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Fractured Mirror - Part Three: ShatteredEdit
In a dark future reality, Silver the Hedgehog finds himself facing Enerjak; for all the ruination he's brought, Silver vows to stop the demigod. However, Enerjak tells him that he made the mistake of following his Prelate to this Zone in the first place, and then siding with the "pathetic" resistance. He strikes the hedgehog down with ease.
In the city streets, the Freedom Fighters are battling seven of Enerjak's Prelate warriors. As Silver recovers and again approaches Enerjak, the demigod taunts him, asking if no one had realized that the Freedom Fighters had existed so long because he allowed it. With the entire planet under his control, he felt he needed something to entertain him; however, he'd recently begun to find them tiresome, and so had begun to send out Prelates to investigate new worlds for him to conquer. He asks Silver if his own reality has beings with powers as "fun" as his, which only serves to enrage the young hedgehog. Using his telekinesis, he grabs and rips off the top of Enerjak's tower and flips it, showing just how "fun" things can get. Enerjak smashes through the tower-top and floats off some distance, admiring Silver's power and wondering where it comes from.
Meanwhile, Jani-Ca faces down Prelate-JS, made from the Core of her own mother. She says that Enerjak likely thought that forcing her to fight her mother would throw her off, but really, she's thankful; it just means they've been reunited. With tears in her eyes, she lifts the Sword of Acorns over her head and tells her mother that she'll save her. However, before she can strike a blow, Silver uses his powers to disable Prelate-JS, leaving her immobile. Jani-Ca turns on Silver; angry, she says that he has no right to interfere. Silver attempts to calm her, saying that while he understands that this is personal for her, her team is in trouble and needs her leadership. She glances back at the immobile Prelate but realizes that Silver is right. They run off, Silver saying he has an idea.
Scarlette Rabbot is in trouble, with one of her laser gauntlets destroyed and Prelate-V looming, but Jani-Ca cuts him down with the Sword of Acorns. As the Core escapes, Silver envelopes it with his powers; with him holding onto the Core, he reasons, Enerjak can't use it to reform the Prelate. Scarlette goes off to help Payback Fox fight off Prelate-E, while Blockbuster Polar Bear grapples with Prelate-M. Dagger Walrus attempts to ambush Prelate-R while he fights Cutlass Depardieu; the Prelate is destroyed, but Dagger is left on the ground while Cutlass laughs at him. With Prelates V, E, M, and R destroyed and Silver holding onto their cores, Scarlette, Payback and Demo Duck take aim at the airborne Prelates C and S. The two are blasted out of the air, leaving Silver now with six Cores. Payback is impressed; she teasingly asks Silver why he wasn't around to help them thirty years ago, which leads to an awkward moment as the hedgehog tries to explain how he wouldn't have been born at that point anyway. As he goes on about time travel and alternate Zones (earning an awkward look from Payback), Jani-Ca walks off; Demo asks where she's going, and she replies that there's still one more Core to contain. As she approaches the frozen Prelate-JS with the Sword of Acorns, Enerjak looks down on her from above. He muses that she's become such a brave young woman, and seems to regret her resistance.
Soon, Silver has added the last Core to the others; he pauses and says that this must be very hard for Jani-Ca, but she says it only means they're one step closer to saving them. Dagger slowly admits that he wonders if they should even bother; restoring the Cores would only mean bringing Enerjak's victims back into a ruined world. Silver is angry that he could even think such a thing; Dagger says he only meant that the world, as is, is just a mess. Silver retaliates that his world is a mess as well, but that's no reason to stop fighting. He heatedly adds that they're all lucky, since they know the source of the ruination of their world and have a plan to fix it, whereas he has no idea what went wrong in his world's past and has nothing to work with beyond a vague report of a traitor from centuries ago. Regardless, he's still trying his best to fix things; he tells Dagger not to dare to waste a chance to make things better for the world or for Enerjak's victims. Dagger backs down, saying Silver has made his point.
Blockbuster draws their attention back to Enerjak; the demigod has merely been watching them this entire time. Looking tired, Jani-Ca says that sometimes Enerjak just broods and leaves them alone; she suggests they retreat before he changes his mind, but is cut-off by the sound of applause. Enerjak lands before them, seemingly pleased by all the drama and violence; he says they haven't been this entertaining in years. Silver, seeing this as a challenge, tells Enerjak that he must be unhappy since his Cores were taken away, but Jani-Ca looks panicked; she tells Silver not to egg him on, because Enerjak had acted similarly in the past—right before sinking the entire continent of Downunda. Silver doesn't quite understand, but Jani-Ca orders her team to scatter. Enerjak becomes aglow with Chaos energy; he tells Jani-Ca to not spoil things for Silver, as he's something to be "experienced."
Before anyone can escape, Enerjak charges through the group, tossing them aside. When he comes to a stop, he not only has taken all the Cores back from Silver, but has snatched up Scarlette; he happily tells Silver that not only did he recover the Cores, he'll be adding to his collection. Demo becomes enraged; gripping a bomb, he charges Enerjak, despite objections from his teammates. Scarlette herself tells Demo to run away, but he doesn't listen. Enerjak corrects himself; now he'll have two new Cores.
As the rest of the Freedom Fighters duck into an alleyway, they hear the sound of an explosion, followed by Enerjak's laughter. Jani-Ca wants to focus on escaping, but Silver thinks they still have a chance at fighting back. Enerjak bursts into the alley, throwing them all with his power; Silver turns to confront him, but Enerjak slams him into the pavement with Chaos power, trapping him. He tells the disoriented hedgehog that he'll deal with him later. Silver struggles to come to his senses; meanwhile, Enerjak shatters Cutlass' sword with ease, adding his Core to those of Scarlette and Demo. Dagger confronts him, blades drawn, but he too falls. Payback attempts to shoot Enerjak from a distance, but to no avail. As Silver tries to regain his focus, Blockbuster informs Jani-Ca that Payback has fallen, and now he's the only one left to protect her. With a smirk, she replies that she's the Guardian, and it's her job to protect; they vow then to protect each other and move in for a final attempt. Enerjak blasts them back with ease. Landing among rubble, Jani-Ca groggily asks if Blockbuster's okay, but Enerjak smugly replies that he's his, showing the six Cores that are all that remain of her team. Meanwhile, Silver still attempts to focus, desperately trying to think about what Edmund or his Master would tell him to do.
Enerjak picks Jani-Ca up from the rubble, telling her she's about to become lucky number seven; disgusted, she sarcastically congratulates him on his ability to count. He tells her that her rebelling used to make him sad, that he had once hoped to use his power to unite the split echidna factions and create a dynasty with her mother and herself. He points out that she had even once gone back in time thinking she had to save his life; with tears in her eyes, she bitterly replies that she'd gone to the wrong timeline, and now wished that he had been killed. Enerjak says that her potential has been wasted... and then wonders why she's smiling. Grinning, she replies that it's nothing as a burst of teal energy erupts behind him.
With a tremendous burst of power, Silver frees himself and rises into the air. Rubble swirls around him, and he forms it into a massive fist. Enerjak, delighted by the promise of a challenge, drops Jani-Ca and eagerly turns to face Silver. The hedgehog makes a swinging motion, bringing down the giant rock-fist, but Enerjak smashes through it with ease. Jani-Ca recovers the Sword of Acorns and calls out to Silver, amazed; he interrupts her, confirming that she still has the sword. Still glowing, he tells her that she can use it to drain away Enerjak's power once he beats him into submitting. Undeterred, Enerjak thanks Silver; with this battle, he says, they'll be able to give the planet the flashy, dramatic end it deserves. The two charge at each other as Jani-Ca recoils.
Jani-Ca is explaining to Silver what Enerjak did in the past. She explains that he stole everyone's Cores. Silver asks why Enerjak would need so many Cores. In the following panels, Enerjak is seen decorating his statue with the Cores in a similar manner to a Christmas tree.
- Silver: What... what would my teachers say...?
Vision of Edmund: Get up you lazy cuss! Kids today, honestly...
Vision of Silver's Mentor: Your power is your spirit, and thus the power lives in you.
Silver: Great. Either cranky or cryptic.
- Payback: You're pretty slick, kid. Where were you thirty years ago?
- Silver: Ha ha ha! I wasn't born yet! See, actually, I'm from over a hundred years in the future! Maybe not your future, since this is a different Zone, but...I...never mind.
- Silver: You don't sound too happy, Ener-joke! Is it because I've got all your Cores?
- Dagger: All I'm saying is this world is a mess!
- Silver: So is mine! But that doesn't mean you stop fighting for everyone! You may not realize it, but you're lucky! You know what the problem is and you have a way to solve it. I don't. All I have are some vague reports of a traitor from two hundred years ago! But I still try! Don't you dare waste a change to make things better for them or your world!
- Enerjak: That was number six. You're lucky number seven, sweetie.
- Jani-Ca: Congratulations. You can count.
- Enerjak: Your rebelling used to make me sad. I had planned on building a dynasty with you and your mother. Uniting the bloodlines at last. I believe you went back in time to try and save me once?
- Jani-Ca: Wrong timeline. I wish Remington had taken care of you.
- Silver: En...er...JAK! I'm not through with you!
- Enerjak: Ha ha! Yes! Bring it on!
- Jani-Ca: Silver! You're amazing! If you can--
- Silver: You still have that magic sword to drain his power?
- Jani-Ca: Yes...?
- Silver: Good. you can use it after I beat him into submission!
- The Freedom Fighters defeat the Prelates.
- The Freedom Fighters (sans Jani-Ca and Silver) lose their Cores to Enerjak.
- Silver confronts Enerjak.
- Silver calls Enerjak by the nickname "Ener-joke" in this issue; Sonic the Hedgehog called Knuckles this once during his brief stint as Enerjak.