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Chapter 26 - The Eggman Empire Strikes Back

Knuckles battles mysterious new foes bent on stealing the Master Emerald!

Meanwhile, Punchy and Rainbow have discovered Rainbow's sister... But is she an enemy?

Chapter 26 - The Eggman Empire Strikes Back

Chapter 26 - The Eggman Empire Strikes Back
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 26 - The Eggman Empire Strikes Back
Stage 15(Hero 8) - EggSecurity Tower
Boss 15 - Metal Eggman

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.

The story thus far:
Returning to Eggtopia, Sonic learned from a sabotaged BAS that Eggman was heading to take over the Security Tower. Their group snuck past Spiny and Zeke to get near the tower, but Amy grew fed up with being outrun by Sonic, and formed a new Team Rose with Silver and Cream, calling Silver her new boyfriend.
Arriving inside the Security Center next to the tower, the group faced Freeze, Jolt and Lospecter. The Lost One left saying something about meeting with the President, while the robots escaped to put the tower on alert! Reaching the tower, the group found that Eggman had made it his own... an EggSecurity Tower!
Now, on to the next chapter!

Making their way through the dangerous base, the group came to a room with a big sealed vault, the door appearing to be made from a very strong material. "Rip that door down, Silvy!" Amy suggested. Tails shook his head. "According to SPOT, the Chaos energy signal's not coming from in there. It's above us." he said. "Maybe Dr. Eggman couldn't get the door open." Cream figured. The door slid open as Sonic played with the password-entry pad beside it. "Huh?! I just typed GUN!" he stammered. A small, spherical robot rolled out of the vault. "That wise guy Alpha thought it'd be funny to lock me in here! Ergo, I'm heading back to Eggtopia where it's safe!" the robot grumbled, rolling away. "Hey, I thought Eggman tore that guy apart after Dark Gaia was defeated..." Sonic muttered. Looking around, they found another door, and it led them to another warehouse like the one in the Security Center. "What's the deal with this place? It's GUN's junk heap?" Sonic wondered. SPOT was walking ahead of them, and was suddenly propped up atop a set of spikes that popped out of the floor under him! "Yikes! ...Good thing SPOT's new body's got good armor..." Tails yelped. "I don't feel so lucky..." SPOT's monitor said as the robot flailed its way off the spikes. "So, Eggman set a spike maze in here..." Silver mused. "You can lead us through, right Silvy?" Amy asked. Sonic shrugged impatiently. "Let's just see..." he said, dashing through the warehouse at high speed, faster than the spike traps could spring out from the ground! Soon, Sonic had reached the stairs at the other end of the warehouse. "I think I made all the spikes pop out! Hurry on over here!" he shouted. "It's not that I'm not confident, but I think I'll ride SPOT through here..." Tails sighed. "Erm... I can float you over the spikes." Silver said to Amy, chuckling awkwardly. Amy pouted in frustration. "That show off Sonic... Why is he so awesome?" she muttered under her breath. "Get ready, guys! There's some kinda robot lab upstairs!" Sonic shouted after popping up the steps briefly. "Maybe I'll start clearin' the way!" he suggested. "Leave without us and you're DEAD!!" Amy yelled.

A hologram of Firepaw met them at the entrance to the robot lab. "Meowr! Sonic! Let's see you pass me THIS time!" he said, only for the entire group to simply walk through his hologram without paying him any attention. "Huh? HEY! ...Don't just let them humiliate me, robots! MEOWR!!" In response to the angry virus's shout, swarms of assorted robots started to emerge from everywhere in the massive GUN lab! EggRobos, Buzzbombers, Gohlas, Orbinauts, and Egg Pawns carrying big metal shields were among the robots seeking to stop Sonic's climb up the tower! "What, this is it? Eggman didn't try building anything in this lab?" Sonic joked. As the blue hedgehog led the charge, smashing bots with high speed acrobatics, the others proceeded in their own way. SPOT started zapping Gohlas and Orbinauts so that no one would need to penetrate their deadly defenses, while Tails and Cream flew up to take on the airborne Buzzbombers. Amy attempted to smack an Egg Pawn's shield with her hammer, only to fall backward, finding the shield to be too tough! "Grrr... I'll get that stupid..." she muttered, only to watch the shield fly up out of the Pawn's hand and get flung through its metal chest, causing it to explode! "Huh? Silveeer! I had it under control!!" Amy protested. "Not from where I was floating... Why don't you help Tails and Cream with those unshielded robots?" he suggested. Amy growled softly. "Are you kidding?? I can hold my own! I don't need them to back me up!!" she shouted. Suddenly, Silver picked her up with his psychokinesis so that an EggRobo's laser would miss her. "Hey!!" she yelped. "Pay attention, Amy!" Silver groaned, putting her back down gently. They both grumbled softly as they resumed fighting, and Sonic ran by with a chuckle. "Trouble in paradise?" he teased. "Come here, Sonic!! I'll show you trouble!!" Amy yelled.

Once the robots were dealt with, the group found another elevator at the back of the lab. Looking inside, they heard BAS's voice welcome them. "Hello, hedgehogs and other creatures! I am the EggSecurity Tower Base Alarm System!" it said. "Is it Alarm or Announcement?" Tails wondered. "Depends on the base." BAS replied, "So, what floor do you want?" it asked. "Maybe we better find stairs, with Eggman's computer in control now..." Silver muttered. "Now, none of that! I give you my solemn promise that the elevator is perfectly safe!" BAS said. Sonic shrugged. "Well, where does SPOT want us to go?" he asked Tails. "Seems like the roof..." Tails mumbled. "Top floor! Going uuuuuuup!!" BAS shouted, starting to shut the doors, and forcing Cream and Amy to hurry aboard to avoid getting left behind! "Ugh, this elevator's cramped!" Amy complained. "At least we won't have to walk all the way up..." Cream sighed. The elevator started carrying them up at high speed, and through the windows of the elevator, they could see spider-like robots crawling around inside the building! "I don't feel safe..." Tails muttered. "Just for that, I'm dropping you!" BAS snapped, making the elevator suddenly start plummeting downward! The group screamed as the elevator fell, and Tails frantically apologized. BAS chuckled at them, and moments before they hit the bottom, stopped their descent and started moving the elevator up again! "Just foolin! Ha ha! I love elevators..." BAS giggled. "That makes one of us..." Amy frowned. As they reached the top of the tower, a hatch on the roof opened up, and the spider-like Grabber robots dropped into the elevator and tried to grab everyone! However, Silver quickly stopped them and flung them back up through the roof, shaking his fist as they exploded! "And stay out!" he yelled. "Isn't Silvy cute?" Amy smiled. "Thank you for using BAS-powered elevators. Have a nice day!" BAS said as the doors opened, revealing stairs to the roof. "I could've gotten here faster running up the stairs..." Sonic grumbled.

Having reached the roof, they found Dr. Eggman, Metal Sonic, Freeze, Jolt, Firma, Char and Alpha. The robots were standing guard while Eggman was busy working at a computer terminal he'd apparently brought from the Cloud Carnival ship docked with the tower's roof. There was a gold cape sitting beside the computers. "Hey, Eggman! We were wondering why you couldn't build your own base." Sonic shouted. Eggman stood up slowly, without turning. "Ho... ho... ho... ho. Welcome Sonic. I am the Eggman. That is what I am." he said, pausing briefly between each sentence. "Um... Is he okay?" Silver wondered. "Nah, he's never okay." Sonic said, crossing his arms. "From here on this tower, my EggSecurity Tower, my master plan to conquer the world will unfold!" Eggman said slowly, turning around, "You... Will not interfere." he said. "Why are you talking like that?" Sonic wondered. "It's a trap, Sonic! We're surrounded!" Tails shouted, noticing that the robots had started to advance on them while Eggman was talking. "Silver! Do something!" Amy shouted. Silver looked thoughtful. "Ummm.... So, errr... Eggman, what do you know about the Covenant of Despair?" he asked. "Is he serious!? Ugh... This charade isn't working..." Amy groaned. Eggman's face looked a bit strained. "The... Covenant of Despair... is my... en...em...y...." he mumbled. "'Scuse me, guys. Eggman's talking WAY too slow today." Sonic growled, charging at the doctor! "Halt! Desist! Launching counterattack!" Firma shouted, attempting to shoot at Sonic, but missing and blasting Eggman as Sonic jumped back! "Ennn...eeeeemmmy.... Covvvvennnant.... Ennnneeennnemmmyyyyyy.....!!! Zzzzzzzzzttt!!" Eggman started sparking and whirring! "What's happening?!" Tails gasped. "Father!!! Noooooooo!!" Alpha wailed. Then, an explosion destroyed the disguise, and Eggman was revealed to be Metal Eggman! "NOOOOO!!! My perfect plaaaaan!! Now Sonic knows the truuuuth!!" he shouted. "Not that robot fake again..." Sonic groaned. "NO! I am the REAL Eggman! And I will rule a vast empire from right here at the EggSecurity Tower!" Metal Eggman shouted, making Metal Sonic look at him funny. "Ignore him. I am the true mastermind behind the operation here." said Freeze. "Huh?? You?" Sonic wondered. "Metal Eggman posed as the real Eggman to distract you... And everyone." Freeze said.

"You may have noticed that only one ship in the Cloud Carnival fleet is here. Taking over the Security Tower is merely a ruse." Freeze continued. "Where's the real Eggman!?" Tails asked. "If I were to tell you that, it would defeat the purpose of this trap." Freeze replied. "Aw, I HATE traps..." Cream frowned. Metal Eggman glanced at Freeze and nodded. "Errrr... YES! And a clever little trap it is! Now, all robots advance on Sonic!" he shouted, pointing at the blue hedgehog, "We'll overwhelm him with sheer numbers!" he said. "Well, it was a good scheme... Until I led your double agents up here!" said a voice coming up the stairs behind Sonic and the others! Zipp emerged from below, followed by Spiny and Zeke, with Ridley sneaking up behind them! "Argh! That metallic Sonic!? All right, I'll rally against that!" Spiny growled, stomping toward Metal Sonic. "Anyone call for a dragon? RAWR!!" Zeke roared, flying toward Freeze and blowing fire at him! Zipp started shooting at Alpha as well, and Sonic and Tails stared in surprise. "Bucky's experiments are all HELPING us...?" Tails muttered. "Well... This should be easy." Sonic shrugged. "Hmmm... I'll just help myself to that shiny cape and let myself out..." Ridley whispered, tiptoeing around the roof to make his way to the cape. SPOT, seeing this, started sneaking after him. "This is MUTINY!! Mutiny of the foulest order!!" Metal Eggman yelled, "And you're saying they were Bucky's lab rats all along!? I won't stand for being duped!! I do all the deception around here!!" he growled, glaring at his foes. "I'll deal with you MYSELF, Sonic! Firma, get your counterpart in here to terminate his little friends!" Metal Eggman ordered as he ran for the Cloud Carnival ship to find a weapon. "Acknowledged..." Firma said, glancing back at the cloud ship as well. Suddenly, a purple and black robot with the same build as Firma leapt onto the roof from the cloud ship! "Targets acquired... E-3X... En route... To ANNIHILATE!!" the robot snarled with a crazed voice! "TERRA!?" Sonic stammered. "I see that you are acquainted!" said Metal Eggman as he pulled up to the roof, piloting a huge tank with a sort of rotating turret weapon. Terra raised a metal claw to Sonic. "I have been reborn! I will be AVENGED!! You will DIE!! DESTROY!!!" he boomed. Sonic, Tails, and Team Rose exchanged glances and nodded. "Let's get 'em!" Sonic smirked.

Tails was quickly drawn into a fight with Jolt, so it was up to Sonic to take on Metal Eggman and Team Rose to battle Terra and Firma. Terra drew his claws into his thick arms and replaced them with buzz saws. "I will slice you to scraps!" he said. "Organics are not made of scrap metal, Terra..." Firma corrected, "Excuse him, his mind could not be totally restored." she said. Terra glared at her, then fired the buzz saws from his hands at Amy and Cream! "Yikes!! That looks sharp!" Cream yelped, flapping her ears to escape the saws while Amy swatted it away with her hammer! The saws went flying back to Terra's hands, while Firma slammed the ground with her fists, shaking the rooftop and making pieces of it crumble under Team Rose! Silver grabbed Amy with his powers and floated away from the hole while Cream flew to safety on her own. "Can't you grab THEM and toss them off the roof??" Amy shouted. "They're... too heavy." Silver muttered, "And they'll resist too much." Fortunately, Cheese flew in and started kicking the robots in the heads, providing a distraction, though he couldn't really damage them. "Puny Chao! I will OBLITERATE you!!" Terra roared. "Oh no! Do something!" Cream whimpered. Silver and Amy ran up to the distracted robots. "Hey, girly-bot! THIS is how you smash stuff!" Amy shouted, whacking Firma with her hammer! Terra turned and fired his buzz saws, but Silver grabbed them with psychokinesis and tossed them back! Terra spun his mechanical body around to evade them, and retracted his saw launchers to replace them with laser blasters. "Try to catch THIS!" he growled. Meanwhile, Sonic was busy dodging bombs fired from Metal Eggman's tank turret. "Quit running! You can't stop my Metal Egg Tank!" he shouted. Sonic raised an eyebrow as he avoided a bomb. "Whaaat? That's the most pathetic name ever! I can't believe I ever fell for you as a phony Eggman!" he groaned. Metal Eggman rotated the tank's turret to change the weapon. "Joke's on you! The other Eggman named this thing! ...He's really short on ideas." he said, firing cannonballs at Sonic from the turret. Sonic zipped out of the way, seemingly easier than before. "Really, why would cannonballs work better than bombs? At least the spike balls you littered around provided a challenge until they rolled away." he teased. Metal Eggman chuckled. "Well, it still stands that you are making NO progress in defeating me!" he said.

Sonic snickered and leapt from cannonball to cannonball, kicking off of them to make his way to Metal Eggman's cockpit! "Hey! You can't do that! Those are projectiles!" the robot protested, but Sonic soon smacked the tank hard, and bounced off it a couple more times on his way to the floor, causing the Metal Egg Tank to start exploding! Metal Eggman detached an Egg Mobile from the machine to escape the explosion. "My beautiful tank! Curse you, Sonic! Curse you back to Super Eggman Land!" he shouted. "Must... Ki-IIIILLL...." Terra was groaning after getting ganged up on by Amy, Cream and Silver. "Enough. Conserve your energy Terra. We will have revenge." Firma said, dragging her counterpart back a bit. "Well, Metal Eggman? Gonna call off these robots and tell us what ya know now?" Sonic asked. "I told you, I'M in charge here!" Freeze insisted, though he was forced to evade Zeke's flames at the same time. "Yes, ice-boy. You look very in charge." Metal Eggman teased. Ridley, who had almost reached the gold cape, suddenly found SPOT jumping in front of him! "Where did this mutt come from? Wait... You're not Eggman's!" he gasped. "Do not move. I am armed to the teeth." SPOT's monitor warned as various weapons emerged from his compartments to illustrate his point. "None of this matters! This tower is mine! And that means I can... um..." Metal Eggman stammered, scratching his metallic head. "Oh, shut up! You give me a bad name!" came the voice of the real Dr. Eggman! "Huh??" Amy gasped. "Where's his voice coming from?" Tails wondered, leaving Jolt flailing on his belly and having difficulty getting back up. The computer Metal Eggman had been working from started to buzz and whirr, and a hatch on it opened, revealing a projector that displayed a hologram of Dr. Eggman! "Here I am! Coming to you live from the Cloud Fleet hovering undetected over Central City!" the doctor announced! "That can't be good..." Silver muttered.

"That isn't me! It's an ILLUUUUSION!" Metal Eggman shouted, hovering his Egg Mobile in front of the hologram. "Shut it!" Eggman growled, shooing him away, "How'd you like my decoy, Sonic?" he asked. "He's not as ticklish as you, Eggman." Sonic grinned. "Teehee! I wanna tickle him!" Alpha giggled. "Well, be that as it may..." Eggman sighed, "Now you're helplessly miles away, and I'm poised to strike at GUN and the Covenant of Despair at the same time!" he grinned wickedly. "Come again?" Zeke yelped. Eggman clasped his hands behind his back. "Through my dealings with Despair, I found out about GUN's little GXterminate project. Curious how Despair knew about it?" he asked. "Not as much as what it IS..." Sonic said impatiently. "It's an ingenious mechanism." Eggman said, stroking his moustache, "Once completed, it will wipe out all animal life by selectively targeting GeneX force." he explained. "What!? ...Oh, no!" Silver gasped. "You can imagine the appeal such a device might have for me. I could get rid of you from continents away!" Eggman cackled. "Well, you aren't getting ahold of it! We're headed straight for Central City right now!" Sonic said. "You can try... Ridley!" Eggman called, slightly startling the coati. "Finish fetching the Chaos Wing, and then pick up the Chaos Gauntlets that the robo puppy withheld from me before!" Eggman ordered! Sonic stared in surprise. "Wait... SPOT's got the Chaos Gauntlets!?" he gasped. "Huh?! Why didn't you mention that, SPOT!?" Tails stammered. "Entering defensive modes!" the robo-puppy's monitor said as Ridley approached him. "Give me those!" Ridley growled. Eggman looked back at the Cloud Carnival ship docked to the tower. "BAS! While they're sorting that out... Activate the Cloud Cruiser's self destruct!" he sneered. "SELF DESTRUCT!?" Sonic yelped. "Farewell, Sonic the Hedgehog! I hope you had a blast in my EggSecurity Tower!" Eggman grinned as his hologram vanished! "Self Destruct in 10 seconds!" BAS announced. In that moment, everyone had to act fast. "I gotta get those Chaos Relics!" Sonic determined, speeding past Amy. "S-SONIIIIIC!!! What about us!?" she stammered. "Amy! Over here, quick!" Silver called. Zipp flew over to SPOT and fired some shots at the robot. "'Scuse me, guys. I'LL take those Gauntlets!" he shouted. "Damage taken! Cargo hatch loosened!" SPOT's monitor displayed as Zipp snatched the gauntlets! "Hang on, SPOT!" Sonic shouted as he approached, only to see a pinkish light flash in his face! "Huh?? Light?? No, no, no!!" he cried as he whited out.

Sonic found himself back in a familiar place. It was dark. There was fire. Injured Chao littered the ground. This was the night Chaos was sealed in the Master Emerald. "Oh... no... Not this again." he muttered, "Thanks a lot, Tikal. My friends better still be alive after this!" he grumbled as he sped up the steps of the nearby altar. He heard familiar words and saw familiar sights. Tikal was pleading with the Master Emerald. "The seven emeralds are the servers... Chaos is power, enriched by the heart... The controller serves to unify the chaos..." she said in a panic, gasping as she reached a sudden realization. "The seven emeralds can change our thoughts into power! If this emerald controls that power... Please! You must stop him!" A bright light erupted from the Master Emerald, and Tikal fell to the ground as Chaos was sealed in the Master Emerald. "OK... And now I wake up, right?" Sonic muttered. However, Sonic noted that Tikal was still alive. He'd been led to believe that she'd sacrificed everything to seal Chaos. After a moment, something else started to happen. A dark force started to emanate from the Master Emerald. ".....Huh!?" Sonic muttered. In moments, black fluid escaped from the emerald, taking the familiar form of Shadow Chaos! "What!? You!? ....You came from the Master Emerald?" Sonic gasped. Shadow Chaos flailed angrily, and then leapt down the steps of the altar, fleeing the area! "Hey! Where ya goin!?" Sonic shouted. However, the creature escaped. "So.... The Master Emerald couldn't fully hold Chaos?" he mumbled curiously.

"GAH!! Where am I!?" Sonic yelped as he awoke. Tails was standing in front of him, and they were in Station Square, just outside the entrance to the forest leading to the Security Tower. "You spaced out! Just like Knuckles did at Frostbite Maze! Are you two skipping breakfast or something?" Tails wondered. "I'll have to compare notes with Knuckles later! What happened, Tails?" Sonic asked. Tails looked at the ground. "You won't like it, Sonic. Ridley made off with the gold cape and Zipp got away with the Chaos Gauntlets." he sighed. "Argh... Sorry, buddy..." Sonic groaned. "There's... More... Silver, Amy and Cream are... missing." Tails whimpered. "Rats! I hope Silver's looking after them..." Sonic said in frustration. "SPOT got rattled in the explosion. I had to call Professor Pickle to pick him up." Tails added. Sonic sighed. "We're not having a good day, huh? I'd better hurry to Central City and try to stop this GXterminate thing before it's completed!" he said urgently. "How can I help?" Tails said eagerly. Sonic nodded. "Go find Knuckles at the Mystic Ruins. He's on a wild goose chase now, and he'd be more useful tracking down those Chaos Relics!" he realized. Tails and Sonic exchanged thumbs ups and then took off on their missions, not letting their setbacks harm their determination to stop Dr. Eggman or GXterminate!

To be continued...


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