Wir sind Menschen is a fanfic by BearfootTruck. It follows a post-Sonic '06 Shadow after he witnesses a police shooting and tries to keep calm during the resulting unrest, only to literally take arms against his sea of troubles. Will he restore peace, or will his bloodlust consume him?
Shadow, Rouge and Omega are spending a day off going to the movies in Emerald City when they witness the aftermath of a police officer shooting a suspect during a traffic stop. It is later learned that the suspect in question – Ferdinand Rozmiarek, a human – was unarmed. This sparks a rash of protests across the Kingdom of Mobius, which has had incidents of human mistreatment at the hands of the police in the past.
At first, Shadow tries to remain neutral, especially since he's been so good at resisting violent impulses after the Soleanna Incident. However, when one of his favorite sideshow artists – a dancing traffic cop – gets fired after attending a pro-police rally, he finds it difficult to do so. Then, the last straw for Shadow comes when he sees a news story about a female wolf who was raped and the defendant is let off the hook despite solid evidence against him. He believes the defendant walked simply because he was a human, when in reality there was a bacterial contaminant in a DNA sample. Regardless, Shadow grabs a gun and begins to kill random criminals in the night.
In the meantime, Shadow meets a girl named Hope, who happens to be the niece of Dr. Robotnik. The two strike up a relationship with each other, and despite a rather rocky start, it goes very well. For the first time in his life, Shadow can safely say that he's happy rather than okay. There remains one problem: he has to try to juggle his relationship with Hope and his vigilante campaign.
Despite his best efforts, Shadow can't keep it together. One night, he encounters a group of humans who are beating any non-humans that cross their path to death. He shoots the humans down with a machine gun. The next day, he gets a rude shock when he sees images of parents of those very same humans crying. Furthermore, his efforts have inspired members of the non-human majority to form their own death squads dedicated to killing humans regardless of criminal activity or lack thereof.
From then on, he becomes grouchy, paranoid and cold. Nevertheless, he manages to save Sonic and his band's life when a bomb goes off at a concert they're attending at the Emerald City Palladium. Even so, Shadow's behavior comes to a head when he hits Hope during an argument, causing her to cry. He comes to regret his decision and apologizes to her. She accepts, but insists that he go into therapy, and coincidentally, Rouge has already set up a session for him.
At his first session, Shadow confesses to being the vigilante. This places his therapist into a quandary, but ultimately, he is able to convince her that he is sorry for his actions and wants no more of the pain. Even so, she schedules another session for him. Though he feels he hasn’t made much progress in therapy, he feels like a weight has been lifted off of him. Suddenly, Silver appears and warns Shadow that the future will be destroyed because of him. Shadow snaps, but Silver calms him down by telling him his story: the anti-human gangs eventually manage to destroy all humans, including Hope, who would have been a peace ambassador for the country. Seeing Mobius in turmoil, the Roseinians then decide to invade the country, prompting the Columbians to invade the Roseinian Empire, which leads to a full-scale war. Shadow believes Silver, but insists on ending it his way. He also comforts Silver, and later on, Sergeant Jim Stauerbach and Detective Hank Moroder of the Emerald City PD – who have been investigating the vigilante incidents – visit Rouge's mansion and search the premises for Shadow, but he evades them.
Having patched relations with Hope, Shadow goes out to lunch and for a walk with her to clear his head. Suddenly, they are accosted by a gang of humans from the Human Liberation Front, who accuse Hope of being a "race traitor". Then, one of the non-human death squads comes into play, threatening to start a violent gang war. This angers Shadow and prompts him to draw his gun. Because of this, Hope realizes that he is the vigilante and tries to get him to stop. After a brief argument and a round of gunfire from both gangs – which fails to destroy Shadow – he has a mental breakdown and goes on about how he was fed up with humans and non-humans treating each other like garbage, how Maria wanted him to give people a chance to be happy and how he feels that his efforts are for naught. Hope comforts Shadow, and the gangs relent. A photographer snaps a picture of Hope and Shadow together, and Rouge comes in to offer additional comfort.
When all is said and done, instead of being taken to jail or put to death, Shadow is allowed to make a speech on the matter, hoping to bring an end to the madness. In subsequent weeks, police shootings go down, and humans and non-humans alike soon learn to live in relative harmony. Nevertheless, Rouge expresses her disappointment in regards to Shadow taking the law into his own hands, and after a brief argument and hug, Shadow agrees to hand his .44 Magnum over to Rouge as well as allowing her to change the access code to the armory/firing range in her mansion. Nevertheless, he considers himself very lucky to know Rouge and Hope.
The Sonic cast is in Mobian History class at high school when Knuckles walks out simply because the teacher is a human. Sonic stops him and explains that there's no quick fix for racism, but that there are steps that can be taken to help stem it.
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Rouge the Bat
- E-123 Omega
- Hope Robotnik
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Black Doom
- Mephiles the Dark
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Amy Rose
- Sally Acorn
- Charmy Bee
- Espio the Chameleon
- Vector the Crocodile
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Blaze the Cat
- Sticks the Badger
- Comedy Chimp
- Maria Robotnik
- Officer Julius Ryan
- Jasper Geroux (disgruntled moviegoer)
- Officer Joseph Courtney
- Malia Roussev
- Kristine Blanchard (cashier at DGA)
- Lech Montgomery
- Gilbert Krysztof Adenauer
- Officer Cedric Long (officer at the scene of Adenauer's shooting)
- Hans Vestri (deli worker at DGA)
- Kelsea Cruz
- Delia Belo (mugging victim in Crown Park)
- Richard Wilton (first mugger in Crown Park)
- Beau Stroud (second mugger in Crown Park)
- Leonard Petrowski (third mugger in Crown Park)
- Martin Lupei (drunk witness)
- Saul Fields (motorman)
- Melvin Van Pey (hedgehog mugger on Emerald City Metro)
- Robert McClellan (human mugger on Emerald City Metro)
- Jessica Everett (screaming woman on Emerald City Metro)
- Officer Jacob Novotny (police officer who hears screams)
- Major Isaiah Tompkins
- Corporal Louisa Stafford (officer who says "oh my god!")
- Parisa Barta (bereaved parent at June Ave)
- E-23 Scorekeeper
- Raven Warshawsky (Five Guys cashier)
- Alex Kinsley (Five Guys cook)
- Apollo Ritter (janitor at Palladium)
- Sergeant Ted Gacy
- Corey Espino (attendant at disposal depot)
- Lillian Van der Laar (receptionist at Brookwood Behavioral Health)
- Lotte Sosa (mother at Brookwood Behavioral Health)
- Yuri Sosa (Lotte's son)
- Wilhelmina "Mina" Jackson
- Lou McFly
- Brooke Bradshaw
- Lara Croft
- Abdul Sharma (referee at arm wrestling match)
- Steve Tomlinson (HLF leader)
- Earl Stevenson
- Glen Perry (MPDF leader)
- Dan Slaine (Glen's cohort)
- ECPD officers
- ECFD firefighters
- MSHS paramedics
- Human protesters
- RMC Constables
- HLF members
- MPDF members
- Ferdinand Rozmiarek
- Reginald "Reg" Grindle
- Detective Sergeant Jim Stauerbach
- Detective Hank Moroder
- Chief Amanda Raine
- At 67,107 words (including author's notes, though Microsoft Word claims 63,342 words), this is thus far the longest of BearfootTruck's Sonic fanfics.
- This fanfic was originally started in September 2016. However, due to the encroaching presidential election at the time, not to mention difficulty with one portion of Chapter 2, BearfootTruck shelved it and didn’t pick it back up until the unrest over George Floyd's death.
- Based on the fact that Shadow gets his next therapy appointment on June 10, that it's two weeks from the Wednesday on which he had his first appointment in addition to how many days take place per chapter, the events of this story take place from Saturday, May 16 to Thursday, May 28.
- There are two references to A Clockwork Orange in this story. The first occurs with the first few lines ("There was him, that is Shadow the Hedgehog…"), and the second occurs when Shadow plays the March from Henry Purcell's "Music For the Funeral of Queen Mary" on his synthesizer.
- Julius Ryan – the dancing cop that Shadow, Rouge and Omega watch – is based on real life dancing cop Tony Lepore, who started doing a similar schtick in 1984 while working for the Providence Police Department. Like Ryan, Lepore was also fired for attending a pro-police rally after a Dunkin' Donuts employee wrote #blacklivesmatter on another officer's coffee cup.
- Though Malia Roussev is shown in the story, she is not the only founder of Human Lives Matter. The other two are Calliope MacEntire and Bertha Sedlak.
- Shadow's "happy place" is a reference to the song "Listen to the Music" by The Doobie Brothers.
- Shadow's line "feel my power" is a reference to his victory quote from Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity.
- Wolfen is a real movie. Released in 1981 and based on the 1978 novel The Wolfen by Whitley Strieber, it tells the story of two NYPD detectives who investigate some mysterious killings.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to feature Black Doom.
- Plutonium cyanide is fictional, and Shadow's use of it in his .44 Magnum bullets is a reference to Chief Martin Brody filling hollow point bullets with sodium cyanide in Jaws 2.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to mention that Shadow prefers Federal-brand ammo.
- Shadow's phone number is not only a reference to the "ideal" female measurements, but also to the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap".
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to depict Shadow with a Pontiac Trans Am, though one was mentioned in the story "A Friend's Day of Remembrance".
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to feature Hope, who originated in the Archie Sonic comics.
- The name of Shadow's ARP Odyssey is a reference to Karen Strassman, the current voice actress for Rouge.
- Shadow asking Leonard Petrowski if he believes in God is a reference to Death Wish II.
- Stauerbach's questioning of Martin Lupei is another Death Wish reference.
- There are two TV series named Police Surgeon. One aired in the UK in 1960 and starred Ian Hendry as Dr. Geoffrey Brent. The second – and perhaps more famous – is a Canadian TV series that aired from 1971-1974 and starred Sam Groom as Dr. Simon Locke, who solved crimes that required medical knowledge. The one Hope tuned into was the Canadian one.
- Another Death Wish reference occurs when Shadow rides the Emerald City Metro. This was paralleled in 1984 when Bernhard Goetz shot four men on the New York City subway and also in the 2019 film Joker.
- The briefing with Stauerbach was also inspired by Death Wish.
- Sonic swearing on his honor or his spines get chopped off and made into soup is a reference to Finding Nemo.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to mention Studio 91, a parody of Studio 54.
- The International Festival of Community is an homage to Woodstock.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to depict Shadow's face turning green when he blushes, which was inspired by a piece of fan art by DeviantArt user ADeadKing. Prior to this story, Shadow blushed red like other characters.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to show Shadow using an M16, though the rifle was mentioned in "You Can Choose".
- The scene of human protesters standing outside a burning gas station and beating up "furries" is a reference to a 2016 video from Facebook showing Black protesters in Milwaukee talking about beating up White people. Whether any White people were actually beaten up is unclear.
- Following Kyle Rittenhouse's shooting of three protesters in Kenosha on August 25, 2020, BearfootTruck added disclaimers to Chapters 8 and 10 discouraging the shooting of unarmed protesters. Ironically, the chapter where Shadow commits the machine gun attack was released before that incident, and Kyle Rittenhouse's attack was committed with a civilian-grade AR-15-type rifle as opposed to a fully-automatic M16.
- Hope's use of the name "Mr. Atlas" to refer to Shadow is a reference to Charles Atlas – real name Angelo Siciliano – an Italian-American bodybuilder who popularized the "Dynamic Tension" method of bodybuilding, which was immortalized in a series of print ads from the 1930s-1940s.
- Shadow talking about how Dr. Robotnik became evil is a reference to the various backstories that the Doctor has had over the years.
- "Condor" is the name for one of several available paintjobs for the Kenworth K100 cabover, the earliest evidence of it being available is the 1977 Kenworth paint book.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to feature the Royal Mobian Constabulary. The word "constable" was first mentioned in "Rivals in Mourning", but the agency was not explicitly named then.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to depict Shadow as being fluent in German. In his conversation, he mentions that Rouge's first language was French.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to mention the fictional show Cherry Bombs.
- There were indeed a few comics based on Don Pendleton's The Executioner books. However, no such company known as General Print & Publishing has ever existed.
- Mephiles' lines about getting "lulz" and how it's a corruption of "LOL" is a reference to an infamous 2007 news report by Los Angeles Fox News affiliate KTTV on the hacktivist group Anonymous.
- This is the first of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to feature Sticks the Badger and Comedy Chimp…or any Sonic Boom characters, for that matter.
- Comedy Chimp's speech is a reference to The Blues Brothers' cover of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love".
- In order, Sonic and the Diesel Cats' full song list is as follows (band names, albums and labels in parentheses):
- "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" (Spinal Tap, from the 1984 soundtrack to the movie This Is Spinal Tap on Polydor Records. In-universe, it's from the 1974 album Intravenus de Milo on Megaphone Records)
- "Not Fragile" (Bachman-Turner Overdrive, from the 1974 album of the same name on Mercury Records)
- "Young Lust" (Pink Floyd, from the 1979 album The Wall on Columbia/CBS Records (US/Asia), Harvest Records (Europe/India))
- "Spaceship Superstar" (Prism, from their 1977 self-titled debut on GRT (Canada), Ariola America (rest of the world))
- "Photograph" (Def Leppard, from the 1983 album Pyromania on Mercury Records (US and Canada), Vertigo Records (rest of the world))
- "Rock Candy" (Montrose, from their 1973 self-titled debut on Warner Bros. Records)
- "Legs" (ZZ Top, from the 1983 album Eliminator on Warner Bros. Records)
- "Beatin’ the Odds" (Molly Hatchet, from the 1980 album of the same name on Epic Records)
- "Don’t Stop Believin'" (Journey, from the 1981 album Escape on Columbia Records (US), CBS (Europe))
- "Children of the Grave" (Black Sabbath, from the 1971 album Master of Reality on Warner Bros. Records (US and Canada), Vertigo Records (rest of the world))
- No such sport as "scraper drag racing" exists, nor does "extreme underwater crocheting". Auto polo, however, was a real sport that originated in 1902 with steam-powered Locomobile Runabouts, but really flourished in the 1910s-1920s with stripped-down Ford Model T chassis.
- Black Doom's line "IT’S GOOFY TIME!" is a reference to a famous comic from the webcomic series The Parking Lot Is Full depicting an abusive father wearing a Goofy mask about to whip his son with a belt.
- In real life, low-power paint-filled 40mm grenade rounds don't exist.
- This is thus far the only one of BearfootTruck's Sonic stories to feature two different characters with the same name, though one is only mentioned once and never actually appears.
- Of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands, Metallica is the only one whose music isn't mentioned, unless one counts Shadow humming "Blitzkrieg" on the Emerald City Metro, which would depend on whose version he had in mind at the time.
- However, Shadow makes a Metallica reference in Chapter 4, when he writes the lines from the chorus of "No Remorse" in his journal.
- One of the lines from "Children of the Grave" is an allusion to Silver's warning about nuclear war. The line in question is "must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear?"
- ESPN 8 Mobius is a reference to a fictional channel of ESPN called ESPN 8 "The Ocho", which was first mentioned in the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and was known for showcasing lesser-known sports such as lawnmower mud racing, soccer with a fiery ball and squirrel waterskiing.
- This is the first non-crossover Sonic story of BearfootTruck's to feature characters from other universes actually living in the Sonicverse.
- Shadow's mental breakdown was inspired by First Blood.
- Stauerbach's mention of Shadow having some "jolly little soirées" is a reference to the N64 game GoldenEye.