Summary: Tails is kidnapped by a mysterious faction, and he may learn something about his own origins, but is it the truth? SatAm cast and continuity, Archie/SatAm blended personalities/appearances.
Characters in this chapter: Sonic, Antoine, Sally, Bunnie, Tails.
Note1: I often write fanfiction in such a way that even those who have never heard of the fandom can understand it. This is not one of those times. If you're interested anyway, by all means, read on. Note2: Enjou is my Mobian stand-in for Japan, invented by my RP partner. I know that Australia has a Mobian equivalent, Downunda, but if a Japan analog has ever been mentioned, I've never heard of it, so I'm just using what Nikki came up with. Note3: I am not using the brown colored, original SatAm design of Tails. This fact becomes important later. Note4: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring any spelling or formatting errors to my attention. This goes for all chapters.
Chapter 1: Drowning
"Help!" cried Sonic in absolute panic, "He's trying to kill me! Antoine's gone nuts! Get me outta here!"
"He's trying to keep you from being killed, Sonic," Sally sighed, rolling her eyes at him before pulling off her boots and settling at the sandy edge of the lake. It was a fine, early autumn day, and the water was still tolerably warm. The first few cold nights had caused some of the trees to edge themselves with warm colors, though green yet prevailed, and the breeze that ruffled her fur was warm. Bunnie sprawled comfortably beside her, semi-mechanical body gleaming in the sunlight, and both turned their eyes to the spectacle in the lake.
"Eef you are hearing what I am saying, Soneek, you will not be having ze trouble!" Antoine said impatiently.
"Why do I have to learn to swim? I'm just fi-" Sonic demanded loudly just before going under, and Antoine had to fish the blue hedgehog off the bottom of the lake yet again.
"It would be pointless to lose you to such a preventable thing as drowning, that's why," Sally replied, meticulously smoothing her deep red hair as she spoke, "…and besides, it's an important life skill."
"S'true, Sugarhog," Bunnie called, "mah Daddy wouldn't let none of us younguns get past five years old without knowin' how ta stay above water."
"Fine, but why Antoine? Whoever said I wanted to be manhandled by a fruity, wet, smelly, naked dog? Mega-gross. Isn't Rotor a better choice? Or better yet, one of you babes, I would-" Sonic went under again, and this time, an annoyed Antoine waited a few extra seconds to retrieve him.
"Canines are natural born swimmers, Sonic," Sally told him as he was dredged back up. "Rotor is a pinniped, they use entirely different mechanics for swimming than most other mammals. Bunnie and I tried teaching you already, remember? You don't keep your attention…and your eyes…where they belong, and that's no way to learn. Antoine is your swimming teacher. Now, as you would say, 'chill out and deal with it'".
"Aww, come on Sal, have a heart!" Sonic coughed out.
Sally proceeded to ignore him, striking up a quiet little conversation with Bunnie. Neither rabbit nor chipmunk paid any mind whatsoever to the various shouts, cries, splashes, and curses coming from the otherwise calmly sparkling lake.
"Is Sonic trying to learn to swim again, Aunt Sally?" Tails asked as he joined them. Sally smiled genially and nodded, patting the coarse lake sand beside her. The young fox plopped gracelessly onto the spot, rolling onto his belly and resting his chin atop his hands. "It'll be too cold for swimming, soon."
"That's why we're trying to squeeze as many lessons in as we can," Sally nodded. All three observers went quiet then, as something amazing had happened out in the water. Sonic was successfully floating on his back. His eyes were tightly closed and his spread-eagled limbs were stiff with fear, but he was doing it. Antoine took a slow, careful step back in the water and smiled. Maybe, just maybe, he had conquered this remedial exercise…and then the hedgehog panicked, flailing his arms and legs wildly and shrieking in terror, drenching Antoine with violent splashing before going under again. Sally sighed and put her face in one hand while Bunnie gave her a mock sympathetic look, the corners of her mouth quivering with barely suppressed laughter. When the coyote came up again, Sonic had all four limbs wrapped fearfully around his furry trunk. Antoine reflected to himself that this must be how it felt to be on the other side of his own panic attacks…
"For someone who is not wanting to be near ze 'smelly, wet dog' you are being awfully close, yes? Now. Get. Off."
Tails looked up from the entertaining happenings as he heard a familiar sound. A flash of silver, and he knew for certain. One of Uncle Chuck's mechanical messenger birds had arrived. He scrambled to his feet, raising a hand for the little thing to perch on.
"Aunt Sally, look!"
"Oh!" Sally exclaimed, reaching forth to delicately take the tiny, rolled piece of parchment from its beak. A moment later, she was gesturing to Sonic and Antoine. "Okay boys! That's enough of torturing Sonic today, we have some work to do."
"You're going to Robotropolis today?" Tails asked, ears perking, "Can I come this time? Pleeeeeease?"
"I don't know, Tails, things have been particularly dangerous lately, and-"
"Pleeeeeease? I've been real good, and I won't get into trouble, promise!"
"Aw come on, let the little guy go!" Sonic said as he finally left the dreaded water behind, pausing to shake off all over the girls, sending them squealing and ducking for cover.
"Sonic!!" Sally protested, smoothing her fur again with some degree of dignity. "Alright, he can come today, but he has to be left hidden on the perimeter where it's safe."
"Yes!" Tails crowed happily, not even minding the lake water now beading on his fur. Nothing could bring his mood down now.
It wouldn't be long before the group had dried off and headed for the dark horizon of Robotropolis.
Tails soon perched on a rusting metal panel, one of many pieces of mechanical detritus that lined the outer edges of the gloomy, chaotic grounds surrounding Robotropolis. Sonic, Sally, Antoine, and Bunnie were quickly moving out of sight, lost to the perpetual fog of noxious fumes that pervaded this place. Time began to pass, the silence of this dead zone broken only by the occasional clanking of distant SWATbots. Suddenly, there was movement. It didn't sound robotic in nature, and Tails assumed it was the team returning, and he stood up on the panel, peering out. It was then that he noticed a moving shadow falling over him, and he realized with a sudden spike of cold panic that something was right behind and above him. It was the last thing he would see for a while. Something sharp and hard struck him, and he fell, never even feeling the ground hit him from below.
To be continued…