End of THIS
When the body booted back online, Robotnik was still spewing curses and insults at the Fox. How dare that weak, pathetic Mobian rodent continues to infuriate him by existing.
The body clinked and clanked, the weak flesh parts shattered and broken, the brain dead and useless. A primal snarl escaped his voice box as Robotnik threw piping from him with his clawed appendages.
Without having to think, Robotnik activated the levitation implant. The Doctor brought himself back to the dais he had left the filthy vermin, but he knew it had been barren before he arrived.
His worthless SWATbots had smashed their way into the room and were immediately dispatched even as Robotnik made it halfway up. Worthless junk the lot of them!
As soon as the Doctor’s metal feet connected to the dais, the ship rocked yet again, this time from an external blast. Sensors failed to detect the source, but Robotnik knew what it was! But what was that technology?! Why could he see through it?!
Robotnik set tasks on finding the source code for the stealth technology as he headed towards the bridge. It would have been easier to simply leave the broken body here, but there was little he could do other than fume. He needed his SWATbots seeking out the wounded pest, and the repair facility he needed happen to be on the bridge’s level.
Another explosion, followed by a secondary internal system blast sent his current shell against the bulkhead. Growling, Robotnik continued onward, setting a program to let the body move to the repair bay, then set himself back into a position he originally grew accustomed to.
Here in this void of the internal networks of the ship, Doctor Ivo Robotnik could see everything the security cameras and sensors saw. Right now, all he could make out was his own repair bots scrambling to execute their primary functions, and SWATbots clanking about the lower bellies of the ship searching for that Rodent.
Robotnik turned his baleful gaze skyward, seeing little more than clouds His virtual face scowling at nothing, another detonation sent him into a mad cry of frustration.
Then inspiration struck him. His sensors could not detect the interlopers, and the electronic eyes were treating them as if in a spectrum they could not read.
Yes! He had them!
With lighting flash programming, the digital Robotnik rebooted the scanners and cameras. The network suffered from some sort of lag, but before impatience could set in, everything came back as it were-
Robotnik could see the mosquito of a vessel firing another volley at the rear of his beautiful battleship! It was nothing more than a black mass, and he could not get a lock on it, but he did not care.
He did not need too!
The Doctor fired off everything he had, sending laser fire up so thick that it was inevitable he struck them. The infernal enemy vessel bucked, an engine erupting with billowing smoke. Robotnik laughed in delight as the ship quickly disappeared underneath the Battleship’s belly, out of the immediate line of fire.
The smile faded, though, when he noticed a black mass on his Bridge. Who?! Who had the audacity to-
-That Vermin! No!
Robotnik sent an executable to the SWATbots who lumbered to their positions.
Yes! The SWATbots were closing in on them! They were trapped, there was no place they could hide now that he could be seen!
Then the elevator shaft disappeared into a fireball, as well as other corridors, cutting the Bridge off from the rest of the ship. The battleship’s nose jerked up, climbing skyward higher than needed or wanted.
Instinctively, Robotnik sent countermanding orders, but his network was cut off from the Primary Command Interface. How did the rodent do that!?
Scanning the damage of the ship, Robotnik screamed when he realized that secondary explosions had totally destroyed his access to the Bridge and its primary functions. The pesky vessel was a distraction!
No! No! Robotnik could have waited for his ship to be repaired, but he could not afford to have it destroyed! It took years to gather the resources he needed without anyone being suspicious.
One slip up. One random roll of fate had these insignificant vermin were crawling all over him. It was that Fox’s fault. It was his fault! Why couldn’t his creation beat him?! Why won’t he just roll over and die as the other two before?!
It was the RODENT’s fault.
Jerry heard the howl of rage through every speaker and auditory device in the ship. His ears folded against the noise, but the smile on his lips was nothing less than sadistic.
“I think he’s upset,” the words spread out on the screen in front of him.
“I like hearing them Scream.” the Fox chuckled to chilling effect.
The previous text deleted itself and was replaced with, “Mags thinks that is inappropriate talk, I think I’ve mentioned this to you once before,”
Oh he remembered, and Jerry still smiled his evil smile as he replied to the invisible Wade, “Yes Sargent, won’t happen again Sargent,”
“MARS1 will do,” the text replied.
“You’re going to have to tell me why you didn’t bring me in sooner,” Jerry tapped the screen, though turned to look over his shoulder as there was a thud against the sealed door. He would have guessed it as a SWATbot, but it was too frantic.
Jerry did not care, though, he had his armor, the SAS, his sword, the power fist, and Verlos’ grenade launcher. Let it come, Jerry was more than ready and he had no plans of playing fair this time around.
When he looked back, Jerry frowned slightly at the words, “You know why,” on the screen.
Bloodthirsty. Ruthless. Sadistic. An Unfeeling Monster.
They were not words scrolled for Jerry to see, but it had been stated before when Jerry had been placed in the Royal Guard. Jerry knew what Wade and other Scouts had said of him to his face and in front of the King, Maxmillian Acorn. Yet Jerry was not insulted nor offended. It had been true, why be mad at that? Jerry was a weapon that very much liked being a weapon. Maxmillian, knowing the truth of it or feeling guilty in what Jerry did in their name, placed the Fox in the Royal Guard, effectively sheathing that very Weapon.
Yet Jerry’s tail twitched in mild annoyance, and they raised a brow, feigning ignorance.
“Be specific” Jerry demanded in a sarcastic manner. “I’m slow,”
“You’re Reckless and Uncontrollable,” Wade argued through text. “You jumped at the chance to lash out against an Overlander,”
“Is that all?” Jerry asked, continuing to frown. Or at least tried to. Instead, his lips slowly turned into that sick smile once more. Despite the pain, the weights that seem to cling to his muscles and the taste of tang in his mouth, Jerry was now enjoying himself.
“Here I thought I was being self-sacrificed and noble. Like you,”
The comment had not been one aimed to be a compliment. Wade did send Verlos off on what looked like an easy reconnaissance, then set off on the ship himself, possibly out of guilt. MARS2, whoever that Susan had been, had meant something to Wade.
Even Verlos meant something to Wade. The Old Duck did not want another MARS younger than him dying under his watch. Another name on a very long list of Casualties that had all called Wade Duckington their leader. Who would have, and had, followed the Duck into the very bowels of Hell.
“Don’t worry, MARS1, I am being a Dutiful Soldier,” the Fox continued, turning partially to inspect the Door once more. There were visible dents in the metal, and they all could hear it scream in its madness.
“I made a deal with Control. Missions over, I’ll leave. The mission is to destroy the ship, not to kill that fucker.”
“You’ll leave?” read the text. Jerry did not need to see Wade’s face to know there may have been a tad bit of shock on it.
Jerry looked back to the door, then up towards the ceiling so they could see him smile into one of the many internal cameras. “Control will give me her word that she’ll make me Dinner if I live through this, and I’ll give you my word I’ll let MARS2 come to rescue me,”
Jerry took a moment to look down, his smile widened. His tail even swayed as he turned to face the door, pulling the slide back on the SAS.
It read “She Agrees,”
A claw shot through the door, finally pulling it apart so a horrific half-face metal monster could scream at Jerry.
“For Susan, a stranger who died too young doing a Soldier’s Duty,” Jerry spoke, letting the slide go forward. It slammed an anti-badnik round into its firing position, and he shouldered the weapon. “For Wade, for what you did to a Mobian whose been a second Father to me.”
“For Mags,” Jerry finished, lowering the barrel a hair, so his eyes could meet that single, glaring red one, adding, “You made her cry you son of a bitch.”
The Robotnik controlled Cyborg comprised of Wade Duckinton and twisted parts of the machine came through halfway. It peeled back the metal as best they could, straining with one metallic arm as the flesh and blood one had been the other lifeless and limp.
Jerry unloaded at full auto, the Fox was too close to miss and conserving ammunition served no purpose. High explosive rounds tore into the Cyborg, but the armor-piercing tips either over-penetrated or ricocheted off.
The rounds themselves were detonating harmlessly behind it, showing the Cyborg with miniature shrapnel that did next to nothing but strip it of its flesh. All the explosive tips munitions were doing was little more than slowing it down and exposing the unholy marriage of flesh, metal, and bone.
The metal skeleton lunged at Jerry even as the Fox continued firing to the very last round. Jerry rolled beneath the swiping claws, winching at the flaring pain of his wounded shoulder. The incline the ship was in allowed him to carry himself a good distance from the flailing arm of the machine. Jerry stood, reloading the SAS before the ‘Robotnik’ could get themselves to their clawed feet.
The Doctor had smashed into the seat at the console, but they did not bother course corrections. This Robotnik was set to kill Jerry, they were so enraged that they were not thinking beyond the next move.
Jerry liked it that way. It was easier to know what the next four moves would be. It was how he fought, how he was raised to fight.
Again Robotnik lunged like a rapid feral, the littoral words of “Curse you!” in a thunderous roar from whatever served at its vocal output now. Jerry sidestepped them, the claw leaving visible scratches on his laser-proof breastplate. Robotnik landed, spun, and got a rifle butt to their face that sent them flailing backward down the incline.
Jerry let loose on it again, not even bothering to aim once more. The rattle of the weapon hurt him with every rebounding recoil of fire, but it was a dull pain.
And it failed to dampen his smile.
The Doctor struggled up the incline, determined to get close to strangle the life out this Mobian, feeling no pain, just hatred and fury.
The weapon clicked empty as the machine drew close again. Jerry flipped the SAS over and used it as a club. The Cyborg did not even duck but accepted the blow to its face only so he could be rid of that damnable weapon.
Robotnik snatched the SAS and flung the rifle away with an animalistic snarl that seemed to crackle within the speakers. As the Doctor turned, brandishing their claw once more, Jerry’s own fist struck home, catching it right below their throat with the Mobian Power Fist humming with a renewed charge.
Again Robotnik flew backward, right through the hole it made through the hatch to get to the Bridge, rolling and crashing along the incline. Jerry saw the Abomination stand up, and again, it was coming at him once more, screaming its hatred like unstoppable berserk.
The Fox smirked, heading towards the command console to inspect it.
Warning lights of hull stress were flaring, the engines were stalling, it was everything Control had said it would be doing. All he needed to do was tilt the ship back towards Mobius where the target would be the base in Traitor’s Gulch.
Control had him set an alarm to tell him when the ship needed to be set to head groundward again, but it had not gone off yet. Jerry turned his attention back towards the frenzied machine and took up the grenade launcher he had recovered.
“Still time to play, let’s hear you scream,” Jerry almost purred out before aiming the weapon. A light thump escaped from the barrel, the grenade landed short, but the concussion of the blast flung the creature back down the hall.
Gods it was up again without fail, screaming madly at Jerry.
The body was charred black, rent with shrapnel. There had been almost nothing left of the what had been Wade Duckington’s body. Jerry did not know what was keeping it on its feet, yet he rightly did not care.
He wanted to make it suffer.
“That’s it, on your feet. Tenacious bastard aren’t you?” Jerry shouted, breaching the launcher to throw out the spent charge before reloading it.
Once more Jerry fired, this time, he hit the thing dead on. It snagged the side of the hull to keep itself from going back again. Soon, it was back to charging at Jerry at a dead run.
“Are you even trying!?” Jerry reloaded as he continued to taunt the Cyborg. The buzzer went off, and Jerry turned to level off the battleship. He heard the clanking feet and casually thrust the launcher back, the resulting explosion sent his hair forward and pressed him against the console momentarily.
The monstrosity was pulling itself from the flooring yet again, scrambling at Jerry in a blind rage.
The Fox thrust the controls to tilt the ship downward and ducked, once more the skeletal Cyborg plunged overhead, this time crashing headfirst into the console screen.
Jerry climbed the reverse incline a good five feet away before he stood. He turned slightly, waiting ever so patiently for Robotnik to pull itself from its new predicament.
As it began to rise, Jerry lunged at it, charging the Power Fist as he soared.
When the Robotnik controlled Cyborg’ managed to turn around, it found a Mobian Fox suspended in the air right over them for the faintest moments. Like a Hammer of the Gods, down came the Power Fist, connecting with the top of its head. The level of impact drove the Robotnik thing downward into the consoles with such force that the glass in the adjacent consoles exploded outward. Metal crunched, wiring tore and sparked, adding to the glass shower in a beautiful display of destruction.
The recoil sent Jerry back a few paces, and though he landed easily enough, every sore, bruised and throbbing muscle shrieked in pain. Jerry willed himself to keep on his feet. Even with his knees wobbling from the exertion, Jerry was not done.
As Robotnik struggled to get out of the indentation of the now destroyed Control Console, the Fox stepped over it, holding up a belt of those odd-looking cylinders Verlos had shown him back on the Transport.
“The late Susan’s Compliments,” Jerry announced, twisting the top of one of them before hanging the belt off an edge just above the AI’s face.
“It’s been fun,” the Fox saluted, then darted up the incline as fast as his exhausted legs could carry him.
The Robotnik AI was still thrashing about as Jerry was halfway up the corridor, huffing when the light grenades ‘detonated’. There was no thunderous boom, just a white-hot searing light that sounded like a bulb being turned on. Jerry shielded his face from the light, snarling in surprise and pain.
When he could see again, Jerry could feel the rushing air whipping over his body before his eyes beheld a red-ringed hole where half the Bridge had been. Jerry could see the ground, lumbering towards through the gap, prompting him to turn back around to continue climbing. The hatch that led him to the ship’s uppermost surfaces offered him no reprieve from the howling winds.
Stepping out was a challenge, he could barely stay straight up. Jerry had to lean heavily against the air, though his hair whipped him viciously where it could.
Grabbing hold of the rebellious strands with one hand, shielding his face with the other, the Fox looked about until he could see the heavy damaged Transport, laying flat against the hull.
Of course, it was going into the wind.
“You couldn’t park closer to the fucking hatch?!” Jerry shouted as he leaned against the wind as he headed towards them.
Verlos shouted back, trying not to smile, “Couldn’t find better parking!”
“I’m trying too damn it, next time you can get your ass handed to you by-”
Jerry saw Verlos’ face, the male pulling up that pistol they had to fire at something behind MARS4. Jerry looked back, his expression dark already.
It was that thing again. Robotnik. Its legs were gone, he could see one had been ripped out of its knee socket, but the other had the edge of red where the Light Grenade barely got it. Robotnik peeled a piece of the ship off and was now hoisting it like a discus. How the Cyborg managed to stay up, floating as it did, made it look more like a nightmare than anything real. A Wraith ripped from the pages that claimed souls and dragged them off to horrible ends.
Staring at it almost cost Jerry his life.
“Fuck!” the Fox swore as he threw himself against the battleship as best he could. The jagged piece of metal sailed barely over his head and smashed into the Transport embedding itself below the open hatch.
Verlos fell back on their backside by the impact, but they were up again firing once more.
Robotnik was coming closer, the bullets sailing either wide or the hits were not affecting it at all.
Jerry risked a glance to the ship, then back to the Robotnik killing machine. If it got any closer, it would more than likely get Verlos with the next piece of metal it was tearing up, It could damage the Vessel.
Jerry could not take that chance. He twisted around, drawing Wade’s Falchion.
“What are you doing?!” Verlos shouted at him, but they were ignored.
In came the next piece of metal. Jerry stood to meet it, raising the sword and bringing it down hard in an expertly timed strike. He did not cut the metal in half, he was not some super strong being and the sword, though remarkably sharp, was not made for slicing hull plating.
Jerry did, however, knocked it down low enough that it clattered away from the ship that carried his fellow MARS’.
The metal also gashed the Fox beneath the armor along his left side.
Jerry took the impact in stark silence, then sank to a knee, thrusting the Falchion blade downward to keep himself from falling face first.
It was not a new pain, yet it hurt. It hurt a lot.
He knew without looking he was bleeding badly. The warm dampness was already starting to slide down his leg.
“Jerry!” Verlos shouted again, and the Fox took his eyes off his foe to glance over his shoulder.
The smile Jerry had was a sad one. The expression through the wild strands of hair was as calm as it had been when he passed Verlos the medal and the bandana.
“It was fun,” Jerry said, but the Wolf could not quite make it out.
The cold mask of murder took over before Jerry turned away. Those golden eyes snapped back to the floating monster of twisted metal.
Robotnik leaned down again to rip another piece to throw, this time going for as much mass they could muster.
The Fox stood up, he would never make it running, his legs were about to give out from beneath him now. However, with the rate of the ship falling, Jerry did not have to reconsider his plan of action.
“For the King!” Jerry roared as he leaped forward The rushing air propelled him on like a rocket.
Doctor Robotnik, either never expecting such a self-destructive move, or they were still berserk, never bothered to duck.
Jerry swung his sword from the right to left as he streaked by, putting every ounce of burning muscle he had behind it. Added with the velocity with the air carrying him, Jerry never felt the impact of steel on steel.
He twisted himself enough to see the Robotnik clattering along the hull, following after, with its sailing high in the air. The last thing Jerry remembered as he smiled to himself, was a sudden onrush of heat, the smell of burnt fur, then the blissful darkness.
Verlos watched Jerry lunge with horror.
“Jeebs!” the Wolf shouted towards the cockpit, but their SWATbot Comrade had been paying very close attention. Jeebs yanked the ship off the hull, twisting it as fast as the damaged ship could muster.
All the while, just before Jerry’s gravity-defying attack, the Base below opened up its defenses in a desperate attempt to preserve itself.
A shell landed along the hull, blowing up right in front of the sailing Fox. Hope slipped away from Verlos and those watching from MARS’ base, but Jeebs throttled the ship hard.
Jeebs caught sight of Jerry’s limp form spinning through the air off to the starboard.
“He’s on Right!” the SWATbot reported calmly.
There was no fire targeted at them, the Base could not see them, but a stray shot ripped into the transport, rocking it violently. Jeebs stayed on course, the console whined in protest, they could hear the metal strain as he forced the ship to move like a fighter and not a bulky ship of labor.
Mags shouted a string of orders as Verlos set to work, undaunted by the jerking of the ship. His paw was on fire as he willed and demanded it to bend the digits so he could tie a knot. It was not the best knot he knew, but it was simple, it would hold for what Mags needed him to do. The rope tied, the Wolf went to the still open hatch, his eyes darting around for MARS4.
“I see him!” Verlos announced.
Another stray shot hit the ship squarely, lurching it upward. Verlos nearly fell out of the transport but Jeebs robotic piloting skills kept the ship aloft and steady. The Wolf regained his footing and his grip, but he was not sure how much more the tough old G.U.N Transport could take.
“One pass!” Jeebs reported in his ear, “I cannot hold the ship up like this any longer than that,”
Verlos responded with a curt “Yes sir!”
Jerry had a death grip on that sword, their body turned and twisted wildly like a top, but he did not let go of that blade. Verlos did not know if that was a good sign or not, but that was the biggest obstacle outside of actually catching him.
As the transport loomed closer to Jerry, Verlos could make out detail in the terrain they were coming in so low, but he never stopped concentrating on the Fox.
The blade sailed by, he was close enough he could tell Jerry was out cold and hurt badly, their fur scorched black on the left side of their face and what was not black was the bright color of blood.
Or was that their fur?
The divide between them shortened, and Verlos, taking a move from Jerry, jumped out for his teammate without hesitation. He caught him by their waist, the sword acting a little more as a fantail but it clanged against Verlos’ armor harmlessly.
They spun for a bit, but Verlos kept shouting, “I got him! I got him!”
He worked at getting the sword out of Jerry’s grip as Jeebs pulled the ship out of its diving catch.
They were low enough Verlos could hear the limbs of the dead trees beneath them whipping by. The transport started climbing before leveling off, making best speed away from the Base’s firing envelope.
And then the Battleship, smoldering and on fire, rammed headlong into Traitor’s Gultch. Villages still untouched by the Wars felt the ground quake hundreds of miles away. The dust cloud would block out the sun in some areas for nearly two days before settling.
Right now, however, the blast wave tore after the GUN Transport like the last, vengeful strike of a doomed foe.
“Jeebs!” Verlos shouted for his friend once more. The SWATbot had set the Auto-Pilot and started pulling the two Specialists into the ship. Jeebs looked up to see what Verlos was hinting towards, then snapped their gaze back down to them.
The blast wave hit and all the Screens at the MARS’ home base went dark.
Access User/Control/Password ControlMARSZero
//User Status Confirmed
Execute E.P. Satellite 1...4/Wide Spectrum Search/Grid 113/Omega Protocol
////Eye Spy Observation Satellite #3 Offline/Unresponsive.
Override Search Parameters/Close Formation/Wide Spectrum Search/Grid 113/Omega Protocol
Execute E.P. Que/Wide Spectrum Search/Grid 112...114/Omega Protocol
Identify Unknown Contact.
////G.U.N. Satellite #34
Establish Connection with G.U.N Satellite #34.
////Warning. Unauthorized Connection. Identifying
Identification Query Invalid/Command Prompt Execute/Password ControlMARSZero
Repurpose G.U.N. Satellite #34/Execute Installation of E.P. Software
//Deleting Primary Software Core.
////Installing Overriding Software.
Execute E.P. UD/ E.P. 3
////Satellite Confirmed as E.P. 3
Execute E.P. 1...4/Wide Spectrum Search/Grid 112...116/Omega Protocol
Execute E.P. Que/Additional Search Parameters/Grid 112...116/Physical Identification/G.U.N. T334
////Identification G.U.N. Transport Class 334 Found
//////MARS Transport One Identified
Execute E.P. Que/Wide Spectrum Search/Grid 114/Omega Protocol
Execute E.P. Que/Search Parameters Addition/Grid 114/Physical Identification/MARS 2...4
////Insignificant Data Available.
Execute E.P. Que/Search Parameters Addition/Grid 114/Thermal Reading
////Unidentifiable Thermal Sources. Multiple Contacts.
Execute E.P. Que/Priory Orbital Shift/Grid 114/Full Scan/Narrow Spectrum Search
////Unidentifiable Radio Contact.
Execute E.P. 1/Observational Mode Change/Radio Observation/Record...Replay
Execute Amplification/Distortion Sweep/E.P. 1 Playback
Repeat/Distortion Sweep 100%
//”...eeerrRS3 requEEsting immeeEeEdiiiiate medical...”
////Voice Print Match
“I found them.”