It was a peaceful day as Angel Island silently drifted through the sky. It was early in the morning. The citizens of Echidnaopolis were just beginning to go about their daily business. Well, at least the ones with business to go about. As I said, it was early. A lot of people were still asleep. Nevertheless, life went on. Flickies chirped as they flew overhead, leaves rustled in the breeze, and Ekajra was sitting on the edge of a skyscraper watching the sunrise. In a very dramatic fashion, of course. “Yeah… another peaceful day, just drifting through the air. Hey, looks like that chili-dog vendor is getting an early start on the day,” Ekajra said as he looked down at the street. He almost fell off the ledge he was perched on when something perched on him. His hand flew up, and the Flicky flew away. “You, you go chirp off, into those rustling trees.” He stood up, sighing. “Man, this is just getting way too mundane.”
He jumped off of the roof, sliding down on a drainage pipe. He walked out of the alley onto the main street. After walking for a while he spotted the arcade, which always seemed to be open. He walked in, but quickly left when he realized he didn’t have any money. He decided to go to the Chao Garden. He walked back towards his house, and then ran through the woods. He soon reached the small clearing where the Chao lived. A twig snapped as he stepped into the Garden, and the Chaos all jumped back from him. However, they soon recognized him and went make to whatever they had been doing. Chibi Chaos flew over to Ekajra and immediately latched onto his spines. “Hey C.C., how’s it going?” C.C. responded with some cheerful but otherwise incomprehensible Chao babble. He then flew off and grabbed a piece of fruit from one of the trees dotted around the pond on the edge of the clearing. Ekajra watched for a while, then walked over and pet C.C. before leaving.
* * * * *
Far away from the island, rather, in another dimension, an army was preparing to go on the warpath. Their surroundings were quite dismal, the color scheme predominantly black, like living in constant darkness. But that should be expected from the Twilight Zone. The robed figures moved quickly and efficiently, preparing weapons and vehicles. In a command tower, their leader watched from above. “How are things going, Kragok?” the almost completely cybernetic echidna asked as his subordinate, and descendant, entered the room.
“Completely on schedule, Grandmaster,” Kragok said as he strode up to his great-great-great grandfather. “All troops should be ready within the hour. We are commencing the opening of the portal and are in contact with the Island base.”
“And what do they have to report?”
“Equally good news. Their tanks are set to mount the first assault and they are simply awaiting our command. The day will be ours!” Kragok smirked as he clenched his three claws together.
“Yes, I predict today we will have victory, and I shall finally get those fools in the council to see my side. In a rather forceful way, of course,” Dimitri said.
“There is one thing however, sir,” Kragok said slowly.
“And what would that be?”
“A certain agent in the Island base’s troops. The one tasked with recovering the Dark Guardian experiment on previous missions. He’s begging for another chance and causing a bit of trouble there.”
“Hmmm…” Dimitri pondered. “Connect us to him. I believe I shall give him another chance to redeem himself.”
* * * * *
Kage Tsume sat on the hard bed, leaning against the hard wall staring at the laser bars of his cell with a hard glare. He repeatedly made a strange motion with his left hand as if he were spinning something in it. They’d removed his right arm when they threw him in the cell to keep him from causing trouble. A hooded guard strode down the hall to Kage’s cell, pausing to input the code to deactivate the bars. “Alright Shadow Claw, come with me. Seems the Grandmaster himself wants to talk with you,” the guard said. Kage didn’t move. “I’ve got your arm,” he added, holding up the robotic arm. Kage slowly stood from the bed and walked over to the guard.
He swiped his arm from the guard’s grasp, slamming it back into his shoulder joint. “I can’t appear before the Grandmaster in pieces, can I?” he said before walking off towards the communications room. Kage stepped inside the room, the opposite wall covered in a giant video screen. It was currently broadcasting a signal from Dimitri. Kage walked to the center of the room and knelt. “What is your bidding, Grandmaster?”
“So, you’re the one they called Kage Tsume, “The Shadow Claw”, correct? An interesting name, very appropriate for one of my followers. Still, it seems lately you’ve been de-clawed, haven’t you?” Dimitri chuckled. Kage simply remained frozen. “Still, I think I have use for you. You have quite the vendetta against the traitorous experiment I’m told.”
“I live only to serve you, Grandmaster.”
“Good, good. In that case, I’ll give you a chance to serve me in the coming attack. No doubt the traitor will fight against us along with my brother’s descendant and his allies. Too many at once could cause problems for our plans. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been defeated by the Guardian…” Dimitri trailed off.
“What are your orders, Grandmaster,” Kage asked, trying to not show his growing impatience. He was an echidna of action.
“Simple. Find the traitor and keep him occupied during the assault and capture him. And do it right this time, or else.”
“Yes, of course Grandmaster. I will not fail you,” Kage said.
“Then good luck, Shadow Claw,” Dimitri said, closing the transmission. Kage remained frozen in position for a moment. After thinking over the situation, he rose from the ground, pulling his hood over his head. The shadow over his already dark fur completely hid his face, apart from his gleaming eye. Kage strode out of the room, and headed towards one of the weapon development buildings. This base, hidden in the jungles of Angel Island, was primarily for weapons research and as a launch port for small Legion attacks and operations. As such there was much new equipment waiting to be tested. Perfect for an upgrade freak like Kage.
“So, back again Kage?” a researcher said as Kage entered the building. “Let me guess, another mission to recover Eka… the traitor?”
Kage stared at the researching for a moment before replying with a simple, “Yes.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing I’ve completed your new sword.” The researcher signaled Kage to walk over to a counter. The researcher pulled out a silver box, which contained what looked like a sword handle with two hilts and three large batteries. The researcher removed the handle from the case and handed it to Kage. “It now has a second blade feature. However, this uses energy quicker, so I’ve included some additional fuel cells. Also, if you press this button here, a chain will connect the sword to your shield, allowing you to throw the sword and pull it back.”
“And this will help me finally defeat that traitor?” Kage asked as he inserted the sword into his arm and the fuel cells into his cloak.
“I should hope so. But make sure you bring him back alive, Kage.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t kill your little brother, Akaja. Unfortunately the Grandmaster ordered me not to.” Kage paused, then added with an evil smirk. “Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t make him suffer!” Kage strode outside, as Akaja stared at him furiously.
* * * * *
“Hey Alerak, I’m back,” Ekajra said as he walked through the front door of his house. Alerak was sitting on the couch, playing a game.
“Welcome home. So, how were the Chao?” Alerak asked, hardly moving his gaze from the game.
“Oh, same old same old. Just like everything else.”
“Well, we should be glad. I mean, what with Deathblade, The Legion, and even Robotnik crashing the island, it’s good to have some peace again.”
“I suppose you’re right. I mean, I finally beat that game that was taking me forever. The hard mode on that other one is giving me trouble though…”
“Just use a guide,” Alerak said, still playing his game.
“I did, but the strategy doesn’t work for me for some reason. So I gave up, and now I’m just bor…”
“Don’t say it!” Alerak yelled, pausing the game and turning to Ekajra.
“Don’t say what?” Ekajra asked. “All I said is I’m…”
“Don’t do it! Every time you say the “b” word, something bad happens. I’ve almost beaten this level, so just don’t say it.”
“What, I was just gonna say that now I’m bored.” Alerak’s next words were cut off as they both heard the sound of a powerful explosion.
Sighing, Alerak set the game controller down and picked up his gauntlet from the round coffee table in front of the couch. “That sounded like a standard Dark Legion cannon round. I guess that’s our cue.”
“Guess so,” Ekajra said, his face switching from a bored daze to his usual devious smirk. “Finally we get some action around here.” Alerak’s palm immediately flew to his face as he shook his head.