Space Colony ARK (スペースコロニー・アーク, Supēsu Koronī Āku) was the world's first Bernal sphere space colony, built more than fifty years before the events.
The ARK was used by the government for scientific testing and experimentation, and housed some of the world's finest minds in the most advanced research center of its kind. One such scientist was Professor Gerald Robotnik, grandfather of Doctor Eggman Robotnik, many of whose inventions remained aboard the ARK until being reactivated many years after his death. It is particularly notable as the "birthplace" of Shadow the Hedgehog.
Space Colony ARK has various areas and sectors aboard or within the facility such as, The Doom, Lost Impact, The ARK, Lost Colony, Eternal Engine, Meteor Herd, Mad Space, Crazy Gadget, Final Rush, Final Chase, and Cannon's Core, which all took place aboard Space Colony ARK.
When the government sought to recruit brilliant scientists aboard the ARK, Gerald Robotnik initially rejected their attempts to recruit him. However, he begin thinking about of the safty and future of his granddaughter Maria Robotnik, and made the choice to agree. Gerald brought Maria with him to the ARK, where he set about not only for protection, but also discovering the secret of immortality. To this end, he attempted to create an "Ultimate Lifeform". The workers and scientists aboard the ARK thought this project was impossible, so they began calling it "Project Shadow", because it was an unreachable goal. Gerald liked the name, so it stuck.
Gerald's early experiments involved lizards, since they have the ability to regenerate limbs. Gerald's earliest known "prototype of the ultimate life" was the mutant Biolizard, but this creature was deemed too dangerous, and sealed away at the core of the colony.
Next, he based his creature off of an ancient Echidna prophecy he had discovered on Earth (a mural in the Hidden Palace on Angel Island showed Super Sonic defeating Gerald's grandson, Eggman). In this time he also made contact with the Black Comet, and enlisted the help of the alien Black Doom, who supplied genetic material to allow Gerald to complete Project Shadow. However, little trusting Black Doom, Gerald secretly began construction of the Eclipse Cannon, a powerful weapon that he built into the colony itself.
While aboard the ARK, Gerald also began experimenting on an ancient robot he had discovered, called the Gizoid (although the robot eventually came to be called Emeral). "Project Gizoid" later nearly damaged a large chunk of the ARK, after copying some of the super-weapon's abilities.
When the government became skeptical of Gerald's work on immortality, he sent them the dangerous Gizoid, to buy time to finish off Project Shadow. When he still refused to shut down his research, GUN raided the ARK, and discovered that, with some behind-the-scenes help from Black Doom, Project Shadow had already been completed in the form of Shadow the Hedgehog.
Shadow and Maria (who had by then become close friends) tried to escape the intruders, As Shadow and Maria enterd into one of the ARK's research areas (the one that also launches capsules from the ARK), she trapped Shadow in a stasis tube, and made him promise to protect the Earth, the planet she had always watched and wanted to visit, before sending him away with the words, "Bring hope to humanity. Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog".
Since Maria Robotnik was taken away by the government during the raid, the news of the incident sent her grandfather into despair and insanity. He plotted revenge against the entire planet. He reprogrammed several of his old experiments, including the Eclipse Cannon and the Biolizard, with the intention of devastating planet Earth. He also programmed Shadow to bring the Chaos Emeralds to the ARK, having presumably recovered Shadow's escape pod before being caught and transferred to Prison Island by the government. GUN attempted to shut down all of Gerald's projects, locking up Shadow's stasis tube and sealing away the Biolizard, which had nearly decimated the GUN invaders. Space Colony ARK was forgotten for fifty years.
Known projects created aboard the ARKEdit
- The Biolizard (prototype of Project: Shadow)
- Artificial Chaos
- Heal Unit (Maria's favorite creation, due to her pacifist nature).
- The Gizoid (examined and partly reprogrammed)
- Shadow the Hedgehog (Project: Shadow)
The Eclipse CannonEdit
The Eclipse Cannon is the signature weapon of the space colony. It projects a humongous blue laser or beam that is capable of destroying an entire planet when it is fully charged and powered by all seven Chaos Emeralds. The cannon takes longer to charge with fewer Emeralds.
The main room that assists in powering the cannon is called "The Core." It is a complex system flooded by yellow fluid (safe enough for swimming, as demonstrated by Knuckles), and the fluid leads into a room large enough to well fit the Biolizard. This room contains an architectural copy of the Master Emerald altar, designed for maximum Chaos Emerald energy extraction.