"Evolution of a Predator" (1/2)

From: Shawn Wolski <n5una_at_MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 04:04:42 -0600

Sonic the Hedgehog "Evolution of a Predator" by Shawn Wolski

The author will accept questions and comments via E-mail at the
following address: n5una_at_mail.utexas.edu

Sonic the Hedgehog and other associated characters are based on
the creations of Service and Games (Sega), Archie Comic
Publications, and the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons (Saturday
morning issue) created by DIC and Sega of America. Additional
characters that appear are the original creations of their
respective authors (characters indexed by author):

David Pistone: Bookshire Draftwood
Shawn Wolski: David Prower

Some of the references in the story are somewhat "Star Trek"
oriented to varying degrees, so in the event that Paramount has
a copyright on subjects displayed here, the author refers the
reader to "Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual",
written by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda. Technology is
either a direct translation in some cases, or adaptations made
by the author that are based on the technology from the book.

This work is protected under various copyright laws. The author
grants his permission for free distribution, under the premise
that the work retains its original format. No other utilization
of the following work, monetary or otherwise, is permitted.
Copyrighted by Shawn Wolski, (c) 1995.

Temporal Notice: The story takes place approximately 4.5 weeks
after David's activation, about a week after Tails and David
became brothers by Knothole Law. Refer to "My Brother's Keeper"
for background details.

        Saturday morning at 0630 hours was one of dazzling beauty for
the denizens of Knothole. The solar system's star exhibited an
excellent act around this time of day, some say specifically for
Mobius. The eastern sky exploded into a shower of colors along
the sky, displaying all the primaries and further in the visible
light spectrum. The shower of light continued its advance
gradually toward the west, forcing the darkness from its
stronghold back toward the other time zones in the west.
Although most of the play in the stage of the sky was partially
obscured by the branches and the leaves of the tree covering and
surrounding Knothole, there were small panoramas in some areas
that permitted the actors to be seen as the colors intermingled
and separated in complex patterns. Views like this allowed the
Freedom Fighters of Knothole to enjoy waking up at this time of
day. All except one Freedom Fighter in particular.
        Normally, David wouldn't be in such a somber mood, in perfect
contrast to the gaiety of the day. He had much to appreciate,
for he had accomplished much over the past four weeks as a
compuorganic vulpine. For starters, he had become comrades with
the rest of the Knothole residents in general, his most
important and recent acquirement being Tails. After a legal
settling held by Princess Sally, plus overwhelming support from
the rest of Knothole constituents, David and Tails were brothers
by Knothole law. By mutual agreement between David and Tails,
the two foxes decided to live together in Tails' hut. The
vulpines received a bunk bed courtesy of Rotor, and recognizing
David as a kindred inventor, the walrus permitted David the
privilege of collecting whatever raw materials he needed from
Rotor's junk equipment shed. The compuorganic fox replaced or
installed many of the computers in Knothole by permission with
ultramodern-designed units, including the computers in Sally's
hut, the observatory, Reconstruction Hall (formerly the War
Room), and of course, his and Tails' hut. Sally even allowed
him to modify Nicole's circuitry, and she received a faster,
more efficient computer in the process.
        Aside from the external accomplishments, David kept his nanites
and circuits (electronic and organic) under intensive labor for
improving and designing the complex proactive conjunction of
systems that formed his physical and mental matrix. Over a
short period of time, he complied a massive level of data for
his behavior subroutines, allowing him to interact with the rest
of the Freedom Fighters on a personal level. The
positronic/organic clock speed and instruction execution level
increased geometrically by every second. His organic/electronic
visual circuitry gradually expanded their encroachment into the
electromagnetic spectrum, progressing beyond IR and UV. These
and other countless upgrades were a source of personal pride to
David. Yet with all these achievements, the compuorganic
vulpine was still troubled on what would otherwise be an
delightful day for him. In his place as a symbiotic marriage
between computer and organic systems, he had a unique look on
life that made him a honored Knothole member. But he maintained
the mannerisms of a perturbed black and gray fox on this day,
for reasons that only he had awareness of. His mind reviewed
the events of the past day:

        Yesterday morning, David was occupied in a conversation with
Sonic, for the purpose of analyzing his terminology and behavior
associated with his speech. He attempted to mimic the
hedgehog's jovial attitude and language in order to find ways to
integrate them into his own developing styles, then a cascade
failure occurred in his universal translation language subunit
processor that rapidly extended into the other integrated
terminology system routines. No audible sound emitted from his
mouth as he fell to the ground, convulsing as if he had an
epileptic attack. He became unconscious before his impact with
the ground. He awoke five minutes later in Rotor's workshop on
a improvised cot, finding many of his friends standing around
him, concerned for his welfare. He explained to them that it
was a failure in one of his language subroutines that caused the
disaster, and assured them that the situation was under
stringent control. Reluctantly, they released him from the
makeshift cybernetic/organic medical facility, thinking that
this would be the final encumbrance that David would face.
        David was wrong in his assumption. For later in the day, when
the sun had completed its decent into the west horizon, David
was deep in the Great Forest for the purpose of essaying his
extended optical sensor array. Without any warning, everything
except his visible light spectrum detection grids deactivated
simultaneously. Unable to detect any recognizable forms in the
blackness, he engaged his electromagnetic navigation array.
That system crashed one second after he activated it. He groped
around in the darkness for about two hours before Dulcy managed
to locate and retrieve him. More scrutiny by his distressed
peers after his return to Knothole.
        As the rest of the day continued, David found many of his
systems either partially or thoroughly disabling themselves in a
random chain, and he had no means to limit or prevent the
effects. By midnight, 40% of all his operational units were
radically affected. David had no alternative except to reset
all his critical and minor functions and programs to their
default values, excluding his memory data core and emotional
database, which appeared to be the most stable remaining systems.

        Now the functionally-deprived fox was afraid to even venture
out into public, for the dread that even his default codes would
fall victim to a possibly more dire cascade failures, possibly
leading to fatality. He was at odds with the obligation of
informing Knothole at large what precisely was creating the
system-wide general protection faults in him. Then again, it
was more than likely that what he felt was necessary to say to
his associates would only serve to aggravate the anxiety/stress
indicators higher than the level they were presently at.
Everyone had their own notions as to what was gradually
stripping David's modifications from his grasp, but he knew
exactly what the answer to the conundrum was.
        In truth, David's systems were unable to dynamically respond to
his lofty demands. His projected scope of improved designs were
too much beyond his compuorganic's form to compose and alter
for, since he was designed without consideration to what he
would wish to install by default. The desire for excellence was
never even anticipated, especially not from David. To extend
his hopes for functionality far over his predesigned
specifications would only be a lesson in futility.
        A familiar voice from the bed above his called to him. "Are
you OK, David?" his brother asked, regarding his irritated
facial expression.
        David was unable to retain the truth, knowing that it would
have to be revealed eventually. "No, Tails, I am not," he
replied to his relative, speaking with his default value
terminology index and modified emotional subroutine, incapable
of cloaking the frustration from his vocalization. "Nearly all
of my systems are either reset to their initial values, or
disengaged from service."
        "What caused this to happen?" the caring confidant continued.
        David lifted himself from his bed and began pacing across the
floor, going to the ends of the bunk bed and repeating his
determined cadence. "I committed many severe errors," he began
with a voice close to cracking into uncontrollable weeping. "I
expected my compuorganic system to be capable of creating and/or
engaging in modifications to my components. I desired
integrated devices and programs that were ultimately too far
beyond what I was expected to possess. In the process, I
instructed my nanites to construct those circuits and organic
complexes until they nearly failed. Critical protection faults
occurred, leading to random cascade failures. The end result:
deprivation of nearly all the advantages I had." By the end of
his monologue, he nearly was in tears.
        "Come on, David," Tails said with more reassurance than he
felt, for he knew that his kin was in a severe predicament, and
he didn't have the knowledge of how to confront the situation.
"You'll come out of it, and probably be able to get those
programs back."
        "No," David said determinedly, combating the stream of tears
that threatened to overtake his eyes and failing. After
re-resonating his voice to a slightly more composed state, he
continued dictating. "The only alternatives I retain are to
maintain the default values and do nothing to alter
them.....or...." He stopped pacing, his face contorted with
concentration, due to the intensive data compiling and
resolution. Tails bided his time for the resulting unspoken
alternative, knowing that David would eventually reveal the
thought to him. "Or," he finally said, "completely redesign my
system to allow for a broad spectrum of hardware and software
modifications, reinitialize the codes, et cetera." A new
expectancy arose from his decision, gradually becoming apparent
on his face. His right arm partially extended, he pointed a
finger toward nowhere in particular.
        His brother examined his face, saw the look of expectancy, and
the particular method that he utilized to point one specific
finger from his right paw off to an undefined point in space.
From the little bits of information that Tails knew about his
vulpine relative, he had enough experience with him to
understand what significance the facial expression and
positioning of the extremity indicated to Mobius at large.
David had found the reprieving point in his trials, and the
decision was final. He had every intention of surpassing what
Rotor and Bookshire designed him to be, while maintaining the
basic intent of being a Freedom Fighter commander. Nothing
would force him to deviate from his intended course now.
        "Yet," David spoke again, this time with a thoughtful
atmosphere, "there are a great number of undefined parameters to
take into consideration. What can I utilize to define my new
compuorganic system?"
        He noticed his personal computer, and walked to the touchpad
keyboard. Not knowing what to expect next from the developing
situation, Tails followed. After arriving at the required
position to use the keyboard, David typed in the required
security commands, answered the security coding vocally, and
received access to the servers available in Knothole.
        "Computer," David commanded, directing his request to the small
black tower case, "access the Knothole Library Server. Download
available on-line book titles only."
        The computer complied with his request. Less than one second
later, the book titles scrolled down the video display panel.
David pressed the appropriate keys on the video display to
examine the book titles. The confusion of fastly-scrolled
titles made no sense to Tails, but he knew his brother would
have no difficulty interpreting the blurred wave. David stopped
when he found a book that piqued his interest. He pointed it
out to his bewildered relative. The book was "Profiles of
Mobian Predators". He lightly tapped the display where the
title was visible, indicating it to the computer.
        "Download the indicated book for information, and display on
wall unit." He and Tails then walked to the wall unit display,
where they could both have an extended field of view. "Display
speed, 1024 wps." The computer scrolled the book down the
screen at the requested speed, and David read through its
entirety in six seconds.
        "Now that I have an approximation of what functions I require,"
David finally stated, "I need to design the basis for my system
        "Are you sure it's safe, David?" Tails inquired, beginning to
seriously ponder the gravity of the task his vulpine familiar
was about to undertake.
        "The procedure is safe, Tails," the black and gray fox
responded. "Nothing will be overlooked or considered trivial.
The methods are POTENTIALLY life-threatening, but safeguards
have been implemented to make the risks highly improbable."
        As if to prove the point, David went back to his personal
computer. Taking position in front of the keyboard, his paws
became a fury of motion as he entered the required codes to
manipulate the replicator, a modified roboticiser unit located
in Rotor's workshop. After two minutes of entering complex
mathematical codes and programming procedures, David removed a
plastic object from a data access port in his computer.
        "This polylinear chip," he said with unconfined fascination,
"is the key to my artificial evolution. Now I shall become the
model Freedom Fighter, and have no difficulty upgrading my
components and software." He inspected the chronometer in the
wall display unit, saw that the time was 0641 hours. "However,"
he continued, "the passage to an improved form of life requires
energy, and I am currently unprepared for such an endeavor." A
low, but audible noise originated from his abdominal area,
indicating mutual agreement between his digestive system and
power indicators.

* * *

        After the two foxes had consumed their fill of breakfast, they
traveled to Rotor's workshop for David's improved initialization
procedure. They checked to see if the hut was currently under
use for another one of Bookshire's and Rotor's projects; it was
not. Without further delay, they walked inside, spending five
minutes assessing the preliminary diagnostics on the main
computer and replicator. Satisfied with the results, David
instructed the main computer to reform him, utilizing the
parameters encoded on the polylinear chip. Thirty seconds
later, the vulpine stepped into the replicator cylinder, and
disintegrated into a shower of dissociated subatomic particles.
The main computer began its most difficult assignment:
restructuring David without causing a fatality in the process.
Tails waited five minutes while the computer performed its
programmed duties, then saw his brother reappear in the
replicator container, particle by particle.
        He looked significantly different compared to the fox that had
entered the replicator cylinder five minutes before. His tails
seemed more muscular and powerful, capable of flight for longer
distances, and looked as if they could easily behead a SWATBot
and recycle a Hover Unit in no time at all. The remaining
section of his endoskeletal frame was covered by a slimmer, but
equally devastating compuorganic overlay. His cranial
attachment seemed to have decreased in volume at least 5%, from
the reallocation of raw materials to other areas in his body.
The advanced David had been designed.
        Tails was astounded by the renewed black and gray fox that
stood before him. "Is that you, David?" he demanded for
        His fox brother quirked his mouth, forming a smile. "Of
course, who else would I be?" the relative replied, not without
a certain piqued resonance in his voice.
        "Well," Tails began, "it's nice to see that you haven't lost
your sense of humor." He investigated the schematic diagrams on
the computer. "What are these empty spaces for?" he inquired.
        "The voids in my body allow for growth of new components. Now
I have the capability to construct and refine systems without
concerning myself with the threat of multiple cascade failures."
        David's statement was correct, for the re-initialization did
more than refine his more obvious external physical appearance.
His cognitive subroutines, instruction/clock speed, integrated
language routines, reaction timebases, nanites, and countless
other functions had been accelerated and/or rejuvenated. The
new baselines allowed for new components in the future, which
would soon fill the cavities under his skin. Now that he had
superseded his original design plans set by Bookshire and Rotor,
David was prepared for nearly anything.
        The revitalized fox stepped out from the replicator cylinder.
"Tails," he said to his brother, "I believe it is time to begin
the next phase of my directed evolution. It is necessary for me
to exceed conventional velocities, so propulsion is the concern
now." He stepped over to the main computer, and entered all the
appropriate security access codes for server connection
allowance. "Computer," he commanded after he was granted
access, "connect to the Knothole Library Server. Keyword: FTL

* * *
Shawn Wolski, N5UNA

An Indoctrinated Sonic T. Hedgehog Story Author

"But I guess some things are better left in the past."
-Sally, quote from "The Temporal Syndrome"


Received on Thu Mar 23 1995 - 05:00:16 PST

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