At the End of the Wilderness...

Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: At the End of the Wilderness...

  1. #1
    The Sylvan Saber StellarWind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    The Forest of Stars
    Posts
    57

    Default At the End of the Wilderness...

    Whew. I completely forgot that I had an account here, too. o_O

    Mmkay. The following is a work of PokéMon fanfiction which may quite definitely develop a PG-13 and potentially higher rating.

    Much inspiration for this story came from the Wild ARMs series, and the fic's name and chapter names are tributes to it and the collective works of Michiko Naruke, the music composer for the series.

    I think that's about everything disclaimer-wise. Have at it.


    At The the End of the Wilderness...

    Prologue 1: Force, Storm and CRISIS

    The sky was unnaturally dark, swirling clouds obscuring the normally abundant sunlight. Purple lightning cackled amidst the clouds, illuminating their chaotic form - further enhancing the image that these were not normal clouds. Even the wind was charged with some kind of energy.

    This was not a normal storm.

    And this was no ordinary battleground, either. Metallic girders and plates interlacing with shattered glass, ancient stones and timeless sand. Ruins - ancient ruins interlaced with newer ruins of a research facility built to investigate the ancient ruins. The contrast of old against new was almost jarring - and with the storm above illuminating the ruins in an eerie light, it almost looked like some of the old devices were still alive.

    Amidst the ruins stood two trainers, facing each other.

    "Your path ends here, trainer. Resistance is futile and you know it."

    The speaker was a tall man - about 2 meters tall - whose muscled body was further augmented by what appeared to be some kind of bio-mechanical armor. The two ribbons of a scarf curled around the man's neck billowed behind him in the unnatural wind, circuitry patterns glowing across them. All that was visible of the man's face under the helmet that he wore - a bizzare mix of virtual reality gear and the mask of a tokusatsu series' hero - was his smirk, as the plating of the armor seemed to shift lightly, almost as if breathing. Maybe it WAS breathing.

    "You're a confident one, aren't you." replied the second trainer - a dark-haired young man in his twenties, dressed in green and black, brown eyes glaring defiantly at the imposing figure through black-rimmed matrix-esque glasses. "After what I've been through, your kind doesn't scare me."

    "Once, our name was feared throughout this cesspool of a region." replied the armored man "Whispered in dark places, for fear that speaking the name would invoke the power. We were pushed back several times, but we were never -truly- defeated. Even when our leader fell, there were always those of us who remained loyal to the cause... Who know the truth."

    "The truth?" replied the trainer "What is your truth?"

    "That you and the rest of your kind are slaves. Slaves to your instincts. To your emotions. They are but a barrier that stands in your way to unleash your true potential. Your PokéMon, too, are slaves, but their emotions make them chaotic. Unpredictable. Dangerous. Not as effective as they could be. Vulnerable. Emotions are unnecessary. Should be done away with - on both humans and on PokéMon. Just THINK of it, trainer! A world without pain, without suffering! A world where no one is hurt by anyone! A world..."

    "... With no soul." the trainer replied.

    "There IS no soul." the man replied. "There is only mind. There is no good or evil, there is just power. In time, you too will come to see the 'good' in what we do... You will have no choice but to do so. Now. Accept our gospel, embrace our new order, or be destroyed. Your choice, trainer."

    "You can go straight to hell as far as I'm concerned." the trainer replied.

    "So be it, fool." the tall man replied. There was a rustle as the armor plates on his chest slid open, revealing a layer of black, composite polymer-metal armor underneath it. Three hemispherical bumps projected out of each side of this chest compartment. The man's smirk grew wider as he reached for the top-left one, and pressing his fingers against the side of the bump slightly, he tore it out of the armor. As the chest-plates closed again, the black sphere expanded - a black PokéBall, composed of some kind of rubbery material that the trainer has never seen before.

    The sphere burst into violet light, releasing a massive creature, the sight of which sent a shudder down the trainer's spine. It was a bulky, rotund beast with short, squat legs that were splayed along the sides of its body in a way that almost looked like sometime during the course of its evolution to an anthropomorphic gait, it forgot what that even meant. The thing's scaly body was the colors of flame, an array of spikes emerging from its back and strange, vaguely flame-shaped crests extending from its back, its arms and its head. The head itself was almost absorbed in the creature's massive shoulders, supporting a massive frontal growth half-obscuring the creature's eyes, while its face - which appeared to be caught midway in transformation between muzzle to beak - seemed to have an unnaturally huge grin - almost as if it was cut into its face.

    But the most curious thing about the creature was its arms. Dark, metallic-looking rings, similar to the one growing around the creature's neck and the lower part of its leg, encased the arms right above the elbow, while under the elbow, the creature's arms appeared hollow, as if the bones in its hands expanded, formed a complete ring, and fused, its broad fingers forming the rim of what almost looked like a cannon. Three of the creature's fingers seemed to support wicked-looking claws, framing the edge of its hands.

    There was something else that was apparent about the creature, aside from the fact that evolution had a hard day at work and a long night at the pub before settling down to design it. The creature's grin was not a grin of happiness, nor of insanity. In fact, it seemed to be frozen in place - expressionless in its own expression. It made no sound. It did not move. It just... stood there, its gaze a frozen mask.

    "Meet the culmination of years of research." the tall man smirked "The process was believed to be lost, but there were always a few of us who kept the data safe and secret. And with the help of some new allies, we've improved it even further. I could tell you how, but, that will not matter because you will soon be dead. Magmortar, execute this fool... Make it slow. If he likes pain so much that he does not wish to leave it behind, let him have all the pain he can handle."

    The creature's eyes remained expressionless as it lifted an arm, pointing it in the trainer's direction, sparks dancing within its hollow depths. The moment seemed to last forever as the sparks twirled around each other, spinning...

    And a massive inferno launched from the tubular cannon-arm, washing over the battlefield and the trainer that stood on its opposite side. It did not stop for what seemed like a very long time. The heat was next to intolerable, but the armored man was unfazed. The air rippled and distorted. Metal and rock heated, some of the less powerful girders bended as if they were made of rubber. in places, the sand bubbled and became glass. At last, the barrage relented, the flames ceasing their spouting, the Magmortar lowering its arm. Smoke billowed in the air.

    "Heh." the armored man smirked "That was almost too easy."

    "You're too confident." came the reply from within the smoke, and the armored man's smirk faded.

    The smoke cleared in a swirl of whirling winds revealing the trainer, a small form fluttering in front of him: a vaguely humanoid arthropod resembling a red and black beetle, glaring defiantly at the Magmortar with crystalline-looking blue eyes. The Ledian - for that is what the creature was - held two of her arms crossed in front of her, projecting a powerful shield composed of refractive hexagons of light - which took the brunt of the heat wave and dissapated it harmlessly around the trainer, a little grin on her face. Her other two arms were stretched out forward in what would be a rather rude gesture. Everything about the Ledian seemed to shout "You'll have to do better than that, you giant easter-egg-thing, you."

    Then her form was encased by red light and was drawn into a PokéBall. As the trainer's form was illuminated by the flames as well - another thing was revealed - the fact that he was holding not one PokéBall, but two.

    He smirked.

    "We don't die so easily." he said "Not without one hell of a fight. Isn't that right, my dear?"

    Something crashed down from the sky like a bolt of thunder - which was not far away from the truth - and landed in a fighting stance in front of the trainer. It was a toned, slender, anthropomorphic female creature that seemed halfway mammalian, halfway archosaurid. Her golden fur seemed to glow with electric light, enhancing black markings against it, long mane billowing behind it, tiger-striped tail twitching in a very feline manner. Her emerald green eyes were glaring at the Magmortar's, a tiny little smirk on her own face exposing a pair or two of sharp-looking fangs. A soft mix of a purr and a growl escaped her lips - it was both a confirmation to the trainer's question, and a challenge to the massive creature in front of her. She had the look of someone who has faced far more powerful foes even before breakfast - determination and experience seemed to radiate from her. Or maybe that was just the electric field.

    "An Electabuzz." the tall man smirked "And a rather powerful looking one... Interesting. Such a waste that it is not evolved..."

    The man did not get to finish his statement - the Electabuzz snarled deeply, launching a sharp, jagged bolt of lightning from her antennae directly at the man. It dissapated harmlessly against his armor. He frowned.

    "Clearly, as flawed as its trainer." the man smirked again. "Pulverize it, Magmortar."

    "You underestimate Mari at your own peril." the trainer glared "We've faced much worse than this... Crime against nature."

    Mari twitched, sending the trainer a look that suggested something was wrong about the creature - far more than what immediately met the eye. He looked back at her, as if to ask her if she could handle it. She grinned, as if to ask him if he was kidding her. He grinned back.

    The Magmortar emitted a guttural sound, and lifting his hands to the sky, the creature launched twin balls of flame into the stormclouds above - but it was not the ordinary color of flame - the fire was a dark purple, Like twin blobs of burning shadow. The blobs meshed seamlessly into swirling stormclouds, awakening a few flashes of light within them.

    Then, the clouds seemed to crack open with purple lightning, and rain washed across the battlefield... But it was not rain. At least, not a rain of water. The drops were like bursts of light - or rather, anti-light. They had a misty consistency - more condensed gas than liquid in texture - and they seemed to sizzle against the trainer's skin, a burning, almost corrosive sensation. He winced when he saw that they seemed to have an even more powerful effect on Mari - she literally hissed when the drops came into contact with her. To his surprise, the drops seemed to not only have no effect on the Magmortar, but rather than sizzling against its skin, they seemed to be drawn INTO it. He could faintly see an aura around the creature now.

    "What you feel right now is the power of Shadow Sky." the tall man grinned "Only our Shadow PokéMon can withstand its effect for long periods of time. And of course, our armor. It leaves the body unharmed physically, but the assault on the senses for anyone not attuned with the energy... Is something to be reckoned with. I give your Electabuzz five minutes before it's too much for her."

    "I wouldn't count on it if I were you." the trainer hissed "Mari, Focus!"

    The Electabuzz winced again, but soon enough planted her feet in the ground and closed her eyes, calming her mind, ignoring the burning sensation of Shadow Sky. Soon enough, a mild aura of lightning forming around her, a shield of sorts, weakening the impact of the drops, while not negating them completely. She would have to break this thing's control over the sky if she was to use the full extent of her abilities.

    Her antennae perked up. She could feel minor vibrations in the ground... The Magmortar was doing something. It was on the move, shifting its weight slightly, then something heavy crunched into the ground, digging into it, minor tremors charging...

    The Electabuzz hissed, leaping into the air a split-second before the Magmortar - crouched over, its claws digging deeply into the ground - launched a massive burst of energy into the ground, triggering a powerful earthquake. A helix of lightning followed her motion, negative and positive polarity working together to propel the Electabuzz over the ground. It was a new ability she has recently acquired - the power of Magnet Rise, a power which allowed her to levitate using her electricity alone. And already, she had some creative uses for it.

    The Magmortar growled, rising to his feet surprisingly fast and pointing its arms upward, swiveling slowly, lauching ball after ball of fire in the Electabuzz's 'flight path'. The Electric-type's movements became swifter, dodging the balls one after another - a few passed too close for comfort, slightly singing her fur, but the majority passed her harmlessly. As the Electabuzz continued her aerial maneuvers, she seemed to draw upon the purple lightning from the air around her, wrapping around her and the lightning helix that followed behind her. Within moments, the Electabuzz went into a somersault, twisting rapidly in midair, drawing upon more and more electricity - a charged ball of lightning which slammed into the Magmortar with the power of a small jet-propelled rocket, then springing off of it and landing on the ground, on all fours, snarling, the droplets of shadow energy hissing loudly against her fur. She seemed to shake a bit for a moment, but her eyes were full of determination.

    The Magmortar, knocked over, shook slightly, attempting to regain its footing - a difficult feat for a creature of its anatomy. Sparks danced in the hollows of its arms. The tall man only smirked.

    "Curiouser and curiouser..." he said "Your Electabuzz is extremely resellient... Magmortar, kill the trainer, but leave the Electabuzz alive. Imagine the power this creature can have once we liberate it."

    The Electabuzz's form was ablaze with electricity, glaring at the armored man with a look that could only mean "Liberate THIS." She launched a bolt of lightning into the air, slicing through the blanket of the clouds, distorting their already distorted contrasts.

    And then, a deadly burst of purple lightning launched from the impact point, forking, jagging in the direction of its target - the toppled Magmortar, rolling on the ground awkwardly like an egg. The Electabuzz grinned... too soon.

    The Magmortar let twin plumes of flames loose from his arm cannons, propelling him up and off the ground to the trainer and Electabuzz's disbelief. The creature was downright flying, its arms functioning as a jetpack. The creature turned - not having to use its legs for locomotion, it was much faster.

    "End it, Magmortar. SHADOW END!"

    The Magmortar bellowed deeply, turning its arms backwards and down, propelling itself forward towards the Electabuzz in a speed that seemed impossible for a creature of its bulk. Dark energies swirled around the beast, its twisted aura clearly visible now, enveloping its flames. The trainer understood what the creature was planning - a powerful double-edged rush attack. He knew the Electabuzz could not move out of the way in time.. his eyes suddenly widened. SHE couldn't move fast enough, but something else could.

    "Mari, Magnetize!" he yelled abruptly.

    The Electabuzz grinned, her form sparkling with electricity once again, tendrils of lightning launching from her form. Girders and plates tore from the ground, flying in her general direction, coming to a crashing halt around her. forming a cocoon of steel around the Electabuzz.

    "Wrong choice!" the armored man yelled as the Magmortar's jet of flames intensified - the creature moving faster... The searing flames impacting the metal.

    "Brick Break!" the trainer yelled, and the Electabuzz launched herself. The barrier of heated debris shattered to white-hot, razor-sharp fragments that flew in all directions, many impacting the dive-bombing Magmortar - that found itself flying directly into an uppercutting Mari. the uppercut caught the creature in its oversized belly. The creature's eyes widened as breath was knocked out of it - and for the first time in the duration of its battle - it seemed to be in pain. Another uppercut from the other arm, and the Magmortar's jet-flames sputtered and died, the creature crashing to the ground noisily, straight onto whatever remained of the pile of burning wreckage.

    As the dust settled, Mari landed in a nervous crouch a short distance away. Some of the metal shards caught her as well, and there were some nasty looking burns on her fingers and on various patches of her fur - but she did not notice it, the effects of adrenaline still flowing through her. She shot a gaze to the Magmortar's fallen form - the beast was bleeding, its body covered in bruises and cuts, a metal spike driven directly through one of its shouldercrests - if it landed only a bit to the side, the spike would have gone through the shoulder itself. Its eyes were staring blankly into the sky, but it was clear that the creature was still breathing. It was still alive, but too exhausted to battle.

    The Electabuzz grinned tiredly. She had won.

    Her eyes suddenly widened, her pupils shrinking. The unrelenting rain of shadow energies finally became too much for her to handle, seething against her burns, causing them to hurt even more. She closed her eyes, attempting to focus, forming the cold energies of an ice punch around her hands to numb the pain, but it was too little, too late. The Electabuzz stumbled and fell down.

    "MARI!"

    With a startled cry, the trainer rushed towards her, sliding to the ground, catching the electric-type's limp body in his arms, gazing at her worriedly. Tears were forming at the corners of his eyes as he held the electric-type as close to him as he could, carefully avoiding touching any of the burns.

    From the side, the armored man grinned, this was even more amusing than he thought. The rain of shadows continued.

    "Now do you see what I mean?" he said, smirking even louder, approaching slowly - completely disregarding the downed Magmortar - and ripping another PokéBall from within his chest compartment, which he toyed with as he walked, not even giving the trainer (who was still holding the limp Electabuzz, trying to reach her somehow) a second look. "Emotions are a weakness. Here you are now, so concerned about this... creature... that you are completely defenseless. A spectacular battle, but all for naught... And soon you will die. Alone. In the rain. A fitting end for those whose paradigms failed, for those whose weak emotions bind them... GOODBYE, Trainer!"

    And suddenly he froze. It was as if his body refused to obey his mind.

    "What is the meaning of this?!" the armored man growled, violently attempting to break free, and failing. Noticing for the first time the blue nimbus that surrounded him.

    He turned his eyes up... slowly...

    And emitted a silent scream.

    For standing between him and the trainer was a massive, biomechanical looking beast - if beast was the right term. The thing looked ALIEN to the extreme: a four-legged, animated biometallic shell powered by something else. Something within. Something red and glowing which burned with violent forcefulness - four cores of energy in orbit around each other, otherworldly, detached, burning eyes in infinite darkness.

    There was a voice in the armored man's mind.
    "LEAVE THIS PLACE." it said. A deep, booming, commanding voice, a duality of four voices that formed an eerie, ethereal harmony. there were other noises in the background. "THEY ARE NOT FOR YOU."

    "Heh." the armored man grinned. "So, you think you can get in my wa... urk!"

    The psychic assault was fierce and swift, and knocked the tall man back into his downed Magmortar. He coughed, and to his horror found that he coughed out blood. The creature turned to glare at the man again.

    "THE BATTLE IS DONE. YOU HAVE LOST. RETURN YOUR FALLEN FIGHTER AND LEAVE." the voice said again. More commanding. More powerful. The creature approached slowly, deliberately, metallic claws sinking into the ground, its core glowing in a light that meant only one thing. Disobedience would spell death for the armored man.

    The armored man seemed to consider his options for a moment, before realizing that his death would serve no purpose.

    "Well. It appears that I have no choice." he said with a tone of resignation. "Return, Magmortar."

    The fallen beast dissipated into violet energy, and was drawn into the armored man's chestplate. Without the creature's back to support him, he collapsed backwards as the metallic creature's psychic hold of him was lessened. The creature did not move, still gazing at the man intensely. The armored man gulped, rising to his feet, and turning his eyes to the trainer.

    "Who I am does not matter. Neither does my defeat right now... For soon, we shall arise again, and the world will once again fear the name of Cipher!"

    And with these words, he staggered away, the chilling look of the metallic beast never leaving him...

    ~*~

    The shadowy rain faded out, but the sky was still dark. The trainer was motionless on his knees, still holding the limp Electabuzz close. She was still alive, but unconscious. Her breathing was heavy. He had already tended to her burns as much as he could using a few medicinal plant blends he carried with him in his digital storage device, cursing himself for not restocking on Full Restores when he had the chance. He cursed himself for not being able to do anything more for her. His eyes closed, tears flowing silently. In all their years together, she has never been this badly hurt in a battle. Just what the hell WAS that thing? What was this dark energy that swirled around the beast? Why did it seem to shrug off any attack launched on it? It was as if the creature could not feel pain or frustration. Like it was a fighting machine and nothing more. And the Shadow Sky... He has never felt anything like it before.

    He has never felt so tired. So helpless.

    Something soft nuzzled against his cheek. When he opened his eyes, he found himself looking into Mari's. She was smiling slightly, in spite of the pain. It was a comforting gaze - pained, and yet comforting. She gently reached up with a hand and brushed it against his cheek, wiping the tears away - as if she was trying to tell him that eyes like his should never bear tears. In spite of everything, he found himself chuckling.

    "I thought I asked you never to worry me like this again..." he chuckled softly, "And in spite of everything, you're still trying to comfort me... You are too amazing, Mari."

    The Electabuzz half winced half purred, closing her eyes tiredly. It was then that the trainer realized something was watching him intently.

    He turned his eyes to notice the massive metallic creature, gazing at him. Cold, aloof, analytical. But there was something else - not the commanding presence that he shot to the armored man, but one of almost empathy.

    "Thank you, Lycos. You really saved us back there..." the trainer said, gazing into the creature's core briefly. It was almost a terrifying experience for him, time and time again. The Metagross, in spite of officially being his PokéMon, had a relationship more resembling an alliance than a partnership with the trainer. The trainer could never understand the Metagross - and deep inside, he wondered if he ever will. He was terrified of the creature, and yet trusted it implicitly... and Lycos has never failed him before. If he didn't know better, he'd assume the Metagross genuinely cared about its trainer. And maybe it did, but it would never admit it. It was too prideful in its superiority. But that was Lycos, and the trainer accepted it as it was.

    The Metagross simply nodded. Then it did something that it never did before.

    With the subtle blue nimbus of psychic, the Metagross picked the trainer and the Electabuzz up and set them upon its back. Levitating off the ground silently, the Metagross tucked its legs underneath it, and then, it -dashed- forward, gliding rapidly in the direction of the nearest settlement it could sense.

    ~*~

    Agate Village, Not a long while later.

    "How is she?"
    "Better than she looked." the local Nurse Joy replied "It's a good thing you had these medicine on you... They helped the regeneration process quite a bit. The cell-regeneration sequence was a success, but she'e still very tired."
    "May I see her?" the trainer asked.
    "Yes, you may. This way, please."

    He followed the nurse to a small room, where, on a bed, the Electabuzz was lying, sound asleep. New fur was already growing, vaguely, over the areas where her fur was burned off - the cell regeneration programs on the healing machines worked extremely well. She seemed to have a small smile on her face - maybe she was having a good dream.

    He took a seat by the bedside, gazing at the creature's sleeping form, reaching out to brush his fingers through her mane lightly for a moment. There was so much emotion in that gaze, that even the Nurse was nearly overwhelmed by its intensity.

    "Don't worry, she will be just fine." the nurse replied "She just needs some rest, that is all."

    "That's alright. She can have all the rest she needs. But, I would like to ask to stay here with her, if that is okay." the trainer said.

    "I don't see a reason why you shouldn't." she said. There was a moment of silence as the nurse turned away and proceeded to walk out the room. A moment before she walked out, though, she turned her eyes to the trainer, who was already holding the Electabuzz's hand, gazing at her with a small smile of his own.

    "I never quite caught your name." the nurse said.

    "My name..." the trainer replied... "Is Sylvanhart. Gad Sylvanhart."

  2. #2
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Nowhere special
    Posts
    17,517
    Blog Entries
    273

    Default Re: At the End of the Wilderness...

    OK I don't know who the armored man is but he talks like a more insistant Cyrus. The whole "emotions" thing and all while displaying them himself and such, so when he mentioned shadow pokemon I was all "Wait...so it's not some crazed future Galactic then?"

    Anyway, I like your descriptions, for the most part.

  3. #3
    The Sylvan Saber StellarWind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    The Forest of Stars
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: At the End of the Wilderness...

    Thank you for your comment. ^^

    And nope, not crazy future Galactics. More will be revealed later. Assuming I'll ever get past Prologue 3, which I can't seem to harvest the inspiration for at the moment.

    Right. Might as well post Prologue 2 while I'm at it.


    Prologue 2: Contact

    Far to the south of the colonized area of the Orre region, beyond the lush green patch of mountainous land on the edge of the region and the expanses of badlands that surrounded it – even beyond the derelict old locomotive known as Outskirt Stand - lies the deep desert, stretching on near-endlessly.

    The deep desert was silent - there was no sound but that of the wind. Smooth, wind-blasted rocks jutted out of the dunes in places, breaking the monotony of the golden sea of sand. Life was sparse in the deep desert – the sands were treacherous, at times hiding deep pitfalls. The rare rock formations provided little shelter from sandstorms, and there was little food or water to be found. What few lifeforms that dwelled in the deep desert were either largely nocturnal or spent most of their time burrowing underground, feeding on microscopic organic lifeforms in the sand - and whatever unfortunate prey that blundered into their territory.

    If the badlands and vast expanses of land between the isolated cities of Orre were largely no man's land, then this was true wilderness. No one had interest in it, save for wanderers, drifters and dream chasers who were fascinated by what the unexplored reaches of the deep desert had to offer.

    And this stretch of desert was no exception.

    For the most part.

    "Six, increase your output by 25%. Easy does it..."

    There was a minor tremor.

    "Just a bit more… There. You got it. Now pull. Slowly. Don't be afraid."

    There was another tremor.

    Slowly but certainly a crack began to form in the ground, sand pouring into it rapidly. Another tremor and the crack widened, as if it was being forced open. The earth groaned and screeched as the crack ran deeper and deeper – opening up like a deep maw, feeding on the sands around it. Several small rocks, seemingly indistinguishable from others, swiveled silently, little crystals embedded within them sparkling periodically. A sandstorm whipped up, but it was no ordinary sandstorm – something was triggering it. Something major.

    "Keep it going. We're almost there… Now!"

    The chasm finally cracked what it was meant to – and a jet of steam broke the surface, a pocket of boiling water erupting from underneath the sand. The winds swirled, forming a funnel above the crack, pulling water up from the depths into the sky and scattering it onto the ground like rain.

    "Alright, Hexagon Three, you can pull back now. Excellent job."

    ~*~

    The image dissolved into code and then faded away, the silent murmur of the others gone from her mind. She reached to her face and carefully disengaged the complex headgear from the small, metallic interface ports implanted in her temples, sliding its visor forward and then up. She removed her head from the device, rubbing her eyes for a moment, and then began the complex process of disentangling herself from the collective interface seat.

    First she reached for the clamp-like shoulder and chest harness and pressed against the small metallic button on its center. The clamp opened bilaterally with a soft hiss and the girl breathed deeply for a moment, before reaching down to the seat belt around her waist and unbuckling it too. She rose from the backward-slanted black leather seat – designed almost like the cockpit for a futuristic aircraft of some sort – and stretched, taking a moment to reorient herself.

    The room was clean, circular and gleaming white save for thick windows that spanned all over it – from behind which one of the operators always observed them. Arranged in a hexagon along the edges of the room were five other collective interface seats, leaning back into their white plastic shells. Intricate circuitry – glowing softly within the dark, reflective glass panels of the floor – wired these seats into a large unit at the center of the room. It resembled a table, monitors and complex electronics embedded within its surface – but she knew, vaguely, that the part of the unit that was on the surface was a small part only - and that the device itself dipped in far into the depths of the world's crust, where it was connected to an interface node of something greater and far more ancient and advanced. She only knew what the operators told her, of course. All of the hexagons only knew what the operators told them.

    Within each of the seats there was another child like her, dressed in the same sort of uniform, in various stages of disentangling themselves from their own interface seats. Like her, they were raised in the facility by the operators. Like her, they have only seen the outside world through monitors, the only human contact they had were each other and the operators. Like her, they had the gift - the ability to control and tune complex systems with their minds alone. Like her, they had neural interface ports implanted in their bodies and were exposed to treatments since early childhood designed to maximize the efficiency of their gift, and trained extensively in its usage.

    But unlike her, they didn't seem to be bothered in the least bit by what they were asked to do.

    Deep underneath the facility, they were told, was an ancient machine. A huge machine of unknown origins and unknown function - a massive computer of some sort, its core roughly the size of a small city, with a complex system of root-like tendrils that snaked through the Orre region, growing through the years – and perhaps even still growing. The full extent of its capabilities was unknown, but a partial analysis of signals it transmitted and surface runes indicated that the machine was capable of large-scale environmental regulation. It could theoretically terraform the entire Orre region, turning the barren wastelands that barely supported even PokéMon life into a green paradise.

    They were told that their gift could be used to control the machine – but that one mind was simply not enough to tune something this complex. As such, they had to work together in order to accomplish certain tasks. They had to coordinate their efforts, several minds working as one.

    The interface was what provided that. Through these interface seats, groups of six children meshed their natural abilities together into one mind, capable of transmitting thoughts and coordinating their efforts instantaneously - A collective of sorts.

    It was what they were raised to do. They were encouraged to do it, and rewarded for it by the operators. She knew that she was supposed to feel like she was doing good, as long as the operators were happy.

    But deep inside, she hated it. She hated the faint mumble of the voices in her head, the feeling that she was herself but at the same time wasn't. Even with the multiple layers of feedback filtering, designed to prevent idle thoughts and neural feedback from damaging their individual minds – she still found herself highly disoriented when being linked to the collective. Casting her mind with the rest seemed to disorient her in particular – and lately, the test runs required more and more of it. The operators were very pleased at this – Project Overseer was finally showing signs of success. The others were happy too – or so it seemed. She was just very nervous about the whole thing.

    And as if the collective was not enough, there were always other things that bothered her. She and the others grew up in the facility for as long as they could remember, but the operators never told them where they really came from – or why were human psychics required for the operation of the machine. They were simply told that they were needed for it. No one dared ask why.

    Sometimes she thought she was the only one who doubted. She felt ungrateful for it and tried to banish the thoughts when they came. But still, she couldn't help but wonder.

    ~*~

    The pressurized jets of water slowly faded and the shower chamber opened with a hiss, letting out leftover steam. She stepped out slowly, reaching for a towel from the nearby countertop and drying herself off, surveying her form in the mirror for a moment. She was of average height and build for a 16-year old, with a pair of dark blue eyes set in a gentle-featured face, framed by straight, light blonde hair – so light it was nearly white when completely dry. There was a soft hiss as another pressure door opened – this one belonging to a washer-drier combination that was specially configured for her uniform – indicating its work was finished.

    The girl approached the machine, reaching inside to pull the individual components of the uniform out of their respective chambers. She unzipped the back of the underlayer – a light full-body suit made of black, ridiculously comfortable fabric, which had some slightly thicker supportive pads at the joints and the chest – and slipped into it, pulling her hands out of its long sleeves. She gazed at the palms of her hands for a moment, observing the faint outlines of the circuitry implanted underneath her skin, faintly visible like thin veins – before reaching back to zip the underlayer up. The circuitry flowed over to the back of her hands, where it connected into a small metal plate with a faintly flickering blue light in its center. Similar, yet smaller plates were embedded in her temples. The rest of the interface was implanted deeper, meshing naturally with her nervous system.

    She then proceeded to slip into the top part of the external layer, then slide the leg guards over her thighs and snap their connectors to the matching connectors on the top. She then zipped the top and its sleeves and donned the uniform's knee-high boots, zipping them as well. The external layer's components were made of a thicker – but still 'breathing' – grey composite-polymer fabric, clearly designed as a protective layer. The only parts that were left exposed by the uniform were her hands and her head – where her neural interface implants were.

    There was only one thing left to be done. The girl picked a pair of crystalline-looking hairclips from the countertop and fixed her hair into two ponytails. Then, she opened the bathroom door and walked outside, into the sleeping section of her quarters. Each of the children got their own quarters – a simple bedroom and bathroom affair, as white and sterile-looking as most of the facility did, and clearly designed for functionality over all else. The room was largely empty save for a single bed, a chair, a desk and a massive wall integrated monitor located behind it - which currently displayed the date, the time, and assorted environmental variables such as room temperature, humidity and pressure.

    "Evening, Edith." The girl said softly, waving at the monitor.

    A small, circular panel opened by the monitor, revealing a data port – similar to those in the girl's implants. The port emitted an array of thin, narrow beams of blue light, rendering a wireframe in midair. Then, the small beams integrated into one wide beam, rendering a texture of sorts on top of the wireframe. Finally, a bright beam, dotted with a stream of zeroes and ones, flowing faster than the eye could see, connected between the data port and the floating construct of light and transferred something into it. There was a flash of light, and then a small, cheerful digital noise as the holographic projection fully materialized. The data port slid closed silently, and the girl turned her eyes towards what it just manifested with a smile.

    Floating over the desk silently was a strange creature with a vaguely avian frame, which seemed to be composed of semitranslucent, glowing polygonal facets – like a very outdated 3D model. The creature's body was largely pinkish-red, save for a pair of large, fairly expressionless eyespots and areas of blue polygons on the creature's 'beak', its 'tail' and along two appendages at the bottom of its body that may have been meant to be either wings or legs. It was a Porygon – an artificial, virtual reality PokéMon which had the capability to interact with computer systems, being at home inside computer systems as much as it was at home outside them. Porygons were a ubiquitous sight in the facility – each of the children was assigned a Porygon to monitor their life signs during neural interface activity and as an assistive tool in the development and control of their gift.

    When she was first introduced to her Porygon, years upon years ago, she thought that the serial number imprinted on its right appendage – ED171-1 – spelled the name 'Edith', and the name stuck. The Porygon, for its part, seemed to have taken a liking to the name – and Edith it's been ever since. Many of the children – and the operators themselves – seemed to consider the Porygons to be nothing more than tools, not even giving them individual names. To the girl, Edith meant much more than that – she considered the Virtual PokéMon her only true friend in the facility. Sure, she got along with the other children, but her discomfort with the collective interface – and the disorientation she felt because of it – made her prefer to stay away from the others when she could. Edith gave her all the space she needed, but was still there for her when she needed her without asking for more. And she appreciated that.

    The Porygon chirped in greeting, and the girl lightly brushed her fingers against its face. Then, she sat down at the desk and touched her fingers to the monitor's edge, focusing.

    What appeared to be shutters opened softly within the neural interface ports, the faint blue light bursting into a brilliant radiance. The girl's pupils dilated, the circuitry veins under her skin suddenly flaring to life as blue light flowed into them and through them. She was there but she was not there – her mind partially in this world, and partially in a different world – a world of data, of electrons jumping from relay to relay, redirected from where they were to where she wanted them to be. She was tuning - and soon enough, the data on the screen began to change.

    It no longer displayed simple environmental coefficients. Rather, lines began flowing across the screen which reflected what she was doing at the moment – logging in. And soon, a series of messages displayed.

    Adjutant online.
    Good evening, Maya. You have one new message.

    … Displaying…

    … From: Overseer Alpha.

    Good work out there, Hexagon 3. We've been monitoring this test run and the ones before it closely, and we believe that your performance today indicates that you are ready to move onto the next phase.

    We realize that the increasing frequency of these test runs must be tiring for you – but our research data indicates that this assists your adjusting and allows you to improve the use of your tuning ability even further. Due to the magnitude of tomorrow's endeavor, we'd like to ask you to take the rest of the night off and rest well. You will gather at 10:00 AM at the briefing room.

    Best of luck.


    The message faded into a series of zeroes and ones and the screen resumed displaying the environmental coefficients again as the girl – Maya – broke contact from the screen, the glow of her circuitry fading out, her pupils returning to their normal size, protective shutter panels sliding into place within her implants. She sighed. Hexagon three was making progress, getting better – but she did not feel like she, personally, was. The collective interface still made her feel extremely disoriented – and she couldn't help but feel nervous about the thought of something even more complicated than what she was already doing.

    Leaning forward, the girl crossed her arms on the desk and plopped her head down on them with a sigh. A small digital chirp caught her attention, and she turned her eyes to its origin – Edith was gazing at her with what she could only classify as worry. Maya smiled a little in response, reaching out to absent-mindedly brush her fingers against Edith's head, smiling a little wider as the Porygon nuzzled into her hand, little ripples forming along its surface where her fingers pressed – like on an LCD monitor. Maya always wondered how Porygons – being creatures of pure data, essentially hyper-advanced computer programs – could gain solid, physical form in the real world and disintegrate into data again so easily. She wondered how most of them seemed to be entirely professional and emotionless, even though it was clear that they had some form of personalities – sometimes downright quirky ones. But even their creators, the famous Silph Co. of the Kanto region, never provided an adequate explanation to either question. The first was a highly-guarded trade secret; the second was attributed to minor individual bugs in the coding process. Of course, this was just a fine, unsuspicious way of saying that they had no damned clue.

    "Thanks, Edith." She said softly. The Porygon chirped again in reply. Maya rose to her feet, the Porygon hovering up her arm to perch on her shoulder, nuzzling her cheek. The girl giggled, then, stretching, she turned to leave the room. Dinner was to be served shortly – and she definitely had to get something to eat before bed. Tomorrow was going to be a long day, after all.

    ~*~

    "Six? Six, you're going in too far, pull back. Six… Six!"
    " I can hear them… I can hear them in my mind… There's too much noise! I… I can't control it!"


    The voices, they were everywhere – Too loud, too many, chattering incessantly. Some sounded worried, others sounded irritated, others were focused and determined, others were scattered. This wasn't the faint and subtle mumbling and the instantaneous directions she usually received and sent to the rest of the hexagon. It was chaotic. All consuming.

    She was tumbling, spiraling, unable to control her mind. She was delving deeper and deeper – into herself, into the heart of the system - desperate to avoid the cacophony. But wherever she ran, the network was chasing her. It was futile. There were voices yelling directions at her, trying to get her to calm down, but she couldn't hear them. She couldn't take the noise. The world dissolved around to numbers and digits and dots and circuitry. And she ran.

    "One, this is Overseer Alpha. Abort, damn it! Abort! Somebody pull her out of there!"
    "She's too far in! We need to pull her back first or she might die in there!"


    She was running through a void, lost in a sea of data, of circuitry, of something else that she couldn't quite recognize. She felt hotter and hotter, pressure hitting her in waves, the roar of the network chasing her like an angry animal.

    And suddenly… it came. A voice. Deep, resonating, devoid of emotion. Neither male nor female. A primal, inhuman voice. Tired, hurt. Shutting out all the voices that were chasing her. Shutting out the network.

    "Help… me…"

    It was only one moment, but it seemed like forever. The voice surrounded her, echoed around and through her. She could feel its distress. There was no other sound but her heartbeat and the voice. Time seemed to slow down to a standstill…

    Her eyes widened when suddenly she felt something grab hold of her arm. And something else grabbing hold of her other arm. The voices from the network assaulted her mind again in full force, and she screamed, eyes rolling back in their sockets.

    The girl collapsed, blacking out.

    ~*~

    The girl's eyes opened slowly, blurry vision slowly orienting. She felt a dull, throbbing pain inside her head and something warm against her implants. Turning her eyes sideways, orienting, she realized that she wasn't rigged up to the collective interface seat anymore. Rather, she was lying on a bed in the facility's medical lab. The warm feeling was generated by electrodes attached to her implants, scanning and monitoring her lifesigns. The girl moaned softly, her vision becoming blurry again for a moment, then reorienting. By her bedside stood a dark-haired, bespectacled woman in what appeared to be a lab coat, observing both her and the medical computers attached to the bed. She was part of the medical crew of the facility – half nurses, half systems technicians, who were there to handle any malfunction or disease. The woman looked somewhat troubled by whatever she was observing on the screens of the medical computer, but her expression brightened considerably when he heard the girl.

    "Take it easy, you may feel a bit detached for a while." She said in a reassuring voice "It's a side effect of what happened. How are you feeling, Maya?"

    "I've been better." The girl murmured softly, closing her eyes, her headache becoming a little worse. "How long was I out?"

    "A fair while. It's been a few hours since they managed to pull you out." Replied the medical technician "Your brainwaves are still a little erratic, but I think a good rest should fix you up. You were lucky to escape this little ordeal with your mind intact, Maya. We have no clue how the feedback filter could have malfunctioned…"

    She closed her eyes with a slight sigh. The feedback filters. That explained it all – the incessant chatter and idle thoughts, the emotional feedback from the others. Everything that was supposed to be blocked was leaking in. But there was something else. That faint cry for help… She wasn't imagining it, was she?

    "Has this ever happened before?" Maya asked the nurse.
    "Not as far as I can remember. Why?" she replied.
    "No reason. No reason at all." The girl sighed.

    ~*~

    "So that's how it is, Edith…" Maya sighed, gently petting the Porygon that was resting on her chest like some strange digital cat. She was in her room, lying on her bed, gazing upwards. "I know there's something in there… But I don't think anyone will believe me if I told them. They'll say it's just stress. But I can't help but feel that something was calling out to me…"
    Edith listened. The Porygon was a good listener, even if it wasn't much of a conversationalist. Many others wouldn't believe what the girl said, but Edith did – It knew the girl for long enough to know that she was trustworthy. She treated Edith as a friend, not a tool – and Edith returned the feelings.

    And unbeknownst to Maya, Edith had its own suspicions. Being a creature of data, Edith spent much of its time within the data networks of the facility, and it definitely noticed some discrepancies in data – particularly older data - which made it wonder. Perhaps it was a glitch, or perhaps it was something in the nature of Porygons that their creators didn't expect, but they were far from the programming-bound obedient drones that they were probably meant to be.

    And suddenly, Edith levitated and floated rapidly towards the monitor, disintegrating into data and flowing into it. Words appeared on the screen – words the screen was never meant to display on its own.

    Do you wish to investigate?

    Maya blinked when she saw the message. She knew that Porygons could technically do that, but she never expected Edith to do it. Rising to her feet, she placed her hand on the screen.

    "But how, Edith?" she said "They sealed the chamber until they can fix the malfunction in the feedback filters. And anyway, If I tried to link up to the interface on my own, without the operators' permission… We're monitored. You know that. You're part of it."

    I was given the command to ensure your physical and mental states remain at their best possible condition. You are troubled by something, and as such your mental state is not at its best possible condition. It will be no trouble if I assist you in easing your mind, would it?

    There almost seemed to be a certain playfulness in the response, which made Maya giggle. "If you are certain."

    I am positive. Now, there's only a small window of opportunity we have in which to do this.

    The Porygon's text display shrunk to a small window at the bottom of the screen as the rest of the screen began displaying diagrams of the facility, various codes, data charts and a timetable, changing in tandem with its words.

    You've been deactivated for a while pending your recovery from the incident, and as such, Hexagon 3 has been taken offline temporarily. Hexagon 3's chamber has been sealed until the technicians can repair and enhance the feedback filters to prevent further incidents in the future. We must act before this happens.

    The images changed once again, displaying a diagram of the facility, of paths she knew well, and several that she didn't. A small red dot appeared over the area where her quarters were.

    As you know, the chambers are normally closely monitored. Since Hexagon 3's chamber is sealed, however, it remains monitored only by automatic systems. These can be tuned - I will help you subvert the security system. The timetable you see to the right is the hours where the guards change. The shift we're particularly interested in is this.

    An hour was highlighted. 2 AM.

    This is where we make our move. We have a ten minute window during which the departing security team is to brief the entering security team. In this time period you leave the room and head through these passages.

    As the words moved, the dot moved following a path.

    These will take you directly to the maintenance entrance to chamber 3. The lock requires a special keycard and any sign of forced intrusion will be logged and security be notified. I will subvert the signal while you tune your way in. Once you're in, I will take control of the security cameras inside and make sure you're undetected. I will hotwire the system, you tune into it. We'll be in and out before they know it.

    ~*~

    The door slid open silently. Without the ubiquitous lighting, the sterile whiteness of the room seemed eerie. Maya located her interface seat soon enough, and approached it slowly, gazing at it. This was the first time she was going in alone. No one ever entered the interface on their own before – it was too risky. One mind could not tune something with the magnitude of the great machine – that was the reason that the hexagons were formed in the first place. But she was not there to tune the machine to do anything earth-shattering – just to find out more about what wanted her help.

    She settled down into the seat, clicking the seat belt into locked position and reaching up to grab the headset and place her head inside it, sliding the visor closed. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as she placed her hands on the armrests of the seat.

    "I'm ready, Edith." She said, quietly, to what seemed to be no one at all. The truth was, though, that Edith was all around her – a string of data that flowed from system to system, energizing them slowly. The Porygon had already programmed the security cameras to loop the image of the room before Maya entered it to avoid suspicion. One by one, the systems activated, humming silently. Maya took a deep breath and slowly, reached in.

    It felt different this time. There were no voices in her head guiding her. No sense of imminent purpose – just the faint hum of the machine. Slowly, the room faded away into a stream of digits, flowing around her and pushing against her from various directions – a maelstrom of raw data. She shivered slightly – she never felt such resistance before. But she was never alone before.

    "Edith, I need some help…" she murmured softly. Something flashed by – a lighter string of data against the others, formulating itself into the form of the Porygon. Edith simply nodded, disintegrating into data and coiling around the girl, supporting her mind, stabilizing her against the currents.

    "Thank you." She murmured. Slowly, she oriented her mind onto a search routine, finding the path she needed. But unlike before, she was not following the vast networks of tendrils that extended from the great machine to cast her mind outwards. She sought a path inwards – the path she instinctually found before, when she was running scared. And soon enough she found it and oriented on it, tuning herself to it. Slowly, one by one, the other currents faded away. There was only one current – one single corridor of data.

    And she followed that corridor, deeper and deeper into it. The data condensed and changed, and the resistance felt heavier and heavier. She could feel a heartbeat – slow, faint, but there. She wondered briefly if it was hers.
    Finally she came to a stop. The rush of data pushing against her was too much to push through, even with Edith's support. She sighed. This was as far as she could go.

    No, it wasn't. There was still a small channel open, too small for her to fit through, but if she coded a message on a wavelength narrow enough…

    She focused, tuning her thoughts into a mere whisper. A simple word. "Hello."

    There was a moment of silence as she awaited a reply.

    Then the datastream ebbed and rippled as its flow direction inverted. There was no resistance – whatever it was on the other side, it welcomed her. She did not even have to consciously move. The current pulled her in - slowly at first – but then it moved faster and faster, digits giving way to strings, strings giving way to sequences of dots as the girl was being drawn in deeper and deeper. Soon, the speed was borderline dizzying, heat pulsing through her temples and her hands - somewhere in her mind, she was aware that her implants were probably handling amounts of data that had she never handled before at computing speeds she wasn't supposed to be able to handle, especially on her own – and to compensate for it, her implants and something within her mind was changing. Overclocking. Then, as quickly as the rush came, it ended.

    She was floating in what appeared to be a massive golden cylinder, stretching up and down infinitely. Its walls were coated with uniform square tiles, each one dotted with an array of glowing circles – a different pattern for each tile, though some of the patterns definitely repeated. It almost seemed to be writing of some form. Light flowed upwards in patterns from the endless depths below to the endless heights above, certain patterns illuminating, others fading into darkness. Segments of the cylinder occasionally rotated softly, creating new pathways, new patterns. New words?

    "You have come." came the voice from no where "I have been waiting for someone to hear the call. Tell me your name, please."

    "My name? It's… Maya." The girl replied hesitantly.

    "Maya. And who is your companion, who protects you so valiantly that it risked the integrity of its own code to follow you here?"

    "My companion?" Maya blinked, when suddenly the realization dawned on her. The transfer speed… The bombardment of raw data… "Oh no… Edith…"

    "Edith is unharmed." the voice replied "Your companion was welcomed as much as you were – for I sensed its efforts in assisting you to reach me."

    Segments rotated and new pathways lit up. Like fireflies, sparkles of red light rose from the depths while sparkles of blue light descended from above, matching them. The lights enveloped her – forming a rotating helix with her at its center. She felt lighter somewhat - and then she realized why. All around her, a stream of data was unraveling, joining the helix in its own pattern, blending into it, little spots of fragmented data meshing. Whatever it was, it was rewriting the Porygon - completing it, transforming it into something new…

    And finally the lights faded, unveiling a new creature. It was a still vaguely avian, but anything else Porygon-like about it was all but gone: The creature sported a sleek, streamlined, aerodynamic design which appeared loosely biomechanical. Its body was still reddish-pink, vague circuitry patterns running along its side. Crests of three blue 'feathers' projected from the creature's head and tail, and what was a pair of blue appendages on the original Porygon was now a pair of vaguely paddle-like feet. Additionally, the creature's beak and body now seemed to sport some kind of shell – made of a white material, which seemed too smooth to be metal but too shiny to be plastic. A large, glowing blue lens - similar to the ones on her implants – dominated the creature's chestplate, and a pair of new, flipper-like limbs projected from the wing-like side plates, plated with the same kind of shell.

    The girl could do nothing but stare at the creature in awe – and it returned her gaze, intensely. It seemed so different from Edith – the Porygon was adorable in its own digital way, but the presence it radiated was nothing like this creature. Floating in midair, its feather crests streaming behind it - was regal, graceful… beautiful.

    "… Edith?" the girl whispered, reaching a hand to touch the creature.

    The new creature simply nodded, giving the girl a reassuring gaze – a digital equivalent of a smile. Her fingers brushed softly against the creature's plating, and she smiled as she saw the Porygon nuzzling into her touch. It was still Edith after all.

    "But… how?"

    "I have linked the coding of the Porygon you know as Edith with mine". came the voice again – there was a new quality to it now, a vague feminine undertone. "Her thoughts now flow with mine, so she may serve as a link between you and me. So that we may understand each other better. She told me much about you and of your bond - I see now that maybe you will understand my plight."

    "Your plight?" the girl replied. "Who are you?"

    Further segments of the cylinder rotated, more pathways unveiled, glowing softly. Components within the lens on Edith's chest softly rotated, as the light emitting from it intensified.

    "My name is my essence," the voice said "And as such, is far too much data for a human to contain – though it was by human hands that I was given life. As for my plight… I called to you because… I am in pain."

    "In pain?"

    "Yes." the voice said "For ages have I dwelled here, undisturbed, growing slowly, reaching out my arms across this barren land, in preparation for the day where I will fulfill my ancient purpose. It is not yet my time… But recently… I have been disturbed. My arms are being forced. And… it hurts. It hurts so much…"

    A flash of horrified realization passed through Maya's eyes.

    "… You're… the machine." She said "… You're alive. What we did… What we are still doing…"

    "Yes. That is how your project calls me… But I do not blame you. You did not know. I do not think even they do. I attempted to call out to them, tell them to stop… But they never listened. You were the first to hear my call…"

    "The feedback filters. They could not hear you." She replied. "I'm sorry…"

    "Do not apologize, Maya." the voice replied "You are not at fault… Though it may be through you that my salvation will come... Will you help me?"

    "I want to. But… how? What can I do?"

    Something happened. A sharp, quick rotation of segments. Every single pattern of light was glowing.

    "Something is happening outside. Maya, you must leave. You are in danger." the voice said "I will contact you again once you are safe. I believe in you."

    "Wait, but… how?" she wanted to say – but it was too late. The creature that was once her Porygon dissolved into a stream of data and formed a perfect bubble around her. Then the rush of data came again, sweeping rapidly upwards, taking her with it.

    ~*~

    Her eyes snapped open. She moved like a bolt of lightning, undoing the straps and leaping out of the collective interface seat as if bitten by an Ekans. Taking a few deep breaths, she tried to put her thoughts in order. What she saw as the data current pushed her out of the system… It rocked her world.

    She learned of the discovery of the machine, and on the government-funded research into it. It was government pressure to speed up the research - to show results to the people sooner- that lead into attempts of interfacing with the machine by using Porygons – but the Machine was far too complex. Once they entered the system, the Porygons never came back out the same way again – many of them returned corrupted, glitched, unstable – only to self-terminate soon after. She saw the records – twisted broken forms, some of their facets missing, other facets growing where they shouldn't. She saw their still wireframes shatter and dissolve into raw data, scanned and analyzed by scientists who wished to salvage data on the Machine from the remains. Just data. That's all they were to them. If one was gone, another would take its place.

    She learned of the search for a new way to access the machine when the CPU power of Porygons was "clearly insufficient" for the task ahead. Methods that did not work – until a solution came from an unexpected source…

    Human psychics.

    Years ago, she learned, government agents secretly scoped the region for newborns with the right sort of psychic potential. Those who were identified were taken away from their parents (whose memories were altered to believe the children were born dead) shortly after birth, and raised secretly in this facility, implanted with a neural interface and taught how to use their potential, synchronize with each other and hack the machine into doing whatever the government wanted it to do.

    And she learned one more thing – something that was kept hidden even from some of the operators – something that terrified her more than anything else. Interests were shifting slowly. Benefactors in high places were putting pressure into researching more practical uses for the machine. After all, a massive device that could shatter the Earth and bring tides of destruction over large areas could make the ultimate weapon…

    No. She wouldn't have it. She wouldn't have her powers used for something like that. She had to escape this place – somewhere where they couldn't force her to use her gift to harm anyone.

    Edith materialized soon after, emerging from the central terminal in a double helix of red and blue data streams and forming into solid shape. The former Porygon was clearly alarmed - someone realized the security system was tampered with, though they haven't found out exactly where.

    "We've got to get out of here." Maya whispered.

    Something in the former Porygon's lens swiveled and clicked into place, its blue radiance magnifying significantly – and Maya was surprised to realize her implants were responding accordingly. She could feel something in her mind telling her to follow.

    The Porygon suddenly changed direction, projecting a beam of data from the lens to the chamber door. With a silent hiss, the door flew open – and the Porygon dashed out, her partner in tow. Red lights suddenly flared to life as alarm klaxons wailed, but neither Maya nor Edith cared – all that mattered now was to escape. Fast.

    ~*~

    She ran – as fast as her legs could carry her. Everything was a blur - the wailing alarms, the red-lit service tunnels, her own heartbeat, her heavy breathing – it all blended together on the edge of her awareness, but the adrenaline rushing through her veins rendered her oblivious to it all. All that existed in her perception now was the flash of red, blue and white that she was following – her companion.


    The former Porygon was flying, her aerodynamic form cleaving through the air. When a door came in her way, she opened it with a blue stream of data from her core lens, allowing the girl in her wake to pass through before the door closed again, locking. It was only a temporary measure, but she hoped it would buy them time. The two took a long and winding path through the maintenance tunnels – Edith's intimate knowledge of the facility's infrastructure guiding them – until at last, the two came upon an elevator platform.

    Get on. This leads to the vehicle hangar. the presence in her head came again. The girl obliged, and the platform rose upwards, as fast as it could. Sounds were coming from outside the last door they walked through – and just as the door burst open and the blue-uniformed security guards poured in, the platform clicked into the ceiling. If they could see anything, it was her feet and nothing more.

    ~*~

    She's never been to the vehicle hangar before, but she knew it existed. It was a spacious chamber, dominated by a massive road in its center, illuminated along its sides with blue arrow-shaped lights, stretched towards a massive door. Branching from this main road were little side road that led into small enclosures, each of them containing a sleek, streamlined two-person hoverbike, silvery and white in hue. Surprisingly, the hangar was abandoned. But Maya knew that it would not be so for a long time – as soon as these guards reported the platform rising, other guards will come. They had a short window of opportunity.

    She made for the first hoverbike she saw, clambering clumsily atop it and pressing her hand against its control mechanism, circuitry patterns on her hands flaring to glowing life as components within her implants clicked and whirred. She unlocked the vehicle with ease, tuning it. She first made sure to scramble any tracking system it might have had. She did not want to be easy to follow. Then, she activated the vehicle's primary systems. A soft blue light emitted from the bottom of the hoverbike as the Anti-Grav engines kicked in and the ground clamps released, folding into panels that closed almost seamlessly into the side-wings. The vehicle levitated softly upwards, floating a short distance over ground. She placed her hands on the handlebars, closing her eyes for a moment - she never drove one of these before, save in simulators, but this was a desperate time and it called for desperate measures.

    "Are you ready, Edith?" the girl said, followed by a series of beeps from the former Porygon – who was now nestled conveniently into a niche that contained the bike's primary front light. The creature emitted a small sequence of confirming beeps, and the girl nodded.

    With a twist of the handlebar, Maya revved the engines and the bike burst out of its enclosure, making a sharp turn onto the road. A blue, focused beam of data launched forward from the former Porygon's core lens towards the hangar door, and the door silently slid open, revealing the dark wasteland beyond. The road outside the hangar was half-covered with sand and poorly illuminated, but she could see it just well enough.

    "Let's go." The girl said and gunned the engine. The Hoverbike accelerated, launching forward and out of the hangar, into the desert. A trail of blue arrow-shaped lights burst into life along the sides of the road, just a little ahead of her, showing her the way - but soon enough they faded out as well. The only light source was the former Porygon's core lens, casting a bright blue aura upon the surrounding area.

    The girl vanished into the night.

    ~*~

    "They escaped."
    "I am well aware of that."
    "We looked through the systems and we found out some… compromising files have been accessed. Surely you realize the implications. Someone knows."
    "So it would seem."
    "… Well, what are you going to do about it? Remember. Project Overseer is not yet ready to show result, and as such, it must remain top secret. If that girl talks, this might jeopardize everything."
    "Leave me to deal with the girl. There are certain failsafes we've installed - each member of a Hexagon can recognize every other member by their mindwave patterns. Hexagon Three is useless without its sixth member – I intend to deploy them to locate the girl, as we must operate secretly."
    "And once located?"
    "We will silence her. Possibly forever. The project must not be jeopardized."
    "Very well. We will be expecting results."
    "I will provide them."

    The man smiled to himself as the agent left the room. He knew it would not be that easy – but it would give the impression of doing something effective. Gazing at a monitor, he followed the transcript of a conversation that was going on elsewhere and fed directly to his monitor. A single word that appeared caught his eyes – a word that made his grin turn even wider.

    Things were finally getting interesting, and his superiors – not those buffoons in suits at the high windows – were going to love it.

  4. #4
    Irsuicca Sike Saner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: At the End of the Wilderness...

    I thought the opening really set the scene well, really painted a vivid—and rather eerie—picture. And the shadow magmortar was creepy as frell, wearing that grin that meant nothing as it was doing. o_o;

    Speaking of that particular species, I may never look at it in quite the same way again due to descriptions like these:

    There was something else that was apparent about the creature, aside from the fact that evolution had a hard day at work and a long night at the pub before settling down to design it.
    XD I love that part.

    "You'll have to do better than that, you giant easter-egg-thing, you."
    XD


    And Mari was there! :D Very cool to see her in action. ^^


    On the subject of action, I'm liking the action in this so far, liking the way that the fight scene was handled. ^^ A particular favorite moment was this:

    The Magmortar bellowed deeply, turning its arms backwards and down, propelling itself forward towards the Electabuzz in a speed that seemed impossible for a creature of its bulk. Dark energies swirled around the beast, its twisted aura clearly visible now, enveloping its flames. The trainer understood what the creature was planning - a powerful double-edged rush attack. He knew the Electabuzz could not move out of the way in time.. his eyes suddenly widened. SHE couldn't move fast enough, but something else could.

    "Mari, Magnetize!" he yelled abruptly.

    The Electabuzz grinned, her form sparkling with electricity once again, tendrils of lightning launching from her form. Girders and plates tore from the ground, flying in her general direction, coming to a crashing halt around her. forming a cocoon of steel around the Electabuzz.

    "Wrong choice!" the armored man yelled as the Magmortar's jet of flames intensified - the creature moving faster... The searing flames impacting the metal.

    "Brick Break!" the trainer yelled, and the Electabuzz launched herself. The barrier of heated debris shattered to white-hot, razor-sharp fragments that flew in all directions, many impacting the dive-bombing Magmortar - that found itself flying directly into an uppercutting Mari. the uppercut caught the creature in its oversized belly. The creature's eyes widened as breath was knocked out of it - and for the first time in the duration of its battle - it seemed to be in pain. Another uppercut from the other arm, and the Magmortar's jet-flames sputtered and died, the creature crashing to the ground noisily, straight onto whatever remained of the pile of burning wreckage.
    Very cool moves there. ^^


    Holy crap, Lycos was awesome. *__* Your depiction of the metagross definitely did its species justice—that's one of the coolest descriptions of one that I've ever read. I especially liked the way its voice was described. ^^


    I like seeing porygon in fiction, so seeing one here made me smile--especially since Edith's portrayal made it adorable, I thought. ^^

    Speaking of Edith...

    Maya smiled a little in response, reaching out to absent-mindedly brush her fingers against Edith's head, smiling a little wider as the Porygon nuzzled into her hand, little ripples forming along its surface where her fingers pressed – like on an LCD monitor.
    Nice use of detail there. ^^

    And Edith's new form... that was frelling awesome. ^^


    I'm also liking the amount of sci-fi elements in this. Oh, and the fact that this is apparently an Orre-based fic. I like that, too. ^^


    So yeah. You post more of this, and I'll read it. Definitely. ^^

    Banner by Saffire Persian
    Also available: The Origin of Storms

  5. #5
    The Sylvan Saber StellarWind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    The Forest of Stars
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: At the End of the Wilderness...

    OH MY GOD IT'S FINALLY DONE. Prologue 3 of At The End of the Wilderness is UP. It's not as good as the other two I fear, but there was only so much I could do with this one. Have fun.

    Prologue 3 – Companions

    "So, what do you think, Christie?"

    The girl who said these words stepped out of the changing booth, twirling in place for a bit in a manner that was obviously an intentional mockery of fashion models. She was in her early twenties, not particularly tall and not particularly short, with warm, light-brown eyes and darkish green hair that had a bit of a fringe on its front side and was tied back in an odd, spiral ponytail. She was clad in a long, dark-brown skirt that ended in lighter brown tassels over somewhat tight-looking leather trousers, and a matching poncho over a form-fitting, sleeveless dark red shirt. Native-like designs in orange and gold framed the poncho's collar area and separated the tassels from the darker brown of the main fabric. She wore fingerless leather gloves on her hands, the same hue of brown as her leather pants, and boots that matched her skirt and poncho. A wide belt was hanging diagonally from her waist to her thigh, upon which three PokéBalls were attached, and on her head she wore a hat that could only be described as, well, a cowboy hat.

    "I'm thinking, If only Kai would have seen us now, She'd have a field day." responded her companion with a little chuckle, assuming a stern expression and a dry, cynical and yet wise-sounding tone for a moment. "'I never realized you pirate queens would get so tired of the sea you'll go for a career change!' Still, looks very nice on you, Maren-chan."

    The brown-eyed girl rolled her eyes at her companion in bemused annoyance. The other girl was a little taller and just a bit older than herself, with relatively short reddish-gold hair, emerald green eyes and a lightly freckled complexion. She had a toned, athletic body frame and a long, sinuous dark dragon-like tattoo ran along her right arm, from her shoulder to her wrist. She was clad in blue jeans, knee-high boots, a light brown, short-sleeved jacket framed with a matching design to her companion's over a white sleeveless shirt that left her stomach exposed, a golden DNA Helix design running along its side. There was a red scarf wrapped around her neck, and she too wore a pair of leather gloves – hers were the full thing though, their fingers intact, and covered a bit more of her arms than the green-haired girl's. From her belt, a single PokéBall hanged - purple and white in hue, with a golden rim – but even with only one PokéMon to call her own, she had an air of confidence to her – it was clear that the girl was a seasoned adventurer.

    Actually, both girls were seasoned adventurers. Originally hailing from the Orange Archipelago, Christine and Maren (for that is what their names were) became close friends ever since they first met – commissioned to assist in a research mission by a somewhat eccentric ship captain-turned-professor by the name of Kai Arden. They've gone through many adventures together since – with the professor and without her – and made a name for themselves as fearless treasure hunters and explorers-for-hire.

    The two females, after paying for their new outfits, stepped out of the small shop into the busy streets of Gateon Port - A flourishing port town at the green north of Orre. It was a sunny day, and the scent of ocean breeze and the sound of Wingull cries filled the air. The shop they just left was not too far away from the harbor, and they could still see some of the larger ships moored in it – including their own, the Tiderunner II.

    The Tiderunner II was a thing of beauty – which did not detract from its functionality. The sleek, aerodynamically-designed silvery vessel was designed and commissioned by Professor Kai Arden herself for long term research missions and named after her first ship – the very same one aboard which Christine and Maren first met.

    It was almost fate, then, that the Tiderunner II became the first ship the two served as crew of next – after going their separate ways at the end of their assorted missions with the captain, the two had little contact with each other until they were reunited in the Kanto region, called once again into service by Professor Arden – who was, at the time, researching evidence of an ancient, advanced civilization known as the Dawntreaders – a civilization that turned out to be not as extinct as previously believed. Kai remained behind, among the Dawntreaders, and passed the vessel on to Christine and Maren – to whom the Tiderunner II now served as a home away from home and a mobile base of operations.

    After returning to the Orange Islands, the two remained together, taking on various contracts in the region. This was the first offer they received from out of the islands in a while, and they were to meet the person who wished to contract their services here in Gateon.

    "So, what do we know about the clients, really?" Maren asked.
    "Not too much." Christine said "I did a bit of background checking on their contact information – apparently they're one of those major archaeological research companies that occasionally commission outside researchers and explorers with expertise in certain fields. I suppose we'll know more about this particular job when we meet their representative."
    "At the… Club Krabby?" Maren replied
    "Yes, their company headquarters are based in Phenac, but as we would be arriving through Gateon anyway, they sent their representative here." Christine nodded.
    "Thoughtful of them." Maren said "So where is this Club Krabby anyway?"
    "Not too far from here. It's really hard to miss. The building is designed to look like one." Christine rolled her eyes "Architecture these days."

    ~*~

    And indeed, Club Krabby's exterior was made in the image of the creature it was named after – the two of them have seen strange buildings before, but never one in the shape of a PokeMon, and especially not Krabby.

    "Must be the heat. It probably went to their heads." Christine murmured as the two walked in.

    The interior wasn't as flashy as the exterior – it was a typical restaurant/bar, really. There were patrons at assorted tables, eating, drinking, discussing things and generally having a good time. There was a large stage – which was at the moment unoccupied. Perhaps it was too early for performers. Overall, it seemed like a nice place – not too noisy, with just the right atmosphere for a business meeting.

    "Doesn't look like he's here, does it?" Maren shot a look to Christine.
    "We're still a little early – he'll be here." Christine said, shooting a look to the bar. "Let's have a seat and grab ourselves something to drink. He's most likely to notice us somewhere eye-catching."

    Maren nodded, and the two of them approached the bar, taking a pair of seats and ordering a glass of cold mixed berry juice. A pair of trainers who sat at the seats adjacent to theirs were engaged in a conversation – they were clearly both new to the region and sharing experiences of their journeys.

    "I don't know about you, but I'll never understand psychic-types. I mean, they can use telepathy and stuff, right? Well. They could at least bother to make sense! Yeah, like this one time my Xatu went on a total FRITZ. Kept going on about how 'That which is best saved the future may be left behind' and how 'Opposing rows must clash to unite.' It took me ages to realize that she was trying to tell me that my backpack's zipper was open!" said one trainer – a young male dressed in green and white whose black hair had a red-dyed fringe.

    "You're lucky it happened where it happened. Where I come from, if ya leave your backpack open for even a little while, when you try to close it something white, furry and electric will scurry out of it and bolt away after having eaten all your food, cheeky lil' blighters…" replied the other, a blond boy of roughly the same age, whose hair was styled to jut up and back like a shark's fin. He was fiddling with some sort of PokéBall in his right hand as he talked.

    "Oh? We don't generally have that problem in Johto. We do have random Sudowoodo falling asleep in the middle of routes and blocking them off, though. Things think they're trees. Crazy stuff."

    "I feel ya there. A while back this gaggle of Psyduck decided that someone instated them as the roadblock police of Solaceon Town. Didn't move away until some creepy chick in black fed them some kind of potion. Actually she said it was from some place called Cianwood…"

    "Haha, that's where I'm from, you know! Little island in the middle of no where, but kinda nice. Getting out of there and going on a journey is the best thing that ever happened to me, though… Anyway. Johto's a great place. You can always find a good battle in Johto."

    "I haven't had a good battle ever since the ship, ya know. I guess we need to head out of here and hit the Colosseums. Only reason anyone has to come to this dustball of a region anyway…"

    "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Christie?" Maren grinned at Christine upon hearing the two trainers.

    "Well, we do have some time to kill - I think it should be obvious." Christine grinned back, and then addressed the two trainers. "Hey, you two."

    The two trainers swiveled in their seats and shot Christine a look.

    "Couldn't help but overhear you might be looking for a good battle." The female grinned "Me and my companion are willing to provide you with that. From what I hear, double battles are the standard in Orre. Could be good practice, couldn't it?"

    "A Double battle, huh?" said the boy from Johto "Sure, I'm in."
    The boy with the shark-styled hair seemed to hesitate for a moment, before shrugging.
    "Ah, what the heck. I'm in too. Lurker could use some exercise."
    "Settled then. See you outside." Christine said, and the two trainers nodded and rose from their seats, heading to the exit.

    "Been a while since we battled together, rather than against each other, hasn't it?" Maren grinned.
    "I hope you can give them a better fight than you gave Iriai." Christine winked.
    "Oh shush you." Maren retorted, playfully prodding Christine as they walked outside to follow the two trainers they just challenged.

    ~*~

    The front deck of Club Krabby was actually a well-known battle venue in Gateon – one would think that the owners or clientele would complain, but it seemed no one really minded. In fact, the owners welcomed it – Gateon, lacking a Colosseum of its own, was more often than not a way-stop for supplies or a way to arrive in Orre by sea rather than a destination for trainers in search of a battle. The many battles that took place in the courtyard provided trainers with some extra entertainment – and the club with more patrons.

    Two trainers each stood on opposing sides of the battlefield. The breeze from the sea, just beyond the perimeter fence, ruffled the trainers' hair and clothes as they surveyed each other.

    "One PokéMon each sounds good?" Christine asked.
    "Works for me," Replied the boy from Johto "Might as well make it quick."
    "I don't need more than one PokéMon to win this." Said the shark-haired boy with a confident grin, fiddling with a black PokéBall that had a green circle design on it – a Dusk Ball.
    "Really?" Christine raised an eyebrow "Care to do the honors of letting your PokéMon out first?"
    "Thought you'd never ask!" the shark-haired boy grinned "Alright, rise and shine, Lurker!"

    The boy tossed his ball, and it burst open in a cloud of black light and purple smoke, which coalesced into the form of a large, slender beast. It resembled, in many ways, a shark – its head had a bit of an overbite and a streamlined form with distinctive projections from the eye ridges that looked, vaguely, like bombs attached to an aircraft. The creature's body had a large dorsal fin, a fin-tipped tail and large fins growing from its wrists. This was, however, where where the resemblance to the shark ended. The rest of the creature had the build of a carnivorous dinosaur. It had an array of spikes growing on its arms and its hips, wicked-looking talons on its legs and arms ending in one long, curved claw each. The creature was covered in dark blue, rough-looking scales – with a golden star pattern on the tip of its nose, a triangular golden pattern on its belly, right above where its tail began, and a red underside - and its scaly skin seemed very dry - betraying its identity as a Ground-Type of some sort. The creature emitted a deep bellow, shifting into a battle stance, shooting a golden glare to the two trainers.

    "That's one snazzy Garchomp, dude." Said the boy from Johto, removing a PokéBall from his belt and holding it up "I guess I can't be outclassed by my partner, now can I? I will go with my team leader! Say hello to my very first PokéMon… Sobek!"

    The ball burst into light revealing a massive, hulking form – which contrasted with the streamlined Garchomp. It resembled a bipedal, teal crocodile, its forelimbs disproportionately large to its hind limbs. Arrays of red crests extended from the creature's head, back and tail. The creature's lower jaw had a cream hue, and a similarly-cream plate protected its underside. The creature seemed a little hunched, leaning on its forelimbs as it stood, surveying the opponent with a look that seemed almost… predatory.

    "Hn. Feraligatr and Garchomp." Maren said, surveying the large creature "Interesting matchup. I think I'll go with my first PokéMon too, then. Okay, Vagrant, you're up!"

    The green-haired trainer cast a Dive Ball into the air, which burst open revealing a large Mantine – its wingspan was larger than normal, and it appeared to be slightly darker in hue and with sharper angles along is streamlined body. The creature floated slowly, flapping its powerful pectoral fins to stay afloat just a bit above ground.

    "Iriai, let's get this show on the road!" the other girl grinned, casting her own specialized PokéBall into the sky, where it burst open with light like a small sun's.

    When the light subsided a creature slowly hovered down from within it, surrounded by a faint aura of light that seemed to flow out from its own body. The creature's form combined canine and feline elements, with brilliant white fur save for the lower part of its face, its mane, its chest ruff and its leg 'socks' - which were a golden hue. The creature's body was covered with markings that had the lavenderish purple color of a cloud in sunset - the same color as its eyes and the orblike crystals that adorned its back legs, its forehead and its paws. There was a pair of long, flowing ribbon-like extensions growing from the creature's eyeridges, another pair on its shoulders and a whole crest of them on its tail.

    The creature landed softly, exclaiming a soft cry, its crystals glowing softly as its paws touched the ground. It turned its head to the Mantine that floated by its side and nodded, the kite PokéMon bobbing slightly down and back up in greeting.

    "What the heck is that?" the shark-haired boy gazed at Iriai in puzzlement – before shaking off the wonder for a confident grin "Bah, no matter, Lurker can handle it easy! PokéMon Battle!"

    "Ready?" Christine asked.

    "GO! Sobek, Crunch! Aim for the Mantine!"
    "Lurker, Earth Power! Aim for... the other thing!"

    The two PokéMon had lightning-quick responses – already, the Feraligatr was charging, the interior of its mouth crackling sinisterly with dark energy, while the Garchomp planted its legs in the ground, its body glowing yellow…

    "Vagrant, Bounce!"
    "Iriai, Dodge it with Agility and Mode Change! Winter's Song!"

    The Mantine took to the air in a sharp angle, its body spinning like a missile as Iriai dashed nimbly out of harm's way – mere milliseconds before the ground below it cracked open, releasing destructive golden energy for a while before sealing and mending - like magic - again.

    Emitting a cry that sounded like crystalline bells, Iriai leapt into the air, curling up and closing its eyes. Cold, glowing energy coalesced around the creature, resembling the swirls of a snowstorm – and within it, the creature changed. Its fur and mane seem to become longer and thicker, the white of its body developed a bluish tint while its golden elements changed to a deep, glacial blue, markings shifting into a dark blue. The long ribbonlike extensions along its body seemed to stiffen, becoming translucent icy crystals, blue and purple refractions floating through them – a look that was mimicked by the orbs on the creature's body. Opening its eyes, it shot a cold blue glare to the Garchomp as it landed on the ground in a cloud of icy mist. The transformation was complete.

    The opposing trainer rubbed his eyes in utter astonishment. While it was unmistakably the same creature, it seemed to have changed its type – if earlier the creature had the light warmth of a rising sun to it, now it seemed to have the cold of a mountain blizzard. It was clearly an Ice-Type.

    The Garchomp's trainer smirked.

    "I don't know what you just did, but if you think having an Ice-Type on your side is going to help you, think again!" he said, pointing at the transformed creature "Lurker, Flamethrower!"

    "Knock it out of the sky with Giga Impact, Sobek!" the boy from Johto pointed at the Mantine's flying form.

    "Iriai, Ice Shard!"
    "Vagrant, Protect!"

    Before the Garchomp could act, a ball of ice formed in front of Iriai – out of no where, it seemed – and launched itself at the Garchomp at incredible speed, colliding with it before the Mach PokéMon could melt it. The creature hissed and stiffened, as its weakness to ice made the impact hurt much more than it should have. The Garchomp lost its focus and simply let its flamethrower loose without taking aim, but the type-changing creature was already on the move. Not relenting, the Garchomp continued its fiery onslaught, the stream of flames chasing the rapidly-moving Iriai.

    At the same time, the Feraligatr snapped its jaws and took off on a dash one wouldn't expect of a creature of its bulk. Golden energy swirled around the creature as it dashed and leapt off the ground, launching itself towards its foe, its form obscured by a swirling orb of purple and gold…

    Like the fist of an angry god, the projectile that was the Feraligatr slammed into the Mantine – or rather, into the green orb of energy that surrounded the Mantine. Energies cackled against each other as the Mantine was pushed even further into the sky, straining to keep the field up against the Feraligatr's momentum. Finally the Feraligatr's energy field gave way, its inertia exhausted, and the Big Jaw PokéMon plummeted to the sea below, landing with a huge splash, that could be felt even beyond the fence.

    "Clever use of Protect, but you forget that Feraligatr is a water-creature!" The boy from Johto grinned confidently.
    "And you forget two things." Maren said with an equally confident grin "One, Mantines are just as comfortable in water as they are in the air. Two, your Feraligatr's too exhausted to move."

    The trainer's eyes widened. His grin faded.

    "Oh no."
    "Oh yes. Vagrant, Follow it in and use Waterfall!" Maren pointed at the ripples of water where the Feraligatr landed. The Mantine changed direction in midair and dove straight down, disappearing into the center of the ripple with another splash.

    There was silence for a moment, save for a pair of glowing blue lights underwater. Then, a colossal, rapidly-flowing column of water – like a reversed waterfall - rose from the depths, the Feraligatr carried by it to the surface and above.

    "What are you playing at? A water-type move isn't going to harm a water-type!" the Boy from Johto exclaimed, grinning "Or maybe you're not as clever as you thought?"

    "Harm it? Oh no. I just wanted it out of the water." Maren grinned "Now, Vagrant, Seed Bomb!"

    "Wait, what?"

    The Mantine burst out of the water, a green sphere of energy gathering between the tips of its "horns" – a sphere that launched volleys of seed-shaped energy bullets at the Feraligatr. Still too exhausted to move, the crocodilian beast took the full brunt of the blow, the little projectiles exploding on impact. The Feraligatr was knocked off its perch at the top of the waterfall and collapsed into the water, floating on its back, fainted.

    "You gave it all you had, Sobek. Return." The trainer from Johto nodded, returning the Feraligatr to its PokéBall.

    "Hmph. Ya may have beaten my partner here, but ya aren't going to be so lucky with me!" said the shark-haired trainer "Especially because I don't think your PokéMon can keep on running from much longer, and Lurker has a lot more fire where this is coming from!

    "Well, how about I just stop running, then." Christine said suddenly, her voice drained of amusement. "Iriai, Mirror Coat!"

    The opposing trainer froze.

    "It's a trap! Lurker, hold your fire!"

    But it was too late. The telltale, chrome-like glow of Mirror Coat already covered the type-changer, which took the full brunt of the Flamethrower attack with a loud hiss, the glow contorting and changing, becoming red-hot… and shattering into a burst of light that knocked into the Garchomp. Iriai was badly hurt by the flamethrower – and Mirror Coat made sure that the Garchomp was twice as hurt. The creature staggered to the ground breathing heavily, supporting itself on its finlike arms.

    "Now's your chance, Iriai! Ice Shard!" Christine exclaimed triumphantly, and the creature that was her PokéMon, hurt and exhausted as it was, emitted another ball of ice from seemingly no where. It crashed into the Garchomp head-on, and the creature plummeted to its side, unable to battle.

    "I believe we just won?" she smirked at the trainer "Great battle. Your Garchomp almost knocked Iriai out."

    "I'll say! I haven't had this much fun in a while! the shark-haired trainer replied as he returned his fallen PokéMon. "That's quite a PokéMon you have there. How did ya know it was going to survive a Flamethrower?"

    "I didn't. Iriai and I go way back, and I trusted him enough to be able to survive this for Mirror Coat to work." Christine replied simply as the PokéMon reverted to its original form and coloration and walked tiredly to her side, receiving a little scritch between the ears and emitting what almost sounded like a purr.

    "A truly admirable trait, trust in one's partners." Said a new voice followed by the clapping of hands catching all four trainers by surprise "I enjoyed watching this battle quite a bit."

    The person who spoke these words was a man who appeared to be in his mid-fourties – with a pair of rectangular glasses over piercing blue eyes, shortish graying black hair and a trimmed beard and moustache. He was dressed in a grayish-blue business suit and a matching tie, and held a matching suitcase which bore a stylized logo on it.

    "Miss Evans and Miss Rayner, I presume?" said the man, turning to the two females "Pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Desmond Seibert, and I represent Origin Expeditions."

    "Ah, you must be the clients' representative." Maren chuckled nervously "Um, how long have you been watching?"

    "For quite a while, Miss Rayner." the man smiled warmly "I was rather impressed with you and your companion's battle skills – they may be needed on the task ahead. Shall we come in? I actually had a table reserved for the negotiations."

    "Yes, let's." Christine nodded, before turning her eyes to the two trainers who lost the battle.

    "It's been fun. Let's battle again someday." She smiled.

    "Sure! And next time we won't be so easily beaten!" the shark-haired boy grinned.

    ~*~

    "So, you see, that is what we need you for." Desmond explained "Our team in Hoenn found some evidence that these creatures, these… elemental golems, if you wish… aren't exclusive to the Hoenn Region. We've been getting reports that the influence of their creators was also located in the Sevii Islands, and even as far off as Sinnoh. And evidence seems to exist that they were here in Orre, as well. In fact, a few hidden plates our team in Hoenn recovered seems to indicate that they might have even originated here."

    "In Orre?" Christine raised an eyebrow "I thought the region was mostly deserted until the latest wave of colonization – it was too unstable. Even wild PokéMon are pretty scarce around here, let alone a civilization."

    "And yet, Miss Evans." Desmond replied, extracting a photograph from his suitcase, showing a cracked, worn plate covered in patterns of dots "That is exactly what this plate here said. This was found by one Professor Stern from Hoenn in an underwater cave. I'll spare you the boring translation – I'll just say that apparently, there was some form of dissent, and a group has left their harsh, desert homeland, some of them with the knowledge to awaken the kings and mold the land to their needs wherever they may go."

    "The kings…" Maren said "You believe that they are the golems?"

    "One and the same. We found partial instructions on awakening them, but apparently, someone has already beat us to removing these plates from where they were posted." Desmond nodded, pulling something else out of his briefcase "I believe you trainers would know them as Regirock, Regice and Registeel."

    He laid the sheet of paper he drew from his suitcase and placed it on the table in front of the two females. The image drawn on the paper depicted three creatures that looked nothing short of unnatural – of a vaguely humanoid form – but headless, with long arms and short legs. Each of the creatures seemed be made of something different – one out of rocks, one of sharp-angled, crystalline ice, and one from metal – looking more like a futuristic robot. Each of the creatures had a different pattern of dots on its torso, and they were depicted as if they were glowing.

    "Artistic interpretation, of course." Desmond nodded "But these are the three we've heard of. We heard something from Sinnoh about a fourth type, supposedly sealed inside a temple somewhere around Snowpoint. No one's been allowed to see it, of course."

    "I see." Christine nodded.

    "We have some leads about some ruins not far from Agate Village which may provide some clues." Desmond nodded in response, handing the two females several sheets of paper "You will be handsomely compensated for your time, of course."

    "What do you think?" Christine turned to Maren.

    "I don't know about you, but it sounds like it could be interesting to me." Maren nodded.

    "Me too. Mr. Seibert, you have yourself some explorers."

    ~*~

    "So what do you make of him?" Christine asked Maren as the two headed out of Club Krabby. The sun was setting, and the two were headed for the PokéMon center to cure their PokéMon of the battle damage they sustained, as well as register a room for the night.
    "Seems trustworthy enough." Said Maren "And negotiations did go smoothly. What about you?"
    "I wonder what we're getting ourselves into." Christine said "He seems perfectly legit, but the job itself sounds a bit… vague. I mean, they want any information at all about this civilization in Orre - whatever we can scrounge up. Makes me wonder what they're really after."
    "Guess we'll find out when we find something." Maren grinned "So, Agate Village tomorrow morning?"
    "Yeah, I think so. We need to pick up some form of land transportation first, though." Christine nodded "I hear there's a shop here that specializes in salvaged mechanical equipment. They might have something for us. First thing's first, though. We need to hit the PokéMon Center. Iriai needs some medical attention."

    ~*~

    The next morning…

    Even with its clean exterior, Makan's Part Shop had a very gritty, industrial design from inside. Rusty pipes hung along the walls, large, reinforced metal and glass cabinets carried items on display while several large containers carried assorted mechanical miscellanea. A large computerized catalog screen dominated one of the walls, right next to the counter – which was manned, at the time, by a red-haired boy in his late teens, dressed in blue, purple and white. The boy nodded at the two explorers.

    "Welcome to Makan's Part Shop. What can I do for you?"
    "We're interested in some form of land transportation." Christine nodded at the boy in return "Something that can carry two people, preferably with hovering capabilities, I hear the sands around here are pretty treacherous."
    "Funny you say that, I've got just the thing." The boy said, stepping out from behind the counter and opening a large metallic door in the wall near the catalog screen. "Follow me, please."

    The two explorers followed the boy through the door and into a large hangar where assorted larger machines stood, in various states of disrepair and restoration.

    "That one." The boy said, pointing at what looked like a streamlined hovercycle designed for two riders, colored steel-grey. "Picked it up a few months ago from some guy who apparently found it somewhere in the desert. It was pretty banged up – I had to do various modifications to make it usable again, but it works like a charm. Installed some new gravitic modulators on it too – thing's more stable than it's ever been. It's been sitting here for a while just waiting for the right buyer."

    "Can I test it?" Christine asked.

    "Sure, go ahead." The boy nodded, opening another door - leading to a large, asphalt covered back yard, which also had piles of parts scattered around it - and handed the explorer a key. Christine smiled and climbed aboard the hoverbike. Inserting the key into the ignition slot (which, to her surprised, seemed to be a newer addition to the machine), she turned it lightly, and the machine whirred to life, soft blue light emitting from its underside as ground-clamps released and folded into the machine's side. The female grinned, taking hold of the handlebars… and the machine launched towards the newly opened door. She drove the machine in a series of impressive figure eights and sharp turns through piles of parts before slowly driving the machine back in, and stepping off, leaving it hovering. She looked like she just found a new favorite toy.

    "You sure did an amazing job with this thing. It's so… responsive! How much?" Christine asked.

    "Thanks, but the credit belongs to my grandfather. He's amazing with machinery… As for how much. Well, seeing how much you enjoyed it… How about this much?" the boy tapped a price on a small pad and handed it over to Christine who surveyed it with interest. Finally, she nodded.
    "Seems reasonable enough." She said, producing her cash card from her pocket and sweeping it through the pad's card reader. There were a few bleeps and chirps as the deal was confirmed.

    "Thank you. The yard connects to a road that will get you back to the city. I'll open the gate for you." the boy grinned "Great doing business with you!"

    "You too. And let your grandfather know he did a really awesome job with this bike." Christine grinned, climbing aboard. "Maren?"

    The green-haired girl nodded and climbed aboard behind Christine, settling into the seat and whispering "You never told me you could ride hoverbikes."
    "It's a lot easier than it seems." Christine said in return, as she clipped her special navigation device to a special slot in the front of the hoverbike and tapped a few keys on it, causing a holographic map of the Orre region to be projected right in the corner of her visual range. "I'll tell you about it sometime. Now, hold on to your hat, because Agate Village, here we come!"

    The Hoverbike whirred to life yet again, and Christine gunned the engine, the gravitic drive launching the vehicle forward much faster than Maren ever expected. The green-haired girl held on to Christine for dear life - but the other trainer didn't seem to mind - she was too busy having an insane grin on her face.

    "This is going to be one hell of a trip!" the red-haired girl exclaimed ecstatically.
    "If it doesn't end up killing us first!" her green-haired companion retorted.
    "WAHOOOOOOOOOO~"
    Last edited by StellarWind; 3rd June 2009 at 09:57 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •