Hold On by Skyblaze

Chapter notes:
Apologies for the delay. Been involved in other stuff. I also apologise for the exposition junction in this chapter. There will be much less of it after this, though!
Chapter Seven - Hidden Histories

Chapter Seven - Hidden Histories

Strangest of them all
When the feeling calls
How we drown in stylistic audacity


It was late, and the night was beginning to get very cold as the wind brought with it an icy chill. All the work in Knothole was now being conducted by torch and lamplight, Shadow simply continued to work in the near-darkness – there were advantages to having low-light vision.


Sonic has vanished off somewhere a couple of hours ago, on some errand or other from Sally. Shadow had spent most of that time with Tails, preparing Sonic’s hut to house three people instead of one. It would have been a quick job had Sonic’s hut not been so unbelievably messy. Apparently neatness wasn’t a priority for the Sonic of this universe, either.


Tails had startled him somewhat. The Tails that Shadow knew from his own universe was astonishingly self-sufficient, living apparently alone in the Mystic Ruins despite his tender age. He was also possessed of one of the most brilliant minds Shadow had ever encountered, an electronic and engineering genius of a calibre matched only by Gerald Robotnik, Shadow’s own creator.

The Tails of this universe, however, relied heavily on his friends and his adopted family. He chatted animatedly to Shadow while they worked, speaking often of ‘Aunt Sally’, ‘Aunt Bunnie’ and his ‘Brother’ Sonic. In a marked contrast to the rest of Knothole, Tails showed none of the instant suspicion and wariness displayed by the other inhabitants and seemed quite happy to accept him at face value, talking away with little to no input from Shadow save from the occasional ‘hmm’ or ‘yes’.


"Shadow, may I have a word with you?" Princess Sally called. Shadow looked across at Tails over the piece of the bed he had been holding while Tails screwed the thing together.


"Go ahead, Shadow. I can finish up here." Tails said cheerily. Shadow nodded, and headed outside, the cold night breeze ruffling his quills as he stepped out of the cosy hut. Sally was waiting for him, and she was alone.


"Follow me." sally said tersely, turning to walk up the poorly-marked path into the trees. Shadow felt a brief tingle of alarm, but followed her anyway, confident he could get out of any trap these Freedom Fighters cared to devise.


Sally led him out of the main village and through a dense thicket that opened out into a clearing with a large pool in the middle. The only illumination came from the moonlight softly reflected from the still waters of the pool. Even with his enhanced vision, Sally appeared to be little more than a charcoal silhouette in all that darkness.


"Sonic told me what happened at Westfold," She began abruptly, her arms folded defensively across her chest, "I have some questions I want to ask you." He tone was faintly challenging.


Shadow coked an eyebrow, knowing she was unlikely to see it, and folded his own arms in a slightly mocking copy of her own pose.


"You can ask. I won't guarantee I'll answer, and you should keep in mind you may not like some of the answers you get."


"Fine." Sally said, "How did you get your super speed?"


"I was created with it."


"Created?" Sally said, surprised, "You make it sound like you weren't born,"


"I wasn't. I was created on a space station by a scientist who was trying to create the Ultimate Lifeform." Shadow shrugged.


"You're an experiment?" She asked.




"Are there any others like you?"


"Not anymore. There was a failed prototype that has since been destroyed."


"Did you destroy it?" There was a sardonic lilt to her voice, now.


Shadow hesitated slightly, "Sonic and I defeated it," He admitted.


"Sonic!?" She gasped, "I was right. You do know him!"


"Yes." He replied uneasily, "Or actually, my universe's version of him."


"But you don't recognise any of the rest of us." She stated, "None of the other Freedom Fighters are familiar to you?"


"The only other one who I find familiar is Tails. He's Sonic's sidekick in my universe." He was beginning to grow bored with this pointless round of twenty questions, now, "Is that all?"


"I have one or two more questions."


Shadow sighed, "Go ahead."


"What is a 'chaos spear'?"


He winced, grateful to gloom of the forest hid his expression. This would be difficult to explain.


"Chaos spear is a technique that allows me to gather the ambient chaos energy in the air and in my body and use it as an offensive weapon."


"Chaos energy? I've never heard of it."


Now that was worrying. Shadow could feel the chaos energy in the atmosphere, with the usual peaks and troughs he could expect from his own version of Mobius which suggested that the Emeralds did exist here…but what if they didn't? What if all he could sense was the planet's natural chaos output?

How would he ever get home?


"From what I understand," Shadow began uncomfortably, "Chaos energy is produced naturally by all living things, but the largest concentration of it that I'm aware of is in the Chaos Emeralds."


"Chaos Emeralds, huh?" Sally said thoughtfully. She snatched her hand-held computer off the holster on her boot and flicked it open.


"NICOLE, display any information on 'Chaos Emeralds'." She instructed.


"Working, Sally," A stilted female voice came from the little computer's speakers. A holographic display showing a mural that depicted the seven emeralds appeared, lighting up the clearing in multi-hued light that danced across the shimmering waters of the pool.

"The Chaos emeralds are seven legendary gemstones. According to ancient texts recovered from the extinct Echidna Empire, they were considered to be a source of great power and made anyone who possessed them capable of unmatched feats of speed and strength. It is believed that the Echidnas considered them to be sacred, and therefore jealously guarded them from any potential thieves."


Shadow almost smiled. That definitely sounded a lot like Knuckles.


"Though the Emeralds themselves have never been found, there is enough archaeological evidence for their physical existence to be likely. Several treasure hunters have claimed to have found the Emeralds, but each time these claims were proved to be hoaxes."


"Hmm. Interesting. Thank you, NICOLE." She said, closing up the computer. Sally stood silently for a moment, thinking.


"These Chaos emeralds are common knowledge on your world?" She asked.


"Relatively. I understand Sonic regularly fights Doctor Robotnik for control of them."


She started slightly, "You have a Robotnik as well?"


"Yes," He paused, "Though the one from my universe doesn't seem as…ruthless. Driven, dangerously intelligent and a little mentally unstable, perhaps, but not as deadly as the one I've had described to me here." Of course he was working from second- and third-hand information. It would be sensible to wait and make his own final judgements.


"Hmm." There was another heavy pause, "Can anyone use the power of the Chaos Emeralds?"


Shadow was starting to get a headache. Sally was as relentless as a diamond-bit drill boring into him, trying to get all the information she wanted to come pouring out. It was obvious that she would keep going until she had everything she wanted.


"I know it's possible to hook the emeralds up as a power source for technology, providing you have the right kind of interface. I'm not sure on the details, I'm not an engineer. But to use the power of the Emeralds directly…I only know three people who can do that."


"Assuming that you're one of them," Sally said dryly, "Who are the other two?"


Shadow took a breath, "Yes, I'm one of them. The other two are an Echidna named Knuckles and…Sonic the Hedgehog."


He heard Sally's sharp intake of breath.


"In that case, we really don't have a choice. We need to find those Emeralds - before Robotnik does."




The atmosphere inside the tiny underground lab belonging to Sir Charles Hedgehog was so thick with tension you could have cut it with a dull knife.

Chuck sat stiffly on an old chair, metallic elbows resting on equally metallic knees as he regarded his nephew.


Sonic was stood in the middle of the lab, almost vibrating in place from suppressed anxiety, "Unc?" Sonic began nervously, "What is it you gotta tell me?"


Chuck sighed deeply, his chin falling into his hands, "To tell the full story, I need to start fifty years ago. Back then, over on the other continent, there was an ambitious scientist by the name of Gerald. He was a genius without peer. Wrote world-renown papers on genetics, structural engineering, electronics, evolutionary biology, particle physics…a lot of his theories were still being taught at Universities just before the Coup.


"Anyway, he and a bunch of other scientists were involved in a project to help build a big space station above Mobius, known as the 'Space Colony Ark'. It was supposed to be a research centre as well as a working colony. The colonists up there were hand-picked by the government, the best and the brightest - you get the idea.


"Because it was so far away, Ark was also where a lot of secret projects were developed for the Government and the Army. Gerald, because of his intelligence and reputation, was involved in a lot of them. But the most infamous was code named Project Shadow'."


Sonic blinked, then narrowed his eyes. Realising this was only the beginning of the story, he quickly grabbed a seat and gestured for his Uncle to continue.


"Now, for years there were rumours that the Government had managed to get their hands on one of the relics of the ancient Echidna people. A gemstone with phenomenal power known as a 'Chaos Emerald'.


"The story goes that several scientists and engineers had tried to use the power of the gemstone to no avail. That's when Gerald got involved. He theorised that since the Echidnas had been able to channel the power of these Emeralds, it must need a sentient being who was attuned to those energies to control them. He suggested genetically engineering a creature who could also channel that kind of power.

Of course, since Echidnas had been extinct for centuries, he decided to go for the closest genetic relative to the echidnas."


"Hedgehogs, right?" Sonic interrupted, his voice strangely flat.


"Right, Sonic," His uncle confirmed, "From here on, the story gets a little hazy, but it's generally accepted that Gerald did succeed in creating a hedgehog with some…unusual…abilities. After that, though, some reports say that Gerald went mad with power, threatened to use his creation to rule or destroy the planet. Other people say that the military wanted to use this 'ultimate life' as a weapon - a sort of super soldier, but Gerald refused to co-operate.


"Either way, the ending was the same. The military sent a task force up to the Space Colony; orders were conflicted, the soldiers overzealous…lots of people died, including the project, and Gerald's young niece, Maria.


"Gerald's reputation was ruined by the incident. Propaganda had ensured Gerald got a reputation as a hack, a man with more ambition than ethics playing god. He was dismissed as a lunatic. No academic institution would go near him. He died not long after. His family was so shamed by it that they changed their last names to avoid association."


"Uncle Chuck," Sonic said slowly, "Are you saying that Shadow is that project? From some dimension where he survived all those soldiers?"


"If he's telling the truth, it's a definite possibility."


"Whoa." Sonic breathed in awe.


"There's more, Sonic," Chuck said gravely.


"Go ahead, Unc." Sonic said, leaning back on his chair. This was better than the ghost stories Unc used to tell him back before the coup!


"Many years after the incident aboard the Ark, there was a young pair of mated hedgehogs who were having trouble conceiving a child. They went to Gerald's grandson, Wilfred, who had become a noted doctor. He was particularly skilled in the fields of genetics and fertility. He'd pioneered several revolutionary methods of gene therapy for infants. He was very well respected.

"He was semi-retired at this point, but nonetheless agreed to help the young hedgehog and her husband have the child they had long dreamed of.

No-one knew, though, that Wilfred had always secretly dreamed of proving his Grandfather's theories about chaos energy correct. Now he had access to a young hedgehog couple and he was close enough to the end of his career that - professionally at least - he had nothing to lose.


"He used what remained of Gerald's notes on Project shadow to recreate it with the genetic material from the two young hedgehogs, hoping to create a being with the extraordinary powers described in Gerald's notes. He told no one about what he was doing, and the young couple were convinced enough by his reputation that they did whatever he asked.


"Eventually, though, when the female hedgehog was several months pregnant, one of the nurses at Wilfred's practice stumbled on his notes and the truth came out. Wilfred was put in jail for illegal genetic engineering, but that still left the problem of what to do about the baby.

There was a lot of arguing, discussion and tears, but the hedgehog couple finally decided to keep it. When the child was born, it was subject to a battery of tests, but everything came out normal. We thought that Wilfred must have failed…at first, anyway."


"We?" Sonic spoke up, his eyes wide, "Wait, hold the phone…Unc, are you saying I was that hedgehog?"


Chuck bowed his head, almost doubling over as if in the grip of intolerable pain. When he answered, his voice was barely audible, "Yes…"


"My speed…" Sonic whispered in stunned realisation, "That's how you realised…Wilfred didn't fail."


Chuck could only nod miserably, "It's my fault. I was the one who recommended your mother speak to Doctor Wilfred."


Sonic's thoughts were whirling like a hurricane, his heart pounding in his chest. Then, out of the maelstrom of his confused and conflicted brain, a horrible thought occurred.


"Uncle Chuck…those Doctors, Gerald and Wilfred - what were their last names?"


Charles actually cringed. This was the one question he sincerely did NOT want to answer.


"Wilfred's family had changed their name after Gerald's fall from grace. They were known as 'Kintobor'. But Gerald himself was called-"


Chuck broke off suddenly when the space that had been occupied by his nephew was abruptly vacated, leaving only a slightly dusty disturbance of air behind. Sonic had already figured it out and took off, unable to face that final damning name.

Sir Charles Hedgehog sank his head into his hands, wishing devoutly that his robotic body still allowed him to weep.


Chapter Eight - 'Chain Reactions' (Coming Soon)

You must login (register) to review.

Sonic and Shadow (c) and TM SEGA - Sonic Team

Sonadow Online