Chapter 10 - Adrenaline at High Altitude
Adrenaline at High Altitude
Tails brought the plane down to a smooth a tumble. He picked out a gigantic cave, though just a pock-mark in Angel Island’s massive berth, suitable for landing. With a bit of quick braking, the Tornado was expertly navigated snugly into the cave to drop to an unceremonious but otherwise safe rest on its two lower wings and the rear wheel in a billow of dust and sound.
Sonic, feet dangling just a few inches above the ground, took a moment to process what had just happened, the silence of the others indicating they were doing the same, then let go. His sneakers found the dirt floor, and though a little shaky he was otherwise unharmed.
“Tell me again how we got out of that alive?” said Amy’s voice, and a second later she dropped from above, but fell over when she touched down and ended up on her back beside Sonic, who laughed, then staggered back holding in a curse as Amy’s boot, suspiciously hard, connected with his shin.
“If you’re alive and breathing, raise your voice,” said Tails triumphantly, “if you’re hurt or dead I don’t wanna know.”
One by one they sounded off – everybody was accounted for. Almost.
“Where’s Shadow?” asked Sonic, searching the large cave. It stretched back about fifteen feet before the lack of light and thick forest of stalactites obscured any further perceptions, and where the Tornado sat it was a comfortable, flat, twenty feet wide.
“Good, maybe he fell off when he almost blew us all up,” said Knuckles.
“No… umph… such luck.”
Clambering up over the edge of the cave was a familiar silhouette.
“Sonic, go help!” Amy exclaimed, when nobody moved.
“What? An hour ago he was trying to spear me!” said Sonic, raising both hands in surrender. But Shadow was already up. He seemed unsteady on his feet.
Under Amy’s glare, Sonic relented. He still hissed under his breath, “I don’t see any of you going to help the raging Chaos monster.”
“I’m fine,” said Shadow irritably as Sonic approached, waving him away. But as he took a step away from the wall he had used for support, he pitched forwards. Sonic hauled him back to his feet.
“Yeah, a beam with the concentrated power of an A-Bomb and then faceplanting into an earth wall is like a picnic for you, huh?”
Shadow made an irritated noise, but allowed Sonic to help him over to the nearest wall, where he was dropped a little roughly.
“Sonic!” said Amy, sharply, “he saved our lives, be gentle already!”
“Am I the only one who remembers him trying to kill me and Nickel?”
“I doubt he attacked for no reason, so don’t be such a sore loser.”
“But he did!” huffed Sonic, and he dug himself out of his burrowed hole by saying, “well, everybody got out alive – mainly thanks to Tails.”
“Yeah, no way Shadow’s laser-beam with a power of an A-bomb was a contributing factor,” sniffed Amy, sarcastically.
Sonic kicked the ground with his heel and folded his arms.
“I didn’t expect it to be that strong,” said Shadow with a small frown. There was a small flash of light, and a cobalt blue Chaos emerald appeared in one hand.
“Is that” – began Tails.
“Fake,” said Shadow, “next generation, however. This is just a prototype” –
“You couldn’t even control the prototype?”
“Sonic!” growled Knuckles and Tails, impatiently. Sonic threw both hands up in surrender again, though his eyes glinted with mischief.
Knuckles was helping Tails and Cream off the plane, “Looks like we’re in one of the old anti-chambers, if we keep going far back enough we should reach some stairs up to the island’s surface.”
“This place is an antechamber?” asked Sonic, looking at the dusty, musty old cave, unadorned but for nature’s natural coat, with a critical eye.
“Yes, last time Angel Island fell it lost even more of its mass,” said Knuckles. Sonic looked away under Knuckles’ daring glare, and the echidna continued, “we should get to the surface, we need to check what condition the temples are in.”
“No, I don’t think so,” said Tails, “the robots appear to have either decided to leave us alone or have lost us, I don’t think we should poke a hornet’s nest.”
Sonic quipped, “But that’s, like, our favourite thing to do.”
“I need to make sure they’re okay!” protested Knuckles.
“If the temples are burning, we can’t do anything about it!” said Tails, “if we do go up, we’re more likely to inadvertently attract the attention of the robots.”
Knuckles gave him a black look, but accepted the logic.
There was a moment of quiet, and Sonic got the idea the group were catching their breath after their insane and miraculous escape.
“Why was the plane behaving so schizo, Tails?” asked Sonic.
Tails shrugged, “Beats me, it’s never done that before.”
Amy and Cream exchanged looks, and Sonic didn’t miss a beat.
“Uh, well,” started Amy, suddenly looking flustered – but not half as much as Cream, “well, we didn’t think that we’d all have to be riding in the Tornado, and, ah...”
“It’s my fault,” murmured Cream, looking down at the ground and fiddling with her hands.
Sonic remembered how Cream had struggled to lift Amy back on the surface, and had seemed just that little bit less nimble than usual.
“No it’s not,” interjected Amy, “Cream’s been learning Piko-Piko art. We got her a Piko hammer just this summer gone, and she seemed a natural. So, I taught her hammer-space... the only problem was that, while she could make the hammer-disappear... she couldn’t make it re-appear. It’s stuck on her.”
“I’m sorry!” cried Cream, “We should have said, i-if I had known it would interfere with Tails’ plane, I woulda” –
“You made the hammer disappear,” cut in Sonic, thinking this through, “and... then couldn’t get it out?”
Cream nodded, looking close to tears.
But Sonic just burst out in laughter, “That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day! You must weigh like a hundred kilos!”
“Yeah, and it nearly got us all killed,” said Knuckles, darkly, but even he didn’t have it in him to glare at Cream.
“I’m so sorry,” she sniffed, and sat down, “I want go home...”
Sonic felt a small pang inside his chest, followed by a wave of sympathy.
“Ah, Robotnik wouldn’t have gone that far,” said Sonic confidently, “Chapter one, passage three, or sixty-one or something, he hurts somebody on neutral territory, the Tri-Alliance are allowed to come down on him like a tonne of bricks.”
Tails piped up, “But you said Robotnik didn’t care about” –
“Shut up Tails…” Sonic murmured.
Shadow snickered. “Robotnik would have roasted you all in front of that little girl then video-linked it live to ECN.”
“Okay, okay,” Tails quickly interjected when Sonic, outraged, was about to snap back, “this isn’t getting us anywhere. Cream couldn’t help what happened, Shadow helped us out when time called, and we can check the temples out, which are probably fine, when it’s safe.” He took a breath. “The only question I’ve got is, where is Nickel?”
Tails turned to face Sonic, as did the rest of the group. Feeling vaguely uncomfortable, Sonic rubbed the back of is neck and said as simply as he could, “I let him go.”
Tails looked at him, confused. “What do you mean – did he fight you off?”
“No, well yes, he tried – didn’t get far. The doors closed on me.”
Tails, Knuckles and Amy all stared back at him. Befuddled, Tails confirmed, “The doors shut on you?”
“And you didn’t try to just get in another way?”
“He wanted to go with Eggman, so I let him,” finished Sonic.
There was a silence.
“I’m sorry?” asked Shadow, looking up at him with a mixture of acidic sarcasm and tired aggravation, “Let me just confirm this – you had the chance to stop them but you didn’t? You had the boy, the only person in the world that could tell us what is actually happening, with these magnetic pulses... and you just let him trot off with arguably one of the most dangerous men on the planet?”
Sonic frowned, “There was more than one?”
“Idiot!” Shadow hissed.
“I couldn’t just drag him off,” said Sonic earnestly, turning his back to Shadow in a gesture that indicated he refused to explain himself to him, and instead facing Knuckles, Tails, Cream and Amy, “he needed to work it out for himself. If I didn’t, he wouldn’t have trusted us.”
“But he could get hurt!” protested Amy.
“No, I don’t think so, Eggman probably wants him to find his brother, who, the way Nickel talks about him, is probably older, and stronger. And even so, a little bit of a scare might be just what he needs.”
“Maybe so, Amy,” said Knuckles, “but Sonic’s right about one thing – if we had just kidnapped him, he’d be trying even now to get away from us. If Sonic had dragged him back when he did, Robotnik would have given chase and we’d be chewing bullets.”
Shadow was probably fuming, but Sonic didn’t turn to look at him. “Only thing we gotta wait for now is daybreak” –
Now Shadow had abandoned all cruel mocking, and his voice back to serious assertiveness. Sonic ignored him.
“We all need a rest. Robotnik will gain some ground, but we’ll have the Tornado back up to scratch in no time. We go pick up the Golden Rose, which is hopefully still in a fit shape”–
“You should get back to GUN,” said Sonic, finally turning back to Shadow, “wouldn’t want your military pals to worry or anything.”
“I came here to bring you back to Central by request of the Commander himself,” snarled Shadow, sliding himself up the wall and into an unsteady standing position, “Now, I’ll admit I let the situation get out of control, but we need to find Robotnik now before the situation escalates” –
“Forget it, I’m not runnin’ off to GUN all happy to see them. First I’m gonna make sure Knuckles’ temples are still standing, then I’m getting Cream home then I’m dealing with Nickel.”
“And I bet you promised to get Nickel home, too!” exploded Shadow, “and now you’ve let him run off with Robotnik! Stop running around after children and take some responsibility” –
“I’ll do what I like!” snapped Sonic, feeling a flicker of genuine anger.
As the two hedgehogs sized each other up – the fur on their shoulders, upper arm and chest rising instinctively, they were momentarily distracted by a loud crack and a heavy thud! Both turned to see Amy, preposterously heavy hammer in hand, glaring at them in venom.
Sonic didn’t really want to start a fight in front of the likes of Tails, Cream and Amy again – once was fun. Twice was excessive.
This thought forced Sonic to calm down, and he bit down again on a dozen retorts and taunts – another complication was not what they needed right now.
A compromise was in order.
Nickel felt way out of his depth, but refused to feel regret or fear. For the better or worse his choice to join Dr Robotnik had got him his emerald back, now all he needed to find was his brother.
He must have fainted with the stress of it all, because when he had woken up he found himself in a dark, noisy, unfamiliar room. Heavy machinery filled the room, it stunk of oil and was uncomfortably hot.
He noticed a machine hovering in the air a little way away, static filled the machine’s screen like a broken television. The screen flickered once, and Doctor Robontik’s bloated and pouchy features appeared, his eyes hidden behind flat blue spectacles.
Swinging his legs from the white bed, Nickel asked the small machine, “Where are we?”
“Just out of the Mystic Ruins,” replied Robotnik happily; he looked pleased to see him awake.
“Where are we going now?” said Nickel, slightly suspicious.
The Doctor’s comical features suddenly turned serious, “Listen, you’ve chosen to side on this end of the line, we need to trust each other.”
“Right,” said Nickel, coldly.
“I have some good news,” said Robotnik without skipping a beat, “after intercepting some radio chatter, it seems one flying white hedgehog is zooming along down the east coast.”
“So that’s where we’re headed, right?” asked Nickel, perking up instantly.
“Sure is, kiddo, but I was wondering, this ship is fast, but with a powerhouse like you she would go twice her max! What do you think of heading on down to the engine room and using those marvellous powers of yours to propel us to victory!? I’ve developed an engine to transform your energy into the fuel that makes this ol’ girl tick.”
“Er... sure,” said Nickel. He noticed the Rainbow emerald in his lap, barely glowing.
“Did you know I can use the Rainbow Emerald to enhance my powers?” asked Nickel, enthusiastic, “I can use it to power your ship more!”
“I was counting on it,” said Dr Robotnik, with a barely concealed sly smile. “With you running the bowels we’ll be there in a few hours! Just in time to intercept your brother! Provided he’s going in a straight line...”
“Oh, he will be,” chirped Nickel, “He’s can sense my psychokinesis over long distances if he wants too, I’ll bet he knows roughly where I am! But I’m not as good as him, so I haven’t figured out how to do that yet...”
“Really?” enquired the Doctor. “I’ve never seen anything like your abilities before, they’re simply incredible. Can you tell me more?”
After an uncomfortable silence, it was Cream that eventually spoke up.
“Mr Sonic, maybe you should go with Shadow. We can catch up when we’re ready.”
Sonic turned back to them, “Are you sure – that means no rest if we’re gonna do this together, and I’ve got an idea it’s gonna be a very busy night.”
Tails shrugged, “You’ll probably get up to Central at about midnight, it’ll only take me a little while to get the Tornado back up to power, and seeing as it will only be me and Knuckles, I’ll be able to take the Tornado up to its full speed – we’ll probably overtake you on the way up!”
Shadow looked like he was struggling not to roll his eyes, but when he made his next suggestion it was in a calm, level tone. “We should move right away. Knuckles, seeing as we are moving, I see no reason why you should not check on the temples.”
Shadow brushed off all questions about how fit he was to travel. In fact, he led the way to the back of the cave, where indeed there seemed to be a thin, straggly path of sorts that led into the darkness. He re-absorbed the fake Chaos emerald.
“See you guys in a couple of hours,” said Sonic, barely sparing the rest of them a backwards glance before he followed the disappearing backs of Shadow and Knuckles into the dusty obscurity. He’d see them again.
The tiny tunnel was cramped, dark and suffocating, but Sonic felt mostly unaffected, being a burrowing species. If it was something he couldn’t spindash through, it would be a different story, but right now he almost enjoyed the enclosure, and the smell wasn’t all that unappealing. It was sort of comfortable, safe. Even a little nostalgic. It reminded him of his bedroom back in 17 Lillie Street.
The sounds of Knuckle’s and Shadow’s footsteps suddenly changed, as if they were now treading on stone. Eventually, Sonic reached what appeared to a thin, winding and steep, flight of stairs, so eroded some of the steps had simply vanished into time.
“Guess this is what 4000 years neglect does to a place,” muttered Sonic, feeling his way along and sidestepping an ankle-twisting-capable hole, the only light the orange strips Shadow was illuminating on his air-skates.
Eventually, they reached fresher air, easier to breathe and cooler to the senses, especially after the merciless upward climb. The Echidnas must have been first-rate athletes if they made these sorts of climbs everyday. However, Shadow picked up something else.
“Is that rain?” he asked from somewhere above.
“Ugh, hope not,” Sonic answered, but by increased frequency of their footfalls, Shadow and Knuckles were hurrying for the surface. Grudgingly, Sonic picked up the pace so as not to lose the flickering light of Shadow’s skates.
After thirty seconds hurried trotting up the eroded staircase, Sonic eventually smelled the damp, fresh smell of rain. Which was odd given it had been a clear afternoon. The tunnel eventually opened up into a tiny cave on the cliffside that Sonic nearly had to bend down to a crawl to navigate, and even then he was pushing himself to fit through slim gaps in the earth. At this point, even he was beginning to feel the beginnings of claustrophobia as he found himself wedged between two invisible walls, unable to see where he was going or how much further he had left.
Eventually, dim moonlight illuminated some of the surroundings, and he felt the cold, shuddering drop of water hit him square on the forehead.
From further ahead, he heard Knuckles laughing heartily.
Pushing himself forwards with a powerful shove, freeing himself of the rocky squeeze but earning a few stinging grazes, Sonic finally reached the outside. Knuckles and Shadow were standing side by side in the rain, Knuckles with his head tilted toward the spitting sky.
“It’s raining,” he laughed, “just when you think the old island’s puttering out, she gives another kick!”
“What are you going on about?” asked Sonic, looking up at the sky to try and see what he was looking at, but he reverted his gaze quickly, not enjoying the precipitation on his fur.
“Knuckles is under the impression the island conjured up this weather to put out the fires,” said Shadow, as if he neither denied nor supported this theory.
“Not the island, exactly, but the Master Emerald... I think the temples are fine now.”
“What?” asked Sonic, confused, “but you haven’t even seen them! You could climb a tree, and then” –
-“If the temples were gone, the Master Emerald wouldn’t be using energy just to make it rain, she’d be devastated. They’re fine, I know it.”
Sonic went to exchange a bemused glance with Shadow, but the dark hedgehog was suddenly looking rather solemn, red eyes watching the rain fall, yet not really seeing them.
Knuckles nodded to Shadow, the closest gesture to ‘good luck and goodbye’ he could convey to him, then turned on his heel, and began heading back towards the underground staircase to help Tails with the repairs, fur already a little darker with the wet.
“I think you’ll find most of the island in perfect shape,” Knuckles said to Sonic, happily.
“Yeah, you used your Chaos voodoo to deduct that, too?
“Nah, common sense. Not that you’d know anything ‘bout that.”
Pleased to see Knuckles in such a good mood after he’d been through such worry, Sonic smiled, and butted fists with the echidna.
“And by the way, listen, Sonic,” murmured Knuckles, so quiet only Sonic would hear him, “be careful, you’re heading out to free Nickel, but who knows what he wants him so much for.”
“No kidding, Knux.”
Knuckles nearly rolled his eyes. He turned away, and was soon swallowed up by the tiny cave, leaving Sonic and Shadow alone. However, Shadow still appeared to be staring out into space with a slightly hard glare.
“Er, ready when you are,” said Sonic.
Shadow glowered, then cocked his head as if to say ‘follow’, kicked his air-skates into gear, and shot into the rainforest.
“Whoo boy,” grimaced Sonic.
They were in the air only five minutes later. The bombs had felt ferocious enough to raze the island but in reality they had not really made much of a dent. Perhaps Robotnik had been more concerned with escaping than truly laying siege to the island.
Shadow seemed far from comfortable in the sleek black jet – Sonic didn’t know the model, but it was nearly three times the size of the Tornado, was not outfitted with military components,and designed for humans. As a result, his feet did not quite reach the floor, and though the controls had been modified to suit an anthrohuman, Sonic thought they looked quite ridiculous. He was buckled into the seat behind Shadow’s.
As soon as they had hit cruising altitude, Shadow had contacted GUN. There had been a lot of ‘this is agent Shadow’ and ‘over’ and ‘standing by’, but eventually Shadow was able to request audience with the Commander.
After that there was some more ‘standing by’ and finally ‘access granted’.
All they had to do then was sit and wait for the Commander to get back to them.
“So,” he said after a moment. Sonic prepared himself, Shadow wasn’t one to make idle conversation, “if you know anything else about Nickel, now is the time to tell me.”
“Ahh…” Sonic immediately thought of the Rainbow emerald.
“Nope. Can’t think of anything.”
“What did you do with Metal Sonic?”
Sonic frowned, “How did you…”
“GUN collected his remains this morning.”
“Yeah, but, how did you know it was -” Sonic, stopped. Frowning and annoyed, he said, “I just told you, didn’t I?”
“Yes, which begs the question how did you reduce him to a twisted, molten corpse?”
Sonic was reluctant to say anything more. He didn’t need to.
“Because,” continued Shadow, “The only time I’ve seen metal look quite like that is after I have incinerated one with a Chaos Blast. That, and a good citizen handed in a strange green stone to the authorities about six hours ago in Central City. Confirmed to be a Chaos emerald.” Sarcastically, Shadow said with barely suppressed rapture, “How did it get there, I wonder?”
“You know, I think Amy might have given you a bit of a concussion when she got you with her hammer.”
“You couldn’t expect us not to find out. You went Super. The Chaos emeralds are scattered.”
“Yeah,” Sonic accepted. “Metal had some incredible armour though. I must have hit him at like five-thousand k’s an hour while Super and he still only broke in two.”
“Well, he’s definitely dead. If only we’d finished off the last one that easily.”
“As awesome as going Super is, it’s a pain in the butt having to go fetch them all again.”
Sonic thought about the Rainbow emerald again. Shadow was going to find out eventually – his retaliation might be worse than him just knowing now.
“Ok, fine, there is one more thing.”
Sonic explained the Rainbow Emerald and how it had probably been used as a bargaining chip for Nickel’s trust.
“Don’t suppose the Black Arms…”
Shadow shook his head. “This is new to me.” He actually laughed. “I’d have been dragged along to steal it by now if Rouge knew.”
“Right. Rubbish luck that of all people Robotnik managed to get the Rainbow emerald.”
“If you’re right about only the boy being able to use it, then it’s not a Chaos emerald.”
“It reacted to the other seven. Knuckles reckons the Master Emerald is under pressure holding the balance of eight emeralds instead of seven. If even the Master emerald thinks it is one, who are we to say?”
“Any idea where the rest of the emeralds could be now?”
“Nope, they’ll turn up.”
“Would you tell me even if you knew?”
“Not a chance.”
Shadow sighed, but didn’t bother pursuing the subject. There were easier ways to find the emeralds.
“Fine. The boy then… Nickel. I’ve heard of psychokinesis but didn’t
think it possible. Did Robotnik create that tech?”
“That’s classified.” Sonic stretched out in his seat, now rather enjoying himself.
Shadow growled with frustration, “Sonic…” but was cut off as the radio began to spit again.
“GUN HQ to Agent Shadow, this is the Commander, over.”
“Receiving you loud and clear, over.”
“Excellent, permission to speak freely. We were beginning to become apprehensive on this end, Shadow, your signal cut off barely an hour ago.”
“Long story,” replied Shadow. Sonic noted that the two of them were talking informally; more like equals. He wondered if it was because they truly were, or if the Commander knew it was the only way to keep Shadow in line. It made sense; Shadow was nobody’s subordinate.
“But you’ve captured Sonic?” asked the Commanders voice.
“Who’s he calling captured?!” interrupted Sonic.
“Is that him?”
“Yes sir.” replied Shadow, slightly dubiously.
“Then, Sonic, I’m addressing you directly. You are hereby arrested upon charges of causing severe damage to a city of the United Federation, protecting a criminal, possibly a refugee”-
“Whoa! Arrested?” Sonic cried, leaning over Shadow’s seat. “You’re kidding right? Not again!”
Even Shadow could only ogle at the radio in surprise.
“Shadow, I’m leaving him as your responsibility. This is a direct order, do not let him escape. Over and out.”
“What?!” said Sonic. And for a mere naive second, Sonic was sure Shadow was going to exclaim his protest too, but became apprehensive, when, as the line clicked dead, Shadow slid his hand over the autopilot button. He undid his seatbelt to stand in his seat.
“Ah, ok, I’m just sayin’ that if you pull a spear out I will personally spindash this plane to pieces.”
“Relax,” said Shadow, sounding bored, “I’m not arresting you.”
Sonic obeyed, then almost hit the roof of the plane as it dropped suddenly in altitude. Shadow slowed the plane, taking them much closer to the ground. It was night outside, Sonic could see little but purple silhouettes of scenery.
Sonic winced, but couldn’t help himself. “So, um, why?”
“Because I really can’t be bothered,” said Shadow, truthfully, “I could” – Sonic scoffed – “but it’s hardly worth it. I work with GUN provided our interests align. The Commander knows that.”
“So your interest is not to arrest me?” Sonic confirmed. He had been in a GUN cell once before and, while he had probably endured worse he didn’t have time to lose.
“Oh good.” said Sonic, now cheery. Just give me a ride to a Central and we can still go after Nickel together” –
It was Shadow’s turn to scoff. “If I were you, I’d grab that emergency parachute under the seat.”
Sonic paused, understood he wore no belt, then dove for the underneath of the seat. His hand just clamped over the back strap of the parachute when Shadow tipped the plane and popped the hatch above Sonic’s head.
The wind tore it open, and Sonic, curled in his spindash for protection
(but for his hand holding the chute) was sucked out of the vacuum.
That had been a brief alliance, he thought above the roaring wind as he enjoyed the freefall. But if Shadow thought this was going to slow him down he was in for a surprise. Thankful that he was finally away from the moody, humourless hedgehog, Sonic strapped on his parachute.
Six hours later
The Tornado and the Golden Rose had long since left Angel Island, after a quick call from Tails to some old friends. The walls beneath Angel Island needed to be investigated, ASAP. Knuckles was always apprehensive calling in this particular team, but seeing as Amy refused to stay there was not much of a choice.
The Tornado was quite a bit more damaged than Tails had initially suspected, but she would have to hold for the high-speed flight. First stop was Cream the Rabbit’s villa/farm in Green Hill Zone. They had already called ahead, requesting space to land. Cream’s father was Governor of the United Federation Greater Zones District, and away on business, but Vanilla, Cream’s mother, had flown up from a southern zone she’d been visiting to meet them. Neither of them really understood what Cream got up to on her adventures with either Amy or Team Sonic.
It was a pity they could not properly see the villa in the darkness – it was a magnificent piece of land when seen in all its glory. Tails let the Golden Rose dive down to land first, and winced as the suspension was pushed to its limit by Amy’s piloting. However, then it was his turn.
Tails was just thinking that Sonic should have called in by now to tell them where the next stop was, when a familiar screaming boom hit their ears like a firework.
“Sonic!” Tails cried, just as the Tornado touched down, having now reverted back to its biplane form to conserve energy. Pulling up beside the Golden Rose, now safely off the runway, Tails jumped out of the cockpit, Knuckles only a second behind him. Sonic skidded twenty metres to a stop, tearing up a great deal of grass. Dust clogged the beams of light emitted from the planes.
“Good, found you,” Sonic sounded immensely proud as he held up his left wrist and said, “actually used my wrist-comm. Used the tracker to find the Tornado.”
“Well done. Maybe you’ll be able to play pong on it next,” replied Tails, eyes wide with sarcasm. He immediately dodged a swipe as Sonic passed.
“I thought you were heading to Central!” called out Knuckles.
“Scammed my way out,” said Sonic. He spun on his heel to face his friends, “but, we have a problem. Shadow’s going after Nickel and he’s got a headstart the speed of a jet.”
“Why’d you split?”
Sonic shrugged and opened his arms wide, a breezy grin lighting his face, “Wanted by GUN again, what else?”
Amidst the cries of ‘what – why!?’ Sonic said, “GUN are just freaking out. They’re not our problem. Tails, how soon can we catch up after Shadow?”
“The Tornado’s done way too much, Sonic,” said Tails, dubiously, “She needs a break.”
“Well take your pick, do you want to break Nickel out from an Egg Carrier or GUN HQ? Besides, Eggman’s on UF turf, they’re gonna be cheesed off. We can use the carnage as a distraction to get in and out unnoticed.”
“I thought you said you wanted Nickel to work out what side he was meant to be on his own?” asked Tails.
“He’s got until we break him out to do that. That’s plenty of time.” Sonic jumped to his place on the Tornado’s wing, “Now c’mon – saddle up.”
“What about Amy and Cream?”
Amy said, “My point exactly. What do we do?” She and Cream approached the Tornado. As they did Tails and Knuckles climbed aboard.
Irritated, Sonic said, “Have tea. Do gardening. I dunno.”
He changed his tone immediately. “I’m kidding. Well, come?”
“We need more Magic Rings to make the journey.” said Amy, disappointment in her voice.
“Guess we’ll have to come back for you then,” said Sonic. “Just catch up to us when you can.”
“In twenty four hours you’ll probably be in Chun-Nan or something!”
“Hope so. Hit it, Tails.”
The Tornado leapt forward before Amy could, an angry snarl on her face equal to the sheer adventure summed up in Sonic’s.