Jaded Views

By Thad "X" Boyd and Steve "Maxl" Tramer


  1. Chapter 1 - Access Denied
  2. Chapter 2 - The Letter
  3. Chapter 3 - Drawn Blades
  4. Chapter 4 - Kabuki Comes To
  5. Chapter 5 - The Kindness of Strangers
  6. Chapter 6 - Badger Hunting
  7. Chapter 7 - In the Green
  8. Chapter 8 - An Evening at the Improv
  9. Chapter 9 - A Weighty Decision
  10. Chapter 10 - The Battle
  11. Chapter 11 - Going Down
  12. Chapter 12 - Home Again


Foreword and Legal Stuff

This work is written by Thaddeus Boyd and Stephen Tramer. If you wish to copy this, fine, but keep it unchanged. If you use it to make a quick buck for yourself, we will hunt you down and garrote you (either that, or prosecute you to the maximum extent of the law).

The following work is purely fictitious (and if you didn't figure that out for yourself, you should consult a psychiatrist), except for the fact that a few characters herein are comparable to some real people we know (with different names, of course).

I'd like to thank anyone and everyone who has ever written a Sonic the Hedgehog story, because I draw many ideas from these. I'd also like to thank the programmers at Square Soft who created Final Fantasy 3, since I've made a few jokes in this story about that game, as well as taken a good portion of the opera scene therein.

Should anything come up in this story that conflicts with any other Sonic stories -- past, present, or future -- just say that this is an "alternate reality" and that the events here occurred differently for some reason.

All characters herein are created by Service and Games (SEGA), and by Archie Comics, with the following exceptions (alphabetically by character):

Amaroq Kapugen          -               Jesse Rhodes
ANT 100                 -               Anthony Testa
Bookshire Draftwood     -               David Pistone
Hedgehog X              -               Brent Roberts
Jade                    -               Thad Boyd & Stephen Tramer 
Kabuki Ninomiya         -               Jill Quindiagan
Kate Chaos              -               Stefanie Londo
Maxl                    -               Stephen Tramer
Mega Man X              -               Capcom games
Mega Man X3             -               Glen Swift
Packbell                -               David Pistone
Tracker                 -               Stephen Tramer
Zero                    -               Capcom

Chapter 1
Access Denied

Can't probe target. The disheartening words flashed across Nicole's screen.

"Shoot," Kate said, running a hand through her long, brown hair. "Even with both of us hooked up to Nicole, Kabuki is still immune to our scanning."

"I know, Sis," Hedgehog X replied. "Of course, keep in mind that we're new to this telepathy thing."

"Yeah," the fifteen-year-old human girl replied, "but you'd think that at least maybe two of the most powerful entities on the planet would be able to do something!"

"Don't get down on yuhself, Sugah," Bunnie said to Kate. "Remember, ah friend here," and with this, she pointed at the unconscious Siamese cat with probes on her head, "has had a pretty mysterious past."

"Please," HX said, "don't talk about mysterious pasts around me...I might start puking."

Hedgehog X wasn't exaggerating much. His past had been a major pain. After the Life Jades had been stolen from the village of Bluebrook by Robotnik, a new Gem Child was needed to take the place of Willind, now called Packbell, who had been the Child of the Jades of Life.

Without the Jades, creating a new life-form wasn't easy for the other Power Gems, so the new life-form, who was meant to be a clone of Mobius's champion, Sonic the Hedgehog, came out wrong. He was perpetually eleven years old (the age Sonic had been when he was cloned), as well as being purple and not having Sonic's speed.

For these reasons, Xavier -- the name given to the new Child of the Super Emeralds -- was banished and told to stay away from the Knothole Freedom Fighters. However, after he pulled them out of a few scrapes, and was forced to reveal his true identity, the Emeralds cured his speed problem and let him join with the Knothole crowd.

To make matters worse, Xavier -- better known as Hedgehog X -- had the mind of two beings. He had once been sent to an odd alternate version of Mobius, a planet called Terra (known to some as Earth), where his mind was mixed with that of a sentient -- albeit deceased -- robot named Zero. With Zero's mind came the ability to become a cyborg -- to be robotic and yet keep his free will -- a design which Uncle Chuck would no doubt follow, once the war was over.

"Let's get back to the task at hand, shall we?" asked Mega Man X (more commonly known as just "X"), a sentient robot from Earth who was best friends with Hedgehog X. "Bookshire, Rotor, how long do you think it'll take to work this out?"

"Could be hours," the aging raccoon replied. "We could use some help from any of you who know electronics."

"That'd be me," said X and HX at the same time.

"Me too," Bunnie spoke up. "Ah'm kahnda partial to 'em, if y'all know what Ah mean."

Sally agreed to help, too, along with a few others.

"Uh, 'scuse me," a voice said, "but don't you think we should search Kabook's room for any clues?"

Everyone in the room looked at Sonic the Hedgehog, the one who had spoken, stared for a few seconds, and simultaneously hit themselves in the heads in a "why didn't I think of that?" sort of way.

Chapter 2
The Letter

"Kabuki's room is ze peegsty!" came a voice from somewhere under all the junk.

"Tell me about it, Ant," Sonic muttered.

"Why do I have to do this?" came a third voice.

"To find out what's wrong with Kabuki, Rack," Sonic replied to the unmistakable voice.

"Not 'Rack'," the voice replied testily, "Amaroq. Am-uh-rack Ka-pyu-jin. Amaroq Kapugen, meaning 'the great black wolf'."

"Whatever you say, Rack," Sonic replied.

The black wolf growled angrily. "Why should we be helping that cat, anyway?"

"Any enemy of yours has to be a friend of mine, mon," Knuckles growled from somewhere in the pile. Amaroq had a really weird sense of humor and often insulted his team-members, which made him unpopular with most of the Freedom Fighters. "You are a total...hey!"

"A total hey?" Tails wondered.

"Whuzzap?" Sonic asked. "Find something?"

"A letter of some sort," the echidna replied. "Yecch...it's all greasy."

"What does it say?" Sonic demanded.

"The handwriting's awful, Sonic," Knuckles observed, "but I think I can make out what it says:

Deer Cabookee,

I want you for my bryd. i'm comInG 4 u.
Uh-oh! It'z 4 in the Afternon! I don't kno what that meanz, but I guess I'yd better stop writhing this letter!

-The WaNDring SyKKo

"Either that, or something about rabbits and mosquitoes in the cheese."

"Who's this...wandering...what's-his-name?" Tails asked.

"You born on a farm, son?" Amaroq asked.

"I'm not your son," Tails replied, "and please answer my question."

"Uhhhh...I don't know either," Amaroq replied. "I just felt like saying that."

"Hey," said Sonic, who was now standing behind Knuckles and reading over his shoulder, "what are those things taped to the letter?"

"Hmmmm," the echidna said, "they appear to be tickets to see an opera."

"Ze opera?" Antoine asked, clapping his hands. "Magnifique!"

"Since when have there been operas on Mobius?" Tails inquired.

"Before you were born, mon," Knuckles replied. "Before that ol' Robuttnik took over. The one decent thing he ever did was ban them."

"Not too great, eh?" asked Tails, rhetorically.

"You got it," said Amaroq.

"Sacre bleu!" Antoine cried, outraged. "Ze operas were ze peak of ze entertainment!"

"Hey, guys," Sonic said, "what-say we go talk to the others about this?"

"Ya, mon," Knuckles said. "They might have gotten some development in Kabuki's condition, too, eh?"

Chapter 3
Drawn Blades

The grimy badger, clad in a shirt with a strange design, holey pants, and sandals, kicked the contraption again, then checked his watch. "I been doin' dis fo' ten minutes now!" he griped in a thick New York accent.

"Not going too, well, eh ol' buddy?" asked the figure in the dark suit and hood in a similar voice, without the New York accent.

"No, it ain't, Tracks," said the badger. "I never did figure out how to woik dis t'ingy."

"Maxl," said the hooded figure, "take it from your buddy, Tracker -- you're a total klutz when it comes to machines. Anyways, it's time for your fencing lesson. You're getting better."

"Well, okay," said Maxl, kicking the contraption one last time before he went into his house to practice fencing with Tracker. On his way into the house, Maxl looked at his watch, then mumbled something about operas and Jade.

Tracker drew his blade.

"Wow!" said Maxl, "Dat's a good pictcha!"

"Thanks," said Tracker. "Your art lessons really helped."

The two friends were sitting on Maxl's green carpet, the only clean thing left in his house. After fencing with Tracker, Maxl had agreed to give him an art lesson.

"Well, since you won that last round of fencing, I want to take you on again." said Tracker.

"Deal," answered Maxl, "but you pull your Big Blade and I'll take ya outta da picture."

"Fine by me, just wait and see...." said Tracker, "Just don't snap your fingers this time, okay?"

Maxl nodded. The house floor was all hardwood with no furniture or mats, except for the green carpet. For some reason, Maxl just couldn't stand having any blood on his beautiful carpet. Some might say that was the only sane thing about him.

"To ahms!" yelled Maxl across his living room to Tracker. Both drew sizable two-foot long daggers. Tracker advanced on Maxl, the thought of spilling blood on his mind. Maxl advanced on Tracker, the thought of meatloaf on his mind. Soon, both were in striking distance of each-other. Maxl decided to try to trick Tracker.

"Hey! A big meatloaf's behind ya!" he yelled.

"Huh??" asked Tracker, looking over his shoulder. Maxl struck at Tracker, who pivoted and parried. Tracker tried the same trick back on him, which was advantageous.

"Wait!" yelled Tracker, "The meatloaf is behind you now!"

"Food!" yelled Maxl. He spun around, and was stabbed in the back by Tracker.

"Quick!" yelled Tracker. "Clap your hands!"

Maxl did so, and got up off of the floor. He no longer was bleeding, and the hole where he had been stabbed was gone.

"Okay," Maxl said, checking his watch. "We've sparred fo' ten minutes. We kin stop now."

Meanwhile, a robot was watching everything from the underbrush a few hundred yards away.

Chapter 4
Kabuki Comes To

Access granted. The Freedom Fighters cheered as they saw the message displayed on the screen.

"Now we need to send the necessary stimulation signal," Bookshire said. "Computer, run a low-power electric impulse, similar to brainwaves."

Kabuki, lying on the floor, gave a slight twitch, but didn't do anything afterwards.

"Great," Sally said. "I guess we've only got one choice left -- shock treatment."

Amaroq, who had come in a few minutes before, cracked his knuckles. "This is gonna be fun!" he proclaimed.

Suddenly, there was a high screeching sound -- the sort a cat makes when stepped on -- and Kabuki was up, claws bared. "You just try it, wolf!" she hissed.

"I could take you on any day of the week," Amaroq replied.

"Break it up," came a voice, "Or you'll be dealing with me." The voice was exactly the same as X's, but it didn't come from X.

"X3!" X shouted.

"In the flesh," X3 replied, "or, rather, the silicon skin alloy."

Mega Man X3 was an alternate version of X, who had crossed paths with the Freedom Fighters on a distant planet. The fact that he existed in the same reality as X had caused them both to malfunction, so they had worked hard to become different. At this point, the weapon systems were different, and X3 had a strange morphing capability that allowed him to change shape, but their minds and personalities were still about the same.

"See anything on your perimeter scan?" Sally asked.

"As a matter of fact, yes," the robot replied. "I saw a badger and a -- a something; I couldn't tell what it was because it was dressed in a black hood and cloak -- who were fencing in a rather, um, unique way. They said something about meatloaf."

"Get any names?" the princess asked.

"Yeah. One of them called himself..."

"The Wandering Psycho," Kabuki interrupted.

"Uh, actually, the badger called himself something like Maxwell, and the shadowy guy said he was the Tracker."

"Shut up," Kabuki commanded. "He sent me a note..."

"This?" Knuckles inquired, and showed everyone the message they'd found in the heap of stuff.

"Yeah," Kabuki said. "It caused me to lose consciousness."

"Because of its utter stupidity?" Amaroq asked.

"No," Hedgehog X spoke up. "Because it triggered something in her memory that had been somehow blocked out...right, Kabuki?"

"How did you..."

"Been there, done that," was the only explanation Hedgehog X gave.

"Let's just say it's something that you newbies weren't there for," X said. "Newbies" was the term that he used whenever referring to Freedom Fighters who were new to the business, as opposed to veterans such as Sonic and Kate, who were there from the start.

"Nevermind that," Rotor said. "Kabuki, what can you tell us about this Maxwell?"

"To tell you the truth," Kabuki said, "I'd rather show you." The jade ring she always wore started glowing, and displayed an image on the wall. It was totally black and green, rather like a Game Boy screen, but no-one seemed to mind.

Chapter 5
The Kindness of Strangers

The vision appeared blurry at first, but then slowly began to resolve, and then sounds started coming up. Soon, even though it was green, the Freedom Fighters watching could make out every color through some enchantment.

The picture showed a badger, running into a tree repeatedly.

"Fool!" he screamed in a feminine voice. "You're...oof!...going to get ...oof!...us all...oof!...killed!"

"Lay off!" he said in another voice, male with a New York accent. "I'm...oof!...goin' fo' a new...oof!...record!" He checked his watch.

"We've been running...oof!...into the tree for...oof!...twenty-five minutes now!" he said triumphantly, this time using the same male voice, only without the accent. "Excellent!"

The figure of a Siamese cat approached silently from behind. It was clearly Kabuki. "Ummm...what exactly do you think you're doing?" she inquired.

"Making...oof!...new...oof!...records!" the New York accent replied.

"Stop...oof!...this at...oof!...once!" screamed the female voice.

"We've...oof!...already made a new...oof!...record!" the normal male voice pointed out.

"Fine. I'll...oof!...stop!" The badger stopped abruptly.

"I want control of the body next!" the normal male voice said.

"No!" the female voice replied. "You'll just do something stupid like Maxl! I should have control!" There was a tremendous argument.

"Schizophrenia," Kabuki murmured to herself. "Maybe I should put the poor thing out of its misery..." She drew her katana and got ready to strike, but just before she would have made the killing blow, the ring on her finger started to glow.

"What the bleep?!" Kabuki gasped (she commonly used the word "bleep" when she felt like swearing). "It's that gem the fox gave me! It's...it's possessed!"

An eerie green glow emanated from the ring, and shone on the badger. Its eyes grew big, and the green light grew so bright that no-one could see a thing. When their vision was cleared, they saw that there was no longer one badger, but three.

One badger looked the same as before, only a bit dirtier, and was wearing weird clothing. "What's goin' on?!" he asked in the New York accent.

"I think...we're...finally...free," contemplated a dark-clad badger with a hood hanging down from his outfit, in the unaccented male voice.

"Finally," sighed the female badger, who was not only wearing green, but whose fur was green to match. "I've had to put up with running into trees and other stupid stuff of the like for years now!"

The green badger contemplated for a moment, then growled, "And it's your fault!" She struck at the normally-colored badger.

"Maxl! Get down!" shouted the dark-clad badger, and threw himself into Maxl to knock him out of the way.

"You'll pay for that, Tracker," hissed the green badger, eyes narrowing.

"No prob, Jade," said Maxl. "Will you take cash...or credit?!" With that, he pulled a credit card out of his pocket, and threw it at Jade, breaking her fingernail. "Don't leave home without it," he said.

Jade screamed in outrage. "I'll destroy you for that!!!" she shouted.

"Not so fast!" Kabuki said, leaping in Jade's way. "Name's Kabuki Ninomiya. Normally, I'd sympathize with someone who got their fingernail broken, but I'm against the slaughter of dumb animals!"

"Yeah!" Maxl chimed in. "Hey, wait a minute..."

"We're not dumb!" Tracker said. "Listen: Two times three is...umm...six! Four times eighteen is...umm...not six! So there!"

"Go!" Kabuki commanded. "I'll take care of this bleep!"

Tracker and Maxl started running. "One good turn equals another!" Tracker said mathematically. "You've saved us...we'll save you some time in the future!"

After checking his watch, Maxl shouted, "Kabuki! I'll be back for ya!" and blew her a kiss. For some reason, a lightning bolt appeared a second later.

"Hmmmf...must be a storm brewin'," Jade observed. "I hate storms! They ruin my hair!"

Kabuki ran after Jade, but the badger turned around and clicked her tongue. "You will forget about me," she said. "In fact, you will forget about this whole occurrence!" Kabuki's jade ring glowed again, and Kabuki fainted.

The vision ended.

Chapter 6
Badger Hunting

There was a long period of silence. Tails was the first to break it, with one word: "Whoa."

"That about summarizes it," Kabuki said. "I was pretty surprised, too, when I got the letter from one of them."

"Hence the catatonic stupor," Bookshire finished.

"Y'know what I think?" Sonic asked rhetorically.

Just about everyone in the room replied, "Let's go find those badgers!"

"Let's set up the away team," Sally said. "We can't have too many gone, but we need a sizable amount, in case of trouble."

"I'm going," Kabuki said. "After all, it's my past."

"I'll go," Amaroq said.

"Count me in," Knuckles said. "This should be fun!"

"In that case, I won't go," Amaroq said in disgust. Knuckles was the one Freedom Fighter who he not only needled, but loathed.

"I know where they are," X3 said, "so I have to go, too."

"I'll go," Hedgehog X said. "After all, I'm a bit of a schizo myself!"

"Hey!" came Zero's voice. "Just cuz we've got two minds in one doesn't make us schizo!"

"It kinda goes without saying that I'm going," Sonic said.

"I think I should go," Sally said. "After all, one level-headed individual -- or two, depending on how you look at it -- isn't enough. HX could use some help in controlling you four. Besides, I'm the only one here who can use Nicole...without messing with it, that is."

"Sounds good to me," said Kate.

"Have a good time!" X said.

The group jumped into one of the Warp Rings that were the exit of the Hidden Palace (where the Freedom Fighters had been living ever since the destruction of their second Knothole), and found themselves a mere mile from where the badgers were living.

They came to where X3 had seen Maxl and Tracker. The hut was still there, but the badgers weren't! All they found was a note on the door:

Deer Cabookee

Im sory if you came by wile i was goNe. i'm at the opra, pleez com joyn me n tRacKer. uSe the tikkets I gave u.

M@)( |_ (the Wandring SyKKo)

"Yecch," Kabuki muttered.

"Hey, wait," X3 said. "There's another note below that!"

Deer Jayd

This wasnt riten by Maxl, but an eevil fayk Maxl. Pleas do not pay any attenshin 2 it! PLEAS! Thanx.

Not M@)(|_

"Oh, great," HX muttered. "Looks like we have to go to an opera and stop Jade from killing these guys!"

"No big loss if she does," Sonic commented.

"C'mon, guys," Kabuki said, "we're going to that opera."

"But we don't know where it is!" Sally said. "Maybe the address is on the tickets...get them out!"

"Umm...I don't have 'em," Sonic said.

"Me neither," said HX.

It turned out everyone had forgotten the tickets.

"Not to worry," Knuckles said. He looked at his watch.

"What do you mean, 'not to worry'?!" X3 screeched. "You're acting just like Maxl!"

"No I'm not...it's a wrist communicator, mon!" Knuckles explained. "Knuckles to team! Come in, team!"

"What's up?" came a voice through the speaker in his watch.

"We need transportation," Knuckles explained.

"What's your location?" came the voice.

Sally whipped out Nicole and a connector cord, and plugged it into a small socket in Knuckles' watch. "I'm sending you our coordinates," she said.

"Vector, take Mighty and Charmee to the Hidden Palace," Knuckles said. "Get ANT 100, and grab those opera tickets! Send Espio to see if he can find any badgers."

"Check," the voice replied. "This is Vector, out."

Before the signal died, they faintly heard the voice saying, "See, Mighty? I told you my headphones were good for something!"

Chapter 7
In the Green

Jade glanced at her watch, then looked off the cliff at Mobius' only remaining opera house, which, for some reason, had not been found by Robotnik. So that was where Maxl and that fool Tracker were.

As far as she was concerned, the schizophrenic Maxl who had created her could die. It was his fault that Tracker, who would have made a great ally otherwise, was so stupid from banging his head into trees so many times.

Jade wondered what would happen to her if she killed Maxl, but she didn't care if she died. She had nothing to live for.

"Why did you choose an opera house anyway, you fool?" Jade grumbled to herself. She checked her watch, then walked away from the edge of the cliff, and started on her way down the hill to the opera house.

"Found the opera house," came a whispered voice nearby. "Found a green badger, too." It was quiet, but didn't escape Jade's hearing.

Jade turned around, but saw nothing. Whoever she had heard had somehow disappeared. "I guess I'm being followed by someone who's pretty good at the biz," she mused. "Well, let's see how they like this!"

Jade clicked her heels together, and muttered "There's no place like home!" A hideous grin shone on her face, and she disappeared.

"She teleported!" Espio gasped into his wrist communicator.

"She can't have gotten far," Kabuki's voice replied.

"Teleporting takes power," observed X3.

"Not to mention the fact that, the farther you teleport, the more your head hurts afterwards!" Hedgehog X put in.

"Fine," Espio's voice crackled on Knuckles' watch, "I'll check the perimeter."

"Good," Knuckles said. "Knuckles out."

"When do you think the others'll show up?" inquired Sonic, impatiently. "Why didn't you just let me run back and get the tickets?"

"We're not even on the Floating Island anymore, Sonic," Sally reminded him. "There's no way you could run back. As for the time they're taking, well, you really need to learn some..."

"There it is!" X3 shouted. "ANT 100!" Sure enough, the silver ship was quite close on the horizon.

ANT, the Advanced Neurological Test, had been Rotor and Bookshire's first test of high-level artificial intelligence. ANT was created to keep house, but as Rotor and Bookshire learned more advanced programming, they upgraded it more.

As ANT went through many changes, and even did some Freedom Fighting, he became dubbed by Sonic "ANT 100", and his latest enhancement allowed him to transform into an aircraft.

The silver ship landed in front of the small group of Freedom Fighters, and a door opened. They walked in.

"Land about a mile away from the coordinates Espio gave us," Sonic said. "We'll get the jump on 'em."

Chapter 8
An Evening at the Improv

"Well," Maxl stated, as he got into the opera house by picking the lock with one of his credit cards, "I hope Jade was fooled by ah fake note."

"Me too," said Tracker. "Even with the Big Blade I'm not ready to cross her path yet...for some reason I wanna go back to that tree where we set our record."

"Which one? Da tree that gave us brain damage, or da tree dat got struck by lightnin' foity times?" said Maxl.

"Weren't those both the same tree?" asked Tracker.

"Wait!" said Maxl, "I hear sometin'!"

"Maybe it's the rats....or maybe it's Kabuki.....or maybe it's Jade!" said Tracker.

"Nah," said Maxl, "we're too smart fo' her." he yawned, and a tornado swept through the theater, avoiding Maxl and Tracker.

"Hey! What was that?!" came a distant voice. "Maxl better not have learned about his magical powers yet!"

"It's her!" whispered Maxl to Tracker. But neither saw anyone.

"Maybe not," said Tracker, "maybe it was Jade!"

"Stop bein' so...so...para...para...paraplegic! No...it's...umm....paranoid! Yeah! Dat's it!" said Maxl.

"Wait!" said Tracker, "I see someone, but it's not Jade."

"It's her!" squealed Maxl in delight. "C'mon, let's set up!"

"Okay, okay," Tracker finally agreed. He went up into the balcony to watch Maxl's performance.

Maxl, the only player in the opera, started singing terribly off-key. Tracker clapped his hands over his ears, causing the floor to turn into a 5-foot-thick pile of Jell-O.

Maxl, not noticing this development, kept singing. A few minutes later, the group of six Freedom Fighters came through the door.

"Tracker!" X3 exclaimed.

Tracker nodded his hooded head, then looked at the Siamese cat glaring at him. "Ah! Kabuki! We've been expecting you! Please sit down!"

"I'm not about to sit with the likes of..."

Tracker belched, causing the entire group of Freedom Fighters to plop down in the seats.

Maxl was on a very dramatic scene at this point. Of course, playing all the characters made it seem more humorous than dramatic.

Maxl, dressed as a woman, sang "Dra-a-co, I've waited so long. I knew you'd come!"

Maxl tossed off the woman's outfit, revealing a masculine outfit underneath. He sang something about marrying Maria.

Then came the duel, which was incredibly difficult to be done with one player. He'd toss off one outfit, showing the next underneath, and jump to one side, then strike, then change outfits and jump back.

"This is terrible," remarked Sonic.

"Hasn't changed a bit," Sally muttered.

Knuckles said nothing, but looked around for an airsickness bag.

Suddenly, Tracker screamed. "Jade!" He pointed at the rafters above them. Jade was standing there, about to push a four-ton weight on Maxl's head.

Chapter 9
A Weighty Decision

Tracker bolted for the door, and before anyone could stop him, he was gone.

Jade, meanwhile, looked at her watch. "Argh!" she said in frustration. "It's gonna take five minutes to drop this thing!"

"We've got to stop her!" Kabuki shouted. "I'll go after her!"

"I'm comin, too," X3 growled, then turned into a tiger.

"Fine," Kabuki said. "Let's go!"

They ran into the next room, and tried to enter the door to the rafters, but it was locked. "Bleep!" she shouted. "X3...can't you do something?" One thing about Kabuki was that she knew absolutely nothing about the capabilities of X and X3.

"The unlocking mechanism is probably in another room," X3 observed. "I'll tell the others to check it out."

"We can't get through," crackled the voice on Knuckles' watch. "Take the door to your right!"

"Check," Sally said. "C'mon." She and the other three ran to the next room. "Four switches...let's each pull one."

Knuckles pulled his. The sound of a dog barking was heard. "Wrong switch, mon," he said.

Sonic pulled his, and the lights went out. After turning them back on, he said, "Light switch."

Hedgehog X pulled his switch. A hole appeared beneath his feet, and he fell onto the stage.

"I guess that leaves this one," Sally said. She pulled it. "It should be open," she said into Knuckles' watch.

"It is," X3's voice replied. "Let's go!"

"We'll be on stage," Sonic said, and the three jumped down the hole.

Kabuki and X3 walked on the rafters. Every so often, some small rats would bother them, but were quickly disposed of...remember, Kabuki's a cat, and X3 was in tiger form.

Finally, they reached Jade, who grinned, satisfied. "Nice try, but I've already pushed the weight far enough!" It was true...the weight was clearly about to fall.

"Not so fast!" shouted a voice. Espio suddenly appeared, and jumped on Jade's head. The chameleon covered Jade's eyes, and while she moved about wildly, Kabuki drew her katana, and threw it at Jade's neck. Espio jumped off Jade's head and clung to the wall.

The blade never reached its mark, because suddenly, all the strain on the rafter they were fighting on caused it to give. Everything fell: Jade, Kabuki, X3, the katana...and the weight.

"Looks like it's that time again," muttered Hedgehog X, who was always bearing the brunt of attacks. He ran to where the weight was landing, pushed Maxl out of the way, and caught it. The velocity caused him to fall through the Jell-O floor...and several hard-wood floors, too. He ended up in the third basement.

Jade looked at her watch. "Five minutes, exactly," she said satisfactorily. Then, she saw Maxl, oblivious to what was going on around him. She caught Kabuki's katana as it fell, and went up behind Maxl. She got into the proper stance to make a killing blow.

Chapter 10
The Battle

Blam! The opera house wall to Jade's left exploded. A voice shouted, as Jade was beginning the swing, "Maxl! Your shoes are untied!"

Maxl bent down to examine his shoes. Jade swung over his head, and the force of the swing caused her to trip over him and land the katana in the wall.

Jade glared angrily at the one who had spoken -- Amaroq. "Stupid, interfering wolf!" she said hatefully. "You've just sealed your fate!"

Amaroq threw back his head and laughed.

"Jade?" Maxl said, and looked up. "How did ya follow me? I'll kill ya...just as soon as I'm done figurin' out how to tie my shoes!"

"Whoa," Amaroq said, "what kind of shampoo do you use, Valvoline or Q-Lube?"

"Pennzoil," Maxl replied, and looked back down at his sandals.

Jade advanced on Amaroq, ready to strike. Suddenly, she was kicked from behind, knocking her down.

Kabuki smiled. "Had enough, witch?" she asked.

"Not quite," Jade replied. She grinned, and Kabuki's ring started to glow. Kabuki disappeared. "Who's next?" Jade asked.

"That would be me," Amaroq replied. He activated his super-powerful Initiation 27 to defeat Jade. However, Jade crossed her eyes and phased, so all the Initiation 27 succeeded in doing was destroying the Jell-O floor, causing everyone to fall to the first basement.

"I'll deal with you later," Amaroq growled, "when I regenerate. For now, well..." He whistled, and a bunch of other Freedom Fighters appeared.

"What's going on?!" Sonic asked.

"We had Dulcy follow ANT 100," Amaroq explained, "A few of us rode her, and the rest followed, some on foot and some in the biplane."

While Jade was distracted, X3 attacked her from behind, grabbing her arm in his mouth. X appeared, and powered-up his X-Buster to destroy her.

Jade's arm suddenly turned white. It singed X3's mouth, causing him to revert to his normal form. X fired, but Jade dodged.

Sonic tried to spin-dash Jade from one end; Knuckles from the other. Jade jumped, and they hit each-other, knocking themselves out.

"Hmmm," Maxl said to himself. "Good ting I brought dis duct-tape..." He wrapped the tape around his sandals. "Dat's bettah!"

Jade ran, but was tripped by Sally, and flew into Bunnie's arms. Bunnie held Jade, as Rotor appeared with his trusty cattle-prod.

"Enough!" Jade shouted. She clicked her heels together, and said, "There's no place like home!" She, Bunnie, and Maxl all disappeared.

"They've teleported!" X exclaimed.

"Well, then, let's find 'em!" Amaroq growled.

"Check," X said. "We'll split into groups of two. I'll go with Tails, and check the surrounding areas." He climbed the wall back up to what used to be the first floor, and went to the opening.

"I'll get Dulcy," Sally said. "We'll see if Jade's in any trees."

"I'll take you out, Aunt Sally," Tails said. He flew up to the opening, holding Sally's hands. He let her go outside, then followed X.

"I'll stay here and tend to the unconscious ones," Rotor said diligently.

"I should stay here, too," X3 said. "I'm still in some pain."

"Much as I hate to admit it," Amaroq said, "I can't really do much at this point. Using Initiation 27 wore me out."

"I weel stay too," Antoine said.

"I'll pair up with Xavi..." Kate broke off in the middle of her sentence. "Say...where is Xavier?"

Chapter 11
Going Down

"I haven't seen him since he left!" Rotor exclaimed.

"I'll find him," Kate said. A faint glow surrounded her. Suddenly, she exclaimed, "He went this way!"

She dove down the hole Hedgehog X and the weight had made (which had somehow gone unnoticed through the whole battle) head-first.

"I'm goin' after her," Amaroq said with determination. With a whoop, he jumped in after her, forgetting that he was supposed to be resting.

They fell a few floors, then found their target. Kate, using the power of the Chaos Emeralds, and Amaroq, using the Moon Gems, stopped and floated in mid-air, listening.

"Oh, what the who-ha happened?" came a groggy voice.

Jade checked her watch. "You've been unconscious for 7 minutes, rabbit," she observed. "I liked you better that way. I don't want to risk having you grab me again, so I guess I'll just put up a barrier around me...and Maxl!"

Bunnie, whose head had cleared, rushed toward Jade. She ran to a spot a few feet away from the badgers, and bounced back to her original position.

"No use," Kabuki said grimly. "Looks like our only choice is to stand here and watch."

"Exactly!" Jade said gleefully.

"That's what you think!" The cry came from three voices: Amaroq and Kate, as well as a hedgehog who had been hidden in the shadows.

Using their combined powers, the three sapped away Jade's force-field's energy in a nanosecond.

"Jig's up," Amaroq growled.

"Give yourself up," Kate said, "if you value your existence."

Bunnie opened her mouth to say something, but in a quick movement, Jade reached for her boot.

"Maxl! Move it!" Hedgehog X shouted. "She's got a..."

"Knife," Jade finished for him, pressing the steel against Maxl's neck. "Now, you shall all watch as I kill him!"

"Wait a minute!" Kabuki said. "You, him, and Tracker are all connected...if you kill him, you'll kill yourself!"

"That's possible," Jade acknowledged, "but frankly, I just don't care!" She turned to Maxl. "Any last requests, weakling?"

"Ummm, yeah," Maxl said. "Got any meatloaf?"

"No," Jade replied. "Anything else?"

"Well...my allergies have really been botherin' me lately," Maxl said. "Mind if I blow my nose?"

"You could use it," Jade acknowledged. "All right, here's a hank -- ewww!"

Maxl had blown his nose all over the sleeve of his dirty shirt. The others in the room were all grimacing.

"Why, you disgusting little..." Jade suddenly broke off and started screaming. Her appearance started to distort, so that her face looked like it was being pressed against a glass door, and the rest of her was beginning to dissolve. Within seconds, she wasn't there anymore.

For some time, no-one spoke. Finally, Maxl was the one to break the silence. "Whoa," he gasped.

"I second that," HX replied.

"Looks like my nasal discharge somehow displaced Jade into another dimension," Maxl mused, stroking the hair on his chin tentatively.

The others gaped.

"How did you suddenly get so smart?!" Amaroq asked.

"And what the who-ha happened to yo' funny accent?" Bunnie wondered.

"If I may answer both questions at once," Maxl said, "Jade's very existence in the same world as I am causes me to go berserk. Luckily, now that she's gone, I'm back to my normal self."

"Not the comic relief anymore, eh?" came a voice from above. The group looked up through the hole in the ceiling and saw X peering down at them. "Let's get back to the Hidden Palace," he said.

Chapter 12
Home Again

"Interesting story," Bookshire said. As usual, he had stayed behind and monitored the others. Between his age and his weak right leg, one could say battle was not Bookshire Draftwood's strong suit.

"You sound like you would be a very worthy asset," Sally said to Maxl. "Will you join the Freedom Fighters?"

"Well," Maxl said, "the thing is, I don't really know how to use my powers all that well. I think it's best that I learn some more about them before I join you for good, so that I don't end up setting any of you on fire or anything."

X nodded. "Understandable. However, I'd like to keep in touch, if possible."

"Sure," Maxl said. "Uhhh, how?"

"Let me see your watch for a bit," Rotor said.

"Planning on installing a wrist communicator?" Maxl inquired.

"Mmm-hmm," Rotor replied, taking the watch. He grabbed some parts and tinkered with them for a few minutes, and handed Maxl his watch back, this time with a small microphone and speaker installed.

"Thanks," Maxl said, grinning. "Also, do you have any clean shirts or shorts?" He pointed down at his garments, which were covered in dust, grime, and all sorts of stuff that I can't describe and you wouldn't want to hear about anyway.

"Well," Sally said, "I've got a spare vest..."

"Okay," Maxl replied.

"I have ze whole wardrobe," Antoine spoke up.

"I guess I'll check that out too," Maxl said, trying to be polite. He and Antoine walked off, and Sally went to get her spare vest.

Maxl came out a few minutes later in a uniform like Antoine's. "Well, it's an improvement over what I had before," he said. He looked down at the scabbard in the belt Antoine had given him. "Hmmm," he muttered, "I don't have anything to put in here..."

"Take a katana," Kabuki said. She handed him the blade she'd been using. "I have others. This should last you until you gain mastery of your powers."

"I'll fly you to the Great Forest in ANT 100," X offered.

"Thanks," Maxl said. "Thanks, everybody, for all you've done...especially you, Kabuki."

X and Maxl headed out, and flew off to the almost-vacant Great Forest. X landed in what looked like a likely spot, then let his passenger go. The two waved goodbye.

Smiling, the badger walked off into the forest, thinking of what good friends he'd met.

Then, Maxl checked his watch.

MiSTing Notes

In case this story has failed to amuse you, I suggest you read Joseph Nebus' MiSTing of it.

It bears noting, however, that Jaded Views was a bit hard to find for awhile, and the version Steve gave Nebus was a draft copy, with no title and an unedited foreword. It differs from this final version as follows:

As far as I know, these are the only changes from the draft Nebus used to the final version. If you see any more, let me know.

Created...ummmm...some time back in 1995
Uploaded 00.10.22
Last Updated 06.01.14