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Fiona strode confidently into Casinopolis, eyes flitting across the various patrons under Mammoth Mogul’s protection. She glanced at her watch- Several hours had passed since she left Freedom HQ, so any hope of rescuing Scourge before the combined force of the Freedom Fighters and Suppression Squad overwhelmed him was looking thin. She’d need to at least go to Moebius in order rescue him, putting her options for new minions much narrower. A thought crossed her mind, that the Squad might not imprison him, but instead kill him- They’d made no secret of their contempt for him, and had even tried to sway her to their side, but she’d remained steadfast in her loyalty to him.She swelled with pride for a moment, before a more familiar voice rang through her memories.“Keep telling yourself that.”Sonic’s arguments stuck in her mind, much moreso than she wanted to admit. Her pride faltered, superseded by anger at herself. Her face hardened, snarling involuntarily at her own weaknesses- She’d cried in front of him. Before, she had stepped on his heart, struck his closest friend as hard as she could, and tore into him over his failure to save her, and it had only made him angry. And yet, with a few simple words, he had reduced her to a quivering, sobbing wreck. Her trip had been spent agonizing as to why this happened, and she still had no answers. A part of her screamed that perhaps his points were correct, but she shrugged it off, stomped the voice down. She’d been doing that a lot lately, since she had joined Finitevus’ plans.Realising that the other patrons were staring at her, her eyes widened for a moment, glaring defensively back. She had half a mind to ask what they were staring at, but currently she had no backup, so aggravating them was a bad idea, especially since she intended to try and recruit some of them. With all eyes on her, save for one- a figure with a distinctive purple, crooked tail, wrapped in a greatcoat, head covered with a stetson, sat at the bar- evidently, Nack was drowning his sorrows again- she smirked.“Hello, everybody. My name is Fiona Fox, and I’m here to recruit people for a little rescue operation.” She paused to gauge reactions- Most of them were still watching her quietly, but Nack seemed to be shifting slightly, turning on his barstool. “A close personal friend of mine got into some hot water with the Freedom Fighters and their counterparts from the anti-Mobius, and chances are they’ve taken him back there. They might’ve killed him, but with any luck, they haven’t, and we can get in there and save him.”“Who’s “We”? a voice called out. She turned to look at them, but she didn’t recognise the face.“Well, me, and anyone who comes with me.”“And what’s in it for us?”“Well, my friend managed to conquer Anti-Mobius, or Moebius, as we call it now. Planet full of psychopaths and maniacs, and he took it all over, bent it to his will, in a week. Even made me his queen. If we rescue him, we can do that again, even easier, and then you’ve got all the money, power, and anything else you need, no worries.”“Doesn’t sound so bad. Anything we’ve got to worry about?”“Well, there is the Suppression Squad. “Evil” versions of the Freedom Fighters, except Sonic and Amy. They’re not quite sane, willing to kill, all that stuff.” She replied. Immediately, the rows of interested faces looked awkwardly at each other, then at her, and returned to their drinks, ignoring the vixen again.“And just like that, you’ve lost ‘em.” Another familiar voice echoed through the room. It seemed to have come from Nack, but the voice was definitely a woman’s. The weasel turned, and stood up, looking straight at Fiona. There were certainly similarities between her and Nack, but her muzzle was shorter, her torso covered by a white bodysuit, her boots lacking the brown toes, her gloves reaching her elbows. The distinctive enlarged fang was gone, and she shifted her hat, allowing long purple locks to fall down behind her. “Nic?” The vixen paused. Immediately, several of the patrons were pointing guns at the weasel, who rolled her eyes.“I don’t know why you’re bothering. Nack won’t pay you, even if you do kill me. I also don’t know why you all think you can get something good from helping the guy whose biggest claim to fame is “I got kicked in the nuts by Princess Sally and beaten half-to-death by Amy Rose”. But what the hell, if you want to try and take me on...” She reached inside her coat, pulling out a pair of oversized handguns. Within a few seconds, every single glass in the room had been shot out, followed by the lights. She slipped a pair of night vision goggles onto her face. “... bring it on.”The assorted criminals sat still for a moment, silently daring each other to make the first move. One of them pulled the hammer back, and, with another cacophony of gunfire, the weasel relieved each one of their weapons.“I didn’t get where I was without getting to be a really good shot. Seriously thought you guys would’ve got that.” She mocked a sigh, sauntering past them, towards her former partner. Fiona smiled, closing the gap as the weasel pocketed her weapons and removed the goggles.“Nic, it’s gre- Ow!” She was cut off when the weasel sharply pinched her ear, tugging her toward the exit. “You’ve got some serious explaining to do, young lady.” SHe hissed over her shoulder, kicking the door open.“Ow ow ow ow, quit it!” She shouted, as they reached the cold night air, slapping Nic’s hand away. She reached up, rubbing her sore ear, glaring at her. “What was that for?!”“You mind telling me what you’re doing? Running around, trying to raise an army to take over another Mobius. And doing it all while dressing like a skank. I thought I raised you better than this.”“Oh, what, are you gonna call me out for being ‘bad’ now? The bounty hunter-come-treasure thief?”“There’s a line, Fi. Conquering worlds is well over it.” Nic folded her arms. “Hey, it was Scourge’s idea, not mine!”“Scourge... Scourge!? You threw in with Scourge!?” She grabbed Fiona’s shoulders, shoving her against the wall. “Are you insane? Or just plain stupid?”“Hey, he’s not as bad as people say he is!”“He’s trying to conquer planets! He calls himself Scourge! He’s a liar, a traitor, a mass-murderer, a pervert! And he works for Finitevus!”“What’s wrong with Finitevus?”“Oh, I don’t know, how about the whole “Burn the world to ash and rebuild it his way” schtick?” She retorted. “You’re trying to destroy one world and conquer another, throwing in behind Scourge. And the crazy part is that you don’t even realise what you’re becoming.”“Oh, what am I becoming?” She sneered.“Well, I want you answer this: How are you any better than Robotnik?”Fiona threw a punch at Nic, who nonchalantly titled her head away from the blow. The vixen swung again, the weasel’s fingers closing around her wrist. She twisted it slightly, sending a twinge of pain through her arm. “Don’t compare me to him! I’m nothing like him!”“Answer my question, Fi. Tell me how you’re better than him. Tell me how serving Scourge and Finitevus is any better than Nack helping the lardass.”“I...”“You can’t answer, can you?”“I’m not like him...” She murmured, arm relaxing.“You’re supporting people who are just as bad, or worse in the case of Finitevus.” Nic replied, releasing her arm. “And I want to know why.”“Because I love Scourge! You wouldn’t understand that, but it’s true!”“And that’s worth all the wrongs you’re going to commit? All the atrocities you’ll support?”“I-”“Think long and hard about that one, Fi.” The weasel’s voice was suddenly lower, softer, and several orders of magnitude more threatening. Fiona shrank back as much as she could with her back against the wall. Nic could be very loud. She was very good at it, and it projected the aura of a hair-trigger temper. But in truth, Nic was a very patient woman. Her shouting was often just a way to let off steam. When she really became enraged, Nic became very quiet, very cold. Almost mechanical. “And how about Finitevus?”“Scourge worked for him.”“And that’s it? That’s why you do things now? Because Scourge does them?” Nic rolled her eyes. “You know, Fiona, you’re standing awfully well for a girl without a backbone.”“Doing things together is what couples do, Nic!”“And how many times has he taken you somewhere you wanted to go?”“Loads-”“That you wanted to go to for reasons other than “Scourge said so”?”“Uh...” She paused. There hadn’t been a single time. In fact, Scourge had never even asked her. Nic noticed the silence, smiling grimly.“What even is there to love about him? What attracted you to him?”“Well, he was more fun than Sonic, for one thing. For a roguish charming hero, “ol’ blue” wasn’t half dull.” Fiona shrugged.“Maybe because he was on the rebound from dating a princess? Shoulda seen that he was still hurting and said no.”“I asked him.”“Well, then you’ve got no-one to blame but yourself. You basically stamped “Rebound Girl” on your forehead. You locked yourself into a dead-end relationship, and Scourge exploited that. Hell, that relationship is the entire reason he wanted you.”“Huh?”“Don’t you see, Fiona?” Nic sighed. “You’re not his girlfriend. You’re his trophy. Scourge only wants you because you were Sonic’s girl. If Sonic had still been with Sally, he wouldn’t have given you a second glance. I met him once. ‘Bout two months ago. He was drunk off his ass, probably couldn’t remember the encounter if you asked him, because he spent most of the evening sleeping on a bowl of pretzels. He tried chatting me up. I knew who he was, but I decided to humour him. See if I couldn’t get him to spill a bit on FInitevus’ plans. Then I could sell the details to GUN, they love getting stuff like that. And it worked. That’s how I knew about the albino freakshow’s deal. ‘Course, he gave me the whole life story first.”“If he gave you the whole story, how come you didn’t know I was with him?” Fiona asked.“He never mentioned your name. He just mentioned some “dumb bimbo” that he’d managed to get to follow him away from Sonic. Guess that’s you. Of course, he mentioned this while his eyes were glued to the barmaid’s tits, very classy.”“He was drunk! He’s different when he’s sober.”“Hopefully he’s better at seducing people, or there’s something seriously wrong with you.” Nic smirked. “Anyway, he mentioned that he spent more time going after Bunnie Rabbot and Amy Rose. He made a pass at the “dumb bimbo”, but she didn’t take his fancy. Apparently, she didn’t appeal until Sonic went for her, at which point, well, you became priority target. The only reason he even cares about you is because you were Sonic’s girlfriend. You’re his ace over Sonic, as long as Sonic still cares, Scourge will keep you as a memento to his bruised ego. But the moment Sonic gets over you, and Scourge realises that... you’re screwed.”“I-”“Do you understand me now, Fi? You’re becoming no better than the man that tortured you as a child, all so you can keep being the brainless arm-candy for a psychopath that doesn’t even care about you. That’s all there is to it... So, are you going to wake up and do something about this, or do I have to make you?”“How do I know if I can trust you or not?”“Because you’re my little sister, and I won’t ever lie to you?”“Bull, you lied to me before!”“To protect you. And look what happened, it totally worked. If I’d told you the truth about that little excursion, we both know you would’ve run in half-cocked and got seriously hurt.”“Alright, alright...” Fiona said. Her ears drooped, eyes shut tightly. She slid down the wall into a sitting position, pulling her knees closer to herself, her head slumping into them. Her tail wrapped around her body, and her shoulders shook, as the first bitter, angry sobs shook her small frame. “I believe you.”Nic sat down beside her, pulling her into a gentle embrace, guiding Fiona to lean on her shoulder. Carefully, she pulled several pins out of Fiona’s hair, and it fell down into a more natural look, but not quite the curled style she had worn before.“What do we do now?”“I’m taking you home, to my place. We’ll get you cleaned up, get you something decent to wear, and then we can work out how to fix the mess you caused for the Freedom Fighters.”Fiona nodded, and allowed Nic to lift her up, carefully carrying her to the hoverbike she had left outside the casino. “Say Fi, I’ve had a few... Think you can drive this thing?”“Of course I can.” Fiona nodded, smiling weakly.***That evening, the two quasi-siblings sat on a couch in Nic’s apartment, Fiona once again leaning on Nic. She now wore a loose-fitting t-shirt and sweats, her hair and fur now properly groomed once more.“I feel so stupid...” She finally said. The duo had sat in relative silence for a while, leaving each other to their own thoughts.“Well, in a way, good. You can see where you’ve erred, and you won’t do it again.” The weasel shrugged. “Right?”“When you mentioned the mess I made of the Freedom Fighters... You don’t know the half of it.”“Hm?”“I... I managed to piss off just about all of them, even the ones that didn’t know me much. Amy came at with the hammer while I was trying to sneak off to meet Scourge, I mocked and ridiculed Sonic for trying to help people, Sally hates my guts and thinks of me as nothing more than a traitor... Tails... Oh gods, Tails...”“The half-pint? What’d you do to him?”“He was nuts about me... and I stepped on his heart twice, and then when I left, I slapped him in the face!”“Okay, why the hell did you do that?”“Scourge said I had to... Said I had to do something that would hurt Sonic as much as possible... Said I should hurt his sidekick. Especially after I let slip about his crush...”“Word of advice: If Scourge tells you that you should do something, ignore him.”“Oh brilliant, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I’m a whole universe away from him.” The vixen groaned. Nic smirked slightly, before sighing. “Well, you’ve got a lot to make up for.” She said. “So how do we deal with this?”“You’re gonna help me?” She stared at Nic.“Sisters, remember?”“Okay, okay...” Fiona nodded. She stood up and walked over to the window, quietly watching the rain running down the glass. “Honestly, I don’t know what I can do. I guess, well, the first step would be an apology... But I don’t think that will cover it. I doubt they’ll ever trust me again... but I guess that’s only fair.”“I’ve got a bit of a plan myself... We’re going to find your ex, and put a bullet between his eyes. If anything screams “Change of Heart”, it’s shooting the jackass in the face.”“Or it could make me look like even more of an opportunist traitor...”“Okay, good point.”“Make no mistake, Nic. If he’s alive, we’ll kill him. But it has to be in a way that doesn’t make us look worse.”“So now you’re on-board with killing him?”“I threw away my life for his lies. I had everything I wanted, and I was too blind to see it. And then he came in and told me all the things I wanted to hear, and what did it amount to? Being queen of a planet where everyone wanted to kill us and take our position. And now I feel like I’ve got nowhere to go from here... He ruined me, Nic.” She hissed, hand balling into a fist as she turned to face her friend again.“It’s one of those things, Fi... You never know how good you have it, until you lose it all. I didn’t even realise how much I needed you until you left...”“Then I suppose there’s my answer to where I go next...” Fiona mused. “Here. I’m staying with you.”“Really?”“You need me.”“I was thinking that I’d come with you. Fi, I can’t have this life anymore. With Nack after me I barely get any work, and I can’t support myself. I keep having to move out of places every time he finds where I live, on the off-chance he gets lucky.”“So you want me to try and get back in Sally’s good graces?”“Maybe. Maybe we find another team. Maybe we make our own. However it happens, we break into the Freedom-Fighting business.”“You know that Freedom Fighters don’t kill unless they absolutely have to, right?”“Well, we absolutely have to make sure nobody goes through what you did.” Nic replied, putting her hands on Fiona’s shoulders, before pulling her into a hug. “That’s why we’re going to do this.”“Alright.” Fiona nodded. “What do we do about Nack?”“Beat him up, and dump him on the Freedom Fighters’ door. They’ll take care of him.”“Okay then... Let’s do it.” The vixen smiled. “One thing: I’m gonna need a new weapon.”“Oh, that can be arranged.” Nic smirked. “I nabbed these handy little devices called shock gauntlets. I think you’ll like them. I’ll get you some new clothes too. And it’ll look a lot better and be a lot more comfortable than that... thing... Scourge got you.”“Thank you.” The two embraced. “So what’s with the new look?”“The fang was making eating and talking hard. Plus, it was a bit of a turn-off to any prospective partners. I grew my hair out because people kept mistaking me for Nack.”“Even with the chest?”“Yes.”“How many people have you shot, or otherwise injured, because of that?”“A few.”“Damn. And the coat?”“It has loads of pockets for my gear. And it looks badass.”“Can’t disagree.” She nodded.“Want one?”“Nic, you know my tail’s kinda sensitive. I’ll have a shorter one.”“Okay. Now, let’s go get those shock gauntlets.”***The next day, in Freedom HQ, the Knothole Freedom Fighters sat around the main table, blueprints, plans, and documents laid out in front of them, along with a three-dimensional map, projected from Nicole.“Okay, what are we hitting today, Sal?” Sonic asked. “We need to put Eggman on the back foot before we assault the Eggdome. If we hit him now, he’ll be ready for something. If we knock him off-kilter, then it’ll be easier to hit him again, hard, while he’s still reeling. Fortunately, we have a way to do that.” Sally replied.“So, what’s the target, Sally-Gal?”“Eggman’s getting a shipment of something important today. We have reason to suspect it’s a new weapon or power source of some sort. It’s got heavy security, whatever it is.” Nicole zoomed the map in on the landing strip.“How do we know he’s not just going to extreme lengths to project his lunch again?” Tails spoke up.“Well, we got tipped off, thanks to Geoffrey’s team. They saw something being loaded up yesterday, and whatever it is, it was putting out a lot of energy.” The squirrel explained. “So we’re going to go there, steal whatever it is, get Nicole to plant some nasty viruses in the Eggnet and steal some files from the ship’s computer, and blow up the landing strip, and the craft with it.”“Alright, I like the sound of that.” Sonic nodded.“Now, Rotor has already got the explosives loaded up, and Tails has provided a new transport craft- The Special’s getting old, and it’s not at all quick in comparison to the fighters Eggman uses now.”“I created a Magnetic Mass Accelerator. It was supposed to be an upgrade for Bunnie’s cannon, but its far to big to be a personal weapon, so I put it on the new plane!”“And... in English?”“Railgun.”“Oh, nice!”“Thanks!”“Anyway... Antoine has run through the risk assessment, and this one’s going to be a little harder than usual. Security is tight, so we’re going to need some solid overwatch. Fortunately, Rotor will be keeping the plane airborne and using the weapon systems to cover us while we attack on the ground. Since landing won’t be safe, this is an air-drop, so if you can’t fly or take long drops, bring a parachute.”As Sally finished explaining, a Warp Ring split the air above them, and Nack the Weasel fell out, crashing into the table. He seemed to be unconscious, hands cuffed behind his back, with a letter taped to his tail. The ring snapped shut, leaving the assembled team staring at the sudden new arrival. “Uh... not exactly what I’d call a present...” Sonic mused, nudging him. “He’s out cold… Want me to run him down to the jail?”“Nicole, scan the envelope. Make sure it’s not a letter bomb.” Antoine spoke up.“Already done. It isn’t.”“Well, what is it?” Amy asked. Sally took the letter, opened it, and pulled out a single sheet of paper.“It says… ‘Dear Freedom Fighters, I’m writing this to let you know that you’ve got a pair of unorthodox allies. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve got a long road ahead of me before I can hold my head high in public again, but and with my Sis’ help, I’ll be done in no time. Hopefully you can consider this a first step. He was going to be a thorn in our sides, so we let him come to us, got the drop on him, and sent him on over. All the best… Fiona Indigo Fox…’”“‘P.S: We’re taking Bean and Bark on as our team-mates, so don’t worry about them.’” Sonic added, leaning over Sally’s shoulder.“Well, Ah’ll be…”“She has a sister?”“Nah, Ames. S’what she always called Nic the Weasel. They were like family apparently, somewhere between a sister and a mother. Nic was to Fi what the rest of us were to Tails…”“Guys, look, there’s something else in the envelope!” Tails piped up, barely believing his ears. Sonic swiped it, and pulled the second piece out. “It’s a photo.” He said, putting it on the desk. It showed Fiona, now clad in a familiar yellow-and-white outfit, with a belt across her chest, her upper body wrapped in a short white coat. She was embracing Nic with one arm, the other holding up a “peace” gesture,the weasel mirroring her position, her free arm adjusting her hat. Her arms were encased in shiny golden gauntlets, with blue circles on the backs of the palms. “Heh… guess we’ve got some extra backup for the big one…” *** Uploading more oneshots before I start on any of my larger works. THis one is set just before Issue 198-200. I like Nic a lot more than her design would really merit. She's got a fairly interesting history, and I especially like playing her off against Fiona. Normally, I write them with a more parental bond, but their exact relationship here was decided by poll on DA, back when I had a premium. This Fiona should probably also set the tone for the versions of her that I'll bring in for future stories. Hope you enjoy.