This Island Floating [1/2]

From: Joseph Delacroix <hk512_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 20:02:04 -0500

This Island Floating

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: One day before Doomsday.

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A pure, green-pigmented plain placed upon the northern continent on Mobius.
Some dried leaves fluttered in the gentle breeze, warmed by the noonday
sun. Birds sung the ancient melody of the world, and a few non-evolved
rabbits hopped through the shorter grass. It was a scene beautiful enough to
melt even the most jaded heart; for on this world, scenes like that might
become rare...

In the middle of this scene, barely visible in the high grass, was a 3 foot
tall hedgehog. But this was not one of the usual variety of bipedal
hedgehog. Nor was this particular hedgehog even a child of this
world; rather, he was a misplaced, genetically scrambled member of a dead
planet millions of light years from the spot where he now laid, calmly
enjoying the beauty of his new home. This was the lot of Joseph, the
descendant of two DNA helii; his natural, Ur'thaen brand, and the current
Mobian hedgehog variety which he was experiencing now.

However, his genetic identity crisis didn't appear to be bothering him now,
as he silently laid in the sun, soaking in the yellow star's warming rays.
The wind drifted over his motionless form as if it was a mother's gentle
movement, tucking him in for a night's rest. A butterfly alighted on one
of his longer headquills, and slowly came to peacefully rest there.

This was paradise, Joseph thought, as he continued to simply lay there and
revel in the sublime beauty of Mobius. He wondered why Robotnik would wish
anything like this harm. Had he never simply walked outside on a glorious
day as this, sat down in a field, and merely admired the handiwork of
Nature? Was all of his destruction merely due to him being a homish sort?

Nay, he pondered, Robotnik had been out in the wilderness. He'd sit in a
field like this, take a deep breath, and he'd first cut
down those trees to create housing, then drill holes in the earth for oil,
then ponder mining for precious, Robotnik could simply not
appreciate nature. It was simply not his to appreciate this one. Probably
all those simian genes.

But Joseph let those unpleasant thoughts leave him. He didn't want to
think about Robotnik or Robotropolis or the damned pirated Ur'thaen
roboticizer now. That would only impede intuitive thought of solutions to
those problems. Alas, he had only allotted himself only a few more days of
being au naturale before returning to Knothole and resuming work on the
deroboticization process. He needed to value this vacation time as a
period to let his strained mind adjust to the myriad of changes that had
affected him; landing on a foreign world, finding out that he was not the
first of his kind to land here, being made his head spin to
ponder all that had occured in only a few months.

However, Joseph realized that looking backward would only impede his
progress. He had to overcome the obstacles placed in his path, and
continue on. He had people to help now, so brooding wasn't going to do any

But he wasn't going to think about that anymore. No, this was a vacation,
and Joseph knew that thinking about work would only slow it down in the
long run. So, he laid there in the field, took a deep breath, and
continued staring into the sky. After a moment, he felt much better about
his situation again.

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Meanwhile, a different sort of conteplation was occuring an a craft
speeding away from Robotropolis. The sole passenger of the craft was
pondering what to say to his new friend to get him to return with him
this time. He had still been reluctant to leave his precious island the last
time he had visited him, but he knew that he could convince him to return
with him today...

Laughter echoed through the small craft as it sped further away from the
dark outline of Robotropolis. Soon, the short human thought, soon,
Robotnik would be out of the way; and then he, Snively the Great, could
take his rightful control over Mobius!

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Eventually, Joseph grew tired of just laying in the field, thinking about
nothing. If it's one thing his new body demanded, it was activity. So,
he chose to get back to the activity that he had engaged in for most of
his vacation; exploring Mobius.

He had searched most of the Southern continent last week, and the Northern
continent was already throughly charted. Perhaps he would visit the
sea again. It was certainly beautiful enough to warrant a second look.
Besides, he had a yearning for seafood. A boiled lobster about then seemed
mighty good. He licked his lips and stood up.

He hadn't yet mastered the whole powering-up thing with his running. He
always seemed to mess something up. He'd either fall on his head, slip on
something and fall backwards, or lose control entirely and fly into a tree.
So, with some trepidation, he started running in place like Sonic did,
slowly picking up speed at first, but quickly picking up speed. After
a few seconds of this, he took his foot off the clutch (so to speak)
and blasted forward.

Surprisingly, he was able to maintain control of his propultion well enough
to direct himself to the shore. Within minutes, he was able to see the
line of the horizon reflecting off the sea. Now, he had to stop. He
didn't particularly *like* stopping. He had never been able to cease his
propultion on a 1 Mobian coin like Sonic did. He had always gone up some
extreme surface without speeding up to come to a halt. The water was now
in plain sight. It looked awfully blue today. He wondered how deep--

Unconsciously speeding up, he sucessfully breached the coast, and was
suddenly running over the water. Whoa, Joseph thought, this is cool!
He ran straight off the coast for a few minutes, and then tried a left
turn. After sucessfully turning left, he tried turning right. This also
was accomplished easily. Deciding to put his navigation skills to the
test, he ran in a figure-8 a few times, and then shot off in a different
direction. Way Past Cool, he mentally snickered, and headed off further
off the coast.

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The small craft landed on the far side of an anonymous island somewhere in
the Great Ocean. Snively departed the craft, told the SWAT Bot pilot to
maintain a holding pattern, and walked away. As the craft took off, Snively
disappeared into the island's jungle-like foilage.

After walking on a roughly-beaten path for a while, he came to a clearing
that he had visited countless times before. And, like every time, he
walked over to a small stump, took a seat upon it, and waited for his
host to appear.

"Welcome, Snively-mon," a voice said, "back to my island."

"Knuckles, cut the dramatics." Snively looked around. "Just tell me
your answer. Will you return to Robotropolis with me, or not?"

Some leaves rustled behind Snively, and a red-quilled figure appeared.
"I tol' you, mon, I canno' leave dis island. I gotta guard my Ruby."

"Echidna," Snively falsely smiled, "there is no one left on Mobius with the
capability to find this island but myself. How could someone steal your
precious `Ruby' if they don't even know this alcove exists?"

"But ev'ryone wants my Ruby, mon. It's special."
Snively internally chuckled. This foolish creature of the forest was so
paranoid about some idiotic reddish rock. It probably was a piece of
glass, or maybe it *was* a tiny little ruby. Either way, it was
unimportant to Snively what it was. "I told you," he said, "you can take
it with you if you want."

"I can' take it. I tol' you, it don' wanna be took."

Snively sighed. "Look, I could station some robot-soldiers..."

Knuckles grimaced. "No! No robots! Dis island shall NOT have robots
on it!"

Snively recoiled. "Okay, I won't put any here. I just thought you'd want
some protection for your stone."

Knuckles grew silent, obviously considering some things. Snively talked as
he thought. "Look, I promise you that nothing shall happen to your `Ruby'
until you return." Snively put his hand on the echidna's shoulder in a
false gesture of empathy. "You will return here. I *promise*."

"You promise?" the echidna spouted.

"Yes, I do."

Knuckles hmmed. "Okay, I go wit' you. But I want one mo' day here on the
island before I go. Dat okay?"

Snively smiled. "Yes, that will be fine." *JUST* fine, he thought, and
just in time... "I'll be back here at sundown tomorrow to pick you up. Go
to the north shore, and a ship will come for you."

As Snively got back up, Knuckles disappeared back into the underbrush.
The short human smiled evilly, and walked back up the path to flag down
his vehicle. This was too easy, he thought, as the ship landed, allowed
him to board, and rocketed back toward Robotropolis.

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Joseph sped over miles of water, going in no particular direction for very
long, nor really planning to go anywhere. He thought he might eventually
circumnavigate the world if he kept at this long enough. And, when he saw
the patch of land over on the eastern horizon, he thought he had. He sped
curiously over to it, wondering which coast it was.

After a second or two, he was running along the coast of the land, and then
realized it was an island. He hadn't quite circled the globe yet,
obviously, but this phenomenon still deserved investigation. He went
ashore, and started to slow--


When he came to, it was nighttime, and he was staring up into a pair of
eyes. "Uhh..." he groaned as a pair of hands grabbed him and pulled him to
his feet.

"How did you get 'ere!? 'Ave you come to steal my Ruby?!?"


Something that felt like a brick nailed him across the face, causing blood
to drip from his mouth. "I ASKED you a ques'ion, intruder!"


"Arrgh! "What are you, stupid?!"

"I...don't understand...intruder?"


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Joseph woke up a few hours later in a bamboo cage, hanging over a large
pit. A few rails had been redded with the liquid that had poured from his
oral cavity after the figure had decked him. (With what, he wondered, a
brick?) In addition to that painful injury, a few more additional cuts
had been inflicted (but healed) on parts of his stomach and arms;
obviously caused by being dragged through some sharper underbrush.

Struggling to his feet, he tried to regain his bearings. He was in a dense
part of the jungle. The cage was hanging from a single treebranch, but it
looked stable...for now. There was solid ground closeby the pit (which he
now saw having sharp spikes at the bottom) and a single path leading away
from it deeper into the forest.

He quickly came to the decision to try and swing the cage out from over the
pit, and onto solid ground, where it would probably break open. As he
began to rock it back and forth, he heard (as expected) the branch
beginning to go. He rocked a little harder, and he started to hear it
crack. He finally gave the cage a teriffic shake, and the branch broke,
plummeting it to the earth below. The cage began falling soon after that;
it tumbled toward the ground, shattered open, and spilled its
contents onto the forest floor.

What Joseph had forgotten to anticipate was the pain factor involved in
being inside of a cage when it crushed into the earth. He agonizingly
climbed out of the wreckage, picking small pieces of bamboo out of his
quills. He was beginning to hate this place. A lot.

After he had gotten himself together, he wandered silently down the path.
Luckily, his martial arts training had not been effected by his
transformation, so he was able to stealthily traverse the path without
distrurbing a single item in the forest. Hopefully, he could find the
shore, rev up, and get off this island before anything bad--



He emitted a series of vile Ur'thaen curses, and snarled. This irritated
Joseph to a great degree. His internal power cells were supposed to last
for about 1000 years before ever dipping below 50%, and here were his
systems crying 5% 6 months after it had been activated. Then, he
realized exactly how much load he had put on his body in the last
6 months, and was able to calm his fears of his body having leaky fuel

But, it still left the problem of finding fuel. He was going to have
difficulty finding something digestible without having to confront whatever
it was that struck at him. It was about as strong as he was at this point,
and certainly didn't like him very much...he thought Joe wanted to steal
his `Ruby', whatever the hell that was.

So, he did some quick internal calculations. If he went at a normal speed,
didn't use his augmented strength much, and avoided further injury, he
could last about a year on the island. After all, the food looked edible,
and the water was fairly clean...but he didn't want to be here a year. He
didn't want to be there a day! He wanted to go home.

He pounded his fist against his hand. No, there had to be crystals on this
island. There were crystals everywhere on this planet! All he had to do
was look. He turned his optical scanners to detect energy signatures, and
went off to find some.

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At daybreak, Joseph reached the shore. He had covered half the island, and
he was down to about 4% of his total energy. So far, he hadn't detected
much of anything. Some small pebbles were all that carried any sort of
juice in them, but they had not enough to even make a spark.

The sun beamed down upon Joseph, trying ineffectually to give him some
solar energy. Alas, but he had no solar panels on him, and no means to
make any. It did, however, warm him up enough so he physically felt
better, and made him think to sweep the horizon and admire the view.
As he looked around, he noticed a small, craft-shape energy
imprint upon the ground. He walked over to it to examine it further.
A ship had landed there earlier, no more than a day ago, and quickly had
taken off again. (He could understand why someone would do that.)

However, it appeared that it was a Robotropolis-brand ship that had landed
there, by the blackish residue that was left on the ground. Had someone
else decided to take a holiday here? He hadn't seen anyone else but the
figure that attacked him...but Robotnik wasn't into bamboo, he thought.

This was becoming a really strange situation, Joseph pondered, as he
wandered toward the other side of the island. Mysterious guardians of
unknown jewels, unknown landings of Robotnik-made was all
connected somehow, but Joe couldn't see it. He started walking down a path
that led through the other side of the island. He began to mull over
exactly what could be so important that whoever was guarding it would
savagely beat whomever seemed to threaten it...

Then, a blip appeared in front of him. A large crystal vein was on this
side of the island, toward the center. He smiled. His ticket home was
right on the beaten path. Perhaps this is what the strange one was
guarding, Joe thought. Well, he won't mind if I take a few off his hands
for lunch now, would he?

He wasn't going to take any chances either way. He returned to his
stealthy mode of walking, and seemed to disappear into the underbrush.
Within a few hours, he was in the center of the island.

He was on the very edge of the clearing. A cave was directly in front of
him, giving off an reddish glow deep inside of it. This is what the person
who had attacked him was guarding. "I wonder what's inside of it," Joseph
whispered aloud.

"My Ruby's inside o' dere."

He didn't turn around. He *knew* what would happen if he turned around.
So, he just burst forward toward the cave. "GET BACK 'ERE!!!" shouted the
figure as Joseph hit the sound barrier halfway through the cave.


He got to the back of the cave, no longer caring whether or not that person
liked him or not. When he got to the inside of the cave, he pushed a large
boulder in front of the opening out, so that the individual trying to kill
him would at least be slowed down. He heard thumping on the rock, and
muffled shouting, but he had not broken it down enough to get
through...yet. Having that out of the way, he ran as fast as was
prudent to the back of the cave.

He was stuck dumb with awe when he entered the area where the light was
coming from. The walls of the domed area were covered in glowing, sparking
energy crystal. In the center of the room, there was an energy core that
was being powered by a reddish rock...his `Ruby', obviously. But why did
this undeveloped island need this much power? What was this `Ruby' really?
He took a closer look at it, and accessed his records of Mobian geological
history. No, he thought, it couldn't be. But it *had* to be.

This `Ruby' was actually a Chaos Emerald.

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This explained a lot, thought Joseph. Chaos Emeralds were mythical,
mystical power crystals that are capable of generating extreme amounts of
clean, emissionless energy. They were also said to have special powers of
their own, depending on their color. But this was unimportant to Joseph
right now. All he knew was that the red rock in the center of the room was
best left where it was. It was probably incompatible with his digestive
system, anyway. So, instead of attempting to acquire that particular
crystalline morsel, he started trying to break off bits of the more
digestible power crystal on the walls.

Meanwhile, the boulder in the front of the cave suddenly formed a large
crack in the center of it, and seconds later it crumbled to the ground.
A very pissed-off Knuckles then strode in, looking to beat the tar out of
the `thief' inside by his delicate `Ruby'.

Joseph was too busy trying to chip off a mouth-sized crystal off the wall
to notice the boulder crumbling to dust in back of him. He hoped that if
he ate this one it would be enough to keep him going long enough to get
back home.

Unfortunately, he never got a chance to find out. Knuckles swiftly went
into a flying tackle onto the weakened and bleeding hedgehog, knocking
the crystal out of his hand. It flew across the room and shattered on
the wall, directly next to Joseph's hope of leaving here peacefully.
He was then slammed against the wall and kicked in the back. He yelped as
he felt a quill snap off one of his lower rows and scatter onto the floor.

Being driven to even more savagery by Joseph's acknoledgement of his abuse,
he punched Joseph repeatedly in the face, yelling on each impact. "STAY!"
By the time "FROM!" had rang out, Joseph had begun to go somewhat blind,
and his eyes freely bled blackish fluid. He coughed up a few mouthfuls of
bloods after the 5th or 6th sucessive hit, giving Knuckles a sense of great
personal pride. But, he grew tired of this, and decided to switch from his
face to some other part. Making a split-second decision, he threw him to
the ground and started kicking Joe in the stomach. Joseph was blinded
completely, and was beginning to lose his sense of hearing. All that was
left to his sensors was the pain.

After a few more kicks, Knuckles grabbed him by the throat, pushed his face
inside the engine core, burning a centimeter or two off of it. Joseph
tried to scream; but the echidna closed his fist around his throat, choking
his howl to a squeak. "You betta take a nice, GOOD look at my Ruby,
'cuz it's the LAST thing you're EVER gonna see!"


He weakly struggled to break the echidna's grip, but he barely had enough
power to writhe around in agony. He got a few good kicks in around
Knuckles' midsection, but nothing that could make him let go of him long
enough to let him breathe...


He felt like he was gagging on his own pancreas. He knew his eyeballs were
about to pop out from the pressure, and his mind was beginning to go...


He clawed at Knuckles' quills, but only managed to prick himself in the
fingers. He kicked and swung his arms, but Knuckles knew he was almost


No! Not again! Not before I--


For Joseph, time stopped. He lost all memory of his life, his world, his
entire existance. The struggling ceased; the static died down to silence,
his sensors stopped recieving information...the world grew cold, spun,
and slowly faded to black...

But then, a miracle occured.

Actually, a biological miracle occured. His body used the remaining volts
of his internal power to mutate his tongue into an energy reciever. Then,
running on sheer exhaust fumes, it gave it just enough length to wrap
itself around the crystal, and shot it out to try to siphon off as much
energy as it could.

It got far, far more than it bargained for. In fact, it got more than
enough. Immediately, ruby-red energy carressed Joseph's limp form,
catapaulting Knuckles across the room and out of the cave. Slowly,
Joseph's energy levels went up, slightly dimming the crystal's light.

However, as Joseph was recharging, the island was beginning to sink.
The beaches slowly started to retreat under a blue wall of water. Small
animals desperately ascended trees, rocks, anything they could find in
order to avoid being drowned.

<< ENERGY LEVELS RISING. 10%. 20%. 30%. 40%. 50%. 60%.... >>

After a few moments, Joseph's power levels were back to 100%. As he
disengaged his tongue from the crystal, and returned it to a normal length,
his healing systems came back on-line, and started to repair the damage
that had been done. He barely noticed the small earthquake that occured
after he fell from the crystal, nor did he care what it meant. He just
wanted to repair his screaming shell of a body.

He slowly rubbed against the energy crystal-covered wall. He was too
exhausted to even move. He doubted he was going to be able to go anywhere
for 15 minutes or so as he renewed hiself. The creature had beat him up
pretty bad. His vision was just coming back, and his hearing was still
fuzzy. Not only that, it seemed like his entire body core hurt.

He coughed up some blood and spat it onto a nearby rock. It hissed,
bubbled, and ate right through it. He was relieved. He wasn't internally
bleeding anymore; or else the clotting agents would have neutralized the
blood's acidic effects.

His sight clarified seconds later. That was much better. Checking his
power levels, he was somewhat was eating up most of his
power. He'd be back to 50% after all the repairs were complete. But
that'd be enough to finish his host off...

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Knuckles was laying unconscious in a clearing about 1000 yards from the
cave. The charge had knocked him clear through the forest, and he was cut
up pretty bad. Of course, he didn't notice this, because he was in a
stupor, but it still appeared awfully painful. His gloves were also
somewhat singed, but they were at least not on fire any longer.

He began to come out of it. Shaking his head, he groaned at the amount of
damage the hedgehog had done to him. Ruby had shocked both of them pretty
good. Hopefully, the stupid orange hedgehog thief was dead, and nobody
would bother Ruby until he got back. He hated trespassers.

He stood back up. Ruby was still there, by the glowing that came from the
cave. But he had to be sure the hedgehog was dead. Had to. Could be
alive, FAKING dead. He wandered back into the cave, and slowly returned to
the crystal room.

Joseph was there, acting dead. Since he didn't have any pupils to dilate,
he simply gave off a pheromone that denoted deadness. Hopefully, the
echidna would smell it, and think him demised.

Knuckles entered. He looked over at the puddles of blood laying around,
seeping into the ground. The hedgehog bled a lot. Dirty hedgehog. Bad
hedgehog. He looked at the dead hedgehog. Good. His instincts told him
he was dead, so he had to be. He decided he didn't like the dead hedgehog
with Ruby, making the place smell bad. So, he grabbed him by the
shoulders, and pulled him out of the cave.

The sun was beginning to set, so Knuckles hurried along, dragging the
hedgehog through the dirt. He'd leave him outside the cave as a warning.
Nobody would go into a cave where a dead animal laid outside. Just the way
it was. He dropped him in front of the cave, right in the center of the
enterance. Thinking no more of it, he turned his back on the `dead'
hedgehog, and started to walk up the trail.


Joseph stood up, and ran over to Knuckles as silently as the wind. He
grabbed the naive echidna by the throat. "Miss me?" he whispered into his
ear, and threw him into a tree. A few teeth fell out of Knuckles' mouth,
accompanied by a few droplets of blood. Smiling psychotically, Joseph
peeled him off the tree and spiked him on the ground. "So..." He punched
him in the snout. "You *actually* think--" He fit his left ear, making it
squirt most reddish fluid. "--you can go around beating--" He kicked him
in the head. "--people--" He stomped on his abdomen. "--up?" He threw
him down the path. "Huh?" Knuckles stumbled toward the beach, trying to
escape the enraged hedgehog. He pursued Knuckles, anxious to pummel
him some more.

Knuckles ran toward the beach. Bad hedgehog not dead! Got strong from
Ruby! Now was angry at Knuckles for stopping him from stealing Ruby.
Help! Help! Snively would help. Snively powerful. Has powerful
machines. Lazers that blow things up.

Joseph relentlessly chased his attacker. He was going to be sure he was
throughly punished for beating him up when he was defenseless, and without
provocation. He didn't want to kill him, mind you--he was not a
overzealous member of the warrior caste--just rough him up enough to teach
him to be more tolorant.

Knuckles stood on the north shore nervously. He looked back toward the
path, and saw the outline of the hedgehog coming close. He looked to the
horizon, and just then saw the shadow of a single ship...Snively's ship!
He'd save him! He'd blast the bad hedgehog into dust. Teach him a lesson.

He saw Knuckles standing on the beach, and noticed the small craft fly
down, pick him up, and go back into the air. "Oh, no you don't," Joseph
said, and projected some energy at the ship. It locked onto him and shot
some beams back. He ran along the shore, trying to trick the ship into
dropping down low enough so he could get a clear shot in. Unfortunately,
it did not.

Meanwhile, while the SWAT Bots were firing at Joseph, Knuckles was trying
to tell Snively what had happened. He ignored most of the foolish babble
about `Ruby', of course, but realized he'd have to kill this fast,
nigh-invincible (hmm) hedgehog before Knuckles was going to leave.
Knuckles, of course, had an idea...

Joseph had now almost ran a total circuit around the island. He was
wondering how he was going to escape their fire, and not let them get the
Chaos Emerald at the same time. But then, Knuckles jumped out of the
craft, and (instead of running at him) ran back toward the cave.
Hopefully, he'd find some way of hiding it, or destroying it. He thought
no more of the odd occurance, and continued dodging the fire of the SWAT

He ran beneath a series of cliffs, trying to dodge the continual bursts of
plasma. However, he neglected to notice the large boulder directly above
him, and hid there from the ship. It apparently didn't see him...but
Knuckles did.

He had ran around in front of the cave, taken a path to the other side of
the island, and climbed up the cliff where the boulder was. Then, he had
gotten a piece of wood, lodged it under the rock, and was waiting for the
hedgehog to get in position....NOW!

The boulder, after being dislodged from its resting place, raced down to
the ground, making hardly a sound. When Joseph finally noticed it, it was
too late. It slammed into him, and shoved him deep within the moist

Knuckles, of course, *knew* this had to have killed him. He cheered, did a
victory dance, and rapelled down the cliff. He then stumbled out to the
ship, and hopped in. Seconds later, they were both gone.

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An hour passed. The rock didn't move. A small puddle of blood was forming
next to it, and it was beginning to attract various insects. The tide came
in, and started to wash softly against the rock, cleansing the earth of the
reddish pool. The occasional bubble began to hiss up from the wet crater,
making it sound like a boiling mud pool, but instead of mud, there was
hemoglobin. It looked like some sort of macabre metorite had crashed.

Then, as if a geyser was forcing it away, the rock split in half, and
Joseph crawled out of the hole, vomiting up sand and dirt. He felt
absolutely miserable. It had taken him what seemed like aeons to charge up
anouther energy in his index fingers (the only part that was touching the
rock after it pushed him 2 3/4 feet underground) to start cutting the rock,
and it had drained him down to 25% again.

This *sucked*.

He had been beaten, electrocuted, buried, crushed, burned, nearly drowned,
and shot at. His energy levels had gone from 100% to 1% to 50% to 25%.
It felt like a really nasty form of vixen PMS. He just wanted to charge
up, teleport home, and not leave the dome for 2 weeks.

As he continued to wash himself off, he began to realize how fortunate it
was to be able to teleport home. Sure, he'd have to get fully charged,
have to pretty high up, and his broadcasting array on his body wasn't
the best, but it'd be just enough to tell Bahb to teleport him home to
his own power charger. He made a mental note never, never, never EVER to
take another vacation the rest of his life. At least not without a plasma
shotgun. Man, he could have used one of those.

He wandered back up the path to the cave. The interior of the forest
looked like it had seen a world war. Trees were bent over, there was blood
everywhere, and nothing dared move. He grumbled. He had lost control, and
messed up this entire ecosystem for everyone. Good one, moron. Hopefully,
it'd heal itself in 5 years or so, with luck. It would look a little
better, anyway.

Approaching the cave, it didn't look much better. He'd really beaten the
tar out of that echidna here. Little red quills were sticking out of the
dirt like a bad hair weave. A few teeth were also intermixed with the
quills, giving the whole area the stink of death. It made him sick.

He wandered into the cave, which didn't look as bad. It was only *his*
blood in here, and the crystals on the walls were vaporizing it pretty
quickly. He went over to the Chaos Emerald, placed his hands around it,
and boosted his power back to 100%. A few repairs and a minor earthquake
later (possibly caused by the Emerald's draining) pursued later, he charged
himself again. Now he was back to where he was supposed to be. He hoped
he wouldn't have to do that again for a long time.

A few minutes later, he had left the cave and ascended the cliff where the
boulder was. Looking down, he realized that it had to have nailed him
really freakin' hard. The cracks in the mud looked like something you'd
see on one of the three moons of this planet. A complete wreck. Thank
goodness it had happened in an out-of-the-way place, or else the entire
island would look like a war zone.

He pointed his eyes to the rising moons. He calculated his exact location
in relation to Knothole, triangulated the angle of the moonbounce, and
transmitted an encrypted transporter call, with full coordinates, to his
teleporter in his lab.

The transmission shot to the 1st moon, bounced off of it at a 34 degree
angle, and refracted to the secret reciever unit by the original crash
site. It traveled from there by buried wire 1 mile down into the earth,
went back up the hyperfast eribrum-doped fiberobtic backbone Joseph had
strung down into the earth, and back into the dome.

Bahb intercepted the transmission, decrypted it, and sent it down to the
3rd level of the Dome, the laboratory. The automatic servos began pumping,
and the teleporter powered up.

Joseph was then surrounded by an opaque bubble, which lifted into the air
momentarily and popped, leaving no trace of either bubble or passenger.
With that, Joseph left the Floating Island...a wreck.

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

A second or two later, he rematerialized, looking like a refugee, in the
3rd SubBasement of his home. Ahh. Home sweet home. He'd never want to
leave it again.

He didn't even acknoledge the computer. He hopped on the minielevator pad
and went straight to the 1st level, his bedroom. Then, he plowed right
into the bathroom, showered, dried off, walked back into the bedroom, laid
down on the bed, and passed out.

He slept for 5 days.

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

But what of Knuckles and Snively?

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

"Here," Snively said, "put this on your face. It'll heal it faster."

Knuckles could only moan quietly. He hurt. "Muhguh."

"Oh, stop complaining. You'll be fully healed by the time we enter
Robotropolis. By now, Robotnik should be throughly crushed by the

Before Knuckles could groan something, Snively said, "No, it wasn't that
one. The one I talk about is blue. Don't worry, you'll get to
meet him..." He smiled evilly.

"I promise."

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

About 5 days later, Joseph woke back up. He mumbled as he stumbled out of
bed and gave himself yet another through scrubbing. He still felt echidna
quills sticking out of his back. Not only that, he'd slept for a really
long time, according to his internal chronometer. He'd probably needed it.
Alas, he was going to have to mine some crystal pretty soon, because he
knew his energy levels weren't going to be constant for long...

He got himself back to a tolorable state and went back to the surface of
his home. The Dome looked especially lovely today. Bahb had made sure the
windows had stayed especially clean, and the light streamed in with
impunity. The entire room was warm with the power of the sun. It made him
feel much better about himself, and far more vibrant--

He got an idea. Solar energy! Of course! The entire Dome was almost a
perfect focusing tool; it was a massive upside down lens. All he had to do
was to install another lens in the reverse direction in front of his
skylight, and he could focus the rays of the sun into an extremely
high-frequency energy beam. Then, he could create some sort of battery to
store it, and get recharged off of the light of the Mobian sun. Just like
how he powered the rest of the house! And he wouldn't have to take any
more of the house's energy to do it.

Quickly, he set to work on drawing up the plans for the new device,
wondering what else he could use the excess energy for....

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                                    THE END?

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

                                                -- That cyberpunk.

         -- Joseph deLaCroix -- Professional Idiot Exterminator --
  Information wants to be sold for exorbitant fees, then totally devalued
     An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an account for an account
 "Act like a dumbshit, and they'll treat you as an equal." -- "Bob" Dobbs

Received on Sun Oct 29 1995 - 20:23:33 PST

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