A Sonic the Hedgehog story
by Daniel J. Drazen
Sandy and Sally followed Uncle Chuck into the hut. Sonic
and Bunnie were inside already, and Rotor and Antoine were busy
bringing items into the hut from the porch. A small mountain of
flowers was growing near the foot of the bed.
"It was Bunnie's idea," Uncle Chuck said. "Now that we have
a better idea of what's happening to your mother, Bunnie thought
she might appreciate seeing some of the things left for her."
Indeed, Queen Alicia, though still weak and pale, was genuinely
touched by the tributes left for her.
"What IS happening to her, Uncle Chuck?" Sally asked. Uncle
"Before I explain, you have to understand I only invented
the roboticizer to enable older folks to live longer lives; I
certainly never meant for them to cheat death."
"What does that have to do with it?" Sandy asked
"I actually had the basic process worked out a year before I
finally rejected it--and a year before Robotnik began using it
for his own purposes. I spent almost that whole year working on
one aspect of the process: bioscreening."
"Bioscreening?" Sally asked. "What's that?"
"A roboticized body isn't entirely mechanical. What the
roboticization process does is to reconstruct mechanical analogs
to some of the failed body systems, such as wasted limbs, and use
other systems that are still functioning without replacing them.
The heart continues to function, serving as an electric motor
once it's been adapted; the brain continues to function as well,
though it appears that the penetration of the brain by the
mechanical components had a lot to do with destroying a person's
will. That's why I ultimately gave up on the notion of
"But the body of someone who's been roboticized becomes like
any other machine: it performs mechanical functions and those
functions produce waste products. I found that the early
roboticizing process produced many unwanted elements, and unless
they were dealt with...."
"Unless they were dealt with," Rotor spoke up, "they'd have
nowhere to go except back into the body!"
"That's right. And...and that's what's killing the Queen."
It suddenly became very quiet inside the hut.
"Robotnik must have used an earlier version of the process;
either that, or he simply removed the bioscreening capabilities
from a later design. Either way,..."
"Never mind all that!" Sandy snapped. "Exactly what's
killing our mother?"
"It's...there are so many things," Uncle Chuck sighed.
"She's suffering from irregular heart rhythms caused by
electrical interference, her lungs are full of tumors caused by
toxins, her liver has been poisoned by heavy metals...there's
just too much...."
Sandy turned on her heels, hurled a chair across the hut,
and before the last splinter fell to the floor she was gone.
Sally rose to follow her.
"Better let her be, Sally girl," Bunnie said softly.
"You stay, too, Bunnie. This is your problem as well."
Uncle Chuck's words rooted Bunnie to the spot.
"You and Sandy are in the same position as the Queen, though
not to the same extent. The blood samples I took from both of
you confirm it: you're being affected by the same thing that's
affecting the Queen."
"Is there a..." Bunnie started to ask.
"A cure? If caught early enough, yes. The technology to
detoxify your body is readily available. Unfortunately, so long
as you're part-robot, you'll only wind up 're-infecting'
yourself, as it were. Unless you were deroboticized, it would
only be a matter of time before your body started breaking down
from the stress."
"And Mother?" Sally asked. Uncle Chuck shook his head
"Uncle Chuck," Sonic asked, "are you saying that anyone
who's been roboticized is going to go through this?"
"That's about the size of it, Sonic."
"No way! I mean, YOU were roboticized yourself and you're
Whatever else Sonic had to say died on his lips. Uncle
Chuck looked at his nephew with robotic eyes, eyes that still
showed a great deal of pain.
"Sonie, I didn't want to say anything because I didn't fully
understand what was going on and I didn't want to scare you, but
I've felt myself starting to slow down lately. Not a lot, but
enough to notice. At first I thought it was just my age catching
up to me, but...."
"Sonie, listen to me! I had Nicole run a model of the
progression of this...this disease or whatever you want to call
it. Based on what she said, and after analyzing my own blood
sample, I've still got about three more good years left in me
"Oh, Uncle Chuck, no," Sally whispered. She walked up to
him and put her arms around him. Then she asked, "What about the
"Nicole estimates that within five years..." He couldn't
finish the sentence. Rotor grabbed a chair and Uncle Chuck sat
down heavily. "Within five years, anywhere from a third to one
half of the roboticized Mobians will be dead or dying. Inside of
ten years, nobody who was fully roboticized will be left." The
silence in the hut deepened.
"What have I done?" Uncle Chuck wailed, burying his face in
his hands, "what have I done?"
It was the faintest of whispers that caught his attention.
The Queen was calling his name. He approached Queen Alicia and
knelt next to her bed. The Queen placed her hand on his own.
"It's not...your fault. This...is Julian's evil. It is
Bunnie turned and left the hut in a daze. She wandered out
toward the river that ran next to Knothole, and the bridge that
spanned it. She could see someone standing at the middle of the
bridge, looking down at the flowing water. It was Sandy. Bunnie
walked over to her.
"You OK, Sandy?" she asked. Sandy didn't say anything for a
minute, until she drew back her cloak.
"You see this scar tissue, just where the robot arm ends?"
"One day, when I must have been about eight years old, I
felt that the Nomad children had called me 'monster hand' for the
last time. I snuck a knife out of one of the tents, took it with
me to a secluded spot, and started cutting my arm off. I bit my
lip raw trying not to scream out from the pain. I never finished
the job; I passed out from loss of blood, and that's how they
found me. They told me I almost died that day; I told them I
wished I had."
She turned. "Bunnie, I don't know how you manage to keep
from killing yourself."
Bunnie didn't answer, because she didn't have an answer.
Mercifully, she was spared from having to answer the question,
for Tails walked up to her. He looked unusually sullen.
"Somethin' the matter, honey?" Bunnie asked.
"I just don't know why everyone's acting so strange, Aunt
Bunnie. I mean, I know that it's sad that the Queen's gonna die,
but how come everybody's so weirded out about it? It's...."
"Yeah," he said in a near-whisper, glad that someone else
could talk about the feeling he wasn't about to admit himself.
Bunnie thought for a few seconds. "Maybe Ah can explain it.
You remember what happened last winter, when Sonic had to stay
with Antoine until he could get his place rebuilt after Dulcy
landed on it?"
"Yeah!" Tails laughed. "Antoine really got bent out of
shape! You could hear him yelling at Sonic all over Knothole."
"That's 'cuz Antoine got used to livin' a certain way, and
when he had to get used to Sonic's way of livin', he couldn't
"But what's that got to do with the way everyone's been
"Well, honey, we all of us get used to life, and when we're
reminded that we're all gonna have to stop livin' one day, then
it's our turn to get bent out of shape. See what Ah mean?"
"I think so. Thanks, Aunt Bunnie." He smiled, kissed
Bunnie on the cheek, and was off.
"Why 'Aunt Bunnie?'" Sandy asked.
"Oh, that's jes' what he calls me, same as he calls Sally
'Aunt Sally.'" Bunnie paused. "Y'know, Sandy, that may be the
answer to your question."
"Well, you can see we're not like any fancy kinda army here.
It feels more like...like a family. After all, we all lost our
real families when Robotnik took over and roboticized 'em. We
don't have any kin of our own left, so we have to be kin to each
other. Ah think that's what keeps us going."
"I see. Well, maybe I'll find something to keep *me*
"Ah hope so."
"You'll excuse me, I'm going for a walk."
Sandy walked to the end of the bridge, then turned and began
walking along the bank of the river. She studied the bank
intently, as if looking for something. Occasionally she would
reach into the water and pull out a small stone from the river
bed. The first few stones she tossed back into the water.
Finally, she found one that suited some purpose of hers. Sitting
on the riverbank, she pulled out her knife and slowly and
methodically began running the stone against the blade. She
didn't stop until the blade was as sharp as a scalpel.
to be continued
Received on Tue Mar 14 1995 - 08:44:00 PST
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0
: Thu Mar 19 2015 - 12:17:02 PDT