rainbow made their way to the exit tunnel leading back to the Mystic Ruins, they suddenly found their path blocked as the Deathbringer swooped down in front of them! "Wha?! You again!?" Punchy growled, stopping in his tracks. Rainbow shook her fist at the hooded figure. "Go away and bother someone else, Grim Reaper!" she shouted. The Deathbringer stood there, glaring at Punchy. "You aren't paying any heed to my warning at all, are you?" it growled. "You'll be paying heed to my fist if you don't get out of my way!" Punchy warned. "Yeah, you tell him, One!" Rainbow cheered. "You think you are a match for me?" the Deathbringer said mockingly. Punchy raised his fists. "Maybe I do!" he growled, some small residue of dark energy falling from his gloves, left over from his earlier transformation. Most beings could not see this dark energy, but the Deathbringer gasped upon noticing it. "The darkness inside you is growing..." it muttered. "Huh?" Punchy asked, only to be taken off guard as the Deathbringer suddenly charged at him! "I'll kill you!!" it roared! However, before it could strike, an icy wind blew violently in the Deathbringer's direction, knocking it away! A strong rain suddenly started to pelt the island, and the voice of the Doomsayer called out, "Deathbringer!!" Punchy and Rainbow turned to see the glowing yellow eyes of the Doomsayer cut through the sudden storm! The Deathbringer turned to him in a fury. "Don't try to stop me! He needs to die!" it yelled. "All this is pointless. He will die when the world ends." the Doomsayer said. "Uhh... Rainbow, you seein' double, too?" Punchy murmured. "Must be the Grim Reaper's brother..." she muttered. The Deathbringer panted a bit. "If it doesn't matter either way..." it sighed, "I'LL KILL HIM!!" Once again, the Deathbringer charged at Punchy, forcing him to shove Rainbow aside to keep her safe! However, the Doomsayer summoned another wind to catch the Deathbringer's wings and force it to land! "LISTEN TO ME!" the Doomsayer bellowed. The Deathbringer yelped, and then stared at the Doomsayer for a moment. "But, I..." it murmured. "Go. Now." the Doomsayer ordered. The Deathbringer paused, then flew away quietly. "Whew! That was close! Thanks, Reaper 2!" Rainbow sighed, rejoining Punchy. "What's all this about, anyway? Who are you clowns?" Punchy asked. "I am the Doomsayer. You need know nothing else." the hooded figure said. Punchy nodded. "Well, see ya then..." he muttered. "A word of caution... The Deathbringer will come for you again." the Doomsayer warned before vanishing in a burst of hail, seemingly taking the rain with him.

There was quite a lot to talk about as Punchy and Rainbow made their way to the jungle to find Fred and Evelyn. Threats on Punchy's life, the missing Master Emerald, and Rainbow's sister all made Rainbow think that they should probably reassess their priorities for the time being, but Punchy remained determined to find the Master Emerald after this next side trip. Having been kept waiting, Fred left them a sign pointing the way they needed to go, so Punchy and Rainbow headed into the jungle without Fred and Evelyn. "Not sure how we'll save their friends if we don't know who they are...but what the hey. We find Eggman, we free all hostages he's keeping, mission complete." Punchy said. This section of the jungle once had possessed massive trees, the likes of which make normal trees look like broccoli. Now, what remained were mostly house-sized stumps, except for a single massive tree at the center of the area. "Look at all these house-size stumps! It's amazing and sad at the same time." Rainbow said. Punchy nodded. "Who could have done this to the jungle?" he wondered aloud. "Who else?" came a disdainful voice nearby. They turned around to see Fera the Wolf, standing solumnly and surveying the destruction. "Humans did this. They destroyed this jungle, as they did many others." she said. Rainbow glanced at her, then at the giant stumps. They were hardly useful for their wood. "But, why?" she asked. Fera scoffed. "Why? I gave up on asking that a long time ago. Humans are hateful, destructive creatures. I can never forgive them..." she said, clasping a hand near her covered eye, "Instead, I will exact the world's revenge on every last one of them." She then started to leave, turning briefly toward Punchy. "Remember my name. I am Fera the Wolf." she said in parting. Punchy and Rainbow started towards the last huge tree in the jungle. "Boy, she has issues. Still, those humans got a lot of nerve..." Punchy said. Suddenly, a yellow Egg Pawn with wings and a jetpack ran up to them! "Halt! You are trespassing on the territory of Dr. Eggman! I, E-5X now place you under arrest! Come join the other prisoners at the Tree Fort!" the feisty robot shouted. Rainbow smiled. "Awww, what a cutie!" she said. Punchy chuckled. "Really blew the old budget on E-5X, eh, doc? So the prisoners are at the Tree Fort? All right, take us in!" Punchy said, figuring he'd easily be able to fight his way out. However, the robot suddenly jumped. "EGAD!! I just realized that I just finished stashing the keys to the fort for safekeeping!! Then... I erased their locations from my memory as a security measure..." he groaned. Punchy rolled his eyes and started walking off to look for the keys. "Come on, Rainbow..." he grumbled. "Report back here for jailing if you find the keys!" E-5X shouted.

So, they started searching the surrounding area for the keys. The aerial variation of the Egg Pawns known as Egg Flappers were patrolling the jungle, but there were enough ordinary-sized trees still standing for Punchy and Rainbow to sneak around without being seen. "Eggman's robots are pretty dumb... But that's exactly why I bet the keys'll be a pain to find. Leave it to his robots to lock themselves out." Punchy grumbled. As they walked, Rainbow looked around skittishly. "One... Do you hear something? It better not be those Reapers again..." she mumbled. Punchy shushed her. "I'm trying to look for those keys, Rainbow. Just let me know if you see any trouble." he grunted. Suddenly, they both saw several robots appear out of nowhere, having snuck up on them with cloaking devices! They were Eggman's Newtrons, and while some clung to their lofty perches in order to start lobbing laser blasts at them, the others dropped down and transformed their bodies into rockets to charge at them! "Yikes! Do something, One!" Rainbow shouted, picking up a stick and running around in a feeble effort to bat the rocketing robots away! Punchy hastily evaded the lasers, then grabbed at the nearest rocketing Newtron! "Shoulda stayed invisible! Now you made me mad!" he growled, hurling the robot at one of the others clinging to the nearby trees! However, there were still several others left, and they quickly ganged up on him, making him jump and spin almost like he was dancing in order to dodge them! "Why do you hold back?!" shouted Fera, observing them nearby. Punchy glanced at her, only to have a laser blast kick up a cloud of dirt in his face! "AHCHOO!! W-well... I could Chaos Avalanche the rest of the jungle down right on our heads! Very productive!" he growled. Fera stepped in and raised her hands, generating dark energy which she soon tossed at the Newtrons as several small balls, smashing them to smithereens one by one! Punchy and Rainbow stared at her in surprised. "Gee, thanks Wolfie." Rainbow said. Fera scoffed, then handed Punchy a bracelet emblazoned with the Covenant of Despair's symbol. "This is something we use to train our dark mages: the Despair Seal." she said. Punchy stared at it. "Huh? Well, thanks, but I'm no magician." he said. Fera looked him straight in the eye. "I sensed a great dark power within you... Yet it appears to be beyond your control. With this seal, you may tap into this power at will. Use it well, and embrace the true power of shadows!" she said before walking off once more. Rainbow looked at Punchy nervously as he slipped the seal onto his wrist. "I feel kinda silly... But c'mon, wouldn't it be awesome for Dark Punchy to be playing for our team?" he asked. Rainbow shuddered. "I have a bad feeling about this, One..." she said.

They continued exploring the jungle, and found a gigantic tree stump that was hollowed out on the inside, looking like a small cavern. It looked suspicious, so they went to get a closer look, and found a GUN Agent standing around at the entrance to the cavern! He was dressed in the trademark black suit of a spy, with reddish hair and blue shades. He was twirling a big red key in his hand, which had a distinctive, Eggman-shaped handle. "That GUN stooge has one of the keys! All right, let's get him!" Punchy said, walking up to the agent. The man reached for his gun, but didn't pull it out of the holster right away. "Hey... What's the big idea? This part of the jungle is off limits to the public!" he said sternly. "Yeah, good for you. Gimme that key!" Punchy snapped. Rainbow peered into the cave inside the giant stump and noticed a big cage, holding a prisoner. "Hey... Who you got in there?" she asked. The GUN Agent stood in front of the cave and held out his arms. "None of your business!" he shouted. "Rainbow? Punchy?? Help! Get me out of here!!" Gemini's voice could be heard from inside the cage, and Punchy raised his fists angrily. "How'd she even get caught? Well, you're gonna let her go, and you're gonna give me that key!" he said threateningly. The agent shook his head. "You can't take her! She's to remain here, by order of Dr. Nammad!" he said. Gemini started to rattle the cage. "That doctor's crazy! He plans to experiment on me or something!" she shouted in a panic. The agent chuckled. "No, he's busy experimenting on that cool magic wand she had." he explained. Punchy stepped toward the GUN Agent. "That's it. Enough outta you, shades!" he growled. This got the agent worried. "Intruder is hostile! Guard!! Chase this guy outta here!" he called. The familiar green, scythe-wielding gargoyle swooped down from the sky and landed between Punchy and the GUN Agent! "Grrr!! I'll take it from here, Agent 64!" he growled.

Punchy groaned, backing away in order to gain some room to fight Guard. "For some strange reason, I didn't see this coming... Dang it!" he grumbled. Guard swung his scythe and pointed it at Punchy. "Grrrr... Leave now, or I will be forced to place you under arrest!" he warned. Punchy rolled his eyes. "You'll just do that later, anyway! Let's get this over with now!" he shouted. Guard charged at him straight away, slashing his blade and firing a beam from it as he did! Punchy fell over, but rolled aside before Guard could strike again, and quickly got back on his feet! While they were busy fighting, Rainbow snuck over towards the cavernous hollow in the tree stump being used as Gemini's prison. However, Agent 64 stood in her path, tapping his foot disapprovingly. "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to stay back." he said. Rainbow pouted and sat a few feet away. "You black suit guys are so RUDE!" she grumbled. She then gasped as she saw Punchy's situation. Somehow, Guard had gotten the upper hand! He had Punchy pinned down, and they were grappling against his scythe, but it seemed like Punchy would need help to get out from under the gargoyle! "Ah! One! Hold on!!" Rainbow shouted. "He flew up and sucker-punched me! Stay back, Rainbow!" Punchy grunted. He needed a way out of this predicament. "Grrrrr!! Surrender!!" Guard growled. Punchy growled back and glanced at the Despair Seal on his wrist. "I could try it... But what if I can't control it? Meh... How much worse can things get if I'm losing to Guard?" he muttered. Guard raised an eyebrow. "Rrr? What are you mumbling about? Do you surrender or not!?" he growled. Punchy clenched his fists and concentrated on his rage. "...Not!"

The Despair Seal suddenly flashed, and Punchy rapidly transformed into Dark Punchy, startling Guard! Punchy then kicked the gargoyle off him very forcefully, leaping to his feet while Guard flapped his wings to hover in the air in front of him! "No! One, don't!" Rainbow yelped, covering her eyes. "This isn't good..." she whimpered. Guard growled. "I don't know what you've just done here... Grrrr... But I will not fall to your trickery!" he shouted, flying at Punchy only to be slammed in the gut by a darkness-charged punch! Guard tumbled to the ground, while Dark Punchy laughed at him. "Not so tough now, are ya? I don't even REALLY have to move..." he said, attempting to call on some dark magic. However, nothing was happening, and Guard got up during the pause. "What!? Aw, this dumb bracelet is inhibiting me!!" Dark Punchy growled, reaching to take it off, only to find that he couldn't even touch it! "Errrgh... No... It's letting YOU control me..." he growled. Rainbow scratched her head. "Wha...? Oh, yeah. Dark One's a different guy. So... One's controlling him?" she wondered. Guard attempted to slice his scythe at the distracted echidna, but Punchy swiftly grabbed at the handle! "Make us madder... I dare you." Dark Punchy growled, tapping Guard's chest and jolting him with dark energy! Guard stumbled backward as Punchy released his scythe, and Agent 64 stepped forward. "That's enough! Guard, we're getting out of here!" he said. Guard glanced back. "Grrr? Col. Gunner would never approve a retreat!" he pointed out. "Well, I would! Get us out of here so we can warn Dr. Nammad!" Agent 64 ordered. Dark Punchy sneered at him. "Better listen. While you can." he said. Guard looked back at Dark Punchy with disgust. "Grrrr!! I'll remember this!" he said, running over to pick up Agent 64 before flying off!

Rainbow looked up at Dark Punchy fearfully. "O-one...? You in there?" she asked. The Despair Seal flashed, and Punchy reverted back to normal. He then glanced at the ground and saw that Agent 64 left Eggman's key behind. "Good. Now we're getting somewhere." he said. Rainbow sighed heavily. "Stop doing this, One! My heart can't take it!" she groaned. Punchy shrugged. "You'll get used to it. This Despair Seal's gonna make life a million times easier!" he said. They then turned their attention to Gemini's cell. "Tell you what, I'll rip this open with my own strength." Punchy said. Gemini stood back as Punchy tore down the flimsy cage door. The white, pink sweater and blue jean-clad fennec then stepped out and stretched. "Freedom!! Finally!! Thank's guys! So, what brings you to the jungle?" she asked. Punchy motioned for her to follow. "Long story. I'll explain on the way." he said. Gemini shook her head. "I'll pass on that, then. I think I got enough. You need some keys. I need my wand back. We're both stuck here for a bit, so we might as well explore together." she said. Rainbow nodded. "Good! And maybe once you find your wand, One won't feel the need to go all dark for a while! Let's get moving! Follow me, everyone!" she said, taking off in a random direction. Punchy and Gemini watched her awkwardly. "Does she have any clue where she's going?" Gemini asked. "I've given up asking that..." Punchy grumbled.

As they were leaving, they were unaware that Fera was observing them from atop the giant tree stump. She grinned to herself. "Ah, the first taste. That exquisite darkness..." she mused, turning to finally take her leave of the jungle for real. "Soon, that power shall belong to the Covenant of Despair..."


Chapter 8 - Eggman's Tree Fort
Boss 6 - Egg Retro

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.


Punchy, Rainbow and Gemini began an expedition through the dark corners of the jungle. Climbing giant stumps, hurling stones at Egg Flappers, and shaking their fists at Rainbow as she glided across chasms they could never hope to clear. As soon as they found a third key, they quickly found a fourth, so their search kept them going for a bit until they had six of Eggman's goofy red keys. "Tubby sure doesn't want anyone getting into his treehouse." Rainbow sighed after all the searching. "Think that's the last of them?" Gemini wondered. Punchy crossed his arms. "I hope so! But if there are any more, that dumb robot probably stashed them closer to the actual fort..." he said, pointing up at the single massive tree in the center of the jungle, "...up there!" Rainbow and Gemini nearly collapsed. They had to climb that huge tree!? "Eggman!! This isn't funny!! If I had my wand, you'd be so TOAST!!" Gemini shouted. Punchy nodded. "Plus, we probably wouldn't need any stupid keys." he remarked. Gemini growled. "Well, we've been all over this stupid jungle and haven't seen any sign of it!! With our luck it's at the top of the tree, too! So let's go!" she grumbled frustratedly.

They made their way to the giant tree and took a look up its massive trunk. It'd be quite a climb to get to the top, and Egg Flappers were floating around along the way. Some large plants were growing on the tree trunk, which might hold their weight and ease their trip, but they'd still have to climb quite a distance. "I'm not built for climbing... Can you possibly carry me?" Gemini asked sweetly. Punchy glared at her, but couldn't get mad at the innocent face she was making. "FINE, you can hang on to my back. But Rainbow, YOU gotta climb!" he said, pointing to no one. "Hey, One! What's the hold up!?" Shouted Rainbow, who was already several feet up the tree! "HEY, you monkey! Wait for us! I can't protect ya from robots from way down here!!" Punchy yelled, grabbing onto the tree while Gemini jumped on his back. They tried to climb away from the robots, but there were invisible Newtrons clinging to the tree as well, forcing Punchy to take drastic action. He tossed Gemini upward towards a large flower growing on the side of the tree, then leapt along the walls, punching and kicking at the robots as they appeared and started rocketing towards them like missiles! Punchy hit one head on, causing it to explode rather than break, flinging him upwards until he was caught by Gemini! "Gosh, we're lucky these flowers are so tough..." she muttered. Suddenly, they noticed teeth on the edges of the flower petals, and the giant flower started to close around them! "What the!? It's eating us!!" Punchy shouted. Rainbow climbed up next to the flower and simply pulled one of the petals back open. "C'mon, guys! It's just a flower!" she said, continuing her climb without missing a beat. Punchy climbed out with Gemini clinging to him. "I... need... my... wand!!!" she cried. "I need your wand, too..." Punchy groaned.

After a hectic climb, they finally started to reach some actual branches that they could rest on. The branches of this tree were almost as thick as logs themselves, and they'd have to be to hold up Eggman's fort. As they rested, Punchy spied something red glistening in the branches above. "There's the seventh key. It must be the last one... Wedged between two branches. This isn't gonna be easy. If we aren't careful, it'll drop ALL THE WAY DOWN..." he said nervously. "Maybe we can steal one of Tubby's hover-cars to make this easier." Rainbow suggested. "Probably inside the fort. Need the dang keys! I HATE Eggman!" Punchy growled. Their noise drew the attention of some Egg Flappers, meaning their rest was over. "Umm... I'll wait here behind some leaves. You two do the acrobatics." Gemini sighed. Punchy and Rainbow sprang into action, jumping from branch to branch as the Egg Flappers started firing at them! Rainbow's gliding made navigating the treetop a breeze for her, and she was able to catch up to and knock out several more of the robots than Punchy could by simply jumping. Instead, he made his way to the key. "I've had enough of this jungle! I want out! I wanna steal an aircraft from Eggman and not have to climb back down!" Punchy grumbled as he grabbed for the branches the key was stuck between. He tried to grab them both so as not to disturb the key, but then he had no free hands! "...Crud! OK, c'mere, key..." He tried to gently shake the key to him, only to cause the key to slip right through the branches! "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" he shrieked, activating the Despair Seal in order to throw a proper tantrum as Dark Punchy! He thrashed the nearby robots with dark shockwaves and energy blasts, forcing Rainbow to take cover! Only after all the robots were gone did he revert back to normal, still panting with rage! "Um... Is your little hissy fit over, Punchy?? 'Cuz I wanted to show you what I caught down here!" Gemini shouted from below. Looking down, Punchy and Rainbow saw that she managed to catch the key! "Well... About time you did something useful..." Punchy grumbled. "I CAN TOSS THIS RIGHT DOWN!" Gemini warned. "Uh, I mean, THANK YOU, you beautiful, wonderful person!!!" Punchy replied frantically.

They soon reached the very top of the tree, where Eggman had built a rather impressive fort which despite being much smaller than his normal bases was definitely big for being built in a tree. E-5X, the yellow Egg Pawn, was waiting in front of the large entry door. "Did you guys find all the keys yet?" he asked. Punchy handed them over, and the robot started sticking the keys into locks in the door, but paused after a bit. "Hey, these aren't all the keys!" he said. Punchy, Rainbow and Gemini nearly fell out of the tree in disbelief. "What are you talking about!? Seven keys! For... seven Chaos Emeralds?" Punchy said. E-5X chortled at him. "What? No, the keys are eleven... for the number of letters in Dr. Eggman's real name!" he said. Gemini scratched her head. "He has a real name?" she wondered. Punchy growled at the robot, and then glared at the door. The Despair Seal flashed once again, and in a moment, Dark Punchy had smashed the door clean off its hinges! "Hey! That's cheating, One!" Rainbow shouted. The Despair Seal flashed again, reverting Punchy back to normal. "The door... is OPEN..." he grunted. E-5X glanced inside and nodded. "So it is. Finally! Now I can tell Dr. Eggman about all the intruders out here!" he said, heading inside first, "C'mon in, guys! We have air conditioning!" he added. Punchy crossed his arms. "Huh? In a tree house?" he said. Rainbow smirked. "This looks like the BEST TREEHOUSE EVER! Let's check it out!" she giggled, rushing in. "Tree FORT!!" E-5X shouted from inside. Punchy and Gemini shrugged and headed in as well.

As they entered the fort, Gemini quickly had second thoughts about going inside. In a cell at the back of the room were two people she recognized: A gray bat with blue eyes and red chest fluff, and a turquoise alligator with red eyes. "What are THEY doing here?? Ohh... They can't find me..." she murmured, sneaking back out the front door while Punchy and Rainbow headed straight for the cell. "So, you guys must be the prisoners I'm here to save." Punchy said. The bat, Adam, grabbed the bars excitedly. "A rescue team! Hey, where's Fred and Evelyn?" he wondered. The Alligator, Cuthburt, just shrugged. "Who cares? Let's get outta here!" he said. Punchy nodded and gave the door of the cell a good whack with his fist! "Not as strong as the door..." he remarked as the cell door crashed open. As Adam and Cuthburt started out of the cell and thankfully shook Punchy's hand, E-5X glared at them. "Prison break!? Not on MY shift! Dr. EEEEEEGGMAAAAAN!!!" the robot shrieked! Punchy and Rainbow spun around, hoping to stop the robot, but it was too late! The Egg Mobile emerged from a hatch in the ceiling, and Eggman was covering his ears as he entered the room. "Egad, Jolt! You could wake the dead!" he groaned, glancing at E-5X. The yellow Egg Pawn, apparently named Jolt, hopped over to Eggman and pointed frantically at Punchy and Rainbow. "Look, look, doctor! A prison break, under your very ingenious nose!" he tattled. Eggman looked at Punchy and grinned. "Weeeeeell, if it isn't my old friend Punchy. A rogue agent of mine, like Copter before you!" he said smugly, "It seems as though Bucky's creations can't be trusted!" Punchy growled and stomped towards Eggman. "I'm NOT one of Bucky's toys! And don't YOU forget it!" he shouted. Rainbow frowned. "Why'd you kidnap poor Freddie's friends, Tubby? That was mean!" she said. Eggman shrugged. "Now, Rainbow, I can't have unauthorized animals roaming around my territories! Especially now, with the Covenant of Despair around!" he pointed out. Adam looked confused. "The Covenant of wha? What's going on here?" he muttered. "Hear that? They've never even heard of the Covenant of Despair! So get out of our way!" Punchy shouted. Eggman just growled. "Dummies! I can't let ANY of you go now! You've seen too much!" he said. Rainbow looked around. "What have we seen...?" she asked. In the corner, there was a deactivated robot that looked like a cross between Omega and their old foe, Terra. Rainbow held her eyes. "Whoops! I did NOT see that spoiler!" Punchy was just getting mad now. "Does anyone care about what I want to do today? Detour this, detain that.... ENOUGH!!" he shouted. "Want me to taser him, boss?" Jolt asked. "No need, Jolt. I will deal with this traitor myself!" Eggman sneered.

The Egg Mobile moved back, and Eggman pressed a button, causing spheres attached to the vehicle to rotate and start exerting a strange sort of force that drew parts from across the room over to it! The parts snapped into place, and the Egg Mobile dropped down in a new form! There were now legs attached to the Egg Mobile, with spikes lining the toes, and arms ending in bumpers. It resembled the mech Eggman had used at Palmtree Panic on the Little Planet, though Punchy wouldn't know it. "Say hello to the Egg Retro! Go ahead and beat this form, there are plenty where this comes from! Ho ho ho ho ho!!" Eggman laughed. Punchy growled. "I think it's about time I told you what I REALLY think of you, Eggman!" he shouted. Adam and Cuthburt slowly backed into their cells again and hid behind the bars. "I suddenly feel somewhat safer back in here..." Adam gulped. Rainbow scowled at them. "Hey! Do you have any idea what One went through to rescue you? At least cheer him on!" she yelled. The Egg Retro charged at Punchy bumper-fist first, and Punchy jumped up to match it with his own fist! Big mistake; The bumper knocked him flying across the room and almost into Jolt, who was busy pulling out machine parts in case the Egg Retro needed to transform again! "Hey!! Don't you sabotage me, echidna! I'll zap you like a bug!" he warned. Punchy got up and looked around at the machine parts. They were perfect! "Chaos Avalanche!!" he smirked, using his Chaos power to lift several of the machine parts and toss them at the Egg Retro! Eggman tried to bop them back with the machine's bumpers, but he soon found his old mech falling apart! "Take that, and that, and that!!" shouted Punchy, flinging even more junk in an effort to bury Eggman! "Hah hah! You fool! Now, I'll tear right through you!" shouted Eggman, bursting out of the barrage with another transformation of his Egg Retro! There were now a pair of drills mounted to the side of the Egg Mobile, and an extra powerful engine mounted on the underside to give the machine greater lift! "All right! The Mystic Cave Driller!" Jolt cheered, though Punchy just seemed irritated.

The Egg Retro started to chase after Punchy with its drills, while Jolt returned to digging parts out of Eggman's closets. Rainbow glanced at him with annoyance, and walked over to do something about it. "Hey! Lemonpawn! Quit cluttering up the treehouse!" she said. Jolt stomped angrily as he turned to her. "Tree FOOOORT!! And... Lemonpawn? Seriously? It's Jolt! I'm... y'know... electric yellow! Not lemony." he protested. Rainbow rolled her eyes. "I'll keep thinking. But you gotta sit this fight out!" she said. Jolt put his hands on his hips. "No deal. Go suck a lemon!" he snapped. Rainbow made a motion as if to roll up her sleeves, despite not having any, and picked up something hard and metal Jolt had dug out so that she could start beating him with it! Meanwhile, Punchy had climbed a wall and jumped down, punching the Egg Retro nice and hard in order to pop the drills back off it! "You little punk! I'll have to break out the big guns, then..." Eggman growled. The odd spheres on the Egg Mobile once again went to work, pulling in more parts and assembling the most menacing machine yet! It had big, powerful hands, spikes atop the cockpit, and was generally more heavily armored than the previous forms. "Let's see you deal with Big Arm!" Eggman laughed. Punchy glared at it, getting tired and frustrated. He tried to approach the Egg Retro, only to find himself snatched between the machine's two massive hands! "Eeek! One!" Rainbow shouted, ceasing her attack on Jolt when she noticed his plight. "A-and let that be a lesson to... ya..." Jolt said shakily. Eggman laughed as Punchy spun in a ball in the Egg Retro's hands. "Sometimes I wonder why I only try ideas once! This machine was always brilliant!" he grinned. However, they soon heard Punchy growling from within Eggman's grip. A flash of light indicated he'd had enough. Dark Punchy smashed out of the Egg Retro's hands with a powerful dark shockwave, and then fired several dark energy bolts at the Egg Mobile itself! "NO... MORE... MECHS!!!" he roared, causing the odd spheres on the Egg Mobile to explode in his rage-fueled assault!

The Egg Mobile tumbled to the ground, and Eggman coughed from the cockpit. "What... happened? Aw, that does it! No more living in the past!" he grumbled. Punchy had reverted back to his normal form already, and was standing with Rainbow, Adam and Cuthburt. "We'll be going now, doc." Punchy said smugly. Eggman looked around. "J-jolt! Don't just stand around! Do something!" he shouted. Jolt hurriedly stood in front of Punchy. "I'll send him into shock!" he said, taking up karate stances. "Not in the mood." Punchy grumbled. Cuthburt raised his fists, finally ready to be of assistance. However, they were quickly interrupted. A storm of Wrongos swarmed into the Tree Fort, surrounding everyone! Eggman was first to react. "What IS this!? BAS, what are your readings on those things!?" he shouted. The Base Alarm System, which was uploaded into the Tree Fort, replied, "What things, sir? Sensors detect no abnormalities." Rainbow, Adam and Cuthburt all moved in close and raised their guard, while Punchy groaned. "This day just keeps getting better..." he mumbled. Jolt still only paid attention to Punchy. "Hah! It's time for our showdown!" he insisted, only to get whacked with the same metal object by Rainbow again. "Ow! Stop cheating!!" he whined. Just then, Illusi entered the room and hurried over to Punchy. "We were interrupted last time, but now we finish this!" he announced. Punchy crossed his arms. "Ha ha... Good joke Illusi. Thanks for the diversion, but I gotta go now." he said, annoyed. "Mousy, what's wrong with you!? Why are you attacking us?" Rainbow asked. "And what kinda name's Mousy?" Adam added. Eggman's Egg Mobile rose back into the air and faced Illusi. "Hold everything! Just who ARE you, and what makes you think you can just barge in here like this!?" he shouted. Illusi looked at everyone with frustration. "Silence! This is between me and that Dark One!" he yelled, prompting Eggman to frown. "Huh? But, what did I do to you?" he protested. Punchy rolled his eyes. "He means ME, Eggman!" he shouted. Jolt looked around and chuckled. "Never mind the circly things, boss! My sensors say they don't exist!" he said. Illusi nodded. "True, but they still cause damage." he warned. Punchy was getting tense and ready for yet another fight, but it was not to happen. Behind Illusi, a high-tech bomb was tossed into the fort! "GET DOWN!!" shouted Cuthburt, prompting everyone to duck as the explosive targeted all the airborne threats, meaning the Wrongos, taking them out with several mini-explosions one by one! In a moment, they were all gone, and Eggman's Egg Mobile was a little bit more dented. "Grrr, NOW what!?" he growled. A man with wild, black hair emerged at the doorway. He wore a white lab coat over a blue shirt, yellow gloves, and military grade GUN boots. He was wearing small glasses, and was accompanied by Guard the Gargoyle! "So, uh, I guess this was, uh, Dr. Eggman's base." he said. Illusi turned with a look of despair. "No! Not again!!" he shouted. Guard looked around. "Grrrr... Your bomb appears to have missed a few hostiles, Dr. Nammad." he observed. Punchy sighed. "Traded Illusi for GUN? Just great! How are we gonna get outta THIS mess!?" he grumbled. Fortunately, Fred appeared in a flash of light, along with Evelyn! "Guys! About time!" Cuthburt smiled. Evelyn turned to Eggman and pointed a bazooka at his Egg Mobile. "Sorry, doc! No hitchhikers!!" she said, firing at him to force him away from their group! "JOLT!! THIS IS YOUR FAULT FOR NOT REINFORCING THE DOOR PROPERLY!!" he roared. Jolt chased after Eggman in order to defend him in this tense situation, so their escape was clear! Seeing this, Illusi growled and teleported himself away in a puff of smoke before them. "Freddie! Eve! How'd you find us?" Rainbow asked, only to have the reunion interrupted by Eggman and Nammad. "Jolt, call in all robots patrolling the jungle!! NO ONE INVADES MY FORT!!" Eggman shouted. "Oh, uh... They have reinforcements coming. Perhaps we should, uh, retreat." Nammad muttered. "Grrr... Shall we regroup with the GUN camp in the jungle?" Guard suggested. Nammad nodded, and Punchy turned to Fred. "Well? Let's go before Eggman and GUN start fighting a war in here!" he suggested. Rainbow nodded. "Right! Follow me, One!" she said, running out the door! Punchy's jaw dropped. "R-rainbow!! NOOO!! Th-the magic!! I don't wanna cliiiiimb!!" he whined, chasing after her while Fred warped himself, Adam, Evelyn and Cuthburt away.

Meanwhile, Gemini had done some exploring on her own. Eventually, she managed to find GUN's camp, complete with Dr. Nammad's makeshift laboratory. "Great... now if I can get my wand without being seen..." she muttered, tiptoeing over and ducking behind trees along the way. Very few GUN Agents appeared to be around, since Dr. Nammad was away. Once an agent guarding the lab had turned his back, she crawled her way over and ducked under a table! "Whew... I think I'll stay here and try to feel for my wand..." she mumbled, looking out while she fumbled around the table for anything wand-like. Finally, she grabbed it. "Yes! Got my wand! Wahoo!" she cheered as she climbed out from under the table, only to find a gun pointed at her face. "Drop it!" the agent warned. "Umm... Abra-ka-warpra!" Gemini said, warping away before she could be shot! The agent sighed, looking at the table. "Oh, well... Maybe Dr. Nammad can make do with this one..." he said, looking at yet another wand, which Gemini failed to notice due to being under the table...

Eventually, Punchy and Rainbow managed to return to ground level. It was faster than Punchy feared, because Rainbow gave him a gliding lift. "Well, it's good to be outta the tree, but why do you ALWAYS have to run ahead, Rainbow?" Punchy complained. "You're too slow, One." Rainbow said. Punchy sighed. "Whatever... Illusi will probably be after us again soon." he mumbled. "Why's he so mad at you?" Rainbow wondered. Punchy shrugged. "Search me! The whole world's nuts!" he grumbled. Rainbow shrugged and stretched nonchalantly. "Well, maybe we should just get out of here and look for my sister..." she smiled. Punchy scoffed. "As if we'd even be able to find..." However, Rainbow immediately started to take off yet again. "Follow me, One! I can't wait to see my sis!" she said excitedly. "RAINBOW!!" Punchy shouted, panting as he slowly headed after her. "She needs to get a clue! Her sister's with a bunch of lunatics!" he said to himself, realizing it was about time he actually told her this for her own good, before she gets hurt!


Chapter 9 - Eggman's Virtual Kingdom
Stage 7(Hero 4) - Super Eggman Land
Minor Boss 3 - Firepaw

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.
Super Mario Bros. elements are (c) Nintendo (just to be safe)


Sonic and Amy decided to head for Tails's Workshop in Central City, since they were in the neighborhood. Of course, Tails wasn't there, but they still didn't find the workshop empty. Charmy Bee was sitting at Tails's TV, playing some old-school video games as Sonic walked in. "Hey, you're not Tails!" Sonic remarked, which was followed by some annoying 8-bit death music. "Aw, man! You made me lose!" Charmy complained, turning around, "Huh? Oh, Vector! Sonic's here!" he called. Vector the crocodile was standing at the back of the room beside Espio the chameleon, who was seated at a PC. "Don't bother me now, Charmy! We gotta hack into this computer!" Vector said. Sonic walked past Charmy and cleared his throat loudly behind Vector. "And WHY are we breaking into Tails's computer?" he asked. Vector turned around hastily. "Oh, right, Sonic! My old pal! You wouldn't happen to have SEEN Tails lately, would ya?" he stammered. "I doubt it." said Espio without looking back, "If he knew where Tails was, he wouldn't be here." he figured. Sonic crossed his arms. "Just what are you guys up to?" he asked. Charmy hopped up excitedly. "Bad guys set Tails's house on fire!" he announced. Vector smacked his forehead in frustration. "CHARMY!! What did I tell you about blabbin' stuff? I'LL do the talkin'!" he shouted. Charmy sighed and returned to his game, leaving a shocked Sonic to respond to this new information. "Tails was... attacked!?" he gasped. "Take it easy, Sonic.
I'll tell you what my keen detective skills have figured out!" Vector grinned. Espio turned around and Amy walked over next to Sonic. "This ought to be good..." Espio said sarcastically. Vector cleared his throat. "Okay. Tails was havin' a peaceful morning, working on his heroic plans to stop the Covenant of Despair... When they showed up and BLEW UP HIS WORKSHOP!!" he yelled, inducing a frustrated groan from Charmy. Espio rolled his eyes. "You don't know what Tails was doing this morning." he pointed out. "Why ELSE would they go after him?" Vector retorted. Espio shrugged. "Well, I'd say the most plausible reason was that they were REALLY after Knuckles, and he hid at Tails's place." he said. Vector shook his head. "Now, just because Angel Island fell again doesn't mean Knuckles is involved in this!" he grumbled. Charmy glanced over at them. "Maybe it wasn't even the... uh.... Despair guys! Remember the robot I found in the workshop?" he said. Vector gasped. "Right! So, Dr. Eggman's working with Despair!" he said hastily. Sonic scratched his head. "You guys don't got a clue, do ya?" he sighed. Espio nodded. "That's why we're looking for any trace of Tails." he said. Vector looked thoughtful. "Now that I think about it, I bet Eggman IS involved." he murmured. Amy smiled. "Hey! I know where Eggman is!" she realized. Vector grabbed her by the shoulders excitedly. "SPILL IT!!" he yelled, causing game over music to play from Charmy's game. "VECTORRRR!!" Charmy whined. "I'll tell you if Sonic agrees to take me on a date!" Amy said craftily. Sonic frowned. "She's making stuff up. If she knew anything, she'd have brought it up earlier." he said. Amy growled at him in frustration. "Oh, yeah!? That's where you're wrong! I just so happen to know that Eggman's ship was spotted near Troblusk City! It was on the news and everything!" she snapped. Sonic nodded. "Troblusk City, eh? I'm there!" he said, speeding out of the workshop before Amy or Team Chaotix could even say anything about going with! "Sonic!! Waaaaait!!" Amy groaned. Charmy glanced over at her and shrugged. "You could play two player with me!" he offered. Amy sighed. "Yeah... Thanks for the offer, kid..." she grumbled.


Meanwhile, at Troblusk City, Dr. Eggman had returned to his small base after his setbacks in the jungle. He was soon interrupted with unexpected visitors. Razor the Porcupine barged into the base, accompanied by the chief of police, an old human with a droopy gray mustache. "Well, what have we here?" Eggman said, sitting in his Egg Mobile as they entered, "The Troblusk City police! To what do I owe the pleasure?" he asked. The old man glared at him. "I am police Chief Paynson. I've come here to take you in for questioning!" he stated. Eggman chuckled softly. "Questioning?" he asked, like it was a joke. "We want to find out what you know about the Covenant of Despair." Razor said bluntly. "Oh? What makes you think that I know anything about them?" Eggman replied. Chief Paynson wore a look of impatience. "Oh, please. Don't insult our intelligence! They're a dangerous organization that could threaten your plans for world conquest! Why, the only reason you wouldn't be concerned about them would be..." he gasped, coming to a realization. "If you were in cahoots with them!" Razor finished. Eggman grinned widely. "Very well. I won't insult your intelligence. Won't you come in?" he said, motioning for them to come closer. Razor and Paynson took a step backward instead. "No, you're coming with us!" Razor insisted, reaching for his gun. "Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, no, I insist! Stay a while..." Eggman smirked, "BAS, the accommodations here are terrible. Let's send them somewhere more pleasant!" he said. "Yes, sir!" the Base Alarm System replied! "Hold it!" shouted Razor, only to find an electrified cage rising up from the floor around them! In fact, they had backed away right into it! Electricity crackled and surged from the cage to several odd electrodes on the roof, and soon Razor and Paynson were both zapped, screaming out "Eggmaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!" as they vanished! Dr. Eggman was giddy at this turn of events. "Hooooo ho ho ho ho! With the chief of police as my hostage, Eggtopia can begin to expand into the rest of the city!" he laughed. "Doctor! A Chaos Emerald has been located!" BAS announced. "Perfect! I'm off to check it out! Have a robot wake up Spiny, would you?" he ordered.


In the time it took Sonic to ride the train, he arrived at Troblusk City. Eggman's Eggtopia base with the flashing sign wasn't hard to find, and as he walked inside, he found Eggman standing with his back to the door. "Eggman! You sure were easy to find this time!" Sonic remarked. The doctor didn't turn around, he just chuckled. "Heh heh heh heh... Sonic..." he said, his voice sounding a little off. "Uh, are you feeling all right? You look a little... Sick..." Sonic observed, noting his skin had an almost... robotic hue. The doctor turned around, revealing himself to be Metal Eggman, and yelled "SURPRISE!!" Sonic jumped in terror. "Whoa!! That robot's hideous!" he shouted. "What? How rude!" Metal Eggman frowned. Just then, Spiny the Porcupine emerged from behind Metal Eggman. "Well, if it isn't Sonic. My most hated enemy!" he sneered. "Huh? Hey, you look a little familiar..." Sonic remarked, looking at Spiny as though looking in a mirror. Spiny stomped his foot furiously. "OF COURSE I DO!! And I can't STAND that! Metal Eggman, let me dispose of this girl scout!" he yelled. "Now, now. He took the time to visit us. We might as well hear what he has to say." Metal Eggman suggested. "Really?" Sonic said curiously. Metal Eggman nodded. "Yes, won't you come in?" he grinned. Sonic stepped under the electrodes on the roof without noticing them. "Huh. How polite of you... Uh, have any of you seen Tails... Or the Covenant of Despair?" he asked. Spiny smiled. "Why, he said the magic words!" he grinned. "Clearly, you know a lot! So, you win a trip!" Metal Eggman chuckled, "BAS, send our winner to Super Eggman Land!" he ordered. "Hee hee hee hee! Game on!" BAS laughed. Sonic looked around in panic as the electrified cage emerged around him. "Huh?? Oh, no ya don't!" he shouted, trying to jump over the cage only to be rebounded by the electricity! "Arrrgh!! What's happeniiiiiiiiiiiing!!!!??" he shouted. "Good bye, Sonic! Don't come back!" said Spiny as Sonic was zapped away as Razor and Paynson had been!

Sonic found himself falling. Then, he hit the ground. "Oooof!!" he grunted. "Ugh... Where am I?" he muttered, looking around. He found himself in a strange place, filled with floating chunks of earth that had a strange blocky shape to them. They were flying amidst a clear blue sky, and the only clouds in the sky had smiley faces in them. Among these odd, floating platforms, Sonic could see obstacle courses of gold coins, strange floating blocks, giant iron pipes, and other miscellaneous oddities. "I'm not in Troblusk anymore, am I?" he muttered. "Let the game begin!
Good luuuuuuck!" shouted BAS from seemingly nowhere. "Game...?" Sonic murmured. "This is the virtual reality world of Super Eggman Land!" BAS explained. "Virtual...? Wait... don't tell me...." Sonic said, a look of abject horror coming across his face, "I'M TRAPPED IN A VIDEO GAME!?" he screamed. He then promptly got over it. "Oh, well. If Eggman wants to play with me, I guess I'll have to give it a try." he shrugged. Looking forward, he though he saw Shadow. "If he's a video game mirage, I hope I don't have to fight him." Sonic remarked, heading over to him. Shadow was shouting at a red cat, with glowing yellow eyes, sharp claws and saber-teeth. It also had a long tail lined with spikes. "Enough! I'm not here to play your games!" Shadow yelled. "Then why are you here? Seriously? Meowr?" said the cat. "Hey! Did Eggman trap all of you here, too?" Sonic asked. Shadow shook his head. "I'm questioning this virus, Sonic. Go away." he grumbled. "Hello to you, too, Shadow." Sonic replied. "Wait, you're Sonic and Shadow? Meowr!?" the cat gasped. Shadow nodded. "Yes. Now, tell me where Eggman is keeping the Chaos Gauntlets, why he wants them, what he knows about Despair..."
"...And where we can find a good chili dog in this game!" Sonic interrupted. Shadow glared at Sonic as if to yell at him, but the cat spoke up first. "Viruses don't eat! Meowr! And I'm not even gonna talk about your other questions! I am Eggman's security virus, Firepaw! I'm the boss around this game! Meowr!" he hissed. Shadow smirked a little. "You don't scare me. Actually, you almost make me laugh." he said. "MEOWR!! You can't laugh at me! I'm the law here!" Firepaw snapped. "Nice kitty. Just tell me where the exit is, and I'll leave you alone." Sonic said in a cutesy voice. "You guys just don't get it! You're in MY world! Meowr! Troops! Get over here!!" Firepaw called out, bearing his claws!

Firepaw's "troops" approached, goofy-looking green turtles with blue colored shells. There were three of them, and they dashed towards the hedgehogs in an effort to tackle them. "Hm... These are the gooiest minions Eggman ever thought up." Sonic remarked. Shadow rubbed his head like he was getting a headache. "Let's make this quick..." he groaned. Sonic chuckled. "Look how slow they are! The nerve of Eggman, sending turtles to fight with me...again. Weird, I have an overwhelming urge to hop on their heads!" he said, running over to the nearest Egg Troop and hopping rather than spin jumping! The turtle ducked into its shell, protecting itself from the attack and causing Sonic to stumble to the floor! "Ouch! Coward!" Sonic grumbled. Shadow rolled his eyes. "Be serious, Sonic!" he said. Firepaw hurled his elastic, flaming tail at Sonic while he was down, but Sonic was quick to somersault out of the way. "Gah! What was THAT?! This is YOUR fault, tortoise boy!" he said, kicking the shell and causing it to go spinning away like a hockey puck! The shell smacked into Firepaw. "MEOWR!! How dare you!" he shouted as the shell bounced off him and spun toward another Egg Troop! The turtle ducked into its own shell, and when the two shells collided, they soared towards Sonic and Shadow! "Yikes!!" Sonic quickly kicked the shell in a random direction, and Shadow found both shells headed his way! He kicked one to the third Egg Troop, but jumped the other, growling at Sonic. "Who's side are you on!?" he yelled. Another shell smacked into Firepaw, and then the Egg Troops were gone. "Dumb Egg Troops! Why do I get all the rejected henchmen? Meowr?" Firepaw sighed, "Never mind the violence. Tell you what. Get through the castle at the end of this level, and maybe I'll give you some sort of prize. Meowr..." he said craftily. "A castle? Sounds like fun!" Sonic smiled, to Shadow's annoyance. "Well, I'm 'glad' you think so. See you later! Meowr!" said Firepaw before warping away in digitized flames. Shadow glared at Sonic. "I'm holding you responsible for wasting my time!" he growled. Sonic shrugged. "Chill, Shadow. Since we're trapped in this game, we may as well play." he pointed out. Shadow crossed his arms. "I'm not trapped in here. I came here on purpose. I need to find the Chaos Gauntlets. It seems a safe bet that Knuckles brought them to Eggman." he explained. Sonic frowned as Shadow started walking. "Knuckles? Aw, great... Not again..." he sighed.

As they started on their way to find Firepaw at the castle, a strange block with an "X" on it appeared. "And so, our heroes began their journey to find the caste." said BAS as the background music changed, "Luckily, a block appeared before them! Surely, it would contain a means to move forward!" Sonic looked around. "Huh? What's with the narration?" he asked. "You get a prize for defeating the Egg Troops. Just take it and go!" BAS snapped. Sonic looked at the block with awe. "I have an overwhelming urge to bonk it from below with my head!" he murmured, walking under it and jumping into it! "YEOW!! Why did I think hitting a metal block with my head was a good idea!?" he groaned upon landing. "Well, it's gotta be good for something..." Shadow teased. A shiny red object popped out of the top of the block, which turned black and blank. "Hey, a Chaos Emerald!" Sonic said, pointing at their prize. "It's a fake..." Shadow sighed. Sonic picked up the fake red emerald and smiled. "Who cares? We can use it to warp to the next floating island!" he said. Shadow raised an eyebrow. "Since when do I need fake emeralds?" he asked. "Well, I can use it." Sonic shrugged. The two hedgehogs nodded in agreement, and struck a pose. "Chaos Control!!" they said together, warping to the next island. It was crawling with Egg Troops, and some of them were throwing what appeared to be digital Piko Piko Hammers around. "I see Eggman's trying to appeal to my sense of fear..." Sonic remarked. Shadow pointed to a large, metallic blue pipe sticking out of a small peak on the island. "Let's head in there. It might be a shortcut." he suggested. "Right! Video games hide short cuts in crazy places! Let's-a go!" Sonic cheered, his voice taking on an accent for some reason. "Um... I don't know why I talked like that..." he murmured. They charged forward, evading the hammers being thrown at them and passing right through any gold coins in their path! "Hey, what's the deal with these coins?" Sonic asked. "Ignore them! They must be distractions!" Shadow said. As they reached the pipe, a monstrous plant resembling the flowers growing near Eggman's Tree Fort jumped out and tried to bite them! "Grrrr!! Chaos Spear!!" shouted Shadow, causing the flower to vanish with one strike! "Hey, that was too easy!" Sonic said. "Hey, it's a FLOWER." Shadow replied.

Jumping into the pipe, they heard an odd sound effect as they fell, and then popped out in a dark, cavernous area. "This is too big to be inside that island..." Sonic realized. "Video game." Shadow reminded him. Looking around, they saw the glitched robot, Alpha, hitting an X block repeatedly and making coins pop out. "I'm rich! I'm wealthy! I'm racking up 1ups! Now if only I'd stop dying!" he was babbling. "Let's go back up the pipe..." Shadow sighed. However, Alpha had noticed them already. "Greetings, plumbers! Could you save me from the creepy bad guys?" he asked. There were some mean looking red moles digging around in the caves, keeping their heads above ground as they went. They looked possibly related to Firepaw. "Who, them?" Sonic asked. Alpha gasped. "It's the Magma Moles! Get 'em awaaaay! They're ON MY SIDE!! Eeeek!!" he yelped, flying into the caverns and starting to shoot at the Magma Moles! The moles, in turn, started grabbing globs of magma from under the ground and hurling it around the caves! Sonic stared for a moment. "Um... Maybe we should help?" he said. "Why?" Shadow asked. "He might lead us to the castle." Sonic suggested. Shadow groaned, realizing Sonic had a point, and ran in to support Alpha with Chaos Spears. Sonic followed, careful not to touch the magma as he sped towards the moles. "All right, ya goofy computer badniks! Take this!" Sonic tried a homing attack, but the mole simply caught him and tossed him aside! "Hey! That's no fair... Oh, fine..." Sonic next went with his gut and ran back, hopping on the mole's head as he did to the Egg Troop before! It fell into its hole and vanished, signifying it had been defeated! "I need a power-up so I can just zap these guys like Shadow and Alpha... Wait, power-up??" Sonic muttered. As Shadow was busy fighting, he didn't notice something big and heavy over his head. Turning, Sonic saw a huge, angry-looking spiked block, and he yelled to Shadow. "Look out above you!!" As the angry spiked-block came crashing down, Shadow hastily Chaos Controlled away, narrowly escaping. "Yeah, REAL fun game, Sonic!" he snapped. Alpha promptly zapped the angry block, and then looked around. "Hey, it's full of nothing in here!" he said. "Um... Good. Now we can get out of here." Sonic sighed. "It's boring in here. I'm gonna go play!" Alpha announced, "Let's go eat mushrooms! Follow you!" he cheered, circling around Sonic. "Huh?? What just happened?" Sonic muttered. "Now, our heroes had rescued the captive princess! Err, robot!" BAS announced, accompanied by the narration music again, "Together, they continue their quest to defeat the evil king... Errr, find the castle!" Alpha looked at Sonic shyly. "Should I kiss you now?" he wondered. "That's it!! Outta the cave!!" Sonic growled, running ahead while Shadow chuckled.

When they found an exit pipe, they arrived on an island where their path seemed to be blocked. There were giant towers of blocks made of red bricks, there were large patrols of Egg Troops armed with boomerangs, and a big, scary looking ball creature with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, which was chained up near the end of the platform and snarling at everything. "Awww, isn't the Egg Crunch cute?" Alpha said. Shadow crossed his arms. "I guess I'm on my own. Can't expect you to keep up when you have so little Chaos Control experience." he said. Sonic looked around and saw a big, spotted mushroom with a smiley face on it. "Hey, could that be an actual power-up?" he wondered. Shadow shook his head. "I wouldn't, Sonic. You can't trust anything in Eggman's world." he warned. Alpha patted Sonic on the back and pointed to the mushroom. "Trust the fungus, mighty plumber!" he advised. A mean looking mushroom with feet walked by, and Alpha jumped back. "But don't trust THAT fungus!" he added. Sonic shrugged and picked up the mushroom. "I had a good run..." he muttered. After a loud sound effect, Sonic noticed the ground below him start to shrink! In fact, Shadow and Alpha were getting smaller, too. "Hey... Awesome!! I'm a giant!" Sonic realized. Alpha hid behind Shadow in fear. "It's bluezilla!! Save the cheese!" he yelped, making Shadow groan. With his newfound power, Sonic began to clear the way forward, able to just stomp right through the brick towers and crush them to dust! As the Egg Troops came at him, Sonic lightly kicked them away, and was generally able to clear the path by simply walking forward! "All hail Sonic! The smashing king!" he chuckled, while Shadow sighed in aggravation. "Stupid, annoying, pointless game..." he grumbled. Finally, they came to the Egg Crunch, and Sonic thought he could just stomp past it, too. However, it leapt at him and chomped his leg, making Sonic jump back in pain and land in Shadow's arms, very suddenly back to his original size! "Uh, oh... I think that doggy hasn't had his distemper shot." Sonic chuckled awkwardly. Shadow dropped him on the ground, and as Alpha fired a few shots to distract the beast, they got ready to warp. "Chaos Control!" they shouted, Sonic taking Alpha with them!

They were nearing the castle, they could see it looming ahead, but now they had to cross an obstacle course of moving platforms. Some were moving back and forth, others were cubes that were rotating in midair, and a few were small, blocky platforms that appeared unstable. "I'll meet you at the finish line!" Alpha giggled, flying by with his jetpack. "Cheater!" Sonic shouted. Fortunately, this was a bit more in the hedgehogs' comfort zones. They started running their way through the course, leaping from platform to platform. However, some winged Egg Paratroops started to approach them, and they were lifting some heavy artillery. Their large cannons fired bullets with an EggRobo paint scheme, complete with EggRobo arms and heat-seeking capabilities! The EggBullet Robos flew at the hedgehogs as they reached a group of unstable platforms, which started to fall as soon as they landed on them! "Okay, good timing, actually!" Sonic said, jumping off an EggBullet in order to reach the next platform. Shadow followed Sonic's example, but they found more and more EggBullets fired at them as they tried to navigate the platforms! "This is getting tricky!" Sonic gulped, barely keeping himself on a rotating cube platform. Suddenly, Alpha flew by and fired at several Egg Paratroops, eliminating them and their cannons! "You leave my super plumbers alone! Who else will rake the smiley leaves from my lawn!?" he yelled. Taking advantage of their relative safety, Sonic and Shadow leapt for a small platform with an X block. Sonic hit it, and a huge vine started to grow out of it, like a beanstalk ladder! "Wow, I did NOT see that coming." Sonic said. Shadow started to climb with an annoyed grunt, and Sonic was right behind him.

Finally, they'd arrived at the castle. It was a foreboding building, surrounded by a moat of lava and displaying Eggman's symbol on the front. There were spikes adorning the walls in several places, and there were big, red steel doors. In front of the castle was a big flag pole, with an Eggman flag waving high. Shadow pushed and banged at the steel doors, but they would not budge. "Did you try Chaos Controlling inside?" Sonic asked as he approached. "It's a game, Sonic. The room has to load in order to exist." Shadow said. Alpha spun over upside down in midair. "Game over!" he teased. Sonic glanced around, and looking at the flag pole, suddenly felt a peculiar urge once again. "This is crazy, but I'm gonna try it..." he said, backing up to build up speed, then running at the flag pole! He ran straight up the pole, and then grabbed on to the top, making the flag vanish as he did! A new flag appeared at the bottom, and as Sonic rode the pole back down, a flag with his face on it rose to the top of the pole! Sonic then hopped off and struck a pose. "Yahoo! That'sa so nice!" he said, prompting Shadow to look at him funny. "Err, I mean, that was tight!" he stammered. Suddenly, the steel doors swung open, and BAS started to narrate again. "Our heroes had arrived at the castle. But could they survive the dangers inside?" he said. "Figures." Shadow said. "Woo hoo! Bonus level!" Sonic grinned, leading the way into the castle so they could finally confront Firepaw within.


Chapter 10 - Firepaw's Castle
Boss 7 - Egg Villain

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.
Super Mario Bros. elements are (c) Nintendo (just to be safe)


The interior of the castle was dark, except for the glow of lava bubbling in lakes surrounding the walkways. Sonic, Shadow and Alpha could see that the castle was heavily fortified, with Egg Troop guards patrolling all over the place. Sonic pointed to a door ahead. "That must be the way to Firepaw! Let's go!" he said, a bit loudly. "Sonic, quiet!" Shadow snapped. "Yeah, in fact, ALL OF YOU BE QUIET!!" Alpha screeched, getting the attention of the guards! Some distant Egg Troops manned some cannons, firing some small balls at the hedgehogs! They dodged, and the balls rolled a bit before hopping up on robotic feet! It looked like a little toy bomb, and it was flashing red as it approached Sonic and Shadow! "B-bomb!! But only I can make BOOM!!" Alpha whined, flying away. Sonic and Shadow nodded to each other and started running past the bombs, which exploded as they went by, destroying the floor and leaving nothing but the lava below! More bombs kept coming as Sonic and Shadow ran forward, speeding away from the rapidly exploding floor! A digital Gohla was spinning lines of fireballs around, blocking the path somewhat effectively, so Sonic and Shadow were forced to leap over them, kicking some Egg Troops into their shells as they passed by and arrived at the door! As the bombs took out the rest of the floor in the room, Alpha flew over to the cannon and fired directly inside it, causing its payload to explode and destroy the cannon and the Egg Troops operating it! "...BOOM!" he said before flying to the door. "He scares me..." Sonic muttered. "YOU wanted him along." Shadow reminded him.

They arrived in a hallway where every once in a while the floor seemed to be separated into bottomless chasms. Skeletal Egg Troops were wandering around, and they could see those same angry spiky blocks from where they found Alpha hanging from the ceiling. "Aww, Egg Bones. They're no fair, 'cuz they don't go poof." Alpha groaned. Sonic chuckled. "Leave it to me! I'll take care of 'em!" Remembering the rules of the game, Sonic ran up and hopped on an Egg Bones's head. This caused it to break into pieces all over the floor! "Huh... strangely easy!" Sonic remarked, turning and motioning for Shadow and Alpha to follow. "Look out, you idiot!" Shadow shouted as the Egg Bones started to reassemble itself while Sonic's back was turned! "Huh? Yaaaaah!!" Sonic jumped away, then jumped again as he found another Egg Bones approaching him! Then, he grunted as he felt his head strike something hard. "What the!?" A block appeared out of nowhere above his head, and a sparkling star with a smiley face popped out and started jumping around! "Hey... Where'd that block come from?" Sonic grumbled. "It was... invisible..." Shadow growled. "Ooooh!! A star! I will get its autograph and put it on top of a tree!" Alpha chortled. The smiley face on the star reminded Sonic of the mushroom he'd used before. "I think it's another power-up! And I found it, so it's mine!" he said, running off to grab it! As soon as Sonic touched it, it instantly imbued his body with a sparkly energy! "Hey, this power feels familiar...!" Sonic said, feeling like he could do anything! He ran right smack into the Egg Bones, causing them to disintegrate into dust on contact! "HA HA!! I AM INVINCIBLE!! I love this game!!" he cheered, dashing at intense speed through the hall, taking out the spiky blocks as they tried to crush him, mainly to make it easy for Shadow and Alpha to proceed, since he could easily outrun the blocks. "...I hate this game..." Shadow groaned, not at all amused by these antics.

The next room seemed relatively simple. There was a locked door ahead, and a switch with an "E" marked on it, likely meant to open it. However, the switch was attached to the side of the wall, high out of reach, and Alpha suddenly claimed to be scared of heights. Sitting nearby, there was a purple mushroom similar to the one Sonic had used before. "All right, Sonic! I'M going to use this mushroom! I've had enough of letting you carry me through the whole game!" he grumbled. "Uh... Shadow, that mushroom looks kinda frowny..." Sonic muttered. "So what?" Shadow said, picking it up. Suddenly, he noticed Sonic appear to grow larger than him again. However, so did Alpha! "What!? ...NO!" The mushroom had shrunk Shadow into miniature size! To make matters worse, a cage suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, trapping Sonic and Alpha! "Meow ho ho howr!! Looks like I win!" laughed Firepaw, appearing in the room with a flash. "Let Sonic out of there right now, cat!" Shadow growled, though his voice sounded a bit high pitched in this size. Firepaw glanced around and gasped upon seeing him. "I missed one!? Hee hee... You took the poison Egg Mushroom! You sound like a chipmunk!" he laughed. Shadow was not amused. "I will RIP your tail off, virus! Do NOT trifle with me!" he warned. Firepaw yawned. "Find me in the throne room, then. Meowr. Bye!" As Firepaw vanished, several Egg Paratroops emerged in his place! "Shadow! Go find some way to restore your size! We'll be all right!" Sonic shouted. "We can blow up each other!" Alpha said. Shadow scoffed. "Yeah, very reassuring. I'll just have to get that cage open..." he squeaked, sighing at how annoying his voice was now. He then growled. He was gonna take out his frustration on these Paratroops! He jumped into the air, shouting "Chaos Control!" in order to warp closer to the enemies! He went from turtle to turtle, punching and kicking them out of the sky furiously, leaping from the last one to get some height and reach for the "E" switch! He flipped in midair and struck it with his foot, and the switch caused the cage to vanish! "Hey, what!? If the switch was for the cage, what about the door?" Sonic asked. Alpha simply blasted the door, and it opened. "Didn't you ever play that one space video game?" he giggled. Shadow smacked his forehead and groaned. "We better find a way to fix my size ahead..." he muttered.

They now arrived at a room filled entirely with lava. The only platform they could see was a line of red blocks. "Not a lot of standing space there... But at least you don't take up much room now, Shadow!" Sonic joked, resulting in a tiny Chaos Spear being shot at his knee. "Ow!" Seeing no other way forward, they climbed on to the platform of blocks. Once they were aboard, it shook, and then started to move! "Okay... So, is this a roller coaster or something?" Sonic wondered. Alpha flew beside them and laughed as the block platform started to speed up. "Hold on! Fasten your seat belts!" he said. "Seat belts? What seats?" Sonic muttered. "Stop trying to find logic here... And why am I behind you!? I can't see!!" Shadow yelled, pushing between Sonic's legs to get in front. The block coaster started moving and swaying in various directions, back and forth, up and down. As it sped up, Sonic and Shadow found it harder to keep their balance. "Still, not so tough..." Sonic said. Gold coins raced toward them as the coaster went, but they passed just over the hedgehogs' heads, and they weren't too fond of jumping after the seemingly useless items. Alpha, however, was having a blast flying around and nabbing them. "Ding! Ding! Ding! Money, money, money! I wanna use it to buy rings!" he laughed. Soon, however, the roller coaster ride got dangerous. Egg Troops dressed in wizard robes were levitating toward them, swinging magic wands around in a crazed fashion! "Hmm... Think this is how Eggman sees Gemini?" Sonic joked. "Look out! This isn't going to be pretty!" Shadow squeaked. "Oooh, Magi Troops! Can they make brooms fetch water?" Alpha wondered. The Magi Troops hurled colorful spells at the hedgehogs, forcing them to jump as the block coaster bobbed and weaved over the lava! "Waaaah!! Alpha, shoot those wizards!!" Sonic yelled, grabbing desperately for the blocks as he fumbled a jump. "I want enough coins for my own castle!" Alpha said, ignoring the hedgehogs' plight. "Rrrrr... Chaos Spear!!" Shadow fired some tiny spears at the Magi Troops, but they bounced off uselessly. "Stupid, wretched, annoying video game!!!" he roared. Finally, the coaster neared the end of the line, so Sonic picked up Shadow and ran to the edge of the blocks. "We're... outta here!!" He leapt to the platform at the other end, just as the block coaster plunged into the lava as the conclusion of the ride! "...Did you know the blocks were gonna do that?" Shadow asked. "...No, I was getting queasy." Sonic gulped. The Magi Troops, not paying attention to where they were flying as they targeted Sonic, smacked into the walls at the end of the room and fell into the lava at either side of the platform.

Sonic and Shadow found a large, ominous-looking door in front of them, with Eggman's symbol on it. A small character wearing a mushroom-shaped hat was sitting in front of the door. He had a bushy, Eggman-esque mustache, and an "F" on the front of his hat. "Hello, plumbers! I am Fungus, steward of Super Eggman Castle!" he said. Sonic scratched his head. "Huh?" he muttered. "It's a non-player character. There's bound to be at least one in any game." Shadow said, making Sonic glance suspiciously at him. "What? I'm not allowed to know something?" he grumbled. Fungus motioned to the door. "I can unlock this mighty door for you, but it's gonna cost ya! Say, 1000 coins!" he said. Sonic and Shadow's eyes went wide. "You mean... those coins actually... have a purpose!?" Sonic yelped. "I don't even know if we actually properly collected ANY..." Shadow groaned. A virtual wallet appeared before them, and Fungus checked it out. "Hmm... You've collected 23 coins... Sorry, you'll have to go find more!" he said. Shadow clenched his fists angrily. "Maybe I can persuade him... Though probably not, since he's just code..." he growled. Just then, Alpha approached with his own virtual wallet. "Here, jeeves! How many rings did I get?" he asked. "It's coins, Alpha..." Sonic sighed. "Don't get your hopes up, Sonic. This is Alpha, here." Shadow grumbled. Fungus took a look and gasped. "Thank you so much for your generosity! Your 2006 coins will go towards funding a lovely playground for the Fungi children to play, surrounded by refreshing molten lava!" Fungi vanished as the door opened, and Alpha groaned. "He stole my moneys! Where's a donut when you need one? Probably eating a cop..." he sighed. Sonic chuckled awkwardly as he and Alpha moved on, however Shadow hesitated. Nearby was a smiley faced green mushroom. "I don't know... But what more can this game do to me?" he muttered, picking it up. A cheerful sound effect played, and Shadow grew back to his normal size! "Thank you, Eggman. But I'm still going to kick your butt for the rest of the game." he grunted.

Shadow joined them at the next room, which was the throne room Firepaw had mentioned earlier! A bridge led across a chasm with lava bubbling at the bottom. At the other side, Firepaw was sitting on a fancy throne, taunting Razor the Porcupine and Police Chief Paynson as several Egg Bones blocked them from approaching him. "Oh, Sonic! Meowr! Welcome to the boss round!" he chuckled, prompting Razor and Paynson to turn around. "THE Sonic??" he gasped. Sonic nodded. "Yeah, and you're... Who are you?" he asked. "Meowr... They're cops, can't you tell? It seems they wanted to arrest Dr. Eggman or something." Firepaw said. Paynson crossed his arms. "It wasn't like that! Well... Not JUST like that..." he grumbled. "We were going to interrogate Eggman about the Covenant of Despair." Razor explained. The mention of Despair got the attention of a uniformed dog who was up to something on a high ledge surrounding the room. "Hey, Anubis... They're talkin' about us..." he whispered. Firepaw blew a raspberry at the mention of Despair. "What a joke! Eggman's only helping the Covenant of Despair so that they'll attack GUN! Meowr." he said, earning a glare from the jackal sneaking above. "Yaaay! We win! Game over!" Alpha cheered, shooting into the air randomly. Firepaw glanced at him with confusion. "Meowr? What're YOU doing here, Alpha?" he asked. The robot gasped in reply. "Firepaw! You don't exist!!" he yelled, panicking, "BWAAAAAAAAA!!! This whole castle doesn't exist!!! I'm a GLITCH!!!" he screamed, running out of the room! "That was weird." Sonic remarked. "Yet strangely a relief." Shadow added. Paynson turned to Firepaw angrily. "So, Eggman's pitting human against animal, you say? I thought that fiend couldn't sink any lower!" he growled. "OK, I'm bored with these cops. Let's show them the other side of the bars!" Firepaw grinned, "Egg Bones! Toss them in the dungeon! Meowr!" The Egg Bones quickly seized the chief, forcing Razor into action! "Hey, boneheads! Let him go!" he warned, drawing his gun. Sonic and Shadow started across the bridge as well. "Hey! Call those numbskulls off!" Sonic yelled. "And hand over the Chaos Gauntlets!" Shadow added. However, Firepaw stood up on the throne defiantly. "Meowr!! You hedgehogs are in no position to make threats! Like I said, you're in MY world! But I DID promise you a prize if you reached here. Meowr... So, here it is! You win the Egg Villain!!" he cackled as a giant turtle monster dropped on to the bridge! It was green and blue, like the Egg Troops, with a huge, spiked shell, a big, toothy mouth, and generally had an appearance that Sonic swore he recognized from somewhere. It roared loudly, ready for their big boss fight!

Sonic shrugged. "Hey, Egg Villain! If you're our prize, go attack Firepaw!" he said. The Egg Villain growled. "Make me!" it roared. "Well, it was worth a shot." Sonic sighed. Firepaw jumped on the Egg Villain's shell, just above the spiky portion, and created Fireballs in his paws. "Meowr! Now we'll burn all the extra lives outta you!" he yelled. Shadow pointed over behind the throne. There was a big switch on the wall, similar to the one that opened the cage earlier. "Sonic... What do you think that switch does?" he asked. Sonic smirked. "Keep 'em busy and I'll find out!" he said, running ahead! "Hey, rodent! Catch!" the Egg Villain growled, hurling digital Piko Piko Hammers in his direction! "Yaaaaah!! Bad kappa!!" Sonic shouted, swerving out of the way. Shadow raised his hand to aim a Chaos Spear, but was startled by fireballs flung in his direction from Firepaw! "Oh... I almost didn't notice you there." he chuckled. "Meowr! Don't laugh at me! I'm the KING of this castle!" Firepaw snapped, swinging his stretchy tail at Shadow in his rage. Shadow jumped it and tossed a Chaos Spear at him, causing him to tumble from the Egg Villain's back! "MEOWR!! You'll pay for that! Fry him!" he shouted. The Egg Villain turned away from Sonic and blew a jet of flames at Shadow, forcing him to jump and dodge as the giant turtle kept blowing continuous flames! Sonic took advantage of the diversion to run across the bridge, where Razor was shooting at some Egg Bones. "These guys don't quit! I shoot 'em apart and they just pull themselves right back together! Luckily, I seem to be running on video game ammo." he said. "Just get me away from them! But don't hit me!!" Paynson whined. Sonic turned in the chief's direction, bouncing off the Egg Bones around him in quick succession in order to give him an escape route! He then dashed over to the big button on the wall. "How's it going, Shadow?" he called. Shadow was busy evading flames and hammers, and was starting to sweat. "PRESS THE STUPID BUTTON, SONIC!!" he yelled. So, Sonic jumped up and gave it a kick.

The bridge suddenly started to rumble, and the Egg Villain stopped short, gasping in alarm! Realizing what was likely about to happen, Shadow dashed for the other side while the Egg Villain stood there with a stupid look on its face. Firepaw also started to flee as the bridge collapsed, sending the Egg Villain plummeting into the lava pit below! Victory music played, and BAS gave one final narration. "And so, our heroes defeated the Egg Villain, and his reign of evil ended. Dr. Eggman will be most displeased." As he said this, the Egg Bones vanished, and Firepaw started throwing a tantrum. "No, no, no, MEOWR!!" he shouted. "All right! Now I love this game!" Razor said. "That makes ONE of us..." Shadow groaned. "Greeeeeat... All my minions are toast..." Firepaw sighed as he collapsed into his throne. "And you'll be next if you don't do EXACTLY as I say!" Shadow threatened as Sonic, Razor and Paynson gathered with him in front of the throne. However, a huge blast of fire came from above, destroying the throne! "You'll tell him nothing!" shouted the attacker, Anubis the jackal! As everyone looked up at him, Firepaw laughed. "You tried to destroy me with fire! What a dope! Meowr..." As Firepaw processed what had happened, though, a look of panic came over him. "Wait... YOU TRIED TO DESTROY ME!? MEOWR!?" Sonic squinted up at Anubis. "Hey! You're that guy from the Covenant of Despair!" he realized. Anubis growled at Firepaw. "I don't know what you know of our plans... But I'll destroy this whole castle to make sure they stay secret!" he said. "Meowr... I think that's my cue to log off..." Firepaw gulped, vanishing in a burst of flames! "Meowr! Thanks for playing!" he said in parting. "So, uh... Anubis, huh?" BAS muttered as Firepaw vanished, "INTRUDER ALERT!!! Covenant of Despair members in Super Eggman Land!!" Sonic scratched his head. "The computer's only picking up on that NOW??" he said.

Razor pointed his gun up at Anubis. "Don't move! You're under arrest for treason and terrorism!" he announced. "Come quietly, or we'll be forced to use force!" Paynson added, trying to sound official despite still being flustered from the Egg Bones attack. Sonic remembered why he was here at this point. "Hold it! My best friend's workshop was burned down this morning, and certain detectives say you guys might have something to do with it! Where's Tails!?" he shouted. Anubis looked thoughtful. "The fox? He escaped with the guardian of the Master Emerald. I believe they are now in the employ of Dr. Eggman." he said. Sonic was taken aback. "You... you're lying! Tails wouldn't work for Eggman!" he shouted. Shadow looked at Sonic impatiently. "Could we get back to arresting this guy? It sounded like a good idea to me." he said. Anubis scoffed at them. "You do not faze me. I will destroy you all at once!" he said, turning to the canine agent with him, "Detonate the explosives!" he ordered. "But... They'll blow us up, too!" the dog protested. "Explosives!?" Sonic gasped. "Spineless twit! I'll do it myself!" Anubis grunted, heading for the bombs he'd planted while the dog started to flee for his life! "Shoot! We gotta do something!" Sonic shouted. Shadow nodded. "The Fake Chaos Emerald! Now, Sonic! Don't worry... The real world doesn't need to be 'loaded.'" he said. "We could've warped home at any time!?" Sonic stammered, "Never mind! Over here, everyone!" he shouted. "You are too late!" Anubis snarled, "Once again, farewell, Sonic the Hedgehog!" Anubis covered his hands in fire as he grabbed at the bombs, detonating them with the heat! At that moment, Sonic and Shadow simultaneously shouted "Chaos Control!!!"

Sonic, Shadow, Razor and Paynson emerged back at Eggman's Eggtopia. They appeared unscathed, and the base seemed deserted for the moment. "Whew! That was close! Those Covenant of Despair guys are nuts!" Sonic sighed. Paynson panted with relief. "I used to feel that way about all animals, until I met Officer Razor." he smiled. Razor nodded. "We should get out of here, chief. Dr. Eggman could be back any moment." he said, "Obviously, we're not bringing him in by ourselves..." As they started to leave, Shadow glanced at Sonic. "I have work to do as well. Later, Sonic." he said, heading out the door. "Your welcome, Shadow. Well, guess I'll hang around here and see if Knuckles or Tails show up..." Sonic muttered to himself. He wasn't alone for long, as he soon heard Knuckles's voice at the door. "Hey, Eggman! I'm back! ...Huh? Sonic...?" he yelped, knowing how this must look. Indeed, Sonic felt what Shadow and Anubis had told him was confirmed. "Rrrrr, Knuckles!! You've gone and done it again!" he yelled, sick of dealing with the echidna's apparent stupidity. "Hold it, there, Sonic! It's not what you think!" Knuckles stammered, hoping to make Sonic understand his situation. However, Sonic wasn't hearing it. "Oh, yeah? 'Cuz it looks like you've been tricked by Eggman for the millionth time!" he shouted. This, Knuckles couldn't take. "Wha... I have NOT been tricked by Eggman a million times!! You take that back!" he growled. Sonic smirked. "You're right. It must be a billion times by now! Ha ha! You're so gullible!" he laughed. "Grrr... Laugh it up, Sonic!! Like you've never been tricked by Eggman before yourself!" Knuckles retorted. Sonic shrugged. "That's enough. Where's Tails? Don't tell me you let Eggman lock him up..." he asked, rolling his eyes. Tails had decided to head off on his own to try to gather information about Eggman and the Covenant of Despair, but Knuckles was too furious to explain that now. "WHAT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR!?" he roared. "Oh, brother. I can tell where this is going... again..." Sonic sighed, raising his fists. "I'm sick of you acting all high and mighty!! It's time I taught you some respect!!" Knuckles shouted back, beating his fists together in anticipation of their fight. Sonic chuckled. "Whatever... Bring it on, knucklehead!"


Chapter 11 - Into the Clouds
Stage 8(Dark 4) - Cloud Carnival
Minor Boss 4 - E-5X Jolt

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 Darkseeker was not a character you just say "no" to, so Copter and Kosmo found themselves settling in their new, somewhat cramped quarters when Patch came in announcing it was time for their first mission. They headed out of their room and went to the castle's main entrance hall, a large area full of uniformed animals going this way and that, heading down various hallways to other parts of the castle. A certain purple echidna was there, along with a pink skunk with blue eyes and a uniform with a green star instead of the usual red. The skunk spotted Copter and gasped. "Vy... Look who it is!" she said, pointing. Copter gulped and hid behind Kosmo. "Oh, shoot! I didn't even think of them!" he groaned. "Someone you know?" Kosmo stammered. "Hey, you! What are YOU doing here!?" shouted the skunk angrily. Copter stepped out from behind Kosmo sheepishly. "Uh, heeeeeeey, if it isn't Daisy and uh... Violet! How long has it been?" he chuckled nervously. Violet the echidna glared at him. "Save it, freak! What are you DOING here?" she snapped. "I've been wondering that myself..." Copter sighed. Kosmo looked back and forth between them. "What's going on...?" he wondered. Violet crossed her arms. "Did you actually JOIN the Covenant of Despair?" she growled. "Well..." Copter said, rubbing his head awkwardly. "And who's the weirdo you're hiding behind?" Daisy asked. Kosmo raised an eyebrow. "Weirdo?" he grunted. Copter chuckled awkwardly. "This is Kosmo. Trust me, you don't wanna mess with him." he warned. Violet shrugged. "Fine, but we've got a bone to pick with you! Why are you stalking us!?" she shouted. Copter was flabbergasted. "S-stalking!? Are you crazy!?" he shouted. Just then, Infin the weasel came up to them. "Come on, girls. It's time for your next mission..." he announced. Violet pointed at Copter. "But, Mitch... It's that fox!" she said. Infin jumped angrily. "Use my code name, dang it! How hard... Wha-- YOU!?" he roared upon noticing Copter. "Hey, if it isn't 'Mitch.' I see you got a new foot." Copter chuckled, pointing at Infin's robotic foot. "You little punk! How dare you show your face here!" Infin growled. "New foot? Copter, is there something you want to tell me?" Kosmo muttered. Copter grinned. "Well, now I know how that all ended up... Hehe..." he snickered. Infin drew a gun and pointed it at Copter. "It ain't funny, you punk! Ya know what? I'm gonna kill ya right now!!" he yelled. Kosmo growled at him. "Hey! He's with me!" he warned. "Mitch! Why are you loitering around down here!?" said Fera, who just arrived on the scene. "That fox has gotta die! He's against us!" Infin growled. "Not at the moment he's not. Our leader has deemed him worthy to join. Now get to work!" Fera ordered. Infin sighed, slowly lowering his gun. "Yes, ma'am. Come on, girls!" he yelled, heading off. "Don't worry, Infin. I'll totally kick his butt later." Daisy said. Violet hesitated. "If you hurt my friends, I swear I'll make you pay." she said to both Copter and Kosmo before leaving. "How do I find these wackos?" Copter sighed.

Fera called Copter and Kosmo over. "I've got your mission details. Listen up, because this is important. Infin has located the Chaos Boots." she said. Kosmo nodded. "Uh-huh... And what are those?" he asked. "Never mind that. We need them. That is all you need to know." Fera replied, "They are being held at Cloud Carnival, a traveling tourist attraction that is currently near Station Square." she said. Kosmo frowned. "Collect some boots from a carnival? Don't you have anything harder?" he wondered. Fera looked serious. "You can get in and out faster than our other agents." she explained. Kosmo nodded. "I guess it's important, then..." he muttered. "We can't fly you there ourselves. You'll need to procure your own transport." Fera informed them. Copter shrugged. "Sounds like a job for the Hurricane." he said. With their orders received, they started toward the door, but Bucky ran up to them in a hurry! "Kosmo!" he shouted. "Beat it, old man!" he replied. "They haven't told you everything about this mission. Why don't you allow me to accompany you?" Bucky offered. Kosmo kept walking. "I prefer Copter's little plane to my old cell, thanks!" he growled. "Yeah, go make yourself a bride, if you're bored." Copter added. Bucky stopped short. "I... I am not meant to have a bride..." he whispered solemnly. As Kosmo and Copter left, Zipp flew up to Bucky. "Boss?" he muttered. "Go get Zeke and follow Kosmo." Bucky said. "Okay! Um, why?" Zipp replied. "Kosmo's emotional state is a fragile thing. I'd hate for him to get out of control again." he explained. Zipp nodded. "So, uh..." he mumbled. "If he should become dangerous, kill him." Bucky ordered. Zipp smiled. "I love you. You really should make a bride!" he said. "Go... now..." Bucky growled. Zipp saluted and flew off to find Zeke, while Bucky stood with a tear in his eye. "Some men are not meant for happiness......" he sighed.

It was a bit of a trip to Station Square from the Covenant of Despair's base, and Copter couldn't get through to his plane due to interference, so they ended up taking a train from the Mystic Ruins to arrive in the city. Upon exiting the station, a dramatic scene unfolded before their eyes! Katie the Coyote was face to face with Sergeant Drol and Agent 32, who were accompanied by a couple of armed GUN Beetles. "It is time you came with me, madam. I have some important questions for you." Drol beckoned. "I told you, I don't know anything!" Katie protested. "You dare lie to Sergeant Drol?!" Agent 32 yelled. Copter stared in bewilderment. "Looks like that's Gunner's replacement. What's he want with Katie?" he muttered. "Well, if you want to know, we can sit here and listen." Kosmo shrugged. "Enough! I saw you poking around those ruins! You WILL tell me all you know!" Drol shouted, apparently having seen Katie at the ice ruins near Blue Ridge Zone. The beetles approached Katie, making her scream in fear! "You will accompany us to the Cloud Carnival. We have some business there." Drol said. "Keep yourselves locked on to the prisoner, beetles! She's coming with us!" Agent 32 ordered. Suddenly, Chet the cheetah arrived and stood beside Katie! "Hey, are you all right?!" he asked. "This guy's trying to kidnap me!" Katie shouted. "Stay away from my girl, you creep!" he growled. Drol frowned. "Creep? Watch your tongue, knave!" he said. Copter had had enough. "You heard him! Let her go!" Copter shouted, running down the steps of the train station! Kosmo joined him. "You've got something more important to worry about now! Like me!" he said. Drol took some ear plugs out of his pocket and started to insert them. "Peasants are nothing to fret about. Beetles, use your Shock Screech!" he commanded. The beetles started to make an intense, ear-splitting noise, which was so painful to hear that all of them collapsed onto the ground, clasping their ears! "Gah!! C-can't move!!" Chet whimpered. "I... hate GUN!!" Copter and Kosmo shouted at once. "Take that, pests!" Agent 32 said with his fingers inserted in his ears. "You peasants WILL learn your place! And the Covenant of Despair will fall to my guns!" Drol announced as the beetles silenced. He lifted Katie into his arms, carrying her off while the others writhed on the floor, paralyzed from the "Shock Screech!" "Chet!! Copter!! Help me!!" Katie called, making Chet force himself to his feet. "I'll save you!! Hang on!!" he grunted, hurrying off! Copter climbed to his feet slowly. "They're going to Cloud Carnival? They must be after the Chaos Boots, too!" he realized. "We'd better hurry...If... If we want to save her." Kosmo said, standing up. Copter nodded and brought out the Hurricane Remote. "Hoover, send the plane!" he said. The robotic beaver's voice could be heard through the remote. "You better not bring 'er back wit dings agin! I can bite, y'know!" he warned.

Once the Hurricane arrived, they took off high into the clouds. Among the clouds, there seemed to be an amusement park simply hovering in midair! A closer look made them realize that this was a fleet of ships camouflaged as clouds! They landed the plane on one of these cloud ships and hopped out, taking a moment to look around. "Roller coasters, slot machines, and loads of balloons... It's like a theme park sitting on top of cotton candy." Copter mused. Dr. Eggman's voice boomed over a PA system. "Step right up! Welcome to Cloud Carnival! Remember: No outside food or drink is permitted!" he announced. Copter stared up in surprise. "No way... But then, why am I surprised? High tech cloud ships. Who else?" he groaned. "Well, well. I guess this tourist trap really IS a trap." Kosmo joked. The PA system came on once again. "This carnival is in no way affiliated with the Eggman Empire. Um... I'm not even Dr. Eggman! I just sound like him!" he lied. "You can't fool me!" Kosmo shouted. "You know he can't hear you, right?" Copter pointed out. "Errr... Yeah, I did." Kosmo mumbled. "If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna have a chat with the management about the lack of parking." Copter grumbled, stomping off on his own. Kosmo nodded. "Good idea. We can cover more ground this way." he said. "If you see Katie, give me a holler!" Copter added as he headed off. Kosmo looked around at the flashing lights and cool rides of the carnival, and caught himself smiling. "Odd... This place gets me feeling excited for some reason... I never have been to a carnival." he realized as he started to explore. Even the rings in the park were more festive than usual, they were shiny red rings designed for use only within the park. Kosmo walked over to check them out, but his attention was drawn to some noise up ahead. "That shouting... I think I've found Copter's friend already!" he realized.

Sgt. Drol and Agent 32 were standing beside the remains of their beetle robots. E-5X Jolt was in front of them, accompanied by several fancy purple Egg Pawns carrying what appeared to be trumpets. Katie was standing behind Drol, but Agent 32 wasn't letting her out of his sight. Chet was there, too, and as Kosmo walked up, he also noticed a whitish hedgehog with funny-looking head spines. It was Silver, and he was looking from the robots to the GUN agents curiously. "Hey, what's going on here?" he asked. Jolt jumped upon noticing Kosmo and Silver. "You sneaky intruders, sneaking up here in your sneakers! All of ya! Don't think you're gonna get away with this!" he shouted, glancing back at Drol. "I'm pretty sure I'll get away with whatever I want, even though our robots were destroyed by yours." Drol said. "How do you figure?" Jolt wondered. Drol glanced at Chet. "Are you listening, lowlife? If you ever want to see your friend alive again, you'll cover our escape!" he sneered. Chet grinded his teeth in rage. "WHAT?! You scummy little..." Agent 32 grabbed Katie and pulled out his pistol. "Watch it! If we don't escape soon, I'll pull this trigger and lighten our load!" he warned. "Y-you wouldn't!" Katie gasped. Silver raised his hand threateningly. "Right! I won't let you!" he shouted. "This doesn't concern you. Back off, before I lose my temper!" Drol snapped. Kosmo stepped forward. "Well, maybe it concerns me!" he said. "You again?" Drol gasped. Jolt glanced at Kosmo a little more directly this time. "Huh? Whoa! It's Experiment 3! Better call the boss, quick! Before he causes the kinda trouble Experiment 1 caused at the Tree Fort!" he babbled. Kosmo glared at the robot. "Hey! I wasn't bothering you!" he shouted. Drol decided to take the diversion as a chance to escape. "Very well, hedgehog. I won't harm the prisoner, so long as we are not followed..." he said, running off with Agent 32 forcing Katie to follow. Chet started after them, but hesitated. "Katie!! ...What do I do now?" he whimpered, not wanting to get her shot. "I should've yanked the gun from his hand..." Silver sighed. Jolt pointed at him. "Hey, you're Silver! Dr. Eggman has us programmed to look out for you, too!" he yelled. "He does?" Silver wondered. "Why, who is he?" Kosmo muttered. Jolt jumped angrily. "C'mon, Carnival Pawns! Let's get all three of 'em!" he shouted. Chet looked over with alarm. "Three of 'em? That means me, too! Why you stinkin' robots!" he growled.

The Carnival Pawns bounded forward and blew their horns, which emitted a powerful shockwave that Kosmo and Chet quickly dodged, but Silver was taken by surprise and knocked back! "Damaging sound blasts? Okay... I'll have to find something to throw back." he grunted. Jolt hopped into the air and started circling above them with his jetpack. "Look out! I'm electrifying!! Ha ha ha ha!" he laughed, sparks flying from his hands! They ignored him and went for the Carnival Pawns, Chet speeding ahead with his claws bared. Being the fastest of the group, he could get past the pawns before they could trumpet-blast him, and swipe his claws at them with all his might! However, the robot's armor proved too strong for him, and he was forced to run as it turned and fired at him again! Kosmo tried to follow his example, though, and morphed into Sonic's form in order to speed past the robots' attacks. However, Jolt fired several bolts of electricity at him as he ran, and he had to change direction! "Oh, so the little yellow toy has some tricks?" he said. "I'm not little!! My color just doesn't stand out like the other pawns!" Jolt shouted. Kosmo shifted into a somewhat larger Egg Pawn with a jetpack like Jolt's. "No, you're short. And I'm coming up there to say it to your face!" he said, taking off after the yellow pawn! Meanwhile, Silver looked for something to use as a projectile for his psychokinesis, but all he could find were balloons. "Oh, well. Guess I'll try 'em..." he decided, his hand starting to glow as he held it up towards a bright red balloon. "Take this!!" he shouted, psychically flinging the balloon at a nearby robot! The balloon bumped into the front of the pawn's trumpet, blocking it as it tried to blow out a shockwave! This caused it to backfire, blowing up the robot! "Huh...? Why didn't the shockwave pop the balloon? Never mind, I'll take it." Silver shrugged, grabbing the busted remains of the robot to fling at the others while Chet was distracting them! In the sky, Jolt was firing bolt after bolt at Kosmo, and he shot back with a generic laser he was able to copy from robots he'd seen before. However, after taking a hit from Jolt and feeling the metal frame of this form shocked throughout, Kosmo shifted into a smaller Chao form. "Now I'm gonna show you why you shouldn't whine about being short. Smaller target, harder to hit!" he yelled, charging at Jolt with high speed, tackling him again and again before he could get a lock on him! "Hey! Stop! That tickles!! ...OK, that doesn't! NOOOOO!!!" Jolt screamed, freaking out.

Jolt dropped to the ground, and seeing that Silver had destroyed the Carnival Pawns, seemed to get nervous. "Heh heh heh... I appear to be outnumbered..." he whimpered, suddenly flying off for another cloud-shaped ship! "Blastooooooff!!! Hey, Eggman! Intruders!!" he shouted. "Good riddance! Too bad he got away, though." Chet panted. Kosmo morphed back into his true form and looked around. "Drol's long gone. Guess I'd better get back to my own mission." he sighed. Chet looked at him with alarm. "Wait, you're not here to help me??" he said. Silver shrugged. "I'd like to help, but if I don't change the future, we'll all be in real trouble!" he muttered. Kosmo glanced at him. "The future? Get outta here..." he scoffed. Chet let out a frustrated sigh. "Well, if you really are Experiment 3, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Fine! I'll go save Katie myself!" he said, rushing away. Silver glanced at Kosmo. "You sure you couldn't help him?" he asked. "You sure YOU couldn't?" Kosmo retorted. Suddenly, a bright flash of light erupted from Kosmo's shoe! "Gah!" he gasped, pulling out his mysterious coin, which was glowing again! Silver looked at it curiously as Kosmo slipped it back into his shoe. "Dunno what the deal with that is..." he muttered. Silver nodded. "Know what? I think I'll go with you for a while..." he said. Kosmo shrugged. "It's a free carnival..." he said. Ironically, they soon found out that it was NOT a free carnival. Hanging out near the starting point of a large roller coaster was Copter, who seemed agitated about something. "Hey Kosmo... Did you find anything? I can't find Eggman or Katie or any stupid boots anywhere!" Copter grumbled. "I caught up to that GUN sergeant. But he got away." Kosmo reported. Copter nodded. "Figures. Hey, Silver. Good to really meet ya. Heard about you when that onyx-y island appeared. Tails says you're psycho or somethin'" he muttered. "Um... Psychokinetic." Silver replied. "Gazundheit. Bad news, guys. In order to operate the rides and stuff to make getting around the carnival easier, we need those red Park Rings. Normal rings don't cut it." he grumbled, "And if we try to fly around the coaster, we'll get shot at." Silver looked around and pointed to a bridge between ships. "Maybe we can cross that for free?" he wondered. "Might as well, but the coaster seems to lead to more places." Copter noted. "We can come back..." Kosmo reasoned, leading the way to the bridge.

Crossing the bridge to a smaller cloud ship, they found a giant slot machine sitting in the center of the platform, surrounded with fancy neon signs. Copter looked at it in bewilderment. "Hey... Rouletar!?" he stammered. "What's a Rouletar?" Kosmo muttered. Copter shook his head and shrugged. "It WAS an Eggman battle-bot. Looks like its scrap has been repurposed." he said. In front of Rouletar was a winged feline with light blue fur and green eyes. Her whiskers and ears were yellow, and she had a long, light blue and yellow striped tail. She wore a suit that was blue from the waist up and green from the waist down, and wore blue shoes. It was Whisk the Divine, though Copter seemed not to recognize her. She looked at the slot machine awkwardly. "Hmmm... How do you play it?" she wondered. Kosmo stepped over and pulled on the robot's arm, which now seemed to be a slot lever. "This should start it going..." he muttered. The slot reels started to spin, and Rouletar's eyes opened. "Welcome, game fans! Get three in a row and win fabulous prizes! Where I stop, nobody knows!" the robot announced. Kosmo backed away a step. "Copter, did I just do something dumb?" he asked. "Probably, but maybe he'll pay out park rings." he said. Whisk flew back a ways to get a safe view of the action. "Ooooh, I wonder what we'll win!" she said. The reels stopped on three thunder shields. "Hey, that should be useful for gathering rings!" Silver said. Rouletar chuckled. "You win a thunder jolt! Try again!" The neon signs suddenly lit up brighter and fired bursts of electricity at the group! Silver, thinking fast, grabbed some balloons hovering in the air with his psychokinesis and blocked the electricity with their rubber! "Hey... That was good, I was getting ready to fly us outta here!" Copter said in surprise. Kosmo shrugged and pulled Rouletar's arm again. "I saw rings in those reels! He's gotta be able to pay off!" he said as Copter covered his eyes. "Go, go, go! Let's see something awesome!" Whisk cheered, seeming oblivious to the potential danger. Rouletar laughed as the reels landed on three bumper symbols. "Time for a knockout!" he taunted, spitting several crablike robots called Crawls out of his mouth! The Crawls had bumper-like shields, which they held in front of them as they soared towards Kosmo and the others! Copter tried to smack them with his tails, but was bounced back and ended up spinning around uncontrollably as Whisk laughed at him. Silver caught the Crawls that came towards him, while Kosmo simply morphed into something too heavy to be bounced, Big the cat. He then stomped over to Rouletar and bounced on top of the robot several times with Big's huge belly, busting up the machine and causing it to spit out a few park rings before exploding! "Enjoy...your...daaay..." Rouletar buzzed. "Sorry, pal. We don't got time for games." Kosmo grumbled. "Awww, you broke my toy!" Whisk sighed, flying off, "Meanies!" Copter picked up the park rings and sighed. "Not many... I bet that's all Eggman put in the bot, too..." he grumbled. The trio sighed heavily and wandered away from the wrecked slot machine, realizing they'd have to search elsewhere for more rings.

They came across an area crowded with balloons, so much so that it was hard to see. However, as a light breeze blew some of the balloons away, they heard a voice grunting dizzily among them. "Scram, helium bags, before I blast you to shreds!" said a frustrated Zipp, whom Copter and Kosmo approached suspiciously. "Ahem!" Kosmo grunted. "Eeep! Uhhh... Fancy meeting you here!" Zipp stammered, hiding a rifle behind his back pathetically. "What are the odds of you showing up here..." Copter said sarcastically. "Don't be silly. I'm just playing carnival games. Like, target practice!" Zipp lied. "Bucky sent you, didn't he?" Kosmo growled. Zipp backed away slowly. "Don't be silly! Next you'll be saying he asked me to assassinate you!" he chuckled. Kosmo glared at him, while Copter motioned for Silver to step back. "Oh, yeah? What makes you think you can even hurt me, bug!?" he snarled. "Nice knowin' ya, Zipp!" Copter waved. Silver looked nervous. "What is that child doing with a rifle?" he muttered. Zipp pulled out his rifle and pointed it at Silver. "Child!? I'm a hornet, ignorant!" he yelled. Kosmo morphed into his gargoyle form, his eyes glowing bright with rage! "We'll see who assassinates who! Here I come, bug!" he shouted, taking to the sky! Zipp promptly dropped his rifle and started to flee, fumbling to unholster his much more maneuverable pistols. "Kozzie, calm it down a minute, pal! You... you REALLY must curb that tendency to overreact!" he babbled, utterly panicked as he sped into the cluster of balloons to hide! Kosmo's eyes glowed brighter as he prepared an attack. "Eat Kosmosis, bug!" he shouted, firing beams from his eyes that popped several of the balloons, forcing Zipp to fly out and shoot back with his pistols! "You don't scare me, transformer! I only fear zombies and clowns!" Hearing that, Kosmo altered his form to appear zombified and to be wearing clown makeup. This made Zipp shudder. "That's not funny!! I need my rifle back!!" he whined, flying off through the balloons. Kosmo morphed back into a normal gargoyle to give chase, exchanging Kosmosis shots as Zipp fired his pistol back at him.

As their chase brought them back over the cloud ship where they started, Copter fired Zipp's rifle into the air to get their attention! Then, Silver grabbed the distracted Zipp and pulled him down with his psychokinesis! "Lemme go!! If you recall, I actually implied that me being here to assassinate anybody was SILLY!" he whined, struggling against seemingly nothing. "By the way, what's got me?" he asked. "My mind!" Silver said. "...Some trick..." Zipp muttered. Kosmo landed nearby and morphed back to normal. "What'll we do with him, guys?" he wondered. Copter crossed his arms. "I say we toss him over the side of the ship and test the anti-air guns. See if we can't actually fly to the next area." he grinned. Zipp frowned. "That doesn't sound good... Wait! Truce! I can help you guys!" he shouted. Silver smiled a little. "That's what I want to hear. Now, what can you do for us?" he asked. "I WAS playing the carnival games! I won tons of park rings! Check my pockets! There's enough for the roller coaster and everything!" he said. Kosmo frowned. "We should at least confiscate his guns." he reasoned. Zipp shook his head. "No way! I can be of use with those guns! Let me put them to work FOR you! ...Unless you're scared of harmless little me..." he grinned. Kosmo scoffed. "Please, of course I'm not scared of you!" he said. Copter sighed. "Well, I am..." However, Silver released Zipp from his grip, allowing him to grab his rifle back from Copter. "You guys won't regret this! We'll make an excellent team!" he chuckled. "I already regret it..." Copter groaned. "Well, c'mon, let's go. The sooner we get those dumb boots, the sooner we can ditch Zipp." Kosmo said, heading off towards the roller coaster. Zipp nodded. "Yeeees... And I can keep my eyes peeled for Zeke along the way..." he muttered to himself.


Chapter 12 - Despair in the Air
Boss 8 - E-5X Jolt & Zeke

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.


Zipp looked around nervously as they boarded the roller coaster. There was still no sign of Zeke since they'd gotten separated upon arrival. "Big oaf's probably distracted by something shiny..." he thought in annoyance as the coaster started to move. "I've never been on one of these before... Hey, shouldn't there be a seat belt?" Silver mumbled. "Hold on to the bar, tight!" Copter warned as the coaster sped up! Both Silver and Kosmo let out a surprised yelp as the coaster zoomed down an incline, and gasped upon seeing a loop up ahead. "Seriously, shouldn't we have seat belts??" Kosmo asked. "...Probably." Copter mumbled. "If you are riding the Looper Coaster, remember to hang on tight! Cloud Carnival is not responsible for injuries incurred from hundred story drops down from the loop-the-loop! We maintain that it is the city's fault for making the pavement so hard." said Eggman over the PA while the group shrieked during the coaster's spin through the loop! "What am I screaming for? I have wings!" Zipp stammered. As the coaster continued along, they suddenly noticed robots heading their way. It was a squad of Hunter robots flying with jetpacks! "Oh, goodie. Sgt. Dope got backup." Copter groaned. "I got 'em!" Zipp smirked, lifting up his rifle and shooting down the robots one by one! However, his rifle was too slow, and the group was forced to duck as the coaster passed the robots he missed, which were all too eager to shoot back! "Don't you have a machine gun in that jacket of yours!?" Copter snapped. Zipp scoffed. "Machine guns are a waste of ammo. Plus, Vortex thought my aim was getting sloppy. I'll show HIM!" he said. Silver looked below them. "Never mind! I think we're getting close to our stop!" he said. Unless they wanted to go around again, they needed to jump off before the coaster returned to its starting point. Now that they were over a cloud-shaped ship they hadn't explored yet, they pushed their safety bars back and got ready to jump, ducking briefly as a Hunter shot at them again. "Well... good bye, everyone." Copter gulped before being the first to jump, followed by the others!

Using his tails, Copter managed to control his landing and avoid hitting any of the bumpers that dotted the landscape of the next ship platform. Kosmo hovered down disguised as Jolt so as not to attract the attention of the anti-air guns, and Silver used his psychokinesis to steady his landing. As they stood together at one end of the platform, looking ahead, they noted that it looked very much like a giant pinball table, with a sort of bingo game in the center. What they didn't notice, was that they were standing directly in front of a giant pinball flipper, and Zipp was hovering behind it, chuckling mischievously as he aimed a pistol at the mechanism to activate the flipper. "Chase me around and swipe my rings, will ya?" he muttered, firing! The flipper knocked all three of them into the pinball game, sending them tumbling like balls into an obstacle course of different types of bumpers! "Gaaaah!! Why didn't I see this coming!?" Copter screamed. "Ow! Ouch! What kind of sick mind would use people as pinball balls!?" Silver shouted. Kosmo morphed into an actual steel ball in order to lessen the pain from this experience. "I'm going to throw up all over you, hornet!!" he yelled. Zipp chuckled. "You'd have to catch me first!" he shouted, shooting at the flipper mechanisms to try to steer them into the bingo panels! However, controlling three balls at once was tough, and Copter shrieked as he went hurtling over the side of the ship! "Ooops... Well, nice knowin' ya, bro." Zipp shrugged, only for Copter to dizzily fly up seconds later. "I...shall...destroy you...Ziiiipp..." he gurgled before running back to the side of the ship to hurl. Adding further insult to injury, Silver suddenly bounced off of him, nearly knocking him over the edge again! "ARRRGH!!" he yelled. "Thanks for stopping meeee!" Silver shouted. As Copter turned around, Kosmo also started to hurtle toward him, but as Copter braced himself, Kosmo morphed his tail out and used it to steer himself away from Copter! "Put a stop to this!" he shouted as he flew by. Copter nodded, and stomped over to the other end of the ship. A Carnival Pawn was standing guard at the bridge to the next area. "Turn off this pinball machine!" Copter shouted. The pawn looked at him uncertainly. "It can't be turned OFF! But I can offer passage across the bridge in exchange for the rings you win for a bingo." it said.

Now knowing what to do, Copter ran for the bingo panel in the center of the pinball table! However, some of the bumpers in that area were moving, and to make things harder, Silver and Kosmo were bouncing through that area wildly! "Wow... They're making me dizzy..." Zipp mumbled. Copter tried to run through, only to get smacked again by Silver! "Grrr!! Stop it!! Can't either of you get ahold of yourselves!? You're psychic and you're a morph!! Argh!" Copter growled, flying over them to reach the bingo panel. They had a B and a G, so Copter hopped to the panels they needed, causing the whole table to light up as park rings rained down on them! "BINGOOOO!!" shouted the voice of BAS from nowhere. Zipp flew down to start grabbing rings, only to be psychically grabbed by Silver again. "Hey, what!?" he gasped. "You...stay still...for a while!" he growled. Copter and Kosmo gathered the rings, and the four of them made their way to the Carnival Pawn guarding the bridge, though Silver wouldn't release Zipp. "Good! You've gathered the rings! Now just hand them over and I'll..." Before the pawn could finish speaking, Kosmo morphed his arm into one of the pinball flippers and crashed it down over the robot's head, destroying it! "We're not collecting park rings for a while." he growled, "And I'm gonna play pinball with you, later, Zipp." he said, making Zipp gulp. "Can't anyone just imagine that I was trying to help?" he whimpered. "NO!" they all said at once.

Silver eventually released Zipp as they made their way through the next cloud ship, which was crawling with angry Carnival Pawns and Drol's Hunter robots. It wasn't any trouble for the four of them, though, and they soon arrived at another roller coaster track. However, a paper was blocking the park ring slot to call the coaster, which read "Out of Order." The roller coaster seemed to be running around and around at high speed. "Attention, visitors! The Velocicoaster is experiencing technical difficulties. I know it provides the only route to the administrative building and the lost and found, but please, stay off the tracks. Unless you always wanted to be a pancake." Eggman announced over the PA system. "How much you want to bet that the Chaos Boots are on the other side of that?" Copter muttered. "Drol probably sabotaged the coaster to keep us from following him." Kosmo mused. Zipp shrugged. "Well, I can fly. See ya." he said, starting on his way across. "Hey, wait for us!" Copter growled, thus beginning their trek across the Velocicoaster tracks. Some Carnival Pawns were ahead, working at one of the coaster's several intersections. Suddenly, the coaster sped by, knocking the robots to their doom! Copter gulped, but Kosmo ran ahead. "Come on, while the track is clear!" he shouted. As they hurried past that intersection and towards the next, they heard something loudly approaching them from behind! "Prepare to be pancakes!" Zipp shouted, flying out of the way as the roller coaster came at them! They jumped across the gap to the safe track at the next intersection, and Copter swiftly knocked aside some Carnival Pawns that were there to greet them with his tails. "Couldn't you morph into a roller coaster yourself and give us a ride, Kosmo?" Copter suggested. "And risk crashing? Also, having your dirty shoes trampling my insides?? Eeew." he protested. "Insides...!?" Silver muttered. They made for the next intersection and found some real trouble. There were TWO coasters on the track, and they were both heading their way! "Now what do we do!?" Copter yelped. "Let's hear it for wings! Bye!" Zipp chuckled, flying away. However, Silver motioned for them to head for just before the intersection. "Wait right here... Now!" While Copter and Kosmo leapt for their lives, Kosmo morphing to gargoyle form thinking he'd have to fly over the oncoming coaster, Silver had remained on the track and held the coaster back with his psychokinesis while the other one passed the intersection! "What are you guys doing!? Cross! Cross!!" he shouted. Kosmo grabbed Silver as he flew to the safe track, with Copter behind. Once the other coaster had passed them by, they saw that the way across was more or less clear from here out!

They caught up with Zipp at the administrative building, where a Carnival Pawn was blocking the entrance. "Oh, hey, you guys are alive. Great. Now you can use those rings we picked up earlier to pay this jerk so we can get inside." he said. "Thanks for helping us, ZIPP!" Copter shouted. "You're welcome. Scouting ahead was quite a chore." Zipp teased. Silver sighed. "Could we just pay the robot? We're wasting time here!" he said urgently. Copter and Kosmo handed over their collection of park rings, only for the Carnival Pawn to hand them a big mallet. "That was the fee to take on the challenge to gain ENTRY into the building! Try your luck at Hedgehog Hammer over there!" it said, pointing to an area where a whack-a-mole style game featuring Sonic and Eggman shaped targets was set up. Copter took the mallet, glared at the Carnival Pawn, and then bashed it repeatedly with the heavy mallet until it collapsed in a heap! "That's what I think of Eggman's dumb carnival!!" he shouted. Kosmo chuckled. "Actually, that game over there doesn't look so bad..." he said. "Katie might be in here!!" Copter snapped. Silver nodded. "The time for games is over!" he said. Zipp shrugged. "Maybe we can play on the way out?" he suggested as they all entered the building.

The administrative building was pretty large, and was full of Carnival Pawns busily repairing park equipment and controlling park attractions from computers. In the center of the area, however, was Sergeant Drol, accompanied by Agent 32, who was still holding Katie hostage. Chet had caught up with them, and Zeke the dragon was there as well! "THERE he is!" Zipp said, flying ahead. Between Drol and Zeke was a pair of golden shoes, with a single stripe of ruby along their middles, and wings at the ankles! "Looks like we found the hostage AND the Chaos Boots." Kosmo realized. "Looks like a standoff, too." Silver murmured. "Katie! Hang on!" Chet shouted as Kosmo, Copter and Silver approached. "We seem to be outnumbered again, boss!" Agent 32 gulped, noticing everyone entering the room. "Nonsense. All area GUN units will be here any moment." Drol stated. Zeke smirked. "By that time, we'll all be long gone!" he said in his raspy, chuckle-sounding voice. "With these shiny new shoes!" Zipp added, hovering beside him. "Sorry, kiddies. Those Chaos Boots are coming with me!" Kosmo said. Zipp glanced at Kosmo and drew his pistols. "Oh, yeah? I don't think so!" he sneered. "What are you saying? Isn't Kosmo taking them to the same place as us?" Zeke asked. Zipp nodded. "Sure, but I don't want to spend all my life waiting for that time bomb to go off! So let's just blast him!" he shouted. Copter's face turned white. "Are you insane, Zipp!? That'll set him off right now!" he stammered, earning him an annoyed glance from Kosmo. "RAWR!! Who cares? I mean, what's scarier, a morph or a dragon?" Zeke chuckled. Kosmo growled softly. "A morph. Shut your mouth!" he snarled. Silver, not one to be ignored, stepped in front of Kosmo. "All of you! Out of my way! I'm not letting any of you leave with those boots!" he shouted. Meanwhile, Katie recoiled from this scene. "I don't like this... Curse my newshound instincts..." Drol reacted by pushing her aside and pressing a button on a remote. "You're making my hostage nervous! I'm calling my mech!" he said, prompting a highly weaponized Flying Dog mech to smash in through the wall!

"Enough! All of you!! How did you all get up here, anyway!?" shouted Dr. Eggman, who's Egg Mobile emerged at the back of the room, accompanied by Jolt! "Great... More good news." Copter groaned. Drol drew a rapier and pointed it at Eggman. "Terrorist knave! You're no better than those Covenant of Despair dogs!" he shouted. "Excuse me, but I'm way smarter than those losers! Egg Pawns, surround them!" Eggman commanded, prompting the working Carnival Pawns to drop what they were doing and start to advance on the intruders! Zipp pocketed his pistols and pulled out a machine gun. "Aw, yeah! This is getting exciting!" he grinned. "I'd say this is getting out of hand..." Silver sighed. "Katie! Let's get out of here, quick!" Chet shouted, hoping to take advantage of the confusion. No such luck, however. Agent 32 pulled a gun on Katie once again! "Not so fast, freak!" he growled. Drol motioned to his mech. "Attack! Destroy Eggman's pitiful robots!" he commanded, backing away to a safe distance. Eggman ordered his robots in kind, and glanced down at Jolt. "You get in there, too! Destroy Kosmo, Copter, and Silver! Especially Kosmo!" he commanded. "Work, work, work!" Jolt groaned, rushing out towards the group. Zeke turned and saluted Eggman as well. "Allow me, doctor! I'll dispose of these pathetic chumps!" he declared, turning to face Copter and Kosmo, "Psst! Don't tell Dr. Dumb-man that I'm really an experiment!" he whispered. "No deal!" Copter growled. "I suggest we team up for now, and settle who gets the Chaos Boots after!" Silver said. "Never mind Eggman and those boots! We gotta help Chet save Katie!" Copter shouted. Kosmo looked a bit nervous as things started to get chaotic in there. "So... much... to think about... How should I respond? In the past, I might just blast everyone, but... Hm, what would Shadow do?" he wondered. Zeke's voice snapped him out of it. "Let's see if you're really as tough as they say you are! RAWR!!!" he roared!

Zeke hopped into the air and soared towards them, followed by Jolt! Some of the Carnival Pawns grabbed their trumpets and joined the fray as well. Copter jumped up and swung his tails at Jolt, missing as the robot swiftly flew up with his jetpack! "Gotta do better than that, fox boy! I'm fast like lightning!" he taunted, shocking Copter with a quick electric bolt! "Zzzzargh! Come... here... I owe you a Chaos Blast..." Copter jabbered, shaking off the shock quickly. Zeke, meanwhile, focused on Kosmo, blowing flames at him as he approached! The morph rolled out of the way and chuckled. "I could use MY dragon form, but how original would that be? Nah, how about this?" he said, changing into a purple pegasus! His hooves clacked loudly against the ground as he built up speed to take off into the air! "Huh? You insult me by turning into a flying horsy!? I'll make fried drumsticks outta you!" Zeke growled, spouting fireballs at Kosmo from his mouth! This left Silver to deal with the pawns. "Hmmm... Too easy." he said, jumping aside as they blew shockwaves from their trumpets, then grabbing one by one with his psychokinesis and tossing them at each other! While these fights were going on, Zipp was sneaking cautiously towards the Chaos Boots, using his feet rather than wings for a change. "Perfect! No one notices the little hornet! Easiest mission ever! ...Huh!?" As he grabbed for the boots, his hand bumped into Chet's. "Oh, no you don't, bug! Everyone's after these dumb shoes, so I need them to trade for Katie!" he growled. "How... uh... noble? Now GIMMIE!!" Zipp shouted, the two of them trying to wrestle a single boot out of the other's hand, failing to notice Sgt. Drol's mech looming over them, and the other Carnival Pawns surrounding them. "Stop them from taking the boots, pawns!" Eggman shouted. "Eliminate any threats in our way!" Drol yelled. Zipp and Chet both dropped the boot at once, glancing around in horror. "Um... I'll be right back." Chet muttered. "Ditto." Zipp said, brandishing his machine gun. Thus, they split up to fight the robots as projectiles started to fly everywhere!

Jolt was chasing Copter while Zeke was chasing Kosmo. Suddenly, Silver tossed Carnival pawns into both of them, knocking them out of the sky! "Hey! We had it covered!" Kosmo neighed. "Whatever. Let's hurry and grab the Chaos Boots!" Silver suggested. "Hold it!! We're not done!!" Jolt and Zeke yelled at once, rising quickly! The fighting only seemed to be intensifying, with projectiles flying everywhere. Eggman's robots didn't really seem to be decreasing in number much, and Chet decided it was better to try to save Katie before something happened. "Let her go, suit! You got a big robot, you don't need a hostage anymore!" he shouted. Agent 32 released Katie from his grip, but pointed his gun at Chet. "I keep an eye on her until the Sergeant tells me otherwise!" he growled. Katie started to back away, and when she did, she suddenly screamed! Time seemed to slow around her as she, Chet and Agent 32 began to comprehend what had happened. Katie fell to the ground, holding her chest, and Chet screamed in despair. "Katie!! NO!!!" Kosmo kicked Zeke aside with his hooves, landed to the ground, and morphed back to normal as he and Copter heard Chet's scream. "What... no..." Copter gasped. "D... don't worry about me... Get yourself out of here... Chet..." Katie gasped before shutting her eyes. Chet screamed out her name, but the fighting was still going on in the background. Copter observed this scene, and felt rage bubbling up inside him. "No... Not Katie..." he panted. Kosmo observed him, and frowned. "Well, what are we supposed to do about it?" he muttered. Jolt and Zeke started to come up behind them again, and Copter turned to their footsteps, snarling. "ENOUGH!!" he roared, his fur taking on a darker hue and his white fur gaining blue highlights all of a sudden! A massive dark shockwave erupted from Copter's body, knocking over everyone that was standing and immediately bringing an end to the fighting! Copter, too was lying on the ground afterward, though his fur had returned to normal.

Despite the significant events that had just occurred, Kosmo still had a mission. He shakily climbed to his feet and started to retrieve things, first his coin, which had been dislodged from his shoe. It was still glowing, in fact it was brighter than before. "What's up with this? It's like it's reacting to something..." he muttered as he approached the Chaos Boots. Agent 32 was the first to get in his way. "Stop right there!" he said, pointing his gun. "You think you can stop me?" Kosmo questioned. "He can't, but I can!" said Silver, who stood beside Kosmo with his hand raised threateningly. "Don't... No one else has to get hurt." Kosmo sighed. Silver lowered his hand. "But... What will you do with them? Answer that for me." he asked. Kosmo looked unsure. "I... Well... I don't even know what they do..." he muttered. Just then, Basker from the Covenant of Despair entered the room, accompanied by a uniformed bat. "Well done, Kosmo. We'll take it from here." he said. Kosmo stared at them in surprise. "Huh? How'd you get up here??" he wondered. "With our aerial unit. We sent you ahead, since time was a factor." Basker explained. He then knelt down and picked up the Chaos Boots. "Hey! I can't let you take those!" Silver shouted. "I think you'll find you can... In fact, you can't bear to approach me..." Basker sneered, his eyes glowing brighter as a strange, dark blue energy cloaked around Silver, filling him with a paralyzing fear that forced him to his knees! "Aaaaah!! Wh-what are you!?" he shouted. "What did you do to him?" Kosmo asked. However, they were interrupted by Eggman bringing his Egg Mobile back online. "Hold on! You fools can't get away this easily!" he shouted. "And neither can you." said Sgt. Drol, "My troops should be along any moment." Basker grinned at this. "I'm afraid we've got your troops a bit busy." he said. "What!? Knave!" Drol shouted. "Seems we've got more trouble than I thought... I'll be in my control room if anyone needs me!" Eggman shouted, retreating along with Jolt and Zeke! Meanwhile, Drol was getting a call from Colonel Gunner about a Covenant of Despair attack on Central City, so he was about to leave as well. "Looks like our way is clear. Let's be off." Basker said. However, Kosmo stopped to glance at Copter and Chet, who were distraught over Katie's dying body. "Wait..." he muttered. "Come on, Kosmo, let's be off." Zipp muttered. "But... Shouldn't we do something!?" he snapped. Basker glanced around. "About what?" he murmured, having actually not noticed Katie lying there before. "Katie!! Hang on!! S-somebody do something!!" Chet wailed. Basker smiled, the wheels in his head seeming to start turning over this.

"Agh... My head... What did he do to me?" Silver muttered as Basker walked over to Chet. "Hmm... Looks like the humans have struck again..." he said. Copter glared at him angrily. "Y-you..." he snarled. Basker placed a hand on Chet's shoulder. "Come, brother. It would not be wise to linger here." he suggested. "What!? What are you saying!?" he yelled. Basker looked at him seriously. "She's as good as dead. If you linger here, you will share her fate. Dr. Eggman will see to that." he insisted, tightening his grip on Chet's shoulder and starting to drag him. "Come with me..." he said. "K-K-KATIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!" Chet screamed as Basker and the bat dragged him away. Silver rubbed his head as he approached Copter and Kosmo. "Aw, no... he got away..." he groaned, having only now fully regained his senses. "Where are they going!? Katie's still alive!" Copter shouted. "I can fix that..." Zipp grinned, polishing one of his pistols. Kosmo glared at him furiously. "You stay away! You probably shot her to begin with!" he yelled. Then, as things were looking their bleakest, a miracle occurred. Gemini the fennec bashed her way out of a ventilation shaft, hopping into the room! "Whew... First I'm captured by GUN, then Dr. Eggman... I'm really slipping! At least Eggman forgot to nab my wand!" she said to herself. Copter stared in disbelief. "Gemini! Talk about finding just the person we need!" he gasped, running up to her. "Copter! What are you... What's happened here!?" Gemini shouted, horrified. "What does it matter! Basker's right. She's as good as dead!" Kosmo sighed. Gemini hurried over to Katie, holding out her wand. "Ooooh... This looks bad... Now, what was that spell... Recoveration!" she said, casting a weak, healing light over Katie. Kosmo watched in wonder as the spell seemed to stabilize the coyote a bit. However, it didn't quite seem to work. "It... it's not enough... She needs a doctor..." Gemini said in panic. "Then we'll have to get her to one." Silver said. "I'll call my plane!" Copter nodded. Kosmo's eyes widened. "They just might...save her." he whispered. "Good for them. I'm getting out of here." said Zipp from beside him. "What about blasting me?" Kosmo asked, turning to Zipp as he was starting to fly off. The hornet just shrugged. "...Stay outta trouble, Kosmo." he said. With the mission at Cloud Carnival over, all that was left was to pull together to try to save Katie's life!

To be continued...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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by 2BIT
Sonic GeneX-Retrospective Pt2
Sonic GeneX: Knuckles the Echidna - Arc 2
Sonic GeneX: Entering Despair (Full Version)
Sonic GeneX: Knuckles the Echidna - Arc 2
Chapters 1-12

Knuckles, Punchy, Kosmo and Sonic set out on new adventures, while the Covenant of Despair begins to wage war on humankind.

This is the story I remember the least details about. If there are plot holes in the whole series, they probably result from this entry.

Keywords
human 87,632, sonic the hedgehog 51,128, amy rose 14,936, shadow the hedgehog 13,819, miles tails prower 12,391, rouge the bat 10,732, knuckles the echidna 4,770, adventure 4,702, silver the hedgehog 4,210, action 3,726, mobians 3,126, fanfiction 2,409, eggman 884, espio the chameleon 762, robots 698, genex 635, metal sonic 546, punchy 353, arthur copter prower 281, gemini the fennec 229, rainbow the echidna 192, kosmo 160, zipp 158, guard the gargoyle 156, vortex the chameleon 139, bucky the rat 124, lospecter 118, illusi 115, lucky the cat 112, razor the porcupine 103, violet the echidna 97, spiny 89, crash the rhino 86, chet the cheetah 86, tommy the porcupine 83, fera the wolf 83, mia the cat 79, katie the coyote 77, zeke the dragon 71, ridley the coati 66, conan the raccoon 65, carrie the mirage 62, anubis the jackal 62, talon the griffin 59, doomsayer 58, patch the fox 51, firepaw 50, eddie the hyena 48, evelyn the fox 44, fred leo 43, deathbringer 42, adam the bat 40, mitch the weasel 36, basker 33, cuthburt 23, darkseeker 23, richard gunner 22, e-2x alpha 20, char the chao 20, s.p.o.t. 19, radia 15, dark punchy 12, riley spizzweld 11, doug stone 9, professor pickle 7, sgt. drol 7, e-5x jolt 6, e-6x freeze 6, gun commander 5, chief paynson 2, rouletar 1
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Type: Writing - Document
Published: 3 weeks, 3 days ago
Rating: Mature

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