Music and Files
I started on homework and was simultaneously texting Damon. Jason was doing his homework, too, but he was busy with an essay rather than studying Romeo and Juliet. (Romeo. Is. A. Drama. Queen.) Damon was apparently doing the same as me, except while G. U. N. medics were checking out his arm from earlier.
So what's a soliloquy again?
Uh . . . a speech by a character . . . that is directed to the audience while they're alone onstage? I think that's it. I might have that and monologue mixed up. I needed to look that up.
Whatever. I'll double check and let you know. So . . . what do you think of today?
Well, I certainly think that it was interesting. What I don't get is how Mr. Namggerd knew about the attack, our parents didn't, and we still had to go to class after all of that.
Yeah . . . such a loss. I wish he'd been there so we could leave him at the mercy of Egghead. Maybe they'd bore each other to death. What with the lectures/gloating, you know. Something in my head clicked then.
Wait, Damon—spell Namggerd backwards! I think that he might have been there after all!
Namggerd—D—R—E—G—G—M—A—N—OUR BIOLOGY TEACHER IS LITERALLY OUT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD! (insert the medics laughing because they think I'm joking while I shout this)
Until we get that figured out, I think we'll just have to play dumb. Want to come with Jason, the others and I to Laura's Place tomorrow night? Laura's Place was a pizzeria downtown that had the best food within a good fifty-mile radius.
Sure! Sounds good. And we might be able to figure out a plan to deal with Eggman. OK. Sadly, I forgot that Tuesday nights were special at Laura's.
Damon rolled his eyes when his medics left and his phone buzzed again. But when he looked at the screen, it wasn't Eric—instead, a picture of Black Doom on fire was displayed. He took the call.
"I need you here, now." Damon turned into Human Shadow, then Chaos Controlled to the base, where the commander looking at files on the main supercomputer. The screen was large, like the TV at the Von Garthe home. There was no visible keypad, but it must have been a touch screen. Stone was glaring at the password entry section.
"So, what am I here for?"
"Enter your passcode. It's the only one that can open these files about . . . the ARK."
"I thought that was a story newbies are told by the more immature officers, and they eventually knew better."
"Apparently not. This file is real . . . I thought we destroyed all information regarding it . . ." he muttered the last bit under his breath, but Damon pretended not to hear it. He typed in his private passcode that no one knew about except him. He didn't know where he got it or when, but always remembered it. It was easy to remember too. Maria Robotnik. Of course, the irony of it made him chuckle, but he never told anyone about it . . . the folder opened immediately. There were about 100 files . . . some of which were picture files, others, documents. Damon slipped his USB drive that he normally used for school stuff into the computer and idly clicked 'save all files' in the corner. He was careful to make it look like he hadn't by scrolling down the page at the same time. He wasted time looking at graphs, old sketches, and blueprints for the lab in space, waiting for all the files to be copied. Once it was done, he pulled out the small device and shook his head.
"Bunch of gibberish to me," he muttered, just loud enough for the Commander to hear, "I guess it was nothing after all. Maybe someone made it to fool a newbie," he chuckled, pretending that he actually believed it. The Commander frowned.
"Shadow—Damon—you're dismissed," he said coldly. Damon fake-saluted and Chaos Controlled out. He changed back to normal once he was in his room, and got out a small box from under his bed. He opened it and carefully set the device that held a lot of answers for him inside. The box had not been empty, for it also held his Chaos Emerald and a picture of him and his sister Maria as young children playing in the snow. Even then, Damon wore all black.
The next school day was nothing. When Jason and I were getting ready to go to the restaurant, I came up with a bit of a surprise after my shower. My face had changed since I last remembered.
Of course, this would normally be no big deal, but I suppose in this case I noticed it more. I didn't think it was possible to tan that quickly considering I had been hanging out outside all summer and had no changes, but yet, my skin was noticeably darker than before. And I didn't look like I was almost underfed either—it actually looked like I had some muscle going, which was a shock, plus my face was less pointed too. I looked . . . older . . . even with the longer hair that I seemed to be getting. And then it hit me. If my hair had turned blue, then I could have been human Sonic. Was it just me? Or were the others changing too? I knew that the tan and face could be explained by physical growing, but blue hair would take some drastic genetics to happen in real life. Maybe if I dyed my hair, it would just start growing that color . . . not that I was going to experiment. I wanted to keep my semi-normal life for a while, thank you very much, without everyone recognizing me as Sonic the Hedgehog.
Anyway, I threw on a t-shirt, jeans, and a jacket, and headed out with Jason. It was only when we got there that I realized . . .
It was karaoke night.
Now, this may seem childish, but hey, no one in their right mind would want to sing in front of anyone at Laura's if they didn't think they were awesome. Elaine, who was a pale girl with blue eyes and dark blonde hair that she always left loose, recorded all the performances every week. Then she would upload a montage of the highlights each time. Sometimes she would have someone else tape her if she went on. Everyone in school watched her videos, although I was probably one of the few people who knew she was the one who made them. She was a great singer, and never posted an entire performance unless they were really good—or really bad.
She didn't talk to me much, or anyone really. But when there were projects in which we had to have partners back in grade school and Miles and Amy weren't available, I'd go to her. She was a very hard worker, explained things better than the teacher sometimes, and was usually easy to talk to because she never openly made judgments. Except when it came to music. I guessed it was her passion.
Anyway, when I realized it and looked at Elaine with her camcorder, I nearly bolted out the doors right then. I'd never sung in front of anyone in my life, and if no one volunteers at Laura's, the waiter starts picking victims. When we sat down, I let them all know exactly why I was so jumpy. Damon immediately grew paler (Huh, I'm not the only one who's starting to look like human Sonic. He's getting tanner, and his hair is getting darker . . . and his scar is fading a bit.) and John simply crossed his arms. Finally, Laura herself, a sweet lady who was somewhere in her sixties, stood on the little stage they had. The restaurant was dark except for the stage, with brick walls, lots of pictures, and an occasional neon sign.
"All right, everyone! We're going to start off with one of my favorite customers! Come on up, Elaine!" Did I mention that Laura is Elaine's aunt and legal guardian? No one knows about her parents, so . . . yeah . . . anyway, Elaine looked around for someone to hold her camera, and spotted Damon.
"Hey, could you film me? I record all the performances every night, and I can't really point the camera at myself," she whispered across the table, standing at the edge. He took the camera and got up closer, kneeling on the floor by the edge of the stage.
"All right, I'll sing . . . hm . . . Love Story by Taylor Swift." She grinned easily and waited for the music to come on. No one would deny that she could be professional, making money off of this already, but I wondered why she hadn't been noticed yet, especially with her popular videos . . . wasn't that how Justin Bieber (gag. No offense to Justin or anyone who likes him, I just don't.) got famous? I watched her intently as she sang about a Romeo and Juliet with an actual happy ending.
" . . . Romeo save me, they're trying to tell me how to feel. This love is difficult, but it's re-eal! Don't be afraid, we'll make it out of this mess, it's a love story, baby just say yes!" She seemed really into it, like her Romeo wasn't coming. Or maybe that was just me thinking about the crush I had on her in fifth grade. Who knows? But when she was done, she looked back at Damon and blushed. Maybe there was something there. Anyway, after all of that, I noticed that a considerable crowd had left, and now there were about three other tables with people at them. Which meant only one thing . . .
"And let's see . . . who wants to go next?" asked Laura cheerfully. Elaine was clutching her camera, and I really didn't want to be seen . . . but instead, Damon got picked.
"What? No, I don't sing, ma'am. I've never sung in front of people before . . . please, I don't want to make a fool of myself," I heard him as one of the waitresses dragged him up. He finally gave up and looked at the list of songs. He seemed unamused and didn't really like the majority, but one of them, he stopped at, and chose it.
"I'm going to sing . . . alright . . . What I'm Made Of by Crush 40." I looked at him quizzically, simply because that was a theme for Sonic, not Shadow. But I guess most Crush 40 songs could be applied to both anyway . . . except for All Hail Shadow.
"Is it me, you say, you're looking for? Let me show you who I am and what I'm here for . . . here for . . . Heeeey! Try to reach inside of me, try to drain my energy! Let me show you just what I'm made of! Simple curiosity, try to take a bite of me; let me show you just what I'm made of now . . ." And I wondered why he was so worried. He was awesome, with a pretty similar voice to the lead in the original song. His was just a little smoother, a little younger, I guess. The people who were there cheered when he was done, including Elaine, who was standing and clapping, camera turned off after she'd just finished. Damon looked suddenly dazed, as he seemed to have ignored the fact that he normally didn't perform on the stage and just realized that everyone was excited and cheering. A couple of really bad singers (sorry John, you know it's true. Your rapping was okay, though.) went up, and it seemed that no one could beat Damon's performance. I thought maybe I wouldn't have to go up. And, like anyone who knows what happens when you get hopeful . . .
I jinxed myself.
The waiter grabbed my arm and said, "Hey, kid, you'll be the last act of the night, okay? It's going to be you or me, and since I sound like a dying cat for sure . . . you're up!" I shook my head.
"Dude, I'm probably worse!"
"Then it'll be a good laugh for you and your friends." I groaned and looked at the list. Well, I wasn't doing any of the girl songs . . . or duets . . . and I wasn't into the majority of the Disney songs on the list . . . however, I did like one of the songs. I actually knew it too.
"I'll sing Knight of the Wind by Crush 40." There were murmurs in the audience, and I took a deep breath. Well, at least the majority of them were my friends. Maybe I could bribe Elaine not to put a video of me up? Fat chance, the realistic part of my mind said. Well, the music was starting. Time to humiliate myself.
"Hey all, welcome to the greatest storm! I know, you have waited much to long! And I, I will be your shining star! I'm here, here to conquer fear, and to run! Like the sun, I'm wrought into the heat of day; like a knight, I'll fight, until the fight is won! In a rage, I'll save each and every, each and every, each and every one 'til this war is won. And I'm meant to rule, slashing through the every inch of the power, the power in you! As I sit, as I stand, by the table I command, my kingdom . . . I'm the knight of the wind . . ." I tried not to think about everyone staring at me. I didn't even listen to my own voice. I just listened to the music, remembering the opening to the game. In the back of my mind I imagined swinging a sword, turning into Excalibur Sonic and all that. It was only when it ended that I paid attention, but I kept my face normal rather than freaked out.
Silence in the restaurant. I couldn't even hear the cars outside. And then . . .
The roar made the windows shake, and I know I looked like an idiot. What the heck? Was I . . . good? I looked at my friends, who were on their feet, and then at Elaine, who also was, camera forgotten on the table. I stumbled off the stage and sat down with them. Jason grinned and told me I was awesome. I stuttered out a thank you to anyone who said anything about it, and tried to believe that I was honestly that good . . . I headed home with Jason after a long while.
When Damon got home, he finished his homework at lightning speed. He needed to look at those files . . . he closed his bedroom door and locked it. He gritted his teeth and opened the files on his laptop, ready for nearly anything . . . but probably not what he had opened. The title of most of the documents was Project Savior. Damon furrowed his brow, trying to find a more specific document . . . and then he found one that had an interesting title.
The Diary of Gerald Robotnik.