Preview: Shadow of Time, Part 4

I figured, “Eh, why not?” So here’s a little preview of what I’m posting next week.

Shadow opens fire on the strange green mechanism that serves as the ARK’s floating defense unit with his heavy machine gun. In seconds, it is destroyed. “The Eclipse Cannon is ours.”

Doom’s Eye approaches from behind. “Well done, Shadow. Meet me in the cannon’s control room.” It flies off just as quickly as it arrived.

With no ammo remaining, Shadow discards the weapon, as heavy footsteps across the glass floor can be heard from behind him. “It’s been a long time…Shadow.” Shadow turns to look into the achromatic eyes of the GUN Commander, who points his pistol directly at Shadow’s head.

Shadow turns to face him calmly. “Who are you supposed to be? Another one claiming to know who I am?”

The Commander continues to step forward, never lowering the weapon. “I know you…Shadow the Hedgehog.” He stops a few feet short of Shadow. “You killed everyone I loved. My family. Maria!” He jabs the gun forward for emphasis, as Shadow lets out the slightest gasp at the name. “I’ve been waiting all my life for this day!”

Shadow closes his eyes, and clenches a fist tightly. “You’re wrong. I didn’t kill anyone, not on that day.” He opens his eyes again, and looks directly into the face of his opponent. “Even though Maria didn’t know who I really am, even though she would have been terrified of me if she did, I still tried to save her, because I thought she was a good person. But there are no good people.”

“How dare you!? Maria was like a sister to me! She meant more to me than anyone else! And because of you…she was killed!” The Commander closes his eyes as he thinks back. “I witnessed it all…the Professor and that black alien planning to create a horrifying, evil creature!”

Shadow is once again struck with surprise. “You’re saying that…I was created by Black Doom?”

“And that insane Professor who unleashed it all!”

Shadow has to take a step back as he clutches at his head. “That explains…why…” His eyes dart back and forth as he starts to connect everything, the promises, the demands, the memories, the alien soldiers.

The Commander snaps him out of it with a loud shout. “You don’t fool me! It’s not just about Maria! Thanks to you, everyone I knew and loved was killed aboard the ARK. Finally…justice is served!” He suddenly pulls the trigger, and the gunshot sounds violently through the otherwise silent space. But no one is standing in front him. He only has a moment to realize that he missed before he is struck in the back of the head by Shadow’s kick. He collapses onto the floor as his dropped weapon slides a fair distance away.

Shadow looks down on the white-haired man with scorn. “You’ve wasted enough of my time.” He turns to leave. “I have work to do.”

The Commander tries to contain his rage by pressing his fingers into the solid glass floor. He mutters quietly, “I’ve waited too long to let you get away that easily.” Too far from his gun, he draws a knife that he had concealed. “You’ll regret turning your back on me!” He quickly stands and charges at his foe with the sharp weapon.

Untitled

Well, things seem to be turning out a bit differently this time. Shadow physically attacks the Commander? The Commander has a knife? Could this be the end for either of them? Find out, next week on “In the Shadow of Time.”

-And until then, remember to live and learn every day!

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Preview: Season 0, Episode 21

With one week remaining until my promised time of next publishing, it’s finally time for the usual preview. Also exciting this week is the release of Sonic Mania! (Dang, another distraction to stop me from meeting the deadline.) This episode is unrelated though. I promise. Though, that doesn’t mean there won’t be references in the future…

Anyways, here it is.

Eggman crouches over the hunk of meteorite at the center of the crater. “You’re certain this was the source of the readings? It’s just an old rock!”

Orbot answers from next to the parked Eggmobile, “Yes, sir. There was a large spike in Chaos energy readings at this location when the meteorite struck the earth.” He and Cubot both join Eggman at the crater.

“Then why is there nothing here?”

Cubot picks up the rock. “Maybe it’s just hidden underneath!”

Orbot tries to take it away. “Put that down, you might damage it!”

“Give it back, I saw it first!”

“Actually, the Doctor saw it first!” The two continue to struggle back and forth, until the rock breaks in two, causing them both to drop the pieces.

Cubot looks up to Eggman, and points to his companion. “Orbot did it.”

Eggman is too distracted examining the newly exposed sides of the meteor. One of them holds a glowing drop of light. “What’s this…?” He reaches out for it. Suddenly, the drop leaps from the rock to Eggman’s hand. “Argh! What is this thing!? Get it off me!”

“Oh no, the Doctor’s under attack!”

“What do we do!?”

Orbot and Cubot run around in senseless panic as Eggman tries to flick the substance off. After a few tries, he is successful, and the light splatters back onto the ground. Almost instantly, it starts to bubble and increase rapidly in size. It quickly takes on a large humanoid shape, somewhat similar to Eggman himself. But then it starts to thin out into more normal human proportions.

Eggman takes a step back to look at the back of the new person standing in front of him. He wears clothing similar to Eggman’s, though colored only yellow, white, and gold. Eggman questions, “And just who are you supposed to be?”

The person turns to face Eggman. He has no mustache, but a full head of blond hair. Despite bearing a vague resemblance to Eggman, he might be described as handsome. He speaks, “Your heart is disgusting.”

“What!?”

“Unfortunately, I have need of this…unsightly form.”

“I’ll have you know, I am Doctor Eggman, world-renowned scientist, and you–”

“I suggest you enjoy your final days in this world, villain. Your kind will soon be obsolete. Now, I really must be on my way. It’s vital that I locate the Controller.”

Who is this strange, handsome, blond-haired man? What does he have to do with the living murals that attacked Sonic? And what ever happened to the strange Moonstone-turned-hedgehog? Find out this and more, as the Dawn of Chaos arc continues.

Preview: Season 0, Episode 19

The final battle between Super Shadow and Black Night, the Super form of Blacklight, has begun. But where is it happening?

???

An intense, continuous sound can be heard, like that of a raging river. Slowly, Super Shadow opens his eyes. He is surrounded on all sides by two kinds of energy, one of gold and white, the other of purple and black, which flow around him. The two are unevenly mixed, in small shreds in some places, and large patches in others. In a somewhat erratic fashion, the two energies are constantly morphing and flowing, one type of energy almost constantly flowing into and overtaking the other, only to be itself overtaken. “What…what is this place…?” His voice echoes off into the distance.

“An excellent question.” Another loud cough announces the presence of Black Night.

Shadow groans. “Why can’t we both have just died?”

Black Night emerges from the swirl of energy. As he does, the area around him grows intensely more erratic, with light and darkness shifting and stabbing into each other so quickly that it almost can’t be tracked by the eye. “But Shadow! If I were dead, then the world would have to miss out on my unique and exciting brand of comedy!” Shadow glares at him. “What? I wasn’t joking. Or was I? Hm.”

Shadow sighs. “What do you know about this place?”

“Oh, right, that. Tell me, Shadow, when you use Chaos Control, what do you see?”

“See?” Black Night nods. “I see the place that I was, and then the place that I end up.”

“I’m afraid that’s incorrect. Go ahead. Think about it. Think about that one, momentary instant,” he snaps his fingers, “between starting point and destination.”

Shadow scrunches his face as he thinks hard. “There isn’t any…or…is there?” He starts to look around, perhaps gaining some vague recognition of the strange realm.

“You got it. Welcome to the Flow of Chaos. We are currently connected to all of space, and all of time.”

“And…this energy around us?”

Black Night shrugs. “Heck if I know. So…what now?”

“I’d say nothing’s changed.” Shadow takes a fighting stance in the air.

“Yes, yes, you’re probably right. But do you really want to fight in here? Doesn’t it seem almost…blasphemous?” Shadow says nothing. “Fine, fine, take the first move. I’m ready.”

Shadow takes the opportunity. “Chaos Frost!” He throws his hand forward. But nothing happens.

“Uh…hate to break this to you, but there isn’t any ice in here.”

“Chaos Tempest!”

“Or air, for that matter. Here, let me try. Chaos Void!” Rather than emerging from himself, the dark energy from the realm around them is thrown from its place, towards Shadow in a massive, unavoidable onrush.

Preview: Season 0, Episode 18

 

“I’m sorry, but that dripping is really starting to bother me.” Just as Blacklight says, Shadow is still slowly dripping wet.

Shadow is caught off-guard by the strange outburst. “Uh–”

“No, please, allow me to dry you off.” He suddenly pulls out the cyan Emerald and shouts, “Chaos Tempest!” He throws forward an upraised hand, and a massive gust of wind instantly begins to blow from behind him. The wind mildly ruffles his spikes, but blows into Shadow so hard that he is thrown into the wall behind him.

In the confusion, Blacklight snaps his fingers, and warps to a spot behind Gerald and Maria. They only have a moment to react before he seizes her with one arm, and snaps them back to his original position.

Disoriented, Shadow gets back up to see Blacklight holding Maria captive, covering her mouth with one hand to muffle her screams, and openly displaying the red Emerald in the other. The look on Shadow’s face quickly moves from one of utter fear, to one of uncontrollable anger. He moves as if to attack, but Blacklight stops him immediately.

“Nah, ah, ah. One wrong move, and Barbie’s perfect hair gets burned off of her scalp.”

Shadow hangs his head in defeat. “Alright. I’ll do whatever you say. Just tell me what you want.”

“My demands are simple. One portal.” He waves around the Emerald to convey his meaning. “And one 60 second head-start.”

“So that’s it? You’re doing this just to keep up your game?”

Blacklight shrugs. “Maybe. I could just end up waiting for you on the other side. Haven’t really decided yet.” Maria looks at Shadow desperately while he speaks. “So, are my terms agreeable?”

Silently, Shadow gives a slow nod, and takes out the yellow Emerald.

“Very good, very good.” He holds his own Emerald forward. “Let’s get started, shall we? Chaos…”

Shadow walks just close enough to put the two Emeralds in close proximity to each other. He mutters almost silently, “Chaos…”

They both finish in entirely different inflections, “Control.” As usual, a space-time rift forms between them.

Blacklight points back to Shadow one last time. “Remember, I’d better not see you out there for 60 seconds. Perhaps a stopwatch would be helpful? Not that I have one.” A lack of response from Shadow seems to irritate him slightly. “Fine, fine, I’ll go.” He gives a little wave. “Toodle-oo.” He gets a firm grip on Maria, and pulls them both into the rift.

Preview: Season 0, Episode 17

Happy Birthday to me! As my gift to you, please have another preview.

Shadow looks up with awe. Surrounding the elegant stone shrine are seven tall pillars, each one supporting a Chaos Emerald, most of which are pulsating with an odd pattern of light. At their center, atop the shrine, is the Master Emerald.

“Here they are.”

Shadow looks to the ground in front of him, where Tikal indicates. Circled around him at a distance, and staring at him curiously, are a group of young Chao.

“Don’t worry,” she bends down to tell them. “This one is a friend.”

Most of the Chao keep their distance. But one starts to waddle up towards Shadow’s feet. It stops and looks right up into his face. “Chao?” Shadow looks to Tikal questioningly.

She nods and smiles. “Go ahead.”

Hesitantly, Shadow reaches a hand down towards the little creature, and places it on its head. He starts to pet it gently. It closes its eyes and smiles contently, as the bubble above its head forms into the shape of a heart. All of the other Chao start to approach closer to him.

Tikal seems very pleased. “Look, they like you.”

Shadow takes his hand back, and turns back to Tikal. The Chao gives him a very confused look, unsure why he stopped. “I’m grateful to have seen this place, but why have you taken me here?”

Tikal sighs and looks to her feet, perhaps with shame. “This place…it is their sacred home. They can live here in peace, because there is a spirit who protects and watches over them.” While she speaks, the Chao all give up on Shadow, turn to face the shrine, and start to sing with little rhythm or structure. Tikal continues, “But my father…he wishes to destroy this place, and use the power of the Emeralds to help us win the war. If another battle comes…he will. His heart is closed off to the plight of these poor creatures, and even to me. I’ve asked the spirit to take the Chao and leave this place, but he is bound to the shrine somehow. I can only hope that we can all finally understand each other…before it’s too late.”

Shadow nods in understanding. “And if your father comes…you’ll be forced to choose between loyalty to your tribe, and justice for the Chao.”

She nods in return. “You understand, then.”

“So…what will you do?”

She thinks a while longer. “I love my father, truly I do. But I can’t allow his selfishness to destroy these creatures’ lives. I will do everything in my power to stop him.”

Shadow gives a very slow nod. “I see.”

“But whatever choice you make…I’m sure that you’ll be fine, as long as you follow your heart.”

A voice which Shadow has learned to instinctively flinch at shouts, “That’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard in my life! I love it!” Sunlight leans casually back against the Master Emerald.

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.

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.

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.

 

Preview: Season 0, Episode 13

Sonic and Shadow have finally found King. But King has plans that neither of them could possibly comprehend. What really happened to him on the day of the invasion of Westopolis?

“I’ve been awaiting this day for far too long.” King the Wolf begins to step out of the shadows. Sonic gives a gasp, but Shadow doesn’t seem surprised. King waves about his robotic arm as he speaks. “Sonic, I have no qualms with you. You are free to leave. In fact, the Doctor will be waiting for you up on the twenty-fifth floor, likely downloading all of my files by now. You’d better hurry, if you want to catch him.” As he passes a computer console, he types few keys into it. A light activates on the pod in the center of the room.

Unexpectedly, Shadow agrees. “You should go. I can handle this.”

Sonic shakes his head. “Not a chance. I’m staying right here.”

King chuckles a bit. “Ooh, do I detect some animosity between the two of you?” He gives a very casual shrug. “Very well. Suit yourself.” He resumes his pacing, hitting a few more keys each time he passes the console. “After all I’ve been through…all my research…all my suffering…at last, it all becomes worthwhile, so much sooner than I was expecting. I certainly have the Doctor to thank for that. His previous experience was absolutely vital in the completion of my ultimate project.”

Shadow doesn’t seem amused. “I don’t know what you’re babbling about. And I don’t care. This is your one and only chance to surrender to me.”

“Oh, Shadow, you offend me. Though perhaps it was vain of me to assume that you keep track of those you’ve hurt.”

Shadow’s firm countenance suddenly falters. “What…what do you mean…?”

King barks out a quick laugh. “He really doesn’t know, the wretch!” It becomes clear that King is barely maintaining his calm manners. He holds up his mechanical arm, and waggles its fingers for emphasis. “You didn’t really believe that some alien did this to me, did you? No…this is on you!”

Preview: Season 0, Episode 12

The Black Cloak has finally been caught. Now all that remains for King is to remove the hood, and discover his true identity.

The Black Cloak mutters, “How could I have slipped up like this…?”

“Slipped up, you have, my irritating adversary.” From the shadows of the cavern, behind the lineup of androids, a pair of yellow eyes stare out.

Sonic says with disdain, “King.”

“Shut up, you. You are nothing to me.”

Sonic sighs in irritation, but obeys.

“And as for you…” Black Cloak remains almost impossibly still. “…you will drop to your knees. Now.”

“I…I’m not afraid of you.”

“Oh really? Well, you had me fooled. But just to make sure, let’s get one thing clear. Get on the ground, or my androids will open fire.”

“Your weapons don’t scare me. I won’t let you control me.”

“Oh, they won’t fire at you. They’ll fire at your little blue friend over there.” Suddenly, all the weapons in the room turn to face Sonic. A strangely distant, quiet voice can almost be heard shouting, “What!?”

Sonic tries to interject, “Don’t let–”

“I said shut up!” Sonic bows his head again. “So, tell me, hero. What’s it going to be? Your pride? Or the innocent life?”

Black Cloak looks from Sonic, to the androids, to the eyes of King. Finally, slowly, he raises his arms, and drops to his knees. “My life is yours. I surrender.”

“Oh, marvelous! I must give you credit, you are an intelligent man. And I am quite impressed at how you’ve managed to pique my curiosity so. But I must know. I must learn. Androids…bring him here. Let us see who this vigilante really is.” Two androids step out of line to grab Black Cloak by the arms, dragging him to the edge of the shadows. He doesn’t resist.

King’s mechanical arm reaches out from his place in the shadows, and firmly grasps the rim of Black Cloak’s hood. Sonic shows surprise at the robotic limb, but a look into King’s eyes reassures him. The two androids who broke formation still hold Black Cloak by the arms, but the rest have all stepped out of the way, leaving little resistance between Sonic and King. But then Sonic shakes his head. His eyes are drawn back to the Black Cloak. Little by little, his hood is being pulled back. First to be revealed are the red fringes streaking the top of his eyes. Sonic’s eyes fill with curiosity at the sight. “No…”