“Please, hear me out.”
Sonic pleaded to Shadow and Tails, who backed up out of reaction. Shadow stared at Sonic. “...Sonic...I...”
“I don't blame you. It was an accident, I know,” Sonic nodded.
“How much longer can you fight this though? Surely the mental strain of keeping your mind from being converted-”
“-I'm not.” Sonic said, cutting him off.
Both Shadow and Tails stared at him at this. “WHAT?!”
Sonic held up his hands, one robotic, one still gloved. “It's not going down the way you think it is, I promise. I'm...I'm not going to turn bad, I promise.”
Shadow rubbed his head. “Help me to understand this then. What, exactly, is happening to you?”
Sonic sighed, folding his arms. “When the nanites got to my brain...they were in a confused programming state because of the chaos energy. When they began to convert my brain to machine and programming, they were able to...absorb...my thoughts...my feelings...my moral convictions. They began to understand that what they were doing was wrong.”
Shadow tilted his head. “Then why are you still being roboticized if they know its wrong?”
“...to save my life.” Sonic responded. “By the time they began to realize that what they were doing was wrong, it was at a point that simply stopping the process would kill me. Not like Bunnie's condition at all.”
Shadow faintly thought about Bunnie's half roboticized form. “...and they can't reverse it?”
Sonic shook his head. “I asked. Reversal is not possible for them. However-”
He paused as he lifted his gloved hand to his ear, as if he was listening to something.
Shadow raised an eyebrow. “...howeve-”
“SHH!” Sonic waved him off with his robotic hand and continued to listen. Shadow looked to Tails, who shrugged. Sonic finally looked at them. “There's a unit of combots gathering at the gates to the city. We need to find out what they're up to.”
Shadow frowned. “Well...”
Sonic looked at them. “Shadow...Tails...please...I'm going to be alright...please trust me.”
Shadow looked into Sonic's slightly red eyes. “...I do.”
Tails looked up. “I do too, Sonic. I seen you as Mecha Sonic. I really think you're still good.”
Sonic smiled softly at this before he looked to his gloved hand. He pulled off the glove to show the roboticization actively spreading up his arm. He sighed. “Won't be much longer now. Let's go check on those combots.”
The trio took off, making sure to stay hidden out of sight of the robots patrolling the area. With Sonic's advanced scanning technology, he was able to devise the best area to stake out a spot to spy on the gathering combots near the gates of the city.
The large army appearing robots stood in a platoon formation, with one, looking slightly different from the rest with somewhat of a more formed face, paced back and forth in front of the unit. “Attention! The Great Snively Robotnik has declared that we take the time to finally locate the hidden Sanctuary that Robotnik has tried for years to find.”
Shadow leaned in and whispered to Sonic. “What's Sanctuary?”
“I'm not su-”
The head combot continued. “We believe the location has finally made itself known with the reveal of several time and zone anomalies. We found a zone anomaly in the Great Forest just hours ago.”
Sonic and Shadow looked at each other. “...Knothole!” the two concluded.
“Our orders are to search out Sanctuary, capture the children and any resistance members guarding them, bring them here, and send them to the Roboticizer.”
Sonic immediately looked to the other two. “Shadow, Tails, you need to get back to Knothole and warn them about the invasion. I'll stay here and try to stop them.”
Sonic started to get up, before Shadow grabbed Sonic's arm, looking directly at him. “...I'm staying. I'm going to help.”
Sonic didn't like this. “And do what?”
Shadow smirked. “I may not have a chaos emerald, but get me a gun and watch me work.”
Sonic watched Shadow for a long moment before he finally nodded. “Okay. But Tails, you still need to warn the village.”
Tails nodded. “I'll get there fast!”
Before Tails left, Sonic called back. “And Tails?”
Sonic looked at him seriously. “Don't tell Sally what's happening to me. I don't need her trying to determine if I'm going to turn or not.”
Tails nodded in understanding. “Promise. Be careful!”
As Tails took off, Shadow stared at Sonic for a moment. Sonic looked back. “What?”
Shadow looked towards Sonic's other arm, which finally roboticized. Sonic looked at it and sighed, flexing his robot hand. “Nothing I can do now. Let's go find you a weapon and take out those combots.”
IN THE GREAT FOREST
30 MINUTES LATER
The combots, lead by the commanding combot, spread out across the forest, trying to narrow their scans for the zone anomaly that would indicate their target. One combot stopped, and began to scan before radioing to the commanding bot. “Commander Cor, lifeform detected and enclosing.”
“Scouts. Units 4, 5 and 6, halt your search and take out the intruder in the area,” Cor responded, looking around.
Three combots broke away from the search group, using their scanners to try and zoom in on the life readings. Far enough away from the others, the three enclosed on a brush where they detected the intruder at. Believing it to be hiding, the combots raised the weapons built into their arms, preparing to fire through the brush and hit their target, when one suddenly exploded and fell, having been shot at from somewhere behind and overhead with a laser blast. The shot combot's head had been blown clean off.
Caught off guard, the remaining two combots whirled in the direction that the shot came from, trying to detect whatever had set it off.
The distraction was enough.
From the brush, shots were fired from a projectile weapon, laying several bullets into the second combot's head with marksman precision. Its systems severed, it fell over, lifeless.
The remaining combot turned yet again to the source of the projectiles fired, this time coming face-to-face with Shadow, holding up a projectile pistol to its head. He smirked, moments before the combot's head just exploded, falling over. Behind it, Sonic stood, his right arm lowering from where he shot a laser from his wrist. The roboticization had spread up to his chest.
Shadow looked to Sonic. “Well, guess its a good thing those came online when they did,” he gestured to the lasers on his arm.
“The nanos made sure to get them working quickly for me. We actually work together quite well. They're even masking my life sign from their scanner.”
Shadow smirked a bit. “Sounds like you have something of a relationship there.”
“A symbiosis. Something they learned after picking my brain really. We talk to each other,” Sonic admitted.
“And you're sure they're not influencing you...” Shadow asked cautiously.
“Not in a bad way, no, I swear. Anyway, we still got more combots to deal with,” Sonic reminded him.
Meanwhile, Commander Cor had heard the gunshots and sensed the deactivation of three combots. “All units, halt your search and converge on the intruder. We now have a priority alert.”
There were several more shots fired, follwed by another combot deactivation, before the sounds of multiple laser blasts resounded in the forest. More and more units were descending on the intruder, and Cor received the report that there was a second undetectable target accompanying the intruder.
At that moment, Shadow and Sonic were standing in a circle of destroyed combots. Sonic looked up, his red eyes scanning. “Shadow, we got more incoming. We gotta get back to Knothole quickly.”
Shadow checked the clip of his gun. “Just as well, I'm out of ammo.”
The two took off across the forest, spotted from a distance by the commander. He focused his sights on the nearly roboticized hedgehog. “So then...”
Sonic and Shadow made their way to the Great Slide that was their way in and out of the village, jumping in quickly.
They slid through, landing hard in a pile of hay, nearly getting buried in the stuff. Shadow was the first to poke his head out, seeing himself surrounded by Sally and the others, including Tails.
Sally didn't look too happy. Shadow looked at her. “Sally! I see Tails made it back alright-”
“Save it! Besides the fact that you lead Tails into a dangerous area without my permission, you and Sonic went to Robotropolis unauthorized, AGAIN!”
“Which if we hadn't of gone, may I point out, you and the others wouldn't of had time to prepare for the incoming invasion!” Shadow pointed out, before something occurred to him. He looked beside him. Sonic was still hiding in the hay pile. “...Sonic, you okay?”
A muffled reply came from beneath the hay. “I'm fine...I just need a moment.”
“Sonic...” Sally said sternly, knowing better of the hedgehog.
“Sally, just go! There's robots coming here!”
There was a sigh, and soon the hay began to shift and part.
Mobians gasped and took steps back at what they saw.
A fully roboticized Sonic popped his head from the hay pile, looking at everyone.
“Sonic...what...” Sally, stunned, didn't know how to respond to this.
“Okay look...” Shadow started. “I know this looks bad, but I promise you that-”
“YOU DID THIS.”
Shadow, Sonic and Tails were taken aback by Sally's sudden raging tone as she turned her anger upon Shadow. “This is all YOUR fault!”