Lost Paradise Part Two of Three: Fallout
- Writer: Ken Penders
- Pencils: Manny Galan
- Inks: Andrew Pepoy
- Colors: Barry Grossman
- Letters: Vickie Williams
- Editor: J. Freddy Gabrie
- Managing editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-chief: Richard Goldwater
Locke and Sabre discuss the situation at Haven while Knuckles, Julie-Su and Archimedes are escorted to a briefing room by the Echidna Security Team led by Constable Remington. The Constable apologizes for not recognizing the Guardian of the Floating Island sooner, but Knuckles insists he's just a normal guy and he'd rather people stop addressing him by his title. Remington disagrees with the sentiment and, explaining that there's someone who's very eager to meet Knuckles, presses a button that sends the trio through a set of trap doors. Archimedes and Knuckles are separated from Julie during their descent and are greeted by Hawking, the former Guardian and Knuckles' distant ancestor. He welcomes Knuckles to his inner sanctum and instructs him to play a series of discs on his computers. The discs store video logs of Hawking's tenure as Guardian, 200 years in the past.
Meanwhile, more quakes rock Echidnaopolis as the echidna citizens see the ghostly image of dingoes while, in another city, the dingoes see the ghostly echidnas. A dingo officer, Gerbil, heads to the office of General Von Stryker to explain the situation. Stryker is already aware and commands his underling to assemble a strike team and keep them on standby until he gives the order to attack.
Knuckles watches a video log where the young Hawking battles a number of dingo soldiers who raided an echidna warehouse. Hawking tells Knuckles that the dingoes are warlike and primitive, but Knuckles counters that they seemed to understand echidna technology pretty well. Hawking furiously retorts that the dingoes were unable to consider the consequences of their actions and plays a log where they had stolen and prepared to launch nuclear missiles at the echidnas. Knuckles notices another echidna in the recording and asks if this was another Guardian, but Hawking and Archimedes shush him. In the recording, Guardian Hawking heads to the Grand Conservatory, grabs an ancient device, and activates the energy shields around Echidnaopolis. While this stopped the missiles from hitting the city, the radioactive fallout would contaminate the island. Hawking used Dimitri's research on alternate Zones to build the Hyper Zone Projector.
Hawking explains that the device transported all of Angel Island's inhabitants to an alternate zone, as well as placing the dingoes in a separate zone so as to not bother the echidnas, while the Guardians worked at rehabilitating the island's ecosystem. Knuckles asks why the echidnas hadn't been sent back yet, but Hawking explains he didn't have enough energy to transport everyone back at once. Hawking then takes Knuckles to a statue of Edmund and Steppenwolf holding the Floating Island, symbolic to both Knuckles' heritage and his responsibility. Knuckles begs for guidance, but Hawking is only able to tell Knuckles that he's the most special Guardian and he isn't ready to know much more when they're interrupted by an earthquake.
Meanwhile, Remington requests that Julie-Su act as Knuckles' representative and help deal with a group of dingoes who have taken hostages. He explains that he needs her because Lara-Le and her consort are among the hostages and that situations with the Guardians' families tend to require consultants. They note that the Guardians' families are basically like royalty, but defer jurisdiction to the High Council. Back in the inner sanctum, Knuckles and Hawking spot Lara-Le being held hostage on one of the security monitors. Archimedes assures Knuckles that Hawking must have a plan. Hawking confirms that he does, but wonders if Knuckles is up to the task at hand.
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