Flashback.

“Are you sure it’s all right?” A tall male echidna said looking at the female echidna in front of him, who was holding a young echidna.

“Hunny, if this is going to help the Legion, of course it’s okay. And hopefully when he’s older, Ekajra will feel it an honor.” She replied, looking down at the child.

“All right, whenever you’re ready, we’ll take him in to begin.” The male said.

“Okay, I think he’s good right now, so you might as well get to it.” She held the kid out to him.

“All right then.” He said, taking the child from her arms carefully. “Okay son, time to help your people.” He whispered to the young Ekajra as he walked through some doors, and into the lab.

“Ah sir, you’re here. Is that the subject?” one of the scientists said, indicating he meant the kid in his arms.

“Yes, but I’d prefer you didn’t refer to my son as a ‘subject’.”

“Of course, sorry sir, let’s begin then.” They laid the young Ekajra on a table and put a small mask to his face, which emitted a gas that had quickly put him to sleep. One of the scientists then pulled out a needle and handed it to Ekajra’s father. “Have you got the DNA sample?” He asked.

“Yes, right here.” the scientist said, pulling a small glass cylinder out of a box. The contents were swirling about and had a strange greenish glow. He handed over and the father pushed it into the injection needle.

“All right son, hopefully you don’t feel this.” He pushed the needle into Ekajra, the strange substance going into him. But he didn’t move, and seem to not notice the pain the shot would’ve given him.

“Well,” another scientist stated, looking Ekajra over. “What happened?”

“Nothing!” The other yelled, looking angrily at Ekajra’s father. “I told you this whole genetics thing was a waste of time. Technology is the only way we can ever get anything done. ‘Create our own guardian’? Yeah right! ” Ekajra’s father simply looked at him.

“Our you quite done yet?”

“Yeah, I think I am.” he said, looking at him.

“Well, then, I’d like to say that obviously, things won’t happen right away. In fact, we probably won’t see anything until he gets a bit older, unless we’re lucky. In fact…” he reached down and picked up his still sleeping son’s hand. “If you look closely, you can already notice the spurs have started to some up.” They looked, and did in fact notice that above the two end knuckles of each hand there were little bumps. “I shall take him back to his home and we shall continue to observe him there. Good day to you all.” He picked up his son in his arms and carried him out.

*****

A few years later the changes to Ekajra started to become more obvious. First of all, the spurs had grown to full size as they would be for him at that age, and it was noticeable that his strength had gotten a slight boost, and he had not yet been given the usual cybernetic implants of the Dark Legion. However, the things that hadn’t changed were also obvious. At a meeting of scientists to discuss the outcome of the project code-named “Dark Guardian”….

“Why hasn’t he shown any signs of the rest of the guardians powers? He doesn’t have nearly the same strength as estimated, and he doesn’t seem to be able to glide, a great advantage I’m sure.” One of the scientists who was present at the injection, the one who’d yelled at Ekajra’s dad, said.

“Well, I’m sure that those things will show as he gets a little older…”

“That’s what you always say!” He continued. “What about his Chaos powers? Any sign of those?”

“Well, I believe they haven’t surfaced since he hasn’t been near a source of Chaos energy. If we were to locate one of the 7 Chaos emeralds, then maybe….”

“Forget it! There’s too many ifs in this project, I say we….”

“Silence! Stop fighting like fools! We shall handle this in a dignified manner.” An elderly echidna said, looking down the table at Ekajra’s father. “Now, I was against this little experiment of yours ever since you came to me asking permission to do it, but I let you continue. However, it seems that you have failed to bring forth any results, and don’t start with excuses.” He said, for Ekajra’s dad was about to start speaking. “I have decided to deem this project a failure, and end all observation and work being put into it.

“But don’t worry, I’m not evil, though some being beg to differ. In any case, I shall let your son live, but we will no longer fund any research into whatever powers you say he’s going to get.”

“But, sir, I…” Ekajra’s father started.

“No, no more! You are all dismissed.” The group of echidna’s stood up and began walking out, Ekajra’s father eventually turning around and storming out, his head hung low.

*****

In light of the project being canceled, they continued and went right along with giving Ekajra cybernetic implants as usual, as well as battle training. Ekajra grew up to be a great warrior, with interesting styles of fighting, and a sharp mind. He trained regularly, often sparring with his elder brother, Akaja, who was not only an accomplished fighter, but also a great scientist. Ekajra had few friends though. Many of the other Legionnaires his age thought he was strange and indeed he was, possessing the spurs upon his hands and the fur on his chest starting to form the guardian symbol as well.

He did have one friend, who initially started talking to him for the reason others had shunned him: he was different. This boy, Alerak, was the son of another scientist, and was in training to be one himself. They met as Ekajra was walking down the hall on day in their housing complex slash laboratory building. Alerak was in one of the workrooms, tinkering away, when put of the corner of his eye he saw Ekajra walk by the door and immediately noticed the spurs on his hands. He set down his tools and walked out and called to him. “Hey, you’re the kid with the guardian DNA, right?”

“What if I am?” Ekajra said without turning around. He was used to this by now. Before he’d notice Alerak was at his side, holding his hand and looking at it intently.

“Amazing, to think it had worked so well. I’d heard rumors but I didn’t think you really had them. And they even kept them when you got a metal arm, amazing. Guess it’s best to have both set’s eh?”

“Whoa dude! Let go!” Ekajra said, pulling his arm away and jumping back. “What’s with you? Who are you?”

“Oh, sorry, I’m Alerak, scientist slash technician. It’s just that, when I see something like that it really amazes me.”

“You mean, it doesn’t weird you out?” Ekajra asked, loosening up a little.

“No way! This kinda stuff is great. You know I’m surprised everybody isn’t wanting to hang with you all the time.”

“Yeah, well, everyone else isn’t crazy.”

“Well, good for you, that’s just what I am. So how about I show you my latest creation, friend.” Alerak said, putting his arm around Ekajra’s shoulders and leading him into the lab he was just in.

“Uh, sure.” Ekajra said, still amazed some one had actually liked him, in fact found him interesting. Although, that part of it still felt weird too him, but at least he had a friend.

Since then, Ekajra and Alerak were all but inseparable, doing everything together; playing, working, standing up for each other, and occasionally, getting the other one out of trouble. (Although this was more often than not Alerak’s job.)  And so, when it came a day that Ekajra got fed up with it all, the two left the Legion to try and find a better left. And now they find themselves sleeping in a cave in the middle of the jungle.

———————————————————————————————————————

Previous Chapter.

Index.

Next Chapter.

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