Amy Rose has been captured by pirates (in an off-panel event) and the Freedom Fighters are rooting through the Mystic Cave Zone in order to find her - much to Sonic's chagrin. He is quite testy and vexed at Amy's troublesome presence on the team. During their journey, they are attacked by Crawlton Badniks - although, strangely, none of those that Sonic and the gang destroy contain trapped Mobians. This puzzles the Freedom Fighters, although they have little time to dwell on the implications when a dropping steel door suddenly separates Sonic and Tails from Johnny Lightfoot and Porker Lewis.
Sonic and Tails continue to travel deeper into the tunnels, but a wrong turning sends them into the midst of a swarm of Flasher Badniks - fully charged, they shock the pair into unconsciousness.
The dynamic duo recover consciousness to find themselves moved to a littoral cave at the edge of the zone, where they are confronted by Captain Plunder, Filch and the Sky Pirates - while Amy watches on from a suspended cage. Captain Plunder captured Amy in order to draw Sonic out and force out of him the location of the Chaos Emeralds, which Plunder desires for their value as massive gems, and threatens to push Tails off of a cliff down into the fatal waters below if Sonic does not comply.Believing Plunder to be one of Doctor Robotnik's agents, Sonic angrily rejects Plunder. Plunder corrects Sonic's misconception - the Sky Pirates are freebooters, and the empty Badniks protecting their hideout were stolen from Robotnik - but considers the delay to be failure enough, and promptly kicks Tails off the edge. Tails uses his ability to fly to escape the situation (although in his panic he needs some prompting from Sonic to remember that he can do so!) - the pirates are astonished by this, and Sonic uses the distraction as an opportunity to launch a Spin Attack. After flying futiley through Filch (thus demonstrating the character's ghostly nature to the reader), Sonic becomes embroiled in a punch-up with Plunder.
Amy's shouts intervene in the brawl. As neither Sonic nor Plunder are going to yield on the ownership of the Chaos Emeralds, she proposes that they instead resolve their differences with a co-operation pact - the Freedom Fighters can pass intelligence to the Pirates about which transport ships of Robotnik's are worth raiding, while in exchange the Pirates provide muscle to the Freedom Fighters when required. Plunder considers this to be an acceptable alternative and lets the trio of Freedom Fighters go free - but he has not abandoned his desire to claim the Chaos Emeralds for himself.
- The Sky Pirates are here referred to as "Mystic Cave Pirates", and their vessel is shown floating on water with no apparent aeronautcial ability. They would first demonstrate their nature as Sky Pirates in The Sonic Terminator.