*Chapter 6: The Cat's Out of the Bag*
Outside away from the Earth's globe and the Space Colony, there is one space station that is not big like the ARK. It's only fit one human and his projects. There is a man in his late 30s with thick hair, wearing glasses, and wearing a white coat. Widow came in the room and she told him about Shadow, and the man got interested in it. No wonder his hyenas were down that easily. The Ultimate Life Form killed his creations.
"So, Professor Gerald created a mobian creature, didn't he? Well, I have to say that I am quite impressed with his work." The man said. Widow came over to her creator and smiled. "What about Maria Robotnik?"
"Well, Veldon, she was friends with Shadow. She said that Shadow saved her life from our hyenas. Boy, were we so close getting her?" Widow chuckled at the last part. "They get along so well. And Shadow got his senses, so I was almost caught." The man turned to her. "Don't worry. I was too fast for that handsome hedgehog."
"Handsome? Please." Veldon scoffed.
"Well, be surprised. He's got the looks, and any girl will be lucky to have him." Widow said. "He could be a great Prince Charming." Veldon chuckled at her.
"Oh Widow, you're such a kidder. An Ultimate Life Form can't fall in love. Everyone knows that." Veldon said. "When Gerald created that prototype, it was a monster and always acts like one. But the hedgehog? Please."
"Well, think what you want, professor. And I didn't say that he is in love right now. He doesn't know what the rest of the feelings are just yet. He's still a clueless little hedgehog." Widow said by making a shrug. "So, now that I report, what is your next plan since the last one failed?" Veldon turned around to get to the other side of the room and look out the window to see nothing but space.
"I'm not going over there just yet." He said. "Let them have their peace for a few weeks. Just do what you have to do. Open your ears for the professor's next plan. And look out for Shadow, and...Maria Robotnik as well. I need updates of the plans of theirs." Widow bowed to him and left the room. But he heard Veldon once again. "And please don't do anything stupid." He said. Widow rolled her eyes a little and walked away. Veldon turned away from the window and picked up the folder with photos of the Robotniks that are deceased or not. Only two members up in space left. Gerald and Maria Robotnik. But, Maria will live for a time being. Veldon smirked as he picked up a photo of Maria.
"She won't last for long. No way that Gerald can find the girl's cure. It's impossible." He said. "And how could a hedgehog help a little girl, anyway?"
Later that day, Abraham went around the corner to get to his room until he saw Shadow coming towards him with Mardic and Maria. Before one of them could say something, Abraham rush by them, not wanting to be near Shadow. The three stare back in confusion, but Maria shook her head.
"What happened to him?" Shadow asked. "Have I done something?"
"No. He's just...afraid." Maria said. "But, don't worry about him. He'll get over it." Shadow shrugged a little. So, Shadow, Mardic, and Maria walked through the door and saw two scientists talking things over. But, Maria heard one name that everyone talks about. Veldon.
"After what had happened the other day, we need to create something that could stop his creations." One man said. "I know Shadow did kill them all, but...what if something worse happens?"
"I don't know, Stephan. I'm sure Professor Gerald will think of something to stop Veldon for sure. For years, Veldon wants the professor's secrets." The other said. The kids and the hedgehog backed away without being detected. Maria turned to Mardic.
"Who's Veldon?" Maria asked. Mardic is silent. He can't answer her. She can't know about him. "Mardic, I know you know. Who is he?"
"Sorry, Maria. I...I can't tell you." Mardic replied. "But, come on. Let's go to the armory room." He walked away from Maria and Shadow watched in silent. Maria followed Mardic and Shadow remained behind. That name is from the diary. That evil professor is bad news indeed. Just who is he?
"Shadow, come on." Mardic called. Shadow ran over to the kids.
"What's the armory?" Shadow asked.
"A room that holds guns, and you can shoot the targets. Easy way to practice to shoot." Mardic said. "I'll show you. My dad taught me, and it's easy. You just pull the trigger." Shadow raised his brow in interest. So humans can fight too. Not with their fists or feet, with weapons. Now Shadow can use a weapon too.
They walked in the armory and see a couple of men loading the guns and have headsets on to block the sounds of the gunshots. Mardic has his on, but Shadow didn't need one of course. Maria sets hers on. Mardic got two pistols out, and gave one to Shadow. But, the black hedgehog turns to Maria who went over to the chair behind the first row with no gun.
"Mardic, how come she doesn't get a gun?" Shadow asks.
"Oh, well..." Mardic started. "She...refuses to learn how to use a gun. I tried to teach her, but...she said that she doesn't want to kill anybody after what happened before."
"Before?" Shadow asked.
"Uh, never mind." Mardic said. "Anyways, come on. Watch me, and then you try." Mardic said by getting in his place and the target ahead of him is set up. Shadow watches the teen load his pistol and aim at the target, and pulled the trigger. The bullet nearly hits the bulls eye. "Yeah!" Mardic exclaimed. "Practice makes perfect!"
"That was great, Mardic." Maria said.
"Okay, Shadow. You try. Just like I did." Mardic says, by backing away. Shadow got in front and aim the gun at the target. He slowly wrapped his finger around the trigger, and pull it. The bullet hits the bulls eye! Mardic and Maria gasped in awe.
"Whoa!" They both exclaimed. Shadow turned to them with a neutral look.
"Well? How was that?" He asked.
"That was awesome, Shadow! One first try, and bang! A bulls eye!" Mardic said. "Do it again!" Maria laughed a little. Shadow shoots the target around the bulls eye a few more times until the gun is out of ammo. Mardic laughed in excitement. He was impressed. If Gerald were here, he would react the same way. "God dammit, man! That was so awesome! We gotta show the professor this!" Mardic said.
"You want me to go get him?" Maria asked.
"Sure, I'll go with you. Shadow, stay here. We'll be right back!" Mardic said, rushing out of the door, and Maria tries to catch up with him. Shadow chuckled a little at himself. He looks at the gun. He handled this well. Then, he hears slow clapping. He turned to see Widow there with a smirk. She is now wearing white long gloves. Shadow blinked a few times at her. Where did she come from?
"That was very impressive, Shadow the Hedgehog." She says by walking over to him, and took the gun out she held. "You're a better shooter than I am. Watch this." She points the gun at one of the targets and shot a big bulls eye with three bullets. "Okay, you're...not as great as I am yet." Widow chuckled, putting away her gun. "Oh, where are my manners? I know who you are, but you never heard of me." She sticks out her hand. "I am Widow. Widow the Cat." Shadow stares at her hand, but he didn't shake it. He crossed his arms in concern.
"The professor never mentioned you." He said. "Are you one of his creations before me?"
"Oh no, Shadow. I only visit." Widow said. Then, she fake gasp, covering her mouth with one hand. "Oops. I spoke too soon, haven't I?"
"Visit from where?" Shadow asked, glaring at the cat. "And how do you know much about me?" Widow shook her finger at him, clicking her tongue.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. Don't be nosey, Shadow. It's rude." She said. "Can't a girl like me get to know you better first?" Shadow has his eyes half closed in annoyance. Widow laughed a little at him. "Cute. Very cute. Now, since we know each other's names, I guess I should be on my way. Oh, but first..." She came close to his face and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Nice meeting you, handsome." She whispered in his ear. Shadow was still. Widow turned away from him to leave the armory. What was that all about? And...what did she do to him? Shadow puts his hand over his left cheek where the cat kissed him.
"Hmph. I don't know what that was, but...there's something about her I don't like." Shadow said. "I sense that she is...no good. Who is she? And where did she come from?"
Shadow was in his room one night, and got into the closet to get the diary out and the tape recorder. He picked the first one that labeled "Interview with V". Shadow places the tape in and press the play button. He hears faint sounds at first, but hears voices. One of them is a woman.
"Patient interview 1. Veldon was finally caught by the Space Colony Guards. He was sneaking around the lab to steal the Professor's secrets."
A sound of knocking was heard after the voice spoke. A male voice is heard. Shadow listened carefully to the tape.
"Dr. Robotnik, are you set in there?"
"Oh, yes. Yes. Come in."
Footsteps were heard, and sounds of chains. If only Shadow could imagine what was happening and who's who. A different male voice was heard, but it is unfriendly.
"Hello, Mrs. Robotnik. Nice to see you here again."
"Veldon. I see you are trying to steal from my father-in-law again."
"Heh. His place is full of security, isn't it? So, now what's for today? Do I have to explain about myself on this tape again?"
"No. That was before I have you as my patient, Veldon."
Two people talk in the tape now. Shadow continued to listen. He will know who Veldon is.
"Now, one of the men told me that you are looking through the files of Gerald Robotnik. Why is that?"
"Because I hear you are bearing a child, dear."
"So you've heard."
"Yes. A girl. But born with a rare disease. A NIDS. Sucks to be a mother, isn't it? And oh, what a lovely photo you got there, Mrs. Robotnik. You and your husband."
"Put that down! ...Guards!"
The tape ended after the ruffling noises, and a cry of the woman's help. Dr. Robotnik is a woman. It could be Hope from that diary. Shadow took the tape out of the tape recorder. A rare disease? Maria has it? Why didn't she tell Shadow before? A knock was heard on the door, and Shadow quickly puts away the tapes and the book back in the closet.
"Come in." Shadow says in a calm voice. The door opened and Gerald came in. His face was filled with worry. "Professor?"
"Shadow, thank goodness. I have to come in and make sure." Gerald said.
"Make sure? Why?"
"There's been a murder..." Gerald said with a low voice. Shadow's eyes are wide in shock.
Inside the library, the doctors brought the corpse out the doors as everyone watched in silent. Shadow was by Gerald, watching the body been zipped up in the bag. That was the first time that Shadow has seen a dead body of a human, and it's not pretty to see. The man who runs the library was stabbed by someone. Who would do such a thing? Ven came towards Gerald.
"There's no DNA on the body or anything. Someone wiped the evidence off." He said. "If Veldon was that smart, he would leave a message, but he couldn't just stab a person."
"So, you're saying he didn't do this?" Gerald asked.
"Well, unless it was Widow." Ven says. "That cat is clever." Shadow looked up at Ven and Gerald in silent. That's the cat he met in the armory. She killed the librarian? She works with Veldon?
'I knew there was something not right about her. And if I see her again, I will take her in.' Shadow thought.
"If anyone sees that black cat, you will take her to the cell." Gerald says to everyone. He turned to Shadow. "Shadow, keep your eyes and ears open for her. She is bad news, and she is a creation of Veldon. If you see her, bring her to me and I will put her down."
"Of course, professor." Shadow said. "I...I should tell you this. At the armory before the children arrived back with you, she was there." Gerald raised his eyebrow. "I wasn't sure about her, but now that I know who she is, I will bring her to you. I swear it."
"...Alright, Shadow." Gerald said. "Thank you for telling me. And...will you meet me in my lab? I will have to speak to you." Shadow gave him a nod. Gerald told everyone to return their rooms and labs. From the crowd, there was Mardic and Abraham watching Shadow coming over to Maria who arrived late. Shadow was explaining what happened, and Maria covered her mouth with one hand.
"Mardic, what do you think of that hedgehog?" Abraham asked. "At first, I thought he's the one who killed the guy."
"Really, Ab? You still think Shadow is scary as hell to you?" Mardic asked. "He's a friendly guy. Give him a break. And I can't believe you ran away from us hours ago, too."
"I just...I just don't want to be near him." Abraham confessed. "Seems like you and Maria are spending more time with him than with me."
"Wow. We were only showing him around the ARK, and now you think you're left out?"
"Look, Shadow is not your replacement. He's new and everything." Mardic said. "But, if you don't like him around, then that's your problem." Abraham rolled his eyes at him. "Well, I'm off to my room. See you tomorrow, Ab." Mardic walked down the hall, leaving the boy with the other scientists who are talking about the murder. Abraham turned to see Maria saying goodnight to Shadow and walked away from him. Shadow turned around and skates off to get to Gerald's lab. Abraham glared a little.
"I hate him..."