Light, Colors, and Shades of Green
It seemed that I was able to run across water very quickly, because in nearly no time, I found myself in a village. I ran through town, asked questions, and got absolutely nothing. Since the Chaos Emeralds were drained, there was only one thing to try: go to the sound of whirring machines and explosions in the northern end of the village. There were robots all over—I trashed them. I couldn't understand what the people were saying, but I smiled at them, waved, and ran off before Eggman could send more into the village.
Then I got to the temple, put the Chaos Emerald into a pedestal, and Chip barked. It started to glow, and it became normal. I grinned at my luck and Chaos Controlled, Chip in tow, to Venice, which seemed similar enough to Spagonia. By then, night had fallen. I saw some of the dark monsters roaming the street—they looked even scarier in real life!
I realized then that Tails and Amy were in the middle of them, and that two of the monsters in particular were too close. I'd already turned into Were—human—Sonic, so I began to bash all of them. Then I asked the two if they were okay.
"Who are you?" asked Amy. Tails looked between me and her, and Chip.
"You don't recognize me?" I asked, huffing. Even my voice had changed. Tails looked at the dog.
"Hey, that's the dog that was with . . . oh!" he realized. Then Amy looked me over again.
"Wait! Sonic!" she said.
"Who else? Even my normal form is different. I wonder why it's just me, though. You guys have powers with the Chaos Emeralds, too. That confused me even in the game," I said.
"I always thought that the darkness came out of us in the form of the monsters, but with you, well, you were the one to be transformed in the first place . . . we saw how that worked, one way or another."
"But wouldn't a monster eventually appear, instead of my going Werehog?"
"They explained that though!" giggled Amy.
"How?" I asked. They rolled their eyes.
"Am I missing something?"
"Clueless, this one is," said Tails in a Yoda voice. I narrowed my eyes.
"Thanks, that's really great of you to let me know. Anyway, I'm going to search up the next temple." It was simple with each one: run to the temple, defeat the monster that guarded it, restore the Chaos Emeralds, and leave. I went to China, the South Pole, some place in Brazil, the center of the Australian outback, and so on. But I stopped in a city during the day once—New York—to find a shocking discovery. When I'd gone to the other temples, nothing too unusual happened. However, this time . . . Chip began to bark at the tablet behind us. Then he fell through it!
I ran to grab him, but he disappeared. Then, all of a sudden, he was back.
"Sonic," a voice, familiar from the games said in my head.
"Chip . . . you're Light Gaia, aren't you," I remembered.
"I sure am. Well . . . I guess this is goodbye, Sonic. Now that I know what my mission is, I'd better see it through," and Chip began to walk away.
"Wait a second here! We've been through this together so far, and no way am I going to let you do this alone. I guess it was you that kept me this way, huh? You were there," I said. It made sense. I didn't lose control or have a huge monster appear before me because Chip protected me. But he barked and shook his head.
"No, Sonic. Your heart is too strong to be taken by the darkness. It was you all along." I stared at him. Me? Strong? Well, that was something new. But you've accomplished quite a bit, haven't you? After all this, don't you see how strong you are? Said a little voice in the back of my head that sounded like Tikal. Shut up, I replied, I still can't beat my brother in the London Olympics Party mode, even when I play as Sonic himself and he plays freaking Waluigi just to annoy me. The voice seemed to laugh but didn't respond. I nodded to Chip.
"We're in this until the end, Chip. Let's go." We finished up the temples, and I set off to the coordinates Tails gave me—an abandoned theme park gone Eggman. I avoided a bunch of death traps and managed to find the generator that was attracting the Dark Gaia monsters that ransacked the park. Chip started to bark.
"Sonic! It's Eggman! And he's got a—and a—and a whole pack of robots!" Chip yelled from behind me. I smashed the small ones like nothing, chuckling to myself at the reminder of the game. A screen came on. Eggman.
"Ah, Sonic. I'm afraid that if you were planning to beat me, you were wrong." A gigantic robot-monster hybrid came in.
"That's it!" I shouted. I spindashed the joints of the robot, which were the weaker points. It started to fall apart.
"You blasted little—you little—" Eggman began to rant on the speakers.
"You little what?" I asked, grinning. I was much more able to joke when I wasn't the Werehog. I always felt . . . angrier . . . as that.
"YOU LITTLE!" I slammed the robot into the wall, effectively destroying it. Now that everything was back to normal on Earth, I walked leisurely outside. But then I felt the huge tremor.
"It—it's Dark Gaia!" shouted Chip, "Sonic, use the Chaos Emeralds! I'll help!" Before I could respond, glowing masses appeared out of nowhere, and I was going Super.
The monster was even more hideous than in the game—though that might have been because it was so huge. It was towering out of the lava that it had unearthed in breaking to the surface. Unnatural green eyes with slit pupils lined the top of its head, and huge, grey horns jutted out from either side. It had fangs that were as big as a grown man each, right below those eyes . . . a huge half-formed body towering out of the lava, with strange purple tentacles lashing around and whipping themselves randomly at what appeared to be nothing.
What seemed to be a giant stone Transformer made of the seven temples assembled itself next to me. Chip's voice echoed from it.
"I'll hold him back, Sonic! You need to seal the crack in the earth! That will hold him!"
"But you'll be sealed away, too!" I shouted, shocked.
"This is what I do every thousand years . . . I'll always be with you, Sonic, even when I'm fighting him. Dark Gaia is the night, but I'm the day. Just look at the sun, and I'm there—whether you notice or not," he said. I nodded, sniffing like a three year old kid losing his first pet, and spindashed the section of rock that would seal them in.
As the crack closed, I saw the sun break over the horizon.
Later, when I landed back on Earth, I found Chip's collar lying in the dirt.
Sonic, if you ever need your Werehog strength to show just how strong you are inside… if you need me… I'm here.
I really did like hanging out with everyone—we had a good chance to do so on John's birthday, only weeks after the 'Unleashed' incident. It was spring break that week.
"Why is everyone from school showing up?" asked Amy nervously. The room for laser tag was getting very full.
"My mom invited the entire class!" John hissed, "And no one wanted to miss out on laser tag. I'm going to murder whoever put that idea in her head!" The main reason was that Nick the Most Outrageous Jerk was there. He and John used to be buddies. Now? They glared at each other as much as Nick glared at me on a regular basis.
"Let's see what you've got!" Nick sneered at us. It was eventually divided into teams with different colored gear. Blue was John, Scarlet, me, Damon . . . everyone basically who was secretly awesome. Did I just come up with that phrase? That's pretty cheesy… I really am becoming Sonic, hehe. And the red team was Nick, a bunch of jocks, and a few of their girlfriends.
"COME AT ME BRO!" roared Nick once we got started. He was the first out. In fact, we dominated—however, something weird worried me. I was not athletic. I was not fast—at least, in normal form—but in the dark, where it was hard to see, it sure felt like I was running at top, sound-barrier-breaking, speed . . . was I going to wake up with blue hair and the inability to swim one day?
I tried to brush it off, and surprisingly, did. Normally I'd worry at least a while before putting something out of mind. In the back of my head though, I remembered with a shudder what I had joked to myself earlier: I really AM becoming Sonic. But it was much easier to focus on taunting Nick in a rematch, which we took our time on.
"Man, you're slow," I stage-whispered. He turned to take a shot at me, but I was already running, a few feet away.
"Idiot," he muttered.
"Nice try," Damon said smoothly, taking him down.
"Who cares? This is a stupid game anyway," said Nick loudly.
"Yeah," Jenna said as well, almost purring, "I heard about this new theme park though. I say we go there and ditch this place. It's downtown, close to the office building for Echo Inc. Who's with me?" The game was getting boring with no challenge… we went with them.
The park was nearly deserted. And it was strange. A few glaze-eyed employees manned the booths and games, and there were automatons on different kid rides. It was a sort of tropical theme. Sadly, there were no roller coasters—only a gigantic Ferris Wheel that loomed over the rest of the park. The metal gate closed behind us, and the giant circle of red that was the wall around the park was surrounding us now.
"Cool! Skee-ball!" shouted someone, and everyone rushed that way. I trailed behind with Miles.
"Doesn't this seem a little fishy to you? I haven't even heard about this place until now."
"I can't see anything sinister about it," he said, amused, "Except the horrible Jamaican accent the announcer guy is trying to pull off." I snickered, as he was right. The speakers spread out around the park announced special events—little contests or concerts—but it was an old guy who was definitely not from Jamaica.
"He'd be fine if he just talked normally. We get it. It's a Tropical Resort," I said irritated as we finally caught up with the group. Miles froze.
"Tropical Resort?" he said quietly.
"And now, our special launching of the Tropical Resort Countdown. Ten—Nine…"
"Guys! This place is a trap!" I shouted. Suddenly, from the red walls, glass was rising. The park seemed to be forming a gigantic snow globe in thirty seconds flat.
"Six—Five—" No one was listening except Amy, who shouted at the realization. The others just looked at us like we were crazy. Then they looked up and their jaws dropped.
"Three—two—ONE!" A roar rumbled and the ground shook. People were screaming. The employees of the park shook as well—until they were robots.
"SHIT!" shouted Nick, obviously.
"EVERYONE SHUT UP AND HIT THE DECK! YOU'RE NOT GONNNA LIKE IT IF YOU DON'T!" everyone did as they were ordered by John, and it was a good thing too, because otherwise they would have fallen anyway and hurt themselves as the snow globe of a park shot into space. There were still people screaming.
"I SAID SHUT UP!" They stopped. Soon enough, we were stopped, and at the five designated entrances of the park, sealed bridges stretched away to what appeared to be small planets. Strange ones, but still...
"What did I tell you, Miles?" I said.
"Whatever. How are we going to keep this from… them?" I pointed out to Miles.
"Uh, I don't know."
"Welcome to Eggman's Incredible Theme Park, where you can enjoy five planets for the price of one!" So that's why he'd used the accent… to make his voice unrecognizable. Now it was plain as day.
"Eggman? We're all going to die!" groaned Nick.
"Don't you understand what I've been saying? Here's a new wording for it: Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver." John pulled a roll of it out of his backpack that he'd brought. Nick stayed quiet.
"Miles and I will see if we can find a way back, okay? If I were you guys, I'd stay inside a building—avoid the Ferris Wheel though. Sonic'll probably end up coming over here anyway since this is all Eggman. If you find a trashed robot, pick up its weapon and use it to defend yourself. Only shoot at robots, nothing living. Got it?" I said to John loudly, so the others could hear as well.
"This is all my party still so I guess I'm calling the shots. Go ahead, Eric, Miles. I'll watch them." And I went around to the next building to change. Being a hedgehog would do for today.
"Kill all humans," one robot droned, "Kill all annoying hedgehogs," it continued. So they weren't going to be very picky today, huh?
"Tails, care to give me intel as I go?"
"Sounds like a plan. I'll stay at this platform and let you know about stuff as I see it. Put on this communicator and we'll be able to talk," he assured me, handing me what appeared to be a small headset.
"Ok. Here I go," I said, taking off down the street. I swung down alleys and avoided spikes on the way. The park was transforming from a resort to a death trap with rides. The automatons from certain rides now had red glowing eyes, and they too were shooting at me. I quite literally dodged multiple bullets. Then I saw a little floating alien thing just like from the games—a white wisp, I think it was called.
"Looks like Eggman is going along with the plan just as expected. Except I don't see—there he is." I ran past the wisp only to feel a burst of white hot energy go through me. With an extra burst of speed, I smashed right through some of the glass containers that were holding the aliens hostage. When I looked back, the aliens were waving behind me.
I kept running, and I managed to stop by an area where multiple containers of aliens were. Above it was a screen with Eggman's face on it.
"You're quite the idiot, Sonic. Leaving all of your friends alone was not the smartest plan." There was the gigantic monster Ferris Wheel. And everyone was on it.
"Crap, crap, crap, crap," I muttered, dashing towards the death trap with the help of some freed aliens.
Amy was screaming at the top of her lungs as the rickety cart swung back and forth from where it was. If I didn't stop it, they would all be dead fast.
A different colored alien was trapped at the base of the ride.
"Tails, anything on this one? Is this the laser wisp?"
"Yeah. Just be sure you're looking in the direction that you want to go with it when you go," he told me. I looked straight at the eye in the center as I smashed the pod that the cyan wisp was inside of. In no time at all, I was on the other side of the eye and the sound of screeching metal could be heard behind me. Though it could have been Jenna shouting. In either case, I basically bounced off the wall behind the machine and pushed the freefalling cart so that it landed on an angle in the sand.
"Everyone all right?" I asked, prying open one of the doors on the red death trap. I paid no attention to the explosions behind me as the monster wheel collapsed. There were a few scrapes and bruises, but everyone but Jenna got the worst of it: damaged eardrums.
"OH MY GOD!" she screeched. She was no worse off from the others, but she was pointing at me with a huge fangirl grin on her face.
"All right, look. Tails and I are here in the park, so we're going to try stopping whatever nefarious plot Eggman has going this time. It will be extremely hard for you all to keep up with the fastest hedgehog alive on foot, right? So why don't you guys stay with Tails. I already sent those other two kids down to Earth; I'm sure Tails can do the same. See if one of you can get a communicator from him so you're still in on the action. I'm going to see what I can do about these other planets I see," I told them before some of the cheerleaders became rabid.
"Sounds great! Where's Tails?" asked John, trying to pretend like we didn't know each other.
"He's a two-tailed yellow fox that can talk, make a calculator into an alien translator, and fly using his tails like a helicopter. If you can't find him, he's probably behind you," laughed Tails, flying in, "We're going to find the space elevator. As much as I'm sure you'd all love to hang out with us, we don't want you guys getting hurt—not everyone here has special powers, you know," he said, eyeing the reluctant teenagers.
"Could you get them out of here? I'm going to check out that candy planet first," I said, licking my lips. He chuckled.
"I always liked that one. It's like that room in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory except with deadly robots." With that, he went to send the other members of our little group to Earth.
It was exactly like the game. Thousands of miles of sugar and cake. It was heaven for a growing boy.
Except it was filled with deadly robots so I couldn't stop and eat.
Okay, so maybe the candy pirate robot thing was hard to destroy. But I did eventually smash his head in and destroyed his little bobble-head minions. I landed on an odd machine and broke it.
"This must be one of the generators. It's glowing and stuff, so why not? Everything else is matching up with the game." It powered down. Tails flew in.
"Awesome! Now can we eat?" he asked, staring at the cake platform next to us.
"Heck yeah!" I said, running and licking off some of the frosting. I spat it out immediately.
"It's fake! Why, cruel world?!" I said. My stomach was growling. Tails laughed.
"Let's go. Maybe there's a food stand at one of the other places." There wasn't anything at the Starlight Carnival or whatever it was called, but there was a lot of gravity problems. The Wisp powers were weird, I have to say. All that energy rushing around—and then BAM! I change into some other form. It was really crazy when I ran into the Nega Wisp—I was feeling sick enough after the sushi bar. I couldn't really control it, but just smashed through everything in sight. And then there was Planet Wisp. After I defeated what was the first Ferris Wheel's brother, Eggman made an announcement. Oh, one of the best lines in the game… I wasn't going to make a fool of myself talking to a dead robot!
"Please remember, all planets in Eggman's Incredible Interstellar Amusement Park are, as far as you know, wholly owned properties of Eggman Enterprises and its subsidiaries. All unauthorized photography, video recording, or shutting down of generators is strictly prohibited. Thank you." Now let's see if I get the line right…
"Eggman! I am going to save this planet, and I am going to free these aliens. No copyright law in the universe is going to stop me!" I felt very proud of myself until Tails spoke.
"You know, he probably can't here you from here. Or respond."
"It's the principal of the thing!" I huffed. We headed toward the space elevator, with the thinking that it would be over if we blew up the main console.
"Not so fast!" I heard as we were about to head in.
"You have to defeat me first! I have enough alien energy to control all of the kids you planned on sending home. To beat me, you have to get through them first!" The screen on the robot showed his face. I stared at everyone standing at the door to the main console. They all had glazed, zombie-like looks on their faces.
"What do we do now? We can't hurt them," said Tails.
"Eggman, me against your Nega Egg Robot thing. If I win, you let us all go. If you win—well, you're not going to win," I said. He chuckled.
"Just you try." I raced him down what seemed like a long highway—but then I realized it was the red wall that had surrounded the theme park! I smashed at the arms of the robot first, and wisps tumbled out.
"Beat that!" I paused for a moment, remembering the nickname for Eggman in the game—"Baldy McNosehair!" It didn't sound as funny as I had hoped . . . oh well. I had freed the last wisp, and they all swirled around me.
"Let's go, guys!" and we smashed into the robot.
"I still have one trick up my sleeve, hedgehog! I can still release the Nega-energy—what? Error in the system! Blast! The entire island is going the explode. At least I get rid of you somehow. Sayonara, Sonic the Hedgehog." The robot crashed and skidded. Everyone seemed to wake up from their dazes.
"Seriously?! Tails! Get everyone into the elevator now!"
"Got it!" he replied on the speaker. "I'll wait for you!"
"No, get them to Earth now! I have to stop the planets from exploding!" Static on the headset. He'd better be getting back to Earth!
I headed toward the console room. All the screens were just blinking error messages, and alarms were sounding all over.
"Come on, come on," I muttered, looking at the control panel. A flash of light interrupted me, and I blacked out.
Apparently, the wisps carried me safely back to Earth and they teleported their own planet as well as the others back to where they belonged. That's what Miles told me. When we were all safely on the ground, I met up with them as Eric.
"Hey, guys!" I said. Nick glared at me.
"Dude, you're lucky Sonic sent you down right away. We all nearly died up there!"
"Hey, I would have died here too. The debris from the explosion—"
"I'm just glad Sonic saved us," squealed Jenna. I rolled my eyes.
"Now the only question is where I can get some food. I'm starving," I said. We finished our little celebration with chili dogs and ice cream. Not a bad day!
After that, school stuff got really busy. The homework piled on for some reason—I guess the teachers figured that they needed to catch up before the end of the year. I also didn't know why regular criminals thought I wouldn't bother with them because Eggman is my main villain. I can still beat up a robber without maiming him seriously.
Elaine looked at the kids that were becoming new regulars at Laura's. They must have moved from far away because she recognized most people around town or in the area. Since they were about her age, she assumed they would transfer to their school soon.
They had just appeared out of nowhere, it seemed. To be perfectly honest, no one knew where they lived. But the bandits—as well as the new students at school—seemed to be the talk of the town. The bandits never left a trace. Things just disappeared. As for the students, some were uneasy about these three, while others fawned over them the entire time. Elaine deduced many things about the new three.
First, there was Sam. He was most obviously from Australia, considering his accent and slang. He tended to dress as if he were going hiking or hunting in the woods every day. He had scars on his arms, which he attributed to a motorcycle or sometimes helicopter accident that people were not sure actually happened. His wispy, flat brown hair hung in his eyes, and one or two people who had been close enough to him noticed something metallic inside of his boots that was most definitely not safe.
Then, there was Emily. A Hispanic girl with hair dyed fiery red, she was marked a rebel from the start. Guys drooled over her because she wore as little as possible without getting in actual trouble, even though her favorite outfits of leather with multiple metal belts would have gotten most people thrown out of public establishments. The reason she didn't is because she was cunning—she always got what she wanted from people, and they would never know they'd been duped. Unfortunately, her love of pyromania and nice clothing occasionally broke down that façade for smarter people. Elaine had heard she damaged the chemistry lab at her old school one too many times, and that's why they moved.
Finally, their undefined leader: Ethan. He exuded confidence and ease. A lazy grin or smirk was usually plastered on his face—even to those who were of authority above him. He had sky blue eyes, longish black hair, and a healthy tan. He always wore sunglasses that tended to slip down his nose or lay on his forehead, depending on his mood. His leather jacket had a flame pattern lacing the bottom, and like any normal kid, jeans were his favorite kind of pants to wear. He didn't seem nearly as sinister as the other two but something about him still made people uneasy. Maybe it was his air of confidence that said, 'I'm obviously better'. Or perhaps it was the fact that he seemed to walk everywhere as if he owned the place and didn't really care about what other people thought. In some cases this would be considered good, but in Ethan, it was unsettling. But that didn't really make Elaine nervous.
She was more concerned about him looking exactly like Eric.