- For the character in the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, see Nicole (SatAM). For the version of this character after the Super Genesis Wave, see Nicole the Holo-Lynx.
Nicole, or NICOLE as she was originally referred to before being recognized as more than just a program, is one of the main characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. She is an artificial intelligence program that originally resided in Sally Acorn's portable hand-held computer from a possible future of Mobius that has since been destroyed, and was actually based on an alternate Nicole who was destroyed in that reality. 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 Knothole Freedom Fighters. Eventually she herself desired to "live" as they do and developed a complex holographically simulated body that can be projected where resources are available. She later used the nanite city created by A.D.A.M. to create New Mobotropolis and became the city's steward and administrator, serving and protecting the city's people and her friends however she could. This act of kindness left her vulnerable to come under the control of the Iron Queen and she briefly became Iron Nicole before turning into a sleeper agent and helping to win back New Mobotropolis from the Iron Dominion. Since then she has continued to help protect the city, despite the mixed feelings of its citizens.
As a computer unit, Nicole’s design has been somewhat inconsistent. In general terms, the hand-held was relatively compact, grey in color, and featured a flip-top, a screen, two buttons and a small keypad. However, the number of keys, shape, size and general positioning of the unit varied from artist to artist, ranging in appearance from a simple calculator to a small laptop computer.
Nicole’s simulated/projected body takes the form of a brown Mobian lynx; the ends of her ears, hands, and feet (unusually excluding the toes) 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 (though often mis-colored blue) and her black hair features longer sections adorned with purple and orange (sometimes pink) beads. She wears a single-shoulder purple wrap dress that flares out about knee-length. Nicole’s Mobian design was created by writer/artist Tania Del Rio; a minor character in the manga incarnation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, also by Del Rio, features an almost identical design.
During her brief enslavement to the Iron Dominion, Nicole (who was called "Iron Nicole") had her avatar reconfigured; her hair was up in a bun with hairsticks, and she wore a high-collared black and purple dress with long purple gloves and a red belt. Her eyes became red-orange, but later reverted to their usual green as she regained her self-control. The basis for this design was created by writer Ian Flynn. On one occasion, Nicole took on a casual look, featuring blue shorts, a purple tank top, and a purple hat with a blue band and buckle.
Nicole was from a possible future, designed and created by Rotor (having been based on her counterpart from yet another future Mobius) and sent back in time by Queen Sally and King Sonic. Because she was from the future, Nicole was designed with a firewall to prevent the Freedom Fighters from learning about the future, which the present day Rotor attempted to crack without success. Also noted is the fact that the future Rotor created Nicole as a request from Queen Sally, whose own version of Nicole had been destroyed in the final battle with Robotnik.
Nicole was sent to the past in a sphere made out of what the present-time Rotor theorized was some sort of force field. Nicole landed at night not too far off from Knothole and where Sally sat pondering over love and her early life growing up to be a ruler. Nicole landed in the sphere with an echoing crash that caught the attention of the Knothole Freedom Fighters and went over to investigate where they found the sphere Nicole was in and were amazed at how the sphere had managed to keep cool when it came down from space covered in fire. Sally picked up the sphere and gave it to Rotor, who tried everything to open it but was unsuccessful.
Later, however, when Sally was asleep, the sphere began to glow and Sally awoke and went to it to discover Nicole. Nicole offered her greetings and friendship to Sally, and she thought that Nicole reminded her of someone else who encouraged her to make her own decisions. The rest of the Freedom Fighters then came after they heard Sally talking to Nicole. Sonic, curious to discover the mystery behind Nicole, gave her a shake and received a shock for his trouble from Nicole. Sonic suggested they get rid of Nicole after this, but Sally refused and said she was staying, like it or not. The next evening at sunset, Sally decided to take Nicole with her on a mission given to her by her late mentor Julayla into the Forbidden Zone. Sally intended to go it alone except for Nicole, as it was too dangerous a mission for her to include her friends, but they rounded on her and insisted on accompanying Sally on her mission. They then took a plane to the Forbidden Zone and everyone (with the exception of Rotor) jumped out of it once over the drop-zone right outside Dr. Robotnik's border patrol. After blinding the patrolling SWATbots with paint, Sally and the others entered the Forbidden Zone and made their way past the Cyclops, Griffin, and Polysaurus Rex within it thanks mainly to some assistance from Nicole and eventually found their "quest's end". At it was a box with a scroll inside that had the words "To thine own self be true" inscribed upon it. These words served the possible future Sally (who had Rotor make Nicole) for two decades and led to her rule and peace on Mobius.
Aiding the Freedom Fighters
Nicole was next taken by Sally into one of Robotnik's factories to investigate rumors that he could make his SWATbots invisible. Sonic led them through the factory, where Nicole detected a heavy concentration of anti-matter emissions coming from an anti-matter machine. Sonic went into the room the machine was being held in, but it was a trap and he was forced to detonate Rotor's home-made bomb and try to escape with a sonic spin, but he tripped and the bomb exploded. Everyone thought he had died, but the anti-matter machine that was thought a failure actually worked thanks to the explosion and Sonic temporarily became invisible and managed to save the Freedom Fighters from Robotnik before the effects wore off.
Sally later used Nicole in a solo-mission into Energy Sub-Station #537 of Robotropolis to by-pass its security devices and acting as a journal during her mission to destroy a total of three sub-stations to collapse Robotropolis's defense system. After electrocuting a SWATbot, Sally used Nicole on a secured entrance to the air shaft of the sub-station and she opened it for her. Once inside, Sally used Nicole again to hack into the main computer and initiate the self-destruct sequence, which resulted in the sub-station exploding after 23 seconds. She was used again for that mission once in Robotnik's secret Auto Automaton factory to detect the main room using Nicole and her sensors.
After this, Nicole's role in the Freedom Fighters became more greater and she proved a key factor in several missions. Sonic later brought Nicole along when using Rotor's time-space matter project in the hopes of rescuing Maximillian Acorn from the Zone of Silence, but she proved useless as the negative reality wreaked havoc with her circuits and they couldn't penetrate it. Later, on a very hot day, Nicole informed Sally that a sudden snow could that had appeared had come from an "artificial environmental modulator," making Sally immediately leap to Robotnik being behind it, and Nicole also helped them find shelter in a cave from the cold weather before her circuits froze up. This led to them meeting the Arctic Freedom Fighters and the destruction of the Weather Annihilator. When Robotnik became trapped in the Void by one of his own experiments and Snively Robotnik took over, a roboticized Sir Charles Hedgehog came to the Freedom Fighters came to alert them to this and Sally used Nicole to assess what Snively would be capable of in charge, and Nicole estimated that the planet would end up completely destroyed.
When Sally was on a reconnaissance mission in Robotropolis to learn more about the DYNAMAC-3000, Sally used Nicole to download information from a terminal, and the computer commented that there was quite an excessive amount to download. Nicole then established a radio link to the terminal as the Robotnik Express came along and Sally jumped on to the top of it with Nicole in hand while she was still downloading, and panicking at what they were doing. Sally then explained to her computerized companion that Rotor was back home tracking Nicole's signal and would deduce what had happened and send support, which he did in the form of Sonic. Sally then boarded the train and asked Nicole to scan the DYNAMAC-3000 aboard it, but was unable to because something was interfering with the process. Then Sally met up with Geoffrey St. John, who was also there to take care of the threat the DYNAMAC-3000 posed. Geoffrey's men Dolph and Jean-Claude then stopped the train, and inadvertently triggered a fail-safe, activating the DYNAMAC. Nicole recommended that made a run for it, but with the DYNAMAC closing in, that wasn't an option. Then the DYNAMAC went for Sonic who was on the roof of the train and transformed itself into the form of a spider and closed in on the plane Antoine D'Coolette and Rotor were flying in. Meanwhile, Nicole had been going through the files she'd downloaded on the DYNAMAC and suggested exploiting its two weaknesses, which were that it couldn't anticipate attacks and only respond to a threat that had revealed itself, and could be shut down placing an electronic pulse scrambler in the center of its head. They used these weaknesses to their advantage by exploiting its first weakness to gain access to the second and successfully shut down the robot and then destroyed it.
Later, when Knuckles the Echidna was sighted going to Robotropolis and Sonic went off suspecting Knuckles was going to cut a deal with Robotnik, which led to a fight. Eventually, Sally came to cut in, bringing along Nicole. With the fight stopped, Sally told the two that Nicole detected readings of radiation coming from a hole in the ground where a tree had been until it was uprooted during the battle. The radiation was coming from a gateway to a Zone filled with Chaos Emeralds and Power Rings, which was subsequently destroyed by Super Sonic and Hyper Knuckles.
A while later, Sir Charles Hedgehog alerted Sonic and Sally to a situation they could take advantage of and told them to meet him at a certain point in a garbage dump by giving Nicole the coordinates. They met Chuck at his secret spy room and he told them that an earthquake was about to strike Robotropolis and that Robotnik would be using a giant spacecraft to fly himself and his forces above the city to survive it. Chuck suggested that they use this diversion to infiltrate the city and rescue the Robians Robotnik left behind by De-Roboticizing them. They were successful, but when Rotor came with transport in the form of a plane, there wasn't enough room and Sonic and Sally stayed behind and the latter used Nicole to find an escape route. But Sally was injured when debris fell on her, and Nicole then relayed that their current route was the safest with a chance survival being at 12% if Sonic hurried. Sonic made it, and the next day, both Sir Charles and Nicole were awarded Mobius Golden Acorns by Sally and Sonic respectively.
On another incident, Sonic lost his speed after a Combot exploded when it was hit by lightning. When the Freedom Fighters came to Robotropolis to check on him, Nicole suggested that using multiple Power Rings might restore Sonic's speed since they usually gave him a power boost. They then journeyed out of Robotropolis and Nicole alerted her allies to the presence of Combots. But despite her warning, she and Sally were abducted with everybody else except Sonic. But Sonic came to their rescue with the help of the Substitute Freedom Fighters and managed to collect three rings, earning him his speed back and allowing him to save the day.
Nicole was later used to detail how a rogue Combot was defeated after she'd uplinked with Sir Charles's prototype spy satellite, and revealed that the combined force of Sonic, Sally and Antoine destroyed it.
A new occurrence happened in the form of Robotnik successfully roboticizing Sonic and sending him to Knothole, but Nicole managed to save Sally, Rotor and Antoine by broadcasting holographic images to confuse the robot and allow Bunnie Rabbot to save them. Though Bunnie put up a good fight, it did not seem as if she could defeat Mecha Sonic and Sally had Nicole put her in touch with Tails so he could send reinforcements in the form of Knuckles the Echidna. But after Bunnie was defeated and Knuckles took on Mecha Sonic, he was still undefeated. Desperate, Sally ordered Knuckles to be roboticized with a Neuro-Overrider to keep his free will, and Nicole then gave her the status of Knothole's evacuation and what Mecha Sonic was currently up to. Once the battle was over, Nicole informed Mecha Knuckles of the danger he was in of burning out in his roboticized state. While Knuckles was being turned back to normal, Nicole played a crucial role in saving Sonic's life as he sustained critical damage and was on the verge of death even when roboticized. With Rotor's help, Nicole discovered that Sonic's mind was being protected by an aura granted to him from the Ancient Walkers after collecting his one-billionth Power Ring, which was the key to restoring him. Since Rotor's lab and equipment had been destroyed in Mecha Sonic's attack, Nicole volunteered to synchronize with the aura and Sonic's psyche by herself. After getting permission from a dubious Sally, Nicole initiated the process and miraculously not only saved Sonic from dying, but successfully de-roboticized him as well. She then cleared up Antoine's reasoning for slapping a pair of handcuffs on Sonic after Knuckles had left, stating anyone disobeying a direct order must be tried for treason.
After Sonic's name had been cleared, the Freedom Fighters teamed up with Geoffrey St. John again in an attempt to save King Maximillian Acorn from the Zone of Silence. After entering the zone and Sally briefly discussing with her father (who was wandering whether or not she was an illusion), Nicole picked up fluctuations in the local magnetic field before the Mobian trio fell on to a piece of floating rock. They then saw their first encounter with the king in the one of Silence in some surreal way. Nicole then explained that Dr. Robotnik's experiments were the cause as they'd affected the zone's quantum energy levels which made "rips" or "holes" that acted as "windows" so they could see prior and future events that took and will take place in the zone, and this allowed them to see what had happened to the king during his isolation. Sally then observed that the zone was collapsing and hope for escape seemed nonexistent, and Nicole's only suggestion was praying. St. John then thought of the jet packs they'd brought with them, but Nicole said they were out of fuel and would need a positive charge to work. Regardless, thanks to Sonic's quick thinking, they all escaped with King Max in tow. Although they'd retrieved the king, upon returning to Mobius Prime, they saw him turning to crystal due to his prolonged exposure to the Zone of Silence and even Nicole was helpless to think of how to cure him and it seemed only Power Rings and Chaos Emeralds could help restore King Max, but they proved useless, and the later learned of the Crown of Acorns and the key to locate it being the Sword of Acorns.
Nicole was later taken by Sally to the Floating Island with the rest of the Freedom Fighters to investigate a transmission apparently sent by Knuckles saying the island was under siege. After discovering Mammoth Mogul was responsible for this so as to get the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix fighting each other, Sally was given the "Sword of Acorns" following Mogul's defeat and Sally used Nicole do research to find the Crown of Acorns, but was interrupted by Rosie, who informed that her father had miraculously recovered.
Nicole was later taken with Sally on a mission to investigate rumors of a new weapon being used by Robotnik, where they met up with the Wolf Pack. Nicole was given a disk to update her files on them, and then downloaded information on Robotnik's weapon, the Waste Pod, which allowed them to destroy it.
A while later, the Freedom Fighters and the Wolf Pack teamed up for a mission in Robotropolis and Sally took Nicole along with her while secretly monitoring Sonic on her father's orders to see if he was a traitor. Sonic and Sally eventually split up, and Sally went up the side of a building using a rope. However, when laser turrets attempted to take her out and Rotor managed to stop some, Sonic (really Hershey St. John in disguise) cut the rope she was climbing, thinking it was Snively due to the technology in the mask she was wearing. Sally then fell to the ground and was rendered comatose with Nicole with her. This was all part of Robotnik's ultimate plan, Operation: EndGame.
Post-Robotnik & Combating Eggman
After Sally came out of her coma, Nicole went back to being her personal computer and accompanied her on many missions, though was not always put to use. She was also given several upgrades by Rotor so she could be of more use both in the field and for every day life. Nicole's sophisticated broadcasting system was used by Sally to assist in up-linking to one of the late Robotnik's satellites and contact other Freedom Fighter groups. She was successful for a time, and managed to explain the recent events of Robotnik's death and how they would be going to Robotropolis to re-obtain it and ascertain the damage, but the uplink deteriorated while she warning the Freedom Fighters of the Zones that had appeared all over Mobius due to the Ultimate Annihilator's destruction. After this, Nicole was used by Sally to run time estimates to bring basic necessities up and running, believing splitting into teams would make things faster, which Nicole agreed on. That night, however, Sally was beginning to think restoration of the city hopeless, but Nicole tried to show her a little light in the dark situation, and later used her faithful computer to contact her father, and talked with her about her father wanting her to keep her past with Knuckles and the Floating Island a secret. A few days later, during the rebuilding of Robotropolis, Eggbots were detected and Sally, Sonic and Antoine went to investigate, with Sally bringing her computer companion along. Upon locating them, they saw the robots with a massive drill about to dig something up, and Nicole detected an energy signature from where they were digging, and another coming from the drill's generator.
Then the Freedom Fighters and Knuckles were transported roughly into the past after a woman named Particle stole the Floating Island's Master Emerald, and Sally used Nicole to relay the events of what happened to a young boy named Eddie Collins who discovered them, telling him how Sally had tried to pin the emerald's location using Nicole without any luck, how'd they all travelled to the Cosmic Interstate using an old invention of Robotnik's fixed up by Rotor, where Nicole immediately picked up the emerald's energy readings and then instructed them to go to the planet they were on now. Eddie then teamed up with them, revealing himself to be a superhero called "Shadowhawk" and they continued to use Nicole to track the Master Emerald, and she determined it was currently on a train in Grand Central Station. They retrieved the emerald after battling a new villain, and Knuckles used the power of the Master Emerald to return everything the way it was, so nobody remembered a thing of it.
Several weeks after Robotnik's demise, Sally took Nicole with her to Sonic's birthday party in Knothole, expecting him to return on the day. Nicole informed the princess of her father trying to contact her on her radio transmitter. Nicole then opened a holographic image of King Acorn, telling them to return to Mobotropolis for the celebration of "someone from [Sally's] past who has finally returned after some time away!" Believing it to be Sonic, Sally went to Mobotropolis with her friends and Nicole. When they arrived, asteroids started falling from the sky on to the city. Sally consulted Nicole about this, and she said that her file on astronomics predicted that the asteroids would pass by Mobius, but definitely not near enough to be caught by its gravity. When Sally saw Sonic disguised in a cloak, she ran toward him just as a meteor came flying down, threatening to crush her and Nicole. Thankfully, Sonic saved them both.
A while afterward, King Max arranged for Telecrates to be placed in the houses of everyone in Knothole and Mobotropolis so they could hear his speech. In the middle of it, a transmission broke through it showing the life-story of Robotnik. Worried about this, Sally contacted Sonic on his communicator watch using Nicole. A while later, Sally started downloading Nicole's astronomics files on to the royal records, and made a startling discovery. After a talk with Elias Nicole was present for at the beginning, Sally explained to the rest of the Freedom Fighters, Nate Morgan and Elias that mysterious satellites had been orbiting the planet for several months, and every time they were activated, disasters occurred on the land below them. Then, just as King Acorn entered and the Freedom Fighters were going to show them their discovery, Nicole reported that the eighth and last satellite had been activated three quarters of an hour ago, right over Knothole Village. The Freedom Fighters and Nicole then went off into space to investigate the satellites after all the Robians in Knothole went missing via a space shuttle built long ago by Robotnik and recently discovered by Nate and Rotor. After leaving the shuttle in space-suits, they discovered litter in the air and saw all eights satellites merged into the Robotnik Orbital Platform, which Nicole explained to Princess Sally. She then explained that the trash had likely been ejected from the platform, and that they had a thirty-second window to get into it through a waste chute. They got in, and Nicole informed them of the artificial gravity and oxygen aboard the space vessel, allowing them to take off their helmets and breathe. Soon, the group discovered that the villain behind all this was none other than Robo-Robotnik, another former denizen from Nicole's future Mobius. He imprisoned the Freedom Fighters in his "Egg-Cell" and explained how he had taken the Robians from Knothole. When he was gone, Snively released them so he could escape with them back to Mobius to avoid roboticization. Sally then punched in their co-ordinates on Nicole's keypad so the shuttle would come to their location and they escaped just as the space station and the bomb Sally placed aboard it blew up.
Upon returning to Mobius, the group promptly dumped this ship and fled it before Robotnik's Shadowbots could arrest them. At Sally's enquiry, Nicole deduced that all the citizens relocated to Knothole after the invasion started and were safe there. They soon used Snively's knowledge and access to Robotnik's facilities to get into Robo-Robotnik's base so they could sabotage his attempts to locate Knothole. Nicole assisted in this by implanting a virus in Robotnik's master computer, though she was interrupted in her report to Sally when a Shadowbot stumbled on them. Nicole completed her mission and she, Sally and Snively met back up with Sonic, who had stumbled upon a former prisoner called Mina Mongoose.
With Mina and a bunch of others who had escaped Robo-Robotnik, Sally and Sonic walked across the desert that led from Robotropolis to the Great Forest, Snively having left earlier on his own. While Sonic and Sally were talking, Nicole butted in that she was detecting three Shadowbots in vessels coming from the West, which were taken care of by a timely arrival from Dulcy the Dragon.
A while after, the Freedom Fighters, Nate Morgan and Amy Rose journeyed to the Hidden City of the Ancients to warn its people that Robo-Robotnik was on to them and might try to invade them. While there, they encountered Robotnik's latest minion, Chaos, and Sally used Nicole to translate ancient documents in the city's library to learn more about the creature. Nicole informed her the language was "Old Echidnaese" and roughly read what was written, which told the story of a group of echidnas that settled in a nearby valley and observed the Chao nearby who worshiped a god made of pure perfect water, Perfect Chaos. Perfect Chaos was feared by the echidnas and raged against them, until the Chao used its energies to transform into the Super Emeralds. This information made Nate realize that Robo-Robotnik (now being called "Eggman") probably kidnapped Amy Rose to absorb the energy of the Super Emeralds that was now in her body from using the Ring of Acorns. After Sonic had defeated Chaos and the crisis had been averted, Mayor Bullyani held a celebration for the heroes before they left, but it was interrupted by Silver Sonic II. Sally used Nicole to find out whatever she could on the robot Sonic, and Nicole determined it as an upgraded version of the super robot equipped with an infinite power supply. A while afterward, Sally brought Nicole with her on her return to Station Square with the rest of the Freedom Fighters to meet with the President to see if the Overlanders they'd rescued could reside with the humans. Nicole informed Sally of the Freedom Fighter Special's progress after they entered the mountain Station Square was concealed in. While having dinner with the President and his chiefs of staff, Sally used Nicole to create a hologram of Eggman to emphasize the point of her lecture, offering all the Kingdom's tactical information against the tyrant. A while after leaving, Nicole received a satellite transmission in the dead of night showing the President tell them of their of O.T.I.S. and how it had launched an atomic strike on Robotropolis to eliminate the threat of Dr. Eggman. Fifteen minutes later, she replayed the message for Sonic and Tails after delivering a sarcastic comment.
The Freedom Fighters then stormed Eggman's base just after he'd completed making new mechanical bodies for himself and Snively and managed to get rid of Nicole's virus, allowing him to download Knothole's location. Nicole was with them, and she did a scan of the mechanical duo's new bodies, and informed them that he no longer had the ability to roboticize with a touch. But in the middle of the battle, Eggman, Snively, Sonic and Tails disappeared into thin air, and Nicole's readings indicated they'd been transported, but their location was unknown. Sonic and Tails returned to Knothole later on.
Rotor, now with an upgraded computer system, tried to access Nicole's hard-drive, though she told him he was wasting his time. He tried to input questions for answers, but only got negatives, and once an emoticon sticking its tongue out. Though Rotor was a little annoyed, Nicole knew his possible future self would be pleased that he had outsmarted himself. Then, after changing his computer's security system after being inspired by Nicole and her emoticon, Rotor brought Nicole back to Castle Acorn in Knothole. Sally later used Nicole to scan some documents before she was distracted by Mina Mongoose's singing and became enthralled with it. Nicole tried to snap her out of it, commenting that the decibel levels of the sound indicate it was "completely overrated," but also said that she didn't have ears to properly listen to it. Then when Sally saw Mina and Sonic looking dreamy-eyed with each other, she reciprocated Nicole's opinion before getting back to work.
A few days later, the unexpected happened when the previously-thought-dead Shadow the Hedgehog crash landed from outer space just outside of Knothole. After Sally made contact with him, Nicole informed her of an urgent signal coming from Castle Acorn. When they arrived, it turned out to be Eggman informing the Kingdom his city had been attacked, and Nicole then received a holographic transmission from Rouge the Bat telling them Station Square had been attacked and its president injured. Then the ones responsible for these attacks, an alien race called the Xorda, used a telepathic transmission to alert everybody on the planet that they planned to destroy "Earth" just as they thought they'd done thousands of years ago. Sally went off with Nicole to do historical research to prove to the Xorda they had the wrong planet, but their investigations revealed that Mobius and Earth really were one in the same, which was backed up by the Brotherhood of Guardians's research at Haven. Eggman then proposed using Sonic's speed to power his Giga-Bot Prime robot to rid them of the alien menace, which King Max agreed to for half of Eggman's territory spanning across the globe. Sally accompanied Sonic with Nicole strapped over her shoulder. They completed their mission and destroyed the alien spacecraft, but Eggman turned traitor and trapped all three of them inside the robot with Sonic unable to stop powering it. Then the Xorda unleashed their Quantum Dial weapon in the Southern Tundra and Eggman sent Giga-Bot Prime to confront it. But the Quantum Dial was equipped with defensive devices that made the Giga-Bot Prime fall to pieces when it went within fifty feet of it. Nicole then made a scan of the Quantum Dial and relayed the information back to Rotor in Knothole. The scan revealed that once the Quantum Dial's arm was activated, there would be no stopping it, and suggested they make a counter-force strong enough to stop it. Sonic suggested that he should run around the Quantum Dial to create the counter-force, but Nicole advised him against it, saying he would die once the device imploded on itself. Then Nicole detected an energy build-up inside the device, and determined it was a quantum wave that would incinerate any organic life forms within a hundred-mile radius that would activate in less than four seconds. Luckily, it was cancelled out by Knuckles the Echidna's return from the afterlife. Then Sonic created a counter-force and saved the planet from the Quantum Dial, seemingly dying in the process.
Second Robotnik War & Desire To Live
Nicole was used by Sally on the Freedom Fighters' rescue mission of Tommy Turtle from New Megaopolis. Nicole helped plan the route that would earn them victory, and also hacked into the systems of New Megaopolis to reveal Tommy's whereabouts. Nicole became Sally's best friend during her time as ruling monarch of the Kingdom of Acorn, and Sally confided her secrets in her, such as her offering women advice on their love-lives in the Knothole News under the alias of "Aly," which Nicole observed became a therapeutic way of helping Sally get over her relationship with Sonic while helping to keep it a secret.
A while afterward, Sally brought Nicole with her to see Rotor at the walrus's haste, and he revealed he needed Nicole's computing power for a Power Ring experiment to determine whether the outcome would be safe or dangerous. Sally then tripped over a wire with Nicole in her hand, and the two switched bodies. Rotor had Sally use Nicole's scanner to find out more about the substance responsible. Meanwhile, Nicole journeyed outside and experienced the wonders of an organic body, such as being able to see the colors and move her limbs at a whim, marveling at virtually everything, including the past passion Sally felt for Sonic when she ran into him before they eventually returned to their old bodies. Nicole's mind and feelings changed due to the accident and she attempted to create a complex simulated body in the form of a lynx using holograms. One night when the Freedom Fighters were all in Knothole so Robotnik was least likely to attack, she tested it out when Sally was sleeping, but the young princess caught sight of her leaving her computer body and noticed the door to her room was ajar, thinking her to be some sort of intruder. She followed her out of Castle Acorn to a lake, where Nicole was taking in the night. Nicole noticed Sally, and the princess realized that the lynx she was confronting sounded exactly like her computer companion, forcing Nicole to reveal what she was doing. She explained her desire to live just like Sally, and experience all the joys of a true living being. Sally insisted she stay this way, but Nicole revealed that she was vulnerable to hackers in her current state, and would tire out easily due to all the power it used. She then looked up at the stars with Sally, marveling at their beauty, before finally fading away. Nicole continued to use her Mobian form as an on-screen icon.
Nicole, among other Knothole citizens with robotic parts, was invaded with Eggman's nanites when Sally was having her palm print recognised on an infiltrated computer. The nanites appeared to have an intelligence-gathering purpose, as they could transmit all data they acquire directly to Eggman. Nicole, still unaware of the nanites, later sent Sonic out on a mission to locate an intruder near Freedom HQ, but failed to notice the two others.
The nanites were later used by A.D.A.M. to take control of Nicole and all the other citizens infected by them. However, the effects on Nicole didn't seem to be any worse than disabling her while she attempted to purge the nanites from her system. Once this crisis had been averted, Nicole gained complete control of the now abandoned Nanite City, and began construction work on it to form a new city altogether modeled after Mobotropolis.
Nicole was then given to Espio the Chameleon to assist him in finding out what happened to the people of the Golden Hive Colony, sharing her theories regarding Eggman with him while hacking, and informed him that everything from the bee kingdom was gone. Out of vengeance for his friend, Espio ordered Nicole to overload the city's power matrix and make sure the robots there would be trapped without warning, which she did, but not without voicing her objections.
Nicole was then set to be used to monitor the Freedom Fighters with Rotor, but when Sonic under the control of Eggman showed up, she was instead used to call for the Chaotix to stop Sonic attacking King Max.
While at Freedom HQ, Nicole viewed Tails trying to tap into the old and damaged diary of Professor Gerald Robotnik, Shadow the Hedgehog's creator. The hedgehog sought answers about why he was made, but it seemed risky to access the diary without losing everything on there. Nicole suggested using the Particle-To-Light Organizer and Transporter Device to physically interact with the data on the disk and find out the reason for Shadow's creation. Shadow agreed, and Sonic agreed to tag along with him. After readying the device, Sonic and Shadow were sent into the diary and Nicole accompanied them in her lynx form, quickly observing her fears that the diary was degrading faster because of their presence. Sonic was initially surprised by her look, before Nicole offered an explanation and quickly got side-tracked, but Shadow reminded them that speed was the essence here. They then encountered a digital version of Professor Robotnik's granddaughter, Maria, who Shadow was overcome with joy to see and Sonic had to remind him to get back on the job. Maria then took them to a digital version of Robotnik himself, who told Shadow that he was the ultimate protector of life on Mobius that was initially meant to be a cure for NIDS and explained how he had sought the aid of Black Doom, and that his Black Arms would be returning to Mobius in fifty years, which was the present day. Nicole was concerned about this, but Sonic revealed they were doing battle with the Xorda right now. Soon after this, the floor vanished and Nicole realized the digital matrix was collapsing and quickly made an exit before they were done for. The three of them escaped without a moment to spare.
During the attack on Knothole by Eggman's Egg Fleet, Snively attacked Freedom HQ in his own version of the Egg Beater and Nicole was buried in the rubble, but was not captured along with most of the Freedom Fighters. After interrupting an argument between Sonic and Tails, she relayed to the survivors of a plan of hers and then helped Sonic rescue all those captive in the Egg Grapes by teleporting them to the redesigned Nanite City, which she has dubbed New Mobotropolis. This served as an added bonus for Nicole, as the holo-matrices set up throughout the city allowed her to maintain her holographic form at all times, and also became the artificial intelligence in control of the city's defenses, which unfortunately forces her to deactivate her holographic form in order to provide more power to the shields. She was forced to do this when the Egg Fleet tried to destroy the shield protecting New Mobotropolis until Sonic came out to confront Eggman in his Egg Beater with the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix. After it had been destroyed, Eggman ordered missiles from the Egg Fleet to strike the two groups, but Nicole manipulated the nanites in the city's outer walls to create a barricade that saved them all before Eggman flew away on one of his robots.
Later, Nicole found a new set of problems on the inside: Tails's parents Amadeus and Rosemary Prower contending with Sally's brother Elias Acorn. The Prowers' quest for reform and Elias's determination not to let the monarchy be dissolved brought the Kingdom to the edge of civil war. After Amadeus was arrested for making a rally, Nicole caught Tails and his mother breaking into the prison where he was being kept and alerted Sonic to this, but he rushed off before she could tell him Tails was involved. Later, at Castle Acorn, Elias had his wife Meg sealed in a secure room with her daughter and ordered Nicole to keep them safe and not wake his parents as he planned to engage Amadeus in battle. However, Nicole did wake up Sally so she could stop the duel between Elias and Amadeus. She then looked on as Sally mediated a peaceful settlement between the two, bringing the Kingdom of Acorn a new form of government in the process while serving Amadeus and Elias's wives.
Nicole then worked with Sally to try and contact allies against the threat of Enerjak. Sending a probe to Angel Island, she watched with Sally, Knuckles's girlfriend Julie-Su, and Dimitri-the original Enerjak-as the Dingo Regime was toppled, the Dark Legion restored to their normal Echidna forms, and all the Echidnas were sent to the city of Albion. However, Enerjak objected to her spying and crushed her probe, and then demonstrated his sheer power by passing right through New Mobotropolis's defensive shield. She was then treated to a disturbing rhetoric of Knuckles's vision for the future, one that involved eradicating all technology on Mobius-even that which had given her life. Of all the Freedom Fighters, Nicole suffered the worst in the ensuing battle, as the conflicting energies of both Enerjak and the arriving Shadow wrought tremendous damage on the city and by extension her virtual body. While at the time she had trouble maintaining her form, she was eventually able to restore the city.
When Mina visited Freedom HQ with Sonic while it was still being repaired from Eggman's attack, Nicole butted in through a computer monitor, and Mina paid compliment to her new look before Nicole informed Mammoth Mogul wanted to talk with him. Later that night, Nicole attempted to stop Sonic and Ash Mongoose from apparent theft of the gray Chaos Emerald; because the lives of Tails, Mighty and Mina were in danger thanks to Mogul, who was them as leverage, by manipulating her nanites. Due to the need for speed, they weren't able to explain their actions immediately, and continued to Mogul's cell despite Nicole's efforts to stop them verbally. When the emerald was given to Mogul, he dismissed Nicole's hologram of herself with a click of his fingers and escaped with his fellow in-mates.
During Scourge's invasion from Moebius, Nicole was present to show concern for Rotor's injury during the height of the brawl between the Freedom Fighters and Suppression Squad, but the former group was forced to retreat for the time being. Later, Nicole informed Sally of the approach of Miles Prower to New Mobotropolis, which led to their alliance against Scourge and result in Sonic and Amy being trapped in the anti-verse. Nicole and Sir Charles then had the unpleasant task of informing Jules and Bernadette of the situation and their son's whereabouts. After Scourge and the Suppression Squad were dealt with, the final battle with Eggman began, and Nicole assisted Rotor in creating a visual link to New Mobotropolis to broadcast the results of the final battle with Eggman, which Sonic had managed to win. After news of this was received back home, Nicole told Sally that the citizens had started "dancing in the streets". She and the rest of the Freedom Fighters then returned to New Mobotropolis.
The Iron Dominion
Whatever joy Nicole herself might have felt at the victory faded with the arrival of the Iron Dominion. When Espio called her to explain what was happening in New Mobotropolis' coliseum, she was taken by surprise at the arrival of Lightning Lynx, yet confused that she could not detect the rest of the Destructix. Her confusion turned to bewilderment as she witnessed Espio read a letter from the Bride of Constant Vigil and then leave with Lightning, seemingly turning traitor. Feeling helpless, Nicole could only report what she witnessed to Sally and hope for the best. Her troubles continued when the city's perimeter was breached by the Iron Queen, whose Magitek powers sent Bunnie Rabbot D'Coolette on a rampage that even Nicole's best efforts couldn't stop. She then assisted Sonic in freeing Monkey Khan from the Iron Queen's control by rerouting power to the Lake of Rings to expedite the creation of a Power Ring which Sonic used to break the Iron Queen's control over the cyborg primate. Nicole was later seen informing Sonic and later Tails of "something large" she detected in the Great Forest while scanning for threats to the city, which would turn out to be a delirious Dr. Eggman in his Egg-Tortoise. After a battle between the Freedom Fighters and Iron Dominion forces, Nicole raised her shield over New Mobotropolis to protect her friends and the citizens from further attack. Nicole noticed a strange distortion in her system, however, but ensured a concerned Sally that she was alright. She later rebuilt the power generator for New Mobotropolis underground after an attack by the Iron King.
With another attempted takeover averted, Nicole returned to her usual duties and asked Tails if he wanted her to build a new plane out of nanites, but Tails declined the offer, wanting to build the plane himself, so Nicole recycled the nanites used for the old plane he was using. Then the Iron Dominion made another assault, this time much more obvious and reckless. Nicole raised the alarm and informed Sonic, Tails, Sally and Monkey Khan what was going on while raising New Mobotropolis's protective shields. Once they were up and the Iron Dominion were close enough to the city, Nicole used her holographic form to issue a warning to the Iron Queen herself, but the queen used her powers of Magitek to take complete control of Nicole almost instantly. Reprogrammed under the name Iron Nicole, she allowed the Iron Dominion access to New Mobotropolis at the Iron Queen's directive. Simultaneously, Iron Nicole placed the city under lockdown by closing it in a metal dome and eventually began rounding up its citizens using the very nanites that made up every part of the environment in order to minimize escapes when resistance started cropping up. The only escapees were Sonic, Tails, Sally and Monkey Khan, who managed to subdue her best efforts using their powers.
Now hiding out at Freedom HQ, Sonic and Sally had themselves transported into the digital world via a Digitizer. There they attempted to break The Iron Queen's hold on Nicole by manipulating the new physics and abilities granted to them in the new world. After some practice, Sally made a firewall around her and Nicole while Sonic kept the Iron Queen occupied. With the control link between Regina and Nicole cut, the lynx reverted to her usual self (and reinforcing her coding to resist the Queen's power). Nicole was weakened and feared that while she was free to take back control of the city, the Iron Dominion still had plenty of reinforcements overseas and could return with greater forces and knowledge. Nicole and Sally then decided that Nicole would continue to "act under her Iron persona" while Sally and the others traveled to the Dragon Kingdom to break down Regina's forces. Reconfiguring her appearance, Nicole and Sally bid each other farewell before the former made a show of "purging" the latter from the mainframe, informing the Iron Queen that the city remained fully in her control. After this, Nicole hid the secret location of the Freedom Fighters not taken prisoner within New Mobotropolis, and even came to visit them on occasion to help out, proving quite the resource of information and all things in general. After Geoffrey St. John had joined the team of rebels and accompanied them in their secret hide-away, he briefly threatened Nicole before being brought up to speed, Nicole informed everyone there that a "legionizing" was going to take place today in the city's coliseum, prompting them to go into action while Nicole went back to spying.
Her waiting game ended when Sally's team returned from the Dragon Kingdom, and she attempted to take the Iron Queen prisoner while revealing that Sally had freed her and she had built in stronger defenses against Magitek. When the Queen protested her rebellion, calling her a mere computer program, Nicole countered by saying that she had evolved beyond her original state with the help of her friends. The Iron Queen responded by directly controlling the nanites in order to create a scorpion-like robot vehicle, which Nicole reacted to with a promise that she would not allow her nanites to be misused by the Iron Queen again. She continued to fight with her, calling up walls of nanites to protect herself from the Iron Queen's attacks, but eventually became disrupted by Ferrum after she used her power to exact revenge on Lien-Da for betraying her. Nicole and the others then cornered the Iron Queen, now all her allies had left her. But Ferrum wasn't going to go down easy and called upon the city's nanites to form a mechanical dragon. At Sally's inquiry, Nicole said she couldn't stop her even while using all her resources, but was trying to stop the Iron Queen from using any more of the city's nanites. Everyone manned together to take on the dragon and successfully defeated it. Nicole then reported to Sally that all seemed stable within New Mobotropolis again and that all of the Yagyu Clan had vacated the city while the Iron Queen was being arrested.
During all the commotion, Snively escaped custody and released Eggman from his prison. For a week Sonic kept searching high and low for them, eventually taking Nicole with him in her computer form to the Eggdome to run scans of everything she could in the building, but initially came up with nothing. However, Nicole eventually managed to detect a faint signal emanating from a locked storeroom, which she helped Tails to unlock. The source of the signal proved to be deposed Dark Legion Grandmaster Dimitri, whom the trio took back to New Mobotropolis for treatment. After welcoming Sally back from the Dragon Kingdom and agreeing with her assessment that Monkey Khan was well-suited to watch over the territory, Nicole left Sally alone with Sonic in order to help Tails with Dimitri.
Unfortunately, despite the Dominion's defeat, the Iron Queen had left her mark in New Mobotropolis. Nicole began noticing some of the citizens feeling uneasy from the fact that a single entity was running the city. It would be clear that the damage was done in a "psychological" state, and with new emotions obtained since she was rescued, she knew.
When the Arctic Freedom Fighters contacted New Mobtropolis for backup in freeing the Walrus Herd from a Dark Egg Legion chapter, Nicole served as a projector for Guntiver's message. After doing so, she was surprised—and somewhat hurt—by the reaction of Council of Acorn member Dylan, who seemed extremely uncomfortable in her presence. She later met Rotor at his house at his request, and agreed to construct a suit of armor he had designed with her nanites. Beforehand, she shares her fear that the people of New Mobtropolis have become afraid of her as the result of her actions under the Dominion, and her own discomfort with manipulating the nanites. Despite this, she completed Rotor's design, and bid him farewell as he took off for the Northern Tundra.
At some point, Nicole had discovered an unusual energy signal within the Great Forest but had been unable to pinpoint its location or discover its source. She contacted Freedom HQ, and Amy Rose, who was showing Cream the Rabbit and her mother Vanilla around at the time, offered to investigate. Amy took Nicole's handheld form along and she and Cream set off on what they thought would be a quick, simple mission. They encountered Blaze the Cat, who was searching for a missing Sol Emerald, as well as Rouge the Bat, who had also picked up on the strange energy signal. Eventually the group found the source—Blaze's Sol Emerald, down a deep ravine. The Emerald was partially encased in an open capsule, which had been what was masking the energy signal and causing it to be difficult to track. However, what started off as a simple search erupted into a four-way, twelve-person scramble for the Sol Emerald, and in the confusion, Nicole had been dropped and left in the ravine. Amy only realized her mistake once Blaze had safely left with the Sol Emerald and she and Cream had returned to Freedom HQ; Nicole was left somewhat exasperated.
When Sonic and Geoffrey St. John entered Freedom HQ's lab on a particularly stormy morning, Nicole activated the Star Posts at Sonic's request to allow them to enter the Special Zone. Unaware of what had occurred while they were inside, Nicole somehow was unable to discern that Geoffrey had exited by himself though she believed it was him and called out, but received no reply. She decided to keep the portal open in case someone was still inside which was fortuitous for Sonic when he finally escaped sometime later. When he asked about Geoffrey, she could only tell him she detected someone had left the zone with a Chaos Emerald but was not sure who. With that, Sonic thanked and asked her to summon the council to Castle Acorn as he had bad news for them. Nicole met up with Sonic and Sally 3 weeks later just prior to a new Forget Me Knots concert; Sally was pleased that she had decided to properly "attend" with them. Sonic noted that Nicole had given herself a new look, and Nicole admitted she had altered her appearance slightly because she was no longer sure she'd be welcome in public. Sonic found this ridiculous, but Nicole remained uneasy, saying that since the Iron Dominion's occupation, she'd been hearing certain kinds of talk among the citizens. Sally attempted to reassure her; she said that the people were rightfully a bit jumpy given recent events, but that they would calm down eventually. Sonic agreed, saying that they were going to the concert to enjoy themselves and get away from their concerns for the evening.
This was not to be, however, as they and all of New Mobotropolis listened to Mina's new song. While Sonic and the other citizens were pumped over the new music, Nicole was distraught when she realized that the lyrics referenced her forced betrayal. Before Sally had a chance to comfort her, the saddened lynx ran off in tears.
Later that night, Dimitri and Espio had a conversation with her. Espio reminded Nicole that he knew what it is like to lose people's trust, even against their will. Dimitri told her that her emotions had helped the lynx transcend that of a mere program, and she would need to gain the courage to face the public, to stand up to them with reason.
Naugus and Exile
Ixis Naugus and Geoffrey returned to New Mobotropolis once more, with the wizard vowing to claim the crown and rid the city's people of the "menace" that was Nicole. Nicole used her nanites to stop the wizard in his tracks, only to be repelled by his magic. While Sonic fought Naugus, the holographic lynx turned her attention to help Sally and the rest of the Freedom Fighters stop Geoffrey, who was revealed to be an Ixis apprentice. As she captured him in a sphere, they saw him turn to smoke before escaping his instant imprisonment. Nicole then noticed she was unable to recover the nanites that were covered in crystal during Naugus' counterattack. She was left grief-stricken by this discovery before being suggested to disappear for a while by Sally, as some of New Mobotropolis' public began to wonder if Naugus and Geoffrey would indeed "save" them.
The arrival of the Death Egg Mark 2 at that point did not help the situation, but Nicole used it as a distraction from her own problems for the time being. Once aboard the airship as a handheld with Sonic and Sally, Nicole's scans still could not detect anything, so they investigated the lower decks, narrowly avoiding lethal security measures. Below, they found Eggman had a massive Roboticizer he meant to use on the entire planet. Nicole patched into the weapon's system, but she was unable to stop the firing process in time. Believing she could invert the beam to their exact location, Nicole had reservations telling Sally as she would likely be roboticized, but she yielded to Sally's decision and backed up all her files to the city, leaving Sally to do what she needed. Thus Sally saved Mobius at the cost of becoming Mecha Sally, while Nicole grieved and her handheld form was broken beyond repair.
In the wake of Sally's loss and the threat of Naugus, Nicole fell into a state of depression, which in turn affected her ability to act. Even her physical form showed signs of distress through infrequent appearances and distortion of her figure. With her recent failures to protect New Mobotropolis from the Death Egg Mark 2 and Battle Bird Armada, as well as high public demand, the Council of Acorn voted six to one in favor of Nicole's exile from the city, ordering her confined to the Science Labs of Freedom HQ. In protest of this decision, Rotor resigned from the Council, arguing Nicole was the only reason they had the city at all. While Nicole insisted he did not need to do so, she showed great appreciation for his support, also taking comfort in Espio's continued friendship. Rotor modified the lab at Freedom HQ so as to allow her to project her physical form there and give her more "freedom," but she remained largely confined to cyberspace despite this.
After Nicole's exile, Mina Mongoose came to Freedom HQ hoping to speak with the AI. At first, Nicole was largely unresponsive, speaking only through a screen. She claimed that Mina had gotten exactly what she wanted through the exile, and that she was now where she could hurt no one... and no one could hurt her. Upset, Mina insisted that she had not intended for things to turn out this way at all, and that she felt guilty for Nicole being confined. However, in addition to feeling like a target of hate, Nicole also felt that, with the Knothole Freedom Fighters having fallen apart, she had failed her friends, and thus refused to return to the city. Mina told her not to give up, and again insisted that she had only hoped to inspire people, not to turn them into a hateful mob. She begged Nicole to speak with her directly, and Nicole finally appeared before her. Now able to speak face to face, Mina inspired Nicole to stand up for herself, reminding her of her earlier discussions with Espio and Dimitri on the matter. Mina also asked for, and earned, Nicole's forgiveness. Nicole finally realized that none of the Freedom Fighters would hide from their problems like this, and announced that she had to move forward. The girls were shocked when Harvey Who suddenly entered the room, saying he was glad to hear of Nicole's newfound resolve, for he had a job for her.
Nicole would later complete the new headquarters for the Secret Freedom Fighters to the praise of Harvey Who. She would also give him word from Lupe about her agents agreeing to their request. Shortly thereafter, Isabella Mongoose joined the Council of Acorn, and her first motion would be to overturn Nicole's exile. Naugus refused and stated that he protected the city, when Isabella argued that Nicole could have given them warning. They discussed overturning her exile, which was backed up by Tails Doll's secret attack on Mina and the Forget me Knots during their benefit concert for her. Mina managed to win the public's support for Nicole to return and the Council of Acorn, under an unanimous vote, welcomed her back under 'monitored conditions' and apologized. She was happy to accept but wondered if the vote was truly unanimous when Geoffrey (possessed by Naugus) reassumed her and told her that Naugus sent his full support for her return. He also asked her if she could help him to help Naugus.
Much to her surprise, Nicole was called upon by Knuckles to assist him in checking the repaired systems of Haven II. Questioning Knuckles' decision to do so given his usual anti-technology views, she was informed that he needed Haven's systems to help him monitor the island with several members of the Chaotix gone in search of Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. Knuckles also apologized for his actions and words against her as Enerjak, and Nicole thanked him for his trust before receiving a distress signal from Albion. After learning of troubling events in Albion and failing to contact Julie-Su and Saffron Bee on Angel Island himself, Knuckles contacted Nicole through T-Pup to see if she had been able to reach them. Nicole replied that she hadn't, and suggested that perhaps Julie-Su had intercepted the Albion signal and beaten Knuckles there, only for Knuckles to point out that he and Vector the Crocodile were the only members of the Chaotix with Warp Rings. Thanks to the efforts of Shard the Metal Sonic of the Secret Freedom Fighters, Nicole was given the ability to track the Tornado in its pursuit flight of the Death Egg.
Shard subsequently paid a visit to Nicole in her computer network, something that he had been doing for some time. The pair faced off in a game of virtual chess, in which Shard deployed his laser cannon, which Nicole pointed out wasn't supposed to be part of the game. She proceeded to defeat him, and agreed to play another round, but then expressed her curiosity as to why Shard would spend so much time with her when he could be spending time with others in the real world. The robot Hedgehog admitted that on top of the difficulties of being a secret agent and a fighting robot, he felt unprepared for such interaction. Nicole pointed out that his teammates respected him, only to him to point out that they were six Mobians out of the entire city. As Shard expressed his feelings that they would be unable to trust him, Nicole brought up her own difficulties in the aftermath of being Iron Nicole, encouraging him with how the citizens of New Mobotropolis had come to accept her again. When Shard responded that she had friends to speak for her, Nicole responded that Sonic would probably say that he had defied his programming to become "something-someone-better." The positive moment ended quickly, as Nicole's sensors alerted her to the presence of a new Metal Sonic v3.0 in the city who was attacking the hospital. Shard took off to deal with the threat, and later radioed Nicole to inform her that the battle had ended with Metal Sonic's destruction and himself taking severe damage. Nicole immediately dispatched help as Shard told her that Metal Sonic had become more than a mere weapon, and was about to tell her something more personal when his signal went dead.
Some time later, Nicole took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the restored Castle Acorn, which she hoped would help restore the citizens' trust in her. During the ceremony, she expressed to Rotor her curiosity as to Geoffrey's whereabouts, and then admonished the Walrus for his disrespect towards Naugus given the latter's terminal condition. She also revealed that she had been working on a device that Naugus had commissioned, but was afraid that it would not be complete in time to help the ailing wizard. Before they could dwell on the subject further, the castle began to crack and crumble behind them. Reaching out to stabilize it, Nicole sensed some force destabilizing the nanites, wreaking havoc with the tiny machines. The connection between this and other incidents in the city was soon discovered to be Tails Doll, a robot that Dr. Eggman had sent to infiltrate the city. Nicole and Team Freedom met the robot as it infiltrated the city power station, the AI expressing her displeasure for the robot's actions. To the shock of the entire team, Tails Doll then used its nanite disruptor to commandeer a number of nanites, transforming itself into a monstrous new form. However, the battle was cut short when she along with Team Freedom were caught up in a second Genesis Wave.
- Note: From this point, Nicole's history continues from her new life in the altered timeline.
Nicole's personality was originally logical and to-the-point, and she seemed lacking in autonomy. As time went on, Nicole became more lifelike, most notably developing a sense of humor. This is shown in her tendency to give Sonic little jolts of electricity when he tries to use her, and in her mocking smugness at Rotor's failure to breach the firewall set in place by his own future self. For all of that, she remains a loyal member of the Freedom Fighters, having helped save Sally and the others from fates such as Roboticization.
Following the accident in which she switched bodies with Sally, Nicole underwent a major change in outlook. Having experienced the wonders of having an actual body, she began to desire one for herself. Sadly, her dreams did not seem likely to be realized in the near future, given that she doesn't have the power to maintain the body she created for herself. Nicole remained hopeful, especially given that one of the things she experienced while in Sally's body was the love that her owner feels for Sonic despite their breakup. For at least a brief period after this incident, Nicole even considered Sonic a "very appealing Hedgehog".
In addition, Nicole has become somewhat philosophical, having developed the opinion that Eggman creates robots to replace the family that he lacks. Ultimately, she was able to sustain a full-time holographic being after Sonic and the rest of the Kingdom of Acorn were relocated to New Mobotropolis. As a result, she has become more confident in herself, even challenging Eggman to his face after he was defeated in his first attack on the new city. In addition to developing a personality, Nicole has also become friendly to other members of the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix. This was shown during Espio the Chameleon's infiltration of the fallen Golden Hive Colony on behalf of his friend Charmy Bee. Nicole, his only "companion", assisted him in downloading information from Dr. Eggman's computer database.
Under the control of the Iron Queen, Nicole became a loyal and obedient servant of the Iron Dominion, ruthlessly employing her control over New Mobotropolis to attempt to subdue the citizens. She experienced only the slightest confusion and doubt when Sally attempted to get through to her, but when Sally finally freed her of the Queen's control, Nicole mused that she felt "mortified" and "furious," though admitted it was somewhat difficult to classify such emotions as she is still unfamiliar with them. Although she no longer had to worry about being controlled after the Dominion's defeat, she began to show signs of guilt and concern for the citizens she was forced to turn against.
Thanks to Mina Mongoose's concert, compounded by Naugus using magic to increase fear and distrust, public opinion began to turn against Nicole, causing her to feel hated and unwanted. Naugus continued to push a campaign of fear against Nicole, and things only worsened when Sally was roboticized and the Freedom Fighters disbanded. Unable to cope, Nicole fell into a state of depression, which affected her physical form. She became less and less likely to interact with others in person, speaking largely through screens. However, she was eventually convinced to stop hiding and confront her problems with bravery, and admitted that part of developing emotions involved coping with the negative ones as well.
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 Mobian.
In her holographic form, Nicole has a range of other abilities. Like any real Mobian, she has fully functional limbs and the use of several senses; the latter may not include taste, since Nicole's holographic self doesn't actually eat. However, she also retains many of her computer abilities, and it is quite possible that her Mobian form has attributes of speed or strength superior to those of a biological being. After taking control of Nanite City and reshaping it into New Mobotropolis, she becomes the control program for the computerized city, making her able to manipulate it to incredible degrees and virtually omnipotent within the limited area. However, it is known that her abilities have little to no effect against Chaos energy or magic, which are capable of rendering her nanites useless or simply overpowering them.
Her new abilities in this point, aside from being able to project her holographic body continuously, include control of all the energy shields and the power to teleport individuals from one area of the city to another, such as she did in re-imprisoning Mammoth Mogul, Ixis Naugus, Nack the Weasel, Bean the Dynamite, and Bark the Polar Bear. She also has the ability to almost immediately repair any damage sustained to the city and create new structures on a whim (i.e., causing a wall to form between Amadeus Prower and Elias Acorn to halt their duel), as well as direct control over devices created in the city such as spy probes, but these come at a cost as the destruction of such devices causes her pain. Nicole's connection to the nanites is such that she can manipulate them far more easily than anyone else, and can also operate them more efficiently.
For all of her abilities, Nicole refuses to put the New Mobotropolis nanites to use as a weapon. In digital worlds, her abilities are expanded remarkably to the point she is capable of virtually anything she wishes, making her a fierce opponent to even skilled and experienced fighters like Sonic. Her abilities can be adversely affected, however, under emotional duress.
Sonic the Hedgehog
While still just starting to develop newly more life-like sentience, Nicole lacked refining the emotions that true Mobians have, making her unable to display any romantic feelings towards anyone. The one exception was during and shortly after her brief time in Sally's body, in which she briefly shared Sally's deep-if at the time unexpressed-feelings for Sonic. She was almost overcome by the emotions while still in Sally's body, and once back in her own body remarked to Sonic that he was "a very appealing Hedgehog".
Shard the Metal Sonic
Nicole and Shard began spending time together after he became a Secret Freedom Fighter, and the two seem to have developed a friendship. While Nicole expressed no romantic feelings early on, she did her best to support and encourage Shard, acting almost as a mentor of sorts to her fellow artificial intelligence. She did enjoy his company, and Shard seems to have developed feelings for her, and she was obviously concerned for his safety following his battle with Metal Sonic v3.7. Whether she reciprocated his apparent attraction to her will probably never be known due to the second Genesis Wave.
- Nicole's present 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.
- Had canceled story ideas for plots after issue Sonic the Hedgehog #134 come to pass, Nicole would have entered into a romantic relationship with A.D.A.M., though A.D.A.M.'s apparent destruction-and the fact that they were on opposing sides-makes such a development in the future unlikely.
- In both the comics and the cartoon, Nicole's size occasionally varies dramatically from one appearance to the next, being the size of a book and then appearing to be the size of present-day cellular phones, though it appears to be an artistic goof, as none of the characters have ever commented about this or given a canonical explanation for it.
- 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.""
- On his first episode of podcast the BumbleKast, Ian Flynn stated, "I would dare say that if you go through the book since the reboot, you could probably make a case for [Sally and Nicole being in a romantic relationship]."
Alternate name and origin
Sonic Archives Volume 5 features a lost never before seen story which featured a different origin for Nicole. In the story, Robotnik had restored the Universalamander robot to once again attack the Freedom Fighters. While Rotor and Sally were trying to figure out a way to stop it, Sally pulls out a box shaped device called the "Nicole 7000", saying that she "ordered" it and "it just came yesterday". This unpublished story was in the early comedic style that the comic series had, similar to the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, before taking on a more serious tone similar to the Saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog TV series. Thus, this introduction for Nicole should be considered little more than a simple joke with little regard for serious continuity and non-canon to the main comic.