Heroes of Arcadia - Cry of the Wolf
by Anthony Bault

Legal:
Mario, Link, and all related characters are (c) Nintendo
Megaman and all related characters are (c) Capcom
Sonic and all related characters are (c) Sega, DIC, and Archie Comics
Tenchi and all related characters are (c) Pioneer
Dragonball Z and all related characters are (c) Toei Animation and Akira Toriyama
Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c) Toei Animation and DIC
Digimon and all related characters are (c) Saban
Spider-Man and all related characters are (c) Marvel
Gamemaster Anthony Bault, Gamemaster Jenna Larson, Gamemaster Lars Olson, and Alec Johnson are (c) Anthony Bault

Author's forward:

It wasn't until I started research into the various Sonic worlds that I found out that Lupe was roboticized. I wanted to include her and the Wolf Pack in later stories, and decided it was high time to find a way to bring her back...

...Arcadia style!

(P.S.: That sound you hear is the fourth wall completely shattering!)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"...and that's basically what we do."

Jenna and Lars, two of Arcadia's newest Gamemasters, were being inducted into the Heroes Council, and just finished hearing the description of what the council does. Of course, this description was being directed towards one other. Amy Rose, who also became a Gamemaster, was also listening with great interest.

Many present were surprised at Amy's ability to use Sir Eric's powers, and were also surprised at Anthony's suggestion that she be allowed into the Council along with Jenna and Lars. Vegeta was trying hard not to go crazy at seeing the pink hedgehog as a member of the Council, but was close to bolting out of the room screaming.

"So," Peach said, finishing her description, "do any of you three have any questions?"

"Anthony said we may be taking over for him if needed," Lars asked. "Does that include heading the Council?"

"Not really," Zelda said. "Usually the person who calls the Council together is in charge of the meeting."

"Even me?!?" Amy asked, causing several people to giggle and Vegeta to wince.

"I swear, I'm going to go nuts..." Vegeta said.

"Calm down, Vegeta..." Serena said. "I heard she really kicked butt when she fought Alec, and that's something I KNOW you appreciate."

"Yeah, well I have to admit, Amy here was the LAST person I'd expect to see as a Council member," Spider-Man said.

"That goes double for me!" Sonic said. "But if my little bro can make it, I guess it's not that much of a surprise." Tails smiled at that.

"Very well..." Vegeta said.

"Speaking of one Gamemaster..." Tai spoke up. "Where is the first one?"

"Dunno," Protoman said. "When I last talked to him, he said he had to pass on the meeting because he had some things to do."

"That's odd..." Tenchi said. "I'd thought he'd want to see his relatives when they were inducted. Jenna, Lars...do any of you know what he's doing?"

"I wish we knew..." Jenna said. "He seemed somewhat distant after what happened with Alec."

"I hope he's a alright..." Mario said.

Everyone nodded in agreement, and Amy looked the most concerned of the lot.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anthony was walking in some unknown portion of forest that lay somewhere between Mobotropolis and Mobara. He told the others that he had things to do, but in reality he needed some time alone. Events with what happened regarding Alec hit him hard, especially what happened recently...

*FLASHBACK*

Alec was pacing back and forth in his hospital room, and Anthony could only stand and watch as he sensed great feelings of anguish and guilt coming from Alec. Finally, Anthony spoke up.

"Alec...it wasn't your fault," Anthony said, trying to calm Alec down. "You had no way of knowing how that medicine was going to affect you. Besides, I fixed the damage done to your mind, so it won't happen again."

"So you say..." Alec said, "but for all I know, I just became power hungry from feeling that psi energy rush through me!"

"Look, I was excited too from my powers, but they didn't drive me mad," Anthony said, "and just because a drug drove you crazy doesn't make you a bad person!"

"I can't take that risk!!!" Alec said, getting more upset. "I'm better off shut from society so I can't cause any more trouble!"

"No you're NOT, Alec," Anthony said, grabbing Alec by the shoulders and looking him straight in the eyes. "You are a good person, I can sense that! You deserve another chance to become Gamemaster 2!"

"NO!! I NEARLY KILLED YOU!!! I DESERVE TO DIE!!" Alec yelled, and then nearly collapsed as he broke into sobs. "I deserve to die..."

Anthony could do nothing but draw his distant cousin into a hug and let him cry on his shoulder. Anthony was almost tempted to cry himself from the sensations he sensed from Alec...

*END FLASHBACK*

Anthony continued to walk in the woods, deep in thought as he thought back at what he heard Alec say. It was getting to him deeply. He hated seeing any innocent get hurt, one of the reasons why seeing what happened to Mobius caused him great personal distress. Seeing Alec as sad as he was...was almost too much to bear.

Finally, after finding a place in the shade, Anthony sat down, placed his arms across his knees, and placed his head on his arms as if he was fatigued. Secretly, he was wishing the entire episode with Alec didn't happen, and searched deep in his thoughts for a way...any way he could help Alec. But, nothing was coming to him, and that was making him more depressed.

As he sat, deep in thought, he heard what sounded like a wolf's howl. He wasn't surprised too much, since he knew there were non-anthro animals on Mobius as well. He also seemed to lighten up a bit from the irony...since the howl seemed to match his mood at the time. But when he heard the wolf howl again, he heard something odd about it...

"Wait a minute..." Anthony thought to himself. "That howl sounds...robotic!"

He got up from his sitting position and ran towards where he heard the howl. He looked around, using his psionics to see if he could sense anything in the immediate area. He was having no luck finding anything, and just as he was about to give up, he found himself tackled to the ground.

As he looked up at his attacker, he noticed himself in the grip of an anthro wolf Workerbot...and looked in fear as the wolf beared its teeth at him. Anthony tried to calm it down. "Please...I mean you no harm. I come in peace..."

"I don't believe you, Overlander..." the Workerbot said, with what sounded like a female voice.

"I am not an Overlander...I come from Earth," Anthony said, still trying to reason with her. "My name is Anthony, and I am the new Gamemaster of Arcadia."

The wolf gasped at the mention of "Gamemaster", but didn't let Anthony get up. "Really...and how do I know that for sure?"

"Take a look at the item on my armor breastplate," Anthony said. "If you're familiar with the original Companions' campaign, you should recognize it."

The wolf, still keeping Anthony pinned, looked down at the breastplate. Anthony made no move to try to escape, since he wanted the wolf to believe he was a friend. After a short while, the wolf sighed in relief and let Anthony up.

"I am sorry, Gamemaster..." the wolf said. "With Robotnik...you can't be too careful..."

"I understand, no need to apologize..." Anthony said, brushing himself off. "But, I think you'll like the news I have. Arcadia is reunited, and Robotnik has finally been defeated."

"Really?" the wolf said.

Anthony nodded. "In fact, we should take you back to New Mobotropolis to get you out of that metal shell, since we have a working Deroboticizer now."

"I thank you, but I cannot go now..." the wolf said. "My friends are still in trouble..."

"Your friends?" Anthony said, surprised. "There are other Workerbots?"

"Yes...in fact, there's a factory still in operation not too far from here," the wolf said. "I just escaped from there after I shook off the programming and tried to get to Knothole to get help."

"I can get them..." Anthony said, holding up his right armor gauntlet. "I have a communicator built into this. But, seriously...we should get you Deroboticized. I don't know how long you've been a Workerbot, so the buildup of robotization toxins could kill you."

"I'll be fine..." the wolf said, "and I refuse to tend to myself until my friends are rescued."

"Fine..." Anthony said, and then talked into his communicator. "Palace of Mobotropolis."

"Mobotropolis Palace, Hershey speaking," a voice said from the communicator.

"Hershey, it's me, Anthony," Anthony said. "I just found a Workerbot in my area and she told me there's a still operational factory in the area. I need the Heroes Council to come and aid in a rescue."

"Alright, Gamemaster. I have your location and I'll send the Council right away. Hershey out."

As the communication ended, Anthony turned towards the wolf. "They should arrive momentarily. In the meantime, I didn't get a chance to ask something. What is your name?"

"My name is Lupe..." the wolf said, causing Anthony to gasp.

"Lupe...of the Wolf Pack?" Anthony asked.

"Yes..." Lupe said. "I was captured and roboticized while trying to rescue the rest of the Wolf Pack. I'm not sure if they escaped though..."

"They did," Anthony said, remembering a comic he had seen on Earth.

"Thank Destiny for that...oh..." Lupe suddenly lurched forward as if she was fainting, and Anthony caught her.

"Lupe, what's wrong? Are you fully charged?" Anthony said.

"Yes...but for some reason, I feel weak..." Lupe said.

"Robotization toxins..." Anthony said. "Lupe...we HAVE to get you to be deroboticized!"

"I'm...not sure...I can hold out..." Lupe said, as Anthony laid her on the ground.

Anthony realized he had to do something, and decided to take a chance. He laid his hands on Lupe and concentrated on a Purge power, hoping it will remove the toxins. After a few minutes, Anthony stopped concentrating and Lupe began to sit up.

"What...what happened?" Lupe said.

"I used a power called 'Purge'," Anthony said. "It's just a temporary fix, though. Until you're out of that metal shell, you are still in danger."

"So I see..." Lupe said, and then noticed a transport vehicle coming through the forest with Megaman driving it.

Anthony noticed this as well. "Excellent...the calvary has arrived..."

"Anth!" Sonic said, exiting the vehicle, "we just got your message. Where's the Workerbot you..." He suddenly paused as he saw the Lupe, and gasped. "Lupe? Is that you?"

"Yes it is, Sonic..." Lupe said, and soon found herself in a large group hug thanks to Sonic, Tails, and Amy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a few minutes of explaining the situation, Lupe had gotten the Heroes Council up to speed on the security and purpose of the factory. "Basically, it's a Swatbot factory...but there's something weird with this batch of Swatbots."

"How weird are we a talking, Lupe?" Luigi asked.

"They are being fitted with weapons I haven't seen before," Lupe explained. "I haven't seen them in use yet, but I don't like where this could be going."

"Neither do we.." Tenchi said. "So, lets make sure they aren't going to be used."

"I'm with that!" Knuckles said.

"Alright then," Anthony said. "Guys...I'll take Jenna and Lars to go find the Workerbots. Our powers should be able to release them from their programming. I want the rest of you to see if you can cause as much destruction as possible to the Swats and other sentries as possible." He then glared at Vegeta. "WITHOUT risking nuking the entire place!"

"Hmmf..." Vegeta said, giving Anthony a look.

"Also...Megaman, Protoman, Bass...see what you can find out about the weapons that are being installed on the Swats," Anthony said. "I want to know what that factory is being used for."

"As do I..." Protoman said.

"Alright...let's head out!" Anthony said, and the entire group headed towards the factory with Lupe leading the way. As they walked, Anthony took Amy to the side to talk to her. "Amy...I need you to do something..."

"What do you need?" Amy asked.

"Keep an eye on Lupe," Anthony said. "I had to use a Purge power to remove some robotization toxins, and if she looks weak in any way, I want you to draw upon the Descendancy Powers and teleport her to Mobotropolis immediately."

"I understand," Amy said. "But...why didn't she want to get deroboticized right away?"

"Her nobility...makes her worry about others over herself," Anthony explained. "So we have to worry about her, FOR her."

Amy nodded in understanding, and gave a look of worry towards Lupe.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The approach to the factory was handled with much care, but encountered little resistance as the Council and Lupe approached it. The group all noticed one interesting detail...

"Strange..." Bass said, looking over the factory. "I don't hear any machinery running."

"Looks like the factory is currently shut down so the workerbots can recharge," Knuckles said.

"Alright...if this place is laid out like the factories in Packy's former fortress, I think I know where the recharge center is," Anthony said. "I'll lead Jenna and Lars there...the rest of you take care of the Swatbot guards and shut down the operations."

"Finally...some action..." Vegeta said, smiling a bit.

"I'll come with you as well, Anthony," Lupe said. "I know exactly where the workerbots are being held."

"I'd better come too...my powers might be needed as well," Amy said.

"Alright then..." Anthony said, turning towards the fortress. "Let's move!"

The group then advanced on the factory...Jenna, Lars, Anthony, and Amy activating their armors in the process.

As they approached, two of the Swatbots looked in their direction and opened fire upon the group. They were easily destroyed by Megaman's blaster and Agumon's Pepper Breath.

"So much for them," Tai said. "Now for the inside."

The entire group moved towards the interior of the factory ground. Several of the heroes couldn't help but think that something was wrong, however...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"This way," Lupe said, as she led the four Gamemasters towards the Workerbot holding pen and dodging several of the sentries.

"This is all too easy..." Lars said, looking back towards where the sentries were walking. "None of the sentries have even looked in our direction."

"Probably the biosignature mask in our armors, Lars," Jenna pointed out.

"I doubt it..." Lupe said. "That row that the Swatbots made at the gate should have raised some kind of alarm..."

Anthony nodded in agreement, and then gasped as the group walked into the main area where the Workerbots were recharging.

"We found them..." Amy said, looking at several of them and shuddering a bit.

"We'd better get to work then," Anthony said. "Jenna, Lars, Amy...concentrate using your Telepathic ability and focus on the Workerbots. You should be able to sense their real selves within those metal shells. Once you find them...use your powers to strengthen the real minds so they will shut out the programming."

The three of them nodded, and all four of the psions began to concentrate as Lupe watched.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The rest of the group were having no problem going through the Swatbots. As they moved through the factory complex, scrap parts could be seen littering the halls as more of the Swatbots fell.

Vegeta was not pleased. "I was expecting a challenge of some kind...but these bots are acting as complacent as Kakkarot!"

Peach, after felling another Swatbot with a lightning bolt, was quick to agree. "I know...it's almost as if these bots aren't even working at top condition."

"Maybe the others will find out what's going on," Zelda said, as she used the twin blades of the bladebow to finish off the last of the Swatbots in their immediate area.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Neo-Earth bots, Tenchi, and Sailor Moon finally made it to the main area of the factory, and were looking over the area. Inactive, the factory almost looked like it hadn't been used for months. At the present, Protoman was trying to hack into one of the computers.

"Ugh...I wish we had Izzy, Amy, or Washu here..." Protoman remarked. "This computer is tough to crack."

Megaman and Bass were looking over towards an area where several of the weapons that were being made were kept. Bass picked one of them up and fired it towards the wall, causing it to be covered in a thick goo.

"This must be that Megamuck Sonic told us about," Megaman said. "Strange...but it looks different from how they described it..."

Bass nodded in agreement, and then noticed several sheets of some organic material hanging up near the weapons cache. "Strange...why would they have sheets of leather here?"

"To test the weapons?" Megaman said.

Bass then looked at the weapon he was holding and said," I wonder..." He then fired it at one of the sheets causing the goo to cover it. The two bots then got the shock of their life as the goo not only stuck to the leather...but started to dissolve it.

Tenchi couldn't help but notice this as he was keeping watch. "Oh...YUCK!!! Acid Megamuck?!?"

"To dissolve a Freedom Fighter slowly while they try to escape," Megaman said. "Sounds like this was one of Packbell's ideas."

"It was..." Protoman said, approaching the group, "...and I just discovered something else about this place."

The four of them listed attentively as Protoman showed them something on the computer...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a couple of hours, the entire group of Workerbots were out of their programming and thanking the four psions. Anthony was currently busy trying to get their attention.

"Alright, if I can have your attention..." Anthony said. "You may be free of your programming now, but you are all still in danger. We need to get you out of here before the sentries close off their escape."

As Anthony led the group out, they were soon approached by the rest of the Heroes Council. Vegeta looked disappointed and the rest of the group looked like they had hardly broken a sweat.

Link was the first to speak. "Anthony...you are NOT going to believe this. We're in a ghost factory."

"Huh?" Anthony said, confused as to what Link was talking about.

"I checked the records on this place, Anthony," Protoman said. "The records were last updated about the same time as the final battle against Robotnik. Apparently, this factory was abandoned and everything was running on automatic."

"Dang..." Lars said, surprised. "What about the weapon being made?"

"That's the disgusting part," Sailor Moon said. "They were making a variation of the Megamuck that slowly dissolves the body with a weak acid as the victim tries to struggle. A slow death..."

Several of the now freed Workerbots began to shudder, and some even wanted to cry if they were physically able to. Lupe then spoke up, "At least Robotnik never got a chance to use them." Lupe then turned towards Anthony and said, "Gamemaster, I cannot thank you enough...for..." Suddenly, she lurched forward and Anthony had to catch her again.

"The toxins!" Anthony said, and then tried to use Purge on Lupe again. However, Lupe did not stir this time.

Lupe, weak from the toxins, looked up as several of the group were trying to get her into the transport that Megaman just got. Sonic was busy yelling at her. "Lupe! Come on...snap out of it! Lupe! Lupe!!!"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Lupe...can you hear me?"

Lupe opened her eyes, and found herself lying down in a hospital bed. A quick look at herself revealed that she was now back to gray fur and flesh instead of metal. She then turned towards where she heard the voice and found Charles Hedgehog watching over her. She also noticed several others in the room...namely Canus, Leeta, Lyco, Reynard, Diablo, Aerial, and Athena, the other members of the Wolf Pack.

"My friends..." Lupe said, starting to tear up. "It's good to see you again..."

Canus stepped forward and drew Lupe into a light hug, nearly covering her in his large frame. The other members of the Pack also took their turns embracing their leader...with Leeta, Aerial, and Athena joining Lupe in tears of joy. Diablo even did something the Pack had never seen him do...smile.

"You're free to go anytime, Lupe," Charles said as soon as the Pack dispersed from her bedside. "You're free of the toxins and show no residual effects."

"Good..." Lupe said, and got up from the bed. "There's something I need to do."

As she left the hospital with the other Wolf Pack members in tow, she found Sally walking towards her. The two embraced like sisters upon meeting.

"It's good to have you back, Lupe," Sally said. "You can't believe how the rest of us were worried about what happened to you."

"I can only just imagine..." Lupe said. "Princess...have you seen the Gamemaster anywhere? I need to speak with him..."

Sally looked towards the ground sadly and said, "I don't know. While you were recovering, we had found some Workerbots who didn't make it in time and held a burial in their honor. After the burial...Anthony walked off, saying he needed to do something."

Lupe began to ponder this, and then spoke up. "Perhaps, I know where he is..."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anthony was once again in the same forest where he had found Lupe. His mood...even worse than before. Just as Alec's condition had hit him hard, seeing yet another group of Mobians that needed to be buried and have their names added to the Knothole Monument hit him even harder.

At the present, he was sitting down and not holding back the tears that were running down his cheeks. He waited until he was alone to do so, since he wanted to be strong during the burial so the already somber mood wasn't worsened. Seeing more innocent get hurt, something he hated seeing in any form, made it difficult to do so.

As he continued to cry silently, his ears picked up the sound of someone approaching where he was sitting, and he quickly wiped away his tears. He looked up and saw Lupe walking up to him.

"Lupe," Anthony said, trying to regain his composure. "What are you doing back here?"

"Looking for you," she said, "since I never got a chance to properly thank you for saving me and all the others...as well as for reuniting me with the rest of the Wolf Pack."

Anthony looked down towards the ground and said, "You're welcome...but right now I don't feel like I deserve it. Seeing all those we didn't save..."

Lupe sat down across from Anthony and looked straight at him. "I understand, Gamemaster..."

"Please, call me Anthony..." Anthony said. "Right now I'm trying to forget my title..."

Lupe nodded. "Anthony then...I understand how you are feeling. No one wants to see anyone suffer..."

Anthony nodded and continued to look at the ground. Lupe then stood up and took Anthony by the arm. "Anthony, come with me..."

Anthony, curious by what Lupe wanted, stood up and followed her. The moon was beginning to rise as the two of them approached a rock outcropping that was near a clearing. Lupe then ascended the outcropping, and then cried a sad howl towards the moon similar to the one he had heard before finding her in her roboticized state.

Anthony was curious as to why she had done this, though he suspected she was trying to tap into her animal self in some way. After a while, Lupe then returned to Anthony.

"Amongst my people, we howl at the moon much like the wolves of your Earth do," Lupe explained. "It is our way of remembering those that came before, and who died in battle to protect the rest of us. It also allows us to deal with the grief of losing ones close to us."

"I see..." Anthony said. "But...what does this have to do with me?"

"Like myself, you have seen much grief and could use a way to release some of that grief," Lupe said. "Howl with me..."

Anthony gave Lupe a strange look and said, "Lupe...I'm hardly a wolf..."

"Perhaps not..." Lupe said. "But there is still a warrior's spirit within you, crying out for those who you saw buried not that long ago." She then motioned Anthony towards the outcropping and said, "...and it will do you no good to keep those feelings inside."

Anthony walked with Lupe towards the end of the outcropping and pondered Lupe's words. He then thought of the people who had died on Mobius...not just those that were recently buried, but the other names he had seen on the Knothole Monument.

Soon...two howls could be heard echoing through the woods...

THE END

Comments? Suggestions? Flames? E-mail me at baultaw@usfamily.net. Go easy on me though...my knowledge of the Wolf Pack is sorely lacking!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

COMING UP NEXT...

Recent events cause Anthony to be in desperate need of a vacation, and Sonic suggests a trip to Station Square in the South Island region. But...it turns out to be anything BUT a vacation when GUN gets involved in something that nearly hurts some of Sonic's friends!

Get ready for Sonic Adventure...Arcadia style!

Sonic Adventure - The Arcadian Adventure...coming soon to the Sonic section!