This is a story written either in 1996 or 1997, and is the very first
story that I have ever written down. I have discovered it in
one of my backups and decided to post it and see what people thought.
With the exception of the addition of a title, this story is virtually unchanged.
This is based in an alternative future different from what was shown in the
Comic series. I know that the pairings indicated in this story will
tick off a few people, but I think that the kids that come about are worth
it. Because of the actual age of this story, things like eye colour
(like Knuckle's eyes being brown and Amy's violet) and other details are
different. Drop me a line at neep(at)otaku-village.com and let me know
what you think.
Not Quite Like the Original
A Sonic the Hedgehog Fanfic
By Niki "NeeP" Paradis
The sun shone down on a small hut located just between
the savanna and the lush tropical forest, in which a family was just waking.
This particular day was going to be beautiful and Knuckles just knew it.
It was just perfect for showing his family the particular beauty of the island
that was his home.
There was a cry from inside. Apparently Lander was
having another bad dream. Every so often, since his release from the
cloning tanks of Doctor Robotnik's laboratory, he had nightmares about his
beginnings and the plans that were originally intended for him. Now
that he was fifteen, the same age that Knuckles was when Doc. 'Botnik acquired
the genetic sample from the first echidna to create the second, Lander has
been struggling with his need to prove his individuality --He is not
Knuckles and no one should have the right to expect him to be.
Which was fine with the older echidna, he had long ago accepted Lander as
his son. He knew that the boy had to mature in his own way.
Knuckles sighed as he heard Spike wake her younger brother
and calm him down. Lander needs to convince himself, everyone else
is already sure of the young echidna's unique personality. But at the
moment, a more immediate problem needed attention; the grumbling of his stomach
had to be quieted and the pancakes that Rosy was making would solve that
certain predicament in a jiffy.
During breakfast, Knuckles looked across the table at
his green-eyed son. His brown eyes were filled with concern as he watched
Lander stuff his face with pancakes and fruit. The boy didn't look
poorly for all that he had woke screaming, but he had to make sure.
"Lander." At his name the young echidna looked up.
"How are you feeling this morning?"
Lander swallowed his mouthful of food before answering.
"All right, I guess. Why?"
"No reason. I was just wondering." Knuckles
didn't feel right about discussing Lander's nightmares around the breakfast
"Oh." A pause. Then ... "Don't worry about it Knuckles,
the dreams don't bother me as much as they used to."
Knuckles was baffled by his son's casual reply.
But then again, some things don't bother Lander the same way they would bother
"Okay, if you're sure," he mumbled.
After breakfast, Amy Rose prepared a basket full of the
exotic fruits that grew on the Floating Island. She wanted some of
the fruit and berries that grew down below and trading seemed the best way
of getting them.
"Lander," she called, "Come here!"
When he came, Amy gave him the basket. "Take these
down to Sally, and bring back whatever you can from the Palace Gardens.
"Go down?" breathed Lander. "You're sure about this,
Amy nodded. Her violet eyes twinkled as she watched
Lander's excitement. "It's been two years since you've been down to
the surface, everyone is curious to see how much you have grown. Besides,
you're the least likely to eat all of the fruit before you get it to the
Palace. You can even visit Lucy while you're down there."
"Okay, but how do I get down there? I'm not going
to jump and glide with this basket." The idea of jumping off the Island
at all made him a little dizzy.
"Oops! Sorry Lan ... I forgot! I'll call and
have someone fly up to get you. All right?"
While waiting for the plane, Lander checked his reflection
in the mirror to make sure that he looked presentable. He had grown
a lot in the last two years. No longer a 'cute' thirteen year
old, he had grown longer all over; his legs were longer, his tail was longer,
his face was longer, and his dreadlocks were longer though the two front
ones were two inches longer than the rest. And he was skinny, which
he thought made him look awkward, but Amy assured him that he was very handsome
for a fifteen year old echidna. As always, he was dressed in his favorite
green and blue sneakers with blue socks and fingerless gloves. It his
"look" and he was proud of it.
When the plane arrived on the island, Lander picked up
the fruit basket, which was as large as he was, and squeezed through the
"Bonjour!" called the pilot, Antoine D'Coolette.
"All aboard for Knothole, New Metropolis, an' de rest of Mobius." The
plane took off.
"Thank-you, sir," replied Lander from behind the basket.
He remembered that Antoine was married to the Queen. "I appreciate
"You are welcome. An' it is still Antoine.
Oui?" He looked over his shoulder for a moment. "You may put
de basket down if you like, an' sit in dis seat beside me."
Lander put the basket down. "Thanks Antoine, it's
been along time since I've been off the Island. Might as well go down
in comfort." He stopped as he realized that his pilot was staring at
him. The plane wavered for a moment.
"Is something wrong, Antoine?" he asked.
Antoine shook his head. "Wrong? No!
No. You hove grown, n'est pas?"
When the plane landed near the palace, Lander picked up
the basket and hauled it to the kitchen door. A member of the Palace
cooking staff was waiting there for him.
"Mom wants me to deliver this basket to Queen Sally and
I would like to present it to her myself. Uh, is that okay?"
The cook nodded and gestured to the hall on the other side of the kitchen.
"Thanks!" With the huge basket in his arms, Lander
walked through the hall.
Sally was in her study when a huge basket of fruit with
legs entered. "What in the ..."
"Excuse me, Queen Sally, I've got a basket for you, sent
by Mom. May I put it down?"
"Ah! Lander!" she exclaimed. "Come on in!
And it's Sally, remember? Here, put that basket down on the table there
and let me take a look at you." Lander complied.
"Thanks! And Mom also wants ..." He stopped.
Sally was staring at him, the same way Antoine was. "Uh, Sally?
Is something wrong?"
Sally shook her head. "No, Lander, nothing's wrong.
You have done quite a lot of growing, haven't you?"
Lander was getting confused. Of course he's grown!
He's fifteen now! But why was everybody staring at him like that?
Sonic the Hedgehog walked into the room. "Hey Sal
..." He saw the red echidna, yelped and hit the floor. Lander
"Uh, Sonic? Are you okay?" Lander was starting
to feel like a broken recording.
"Lander? Is that you? Boy, am I embarrassed."
Red faced, the blue hedgehog picked himself off the floor and brushed himself
off. "Sorry about that. But the last time I saw an echidna that
looked just like you, I always ended up in a fight with him. So I learned
to duck before he threw that first punch. Man, am I glad that you're
"Thanks ... I think." So that's why everybody was
staring at him. Most of these adults first met Knuckles when he was
fifteen, and since Lander is a clone and fifteen, a lot of these people must
feel like they're having deja-vu. But they should know that he wasn't
anything like Knuckles at all - personality wise that is. Is everyone
going to treat him like that? He took a deep breath.
"Mom also wanted me to bring back fruit from the Garden,
if that's okay."
"Yes. Of course it's okay, Lander." Sally
nodded, "And there's one other thing." She walked up to the young echidna,
put her hands on his shoulders and looked him in the eyes.
"Lander," she began, "I'm afraid that you're going to
get a lot of staring from most of us. Though, it won't be as obvious
as the way that Sonic did it." She glared in the direction of the still
blushing hedgehog. "Your uncanny physical resemblance to Knuckles ..."
"Sally, I'm a clone. I can't help that I look like
"... will make us all do a double-take. But we all
know that you are Lander, and don't you forget it."
Sure enough, Lander received quite a few stares as he
headed towards the Whitepaw household. He glared at them which only
seemed to make matters worse. Finally, he reached the front door and
knocked. Bunnie Rabbot opened the door.
"Land's sake! It's Lander! C'mon in, sugar.
You're here t'see Lucy, right? Lucy! C'mon down! You have
company!" Bunnie was a comely rabbit who have recently been de-roboticized.
She never batted an eye at Lander's appearance.
Lander entered the house. Bunnie was being awfully
nice to him, yet she met Knuckles when he was fifteen along with everyone
else. Why was that?
"Well, I s'pose that you've drawn a lot of interesting
looks on your way here, huh Lander?" asked Bunnie. "With the fact that
you look a lot like Knuckles an' all."
"Uh-huh. But why aren't you staring?"
"Sugah, you're forgetting that you're not the first 'genetic
duplicate' that I've dealt with. Alex is an exact physical copy
of Wilson an' he doesn't like being stared at either."
Lander remembered Alexander Whitepaw, who was the first
clone that Robotnik have ever created. Being an exact copy of Wilson
Whitepaw, he was given to Antoine's sister, Jeanette, to be raised.
Lander briefly wondered how Alex was doing. He's gotta be twenty-four
by now, he thought.
Lucy came running down the stairs. "Lander!
How are ya? What'cha doin' down here?"
"I'm here to get fruit from the Palace Gardens, but I
thought that I would visit with everyone first. Besides, I was hoping
that we could spar together," he blushed. "It's been awhile since
I last worked with a bo-staff."
"Cool! Auntie Bunnie, I'm gonna be with Lander for
a while. Could you tell Uncle Wil that I may not be home for supper?"
"Tell ya what, Lucy-girl, Y'all be home for dinner, an'
I'll even put another plate down for Lander, alright?" The two youngsters
looked at each other for a second.
"Alright! Thanks Auntie! C'mon Lander, let's
Lucy Whitepaw was a fourteen year-old white fox girl and
Lander's best friend. The two have been best friends since an incident
that threw the two of them together with five howling babies. She has
been living with her uncle most of her life since she was physically unable
to live with her mother, Maggie, in the far north; her shorter fur
would not keep her warm enough, so Wilson agreed to raise his niece in the
warmer climate that he had been adapted to .
As they sparred, Lucy told Lander all of the happenings
down in Knothole. And Lander told her of his problems he has been experiencing
since arriving at Knothole. As they practiced knocking each other down
with their staffs, the residents of the small town drew close to watch (
but not too close). They noticed the laughing from the young echidna
and realized that he was quite different from the elder whom he so much resembled,
but Lander, who was busy trying to trip Lucy with his big stick, wasn't aware
of the changes in the attitude of his audience.
After they were done (Lander managed to knock Lucy down
twice, but she got him three times), Lucy showed Lander around the place
and introduced him to Adam and Sooner Hedgehog's baby, Minnow. They
had dinner and Lucy even helped him pick the berries and apples for Lander's
trip back home. Antoine then flew him back up to the Island.
It was a good ending to what started as a bad day.
After breakfast the next day, after the dishes were cleared,
Knuckles took his eldest three kids and took them to see the island.
Amy Rose, who was expecting, stayed at home with their youngest daughter
Thistle and to deal with other things.
They traveled to the West. The sun was rising over
the mountains behind them and the other inhabitants were starting to rise.
Soon the Floating Island became alive with sound.
Lander and his older sisters, Prickles and Spike, were
always eager to learn more about the Island, its history, the different zones
and why they were there. They talked to various inhabitants who liked
to tell tales of their father when he was younger and the scrapes he often
got into. Knuckles simply blushed and told them to shut-up.
The day was going well with Lander, at least until they
visited with the cockatoo Catweasle.
The birdbrain had mistaken Lander for Knuckles.
Everyone stood shocked far a moment. Then exasperated,
Lander ran off. Knuckles shot the bird a stare that might of killed
someone of higher intelligence, then he started to run after his son.
Lander was almost crying. Was everyone going to
compare him to Knuckles? When will people going to accept him as Lander
and not Knuckle's clone?
When he arrived home, Lander stomped into his room which
he shared with Thistle. He was mad; he had decided that he was tired
of people comparing him to Knuckles. He was angry and felt he had to
do something, anything. He grabbed his boxing gloves and ran out of
the house, almost knocking down his mother as he sped out the door.
"Lander, wait! Where are you going?" cried Amy,
"Come back here!" But he wasn't listening. He jumped into the
air and let the wind catch under him, and he sailed to his favorite sulking--uh,
thinking place to be by himself.
At the base of a small mountain, Lander strapped on his
gloves and started to attack one of the boulders that were sitting there.
It was as big as he was.
"It's not fair," he growled out loud to himself, "I can't
help it if I'm a clone!" The fair sized boulder was split in half with
"I am my own person," he broke one half into quarters,
"and I want to be treated as an individual!" He broke the other half
" I am unique!" SMASH!
" I can take care of myself!" CRUNCH!
"I can take on anyone!" CRACK!
"All I need to do is to prove it!" Lander now stood
knee deep in gravel.
Another voice interrupted him. "Who do you need
to prove it to? I know who you are." Lander turned and faced
his gene-parent, Knuckles. He growled.
"It is because of you that I am what I am!" Lander screamed.
"Oh, Is it?" Knuckles snorted. "It seems that
all that I've given you is my good looks and apparently my temper.
Anything else is what you've acquired on your own."
"I'm sick of living in your shadow!"
"I've never said that you had to... Look! If you
want a fight, I'm ready..." Knuckles gave a dark smile, "LET'S RUMBLE!"
Then he lunged at Lander, swinging his fist. The younger echidna blocked,
then executed a roundhouse kick that managed to trip his foster father who
Let's just say that it was a nasty fight. Knuckles
had more experience and he wasn't pulling his punches. Lander may not
have the experience but he had learned other forms of fighting like martial
arts and was incorporating them into his attacks. But in spite of his
variety of moves, Lander could barely hold his own against Knuckles.
Ten minutes later, Knuckles managed to knock Lander flat on his back.
Lander looked up in surprise as Knuckles then offered him a hand and helped
him up. The elder echidna grinned as he put an arm around the boy's shoulders
and led him to some boulders at the edge of the "battlefield". Then
the two red, black and blue echidnas sat down breathing heavily.
"Now that's what I call a GOOD fight!" Knuckles
panted, "Ya know, kid, you had some good moves there."
Lander sighed, "It didn't solve anything though, all I
got out of it was some bruises and a lesson in humility."
"You're wrong. It did the two things I wanted it
"One: it made you work out your anger, and two: it showed
me just how different you really are from me."
Lander looked up, startled. Knuckles continued.
"Those kicks you used were somethin' that I'd never thought
of using myself. Definitely not when I was fifteen and unfortunately
not now. Shows that you're able to use your head in a fight.
That's somethin'," Knuckles shrugged, "I seem to have trouble with...And
Lander," he looked the kid in the eye, "That is a really big difference from
me." He chuckled. "You, at least, look before you leap.
I hardly ever did that."
Lander smiled, "Thanks Knuckles, I needed that."
"Yeah, you're welcome kid. Let's get home before
Rosy comes lookin' for us."
Amy was watching out the window when they arrived, then
she was at the door. She was dismayed at the sight of the bruises that
they both bore.
"What WERE you two doing?" she asked.
"Bonding." Knuckles grinned, "I think we made some head-way
into solving our differences."
Later that evening, when Lander was getting ready for
bed, Knuckles came in to see him.
"How do ya feel?" asked the elder.
"Bruised, sore, but pretty good." Lander looked up at
Knuckles and continued, "You finally pounded some sense into my head.
I guess that there will always be little things that will make me different.
But still ... I have a feeling that there will always be someone that I will
have to prove my difference to."
"Like Doc Robotnik."
After Knuckles left, Lander got himself settled in.
Little Thistle was fast asleep already, and she was starting to snore softly.
A short time later, there was a soft knock at the bedroom door.
"Come in," he called softly. The door opened and
Spike came in.
Spike was not what one would consider as a 'creature of
beauty'. As a cross between a hedgehog and an echidna, she was unique.
Not that she was ugly, but with the spikiest qualities of both her parents
and her quills an unruly mane about her (with the two little pigtails at
the sides of her head), she looked rather wild despite the pale yellow pajamas
she was wearing.
"I hear that you and Dad had a fight today." She
paused. "You know, that takes guts. He's got a lot of experience
that you and I can't even come close to. So... wanna tell me what happened?"
Very quickly, Spike got the whole story out of Lander.
"Then he praised me for some of the moves that I did even though he clobbered
me. He also said that the only people I have left to prove my individuality
to was myself and Doctor Robotnik."
Spike nodded, her brown eyes thoughtful. "You know,
I can think of two things that you should do. You should talk to Ryan
Prower - he looks just like his dad 'cept for the green eyes. He's
already gone through most of what you're going through and he's not even
a clone. He could probably give ya tips on how to handle idiots like
"That might help." Lander nodded.
"The other thing you should do is to pull off a fast one
on Old Robotnik... Something that is obviously a 'Lander' style. Something
that would leave no doubt in the Big Round Guy's mind about the difference
between you and Dad."
Lander nodded slowly. "It's a nice thought, but
Knuckles wouldn't let me do it. He's really protective of me, especially
when it comes down to Robotnik."
"So who says that Dad has to know until after you do it.
'Cause once it's done it's done. What's he gonna do when it's all over?
Especially when he knows you're right? Just think about it. Okay?"
With that, Spike left the bedroom.
Lander snuggled down under his covers. She's got
a good idea and she speaks from her experiences when it comes to dealing
with Knuckles. After all, she had done things before while disobeying
her father. He closed his eyes and was soon asleep.
When the next morning came, Lander was wide awake with
an idea on how to get Robotnik. He thought about what Spike said the
night before, but he decided that he needed Knuckles' support to pull the
whole thing off, besides he needed permission to borrow some of his stuff.
Breakfast at the table was noisy with everyone trying
to talk at once. The meal was simple; fruit and toast.
"So what do you have planned for today, guys?" asked the
father of the Family Chaotix. "I've got to help your Mom do house cleaning."
He made a face and Amy Rose punched him in the shoulder.
"I'm gonna pick fruit and vegetables from the garden!"
"I have to examine the defense systems of the Island,"
said Prickles, "then I thought I would go and help the Wallaby family move
into their new home."
"I'm gonna help her," chimed in Spike. "It'll be
faster if we both do it."
"I'm going to pull a fast one on Doctor Robotnik, sink
one his major operations and prove my individuality to him." Lander
"Say WHAT?!?" Knuckles yelped.
"No." Amy Rose was furious. "You will not."
"But Mom, this is important to me. Besides you and
the others were doing it when you were 15 and younger."
"But we never went on our own... except for Sonic, but
he was too fast to get himself caught."
"Well, I'm smart enough that I won't get caught.
Besides, I've got a plan." Lander told the others at the table his
In a bunker hidden just under the northern end of the
Floating Island, Snively was watching for suspicious movement. He knew
that Doctor Robotnik didn't believe that this particular installation would
be found, but he knew better; all it would take is time. He had released
the stealth orbs, knowing that the Guardian of the Island will eventually
be paying a visit, it would be sensible to see him coming so that a proper
welcome could be prepared. All he had to do is wait.
The monitor beeped and Snively checked the signal.
"Oh, Doctor Robotnik, sir..."
"What is it, Snively?" snarled the head bad guy.
"You have just disturbed some serious contemplating."
"Sir, we have company."
"The echidna, sir."
"No, the younger one."
Lander, thought Robotnik. His grey mustache twitched
in anticipation. Yes, it was time to break the boy to his will.
He would be fifteen, the same age that Knuckles was, oh so long ago.
It should be easy to crush the young one's spirit with the technique that
he had planned.
"Snively, let our visitor in, but don't make it too easy
"Very good, sir." You egotistical buffoon.
"Attention Patrol Unit Six: Intruder alert! Deploy and detain him!"
Lander was jogging through the grim corridor, carrying
a bag over his shoulder. He knew that Robotnik would set his robots
on him as soon as he arrived, and he believed he had a fair idea of what
the Doctor had in store for him. Everything was ready and the show
was on the road.
A stealth orb approached, and stopped right in front of
the young echidna. Lander looked straight into the lens for a second
then he waved. Then he strapped on his boxing gloves and proceeded
to rip into a power box and rip at the wires.
In the control room, Robotnik was flabbergasted.
"What is he up to, Snively?" he sputtered.
"I'm sure I don't know sir." The flunky glanced
at the control panels and was a little shocked to find that none of the damage
lights were lit. The wires were only stripped of their insulation,
not damaged. What was the little runt up to?
Lander had made it down the second corridor and attacked
his second power box when the first of the badniks reached him.
"Halt and desist! You are trespassing on the property
of Doctor Robotnik. You will come with us." The lead swatbot
"Oh I will," nodded Lander slowly. "But not yet."
He made a dash for the next corridor, knocking down the 'bot in his way.
Down the third corridor and at the third power box, Lander
soon heard the heavy clanking of the many robots coming after him.
Well, it seems that I stirred things up, he thought,
by now they should be ready for my arrival ... But first, I've two more
boxes to go.
Lander kept on running, corridor after corridor.
When he completed his work on the fifth power box, he swung around to face
"I'm ready for ya! Ya metal morons! Come and get
The swatbots came charging at the young mammal, probably
with more than mere capture on their digitized minds. Lander didn't
care, he swung the sack that he was carrying, succeeded in knocking a few
of the 'bots down. Those that the bag missed, he knocked down himself.
"Nyeah! Nyeah, nyeah, na nah nyeah,"
he stuck his tongue out at them. "Better luck next time. Ol'
Doc Robotnik's slowing down! Can't catch a three year old 'kidna!
Maybe he should consider retirement."
During his oration, Lander pretended not to have notice
the swatbot coming from behind. It grabbed the youngster by the shoulders
and lifted him up.
"You will come with us," it said.
"Oops! I sense that I have offended. One too
many insults perhaps?" Lander hung his head in mock shame. Then
he looked up into the stealth orb and grinned, "Oh, I hope so!"
Soon the swatbots brought their prisoner into the control
room and in front of the chair of the Head Bad Guy.
"Lander, my dear boy," chortled Robotnik, "How are you
"When I got up this morning, I was fine. But now
that I've seen you, I feel sick to my stomach. Go figure."
"Why are you here?!"
"I guess that I'm here to prove something. To you
and maybe myself as well." Lander sighed, "We'll just have to see."
"Well anyway, I am so glad you're here. Now that
you've dropped by, I have so much planned for us to this afternoon."
Robotnik gestured towards a metal chair with straps. "Bind him!" he
shouted to the swatbots holding the young echidna. The metal flunkies
quickly complied and Lander was soon struggling against the bindings on the
"So what are you gonna do? You used most of the
stuff in your bag of tricks." The young echidna grunted as he strained
against his shackles. "You already showed me pictures of Knuckles when
he was fifteen. You proved the similarities between us but you can't
prove that we're exact... 'cause we're not!"
Robotnik sighed and shook his head in mock pity.
"Lander, dear boy, I know that you really believe in your uniqueness.
But that isn't so. Except for a few minor changes, I've made you to
be exactly like your predecessor. And I'm willing to show you how. Just watch."
On an opposite wall facing the prisoner, a enormous
viewing screen flickered to life as the lights in the room dimmed.
Old video clippings were being played. Robotnik documented them for
the benefit of his captive audience (pun intended).
The image on the wall showed Knuckles at age fifteen sitting
on an examining table scowling as Robotnik and a robotic assistant fussed
over him. Robotnik had an evil looking instrument in his hands and
many more on a tray held by the assistant.
"Are ya almost done Doc? I've got work to do!"
"Just about, my dear Knuckles, I just need to take a cell
sample from you."
"What do you need that for?" The echidna looked
"So I could provide a proper treatment in case of an accident.
Now this might hurt just a bit."
"OW!" I t did hurt and Robotnik enjoyed it.
"Of course I was lying about the treatment part," the
evil doctor snickered. "Even then I knew that one day I might be in
need to make a echidna of my own." Lander paled. The evil doctor
sensed the boy's discomfort and decided to press on.
Another segment of video flashed on the screen:
Years have passed and Doctor Robotnik stood in front
of a lot of complicated equipment. It included a transparent tank hooked
up to tubes, regulators, monitors among other things. He chortled softly
"Yes ... YES! The equipment is ready, so now we
begin. Let's see the Freedom Fighters figure out how to handle this
one ... Let's see how the Echidna will handle this."
Out loud, he shouted, "Snively! Bring me the genetic
"Yes, sir." And the flunky quickly brought it over.
Robotnik snatched it and carefully placed it from the petrie dish into the
"And that, dear Lander was how YOU began." Doctor
Robotnik watched him for his reaction knowing that Lander really had no intention
of letting him know how all this was getting to him. But some of the
tension was starting to show through. Pleased with himself, Robotnik
Another snippet of video tape flashed.
Inside of the same tank was a transparent egg.
Inside the egg was a red baby echidna. The tiny infant was wriggling
inside the egg.
"Snively, report!" Doctor Robotnik started to pace.
"The specimen is one hundred percent healthy and is ready
to hatch sir."
The head Bad Guy beamed. "Good...Good!"
They watched as the little baby broke through its shell
and as the mechanized arms of the automated assistant lifted it out of the
fluids of the tank, it gave a lusty yell.
"Quickly! Get the cybernetic implants ready!"
The baby cried as the implants were inserted, a small
breathing mask was placed over its head and with various tubes and wires
attached to its tiny body, was placed back into the tank.
"Growth acceleration solution is being introduced to tank
contents at one part to one thousand, sir."
"Excellent Snively, and the programming?"
"Proceeding exactly as according to plan."
Lander felt sick to his stomach. In the video, when
the baby was receiving the implants, it looked into the recording device
... and its eyes were a vivid green, the same as his own.
"Well, Lander, are you convinced?"
The young echidna glared at the sinister doctor.
"Well, I have one more clip to show you. This is
from the day before your 'escape'."
Same tank, same echidna. But now the child resembled
a twelve year old. Its quills were loose and floating around its head
like a cloud. In front of the tank, Snively was standing with a clipboard.
Robotnik approached the flunky.
"Yes sir. The child is now at the equivalent of
twelve years. He is still absorbing all information being fed to him;
both digital and magical. He will be ready for release in four weeks
at the equivalent of fifteen years."
"Good, Snively, good. Then fully programmed, I will
release him on the Freedom Fighters."
"A wonderfully devious plan, sir."
Lander sobbed. Robotnik nodded to the swatbots,
Snively was flabbergasted. "Sir, are you certain
"Silence Snively! He is no longer a threat."
He gestured towards the captive and the lead swatbot hastened to comply.
Once released, Lander slumped to the floor on his knees.
He thought he was ready for whatever Doctor Robotnik would throw at him,
but he was wrong, very wrong. He put his hands to his head and felt
the cybernetic implants just under his fur. He made me to be just like
Knuckles, only controllable. Yet when remembered the conversation he and
Knuckles had about their differences. His brown eyes were earnest as
he tried to convince the younger echidna ...
Wait! thought Lander. Knuckles' eyes
are brown. The baby's eyes ... his own eyes were green. And in
the video, Snively mentioned a form of magical programming. Then Lander
Three years ago, during an incident, that involved the
kidnapping of Knuckles, Rosy figured out that the basis of Lander's personality
was a magic spell that was tried out on Knuckles years before that.
That spell was originally designed by power mongers to make the otherwise
brash guardian of the Island a little more compliant and controllable.
Nobody really knew how Robotnik got a hold of that spell. When Lander was
released from Robotnik's lab, and at the time of the incident, he was a timid
little thing. Since then, he had to learn to be a little more bolder
and his confidence increased as his personality developed, but even now he
is not even close to Knuckles 'beat 'em up first and as questions later'
type of attitude.
Robotnik was lying through his teeth. Lander smirked.
Best that he went ahead and did what he came to do.
"You know Doc, that was a very good try. But you made
two mistakes." Robotnik scowled but Lander continued. "If you
wanted an exact replicate of Knuckles, then why are my eyes green and not
brown? And the video gave proof to the fact that you wanted me to be
more controllable. It mentioned the magical programming; the spell
that established my basic personality! If you wanted me to be exactly
like Knuckles, then why the heck did you use that spell? Knuckles sure
the heck isn't compliant and controllable. Is he?"
Lander stood up and walked to the corner of the lab where
his bag was. He dumped out Knuckles' old hard soled shoes. I
can't believe that it hadn't occurred to him to check the bag, he thought.
"Actually the real reason that I came here was to prove
just how much different I really am from Knuckles. And I thought that
I would do it in a way that would convince you." He pulled off his
sneakers and put on the heavy shoes. After buckling them up, he lifted
each foot to test the weight. "How do I look?"
Robotnik grunted. The boy had his point; the shoes
looked out of place on Lander. He may have most of the physical characteristics
of the older echidna, but his attitude and posture was all wrong. The
child is more level headed; he would never be as easy to fool as Knuckles
was. He figured through the deception that he worked so hard at.
He made a last feeble attempt to upset Lander.
"You could trim those front dreadlocks just a bit so that
they are even with the rest."
Lander shook his head. "I don't think so."
"So now what are you going to do?" asked the doctor.
"There are swat bots all around you. There is no way out."
Lander smiled as he reached into the bag again.
"That is why I also brought this." He pulled out a power ring.
It pulsed softly in his hand.
"Oh no!" groaned Robotnik.
The ring flashed and with a sudden burst of speed and
energy, Lander ripped apart the swatbots surrounding him. He used the
mechanized remains to pin the Doctor and his flunky in a corner of the control
room. When he was done, he stopped and bowed in the direction of his captives.
"Well, I've got to be going now. Bye!" He turned to leave.
"Wait! You can't go! I have given you your life!
You owe me!" Robotnik didn't want his prize to leave.
"Oh! I guess you're right." Lander looked
thoughtful. "Okay. Thank- you Doctor Robotnik, for giving me
life. In return, I will spare yours. In case you haven't noticed,
behind you is a door. After all, I'm not a murderer. As I leave, I'm
going to release the water valve. The water from the underground caverns
below will rise up and flood this bunker. If you remember, I have stripped
all wires in all of the control panels, they will short out when the water
reaches them; all of the systems will be shut down. And..." Lander
smiled, "that includes the controls to the dampers you used on the nearby
lava vein that you tapped for your power source. This place is gonna
blow!" Lander took a deep breath. "Oh, I know I could have simply
smashed the controls, but that's something Knuckles would have done,
and I'm not Knuckles. Besides I figure that you would probably have
a fail-safe against that sort of thing. So I suggest that you leave through
that door behind you! Bye!" He turned around, turned the huge
wheel which belonged to the water valve, grabbed his bag and left.
Robotnik and Snively left as well.
In their escape pod, Robotnik was musing over what Lander
had done. The boy was right. Knuckles would have simply smashed
the control room and leave. But through his activities, Lander have
proven his point; the boy is not Knuckles.
From a safe distance away, Lander watched the explosion.
That was one enemy bunker destroyed. And he was pleased with himself, he
did prove to Robotnik his uniqueness. Yet the videos shown to him by
the evil Doctor brought up new questions; would he ever be free of
Robotnik's influence? Well, he would worry about that later, the sun
was setting and dinner would soon be on the table. He put his own sneakers
back on and placed Knuckles' heavy shoes back in the bag, he put his boxing
gloves in after. Then he headed for home.
It was bedtime and Lander was lingering in front of the
mirror. The door opened behind him and Knuckles came in and stood beside
him. "Did you prove your point?" he asked.
Lander made a comparison of their reflections. Aside
of being different ages, there were other differences between them.
Most of these differences were in their individual tastes; colors, hair styles,
methods of fighting and means of defeating Robotnik.
"Yeah, I think I did," was his reply.
"To Doc Robotnik or to yourself?"
Lander looked into Knuckles deep brown eyes with his brilliant
green ones, and he smiled.
"Both," he said.
Lander and Knuckles, fighting
Lander and Lucy, sparring