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Nicole the Holo-Lynx is one of the main characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. She is an artificial intelligence program residing in Sally Acorn's portable hand-held computer, and is both Sally's hand-held assistant and a loyal friend and trusted member of the New Freedom Fighters. She is incredibly versatile and able to interact with and manipulate most machinery and computer systems due to her advanced technology and is capable of mental and emotional growth. Due to the latter, she has gradually become more and more lifelike in demeanor during her time interacting with the Freedom Fighters. With the help of a Power Ring, she is able to create a complex holographically simulated body-based on that of an anthropomorphic lynx that can be projected from her hand-held.
As a computer unit, Nicole’s design is slightly inconsistent. In general terms, her hand-held is relatively compact, grey in color, and features a flip-top, a screen, two buttons and a small keypad. However, the number of keys, size and general positioning of the unit varies from artist to artist. The unit also has an attachable hook on the top screen where a Power Ring can be inserted.
Nicole’s simulated/projected body takes the form of a brown anthropomorphic lynx; the ends of her ears are black, and her face features a stripe along the bridge of the nose as well as one under each eye. Her eyes are green and her black hair is medium-long with splits at the ends. For attire, she wears a shoulder-less, sleeveless and purple dress with split tails, decorated with a small broach. She has black pants, white gloves, and shoes, the gloves featuring round gold cuffs while the shoes had silver cuffs and toes.
Nicole was created by Dr. Ellidy, a top scientist of the Kingdom of Acorn, who hoped to create in her a virtual clone of his late daughter Nikki. Upon Nicole's activation, Ellidy hoped for a reaction of some sort from her. He was disappointed when she responded with no emotion and noted that she had no designation, and he later gave her handheld form to Sally. Sally quickly identified her by gender and asked Dr. Ellidy what "her" name was. Ellidy started to respond but hesitated, struggling over his loss of his daughter, which prompted King Acorn to suggest the name Nicole after a past queen of the House of Acorn. Sally became quite fond of her new device, though she quickly learned-with some help from Rosie Woodchuck that Nicole responded to all situations with logic rather than emotions.
Though Nicole would retain memories of these events, it would be with a different perspective than after she gained sentience, which took place some time after Sally fled to Knothole, taking Nicole with her. Eventually she manifested her holographic form to Sally, and demonstrated her first signs of real emotion by expressing a desire to see the stars.
Countdown to Chaos
- Note: From the readers point of view, this picks up from where Nicole's original history ended.
Nicole was at some point captured by Walter Naugus, who had lost his powers as a result of the first Genesis Wave. Holding King Acorn captive, he attempted to force Nicole to create a Super Ring that would restore his lost magic, though Nicole informed him several times that she was unsure that she could pull the task off. When the Tails Doll arrived in Mobotropolis and became engaged in battle with Sonic and Tails, Nicole mocked Naugus, referring to him as "Wally" and claiming he deserved his misfortune. An enraged Naugus grabbed her computer body, the contact had the unexpected effect of reawakening Naugus' memories from the original reality. Terrified by the experience, Naugus threw Nicole's computer through a nearby window, where it was discovered by Tails. Nicole attempted to warn him off, apparently fearing that he would be affected just as Naugus was, but damage incurred from the treatment of her computer form made it so that Tails could not understand her. His old memories were restored, and Tails later reluctantly plugged Nicole into Tails Doll, allowing them to shut the monstrous machine down. After assuring her friends that her programming was undamaged, Nicole-her ability to speak somewhat repaired by her contact with Tails-suggested that the confused pair go looking for the missing Freedom Fighters. After rescuing a rejuvenated King Acorn, who blamed himself for NIicole's captivity, the trio set out to do just that.
Nicole provided some guidance to Sonic and Tails as they tried to find Rotor in the vicinity of the Mystic Ruins, though her ability to communicate remained impaired. With some help from Big the Cat, the trio managed to locate Rotor just in time to save him from a group of Spinner Badniks and their commander, Silver Sonic. Afterwards, the group were taken aboard Sky Patrol, and aircraft that Tails and Rotor had built in this reality as a counter to the Death Egg and other aerial threats. Tails handed Nicole to Rotor, which restored Rotor's memories of the original timeline as well as improving Nicole's condition, though not completely restoring her. After being updated by Rotor on the last known whereabouts of the other Freedom Fighters, the group set out again, leaving Big behind to assist Rotor.
Nicole continued to have impaired speech until they restored Antoine's memories outside Knothole. At that point, she found the lingering energy she possessed from the second Genesis Wave was waning. Her condition further improved when she restored the memories of Bunnie after recovering her from her mission in Metropolis Zone. Although her speech was restored, and she could partially project her lynx body again, Nicole's database was still scrambled, limiting her usefulness for the time being. Seeing in particular Bunnie's reaction to the restoration, Nicole expressed regret at what it was doing to the mental well-being of her friends. She also revealed she likely only had enough Genesis Wave energy for one more memory restoration, meaning Sonic would probably have to choose between restoring the memories of Sally or Amy.
Fortunately, by having Sally and Amy touch her at the same time, Nicole was able to restore the memories of both Freedom Fighters. While they were recovering, however, Nicole reappeared in her holographic form and demanded Sky Patrol be launched immediately. She revealed that the Super Genesis Wave had altered the entire multiverse, and had caused it to collapse upon itself. Horrified, she told the Freedom Fighters it was already too late to save the world, as it began to break apart underneath them. The Shattered World Crisis had begun.
Nicole possesses many of the traits of a living being, and is fully regarded as such by her friends. She is friendly, helpful and a loyal member of the New Freedom Fighters, having helped the Freedom Fighting cause and her friends at her own risk more than once. She is also able to express concern and support for others, giving Sally moral strength when she was in self-doubt about her actions as Mecha Sally and feeling guilty at risking the mental stability of her friends when restoring their old memories, and is not without the ability to mock or express defiance.
At times, Nicole is out of touch with the life-like of herself, reverting to the more logical thought processes of a machine as she dismisses the illogical nature of magic and wishful thinking, and initially seeing the beautiful Crystal Cave as little more than a mineral deposit not needed to be preserved. Despite this, she is capable of appreciating beauty as she experiences the wonders of having an actual body, and of helping others in times of difficulty. In addition, Nicole has become somewhat philosophical, realizing how important it is to preserve the wonders of the world they are fighting for.
Powers and abilities
As a computer, Nicole possesses a variety of abilities. In her handheld form, she can interface with other mechanical systems, allowing her to access and download information or even provide the Freedom Fighters with control over various unfriendly technologies. She also possesses a genius-level intellect, as she can process information and possess knowledge far beyond the average person.
Nicole is able to project a small hologram of her lynx form from her hand-held. When fitted with a Power Ring, she can fully assume her lynx form, though it dissipates if the Power Ring runs out. In her holographic form, she has fully functional limbs and the use of several senses. Her hologram form is vulnerable to attack, but no damage is incurred to Nicole so long as her handheld form remains unharmed. Nicole also is able to create barriers of an unknown greenish energy, which are strong enough to block laser fire. In the Digital World Nicole's abilities are expanded remarkably to the point she is capable of virtually anything she wishes, making her a fierce opponent.
When reality was reshaped, Nicole somehow absorbed residual energy from the Super Genesis Wave, which severely compromised her systems. However, contact with her computer body allowed inhabitants of the altered reality to regain their memories of the unaltered Mobius, as seen with Walter Naugus and the Freedom Fighters (sans Sonic), though the process would be mentally overwhelming and even threaten their mental stability. Once all the leftover Genesis Wave energy had been spent, she lost this ability.
- Nicole's holographic form is comparable to the holograms seen in the Star Trek television series, which would fit with the comics' tendency to make references and parodies of various science-fiction genres. Her computer form is also reminiscent of the tricorders used in that series.
- Fans question whether Nicole's Mobian lynx form was a bit of a joke, since Nicole is a handheld computer, and the Atari "Lynx" was a handheld game system.
- In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, there is a device called the Med Emitter which bares a striking resemblance to Nicole's computer form.
- Nicole's name can be spelled in all capitals or like a normal name, as Ian Flynn has stated "I suppose if you wanted to make the distinction between the computer and the soul, you could say the computer was all-caps. But at this point I consider her a "normal" part of the cast, so it'd be "Nicole.""
- Nicole the Holo-Lynx at Mobius Encyclopedia, the Archie Sonic wiki