Eggman was busy with a personal project of his, Project: Couch Potato. He was in a fluffy bathrobe, fluffy slippers, sitting on a couch that was easily straining to hold his weight up, surrounded by 20 snack trays, and watching a show called When Powers Collide, a soap opera with a superhero theme. “But Wall-Smasher, please!” wailed Dyna-Flash, one of the main female leads, a mountain lion, “Ever since you gave me that blood transfusion on that rocky cliff in the wrecked convertible while Mega-Fist’s minions surrounded us, I’ve developed…FEELINGS for you!”
“No, Dyna-Flash!” protested Wall-Smasher, the main lead, a bull. “You are my Lover’s Secretary’s Mistress’s hockey coach! This love…cannot be! But, even so, I’ve developed…FEELINGS for you as well!”
“Good heavens!” groaned Eggman. “Why can’t the studio just use robots?! They’re more convincing than these twits!” One of his snack trays was polished off. “POPCORN!” he roared. One of his attendant robots got him one in a flash.
“But, out of you, Slip-Silk, and Terra-Drill,” continued Wall-Smasher, “I must confess…I can only choose…!” The show was interrupted by his doorbell. Why an evil city populated by robots has a doorbell, I’ll never know.
“Any distraction would be welcome at this juncture,” Eggman muttered. He got up, opened the door, and found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. The owner looked like a human boy, 16 years old, of Japanese descent, wild looking hair dyed blue, blue eye contacts, a red jacket, jeans, black boots, and black, fingerless gloves exposing the knuckles. The boy grabbed Eggman by the shirt and slammed him against the wall. As the sound of flesh hitting metal reverberated across Robotropolis, Sonic peeked in looking a little concerned for Eggman.
“Who did you sell it to?” asked the boy in a soft, dangerous tone.
“Sell what to who?!” yelped Eggman. “Who are you?!”
“Er…this is Orion Pax,” explained Sonic. “You knew him better as Optimus Prime.”
“Optimus?” repeated Eggman. He then smirked. “You know, you were already committing some borderline race mockery when your holo-form was a hedgehog!” The gun was pressed harder against his nose, making him yelp.
“Tails hacked into your systems and discovered one of your little projects,” snarled Orion. “Your anti-magic shield. When did you finish it and who did you sell it to?”
“What, the Magic Suppressor 9,000 Extreme?” asked Eggman. “That was supposed to be a surprise! In any case, I HAVEN’T finished it! It has a defect against Chaos Energy. I was trying to fix that bug until a certain purple cyclops stole the blue Chaos Emerald I had in my possession!” Orion looked at Sonic who had pulled a device out to test if Eggman was lying.
“Nada,” reported Sonic.
“Slaggit!” swore Orion. “Then why isn’t my magic working?!”
“Well, I don’t know!” cried Eggman. “I’m a scientist! I…wait, if your magic isn’t working, why are you threatening me with a magic gun?”
“Because I can beat you over the head with it!” threatened Orion.
“Whoa! Orion!” protested Sonic.
“If I find out that you managed to lie, even under a lie detector,” Orion gave a soft chuckle, “you’ll be eating that bathrobe!”
“Yes! Yes! I understand!!” yelped Eggman. “All units, let Orion Pax and Sonic exit Robotropolis unharmed!” Orion roughly let Eggman go and stormed out with Sonic following, looking at Eggman apologetically. Once he was sure they were out of earshot, Eggman picked himself up, dusted himself off, and stroked his mustache. “So,” he mused with an evil grin, “his magic isn’t working, I see.”
Back at the base, Knuckles and the Chaotix Detective Agency had arrived. Amy had told them what had happened. Tails had just come down from the ARK and was waiting in the Command Center. “How do you know that he didn’t sell it to someone months ago?” asked Charmy as he buzzed around Ratchet.
“I don’t know,” muttered Orion. “Gut instinct, I say. If it was sold to someone else, there are still at least three unanswered questions. First, why did that person wait until now to use it? Second, why would Eggman sell an unfinished product? Third, why would I still be affected when I went to visit Eggman?”
“Those are very good points,” rasped Espio as finished his maintenance on his shuriken. “It seems we’re back to square one. Aside from melee weapons, are there any defenses in case the intruder decides to attack again?”
“Well,” recalled Orion, “we DO have those tanks G.U.N. made for Autobot use. They turn into ranged weapons for us.”
“Those?” asked Vector. “I thought they were for public use, so I took the prototype for a joyride. I always wondered why he said I’ve ruined it for you guys. I guess they’re under lock and key now.”
“THEY’RE WHAT?!” roared Orion. “VECTOR, I COULD TURN YOU INTO A SUIT…!”
“Orion!” barked Ironhide. Orion then realized what he just said.
“Vector, I’m sorry,” he apologized, and he meant it. “I don’t know what came over me.” He massaged his temples as he cooled down a bit more. “This whole thing has me spun up like an overwound watch! Grgh! I shouldn’t have told Eggman about my magic not working!”
“Don’t worry!” assured Jazz. “Teletraan can monitor him if he starts something!” A groan escaped Teletraan’s speakers.
“Just like his attempts at locating Shockwave and Metal Sonic?” asked Prowl. “Just like his monitoring of the last Chaos Emerald since Shockwave now has six? Just like all the millions of functions Teletraan 1 does on a daily basis? He’s the most powerful computer program Mobius and Cybertron have ever seen, but he doesn’t have infinite computer resources.”
“I hate to sound needy,” sighed Teletraan, “but my CPU is being overclocked as it is.”
“Amy,” interjected Orion, “did you, Tails, and Ratchet find anything to fix this mess?”
“I’m afraid not,” sighed Amy. “Your people’s potential for magic is greater than anything I’ve ever encountered. Heck, Cybertron managed to have raw magic as a fuel source, and it’s powering your ship right now, but it’s based around technology. Technomagic is a new field of study for Mobians.”
“On top of that,” continued Tails, “Ratchet and I are only scratching the surface of magic. It could be ages before we could be of any help to you.”
“Not to belittle our efforts,” replied Ratchet, “but you need an expert in this magic nonsense and we’re not experts at all.” Orion sighed.
“I didn’t want to consider this route, but consider it I must,” he muttered. “Prowl, what are the rules for calling a prisoner in Deep Down Penitentiary?”
“Orion,” urged Prowl, “I must advise against this. Aaron’s not going to like getting a call from you, since you were behind his downfall as a wizard, coupled with the fact that he’s not a man to trust in society.”
“Are you nuts?!” yelped Sonic. “You can’t seriously be thinking about asking Aaron for help! He’s not a wizard anymore! He’ll throw all sorts of insults against you!”
“Like we have a choice?” asked Orion. The question hung over their heads for a long time.
Deep Down Penitentiary is an undersea prison where those that have proven unfit to rejoin society dwell. The location is top secret, visitors are discouraged, and callers are monitored closely. Aaron dwelt in a cell that nestled between a male rhino with anger issues and a female fox that kept asking the guards how they would like to die. When he was in the cell, he would just stand in the center with his back turned. “Hey, Aaron the Magnificent!” called a guard, a female stag beetle.
“It’s…just…Aaron!” hissed Aaron.
“Whatever,” dismissed the guard, “you have someone asking for you. We’ve already approved a voice only call. The caller’s got five minutes.”
“Very well,” he sighed. The radio then turned on and a voice he loathed came to his ears.
“Hey, Aaron,” called Orion in an awkward manner. “You can…probably guess who this is.”
“Yes, I believe I can, Optimus Prime!” snarled Aaron. “Called me just to gloat?!”
“Actually, I have something else in mind,” replied Orion, deciding not to correct him.
“Do you now?!” snapped Aaron. “What else could you want from me?! You’ve taken my freedom, my magic, my sanity, my beard trimming schedule, and my usual hygienic routine!”
“Yeah, life’s tough all over,” replied Orion in a jerkish tone. “I need some information.”
“Why should I help you?!” hissed Aaron.
“I can convince the prison staff to at least let you have a shower and a beard trim,” offered Orion.
“Will you now?” asked Aaron, slightly intrigued.
“If possible, I can also get you a better cell that isn’t next to crazies,” continued Orion. Aaron pondered.
“I’ll take what I can get,” he finally answered. “What do you wish to know?”
“I recently encountered another Autobot,” explained Orion. “However, his first response was to take my magic weapons. After the fight, my magic stopped working. All my attempts to revitalize the artefacts I own have failed and the spells I have in my repertoire don’t even sparkle. Could this guy have put a curse on me?”
“Possibly,” remarked Aaron. “Certain magic users are that powerful. You say every magic item you own is disabled?”
“Well, no,” replied Orion. “Anything I didn’t originally enchant still works just fine.”
“Ah,” said Aaron with a slight smirk. “It’s centered around YOUR magic specifically. I can’t help you on that front, sadly.”
“Then what can I do?” asked Orion.
“If it IS a curse placed on you,” answered Aaron, “you are not strong enough to break it and, loath though I am to admit it, neither would I if I still had magic. If I were you, I’d seek out those more skilled in magic; the Wizards and Witches, the Sorcerers and Mystics who have been around for a lot longer than I.”
“Where can I find them?” quizzed Orion.
“No clue,” replied Aaron. “That’s for you to work out. I heard from one of my fellow inmates that her cousin works at a café in Station Square. Why not start there?”
“Hm, sounds like a good start,” mused Orion. “Haven’t really done any magic user networking since I landed here. Thank you, Aaron. I’ll talk to the warden to get you smelling better down there.” The call ended as Aaron smirked.
“Sucker,” he laughed. “I would have told him for a deodorant stick!”