"Over the Hills and Far Away..."
Sonic the Hedgehog and all related characters (c) Sega
The other characters are (c) the rightful producers and owners in the UK
*Author's Note* This fic takes place in the early days of the SatAM Sonic series.

Sonic sat in the look-out tower high above Knothole. The rotating duty schedule was one of his
least favorite parts of being a Freedom Fighter, namely because it always lead him to having a lame job
like being the look-out for a day. Sure, he did his duty, it would be suicide not to, but it was
exceedingly tedious. With another sigh, Sonic wrinkled his nose and rolled his eyes. Absolutely
nothing. No robots, no clouds, no breeze, nothing. What he wouldn't give for action! Anything!
"Sonic!" a voice called from below. Sonic's mood changed faster then he could run. It was
Princess Sally, and the only reason she would call him from look-out duty for would be trouble.
Action. Finally! In a single, fluid movement, Sonic was down the ladder and striking a laid-back pose
for the Princess.
"Sonic, I need you to..." she began.
"Wait," he said, putting a hand to his ear and leaning in closer. "Say that again."
Sally looked at the hedgehog oddly for a second. She ran her words over in her head once before
catching on. She set her jaw and set her hands on her hips, unamused.
"Come on, say it."
Sally sighed. "Sonic, I need you."
Sonic took a deep breath and let out a long sigh of satisfaction. "Just what I needed to hear.
Thanks."
"You're welcome."
"Alright, what's up?"
"Rotor has picked up signs of a new Zone."
Action! thought the hedgehog.
"I'm putting together a team to investigate."
"And you want me on the team, naturally."
"Yes, Sonic, I do. Your experience in the Zones may come in handy."
"Right-right," Sonic said, grinning. "We're alone Sal, you don't need to make up excuses."
Sally's look would kill if such things were practical. "Look, hedgehog," she fumed, "Robotnik has
been really hard on us the past two months, and everyone has been rubbed a little thread-bare. My
fuse is extra short right now, so please, for both ours sakes, lay off the macho bit!"
Sonic blinked, taken aback. Usually Sally would blow him off with quick quips or playful
indirectness. It was out of character for her to get a chip on her shoulder. Sonic wrinkled his nose
again, nearly making it a sneer.
"Sorry, your Highness. I didn't know I had been dropped down to grunt."
"Oh, don't start something you can't finish, Blue."
"I finish everything, whether it's mine, or one of you plans..."
"Hold it, ya'll!" an uneasy voice called. The two verbal combatants turned to Bunnie Rabbot, who
seemed rushed to join them due to the conflict.
"What is it, Bunnie?" they asked in unison with equal tones of annoyance.
"Look," the rabbit panted, "I know yer right Sally-girl, we're all in a bad mood. But we cain't let it
get our goats. We all gotta remember who our friends are heah."
"You're right Bunnie," Sally sighed, brushing her hair from her eyes. "I'm sorry Sonic, I..."
"Forget it Sal," Sonic said, brushing by her. Fire leapt in Sally's eyes.
"Get a day pack ready," she called after him, controlling her temper.
"A day pack? Sal, I could get us there and back in..."
"A day pack, Sonic!"
"Fine!"
Sonic stormed away. What was she talking about, short fuses? Ha! Just because she had her tail
in a knot didn't mean she spoke for everyone! "Robuttnik" was usually gunning for a certain blue
hedgehog, and you didn't see him getting bent out of shape! Sonic stopped dead in his tracks. This
wasn't like him either. While he took more liberties with Sally's command and personally than anyone
else, he was never intentionally rude. Maybe she was right and that Robotnik was getting to him. Or
maybe it was the look-out duty. Either way, he vowed to make up for it all by acting civil for the rest of
the day.

*****

Sonic scowled at the dirt as the quartet of Sally, Rotor, Tails and himself went marching toward the
new Zone. One unsatisfied look from Sally over his day pack-packing had sent him off again. Rotor
played mediator this time, and came out in a funky mood for all his trouble. Tails had insisted that he
go. Sonic's voice was the only thing that had managed to get the young pup into the team, but Tails
was still bitter about how much debate it had taken. A real peachy-keen mission this was turning out to
be.
"We're about fifteen meters from the Zone's outer wall," Rotor announced as he briefly looked away
from Nichole's readouts. Sally nodded and looked over her shoulder to the others, who nodded to
confirm they had heard the news as well. At five meters, they group stopped. The Zone wall should
have been visible by now, yet all they saw were more trees that extended eternally throughout the
forest.
"So...where is it?" Sonic asked finally, receiving harsh glances from the walrus and chipmunk. "Well
excuse me for breathing," he muttered softly.
"Nichole, are you sure there isn't anything potentially affecting your readings?" Sally asked.
"NEGATIVE," the hand-held super-computer replied. "ALL DATA GATHERING
APPARATUSES ARE FUNCTIONING PROPERLY."
"Then the Zone wall is directly in front of us," Rotor sighed.
"Can me and Sonic check it out?" Tails asked from the back of the line.
"We don't even know where the Zone is, much less what's in there," Sally replied. "It's too
dangerous for you."
"Then I'll go it alone," Sonic announced, sprinting to the Zone wall. Before Sally could command his
immediate stop, the blue-blur punched a hole through to the Zone. The air seemed to wobbled and
distort like a jello-mold, causing a section of the scenery to dance. Sally and Rotor exchanged tired
glances, following Sonic, with Tails jogging to keep up.
The Zone was a direct contrast to the dark and quiet forest. Here, the Zone seemed to be one
giant, well-kept lawn, undulating continuously with tiny hills and knolls. Flower beds of brilliant colors
dotted the landscape, spruce tress stood silently in random locations, and the sky (a perfect blue) was
barely disturbed by the occasional fluffy white cloud. The group looked around the naturally happy
place, taken aback by the sudden cheerfulness. Sonic seemed disappointed.
"Sorry Sonic," Tails said with a grin. "No pits, badniks, or death traps here."
"Figures," Sonic said with a sigh.
"Any signs of life, Rotor?" Sally asked. Rotor studied Nichole's readings for a moment.
"A lot of planet life. Mostly flowers and spruce trees. I'm getting only two structures here. That
one," he said, indicating what appeared to be a colossal pinwheel, "And a much larger structure down
there," he said, pointing towards the middle of the Zone. Here, the ground sloped downward, creating
a bowl in which a large grassy dome sat.
Sonic yawned, dropped off his pack, and flopped down in the grass. "If you guys need me, call
me," he sighed.
"And what do you think you're doing?" Sally asked, crossing her arms.
"Napping," Sonic replied, shutting his eyes.
"Fine," Sally sighed. With a hand gesture, she and Rotor headed for the dome.
"What about me?" Tails whined.
"Go check out that windmill," Sally called back. Tails smiled happily and flew toward the tower,
enjoying the fact that he was given a solo mission. Sonic opened one eye for a second, getting a look
at where everyone was headed. Then, satisfied, he closed his eye and began to doze off.

*****

Tails did one last fly-by of the giant pinwheel, but found nothing new. He landed at its base and
pouted. The thing was on the very edge of the Zone, so Tails had accidentally rejoined the outside
world once or twice. The pinwheel itself was solid, with no entrances or exits. All it did was spin
without any sign of a power source. Tails was convinced Sally had known all this already, which was
why she had sent him there. He sat heavily and frumped. Sonic was right: this mission was no fun at
all.
"Eh-oh," a soft voice called. Tails' head snapped up and he looked around. The owner of the voice
giggled quietly and moved out of view. Tails stood up and looked around, cautiously.
"Hello?" he called.
"Eh-oh," the soft reply came, followed by another giggle. Tails wheeled around. Whoever was
there, they were hiding behind the tower of the pinwheel. Swallowing hard, he began to creep around
the base, craning his neck, trying to catch a glimpse of the newcomer. More soft giggles came as the
stranger moved ahead of Tails, just enough to leave their shadow within sight. While Tails was wary of
potential danger, he would have admitted if asked, he was having fun. After circling the tower half-a-
dozen times, Tails stopped, frustrated. He turned and dashed in the opposite direction, coming upon
his quarry.
"Eeee!" it squealed in delight, jumping back.
"Ah!" Tails screamed, taking to the air slightly. It was the oddest creature he had ever seen. Its
body was chubby and squat, covered in a soft coat of red fuzz. The palms of its hands and its entire
monkey-like face were white. The oddest features it possessed were a circular antenna sprouting from
its head, and what looked like a gel-based monitor screen based in its stomach region. The creature
was just as tall as Tails, if not slightly shorter, and looked up at the cub with deep brown eyes.
"Eh-oh," it giggled. She, as the voice might have implied.
"Uh, hi," Tails replied with a slight wave.
"Who you?" the little creature asked, entranced by the new being.
"I'm Tails," the fox cub said, a grin fighting its way onto his face. While odd looking, this creature
didn't seem to bare any malice. In fact, it seemed incapable of it. To Tails, it had an aura of
toddlerness about it. "Who are you?" he asked.
"Ah'm Po," the little fuzzy thing replied with a giggle. Tails smiled and landed.
"It this your Zone?" he asked.
"Zone? Wassat?" Po asked, a look of mystified curiosity overtaking her face.
"Here, I mean. Is this place your home?"
"Uh-huh," Po replied, nodding happily.
"Cool," Tails said, grinning.
"Cool!" Po echoed enthusiastically, immediately loving the word. She hopped around the grassy
area chanting her new word contentedly. Tails laughed at the childishness, but felt rather warmed by
the innocence. After a moment of this, Po looked at Tails expectantly.
"Hungwee?" she asked.
Tails grinned. "Well, now that you mention it, I am kinda hungry."
"Go eat! Go eat!" Po called. "Ride my pooter!" she said softly, but excitedly, and ran behind the
pinwheel's base.
"Pooter?" Tails asked, a rather disgusting image forming in his mind.
Po wheeled out a small scooter, which she mounted with obvious pride. "My pooter!" she
proclaimed.
"Oh, scooter," Tails laughed, breathing a sigh of relief.
"Go eat?" Po offered.
"Sure, lead the way," Tails said. Po turned to her favorite plaything and began to scoot along
toward the dome in the center of the Zone. All the while, amongst the squeaking of the wheels, she
chanted "Ride-it, ride-it." Tails flew right along behind her. They reached the base of the basin and the
dome, where Tails discovered a huge set of metal doors. Upon Po's approach, they hissed open,
letting her in. Tails quickly followed.

*****

On the opposite side of the dome, Rotor and Sally descended the gentle slop into the basin. They
approached the grassy mound, noticing for the first time the windows and doors.
"Whoa," Rotor said in surprise. The features hadn't been visible from where the group had entered
the Zone.
"Are you sure there isn't anything else living here besides the plants?" Sally asked.
"Nichole?" Rotor asked.
"AFFIRMATIVE."
"Hmm," Sally grunted, calculating. "Well, let's see what's inside while we're here." The duo
approached the doors, which hissed open readily.
The interior of the dome was astounding. At its center was a column covered in high-tech consoles,
lights, compartments, along with many other things. From their end, they saw four tiny beds jutting from
one of the circular walls, and well as what appeared to be the end of a slide that curled around the
column to a hole in the zenith of the dome. From the other side, they heard a soft voice proclaim
happily:
"Tubby-Toast!" The Princess and handy-man exchanged looks.
"Tubby-Toast?" they asked each other quietly.
"Nichole?" Rotor asked.
"UM..." the compute stalled. "UH...SORRY?"
"Sorry?! There is definitely at least one other living thing here, and you couldn't detect it?" Sally
hissed quietly.
"I DON'T KNOW WHY," Nichole beeped. "WHATEVER IT IS JUST DOESN'T REGISTER.
SORRY." Rotor closed Nichole and handed her to Sally, who promptly attached it to her boot.
"Well, might as well see if it's friendly," Sally sighed. Rotor nodded his support and the two began
to edge their way around the column, never noticing the two forms coming down the slide. The duo
slipped around the brightly lit controls to spy a familiar individual seated at a low-sitting round table.
"Tails?!" they exclaimed.
"BOO!" cried two childish voice from behind the duo. With a scream, Sally and Rotor jumped the
3 meters between the column and the table, whirling around in the process. Rotor, not being as nimble
as the princess, went careening onto the table. Tails looked up, equally surprised by both the surprises.
Sally panted and looked at the spooks. Two more creatures of Po's type began to giggle hysterically.
One was as tall as Rotor, green in color, and had more of a brown coloring to his face and hands.
From his head came a rod-like antenna. The other, tallest of the three, was a bluish-purple and had a
triangular antenna. His face and hands were pale like Po's.
"Eh-oh Dipsy. Eh-oh Tinky-Winky," Po greeted causally, rolling in what looked like an over-sized
pop-up toaster.
"Eh-oh Po," the other two greeted, still snickering good naturedly. Sally, despite her frazzled nature,
couldn't help but grin. Yes, she had been scared silly, but it was apparent they meant no harm, and
their laughter was contagious.
"Um, hi Aunt Sally," Tails said with a embarrassed wave. "And Rotor," he added with a snicker
when he looked at the purple mass on the table.
"Tails, I told you to inspect that tower," Sally said, straightening her vest and face.
"I did. There's nothing to it. Then I found Po, and she invited me to lunch."
"Po?" Rotor asked.
"Ah'm Po!" the little red Tellytubbie confirmed softly.
"Ah'm Dipsy," the green one drawled.
"Ah'm Tinky-Winky," the purple one added in a goofy voice.
"What doin'?" Dipsy asked Po.
"Tubby-Toast!" she sang. Tinky-Winky and Dipsy exchanged elated looks.
"Tubby-Toast!" they cried happily and rushed around the table. Sally helped Rotor to his feet, then
the two joined the Tubbies at the table.
"Are they nice?" Sally asked.
"You're asking me?" Tails asked, elated to be the authority on a matter this time around.
"You know one of them by name," Rotor pointed out. "Makes you the logical candidate to ask."
Tails beamed. "Well, they all seem to act like a bunch of kids." He caught the grins Sally and Rotor
exchanged. "Little kids!" Tails added hastily.
"Tubby-Toast! Tubby-Toast!" Tinky-Winky and Dipsy chanted, bouncing in their seats. Everyone
was both surprised and entertained by the fact that the Tubbies made bicycle-horn sounds when they
landed on their bottoms. Po stood poised to press the large red button on the Tubby-Toast dispenser
when she paused suddenly and began to contemplate something. She looked up to the group at the
table.
"Where La-La?" she asked.
"Where La-La?" the other two echoed, looking at the Mobians. Sally couldn't help but giggle.
"I think I have a good idea," she said.

*****

Sonic heard the soft foot-steps of someone approaching. He sighed quietly to himself, disappointed
he would have to get out of his comfortable position so soon. He had just begun to really nap when
whoever it was had returned.
"How mondo boring was the place, Sal?" he said. The foot-steps stopped for a moment, then with
a giggle, began again. Sonic mentally blinked in confusion. Then he chuckled.
"Sorry little bro. Anything interesting about that over-grown pinwheel?" he asked good-naturedly.
The person approaching him only giggled again. Their shadow fell over Sonic, and the hedgehog
immediately became wary. If it had been one of his friends, their shadow would have fallen on him up
from his feet. He could tell it was coming down from above his head.
"Rotor?" Sonic asked desperately. He opened his eyes to find some kind of tanned monkey face
staring down at him with deep brown eye and a curly-Q antenna, the same yellow color as the rest of
it's short fuzzy fur.
"BOO!" she screamed.
"YAH!" Sonic screamed back. While the yellow Tellytubbie giggled with glee, Sonic blasted away
and into the dome, faster than he could possibly imagine, and sat with the other Freedom Fighters,
panting more out of nerves than exertion.
"Problem, Sonic?" Sally asked, giggling.
"Yeah! I just saw this..." he began, then caught sight of Tinky-Winky and Dipsy.
"Eh-oh!" the chorused.
Sonic laid his head on the table with a sigh. "What have I gotten myself into this time?" he asked out
loud.
"Lunch," Tails yipped. Sonic shot the group a questioning look, but no one seemed opposed to the
idea. The doors hissed open as La-La, still giggling over Sonic's reaction, entered and took a seat next
to the hedgehog.
"Eh-oh," she laughed.
"Uh, hi..." Sonic replied, waving weakly. La-La proceeded to greet her fellow Tubbies individually
and by name. Each one, in term, replied in a similar fashion. It was tedious to say the least. Dipsy
hopped in his seat, honking.
"Po gonna get da Tubby-Toast!" she announced happily.
"Tubby-Toast?!" La-La exclaimed excitedly, looking for confirmation.
"Tubby-Toast!" Tinky-Winky assured. Sonic looked among his companions, finding it odd that the
entire scene was perceived as entertaining to them, rather than annoying as he felt. Without further ado,
Po punched in the large red button and hurried over to the others, taking her seat. A vertical row of
lights hummed to life, starting from the bottom, and finally reaching the top. The Tubbies leaned
forward expectantly, only to groan in dismay as the lights died away, no toast of any form appearing.
Without any hesitation, Rotor stood and went to inspect the machine.
"Can you tell what's wrong, Rotor?" Sally asked.
"I can't find any kind of access panel anywhere on this thing. It's far more high-tech than anything
we've come across before."
"How can these guys operate that kind of technology?" Sonic grunted.
"Be nice, Sonic," Sally cautioned.
"Yeah, they're nice," Tails informed his idol.
"Press da button," La-La suggested.
"Press it uh-'gain!" Po demanded softly. Rotor shrugged and pushed the large button. He briskly
returned to his seat, figuring that since Po had done the same, it was vital to the machine's working
properly. The lights flashed, the machine groaned, but nothing else happened. Sonic stood with a snort
and punched in the button. The lights activated up to the third, them died off again. Muttering, Sonic
delivered a swift kick to the device. Immediately, the lights blazed and smoke began to pour from the
slit in the gadget's top. Sonic flipped back to his seat, eyes wide with guilt. Before Sally could
reprimand him, the Tubbies announced the plan of action:
"Uh-oh," they chorused. "Run away!" The Freedom Fighters looked among each other in an
alarmed manner, but no one reacted in time. With a screech, the machine began to fire flat pancake-
like pieces of toast. In the crust, a smilely-face was mysteriously etched. Piece after piece, by the
dozens, by the gross, by the thousands. Everyone began to dive for cover. Sonic managed to find a
hiding spot behind an odd blue machine of some sort. As the Tubby-Toast went flying across the
room, Sonic heard a sucking sound. He looked at the front of his hiding place, and it looked back.
Sonic squeaked and spun away. The little blue machine looked quizzically at the hedgehog, then turned
its attention to the flying Tubby-Toast.
Sonic spun behind one of the dome's bulkheads and joined his fellow Freedom Fighters. They all
looked on curiously as the Tellytubbies scampered around the dome, giggling in glee as they were
pelted with Tubby-Toast. After a few minutes, the torrent of toast died away, and the Freedom
Fighters emerged from their hiding spot. As they waded through the ankle-deep mounds of bread,
Sonic stopped and looked about.
"Tubby-Toast," he observed with a grin. For whatever reason, his words struck a funny chord with
the rest of the group, and the entire dome was filled with laughter. Tails brushed toast off of Sonic's
former hiding spot and was repaid with a quick vacuuming from its trunk. Tails yelped and flew back a
few feet.
"Noo-nu!" the Tubbies called happily. They comically fumbled their way through the toast to reach
the sentient vacuum. "Big hug!" they chorused again, embracing each other and the Noo-nu. The
feeling was infectious, and Sonic suddenly found himself with an arm around Sally and a hand playfully
ruffling Tails' hair. For a day that had started out so rotten, it certainly had taken a happy upswing.
After the short lovefest, Sally spoke up.
"What do we do now?" she asked with a grin.
"Tubby-Toast!" Rotor laughed, diving deftly into the mounds of the bread. The group laughed with
him, and began to eat.

*****

The Freedom Fighters waved to the Tellytubbies fondly as they headed back for the Zone wall.
They had spent the entire day eating Tubby-Toast and enjoying the simple, but entertaining games. As
the sun began to set, a series of pipe-shaped speakers appeared from the ground, announcing that it
was time for "Tubby bye-bye." As they exited from the Zone, they found the sky oddly light for the late
afternoon-early evening. Still, they continued home to Knothole. Behind them, a foot-ball shaped
Spy-Eye dropped quietly through the Zone's wall. Once they reached the village, they went their
separate ways to unpack. Sally returned to the hut she shared with Bunnie.
"Howdy Sally-girl," Bunnie said, looking up from one of the few books in Knothole. She had read
the book numerous times, but she liked the story, so she was reading through it once again. "How'd the
mission go?"
"Oh, it was quite interesting," Sally said with a bemused smile. "It's funny though."
"What's that Sally-girl?"
"We were in the Zone all day, and I'm not tired at all."
"Well, it's only just gettin' to be the late afternoon, so you couldn't have been gone all day." Bunnie
replied, giving Sally and odd look. Sally turned, equally perplexed.
"We were gone for hours Bunnie!" she replied.
"Yeah, but all Ah'd say was about three hours."
"The walk to and from the Zone couldn't have taken more than an hour's hike, so an entire day in
the Zone must have lasted sixty minutes at max..."
"That's a pretty odd Zone Sally-girl." Sally was deep in thought. "You're thinking of something, Ah
can tell. What is it?" Bunnie prodded, closing her book.
"If the Zone's day lasts an hour, just for the sake of argument, then entire months could be spent
there when only a few days have passed out here."
"Sho' nuff. So what?"
"I"m trying to think of a tactical advantage that might present us against Robotnik."
"Well, Ah guess if we grew crops there, if'n the Zone is good fer that, then we could prolly get food
sooner."
"It would make sense, but we'd have to study how the weather works in that Zone...but Bunnie,
that's a wonderful idea!" Sally exclaimed, hugging her friend. "It would mean, however, that some
Freedom Fighters would be out of the loop with the real world, and we have no idea how the temporal
differences would affect growth and...oh Bunnie...there are so many variables! I'd hate for this to blow
up in our faces."
"Ah know," Bunnie said with a small smile. "But whatever was in that Zone, it did some serious
good fer yah. Maybe we just let the more weary Freedom Fighters vacation there or sumptin." Sally
smiled at her friend's support and hugged her close.
"Find Antoine and tell him to join us tomorrow when we go back," she said, heading for the door.
"I'm off to find Sonic and the other two and tell them we're going back."
Bunnie giggled. "Yah'll almost sound like yer lookin' forward to see someone."
Sally laughed too. "Well, Tinky-Winky can be a sweet-heart."
"Who?!"
Sally laughed again, "I'll introduce you two tomorrow."

*****

The Freedom Fighters walked through the forest earlier in the day than they had set out yesterday.
That way, they would be able to spend days in the new Zone without missing much action in the rest of
the world. After all, what could Robotnik do in one day? They knew that even thinking that was
tempting fate, but it was too tempting not to try. Tails rushed ahead when they reached the five meter
marker. He flew into the Zone wall, letting ripples undulate through the forest scene. Just as quickly as
he went in, Tails shot out, a look of horror on his face.
"What is it Tails?" Sally asked.
"There are SWAT Bots in there!" Tails cried, pointing vehemently toward the Zone.
"Oh, now Robuttnik has seriously gone too far!" Sonic snarled.
"Take it easy Sugar-Hog," Bunnie crooned.
"Oui," Antoine snorted. "We are losing all of ze kingdom and ze Freedom Fighters to Robotnik-es'
forces everying day, yet you are getting all cow-headed over one Zone!"
"That's 'bull-headed' Antoine," Rotor sighed.
"Yeah but..." Sonic said helplessly, looking at the Zone wall.
"They're innocents Antoine," Sally said. "They are perhaps only two or three years old in mentality,
maybe less. Robotnik stole our childhoods, let's make sure he doesn't steal theirs." With that, the
Freedom Fighters snuck into the Zone, hoping that the tremors in the barrier didn't show from within.
As they entered, Sally, Sonic and Rotor let out a sigh of relief. While SWAT Bots had been stationed
through out the Zone, nothing had been shot or burned down. In a hovering Egg-o-Matic sat Snively,
apparently the supervisor of the project. The Zone's numerous low hills played to the Freedom
Fighters' advantage as they snuck quickly and quietly toward the central dome. The SWAT Bots were
easy to spot and easy to take detours around. While they would be dangerously in the open for the
brief crossing through the basin, they were willing to take the chance. That is, until they saw the line of
SWAT Bots stationed through the strip of land between the dome and the hills.
"What's the plan Sal?" Sonic asked.
"A diversion would really work in the beginning," she mused. Sonic began to move. "No, wait!"
Sonic sighed, rolled his eyes and sat heavily. "It may work at first, but with all the hills, you might lose
your footing. Even if you didn't, you'd be forced to stand in plain sight, leaving you open for a sniper
shot."
"Then what are we going to do?!"
"Eh-oh," the thick Cockney accent said. The Freedom Fighters jumped, turning to see Dipsy.
Antoine squealed at the sight of the Tubbie and had to be promptly tackled by the group. Just as the
SWAT Bots began to take notice, Dipsy luckily misunderstood the action of the Mobians.
"Big hug!" he drawled and ducked down, embracing his newfound friends.
"Yeah, we love you too big guy," Sonic wheezed.
"Dipsy," Sally said, pulling on the Tellytubbies hand to keep him kneeling with them, "Where are the
other Tellytubbies?"
"Where are Tellytubbies?" Dipsy echoed, looking at Bunnie.
"Naw sugar, do you know where they are?" Bunnie asked sweetly.
"Do you know?" Dipsy echoed, looking at Sonic, who slapped his face in frustration.
"Look, Dipsy," he said as he grabbed the Tubbie's ears and turning his head so that they were
face-to-face. "Does Dipsy know where the others are?"
"O'er dare," the green Tubbie drawled, pointing off into the field. There they saw the other
Tellietubbies busying themselves with their favorite items. Sally began to formulate a plan when Rotor
spoke up:
"I wonder why Snively hasn't captured them yet?" he asked.
"Maybe he didn't think them to be a threat?" Bunnie offered.
"Or maybe he is waiting for ze roboting-sizer?" Antoine said.
"Share the cheer, Ant," Sonic groaned.
"No Sonic, he may be right," Sally sighed sadly. "If only we knew what their plans were..." As if an
answer to her prayers, the pinwheel began to spin. Everyone looked at it as the giant blades howled
through the air, pink star-bursts streaming from their folds.
"Uh-oh," Dipsy laughed happily and went rushing with the other Tubbies to a special area of the
field. With head motions, Sally and Sonic chased after them while the others secured a hiding place.
Sonic and Sally looked on as the Tubbies watched the screens in their stomachs expectantly. After
each screen flashed, La-La's screen flashed on.
"La-La hab it!" the yellow Tubbie cried happily and the Tubbies gathered around to watch. The
screen crackled and snowed until the image of Dr. Robotnik flashed on it.
"Snively!" his deep and ominous voice roared from her tummy.
"Ooh," the Tubbies chorused, entranced. "Wassat?"
"Yes sir?" Snively's voice whined from the screen. Sonic and Sally looked to where the runty
Overlander sat in his Egg-o-Matic. He was looking down at the screen in his control panel.
"Sonic," the princess gasped, "They're picking up Robotnik's com-signal!"
"But how is that possible?" Sonic stammered.
"I don't know but...we're missing the conversation!"
"...hundred hours?" Snively asked.
"Yes Snively," Robotnik seethed. "Or are the inhabitants of the Zone still giving you trouble?"
"Oh, no sir!" Snively squeaked. "They're fully under control! We'll be ready for it."
"Excellent. See you then. Robotnik over-and-out."
"Roger."
"We missed all the details!" Sally hissed in frustration.
"Well, at least we know that Robotnik is moving something big here," Sonic offered. To their
surprise, the Tellytubbies groaned in disappointment, until La-La began to chant:
"Again-again! Again-again!" The other Tubbies agreed eagerly, while Sonic and Sally smiled at
each other, still finding it hard to believe their luck. La-La's stomach screen flashed on again, and the
image of the tyrant came up again.
"Snively!" his deep and ominous voice roared from her tummy.
"Yes sir?" Snively's voice whined from the screen.
"I'm launching now. I will arrive with the transportable SWAT Bot factory and the prototype of the
portable roboticizer at exactly ten-hundred hours."
"Ten-hundred hours?" Snively asked.
"Yes Snively," Robotnik seethed. "Or are the inhabitants of the Zone still giving you trouble?"
"Oh, no sir!" Snively squeaked. "They're fully under control! We'll be ready for it."
"Excellent. See you then. Robotnik over-and-out."
"Roger."
"We left at, what, eight in the morning?" Sally asked.
"I dunno Sal," Sonic grunted, scratching his head. "I can't remember the last time I looked at a
clock."
"I think we did, leaving about an hour to get to the Zone, that means we have an entire day here to
get prepared for Robotnik."
Sonic chuckled. "You make it sound so easy."
"You're here with us, aren't you?" Sally crooned. Sonic's ego swelled visibly. Then it deflated as
the flat, nasal voice of Snively rang across the Zone.
"Attention Freedom Fighters! I have your friends captive. Reveal yourself immediately, and I will
spare their lives...for now." Sonic and Sally exchanged desperate looks.
"What are we going to do Sally?"
"Stand up, I guess."
"Say what?!"
"We have twenty-four hours Zone-time to escape. You've done that kind of thing in a fraction of
the time."
"Save us all again, huh?"
"That's my only trump card right now, Sonic."
"I won't let you down Sal."
"You never have."
With that, the two Freedom Fighters stood, just as Snively began to warn them again. The SWAT
Bots took them up roughly by the arms and marched them all into the dome.

*****

"How did he find you?" Sally asked after the doors slid shut behind the last of the robots.
"Antoine sneezed," Bunnie sighed.
"I am being zo zorry my princess!" Antoine sobbed.
"Did you manage to find anything out, Princess?" Rotor asked.
"Yes. We have the rest of the day in the Zone's time to escape and eliminate the SWATs before
Robotnik arrives."
"That's not much time," Robot said.
"Yeah, all that, and the fat-man is bringing a SWAT factory and a portable roboticizer!" Sonic
growled.
"Oh mah stars!" Bunnie gasped, self-consciously touching her partially roboticized limbs.
"Don't worry Aunt Bunnie," Tails said in a comforting tone, "We'll get out of here."
"The guard is heavy outside, and probably is being made heavier now that Snively has us trapped in
here. We still need a diversion." The room went silent as the Freedom Fighters began to think, the
process seeming to be exceedingly painful for Antoine. Tails began to giggle. Everyone looked up,
giving Tails a questioning look.
"What could you possibly be funny-finding at this time in point?!" Antoine asked frantically.
"That's 'point in time' Sugar-'Twan," Bunnie corrected, patting his leg.
"That is what I was saying," Antoine whined.
"I was just thinking about what happened when La-La wanted Dipsy to where that dress
yesterday," the young fox giggled. Rotor, Sonic and Sally chuckled quietly at the memory.
"That was a tutu dear," Sally giggled.
"Hey!" Sonic exclaimed, shooting to his feet. "I got an idea!"
Antoine muttered something in French.
"And what does that mean, Ant?" Sonic challenged.
"I am thinking it translates to: 'Heaven help us,'" the general's son said with a grin.
"Why you..." Sonic began.
"What was your idea, Sonic?" Sally asked quickly.
"We need a diversion, right?" Sonic asked.
"Right," Bunnie and Rotor confirmed.
"Right, so all we gotta do is get someone to try to get Dipsy in a tutu, and he'll take of running!
Snively won't dare let a prisoner get away, especially if old lard-butt is bringing a roboticizer!"
"Great idea Sonic!" Tails yipped.
"But the SWAT Bots might try to hurt Dipsy," Rotor said worriedly.
"And we can't get to him anyway," Sally pointed out.
"Sure we can..." Sonic said, looking about the dome hurriedly, searching for an unguarded exit. He
found it at the top of the slide that wound its way along the central pillar. With a confident grin to his
ward, he shot up and out of the dome. Tails caught the meaning of the look and flew out behind him.
"Do you see him, T-2?" Sonic called up. They would be spotted soon, so they had to work fast.
"No...but I swear I saw a face in the sun!" Tails said with some trepidation.
"What?!"
"Never mind, I see him!" Tails called, pointing to one area.
"You sure that's him?"
"Who else wears a cow-spotted hat?"
"Good point."
"HALT! HEDGEHOG - PRIORITY ONE!" a synthesized voice crackled from base of the dome.
Blue laser fire began to fly up at the duo.
"That's our cue," Sonic snickered. In a shot, they tore their way across the landscape, stopping with
a screech when they reached the green Tubby.
"Eh-oh Sonic, eh-oh Tails," Dipsy drawled.
"Dipsy, time to wear the tutu!" Sonic announced.
"Tutu?" Dipsy asked. "Wassat?"
"You didn't say it right," Tails scolded. Then, in the perfect mimicry of La-La's voice, Tails said,
"Dipsy! Time to wear da 'pert!"
"NO! NO! Run away!" Dipsy screeched. With that, he spun around and began sprinting across
the scene.
"'Pert?" Sonic asked.
"Skirt."
"Ah."
"See? I told you so."
"You called it a dress, and it's still wrong."
Laser fire scorched the ground between the two. The SWAT Bots came charging across the hills
and knolls, many falling over their own feet from the terrain. While Dipsy zipped east through the Zone,
Sonic began blasting off to the west. Tails flew higher and double-backed, heading north. The robots
fell over each other, their weak AI fighting to decide how to react. Snively was alerted to the situation
and began barking orders, but to no avail. Despite his chubby exterior, when threatened with a tutu,
Dipsy's sprinting speed nearly reached Sonic's level. SWAT Bots were running into and shooting each
other more than their targets. To complicate matters, the Freedom Fighters had seen the chaos
erupting outside, and made a break for it, spreading the weak SWAT Bot force even thinner. In a
matter of minutes, Snively found himself alone in enemy territory.
"No-no-no!" he whimpered, banging on the control panel. The Freedom Fighters gathered under
the shadow of his craft. Sally kept Tails grounded, despite his eagerness to attack Robotnik's nephew.
She knew the Egg-o-Matics had defensive weapons, and didn't want to take any chances.
"How do you think we should get him down from there?" Rotor asked.
"Again, the main hedgehog has an idea," Sonic said with a cocky grin.
Antoine repeated his French phrase. Ignoring him, Sonic walked over to Tinky-Winky, who was
clutching his favorite item: a stylish red-leather handbag.
"Hey Tinky," he said, holding out his hand. "Can I see your bag for a sec?"
"Otay," the Tubby agreed, handing it over. Sonic swung the bag around by the handle, faster and
faster, using his natural mind-boggling speed to reduce its afterimages to mere blurs. With steady aim,
he launched the bag at the Egg-o-Matic. With a leathery "pop!", Snively fell limply from the craft and
into the waiting arms of Bunnie. The rabbit tossed the handbag back to Sonic, who returned it to its
owner.
"Thanks man."
"Yo we'come," Tinky-Winky said with a grin. Sonic grinned back, then looked around suspiciously.
"What is it?" Tails asked.
"I could have sworn I heard someone saying "Bravo" and "Good shot," Sonic muttered.
Sally rolled her eyes. "It's just your ego feeding itself again."
"Yeah-yeah-yeah," Sonic replied. As he went to join the rest of the group, he never noticed the
small bed of flowers, which seemed to wiggle happily, despite the lack of breeze.
"Rotor, any ideas on how to stop Robotnik from landing?" Sally asked.
"I was hoping you would have an idea," Rotor admitted.
"Maybe Nichole could give us an idea," Sally said, unclipping the computer from her boot.
"Why would Robotnik bring a SWAT Bot factory here?" Tails asked as Sally talked to the
computer.
"Probably to take advantage of the temporal difference it has with the real world," Rotor replied. "I
mean, he could turn out a years worth of SWAT Bots in a few months. Much more efficient." Bunnie
looked unsettled.
"What's wrong Bunnie?" Sonic asked.
"Well, yesterday, Sally and I were talking about how the Freedom Fighters might take advantage of
the Zone. I just feel a little guilty that we had similar plans as Robotnik."
"Yeah, but," Sonic snorted, "We wouldn't be making soldiers."
"No," Bunnie replied, "But we would be taking the Zone from the...the..."
"Telling-tummies?" Antoine offered. Sonic moaned and rested his face in his hand.
"Tellytubbies," Rotor corrected, a wry grin on his face.
"You got a point there," Sonic admitted.
"Indeed she does," Sally said, rejoining the group. "Which is why I think we should follow Nichole's
plan."
"Which is?" Sonic inquired.
"We seal off this Zone from the rest of Mobius."
"Can we do that?" Bunnie asked, the pint-sized Overlander still slung over one shoulder.
"Yes. Rotor, using the remains of the downed SWATs and Snively's Egg-o-Matic, Nichole says
you can create a kind of bomb that would blast the Tubby-Zone into its own dimension." Rotor took
the computer from the Princess and looked over the data.
"Well, its crazy, but it just might work," the walrus mused.
"Make it so," Sally commanded. To everyone's dismay, the pipe-speakers began to protrude from
the ground, summoning the Tellytubbies to bed. "Make it fast," she added.

*****

"What was that?" Robotnik growled from his seat in the massive transport ship.
"Scans reveal a small explosion near the Zone we are approaching," the ship's piloting droid replied.
"Any signs of damage?"
"Negative."
"Very well. Scan the area for further explosives and make doubly sure that the landing area is safe,"
the obese dictator snarled. After a few seconds, the thin headed droid looked back at its master.
"Scan indicate that there is no further dangers in the vicinity."
"Excellent. Set us down." The massive craft began to touch down, the trees tossing and flying from
their foundations as the landing jets blazed. But instead of passing through into the Zone, the craft
landed fully on the ground, which buckled under it and caved in. Sirens blared and lights flashed as Dr.
Robotnik was jarred from his throne. Once the craft had stopped its self-destructive descent, the tyrant
began to furiously check over the last few seconds of data. The sensors were tuned to check the Zone,
not the reality it covered. Further data showed that the Zone was now, for whatever reason,
inaccessible. On top of that, the Zone had been occupying a space just above one of Mobius' largest
sink-holes. The sink hole had claimed the entire SWAT Bot factory, smashing it flat.
Dr. Robotnik snarled and charged down the hallways and corridors. A pair of doors swished open
as he hurriedly stomped in. It was a storage room, and it had been thrown to a forty-five degree angle
by the impact. The fragile portable roboticizer lay shattered at the end of the room opposite of its shelf.
As Dr. Robotnik's fury reached the boiling point, he threw his fists into the air, bellowing.
"SNIVELY!" he roared. Outside the crash site, the tiny Overlander struggled in his bonds. The
Freedom Fighters had tied him to a tree before leaving.

*****

"I'm gonna miss that Zone," Tails sighed wistfully.
"I know honey," Sally said with smile, tucking him in. "But we lived in totally different worlds. And
Robotnik would have wrecked it, as well as ours."
"I know, I know," Tails said. "Good night, Aunt Sally." The princess leaned over and kissed the
young fox on the forehead.
"Good night sweet heart." She began to walk out the door.
"Aunt Sally?"
"Yes dear?"
"Tubby-Toast!"
Sally laughed the rest of the way to her hut, and giggled on in her sleep.

THE END