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Brunt of the Joke

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"Sonic, what's going on?" Amy panted, catching her breath. Along with Tails and Johnny, she'd run down to the prison cellar deep in the Kintobor Laboratory complex, where they'd been keeping Doctor Robotnik since capturing him on the Floating Island.

A quick glance around soon answered her question: a tunnel into Robotnik's cell. Robotnik's toady, Knuckles, standing by. Porker Lewis, looking tiny in Robotnik's strong grasp, wriggling futilely.

"Oh, it's just Porker Lewis," Sonic waved his hand at Porker with a grimace. "Professional hostage, doing his usual thorough job!"

"Don't worry about me, Sonic!" Porker trembled. "Just don't let Robotnik take the Emeralds!"

Sonic shook his head. "Don't try to be a hero, Porker. It doesn't suit you!" He turned to Johnny Lightfoot. "Johnny, get the Chaos Emeralds."

"On it," Johnny replied immediately, and started running back up the stairs. "Amy, come with me."

Amy ran as fast as she could after Johnny, but the rabbit could put on quite a pace when he needed to, and by the time she reached the control room at the top of the cellar stairs, Johnny had already hauled aside the shelves of apparatus blocking the entrance to the chamber in which the Emeralds were stored. He stood poised to one side of the polished steel blast doors, his hand pressed into a depression to the right of the entranceway.

"We need two pairs of authorised handprints to get in here." Johnny pointed to a second panel on Amy's side of the door. "I programmed yours in after Sonic got stuck on the Miracle Planet."

Amy rushed over to the panel and put her left hand onto the circular recess. The material moulded itself around her hand, checking its shape, and then lit up green. A moment later, another set of lights above the doorway turned on, and the thick doors slid open slowly with a creak. A cloud of bitterly cold air whooshed out, causing a shiver down Amy's spine. She stepped inside, tentatively.

In alcoves set into the far wall sat all six Chaos Emeralds, glistening in the pure white spotlights projected onto them from the ceiling. These things of legend. They were each the size of her fist, and startlingly beautiful.

"Collect up the Emeralds," Johnny instructed. "I'll prepare the transport box." He opened a panel in the wall to the right, and started rummaging around inside. "Quickly!" he called, shaking Amy out of her reverie.

Amy grabbed each Emerald in turn, using her loose t-shirt as a makeshift cradle. The spotlights turned off as each Emerald was removed, and shortly after a klaxon began sounding—and the doorway started grinding shut!

Johnny cringed. "I forgot about the extra intruder system Porker installed last month," he called, sprinting to the doorway. "Hurry!"

Amy bolted for the exit as quick as she could. It was barely fast enough. The closing doors caught her boot as she passed through the gap, and in yanking her foot free she lost her balance, tumbling face first onto the laboratory floor. The Emeralds, still cradled in her t-shirt, clinked noisily between her body and the floor.

"Are you okay?" Johnny exclaimed.

Her nose hurt where the ground had interrupted her fall, but all things considered, it could have been much worse. She put her palms on the floor to push herself up. "Yes, I'm—"

A jolt punched into her stomach from beneath, winding her and sending her flying up and backwards. This time she got to her feet again quickly. "Ow!" she exclaimed again. "What the…?"

Johnny had already knelt down to where Amy had been, and was swiftly shoving the Chaos Emeralds into the refrigerated box. A small cloud of oily black particles was dissipating between that spot on the floor and Amy. Johnny slammed the lid shut on the box.

"I got them refrozen before they disappeared back to the Special Zone." He sighed. "But I don't like how they reacted to that fall. Are you okay?"

Amy checked herself over. She was going to have some hefty bruises later, but everything important seemed intact. Her head was spinning a little too, but she shook it off for now. "I'm fine. Let's get back to the others."

***

And so a couple of minutes later, Sonic was not only letting Robotnik escape, but handing him the Chaos Emeralds to boot!

Sonic opened the box of Emeralds for Robotnik to confirm they were inside. "Without this refrigerated box the Emeralds would become unstable and…"

Amy couldn't resist taking another look at the Chaos Emeralds, and she peered into the box. More of that oily black smoke bubbled up from them. They were calling to her. She felt dizzy. Her head swirled.

"Take them!" Sonic shouted angrily, bringing Amy back to the present moment. "Now let the pig go!"

Sonic pushed the box through the food slot in the cell wall, glaring at Robotnik, but directing his speech to the pink Echidna. "Don't trust him, Knuckles. Robotnik doesn't care about you, he just wants those Chaos Emeralds!"

Robotnik jumped into the tunnel and Knuckles burrowed after him. The ground rumbled and the hole in the earthen cell floor crumbled shut.

"They've blocked up the tunnel!" Johnny cursed.

Amy looked at the remaining mound of earth in the cell and felt her dreams collapsing as the escape tunnel had. Her hopes of just having a normal life, not having to sleep with one eye open, not having to summon strength to fight every damn day. Her rib cage felt tight and her pulse roared in her ears. Her legs buckled and she collapsed to the floor like a rag doll, gasping for breath.

An instant later and an eternity later, she felt something else. A dull ache in every joint. Every muscle twitching, and then tensing, and then she could barely move as her body froze, locked rigid. She gasped in pain and blinked her eyes open just long enough to see her fists, clenched tight, swirling with dark Chaos Energy.

Her eyes stung. Her teeth screamed. Her skin howled as if every quill on her body had turned into an electric probe, jolting her with lightning.

It was agony.

And then, it was not.

As quick as flicking a switch, the pain disappeared; in its place a mere tingling in her fingers and toes.

And the Chaos Energy filled her like oxygen after a held breath.

She jumped to her feet, and looked around. Johnny had just taken a jump back too; he must have been kneeling at her side after she'd collapsed. Porker was next to him, with a look of shock on his face.

"A… Another Chaos super form?" he said, taking a step back.

Ah, of course… Amy—Super Amy—looked down at her hands and felt the strength in them as they trembled with anticipation. She felt a grin creeping across her face and she let out a low growl of a chuckle.

"This power… you never said it felt so good, Sonic."

She looked around for the blue hedgehog, but he was nowhere to be seen.

"… Sonic?"

It was only Johnny, Porker, and herself left in the prison cellar. Where had he gone? Sonic always ran off without her. And the others always let him!

Now it was their turn to be the brunt of the joke.

She grabbed Porker by the lapels and lifted him plain off the ground. She was so strong! She couldn't hold back another giggle. "Where's Sonic, little pig?" She smiled, through clenched teeth.

Porker looked terrified. It was such a funny facial expression. "He—he went back up to the control room!" he squeaked.

Super Amy sprinted up the cellar stairs and found herself in the control room within a flash. She was fast. Nothing would stop her.

A figure reflected in the stainless steel entrance to the Emerald Chamber caught her eye. So this was her. Glowing gold spines, crooked, but resembling Amy's usual styling. Pupils radiating pulsing rings of red into the whites of her eyes. A wide grin, showing razor-sharp teeth. It would be hilarious taunting Sonic about this as she punished him for all the snarky comments he'd made to her.

But again there was no sign of Sonic. She looked at the security monitors. One showed Sonic and Tails running (and flying) towards the Tornado's hangar. She smirked. They both seemed so slow. She'd catch them in no time.

Then she noticed the next monitor in the array. It was currently displaying a video feed of Robotnik's Egg-o-matic up on the surface; its dome closed and its booster jets firing up.

Robotnik. The man who was stopping Amy living a normal life. The man who trapped her in a Badnik suit just for wanting to hang out with Sonic! The man with an extremely stupid moustache!

Super Amy couldn't resist the opportunity to toy with the doctor. Within moments she was on the surface, her loaded crossbow in hand, the metal components fizzing with shared Chaos Energy. She sighted the Egg-o-matic, still launching itself into the air. A crossbow bolt would get Robotnik's attention. The arrow struck the dome of the vehicle but merely disintegrated with a flash of green light.

The Egg-o-matic surged across the grass flats towards Super Amy, and Robotnik's voice boomed out, "Well, what have we here?"

Super Amy let loose another arrow. Once again, it disappeared with a flash and a hiss of evaporating matter.

Robotnik's amplified laugh reverberated through the ground. "You fool! You might have powered up before handing me the Chaos Emeralds, but my craft is designed to absorb Emerald power! You have rendered yourself impotent against me!"

A large panel in the underbelly of the Egg-o-matic slid open, and a large red and gold sledgehammer unfolded itself from inside the fuselage.

Super Amy burst out in a cackle. "A giant mallet? You're not serious!"

"I have been waiting to use this for a very long time," Robotnik announced, clearly not seeing the funny side. "And now that you have imbued it with Chaos Emerald residue, it should have plenty of power to wipe you off the face of Mobius!"

The Egg-o-matic was surprisingly agile, now it was able to draw on the Chaos Emeralds, and with the hammer mounted on a set of pneumatic pistons, Super Amy found she was having to jump and dodge more than she expected. Something inside her told her that she couldn't keep this up all day without recharging.

Robotnik took another swing. Super Amy braced herself until the last minute, then leapt into the air, over the hammer, and reached out with both hands to yank the handle backwards towards her. The pistons strained and the hinges snapped, sending Super Amy backwards with unleashed momentum and a cackle of joy. The Egg-o-matic also lurched forward, a small metal rod hanging loose from where it had been attached to the hammer's handle.

She jumped up and ran after the Egg-o-matic. With a mighty swing she heaved the hammer around like a discus, pivoting on her feet and planting the hammer's head firmly into the side of Robotnik's vehicle. Chaos Energy sparked out as it made contact with the craft, sending it momentarily out of control into the distance.

She looked around as the sound of another engine came rumbling towards her from behind. It was the Tornado. Sonic and Tails were finally in pursuit.

Wielding the hammer had taken a lot out of her—quite literally. Robotnik's power-hungry construction had drained some of the Chaos Energy from her, and what she had left had been exhausted by the fight. She felt heavy. Her legs gave way. She curled up in a ball, cold and shivering.

***

Amy came around some time later, still on the grassy plains of the Emerald Hill Zone. Kneeling beside her to her left, and looking over her with an expression of concern, was Johnny Lightfoot.

"…Amy? Thank goodness! Glad to have you back with us!"

There wasn't a single part of Amy's body that didn't hurt; the sort of dull ache that came from doing too much intensive exercise in one go.

"Ugh. What happened?" Everything was hazy.

"We saw you collapse just as we reached the surface," Porker interjected. "You'd turned back to your normal form by the time we got to you."

Porker was standing to Amy's right, with a gizmo in his hands, peering over a gigantic hammer that was lying on the ground next to Amy. "Fascinating. It's absorbed several quanta of Chaos Emerald energy, but it seems to be stable. I should get it back to the lab for testing."

"Okay. Get a cart and be careful," Johnny frowned. "I'm going to help Amy back inside."

Amy didn't like accepting help from anyone, but in this instance she relented, and let Johnny lift her up. She felt like sleeping for days.

"Is… is Sonic okay?"

"I hope so," Johnny replied, grimly. "He and Tails have gone after Robotnik and Knuckles. If he doesn't return soon, we're going to have to prepare to evacuate."

"Sonic will be okay," Amy smiled weakly, trying to sound positive. "He's pretty…" she stifled a yawn "…pretty smart. Sometimes. I think… I think I will sleep now."