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 Post subject: Re: Lost Impact
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:44 pm 
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Last long chapter of the fic, and the last chapter from Shadow's point of view. Two left to go. o3o
Gerald continues being insane and semi-nonsensical in this chapter. Shadow believes him despite all the holes in his reasoning because he'd never really lied to him before. I hope that what I wrote is at least somewhat convincing. ._.

~~~

XXVIII

Shadow sat in his chair, his feet dangling several centimeters above the floor. He wasn't sure why GUN had decided to put him in this small white-walled room, occupied by only two chairs. He wasn't sure if he really cared why, either.

The door opened. He looked up, then jumped off his seat when the Professor walked in. A soldier unlocked his handcuffs, reminded him, "Remember, one hour," then left and shut the door again. The Professor walked slowly toward him, lowering himself into the vacant chair without comment.

"Professor," Shadow blurted. "You're okay."

"Yes." The Professor looked up at him. "Physically, at least." Shadow knew what he meant. He climbed back into his own chair, not wanting to meet the man's eyes.

"I'm sorry," he finally said in a tiny voice. "It was my fault Maria-"

"No!" Shadow jerked and glanced at the Professor in surprise. The scientist gazed back at him, his eyes wild. "No," he repeated gently, his expression softening. "You're not to blame."

"But..." Shadow looked at his hands. "I was right there, and I could have used Chaos Control to get her out of- No, that's not it." He shook his head. "The only reason the soldiers were there at all was because of me. They only wanted me, and if I wasn't there, or if I had just gone with them, Maria wouldn't have been..." He realized he was talking too quickly and stopped.

"It wasn't your fault," the Professor said again. "We were...all in the wrong place at the wrong time." His voice became fierce. "The culprits are the humans."

"The humans?" Shadow was confused by the Professor's use of the word, as though he weren't one himself.

"Yes, the humans." The Professor held his head in his hands, speaking in a low voice. "The ones in power, the government, the military. They learned what you could do, and they became afraid of you. They thought you would turn against them. And so, they did the only thing they could, the spineless cowards." He paused, took a breath. "They took Maria away from you. They knew how close you were to her. They thought killing her would leave you so desolate you would never bother them."

Shadow was silent. There had to be something wrong with what the Professor was saying...but he didn't know what. It made so much sense. And this was the Professor. He wouldn't lie to him, would he?

"Shadow, do you want revenge?"

"What?" He looked up, startled again.

"Revenge. On the humans. Pay them back for what they did to you." The Professor raised his head to look at him. "For what they did to us."

Shadow thought about it. It was tempting. "But...the soldier... He was mortified by what he did," he protested weakly.

"An act," the Professor declared, waving a hand dismissively. "It's what they want you to think. Don't be fooled by them, Shadow. They're trying everything they can to get rid of you. In fact, after our talk here, they say they're going to seal you away, never to be free again."

Shadow sat up straight, indignant. "But I never did anything to them!"

"Yes, and that's unfair, isn't it? That's why. That's why we need to let them know just who they're dealing with." The Professor smiled, but there was no joy in it. "You're the Ultimate Life Form. You're a far more advanced being than they are. They're insects under your feet. Who are they to decide what to do with your life? You'll outlive every single last one of them."

Shadow shook his head, not in denial. That did make sense. "What revenge were you thinking of, Professor?"

"Annihilation," came the simple reply. "Wipe out the entire population."

Shadow stared at him in horror. "But...what about the people not in the government or military?" he asked when he was able to speak again. "The...civilians. The children. They didn't do anything."

"Oh, but they will." The Professor's eyes were alight with anger. "Give any of them enough power, give them enough time, and they all act the same way. Where do you think they find replacements for people in the government or military when they get too old?"

He hadn't thought of that. "...Did they really kill Maria just to try getting rid of me?" he wanted to know.

"Without a doubt," the Professor replied firmly.

That decided him. No matter what other reasons the Professor might have, this was the most important. He had been alive for less than a year, but he already knew that by human standards, Maria had been extremely young. She had suffered from an illness that kept her from normal interaction with other people. She had probably been very lonely for most of her life. And then, just because these government and military people didn't want him around, they killed her.

That, in his opinion, was unforgivable.

"Did you have a specific plan in mind, Professor?" he inquired, his eyes narrowing.

"I believe you recall the cannon we built into the ARK?" The Professor seemed smug. "It's designed to be powered by Chaos Emeralds. You know how much power is in a single Emerald, as you experienced it firsthand." He leaned back in his chair. "The cannon can be powered by seven."

Brilliant. "So all we have to do is break out and-" he began to say.

"Unfortunately, no." The Professor looked glum now. "We both know I wouldn't be able to keep up with you, and they would easily recapture me. I'm afraid this is completely up to you." They stared at each other in silence for a moment. "This...will be difficult. And you will have to be very patient."

He had all of eternity to be patient. "What do I need to do?"

"Let them seal you away." The Professor held up a hand to forestall any protests. "It's only a temporary measure. Let them think they have you, locked away, and begin feeling safe. Then, someday, you'll break out." The Professor's eyes were focused on something distant and intangible, almost dreamy. "They'll be in turmoil, now that you, the feared Ultimate Life Form, is loose again. And while they're panicking, search for the Chaos Emeralds. When all seven have been placed into the cannon, my plan will reach it's final stage."

"Which is?"

"I've written a program. Once the Emeralds are gathered, it will take over all of the ARK's systems. It will set a collision course with the Earth, one that cannot be stopped. The cannon will have enough stored energy to obliterate most of the planet, and the remnants will not survive for long." The Professor looked at Shadow. "What do you think?"

"Perfect," he replied. The Professor nodded, pleased.

"One more thing. You said you couldn't use Chaos Control to save Maria. Why?"

Shadow dropped his gaze again, uneasy. "I was too afraid for her. I couldn't focus enough."

"We can't have that happening again," the Professor told him. "You need to learn to suppress your emotions, so that you can use your powers at any time, in any situation, regardless of how you feel. Can you do that?"

"If I can't already, I will soon."

The Professor sat, regarding him for a while. "It may be decades before you can carry out our plan. You would have to wait tens of years, possibly even hundreds, to taste the sweetness of revenge. Will you still do it? For the both of us, and for Maria?"

Vaguely, he remembered a conversation he once had with Maria. It had been during his and the Professor's research on Chaos Spear. She had found him, standing alone in the ARK's common room, gazing out through the glass. He was looking at Earth. She had remarked that he seemed to watch the planet often. He had confided to her that he still didn't know why he had been created, and that perhaps someday, if he visited Earth, he would learn the reason.

He was there now, and he knew his answer.

"Yes," he said. And the Professor smiled.

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 Post subject: Re: Lost Impact
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:42 pm 
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XXIX

Gerald watched from the balcony, gazing down at the small chamber below. Two gunmen were leading Shadow to the stasis unit, their weapons pointing at his head. Outwardly, he looked no different than he had before their conversation that morning; still quiet, still acquiescent. But Gerald knew better. He knew the burning hatred now smoldering within that subdued shell, knew that the suspended animation he was about to enter would only fuel that loathing.

The gunmen stopped walking. One of them said something, gestured with his gun. Shadow looked at his escorts, around the room at the other soldiers around the perimeter. Then he looked farther up, to the balcony, and caught Gerald's gaze.

Once, he would have flinched, shied away from the incredible malice in those eyes. Before Maria was killed, before they lost everything, he would have felt ashamed of himself for using Shadow this way, for turning such an innocent creature into a weapon against the entire world. But now... Now they were kin, closer than before, bound together by their bereavement. He met those eyes, those cold, crimson eyes, and all he felt was satisfaction.

Shadow lowered his gaze and climbed into the stasis pod. He lay himself down in it, folding his hands over his chest, and stared at the ceiling as soldiers busied themselves around the machine. Gerald turned away, pretending he didn't want to see any more.

"You exceeded your permissions with that one," the dark-suited man told him. He was leaning against the doorway, watching Gerald's reaction. The scientist gazed back, silent. "We requested you create an immortal being. We did not authorize also giving it abilities no one in the world understands. It's far too dangerous for us to disregard its existence." The man raised an eyebrow. "But I think you know that already."

Gerald glanced behind him. Already, the soldiers were leaving. The stasis unit hummed gently, a faint drone in the background. Shadow was gone, obscured from sight, sealed away for the next however many decades. Once he got out, which he eventually would, there would be hell to pay.

Gerald returned his attention to the dark-suited man. "Yes. I know."

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 Post subject: Re: Lost Impact
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:17 pm 
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Aaaand done. o3o

Comments would be appreciated from anyone who's read this. 8D'

It kind of bothers me that this chapter and chapter 28 end in similar ways, but I couldn't think of another way to end them satisfactorily. The dialogue is all more or less quoted from the series itself (via cross-referencing subtitles with what Japanese I know). Yes Gerald likes the word "fool."

~~~

XXX

"This is my declaration of vengeance on all of humanity." Gerald spoke in a low monotone, his eyes fixed on the floor between his feet. He was sitting chained to a chair, his arms behind him. "In 27 minutes and 53 seconds, the ARK will collide with the Earth, and all of you will be destroyed together. Once the seven Chaos Emeralds have been gathered, my revenge begins. The program cannot be stopped. All of you foolish humans should taste the same hopelessness I have." He fell silent.

"Do you have anything else to say?" Gerald raised his head and looked at them. At the row of gunmen, their rifles in their hands, ready to take his life. At the unarmed man standing behind them, who would be giving the order to fire. At the gleam of the camera lens over their heads, from which eventually the entire world would be seeing his last moments.

Fools. All of them. They had no idea what they had done. They had no idea what was coming, what was in store for them. He could tell. From the casual manner of the executioner before him, from the bored expressions of the gunmen, they thought his last words only the rambles of a madman, with no truth or future impact behind them.

Fools. Let them live on in ignorance. Let them fail to understand the severity of their situation. Even if they killed him now, there would be no difference in their fate. For the crime they had committed, they would not walk away unscathed. It didn't matter when their judgment came. He simply knew that it would. And because he knew, he would die without regret.

Gerald looked at them.

And he smiled.

"No."

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 Post subject: Re: Lost Impact
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:21 pm 
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I never played Shadow the Hedgehog, so I'm probably not one to comment on how you handled the characters and backstory (though I thought they were well done). But it was certainly one of the better written fan-fics I've read.

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