The story continues.

The shockwave from whatever had caused the enormous flash was not very powerful. But was certainly powerful enough to knock all the freedom fighters off their feet. Even Dulcy stumbled and fell. All along the front, troops, technicians and ordinary Mobians alike were shaken. They looked around in fear, fear of what Robotnick was about to do to them. NICOLE's voice buzzed in the ears of commanders, most of them not even paying attention.

Bunnie was the first to say something. "WHAT THE WHOA HA WAS DAT!" To no-one in particular.

"IT'Z ZEE END!!!" Antoine shouted from underneath Rotor and Bookshire, he was in his usual state of paranoia. "ZIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" He shouted at Sonic.

Sonic did not hear him. "Sal what's goin' on?" Sonic helped Sally off the floor.

"Ask NICOLE!" Lupine suggested pulling up Rotor and Bookshire, at the same time freeing Antoine from his prison.

"MY UNIFORM IZ RUIINED!!!" Antoine wailed, looking down at the tattered blue garment he now wore.

"Your, head is going to get ruined pretty soon!" Sandra shouted from the other end of the room.

Everyone started talking at once, it suddenly dawned on Antoine that he probably would not live long enough for lunch, so he sat down on the floor and began to sulk.

All of the freedom fighters must have all realized that they needed some quiet or nothing would get done. Thus, they all shouted for quiet at the same time in their own respective ways. In the embarrassing silence that followed Sally was the first to speak.

"NICOLE!" She asked. "What was that?"

"Robotnick has used this unknown piece of technology for the second time." NICOLE reported.

"Damage report."

"No damage to any of our units, or facilities."

There was a puzzled silence.

The freedom fighters began to again grow aware of the fact that there was still fighting occurring outside their hovership.

"He's still attacking us," Sandra began. "Why didn't he just wipe us out?"

"I don't know." Bookshire answered.

"NICOLE!" Rotor said suddenly. "Front satus."

"All areas holding out. Sonic Barrier is intact. 14 casualties. Hospital facilities are on line. 5000 troops will arrive within the next hour. Ammo status is excellent and shipments are arriving every 10 minutes."

Rotor shook his head. "I hope our casualties will remain low for the duration."

"Pah!!" Sandra scoffed. "My dear Rotor, this is war, animals are going to die."

Everyone looked at Sandra.

"How Sandra." Bunnie began. "Do you do it, how can you just not give a damn?" She was very angry.

"Oh yeah and what about you!" Sandra shouted. "Look." She pointed at the holographic map in the middle. "Those symbols you see there represent troops, here we are managing them like some kind of chess game. Animals are dying as we speak, does it mean anything, no!" Sandra continued. "What about the expression, 'all's well that ends well' does it matter if a hundred a thousand or a hundred thousand troops are killed as long as we finish the job!!!???."

"Sandra!" Sally pleaded on the verge of tears.

But Sandra had only just started. "How does it feel Sally!" Sandra shouted. "To be responsible for the lives of thousands of innocent Mobians. Most of them recruited into the army without even knowing what they were doing. 'Join the freedom fighters, watch your friends get blown to pieces, watch lives get ruined as the rest of the world revels in the vengeance of your carnage!!!'. Do any of you realize how big this is, those troops in there are not out for ridding the world of Robotnick, oh no!!!. They're in it for revenge, they want to see the flying shrapnel of his titans litter the landscape, they want to be the one who gets to shoot Robotnick themselves!!! What about your speech Bunnie, 'I say we hit him hard and we don't ever stop" Let's face it your all into it! You want to see carnage!!! Then if we win there will be a momorial. 'Here lie the innocent soldiers Sally can't help any more, because she never knew what she was up against!!!"

Sandra finished and fell back against a wall, moved even by her own words.

Sally burst into a fit of tears and fell into Sonics arms. He held her there. Sally's shoulders heaved with enormous sobs.

Bookshire put a hand on Sandra's shoulder.

"DON'T YA FRIGGIN TOUCH ME!!!" She yelled. "Sally, the troops come first, no matter what happens promise me the troops will come first!."

Sally sobbed and did not answer.

Tails who has been in the corner all this time was very confused. He ran up to Bunnie who picked him up and held him close.

"NO!" Sally ejaculated pushing Sonic away. "My people come first! It's many against a few. Don't think I won't send these animals to their deaths if it means saving millions of lives!!!"

The others gasped but had to agree with Sally's logic.

Sandra could not think of an answer for a moment. "Why not do both!!!" Sandra suggested. "Too many animals have died at the hands of commanders who were in it for nothing except glory!!!"

"I WILL!" Sally yelled. "We'll all do it!! Right?" She looked around.

"I'm with you Sal!!!" Sonic called and walked over to her. The other freedom fighters gradually calmed down and they all shook hands with each other.

Sandra walked over to Sally and whispered in her ear. "Glad you care!"

"Glad you do too!!!" Sally whispered back.

Bunnie nudged Sandra. "Didn't know ya cared!!!" She stated.

"I don't care, I don't give a damn remember?" Sandra stared at Bunnie.

"Bunnie give her a break!!!" Rotor tugged one of Bunnie's ears.

"Hey get off!!!!" Bunnie pushed Rotor off who smiled.

"NICOLE." Sally said. "Inform me of any danger forthcoming."

"Affirmative Sally." The computer replied.

Outside on the front, wave after wave of SWATBOT's were attacking. Hover ships flew by and pummeled the resistance from above. Robotnick's forces had begun to build a trench about two hundred metres from the freedom fighter trench. SWATBOT's were already lining the trench and firing out. He was beginning to put up sonic barriers.

A SWATBOT began to approach the resistance from the extreme right of the trench attempting to flank the enemy. An enemy hover car roared past. The SWATBOT fired ahead of it's position. The shot was timed well, the hover car ran into the streak and flipped over smashing on to the ground. That was the last thing the SWATBOT ever did. Several fast plasma streaks ripped into it's side. The first two did little damage but the third hit it's power cell. The SWATBOT collapsed.

"What is he doing?" Bookshire asked looking over the holo' map of the front. "What are those new units."

"Workerbots' Rotor." Replied NICOLE.

"HUH?" Bookshire looked over the map. "Worker bot's won't stand a chance, he's sending thousands of them."

Sonic was the first to realize what was going on. "WE CAN'T SHOOT THEM." Exclaimed Sonic. "THEY, THEY'RE ROBOTICISED MOBIANS, WE�RE KILLING OUR OWN PEOPLE!!!!."

"THAT SON OF A......" Sally screamed. "HOW COULD HE!!!?

"The worker bot's will be within firing range in thirty seconds."

Sally looked around frantically trying to decide what to do. "Lupine, Bunnie, Sandra" She pleaded.

Sandra spoke first. "We can't just let him win, I say shoot them!" Sandra continued. "Once he realizes we ain�t soft he'll stop sending them."

"But the lives?" Sally protested.

"You know the facts." Sandra stated. "Roboticised life dies after about a decade. Who's to say we'll find a way to reverse it by then."

"Find another way." Lupine said, her voice was low and demanding.

"Couldn't we fire an electromagnetic pulse?" Rotor suggested. "Make the worker bots non functional."

"That might kill them too!" Protested Sonic, he was correct even though he did not know what an EMP was.

"It might screw up the equipment on the front." Sandra said. "And besides EMPs don't work well on cybernetic life, only on computers, it may not have an effect."

"The worker bot's are within firing range Sally." NICOLE reported.

"Order the commanders to hold fire as long as possible!" Ordered Sally, NICOLE complied.

"Sally," Bunnie said quietly. "Test da EMP on me."

Sally looked at Bunnie with a shocked expression on her face. "NO!!!" She said.

"YESS!" Bunnie snapped back. "I'm cybernetic, I�m da only test subject an' Uncle Chuck is back in Knothole."

Sally shook her head.

"I'll do it Bunnie!" Sandra said, pointing her rifle at her modified to fire without plasma insertion.

"DO IT!!!" Bunnie called. Before any of the other freedom fighters could do anything Sandra had fired and Bunnie lay slumped on the floor.
Bunnies organic mind and body recovered fairly rapidly and she was up in a few minutes.

"You have found another way." Lupine stated.

"That was brave Bunnie!" Dulcy praised.

"It's more than flipping brave!!!" Sandra exclaimed. "It's way past. Sally, send out the pulse."

"Wait I....."

"Sally you have to act now!" That was Tails who despite his age had grasped the severity of the situation.

"I know honey." She said, "NICOLE warn the troops I am about to fire an EMP." There was a moments pause.

"Completed Sally. "NICOLE stated.

"Fire an all round EMP from the sonic barriers in front of the trench, on execute."

("On execute." Indicates to NICOLE that the act will be competed by the user pressing the execute pad, not verbally.)

Sally took a deep breath and was about to press it.

"VAIT!!!" Antoine called, he had finally stopped sulking. "It iz my underztandin zat , I am to be ze one to press zee button."

"What are you talking about, ANT?" Sonic asked him.

"In Mobian law ze captain of ze guard must be ze on to perform military actionz. And bezides, if zomething goez wrong at leazr it vont affect ze future queen of Mobius." He looked at Sally.

"Thankyou Antoine." Sally said and stepped aside. Antoine pressed the pad.

There was a high pitched wine and all around them Worker Bot's and SWATBOT's alike fell over.

"How long till the worker bots come back on line?" Asked Sally to NICOLE.

"Approximately ten minutes." NICOLE replied.

"Their down but now we need a way to get those bot's back to Robotropolis." Sandra added.

"Has the artillery arrived?" Bookshire asked.

Sally glanced at the map. "Yes I think so."

"Shell the power plants." Bookshire replied. "I know their shielded but he'll need every bot he can get to repair them."

Sandra whistled. "Good plan!!!"

"Wait a sec." It was Lupine. "We don't need to waist rounds, look, this side of the wing can make a push into Robotropolis."

"It could give us a tactical advantage." Sally thought out load. "It would take a good five minutes to get near enough though."

"That's what hover car a' for!" Dulcy said from over by the back.

Sally thought. Should she shell the power plants or send the whole wing across? The choice is yours.

You chose this....

"NICOLE," Sally, "Tell the artillery to shell the power plants, or any other targets that would require immediate repair."

"Affirmative," NICOLE replied.

Behind the front in their own shielded area huge barrels began to turn towards their targets. Loud cracks and bright flashes began to emanate from the muzzles of each unit. Soon a volley of explosive shells and over heavy plasma streaks were heading for Robotropolis.

("Over heavy plasma streaks." Artillery can be used to launch large balls of magnetically contained plasma, the plasma itself requires a boost before it can begin to undulate and move of it's own accord.)

As soon as the streaks hit the protective sonic barrier around the power plants they dissipated, however there was enough inertia left in them to drive the plasma into the ground with amazing speed. The shells were thrown off course by gravitational pulses, but they still slammed into Robotropolis.

"Sally." NICOLE stated. "New information has been acquired that is of great importance."

"Wait a minute." Sally started. "I never asked you for updates of this kind?"

"I assumed that any information regarding the technology in Robotnicks possession should be conveyed to you."

Sally looked at NICOLE. "You've evolved haven't you?"

"Yes Sally." NICOLE replied. "As a direct result of the information I have acquired."

"Let's here it."

"The supposed quadrillion electron vault charge we detected was only an echo. The actual charge was only in millions. The echo was only a representation of the charge that would have been need had Robotnick not been using Quegama.

("Quegama" Pronounced 'Kagamma' The 'a' is like an 'a' in 'cat'. Acronym for QUantum Event Generation And MAnipulation. Full name is Quegama 'fro giap' FROm Graviationally Induced Altered Probablility.)

Sally's eyes widened. "You mean he used....." Sally thought back to what Lupine had said on the subject a long time ago. "Magic?"

"Negative Sally." The computer responded. "Kagamma is artificial and does not require an organic entity."

"Ya mean he used altered probability to produce the flux?" Sandra asked.

"Affirmative Sandra, without altered probability there would have been no way to acquire the power necessary for the flux."

"What exactly did he do?"

"There were four fluxi in total, some of them were almost simultaneous and therefore could not be detected. Their function it seems was to transport matter into and then out of the past."

"TIME TRAVEL???" Bunnie exclaimed.

"Affirmative Bunnie."

"Why though?" That was Sonic's question. "Is he like, gonna try to kill us before we were born, make us non existent?"

"He can't do that." Lupine interrupted before Sally could begin to enlighten Sonic. "There is only one time line, any changes he makes in the past would just make the present the way it is. Let us say he tried to kill you, and made a mistake and shot your friend. As a child hood memory you would remember your friend being shot by some unknown person. Later on in your life you got to meet this person. They then said to you they traveled back and accidentally shot a child. It all fits in like so."

Sonic nodded quite clearly non the better.

Lupine decided she would try again.

"Let's say you traveled back in time to kill Robotnick, Robotnick is already alive in the future. So, no matter what you do you cannot prevent him from existing, you may fire at him but miss. Try to throw him off a cliff and he will survive. You can only fulfill the time line, not immediately alter it."

Sonic nodded a little better off than before.

"That's rubbish!!!" Dulcy said from over by the window. "Time flows, the past has already been made and the future has not been made yet. "

"Your too linear Dulcy!!!" Lupine stated dismissively. 'And your wrong!!' She said to herself.

"For what purpose NICOLE?" Rotor asked the female computer.

"Still unknown."

"I am hating zurprizez!!!" Antoine stated, voicing the feelings of all the other occupants of the room.

"What is the status on the worker bot's." Bookshire stated, stated not asked.

Sally looked down at the map. "She smiled." Looks like their moving back!!!" She exclaimed. "We've out smarted him!!!

Suddenly there was a warning buzz from NICOLE. "Unit approaching, unknown type."

They looked at the map.

Outside something very big and very fast was heading towards the left of the front. It was traveling faster than sound yet it was in contact with the earth. The actual unit was virtually invisible apart from a large dust trail it left behind.

All the troops began to fire at it, ignoring most of the other resistance. The thing made a tight pass by the front and accelerated off.

Thousands of Mobians lining the trench were killed in one massive explosion. Plasi units combusted, solid ammunition was destroyed, hover ships crashed and the Sonic barrier was ripped to shreds. Tons of debris were thrown up into the air.

The freedom fighters looked on in Silent disbelief as a huge chunk of their force vanished. The unit turned round, ready to make a second pass.

"Cataclysm NICOLE." Whispered Sally, her voice was tight.

("Cataclysm" Virtually identical to the command an English monarch could have given to his troops in the earthen dark ages. For Mobian troops it means a short all out attack with maximum force. For human soldiers it meant a mass attack of total violence, it also included as much looting and atrocity as possible.)

The soldiers heard the command. NICOLE relayed information about it's location. The entire front fired in it's general direction at once. The noise was deafening. Wave after wave of rockets and steaks slammed into the unit and into the earth around it. It ran along the middle left section of the front apparently unaffected. Another few thousands Mobians lost their lives and hundreds of tons of cells and fuel ignited.

Sally stood looking on glued to the spot.

The unit began to speed away in a straight line, fire power still slamming into it. Suddenly there was a violent explosion and the unit disappeared in a ball of flame.

The freedom fighters remained silent as NICOLE tried to calm the terrified troops.

Click here to continue.

You Chose this....

"NICOLE!" Sally began. "Send a few hundred troops across in hover cars."

"Sending order Sally." NICOLE let out a series of beeps. "Troops are moving."

"Inform me when they are ready to go." Sally said.

"Sally I have some..."

"Is it to do with the front?"

"Negative Sally, however."

"Then I don't want to hear about it." Interrupted Sally. "I am trying to think."

NICOLE remained silent, unable to disobey Sally. Bookshire realized it may well be important and was about to speak.

"Are they nearly ready NICOLE?" Sally spoke before Bookshire did, Sally hopped from one foot to the other.

"Getting like me Sal!" Sonic joked, he had been doing the same thing for the past few hours.

"They are still moving into position Sally." NICOLE stated.

"Tell 'em to hurry up!!!" Sandra said. "Might as well go for a jog before they liberate the planet!!!"

Bunnie was surprised at Sandra's positive comment. But, instead of pointing it out to her she decided to reply.

"I'm sure dey will Sandra." Bunnie sighed. "All a dem, obeyn' widout question, dey love their planet, eh Bookshire?"

"I think they just love their queen." Bookshire replied and Sally blushed.

Soon over seventy hover cars were working their way across the twenty kilometer stretch. A few of them, under orders from Sally, took a little detour to the complex where the flux had been originally sited. However there was nothing left of the defenses or the complex now, being so close to the front it had been pounded for hours. It wasn't easy going though, as enemy defenses were firing at the hover cars every bit of the journey. They arrived at their destination a few minutes after departure.

"The hover cars have arrived Sally." NICOLE stated. "The status of the left front wing has decreased, I suggest we re-fortify it."

"Do whatever you have to do NICOLE." Sally answered, then "I want a full status on all of our war efforts."

"Yes Sally." Responded NICOLE. "Total number of troops is 750,000, casualties amount to 3,670, Ammunition supply is still open, 95% or troops are supplied with . Total number of ships, 5745, hover cars, 10039. Medical facilities occupy 750 acres. No. of commanders, 753. Total number of enemy kills, estimated, SWATBOTS 15,000, hover ships, 5,000, worker bots...."

"Hold it NICOLE." Rotor stopped her. "750,000" He repeated the number thrice before continuing. "My god, NICOLE what if you malfunction, I mean, you control the whole front, I can't cope with this, yesterday we were ordinary Mobians dreaming of a future without Robotnick" He paused. "Now, us and only us are leading this, this...." Rotor was lost for words.

"I understand how you feel." Lupine put a hand on Rotor's shoulder. "I know it's up to us but we have to pull together, I know this is enormous, it's unexpected and we aren't even sure who's got complete control, but we have to do what we can, there is no time now for 'I'm not sure.' We have to be decisive."

Lupine finished and Rotor nodded.

"Do you wish me to continue?" NICOLE asked.

"Disregard." Sally replied with a dismissive wave of her arm.

There was silence, apart from the noises of war from the outside. The peace and significance of the moment was interrupted by a message beep from NICOLE.

"Incoming message from Robotnick." NICOLE hummed.

The effect was electric, Sonic jumped up and clenched his fists and the air of surprise filled the room.

"Think he's come to beg for mercy!" Sandra half asked, sarcastically.

"Put him on." Sally stated. She was trembling, for once she was more powerful than him.

Robotnick's holographic face flashed up.

"Hello my dear princess." He greeted her. There was an evil grin on his face.

"Hello my butt!" Sally snapped back at him. "Give it up fatso, you don't stand a chance, we're gonna kick your (Expletive Deleted) (Expletive Deleted) to the other side of this planet, which incidentally is ours now!!!"

Had Sally sworn in any other context there would probably have been a argument, however everybody agreed with her. Tails was a little shaken and held onto Bunnie more tightly.

"I don't stand a chance?" The evil professors voice was calm and heavy. "With a snap of my fingers I could wipe out thousands of your little vermin."


"Not for much longer." Robotnick stated, in a sort of 'I know it, you know it' way.

"Why you!" Sally waved her fist at the projection but the transmission terminated and she was left with the last frame suspended in mid air. Robotnick's evil grin.

"Bastard!" Sally cried and pressed the disregard function combination.

("Disregard Function Combination" A sequence of keys on NICOLEs function pad that will cancel the current message, file or transmission.)

The face vanished. A moments silence. A voice rang out.

"He's lying!!!!" Sandra called. "We have him on his knees!"

The other freedom fighters in the group were about to voice their opinions when suddenly there was a beep from NICOLE.

"There is relevant information I must convey Sally." NICOLE droned. "It is of such importance I have overridden your command to only convey information relevant to the battle."

"HUH?!" Sally turned to NICOLE shocked. "How could you?"

"I have evolved again Sally!" The computer reported. "I must convey this, there must be no more interruptions."

The red haired female squirrel sat down and looked at the computer, ready to listen.

"I am going to be as quick as possible." NICOLE replied. " Robotnick is using altered probability to produce normally unlikely events, the flux we detected transported matter back into the past, a second acted as a probe to aid the travel of more matter into the future from the past, this was transported by a third. The first ever one was an experiment. From studying the transmission I have realized Robotnick is three years older than he should be. He has probably developed a highly sophisticated weapon and beamed it into the future. The unit or units amount to thirty thousand tons. We must withdraw out troops, his threat is most probably true."

"750,000 animals, all armed with the latest weapons!" Sandra scoffed. "NICOLE you've flipped!"

Bunnie realized what the implications were, and came to NICOLE'S rescue.

"My stars!" She breathed. "Guy's wer' in big trouble, true we ma' have da men and da plasi, but, a million of our mail clad ancestors couldn't win against just one trooper today. He may be so advanced dat numbers da not mean nothin'."

Sandra snorted.

"Sally we need to do something!!!!" Bookshire urged.

"I hate this job!!" Sally sighed. "OK let me think. We have to know what we are up against, NICOLE see what you can hack anything, and give the order to move the men back to the front."

"WHAT!!!" Sandra shrieked. "Ya can't pull back NOW!"

"Didn't you say that the men always come first?" Sally demanded.

Sandra's mouth snapped shut and she offered no further resistance.

"Do it." Sally stated. Despite her positive experience however she was highly stressed. Bookshire was beginning to notice this.

"Sally I think you need some rest." Bookshire stated. A few of the others gasped, not because it was an outrageous suggestion, but because they new what Sally's response would be.

"I don't need any rest!" Sally shouted angrily, ironically she yawned after she had said it.

"Sally, as your doctor I must insist you take some rest." Bookshire urged.

"Bookshire ya probably right!" Bunnie broke in before Sally could answer, "But dis is ta big for her to miss."

Bookshire shook his head slightly and shrugged.

Arna ran quickly through the chaotic confusion of war to the position indicated on her personnel HUD.

("Personnel HUD" Each trooper is equipped with a special visor that projects important data directly onto their retina.)

Her team had already knocked out several power plants, and her team had just twenty members. She wondered how the hundreds of other troops were getting on.

She got to her position and covered a young mink named Rabin as he dashed to his new position. The steady and calm voice of NICOLE rung through her ears. Arna often thought how dependent she was on the commander, or in this case a computer. She didn't mistrust the computer, far from it, she new it would choose only logical paths.

A SWATBOT came in from the right, her HUD put a triangle over it, and showed the usual details of motion, status and type. Arna raised her plasma cannon and let out a steam of steaks, aimed at it's waist. It collapsed, just like the countless other she had destroyed before.

She was a young female dear of about twenty, fast and athletic, she wore little armor but the standard shock belt.

There was allot going on but she could handle it, her parents had been killed by SWATBOTs and she had nothing to lose now.

Much to her surprise, as she ran through narrow alleys and under debris, she heard NICOLE giving the order to back out. At first she thought she was imagining things, but it persisted. Arna new how to follow orders and began to find her way back to the waiting hover cars.

There was an explosion behind her and she flew through the air and landed roughly on her front. The shock belt quickly removed the shock and pain from her system.

She leapt to her feet and began to run again. A SWATBOT came in to her right and she blew it's head off with a few well aimed shots. There was a load noise and a bright flash and Arna dropped down dead. So did Rabin. So did every one.

Click here to continue.