|Sonic the Hedgehog #241|
‘Blast from the Past!’ Team Freedom has battled the Eggman away from New Mobotropolis, and now it’s up to Sonic and Team Fighters to finish the job! The seeds of destruction may have been sown aboard the Death Egg, but what new evil has sprung? Meanwhile, in ‘Game On!,’ Sonic and friends prepare for the ultimate competition in this super special Sega tie-in!”
Team Fighters' pursuit of the Death Egg leads them in the direction of Mercia, their tracking device allowing them to keep on the tail of the battle station. Aboard ship, Robotnik orders the deployment of several Egg Swats in order to slow them down, fuming over his inability to complete a number of inventions due to Team Fighters' harassment.Cubot then surprises him with a sprig of the Krudzu Hybrid Hydra, which Robotnik quickly determines a use for as he contemplates a nearby copy of Titan Metal Sonic. Meanwhile, the Egg Swats engage Team Fighters, Tails remarking that he wants to rescue Sally and return home quickly, as he is worried about the state of the city with Ixis Naugus on the throne.
Naugus himself is plagued with dreams of Sonic and by the voices of Agunus, Suguna, and Nusgau, who accost him for his failures to rule and deal with Sonic. The irate wizard awakens and commands them to depart, but his remark is misinterpreted by Geoffrey St. John, who arrives to bring his his Chaos Emerald wand and guide him about the day's business. Geoffrey advises his master to prepare, and Naugus notes a somewhat insubordinate attitude. He recalls that Geoffrey has been in this state since their defeat at the hands of the Secret Freedom Fighters, and determines that he will have to keep an eye on him.
The king's first order of business is the swearing in of the new Council of Acorn member Isabella Mongoose, who received her new position after an emergency election. Having performed the ceremony, Naugus gingerly passes the Sword of Light used in the swearing in to Geoffrey, and responds to Geoffrey's inquiries that the magical weapon "burns to the touch!" Rosemary Prower then invites Isabella to open the agenda for the day, and the Mongoose quickly obliges by calling for a reversal of NICOLE's exile. Naugus objects, claiming that it is his place to protect the city, but Isabella retorts that the Death Egg's most recent attack proved that he was incapable of doing so. The council begins to discuss the matter, and remark on the security advantages NICOLE could provide as well as the fact that they have developed a new monitoring system. It is quickly agreed that NICOLE would be willing to help, but unbeknownst to the council Naugus begins suffering further uncontrollable mutations. Concealing his misshapen form, Naugus excuses himself on basis of illness, instructing the council to call upon him if they require a tie-breaker vote.
Elsewhere, Team Fighters succeeds in defeating several flying Egg Swats, only for the Death Egg to drop the Krudzu controlled Titan Metal Sonic on the shore below. The monstrous construct vows to destroy Sonic, while aboard the Death Egg, Orbot questions Eggman's tactics, as he had previously destroyed the Krudzu for attempting to kill Sonic. Robotnik retorts that this time the mechanical plant is serving his purposes, and orders the Death Egg to continue moving. Sonic quickly recognizes his old foe, and advises his teammates that they must take it down before it can get any stronger.
Back in New Mobotropolis, Naugus pays a visit to Maximillian Acorn and his wife Alicia Acorn, under the pretense of visiting an old friend. Lamenting that his former ruler and minion had come to such a condition, he reminds Max of the health and power he gained from Naugus in the Zone of Silence. An irate Alicia demands that Naugus state his purposes, and Naugus replies that he wishes to offer Max renewed health through his crystallization magic. He explains that Max needs to enter into contract with him again in order for this to work, not adding that he intends to use the decrepit king as a host while he figures out how to heal his own damaged body. Despite being barely coherent, Max refuses, and Naugus' attempts to reason with him are halted by Alicia, who demands that he leave them alone. Naugus starts to object, retorting that he is the king, only to be reminded of Max's status as a beloved former king. Alicia then cuttingly notes that Naugus isn't in the best of health himself, and demands that he leave or risk pitting himself against guards still loyal to their former ruler. The wizard leaves, defeated, and Max thanks his wife for her actions, followed by a tearful embrace between the pair.
Furious at Alicia's interference-which his former selves are quick to taunt him for giving in to-Naugus sets out to find another potential vessel, unaware that Geoffrey is watching him from nearby. He pays a visit to Jules Hedgehog and his wife Bernadette, offering to use his magic to restore Jules to normal just as he did with Bunnie Rabbot-D'Coolette. His condition is a magical contract, and his offer provokes no signs of confidence from the pair, Sonic's dog Muttski, or their pet Chao. Jules questions the need for the contract, and Naugus attempts to pass it off as the nature of the spell, only for Bernie to retort that Bunnie entered into no such agreement. Naugus' weak attempt to coerce them is met with derision, first from Bernie. She notes that Jules' Robian state is the result of his war wounds, and that Naugus' offer to heal him is a risky move that requires placing faith in something that Naugus can only explain as magic. She then points out that he didn't offer this treatment immediately after healing Bunnie, indicating an ulterior motive.
Jules takes over from his wife, recounting Naugus' actions in driving the citizens of Old Mobotropolis to near civil war, antagonizing Jules' mentor Nate Morgan, and attempting to kill Sonic. Jules refuses the offer, and demands that Naugus leave. The irate wizard does so, remarking that Sonic's annoying tendencies seem to be genetic, while also recognizing that he is running out of time. Elsewhere, Team Fighters engages the Krudzu Metal Sonic, and hit upon a strategy after T-Pup brings up an old file on the Krudzu and they are reminded that the mechanical plant is vulnerable to water. With the ocean nearby, Sonic directs Amy to aid his Spin Dash attack with a blow from her Piko Piko Hammer while Tails locks onto him with the Tornado's missiles. The attack pays off, and Krudzu Metal Sonic topples into the sea, smoking from the damage and vowing revenge. Landing on top of the plane, Sonic remarks that the defeated machine reminds him of Naugus: "All that power on the outside, no substance on the inside!"
Back in New Mobotropolis, Naugus finds himself at his last order of business: a public appearance at Mina Mongoose's latest concert. Geoffrey assures him that this is the only thing they have left for today, and Naugus is relieved after his trying experiences. He then gleefully expects to manipulate this concert as he had Mina's previous one, with the expected effect being that the people would cry out against bringing NICOLE back. However, Mina angers him by expressing her regrets over how the last concert turned out, and declaring that this performance is intended to convey "love, understanding, and forgiveness!" She dedicates the concert to NICOLE, telling the citizens how they need to stand up for her, and Naugus is only kept in check by Geoffrey. Fed up with all that has been happening to him, Naugus doubles up in pain.
In the crowd, Cream the Rabbit questions her mother Vanilla as to the whereabouts of Tails Doll, which she had brought with her. Vanilla remarks that with how Cream has been taking care of it she must have left it at home; in reality, the robot has crawled beneath the stage and uses its power to destablizie the structure, threatening the Forget Me Knots. Rotor Walrus and the rest of Team Freedom, also in attendance, quickly swoop in, saving the band and some of their equipment from the collapsing stage. An irate Geoffrey is ready to accuse Naugus, but then realizes that the agonized wizard is in no condition to have done such a thing. Ash Mongoose comes running up to see Mina, who having been saved by Rotor once again calls for the people to bring back NICOLE and support their other heroes. Furious, Naugus departs, supported by Geoffrey in his weakened condition, as the people cheer for NICOLE to be returned.
Taking Naugus to a secluded room, Geoffrey questions his condition, and Naugus applauds the loyalty of his apprentice. The Skunk, angered, replies that he has no reason to be, and that he had misjudged Naugus' benefit to the city. Remarking on the positive traits that Naugus had imparted to him, he expressed his hopes that he could have shared them with the people. Naugus begins to reprimand him, only for Geoffrey to angrily decry Naugus' evil actions, particularly his recent attempt to enslave the Council of Acorn. Denouncing Naugus' evil, he bitterly remarks that he is little better. Playing a sympathetic approach, he tries to convince Naugus that the two of them no longer need subterfuge and secrecy to accomplish their goals. Extolling the good of the people-notably their willingness to have NICOLE return after so recently demanding her exile-he explains that they would surely give the pair a chance to do good. Naugus berates him for naivete, and Geoffrey retorts that he knows of Naugus' deteriorating condition, and advises him to ask for help. Agunus, Suguna, and Nusgau cry out at the suggestion, considering it below even their despised merged self. However, they then gleefully realize that Naugus has something else in mind. Naugus takes Geoffrey fondly, and then seizes him with wicked glee, reminding him that Geoffrey had entered into a magical contract with him years ago. The horrified Skunk is then informed that he will serve as Naugus' vessel, and his attempt to break free fails. Naugus disappears and Geoffrey falls to the ground, smoke rising from him. His face then changes, taking on Naugus' insane red eyes and smile.
The following day, the council welcomes NICOLE back to the city, having voted unanimously for her return and apologizing for the exile. NICOLE is informed that she is returning under monitored conditions, though she is all too happy to accept. She then questions whether the vote was actually unanimous, but before Sir Charles Hedgehog can reply, a possessed Geoffrey enters and conveys the full support of his master. The council and NICOLE are surprised further as Geoffrey admits that Naugus is apparently dying, and that his drastic actions were meant as a final offering to his city. Claiming to have helped the wizard recognize the error of his ways, he then requests NICOLE's help in healing him. Team Fighters' pursuit of the Death Egg continues, but as they pass over Albion, they realize that it has already been attacked, leaving smoking ruins behind.
- There are two variant covers of this issue. The first one shows Tails against a blue checkered background, while the other is very similar to the original, only with a darker sky and different background images.
- The Secret Freedom Fighters appear on the cover, but they do not appear in the actual comic itself.