CAUTION: This story contains spoilers for the multiplatform game Sonic Unleashed. Viewer discretion is advised.
Chapter 11: A Casual Game of Breakout
"Lightning calling Princess. Lightning calling Princess. You're getting warm. It should be the third door on your right. Repeat, the third door on your right."
Silver Lightning's hands-free communicator discreetly fed information into my ear. The message was barely audible, but my keen fennec ears made it easy to discern.
"Roger that, Lightning," I whispered into the microphone. "I'm assuming that's 'right' from my perspective, as I'm upside-down?"
"Oh! From your perspective, it'd be on the left."
"Figures. Don't forget your side of this operation."
"On it already. Lightning out."
The prison sector took its security seriously. Security cameras panned left and right, doors were locked and sealed, and robot drones scanned for any signs of organic life. Fortunately for me, most of the security was focused on the lower half of the room, and thanks to my Gravity Boots I was able to remain on the less-secure ceiling. Snake had already hacked the security system and was deactivating the security measures as I passed them.
I carefully crawled along the ceiling, passing one door... two... ah, the third door. That was it. As I approached, the door's security lock beeped- seemingly by itself- and the door slid open. Good old Silver Lightning, always on top of things.
After looking around to make sure the coast was clear, I climbed through the doorframe and settled on the ceiling in this new room. It resembled a storage room, but I knew better. Dozens of shelves filled the room, filled with tens of thousands of Containment Spheres. You have to say one thing about Containment Spheres, they certainly economize prison space a great deal.
"Princess calling Lightning. Princess calling Lightning. I'm in the room. Repeat, I am in the prison room."
"Confirmed. I see you on the map. The hedgehog's sphere designation is 1DF7. Repeat, one-dee-eff-seven. And make it quick; I can't blind the security camera for too long or someone'll smell a rat."
"1DF7. Thanks for the reminder. Princess out."
The shelves were sorted by sphere designation, just like a library. I scanned the room until I found shelf 1D, then jumped off the ceiling, did a half-frontflip, and landed perfectly on the floor.
Let's see... 1DD... 1DE... here it is, 1DF. And 1DF7 must be this one.
I plucked a single Containment Sphere from the shelf. The sticker on the side read "1DF7", and the little round screen on the top displayed a static picture of the same blue hedgehog I'd seen in Genesis's courtroom.
"Princess calling Lightning. Princess calling Lightning. I've got him, 1DF7. Repeat, I've got him. What's the release code?"
"We're not going to release him there, Princess. Just hang on to the Sphere until you get back, and we'll figure it out there."
"Roger that. Princess out."
"Okay, I've got it. The code is 327845."
The law enforcement was probably watching the Lounge and Power Generator Omega, so instead Pride, Everest, and myself had reunited at the top of Radio Tower E. This and several other radio towers like it transmitted signals from place to place around the globe nearly instantaneously, and were heavily relied upon.
Once I detached my hacking tools from the Containment Sphere, Pride punched the six-digit number I'd mentioned into the Sphere's keypad, then tossed it on the floor in front of us. It let out a BEEP-BEEP, and began to decode its occupant back into matter.
In just seconds, Nick was back. He immediately clutched his forehead. "Oh, man, how long was I in there?"
"You were supposed to be in there for six months, but we got you out in just a few hours," Everest volunteered. "Welcome to Radio Tower E. We had to take you here so the law wouldn't find us."
"You bailed me out? Well, thanks, Snake."
Nick and I shook hands. He also asked us if we did this often; I admitted that we did, since being a Runner meant you couldn't always comply with the law, and he'd already seen how ruthless this era's legal system was. He didn't seem particularly surprised.
"Although you may be free, we have other things to worry about," Pride pointed out. "Angel the Porcupine still has the seven Chaos Emeralds. Those things are dangerous in the wrong hands, and few hands are wronger than Angel's. As #1 at the Chaos Research Facility, I have firsthand knowledge of their powers."
Pride quickly entered a not-so-brief speech about the capabilities of the Emeralds. Nick didn't seem interested, but Pride had gotten too carried away to notice.
"... One of the more advanced powers of the Emeralds, which requires all seven to utilize, is the power to supercharge the user's body to an amazing level. The user becomes very powerful, takes no physical damage from anything, and can zip through the air like a hummingbird, but their stamina depletes rapidly. Only certain individuals can use the Emeralds in this way, and Silver Lightning here happens to be one of them; in fact, he's he's done so on several occasions in order to defeat Angel. It ..."
A familiar light called my attention away from Pride's ramblings. It was Nick's trinket. The sun was about to rise. I sidled up close to him and asked Pride and Everest to stand back, which they did.
We were headed back to Nick's time once again.
Taking the Chaos Emeralds had been almost too easy.
I sat in my chair in front of my monitor, which displayed the current whereabouts of Silver Lightning; in this case, the top of Radio Tower E. My home base was hidden in a forgotten bunker near Tower C. I read over my information while my assistant, Bingo, inspected the seven Emeralds.
"You are as genius as always, Master," Bingo complimented me. "With the seven Chaos Emeralds in our possession, we can get to work on just about anything."
I nodded my head. "You can say that again, Bingo."
"You are as genius as-"
That's the problem with boneheaded assistants: they have an annoying tendency to take things way too literally. I quickly silenced my assistant by picking up my energy whip and lashing it at him.
"Shut up, Bingo. I'm trying to think here."
I looked at the monitor again, which displayed Silver Lightning, Pride, Everest, and an unfamiliar blue hedgehog. Something about that hedgehog made my quills stand on end; he had already allied himself with the Runners, which meant he'd probably be trouble for me in the near future.
"Bingo, have you researched that hedgehog's origins as I asked you to?"
"Yes, Master, I've looked over the recorded surveillance, and it appears he's a time traveler. He came here from 500 years in the past, and he took Silver Lightning with him when he left."
A time traveler? 500 years in the past? Hmm...
"Set aside the green Chaos Emerald for use in Project D31."
Bingo jumped. "D31? You mean that old blueprint?"
"As old as it is, I feel that it might be appropriate for this occasion."
Punching a few keys, I brought up a schematic on the monitor. I read over the handwriting in the corner, and my face produced a grin.
Design © Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik