- "Loyalty," Part 2. The clock is ticking as Sonic leads Team Fighters on a desperate rescue mission! Two nations stand on the brink of war, and long-time ally Lupe is set to be legionized! Meanwhile, the "Unraveling" storyline begins as Mina's concert of hope draws the ire of the evil Ixis Naugus!
Loyalty Part Two: Dire ChoicesEdit
With the Echidna Dark Egg Legion surgeons ready to operate, Dr. Eggman gleefully asks Lupe if she has any last words before she is legionized. Lupe curtly replies that she has nothing civil to say, and Eggman warns that he'll "change that tone" when an alarm unexpectedly goes off. A nearby screen shows Eggman the source of the trouble: Sonic and Team Fighters have followed him, and are engaging the Soumerca Dark Egg Legion troops. Eggman contacts Orbot for an update on the Death Egg Mark 2, only to learn that it is still being refueled and restocked, and repairs have not yet even begun. A smug Lupe remarks that with Sonic's presence on top of all this, Eggman's defeat is certain. Determining that his only choice is to take off before preparations are complete, Eggman heads to oversee the launch, commanding his men to watch Lupe.
Elsewhere, Team Fighters-accompanied by Leeta, Lyco, and Queen Hathor-continue to battle their way deeper into the Legion base. Sonic, having donned his honorary Wolf Pack ornament, splits up his team, sending Tails, T-Pup, Hathor, and Lyco to locate Lupe while he,Amy Rose, and Leeta keep the Legionnaires busy. The team splits further as Hathor and Lyco go to rescue Lupe while Tails and T-Pup head off on their own, the group planning to reunite at the top of the base. Outside, Leeta accosts a Wolf Legionnaire for his willingness to serve Eggman after what he's done to their people, prompting Amy to remind her that their mission is to distract the Legion, not reason with them. Grandmaster Razorklaw then appears and angrily confronts Sonic, demanding a rematch after his previous defeats. Sonic accepts, noting that "'fighting Lynxes in duels of honor is a new occupational hazard"--referring to his last confrontation with Lightning Lynx--before charging into battle against the former Felidae champion.
Inside the base, Lyco and Hathor find Drago Wolf taunting Lupe, clad in Hathor's royal robe and boasting of his new status as a Grandmaster. Lupe berates his foolishness, reminding him of Eggman's sadistic pleasure in taking advantage of existing relationships in selecting his minions. She questions what he expects will happen after she is legionized, and Drago responds that he expects that perhaps Eggman will appoint her as Drago's Kommissar. Lupe then points out that he would be more likely to appoint her Grandmaster in Drago's place in order to undermine the Wolf Pack Nation, and that the best he can expect is to be demoted. Drago denounces her supposition, claiming that Eggman values him, but is clearly shaken by the idea. Before the conversation can go on, however, Lyco attacks Drago from behind and handily knocks him out cold. Hathor compliments her efforts, and Lyco released Lupe from her restraints. She then tells Hathor that "the queen"-referring to her cloak-has been restored, but Hathor folds it up and puts it away, feeling that the time is not yet right.
As the two leaders and Lyco set out to reunite with the rest of their party, Tails and T-Pup attach a tracking device to the Death Egg Mark 2. Mecha Sally then arrives and attacks, anticipating that Tails' connection to her organic self will prevent him from resisting, but is taken by surprise when he does so. Tails apologizes to his enslaved friend, but informs her that he will do whatever is necessary to save her, even if he has to fight her. Lyco's trio arrives to back him up, but before they can subdue Mecha Sally an automated announcement reveals that the Death Egg is about to take off. Mecha Sally then clarifies Tails' dilemma: he can either stop her but risk being injured by the takeoff of the Death Egg and losing Hathor and Lupe to the Legion, or he can escape with them. Recognizing the necessary course, Tails apologizes and promises that Sally will be saved before leaving with his teammates.
Elsewhere, Sonic wraps up his battle with Razorklaw and the Legion, just in time for Hathor-now wearing her cloak again-requests that he take her out into the jungle. Aboard the Death Egg, Mecha Sally reports to her master, with Eggman fully realizing that Sonic essentially let them go. Cursing Drago and Razorklaw's ineffectiveness for giving only enough time to prepare for another invasion of New Mobotropolis instead of a full resupply, Eggman notes that he can't attack the city and deal with Sonic's continued pursuit as well. Mecha Sally proposes that they "Divide and conquer," which Eggman agrees is the best course. He admits that he will need to do some building on the way, but asks if she's ready to pay her brother Elias a visit-which he intends to be final. Back in the jungle, Lupe is being escorted to safety by the twins, Amy, and Tails, who are relieved when reinforcements arrive: Hathor, Sonic, and the combined Wolf Pack and Felidae forces.
As the army drives back the Legion pursuit, Sonic explains that Hathor's instructions to her men earlier were followed, and that the Wolves proved surprisingly willing to join forces with them. Hathor and Lupe bid each other farewell, with Lupe thanking Hathor for all that she has done, though Hathor makes it clear she doesn't want it brought up again. Lupe asks if Team Fighters can stay, but after being informed of their mission to pursue Eggman, assures them that their own departure will be well-covered. As they leave, Leeta and Lyco confess envying the large part they play, and Lupe questions their willingness to leave the Wolves. Assuring her of their loyalty, the pair explain that they just wish they could do more for the war effort. Having witnessed them in action in her rescue, Lupe agrees, and questions whether the pair would like to undertake "a secret mission?"
Harvey Who, Charles and Nicole are underground the city of Mobotropolis in Secret HQ. Harvey comments on how Nicole made Freedom HQ with Nicole saying that the base was left over from the occupation of the iron dominion. Harvey then says that he likes to keep things simple, to which Sir Charles remarks that it is not entirely true: with Nicole illegally in the city, betraying king Naugus and him rebuilding the original metal Sonic: Shard. Charles says that it was extremely hard to build Shard, as all he had was parts of Metal Scourge and the Metal Sonic Troopers, along with the fact that when he installs the pieces of these robots into shard, his power gem matrix in-cooperates them before he can modify them. Charles reminds Shard that he tried to kill his nephew, to which Shard (currently just a head and body) reflects on the time he sacrificed himself to save Sonic, and claims that Sonic taught him what it means to truly be alive.
Harvey begins to think about one more candidate to join the Secret Freedom Fighters, and claims that they need a degree of unpredictability in the team. Suddenly Larry Lynx crashes through the shoot that leads to the surface on Mobotropolis. Charles tells Nicole to disappear (as she is exiled from the kingdom) and quickly tries to cover Shard from Larry's view. As Charles desperately tries to explain everything to Larry, Harvey steps in and invites Larry to help make the city safe again. Larry replies saying that he doesn't think that people will trust him to help, to which Harvey says: "it will just be our little secret then."
- According to its cover design process, the variant cover of Sonic the Hedgehog #253 was originally meant to be a variant cover for this issue.