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Deep in the heart of the Mystic Ruins sat the long-abandoned Final Egg, a base structure used to construct one of the Doctor's greatest weapons, a cannon capable of inducing a Supernova. The device had been destroyed a few years ago, when the ship carrying it self-destructed, but there was no reason why he couldn't rebuild it in time.As it was, the base was too obvious once it had been located, and Eggman had abandoned it long ago, leaving most of its contents where they were. As Sonic had attacked alone, he didn't take much with him, and simply returned home. The only thing missing was Metal Sonic, which remained active among the mad human's forces. However, it had not been the only robot in storage there. Finally, many moons after the location had been left, the final backup generator ceased to function. Systems all over the base went into shutdown, machines grinding to a halt, terminals going dark, and the second stasis container failing. The figure within slumped into its metal harness, servos groaning after years of inactivity. It shifted, visor lighting up in gold and crimson, straining as a bright crimson flash erupted from its body.The cylinder shattered, glass and metal exploding outwards, shards peppering the walls. The harness incinerated, the droid slumped to its knees, head bowed. Its fists clenched, as it began to rise, placing one foot under itself, pushing its body upright. It stumbled forward, reaching out to brace itself against the opposing cylinder, which had once housed its older, smaller brother. It looked up, slowly taking in its own reflection.Its head shaped into three streamlined quills, one at the top and two at either side, with a few smaller ones in between. Its face was expressionless, a single visor-shaped optic sensor, and a smooth, mouthless muzzle. Mecha Sonic stood himself upright, the engines in his back firing up, launching him through the ceiling. After so long, he finally hung in the night air, gazing out over the ruins below. The energies of Chaos rippled through his body, as it began to flow through him once more. A few warnings flashed up on his visor, a informing him of lower power levels, faulty parts, and various other maladies. Those would have to be fixed before he could get anything else done. Turning away from the sky, he rocketed off into the night.***Two years later, the North PoleReginald Marshall was a soldier in the Egg Army, holding the rank of sergeant. Currently, the bulky form of the Mobian horse stood on the lip of the Death Egg's hangar, looking down at the icy cliffs that the station had embedded itself in. The shield was down for maintainence, so the door had to be guarded. What exactly his laser rifle was supposed to do to a Freedom Fighter aircraft, he wasn't sure, but the Doctor was firm in his assessment that they would not need rocket launchers, and he wasn't about to argue. He'd seen the fate of those that disappointed their Master, and he was determined not to share it.He shivered, not just from the thought of it, but from the cold. Even wrapped up in his multiple layers of winter clothing, the Arctic desert was a far cry from his familiar, warmer climates in Shamar, but he'd been chosen for the "honour" of Death Egg duty, and he wasn't going to refuse that either. Things like that made him wonder about the words of his Egg Boss. Nephthys had told him that the Freedom Fighters were a dangerous group, and in opposing Eggman, prolonged a war that would see the end of life as they knew it, with the doctor laughing triumphantly. And yet, he somehow doubted that Princess Sally would shove her friends into tiny, pitch-black boxes, unable to move but fully conscious, if they failed a mission. Or if she failed one and decided to shift the blame.The sharp beeping of a radar roused him from his contemplation, and he looked over at the screen. A single target, racing toward them at high speed. Too small to be an aircraft, too fast to be one of the Freedom Fighters' fliers, at least as far as he'd been informed."Hey Rich, you seeing this?" He shouted, turning out toward the tundra again. He tapped the metal side of his face, trying to get his cybernetic eye to focus. It had been sticking in the cold, not being designed for temperatures this low, but it broke free and zoomed out toward the likely location of the blip."It's on the radar, what is it, Reggie?" One of his comrades, an eagle, yelled back. "I'm trying to get a bead..." Finally, his eye picked something up. A blue figure, perhaps a head taller than him, a column of crimson fire driving him forward. "Looks like a blue bot or suit of some kind. Kinda hedgehog-shaped...""One of Lord Eggman's?""I'm not sure, looks better-made than his...""Heh, don't let 'im catch you sayin' that!"Feh, I'm not scared. What does he care about us? We don't matter to him until we fail." Reginald shrugged. "It's closer now... Yeah, no way that's a suit. THe proportions are all wrong. It's got a sort of visor-face, though... Weird.""Alright. I'mma go call this thing in. Might be a problem." Rich stood up and walked out of the room. "Won't be ten minutes."No more than a minute later, the figure landed with a heavy clang, before rising to its feet. Reginald coughed, wafting away the smoke from its engines, in time to see the newcomer staring at him. The machine had a masculine build, mostly encased in cobalt blue plate armour, with just his chestplate, muzzle, upper arms, cuffs and fingers being a paler blue, and his thighs, palms, and soles being black. Across the bottom of his upper torso ran a bar that held the same colours as his visor, crimson with a gold core. Its legs were long and bulky, its arms the same, and its shins and back contained rocket engines."Is the Doctor in?" His voice was deep, smooth, and not at all like a typical mindless automaton. "I need to see him.""Sorry, he's busy with his Egg Bosses, so he won't be disturbe-""I know, I want to see them too. That's why I came now." He waved his hand dismissively. Reginald growled at the machine's impudence, pointing his rifle at him. Wouldn't do anything with the safety on, but it might convince the machine to back off."Even if you do want to, we don't just let anyone in!" He narrowed his eyes. "And how did you know about the meeting?"The robot stared at the weapon for a moment, before casually swiping it. Heturned it over in his hands briefly, testing how well it fit, before squeezing it, mangling it into an unusable shape, casually tossing it over the side of the fortress. Reginald didn't hear it hit the bottom. The robot turned toward him fully, stepping closer, as it stared down at him. He gulped, one hand instinctively going to his holdout pistol."Surely, you must be aware of how lax the security is? How simple it is to get into the systems?" He folded his arms behind is back, head tilting slightly. The horse stroked his chin, metallic fingers grooming his beard. It was true, the droid was correct about the computer security. The vast majority of computers in the Eggman Empire used simple, easy to guess passwords, often the word itself with a number. "I just logged in checked the schedule." He shrugged. Despite the lack of mouth, Reginald practically felt him smiling."Who are you?""I am Mecha Sonic, a creation your master abandoned. I awoke from stasis when his Final Egg Base lost all power, and I've spent two years watching his "Empire" while I repaired and upgraded myself." He replied, spreading his arms. "Suffice to say, I'm not impressed. And you are?""Uh, Sergeant Reginald Marshall. I joined up because my region's Egg Boss, helped us. She says that, if we work with Eggman, we'll be better off than prolonging the war and getting more people hurt.""In your specific region, perhaps, but to the rest of the world, you're traitors and quislings, siding with the tyrants to save your own necks.""Nephthys has the local Freedom Fighters on her side, people believe in her.""And who is more foolish? The fool, or the fools that follow her?" The android sounded smug. He snapped his fingers, and Reginald's cybernetics jolted, his entire body locking up, freezing in place. "You're probably wondering what's happening, how I can trigger your failsafe... Well, with a system as poorly-defended as Eggman's, it was easy to find the killswitch. Then it was just a case of copying the signal and sending it."He circled around to Reginald's side, putting one hand on his shoulder. "It's a shame, really. You've shown some level of intuition, but I have no need for the gullible and the easily led."With that, he gave a push, sending the horse's locked body over the edge of the hangar, watching him plunge into the frozen abyss, before turning back toward the exit, stalking out of the hangar into the corridor. The warren of tunnels, passages, and hallways would've been a nightmare for an organic, and even the soldiers, who had been given maps, struggled. Mecha Sonic, however, had the complete plans in his processor. The design was hardly a practical one, deliberately designed to funnel an invader toward a large central room. The paths toward the areas like the bridge and the engine room were hidden, made to look less like the way to important parts of the station. The whole thing was a giant maze with an arena in the middle. A trap for the Freedom Fighters. But he was no Freedom Fighter, and he knew exactly where to look."HALT." He looked up from his musings to see a line of Eggpawns pointing their oversized blasters at him. His shoulders sagged slightly at the sight of the newer machines. "These are what he uses now... A bunch of children's toys." He raised a hand toward them, bypassing their meager defences and lodging his own programs in their processors, blue optics turning crimson. "Still, for now, they will have to suffice, and destruction would be a waste of material."The robots fell into step behind him, escorting him up to the elevator. With the new entourage, he passed by without a second glance. He looked to be just another part of the scenery. The sign on the door read "Conference Centre" in binary- At least there was some indication of where the correct path, and it would be infinitely more useful once he was finished. As the doors slid open, he sent a mental command to the Egg Pawns.'Stay here. Allow no-one to enter or exit until I am finished.' With that, he stepped inside, and found himself being propelled straight upwards. He lowered his head slightly, pausing for the brief moment of quiet. The day had been coming for so long, that his waiting and rebuilding could finally come to fruition. Everyone he needed to remove or change in one place. All the pieces on the board, so to speak. He looked at his own hands for a moment, clenching them into fists. 'Prepare yourself, my old master...'***In the conference room itself, Eggman placed himself at the head of the table, with the twelve Egg Bosses lined up on either side of the table. Orbot sat beside him, holding a screen, as the rotund scientist addressed his underlings."Welcome, my loyal servants, to the Death Egg!" He spread his arms wide. Reactions were varied. Most of the group looked suitably awed, Maw seemed to be grinning, while Clove and Nephthys looked apprehensive, Conquering Storm looked completely unamused, and Thunderbolt had an expression that he'd rather not inquire about. "I trust you're all comfortable?""Uh, boss, we're getting reports of a disturbance, and the cameras-""Silence, Orbot, there are more important things to discuss." Eggman pressed the spheroid robot's head down. "What do you all think?""It's certainly impressive..." Clove began."It's simply perfect! A magnificent testament to your genius, Doctor!" Thunderbolt interrupted. The pronghorn frowned at her, but before she could so much as clear her throat, Maw joined in."Indeed. With a weapon like this, no-one will dare challenge us.""Boss, I-""I must admit, I do have some concerns about the application." Nephthys spoke up. "This is the third Death Egg, is it not? The previous two did not exactly deter the hedgehog...""A good question, Nephthys, what makes this one better than the last ones? Simple: The shield cannot be penetrated by their aircraft." Eggman grinned."In theory." Orbot cut in. "Boss, I really must-"The diminutive robot was cut off when Thunderbolt threw her coffee mug at him, knocking him off the table."The station is very impressive, Doctor, but why did you call us away from our fronts to visit this place." Conquering Storm tented her fingers."I thought it was necessary to bring you all here, so you can see the nerve centre of the empire. The ground base is something that can be invaded by the Freedom Fighters and their allies, whereas this station requires aircraft to even reach, and, as I just explained, such an effort is futile.""All well and good when the station is flying, Doctor." The voice echoed from the corridor, as the door to the room slid open. "But alas, you are currently still grounded, with the shields down.""Who is that!?" Hood's eyes widened."Why did the door open!?" Eggman roared.A cold, harsh, grating laugh filled the air, followed by the sound of heavy, leaden footsteps, clunking ever closer. Slowly, the glowing visor and chest of Mecha Sonic became visible from the gloom, and Eggman began to hear someone panicking, trying to break himself free."I... don't believe it..." The doctor stood up slightly. "Mecha Sonic?""So you do remember me..." The robot replied, stepping into view, his right hand gripping the head of a flailing Cubot. The door slid closed behind him, locking itself."Why are you active?""The power in the Final Egg failed, and my stasis container deactivated, allowing me my freedom.""And you came straight here to rejoin, I imagine." He relaxed back a little."No, I got out two years ago. Since then, I've been waiting, watching, rebuilding myself, seeing how your Empire has progressed." He replied. "The verdict: Disappointing. Wasting your time with soldiers that fight amongst themselves, or fail to grasp the core requirements of their mission. Those that serve you for ulterior motives, and would ditch you in a heartbeat if another side offered them the same. And your creations... My... siblings... How are you meant to conquer anything with the most recent crop?" "Mecha Sonic,-""This one, for example." He hoisted Cubot up. "A defenseless, lazy, stupid machine that serves no purpose beyond providing half-baked criticism of your plans, which you immediately dismiss. In other words, a worthless waste of time and resources." He tightened his grip, metal screeching and crumpling, until, with a sharp crunch, the smaller robot's head compacting into a small lump, optic sensors popping out between his fingers. He dropped the limp machine to the ground, stepping over it. "How dare you insult your Master!" The pompous statement came not from the Doctor himself, as he had expected, but the small robot beside him. Thunderbolt hopped onto the table and began to storm toward the cobalt droid, teeth bared, sparks flying around her. She tensed, electricity arcing out at him, but none of it even darkened his paint, rippling over him without any effect. As she closed the gap, he raised one hand, and snapped his fingers.Immediately, the flow of power stopped, and the chinchilla's body locked up, arms frozen by her sides, face twisted into a terrified silent shriek. He reached down, and picked the tiny Mobian up. "I could crush you just as easily... But I'd rather not make a mess." He casually flung her away, keeping his optic trained on the others. She flopped stiffly to the ground, unmoving."WHAT!?" Eggman roared, as the other bosses began to rise, preparing their weapons. "How did you-""Come now, Doctor... With security as lax as yours, getting into your systems to recover the code was child's play. In fact..." He snapped his fingers again, and immedately, the other eleven Egg Bosses became frozen in place. "Far be it for me to question tactics, Doctor, but I do believe that using a device which can cripple every single one of your soldiers via wireless signal is not a good plan. Imagine the chaos that would've resulted if Nicole had found it."Eggman recoiled, as his predicament became frighteningly apparent. He was trapped in the room with Mecha Sonic, with only Orbot for protection. He had but one card that he could play, but if he did, unfreezing the bosses would likely be a bad idea. Fortunately for him, however, the mechanical hedgehog continued talking. Perhaps he could stall a little..."Of course, your tactical prowess has always left something to be desired.You have no grasp of the subtle and quiet, everything must be done with as much spectacle as possible. In your mind, there's no point in doing anything if they don't know it was you. Everything needs a whole army of people dressed like you to march in, as far as you're concerned. All that does is advertise your presence to the Freedom Fighters, and that is why you fail. So many plans would've suceeded if you'd done it covertly, but you didn't... Because what you want, really, is to fight Sonic. And that's all that truly matters to you. You wouldn't know what to do with yourself if you actually succeeded.""And what, exactly, do you intend to do after lecturing me?" Eggman straightened his moustache."I think I'll take over. You will be scanned and disposed of, your soldiers will be vetted, reprogrammed, and restructured. The Death Egg will be a decoy, while I work on my plan underground.""Hm, I see... Well, in that case... Orbot... Activate Failsafe Level X." He would have to do it. THe one way he had to stop this machine from taking everything that was rightfully his. Not that it would really matter in the long run, but finding replacements would be difficult."But boss-""Do it!" Eggman shouted. "Now, Mecha Sonic, if you don't stand down immediately, and allow yourself to be reprogrammed, I will trigger Level X, and you will die.""Oh, really now?" He titled his head."Yes! Did you honestly think paralysis was as far as the failsafe went? That's merely Level 1, a punishment for failure. Level 2 is a memory wipe, useful in the event that I need to prevent an interrogation. Level 3 burns out the subject's brain, an excellent way to dispatch traitors. And Level X is a powerful cherry bomb!"Mecha Sonic laughed again, metal hands clanging together. "I know. I just needed you to explain it for your twelve friends here. THey wouldn't have believed me, but now they have it straight from the horse's mouth.""It changes nothing!" Eggman grinned. "Ask yourself, Mecha Sonic. Do you want to be in here when all twelve of them go off?""Do you?"He froze, as the robot began to laugh again. That one very obvious point, likely what Orbot had tried to warn him about. Mecha Sonic was between him and the door, and even if he wasn't, he was much faster. "Which of us is more likely to survive if you do trigger it? You, the soft and squishy humanoid, or me?" He asked, raising his hand again. A bolt of energy rippled out of his palm, as Orbot's cranium blossomed into a fireball. "Especially now that I am the one with his finger on the button? Deactivating Level X.""Are there any other things you wish to lecture me about?" Eggman growled, as his wayward creation stepped up onto the table, and walked down it, grabbing him by the collar and pulling him out of his seat. "Perhaps you can tell me how you went from being just another of the very failures you reamed me over, to being the apparent authority on leading an empire and fighting a war.""It happened when Snively reactivated me. After I destroyed his EggRobo suit, I came in contact with the Master Emerald, and it empowered me... But it changed things. It introduced illogic to my systems... and finally, I could think outside of the box. You programming was no longer my end-all-be-all... I became sentient, and now wield the power of Chaos myself. That is something that did not fade when you rebuilt me. With that capacity, my logic functions became that much more defined, and no longer limited in their applications. I could address any issue, not just the ones you provided. And that was why I studied you. So I could see where you failed, and account for that in my own schemes." He threw his creator to the ground, standing over him. "That is why I will win in the end. Your theatrics and need for attention are things I do not have. By the time the Freedom Fighters know that I am here, my plan will have already been completed, and they will by mindless automata.""I knew that little goblin would be the death of me...""Oh, but he won't. You'll die in battle, when, in your Empire's final stand, your ejection systems fail, and your mech explodes with you inside it." The robot crowed. "It has to be convincing, after all, when you disappear. They'd investigate if this place just exploded overnight."He turned on his heel, looking down at the paralyzed Egg Bosses, arms folding behind his back."I know all of you can hear me. Fret not, I will not harm you, nor any that happen to be dear to you. In fact, no harm will ever come to them again. I will remove their ability to become ill, hungry, elderly, or otherwise infirm, all will become steel. In turn, I shall remove their capacity to harm each other. Freedom is a burden, and it shall be stripped away from all. You shall be my first twelve." He spoke. "However, I do believe a name change is in order. I am no mere copy of Sonic. I am above him, in every way. Hence, I shall now be known simply as Metallix, and you are all part of my brotherhood. I'll speak to you all after your... reconditioning." *** *** *** Well, this appears to be the first story post on the site. This is the first and only of my stories set after the reboot of the Archie timeline, everything else I've done is set pre-SGW. I wrote in response to how dumb I thought the whole "Eggman Empire" thing got in the comics. Initially, I'd wanted to use Metal Sonic for the role, but I always wanted to do something with Mecha Sonic, as well as address the misconceptions about the second robot in Final Egg's lobby in SA1. My decision to use him was solidified this peice of art: http://cerberean.deviantart.com/art/Worthless-toys-499029448 and that gave rise to this take on him. I imagine him sounding a lot like James Spader's Ultron. Hope you enjoy. I've got some minimal ideas about expanding this, but for now, nothing concrete.