“What?!” Sonic and Tails both yelled in unison.
“Shadow leading the robots? That doesn’t make any sense, Knuckles,” Tails said quickly.
“I mean, I know the guy has amnesia but it’s still not like him to lead anybody, he’s usually more about himself,” Sonic added.
“But still, I think he is. For one thing, turn around.” He stood up and grabbed Sonic and Tails, turning them around. They both gasped as they saw what Knuckles had seen before.
Clearly visible, even in the night sky, was the Black Comet floating by. Well, what was left of it at least. Small chunks were already streaking across the sky, burning up as they fell, and the big pieces were still floating near the thing that had destroyed them.
The tip of the Ark was still glowing slightly from the energy released by the Eclipse Cannon. Sonic and Tails turned around, shocked looks still on their faces.
“That message said something like “the Android Empire’s Ultimate weapon, crafted by my original’s creator”. That means it can’t be Eggman doing this. The Eclipse Cannon was made by Eggman’s grandfather, who created Shadow, and what that message said gives me the idea that this is Shadow, or at least a copy of him.”
“Why a copy, if him at all?” Sonic asked.
“I think I know,” Tails said. “Don’t you remember how Metal Sonic started calling you his copy? And Tails Doll has called me his original when he’s talked to me. I think that’s just what they call us, their originals.”
“It makes sense. Maybe Eggman made some sort of Shadow robot, who’s leading the robots for some reason. Metal me said that Eggman is the least of our worries. Maybe Shadow, you know took over.”
“Well, Metal Sonic did it, so it’s possible. But if it’s a copy, then I want to know what the real Shadow is up to. And if this is the Shadow we know… then I really want to know what’s going on. And the only way to find out is to go meet him ourselves.” Sonic whipped to the side rapidly, almost like he was knocking his brain into action mode. “Quick, Tails, I have an idea! First of all, is it just me, or did anyone else notice we haven’t blown up yet?”
Tails and Knuckles looked around them, like they’d suddenly find an explanation on the roof, and then turned back to Sonic. “I guess Metal me was just trying to scare us.” Knuckles said.
“Well, it’s a good thing he couldn’t actually blow the place up. Tails, do you think you can hack into the computer system of the base and get into whatever controls transmissions?”
“Ah! I see where you’re going!” Tails exclaimed, hitting his fist down on his palm. “If I can track the source of the message, then we can find exactly where their base is, just like with Eggman on the Ark.” Tails ran to the edge of the roof and jumped off, flying. “Let’s get back in there!”
* * * * *
On top of a large floating ruin, vines and grasses hanging off it, there was much activity. Strange creatures running around rapidly, obviously upset over something. One ran inside the fortress, where a large, robed creature was floating. The lesser being grumbled something in an incomprehensible language. But the robed figure seemed to know what he said.
“What?!” Black Doom roared. “The Black Comet destroyed? That can’t be possible!” The creature spoke some more, and only seemed to intensify Black Dooms’ anger. “Gerald that traitor! So, he crafted a weapon to destroy us did. Well, I may not be able to kill him, the humans already did that, but I can take care of the one who’s responsible for this.” With that Black Doom began to sink into the ground, and disappeared.
* * * * *
Knuckles walked into the computer room where Sonic and tails were. “Well, I got my gear back out of the basement place we were before. How are you guys doing?”
“Good,” Tails said. “I found out where they’re operating from. You’re not gonna believe it.” Tails turned around, a disc in his hand.
* * * * *
Shadow was sitting on his throne, a smile on his face. “Well, that certainly went well. I figured Metal Knuckles would fail, but at least I got rid of another one of my problems.” Shadow then stood up, as a figure began to rise out of the ground in front of him. “Speak of the devil.” He said with a smirk.
“You have yet to see what a true devil is. You have betrayed me for the last time Shadow. Now give me the Chaos Emeralds, as promised.”
“Sorry Doom, but I never made that promise. You’ll have to talk to my original.” Shadow raised his hand and the Chaos Emeralds floated from his throne to him. “Besides, I have a better idea fro how to use them.”
“Wait, what are you… Noooooooooo….!”
* * * * *
The United Federation president stood on the balcony outside his office, still considering what had just transpired. Someone had used the Eclipse Cannon to destroy the Black Comet, but what could it mean? A high-pitched beeping sound came from behind him, and he walked over and pressed a button on a phone on his desk.
“Mr. President,” a female voice said, “we’ve just received reports that the black aliens are retreating from all around the country.”
* * * * *
“What could Shadow possibly be doing on Prison Island? Didn’t Eggman blow it up?” Knuckles asked as they flew through the sky, over the ocean.
“Well, if he really has most of Eggman’s forces with him, and considering some of the buildings must be standing, he was probably able to rebuild it. But it still seems strange, considering that’s where he was imprisoned for fifty years.” Tails said.
“Maybe the guy just has a thing for his past. I mean, he’s never gonna leave it alone.” Sonic shrugged.
They flew on for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for that island to appear on the horizon. And soon enough it did. Tails came in low over the jungle, tops of the higher trees scraping against the bottom of the Tornado. He had figured Shadow would be at the center of the island, and they were trying to get there as fast as they could without alerting anyone. Unfortunately the plan didn’t go as well as they had hoped.
A small circular screen one the pilot’s console started to flash, and a beeping noise started. Sonic and Knuckles both looked at it, then turned to Tails and asked, “What does that mean?”
“It means there’s an incoming attack, they must have spotted us. Hang on tight!” Tails yelled as he jerked the joystick suddenly, sending the Tornado into a barrel roll. Just as they were flipping up right, a missile shot up next to them. It was soon followed by more, and more. Tails tried his best to dodge, swerving left and right, flipping and rolling. But he couldn’t keep it up forever. Shortly after coming out of another barrel roll the beeping intensified, and Tails barely had time to react as a missile came rocketing up behind them. “Everybody jump!” The three jumped into the air, and Tails grabbed onto their arms and flew up as the missile hit the back of the Tornado.
The explosion seemed small, but the damage was great. Almost the entire back half of the Tornado was destroyed, and what wasn’t was flaming. The plane screeched as it went into a vicious spiral, crashing into the jungle below.
“My plane…” Tails and Sonic said in unison.
“Hey guys, at least we’re alive. Now we can pay back Shadow for all the trouble he put us through,” Knuckles said as he let go of Tails and broke into a glide, descending into the jungle. Sonic and Tails soon followed.
“How much farther till we reach the base?” Sonic whispered as they regrouped in a more or less concealed area.
“It shouldn’t be much farther, we were able to get pretty close. We should be able to make it out of the jungle pretty soon at least,” Tails replied. The three then headed off through the jungle in the general direction of the base.
* * * * *
An android soldier ran into the throne room, bowed quickly, and then reported, “Sir, the intruders’ plane has been shot down.”
“That won’t keep them down for long. Judging from past experiences and data, they either survived the crash somehow or jumped ship.” Omega said.
“I know the blue hedgehog would easily be able to recover from a fall like that.” Metal Sonic added, and the newly fixed M.S. mk.III nodded.
“Yes, that’s very true. You two take a small platoon of soldiers with you to the outskirts of the base are.” He motioned to Metal Sonic and his partner. “Give them a welcome they won’t forget. Oh, and I can think of someone else who would want to go with you.”
* * * * *
The jungle was thinning, the trees becoming smaller and more spaced, and light could be seen ahead. The three burst out of the trees and looked around, ready for anything. But they couldn’t see anything hostile nearby, and began to slowly make their way over the ground, now covered in concrete, as they drew closer to the large building in the middle of the area.
Soon enough, however, trouble found them. It wasn’t obvious at first, but they could definitely tell they were being followed. They slowed up, and soon stopped. “We know you’re there!” Sonic yelled. “Why don’t you show yourself and get it over with!”
“Hmm, very well Sonic, if that is what you want.” Metal Sonic’s voice called from above, and he jumped off a nearby building, landing in front of them. “Long time no see, my copy.”
“Man, do you really need to say that? It hasn’t been that long. Anyway, you really think you can win this time? You’re outnumbered, and I could beat you by myself anyway.” Sonic said.
“Oh, I’m not alone, I just figured I needn’t waste anymore man power on you fools.”
“Fine have it your way. Don’t worry guys, this won’t take long.” Sonic crouched down, and raised one hand, giving the “bring it” motion. Metal Sonic knelt down, small wheels on the back of his feet spinning rapidly as his central engine charged up. He then blast forward at Sonic, swinging up with a kick. Sonic jumped into the air and came down with a homing attack, but Metal Sonic blocked it and tossed Sonic off.
“And before I forget, there was one more person who wanted to take a crack at one of you.” Metal Sonic snapped his fingers, a sharp metal clang ringing out.
Before he could even react, Tails felt himself being pushed back, almost flying straight over the ground. He looked up, just as his attacker did, and their eyes met. “Why, hello, my pitiful original.” Tails Doll said, his voiced still hushed, but somehow stronger sounding.
“Tails!” Sonic yelled as he turned to run.
“Are you forgetting who your fight is really with?” Metal Sonic yelled as he dashed up next to Sonic, elbowing him into a wall. “And to take care of you…” Metal Sonic said, looking at Knuckles, who was charging him. He snapped his fingers again, and Knuckles turned around as he felt a large group of something descending for the rooftops behind him. He looked at them, and his eyes opened wide with surprise.
Standing in front of him was a large group, somewhere around forty, of Shadows. In fact, they looked almost exactly like the hedgehog they knew, other than their highlights being of a slightly more orange hue. “Knuckles the echidna, guardian of the Master Emerald and Angel Island, am I correct?” one of them said, his voice sounding just like Shadow’s as well. Knuckles merely nodded. “Good. Meet the lesser Shadow androids.” He spread his arms out, beckoning to his comrades on either side of them. He then thrust his arms forward as he ran himself, the mob collapsing upon Knuckles, who fought desperately to keep them off.
Meanwhile, Sonic was busy digging himself out of a pile of rubble as Metal Sonic charged him again, launching a volley of attacks. Sonic barely managed to duck one, and took the opportunity to crouch down, and quickly spindashed back and forth in the on place, knocking Metal Sonic off of him. He then stood up and ran at the robot, launching his own series of attacks.
Tails was managing to hold his own against Tails Doll, but it didn’t seem like the plushy enemy was trying very hard. However, Tails wasn’t fighting at maximum either, he wanted some answers. “What exactly do you want from me?” Tails asked as he ducked a kick, spinning at Tails Doll with his tails.
“What do I want from you? That is a very long story. Allow me to elaborate,” he floated up above Tails’ attack, and came down with a two handed slam to Tails’ head. “For all my existence, I have been cursed to reside in this pitiful doll wrought in your image.” Tails Doll side stepped one of Tails’ punches, and spun around with a kick, which Tails caught, and flung Tails Doll into the air. “I sought a way to free myself from this prison, and soon found it. After going through my plan for a while, I was soon ready to be free, but I needed one more thing to release myself. But then that fool of a doctor locked me away, and used versions of me for shooting targets.”
“What is it you needed?” Tails asked as he jumped to the side as Tails Doll slammed into the ground, aiming for him.
“What I need is something only you have. Your soul. ”
“My soul?” Tails stood still, as he noticed Tails Doll had stopped attacking. “What do you mean by that.”
“Exactly what you think it means…”
* * * * *
“Rahh! Take that!” Knuckles yelled, punching a Shadow android in the face, and sending it flying. He whirled around and roundhouse kicked another, and ducked down to dodge a bolt of yellow energy, almost immediately catching its launcher with an uppercut. “Dang it! They’re coming too fast! How many of this guys are there?”
Sonic jumped above Metal Sonic as the robot blasted at him. Sonic came down with a forceful kick, pounding Metal into the ground, and homing attacked him before jumping away as the robot fired his booster. Sonic landed on the ground, hunched over and panting, his feet smoking a little. He had quite a few scratches spread out over his body, some of them bleeding slightly, but over all he didn’t look too injured.
Metal Sonic stood up, dusting himself off. He seemed relatively unharmed, spare a few dents and dings, primarily to his more spread out spines. The two combatants stared at each other for a brief moment, before each dashed at the other.
* * * * *
“You don’t really think you can take my soul, do you?” Tails asked.
“Maybe, maybe not, but I’ve certainly done it plenty of times.”
“So, that kid who said he was attacked, it was you wasn’t it?”
“If you refer to the one who played my summoning song, then yes, it was I.”
“Summoning song? So that’s what you mean when you ask if I can feel the sunshine!”
“Ahh, so you’ve figured it out. Yes that song is horrifying, yet somehow it calls to me. Opposites do attract I suppose. But enough of this talk!” Tails Doll swung his arm in front of him, as if he were slicing away the words. “You are the one I have chosen as my final victim, and I will take your soul, no matter what!”