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Blood on His Fingers, Ash on His Lips

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  If there was one thing Scourge prided himself in, it was his ability to keep a straight face. No one could tell what he was thinking unless he wanted them to, and he rarely wanted them to.


  His thoughts were his own, and no one else’s.


  His actions, however, weren’t dictated by his thoughts or dreams or even his finely tuned motor skills. Scourge was a puppet, and if he tried to cut his strings he’d be damned to hell faster than Mephiles could put a gun to his head.


  Because the gun was already there, and all he had to do was pull the trigger.


  “Ya ready to do this mate?”


  The annoying lilt of St. Croix’s voice pulled Scourge from his thoughts, and he glanced at the skunk with guarded eyes. Of course he was ready. Why wouldn’t he be ready?


  I’m going to kill a person I’m going to walk in there and kill a person I’m going to put a gun to their head-


  “Of fucking course I’m ready. Let’s get this over with.”

  Scourge walked towards the building, St. Croix at his side, the cold presence of a gun tucked into the inside of his jacket burning into his skin.



  “You called?”






  “Put it back.”


  Far be it from Manic to argue when his sister used that tone of voice. Grinning sheepishly, he started pulling his stolen goods from the fanny pack slung low on his hips, tossing them into a pile of SWATbot scraps by a console.

  One of these days he was gonna get a reprieve.

  ...He was never going to get a reprieve.

  Jeez, if ya think it’s hard to be a prince, imagine being a prince raised as a thief for thirteen years of his life. Manic was certain that when his siblings and he finally found their mother and brought Robuttnik down for good, he was going to be thrown into his own personal hell full of rules and manners and-oh Chaos, no thieving.


  It wasn’t that he liked to steal things, it’s just one of the only things he was good at. It came naturally to him, much like drumming and being a sarcastic asshole towards his sister did.


  Prissy princessing was Sonia’s job, not his.


  “Are we almost done here sis? Sonic’s wearing a groove into the floor.” Manic asked, eyeing the pile of relinquished parts forlornly. Sonic looked up, having spaced out with all of his pacing.


  “This place gives me the creeps. I’m not gonna feel safe until we’re back in the van and driving far away from here.” Sonic said, and with a rush of wind he was gone in a blue blur, scouting out their perimeters for the upteenth time. Manic watched him go, and then turned back to Sonia, who was staring at the monitor with an intense look of concentration on her face.


  “The files aren’t downloading fast enough. Are you sure they’re the right ones, Manic?” She asked after a moment, eyes still locked on the screen as it calculated the download percentage.


  ...67%, 68%, 69%...


  “Have some faith, wouldja sis? Jeez, it’s like you’ve never seen me hack into one of Buttnik’s data bases before.”


  “I mean it Manic, if these are the wrong files it could have disastrous consequences on our mission! We need these weapons, they’re the only things strong enough, besides you, Sonic, Knuckles, and myself, to destroy Robotnik’s robots.”


  “Correction: Knuckles is-”


  “-out of the question, I know. But we can’t keep doing this forever. The Resistance has to be armed.”


  Manic sighed. “Even if I got the wrong files, there’s nothing we can do now. I encrypted these flash drives so that nothing short of a power outage could interfere with the downloading process. Hell, even if the power went out, it’d still probably be downloading.”


  Manic and Sonia’s eyes met, and an understanding passed between them: Manic was way too good at his job.


  ...78%, 79%, 80%, 81%...




  Sonic burst back into the room, green eyes wild.


  “It’s juice and jam time guys, Robuttnik found us out!”


  Sonia whirled around frantically, and Manic straightened in alarm.


  “The files aren’t done downloading!” Sonia said, glancing at the monitor, her breath quickening and coming out in little puffs. Manic looked at the monitor as well.


  It had stalled on 85%.


  “Fuck. Sonic!”


  Sonic looked at his brother and they nodded at each other. He rushed forward, scooping Sonia up (she yelped, she always does).


  “I’ll get her to the van, and then come back and cover for you.” Sonic said. Sonia started to protest, but her words, if there were any, were lost to the wind as Sonic sped off in a blue and pink blur.


  Manic turned back to the monitor, cracking his fingers and starting to type furiously, trying to figure out why the download was stalling. Lines of code raced before his eyes, and he could vaguely hear sounds of things exploding behind him as he looked for any sign of a-


  There, his brow furrowed, singling out the line of code that was bugging. There it is.


    “Manic, you better hurry up bro, it’s getting crowded over here!” Sonic’s voice vaguely registered in Manic’s mind as the download started up again.

  ...86%, 87%, 88%, 89%...



   “S’almost done bro!”


  ...93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%...

  Manic heard the rev of a Sonic spin start up and ducked as a SWATbot part flew over his head. His brother was backed up all the way to the entrance of the room, merely a blue tornado that randomly ejected robot limbs by this point.


  ...99%, 100%.


  He just managed to pull the flash-drive from the console before Sonic scooped him up and shot out of the room, ducking and dodging SWATbots and moving so fast Manic could’ve sworn his ears popped. Sonic was moving scarily fast, faster than he ever had before and-


  A noise like thunder surrounded him for an instant, and then Manic’s ears really did pop, and Sonic and Manic leaped into the van just as Sonia slammed her foot on the gas.