I studied my hair in the mirror. I had given up on my eyes already, which were redder than radishes, and surrounded by dark, sunken pits. Shades it was. My hair, on the other hand, could probably be salvaged in some manner, despite it desperately needing a trim. Still, I had dealt with worse. Sally Acorn arrived with my drink.
“I don’t understand” she said. “I have more hair than you yet I spend less time getting ready.”
“That, my dear Sally Acorn” I replied, taking and downing the drink, “is because you are a fucking squirrel. Now get me another.”
She walked off muttering as I slapped on some wax. She wouldn’t understand. I couldn’t appear in front of another human looking anything less than magnificent. Anything less would be beyond protocol. I checked my weapon and holstered it somewhere in my coat. The squirrel returned with my next drink.
“It’s bad enough” she wittered on, “that you’re taking us to meet the wicked dictator who’s tried more times than I can count to take over Mobius and enslave all the inhabitants.”
“Oh get over it” I laughed, polishing off my whisky. “As long as he gets me home he could be fucking Pol Pot for all I care. I mean, where I come from he wouldn’t be considered a dictator. He’d be considered a farmer!”
She didn’t understand.
“Oh get me another drink.”
“I think you’ve had too much. You’ll need to be on your toes around Robotnik. He’s a madman!”
“Pah. I’ve dealt with madmen before. Let’s see how he deals with a case of extreme sanity!”
I felt suddenly dizzy and had to sit down for a second. Sally fetched me some water and a Mars bar.
“Oooh, sorry, sorry about that. Blood sugar level. It’s all those spliffs as well. Jesus.”
My vision still had spots on it. On the spots were images of Sally Acorn’s rear end, bobbing and weaving across my line of sight. It looked like a rude version of the end of a Warner Brother’s cartoon, if, you know, Porky Pig decided to moon us.
“That’s all folks” I managed to say, before I passed out.
I came around horizontal. Normal, I concluded. Incredibly dry mouth, though. I turned to reach for a glass of water. Except I couldn’t turn; I was strapped down!
My vision cleared and I saw bright halogen lights; slightly septic smell in the air; a gentleman with a white coat.
Shit, I thought. This is it. I’ve died and now they’re operating. I’m clearly hopped up on drugs. They’re cutting me open. Maybe it’s good? Maybe they’ll take out the badness?
No! No, this couldn’t happen. I had to get home, not die in this world of fucking talking cows. That would be the final indignity. The ignominious end of…
I knew that voice.
I turned my neck as much as I could to reduce the glare from the lights. I saw a fat shape wobble into view, a broom-like moustache attached to a sausage-like nose.
“No!” I shouted, much to my shame. “Not him! Not the General!”
“The General?” the shape said, the hint of a toothy smile. “Never heard of him. No, Mr Rhodes, you remember me. The name’s Robotnik.”
I remembered! I had come here to do a deal and the fat bastard had dicked me. My head cleared as I resolved there and then to dick him right back. Except not literally, of course, because that would be gay.
“What’s going on, Robot-tits? I thought we had a deal?”
He came closer and I could feel the edge of his belly pressing against my trapped arm. It was warm and I began to perspire.
“Mr Rhodes. Grimer here tells me that you truly are human. This is most interesting.”
“Why would I lie?”
“I don’t know. That tricky hedgehog has tried all sorts to get close to me. I had to be sure.”
“Yes, I’ve met him. He’s a bastard. Now, seeing as we’ve got something in common how about you let me out, show me the way out of here and I’ll piss off. Capish?”
The fat bastard laughed, rubbing his hands. His assistant came and joined him, the man in the white coat. Although he was barely a man, with a green, toad-like face and cybernetic equipment running into his skull. My mind returned to Slippy and I felt that familiar red behind my eyes. All my enemies would die today.
“Do you want to know how I came here, Mr Rhodes? You see, like you, I too was from Earth. I was a scientist, known as Ovi Kintobor. I travelled far into space to perform an experiment too dangerous to conduct near the Earth. Centuries before a small boy, a young genius, had travelled here to this universe. He remained here, and no one in our dimension was ever able to replicate it. Until I came along.”
I was bored already. I just wanted to go home.
“So what, you did it, ended up here, changed your name to something equally stupid and then started eating lots?”
He looked taken aback.
“Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, Mr Rhodes…”
“Look, I don’t give a toss, Doctor Toblerone, or whatever the fucking hell your dickhead wanker fuckface name is. I just want to go home, so tell me how or let me out so I can fucking rape you and your green rent boy there with a fucking spanner.”
“Oh, Mr Rhodes…”
Robotnik strolled around the bed that I was strapped too, stroking my leg like a lecherous masseur. He raised an arm to the equipment behind him. It looked like something out of Metropolis, all steam and pistons and conveyor belts.
“…This construction is my Roboticizer®. It’s deceptively simple. As you can see, you place a living creature in here…”
Sally Acorn rolled into view, strapped to a table very much like mine. A set of what resembled jaws on the end of the machine snapped hungrily as the mechanised trolley took her closer.
“This is your fault, Rhodes!” she screamed. “You brought us here and now look!”
“Fuck off!” I replied. “I was passed out. You must have let them onto the ship!”
“The fucking ship let them on!” she screamed, edging ever closer.
The ship! Of course! Clearly my vessel had gone psychotic with lust for me, so much so that to kill any potential rivals it would even sacrifice me. I didn’t blame it one bit, but it was getting rather annoying now. Poor Sally fell into the machine’s jaws with a mechanised gulp.
Noise from the machine became louder and louder as something clanged and hissed. I thought I could hear screams, but maybe it was just my imagination.
“Now Mr Rhodes, as you can see” continued Robotnik, “the animal passes through here. This is where my patented secret procedure occurs. And now, within mere seconds…”
There was a belch from the end of the machine, and out popped a robotic crab, steam rising from it’s freshly minted steel plating. It clapped its claws quite comically and wiggled its boggly eyes. I couldn’t help but smile.
“Ah, it’s cute.”
“Cute, Mr Rhodes, and deadly. But enough talk, for now, you will find out first-hand just how deadly one of my robots can be.”
“Wait,” I said, as my trolley began moving me into position before the machine. “We had a deal! You can’t do this! I’m not a fucking animal!”
“Ha, ha! That’s the beauty, Mr Rhodes. In all my years of kidnapping these creatures and turning them into monstrosities, not once have I ever had the pleasure of transforming a human being! Ha, ha, ha!”
He was clearly mad. I doubted he even knew how to get me home. The jaws clamped over me.
The inside of the machine was surprisingly spacious. I had been decanted onto a conveyor belt and was rolling towards pitch blackness. Tendrils flared out from an indeterminable source and I felt nicks on my skin as syringes punctured me. This is it, I realised. I’ve seen Doctor Who. I’m gonna be a fucking Cyberman.
I felt a clang to my side; one of the tendrils had attempted to puncture my side but had instead hit something. What was it? My hip flask? No…
I remembered! My Machine! My Machine, better than this machine! I had brought along a portion of it, hoping to bargain with Robotnik. As its power drained into the Roboticizer® I felt my spirits rise. It was going to be alright.
Robotnik was waiting for me as I emerged. He was berating his assistant by strangling him.
“Why is it taking so long, Grimer!? What’s happening!?”
He turned towards me, dropping his assistant. His face said it all.
The Machine had rebuilt me. Better, faster, harder and stronger. I was no robot crab. I was encased in solid steel: Vulcan cannons built into my forearms, manufacturing their own ammunition from the firmament itself; shoulder-mounted pulse-cannons, their targeting computers linked to my brain; Jets built into my back and feet, capable of post-light speed by cannibalising dark matter and riding the expanding graviton wave; increased strength and agility; capable of out-running anything on land and able to process sensory input five-times faster than a normal human; better still, I could take it all off, which was good because I really needed a bath.
Robotnik stared at me, his many chins wobbling and gibbering like jelly at a children’s party. His assistant raised something that looked like a remote control towards me.
“Don’t worry master” he said, with a waver in his voice, “this remote control will shut him off!”
He pressed the buttons, but nothing happened. Of course it didn’t. I raised my right arm and sprayed him from head-to-toe with solid steel. What was left of him fell to the floor, a bloody mess. Robotnik began to cry.
I activated my signalling device and took control of every machine in Robotnik’s base. I dedicated all of their processors to working on finding me a way home. Every computer linked to this network would be researching a way to get me out of here.
“What have you done?”
“This base is mine. Everything that is yours is mine. Now…”
I lifted the fat shit with relative ease and placed him onto one of his robot trolleys. The straps grasped him automatically.
“No, please!” he wailed.
“Don’t worry Doctor Kinder-Egg, you’re not going in there” I thumbed at the machine behind me as I spoke through my Optimus-styled faceplate. “No, I have something much worse in mind for you.”
I felt something itchy at my back all of a sudden, and turned to see the little crab robot shooting little balls of light at me out of its claws. It didn’t hurt one bit. I sent a signal from my brain to its brain and pieces of armour began to fall away. Eventually, sitting in the remains, was a very confused Sally Acorn.
“Oh, fucking hell. What happened?”
“Never mind, love,” I said, “You’re free now. Now how about we get in my ship and get you home? I’ve got a couple of things I need to pick up.”
I picked her up and carried her out of the lab.
“What about me!?” said the fat shape of Robotnik.
“Wait here” I said. “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
We left him crying and wailing. No one would hear him and soon I would make good on my promise to dick every single one of my enemies (not literally), have a drink (literally) and fuck off home (literally, but I may stop off in a pub on the way).
We arrived back in the Green Hill Zone. I had had stern words with my ship about letting enemies inside, no matter how jealous she got. I reminded her that I didn’t really need her now since I got my snazzy suit of armour, so she’d better belt up or find herself in the fucking knacker’s yard. Or scrap yard, whatever.
Besides, we were going home. There was just one more thing to do first.
Sally had gone straight home to have a bath and get some sleep. I’ll probably go round there later before I fuck off, I thought. Might as well. But before I did that I had to find those bastards Sonic and Slippy.
I found them. In a park. Sonic was pushing Slippy on a swing, who was gurgling like a fucking idiot. I was sick just watching them. Sonic eventually stopped pushing him and vanished off. I thought I could take Slippy there and then, but there were too many prying eyes about. I engaged my cloak and hid in some bushes.
Sonic returned with a couple of ice cream cones, much to chubby Slippy’s delight. I felt bile rise in my stomach as he used his horrible tongue to polish off the cone in double-quick time.
After what felt like an age they began to leave. Now, I thought. I followed them down the path, still invisible, until we were well away from what passed for the general public on this twisted planet. Then I coughed.
“Oh, Mr Sonic, Mr Fat Bastard Toad!”
They both turned as I made myself visible again. I laughed at their incredulous expressions. Sonic’s turned to anger, even as Slippy’s turned to fear. I noticed him wetting himself.
“I don’t believe it!” Sonic said. “Robotnik got to you!”
I chuckled again and shot both of them in the knees. They cried in surprise, then in pain, and then in the sure knowledge that the next few hours were going to be the worst of their lives.
“Robotnik never got to me, Sonic old boy” I said, as I hefted them both under my arm and engaged my jets. “I got to him!”
I took off from terra firma as my bleeding hostages cried and shook.
“Don’t wiggle too much, Slippy old son. You wouldn’t want me to drop you!”
I gave him a squeeze which made him cry all the more. This was joy.
I aimed myself for Robotnik’s base and flew there just fast enough not to kill my captives. At least, not yet…
I glanced out from behind the curtain. The big top was filling up and the hubbub of conversation and excitement was giving me butterflies in my tummy. I steeled myself and straightened my top hat. The punters had paid enough and they were expecting a top class piece of entertainment. I had to deliver.
I glanced at my watch. The doors were now closed and it was time. The lights on stage dimmed and a drum roll began. A spot fell on the curtain and I swooped through, out into the glare. The audience erupted in applause and I smiled and waved back, drinking them in. This was going to be one hell of a show!
I bade them with mock modesty to be quiet, noticing Sally Acorn down near the front. I gave her a wink and she smiled coquettishly. Yes, I was well in there once again with the soused old cow.
The audience settled down, although were never quite silent, as I addressed them in a booming voice.
“Ladies and…well, creatures, of the Green Hill Zone. For too long this world has been racked by violence. Always conflict of some kind. Good versus Evil.
“But what I had to ask myself as an artist was, ‘are these absolutes’? I think all enlightened people would agree that the answer is a resounding ‘no’. But then, as an artist, I once again had to ask myself, what, assuming I had the power, would I do about it?”
I sensed I was losing them. Not the most intellectual bunch, these dull animals. I decided to draw things to a close.
“Now, you will see my results. I came to this world a visitor and saw hatred and violence, and this is my honest response. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…”
I pulled a curtain back and wheeled in a low-slung trolley on wheels bearing my creation. The audience gasped and several of the more sensitive members swooned and fainted. I could see Sally Acorn’s face contort into all sorts of shapes.
I wheeled my creation into the centre of the stage, the better that people might see it. The spotlight fell starkly upon it. I beamed.
I looked upon my own creation and felt joy. At the front was Sonic the Hedgehog. His eyes were droopy and I would have to administer a pick-me-up in a minute in order to get the creature performing. He was half-supported on his arms as the noise of the crowd and glare of the lights woke him up.
Something seemed to register in Sonic’s dulled brain as he stirred and turned towards his rear, where, stitched by the fat rubber lips directly to the ringpiece of his anus, was Slippy Toad. Slippy’s eyes were shut and covered with a sticky film. He seemed to have contracted some sort of disease and kept vomiting, which of course meant it went right up Sonic’s arse. There were what looked like tumours on Slippy’s webbed hands, so I refused to touch him.
Slippy was unable to turn, stitched as he was to Sonic’s arse, but if he could he would have seen the rear of the beast; sewn, moustache and all, directly to the anus of Slippy Toad, was that fat bastard Doctor Robotnik. He seemed to have the most life left out of all of them, and his arms constantly flailed. He had lost a perilous amount of weight, presumably because none of the food from Sonic was getting through Slippy before being ‘returned’. Still, there were streaks of shit in his moustache and around his eyes, which were always open and staring right at me. I laughed at him.
“You see, ladies and gentlemen, I have addressed the problems of your planet in one fell swoop, and done it through the medium of modern sculpture! As I am soon to leave this dimension and return home I leave this piece with you, and may you always remember me for it!”
The creature shifted and turned, its head groaning. A squirt of brown liquid trickled out of Robotnik’s arse and Slippy began to shake like he had palsy, vomitus dripping from his chin where it had been unable to enter Sonic. Sonic, for his part retched and heaved as solid chunks of green matter fell from his open mouth. The creature was an amazing success!
The crowd, those that hadn’t left, had begun to boo and jeer. I saw Sally Acorn and she seemed to be crying.
I didn’t give a shit. I was going home!