Silver weakly opened his eyes. His head was pounding, and his vision was blurry, but he could tell just from the atmosphere around him that he was underground or in a cave. The sounds of electrical equipment told him he was in some sort of underground lab. But he wouldn't be able to tell any more until his senses started to clear up.

Hello? he tried to shout, but his body refused to give the call. Finally, his eyes started to clear up. Looking around, he pinned the location as one of Eggman's underground laboratories. The many test tubes and large computer monitor gave it a very Eggman-esque appearance, and the floor was littered with the shattered pieces of one of Eggman's steel faces that he hung up everywhere.

Standing at the computer monitor was a robotic figure, peering towards Silver. Its body was mostly a mix of cobalt blue and metallic grey. Its limbs, somewhat bony, were metallic until they connected at the joint with cobalt. Its head curved to three sharp quills; one at the peak, one just above each shoulder. Its fingers were steel, bony, and sharp, and its feet were in the shape of crimson red shoes, a bright white stripe along the sides. Each hand was held together by a golden yellow plate, and its body held a craterlike hole with a golden ring around the edge. Two glowing crimson eyes completed the appearance.

Metal Sonic.

Silver leapt up and took a battle stance, but Metal Sonic was unfazed. He stared towards Silver for a short time, then turned towards the monitor. Bad move. Silver leapt up, flipped back, shot forward, and charged up for a deadly punch...

...that went straight through the robot's head?

The hedgehog froze up, then reeled back in a shock. What the hell!? he tried to shout, but no sound emerged. He tried to grab Metal with his psychokinesis, but that did nothing. He looked around. What's happened to me? he called to no one in particular. He did a quick scan of the room... to see himself lying on the bed he was just in?

WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO ME? Silver tried to shout.

Perhaps you should try acting a little less vulgar, a female voice replied in his mind.

Silver spun in nearly a complete circle before he saw a semitransparent figure standing nearby. It was that of an Echidna, but a small crownlike headband lying on her forehead gave the impression of a princess or something similar. Her fur was a peach-orange mix, and her eyes were a bright cobalt blue. She wore a tribal dress, and her headband was golden, patterned with emerald and embedded with an aquamarine gemstone.

Who... wait, you can hear me?

The Echidna smiled. It would be a lot nicer to hear a full question at a time, the voice responded, though Silver had realized that it was the echidna's voice. My name is Tikal. I have been trapped within the Master Emerald and was released when Chaos was killed. I have come to help you and your friends defeat Zyx. Now, turn to Metal Sonic's computer, would you?

Silver spun to see Metal Sonic raging at the computer. Through electronic sounds, Silver could make out "Damn it!" from the Sonic robot. "Solaris-damned complicated computer! I am going to reprogram this thing the first chance I get!" He slammed a bony steel fist into the keyboard, and a window opened up. "There we are," he stated. "Now, just open the file..."

Silver looked towards Tikal as if to say - or rather, mind-say - You wanted me to see Metal Sonic swearing?

Shut up and turn back, she stated half-angrily, half jokingly. Silver obliged to see a set of data open up. After quickly looking over it, he realized it was Zyx's ability data, scanned by Metal Sonic himself. There was some deadly data on there. Now what do you think? Tikal stated.

I think I learned just how deep of shit I'm in, Silver replied, then slammed his hands into his mouth, attempting to block words that he feared that Tikal would find offensive. But if Tikal found them offensive, she didn't show it as she stated, Any questions?

Can I have my body back?

Tikal smiled. Yes. Come to a landmark thirteen kilometres north of here after you escape. Suddenly, a glow surrounded Silver as he suddenly blacked out.

Blaze skidded to a burning stop in the middle of a desert plain as Shadow, Infera, Merlina, and Sonic (holding Caliburn) came up behind her. "Here," she stated, "It was somewhere around here that we were attacked."

"Percival, who was your attacker?" Merlina asked, calm but clearly worried.

Blaze stuttered for a few moments. "He... uh... er... ah, I'm not sure how to describe him to you, Merlina. Sonic, on the other hand, would likely recognize a cobalt steel doppleganger of himself."

Sonic flipped. Literally. His wings saved his head as he screamed, "WHAT!? It was Metal?"

Shadow's eyes stretched. "Metal Sonic? Are you serious?"

Merlina seemed confused. "Who is this... Metal Sonic?"

Sonic raised his head for a few short seconds, thinking; then he turned to Merlina. "Advancement. If he was a Knight, he'd probably be holding a bony grey copy of Caliburn."

The blade in Sonic's hands responded by saying, "How exactly do you make a bony copy of me?"

Sonic started to say something, then cut himself off and replied, "I have no idea. But that's probably what he'd be wielding." Turning to Blaze, he stated, "Which direction did he go?"

"I have no idea," she replied. "When I tried to fight him, he vanished in a jet-powered blur too fast for me to see. How are we supposed to find him?"

While everyone else tried to think, Merlina raised her staff. "That shouldn't be too much of a problem," she stated. "Wind of Mobius, lend me your power!" A sudden winds started to whip up her hair, and the staff in her hands glowed radiantly. "Everyone get close to me!" she shouted. Sonic was the first to dash into position, Caliburn in his hands; Infera and Blaze soon took their places, followed by Shadow. In a tornado of mystical energy, the six of them vanished.

A mechanical screaming knocked him back into consciousness.

Silver's eyes weakly snapped open to see Metal Sonic standing over him. He weakly laid a hand to his forehead and rose, and Metal Sonic sighed. Turning around, Metal Sonic muttered something unintelligible, robotic, and most likely vulgar before he laid a hand on a strange pad.

A surge of power flowed through him, and Silver watched as the Sonic robot changed. His three quills became five, long and sharp with a white stripe on each one, and his gold changed to black, aside from that on his chest. His shoes became elf-like, the tips curving upward. A black cape unfolded from his back, and spikes emerged from all over his body. When he turned around, his eyes had become green.

Seeing Silver staring at him, he stated, "What? I was becoming uncomfortable in that unpowered state. It is also annoying when no one can understand me, although it does help when I'm cursing them."

Silver blinked. "When'd you get the new form?"

Metal stared for a short time, then raised his head slightly. "Of course. You have not yet seen my Neo Metal form. I attained this a while ago. It gives me the ability to transform as I may require with nothing but a single glimpse. As so." In a blur, Metal Sonic seemed to transform into liquid metal, then take the exact form of Sonic himself.

Silver reeled back, and Metal, in Sonic's exact voice, stated, "It also gives me the ability to replicate voices, and it enhances my ability to scan the abilities of others." He slowly molded back into his Neo form as he added, "Even so to the point where I can upload them to another system."

The psychokinetic hedgehog thought, then stated, "So that's how you got Zyx's power data onto Eggman's computer. I was wondering how you were able to do such a thing." When Metal looked at him sideways - and ended up scratching the cobalt on his arm - Silver shrugged and replied, "Had a strange little out-of-body experience while I was unconscious. Might I ask how you got Egghead's lab?"

Metal turned away, then kicked a shard of Eggman face. It ricocheted off the wall, and Metal grabbed it inches from his own face, then shattered it. "The doctor was killed in an attempt to fight Zyx, if the others have not already told you. I quickly took possesion of the lab, although I will admit that I should have been more patient with removing the face that was on this wall. These shards will take many a day to remove, and it is not like I do not have enough missions at the present moment beforehand."

Silver translated this to, "This'll take a while to clean up and I've got enough on my plate" in his head. "So why am I here?"

Metal slowly started to laugh, then burst out into mechanical laughter. "If it has not occured to you already, your absence weakens the power of your team. However, exactly how excessively it weakens them may not have occured to you. You are familiar with the pyrokinetic, am I correct?" When Silver nodded, Metal continued, "Your absence has the greatest effect on her. You are the one who revealed to her the true power of the Sol Emeralds. Without you, she finds herself weakened considerably. Do you understand?"

Silver nodded. "But I've got a feeling you're also going to need my psychokinesis. So are you going to kill Sonic or Zyx first?"

Metal thought about this for his second, then shrugged. Before he could say anything, though, the computer gave an alerting scream as a voice stated, "Intruder detected." Metal rushed to the monitor and tapped a few buttons hurriedly, then looked up to see Sonic, Blaze, Infera, Shadow, and Merlina. Sonic was wielding Caliburn.

"Who are these people?" Metal asked out loud. "This new hedgehog, and the obvious enchantress? And where did this blade come from?" Shaking his head, he stated. "No matter. They will face my wrath nevertheless." Melting into a blur of liquid metal that shot towards the roof, the robot vanished. Silver reached a hand out, then shook his head and looked around. "Tikal? Are you still around here?"

No answer. Silver shook his head and turned to see... a strange white stone resting at the side of the computer monitor. Grabbing it with a blur of psychokinesis, Silver was way to impatient to wait even a few seconds and shot forward to grab the white Chaos Emerald out of the air. "Yes!" he shouted. "Finally! Now all I need is the Master Emerald!" He looked towards the monitor to see Metal slowly melting into position.

"Not today, Metal," Silver stated to himself, before vanishing in a blur of psychokinetic energy lines.

Sonic wiped the flying dust out of his eyes before looking around to find him and his company on a rocky cliffside. He briefly recognized it, but barely had time to reflect upon it before spinning to the sound of something melting into place. A type of liquid metal emerged from the ground, then slowly took form. Sonic, Blaze, Infera, Shadow, and Merlina all took battle positions as the substance took the form of...

Neo Metal Sonic.

Merlina's eyes widened, but she kept a firm grip on her staff. Metal turned towards her and Infera for a short time, then turned back to Sonic. "Sonic," he stated. "My loathsome copy. Who are these new friends of yours?"

Sonic didn't linger his gaze from Metal as he beckoned to each of them questioningly. When Metal nodded, he replied, "The sorceress behind me goes by the name of Merlina. The new hedgehog is Shadow's girlfriend, Infera."

Infera didn't blush. She had gotten over blushing.

Metal nodded. "Very well, then." He leapt backwards and stated, "Any last words, Sonic?"

"Yeah," Sonic replied. "You get any of Zyx's data yet?"

While Merlina's expression became that of confusion, Metal shrugged. "Yeah, and barely escaped with my life. Thank Solaris I already had Chaos Control from Shadow, because I don't want to risk utilizing the Reaper's attacks." Without warning, Metal shot forward.

Shadow came up first, shouting, "Chaos Knight!" With sword, shield, and two layers of Chaos Energy coating his body, he shot forward into a slashing frenzy, swinging at Metal with all sorts of slashes. But Metal, eyes turning cobalt blue, didn't buy it. He blocked each slash, then moved in for a deadly kick that sent him flying dead between Sonic and Merlina.

Infera and Blaze kicked forward next, simultaneously striking Metal with a blazing kick. Turning to each other, the two pyrokinetics nodded, then vanished in flashes of flame. Metal's eyes turned blue again before he leapt out of the way of two fiery orbs that were Blaze and Infera, then continued to dodge as the pyrokinetics launched time after time at Metal.

Eventually, the robot shouted, "Enough, pyrokinetics!" He had only to hold his hands out to his sides to freeze Blaze and Infera in their tracks; then he threw them towards the other two, Infera landing dead over Shadow, Blaze flying so far as to nearly fall off the edge. Metal raised his hands and prepared to blast towards Shadow and Infera. "Die!" he shouted angrily, firing a large beam from his hands.

But that's as far as he got. Merlina stepped forward, thrusting her staff forward with her right hand. A mystical barrier formed its place between her and Metal, and the beam struck it and was absorbed. Merlina twirled her staff and slammed it into the ground between her feet. "Enough," she stated as a mystical energy started to surround her. "It is time to end this."

A strange blue light materialized in her left hand, and slowly took form until it was that of a scabbard. It was a dark brown colour, patterned with gold and two small strips of silver on either end. When Sonic saw this, he nearly screamed.

"Oh my dear sweet Chaos!" he shouted. "You didn't get rid of that yet?"

"Remember," Caliburn stated, "that as it grants immortality, it is very much unbreakable. But that is not the point! What are you doing with that?"

Merlina didn't get the chance to answer. Metal Sonic had attempted to scan the scabbard's powers, but the Arthurian power was unfamiliar, and he clutched his head in what would appear to be pain. "Damn it!" he shouted. "This power is alien to me! No matter." He raised his hands. A neon energy blade appeared, nearly identical to Caliburn, and Metal swung it around, then held it towards Merlina. "You will die!"

Sonic pulled his head back, unfolding his wings. "Or that. I would have gone for the bony copy, but I suppose a neon copy works as well."

"Sir Sonic!" Caliburn shouted. "Withdraw your wings!"

"What?" Sonic stated, then saw Merlina tossing the Scabbard of Excalibur towards him. "Oh, Chaos!" he shouted, quickly lying a hand on his gem. His wings vanished, just in time for the Knight of the Wind to snatch the legendary scabbard out of the air.

Sonic gave a scream that repelled even a dashing Metal Sonic. Golden armour coated his body, and a red cape fell behind his back. He brought the visor of his helmet down, causing his quills to stiffen as armour coated them as well. He gripped Caliburn and swung him forward as the white spread to gold and erupted in a burst of golden energy. When the energy faded, Caliburn had become pure gold, even sporting a golden aura, and his hilt had become majestic, similar to that of a crown.

The Knight of the Wind twirled the mighty Excalibur as he gave a battle cry, taking full form into Excalibur-Sonic!

The steel material that composed Neo Metal Sonic's eyes stretched. "Woah," he stated. "Loathsome copy not exactly so loathsome anymore." His eyes turned cobalt blue for a split second, attempting to copy Sonic's data, but turned crimson almost immediately. "Damn it! What is this power?"

Sonic couldn't respond. "No!" he shouted. "This..." He cut himself off and gave a scream as the aquamarine crystal around his neck gave a harsh shine. When the light faded, Excalibur-Sonic was nearly unchanged.

But for the fact that his bright blue Dracon wings spread from his back, throught two small slits in the back of his armour. Sonic slashed with Excalibur, then spun into a dual slash with his wingtips. Then he brought Excalibur up towards Metal's throat. The robot remained silent for a short while.


"Hey!" a voice called from behind. Sonic turned to see Silver appearing in a blur of psychokinetic energy lines. Upon seeing Excalibur-Sonic, Silver reeled back, speechless for a short while. "Metal's going to be in hell now, ain't he?"

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