- "Cracking the Empire": The greatest heroes of Mobius have been captured, their homes destroyed and Sonic defeated; but you can't keep a good hedgehog down! With only Tails, Knuckles and Amy Rose at his side, can Sonic manage to recover in time and save his friends and family, or has Dr. Robotnik truly won the day?! SCRIPT: Ian Flynn. ART: Tracy Yardley. Utter-chaos cover Spaz!
Cracking the Empire
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: Tracy Yardley
- Inks: Jim Amash
- Letters: John Workman
- Colors: Jason Jensen
- Editor: Mike Pellerito
- Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
- Special Thanks To: Robert Leffler and Dyna Lopez at SEGA Licensing
Sonic and Tails return to the ruins of Freedom HQ. Amy, crying, asks Sonic what happened to him and the rest of Knothole. Sonic tells her Knothole is destroyed and everyone else has been taken captive in the Egg Grapes. Knuckles asks what the plan is now. Sonic tells them to stay put and rebuild Freedom HQ while he saves their families. Tails pleads to Sonic he can't do it on his own. Sonic tells them they will be safer at HQ and he's "got this". Tails lashes out at Sonic, saying he doesn't have a plan and he'll be defeated by Eggman again. Before the two can argue, NICOLE interrupts, saying that she has a plan.
Back in New Megaopolis, Dr. Eggman addresses the captured Mobians in his Egg Vineyard with Snively at his side. The doctor "thanks" them for an entertaining resistance to his Empire. He then calls out specific groups, calling the Freedom Fighters annoying and the Chaotix stupid. Eggman then brags how the Acorn family has fallen and calls Elias weak and inexperienced. Megan reassures Elias he is strong and brave, much to Eggman's amusement.
Dr. Eggman decides to demonstrate the Egg Grapes to his captives so they can see their fate. He chooses Charmy Bee as his example to the horror of Saffron. The doctor recognizes him and remembers destroying his Kingdom. Charmy tells him despite the destruction of his home, he will still fight for his world and he's not alone. Right as Snively activates Charmy's grape, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy break into the vineyard. During Eggman's banter, the group repaired a hovercraft in HQ, flew into New Megaopolis while fighting off Egg Pawns, and located the vineyard.
As the groups breaks in, they immediately notice Charmy in pain. Sonic and Tails go up to help Charmy, while Amy and Knuckles break everyone out of their grapes. Eggman is shocked to see Sonic, as he thought his defeat would break his spirit. Sonic lets Eggman and Snively run away as he helps Charmy. The doctor yells at Snively for not capturing everyone. Tails breaks into an access port and plugs NICOLE in. She says she just needs a minute to get into Robotnik's systems. After Dr. Quack makes sure Charmy is stable, Sally leads the group out of the Egg Vineyard. Sally starts to devise a plan of escape, but Sonic tells her they already have a plan. Tails says staying together is a part of the plan.
Suddenly, Eggman's battle suit stops the group dead in their tracks. Sonic assures Sally this is a part of the plan. Sally notices the suit's teleporter beam is larger than last time as people are zapped around her. Snively tries to tell Robotnick something, but the doctor ignores him. Soon, only Sonic, Sally, and a few other Mobians are left trapped in a dead end. Sally starts suggesting ways out, but Sonic refuses to do anything. Sonic tells her he doesn't want to spoil the surprise to Eggman. Sally screams his name as she is teleported away. Dr. Eggman asks for one more futile battle for old times sake, but Sonic doesn't him the pleasure and is teleported as well. As Eggman celebrates his "victory", Snively finally gets a chance to explain the teleportation frequentcy was tapered with and no one is in the reserve Egg Grapes. The doctor remote-launches the Egg Fleet and asks where they where teleported to. Snively tells him they where teleported to the Nanite City...
In the former Nanite City, everyone is shocked and amazed to see a new and improved Mobian city. Many Knothole locations have been rebuilt, including the Lake of Rings, all of their homes, and a Castle Acorn that rivals the glory of the original from Mobotropolis. NICOLE, in her Mobian form, reveals to the Freedom Fighters this has been a project she has been working on. The Destruction of Knothole forced her to reveal it early; she welcomes them to New Mobotropolis. Sally embraces NICOLE and everyone begins to asks questions about the new city. NICOLE says all of their questions will be answered in time. Sally thanks NICOLE for everything and thanks the Freedom Fighters for their heroic rescue mission. NICOLE interrupts, saying this is no time for congratulations, as the Egg Fleet is now arriving over the city...
- Sonic: Tails! ... I've got this!
- Tails: Like you had Knothole a few minutes ago? Yeah, you really helped out a lot there! Or does your plan hinge on you getting your butt kicked again?!
- Dr. Eggman: Charmy Bee! Haven't I already ruined your life? Destroyed your kingdom or some such -- right?
- Charmy: Yes. You have. Despite all that, I've fought for our world. No matter what you do to me, I will still fight for Mobius. And I'm not alone!