- This issue's story continues in Archie Sonic & Knuckles: Mecha Madness
Rage against the Machine
One of the most famous Sonic epics of all time, this story launches the Mecha Madness saga which will see Sonic fall prey to the vile Robotnik's device of doom: the roboticizer! The Freedom Fighters are forced to combat their valiant hero as he is turned into Mecha Sonic: a robot version of himself with enhanced powers and some frightening surprises up his sleeve! Looks like the heroes will have to sound the "red alert"!
Rage against the Machine
In Knothole, Sonic the Hedgehog stands before the Knothole Council consisting of Sally Acorn, Antoine D'Coolette, Bunnie Rabbot, and Rotor Walrus. Sally has denied Sonic's request, causing Sonic to go into a spin in frustration. Sonic protests that his plan is perfect: allow Dr. Robotnik to roboticize him while secretly using one of Rotor's Neuro-Overrider devices to keep his free will and then, with an enhanced robotic body, destroy Robotropolis for good. Rotor points out that Sally once tried the same plan] with nearly disastrous results; a "Mecha Sonic" on the loose would be much more dangerous. Bunnie begins to interject, pointing out her own half-roboticized body, but Sally cuts the conversation short, saying that the plan is rejected and that's final. Sonic angrily walks out of the building; Antoine, observing this reaction, thinks that Sonic should be monitored, but Sally tells Antoine that Sonic isn't dishonest.
Sonic races away from Knothole, out into the Great Forest, past the Knothole jailhouse and stops at the new Freedom Fighters training facility, hoping to blow off some steam in the gym. However, Sonic is struck in the head with a dumbbell, courtesy of Nack the Weasel. Wanting revenge for their last encounter, not to mention a reward, Nack has made a deal with Robotnik to bring Sonic to Robotropolis.
In Robotropolis, Dr. Robotnik, accompanied by his Badnik lackey Crabmeat, is overjoyed to find Sonic unconscious and captured. Nack demands payment, but Robotnik, foregoing the usual gloating, gives the order for Sonic's immediate roboticization. Nack picks up the unconscious Sonic, telling Robotnik "no money, no hedgehog." Dr. Robotnik instead presses a button, causing Crabmeat to transform into a giant form, which grabs Nack. Robotnik tells the weasel that his payment is to be allowed to leave alive. With that, Crabmeat throws Nack out of the window.
Sonic is thrown into the Roboticizer and is quickly transformed into Mecha Sonic. The Robian soon steps out, devoid of free will. Robotnik gloats that Sonic's powers have been digitized, maximized and multiplied in the machine. He adds that since the encounter with Sally, Robotnik has upgraded the roboticizers to better ensure his control over the subject. To demonstrate Mecha Sonic's powers and obedience, Robotnik orders the destruction of Crabmeat, and Mecha Sonic disables the large robot in an instant. Robotnik then orders Mecha Sonic to return to the secret village of Knothole and destroy it.
In the outskirts of Knothole, Sally, Rotor and Antoine watch the Robian's approach; NICOLE confirming that it's definitely Sonic roboticized. Antoine concludes that Sonic deliberately disobeyed the council's order, and thus should be court-martialed. Mecha Sonic aims his blaster at them and fires a spray of laser shots; Sally shoves Antoine and Rotor aside to dodge the attack. As Mecha Sonic swoops back for a second assault, Sally tells NICOLE to initiate a specific maneuver; the result is several projected holographic images of the trio. As Mecha Sonic attempts to attack the copies, Sally realizes that the maneuver won't keep him occupied for long; she asks NICOLE if "phase II" has also been initiated, to which NICOLE replies "Affirmative! She is en route." The group begins to fret as Mecha Sonic has disposed of most of the copies, but suddenly Mecha Sonic is heavily struck by Bunnie Rabbot, who berates him for attacking the others. Mecha Sonic performs a quick assessment scan and announces that Bunnie will be brought to Robotropolis so her roboticization can be completed. Bunnie taunts him, and when he launches forward to grab her, she dodges using her telescoping robotic legs, causing the Robian to crash into a tree. When Mecha Sonic retaliates, Bunnie uses her new energy shield in an attempt to deflect the blows; from the ground, Sally notes that the upgrades Rotor gave Bunnie are providing useful. Antoine worries however that the won't be enough to stop Mecha Sonic; Sally replies that Bunnie can at least delay him for the time being while she initiates "phase III," using NICOLE to contact Tails.
Within a communications room in Knothole, Tails receives Sally's signal and launches a mayday transmitting, soon receiving a reply. Sally congratulates Tails on his work and he thanks her, saying it's nice to be treated as an adult. His sentiment quickly falls apart when Sally baby-talks him.
Meanwhile, in Robotropolis, Robotnik observes the battle, frustrated that Mecha Sonic has been intercepted by "that repulsive rabbit." He muses that if he had a remote power booster, he could transmit a surge through Mecha Sonic to stop Bunnie; a nearby SWATbot questions the practicality of building such a device, but Robotnik considers it easy; he then dismantles the SWATbot for the necessary parts. Robotnik soon completes the device and activates it; Bunnie, in proximity to Mecha Sonic, is violently shocked and falls to the ground.
Sally runs to her side, asking Rotor for help. The princess reassures Bunnie that she tried her best and tells Rotor to take her to Knothole's infirmary. However, an alarmed Antoine points out that Mecha Sonic is now headed for Knothole itself. A groggy Bunnie shows grim determination as she reconfigures her robotic arm into a cannon; with her rocket feet, she jumps from Rotor's arms and into the air, Sally cheering her from below. Bunnie intercepts Mecha Sonic and fires a powerful shot from her arm cannon; to everyone's shock, Mecha Sonic is unfazed. Mecha Sonic retaliates with his own arm cannon, and Bunnie is once again sent crashing to the ground. As Rotor runs to check on her, Sally screams at Mecha Sonic, calling him a traitor.
Back in Knothole, Tails speaks to the one who responded to the distress signal, calling him their last and best hope. Knuckles the Echidna replies that he would not normally get involved, but he and Princess Sally go way back. Tails says that Knuckles' ancestor Athair, whom he met in Downunda, did not mention such a thing to him; Knuckles has no idea what Tails is talking about but says he's simply there "to kick mecha-booty." Tails says he'll explain later if they get a chance and directs Knuckles onto a spring-loaded launch platform, which sends the echidna into the air. Knuckles happily catches Mecha Sonic with an uppercut to the head; the Robian swipes at him in return, saying that the echidna is no match for his enhanced speed and strength. On the ground, Antoine and Sally worry that Knuckles is not holding up as well as hoped. Above them, Mecha Sonic and Knuckles grapple, the former threatening that Angel Island will be next after Knothole is destroyed. Knuckles remains defiant, but is soon struck by beams from Mecha Sonic's "high voltage optic units."
Knuckles falls to the ground unconscious, caught by Rotor. Sally sits by a badly injured and damaged Bunnie, dismayed that their two strongest fighters have been defeated. Rotor fears that Knothole is doomed. Sally replies that that may not be the case, as they have one option left. Despite herself, and to the shock of Antoine and Rotor, she announces it's time to initiate "Operation Last Resort."