“Commander, we can’t get visuals on that planet; signals are being lost when we send out satellites.”
"Send in a scouting team, I'm taking point on this reconnaissance."
"Sir, if you go and anything happens, we might be in disarray."
"Put Ryan as my replace-"
"Make that Travis, you really think I'm letting you go that easily?" Ryan said over his side of the radio.
"Colonel Ryan, please reserve this channel only for official business and orders, do not add any other comments other than what is necessary."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah; quit having that antenna up your ass and give me a break, Tails, let's go."
"It is an honor having you in our mission today sir," the leader of recon group Oscar saluted to Tails. Tails saluted back and walked over to his X-Tornado. He left the rest of the greetings for Ryan, hearing jabs throughout the conversation. Greengate, you look beautiful as always. Tails walked with the flower in his hand and set it on the dashboard, a small gravity well had been installed for her specifically. He started to check his systems and engines, everything looks fine.
"On your go Commander Prower," Oscar's leader said over the comms.
"Just so you know, I'm Tails wingman, no one else," Ryan chimed in.
"Oscar-1, ready." "Oscar-2, clear." "Oscar-3, ready." "Taco Supreme, ready for crunch."
Tails chuckled," Alright, let's go; open doors, Command."
The blast shield opened and a thin shield appeared, they flew past it with ease. “Formation V until I say we’re clear to scatter.”
“Yes sir.” “Roger that.” “Got it.” “Aye, aye.”
“Commander, this is Blue Typhoon, we’re picking up some strange signals coming ten kilometers from your current location, marking the area for you on your map.”
“Travis, is that you! Man, how’s it been-” Tails turned off his radio and continued forward towards the marked area.
“Cosmo… if you’re out there, give me a sign,” Tails took out a picture from the wedge on top of the dashboard. He stared at it, distant memories of a time that seemed so long ago flashed through his head. He looked once more to the flower on his dashboard and slid a finger on its pedals. “A sign, any sign.” Suddenly, he saw a red flash fly past him. He put his picture in his back pocket and quickly turned on the radio, complete chaos flooded his once isolated cockpit.
“Oscar-2, Oscar-2, calm-“ “we’re taking heavy fire!” “Commander, you’re too close to the planet!”
“Permission to scatter!” “I’m hit, I’m being pull-!”
Oscar-3, Ryan, and Tails were flying into a barrage of laser shots. Tails ordered to take evasive maneuvers and to try to escape the barrage. Oscar-3 spun and pulled up, trying to make a complete retreat. Ryan followed Tails into the barrage, trying to get out of the turret’s gun rotation. Oscar-3’s craft was shot and was critically damaged but he was still able to have enough power to try to fly away.
“Tails, I’m not gonna last much longer…”
“Don’t say that,” Tails cringed as the Gs from the turns were starting to affect him,” Just keep this up and we’ll be-“ three dish looking turrets started to power up, one after the other they shot towards him. He barrel rolled away from the first two shots but before he became reoriented from the spin, the third had struck his nose. He began falling towards the planet as lasers began to target at Tails again. One was able to strike his engine, sending sparks and smoke as he began spiraling down into the planet.
Tails pulled on the stick, desperately trying to regain control. The ship didn't respond and all the monitors of his ship flashed on and off. As a last ditch, he tried one last hard pull, clenching his teeth and eyes to try to stay conscious. “COS-M-O” he groaned out.
“C-Cosmo!” Tails opened his eyes, widen as he saw the sight. She was beautiful,” you look absolutely magnificent…”
“I’ve waited here for you, for so long,” Tails looked at her with an expression of shock and confusion. “Tonight, you’ll join together the other half..” Without Tails noticing, he had been slowly pacing towards her. She was so close, he reached out with one hand but she started to float away. She whisked away into a dense forest, dark from the thick rain clouds floating overhead. He was eventually also surrounded by the same forest, a force pushing him into it without him taking a step.
“Wait, no, Cosmo, I want more time! Come back, please!” his face started to fill with tears.
“Tails, wake up!”
Tails eyes shot wide open. Everything in front of him was cloud, A few moments later, the cloud layer was passed and he saw three other ships, two ahead and one beside him but beginning to fall behind. One of their engines started to glow red hot and shattered. The cyclone spun out of control and collided with the other. They exploded in a beautiful blue and purple as debris scattered in the air. Tails’ ship still wasn’t able to respond and flew right into the remains. The cockpit began to crack, but the plane’s alarm came to life and he was able to regain control of the ship. Ahead, a giant piece of hull was about to collide with him. He took his chances and tried to fly under it. It smacked the glass and shattered in Tails’ face. He was trying to get as much of it off when he saw Cosmo’s flower fly out. He tried to reach for it, but it was gone with a chunk of debris that had hit it. He quickly sent his hand to the oxygen mask and put it on. “Mayday, mayday; this is Commander Prower, can anyone read, over!?” The radio buzzed with static for a few seconds until it crackled to life.
“Commander, I can’t control this thing!” They passed through a second coating of clouds and now the ground was visible, it was a lot closer than Tails had anticipated it.
“Pull up! Pull up!” Once again, Tails gritted his teeth and pulled the stick as close to him as possible. As he did so, he heard his engine whining and afterward a stronger sound that whizzed by but disappeared as soon as he heard it. The plane wouldn’t budge, it was still heading nose first into the ground. He held it close to him, and soon the knot in his stomach tightened and felt as though he was going to flood the cockpit with bile. The plane pulled up just in time, but the fin became an anchor and the plane began to skid on the ground. The engine finally gave out and momentum flipped the plane many times until it came to a halt. Tails winced open his eyes, up ahead was a forest, any further and the crash could have gone a lot worse than it had. He blinked, struggling to reopen his eyes. His body ached, his muscles tender from the crash. “I’ll-… I’ll rest, maybe…”
“Tails… the forest…”
Tails began to unbuckle himself from the safety harness, still with eyes closed. Sluggishly, he tried to come out of the craft but he lost his grip and fell back into the seat. Flinching, he tried to use the same momentum to pull himself out. He jumped over and landed on his feet. A few steps later, he lost strength and fell back. “At this rate, I’m never going to get anywhere…” he thought to himself. Tails looked farther back and noticed the wreck of Oscar-3. Limping, he tried his best to try to reach his fallen ally as fast as he could. Once there, the feeling he had been flooded with so many times before washed over him. There he was, still alive, but the poor bastard’s nose had hit the ground enough for the first half to be compressed. Half his body was stuck underneath the wreck, probably crushed and beyond healing. “Commander… I fucked up” Tails couldn’t do it; he didn’t want him to suffer any longer. He pulled out his pistol and aimed it at his comrade’s head. He smiled at Tails; he knew what was coming and seemed to accept it. “It was a pleasure fighting for you… dad.”
Tails stood at the edge of the forest, though not really seen at first, there was a trail that led into the forest. “I’m coming Cosmo.” The winds felt lightly for Tails, the trees acting as shields from the upcoming storm. The air felt fresh, natural; all but the leaves of trees and the sweeping brush sounded in the forest. Protecting, calm, gentle, quiet… just like you Cosmo… he let out a small chuckle at the thought. “It actually kind of feels like I’m talking to you again… are you really here, out there somewhere?”
“Sorry but no, try again.” Tails looked up and saw as small parachute floating down towards him. It passed the tree line, but got in some low branches. “Well, this is great.” Tails chuckled at Ryan’s struggle to try to get his parachute unhooked. After a few moments, he dropped down next to Tails,” what’s the plan this time boss?”
“We follow the path, there’s some infrastructure in this world somewhere.”
“You’ve been here before or something?”
“Not far from this planet, she sacrificed herself.”
“And this is the planet she was born in… at least her family was. She came from this planet, and unfortunately so did the meterex.” Tails didn’t meet Ryan’s gaze, only walking forward and keeping his eyes on what’s ahead. “We were able to let her see her home world before she did what she did, but it was all dead when we got here. Never thought it was this beautiful…
“Just like her?”
“No, she held much greater beauty”
Ryan let out a loud sight,” Remind me to set up a memorial, yeah?”
“Just keep walking.” And so they did, they kept following the path in complete silence. Tails looked around for any buildings or openings that might show Cosmo’s civilization’s location. Nothing, and as they walked on, the little light that could get past the forest’s tree began to dimmer.
“Tails, I think I hear something,” he readied his rifle to the direction of the sound.
“It’s probably just the trees, I haven’t heard anything.”
“I don’t know… it might be whatever shot us down; they’ve showed that they’re not too friendly.”
“I don’t have time for this; you always have a bad feeling about-“
“Shh, listen…” Tails glared at Ryan, but nonetheless didn’t let a single peep out of his mouth. Seconds passed by as he became angrier at Ryan until a rustle in the bushes sounded where Ryan had pointed out. It rustled off rhythm from all the other plants, there was something certainly there.
“Just give me the order to shoot.” Tails laid his hand on top of the gun, bringing Ryan’s aim down,” Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves,” he began to walk towards their suspicions,” Who knows who it could be…”
“I’m pretty sure what it can be,” Ryan aimed his rifle again at the rustling bush. Tails began to sweat, what the hell am I doing, I should have just shot the fucking thing!, Tails began to regret. Just a few steps, oh please don’t be a black arms, you’re too small to be one…
He was now right next to it, he bended to see over it and there she was. Holding a strange weapon, she had her face on the ground; she quickly realized that the foxes had stopped making noise. She looked up quickly and was met face to face with Tails. Tails too was surprised at the Cosmo looking girl, could she be seedrian…? She leapt to her feet and raised her weapon, a snub nosed handgun with a wide barrel, almost like a one handed grenade launcher. He quickly began to raise his arms,” I don’t have anything, I won’t hurt you.!”
“Put the gun down!” Ryan screamed at the seedrian. She now pointed her gun at Ryan,” Put the gun down!”
The yelling went back and forth, Tails cutting in trying to also disarm the seedrian; both of them would not budge. Heavy footsteps were tromping their way, but the screaming was still going on to notice. It wasn’t after a small break between the shouting that they managed to hear the noise. Ryan didn’t know what to do; he only gave small glances towards the approaching footsteps while still pointing at the seedrian. She, on the other hand, had completely forgotten about them and was looking focused at the direction of the noise. Suddenly, her face showed terror and panic,” Oh no, please no…”
Three male seedrians dropped in from the trees, two had the same weapon as the female seedrian while the other had a longer looking version of it. Patunia, are you okay!?” he asked, unnoticing the foxes. He soon realized them and all three started to point their weapons at Ryan.
“Stay back, all of you, stay back!” Ryan hopelessly cried as he was made to be cornered at a tree.
“Brother, not now! They’re coming!”
“What? From whe-“They grew louder and louder, something big was coming with a lot of company.
“Just answer me this, are you Black Arms!?” one of the male seedrians shouted to them.”
“What the hell, no! Do I look like a Black Arms!?”
All three of them looked at each other, they were thinking something fast, but whatever they were wanting to do was interrupted, the beast had come. A black arms soldier, double the size of a regular had stepped into their encounter. “Holy shit, Tails, run!” Ryan started to shoot his automatic rifle into semi fire. Tails began to run towards Ryan’s direction while taking out his revolver but was launched into the air by an explosion. He looked around, his ears buzzed and felt disorientated, where am I?
“Cosmo! Where are you!”
“Tell me where you are!”
“Tails!” Ryan yelled roughly. “Get up you fucking moron, that thing brought company!”
A squad of black arms started to move up, the bigger one not holding a weapon, slowly walking with his fists ready. Tails struggled to start running, falling over as he tried to get up but caught his balance and run once he was back on his feet. Ryan let out a small burst of fire and began to run behind the small seedrian force. Ryan once again turned around, crouched, loaded a grenade into the attachable and waited. At the first sight of a Black Arms soldiers, he gave out a shot that made it step back, delaying the other forces as well and began running. “Tails, I don’t have enough ammo to take that thing down! What do we do!?”
“Just keep running, follow me!” Ryan did so, and Tails followed the seedrians. To know that they were afraid of Black Arms assured him that they might be friendly, they might also be fighting said faction. Soon enough, they were at their stronghold. Old city ruins, plant life grew from anywhere it could, it would do. “Ryan…” he turned around, but wasn’t there. A few bursts of gunfire sounded a close distance away and Ryan ran up to Tails, a little distraught.
“Find a building, good visuals; give me your radio, I’ll try to up the signal; we still have a chance!”
Ryan tossed the radio as he ran to inspect the most intact looking building he could find. He knocked open the door, trying his best to one man breech it. The house had two straight hallway, at the end of it seemed to be a kitchen with a table in the middle of it while the other smaller one led to some stairs. Tails rushed past him and got to work on the radio on the table. “Perfect spot for a last stand, huh?”
Tails looked up from his work to glare at Ryan,” Not today, I can’t die today…”
Ryan nodded; this would not be his day either. Footsteps stomped nearby, Black Arms was getting close and fast. “Anytime now, with the radio?”
“Still working on-” banging came from the door they came from. Ryan switched off his safety and turned it to semiautomatic. The banging got louder and louder, was the door jammed?
“Tails, run up stairs!” Ryan began to run towards the banging door and headed into the other hallway, stairs not too far from the corner. As Tails reached the corner, the door burst open from the kitchen as laser shots danced around the hallway. The shots settled, the front door burst open and more Black Arms swarmed the room. A few grunts between them as they searched the home, a small group starting to head upstairs. Meanwhile, Ryan and Tails were trying to find a way out. It seemed that they were going to have to throw themselves out the window. Tails adjusted himself to better fix the radio while moving, Ryan had a running start, boosted by his tails, and flew out the window. He hovered just outside the window, waiting for Tails to follow him out, nothing. He hovered over to see through, he was hiding behind a flipped table, Black Arms were checking the room. Ryan got closer, exposing his whole body and fired a burst into the room. They scattered and took cover, Tails took the chance to run. A few flashes started to fly their way, Ryan tried his best to suppress them, but it wasn’t enough. A shot flew straight into Tails, he stumbled and fell out the window. Ryan held his spot, hovering just outside the window. He turned automatic and shot his entire magazine into the window and quickly flew down to help Tails. “Tails, get up!” Tails’ head shot up,“ Damn those lasers burn…”
” You’re hit?”
“No, but the radios fried...” The soldiers inside the house started to recollect themselves, heading out the window and doors. Ryan reloaded and helped Tails to his feet. As they ran, Ryan started to occasionally take a few shots behind them to try to slow them down. They ran and ran, at one point leaving the trail and into the thick brush in hopes of hiding. Both ducked as they heard their enemy’s stomping nearby. They stopped, no sound but the wind and trees could be heard. A small pop broke the silence, a grunt falling a few feet away from Tails. A few more seconds of confusions, then the grunts started to fire every direction. Blasts and pops deafened both foxes, caught in the middle of the crossfire without any cover in sight. Tails nodded to Ryan, he returned the gesture; popping out of the brush, guns blazing at whatever remained of the grunts. The noise abruptly stopped.
“So gents, follow me…”
“How’s the battle looking?”
“Not too good, but not too bad. The new Cyclones are too slow to evade or protect themselves; our fighters are winning, shields holding…”
“Your men are remarkable,” a male seedrian commented, looking through a second telescope.
“True that… Quarkos, you said you were seedrian?”
“Yes, indeed, why do you ask?”
“Tails, wasn’t your heart seedrian?”
Quarkos looked at Ryan quizzically, then turning to Tails for an answer.
“Commander,” Tails began, standing straighter and lifting his head high,” I was the Captain of the VSF Blue Typhoon, a girl named Cosmo was the one who summoned my friend, Sonic, to fight the Meterex. She was the only one who survived her ship; her mother Earthia was regrettably lost that day. She was the one who sacrificed herself to end the Meterex. And ever since I’ve met her, she is the only one I have held so dearly to my heart.”
“Earthia… yes, I remember that name. It feels like a time so long ago… I am sorry to hear about your loss as well.
The night sky had planted itself, leaving nothing but darkness in its wake. Tails and Ryan had agreed to follow the seedrian back to his quarters, with hesitation from both sides. The village-turned-fort was a modest size, holding a few residential buildings for them to sleep in. Tails and the seedrians’ Commander, Querkos, had shared each other’s stories amongst each other. The foxes had learned that after the Metrex had been beaten, Black Arms had begun to swarm once more from planet to planet, for conquest. The seedrians didn’t have any time nor will to leave their planet, but after resources and information of the outside became scarce, some wanted out. A single ship blasted into space, in hopes of finding more of their species or other civilizations to trade with. Civilian fitted, it stood no chance against a Black Arms Frigate. The explosion, witnessed by all in the planet, had become an example; they were stuck in their planet. Unfortunately for them, Black Arms did not know that seedrians had survived Meterex War and had begun to hunt their specie, in fear of another Metrex war. The arrival of Tails and his fleet had become a beacon of hope for Querkos’s people. “Now that you’re here, we might just have a chance to push out these beasts out of our planet!”
“I will be happy to help. Your people have gone through enough.”
“Aye…” Quarkos looked up into the starry sky, the flashes of explosions and tracers interrupted the beauty of the winking constellations,” but haven’t we all?”