- Time is up—the WORLDS UNITE crossover event is almost upon us!
- "A Ray of Hope": As Sonic and the Freedom Fighters continue their journey to save the shattered planet, Sonic and Chip journey to Apotos to uncover the secrets of the Gaia Gate! Meanwhile, Knuckles and the Freedom Fighters take on a TITANIC challenge of their own! Does Sonic have a hope in saving the world? Will battle tear the freedom fighters apart first? Find out the answers to these and more exciting questions as our heroes journey to the much-awaited crossover event of the year—WORLDS UNITE! Featuring new cover art from Edwin Huang (Uncanny Skullkickers) and a crazy-new Metal Sonic game art variant provided by Sega!
A Ray of Hope
In Apotos, Sonic and Antoine D'Coolette battle a group of Badniks while Chip looks on. The two Freedom Fighters handily dispatch the robots and free their Mobini batteries, much to Chip's excitement. Antoine comments on the large number of Badniks, and Sonic remarks that there were a number of them present again. Intrigued, Antoine wonders when this occurred, and Sonic replies that it was just after they'd accomplished a different mission. Hearing the pair talk about what they've accomplished depresses Chip, who feels that he's failing to do his part to help the world as Light Gaia. However, Sonic gives him a quick pep talk that gets his spirits up, and he then sees something even more exciting: an ice cream stand.
Aboard the Sky Patrol, Knuckles is explaining to the other Freedom Fighters how the Master Emerald was shattered, and how his search for it led to his involvement in the Chaos Emerald Championship. After briefly bringing up her defeat at his hands during the contest, Amy suggests a way to possibly speed up the hunt for the Emerald shards: using the Mystic Melody technique she learned in Meropis. Using the Melody, Amy detects a nearby Emerald, and she and Knuckles hit upon a plan to find the rest of the shards by working together. Rotor has objections, however, as Amy's Mystic Melody is also their greatest asset in the ongoing hunt for the Gaia Temples. The others remind him that they have a responsibility to save Angel Island as well, and he responds that they'll have to come up with something so that they can help Knuckles and continue their quest. Unbeknownst to him, Sonic's party has found an answer in the form of the sage Gregorios, who contacted them previously. Leading them to a hidden chamber beneath Apotos, Gregorios reveals to them the Gaia Gate, an ancient structure with the ability to teleport them to the inner chamber of any Gaia Temple without locating the actual structures. The only catch is that this can only be accomplished through the use of the Gaia Keys, magical artifacts that are scattered across the world. However, Gregorios is aware of the identities of the holders of the keys, and provides the heroes with a list in recognition of the danger the world is in.
Leaving Gregorios, Sonic transforms into the Werehog again as the sun sets, a change he hopes will end with the planet's restoration as Chip hopes his memories will return. Unfortunately, the trio then run into trouble as a force of Dark Gaia's Minions materializes with the coming of night. The beleaguered heroes attempt to contact Rotor using a Miles Electric, only to be joined by Knuckles, Amy, and Bunnie on a hunt for the Master Emerald shard. A Dark Gaia Titan then appears at the head of their enemies, and the heroes engage it only to discover that the missing shard is lodged in its torso. Antoine manages to dislodge the shard, and Amy and Knuckles then team up to take it down. Upon learning of Gregorios' information, Amy and Knuckles realize that they are now free to pursue the Master Emerald shards, though a crestfallen Sonic is teasingly ribbed by Knuckles over the idea of Amy leaving to travel with him. Back on the Sky Patrol, Rotor gets an unexpected call from Rouge the Bat, who informs him that a G.U.N. unit has discovered another Chaos Emerald in the Crystal Desert Zone. Unfortunately, Metal Sonic has also discovered the unit, and is cleared by Dr. Eggman to attack while the doctor proceeds to his next target of conquest: the Lost Hex.
- Alexis (only appearance)
- Bean the Dynamite (mentioned)
- Dark Gaia Creature
- Dr. Eggman
- Freedom Fighters
- Ice Cream Vendor (only appearance)
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Lambros (only appearance)
- Silver the Hedgehog (mentioned)
- Tikal (mentioned)
- Sonic's World
- Chaos Emerald
- Dark Gaia energy
- Emerald Shard
- Gaia Key (first appearance)
- Master Emerald (mentioned)
- Miles Electric
- Piko Piko Hammer
- Chaos Emerald Championship (mentioned)
- Egg Army (mentioned)
- Mystic Melody
- Shattered World Crisis
- Spin Attack
- Spin Blade Ball Attack
The Freedom Fighters are surprised to find themselves in the Off Panel, and upon realizing that the intended joke for the issue has gone away they resort to calling upon Mama Robotnik.
- The variant cover shares many similarities with the opening scene in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie where Hyper Metal Sonic is depicted floating in midair inside a column of light.
- The artwork for Metal Sonic used in the variant cover is from Sonic Free Riders.
- According to Ian Flynn, the events of this issue still occur in the continuity after the events of the Worlds Unite crossover is self-retconned, the only exception being the scene in which Eggman approaches the Lost Hex, as the Doctor decides after the retcon that he hold hold off on the invasion for a while.
- at Sonic Retro