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Fanfiction The Tale Of Roy and Samantha

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by VicTheJolteon, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. VicTheJolteon

    Eric
    (Vulpix)
    Level 16
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2018
    Posts:
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    PokéPoints:
    ₽121.2
    Thunder Stone ★★★Great Ball ★★
    He has lost everything; she does not know what she has lost, but the two of them are about to change everything...

    This story takes place in the Sonic the Hedgehog Series.

    There are three OCs in this story that are not my own, but I do have permission from their creators to use them in this story.
    They are:
    I know that this is a Pokémon forum, I thought that you guys would like this one.:)

    All other characters beyond my own are property of SEGA and Nintendo and I claim no ownership of them.
     
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    #1 Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018 at 12:57 PM
  2. VicTheJolteon

    Eric
    (Vulpix)
    Level 16
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2018
    Posts:
    75
    PokéPoints:
    ₽121.2
    Thunder Stone ★★★Great Ball ★★
    The Tale of Roy and Samantha

    Introduction:

    Greetings, Reader, I am here today and for quite a few days hence to tell you the Tale of Roy and Samantha,

    Our story takes place on Mobius; though not the Mobius you and I know today, instead, this is a Mobius of an alternate series of events, with some things very similar to the one we know and some things very much so different, but here, as it is there, the tyranny of Eggman and the courage of Sonic and his allies both play a major role in how this story unfolds.

    Chapter One:

    We begin in the early morning; the one we are looking for is sleeping in his room, unbeknownst of the trials in store for him.

    He is a Mobian fox, not an uncommon race in this part of the world, but he is a bit different from others of his kind, as you will see in time.

    Another fox walks in the room, this one a bit younger and smaller than the first, his fur was a few shades lighter than our hero`s dull red complexion;

    “Dude, Roy, you gotta` get up.” The second fox says, poking the shoulder of the first,

    At this prodding, the first fox lets out a sigh and looks over at his alarm clock, “Reggy, why are you getting me up now, it`s five in the morning…” The fox said with a groan, covering his head with his blanket and hoping his brother will go away,

    “You promised to show me your newest invention Roy.” Reggy stated in a matter-of-fact way,

    “You know that`s not how that conversation went,” Roy said as he started to get out of his bed, “it went more like a demand from you, followed by an assumption from you that I agreed.”

    “But you are going to show me, right?” Reggy asked,

    How did I get roped into this? Roy thought before saying, “Fine.”

    “Yes! Now I can use that rifle you built!” Reggy shouted with glee,

    “Hold up, no, you`re not touching that weapon, not after that incident with my machine assist boots.” Roy said, putting both hands up in a ‘you just stop that’ fashion,

    “Hey, that happened when I was ten, I`m twelve now.” Reggy protested, reaching for Roy`s equipment chest at the end of Roy`s bed,

    “Yeah, not gonna` happen, the rifle is off-limits…” Roy stated, quickly stepping between his brother and the equipment chest, “…but I will let you test my energy shield, I built it yesterday and I haven`t had a chance to test it yet.” He added as he rummaged through the case, periodically lifting pieces of homemade equipment out of the way,

    “Awesome! Your newest stuff is always the coolest!” Roy said with glee, though he kept his voice down this time to avoid waking up their parents,

    “Come on, I have a hill that is the perfect testing ground for my shield emitter, it`s just behind the Freedom Fighter barracks.” Roy said as he put on his gloves and shoes, motioning for Reggy to follow,

    “Awesome!” Reggy said as he followed Roy out of the room,

    “Hold on, let`s get our coats on.” Roy mentioned when they both arrived at the living room of their parents’ house,

    “Oh, yeah, I forgot it`s winter… thanks.” Reggy said as he put on his coat,

    When they both got their coats, packs and Roy got his equipment on, Reggy opened the front door,

    On the other side they saw the familiar blanket of snow covering the peaceful village of Knothole, the gleam of the sunrise on the white snow a pleasant sight to behold,

    As they both made their way to the Freedom Fighter`s barracks, Reggy built up with excitement, wondering what Roy`s shield emitter does,

    “Here we are.” Roy said as they neared the barracks,

    But when they reached their destination, Reggy became confused at what he saw,

    “How are we going to test your shield? There`s no flat space to work.” Reggy asked, looking at the very large hill that was completely covered in snow,

    “Oh, I think you might like this test,” Roy said as he brought his new shield emitter out of his pack, a round silver item with a large silver button in the center, the emitter itself was attached to a leather belt as its buckle ,“but first we need to climb to the top of the hill.” He added as he started to climb,

    Reggy saw where this was going; he climbed the hill in record time, getting there before Roy made it even halfway,

    When he got to the top, Roy pretended to be out of breath, “Dude, you might be as fast as Sonic.” He said, making Reggy feel very proud of himself,

    Then Roy took a quick look down the edge of the hill to see if there were no trees on the way to the bottom, after seeing that there were none, he turned to his brother

    “Now, I designed this emitter so that it activates the moment you`re about to hit with something, so all you need to do is wear it and don`t freak out.” Roy explained as he attached the emitter to Reggy`s waist,

    “Why would I freak out?” Reggy asked, honestly confused (up until this point, he did not even know what a ‘shield emitter’ was.)

    “Oh, well this might do it.” Roy said, pushing his brother off the sloped edge of the hill,

    But right before Reggy made contact with the hillside, the shield emitter began to glow a pale blue-white and a barely visible, hollow sphere developed around him, causing Reggy to roll down the hill at a considerable pace, landing at the bottom in record time,

    But then Roy did not hear Reggy say that he was okay, causing him to wonder if his shield emitter did not work,

    A few moments of dreadful silence later, Roy panicked and quickly made his way down the hill, fearing the worst,

    When he reached the bottom of the hill, Roy saw a perfectly round ball of snow at the bottom, but no word from Reggy,

    Oh, dear, what have I done? Roy thought, he wanted to get Reggy out of the snow before it suffocated him, but he was too afraid of what he might see if he cleared the snow off,

    Then a voice came from the ball of snow, “Dude; that was so cool!” said Reggy,

    Roy snapped out of his fear and quickly cleared a window of snow from the sphere, inside he saw Reggy suspended in the center, the shield emitter glowing brightly,

    “Why didn`t you say you were okay?!” Roy said as he cleared more snow off of the sphere, he felt both annoyed and relieved,

    “I wanted to freak you out.” Reggy admitted,

    “Really, you butt!? That`s not funny at all!” Roy said, now feeling more annoyed than relieved,

    “How do you turn this thing off, anyway?” Reggy asked, still floating there in the center of the shield,

    “I don`t know, I think that you being stuck there is so funny that it totally slipped my mind.” Roy replied sarcastically,

    “Hey, you can`t just leave me here!” Reggy whined,

    “I don`t know, I could…” Roy said teasingly, pretending to start walking away,

    “Hey, I`m gonna` tell Mom!” Reggy said as he started to flail around in the shield bubble,

    “Dude, slow up, I`m just messing with you,” Roy said, motioning for Reggy to quiet down, “press the button in the center of the shield emitter to turn it off.” He explained,

    Following Roy`s instructions, Reggy pressed the large silver button in the center of the emitter,

    The moment he did this, the emitter promptly shut off, leaving Reggy to land on his face with a thud,

    “Ow, why`d you make it so I hit my face?” Reggy complained as he brushed the snow off of his face,

    “Ok, I didn`t plan that, but that was really funny.” Roy replied,

    “No, it wasn`t.” Reggy complained,

    “Oh, yes it was.” Roy teased,

    “I said it wasn`t!” Reggy said again, a bit louder this time,

    This started an argument between the two filled with lots of yes-it-was` and no-it-wasn`t`s,

    After a few minutes, they both calmed down,

    “Let`s do that again!” Reggy said, promptly climbing the hill once more,

    “Hey, wait up!” Roy shouted as he went up the hill as well,

    For another hour or two, they both took turns wearing the shield emitter and pushing each other down the hill,

    But, this all ended when Reggy accidently crashed through the Freedom Fighter`s barracks, waking all those inside and causing the alarm to go off,

    Within moments, the two were surrounded by every soldier in the barracks, each one in full combat gear, ready to fight off the invasion that they were absolutely sure was commencing,

    When they saw that it was just Roy and Reggy, their readiness to defend Knothole turned to anger towards the both of them,

    “What in the Master Emerald`s name are you doing here?!” said one of the soldiers, a large Mobian Crow that seemed to be in charge of the rest of the soldiers,

    “I am so sorry, Jeff, we were just playing and it got out of hand, it won`t happen again.” Roy began to apologize,

    “I`ve had just about enough of your nonsense and false apologies, running around with your robotisized boots and gloves…” Jeff snapped at Roy, cutting him off mid-sentence, “…and now you`ve taken to attacking Freedom Fighter property; you know, you`re looking more and more like the Eggman every day!”

    At Jeff`s scolding, Roy became both enraged, hurt and more than a bit surprised at the suddenness of it all; it was as if Jeff had a speech prepared long before he stepped outside,

    “Hey, you take that back!” said Reggy in defense of his brother,

    “Like we`re gonna listen to the brother of an Eggman wannabe!” said Jeff, causing all of the other soldiers to start shouting words of agreement,

    Listening to all this name-calling and taunting made Roy very upset and angry, without even thinking, he balled up his fists, causing his gloves to activate and glow a bright blue at their knuckles,

    When he saw this, Jeff smiled for a split second at the fact that his goading was working, but he wiped it away before anyone saw before saying, “So, you`re going to attack me, huh?” he said,

    “Leave me and my brother alone, Jeff.” Roy said as a warning,

    “And give you more time to betray us all, I don`t think so.” Jeff stated, readying his halberd,

    It looked like the two were about to strike one another dead; but before anything happened, a commanding voice called out from the crowd, “Enough!” spoke the female voice,

    When they heard this, both Jeff and Roy turned to see a female ground squirrel step through the crowd and into the center,

    When he saw her, Jeff immediately dropped his weapon and saluted, as did all of the other soldiers,

    “Princess Acorn, I-I-” Jeff began to stammer, but the squirrel cut him off mid-sentence,

    “Please, it`s just Sally…” she said in a gentle voice, then she looked at both Roy and Jeff before continuing “…what is going on here?” she said, this time in a much more commanding tone,

    “We were playing on the hill and we accidentally crashed through the back wall of the barracks.” explained Roy,

    But before Sally could say anything, Jeff interjected, “You`re not going to believe this freak, are you!? He attacked the barracks on purpose and his brother is an accomplice!” he said, pointing at Roy and Reggy as if the two of them were Swatbots themselves,

    Roy was about to say something in protest, but he stopped when he saw that Sally had slightly raised her hand, signaling for everyone to be quiet,

    “I`ve heard enough…” Sally said, “…Jeff, I think you`re overreacting a bit.”

    “But what about him, is he just going to get away with it?!” Jeff protested, pointing at Roy again,

    “I never said that…” Sally replied while taking a quick look at the damage to the barracks, then she turned to face Roy and continued, “…Roy, while it was most likely an accident, you did damage the barracks and endanger your brother, so I am forced to relegate you to stay outside the borders of our village for one whole day as punishment for the damage you caused.”

    While receiving his sentence, Roy did nothing but stand there, wanting to say something, but not daring to, lest he receive a harsher punishment,

    “Well then, I request the duty of escorting him out of our village.” Jeff said, his face wore a shadow of well hidden malice,

    “No you will not, Jeff…” Sally replied curtly, “…as of this point, your duty is to supervise the repair of the barracks.”

    The Sally pointed to a random soldier in the crowd and said, “You are to escort Roy to our borders and to make sure that he does not re-enter the village until exactly twenty-four hours have passed.”

    “Yes ma`am!” said the soldier; he promptly took Roy by the arm in a somewhat uncomfortable fashion,

    Then Sally picked another soldier from the crowd, “Now, you will escort Reggy to his home and inform Roy`s parents of what has just happened.”

    Without another word the soldier started to usher Reggy away despite the young one`s protests,

    Seeing how upset his brother was, Roy called out to him, “Don`t worry, Reggy, it`s only one day!” he said

    After seeing that her job here was done, Sally left without another word so she could go back to sleep, she had already dealt with a long night of strategy brainstorming and this whole mess was not helping any,

    When he saw that Sally was out of earshot, Jeff decided that he would have the final word,

    With this in mind, Jeff quickly caught up to Roy and the soldier that was escorting him,

    “I don`t think you`re getting the punishment you deserve, but who am I to disobey Princess Acorn.” Jeff said, hoping that Roy would react and give him an excuse to finally put him down,

    “Leave me alone.” Roy said, not even bothering to look at Jeff,

    “Oh, that`s a laugh, you, telling me to leave you alone, after all of the meddling that your family has done over the years-” Jeff began to say,

    “That`s quite enough, sir.” Spoke the soldier, interrupting the both of them,

    “What, you`re defending this traitor?!” Jeff snapped at the soldier, very angry at being cut off,

    “I am neither defending him nor condemning him, am I simply following the written law, as you should as well.” The soldier replied

    “And what laws would those be?” Jeff asked, quite angered at the apparent insubordination from one of his own soldiers,

    “The laws explaining that any and all exiled persons are to be shunned and never spoken to…” The soldier explained, “…until which case they either become un-exiled or part of another country.”

    “I don`t know what part of the law book you`ve been stuffing your nose in at night, but fine, I have no need to converse with an Eggman wannabe anyway.” Jeff said before leaving back towards the village in a huff,

    After he was sure that Jeff was out of earshot, the soldier spoke, “You know I lied, right?” the soldier asked Roy,

    “Lied about what?” Roy asked in reply, completely confused,

    “I lied about that rule; you know, the one saying that exiles are to be shunned.” The soldier replied,

    “Why would you do that?” Roy asked, not really getting the point,

    “Well, two reasons: one, I wanted to get Jeff to go away and two, your family has done so much for our village, I just had to repay them somehow; getting ‘the Jeff’ off your back seemed like a good way to do it.” The soldier explained,

    “Hold on a moment; what`s going on with you calling him ‘the Jeff’ anyway?” Roy asked, laughing a little at the ridiculous nickname,

    “Oh, right; civilians don`t know this; yeah, when Jeff was a boot camp instructor, he had a reputation for driving his trainees so hard that on average, eight out of ten of `em would quit in the first week of training…” the soldier explained, “…and this was all before the Eggman showed up.”

    “Wait a moment, you mean there was a time before that monster was around?...” Roy said, quite surprised at this information, “…I`ve always heard that he was an immortal demon that took your soul and put it into a machine to act as his puppet.” He added,

    “Oh, yeah, I`d forgotten that children`s story…” the soldier remarked, “…nope, according to Jeff, the Eggman appeared about fifty years ago and at first was considered an ally to us Mobians, but then we found out that he just wanted to use our talents to take over the rest of the world; when we refused, that`s when the Eggman decided to start Robotisizing folks to force them to do what he wanted anyway; it all seemed like he was going to get what he wanted, but then Sonic appeared about twenty-five years ago; the rest is history.”

    “Why wasn`t anyone told about this?” Roy asked,

    “Well, the whole story wasn`t really kept away from us on purpose, not really…” the soldier explained, “…it just kind of went that way, you know, most everyone who knew about it all were either dead before they could tell their children or simply didn`t want to admit that they were once allies with the greatest nightmare of our age.”

    For a while, neither of the two talked any further, Roy was still trying to wrap his head around this new information while the soldier simply had nothing else he wanted to say,

    After a while of walking, Roy could not help but ask, “Why is all this happening?” he asked,

    “What do you mean by that?” the soldier asked in return,

    “What I mean is: why am I suddenly being exiled for a day and not just being locked up for a day or two…” Roy replied, “…this can`t be standard procedure, can it?”

    “Meh, I don`t know, I just do what I`m ordered to do…” replied the soldier, “…but I have heard rumors.”

    “What kind of rumors?” Roy asked,

    “Well, mainly the rumors involve you, and not the ones that claim you`re some kind of Eggman worshiper, I never believed those lines of nonsense…” the soldier replied, “…the rumors I`m talking about are the ones that claim that Freedom Fighters are looking to upgrade their weaponry, god knows we need it.”

    “But I`ve been trying to give you some tips and weapons and no one would listen; they`d just say something about how I`m defiling the premise of the Freedom Fighters and then act like what I just said didn`t matter…” Roy complained, “…and now I`m getting exiled because of my ideas!”

    “Hey, don`t look at me, I never get one say or another concerning how things are run around here, nor do I want to…” replied the soldier, “…but from what I heard, there`s a new Freedom Fighter that`s making some headway into changing that.”

    “Really, who is he?” Roy asked,

    “Actually, he is a she, but I don`t know her name all that well, only that it starts with an ‘N’ or something…” replied the soldier,

    “Tch, well that`s real helpful, thanks.” Roy said sarcastically,

    “Alright, if you`re gonna be like that, then just shut up until we can both go home.” Said the soldier,

    The two did not speak any further until they reached a line of posts that crossed their path,

    “Alright, this is the border, now you are to be on the other side of that for about twenty-three hours, then we`re both going back.” Said the soldier,

    “It`s been an hour already? I didn`t think that we`d been walking that long.” Roy remarked,

    “We`ve only been walking for ten minutes, but I don`t want to be out of Knothole any longer then I have to, so we`re going to skip an hour.” Replied the soldier,

    “Well, gee, that`s very generous of you.” Roy remarked sarcastically,

    “Yeah, whatever, just be patient and wait…” said the soldier, “…it`s not like Knothole is gonna disappear overnight.”

    With that remark, the soldier sat down on one of the posts and started to keep an eye on Roy,

    Roy decided that it would be best to sleep his sentence away, so he laid down next to a tree and after about ten minutes, fell asleep…

    Quite some time later, Roy awoke to booming sounds in the distance,

    “Roy, get up!” the soldier shouted when he saw that Roy was awake, his voice sounded of panic,

    Roy stood up to see the soldier staring at something through the forest,

    After standing up the rest of the way Roy saw it as well, sporadic flashes of light, coinciding with the booming sounds, as well as smoke billowing over the top of the trees,

    “Is, that the way to Knothole?” Roy asked, his voice slightly shuddering at the frightening possibility,

    “I think so.” the soldier replied,

    “We have to get over there.” Roy stated,

    “You got no protest from me.” The soldier replied,

    They both quickly made their way back to the village, covering the distance in less than a minute,

    They arrived to a terrible sight: the village of Knothole, marched upon by hundreds of Swatbots and robotisized Mobians, all laying waste to everything in their path,

    In the distance, the soldier saw a hopeful sight: a group of refugees heading away from the chaos, far out of sight of the marching calamity,

    “Roy, we have to help them.” The soldier said to Roy, but when he turned around, he saw that Roy was already heading into the village, but in the wrong direction, towards his own house and also towards the onward marching army,

    The soldier quickly gave chase, catching up to him in a flash of a second,

    “Roy, stop! You`re going the wrong way!” the soldier shouted, grabbing Roy`s shoulder,

    “I have to help my family!” Roy stated, shaking away from the soldier and continuing forward,

    Before the soldier could reply, three Swatbots crashed through a nearby building and into the road, their target being the two of them,

    One of the Swatbots took aim and fired a bright red beam of light at them,

    “Run!” the soldier yelled as he quickly pushed Roy away from the shot, just barely avoiding certain death himself, he fired two shots back at the Swatbots, but the bullets just bounced off without leaving a scratch on their black chrome finishes,

    Now the soldier switched from fight to flight in his bid for Roy`s safety and his own survival,

    The soldier spotted an alleyway that would make a perfect escape route, he ushered Roy and himself through it as quickly as he could,

    “Why are they here? I thought Eggman didn`t know where Knothole was!” Roy asked, his head reeling with questions and worries,

    “Now`s really not the time for that, move!” the soldier replied as he hurriedly ushered Roy between the buildings and away from the assailants,

    When they reached the other side, the soldier directed Roy to a nearby building on the other side of the street,

    “Stay inside, I `ll draw them away, then when they`re gone, you use this and find your way north.” the soldier instructed Roy, handing him a compass with a black leather casing,

    “Why would I head north?” Roy asked,


    “Because that`s-” before the soldier could finish his sentence, a bright flash of red light blinded the both of them and smashed the building next to them,

    When the dust settled, Roy found himself alone, the soldier was nowhere to be found, though presumably buried under the nearby rubble,

    Before Roy could react however, another flash of light struck the other building next to him, forcing him to start running again,

    The three Swatbots were now much closer, though to Roy`s benefit, he now had two buildings worth of rubble between him and them,

    But that wasn`t going to be enough, as one of the bots took its hand and cleared the rubble away with a single swipe, sending pieces of brick flying some thirty blocks away,

    Roy turned around just in time to see this and was knocked completely unconscious by a flying chunk of brick and saw no more…


    …Roy awoke quite some time later, only to find himself trapped in a pile of building materials,

    Roy looked around, but no matter where he searched, he could find no trace of an escape route, just darkness and suffocation,

    Roy started to panic, frantically looking around in the exact same places that he looked before; he still did not find a way out,

    “Ok, I just need to calm down; perhaps this is a good thing for now, if I can`t see outside, then the bots outside can`t see in.” Roy said aloud to calm himself down,

    Then a thought stuck him: his family is still out there with those things,

    Roy reviewed his surroundings one more time, though this time he had a much clearer mind, even still, he could not find a way out,

    “Come on, what am I missing, what am I mis- oh, yeah, I forgot!” Roy said, taking his backpack off and rummaging through it,

    Roy retrieved a set of high-tech goggles from his backpack and put them on, instantly, the darkness around him was replaced by the somewhat comforting green glow of infrared vision,

    “Now to get some variables…” Roy muttered aloud as he pressed a button on the side of his goggles, he now saw an ultra-sonic image of the pile of rubble he was trapped in,

    “Hmm, there`s only about two feet of rock above me…” Roy said, “…now to find a way to get it off of me.”

    Roy thought for only a split second before coming to a solution: he would blast his way out,

    “But how can I do that without plastering myself in the process?” Roy asked himself,

    “I know, the shield emitter, that`ll work!” Roy exclaimed, snapping his fingers,

    Roy took the shield emitter out of his pack and fastened it to his belt,

    “Well, here goes nothing.” Roy remarked as he pressed the button on the emitter,

    In an instant, the rubble cleared with the explosive force of several tons of TNT, sending bits and pieces flying in all directions,

    But when the dust settled and Roy got back on his feet, the sight that greeted him was terribly sobering indeed,

    There was no real trace of Knothole left, just a snow-covered wasteland,

    The ashes from the devastated village coalesced with the fallen snow, painting everything a hideous dull grey with bits of blackened wood and brick dotting the landscape and a small fire here and there for good measure,

    Roy simply stood there, staring at this wasteland that was once his home,

    After a moment, Roy just sat down on the ground and gave up, there was nothing for him to save and his family was quite likely long dead, so what was the point?

    Roy decided that it was best to just wait for the cold to do him in, it being winter, he figured that it would not take too long to do so,

    He sat there, for a long while, with no thoughts running through his mind, save for one: he failed; that thought kept repeating itself, over and over again,

    But this is not the end of this story, not by a long shot… because after a while, another thought struck him: he did not just lose his family, his family was taken away from him, and he knew who took them… Eggman.

    Roy`s thoughts suddenly turned from grief and lamentation to deep, cold revenge; he was going to make sure that monster paid for what he did; sitting there and dying wasn`t going to accomplish that,

    But Roy had a problem: he had no real idea where Eggman was, or even where he himself was for that matter,

    “Ok, maybe there`s at least someone around, someone else who survived the Swatbots.” Roy said aloud,

    “Hello! I need a little help here, kinda lost!” Roy shouted at the top of his lungs, hoping for a reply, but there was no reply, no one answered,

    After walking around for a few hours, Roy tried again, this time much louder than the first try,

    But as before, no reply,

    Roy decided that crying for help would only attract trouble, so he decided to find his own way out of this wasteland, or at least to some kind of supplies and/or shelter,

    Roy searched for quite a while, never taking time to rest for there was no place to do so.

    After about a day of non-stop searching, Roy started to feel dizzy; he instinctively put his hand on his forehead and felt something warm and wet on his hand,

    He looked at his hand and saw a dark red liquid on the fingers of his gloves, that brick did more than just knock him unconscious,

    Extremely tired and a bit delirious, Roy tried to call out one last time for help, but he only gave a pitiful squeak of a shout before falling over and losing consciousness,

    But Roy`s last cry for help was strangely successful, for in a place that is neither far away or very close, the second hero of our story, another Mobian Fox, was also looking for a way out of her own wasteland, so to speak,

    She resides in a curious realm, neither spacious or constricting; but for the purposes of our story, let’s call it spacious, a never ending void with our hero in the middle, at least she thinks she is in the middle, it`s been so long that she does not even remember where or what ‘this’ is, or even her own name for that matter,

    She was enjoying her favorite pastime: shouting the words: ‘is anyone there?’; she does not even remember why she does it, it just seems like something to do,

    But this time, her activity was interrupted by someone else`s shouting, “Hello, I need a little help here, kinda lost!” spoke the voice that interrupted her activity,

    The female Mobian was irritated at this noise that interrupted her favorite pastime, so she shouted, “Hey, I`m yelling here, wait till I`m finished!”

    After she shouted this, the noise stopped and she resumed her odd pastime,

    Sometime later, the noise started again, this time louder than the first, this angered the Mobian to a great degree; she was interrupted, again,

    The female raged at this annoyance, cursing and shouting protests against being interrupted from her pastime, if you had walked in the same room as this, you would most definitely have already snuck your way back out of the room before you even had time to notice that you were leaving,

    After her quite frightful bout of cursing, the voice stopped,

    Thinking that she scared off the annoyance for good this time, the female resumed her aimless shouting,

    Quite some time later, long after the female Mobian had grown bored of shouting for the time being, the noise started again, but this time it was weak and frail, as if it came from a dying person who was still desperately trying to cling to life,

    “Whoever that is, they don`t sound to good…” thought the Mobian, “…I have to help them.” She stated firmly,

    The moment she thought those words, a bright light filled her prison, though it only illuminated her, for there were no walls to shine upon,

    At the light`s source, there was an odd little hole in the void, through it the Mobian could see something different from the rest of the world, this piqued her interest, so she went over to see what was on the other side of the hole,

    Making her way over to this odd point in her strange world via some method unknown, she investigated the hole in the void, finding that it looked exactly the same from all directions, this puzzled her,

    The Mobian figured that she should touch this curiosity to better understand it,

    But the moment she made contact with the hole in the void, it expanded, whilst at the same time the void around her seemed to contract, as if it was being replaced by the world that was on the other side of the hole,

    Before she could react, the Mobian suddenly felt the ground beneath her feet, the air in her lungs and the light in her eyes,

    This all startled her and caused her to trip over on the ground face first,

    “This is so odd…” said the Mobian, “…why is this stuff all over the ground?” she was referring to the dirt and snow,

    After getting back on her feet -it took her a moment to figure out how to use her limbs- the female took a moment and surveyed her surroundings,

    All around her was covered in white; shiny char-wood dotted the landscape, the sun was glinting off of every reflective surface in a dazzling display of light,

    “What a beautiful sight, just lovely.” Said the Mobian, her eyes glinting in the spectacle,

    Then she looked at herself, she saw the her brown fur was covered with a tattered cloak that looked as though it was at one point pitch black, but it now was bleached a pale grey,

    On her hands and feet were odd looking gloves and boots, they looked as if they were at some point gem encrusted, but all of the facets had lost their adornments ages ago, leaving only a slightly hideous set of mottled black and grey set of clothes,

    But the Mobian`s tourism was cut short by a weak cry from behind her, “H-help me…” spoke the weak voice, though barely above a whisper,

    The Mobian turned around to see Roy lying there, unconscious and with one foot already in the grave,

    “Oh, dear, what happened to you?” asked the female Mobian, but there was no reply from Roy,

    “You gotta get to someplace warm.” Commented the Mobian, never once asking why she knew what he needed,

    The female decided to carry Roy to safety, though where exactly ‘safety’ was she did not know,

    But when she touched his arm, the Mobian was suddenly flooded with new information, images, words, images about words and words about images, all coursed through her mind, and all at once,

    Instead of being knocked over by this flood of information, the female Mobian simply continued what she was doing and slung Roy over her shoulder with ease, but she carried the look of one who suddenly had a great deal to think about and no time to ponder it,

    She then proceeded to search for some kind of shelter, following her new memories, the Mobian quickly found a wooden cottage that was somehow still standing amongst the ruins,

    When she made her way inside, the Mobian found a simple cot and a wooden chair, beyond that there was nothing else in the room save for a roof, walls and dust,

    Then the female sat Roy down on the cot and then sat down in the chair, but when she sat down, the chair gave way almost immediately, transforming from a chair to a pile of firewood in a single move,

    Finding that she had no place to sit, the Mobian decided to stand at the window and ponder her newly acquired memories,

    “What is my name?” the Mobian asked herself, she pondered this question for a while, periodically muttering things like, “Now I know my name isn`t Roy, because Roy is over there, is it perhaps Geoffrey? No, that`s not it, silly, that name is for the birds; let`s try that again…”

    After a while of heavy pondering, the Mobian found a name that didn`t belong to a bird or a dude or both; she kept seeing a female fox wearing a white blouse and black jeans, “Could that be me?” she asked herself, there was no mirror around, so she could not confirm it,

    After a few minutes, she decided; that fox was most likely her, so that fox`s name is most likely her name as well,

    “That`s it, my name is Samantha!” she exclaimed, but Roy was still unconscious and did not hear her,

    The female now known as Samantha looked over to Roy and just stood there staring at him for a while, trying to understand why she knew so much about him and yet, she knew for a fact that she had never even met him until about a few minutes ago,

    “Perhaps I knew him at some point and then I got hit in the head and forgot.” Samantha mused to herself,

    For quite some time, Samantha stood there and pondered everything she had just learned from Roy`s memories, especially that most recent event, the loss of Roy`s home,

    When she started to ponder the memory of Roy`s conversation with the soldier, her curiosity was quite piqued, for some reason, every time the memory mentioned Eggman, she kept seeing an image of a furless fellow with a ridiculously large moustache and an annoying voice,

    “What an odd character, where`d all his fur go? Poor guy, no wonder he`s angry.” Samantha said aloud,

    Samantha`s comment made enough noise that Roy stirred in his sleep, “Oh, sorry, go back to sleep, didn`t mean to wake you…” Samantha said in a whisper,

    Deciding that she did not want to disturb Roy`s rest, Samantha thought it best to go outside and think,

    When she stepped out of the door, she saw the moon had risen some time ago, painting the scenery a brilliant blue-grey,

    “This whole place is even more beautiful at night, wonderful…” Samantha said, placing a hand on her heart as if to still it,

    The sky above resembled a rich wall of diamonds, endlessly shining amidst that dark Canvass of the Universe.

    Then something interrupted her stargazing, an odd wave of energy washed over her, in response, her body started to glow a faint and deep blue color,

    “What is this?” Samantha asked, though to no one in particular,

    She looked at her hands, the glow had softened a bit, but it was still noticeable; every time she moved her hand in front of her eyes, she saw a warped after-image, similar to that of hot air coming in contact with cold air, blurring the images behind it,

    A few minutes later, a bright flash came from the sky, Samantha looked up to see that one of the stars in the sky was now a million times brighter than all the rest combined,

    Then, as quick as it appeared, the star suddenly dimmed, all the way to nothing save for a small disc of light, a remnant of the brilliant heavenly light and nothing more,

    Samantha wanted to see this disc a bit closer, to see what just happened, to investigate the wonder she just saw; but she knew that she could not reach them, for she could not leave the ground,

    So Samantha decided to go back to the cottage and see how Roy was doing,

    But when she turned around, she could not see the cottage, in fact, she could not even see the ground,

    Samantha looked around herself, the ground was nowhere to be seen,

    Then she looked down and saw it, the ground was some fifty feet down, her feet were standing on naught but thin air,

    “Am I, flying?” Samantha asked, though the answer to that was quite apparent, she was indeed no longer tied to the ground,

    “But, how?” Samantha asked, looking for answer, she noticed that her hands were now glowing brighter than ever and they seemed to emit a steam of energy downwards no matter what position they were in,

    Seeing that she could now reach that disc and see what happened, Samantha decided to go there,

    With a single instinctive thought she started to ascend, as if the act of flying was as normal as running,

    Higher and higher she traveled, each moment she went a little faster, until she started to see a cone of clouds form around her and a deafening noise begin to permeate the air,

    Yet she still ascended, traveling higher and higher, the air started to become thin and cold, ice started to for on her hair and fur, stinging her with its cold embrace,

    Then Samantha started to have trouble breathing, her eyes crusted over with ice and she started to lose consciousness; at about thirty thousand feet up, Samantha lost consciousness altogether…

    …She awoke about three thousand feet from the ground to see her predicament: she was now hurtling towards the ground at a frightful pace; she needed to level out and fast,

    But it was too late, she was now moving too quickly to change course, her only recourse was to curl up into a tight ball before she hit the ground,

    She crashed some sixty feet from the cottage that Roy was resting inside, creating an explosion worthy of a large artillery shell and sending bits and pieces flying in all directions,

    After the dust settled, Samantha opened her eyes to find herself in a crater, but when she looked around, she found that much to her surprise she hadn`t a scratch on her, as if she had simply tripped over her shoelaces,

    “Ok, this is odd…” Samantha remarked, she did not have any real memories, but somewhere in the back of her head she knew for a fact that you don`t just fall for a couple of miles and not get hurt,

    Before she had enough time to think about what just happened, Samantha heard someone call out to her, “Umm, are you alright?” spoke the voice,

    Samantha turned to see Roy standing at the crest of the newly formed crater,

    “Oh, Roy, you`re awake!” Samantha exclaimed, quickly climbing out of the crater,

    When she reached him, Samantha hugged him tightly, as if she had known him for years,

    “Umm, who are you?” Roy asked, completely confused,

    “What do you mean? It`s me!” Exclaimed Samantha,

    “Umm, I don`t know what you`re going on about, but I really do not know you.” Roy stated, pushing himself away from Samantha`s hug,

    “Oh, right, I`m sorry, you`re right, let`s start from the beginning…” Samantha said, “…my name is Samantha and I think your name is Roy; right?”

    “Uh, yeah, that`s my name, but I don`t know you; are you alright?” Roy asked,

    “You know what, I really don`t know, the last thing I remember is finding that odd hole in my world and then finding you on the other side of that hole.” Samantha replied,

    “Ok, slow down, I`m confused, what are you going on about?” Roy asked, stepping back a bit,

    “I think it would be easier to understand if you use your goggles and scan me real quick.” Samantha explained,

    “How do you know about these?” Roy asked, subconsciously touching the rim of his goggles,

    “Like I said, it will be easier to understand after you scan me, trust me.” Samantha replied,

    “Uh, alright then…” Roy said as he pressed a button on the side of his goggles,

    The moment he pressed the button, Roy`s goggles started to display dozens of facts about Samantha, her height, weight, physical strength, every fact about her –with a few exceptions for decency`s sake- was now displayed on his goggles,

    “What the, this doesn`t make sense.” Roy said, his eyes darting around the data, a look of incredulousness on his face,

    “What do you mean; is there something wrong with me?” Samantha asked, uneasy thoughts of various diseases and disorders coursed through her mind,

    “What I mean is that based on all the data, you should be nothing short of a black hole, not a walking talking Mobian as you are right now.” Roy replied,

    “Why do you say that?” Samantha asked,

    “Well for one thing, your molecular density is absolute.” Roy replied,

    “Is that good or bad?” Samantha asked,

    “Neither, it`s actually impossible; at your body`s density, you should be heavier than the solar system itself, and yet according to your gravimetric data, you only weigh about seven-hundred pounds.” Roy replied,

    “What do you mean by that!?” Samantha asked, checking her figure,

    “What I mean is-” Roy began to reply, but before he finished his sentence, he doubled over, grasping his head, he looked as though he wanted to scream, but no sound came from his mouth,

    “Roy, are you okay!?” Samantha exclaimed as she quickly ran over and caught him before he hit the ground,

    “I`m okay, I`m okay, I just need to not use my Instant Design while I have a knock on the head.” Roy explained,

    “Instant Design… isn`t that the ability that allows you to invent things at a moment`s notice?” Samantha asked,

    Okay, that is going to get tiresome really fast” was the thought that crossed Roy`s mind, “Yes, that`s exactly right, so I need to get these off for now.” He said aloud as he took his goggles off his head,

    “Umm, you can let go of me now.” Roy said to Samantha, who was just staring at him while she held him up,

    “Oh, right, I`m sorry, let me help you up.” Samantha said as she lifted Roy back onto his feet, she had a slightly dazed look on her face,

    “So, what are we doing now?” Samantha asked Roy, hoping to change the subject,

    “Well, looking objectively, I just lost my home, so I need to find- oh wait, the compass, I need to head north!” Roy exclaimed as he started to rummage through his pack,

    “You mean the one that the soldier gave to you?” Samantha asked,

    “Yes, that one, you know where it is?” Roy asked her in reply,

    “No, I don`t, but I do know that you have another one in your equipment chest at the foot of your bed.” Samantha replied, pointing in what looked like a random direction,

    “Why are you pointing?” Roy asked, completely missing the point,

    “Cause that`s the way to your house…” Samantha replied, “…you really need to look at your memories a bit more objectively.” She remarked,

    Oh, great, now she`s starting to talk like me!” Roy thought, “Alright, if you know the way, lead on, I need to get my equipment and rations anyway.” Roy said aloud,

    “Fine then, follow me.” Samantha said as she started to walk in the direction that was pointing,

    “Hey, Samantha.” Roy said after a few minutes of walking,

    “What is it, Roy?” Samantha asked,

    “I know that it`s probably just a coincidence, but you have the same name as my mother.” Roy replied,

    “Really, that`s funny…” Samantha replied, “…nah, it`s probably just a coincidence.”

    To Be Continued…
     
    #2 Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  3. VicTheJolteon

    Eric
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    Thunder Stone ★★★Great Ball ★★
    Previously, on The Tale of Roy and Samantha:

    When we last saw them, Roy and Samantha had just met and were heading through the wasteland that was once Roy`s village towards his home, in the hope that they can find his equipment chest; inside, they expect to find a working compass and various other supplies to aid them on their journey, even though they have no idea what that journey is…

    Chapter Two:

    "How much equipment do you really have, anyway?" Samantha asked.

    "Why are you asking, you seem to know everything I do, don`t you?" Roy replied dismissively.

    Samantha, upon realizing that she could avoid conversation with her stubborn companion, reached one hand to her temple, squeezed her eyes shut to ward off any external distractions, and concentrated. Almost immediately, she found herself bombarded by sights, images and sounds. She saw a younger Roy sitting in the kitchen, the sink overflowing with dirty dishes and the counters spattered with food stains.

    A wave of embarrassment crept over Samantha as she destroyed every secret and violated any sense of privacy. In vain, she attempted to filter through the relevant memories for the ones concerning Roy's inventions. However, she found that even those were inextricably intertwined with his emotions. She saw him unveiling his first invention to his parents, a device capable of making the perfect Peanut Butter and Jelly mix. She felt as he did: first confusion and frustration when the device failed to function as intended, followed by elation and pride when the device finally applied the spread successfully.

    Samantha continued in that vein until a loud voice from the real world snapped her from her trance-like state. "Are you okay? You just stared into space for like a minute." Roy asked out of concern.

    "I'm fine" Samantha whispered. "It's just hard and I wish I could apologize to you for the invasion of privacy. I never meant to do it, you know, but it just happened anyway." She explained.

    "Huh, can`t say that I know what it's like to download somebody`s memories, but I can empathize, sorta," Roy remarked as he stepped over a charred wooden beam.

    "You didn`t answer my question: how much equipment do you have?" Samantha asked.

    "Truth is, I lost count. Being an inventor is not about the glamour or the success. It's about finding new uses for things that have always existed or to solve a problem that people didn't know they had. But most of all, being an inventor is about failing over and over and learning to move on from those failures. That chest is full of the things that I've built and couldn't find a use for and by my reckoning, I've failed a lot more than I succeeded." Roy explained.

    The pair continued surveying the ruins for some time until Samantha asked, "You seem to be doing just fine. I mean, you've only just lost your home and quite possibly your family, but you`re still going strong. That's surprising since you usually don`t deal with failure this well." she asked.

    "Huh, I don`t know, Samantha, I think it might be the possibility that this whole thing is just a dream, or I could have gotten hit in the head harder than I thought, I guess we`ll see in time which turns out to be true," Roy replied. "but in my opinion, this is all a dream." He said coldly.

    "Why would you say that?" Samantha asked Roy, "I know I`m here, so who are you to say whether or not I exist?"

    "Because this is all too much," Roy stated, gesturing towards the devastated village around them. "Think about it: first, my brother wrecks the barracks and I get blamed for it. Then, I get sent off to be exiled, for a single day; I return only to find that Eggman had invaded a village that I know is very hard to find, and then to top it all off, you come along: a beautiful girl that claims to have all of my memories and is somehow indestructible; you're just a figment of my overactive imagination and all this-" he said motioning to the ruins all about him "-is just a dream."

    "Believe me I'm just as confused as you are," Samantha said. "You see before I met you I came from a place that I don`t even understand and now you`re telling me that the place I can see with my own two eyes doesn`t exist, that`s just stupid!" she yelled.

    Roy`s face twisted up with anger, "Alright, let me ask you one quick question to prove whether or not you exist. If you can`t answer it, then you don`t exist and this is all a dream and when I wake up Knothole will be just fine," He said conceitedly. "If you can answer it, I'll admit that you exist and none of this is a dream."

    "Go ahead, I'll play your silly game," Samantha said confidently.

    "Where were you born?"

    Samantha was at a loss for words. Out of all the myriad of questions that Roy could have asked her that was perhaps the only one she could not answer. "I-I don`t know." she replied while staring intently at the floor, as though it would somehow provide the answer to her questions.

    "See, I told you, this is all a dream and therefore you don`t exist-" Roy stated confidently. "And when I wake up, I`ll find myself still in my room with of this nonsense never happening, you understand?" Roy said elated as he turned and walked away.

    Samantha caught up in just a few steps and interjected, "Well if this is a dream, then why don`t you just 'wake up' and stop teasing me with reality." She said.

    "What do you mean by, 'teasing me with reality'?" Roy asked, his voice tainted with cold and dismissive anger, like that of an artist that is disappointed in their work.

    "What I mean, is that I just got here and up till now I had no idea how much I was missing after all this time," Samantha replied; her voice breaking. "so why don`t you just wake up so I can go back to whiling my time away in a void while the heartache of knowing what I had and lost is still small enough to deal with!" She cried.

    Roy`s resolve was thoroughly shaken. He wrung his hands, straightened his back and brushed the dust from his clothing while drawing in a deep breath to recover. "Sorry, but I want to see how this dream is going to play out, so I guess you`re going to have to get used to being here for a while," Roy said; his voice was cold, detached and dripping with sarcasm, like someone that was watching all this through a television screen.

    "Humph, good enough for me; at least I know there`s no indecision on your part," Samantha replied; her voice was equally sarcastic and surprisingly absent of her previous sadness.

    The two did not speak for the rest of the walk through the remains of Knothole until they came to what was once a street, but now resembled a freshly ploughed field of bricks and concrete. The two of them came upon a burnt husk that was once a home. In fact, it was good fortune that he could recognize the street he was on at all for the surroundings resembled a no-mans-land more than it did a village, save for the odd building façade or two lying around in the pale brown-grey rubble and snow. In fact, if not for the familiar, and somehow still standing, door, Roy was fairly certain that he would not have even noticed his home.

    "Come on, my room is near the back," Roy said as he entered through what was left of the doorway."

    Are you sure that your equipment chest survived?" Samantha asked as she entered behind him.

    "It can take a beating, don`t worry," Roy replied confidently.

    As they made their way through the decimated house, Samantha could not help but feel borrowed memories flooding her mind, she could remember running through the hallway playing tag indoors with Roy`s little brother; Reggy. She smiled a little only to have it fade as quickly as it appeared when she had an epiphany that she had no childhood of her own.

    Roy at that point could not care less about the house, or even the possibility that his family was dead. To Roy, they were all fine, in fact, he was somewhat relieved; he`d always wondered what it would be like if they were all gone, not because he wanted them gone, but simply because it was a question that he wanted to know the answer to, and this dream he was having was perfect for answering it. In Roy`s eyes, he was not hurting anyone; this was all a dream, so there was no one to hurt.

    The two of them made their way to the back of the house and found that Roy`s room was intact; except for the bed, which had a ceiling joist impaled in the center of it. At the foot of Roy`s trashed bed was a rectangular, mahogany chest with a flat lid and heavy cast iron metal bands acting as hinges; it looked like it weighed a ton. After brushing cinders of the ceiling off the lid, Roy opened up the chest with a creaking sound.

    As far as Samantha could ascertain from Roy`s memories, the inventions that were kept neat and orderly in the cases on the right were the ones that Roy had already found a use for, but the items that were left in the pile to the left were the inventions that Roy could not find a real use for, and were left in a disorganized heap to be forgotten.

    As Roy started to pull out the items in the cases, Samantha saw that all of them had very clear uses, there was a rifle, a backpack that seemed to be made completely of metal, yet it folded and bent as though it were made of fabric, as well as several other useful items.

    All of the items in the cases were indeed useful, but Samantha, guided by Roy`s memories, was more interested in the pile of inventions on the left. Samantha surveyed each item with great interest, looking at one after another and putting each one carefully back into the chest so she did not break them. Each of the items sparked another one of the memories that she had garnered from Roy, some of them made her laugh a little, while others made her wince with phantom pain from Roy getting his fingers shut in a casing or zapped or even getting hit with a poorly aimed hammer.

    Roy chanced to look over and see Samantha looking through his old inventions; the look in her eyes was familiar to him, he`d had it in his own eyes many times before.

    It was the look of curiosity and wonder of what could be, and Roy could not help but wonder, “Why did she tell me to wake up, dreams don`t do that, what`s going on here?”

    "Ok, it looks like we have everything we need, so we should get going, Samantha," Roy said as he stood up and put the metallic backpack on in favor of his original canvas one, "we have to hurry along if we`re to find out what we`ll find northwards."

    "Um, do you have the compass that you needed?" Samantha asked.

    "Yep, got it right here," Roy replied, showing Samantha a grey compass with a black string for a handle, "now, we should get going." He added before leaving.

    "Hey, what about the rest of this stuff, isn`t it useful somehow?" Samantha asked Roy just as he was about to leave the room.

    "What about it? None of it has a use. You know everything I do, don't you? Just look through my memories and you`ll understand." Roy replied.

    "I disagree, there has to be some kind of use for these, and although I don`t know what they are yet, I`ll find out sooner or later," Samantha firmly stated.

    "How do you suppose we`re going to able to use any of it? We can`t even carry it, that chest alone weighs half a ton, that`s partly the reason why I use it to hold my inventions." Roy said while turning away to keep walking down the hall.

    "I don`t know what you talking about, you keep saying that this thing is heavy, but it doesn`t feel all that heavy," Samantha commented.

    "What are you talking about?" Roy said as he turned back around to find out.

    "What the heck; how are you carrying that!?"

    Samantha stood in the middle of the room with an easy smile. Roy`s equipment chest slung over her shoulder as though it weighed nothing more than a feather.

    "I`m getting kinda sick of being ordered around. You're not the boss of me and I'm going to start making decisions on my own" Samantha stated calmly, "and one of those things is that we're bringing these along with us and that's that.”

    "Ok… fine, whatever you want, just so long as you don`t drop it on me…" Roy felt a cold chill running up his spine, "is there anything else you want to have a say in?" Roy asked.

    "Well, I do need a change of clothes, I didn`t think about it before, but this cloak is completely threadbare and since this is all a dream, it shouldn`t be too hard to find something else for me to wear," Samantha replied.

    "Err, yeah, there`s probably there`s some clothing that could fit you in my mother`s stuff, but I doubt my parent's room survived,"

    "Oh, nonsense, if this is all a dream, then the clothing I need should be easy to find," Samantha replied. "in fact, if this is a good dream we might even find a whole outfit all ready for me to wear." She added with a heavy note of sarcasm.

    “My dream is making fun of me… that`s a new one, all things considered; I can`t tell if this is a really good dream or a very bad nightmare.” Roy thought to himself. "Well, if we`re looking for clothing, we`ll need to head to the laundry room. It`s in the basement, and there's a good chance to find something wearable..." He said aloud.

    When they arrived at the entrance in the kitchen, they found the door to the basement blocked by a fallen roof joist. "Oh, this is just great, let me guess, this is one of those dreams where I have to solve a puzzle; you know I`ve heard of those, but I never thought that they would be this annoying." Roy exclaimed in annoyance.

    "Ok, now I know that you`re off your rocker. I don`t know what you`re going on about with puzzles and all that nonsense and I don`t care." Samantha commented.

    Samantha set down the equipment chest and said. "Now if you`ll excuse me, I`m going to get that beam out of the way so I can get some clothing."

    "How are you going to do that? That thing has to weigh at least a couple of tons." Roy asked.

    Samantha flexed her one free arm while peering at the chest on her other before saying, "From the looks of things I`m a lot stronger than normal, so I think I can simply just move this other thing out of the way and then we can get on with our apparently illusionary lives."

    "You`re not going to let that go, are you?" Roy asked.

    "Not until you realize that you`re wrong," Samantha retorted.

    Without so much as a grunt of exertion, Samantha lifted the joist and tossed it aside like it was made of Styrofoam, sending it sailing across the room with a loud crash. "Now, let`s go find out if there`s something down there for me to wear," Samantha commented as she made her way down the stairs (the door broke off its hinges when Samantha picked up the joist).

    "Er, yeah, I-I guess that works…" Roy stammered as he reflexively began to follow her down the stairs. He was too flustered at this point to construct complex sentences.

    When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they found the basement mostly intact, save for a section of metal complete with the red and orange logo of Robotnik. "Well, that`s interesting…" Samantha said.

    "Yeah, I can agree with you there, imagine what that piece of shrapnel could have come from…" Roy said as he went over to the shrapnel, completely ignoring everything else; his eyes began to rapidly scan the shrapnel, assessing each and every one of its possible purposes.

    "Hello, Roy, you still there?" Samantha asked, but Roy did not reply, he just stood there, staring at the shrapnel.

    “If he`s going to just keep staring at the piece of shrapnel, I think I`ll take this opportunity to change my clothes while he`s not paying attention. That's a bit odd though, Roy doesn`t usually ignore people when he`s using his Instant Design, that much is certain.” Samantha thought.

    Then she began to peruse through the clothing, but she could not find anything that fit her in the clean clothing or even the dirty clothing, but she finally found something suitable in the dryer.

    "Ah, much better, that old clothing was really starting to feel all picky," Samantha commented as she tossed her rags into a nearby trash can.

    Samantha did not know how much of a fashion sense she had, but as she gazed at her own reflection in a miraculously intact full body mirror she found herself enjoying her new ensemble. Samantha was now wearing a white t-shirt, black denim pants, thick brown gloves that looked like they were for welding and a pair of white running shoes that she found in a shelf next to the washing machine.

    "Ok, I`ve changed, Roy, you can turn around now," Samantha said aloud, "Hey, Roy, you alright?" Samantha asked, but Roy just stood stock still.

    Samantha waved her hand in front of his face to attract his attention, but even that did not make him move. "Hey, Roy, snap out of it, hey!" Samantha shouted, but Roy stayed where he was.

    Then Samantha decided to shake Roy`s shoulder a little to get him to respond, but when she did, Roy suddenly started to back away from the piece of shrapnel as if it had somehow started to attack him.

    Roy stumbled backwards and fell over a laundry basket in his haste to get away from the shrapnel.

    "Hey, Roy, what the heck are you doing? Stop!" Samantha shouted as Roy continued to try to get away from the shrapnel, even to the point of aimlessly clamoring at the wall in his bid to escape, but through all of it, Roy neither made a sound save for his frantic breathing nor recognized that Samantha was there.

    Samantha quickly got a hold of Roy by the shoulders and said. "What`s going on, Snap out of it, now!" while staring him face to face. His eyes came into focus and he looked at Samantha with recognition in his eyes.

    "Umm, why do you have me by the shoulders?" Roy inquired.

    "Oh my gosh… I think you may have had a 'psychotic break'!" Samantha replied.

    "That doesn`t make sense, people don't have 'psychotic breaks' while they`re dreaming-" Roy began to say.

    "Get this through your thick skull: This. Isn't. A. Dream!" Samantha started the same way she would to a slightly dim-witted child, interrupting Roy, "You`re in the real world and you're gonna get us both killed if you keep up with this 'I`m in a dream' nonsense-"

    "Fie woman! Fie!" Roy yelled at Samantha, "I don`t need sympathy over injuries that don`t exist from someone that is nothing more than a figment of my imagination!"

    "I don`t care if you think that this is a dream or not," Samantha shouted back, "I know I`m real, and your opinions won`t change that!"

    Samantha took a couple of steps back from Roy, struggling not to slap him back to reality. She drew a few deep breaths through her nose to regain her composure. After she had finally regained it, Samantha finally spoke, "Ok, until you get a firmer grip on reality, you`re not making any more decisions," she stated, "I`m not about to stand idly by while I'm being led off a cliff by someone who thinks that they won`t hit the bottom."

    "So what now, do we flip coins, draw lots?" Roy asked sarcastically.

    "I will be making the decisions; you have a problem with that?" Samantha replied, shooting Roy a cold look.

    Roy felt another chill run up his spine, "Err, no ma`am." He said reflexively.

    The heck, she`s using my lines against me; what`s up with this crazy dream? Roy thought.

    "Good, now the next thing we need to do is to find some food and a way to get your head patched up, then we head… north was it?" Samantha said authoritatively.

    "Yeah, that`s what Hershey said," Roy replied, "but how do you suppose we`ll find food, much less something to patch up these apparently imaginary wounds?"

    "First off, enough of the 'I`m just dreaming' talk-" Samantha replied; noting the blue-black mark on the back of Roy's head that was visible though his fur. "Secondly, there are plenty of places where we can find some food, and as for your injury, I think there`s something in your 'useless' inventions that I think will do the trick," she added.

    Then Samantha turned towards the stairs and said. "Follow me, I left the equipment chest upstairs." Before heading up the stairs.

    Roy followed and when he reached the top, Samantha was already looking through the equipment chest for the invention she was talking about.

    After a couple of seconds, she stood up holding what looked like a high-tech tape roller.

    "I know people often say that duct tape fixes everything. But I'm going to give it a pass when it comes to traumatic head injuries. Haven't you picked up any common sense from me; like, at all!?" Roy commented.

    "True…" Samantha replied. "but this can be used to apply a rolled up bandage; provided you tweak it a little first; think you can do it?" She asked him.

    "Probably, but I need to know exactly what you need it to do before my 'Instant Design' can work properly. Besides, why are you asking me? You have my knowledge; you should be able to invent things just as well as I can." He asked with a shrug of his shoulders.

    "Well, from what I've discerned, 'Instant Design' isn't just memory, there`s a biological factor that you have that I don`t," Samantha explained, "simply put: I can't do what you can."

    "Huh, I never thought about that," Roy commented, "so, what was it that you needed that to do?" He asked Samantha.

    "It needs to be able to make the application of bandages easier as well as make it so they don`t slip off accidentally after application," Samantha explained.

    "Hmm… alright then, let me see that real quick." Roy said while reaching for the tape applier.

    Samantha the handed tape roller over to Roy and before it even left her hand Roy had already begun to rearrange it, removing the tape roll and replacing it with a roll of fabric that was in the equipment chest and then adding what looked like a glue dispenser to the upper part of the roller. His hands seemed to blur as they moved on their own and as though he had been working with the same device for the past twenty years. He managed all the modifications without looking at the item he was working on half the time.

    "There we are, I think that`ll work," Roy said as he handed the new bandage applier to Samantha, "just press that button to begin applying, then release to cut it off and apply the setting glue at the same time." He explained.

    "Wow, that was quick even for you," Samantha commented as she looked at the new device, "are you alright, I thought that you said that your head injury caused your 'Instant Design' to be painful to use?" She asked Roy.

    "Yeah, I did, and my head is screaming right now, so could you please hurry up and use that thing to help me; you said that you had a plan," Roy replied. "if I were to guess, I would say that you plan to use the pressure from the bandages to stop my injury from getting worse, right?"

    "Since when did you have that ability, you know, Instant Design?" Samantha asked curiously as she pulled a tab of bandage from the end of the roller to get it ready for use.

    "Since I was little. I've always had a passion for machines. I guess savant would be a better term for it. I could see how all the bits and pieces meshed together to form the greater whole and how they could be rearranged to make something new, I`ve even used it to figure out chemical formulas, but I`ve never tested any of those." Roy elaborated.

    "That sounds so incredible." Samantha whispered.

    "Well, I sure wish my parents thought that was the case. They were horrified when I dismantled the dishwasher when I was six and they had me grounded for a week even though I was fairly certain I could have put it back together if they let me. For this one, in particular, I took a moment to assess what it would take to ease my headache, and the roller seemed to be perfectly suitable for the job." Roy explained as Samantha began to apply the bandage to his head.

    Samantha applied the bandage around the top of his head, making sure not to get Roy`s ears caught underneath as well as being as gentle as possible in order to not injure him further; when she reached the wound on the back of Roy`s head, Samantha took a clean piece of fabric and used it as gauze to cushion it.

    "There we are, I think that works, you know, I wonder why you didn`t realize how to fix this yourself; I mean, I did use your memories to figure this out," Samantha said.

    "I`m wondering that myself, perhaps I was supposed to be helped by you as part of this dream-" Roy began to say.

    "Oi, enough with that dream nonsense, it`s really getting on my nerves," Samantha said exasperatedly, "ok, ignoring your nonsense, we still have to find some provisions so we don`t starve while we're heading to something, we don`t know what, but we know it`s north."

    "I do know where we can find some provisions, or to put it a different way, I just realized where some might be," Roy said.

    "Well, it's good to see that you`re getting your head around straight, at least a little," Samantha commented, "if you think there`s something there, then lead the way." She added.

    "Does this mean that I`m allowed to take the lead?" Roy asked.

    "Do you still think that this is all a dream?" Samantha asked.

    "Uh, yeah, I do."

    "Then the answer is no," Samantha said curtly.

    "Ugh, fine…" Roy sighed, "Look, let's head on over to the Freedom Fighter`s barracks; it`s that way." He added while pointing in its direction.

    The two of them made their way outside and headed towards the barracks, taking pretty much the same path as Roy had taken yesterday when he was with his brother, Reggie. The village was covered in the same amount of snow as well, albeit covered with a thin layer of black and grey ash at this point.

    Along the way, they passed several destroyed buildings, but one storefront in particular caught Samantha`s attention.

    "Hey, I remember this place, well, sort of; you used to buy all your tunes here," Samantha commented as she surveyed the storefront.

    The storefront was completely caved in, leaving only a small opening through which to get inside.

    The shop`s sign, however, was intact enough for Samantha to make out "'Z`s Music Zone'…yep, this is the place," she commented, "weren`t you friends with the owner, Zoenardo?" She asked.

    "Not really, it was Reggie's favorite hangout. I was just a regular and we made some small-talk, but it never meant more than that…" Roy replied.

    "Look, I`m going to take a look inside to see if any of the candy bars are left in the drawer under his cash register," Samantha said as she set the equipment chest down on the snow and started to go through the minuscule opening.

    "Uh, why are you doing that?" Roy asked.

    "Because you need something to eat and those candy bars are there for the taking, assuming they`re still intact-" Samantha replied, "-besides if we leave them they`ll be food for the rats and cockroaches."

    "Well, I can`t argue with that, but isn`t this stealing?" Roy asked from outside the shop.

    "Then, in that case, you can go right ahead and say it`s all my fault," Samantha replied, "but I think it`s better to eat now and worry later," She mentioned as she got all the way through the opening.

    The inside of the shop looked just as bad as the outside; the ceiling for most of the shop had come down and made several areas impassable without a great deal of effort.

    "You find anything!?" Roy shouted from outside the shop.

    "Yeah, but you`re going to have to get out of the way real quick; I`m going to need a bigger opening to get these things out!" Samantha shouted from inside the shop.

    "What the heck, I know candy bars aren`t that big, so what is she doing?" Roy thought as he stepped out from in front of the store.

    "Alright, I`m out of the way!" Roy shouted when he was sure he was out of harm`s way. Roy didn't hear a reply and was about to ask what Samantha had found in the shop before he saw a store shelf sail out of the front of it; it went all the way across the street and into the building at the other side; shoving the sign to the side a little and creating a new opening in it that was large enough to fit whatever Samantha had found through it with room to spare in the process.

    "What the hell are you doing, are you nuts!?" Roy screamed as he backed away from the storefront out of sheer reflexive panic.

    After dust and snow settled, Samantha calmly walked out of the new hole in the shop as if it was a normal day and she had just bought something from the store.

    That 'something' was a large, cubic case of CDs that was in surprisingly good condition, "Check it out, Roy, now we`ll have something to listen to on our travel north." Samantha exclaimed with a note of glee.

    "You`re telling me that you went into a building to find some food and you ended up stealing a bunch of music, what are you thinking?" Roy stammered as he tried to figure out what just happened.

    "Ok, two things: firstly, I found a couple of protein bars, so I did find what I was looking for." Samantha explained as she held up a handful of CDs "Secondly, I`m not stealing these. I'm saving them from being destroyed, and heck, if we ever met Zoenardo on our way north I'd totally give them back."

    Roy felt a stab of pain in his heart, sure he wasn't exactly the most popular guy in town, but that didn't mean he felt it right to steal from his village "Firstly, that's stealing. Secondly, the chances that we`ll meet up with some guy who happens to live in the same village as I am is as remote as the chance that he`s still alive after what just happened last night." Roy stated.

    "Careful, you`re starting to sound like you believe that this isn`t a dream after all," Samantha commented sarcastically.

    "Ha, ha, very funny, this is still a dream, but I still doubt that my dream includes the guy from the music store, that`s just silly," Roy replied.

    "Well, even if we don`t find him, it would still be a shame to just leave all this stuff lying around and besides, you`re not even carrying it, I am," Samantha stated, "plus, provided your Walkman survived we`ll have something to keep us entertained so we don`t get any crazier than you already are."

    Roy's face scrunched up in vexation when he heard the emphasis on 'you' "Hey, now that`s uncalled for!" He snapped.

    "Oh, come now. You're the one constantly telling me that I am nothing more than a dream.” Samantha snapped back.

    "Fine by me, it doesn`t look like you`ll listen anyway…" Roy commented in an act of defiance.

    "Well, now that that`s settled, let`s get these into the chest," Samantha said as she opened the equipment chest and began to place the case of CDs inside.

    "Um, what about the protein bars?" Roy asked.

    "Oh, right, here you are." Samantha replied as she retrieved a small cardboard box out of the CD case, the side of the box read, 'Super Sonic Protein: run as fast as our hero with just one bite!'

    She handed the half-full box over to Roy with about eleven bars. "Heh, well, I knew that Zone was into physical training, but I didn`t think he`d fall for such a cheap slogan-".

    "Uh, didn`t you buy the exact same product about a week ago?" Samantha interjected, "Don`t go making a comment until after you`ve checked your facts."

    "Hey, quit using my lines on me; just because you can claim to have all of my memories doesn`t mean that you get to be me all of a sudden; there`s more to a person than just their past." He added.

    "I know, but that doesn't` mean that I can`t say 'your lines'; you don`t own sentences, nobody does," Samantha replied.

    "Well, it still a silly slogan," Roy commented as he opened one of the bars and took a bite, "but these aren`t half bad."

    "Yeah, I know, and they also are providing you with enough energy for you to start healing that head wound of yours," Samantha commented, "assuming you`re not so brain damaged that you can`t use your healing ability, that is."

    "Wait, how do you know. Oh right-." Roy said.

    "Yes, and assuming that we replace those bandages regularly and it doesn`t get infected in the meantime, I know that you have the capability to get that head wound of yours healed in about three days, give or take a few hours; that is," Samantha said.

    "Yeah, that makes sense," Roy commented, "I guess I should start healing myself at this point." He added as he placed his hand over his wound; his hand immediately began to emit a barely visible deep-red glow from its palm.

    "Are you healing alright, or is that red glow actually your head lighting on fire?" Samantha asked.

    "Very funny, I'm healing just fine, thank you," Roy replied as his hand continued to glow softly, "I`ll be done in a minute, then we can get going." He mentioned.

    After a few minutes, Roy`s hand stopped glowing and he took it off of his wound, "Ok, that`s enough for now," He said, "With a wound this bad, I might cause problems for myself if I heal it too quickly."

    Then Samantha closed the lid on the equipment chest and slung it over her shoulder and said, "Alright then, now that our little detour is over and done with, let`s move on to the barracks, shall we?"

    "Yeah, you`re right," Roy commented, "it`s actually not that far away from here, just a couple of blocks."

    The two of them made their way through the ruined village and over to the barracks and found it, surprisingly, intact.

    "Ok, that`s a little odd, one would think that this building would be the first thing that the Eggman would target," Roy commented as they neared the building, "so why is it still standing? I mean, it doesn`t even have a scratch."

    "I don`t know either, that is a little weird," Samantha commented in agreement.

    When they tried to get into the building, they found the door locked.

    "Ok, this just keeps getting weirder; this door is only ever locked when the soldiers are doing practice maneuvers, so why is it locked now?" He asked.

    "I don`t know that either, but that`s not really all that important," Samantha replied, "what is important is whether or not this building has the supplies we need for our trip northward; so in that sense, I`m going to break that lock so we can get on with our lives." She added as she set the equipment chest back down.

    Samantha stepped in front of the door and pulled back her fist with the intention of knocking the door off its hinges with a single punch.

    With an audible whooshing sound, Samantha`s fist rocketed towards the door, only to find that instead of knocking it off its hinges, Samantha`s fist put a perfect hole straight through and soundly cemented her hand in place.

    "Ah, crap, now I`m stuck…" Samantha complained as she tried to get her hand out of the door, shaking it around in its frame in the process.

    "Oh, wow, I did not see that coming," Roy commented.

    "Oh, you quit it with your sarcasm!" Samantha snapped at Roy, her hand still stuck in the door.

    "Actually, I wasn`t being sarcastic; I honestly did not see this coming, though it is amusing," Roy replied.

    "Well, regardless of what you did or did not predict, the fact is that I`m still stuck; so do you have any idea on how to get my hand out of this thing?" Samantha asked.

    "Well, you could just rip the door off its hinges with the new leverage you have, but that would still leave the door on your hand and might bring the side of the barracks down on top of us in the process," Roy said aloud, but mostly to himself, "let`s see, in order to get that door off your hand, I would need to- oh, that`ll work!" He exclaimed as he started for the equipment chest.

    "So I take it you`ve figured something out, right?" Samantha asked as Roy began to rummage through the equipment chest.

    "Yeah yeah, I have, hold on a second…" Roy`s voice trailed off as he continued to search for something in the equipment chest; the lid obscured Samantha`s view, so she could not tell what Roy`s plan entailed.

    "There we are; I think this will work!" Roy exclaimed as he stood up from behind the equipment chest while holding what looked like a piece of handheld welding equipment.

    "Uh, what is that?" Samantha asked as Roy made his way over to her with his new invention.

    "This, is an arc-welder, and I`m going to use this to cut the door off of your arm," Roy explained, "so if you`ll hold still real quick, I`ll get that off of you."

    Then Roy flicked a switch on the side of the arc-welder and it immediately came alive with a hissing crackle; a powerful stream of electricity now coursed between two nodes at the end of it, which was now pointed towards the hole that Samantha`s hand was stuck in.

    "Um, a-are you sure that thing is safe?" Samantha asked nervously as the arc-welder drew closer to her arm.

    "Yep, I designed it to be safe and precise, and beyond that, your incredible durability should keep you from getting hurt, even from the arc itself," Roy explained.

    "Are you sure about that? I mean, we don`t even know how much damage I can take, for all we know, you could end up slicing my arm off with that thing." Samantha protested.

    "Then I`ll just have to not touch you with the beam, but from the data, I saw through my goggles, your arm should have no problem with the molten metal that will come off of the door as I cut it," Roy explained.

    "Alright, but if you`re wrong, then I am going to knock your head off," Samantha said.

    "Okay then, I`m cutting the door now, just hold still for a moment," Roy said as he began to melt a spot in the door.

    From that melted spot, Roy proceeded to carve out a section of the door with Samantha`s arm directly in the center, but when he was above Samantha`s arm, a bead of molten metal developed and dripped on her arm.

    However, apart from charring an exposed piece of leather from Samantha`s glove, the molten steel simply slid off of her as if it were simply water, not even her fur was damaged; Samantha noticed this, but said nothing to Roy as he continued to carve a hole in the door.

    "Alright, I think that`ll work," Roy said as he stood up and set the arc-welder to a lower setting, "go ahead and pull your arm out so I can continue to cut the door."

    Samantha pulled her hand out of the door along with the piece; the metal had cooled somewhat, so no more molten pieces were dripping off of it.

    "Holy crap! That door was three inches thick; you just put your fist through three inches of solid steel without breaking a sweat!" Roy exclaimed as he reviewed the disk of metal that was still attached to Samantha`s wrist.

    "Yeah, yeah, I`m really strong, but now how do I get this thing off of me?" Samantha asked while waving the chunk of the door on her arm around.

    "Well, since it is no longer attached to the side of the barracks, you might just want to rip it off of your arm; you are strong enough to do that; that much is certain," Roy replied.

    "Yeah, you`re right; one moment…" Samantha said as she took ahold of the chunk of metal with her other hand.

    Her hand tightened on the chunk of metal, and with no real strain on her face caused her fingers to embed themselves into the steel, but when she pulled her hand away, she simply pulled a piece of the steel chunk off of her arm.

    "Ok, that`s a little irritating," Samantha commented as she looked at the now greatly deformed piece of steel.

    "Maybe you should keep ripping pieces off until the rest of it just falls off." Roy suggested.

    "Yeah, I was just thinking that," Samantha commented, "while I'm getting this thing off me, why don`t you finish cutting that door down." She said Roy.

    "I`m already done; take a look," Roy replied smugly while gesturing towards the now empty doorway; two pieces of metal were left behind where the door attached to its hinges and another was where the door`s lock was; heat waves were emanating from the tip of the arc-welder as Roy held it in a pose that he thought looked cool, but really just looked silly.

    "You got the door open? Well, good, now just give me a moment so I get this this off the rest of the way, then we can go get some supplies." Samantha commented as she turned her attention back to the annoyance on her arm.

    Samantha proceeded to rip chunks of metal from her unwanted accessory, sending handfuls of steel flying off into the distance in the process. After a few seconds of this, Samantha succeeded in freeing her arm.

    "Whew, finally, I`m glad that`s over," Samantha commented as she shook her hand around a little to relieve the stiffness it had developed, "but it looks like I`m going to have to replace these." She added with a note of disappointment as she surveyed her now ruined gloves; one was charred and torn at the wrist and the other had its fingers ripped off during the issue with the steel chunk.

    "Maybe we`ll find another pair in here, it is a military barracks, after all. It's gotta be chocked full of good equipment." Roy suggested.

    "Yeah, sounds about right, actually," Samantha said in as she closed the lid on the equipment chest and heated it up.

    Samantha rummaged through the barracks first; it was miraculously still intact save for the door that they jest destroyed. Nonetheless, she still had to struggle to fit the equipment chest through the door. Luckily, the inside was sufficiently spacious so she didn't have the same problem.

    The inside of the barracks was expansive, easily enough to hold three or four houses inside with room to spare. As Roy and Samantha surveyed the empty hallways and rooms Roy felt a chill creep up his spine. “This is all too weird.” He thought.

    "I don`t get it, why is everything where it`s supposed to be? I mean, the village was just wiped off the face of the earth, yet all this equipment is just sitting here in perfect order, as if all the soldiers had simply walked out of the door like nothing was going on." Roy wondered as they walked through the surreally clean barracks.

    "I was wondering that myself, and this doesn`t look like a coincidence," Samantha said in agreement. "It looks even cleaner than it does when Sally is making an inspection." She mentioned.

    "Yeah, that`s true," Roy commented, laughing a little.

    "Well, on the bright side of this whole weirdness, it means that this barracks has everything we need for our trip northward," Samantha said, "Hopefully, this includes a new pair of gloves." She added.

    "Here,” Roy noted pointing at a clearly labeled floor plan that was hanging on the wall, “according to this map on the wall, there is an armory room just through that door over there." Roy said as he pointing towards a door with a symbol of a sword and a shield on the front.

    The two of them made their way into the armory room (for once, the door was unlocked and didn`t have to be broken down by Samantha) inside, they found a multitude of weapons and armor, pretty much anything the average soldier could ask for, including a number of choices for a new pair of gloves.

    "Now, what do we need for our journey…" Samantha muttered as she looked through the items in the armory.

    "Hey, Samantha, I think I found a pair of gloves that should work for you." Roy said.

    "Really? Let me see." Samantha commented as she made her way over to Roy, who was standing near a rack that held dozens of pairs of gloves all neatly in a row.

    "Here you are." Roy said handing over a pair of sturdy fingerless black canvas gloves over to Samantha.

    "What`s with these finger holes?" she asked.

    "Well, from the looks of it, these fingerless gloves are meant for the Mole Sapper Company. They routinely break rocks when digging our emergency tunnels and during trench battles," Roy explained, "I figured that these are rugged enough to handle your strength."

    "Hmm, makes sense, thanks." Samantha remarked as Roy handed her the gloves.

    Samantha peeled off her old pair of gloves, the ones on her right being so fragile that it tore when she attempted to replace them, and then put on the new pair, which fit like very clichéd proverb. "Now that the glove issue is taken care of all we need now is food, and lots of it," Samantha commented as she admired her new pair of gloves.

    "This way, mess hall is out this door and to the right edge of the building." Roy replied.

    "Good, because I`m starving at this point." Samantha remarked as she started for the door to the armory.

    "If you were hungry, why didn`t you eat one of the protein bars that we got from Zone`s shop? There's plenty of em." Roy asked.

    "I wasn`t hungry then, but I am now" she complained.

    When they arrived at the kitchen, they found it in the same untarnished state as the rest of the barracks. "Now this is getting silly," Samantha commented. "People live here; you`d expect to find some sign of usage, but there`s nothing, not even a dirty cup in the sink!" she continued.

    Then Samantha noticed that Roy was about to make a comment, but she cut him off before he could start, "Don`t you even start," She said, "if you start going on about that stupid dream nonsense I swear, I will I`ll slap you." She warned him.

    "Yes, ma`am." Roy said reflexively; banishing the thought to the back of his mind and changing tracks "On the bright side at least we know that that we`ll be able to get the food we need." He sain in order to change the subject.

    "Yep, but we should try to find something to eat for now as well as something to take with us," Samantha said as she set the equipment chest down in the middle of the kitchen.

    "Are we going to cook something, or what?" Roy asked.

    "I would like to eat cooked food, but judging from Hershey's face when she handed you that compass, I would be inclined to say that we might have a limited time to reach the rendezvous, so we`ll just have to eat some canned goods and then put the rest away for later use." Samantha replied.

    "Well, we can save some of that food in your backpack as well," Roy commented. "I retrieved one from the armory; I figured that it would be a good idea to have a little extra storage space just in case."

    "Good idea," Samantha commented. "Now, let`s eat something real quick to get the weight down and then head north, shall we?"

    "You know, I never quite caught what Hershey meant by that. What are we even supposed to be looking for?" Roy asked while using a can opener to open a can of stew.

    "We`ll probably know it when we see it," Samantha replied as she opened her own.

    The pair ate their fill of canned meats and stew (Samantha devouring five whole cans by her lonesome). Upon finishing, they began to load supplies into the backpacks and the equipment chest.

    "This is going to get tiresome real fast." Roy complained as he secured his now overladen backpack on.

    "Oh, quit complaining; I`m carrying four times as much as you are and I`m not having any problems whatsoever," Samantha commented before humming a merry tune and hefting the equipment chest over her shoulder

    "That`s because you`re strong enough to punch a hole through steel; I for one, would not have a chance of doing that without my powered gloves!" Roy grumbled. The pair completed their packing in silence before exiting the barracks and beginning their journey north…

    However, as the pair made their way out of the ruined village, they caught the attention of a sinister observer. The bulbous photoreceptors of the mechanical wasp widened. Its quad metallic wings slid open and it buzzed into the fading evening light, revealing its slender form to be no bigger than a small bird. Eventually, it came to a stone courtyard in the center of the ruined village where it settled on a spindly branch of a scraggly chestnut tree. Beneath it was a miraculously intact hut with a figure hiding in the shadow.

    The metal wasp pointed its shiny eyes into the shadow and began to emit a faint red light, not enough luminance to reveal its master, but it was enough to get its attention.

    "Really, there are survivors?" Spoke the thin and wiry form, like a metal puppet without strings.

    A metallic hand emerged from the shadows, its side an iridescent green. The wasp flitted onto the hand`s outstretched digits before the arm retracted into the shadowy veil.

    "Tell me everything..."


    Edited by Zoggerific and yours truly.



     
  4. VicTheJolteon

    Eric
    (Vulpix)
    Level 16
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    Thunder Stone ★★★Great Ball ★★
    Previously, on The Tale of Roy and Samantha:

    Our two heroes have made their way through the ruins of Knothole in their successful search of food and other supplies for their journey north.

    However, after finding out that Roy believes that all that just occurred in the past two days is nothing more than a dream, Samantha decided to take on the leadership role.

    Afterwards, the two of them found the remaining supplies that they needed in the Freedom Fighter`s barracks, and with the supplies from the barracks in hand, they began their journey north.

    However, unbeknownst to them, someone, or something, was watching…

    Episode Three.

    "Hey, Samantha, we still headed north?" Roy asked breathlessly

    "Let me check that real quick." Samantha replied; her voice airy and delightful in spite of the one-ton wooden equipment chest slung over her shoulder.

    Samantha retrieved a compass from her backpack with her free hand, "Yup, we`re still heading north. Why did you ask?" she queried upon returning the compass to her backpack.

    "Well, it`s because we`ve been out here walking a while and for some reason, I keep feeling like we've been walking in a curve," Roy replied, examining the strangely familiar snowcapped forest they travelled through.

    "I don`t know what to tell you, we`ve been walking a perfectly straight line the whole time-" Samantha commented motioning about her, "-besides, we`ve only been walking for about two hours now."

    "Really? I could have sworn we were walking for four … no six hours or even longer." Seconds later, Roy realized "None of us have any watches, and my goggles are still in my backpack, so how would you know what time it is?"

    "While we're at the barracks I picked up a watch as we were leaving the armory," Samantha replied reveal a dark green watch on her wrist, "I figured that we'd be better off knowing what time it is so we know when to stop travelling and pitch a tent when it gets dark."

    "Why didn`t you tell me you got one? If I had known, I would have gotten one for myself; military issue watches are supposed to be first-rate." Roy commented.

    "Sorry, I forgot while we're eating," Samantha said.

    "Now, I would like to say that I don`t do that myself, but then I would be lying like a cheap rug." Roy remarked.

    "Yeah, I know, like that time where-" Samantha began to say.

    "Please, don`t say that out loud, I just don`t want you bringing that up, alright?" Roy pleaded.

    "Alright, alright, I get it, it's just that if this were really all a dream, then it`s not like there`s anyone real to hear about it; is there." Samantha replied with a biting note of sarcasm.

    "It`s just that it's embarrassing and I don`t want anyone fictional or not, real or not listening in," Roy commented, "besides you should know that from my memories."

    "Ok then, let`s change the subject… so, um, how`s your head; have you healed it lately?" Samantha asked.

    "Yeah, I was just healing it a moment ago," Roy replied, "in fact, I think I might be able to use my goggles again." He commented as he began to fish through his backpack for them. After a few seconds, Roy produced his silver-rimmed goggles from his backpack, and after giving them a quick once-over to check for damage, promptly put them on. At this point, the both of them had stopped.

    "So, there isn`t any chance your head will explode or something, is there?" Samantha asked sarcastically.

    "Nope, aside from the fact that this bandage is making my goggles sit funnily on my head, everything seems okay," Roy replied.

    "Ok, awesome," Samantha commented, "so, feel like using those goggles to get a lay of the land real quick?" She asked.

    "I was just about to do that, hold on a moment," Roy replied as he pressed a button on the underside of his goggles.

    In a matter of moments, the goggles let loose multiple pulses of ultrasound: too high pitched for human or even Mobian ears to detect and upon collating the gathered feedback with its shockingly powerful microprocessor compiled a crude topographical representation of the immediate area.

    "It looks like there`s some kind of cliff or something directly in our way about thirty yards out," Roy said reviewing the data, "but there is a gap in that cliff about fourteen yards to the west."

    "Well, good to know," Samantha commented, "but what I would like to know is whether or not there are any heat signatures nearby that we should know about."

    "Not really, apart from us, there're none within scanner range, mobile or otherwise," Roy replied.

    "Huh, that`s a bit odd, you would figure that there would at least be some wildlife around here," Samantha commented.

    "Well, there was a catastrophic event nearby," Roy commented, "the noise and explosions must have driven them away and they've yet to return." He mused.

    "That is quite possible," Samantha replied, "unless of course, your dreams don`t include wildlife." She commented.

    "Hey, now that was uncalled for," Roy snapped, "when are you ever going to let that go?"

    "Whenever you decide that this isn`t a dream." she matter-of-factly.

    The two of them said nothing till at last, they reached the gap in the cliff that Roy`s goggles predicted.

    "Yep, that`s a gap in a cliff alright," Samantha stated, "it a good thing to know your goggles are working properly." She commented looking at the narrow scraggy gap in the tall, snow-covered cliff-side.

    "Umm, the gap is kinda` narrow, I`m not sure that the equipment chest can fit through that," Roy commented with dismay when he noticed the gap was upon closer inspection barely a foot and a half across.

    "How far does the narrow portion go till it widens up?" Samantha asked setting the equipment chest down on a space on the flattest bit of the ground that was not snow covered.

    "Well, the cliff is about ten yards thick, but the narrow bit that is only one or two feet thick, the rest of the gap could fit like three equipment chests side-by-side with some wiggle room to spare," Roy explained in reply.

    "If I were to 'widen up' the narrow part, how likely would it be that the cliff would collapse on top of me?" Samantha asked as she assessed the cliff's structural integrity.

    "Well, the cliff is made out of solid granite and the sides are relatively free of fissures, so the chances are a bit slim that it would collapse." Roy replied.

    "Ok then, stand back a bit…" Samantha ordered as she brought her fist back.

    "But," Roy said, interrupting Samantha in the process, "there's a definite chance that the snow on top of the cliff will come down and bury the both of us."

    Samantha stopped, loosening her fist, "Is there any way to prevent that?" She asked.

    "Not at the moment, not unless you have about fourteen feet of raw iron wire, two steel bars and a fifty-volt battery." He replied.

    "This is annoying…" Samantha commented stepping back to survey the rest of the cliff side. "What were you planning on building anyway with all that stuff, anyway?"

    "A space heater to melt the snow with," Roy replied, "it`s simple enough to build assuming we can scrounge those up from dirt and twigs."

    "Well, we don't exactly have all those things lying around in abundance. So, you`re saying we've to go around this cliff?" Samantha asked with a sigh of annoyance.

    "Unless you`re willing to get buried under a ton of snow, I would say yes, we're stuck having to go the long way around." Roy replied.

    Samantha was just about to argue that her brute strength would resolve any issue, but before she had a chance to speak, a high-pitched and grating voice permeated the forest. "Aww, looks like someone is stuck!" its tone a combination of a low-powered food processor and nails on a chalkboard, with a hint of a metallic echo.

    "Who`s there?!" Samantha shouted back; reflexively putting herself between Roy and the source of the sound, wherever that may be.

    "Why would I tell you? You haven`t even told me your names yet; it`s bad manners to ask for someone`s name before giving yours." Replied the irritating voice.

    The intrepid pair scanned their eerily still surroundings, but could find no trace of the voice which seemed to come from multiple directions at once, much like a ventriloquist.

    "Alright then, I`ll play your game," Samantha replied, "my name is Samantha and this here is Roy!"

    "What the heck are you doing?!" Roy snapped and in a softer tone continued, "Don`t tell it our names, for all we know, he could need them to impersonate us after he kills us!"

    Before Samantha could reply to Roy, the voice continued, "Since you`ve told me your names, I guess it would be bad manners to withhold my introduction." It said.

    "Without further delay, introducing…" The voice said in a sing-song tone; then there came the sound of cracking and rustling branches from the top of the snow-covered forest, followed by a whistling boom as the owner of the voice bolted from the top of the forest to the bottom in less than a second.

    The snow finally settled to reveal the voice`s owner: a tall, humanoid and wiry-looking thing with a head similar to that of a soup can; the ugly looking thing was striking a ridiculous pose, most likely in an attempt to show off its iridescent green visage.

    The bot, still in its ridiculous pose, turned its head to face the two of them and said, "Custom Mod, # 351: Stretch, at your service!"

    However, when Stretch was finished with his introduction, he saw that Roy and Samantha were just standing there, completely unimpressed and slightly amused at this ridiculous fellow, Roy even laughed a little.

    "What are you supposed to be, a marionette or something?" Roy asked trying to suppress a snicker.

    "For your information, I am the one responsible for catching any survivors of Conflict #32 and transporting them to the Empire for processing." The green bot replied with an incensed tone.

    "What's Conflict #32… what are you going on about?" Samantha asked curiously.

    "Oh, my apologies, you see, big boss Robotnick likes to keep everything nice and tidy. So, he numbers the various battles that he has with you Freedom Chumps to make it easier to sort them," Stretch explained, "Conflict #32 refers to the destruction of that dank little settlement called Knothole, of course." He elaborated as though speaking to a dim-witted child.

    "So, in other words, you`re so weak that you're relegated to mop-up duty instead of fighting with the competent models at the frontlines." Roy commented, making sure to emphasize the words 'weak' and 'competent'; much to the bot's chagrin.

    "So, you`re going to make fun of me, eh," Stretch said maliciously, "then let me show you strong a really am!"

    Before either Roy or Samantha could react, the robot loosed a scream like a banshee before rushing toward Roy. Stunned by the recent turn of events, Roy stood mouth agape till a vicious kick to his chest sent the fox reeling back onto the snow.

    "Roy!" Samantha exclaimed.

    "Don`t let your guard down, girly, or else you could get caught unawares!" Exclaimed the wiry bot as he brought his foot around to heel-kick his other opponent.

    With a manic scream, the green bot brought his heel back and planted it right in Samantha`s face, but when he hit her, Samantha just stood there, completely unfazed by the powerful blow.

    "Huh, I didn`t even feel that one," Samantha remarked with Stretch`s foot in her face.

    Stretch pulled his foot back and stepped back "What the, you`re a High-Threat?!" Stretch exclaimed fearfully, "I thought all you freaks ran off to go protect that silly little princess."

    "I don`t know what you going on about with 'High-Threat' and all that, and I don`t care," Samantha said calmly, "but you just hurt Roy, and for that, I`m going to put you down." She stated as she put her fists up and took a fighting stance.

    That freak took my kick and didn`t even feel it, I`ve got to find a way to take her out with her own strength, cuz` mine just won`t cut it. Stretch thought.

    "So, you`re kinda` tough, but I`ll take you down just as I took down your friend there." He said goadingly.

    Samantha's expression remained unchanged as she took her backpack off and carefully set it on the ground while Strech watched on. Once she was certain her personal effects were safely preserved, she bounded forward; intent on smashing her foe to pieces.

    But Stretch had anticipated this and deftly dodged every one of Samantha`s attacks using a series of maneuvers that would be all but impossible if he hadn't been purpose-built for this "What`s the matter? I thought you were an all-powerful High-Threat, and yet I`m dodging all of your attacks; could it be that you`re too slow in the head to catch me?" He said in the most annoying voice he could muster as he continued to dodge Samantha`s powerful attacks.

    All of Stretch`s goading was now working without a hitch, as Samantha gradually became more and more enraged at this irritating machine; in her immense rage, her fists seemed to gather steam-like cones of fog at the knuckles as they traveled through the air at an ever-increasing speed in the hopes of colliding with the mechanical annoyance.

    But Stretch just kept dodging Samantha`s punches, seemingly without effort.

    After a minute or so of this battle, one of Samantha`s attacks collided with a tree and split it completely in half. It was a stroke of pure luck that neither of the halves landed on Roy`s unconscious body- but Samantha did not notice, she was too focused on destroying that irritating green robot.

    She`s angry enough to ignore her surroundings? Perfect timing, I was just about to run out of dodging capacity, now to trick her into getting herself killed! Stretch thought.

    With that, Stretch began to dodge with purpose, gradually luring Samantha over to the cliff wall.

    A cohesive plan was the last thing on Samantha`s mind as she continued trying to smash the green bot, "Stop moving around and let me hit you!" She roared as she continued her fruitless assault.

    Stretch got in position before the cliff wall and Samantha took one more swing at him, but the green robot jumped some thirty feet into the air and away from the wall, leaving Samantha`s fist to strike it with so much force that several new cracks appeared where there were none before and caused the snow to fall off the top of the cliff wall and on top of her all at once.

    "Success!" Stretch exclaimed at the sight of Samantha being buried under several tons of snow, "With these two offerings to the boss man, I`ll be given the respect I deserve, especially since I took down a High-Threat all on my lonesome; oh yeah, I`m awesome!" Stretch felt an onrush of joy flood through his personality module as he danced a victory jig.

    As Stretch continued his victory dance, Roy regained consciousness.

    "Ooh, my head…" Roy said woozily sitting up, "where am I?" Roy blinked rapidly and upon seeing the gap in the cliff wall, cognizance flooded his system "Wait a minute, that green robot attacked me and Sama- hey, Samantha, is that you?!" he shouted at the dancing figure, partially obscured by the dust and snow in the air.

    Upon hearing Roy, the figure seemed froze and turned to face him, at that moment, Roy knew that this was not Samantha; the figure had a cylindrical head with no ears and its body was recognizably thin and wiry.

    The obscured figure quickly closed the gap, stopping with its metallic face only inches away from him.

    "Ah, you`ve finally regained consciousness, good," Stretch said in a sinister voice, a line that ran across the lower part of his 'face' could have been easily mistaken for a sadistic smile as the bot drew even closer to Roy, "now I wonder, what are you? You`re not a High-Threat, not by a long shot." He commented; his 'face' now less than an inch from Roy`s as he began searching his internal database for the fox`s file, all the while holding as still as the machine he was.

    Ok, this dream has officially become a nightmare, time to wake up. Roy thought to himself as the robot remained motionless in front of him, except for its visual receptors, which tracked him with deadly accuracy.

    Roy closed his eyes and concentrated on trying to wake up from the nightmare that he was sure he was having, but when he opened them back up, the iridescent green robot was still face to face with him, completely motionless.

    "Why`d you squint your eyes, did you get a dust in them?" Stretch asked sarcastically.

    Oh great, it`s one of those nightmares that don`t let you wake up, this is going to be unpleasant. Roy thought. But then he saw Stretch`s metal hand raise up a little and line up with Roy`s throat, that`s it, time to use Instant Design before I get to the gory part! he thought as he began running the variables through his head, looking for the correct method to use to wake up.

    Okay, let`s see, in order to be able to wake up and not deal with getting eviscerated in a nightmare, I need to relax, lie down and close my ey- wait a minute, that`s the motions for going to sleep… so if I have to go to sleep before I can wake up, that means-

    "-this isn`t a dream!" Roy said aloud.

    At this, Stretch stepped back, his combat algorithms leaving him utterly dumbfounded on how best to proceed "You mean you actually thought that I was a nightmare? Boy, you`re a weird one!" He commented with a tilt of his head, I knew it, I`m scary enough to make people lose their minds, that`s even better than I had hoped! The green bot thought.

    Roy`s mind was abuzz with a multitude of things that he now had to come to grips with, but the machine in front of him and the threat it posed was at the forefront of his to-do list.

    "I guess it doesn`t matter whether or not you`re crazy when you`ve been Roboticized," Stretch mused, "from what I heard when those guys are done with you, there`s really nothing left to be crazy."

    However, all of Stretch`s comments seemed to fall on deaf ears, as Roy just sat there staring at the green robot without saying a word.

    "Hello, can you hear me, or are you so terrified at the mere sight of me that you`ve lost your ability to speak?" Stretch asked after a few seconds of unresponsiveness.

    Stretch then noticed that Roy`s goggles were faintly flickering with lines of data, and the machine instantly recognized some of the data as his own; this made the green robot quite angry, "What the- are you scanning me?" The robot exclaimed when he saw his own data, "Why you little-"

    Stretch lunged at Roy, intent on ripping the fox`s goggles off of his head, but before the bot reached its target, Roy picked up a nearby rock out of the snow and jammed it into Stretch`s left 'eye', causing the bot to reel backwards with a simulated screech and cradle its sparking photoreceptors in his hand.

    "That was a dirty trick, don`t you know it`s bad form to hit someone with a rock when they`re trying to kill you?" Stretched commented as he held his now non-functioning left 'eye' in his hand, but when he looked back at where was, he found the fox absent, "oh, come, on… really!? You ruined a perfectly good eye so you could run away? You're even dumber than I thought you were!" He commented looking around for the red fox.

    "Yoo-hoo, where are you?!" Stretch shouted in that sing-song voice, "You know, if you come out now, I might just kill you before you get Roboticized!"

    Stretch's ultra-sharp sensors detected a small log being tossed at him from behind a nearby tree. Instantaneously, his combat algorithms took hold and the nimble bot stepped out of the way of the log, allowing it to land harmlessly on the snow nearby, "Well, that was pitiful" Stretched laughed mockingly "and you gave away your position to boot besides; you know, your reall- hold on, why can`t I move?" The bot exclaimed as he realized he was now paralysed from the neck down and about as useless as a paperweight in that state.

    After he was sure Strech was incapacitated, Roy stepped out from behind the tree and walked up to him with a confident smirk.

    "What did you do to me, you freak?!" The bot demanded.

    Roy laughed at his now impotent foe, "That log that I threw at you had- er, pardon me, has a high-frequency signal emitter that I fashioned a few minutes ago; right now it`s broadcasting the binary code equivalent for a heuristic analysis request to every piece of technology in the area that can receive it, as you can see, it`s also messing with my goggles," He motioned to his googles whose edges were now constantly flickering with blank windows, "I may have just realized that I lost everything I have ever known and loved, but that isn`t going to stop me from coming up with a way to survive." He stated.

    "Oh, quit that 'I will survive' nonsense; I starting to get sick from all that biological self-actualization crap!" the robot complained.

    "Well, how about this for 'actualization'; I am going to give you one chance to survive." Roy said confidently as he walked behind the frozen robot.

    Roy flipped a tiny, inconspicuous lever on the back of Stretch`s head and removed the outer covering to reveal a wire-covered mainframe that composed the robot`s entire operating system, "Now, I`m going to give you one chance to get out of this alive," Roy explained to the green bot, "either you tell me where Samantha is, or I take your brain apart and turn it into an alarm clock." He said as he wrapped his fingers around a clump of wires in Stretch`s head.

    "'Samantha'… nope, sorry, doesn`t ring a bell." Stretch replied.

    "I would advise you to stop toying with me," Roy stated emotionlessly, his fingers gripping the wires tighter as he began to wiggle them about to loosen them.

    "Oh… right, Samantha;" Stretch exclaimed with a bout of nervous laughter, "yeah, I hate to break it to ya`, but last time I saw your friend, she was getting crushed under whole buncha` ice, so the chances are pretty good that she's dead; and with a pretty looking gravestone too, what with all those cracks in the cliff," he laughed.

    After a few seconds of unsettling silence, the bot felt a tiny hint of fear in its pre-programmed self-preservation instincts "Now that I`ve told you where your friend is, you`ll let me go, right?" The robot pleaded with Roy.

    "Since you decided to play games with me, no." Roy said as he calmly pulled the clump of wires from the robot`s head, causing it to go slack and drop to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Moments later, the green robot`s remaining eye flickered for a moment, before going dark for good.

    With a sigh of relief, Roy reached into the small log he was holding and removed the hastily made device from it; flicking a switch on the side and placing it into his backpack, instantly ending the endless heuristic analysis prompt on his goggle`s display.

    "Now to find Samantha," Roy thought as he theorized where she would be buried "I know that this cliff face is relatively free of cracks, so that bot`s comment about a pretty gravestone is actually going to prove useful."

    Roy switched his goggles to infrared and searched the cliff wall for signs of the cracks that the bot referred to; it did not take very long at all for him to find a series of fresh ones in the cliff face that webbed out from a central point near a massive pile of snow and ice at the base of it.

    Roy quickly made his way over to the snow pile and began to scan it for a heat signature that would reveal where Samantha was in all this; he found her signature near the center of the snow pile and surprisingly enough, it was still strong enough to suggest that she was still alive.

    The moment he saw that Samantha might still be alive; Roy began to frantically dig through the snow with his gloved hands to get her out.

    After a minute or so of digging, Roy finally found Samantha lying face up and completely unconscious, but alive nonetheless.

    "Now to get her out of this…" Roy thought as he looked around for a way to lift her out of this pile of snow, "let`s see, she is too heavy for me to lift, so the only way to get her out of this snow would be to wake her up, but how might I do that?" He wondered.

    Roy stood up in the hole in the snow and thought for a moment about how he might wake Samantha up before her body temperature dropped to a dangerous level, then it hit him.

    "Oh, that`ll work!" Roy exclaimed as he began to climb out of the hole and towards the equipment chest. (Which somehow managed to avoid getting damaged and remain stationary all at the same time.)

    Roy quickly scrambled through the chest and found what he was looking for in no time at all: a pair of black headphones attached to what looked like an egg timer.

    Roy made hastily made his way back to Samantha and gently placed the earphones on her head, "Ok, now this is going to be yet another thing I`ll have to apologize for…" He commented aloud as he reached for the dial on the timer.

    Roy set the timer for about twenty seconds and quickly scrambled out of the hole with the same panic that a miner would have while running from a dynamite charge.

    The moment the timer counted down to zero, a cacophonic ringing sound was sent through the headphones and into Samantha`s ears; waking her up instantly.

    However, in the process of waking up, Samantha jumped some thirty feet into the air and floated there with a panicked look on her face; her hands were glowing with a deep blue color.

    Samantha did not take long to notice where the noise was coming from, and promptly removed the headphones from her ears, "These are the personal wake-up call headphones that Roy developed when he was younger, but where`s Roy?" She wondered as she looked around for him.

    "Hey, Roy, where are you; are you alright?!" Samantha shouted in the hopes of getting a response.

    "I`m down here!" Roy shouted in reply, "Although, the more important question is: how the heck are you still up there?!" He asked.

    Upon hearing Roy`s question, Samantha realized that she was not standing on the ground, "Oh, that`s right, I forgot to tell you," She said descending to ground level, "yeah, I found out I could fly a couple of days ago." She explained when her feet touched the ground.

    "Um, how the heck did you end up flying and then not have the urge to tell someone that you can fly? That makes no sense, at all." Roy asked with a look of incredulousness on his face.

    "Well, I was going to tell you, but then I found out that you think that everything is a dream, so I opted not to." She explained.

    "Uhh, yeah, about that… I now have a whole bunch of things that I need to apologize for." Roy said while looking down at the ground in shame.

    "What, did you finally realize that this isn`t a dream?" asked Samantha, though she was not expecting any kind an answer.

    "Well, yeah, I did," Roy replied.

    "Oh really? Is that honestly the case, or are you just trying to make me feel better?" Samantha asked suspiciously.

    "If that was the case, then why would I bring it up again instead of just keeping quiet?" Roy asked in reply.

    Samantha realized that Roy was telling the truth, and also realized something else, "Umm, Roy, you ok?" She asked with a concerned voice, "you do realize what all of this being real means for you, don`t you?"

    "Yeah, I do," Roy replied, "I don`t know about you, but I think I`m going to have a breakdown sometime tonight.".

    "Umm, was that a joke?" Samantha asked.

    "No, not really." Roy replied with a momentarily haunted look on his face.

    "Well, alright then, I guess it`s kind of good to know that beforehand," Samantha said as she handed the headphones back to Roy, "but it`s still a bit weird."

    "Well, in any case," Roy said changing the subject, "it looks like we can get through that cliff wall now; you've already knocked all the snow off of the top." He mentioned.

    "Yeah, I kind of did," Samantha commented in agreement, "speaking of which: what happened to that robot that attacked you, you know, the green one?" She asked while looking around for it.

    "Oh, right, I took it out before I came and saved you," Roy replied, "its body is over there." He said while gesturing over to where the green bot`s remains lay.

    The two of them made their way over to Stretch`s remains as they lay sprawled in the snow, "What are going to do with this, anyway?" Samantha asked as she surveyed the dead machine.

    "Well, it is composed of a whole lot of advanced technology," Roy mentioned as he kneeled down and picked up one of the robot`s arms, "perhaps we could take it with us so I can study it and find out how it works." He mused.

    "I don`t have any real problems with carrying it, –it`s not all that heavy, I don`t think- but I don`t think it`ll fit in the chest," Samantha said, "ok, I`m a bit confused; you mean that in the time that I was unconscious, you figured out that this isn`t a dream and you took out a robot that I couldn`t even touch, how the heck does that work?" Samantha asked Roy with a heavy tone of disbelief in her voice.

    "You know, I really don`t know, it just sorta… happened." Roy replied frankly with a quick shrug.

    "Huh, you know, you`ve accomplished a lot of things, but nothing like this," Samantha commented, "are you sure you`re alright?" She asked.

    "I`m actually not sure," Roy replied as he set the green bot`s arm back down, "losing my home and family and then writing it all off as a dream is kind of a new experience for me, and I really don`t know what comes next for me." He explained as he stood up.

    "I don`t know either," Samantha said, "but let`s put that on the back burner for now and focus on what we do know."

    "And what would that be?" Roy asked.

    "For one thing, we know that we still need to head north, and secondly, we need to find a way to get this dead robot into the equipment chest without taking up too much space," Samantha explained.

    "Well, we could disassemble the robot and move its pieces that way." Roy suggested.

    "That sounds like both a good idea and a very creepy one at that," Samantha commented, "Well, it`s just a robot, so I guess it doesn`t sound all that axe-murderery if you think about it."

    "What a lovely note of confidence, thank you," Roy commented sarcastically as he brought a screwdriver out of his backpack and looked for a way to disassemble the robot; and upon scanning a bot he found a suitable screw near the heel of one of the robot`s feet.

    "Yeah, this is going to take a moment," Roy said as he pulled the foot off the green bot and placed it on the ground next to him, "so I guess it would be a better use of time for you to break through that gap in the cliff while I`m busy." He mentioned.

    "Ok, for one thing, that sounds like a good idea, but for another thing, you`re still not making decisions. So, for the time being, don`t get used to giving orders." Samantha replied making her way over to the cliff wall.

    When she got to the gap in the wall, Samantha turned back to Roy and asked, "Hey, you think that these gloves will withstand being used to break stone?"

    "Well, you did just put a big dent in that very cliff and you`re gloves are fine, so I would take a guess that they`ll be fine this time," Roy replied as he pulled a leg off of the bot.

    "Well, ok then," Samantha commented as she pulled her fist back and readied to strike the wall.

    With only three hits, Samantha widened the gap in the wall so that it was more than large enough to allow the equipment chest through with room to spare.

    "Hey, you about done there?" Samantha asked Roy as she made her back to him.

    "Almost, I need to finish removing the head and then I need to split the torso into top and bottom halves," Roy explained as he removed a screw from the bot`s neck, "you finish breaking that hole in the cliff?" he asked as he removed the bot`s head from its shoulders.

    "Yep, we should have no problem getting through it," Samantha replied, "and these things didn`t even get threadbare." She commented at her virtually pristine gloves.

    "Yeah, that`s why I picked those up," Roy commented as he finally pulled the top half of the bot`s torso off of the bottom half.

    "Alright, that`s finished; I think we can continue on our way north," Roy said as he placed the last piece of the green bot into the equipment chest.

    "Oi, that took long enough," Samantha commented as she closed the chest`s lid and put it back on her shoulder, "ready to go?".

    "Yeah," Roy replied while retrieving his backpack and brushing the snow off of it.

    "Then let's go," Samantha said as she started for the widened gap in the cliff wall; nearly hitting Roy with the equipment chest as she turned around and continued their way north.

    After a few hours of walking, they came upon a massive valley that was filled with piles upon piles of broken robots; the whole scene was lit by a sun occluded by depressingly dull-grey clouds. Roy and Samantha stood there in the wake of the awesome and terrible sight, both astounded by the sheer immensity of it all.

    "Ok, I knew that the battles between the Eggman Empire and the Freedom Fighters were intense, but this is on another level entirely." Roy commented as the two of them started to enter the macabre metal-filled valley.

    "You`ve no disagreement from me." Samantha replied.

    As they went into the metal filled valley, the towers of mechanical refuse seemed to grow taller and taller the further in they went. One could easily mistake the towers of rusty metal for giant bookshelves, each with its own tale of what once was, and what might be again.

    "Huh, it makes our scrapping of that green bot kinda moot point, doesn`t it?" Samantha mused as they walked through the seemingly endless hallways of scrap.

    "What do you mean?" Roy asked.

    "You know, we went through all that trouble to take apart the bot and keep its pieces for later use, and then we find a gigantic pile of bots just like that one, all just sitting here with no one around that would give a second thought about us taking any of this," Samantha explained.

    "Huh, now that you say it, I guess it does make sense," Roy remarked, "well, in my defense, the bot in the chest is definitely not as rusty as the ones around here."

    "Yeah, that sounds about right," Samantha said laughingly as she wiggled a protruding robot finger of one of the walls, causing it to break off and land on the floor.

    Roy was about to say something else, but the both of them were interrupted by a loud crashing noise some ways away. Both of them hurried over, worried that whoever caused it might be injured, or worse. When they neared the source of the noise, they stopped and squatted behind a short pile to avoid being seen, but not before Samantha gently set the equipment chest down nearby.

    The pair surveyed the area, but there appeared to be no possible source for the noise, "Do you see anything, Roy?" Samantha whispered.

    "No, not really," Roy whispered in reply, "hold on, let me switch to infrared and get a better look." He said as he pressed a button on the side of his goggles.

    Instantly, the area he was looking at changed in color from a dull grey with accents of white snow to the green-and-black monochrome of infrared signatures, "Ok, I think I see a heat signature over there, so there`s someone out there for sure." Roy whispered again.

    "What are they doing, are they alright?" Samantha asked.

    "If all ya`ll are gonna` to keep staring at me, it would be the polite thang` to tell me who ya`ll are first." A voice spoke aloud; interrupting the both of them.

    "Uhh, did that just happen?" Samantha asked Roy when she heard the voice.

    "Yes, it did happen," The voice answered instead of Roy, "now like ah` said, it would be polite to let me know who ya`ll are instead of just standin` there gawking at me." The voice mentioned.

    "Well, I guess if they`re asking…" Samantha commented as she began to step out from behind the pile.

    "No, wait, what if it`s some kind of trick from another of Eggman`s bots," Roy said nervously.

    "Ah`m not a robot if that makes ya`ll feel better," the voice chimed.

    "Don`t worry, Roy, it`ll be fine; if it is a robot, I`ll just smash it," Samantha said reassuringly as she continued to step out from behind the pile.

    When Samantha made it into plain view, she looked around and said, "Alright, I`ve shown myself, now show yourself in turn!"

    "First off, don`t talk so loud, it hurts my ears, and secondly, ah`m not stepping out until the other one shows." The voice replied.

    "Oi, Roy, come on," Samantha said while gesturing for him to come out, "the voice said that it`s not a robot and I`m inclined to agree with them" She added reassuringly.

    "Are you seriously trusting some voice that we`re hearing in a giant garbage heap," Roy protested stamping his foot "are you nuts?!" Roy snapped in a hushed tone.

    "I`m not just going by that; you saw a heat signature, right?" Samantha asked in reply, "Then that means it`s not a robot because robots don`t give off heat." She said in answer to her own question.

    "Huh, I didn`t think about that," Roy remarked, "well, in that case…" He said as he stepped out from behind the pile.

    "Well, that all took long enough…" The voice commented.

    Then the voice`s owner stepped out from their own hiding place and revealed themselves.

    "So, what are you two doing here?" Spoke the voice`s owner: a long-haired, blond Mobian Chupacabra with grey fur that looked a bit more seemly than her species would lead you to imagine.

    "Uh, shouldn`t you start with your name?" Roy asked.

    "Why?" The Chupacabra asked confusedly.

    "Because it`s what people do when they meet someone new," Roy replied in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.

    "Oh, shoot, I forgot again." The Chupacabra thought to herself. "Mah name is Anita," She said aloud, "so um, what`s all ya`ll names, anyway?" She asked the both of them.

    "My name is Samantha." Said Samantha.

    "And I`m Roy," Roy added.

    "Okay, now I know your names, so could ya`ll tell me what you`re doing here?" Anita asked the two of them.

    "We were passing through on our way north, and then we heard a crashing noise and came over here to check it out," Samantha explained, "do you know what caused it?" She asked Anita.

    "Oh, right, that was me," Anita replied, "I was fetchin` a good chunk a` platinum from one these here Swatbots and the pile got all wobbly and almost landed on me." The grey Mobian explained.

    "Uhh, what are you going on about platinum, anyway?" Roy asked.

    "I`m picking through these here bots for tech so I can sell `em to folks," Anita replied, "but I also sell precious metals whenever I find them, and I smelled some platinum; that`s why I`m here."

    "Umm, did you just say that you smelled platinum?" Roy asked disbelievingly.

    "Yes, I did say that," Anita replied, "my senses are a bit more fine-tuned than other people`s senses, and platinum is just plain smelly." She explained.

    "So, by 'fine-tuned', you mean stronger," Samantha said, "that makes sense, but whom are you selling the tech you find to anyway? There`s no one here."

    "Oh, I sell to whoever moseys on by, but I mostly trade the tech I find with the Freedom Fighters for food and other supplies I can't salvage otherwise," Anita replied.

    "Yeah, then we`ve got some bad news for you, Anita, the Freedom Fighters were attacked a few days ago, and it`s quite possible that they`re all dead," Samantha said.

    Yeesh, that was blunt! Roy thought, "Yeah, I saw it, I was there." He said aloud.

    "Oh, I already know all about that," Anita said, "that`s why ah`m out here getting the tech to trade with them." She explained.

    "Hold on, if you already know that they`ve been attacked and you`re still in the process of scrapping bots to trade with them, then that would mean that they`re all still alright," Roy said, but mostly for his own benefit.

    "For the most part," Anita commented, "they did lose a few folks, but not so many as to worry about too much." She mentioned.

    Then the blond-haired Chupacabra began looking around for something, "By the way, did ya`ll see where that platinum moseyed off to? I lost track of it while dodging this here falling pile." Anita asked as she continued to look around.

    "No, neither of us has seen it," Roy replied as he started to look around as well, "could you tell us what it looks like?"

    "Now, I can`t tell you it looks like, but I sure can tell you what it smells like," Anita replied as she lifted a robot arm to check and see what was under it.

    "Yeah, not sure if that`s helpful," Samantha commented as she joined in the search.

    Then Anita brushed some snow aside and said, "I think I found the little thang," She said as she took a deep breath to draw in more of the scent, "but it looks like it`s stuck in this here leg." She said; the leg she was referring to was a robot limb about the size of sofa and it probably weighed a ton at the very least.

    "You need some help with that?" Samantha asked as she made her way over to where Anita found what she was looking for.

    "Naw, I just need to pry this dang thing open enough for me to reach the platinum, that`s all," Anita replied as she began surveying the metal leg for any weaknesses.

    "I`m pretty strong; I could easily pry that thing open if you need," Samantha mentioned.

    "I don`t know about that; this here leg is shut tighter than a clam`s mouth, so unless you`re really strong, this isn`t coming open any time soon," Anita remarked as she continued to search the robot limb for a way to open it.

    "Yeah, Samantha is a whole lot stronger than she looks; she doesn`t even need a seam to break that thing open," Roy commented.

    "Oh, really…" Anita replied disbelievingly, "well it would save me a bunch of time to have this opened up, so if ya`ll think ya` can go right on ahead."

    "Ok then, could you take a step back for a moment and let me get a hold of this thing?" Samantha said as she walked up to the giant robot limb and readied to break it open.

    Samantha took her left hand and grabbed ahold of a protruding piece of metal, and with her right hand, she pulled back and drove it into the side of the metal leg with enough force to embed her hand in it up to her knuckles; after she was sure she had a firm grip, Samantha slowly ripped a strip of metal from the metal limb, tearing it open like a can of sardines.

    Anita stood there in shock as Samantha ripped the metal leg open with only a minimal amount of strain, "Okay, I stand wholly corrected." She stammered after her amazement wore down a little.

    "Hold on just a moment; if you`re this strong, then that would mean that you`re capable of making that loud noise I heard just a bit ago and that in turn would most likely mean that you are the ones that made that noise," Anita exclaimed.

    "What noise are you talking about?" Roy asked while scratching his head.

    "Oh yeah, you were unconscious at that point," Samantha said to Roy, "I hit the cliff wall pretty hard while you were out cold, so I guess that made the 'loud noise' that Anita is talking about." She explained in answer to Roy`s question.

    "Oh, that explains the pattern of cracks in the wall, they were from you," Roy remarked, "hold on, Anita, how did you realize that Samantha and I are the ones that made that noise? You weren`t even there."

    "I didn`t have to be there; I just used deductive reasonin` to figure it out," Anita explained.

    "So, what, are you like a detective or something?" Roy asked.

    "No, I`m not a detective by any means, I just have a bit of a knack for figurin` thangs out, that`s all." She explained.

    "So, you`re like a detective, but not a detective," Samantha commented, "huh… I guess that makes sense."

    "It`s always made sense to me," Anita said as she started to reach her hand into the new hole in the robot leg and rooting around for the sliver of platinum, "I`ve always liked answerin` questions and solvin` puzzles; leastways as far back as I can reckon."

    "Ok, that`s kinda cool, but you mentioned that the Freedom Fighters are still alive earlier and I would like to know if you heard anything about the Vanderlind family from your contacts," Roy asked anxiously, "you see, I was separated from them when Knothole was attacked, and I would like to know if they`re alright."

    "Can`t say as I have heard anything on them specifically, but they`re probably ok," Anita replied as she pulled her arm out of the robot leg with a silver colored cylinder in her hand, " I can guide y'all to where the Knothole refugees set up camp." She added as she stood up and brushed the snow and rust off of her black pants and faded-grey winter coat.

    "Really, you`d do that?" Roy asked.

    "Why not? I`m already headed that way with a load of tech and it would be safer to travel with a group anyways," Anita replied, "it`s just good sense."

    "Ok, sounds good," Samantha commented, "but I need to go retrieve the equipment chest real quick." She added; making her way over to the pile of metal that Roy and she were hiding behind just a few minutes ago.

    Samantha returned with the equipment chest over her shoulder like usual, "Ok, got it," She said as she made her way over to the other two, "so, are we heading onward, or what?" She asked.

    "Yeah, we are, but I have just a little question: how are you carrying that?" Anita asked.

    "What do you mean? I`m just carrying it, there`s nothing special about that." Samantha replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

    "'Nothing special'… do you hear yourself, it shouldn`t be possible to be carryin` a big ol` thing like that!" Anita exclaimed.

    "I really don`t see how this is impossible; I mean, you just saw me rip metal with my bare hands, so you know I`m strong enough to carry it, what else is there?" she asked.

    "Well one thang, your feet should be embedded in the ground from carrying that much weight on your shoulder, yet ya`ll just walking around like you weigh about a hundred pounds at the most," Anita replied.

    Then Samantha looked down at her feet, and sure enough, she was making normal footprints in the ground regardless of the heavy mahogany box she was carrying, "Huh, that`s interesting." She commented.

    "'Interesting' is pretty much a euphemism in my book, the word ya`ll are looking for is 'impossible'" Anita stated.

    "Ok, if you say so," Samantha commented, "but shouldn`t we be making our way to the refugee camp you were talking about?"

    "I agree, I`m quite eager to see if my family is ok." Roy chimed in.

    "Uh, I guess, but I`m still going to find out how y'all are doin that after we get there." Anita proceeded to place the cylinder in a pack on her side before motioning to a gap in the piles of metallic debris just to the right of her mechanical limb, "Ya'll follow me; the exit is just though this here pathway."

    And so the three of them, led by Anita, made their way out of the massive mechanical graveyard and towards the refugee camp.

    However, unbeknownst to our heroes, another metal dragonfly was watching them, and after it seen enough, it flitted away to notify its creator.

    To be continued…



     
  5. VicTheJolteon

    Eric
    (Vulpix)
    Level 16
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    Thunder Stone ★★★Great Ball ★★
    Previously, on the Tale of Roy and Samantha:

    Our heroes were on their way northward when they came upon a cliff wall in their path.

    However, as the two of them were discussing how to get through the wall, they were confronted by Stretch, one of the Eggman Empire`s Custom Mod Bots. During the confrontation, Roy was rendered unconscious and did not wake up until after Samantha was buried under several tons of snow that fell from the top of the nearby cliff.

    When Roy and Samantha`s opponent noticed that Roy was awake, it came after Roy and was defeated by him, but only after Roy realized that he was not in a dream and that his opponent was a real threat.

    After he defeated Stretch, Roy quickly found and unburied Samantha. Samantha then broke through the cliff wall and the two heroes continued on their way north.

    After some time of walking, the two heroes came upon a massive scrap heap that was filled with decommissioned SWATbots and other machines, and as they traveled through it they encountered Anita, a Mobian Chupacabra that was looking through the scrap for valuable items to sell; she told the two of them that the Freedom Fighters had survived and that their refugee camp was nearby. After hearing this, Roy and Samantha were eager to go to the camp and Anita agreed to lead the way.

    Episode Four…

    "So, Anita, how survivors were there in Knothole?" Roy asked the chupacabra.

    "Well, the camp is pretty big, so ah reckon quite a few survivors," she replied while scratching the back of her head, "If it's of any help, ah know fer sure that the top guns survived."

    "What do mean by 'top guns'?" Samantha asked.

    "I`m talkin` about Sonic and them, ya know, the original Freedom Fighters; they all made it out safely, though don`t ask me how, I wasn`t there," Anita replied, gingerly stepping across a frozen creek in their path.

    "Well, if you weren`t there, then where were you?" Roy asked as he made the crossing himself.

    "Well, it`s a bit embarrassing, but I spotted a little ole dragonfly, just moseyin` about in the wintertime as if it the cold didn`t bother him at all," Anita replied shrugging, "jus as I was finding out where the poor lost thing was going, I lost the trail and only found mah way back ta Knothole after it was being destroyed and everybody was hurrying past me."

    "Well, to me, that sounds less embarrassing and more fortunate," Samantha commented.

    "I guess, but I would rather have been there; I could`ve done at least somethin` to help out … not sure what good mah nose could've done but I coulda sworn I could've helped at least a lil bit."

    Heh, it`s better than how I managed to avoid the attack. Roy thought wryly. "Hey, Anita, you said that the people of Knothole were running past you when you arrived," Roy said aloud, "where were you exactly, would you happen to have been at the northern part of the village, would you?" He said aloud.

    "Why yes, yes ah was, how`d ya guess?" Anita replied.

    "Well, during the attack, Hershey saved me and told me to head north," Roy replied, "if I were to hazard a guess, she was telling me that there was a fallback location up north which was where everyone was headed to, but I guess I must have missed the memo since I don't know much more than that."

    "Yeah, in retrospect, that's probably where everyone was running to." Samantha commented.

    "Oh, so that's where ya`ll heading to?" Anita asked Samantha.

    "Why would you think that?" Samantha replied.

    "Ya`ll just said 'in retrospect'; folks only say that when they`re describin` somethin` that they`ve been there for." Anita explained.

    "Well, in a usual sense, you would be right, Anita, but in this case, not so much; you see, I have all of Roy`s memories…" Samantha continued on to explain all of the previous events to Anita in full detail (regardless of Roy`s protests), and even though the chupacabra was quite interested in the tale, I think you would probably fall asleep if I were to give you a recap of everything, so let us skip to the end.

    "-and that`s when we met you at the scrap heap." Samantha finished.

    "Huh, I believe ya`, but I`ll be doggoned if that isn`t that the weirdest story ah`ve ever heard." Anita commented.

    "Yeah, it`s pretty weird," Samantha remarked, "so weird in fact, that Roy here thought that was all a dream for an entire day." She mentioned with a laugh at the absurdity of it all.

    "I thought that you said you`d let that go?" Roy fumed with a huffy stomp.

    "Sorry, I forgot," Samantha replied, "umm, Anita, could you keep that little fact between us? It`s a bit embarrassing for Roy."

    "Alright," Anita replied, "so, now that ya`ll know what ya`ll headin` north for, what do ya` plan to do after ya` get there?" She asked.

    "Huh, we didn`t think about that," Samantha replied, "what do you think, Roy?"

    "Well, Anita just said that the top players of the Freedom Fighters are still alive, so that would mean that Sally would be alive as well; perhaps we could go talk to her. She'll know just what to do." Roy replied.

    "That makes sense," Samantha commented.

    "Well, ya`ll know what you`re doin`, that`s nice," Anita said, "but if I could just ask ya` one little favor?" She asked.

    "What would that be?" Samantha asked in reply.

    "Well, I`ve been collectin` tech from that there scrap heap for a few days," Anita replied, "and I would really appreciate a little help haulin it back to base camp so I can sell it to the Freedom Fighters. Now, I don't want y'all commentin about mah tent when y'all see it" Anta commented turning round to face her newfound companions. "It's not very much to look at, but its home fer now."

    "That`s not a problem," Samantha said in agreement, "so, um, where is the tech that you`ve collected, anyway?" She asked while looking around for it.

    "It`s about halfway between here and camp and if y'all don't know exactly what you're looking for then it can be pretty easy to miss, but that`s not the case fer the scrap." Anita replied animatedly.

    The three of them continued onward through the snow-covered evergreens. After a few minutes of walking, they came upon a large pile of usable salvage as well as other odds and ends, all sitting precariously atop of a large bleached-yellow fiberglass sled.

    "Ok, when you said you gathered a lot of tech, I thought you were talking about a few SWATbots worth, but this is insane," Roy commented when he saw the scrap pile; his mind`s eye coursed with ideas and inventions.

    "Well, I did say that I was gatherin` tech for a couple a` days, now didn`t I?" Anita replied/

    "That you did," Samantha replied, "how were you planning on getting all this over to the camp?" She asked Anita as she gawked at the scale of the salvager's operation.

    "Well, before ya`ll showed up, I was kinda plannin` on toting this it one at a time and askin` fer help while I was there, but that`d take too long," Anita replied.

    "What`s your plan now?" Roy asked.

    "I was thinkin` that Samantha here could just pull it along," Anita replied, "but I know that bits and pieces would jus keep falling off of the sled the moment it's being pulled." She mentioned.

    "Hmm, that is a problem," Samantha commented, "any ideas, Roy?"

    "Hm, let me see," Roy replied as he pressed a button on the side of his goggles and immediately began searching through the pile as if he was looking for something specific.

    "Did you figure something out?" Samantha asked.

    "Maybe…" Roy replied flatly as he started pawing through the pile; his eyes were intensely focused as data-streams flew by on his goggles` display. After a few seconds, Roy stood up with a SWATbot head and few seemingly random pieces of junk in his hands.

    "Now what are ya` goin` to do with all that?" Anita inquired.

    "Hold on a moment," Roy replied curtly, "explaining what I`m about to make always makes me forget what I'm building, so keep quiet and watch."

    Roy dropped the robot parts onto a flat rock that was nearby and without pause set to work, "This will only take a few minutes…" Roy muttered as he quickly and efficiently disassembled and reassembled the pieces in front of him with such a speed that his hands appeared to blur. True to his word, Roy stood upright not a minute later and to the amazement of everyone he revealed an odd looking device that looked like a number-pad attached to several metal rods; each of the rods was wrapped with a coil of copper wire, though most of the wire looked like it was threaded together like strands of rope.

    "What`d you build, a space heater?" Samantha asked jokingly.

    "Yeah… no," Roy replied, "it`s actually an electromagnet." he explained.

    "What are ya`ll going to do with that thingamabob?" Anita asked upon giving the newly-christened device a once-over.

    "Well, strong though as Samantha is, she's not going to be able to bring any of this back owing to attrition. So, the electromagnet is going to coalesce all this salvage into one big bile so that Samantha can pull it along safely," Roy explained, a hint of pride in his words, "it`s easy enough to build an electromagnet; all you need is a few rods of iron, some copper wire and a power source and boom; you`ve got an instant magnet."

    "Oh, really, that`s cool," Anita commented, "what`d ya`ll use as a power source for that there magnet, anyway?"

    "Oh, I just grabbed a SWATbot power core." Roy replied.

    "What!? Ya` used one a` my power cores!?" Anita exclaimed while angrily making a grab for the device, "Do ya`ll know how much those things are worth!?"

    "Hey, I didn`t know," Roy replied as he pulled the magnet away from Anita`s reach, "and besides, you wouldn`t get any of this stuff over to your camp without it!"

    "Yeah, he`s right, Anita," Samantha added.

    Anita calmed down, but it was clear she was infuriated with strangers tampering with her property, "Fine, I`ll let you use that power core, but I`ll have ya` know that ya`ll cost me about a couple thousand, the Freedom Fighters pay good money for those."

    "Well, I'm not gonna apologize, and it'll still be salvageable afterwards; it might even be worth a little more put together than when taken apart," Roy mentioned making his way back over to the pile of scrap and placing it electromagnet at the back of a convenient recess deep within the pile;

    Upon making sure it was securely in place, Roy pressed a few buttons on the number pad and stepped back a few feet. Without warning, the pile of metal suddenly shifted and contracted a few inches; seating it perfectly on the fiberglass sled like an egg in a nest; albeit an over-sized egg.

    "See? Solid as a rock." Roy commented, knocking on the hardened pile for effect.

    "Huh, well shoot." Anita commented giving the pile a knock of her own.

    Samantha stood there with her arms crossed, Yeah, I`d expect that from him. She thought. "So, now that that issue is out of the way, shouldn`t we be going?" Samantha said aloud.

    "Samantha, think you can pull this thing along ok?" Roy asked with a note of concern.

    "Probably Roy, but the salvage is not gonna stay on the sled once I start pulling it," Samantha replied when an experimental pull had caused loose bits and pieces from the top of the heap and whole pile to nearly wobble off the sled entirely.

    "Huh, if we had some rope, then that wouldn`t be a problem, but my pack definitely doesn't have enough to do the job, and there's not enough natural plant fiber lying around to weave more rope." Roy remarked

    "Oh, wait just a minute; ah` have some rope in mah` tent that might do the trick!" Anita exclaimed as she headed over to an inconspicuous green canvas tent that lay virtually flush to the ground. It was covered in branches and snow as camouflage.

    After a few seconds, Anita crawled out of the tent flap with a large coil of rope in her hands, "Here it is, ah use this to abseil the junk heaps, so don`t ruin it if you can help it." She commented, proudly handing it to Roy.

    "Don`t worry, I`ve got an idea, your rope will be just fine," Roy replied as he began taking the rope over to the pile of metal; then something struck him as he spun to face Anita, " why was this in your tent, anyway?"

    "Oh, so ah don't get all em pins and needles when ah get up"

    "Huh, well I guess that makes sense," Roy remarked as he made his way to the metal pile and pulled one end of the rope from the coil. He took the end of the rope and fastened it to a convenient loop on the side of the sled. Then he took the other end of the rope and looked at it for a moment before turning to Samantha, "Could you fly this end of the rope over to the other side of the pile and see if you can`t loop it through a few items while you`re up there?" He asked as he gestured for her to take the end of the rope.

    "Alright," Samantha replied as took the rope end and floated off of the ground and over the top of the pile; her hands glowing a deep blue. "Hey, you said that you needed this rope to loop through something, right?!"

    "Yeah, if there`s a good spot to loop it through, that is!" Roy shouted as he secured the other end of the rope.

    "There's a problem: can't find anything to loop this through!" Samantha shouted back.

    “Hey, Roy, what's with yer friend's hands, I know you said she could fly, but why are hands glowin like that?” Anita asked as she noted the strange effect.

    “Yeah, I really don`t know, her hands just do that when she flies and I haven`t had the time to figure out what that is,” Roy replied as he continued to loop the rope through the rope holders on the sled, “but don`t ask me if it`s normal or not, I only just found out she could fly a few hours ago.”

    “So, she can fly, she has super strength and she has all yer memories; why haven`t I heard of her before? It`s only natural that ah would, folks like that aren`t far from the limelight.” Anita asked.

    “Heh, I honestly don`t know,” Roy replied, “she said that she was stuck in some kind of place that wasn`t a place, you know, like a pocket universe or something, but that`s too vague for me to really know what happened,” He remarked, “who knows, maybe she`s lying to hide who she is or something, I don`t know, it`s not hard to do these days; Knothole got pretty big before it was attacked.”

    “Yeah, ya got that right, nobody knows anybody anymore these days,” Anita said, “would that mean that she might be lyin about havin yer memories, that does sound just a bit far fetched ta me.” She asked.

    “Actually, that part is perhaps the one thing that I know for sure about her, some of the things she knows about me are simply impossible to know, even if you were there,” Roy replied, “I really don`t know how, but she actually has my memories.”

    Anita was about to reply, but their conversation was interrupted by Samantha, who at this point had grown impatient. “Oi, you two, you done chatting!” Samantha asked sarcastically, “I still need something to loop this rope through!” She mentioned while wagging the end of the rope for added effect.

    "Well, is there anything up there that ya`ll can turn into one?!" Anita asked with a gesture to the top of the pile.

    "Hold on, let me check!" Samantha shouted back in reply. She took a look around and found a sturdy looking antenna amid the junk pile. That`ll work. She thought as she drifted over to it.

    She took the antenna with one hand and bent it like putty into a spool; then she threaded the rope through the new loop and fed it down the other side of the pile to Roy, who promptly took it and went around the pile a few times to better seat the pile of metal on the sled.

    "Alright, that should hold, or at least I think it will," Roy said as he made one last tug at the last knot to tighten it properly.

    "Umm… ah ya`ll sure this`ll hold?" Anita asked as she surveyed the pile of scrap; it was all bound up like some giant metal eating spider had caught it in its convoluted web.

    "Oh, don`t worry, it`ll hold," Roy replied confidently, "Samantha, will you do the honors?"

    "Well, I don't know, maybe since you were the one that came up with this idea, you could be the one to tote this thing along…" Samantha replied sarcastically.

    "Yeah yeah, very funny…" Roy commented as he brushed some snow off of his knee.

    "Ok, I`m going to start pulling this now," Samantha said taking hold of both ends of the rope, "is there anything else we need before we go?"

    "Well, ah` do need to get m`ah tent and other thangs packed up, but that`s not a problem."

    "Oh, and let`s not forget the equipment chest," Roy mentioned.

    "Oh yeah, that`d be a bit silly to leave it," Samantha remarked as she went over to retrieve it. She slung it over her shoulder and then made her way back to the two rope ends, which she then took hold of with her free hand, "umm, you might want to step out of the way, Roy."

    "Shoot, heh, sorry." He said as he got out of the way.

    After she was sure Roy was clear, Anita gave the go-ahead, Samantha gave a mighty pull, causing it to start forwards with a lurch and a cracking sound as the ice beneath it gave way. After overcoming the initial molecule bond that occurs when a thing holds still for awhile, the sled began to easily slide across the snow as Samantha dragged it along with little strain on her part. The three of them continued on like this for about half an hour before Anita motioned for them to stop.

    "What is it, Anita, is something wrong?" Samantha asked as she braced herself against the sled to stop it from sliding forward.

    "No, it`s nothin` too bad, it`s just that we need to wait here a little bit," Anita replied.

    "Uh, why would we do that; aren`t we heading to the camp?" Roy asked.

    Before Anita could reply, a hooded figure dropped out of the treetops and pointed a rifle in Roy`s face, followed by two more figures, each of whom leveled their weapons at Samantha.

    "Ok, Anita, who are these two?" Spoke the lead figure, the one with the rile at Roy`s head.

    "Ya`ll can relax, Gauda, they aren`t auto-automatons," Anita said annoyed.

    "Y-yeah, I`m pretty sure I`m Mobian." Roy stammered as he tried to move away from the rifle`s barrel, but the figure just kept re-centering the weapon to center body mass, much to the red fox`s chagrin.

    "How do you know that?" The hooded figure inquired of Anita, "The latest models that the Eggman keeps sending are starting to look pretty darn real; if you ask me, even you`ll get fooled one of these days, and besides, there are those traitors running around." The figure stated.

    "But today isn`t one of `em and both of these here fellas aren`t traitors fer darn sure, Roy here is from Knothole, ya`ll should've seen him around at least once, even in a big ole village like that." she shrugged.

    "That may be the case, but I'm sure I haven`t seen her around," The figure motioned to Samantha, "and from the looks of her, she`s pretty strong, a bit too strong if you ask me."

    "Hey, I know I`m strong, but that`s no reason to call me a robot!" Samantha exclaimed in protest, provoking the two figures that were pointing weapons at her and causing them to tense up.

    "That`s just about enough, Gauda, ah`m gettin` a bit tired of ya`ll actin` like ah`m gonna go and do somethin` silly like that." Anita said exasperatedly, "these two folks are as much red-blooded Mobians as you and I."

    "Oh and before y'all start pointing fingers neither of em` ah traitors and that`s that," She stated with a huff, "now if you`ll excuse us, we`re headin` on our way to the camp so ah` can sell mah scrap, and if ya really need it, ah` can go talk with Sally and vouch for the both of em`."

    "Heh, you really do know how to talk," Gauda remarked as her stiff posture went lax and she pulled back her snow-white hood to reveal a pale-yellow vulpine beneath. "I guess I can trust your judgment, but only just," Gauda remarked as she lowered the rifle and barked orders for the other two figures to do the same.

    "Ok, then, now that there isn`t a weapon in my face, I guess we should introduce ourselves," Roy commented in the politest tone he could muster "Greetings, sir, my name is Roy Vanderlind"

    "I know who you are, you screw-up. First of all: my name is Gauda," Gauda replied, "and secondly: IT`S MA`AM, TO YOU!" she yelled with a voice that made Roy`s hair stand on end.

    "I apologize," Roy shakily commented after he regained his composure halfway, "I did not mean to offend you, ma`am, and I honestly had no idea." He said in an attempt to calm the angry yellow fox; his eyes made a quick sideways glance at the gun she was holding.

    "Well you`d better get the idea real fast or I`ll-" Gauda growled.

    "I think that`s just about enough," Samantha interjected; completely interrupting Gauda`s fuming, "we apologize for the rudeness, and we won`t make that mistake again, but regardless that, we are headed to the camp with this pile of scrap, so are we done here?" She asked in an officious voice that surprised everyone.

    At this, Gauda stopped fuming and turned to Samantha, "Yeah, we`re done here," She replied to Samantha; though her eyes spoke of deep suspicion, "just had to check and see that you`re all real people and not robots; that is my job for now, after all." She remarked as she started walking towards the direction of the camp while motioning for the others to follow her and her men.

    The now larger group continued on to the refugee camp, led by Gauda and one of her escorts taking point and the remainder as rear-guards.

    Anita went to the front of the group so she could talk to Gauda, leaving Roy and Samantha to wonder, "Hey, Samantha," Roy whispered, "what was that before, you know, you suddenly talking like an official or something?" He asked.

    "Why are you surprised?" Samantha asked in reply, though her voice was similarly quieted.

    "Why wouldn`t I be surprised? I don`t talk that way, yet all of a sudden you do, I mean, I know that my dad`s a bureaucrat, but he never talked to me, so I never learned any of his tricks," Roy replied, "but just now you sounded exactly like him."

    "Well, maybe you did hear him once or twice, goodness knows that he talked at your mom a lot," Samantha remarked, "'at' being the operative word." She added.

    "Oi, could you not go talking about my dysfunctional household around strangers, please? It`s bad enough that you know." Roy pleaded with Samantha while still trying to keep his voice down.

    "Oh, right, sorry," Samantha replied with an honestly apologetic tone.

    Meanwhile, at the front of the group, Anita had caught up to the pale yellow fox that was leading them.

    "Howdy, Gauda, it`s been awhile," Anita called out to her.

    "Oh great, now you`re the sociable one..." Gauda commented, "what do you want, Anita?" She asked annoyed.

    "Ah just wanted to say 'hi', that`s all," Anita replied, "and I also want to know just why ya` on guard duty, aren`t ya a scout or somthin`?" She inquired.

    "The term is 'reconnaissance trooper', and it`s kinda` hard to do any of that when your home base has just taken a beating," Gauda replied, "so for now, I'm doing this, or at least until Sally decides to go on the offensive again." She remarked. "By the way, I saw you stop before we caught up to you; how did you manage to notice me? I thought you said that I have no scent, so you shouldn't have been able to track me."

    "Now that's simple: ya` may have no body odor, but yer men sure do, and besides, I can smell canvas body armor from a mile away." Anita boasted with a gesture to the scout's outfit that Gauda was wearing.

    "Huh, I guess I`m going to have to switch to polyester to avoid your notice?" Gauda commented.

    "Nope, sorry, that won`t work, if ah can smell the difference between brown and grey hair ah can sure as hay smell polyester too," Anita replied, "and besides, that stuff makes so much noise when ya` wear it that it renders being odorless kinda moot. I`d stick with the canvas armor; there aren`t many robots that have a sniffer quite like mine, but them sentry bots sure can hear as well as I do."

    "Heh, yeah I get you, but I still don`t like it that you can sense me from a mile off," Gauda remarked with a huff, "it makes all my camouflaging efforts seem like a real waste."

    "If ya` plan was just to avoid detection from little ole me, then ya` really failed," Anita commented with a gesture to herself, "but ya`ll aren`t tryin to avoid me, are ya`?" She noted.

    "Tch, whatever, let`s just get you and these two..." Gauda replied curtly to Roy and Samantha both of whom were oblivious to the discussion, "back to the camp so I can get back to patrolling." She finished as she picked up the pace of her march and ordered her men to do the same.

    The group continued onward to the camp, only stopping once so Samantha could move a rock out from the path. Gauda and her men got spooked nearly shot her, but Anita provided explanation to the situation and rebuked them for their jumpiness.

    After some time, Gauda spoke up, "Ok, you three, I`m going to send word of our approach so the guards manning the towers don`t shoot us and so they know that that," She said gesturing to the giant pile of metal that Samantha was pulling along, "isn`t a threat." Turning to her men, she ordered one of the two soldiers, a dark orange hedgehog, to take point.

    Nodding, the male hedgehog obeyed, sprinting away at a brisk pace through snow-covered pines, only stopping when he saw the demarcation of their hidden camp: a distinctive gouge in an otherwise unremarkable rock. The soldier fished a rolled-up neon-orange flag from a pouch and unfurled it in full view of a seemingly abandoned ridge-line. The hedgehog waved the nylon flag: once, twice and thrice before rolling it back up and returning it to his pocket.

    He waited and stood stock-still, save for his breathing which fogged up in the frozen air. He saw another orange flag appear amid the trees and wave three times before disappearing, followed by the same thing happening in several other spots in the snow-covered canopy. Not long after, a lone figure descended from the trees and approached the soldier.

    "What is it?" Asked the figure; a blue-furred coyote wearing a snow-white gillie with a pistol at the hip asked.

    "We have a few survivors coming in, Gauda`s leading the group."

    "Geez, Gauda; she`s got to be pissed at getting pulled from her patrolling right now," The coyote remarked as she shifted her weight, "who are they; are they anyone we know?" She asked.

    "Well there are two, including Anita, and one of `em we actually know: it`s Roy, Roy Vanderlind." The hedgehog replied.

    "You mean that Roy; the fox that turned Rotor`s door alarm into a robot when he was a kit?" The coyote asked.

    "Yeah, and I`m pretty sure Rotor`s still pissed at him for that." The hedgehog replied laughingly.

    "Who`s the other one, the one we don`t know?" The coyote asked.

    "Well, it`s another fox," The hedgehog replied, "she calls herself Samantha, but I don`t think Gauda likes her, like, at all." He remarked.

    "Why`s that?" The sniper inquired.

    "Cuz she`s strong, like, stupidly strong," The soldier replied, "right now she`s pulling a giant pile of metal on a sled and she`s got a mahogany frigging chest slung over her shoulder like a duffle bag." He explained animatedly.

    "Are you pulling my leg? Only echidna and armadillos are that strong, not foxes." The coyote scoffed disbelievingly.

    "I`m telling the truth, I mean, that`s why I here: I`m under orders from Gauda to tell you guys not to shoot her when she comes within range." The hedgehog explained.

    "Heh, I`ll request a safe passage order, but I still don`t believe you." The blue coyote remarked as she retrieved another nylon flag from her armor, this time it was sky blue. She unfurled it, held it aloft and waved it in the air five times in quick succession before returning it to her pocket. The soldier and the sniper saw several other blue flags appear amid the forest and disappear, a reply to the all-clear order, and nodded "So, what about Anita, is she done scraping tech from that valley, or what?" She asked as she turned back to the hedgehog.

    "From the looks of it I would say yes," The soldier replied, "it looks like that pile of metal that the strong fox is pulling is actually Anita`s haul."

    "Well, it`s been a couple of days, is she alright?" The sniper asked with a note of concern.

    "Yeah, it looks like it, but I think the only reason she`s coming back right now is that Samantha girl is able to drag the stuff she collected over here; it`s a big pile, like, really big."

    "As I said before: I`ll believe it when I see it." The blue coyote stated.

    "Well, you won`t have to wait for long, here they come now," the orange hedgehog remarked when he spotted the group approaching in the distance.

    Gauda was in the lead of the group, but the sniper`s attention was on the gigantic pile of scrap that lumbered towards them like a molehill on wheels. "Ok, I take that back, that is big," The coyote commented, "and you`re saying that just one person is dragging that along?"

    "Yep, any minute now you should be able to see her," the hedgehog replied.

    "How the heck is she doing that?" The coyote exclaimed when she saw Samantha pulling the massive metal pile along, a look of confidence and surety gracing her calm face as the ropes stretched tautly.

    All of the guards in their towers and treetop hideouts looked on in awe of the amazing sight, not even caring if they exposed their positions as they beheld the impossible view before them.

    "Uh, why are they looking at us?" Roy asked aloud; noting the multitude of voyeurs amid the trees.

    "That`s obvious, they're probably wondering whether or not your girlfriend here is an automaton wearing plastic skin," Gauda commented.

    "Ok, I`m not a robot," Samantha shot back at the pale-yellow fox, "and I`m definitely not his girlfriend, not by a long shot." She added with a slight blush that she quickly hid.

    "And how do you know that you`re not some sort of Manchurian Agent, hmm?" Gauda snapped, "Some of them auto automaton infiltrators didn`t even know that they were bots until they were until they start-"

    "Oh, Gauda, would ya` quit that silliness," Anita interrupted curtly, "I swear, ya`ll get suspicious of yer` own shadow at times." She chided the pale-yellow fox.

    "Tch, you know what, ignore me." Gauda snapped at the chupacabra as she turned away and went ahead to the camp. Her subordinate hurriedly ran up to follow her.

    "Could ya`ll please not take what Gauda said ta heart," Anita pleaded of the two, "she`s had a real hard deal in her life, and she tends to get worked up, but she`s not all that bad when ya get ta know her." She explained.

    "What happened?" Roy asked.

    "I don`t know all the little details, but ah` heard that her Parkour teacher accepted a student that turned out ta` be an automaton that went ahead and killed him," Anita explained in reply.

    "Geez, that had to suck..." Roy remarked, "Um, by the way, what`s Parkour, anyway?" He asked.

    "Oh, it`s an athletic technique that folks use ta` get up and around large and mostly impassable obstacles without slowin` down," Anita explained in reply while moving her hands around to illustrate jumping and dodging obstacles.

    "Oh, that`s cool, and Gauda knows this technique?" Samantha asked.

    "More like mastered it," Anita replied, "ah`ve seen her pull some of the craziest stunts ah`ve evah` seen and not get a scratch." She remarked.

    "Really? That`d be cool to see, for sure." Roy commented.

    "Well, don`t go expectin` a performance, Gauda only uses her Parkour fer scoutin` duty," Anita explained, "but enough of that, we gotta get this here scrap ta Rotor, he`s been waitin` fer a while now." The blond and gray chupacabra remarked with a gesture for the two to hurry along.

    "Um, I`m not going to accompany you to go see Rotor," Roy mentioned to Samantha in a quieter tone.

    "Why`s that?" Samantha asked Roy in an equally quiet tone.

    "You should know why," Roy whispered reply.

    "Oh, yeah, I remember," Samantha remarked, "yeah, it`d probably be a good idea for you to make yourself scarce, for your sake." She said.

    "Yep," Roy commented as the group neared the camp.

    The three of them did not take much longer to reach the camp, but when they did, they were greeted by a sobering and awe-inspiring sight.

    Before them was a valley clearing filled with thousands upon thousands of tents, some large, some small, but all of them looked almost identical with snow and sticks covering gray canvas or nylon fabric for each and every tent in the valley, and each one looked as threadbare as they could possibly be while still remaining useful.

    The people in amid the tents looked almost the same as the tents themselves, as each person had either a hurried or sullen look on their face or even a combination of the two; their normally bright and varied colors now faded from both deliberate attempts to cover their fur and feathers or simply just pure and unfiltered exhaustion.

    But despite all this, there was an uncanny feeling permeating the air: determination. Not a single person in the camp looked as though they had given up; as if the fires of their freedom still burned as bright as was possible without getting noticed, and that it would not take much to start their hearts ablaze once more.

    "Wow, it`s amazing that they're so many survivors..." Roy remarked, beholding the sight before him.

    "And quite fortunate too," Anita mentioned, "with this many folks, there`s a good chance that ya family survived and that they're somewhere in this here camp." She mentioned.

    "You know, she`s right, there is a good chance that they're here," Samantha commented, "perhaps you should go ask around and see if you can find them." She mentioned with a bit of emphasis for Roy to take this comment as an excuse to leave. "I`ve got to tote this over to… Rotor`s, was it?" She asked Anita.

    "Yep, Rotor`s gone ahead and started a scrap collection station ta get more tech supplies fer the Freedom Fighters," Anita replied.

    "Ok then, I`ll go check around for where my family is staying, and I`ll catch you two later," Roy said as he rushed off.

    "Oh, and Roy," Anita called out to him as he pulled away, "ya`ll do better ta start by headin` to the Refugee Listings Tent, it`s over that way!" She suggested.

    "Sure thing" Roy replied as he followed the direction of her gaze.

    Anita and Samantha continued on to Rotor`s tent. Though they did have to weave around the camp a bit to avoid crushing any tents beneath the moving pile of scrap. Everywhere they went with the pile in tow was filled with awe-filled eyes, and one or two people even began to follow them as they traversed the winding pathways on the way to Rotor`s.

    "Rotor`s tent isn`t far from here, so we should be able to get this here scrap sold before lunch," Anita said, "so, what`s the issue with Roy, and what kinda trouble is he in with Rotor?" She asked, much to Samantha`s surprise.

    "How`d you hear… oh, yeah, you`ve got a really good hearing," Samantha replied, "well, might as well tell you..." She remarked, "yeah, Roy`s been on Rotor`s bad side for a while now." She explained.

    "Oh really, why`s that?" Anita asked.

    "Well, it kinda started when Roy took apart Rotor`s door alarm and turned it into a fish catching robot," Samantha replied, "but that`s what everyone knows, and everyone thinks that`s why Rotor`s ticked off with Roy, but that`s not what happened." She explained.

    "What did happen?" Anita asked as the two of them rounded a corner to a particularly long stretch of pathway lined on either end with open tents for smith-working or surgery, or even both in some cases.

    "Well, Rotor was an engineering instructor at Nichole`s school, and Roy really wanted to join him, but he was way too young," Samantha replied.

    "How young was he?" Anita asked.

    "Oh, about five, give or take a few months," Samantha replied, "but he really wanted to join the class, so he decided to prove he had what it took," She explained, "so Roy went ahead and snuck over to Rotor`s place and dismantled his door alarm as I said earlier. Rotor was, of course, angry, but when he saw the robot Roy built, he was quite impressed."

    "So, what`d Rotor do then?" Anita inquired.

    "Well, Rotor went and asked Nichole if he could take Roy on as an apprentice," Samantha replied as she reveled in the pride she borrowed from Roy, "needless to say she approved."

    "Yeah, ya`d think Nichole would approve, what with her havin` two apprentices of her own, ya` know, Tails and that jackrabbit girl, er, what`s her name, oh right, Flower," Anita remarked, "so, what happened next?"

    "Over the next few years, Roy apprenticeship under Rotor seemed to be going well and Roy was learning quite a bit from him," Samantha replied, "but after a while, Roy and Rotor had their differences."

    "I do hope it wasn't anything serious." Anita remarked.

    "Oh no, it was primarily a difference in philosophy. You see: Rotor saw machines as useful tools to be replaced whenever they break, but Roy thought that his inventions had a life of their own and if he ever built a robot that was advanced enough to 'feel' and 'think' on its own then it would become equal to a living thing with the same rights accorded to any other freethinking sentient Mobian." She elaborated.

    "That's a pretty heavy theory he`s got," Anita remarked, "you mean that that`s all it took to get on Rotor`s bad side?" She asked.

    "Actually, no, but it did play a part," Samantha replied, "you see, Roy re-purposed a captured Robotisizer and turned it into a device that crafted form-fitting mechanical armor right on top of a person`s body, making a seamless shell around them that also enhanced their physical strength," She explained, "it was a very effective machine that did its job perfectly, and the armor could easily come off if the wearer wanted it to, but all Rotor saw was the fact that the machine used to be a Robotisizer."

    "What`d he do then?" Anita asked.

    "Well, when Rotor found out about the machine, he told Roy to dismantle it, but Roy refused and an argument ensued. During the argument, the machine was knocked over and it went haywire."

    "Oh dear, did anybody get hurt?" Anita asked with a worried hand to her mouth.

    "Well no, the device didn`t scratch Roy or Rotor, but it did severely injure one of Rotor`s assistants who was working there at the time." She elaborated as they neared a very large tent that had several people wandering around it, all toting bags, carts and boxes of metal, and all waiting patiently. A wooden sign hung above the entryway that read: -"Drop your scrap here, every bolt counts; Rotor."

    "Why that`s awful," Anita remarked, "what happened afta` that?" She asked as the two of them came to a stop, attracting all sorts of attention to the metal pile as it came to a halt.

    "I`d love to tell you, but Roy wants to keep it a secret," Samantha replied in a hushed tone so eavesdroppers couldn't pry in, "besides you and me, no one really knows what happened except Rotor, his assistant, Sally and Nichole. Ideally, Roy and Rotor would really like to keep it that way."

    Anita was about to say something else, but they were interrupted by a shrill chirping noise and the whole line scrambling forward, forcing the two to go with the rest of the line in stepping forward and the question slipped from her mind.

    The line repeated this a few times before it was Samantha and Anita`s turn, but the stall owner already knew they were there (with a pile of scrap that big, it was kinda hard not to).

    "Ah, Anita, you`re back, I see," remarked the stall`s owner, a light purple Mobian walrus that wore a red bandanna and a leather tool sash across his chest with several different screwdrivers and a wrench in the holder-loops that ran the length of it; brown leather welder`s gloves adorning his hands as he reviewed the gigantic pile of scrap, "that`s a great deal of tech, heh, well at least you weren`t wasting your time out there."

    "Yeah, I`ve picked out all the best thangs from the scrap heap, too, Rotor," Anita commented with pride, "that is what ya ordered, isn`t it?"

    But before Rotor could reply, a sparking sound started coming from the middle of the pile. "Umm, what`s that?" Samantha asked as everyone gawked at the pile with even more interest now that it was making noise. The sparking noise began to intensify and it was now accompanied by flashes and sparks of light from the middle of the pile.

    Then, it clicked in Samantha's mind. "Everyone, back up, it`s gonna collapse!" Samantha called out to the bystanders, all of whom took heed of the warning.

    "What's going on, Samantha?" Anita asked as she followed suit.

    "That electromagnet that Roy built, I think it`s starting to fail!" Samantha replied as she stepped away from the wobbly pile while making sure everybody else was clear of the danger.

    The pile began to quiver and shake, and sparks flew out sporadically from deep within the pile before the sparking seized with a loud whine. Then, junk began to spill out from the edges of the pile and cover the whole area from the edge of Rotor`s tent all the way to the edge of the tent on the other side of the wide path.

    "Ok, can somebody explain to me what just happened?!" Rotor exclaimed as he surveyed the mess.

    "Well, you see, we put an electromagnet in this scrap to keep it together, and it looks like the battery died," Samantha explained slightly embarrassed.

    "I can see that," Rotor commented as he knelt down, retrieving a nearly intact SWATbot arm which had slid out from amid the carnage. "Well, I guess that answers the question of how you kept all this together." The walrus remarked jovially.

    "Yeah, sorry about the mess..." Samantha said apologetically.

    "Don`t worry about it, as long as all the odds and ends are in good shape, I don`t mind." Rotor remarked with a good-natured shrug.

    "And speakin` of the scrap gettin` here," Anita chimed in, "ya`ll did say somthin` a few days ago about me gettin` paid if I brought some scrap in, and here it is, so ah`d like to get paid now." She mentioned impatiently.

    "Yeah, I did say that," Rotor replied, "err, hold on, let me just go get the check," He said while stepping over the snow-covered metal that was in the way to his tent, "hey, how much scrap is this, you know in pounds?" He asked retrieving writing material from a drawer at the back of his large tent.

    "It`s about 300 pounds of aluminum, 745 pounds of steel, 414 pounds of copper, mostly wire, about ten pounds of platinum and three ounces of gold," Anita replied as she counted with her fingers, "the other 946 pounds of it is all working SWATbot tech, so I would think that would be way more valuable than scrap especially after ah went through all that trouble sortin it out."

    "Yep, that it does," Rotor remarked as he ran the numbers through his head and wrote them down, "here you are," He said stepping over the splayed out salvage and handing the script to the chupacabra, "take that to commissions and they`ll pay you."

    "How much did you get?" Samantha asked as she peered over the chupacabra`s shoulder to see what was on the check, "10,405 acorns?! Wow, that`s a huge haul!" She exclaimed.

    "Yep, and that`s the number I expected, too," Anita remarked, "mighty pleasure doin` business with ya`, Rotor, I trust ya`ll handle this all ya`self." She commented as she began to leave to go cash in her check.

    "Ya`ll should follow me, Samantha," Anita said, "I'll pay ya` fair and square for your help in haulin all this here." She mentioned.

    "Oh, no, that`s not necessary, I just wanted to help out, that`s all," Samantha said with a nervous titter as she readjusted the equipment chest on her shoulder.

    "Now, don`t be like that," Anita commented, "ah don't give out handouts and you've done me a good turn, so please just let me pay ya` for ya` help. I couldn`t have gotten half this much if it weren't for you."

    "Ok, I guess, but afterwards I need to talk to Sally to find out how I can help the Freedom Fighters," Samantha remarked as she followed her newfound friend.

    "Well, Sally is their leader, so I`d guess that she`d be handling payments or at least she`d be at the tent." Anita mentioned as the two of them navigated through the maze of snow-topped tents.

    Meanwhile, elsewhere in the refugee camp, Roy stood waiting in line at the Refugee Listings tent. The line seemed to move like molasses as Roy found himself internally debating whether he could find his family faster by himself.

    "Alright, next!" Shouted a grating and high-pitched voice from the end of the line, "and remember, no pushing and shoving, one at a time!".

    "We`ve heard that a hundred times!" someone further back in line complained.

    Oi, how much longer am I going to have to wait? Roy complained in his thoughts as the line slowly dragged along, one grating announcement at a time.

    The tortuously slow line dragged on for at least an hour before it was finally Roy`s turn. That was a dude making that noise!? Well, that`s one stereotype that`s been dissolved. The red fox thought as he walked up to the tent stall that was run by a lanky ram with a thick woolly coat that came in shades of brown and grey. The ram torpidly hung over the edge of the counter with a clipboard and pen in his gloved hands; his baggy eyes at half-mast, a clear sign someone in desperate need for a breather.

    "Alright, I need you to sign your name here." The ram said as he handed Roy a pen and set the clipboard down on the makeshift counter.

    Roy jotted his name down at the bottom of a very long list of names, all of which belonged to someone that was in search of a loved one.

    "So, who are you looking for?" The ram asked with a yawn as he retrieved his clipboard.

    "My mother and my brother, Samantha and Reggy Vanderlind," Roy replied.

    "Hold on a moment while I look through the files..." Said the ram as he turned around to a row of file cabinets that were set up on bricks to keep them away from the snow, "you said their last names were both Vanderlind, right?" He asked Roy.

    "Yeah, Samantha Vanderlind and Reggy Vanderlind," Roy replied.

    The ram opened one of the drawers and flipped through the tightly packed set of files inside before singling one out and plucking it from the row and returning to the counter. "Ok, let`s see…" said the ram as he opened the file, "yep, I see one Samantha Vanderlind registered to tent Fifty-four."

    "What about Reggy, is he there too?" Roy asked.

    "Sorry, nope, I don't see your brother in the file," The ram replied, "but I do see one Roy Vanderlind the Third on this list registered there as well, is he related to you?"

    "Yeah, he`s supposed to be my dad," Roy replied with just a hint of bitterness.

    Clearly, though, he wasn't subtle enough, for the Ram frowned "Well, I`m sorry about your brother,” he said, “but don`t get me involved in your family issues. I`ve got enough to do."

    "Oh, sorry, and thank you for your help," Roy said as he hurriedly left with a worried expression.

    "Oh, and the residential tents are over there, they`re all numbered, so you shouldn`t have a hard time finding the one for you`re looking for." The ram called out to Roy while pointing in a direction.

    "Alright, thank you!" Roy replied as he made his way, chiefly on his mind the fate of his little brother.


    To be continued…



     

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