"TTS": Part 3 (3/3) Whew!

From: Shawn Wolski <n5una_at_MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 15:33:33 -0600

Return from the future, to the present at 0800 hours...

        Robotnik and Packbell arrived at the crash site in Robotnik's
personal Hover Unit. They had retrieved not only the
linguistics program, they also selected WorkerBots for a small
squad. WorkerBots were much more adept at performing the
required delicate work on the probe and its cargo than the
SWATBots were constructed and programmed to exercise. Packbell
personally took responsibility for dispatching the WorkerBots
and assigning them to their required duties. Robotnik remained
in his command chair, watching them disperse to their positions.
 He reveled in the absolute beauty in the weapon, even though he
had no knowledge of what specific function it had. He didn't
concern himself with what the weapon was utilized for, as long
as it would aid him in turning the tide of the war in his favor.
 Today could very well become a rather productive day after all.
        Without any provocation that was visible to Robotnik, an
explosion occurred somewhere outside to the west of his personal
Hover Unit. It was very loud, and somewhat familiar, but he was
unable to identify who or what could generate that level of
thundering out of nowhere. The answer struck him when the
windshield shattered about a second later from the massive wind
shear. There was no other explanation; it had to be a certain
blue spiny Freedom Fighter that Robotnik had learned to despise
and fear in the past eleven years.
        It was Sonic, and more specifically, the shock wave generated
by him that gave Robotnik the first and final warning. After
departing from the temporal displacement singularity, Sonic
sustained his entry velocity, due to the fact that his inertia
was too high for him to decelerate immediately. To allow
himself to do so, Sonic circled the probe's position at a radius
of three km. Even from that distance, the hedgehog could view
the evidence that his warped air cone was wrecking havoc all
over the probe site. Hover Units were under take-off condition,
and then spun around erratically during and after the wave
impacted with their hulls. Some SWATBots were vacuumed into the
air, eventually bashing into other SWATBots or Hover Units.
Windows shattered, and electrical explosions emitted from
over-stressed hardware. Fortunately, WorkerBots weren't present
in the metallic storm. Decelerating to a sufficient pace, he
moved in for the fatal strike, like a Terran lion on the final
assault for disoriented prey.
        Sonic darted toward his general target area, and reached the
outer rim of Hover Units in about five seconds. Sally had
managed to retain her life-grip on Sonic, using every bit of
energy she had available in her body to prevent her from
becoming an abandoned piece of debris in the hedgehog's warped
air cone. Sonic located and halted in front of Robotnik's Hover
        "Yo, Robuttnik," he said observantly, "nice looking windshield.
 Must be part of your latest stealth technology." Looking past
the remains of the windshield, he said, "Ooohhh, mando cool look
on the insides. Are fried control boards and circuits in?" To
Sally, he ordered in a whisper, "You can get off now, Sal.
Hedgehog Express has stopped." She released her grip and moved
to stand by him.
        Robotnik could only stare at the two Freedom Fighters with an
expression full of anger, bafflement, and fear simultaneously
displayed. Observing their condition after a few seconds,
Robotnik regained a small degree of his own macabre humor at the
sight of something that looked like it was a costume for a mud
monster movie. His evil grin came out of his shocked face, but
only a little.
        "Well, Hedgehog," he dictated in a voice that attempted to
sound authoritative and failed, "been playing in the mud have
you? I thought that was below you; I guess I was mistaken.
Where have you been?"
        The hedgehog retaliated with a confident strike, "Oh, just
tromping across a mud pit that doesn't exist yet." He chuckled
at the thought, knowing that Robotnik would have no such memory
of the incident. In the technicalities of temporal physics, it
had not occurred yet in this time period.
        Robotnik nearly resumed his multispectrum stare, but caught
himself before he became victim to his shock. He sank into his
dark and devious regard that notoriously struck instant fear
into Freedom Fighters. "Never mind that," his voice all gravel
and almost unnoticeable. He amplified his voice, maintaining
the same tone, to say, "SWATBots! Get that hedgehog!"
        All the remaining SWATBots came out of their stealthy positions
and moved toward Sonic and Sally. Sonic quickly scanned the
immediate area, not exactly pleased with the odds. Robotnik
transformed his dangerous frown into a lethal grin as the
SWATBots gradually decreased the distance to their quarry.
Sonic and Sally huddled, backs together, looking for an opening
in the circle of SWATBots. They found no such escape route.
        "Doesn't look good, Sal," the hedgehog observed.
        "You're right about that. Got any ideas?" Sally queried.
        He quickly searched his memory regarding how to handle the
situation. He snapped his fingers, with what little snapping he
could do due to the mud on his fingers. "As a matter of fact,"
he confirmed, "I do. Hold tight, these 'bots are gonna be
hittin' the rocks."
        Within a second, Sonic created a twenty-meter high blue tornado
around Sally, providing refuge for her. Everything outside the
eye of this storm however, was not so fortunate. Sonic finished
off the rest of the SWATBots and Hover Units, turning them into
scrap metal and plastics, while leaving the probe and Robotnik's
Hover Unit undamaged. Satisfied with his work, he revectered
himself in the opposite direction to quiet the whirlwind that he
        After returning to his position by Sally, Sonic directed an
evil grin at Robotnik and said, "Need any more convincing,
Robotnik? Or do I need to really get serious?"
        Robotnik wasn't taking the hedgehog seriously, however.
"You're going to have to do better than that, Hedgehog," he
sneered with all the intensity he could provide.
        To Sally, he said with a note of derision and superiority
directed to Robotnik, "Doesn't he ever get tired?" Sally could
only smile and shrug with an "I don't know" motion. "Well, I
do," he continued, "and if this doesn't convince him, I don't
know what will."
        With that said, he generated another vortex, only this time
directed toward the WorkerBots and Packbell located in the
probe. After finding a suitable opening in the probe, Sonic
vacuumed up and transferred the robots from the probe to
Robotnik's personal Hover Unit. With that done, his disengaged
his artificial vortex and returned to his position by Sally for
a second time. He crossed his arms defiantly, glared at
Robotnik, and waited for a response.
        No further verbal exchange or demonstration of will was
necessary between the two adversaries. Sonic was clearly the
victor in this case, and Robotnik had no way to regain control.
He had lost yet again to the teenage blue hedgehog. His Hover
Unit promptly made an unfashionable retreat, with all available
power utilized for propulsion, should the hedgehog decide to
make his unspoken threat a reality.
        After Robotnik's departure, Sonic felt all his energy supplied
from the adrenaline pour out of him like water from a waterfall.
 Without any power to even support his balance, Sonic tilted and
fell like a freshly cut tree. Sally saw his travel to the
ground and managed to catch him before he impacted with the
solid granite. She looked into his eyes, her face filled with
        Sonic opened his eyes, and saw his friend's worried mask
through the mud that covered it. "I'm OK, Sal," he said weakly,
"Going after old 'Buttnik like that wore me out more than I
        Not totally convinced, she helped him regain his standing
position, still providing as much physical and psychological
support as possible. She was surprised that he had been able to
expend that much power for so long. Anyone else would have more
than likely dropped dead with the extreme exhaustion. Then
again, Sonic wasn't an average hedgehog.
        "Sonic, you've got to stop and rest for a while," she advised
him. "You haven't eaten anything for a long time. I'll see if
I can dig something up out of my ration pack. There has to be
something in there somewhere."
        No bravado response from the hedgehog for that statement.
Sonic was the prime example of someone serious, and wasn't
inclined to engage in his usual cavorting attitude. This meant
that something was REALLY wrong with her friend.
        "No time," he responded, with the sobriety of voice and mind as
stable as hydrogen gas at absolute zero. "We've got to destroy
that machine, now."
        Sonic gradually regained a small degree of strength, then
gently pushed Sally away, making his intentions clear with his
body language that his words and judgment were the end of any
further argument over delaying the mission plans. He had every
intention to destroy the temporal displacement device, even if
the effort killed him. Mobius would be saved, no matter what
condition Sonic was in.
        He slowly advanced toward the device that was (or in this case
of time, would be) the cause of all their problems. Sally
walked beside him, keeping her pace equal to his in case he
should fall again. He maintained his balance the entire ten
meters to the probe, and the remaining five meters to the
weapon's protective shield control panel. The hedgehog was
beleaguered, but not out yet.
        "Sally," he said finally, with an infinitely tired but
determined voice, "does Nicole understand the circuits under
this control panel?" After receiving an affirmative nod from
his friend, he carefully retrieved Nicole from her and focused
all his attention on the little computer. "Nicole," he
commanded, getting some of his more jovial voice back, "pull
that shield off."
        "Accessing circuit pathways," Nicole replied. She emitted a
tone afterwards, and said, "Circuits inoperative. Power
required to engage the necessary hardware and software."
        Sonic's face did not alter its form with that statement. He
searched his mind for what he knew about power supplies. 'So
that's it,' he thought, 'Robotnik must have had some portable
power cells around while he was using the computers. The
probe's power supply must be down.' He searched the immediate
area for a clue, and found a suspiciously large conduit along
the left (relative to his position) wall. The conduit connected
to a metallic sphere.
        "What's this, Nicole?" he asked the small computer.
        "It is an impulse power unit, utilized for the probe's
propulsion or for auxiliary power." she responded.
        "How do we get it working again?" queried the serious and
interested hedgehog.
        "The impulse power unit requires matter/antimatter reactants as
a power source."
        Sonic's heart sank with that statement. To come all this way,
only to be beaten by advanced and specialized hardware!
        "However," Nicole continued, "the unit may be able to utilize a
power ring if the level input is controlled and monitored."
        Having no words of his own to contribute, Sonic opened the
impulse power unit and inserted his power ring. He kept his
hands in contact with the power ring, to provide input
regulation and avoid destroying the hardware from uncontrolled
levels of energy.
        "Sally," Sonic called to his friend, "take it from here. I'm
going to take care of the power supply."
        Sally ran over to Nicole, picked her up, and returned to the
control panel. After taking her position, she gave her friend a
"go ahead" signal. The hedgehog confirmed his by concentrating
on the power ring. The energy input began as a minuscule spark
at first, and then gradually gained strength with every passing
        Sally remotely monitored the energy input into the computers.
When the power reached the required minimum level, she called to
her comrade, "Keep it there, Sonic." She noticed that Sonic was
straining to keep the power level stable, but he contributed no
complaints in regard to his welfare. To Nicole, she said,
"Nicole, remove the shield."
        "Accessing, Sally," Nicole replied. "Circuit pathways
        With that confirmation came the nearly quiet action of
electromagnetic repulsors slowly removing the protective shield
from the temporal displacement device's haven. Once the shield
had retracted completely, the computers disengaged the power
supplied to the subunits controlling the shield placement
system. The device was now exposed for its atrocity, and would
return payment with its destruction.
        Sonic disabled his power transfer and slowly trudged over to
Sally's position. He glared at the large object ahead of him
with malignance, and said to her, "This thing goes down, today."
        "Wait a minute, Sonic," as she checked over the device's
ambient power levels. "We have to discharge the energy cells
that power the particle controls. If we destroy it now, the
explosion could do the same to Mobius."
        "Where's the energy cells?"
        Sally checked the schematics for them. "They're under the
case, located in the center of the top circuit board."
        "Can I cut through that metal, Sally?" the hedgehog asked, for
he noticed that the metal was unlike anything he had ever seen
        She analyzed the case's composition, and confirmed his request.
 "No problem, Sonic. Are you sure you want to do this?"
        He replied with a question of his own. "Is there another way?"
        She checked for anything that might assist in opening the
protective case, for repair points, places for hardware
upgrades, and other possible openings. Finding none, she shook
her head as if to say "no".
        With that confirmation, Sonic raised his power ring and
concentrated on transferring its energy to his body. At his low
organic power state, the power ring and what he wanted to
destroy became the only existing objects besides him in his
personal universe. The power ring now supplied nearly all of
Sonic's energy; without it, he would be little more than a
vegetable. He rolled into a ball, and let his spiny back
perform the task for him. With part of the case shredded off,
he leaped to the center of the top circuit board, where the
energy cells were located.
        A faint, familiar voice called out to him from the darkness.
"Look for the two largest wires in front of you. Short them
        Sonic found a black and red wire. He pulled them with what
strength he had left from their sockets. Finding the bare,
uninsulated copper, he shorted the connections. The energy
cells responded with a hum, which steadily increased in volume
with every second. Not the desired effect.
        The familiar voice called to him again, now screaming. "It's
going to explode! Get away from there, Sonic!"
        Sonic's mind raced, thinking of ways to avert the imminent
explosion that would take place. One solution came to mind.
The only alternative to the destruction of Mobius. He raised
his power ring above him, positioning it perpendicular to the
ground. He concentrated once again on the power ring as his
other hand wrapped around the improvised shorted connection he
made a few seconds before.
        A blinding flash of light emanated from the power ring. Sally
shielded her eyes as she attempted to see what act the hedgehog
was performing. He was using himself and the power ring as a
power transfer point, venting all the energy from the energy
cells to space. The immense power that surged through him and
the strain to dissipate that energy nearly threw him away from
the circuits, as if the temporal displacement device wanted to
live. Sonic maintained a firm hold on the wires, not allowing
himself to be subdued by the power that would otherwise advance
toward a catastrophic explosion. The power ring provided some
protection, but it didn't provide immunity to the device's
        When all the power was drained from the energy cells, Sonic
began the next phase of the operation. Still clinging to his
power ring, the hedgehog reached his other hand into his
backpack, and it produced three timed-explosive charges. There
would be more than enough energy unleashed to destroy the device
and the probe, if they were positioned correctly. He activated
them all simultaneously, then dropped to the floor of the probe
and placed them where they would insure the total fragmentation
of the machine that would have caused so much trouble for
Mobius. After retrieving Sally for the escape from the
near-future blast radius, he raised his power ring for the last
time, then dashed away into the distance. Five seconds later,
the probe and its cargo no longer existed on Mobius.
        The two Knothole Freedom Fighters saw the explosion from about
three km away from ground zero. Mobius was safe again, for at
least one more day. It had been the first assault from space,
and it was successfully deterred.
        However, there was one war that day which would claim a life.
Sonic was near death, his power ring almost dimmed from the
extensive energy demands that the hedgehog made from it. He was
surprised that it had lasted for so long, but Charles Hedgehog
had designed them well. Their life was also his life; just as
their death was also a mutual demise. He took one last look at
the carnage that destroyed their ultimate adversary of the day.
        Sally noticed that the power ring was dimming, synchronous with
Sonic's life force which was slowly slipping away. She knew
what was happening, and was unable to ease her friend's pain or
prevent the shadow of death receiving final payment. She held
him, looked into his eyes, and kissed him passionately. They
both knew that this was the last time in this universe that this
particular pair of Freedom Fighters would have the opportunity
to be together. Their counterparts, the Sonic and Sally
synchronous with time, would never know what happened. The
mission was a success, but a price had to be paid.
        And the payment was extracted, with no concern for emotion.
Sonic's payment came a few seconds after their last
demonstration of affection. Sally felt his body turn cold, and
saw his eyes permanently close. Sally gently lowered Sonic to
the ground, weeping for both of them. Sonic had met his death,
but he went down fighting every step of the way.
        She buried the savior of Mobius in the best way she knew how,
with the limited materials available in the Great Unknown. She
regarded his grave, knowing that with time, she too would cease
to exist in this universe.

* * *

        After Sonic's talk with Dulcy, and receiving a demonstration of
her unflagging humor, he and Sally rushed off to the probe's
crash site. The arrived without incident, but noticed that
something was not there to greet their eyes. The only evidence
that the probe and the cargo it carried existed was a large
black circular mark on the rock where it landed. There was no
evidence that Robotnik had ever been there, since the remains of
the SWATBots and Hover Units had been vaporized in the blast
        "What d'ya suppose happened, Sal?" queried the totally baffled
        "Hard to say, Sonic," was her only reply, for she was as much
at a loss for words as Sonic.
        "Well, so much for another wartoy that old 'Buttnik could've
used. Sure would've liked to know what it was though," Sonic
said, trying to solve the mystery of the day and failing.
        "So would have I," said Sally. "But I guess some things are
better left in the past."
        Sonic signaled to Dulcy for a retrieval. The pair would never
know how much truth there was to Sally's last philosophical


Shawn Wolski, N5UNA
MultiTasking Sega Advocate, Amateur Radio Operator, the
Granite Eater, Furry Fan, and UTARC News Prime Editor.

Most violent curse: "You are evil!"


Received on Fri Mar 10 1995 - 16:37:17 PST

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