“Man, they just keep coming,” Alerak said as he once again reloaded his gun, this time punching a Legionnaire in the face before doing so.

“Just keep it up, they can’t possibly last that much longer,” Mighty said as he threw a Legionnaire to Vector, who threw the Legionnaire through the mob. “Besides, Knuckles is up there. He’ll take care of the Kragok and Dimitri.”

“I guess you’re right. I just hope Ekajra finishes up with Kage soon. We could use his help.”

* * * * *

Kage slid his sword handle back into his arm, then lifted Ekajra off the ground, slinging him on his shoulder. He looked up at the airships as hoverdisk began to descend towards him. “So, this is him, eh?” the pilot said as Kage threw Ekajra into the back seat. He nodded as he climbed into the front. “Well, glad we finally have that taken care of,” the pilot said as he steered the hoverdisk back to the airship. “Now we can finally worry about bigger things, instead of dealing with this kid all the time. You know what I mean?” Kage simply sat still, hardly blinking his eye. “Not really one for conversation, huh?”

The hover disk landed in a hanger on the flagship. Kage stepped out of the ship, and grabbed Ekajra. He headed to the entrance to the hanger, where a guard was waiting for him. “Agent Kage, glad you made it back. I have been told that you are to report to the Grandmaster’s chamber as soon as the traitor is in custody.”

“Very well. Lead me to the prison cells.”

“Of course, right this way,” the guard replied, leading Kage down the hall. They soon reached the prison, and Kage chucked Ekajra in a cell. The guard input a code, and a laser wall formed over the opening, locking Ekajra in. After watching his captive for a moment, Kage proceeded towards the Grandmaster’s chamber, ready to report his success.

* * * * *

Slowly, the darkness began to lift, as consciousness returned. Ekajra sat up slowly, his head spinning. He opened his eyes and looked around his new location. The cell was simple, hardly designed for long-term use. In fact, it was just a plain room, with nothing in it. “This is cozy,” Ekajra said. He crawled over to the wall and leaned against it, closing his eyes again. He couldn’t believe he’d gotten caught. He’d avoided them for so long, fought so many battles, only to get beaten in a simple one on one fight. “This sucks. Wonder what’s gonna happen to me? They’ll probably wipe my memory and use me as a soldier. But maybe I can get some answers first.”

He stood up slowly, leaning against the wall, and walked over to the forcefield. Slowly he put his hand next to it and touched it. He jumped back as the energy recoiled against him. “Interesting. Guess I can’t break out. Looks like it’s going to be the waiting game for me.” Ekajra walked to the opposite wall and leaned against it, placing his hands in his pockets. It wasn’t long before he heard footsteps coming towards him. Assuming it was Kage coming back to mock him, he decided to play it cool. “So, coming back to mock me, are you?” he called out, staring up at the ceiling

“Not quite, Ekajra,” a completely different voice said. Ekajra looked down to see an older echidna that bore a slight resemblance to himself.

“Dad?” Ekajra walked over to the forcefield. “What are you doing here?”

“Getting you out. Akaja told me Kage was coming after you, so I got clearance to get on the ships.”

“But, why?”

“To get you out.”

“But, shouldn’t you be trying to keep me here. Being the angry parent with the whole “how dare you run away from home” speech?”

“No, actually. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t blame you for leaving. After all, you weren’t exactly popular with the Dark Legion.”

“Yeah, actually, before you get me out of here, I do have a question. If I’m supposed to be some epic failure of an experiment, why has the Legion tried to get me back so much? I mean, I can understand Akaja, being my brother, but they even hired Dehr, and then Kage kept coming after me. Why all the trouble considering they never seemed to like me in the first place?”

Ekajra’s dad was silent, leaving Ekajra sitting there with a questioning expression on his face. “Well you see, Ekajra, what you’ve been told wasn’t completely the truth…”

* * * * *

Thirteen years earlier, in a remote research base in the jungles of Angel Island. The Dark Legion had set it up on a previous excursion outside of the Twilight Zone to be used as a springboard for future operations. In the meantime, the Legion researchers there developed new technology, which was sent to the main Legion base in the Twilight Zone once complete. Along with secret Haven information courtesy of Moritori Rex. And some of this information, coupled with one researcher’s discovery, led to a certain so-called failure.

It was an ordinary day, with nothing particular happening. As such, the researcher had decided to clean out around his lab. As he was organizing a drawer of various test tubes, he found one that he’d never noticed before. The label was old and worn, but it wouldn’t have mattered either, because it was written in an older echidna text. So he simply took a record of what the label said, then filed it somewhere where he could recover it later when he found someone who could translate it.

A few days later, he was in the communication room when a message came in from Moritori Rex. For a long time now he had been undercover within the Brotherhood of Guardians, feeding information to the Dark Legion. Today he had some rather interesting information. The image of the former Grandmaster slowly formed on the screen as the connection was established. “Can you read me there?” he asked as the base came into site.

“Yes, Lord Moritori,” the researcher said as he rolled his swivel chair over to the microphone. “What news do you have?”

“Some rather interesting news, albeit a bit old. I wanted to see if it would prove any threat to us.”

“And what would that be?”

“The current Guardian, Locke, has performed some interesting genetic experimentation on his son, Knuckles. It seems to be enhancing his strength, and giving him certain attributes unusual to echidnas.”

“Interesting. And you’ve got the information on how this was done, right?”

“Of course. I’ll be sending it to the base soon.”

“Thank you, we should be able to make use of it somehow,” the researcher said. “Oh, before I forget, Lord Moritori. I have a favor to ask of you. I recently found an old vial in my lab with ancient echidna text on the label. I was wondering if you could possibly translate it for me.”

“Send it over, I’ll take a look and send what I can find along with the information on Locke’s experiments.”

“Thank you, Lord Moritori,” the researcher said before Moritori Rex closed the channel. A few hours later the information on Knuckles came, along with the translation of the label. “Grandmaster… DNA? Strange, it couldn’t possibly be, but considering how old this text is… the contents of this test tube could go all the way back to Dimitri’s time! If that’s the case…” The Guardian looked at the printout of the Knuckles file. “Combining the power of a Grandmaster… with the genetic experiments in this file… we could feasibly create our own soldier to battle this “Knuckles” should he pose a major threat in the future!”

And so, the concept was born. The researcher dove headfirst into researching all he could do to replicate what Locke had done to his son, and even to improve it. Finally after nearly a year he presented his findings to the head researchers at the base. They found the idea intriguing, though some were hesitant about using information developed by a Guardian. Still, they approved the plan, but weren’t sure who to administer the serum to. The researcher recommended someone young, in order to allow the effects to properly take place. He volunteered his newly hatched son, Ekajra.

“So, is that the subject?” the assistant asked as Ekajra’s father walked into the room, carrying Ekajra in his arms.

“Yes, this is my son. And I would prefer you not refer to him as a “subject”,” he replied, before laying the sleeping Ekajra down on the operating table. He moved around a little then rolled up into a little ball, sucking his thumb. “You know I hope he doesn’t continue to do that when he’s older. It might be a little odd for the Legion’s super soldier to be a thumb sucker.”

“Hey, were here for science, not to talk about how cute your kid is, okay?” the assistant said, obviously impatient. “Besides, I’m not really one for this whole “genetic engineering” business.”

“Just because we have superior technology doesn’t mean we have to limit ourselves to just cybernetics. Now, hand me the injection needle.” The assistant reached over to the table next to him and grabbed a standard medical needle and handed it to Ekajra’s father. He removed a small tube of the serum that contained a material developed from Locke’s research, along with traces of the supposed Grandmaster DNA. They weren’t sure how it would really affect the results. If it were old enough, the line may be close enough to the Guardians’ to inherit some of their legendary Chaos abilities. But at the same time, none of the other Grandmasters had exhibited Chaos powers, so some believed that the Chaos power came from an outside force. Still, the Legion was expecting results, and Ekajra’s father was determined to give it to them.


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