© Beloved Doll
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It seems like time is passing on quickly for Gerald. He is still busy with his work with Project Shadow taking up most of his time, though he isn`t neglecting his other projects. It makes him glad that he made it so that Shadow is a companion for Maria; his business keeps him from spending time with Maria and Gerald wouldn`t want her to feel alone. Whenever training, tests or research aren`t being conducted on Shadow, he gets to have freedom to spend the rest of the time with Maria.
In his office, Gerald is working at his computer, busily typing away. He has just finished adding in data he has gathered from this last research work that was done on Shadow. Now he is making an entry in his journal. But he stops mid way along his entry and looks to this side down to the floor beside him.
Laying on the floor is Shadow. He is somewhat on his side, looking over his shoulder. Maria is over top of him, with her front paws on his back and his back feet on the floor. With her tail up, Maria leans her head over and grabs a hold of Shadow`s ear with her mouth, to which Shadow allows. She tugs and pulls on his ear with Shadow giving minimal resistance. Then Shadow gives his head a shake which causes Maria`s grip to slip off his ear. She slips more, collapsing fully on Shadow.
Shadow stands up from his laying down position. This causes Maria to slip off from him so she`s laying on the floor. Maria wiggles her tail a little bit and then tries to stand up. Her front legs gets into position but she`s struggling to get her back end up. Her tails lowers down. Her legs move and kick, trying to get her body up but she`s struggling. Gerald notices this and turns around in his chair, beginning to bend over to assist her up. But Shadow circles around, getting behind Maria. He lowers his head down and gets his nose underneath her. Shadow scoops Maria`s back end up, taking advantage of the shape of the hedgehog muzzle. Maria gets her back legs balanced and then Shadow backs up from Maria. She turns around to face Shadow and lifts her tail again, giving him a smile. Gerald smiles as well and settles back in his chair.
NIDS has progressed more on Maria during the past year and has made significant changes to her. She has to be careful about falling or laying down as it is so difficult for her to keep up on her own, as what has just been displayed. She often needs assistance now to get up.
She moves up beside Shadow and rubs up against his side as she goes past him. Then she happily walks over to where Gerald has set up a bowl of water for them. Shadow follows behind her, lowering his head some. Maria comes up to the water bowl and stops. She brings her head down and laps at the water, taking her time and being careful to not splash or get herself wet, like a cat. Then she steps away from the bowl, licking her lips. Shadow comes up to the water bowl now that Maria has had her fill and gets a drink for himself. He`s less delicate than Maria and so he drinks a little nosier and sloppier than her. However, he manages to avoid dripping water on the floor. He lifts his head and looks over his shoulder to look to Maria. His tongue slides out of his mouth and swings up to clean the water he got on his nose.
Maria is heading straight for a bed box that Gerald prepared. It has a cushion in the bottom with some pillows and blankets. The bed box also has walls around it so serve as giving the GE hedgehogs a sense of a "nest" so that they would be comfortable with it. Maria climbs half way in with her front paws inside the box and her back legs standing outside the box. She grabs a hold of one of the blankets with her mouth and gives it a shaking like a dog would do with a toy. Shadow comes over to join Maria by their bed box, but he remains standing outside of it. He simply looks down to Maria. She stops shaking the blanket and looks innocently up to Shadow, still holding the blanket in her mouth.
Gerald gives a light chuckle at Maria`s cute antics and turns back to his computer. He begins to go back to typing his entry to his journal. But then an alert message pops up on his screen. It informs Gerald that the government`s military, GUN, is on the Ark. Gerald whispers,"(Oh no...)"
He begins to get out of his chair,"Maria. Shadow. You both need to leave. Right now!"
Maria drops her blanket into the bed box and looks over shoulder at Gerald. Shadow lifts his head up, giving the old professor his attention as well. Gerald approaches the two and tries to shoo them,"Hurry! You must hide! The soldiers are coming!"
At first, Maria and Shadow only move a little from Gerald`s shooing. But the old man is persistent with trying to get them to leave. Finally, the two GE hedgehogs head for the door to leave with Maria following Shadow and Gerald behind the both of them. The doors on the Ark are automatic sliding doors so once someone approaches them, they will open to let the person passage. But this time when the door opens for Shadow, Maria and Gerald, they are met face to face with several of GUN`s soldiers.
The soldiers are clad in charcoal coloured uniforms with "GUN" patches on the shoulders. Each one is carrying several weapons and currently armed with various gun types, depending on what their orders were. The one in front aims his gun at the three of them,"Make this easy and surrender right now!"
Gerald gasps at seeing the potential violence at hand, though he is sure that the situation for his comrades are more grave than his at this very moment. But it isn`t his life he is concerned about. GUN is here because of their suspicion of Project Shadow and their fear that Shadow is a bio-weapon. Hearing the unmistakable sound of a hedgehog hissing, Gerald looks down.
Shadow is in position for a fight. His quills are raised and stiffened, ready to go. The hissing is coming from him as he looks straight to the threatening GUN soldiers. Hiding directly behind him is Maria. She`s crouched down like she is ready to run and looks quite scared. Just as Shadow makes a move to leap on the soldiers, Gerald shouts,"No, Shadow! Don`t!"
Shadow obeys and stops himself from launching his attack, but his hissing doesn`t let up. The soldier yells again,"This is your last chance, professor Robotnik! Surrender!"
Gerald slowly raises his arms,"I...surrender..."
Shadow shoots a look back at Gerald with his mouth partially open. His hissing has ceased and his quills relax only half way, not fully laying back down into normal position. Maria, too, looks up at Gerald. As the soldiers prepare the handcuffs, Gerald holds a saddened expression on his face and speaks to his two beloved GE hedgehogs,"(I`m sorry...But this is the best way...)"
Within days, Gerald, as well as both GE hedgehogs, are taken to Earth to one of GUN`s buildings. Gerald is still handcuffed at this point and he has been forced seated down onto a chair. Shadow and Maria on the other hand, are placed in separate leashes. The leashes are each held by one of the soldiers. There are a few soldiers standing guard as they await for further orders. Seated and bound in his chair, Gerald looks over his shoulder to his two GE hedgehogs behind him. They both look right back to him. Shadow is standing firmly on all fours, whereas Maria is sitting with her head down.
It seems like forever that the three of them have been in this room waiting. Then another soldier enters the room. He has just spoke with the Commander who is behind the one-way mirror on the wall to observe everything. He stands before Gerald and takes a deep breath, as though he is about to deliver a speech. And a speech it is he delivers. He recites to Gerald how it was decided that the old scientist would be executed for his involvement, and being the mastermind, of dangerous creations, ie Project Shadow. GUN believes that his creations are meant to destroy mankind. Not only will Gerald be executed, but his two GE hedgehogs will be as well; Shadow for being the very Project Shadow, and Maria, for her role is unknown but GUN doesn`t want to take any chances. Then the soldier aims his gun at Gerald, going straight to his forehead.
Maria and Shadow both drop their mouths open.
Gerald falls over to his side, off the chair, lifeless. Both GE hedgehogs begin to act frantically, struggling to be free of their leashes and captors. The soldier with the gun turns his aim on Maria. Seeing that, Maria rolls herself up into a ball. Shadow stiffens his quills, starts hissing and starts to try to get to the soldier that shot Gerald and is about to shoot Maria.
But within a second of the gun being pointed at Maria, several robots bust into the room. The soldiers turn their attention to the robots and a battle begins between them. The two GE hedgehogs are quickly forgotten during the fight. It is a quick one but chaotic. One of the soldiers manages to escape with his life, the rest aren`t so lucky. The robots aren`t exactly unscathed themselves. Most of them are destroyed during the fight. The mirror is busted, lights are broken so the room is dark, furniture are turned over, the busted robots lay on the floor in pieces alongside the bloodied soldier bodies. The remaining robots chase after the fleeing soldier, most likely to finish him off.
After a few moments of eerie silence in the room, Maria comes out of her hiding place. She heads straight for Gerald. Shadow steps out of hiding behind Maria. He sniffs the air around and looks over to Maria coming to Gerald. He begins to come over to Gerald as well. Maria leans her head down, sniffing by Gerald`s face. It`s bloodied from his gunshot wound. Maria makes soft whimpering noises to the man. With no response coming from the old man, Maria`s expression becomes more saddened and growing more so by the second. She scoots over to his side and lifts both of her front paws up. She gently digs at Gerald`s side with her paws, desperate to have him wake up. But he won`t be waking up. Maria sets her paws back on the floor and looks to Gerald still laying lifeless on the floor. Tears begin to escape her eyes. She quickly turns around, coming face-to-face with the white patch of fur on Shadow`s chest. Maria quickly sets her face into this spot to cry. Shadow lowers his head down to sit on top of Maria`s head. He closes his eyes and a tear escape his eye. Then Shadow begins to gently nuzzle the top of Maria`s head.
Their moment is interrupted by some discomforting laughing. It isn`t loud but is loud enough to catch the attention of the two hedgehogs. A very round man in a hovercraft comes out of the shadows. He is bald with a massive, bushy mustache, much like Gerald. In fact, everything about this man is like a younger Gerald, physically. The resemblance between the two is almost uncanny. The main differences are this one is younger and fatter than Gerald. It`s the old scientist`s grandson, Ivo. Quite the smirk comes out from underneath that unmistakable mustache as he looks on to the two hedgehogs.