Blue Flames 1/1

Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 23:03:43 EST

by Brent "Hedgehog X" Roberts and Thad "X" Boyd


        This work was written by Thad "X" Boyd and Brent "Hedgehog X"
Roberts, and belongs to them lock, stock, and barrel. You are allowed to
have as many copies (electronic or hard-copy) as you want, and are
encouraged to show it to your friends, but you are not allowed to modify it
or make any money without their official consent (which you're never going
to get just by asking out of the blue, and probably not going to get
anyway, so don't even try).
        To make it easier to distinguish who wrote what, I've headed each
chapter with a different color - darker blue for what I wrote, lighter for
what he wrote.
        Any resemblance between characters in this story and any real
beings, living or dead, is purely coincidental, except in cases when the
character's personality is meant to represent his/her creator's.
        Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who created characters included
in this story. This includes Service and Games (SEGA), Archie Comic
Publications, DiC entertainment, Capcom games, and a whole bunch of present
and former (mostly the latter, unfortunately [fortunately, however, when
referring to 99.9% of Club X members, since John "King Lawnmower" Geddes
was the only one who I ever respected, and of course I didn't respect him
at the time]) members of Sonic '94/'95 and Club X (normally I'd include
names, but I can't remember them all, and besides, they'd take up too much
space anyway). Some of the names of the Team X members may be from other
sources, but I'm not sure, since I never thought to ask my enemies where
they got their names. The name "Kumba" is borrowed (yeah, borrowed, that's
the ticket) from the name of a ride at the Busch Gardens theme park in
Tampa, Florida.
        I'd also like to thank Dave "Bookshire" Pistone for his wonderful
site, and for the creation of Packbell, who makes a brief appearance in the
new intro to this story.


        What you are about to read is BLUE FLAMES, written by myself and my
esteemed colleague, Brent Roberts, in September of 1994. The text is the
same (except for a few minor changes I've made to prevent incontinuity, and
you'd need an eagle eye to spot them), but I fixed spelling, punctuation,
and marginal errors. Also, I've "merged" chapters #10 and #11 from the
original story, since #11 was basically just a retelling of #10, and the
two conflicted at one point anyway. Also, I combined the original chapters
#13 and #14, into just chapter #12.
        BLUE FLAMES was an experiment; a crossover between our two ongoing
(at the time) storylines. Part of it occurred in DA STORY -- BOOK 1: THE
SONIC SAGA -- ACT 7: THE TERRAN PLANET, by Brent, and the rest occurred in
        It was such a success that Brent and I decided to make another
crossover later, which we called DREAMS DISTORTED, but for various
technical reasons (i.e. Brent disappeared while it was being written, and
by the time he got back, our whole outline was ripped asunder because of
changes in the club's membership), it has been canned indefinitely (the
project may continue if I can figure out how to make important changes).
        The reasons for DD's cancellation bring up an interesting point
that applies to this story. Our policy in the club's stories is for each
member to create a character to be included in stories, but of course,
because of Prodigy's outrageous pricing, these members disappear with an
alarming regularity (and now, let us all bow our heads in homage to the
recent loss of our friends Allen and Jill Quindiagan, who lost Prodigy just
a week or so before my writing this, but let's make the homage snappy,
because this is beginning to become one heck of a run-on sentence).
Because of this, there are many characters in here whose "owners" have
disappeared, yet the characters play such pivotal roles in the story, they
will return in future stories (MTP being a prime example, as you will find
when you read on).
        If you don't know who the third-party characters are, they all
(except MTP) appear in a story called JADED VIEWS...just keep in mind that
in this story, the Freedom Fighters don't know about Hedgehog X's past.
Also, some plot elements will be cleared up in future stories...
        Anyhoo, the basic plot is that Hedgehog X was sent to Earth by
Robotnik in acts 5 and 6 of DA STORY (the exact events can be found in the
prologue, rewritten with a few new characters), and met up with and
befriended some robots there (although not quite himself at the time).
Meanwhile, the Freedom Fighters follow him to Terra to help, but Robotnik
has other ideas, and dispatches a new team of robots to stop them.
        Also, this story was written while Sonic '94 (the name for the
Prodigy Sonic club at the time) was encountering hard times with a rival
club called "X". The troubles were caused, in part, by me, who didn't
exactly take kindly to an unsavory club with my same nickname. I admit I
overreacted a tad to what was going on, but I maintain that I DID ask them
NICELY to change their name or refrain from advertising in "my" domain, and
they replied immaturely (and I STILL have the printouts to prove it!).
        What does that have to do with anything, you ask? Well, several of
the villains herein are adapted from members of Club X, just so I can give
credit where credit's due.
        In conclusion, I'd like to shamelessly plug some of my other Sonic
fan-fiction. At the moment I'm writing this, a story written by my friend
Steve "Maxl" Tramer and me, entitled JADED VIEWS, can be found on Bookshire
Draftwood's homepage at HTTP://WWW.RAT.ORG/BOOKSHIRE. Also, expect another
story of mine, THE HUNT BEGINS, to hit before the end of 1995 (that one has
less "third-party" characters than the others, I might add), and two new
storylines -- IGNITION FACTOR, by me, and THE 72 HOUR SERIES, by Steven
Tramer -- to appear throughout '96.
        As always, if you have any questions or comments about any of my
stories, or just want to chat, write to me at AHVT94B_at_PRODIGY.COM. Also,
you can drop Brent a line at NNFW26B_at_PRODIGY.COM.


        "AAAARGH!!!!!" Robotnik screamed as he banged his fist on the desk,
breaking it in half. "Snively, send for maintenance to bring me a new
desk," he ordered in agitation.
        Robotnik had just been foiled again by his two least-favorite
hedgehogs in existence: Sonic the Hedgehog and that purple, secretive one.
His plan to turn the Freedom Fighters against each-other would have
succeeded, too, if that purple hedgehog hadn't found the antidote and
administered it to Sonic and his comrades, with the help of a fox who
looked a bit like the one that always tagged along behind Sonic. (Robotnik
had observed that this fox was known as MTP, and the initials seemed
vaguely familiar, and that he always carried a jetpack.)
        Robotnik's thoughts of anger were interrupted by a beeping
somewhere in the rubble of his desk. He rummaged around through the
wreckage, and uncovered a communicator.
        "This had better be good, Packbell," he growled.
        "Oh, it is," the android replied, his image popping up on the
viewscreen. "So good, in fact, that I'll overlook the fact that you just
threatened me. The mission to the Little Planet was a major success.
Since our last skirmish there, the Little Planet Freedom Fighters have been
scattered, and the only resistance I met were those two hedgehog sisters
with almost the same name."
        "Amanda and Amy Rose," Robotnik replied without question. "They
have been roboticized, I assume?"
        "Amanda has. She sacrificed herself battling me while her sister
ran. How shweeeeet."
        "And the Time Stones?" Robotnik asked eagerly.
        "All captured," the android replied with an evil grin as he held
the gleaming stones up to the monitor for Robotnik to see.
        "Excellent," the villain replied with a gleam in his eye. "I think
this will turn out to be a good day after all...see you soon, Packbell."
With that, he switched off his communicator and started formulating a plan
involving sending his nemeses through the space-time continuum...

        "Let's go, gang," Sonic said to his friends. "Sally's been missin'
for too long."
        "Sally-Girl can take care o' herself," Bunnie said with conviction.
        "Maybe so," Sonic said, "but she'd've tried to get in touch if she
were safe. I'm gonna go check things out. If I don't give you some sort
of a message in the next half-hour, head straight for Robotropolis."
        The others nodded their heads in nervous agreement.
        In the treetops above, another hedgehog watched the spectacle. He
couldn't let this happen, he told himself. He realized that, after Sally
had served her purpose as bait, she would end up just like his sources told
him Amanda had the day before. He couldn't let that happen.

        "Prepare to meet your maker, Sonic," Robotnik said, with an evil
grin. "Literally." He held up a Time Stone and aimed it at the hedgehog,
who disappeared before the eyes of all present: Robotnik, Snively,
Packbell, and their captive, Sally Acorn, standing in a roboticizer with a
clear-glass cover.
        "What did you do with him?" the princess demanded, after choking
back a scream.
        "He's merely taken a little trip to the past," Robotnik explained.
"By the way, Princess, did I ever tell you how pretty you look when you're angry?"
        "Only a half-dozen times in the past five minutes," Sally snapped.
        Packbell cracked his knuckles. "She's still got spirit, I'll give
her that," he said. "Personally, though, I think she'd be much prettier as
a robot."
        "Hard to make the comparison unless we actually SEE her as a
robot," Snively said. He reached for the switch that would bond flesh and metal.
        "Sorry, bucko!" Sparks flew everywhere as the roboticizer
exploded. "Whoops," said Knuckles the Echidna as the smoke cleared, "guess
I'm not very good with machines!"
        Robotnik gasped. He had planned only to deal with the hedgehogs
and the princess; he wasn't ready for the full band of Knothole Freedom
Fighters who appeared before him!
        Packbell shrugged. "Slight change in plans," he said. He snapped
his fingers. The exit doors closed, and an army of SWAT-Bots appeared
through the hole Knuckles had made in the wall. In spite of the fact that
the whole team was there, they knew they couldn't take care of all the
robots. The situation looked hopeless, until --
        "Robotnik!" came a voice. All heads turned to see Hedgehog X,
wondering how he'd gotten in. "Let them go! I'm the one you're after!"
        Robotnik sighed, realizing that the hedgehog could probably nuke
the whole area. "Fine," he said. "Snively, let them go. Packbell, get him."
        All the SWAT-Bots piled out of the building except for one. The
Freedom Fighters walked out the hole in the wall, but then peered back in
to see the fate of their friend. Packbell put the muzzle of his gun up to
where Hedgehog X's head was...and it went right through it.
        There was a flash of light, and the hologram disappeared. The
SWAT-Bot in the corner of the room removed its head, to reveal the REAL HX.
 "Bring Sonic back to the present," he ordered, leveling his gun at
Packbell's head.
        "Fool," Packbell said, "you forget who manufactures those things!"
Suddenly, the SWAT-Bot remains HX was inside transformed, trapping him.
        "As for your friends," Snively said, "our bargain is now void since
you tricked me." The Freedom Fighters walked back in, held at gunpoint by
the SWAT-Bots.
        "Sonic died millions of years ago," Robotnik said, "but where
you're going, you'll wish you were dead! Bon voyage!"
        A hole opened in the roof, and the metal encasing HX sprouted wings
and jets, and flew out of Robotropolis...and off of Mobius.

        Of course, Robotnik's mistake, as always, was to leave all his
enemies alive instead of killing them when he had the chance. Sonic
returned to the present by finding the Time Stones in the past, and he
rescued the Freedom Fighters.
        As for Hedgehog X, he spent his flight wondering where he was
going, plotting revenge, and being thankful that Chaos children don't have
to worry about nourishment.
        Finally, after he didn't know how long, his rocket slammed into
terra firma. Making his way out of the rubble, he was suddenly grabbed by
humans -- Snively and Robotnik's species, he thought darkly. They fired
some darts at him, and he lost consciousness.


        " haunting me!"
        MTP shot up. He checked his forehead. Feverish sweat was pouring
out. He caught his breath and wondered in terror what this could mean.
        MTP slowly walked into the kitchen. Knuckles was also drowsy. "We
gotta stop eating those chili dogs before bed," he groaned.
        "Trust's a lot more than that," MTP replied. "I'm going
out!" he announced.

        MTP stood in the middle of the wastelands once called Green Hill.
He was digging. Digging for his past. He heard shouts from far away.
Sonic was coming.
        "Why did you follow me?" MTP inquired.
        "Because you were acting strangely this morning." Sonic's voice
took a different tone. "Tell us the truth!"
        "You can't handle the truth!"
        "THIS IS NOT A GAME, MTP!" Sonic shouted.
        "Do I poke my nose into your personal life?!" MTP slammed the
shovel down. Then the floor collapsed, with him on it. Sonic could only
here a faint, "I'm back."

        CLINK! HX slammed on the bars. "What do you want with me?"
        The guard replied, "We want to know more about you."
        HX groaned. "And I suppose you want to turn me into a robot
afterwards?" The human gave him a strange look. HX shuddered.
        "Sorry I won't be able to join the fun!" He spun and broke through
the bars. The human got up and tried to shoot him with more tranquilizer.
HX ducked and ran. "You stay long enough on a planet, you figure things out!"
        Waves of humans attacked as HX ran through the hospital. Hex's
natural hedgehog agility allowed him to bounce, run, weave, and spin his
way past the flying darts. Humans got hurt everywhere, but HX was in too
much danger to care. When he was finally safe, something caught his
eye...a robot about to be hit by a laser.
        "Ugh! Those animals!" Hedgehog X said, and decided to save the
'Bot, realizing it must have once been a free creature.
        HX ran in, dove, and knocked the robot out of the way. He heard a
buzz. Next, a sharp pang in his forehead, a bright light, and then darkness.


        "An explanation is in order," Sonic said as MTP recovered.
        MTP was surrounded by the Freedom Fighters. There was no backing
out. He had to tell the tale so shocking that he feared for his friends,
especially Kate.
        MTP gulped as he decided to tell the truth...but not the WHOLE
truth. Even so, Kate might figure out who he was.
        "I wasn't born on Mobius," he began. Everyone gasped. "I was born
on a planet called Earth in AD 2000, and was raised in a dojo. My father
was a master of karate, a fighting style on Earth. He taught me the art as
I grew up there. However, that wasn't all I learned.
        "Japan led the world in technology at the time. Naturally, they
needed to test new products. When I was in college, I was doing some
research on teleportation, so I tested a giant computer that apparently had
a glitch in it that made it work with 'porting.
        "The computer was originally designed with state-of-the-art VR
technology to actually literally suck the users into it, but somehow there
was also a glitch that made it able to send the users to other locations.
        "I fiddled around with it, and accidentally beamed myself to a
broken satellite, which went haywire and beamed me to a similar machine on Mobius."
        "What's that got to do with the digging?" Rotor asked.
        In response, MTP thrust the shovel into the wall of the pit they
were in. The wall crumbled, revealing a giant computer.
        "I'm going home!" MTP replied.
        "You can't do that!" Sonic shouted. "For starters, you're a fox,
and I'm sure there aren't too many foxes on that foreign planet!"
        "And, Robotnik said to HX that he'd be miserable there!" Sally added.
        "It's home, and I'm going!" MTP stepped into the computer and disappeared.
        Knuckles stepped forward. "Where do you think YOU'RE going?" Sonic
        "To rescue that fool," Knuckles said, "and to pay a debt to a
hedgehog that saved ALL our butts multiple times!" Knuckles followed MTP
into the machine.
        Sonic looked back. "We're going to take a trip!"


        It had been weeks since the renegade robot Sigma's
destruction...and the disturbing return of his spirit (maybe these 'bots
were built TOO well...). Since then, Mega Man X, the first sentient robot,
and Dr. Cain, the scientist who had found him, had been working on more
pressing matters, as the evil robots (known as Mavericks) were being kept
well under control by the new members of the Maverick Hunters.
        "I've got it," Dr. Cain said. "A way to revive Zero!"
        "How?!" X demanded, hearing the name of his best friend, who had
fallen in a battle with Sigma's right-hand robot, Vile.
        "Your X-Buster," Cain replied, indicating X's hand, which could
turn into a weapon at any time, "it used to be Zero's. Using it, you can
zap Zero's memories into this new Reploid here," and with this remark, he
pointed to a Reploid (sentient robot replicating X's design) in the corner,
"who I call Kumba because he has the speed and power of the roller coaster
at Busch Gardens, where I used to go when I was young (and I still do occasionally).
        "However," he said, getting back on track, "it's a
once-in-a-lifetime shot. Once it's started, it can't be canceled, and if
you miss --"
        "I WON'T miss," X said reassuringly.
        Cain plugged Mega Man X into a machine. The robot aimed carefully
at Kumba, then pressed the "fire" button. The X-Buster took a minute to
take in all of Zero's memories.
        Suddenly, a short purple creature with quills on its head and back
ran into the room. It took one look at Kumba, then dashed into him,
knocking him out of the way of the beam, which fired at it instead of
Kumba. The creature screamed in pain, then lost consciousness.
        "What's going on?!" Cain yelled.
        Suddenly, security guards ran into the room. "Dr. Cain!" one
yelled. "Thank God the alien was unable to harm you!"
        "You mean this creature is an extra-terrestrial?" Cain demanded.
        "Yes," said a guard, "we captured it when it appeared in a rocket.
The queerest rolled into a ball and sawed right through the bars..."
        "BARS?!" Cain shouted. "YOU PUT IT BEHIND BARS?!" His facial
features, including his white mustache and beard, seemed to quiver, and the
veins on his bald head stood out. "Why did you consider it a threat?!"
        "Well," a guard said, "ummmm..."
        "Nevermind," Cain said. "The important thing is that we've got to
get it to the infirmary. There's only one way to get there on time..." he
activated Kumba. "...X and Kumba have to beam us there."
        "You mean convert your molecules to light without well-primed
teleportation equipment, like the robots do?" the guard asked in horror.
"That's too risky, sir!"
        Cain gave the guard a hard look. "Not as risky as what you've just
put this creature through."


        Kumba grabbed the alien and X grabbed Dr. Cain. The robots beamed
to the infirmary, converting Cain and the alien to light as well as
themselves. When they reached their destination they became matter again.
        Cain ignored the headache the travel had given him and connected
the alien to a computer. He sighed in relief. "Its life-signs are still
functioning," he said, looking at the monitor.
        Dr. Cain punched some keys, and its thoughts were played out
through speakers. Two messages came out at once, in the same voice:
        "I'll survive...I have to. I made a vow to destroy Robotnik...and
there is no way I'm backing down on it."
        "This is incredible...not only am I not dead, I'm ALIVE! I
breathe! It's wonderful!"
        "My God," Dr. Cain said. "Two minds in one!"
        "How in the name of Thomas Light do you know?!" X gasped, referring
to his late creator. "We don't know anything about this
might just naturally think two sets of different thoughts at a time!"
        "Yes, but the thoughts are conflicting," Cain replied. "One seems
to think it's dying; the other realizes it's living! It must be the blasted Zero's thoughts into a living being! The pain the
creature experienced must have been due to the trauma of having the two
sets of thoughts in unison. It is imperative that I tune one set of
thoughts out until there's a way the creature can cope with it."
        Cain rapidly pressed keys. Seconds after he entered his final
command, the creature came to.
        "X!" it exclaimed. "Dr. Cain! How did you do it? How did you
revive me into a living being?"
        "It was an accident," Cain admitted.
        "They were using the X-Buster to beam your memories into me," Kumba
said, speaking for the first time, "but some alien shoved me out of the way
and took the brunt of the blast."
        "I tuned out the alien's memories for the time being," Cain
continued, "so that you would be able to survive."
        "Hey," X cracked, now in high spirits, "since you look like a giant
purple hedgehog and you've got the mind of Zero, why don't we call you
Hedgehog Zero?"
        The creature laughed. "You've got a great sense of humor, X," it
said. "So be it...from this day forward, I shall be called Hedgehog Zero!"


        Lights started to flicker. A silhouette of a weird creature
appeared on the computer. More followed. The secretaries at the lab
jumped back as the creatures materialized.
        "Whoa!" Sonic said. "Some ride!"
        Guards came in through the door, holding guns. MTP gulped.
"Um...we come in peace?"
        Next thing all the Freedom Fighters knew, they were all in a jail
cell, except for MTP, who was being interrogated. After the experience
with Hedgehog X, the guards had chained Sonic and Knuckles' spiny forms.
All despaired.
        Bunnie looked at Rotor, who was clearly thinking hard. "What's
wrong, Sugah'Rus?" she asked.
        "What do you think, Bunnie?" Rotor asked sarcastically, then
brightened up. "Hey, you can extend your robotic arm, right?"
        "Then try to get the keycard!" Rotor ordered. Bunnie successfully
pickpocketed the sleeping guard, and let the Freedom Fighters out.
        "What about us?" Sonic asked, pointing to the chains that held him
and Knuckles.
        "Maybe MTP can help," Tails said.


        "Okay, guys," Mega Man X said, "this is big. After the past few
weeks, you've finally got the training you need. You've earned the titles
of members of the Maverick Hunters' Elite. Now, it's time for our big
mission...entering Sigma's sunken fortress looking for clues as to his
spirit's whereabouts. HZ, get yourself cyborg."
        Hedgehog Zero entered a capsule at one end of the room. He stood
there, his eyes closed, as a blinding white light filled the room. When he
stepped out, he was half-robot.
        The capsule he had been in was designed by Thomas Light long ago,
to turn the boy Rock into Mega Man. Unlike Robotnik's machinery, its
effects were not permanent. Since they were going underwater, the suit was
equipped with a teleporter that would send oxygen from the surface into
HZ's helmet, since he was still partially flesh-and-blood, unlike the others.
        Once fully equipped, X, Kumba, and Hedgehog Zero beamed out to the
location where the fortress had sunken. "This place gives me the creeps,"
HZ said through his radio to his companions, fingering his arm cannon. "I
mean, wouldn't it freak you out if you returned to the scene of your death?"
        "It freaks me out," X said, "and I didn't die here."
        "It freaks ME out," Kumba said, "and I've never even BEEN here!"
        The three cut past where X and Zero had hopped flying platforms,
Kumba running straight up the side of the cliff and firing a grapple at his
        The trio proceeded until they reached the destroyed entrance to
Vile's former chamber. One they entered, Hedgehog Zero began to shiver.
        "Uh, HZ," X said, "you don't need to stare at the dead husk you
once were like that."
        "Why can't you just destroy it?" HZ asked coldly.
        "I think it would be wise to send it back to Dr. Cain," X replied.
Kumba fired a teleportation beam at the body, and it disappeared.
        Suddenly, X tensed. "What's wrong?" Kumba and HZ asked in unison.
        "Vile," X replied. "His body's GONE."
        The communicators in the Hunters' ears echoed with laughter, and
suddenly there were numerous beams of light. "Looking for me?" a familiar
voice laughed. The three whirled around to see Vile with a host of Mavericks.


        "Does anybody know where the interrogation room IS?" Sally asked.
        "Um, let's ask that doctor over there!" Tails pointed to a short,
worried man in a lab coat, whose hair -- facial and what little there was
left of it on his head -- was streaked with gray and white.
        The doctor turned around. "More ET's?" he said. "You must leave
before they discover you're gone."
        "Right," Tails said. "Do you know where the interrogation room is,
though? We need to find our friend."
        "Second door to your left," the man replied. "Be careful."
        The FF ran to the door. "Locked," groaned Rotor. "Can't pick it, either."
        Suddenly, the door blew up. Kate rushed in and broke the chains on
MTP, who explained his jetpack had reacted to some electromagnetic
interference and caused an explosion.
        Sally, MTP, and Bunnie held the guards off, while Tails and Kate
(whose powers weren't working due to her distance from the Chaos Emeralds)
recovered the equipment the guards had confiscated from them.
        As the Freedom Fighters ran back to get Sonic and Knuckles, MTP
said, "Earth is nothing like it was before. Lots of time must have passed.
 This is not my home."
        "How do you get off chains on Earth?" came Knuckles' voice from the
        "Like this," MTP said, who ran to the cell where Sonic and Knuckles
were being threatened by humans, knocked the guards down, stole their
lasers, and blasted through the chains.
        "We've got to get out of here!" MTP said. "This is clearly a
government lab!"
        MTP and Knuckles beat up all the malicious humans they encountered
on their search for safety, trying hard not to kill them, which MTP knew
would destroy ALL their chances of survival.
        "How do we get home?" the teenage fox wondered. "Last time I
checked, no-one knew about Mobius's existence!"
        "WHAT?!" Sonic gasped.
        "We're stranded," MTP sighed.


        "What in Thomas Light's name is wrong with you?!" X said into his
communicator, aiming the message at Vile. "Why can't you Mavericks just
stay dead?!"
        "Vile, you son of a Maverick cur," Hedgehog X growled menacingly.
        "I'm Vile no longer," the Maverick replied. "The name's King Lawnmower!"
        Kumba scoffed. "O' All-Powerful Jewel-Studded Grass-Cutter," he
said, his voice oozing with sarcasm, "who are your pals?"
        "Name's NaT," a large bug-like robot said, "and this is my team,
X...the Mavericks' Elite."
        "Would be nice if you changed your name," X replied, "so we're not
mistaken for each-other."
        "I think your a moron!" a Maverick said to X. Its vocabulary
hardware was clearly flawed, as the message that met X's ears was decoded
as a misspelling.
        "What about my 'a moron'?" X replied. "I don't own any 'a moron'!
However, I think YOU'RE a moron!"
        "Howz about you just leave the planet?" NaT asked.
        "Poor little baby," another Maverick said, "people confuse Mavs
with him!"
        "Don't worry, guys," said King Lawnmower, "this guy's no problem.
He was a bother to Sigma, too."
        "Ah," X said, "THAT would explain why old Siggy is DEAD."
        "Sigma was a fool," King Lawnmower replied, "but our new master
ain't. I'm on the winning team now...the team of ROBOTNIK!"
        Hedgehog Zero froze, tensing at the sound of the familiar word.
        "You dirty Maverick," X said in anger, not knowing what was wrong
with HZ but knowing that King Lawnmower had caused it. "Die...AGAIN!"
 X spoke a command word that activated equipment he had found in a very
special hidden capsule left by his creator, Dr. Light, that called forth a
powerful fireball able to stop even the most powerful foe.
        It was remarkable. The fireball shot from X's fingertips, as it
had in a few previous battles, but this time, it actually pushed the water
around it away so that it would not be extinguished! There was nothing
King Lawnmower could do to stop it...he was hit and exploded in a brilliant
flash of fire underwater.
        "The rest of you want to share his fate?" X challenged.
        Suddenly, there was a beam of light, and another King Lawnmower
stood where the last one had fallen!
        "Multiple bodies," X muttered, "same twisted mind. I believe the
term is 'rIDes'."
        NaT nodded. "I'd love to stay and jaw," he growled, "but I've got
orders to grab your friend here." Hedgehog Zero made no resistance as NaT
reached out and grabbed him.
        Kumba fired a beam toward NaT, who held Hedgehog Zero in front of
him as a shield. The beam hit HZ, and he disappeared. "Not bad, eh, X?"
Kumba asked. "I anticipated he'd use HZ to block my I used a
teleportation beam! He's safe in Cain's lab."
        "Well done," X said. "You've learned well, cousin."
        "I'll get you for this," NaT promised. With that, Team X beamed out.


        "Where am I?" HX wondered.
        Suddenly, a robot in gleaming red armor appeared in front of him.
"You''re me," it mumbled.
        "No," HX replied, "I'M me. Who are YOU?"
        "I must be meeting the alien that used to inhabit my new body!"
        "I'm not following this too well," Hedgehog X said, his head pounding.
        The robot then disappeared, and images started to flash all around
HX. The hedgehog didn't recognize any.
        Next thing HX saw, he was lying in bed in a strange room. He got
up...funny thing was, he didn't WANT to get up.
        "What's going on?" Hedgehog X tried to ask. He couldn't control
his mouth.
        The hedgehog went through a routine he wasn't controlling. Then
whatever he was stepped into a capsule, and when "he" came out, HX was a robot.
        IT'S A ROBOTICIZER! HX thought.
        Then HX's body involuntarily sat down in a war room with two other
robots. HX's mouth moved, and his voice said, "I had a really weird dream
last night."
        "Get used to it," one of the other robots said. It (he?) was blue
with some white armor, and curled its/his mouth (or whatever) a lot. The
other robot was a lot like the first, only without the armor, and looked
very stern.
        "What is this?" HX wondered.
        "SHUT UP!" HX's mouth said.
        "Sorry, HZ," the blue-white robot said, apparently taken aback.
        "It's not you, X," HZ (whoever was controlling HX's body) said.
"It's these thoughts. Maybe it's the hedgehog from my dream."
        "Hey,, Hedgehog Zero," the totally blue robot said, "can
you tell us what it's saying?"
        "Okay," HZ assented.
        "Hello, hedgehog," the blue one started to say. "My name is Kumba.
 This is X, and the other guy in your body is Hedgehog Zero. What is your name?"
        "Hedgehog X," HX replied. HZ repeated it.
        "Where are you from?" X asked.
        "A planet known as Mobius."
        "Mobius," HZ mumbled. "You mean, it's real?"
        "Yes," HX replied. "Not much anymore, though."
        "Then Dr. Robotnik's discovery was REAL!" X exclaimed, mystified.
        "YOU KNOW DR. ROBOTNIK?!" HX screamed (or tried to).
        HZ looked worried. "He doesn't sound happy about Robotnik's name."
        "What? I thought he was only a scientist," Kumba said. "That is,
until those Mavs mentioned him..."
        "Is Dr. Cain trying to turn a planet into a badlands?!" HX said.
It was unclear whether he was sarcastic or just angry, but there was cynic
in the voice in Zero's head.
        "Maybe HX can help us with this Team X!" Kumba gasped.
        "They need help THEMSELVES," X muttered.


        "YOU FAILED!!!" screamed a sinister -- and angry -- voice. "After
all the training I put you through, you failed MISERABLY!!!"
        "Lord Robotnik..." NaT started to reply.
        "Silence, FOOL!" Robotnik screamed. "Come here!"
        The Team X leader obeyed, fear enveloping him. Robotnik pointed a
finger at him and said an inaudible word, and sparks flew everywhere as NaT
exploded. "Thus shall all perish who fail me," he said in a dangerous whisper.
        Robotnik pointed at another Maverick, who looked like X's adversary
Storm Eagle, only jet black. The Maverick cringed in fear, waiting to
explode like his leader.
        "Fool," Robotnik said, "I am not destroying you...YET." "You,
Crow, are the new leader of Team X. Fail, and all of you shall end up like
that fool!"
        Team X, the Maverick Elite, beamed out.

        "You'd think they'd check for bugs," HX said (once his
consciousness had been discovered "awake" in HZ's mind, Dr. Cain had
adjusted his brain so that Zero and Hedgehog X could alternate thoughts at
will). "Robotnik may be a lot of things, most of which I shouldn't repeat,
but he's usually not an idiot."
        "Just be thankful he DIDN'T," Kumba replied. "At least we know NaT
is toast."
        Suddenly, there came the buzzing of static from the communicator.
X swore. "He's found it!" he exclaimed. "Now we won't know their plans!"

        "We're way off track," Sonic muttered. "We've got to be on the
other side of the world from Hedgehog X!"
        "Besides," Tails said, "this planet is populated by the same
species as Robotnik!"
        "Maybe so," Knuckles replied, "but we'll find him, whatever it
takes!" With those determined words, he punched a wall.
        The wall he hit was protected by one of the most dense force fields
known to mankind, powerful enough to keep a robot from beaming through
it...but not powerful enough to stop a hotheaded echidna. Knuckles hit it
again and again, not having the slightest idea why, just wanting to break something.
        The wall broke to smithereens, and the Freedom Fighters met with
the startled glances of three robots, one of whom looked startlingly familiar.
        Sonic the Hedgehog and the robot who appeared to be the leader ran
toward each-other, both ready to attack.
        "More Mavericks!" X shouted. "How'd you get in here?!"
        At the same time, Sonic shouted, "You roboticized HX!!!"
        Both paused, trying to comprehend what the other was saying. HX
broke the silence, screaming, "You're BOTH wrong!"
        The hedgehog explained the Maverick Hunters' Elite to the Freedom
Fighters, and vice-versa.
        Suddenly, an alarm went off. "Dr. Cain's in trouble!" X exclaimed.
        "Stay here," Kumba said. The Maverick Hunters' Elite beamed out.
        The Hunters appeared in Cain's lab. Somehow, Team X had gotten in.
 Crow held his arm cannon at Cain, who had already been beaten into unconsciousness.
        "Do what I say," Crow growled, "or I'll blast him to Kingdom Come!
You have no choice!" He was right, and they all knew it.


        "Did he say 'Dr. Cain?" Tails asked. When Kate nodded, he said,
"That was what the nametag said on that scientist's coat! You know, the
one who helped us!"
        "Let's go!" Knuckles said. The group ran out through the hole in
the wall, and down the hall to where they had seen Cain.
        "Oh, man!" said the Maverick known as Rose as the Freedom Fighters
entered. "The Freedom Fighters are reunited! Robotnik will fry us for sure!"
        "Careful when you use that accursed name," Hedgehog Zero said with
an ironic grin. "KL using it is what brought me back!"
        A quizzical look appeared on King Lawnmower's face, although no-one
could see it through his helmet. "I don't know what you're talking about,"
he said, "but you can all TAKE THIS!" With those words, he fired a ray at
the Freedom Fighters that caused them to be rendered senseless until a
human consciousness was sensed in the room.
        "See ya," Crow said to the Freedom Fighters. "X, Kumba,
c'mere...we're goin' for a little ride."
        Crow dropped Dr. Cain, and Team X beamed out with X and Kumba in
tow. A few minutes later, humans entered, breaking the effects of King
Lawnmower's ray.
        "Dr. Cain!" a guard screamed. "Quick, someone get him to the infirmary!"
        "As for you aliens," another guard said as Cain was being taken
away, "you're under arrest for the attempted murder of Dr. Cain!"
        Hedgehog Zero started to say something, but realized it was
useless. He knew these guards were too thick-headed to believe him.
        The Freedom Fighters were locked away in separate Maverick-proof
cells...but, as was shown before, Maverick-proof things aren't necessarily echidna-proof...


        "No human can hold me!" Knuckles screamed. He pounded on the wall,
crumbling it. "These humans quite obviously don't know how to imprison us!"
        "Then how come we were trapped before?" Tails asked the echidna, annoyed.
        "The cages you were put in were probably designed for humans,"
Hedgehog Zero explained as Knuckles freed the rest of them. "Humans are
animals. These, though, are for 'bots. The morons think we're Mavericks."
        The team, now loose, raced outside, dodging humans and flying
plasma. "Stop, Mavericks!" a Maverick Hunter yelled.
        "We ain't Mavericks," Sonic yelled, spin-dodging the weapons aimed
at him, "and we ain't stoppin'!"
        As the Freedom Fighters escaped through the doors, a Hunter tried
to send a message to X. "Mega Man X!" he shouted. "Come in! X, answer
me! A group of dangerous Mavericks have just escaped!"

        Mega Man X couldn't obtain any transmissions. He and Kumba were in
cells, similar to the ones the Freedom Fighters had recently escaped, in
Team X's Earth base.

        "He's stirring," a scientist said, monitoring Dr. Cain's condition
on a computer.
        Cain groaned. He tried to get words out, but couldn't. He had
heard sounds around him, but couldn't reply to any of them. He wanted to
scream out that Hedgehog Zero and the other extra-terrestrials were
innocent, for he'd learned of what had happened, but he hadn't the strength.
        "I'll connect him to this," the scientist decided, getting ready to
plug Cain into the type of thought-monitoring device that had been used on
Hedgehog X earlier. Suddenly, a Maverick appeared and hit his hand away!
        "Gotcha!" said Crow gleefully. He trapped all the humans in the
infirmary building in capsules, which was what the rest of Team X was doing
to all who opposed them all over the city.
        When the opposition was gathered, the capsules were put near the
town square, including the ones containing X and Kumba.
        King Lawnmower gloated. "Robotnik is truly a greater and more
powerful master than Sigma ever was!"
        Suddenly, there was an explosion behind him. Hedgehog Zero had
broken out of his capsule, and was flying towards him, screaming, "Maybe,
but I'm not through yet!!!!!"
        King Lawnmower had quite a sense of dj vu at this scene. "Now," he
said as the cyborg landed in front of him, "where has this happened before?
 Oh yes, I remember now...right vefore I killed you."
        "Wrongo!" came the reply. "YOU AIN'T TALKIN' TO ZERO!!!" Before
King Lawnmower knew what was going on, Hedgehog X had blasted Mega Man X's
capsule to bits, whispered the word to shed his cybernetics, jumped
skyward, rolled into a ball, and sawed his adversary's arm off, destroying
the rocket-launcher on King Lawnmower's shoulder in the process.
        "Big deal," the Maverick said. "I've already made it clear that I
can use as many bodies as I want with rIDes."
        "You're bluffing," X said smugly. "I heard you at your
base...Robotnik isn't too keen on helping you out this time."
        King Lawnmower gasped as Mega Man X freed the Freedom Fighters and
Kumba, while Hedgehog X held off the Mavericks who tried to stop him.
        A battle ensued. However, since the Mavericks basically just
hyperactively bombarded their enemies with insults and weaponry, not really
planning anything (King Lawnmower, with his launcher destroyed, could only
insult them and attempt close-range attacks), so they didn't stand much of
a chance against our sure-footed, quick-thinking heroes.
        Knuckles bashed Mavericks' heads together; Kate and MTP used their
karate expertise (trying not to hurt their feet when they hit the metal); a
pair of insane bystanders blasted several tremendous holes in the Maverick
known as The Great Kazoo, covered one with wax paper, then blew into him,
afterwards saying, "Huh-huh-huh...kazoos suck!"; the hedgehogs sawed
through Mavericks; Tails picked up foes and dropped them; Rotor scrambled
Team X's sorry excuses for brains; and X and Kumba blasted whoever was left.
        When all the Mavericks were about as close to the scrap heap as
they could possibly get without being there, Crow yelled, "We must flee!
Go far, far away...where Robotnik can't get us and neither can they! We'll
be back, mark my words, FF and MHE!" Then, those whose beaming abilities
still worked supported those whose didn't, and the whole team left.

        Much later, the Freedom Fighters were ready to return to Mobius.
        "I'm going with you," X decided. "Robotnik must be stopped, just
as Sigma had to be."
        "I'm going too," Kumba added.
        After getting Knothole's coordinates from the pocket computer known
as Nicole, X, Kumba, and HX/HZ beamed everyone there, although it was rough.

        A voice laughed softly. "While the hunters are away, X, the
Mavericks will play!" It was the ghost of Sigma.


* * * * * * * * *
* * *

Okay, once again, I must shamelessly plug the upcoming story, THE HUNT
BEGINS. For those of you who scoff at stories that don't follow the main
Sonic thread enough, hopefully this will be satisfactory! I've put a lot
of effort into it, and it's almost done!

Received on Fri Nov 24 1995 - 23:40:35 PST

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