A Sonic the Hedgehog Story
by Daniel J. Drazen
Sally had, from her earliest days, been groomed as the
successor to the throne of Mobius by her father. In her had been
cultivated the arts and virtues of leadership. It was now that
they would be put to the test.
"Sandy, she can't stay here. Whatever's wrong with her, she
may have a chance if we can get her to Knothole."
"But she can't endure hard travel, and that's what faces us
in crossing the Great Plain. We'd need about five days to get to
Knothole on foot." As Sandy spoke these last words, she gave
Sally a look that told her what she was afraid to ask: Sandy
didn't think that their mother had five days left.
"Sonic, you've got to get back to Knothole. Tell Dulcy to
get here as fast as she can."
"You sure about this, Sal?"
"Sonic, there's no other way!"
"Wait; who's Dulcy?"
"I'll tell you later, Sandy. Then you've got to get a
message to Uncle Chuck; have him come to Knothole at once. He's
the only one who has the kind of knowledge we need. We'll also
need a place for her to stay; we can use my hut."
The hedgehog's usual bravado was gone; the situation was
way too serious. With a simple "Hang in there, Sal," he was on
Only after Sonic had left on his errands did Sally cross to
the shadowy figure and kneel beside her. Sandy did the same and
touched the figure on the shoulder.
"Mother," Sandy said softly, "Mother, she's here."
The figure slowly turned her head toward them. The face was
sunken, pale and etched with pain. Whatever disease she was
fighting against had already exacted a terrible price, and would
soon demand payment in full. Yet Sally could plainly see her own
face in that of the one lying before her. And even now, so close
to death, Sally could see a hint of what had once been great
beauty in the face of the sufferer. Sally had never thought of
herself as beautiful--even if she were to admit it, it wouldn't
have been seemly to do so--but she could see it in this person,
whoever she was. The possibility that this frail sufferer could
indeed be her mother was now impossible to ignore.
The figure slowly opened her eyes and looked at Sally. It
seemed that it took her a while to focus her gaze. Then, she
slowly reached up and caressed Sally's cheek. Tears began to
well up in her eyes, and the corners of the parched mouth turned
"Sally...my lost child..." was all she could manage in a
congested whisper of a voice.
Sally started to call her "Mother," choked on the word, then
collapsed on the figure's metallic breast, pouring out the sorrow
she had carried for so many years. It was some minutes before
Sally could pull herself together enough to speak: "I never knew
what happened to you. I thought...I didn't know WHAT to think!"
"We were supposed to have been killed," Sandy said, her
voice full of controlled rage, "and we would have been if
Robotnik had had his way."
"But what happened to you? And how did you ever find me?"
"I'll leave the first question for now--it's too long a
story. As for finding you, we almost didn't.
"It was about three months ago that the Nomads we were
travelling with brought in a stranger: someone from the East who
seemed too eager to purchase weapons that the Nomads had their
eye on. I overheard the conversation between the Nomad chiefs
and this stranger who called himself 'Dirk.'"
"I know a Dirk! He's the leader of the Eastern band of
"That's what he admitted, after some questioning and after
swearing the Nomad elders to secrecy. Even then I don't think I
would have been interested until he spoke of a 'Princess Sally'
who was leading another group of fighters.
"Mother had spoken of you often, so I knew the name. She
told me how we had been separated after we had been born, and how
she and I had to leave Mobotropolis. On a chance, I cornered
Dirk after he'd left the elders. I kept my veil in place so he
couldn't have known why I was so interested in this 'Princess
Sally.' I could only learn from him that you lived in the Great
Forest, in some hidden place called Knothole. Then I let him go.
"At that time, Mother's health was beginning to seriously
deteriorate. When I told her what I had learned from Dirk, it
was as if she'd been given a new life. She had to see if you
were still alive, so we abandoned the Nomads and began travelling
to the Great Forest. We stopped frequently and made as good time
as possible. Finally, Mother became so weak that I feared to
take her any further; that's when we arrived here. I vowed I'd
find you and bring you to Mother.
"I arrived at the Great Forest not knowing where to begin,
and then I spied your watchtower. I thought I'd hide myself
until someone showed up, then I'd follow them back to Knothole.
The first one to show up...well, I was surprised to find someone
else who was...."
In answer, Sandy rose and tossed aside her cloak. Her right
arm, from her shoulder to her fingertips, had been roboticized.
"Robotnik did this to me when I was four years old. I'll always
remember the look on his face when he did it--the joy he took
from reducing a living being to some kind of machine. You saw
what he did to Mother--he changed her piece by piece. It was
painful, and it took months. He called it 'science;' I call it
Sally was stunned, not so much by Sandy's roboticized arm as
by the hatred with which she spoke. "You...you must have seen
Bunnie," she managed to say.
"I guess that was her name. Anyway, I also saw one of
Robotnik's crafts pull up next to her on the platform. I didn't
hear the craft until it was too late; he must be using some kind
of silencer on the engine."
"Never mind that; what happened? Bunnie tells me you
started fighting the SWAT-bots single-handed."
"The only worthwhile things I learned from my years with the
Nomads were their ancient fighting techniques. That's one of the
reasons Robotnik has managed to leave the Nomads alone all these
years, and how we've stayed hidden from them. I made short work
of the bots--it's easy if you know how," she added as an aside.
"Then I waited for Bunnie to come to, for she'd fallen and was
unconscious. When she called me by your name, I knew I had found
"Hey, Sally! You in here?" someone called out from the
"In here, Dulcy!" Sally answered.
"You never did say who this Dulcy is."
"She's our ticket back to Knothole, and..."
Sandy turned and found herself looking into the face of a
dragon. An adolescent dragon, to be sure, but it was still
something she hadn't counted on seeing. Sandy immediately drew a
curved Nomad knife from its sheath.
"Hey, hold it!" Dulcy protested. "I'm on your side!"
"Sandy, this is Dulcy. She's going to fly us back to
"You've made friends with a dragon?"
"Pleased to meet ya!" Dulcy said as she extended a claw.
Sandy replaced the knife, turned and walked back to where Queen
"Is that your Ma?" Dulcy asked.
"Yes, and that's my twin sister, Sandy."
"Oh, wow, I didn't know you had a twin sister!"
"Neither did I, until tonight."
"Oh, yeah. Well, we better get going."
Sally and Sandy carefully bundled up their mother, then
placed her inside the pouch on Dulcy's abdomen.
"You're going to be OK, ma'am," Dulcy said as she was tucked
in, then she spoke to the girls: "You two can saddle up once we
get outside, the ceilings are too low in here."
Leaving the fire to die out on its own, they made their way
out onto one of the open ledges that served as nesting sites.
Sally had only just shown Sandy how to sit in the two-seated
saddle on Dulcy's back when the dragon stepped off of the ledge
and began falling. Before anyone could say anything, Dulcy had
spread her wings and caught an updraft from the canyon. A few
seconds later Dragonsnest was just a fading blur on the horizon
"Hey, Sandy!" Dulcy called back. "You're doing pretty good!
You ever ridden a dragon before?"
"I've never even SEEN a dragon before!" It was obvious from
her tone that she'd rather be doing anything else at the moment.
"Look!" Sally called out. "That's the edge of the Great
Forest up ahead! We'll be in Knothole before long."
Actually, this wasn't the part of the journey that Sally was
looking forward to, for she knew what Sandy and her mother didn't
know: that Dulcy's landings needed a lot of work. That was the
strongest argument against using Dulcy to carry the Queen to
Knothole, but the alternatives weren't any better.
Soon they were skimming over the trees. After several
minutes, Sally pointed out some lights fluttering through the
foliage below, then a fire-lit clearing where Dulcy would land.
Sally braced herself for one of Dulcy's usual clumsy landings.
She began reproaching herself for the plan but stopped when Dulcy
said: "We're here!" Sally hadn't felt a thing.
Sliding off of the saddle on Dulcy's back, Sally and Sandy
lifted their mother from Dulcy's pouch and placed her onto a
makeshift stretcher. Bunnie and Rotor then bore the stretcher to
"Dulcy," Sally said as she turned back to speak with the
dragon, "that landing was...."
"Hey, I just hope your Ma's gonna be OK."
"Thanks," she said quietly, then ran to catch up with the
Inside Sally's hut, lights were lit, the bed had been turned
down, and water was heating in a nearby fireplace. The stretcher
was placed near the bed and Sally and Sandy began putting their
mother into the bed. Bunnie and Rotor helped, but Bunnie's
attention was mainly on Sandy.
"Oh mah stars, you ARE twins!"
"Sandy," Sally began, "this is...."
"We met," both Sandy and Bunnie managed to say in unison.
"Rotor, could you tell everyone to keep their distance until
the Queen...until Mother has had a chance to rest? I don't think
a lot of people crowding around will do her any good."
"Sure, Sally. And maybe I'd better tell...."
Rotor was interrupted by the crashing sound of crockery
hitting the floor. All eyes turned to the doorway. There stood
Rosie, Sally's old nanny. She looked at Queen Alicia with wide
eyes, then those eyes rolled upward and she went into a dead
faint. Sally and Bunnie helped her up off the floor and seated
her in a nearby chair.
"She looked like she'd seen a ghost!" Bunnie said.
"She probably thought she did," Sandy added. "Mother once
told me that only a handful of people in the palace knew that
twins had been born, and they'd all been sworn to secrecy."
"Well, the secret was safe with Rosie. She never said
anything about my having a twin sister."
Just then, from outside the hut there was a sound like the
sound barrier being seriously tested. A moment later, Sonic
entered the hut.
Someone followed him inside, someone whose body shone with a
metallic gleam in the hut's candlelight. This was Sonic's uncle,
Sir Charles Hedgehog, once one of the leading scientific minds of
Mobius. He was also one of the first to have been roboticized,
and it was only by a perseverance that managed to awaken some
spark of his old self that Sonic had been able to free his Uncle
Chuck's mind from Robotnik's control. Now Uncle Chuck, as
everyone in Knothole called him, used his roboticized form to his
advantage and lived the life of a spy in Robotropolis, keeping
the Knothole freedom fighters informed of developments.
But Sandy had no knowledge of these things yet. At the
first sight of Uncle Chuck, she immediately reached for her
"No!" Sally said, "he's on our side."
"First a dragon, now a robot. You've made quite an
interesting assortment of friends!"
As for Uncle Chuck, he stood in the doorway transfixed as he
recognized the figure in Sally's bed. Then, without a word, he
crossed over to the side of the bed and dropped to one knee,
bowing his head.
"I am at your service, my Queen," he said softly. He raised
his head and looked into her face. "I...I never thought I'd see
"My days...may be few," the Queen managed to whisper.
"Don't talk like that, Mother!" Sally said. "Uncle Chuck is
going to do everything he can to help."
"And the most helpful thing we can do is to let the Queen
rest," Uncle Chuck added. "Everyone except the princesses, go
back to bed; I want to talk to them. And to Rosie, once she
The residents of Knothole were up and about even earlier
than usual the next morning. Mostly, though, they were clustered
near Sally's hut discussing the events of the night just ended.
In obedience to Uncle Chuck's order, the freedom fighters stayed
outside the hut. However, as a spontaneous gesture, they began
leaving flowers, fruit, personal items and other objects near the
door and on the porch. It was clear that their loyalty to the
Queen had not dimmed.
Inside, Uncle Chuck had spoken with Sandy, trying to learn
all she knew about how she and her mother had come to be
partially roboticized. He studied both the Queen and Sandy for
"This is an older design," he told Sally and Sandy, "not
like the one Robotnik is using now. He must have used a
prototype of the roboticizer on you and your mother, Sandy."
"Somehow," Sandy added bitterly, "I don't appreciate the
fact that we were test subjects."
As for Rosie, she almost went into hysterics when she came
to. Uncle Chuck was able to calm her, so that she could tell her
"I've not seen the two princesses together since I helped
bring them both into the world. And no sooner had I done so that
this official-looking swine in a uniform walks into the room.
There were two police robots with him, there were, and what he
says were orders from the King. He says the Queen and the
second-born daughter were to be moved that night to the capitol
of the Southern Provinces, while the first-born was to stay with
the King in Mobotropolis. 'Security concerns,' he says! I
didn't believe him for a second, but the King said to let them
go. Then he swears me to secrecy not to say that two babies were
born that night. I didn't understand why, but I obeyed my King,
"And that's why you fainted when you saw Mother and Sandy?"
"No, I...well, it was the last I'd heard of them until we
received reports that the Southern capitol had been bombed in the
Great War. The reports all spoke of there being no survivors
"So you thought we'd been killed," Sandy said. "And we
almost were, too."
"If only it hadn't been for that war...." Sally added.
"I've got news for you, Sally. The Great War ended two
years after we were born."
The Knothole dwellers looked at Sandy, stunned.
"Mother and I weren't able to learn that until later, when
we'd talk with other refugees we met on the caravans: the other
side had sued for peace repeatedly. Those reports were never
carried back to Mobotropolis, which continued sending military
bots to the staging area in the south. From there, they were
being dispatched to conquer neutral territories all over Mobius.
Only when they were all under martial law and under the control
of the bots did War Minister Julian move against
"...calling himself Ivo Robotnik," Sally said. "I can see
it all now; why couldn't we have seen it coming?"
"Well," Uncle Chuck said softly, "never mind the past.
We've got work to do."
Using a diagnostic program resident in Nicole, he was able
to take readings on Queen Alicia's roboticized parts as well as
her internal organs and systems. He also had Rosie gather
together a great number of bowls to be sterilized by placing them
in boiling water.
"Why?" Sally asked.
"I'm going to need blood samples. I'm also going to need
Uncle Chuck examined a number of Sally's books, found
several with suitable paper, then enlisted Tails to carefully cut
along the margins with a pair of scissors to make paper strips.
Then it was time to take blood samples. Sonic, Sally, Rotor
and Bunnie were more than willing to help, even though it meant
nothing so taxing as each of them placing about a dozen drops of
their blood in a bowl. Antoine was more reluctant, but his
initial reluctance melted as he saw the first few drops of
Bunnie's sample dripping into a bowl, and he promptly fainted.
Uncle Chuck found it much easier to get the sample from the
"This is a good look for Ant," was Sonic's observation.
Finally, the samples were ready and labelled.
"I don't suppose you have any of the Queen's medical records
on file," Uncle Chuck asked Sally.
"I don't know. Nicole has access to the royal archives but
there's some kind of a security block on them."
"How did you know!?"
"Don't worry about it, Sally. I'm going to need some of
that paper now, Tails."
Cutting a small strip from the paper, Uncle Chuck dipped one
end of it into the sample of Sally's blood.
"Nicole," Uncle Chuck ordered, "access royal archives."
"ROYAL ARCHIVES ONLINE."
"Sally, is there a small opening near the top of Nicole's
"Yes; I've wondered what that was."
"If I'm right, it's a biosample access port. Would you open
Sally did so, and Uncle Chuck slid the bloodied paper strip
into it. A few seconds later:
"GENETIC PATTERN CONFIRMED. LEVEL 7 SECURITY BLOCK HAS BEEN
"So THAT'S why I could never get anywhere trying to crack a
level 7 block!" Rotor said. "It's not based on alphanumerics at
"That's right, Rotor. A level 7 is based on genetic
sequence pattern recognition. I didn't know whose pattern was
used, the King's or the Queen's, but I guessed that Sally's
blood would have enough of either of her parents to match. Now,
I've got tests to run. Sally, may I have use of Nicole?"
"Of course, Uncle Chuck. Sandy and I have...business...to
take care of."
to be continued
Received on Tue Mar 07 1995 - 11:02:11 PST
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