Preview: Season 0, Episode 16

 

Sunlight strolls into town, apparently having left Shadow behind. It seems to be a lively late afternoon, with people walking about, and several market stands set up selling various wares. A few people eye Sunlight oddly, but he seems to go mostly unnoticed. He walks up to one stand, selling fruit.

The man attending the stand asks, “See anything you like, Mr. Hedgehog? We don’t get many visitors like you around here. What brings you to the area?”

“That’s not my name.”

“Huh?”

“Mr. Hedgehog, however appropriate, is not my name.”

The man clears his throat. “Well then, my apologies, Mr.…” He waves his hand as an indication for Sunlight to finish.

Instead, Sunlight picks up a large, red fruit. “What do you call this…thing?”

The man shows growing confusion. “Umm…an…apple?”

Sunlight seems quite intrigued. “Apple, hm?” He takes a very large bite, and speaks before he’s finished chewing, “Hm, sweet.”

The man smiles again. “Just for you, that’ll be worth 20 Rings.”

Sunlight shrugs, and starts to walk off.

The man calls out with irritation, “Excuse me, sir!”

Sunlight turns back immediately when he realizes he’s made a mistake. “Oh, my, where are my manners?” He does a little bow. “Thank you for the…” He looks at the object in his hand again. “…apple!” He turns to leave again.

“Hey!” The man runs up to Sunlight and forcefully puts a hand on his shoulder “You can’t just–”

Sunlight turns and grabs the man by the shirt, easily lifting him into the air with just one hand, an odd sight given the difference in height between the two. “You know, it isn’t very nice to put your hand on people like that.”

“Sunlight!” Both turn their heads to see Shadow standing there. “Put him down.”

Sunlight shrugs, and drops the man onto the floor. The man shouts, “What kind of freaks are you!?” as he scurries back to the nearest wall. Neither of the hedgehogs seem notice him pulling out a phone.

Sunlight is busy pondering Shadow’s last statement. “You know…I don’t think I like that name. Sunlight sounds so…happy. Do I look happy to you?”

Shadow is transfixed on the apple in Sunlight’s hand. “Did you steal that?”

Sunlight seems confused. “Steel? No, this is an apple. You know, for eating.” He takes another large bite to drive in the point. “Wanna bite?”

It seems that Shadow is finally beginning to lose patience with Sunlight’s shenanigans, as he clutches his head in a hand and gives an exasperated sigh. He can’t help but think to himself, “This guy…is supposed to take over the world? The Lieutenant was right, he’s just like a child. And he can still be taught.” Out loud, he speaks, “Look, you can’t just take things from other people.”

“What, he could have tried to take it back if he wanted it. He would have failed, of course. But that just means I deserve it more.” He takes another bite. “Seriously, you have to try one of these.”

“You…you really believe that, don’t you? That you deserve whatever you can take?”

“Don’t you? After all, you tried to take the ARK for yourself.”

“No, I didn’t! I tried to save the ARK!” Sunlight seems to have struck a nerve. “That’s exactly what you should be doing! Saving people! We can do things that nobody else can! But with your attitude, you’ll just destroy the world with that power!”

“Are you…telling me what to do? And here I thought you actually wanted to be my friend. Ha. I should’ve guessed. Everyone just wants to use me.”

“Wait, no, I didn’t–”

Sunlight solemnly turns and begins to walk away.

“Sunlight, wait!”

He doesn’t stop or turn, but responds, “Don’t call me that. That name means nothing.”

Another voice shouts loudly, “On the ground, now!” A police squadron has shown up from the interior of the city, all pointing weapons at Shadow and Sunlight alike.

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Review: Season 0, Episode 15

So this episode was pretty fun to write, although I would have liked it to feel not quite so rushed. But a big majority of this episode was actually a bit of a last-minute decision, first planned while I was in the middle of last episode, and only finalized as I started writing this one. Originally, the idea was to have Shadow immediately encounter parallel-Sonic, and have them use Chaos Control right then and there to get Shadow where he needs to go. But I have been thinking for a while about a potential future episode which would heavily call back to this one, so I thought I should give the whole alternate timeline sequence a little more emphasis, which turned into almost an entire episode. I’m a little worried about describing my exact thought process in planning this new emphasis, for risk of spoiling said potential episode. But I can say that the thought of teaming Sonic up with Eggman out of desperation was an idea which really intrigued me the moment I thought of it. But I didn’t think that was worth it until I came up with the idea to make them not just grudged allies, but true friends. And I knew that the best way to drive that concept home while also making the whole alternate timeline sequence feel more relevant was to have Eggman die. The hard part was making it feel properly emotional. I didn’t want any readers to think “Good riddance.” I think I did well enough on that end. I felt that emotional sequence was so important to get right because of the direction the series will be going after Crisis of Chaos, portraying Eggman as a truly evil villain. I wanted to show that he does have some potential for humanity within him, and that circumstances make all the difference.

On a related note, the episode title may have stood out to you a bit. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Project: Needlemouse was the early codename for Sonic the Hedgehog 4, which in turn was a reference to Sonic’s own beta name, Mr. Needlemouse. I don’t really recall what order all of my different ideas came in, but the decision that I had recently come to to have all of the different Season 0 arcs be identifiable and separable by overarching theme in episode titles (time puns>Batman movie puns>”Project:” titles) led to my need in this case to come up with a good “Project:” title for this episode. At first it was just going to be the title of next episode, before I lengthened the whole alternate timeline part. After that I was considering “Project: Chaos” in reference to the plan to steal a Chaos Emerald, but I decided I wanted to save that one for potential later use. I also considered “Project: Emerald,” but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. At some point when I was thinking both about a way to make Sonic and Eggman seem closer, and thinking through other potential titles, the thought of using nicknames struck me, and I couldn’t ignore the thought of having Sonic be nicknamed Needlemouse. That, or the memory of Sonic 4 AKA Project: Needlemouse struck me, and my thoughts went in the other direction. Either way, the result was the current and final episode title.

As for Sunlight, I think his personality came across a little bit more easily and naturally this time, though I have been planning that scene for considerably longer. I really enjoyed conveying the idea that his insane ramblings did make perfect sense to him. The difficult part was trying to set him up to have such strong loathing for Shadow in the future, while still making him seem childish and naive. I thought that simply giving him a weird obsession with examining Shadow would be enough to start with. And…I guess that’s all for now.

-Until next time, remember to live and learn every day!

S0 E15: Project: Needlemouse

This is not a prank, and not a Sonic 4 spinoff. This is the next exciting episode of the Chaos Project! Read it here!

The timeline has been changed. And Shadow is the only one who knows about it. He only has one chance: to go back in time and fix everything. With the help of an unlikely ally, he may just be able to do it. But the timeline isn’t the only thing that needs to be saved.

Preview: Season 0, Episode 15

Shadow drops down onto the ground, and looks around. This new place seems little different from the last. The ground all around is nothing but dull, infertile dirt, riddled with countless craters. The sky has been completely covered by ominous, smoky red clouds, even darker than before. Shadow begins to move forward, eyeing all around as he goes.

Suddenly, a familiar voice says calmly, “I don’t know who you are, but you should leave now.”

Shadow turns with a start to the source of the voice. “Sonic!?” Standing atop a tall mound of dirt and rock, back turned towards Shadow, is Sonic the Hedgehog.

He still doesn’t turn. “Final warning. Get out.”

“Sonic, I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m here to help.”

Suddenly, Sonic turns. A long scar runs down the left side of his face, passing over his dull, grey left eye. “Yeah, like I haven’t heard that one before.” Shadow gasps, as the half-blind Sonic begins to take a closer look at him. “You…you look like him. He sent you, didn’t he!? Well, I’m not letting you go back to him!” Sonic dives down at Shadow with top speed.

Shadow backflips out of the way. “Sonic, you have to listen to me, I’m the only one who can fix this!”

“I won’t take any of your lies!” He charges a spindash, and launches at Shadow with full force.

Much as he has before, Shadow catches the spinning ball in his hands, and throws it off to the side. “I don’t want to fight you, I need to see the Doctor, I need to see Eggman!”

Sonic is ready to throw another attack, but he freezes in place. “Did you say…Eggman?”

Shadow nods. “Unless you happen to have a Chaos Emerald?”

Sonic seems to take that as a joke, and ignores it. “I don’t know how you know the name Eggman…but it’s enough. I’ll believe you. For now.”

“Then you can take me to him?”

Sonic sighs. “Follow me.” He begins to walk off, and Shadow obediently follows.

Review: Season 0, Episode 14

So to start with, I decided to go with a highly unusual writing style for this episode, having a story be told “vocally” as the same story can be seen progressing. I’m not going to lie, it was probably more effort than it was worth. It was incredibly difficult to find the right balance of the story to the scene, and I know that I ended up with far too much emphasis on the story. The way I had it, it would have a theoretical watcher looking at one character doing nothing for a long period of time while the story is being told, perhaps minutes on end. And where I had an important scene playing out at the same time as the story, I had to make sure that the scene would be described at the appropriate moment in the story, without interrupting the story’s flow too much. Most importantly, the way I have this episode would NEVER work out if this were a real game, seeing as this would potentially make for a 20+ minute opening scene with absolutely no gameplay. And it’s not even done yet. If this were to somehow be converted into a game, the first bit of help would be splitting the thing into part before the title screen, and part after you create your save file. Then, most of the story would probably be cut out to keep the thing as brief as possible, perhaps with the full version available to be read in the instruction manual or something. But there was something else, perhaps less noticeable, that I attempted with this episode. In the past, I’ve put a lot of emphasis on what’s being done and what’s being said. For the Black Cloak arc, I tried to shift over a little bit and put a heavier emphasis on the setting instead. And while that wasn’t ignored this time around, I tried out a new style of emphasis, this time on the more abstract thoughts and feelings of the characters, things that they wouldn’t be thinking about in words. I’d say I was inspired to do this by writing the epilogue section of Cast by the Light, the part from Sonic Heroes. What I realized while writing that was, despite all I’ve complained about its lack story-progressing cutscenes, that the cutscenes it had were detailed in the extreme. All the characters on screen at any given time show so much individualized facial expression and body language that its almost as if you can read their minds, even when they don’t say a word. When I was writing that epilogue, I had a hard time fitting the description of that detail in right in the middle of a long piece of dialogue. I tried to emulate that a little bit with this episode (and hopefully the rest of this arc), describing the feelings and emotions which you would theoretically be able to read on the characters faces, were you able to see them.

Now the interesting thing about writing this episode is that it required me to introduce a character who…we technically already know. And it made it all the stranger that we already know how he’ll be renamed in the future. But I was able to use that to my advantage a little bit, by giving Sunlight/Blacklight an odd sort of obsession over names. It already helps to show his madness, but it’s even more meaningful under consideration of the future. Anyways, it was definitely enjoyable to write for my favorite of my OCs again. But I did go for something a little different this time. Back in Crisis of Chaos, I essentially tried to make Blacklight seem criminally insane. But, in part by inspiration from one of my readers (if you’re out there, thanks Eba-Chan), I tried to make Sunlight seem crazy in a more childish, sort of endearing way. For one thing I wanted to justify Alfred’s conclusion that Sunlight was only a child and didn’t know what he was doing. But, more importantly, I wanted to put into question how much of a villain he could really be, and make it a truly emotional event when he inevitably becomes completely evil. The goal was to make you, as readers, want to root for Sunlight to be saved by Shadow and become good, even if you know that it isn’t possible.

Oh, and that reminds me. Lt. Alfred is named after the geneticist Alfred Day Hershey, known for proving that DNA contained the genetic code of life, rather than simple proteins. Not quite as well-known of a name as Gregor Mendel, the namesake of Dr. Gregor Robotnik, but I believe that the name fits quite well. As for the whole Lieutenant part…I suppose I was just trying to make fun of Dr. Eggman and Prof. Gerald by having another abbreviated title in the family. But, just to be clear, it is absolutely true that doctors in the real-life military do typically hold the title of Lieutenant. So I used that fact to make my joke seem more story-important. And that’s all for now.

– Until next time, remember to live and learn every day!

S0 E14: Project: Sunlight

The first episode of the exciting Birth of Blacklight arc has finally arrived! Read it here!

Shadow finally sits down to read the mysterious file given to him by Rouge. But Eggman seems to have gotten hold of the same file, and has something sinister planned. Witness as both discover the truth of what happened 40 years ago. Who is Sunlight?

Preview: Season 0, Episode 14

The man with a short mustache and large glasses is again at work at the computer console in his research facility. But this time, next to the console sits some sort of large pod, filled with a green fluid.

After working for a while, he suddenly gets up and walks over to the pod. He tugs at his mustache in deep contemplation. Then he turns around and sits back down, not to work, but to think.

He gets up again, but passes the pod entirely this time. He continues into another, more darkly-lit room. He looks around him, as if to make sure no one is watching. Then he quickly enters a code into a pad on the wall, causing the entire wall panel to slide to the side, and revealing the seven Chaos Emeralds inside. Their rainbow of color illuminates his face.

He closes the wall panel and returns to the pod. He stares into the glass case, the green fluid beneath, and the life form he knows lies inside.

Suddenly, he slams down on a button on the front of the pod, and the fluid inside begins to drain.

The lid of the pod pops open, releasing a torrent of steam. But slowly, the steam begins to clear, revealing the form of a hedgehog, one which might be mistaken for Shadow. But as the light that shines upon him clears, it becomes clear that he is definitely not Shadow. His fur is primarily a silvery white, with streaks of green in his spikes. His gloves are turquoise-blue, and his socks and the cuffs of his gloves are red. His shoes, appearing similar to Shadow’s, are purple on the top, with a dark blue trim. One who has seen into the future might know him as Blacklight.

Slowly, he opens his yellow eyes. He begins to look back and forth, a curious look on his face. The man looks on with excitement.

Finally, the hedgehog begins to speak. “… … …This feels weird.”

The man lets out with a smile, “Hello, Sunlight. I’m so glad to finally meet you.”

“Sunlight…that is me?” The man nods. The hedgehog begins to pat around on his chest and arms. When he finishes with that, he starts rubbing his hand all over his face. He looks back to the man, more curious than ever. “Sunlight is made of photons. But I am solid. I don’t understand.”

The man begins to laugh, all the while keeping a bright smile on his face. “No, you see, Sunlight is your name, not what you are made of.”

“My name? So…it’s meaningless, then?”

“Meaningless? Not at all. Your name is how people identify who you are. It’s how people understand you.”

“Understand…I want to understand more. Tell me more.” Without waiting for an answer, the hedgehog now called Sunlight steps out of the pod and begins to look around more.

“Then let’s start with me. My name is Alfred. I am your f–…your creator.”

“Creator…so you made me exist. Why?”

“Well, that’s…quite a long story, perhaps another–”

“Alfred. I don’t know what Alfred is. That does not help me understand you at all. You should have a different name. I like your mustache. Your name should be Mustache.”

The man, Alfred, clears his throat. “I’m afraid it doesn’t quite work that way. Perhaps you–”

“What’s in this room?” Sunlight begins to walk towards the room that Alfred had just come out of, the one that contains the Chaos Emeralds. “It feels nice.”

Alfred quickly runs to cut him off. “Hold on, let’s not go in that room just yet.”

Sunlight glares at him oddly. Then he shrugs, and walks off in a different direction.