The eighth chapter of Flashfire212's Book Two: The Sickness.
Chapter Eight: Ronan's Gambit Edit
Kyle, Charles and Ronan sat in Tails’ lab, building the Inhibitor Gates.
“Ronan, explain to me this: how did you end up here?” Uncle Chuck asked. Ronan laughed.
“Well, I run a weapons and prototype laboratory, called Hammerforge Industries. We are very successful, and sell weapons and equipment to people in other dimensions and zones. Most recently, we were working on Project Vorstec, a multi-world teleportation system. We use Chicken Man for all tests, because he’s indestructible and too stupid to feel pain. We weren’t expecting Project Vorstec to work, but Chicken Man disappeared, so I followed him, first in a bio-suit than like I am now.”
“You… You’re a …” Kyle spluttered. Ronan just nodded.
“Yes. I’m a weapons designer. However, these Inhibitor Gates were designed by me. Hammerforge Industries makes everything. I prefer being called a scientist.”
“You’re a lifesaver, sir.” Charles stroked the thick white moustache that adorned his muzzle. Kyle nodded agreement. Both were taken aback as Ronan shook his head.
“Actually, these gates are the lifesavers. All I’m doing is showing you the way to make ‘em. I don’t need anything for this, but to use the Star Posts to send myself and Chicken Man back to my world.”
“I assure you, Ronan, that you will be praised, and could probably expect not payment but a position here as well, not to mention a second lab…”
“And more help!” Kyle piped in. Ronan grinned.
“Aw, well, thanks guys. We’re halfway done,” he said, pointing towards the four inhibitor gates spread around on the bench top, “Why don’t we have a bite to eat, then get back to work.”
“Good idea, Ronan.” Charles got up and walked over to the bar fridge Tails had had moved into place. Kyle had already put everything down and grabbed a packet of chips and a bottle of soft drink, then flopped back into his seat, stuffing his face. Charles pulled out a sandwich, as well as a bottle of water. He joined Kyle in eating, although he noticed Ronan didn’t stop working on the Inhibitor Gate he was working on, the unique final gate. Ronan looked up, still screwing in the small shard he had made with fragments of a Chaos Emerald and a Super Emerald, as well as a small Sol Emerald piece Tails gave him. Suddenly, Shadow’s 4-year-old son Cade raced in, closely followed by his dad.
“We have a problem: an army is marching down on us. You guys better get ready, because in a day or two we’re going to be overrun, unless we think of some strategy to beat them,” Shadow muttered, scooping Cade up into his arms. Instantly, Ronan was out of his seat, demanding to see what kind of forces they had, and how big an army was coming. Shadow raised his hands and snapped his fingers once, creating a warp portal.
“Why don’t you join me in the Monolith’s tactical control room and find out?”
Ronan was unhappy to see just what sort of forces he had: mostly hedgehogs, with a handful of others.
“It’s not that I don’t like hedgehogs, I just find them…annoying. Seriously, the main set of forces I have here that I value is the Chaotix. Sorry, Shadow, but I don’t think we have enough people, even including you and Sonic, to beat that army.”
“It’s all about tactics. That army is mostly Dark Legionnaires and Dark Acolytes, with a fair few badniks and some unknowns. Therefore, if you focus on clearing out an area, we might be able to force them back,” Rouge muttered, having arrived from behind Ronan. He didn’t look surprised, still completely focused on the screens.
“I take it Dark Legionnaires are ranged, while Acolytes are melee? The numbers are consistent so that the Acolytes will destroy anyone who warps into the midst of their army. The badniks and unknowns are also spread out throughout. Here’s how I’d set up the defenses.” Ronan pressed a series of buttons on a panel, showing a tactical arrangement where the Chaotix, with Shadow and Sonic with them, in the center, with Rouge and Tails covering either side with firearms from the walls. Cream and Kyle would support from above with bombing runs, while Amy and a lot of the kids hung back as secondary reinforcements to reinforce Rouge and Tails if they got overrun.
“Don’t forget us!” a very familiar voice piped up. This time, Ronan turned to find a small group of people led by BloodSonic.
“We’ve got the flanks. Vic and I’ll lead left, Comet and Joineth will hold right. OK?”
“Fine.” Ronan wasn’t in the mood for witty retorts, instead spinning and facing the screen again.
“We might be able to do this, if we can smoke them out.”
“Smoke them out? This isn’t beetles in a cigarette factory, Ronan. This is an army. Which reminds me, am I allowed to smoke in here?”
“No. Besides, I mean those trees. Blood, does any of your friends control fire?”
“Yeah, I do, and there are plenty more around the place,” Comet said, stepping towards Ronan. “Why?”
“I’ve got a plan. Gather them together, then meet me here. I will wait.” Ronan walked over to a table, then opened walked out for five seconds, returning with a chessboard. Rouge watched, intrigued, as Blood and the others left, closely followed by Shadow, with a few leaves of a random plant, and some paper. Ronan set up the pieces, continuously leaving and coming back with more and more pieces from different games.
Soon, Comet arrived with a large array of allies. Shadow had returned as well, although his pupils had shrunk a lot from his smoke. Rouge turned to him.
“What kind of plant did you use?” she asked. Shadow shrugged.
“I dunno. I found it on the side of the road near our house.” Ronan cleared his throat, bringing everyone’s attention to his chessboard.
“I’ve arrayed out my plans. Here’s the enemy army,” he said, gesturing to the large clump of black chess pieces and checkers, “Here’s the Chaotix.” he pointed to the pack of white chess pieces, “And here’s the two side flanking forces.” He pointed at two groups of mixed pieces from at least seven different board games.
“Ok, so where do we come in?” Comet pressed. Ronan raised his hands in a calming gesture.
“Wait for me to finish, I think,” Ronan pulled out a camera, and took a photo of the board from above, then input it into the computer, creating a digital image of the array.
“They are probably going to keep pushing towards us, ignoring the forest that’s between us and them.” The digital image had a red arrow appear between the black army and the small white force, ignoring a green band between them.
“Then, they would probably engage and easily outnumber all our forces, including reinforcements and flank assaulters.” Ronan finished, waiting for the obvious questions to start popping up. He wasn’t disappointed.
“That doesn’t explain us being here!” Comet exploded. Everybody except Shadow nodded. Shadow just shivered, than grabbed his head.
“I don’t think that plant was good for me…” he groaned. Rouge rolled her eyes, as everyone watched Shadow stagger out.
“After that interruption, I shall answer,” Ronan started, “When I saw the forest, I though fire. If we could light the fire, than get the Chaotix to fan the flames, then we could have a wall of fire between them and us, slowing them down and giving us time to prepare properly, as well as get Will’s surgery started.”
“What!” Rouge yelled, “Start the surgery? But you need Tails for that, and…and…”
“And you doubt my idea. Well, the second sharpshooter has made himself known. He is 15, and he has a broken leg, so he cannot enter the main fray, but he could serve as a sniper.” Rouge started getting that sinking feeling, because she realized just whom the fifteen-year-old sniper was.
“Shade,” she whispered.
“What?” asked Dawn, who had just joined them, due to her Solar Sun Beams, was one of the fire starters.
“Shade’s the other sniper. Why Shade?”
“He volunteered. Besides, it lets him do something,” Ronan replied. Shadow returned, with an icepack on his head, but he still heard that.
“Rouge, honey, we have to get ready. Shade’s a great hand with weapons, like me. He’s a crack shot, and might give you some competition, not to mention he’d be safer sniping than in the fray. What do you say?”
“Oh, fine. What else is in your plan, Ronan?” She asked, drained. He lifted up a rifle, which she didn’t recognize.
“This is a Hammerforge Industries multi-ammunition rifle. It can shoot any kind of ammunition, from sniper rounds to rifle rockets. I have two here, so you take one to Shade, and try it out yourself,” Ronan said, handing her two bags of ammunition. Rouge took it and left, unsure.
“Comet, people, I want you to position yourselves in the edges of the forest, ready to fire when you see a golden rocket overhead, which Rouge will fire. Got it?”
“Rodger, GUN command. Over,” Shadow muttered. Dawn hit the back of his head.
“We got it, Ronan. Shadow’s still getting off his ‘trip’, so don’t expect something smart from him for the next half-hour at least.”
“Gottit.” Ronan turned to face Comet and his group. “And your response is…”
“Defiantly. You got us for the long haul, Ronan. No worries.”
“Good. Now, get ready, because we have a day to get everyone ready.” Comet and the others left. Ronan turned, and faced the chessboard.
“Was I right not to tell them…?” he murmured. Rouge walked back in, followed by Shade in a wheelchair.
“Ronan, we had a couple of questions for you,” Rouge said. Ronan motioned for them to continue, turning to face them.
“Well, I want to know where you got these! They look identical to a PT-80 sniper rifle used by GUN,” Shade asked, holding one of the rifles Ronan had given Rouge. Ronan grinned.
“PT-80, you say? Well, I recall selling GUN a supply of Hammerforge PT-80 snipers, which are the basic version of the multi-ammunition rifle you hold. Turns out that they had some of those PT-80s here in the Monolith, which Tails let me work on last night in case of this happening.” Shade appeared content with that answer, and wheeled himself out of there. Rouge stayed behind.
“You have a question too,” Ronan pointed out. Rouge frowned.
“Why should we trust you?” she asked. Ronan didn’t look surprised.
“I was expecting this question. I suppose you have no choice.”
“What do you mean, no choice?”
“I’m saving that echidna boy’s life, forming tactics to save this entire city, and you think I can help it? I can’t. All the scientists trust me, why don’t you?”
“Let’s say a lot of us can’t trust someone who can’t fight.” Ronan frowned, then pointed at Rouge’s rifle.
“A shootout then. The training rooms, you with that, me with any weapon I like from the armories, five minutes. OK?”
“Fine.” Rouge turned around, then left. Ronan followed, then turned to go straight into the armories. He flicked through all the crates of weapons, ignoring most of the stuff, including the PT-80s, until his hands closed around a small blue ball. He pulled it out, then released it. It hovered there, with a flaming-style glow surrounding it. Ronan laughed, then grabbed it again, before walking out to the training rooms. Shadow, Shade and Blood were already there, with Knuckles and the Chaotix arriving at the same time as Ronan. Rouge was already positioned towards the targets, testing the rifle for what it could do. Ronan just jumped and flew down, so he was pointing the same way.
“What’cha got?” Rouge asked. Ronan just laughed, then opened his hand. The small orb floated up and out, before it sat next to his ear.
“A Will’o’Wisp,” he said. Rouge frowned.
“Looks like some kind of grenade.” Ronan just pointed towards the targets.
“Your shot.” Rouge lined up, then fired six times rapidly, scoring a large amount of hits, no bull’s-eyes, but still a very good display. Ronan didn’t even blink.
“Attack,” he stated. Instantly, the Will’o’Wisp turned red and raced into the target, slamming itself into the bull’s-eye point, before flying back. Ronan then pulled at his gloves, revealing four more. They all turned red and tore the target to shreds. Everyone froze. Rouge’s jaw dropped so it was almost lying on her boobs.
“How... how did....” she stammered. Ronan gave a dark grin.
“Nobody banned robots. The Will’o Wisps are my bodyguards, as you just saw. I can also fight, but I don’t like to.”
“So, you cheated,” Rouge said. Ronan didn’t even think with his response.
“There is no cheating in war. I would know, being a weapons dealer. When a new deal comes, you have to trust it, or hope that they can be trusted. In this case, you just have to trust me, and I will prove that I am trustworthy. Do I have your trust, even for just now?”
“Anyone with a mind for tactics like that defiantly has my trust!” she shouted. Ronan laughed.
“Let’s prepare then, because we have a day or two before we get hit with a large army.” There was no need to say that twice.