Turn and Face the Strange
Hello everyone, I haven't posted in a while but I'm back with something that has been stuck as a prologue for a fic that never really got started for a very long time and needs to be let out. I am entertaining the possibility of making more of these but it won't be a series with one character but more stories with different perspectives of the things that are happening in the stories. No without further ado I give you the first of the tales of this series and I hope you enjoy it.
Corporal Owle had always been a cautious man and this situation had rung out alarm bells as soon as he stepped into it. The cool, inky blackness of the Ilex forest enveloped him as he slunk through the shadows of the trees. They called it a scouting mission but it was more like suicide with a purpose. Owle had seen the anguish on Lieutenant Surge’s face when he had sent on him this mission but he did not resent him for it. Owle had the best Pokémon for the job and that was the only reason but he could still see the little parts of Surge that died behind his eyes whenever he sent someone to an almost certain death. Ever since the Kanjo war had broken out Surge’s war experience had been held in high regard but the grizzled American had opted to lead the elite scouting unit rather than be trapped behind a desk. They were called the whispers and had been tasked with secret missions of assassination and infiltration. They were held in high regard by the Hoenn-Kanto alliance and as such had been sent all over the Pokémon world. They ranged from gym leaders like Surge, Janine and Sabrina to skilled trainers like Corporal Owle and even the ninja master Koga from the elite four. Though they had started as a unit of fifty they were now down to five, their work was inherently dangerous and stressful causing many to die though the hardest blow had been the loss of the ninjas. Janine and Koga had been the best of the best with the ability to move as silently as a haunter in a vacuum, this, however, hadn’t been enough when an entire military base had blown up around the ears of Janine leading her to be crushed under the mountain of rubble the Johto Radio tower had become. Her death destroyed Koga and he was found the next day with his own sword sticking out of his chest all but destroying any morale the team had left.
The war started differently depending on whom you talked to but one part was always told the same. It all started with Lyra Silver and her supposedly fraudulent claims of defeating Red the Kantoese Pokémon Master and hero. Lyra had journeyed to mount silver and then returned claiming she had found and defeated Red. This caused uproar among the people of Kanto at the suggestion of this Johtoese child had defeated the man they viewed as the greatest Pokémon trainer of all time. This of course enraged the Johto community who saw Lyra as the second coming of Red the Pokémon master and hoped she would help to banish Johto’s reputation as the weakest of all the Pokémon countries. The arguments escalated until finally, without any warning, Red appeared in New Bark town. Without any word as was his custom he signaled for his Charizard to Fire blast the house containing Lyra and her mother. The child escaped the house just before it exploded in flames, her mother, however, was not so lucky and was quickly consumed by the flames. The white-hot rage in Lyra’s gaze matched Red’s icy indifference and a battle ensued from which Red emerged the victor having only used three of his Pokémon of which none had fainted. Without word he flew away on his Charizard to the Pokémon league HQ where the world exploded around him. The Johtoese Government were furious at the unprovoked attack on their country whereas the Kantoese Government said that if Lyra hadn’t lied to everyone she would not have invoked Red’s wrath. When a solution could not be found through talking the two nations turned to violence. Pokémon were trained into fighting machines and guns and knives were given to anyone who could wield them as the two nations prepared for the first Pokémon war in centuries. This was, however, not the end of the diplomacy as Hoenn and Sinnoh joined on the sides of Kanto and Johto respectively. Few knew the true reason but most just thought that Hoenn and Sinnoh were looking for any reason to fight as they had a similar relationship to Kanto and Johto where the snobbish Sinnoans viewed the Hoennese as lazy, fisherman. Though Unova chose to remain neutral, many of its residents chose to return to their home countries and fight for them. The war had raged on for almost ten years when Owle found himself in Ilex forest.
Owle continued to move through the gloom when suddenly he heard the chittering of a bug Pokémon, Ariados he guessed, and knew he’d been spotted. He froze in position as he hard a soft click of a weapon being cocked and made a split second decision. He pulled the pin from his belt causing all the poke balls to erupt into bright white flashes, which shot into his attackers eyes like daggers temporarily blinding them, and roared “Attack pattern C” before diving into the shadows. His Crobat filled the forest with a thick haze eliminating what little light there was in the forest. Owle saw the dim glow of his Electrode loading itself into the cannon of his Blastoise. He charged forward and leapt onto the back of the cannon-wielding tortoise. In the few seconds of light the poke balls had produced he had identified the position of the Johtoese forces. He whispered in the giant water Pokémon ears causing it to turn towards the area in which the soldiers had hid themselves. He then smiled as a foul stench reached nostrils indicating Weezing had loaded itself into the other cannon. He swore viciously as he felt a bullet whistle past his ear and ordered his Blastoise to fire. The two projectiles flew through the air with Electrode glowing a brilliant white and Weezing glowing a sickly purple indicating it was brewing its worst gases ready for the impending impact. The two Pokémon impacted sending a wave of gas out which was quickly made into a fireball by the explosion of the Electrode, setting half the forest ablaze and killing most of the soldiers hidden in the trees.
In all the commotion Owle had failed to notice the silent one sitting in the trees. He was shrouded by his Gengar and had remained calm during the chaos while he lined up his shot. He held his breath as his finger began to tighten on the trigger while the Corporal stood on his Blastoise oblivious to the impending doom that was upon him. He heard a disturbance in the trees but ignored it putting it down to a scared Aipom. He felt the familiar jerk as the rifle released speeding bullet, which hungered for the soft fleshiness of his foes brain. As the bullet impacted spraying the poor mans head across the forest floor the shooter felt an odd stinging sensation across his throat. He looked down and found crimson blood gushing from his neck onto the tree branch below before letting a soft moan of surprise and tumbling to the forest floor. He landed hard but, in his light-headedness, he only heard the muffled crunch of his bones breaking but didn’t feel them. As he slowly began to slip into death’s clutches a small black and red shape stepped in front of him, gave him a quick glance and darted away towards its master. The stricken sniper grinned as he realized the Weavile was his killer and muttered, “Well played” before allowing himself to slip into the now welcoming embrace of death.
The young Corporal’s Pokémon stood around him and stared at their master’s headless corpse. The Weavile was the first to come to its senses and reached into the pockets of his master. He came away with a small yellow diamond shaped stone and a letter. He first gave the small yellow stone to the fainted Electrode who promptly came back to life, noticed his master corpse, and gave out a low electrical moan showing his sadness. Weavile then passed the letter to Crobat, who gave one last look of sadness before flying off to camp to deliver the bad news of Owle’s death. Blastoise then began to use hyper beam on the ground creating a makeshift grave while Weavile moved over the body trying to make it look as peaceful as possible. When the two Pokémon were done Weezing pushed the body into the grave while Electrode played a polyphonic version of the funeral march. Blastoise then filled the grave with water before Weavile joined it in firing an ice beam at the water, freezing it in a clear block, which would preserve the body until it was found by the Kantoese forces who would be arriving on the scene soon after. The Pokémon then gave on last mournful look at their trainer before disappearing into the wilderness to find new homes where they could move on from, but never forget their trainer’s death.
I hope you enjoyed that and if you did leave a comment and any suggestions, I hope I can continue this but I'll have to see how school and exams are and mainly how you react to the idea of these stories and any feed back you give.
Re: Turn and Face the Strange
Hmm lyra is retarded for that one but that's not the first time I read s fic about lyra speaking of battling red. I think that's fucked up what red did though. And I don't know if this is based on another fic but i would Like to know morr about red and how the kanto people feel about what he did. I'm writing a red fic myself so I enjoyed the emotion on this one.
Re: Turn and Face the Strange
I really enjoyed your re-imagining of how a war could break out in the Pokemon world, and you did a good job of portraying a really interesting mentality of the regular people in the Pokemon world. I particularly enjoyed your portrayal of Champions as quasi-religious deities. (Kanto's offence at the claim of Red's defeat really sounded like a religious organisation responding to an insulting claim about a deity or semi-deity who they worship.)
One issue was that I felt your scene switch to explaining the backstory of the war kind of cut the action of the scene that was going on a bit. It really felt like "Ok, forget about Owle for a bit, I've gotta tell you some stuff." A lot of creative writing classes use the concept of "show, don't tell", and that particular part felt a little too much like you were doing a bit too much telling. It's always good to have a really detailed backstory worked out, but I find that it's rarely necessary to actually explain that whole backstory explicitly in your writing. Refer to it and hint to it, sure, but don't feel the need to get everything you've worked out on the page.
One way you could have done this is have something like "Owle sighed as he thought back to the reason this whole war started. It seemed so futile. It all started with that Johtoese girl, Lyra Silver, claiming to have beaten the mighty Red. Of course, he knew it was just a pathetic ploy from the Johtoese government to give their precious "second coming" some credibility, but there was no need for things to get this out of hand. Sure, the Kantoese had to respond, but did it need to go this far?" Perhaps that's not actually reflective of what Owle's view of the situation is, but I think it gets my point across. In the version I've written, it's Owle's view of the situation (which is necessarily incomplete as he is Kantoese), but it also hints that this isn't the full situation, and encourages the reader to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. You can even reveal little bits here and there as the story progresses. If the knowledge isn't strictly necessary to enjoy the story, it's often better if the reader finds out bit by bit - that makes them feel like they want to find out, whereas telling them all in one go often reads like a lecture.
With regards to Hoenn and Sinnoh getting involved. It felt a little like you wanted them to get involved without really knowing why they would. Well, in a culture that values Champions so highly, I think the fact that Red and Brendan in their respective journeys establish a trade link between the two of them and exchange Pokemon could have been the basis for an alliance between the two nations. The same thing is true of Johto and Sinnoh (in that case, you also have Cynthia's involvement in the two) I also thought that your mentioning of Unova was probably unnecessary. It's presented as being so far away from the Japanese region that it's hardly relevant. Although I suppose you could have mentioned that the war was so severe that Unovian immigrants came home specifically to defend their mother countries.
Anyway, then we finally get back to the main action of the story and Owle stumbles across a bunch of Johtoese soldiers, and launches an attack that is fucking awesome. Like, seriously, I could not be more disappointed that such an awesome character had to die. All I can say is that I have confidence that you're aiming to have other characters match that level of awesome as the story progresses. If not, you really fucked up by having him die =P (just kidding, I'm sure you know what you're doing)
When Electrode is given the Revive, the phrase "came back to life" bugged me a little. If Pokemon can be brought back from the dead with these items, why can't humans? Or perhaps they can? Anyway, I always try to stick with going in and out of consciousness in Pokemon battles if I'm gonna have the Pokemon healed at the end of it. For me, death is permanent. I know Electrode exploded itself, but it could have just sent out an enormous explosion of all of its energy, causing it to collapse completely. (Again, you don't need to say that, but that is sort of implied in a way if Electrode only faints after blowing itself up.
Also, the sniper muttering "well played" after his throat was cut was a bit weird. Perhaps it should have been that he tried to mutter this?
I also thought it would've been interesting to see Owle's Pokemon try to mask their sadness rather than making it so obvious. After all, they're obviously ridiculously well trained, and ready for any eventuality. Of course, they would have been sad... I don't know, that's just a little thing, but Electrode's polyphonic rendition of the funeral march kind of killed the mood a bit for me. I felt like in the situation they were in, they would have tried not to make loads of noise just in case there were more people. I saw their freezing of Owle as something more as a duty than a ceremony in the traditional sense. Perhaps that's not the way you intended it though.
Anyway, as I said, I really really enjoyed this prologue and I hope you write more. The actual scenes that you wrote and your description of all of the action was nothing short of awesome. Keep it up!
Re: Turn and Face the Strange
Firstly, I'd like to thank both of you for replying to my story, your feed back is great. In response to beastmode953, I will be going further into how the other people feel about the war but I can't see myself writing as Red anytime soon or ever. In response to Gastly's Mama, thank you so much for the amazing feedback I never expected such a detailed analysis and will try and take on board everything you said. Admittedly it isn't the best it could be but this is only a first draft that I wanted to put up to get an opinion on and I'll hopefully be able to put more work into polishing any subsequent stories. I left the addition of Hoenn and Sinnoh deliberately vague as I'm going to go further into them later in the story as with the unovans. Also the Electrode coming back to life line was just meant as he recovered from fainting and was moving around and not that he was dead. I'll hopefully get another chapter done by the end of this month or the start of the next but I'll see how that goes.
Now for the giddy fanboy who can't believe his humble fic was reviewed by the great Gastly's Mama when he read the entirety of Rivals story in one day because it was so amazing!
Thank you so much and I'd better start working on chapter 2!
Re: Turn and Face the Strange
Awesome description and imagery when describing the war and such. Very exciting to read.
I echo GMa's sentiments about your portrayal and delivery! Very nice!
I might just add that you may want to space your paragraphs a little better and more frequently so there aren't such big blocks of text. Other than that though, this was awesome!
Keep it up!
Re: Turn and Face the Strange
Hello everyone, I've finally finished putting together the second chapter and hopefully its an improvement on the first. I've tried to take into account the advice you all gave me and hopefully that will come through.
The sweet scent of flowers overwhelmed the young Private’s senses as he crept through the Floaroma meadow. His mind was a whirl as each step he took caused another patch of beauty to be crushed into the ground. When he got this job he thought it was a blessing but he now realised it was a curse and that he would never be forgiven for what he was about to do. He adjusted the tank on his back and it began to prepare for the hellish job he had been sent to complete. As he waited he reflected on how he had come to be in this place. There were so many rumors about the Hoenn involvement that no one really knew why they were involved and the Government weren’t very forthcoming with an answer. One of the most popular theories was that one of the Hoenn region’s contest starlets May had slept with the great Kantoese trainer Red and that had prompted Hoenn to side with him in this insane war with the Johtoese but Private Kesar ‘Scorch’ Ali didn’t believe it.
Starting a war over who won a Pokémon battle was bad enough but at least that was about honour. Joining a war over one night of passion that no one even knew, with any great degree of certainty, had happened seemed crazy to Scorch. Although one of his main problems with the story, aside from the fact that it was insane to start a war over something so insignificant, was he didn’t believe May. For one thing May had a reputation as the biggest slut in all of Hoenn and had supposedly slept with every gym leader in the region from the buff Brawly to the fiery Flannery and even Mauville’s young leader Voltaire who was the late Wattson’s grandson. For some this made them sure that she really had done the business but to Scorch it made him all the more sure that the rumor was false. He believed Red was a man of principles which was made evident by the fact he burned a young girl’s mother alive because she lied about him. Scorch couldn’t believe someone with morals like that would let himself be seduced by May.
Scorch had seen May at troop motivation rally and had been sickened by what he had seen. The once beautiful co-ordinator had been reduced to dancing around in her customary red hot pants and a t shirt with, her supposed lover, red’s face on it. Though her Pokémon’s displays were amazing and combined both power and beauty into magical display of colour and vibrancy he had never believed a Pokémon could create but the site of what May had become repulsed him. Her face was thickly coated in fake tan and Makeup while her outfit had been tailored to show as much flesh as possible. Her voice, once strong and confident, was now silky and flirtatious in a vulgar attempt to appeal to the soldier’s baser instincts as they prepared to die for someone who was once their heroine but was now the object of their lust. The fact that someone as strong and beautiful as her had been reduced to something so pitiful depressed him.
This depression had turned to anger at the Johtoese for warping his perfect world into the putrid mess it had become and that lead him here, to Floaroma Meadow as a member of the Hoennese Torkoal squad with the nickname Scorch. They were tasked with destroying key Sinnoh military location’s and had even had the honour of being commanded by Red at one point. Kesar looked back on those days fondly remembering the power that Red wielded in his silence. Red’s eyes could have been ice for all the emotion they showed but they were betrayed by the seething rage that seemed to emanate from him. He never spoke a word but gestured with hand signals and wrote down complex plans for his team to follow. No one seemed to know why he never spoke nor dared ask the silent Pokémon master for fear of the repercussions. Scorch had always been amazed by the plans as they always seemed to happen just as planned, as if Red had thought of every possibility and taken account of it. The day Red had left to join the dragoons had been a sad day and though Flannery, his replacement, was a capable leader she never possessed the confidence and skill of Red. The odd sense of loss still plagued the entire squad. Even though Red had never shown any emotion to them the power of his character had left an imprint on their souls they couldn’t forget. This impression that Red had made reaffirmed Scorch’s doubts about the likelihood of the great trainer being seduced mainly from the fact that Red was so filled with hate and anger there was no room for love or lust.
The stink of petrol leaking from the tank on his back to the flamethrowers attached to his wrists overcame the floral aroma and snapped Scorch out of his daydream and indicated it was time to do what he had come here for. Scorch pulled the pin on his belt releasing all three of his Pokémon. Infernape stood still and stoic as was his custom while Exploud gasped, partly to get air into her lungs in case of attack but mainly due to the beauty of the field, and Tropius flew up into the air to survey the area. The massive grass type immediately landed with a look of pure horror in his eyes and jabbed his neck towards the area behind Scorch and the young soldier spun around to see the most terrifying sight of his life.
A huge Vespiquen was storming towards him with a wall of Combee behind her. The shining pink gem on her forehead contrasted with her blood orange skin and marked her as a truly unique Vespiquen. She made a high pitched chittering noise and the Combee descended on him. Scorch immediately lit up his flamethrowers and began to fire waves of seething Napalm over the attacking bees with gel like fuel sticking to the bees and roasting them alive inside their shells. Tropius had flown above the battlefield and was firing air cutters into the crowded areas of the storm dispatching his flying foes by the dozen as their wings were severed and they fell into the burning mass that Scorch was creating. Infernape had covered himself in fire and was slowly fighting his way towards the Vespiquen with his blazing punches and kicks carving through the cloud of Combees and the sight of their faces exploding in yellow bursts of gunk was accompanied by their ear piercing squeals as his fire burned through their fragile bodies. Scorch thought he had lost Exploud until a large group of Combee were blasted to pieces by the Pokémon’s massive sound attack. The loud noise Pokémon then made her mistake. As she sucked in air to launch another hyper voice she also sucked in a small swarm of Combees. She made an uncharacteristically quiet choking and Scorch ran to her while firing his Flamethrowers in crazy arcs over the battlefield turning the once beautiful field into a blazing inferno. He knelt by his stricken Pokémon and could only watch in horror as the Combee’s stingers began to erupt from the flesh of his companion and the Tiny Bee Pokémon climbed out ripping his faithful companion to pieces.
Scorch had tears in his eyes as he carried on burning the few remaining Combee and searched for his other Pokémon finding Infernape locked in combat with Vespiquen. Both Pokémon had received serious injury with Infernape’s tail missing and Vespiquen flying crookedly due to a crumpled wing. Scorch raised his flamethrowers to fry the bug but Infernape screeched at him and Scorch understood. Infernape wanted to prove himself. Scorch had only recently acquired Infernape having caught him near the ruins of Fuego ironworks and, having learned his trainer had been killed, had taken him in. Infernape was powerful but since the death of his master he had become suicidal. He refused help in battles and attacked Scorch when he tried to force his assistance on Infernape. The worst of this was when Infernape had nearly been impaled by a charging Tauros and when Scorch dived on him to move him out of the way the monkey began pummelling him with all its strength and a look of pure rage on its face. Scorch had been wearing body armor at the time but his chest had still been a deep purple the next day and an X-ray revealed a pair of shattered ribs and a severe burn on his chin from a brutal flaming head-butt.
This was one of those occasions. The powerful Monkey attempted to roundhouse kick the Vespiquen but was intercepted by a power gem from the opposing Pokémon which set a wave of sharp gemstones flying at Infernape causing him to cover his eyes for fear of losing them and causing his kick to arc over the bug. This allowed Vespiquen to follow up with a slash cutting into Infernape’s abdomen like a hot knife through butter and she then pulled the flame Pokémon towards her by the jagged cut and spat a bubbling toxic attack into the wound. Infernape gasped, looked towards his master and grinned a pained but defiant grimace before glowing bright red. Flames enveloped Infernape and turned from blazing red to a steady, focused blue before they blasted outward in a burning explosion of raw power and sending both Scorch and the Vespiquen flying in a ball of seething flame and turning any of the remaining life into bleak grey ash.
Scorch impacted the scorched earth hard and screamed as the flames bit at his suit. His Napalm tank had luckily been ripped from his back during the flight and but he still had to roll on the floor to put out the stubborn flames still gnawing at his body. He stood up and looked down at his supposedly fireproof suit to check for any remaining embers but only saw holes and scorch marks exposing the scarlet burnt flesh beneath. Glancing around he noticed field was still ablaze in some spots but it had mostly burnt out leaving a dull scorched wasteland. Scorch walked through the field as he had done just hours before but this time he limped clumsily instead of his previous agile sneaking and the ground beneath him was very different. It was strewn with the charred remains of flowers and Combee instead of the previous colour and beauty of the meadow and his feet made only a dull thud of nothingness when they impacted with the ashes rather than the smooth swish of grass and flowers he had previously heard. His nose was filled with the stench of charred grass and insect flesh rather than deliciously sweet scent of roses. He reached the centre of the devastation and saw the sight he was dreading. A single charred Skeleton remained where a majestic and powerful fighter had once stood. The slash in his chest had meant the blaze boosted blast burn had not only gone outwards but also into Infernape causing his body to burn in an all-consuming fire that burnt his foes and him to death. Tropius landed beside him and put his head on Scorch’s shoulder and just as Scorch was about to climb on his back he saw movement in the ash
A large shape stood up and weakly shook the ash from itself before collapsing again. The Vespiquen was in a sorry state with its wings completely gone and the gem on its forehead splintered while its left mandible was just an ashen stump. Scorch was astonished that the Vespiquen had survived but hate and anger quickly filled the emotionless void the fire had created. Scorch drew the knife from his belt and charged at the stricken bee. He roared as he leapt on to her and pulled his knife back ready to plunge it through her ruined face. The knife came down with it’s trajectory fixed on the middle of Vespiquen’s already cracked and crumbling gem and just as the knife was about to impact the Vespiquen turned into bright white light and disappeared causing the blade to bury itself in the ground. Scorch ripped the knife from the ground and scoured the area with his eyes in search of the trainer who had returned the Vespiquen but instead saw a net ball shaking on the ground before it stopped and chimed indicating the Pokémon had been caught.
Scorch looked up and saw the netball that normally lay around the Tropius’s neck gone and a look that said “There has been enough death today without you adding to it.” in his eyes. The anger melted away from Scorch and the bottled up sadness was released causing him to fall back and collapse in a fit of anguish as he thought of the Pokémon he had lost today. Exploud, who had been one of the first Pokémon he’d ever caught and had been raised from a Whismur and Infernape who gave everything to complete the mission whether Scorch wanted him to or not were both gone and could never return. They would never again appear in a stream of red light primed to give their all in the defence of their master. Their all had been spent and all it had bought was a destroyed field and a horrifically scarred Vespiquen. As sobs racked Scorch’s entire body Tropius nudged him and pointed to the sky where it was apparent that a squad of Staraptor were approaching. Scorch hastily scribbled a note, and then laid it next to Infernape before climbing onto Tropius’s back while clutching the pokeball that contained the Vespiquen and whispering “Let’s go home.” As they flew through the sky the wind whipped the tears from Scorch’s cheeks as he hugged his final original team member and muttered “I’ll never let you go.” between each sob.
A few minutes later Sinnoese forces arrived to investigate the scene and found the remains of an Infernape, a note simply saying “Here lies Infernape and Exploud. Friends, Fighters and Fires both extinguished before their time” and a green speck in the sky.
I hope you all enjoyed that and any feedback would be most appreciated. Unfortunately I won't be getting another chapter till next month because I have AS level exams but after that I should be back on the horse. Bye for now.