Sonic Series Fan Fiction ❯ Verisimilitude: Invasion ❯ Cries in the Night ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Kiraa: Yo! First chap, and this is not how I planned to start it. Knuckles wasn't supposed to show up yet! Meh, also a slight change in plans for the little pre-chapter things. I think I'll cover some setting material for the story that you otherwise wouldn't know before turning to actual story material. Also, change in titles, now the whole series is called Verisimilitude.
I'm taking custom char's from people for waaaaaaay in the future of the story. Right now I need a girl fox to get along real well with Tails, if you follow what I'm saying. And a bat, of any gender, to pair up with Rouge. E-mail the profiles to if you're interested.
The History of Mobius
The written, or at least partially known history of Mobius is divided into four Eras. Of the First Era little is known, not even how long it lasted, though popular theory and belief has it as the second longest. The only things that remain are a few scattered records of a great disaster and the weeping remains of what must have once been a great civilization on par or surpassing the ones of today.
The Second Era was the shortest of all. Marked by one long and bloody war. As of two hundred years ago, the Fourth Era has surpassed it in length.
The Third Era came as a repercussion of the war of the Second. Lasting the longest it was a purgatory of the dark ages.
The Fourth Era begins with the great renaissance, and encompasses the present times.
Chapter 1: Cries in the Night
A little over half a year had passed since the Ark incident. The time had passed in a practical blur since then. People went on with their lives but very few ever stopped to think that they could actually do so in the first place. Sonic was still everybody's favorite pet hero, and Robotnik had been unusually subdued, only putting out token attacks just to remind people that; Yes, he was still there.
Obviously it'd be too much to hope that Eggman would have a heart attack/stroke sometime in the night.
Oh and Shadow was dead. Yup, as dead as they come, according to the half year anniversary report that fuzzed out of the radio. With a snort Shadow twisted pulled the plug on the machine, the power button didn't work, to silence the annoying voice.
One, he wasn't dead.
Two, they were late. Two weeks late to be precise, to make it for the half year mark, not that he was keeping track or anything. Nope.
Three, he didn't need to here even MORE about Sonic.
Of course, on point one, nobody was supposed to know the falsity of the fact. Still, numbers two and three, had no excuses. He'd spent the last half year doing a very good at NOT existing, and it was just about to drive him out of his mind. Not because he couldn't get used to the out of the way life, though boredom had its own issues.
Nope, the toughest part was that the living don't see the dead. Which meant avoiding Sonic, and anybody that knew the hedgehog, like the plague. This odd game of keep away was the one bit of excitement in his life, the only reason to live in Station Square at all. That and when Eggman did make an appearance it made for an interesting show. Like his own private movie theater.
Outside the glassless window the sun's lower edge was starting to sink dangerously close to the horizon line. Night was Shadow's time. At night he could run without worry off people identifying the black streak that was left in his wake. Sure his jets could give him away, but hey it was the risk that made it worth the time.
Yeah, he's life had turned pretty pathetic since Arc. Living on the fringes of Station Square in an old factory turned dump ground certainly was a jump and kangaroo leap from what he had used to have, oh how the mighty doth fall. But the black hedgehog, as he stretched atop the ripped and torn bean bag that served as his chair/bed, really couldn't bring himself to care. Such things as comfort living and wealth had never been anywhere near the top of his priorities list.
The sun balanced right atop the horizon now, the sky turning a bloody hue, and the first star appearing in the sky.
That wasn't right. Shadow blinked at the star, it was far too early and the sun still far too bright for the stars to be out yet. Just one though, winking down at the world as if it had figured out the great secret to winning the race for the night sky against its other solar siblings.
Shadow made to stand from his resting place, no use looking at mystery stars, time to start heading out and see the world for lack of anything better to do. The screech that pierced his ears had him staggering back and into the seat again.
It echoed off the factory walls and, it quickly dawned on him, over the whole city. A wail that made the little part inside him which remembered scurrying around moldy leaves for worms go “EEK” and demand to curl up in a tight ball. When its last echo faded Shadow let out a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding.
“The hell..” He wasn't scared, not really, but that sound had set of alarm bells he hadn't known existed in his head. It was primordial, the response to it pure instinct, run. Though where to Shadow's instincts were woefully unable to figure. He walked from the office that had once served as a supervisory station above the factory floor, down the metal railed stairs, often he'd just jump but the sound had subdued what excitement there had been in him.
He was at the large double front doors when the screech came again. This time it was closer. “It's a hedgehog,” Shadow's brain supplied unhelpfully as instinct had him standing ramrod straight in the doorway like a deer caught in the headlights of a speeding bullet train. “A hedgehog that's being de-boned alive in a vat of saltwater.” he amended as the cry reached a pitch of desperation that set his teeth on end.
And then it moved away. Shadow stayed under his doorway, listening and waiting. All else in the world seemed to have gone silent, there was even a minimum amount of noise from the rest of Station Square. His ears strained forward, twitching at the slightest noise. The cry came again, but this time it was quite far away.
Again and again the screech pierced the twilight. For a full fifteen minutes it went up and down Station Square, and then moved off into the countryside. Shadow wasn't sad to hear it go. It was a horrid sound, simply because it could elicit that illogical instinctual fear out of him. He didn't like getting scared.
He didn't leave the factory until the twilight had completely faded into dark. Somehow, when he finally set out the night felt far more dangerous and ominous then it used to.
The star that had appeared at the setting of the sun vanished as soon as the other stars began to take their place in the night sky.
Knuckles' eyes opened to a clear night, the quarter moon waxing above him. He blinked a couple times, as his brain was slow to produce coherent waking thought.
That sound! He sat up, on the smooth stone steps that led up to the resting place of the Master Emerald. He'd heard that sound before someplace.
Standing up, he looked about for its source. It was definitely familiar…and mechanical. Which meant either Sonic or Eggman was coming to pay him a visit, and neither were welcome on Angel Island without a specific invite.
Whatever it was, was getting closer fast. And there was a deeper larger rumble behind it. Knuckles' hands pulled up into fists as he continued to search the sky, what familiarity he had with the source of the sound told him that it was airborne. If it was Eggman, Knuckles was ready for `em, if it was Sonic and he or his machine ended up getting punched through a couple trees…eh, well tough luck for them.
He smirked, hoping it was Sonic. It'd be nice to give him a good punch just for the sake of all the many things he'd promised in time to give him a beating for. It'd also be nice because Sonic, relatively speaking, was an ally and Knuckles would never willingly wish for any enemies to pay him a visit.
He pinpointed the source of the sound, a fast moving speck of dark against the lighter blue of the night sky. The flare of jets could be seen propelling it forward.
The bottom of Knuckles' stomach dropped out; it had a hedgehog shape…with glowing red eyes.
Not eyes, optics.
“No..” even as he voiced the denial he was running up the stairs to put himself between the mecha and its course for the Master Emerald.
Part of him really really wished it was Sonic dressed up in a mecha suit. The other part that had remembered the sound the instant he'd heard it laughed the foolishness of the idea. Yeah they'd destroyed Mecha Sonic, a couple times over.
Rebuilding the monster would explain why Eggman had been quiet for so long.
The Mecha was almost to the Master Emerald, not slowing despite the fact that now Knuckles' stood directly in its path. He raised and pulled back his fist, looks like Eggman had skimped on the intelligence for this version, it was still heading straight forward. His fist slammed home…directly into the after image of the Mecha's face a foot away from him.
“Oh. Chaos Control.” His mind supplied quickly. Not quick enough to defend against the kick that hit him hard in the back of the head and rocketed him away from the Master Emerald and its high seat. He hit the ground hard, snout first, and then bounced onwards flipping in the process to slam his back against a tree. “Ow…”
Not the most intelligent thing he'd ever said, but it fit the situation well enough. Mecha Sonic now stood where only a second before Knuckles had been, looking down upon the fallen echidna. The air was still vibrating the deep brass of a giant machine approaching their location.
Knuckles' didn't have the luxury to look and see what kind of monstrous new flying thing of mass panic and devastation Eggman had come up with this time, Mecha Sonic had turned away from him was reaching for the Master Emerald.
“No you don't!” Knuckles shouted, scrambling to his legs and leaping, one of his best ever jumps he'd reflect later, for the Mecha with an outstretched fist. The thing looked over its shoulder, just as he reached midway through his leap and vanished. He knew what would come next, but not from where, which meant that he had no way from defending against the kick that landed right at the small of his back.
Knuckles grit his teeth, but the Mecha wasn't finished yet. Its jets burned, propelling it, and Knuckles under foot, downward straight into the ground. This time the echidna did cry out, the ground underneath him cracked from the force of the impact, and he fancied for a minute that he'd heard his spine do the same.
He was pinned, the light of the stars and moon had vanished, blocked out by a large flying machine. Eggman's insignia was emblazoned on its side with garish glow-in-the-dark-neon yellow-green. He glared up at the Mecha that held him down, laying a couple choice curses on its head. The Sonic look alike's eyes seemed to narrow, and before Knuckles knew what was happening pain arched across his entire body.
Electricity, he'd know in hindsight, the fucking thing had run a however many volt electric current through him. He didn't know for how long, but at some point it must have gotten tired of his twitching and screaming as it leaned down and delivered a solid punch to the back of his head.
It didn't knock him out immediately, but he sure as heck wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. The Mecha lifted its foot of him just as the giant Eggman flying thing shot what seemed to be its entire arsenal at the Master Emerald. Positioned as he was, with his head facing to the side towards the Master Emeralds dais, he could see quite clearly through a single blurry eye the missiles and lasers head for and in the next instant land a direct strike at the emerald.
He wanted to scream, in rage or panic he didn't know, as the shots landed. Above him the Mecha beeped in alarm. The explosion was deafening, raining debris and dust down upon the two figures below, but Knuckles' didn't dare close his eyes. Not when he could see the light of the Master Emerald shattered, scattering in a bright arc, over the trees, some imbedding themselves into the bottom of the flying machine and others sailing off to nowhere across the treas.
The emerald was shattered. Shock dragged him down out of reality into unconsciousness toward guild ridden dreams. He'd failed, the Master Emerald was broken…he couldn't lose now. He had to get these bastards back, had to punch a hole through Eggman's gut, had to rip Mecha Sonics head straight off its metallic shoulders.
Blackness claimed the corners of his sight as the rest of reality seemed to focus on a pin point of tunnel vision straight ahead. He fancied he could hear yelling, angry yelling at that. As the final wisps of consciousness left him it was with the sound of a long horrid wailing screech, which was quickly joined by another even more bestial one.
It had been a little over a month since the wailing had started. Ever dusk and dawn it come up. Running up and down station square, frightening all the citizens. A sound of horrid torture and pain…and nobody ever saw what made it.
Shadow had stopped wandering at night. Every rustle and twitch of movement had him grasping for his Chaos Emerald, and reaching for that power inside. Worst of all, for whatever reason, the Chaos Emerald was no longer reliable. His mind flashed back to when a beast dog had startled him and he'd attempted to Chaos Control out of the immediate area.
He'd ended up fifty feet in the air…above the ocean. Definitely NOT where he had been wanting to go. Since that time the Emerald had become increasingly more erratic. Sometimes shooting of sparks of chaos energy like it was some odd malfunctioning appliance and other times dimming to such a dark green that it looked like a painted rock.
Shadow didn't trust his life on the Emerald anymore. Next time, for all he knew, it might drop him over a meat grinder.
Admittedly, ever since the shrieking had started, his mind had taken a distinctive turn toward the macabre. Only something horrid could make a hedgehog scream like that, right? Of course, that was another contingency point he had with himself. How did he know it was a hedgehog, for all anyone could identify the sound it could be a rusty tire (which a lot of `science' people had suggested on the radio) that is, something completely not alive. No Shadow didn't know it was a hedgehog, but that's what his instincts told him. He tended to trust those instincts, ever since Arc they'd been the only thing to keep him going.
He didn't sleep much anymore either. The wailing had brought on fresh dreams of Maria and the events that happened on Arc. He'd end up waking, ready to pull his spines out in frustration from not being able to do anything, back then and now.
Right now Shadow observed from the top of his factory the rebuilding and cleaning up of Station Square. It was taking doubly as long as usual. Nobody wanted to be out and about at night, whenever the wailing started all else would be dropped until the sound finished its routine the next morning. Shadow thought it was ridiculous, as if the sun could scare away whatever was making the noise, though he himself was also staying put at night.
But he was more scared of what would make somebody scream like that, then the one doing the screaming.
As for the rebuilding. A fifty foot tidal wave had flooded station square, only two weeks after the wailing had started. It was kind of interesting, he mused, that everything was now timed for how long it's been since the twilight noises beginning.
Of course the tidal wave had the kind courtesy of coming in just when Shadow was pulling himself to shore after his failed Chaos Control. It was a good thing he was a very fast hedgehog, the idea of revisiting the salty brine, and this time getting beaten around Station Square by the water, hadn't sat well with him.
There was no loss of life to the wave. Somehow the government had known very far in advance that it was coming, and had evacuated the endangered areas. The cause? It seemed Angel Island had fallen into the sea, the wave had taken only five hours to reach the mainland from there. The evacuation had started seven hours before the wave reached land.
Nobody else seemed to notice how the math was off on that part.
A dark rumble drew his gaze from the town up to the sky where grey clouds were gray and angry clouds were moving in from the ocean. Hurricane Lati, the radio had said it was called. Shadow just snickered. When it rained it sure poured. He could just HEAR the JOY of the Station Square residents at the prospect of MORE water. Yay.
Well he had no room to talk, he'd had to move his stuff to a first floor office on the inside of the building cause his preferred hidey hole happened to have very big and very glassless windows.
The leading edge of the clouds was colored a bloody red, the sun was sinking towards the horizon. The first star flashed in the sky. Shadow stood and closed the trapdoor up to the roof just as the first wail rose over the city.
The star, there had been plenty of talk about that on the radio too. Yes Shadow liked his radio, it kept him in touch with the rest of the world. It hadn't taken long for people to draw a correlation between `the screecher,' as the waling had been dubbed, with the odd star that came out before all the others and vanished as soon as the true first start, the north star' appeared in the sky.
The first clue was the fact that the same day the star became first visible in the sky the wailing had started. Another point was that the wailing lasted only as long as the star was in the sky, as soon as it vanished so did the sound.
Of course, everybody with even a 10 cent telescope had trained their eyes on the star as soon as the word began to spread. Turns out it was not a star at all. Instead it was moon/planet (debate was still up on that one) who's very wide orbit was leading it towards Mobius. What amazed everybody was the speed at which the object was moving. Faster then even a comet, it was practically the `Sonic' of space.
It would join the Mobius in its orbit around the sun in a month, circle the sun a couple times in the next two, then join the moon in orbit around Mobius for three, before the process would be repeated in reverse and it would float off into space again.
Cue to the doomsayers and apocalypse prophets. Shadow hadn't even touched his precious radio in the last couple days because of their rantings. HE had almost destroyed the world and somehow he couldn't see how a space rock whose course scientists had already plotted could do any better then he did.
In the future he would note to himself that he should NOT tempt fate.
Disclaimer: All characters in this Chapter copyrighted to Sega. Mobius belongs to them too.