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Chapter 27 - Experiments Unite!

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 27 - Experiments Unite!

Chapter 27 - Experiments Unite!
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 27 - Experiments Unite!
Stage 16(Dark 8) - GUN Headquarters
Minor Boss 12 - Rhinolord

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:
Kosmo, after helping Carrie escape from Hidden Palace Zone, followed Carrie and Talon to their next destination without their knowledge. This destination turned out to be Despair Castle on Demon Island, where he found Copter and Punchy battling with the Covenant of Despair over the Chaos Boots and a hostage, Heather the Phoenix! Guard the gargoyle escaped with Heather as Despair reinforcements arrived, and Talon escaped with a Chaos Emerald. Kosmo had lost track of Carrie, and was forced to follow Copter as he chased Talon and Guard on the way out of the castle. Punchy, however, got separated from the group along the way. With time to think, Punchy realized that Rainbow was spotted with Kosmo before, and started to wonder where she was now, and grow enraged at the morph he now blamed for her disappearance...
Now, on to the next chapter!

Mia sat in her cab, filing her nails in boredom as she waited for Copter and Punchy to return. The first person she noticed heading her way was Vector. "Start that flyin' car!!" he shouted. Behind him was Punchy, who actually arrived ahead of Copter and Kosmo. "Wait up, Punchy!!" Copter panted as he ran his way. "Hurry up, Copt... Huh? You!!" Punchy growled, seeing Kosmo bringing up the rear. "Oh... Hey, Experiment 1." Kosmo said nonchalantly. Punchy clenched his teeth angrily. "Can it, creep! Where's Rainbow!!?" he snarled. "Wow. You forgot to tell him your name's not One." Copter mumbled. Punchy ignored him, his gaze fixed on Kosmo. "The whole reason I came to this stupid island was to find Rainbow, 'cuz someone saw her with YOU! What have you done with her!!?" he shouted. "Whoa there, dude... I didn't do anything with that nutcase. She followed ME..." Kosmo stammered. "Huh? Even I'm havin' trouble buying that, Kosmo." Copter said, crossing his arms. "What?! YOU followed me, too!" Kosmo snapped. "Oh, right..." Copter replied sheepishly. "No lies! Tell me where Rainbow is or I'll punch those shiny eyes out!!" Punchy threatened, raising his fists furiously! Fera, Violet and Chet were catching up around this point. "Copter?? And those guys!?" Chet mumbled. "Stay back. This looks interesting..." Fera grinned. Kosmo looked a bit saddened as he thought back. "I don't KNOW where that girl is, all right? There... there was a cave-in... I... I couldn't get EVERYONE out, right?" he stammered. Punchy's eyes widened. "What are you saying!? Did... did you get Rainbow hurt!?" he growled. "Punch! Calm it down, dude! You're not thinking straight!" Copter warned. "No, YOU'RE not thinking straight!!! Why aren't you smacking Kosmo with that tailband of yours!?!?" Punchy screamed. "Cut it out, you psycho! It wasn't me!! Fera was the one who..." Kosmo tried to say, but was interrupted. "He hurt her, Punchy. He hurt your friend..." Fera taunted, "Give in to the Despair Seal...! Use the power of darkness!! Punish this traitor!!" she yelled. Copter glanced at her nervously. "Traitor...? Punish...? Um.... Puuuuunchy?" he murmured, glancing over at the snarling echidna. "KOSMO!!!!" Punchy roared, erupting in darkness and transforming into Dark Punchy! "Um... I did not know he could do that!" Kosmo muttered. Copter backed off and pulled out the Hurricane remote, starting an argument with Hoover to get him to send it while Dark Punchy glared at Kosmo. "Well, finally I've got control over my own form! I should thank you, Kosmo... But I'd rather kill you!" he growled. "What are you babbling about? Gah, I'm sick of you, and however many personalities you've got in there! I'll knock 'em all out!" Kosmo shouted back!

Dark Punchy unleashed shockwaves of darkness, knocking both Copter and Kosmo back! As Kosmo stumbled backward, he morphed gargoyle wings onto his back and took to the air! "I think you forgot... I INVENTED transforming!" he shouted. "No, you didn't!" Dark Punchy growled, tossing balls of dark energy up at Kosmo as he flew his way! Kosmo morphed his tail into Copter's tails and smacked at the dark energy, lessening the impact! "Hey, leave me outta this! I've fought Dark Punchy before..." Copter groaned unpleasantly. Kosmo rolled his eyes and changed them to Tails's tails before dropping down and attempting to strike Dark Punchy with them! The black echidna simply caught the tails in his darkness charged hands! "I'll rip these off!" he growled. However, Kosmo simply morphed them away, turning himself into a hedgehog. "Chaos Control, pal!" he said, vanishing and reappearing behind Dark Punchy! "Oh, yeah!? DARK Chaos Blast!!!" Infusing Chaos energy with dark energy, Dark Punchy caused a terrible, violent explosion, throwing Kosmo into a nearby tree and snapping it in half! "Ow... Shadow's spleen..." Kosmo groaned. "Isn't it YOUR spleen if it's your transformation?" Copter muttered. "Help or shut up!" Kosmo grumbled, glowing as he took a new form. Dark Punchy's eyes went wide as he stood before... himself! "Okay, wise guy! Let's see how YOU like it!" Kosmo growled, his hands emitting a light amount of dark energy. "You DARE copy me!?" Dark Punchy roared, hurtling black lightning at Kosmo from his hands! Kosmo sped past it and started punching at him with darkness-powered punches, but his Dark Punchy form seemed notably different from the real thing. "Ha! You are untrained in the power of darkness! In fact, it is practically foreign to you!" Fera laughed. "Huh? It IS!?" Copter gasped. Dark Punchy pushed him back and started zapping him with lightning fiercely, making Kosmo revert to his normal form as he lost energy! "Gaaaah!! Anytime you wanna jump in, Copter!?" he yelled, panting as he struggled to get away. "Prepare to die!!" Dark Punchy snarled. Finally, someone stepped forward. "Punchy... Stop!!"

Violet stepped between Dark Punchy and Kosmo, which made him hesitate for a moment. "Neither of me are too fond of YOU right now, traitor!" Dark Punchy growled. "I... I know... This is all my fault... But this isn't helping Rainbow, and you know it! Now get ahold of yourself!" Violet shouted. "Gee, nice speech. Now, Copter, if you would be so kind as to lend a tail..." Kosmo grunted. However, Dark Punchy was suddenly stopped in his tracks, clasping his head! Punchy's normal voice escaped his mouth. "She's... right! I gotta help... Rainbow!" he gasped. "....And Heather! We need to help them both!" Copter added. "...Carrie..." Kosmo muttered to himself. Fera stomped forward angrily. "Violet! What are you doing!?" she snarled. "My... My sister..." she muttered. "Your... sister...?" Fera gasped. While Punchy grappled with Dark Punchy, Chet ran up to Copter. "So... You're going to save that phoenix?" he asked. "Welcome back, Chet." Copter replied. "I'm NOT back." he snapped. "Dark Punchy....!! Let me... GO!!" Dark Punchy flashed brightly as Punchy was restored to normal, but Chet had to finish telling Copter something before they wrapped this up. "Guard was talking to that Gunner dude's hologram. He's probably taking the phoenix to Central City. That's where GUN's HQ is." he reasoned. Copter nodded. "Thanks..." he said before returning his focus to Punchy. "Violet... You helped me... Or was it the Despair Seal FINALLY working again?" he muttered. Fera shrugged. "I have something to attend to... You three are free to go. You don't have the Chaos Emerald anyway." she said, turning and leading Violet and Chet away. "Punchy... You okay?" Copter asked nervously. Punchy nodded. "Yeah... I guess... But YOU owe me, Kosmo!" he said. "How do ya figure?" Kosmo grumbled. "You lost Rainbow. Now you're gonna help find her!" Punchy insisted. "If it's all the same to you, Punchy, why don't we start in Central City. Heather's there." Copter reasoned. "Not to mention Gunner. We all owe him a little payback..." Kosmo added. "But why would Rainbow be THERE??" Punchy snapped. Kosmo shrugged. "GUN forces WERE nearby when I lost her. Maybe she was caught by them." he figured. Punchy scratched his head a moment. "...Okay, fair enough. Remember, if you try anything funny, I can go all dark again!" he warned. "As if that frightened me!" Kosmo scoffed as they started toward Mia's cab. "Could you BOTH please behave!!" Copter growled. "Um, are we ALL riding back, 'cuz we might have a space problem..." Vector shouted, stuffed in the back seat of the cab. Kosmo sighed in annoyance. "I'll fly myself back..." he muttered.

GUN's Headquarters wasn't difficult to find. GUN troops and robots were flocking to the building from all over, something clearly putting them in an uproar. "Do we still wanna do this?" Punchy grumbled as they walked through Central City, heading for the place GUN's forces were meeting at. "Don't worry, getting in will be a cinch." Kosmo said, morphing into his GUN Agent form. "What about us...?" Copter wondered.

"Agent 16" led Copter and Punchy into GUN HQ in handcuffs. "Oh, woe is me! How could I have been stupid enough to fall asleep in that trash can?" Copter wailed, overacting a bit. Somehow, this ruse was working, and it didn't take long for them to find the source of the uproar in the base. They found Gemini the fennec, pointing her wand at Dr. Nammad! However, Agents 32 and 64 were behind the doctor, pointing guns at Adam the bat and Evelyn the fox. "Let them go! I'm the one you want!" Gemini growled. "No, uh... No I don't." Nammad said blankly. Kosmo reverted to his normal form as he approached this scene. "Okay, these guys are blocking the road." he growled as Copter and Punchy discarded their unlocked handcuffs. "Guns on that morph! Protect the doctor at all costs!" Agent 32 growled. Agent 64 nodded and targeted Kosmo. "Gemini! Are you all right?" Copter asked, a bit confused to see her. "Aw, geez. Not again. Why can't you guys get captured AWAY from me??" Punchy groaned. "I'm not captured 'till I'm in a cage! Let's go, Eve!" Adam said. "Wait... for... Fred!" Evelyn grumbled. Dr. Nammad shrugged. "I propose a trade. These, uh, troublesome pests... For the, uh, artificial wand I worked so hard to, uh, make." he suggested. Kosmo looked impatient. "Can't I just move this guy and we can all be on our way?" he sighed. "No, don't! I need to ask him something!" Gemini yelped. "Ask him when he regains consciousness!!" Kosmo snapped. "Let her speak, Kosmo!" Copter insisted. "Huh...?" Kosmo muttered. "She's my... friend. I'm going to help her, too." Copter decided. "Greeeeat..." Punchy said in annoyance. Gemini nodded, smiling at Copter before returning to her business. "Dr. Nammad! Why do you want the fake wand?" she asked. The doctor shrugged. "Well, I can't, uh, use the real one. So I made one that I, uh, could use." he explained. "Then... would you return my wand?" Gemini asked. Nammad thought about it and nodded. "Very well. We'll make the exchange, uh, at the same time." he said. Despite a few grumblings from the nearby experiments who distrusted Nammad, the exchange went by quickly, and Gemini sighed with relief as she finally held her own wand again. "There... Now let my friends go!" she insisted. "Hmmm... No. I, uh, gave up the wand. I need to, uh, be sure you won't use it to, uh, cause any trouble..." Nammad grinned. "WHAT!?" Gemini yelled. "That slime! I knew it!" Kosmo growled. "That was pretty predictable." Punchy sighed. "Can I move NOW?" Adam asked, only to watch Evelyn shake her head. "This artificial wand will, uh, be the final piece of Project GXterminate! Now I, uh, gotta go turn it on." Nammad announced. "G-what-inate!?" Copter muttered. "Enough! Let's get him!" Kosmo yelled. However, Agents 32 and 64 started to shoot to cover Dr. Nammad as he waved the fake wand, causing a blinding flash of light as they escaped with Adam and Evelyn! "Aaah!! They're gone!" Gemini gasped. "Don't worry, Gemini! We'll get them back! They took Heather, too!" Copter said. "Huh? ...Isn't Heather dead?" Gemini muttered. "Yeah, and they might've took Rainbow! Let's trash this dump!!" Punchy added. "And shut down this extermination thing they mentioned! Sounds dangerous..." Kosmo concluded.

Despite everything on the line and any determination the four of them might have had to accomplish this mission, they were still in GUN's own headquarters. A brief walk further into the base revealed just how serious this was. They had gone down some elevators to get into the base, and now they found an alarming area beneath Central City: a hangar filled with GUN Warships! Making matters worse, GUN had sounded the alarm on them, and this massive area was filling up with Beetles, Hunters, Hornets, armed GUN Agents, and worst of all, Bigfoot mechs! "We're dead, aren't we?" Copter gulped. "I'd like to disagree, but look who's leading this army of death." Punchy pointed out. Shadow the Hedgehog and Guard the Gargoyle were coordinating the troops into a line to block the experiments' advance. "Wait there. I'm going to have a talk..." Shadow said, running up to Kosmo. "What are you doing here, Shadow?" Kosmo growled. "Don't worry. I'm not here to rescue you again..." the black hedgehog said wryly. "When did YOU ever need rescuing?!" Copter stammered. "The President may be in danger. I'm here to investigate at Rouge's request." Shadow explained. "Well, we're here for everything BUT the Prez." Punchy said. "Kosmo?" Shadow asked. "You know who I want, Shadow..." Kosmo replied. Just then, Guard flew over. "GUARD!! Where'd you stash Heather!? I will have Kosmo snap you in two, you bot brain!!" Copter yelled furiously. Gemini held her wand defensively. "I'll pay you back for imprisoning me, too!" she growled. "You don't scare me. Grrrr... She is safely with Dr. Nammad. You'll never reach her." he said. "We'll see about that!" Kosmo growled. "...without my assistance, that is." Guard added. "Did he just say that?" Punchy groaned. "Dr. Nammad... Grrrr... He's insane. His actions will endanger all of us. Grrrr... After assessing the situation, I have deemed it worthy of ignoring my programming." Guard explained. "Prove it!" Copter said. Guard turned around and swung his scythe, firing a beam that blew a GUN Hornet sky high! "Grrrr! We must work together to stop GXterminate!" he growled. Shadow nodded. "You four go. Guard and I will handle things here." he grinned. Punchy flashed and became Dark Punchy. "Not that I lack confidence in your boundless abilities, but I'll just blow a hole in that line..." he said.

Dark Punchy led the charge, knocking bots and agents alike out of the way with dark shockwaves as he bolted past the line of GUN troops! Copter and Gemini added their own attacks as they followed, thinning out the robots that might chase them, while Kosmo brought up the rear in the form of a Flying Dog mech, both confusing and blasting enemy troops that remained to pursue. Shadow busily warped around knocking out GUN forces that started to chase after them, while Guard stayed airborne and fired beams from his scythe where they were needed. However, the group didn't get far past the first GUN Warship before they came across their nemesis. "Ha ha! Furry freaks!" Colonel Gunner stood in their path, accompanied by Sergeant Drol. "Fearful that the end is near, you desperately charge straight into the jaws of your destroyer! Fools!" Gunner laughed. "What'd you say?!" Punchy growled as the Despair Seal returned him to normal. "If I didn't have this seal, you'd be SO dead." he added. "Silence, knave!" Drol sneered, "You stand before Colonel Richard Gunner! The master strategist behind the battle with the Covenant of Despair!" he announced. Copter couldn't contain himself. "Master strategist? HIM?? BWA HA HA HA HA!!!" he started cracking up. "Stop that snickering, you! I owe all of you a long overdue debt of vengeance!" Gunner snarled furiously. Kosmo, having morphed back to normal, crossed his arms in a huff. "Funny... I was gonna say thanks for letting me out, but now you don't even get that. Bloody big nose." he sniggered. Sgt. Drol couldn't help snickering at that as well. "D-drol!!" Gunner gasped. "E-errr... I think the robot is malfunctioning, sir." he mumbled. Gunner glanced back at the huge tank accompanying himself and Drol. "It'll be fine. Where was I?" he muttered. Suddenly, Spy came running towards them from behind the next GUN Warship. "Boooooooss!! Saaarr-I mean-Colonel Gunnerrrrr!!" he screamed frantically. "Hey, lookie, it's the dimwit patrol." Copter pointed. "Spyyyyy... You were SUPPOSED to be watching the President!" Gunner growled, grinding his teeth. "Yes, your bossiness! I was! That's just it! The Prez has gone totally bonkers! He's out of his gourd! He must be stopped!" Spy stammered. "He... Are you sure, Spy?" Gunner muttered. "He's plotting something sinister with Project GXterminate, sir." he whimpered. "Well, he can't do much from his little office..." Gunner shrugged. "No, no, no!! You don't get it!! HE'S HERE!!!" Spy shouted. "Come again!?" Drol gasped. "What do you mean the president's up to something sinister??" Gemini wondered. "Eh, who cares!" Kosmo sighed. "Grrr... GXterminate is MY master plan! No one else is getting their grubby mitts on it!" Gunner growled, glaring at the experiments and Gemini, "And once it's activated, it will drain the special energy of the phoenix, and use it to target the same life energy all over the world! The life energy... of furry freaks! GXterminate will eliminate you all in one fell swoop! Ha ha ha ha ha!!" he cackled. "You're not going to do that, Richie!" Copter shouted. "Yeah! We won't let ya!" Punchy added. "As though you have any choice in the matter! M73-F/A Rhinolord! Trample these disgusting freaks!" Gunner shouted. Kosmo glared furiously at the colonel. "You are beneath scum, Gunner!" he growled. "Oh, yeah? Aren't I basically doing the same thing you intended to do before? Only I'm going to succeed!!" Gunner retorted. Kosmo gasped, a look of true rage growing over his face. "I'll make you choke on your bile!!" he roared.

The Rhinolord tank charged past Gunner and Drol, forcing the experiments and Gemini to scatter as it charged at them! It was a heavily armored vehicle, much like GUN's smaller armored tank robots, only this one was covered with weapons! "You are fools to march into GUN's own Headquarters like this! You'll never leave here alive now! Ha ha ha ha ha!" Gunner laughed as Rhinolord started firing lasers and bombs from all directions! "Aa-a-Abra-ka-warpra!!" Gemini shouted in panic, vanishing and reappearing on top of one of the nearby GUN Warships. "I'll be back when my heart catches up to me!" she shouted. Copter and Punchy were busy scrambling to avoid the attacks, while Kosmo stood his ground, his hand having morphed into a shield Hunter's shield. "Hey, Gunner! I'm using your own tech against you! How do you like that!?" he yelled. "Flatten him!" Gunner yelled. "...oh..." Kosmo yelped as Rhinolord came charging his way! However, Kosmo simply added a Hunter's jetpack to his body and flew above the tank quickly! Unfortunately, the tank had laser turrets on top of it as well, and he went spinning out of control as the jetpack was struck! "You stupid, stupid, STUPID machine!! Outta my way!!!" Copter shouted, trying to damage the tank with Chaos Whirlwind! However, it was ineffective. "Punchy, I think we need your dark form..." he sighed. "No... I'm not sure I have enough control over it..." Punchy sighed. Instead, he tried Chaos Avalanche, tossing chunks of the floor at the tank. However, they bounced off uselessly, and the tank started to charge at him! "...warpra!" Gemini appeared beside Punchy and quickly warped him out of the way as the Rhinolord attempted to flatten him. "Whew... Thanks. Hey, you got a nuclear blast spell or something?" he asked. Gemini glared at him disapprovingly. "Oh, nuclear winter. That'd solve things. Your Chaos move pulls apart the floor, right?" she asked. Punchy nodded. "I've already puzzled this out!" Kosmo shouted, morphed into Punchy's form, "THIS is how you Chaos Avalanche!" he said, raising his hands at the Rhinolord as it charged at him! The ground shook, and Kosmo pulled chunks of the floor out from directly under the tank! It flipped over backward, exposing its underside, which seemed decidedly less armored! Copter, who was already flying around to avoid getting flattened, dropped toward the flipped tank and swung his tails, his tailband shining as he tapped into its power! "Stupid, stupid STUPID MACHINE!!" he screamed as the Rhinolord exploded in half!

Gunner wore a familiar dumbfounded expression, followed by outrage. "Grrrrrrr!!! I despise you freaks! With all my soul! Just you wait, I'll destroy you all!" he shouted. "Um... Sir?" Drol muttered with concern. "Nice speech. Now take us to where you're keeping this doomsday weapon!" Kosmo growled. "You don't know Gunner very well, do you?" Copter panted. "You'll burn, freaks!" Gunner said, stepping back slowly. Suddenly, Spy handed him a coffee mug, on which was a hidden button that he hastily pressed. A hidden platform on the floor started to rise up, carrying the three GUN officials away as a wall of flames blocked the experiments from chasing them. "YOU'LL BURRRRRN!!!" Gunner screamed, sipping his coffee as his platform vanished into the distance. "How'd he do that...?" Kosmo muttered blankly. "Old coward's always got an escape hatch." Punchy shrugged. "Well, we'd better get chasing!" Kosmo grumbled as the flames died down. "You, there... Wait a moment!" came a voice exiting the nearby GUN Warship. "No time, military guy! We've got lots of ground to cover before people start dropping dead from some superweapon!" Kosmo said. "Hold up..." Punchy gasped, "That's the President!"

To be continued...


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