A Matter Of Trust: 1/3

From: Dan Drazen <drazen_at_andrews.edu>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 12:40:42 -0500 (EST)

                         A MATTER OF TRUST
                    A Sonic the Hedgehog story
                       by Daniel J. Drazen

Pause for bourgeois legalities: This story is copyright (c)1996
by the author, who grants permission to reproduce and distribute
it, so long as A) you don't screw around with it and leave the
text as it is, and B) you don't try and make a buck off of it.
If you're serious about the latter, drop me a line at
drazen_at_andrews.edu and we'll discuss my cut. All the normal
provisions of Title 17 (the U.S. Copyright Law) still apply.

Based on characters and situations created by Sega Corporation,
Archie Comics and/or DiC Productions. Bookshire Draftwood
appears in this story courtesy of David Pistone Talent
Associates. There are terms used in this story which may be
unfamiliar to some readers; they are advised to do some lurking
in alt.rec.sport.pro-wrestling.

     This was the part Sonic always hated.
     He didn't mind checking in with his Uncle Chuck, who worked
for the Freedom Fighters as a spy in Robotnik's midst. He
enjoyed seeing him, despite the fact that Uncle Chuck's body had
been roboticized. What he hated was leaving.
     "One of these days, Uncle Chuck, I'm checkin' you out of
this dump and gettin' you back to Knothole so we can deroboticize
     "Nobody's looking forward to it more than I am, Sonie, but
until they've got the bugs worked out of the system, I'm needed
     "I know. But it still stinks!"
     "That's what I get for building a hideout in a garbage
dump," he smiled. "Now scoot."
     Sonic gave his Uncle a hug, said "Be cool!" and jammed off
into the twilight streets of Robotropolis.
     As he ran the well-known streets to the edge of the city,
Sonic wondered how soon it would be before he could make good on
his promise to Uncle Chuck. Some days, it seemed as if the
Freedom Fighters of Mobius weren't making any headway against
Robotnik. They were able to slow down Robotnik and his spoiling
of the planet, but there still didn't seem to be a way of rolling
it back and returning things to the way they were.
     These thoughts so preoccupied Sonic that he almost didn't
hear the approaching whine of SWATbot patrols. He ducked down an
alley just in time. He could hear the SWATbot intercom:
     Strange. Usually there were enough SWATbots patrolling a
given area to take care of anything. If they needed that much
backup, they must be up against something big! Sonic couldn't
resist--he had to check this out!
     Following the SWATbot hover unit from a discreet distance,
Sonic trailed it to an area adjacent to the trash heap that was
one of the Freedom Fighter rendezvous points. Afraid that one of
his comrades was in danger, he cautiously approached to get a
better look.
     He saw a number of SWATbots...at least a dozen...converging
on someone, someone Sonic didn't recognize. It was a badger. He
was tall and built like a barrel. Two leatherlike straps crossed
his muscular chest and held up a belt from which hung two small
hatchets. The badger was using a third ax--a double-headed ax on
a long, stout pole--to ward off the SWATbots. He'd already
destroyed several SWATbots with it, judging from the pieces on
the ground.
     Sonic had heard that there were few things on Mobius as
impressive as a badger in combat, but he hadn't really believed
it until now. The badger didn't just lash out blindly as the
SWATbots tried to approach. He made the most of every move,
making sure that every backswing was at least as effective and as
lethal as every thrust. But it was clear that the badger was
beginning to tire and that the SWATbots would soon have him. The
fact that the badger hadn't been blasted meant that he was
supposed to be taken alive.
     Not if Sonic the Hedgehog had anything to say about it!
     "It's time to play 'Bowling for Bots!'" Sonic announced.
The SWATbots turned.
     But the SWATbot never finished his sentence, for Sonic had
gone into Sonic Spin mode and simply plowed into the SWATbots. A
second later, only two were standing.
     "Stand back, big guy," Sonic said to the badger, "I've got
to pick up the spare."
     Using the spin again, Sonic plowed into one bot, ricocheted
off him and took out the other one. He turned back to the
     "Are you OK?"
     But the badger didn't answer. Instead, his eyes narrowed
and he pulled one of the smaller hatchets from his belt. Before
Sonic could say or do anything, the badger hurled it in Sonic's
direction. It missed the hedgehog, sailing over his head. The
next thing Sonic knew, he heard a dull, metallic CLANG. He
turned to see one of the SWATbots he thought he had taken out
still standing, but it now had a badger hatchet buried in its
head. It shuddered for an instant and then fell to the ground.
Sonic turned to the badger, extending a hand.
     "Whoa, I owe you one, fella!"
     But the badger didn't say anything right away. He only
looked at Sonic with a curious expression, as if he were coming
out of a trance.
     "Sonic? Sonic Hedgehog?" he finally asked in a deep, smooth voice.
     "That's my name--don't wear it out."
     A broad smile slowly crossed the badger's face. "Sonic...
Sonic, it's me! Spartacus!"
     The hedgehog's eyes widened. "No way!" he squealed.
     "Yes way!"
     The two embraced, which was easier for the badger who was half again
as tall as Sonic. It was rather like a child hugging a doll, and Sonic
came off the worse for it. When the badger
loosened his grip, Sonic was still gasping for air. "Man," Sonic
finally said, "you've gotten...HUGE!"
     "You think I'm big, you should see Adonis!"
     "Hey, we'd better get out of here before we tangle with any
more bots."
     Sonic led Spartacus through the dump, down the twisting path
known to the Knothole Freedom Fighters. Several minutes later,
Sonic and Spartacus paused in the evening shade at the edge of
the Great Forest. Waiting in the shadows were two figures: Tails
and Antoine.
     "Sonique, what is the meandering of this? Who is this
     "This 'stranger' was once my best bud when I was a kid.
Spartacus, this is my pal, Tails. And that's Antoine."
     "Hi!" Tails said as he shook the badger's massive hand.
Antoine, however, seemed even stiffer and more aloof than usual.
     "And wherefore were you doing in the dumps?" he asked the
     "Making a mistake I'll never make again! For the last four
months now, we badgers haven't been able to work our traditional
mines in the hills north of the Great Forest because of increased
SWATbot activity. As a result, we haven't been able to fashion
new weapons. I thought I could find some high-quality metal to
bring back to our smiths to forge into ax heads. Instead all I
found was scrap. And then the SWATbots found me. I was fighting
them off when Sonic showed up and saved my life."
     "How is it you are knowing Sonique?"
     "We go way back, Ant," Sonic began. "We were both like five
years old when he came to Mobotropolis."
     "My family lived deep in the Great Forest with the other
badgers of our clan. But about that time my father got very
sick, and it was more than our healers could handle. So my
mother, my brother Adonis and I brought our father to
Mobotropolis, to the hospital."
     "And did they help him get better?" Tails asked.
     "My father was in the hospital for three months, but he
never seemed to get better. Finally he died. That's when I got
this," he said as he indicated a long diagonal scar across his
chest. "I was cut to mourn his passing.
     "I'd never been in the city before and I guess it showed. I
got teased pretty badly by some of the other kids. Until Sonic
stood up for me."
     "Hey, it just seemed to me like you needed a friend."
     "And you were a good friend, Sonic. I...I only wish I could
have told you when my father died. But we left Mobotropolis with his
body at the first opportunity, to bury him with his fathers.
This is our way. And as it turned out, we left the city two days
before Robotnik took over."
     "Talk about your great timing!" Sonic said. "I wondered
what happened to you; it was like you just disappeared."
     "When a badger dies, his family turns its back on the world for a
time of mourning. But what about yourself, Sonic? How have you fared?"
     "Better than fair. We're freedom fighters, living in
     The badger's brow furrowed. "Knothole? I've never heard of
     "It is just as well, for we are needing to keep it a
secretion," Antoine said with more than a hint of nervousness in
his voice. "In factuality, we must be returning there *tout
     "But..." Sonic began.
     "I understand," Spartacus said. "I have to get back to the
clan myself. But can you meet me here tomorrow at noon? So we
can catch up on old times?"
     "No prob!" Sonic said, getting in a quick elbow shot to
Antoine's ribs to prevent further interruption.
     "Fine. It really is good to see you again, Sonic. Until
tomorrow, then." And with that, the badger turned and walked
into the Great Forest. He moved with a speed and a quietness
that belied his size, and he was soon lost from sight.
     "Hey, Ant! Who put the starch in YOUR shorts?"
     "About what are you talking?"
     "You know about what I'm talking! Spartacus was my bud, and
you treated him like pond scum!"
     "We will see what the Princess has to be saying about this!"
 And with that, Antoine turned and headed back for Knothole.
     "Wow!" Tails whispered. "I've never seen Antoine so uptight
     "Aw, he's just being his usual obnoxious self. Let's give
him a head start; I'll bet you BOTH of us can still beat him back
to Knothole."

     If Sonic had hoped that Sally would be more understanding
than Antoine, he was in for a surprise when he returned to
Knothole (after having left Antoine in his dust) and told Sally
about his reunion with Spartacus.
     "And you believed his story?" was what Sally said. Sonic
was shocked.
     "Of course I believed it!"
     Sally's brow furrowed. She consulted her hand-held
computer. "Nicole, verify."
     "That's enough, Nicole," Sally said as she closed up the
     "So where's my apology, Sal?"
     "Don't hold your breath waiting for it, Sonic."
     "What's with you, Sal? This isn't like the time when we ran
into Ari -- I KNOW Spartacus!"
     "Sonic, I don't want to believe you've forgotten EVERYTHING
you ever learned. Don't you remember anything about the Clan
     "The who?"
     "This is hopeless! Between the 24th and 28th centuries, the
badger clans were split into two factions. One faction
challenged the legitimacy of the House of Acorn to rule Mobius
and waged war against it. The other faction defended the House
of Acorn."
     "OK, so some of the badger clans and the House of Acorn
didn't get along; so what?"
     "So during that time, there were six attempts made against
the lives of members of the House of Acorn; four of them
     "Sal, this is ancient history! What's all this got to do
with Spartacus?"
     Sally paused for a moment. "Look, just promise me one
thing: don't tell him or show him where Knothole is located."
     "C'mon, Sal, you know I'd never do anything stupid like that!"
     "Just promise, OK?"
     "OK, OK! All of a sudden I need some fresh air," he added
as he dashed out of Sally's hut and headed for the pond.
     Antoine, who had heard most of the conversation, sat down on a
nearby chair. "You were handling that very well, my Princess."
     "No I didn't." Sally sat down on the edge of her bed, her chin
resting in her hands. "I totally blew it!"
     "What was it to be blowing?"
     "Antoine...I was afraid."
     "But you were having every reason...."
     "But what if Sonic's right? What if it IS all ancient
     "Then I am supposing you are not having anything to be
worried about to meet this friend of Sonique's."
     "Antoine, you're absolutely right!" Sally rose and, after
giving Antoine a kiss on the cheek, left her hut to find Sonic.
Antoine was confused by Sally's meaning, but having been on the
receiving end of a kiss from her he didn't care that much.

     "Tell me again why you're doing this. Sal."
     Sonic and Sally arrived at the appointed spot just before
noon. Sonic had been just as confused as Antoine about Sally's
about-face on Sonic's meeting with Spartacus, but Sally still hadn't
explained why she now insisted on accompanying Sonic to the rendezvous.
     "If I thought you could understand...."
     "Hey, try me!"
     "Not yet. When is your friend, uh..."
     "Spartacus. When's he supposed to be here?"
     "I'm here now."
     Both Sonic and Sally jumped at the voice behind them. It
was indeed Spartacus, this time with only one hatchet hanging
from his belt.
     "Man, where'd you learn to be so quiet? And where'd you
come from, anyway?"
     "Part of it is training in stalking; the rest comes
naturally. As for where I came from, I came down that trail."
     Sonic looked for several seconds. "WHAT trail?" he finally
     "There's always a trail, if you know how to look for one.
It's all part of my training as a tracer -- one who follows
tracks through the forest. The elders tell me I'm pretty good at
it. But enough about me; who's your friend?"
     "Spartacus, this is Sally."
     "Pleased to meet you." For several seconds, Sally could
only stare at him while three words ran through her mind: "Drop
dead gorgeous!"
     "Likewise," she said finally.
     "I didn't know that you'd be bringing her, Sonic. Are you
     "No way!"
     "Spartacus," Sally broke in, "I came with Sonic because I
need to know something. I need to know how your clan feels about
the House of Acorn."
     Spartacus paused for several seconds. Sonic was sure he
could see his old friend's face flush crimson.
     "It's to our...shame...that some badgers still want to
fight the old battles. They're mostly old badgers who entertain
old notions. The younger warriors, those of my generation, know
that Robotnik is the true enemy. Why do you ask?"
     "Because I loved, and have lost, someone very close to the
throne of the last Acorn King. And if this should get in the way
of your friendship with Sonic...."
     "Don't worry about it," Spartacus said gently, resting a
massive paw reassuringly on her shoulder. "When I deal with
Sonic, I see only him. And when I deal with Sonic's friends, I
see only that friendship and I respect it."
     "Thank you, Spartacus."
     "So, what is this 'Knothole' place you mentioned?"
     For the next several hours, Sonic and Spartacus reviewed for
each other the lives they had lived since their parting as
children. Sonic mentioned as much as he could about Knothole
without giving away its position. He also failed to mention that
Sally was, herself, of the House of Acorn, and that she had been
speaking of her father earlier on when she spoke of her loss.
     Spartacus, for his part, described life among a badger clan.
It was a rugged life with few physical comforts -- fewer, even,
than Knothole -- and one given over to preserving the old ways of
the clan. Yet Sally detected a note of disenchantment in
Spartacus's voice.
     "I sometimes ask myself," Spartacus told her, "what the
point is of learning to fight if there's no opponent to fight.
Sonic told you of my encounter with the SWATbots; in some ways I
was unprepared to fight them."
     "You didn't look that unprepared to ME!" Sonic chimed in.
     "Thanks, but we've never really trained to fight Robotnik or
his forces. I feel there's much we can learn from your
     "Then why not fight by our side, and learn from us?" Sally
     "Such a matter would have to come before our clan elders,
many of whom still think the House of Acorn is the true enemy of
badgers. They consider Robotnik to be something best left
     "Well, why don't you kick some of those old guys out of
their jobs?"
     "You don't know our ways, Sonic. The power they hold over
the clan is due to their length of days and experience in combat.
It will be a while before enough of them rest with their fathers
for the old prejudice to become the minority view."
     "Man, I'd sure like to tell those old guys what's really
happening to Mobius!"
     "Why don't you?"
     "Come visit the clan tomorrow evening, as my guests and as
my friends. Put your case before them. The worst that can
happen is that they'll reject your proposal."
     "Will they let us in?" Sally asked. "We ARE outsiders, and
not of the clan."
     "You have also fought against Robotnik most of your lives.
They will respect you for that, if for no other reason."
     Sally considered it for a few seconds. "Very well, then:
tomorrow evening." She extended a hand and Spartacus took hold
of it.
     "Agreed. Meet me back here an hour before sunset; I'll
guide you to the clan myself."
     Soon, Spartacus had once more melted back into the Great
     "Come on, Sonic, let's get back to Knothole."
     "Nothin' doin', Sal." Sonic stayed rooted to the spot, his
arms crossed in front of him.
     "Now what?"
     "Seems to me that someone here owes someone else here an
     "You're right," Sally admitted, "I'm sorry I distrusted your
friend. I shouldn't have been so suspicious."
     "That's better! Now, why can't you say that more often?"
     "Why can't you be right more often?"
     And the banter continued all the way back to Knothole.

Received on Tue Jan 30 1996 - 13:53:13 PST

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