Veejay was on her usual rounds, patrolling the forest near her village in Downunda, for intruders. She preferred to patrol alone, because she worked best alone, and it gave her time to think.
She climbed up a tree trunk and put her hand to her forehead, she was bored, nothing really happened often enough out here anymore, maybe the occasional SWATbot that got lost, but nothing fun.
Down below Veejay's tree, Sally Acorn, Bunnie Rabbot, and Antoine D'Coolette came walking out from a couple of large plants, Veejay grinned wide,"Paydirt."
Antoine looked nervous as usual as per rumors of him being a chicken,"Mah Princess, I believe we are, how you say, up a creek without padding?"
Bunnie sighed,"A paddle, Antoine."
Sally looked at them both,"The SWATbot reports that Rotor received showed videos of Base with the Downunda Freedom Fighters."
Bunnie sighed,"They also showed him getting Roboticized, Sally."
Sally looked angry,"Well, for attacking my father, I think punishment of some kind is well deserved."
Veejay felt a familiar twinge of guilt in her stomach, Base had been roboticized trying to keep her from ending up there instead, Veejay's choice was made, time to act. She let go of the tree and plummeted towards the ground, when she got close she grabbed Sally's shoulders and heaved herself back, sending Sally through the air.
Sally caught herself in the air, spinning around and kicking off a tree, landing on her feet, she glared at Veejay,"You're the leader of the Downunda Freedom Fighters!"
Veejay glanced around, making sure Bunnie or Antoine didn't attack,"Well, you're just so observing aren't you? Stating the fucking obvious like that!"
Antoine spoke up,"Such a mouth of ze woman! Zat is not ze proper-"
WHAM! Veejay punched Antoine in his mouth, knocking him on his rear,"Yeah, well now your mouth ain't too proper either asshat!"
Bunnie got ready to advance on Veejay, Veejay spun around,"Try it, honey, and we'll test the elasticity of your asshole when I pop that shiny arm of yours off!"
Sally kicked Veejay hard in the back, sending her tumbling forward, Veejay stopped after stumbling, she didn't move. Sally poised at the ready, Bunnie too.
Veejay stood upright, exhaling,"Princess...I hope your health insurance in paid."
She spun around, fire in her eyes,"CAUSE YOU'RE SO FUCKING DEAD!"
Base had spent a week with the Nomads by now, after his introduction a week back, he had found himself under scrutiny by the majority of the Nomads, they'd been no fonder of the Crown than Veejay's Freedom Fighters. Base didn't mind, it was the ones looking for fights that concerned him.
During his introduction he had introduced himself to Veejay's young son Daviel as a knight, Veejay's husband James had questioned this, forcing Base to admit before his escape from Knothole captivity he had been knighted.
While the concept of a knight had sparked interest in young Daviel, as would the words "super hero" to any young boy, it sparked a cautious stance in James. The Knights of Acorn were a small group, not many at all, few had received the honor of being knighted; a soldier was a soldier, but a knight had gone above, and beyond the call for the crown. Base tried to assure him the only reason for this was because the King had forced him to do something horrendous, but James remained cautious, Daviel remained intrigued.
Base had spent his time there mostly getting to know Arlo the guard, a fellow Robian they had things to talk about. Base had taken to wearing his cloak full time to hide his arm and eye, shame pervaded him; Arlo said to wear his 'battle scars' with pride as he saved someone else from having to wear them.
Despite James' cautious stance, Daviel had begun following Base around, constantly questioning him and asking to hear stories of his adventures. Base tried to assure the child that he was just a foot soldier and nothing special, but somehow the child's intrigue reminded him of young Teirusu, a young fox boy who Base had saved from a facility Rey had. The boy was to be experimented on as Base had been, Base saved him and took him to Knothole. Not long after, Rey recaptured him, and when Base saw him again, he was older, far too older, accelerated, and trying to kill Base.
Arlo the Pangolin and young Daviel sat listening to Base's story as Daviel had managed to convince him to tell another one. This time, how he'd escaped Knothole.
"-the wonderous things about a firing squad is each member is forced to use a single shot rifle, so if they miss they have to reload. They fired, I dropped to the ground and raised my wrists, they all hit dead center where I was and hit the large metal bracers and broke them. I got up and ran into the forest and out of Knothole. My cousin Sonic chased me down, when he found me, he told me to keep going and he'd claim he never saw me."
Daviel's eyes were wide,"Woooooooow!"
Arlo checked his rifle for sand,"I suppose up there some people have some family values afterall."
Base sighed, leaning against the entrance to the underground bunker,"You want family values? The Princess was the one who wanted my head just about for attacking the King. No one believed me that the King's a traitor."
Arlo looked to Base,"First our land, now his own kind, I'm not surprised in the least. If he came down here we'd have the problem solved-" he raised his rifle looking down the sight,"-one shot, and they lived happily ever after."
Daviel blinked,"But we'd still have Robotnik to worry about."
Arlo looked to Daviel, then Base, then back to Daviel,"Well, if your 'uncle' Base's story is true, Robotnik's going through some intense physical therapy for the arm and both his legs that are now a couple of nubs."
Base grinned, a sort of sadistic grin, he'd taken pleasure in cutting Robotnik's arm and legs off as revenge for Mission. Daviel looked at Base,"So, what did you cut his limbs off with? I mean, your sword was broken!"
Base looked at Daviel,"Dumb fat bastard gave me a laser sword as a bargaining chip to convince me to work for him. The sad thing about a laser is that it burns the wound shut on contact, so while he was in pain, he didn't bleed."
Base looked to Arlo,"Which is why Arlo has to be a REALLY good shot, cause he's taking a risk. Bullets can cause lead poisoning, even bleeding out, Arlo has to have a direct killshot."
Arlo smirked at the praise and hit Base in the shoulder with the butt of his gun, a playful prod,"Yeah well the same doesn't apply for robots, jackass."
Base prodded him back,"Yeah, well you snipers need to be good at something, us frontliners don't like friendly fire."
Arlo stood up, and started walking off,"Well, I need to get back to my rounds, you keep feeding Daviel your crap."
Base crossed his arms under her cloak,"The day where one of you guys gets into a fight with me like some of you want to do, you'll see I'm not as full of crap as I claim...wait."
Arlo kept walking, laughing. Daviel was sitting, his cloak draped over him,"Unc, you're a knight, shouldn't you have a sword?"
Base stood up from where he was leaning against the entrance,"Well, my sword is broken, I don't know if I want to risk going to Vesuvio to reforge it, the dragon's homeland is where I could reforge it so it was practically new again."
Daviel dug around inside his cloak and pulled out a machete, it was about the length of Base's forearm, a little longer, it was in a tactical sheath, an odd handle on the end, wooden, the steel looked strong, it was a few pounds heavy.
Daviel smiled,"Knights need their blades. We got that a while back in a trade with some other nomads, it was made by Overlanders, so its really the only one like itself on our planet, there's more on Earth. Its really strong!"
Base stared at it,"Daviel, I can't-"
Daviel looked dissapointed,"But, you need it! I made sure it was okay with dad and everything!"
Base smiled at the child, lifting the blade from its sheath, the plastic inside the sheath that held the blade in place was bent, hugging the blade tightly, he'd have to find a new sheath. The blade almost seemed to glow in the sunlight.
"Thanks, Daviel." Base smiled.
Daviel smiled,"Also, I had a really cool idea how you can go back north without being spotted and discovered! Remember how you were saying that you were worried about everyone?"
Base looked back at the child,"Yes, I am worried about what havok the King is wreaking."
"I have a really cool idea!"
Base placed the sheath on his belt,"Show me."
Daviel smiled and hopped down off the rock he was on.
Princess Sally stood across from Veejay at a table, Veejay's fury still well visible on her face, Sally equally annoyed. Bunnie and Antoine stood behind her, Veejay had her Ant behind her, the less guards present to show she wasn't worried about the group.
Veejay growled,"What brings a group of Crown Polishers to my land?"
Sally crossed her arms,"I've come to negotiate-"
"Ha!" Veejay interrupted.
"-for Base Hedgehog's release into our custody."
Veejay leant on an arm,"So you can shoot him?"
"So he can be punished for being a traitor!" Sally spat back.
Bunnie clasped Sally's shoulder,"Sally-girl, don't getcher self all worked up."
Veejay smirked,"Yeeeeeah Princess, don't get all worked up now. We're negotiating, like civilized Mobians. Civilized Mobians who want me to release someone into their custody so they can kill the shit out of him."
Bunnie looked pained, Sally looked infuriated. Antoine spoke up,"I sink zere is ze massive misunderstandings!"
Ant the Cougar stepped forward next to Veejay,"Ze only understandings is zat you wish us to release Base into your custody so you may harms him."
Bunnie remained silent, she only had come to protect Sally, that was the obvious reason for her being there, from what Base had told Veejay about her, Base loved her, but kept her at arm's length, Veejay'd taken it easy on her in the brawl earlier as a result.
Sally sighed, and exhaled,"Listen, we've come to get Base. We know he's here, and I'm going to hunt him down if I have to! He assaulted my father and-!"
Veejay slammed her fist down on the table,"SHUT UP, WOMAN! I do not care if he attacked your traitorous asshole of a father! I do NOT care why you want him back at all! But it ain't gonna fucking happen while I'm in charge! You get me? You picking up what I'm putting down?! Base came here BROKEN cause your fucking dad took EVERYTHING from him! From his oldest friend to his fucking family! I ain't handing him over, I ain't even going to give you an autographed PHOTO! Get the fuck out of my land while I'm letting you leave in one piece!"
Sally growled,"What reason do you have to take pity on him?! What has he done down here that's got you so protective of him!? What? Are you sleeping with him?! I've heard the rumors about you!"
Ant stepped forward before Veejay could hop over the table,"Ze rumors of promiscuity of my commander are false rumors spread by a sore losing harebit without enough testicles to say zem to her face because she will smash eet in! Base came to us without ze home and saved ze commander from becoming a robot!"
Veejay silenced Ant,"I don't want you giving so much info away, Ant, I know you're pissed too. Base is not going anywhere. As far as I'm concerned, I'm adopting him into our little group as my brother, and the three of you can lick a porcupine's spiny arse. Get out of my land while I'm being nice."
Veejay stood up and walked out of the room,"You have until sundown to be over the border. Then I'll come for you myself."
Sally stood, dumbfounded, she'd let anger get the best of her, and she tried to use an unfounded rumor to rattle Veejay, a big mistake, and a big risk. She turned to the other two and started for the door,"We're leaving, he can't stay here forever, we'll get him eventually."
Bunnie spoke,"Sally-girl, can't we just-"
A tired argument, all the way to Downunda, was Bunnie trying to convince them to just listen to Base and investigate what his claims were. Of course, behind the Princess' back, her and Rotor had been doing just that. It was almost sundown, time to get going.
Veejay walked alongside Ant,"When is Base going to be back? I can't keep him protected when he's not here."
Ant looked ahead, coming down off the adrenaline of the anger,"I'm sure once he's done visiting the nomads he'll be-"
"Visiting WHO?!" Veejay stopped and said loudy.
Ant stopped in his tracks, his eyes went wide, realizing what he'd let slip,"Merde."
Base looked over the clothes Daviel had handed him,"So, this'll really let me slip around unnoticed?"
"If you're as sneaky and stuff as you claim, it should be cake!"
Base looked at the cloak he'd been given, identical to the one he already wore, but red, a crimson red,"So, if this idea of yours is going to work, kiddo, what should I call myself?"
Daviel smiled and struck a pose with his cloak,"The Red Rose!"
To Be Continued...