Entering the ARK
I got up early as usual the next morning. Go figure. I wished I slept in when I realized that my Chaos Emerald was missing, and that I hadn't seen it . . . since before the nightmare field trip. Shoot, I thought to myself. I sent a mass text to everyone involved. These were my responses:
John: YOU IDIOT!
Scarlet: That wasn't a smart move, Eric. Now we have to get it back.
Miles: Well, we can't do anything but go and get it, huh? Don't feel too bad about it.
Damon: It doesn't matter. We can get it back. His hideout isn't exactly what I'd call "impenetrable".
Amy: We can get it back. Don't worry.
Eliza: I suggest we go reclaim it sooner than later. Who knows what he'll use it for.
Jason: "Dude, let's go get it before he makes his inventions even more big and tough," he said as he rolled out of bed.
"Mom, we're going out," I said.
"Alright, be careful," she called back.
The Chaos Emerald that one of the children dropped at the field trip, the replicas that he created, and the photographic memory he had were all that Eggman needed where he was going.
"Commense Trigger mode," he keyed in on the main computer. If he did not return within a few hours, then so be it. The plan would work to the affect that these separate plans and inventions would be put into motion at certain times. Now just to lure the idiot detectives, along with that meddlesome girl who nearly found his plans, onto the craft so that they won't be able to share his secrets.
He watched the security feed of the three males poking around. One shouted something about getting the money. The next one told him to be quiet. The third found the girl, scared in the dark corner. He pressed the button to expose them to Chaos energy—leaving the Emerald vulnerable for a few moments. They all looked around, dazed, as a rabbit, a bee, a chameleon, and a crocodile.
"What do we do now?" asked the little rabbit girl.
"Hey, look, that door is open. Let's see if our mystery man is there," said the Chameleon.
They walked on board the ship unknowingly, and Eggman shut the door behind them. It was on the loading dock, so they wouldn't be able to get out on their own. Eggman himself entered the control room, where it was easy to see that it was a rocket ship, headed for the ARK, where he would return not as Eggman, but as he was before.
He would once again be John Iblis.
When we got there, it was empty and devastated.
"There's nothing here," said Blaze flatly.
"What happened? It looks like a bomb went off," Rouge said. Tails shook his head.
"This was a rocket launch zone. You don't think he went into space? But why?"
"Well, either we have to save the Wisps, defeat Dark Gaia, or possibly destroy the Eclipse Cannon," said Silver wisely. Shadow tightened.
"It's the cannon. The files I got from G. U. N. were disturbing. The whole story of Sonic Adventure 2 is starting . . . why is my life a video game?" he groaned.
"Better than starting on Shadow the Hedgehog. I like living," I said, trying and failing to lighten the mood. But he did chuckle.
"I won't give you guys the gory details of the files, but I know where we can get a ship to go into space. I just don't know how big it is or how to work it," he warned. Tails grinned.
"I'll make any modifications. I'll also hook it up to the Chaos Emerald tracker—I just finished it—so we can follow Eggman straight to where he is." Shadow Chaos Controlled out and was back in a few seconds with a red and white space pod.
"Commander Stone will have my head for this, but I'm going to take it anyway. This is the pod that took me from the ARK to Earth. Think you can use this, Tails?"
"It'll be about five minutes once I'm at the workshop."
"We don't have time to waste. I'll get you there in seconds. Who knows how close Eggman is now?" said Shadow.
"Are you okay, man?" I asked.
"The files involved me . . . and . . . it's just . . . I can't talk now. We need to move on," he said anxiously. He took Tails and the pod and Chaos Controlled out.
"What do you think was wrong?" asked Rouge.
"I think there's more to his past than he expected. He's having it hard, coping with it. I just hope that he'll be okay," answered Amy. Soon enough, he and Tails were back with the pod, which didn't seem like it had changed. Tails pressed a button. Then it became the equivalent of a very, very, very cool rocket. It was sleek, small, and looked pretty fast.
"This will get us right to where Eggman is. He won't see us coming." We all got in.
Vector, Espio, Charmy, and Cream were all in the loading dock. It was just an empty warehouse-like room.
"Are you okay?" asked Espio, turning to the little girl.
"I-I'm fine. Just scared. I know I'm Cream the Rabbit now. My normal name is Nellie," she said.
"When I'm normal, people call me Ryan," said Charmy.
"And I'm normally Sasuke, but it's Espio now. That's Ross—well, Vector," said the chameleon, looking loathingly at the crocodile, who was listening to his music as usual. They finally stopped.
"Where are we?" asked Cream. Espio sighed.
"Space Colony ARK."
The trip took about a minute, but Eggman still beat us there. Damon led us down the halls, and he told us that he somehow knew where he was going. The main control room and observation deck was in the center. We headed in, Damon in front. Suddenly, bright spotlights blinded me, and we were in a cage that buzzed with electricity.
"Hello, world. As you can see, I am Doctor Eggman, and I have captured the pesky little heroes that would normally stand in my way. I am broadcasting on every channel in every TV all across the world, and if you can't understand English, then there are subtitles, so your leaders have no reason to pretend they don't hear my demands.
"I am aboard Space Colony ARK, home of the Biolizard, the Eclipse Cannon, and what had once been Project Savior. You see . . ." he grinned evilly, ". . . my true name is Joseph Iblis. I worked here for the few months that the Savior Project, part of G. U. N., was in session. I was locked up after taking a gun from the current commander of the agency and shooting a girl by the name of Maria Robotnik, who died almost instantly. My colleague Gerald hated me and created an Eclipse Cannon to show the world that took Maria from him his revenge. I decided to use it myself. Surrender to me, and I won't begin using it on you. If you doubt my power, this should clear your minds." He stood in front of a large control panel, which had a circular disk about the size of my dinner table coming out of it upward. The Chaos Emeralds were in this disk. He pressed a lot of buttons, and I looked around. The walls on one side were actually glass, so you could see the stars outside, and so was the floor. One door to the side had a sign above it that said "Escape Pods". Some people came through this room, and I put my finger to my mouth to tell them to be quiet. When I saw them, I nearly let my jaw drop to the ground.
It was Cream and the Chaotix.
I motioned for them to free us without him seeing. Espio turned invisible and must have pressed the release button, and we quickly got him off of the controls—but not before he blasted a satellite out of the sky. I saw the explosion and was a little dazed. Shadow was immediately at Iblis's throat.
"You killed Maria. I don't doubt that you probably were the one to get Joshua into E-13 as well. You're basically the reason Tanya Von Garthe went batty, why Gerald killed himself, and why I'm here today rather than Joshua himself," he said darkly. I didn't know who Joshua was or what E-13 meant, but I didn't like the look in Shadow's eyes.
"I don't deny any of it, Shadow. But could it be? Are you the project? Are you Savior?" His crazy eyes lit up with excitement.
"Yes, I am. I hate you with every fiber of my being, Iblis. I would love to leave you alone in the Biolizard lab, but I'm not heartless like you. But I can garuntee that you'll spend a lot of time now in Prison Island." But Egghead—Iblis—only laughed.
"I am Joseph Iblis, the master of secrecy, the greatest genius of all . . . I prepared in case this would happen. I am no fool, about to be outsmarted by mere children. Seven projects of mine are hidden, and a timer on each of them dictates whether they are to be released. The first one will start in only a week after today—and once it's out, I will be able to escape."
"So these . . . Iblis Triggers . . . are spread throughout the world, with no indication as to what they are?"
"Only my insignia. It is a flame with two wings on either side—not that it matters, for you will never see it in time."
"Tails—Cream—lug this dude back home, will you? The police can take it from there," I said. They nodded and, holding his hands behind his back, shoved him into the escape pod and launched toward Earth.
"We'll worry about Iblis's Triggers later. Now we have a gigantic deadly lizard to get rid of, as well as any other stuff," said Rouge, and we moved on. There were old blobs of chemicals that were moving across the floor on their own, and I didn't care to touch them. Some of them crackled with electricity, while others were smoking fumes. Not exactly the safest thing around. I heard buzzing down the hall.
"Hey, Rouge, Knux, do you guys want to go check that out?" asked Shadow.
They went the opposite direction of their friends and found a gigantic red and black robot.
"Omega must destroy. Destroy. Target locked," it said, turning towards them.
"I don't like the sound of that," said Rouge wisely. Knuckles got into a fighting stance.
"Let's break this little toy," he said.
We kept moving. I heard a roar from one direction.
"I think that's the Biolizard," said Shadow.
"I agree. I guess that's the first Iblis Trigger," said Silver, and I nearly tripped trying not to laugh. Then we found the Chaotix again—they'd gone in another direction when Cream and Tails took Eggman to Earth.
"Look, we came here because we were going to get a lead on a case. That crazy guy tricked us, obviously, but he knew the name of the person we're trying to investigate, so we figured he might know something. So might you. Now is this going to be done the easy way or the hard way?" asked Vector.
"Guys, we don't have time for this," said Shadow.
"I'll handle them," said Silver.
"You sure?" I asked.
"Completely." There was an alarm starting.
"It's the security alarm—someone needs to get to the control room again and shut it off!" said Shadow.
"I'll do it!" said Amy and Blaze.
"Both of you go. We have a lizard to beat," I said grimly. Shadow and I moved on, leaving them behind.
Silver turned towards Espio.
"Alright, where'd you go and how do you know your way around here so well? And what's this case that you're on?" he asked.
"What makes you think I'm the one leading them around?"
"Vector's the brawn, Charmy's the moral support and you're the brains. That much anyone can figure out."
"I was once an assistant on this ship. I knew nothing about the main scientists or what had happened here until he announced it just now."
"I'll believe you there. And the case?"
"A police officer hired us to investigate a disappearance."
"Let me guess. It was about Jason Sarali," said Silver. Things always seem to be connected lately.
"How did you know?" Silver looked around for security cameras. Then he changed into Jason for a minute.
"I am Jason Sarali. I was kidnapped by someone from another dimension and left there for nine years. If you hear about Eliza Smith, she was there with me. Will you guys help take down the contraptions that are all coming to life?" Vector cracked his knuckles.