Rebellion in the Ranks
Sonic could smell her soft floral perfume combined with the sharper, industrial scent of new, designer suits before he’d even opened his eyes.
“Tell me I haven’t been out long enough that you had to come all the way out here,” said Sonic. He opened his eyes, feeling a great deal refreshed.
“Well, welcome back,” she answered, matching his sarcasm. A few extra lines crinkled the corners of her eyes, but her voice was still like honey, soothing him down to the marrow of his bones, “Now, shall we put Akarsha Air on the bedside table or Fly Dune?”
He had woken up earlier in the day, but it had been the crack of dawn and his chest had still been repairing. He had allowed himself more sleep. The dark outside the window indicated night. Perhaps a full twenty-four hours had passed.
He smiled wide at Sonia who, beside his hospital bed, was arranging what appeared to be an entire floral shop around his ward. A vast array of colours turned the ward into a rainbow of bulbs. Buried behind the forest Sonic could just see the corners of a stack of envelopes half as tall as his forearm.
“This is a bit… excessive,” he commented. He sat up. His chest would now support him, nothing but a few bearable pangs of hot pain fuming from his repaired ribs. With a flush of ego, he remembered the times when his Magic Rings would take seven days to heal broken bones.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Sonny, I didn’t buy these,” said Sonia primly, brushing her brown quills from her face as she arranged a large bunch of blue daffodils (Sonic thought it quite thoughtful) next to his bed. He immediately set to work removing the drip from his arm. His gloves and the bindings around his hands and wrists had been removed.
“No, see, why do patients always want to do that?” snapped Sonia, slapping his hand away from the needle. The pointed at him and said firmly, “Don’t.”
“What are you doing in Shamar?” said Sonic. His warm smile suddenly dropped, “I am still in Shamar, right?”
“Of course. Except, I’m not sure if anyone knows whether to arrest you or throw a feast in your honour. I am on business, shopping for some potential investments. Hence the attention you’ve gotten from all major airlines servicing the country.”
“You didn’t get caught up in Ringo’s crazy rampage?”
Sonia shook her head as she continued to arrange the flowers, “No, I have been locked up on the top floor, for my own protection of course, of the EVE building – the one with the silver wing things. ”
“And Tails, Silver, Nickel… they’re ok?”
“Yes. I imagine they’re all still sleeping.” She gave him a curious look, “What are you mixed up in this time? More importantly, why did you” –
“I wasn’t putting my neck out for Shamar!” interrupted in Sonic, putting both palms up near his shoulders, “Didn’t Pylon” – he cut himself off to roll his eyes, “right. You two are still doing that ‘don’t talk’ thing.”
Sonia said slowly, evenly and very dangerously, “Watch. Your. Tone.”
Not really recognising the admonishment, Sonic just said, “Pylon contacted me to help him, Ringo was holding him hostage.” Sonic had nearly forgotten about Pickle – he would have to check on the Professor.
Sonia made a face as if she was looking at something revolting, “Of course he did. Getting you into danger was all he ever seemed interested in.”
“Mauro’s grave - Mum! Robotnik was involved here.” At her sudden look of confusion, Sonic nodded, “Yeah, guess this shady military covered that one up.”
“And he knew that? What on Mobius did the Mad Doctor want in the Pyramid Kingdom? I… he was just at Central not a day ago. It was all over the news.”
“Yeah,” Sonic had no idea if she knew he had been in the thick of that, but as per their unspoken policy he felt no need to reveal it, “it’s the one thing I don’t understand. I get the military thing and Ringo, but Robotnik doesn’t contract out, you can’t just steal his tech anymore and I don’t see what advantage he gets out of having some military dictatorship here – if he learned one thing out of losing that war it’s that turning Spagonia into one really didn’t help his cause. So why offer?” He thought for a moment, then clicked his fingers in sudden inspiration, “That Princess might know.”
“You know that what you do is against the law, right?”
He shot her a well-practiced look, which she held with a long-practiced glare.
Except this time Sonia appeared intent on making her point.
Sonia declared in her lowest voice, “The War is over. It is long over” -
Sonic continued for her, “And there are institutions designed for the sole purpose of removing Robotnik, and there are peace treatise in place specifically to band the world against him, eighty percent of his resources have been reclaimed, and he’s on the brink of defeat.”
Sonia knew the argument already. They both did. She appeared to deflate as she released the reproach and the stress she inevitably amassed when imagining her son in danger, as he would for her. Sonic, too, let the tension of the debate relax.
She looked him in the eyes, knowing what he would say.
“But I have to finish it. Because they can’t. And if I don’t it was all for nothing.”
As he finished, there was a strange emptiness behind his face. Sonia sighed as she sat on his bed, giving his head a comforting stroke.
After a few moments she said, “Don’t think I don’t know how much fun you’re having.”
Sonic chucked as his mother continued, “I am serious. It wasn’t from Manik that you got that adventurous streak. Once, I had to crawl through an entire kilometer of mud and thorny scrub evading a rebel group, I forget their name, that was besieging a city on the Aevon Coast to get to fifty wounded hostages they were holding in a bunker. Once I got there I distracted the guards by putting a scorpion down one of their collars and then releasing the prisoner’s wild dogs. Chased them all off.”
“I’m fairly sure that would have been against your oaths,” Sonic pointed out.
“I didn’t hurt them, the dogs did. I fixed up the men and led them all back to the hospital twenty kilometers away. Meanwhile Manik was probably having it easy at Business School.”
Sonic genuinely laughed at that. By the time he had been born his mother was working in local hospitals as the brilliant doctor she was. He had not even known about her times as volunteer doctor on the front lines of violent outbreaks all over the world until he was deep into the Robotnik War. Yet he had no difficulties imagining it.
“Were you ever in danger?” he asked.
“Well, I never had a supreme emperor single me out as an enemy of the state, so I guess everything pales in comparison to that!”
“No! I want to know,” Sonic urged, refusing to be distracted. He knew this slippery tactic all too well.
“I spent a lot of time in the Indopelago. Not a nice place to be twenty years ago.”
“It’s still not.”
“Yes, but at least now the Black Fleet run it.”
Sonic almost laughed in dubiety. “How exactly is that a good thing?”
“It’s cold between them and the rest of the world, but at least there aren’t a dozen or so different tribes tearing the place apart. Unifying them was the greatest achievement the region could have reached.”
Sonic smirked. “Well, if I ever see Captain Jaggers I will give him your regards.”
Sonia was about to reply when her phone’s message-tone squawked.
“Work?” asked Sonic. But she flashed him a smile.
“No, I asked McGregor to take over for the day. Night. No, Amy and Knuckles are here. They’re coming to see you.”
Sonic said, surprised, “Why? I thought Knuckles was doing his Chaos Island, Angel Guardian thing?”
“Yes, well, apparently he contacted Tails shortly after you fell unconscious. As a matter of fact Tails seemed rather, well, not himself about whatever it was.”
“You didn’t ask?”
“I did. As did those two, Silver and Nickel, but Tails wouldn’t say. I let him sleep it off.” She cocked her head in concern, “Do you…”
Sonic shrugged, in the back of his mind taking further pride that his ribs barely complained at all, “A lot’s been going on in the past few days. If it were urgent Tails wouldn’t still be here though.”
Unease was now mirrored on both their faces. Sonic took enough comfort to stay still in the reasoning that if Knuckles was reporting a crisis presently taking place neither he nor Tails would be hanging around Shamar just to tell him.
Sonia’s phone shrilly beeped again.
“Oh no…” she said deplorably.
“I need to go save McGregor’s skin.” She stood, and picked up a handbag from under Sonic’s hospital bed. She kissed him on the head and said sternly, “Now I know better than to ask for you to stay here exactly for the next few hours, but can you at least in the same country for a little while?”
He watched her leave feeling somewhat glum in the knowledge his promise might not survive the night.
As soon as she was out of sight he removed the drip, seeing no use for it. His shoes and gloves were under the bed. However he had neglected to ask for a wrist comm, and not knowing the location of Tails or the other was unable to leave the ward.
So he waited, sitting back against the thin mattress. He immediately returned his thoughts to the conundrum of the Robotnik robots. Like piranhas to bait he attacked the problem from all angles. He eventually told himself to be wary of solving a puzzle that didn’t exist. Perhaps Robotnik really had just sold off the robots. It was boring, but simple. Simple was meant to be the style of answer to every major problem, yet he had lived a life where it never was.
Eventually, his thoughts stumbled to Ki, the mysterious and unconventional princess. He suddenly felt somewhat guilty he had not enquired towards her safety when he had Tails, Silver and Nickel’s. He had not seen her since Ringo had clobbered him off the roof.
He remembered the shot that had downed Ringo with mixed dread and hope. It had to have been Jackie’s weapon, probably designed to tranquilise him, fortunately the dosage had been enough to down Ringo. But Jackie had been unconscious. Which left Ki to make the shot unless Jackie had achieved the unlikely act of firing her sniper with both hands bound behind her back. Where was she now? And did she have any more information, maybe a missing puzzle piece, to solve the riddle of Robotnik’s unlikely presence in Shamar.
A knock at the door pulled Sonic’s thoughts away.
“Tails!” he said happily at the sight of the fox at his door, springing from the bed. “Finally, let’s get out of here.”
Tails revealed Knuckles and Amy were outside the hospital building with Silver and Nickel. Amy had flown Knuckles all the way to Shamar from Angel Island, landing only a short while ago.
Tails also caught him up on everything that had happened since he passed out. Ringo, Jackie and a total of seventy-five rebels were being held in custody. Their numbers did not exactly suggest a popular party, leaving yet another mystery as to how less than a hundred desert cats, one trained assassin and a freak wolverine had brought an ancient city in the middle of a humongous modern metropolis to its knees. Let alone why. The national press was already on fire with denunciations from both the Ra and the military head, General Zia. But that didn't concern Sonic very much. The root here was Robotnik, so he was determined to focus on that.
As they descended through the hospital via a tight stairwell, Sonic asked as quietly as he could so as not to attract any staff (they never took too kindly to patients checking themselves out), "So, did we get an answer out of Ringo? How did he end up here?"
"Not yet. But something else has come up."
"Right. Which is...?"
Tails led the way, so Sonic could only see the back of his head.
"You'll... I think it's best if the whole group hears."
"Well that just sounds ominous. Angel Island hasn't fallen out of the sky again or something has it?"
Tails disabled a fire alarm to allow them access out a fire door so as to avoid the lobby. The air outside was warm and smoggy. The hum of the city blanketed atmosphere, and above barely any stars could be perceived.
The hospital was very close to the CBD of Shamar City, and the alley they opened into was lonely and dark. Following Tails, they crossed a carpark to reach the riverfront.
"What, no curfew?" Sonic asked, only half joking.
Tails replied, "I guess when your mentor is chief of police you can get away with a lot."
His even tone bothered Sonic. A habit formed from years attached to Sonic’s hip, Tails was capable of jest amidst dark and dangerous happenings.
"Jeez, forget Angel Island, did Robotnik blow up Spagonia again?"
Knuckles, Amy, Silver and Nickel waited near the riverwall. The river was flat and empty, with no boats to stir the surface. The same could be said for the road Tails and Sonic crossed. They descended the stairs to the flat, wide cement walkway lit by regular streetlamps. The city’s silence was eerie.
Sonic shrugged off the ominous setting of the meeting, instinctively wanting to wave to his friends cheerily and excited to recount their recent dance with danger. But at their dour expressions he adopted a more passive look. Silver and Nickel waited in the wings; the latter looked on anxiously, the former looking for popcorn.
"Amy, Knux." greeted Sonic. A thunderstorm looked to be forming over the echidna’s head, but Sonic ignored it. He instead joked to Amy, "Well it's not exactly Chun-Nan, but we're halfway there."
But Amy appeared to be unable to summon the humour to reply.
"Ok, wow. Who died?"
Knuckles growled, "It's the opposite... "
Sonic looked at him strangely. He now got the idea he was being blamed for something.
"Somebody gave birth...?"
At least Silver snickered, but Sonic sensed it was because he was enjoying knowing something he didn't.
"You. Lied." Knuckles said slowly, eyes glaring at him fiercely.
Sonic stared at the three of them in amazement, utterly lost.
"You're going to have to be a little more specific."
Amy said softly, sadly, "Fang's alive. Knuckles saw him."
Sonic’s entire demeanour changed. Stunned for several seconds, a black look eventually crossed his face and, flinching as if burned, averted his eyes from their faces.
"You knew." breathed Amy, shoulder’s sagging as she dropped her folded arms, "You knew?"
"I told him to never come near any of you again" -
"Dammit, Sonic!" boomed Knuckles. His was outrage suddenly mirrored in the defeated faces of Tails and Amy.
Nickel whispered to Silver, "What's going on?"
"I have absolutely no idea, but I'm enjoying it."
Sonic snapped, uncharacteristically venomous, "What, you think I just let him go? Just let him walk away? You have no idea -"
"Yeah, actually, I'm pretty sure I do!" cried Knuckles, "Because I know you, Sonic! But that's not even what gets me!"
"Why did you lie," said Amy, "You told us he was dead."
"No," said Tails, watching Sonic with an expression that could not be placed, "he told us he was gone."
"He was," hissedSonic, but the insistence in his voice was now clear. Grains of admission trickled into his expression.
"You let him go!" shouted Knuckles.
"He should be in a prison," said Amy, quietly.
Sonic’s defensive air broke up like salt in water. "I didn't... it wasn't like that. I didn't have a choice."
Amy and Knuckles both bristled in outrage, felling both Sonic’s ears flat. The hot balls of rage in Knuckles’ eyes meant little to Sonic; he was often their target. But the offense and hurt glowering from the faces of Amy and Tails cut him to the core. He found it difficult to manage the sudden wave of shame and guilt as well as suppress the rising tide of bitter memories.
When Sonic had nothing else to offer them, Tails said with diplomacy, "Sonic, there's something else. Fa-he, I mean, he works for Shadow.
Shock slapped Sonic like a blast of wind.
“He what?” Like some wild monster anger rose up inside him, ringing battle cries in his ears.
“He has some nerve,” spat Sonic, reviling both at Fang’s insolence and Shadow’s machinations. He clenched his eyes shut for a moment, pushing the swirl of vehemence away so he could think clearly.
“He should be in prison,” repeated Knuckles in a hard tone.
“I know.” He looked to his friends, acknowledgement shimmering in his eyes. “I can make this right.”
After several moments of silence, this seemed to be enough for Amy and Tails, who lowered and nodded their heads respectively. The pain in their eyes was clear as glass, their pain and disappointment etched into their faces like rough brushstrokes. But their third member was not at ease.
Tails started, "It's ok, Sonic" -
“No!” exploded Knuckles. “No, it is not ok!” He pivoted around to face Amy and Tails, and demanded, “Are you hearing the same words I am? Did you forget what that… traitor, did” –
Silver whispered to Nickel, acting like a spectator to a sports match commenting on the performance of the players, “I’d really like to know.”
“I’m not so sure we do,” returned Nickel, his tone concerned, “before tonight I could never imagined any of them like this…”
“No more than I’ve forgotten being roboticised!” cried Amy suddenly. Instantly furious admonition filled her posture, her left hand flexed for her hammer and she took a step forwards to Knuckles, even though he stood a head taller. Fury tremored in her voice as she thundered, “How dare you, Knuckles!”
She may as well slapped him. He stood in the centre of the four of them, stunned as if surrounded by strangers. When he could find no defense in Tails’ face, his expression grew blacker. Teeth bared in sheer anger, he swung around and strode off.
“Knux,” protested Sonic, a little weakly, following after him. He had barely made it three feet closer when Knuckles whirled back around. It had been too fast for either Silver or Nickel to spot, but Sonic had seen the aggression and, flinching, quickstepped back out of range as the echidna rounded on him.
“No!” shouted Knuckles, brandishing his spurred fists, “You lied! I don’t know how those two can see past this, but I can’t! All this time, he’s been out there!”
“Look, he was gone before I could stop him, alright” –
Sonic was usually a proficient liar, but not now. Knuckles shook his head, and when Sonic couldn’t look him in the eye Knuckles called the deceit with a triumphant sneer. “That’s right, do it again! Lie to save your skin! Fang told me, ‘ask your mate, Sonic’. You let him go willingly so you could go sulk with Master Shukun for eight months while everybody else rebuilt the country! So you didn’t have to answer!”
Something rippled through Amy, Tails, and most cripplingly, Sonic, which told Silver and Nickel Knuckles had gone too far.
“Enough, Knuckles!” shouted Amy, stepping forwards. The two now glared searing daggers at each other while Tails cowered awkwardly between them.
This was getting out of control, and far too deep into the territory of memories usually too painful to handle.
The worst of it, Sonic knew, was that Knuckles’ brazen words came from truth.
With the last of his nerve, Sonic said, “You talked to him? Why not just turn him in yourself?”
Knuckles shook his quills with disgust, “To whom!? He works for GUN now, who’s going to arrest him – he has immunity! No, you need to fix this. You need to contact Shadow, and you can be the one to blackmail him into making sure that traitor spends the rest of his life in a prison cell.”
Sonic normally would have scoffed. He couldn’t exactly say they were allies as it was, and Shadow was not someone he wanted as an enemy. Yet it was the quickest way to get Fang out of the picture if Shadow would not cooperate.
“I will, Knux, I swear it.”
Knuckles did not release his tension. He stared at Sonic hard for a moment, accusation and contempt bundled in the creases of his twisted face. He resumed walking and announced, “I’m out, I’m done.”
“Out? Out of what?”
Knuckles only stopped to gesture at them all. “Of this. The team.”
Sonic was finally, genuinely, understood how far his perceived betrayal had struck Knuckles. Their trust had been splintered. They were meant to be equals without room for secrets. Yet Sonic had allowed one this enormous to hang above their heads all these years. An imposter, a double-crosser, a snake so deadly he was responsible for the invasion that had toppled the Spagonian government for a second time and driven all free people across the channel to Londonia. Countless were roboticised, the Queen overthrown. And then there were their friends, the Freedom Fighters.
Raw emotion swam across his eyes, and suddenly breathless, heart thundering thick guilt through his body, Sonic relinquished any right he had to challenge Knuckles’ decision.
He’d have done the same.
Tails was the one to protest, “Knuckles, what? But you’re part of the Triple Threat, you can’t go!”
Knuckles ignored him, sparing neither he nor Amy a second glance. He stormed off, and left the light of the overhead streetlamp. He did not reappear in the next one.
“Guys,” began Sonic, unsure how many more teammates would leave him tonight, “I am so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” said Amy, immediately, “he overreacted. He just… can’t stand his trust being deceived.”
“Thanks,” said Sonic, taking that like he would a punch to the gut.
“I didn’t mean you.”
Tails said, sadly, “This is messed up. He’s alive… worst of all, he’s free?”
He felt nauseous from a stomach whirling with painful emotions.
“Take me to the Tornado, Tails.”
Tails looked at him with apprehension. “I’m not sure if Knuckles’ idea was the best, Sonic. Threatening Shadow is far from our best interest. Couldn’t we contact the Chaotix?”
The very thought of perhaps having to look at or hear Fang was distressing. Thankfully, Amy said, “No, Knuckles was adamant they were taking Fang back to GUN either way. I don’t like to think where this is going to take us, but Shadow’s our only contact with leverage to make this happen.”
Sonic admitted, “Spag could help us, but that could get really awkward.”
“Especially as you told us he was ‘gone’,” said Amy, a little stiffly. She put the final word in quotation marks, causing Sonic to grimace in frustration.
Anxiously, Tails repeated, “This is a really bad idea.” Now he looked directly at Sonic, “And is it worth it?”
Sonic gave Tails a rare glare.
Redfried, his cyborg team, Shadow and Rouge returned to GUN’s island base unchallenged. It was somewhat of a miracle, but spoke to the sluggish response time of an untrained militia like the Black Fleet. Indeed, their travel had been painfully slow moving across the ocean with only engine power. The few engineers stationed at the base huddled at the rusty metal pier as Redfried and Mouse ungainly steered the fifty-foot long ship into the bay. At this speed they would dock in about fifteen minutes. They had gutted the communications system so the Fleet could not track the ship’s location. Its curved wooden hull was reinforced with patchwork steel, perhaps clues to previous battles. Bullet holes and scorch marks represented its most recent.
Leaving Rouge in a dark cabin below deck to recover the rest of her eyesight, Shadow eventually returned to Redfried. He had to suppress a chuckle in spite of himself at the sight of Waltz leaning on a balustrade, his face a distinct green. It struck him again that these supposed cyborgs all looked entirely normal.
“Did you do it?” he asked Redfreid in the domed, defensible cockpit as he approached. Waiting by the door, Frenzy’s eyes narrowed at his inquisition. Inside Mouse, face pinched with concentration, guided the ship close to the pier.
“Do what?” said Redfreid.
“Kill Torrent,” said Shadow without hesitation. He expected a few flinches at the reveal of his insight, yet none came. Redfreid did look slightly annoyed, though.
“That’s confidential for my team’s safety.”
“You’re mercenaries, you live for black operations like this, you’ll never be safe. But did you do it?”
Frenzy said, “You’ve met him.” It was not a question.
“I have, and I was sorry I was unable to finish the job myself on that occasion.”
Redfried huffed, “It was unclear. We never found the body for confirmation.”
Shadow frowned. “I assumed he was caught in the MagnoThermal explosion we witnessed from above Scythe City…”
Redfried shook his head bitterly, “We didn’t do that. He did.”
Shadow felt he really should not have been surprised. “To cover his escape?”
“I definitely tagged him,” said Frenzy in a hiss, “He must have died of his injuries, nobody survives that…”
“We can’t confirm it,” repeated Redfried, “so that’s our line.”
Disappointment joined Shadow’s already taut frustration on losing the emerald and Nyx.
“And you?” asked Frenzy. Shadow had to bottle down a scoff.
“You must be joking. I’m sorry to hear of your mission’s status, but pleased with your safe returns. Excuse me.”
He left the deck to the sounds of Waltz’ retching, intending to recover Rouge so they could disembark. The good news was she had already regained parts of her eyesight. The bad news was she had already named that dark chao, a sign he was going to be seeing a lot of it in the foreseeable future. The worst was that Nyx had surprised them again with that attack. Shadow remembered the light gathering in the sliver of emerald in Nyx’s forehead, the energy it had released had been powerful enough to sting his eyes from thirty feet below, and cripple Rouge from inside a small burrow. What happened if you were unfortunate enough to be facing Nyx directly? Did it take time to use?
And then there were the wings Nyx had sprouted just as he needed them, the strange but inefficient shape-shifting, the unstable masquerade Shadow had walked in on and General Gungrave had witnessed. What other secrets did this creature harbour? Shadow did not even know where to begin with the iridescent figure of light Nyx had summoned out of the emerald. There were so many mysteries, and so few answers.
As he crossed the deck Rouge stumbled through the door from her cabin. Unable to see far enough to navigate further, she remained under the frame awkwardly.
“What are you doing?” Shadow scolded impatiently. If Rouge could, she would have rolled her eyes.
She drawled, eyes shut, “Well, fine. I’ll just tell them to call back another day, then.” She lifted the headset in her hand to her mouth and purred, “My apologies, sugar, your request appears to have denied by our mutual pain in the” –
“Who is it?” said Shadow irritably.
She smiled slyly, handing over the headset. “Your favourite person.”
He would have scowled at her, but given she couldn’t see his reaction it was pointless. He took the headset and strode to the side of the ship. It was too dark to see the beginning of the bay now, but every so often as star would blink red or simply disappear behind a dark shadow, indicating the presence of the Fleet.
“Agent Shadow, speaking.”
“Just to let you know, I’m holding no grudges about you throwing me out of that plane.”
“Is it too difficult for you to answer a call with ‘hello’,” said Shadow, allowing no exasperation into his voice lest he give Sonic the satisfaction.
“Your last ‘hello’ was a Chaos spear on my tail!”
“What do you want?” snapped Shadow.
“Right, sorry. No, man – I actually don’t want to mess with you on this one, but, uh, we just” –
“Enough prattling. Say what you want in the next five seconds or get off this line.”
Sonic paused for all of two seconds. Shadow could not a recall a time he had known Sonic to ever be lost for words.
“Fang. I just… Knuckles just blew up in my face about it. I know he works for you. I want you to put him in prison. I don’t really care where.”
“Ah,” Shadow smiled wide, grateful for the entertainment and looking forwards to the conversation ahead, “yes. A dark past, a war, a long lost friend and a bitter enemy? You knew each other, didn’t you?”
“Does it matter? Just do as I” –
“I for one actually can’t believe it,” said Shadow, laughing with genuine enjoyment. Tormenting Sonic was a rare pleasure, “you, the perfect hero. And then there’s this… this scar. I was thinking on it for a while after Fang tried to tell me you’d kill him if you ever saw him again. Now, we both know that’s not true”–
“and all I could come up with is the only reason you haven’t hunted him down already is because there is some messed up relationship between the two of you that protected him. God, Sonic, you’re weak.”
“Are you finished yet?”
Shadow huffed, still smiling. “Yes, I suppose.”
“Will you do it?”
“Put him prison?” Shadow turned around to lean against the metal hull. Just to prolong his enjoyment, he paused for dramatic effect though his answer was already definite. “No. No way, he’s an effective agent.”
Not the least because Shadow effectively had Fang between his will and the very end Sonic was threatening.
There was real, rare, anger in Sonic’s voice now. “You have no idea what he has done. What he is responsible for.”
“Maybe. But the Robotnik War wasn’t my war. I arrived here after that, remember?”
“What? How could you be like that! You’ve heard of the Defeat at Broadleaf? That was him! And it gets worse, much worse.”
“That’s awful. Just awful. If it were true. We don’t just hire dirt-poor mercenaries from the backwaters at the edge of the planet. I do my research. Fang’s family were serious actors towards the end of the war, but the SSS have nothing on him specifically, just his sister.” Shadow was not going to be telling the Spagonian Secret Service that he had Fang himself working for him, but that was beside the point. “His official record is clean. Kinda makes you think that whatever terrible deeds he treasonously committed on Spagonia… came back to somebody else.”
“What? You want gossip? That’s what you want? Well too bad – have GUN arrest him or. Or I’ll…”
“Or you’ll what?” laughed Shadow, positively happy with life.
A pause. “…Man, I don’t like doing this.”
“Give up Fang to GUN or I’ll give you up to the entire world.”