A Sonic the Hedgehog story
by Daniel J. Drazen
It was difficult to say whether any day in Robotropolis was
a "good day." It was difficult enough to tell if it was day at
all. A pall of pollution perpetually hung over the city,
produced by Robotnik's various factories and generators. To
fight against this darkness, lights blazed continually across the
city. The result was that the city knew neither day nor night in
the accepted sense; instead, it existed in a sick, perpetual
No, it wasn't easy to say whether any day was a good day in
Robotropolis, but for one of its two human inhabitants, it was
shaping up to be a very bad day indeed.
It had started out well enough for Snively, nephew of Dr.
Robotnik and now his longsuffering lackey. The day before had
been the day to test a new development: a "whisper technology"
filter that could be retrofitted to Robotnik's hover units. With
the filters in place, the hover units would be almost completely
silent. With this advantage, it was thought that Robotnik could
get the drop on the Knothole freedom fighters once and for all.
Even Robotnik's arch-nemesis, Sonic the Hedgehog, would be caught
completely off guard.
That was Snively's hope, and it appeared that that hope
would be realized. The onboard camera recorded the hover unit's
approach to the Great Forest where, somewhere, the freedom
fighters had their hiding place. Luckily, there was a fog that
morning, so Snively let the hover unit come in on instruments.
And in another stroke of good fortune, a recent reconaissance
photo showed something like a lookout post in the area. And most
fortunate of all, that morning one of the Knothole freedom
fighters--the files showed that her name was Bunnie--was filmed
on infrared climbing onto the platform, completely unaware of the
This was too much of a temptation to pass up. Snively
ordered that the hover unit with its compliment of eight SWATbots
should pull up to the platform, take Bunnie prisoner and return
to base. This would be a crowning moment: a successful test of
the hover technology would be sweet enough, but the capture of
one of the Knothole renegades would be even sweeter. Snively
watched with mounting glee as he switched to the outboard camera,
recording the first SWATbot's moves to apprehend Bunnie.
And then something went very, very wrong.
The next thing Snively knew, all eight SWATbots had left the
ship but none had returned. He set all cameras to record what
was happening and watched the monitors as best he could. It was
apparent that the weight of the SWATbots had collapsed a portion
of the platform, but that only accounted for some of the eight
bots going offline. Something had happened to the others,
something that was so unplanned for and that happened so fast
that it served to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
When Snively realized that all eight SWATbots were offline,
he quickly scanned the forest floor. There was not enough room
for the hover unit to maneuver and with the fog he wasn't able to
see as much as he'd wanted to. He thought he recorded an image
of Bunnie on the ground, either unconscious or dead, but the fog
made positive identification hopeless. There was nothing left to
do but to manually recall the empty hover unit and examine the
Snively had just finished doing so and, still not quite
believing what he had seen, was on his way to report the news to
Dr. Robotnik. This was not, he said to himself, going to be a
At the threshold of Robotnik's briefing room he paused to
make sure his clothes were in order. No point compounding
ineptitude with shabbiness. He stepped inside.
"I've read your preliminary report," Robotnik said in a low
rumble of a voice, which came out as a kind of growl. "Why did
you fail me?"
"It wasn't quite a failure, Sir. The whisper technology on
the hover unit worked beyond all expectations of...."
"I don't care about the whisper technology on the hover
unit; I want to know what happened to my SWATbots!!"
"Y-yes, Sir. Beginning analysis of surveillance film, Sir."
The image from the film filled a large screen at one end of
the room. The image was a little grainy and monochrome, but it
clearly showed Bunnie climbing the rope ladder, unaware of the
hover unit not far from her.
At the sight of her, Robotnik clenched the fist of his own
roboticized left arm. He didn't like any of the freedom
fighters, least of all the hedgehog, but the sight of Bunnie
particularly vexed him. She represented unfinished business. He
*hated* unfinished business.
The film rolled on, the camera drawing closer and closer to
the unsuspecting Bunnie. There was a jump in the film as the
outboard camera clicked in. They could see the first SWATbot
advancing towards Bunnie.
There was a blur as someone or something dropped down behind
the bot. The shadowy figure could then be seen holding a tree
branch and swinging it at the bot. The SWATbot's head came away
from its body cleanly.
Then a second SWATbot stepped into the camera, obscuring the
sight of the figure. But not for long; the figure was soon
visible again, through a hole punched into the bot's midsection.
The bot then crumbled.
Other bots filled the camera's field of vision, though most
of them dropped out of the picture as the platform section they
were standing on gave way beneath their collective weight. The
shadowy figure, on the other hand, appeared to be dangling from a
rope around its waist. It seemed to make a grab at someone,
Bunnie probably, but could not hold on. The image was lighted by
a SWATbot blast, and the figure swung out of camera range.
The camera followed her with an unsteady movement. By the
time it settled on her, there were two SWATbots standing in front
of her and two more in pieces at her feet. Maybe three seconds
Robotnik studied the view screen, his brow furrowing above
his dark eyes. Suddenly he sat upright. The figure on the
screen had shed her cape, but had left her veil and headdress in
"Snively! Freeze that image!!"
Rushing to the controls, Snively halted the action on
screen. The figure was a blur, but some things could be made
out: it wore a belt from which hung a number of objects, only a
few of them recognizable to Robotnik. She also wore boots, which
were little better than yards of rags wrapped around her feet.
And then there was that right arm. Even on the surveillance
film it was clear to tell that it was a robot arm.
"Snively! Enhance the view of that arm!"
"Right away, Sir." He adjusted the controls and the image
was blown up to twice its size.
"But Sir, we're starting to lose resolution as it is."
Robotnik studied the image for a few silent seconds.
"Never mind, then," he said with a casual air that stunned
Snively. "Continue showing the film."
"Y-yes Sir." Bewildered, Snively complied.
It only took another five seconds for the figure to disable
the last two bots: the first bot had one of its legs torn off,
and the other crumpled after a maneuver that caused both Robotnik
and Snively to wince in pain. Then she was gone. The last
minute of the film was only surveillance of a foggy, and
apparently empty, forest. Snively hated to see the film end, for
he knew that the wrath of Robotnik was sure to follow.
"Snively," Robotnik said calmly, "continue surveillance on
that part of the Great Forest and inform me if anyone comes to
rebuild that platform. You may go."
Stunned, Snively was not about to question his good fortune.
"Very good, Sir," he said snappily, and left. Amazed at having
survived the briefing in one piece, Snively thought that maybe
this was going to be a good day after all!
Inside the conference room, Robotnik spent the next half-
hour playing and replaying the film. At the end of that time he
was certain of what he had seen.
"So," he mused, "it would appear that the little princess is
back, and in one piece." He began to consider how best to deal
with this unfinished business. He *hated* unfinished business!
to be continued
Received on Mon Mar 20 1995 - 18:17:31 PST
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