Livin’ In the City.

“Miles, let me in!” the feminine voice called from the outside of Miles’ door. It was followed a triplet of knocks on the hard wood. “And don‘t think I don‘t know you‘re home, Hopper already filled me in on your condition. I‘m not going to let you just sit there and bleed to death because you don‘t want any help!” Miles did simply sit there in the swivel chair by his computer desk, holding a dirtied rag against his bleeding shoulder. There was a long silence, pierced only by a faint squeaking noise. The fox’s ears perked up, and he straightened in his seat. “Okay, have it your way. But if you aren‘t going to let me in,” the voice continued. “I‘ll just have to open the door myself!” Miles bolted from his chair to the door and wrenched it open in a matter of seconds. In the doorway stood a pink female hedgehog, and in her raised arms was a comically enormous hammer. “Thank you,” she said with a smile.

Miles stepped back from the door and walked back over towards his desk, grabbing the rag which he had dropped on his living room table. Really, it was his only table, and the house was mostly one large room with various inset areas, but it was the table by the couch and T.V., so it was the living room table. He sat down in the swivel chair and spun around to the desk, typing in a series of commands on the keyboard with his free hand. “I really don‘t need your help Amy, I can take care of my self,” Miles said as the hedgehog walked in, closing the door.

Amy sat down on his couch, her hammer disappearing in a small puff of smoke. No one could really explain where she kept the massive hammer that she used as a weapon. Some theorized that it was magic, some said she could access a sort of special zone with limited chaos powers, and others had more, less tasteful, explanations. Amy looked at Miles like a mother scolding a child. “Yeah, sure you can. Last time I let you patch yourself up, I found you like this, bleeding all over. You‘re going to face some serious damage if your wounds aren‘t treated properly.” Feeling her hard stare on his back, Miles turned around in the swivel chair, looking at his slightly unwelcome guest. She wore red and white boots, white pants, a long sleeveless shirt that hung down almost to her knees, and white gloves. Her hedgehog spikes were quite a bit longer than average, and were held down by a red hair band, causing them to grow more like hair than spikes. And her fierce green eyes were staring at Miles, with a friendly worry behind them.

“You don‘t need to worry about me. Hopper just over exaggerates things, I‘m fine,” Miles said, trying not to look Amy directly in the eye.

“And that‘s why you‘re sitting here with a bloody rag against your shoulder, which I can tell from here obviously got shot. Now come over here and sit,” she said, picking up a medical kit she’d brought with her.

“Not now, I‘m working,” Miles began before being cut off.

“Sit. Now.” Amy said firmly. Miles was frozen, but soon stood up and walked over to sit on the table in front of Amy. She took Miles hand off the rag, grabbing it and depositing them on the table beside him. She looked over his shoulder was she reached around in the med kit. “You really got it this time. What did you do, run straight at whoever was firing at you?” Miles didn’t say anything, trying not to give away the fact that he had, in fact, charged a firing machine gun. “Well, this shouldn‘t be too bad, you do heal pretty fast so there shouldn‘t be too much lasting damage.” She began to wipe the wound with antiseptic, holding Miles’ arm tightly with her free hand so he’d stop twitching. She set down the wipe on the rag and pulled out a roll of gauze, wrapping it around Miles’ shoulder. After a few minutes she had sufficiently treated the bullet wound.

“Thanks, I should be fine now,” Miles said, standing up as soon as Amy moved her hands away from him.

“Fortunately for you, I think you‘re right,” she said as he sat back down in the swivel chair. She picked up the dirty rag and wipe in one bundle and deposited it in the wastebasket. After packing the gauze back into the first aid kit, she stood up, smoothing out her shirt. “Well, I‘ll be leaving then, I have to return this kit to the doctor. I‘ll see you later, okay Miles?” She began to walk towards the door, but when there was no answer, she turned back towards Miles, the fierce side of her voice showing again, “Okay?”

“Yeah, see yah,” Miles said, turning around to wave as Amy left. As soon as the door clicked shut, he walked over to his desk. He sat down and spun the swivel chair around to face his computer monitor. Checking over the numbers streaming down the screen, he quickly typed a series of commands into the keyboard. They appeared amongst the scrolling data, and in a few moments the words “DATAWIPE.EXE COMPLETE” appeared on the screen. The letters and numbers ceased appearing, and a high-pitched noise sounded to Miles right. He rolled the chair over to where the desk curved to align with the curve of the wall. There on a small platform was one of the CPUs of the robots he had scrapped.

“This one’s clean,” he said as he detached various wires from the roughly cube shaped computing unit. The fox gently set it in a cardboard box and reached into his burlap sack for the next. He pulled it out, looking it over. Pushing himself over to the keyboard, he typed in a command to lock down all his connections. Miles then hooked up the robot brain as he had before, typing more commands into the computer. The data-wiping program initiated, purging the CPU of any hidden hacking program or viruses.

* * * * *

Amy Rose walked into the expansive room, squinting to see in the darkness. “Hopper? Are you in here?” she asked the shadows.

There was silence, and then a voice answered from above. “Yeah, can you turn on the lights? Some jerk flipped ’em off on me. Should be a switch nearby you.” Amy groped in the darkness behind her, eventually finding the small flip switch that would turn on the lights. She flicked it upward, squinting as the bright hang lights above turned on. As her eyes adjusted, she looked up at the green figure hanging from the ceiling. “Hey Amy, how’s it hanging?” he asked as he jumped down, landing right in front of the pink hedgehog.

Amy looked over the individual standing before her. He was green tree frog, with oddly shaped purple spots all over his body. His eyes, which were positioned on small bumps on the top of his head, were a matching violet color. He wore a simple outfit of sandals and red shorts bearing a single flower on the right side. His expression was a smirk that never seemed to change.

“I’m fine, Hopper. Thanks for telling me about Miles, he actually wasn’t as bad as I thought he’d be.”

“No problem. That fox may be one cold-hearted Lone Wolf techno genius, but if he died I’d lose the best sparring partner I’ve got,” Hopper said, barely pausing to breath.

Amy simply took his words with a smile. She knew well what Hopper really thought of Miles behind all the joking. Hopper was one of the few people to try, somewhat successfully, to get close to Miles in years. She blamed it on the fact that the frog was way too stubborn for his own good, and Amy knew it would be good if Miles could open up to new people after so many years. “Honestly, sometimes he acts just like that echidna,” Amy said, her thoughts breaking their way to her tongue.

“Who does what now?” Hopper asked.

“Oh, nothing. So, how has the training been going?”

“Feh, don’t even really need to ask. Same old same old. Not much to report, just, you know, trying to “better my skills” and all that.”

“I’m surprised your master doesn’t think you’re that good. You can dothat whole climbing on the walls move after all.”

“Yeah, but my whole family can do that, it’s just natural for me. Anyway…”
“Hopper! What did I say about the lights! You need to train in totaldarkness to improve your senses!” called an elderly rat from a doorwayat the end of the room.

“Oh look, the jerk returns to finish the job. I’ll see yah later Amy,” Hopper said as he walked over towards the other end of the room to his sensei.

“Yeah, bye Hopper,” Amy called, turning off the lights as she left the dojo. The door closed behind her with a resounding echo as Amy stepped out into the city streets. She looked back at the building she had just exited. It was built in a very traditional style of most martial arts schools, seeming out of place in the modern city that surrounded it. Of course, the city itself seemed quite out of place with its own surroundings.

The city of Subagri. Originally it was simply a series of underground caverns constructed by the mainly animal citizens of a village formerly located in the area. They used it as a storage cache and safe-house in times of danger. Within the past years, as more wars began to ravage the land, the citizens moved completely into their caverns and began to expand. Soon others came seeking shelter from their enemies, and the simple village became a massive city. Within the center of all the canals that were continuously being expanded was a roughly dome shaped underground cave, dug out of the inside of one of the many hills that dotted the fields above. And within this was the city proper, a modern metropolis of tall skyscrapers. Though I suppose dirtscraper would be a better term in this case. People went to work, children played along the streets, and life continued on as it always had. Simply underground instead of above it.

Amy took a deep a breath as she looked up at the circular hole that let in sunlight at the top of the hill. It was reinforced with metal plating so that the rock wouldn’t wear away and crash into the city below, and it could also be sealed. Surrounding it on the surface, camouflaged among the trees, were defense turrets of various makes and models. In this day and age, one could never be too safe. In fact, the reason the weapons were surrounding the city was the same reason they were living in it.

After collecting her thoughts, Amy turned and began to walk down the street towards the Market District. She was about to go grocery shopping when Hopper had come to tell her that Miles was back. She then rushed over to the hospital, where one of the doctors always knew exactly what she needed. Amy showed up at the hospital fairly often, whenever Miles would come back from one of his little excursions badly injured. And considering the small amount of fame he had, it didn’t take long for the medical staff to catch on to the situation whenever Amy dropped in for a visit.

Both her and Miles were had actually been very well known throughout the world years ago, though that had all quickly faded away during the wars that had ravaged the land for the past decade. Still, within the city of Subagri, Miles especially was well known, though not so much for the reasons that he used to be. These days, most people knew him only as, “that insane fox who is always trying to pick a fight” with his regular reconnaissance mission. Few knew what his real purpose was, and even fewer cared to find out. If Miles Prower wanted to keep to himself, then they figured why bother trying to talk to him.

Amy’s thoughts were broken as someone yelled out, “Hey, someone stop that guy!” She looked up to see a rather shady looking character running towards her, an obviously stolen purse in his hand. She immediately spread her left arm out, her hammer appearing in it. The thief, a porcupine by the looks of him, had little time to react as Amy brought the mallet swinging into his face, slamming him to the ground. He hit the concrete a few feet away, unconscious and with a bloody, and most likely broken, nose. Amy walked over and picked up the purse as its owner ran over to her.

“Oh thank you very much, young lady!” the woman said as Amy handed her the purse. She was human, with long reddish brown hair, and she wore blue boots, tight brown pants, and a blue vest jacket with a white T-shirt underneath.

“It was no trouble ma’am,” Amy said politely, putting away her hammer. “I have no idea why people would still act like this the way the world is.” Amy knelt down and grabbed the porcupine. She hefted him up onto her shoulder, wary of his long, thin spines. “I’ll just take this guy down to the police station and have them take care of it.”

“That would probably be the best thing to do. Thank you again, Miss…?”

“Rose. Amy Rose,” Amy said, with a slight curtsy that was hardly discernible due to the fact that she was still carrying the rather large porcupine.

“Thank you Miss Rose. My name is Sally by the way,”

“Well then, you’re welcome Miss Sally. Maybe I’ll see you around sometime,” Amy said as she turned and walked towards the police station a few blocks away.

* * * * *

“That’s the last of them,” Miles said as he unplugged the last of the robot CPUs from his computer. Setting it in the box with the rest of them, he opened up a document on his screen. It was a journal of some kind, and scrolling to the bottom, Miles began to type in an entry.

6/1, 10th year.

Went on another salvaging mission today. Acquired one silver guard and two searchlight robots. Resistance was tougher than usual today; enemy used a decoy to maneuver to ambush me. I took severe bullet wounds to my left shoulder, Amy Rose patched it up. I’ll have to be more careful next time; they’re beginning to anticipate my movements.

He saved the entry and closed the window, opening up another program. It brought up a 3D image, with various technical writings surrounding it. Schematics of one of the silver robots he had fought earlier that day. Drawing a line from the gun arm, Miles created a word box, saying “Possible to take down in-between ammunition cartridges. When caught in a long-term firefight, seems to overlook reloading. Might not hold true for all units.”

Leaning back in his chair, Miles grabbed an aluminum can sitting on the desk. The drink inside it had gone flat, having been sitting there half-drunken since yesterday, but he didn’t mind. He drained the last of it, crushed it in his hands, and threw it in the overflowing garbage can. Miles checked the time, then walked over towards the door. His long coat hung on a small hook on the wall, and below it was small table with his handguns. On the wall just to the left was a sword rack with a wooden practice sword and his specially designed katana. He had developed the long curved blade after seeing the effectiveness its more traditional cousins could have on an object. Built within the reinforced metal the composed the blade was a thin electronic device, hooked up to a powerful battery in the handle. By pressing a button concealed near the hilt, the blood groove of the sword would slide inward, revealing the coursing electricity inside. The blade would become covered in the sparks, heating up incredibly. And when these factors were combined with a well-trained swing, the blade could slash through anything.

Miles turned to his guns, picking them up and walking back to the desk. He also retrieved the darts from his coat pocket. These he placed in a small metal box, and a small light in the corner of its frame lit up green to signify that the darts were charging. He then proceeded to take apart the guns, examining the individual pieces. One error in the inner workings of his weapons, and he wouldn’t have a chance against the metallic armies he fought regularly. And if there’s one thing the fox would never do, it would be losing to them…

* * * * *

Miles away from the where Miles was holding his own personal war, there was a mysterious island where a different war was taking place. Yet the enemy in both cases was the same. The circumstances in each, however, were somewhat different. Miles fought for his own personal reasons, the war fought on this island was fought out of a duty to protect it.

A figure jumped from tree branch to tree branch. The trees shook, and leaves rustled. Birds nesting in them would have likely flown away from their homes with a ruckus. That is, if any of them had remained. The red being was moving quickly, hardly pausing to catch his breath. Not that any of this was strenuous for him. He’d lived his entire life training for battles such as these, and he knew his surroundings well. Jumping from an upper branch, he grabbed onto a shorter tree as he fell, spinning around the thin branch that stuck out parallel to the ground. He let go, flipping through the air and landing in a patch of low-lying jungle plants. He quickly scanned the area, his palm pressed flat against the ground. He caught something moving in his peripheral vision, a thin red light piercing through the night’s darkness, and he jumped into the air as a high caliber bullet flew towards him.

“TARGET SIGHTED. INITIATING CHACE,” a metallic voice said. The small squad of robots shot into the thick growth of the jungle, the machines in front hacking down a small path through the trees. They had been designed to fight in this environment, and worked efficiently, rarely being slowed by the dense vegetation. Yet even the best of computer programming can’t beat the instinct of something that has lived in the area its entire life.

The figure continued to run through the treetops, swinging from branch to branch. Frequently, he would change his direction, diverting left or right as he judged the path he should take. He was having trouble losing his pursuers, and wanted to get rid of them quickly before they destroyed any more of the jungle. He landed on the ground and immediately jumped into a tree branch, perching low as he waited.

The trio of robots flew towards him quickly. They hadn’t yet noticed that their target had stopped, which he had counted on happening. Just as they passed the tree he was hiding in, he jumped down, ambushing the robot in back. He slammed it into the ground, smashing its head with his powerful punch. He looked up, his long dreadlock-like spines falling in front of his face. The other two robots quickly turned around and spotted him. He dove towards the ground as one of the robots threw a small canister towards him. The incendiary grenade hit the jungle floor and exploded, engulfing the jungle in flames for a five-foot radius. The two robots moved forward to examine the charred remains of tropical forest for signs of the body. Finding none, the robots were about to split up and search for the target when one of them was suddenly smashed through the center by a fist.

The red figure dove out of the ground, tearing one of the robots apart as he did so. Immediately he ran back into the dense jungle, the other robot firing its weapon at him as it gave chase. “TARGET IDENTIFIED. ECHIDNA, MALE. PREPARING TO ELIMINATE.”

“I’ve got to give this guy the slip somehow!” Looking around him as he ran, the echidna sniffed the air. Recognizing the scent of seawater, he turned to the left, the robot close on his tail. The jungle was slowly beginning to thin, and he could see a faint light from the moon up ahead. The robot was gaining on him, and he only had one shot at this. He was approaching a cliff over looking the ocean. Yet he didn’t stop running at full speed, and the robot, focusing all its power on maintaining its gain on its target, didn’t anticipate that the echidna would jump off of a cliff.

However, that’s exactly what he had planned. Just as the robot was about to fire a shot straight for the echidna’s head, he jumped off of the cliff. The robot, its engines blasting at full power, couldn’t slow down in time, and shot straight off of the edge, plummeting to the ocean miles below. The echidna however, was perfectly safe, clinging to the underside of the cliff. He slowly pulled himself up to land, and sat on the edge of the cliff, catching his breath. Looking up he stared at the disfigured moon, half of it having been missing for almost ten years. Reaching up to his face, he felt the long scar along his right eye. Memories began to float through his head, and he quickly stood up, driving them from his mind.

He turned back to the jungle and dashed off in the direction of his home. Years ago he’d lived out in the open near ancient ruins, or just settled down wherever was most convenient for him. But those were simpler times, when the island hadn’t been in turmoil and he wasn’t living in hiding. Back then, he had control of the island. These days, he fought to survive on it.

He soon arrived a cave hidden deep in the jungle. Its entrance was small, but as one would go deeper inside, the cave became larger, having been dug out by the echidna over time as a suitable house for two. As he walked into the main living space of the cave, he was greeted by a relieved voice.

“Oh, thanks heavens, you’re back!” the orange furred female echidna who had been sitting waiting in the house said, running to her partner. “You were gone so much longer than you’d said, I was worried something had happened. Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine, Shade. I just ran into a little bit more trouble than I’d anticipated and had to lead one of the robots off the island,” the male echidna said, hugging the one called Shade tightly.

“Alright then, I should have expected you to do something like that, Knuckles,” Shade said, stepping back from the other echidna and kissing him quickly on the cheek. “And I suppose you’re probably hungry, so I’ll throw together some dinner.”

“That sounds great. But nothing too much, it is getting late,” Knuckles said, sitting down on the couch and crossing his arms. He looked at the spikes on his fists, characteristic of members of the Knuckles Clan that he was descended from. “I will get the Emerald back,” he said quietly to himself as Shade walked off towards the kitchen. “even if it’s the last thing I do.”

————————————————————————————————————

Previous Chapter.

Index.

Next Chapter.

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