In preperation for the upcoming "Doomsday Project", Robotnik decides to try out a genetic experiment on Sonic, in hopes of turning him into his greatest weapon against the Freedom Fighters. But has...
Author's note: Previously known as 'Blaze A.K.A Negative Angel', we are back and better than ever in our new form. And our first duty in line is to re-write our very first fanfiction. No spelling mistakes, more scenes, more drama (if possible for us. shrug) AND, more pain! notes stares
We also wanted to correct a few things stated in the fanfiction, like the characters' ages, what happened to Sonic, etc. The original version can still be found on the Internet, specifically fanfiction.net under "The Outcasts", so that it can be compared by you, the readers. Let's hope that you'll enjoy this new and improved version as much as you enjoyed the original. Expect the same to be happening to 'It Isn't Wonderful Now'. And we will be returning soon, with brand new stories and such. Thank you, and have fun!
One more quick note, (sorry ^_^;) my stories don't follow the SatAM show, but can be considered an AU (alternate universe) to the series, or the Archie Comics. And don't worry, they don't follow the Fleetway comics either (not that there's anything wrong with that.) but I may use some references from them. In this story, Sonic's 15, Sally's 15, Bunnie's 16, Rotor's 16, Antoine's 18 and Tails is 9, as seen fit by the author.
Sonic the Hedgehog and other related characters are copyright to Sega, Sonic Team and Archie Comics. I don't own them, rich, but silly people that don't like Sonic showing signs of emotion because it is 'uncool', do. But the fanfiction itself is copyright to me, as I spent a long time writing this. If you want this on your website e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not take with sugar or any form of foods that result in hyper-activity. Pat a cougar cub today.
------------------------------------------------------------------------- Metamorphosis ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 'It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry.' - Ralph's Observation -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Snively swirled the liquefied contents inside the large test-tube in his hand. After a while he stopped, examined the contents, then began swirling again, watching as the colours swirled and blended together.
As he did his mind wandered back to three days ago, when his uncle, Dr. Robotnik, had approached his living quarters and requested the oddest thing. The overweight ruler had requested, or more precisely, demanded Snively to create a serum to test on a living form. It was later revealed that Robotnik wanted Snively to create a gene-splicing serum, using two samples of separate DNAs that Robotnik had somehow gotten possession of, as the DNAs themselves were especially rare after the coup thirteen years ago.
Snively had readily admitted to having experience with genetics to the doctor, but was not confident with his abilities to make such a demand. Snively's confidence was uplifted when Dr. Robotnik had threatened his livelihood.
Once again, Snively stopped swirling the test-tube, examined the contents, then flicked at the tube with his thumb and forefinger. A satisfied grin spread across the short Overlander's face, and he slipped the glass tube into a nearby rack.
"Sir, the serum is ready," he finally announced, turning to face Robotnik. From where he was standing, Robotnik smiled wickedly. He had been watching the whole process, which had taken over three to four hours to complete, like a hawk, not missing a step nor mistake. Unlike Snively, Robotnik had no experience with genetics as he had concentrated his studies onto robotics and technology. But what Robotnik saw fascinated him, although he was not one to admit such things out loud.
"Excellent, Snively," he rasped, slowly making his way over to the small Overlander.
"Sir," Snively began nervously. "if you don't mind me asking so. But why did you want the serum?"
Robotnik glared down at Snively, his luminous red upon black eyes sending a chill down Snively's spine.
"I've decided to do a little experiment, involving gene-splicing," Robotnik explained eventually. He picked up the glass test tube and examined the orange-red contents. "I wanted to see what would be the result of such an experiment, and perhaps use it to my advantage after the Doomsday project is successful."
Snively frowned, not sure what to make of this explanation.
"I do have to warn you, Sir, that the conjunction may not be completely stable, and unfit for such an assumption," Snively reported, but then cried out when Robotnik grabbed him by the throat and shook him.
"I don't care about this conjunction, Snively. All I care about is the results of this experiment, and this alone," Robotnik hissed. He dropped the trembling Overlander to the metal floor and frowned menacingly. Snively tried desperately to compose himself, and to muster enough courage to ask the fat Overlord another query.
"And who will you be testing it on, Sir?"
The glare on Robotnik's face warped into a look of hinting a clue. A clue that Snively didn't like.
"M-m-m-me?!" Snively squeaked, sweat already pouring down his bald head and down his scrawny neck. At that point, Robotnik was tempted to kick the little wretch right there and then like a cheap football. Instead he kept his actions in check, for now.
"Don't be ridiculous, Snively. The last thing I want is a mutated you running around destroying the city," Robotnik growled through gritted teeth, clenching his flabby hands into balled fists. The answer brought some relief to Snively, nonetheless.
"Then who, Sir?"
"Who else, Snively," Robotnik crooned, "but the hedgehog?"
That answer brought a heavy feeling of dread onto Snively like a ton of bricks.
"The hedgehog?!" he cried in disbelief. "Surely you can't be serious."
Robotnik smiled widely, enjoying his nephew's reaction. "Oh, I'm serious. The hedgehog's abilities will be improved greatly after the experiment, and I can use that during Doomsday to keep the Freedom Fighters from interfering." A picture of mass destruction played through Robotnik's twisted mind. It included images of lifeless Mobian bodies spread throughout his domain, and he standing victor, surveying the scenery with a twisted version of Sonic standing by his side. It was beautiful.
"Wouldn't it be wiser to just robotize the hedgehog, Sir?" Snively suggested. "Or just kill him?"
"No, Snively, it wouldn't be easier. Time and time again the hedgehog has miraculously escaped my most brilliant plans to destroy him, and I grow weary of such attempts." Robotnik sighed dramatically. "But no, this little experiment," he tossed a glance at the test tube of serum. "will be for keeps."
"Such a transformation could lead to disaster, Sir." Snively wrung his hands anxiously. He hated being a pessimist - Snively had to admit though that perhaps this scheme might work for once - but someone here had to be the voice of reason, even if it resulted with bodily harm.
"How will the hedgehog be controlled afterwards?"
In response, Dr. Robotnik extracted a tiny phial of blue liquid from a hidden pocket in his cloak. He gave the phial a violent shake and lowered his hand for Snively to see.
"Inside this phial is another serum, designed to alter the hedgehog's brain pattern so that only he can respond to my commands alone. It's a simple mixture, and perhaps not as reliable as a mind controlling device or nanobot, but it will merge with the hedgehog's altered DNA long enough for me to get rid of the Freedom Fighters. Then I can create a much stronger batch later."
Robotnik replaced the phial in his cloak. "Now all the preparations have been completed, all we need now is the test subject," he declared.
"I have downloaded a fake document into the main computer's hard-drive, one that I'm sure the Princess will find the next time she decides to hack into my system. That's when the experiment will commence."
"Has anyone seen Sonic?" Sally called out.
After examining all of the available files, maps and development photographs of the Doomsday Project, Sally had acquired from Robotnik's computer system, she felt that it was time to do another midnight computer hacking session tonight and see if anything else has been downloaded into the computer. Every one of the Knothole Freedom Fighters were present on time, as usual, but after doing a quick head-count Sally realised that one was missing. A certain blue hedgehog by the name of Sonic.
"Has anyone seen Sonic?" Sally called out again, annoyed. She had told Sonic that there was a meeting now, and once again he had made an empty promise that he'd be on time.
Everyone in the War Room stopped talking amongst themselves and shook their heads in reply. Sally sighed, sweeping her forelock out of her eyes, something that she did whenever she was frustrated.
"Have ya checked the lake?" Bunnie asked suddenly, hoping to offer some help to the Princess.
"I'll go check for you, Aunt Sally," Tails offered, already jumping out of his chair. He was just about to leave the room when Sally called for him to come back.
"No, I'll check. I want to have a word with him," she said as she walked over to the door. As soon as she opened the door the distinct sounds of the small woodland villages became loud and apparent. Most of the villagers, refugees of the once glorious capital city Mobotropolis, were now out and about, some enjoying the warm weather of late Spring, others busying themselves with tasks of importance to them.
Upon sighting of the Princess as she made her way to the lake outside the village, the younger children of the village waved cheerfully at her, to which Sally returned just as happily. The children were making the most noise in the village, with their laughter and cries of childish joy and happiness as they played their games. If it wasn't for the children one would constantly remember that there was a war taking place, which sometimes suited Sally just fine.
As soon as Sally reached the perimeter of the village a frown etched its way into her face. From the border of Knothole, one could see quite clearly the small man-made (or Mobian-made, in this case) lake that was surrounded by tall and thick Oak trees and shrubbery. The dense foliage of the trees created a sort of cascading group of shadows over the area, making it cool and welcoming during the hotter seasons. Here and there thin rays of sunlight managed their way through the canopies, leaving patches of sun near the lake's dirt banks. But the beautiful scenery was not what caused the ground squirrel to frown so darkly, but who was currently occupying one of the particularly large patch of sunlight.
A tall (to Mobian standards) cool blue and tanned hedgehog laid there, appearing to be sleeping quite soundly. His arms were folded under his head, surprisingly not being cut by his long, razor sharp head-quills that began between his pointed ears and ended at the top of his neck. A faint smile of peaceful bliss was on the blue hedgehog's lips, and he didn't even flick an ear to the sound of Sally's approach. It was no secret that Sonic was a heavy sleeper.
Another sigh of annoyance escaped Sally. She sat down next to Sonic, folding her legs and resting her elbows on her knees, and glared at him.
"Sonic," she called, poking him in the ribs. "Wake up."
The hedgehog gave no form of notice, as he continued to snore softly. So Sally bent down and drew her lips to his ear.
"Soooooonnnniiiic..." she drawled, again poking him in the ribs. This time his ear twitched.
"Sonic!" That was yelled directly in Sonic's ear, which got a more preferred response from him. The hedgehog, startled out of his slumber now, cried out and grabbed his ear in agony, groaning and whining melodramatically. After a moment of this Sonic began pressing his finger against his ear repetitively, pushing it so that it just touched his eardrum. There was a slight ringing present now, to Sonic anyway.
"Now that I have your attention," Sally began, her scowling glare not wavering. "do you realise what time it is?"
"What?!" Sonic called, feigning incoherency. "Someone yelled in my ear, and I've gone deaf."
Sally took a hold of Sonic's ear and squeezed, again making Sonic cry out and writhe in pain.
"If you're going to act childish, Sonic Hedgehog," she gritted, allowing the threat to linger into the hedgehog's mind. "There is a meeting now, to hack into Robotnik's main computer, remember?"
The hedgehog's eyes widened with realisation, then acquired a sheepish glint. "Oh, the meeting! Well, ya see, Sal..." He searched for an excuse. "I lost track of time?"
It was lame, but then he was still half asleep and that was his best.
Sally rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Before or after you fell asleep?" she questioned, finally allowing a tiny smirk.
"I'm sure that it was after," Sonic answered, grinning jauntily. He pointed to his ear, which was still in Sally's vice-like hold. "Now, can ya leggo of my ear please? I kinda need it."
"Well, we 'kinda' need you for this mission tonight," Sally pointed out. She released his ear, and Sonic began rubbing at it to regain feeling. "Now, are you coming or do I have to drag you there?"
"Aw, Sal, do I have to?" Sonic whinged, screwing up his face with detest. He was only joking, but Sally didn't want to take any chances with the blue hedgehog. She seized him by the ear again and hauled him to his feet, then guided Sonic to the village. All the way, Sonic was yelling for her to stop with her tactics of persuasion.
It was night time in the city of Robotropolis, although it was hard to tell the difference once in the city, as the skies above it was always carrying a looming cloud of blacken smog and pollutants, cutting off all sunlight. There was no life within the city's limits, the closet thing coming to such a term were the enormous number of SWATbots and Workerbots, who were the unfortunate Mobian victims of the stolen technology dubbed the Robotizer.
It was the previously mentioned that Sally, Sonic, and Rotor, the Knothole Freedom Fighters technician and mechanic, were hiding from to avoid conflict. Although it was obvious that Sonic was more than willing to charge out of their hiding place and confront the menacing robots.
Rotor peered round the corner, watching as two SWATbots marched their way down the empty street. They stopped momentarily to scan the area with their sensors, which by pure luck completely missed the small group of Freedom Fighters, and continued down the street.
"All clear," Rotor whispered, after the two SWATbots had disappeared around another corner. All three of them ran out their hiding place and made their way to a large building that was situated down at the very end of that street. Once reaching the door of the building, Sally pulled out a small palm-top computer from her vest's inner pocket. She unclipped the computer's lid and connected a thin wire to the security-lock's pad that was attached to the wall.
"Nicole, disarm security lock, please," Sally commanded. The small computer's screen flashed for a minute or so, then the electronic door slid to the side with a sharp hiss.
"Security lock disarmed, Sally," Nicole reported, her voice unusually loud in the silence of their surroundings. The Freedom Fighters slipped into the doorway, entering a semi-large and dark room. Embedded in the far wall, was what looked like a Mobian equivalent of a bank's Automatic Teller Machine. This Sally and Rotor stepped up to and activated. Sonic meanwhile leaned against the wall and watched uninterested. The only thing Sonic knew about technology of any type or form was how to destroy it, or how to play the limited supply of video games available. He was there as transport for the two, and as a tool of distraction if a situation needed it.
"So how long is this gonna take, Sal?" Sonic asked. Sally gave a small shrug.
"Maybe a little while, Robotnik doesn't exactly save his files with painfully obvious names. I'll have to do a full blown search of the mainframe," she explained.
Already Sonic was feeling impatient.
Meanwhile, in Robotnik's Throne Room, all the security monitors were switched on. Each monitor showed a different section of Robotropolis, including the computer center the Freedom Fighters were currently in. For this purpose all the sections were being monitored by Snively, who was slowly falling asleep at the controls. Why the Freedom Fighters didn't do day missions he'd never know.
After a quick look over the monitors, Snively snapped erect in his rather uncomfortable chair when he spotted the Freedom Fighters. "Sir, the hedgehog is in Sector 5K," he reported, swivelling in his chair to face the doctor.
"Excellent," Robotnik crooned, drumming his chubby fingers together. "Despatched squadron twelve to... flush him out. I want him separated from the other two."
"Yes, Sir." Snively activated the comm-link. "Squadron twelve, report to Section 5K. Priority One, Hedgehog alert. Bring Priority One to Throne Room alive."
"Can't you go any faster?"
The hedgehog was addressing Nicole, who was being used to hack into the computer. Sally glared at Sonic, as the question had been asked ten times already - in the last two minutes.
Sonic saw the glare and shrugged. "What?" he asked, acting ignorant on purpose. He grinned when the action got its desired reaction, the usual sigh and shake of the head from Sally. Sonic then began tapping his foot.
"One new file found, Sally. Modified 23-11-3235. Size, 20MB," Nicole reported, to which both Sally and Rotor groaned.
"Twenty megabytes. Even for Nicole that'll take ages to download," Rotor exclaimed. Nonetheless, Sally gave the order to the small A.I computer to begin transfer.
"So how long is 'ages'?" Sonic asked.
"About twenty minutes, maybe half an hour," Sally said. The hedgehog gave them a horrified look.
"Half an hour? That is ages."
It was about five minutes later when Sonic began tapping his foot again. Rotor interrupted the hedgehog before he could ask, 'can't you go any faster?'
"If you're bored, Sonic, why don't you be look-out?" Rotor questioned. He knew what Sonic was like when he was bored out of his mind, and Rotor could tell that Sally was starting to get impatient with the hedgehog. Rotor also wanted to avoid an argument between the two.
"Rotor, my man, that's a past cool idea," Sonic exclaimed, then turned on his heel and sped out, leaving a vapour trail of dust in his wake.
"Thank you, Rotor," Sally whispered, winking at the walrus.
Once outside Sonic leaned against the wall and peered around, uninterested. After about a minute he began stretching his legs and jogging on the spot, out of habit. Then he just sat down on the oil stained ground and hummed to himself. All this took about two minutes to do; Sonic's attention span left a lot to be desired.
Somewhere from his left Sonic heard what sounded like metal crashing upon concrete in a rhythmic pattern. Curious and alert, he stood and looked around the corner. All at once his quills jumped up, like he had been electrocuted, and he ran back to where Sally and Rotor was.
"Um, guys? How much longer are ya gonna be?" he asked, all the while looking back to where he had seen the massive herd of SWATbots coming. Surprisingly enough they were approaching quickly.
Exasperated, Sally sighed. "We're almost done, Sonic. Why?"
"'cause there's a whole bunch of SWATbutts coming this way," Sonic responded. Both Rotor and Sally spun around, gaping with terrified expressions at the hedgehog. Sonic raised his eyebrows, waiting for an order. Or, to be more accurate, an order that he had been waiting to do since entering Robotropolis.
"Lead the SWATbots away from here, Sonic. We've almost got what we need," Sally said. Sonic grinned widely and gave them the thumbs-up.
"Meet you two back at Knothole?"
Sally nodded. "And be careful!"
Sonic was already gone.
"Priority One, Hedgehog alert."
As soon as Sonic had rounded the corner he heard the familiar droned statement. He grinned cheekily at the large group of SWATbots, which would had provoked their attack further if they had the human capabilities to register its meaning. "Sorry, bolt-brains, but you know the drill. Ya gotta catch me first," the hedgehog taunted.
And with that, he revved up his legs and sped off, cutting through the cluster. When he tossed a glance over his shoulder Sonic saw that, as predicted, they had given chase.
"Time for a little fun," Sonic murmured to himself. He picked up speed, feet nothing but a red and white blur beneath him, and headed for an intersection he knew about. Originally he had planned on taking a sharp turn and confuse the robots, as that had always worked in the past, but his quickly put together plan was changed instantly when he saw yet another group of SWATbots coming towards him. Behind him the first troop began taking aim at him.
A laser beam shot through the air and over Sonic's head, narrowly missing the tip of his ear. More shots followed after that, slicing through the air barely a hair away from the hedgehog. The second group was closing in on him, making the situation uncomfortably more risky.
"Man, these guys are really out to get me," Sonic observed, then scowled to himself for stating the painfully obvious. Taking a chance, he ran right towards the second group of SWATbots, jumping into the air and curling himself into a protective ball of spikes. His whole body now fully alert, his quills stuck out and tensed themselves as he began spinning like a circular buzz-saw. The sound of metal cutting echoed through the street, heard clearly by Sonic even with his head tucked under his arms. He forced his body to angle, and felt it sail back in a smooth curve like a frisbee. Again the sound of metal being cut was heard.
Sonic eventually uncurled himself and landed running. He looked back at the scrap heap and allowed a short laugh. About twenty of the SWATbots were now nothing more than a pile of scrap metal, and only the original troop of robots were chasing him now.
Feeling rather cocky from the first attack, the hedgehog stuck his tongue out and blew a raspberry at them, shouting a quick insult that surfaced in his mind afterwards, then turned to face ahead. He did this just as a wall seemingly materialised out of nowhere, and unable to stop because of the speed he was going Sonic crashed into it head-first. A flash of hot white pain appeared before his eyes, disorienting Sonic drastically, causing him to fall to the ground. The last thought in Sonic's mind was that that was the shortest chase scene he had experienced ever.
Sonic didn't even notice the SWATbots slowly surrounding him, as he slipped into unconsciousness.
In Knothole, about an hour later, the sound of someone coming through the log slide became apparent to both Bunnie and Antoine. A few seconds later Sally landed on top of the hay stack that sat at the end of the slide, followed closely by Rotor.
"How didja go?" Bunnie questioned first, beating Antoine to the punch. Sally brushed away some hay that clung onto her vest before answering.
"We ran into a little trouble with some SWATbots, but Sonic took care of them," she said, somewhat breathlessly. They had ran back to Knothole after the huge file had been transferred, in case of capture.
"Is Sonic here yet?"
This time Antoine spoke. "'e 'asn't come back, moi Prinzess."
Sally froze. "What? But he's usually the first here," she protested. Bunnie and Antoine shook their heads.
"We haven't seen Sonic at all, Sally-girl, but Ah'm shure he'll be here soon," she insisted.
From within the darkness of Robotropolis' Laboratory base, a low pain-filled groan escaped from Sonic.
"Man, did anyone get the number of the truck that hit me?" Sonic muttered, suppressing another groan. The fur on the left side of his head and face felt stiff and warm, and near the top of his eye there was an intense stinging sensation that increased whenever his blinked. Sonic vaguely remembered running into that wall, and wondered who in Chaos' name put that there.
"In the middle of a city, what a stupid place to put it," he scowled, winching as the stinging began to throb.
When the pain finally subsided more feeling began to return to the rest of his body. That's when Sonic realised that there were what felt like metal straps across his torso, wrists and ankles, holding him down to a long metal examining table. Chills ran up and down Sonic's spine, and they didn't originate from the coldness of the table. He didn't bother to struggle; there was no way he could break the bindings without a convenient blowtorch strapped to the cuff of his glove. He hoped that there wasn't a deadly laser ray gun aimed at him in the darkness.
"I see that you are finally awake, hedgehog," a voice drawled, making Sonic's heart skip a beat. As if melting out of the shadows a tall, bulbous figure stepped up to the hedgehog and loomed over him. Red upon black eyes glowered like hot coals, casting a dull light.
"It was a good snooze while it lasted, Sweetheart," Sonic commented, grinning. Then a scowling glare crossed over his face. "What are you up to, 'Buttnik?"
Robotnik walked around the table, footfalls echoing. Sonic didn't notice him slip a hand into his cloak, but the grin on his face made Sonic feel a little uneasy. "Just something different," Robotnik rasped, producing the tube of the DNA serum and placing it in front of Sonic for him to see. Sonic, however, didn't look impressed.
"That colour would look great on the walls, you know. Wouldn't kill for better lighting either," he said, cocking his head to the side innocently. The obese Overlander snorted harshly.
"Foolish rodent, this isn't a paint sample. This is an experiment, one that you're going to help me complete," Robotnik said calmly. This time Sonic saw Robotnik pull out from his cloak a small pistol. In one slow movement, the doctor slid the tube into the empty modified magazine of the gun.
"What? You're gonna shoot me? A bit cowardly, dontcha think?" Sonic regarded his current restraint position.
Ignoring the comment, as much as it irritated him, Robotnik leaned over and parted a small patch of Sonic's fur with his fingers, revealing the pale and vulnerable skin underneath. He pressed the pistol's barrel against Sonic's skin and pulled the trigger, which gave out a satisfying jolt of recoil as the fine needle within the barrel injected the orange-red liquid into Sonic's bloodstream. Robotnik's grin widened when he saw the hedgehog jump.
"Now for your medication," the doctor crooned, this time pulling out the small phial of blue mind controlling liquid. "Say 'ah'."
"Make me," Sonic snapped, now irked from the previous event. He was surprised when Robotnik grabbed his nose between his flabby fingers, cutting off his air intake. This made Sonic open his mouth just so he could breathe, which was a big mistake on his part. As soon as Sonic opened his mouth Robotnik popped the bottle's cork like it was merely a bottle of champagne, and poured the liquid down the hedgehog's throat. He then forced Sonic's mouth shut, which made him to swallow the awful tasting liquid. Sonic began spluttering like a dying car engine, then managed to glare at Robotnik.
"What the heck was that about?!" he demanded between coughs. "What did you give me?"
"Nothing much," Robotnik said off-handedly. "All I want you to do is report back here."
Sonic blinked, gaping at the Overlander blankly. "The he--"
Then all of a sudden he felt rather light-headed. He drew in a deep breath before his eyes glazed over and rolled to the back of his head, the effect of the mind controlling serum cycling through his system in one heartbeat.
Robotnik snapped his fingers, signalling for a SWATbot who stood guard hidden in the shadows to come forward.
"Take the hedgehog to the examining room and place him in the cell located there," he ordered, drumming his fingers together with inner glee as he watched the SWATbot carrying the unconscious hedgehog away.
The call for a rescue had been answered.
Backpack full of comm-links, rope and a stolen SWATbot laser gun, along with compatible power cells, Sally had set off to Robotropolis, along with Rotor who had volunteered to come also, as the city was a dangerous place to be alone.
Currently both Mobians stood in an isolated area of Robotropolis' junkyard, scouting the perimeter for any signs of danger. Finding none, Sally picked up a near-by piece of rusted pipe and banged it rhythmically against a pile of assorted bits of twisted metal and robot parts. After a silent moment a huge horizontal hanger-door seemingly appeared from beneath the bottomless pile of junk, and both Sally and Rotor rushed down the stairs that were hidden by the door. At the bottom of the staircase stood a robotized Mobian hedgehog.
"What brings you two here?" the robot hedgehog questioned, his robotic features barely allowing an expression of surprise.
"Has Sonic been here, Uncle Chuck?" Sally was the first to speak, though in a tone of hast. She became terrified when Uncle Chuck shook his head.
"No, not at all, Princess. Why, is something wrong?" The hedgehog's robotic voice gave a tone of worry.
"We were on a mission and got attacked by some SWATbots. Sonic distracted them while we escaped, but now there's no sign of him and it's been a few hours now," Rotor recounted. Now Uncle Chuck appeared concerned.
"That's is unlike Sonic," he murmured. "I'll do a search-sweep on the security cameras, just in case he's still in the city." Uncle Chuck crossed over to the end of the hideaway, where a large computer terminal sat. With a series of commands typed into the computer, the robotizied hedgehog called up multiple windows onto the monitor, each showing what each security camera of every area saw.
An interval later, Uncle Chuck found a suspicious looking camera image of two SWATbots standing stock still in front of what appeared to be a small cage. After adjusting the camera angle it was revealed that Sonic was inside the cage, unconscious. What made it more curious was that this image was being transferred from the Laboratory Base's examining room.
"Sonic's here, all right. But I would be a bit cautious when you go to get him," Uncle Chuck finally warned. Sally and Rotor inspected the camera images, understanding what Sonic's uncle meant by the warning.
"Well, we came to rescue him and that's just what we're going to do," Sally said determinedly. "Thank you for all your help, Uncle Chuck."
Uncle Chuck gave a small nod. "Any time, Princess. Just get my nephew home safely."
As the camera images had reported, only two SWATbots stood guard of the cell, which was embedded in the opposite wall of the Examining Room. Both SWATbots were armed with high powered laser sniper guns, and it was more than certain to both Freedom Fighters that they had been ordered to shoot without question. Inside the cramped cell was Sonic himself, lying on his side lifelessly, and with his back turned to the two.
Sally looked back to Rotor, who was fidgeting with what appeared to be a small pistol. After adjusting the pistol's settings and inserting a new power-cell cartridge, Rotor aimed the gun's barrel at the first SWATbot and pulled the trigger. A small, rounded bullet shot out, planting itself deeply into the SWATbot's chest, the second robot getting the same treatment.
With a push of the button located near the pistol's trigger, the caps generated a blast of high voltage electricity, which coursed its way into each and every circuit and wire throughout the SWATbots' bodies. A moment later the SWATbots collapsed to the ground, nothing more but piles of smouldering scrap metal.
Sally was the first to her feet and at the cage. "Sonic. Sonic," she hissed in a low voice. When he didn't give any sign of response Sally's heart began to race like mad, her worry and concern fuelling each stammered beat. She jumped back when the barred cell-door suddenly slid to the side, and gaped blankly at Rotor, who smiled innocently back. His flipper-like fingers still hovered over the security lock's number pad attached to the cage.
Sally walked into the cell and crouched down next to the unconscious hedgehog. Carefully, she turned Sonic onto his back, grimacing upon sighting the blood that had dripped down over one side of his face. Sally also heeded that Sonic appeared very pale; possibly because of the large amount of blood he had lost from the head wound.
Rotor placed his heavy paw on Sonic's chest, mentally counting the beats of his heart prior to his own. "He seems all right, his heartbeat is pretty strong," Rotor concluded after an interval.
"Let's hope so," Sally said. She gently tapped Sonic's cheek with an open palm and began calling for him to wake up again. At first it seemed to no avail, for the hedgehog still didn't give any indication of hearing. But just as Sally was about to stop Sonic moaned weakly and began to stir.
"S...Sally?" he murmured as he opened his eyes slowly, finally registering his surroundings. The Princess gave a sigh of relief, and with Rotor's help she got Sonic sitting up steadily.
"Are you all right?" she asked quickly. All Sonic did was stare at Sally tiredly, his large eyes glazed over and appearing vacant.
"Do I look okay?" Sonic groaned, leaning his head back to the wall behind him. Sally looked over Sonic, checking for any other injuries. She found none, but it occurred to her that Sonic seemed to look different somehow.
"Did Robotnik do anything to you, Sonic?" she asked. Sonic rubbed his head gingerly as he thought back, but then shook his head. "I don't think so, though I don't remember much of what happened."
"Do you remember what happened before you were caught?" Rotor volunteered, thinking along the lines Sally was. Again Sonic thought back.
"Yeah, you guys took too long downloading that file you found. Twenty mega-something or other, right?" he said. To this Sally smiled, as did Rotor. No robot-double would have said it in the same way, both were sure of it.
"Come on, let's get you out of here," Sally suggested. "Can you stand?"
Slowly Sonic pulled himself to his feet, waiting for the dizziness to disappear before attempting to walk. But after taking one step he swayed dangerously, and was saved a fall to the ground by Rotor. By then the hedgehog's breathing had become harsh and heavy. It was another shock when Sonic suddenly doubled over in pain and grabbed at his left side, where the needle had been inserted hours before.
"Sonic?" Sally ventured, grabbing his shoulders carefully and helping his to stand up straight again. Sonic sucked in a sharp breath and gingerly rubbed at his side, all the while fighting off the dizziness that still lingered in his head.
"Just a bit dizzy, Give me a minute," he insisted, voice hushed and seemingly full of pain. Both Freedom Fighters waited patiently for Sonic to recover, listening to his laboured breathing anxiously.
"Looks like I won't be running back home tonight," Sonic commented off-handedly gradually, smirking tiredly at his friends. The three of them set off to the exit of the building.
"Sir, the hedgehog is being taken out of the Examining Room," Snively reported. "Should I send out a SWATbot squadron to stop them from escaping?"
Robotnik glared at the monitor viewing Sally and Rotor assisting Sonic out into the street in front of the Laboratory Base. But from what he could see from the black and white image, the transformation had started taking place already.
"Negative," Robotnik ordered. "I want the Freedom Fighters to have a taste of things to come." A toothy smile graced Robotnik's gross features.
That night passed and morning came, as the cycle always had.
It was later that morning when Sally heard a soft knock at her door. She called for whomever was there to come in, surprised to find that it was Bunnie. It was obvious that Bunnie hadn't gotten much sleep during the night, as her fur appeared matted, and there were the beginnings of bags under her eyes. Her long ears also drooped, and the sleek fur along them seemed frizzed.
"Wha' did the doctah say 'bout Sugah-hog?" she asked, pulling up a chair next to Sally. Sally looked away from Nicole's screen, where she was attempting to decrypt the file they had found last night, and gave a low sigh.
"The cut on Sonic's forehead was pretty bad and needed stitching, and he just needed a day's rest to get over his exhaustion," she announced, at the same time remembering what had happened when she, Rotor and Sonic had neared Knothole. The hedgehog had collapsed, both from exhaustion of the long walk home, and the extreme dizziness he was experiencing because of the head wound. Doctor Quack was called for immediate medical attention as soon as Rotor and Sally had helped Sonic down the hidden log slide and into his hut.
But despite the seriousness of the situation, Sally allowed a small smirk to appear on her lips. "But I think that it was a good thing that Sonic was too tired to tell that Doctor Quack was stitching him up, or else who knows what he would have done to the doctor."
Bunnie smiled with her friend. "The poor doctah woulda ended up in the hospital himself if Sugah-hog had anythang ta say 'bout it," she added. "It's good that Sugah-hog wasn't too badly hurt. But do y'all know what happened to him?"
To this Sally shrugged helplessly. "I really don't know, but what I do know is that Sonic is going to get a serious tongue-lashing when he does recover."
"Ah'll warn him ta run when he does."
Suddenly Nicole beeped. "File decrypted, Sally," she reported.
"Display, Nicole," Sally ordered. At once a holographic projection shimmered above the small computer. But what showed was what Sally wasn't expecting. Instead, the projection played a graphic sensitive animation of Robotnik's laughing face, which was multiplied ten fold around it. In the background various brightly coloured words of insult scrolled across. This explained why the file was so large in the first place.
Sally stared at the movie in horror, feeling like someone had just hit her with a sledge-hammer.
"The file was a fake," she moaned, sinking back in her seat. "After all that--"
Bunnie placed her hands on her friend's shoulders, giving them a comforting squeeze. "Don't worry, Sally-girl. Maybe there's somethang else with the file," she offered. Sally shook her head, then pushed her bangs away from her eyes.
"I doubt it, Bunnie. Robotnik isn't the type to give out freebies with movies." She sighed heavily. "And Sonic got hurt because of it."
"Y'all know that Sonic would do anything to help out, even if it meant him getting hurt," Bunnie pointed out. "And Sugah-hog will be fine, you heard what the doctah said,"
That was when they heard the blood-curdling scream coming from the direction of Sonic's hut.
By the time Sally and Bunnie made their way to Sonic's hut a large group of concerned Mobians had formed a tight circle around it. It was a chore just to push their way through to the door.
"Sonic, what's going on?" Sally called, practically thumping down the door when she had finally reached it. She tried to open the door, only to find that Sonic had locked it. Now all of the Freedom Fighters were gathered behind Sally.
"What's going on, Aunt Sally?" Tails whispered, too afraid to speak loudly. Another cry of pain erupted from within Sonic's hut, followed by the sound of something breaking.
"Sonic," Sally exclaimed, now frightened for her friend. To her it sounded like someone was trying to murder the hedgehog.
From behind her, Sally was pushed aside gently by Bunnie.
"Stand back, Sally-girl. We're gonna find out just what the hoo-ha is goin' on in thare," she proclaimed, flexing her robotized hand. In an instant the cyborg rabbit pulled back her arm and punched the door down, breaking it at the hinges and sending a spray of splinters to the floor.
Bunnie then marched with determined strides into the dark hut, where she found most of Sonic's belongings scattered across the floor, but not in the usual way that the hedgehog kept them. In one of the corners of the hut, Sonic was huddled up with his back turned to Bunnie. Even in the darkness she could see that he was shaking violently.
Motioning to Sally and the others to step back with a wave of her arm, Bunnie crossed over to the hedgehog, noticing that there was an odd feeling of dread that seemed to linger in the air, though she couldn't say why she felt that way.
"Sugah-hog, what's the matter?" Bunnie questioned quietly, crouching down near Sonic. For a full minute he didn't give any form of response, but instead just sat there with his hands over his head, trembling violently.
Thinking that Sonic was just being stubborn, as he usually was when such an event occurred, Bunnie took a hold of Sonic's shoulders in a gentle grip.
"Y'all know we jerst wanna help ya, Sonic. But y'all gotta tell us what's wrong," Bunnie insisted. "Everyone is worr'ed sick, they're are all standin' outsiah crowdin' th' place like a bee-hive durin' rush houah."
However, instead of responding, Sonic turned sharply and snapped at Bunnie's hand with his mouth, which she avoided just in the nick of time.
The cream coloured rabbit checked her hand frantically to make sure that no fingers were missing, as Sonic had bitten at her real hand, and gaped at the hedgehog.
"Now what the heck was that all about, Sonic?" she demanded, shaken but now angry. Her eyes widened when Sonic finally stood and faced her, eyes blazing a pure white. A menacing growl formed on Sonic's lips, and Bunnie could see that his canine teeth were long and pointed, completely different to the way they always were. The hedgehog began stalking towards her, before grabbing his head in obvious agony. Sonic let out a scream like that from before and doubled over, clutching his mid-section, then began to breath in choked gasps of air.
Whatever was happening to him began at his shoulders, which bulged out like a balloon suddenly pumped full of water, and continued down along his arms to his hands. Black razor sharp claws literally burst out from Sonic's fingertips, breaking through his gloves and tearing them to shreds. Next Sonic's fur became noticeably darker, and his body stretched taller than Bunnie when one did not include her long ears, each part of his body adjusting to the size change instantly.
Sonic's breathing became fast and harsher as the mysterious transformation proceeded, sending him into a fit of pain and blinded agony. It got to the point where Sonic actually began to throw himself against the wall behind him, sometimes striking his head with deadly force. Bunnie couldn't help but watch, as her robotic legs suddenly felt like they had been magnetised to the floor. What she was witnessing was like a scene taken out of a horror movie, and she felt that she was going to be the poor woman that was about to be killed in a bloodbath of a struggle.
Finally Sonic let out another scream, but this time it sounded like that of a wild cat who had just been stepped on. The scream formed a low yowl until it finally died down in his throat, and Sonic stood with his head bowed, recovering slowly from what had happened.
Her legs now functioning, Bunnie slowly began to back away unsteadily, barely holding back a sob. But as if sensing her movements, Sonic lifted his head and focussed his blank eyes on the retreating rabbit, looking so much like a hunting creature.
A beastly growl escaped Sonic's throat once more, making Bunnie's blood turn to ice. Even with his eyes completely white Bunnie could see that they held the aspect of murderous intentions.
She turned to run, the message finally reaching her head.
Extensively, in one lightening quick move, Sonic attacked.
The crowd rippled with panic when Bunnie came flying through the doorway, Sonic seemingly pinned to her back. A struggle erupted between the two as soon as they hit the ground, but it only resulted with Sonic holding Bunnie to the ground in a merciless headlock.
Needless to say, everyone who witness this was beyond shock, especially Sally and the Freedom Fighters. Despite Sonic's hot-headedness, the hedgehog would never ever raise a threatening hand to any other living creature, let alone attack them unless such an action was absolutely necessary. But now it seemed that Sonic was fighting like a possessed monster, and he was overpowering Bunnie with a strength no one knew he had.
"Ah, guys. Little help here, please?" Bunnie cried, voice strangled. At the moment she was trying to pull the hedgehog off of her back, trying being the key-word stated. She did, however, manage to make Sonic topple over onto his back, giving her an opportunity to grab his flaring arms.
Bunnie suddenly recoiled when Sonic attempted to slash his newly acquired claws across her face. It only took that split second of distraction for Sonic to seize Bunnie by her throat and slam her against the outer wall of his hut, lifting her with the greatest of ease a foot or so off the ground.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the blade of a sword appeared at Sonic's throat. Even in his fit of aimless rage Sonic appeared to be surprised by this, and focussed his white eyes onto the sword handler. He didn't even notice Bunnie trying unsuccessfully to pry his choking hands from her throat when he came face to face with Antoine.
"Put 'er down, Sonique, and I won't be forcing to 'urt you," Antoine hissed. The fearless expression on his face was nothing more than a poker face, as Sonic could see clearly that the coyote was trembling violently. This was causing his sword to quiver dangerously close to Sonic's throat, which angered him to the point of no return.
Sounding a fur-raising growl, Sonic threw Bunnie at the semi-heroic coyote, sending them both crashing gracelessly to the ground. He followed the two shortly, though, when he was kicked from behind by Sally, who had executed a perfect flip-back kick into his back. In a blink of an eye her arms swiftly wrapped around the hedgehog's neck in a secured hold, and her torso pressed against his back for an extra strong hold. Sonic's head was jerked back as Rotor took a fistful of his head quills, then grabbed Sonic's wrists to stop him from punching anyone that came too close. Finally all of the Freedom Fighters piled on top of the hedgehog when it looked like he was about to throw off the both of them.
"Sorry, Sonic. But we can't afford having you injuring everyone in the village," Sally apologised over Sonic's snarling protests. They all cried out when Sonic began thrashing about and tightened whatever form of hold they had on him, Sonic trying to claw and slash at anyone he could get his claws close enough to.
Then, all at once, Sonic went limp under the multi-Mobian pile. Startled by this, everyone jumped off, thinking that somehow they had hurt him.
"Did we hurt him?" Tails murmured to Rotor, who simply shrugged as he was unsure himself. Cautiously, Sally approached the unmoving Sonic, as no one else seemed to have the guts to do so, and lightly touched his shoulder. With a yell she jumped just as Sonic snapped sharply at her hand, like he had done to Bunnie. To warn Sally not to do that again, Sonic snarled viciously, baring all of his teeth threateningly. When he did this both the hackles at the back of his neck and his head quills bristled, making him appear larger and more threatening.
"The rascal was playing possum," Bunnie exclaimed with disbelief, staring agape as Sonic starting inching closer towards the group. When he figured that the group wasn't going to try anything foolish again, Sonic stood slowly and snorted disapprovingly at everyone, then turned on his heel and ran off in a cloud of dust, heading towards Robotropolis. To the Freedom Fighters, it seemed that Sonic's speed had also been improved, as the hedgehog was out of sight in a matter of milliseconds.
Now the villagers were panicking, as they couldn't comprehend what had just taken place. To Sally, though, now everything was falling into place. The fake file, Robotnik not robotizing Sonic when he had the chance. The Overlord was planning on taking out the village before Doomsday so that he didn't have any interference, and had decided to use Sonic as his tool of destruction through... whatever he had done to him while he was in Robotropolis.
"Antoine, Tails. Calm down the villagers," Sally suddenly ordered, startling the two mentioned. The two saluted shortly and hastened to complete the task at hand.
"Rotor, Bunnie, let's go. We have to stop Sonic before he reaches Robotnik."
Over and over the order played through Sonic's clouded mind. Without thinking twice the hedgehog ran the familiar streets of Robotropolis that headed to the Command Center. The egg-shaped building loomed over Sonic, forbidding and dark with its aura of hatred and fear, but the sight didn't intimidate Sonic the least. Besides, Robotnik was expecting him to report in soon.
Marching into the building, back arched and senses on high alert, Sonic made his way to the Throne Room without hassle from any SWATbots and waited patiently for his new master to arrive. He didn't wait long, as almost as soon as Sonic entered the room Robotnik appeared, his scrawny nephew in tow. In Snively's hand was a scanner.
"Scan the hedgehog's DNA, Snively, and make sure that it is stable." Robotnik rumbled the order. Cautiously, Snively swiped the small scanner over and around Sonic's body, keeping an eye on the readings that appeared on the little screen.
"The hedgehog's DNA has been spliced successfully, Sir," Snively ordered after an interval. Robotnik walked over to Sonic, who didn't move or shudder away from the Overlander.
"Excellent, Snively," Robotnik said. "Were the Freedom Fighters following you here, Sonic?"
Wordlessly, the hedgehog nodded.
"Very good. Stand by for instructions."
Tossing caution to the wind was a rare sight for the Freedom Fighters, especially when Sally was present.
But in this case Sally made an exception, on account that she was the one practically storming through to the Throne Room. Rotor and Bunnie were right behind her, acting as look out but still following their Princess strongly. Fortunately for the three crusading Mobians it was a good stroke of luck that there were no SWATbot guards around to stop them.
They made it to the Throne Room five minutes after arriving in Robotropolis, only to find none other than Doctor Robotnik reclining in his massive chair that was made out of solid metal, as nothing else could support his great weight without breaking. The Overlander regarded the Mobians with a wicked grin, and stood.
"Welcome," he greeted sarcastically. At once Rotor and Bunnie took fighting stances, ready for any form of attack. Sally remained standing straight, although she now stood at her full height to gain some courage before speaking.
"Where's Sonic?" she demanded simply, skipping pleasantries. This wasn't a formal occasion, though missions involving direct conferences with the Overlord were far from formal, or pleasant.
"The hedgehog is... around," Robotnik responded, still keeping up that grin. "I suppose you are all here to rescue him?"
"Of course. So if you just tell us where he is we'll be on our way a lot sooner, doctor," Sally challenged. To this Robotnik sighed melodramatically, giving a slight shrug of his heavy shoulders.
"Well, I just had a word with the boy, and it seems to me that he has resigned from your cause." At this point a look of inner glee flashed in his luminous eyes. "Which suits me just fine."
That was the straw that broke the camel's back, or in this case the ground squirrel's. With an incoherent yell Sally lunged at Robotnik, using her momentum to execute her infamous flying kick to his head. Or would have if she hadn't been tackled to the floor by a mysterious figure from the shadows.
When Sally made sense of what had happened, she looked up to her attacker, who was still on top of her, and was shocked beyond words when she found that it was Sonic. His eyes were still completely white, and it appeared that the hedgehog had gotten just a little bit taller since their first encounter in Knothole. And stronger.
A low rumbling growl bubbled through Sonic's throat, only escaping through the small parts of his lips that weren't pressed together. There was a flash of sharp teeth for a silent moment, which sent chills down Sally's spine. Behind Sonic she could see Bunnie and Rotor watching in horror, powerless to do anything.
"Oh, Sonic," Robotnik called. Sonic's ears pricked up - which too seemed longer and more pointed - along with his head, and he faced his new master eagerly.
"Destroy them." The order was a blissful whisper to Robotnik, and a full fledged order to Sonic. The hedgehog instantly snarled in Sally's face, and Sally could feel pressure building up where he held her by the wrists, along with a sharp pain coming from her chest as Sonic's knee pressed itself into it. As Sonic tensed his hands his claws unsheathed, cutting their way through Sally's fur and flesh, drawing blood. Sally had to close her eyes and bite her lip to stop herself from crying out; she refused to give Robotnik that pleasure. But if she didn't think of something soon her wrists and ribs would snap like twigs under Sonic's strenght.
The weight pressing against her chest was suddenly gone, although the pain in her wrists increased when Sonic's claws dragged along the width of them. Sally dared a peek, surprised to see Sonic just picking himself off the floor from the other side of the room. From the corner of her eye Sally noticed Bunnie's robotic arm slowly retracting itself to its normal length - she was the one who had separated Sonic from Sally.
A loud roar erupted from Sonic as he charged at the cyborg rabbit at full speed, his clawed hand held high, ready for the kill. This time it was Rotor that stopped him, by shoving the hedgehog roughly to the side with a lucky shoulder drive. Sonic once again toppled to the floor, this time taking a little longer to get up. Whatever Robotnik did to him may have improved his speed and strength, Sally pondered, but it certainly didn't improve his balance or stability. Perhaps it was because the transformation was only recent, and Sonic was still not use to its full potentialities.
Sally turned to where Robotnik was standing, realising that the Overlander was nowhere to be found. He was being over-confident with his plan, a trait that was always Robotnik's downfall. Sally was going to make sure that it was the same for this event.
"Bunnie," Sally yelled. "grab Sonic again like that." It was an unstable plan, but a plan nonetheless.
"Got it, Sally-girl," Bunnie confirmed, then extended her arm and grabbed Sonic by the scruff of his neck, lifting him away from Rotor like a little puppy. Sonic began struggling in the rabbit's iron-hold, clawing and biting at her hand feebly in an attempt to make her let go. Finally he began kicking and pawing at Bunnie's arm, but the actions were nothing more than a desperate version of a temper tantrum.
"The best way we can stop him is by running him down," Sally informed her friends. "Let's hope that Sonic doesn't hate us later for doing this to him. Bunnie, drop him."
Bunnie glanced at Sally, surprised by the order. "Are y'all shure? What if Ah hurt him?" she asked with concern.
"You'll slow him down more than hurt him, Bunnie," Sally promised. "And in his current state of mind I don't think he'll even feel it."
Reluctantly, Bunnie did as she was told, cringing when she heard the audible 'thud' from the hedgehog's landing. But true to what Sally had predicted, Sonic's recovery time was decreasing noticeably.
Sonic managed to pull himself to his feet and lean against the wall he was held against. His breathing now heavy pants, his clouded mind achieved to register that he was weakening, and to come up with a more effective form of attack. A new instinct flowed into his brain, where a primitive animal's thoughts began to form and take its place. This brought along a new wave of pain throughout his body as his mind tried to fight to keep its rightful place, and Sonic grabbed at his head as a pain filled howl escaped him.
What's happening to him, Sally's mind screamed as she watched Sonic fall to his knees, writhing and twitching. A heaved grunt sounded from the hedgehog, and sweat began to bead all over his body, soaking at his sleek fur. Inside his head a thousand sounds rang through, clashing and crashing like waves against a beach's shore, becoming one chaotic mess. The mind-controlling serum fought for control alongside Sonic's now mutated brain, but what was left of his previous form fought back. Sonic's body shook with the strain of it all.
From within the whirlwind battle Sonic vaguely heard Rotor and Bunnie cry out themselves when Sally ran to him. She couldn't stand there any longer knowing that her friend was in pain, and no matter what she wanted to help Sonic any way she could. Sally knelt beside Sonic and took a hold of his shoulders, forcing him to face her.
"Come on, Sonic. You can fight this," Sally coaxed pleadingly. She felt Sonic's body tense under her hands before he began writhing again. Sonic clenched his sharp teeth together in an attempt to contain the pain, and for a brief moment his eyes focussed onto Sally. With that everything in his mind seemed to settle calmingly, and a small flood of memories - his previous form's memories - filled up the space.
Sonic's eyes flashed to a dull white, allowing his brown eyes to surface. Everyone saw this and thought that the hedgehog had finally returned to normal.
"Sonic, are you all right?" Sally questioned, hope clear in her voice. Sonic swallowed dryly, collecting his thoughts so that they were more understandable. He felt confused, and it felt to Sonic that all his senses were overwhelming him. Sight, hearing, smell, even his sense of taste could register the taste of lingering sweat and blood in the room ten fold. His muscles shook with exhaustion he couldn't remember acquiring, and in an unconscious movement he leaned against Sally. Somehow he felt detached from himself, it was hard to think straight or gather any thoughts whatsoever. He couldn't even make himself to conjure up the thought to wipe the sweat away from his brow.
"Sonic, are you all right?" Sally questioned again, now concerned. The blank look on the hedgehog's face was far from reassuring to her, and he was acting like as if he was almost braindead. She was afraid for a moment that perhaps the fall did hurt Sonic, or whatever Robotnik had done to him was slowly killing him. Sally's hands shook on Sonic's shoulders.
"Sonic, please say something," she cried, squeezing his shoulders. The action seemed to register to Sonic, as he somewhat lifted his head and gazed at Sally.
"S...Sa..lly..." His speech was slurred, a mix between his own natural voice and an odd growl. But Sally was overwhelmed that he was still able to recognise her. She slipped her hand into his clawed one, not bothering to avoid the claws.
"It's going to be okay, Sonic," she murmured. Sonic closed his eyes, nodding a little. He was slowly making sense of some of his thoughts, fighting to keep it all in peace. But then something in his head snapped, cascading his efforts and destroying them instantly. Sonic's eyes glowed again, brown irises disappearing once again in their blinding depths, and a feral snarl gurgled out of his jaws. In one swift motion of his hand Sonic whipped Sally away from him, and with a cry Rotor and Bunnie ran to their friend's aid.
Meanwhile Sonic stood and watched without emotion as the two pulled a startled Sally to her feet. Instead another plan began to take form, fulfilling the task previously set before that little interruption. Actually, the interruption allowed Sonic to remember a few things about the building they all currently stood in, which allowed the plan to complete itself.
In an instant Sonic turned and ran out the Throne Room, heading for another section of the building in a flash. Not wanting to loss the incoherent hedgehog the Freedom Fighters followed suite, wondering what in the world he was doing.
They ran down two corridors before they lost Sonic, and were forced to guess where he had gone to. To give them a clue, Sally unclipped Nicole from her boot and activated the computer. She called up a map of the building, commanding for a dot reference of the Freedom Fighters' current location. A quick study of the map showed that there was another room about one hundred meters from where they stood.
"That's possibly the first place Sonic would go," Sally confirmed. She studied the map and lead the way, unaware that the very person that they were looking for was quietly stalking behind them. Nicole's sensors missed Sonic's location, as her sensors were linked by each of the Freedom Fighters' DNA samples for a specific identification reading. Which, in Sonic's case, had been altered enough for her to tell the difference.
The Mobians made it to the room without incident. It was surprisingly small and dark, and a quick search for a light switch only resulted with defeat. Not willing to explore the room further without a reliable light source all three turned to walk out, only to have the nearly invisible door slammed shut in their faces, plunging the three into an inky black darkness.
"Oh mah stars!" Bunnie yelped. "This is lahk bein' inna horror film."
"Only there isn't a blue tint in the room," Sally added without a hint of humour.
The sound of someone falling was heard not far from where Bunnie was standing, followed by struggling. A muffled cry let loose.
"Rotor," Sally exclaimed, scared now. Hurriedly she practically ripped off her backpack from her shoulder and began digging blindly for her flashlight. Her shaking hands encounter the flashlight's smooth form and she pulled it out, fumbling with the button. A disk of pale light appeared and closed in on where the sounds were coming from.
There on the floor was Rotor, blood seeping from his cheeks. Over his mouth and nose was a hand, cutting off his air supply, and by raising the flashlight a little higher it was made known that it was Sonic trying to suffocate the walrus. In Sonic's own mouth in a vice-like grasp was Rotor's right wrist, as Rotor had tried to punch Sonic when he had tackled him, being cut by the hedgehog's sharp teeth. Again there was blood trailing down Rotor's arm, also staining the fur on Sonic's muzzle.
In a blinded fit of anger and fear Bunnie gave a great cry and lunged at the hedgehog, pushing Sonic away from her wounded friend. The sudden and sharp movement making Sonic's teeth tear along Rotor's wrist further, which caused Rotor to holler in agony as Sally gently, but hastily dragged him away from the two.
Angered by the intrusion Sonic snarled viciously at Bunnie and went for her throat, mouth wide open for another bite. The rabbit swung her robotized arm at the hedgehog, nailing a heavy blow to the side of his face, which was countered by a slap that felt just as strong as her own to her face by Sonic.
Sally desperately tried to keep the light on Bunnie and Sonic. Bunnie was now slamming her robotic shoulder into Sonic - barely a second between each hit - slowly inching him towards the opposite wall. But with each impact it was becoming apparent that Sonic was weakening drastically, and the discovery concluded with cheers of encouragement from both Sally and Rotor. Their efforts were rewarded when Sonic was finally knocked against the wall and had collapsed under a blow from Bunnie's robotic fist.
Breathing heavily and tears of frustration running down her furred cheeks, Bunnie stepped back and waited, her glare daring Sonic to stand and attack again. Which Sonic did; the standing part anyway.
His own breathing matched Bunnie's, but seemed more laboured, and his whole body quivered with each movement he made. Sonic's blank eyes blinked wearily as his wild mind calculated his next move, finally drawing back his balled-up fist for a punch.
Bunnie readied herself for the attack, balling up her own robotic fist and tensing her legs. Like Sally had wanted before Bunnie was going to slow Sonic down enough so that they could figure out what to do next. She herself was tiring quickly, especially from the brief explosion of anger before, but she wanted this to be over with as quickly as possible, even if it meant a battle until one fell in defeat. She expected Sonic was thinking the same way.
Which was why she was surprised when Sonic's fist unwillingly uncurled itself and Sonic exhaled a soft sigh, head lolling back as he collapsed into an exhausted heap. He hit the ground with a dull thud, and didn't move.
She stood there dumbfounded for a moment, as did Sally and Rotor behind her, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Then carefully looping her arms under his armpits, Bunnie dragged Sonic out into the lighted corridor, once she had found the door, Sally and Rotor coming out next. The light revealed bruises littering Sonic's body, Bunnie's also but in smaller quantities, and patches of rusty red were all over his muzzle and hands. Even the stitching across the left of his forehead had come undone, and the wound had begun bleeding again. Yet Sonic seemed... at ease, despite his physical and mental state.
Gently, Sally scooped Sonic's head and torso into her arms, cradling them against her chest and pressing her hand near his neck to find a pulse. That's when a soft groan came from Sonic's lips, and he began to move. All present stiffened, not sure what to expect. Sonic had pulled off this trick in Knothole, and they were in no condition to begin yet another fight with the hedgehog.
Sonic's eyes fluttered barely halfway, followed by another moan of weary pain, but then all at once he slipped back into unconsciousness, too exhausted by the day's events to stay awake long enough even to see where he was. Under Sally's touch the hedgehog felt cold, yet he didn't shiver at all.
"Think he'll be all right?" Rotor inquired. He was holding the open wounds on his wrist with his good hand, but blood still managed to come through the tiny gaps between his fingers. Blood was streaked down both cheeks where Sonic had dug his claws in.
"Hopefully," Sally murmured. "Let's get him home before anything else happens."
Miraculously the wounds each Freedom Fighter involved in the rescue mission had sustained were only minor, despite their alarming appearances upon first sighting.
At the moment all of the Freedom Fighters, including Uncle Chuck, who had rushed over to the village immediately after hearing what had happened, were waiting outside of Sonic's hut for the doctor to come outside and tell them what exactly had happened to Sonic. The damages to Sonic's hut had been repaired a few hours earlier, and it almost looked like nothing had ever happened in the peaceful village.
Finally after what felt like a life-time, Doctor Quack emerged from Sonic's hut, a faint look of disbelief on his face. Everyone present jumped up from their seats and waited for the duck to talk.
"I ran some tests on Sonic's blood sample at the hospital, and it turns out that his genetic pattern has had new DNAs combine with it," Doctor Quack reported to the Freedom Fighters. "along with a mind-controlling liquid. Looks like Robotnik had decided to play in Chaos' laboratory."
All of the Freedom Fighters were shocked by the news. Robotnik was not renowned for his abilities with genetic science, and never could they imagine such a thing to happen, especially to one of their own.
"Do you know what DNAs have been introduced, Doctor Quack?" Sally questioned finally. The yellow duck nodded.
"It took a while to find a matching pattern in our records, and some book referencing was required. But if I'm not mistaken, and that's quite rare for me, Sonic's DNA has been mixed with both Overlander, and some kind of large felines."
As the information sunk in, it was Uncle Chuck who realised that Doctor Quack had said 'felines'.
"You mean more than one type of feline?" he elaborated. Another nod.
"The feline DNA had also been tampered with, making it having two DNAs in one. It was hard to separate them, but we managed to discover that one DNA is that of a lynx, while the other is a cougar," he stated. "But what I want to know is where did Robotnik find these samples? Ever since the Great War Overlanders have been presumed extinct. And to find cougar and lynx DNAs in their non-morphic forms is even rarer."
There was an awkward silence amongst the group. It was hard for them to imagine what Sonic must had gone through during the mutation, and they were all worried about the fact that there was a great chance that their friend would never be the same again.
"Can we see Sonic?" Sally inquired, breaking the silence. Doctor Quack simply gave a heavy sigh.
"Perhaps it would be better if everyone let's Sonic rest for now. The experience for him was quite traumatic, and he's body needs more time to recover from the transformation," he explained. "Tomorrow might be a better time for a quick visit, but that's a far distance from a solid promise, Princess."
For a moment a glimpse of disappointment crossed Sally's face, but then she nodded understandingly. Slowly, almost hesitantly, everyone departed, retiring to their homes for what was left of the afternoon.
Looking out for anyone approaching before stepping up the one step that lead to Sonic's hut, Sally managed to sneak into Sonic's hut without encountering any of the other Freedom Fighters or Doctor Quack. She had not have gotten any sleep that night before, as she was too worried about Sonic, and had been spooked greatly by the events that had played out yesterday.
Closing the door quietly behind her, Sally found Sonic to be curled up in a tight ball under the warm security of his bed covers, back facing her. Approaching the bed revealed that the hedgehog was sleeping quite soundly, the at-ease expression still on his face. Somehow Sally found that ironic.
At first Sally made off to leave, as she only came over to see if Sonic was all right, but then she decided to wait for her friend to wake up, just to make sure that everything was as peaceful as they appeared. So Sally silently pulled up a chair and sat down, leaning her elbows on the bed mattress as she watched Sonic closely. Hopefully, she thought to herself, Doctor Quack doesn't decide to drop by also. The duck's words were practically law, a law even royalty had to obey.
It was a good hour later until Sonic started showing signs of awareness. Sally was alerted to Sonic's awakening when a soft contented sigh rose from the slumbering hedgehog, and movement followed through. Finally, Sonic flopped over onto his opposite side, slightly startled when he saw Sally.
"Geez, Sal. Ya trying to give a guy a heart attack or something?" he commented wearily, suppressing a yawn with his hand. When he began pawing at his eyes Sally noticed that they had returned to normal, or close to normal.
Abruptly Sally took a hold of Sonic's chin and tilted his head to one side, examining his eyes closely, for now they were a bright and clear amber. Sonic's eyes use to be a deep brown, so deep that they appeared black, but then Sally remembered when Sonic had temporarily fought off the mind-controlling serum that his eyes were already a lighter brown. The new colour actually made Sonic appear more alert and wild, just like a cat. Even his pupils had altered to suit the mutation, as they were now perfect slits - wide slits due to the limited light in the room - instead of circular.
"What? What's up, Sal?" Sonic asked, clueless. Sally's fingers slipped away from Sonic's jaw quickly.
"Nothing," Sally answered, but then regretted the response. She should at least tell Sonic what happened; it seemed that the hedgehog had no recollection of anything.
Slowly, Sonic rolled over onto his stomach and yawned again. "Well, maybe you can tell me why I feel like Robuttnik's been doing jumping-jacks on me," he said as he stretched himself stiffly. But when he tensed his hand, which was stretched out into view, Sonic gaped with a sort of sickening but fearful awe at his fingers as long, curved claws unsheathed from his fingertips. Unbeknownst to him, Sally was also watching, but was more concerned about Sonic's reaction.
"Sonic--" Sally began, but then didn't know what to say. Instead she watched as Sonic laggardly pulled himself into a sitting position, still staring at his now clawed hand. With hesitant experimenting Sonic found that if he relaxed his hand the claws retracted, perfectly hidden from sight. Once again he tensed his hands, expression not wavering as the claws poked out once again. His hand was shaking now.
"What... what the heck happened to me? Since when did I have these claws?" Sonic whispered, focussing his amber eyes on Sally. She stood, and beaconed Sonic to do the same.
"Maybe it would be better that I showed you before explaining," Sally murmured melancholy, leading Sonic to his bathroom. Once there Sonic stood in front of his mirror, eyes widening at what he saw. In a sort of daze Sonic leaned closer to the mirror, gingerly pawing at his ears first, as they were the first thing he noticed, then around his face. Sonic discovered his sharp teeth by his tongue accidentally runnning over them, then parted his lips to have a better look at them. The sheer size of his canine teeth startled him.
Drawing in a shallow, shuttering breath, Sonic's stood to his full height and closed his eyes, placing a hand to his face that had paled dramatically.
"Okay, start explaining," he murmured in a dead tone, which Sally proceeded in doing. But when she had gotten to the part about Sonic stalking the Freedom Fighters to the dark room and attacking them viciously Sonic let out a terrified gasp and nearly toppled to the ground, so great was his shock.
"I didn't hurt anyone too badly, did I?" Sonic asked, eyes wide. "No, only minor injuries. But if you had bitten half a millimetre more into Rotor's wrist you would have punctured his radial artery," Sally confirmed. Sonic's eyes dropped to Sally's own wrists, taking in the thin bandages that were wrapped around them. Further examining the ground squirrel's form found a large bruise near her right cheek where he had slapped her the day before, which was slightly swollen. Sally saw where he was looking and covered the injury with her slender hand in an attempt to hide it.
"It's nothing to worry about, Sonic. It's just a little bruise," she assured quietly.
Sonic suddenly felt very fatigued, and was forced to sit down on the rim of his bathtub. He held his head in his hands and shook it, allowing everything to sink in further.
"So... there's no cure?" he inquired, dreading the answer to come. Sally sat down next to the hedgehog, gripping the edge of the bathtub so that she wouldn't slip in.
"I'm afraid not, Sonic. Nothing like this has ever happened, and I doubt that it would again for a very long time." Sally slid her arm around Sonic's shoulders in a comforting manner, giving them a light squeeze. "It'll be all right."
Sonic sighed heavily, shoulders going limp in Sally's arm-grip. In clumsy habit he pressed his fingertip against his exposed hand pugs, which were always hidden by both his fur and the gloves that he wore all the time, and Sonic noticed that they felt thicker, more cushioned than they use to. Probably the mutation's doing, he bet.
Sonic didn't look up when Sally stood.
"Maybe I should leave you alone for a little while," Sally offered gently, and walked out the bathroom. Sonic hesitated for a heartbeat before jumping to his feet and running after Sally.
"Sal, wait," he called, carefully grabbing her arm. After what Sally had told him Sonic wasn't going to take any chances with his newly attained strength.
Sally's large blue eyes gazed surprisingly at Sonic, and for a private moment Sonic stared into them affectionately.
The hedgehog collected his thoughts quickly, and found the right words to express them with. "Thanks for coming over and telling me what happened. And I'm sorry for my actions, though I had no idea what the heck I was doing or why."
There was a hidden expression in Sally's eyes, Sonic could tell as a something - for lack of better wording for the hedgehog - seemed to disappear when he said that. But then a smile formed on Sally's lips and the lost look was replaced with appreciation.
"Everyone knew that you had nothing to do with anything, Sonic. And I'm just happy that you're all right," Sally said. Sonic smirked, and another thought came into mind.
"Can you promise me something, Sal?" he requested. When the Princess nodded he continued. "If I start doing cat-like things, like chasing birds or eating tuna from a can, can you shoot me?"
Sally burst out laughing, as she hadn't thought of that possibility before. "I can't promise that, but if you start wrecking my furniture with your claws I might have to put you in a potato sack and toss you in a river," she managed to say, her laughter forming held giggles.
"That's a bit harsh, dontcha think?" Sonic remarked, but he too was laughing. "You know, I bet Robotnik is having a fit over this. Your mutation was his supposed answer to getting rid of us before Doomsday."
Sonic gave his familiar jaunt smirk. "Yeah? Well now it gonna backfire on him, ain't it?"
"No, no, no, no, NO!"
Two heavy fists slammed down onto the computer console, dinting the exterior greatly. Small sparks sprayed out from where the top of the console and the sides were separate, and a few wires snaked out, as if seeking escape from more abuse.
Red upon black eyes darted left and right, taking in all the visual information the video playback provided, not missing a thing. And what they saw made their owner very, very enraged.
"I knew the proposition was too good to be true," Doctor Robotnik hissed to the darkness that surrounded him. "Now the hedgehog is even more powerful than before." Chubby fingers curled into representations of claws, and robotic-like eyes narrowed.
"I knew I shouldn't have trusted him," he muttered, cursing under his breath afterwards to vent his anger further. "For this downfall he shall pay, the hedgehog, too."
The End - Completed Thursday, 14 March 2002
Well, there you have it, folks. Admit it, it was better than the first, and I actually had the decency to add a few teasers here and there. Aren't I clever? No? Well fine then, be that way.
Anyway, all comments are welcome, suggestions for improvement or ideas for future fanfictions (which would be great) are encouraged, and flames will be profoundly pointed and laughed at by me, possibly posted on a certain messageboard I frequent so that others can mock. Would-be-flamers, you have been warned.
Big thank you goes out to Shax for proof-reading this for me. If it wasn't for him I would have shown the world some pretty stupid mistakes. Another thank you goes out to the guys and girls at NetRaptor's Messageboard for giving me one more boost of confidence before uploading this fanfiction. All of you rock!