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Chapter 28 - The President's Secret

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 28 - The President's Secret

Chapter 28 - The President's Secret
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 28 - The President's Secret
Stage 16(Dark 8) - GUN Headquarters
Boss 16 - ?????????

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:
After nearly losing himself to darkness in a fight with Kosmo, Punchy was snapped out of it with Violet's help. Chet told Copter that Guard was most likely taking Heather to GUN's Headquarters in Central City, so the trio of experiments teamed up to infiltrate the base.
Inside, they found Gemini, who bargained with Dr. Nammad to exchange the fake wand for her real one, but lost her friends Adam and Evelyn in the process, Nammad taking them hostage!
Deeper in, Guard revealed Nammad's madness, saying that Project GXterminate would threaten everyone, and teaming with Shadow to fend off GUN's troops so the experiments could move on.
They faced off against Col. Gunner, who explained that GXterminate would use Heather's energy to target the GeneX energy of all intelligent animals in the world, killing them and leaving the humans! After defeating Gunner's Rhinolord robot, the colonel escaped, but the group was shocked to be approached by the President himself, who Spy had claimed was plotting something sinister with GXterminate as well!
Now, on to the next chapter!

Kosmo looked at the well-dressed human suspiciously. "If you're the President... And you're over here... Then who was that spy running from?" he asked. "Listen... I don't know who else to turn to..." the President began, "Someone's been posing as me for some time. He's fooled GUN and propagated a war with the Covenant of Despair." he explained. "Seriously?? Sounds like the work of a morph!" Copter said, glancing at Kosmo. "Please. Eyes would be a dead giveaway. Gotta be a really good human in disguise." Kosmo scoffed. The President looked at them urgently. "Whoever it is, he's after the real me. I've had to go into hiding. Few know I've been here... Those who do tend to disappear. I don't know who to trust... So I thought... Maybe it's time to trust you." he said. "Us? Do you know who we are??" Kosmo stammered. The President sighed. "There's no time to ask such questions. I need you to cover me while I head for the laboratory. Can you do it?" he asked. The experiments all glanced between each other awkwardly, until Gemini piped up. "If he can trust us, we can trust him. Let's go before more troops show up!" she reasoned. "You think they'd attack the president?" Copter wondered.

Unfortunately, the robots, while programmed not to harm the President, were not exactly programmed to obey him, and kept attempting to capture or destroy the intruders despite the company they kept. Fortunately, they were able to reach a relatively safe office area of the base and lock the door behind them using a Presidential emergency code. "I do have a tiny bit of clout with GUN... within my own nation." the prez muttered. Gemini gasped as she looked around the office. "You guys have a worse security breach than us..." she gulped. The agents working the office were hunched over, moaning. A closer look revealed that they were skeletons! "Urgh... Loskel..." Copter groaned. Punchy looked a bit greener as a memory flashed through his mind. "These things make me vomity..." he grumbled. "How utterly rude! And I was just gonna have a friendly quiz with you!" said Lospecter as he floated in front of them, "But now I gotta make this a wager. You win, you pass through. I win, and my lovely assistants nab your President. Make this quick, I have an appointment with another prez." he said. "What do you mean, you sludge!?" Gemini growled. "Now, name calling is for after the game. LOSPECTER'S QUIZ MANIA! What question number is this for the day? Eh, lost count. Okay, just how many of you doofy experiments is there now?" he asked. Copter and Punchy stood there counting for a bit, but Kosmo just put a moment of thought into it. "That griffin seemed young... I'll say... Fifteen." he answered. Lospecter grinned. "Final answer? Well, thanks for your candor. I'll take my bones and be on my way!" he said, holding up a card that caused the loskel to vanish! "Hold it!" Gemini shouted, but Lospecter escaped through a wall quickly. "...He pumped us for info again, didn't he?" Copter groaned, slapping his forehead.

Heading through a long corridor between areas of the base, the group soon found Whisk the divine skipping along, seeming strangely calm in spite of the alarms going off through the base. "Hey... You're that creature from Eggman's flying carnival..." Kosmo muttered. Whisk looked around with a dazed expression for a moment. "I am soooo lost." she muttered. "I'll say. What happened to that lizard you were with in the sewer?" Gemini asked. Whisk looked at her blankly. "Um... Could you show me to the GX-story-time room? I was invited to story time!" she smiled. Everyone frowned awkwardly at her. "I would recommend you find your way out of here..." the President sighed. "Before that crazy doctor uses you in some experiment..." Copter muttered. Whisk shrugged, and then vanished in a flash of light! "...What's she got to do with GXterminate?" Punchy wondered.

An electronic security door was at the end of the corridor, and the President didn't know the code. "Let me try... Blasting the thing might get us surrounded without Shadow and the gargoyle to bail us out again..." Kosmo said, morphing into a GUN Hunter and plugging himself into the electronic lock. "What the... What are you expecting to?" Punchy began, only to shut up as the door slid open. "This is a bunker, designed to protect the laboratory." the President warned, "I'll follow behind you. Disable the defenses as we go..." he said. As they entered, they found Bigfoot and Flying Dog mechs waiting for them, as well as armored turrets positioned throughout the bunker! "Yeah... we can do that..." Copter muttered. Punchy quickly changed into Dark Punchy, growling as he proceeded into the room! "Good, they'll waste bullets on him. I'll use magic to disable those turrets!" Gemini said, waving her wand and warping ahead of the group! Kosmo chuckled as he stepped into the room. "I've got a fun idea. Watch this!" He glowed brightly and transformed into a slightly smaller version of the Rhinolord tank they had fought earlier! "Hey, no fair! Everyone's got a way to be bulletproof but me!" Copter shouted. "Ahem..." the President cleared his throat. "Yeah, like they'll shoot you." Copter scoffed. The others had ignored his complaints, and were already battling it out with the GUN mechs, bullets, lasers and dark energy flying everywhere! Gulping nervously, Copter charged into the fray, jumping and weaving to avoid the projectiles coming his way! "If I were evil and smart, I'd use the prez as a human shield!" he grumbled halfway to the nearest turret, figuring he'd try disabling the ones Gemini wasn't busy with. He took to the sky, spinning his tails frantically to avoid the shots of the turret and land on top of it! Then, he bumped into Gemini. "Ow! Hey, what're YOU doing here!? Outta my way!" she yelled. "Me!? I thought you warped that way!!" Copter shouted. "I already turned that turret's Chaos Drive into an apple core. Look, it's shooting seeds... oh, it stopped." she said. Copter rolled his eyes and thwacked the turret with his tails, blowing it to pieces with his tailband's power! "...My way's more creative." Gemini pouted.

In the meantime, Dark Punchy's assault was getting notably brutal. He was snapping the metal limbs off the Bigfoot mechs and tossing them at Flying Dogs, and he'd blast clear through a mech to grab its pilot and hurl him to the ground, badly injuring the pilot. Soon, one of those metal limbs knocked Kosmo's Rhinolord form over, and he morphed back to normal to get back to his feet. "This guy's gettin' outta hand again..." he grunted. Copter and Gemini arrived on the scene after disabling the turrets, and gasped at Dark Punchy's onslaught. "I was afraid of this..." Gemini muttered, "Someone should take that crazy bracelet away from him." Copter shrugged. "Yeah, and then they'll take away my tailband. I'm not gonna tell him..." he said. As the last of the mechs fell, Dark Punchy glared straight at the President! However, Gemini appeared in front of him before he could make another move. "SNAP OUT OF IT!" she yelled. Kosmo was soon by her side, and Copter approached Dark Punchy from behind. "We're voting regular Punchy back again." he said. Dark Punchy glanced back at him and chuckled. "Think your vote means anything to me?" he sneered. The Despair Seal glowed softly, but seemed to be struggling. Kosmo cleared his throat. "C'mon, we know he's in there. Don't be dragging this out." he said. "Think what Rainbow would want, Punchy." Gemini said. Dark Punchy groaned as the Despair Seal glowed brighter, and in a moment normal Punchy was back. "...What's wrong with this thing?" he muttered, flicking the Despair Seal gently as though testing it for something.

The laboratory door was open. Inside, they found that Shadow and Guard had beaten them there, as had Colonel Gunner, Spy and Sgt. Drol. Shadow was accompanied by Rouge and Omega, and there were several GUN agents present including Agents 32 and 64. Adam and Evelyn were stuck in a cage at the back of the room, and Dr. Nammad and the "President" were standing over a machine made up of monitors, several antennae, a power core with a blue Chaos Emerald and the fake wand inserted, and Heather the phoenix clamped to a table beside it, with a machine strapped to her chest! Copter, Punchy, Kosmo, and Gemini gazed in alarm at the scene that unfolded before them. "Mr. President! Just what are you doing in here!? This lab is... dangerous!" Gunner babbled. "I know, Col. Gunner... I'm making sure of it." the duplicate President said. "Huh?" Gunner mumbled. "Our little war is going to come to an abrupt end." the phony President grinned. Dr. Nammad nodded. "Well, uh... That was always the, uh... plan." he stated. Kosmo couldn't take any more. "Hold it, chumps! We have some complaints about your little plan!" he shouted. "You're gonna let our friends go, NOW, or so help me...!!" Punchy growled. As Spy turned around, he shrieked. "Gaaah! Sarge, it's those evil experiments!" he yelped. "If you don't stop calling me sarge, Spy, I swear I'll have you scrubbing toilets..." Gunner grumbled as he and most everyone turned to acknowledge the new arrivals. "Hold on... How is it there can be TWO Presidents in here!?" Shadow gasped. Also growing impatient, Gemini started to stomp toward the cage at the back of the room. "Never mind! I've got to save my friends!" she grumbled. "Gemini, get back here! It's not safe yet!" Copter warned. "Omega, which one's the real President?" Rouge asked. Omega scanned them both from afar. "It is a near perfect disguise... But if I were to venture a guess, I would say the one who just entered is the true President." he said. "Grrrrr!! Then who's this imposter!?" Guard growled, glaring at the fake. "Impossible! An imposter could never pull the wool over my eyes!" Drol protested. Gunner stared at the real President in shock. "Wait... If you're the President... What are you doing with these....???" he stammered. "Richard! That... thing over there... attacked me in my office! It stole my very identity, and has been posing as me all this time!" the President explained, "I was in hiding in this base until these... intruders showed up. I had to place my trust in them." he said. "S-seriously?? You're kidding?" Gunner yammered in utter disbelief. "It doesn't matter!" the imposter President declared, "I saw to it that GXterminate was completed to MY specifications! Turn it on, Nammad!" he ordered. Dr. Nammad scratched his head awkwardly. "Um...? You say you did something to it?" he gulped. "Awww, never mind! I'LL do it!" said Lospecter as he emerged through a nearby wall! "Him again!?" Copter, Punchy and Kosmo all said at once.

Gemini stopped short of the cage upon Lospecter's arrival. "YOU... Not here...!" she growled. Suddenly, Copter and Kosmo cringed as they heard yet another person entering the lab. "Excuse me! What is going on in here!?" said the GUN Commander, looking around, "Mr. President! What... There are two of you!!" he stammered. The fake president ignored him and explained his scheme. "When this machine activates, it'll run haywire. The flames inside the phoenix will intensify the power of the Chaos Emerald... All life as we know it... will end!" he sneered. Gunner's eyes went wide. "WHAT!? That's not... But that'll kill you, too! You're insane!" he yelled. Dr. Nammad tried to block the way to the machine. "Get back, Lospecter! It's not, uh, supposed to work like that! Let me get in there and fix your, uh, sabotage!!" he said in panic. "Step aside, Ivan, ya bother me." Lospecter said, simply floating around him, and then knocking him away with a water-based projectile from one of his cards! Nammad fell to the ground, unconscious, and Gunner began to freak out. "Drol!! Guard!! Someone stop them!!" he shouted. "Solare!!" Gemini growled, firing a beam of light from her wand in Lospecter's general direction! "Whoooops! Missed me, sweetie!" Lospecter chuckled, flipping aside. However, she had hit the phony President! "Eeeeeeeyaaaaaah!!!" he howled in pain, and his body started to convulse and shake! "Ew, what's happening?? Am I gonna throw up?!" Punchy gasped, covering his eyes. "Aaaah heh heh heh heh haaaa!!!" the fake president laughed as his disguise disintegrated away, revealing greenish bones, clawed hands, and glowing red eye sockets in his green skull! "Oh, my... What IS that!?" Rouge gasped. "It can't be!! It's a Lost One!!" Gemini stammered. Col. Gunner's eyes burned with rage. "A FREAK!! A FREAK has been posing as the President!! Do something!! Kill it!! Don't let it turn on that machine!!" he screamed furiously. The Commander looked stunned, but nodded. "For once... I agree with you, Colonel... Mr. President, you need to get back, sir!" he said. Kosmo nodded and started toward the skeleton. "Come on! That machine's not getting turned on, right?" he said. Copter and Punchy looked at him funny. "Isn't destroying all life what you WANT?" Punchy said. Kosmo scoffed. "Where have you been? That's what the Lost Ones want. All I want... is to be free!" he declared, "And that can't very well happen if I'm dead! Let's go!" he said, leading the way! Gunner glanced at Guard in the meantime. "I want troops in here, NOW! Stop them ALL!!" he ordered. "Grrrr!! Yes, Colonel!" Guard said, hurrying out of the lab. "Ooooooh, sounds like a par-tay! I better dole out some cards to keep everyone occupied!" Lospecter chuckled, flying up high and picking out cards for the battle. The green skeleton looked at the experiments as they approached him. "I am Loskeletor! The Lost Ones have been the silent army in this war!" he said with a hollow, ghastly voice, "And now, we are here to take this city for our own! Thou souls shall soon be ours!! Now, meet thy doom!"

Loskeletor's eyes glowed brighter, and red hot beams fired from them, surprising the experiments and making them scatter! Lospecter chuckled from above and tossed a few cards around. "Enjoy! I stacked the deck special for this occasion!" he grinned. Three Losol Golems appeared in the lab, large blobs made up of several losol combined together! Shadow, Rouge and Omega sprang into action, heading for the golem closest to the President. "They lack weaknesses... together. So let's try splitting them apart!" the hedgehog suggested. Copter found himself cut off from the others by the second Losol Golem. "You giant ugly gelatin! Don't make me splatter you all over the walls!" he growled, "Go on, guys! I'll catch up!" The third golem went straight for Gemini. "Hah! You asked for it! I've got my wand back! Slibeam!" she shouted, slicing the golem in half with a magic beam, which only succeeded in creating two smaller golems. "Why didn't I see that coming...?" she mumbled, trying to think of a better spell that wouldn't slime everyone with the golem's remains. In the meantime, Loskeletor kept Punchy and Kosmo at bay with his eye lasers, so only one could get close to him at a time. When one got close, he swiped his claws at them, which were not only sharp, but would burst into blue Ghost Fire from time to time, creating the danger of turning the victim into a loskel! Kosmo morphed his tail into a mace and started to toss it from afar in order to stop this cycle, but one advantage of being a skeleton was that it was pretty easy to bend and twist to dodge attacks! "Heh heh heh! Alas, like my performance as President, this bout must also draw to a close. Now falls the curtain on thou dismal lives!" Loskeletor taunted, rotating his head rapidly as he fired his laser eyes! Kosmo and Punchy ducked hastily, but one of the Losol Golem pieces Gemini had lost track of was sneaking up on them! "Augh! Get away from me!!" Punchy yelled as it jumped on him! "Grrr... Chaos BLAAAAST!!" He eradicated the golem with a huge blast of chaos energy, which even rattled Loskeletor's bones! The skeleton reassembled its body back to normal and looked around. "Hark... The fell golems...fell." he gasped.

Lospecter looked around in disappointment. "Aw, no!! My cute little Losol Golems!" he whined. "They're on the ropes! Someone go save that bird, quick!" Kosmo shouted. Gunner growled in frustration. "Don't let them escape with the phoeni-- errr.... the President! Protect the President at all costs!" he barked. Loskeletor's eye sockets narrowed. "We are far from through... Lospecter, I need another dose of the presidential form." he said. Lospecter chuckled. "Heh, sure. We won't let the fact that our cover's blown stop us!" he smirked. "What are they scheming...?" Gemini wondered. "GEMINI!!! Little HELP!?" Adam yelled from his cage. As Loskeletor started toward the President, Kosmo stood in his way. "Hold it, you phony morph!" he growled. "I haven't time to fritter away exchanging blows with such a... boor. Heh heh..." Loskeletor muttered. "Geez... Talk normal, would ya?" Lospecter sighed. Meanwhile, Heather was waking up. "Copter! Why am I hooked up to all these crazy gizmos!?" she stammered as she looked around. "Burn 'em, Heather! Burn 'em to scrap!" Copter shouted, joining Kosmo in blocking Loskeletor. "Pray, excuse me, knave." the skeleton said. "Is... is that creature mocking me?!" Sgt. Drol stammered. Loskeletor swiped his eye lasers across the area, knocking Copter aside and forcing Kosmo and Punchy out of the way! "Copter!!" Heather shouted in concern. Punchy ran to assist him, while Kosmo turned to follow Loskeletor. "It... It's coming this way!!" the Commander stammered. "Spy, you sniveling coward! Get in there!!" Gunner ordered. "I can't hurt the President!!" Spy yelped, running over to hide near the GXterminate machine. Drol turned to the nearby GUN agents. "We'll take care of it! Troops, fire!" he shouted, prompting Agents 32 and 64 to open fire on Loskeletor! Meanwhile, Lospecter popped in front of Gemini as she reached her friends' cage! "Trouble, witchy?" he smirked. "Augh! Stay back, you gassy monkey!!" she shouted. Kosmo glanced back. "Copter, your friend's in trouble!" he shouted. Hearing him, Copter scrambled back to his feet. "Gah! Gemini! I told her it wasn't safe!!" he growled. "That wakes you up??" Punchy mumbled. "Hey, Loskels! Go fetch!" Lospecter grinned, tossing a card that summoned a horde of loskels to surround Gemini!

Guard finally arrived with reinforcements as things started to look bad. Even Omega's guns were failing to affect Loskeletor. "N-no!! Our guns aren't doing anything!!!" Drol grunted, "Guard, get those robots over here!!" he yelled. Behind Guard, a black cat wearing red and blue pants snuck into the lab and approached the GXterminate weapon. "Me-yow!! Look at all this craziness! Well, least I can snag this emerald... I am NOT useless..." he said to himself. However, Col. Gunner didn't fail to notice him. "What!? W-who!? Gah! No time for all these freaks! Spy, deal with the emerald, I need to protect the President!" he shouted. Being the closest to Loskeletor, Agent 64 stood in front of the skeleton, refusing to get out of the way. "G-get back, monster! I am prepared to lay my life on the line to protect my nation!" he declared. "...Huh??" Kosmo gasped, watching this. Shadow and Rouge were speeding towards Loskeletor, having been occupied with Lost Ones summoned by Lospecter up to this point, but Loskeletor didn't seem to care. "Sorry. Your pitiful efforts bore me." he said. Moving with surprising speed and acrobatics, Loskeletor slipped past Agent 64 and everyone in his way, heading straight for the President! "N-NOOOOO!!" the President screamed, realizing the skeleton was unstoppable! At the same time, Spy was holding a gun to the cat, and Copter had arrived to aid Gemini, while Punchy was sitting back wondering which direction he should be going, if any. In the next instant, everyone was startled by the President's ear-piercing shriek as he and Loskeletor vanished in a flash of red light! "Mr. President!!!" the Commander shouted. Shadow stopped in his tracks and stared. "No... I was too late!" he growled. Meanwhile, Fred the fennec had appeared behind Adam and Evelyn inside their cage. "Adam! Evelyn! Did Gemini find her real wand yet?" he asked, startling them. "Don't DO that!!" Adam yelled. "ME-YOW!! Where'd you come from with that gun!?" the nearby cat shouted at Spy as he clutched the Chaos Emerald. A voice was heard coming from near them. "Lucky!! Hold on, you dummy!" Kosmo recognized this voice immediately. "Carrie!?" he blurted. As Spy looked for the source of the voice, Carrie appeared out of nowhere next to him! "BOO!!" she shouted! "WHATINTHEWHOTHE WHAAAAAAT!?" Spy screamed, jumping back! "I coulda got out myself... I think..." Lucky, the cat, grumbled. "Guys! I think we gotta go!" Heather shouted as she jumped away from the GXterminate machine. "Before I go Dark Punchy from CONFUSION!!" Punchy yelled. Gunner turned to the dumbfounded GUN Commander. "Don't just stand around! LOCK DOWN GUN HQ!! Don't let anyone out!" he shouted. "Huh? R-right! Exactly right, Colonel! If the President's still here, we can't let him be taken away!" the Commander said, snapping out of his state of shock. Copter tugged at Gemini's arm as she hurled spells at the Lost Ones frantically. "Geminiiiii, no time for grudge matches! Let's go!" he insisted. "Meh, I got a city to conquer anyway. Later, foxy!" Lospecter said, flying off! Kosmo, Punchy and Heather quickly joined Copter and Gemini, though Kosmo's eyes were fixed on Carrie as she and Lucky made their escape. Gemini and Fred raised their wands and cast their warping spells to get everyone out of there. "GALAPORTA!!" As the light of the spells surrounded them, Colonel Gunner could be heard screaming. "GAAAAAAAHHH!!! How could they ESCAPE!!?? You... BLASTED EXPERIMENTS!!!"

To be continued...

From the author: Thanks for reading! I'm gonna take another break now. I posted these really quick because the impending Halloween Special contained a spoiler or two for these recent chapters. Due to recent personal events, I don't expect to resume posting until sometime next year, so enjoy all the holidays, and bye for now!


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