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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Well, this is my odd new fic. Set years (in the 10-15 range) after the end of Johto. It's a mystery of the fantastic (as in, "Horror fantasy", not "Whoa, that's good!") variety, perhaps a relative of series such as Twin Peaks and to a lesser extent the X-Files.

    Lavender

    Part I : The Fall of Night

    The skies of Kanto were dark, still carrying in them the hint of the rainstorm that had fallen mere hours before, the same rainstorm that had kept the helicopter pinned down at the Cerulean Air Force Base. It was a delay, but yet another delay piled atop many others.

    "When will we get to Lavender?" one of the passenger yelled over the engine's noise.

    The pilot, as usual, ignored her. He had been doing mostly that since they had finally been able to leave, saying little others than reports.

    With a scowl, Misty Waterflower turned away, shaking her head. Most of the people she knew would have chided her over her short-temperedness now. It seemed they had nothing better to do over the last few years than pick on her slightest faults, as if they somehow believed she hadn't suffered enough."

    "They don't know…" she hissed darkly as the valleys of the Rock tunnel region passed below her. How many years had it now been since she had traveled through them with Ash and Brock? Too many, for sure. She was a woman of the world now. She had her responsibilities, and no time for walks out in the wilds.

    A slight noise drew her attention, rising from besides her seat. It took her a moment to identify it for what it was, the static of a signal-less radio. Annoyed – if she couldn't have any useful information from the pilot, then she'd rather have silence – she reached to turn it off, only to find the radio's button already on the off switch.

    "Are you doing that?" she asked the pilot, frowning. He didn't seem to ear her, tugging at his earphones. For a moment she thought to tear them away from his head to get an answer, but decided against it. Not only it might be dangerous, but also the sound definitely was coming from her own radio.

    "Doing what?" he finally asked back, removing the earphones entirely.

    "That noise," she pointed at her radio. Shouldn't it have been obvious? There was not much in the whole helicopter worth asking about, was it?

    "I don't know what that is!" he told her back. "I get the same with my earphones!"

    Misty made as if to answer, then shook her head, deciding against it. Just as she turned away from the pilot, she thought she heard something.

    "What did you say?" she asked the pilot. He must have been talking to her if the radios were down, as they seemed to be.

    "I said nothing! I think that was on the radio!" the pilot replied again.

    Misty frowned, picking the radio again, putting it to her ear. Had she really heard something, or had that been a figment of her imagination?

    There was nothing beyond the static noises. Helplessly, Misty shrugged. It must have been her imagination, then – as if she needed to be turning insane and hearing voices on top of everything else! She simply did not like it.

    "Where am I?" she heard suddenly. This time there was no mistaking it; it had come from the radio. Again, she tried to switch it off, but to no effect.

    "All the frequencies appears to be the same!" the pilot told her as she tried to wrestle with the selector, hoping to perhaps at least get something more interesting.

    "Damn," she swore, forgetting herself for a moment. Even with her alleged short temper she had mostly managed to steer clear of swearing so far – proof, as far as she was concerned, that she was nowhere near as bad as her friends told her she was.

    "Help me!" the voice screamed yet again. There was something oddly familiar to it, a ring Misty thought she could almost recognize. It was a woman's voice, for certain, or else that of a panicked young man.

    "Sounds like one of the gym leaders!" the pilot pointed out.

    "Where am I? What are you?" the voice drew higher, more pitched. Misty frowned. Where had she heard a similar voice before – which gym leader did it belong to?

    "Which one?" she asked the pilot. Perhaps he could help her further, come to think of it. Galling as it was to admit she needed the help…

    "I don't know! I don't really know them!" he replied. "There's Lavender ahead," he pointed. "The landing's going to be hard with no radio contacts!"

    Misty nodded absently.

    "I did nothing to be here! Let me go!" the voice went on, its panic obviously rising. Who had she heard talking like that before, again?

    Try though she might, no memories came.

    _____________________

    The Lavender helipad had been cleared to make room for the incoming helicopter. Most of the staff here knew better than to trifle with their regional gym leader – the Cerulean one. There had been talks of a Lavender gym more than once, but they had all fallen flat over this or that point of League law.

    There were only two men waiting for her now, hardly the delegation one would have expected to see for a visiting gym leader. Misty Waterflower had neither the reputation of a good gym leader nor the love of the citizens of the two cities she represented. Too many of them had been at the receiving end of one of her temper flares, and even most of her friends had left her by now.

    "Poor Misty," one of the two waiting men observed, pushing aside a strand of pale brown hair that had fallen on his face. "Nothing's been going her way for the last few years, as it?"

    "Nothing. I can't offhand think of anything happy in her life ever since Ash left public life," the second, taller, answered, closing his narrow dark eyes.

    Both of them knew how taxing the work of a gym leader truly was, of course. They had both held their own gym for years already, although the second one had the most experience in that domain. Pewter had been his for years upon years. His companion had taken up the Viridian post far more recently.

    "I don't know how she can really stand it," Gary replied slowly. He had only the dimmest memories of Misty in the days back when she had been travelling with Ash, but few of them were in any way similar to the depressive young woman he now worked with. "I heard she had taken up drinking."

    "I wouldn't be surprised," Brock shook his head sadly. "I don't know whatever possessed Ash to up and run like that. She was just about to ask him out or something like that, as I understand it. They had spent years as friends, and she wanted things to move further. At least that's what she told me. And then his mother dies and he just…"

    "Vanished," Gary completed. Brock's summary was good as far as it went, he had to admit. Not for the first time, he wished he could tell Brock and Misty more, but no, what he knew was not his to reveal. If Ash wanted his whereabouts known to them, he would make sure they knew. So far, he obviously had no such desire.

    "Do you really think we need to drop this on her the second she lands?" Brock shifted uncomfortably, pointing at the folder Gary held. In Misty's absence, the police had more or less taken them in as representatives of Kanto's government. But the second she arrived.

    "Do we have the choice?" Gary replied softly. Some days as he woke, he wondered how he had come to change so much as he had. Then he would invariably shake his head, turn away from the mirror, and thanks his lucky star that he in fact had. His old self had been nothing more than a bastard.

    "I guess you're right," Brock nodded. More than once some of the younger gym leaders – and especially the three of them, had denounced the growing power of the league. It had done no good, and the Pokémon League had effectively become the true political power in Kanto, an unelected government. Ash would perhaps have been able to turn the tide, had he been around, but he had already vanished by then.

    "Poor thing," Gary shook his head again. "I don't think she deserved that." Who could ever deserve it, he asked himself.

    "Do you mean Misty?" Brock turned slightly toward him, cocking an eyebrow.

    "Misty. Or…" he hefted the folder. "Her, too."

    A strange noise rose from his belt radio.

    "What's that?" Brock asked, frowning.

    "Sounds like just static…" Gary began, then frowned. That had been a voice among the static.

    "That sounds like…" Brock began as the screams grew clearer.

    "But that's…" Gary shook his head, pointing at the folder. "I mean, it's just impossible…"

    The voice rose again, and this time, there was no mistaking it, both the words and sound all too familiar as a last semblance of pride surged forth into it.

    "I am the gym leader of Saffron!" the yell came. "Let me go at once!"

    Then there was a long scream, punctuated by what appeared to be a sinister laugh of some sort. Then there was no more sound, and the radio fell dead in Gary's hand just as, outside, a helicopter landed. Out came a scowling Misty and a frowning pilot.

    "Did you hear that on the radio?" she asked them as she entered the room, spotting them at a glance. "What was Sabrina playing at?" she questioned, her eyes showing nothing but restrained fury.

    "If someone was playing, it was not Sabrina," Gary informed her wearily, taking the folder and putting it in her hands. "There's no way she could have been playing. Or doing much of anything at all," he continued. "Are you positive that was Sabrina's voice?"

    "Yes," she returned firmly. "The last just had to be her – I'd recognize that tone of voice out of a thousand."

    "I agree," Brock nodded. Gary voiced no disagreement. He had heard the psychic's gym leader's voice often enough to recognize it just as surely as his two companions did. That had been Sabrina.

    "Look at that," he pointed at the folder, frowning darkly. He had hoped the other two would tell him he had been wrong to think it was Sabrina, or at least that they had their doubts – that perhaps there was a chance they were wrong. But no, of course – they all agreed it had been hers.

    "What's the meaning of…" Misty began, her scowl deepening. "You can't be serious!"

    She let the folder drop to the floor as Gary nodded darkly. "I'm as serious as I ever was. The body was found last night, and the police wanted Brock and I to pass the preliminary report along to you. I don't think there's any doubt there either."

    "But if Sabrina's dead, who did all the radio screaming?" she protested weakly.

    "There's no telling. Either she didn't kill herself…"

    "Which the police thinks highly unlikely," Brock swiftly pointed out.

    "Else we're mistaken about the owner of the voice, which is entirely possible," Gary continued his enumeration, praying that one at least, perhaps both, would admit to the possibility. To his dismay, both of them shook their head.

    "That was her," Misty stated, her voice firm, her eyes challenging him to say otherwise.

    "Then what do you make out of this?" Gary answered the challenge.

    Misty frowned but did not answer.
    Last edited by Evil Figment; 5th March 2004 at 04:28 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  2. #2
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    TRIPLE spacing. My god, Dami, format! You of all people should know that!

    Seems like a good start, at the points where my eyes managed to uncross themselves...

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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Sorry Blackjack and everyone else. The VB3 apparently liked to screw with my post to triple-space it and I had to retry about four times to get it right. Should work fine now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  4. #4
    Lonely Latias Listener wayc's Avatar
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    Wow! That was kind of spooky, and I really enjoyed it. I hope you write more. I like how you kept Misty's attitude the same over the years, and maybe made her a little bit more mature about it, realizing when to hold her temper a little bit.

    I also liked how you had the characters discuss what happened in the past 10-15 years that leads up to your current frame in time.

    But what I'm sort of interested in is how the characters look. It's been 10 or 15 years, what kind of clothes is she wearing now, does she let her hair down all the time now, wear it in a pony tail sometimes, keep it up like she did 10 years ago? Maybe you can fit in how to show that to us in later chapters or something.

    I'm a big X-Files fan, so my brain is already coming up with ideas for what could have happened to Sabrina, or if she's alive, or dead, or what was heard on the radio.

    I liked it. Please continue.

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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Oh, I'm certainly continuing. I have more to add there.

    Regarding Misty, I think she isn't exactly the same - I'd say I returned her to her Kanto, pre-Togepi self, rather than have her retain the kinder nature she had picked up along with the Egg.

    Looks-wise, I'll probably cover up some of that stuff later, yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  6. #6
    Treasure Hunter Lara Croft's Avatar
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    Comments...let's see:

    Overall, I like the tone and the concept. Nicely written and expressed, the subdued scheme of the piece makes for an interesting backdrop.

    My main critique is with the opening segment. Dialogue and description seemed stilted and choppy, esp. with the pilot. I think most of it had to do with a plethora of exclamation points, but sentence structure was partly to blame as well.

    Otherwise, loved it. ^^
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    ~Thou shalt love thy horse more than thy boyfriend ~
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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Remember that they are in an helicopter at that point in the story - dialogue WOULD be choppy as the pilot turns back once in a while to yell something at her over the engine's noise.

    Now the sentence structure, I'll look at.

    As for the rest, expect things to not necessarily remain subdued all that long. There is a point to much of what is happening ; I'm just laying the background information and hints now.

    Much like things were rather subdued all in all in the first few episodes of 1602 in regard to the main plot .
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  8. #8
    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Well, I don't plan to have a "daily update" things going on, but in this particular case, I think I'll up the mystery tension with a new chapter right now, and write additional ones as they come.

    Chapter II : The Shadows Darken

    "Have I mentioned before that I think organizing the annual gym leader convention in this god-forsaken city was a bad idea?" Gary asked of no one in particular. He was quite sure he had done so before, but it made for a great complaint to bring up anyway.

    "Do you want the list?" Brock replied with a frown.

    Gary shook his head. Truth to be told, not one of the younger gym leaders had appreciated the idea, but Agatha had recently died, Agatha had been born in Lavender, and thus Lavender it had been. The Elite Four had been adamant about it. Thus, Sabrina had gone to Lavender, only to kill herself there.

    Misty turned to take a quick glare at both of them, one Gary tried to ignore as best as he could. Why she had wanted the two of them along as she visited the room Sabrina had killed herself in, he couldn't begin to guess. One of the police officer that had been in charge of the in-depth investigation in the room would have been a much better choice.

    "Still, now we have all of this to deal with on top of all the gym leaders in the country being about to storm the place," he pointed out. "Let's just hope that nothing more happens."

    "Let's hope we can get an idea of what happened here first," Misty shook her head. "I'm sure the other gym leaders will want explanations the second they start arriving," the low growl that punctuated the last few words made more than clear her feelings about giving that particular explanation.

    "Let's not get ahead of ourselves," Brock advised calmly. "We need to start getting answers."

    "Right," Misty nodded, a scowl still written all over her face. "According to the report you handed me, she didn't leave any letter or such, right?"

    "No such luck," Brock replied, looking over one of the far walls.

    Gary reached in his backpack for the copy of the investigation folder that was there, hoping that perhaps there would be something there they had all missed to clue them in to the problem.

    "Instead of focusing on what we wish was there, I've got the list of what was really there," he began, putting it down on the room's small table.

    "Right," Brock sat down besides him. They had done it twice already, but perhaps he agreed with her that Misty's input would be of some worth. She quickly joined them.

    The list was pretty much what one would have expected to find in a standard hotel room. First were Sabrina's clothes, with nothing exceptional about them.

    "Did they check the pockets on all those clothes?"

    "Of course," Gary nodded in answer. "They know their job. If it were just the suicide we'd have no need to get ourselves involved in this. But there had to be that whole radio thing…"

    "Don't remind me," Misty growled. "Anyway, when was the last time either of you saw Sabrina reading a book of any sort?" she pointed at a further set of items down the list.

    "You know, I hadn't thought of that," Gary admitted sheepishly. Sabrina had never been the bookish type, and had in fact professed that she had never felt the need to step near books – all the information she needed she could simply obtain right from the mind of someone who knew it. Why bother with reading when there were easier means out there to get what she wanted?

    "Too bad the policemen who wrote down that list only noted that there were books, and not the titles, or what they were about…" Misty added, throwing a sharp disgusted look at each of them in turn.

    "True, that," Gary frowned. That had only seemed a minor mistake so far, but now…

    "You think he might have been trying to mislead us?" Brock asked.

    "Right," he nodded. Why else? "Though that would mean one of the investigators knew enough about Sabrina to know the books would tip us off, and to know they didn't want us to be tipped off about it."

    "Look there," Misty pointed at another part of the list. "Why is that book apart from the others?"

    "It says it was found next to her bed. The rest were in her packs or something like that," Brock noted. "The Book of the Soldiers. Anyone heard of that one?"

    Misty shook her head, but Gary frowned. "Definitely out of character for her to be reading that. It's a book of prophetic visions, as I understand it. Very religious, and Sabrina's never been a religious-minded girl."

    "Yes, we're both aware Gary." Misty told him. "We've worked with her for longer than you have, in case you forgot.

    "No need to snap at me," he retorted, frowning. "Why would she have that book in her room – besides her bed? That pretty much means it had to be what she was reading…"

    Misty's cell phone rang before anyone could answer. She flipped it on, then turned the small video switch.
    ______________________________

    "President Gray," Misty greeted the man on the screen, trying to keep herself from screaming in frustration. They were finally tracking down something, and now the League's leader had to be calling to get her off her job…. "What can I do for you?"

    "I want results on what happened with that entire radio thing," the voice replied quietly. Lance Gray had never been a man of many words, and his taking over League presidency had not improved that. But he knew about efficiency and when to want it, and despite some of the personal misgivings Misty had with the notion of the man as president, she had to admit he was good at getting things done.

    "We're working on it, sir," she replied, biting her lips to avoid letting out anything she would later regret. To snap at her friends or at people she had never met was one thing, but Lance was her boss, and all things considered she would rather not lose her job.

    "I don't want words," he chided her, gently yet firmly, in just the right tone to make Misty feel like a complete failure. "I want results. What can you tell me of Sabrina's death and this radio thing right now?"

    "There is nothing to be said on the radio thing. Silph's put a team of their specialist at our disposal to try to locate the source of the broadcasts. They're hoping to find something right now, but realistically there'll be nothing to be found until there's another such broadcast.

    "I quite realize that," Lance frowned. "What can you tell me of Sabrina, then?"

    "There is nothing at all to lead us to think it was anything but suicide," Misty frowned. "No traces of violence on her body according to the preliminary report, but until the full autopsy is done we won't know for sure. Otherwise, nothing…"

    "Pretty much what I expected to hear. Anything else you can tell me?"

    Misty's first instinct was to answer negatively, but she hesitated one moment before doing so, and in that moment of hesitation, her chance to do so was lost. Lance's eyes never left her, and she knew that he would know her to be lying if she said nothing now.

    "Books. Sabrina had several with her in her room. Most of them were packed, but she had the Book of the Soldiers besides her bed. We're thinking she was reading it when she died…"

    "Sabrina? Reading?" Lance frowned. "That's definitely something to look in. Be quick, Misty," he noted, earning a frown. Lance never used first names, not since he had been made the official president of Kanto. "The entire radio matter could turn out to be potentially deadly in times of war. I cannot give you much time before this becomes a matter of national security."

    "Right," Misty nodded. She hadn't even stopped to consider the potential inherent in the ability to take complete control of all radio stations in a wide area, but now that he mentioned it. "How much time do I have?"

    "Three days. After that, I'll have to call in reinforcements," he replied.

    Misty nodded. "I'll do my best," she added before turning off the phone.
    _________________________

    Lance turned away from the screen, a frown over his features.

    "And what do the two of you know?" he asked, his eyes weary. Out of the shadows in the far corner of his office, a man stepped, his face still hidden in the darkness, and a dark trench coat covering most of his body. "Your agents have told me nothing so far."

    "That would be because we know next to nothing, president Gray," a woman stepped out besides the man, dressed much the same. Blonde hair fell to her shoulders, and her eyes were pools of black ink. She had been a Rocket agent once, but that, like most of the rest of her life, was the past. And she had learned long ago that the only way to truly live the present was to let go of the past.

    "Next to, Domino?" the president remarked shrewdly, and she cursed herself for even letting that much come across. They were not ready to reveal anything, to tell the truth – what few leads they had were too thin to be of any relevant.

    "All we know is that the Johto branch of Team Rocket had a program that bears some similitude to this one, but that was years ago," she reported calmly. "They thought to use radio waves to force pokémon to evolve faster, but I think you are already well aware of the details of that particular project."

    "Yes. Yes, I am," he unconsciously reached for one of his pokéball. Most men would have missed the gesture, but Domino was trained to observe, as were virtually every top-ranking agents of Team Rocket. So, that was the pokéball where he kept his red gyarados.

    "We think that the Lavender matter might be related to these experiments. Of course, we have no way to know for sure, and to any extent we are not supposed to be involved in that investigation officially."

    "Yet," Lance completed. "Very well. See to things as you will, both of you. I assume my two shadows will keep me informed?" he frowned at the last. Where the name of shadows for his two bodyguards had originated, Domino could not remember, but it had.

    "Yes, they will. Are you going to Lavender now?"

    "Of course. The Convention hasn't been called off. I want the two of you ready to go there at a moment's notice."

    Domino nodded, barely noticing that her companion was doing the same. For all the independence the two of them enjoyed when it came to government orders, a direct order from the president was simply too much to be ignored. Not that she would have considered disobeying this particular order in any case.

    Lance turned away and left. His two bodyguards detached themselves from the walls where they had been, unmoving, until then, and silently trailed him through the rooms of the League complex, leaving Domino along with her companions.

    "What do you make of his actions?" he asked, his voice thoughtful. Domino let out a thin smile. He may be the official head of their group, but he knew well enough that she was far better at reading the emotions of others.

    "He's worried. He honestly believes someone's planning to invade and is testing out their weapons."

    "Indeed. Let's get going, we have much to do."

    "Of course, sir," she replied with a thin, somewhat mocking smile, never letting a hint of her true feelings show.

    Being a good actor had been part of being an elite Rocket operative, too.

    -------------------

    Slight author note - the "Book of the Soldiers" title was originally supposed to be one of the books of our own Bible (I won't say which. Given the nature of this work, I don't think it's a hard guess to make), but I then elected to keep this outside our world for the time being - and as such renamed the book to something more appropriate - and added a quick nod to Noir in passing .
    Last edited by Evil Figment; 18th February 2004 at 03:42 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  9. #9
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Is Domino's change of eye color supposed to mean anything? And having just gone through the Line Game, I'm rather amused by the "Gym Leader's Convention" part, although I probably shouldn't be.

  10. #10
    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Actually I was refering to the black of her eyes there is all .
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  11. #11
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    Ooooh. I like it. Very mysterious, and you've kept the suspense up nicely. The only thing I might change is the part in the first chapter where Brock and Gary are talking about Misty; it felt a little unnatural, like its only real purpose was to be a huge info dump. I don't think you need to tell us the fic's entire backstory all at once - you can reveal it gradually over time. The revelation that Gary knows where Ash is, in particular, I would save for later in the story. The more mystery you can create, the better. JMO. ^^

    ETA: Oh yeah, and you wrote Kasumi instead of Misty at the end of chapter 1.
    Last edited by Jo-Jo; 18th February 2004 at 03:02 PM.

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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Jo-jo, thanks for reading.

    No, I haven't forgotten about this fic. I'm just a bit blocked about how to best start up chapter 3, so I don't know when it will be ready.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  13. #13
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Dude, six days does not constitute people thinking you'd forgotten.

    *will have the next two chapters of Obsession done by her birthday...in June...and they'll probably still only be about a page long...*

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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    No, but I'd wager some people are beginning to feel forgotten after two weeks.

    Anyway, forgotten you were not. Here's the new chapter.

    Chapter III : Mists and Shadows

    "And Jackson's pokémon is done for the count! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a…"

    Whatever it was that the announcer was going to say, no one in Lavender hear. The words became scrambled for a moment, covering each others. Then vanished altogether, and all that was left was a strange sound, somewhat akin to the howl of the wind flowing through gullies.

    "What's that now?" Gary turned away from his notes and drink to look at the radio in the hotel's lobby. Nothing but the howl came from it.

    "Sounds like ghosts…" one of the employees observed. Gary barely listened. Ghosts or no ghosts, it did sound like whoever had been responsible for Sabrina's voice was at it again. Reflexively, he reached for his cell phone, but put it back down as soon as he did. Try though he might, all he could get from it was the same howl.

    "Ghosts don't exist," one of the other replied, mechanically more than anything else.

    "You're new to Lavender. You wouldn't know. We have ghosts here. Always did, always will. Even destroying the old tower didn't do anything about them," the first employee snorted. "You do what you want, but the ghosts are there, mark my word. I'm sure it's all that old channeler's fault."

    "Old channeler?" Gary raised an eyebrow. He had heard tales about the Lavender channeler, but while it was one thing to hear tales, to meet one in person would probably be quite something else, and some part of him had always regretted never meeting with Agatha before she had died. "Where can I find that channeler?"

    "The new cemetery building at the foot of the tower," the employee indicated without sparing Gary a look. He turned toward the great windows, watching outside.

    Gary followed the man's eyes, finally realizing there was another sound now besides that of the radio : shrieks of frustration and anger.

    "Easier yet. Just follow the mob," the employee smiled thinly at him.

    Gary did not smile back, instead racing outside the hotel. The radio tower was some distance outside the town proper, and if he was to beat the mob at the channeler's home, he would have to make ever feet count. With barely even a shadow of hesitation, he reached down to his pokeball, unlatching one of them and throwing it.

    "Skarmory, I chose you," he whispered, keeping his voice far too low for the crowd to notice it. "Carry me to the Radio tower, old boy."

    The pokémon shrieked in reply before taking flight, Gary jumping on its back. With that kind of load, the pokémon would not be able to stay in flight long, but hopefully it would be able to cope long enough.

    Seconds dragged into minutes as the armored bird raced through the sky. Below, Gary could follow the progression of the mob moving through the streets, ever closer to the edge of the town. It wasn't overly large a mob, probably made only of the less intelligent townsfolk, the most superstitious and radio-dependant crowd. On the one hand, that meant they were less likely to put up a dangerous fight. On the other, that also meant reasoning with them would not be an option. Gary hefted the pokéball at his belts.

    It was only the jerking motion as Skarmory swerved hard that brought him back out of planning and to the present moment. The brutal movement had been brought about by one of the antennas of the radio tower, which the bird had only narrowly avoided. The pokémon began spiraling down toward the ground, and a small house. A woman with an amused smile on her lips came out.

    "I suppose you want to know about the radio?" she asked gently.

    Gary took a deep breath, looking the woman over. She was easily in her thirties, perhaps even hear early forties, much older than he, with graying hair falling down her back.

    "Later," he finally breathed, throwing a glance at skarmory. The pokémon nodded ; tired as it was it still had the strength to carry someone. "Look, take my skarmory and fly over to the police headquarters. There, ask for Misty Waterflower or Brock Slate. Tell them Gary sent you about the radio."

    The woman laughed. "Why should I? Because of the coming crowd? What's the worse their minds can conjure up the ability to do?"

    Gary shrugged uncomfortably. "Look, you look like you know something about the radio, and there's a mob out there to get you. We need what you know, so you'll do as I say."

    "And what if I don't?" she challenged, her eyes held level with his.

    "I'll knock you out, have my pokémon carry you to the police headquarters, and send them a message telling them to put you in a detention cell until we can interrogate you," Gary returned the gaze. "We're not kidding around here. I'm talking for the league, and either you'll do as I say, or you'll be made to do as I say."

    The woman sneered, but also nodded. Seconds later, she was sitting on the skarmory.

    "Whatever she tells you, you take her to Misty and Brock," Gary commanded his pokémon. Judging by the outside noise, the crowd would be there any moment now. The pokémon took flight without any further explanation.

    Left alone, Gary took a moment to sit down. Likely the woman was out of harm's way now, true, but where did that leave him? He still had to find some way to handle the crowd, especially as the crows would most likely blame him for the missing channeler.

    "League's business is league's business…" he whispered between his teeths, unhooking each of his pokéball in turn and releasing their denizens.
    __________________

    "Have we found anything on how the signal is getting to us?" Brock asked again. For the past half-hour, both he and Misty had been sitting right next to one of the radios of the police station, waiting and hoping for some sign of the problem they were really dealing with.

    "Nothing conclusive yet, sir," one of the officers replied. "We're trying to track down the origin of the problem, but it doesn't appear to be the local radio tower – the signals it broadcast to the rest of Kanto are just fine!"

    "Strange, that," Misty shook her head. "Why cover the signals just here in Lavender? It makes no sense…"

    Someone knocked at the door, then opened it without waiting.

    "Mistress Loriana asks to see you, miss Waterflower," one of the agents reported, slipping her head into the room. In another day, another time, Brock could see himself asking her out, and being rejected. But there was no time for that now.

    "Loriana?" Misty asked in surprise, turning toward the others in the room. "Anyone know who this mistress Loriana is?"

    "You mean you don't?" one of the officers began, then caught himself. "Begging your pardon, but she is a rather well-known figure of Lavender. I expected everyone would know her."

    "I don't care about that. Who is she?" Misty cut across. Brock winced ; hidden from the view of any other than him by the table, one of Misty's hand had just curled in a fist.

    "A channeler. She's a celebrity of the town, one of the people the most dead-set against the building of the Radio Tower, since they had to destroy the old graveyard Tower for it."

    "I know all about that," Misty snarled, "I had to organize everything there, remember? Anyway. Let her in," she commanded, and seconds later the channeler stepped in the room, her clothes torn in part.

    "I'm told you wanted to see me?" Misty asked, her voice strained. Brock realized almost immediately she was forcing herself to be polite.

    "I was ordered to come here by someone who pretended to be a gym leader. He told me he was 'Gary' and to go see you."

    "That would be Gary Oak, the Viridian Gym Leader," Brock explained without missing a step. "Do you know why he sent you to us?"

    "Probably because when he first arrived at my home, I asked him if he wanted to know about the radio," the woman laughed. "As if I knew anything. I have theories, of course, but…"

    "Tell us," Misty interrupted her. "Any theories you can tell us is welcome,"

    "Very well. I think the Radio Tower is being haunted, simply." She smiled, as if expecting some answer. The room remained silent.

    "Haunted? I'm afraid we need something more…concrete than that," one of the officers sighed.

    "You, Jason Blake, should know better than that. You were no older than five that you were already listening to my mother's stories about the ghosts of Lavender. You know they're real. You've known it all your life."

    "I…" the policeman shrugged uncomfortably. "This is a police matter, not the place for old folktales…"

    "If the old folktales can explain how Sabrina's voice took over the radio the way it did after she was dead, I'm interested enough to hear," Misty intervened again. Brock edged closer to her, feeling the rising tension in the room.

    "You say haunted. You mean, there are gengar and the like in the radio tower?" Brock questioned. Ghosts and the like had never been of much interest to him – as a breeder, they were beyond his skills to deal with, and as a trainer they were irritations most sane trainers would not dare approach.

    The channeler laughed. "Not quite. It is true that Gastly and their ilk are often associated with the afterlife, but they are in fact something quite different, only related to haunting by association. You see, at the heart of every haunting there is a deceased spirit, unable to find rest in the afterlife. The pain of that spirit causes the ghosts-type pokémon, which are in fact gaseous life forms, to appear spontaneously and…"

    "Ahhh…there are quite a few ghosts in Lavender," Brock felt the need to point out. "How many of your restless spirits are there around here?"

    "Several hundreds," the woman replied without marking a pause. "It was after all the great graveyard of Kanto and…"

    "Right," Misty interrupted again. "Do you know of any spirit in particular which could be causing this…disruption?"

    "There was a spirit which came to me many time when I still lived in the pokémon tower. She appeared to be chained to this life still, unable to free herself and…"

    "Miss Waterflower!" someone shouted through the half-open door. "We have a report of fighting near the Radio tower between a mob and a pokémon trainer!"

    Misty turned to glance at Brock, who returned the look, seeing in her eyes the same sudden fear that gnawed at him.

    "Gary?" she mouthed without sound. In the blinking of an eye they were outside the room, by the officer who had first yelled the news. "Tell me everything," Misty commanded.

    "They say the trainer used his pokémon against the mob and had them use every attack they could…"

    Before she could continue, a new sound rose from the radio sitting on her desk, clear against the howl and much louder. It was a single name, a call barely whispered.

    "Surge…" the single word echoed again and again…
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  15. #15
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    *resists urge to make a Surge and the Six-Man Militia joke because no one will get it*

    I like the explaination of ghosts vs ghost types, although do they know *why* ghost types show up when they do?

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