"Mirror Image": Part 1 (1/3)

From: Shawn Wolski <n5una_at_MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU>
Date: Sun, 09 Apr 1995 19:33:36 -0500

Sonic the Hedgehog "Mirror Image": Part 1 of 3 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: David Pistone, Holly-Beth Vixie Kraft,
Shawn Wolski.

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 in this
work is either a direct translation in some cases, or
adaptations made by the author that are based on the technology
from the source indicated.

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 events detailed here take place in early
fall (October 12th by Terran equivalent), year 3236.

Present day...

        The month of September had been a tedious and very difficult
one for all the Freedom Fighter groups. Once every thirteen
years, for climatological reasons unknown, the winter season had
a rather malicious habit of arriving too promptly for those that
were unprepared for it. The end result: Knothole had been
almost been at the level of desperation in supply distribution;
since after the war ended with Robotnik about six months before,
it had become the major control center of the Freedom Fighter
groups by default. Since the locus of many of the tunnels was
Knothole, the commanders had their hands full attempting to
organize so many people into such a small space AND direct them
to the appropriate centers for cargo shipping. This was a
tedious process, since they only had a few Hover Units, and a
Hover Unit can only contain a limited amount of cargo.
        Knothole was crowded in many ways more than one. Many of the
members from the other groups moved there not very long ago,
either to escape from unfavorable climate, be closer to their
intimates, or for various other reasons. Unfortunately, this
began to create an overpopulation bottleneck in Knothole,
considering that the habitable zone was previously designed to
maintain the original residents plus 25% surplus. Knothole was
now at 35%, making the situation disturbing, and nearly
intolerable for Sally, since the majority of the burden was hers
to cope with.
        'As much as I like them,' Sally said to herself in her
thoughts, 'one of these days those people are going to have to
find a new home. This overcrowding is really putting a cramp in
my administrative duties, for both Knothole and everywhere else.
 I never thought it would be so difficult to work with all these
extra people! Who knows, maybe some of this weather will drive
them off...I hope.'
        A rapping sound emanating from her door snapped her mind to
reality and from the universe of her thoughts. She walked to
the location of the sound and opened the door. Of course, she
should have remembered. Only David and Tails would ever signal
that low on a door relative to everyone else.
        "Why, Tails," Sally said as benignly as possible, trying to
keep the stress from the past month plus now out of her mind.
"Please, come in."
        The little red fox hesitated for a second, for he couldn't miss
the general impression that she was somewhat perturbed. He then
entered, after analyzing the situation in his mind. She wasn't
angry at him; just irritated, probably for the reason that
nearly everyone else was. That knowledge still didn't resolve
any of his reluctance, however. He scanned over what he could
see in her hut. The place was a disaster area, which was very
uncharacteristic of her; except for when she was under high
levels of tension that she was incapable of dispensing with.
        "Gee," Tails began, trying to resonate his voice in a joking
manner and failing at the attempt, "are you sure it's safe for
me to come in here?" He chuckled a bit, nervously, belatedly
uncertain that his faux jovial attitude would present him with
the desired result.
        His suspicions were correct, and for once wished that they were
not. All Sally did was fix him with a cold, hard stare for
about ten seconds. As much as he desired to erase that
expression from his mind's eye, he couldn't. She captured his
gaze, and wouldn't release it under his accord.
        As if realizing what had transpired, she immediately averted
her harsh regard. "Oh, I'm sorry, honey," she finally
responded, nearly in tears. "I didn't mean to look at you like
that. It's just that...I've been under a lot of stress lately,
and..." She disengaged her monologue, not knowing how to
continue her apology to the little cub.
        Tails went over to her in a gesture of reassurance, and
embraced her. "It's OK, Aunt Sally," he stated with sympathy.
"Nearly everyone's been this way for the past few weeks, except
        It was her turn for a faltering guffaw. "David?" she asked,
observantly and somewhat disconcerted by the reference. "The
only time I've seen David irritated about something is that time
he had a system-wide failure before he completely rebuilt
himself. I don't know if ANYTHING else perturbs your brother or
        "Well, that been the only thing so far," he ventured, "he
hasn't gotten mad about anything el-"
        Another interruption from the direction of the door. From the
general location of the sound, it had to be David, but appended
to the knock was a high level of insistence. She opened the
door and saw David standing before the doorway, with a look of
extreme distress on his face. Sonic stood beside him, the
normally cavorting hedgehog looking equally distraught. Aspects
that were uncharacteristic of the David and Sonic she knew.
Something was horribly wrong.
        "Hiya, Sal. Hi, big guy," the hedgehog greeted nervously.
        "Greetings, Aunt Sally," David dictated politely, despite the
despairing mask he wore. Seeing his vulpine familiar next to
her, he continued, "And to you, Tails. May we be allowed to
        "Why...yes, certainly. Come right in, both of you," she
answered, careful to keep the expectancy out of her voice.
        She knew now wasn't the time to make demands, and that her
friends would eventually notify her of the unspoken calamity.
David was a fox of truth, and the truth would reveal itself when
he regained his composure so that he could speak as a composed
observer of events. Sonic was usually more at ease with
reporting potential or known problems, but the lack of response
told her that he either preferred to allow David to explain the
situation since David would present the information in its
entirety, or that it was so severe he couldn't face it himself.
Sally and Tails sat on her bed, watching the fox and hedgehog
pair stand and reflect on Knothole's status. A few minutes
later, the fox altered his look of despair to one of
seriousness, and that was her cue that he was prepared to
disclose the information he was so reluctant to make known to
her before.
        "What happened out there, David?" she demanded kindly.
        "I have taken the liberty as a Knothole Freedom Fighter
Commander to assist a fellow officer in assessing the supply
manifests," he initiated, with the extreme dread literally
dripping from his voice, "and Sonic and I have concluded that we
do not have a sufficient supply of reserve food stock to survive
the winter."
        This was a very devastating report for Sally, and she knew that
if this knowledge was made public, it would inevitably promote a
state of alarm for the rest of Knothole. Besides the permanent
residents of Knothole, there were the other members of the
Mobius Freedom Fighter groups to consider as well. And the
influx of new residents gradually increased every month at the
least, sometimes even by the week. Hearing David report the
potential calamity only served to portray the situation in its
entirety, with the proof as tenacious as granite.
        "Who else besides us knows about this?" she inquired, as if
expecting a riot to erupt anytime now.
        "We are the only four in Knothole who have the knowledge of the
food supply statistics," David reassured, but cast a vacant
stare directed toward the floor as he continued. "However,
maintaining the subject under covert guard will merely delay the
inevitable; not prevent it. The others will more than likely
learn of the truth, if not now, then in the near future. It
will become necessary for us to inform the rest of Knothole
about the reserve food shortage anyway, so in either case we
would have a responsibility to prevent panic and rioting."
        The compuorganic vulpine missed nothing. 'It's days like these
when I wish David WASN'T so perfect,' she thought. 'Maybe if
just a few little white lies were programmed in there somewhere,
letting us know that things were all right, even though they
might not be.' Yet, deep down inside, she knew that for him to
do so would be a sin against his programming and moral beliefs.
        "What about shipping the surplus from other bases? How long
would that take?" Sally asked, in order to get a better idea of
how severe the state could be.
        Sonic answered for her. "No way, Sal. It could take days, and
we don't have that time."
        Tails finally spoke after he saw that the preliminaries of the
situation had been established from the verbal exchange. "What
can we do about this, David?" he asked his relative, the one
ultimately in command of the circumstances. "How hard could it
be to repair the replicator?"
        Addressing both Tails and Sally this time, David responded,
"The reports I've received from Rotor and Bookshire are not in
our favor. The supply of replacement hardware has nearly been
depleted, and even if the replicator did become active again, we
no longer have the base organic stock necessary for food
replication. We do have the required chemicals to create the
organic stock, but we also do not have the hardware to overhaul
the replicator." A long pause as he compiled and resolved the
thoughts in his mind. "No, the only alternatives I can consider
at this point and time would be to find suitable areas on Mobius
for our surplus population to inhabit, locate a food resource
area that we might conceivably be able to transport raw stock
from, or locate the required hardware for the replicator.
Unless either of you have other suggestions, I propose sending a
survey party to analyze the potential success of executing the
plans I specified." He waited patiently for an answer from
Sally and Tails, for he and Sonic had already examined the
matter at length before approaching Sally.
        The young fox and the more senior ground squirrel regarded each
other with anxiety, as if to say, "I don't. Do you?" No
resolution of the implied question for other theories of dealing
with the problem at hand was forthcoming. They then returned
their attention to the black and gray fox, then to the blue
hedgehog. Neither had to receive verbal interpretation of the
silence indicated by Sally and Tails.
        After inspecting his internal chronometer for an attosecond,
David decreed, "Very well, then. The investigatory detail will
depart at 1000 hours tomorrow, seeing as-", he indicated the
illumination level outside, which was gradually grading toward
darkness as the sun extended its contact with the horizon, "-it
would be inadvisable to do so now."
        "Who do you plan to take?" Sally inquired.
        "As of now, the proposed party consists of me and Dulcy. If
anyone else wishes to-"
        An interruption from Sonic. Not verbal, but his reaction was
more than explanatory enough to convey his opinions about having
Dulcy in a mission when there was more than likely to be flying
involved. He seized Tails by the sides of his chest, and darted
with him out of Sally's hut, in an effort to spare himself and
his comrade from another of Dulcy's flights. Sally could only
stare at the unannounced and rushed departure, whereas David
placed his right paw on his forehead, sighing.
        "I had predicted the probability of this occurrence," he said
with reservation to a point off in space, "and it looks as if I
was correct. Next time, I will pay more attention to my
predictive subroutine."
        After finally regaining some of her composure, Sally voiced her
shock at the situation. "I never saw Sonic take off like that
before, especially not about Dulcy. Is something wrong, David?"
        He responded, "Nothing beyond the usual faulty landings that
she executes. Apparently, Sonic isn't the only one that shares
the fear of being part of a mission with Dulcy. This belief has
already spread through the rest of Knothole," he finished, with
obvious sympathy for the dragon.
        "How bad is it now?" she continued.
        "I believe at this phase every one has lost faith in Dulcy to
properly correct her landings. Especially from the incident
where she impacted with ten huts after falling victim to a wind
shear pattern on her final approach. She and ten others were
injured in that crash." His computers and organic memory cells
accessed the appropriate memory in question, and images in his
mind's eye formed of him valiantly defending Dulcy, noticing how
no one else would subscribe to his explanations. Not even Dulcy.
        There were the unspoken incidents of similar, countless
failures in nearly all the touchdowns that Dulcy made.
Invariably, she would land in the same fashion: lose her
balance, then fall forward, scraping her chin on the ground, not
to mention jarring her passengers. The rest of the Freedom
Fighters eventually lost faith in Dulcy's abilities, and
publicly made that point clear.
        "Well," Sally stated after thinking over the dragon's public
appearance, "the only thing that we can do now is try to build
up her confidence, and that of everyone else's in her."
        "I concur," the fox agreed. "I just so happen to have an
experimental technique to bolster her confidence and perfect her
landing procedure."
        His female comrade looked at him, as if surprised that a
solitary vulpine could perform such a feat. She had her doubts
about David's success in providing the dragon with the
initiative for flying and going out in public again.
        Noticing the nature behind the dissension, he said, "It will be
successful, Sally. Trust me."
        She chuckled, remembering who was famous for submitting that
particular phrase. "OK, David," she finally said, smiling. "I
believe you." If Sonic had done so, she wouldn't have believed
it. Knowing David's record for truthfulness restricted her
standard reflexive "Oh, I hate it when you say that" retort. If
her young colleague believed that the undertaking was to result
in a favorable outcome, then it would be so. She playfully
tugged on his cheek, knowing that he would teasingly despise her
for it. She then kissed his olfactory sensor, with the
knowledge that the reaction would be humorous as well.
        Her suspicions were no further from the truth. The juvenile
fox directed his gaze toward the floor, rubbing the protesting
sensitivity out of his nose. After the uprising had dissipated,
he lowered his arms to his sides while compressing his paws into
dangerous-looking fists, brought his face into full view of
Sally's field of vision, and set his expression into one of mock
contempt. She parroted the threat to him. Laughter exploded
from the hut as they lovingly embraced each other. This was the
most rewarding occurrence for Sally in the past three weeks, and
she intended to savor every second of it.
        After David regained control of his emotional state, but still
visibly feeling the residual effects of the last fifteen
seconds, he spoke. "Now that we both understand each other, I
believe I have business to attend to. Good night, Aunt Sally."
        "Good night, David. Good luck with Dulcy," she replied.
        "Remember: this fox ALWAYS keeps his word." And with that last
statement, he exited from her hut, walking toward Dulcy's.
        A deafening guffaw from the background immediately after David
was out of the field of view. Sally snickered for a few
seconds, then began the task of organizing her disorganized
domicile. The stress, at least for today, had been alleviated.

        Having dispensed with the effects of what transpired in the
past minute, David recomposed himself into his more reserved
manner. He tapped on Dulcy's door, then patiently bided his
time for her response. He received his invitation five seconds
        "Go away," the dragon demanded, the irritated and morbid sound
of her voice indicating her interest for solitude.
        "Dulcy," the vulpine called genially, "it's me, David."
        "DAVID?!" she exclaimed, apparently surprised that out of all
the others in Knothole, her closest advocate would arrive to
visit her. "Oh, nonononononono," she mumbled in belated regret
for her previous remark.
        The fox's sensitive hearing heard the dragon's racing steps,
the audio frequency increasing with the Doppler shift as she
approached the door. The door burst open, expelling a small
amount of air from inside. She immediately, but gently, picked
him up, then dashed back into her hut with him cradled in her
arms as if he were an infant. The door created a clattering
report as it regained contact with the doorway.
        Looking down on David with astonishment and embarrassment, she
whispered so that only she and he could hear, "It's nice to see
you again, David. But you really shouldn't be here."
        "Why is that?" he queried, in a slightly more audible voice.
His face contorted from one of amazement at Dulcy's response to
one of a cynical nature.
        "I'm bad luck. Everyone knows that," Dulcy explained in a
beleaguered tone. "No one wants to go out with me anymore.
I've lost my interest in flying, since there's nobody to be with
me." She lightly placed her ally on the floor and turned her
head away from him, as if to spare him from a curse.
        "Dulcy," David commenced, now in mock disgrace, "you insult me.
 I don't subscribe to the 'popular' theories concerning you;
therefore I have no place in the universally-inclusive
'everyone'." He paused to permit the implied significance of
the delivery take effect. The response was unfavorable, for
Dulcy didn't redirect her head toward him. He was prepared to
entrust his life to her, and she didn't take heed of the
unspoken message. In favor of something more candid, he
ordered, "Dulcy, I want to see you at the bridge at 1000 hours
tomorrow. We have an exploratory mission to perform for food
supplies, hardware for the replicator, and for possible
habitation sites for our excess population here at Knothole. I
require you to be prepared for it before that time."
        It was the dragon's turn to be taken aback by the unexpected.
"You REALLY mean it, David?" her face deformed with the extreme
amazement. "YOU want to go on a mission with ME? I didn't know
you cared about me so much," she warbled, whimpering with
gaiety. She very gently picked her comrade up again, and hugged
him, her hot tears plummeting to the fox's head.
        "Of course I care about you," he assured, returning the embrace
to Dulcy. "I am a Freedom Fighter Commander, and your comrade.
I would not have the status I maintain now if I didn't consider
the personal side, the needs of my subordinates. I'm still the
David you always knew, Dulcy. Even if I don't always have the
opportunity now to be with everyone here in Knothole, I love
them all as my friends, and even as family. And I am proud to
have you as a sister in our extended family."
        "Oh, David," she said with a kind of gratified sadness,
clutching him tighter against her torso. "This is so touching.
You're growing up, just like your brother." She then presented
him with a full-bodied dragon kiss that reeked of hydrogen
sulfide. She then returned him to his original position on the
        "I meant what I told you, Dulcy, and I want you to remember
that I'm available to assist you with every means I am capable
of. Now if you will excuse me," he said as his dermal sensors
indicated a slightly higher degree of water on his skin, plus
the imposed and unpleasant smell, "I believe I need to continue
my shower. See you tomorrow at 1000 hours."
        "I'll be there," the now exuberant dragon replied.

        As David walked away from the double-huts of his two closest
female companions, he pretended not to notice that Sally and
Dulcy were covertly watching him. He then heard a joyous
"Yeeha!" as continued his cadence. The unanticipated comeback
from the pair made him halt, and body visibly cringed in
exaggerated astoundment. Tittering from the background
indicated their appreciation. The soaked fox executed an
about-face, as if to defend himself from a stealthy adversary.
His visible light grids detected nothing, but his IR sensors
located Sally and Dulcy, "hiding" from him under their windows.
        The vulpine shook his head with a small degree of awe. 'Now I
have the knowledge that part of my duty as a Freedom Fighter
Commander is complete,' he thought. 'When I have reinsured that
level of happiness in two of my friends despite the general
trend of the day, I know that I have been able to commit myself
to their necessities, and succeed.' He engaged his
rotor/nacelles, and flew off toward his and his brother's home.

* * *
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"


and my under construction home page:

Received on Sun Apr 09 1995 - 20:38:20 PDT

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