Archie Sonic Universe Issue 43 is the forty-third issue in the spin-off series Sonic Universe comic series.
- Unsung Heroes, Part Three: Occupational Hazards
Thousands of years ago in the time of the Forgotten Wars, Ixis Mogul stands on a cliff side watching a stormy setting while contemplating the current conflict between the Order of Ixis and the Albion Knights of Aurora. Musing that the resistance put up by the nights is ravaging all of Mobius, Mogul wonders if he could use his magic to bring their wills in subjection to his own. He is then interrupted by the arrival of Ixis Vale, one of his Elite, who informs him that their enemies have switched tactics. Abandoning valor, they are apparently committing crimes against nature itself in order to see their enemies defeated. Mogul is unsurprised, remarking that it would take a small army free of any moral restraint to destroy even one Ixian wizard.
Back in the present, Agent Jack - aka Shard - blasts a way to the surface of Windy Valley for himself and his teammates, Silver and Larry Lynx. Exclaiming his hatred for being buried despite being modeled after a Hedgehog, he is quick to suggest charging after Geoffrey St. John. Silver and Larry quickly call for a break after their near death experience, and Shard's engines sputter, reminding him of his own limitations. The trio agree to take a break before heading out after Geoffrey, consoling themselves in the fact that they will be able to follow him thanks to the tracker they put on his Extreme Gear. Elsewhere, Geoffrey rides into Naugus' underground complex, struggling after exerting his untrained wind magic past his current limits.
Geoffrey's mind quickly finds new focuses as he realizes that the tunnel shows signs of battle, and hearing his master groaning runs into the Ritual Room and discovers a hideously mutated Ixis Naugus. The wizard dismisses his apprentice's concern, blaming his appearance on the Genesis event and using his Chaos Emerald to restore his former appearance. Naugus then questions his student about his mission, to which Geoffrey replies that he had success despite some resistance. Believing the Secret Freedom Fighters - their unidentified enemies - to be destroyed, Naugus accepts Ixis Vale's remains from Geoffrey, who questions what his mentor's plan is. Naugus then reveals that he has crafted this chamber after an Ixian design not seen since the Forgotten Wars, and that it's power and that of Vale's bones will amplify his own, enabling him to cast a powerful Ixian spell. Geoffrey is quick to question where the cavern is located, and Naugus reveals that it is directly under Royal Military Headquarters, where the Council of Acorn currently meets. His intention is to use a spell that will enslave the government to his own will, enabling him to exert full control over the city and use the people as an army to rebuild the Order of Ixis.
Naugus' gloating is interrupted by Geoffrey, who snatches away Vale's bones, horrified at Naugus' plan. He then reveals that his hope was that Naugus would benefit the city as king despite his "eccentricities", but accuses him of going too far in making this plan. Naugus is quick to retort, reminding Geoffrey of the treachery he has committed in serving Naugus in secret for so many years. He quickly convinces Geoffrey that no one would support him, and that he has no chance of stopping Naugus himself. Defeated, Geoffrey returns the bones to Naugus, who conjures a crystalline bowl to place them in. Naugus condescendingly assures Geoffrey that with his total control of the city, the people will be prosperous, leaving him free to deal with his inner demons. Geoffrey, heedless, lies on the floor curled into fetal position, as Naugus advises him that once he has rested he will search the floor of the crater for the bodies of the previous intruders.
Back at Secret HQ, a frustrated Harvey Who berates Shard, Silver, and Larry for their failure to apprehend Geoffrey. Silver is quick to speak up in defense of himself and his friends, all novices to the game of espionage while Geoffrey has trained since his youth. He then remarks that they managed to land a tracker on his air board, which they followed back to the city. Harvey quickly determines that Geoffrey went to the same spot that Elias' squad followed Naugus to, and informs the trio that the king, Leeta, and Lyco haven't returned from their mission. Reasoning that Naugus is plotting something big, he dispatches Silver and his companions to find the missing members of their team.
Landing in the pit, Shard activates his infrared as Larry and Silver land behind him, and the trio are quickly joined by their missing friends. Leeta reveals that their wing suits enabled them to make a safe landing, but that they were left stranded at the bottom of the pit. After briefly reporting on their recent discoveries, the group quickly realizes that Naugus is planning something against the kingdom that will either eliminate the military as a threat or leave them under his control. Shard sarcastically remarks that perhaps Naugus is just using an old recipe for quiche, unaware that Geoffrey is watching from the shadows and recognizes his Power Gem core. The Skunk recalls that he led the Secret Service to Mt. Mobius and found the core, which despite the destruction of Shard's original form was still empowered and contained his programming.
Upon Dr. Eggman's rise to power, Geoffrey recovered the Power Gem from Robotropolis, and it was later used by Sir Charles Hedgehog in order to create the Metal Sonic Troopes - a fact he kept hidden. Geoffrey quickly reasons that if the Secret Freedom Fighters have been assembled with Shard as a member, that either Sir Charles or Rotor - or even both - is a double agent, and reasons that "there's only one old bird I know who's crazy enough to pull something like this." His musing is interrupted as Elias determines that in order for them to gain the necessary information to make a move on Naugus, they need to interrogate Geoffrey. Elias suggests that the entire team attack Geoffrey in order to prevent his escape, but Silver then makes an unexpected suggestion: that they simply ask the Skunk. Elias is quick to dismiss the idea, but Silver persists, thinking that he can appeal to Geoffrey's better nature. Elias starts on a rant, but is defused as Lyco advises him to listen to Silver.
The Hedgehog continues, remarking that he has experience with going into a plan with good intentions only for it to fail, and he thinks that Geoffrey is the same way. Elias relents, deciding that they will approach him Silver's way, but that if that fails to work, they'll ambush him. The next day at the Lake of Rings, Silver finds Geoffrey sitting on a park bench and addresses him tersely. Geoffrey quickly leaves him flustered by revealing his knowledge of the Secret Freedom Fighters, but then invites Silver to speak. Silver confesses that he's not a great agent, but also reveals that he's studied up on Geoffrey since coming to this time. He reveals his belief that Geoffrey is out for the city's greater good, and that he realizes that Naugus is on the wrong path. He also remarks that he doesn't believe St. John's wife Hershey would have gone along with it either, and quickly apologizes after realizing that he's brought up a sore subject. Geoffrey agrees, but then claims that "it's too late" for him. He then reveals that Naugus is planning to cast his spell that night when the Council meets to ratify the new constitution for the Republic of Acorn.
Asking Silver and his team to stop Naugus, Geoffrey gets up to leave, prompting Silver to beg him for help. He declines, again claiming that he is beyond redemption and that while Silver has a future to save, he doesn't. The other Secret Freedom Fighters then come out of hiding, and return to Secret HQ to meet with Harvey. The Owl remarks that Silver's methods were definitely not what he would have done, but that he is impressed nonetheless. Elias then remarks that Geoffrey seems unstable, and thinks that his collapse would help them and hurt Naugus, which Harvey takes as a sign that Elias is starting to take after his methods. Elias expresses his wish that they could reveal Naugus' plot to the city, but Harvey replies that Naugus would simply destroy the cavern and put the Secret Freedom Fighters, Charles, and NICOLE on trial for treason. Again stating that secrecy is essential, he advises Elias to get some rest while he can. Shortly thereafter, the team gears up, and set out to stop Naugus' plot - or die in the attempt.
In his secret chamber, Naugus remarks in despair that his most hideous mutation yet has come about. Geoffrey objects that it can't be that bad, only to walk into the chamber and observe a "handsome" Naugus surrounded by hearts and flowers. Geoffrey screams in horror while Naugus responds "It's Handsome Time!"
Ixis Mogul: We are the Order of Ixis. One cannot simply overcome our power by "playing fair". Even if they were to slaughter us down to the last wizard...it would take a small army without restraints to bring that last wizard down.
Shard: I don't care if I'm modeled after a hedgehog! I HATE being buried!
Shard: ...Right. I've got my own mortality to deal with...
Geoffrey: Nugh...bloody transcontinental trip. It'd be bad enough without having to push my lousy wind-magic past its limits. And then those blokes jump me in the crypt...ugh...
Harvey Who (to Silver, Shard, and Larry): This is nothing short of ludicrous! I sent in a super-badnik who fought Sonic to a stand-still! I sent a kid who can move mountains with his mind! I sent a lynx who warps probability just by standing there! And all three of you couldn't stop ONE SKUNK?!
Silver: Good morning, Commander.
Geoffrey: G'day. Sorry about that bit of business the other day. Nothing personal.
Silver: You buried us alive.
Geoffrey: All part of the job, kid. Besides, you have a modified Metal Sonic on your side. I think the deck was stacked against me, Ace.
Silver: How did you--?! I never said--! Not that I'm confirming or...or...denying...
Geoffrey: You wanted to talk. Sit. Talk.
Silver: Wait! HELP us!
Geoffrey: Like I said, it's too late for me. You've got a future to save, I...don't. See you around, kid.
Harvey Who: Kudos to Silver. I would never have tried the direct approach. I wouldn't have let Geoffrey go, either!
Elias: Let's go, SECRET FREEDOM FIGHTERS! We'll stop Naugus, save the city, or DIE TRYING!!
- Silver, Shard, and Larry escape from Ixis Vale's tomb.
- Geoffrey returns to New Mobotropolis, and Naugus reveals his plan to enslave the city and rebuild the Order of Ixis.
- Elias' team is revealed to have survived their fall, and the group reunites and learns of Naugus' plans. They then set out to stop him by any means necessary.
- This is the first comic in the series to feature the new Archie Sonic logo.
- During a flashback of recovering Shard's power gem, Geoffrey St. John's original team is shown including Valdez who wouldn't be present at the time. Ian Flynn and Tracy Yardley admit to not noticing this goof. 
- Shard reveals that, as a result of his demise in Mount Mobius, he has a fear of being buried alive.