Categories > Games > Sonic the Hedgehog > Changes Are No Good

Chapter 5: Read Between the Lines

by chaoscheebs 1 review

Chaos Emeralds are a terrorist's best friends. What lengths will St. Jimmy go to in order to get them?

Category: Sonic the Hedgehog - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama - Characters: Amy Rose, Dr. Robotnik, Knuckles, Miles "Tails" Prower, Rouge, Shadow, Sonic - Warnings: [!] [?] [V] [X] - Published: 2006-06-18 - Updated: 2006-06-19 - 4164 words

Changes Are No Good
By: Chibi
Chapter 5: "Read Between the Lines"


In the office of Lieutenant General Saffron Saunders, Commander Sonic typed at her desk. Saffron watched the commander intently from a small couch. There was only one other time had she ever seen him raise his gun at anything, and that was protecting someone after he turned his ankle in battle. And yet, he had turned it on an unarmed intruder...

"Is there something wrong, Saffron?" Sonic asked.

"If I may speak freely, sir, you seemed rather upset earlier..." the hare said. Upset, she thought, That's an understatement. It had taken thirty minutes for the commander to finally stumble out of the men's room after the incident, and he still looked rather green then.

The hedgehog looked up from his work, but made no other motions. "... I recognized the guy, Saff," he said. "An old rival of mine. He was one of the Babylon Rogues. What a thief wanted in my office is beyond me, though." His hands started shaking. "God, Saff, I..."

The lieutenant rose from the couch and took a couple steps toward him. "Sir? If I may still speak freely..."

Sonic hugged himself to keep from shaking all over. "What is it, Saffron?"

Saffron approached the desk and said gently, "I think you should go home, sir. I'm not a doctor, but you look like you're on the edge of a nervous breakdown, sir."

Sonic shook his head. "Can't. Too much to do..."

"And I'm not perfectly qualified to do much of it, sir?" the hare responded. "Sir, we need our leader at the top of his game right now. You're no use to anyone if you're this unwell."

"But, Saff-"

She brought a hand down on the desk hard, causing the hedgehog to yelp in surprise. "Go. Home. Sir."

"You're being insubordinate, Saff," the commander said weakly.

Saffron's glasses flashed. "You're the one who taught me that sometimes you have to be insubordinate."

Sonic softly laughed. "No use arguing with you; I've taught my replacement too well."

The hare gasped and put a hand over her mouth. "S-sir?"

He smiled at her. "C'mon, don't tell me you're surprised. Why else would I leave things to you so much?"

"Because frankly, sir, when the world's not on the line, you're a slacker," the hare answered.

"That too," he said with a nod.

Saffron went for the phone. "Anyway, I'm going to arrange transport for you to return home."

"But, Saff..."

"You are going home, sir," she said. "Unfortunately, I cannot make you stay there." She reached out and patted his shoulder. "You need to take care of yourself, sir. Maybe, er..."

"Resign?" Sonic finished. "Trust me, Saff, after this mess is over, I'm outta here." He turned in the chair away from her. "This place, this organization... I can't take it anymore. I thought..." He shook his head. "Never mind what I thought." He turned back to her. "I still gotta check on Doc Robotnik and his family, but I'll stay home after that. I'll leave things here to you, Saff."

The hare started dialing a number on the phone. "So glad you're finally listening to reason, sir. I'll take care of everything."


Some time later, Mariel Bloom Child Care Center, Rosetta...

"'I meant what I said, and I said what I meant'-fuck off, Sonic."

An aging, acid green lizard behind a desk in the corner shot Shadow a nasty look. "I don't believe Dr. Seuss ever used language like that, Mr. Rose."

Shadow shrugged. "Artistic license."

The commander blinked at the black and red hedgehog. "What's the deal, Shad? I didn't even say anything yet!"

The weary-looking daycare worker looked up from the copy of Horton Hatches the Egg he was reading aloud. Several children sat in a semi-circle in front of him. "You don't have to. I told you already, you're not getting my emerald. You know, the one I used to save your organization's sorry ass?"

Sonic smoothed back his quills. "I know, and I'm grateful, but this is a matter of national security." His eyes narrowed and his voice grew cold. "You will have to give it up, Shad. I just wanted to give you a chance to do it peacefully."

Shadow glared right back at him. "I don't have to do anything." He closed the book, rose from the tiny plastic chair, and made his way past the children to go nose-to-nose with the commander. "I won't say this again, so you had better listen this time," he said, dropping his voice so the children wouldn't hear. "You are not getting my emerald. There is nothing at your disposal that can stop me. And if you so much as breathe in my family's direction, I will see to it that you suffer for what little would remain of your pathetic life. Do you understand, Commander?"

The commander sneered. "Yeah, I got it." He backed away and started for the door. "See ya, Shad."

The daycare worker snorted, then shook himself to clear his mind. He returned to his seat, opened the book, and asked the children. "Now then, where were we? Ah, yes. 'I meant what I said...'"


Later still, Robotnik Corp building, Dr. Robotnik's office...

"I'm sorry, Sonic, but we do not have a Chaos Emerald here," the doctor smoothly said from his desk. It wasn't really a lie, he thought, they were no longer in the building.

The hedgehog seated across the desk from him frowned, then leaned in forward. "Oh, c'mon, doc. Why else would that crazy bastard attack you if you didn't have an emerald or two around? From what the reports said, it was a pretty suicidal move."

Ivo shrugged. "If I recall correctly, the 'St. Jimmy' from the song had, quote, 'a taste for suicidal'. Perhaps it is another oblique song reference." He peered at the commander over the top of his glasses. "What makes you think the attacks on my home and place of business had anything to do with the Chaos Emeralds, Commander?"

The commander avoided meeting the doctor's eyes. "I... I mean, he did go after Shadow and Amy the day before. It's hardly obscure knowledge that Shad can manipulate the emeralds' energy, and it'd be safe to assume he would probably have one around just in case. And I recall a certain guy runnin' around tryin' to get the emeralds for his own purposes." He smirked. "In the distant past, of course, but you know some people still don't trust you as far as they can throw you. Some even go so far to say you made the 'bots. They look kinda like your weird, cutesy mech style and all." He sat back and waved a hand. "But we don't have anything that directly ties you to them... at the moment." He looked at the doctor like a cat who caught a canary. "But there's nothing to worry about. I mean, you haven't done anything wrong, now have you?"

Ivo pushed his glasses up. "No, of course not." He paused. "How is the investigation going? I heard you have Dr. Prower on the case."

Sonic stiffened. "The 'bots we recovered are pretty complex; I figured we needed an expert."

"Yes, and I'd imagine with what happened at Ms. Lebat's apartment, he'll have no problems tracing back the materials to where they came from," the doctor said cheerfully. "Quite a story, quite a story, from what my cousin heard. Rouge and Knuckles have some remarkable children."

The hedgehog almost imperceptibly twitched. "Yes, soon we'll get to the bottom of all this." He got out of the human-size chair and straightened his shirt and jacket. "Well, doc, I guess I can't take into custody what you don't have." He looked up at a clock on the wall. "And I was gonna meet Knuckles for lunch; don't wanna be late for that."

The doctor smiled pleasantly. "Of course not. And I do hope you have better luck elsewhere, Sonic." As the hedgehog approached the door, he added, "Be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past."

"Oh, I won't, doc. I won't."


East Central City was a marked change from the heart of the city in terms of damage. There was some fire damage, to be sure, but most of the smaller buildings and civilian dwellings remained relatively untouched. The commander met Knuckles there, at a small outdoor café. The echidna sat at a table with a blue and white umbrella over it, nervously trying to turn a napkin into an origami crane. "Red?" the hedgehog said.

Knuckles looked up from the failed crane. "Huh? Oh, you're here."

Sonic frowned as he took a seat next to him. "Some greeting. Is something wrong?" The echidna looked down and fiddled with the crane. "Knuckles?"

"Quit GUN, Sonic," Knuckles said without looking up.

The commander blinked. "Wha... What?"

"Quit GUN," his lover repeated, "or..." He swallowed hard. "Or I'm leaving you."

"WHAT?!" Sonic shouted, then quickly covered his mouth. He dropped his hand and reached out for the echidna. "What? Red, I-"

The echidna brushed his hand away and turned to him. "I mean it, Sonic. I know damned well this job has been making you miserable!" He gently put a hand on the hedgehog's chest. "It's been killing you here. I... I don't want to watch my best friend-more than best friend-die anymore."

Sonic covered the echidna's hand with his own. "Red, you don't understand. I have to..."

Knuckles pulled his hand away and scowled. "You have to get out! Do you remember what you went through after you put down those Doom wackos? How long I had to stay with you afterwards?"

Some of the people from the other tables turned to watch the increasingly loud echidna. The hedgehog started to shake. "Knuckles, keep it down, please..."

Knuckles crumpled the crane and leaned towards the hedgehog. "I will not! I love you, damn it, and I don't want to watch you to self-destruct!"

Sonic took hold of the tablecloth and watched himself twist it in his hands. "I don't want you to watch it either." He closed his eyes and dropped him voice. "I can't quit yet; there're still things I need to do. You... You should go. Take Elly with you. Rich too if he'll agree to it."

The echidna leaned in closer, straining to hear. "Sonic... What's going on?"

"Bad shit is about to go down, Red. I want you and the kids somewhere safe," Sonic answered.

Realization hit Knuckles like a ton of bricks. He gasped. "This is about the jacket and the chaos-"

Before the echidna knew it, the hedgehog was out of his seat and pulled him by the dreadlocks into a kiss. Sonic pulled away slightly and whispered, "There's a traitor in GUN. I can't quit just yet. I may not even get the chance to quit. Go home, Red." He released the redhead, turned around, and took a couple steps before adding, "And I love you too. Never forget that, OK?" With that, he took his leave.

"Sonic..." the echidna murmured. He rose from his seat and watched the hedgehog until he was out of sight. "A traitor...?" He shook his head. The walk to Rouge's place was going to be a long one, he reckoned.


At the same time, GUN Headquarters...

The fox gripped the table and glanced over the parts one more time. "There's no other reasonable explanation for it! All the serial numbers, the chaos drives, all of them except the outward design point to GUN!"

"It's about time you noticed."

The engineer whipped around to see a woman he swore looked like a very short Carmen Sandiego in front of the closed door. "Who are you?"

"Call me 'Whatsername'," the woman said, walking towards him. "I know exactly who the traitor is, and I think you suspect too, or you wouldn't have been sitting on your previous data."

Miles backed up, bumping into the table and jostling the parts on it. "You..." He squinted at her neck, then smirked at what he saw. "Nice stars. You'd better be more careful next time, or any idiot can tell your rank if they look close enough."

The woman pulled her coat shut around the neck. "I'll keep that in mind, Dr. Prower."

The fox waved a hand. "Don't be so stiff, 'Whatsername'. Anyway, you think I know who the traitor is?"

"I do. And I think it's high time we had a talk about the commander, doctor..."


In the home of Dr. Ivo Robotnik, a bat sat on the couch next to the old man with mismatched eyes. The man's cane was propped up against the arm of the couch, and a stained notebook sat in the bat's lap. "Tell me what happened again, Ms. Lebat. Slowly this time," Gordon said.

"He killed my pretty bird!" Rouge lamented. "Hauled off and shot him! Sonic! He... I..."

There was the sound of a toilet flushing from the next room, followed by Amy teetering out into the living room. She groaned and made her way to a chair next to the couch. She flopped right into it, held her stomach, and weakly asked, "Who did what now?"

"It's a long story," Gordon told her. He put on a tight-lipped smile. "And I thought morning sickness only happened in the morning."

"This is morning for me," Amy said without thinking. She gasped and clapped a hand over her mouth. "You won't tell Shadow before I do, will you?"

"With everything that needs to be said, I doubt it'll even come up," the ex-commander assured.

The pink hedgehog tilted her head to one side. "'Everything that needs to be said'? What's going on?"

Before the human could answer, the doorbell rang, followed shortly by Maury shouting, "Mom, Sonic's here with some dorky-looking human."

"Captain Horrocks. Am I really dorky-looking...?" an unfamiliar male voice asked sadly.

"Oh?" Amy said. "Send him-" Rouge got up and ran into the kitchen with the notebook. "-in?" The hedgehog looked in the direction the bat ran, then turned to Gordon. "What was that about?"

The current Commander of GUN entered the living room, followed by a tall, lanky, brown-haired human in uniform and Maury. "Yo, Ames!" the commander said with a smile and a wave. His face grew cold when he looked at the past commander. "General Ansem."

Gordon nodded his head in recognition. "Commander O'Reily. What do owe the pleasure of this visit?"

"I had a matter to discuss with Ms. Rose," Sonic explained. He narrowed his eyes at the older human and added, "Alone." His expression softened when he turned to the Rose boy. "Sorry, that means you too."

"I'm not leaving," the ex-commander stated.

The blue hedgehog turned sharply back to his predecessor. "I'm afraid you have to, General."

As Gordon started to get up, Amy held up a hand and spoke up. "I'd like him to stay, Sonic. Maury, go to the store and get me some ice cream. Mint chocolate cookie, if they have it."

"But, mom-" the boy started to protest.

"But, Amy-" Sonic started simultaneously.

"Go, Maury," the woman repeated with more force, "And Gordon stays, Sonic." The boy grumbled a "whatever" and left the room. "Now, Sonic," Amy asked, "What's the problem?"

The commander sighed. Fighting Amy would be like fighting a brick wall, he decided. "It's about Chaos Emeralds, Ames," he said. "We have a suspicion St. Jimmy's after them and we're trying to collect them to keep them out of his hands."

"And you want Shadow's," Amy said. "Sorry, but it's not mine to give."

"Not just Shadow's," Sonic said, "And believe me, I know where he stands on that issue. The kids at the daycare center probably now believe that Horton the Elephant told me to 'fuck off'." He straightened his shirt. "No, this is about the emeralds the doc's got."

The pink hedgehog opened her mouth to speak, but Gordon cut her off. "Ivo has emeralds? That's news to me."

The commander smiled at Gordon. "I guess he doesn't tell you everything, 'Snugglemuffin'."

The older human brought his hands up and squeezed them like he was choking an invisible person. "You little..." He balled his hands into fists and forced them down. "Since we're on the subject of dirty little secrets, how's the little missus, Commander?"

Sonic looked gutted. "There is no 'little missus', thank you."

Gordon smirked. "He found out your other little secret, eh?"

"Go to hell," the blue hedgehog seethed. "No, tell me where the emeralds are, then go to hell."

The former commander rose, using the cane for support. "I can't tell you something I don't know."

"So you admit there could be emeralds?" the blue hedgehog asked smugly.

Gordon raised the cane up and held one end with his other hand. "I don't know anything about any emeralds, or if Ivo even has any in the first place. Now I suggest you resume your search elsewhere, Commander!"

The blue hedgehog looked up at him and sneered. "And what will you do if I say no, old man?"

"Sir, you're kinda spookin' me here. Are you all right?" Horrocks said.

Sonic raised a hand without looking back. "Perfectly fine, Horrocks." The sneer changed into a smirk. "I was allowed in. Therefore, I have a right to search. We'll see just what's going on in here. Come along, Horrocks." He then started for the stairs.

Gordon moved to block them. "Like hell you have the right! You weren't let in by Ivo, who owns the property! This is illegal!"

"It's a matter of national security, General," the commander said. "I'm sure he'd understand. Move aside."

"No," Gordon said, grip on his cane tightening.

The blue hedgehog glared up at him. "Move. That's an order."

"I may be retired, but I ranked just as high as you do now, Commander," the older human said. "You can't order me."

Sonic fumed. "Oh, fuck this," he said before pushing past the ex-commander. He hadn't taken more than two steps before he heard a soft "shing!" and found the end of a thin sword at his neck. He slowly turned his head and saw Gordon with holding the sword and its now-empty cane sheath, and Horrocks with his firearm shakily drawn on the ex-commander.

"I will tell you just one more time, Commander," Gordon said. "You are not searching this house without Ivo's permission." His eyes darted briefly to the captain. "And, son, I know you got an obligation to your CO, but put that thing down before you hurt yourself."

"I'm afraid I can't do that just yet, sir," Horrocks apologized.

"As you can see, I have loyal staff," the commander coolly said. He paused, then said, "Put down the sword. I'll come back when the doc is here, all right?"

Gordon hesitated, but sheathed the sword. "About time you made sense."

Sonic looked up at his former superior and grinned. "And you're under arrest for attacking GUN personnel." He pulled a cell phone out of his pocket, dialed a number, and raised it to his ear. "Yo, Cmdr. O'Reily speaking..."

"You little...!" the older human growled.

"Sir! If I may speak freely-" Horrocks began.

The blue hedgehog glared up at him and put a hand over the receiver. "No, you may not, Captain. This is a serious matter."

"But, sir, he was just-"

"Stow it, Horrocks!" the commander barked. He soon found the phone yanked out of his hand. "What do you think you're doing?!"

The younger human raised the phone over his head. "Playing 'keep-away'. Sir, you were pushin' the old guy's buttons pretty hard. I don't know why you were doing it-maybe you had a good reason-but it's not right to arrest him for it!"

The commander jabbed a finger upwards into the air. "This is insubordination, Horrocks!"

The captain looked down at his commander officer. "You're the one who taught us that sometimes you have to be insubordinate."

The blue hedgehog growled and jumped a few times to get the phone from the much taller human, with no success. "Damn it! Amy, can I use this phone?"

Amy brushed past the humans to the commander and started pulling him towards the door by the arm. "There's a payphone near the QuickStop, if it wasn't destroyed. You can use that."

"But, Amy...!" Sonic protested shortly before being pushed out the door.

"Payphone. You go. Bye!" she said with a wave.

"But...!" The door slammed in his face. "... OK, plan B then."


A few blocks from the Robotnik house, Maury emerged from the QuickStop, a plastic bag containing ice cream in hand. He passed a strange pair of stoners and started down the block. He was just passing the payphone when a voice crooned to him, "Do you want some candy, little boy?"

Assuming it was one of the stoners, he replied, "Don't you have a Kevin Smith movie to cameo in?"

The voice laughed. "Is that any way to talk to the head of GUN, kiddo?"

The boy, wide-eyed, turned to the man at the payphone. "S-Sonic?! What...? Why...?" He noticed something missing. "Hey, where'd the dorky-looking guy go?"

The mirth drained from the commander. "Apparently Captain Horrocks thinks an old man drawing a sword on his CO's just fine and dandy," he grumbled.

"WHAT?!" Maury exclaimed, nearly dropping the shopping bag. "What the fuck went on after I left?!"

"I made myself unwelcome in that household, apparently," Sonic said with a shrug. He put his hands on the boy's shoulders. "That's why I need your help."

The pink hedgehog blinked and flushed slightly. "My help?"

Sonic nodded. "While they don't seem to like me in the Robotnik household much right now, I still like them and I'd rather not raise a big fuss if I don't have to." He moved in closer to the boy and lowered his voice. "There are Chaos Emeralds in that household, but they're refusing to give them to me. It's a matter of national security. I need them, Maury. Please, find them and bring them to me."

The boy nervously tugged at his gloves. "You're asking a lot."

"I know," the commander agreed, "but it's urgent. I'd do anything to get them." He moved in even closer, so close the younger hedgehog could feel the commander's hot breath on his muzzle. "Anything."

The younger hedgehog blushed through his fur. "You... You don't say," he stammered.

"I do say," Sonic said. He cupped the boy's chin in his hand. "Please, help me."

"I... Ice cream," Maury said, pulling away from the commander and raising the bag up between them. "Mom's ice cream. It'll melt if I don't get it back to her soon. I'll, er, think about it?"

Sonic pulled out a card and a pen and wrote something on the back of the former. He handed the card to Maury. "If you decide to help, bring them here. I'll be waiting..." The boy nodded and started home quickly. As soon as he was out of sight, the commander leaned against the pole holding up the payphone and took a deep breath. "Now to wait and see..."


"And your mother said I should've waited for you at home. Are you all right?"

Left out again, Maury thought as he sat on the bed. When he had returned, Gordon and the dorky soldier were missing and Aunt Rouge was on the couch crying. His mother took the ice cream and told him to go upstairs without saying why. I'm always treated like a child... he thought with a scowl.

"This isn't a game, kid, and stay out of the windows! You'll attract their attention!"

He got up and paced around the room. Without warning, he punched a wall. "I'm not a child! And I'm not useless! I...!"

"I need your help. It's a matter of national security. Please, find them and bring them to me."

Maury took out the card and flipped it over repeatedly in his hand. "I can do something." He stopped flipping and tucked the card away again. "We'll see who's still just a child..."


"I'd do anything to get them. Anything. I'll be waiting..."

End Chapter Five

Chibi's Notes:

Sorry it took so long, but this chapter would. Not. Fucking. END. Both in terms of length and time it took me to write. It was like pulling teeth, I swear. Then I hit the Maury scene and did the rest in a matter of hours. Maybe I secretly harbor a cross-generational hedgehog slash fetish. XD

Horrocks stole the damned scene away from me. After I had spoiled my partner-in-crime-and-mad-cackling about what I had planned for Gordy, Horrocks up and changes the damned scene. O.o

About the QuickStop reference: I could not for the life of me pass up the Clerks ref. Sorry.

Sonic et. al. are owned by Sega. I'm just borrowing them.
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