Pacas, tenrecs, and pangolins..3

From: <>
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 1995 19:40:14 -0500

   Part 3. One more!


   "I need a new quote."

        This short story is based on the characters created and copyrighted by
Archie Comic Publications, David Pistone, DiC Productions, Holly-Beth Kraft,
and Sega Incorporated. The author gives his permission to distribute this
work freely as long as it's distributed in its full, unaltered form and
currency has nothing to do with the distribution. Any questions, comments,
or protests can be addressed to the author. Copyright (C) 1995, Michael

                                                                  Pangolin Problems, Part 3
                                                                                 by Michael Szal

        Williams was well into the Great Forest by now and was thinking of where
to go next when he heard something behind him. He ignored it, forcing
himself to believe it was just a small animal--he WAS in a forest. Back to
the problem of where to go next. Maybe he'd go to back to his village and
take what he could from what was left of it. Or maybe he'd-- He heard the
sound again. There was definitely something following him. Ideas raced
through his mind. A huge, carnivorous animal? An army of Swat-bots? He
took out his computer and scanned behind him to see what it was. A small
fox? He turned around.
        "Hellooooo..." he called out. "C'mon out."
        Tails stepped out from behind the bush. He was where the action is after
all. Williams sat down at the base of a tree and groaned. Tails ran over
and sat down next to him.
        "You're that kid from Knothole, right?" Williams started the conversation,
not looking at Tails.
        "Yep. I'm Tails."
        Williams groaned again. "You can't be here, not after what just
        "Why not? Did you really tell Robotnik where Knothole is?"
        "Yes, I didn't TELL him, I just sent him my location. He
probably just ignored it." A moment of silence. "I'm not evil, but the rest
of Knothole certainly thinks so. Which is why you can't be here. They're
probably looking for you and think I kidnapped you. Why ARE you here
        "I wanted to see where you were going. Why can't you live with us?"
        "Well, besides the fact that nobody would let me, there's always the fact
that if I lived with you, that would mean I'd be on your side and against
        "Are you on Robotnik's side?"
        "No. How can I explain? I'm not for Robotnik, but I'm not against him
        "So you're neutral."
        "Nnnnno. Neutral implies not getting involved. And I'm really involved
now." There was a short moment of silence after which Williams stood up,
looked down at Tails, and said, "I'll be leaving now, you'll have to go."
        "But I wanna come with you," said Tails, also standing up. "You're almost
as cool as Sonic!"
        "I'll take that as a complement." More silence. "You can come, but if
anything happens, just do as I say and everything will be all right."
        They started their journey to the Great Swamp. Not five minutes later,
they were attacked. Williams was knocked in the back of the head by a large
branch and fell to the ground, stunned for now.
        When he came to, he realized what had happened. He was sitting up against
a tree with his hands tied behind his back and saw Tails against another tree
across from him, also apparently tied. A seemingly tall woman approached him
with a laser rifle.
        "You're awake. Good. Get up, both of you. We're going to the Great
        They both got up. Williams was the first to talk. "Who--"
        "Shut up. Questions will be answered when we get there. You will lead
the way. Try anything and you will die."
        As they walked, Williams was trying to think of when everything went
wrong. Three days ago, everything was fine. Then they were attacked. He
was taken prisoner and spent the night in a cell. The next night, he was
interrogated. Then the escape and the night was spent in an air duct. He
was found and captured the next morning, which is when Sonic rescued him.
Then came the Knothole incident and afterwards he found Tails. Now he's
being led to the Great Swamp by a woman with a gun trained on him and is
responsible for a young fox's safety.
        "All in all, it's been a pretty good day," he said to himself.
        "No talking," came the woman's voice from behind him.

        "He's not in Knothole," reported Sonic. "I've searched everywhere." The
group had, once again, met in the War Room to try to solve this mess.
        "Then Williams must have kidnapped him," said Sally. "I knew he was a spy
from Robotropolis! I bet 'Williams' isn't even his real name!"
        "I don't know," explained Bookshire. "If he's with Robotnik, why did
Robotnik capture him, and why did he black out the city?"
        "If he isn't with Robotnik, why did he give us away?" Sonic brought up a
good point.
        "It was all just an act. Robotnik's probably sitting in his chair
laughing, knowing he has us right where he wants us," assumed Sally.
        "Then let's find out," suggested Bookshire. "I'll just check his main
computer core to see if there's anything about Williams or Tails."
        They were off to Bookshire's hut.
        "Computer," ordered Bookshire, "access the Robotropolis Main Computer Core
using Cryptosmasher software."
        "Access granted," reported the computer.
        "Scan the entire core for anything about the name 'Williams.'"
        "Scanning......... No files found."
        "Scan for anything about Tails being captured."
        "Scanning......... No files found."
        "Scan for anything about relating to a prisoner that escaped yesterday."
        "Scanning......... One file found."
        "Show me."
        "Access denied. Level four security clearance required."
        "Forge it."
        "Access granted."
        The file was displayed. Bookshire read it and summarized it for the rest
of the group.
        "Basically, it confirms the story that a prisoner was captured in a raid
and escaped interrogation, the same prisoner that Sonic rescued. This was
level four, I don't think it's fake. Williams is not on Robotnik's side."
        "Then why would he kidnap Tails?" Sally still wanted to know.
        "Maybe he didn't, but whatever the case, we need to find Tails."
        "Agreed. Sonic, you search Robotropolis, Dulcy, you and I will search the
Great Forest."

        It was a long while before they finally made it to their destination and
they were all tired. Williams and Tails sat down and got as comfortable as
they could, considering their condition.
        "How about untying us now? If we try to escape, you can kill us."
        Tails immediately looked at Williams at the sound of being shot.
        "It's okay," he said to Tails, "just don't try to escape and she won't
kill you."
        Tails was unsure about this plan.
        "Deal," the woman said. She walked over to Tails, crouched down, and
untied his hands, being careful not to let Williams out of her sight. Tails,
in turn, made his way to Williams and untied his hands.
        "Who are you?" asked Williams.
        "The name is Sandra Nightweaver. I deal in information. Who are you?"
        Williams looked at Tails, hoping he'd understand, then back at Sandra.
"I'm Xero, this is Tails, we're Knothole defectors. Why do you want us?"
        "Oh, I don't want you, Packbell does. Strange, he said that you're a
fugitive of some kind."
        "Yeah, well I am. I escaped from my cell, Tails happened to be in the
same cell as me. Almost made it to Knothole. Hey Tails, you okay?...
Tails?... Tails! He's dehydrated! You can't expect him to walk this far
without water! Get him some water! If he dies, Packbell would be very
        Sandra just stood there.
        "You're good," noticed Williams.
        "If you want to escape, you haven't got much time left until noon.
Besides, Packbell doesn't want HIM." She aimed the rifle at Tails. "He's
        Williams stood between her and Tails. "Uh, yeah. But right now I'm kinda
responsible for his life, so if Packbell doesn't want him, why not let him
        "Because he's my prisoner and I don't want to let him go. Now sit down,
Zero or One or whatever kind of a stupid name you have."
        He obeyed. "Sigh," he sighed. "Must I explain everything? It's Xero,
with a 'Xi.' Not naught." A short silence. "How much is Packbell paying
        "He gave me this laser rifle and, when the operation is complete, a hover
        "Wow. Hover unit. You do a lot of work for Robotnik?"
        "I don't work for Robotnik. I work for whoever hires me."
        "Ohhhhh," said Williams, nodding. "So if I give you something better than
a hover unit, you'll let us go?"
        A long silence. No one moved, no one talked. Each of them looked at one
another, thinking about the situation. Williams was looking at Tails when he
realized that Tails had not said a word ever since they were captured in the
Great Forest.
        "Tails," Williams broke the silence, "you okay, for real?"
        "Sonic would've saved us by now. I'll probably never see Vixie again."
        "Never mind."
        "I'm sure Sonic's out looking for us right now. But everything will be
fine as soon as Packbell comes."
        Tails was puzzled about what Williams just said. It sounded wrong. "I
thought Packbell was gonna roboticize us? That's bad, right?"
        "Not really. I'll explain. You and I have the one most important thing
it takes to win this war: intelligence. With it, you can do anything."
        "Then why are we stuck here?"
        "You underestimate me. Life is just a game. You only get one, so you
have to make it as interesting as possible. This war gives you the chance to
do that. When it's over, you can tell your kids all about how you helped win
it. Chances are, their lives won't be nearly as exciting as yours. You may
not think so, but you're a very lucky person."
        "YOU may think it's fun, but I don't. Not after my parents were
        "Ha! I was there when it all started. Everybody I knew had been
roboticized. I narrowly escaped certain doom and lived here, in a village
near the Great Swamp. Just three days ago, Packbell found us and took us all
to Robotropolis. I was the only one to escape." Williams was just getting
started when he was rudely interrupted by Sandra, who had shot Tails.
        "Hey!" shouted Williams. "We had a deal! You could kill him, but ONLY if
he was trying to escape!"
        "Oh shut up! He's not dead, just stunned. Your annoying little life
story was getting to me."
        "You wanted ME to shut up so you shot Tails," illogically concluded
        "I couldn't risk killing YOU. You're the one Packbell wants."
        Williams groaned. He attended to Tails, who was fine but unconscious.
        "Here." Sandra threw Williams her rifle. "I'll be back," she said and
was gone.

        "Nothing," reported Sonic as he arrived back in the War Room. He was the
last to stop searching.
        "He HAS to be SOMEWHERE," said Sally. "Tails wouldn't just wander off
alone. The ONLY explanation is that Robotnik has him somewhere."
        "That's impossible, Sal. I checked with Uncle Chuck. There's nothing
going on down there."
        "There has to be!"
        "Whoah, Sal. You need a nap."
        "I'm sorry. I'm under a lot a stress right now. First Williams, now
Tails. I guess we'll just have to wait and see who finds him."
        "He can take care of himself."
        "I certainly hope so."

        In five short minutes, Sandra did indeed come back with a small pouch
around her neck. "Some food and water rations," she said, offering the bag.
        "Oh, I see. First you try to kill him, then you offer him food. I guess
I never will understand the female mind. You hungry?" he asked Tails,
opening the bag.
        Tails had regained consciousness, but was still a bit groggy. He mumbled
something and held out his hand. Williams gave him the bag. Knowing that
Tails was taken care of, he turned his attention to Sandra.
        "How did you know you could trust me?" He handed Sandra her gun back. "I
could've escaped when you were gone. Or I could've shot you just now."
        "Besides being annoying, your little story revealed a lot about yourself.
I shot Tails to test my theory. If you were here when I came back, I was
right. If not, I didn't get my hover unit."
        "You still didn't explain how we're going to escape," asked Tails.
        "It's quite simple, Sandra gives us to Packbell and gets her hover unit.
We get Packbell to take you back to Knothole. I let him take me to
Robotropolis. Everybody's happy."
        "But..." Tails was worried. "You'll be..."
        "I'll be having the time of my life, trust me."
        The trio waited for Commander Packbell to arrive. And arrive he did.
Sandra retreated deeper into the swamp, so as not to let Packbell see her.
Two hover units landed in the middle of their "camp site." The pilot of
Sandra's hover unit, a Swat-bot, got out and escorted the prisoners to the
        "Good bye!" Williams called into the swamp, knowing Sandra was there.
"And have fun!" He was loaded onto the ship.
        "I know you are there, Sandra," announced Packbell. "Here is your hover
unit." He also got into the ship and took off for Robotropolis.
        "Are you prepared for the end of your natural life?" Packbell asked
        "Yeah, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen. Computer, scramble the
        The copilot made a few jerky movements, then lay limp in its chair.
        "Wow! How'd you do that?" inquired Tails.
        "What have you done!?!" asked Packbell, scrambling for a weapon of some
        "Nothing much, I just randomized every bit of information stored in the
Swat-bot. Computer, scramble Pack--"
        "No! Wait!" Packbell seemed frightened for his life--he couldn't find a
        "Computer, stand by to scramble Packbell."
        "What do you want?"
        "Take us to Knothole."
        "If I knew where Knothole was, I would have seized it long ago."
        "I wouldn't talk to the person who has your life in his hands like that.
Tails, you know where you live, fly us there."
        "I can't fly a hover unit," explained Tails.
        "Well, here's your chance to learn. We've got time. Press some buttons,
flip some switches, have fun! It's not like Packbell will even THINK of
hurting you."
        Tails climbed into the front seat, pushing the Swat-bot onto the floor.
        "HE will never be able to get us ANYWHERE," observed Packbell.
        "HE is incredulously intelligent and will learn. And from now on, you
will refer to him as 'Supreme Emperor of All Time and Space.'"
        "And what shall I call you? 'Lord of Mobius?'"
        "No, you may call me Williams." The ship suddenly shot forward, then
stopped. "Getting anywhere, Emperor?"
        Tails giggled. He liked the feeling of being in control, of having power.
"Here we go." He turned the hover unit around (sharply), then headed towards
        "The little twit will kill us all," warned Packbell. "You cannot just get
into a hover unit and fly away."
        "WHO will kill us all?" asked Williams.
        "The Supreme Emperor of All Time and Space," Packbell corrected his
        "Very good! And if he does kill us all, you can blame me."
        Tails landed the hover unit right in the middle of town, where everybody
could see. As the door opened, a hush fell over the crowd that gathered.
Tails stepped out and took a bow. Sally pushed her way through the cheering
crowd and hugged Tails as hard as she could.
        "I was so worried!" she exclaimed with a few tears rolling down her cheek.
"I'm glad you're back! Where have you been? Are you okay?"
        As they were talking, Williams appeared in the doorway. "Sorry to leave
so soon, but I have an unscheduled appointment with Robotnik." The hover
unit took off for Robotropolis.
        "Why was he in there? Why were YOU in there? Oh, I'm glad you're back!
What happened?"
        Tails was really excited. "I followed Williams into the Great Forest,
then we were attacked by Sandra and taken to the Great Swamp."
        "You were attacked!?! Did she hurt you?"
        "No, not until we got to the Great Swamp, then Williams tried to save us
but it didn't work, so she shot me."
        "My gosh! She shot you!?! Are you okay!?!"
        "Yep, fine Aunt Sally. I was only unconscious for a few minutes. Then
Packbell came and traded Sandra a hover unit for us, but then Williams let me
fly the hover unit and made Packbell call me the Supreme Emperor of All Time
and Space!"
        "This guy's good," complimented Sonic.
        "But you were shot! I'll never forgive him!" vowed Sally.
        "It wasn't his fault, Aunt Sally. He stood between Sandra and me. But
now..." Tails' tone of voice lowered. He spoke a bit slower and fought back
a tear. "Now he's Packbell's prisoner."
        "You mean to tell me," said Sonic in disbelief, "that he got you to fly a
hover unit with Packbell next to you in the cockpit, and now he's giving
himself up?"
        "He even said he would," confirmed Tails. "He said that Sandra got her
hover unit, I got home, and Packbell got his prisoner."


Received on Sat Mar 11 1995 - 19:34:37 PST

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