- “At All Costs” Part One: On the eve of the history-making “worlds collide” crossover event – Sonic’s Team Fighters have reached the frigid north! The plan: finally rescue Mecha Sally. But will Silver’s arrival help or hinder their efforts? Meanwhile, “Operation: Deadly Cuddles” goes into full effect, menacing Team Freedom! It’s the last stop of the road to the Sonic/Mega Man crossover event – with an explosive ending that will rock Sonic’s world!
At All Costs Part One: Fate Interrupted
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: Evan Stanley
- Inks: Terry Austin
- Colors: Matt Herms
- Letters: John Workman
- Assistant Editor: Vincent Lovallo
- Editor/Executive Director of Editorial: Paul Kaminski
- Editor-in-Chief: Victor Gorelick
- President: Mike Pellerito
- Special Thanks To: Anthony Gaccione and Cindy Chau at Sega Licensing
Accompanied by Guntiver the Arctic Wolf, Team Fighters scopes out the landed Death Egg Mark 2, which has stopped at the Northern Tundra Dark Egg Legion bunker for repairs and restocking. Guntiver informs Sonic's team that the craft arrived several days ago and set up new defenses, and that Dr. Eggman has been unusually cautious. He credits Team Fighters' efforts, and Sonic takes satisfaction in the fact that there are no distractions in this region to keep them from rescuing Sally Acorn. Tails thanks Guntiver and his team for their help, and Guntiver expresses his pleasure at being able to do so before asking how they intend to capture and transport Mecha Sally. Informing the Arctic Wolf that they intend to use T-Pup and the Tornado to keep her contained, he also alludes to someone who is working on a means of restoring her to normal. Sonic, meanwhile, teases Amy over still being cold despite having borrowed winter clothes from Erma Ermine.
Regrouping with the rest of the Arctic Freedom Fighters-with the exception of Erma, who has infiltrated the bunker in order to cut off the alarms-the heroes then charge in when Erma gives the all clear signal. Taking down a number of Egg SWATs, they break into the bunker and rejoin Erma, only to receive an unexpected visitor: Silver the Hedgehog, who uses his powers against several robots. Sonic is far from happy to see the time traveler, and Guntiver's efforts to calm him down result in him bringing up Silver's recurring instances of accusing one of the Knothole Freedom Fighters of being a traitor. Guntiver recalls this as well, remembering that Silver even attempted to kill Rotor during their last visit to the Northern Tundra. Silver apologizes for his previous actions, admitting that he's made a number of mistakes, but assures them that he's figured everything out this time around. Fed up with Silver's actions, Sonic demands that he leave, but Silver continues to plead his case, informing them that he has received outside help. He then remarks that he can't tell them who assisted him, and Tails questions whether the "true king" is involved, flustering the time traveler. Tails then asks Sonic to hear Silver out one more time, prompting Sonic to ask what's going on, but the Hedgehog grudgingly agrees to trust Tails on this one.
Silver, given the chance to speak, explains that in his time it is remembered that one of the Knothole Freedom Fighters acted in a way that brought about the team's destruction, and that the events that led to his devastated future spiraled out from that event. He also reports that according to what records exist, he doesn't have much time to prevent it, which Sonic finds ironic given that Silver is a time traveler. Angered, Silver points out that Mobius is already in dire straits: Sally is a Robian, Antoine is in a coma, Bunnie is missing, Naugus is king and plotting against his subjects, and Eggman continues to pose a threat. He again admits to his past failures, but reiterates that he is now certain-thanks to his outside source-of the traitor's true identity as being Sally. Amy and Sonic, enraged, try to attack him only to be blocked by Augustus and Tails, though the latter assures Silver that he had better be able to prove his claim. Assuring them that he can, he also informs them that he is no longer seeking to destroy the traitor to the Freedom Fighters, but instead to help save her.
Back in New Mobotropolis, NICOLE and Team Freedom are officiating at the ceremony honoring the restoration of Castle Acorn, which NICOLE hopes will restore the citizens' trust in her. She and Rotor then discuss the current situation with Ixis Naugus, commenting on Geoffrey St. John's conspicuous absence even in the face of Naugus' alleged illness. Rotor is quite happy to have both of them absent, though NICOLE admonishes him for being so inconsiderate in the face of Naugus' impending death. She also comments that she's been working on a device that Naugus requested, but is afraid that it won't be finished quickly enough. Rotor thinks she's being too kind, but is then shocked along with everyone when the castle starts crackling with energy and then falling apart. Rotor bemoans the latest in a series of structural incidents that have afflicted the city, and is informed by NICOLE that something is disrupting the Nanites. She manages to stabilize it after some effort; nearby, Cheese comes up to Cream the Rabbit with Tails Doll in tow. Cream expresses her frustration over the doll's tendency to disappear, but then starts to realize that its previous disappearances have corresponded with the other instances of buildings unexpectedly going unstable.
Sensing the truth, Cream has Cheese take the doll back to her house, and then approaches Rotor with her discovery. Her convoluted explanation leaves her feeling embarrassed, but Rotor compliments her reasoning and comes up with a plan to deal with the menace. Back at the Egg Bunker in the tundra, Silver explains to Sonic's team that he made the assumption that the "traitor" to the Knothole Freedom Fighters had intended to destroy their teammates. But having learned what became of Sally, Silver realized that the records were incomplete, and that while Sally's actions may have led to the eventual downfall of the Freedom Fighters in his past, they were not intentional on her part. Amy points out that Sally didn't betray them, but Erma responds that after the two hundred year period of constant devastation and with no more Freedom Fighters to protect Mobius, it is likely that no records remained of Sally's enslavement, or possibly even of the Roboticization process itself. Sonic confronts Silver, again pointing out that there was no traitor and that he assumed that one existed. Silver again apologizes, but reasserts that he intends to help them, even though it may be only a start to fixing his ravaged future.
Sonic informs the team that they will be heading out with Silver joining them, with Guntiver affirming that his team will cover Sonic's. Amy then asks Silver how he figured out where they were; not wishing to reveal his true sources, Silver lies and claims that it's because he's psychic. Seeking to distract an unconvinced Amy, he then asks Guntiver about their attack plan, and is informed that they will be using an underwater tunnel to infiltrate the Death Egg undetected. They enter the tunnel, and Amy wonders if a suddenly uncomfortable looking Sonic is finally cold, but is informed that he's not happy about being inside the pipe. Silver activates his powers to light their way, only to alert the Legion forces to their presence. Surrounded on all sides, the group quickly reacts, with Augustus, Sealia, Flip, Sonic, and Tails taking on the Orca while Silver uses his telekinesis to transport the others to safety. Unfortunately, Akhlut recognizes Silver's powers from their previous encounter, and orders his forces to attack the Hedgehog, disrupting his powers. Augustus manages to disrupt the attack, and grabs Guntiver while Sealia gets Silver, Flip assists Erma, and Tails carries Sonic and Amy.
The team emerges on the other side of the tunnel, but Akhlut surfaces with them and attacks Silver again before sending out an alert to the Egg Swat security forces. The two teams rush into battle, determined to continue despite their foiled infiltration, while Eggman is alerted to their presence by Orbot and Cubot. In a Jamaican accent, Cubot informs the doctor, to the latter's fury, of the damage being done to the fortress, Eggman, now totally at his wits' end with Team Fighters, sends Mecha Sally down to kill them. Worried that Sonic might disrupt his plans unless he acts quickly, Eggman determines that the Genesis Wave must be set off again immediately. He orders Orbot to activate the Interdimensional Gateway, and hopes that Albert is prepared on his end. Down below, Mecha Sally joins the battle, stunning Amy while Augustus is blasted by Egg Swats. Sonic then grabs Sally and goes hand-to-hand with her, only for her to activate the laser built into her head in preparation for a close range shot. Meanwhile, back in her house in New Mobotropolis, Cream informs her mother Vanilla the Rabbit that she's heading out to train with the team in earshot of Tails Doll. The robot takes the opportunity to crawl away, making its way to the city's power station-where NICOLE and Team Freedom are waiting for it, glad to have identified their enemy at last.
Tails Doll then announces that it has completed its self repairs, and takes control of some of the nanites to modify its form. Transforming into a massive monster, it informs them of its three-fold plan: to destroy the power plant, destroy the power scrubbers so that Robotropolis' radiation will flood the city, and to destroy them.
Back at the Death Egg, Tails manages to save Sonic from Mecha Sally's blast, but both are thrown by an explosion it causes. Amy rushes to the side of a stunned Sonic, only for Mecha Sally to target them both for termination. Fortunately, Silver manages to short her out with his powers, saving the heroes from certain doom. Unfortunately, a familiar wall of white then encompasses them all, which Sonic recognizes---but too late.
Sonic shakes his fist angrily at Eggman, who is running in the direction indicated by a "Crossover Next Exit" sign with Mecha Sally tucked under his arm. His frustration is caused by the second occurrence of a cliffhanger involving Sally and the Genesis Wave, leaving Silver embarrassed and Eggman mocking the Hedgehog as he runs away.
- Sonic: C'mon Amy. Erma loaned you some clothes, and you're still cold?
- Amy: We're in the Northern Tundra, Sonic! Of course I'm cold!
- Sonic: You're wearing the most of any of us.
- Amy: I'M A DELICATE LADY! I CHILL EASILY!
- Amy:: Feeling cold now?
- Sonic: No. I'm just not wild walking down some rickety pipe under so much water.
- Akhlut: There is no escape!
- Silver: Nngh! Blow it out your blow-hole!
- This issue marks the final appearances of the Northern Tundra, the Arctic Freedom Fighters, and New Mobotropolis.
- Part of the plotline of this issue was foreshadowed in Sonic Universe #44, where it was stated that Silver the Hedgehog's hunt for the "traitor" to the Knothole Freedom Fighters would conclude in this issue.
- In this issue, Sonic and Tails perform an attack similar to one of the moves in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, namely the Rolling Combo.
- Elias Acorn and Geoffrey St. John are only referred to in vague terms, as "the true king" by Tails, and "Naugus' agent" by Nicole respectively. Additionally, no members of the Council of Acorn are visible aside from Uncle Chuck. This is likely due to the ongoing legal case between Archie and former writer Ken Penders.
- However, Tails may also have referred to Elias this way to keep the Secret Freedom Fighters' secrets, having previously promised Elias he wouldn't tell in Sonic the Hedgehog #239. Interestingly, Silver's reaction to Tails's question about "the true king" is similar to his reaction to Geoffrey calling him "Ace" (Silver's S.F.F. callsign) in Sonic Universe #43.
- Furthermore, the Council of Acorn may simply not have been featured in the issue due to the lack of part they would have to play in the storyline.
- When Eggman is preparing to enter the Interdimensional Gateway, he says "Albert better be ready to go...". This is an allusion to the Mega Man crossover, Albert being the first name of Dr. Wily from the Mega Man series.
- Sonic, Tails, Sally (although in her roboticized form) and Rotor hold the honour of being the characters to appear in both the first and last issues of the original continuity.
- Sonic's pose on the cover resembles his official artwork from the game Shadow the Hedgehog.
- Amy's winter outfit is similar to one that she wears in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. The only difference is that it is red instead of pink.
- The "Off Panel" strip is likely a humorous reference to fan complaints over postponement of the series' main storyline due to numerous "special" issues of the comics.
Interior page artwork