Beneath the cloudy, darkened night sky lay an energetic city called Casinopolis. Gleaming neon lights advertised bars and
strip clubs, cars and motorcycles hummed throughout the area, and the typical smattering of crimes occurred. One thief in
particular, a bat named Rouge, flew thirty feet above the ground, clutching her newfound gem.
"Get the hell down here!"
Yelled a burly canine, chasing below her.
"Do you think I'm that stupid?" Rouge shot back.
"You sure look like it!"
In an instant, she flew down to the man, kicked him in the face, and then returned to the air. She hopped from building to
building before entering the calmer part of the city. Rouge landed behind a darkened bar, sat down on a cardboard box and
studied the gem. It was about as big as her fist and a magnificent light blue. It had been worth the close fight.
from up the alley, she could hear the purr of some vehicle. Quickly, Rouge ducked behind a couple of garbage cans and clutched
the gem tighter.
The vehicle stopped along the row of garbage cans. Somebody seemed to step out and walk around the alley,
humming. The footsteps stopped. After several dreadfully long seconds of silence, the surrounding garbage cans were kicked
"Hey, hey, calm down, lady, I'm not with them!" a male voice said.
Rouge looked up. A male weasel
with dark purple fur looked back at her. He wore a slightly tattered fedora-like hat, a belt adorned by various small weaponry,
thick boots and gloves with metal plating over the knuckles. He stood by the vehicle, a monstrous blend of a hover car and
a convertible. He looked at her confusedly. And that's when she noticed his oblong fang.
"WHAT?!" He flipped
a gun out and glared at her. He calmed down after he saw her cower again. "Now, I was just going to say, good work with your
theft. Left a nice boot print on that guy."
Rouge stared. "Really?"
"I could benefit from having someone like you."
He put away the gun. "What's your name?"
"AH, careful. Reveal THAT to the wrong person, and you've got
the entire county after you."
"Well gee, thanks. Who are you?"
She stared. "I'm serious."
weasel smirked. "I'm Nack the Weasel, wanted thief throughout Mobius. From what I can tell, you're new to the crime biz."
quite." Rouge tilted her head. "Why on Mobius would you want to know?"
"Hey, I'm just saying, if you need training..."
Rouge stood up. "Well, why not?"
"You're up for it?" Nack looked at her curiously.
"For now, anyway." Rouge gave him
a look. "But remember...no harassment, no stealing from me and no gang rap--"
Nack hacked. "You think I'm going to put
a girl through THAT?" He got back into the vehicle and opened the passenger door. "Hop in, lady." She did so.
move and you're toast, weasel."
"Yeah, I get it."
The strange vehicle revved and sped into the night, heading towards
a small shack far up the road.
"While we're talkin', how old are you?" He said, studying her revealing costume.
seventeen in a month."
There was silence.
"...You're how young?"
Expecting the worst, Rouge followed Nack into the house. Once both were inside, Nack kicked the door shut, took off his
hat and hung it on a nearby coat rack. He called down the basement stairs, "HEY! NIC! I'M HOME!"
"OH, LOVELY!" A female
voice yelled back. "DIDJA BRING ANOTHER WHORE WITH YOU?"
"UP YOURS TOO, SIS!"
A female weasel, obviously named Nic,
ascended the stairs. He looked nearly identical to Nack, the exceptions being her messy long hair that had been hastily tied
into a braid, a leather jacket and a beige tank top covering her full chest. She glared at Rouge.
"Well, who's this, then?"
I plan to teach." Nack was nonchalantly fiddling with something on his belt.
"Not THIS again," Nic snarled. "Remember that
Bean and Bark duo?"
"Yes, I do! Did you hear about their heist in Brighton?"
Nic groaned and looked back at Rouge. "What's
Rouge paused. "Satan."
"Oh, great! And she learned your little 'joke', Nack!"
"At least she ain't giving
out her REAL name at random."
"I guess." Nic turned back to Rouge before heading down the stairs. "Just don't screw this
Rouge watched her disappear down the stairs. "What's her problem?"
"Me, mostly. Since Dad went hell-knows-where,
Nic and I have had to share a house. I keep trying to recruit new thieves, but she goes..." He nodded towards the hallway.
"Changing the topic, I'll show you your room now."
And he did. Rouge stared around her room. It looked like someone had
converted an old back room into a bedroom, with age-old posters and a large yet dusty bed. The outlook of the room's window
reminded her of her of her own room.
"It wouldn't be a problem if I brought some of my own stuff here? To say, a change
of clothes or things I've stolen?"
"Why not. Just, uh, not too much stuff. I can't get it too cramped in here."
I'm gonna sleep, so...good night."
"Abrupt, aren't we?"
He had already left. Rouge got a feeling that training would
The next morning, she was jolted awake by the sound of something heavy thrown against a wall, along with Nack yelling
that he was going to "reach right over there and rip your eyes out of their sockets, do you hear me?!" She sat up and
listened, her ears perking up, unsure if it was a police bust or the like.
"Aw, dammit! Can't you go two minutes without
trying to hit me?!"
"Maybe if I didn't randomly find you in my house!"
"Don't looks at me, Nack. HE dragged me along."
still showed up!" There was another smash and the yowl of a cat.
Rouge ran into the main room. "What's
Nack and Nic stood in angrily by a small, bright green duck who sat calmly at the table. His companion, a female
cat, stood on the back of the couch with the ruins of a lamp next to her. What also appeared to be a toaster lay behind the
beagle. The four turned to the young bat in the dark pink nightie.
"Oh, hi Rouge. WE," he said, waving back at the guests,
"were just trying to kick out a few of my lackeys, Bean and Myran, who got the STUPID idea that they could break in!"
not quite your lackeys, boss," Myran added.
"And besides, if you don't want your assistants dropping in, maybe you should
lock your door once in a while!"
"You STOLE our lock!"
"IT WAS SHINY!"
Myran looked over at Rouge. "Boss, you've
started up another thief?"
Nack paused and let go of Bean's scarf, letting the duck fall. "Oh, right, I forgot about Rouge's
"Well, you do that while I get some breakfast!" Bean headed towards the kitchen, and was cut off immediately
by Nic, whom gripped a .32.
"You do that," she grinned, running her fingers along the gun.
Less than a second later,
Bean discovered just how fast he could run.
"All right, even though you're my first female client, I'd like to start on the detailed art of using...a gun." Nack
produced a pearl-handled rifle from behind his back. He put it in Rouge's hands and let her study it. "Now, the trick to having
a gun is that you need the proper accessories. Here, let me get the silver bullets..." He turned to a cabinet behind him and
fumbled with the lock.
A shot rang out. Nack yelped and whirled around, his fists in the air. Rouge stood before him, bewildered,
pointing the gun.
"I, I didn't think the trigger was that loose!" She froze. "Are you hit?!"
Nack paused, then removed
his hat and looked at it. A hole went through one end of the hat and through the other. Both Nack and Rouge noticed the newly
made bullet orifice in the wall.
"Well, at least you just need to work on your aim." He put his hat back on and snatched
the gun away. "However, guns clearly aren't your thing."
"Well, don't you know any fighting?"
Nack leaned against the
wall. "I know punching, kicking, bouncing off my tail, and...That's it. You've got your aerial attacks straight."
still try guns, right?"
"You almost killed me, remember?"
"Then what the hell are you planning to train me?"
Nack swung his fist towards Rouge's cheek. She squealed in fright, yet Nack's fist stopped millimetres from her fur. After
a pause, he pulled back his hand.
"Oh, I don't know, disguising, hiding, REFLEXES?" He smirked, revealing his fang once
"Why thank you."
Here," he said, picking up a pair of soft plastic punching bags. "Meet me outside
and we'll try something with kicking."
"Remember, kick the bags to keep them away from you. If you don't hit one, it hits you."
"Ow! I'm trying, but-- HEY!
Stop pushing the bags so hard!"
"Look, this is standard p-- SHIT! THAT WAS MY FACE!"
Rouge landed. "Well, I think I'm
getting faster, but my aim seems off." She watched uneasily as Nack kneeled to the grass, hissing, one gloved hand over the
left side of his face. "Way off. Are you okay?"
Nack stopped hissing and looked up. "Will be, later." He got up, picked
up the punching bags and threw them through the window. "You know, I feel like staging a robbery. If you get into that boob
costume, I'll let you come along."
"Oh, finally! I-- hey, don't call it the "boob costume"!"
"I call things as I see
Rouge groaned in defeat, then ran off to change.
A blue hedgehog walked down the back roads of Casinopolis with his companions, a female chipmunk in a blue vest and combat
boots, and a small two-tailed fox who flew along by spinning his tails like propellers. All three were hurriedly trying to
leave the city.
"Oh, Sonic," the chipmunk said while typing away on a pocket computer. "I don't think we're even close
to the Chaos Emerald. You said it was on the outskirts, right?"
"I did, Sal. Hey, doesn't Nicole have a detector or somethin'?"
guys, I think we're lost..." the fox said, his big eyes full of question. He flew over to a tree stump and sat down. "While
you two look around, I'm gonna sit next to these rocks."
"Rocks?" Sally looked up.
"Yeah, and this one's really shiny?"
Tails pulled the rock in question from the ground, discovering it was a Chaos Emerald. "Look! Look! I found it!"
ran over to him and held up the Emerald, letting its facets shine in the light of distant neon signs. "That's awesome, little
"FOR US, TOO!" A voice called out from behind them. The three turned to see Nack the Weasel floating nearby in a
sickly yellow hovercraft. He pulled a gun. "All right, kids, hand it over!"
Sonic put his fists on his hips and tapped
his foot impatiently. "Yeah right, Weasel! Like we're going to let you have one of these!" He mockingly tossed the Emerald
from hand to "Oh, is that true?" hand. Suddenly, Rouge flew from the craft, snatched the Emerald from Sonic's hand. She flew
higher into the air, but was stopped by Tails, who had gotten a tight grip on the Emerald.
"I dunno who you are, lady,
but this is ours!"
"I see that," she cooed, running a finger along Tails' face. "But you'll be nice and give me the Emerald,
"Uh...I..." Tails stuttered nervously before letting go of the Emerald.
"GOT IT!" She yelled triumphantly, and
then retreated to Nack's car.
"WHY did you do that?!"
"Shut up and drive, Nack!" And they were off.
after the departing craft. "Well...let's just try to bet back to Knothole."
"Mmm, all right," Tails mumbled airily.
"What the HELL were you thinking?! You COMPLETELY stole the show!" Nack bellowed at his passenger.
"I thought that
was a good thing! Just be happy you got a damn Chaos Emerald."
"That's not the poi--"
Rouge made a face. "I bet you're
just angry that a girl is as good a thief as you."
Nack begun to say something, then stopped at turned back to the wheel.
what's left to teach me, anyway? Can't I just join your gang NOW?"
"Because you're still a kid."
"I'm only two years
younger than you!"
A sickening thud broke through the air and the two were knocked into the back seat.
Nack clambered to get up and see what had happened. While having been distracted during his fight with Rouge, Nack had let
go of the steering wheel and allowed the car to drive into the side of the house.
"Son-of-a..." He got back to the wheel,
angrily drove the car to the garage and stomped into the house. Rouge followed, uneasily.
"Here, take i--" before she finished,
Nack snatched the Emerald from her hand and kept walking. Rouge slumped against the garage wall and sighed. From what she'd
learned about her mentor, he obviously had a continental ego. Having a female, one younger at that, upstage him during a heist
must have annoyed him big time. But she never meant any harm.
Her train of thought was derailed when Nic came into the
garage. "Aw, shut up," Nic yelled into the house. "I'm just wonderin' why you're so pissy this evening!" She kicked the door
shut, then noticed Rouge. "Oh, I see. What did YOU do?"
"Nothing," Rouge mumbled. "Nothing on purpose, though. He took
me to a robbery, but I got out of the car and--"
"Ah, makes perfect sense." Nic waved towards the door. "That bastard's
got such a problem with girls being better than him..."
"You mean...he's anti-femi--"
"NO, 'course not. He's just insecure
or somethin'. That's why he's got such a problem with me." Nic laughed. "At least he likes you, kid. Just don't annoy him
further." Nic, strangely consoling, patted the younger female on the shoulder, and then walked through the garage to the back
of the house. Rouge sensed what was about to happen, and hurriedly got into the house.
"HEY!" Nic yelled outside. "WHERE
THE HELL DID THIS DENT COME FROM?!"
Long after yet another argument, Rouge hid behind her bed and stared out the window. Nic had been pretty upset about
the car print in the wall and how Nack hadn't cared, he said that the house was "already a rathole, so who gives?" To make
matters worse, Bean and Bark broke in at the climax of the fight, causing the weasels to chase them out and ultimately end
the fight. Rouge still felt responsible for the entire day. Perhaps if she made her bed, gathered her things and got flying
right away, she could...
Suddenly, a head looked in through the top of the bay window. Rouge scrambled back, but stopped
upon realizing it was Nack.
"Hey, want to come up here?"
"Why are you on the roof?!"
He let one arm dangle. "I always
do this when Nic is after me. Do you want up or not?" Rouge flew out the window and joined Nack on the roof. She looked around.
The roof provided an amazing view of the surrounding forest and sky, along with distant neon signs from Casinopolis. "Wow!
You do this all the time?"
Nack grinned. "Yeah. Even with Nic after my ass, it's always so calm out here..." He faded off
and focused his attention on a neon sign of a cat in garters, kicking.
"Hey, Nack, I was thinking about quitting training."
abruptly turned to her. "WHAT?"
"Think about it," she said, curling up and resting her chin on her knees. "First, I almost
shot you. Then, I kick you in the head and upstage you. THEN, I got the wall dented and YOU in trouble! I...I shouldn't--"
calm down. You're new to this stuff, just never kick me in the head again." His expression softened. "Don't try quitting now."
right. I'll try even harder from now on."
"And I'll try to put up with ya."
Rouge looked up, annoyed. "...Right."