Hopper sat on the windowsill, looking out at the people walking around outside. Inside there was nothing but the beeping of the various medical tools hooked up to Miles. His pulse was steady, and it seemed like he’d simply passed out from exhaustion and shock. The doctors had bandaged him up, and now Hopper was just waiting for the fox to wake up so he could ask him what happened to him. But that didn’t seem to be happening any time soon. The more Hopper thought about it, actually, he realized the Miles rarely wanted to talk to him coming back unharmed from one of his “outings”. Considering he now had quite a few broken bones and was almost dead, he’d probably try and kill Hopper. And pass out again in the process. Nevertheless, Hopper inched farther back from the bed. He really just wanted to know what was up with Amy and that other hedgehog.
* * * * *
“WHAT?!” Sonic yelled, jumping so far back he practically broke through the wall. After staring at Amy and taking in a few deep breaths, he calmed down. “No, you’re just messing with me. You do look a lot older, but I bet you aren’t even Amy, right? You’re just playing a really complicated trick on me for some reason. You guys took care of Eggman, and now we’re having some fun like usual, right?” Sonic strolled back over to the table and sat down, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “This is the part where someone bursts in and says I’ve been Punk’d!”
Once again, Amy fought to hold back her tears. Over the decade she had realized it had been foolish to just follow someone around, carelessly throwing out her love and devotion. She had grown more independent since Sonic’s “death”. But seeing him again, thinking she wasn’t even herself, brought back old feelings. But she had to make him see the truth. “You always were stubborn,” Amy said, shaking her head. She sat down across from Sonic, staring him down. “Fine, I’ll just explain everything you… missed…”
* * * * *
Ten years earlier, desert area, Pyramid Base. Elapsed time since Cannon fire: 5 minutes.
“Hold still Tails!” Knuckles yelled as he struggled to keep his grip on the enraged fox. “Calm down!”
“Let me go, Knuckles!” Tails screamed. “I have to find Robotnik!” Tails flailed around, but the echidna was too strong for him. Out of options, he opened his mouth and bit down on Knuckles’s wrist.
“Ah, you little punk! I said CALM DOWN!” Knuckles let go with one of his hands, only to quickly slam it down against Tails’s neck. Tails entire body went limp, and Knuckles gently set him down in the cockpit of the Cyclone.
“Knuckles! You didn’t have to do that!” Amy yelled. “Are you just going to let Eggman get away?”
“Of course not. Not after what he’s done,” Knuckles replied. “But Tails is in no state to fight right now. He needs to be more focused, even I know that. And we have no idea where Robotnik teleported to.” Amy opened her mouth as if to reply, but instead said nothing and simply went over to sit against a wall. Knuckles bent over into the cockpit and started messing with the controls. After a few minutes of fiddling around, he managed to transform the mech back into plane mode. A short while later he walked over to the wall in front of the Tornado. He began to tear away at it with his Shovel Claw. Soon he had worked his way to the outside of the building, creating an exit for the plane. Turning around, he widened the passage, then walked back and lifted up the back end of the Tornado. He turned the plane so it was facing straight through the opening, and then walked over to Amy. “I think I managed to set the autopilot to go to Tails’s work shop in the Mystic Ruins. I’ll be getting back to my island from there. You should probably come with.”
“Right,” Amy said, slowly standing up. She walked over to the Tornado and climbed into the back seat. Knuckles jumped up onto one of the wings, reaching down to activate the auto-pilot. The Tornado’s engine began to roar to life and the plane inched forward. It picked up speed as it rolled down the improvised runway, and took off into the sky as it left the pyramid. The auto-pilot quickly directed itself towards the Mystic Ruins. As they flew closer to the Mystic Ruins they also grew closer to the city. Fortunately they passed a good distance away from it, and didn’t have to witness the destruction. That is, until Tails woke up.
As the Tornado closed in on the small island where the Mystic Ruins were located, the young fox suddenly jolted up in his seat, and, realizing he was in his plane, grabbed onto the controls, disengaging auto-pilot. “Tails, don’t do anything; just fly back your workshop!” Knuckles called from the wing.
“No! I have to go to city! Robotnik is probably finishing the job now!” Tails turned the Tornado around. “I have to stop him!”
“No Tails! Now is not the time! What would Sonic do?!”
“He’d keep fighting! And you’re not helping!” Tails twisted the controls and caused the Tornado to spin into a barrel roll, throwing Knuckles off the wing, and Amy, screaming, out of the back seat. Knuckles caught her and glided over to the island as Tails flew away.
“Stop Tails! You’ll just get killed too!” Amy screamed after him, but it was no use.
“Don’t worry Amy, he’ll be back. We just need to wait for him.” Knuckles said sternly, before stomping off towards Tail’s workshop. He’d restore the island to its natural state after he had a talk with the fox.
* * * * *
What little remained of the capital city was a hellish nightmare. The area surrounding where the President’s house once stood was wiped clean, and just the shockwave from the laser had caused massive damage, ripping buildings to shreds, ripping up the ground, and burning everything. As if that hadn’t been horrible enough, as people fought to escape and G.U.N. tried to maintain order, the massive nightmare of the ARK was bearing down from the sky, like a flaming comet of death. In the distance, Tails flew the Tornado, pushing it to its limits. The sky was a flaming red as the massive space station hurtled through the atmosphere, sections being torn away and flung through the sky. Tails could only watch in horror as the tip of the eclipse cannon pierced the sky, quickly followed by the rest of the ARK. And in a blinding flash of light, the metropolis had disappeared. A column of flame and ash blasted into the air, only worsening the cataclysmic surroundings. A few seconds later Tails was nearly thrown from the Tornado as a shockwave tore through the air. As it passed, the ash and smoke began to settle and spread throughout the air, fully revealing the destruction.
The once great city was no more, replaced by a massive crater. All but a few buildings just outside the city limits had survived being crushed by the massive space station, and they had quickly been destroyed by the shockwave. The ground all along the rim of the crater was cracked, sections breaking off and rising above the rest of the ground. Along the coast water was pouring into the basin. The highways leading away from the city, on which many had been escaping in G.U.N. vehicles, were equally torn up and cars and trucks had been tossed around. Now the survivors were either running away for fear that something might happen next, while many simply fell to their knees in terror and shock. Their world has just come to a crushing end, literally.
Tails continued to fly towards the city with the same expression as those below. “This can’t be happening… no… why did this have to happen?!” he yelled. No answer came to him, but two military jets shot past him. They each then flipped around and flew next to the Tornado.
“For your own safety, leave this area immediately!” one of the pilots said over the radio. Tails quickly slammed his finger down on his own communications switch.
“No! I have to stop Robotnik!” Tails pushed the Tornado even faster. The fighter jets had no problem keeping up with him.
“That mad man isn’t anywhere near here, and if he was he’d be dead anyway. Now turn your plane around and leave!” the pilot called again. The two began to turn, forcing Tails to move with them. Finally he loosened his grip on the controls and slumped down in his seat.
“Yeah… I guess they’re right,” he said. Tails turned back towards the Mystic Ruins.
* * * * *
Inside Tails’s workshop, Amy sat silently, while Knuckles stood in front of the runway doors. He crossed his arms in front of his chest as he looked for any sign of the Tornado coming back. He fought to avert his eyes from the red sky, and the destruction to the north. He looked up as he heard the sound of a plane coming closer. The Tornado touched down on the runway and skidded to a stop just before running into Knuckles, who didn’t move an inch. “Get out of my way, Knuckles!” Tails yelled from the cockpit of the Tornado.
“Not until you calm down! This isn’t like you!”
“I said MOVE!” Tails slammed the throttle, pushing the Tornado forward. Knuckles dove out of the way and the Tornado crashed through the hangar door. Amy screamed, but she wasn’t hurt. Knuckles charged inside, and as Tails jumped out of his plane Knuckles socked him in the face. Tails flew across the room and collided with the wall. Amy screamed again. Knuckles stomped over to him and picked him up by the tufts of fur on his chest.
“What the hell is wrong with you?! You could’ve killed Amy, or me! Do you want to lose all of your friends?”
“It doesn’t matter anymore!” Tails yelled, tears streaming down his face. “Everyone’s dead, or they will be! There’s no point!”
“Listen to me Tails, LISTEN!” Knuckles slammed Tails against the wall then brought him close to his face. “It’s not over until we let it be over. Do you think Sonic would just want you to give up?” Knuckles let Tails go, and he fell to the ground with a heavy thud before curling up in a sitting position with his knees held to his chest. “Even with what’s happened, Robotnik might not have an exact plan thought out. If we can find his base we can start an attack and hit him right back,” Knuckles slammed his fists together to drive the point home.
“Why should you even care,” Tails mumbled so he was barely audible. But echidnas have surprisingly good hearing, and Knuckles turned towards him. “All you ever worry about is your island and that stupid rock you’ve got with you…”
“What was that? Is that really all you think I care about?” Knuckles said, once again picking up Tails and slamming him against the wall. He held him there with one hand, pointing the other in his face. “Look fox-boy. I care about the world, I care about you two, and I cared about Sonic. And I am going to help you beat Robotnik.”
“I don’t care; I don’t need your help!” Tails screamed at Knuckles. “Just go back to your stupid floating island and leave us alone! We were better off without you!” Tails flinched as Knuckles pulled back his fist, but the presumed strike never came. Instead Knuckles released Tails and walked away.
“Fine, I’ll go back to my island. Good luck without me,” Knuckles said. He briefly looked to Amy, who had been watching with tear-filled eyes, then walked out the door. It slammed behind him, and a deep silence covered the room, broken only by Amy’s soft crying. Tails was on his knees, staring at the gray concrete floor. Small drops began to speck the ground as tears once again began to fall from Tails eyes. Clenching his fists he arched backwards and let out a rage filled scream. “Why?! Why did he have to go?!” he yelled, standing up and storming across the room. Amy’s sobbing was silenced as she watched him. Tears ran from his eyes like a roaring waterfall, staining his fur. He toppled into a standing tool cabinet, sending it crashing to the ground. Metal rang in a deafening cacophony as the tools flew across the hard floor. Tails’s hand reached out and grasped a large wrench as he turned towards his familiar blue plane. He’d only just finished this latest model before the past days’ events had unfolded. It was perfect, combining the best features of the last models and also adding new features. It was going to help his friend win his fights. But it had failed. He had failed. “Why couldn‘t you have been better?!” Tails yelled as he swung to wrench at the plane. The cockpit windshield cracked and shattered from the impact. He swung again with more fury, bending the top of the side door down. Again and again he swung, his anger swelling with each strike. No longer was he simply smashing his plane to pieces, as he had another image in mind. A large section of the left wing was bashed through and fell to the ground. With one last malice filled yell he swung with the wrench, and it became embedded into the side of the plane. He fell backwards, releasing his grip on the wrench. He stumbled back to the wall, crying even more than before. “Why couldn‘t I have been better… why couldn‘t I save him?” He sank down to the floor and bowed his head as a grim silence fell on the room, and only his mourning could be heard. Too shocked to even cry, Amy sat silently watching Tails. Soon the exhaustion from the rest of the day caught up to the weariness brought on by her sorrow, and she fell asleep.
* * * * *
Amy woke lying on the floor of the workshop. Someone had draped a blanket over her. She sat up slowly, stretching. She felt like she’d just had the worst nightmare of all time, and she was glad it was finally over. With a yawn, she looked around and realized where she was. And then she remembered it wasn’t a dream. Noticing the blanket, she looked for Tails, but he wasn’t inside. She then heard a pounding sound coming from outside. She got up and left through the large hole left by the crashed Tornado. The crashed Angel Island had disappeared; Knuckles had obviously restored the Master Emerald. Out on the cliff jutting out from the hangar Tails was busy tearing apart the now scrapped plane. Parked next to the building was the red Tornado 1. The biplane still looked just as impressive as it always had, even though it had lost a wing when it was shot down by the Egg Carrier. Amy ran her hand along the side, but stopped when she noticed a blue streak. It looked like someone had just slashed a paintbrush across the plane, crossing out a single word emblazoned on the side. The name of the plane’s original owner: “SONIC”.
Amy stared at the mark and almost started to cry again, but she tore herself away from the Tornado 1 and walked over to where Tails was tearing apart the Tornado 3 in a more organized manner. Amy stood silently as he went about his work. After a few minutes Tails finally spoke. “With the city destroyed, you don’t really have anywhere to go,” he said bluntly. “You can stay here if you want. You can use my room; I’ll sleep in the workshop.”
“Thank you, Tails. I…” Amy tried to speak, but she was cut off.
“That’s not my name,” the young fox said calmly.
“What do you mean?” Amy asked in a worried tone. “That’s what I’ve always called you.”
“That’s not my name. He called me “Tails”. My name is Miles. Miles Prower.”
“Tails, please, don’t do this. Just because Sonic….”
“I said, my name is Miles!” Miles yelled, stopping his work.
“Sonic wouldn’t want you like this! You can’t just forget about him!”
“It doesn’t really matter anymore does it?” Miles said, continuing to loosen a bolt from a side panel. “After all, he can’t say anything in the matter.”
Amy felt like she was about to burst, but her tears quickly turned into anger. “So you’re just going to forget about Sonic?! You’re just going to leave it all behind and not look back, is that it?!”
“Of course not. Dr. Robotnik needs to be brought down, and I’m the one who’s going to crack that egg.” Miles raised his wrench into the air, and then slammed it down on the top of the Tornado. “Crack it right open.”
“No, I can’t believe this is the real you. Tails, you aren’t like this! You looked up to Sonic, what happened to trying to be like him?!”
“That’s just not something I can do easily,” Miles replied, returning to his work. “I need to find my own way through life now. And like I said before, my name is Miles.”
Amy stood, staring at Miles, her fists clenched in rage. Reaching behind her back she pulled out her Piko Piko Hammer from its special pocket zone. “I guess I’ll just have to knock some sense into you,” she said to herself as she lifted the hammer into the air. With ferocious strength from someone her size, she brought the mallet down towards Miles’ head. However it stopped short of its target. Amy looked down to see Miles had blocked it with his wrench.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he said.
“I can’t leave you like this! I need you to help me help you, Tails!”
“For the last time, my name is Miles!”
Amy raised the hammer up again, but slowly brought it down and it disappeared. “Fine, Miles, but I’m not going to just stay here and watch you destroy yourself,” Amy said, turning away. “Once you fix the plane, I need you to take me to Westopolis. I’m sure that’s where any survivors would have gone.” Amy turned back towards Miles. “I’m going to help them Miles, and if you have any heart left then you know that revenge isn’t the only option.” She walked over to the stone steps leading down from the cliff. “I’ll be with Big. Hopefully you finish that thing before he loses Froggy again and I have to help him look for it.” Miles said nothing but continue to work. With one more long look, Amy walked down the steps and headed towards the mine cart that lead to the ruins. “Good luck with your new life Tails. I hope you’re happy.”