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Overlander scientist and developer of manufactured Power Rings. Born many years before the Great War began, he rose to prominence among his own people but was cast out after his work caused a devastating explosion.
The exiled Nate made his way to Mobotropolis, where he befriended King Frederick Acorn. Becoming a member of the royal court of the Kingdom of Acorn, Nate helped the people revolutionize their technology through his Power Rings, which became Mobius' fifth element. However, wizard Ixis Naugus and Warlord Kodos conspired against Nate, framing him for the deaths of their fellow Mobians and forcing Nate to depart once again.
He eventually settled in the Southern Tundra of Mobius with Eddy the Yeti, residing in a castle they had built together for years until Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower arrived in pursuit of Naugus. After the ensuing battle, Nate accompanied his new friends back to Knothole, where he became once again a faithful ally of the House of Acorn. In the end, Nate was among the Overlanders who were subjected to Roboticization by Dr. Eggman, and presumably perished in the nuclear bombardment on Robotropolis.
Early Life and First Exile
Many years before the rise of Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Nate Morgan was a geochemist working in the heart of Megapolis, the capital city of the Overland. He was amongst those involved in the Heritage Project, attempting to establish relations with the United Federation. Leading an underground team of scientists, he pioneered the development of Power Rings as an alternative to the pollution causing fossil fuels. Upon reaching a point where the new energy was ready for testing, Nate felt tempted to wait until everything had been checked out, but went ahead with encouragement from his treacherous assistant Julian Kintobor, who would later become Dr. Robotnik. The result was an explosion that caused major damage to Megapolis and found Nate before his people on trial. Due to the absence of life lost, the Overlander leaders were lenient and allowed Nate to live freely, but banished him from their society forever. (StH: #65, CSE)
Crossing the brutal Badlands, Nate arrived on the edges of the Kingdom of Acorn expecting to die either from the strain of his travels or by the hands of the Mobians. However, as luck would have it, Nate ran into King Frederick Acorn, who took pity on him despite the fears of his royal guard. Invited to stay at Castle Acorn, Nate found himself at peace in a new way of life, content in the pre-industrial Kingdom and happy as the adopted uncle of Frederick's son Maximillian Acorn. He soon began pursuing his energy research once again, this time aided by a powerful Chaos Emerald that allowed him to stabilize the Power Rings as he never had before. With this clean alternative to fossil fuels, the Kingdom of Acorn leaped forward into the technological age that was commemorated with the construction of Mobotropolis. Nate was hailed as a hero, and was honored as a member of the Court of Acorn. (StH: #65)
Sadly, Nate's years of happiness came to a rather unpleasant end, though he did pass along some of his knowledge to one Sir Charles Hedgehog and his brother Jules Hedgehog, who grew up to be uncle and father to Sonic the Hedgehog. Due to the threat Nate's technology posed to the standing of magic, wizard Ixis Naugus vehemently opposed Nate, and soon enlisted Warlord Kodos as his ally in turning the Kingdom against the Overlanders. Arranging a battle between a party of Overlanders and a platoon of Mobians accompanying Nate and led by Kodos, the two accused Nate of revealing the Kingdom's location. Seeing the torment suffered by his adoptive nephew Max due to the controversy, Nate chose to go into exile himself, feeling that it was time that he should be apart from Overlanders and Mobians both.
On his way out of the Kingdom, he stumbled into an underground cavern that would later become Freedom HQ, passed through the valley that would later hold Knothole, and deposited his Ring Forge - the device that generated Power Rings - into the future Lake of Rings, in the hopes that it would never be found by any who would misuse it. During his travels, he entered the Great Rainforest and found a Super Emerald inside the Lost Temple of Shazamazon which he used to make the Ring of Acorns and left in the emerald's place. Eventually arriving in the Southern Tundra, Nate came across an injured Yeti, one of a handful of Mutate species born during the Days of Fury centuries past. Despite his resolve to have nothing to do with other living beings again, Nate took pity on the injured being and rescued him, helping him to recover by granting him cybernetic implants to replace lost or damaged body parts. Giving his friend the name Eddy, Nate worked with him to build a castle where they lived for many years, isolated from the rest of the world. (StH: #65)
Reunion with Naugus
Nate's past came back to haunt him when Eddy returned to their castle one day with Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails in tow, both of them unconscious after a battle with Ixis Naugus earlier. Nate recognized that the two young Mobians could not be responsible for the disturbance, and so was ready to examine them for injuries when they awoke. Momentarily startled by Sonic's resemblance to his father Jules, Nate received another unpleasant surprise when Naugus materialized, having snuck into the castle by hiding inside Eddy's flame-thrower weapon. Naugus attempted to pass himself off as an innocent, stalked by Sonic and Tails across the planet before being captured by Eddy, but Nate was quick to see through his old enemy's ruse. As his new guests and Eddy were attacked by Naugus, Nate acted quickly and tricked Naugus into exiting the castle in pursuit of a holographic Power Ring, forcing Naugus to confront the fortress' many magical wards. With the reprieve, he introduced himself and Eddy to the young Freedom Fighters, telling his life story in the process. He then revealed the reason why Naugus wished to penetrate his fortress in the first place: a huge cache of Power Rings, enough to give Naugus total control over the fifth element and enable him to fuse Mobius with the Zone of Silence, granting him omnipotence. Sonic had his own wishes for Nate's Rings, but Nate had no interest in participating in continued warfare, having long forsaken the Kingdom of Acorn. The Hedgehog tried to goad Nate by asking him why he refused to become a hero and make a difference as he had done in the past, but the world-weary Nate bitterly replied that it had always failed before. (StH: #64, #65, #66)
Political and ethical debate ceased as Ixis Naugus penetrated the Power Ring storehouse, intent on claiming his prize. He caused a cave-in which seemingly buried Sonic and Tails, but Nate and Eddy soon found themselves witness to a battle between Ultra Naugus, Ultra Sonic, and Hyper Tails, all of them infused with seemingly unlimited power from the Rings they had absorbed. Protesting Naugus' rampage, Nate found himself blown away, only to be rescued by Tails just as the Fox and Sonic powered down. Falling unconscious in exhaustion due to the strain of using the rings, Sonic and Tails were unable to act as Naugus opened a portal to the Zone of Silence, intent on fusing it together with Mobius and making his power truly unlimited. Before completing his task, though, Naugus swooped in on Nate, intent on finishing him off-only to be blasted back into the Zone of Silence by a Power Ring hidden behind the special eyepiece attached to Nate's glasses. The effects of the battle soon tore the castle apart, and Eddy valiantly held up the crumbling structure as Nate carried Sonic and Tails to safety. Unfortunately, Eddy himself didn't survive, as the castle crushed him in its death throes. With nowhere else to go and a renewed desire for company, Nate agreed to return to Mobotropolis with his two new friends. (StH: #65, #66)
Return to Mobotropolis and Life in Knothole
Heading back to the reclaimed Mobotropolis, Sonic and Tails's plane was running out of energy, whereupon Nate suggested a single stop before returning to the Kingdom of Acorn: a landing in the Great Rainforest, specifically the Lost Temple of Shazmazon, to recover the Ring of Acorns which he left there years ago. With the artifact retrieved, Nate at last returned to his old home, only to find the city under attack by Dr. Eggman's satellites. (StH: #67)
Following the unsettling bombardment of asteroids, Nate was introduced to the other members of the Knothole Freedom Fighters, having entered the city in disguise. Resuming his concealment, he was in attendance in Castle Acorn's throne room as Max's son Elias Acorn made his official return to the city, having been absent for his entire childhood and thought dead. Apparently as surprised as the Freedom Fighters, Nate was caught off guard when Royal Secret Service leader Geoffrey St. John pulled off his hood. Holding strong anti-Overlander sentiments due to the role of Overlanders in the death of his father Ian St. John, Geoffrey immediately accused Nate of being an assassin, only to have him vouched for by none other than King Max himself. Overjoyed to see his honorary uncle, Max welcomed Nate with open arms, and Nate at last found himself feeling at home again. The Freedom Fighters were also quick to extend comradery and friendship to the Overlander despite Nate's own misgivings and fears of persecution. His worries proved well-founded when his presence caused some unwanted attention while at the Deer John's juice bar, but fortunately the prejudice was minimal; the real problem was when an assembly of villains-Nack the Weasel, the Destructix, Uma Arachnis, and even Kodos-arrived to abduct Nate in behalf of their new leader, Snively Kintobor. (StH: #68, #69)
Taken prisoner and brought to Snively's base on Big Kahuna Island, Nate nevertheless refused stubbornly to provide the assembly of criminals with any of his technical knowledge. Even Kodos' threats failed to phase him, and Nate was bravely facing execution when the Secret Service, Sonic, and Elias broke into the fortress to rescue him. With Kodos and Arachnis on the run and the other villains imprisoned, Nate was able to return safely to Mobotropolis with his rescuers. (StH: #70)
His expertise-and the Super Emerald he had discovered in his travels-came in handy to save both Mobotropolis and Knothole from a temporal crisis caused by Eggman's satellites and Knothole's unique status of being three hours ahead of the rest of the planet due to being hit by the Ultimate Annihilator weapon. Nate was then amongst the many who witnessed Eggman's broadcast through the Kingdom's new communication system-which he himself had helped Rotor Walrus develop-in which Nate's own brief history with Robotnik was mentioned. (StH: #71, #72)
When the Robians were abducted by Eggman, Nate helped the Freedom Fighters travel to his satellites in hopes of liberating them by overhauling an old space shuttle. He also offered words of comfort to Amy Rose a fan of Sonic's who was worried at seeing her hero go off into danger. Together with the rest of Mobotropolis' inhabitants, he was then forced to flee as Eggman's Shadowbots invaded the city to reclaim it, but not before he and Amy were able to save John and Jane Doe from capture. Following the invasion, it was discovered that Bunnie Rabbot's roboticized limbs were becoming toxic to the remaining organic parts of her body and slowing being rejected, putting her life in danger. With her permission, Nate replaced them with a new set of more streamlined prostheses which she has used ever since, saving her while at the same time removing any chance of being deroboticized. (StH: #73, #74, #75, SSS: #11)
When Dr. Eggman began assembling his resources to empower the elemental known as Chaos, Nate was called upon to lead the Freedom Fighters to the Hidden City of the Ancients, a colony of humans he had come across in his travels and which he had learned was in danger after hacking into Eggman's computer network. The Overlander scientist enjoyed a tour of the city with his friends, and then assisted Sally in negotiating with the mayor. When Perfect Chaos attacked, Nate valiantly joined the rescue efforts, helping children to escape from the disaster area much of the city was reduced to as a result of the creature's rampage. Later, after Sonic defeated Silver Sonic II, Nate rebuilt and reprogrammed him to protect the city from any future assaults by Eggman. (StH: #80, #81, #82, #83, #84, #85)
Upon returning to Knothole, he was forced to watch as Max led a foolhardy attack on Robotropolis that resulted in his becoming paralysed, and then as the inexperienced Elias took the throne in his place and immediately made the mistake of making Geoffrey St. John his adviser, resulting in tension between the Kingdom and the Freedom Fighters as Sonic was prohibited from leaving Knothole. Distancing himself from politics, Nate took a job at Knothole High School, where he became a physics teacher for the Freedom Fighters and other young citizens of the Kingdom. (StH: #93, #94)
Later, after deciphering a message from his old student Sir Charles, who had discovered that the Sword of Acorns had been stolen from Eggman by Uma Arachnis, Nate reported it to Elias and learned that the Overlanders, returned to Mobius after years in space, were now living in Robotropolis. The rampage of an insane Kodos did little to alleviate tensions in the matter, and Nate became determined to save his people-not only from Eggman's machinations, but from the poisonous radioactive pollution of the city which had already affected Kodos. (StH: #97, #99)
Infiltrating the city, he was captured by Shadowbots and taken to Eggman, who questioned Nate about the mysteriously immobilized state of Roboticized Overlanders. Saved by Charles and Sonic's dog Muttski, Nate fled briefly before running into Sonic. At the same time, Princess Sally Acorn used the Sword of Acorns, which she reclaimed from Kodos after he was driven insane by Robotropolis' pollution, to release the Robians from Eggman's control and restore their free will. Realizing that his friends and benefactors couldn't escape while the forcefield preventing entry and escape from Robotropolis was up, Nate infiltrated the field control center and took it out, enabling his friends to escape. Unfortunately, Nate paid the price for his brave act as he was roboticized by Eggman. (StH: #100)
His last fully organic appearance occurred when the present was changed due to alterations made to the past by Knuckles the Echidna in his Chaos Knuckles form, which were soon reversed. Nate remained long enough to remark that the sudden shifts between various versions of the present were too short-lived to be caused by Eggman, who never would have attempted such a thing unless he knew it would benefit him. Nate's fate was later discovered by Sonic when he returned to the city to warn the Overlanders of the toxic radiation poisoning. When Robotropolis was destroyed by a nuclear strike from Station Square's O.T.I.S. defense program, the roboticized and immobilized Nate perished in the blast. (StH: #101, #105, #110)
Nate was an intellectual who wanted to help others through his research, and one whose sensitivity often led him to make wrong decisions. He described himself as a "scientist who followed his heart instead of his head," something that had gotten him into trouble but that had also benefited him. Despite his vows at times to leave the rest of the world to its fate and not get involved, he has intervened time and again to help others. Even with the suffering they had put him through, he also remained devoted to his Overlander brethren and the Mobians, putting his own life on the line to save them right up until the end.
- Originally, former writer Karl Bollers, despite considering Nate Morgan to be one of his least favourite characters, had "plans for the ol' geezer" to be put to better use. (1) Karl intended for Nate to be brought back into the storyline as a second tier villain for a story arc named "Metal Madness" meant for issue 150. Miraculously surviving Robotropolis' destruction, the Bem would have deroboticized Nate only for the scientist to be rendered amnesiac as an unwanted side effect of the process. Wandering Mobius with no memories of his life, Nate would have been manipulated by the Badnik Coconuts into building a new Metal Sonic, Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles and Metal Amy by sending them to attack both Knothole and New Megaopolis. With the absence of all the four heroes everyone will mistakenly believe they are the roboticized versions of them. But this plot never came to pass as Bollers left the comic soon after. (2)
- Current writer Ian Flynn stated in a Q&A that Nate is considered dead. Additionally, the team of robots Nate was to create in this storyline were later created by Dr. Eggman in support of his Dark Egg Legion. Given the post Worlds Collide reboot, it is unlikely that the character will ever appear again.
- Although most fans are unaware, Nate was originally a scrapped character from the Sonic the Hedgehog/SATam cartoon series, as found in the series' bible. Nate's appearance is described much differently being a tall, ancient black man with a toothy smile, a gnarled cane and had a pet parrot that once served as the environmental adviser to King Acorn. While ultimately not making it to the final version of the cartoon, Nate was eventually redesigned and retooled as a scientist for the comic series after comic staff had discovered his existence in the bible. It is highly possible that the original variation of Nate Morgan may be able to appear as Nate is essentially part of the SatAM universe.
- Nate has a strong resemblance to veteran actor Morgan Freeman. Furthermore, his last name may also be a nod to the actor.
- After his demise, Nate made a cameo appearance in StH #235 in the Off Panel story as one of Silver the Hedgehog's "suspected traitors."