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The sixteenth chapter of Book Three: The Invasion.

Chapter Sixteen: Moebian Life

The blue glow surrounding the team faded, only to find themselves in the ruins of a city. The gray walls and bloodstained walls drew a gasp from Cookies, with Manic and Will both looking at each other in shock at the devastation around them. The elders with them looked unfazed as Sonic walked forward, cursing.

“This is what happens when someone like Scourge gains immense power,” he murmured. Shadow nodded, looking around.

“Still, it’s a decent place to start. Some of these stains are fresh, and by fresh, I mean it was inflicted in the last day or two. Castle Acorn might be a while from here, but Scourge or one of his lackeys wasted no time in decimating this city.” Suddenly, there was a metallic clang. Shadow’s hand was surrounded by a purple black orb of Chaos Energy as a metallic black handgun materialized in his hand. He flicked it up, with a rasping click from the safety being switched off as he spun in a one-eighty, to come face to face with a brown and white hedgefox of a similar height. He had white ears, and a white marking over his right eye, as well as fingerless brown gloves that reached his elbows, a pair of light brown pants, and similarly coloured shoes. Immediately, he raised his hands in a don’t shoot me! kind of gesture. Shadow’s hand tightened on the automatic pistol. “Who the hell are you?” Shadow asked. The Moebian met Shadow’s gaze.

“I am Don. My boss would like to see you now.” With that, the hedgefox simply turned and started to walk off. The Infiltration Team looked at each other in surprise.

“It’s a trap.” Shadow stated. Statyx nodded.

“Has to be. There’s no chance that we’d arrive here only to find Moebians interested in talking to us.” Silver tapped his fingers against his leg, considering the information.

“I disagree. We know that there are people against Scourge, so there’s a chance that we’ve ended up right in their area. You said it yourself; some of those bloodstains are fresh. That means that there must be an opposing faction in the area. If you argue against that idea, that means you doubt your own skills as a soldier, because any good soldier could identify roughly how long ago those bloodstains were left.” Manic stepped up next to his father and nodded his support for that argument.

“How do we know that those bloodstains aren’t all that’s left of the resistance?” Shadow started to argue.

“Hey, guys, are you going to fight out here, or are you coming?” Will shouted, before following Shima, Cookies and that strange hedgefox into the ruins of a house. Sonic and Manic followed, while Statyx shook his head and reluctantly headed in. Shadow chewed his lip in frustration. How could they just go into what was most likely a trap? Silver just looked at the Ultimate Lifeform with amusement.

“Let’s go, Shadow.” Silver’s telekinetic marks glowed, and Shadow found himself floating behind Silver, unable to move.

“I would have walked in,” the GUN officer grunted, but Silver simply looked over his shoulder, still telekinetically carrying the powerful hedgehog.

“I doubt it.” Shadow had to admit, that was true. As he entered the doorway, Silver simply walked through, but Shadow’s head thudded against the top of the doorway.

“Ow! Damnit, Silver, watch where you’re going!” Shadow roared.

“I am!” Silver responded, disappearing down a set of stairs. Shadow activated his Chaos Boost, easily shattering the cyan telekinetic field with his red energy cloak, landing gently at the top of the stairs. Powering down his energy coating, he slowly walked down the stairs, a light becoming visible at the end of the tunnel. Tightening his grip on the handgun, he walked down into the light, to find a most remarkable scene. There was two Moebians, the older one slightly younger than Will, the younger one closer to Kyle’s age, sitting on the opposite end of a large dining table, were the others had sat down. The guy was a white hedgehog, and had a black bandana tied around his head, a desert-camouflage short-sleeved jacket unzipped from the neck down and a light brown sleeveless shirt with dark brown sleeves. The girl, on the other hand, was black with white streaks in her Amy-like hair, and she wore a pink shirt that barely covered her chest with a barely-visible emblem on the right-hand side and a set of red pauldron on her shoulders. Each stood up and approached Shadow, allowing him to notice the way they walked and their stance, as well as see that the guy was wearing gold-tinted desert camouflage pants, and the girl was wearing red jeans. The guy extended his hands and offered it to Shadow.

“My name’s Gary. I’m the leader of this cell of the Moebian Liberation Army.” Shadow shook the youngster’s hand, squeezing it to test the hedgehog’s nerve. If Gary actually felt pain, he didn’t react visibly, instead returning an equal amount of pressure to Shadow’s hand, enough for Shadow to determine something.

“You two are Power Hedgehogs, aren’t you?” Gary’s smile broadened.

“Yup. We’re both Power Hedgehogs. Ignore Donatello. We’re the only three left at the moment.” Sonic cocked his head from further down the table.

“Huh? At the moment? Were the others killed?” Alice shook her head as Gary spoke.

“Nope. Look, let’s eat first, then I’ll explain. Don, the roast?” Shadow’s eyes were drawn to a magnificent roast, with gravy, roast potatoes and a variety of other foods. Don picked up a carving knife and expertly cut the steak, serving the guests first, then the hosts. Amazingly, there was still a quarter of the roast left once they finished.

“Don’t tell me the three of you were going to eat all of that on your own!” Manic exclaimed. This time, Don responded.

“Alice sees flashpoints of the future. She saw you coming, and we prepared food to feast on when you arrived.” Will nodded, noting that Statyx was quiet and eating little, focusing more on Gary, as he had since Shadow revealed that their hosts were Power Hedgehogs. The host in particular was eating happily.

“Well done, Alice, another successful roast!” She smiled at him shyly, blushing. Quickly, everyone had eaten dinner. Garry offered a desert, but Shadow cut in first.

“Actually, we need the intelligence. You said that your allies weren’t killed by Scourge, and gave no explanation. Well, if you are a resistance leader, we need guidance.” Gary blinked, before speaking.

“Well, I’ll start with what happened with the disappearances. Two full cells of Moebian Liberation Army members were stationed here, due to rumors of a possible Scourge return. The next thing we know, Striker, Scourge’s adopted son, suddenly arrives with the Suppression Squad and a few other known Scourge aligned groups, and calls us out. Surprised, we went out, only to realize we were tricked. The armies managed to disable most of our forces, and Striker did something. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was like he hypnotized them. Alice, Don and myself were the lucky three not to be hypnotized.” Sonic sat forward, intrigued.

“Why weren’t you hypnotized?” he asked bluntly. Gary again spoke.

“Donatello possesses an ocular ability, the Shotogan Eye. His family is a bounty-hunting dynasty; don’t be surprised at his gruff nature. Alice is a hypnotist herself, and as such has taught herself how not to be hypnotized, even by a Sharingan. As for me…” Gary blushed, unsure what to say, “I’m a Soul Reaper. We make up the police force of the Power Hedgehogs. Alice is an Inquisitor, a member of the Spy ranks. I’m trained not to be able to be hypnotized.”

“So, you and Alice are…?” Manic asked. Gary’s face darkened.

“Alice and I are dating? Is that what you were going to say?” he blustered. “We are not our counterparts. I act like this because I’m sworn to both of our fathers to protect her.” Will cut in, stopping the tirade.

“Look, Gary, I don’t know your counterpart, or anything like that, so what you’re saying is complete garbage.”

“I was going to ask if you were related, not dating.” Manic whined. Will nodded, then continued.

“Anyway, I don’t find any use in what you’re talking about, but you know what to do to beat Striker’s hypnosis, and you know how to free your allies, don’t you?” Will sat forward, his lips parting to reveal sharp canine teeth. “So, if you will, get explaining. Striker’s my fight.” The Power Hedgehog was silent, considering his options and fuming at the same time. The others leaned in, waiting for the Moebian’s answer. Gary took in a deep breath, releasing it slowly to restore his frayed nerves. He repeated the gesture, then raised his eyes to meet those of the fiery young echidna.

“To break his hypnosis, you have to break his state of mind, his delusion so-to-speak. He believes that his father was killed by Anti-Knuckles, and that Scourge adopted him. The latter is true, the former is false. Anti-Knuckles was his father. Scourge killed him.” Sonic’s blood froze as he processed that information.

“Scourge…killed him?” Will’s face was a dark, contorted mask of its normal expression.

“Anything special I need to do for him to see that?” Gary’s shake of the head was all the conformation on that area he needed.

“Nope, just make him see that you will win, and he’ll know he’s beat. Striker’s smart. He’ll be able to realize when you’ve bested him. Good luck to you.” Will grinned, but his eyes carried over a darker tone.

“Good luck to him. He’s going to need it.” Gary nodded his understanding, before quickly writing a note out on a paper and handing it to Sonic.

“This is the area Scourge was last seen in. Get there in one piece, and you’ll be able to face him.” Suddenly, there was a strange noise from the area above the basement area they were in. Alice spoke, the first time any of the Mobians had heard her speak.

“Enemies, Gary. Our former allies are here.” Gary scowled, before motioning to the Mobian team.

“Go. Get out of here. The three of us will buy you time.” Shadow opened his mouth to object, but Gary seemed to glow with red energy.

“Anarchy energy!” Shadow gasped, astonished. Gary motioned to a second, hidden exit behind him.

“Get out. Like I said, the three of us will deal with them.” Shocked into action, the Moebian team quickly raced up the stairs, before a mass Chaos Control was triggered and each vanished. Barely a second after that, Gary, Don and Alice stormed up the front set of stairs, coming face to face with their old teammates, lead by Sparkle and Rogue.

“Well, looks like Scourge thinks we’re a threat, guys. Guess we’re going to have to properly buy time. Get ready…” he started, and the three prepared for a battle of their lives.

Dramatis Persona

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