Welcome to My Level
(Year 3238 of Mobius-426)
Their orders were simple. Get in, get the package, get out.
Task Group One had been deployed on the basis that G.U.N. would have its own ground team going to pick up this package as well. None of the MARS members knew what the package was or why Control deemed it absolutely necessary that it did not fall into anyone else’s hands other than their own.
All they knew was that G.U.N. could not have it. And considering their relationship with G.U.N, it was a sure thing that MARS would fight for it.
Task Group One were armed ‘lightly’ in consideration of other missions, though they all wore armor. MARS1, Mags, a Sparrow reaching her elderly years, carried a pistol and some sedatives, just in case she needed to drug the Thief they had trailed.
MARS2, Jeebs, had their tried and true weapon of choice. Out of the team assembled here, the SWATbot had the most considerable firepower. The ‘mini’ gun was mostly there for intimidation, but it, and Jeebs, were fully loaded and ready for a fire-fight.
MARS3, Verlos, had their bow, a slew of arrows that did various things, from exploding to simply making noise, a pistol, and a combat knife. The Wolf was exceedingly cheerful as always, and for almost an hour, had chatted with Jeebs on the SWATbot’s new found interest in gardening.
Then there had been MARS4, Jerry Voxholm.
Jerry had been forbidden to take anything lethal short of his Mobian Powerfist and his dagger. He had a SAS with specially designed rubber rounds so he had a practical range option, but at range, Jerry had no lethality at all.
It was exactly how Control wanted MARS4,
Control had listed the Blood Red Fox as a reserve ‘piece’ on the field since he was not officially attached to Mags’ Task Group.
Jerry was here with his beloved Hover-Cycle, Elizabeth, and geared with an experimental EMP device called a Jolter. If their rivals arrived first or wrestled the object away, the Jolter would be enough to disable a G.U.N. Transport, and the Hover-Cycle would assure Jerry would get there first.
Control had assured them the item in question was not a Chaos Emerald or an Advance Weapon, but something of Importance to Warrant MARS’ attention. Control would not tell them what it was, instead simply informing them to expect light resistance if any.
Then again, not even Control expected that G.U.N. would dispatch Omega, Rouge the Bat, and Shadow the Hedgehog for whatever Melvin, a Raccoon, had stolen from the Republic of Acorn. To their Omni-present leader, this had been overkill in every aspect and form imaginable with just one member of Team Dark.
And here they all were, sauntering inside and verbally asking for Melvin.
“Oh this is bad,” Verlos mumbled over the communications. MARS2’s normal sunniness dissipated. Jerry could hear his tall gray friend’s leather bracers creek over the earpiece. Yet there was no nervousness. No fear.
Fear had always been absent in a Mobile Assault and Reconnaissance Specialists.
“Very bad,” Jeebs concurred.
Jerry said nothing, he simply peered through his binoculars from his vantage point overlooking the tavern, his expression dispassionate. The only movement had been the subtle shift of a white, burning cigarette loosely hanging from his lips.
It was a disgusting habit. They all told him so. Jerry ignored them.
“Come on One, get out of there,” Verlos whispered to their field leader. Mags, of course, did not respond, she was keeping her cool as she negotiated the package from the errant thief Melvin.
The G.U.N. Agents arrived just a moment before. Team DARK, their best of the best. Tier One assets who were sent to do the Impossible, with the Impossible. They were True to Form Heroes, right up there with Sonic the Hedgehog, with Shadow having the same Speed, the same Power, as the World’s Greatest Champion.
Control listed Team DARK off despite the fact that all of her MARS members knew them by sight. The biggest threat as far as Jerry could see right now, was the E Series Combat Robot, Omega, mostly because they were outside. Jerry finished the cigarette and spat filter to the floor before crushing it with an armored plated boot.
“Two, Three” Jerry finally spoke, his tone professional, “You think you can distract that behemoth long enough for me to get inside?”
“What are you doing Four?” Control chimed in.
“Preparing for the worst,” Jerry replied curtly.
“Execute caution, Team DARK is extremely dangerous. None of you stand much of a chance against any of them individually, much less a team,” Control warned as Jerry started moving to deeper into the building.
“Course not,” Jerry gave an undaunted answer. There had been grim resignation in his voice. “Two, Three, Control gives the word, you pour on everything on that Robot,”
Omega was obviously detecting their transmissions and had been attempting to assess what it was and what was going on.
“What are you going to do?” Verlos questioned, of course, concerned. Jerry had a history of getting in way over his head. Despite knowing exactly where he was compared to others in Fighting Ability, Jerry just did not care.
“Don’t fucking worry about what I’m going to do,” Jerry straddled his Hover-Cycle, initiating the engine start-up. It came to life quietly, and the Fox resisted the urge to rev the engine. Jerry leaned up to checked his path out of the warehouse and into the street to make sure there were no new obstructions. Satisfied, Jerry settled down and braced himself, like he was about to jet off to a race.
“MARS1, your team is in position to extract the package the hard way. All on you.”
“Control to Four,” Control’s voice spoke softly into his ear, and Jerry turned his head some. When she was talking directly to him, Gods did it feel like she was right behind him. “Under no circumstances are you to terminate any of these G.U.N. agents, we do not need to aggravate our relationship with them any further,”
“Me? Terminate them?” Jerry asked. The Fox was pretty confident that he could go toe to toe with the female Bat, but Shadow? THE Shadow the Hedgehog? Sure, Jerry would Fight them. Win? No. But Fight? Always.
“That much faith in me Control?”
“Perhaps,” Control replied, then added, ”Though unlike you I am preparing for the best.”
Margaret Sparrow, or Mags, shifted uncomfortably. When the Sparrow had gotten the report that G.U.N. agents were in a Badlands town, she was expecting a brief exchange of words, her flaunting MARS’ superior positioning, then Mags would walk out with the Package. When the words Rouge and Shadow were entering the building, she frowned and glanced towards the door.
The Raccoon she sat across looked towards the door as well. “What?”
“Competition,” Mags replied, the Sparrow folding her flesh and blood arm over her metal one. The robotic arm was neither bulky nor sleek. It was just like her natural arm, save without feathers. Hidden within it had been something sharp, just encase Mags needed to be a tad more intimidating than she needed to be.
Or worse, defend herself.
“As I was saying, Melvin, we don’t want you, we want what you stole,”
“I didn’t steal anything,” the Raccoon growled. Melvin was sore, having been dragged up here by this combat vest-wearing Sparrow with a metal hand, which the Racoon had bitten to try and getaway.
“Then what you happen to find,” Mags corrected herself, trying to speak evenly. She heard what Jerry was doing, and approved only slightly. Mags did not want this to turn violent, there were too many Mobians going about their business. But at least Jerry was preparing for a Fight.
Then again, when was MARS4 never ready for a Fight?
What worried Mags had been the success of the mission more than the preparation. They were geared only expecting a single Agent backed with G.U.N. Troopers, or just a single Mobian agent altogether to blend in.
Team DARK arriving on scene complicated matters considerably with the ordinance they had brought. Yet would it matter if they brought in more Lethal Measures? Maybe more MARS? Perhaps if Mags had simply drugged the Racoon and tossed their room? Next time Mags would not be nice, yet since she had been here.
Mags continued to smile at Melvin, attempting to be diplomatic as possible, “We just want what you found, then I’ll go away and not bother you again,”
“The people about to come through that door Melvin, aren’t nice, and they will hurt you a lot more than I did,” Mags observed, hearing someone stop at the door,
“And speaking of devils themselves,” the Sparrow continued on cheerfully, quickly getting out of her seat to stand on the other side of the table.
Rouge entered, smiling a coy little smile, backed by a sour-looking black and red Hedgehog. The Bat wore no obvious weapons, just a pink, heart-shaped breastplate, white boots, gloves, and black tights. Shadow wore nothing but gloves and odd, mechanical-looking shoes. Shadow was an even match for Sonic the Hedgehog. That meant, of course, Shadow did not need any sort of weapon either.
Mags quietly wished someone else had been in the room with her.
“We’re here for the Package,” Rouge announced.
“We won’t take no for an answer,” Shadow spoke after the Bat, “So hand it over, now,”
“She has it!” Melvin quickly pointed towards Mags, and the Sparrow’s feathers ruffled as she glanced to the Raccoon.
“Poor move, Melvin,” Mags frowned, obviously disappointed.
“I was informed it was a Raccoon who stole it, not an Old Bird,” Rouge said as she stepped inside, looking around the room,
“Melvin and, who are you?” Rouge questioned as she gestured lazily towards Mags with one of her gloved hands.
“Nobody of note,” Mags said frankly. “But the package is coming with me,”
“I don’t think so,” Shadow entered right after Rouge, looking to Melvin with an intimidating glare before focusing his eyes on the Sparrow with the same ire, “Hand it over,”
“Let me make this perfectly understandable,” Mags spoke up loudly, “What he has is going back to the Republic of Acorn with me. This is not a suggestion. There are no alternatives,”
“I am taking it and leaving,”
Rouge laughed a pretty little laugh, “Or what?”
Mags forced a smile, “You’re not the only one who brought Muscle,”
Both the Bat and Hedgehog looked curiously to each other, then the old bird.
“Control?” Mags asked confidently as she folded her arms before her.
“Engage Engage!” Control ordered into their respective devices. Verlos pulled back on their bow, dropping an explosive arrow right at the feet of Omega. The detonation had the streets all but clear in a few short moments. Fire-fights between the warring factions were a common ground in this Battered City, and the occupants knew when to clear the streets, fast.
Omega turned their primary weapons in the direction the arrow came from, though did not immediately lock on. Verlos had fired from the inside of a building through a window. The Wolf did not bother to even see if the arrow landed where they had aimed, having that much confidence in their skill.
By the time the street had cleared, Jeebs emerged from their hiding spot on the roof of a three-story building that overlooked the street and Inn itself. MARS2 presented a mufti-barreled rotary cannon that typically fired high-explosive anti-badnik ammunition. Today it was loaded with simple ‘ball’ rounds intended to use on lightly armored targets.
There was not much aiming required, it was like a swarm of angry bees descending down on Omega who covered their ocular sensors while a rain of metal bounced harmlessly off their armor. The large red and black machine stepped away from the Inn, aiming to fire a few wild shots before Jeebs let up on the triggering mechanism.
Omega straightened to fire his own retaliation, their booming. electronic voice of “ENGAGING” was quickly drowned out by the whine of Jerry’s Hover-Cycle. Too little too late did Omega realize that the simple ball ammunition that did little else then distract them had been exactly that, a distraction. Jerry streaked by placing the Jolter on the Fighting Robots leg. Jerry hoped the mechanism would work on the large war machine since they were expecting something substantially less sophisticated.
Otherwise, Jerry did not care if it did anything permanent.
Omega’s body spasm as sparks flew from the device, and Jerry whipped their Hover-Cycle around a bend to loop himself back to the tavern.
Just as Jerry disappeared, Shadow the Hedgehog emerged from the doors of the Inn long enough to lock eyes on Jeebs.
“Two, engaging new target,” Jeebs announced in everyone’s ear.
“Negative!” Control shouted at Jeebs’ intent, “Do NOT engage Shadow Directly!”
It was too late. Shadow tore up the wall of the building Jeebs was on, leaving behind a trail of thrown up dust and gravel. The SWATbot managed to bring up their weapon long enough to put up a token defense. The Mobian Made Machine did not stand a chance. Glowing green energy erupted from Shadow’s hands, burning through the weapon, and Jeebs’ chassis like a hot knife through butter.
Even as Jeebs crumbled, Shadow rammed their entire body through Jeebs’ breastplate, quickly emerging on the other side, having spinned dashed the SWATbot at point-blank range.
“Jeebs!” Verlos’ voice was pained, but Jeebs responded immediately.
“Damage is extensive, body useless, powering systems down to persevere primary data core, please do not leave me here,”
“Three keep Shadow’s attention, you have to give One and Four time to extract,” Control ordered briskly.
“Today is just not a good day,” Verlos muttered before pulling back on their bow and placing another explosive arrow in an attention grabbing position.
As it detonated, Jerry’s Hover-Cycle smashed into the Inn’s front door.
Jerry brought the bike to a sudden and abrupt halt, spinning it around and knocking over tables and stalls as he aimed the nose of it out of the door. Before the vehicle settled, the Fox was off of it, pulling the SAS up tight against his shoulder as he ran up the stairs.
“Control to Four,” Jerry’s omnipresent leader spoke into his ear as he approached the door to one of the few rooms the Inn had.
“Four,” Jerry acknowledged as he moved.
“Do NOT let Rouge kick you.”
“Affirmative,” the Fox replied smoothly as he landed his own kick against the door handle. It caved inward, made of poor wood, and slammed open as he forced his way inside.
The sudden entrance startled the Raccoon and the Bat, the female slow to hold up her hands. Mags, who had taken a comfortable seat, huffed some at their compatriot. “Took you long enough,”
“Bike’s downstairs, take the package and go,”
“What pack-” Melvin started to chime in, as if by pure muscle reflex, but Jerry fired a round between the Raccoon’s feet before aiming the smoking barrel at their face.
“Package.” the Fox snarled, their golden eyes reflecting a cold-blooded murder none in the room could fathom, “Now!”
The Females looked down at the Racoon’s feet, and Rouge edged away, her nose wrinkling in disgust. It took Melvin a moment to control himself before they stumbled over to their bed within the room.
Jerry shifted his weapon on the Bat as Melvin revealed a brown wrapped item, and pressed into Mags’ arms. “Here,”
Mags said her thanks and quickly stood behind Jerry, her eyes warily on Rouge, “And her?”
“What about me?” Rouge asked smiling, “I’m just a little thief,”
Jerry looked her over from head to toe, attempting to judge how dangerous she really was. A heart breastplate, tights, and high heels? Jerry was not impressed.
“Leave me the sedatives,” Jerry instructed bluntly, “Then get out,”
Mags left a sedation needle on the stand behind Jerry as she walked out. The Fox back stepped, clocking Melvin between his eyes with the butt of the SAS, not wanting them to spark thought and use the needle on Jerry. Even as Melvin fell backward, unconscious, Jerry had intended to resume aiming at Rouge, but the Bat dove at him with a flying kick, and the Fox instinctively pivoted from it.
As Jerry straightened, aiming the weapon again as Rouge landed, her smile widened. It took a moment for the Fox to see why.
The barrel was bent. Jerry’s eyes narrowed on it.
The momentum of the kick put her between the sedatives and Jerry. They looked to the needle, then made eye contact with each other.
Jerry snatched the sling off his shoulder and threw the bent rifle at the Bat, which she obliterated with a second kick. As Rouge’s heel came down, Jerry rushed her. She had time enough to bring a third kick up with the same heart decorated heel, spinning into it. The Fox ducked beneath the blow, stood, and punched her square in the face, sending her stumbling away from the needle.
“How d-!” Rouge started in disbelief, but Jerry launched his own kick which she batted away just barely. As the right foot came back to the wood, Jerry’s left foot rocketed from the floor, this kick also blocked but it sent her up against the table.
Others may have had qualms of hitting a female, would have traded words or excuses to absolve themselves of what could be a shameful display. Jerry, however, did not hesitate.
In the Fight, to Jerry, there was no such thing as gender or race. Just the Fight.
Rouge came to grasp the grim attitude of the Fox rather quickly and was not making it easy on him. The Self proclaimed Owner of the World’s Jewels was no slouch in hand to hand combat. Coupled with the fact that Jerry had to maneuver around her own counter-attacks from her feet, Jerry could not develop an opening that would put her down and out.
Rouge, however, could. As they danced, blocked and shifted around each other, she spun her body around, a high spinning kick that sent Jerry ducking. With agility Jerry just could not match, Rouge used her wings to reversed her spin, catching the Fox in the chest with the tips of her toes of her other foot. Though not a solid hit, it sent the blood-red Fox up into the air and crashing into the ceiling.
Gravity kicked in almost immediately, and Jerry fell face forward unto the wooden floor followed by roofing tiles and other substances. Though far from what Rouge could do, it should have sent a warning that the Fox should wise up after taking such a hit.
“Next time, you shouldn’t try to interfere with a Lady’s Business,” Rouge mused as she started towards the Sedatives again.
“Firstly,” Jerry snarled as he rose to his feet, the blow shrugged off as best as he could manage. The Fox forced his breathing to come in slowly, a painful endeavor that dumped adrenaline into his system. Spittle dripped from Jerry’s mouth and his eyes were still murderously focused on her.
“You are lucky Control wants you alive,” the Fox rolled his shoulders as Rouge looked back to him, somewhat surprised he was able to stand or had the courage to, “Second, you’re dressed like a Whore, not a Lady,”
“You ingrate!” the Jewel Thief snapped, her body turned yet again as she sought to clock Jerry in the chin with her heel for the knockout blow.
Jerry knew it was coming. Rouge the Bat is the Greatest Jewel Thief in the World, and yes, she was no slouch when it came to a fight. Jerry had just witnessed her skills, knew she relied on her feet more than she did her fists.
As soon as she took the bait, Rouge the Bat had lost.
Jerry ducked underneath her heel, forcing his shoulder up against her thigh, heaving Rouge upward. Caught in an awkward position, Rouge swung her arms, flapped her wings and shrieked as Jerry grabbed her other leg at the shin with his hands. Using his weight and her momentum, he spun and swung Rouge downward like a pole, smashing her into the floor.
Stunned, Rouge barely raised her arms up to deflect another punch aimed for her face. The second punch the Fox threw nailed her in the stomach, causing her to curl and opening her up for that blow between the eyes Jerry had attempted to land before. Rouge’s head snapped back, they were dazed, one arm on covering their face as the other covered their belly.
Jerry, without pause, shot his right hand upward. It was the arm encased with the Mobian Power Fist, which looked like little more than armor layered from Jerry’s shoulder to the knuckles of his fist. Jerry triggered the weapon as he brought it downward again, the attack coming in a terrifying blur of blue energy-
Verlos fired another arrow, this one he actually AIMED at Shadow’s legs. But the Red and Black Hedgehog was too fast. Horribly so. As soon as the Wolf made his hiding place known again, Shadow was streaking to it.
The Wolf was playing the tactics Control gave him. Fire and run. Fire and RUN. Do NOT stop to engage and keep weaving around the buildings. Well, MARS3 had only fired twice, the third time Verlos could see the pupils in that Hedgehog’s eyes,
Shadow was NOT happy.
Verlos smashed through a house then shoved himself into a closet, closing the door behind him.
Shadow was hot on the Wolf’s heels. As soon as Verlos could hold his breath, the Hedgehog was in the same room with him. The hiding Wolf could see the back of their quills, looking left and right through only a slight crack. Seconds ticked on, Verlos burning lungs were about to burst when Shadow shook their head fiercely.
“Bah, this is a waste of time,”
And they were gone, a stiff breeze followed, carelessly tossing loose items in all sorts of direction.
Verlos waited a moment longer before he collapsed out of the closet he was in, sucking in air in large gulps, “wah-wah-One, he’s on his way back,”
-Jerry’s punch tore a hole in the floor right next to Rouge’s head, sending splinters and chunks of wood into the tavern below. The Fox had been instructed NOT to kill. By the Gods, Jerry was resisting the urge to. Rage was an emotion Jerry thrived in. Pain, discomfort, all of it gave way to that one, black sensation that drove him forward from one Fight to the next.
Jerry jammed his foot into Rouge, sending her through the hole and crashing into a table below, utterly destroying the furniture.
Rouge moved a little, and Jerry could see her chest rise and fall in haggard breaths. A moment more he noted no pools of blood or contorted angles. Rouge looked alive.
That was good enough.
“If you want to be called a Lady, wear a Dress!” Jerry raged at her, then spat off to the side as he snatched the sedatives that had clattered to the floor in their fight.
“wah-wah-One, he’s on his way back,” Verlos stuttered through their communications, completely out of breath.
“Four!” Mags shouted.
Jerry placed the needle in a side pouch as he headed through the door. Jerry peered over the side rail to see Shadow standing at the entrance, right in Mags’ path.
“Oh,” Jerry grunted, his head tilting off to the side as he regarded both Mags and Shadow. One of the most powerful beings on Mobius had been physically impeding Mags’ escape.
“Well, this is gonna hurt,” Jerry mumbled as his expression hardened, their body becoming tense, and he shouted, “Hey, Asshole!”
Shadow glanced in Jerry’s direction, the Hedgehog’s focus had been squarely on Mags, nothing else seemed to matter as of yet.
“I just put your bimbo girlfriend through the floor,” Jerry pointed down at their feet. Shadow’s eyes followed the direction indicated, and they could see Rouge resting as peacefully as one could on a broken table.
When they looked back up at Jerry, their red eyes were reflecting the same predatory glare that the Fox was giving in return.
“Come get a piece you emo ba-” Jerry did not finish, Shadow was already on the second floor landing a punch to the Fox’s red-furred face. The speed in which it had been delivered was something Jerry could not hope to match or counter.
Gods that HURT. The Fox’s mind reeled as his body twisted, trying to kick the Hedgehog in retaliation but Shadow was already prepared for the counter-attack. They blocked the upraised foot easily, almost casually. Then with the same ease, they snagged Jerry’s armored vest, lifted him upward to throw him over the railing.
“Sh-!” the Fox managed to get out before landing with a crashing thud unto table, though this one remained intact. Rolling off of it to land on his stomach, Jerry scrambled up on his feet while attempting to ignore the body-numbing blow.
Jerry also noted Mags was still there on his Hover-Cycle.
Jerry pointed as he shouted “Run” just as Shadow was again on top of him, shoulder rushing him at the best speed the Hedgehog could manage in such a tight space. The Sparrow was gone in a screaming roar of a high-powered engine, reluctantly leaving Jerry behind.
As Mags sped away, Jerry shouted curses as his body flew through the air and into another hard obstruction, this time chest first into the stone wall.
Jerry slid to his knees, using the wall for support to keep from going all the way down. The Fox stood and turned around, though unable to lean off the wall just yet mumbling “I’m going to feel that in the morning,”
Shadow was coming at him slower this time, as if ‘savoring’ the kill. Shadow was angry, not thinking tactically. It would have been smart to chase after Mags, there was no way the Sparrow could outrun Shadow on that Hover-Cycle. The Hedgehog glanced after the departing MARS member, before their eyes focused on Jerry again, closing the distance to get into striking range with a small hop.
They exchanged punches that Jerry was more than capable of blocking, but his counters were easily swatted aside. Shadow grew irritated that Jerry was keeping pace on a conventional level, and grew disinterested in the trade-off of blows. The Hedgehog lept back, then slammed into Jerry again, the impact kicking up dust and dirt all around them, and bringing down more roofing on top of them both.
The Fox stumbled or tried to stumble forward, the air forced out of him, maybe a broken rib, or three, or all, he could not tell and Shadow was not done. The Hedgehog gripped Jerry by the throat and forced him back on the wall, then off his feet. They held Jerry aloft with their right hand as the Fox struggled against Shadow’s might.
Jerry reached behind his back and drew his dagger from its hiding place, raised it high, but it was caught before it came downward with Shadow’s left hand. Shadow twisted his wrist, yet Jerry held onto the dagger long after the pain became unbearable. The Hedgehog shook Jerry’s hand violently until they were sure the wrist would snap. In fact, Shadow hoped the bone would break! They were focused on it, willed it to break slowly, painfully-
-Then the Hedgehog felt a pinch in their right arm.
Shadow looked up to see Jerry injecting the Hedgehog with something while they had been distracted with the dagger. The Fox was flung aside, the Jerry managing to say, “Oh fu-,” just before crashing into more tables, but not with the same bone-jarring force as before.
Shadow’s vision was getting hazy, their body feeling like it weighed more than it did.
“What did you do to me?” Shadow demanded as they yanked the needle out to discard it with disgust. After a moment more, they sank down to their hands and knees, temperately impaired by a powerful mix of non-lethal chemicals.
The Fox dragged himself up, his own hurt forcing him to stagger towards Shadow. Jerry gripped the Hedgehog by the shoulders, raised the Ultimate Life Form up onto their knees, then slammed his head into the Shadow’s face. The Hedgehog fell backward, and they were slow to get back up on their feet.
“Welcome to my level, bitch!” Jerry spat and tasted the coppery tang of their own blood. There was a soft clattering as something solid fell out of the Fox’s mouth.
A quick flick of his tongue and Jerry realized he just spat out part of a tooth.
The realization quickly turned into fresh rage, and Jerry set out against Shadow, yet the Fox was having trouble walking in a straight line. Shadow sank to their knees again, the effects of the drug were fast but their body was resisting it. It was meant to put a fully grown Mobian into a deep sleep.
Shadow was still conscious.
When Jerry was close enough, Shadow lashed out, catching Jerry across the jaw. The Fox swayed, then punched back. Fists from them both shot out and connected a few more times, neither one of them seem to get anywhere. Sheer Voxholm stubbornness colliding with Superior Endurance of the Ultimate Lifeform in a stalemate that was quickly wearing on Jerry’s exceptionally thin patience.
“Fuck it!” Jerry declared furiously as he cocked his right arm back and triggered the Mobian Power Fist. Shadow could not move, dodge, or know what was coming at them, but attempted to raise their arms up to deflect it. Shadow willed what they could of their power to shield them from the full brunt of whatever it was being used against them.
There was a clap of thunder as the Power Fist collided with the Hedgehog, sending Shadow flying across the Tavern just as they had sent Jerry before to land against the opposing wall. Shadow fell immediately forward either out cold or just unable to lift themselves up.
Jerry fell on his back from the recoil before hoisting himself up onto his feet, albeit far slower than he would admit he liked. Jerry stayed where he stood for a moment more, his knees shaking and his body racked with pain before he unwillingly stumbled to his right and sat down on the first chair that was upright.
Rouge pulled herself from her perch long enough to witness the final exchange, and she quickly limped toward Shadow where they fell. Jerry took note of her as she came into view, and they both eyed each other warily. As the Bat turned her focused on the Black and Red Hedgehog, Jerry pulled a box of smashed cigarettes from his pocket. With a soft groan of disappointment, the Fox threw them over his shoulder, then leaned back in the chair, trying to catch his breath.
With a gentle shake of Shadow shoulders, Rouge checked their comrade’s pulse, then gave Jerry a harsh look. They settled down next to Shadow, watching the Fox with the same caution he surveyed her. Jerry could not take her again but would fight on regardless.
Rouge was not sure if she could, nor did she want too.
“Who are you?” Rouge asked after length.
“The Muscle,” Jerry answered haggardly. He cocked an ear suddenly, someone was talking to him through a communications device, then Jerry stood with a painful grunt.
“And that’s my cue,” the Fox staggered towards the stairs and went up them. He disappeared into the destroyed door of Melvin’s room just as Omega smashed through the stone wall, looking for, obviously, Rouge and Shadow.
That odd Fox, however, disappeared out Melvin’s window and Rouge could make out the whine of a Hover-Cycle’s engine speeding away.
They had to leave behind the wrecked SWATbot body and weapon system, but they had Jeeb’s Primary Core. Verlos was helping Mags give Jerry first aid on their way home on their own Transport. The Fox winced as they both poked at his sides, Mags’ beak pulled into a frown.
“I think you have some broken ribs,” the Old Sparrow observed, “Not to mention you’re going to be bruised for a week, any internal injuries-”
“-Yeah yeah,” the male grimaced, “The Package?”
Control spoke over their coms, “Secured. You, on the other hand, are going to the Medical. Again,”
Jerry growled irritably and allowed Verlos to wrap his chest with gauze. The Fox hated Medical, there was a strict no smoking policy.