“This may be harder than I thought,” Knuckles said as he surveyed his future battle field. Everywhere the enemy was mobilizing. Cannons and turrets powered up, aerial units flew overhead, and armies of all kinds of robot soldiers marched into position. All of them stood between Knuckles and vengeance, and, naturally, all of them would soon be demolished by his hand. Knuckles blasted out of the ravine’s shadow, and the battle began.
Knuckles jumped towards a smaller flying robot, slamming it into the ground. He threw it towards a jet-like robot, which in turn crashed into a group of silver battle robots. A laser turret mounted on a nearby building began to fire at Knuckles. He jumped left and smashed an advancing Flaming Orb-bot’s core in. He vaulted himself off of the still floating, but dented, sphere and glided into the turret. Knuckles ripped the turret out of its base and spin around, releasing it. The turret rocketed into a trio of flying bots. Knuckles jumped off the roof and tried to glide, but was blown back by a robot equipped with a powerful fan. He landed on the ground and slid backwards, destroying two silver robots waiting behind him. The wind robot alternated its fan’s direction, creating a vortex to suck Knuckles in. The robot’s center was lined with a myriad of blades. Knuckles ran forward, jumping into the air a few feet from the robot. He flipped over it, and immediately spin-kicked it into a wall.
Knuckles bent backwards as lasers shot past him. He quickly did a handstand and got to his feet, immediately charging around the corner. He ducked the laser fire, sliding along the ground on his side. He tripped one robot, then leapt back, smacking the two others’ heads in with the back of his fists. A small snail-esque Badnik fired a bomb at him from its position on the wall. Knuckles dodged the mini bombs, and decimated the entire section of wall the robot was attached to. He rolled into the factory and quickly dove for cover. He grabbed a heavy steel drum and hoisted it in the air. He sent it flying across the factory, smashing into a smelting machine. The apparatus exploded, flames engulfing everything around it. Knuckles dashed out as the flames died down and fought his way out before the factory collapsed.
The smoke, fire, and rubble gave Knuckles some temporary cover from the robots. He burst from the haze and took down five red gun-bots, similar in design to the early E-100 series, in quick succession. He was knocked back by a blast from a high powered laser, and looked up to see the source being an angular black and white robot with laser blasters imbedded in each arm. Knuckles scaled a nearby wall as the robot launched a line of homing missiles. Knuckles jumped onto the robot, smashed its head in, and glided away as the missiles destroyed their owner. The robots had regrouped around the destroyed factory, and Knuckles drill dove through them, burrowing into the ground. He burst out and uppercut a silver robot. Knuckles punched it in the chest plate, sending it crashing into its comrades. He took out three more with heavy punches before jumping over missiles launched by another red gun-bot. He slammed it to the ground with a flying roundhouse kick. He jumped back again as two silver machine gunners shot from behind. Knuckles back-flipped, landing on his hands between their bullet streams. He pushed himself back, and grabbed the robots’ heads as he passed them. They were slammed together on the ground as Knuckles landed.
He charged, staying a crouched position. Spreading his arms out, Knuckles clotheslined a group of red gun-bots as they fired, causing them to explode each other. He stopped and swung his leg out, tripping more silver robots. Knuckles stood up and lunged right, slamming his elbow through a robot’s chest. He punched his way through a few more silver bots and destroyed two more snail Badniks, these equipped with more powerful bombs. An Orb-bot dropped from above, but Knuckles caught it by the core and sent it spinning through the robots in front of him like a bowling ball. Of course, the echidna had never bowled before, but the simile still applies. He used the time the long distance attack bought him to scale a wall to his left. Knuckles dashed across the roof and leapt onto a jet-bot speeding past. He climbed to its top and destroyed its core. The robot crashed into corner of another building. Debris flew off and destroyed more of the army.
Knuckles had already jumped off and destroyed the turrets atop the building before jumping back down. He dashed into the smoke, dispatching more enemies. He picked up a large mass of concrete and steel, hurtling it through the haze. It obliterated an advancing squad and even toppled the giant flame-bot with them. Knuckles ran forward with two of the more powerful flyers rushing in low to meet him. They fired homing missiles, and Knuckles maneuvered as best as he could in the close space. Most of the missiles exploded on the walls. Knuckles jumped at the robots, but they deployed laser shields, knocking the echidna back. He immediately dashed under them and grabbed their tail-like flight stabilizers. Knuckles pulled them to a nearby crossroad and began to spin around. He sent them flying down the roads right and left of him, crashing through the enemies waiting there. Knuckles chose to run forward.
Knuckles caught two Orb-bots and slammed his fists through them. With his new robo-boxing gloves, he smashed through a squad of silver soldiers, Orb-bot spikes flying in all directions as they disconnected from the robot’s gravity field. The maces spent, Knuckles pulled off the Orb-bot remains and flung them into the horde. A red gun-bot fired a missile from a roof top, and Knuckles jumped left to dodge it. The missile blew a hole in the opposite wall, and Knuckles jumped inside the building. Instead of a factory, this was a research area, the walls lined with supercomputers, and robots moved quickly between them performing various tasks. In one side of the room there were robots putting together parts. Knuckles ran straight through, smashing the tall columns of computers. He dug his fists into one that reached to the ceiling and climbed, smashing through the ceiling. He ran across the roof and jumped at the red gun-bot, who was accompanied by two more on each side as well as five silver robots. He smashed the center gun-bot, then jumped in the air and kicked both of the other gun-bots to the ground. They each fired missiles straight up. Knuckles punched one of the machine gunners through the core, swinging it around to destroy to more. He jumped on top of another and ripped its head off, then dove at the last, taking it with him off the roof. The two gun-bots missiles flew down into them and exploded, soon causing the whole roof to collapse inward on the research facility.
Knuckles stayed crouched close to the ground with the robot he’d taken with him as rubble flew past him. As the rumbling slowed, Knuckles stood up and threw the robot through the smoke. He charged, dodging laser fire from beyond the haze. He quickly emerged and took out two robots of similar stature and design to the silver machine gunners. These however wielded high powered laser guns. They shot thin beams, which erupted in powerful explosions of heat upon impact. Clearly Knuckles was beginning to face the more advanced robots. He ducked their next shots, then jumped up and ripped one’s arm off, swinging around the bash in the head of the other. He stabbed the arm through its original owner, ducking as more lasers were shot from behind. He dove to the side of the alleyway, and quickly climbed backwards up the wall. Knuckles launched himself off the building, tumbling into the robots. He slammed the leader to the ground, taking another robot with it. Knuckles uppercut another, spun around the dodge laser fire from the last. He twisted around it and slammed his fist through its back. He charged towards back in the direction he was headed, using the robot as a shield. Knuckles managed to plow through a large group of laser gunners before his robot shield began to break down. He jumped in the air above a small squad of laser gunners along with a red missile-bot. Knuckles spun around, throwing the remains of his shield at them. The missile robot fired at him, and their projectiles collided in the air. Knuckles dove through the fiery smoke and destroyed the missile-bot. He took out two of the laser gunners quickly, dodged left as one of the others fired, and quickly jumped right. He slammed into another laser gunners with his side, running him, with another, into the opposite wall. Knuckles ducked as they were destroyed by the last gunner, who Knuckles tripped to the ground. Knuckles smashed its head in as he ran past.
He rounded a corner as pairs of yellow lasers flew past him sporadically. He peered around the edge to see the source. He was somewhat surprised by what he saw. Standing in the center of the road, and lining the sides of the building, were a variety of robot he hadn’t seen for nearly a decade. They were comprised primarily not of metal, but of a strange blue liquid. Their head was the only metal part, which was really just a helmet on the top of the robot. Just below this were yellow eyes, out of which the lasers were being fired. A secret G.U.N. project, developed by Gerald Robotnik aboard the ARK. Artificial Chaos. These particular models were very simple, having only the basic body. They attached to their surroundings and spun around at the center, fired lasers sporadically. And with this many close together trying to time an attack properly would prove difficult. Knuckles counted how many their were. At least, he tried, counting three, before he was interrupted by an explosion behind him. He turned to see a missile-bot standing at the end of the alley he was in, more standing atop the buildings. Knuckles soon realized how he could get past the Artificial Chaos. He ran to towards the far missile-bot. It fired at him, but he jumped above the missiles. However, this time the strategy didn’t work, as the missiles curved back towards the echidna. Knuckles ran straight to the robot, jumped on top of it, and dove towards the building as the missiles collided. He latched onto the corner of the building and climbed up. He dashed behind the missile-bots, pushing them off the edge of the building. The robots on the opposite wall fired at him, but Knuckles simply jumped and glided across the gap. He flew around the missiles, leading them back towards their owners. Some destroyed the missile-bots, others simply crashed into the side of the building. Knuckles didn’t have to worry about destroying the survivors, as the building soon began to collapse.
Knuckles dashed towards the next building and jumped across. He turned back to see the Artificial Chaos still firing randomly. He’d passed them, and was nearer than ever towards his goal. He reached the edge of the roof and was about to jump to the next when more yellow lasers crossed his path, this time from above. He looked up and saw more Artificial Chaos, these models spherical and floating in the air. They turned towards Knuckles and fired again. He jumped back, the lasers exploding on the roof, sending metal and concrete dust into the air. Knuckles ran through the cloud, and jumped towards the Artificial Chaos. However he missed its head and was knocked back by its gelatinous body. He regained his balance and glided under the robots. He landed on the opposite roof and jumped again. This time he reached its head and smashed it in. The fluid body exploded as the head was smashed, and Knuckles landed on the opposite building again. He jumped for the second and destroyed it, continuing to run forward. More Artificial Chaos flew in from the side, firing at him as he went. He dodged their attacks, destroying a few, but most went past him. He ignored them, considering in the past these models had simply continued to fly away and hadn’t posed much of a threat if you avoided them. But underestimating them was Knuckles main mistake. He was thrown off the roof as one of the Artificial Chaos turned back towards him, firing at his feet. Knuckles landed on the ground and quickly jumped to his feet as blue tentacles lashed out towards him. There were more Artificial Chaos waiting for him below, these the most advanced of the early models. These captured enemies with tendrils formed from the liquid core, then fired lasers straight at them. Knuckles dodged the first tentacles and jumped up the wall as the Artificial Chaos fired at him. He reached the top and destroyed more of the flying Artificial Chaos who were coming towards him, making sure he didn’t miss any this time. He ran forward, jumping across the roof towards what he thought was another stationary flying Artificial Chaos. However, it’s liquid body quickly disappeared, melting away to the ground and transforming into more robot heads. They moved along the ground, and before Knuckles could pull away he landed in the middle of them, setting off their self destruct mechanisms. He was blown back by the explosions, but recovered and maneuvered around in the space afforded him by the destroyed heads. The remaining began to close in on him, but he dashed towards the main head, which was still floating above them. He jumped towards it and destroyed it with a quick uppercut. The spawned heads all exploded below him as the core was destroyed.
Knuckles landed back on the roof and immediately took off running. He jumped off the roof, landing in the alley as more flying Artificial Chaos swooped in from above. He ran to the right and destroyed a tentacle Artificial Chaos blocking his way. He ran down the path, dodging laser fire from basic sentry Artificial Chaos, as well as more random fire. He dove past two on either wall as they were facing the other way. He destroyed both of them, the explosions from their combined destruction knocking out the corners of the buildings on which they were placed. The support slowly began to give way, and the two buildings soon collapsed. Knuckles destroyed another tentacle Artificial Chaos, before turning down another street to avoid a pod Artificial. He jumped up three flying Artificial Chaos that were coming down in sequence, destroying one after another. He landed on another rooftop and dashed across. He slide under the fire from two sentry Artificial Chaos, standing up just in time to launch himself to the next roof. He smashed through more sentry Artificial Chaos, then jumped back towards the road. Knuckles was nearing the center of the base, where the main control tower stood. A circle around it had no other buildings, and this area was likely filled with enemy forces.
Knuckles smashed his way through an alley filled with tentacle Artificial Chaos, as well as some flying. The tentacle Artificials had also begun to show advancements in design, such as retreating their heads inside their cores, changing direction, as well as moving from their stationary position. Knuckles was finding it tougher to destroy them, and eventually had to retreat to a roof top. He dashed across and back onto the main road. He entered the final stretch of narrow path before the central tower. It was lined with Artificial Chaos of all kinds. Tentacle, sentry, rotating, flying, pod. All of them determined to destroy Knuckles. He dodged lasers from the rotating Artificials, focusing on eliminating pod cores. Destroying these, he caused the spawned heads to explode, which subsequently eliminated much of the ground forces. He destroyed what fliers he could, but mainly kept an eye open to dodge their lasers. He had soon smashed his way to the end, and emerged into the center of the base, the central command towering above him. Finally he had reached the end of the battle. At least, other than the vast army sprawled out in front of him.
Everywhere were silver laser wielding combat bots, all aiming towards him. In front of the building stood a giant robot, armed with a vast number of weapons, its size far from the least of them. But worst of all in the army were the units which Knuckles had not yet seen, but clearly recognized. An all new model of Artificial Chaos, far more advanced from the models adapted from the original ARK dwelling designs. Their bodies were more developed than just blobs of liquid, bearing an actual shape, with arms and legs. They were the closest to their project name than all the others that came before. All throughout the army that stood before Knuckles were units baring an almost exact resemblance to the basic form of the fabled Chaos, apart from their metal heads which bore the Eggman Empire insignia. And they weren’t prepared to give up their head quarters.