Darwin, a young clone created as a weapon for the military, has found his way into the world of his intended enemy: The Doctors. While searching for the true identity of his parents, processing the history of him and his friends, and trying to figure out his own strengths, Darwin and his allies must remember the threat they face. The Doctors are out to take down Mobius, hero by hero.
Fanon: (Forgive me if I happen to have the same name as somebody else's. It was not intentional.)
- Pikki the Badger
- Dr. Trey, Dr. Dave, and Dr. Kameron
Deep in a dark capsule, a boy no older than the age of fourteen floated in a chemical mixture that created a place of low gravity. Reflected in the glass was a face with an eye, hard gray skin tightened around the smaller beady iris. Spines poked out of the wrists and hands that held the control sticks abound with buttons that powered the capsule. His goal: to stop the future of an unlikely couple set on saving the world. Flashing in binary across minor screens in the back was the thought process of a sleeping Dr. Eggman, telling him his every move to fulfil his plan. He pressed a sequence of buttons perfectly, and the air began to grow heavy around him. Only a sign to show he was on the progress of breaking reality. Midway through his perfect button sequences, the air pushed back against him as a deadly crack appeared in the glass. The boy frantically kicked and pushed buttons to try and regain his streak of control. He could barely hear a deep rhythm of what should have been words, and a narrowed, orange eye he could see through the glass. He gripped the control sticks and tried to pull himself forward. The whole structure vibrated and continued until it was tremoring in a matter of seconds. The world began to grow distorted as if submerged by water. The struggling human concentrated desperately to stay with his mind as the world spun like a slot machine into a new pattern.
Oblivious to the structure that would soon collapse more than just a few tons of metal, a winged beast glided in the air of an alleyway. A blue hedgehog looked directly up at her. "Amy," he said, holding his hand out calmingly, "I swear I didn't do anything to you. I never meant for this to happen." Amy, no more as simple as the name, narrowed her burning purple eyes and spoke through fanged lips. "You! You don't know! When you left, you burned down everything I had! You don't know what you do to people!" she spoke in an echoing voice. The blue hero moved a slight inch back. "When we stopped you after the war, we thought you'd understand. You can find other friends. You've only made it too late for yourself, you keep hanging on to the thought that I'm you're only hope," he reasoned. "I've lost my last bit of respect for you, Sonic! You betrayed everything I've ever known! Working with a traitor, leaving behind such a team, leaving behind teamwork that you'll never use again. No, Sonic, I don't hang on to the hope that you'll embrace me. I hang on to the hope that you'll one day realize you mean nothing, NOTHING, in this world at all!" As the demon rattled on about how Sonic was a traitor, the world began to blur, at first slightly, then it looked like you were wearing goggles full of water. Sonic backed away and tried to reason in a shaky voice... "A-Amy... Please stop this... Don't you see what's happening? This will all be better if you just back down and-" The water effect spiraled like a whirlpool until their senses became nothing but white.
A creature lay on his side on a lab table. The cold, white surface felt strange against his skin. His hands slowly came into focus from the blur he had seen for hours. His eyes became a noticeable neon blue, finally fully in color. He slowly stood to his hands and knees, staring at the glove hugging his fingers. He rubbed his hands on top of each other until he felt satisfied. He felt heavy weight behind him and turned to see what came into view as navy blue furred legs with dark, heavy shoes. He moved his hands numbly until he could feel his ankles. He felt around the inside of his shoe as much as he could, and observed the scaly surface compared to the soft but stiff fur of his legs. He felt for his torso, knowing there must be something to connect his arms and legs, and found a soft surface on his chest. He could faintly make out long strands of light blue. His hand bumped his face, and he felt the fur become hardened into tightly packed quills. Frustrated, he couldn't feel when they ended. He moved his way back to his eyes, panicking as blurred white surfaces that looked like the hands he had seen earlier covered his vision. He winced as he felt a sting with his hand against a wet, gooey surface. He found a smooth, bare part of his face with something sticking out, and he could see a blurry black edge peeking into his vision. He took a breath and began to understand he had found his nose. He felt his mouth and learned slowly how to press his lips together and open them slightly. He could also breathe this way. Trying to breathe through his mouth and nose, he felt a bit strange and slumped his head a bit until he figured out he could only breath one way at a time. He slowly processed that he couldn't inhale and exhale twice in a row or at the same time. Taking calming breaths that came to him naturally, he sat there for a while until he found interest in the gray wall in front of him, covered in pictures of creatures with pointed heads and legs and feet like his. Complicated lines of a color like his shoes covered the wall on surfaces colored like his gloves. He reached out to feel them, but felt nothing but empty space. His hand was clearly covering most of the surface, but he couldn't feel anything. He whimpered out of instinct and wiggled his fingers, trying to find out how he wasn't feeling anything. Two strange animals walked into the room, making hushed sounds he did not understand. One made a sort of short, amused sound as he saw the lab's creation was trying to touch a paper halfway across the room. He took the creation's arm and pulled him forward across the table until he was leaning over and touching the paper. The creation found the surface was smooth and bent at his touch. . Why was it not the same as his gloves? The strange animal said a sound to him and moved his head toward the strange surface. The animal made more sounds as he pulled the creation's hand away from the surface and back again. He saw a black shade come over the surface until it appeared he had trapped it beneath his hand. He realized he needed this to feel it. He said something he knew to be similar to some of the sounds the animals had made. "Speed." The animal in front of him made the same amused sound and said in its strange noises that the lab creature was beginning to understand was a way of telling him something.
A girl the age of fourteen awoke on the same plush bed she had slept in for years. She looked up at the walls lined with purple paint. She got up and changed from her silky purple pajamas into a plaid pink skirt, pastel pink tank top, and her typical lavender hoodie. She walked in her plain socks over to her mirror, lined with pink lightning bolts. She fixed her quills, being a hedgehog and all, making sure they didn't snag out of place. She gave her head a shake, and her long lavender hair fell into smooth strands, the little bit sticking up on her head springing back into place. Before leaving her room, she glanced once more at her family photo. Her father had given it to her before he left on his first job in a nursing home. "I might be done fighting doctors, but I'll still be a hero," he had said with a smile. She had only seen him once ever since. Thoughts back to the photo, she was nine years old, dressed in a fancy purple jacket abound with glitter. Underneath the open jacket she wore a perfectly pressed pink top and a flowing skirt with a bow tied on the side. Her father had his arm around her, wearing an exaggerated smile he'd tried to do for the cameras. His eyes were caught half open. Her mother was holding her hand in both of hers, leaning over to her father with a look halfway between surprise and scolding her father. The cameras had snapped the photo when she was telling him to just look natural, he didn't need to come off any happier than he normally did. She took her thoughts away and turned to leave her room. She opened the door and walked down the stairs to her kitchen.
Her mother put down the newspaper and greeted her, "Good morning, Marian. Do you remember Cream?" Marian sat down across from her mother and replied, "Maybe. Was she the one that raised Chao around her a while back?" She told her yes and passed her the newspaper. "It says here she's working on Chao to cure disease. Her mother's ill, you know. She's getting help. See for yourself." Marian assumed that whoever was helping Cream would be someone noteworthy. She smiled and skimmed the article, jokingly saying "I hope she's not falling for one of Dr. Kameron's tricks." It came as a surprise to her when she read that Sonic would be coming over for research. "Wow... Mom.. That's great. Do you think we'll hear from Dad now?" She wondered. Now that her father would be staying with Cream, maybe he could write to them along with Cream's letters to her mother. The pink hedgehog was deep in thought about something. "Cream called me the other day and told me Sonic said he'd try to write," She said, looking back at Marian. "You know Shadow the Hedgehog?" Marian shook her head. "Nope. But he doesn't sound nice," She commented. Her mother answered her wonders, "He's been heartbroken over the death of someone he knew. I think he'd be satisfied if he could help with this. I don't know where he is or if he's..." she trailed off. Marian didn't need to ask what she meant, it was clear that this Shadow was insane. She recalled hearing something about a grieving hedgehog on the news. Her mother stood up from the table and packed some egg salad into a container. "You'd better be heading out soon," she said.
A navy blue hedgehog watched from a hill at the people passing by. Little interested him, and they all were walking around the other streets anyway. He saw someone walking by in the distance, right on the sidewalk below the hill where he was standing. As the figure came closer, he noticed it was a girl around his age, and she was a hedgehog too. As she walked by, she gave a brief glance to his spot on the top of the hill. This little gesture was a huge opportunity for him. "H-hi..," He said in a murmur, calling to the stranger. She looked at him again, confused. "Huh?" she said with a shrug. She started to walk away slowly, eyeing him cautiously. "Wait..," He called, running down the hill with his hands out. This position caught him off balance, the toe of his shoe slipped on a weed, and he half-slid, half-rolled down the hill, stopping right him front of the girl. She looked at him wide-eyed at his grass-covered, muddy appearance. He wiped some muddy grass from his eye and winced a bit. "Hey," he greeted sheepishly. "Did... You trip on the wet grass?" The girl asked. To her, it was a bit of a rude response, but she didn't really mind when talking to this strange boy, and it was the first thing that came to mind. The boy gave an embarrassed laugh and smiled. "Yeah, kinda," he admitted. The girl offered him her hand. "I'm Marian, and I think I just found my answers. Do you have anything to do with Shadow the Hedgehog?" She wondered. He took her hand and pulled himself up. "I'm Darwin, and I think I do. I'm a clone... you know, failed science project. I've seen it on paperwork that he's my father," he confirmed. Marian looked excited. "I know you! You're the clone with the adoption notice. And I'm you're half-sister! My father is Sonic the Hedgehog!" She claimed. "So everyone knows me then?" Darwin realized. "Maybe don't tell them I slip on wet grass." Marian realized they were still holding hands and blushed, pulling her hand away. "I guess we're not... technically.. siblings..," She said awkwardly. "No, I'm a failed science project. I think the genes are all messed up. I just look like Sonic..," Darwin felt ashamed, having to admit to Marian he wasn't fully her brother. Marian didn't look let down. She was staring at him with a strange smile as if she wanted him to say something. She grunted to make her point, "Hmm?" "I...Don't get it...What?" Darwin said, confused. Marian sighed and gave him an amused smile. "Someone wants to take you on a date," She implied. Darwin was still confused. He had no idea what that meant.
Marian looked at the strange boy named Darwin staring at her with his mouth a little open, eyes blank and curious at the same time. She giggled and explained to him what she was trying to say. The concept of dating seemed strange to him. "You really don't know anything about social life, do you?" She laughed. "Well, I knew this one girl named Cream... I guess you could say we were.. uh... dating, was it?" Darwin stumbled. "Yes, I think you're right," Marian agreed. She'd known Darwin had stayed with Cream before she put up a want for his adoption, leaving to stay with her mother and take care of the Chao. "So you're asking me... To start this dating thing.. with you...?" Darwin queried. "Can I get an answer? Do you know how awkward this is for someone?" Marian pleaded, feeling stressed from waiting for the confused hedgehog. "If I do this, and I'm not saying I don't like you or anything, will you maybe, on the side, help me find my father Shadow?" Darwin asked, holding out his hand. Marian could tell that there was affection, real affection, in his eyes. He liked her, though he didn't know it. "That's why I talked to you, wasn't it?" Marian said, pulling him toward her and giggling. Darwin blushed and just stood there awkwardly. He didn't seem to know how to respond to friendly gestures. "Yeah... So I've got the perfect name for us," Darwin added. Marian was interested. She let go of Darwin, not wanting him to feel any more out of place. "Really. Let's hear it," She said to him. "Project Shadow," Darwin said. "To remind us we're figuring out the past. And besides, haven't you listened to that honorary speech on the news?"
"Where does Shadow live?" Marian asked as her and Darwin walked down the street from the library. "I don't know. All I know is what he looks like," Darwin replied. He took a picture out of his backpack that he had checked out form the library. "We're looking for a black and red hedgehog," He added. "Why don't we ask Commander?" Marian suggested. Darwin was shocked that she had thought of that. Most people weren't even allowed to enter GUN headquarters. Marian must've noticed him giving her that confused stare. "It's so silly when you do that," She laughed. "Don't worry, Darwin, I've got access there. If you didn't remember, my parents used to be heroes."
The two had no idea they'd be traveling into the woods. As they left towards the edge of the trail, Commander gave them one last look of farewell. "Just remember: Be careful out there. He's... Not always the nicest soldier," Commander said flatly. It was clearly a part of his job to sound official. "Don't worry, we'll be fine," Marian assured him. Darwin was doubting that thought himself, worrying if Shadow would attack them or even look at them at all. If Marian was doubting anything, she wasn't showing it. She gave a nob to the Commander and turned to walk down the trail. Darwin followed a few steps behind. He half focused his eyes on his feet, and became spellbound watching dirt wet the dark gray toes, dust disappear and reappear as the dirt wet it. His feet crunched on scattered leaves as the trail disappeared. HE looked up to catch Marian a good amount ahead of him, her lavender quills sliding a bit against her jacket. The back of her bright red boots was sleek with dew. The woods grew covered in foliage and weeds, causing Darwin to stumble clumsily every few steps. Marian laughed and steadied him with a hand on his shoulder. "C'mon, Slippy. It gets dryer in the deep woods," She joked. "Slippy?" Darwin questioned. He wasn't sounding rude, he was confused. They walked a bit faster, or at least he tried to, and Darwin's legs grew sore from balancing and walking so fast. Marian saw him struggling and decided they should stop for a second. "We weren't walking any faster than normal. "Why're you so tired?" Marian asked, sounding a bit amused. "That... Wasn't... Fast...?" He panted. Darwin stood there for a moment to catch his breath, then finally asked a question that had been on his mind, "Why are we doing this, Marian? If we wanted to know about Shadow, couldn't we just ask people?" Marian looked him in the eye. Her face grew serious, and she looked down at her shoe, turning the grass with her foot. "Darwin... There's an evil alliance of doctors, mad scientists, out there. My father fought them when they were young, and he defeated them. But he's not as strong as he used to be... He won't admit it, but he's worn out from the fighting. The doctors have only been growing stronger. I think Shadow might be a chance to help us defeat them," She finished. Darwin looked at her, hands in her pockets, looking at the ground in thought. He felt anxious that she was hurt. He didn't want to see her upset, and he didn't want her to worry about the world. What she said was right, as far as he knew. The world wasn't safe. He grabbed her arm and said a little too loudly, "Don't worry, Marian. We'll stop these doctors somehow. We have to stay strong, for Shadow, and for the world," Darwin had to swallow in the middle of his sentence to keep himself from freaking out. Marian smiled her usual smile, and that made Darwin feel so much better. "That's why we're going to find Shadow!" She said. "So we can find out how to stop the doctors."
They finally came across Shadow's whereabouts. Darwin spotted someone walking through the trees, but it looked blurry to him. Marian noticed who he was before Darwin could. "Hey, sir, can we talk to you?" Marian called. The stranger stepped out from the trees, spotted them, and slumped against the tree trunk next to him. Marian took a cautious step forward, while Darwin approached him slowly. The blurriness stopped, and the person was none other than Shadow the Hedgehog. Darwin understood now why Shadow had looked so blurry, and why Marian was so cautious. He was a depressing sight to behold, wasted away by years of depression. His fur was a paler shade of black than it had once been. Darwin could see his ribs and shoulder bones, showing through his skin in his miserable weight. His shoes and gloves were covered in dirt and rips in the fabric. And his face... His eyes were cloudy and distant, bags turning his cheeks a dark purple. His ears were slumping out of their normal position, and his skin was pulled down, sagging from the strain of crying over the years. All of his fur was disheveled and ungroomed. Darwin wished he could do something. He reached out and touched Shadow's shoulder as gently as he could. He could feel the hedgehog shudder under his touch. "Shadow..." Darwin said, still taking in the distorted figure of his father. "Shadow... It's okay. It's me, Darwin. I'm going to help you, I promise." Shadow took a step away from the tree and stumbled, only steady under the support of Darwin. Marian rushed to them, not wanting to leave Darwin alone. "You know, everything can be happy again. If you just tried to save the world from the doctors...," She tried to say. Shadow shook off Darwin's hand and stepped away from them. It was heartbreaking to see him cry. His arms crossed so tightly, trying to hold in his emotions, showing the bones beneath his skin. Every breath heaved at his body, pulling his skin over his ribs and exaggerating how thin he was. His legs shook as if he would fall over at any moment. Darwin's voice caught in his throat. "Dad..," He managed. He couldn't say anything, watching Shadow break like this. Marian watched him, looking lost and heartbroken. Darwin stumbled over the foliage to his father. He took his arm in both his hands, pulling him towards him for comfort. When he saw the pain in Shadow's eyes, he saw the most hopeless thing. There was no way of getting him back, he was gone. Darwin almost fell over from that look of pain. Shadow shook and took in gasping breaths in his arms, then fell to his knees on the wet ground. Darwin knelt down beside him, Marian coming over to Shadow's other side. Darwin locked eyes with her, and she understood. "Shadow...," She said, "I know I can't do anything for you, but I just want to say... It'll be okay..."
Shadow felt the two kids beside him. He couldn't tell why they had come, but from what the girl had said, it was probably to remind him of his failure. Kids wouldn't understand anything about it. They were to young to have known. He could faintly hear the girl telling him it would be okay, but all he was thrown into was images of broken buildings, a huge metal structure burning in the city. The look of death on a young fox's face. And her voice, it just brought up the distressed cry, blue eyes and a perfect face, all lost because he just wasn't good enough. He tried to nudge the kids away, get them to leave him alone, but they stayed there. They couldn't care about him, after all he had done, could they? He looked through the burning images at the blue one, Darwin, his name was. "Shadow... Come back to us... Please...," Darwin said, desperation clear in his voice. The guilt that he was hurting them so much be his own grieving sank in, and he felt a twisted knot rise up in his chest. Tears burned down his cheeks, and he sobbed miserably, broken. He couldn't see anything through the tears in his eyes. "Don't cry," the girl pleaded, oblivious to his struggles. "It'll only hurt you more." Shadow tried to shake off the kids. The girl didn't know anything about him. She didn't get that there was no forgiving him. "Leave me alone!" Shadow shouted, trying forcefully to throw them off. But still the kids remained, looking at him with heartbroken faces. Hearing Shadow's voice only brought more heartbreak for Darwin and his companion. It was shaky and raspy, no longer as pure as it may have been. The warmth from the pair of kids couldn't reach Shadow's heart, drowned out by the waves of sadness pouring off of him. The sadness in his chest grew so strong that he couldn't breathe. Shadow's breaths became somewhat of a gasp and a cough. His head fell to Darwin's shoulder, eyes barely open. He lost all sense of what was happening, just felt himself swinging, assuming he was left to hit the floor, too much for the kids to deal with.
Darwin and Marian had left him gently at the foot of a tree, head resting on a pillow of moss, and in his hands a wishful dandelion.
There was a dark lair lined with electronic devices. A boy with brown hair entered commands on a keyboard, reporting to someone who stood in the middle of the room, holding a test tube in his hand. Sitting by the edge of the computers sat a boy with long hair and glasses. He rubbed a finger on a screen anxiously. "Demonic-Mission-Minion "DMM" 001 ready for release. Purpose: To find that stupid Shadow the Hedgehog and kick his butt off!" reported the young boy by the keyboard, who was mostly reading from the text on the computer. "Very... nice," smirked the man in the middle of the room. "Put that into his mission text and release him." The young boy did just that. "I can't wait to see this one in action!" the long-haired, older boy said, looking back at his companions. "I want him to give Shadow a reason to look tough!" The man in the middle walked towards a back room as the doors opened to reveal a werehog, black and red with harsh fangs and claws. It opened its eyes and stood up. They were pink and without pupils. "I am the Black Doomhog," it said in a deep growl. "An I am ready to kick Shadow's butt off." The young boy laughed at his creation and said, "Very well, Black Doomhog. Just one more thing before you go..." The man in the middle of the room glanced at the young boy. "I'll finish, Dr. Dave," he ordered. "I am your master, Dr. Trey," he said to Black Doomhog. And I have your final upgrade." Dr. Try held up his test tube and twisted it to reveal a small needle. "Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome abilities. To make you a poisonous killing machine!"
Darwin had slept in the woods last night. He recalled telling Marian he didn't have a place to go, and he wanted to stay beside his father. He opened his eyes to blurry tree leaves that danced with a glare in the morning sunlight. The leaves he had gathered swished beneath his head, some that had dried overnight crackling in response to his movement. He sat up, covered in dew, and shook himself free of the droplets and leaf bits. His back ached from the terrible sleep he'd had, resting on a mattress of nothing but dirt and plants. He walked tiredly over to where he'd left Shadow, finding him lying in the same spot he'd left him the day before. Darwin stepped cautiously over to him, aware that his father could start lashing out with one wrong move. "Hey... Shadow..?" Darwin called in a whisper. His father didn't move, except for burying his head in the moss he was resting on. Darwin sat down comfortably beside him and gently shook him by his shoulder. "Hey," he said a bit louder. Shadow groaned and rolled onto his back with a kind of mood saying What do you want...? Darwin looked his father in the eye to see how he was doing today. His teeth were tightly ground together, saliva seeping between the gaps. He looked a bit dazed, eyes half open, wrinkled around the corners as if trying hard to ignore Darwin. "What is it that you want?" Darwin asked calmly, trying to take his father's hand. Shadow growled loudly and rolled onto his side, just lying there trying to ignore all life. "I'm here to help you with anything, Shadow," Darwin said. Shadow sat up suddenly, slamming a hand down on the dandelion Marian had given him, crying a shrill call through his teeth with a glare that told Darwin to back off. "Okay... That's what you want...," Darwin stammered, backing away as fast as he could.
Twelve years ago....
Research on Space Colony ARK for anything that might help stop the epidemic of NIDS was conducted frantically in GUN's computer room. Shadow entered commands of his own, having hacked into the system for anything undercover that might be of use. "There's nothing here," he muttered. "Not a single blasted piece of information!" Rattling off the keys another random code, but again only finding settings on machinery, he slumped back in his chair seething with frustration. "Why are you so set on this, Agent Shadow?" someone had said from the end of the table. "Because," Shadow said flatly, "That's where the kept the patients. They should have all the data about it." He looked up at the unit's director, who seemed to be ready to call off the operation. "There's nothing useful on the ARK's directory, sir," another agent added from a few computers back. "Very well. Conduct all research on medical files," The director ordered. "What medical files could be of use?!" Shadow demanded, "There's nothing known about treatment! And besides, I'm supposed to be the one finding a cure to this!" He stood up and faced the director, tense with rage. "You should let me direct the operation! I'm the one who's the Ultimate Lifeform!" To add to the line, he slammed his fist down on the keyboard, clanging with intense amounts of anger. He stood there panting in rage, a ringing in his ears from the screaming. The ringing was coming in a shrill beeping, and he shook his head to stop it. He managed to glance at the computer, seeing the warning signs flashing on the screen. "You've set the ARK out of orbit!" the director cried, grabbing Shadow by the shoulders and giving him a forceful shake. "Forget the research, everyone. Stop that spaceship from crashing into the planet!" Shadow was thrown into a state of adrenaline. He frantically entered any command he knew, trying anything to stop the coming doom. He seemed to be the first to hear the ARK plummeting toward the planet. He could feel the pressure of something large crashing down above him. Without even thinking, he dashed outside, screaming "Move!" to anyone he saw in the streets. He slid to a stop when he felt the earth shake with a shockwave right in front of him. He looked up and saw the metal structure, now a huge wreck making a dent in the earth. "No!" he shouted, staring up at the billowing smoke. He knew by instinct that he would have to help anyone he could. He dashed to asses the damage done. He came across a spot where he knew to be important. He could see through the metal a corner of a sign sticking through the rubble. He pulled it out and read the name. It was where the patients sick with NIDS where kept. "No!" He hollered, voice shaking with grief. There was nothing more he could do to help there. He ran away, eyes burning with a sense of unbearable guilt.
What he found next was all he needed to break down crying. Caught beneath the rubble was someone he knew to be very dear to the world. He fought to pry the metal off of the dying animal. Seeing his face, he knew it was too late. He had been long gone for so much past revival. Shadow stumbled on his knees, barely able to move through what he'd done. The final thing he could say before collapsing was "No..," his voice faint and shaky. He was vaguely aware of Sonic running past him, looking at the animal he knew to be his best friend. "Tails?! No! Tails?!" Sonic cried. He saw Shadow collapsed on the ground nearby and came over to help. "Shadow? Are you hurt? Do you want help?" he asked, his voice quavering from tears. Shadow felt a burning knot of guilt and grief rise up in his chest. He couldn't bear to stay there. No. Not there. Not with too many people to hate him even more. "Get away from me!" He hollered, shoving Sonic down into the rubble. He ran away without knowing anything but to stay away from people, and never trust himself to talk to anyone ever again.
Marian flipped casually through file folders in GUN headquarters. She had a small stack beside her, granted with permission to take it out of the file room, but to stay in the building. She noticed a paper of interest and started to slide it out of the folder. Interrupted by a light tap on the shoulder, she glanced up to see a familiar blue face. "Hey, uh, Marian...," he said with a small exhale. "You nervous, Darwin?" Marian asked right away. "Uh, heh.. yeah... Shadow...," Darwin shakily replied, nervously feeling his quills. Marian noted the way his fingers searched the spines, as if feeling for an end to them. "What happened to him?" Marian wondered, unnerved at the mention of Shadow's plight. "He.. sort of... Screamed in my face...," Darwin mumbled, searching for words. "I think he's upset, I think he doesn't like me." "He's probably feeling guilty," Marian said, knowing well from her mother what guilt was. She handed the files to Darwin, who looked at them curiously. "It's something I think you should read," She added. Darwin took one glance at the article, and his eyes widened suddenly. Marian worried he was going to faint right then and there. "Darwin...?" She called, "Hello?" "Shadow..." Darwin gasped, as if he couldn't seem to get air into his mouth. "Marian, I understand now. He can't bear to look at me because he thinks.. He thinks I'm... I'm just a replacement!" Darwin wailed mournfully and fell into Marian's arms, tears streaming down his face. Marian was too pained by the sorrowful squeaks from Darwin. "Darwin, he doesn't know. He doesn't know they still want him. You're not a replacement for Shadow, you're...," Marian choked in her sentence, she couldn't think of something to say, because she knew what was true. She slumped and Darwin held on to her as she sat down. "What is it, Marian?" Darwin asked, noticing her tears. "Darwin.. you're... you're a weapon. You were created to show the Doctors what evil demons can bring. Wipe out their meddling creations with destruction. You're lucky they failed, Darwin, or you would have been ruthless," Marian quavered, looking him in the eye. "Then that's their loss," Darwin said. He blinked away his tears and looked up, determined. "Nobody is to blame, and I won't blame anybody, because I'm my own person and I'm happy as I am. Nothing is going to bother me," His voice had stopped shaking, and he smiled confidently now. "Unless they tell me my fathers were killers. They knew what harmony was," Darwin found a chair and began pacing over to it, and stepping on the chair, he finished, "I am the beacon of their harmony. And we will be together. As a family. Sonic will come back, Shadow will be happy, and I," Darwin turned to face Marian, "Will be true."
His feet raced down the cement street, blurring beneath his vision. He couldn't move on much longer, his breath coming in huge gasps. The beast behind him howled with a cry that started ringing in his ears, and his bones chilled with terror until he couldn't move. As he swayed violently back and forth on his feet, he caught a glimpse of the beast, rabid and black with resemblance to him and his father. He dragged himself out of the deadly claws' reach for what seemed like an hour, everything warping and moving slower than reality. He drew in a gasp of as much air as he could and collapsed, paralyzed to his back. The impact shook his spine and he felt no more, completely numb. His senses blurred until he couldn't tell vision from sound. The last he knew was a ringing shockwave that knocked him out from the sensory.
He awoke on a plush couch, purple and soft, his head rested in a pillow. He had been wrapped carefully in a blanket. His senses returned slowly, and he could smell the clean air, taste warm soup on his tongue, feel the fabric brush against his face. He gradually lost blindness and saw a young girl feeding him soup. He knew her from somewhere. His mind struggled to turn, but he was far too exhausted to think anything. "Easy, Shadow. Don't move too much. You could hurt yourself again," She said in a calming voice. Shadow could barely make out her words, but he had heard enough. That was when the panic set in. This girl knew his name, and she was telling him not to move. She wanted him alive for confession. He tipped his head away from her soup and rolled out of the couch with a painstaking drag. A fierce pain stabbed him in his hip, burning its way through his legs until he was petrified from his stomach to his knees. He emitted a pitiful whimper and choked on the soup that had caught in his throat in his desperate scramble to break free. He propped himself up on his trembling arms and whimpered like a lost animal. The girl wrapped him in a blanket from where the pain had started and gently eased him back onto the couch. She brushed her thumb along the side of his cheek, easing him with gentle words. To Shadow they sounded like a warbling song, tuning off key at every few notes. He covered his ears and squealed. The girl pulled one of his hands away and looked at him with a grave face, knowing he was on the verge of blacking out. The last thing he heard stuck in his mind, numbing his tongue so he could barely breathe. "I know about the Space Colony ARK."
Darwin casually walked around the sidewalk, looking around at the sunset for peace of mind. The nearby road was covered in shedding from a large black beast. He walked over and sniffed the fur, scenting a whiff of metal and oils. To avoid the risk of toxic materials, he held it away from his nose and inspected it in his hands. "Hmm," he said to himself, murmuring a few comments now and then. He took out a plastic scrap from his backpack and wrapped up a sample in it, saving it for later investigation. Something caught his eye further down the street, finding dried blood spilled on the tar. Looking across to the houses, he found a pastel and well-kept building that he knew from his best friend. He nervously walked over and rang the doorbell. A lavender hedgehog opened the door, looking dumbfounded. "Marian?" Darwin asked soothingly. "Yes? Sorry, I- Shadow's here, and he's not doing good. There's a- The doctor's beast- He's-..," Marian stammered. "The doctors? What are they trying to do with him?" Darwin queried. "I don't know...," Marian trailed off, looking worried. The two hedgehogs turned at a sudden sound, and turned to see an otter, with claws of light and a metal eye, land with his fists towards the ground, cracks spreading several feet. "Yes, Darwin!" a cackling voice laughed. "It's me! Dr. Trey!" A small, round ship appeared in the sky, and smirking through the windsheild was none other than the imfamous doctor, his loyal sidekicks piloting next to him. "Jeffery!" the long-haired Dr. Kameron shouted, yelling into a microphone. "Shred them!" Darwin and Marian both tried to duck at the same time and tripped comically into the doorway, as the cyborg otter slithered towards them. They crouched together, eyes closed tight and ears shaking in terror. Their terror was interrupted by a loud PIKO! Darwin glanced up to see Amy facing off against the demon, Jeffery. "I'll take care of him! You kids get the doctors!" she ordered. Jeffery slithered away in an attempt to escape to the river, Amy thundering after him, her hammer ready. "We don't have any time for this!" the young Dr. Dave wined in a mode of rage-quitting. "You're right," Dr. Trey agreed, narrowing his eyes at the rodents below him. "Fire all lasers! NOW!" The two lovers barely avoided the blinding blue blasts of white-hot light. Darwin found an instinct that had never occurred before, a drive to fight for what he loved. He wrapped his arms around Marian and leaped to the roof of her house, landing perfectly. "Darwin...," Marian gasped, staring at him with shock. Darwin looked down at his shoes curiously. "I guess I have more powers than I thought..," He pondered. "Whatever!" Dr. Dave spat, then looked at Dr. Trey with a curious eye. "We still have that attack, right?" "Yes! Fire the nuclear death ray!" the evil creator ordered. The two rodents huddled in terror as a blinding white flash threatened to end their lives. Suddenly, they heard a deafening crack. A pale black blur had crashed into the Doctor's ship, knocking the weapon dead and sending it crashing into the ground.
As the doctors flew away in their escape pod, Dr. Dave screaming "THIS ISN'T OVER!", Darwin and Marian climbed down from the building to examine what had saved them from the deadly blast. Darwin carefully made his way down past the windows, cautiously trying not to kick Marian as she climbed below him. She hopped down from the top of the doorway and landed neatly on the sidewalk. "Oh my gosh... Shadow!" the lavender hedgehog gasped, covering her mouth with a hand and running towards the crashed hunk of metal. "Shadow?" Darwin said quickly, focused on pushing away from the building and helping the poor black hedgehog. His feet touched the ground next to Marian as she examined the crashed ship. Lying underneath was a dark shape, belonging to the legs of a thin, shaken creature. "Help me lift this up," Marian grunted, lifting up the spaceship with all her strength. Darwin didn't hesitate to help pull it off his crushed father. Shadow's head was bent towards them, but on a broken angle. Blood and foam leaked from his mouth, his eyes withered up with cuts and bruises. The broken creature barely uttered a sound, but he looked directly at Darwin. "He wants you, Darwin," Marian said, gently carrying the injured hedgehog over to his son. "He's still alive, we have to try and help him," Darwin ordered quickly. They slowly and carefully carried Shadow back towards the house. Shadow turned his head to Darwin and faintly said his name. The navy rodent hurried to his side, calmly asking, "Yeah? I'm here." Shadow looked up at both of the kids, eyes finally serious in the final moments of his life. "Please... Just tell everyone... Thank you...," he murmured, though he looked at them directly in the eye. Then Shadow's eyes closed, and he lay still in Marian's arms. "He finally saw reason in the world. He's satisfied with his life, and everyone who's helped him. He died to save us, Darwin. He'd never want us to stay grieving...," Marian sat down on the side of the street, crying softly with Shadow's body still in her arms. Darwin sat next to her, putting his arm around his girlfriend. "We should tell everyone what he told us," he said, very unsure of what to say. Marian looked at Darwin, a serious look in her eyes. "You have to be a hero, Darwin. There's nobody else left," she ordered. "I will. We're going to stop those doctors. No more hiding," Darwin stood up and faced the sky. "It's time we start saving the world."
"He wanted everyone to know how grateful he was," Darwin explained to Commander. It had been two days since the death of Shadow the hedgehog, and Darwin and Marian had decided to tell Commander the agent's last words. "Thank you. You kids can go home now. I'll make sure everyone knows about this tragedy," Commander replied. Darwin and Marian gave their thanks to the GUN agent, then walked towards the door to exit the building. Darwin stepped out onto the sidewalk. He jumped as he heard someone behind him, and turned to see a white bat standing in the shadows. She seemed to be looking directly at him, mysteriously trying to tell him something. "Marian? Do you see that?" Darwin said, directing Marian to the stranger. "Yeah, I do. Did you want something from us?" Marian challenged, looking the shady bat it the eye. "Relax, kids. I'm a GUN agent. I wanted to tell you something before you left," she answered calmly, stepping slowly towards the two hedgehogs. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small slip that held two or three pictures of a mysterious agency. Darwin cautiously took it from her. He examined it, seeing coordinates written on the back. "That place is out to stop those doctors you're fighting. You'll be like a legend to them," the bat explained. Darwin started to thank her, but she had already disappeared. "Well, at least we've got a lead," Marian commented. An orange temple loomed over the forest, covered in light patterns filtering through the leaves of the forest. Carvings of four-legged panthers crouched on each side of the doorway. Darwin looked up at the steps, exhausted from the earlier walk to the temple. He sighed and dragged his feet over to the sunset-colored stairway. Marian walked determinedly beside him. She hopped up boldly onto the first step, turning around to look at Darwin. "Come on," she called. "They're just past that doorway!" The two climbed their way up, Marian taking each step strongly, but Darwin having to pull himself over each stair with his hands. In the end, Marian had to carry her friend into the room once they reached the top of the stairs. The inside was dark as midnight. The only light flickered from two flaming torches that casted an eerie orange glow onto an ornate sand-colored throne. Sitting on the throne glared a black panther. Her hair fell down in a shiny, wavy mess, looking as if it were combed by scissors. She wore a navy coat with a furred collar, a white shirt, and dark purple jeans stopping just above a pair of hot pink sneakers. Her catlike amber eyes stared at Darwin and Marian like they were intruders, and Darwin felt a crawling unease as if they did not belong. The torches flared in a rapid spinning plume of fire, causing the two to flinch in the fear of being burnt. The room was fully lit when they realized they were alive. An orange badger, blotted with brown stripes, crouched in the middle of the room. She dressed in a mint green jacket and streaked gray pants. She looked at Darwin and Marian, examining them with green eyes. "Norissta!" She called energetically to the panther. "This is Darwin, the guy who drove off those doctors!" Norissta nodded slowly and replied, "It's about time that bat showed her reasons for intruding. Welcome, Darwin. Shall we began with a discussion of the current situation?" Darwin felt his mouth dry rapidly at the thought of talking. Marian looked at the panther and narrowed her eyes. "How do we know we can trust you?" she said darkly. "Alas, you don't know. I am here to drive off those doctors, who have now just destroyed one of the most powerful lifeforms on the planet. They are continuing to create demons, one more powerful than the last, as we speak. We have little time before they master their technology and destroy us all," Norissta explained, calm as night. "They've already mastered more than you think," Darwin murmured, a dark shadow creeping over him and his growing unease. He seemed to feel a sense of grief and pain radiating from the panther, the same grief he felt when Shadow had been killed. "You don't see. They have been-" "A nuclear death ray," Darwin remembered with anguish. "Shadow was my father. And that's how they killed him." The panther nodded understandingly, showing her respected with her head bowed. The action made Darwin feel more welcome, but something still seemed uneasy. "They have killed more than just your father, good Darwin. But despite their recent progress, we must not focus on the past. There is something the two of you should know. They are after the greatest hero Mobius has ever known," Norissta explained. "Sonic! My father!" Marian cried. "Darwin, we have to stop them!" Marian grabbed Darwin by the shoulders in a sudden motion, and Darwin looked her confidently in the eye. "We will, Marian. Of course we will," he assured. "You are both the child of Sonic the Hedgehog?" Norissta commented, seeing their actions. "Well... Darwin's technically.... Not entirely..." Marian stuttered, blushing at the awkward situation. "Fear not, for not even you know that this is normal, perfectly normal," Norissta reassured with a laugh, a low, rumbling noise resembling a purr. "There is much you do not know, but all will be clear once you find out. You must be ready to know what I have to tell you." "Tell us now!" Marian said defiantly. "How do you know so much? And why are you acting so shady?" Norissta slowly replied, "You must focus on the problem, friend of Darwin. Sonic the Hedgehog is in danger, and with that comes all of Mobous. He is currently protecting the Heart Shard, a shard of the Master Emerald that holds the power of life of death of this world. You must find a way to stop these doctors. Enough of this wastefulness! Will you join us in taking them down?" Darwin felt uneasy, but he also felt relatively helpless with so much at stake. "I have no choice but to join you," he replied bravely. "What is our first step?" "Your first step is to intercept their ferry of demons sent to travel over seas and overpower Sonic the Hedgehog. You will be apprenticed to our ranks under the mentorship of Rixon. He will train you. Your task begins now: You are to follow Rixon's orders to cover our forces from the wave of demons so that Pikki, our friend here, and her other troop members can infiltrate the ship's command and sink it beneath the ocean. "