Two days had gone by since Jaden helped me escape. He would come in and out every day, presumably to sneak into the cafeteria to get snacks. Particularly on the second day, I was sitting in the quiet when Jaden suddenly popped into existence. I jumped.
“Geez, J!” I exclaimed.
“Sorry,” Jaden responded, “I’m not used to others in here with me.”
He handed me a bag of chips. I hadn’t had a chili dog since we got here. At least S.E.W.D. had the decency to feed me a sandwich instead of prison gruel. I still missed Luana’s cooking however.
“So, how’d you get stuck in here?” I asked Jaden.
Jaden was plugging away at the console in between bites.
“My sister and I were raised in an orphanage. When I was about 7, a couple was going to adopt her. But she didn’t want to because she would never see me again. So we both ran away. We were on the streets for a year, doing odd jobs to make money to buy what we needed. But then, S.E.W.D.D. found us, and you know the rest.”
I paused. “What happened to your sister?”
“I don’t know…”
Jaden added: “I’ve been looking for her since I escaped. I haven’t been successful.”
Jaden said nothing.
As I glanced at the console as preview pictures flew across the page. I noticed a picture flash by that caused my senses to spike.
Jaden’s eyes widened and paused the program.
Jaden silently backed up the slides. I spotted a kind of artwork with seven different colored objects.
Jaden stopped at the image. My eyes widened. Seven, diamond-cut gems: yellow, purple, red, light blue, dark blue, white, and green. I knew those gems like the back of my hand.
“What’s that!?” I asked.
Jaden pressed some buttons to pull up the document. As the document slowly panned downward, his eyes widened.
“‘The Sources’…” jaden responded, “Mysterious power sources S.E.W.D. uncovered during the beginning of its founding-” Jaden was quiet for a moment as he continued reading- “It looks like the Serum was developed from these gems…The energy emanate from the gems are different from any other source on Earth.”
“Those aren’t just any power sources,” I cried, “Those are The Chaos Emeralds!”
“You requested my presence, Dr. Beaumont?”
“Yes sir. There’s something you need to see…”
He pulled up camera footage on two particular monitors. One was a room with large generators, as well as a peculiar contraption with a glass dome on the top. Inside this contraption, there was a rainbow-colored glow shining from beneath the transparent sheet. Commander Stone was intrigued.
“The Gate wasn’t operating?” he asked.
“No sir. The Sources were reacting independently from the Gate. Now, look at this-”
On another camera, there was Luana, tossing and turning anxiously in her bed, the jagged lines on her arms glowing brighter than before. Then, she shot up, breathless, and sweaty. The blue glow ceased.
“This happened at the exact same time.”
“You think they are connected?”
“We always suspected that the Blue Blur and the Sources were connected. But we have never had a test subject react like this…”
Cdr. Stone thought for a moment. Then, he had an idea.
“Move the Sources from the engine room and into a test chamber to perform the experiment; and…make the exterior security light.”
“We know how tight their bond is. She is the ideal bait to recapture the Blue Blur. Prepare for his arrival…”
Another test was complete, and we were led back to our rooms. It appeared dinner time was approaching, and all we had to do is wait.
““So, how did you guys get in here?” I asked.
“I was growing up in an orphanage in the woods” said Chelsea, “one day, I was out with our group on a field trip, then suddenly, BAM! I’m in a big video game where I’m the hero!”
“Chelsea is sure she’s in a video game…” Amia explained.
“If you don’t call being thrown into an arena with superpowers fighting laser droids a video game, then I don’t know what a videogame is!”
“As for me,” Amia continued, “I was on the streets, making my home in an abandoned warehouse in the harbor. S.E.W.D.D. found me with no warning and took me in. At first, I thought I was getting arrested for stealing or something. But it was really just a freak scientific division who wanted to see what I could do with purple zig-zags. After I was paired up with Chelsea and Tanner, we hit it off. My goal is when we get out of here, we will work and save money, and get a huge beach house.”
“Good luck with that” I thought.
Then I turned to Tanner, “What about you?”
Tanner looked up from his book and shrugged.
“Just a kid growing up on the street trying to find food and work wherever I can” he responded, simply.
Suddenly, the door opened. Instinctively, we stood up. The guards came in.
“Subject 127, come with us.”
He was referring to me. Chelsea grew nervous.
“Why? What’re you gonna do to her?” she asked.
“Quiet, subject 93!” the guard said, sharply.
Chelsea was stunned, and took a step back behind Amia. I bit my lip, then turned to her.
“It’s okay, Chelsea…” I assured her.
Slowly, I approached the guards, and followed them into the hallway.
We walked up two flights of stairs, drastically different from the normal route to the test chamber. I grew nervous. Finally, we entered into a room: it was smaller than the training rooms, but what struck me immediately was a large engine with a glass dome, connected with wires, and to glass tubes, similar to the one I found Sonic in all that time ago. Suddenly, I was sticked with a needle. I shouted with alarm, and was shoved into one of the glass tubes. The door shut loudly behind me. I whirled around.
“What-!? What’s happening!?” I exclaimed.
Commander Stone walked in. I gritted my teeth and glared.
“You-!” I growled.
He ignored me.
“Good work. Time to kill two birds with one stone.”
Then, he glanced at me and sneered.
“Wouldn’t your grandfather love to see you right now? How his feeble attempt at protecting an extinct species cost the life of his granddaughter?”
“I don’t care what happens to me!” I cried, “I won’t rest until Sonic can be free of this place! I won’t rest until you’re gone!”
Cdr. Stone laughed.
“We’ll see if you’re still preaching that after this next test…”
A hot flash came over me. Suddenly I was sweating profusely and my head started spinning. I slowly lowered down to my knees, and bore my head on the glass. I could hear whispers, indiscernible, but beckoning. I glanced over at the machine to see color familiarly emanating from inside.
“The seven servers are the seven chaos,
Chaos is power,
Power enriched by the heart,
The controller is the one that unifies the chaos.”
I heard those words before. I was hypnotized, lured by the whispers, compelled to speak. However, the room around me distorted and swirled. I was too sick to say the words, and the world went dark.
“The Chaos Emeralds…!”
“I can’t believe it! After all this time…!”
“What’s the Chaos Emeralds!?”
I turned to Jaden.
“The Chaos Emeralds are from my home: ancient relics from long ago that allows its users to have powerful abilities-“ I put my hand to my heart, “-I was one of its users!”
“That would explain why S.E.W.D. used them to develop the serum. Hold on-“
Jaden did some cracking and pulled up a file linked to the Chaos Emeralds.
“-Project: Echo…” he breathed.
He zoomed in on the lettering.
“-They’re trying to find someone who successfully possessed the full power of the Chaos Emeralds!” He Informed, “but it looks like they haven’t succeeded. That’s why they’re kidnapping kids! They are still trying to find the one!”
I turned my heel.
“I have to go!” I declared.
“Sonic, S.E.W.D.’s security is high! They will be ready for you!” Jaden exclaimed.
“The Chaos Emeralds are the only way I can get Luana out of here, and free the other test subjects!”
“They will catch you!”
“I have to try, Jaden! I can’t sit and wait while Luana is who-knows-where and continues to suffer! I can’t let her down!”
Jaden bit his lip. He stared at me. Then, he hesitantly nodded.
“Okay. I’ll stay here in case you need back up. I hope you understand this won’t be easy.”
“If every time I had to save the day was easy, I would be out of a job!”
And with that, I sped off, leaving Jaden in the eerie darkness.