Okay, last one. I promise.

From: <BBlaze_at_aol.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 23:17:44 -0500

   Here's another of mine. Adam is in it. Yes, the person I mentioned in
"Nano-Wars." Ironically enough, the first one I wrote comes last. This
one's sandwiched somewhere in the middle.
   Adam is a numbat. (Don't worry, I didn't spoil anything.) Knuckles is an
echidna, Gabriel is a pangolin, Adam completes the set. (Hey, I thought it
was a good idea!)


   "Please, spare me your egotistical musings on your pivotal role in
history. Nothing you do here will cause the Federation to collapse or
galaxies to explode. To be blunt, you're not that important."
   -Q, Star Trek: The Next Generation

   This short story is based on the characters created and copyrighted by
Archie Comic Publications, 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 Szal.

Timeline: 3234, Tails is not a Freedom Fighter, Sir Charles works for Doctor

                               First Contact
                              by Michael Szal

   Williams had to work fast. He knew if he couldn't react fast enough, it
would all be over. His fingers reached to different parts of the terminal,
pressing buttons here and there. A maniacal laugh came from a few buildings
down the street. He was loosing and had to come back fast. As he worked,
he tried to keep one step ahead of himself so he knew what to do next and
how to do it. Finally, it came to him: he was loosing! He quickly put his
plan into action. After he was finished, he stepped back from the terminal,
took a sigh of relief, and waited. A few seconds later, he received a
   "You are evil! Evil, evil, evil! I HAD you!" It was his friend, Adam,
calling to congratulate him on a game well played.
   "It was a simple procedure, really. Something to keep for next time."
   "Next time!?! Next time you won't even have a chance--"
   "You can threaten me on the way back to Wespero. It's already dark,
let's go."
   "Okay. I'll meet you at your terminal." He started to walk down the
street towards Williams' terminal. It was only a few buildings away. "So
what exactly did you do?"
   "As I was saying before, it was simple. I just wrote a short program to
keep checking if I was okay and sent it to some other terminal. If at any
time I went off-line, it would reactivate my terminal and deactivate yours."
   "So you DID lose!"
   "Uh, uh. According to the rules, you must be off-line for at least
three seconds to loose. I believe you're the one who made that rule."
   "Yeah? Well let's change it."
   "Fine by me."
   "How did you get by my defenses, anyway? I had so many back-ups you
couldn't even begin--"
   Williams sighed. "You and your defenses. You can't rely too much on
defenses. No matter how good your programs are, there's always a way to get
by them. All they do is buy you some time. That's why--"
   "Apparently they almost bought me enough time. I had you."
   "I'll give you that. But you could've won a long time before if you had
a better offense."
   Adam met his friend and they began their walk back to Wespero, their tiny
village near the Great Swamp. "But YOU have the better offense. You hit me
before I have a chance to attack. That's why I need a good defense."
   "Then work on speed. If you hit me first, I'll be working on recovering
which gives you more time to work on better attackers."
   "I guess."
   They walked along a bit more. Williams waved as a squadron of hover
units passed by. It landed and deployed its Swat-bots to capture the two
rebels. They went peacefully. As they were being loaded into a hover unit,
Adam made an obvious observation.
   "Hey, neat! A prisoner!"
   Williams noticed it also. In the corner was a tiny skunk, maybe nine or
ten years old. They both sat down in the back, but no one said anything
for a while.
   "How did you get caught?" asked the skunk, with a touch of anger in her
   "We didn't," explained Adam.
   She tried again, this time asking Williams, "How did you get caught?"
   "We're just here for the ride. When we land, we'll be on our way and
you'll be roboticized and live the rest of your life, which is a long time
since you'll be a robot, blindly obeying any and all orders Robotnik gives
   She was getting impatient. "Stop joking! Listen," she started to
whisper, "I've been figuring out how we can escape."
   "Back up," Williams was whispering also. "First of all, the Swat-bots
can hear us." He continued in his normal tone of voice, "Secondly,
technically we are 'prisoners by order of Robotnik' or something like that,
but this is our stop and soon we won't be. Adam."
   Adam took his cue, "Computer, change all the Swat-bots' orders in this
squadron so that they'll let us go."
   As if nothing was wrong, the entire squadron of hover units stopped and
landed. Williams opened the door and got out. Adam soon followed.
   "You're welcome to come with us, or you could stay and see if your plan
   She was outside in an instant. "How did you get them to do that?" she
asked as they all walked away from the area.
   "Simple," replied Williams.
   "Quite," added Adam. "How did YOU get caught?"
   "I guess I wandered too far away from my village."
   "Can you get there from here?"
   "I think so......but..."
   "But it's dark and it would be better if you came with us?" asked
   "By the way, what might I call you?"
   "Hello, Nina," bowed Adam. "My name is Adam Lockard and I'll be your
hero for tonight. This is my lowly apprentice, Xero."
   "Actually, I, Williams, lengthener of life spans and nullifier of
diseases, taught Adam everything he knows. Speaking of which, I still need
to teach you more about a good, quick offense. I've found that--"
   "Excuse me," Nina broke in, "but what are you talking about?"
   "Just a game we play. Every so often we come here to battle each other
to the death."
   "You come here......to play games?"
   "It's the best place. Robotnik's the only one I know of who has a huge
network of terminals throughout an entire city."
   Nina still couldn't believe it. As they walked she got lost in the
conversation again, but absorbed as much as she could.

   They were arriving in Wespero when Kristen saw them coming and ran up to
meet them. "Where have you been?" She hugged Williams tightly. "You never
come back this late!"
   "The game got pretty exciting, he almost won. We even brought back a
present for you. Nina, this is Kristen, our obsolete nurse. Kristen, this
is Nina, a girl we met on a hover unit. We thought it would be best if she
stayed here for the night."
   "She can stay in my hut," invited Kristen.
   "Done. I'll see all of you in the morning and we'll figure out what to
do then." He kissed Kristen good night and then left.
   "I'll be retiring also." Adam left.
   "And you can come with me." Kristen led Nina to her hut.

   Nina tried to get to sleep, but could not. She snuck out of her room and
saw a light on in another hut. Peeking in through the window, she saw
Williams sitting in a chair talking to someone. She knocked on the door.
   "What?" called Williams.
   "May I come in?"
   "If you must."
   She did.
   "You can sit..." he looked around his hut, "...anywhere where there's
   She found a place on the bed and started to move some equipment aside.
   "Uh-- Put that-- Never mind."
   She sat down.
   "You couldn't sleep either?"
   "No, not 'couldn't' exactly. More like 'don't.' I go to bed after
everybody else and wake up before everybody else. When nobody else is
around, I work."
   "What are you working on now?"
   "Three or four things. Controlling other computers, nanites, that
terminal war game that needs a name, and the void."
   "Nanites? Void?"
   "We have time. Remember about year ago when everybody got sick?"
   "That happened to you too?"
   "It happened to everybody on the planet. It was caused by a few
octillion nanites. I got rid of them all."
   "YOU? How?"
   "We don't have that much time. The void is something I found out about
in Robotnik's computer core. Presumably, it's the gateway to another
dimension. I'm trying to open it, or at least understand it."
   She thought about what he had said and, remembering what had happened in
Robotropolis, commented, "You're much more interesting than anybody in my
   He smiled. "I think you'll find that I'm much more interesting than
anybody here, also. Besides Adam. He's pretty interesting."
   "Are you two brothers?"
   "Ha! No. He's just a friend who escaped the coup d'etat with me."
   "What about......your parents?"
   "I'm so sorry."
   "It's not your fault. I'm not sure exactly what happened to them, but
I'm assuming they were roboticized. If that's so, it's a simple matter of
deroboticizing them. I just haven't been able to locate them yet. Which
leads me to believe that they're dead."
   "I'm so sorry."
   "It...is...not...your...fault," he enunciated. "So, why'd you want to
see me?"
   "Oh. I couldn't sleep and I saw your light on."
   "So I thought we could talk."
   "About what?"
   "I don't know. You're making this very difficult. I'm spending the
night in some strange village with people I've never met and everybody's
worried about me back home." She sounded if she was going to cry.
   "Calm down. Just go to sleep and everything will be fine tomorrow."
   She nodded and started to get in Williams' bed.
   "No-- What're you-- Fine." He cleared off the miscellaneous objects
from his bed.
   Nina got into bed, got comfortable, and tried to go to sleep.
   "I'll just sleep in my chair," he told her. Of course, Williams stayed
up after she finally fell asleep, researching the void. But he eventually
had to sleep also.

   He woke suddenly to the sound of someone banging on the door. Strange,
someone actually got up before him. Williams didn't answer, so it was
opened from the outside. It was Kristen. She was breathing heavily and she
spoke fast.
   "Nina's gone! Have you seen her? Where'd she go?"
   Williams, half-awake, answered, "Yeah, she's been here all night."
   "What!?! You didn't tell me?"
   "She came in during the middle of the night, I didn't want to wake you.
Apparently, she wanted to sleep here, so I let her."
   "Next time, tell me!"
   "Next time? How many more times is this going to happen?"
   Kristen walked over to Nina, sleeping soundly.
   "What are you doing now? Don't wake her, the sun is just coming up. Let
her sleep a little more."
   Kristen didn't hear him. She gently nudged Nina, who woke up startled.
She let out a yelp, but soon recovered.
   "It's morning already?"
   "Not quite," Williams rhetorically replied.
   "Why is everybody up so early?"
   "Ask Kristen."
   "You weren't in bed, I came looking for you," Kristen answered the
question. "Why did you sneak out like that?"
   "I couldn't sleep, I saw Williams was up so I visited him."
   "You shouldn't run off like that."
   "Well," said Williams, "now that we're all up, let's go."
   "Where?" asked Kristen.
   "To take Nina home, where else?"
   "Now is the perfect time. We might be able to get there before anybody
wakes up." He got up out of his chair and left.
   "Wait up!" Nina followed him.
   Kristen went to wake Adam up.

   Williams and Nina were waiting as Adam met them outside of the village.
It was early and cold, the wind made things worse.
   "Where's Kristen?"
   "She's not coming. Said she needed more sleep."
   "Well she's the one who woke everybody up at this ungodly hour. Which
way?" he asked Nina.
   "I don't know where we are."
   "Then we're going back to Robotropolis. As soon as you recognize
something and can find your way back, let me know."
   "You mentioned something about derobotization," Nina commented as they
were walking. "Can you really undo that?"
   "Let's just say that when you can manipulate molecules, you can do a lot
of things." He didn't want to get into the finer points of changing the
molecular structure of metal to skin. "And if you can manipulate individual
protons, neutrons, and electrons, you're a god."
   "Why's that?"
   "Because then you can change anything into anything else. Don't like
pollution? Then change it into ice cream."
   "Uh, huh. And when you get down to quarks..."
   "How do you know all this?"
   "You pick up some things when you hang around a physicist all day."
   They walked some more. "What about you, Adam?" asked Nina.
   "Tell me about yourself."
   "There's not much to tell. Robotnik took over, I came here with
Williams, the end."
   "What about your family?"
   Adam didn't answer. So Williams answered for him, "Siblings: none.
Parents: dead."
   "Doesn't anybody in this village have parents?"
   "Kristen has her mother."
   "What's the deal with Kristen?"
   Williams laughed. "You ask that as if there was something morally wrong
with her."
   "You shouldn't be. You made a joke. I'm proud of you." He patted her
on the shoulder.
   "But I insulted your girlfriend."
   "Oh, come on. THAT was not an insult. Adam can do better."
   "Of course there's something morally wrong with her," Adam was back in
the conversation, "she likes YOU."
   "See. That was...... Actually, that was directed at me. But it was a
good try."
   "Glad to be of service. Shall I try again?"
   "No, thank you."
   "Do you take anything seriously?" asked Nina.
   "But your parents are dead. HIS parents are dead. You don't find
   "Nope. It's just a part of life. No, wait. It's a part of death. But
it's the end of life which means it's a part of life. But they're not
alive, so it can't be. Wait. When does somebody die?"
   Nina thought about it. "When they're not alive any more."
   "Yeah, that's like saying 'the square root of negative two equals x where
x equals the square root of negative two.' Of course they're not alive,
that's why they're dead."
   "You should've seen him trying to explain the universe," Adam told her.
   "I DID explain it."
   "Right. Matter spontaneously popping out of nowhere."
   "It's the only explanation."

   They walked for quite a while. Robotropolis was pretty close by the time
Nina told Williams she knew where to go.
   "Okay, bye." Williams began to walk back.
   "Wait! Where are you going?"
   "We have to escort her to her village," Adam reminded him.
   "You can find your way to your village, right?"
   She nodded.
   "Then you don't need our help anymore. We'll see you again sometime."
   "We can't just leave her here."
   Williams pulled Adam aside. "If we take her home, they'll want to meet
us. They'll ask us where we came from and will want to visit us. I don't
want to have to deal with another village. You can go with her if you want
but please, don't bring anybody back with you."
   "Nina, go home and enjoy life. Good-bye." Williams continued walking
   "Just...trust us, okay?" Adam followed.
   Nina stood there for a moment, deciding what to do. She could run after
them and get them to take her the rest of the way, but she didn't. Williams
was right, she didn't need their help anymore. She wasn't scared of being
caught or getting lost, she just didn't want them to leave. "You're a very
interesting man, Williams," she thought to herself as she began her journey
back home.

   The End...

Received on Thu Mar 23 1995 - 23:09:37 PST

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