© Beloved Doll
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The aged professor Gerald Robotnik, the grandfather or Ivo Robotnik (who is more commonly known as Eggman) is aboard his Space Colony Ark. He has been toiling away at his work, unknown to what his grandson is doing on Earth. Despite Ivo working to conquer the world, Gerald is working to create things that would be beneficial to the inhabitants of Earth. The busy professor is so into his work that he has lost contact with those who aren`t on the Ark. His human companionship has been limited to his workers and usually on a business level. But he has become even more lonely when his wife of numerous years passes away. Those were the hardest months for the professor to deal with up to now.
Since his wife`s passing, Gerald had become more recluse than before and quite depressed. His depressive mood lasts for many months and the others on the Ark decide it`s time that something snaps Gerald out of this. He needs a perk to make him feel better so he can get his life back on track and be happy again. They work together and pull a few strings to get him something very special for a gift on Christmas.
On Christmas day, everyone on the Ark exchanges gifts in a similar manner that the workers at an office would; giving gifts to the person as they cross paths with them during their work. But the person granted the duty of giving Gerald his special gift is one of the female doctors. In fact, she contributed the most amount of funds to get this gift, thus why she was the one chosen to give him the gift.
She carries the box with both hands as she enters Gerald`s office. Gerald is sitting at his desk when she enters but he seems to hardly notice her entering. It is only when she sets the box down on his desk that he acknowledges her presence. Sadness is still worn on his face as he looks down at the box, looking away from his computer monitor and pausing from his typing. He looks up to the doctor. She smiles back to him,"Merry Christmas, Professor Robotnik! Go ahead and open it. Everyone on the Ark pulled our funds together to get it for you."
Gerald turns back to his monitor,"I`ll...open it later."
The doctor puts her hands behind her back and leans forward,"You should go ahead and open it now."
Gerald shifts his eyes to her, looking to her silently for a moment. He exhales softly and turns away from his computer,"Well, since you insist..."
First, Gerald looks at the box. It certainly is sizable. It must have been quite something for the woman to carry. The box feels solid and is covered in green paper with a red box on top of the lid. Since everyone on the Ark pulled their funds together, that meant this gift has come from Earth. To get something from Earth to the Ark, the shipping costs would be phenomenal. Since so much effort was put into it, he may as well appreciate what his colleagues have done for him. The old man reaches a hand forward and lifts off the lid of the present box.
What comes poking out of the box is a young GE hedgehoglet. It`s a female who looks to be about the age where she could be safely taken from her mother, so she must be about 5 or 6 years. Her fur and quills are of a beautiful golden shine, an extremely rare colour. She also sports big, gentle, blue eyes which look directly to Gerald. She looks a little timid.
Immediately, Gerald is taken with this little hedgehog. She`s so young...Inside, Gerald is feeling something telling him that she needs him. He finds both of hands reaching out and picking her up out of the box. Setting her down on his lap, Gerald starts to slowly stroke the golden hedgehog`s quills like he were petting a cat. Touching her quills so feels like he is petting a giant toothbrush. Her body begins to relax and she shifts a little in the man`s lap to a more comfortable position.
For the first time in months, a smile appears on Gerald`s face.
With the coming years, it`s obvious how much Gerald appreciates having his little GE hedgehog around. He names her Maria, feeling that it`s a suitable name for her. He also gets her tagged via both microchipping and a tag on a necklace for her to wear. The necklace looks like a human necklace, which Gerald feels is better for her than just something like a dog collar. He also purchases for her a special bed just for her, along with her own blanket, toys and many other items. He has regular check-ups schedules for her to make sure that her shots are kept up to date and that her health is as it should be.
It is quite clear that Gerald is really doting on Maria. Having her has brightened up the old man`s spirits. He has come out of his depressive state and has become the smiling old man that everyone has known him to be.
Unfortunately the happiness doesn`t last. When Maria turns 10 years, it is discovered that she has NIDS, a degenerative disease with no cure. It affects GE hedgehogs in the same manner as humans. It attacks the immune system, making the victim open to any illness and difficult for them to recover. And NIDS also eats away at the muscle tissue of the body, weakening it`s victim. It requires the victim of the disease to eat a strict, special diet and take regular medications. After some time, though, it essentially destroys the person.
Gerald, at first, was distraught about this. He would loose another being that means so much to him. But he quickly plans out that perhaps he could cure the disease and save Maria. He will weave this into his current project that the government hired him to work on for unlocking the secrets to immortality. In all honesty, this project actually has a few purposes. Now it just has another purpose added to the list.
By the time Maria turns 10, the project is done and ready.
It is called Project Shadow. It is a living GE hedgehog, like Maria, with a few differences. The most obvious being that Project Shadow is male and at the size of what an adult male GE hedgehog would be. So he is much larger than Maria; her extra small size makes him appear even larger but she is so small for her age due to her state of health. Another difference is the colours of him. His body is black all over with red accents here and there. He also sports a white patch of fur on his chest. The colouring of his muzzle is a bit darker than usual. His eyes are a striking, bold red colour, much like his accents. The quills on his body are an exotic style and his facial expression is much more dark and pretty serious looking. Even his tail is a little different from the average GE hedgehog. Instead of being straight or pointed up, his tail is actually pointed down. Overall, on the outside, he looks to be like a typical male GE hedgehog at first glance but at the same time, quite different. His appearance is quite unique to him, making him also extremely rare in colour being the only one with it. He wears a belt around his neck like a choker as his tagging, in addition to being microchipped. His accessories also include a golden ring on each limb, resting just above each paw. These are his inhibitor rings which can be removed at any time.
Project Shadow was originally created as a subject for immortality research. Gerald had him created as a GE hedgehog, being inspired by Maria. But since recent events occurring, he will also use Project Shadow as a means of research for a cure to her disease and also a defender of the people of Earth. And also...A companion for Maria. She is so special to the professor that he doesn`t want just any ol` male for her. He made sure that the male for her would be special, too. None other would be good enough for the golden girl. She is too young yet for breeding but the bond between them can start forming.
When releasing Shadow, Gerald makes sure to have Maria in the room with him for the event. Gerald stands patiently as the system finishes it`s preparations for releasing Shadow, holding his hands behind his back. Maria is sitting on the floor next to him, looking to the tube that encases Shadow. The tube is dark so she can`t really see who or what is inside. Gerald hopes all will go well; Shadow will be the first GE hedgehog Maria has seen since before her arrival on the Ark years ago. And Maria would be Shadow`s first other GE hedgehog meeting. It is among Gerald`s other hopes to return to Earth one day, bringing Shadow and Maria with him.
Finally, the system completes it`s run and has finished draining the tube. A few more moments, making it seem to last forever, and the tube opens up to let free it`s inhabitant.
The black GE hedgehog takes his first step. His black paw steps down onto the floor from inside the tube. It plants itself down firmly before the next paw comes out. Within moments, Shadow is completely out of his tube. Standing on the floor, his body wobbles a little but it is quickly securing it`s balance so the wobbling is depleting quickly before Gerald`s eyes.
Maria stands up from her sitting position and leans forward a little. She looks up at Gerald. Gerald looks back down to her with a smile,"Go ahead, Maria. Meet Shadow."
Maria lifts up her little tail and draws her mouth to a smile. Then she looks towards Shadow and slowly approaches him. As she comes closer to him, Maria`s tail lowers back down to a normal position. She stops within inches of Shadow and lifts her nose up, sniffing. Shadow lowers his head down to where their noses are almost touching and sniffs right back at her. As they sniff noses, Gerald smiles, watching the two GE hedgehogs and puts a hand to his chin. Maria tilts her head to the side a little, still sniffing noses with Shadow. Her tail lifts up just a little as she moves her head in such a fashion.
Then out of the blue, their actions change.
Maria`s tail pops up in an upward position and she quickly turns to the side, running off. Shadow, soon after, gives chase. But unlike Maria, his tail continues to be turned downward. During this chase, something interesting happens with Shadow. he suddenly picks up speed, moving much faster than a normal GE hedgehog. He bolts in front of Maria and jumps in her path, standing sideways but yet at an angle, looking over his shoulder at her. Maria skids to a halt and turns around to run the other way. Shadow again bolts in front of her and stands in her path as he did just a moment before. But this time Maria doesn`t stop herself quickly enough. She bumps into Shadow. Now she rolls over onto her side on the floor and raises one of her delicate paws up at Shadow. Shadow pulls his head back and when Maria lowers her paw back down, Shadow lowers his head down to her. He gets his nose down to her belly and gives a nudge with the top of his snout. Maria tosses her head back delightfully, making a soft squeak sound.
Gerald`s smile widens, feeling his own delight with what he is seeing.