Ring of Truth [1/1]

From: Joseph Delacroix <hk512_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 1995 01:12:34 -0400

Ring of Truth

by -- Joseph DeLaCroix

This story is based on characters created by Service and Games (SEGA), and
on characters created by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. Any resemblance
to actual characters are not coincidental. ;)

Joseph, Bahb, and all other independent creations of Joseph DeLaCroix are
the copyrighted property of JoCo Inc. All rights reserved. Etc.

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Timeline: A few weeks after Joseph's crash. Several days before Doomsday.

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The sun rose over the Great Forest. Light began to stream through the
trees, giving the forest a primordial feel. The wind began to lightly
caress the treetops, as the birds began to sing. Squirrels jumped from tree
to tree, looking for a meal. Fish lept out of the water to consume the
early-morning cloud of gnats that hovered above the life-giving fluid.
These were the usual sounds of the morning, that had been heard on Mobius
since time primeval...except for one.

Deep within the forest, within a mist-covered clearing, a figure silently
began his morning exercises. He stretched and flexed his muscles, allowing
sinew to slip pass bone in the proper fashion. He concentrated on the task
at hand as he took the traditional fighting stance. He prepared himself
for the physical exertion that was about to occur. Centering himself
spirtually and mentally as best he could, he locked onto his target and
readied himself to the mission he had dedicated himself to.

About 10 feet away from the solitary figure, there was set up a 6" thick
piece of wood, cut into the rough shape of a very fat human. It had a
target painted on the side of it, with its center resting in the middle
of the human's stomach. It also had a cariacture of a smiley-face pasted
over where the head usually would be, with a bullethole through it.

After taking a deep breath, he began the exercise.

He did a series of forward flips toward the target. But just as he came
into range, he vaulted over it, into the forest. He hurtled toward a
nearby oak, but precisely compensated for the change in course and
lept off its trunk toward a vine. He swung on the vine until he reached
another tree. He slid down the tree, cartwheeled away from it, and
tucked into a spinning roll toward the target. But again, as he became
in range of it, he lept over it. This time, he chose to grab a branch of
the oak and did some various acrobatic exercises around it. After he had
orbited the appendage a few times, he quickly began crossing the clearing
by pulling himself from various vines. After a bit of this, he lept off
one on the furthest side of the clearing, reversed himself in mid-air,
and began cartwheeling, and then backflipping, toward the target for the
final time. When he entered attack range, he set up a perfect roundhouse
kick, and beheaded the silly-looking dummy. Immediately recovering from
that, he executed a precise low punch to the target's main target,
putting a fist-sized hole in the bullseye.

With the target destroyed, the figure stepped back, took a deep breath, and
calmly cleaned up the remains of the target. He broke it up into portable
strips, wrapped them into a bundle, and walked back off into the forest,
his morning exercises completed for the day.

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The figure, now having a good pile of firewood to use, wandered back toward
a path that had been beaten years ago to a village where he now resided.
He had not been born in this village, nor even this world, but he had, just
from his brief time there, come to consider his new surroundings to be his
home. After all, his old home was no longer very hospitable; nor had it
been close to such a good training area as the one he had come from even
when it was.

He drew closer to the outskirts of the village, where his hut resided. He
had built it himself several days ago, and he cared for it dearly. It was
probably the most comfortable, warm, and homey home in the entire village,
thanks to the advantage of the advanced technology he had utilized in its
construction. Within 2 days, it came to stand as it did that day,
beautiful and tranquil in the gentle light of the sun.

Joseph loved his new home.

The entire structure took up less that 10 feet in diameter to the naked
eye. It was dome-shaped, and appeared to be constructed of a sort of
opaque brown glass, that perfectly camoflaged the structure from the air.
Occasionally, there was a clearer spot that served as a window. A small
chimney stuck out from the right side of the dome, giving it a even more
surreal appearance. However, a ordinary-looking native sidewalk led from
an area a few feet from the home to its front portal.

To him, it was a "little cottage" that his people could have generated in 5
minutes; it had taken him several days to properly replicate all of its
features with the small amount of power left on his ship. To the
inhabitants of this planet, however, it appeared as a wonder of the world;
a nigh-invulnerable fortress that no evil could breach. Well, at least
nothing on this world could, Joseph thought.

Smiling, Joe meandered toward the sidewalk he had constructed, and walked up
it back toward his front door. Opening it with a single word, he strode in to
unload the pelf he had carried from deep within the Great Forest, and to
clean himself up for the day. Placing the bundle of firewood in the
fireplace, he shut the door behind him to consider the state of the home
Joseph had constructed with his own paws.

It was a tidy home, being spartanly furnished with only a few chairs, a
couch, and a practically empty bookshelf. A monitor displayed the area
outside his house on a screen to the left of his door, with a small speaker
beneath it that served as an intercom. The floor was hard wood, but the
walls were constructed with the same glassy material that the exterior
possessed. A few windows allowed light to drift in from the outside, and
a hallway led off in front of him to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
Next week, Joseph thought, he would furnish the bare basement with a
laboratory, so to make his time here more constructive.

But, for the time being, he was content with what he had. However, he was
hungry, and his organics could use some hydrogen combined with oxygen in a
liquid state at roughly 40 degrees. So not to lessen the ship's energy
further by replicating food for him, he decided he would cook up some
"grub" (as the blue one called it) for breakfast. His organic systems
would certainly appreciate it, after the workout Joseph had recently put
them through.

He walked into the kitchen, and pulled out a object that served as a rough
"mug". It was actually a hollowed-out sapling stump he had found a
few days after he had "decided" to stay here, but he had sanded,
shellacked, and generally waterproofed the thing enough so it would be a
decent container for food, drink, and such. Smirking bitterly, Joe chided
himself for taking all of his tools with him from Ur'thae, but none of
his utensils. He grabbed it by its handle (a bent piece fof metal he had
stripped from the ruined communications array, screwed tightly into the
side of the glass) and walked over to the sink.

The fact that this cottage had running water was one of its main advantages
over several of the other huts around. Instead of going over to the well
like the natives did, he had brilliantly chose to directly tap the water
table, using some tubing he was able to replicate. He had "zapped"
(another colloquialism taken from the blue one) a hole through the ground
to the area below the village that the well drew its fluid from, and
installed a long pipe into it. Then, he set up a pipe that released
the wastewaster from the home, placed a purifier onto it, and had the
output flow into a creek. Finally, he created a compressor unit (powered
by some ultra-efficient solar panels implanted in the roof), and
placed it on the pipe so it would draw water up from the underground
reservoir, and into his home.

After he had drank a few glasses of water, he walked over to one of the
cubbords and removed a small, metal can. Then, he took a iron-copper
alloy pot from the counter (he had smelted it himself only a week ago),
and walked off into the den.

He took a match from the shelf as he walked in, and struck it on a coarse
part of the glass wall. Tossing it onto the wood, he waited until it
started to catch before opening the flue. Then, Joe dumped the contents of
the can (beans, apparently) into the pot, and placed it over the fire.
Putting it on a stand, he hit a small switch by the fireplace to activate
the air filter at the summit of the chimnney. He wouldn't want any aerial
scans to pick Knothole up, after all.

Estimating the time for the contents of the pot to properly cook at 10.4532
minutes, he decided to try and squeeze in his shower before breakfast. He
wandered into the bathroom, removed his training gear, and activated the
makeshift shower.

A blast of cold water slowly sublimated to cool as the figure gave himself
a through scrubbing. His mind began to loosen up as he mulled over the
tasks he had to accomplish that day. The only thing he needed to do was
get more things from the ship. Joe also wanted to study more throughly the
behavior patterns of the Mobians, and observe a "power ring" being formed.
Nothing earth-shattering, but enough to keep his mind busy.

He finished his shower and walked into a drying stall. A 10-second blast
of specially charged atoms later, and he was dry. Then, he put on some
clean clothes, and checked on the progress of his breakfast. Ah, he
thought as he reentered the den, the beautific stench of bubbling beans
before brunch. They were just about done, and done precisely the way he
liked them; hot. Taking a bowl from the counter, he poured some of the
contents of the pot into it, and quickly placed the pot on a rack where
it would not damage the rest of the area. After he had accomplished that,
he took a small wooden spoon from one of his pockets, picked up the
steaming bowl of legumes, and walked back outside.

Knothole was looking particularly wholesome today, Joseph thought as he
continued eating his beans. It must be a psychic counterbalance to the
evil of Robotropolis, he assumed, and took another mouthful. He strode
along the main "street" of the village, looking for any signs of activity.
Most of the village was still asleep. Joseph noted again that the village
was usually completely shut down from roughly midnight to about 6:15 in the
morning. He hoped to one day be able to pin down the total time of
dormancy to milliseconds. But, that would not be today. He sensed
activity coming from one of the huts. He believed it was of the entity
called "Tails"; a pre-adolescent two-tailed fox that Joseph liked a great
deal. Joe saw a lot of himself when he was that age in him. Intelligent,
polite, inquisitive, yet somewhat naive. But that was to be expected.
He sensed that Tails would one day be a very important individual in the
future of this world. Then, he noticed Tails slowly wander out of his hut.
He wasn't quite awake yet, so Joseph chose to avoid him until he became
fully sentinent. (Joseph had also noticed very few Mobians were "morning

Continuing his walk through the village, he noticed that Sally had
obviously been active almost as long as he had. Sally was also a person
Joseph could somewhat identify with. She was a driven individual, very
buisness-like and unrelenting in her pursuits. Yet, she could be
excessively kind and warm to someone as well. Being the proper ruler of
Mobius, Joe reasoned, she must feel a great responsibility for the welfare
of the remaining, non-robotizied citizens of Mobius. She was currently
preparing breakfast for herself and Tails, and was probably expecting Sonic
to come along, too. She was obviously busy, so he quietly slipped by her
hut and furthered himself along his way.

Rotor was just finishing his breakfast, Joseph noticed as he walked by his
hut. He was one of the rare people Joseph could talk shop with, and have
the other party reply in kind. They both loved to fix things, build
things, and make objects more efficient. He respected Rotor a great deal.
In fact, Joseph thought, he was coming to feel Rotor was the brother he
never had. He decided to drop by his hut, and see how he was.

Rotor waved to the tall, orange vulpine as he ducked his way inside his
hut. "Hey, Joe." he said, as he gestured for Joseph to take a seat.
"How are you doing this morning?"

"Oh," Joe said, "I'm just fine. I was just going on a walk around the
village when I noticed you were awake. Got up early today, eh?"

"Me? Nah," Rotor said, "this is the time I like to get up. I feel more
creative at either the extreme beginning of the day, or the middle of the
night. Figured I might come up with something new to make." He sighed.
"I've been in a bit of a dry spell lately. I don't know, maybe I've been
working too hard."

Joseph smiled. "I wouldn't worry too much about it, Rotor. Everyone has
their ups and downs. Just relax and let it happen."

Rotor was about to say something else when a shout echoed through the hut.
"Rotor!!" a female voice yelled, "Muh arm is stuck again!" Rotor looked
over at his guest. "Oh jeez," he muttered, "Bunnie's arm locked up again.
I just don't know what she does to it to kink it up so much." He looked
out the door and yelled, "Be right there!".

Joseph smirked. "It's okay, Rotor. Go do what you must do. I'm gonna
keep walking around the complex, anyway." Rotor nodded, and rushed out
the door, tools in hand.

Joseph walked out of the hut, continuing to eat his beans. After walking
another brief distance, he came across Antoine's impeccibly maintained hut.
Antoine was one of the Mobians Joe could only identify with by means of
extreme metaphor; both he and Antoine were out of place here. But even
then, it was stretching the comparison a tad far, because Antoine was
alien even to people who had known him since birth. At least to fellow
Ur'thaens he was normal...on the eastern continent. He listened, and
realized Antoine was still grooming himself. It seemed like every time
Joseph saw him, he was grooming himself. Wouldn't his skin start to hurt
after a while? Honestly, he thought, his fur should be like silk from all
of the combing and primping that it had to endure. He decided to leave
before he started talking to him in that strange alteration of Mobian he
was fluent in...

Suddenly, he heard the sound of a fast-moving individual zipping around a
few huts down. Sonic had finally woken up, and he was doing his morning
"juice run" to wake himself up. Seconds later, the blue blur blasted by
him, causing a large cloud of dust to fly into Antoine's hut.

Antoine staggered out of the hut, coughing. "Sonick! I'll get vous for
zat!" He gesticulated blindly back toward his dusty hut. "It will take me
the days to clean dis up again!" Joe took this opportunity to leave, while
Antoine was still blinded by the plume of dust. He was still shouting when
he got out of range of his bellowing, and wandered back into the forest.

Ah, the quiet of the forest, Joe thought, finishing his beans. He walked
up to a stream and rinsed out his bowl in it. Drying it off with his
shirt, he put it in one of his larger pockets and continued on his way.
He looked up into the sky. By the position of the sun, he'd say it was
about 8:25. Just about time for a power ring. He started walking up the
path to the power ring pool, where Sonic would probably end up shortly.

He walked over to the pool, and took a seat on a rock. He looked into the
pool. A dull yellow glow was visible near the bottom of the pool. The
ring would surface in 3.4 seconds. He was expecting to hear the sound of
the hedgehog roar up here, snatch the ring, and zip off again. However, he
must have been delayed, because the ring rose unaccompanied by a blue
flash. It was floating there, waiting for someone to grab it. Joseph
realized someone better grab it before it sank again. He reached out his
hands--suddenly, four words drifted in front of him, a warning message--


--and his body catapaulted itself back into the bushes. A second later,
Sonic blasted up the path, grabbed the ring, and rushed back to Knothole
before he could even notice the orange heap laying in the woods. Joseph
groaned from the sudden automatic movement, and stumbled to his feet. What
had just happened? Had the power from the ring shorted out his neural net?
If it had, then what did that message mean? Joseph was confused. He
needed to ask Bahb about this. He ran back into Knothole, and was
beginning to worry about the new development..
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He jogged back toward his home. Trotting through the village, he was
unnoticed by the inhabitants, who were busy starting their chores for the
day. Then, a voice called his name. "Joseph!" the voice shouted, "could
you come here for a minute?" It was Sally. Wondering what she needed of
him, he walked toward her hut.

Entering the hut, he realized Sonic, Sally, and Tails were in the middle of
breakfast. Tails was sitting on the left side, and Sonic was on the right.
Sally was sitting on the far end. It was apparently oatmeal with
strawberries today. It looked rather appetizing. Tails waved to Joe as
he walked in, unable to talk with his mouth full of whitish slush. Sonic
had, naturally, completed his bowl, and was somewhat more talkative.
"Yo, Joe." he said to the tall fox as he ducked his way into the home.

"Greetings, boss." Joe jokingly called Sally `boss' because of a
translation problem he had initally had with the word "princess". In
Ur'thaen, the word "p'hrincese" meant "overlord"; seeing that Sally was not
the current overlord of Mobius, he had taken the next logical step and
called her by a synonym of "overlord", "bhoss". Later, when he had
consulted Sonic about it, he realized the error. Sonic and Sally
smirked as Joe then proceeded, as usual, to bow slightly.

"You can just call me Sally, Joseph." Sally laughed, "There's no need for
such formality." She gestured for him to sit in the vacant chair at the
close end of the table. As he sat down, Sally continued talking. "So," he
spoke, "how are things going for you here? Do you need anything?"

Joseph smiled. "I require nothing," he said, "I have everything I need to
survive on my ship. I can imbibe Mobian water, and consume Mobian food.
My home has been constructed, so all I require of you now," He smiled and
winked at Sally. "Is your kindness."

Sonic quipped, "We've got that in high supply, dude."

Joseph grinned at the blue mammal. "I figured as much. You have been so
kind to me, I don't know how to make it up to you."

"Well," Sally interjected, "there *is* something we'd like to ask you."
She looked over at Sonic. "Sonic, why don't you do the honors?"

Sonic smirked. "Sure, Sal. Joe, my man, why don't you join us in our
fight against ol Ro-BUTT-nik? You've got serious skills."

"It would be an honor," Joseph bowed, "to assist you in the uprising
against him. Any assistance you require of me would be gladly given."

Sally smiled weakly. "That's...uh, great, Joseph! I didn't think you'd
be so enthusiastic about this. After all, you don't live here. This
isn't your fight."

"It's mine now." he said plainly.

Sally blinked. "Are you sure you want to get into this?"

Before Joe could answer, Sonic interjected, "Sal, whaddya tryin' to do,
change his mind?!?"

"Sonic," Joe said, "I decided to help you the minute you people helped me.
I have no home to return to. This is my world now, and I shall defend it."

Suddenly, Tails, who had been quietly eating his breakfast for most of this
conversation, chose to state, "But Mr. Joseph, I thought you could leave
here at any time. Didn't you say all you needed was more crystal power to

The orange fox turned to the younger, two-tailed one, and then to the two
adults. "Tails," he spoke, "Sonic, Sally...let me explain my prediciment
to you all." He stood up, and went into speech mode.

"My world was merely a more positive reflection of what Robotnik wants
Mobius to be. Our people gave up their flesh in return for immortality.
Sure, there was no pollution, death, disease, or famine; but Ur'thae also
lacked peace. The flesh battled steel. Religion fought science. Brother
dueled brother...all over the quest for eternal consciousness. The only way
my planet lasted for as long as it did after the creation of the neural
transfer device was because of the continental division."

"The first part of my life, I saw this war from Robotnik's side
(to a certain extent). Now, I live among the flesh, and I see that my
father was the creator of an evil too great for mortals to handle; affordable
immortality. At first, it seems to have no downsides. Improved strength,
speed, senses, agility, and your mind never loses its edge. You can
continue learning and experimenting for aeons. The pleasures of the flesh
never dull...in fact, they sharpen due to computerized enhancement."

"But, my father never realized that someone could use this ability for evil
purposes...to enslave another by "roboticizing" (as a somewhat similar
practice is called here) him or her. He never saw that a part of ones
nature would rebel against it, and eventually even out the score. They
escaped death for a while, but in the end they all paid the ultimate
price for their crime against nature."

"No, it is better to die in the flesh than live forever in steel. I will
fight Robotnik for you because of this...he has tried to duplicate my
father's formula for immortality by using Sir Charles'--your uncle,
Sonic--roboticizer. But he poisons himself and others by this...he has his
slaves, but he realizes not that the flesh and steel cannot live in the
same body. If he is not stopped, this world will suffer the fate of
Ur'thae; a Fountain of Youth powered by blood."

"So, Sally, I offer my services to you. Command me, and I will comply.
Robotnik must be stopped. At this point, all else is irrevelant."

Sally, Sonic, and Tails could only blink.

"Joseph," Sally whispered, "you are gladly accepted into the Freedom
Fighters. I see now that you are honest in your statements. Your services
to us will be valued."

Joseph bowed. "Thank you, Sally. May I be excused?"

Sally nodded, and Joseph left the hut silently.

After he had gotten out of earshot, Sonic whispered, "Man! That guy is

Sally nodded. "Yes, Sonic...he is certainly driven. He must feel he has a
whole world to avenge."

"I'd say!" Tails piped, "I can't wait to see what HE does to 'Butt-nik."

Sonic muttered, "So do I, Tails. He looks like he could do some *serious*
damage to some SWAT Bots."

"I wonder what's going through his mind right now?"

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He continued back toward the dome that served as his domicile. The brief
interlude with the leaders of the FF didn't make Joseph forget what had
happened by the power ring pool. It intrigued him. Could it be that this
planet had a power source greater than his internal power core?

He entered the dome and walked over to the now-smoldering remains of his
fire. He tossed the bowl on the table, and walked over to the Bahb 27290-A
Unit, affectionately known as Bahb.

"Bahb," he said, "I need info. Talk to me."

"Ready for command."

"Define Directive 26-Alpha."

Bahb hummed quietly for a minute. "Classified. Cannot access externally."

"Surmise a hypothesis on how to acquire this information."

Bahb beeped and tweeted as it ran through every possibility. "Required
materials are on the ship."

"What do I need?"

Bahb began rattling off names of various components within the ship.

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Over the next few days, the village eyed their new arrival suspiciously.
His main occupation seemed to be removing all of his computer equipment
from the ship he had crashed in, and installing them in the basement of
his amazing home. He would say what his purposes were, nor why he did not
keep them on the ship. Some believed he was going to sabotage Robotropolis
completely. Others, that he was going to destroy Robotnik's communications
grid. A few just thought he was finishing unpacking; but everyone had an

Joseph was, in actuality, preparing his new computer lab for two reasons;
to continue his work, and to discover the secret of Directive 26-Alpha.
Joe also could no longer leave all of his hyperadvanced technology in the
middle of the woods in good faith...the ship had drove off several gawkers
in the last few days. But he told no one of his experience at the power
ring pool, nor of the mysterious malfunction.

Finally, 4 days later, the ship was totally gutted of its vital systems,
and was nothing more than a husk of its former self. It was still cloaked,
but there was no longer any point in trying to steal it. Joseph had
installed the power cells of the ship in the basement of his home, as well
as the communications systems and the main computer. His domicile was now
a flightless version of the ship he had entered this world with. A few
more mining expeditions gave Joseph as much power as he could possibly use,
and then some, and he had tuned the house itself into a large antenna.

He was finally ready to attempt to find out the secret behind the
directive. Preparing the dataspike, he sat down in a chair he had created
for this purpose, and jacked in. Taking a deep breath, he prepared for the
total discombobulation that was to come with the scan.

"Bahb," he said again, "define Directive 26-Alpha."

"Accessing, Jo--."

There was a great flash of light.

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When he could see again, Joseph found himself standing on the shore of the
Iundaeck Ocean, in front of the home he and his father shared back on
Ur'thae. The twin moons shone down upon him in that glorious,
awe-inspiring violet sky. The water was as clear and glowing as the first
day he had set eyes upon it. The blue sand blew by his legs as the cry of
a lark whistled through the air, invigorating him.

He was home again.

<<"Jhosesophae.">> a voice said. Turning around to face the voice, he
knew for sure this was his home.


The male was about as tall as Jhosesophae, with reddish-orange fur. His
yellowing eyes denoted youth, yet the streaks of white in the fur showed
great age. He was wearing a yellow lab coat, the mark of the Scientist
Prime on Ur'thae. However, beneath the uniform, there was a pair of simple
slacks and a sweater, and a pair of whitish tennis shoes. His hands were
metallic versions of the ones Jhosesophae had, but the voice was strictly
the unique baritone of his father's.

<<"Yes, Jhosesophae. This is me. At least, a composite image of me strung
together from your own memory banks.">>

<<"I don't understand.">>

<<"Let me explain, Jhosesophae.">>

The world flickers for a minute, and then switches to a different scene.
The scene now is of the room Joseph was transferred in, and the spaceship
docking ramp that was its only exit. Dhaevid is typing something into a
keyboard while the android body is recieving its intelligence.

<<"Your story begins here, Jhosesophae. While you were being transferred
to your new body, I was pre-programming your ship to take you to the planet
where you now reside...Mobius. But I am getting ahead of myself. I should
explain to you how I discovered this world, first.">>
The world flickers again. The picture returns on a starfield, where an
Ur'thaen ship is cloaking itself around an orbit of Mobius. <<"I
discovered intelligent life here shortly before your 16th birthday.
Utilizing time warps, I was able to commute to Mobius and back home several
times a month without being noticed. I was studying their advancement,
and...helping it a little.">> Scene cuts to the workshop of Sir Charles
Hedgehog, and Dhaevid sneaking into it late at night. <<"One specimen
interested me especially. His name was "Charles". He was beginning to
develop the technology that had made the neural transfer device possible...
the roboticizer. A similar technology was developed by your grandfather
356 years ago...anyway, every once in a while, I would sneak into his
workshop and alter some of the equations to assist in the advancement of
this technology. He had the basic idea, but every once in a while he
would make an unintentional error due to the misguided scientific theory
of the time that I would quietly get him out of.">>

Scene cuts to Sir Charles constructing the device used to generate power
rings. <<"But, Sir Charles had also stumbled upon something that was far
beyond Ur'thaen technology. This was the Power Ring Generator.">> Scene
cuts to a diagram of the device, showing various graphs and projected power
fluxations next to it. <<"From my observations of Sir Charles' tests, this
device had the potential to generate enough power to penetrate the
dimentional barrier; the one thing Ur'thaens could never breach, if
harnessed in the correct manner. I'll tell you the truth, son, I have no
idea how, why, or if it even *should* work. Only the hedgehog knows.">>

The scene cuts to a picture of Sir Charles on the left, Sonic on the right,
and a power ring in the lower center. <<"This brings me to my final
request of you, my son. Your mission is threefold; first, you must find
Sir Charles, and assist him in any way he requires. Work with him.
Understand his devices. This will allow you to escape the bonds of this
dimention, and become the first, and only, Ur'thaen to explore the other
universes that have been proven to exist. Your second mission is to find
the nephew of Sir Charles, Sonic. He can use the rings, according to Sir
Charles' notes and hypotheses, and perhaps he could teach you how to
properly use them as well. Your final mission is to acquire
a power ring for yourself, and learn how to replicate more. They are the
only way you will be able to travel from timestream to timestream safely
and efficiently.">>

The scene cuts back to the beach. <<"This is all you need, or can know
right now. Alas, I know no more than this; my observation of Mobius was
cut short by the destruction of our world. Good luck, my son; the last
survivor of Ur'thae.">>


Everything went black.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Scan complete."

Joseph opened his eyes, and detached from the datajack. Groaning, and
rubbing his throbbing skull, he spoke. "Computer, time elapsed from
beginning of scan to its completion."

"1 minute."

"Deactivate dataspike."

The system powered down. Joseph laid back in his chair. The situation had
changed considerably. Now he knew why the power ring had effected him, but
a million other questions came to mind...

After musing this over for a minute, he knew what he had to do. Organizing
it into his directives list, he began to estimate how to best accomplish

Priority One: Find Sir Charles.
Priority Two: Find Sonic.
Priority Three: Acquire power ring; experiment.

He had already guarenteed himself two and three just by being at Knothole.
However, he had never heard of Sir Charles being about. This was
illogical; Sonic and Charles were family, and therefore Sonic wuld
probably, according to his observations, either find some way of honoring
him (if was deceased), or he would have brought him back to Knothole.

Seeing that he was missing something, he decided to confront Sonic about
the issue after dinner that night.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

After Knothole had been fed, Joseph wandered the village, looking for
Sonic. He finally encountered the blue blaze sitting quietly by the power
ring pool, looking into the sky. Realizing that Sonic was observing the
three moons of Mobius, he allowed him a few moments of silence before he
finally piped up.

"Where's Sir Charles, Sonic?" Joesph was always direct in his questioning.

"My unc's in Buttnikville, Joe." Sonic said, quietly.

"Why is he there? I thought you'd try to get someone as brilliant as...I
heard he is...out of Robotnik's clutches."

"He's our spy, Joe. He hangs out, acts like a drone, but tells us
all about what happens there." He glanced at his hands, dusting them off.

"Oh," Joesph said. "Wait a minute, I thought everyone in Robotropolis was

"They all are." Sonic spake.

"Well, how does your uncle spy on Robotnik if he doesn't have free will?"

"He's got his brain," said Sonic, turning toward him.

"I don't understand."

"Look," Sonic said, "My unc's been snapped out of Buttnik's control 'cuz I
waved a power ring in front of his face. It somehow rewired his 'ol head
back to where it should be, and now he's cool." He looked back to the
moons. "And someday," he whispered, "he will be totally cool again."

"Now I understand," Joesph said, "but it's too bad he's in Robotropolis.
I'd like to meet him."

Sonic smiled. "Well, Joe, you'll be able to see him tomorrow night, when
he sneaks out of Buttnikville and gives us the weekly gossip. You can chew
his ear off then, 'kay?"

"Sure." Joseph said, smiling. "Thanks a lot."

"No prob," Sonic said, and went back to staring off into space.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The next morning, Joesph went about his training as usual, but the whole
while was thinking of how to explain to Sir Charles his prediciment without
alerting the rest of Knothole about it. Surely if they knew they had been
visited by aliens for several months without being told, they would become
somewhat alarmed. He knew the Ur'thaen governments wouldn't like it, so it
was without a stretch of the imagination that the Mobian government (the
real one) wouldn't appreciate it, either. No, he did not want them to
know anything about his father, the message he left, and the mission he
was given until it was time. Charles would understand. He was sure of it.
They were fellow scientists, after all, and he felt that Charles might have
done the same thing if he was in his father's place.

He spent most of the day meditating on what he would say to Charles. He
wanted to be sure he knew exactly what had happened, and would therefore be
able to make an informed decision about what to do about it. He mentally
composed a rather simple, logical essay on the whole situation, and
translated it into a speech that Charles could easily understand. Then, he
reviewed it, looked for possible misperceptions, and altered them into a
more logical structure.

When Charles arrived that night, Joseph was ready. He let the aged
metallic hedgehog inform Knothole of what had been going on over the past
several days in Robotropolis, focusing mainly on something called Doomsday.
Joe stayed out of it, hoping to avoid becoming involved for as long as
possible. He knew that one day his powers would be called upon, but he did
not want to get mired in this world's mess unless he knew that he would
have to remain here.

After Charles had finished, and the Knothole gang was involved in planning,
the eldest hedgehog politely excused himself, and began the long trip back
to Robotropolis on foot (Sonic couldn't zip him back, due to the amount of
security that had been placed around the area as of late.) Joseph began
following him. Finally, after they had gotten out of visual range of
Knothole, he made himself visible to the kindly cyberhedgehog.

"Excuse me, but I need to tell you something."

Charles lept back, startled. "Oh!"

"Please excuse my abrupt appearance, sir. It is my custom to remain silent
unless absolutely necessary."

Charles quickly regained his composure, and his eyes took a more pleasant
shade of red, if that was even possible. After shifting around a bit, he
spoke. "Well," Charles said, "if it isn't our star-travelling newcomer.
I'd be happy to talk with you, son, but I really need to get back to
Robotropolis before Robotnik misses me..."

"This is important. It involves you, Sonic, and your invention."

And then Joseph told him what he knew.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Charles could only blink. "So, what you're saying is that your father -- uh,
David, right? -- was the one who allowed the Roboticizer to be `perfected'?"

Joseph nodded.

"And that the power ring generator is something beyond even your
technology, and you want to study it in order to further advance your dead
world's science? You think it can help to deroboticize people?"


Charles began to lose his composure. "Do you honestly expect me not to be
angered by this?"

"No..." Joseph uttered, becoming somewhat nervous.

"Good," Charles snarled, "because I am." He balled his metallic hands
into fists, and shook them at Joesph irritatedly. "Your father brought
a curse upon this world by `helping' me create that damned machine!
Millions perished because of its power! Only a few hundred remain
untouched by its evil, and we lose more every day!" He spat upon the
earth, and angrily pointed toward the distant outline of Robotropolis.
"Is *that* what your world was like, Joseph?!? A oligarchial `government'
ruled by madmen, and supported by millions of robot slaves? Is *that*
what your superior world was like? A souless, callous factory, existing
only to rape and loot your world?" His eyes shrunk to slits, and turned
bright crimson. "Is Robotnik merely a different version of your

Joseph could withhold his rage no longer. He had taken most of Charles'
outburst, but his slap at his father was unforgivable. Raging, he
grabbed Charles by the throat, and lifted him high above his head. As Charles
desperately tried to escape his grasp, and get some shots in, Joseph went
into a total spaz fit. "Do you THINK I'm *happy* about what has happened
here?!? Do you BELIEVE that my father MEANT to ruin this world?! He
wanted to *HELP* you, you dottering old fool, by teaching you how to
overcome the weaknesses of the flesh; without losing its advantages! Your
society would be as it was 15 years ago if it wasn't for the fact your
PATHETIC bodies weren't wired so TOTALLY different from ours! It's not
MY fault, or even my FATHER'S fault that this happened! Nobody is at
fault here but Robotnik!" He looked toward the smoking, hazy industrial
hell, and shook Charles vigorously. "Don't you SEE?!" he cried, "It was
a tragic MISTAKE that the roboticizer was miswired for this world's
inhabitants, and the drive of that sadistic egg-sucking simian that made
it the menace it is now!!"

Having exhausted his venom, he glanced over at the creature he had
captured. His eyes watered with the cybernetic equivilent of tears.
"Boy...I'm sorry. It's just that--"

Joseph lowered him to the ground, becoming suddenly calm. "You don't
need to apologize, sir. I understand why you would have so much hatred
for my father...it's just that, well, he and I were very close. Ever since
I woke up here, I have had to deal with the grief of losing him, my
friends, my world..." He fell silent, and wiped tears from his eyes.
"I don't want it to happen here, sir. I'd never wish what happened to me
on anyone...not even Robotnik."

Somberly dusting himself off, the robotic hedgehog sighed. "I lost
control. I shouldn't have snapped at you. We both know that neither of us
are really at fault for what's happened here. It's Robotnik who is to
blame. He stole the plans, and he threw the coup. Not me, not you, not
your father, but Robotnik."

"You must have lived with so much guilt...." Joseph whispered, "having to
have lived for so long with the assumption that the device was all your
own. I can relate to your feelings now, but there is no time for therapy
now. Your world will be decimated unless we can find some way of reversing
the effects of roboticization. I want to, and must help." He looked
toward a certain star. "This is my home now."

They stared into the sky for an eternity.

"I will give you whatever you need, and assist you in any manner that I
can," said Charles, "and I promise you, none shall know of this until you
feel it is time."

"Thank you, Sir Charles."

"It's no problem, son." They shook hands, nodded, and went their seperate
ways. Now both had a new variable to deal with; and some new hope.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Over the next few days, Charles would sneak out to the edge of the Great
Forest, and give Joseph as much information as he possibly could about the
roboticizer Robotnik had as he could. Diagrams, circuits, anything that
might be important to the process, Joseph had by the end of a few days.
Comparing it to the roboticization process he was familiar with, he was
able to understand how far he had to go in order to reverse the process
sucessfully...in theory.

However, he needed one of the power rings. He couldn't just take one;
they'd ask what he wanted it for, and he didn't want to tell them yet.
Stealing one was out of the question. He pondered this for a while.
Eventually, he simply moved on with his experiments by running simulations,
but they didn't have the important x-factor he needed calculated in; the
potential energy of a power ring.

He moped around the power ring pool whenever he wasn't working, dismally
looking down toward the generator. Charles couldn't help him build a
replica of it, because he had to destroy the plans when Robotnik took over.
Thus, he was just going to have to wait a bit longer...but he hated
waiting! Lives were at stake.

One day, he just snapped.

He timed the exact generation of a power ring down to a second, and
prepared himself to grab it. As it began its ascent, he heard Sonic
coming. Quickly, he positioned himself in front of the pool, so Sonic
would have to go through him to get it. When the ring crested the surface,
he grabbed it just as the hedgehog arrived.

"Hey, Joe!" he shouted, "Gimme that ring."

Joseph looked at him blankly.

"Well? Give it." He began to tap his foot impatiently on the ground.

Joseph was in a rough spot. He needed the ring. Sonic wanted the ring.
He couldn't deny him it; it was his birthright. Yet, he needed the ring
in order to complete his experiment. Would it be better to tell him now or
later? What to d--?

"Be that way, then." Quickly, Sonic jumped up and wrapped his hand
around the ring, and attempted to snatch it from his hand...

And then, something quite unique happened.
The nova effect covered both Sonic and Joseph. Levitating them both into
the air, it glowed brighter than it ever did before. Lightning crackled
from the bubble as the wind began to be sucked into it, and a low roar was
beginning to be heard around the area...

There was a bright flash of light.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[Joseph's internal chronological record of the next day or so is somewhat
fuzzy. The following log was given to the historial record from Joseph's
own auditory reception. No visual records of this period exist.
Time has been estimated to the nearest minute.]

+00 hours, 02 minutes

"Sonic! Sally's look--oh muh stars! HELP!!"



"C'mon, help get him up, Rotor."

"Boy, he's heavy."



"Do you think he'll be okay, Aunt Sally?"

"I don't know, Tails. Maybe he just needs to rest."



"Joe! C'mon, Joe, wake up!"



"...he's got his eyes back..."



"Ah cain't get into his house, Sally. Bob's got it locked down."

"Can't you explain to it what's happ--"



"See what I mean? Every once in a while, his eyes wi--"



"He still hasn't moved, Sal. I think he's de--"



"And there it goes again!"

"He's not dead. He probably wishes he was, tho."



"Still there?"

"I guess so. Look at him twitch."

"Wait! Don't pus--"



"I'm not goin' in there, Sal, and you can't make me."

"But Sonic..."


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


<<"Reboot completed.">>


<<"Self-diagnositic cycle commencing.">>

"What is it, Rotor?"

<<"Repairs complete.">>

"Uhh...it's alive."

<<"Sensor reacclimation complete.">>

"Tails! Get out of here, now!"

<<"All systems at 100%.">>

*sounds of people rushing out of the room*

<<"Visual systems reactivated.">>

Suddenly, all he saw was white as his visual sensors came back online. In
a few seconds, they had properly reacclimated to the environment, and he
took some time to examine where he was.

It was a hut, plainly decorated and felt somewhat sterile. It was empty,
save for a bed and the small cloud of dust that was drifting
around...obviously, from the rapid departure of several parties. He felt
no offense by this; they were being cautious.

He hopped out of bed. Standing upon the ground, he assumed that his
sensors were still malfunctioning; he felt about half his original height.
Activating his homing beacon, he began to follow the signal back to his
home, where he could do the necessary repairs. He stumbled out of the hut,
and quickly did a scan. Nothing. They were all inside. Seeing no
threats, he wandered back toward the trail that led back to his dome.

As he stumbled back up the sidewalk that led to his home, he noticed he had
a lot of excess energy. He wanted to run up the sidewalk, rather than
safely walking. He pushed those strange thoughts out of his mind as he
opened the portal and walked into his home.

A few minutes later, he was in his laboratory, and standing in the
diagnostic tube. Activating the scan, he wondered what exactly had
happened to him.

"Joseph, sensors indicate a change on the subatomic level."

"Is it damaging?" Joseph was startled by the sound of his own voice. It
sounded a lot like Sonic's. The mimicry software was obviously still not
at 100%, he thought, and readjusted his voice (with some difficulty)
back to the default.

"Negative. It has, however, increased your speed by 10,000%."

Joseph was surprised. "Wow, that ring packs some punch." he uttered,
returning to his usual tone. "What other changes have occured?"

"You have also begun to take on the characteristics of the entity called
Sonic the Hedgehog. However, your internal systems are counteracting the
effects, and will have you internally back to default settings in another

Bahb paused briefly, and beeped. "However, the visual effects are going
to require additional power to counteract."

"What do you mean?"

"A visual apprasal has concluded that you appear to be Sonic."

Joseph was shocked. This was why everyone was so frightened before! It
wasn't just a sensory error...

"However, several things about you are far different than him. Your quills
are orange. Your eyes are silver, with no pupils. You're wearing boots."

Joseph was still in a daze. "How...?"

"Unknown. Hypothesis suggests that the power ring, being suited for
Sonic's DNA, caused your biological systems to take on his genetic code
when he activated it. You were knocked mostly unconscious during the
shock, and your internal cybernetics rushed to keep up with your physical

Joseph nodded, still in shock. "Do you think I can ever return to original

"Unknown. Your inital transformation put a heavy strain on your internal
robotics. It is very improbable that they could take such a strain again."

Joseph decided to get away from generalities, which were beginning to
frighten him, and get back to specific problems. "Why are my eyes
silver and pupilless, as you said before?"

"When the intial blast occured, it blasted your original eyes from your
sockets, being that you were at ground zero. It took exactly one hour
twenty minutes for new eyes to be created, and for them to fill up your new
eye sockets. Unfortunately, they are not visually pleasing yet, because
your nanite repair system is still finishing up your primary systems."

"This concerns me, Bahb."

"Affirmative. However, it is a logical conclusion that you should probably
learn to cope with this form, because it's going to be yours for a while."

Joseph mulled this over. "Yes, I suppose so."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A few more days went by. Every once in a while, someone from Knothole
would come by, and try to see if any movment from Joseph's dome was
detected. And every time, they noted nothing. All anyone could hear was a
low hum. Since no communication had been heard from the dome, they were
beginning to wonder how he was. Sonic felt especially guilty,
since he appearently caused it.

"It's my fault he went all haywire," he would tell Sally at length. "If I
wouldn'tve been in such a hurry, he'd still be around. Now he's messed up
big time. I wouldn't be surprised if he never came out again."

And, for a while, he seemed to be right. Nobody could get in, and nobody
had left. They mused on his status. Some said he had gone in there to
die. A few clung to the belief that he was creating a new body to return
to his original form. Most people, however, couldn't come to a conclusion
at all.

Then, when they had almost lost all hope, the portal opened. A figure
left the dome, starting slowly, and then speeding up. He went faster and
faster, and faster still. When he reached the center of Knothole, a sonic
boom went off, and he roared through the forest toward the Great Jungle.
Nobody had to say anything. They knew what it meant. Sally, after
glancing once at Sonic, knew exactly what was going to happen next.
Seconds later, a second sonic boom went off, and both supersonic hedgehogs
were gone.

They raced around Mobius, over water, land, and chasm. They burrowed deep
into the earth, swung on vines, and lept high into the air. Finally, they
reached the summit of the highest mountain, and stopped their relentless
pursuit of each other.

Joseph took a few breaths. "You are fast." said the orange blur.

"So are you." said the blue.

"I suppose you'd like an explaination."

"Yes, that would be nice."

Joseph explained the entire preiciment to Sonic as best he could.
Trying to dumb it down enough for the relatively non-technical
hedgehog, he tried to explain about his father, Sonic's uncle, and the
power ring effect.

"So that's why you tried to steal that ring..."

"Yes," Joseph whispered, "that is why."

"I can see now why you wouldn't want to tell Sal and I about somethin' like
that. Way past uncool."

"Yes, it is."

"We wouldn't have hurt you for what your father did, Joe."

"I could not know that for sure," he gasped, taking in more oxygen.

"You couldn't have, could you?" Sonic mused.

Joseph nodded, and moved on to the next thing on his mind. "I hope the
blast didn't injure you."

"Nah," Sonic said, "it's cool. Used up the whole ring, tho. But I got
another one this morning."

"That's good."


The wind whistled through their quills, but neither of them seemed to mind.

"Whaddya gonna do now, Joe?"

"I don't know. I certainly can't help your world until I get my head
together. I've seen too much in the last few days...I gotta go off and
think. You can understand why."

"Yes," he nodded, "I can."

"I must go."

With that, Joseph rolled into a ball, and shot down the hill. Sonic just
stood there, looking out toward the horizon, wondering...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Sonic returned to Knothole a few hours later, after he had gotten his own
head together. He realized how very confused Joseph must be at that
moment, and put together a proper fabrication to tell the rest of Knothole
about it.

He walked back to the edge of Knothole, where Sally was the first to
confront him. "Sonic? Where's Joseph? What happened?"

Sonic looked plainly back at Sally. "He needs to be alone for a bit."

Sally gave Sonic a wicked look. "I *knew* that, Sonic. What I mean is,
what happened? Where did you guys go?"

Sonic leaned up against the wall. "Oh," he said, "we just ran around for a

"For three hours?"

"It's a guy thing, Sal."

Sally started to become cross. "Look, just tell me whether or not he's
coming back."

"I don't know, Sal. He said he's all messed up, and he's gotta juice
around until he knows what time it is."

She sighed. "Well, I hope he comes back before something major happens."

Sonic got up from against the wall, and put his arm around her shoulders.
"He will, Sal. He just needs to be alone for a while."

"But what if Robotnik captures him, and his technology falls into the wrong

Sonic suddenly began to smile. "'Butt-nik isn't gonna catch him, Sal.
He's the 2nd-fastest thing on Mobius."

Sally shot Sonic a faux-questioning look. "And what, pray tell, is *the*
fastest thing on Mobius?"

"Want a hint?"


Sonic acted shocked. "Oh, c'mon, Sal."

"But who could be faster?"

"A slug is faster than Antoine, Sal."

Sally giggled. "Well, I suppose you're right. C'mon, we better get back
to Knothole and explain what happened."

They wandered back to Knothole, wondering of their friend's fate.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                              THE END? (of course not)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                -- That cyberpunk.

Send $1.00 or more       The SubGenius Foundation
and a SASE on over       P.O. BOX 140306
to this address ->       Dallas, Texas 75214           
                                                     Tell 'em "Bob" sent ya!
Received on Sun Oct 01 1995 - 01:30:06 PDT

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