"Artifact" is the thirteenth episode of the Sonic Underground television series. It first aired on 17 February 1999 in France and on 15 September 1999 in the United States. It was included in Volume 1 and Band on the Run.
The song performed in this episode is "You Can't Own Everything".
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Manic the Hedgehog
- Sonia the Hedgehog
- Doctor Robotnik
- Queen Aleena
- Various party guests (including a woman who socializes with Bartleby, a lion who bids in the auction, and the apparently inferior Miffy Squinkington) (Only appearance)
- The Professor (Only appearance)
- Vince (Only appearance)
Doctor Robotnik is hosting a party for the aristocrats of Robotropolis, where he is about to make an important announcement that could mean trouble for the Resistance. Accordingly, Sonic, Manic and Sonia are conducting espionage by dressing as waiters and offering hors d'oeuvres to the party guests. After a while, Robotnik appears and explains the reason why he has invited (or rather ordered) the guests to this party: he's just discovered that the legendary lost city of Mobupinchu really exists! Robotnik has brought with him a pair of old-looking objects, which he claims are priceless artifacts that he recovered from Mobupinchu. He then begins an auction to sell the artifacts as a fundraiser for building more Swatbots, setting the opening bid at a massive 100,000 Mobium. Sonic, Manic and Sonia are disgusted that Robotnik is looting Mobupinchu's treasure just so he can generate cash for his own cause. Sonic then trashes the place and sends the guests running. Robotnik commands some Swatbots to stop them, but the hedgehogs seize both of the artifacts and escape the building by parachute.
At his base, Robotnik orders Sleet and Dingo to destroy the hedgehogs and bring back the artifacts they stole, while Robotnik himself goes to Mobupinchu to supervise an archaeological operation to find the true city. Back in Robotropolis, the hedgehogs realize that they must locate Mobupinchu in order to foil Robotnik's raiding schemes. Sonia decides to visit the Professor at Mobius University to see if he can glean anything from the missile-shaped artifact she grabbed. Sonic joins her, but Manic waits behind, intent on trading the orb-shaped artifact he concealed in his fanny pack for money to fund the Resistance. At Mobius University, the Professor uses the Gamma Spectrum Analyzer to examine Sonia's artifact. To their surprise, the artifact is not from Mobupinchu; it's a bomb from a war that took place only 500 years ago! This is clearly an answer that Robotnik wouldn't want to hear, so his experts deliberately gave him misinformation. Meanwhile, Manic convenes with a shady salesman called Vince, who buys his orb for 2,000 Mobiums. Wondering what's inside, Vince pushes a button on the orb and discovers that this artifact is also a bomb, and it will explode in 12 minutes!
Sonic and Sonia meet up with Manic to tell him the news about the artifacts, and Manic ruefully admits that he had taken Robotnik's orb and sold it to raise money for the Resistance. The hedgehogs now have to retrieve the orb before it detonates. Manic leads his siblings to Vince's cave and tries to purchase the orb back from him, but Vince has already sold it to an art lover. Vince selfishly declines to tell them who bought the orb, and in anger, Sonic spins him around very fast. Vince hurtles into a wall and falls down. Feeling threatened, he reveals that he had sold the orb to Bartleby. Vince was expecting to be paid for this information and becomes annoyed when the hedgehogs urgently dash off to Bartleby's mansion to get the orb back. He gets his retribution when he conspires with Sleet and Dingo and tells them the whereabouts of the orb in exchange for cash. Unfortunately for Vince, Sleet goes back on his promise and has him roboticized. At Bartleby's mansion, the hedgehogs are trying to convince Bartleby to hand over the orb when Sleet and Dingo burst in. They kidnap Bartleby and the orb and depart for Mobupinchu.
The hedgehogs follow Sleet and Dingo's trail through the mountains. At one point, Sonic finds a shortcut and whisks Manic and Sonia up a mountain, making the latter dizzy and nauseous. Manic then points out that they have entered the valley of Mobupinchu! Sleet and Dingo bring Bartleby before Robotnik, who is about to punish him for getting the orb cheap, when Sonic intervenes and snatches the orb. Everyone scrambles around to get their hands on it, and it ends up in Bartleby's lap. Suddenly, the orb makes a loud beeping noise - the bomb is about to explode! The hedgehogs get their instruments out and play her song as the bomb detonates. The explosion triggers several other bombs buried in the area, wrecking Robotnik's digging operation and forcing Robotnik, Sleet, Dingo and Bartleby to flee in panic.
After the performance, the hedgehogs find a tunnel and walk through it. And what should lie at the end of the tunnel but the real city of Mobupinchu! The amazed hedgehogs run into a treasury containing mounds of gold pieces and gemstones. Manic picks up a precious stone to keep for himself, but Sonic reproaches him, pointing out a "QA" symbol on the floor. These are the initials of Queen Aleena, their mother, indicating that she is guarding this treasure. The treasure belongs to all the people of Mobius, and it's the Resistance's job to keep it safe. Manic wishes their mother could have witnessed their victory over Robotnik, but Sonic feels certain she already knows about it. And indeed she does - she has been watching them from a cliff top all this time.
- When the timer on the orb is first seen (when Vince first activates it), there is only a minute and second display, but when the timer is seen the next time (when Bartleby is kidnapped), there is a third display which appears to measure centiseconds.
- This timer functions very oddly. At first, it counts down seconds as any ordinary timer would, but the next time it is seen, it counts down one centisecond followed by 99 centiseconds at a slower pace.