Alerak dashed back to his room, practically flying over the clutter on his floor. He started to wrench open drawers in his desk, searching through his equipment. He soon found a small vile and some tweezers. He ran back to the door and began to carefully remove silver residue from the deep gashes in the door, depositing it in the vile. He popped the cork back in the top of the glass tube and sprinted off again to his room.
He quickly pulled out a microscope, plugging it into an outlet as he picked up a notebook from the floor. He took a clean slide and deposited a small amount of the silver substance on it. He placed a cover slide on top and slid the completed slide beneath the lens, flicking on the light.
Alerak began to focus in on the microscopic contents of the substance, becoming more worried as he did so. Finally he was at the strongest magnification, and there they were, just sitting there motionless. Hundreds of tiny robots, circular in shape and having the appearance of a beetle. And Alerak recognized them instantly. “I hate it when I’m right,” he sighed as he sat back in his chair, scribbling something on his notebook. “These are definitely Deathblade nanites. Which leaves two possibilities. Either Akaja’s went berserk again, or Ekajra…” Alerak shuddered. “Considering Akaja a better scientist than to let his invention wreak havoc again, then I guess my worst conclusion is likely the truth. This is not going to be easy.”
* * * * *
Ekajra slowly opened his eyes, trying to figure out where he was. Everything was completely dark, and he had a sensation like he was floating. “Ah man, this looks really bad… on the upside, my headache is gone!” he said, trying to find some good in the situation. Suddenly what seemed like a spotlight shot down on him, and he found himself lying on the ground. He stood up, looking straight ahead where two red lights were slowly approaching him. They crept closer and closer, start to look more like eyes, and soon a form began to join them as they came into the light. “Woah, Déjà vu,” Ekajra commented as the figure stepped completely into the light.
“As should be expected. Welcome to your mind host, or at least the area I now reside in,” the figure said, bowing slightly, a smirk spread across his metallic face. His form was very basic, appearing as just your average echidna, But Ekajra knew better.
“Well, I must say this is a rather nice place you got here,” Ekajra said, his voice becoming more menacing as he went on, “Deathblade!”
Deathblade simply stood up and began to laugh. “Ah, so it would seem I’m not forgotten. Good, this wouldn’t have been very interesting otherwise. And I assume you now recall the events of last night?”
“Yeah, my house is probably trashed now. So where am I?”
“I’ve already told you, inside your mind. Technically the you that you are right now is really just part of your mind, and with me having control of your body, you’ve manifested in here with me.”
“I get all that, but where’s my body then?”
“Safe, of course. I’m really not much without a good host. Here, I’ll simply show you.” Deathblade snapped his fingers, and a large rectangle of light flashed on in between them. It fizzled for a moment before showing a first person view from the top of a tall tree, overlooking the city. “Beautiful city really, what with all the trouble it’s gone through.”
“What exactly do you plan on doing?” Ekajra asked as Deathblade turned the screen off.
“Oh, likely terrorize Echidnaopolis for a while. After that I’ll either take care of the Dark Legion or something. I plan on taking it slow. World domination’s no fun if you do it all in one day.”
“World domination?! Geez, why is it that everyone I have to fight is set on that. Eh, whatever, I’m still gonna stop you!” Ekajra said, getting ready for a fight.
“I’d like to see you try.”
* * * * *
Alerak looked back into the microscope, carefully studying the nanites. He drew a rough sketch of one in his notebook. He flipped back a few pages and looked at a drawing of a Deathblade nanite when Alerak had first found them in Ekajra’s arm. “There’s definitely been a change. These things are designed to be able to form just about anything, so it would make sense that they can change themselves. They’ve obviously adapted to operating without a control chip.”
Alerak sat back, writing a bit while thinking. “But how? They need a control chip to operate in the first place. According to Ekajra, Akaja said that the microchip hooked up to his cybernetics, so he could control the formation of the armor with his…” Alerak suddenly bolted straight up out of his chair. “Mind! Deathblade must somehow have hooked himself into Ekajra’s brain. From there he’d be linked to Ekajra’s cybernetics, and could then control his nanites.”
Alerak began to pace the room. “It’s all making sense now. The first incident of Deathblade resurfacing was the whole Dehr thing, ‘cause Ekajra said he used Deathblade to get free then somehow stopped it from spreading over his whole body. And now these headaches Ekajra’s been having, and that weird dream he told me about… everything fits together!” Alerak sat back down and took a deep breath. “Now I just have to figure out how to fix it.”
* * * * *
“If you’re so confident you can beat me, then go ahead, I’ll let you have the first shot,” Deathblade said mocking lying, standing completely still with his arms outspread.
“Alright, you’re gonna regret that Bladey. I’ve beaten you before, I can just as easily do it again!” Ekajra ran towards Deathblade, winding up a powerful punch. He let loose a few feet in front of Deathblade, and the full force of his fist slammed into Deathblade’s cheek. His head tipped to the side, his dreads clinking together as they flapped to the side.
He hadn’t even blinked, though he may not even have been able to, and looked down at Ekajra’s fist. A menacing smile once again spread wide across his muzzle. “Honestly, is that the best you’ve got?” he said, laughing.
“Not at all!” Ekajra said, spinning around for a powerful roundhouse kick. Deathblade barely moved and caught Ekajra by the ankle. He jerked his leg, letting go as Ekajra fell to the ground.
“Oh yes, very nice. I’m so scared for my life right now,” Deathblade said mockingly.
“Rrrrrgghhhh, shut up!” Ekajra yelled, quickly jumping to his feet and charging Deathblade. He swung for an uppercut, but just as his fist was about to connect, Deathblade disappeared, and Ekajra fell forward. He turned around to see Deathblade standing behind him. “How did you…?”
“Honestly, I thought I already said this twice. I’ll make it simple so you can understand. This is part of your mind. I’m currently in control of your body. And therefore I’m in charge here!” Deathblade said flinging his arms out wide above him for effect. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other business to attend to.” And with that, Deathblade bowed and fizzled from existence.
“Hey, don’t think you can run away! I’m gonna get you!” Ekajra yelled at where Deathblade stood seconds ago. But there was no answer. Ekajra was simply alone in the darkness again. He sat down, pulling his legs in close to his body. “This sucks,” he muttered, bowing his head.
* * * * *
Deathblade’s eyes opened, and he looked over Echidnaopolis again. He stood up on one foot, balancing on the tip of the giant pine tree he was perched upon. He smiled as he heard Ekajra’s final retort echo in his head, before the young echidna gave up. “That’s right host, just give up, you won’t be able to win. I am completely in control.”
Deathblade jumped off of the tree, freefalling to the forest below. He crashed the tree branches, but it didn’t bother him. He was designed as armor after all. He landed with a heavy thud on the ground, creating a small depression. He began to slowly walk to the edge of the forest, his body changing as he walked. He grew out the spikes were Ekajra’s knuckle spurs were, as well as his dreads. He flicked his left wrist, and Ekajra’s knife slid out, which he proceeded to strengthen. As he stood at the edge of the forest, looking at the city, his moth guard slid over his muzzle. “Now, time to have some fun.”
* * * * *
“I guess the first thing I need to do is find him. If I confront Deathblade, then I can figure out how far his control of Ekajra goes. Then it should be a bit easier to figure out a way to fix him. But where to look. I’ve never really known what Deathblade’s motives are, but he was made by a Legionnaire so chances are, even if he doesn’t think of it that way, he’s going to attack the city. And he’s had plenty of time to get ready. So I should get moving.”
Alerak stood up and starting gathering supplies. He loaded his pistol and slid it into his gauntlet, putting a few more clips into one of his vest pockets. He loaded more of them with a mini-computer and energy cells for his other guns. He strapped the larger plasma rifle to his back, and put the new and improved sub-machine gun into a holster attached to his belt.
He walked into the half destroyed living room and found the remote. “If he has already done something, then the news has probably reported it,” he said, turning the T.V. on and flipping to the news channel.
“… ker did not steal anything from the store however,” The anchor said. “Here is footage taken from the street of the attack.”
The studio switched to show video from downtown Echidnaopolis. A silver being jumped down from the air and crashed into a store. He quickly decimated everything, laughing maniacally. The video cut out with the figure standing on top of a nearby building. The news went back to the studio with a freeze frame of the attacker.
“The E.S.T. is still unaware of who the attacker is, though they believe it is likely the Dark Legion or Eggman Empire. Citizens are warned to be cauti…” Alerak turned the T.V. off.
“Well, he’s definitely in the city. Now I just have to hunt him down. I just hope no one gets in my way. I have to bring him in as peacefully as I can, or Ekajra might…” Alerak stopped mid sentence, re-focusing himself as he stepped out of his house.
* * * * *
Locke looked over the footage of the attack from Haven, attempting to track the attacker. “This is not good. If it is the Dark Legion attacking then this could easily be the beginning of something worse. But if it’s Dr. Robotnik, then who knows what will happen.” He grabbed a phone and quickly dialed a number. “Yes, it’s Locke. Is Knuckles around? … Oh, good then. Thank you Vector. I suggest the Chaotix help him out on this one. Good luck,” Locke hung up the phone and began to study the monitors again. “We’re going to need it.”