|Knuckles the Echidna #19|
The Forbidden Zone" Part One of Three: "What Ever Happened to Queen Alicia?
The story begins on Day One, where Antoine is piloting a craft over the Floating Island with the Royal Secret Service. Geoffrey is worried about the skies being stormy while Antoine reassures him that he was flown through worse. Antoine reaches the point in the drop zone and opens part of the plane. Antoine gives them an announcement before they jump that they have 72 hours to complete the mission before the Floating Island is out of range. He adds that it would be months before they can retrieve them if they miss. Geoffrey, Valdez, Wombat Stu, Hershey, Heavy and Bomb jump out of the plane and land using parachutes on part of the island covered in snow. Geoffrey orders the team to get their bearings and wonders how far they have missed they target. Valdez alerts him that he doesn't know for here in the weather, but notices Sandopolis in the distance. Geoffrey leads the team on that they should reach the Royal Compound before nightfall.
In Haven, Locke is observing the team on the monitors when Sabre enters the room. Locke brings the attention of the RSS to Sabre and is certain that they are members of King Acorn's royal guard. He checks the database to find a file on Ian St. John from Geoffrey's appearance. However, Sabre points out that he was killed in the line of duty and that it is his son instead. Sabre is worried that if there presence is noticed, then the Overlanders will believe that they have gone back on their word. Locke remembers their meeting with the Fire Ants, who felt that they were too restricted, and that Knuckles is the only Guardian that didn't limit himself with only echidna affairs. Suddenly, the emergency beacon activates and they watch on their monitor as an Echidna Security Team aircraft lands near their base. Locke is about to alert Remington when he notices Lara-Le coming out of the craft. Locke bitterly states that he has "a few choice words for her" and walks out. Sabre decides to go to a secure channel and contact Remington.
Meanwhile, snow has fallen over Echidnaopolis and Julie-Su is being escorted by Knuckles through the cold. They are about to head to Lara-Le's apartment when Knuckles notices a frozen echidna in the snow. Julie-Su runs to call an ambulance while Knuckles tries to talk with the echidna. He manages to get information that she has a baby at her house and ponders over his thoughts as he enters her house and finds the baby. In Lara-Le's apartment, Remington appears to address Wynmacher about Lara-Le. Remington invites him to accompany them on a rescue mission and runs to get ready.
Meanwhile, the Royal Secret Service are struggling through the snow while they wonder about the snow. Hershey mentions that Rotor thought it was Robotnik's pollution until Geoffrey brings them back to their mission. They notice a building up ahead and orders Heavy and Bomb to scope it out. Locke lands his craft near Lara-Le's to find her frozen inside. He manages to wake her up and she blames Locke for her being in this mess. In the apartment, Knuckles gives the baby over to an EST officer arriving along with Julie-Su. Knuckles and Julie-Su head into the transport with Remington and Wynmacher to the hoverport. Knuckles wonders what is wrong when Wynmacher alerts him that Lara-Le is missing. Remington tells them that she was allowed to take a craft, but sent off to the Forbidden Zone. Knuckles manages to question Remington to tell him why she went there; to which he answers that she went to meet Locke.
In Haven, Moritori Rex (disguised as Tobor) enters the monitoring station where he is told that Locke has left by Sabre. He also tells him that he went to meet with Lara-Le. Shocked, Moritori Rex realizes that he may be forced to take drastic action to stop them from discovering his secret. Meanwhile, the Royal Secret Service reach the Royal Compound, Geoffrey recognizing it when he came with his father. He climbs through the window to the shock of Mrs. Sommersby. Geoffrey recognizes her as the rest of the team climb through when Colonel Sommersby appears. Geoffrey tells them that he is Ian St. John's son and the Colonel notices the family resemblance. Geoffrey tells them their mission that King Acornsent this to find out what happened to Queen Alicia. Elias appears behind them hearing that someone mentioned his mother, to the shock of the Royal Secret Service.
- This issue's cover is the first part of a three-part image.
- The baby echidna's bedspread includes characters from the cartoon Rugrats; being Chuckie, Tommy and Reptar.