Archie Knuckles the Echidna Issue 21 was the twenty-first issue of the spin-off Knuckles the Echidna comic series.
- The Forbidden Zone: Part Three of Three - "The Many Facets of the Truth"
Elias Acorn and the Royal Secret Service hang to a group of nearby trees, trying not to be washed away by the floodwaters. The rope holding Heavy and Bomb to the trees snaps, but the group finds itself raised out of the water by Locke's Chaos powers. Lara-Le wonders how Locke is able to use such great powers and still made a mess of their marriage. Locke tells her he has spent many nights wondering himself.
Knuckles finds himself in Haven, where the Brotherhood of Guardians is squabbling on how to handle the situation. Thunderhawk and Sojourner suggest throwing him back out before he comes to his senses, but Sabre and Spectre decide to deal with Knuckles instead of following tradition. Archimedes tries to smooth things over, but Knuckles feels that Archimedes hasn't proven himself very forthright in the past. Sabre introduces himself and the rest of the Brotherhood to Knuckles, including "Tobor".
Internally, "Tobor" worries that Knuckles will reveal that he is actually Moritori Rex and ruins his plans, but he smoothly offers to take Knuckles to the medical bay after his stumbling entry into Haven. Knowing "Tobor" is a fraud but choosing to play along, Knuckles follows him into Haven's depths. As they enter the medical bay Knuckles spots Hawking on life support. Moritori prepares a syringe with mysterious liquid and tells Knuckles they don't know when, or if, the old Guardian will recover.
The Royal Secret Service and Elias are aboard Locke's hovercraft when Geoffrey St. John asks Locke about the queen's transport crashing years ago. Locke tells him that he wasn't there, but knows the records of the event. The Brotherhood discovered the queen's craft shortly after it was shot down by Overlanders. They found Ian St. John dead inside, but Sojourner found a baby survivor nearby. Sabre approached the Overlanders, who demanded to inspect the craft, and told them that everyone aboard was killed. Due to the Brotherhood's neutrality in the Great War, the Overlanders took him at his word and left just as Spectre discovered Queen Alicia under the rubble. Elias was raised in Haven while Alicia was placed in a stasis tube.
Locke explains that the queen was barely alive and had to be kept in stasis until they could develop a method to cure her. Under Sojourner's reasoning, they Brotherhood decided not to return Elias to King Acorn, fearing that they would be dragged into conflict with the Overlanders. Geoffrey asks how Colonel Sommersby fits into the story. Locke states that he was an oversight, having been missed by "Tobor" during the initial survey. Thankfully for the Brotherhood, King Acorn's rescue team found him and he chose to exile himself to the Royal Compound. Geoffrey asks Tobor for more information as Locke approaches the entrance to Haven.
In the medical bay, Moritori attacks Knuckles, trying to stab him with the needle. Knuckles reveals that he knows his true identity and flings him aside. He continues to easily deflect the Legionnaire's attacks until Moritori tries to shoot him with his laser eyes -- and misses completely. The emergency beacon goes off as Locke's craft lands in Haven. Locke heads out to investigate with Lara-Le, charging Elias with taking Geoffrey and his team to Sabre and apologize to Knuckles for him. Meanwhile, Moritori flees from Knuckles. Desperate, he fires his optic blasts down the corridors, nearly hitting the Secret Service members.
Archimedes teleports Knuckles next to Moritori and, with a nice uppercut, Knuckles knocks him out. Knuckles notices part of the hallway closing behind him and scurries to the other side. Spectre, Sojourner and Sabre meet up with Knuckles, Archimedes, Elias and the Royal Secret Service. They reopen the sealed part of the hallway to find that Moritori Rex has disappeared, leaving them the message Shinginta: "You Will Make Friends With Death". Meanwhile, Locke saves Remington, Wynmacher , Julie-Su and the Echidna Security Team from their wrecked craft as the flood spreads. Lara tells Locke that Knuckles needs a father. Ignoring the conversation, Locke greets the echidnas he's rescued but is annoyed to see Wynmacher and Lara embrace.
Day Three of the Royal Secret Service's mission to the Floating Island: Elias shows Knuckles and Geoffrey into the room in the medical bay where Queen Alicia's body lies in a stasis tube. Elias explains that the Brotherhood has preserved her, unable to find a cure for her condition. Geoffrey tells him that he's been ordered to take the queen back to Mobotropolis. Elias tells Geoffrey that he'd like to meet his father. Knuckles thinks to himself that he may finally be close to obtaining the answers he seeks.
- Pro Art
Pinup page of Sonic and Knuckles posing while Eggbots surround them and Dr. Robotnik smiles in the background. Presented in black-and-white as a coloring page. Pencils by Steven Butler, inks by Pam Eklund.
- ShadowHawk Knuckles
- Heavy: "Once my sensors registered high humidity weather, I knew my circuits were in deep doo-doo, Bomb!"
- Bomb: "'Doo-doo', Heavy? Where on Mobius did you get that expression?"
- Heavy: "Our colleague, Valdez, uses it all the time! Especially when the commander calls on him!"
- Knuckles meets the Brotherhood of Guardians.
- Moritori Rex is exposed as a fraud and escapes Haven.
- Geoffrey prepares to take Queen Alicia and Elias back to Mobotropolis.
- This issue's cover is the third part of a three-part image.
- Elias, Alicia and the Secret Service's story continues in Sonic the Hedgehog #68.
- Queen Alicia's statis tube appears to have purple liquid in it on the cover. However, in the main story, the tube appears to have yellow liquid in it.
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